Thursday, March 20, 2008

Global Warming, Gendered Medicine, Credit Squeeze--OH MY!!

From Altercation at Media Matters today a link to the NY Times story that James Hansen may be raising our President's and VP's temperature again.  Hansen and his co-authors say that the safe limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was actually passed in the 1980s.  Oh, well!!  I am not really surprised by this.  I have long thought that, if global warming is real, by the time we recognized it on a societal and political level AND decided what to do about it we would have already passed the tipping point.  I do believe that humans have impacted the world's environment adversely, including global warming, but on so many fronts that focusing on global warming alone is not likely to improve the human condition enough.  We hear about global warming but the drought in Atlanta made news for barely a week.  We have heard very little about the sustained drought in the west.  We have heard about the rise in food prices but nothing about crop failures in the central Asian countries.  

Bitch Ph.D has three links concerning women's health.  One goes to an account of a Bush Administration spokesperson claiming that doctors shouldn't be forced to make healthcare decisions for patients that goes against their (the doctors') consciences.  Another that claims that 33% of women will have a hysterectomy before age 60 and that most don't need one.  And the third goes to a UN report that US racism is a serious problem for women.  Given the study featured on the ABC Nightly news last night sexism is also.  They found that doctors when faced with a male and a female patient with equally serious knee problems will advise more of the male patients to have knee replacements. I can only imagine what the discrepancies would be it the females were also black or hispanic.  Last night the ABC local news included a story about the court battle some Illinois pharmacists are waging to overturn the Governor's order that prohibits them from refusing to fill prescriptions on the basis of their moral beliefs.  There was an editorial cartoon several years ago showing a pissed off pharmacist pointing to a sign which said that he was required by law to fill prescriptions for the 'morning after pill.  The woman customer, noting the ads for Viagra and other such medicines the pharmacist also provided,  remarked that that was fair since they supply the 'night before' pills.  Is there a connection between doctors who don't suggest knee replacement surgery for their women patients when they would for their male patients AND doctors who don't even consider heart disease for women patients when it is routine to consider it for male patients AND pharmacists who somehow think their consciences should dictate what drugs they will provide to which patients?  Gee, ya think??  

MarketWatch today had an interesting quote from some financial genius at Citibank.  Investors should, they say, "avoid companies and countries that have grown to rely too much on borrowed money." The bottom line is that "Leveraged banks must lend less, leveraged consumers must consume less, leveraged companies must acquire or invest less, and leveraged speculators must speculate less."  Since that includes most banks, most consumers, most companies and most speculators, I would say the economy is in a world of hurt and no one has any notion of how to stop digging and making the hole we are in deeper.  For the last ten years a recurring question over our morning coffee in this household has been "What happens to a consumer driven economy when the consumer can't (or won't) consume any more?"  A related question on our drives around town has been "Who is buying these mini-mansion houses that are sprouting like mushrooms and how are they able to finance them?"  I don't think I have to spell out the answers

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