Health is a human right

Injustice has a cure

healthI had a spare $15 to spend at the DFTBA store on stuff randomly selected for me. The acronym means Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. I’m familiar with it because I follow the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green (no relation).

Among the merch, besides a Pizza John mug and various pictures and postcards were two magnets that read; “The idea that some lives matter less is the ROOT of all that’s wrong with the world.” – Paul Farmer.

Of course, I needed to know who this guy is. He’s a physician and anthropologist. The statement is “shorthand for the mission statement of Partners In Health (PIH), the organization he helped found three decades ago to advance the belief that health is a human right.

“With a growing team of health care professionals, volunteers, and donors, Farmer is spreading his philosophy of social justice and quality medical care to the most destitute parts of the world.”

The Vlogbrothers are supporting the PIH initiative to A Bold Solution to a Maternal Health Crisis in Sierra Leone, where “1 in 17 women run the risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth.” I had made a contribution to this specific PIH project last year, and will likely do so again in 2021.

There are PIH programs around the world, including the Navajo Nation. PIH “acts on the belief that the best way to guarantee high-quality, dignified care is to rely upon and invest in local health systems.

“What does building a health system look like? It requires–among many things–well-trained staff; proper and ample medications and supplies; health facilities with reliable space, electricity, and running water; and universally shared best practices that ensure patients receive quality care.”

Or

I’m not suggesting that Partners In Health is the only vehicle for addressing health crises, only the one that appealed to me. I would however suggest that, before donating to any cause, check out the Charity Navigator. This link vets 900+ health-related organizations. PIH, BTW, received four stars.

I remember watching television

In the spring of 1962, I had only two TV choices

cbs eyeMark Evanier posted the openings to the 42 different television shows that comprised the spring 1962 prime-time TV schedule for CBS. Of the shows, listed at 23:45 of the video, the only shows I never heard of were Ichabod and Me, Window on Main Street, Oh! Those Bells, Frontier Circus, and Father of the Bride.

I’m not sure I ever watched Hennessey, Checkmate, or all of the anthology dramas. But I surely viewed the others, especially the Saturday night lineup of Perry Mason, The Defenders, Have Gun Will Travel, and Gunsmoke.

He also posted the lineups for NBC for Fall 1962 and ABC for Fall 1961 (both at 24:50). I recognize many, though not most of the NBC shows. Maybe it was that WNBF, the CBS affiliate was on VHF, Channel 12, while WINR was on the UHF range, Channel 40.

But I recognized a LOT of ABC shows, even though Binghamton didn’t have an ABC affiliate until November 1962, when WBJA, Channel 34 came on line. That’s likely because WNBF carried a lot of ABC shows.

Unsurprising, I ran the category  Old TV Theme Songs on a recent JEOPARDY! 

Meanwhile, Ken Levine, who has written for prime time network television, recently noted that some recent network shows, one that had been on for four seasons, had been canceled and he had never heard of them. I’m very much in the same boat.

It’s a different time. Netflix and a bunch of platforms followed by a plus sign, from Disney to Paramount. And even shows that others recommend to me I can’t find the time/inclination to watch. As a result, I’ve seen NONE of the programs nominated for this year’s Emmys that weren’t on broadcast TV.

Just a few

So what I DO watch is heavily influenced by what my daughter views. She got into Station 19, which is a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy. These stories are so intertwined that if you were to see one without the other, it might not make as much sense.

It reminds me of when I was collecting comic books, and you didn’t understand what was going on in the Fantastic Four or the Amazing Spider-Man if you didn’t also check out a particular issue of X-Men or The Avengers.

The other thing odd about the 19/Grey’s series is that the storylines were almost a year behind “real-time” this past season. So the narratives in the spring of 2021 took place in the height of COVID and demonstrations right after the murder of George Floyd. Then in the last episode of Grey’s, but not 19, the story fast-forwarded almost a year.

I have a friend who writes, every time I mention television, that I should not watch it. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. It’s bad for your sleep, your health, your brain, your self-esteem, maybe your eyes.

I take my blood pressure daily in the morning, before breakfast. If my wife’s had the TV on, even if it’s off the ten minutes before the reading, my BP is about 15 points higher systolic and about 10 points higher diastolic.

I’m sure watching far less, and the pandemic did not increase my consumption by one iota.

