Hungry working poor in New York City turn to food pantries for emergency help in greater numbers

This Reuters video which lasts about a minute points out that 1 in 5 New York City citizens rely on emergency food. 42% of food pantry recipients are working poor working 40 hours per week or more.

Something stinks in America when the Bush administration gives tax cuts to the rich and the working poor can't afford to eat. So much for trickle down economics and the market economy as being the best way to distribute the necessary resources in life.

While the cable news channels argue over why Barack Obama is a member of Jermiah Wright's church as if this was an important issue, people in the United States are hungry in the richest nation on earth.

Disasterous consequences of economic policies of market driven capitalism over the last several years - tent cities spring up as mortgages are foreclosed

What the Repbulican Administration and corporate media don't want you to see is the number of Americans being forced into poverty as a result of the economic policies of the Republican administration and its belief in the free market economy. It seems strange that you have to go to foreign media to find out about the unkind truths of what's happening to America. Here is a video from the BBC about the "Tent City" that has sprung up in Los Angeles as people have been forced from their forclosed homes. It only lasts about 90 seconds.


U.S. economy, badly in debt, needs to shift to green technologies and rebuilding the public infrastructure

The Real News Network had a good 5 minute piece yesterday on the sagging U.S. economy. You'd think the 2008 Presidential candidates and pundits would be talking about the real issues and not arguing over what pastor said what and whether the candidate was in the church when he said it. The Republicans have again distracted the American citizens with bogus issues while they have run up huge deficits, expanded the income inequality, given tax cuts to the rich while saddling the middle and working classes with increasing prices and interest costs. I recommend this video.

Social class may affect teens' view of their health

Sick_adolescent Reuters reported on February 14, 2008 on a study which appears in the February, 2008 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, which found that while teenagers and parents often have discrepant views of the teenagers health, lower class kids, especially those who have recieved mental health care, rate their health as better than lower class kids who have not received mental health care, and upper class kids whose focus is more on physical health than mental health. Here is a brief snippet of the Reuters article:

And, in fact, teenagers in the study often rated their health differently than their parents did, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

But the study also found that families' views differed according to income. Among higher-income families, children's and parents' health ratings depended on physical health factors -- such as how often the child had been sick in the past month, or the number of missed school days in the past year.

For low-income families, physical health mattered, but so did mental health. In general, teenagers who had seen a mental health professional in the past year gave better ratings to their overall health than other low-income teens did.

Mental health indicators did not have a clear influence on higher-income teenagers' health ratings, even though they reported about as many days of "sub-par mental health" as low-income kids did.

Link: MedlinePlus: Social class may affect teens' view of their health.


McCain's Idiotic Stance on America's Health Care Crisis

Mccain I can't decide if Presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain, is senile, psychotic, or disingenuous. According to an article in the January, 2008 issue of Clinical Psychiatry News, McCain is quoted as saying that buying health insurance is like buying a house and that it's a matter of choice whether Americans "want" to buy it or not. Apparently, he hasn't talked with the 47 million Americans without health insurance or the Americans who have been bankrupted by medical costs because they didn't "choose" to buy health insurance.

McCain's analysis of the health care crisis in the United States is scary in its simplistic naivete. It reminds me of Marie Antoinette's statement, when told that the peasants were starving to death because they had no bread, "Let them eat cake." I certainly hope McCain doesn't get elected.

“I don't think there should be a mandate for every American to have health insurance,” the Republican presidential hopeful said at a forum on health care policy sponsored by Families USA and the Federation of American Hospitals.

“I think one of our goals should be that every American own their own home, but I'm not going to mandate that. … I feel the same way about health care. If it's affordable and available, then it seems to me it's a matter of choice amongst Americans,” he said.

As Sen. McCain sees it, health insurance is something many people decide they don't want. “The 47 million Americans that are without health insurance today, a very large portion of them are healthy young Americans who simply choose not to” sign up for it, he said at the forum, which was underwritten by the California Endowment and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Link: Clinical Psychiatry News.


France best, U.S. worst in preventable death ranking

Dying_homeless_person On January 8, 2008 Reuters reported on a study in Health Affairs which found that the United States is the worst country out of the leading 19 industrialized countries in preventing deaths due to treatable conditions.

