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This could be a big game changer for our national tragedy of suicide rates. The exquisitely simple idea of a 3 digit phone number to replace the standard 10 digit, for the National Suicide Hotline.

U.S. Suicides Hit Highest Rate in 25 Years

The suicide rate is now 12.6 suicide deaths per 100,000 Americans,
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.
The economic cost of suicide death in the U.S. was estimated in 2010 to be more than $44 billion annually.
And the fully predictable result of two unnecessary wars.

Suicide rate among veterans is 22 a day; Crisis hotline can provide support

After veterans, the list of those who are in need of mental health care in a system that has never given it the priority it deserves includes:

Long term unemployed

Bullied youth


Post partum mothers

Victims of sexual abuse

SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices for Education

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 16th.  It is the second leading cause of death for 15 - 24 year olds.
SAVE has a lot of the important suicide stats and facts in bulleted sections for general statistics, gender, age, race and ethnic disparities
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Remember the commercial with a woman in business suit swinging a frying pan around, claiming she could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever let you forget you're a man?  Do you remember the product?  Or how the ad made you feel?

Some time ago I read a column on misogyny in advertising. I thought it was here but I didn't hotlist it and can't bring it up on a search. It was excellent and despite my awareness of the problem, further shocked me. As I recall, the writer was a professional - possibly in women's issues. I am going to hope there is a Kossack here who remembers and can link in the comments.

Meanwhile, my .02.

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Surely few here will be surprised at this report from the Orlando Sentinel

Jonathan Katz, a social science and statistics professor at the California Institute of Technology, testified in the lawsuit Tuesday that Florida's congressional map was heavily biased toward electing Republicans despite the state's Democratic-edge in voters. ...

...Katz is part of a group of political scientists considered among the nation's foremost experts on redistricting -- developing a standard for evaluating the partisan bias of maps known as "partisan symmetry" which has been used for years by scientists and the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether states were intentionally tilting electoral playing fields to help political parties or incumbents.

Katz concluded the bias in the maps was the worst he had ever seen, twice as bad as Texas'.  He was able to identify skewed results in both the 2010 and '12 elections.
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NOTE: Voting for this will conclude Tuesday, March 12 at 21:00 PT (9 PM civilian time ;)

This is the BFD about this vote.

We are offering six free booths in this year’s Netroots Nation Community and Exhibit Hall. The top three vote-getters in this online contest will automatically get a booth in the Hall. The rest of the entrants will go through a second round where a panel of judges will decide, based on merit, which three entrants will receive the last three spots.
DaNang65 is asking our help to get a booth for the Purple Mountain Institute which runs the Mindful Veterans Project. He lays it out better than anyone in his 2/28 diary A Shameless Solicitation for Votes. This is just the nutshell. The rest is informative and downright awesome.
The heart of our program is the classes we offer in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) absolutely free to veterans, active duty, guard, reserve, their spouses and dependents who suffer from PTSD or MST or live with someone who does.

The votes at this point are for positions 4 -6. Being Liberal, American Atheists and Move to Amend are so far ahead they will get the three guaranteed boths. PMI is 20 votes from # 6. 63 from # 5.  311 from # 4. From getting exposure, donations, volunteers they need to help vets.

Voting has to be through a Facebook account, a lot of Kossacks don't have one and can't vote.

YOU can fight this voter suppression!

Vote here Click, scroll down to PMI (order is alphabetical, 16 in que) Hit the FB Like button.

Now, if you have some time and interest, read on for what drives me to support our vets.

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NYT, Robert Pear Panel on Health Care Work Force, Lacking a Budget, Is Left Waiting

One of the biggest threats to the success of President Obama’s health care law comes from shortages of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. But a 15-member commission created to investigate the problem has never met in two and a half years because it has no money from Congress or the administration. Emphasis added
It is a bit confusing why the administration is included in that statement. The author goes on to clarify the ultimate reason, if not why he misled readers in the opening paragraph.
The commission was created by the 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has requested $3 million for the panel in each of the last two years, and some Democrats, like Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on health, have supported the request.

But, Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to provide money for anything connected with the law, which they opposed. Emphasis added

I suppose as chief administrator, Obama could have taken from other agencies to come up with 3 million - as long as he wasn't over ruling congressional appropriations. I think if that is how Congress expected this to happen when the law was passed, we would be seeing a lot of legislation doing that. Just to add more stupidity, GAO appointed commissioners cannot have any contact on their own time, until it is funded. No emails, letters, phone calls, etc.
Dr.[Richard] Krugman said, “We were told that we were to have no conversations until we were funded because that would be a violation of some federal law or rule.”
Chuck Young, a spokesman for the accountability office, said, “Agencies generally cannot conduct business without an appropriation.”
Apparently, the severity of this situation doesn't overcome 'generally'. Because the GOP thugs would jump all over the GAO and make them look like those stupid, ignorant, partisan bureaucrats they love to hate?
GAO Announces Appointments to New National Health Care Workforce Commission September 30, 2010) – Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of 15 members to the new National Health Care Workforce Commission.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the Commission to serve as a national resource for Congress, the President, and states and localities; to communicate and coordinate with federal departments; to develop and commission evaluations of education and training activities; to identify barriers to improved coordination at the federal, state, and local levels and recommend ways to address them; and to encourage innovations that address population needs, changing technology, and other environmental factors.
The Act requires the Comptroller General to appoint the Commission members and the members are required to be appointed for three-year terms, but staggered terms are mandated for the first 15 members appointed in September 2010. Those first set of appointments are set at one, two, or three years.
So of the 15 appointed 9/30/2010, the terms of 5 expired 9/30/2011, 5 expired 9/30/2012, and the final 5 terms expire 9/30/13. I am jumping to the possibility that the terms won't officially start until the commission officially starts meeting. Assuming they are still alive.

This is the GAO, officially:

Our Mission is to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced.
There is a lot of nonideological, fact based information on this problem from other government agencies we pay for.
The Department of Health and Human Services  said, “The United States faces shortages of primary care physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals.”

Edward S. Salsberg, director of the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis at HHS, said 57 million people were living in areas with shortages of primary care practitioners.

Roger J. Moncarz, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that employment in health care occupations was expected to grow by 29 percent, with the addition of 3.5 million new jobs from 2010 to 2020. Federal officials expect 712,000 new jobs for registered nurses — more than for any other occupation in the country.

It seems to me the GAO is falling back on their accounting focus. No funds, no accounting. Can the CBO justify it's projections on the ACA without taking into account the shortages? Did they do that?

This needs some bold, speedy action. Not going to happen. The GOP wants the ACA to be a big nightmare - proof that it was a BAD idea. Except the shortage problem has been hanging over our heads for a decade +. If the entire provision of service was by for profit insurance paying the bills, there would still be shortages of this degree. This is a means for temporary government paid programs to increase jobs in America - for decades to come.

Meanwhile, you can expect to see a lot of foreign workers getting green cards to take health care jobs here. The institutions they work for will not be able to get away with what smaller businesses have done in offering salaries significantly below the other employees doing those jobs. I have nothing against the concept - if there aren't plenty of Americans to fill those jobs given some training.  9 years for a physician to be independent at the GP level is close to the 10 year forecast. 11 is more likely for the majority of PCPs. We can shorten that 4 years getting students with appropriate 4 year degrees (Bio, Biochem, etc) to choose medicine for a career. Unfortunately the working conditions really suck and money is not a compensation for a lot of 20 somethings.

RN's need 2 to 4 years. Given the MD shortages, we really need to increase the % of BSNs in the mix - RNs are the first to catch patient symptoms or trends the doctor has to address. Studies show a decrease in patient morbidity and mortality when the number of BSN nurses are higher on a unit. People with BS degrees they aren't using could transfer into a BSN program with maybe 1/2 -1 yr of anatomy, physiology and other pre reqs. Boomer RNs like me could become NPs in two years with enough financial support. CNAs are also essential to patient safety and quality of care. They take most of the vital stats and have to have time to report appropriately to the RNs.

Meanwhile there are other highly trained medical workers that will be short who need a lot of college education: PT 6 years, PTA 4, Pharmacists 6 , ST 6, RD 4, OT 4, Dentists 8, NPs and PAs 6, just to cover the best known. There are plenty of others in 2 - 4 year tech degrees for lab work, sophisticated testing - even as assistants to doctors, dentists, etc. And before they can get their degrees, there have to be enough college educated professors to do the teaching. Yeah, shortage there for years.