 

February rambling: Perseverance

Chick Corea

perseveranceShe counted ballots in a pandemic, and he killed two people. Guess who gets treated like a hero?

One county, worlds apart: Bridging the political divide.

Weekly Sift: Why You Can’t Understand Conservative Rhetoric

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Fixing our Democracy.

Trust Is The Coin Of The Realm.” by the late former secretary of state George Schultz.

Detailed interactive map of the 2020 Election.

How 100 years of Democratic rule have shaped the city of Albany.

How I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs.

Texas

Rick Perry and the Hard Libertarian Formulation.

How the Bush family turned off the lights.

El Paso Heeded the Warnings and Avoided a Winter Catastrophe.

Ted Cruz is feckless.

Perseverance needed

Fascist insurgency persists with the merging of QAnon, militia movements, white extremists. They spread new conspiracy Trump will be president again on March 4, so Trump’s D.C. hotel nearly triples its rates.

History Will Find Trump Guilty.

How the Proud Boys Pitch Themselves to People of Color.

Health  and wellness

COVID-19 Is Ravaging Local Newspapers, Making it Easier for Misinformation to Spread.

John Green: I Predicted the Pandemic (over and over and over again).

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship

Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells. Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.

I’m getting good at this grief thing.

Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s

Embrace the nap

Assemblage

How to be a  genius

Bill Mahar gives the Baldy Award to policy wonk Henry Waxman.

17 years ago, Jason West, mayor of New Paltz, NY set the groundwork for the 2011 marriage equality law by presiding over same-sex marriages in his community.

“When in Doubt, Do Something.” Harry Chapin in Recent Media.

Jaquandor reviews the 1994 film What Happened Was… 

After GM poked fun of Norway in Super Bowl ad, Norway painfully hits back.

The Curse of the Buried Treasure

The Hollywood Con Queen Who Scammed Aspiring Stars Out of Hundreds of Thousands.

Missed: He flew to Paris to surprise his girlfriend. She flew to Edinburgh to surprise him

Larry Flynt paid me $1,000 to keep my clothes ON.

She traded her way from a bobby pin to a tiny house in 6 months.

JEOPARDY!

Alex Trebek’s family donates his wardrobe to charity.

Brayden Smith 

The guest host schedule.

Now I Know

Frederick Douglass  Is Not Amused. The Hunger Stones.  When Ziggy  Should Have Zagged. The Little Bit of Sun That Cost a Half-Million Dollars.  In the President’s Dog House.  The Search For Life on Earth.

Black History Month

Black Futures Month

Jacob Lawrence painted Black America for Black people — not the white gaze.

Jim Crow Filibuster

The history of overalls

Caste book supplement.

Lift Every Voice and Sing, A Celebration of African American Music – Sounds of St Olaf.

MUSIC

With God on Our Side – The Neville Brothers.

Who’s Yellen Now? – Dessa.

Marjorie Taylor Greene – Randy Rainbow.

I Won’t Dance -Willie Nelson ft. Diana Krall.

Tribute to Pops and Ella – Leonard Patton with Rebecca Jade.

Sixteen Tons – Geoff Castellucci.

Psychedelic Jazz Guitar – Boogaloo Joe Jones, 1967 album.

Sweet Blindness – The Fifth Dimension and Frank Sinatra.

A video analyzing in extreme detail Lady Gaga’s rendition of the national anthem at the inauguration. (ht/ch)

Coverville

1344: Cover Stories for Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond, and Phil Collins.

1345: Justin Timberlake Cover Story and Delvon Lamarr Interview. 

1346: Cover Stories for Gene Pitney and Feist. 

1347: Stone Roses Cover Story and the 50th Anniversary of Tapestry

Chick Corea

Obit and photo tribute and Remembrance and video link.

A random look at the 2020 blog

Thank Allah for music

while blackSome blogger buddy used to do this look at the previous year. He’d select a post date and a sentence from that post at random.

I’ve found it interesting to see how well, or poorly, it reflected the past year. So, the 2020 blog in one post. Sort of.

January: “Willis was the son of people identified only as Jacob and Charlotte.” This was the first of two posts that week about Raymond Cornelius Cone, who I had just discovered was my biological grandfather. Willis was his father.