This is outrageous. It seems that Michael Moore's film, Sicko, is accurate in depicting the state of health care in the United States.

When the Bush Administration says that the United States has the best health care system in the world, what they don't tell you is that this applies only to those Americans with money and health insurance. The other 47 million Americans without health insurance or money to pay for it are going to die prematurely.

This is a major campaign issue in the 2008 campaign. The hell with gay marriage, abortion, and fear mongering about terrorists. Terrorists are not going to kill you, the lack of health care may. It is estimated that 101,000 Americans die each year from preventable health problems which could have been treated. About 2,900 Americans died on 9/11. Since that time 3 quarters of a million Americans have died from lack of health care. Why are we spending billions and billions of dollars on a pre-emptive, immoral war in Iraq while Americans are dying at home?

Here is a snippet from the Reuters article:

France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.

They called such deaths an important way to gauge the performance of a country's health care system.

Nolte said the large number of Americans who lack any type of health insurance -- about 47 million people in a country of about 300 million, according to U.S. government estimates -- probably was a key factor in the poor showing of the United States compared to other industrialized nations in the study.

Link: MedlinePlus: France best, U.S. worst in preventable death ranking.


More than 1 in 10 African American males between 25 - 34 in Prison in America

Prison_nation The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics made note of a distressing phenomenon in its press release last June, 27, 2007. They noted that 1/3 of all prison and jail inmates in the United States are African American which far outstrips the degree of their representation in the general population. More than one in 10 (11%)  African Americans between the ages of 25 - 34 are incarcerated in the United States.

What a waste of human energy and talent. What does this say about our society which finally ended slavery, and then ended segregation, and now incarcerates so many of its African American citizens? There is something significantly wrong. Obviously for significant numbers of Americans we are not the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Link: Bureau of Justice Statistics Press Release: Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006.


Made in America, radio show

Madeinusa I love Tom Ashbrook's show, On Point, which is produced and airs daily on WBUR Boston an affiliate of NPR. On Thursday, September 13, 2007 Tom had a great show entitled "Made In America". He discussed with guests how Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the economic impact of the corporations taking manufacturing globally is having on Americans. Manufacturing jobs have moved to China, Taiwan, Mexico and the middle class. American communities are suffering so Wal Mart can sell more stuff at lower prices, but these lower prices leave American communities impoverished as their citizens are thrown out of work.

In addition, manufacturing in other countries is done more cheaply because foreign manufacturers pollute the enviorment, exploit their workers, and engage in business practices illegal and immoral if practiced in the United States. If Americans want to hold manufacturers to higher environmental and human standards domestically how can we then purchase cheaper products from foreign countries who don't meet these same standards? Thirdly, it has become apparent with the tainted pet food, toothpaste, and toys that foreign products are not always safe and there is little accountability.

There are many good reasons to buy American but unfortunately, in many instances, the things we want to buy are no longer manufactured in the United States as American businesses have been driven out of business by cheaper prices demanded by the big box stores like Wal-Mart.

If you would like to buy American, and don't know or can't find what you are looking for, visit Stephanie Sanzone's web site, Still Made In USA, http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/. Stephanie is one of the guests interviewed by Tom on the show. To listen to the show, go to the On Point web page by clicking on the link below.

Link: On Point : Made in America - Made in America.


Bert Sacks case going to U.S. Supreme Court

Kamalphilbertiraq20001 Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, interviewed Bert Sacks on 01/23/07 regarding his refusal to pay a $10,000.00 fine for bringing medicine to Iraqi children in 1997 when the U.S. sanctions apparently prohibited such humanitarian aid. It is estimated that over 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of U.S. sanctions.

You can read more about Mr. Sacks' views on his blog, Bert On Iraq.

Mr. Sacks has refused to pay the fine and his case has been appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. You can listen to Amy's interview or read a part of the transcript of the interview by clicking the link below.

Link: Democracy Now! | Peace Activist Bert Sacks Challenges U.S. Fine For Bringing Humanitarian Aid to Iraq in 1997.