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Archive for September 19th, 2009

Deaths from uninsurance more than twice as high as previously believed

Posted by Charles II on September 19, 2009

It’s an article of faith among right-wing ideologues that people who are uninsured get medical care just as good as anyone else. That’s not true, and the difference in quality of care costs well over 40,000 American lives every.f–king.year– almost as many Americans as died in Vietnam and more than died in Korea! Every year!

Numerous investigators have found an association
between uninsurance and death. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that
18314 Americans aged between 25 and 64 years die annually because of lack of health insurance, comparable to deaths because of diabetes, stroke, or homicide in 2001 among persons aged 25 to 64 years. The IOM estimate was largely based on a single study by Franks et al. However, these data are now more than
20 years old; both medical therapeutics and the demography of the uninsured have changed in the interim.

[The conclusions of the present study are that] Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease (n=42868). The increased risk of death attributable to uninsurance suggests that alternative measures of access to medical care for the uninsured, such as community health centers, do not provide the protection of private health insurance

But the teabaggers have the nation’s best interests at heart…much as Colonel Sanders deeply loves chickens. Maybe if we instituted a national lottery that would randomly sacrifice 40,000 right-wingers to their money god every year, they would start to see the need for health care reform.

Posted in health care, Republicans as cancer | 3 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 58

Posted by Charles II on September 19, 2009

Update (in progress): Channel 36 is running a mass by Father Tamayo on the occasion of President Zelaya’s birthday at the STIBYS (beverage workers’) union. So, it’s a combination of solemn religious moment, party, and union rally. It has to be seen to be believed. As Fr. Tamayo speaks, the pianist supplies mood music, occasionally breaking into Api Birtdei (not Las Mananitas, I notice). Father Tamayo’s opening prayer is to ask for forgiveness and cleansing when feelings of impotence lead to anger, a good prayer. A speaker prays that the resistance be granted the strength of a buffalo. Communion first and then birthday cake, to what sounds sort of like Middle Eastern music, but probably is ranchero.

Brother John has a little piece about agricultural methods. Greenhouses, basic grains, family gardens, sustainable agriculture… sounds like a good program.
Tiempo has a detailed run-down on the attack on CableColor of yesterday (See also here). Human rights organizations CODEH and Ciprodeh denounced the attack. In addition to what we learned yesterday about the complete absence of due process, the fellow behind the attack on Channel 11 is former Nationalist Party candidate Elías Asfura, who wants to have his programming included on all cable transmissions. Coupistas have a great respect for private property, as long as it’s their own. Also, it turns out that the judge who authorized the inspection-at-gunpoint was Iris Normandina Ortiz, who also handled the charges against Zelaya. And, in an article in La Prensa that uncritically reprints the government version of events, claiming that they couldn’t finish their “inspection” because the resistance was pushing them and throwing water balloons (all the way to the roof, I suppose; the only people on the roof were the Fiscalia and station management), we learned that Jaime Rosenthal also owns Cable Color, who also owns Tiempo.

Hooded policemen are a prominent feature of democracies

(Image from Tiempo)

Tiempo did not put out a printed edition on Friday because a mysterious power surge damaged printing equipment to the tune of $10,000. They haven’t had any trouble since the 1980s, when the repression also sabotaged the electricity.

(In an article describing how the resistance rushed to the defense of CableColor and Channel 11, we learn that) today is Zelaya’s 58th birthday.

RAJ has a very nice piece on the danger of history, and how the regime is systematically attempting to destroy efforts under Zelaya to preserve community history. This is an underappreciated point. The official record of history relies typically on newspapers, government documents, and books. The first is produced by the wealthy. The second is produced typically without regard for individuals; when individuals are mentioned, they are the limited subset with whom the agency intereracts. The third is produced by academics, and by the wealthy and powerful. Nowhere does the story of powerless–or even the middle class–enter into the narrative.

It’s true that the powerful usually lead interesting lives and the powerless usually much less interesting lives. However, because there are so many of the latter, there is an entirely different narrative to be written, one that–as Howard Zinn has shown–is often much more enlightening than the official history. This narrative is harder to develop. Often one has to rely on oral sources. Occasionally these can be corroborated with letters, gravestones, baptismal records, archaeological evidence or other “objective” sources, but scholars–especially those infected with the scientism that made mid-20th century academic work so tedious (think Robert McNamara and the Pentagon of the 1960s)–shy away from talking to human beings. There is another side to this history of the powerless: the very act of writing history causes the powerless develop a sense of identity and importance. The powerful find this very, very dangerous. The Americas are filled with the descendants of conquered peoples and people brought here involuntarily. To remember the group identity is to remember wrongs and who committed them. History is, indeed, dangerous.

A number of people have linked Jesse Freeston’s interview on Real News with filmmaker Oscar Estrada. After a number of tries, I finally got it to run, and it is very good.

Via Narconews, Jeremy Kryt, writing at Earth Island Institute describes the harassment of the father of Isis Obed Murillo, the first murder victim of the coup:

Obed’s father, Jose David Murillo, a well-known anti-deforestation crusader with the Environmental Movement of Olancho (MAO), and head pastor of the New Life Church, had long taught his family the virtues of peaceful resistance to authoritarian power…Without being told what charges had been made against him, the pastor – a big man in his late fifties, with close-cropped, still-dark hair and massive, work-worn hands – was cuffed and taken to the Via Della police station. There, deep in the basement, he was ordered to sign a fabricated “confession”, stating that he had murdered three people and raped another. When Murillo balked, a sergeant put a 9 millimeter pistol in his ribs, and shouted “Firma aqui!” – “Sign here!”

After signing the bogus document, Pastor Murillo was driven to a penitentiary in the Olancho district, where he was held in solitary confinement for the next 37 days. There were never any formal charges filed in court, which makes his detention illegal under the Honduran Constitution. Finally, on August 13, after weeks of pressure and investigation by COFADEH and others, the pastor was fined $25,000 lempira (about $1,322 U.S. dollars), and released. But it didn’t end there….

Pastor Murillo must report to the prison in Olancho every two weeks, and the family is still deeply in debt from paying the fine. Murillo recently applied to have his driver’s license renewed, but was turned down when the computer system showed him to be a “felon”. Their home is under constant surveillance, including helicopter fly-bys. A few weeks ago, when two of their daughters received death threats, the family was forced to go into hiding. Being on the run makes it almost impossible for Murillo to serve his community, either as pastor or conservation activist.

Posted in Latin America | 6 Comments »

The New Media Reality

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 19, 2009

Emptywheel points out that the Obama administration is acknowledging the power of Latino voters in a way that is really ticking off the people at FOX News: Instead of appearing on FOX News Sunday, he’s appearing on Univision’s Al Punto program.

Of course, as Emptywheel mentions, the Usual Republican Suspects (especially the Southern ones) are screeching in protest over this. But simple demographics outweighs all of their racially-tinged hissy kabuki:

As such, it seems to me, it ought to focus some attention on Al Punto’s role in the Sunday line-up. And, as it turns out, the White House can justify blowing off Fox for Univision not just to reach out to Latinos rather than white racists. According to Univision’s corporate communications, Al Punto (531,000) does better than FNS (417,000) in the all-important 18-49 demographic (and has done so for the last 10 months), and it often beats CBS’ Face the Nation in that demo as well.

It’s not just on Sunday mornings that Univision is making FOX sweat, either. In this article on Univision’s new president Cesar Conde, it’s stated that Univision came in second — just after FOX — during prime time in the television ratings for July among U.S. among the very desirable 18 to 34-year-old demographic.

Posted in Fox Noise, Hispanic issues, media, President Obama | 2 Comments »

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