Archive for emergency

"We hear about murders, not suicides (until someone like Williams dies)."

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comedy tragedy masks suicides depression

We and the news media have the attention spans of gnats. Something monumental shocks us into a Rubbernecking Moment... until the next monumental thing comes along. Murder headlines get a whole lot of play and keep us looking, darting from one to the next. Lamenting. Opining. Outraging. Suicides? Not so much. At least not for long. In a previous post-- The aftermath #RIPRobinWilliams-- I wrote the following:

The news media swarm and hyper-focus on huge, painful stories like these, and we all listen and discuss and cry and scream and care immensely.

And then we stop.

We don't stop caring, but we stop being pro-active, because the next Big Story comes along and that wave of emotion or controversy or fear or sadness or tragedy or outrage or terror or death or civil unrest or trauma or injustice comes along and diverts our attention... again.

This country is dysfunctional and needs extended rehab. This country needs to pay attention. We need sustained treatment as a nation, not spot checks. We need to continue to listen, care, and respond, to seek help, to be vigilant, to reach out, to get well. We need to lengthen our attention spans and accept the therapy that will help heal us.

We must listen to and heed the advice we're getting from experts. Hanging ourselves is not an option.

Today in the Los Angeles Times, there was similar reaction to my old improv buddy Robin's tragic death, along with some excellent commentary on treating people with mental illnesses. Please read these very astute letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Depression: It's so deep inside. No one can touch it.

Some days are unexplainable, when you have harmony with the Earth, racking your mind as to why — and knowing your crash awaits. It's lonely as hell.

I don't dismiss hope for a personal cure; I just want to share the unreal depth that embraces these sad souls who have survived countless years of secrets.

Thank you, Robin Williams, for possibly creating an awareness that yes, this can happen to someone as magnificent as you.

For now, much-needed attention is being paid to this issue. But if past tragedies are a guide, the discussion will probably fade over time until it is barely audible, only to be amplified by the next shock.

Cynthia Ingersoll, Sultan, Wash.

..

In 2009, there were about 36,500 suicides in the U.S. and "only" 16,500 homicides. Yet we hear about the murders but not so much about the suicides (until someone like Williams dies).

Likewise, we seldom see any headlines about depression, but depression affects nearly 15 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the population age 18 and older, in a given year. People who think depression is a choice are wrong (and often judgmental). Depression is no more a choice than baldness. However, I can get a hair transplant, but I can't get a brain transplant.

And then there's addiction. Let's just start by saying that the abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs costs more than $600 billion annually due to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare. But again, we seldom hear about addiction unless someone is glamorized.

When will we be proactive and create some preventive measures? This is all treatable and preventable.

Ken Donaldson (Addictions and mental health counselor ), Seminole, Fla.

..

There is a precedent, of course, for Williams' suicide: Comedian and actor Freddie Prinze, who starred in the hit TV series "Chico and the Man," killed himself in 1977 at the age of 22.

Comedy, depression and substance abuse have an attraction to one another. My father was a comedy writer who used vodka and a barbiturate to get through his days. Thankfully, he didn't commit suicide.

Williams' death is surely a tragedy, but it did not come as a shock to me. I hope it shames our culture into taking depression seriously.

Wendy Werris, Los Angeles, CA

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The aftermath #RIPRobinWilliams

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lonely aftermath

As you know, I am deeply affected and saddened by the death of someone who was a major influence in my life, my old improv buddy, Robin Williams. The aftermath is hitting us hard, as it should.

Please skip the next paragraph if you do not want the horribly unpleasant details of his death.

As I write this, MSNBC is airing a press conference with those details. He apparently hung himself with a belt, and there were superficial cuts on his wrist. There was a pocket knife found nearby, but they can't confirm anything else until further tests are completed. He was clothed. His assistant found him, rigor mortis had already set in. Further information will be released in a few weeks, once toxicology tests and other pertinent information come back, including whether or not there was a note.

I'm beyond heartsick. This can't have happened, but it did. It shouldn't have happened, but it did. Robin Williams was larger than life, but ironically and tragically, life became too big for Robin to handle.

Today on TV, I heard a report by a mental health expert. She told us how important it is for anyone suffering from depression and/or addiction to continue treatment, despite feeling resilient (or reluctant), and that it might not be necessary. Experts keep reminding us to keep seeking help, to be vigilant, to reach out and care for our loved ones. Keep going to rehab, keep going to therapy, they say. And they're right. The news media are saturated with reporting about Robin's life and chronic mental health issues.

Today on TV, I heard a report about the sadness, anger, protests, and retaliation in response to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer. The news media are awash in stories about yet another shooting of another young, unarmed African American.

Today on TV, I heard a report about people starving to death on a scalding hot mountaintop in Iraq at the hands of the terrorist group ISIS. The news media has been all over this horrific story.

The news media swarm and hyper-focus on huge, painful stories like these, and we all listen and discuss and cry and scream and care immensely.

And then we stop.

