Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The voice in my heart

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." - Arundhati Roy

Thank you Susan at Easy Bake Coven

Monday, February 26, 2007

Army Times speaks out

Critics: Army holding down disability ratings

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writerPosted : Monday Feb 26, 2007 7:33:36 EST

The Army is deliberately shortchanging troops on their disability retirement ratings to hold down costs, according to veterans’ advocates, lawyers and services members, and the Inspector General has identified 87 problems in the system that need fixing.

Read the entire article

Found at Cut to the Chase

Is there any doubt left that the bottom line...ANY bottom line is infinitely more important to the Bush Regime than a human life. These people are bottom feeders growing fat on the pain and misery of the population they are sworn to nurture and protect. The only redeeming thought about a slow pendulum is that these social leeches will possibly languish on the opposite extreme long enough for the world to be rid of every spewer and receiver of Bush seed that currently exists. Bless you Jesus!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Vets on the Street

Hundreds of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are ending up homeless. How could this happen?

By Sarah Childress
Updated: 11:41 a.m. PT Feb 24, 2007

Feb. 24, 2007 - Kevin Felty came back from Iraq in 2003 with nowhere to stay, and not enough money to rent an apartment. He and his wife of four years moved in with his sister in Florida, but the couple quickly overstayed their welcome. Jobless and wrestling with what he later learned was posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Felty suddenly found himself scrambling to find a place for himself and his wife, who was six-months pregnant. They found their way to a shelter for homeless veterans, which supported his wife during her pregnancy and helped Felty get counseling and find a job. A year later, he's finally thinking his future. "I don't want to say this is exactly where I want to be—it's really not," he says. "But it's what I can get at the moment."

Young, alienated and often living on their own for the first time, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans increasingly are coming home to find that they don't have one. Already, nearly 200,000 veterans—many from the Vietnam War—sleep on the streets every night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. But young warriors just back from the Mideast—estimated around 500 to 1,000—are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help. Advocates say it can take five to eight years for a veteran to exhaust their financial resources and housing options, so they expect the number to rise exponentially in a few years. "Rather than wait for the tsunami, we should be doing something now," says Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

The problem is mainly a lack of resources, advocates say. There are only about 15,000 beds available in VA-funded shelters or hospitals nationwide, and nearly every one is taken. In some smaller cities there simply aren't many places for a homeless veteran to go. And as affordable housing units shrink nationwide, veterans living on a disability check of, say, $700 a month, (which means a 50-percent disability rating from the VA), are hard-pressed to find a place to live. Most shelters require veterans to participate in a rehabilitation program, but a "fair amount" of veterans just go back to the streets once they leave, says Ed Quill, director of external affairs at Volunteers of America, the nonprofit housing group for veterans that helped Felty.

The VA says it's making a concerted effort to reach out to vets before they hit bottom, says Pete Dougherty, the VA's coordinator for homeless programs. Intake counselors are trained to ask questions, especially of newer veterans, to seek out mental health or other problems that could lead to homelessness. "We're much more sensitive than we were 40 years ago for signs of problems," he says. And they have expanded some services. Last week, the VA approved $24 million to boost aid for the homeless, which will allow them to add about 1,000 more beds and increase the number of grants to help the growing population of homeless women veterans and those with mental illnesses.

Much of the work with new veterans is being done one soldier at a time. At New Directions in Los Angeles, a center that rehabilitates homeless veterans, Anthony Belcher, a formerly homeless Vietnam vet who now works at the center, looks out for one particular Iraq veteran who shows up at the center about once a month, filthy, drugged out and tortured by PTSD. "He's a baby," Belcher says. "You can see it in his eyes." So far, the young vet is too wary to accept more than a night's bed or a hot meal. But as Belcher says, at least he has a place to go. That's more than many of the thousands of vets on America’s streets can say tonight.

Friday, February 16, 2007

We need adult leadership

This is part of an email I received from Consumers Union recently:

Thanks to more than one thousand messages from consumers like you, the state of Washington came one step closer to requiring hospitals to report their infection rates to the public.
Now we need to keep up the momentum.
Please send a message to your representative and ask him or her to vote for HB 1106!