I don't think we could come up with how many people with marijuana convictions have been cut off from these career options. Probably would make my head explode.

I hope this has made you adequately upset. Had a conversation with my Rep, Ed Perlmutter (CO 7-D) 7/4/09 to present a paper on this problem for nurses specifically. I had found out when the bill was signed this commission was in it. I've been a bit peeved since running across this yesterday. I am trying to get together a contact list of government agencies, major providers and professional organizations to contact. I have an errand to do. If possible I will put it on as an update. Start with your Congress Critters and other elected people and agencies .


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Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:30 AM PST

Pentagon Cuts by Scalpel

by Ginny in CO

I have to credit Norman Goldman mentioning this on his show Friday afternoon. William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. CNN featured this article, There's plenty to cut at the Pentagon 2/22/13. (Norm also went off on the idea that 9 years from yesterday will be 2/22/22. What will the world be like when I'm about to turn 70? Still working on that...)

Having married into an Air Force family, I spent decades learning the good, bad and ugly they experienced. Over the years my reading included Spinney, Wheeler, Johnson, Carroll and others who reinforced my assessment of the Pentagon being a very large herd of sacred bulls.

Hartung introduces his subject noting all the folks (Panetta, Joint Chiefs, war industry CEOs) who weighed in on what horrors will happen if the Pentagon budget is cut.

To hear them tell it, the most powerful military in the world will grind to a halt if it is required to cut its $500 billion-plus budget by about 8%.
Sweet, he goes on to point out the management problem at the Pentagon and the GOP delusions in the SecDef hearings.
Given this reality, it is astonishing that former Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Obama administration's nominee for secretary of defense, has been chastised for pointing out the obvious: The Pentagon's budget is bloated and ripe for reform.
Then he details the biggest losers.
...three versions of the F-35 ...the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken. ... in an era in which aerial combat is of diminishing importance..
Navy... is planning to invest... in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a system that has suffered serious performance problems... the service maintains its attachment to building costly and unneeded ballistic missile submarines .., even as possessing thousands of nuclear weapons is increasingly irrelevant to our security.

the Army ...bemoaning ... budget cuts at the level called for under the sequester would cost up to 300,000 jobs... [which] ignores two key facts: Our domestic basing structure is larger than it should be, and we have more troops than we need in a world in which we will no longer focus on fighting large, boots-on-the-ground conflicts.

Hartung estimates the savings on those three at 18.5 billion a year. 185 over the decade. He goes on to point out the excessive use of subcontractors. A 15% reduction there would yield 35 billion/yr. That comes to $53.5 billion annually, and THEN he gets to:
The most outrageous fact of all is that the Pentagon can't even figure out how much of our money it is wasting. The department has never passed an audit.
The Fed audit turned up 16 trillion. Any bets on the Pentagon?

Just to add to your ammo for fighting Pentagon budget battles, go on over to the Center for International Policy and check out Hartung's further discussion on Minimum Returns: The Economic Impacts of Pentagon Spending. I'm sure you will be SHOCKED to learn:

Over the past two years, Pentagon contractors have financed a series of studies that have made exaggerated claims about the economic impacts of reductions in Pentagon spending.  This report refutes a number of the key findings of those industry-backed reports, which have been extensively promoted in an effort to influence politicians and the media in Washington and around the country.
I am quite impressed with the CIP. Plenty of other interesting items there. Also found another source, Arms Control Association. Administration Poised to Trim Costly Nuclear Weapons Excess. One of Obama's very special efforts.

Finally, one of the possibilities that isn't in Hartung's sights are a few of our overseas bases, outposts, etc. Maybe return Diego Garcia to the Chagossians? What's in your dreams to take out of the Pentagon wallet?


The long term existential threat of unchecked climate change is very real to many of us. The difficulty in convincing the 99% to stop the 1% from heedless destruction in pursuit of wealth is a very old problem. Dorner has just written another chapter in the age old lesson on how to get the wrong kind of attention to a problem.