We don't stop caring, but we stop being pro-active, because the next Big Story comes along and that wave of emotion or controversy or fear or sadness or tragedy or outrage or terror or death or civil unrest or trauma or injustice comes along and diverts our attention... again.

This country is dysfunctional and needs extended rehab. This country needs to pay attention. We need sustained treatment as a nation, not spot checks. We need to continue to listen, care, and respond, to seek help, to be vigilant, to reach out, to get well. We need to lengthen our attention spans and accept the therapy that will help heal us.

We must listen to and heed the advice we're getting from experts. Hanging ourselves is not an option.

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This Makes Me Sick

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baby pigs

I can't believe it. This has got to be a plot.  I love bacon and now I'm getting scared.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Migrates To U.S.

One  of my greatest pleasures is to make my Sunday family meal.  We usually have about ten people.  It's an event.  The meals run four or five courses, include all types of fresh ingredients, fish, meat, poultry, vegitables.  But most importantly, there's never been a meal that at least one of the dishes didn't include God's gift to cooking, bacon.

That up to now perfect food, is what chef's across the world, well, sans the Muslim world, find as their go-to ingredient.  When in doubt, add bacon.  Now this.

bacon on a plate

Did you know that each year in the U.S. alone, more than 1.7 billion lbs. of bacon are consumed in food service?  That's more than 5 1/2 lbs per person.

I say forget immigration.  Forget voters rights.  Forget gun control.  Dear Congress, fix the bacon crisis or you'll really have a riot, or worse, pork grease on your hands.  Don't be surprised if your inactivity addressing this matter doesn't result in your suddenly getting pork chops, port loins, or even diseased strips of maple or smoke flavored port bellies in your mail.  Forget Racine.  You've got bigger strips of bacon to fry.

The word 'epidemic' is the operative one here.  The food service industry could be forced to shut down.  No Alfredo sauce.  No BLT's. No bacon cheeseburger. No bacon and eggs.  If you can show me one thing more important than saving our favorite animal raised to be slaughtered, go ahead.  And don't say chicken.  Even chicken tastes better wrapped in Bacon.

Bacon wrapped chicken

Thank goodness we didn't pass a farm subsidy bill last week.  We wouldn't have had money in it for scientific research to save the swine.  No we can add that funding and you'll find Republicans and Democrats in nonpartisan voting, approving the bill. Maybe even unanimous consent.

And this isn't just a problem in the US.  It's worldwide because we didn't catch it earlier.

The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, also known as PED, was thought to exist only in Europe and China, but Colorado and 14 other states began reporting the virus in April, and officials confirmed its presence in May. The virus causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs.

The virus has been confirmed in about 200 hog facilities in 14 other states including Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota, according to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Veterinarians, scientists and animal lovers everywhere, please help.  The life you save today, may be the bacon on your plate tomorrow.  Don't let porcine diarrhea virus do to us what the swing flu did.  Put your efforts to good use.  And if there's any doubt to the urgency, consider this (as well as a sure Nobel Prize in Medicine):

Becton said the disease can spread quickly and has killed entire populations of pigs under 7 days old.

"As they get older, by the time they're weaned at around 3 weeks of age, death loss can be around 80 percent or in severe cases upwards of 100 percent.

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Whole Foods CEO: "Climate change is not necessarily bad. We will be able to successfully adapt." To what, death & destruction?

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whole foods obama fascist

dim bulb2 stupid

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, just keeps digging himself into a deeper hole. As you can see in The Ed Show segment above, he recently accused President Obama of being a "socialist" or a "fascist," or an evil French gay Kenyan Marxist commie (I made up that last part).

Now he's proving himself to be even more ignorant than we thought, if that's even possible. He actually told Mother Jones that "climate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad." Seriously.

I guess he didn't read this: Yet another report confirms man-made climate change, and it’s not pretty:

[T]he cost of unchecked global warming could pass the combined cost of both world wars and the Depression. To understand how such a thing might happen, consider the costs of this year’s drought and Superstorm Sandy: $100 billion price tags start to add up (and of course the biggest price was born by poor consumers around the world, many of whom saw the price of their daily bread rise painfully out of reach).

Or this, via Think Progress:

The National Climate Assessment lays out how “Climate change is already affecting the American people.” It states, “Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense including heat waves, heavy downpours and in some regions floods and drought. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting.” ... One report estimates as many as 100 million people could die from climate change consequences by 2030.

Via The Guardian, presenting the Dim Bulb o' the Day:

Mother Jones: You are known to be a bit of a climate-change skeptic. In your book you write that "some scientists estimate that the United States now absorbs as much carbon emissions as it emits." Your source is a paper by the American Enterprise Institute, which has received funding from the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil. Do you really consider AEI a credible source?

John Mackey: Contrary to what has been written about me I am not a "climate-change skeptic."... [C]limate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad. In general, most of humanity tends to flourish more when global temperatures are in a warming trend and I believe we will be able to successfully adapt to gradually rising temperatures. What I am opposed to is trying to stop virtually all economic progress because of the fear of climate change. I would hate to see billions of people condemned to remain in poverty because of climate-change fears.