February: “Those particular matinees mean three things: cheaper tickets, a lot of older patrons, and best of all, a discussion with the cast after the shows.”This was back in the days when I was going to Thursday matinees at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.

March: “She had to go into work on Monday and Tuesday last week, which I thought was crazy.” An Ask Roger Anything answer about retirement. I was referring to my wife’s school’s COVID methodology.

April: “Yet, and ‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules.” The 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I was pessimistic.

May: “The United States was allegedly staying out of it.” The music of 1940. The “it” was WWII.

June: “In light of the nationwide outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, movies like Just Mercy and I Am Not Your Negro are available to stream.” Juneteenth links.

Caesar months

July: “He believes the continued popularity of white depictions of Jesus is ‘an example of how far in some respects the United States has not moved.'” He being Edward J. Blum.

August: “He often combined the two.” Another Ask Roger Anything answer about why I’m a duck. “He” was the late Raoul Vezina, who combined his love of art and music.

September: “The moderator said a particular bill meant X.” A discussion of the Federalist Paper No. 62 of James Madison and how far we’ve moved from it.

October: “The search committee was afraid that these folks wouldn’t cotton to working with a black person.” This was the job I held for over 26 years but almost did not get.

November: “Freedom for the Stallion – the Oak Ridge Boys.” A link to a song by the legendary Allen Toussaint.

December: “If I were to have major surgery, such as for this situation, one doesn’t want to deal with the complicating factor of this patient having a bad reaction from the antibiotic.” So, I’m NOT allergic to penicillin!

People who do not read this will ask, “What is your blog about?” Other than About Me, I have no retort. So maybe, just maybe, this shows what was reflected in 2020. Music, COVID, race, genealogy, health, politics. I guess that’s about right.

Dr. Rick Bright resigns from the National Institute of Health

failed White House leadership

Dr. Rick Bright has resigned from the National Institute of Health on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. Here is his letter.

Of all the tools required for an effective U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, one that is sorely missing is the truth. Public health guidance on the pandemic response, drafted by career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been repeatedly overruled by political staff appointed by the Trump administration. Career scientists throughout the Department of Health and Human Services hesitate to push back when science runs counter to the administration’s unrealistically optimistic pronouncements.

Public health and safety have been jeopardized by the administration’s hostility to the truth and by its politicization of the pandemic response, undoubtedly leading to tens of thousands of preventable deaths. For that reason, and because the administration has in effect barred me from working to fight the pandemic, I resigned on Tuesday from the National Institutes of Health.

BARDA

Until April, I had for almost four years been director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. When I strongly objected this past spring to the Trump administration’s insistence that BARDA support widespread access to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two potentially dangerous drugs recklessly promoted by President Trump as a COVID-19 cure, I was shunted to the NIH and assigned a more limited role in the pandemic response.

My task at the NIH was to help launch a program expanding national COVID-19 testing capacity. The program is well underway and should reach nearly 1 million daily tests by the end of the year. Since early September, though, I was given no work; my services apparently were no longer needed.

I fear the benefits of dramatically improved testing capacity will be wasted unless it is a part of a coordinated national testing strategy. My recommendations to support a national plan were met with a tepid response. In an administration that suffers from widespread internal chaos, such coordination may be impossible — especially when the White House has seemed determined to slow down testing and not test people who might have asymptomatic infections.

Making it worse

From the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the administration’s failure to respond with a coordinated strategy only heightened the danger. Now the nation, and the world, are in the worst public health crisis in over a century. More than 1 million people worldwide have died from the pandemic; more than 211,000 Americans are dead. More than half of the states in this country are reporting rising COVID-19 cases.

Nine months into the pandemic, the United States continues to grapple with failed White House leadership. Instead, we get the recent spectacle of the president exploiting his own illness for political purposes and advising the nation, “Don’t be afraid of COVID.” Ironically, he was only able to leave the hospital after receiving two treatments that I had pushed for in January.

Meanwhile, there is still no coordinated national strategy to end the pandemic. Federal agencies, staffed with some of the best scientists in the world, continue to be politicized, manipulated, and ignored.

The country is flying blind into what could be the darkest winter in modern history. Undoubtedly, millions more Americans will be infected with the coronavirus and influenza; many thousands will die. Now, more than ever before, the public needs to be able to rely on honest, non-politicized, and unmanipulated public health guidance from career scientists.