One in 20 patients contracts a hospital-acquired infection while being treated in the hospital for something else. You have a right to know whether your hospital is doing a good job preventing hospital-acquired infections.

The article below is a reflection of why we should be very concerned about the super-infections raging through our hospitals nationwide. After reading this, check out my previous post about the misuse of antibiotics, and the tragic results.
Woman Becomes Quadruple Amputee After Giving Birth (click to see picture)
POSTED: 5:59 pm EST January 19, 2006
UPDATED: 4:06 pm EST January 20, 2006

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Sanford mother says she will never be able to hold her newborn because an Orlando hospital performed a life-altering surgery and, she claims, the hospital refuses to explain why they left her as a multiple amputee.

The woman filed a complaint against Orlando Regional Healthcare Systems, she said, because they won't tell her exactly what happened. The hospital maintains the woman wants to know information that would violate other patients' rights.

Claudia Mejia gave birth eight and a half months ago at Orlando Regional South Seminole. She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando where her arms and legs were amputated. She was told she had streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, and toxic shock syndrome, but no further explanation was given.

The hospital, in a letter, wrote that if she wanted to find out exactly what happened, she would have to sue them.

"I want to know what happened. I went to deliver my baby and I came out like this," Mejia said.

Mejia said after she gave birth to Mathew last spring, she was kept in the hospital with complications. Twelve days after giving birth at Orlando Regional South Seminole hospital, she was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where she became a quadruple amputee. Now she can not care for or hold her baby.

"Yeah, I want to pick him up. He wants me to pick him up. I can't. I want to, but I can't," she said. "Woke up from surgery and I had no arms and no legs. No one told me anything. My arms and legs were just gone."

Her 7-year-old son, Jorge, asks his mother over and over what happened to her. Neither she nor her husband has the answer.

"I love her, so I'll always stick with her and take it a day at a time myself," said her husband, Tim Edwards.

The couple wants to know how she caught streptococcus, during labor or after. She doesn't know. She knows she didn't leave the hospital the same.

"And why, I want to know why this happened," she said.

Her attorney, Judy Hyman wrote ORHS a letter saying, according to the Florida statute, "The Patients Right To Know About Adverse Medical Incidents Act," the hospital must give her the records.

"When the statute is named 'Patients Right To Know,' I don't know how it could be clearer," Hyman said.

The hospital's lawyers wrote back, "Ms. Mejia's request may require legal resolution." In other words, according to their interpretation of the law, Mejia has to sue them to get information about herself.

That's the sticking point, the interpretation of the Patients Right To Know act, a constitutional amendment Florida voters passed a little more than a year ago.
Mejia's other attorney, E. Clay Parker, said the hospital is not following the law
"We were forced to file this and ask a judge to interpret the constitutional amendment and do right," Parker said.

Mejia hopes the right thing is done. She said not knowing exactly why it happened is unbearable. She only hopes she'll be able to soon answer her little boy's question, 'What happened?'
"He told me everyday, 'What happened,' and I don't have any answers for that," she said.

ORMC said Mejia is requesting information on if there were other patients or someone on her floor with the streptococcus. They said, if they release that to her, that would be a violation of other patients' rights.

Isn't it completely insane that our genetically altered and chemically saturated food supply has turned our bodies into petrie dish incubators that are producing the bacteria that consumes our flesh and shuts down our immune systems? Wouldn't you like to prepare the meals for the boards of directors for Con-Agra and Monsanto?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Why organic is critical

Smoking-gun Proof That Misuse of Antibiotics Breeds Superbugs

By Penny MacRae
Agence France Presse,
Feb 9, 2007
Straight to the Source


Medical experts have long assumed that misuse of antibiotics breeds drug-resistant superbugs, but a newly released study has finally provided smoking-gun proof as to how this occurs.

Bacterial diseases that were once easy to treat, such as tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, typhus and pneumonia, are becoming ever-tougher challenges as germs evolve into strains that outstrip science's ability to keep up.

The new research provides hard evidence that antibiotics which are mismatched to the type of bacteria being targeted can hike this worsening resistance problem.

