Saturday, October 10, 2009

This and That (by Phila)

Cervantes on healthcare reform:

We have a bias toward action, toward doing something; we're all about being bold and decisive and heroic. And we have a lot of faith in technology and anything that wears the guise of science. But the shocking truth is, much of medical intervention is not based in science at all, is not driven by evidence, but by physician's intuitions and customary ways of doing things. And, let's bite the bullet and make this painful admission: doctors are paid to do stuff, and the more radical their actions, the more they are paid....

Social justice begins long before we even think about universal health care. Sure, if we had it our society would be more just than it is now but we would still have huge inequalities in health and life expectancy because of all the other inequalities that would remain, for which medicine does not have the answer.

Lilian Nattel on positive psychology:

About ten years old, positive psychology studies how individuals and communities can thrive. A reaction against psychology as the study of mental illness, it aims to redress the imbalance in understanding human nature and what makes us happy and healthy and peaceful individually and socially.

This reminds me of a book I read years ago: The Psychology of the Female Body by Jane Ussher. What she noticed while looking at studes on pms was that subjects were asked only about negative symptoms around their periods. She repeated the study with a change: she asked as many questions about positive symptoms as negative ones. To my surprise, she found that as many women were energized as more tired before their periods, as many were happier as angrier, as many felt more enthusiastic as felt depressed.

The questions we ask open doors to possibilities.

Alison Bashford on quarantine:
Historically, quarantine laws were the main way in which people’s movement over national borders was regulated. Almost all of the immigration acts that proliferated around the globe in the nineteenth century (which we still live with, every time we hand over our passport) were about quarantine regulations. Every immigration restriction act across the world, even now, always has a “loathsome disease” clause in it.
Dave Neiwart on the gun-show loophole:
Over the past year, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been sending out private investigators to gun shows around the country, focusing on locales where NYPD and other local law enforcement are seeing guns arriving from. And what they showed was incredibly revealing.

It shows the dirty little secret that everyone who attends gun shows with any kind of discerning eye can tell you: There are a lot of illegitimate transactions taking place at them -- and particularly a lot of sales of guns to people who could never pass a background check.
NTodd on Obama's Nobel prize:
[L]et's not lose sight of something in all the arguments about the Nobel: it's up to us to create the space for Obama to earn this.

We can do it by creating justice at home in the form of meaningful healthcare reform, marriage equality, and reduced consumerism. We can do it by supporting HR2404, calling for an exit strategy in Afghanistan, and HR3699, denying funds for an escalation. We can do it by accepting our personal responsibility as citizens and being engaged with our government.

The 2008 election wasn't just about Obama, about putting a man in office who would single-handedly repair things after 8 disastrous years. The Nobel Peace Prize is no different. So hear the calls to action and get to work.