We are wired to respond when faced with threats. Storm clouds, fire and those proverbial wolves will trigger stress responses and action. We have built our abilities to predict, prevent, prepare and withstand many serious threats to amazing dimensions.

We also have the capacity to fear and attempt to forestall unseen threats: illness, distant enemies, omnipotent and omniscient deities. (I'm trying to convince myself the gods are losing ground.)

We still find ourselves in situations that need action before preventable harm is inevitable. When little is being done to develop a plan and implement it. The usual culprit is resistance to change. The unfamiliar that might be unsafe is more fearful than the danger you know. The pain of change must be perceived as less than what will  happen if the path is not changed.

I am reminded of the Fellowship of the Ring leaving the mountain where Gandalf had disappeared fighting a balrog. Aragorn lamented that Gandalf had not heeded warnings that he would die there if he took the group on that path. It certainly seemed like he would never be seen again. Until he reappeared several chapters later. More powerful and wiser. The ostensibly futile mission to throw the One Ring into the Mountain of Doom continued and was successful.

A few years after 9/11 we had a horrible tragedy on the west side of Denver. A new flyover was being built to connect C470, I 70 and US 6.  A guy with knowledge of bridge construction noticed something wrong as he drove under it one day and promptly called the construction company. The crew dispatched did not find the problem. Very shortly after this the section collapsed, killing a toddler and the parents - her mom was expecting. The couple had left NYC a year before because of how close they had come to tragedy on 9/11.

I came up with a revision of the Borg advice. Forewarning is Futile  Funny how they go together in life. Forewarning and resistance. Ignorance, denial, skepticism, inconvenience and anxiety overcome accepting obscure danger which is real. It is brushed off as improbable. GW Bush blew off a lot of strong warnings about Bin Laden's threat. Then he created the bogus fears of terrorists attacking us again and Sadam's WMD threat.

The ultimate frustration is when the resistance to action is based on futility. America loves the 'can do' attitude we claim from our past success. Until our sense of collective self-efficacy withers. Better to keep walking into the danger and pray the gods will rescue us from our stupidity?

We need a critical mass of people who understand climate science enough to act. Who accept the threat as real, that fighting the battle will be inconvenient, could be dangerous, and will take sustained effort for an unknown period of time. Crazy ones, who don't care about the label. Those who have a vision that is more crucial than the existence surrounding them. Judgmental souls who consider the destruction of critical land areas, pollution of air and water, poisoning of humans and animals for any reason, immoral.

An Orange Army comes to mind. 670,000 members. 5% = 33,500 Every body adds to the mass.

“Too much sanity may be madness. The maddest of all is to see the world as it is, and not as it should be.”  Don Quixote “Man of La Mancha” Michael Cervantes.

TODAY, Sunday, February 17th is a day to get your Quixote on and join a rally. There will be satellite rallies in 16 states. Is there one near you? Forward on Climate Solidarity Rallies, RSVP
For those who are too far or otherwise unable to go.

The list of diaries that have been published this week. The Ringwraiths of Despair

Video of the DC Leaders gathering this past week on civil disobedience.

As always,contact the WH, your Congress critters, and anyone else to get off the fence.

I apologize this is running a little late. Also that I am abandoning it to go the Denver rally.


There is a reality in medicine that Glen Beck and the climate deniers don't understand applies to the planet just as much, probably more. Remember when Glen tried to blow off the CO2 increase in our atmosphere because that's the gas we blow off when we exhale? That is true, it is the waste gas. I spent 16 of the years since graduating from nursing school in '77 as a critical care nurse. This is how I explain the problem on the planet scale.

The lungs are an incredible organ that allows us to maintain both the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and life, as long as one aspect of the system stays within a very narrow range. The pH of blood can only fall in a small decimal point spread before the oxy-hemoglobin dissociation capacity goes too low.

blood pH,
the hydrogen ion concentration of the blood, a measure of blood acidity or alkalinity. The normal pH values for arterial whole blood are 7.35 to 7.454; for venous whole blood, 7.36 to 7.41; for venous serum or plasma, 7.35 to 7.45.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.

The pH balance is critical for the oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules to get on and off
(dissociation) the red blood cell sites that carry them between the lungs and cells. If the carbon dioxide doesn't get off, and oxygen can't get on, the blood acidity just gets worse.