In the experiment, Surbhi Malhotra-Kumar and a team of microbiologists in Belgium and the Netherlands gave a partial course of two macrolide-class antibiotics -- clarithromycin and azithromycin -- that are commonly prescribed for bronchial infections to two randomly-selected groups of 74 people, one drug for each group.

They also gave placebos to a control group, which was to provide a yardstick for any changes observed.

The drug-taking subjects were not sick. The point was to monitor the drugs' effect on streptococci bacteria that were normal and harmless components of the flora in the mouth and throat.

The verdict was ironclad. Azithromycin swiftly created large numbers of bacteria that were resistant to macrolides, while clarithromycin encouraged the emergence of a highly resistant form.

This form was not only more resistant to macrolides, it also showed greater resistance to lincosamide, streptogramin B and tetracycline antibiotics.

The study, which is published by The Lancet, found that antibiotics had an enduring effect on this oral bacteria, of more than 180 days.

In other words, the harmless bacteria became a potential reservoir of drug-resistant DNA for pathogenic ones.

Penicillin is usually the weapon of choice for tackling harmful forms streptococci, but doctors often resort to macrolides if a patient is allergic to that drug.

In an assessment of the work, Stephanie Dancer, a microbiologist at Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, said the finding provided crucial evidence to back a commonly-observed problem about misprescribed or misused antibiotics.

"All of us could see what was happening, but now we have proof," she told AFP in an interview.
The stakes could hardly be higher, said Dancer.

"It is an immense problem ... that is affecting every antimicrobial agent that Man has been able to find," she said. "We are squandering a precious resource."

She pointed the finger in particular at purchases of antibiotics over the counter or the Internet, and urged the launch of a public awareness campaign on the lines of "No drugs for bugs -- unless needed."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Push and Shove

I have been thinking about the situation we (the US) find ourselves in throughout the Middle East, and it continues to boggle my mind. The underlying current of reason that prompted the Bush White House to push the Nation into this untenable position escapes my ability to deduce. Where is our adult supervision?

All my life, I have wondered about the simple phrases to which “shock and awe” has been added in the recent past. “Push and shove, “give and take”, “go around and come around”, “do unto others”, and “an eye for an eye” have all been part of the language I was raised with, and I am finally able to understand exactly why. Each of these phrases are meant to imply consequences for each and every action taken as an individual or as a Nation. What they don’t adequately imply is the extent of those consequences when you are initiating an act on a less than moral basis (such as a pre-emptive attack against the civilian population of a country already struggling under your boot heel). Every now and then, I hear one of the media spinmeisters mention unintended consequences, and I simply nod my head. Who could’ve guessed?

I find it extremely interesting that we were forced to endure hour upon hour of “shock and awe” from the major (so called) news networks when this conflict was initiated, but now that we are ass deep in the mire, we are forced to endure hour upon hour of Anna Nicole Smith and other non-war content. It is almost as if someone is trying to manipulate our attention away from the issues that are extremely important to our ability to make critical decisions about our leadership… unless those issues reflect favorably upon that leadership.

We have been herded from one pre-election issue to another by the political cattle-prod of fear mongering by an administration that deviously thrust itself into power, and then used illegal means (manipulating electronic voting machines) to stay there. Their blatant disregard for the intelligence of the average citizen has finally caught up with them, and turned public opinion against their greed and avarice, but it is obvious that the last chapter of this horror story has yet to be written. I am hopeful that the plethora of hearings being conducted by the Democratic Majority will create a demand for justice that will provide a prison wardrobe for every official complicit in the corruption of the People’s trust (including those who have jumped ship or been removed because they aren’t devious enough to suit Cheney).

Regardless of the political and legal outcome of the Bush travesties, the concept of “what goes around comes around” will be a long time playing itself out in our relationship with the many small nations throughout the world suffering from the results of the Neocon playbook. I sincerely believe that our best hope to bring balance and harmony back into this world is to give the Democratic Party a super majority in both the House and Senate in 2008 with the understanding that we expect to see a vast overhaul of the institutions that are responsible for leading us away from the ideals of the American Dream.