Pundit Wire

The National Academy of Sugar

Fale_-_Barcellona_-_194You might think an outfit calling itself an academy would be, you know, academic. But as Jon Stewart put it, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is as much an academy as the “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product” called Kraft Singles is cheese.

The last time the academy was in the news, it was for taking an undisclosed amount of money from Kraft in exchange for giving Kraft permission to put the academy’s “Kids Eat Right” logo on Kraft Singles. When nailed for this, the academy denied that this amounted to putting a stamp of approval on Singles. What it really was, they claimed, was an ad for the academy’s Kids Eat Right initiative. If this were true, it would be the first time in the history of the world that an advertiser received money for placing an ad, instead of paying for it.

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Overnight to Ystad

1The fate of Denmark’s Jews in October, 1943 was an anecdote in a sea of‎ malice. My Danish friend Michael was on one of those boats, the ones wandering around in the Øresund on a dark night in October, lights out lest the Nazi patrols find them, and also lost in an autumn storm, headed possibly for Sweden, but also possibly to Poland or Germany itself.

I asked Michael how it was that night, and he said, “I was two months old.”

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Slim Twice Good for Enhanced Health

red-cross-29930_640In the quest to control American medical costs, slim is in from several perspectives.

Lowering our obesity rate would make us healthier and reduce anticipated medical expenses and suffering  — and we seem to be progressing toward that goal.

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Prejudice is a powerful force

obamacharlestonIn the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting and the recent police incidents leading to the death and harassment of black men and women, many are calling for a national conversation on race.

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Also posted in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Education, General, History, Media, Political Rhetoric, Politics, Race & Ethnicity, U.S. | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Have you thought about resuscitation?”

KevorkianIn England recently, a man with a serious heart ailment returned home after getting some bad news from his doctor and immediately received a follow-up phone call from one of the nurses in the doctor’s office. “Hello,” she chirruped brightly, “we’re ringing all our patients with chronic conditions to see how you are and whether you have thought about resuscitation.”

The patient immediately dropped dead from shock.

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When Actors Talk about National Health Systems

rexfeatures_1523447dActor Michael Sheen makes a ‘blistering’ speech about the UK National Health Service. Hurrah! If only our milksop politicians would have a bit of that passion and sincerity!

Or not.

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The war to reform American medicine has been won.

LyndonJohnsonSigningMedicareBillThe transformation began with the enactment of Medicare and medicaid during the Johnson years — which allowed prices to be contained as a growing percentage of bills were paid by large entities, especially the government — and the HMO act during the Nixon years — which endorsed the idea of an efficient system where experts decided on how to treat any problem,  effectively setting limits on volume.

Once the tools were in place to control both price and volume, the rest was just fine tuning,  which is still ongoing.  The basic principles were ratified in Obamacare and are no longer under serious challenge.  The change hasn’t relied entirely on government action, but reflects private sector movement in the same direction.

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Bigger American Medicine May Be Better

Unknown-12For better and worse, American medicine is increasingly controlled by large corporate entities and Obamacare is accelerating the transition. Observers including me who see our medicine as highly inefficient view this trend as an opportunity to impose rationality, but there are also clearly pitfalls.

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