Acidity in the body is a downhill problem. Much easier to go there than back up to normal pH. Diabetic ketoacidosis, respiratory acidosis, and other forms, are very tricky to correct. After a certain point, all the body's capacity to neutralize the pH to the life sustaining window is exhausted. Medicine has limited options and time to correct it before the cells are not getting enough oxygen and the human body dies.

Burning fossil fuels has steadily increased the CO2 levels in earth's atmosphere well above what it has been for the period most current species evolved in. Current farming practices to raise livestock and other pollutants contribute to acidification. The problem becomes worse when the acidic pollutants also get into fresh and salt water. The earth's ecosystem is a much larger system than our bodies. It too, has limits.

Where are earth's lungs?

The excess atmospheric CO2 cannot be exhaled to outer space. While the ocean plankton has played a role similar to our lungs on earth, it is overwhelmed for multiple reasons, as are other plants that breakdown CO2. The steadily increasing rate we are producing CO2 from burning fossil fuels, the very long time it takes to break down, and how far above the oceans much of it collects. Rain has raised the CO2 and other pollutants in oceans, lakes, streams, and soil; making them more acidic. All the species that depend on water and a narrow pH balance to exist, let alone thrive, are threatened. Evolution and adaptation take time, far more time than we are leaving the earth's inhabitants to adapt to this fundamental change - however it effects their internal system function. We are running out of time to carry out serious plans to change from fossil fuels to sustainable alternatives that don't produce CO2 and other dangerous by-products. Why?

Denial of this existential threat is delay. Delay increases the threat level.

It's a whole lot worse than any and all threats we face. The debt, discrimination, health care, and even gun violence, are dwarfed by what will happen if we don't start these changes soon and extensively.

Australia has had to add a new color to the maps showing heat levels. Coincidentally, purple is a danger sign in humans – it signals loss of normal blood circulation and oxygen levels.

Earth should be blue and green, brown and white.


This whole mess creates stress, how do you manage it?

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Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 09:08 PM PDT

No Pie, No Ponies, Just Action

by Ginny in CO

The debate over letting the Bush tax cuts expire is all over the news and web this weekend. Several diaries have covered the specifics. The impact of the recession and unemployment on the midterms is almost universally tied to predictions of how many seats and houses the Democrats will lose in November. One of the points that I don't see articulated is not whether the numbers are stagnant or don't get better, it's whether they get worse. Which I think is the most likely.

Conventional wisdom and the polls say we will lose the midterms. How much varies, but loss is inevitable.

In spite of the statistical and specific accomplishments of this administration, there are TWO elephants in the room.  The present and the future.

There is no time in history like this one for convincing Americans to vote for the future.

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Sat May 10, 2008 at 03:05 AM PDT

Surely this would be vetting.

by Ginny in CO

I read this McClatchy article, Where did the Web rumors about Obama come from? earlier Friday. Working one of the slowest night shifts in a 31 year nursing career (tempting fate here), it came back to me in a different perspective while reading diaries.

The refrain of Hillary's "He's not Electable" song is, he's never been vetted. Consider this:

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Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 03:52 PM PDT

Why do Americans Refuse to Vote?

by Ginny in CO

Some seem overwhelmed with the decision. Others feel the process is a sham and there is no point in participating.

This historic election, we have a group that is more vocal about their reason. They won’t vote for the nominee if it isn’t their primary candidate. If there are enough of them - and the percentages are plenty- McCain could take the WH. This possibility is not real to some. Despite the irrefutable evidence that the bigger numbers defeat not only the Republicon candidates, but also the interference with the election process, from registration to count.

We are all accustomed to taking risks in life. As simple as running a red light at 3 in the morning when the light won’t change and there isn’t another car to be seen. To chucking birth control in a moment of passion. As I pointed out to a few guys four decades ago, there is no such thing as being 3% pregnant.

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Cross posted at The Democratic Daily

Howard Dean has emailed the DNC list requesting commitments to take Election Day off to help the Dems win big. No one who is reasonably conscious and of competent mental status could be unaware of how portentous this midterm election is. We have 28 days to make that change for the good.

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