Yeah, death and destruction are much more preferable.

stupid-empty-head-cat-cartoon-animated-gif

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What Does It Take Dep't: Yet another report confirms man-made climate change, and it's not pretty

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gulp bigger

As I said in my post, Climate change won’t wait; it’s “a fight between human beings and physics… The less you do, the worse it gets”:

I wish there were about 100 more Bill McKibbens (scroll). This post is a good introduction to him if you don’t know who he is: Maher VIDEO: Hey climate change deniers: “What are we gonna develop that replaces Iowa?” Oceans, marine life, seafood industry now at risk. So are the many videos at the McKibben link above, all illustrating his excellent arguments for immediate, effective action on the climate change crisis.

I urge you to link over and read what McKibben has to say. And as you'll see further down in this post, he has even more to tell us. But first, take a look at what's being reported by a federal advisory committee that was written by 240 scientists, business leaders and other experts. The L.A. Times has the story, and the story is, we're already there. Climate change is no longer some future threat, we're already feeling the pain, and it's only going to get worse. But I'm betting you already knew that:

The impacts of climate change driven by human activity are spreading through the United States faster than had been predicted, increasingly threatening infrastructure, water supplies, crops and shorelines, according to a federal advisory committee.

The draft Third National Climate Assessment, issued every four years, delivers a bracing picture of environmental changes and natural disasters that mounting scientific evidence indicates is fostered by climate change: heavier rains in the Northeast, Midwest and Plains that have overwhelmed storm drains and led to flooding and erosion; sea level rise that has battered coastal communities; drought that has turned much of the West into a tinderbox.

"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the report says. "Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer."

eek

And guess what they say is the main driver of climate change. You guessed right: consumption of fossil fuels by humans. Drill, baby, drill!

Now back to Bill McKibben. After reading that report and coming out from under the bed, I toddled over to the Times' letters to the editor page, and there was a hefty postscript to a reaction to the McKibben article I referred to at the top of this post.

In in a letter published previously, a reader asked "How much would [McKibben's ideas] slow the pace of climate change? Would it make a significant difference, or would it simply be destroying modern economies for the sake of doing something? What will be the result if we don't do it?" McKibben had proposed cutting emissions "globally at a sensational rate, by something like 5% a year."

McKibben was grateful for the questions and responded, in part, this way:

A 2-degree increase, it should be noted, is no picnic. So far we've raised the temperature 1 degree, and that's been enough to melt much of the Arctic ice, so most scientists are horrified by the thought of a 2-degree rise. But on our current path, we're headed for 6 degrees, which is a planet out of science fiction. [...]

[Y]es, this will cost money. It would also indicate that the newly rebuilt economy will be far more efficient and productive — think back and compare the prewar economy of the 1930s and the postwar one of the 1950s.

As for "destroying modern economies," the real danger lies in not doing anything about climate change. [...]

[T]he cost of unchecked global warming could pass the combined cost of both world wars and the Depression. To understand how such a thing might happen, consider the costs of this year's drought and Superstorm Sandy: $100 billion price tags start to add up (and of course the biggest price was born by poor consumers around the world, many of whom saw the price of their daily bread rise painfully out of reach).

Bottom line: not easy or cheap, but easier and cheaper than the alternative of a hopelessly overheating world.

Of course, per Wonkette, Fox News Does Its Part In War On Science, Demands ‘Recount’ Of Weather Temperatures.

ClusterFox strikes again. Apparently, they have no children or grandchildren.

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Climate change won't wait; it's "a fight between human beings and physics... The less you do, the worse it gets."

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too little too late

I wish there were about 100 more Bill McKibbens (scroll). This post is a good introduction to him if you don't know who he is: Maher VIDEO: Hey climate change deniers: “What are we gonna develop that replaces Iowa?” Oceans, marine life, seafood industry now at risk. So are the many videos at the McKibben link above, all illustrating his excellent arguments for immediate, effective action on the climate change crisis.

Today he had an op-ed in the L.A. Times that I urge everyone to read in full. He makes the point that there is no time to waste and reminds us of the urgency of this worrisome global issue. Unlike some issues like gay rights and women's rights for which change takes time while public opinion evolves, he writes, the threats of climate change wait for nobody. It's not a matter of conflicting opinions, it's "a fight between human beings and physics... The less you do, the worse it gets."

He's so right, it only gets worse, and that's why doing so little about it is so unnerving, especially considering Congress's track record of doing nothing until we teeter on crisis after crisis, doing nothing at all, or starting to do something but at a snail's pace. And don't get me started on climate change deniers.

McKibben explains that had we postponed health care reform, it would have been no picnic, but once we were finally to get around to it, the problem "would be about the same size." But with climate change, if we don't act now, it won't wait around for us, it will turn into a growing disaster of immense proportions chugging along on its own time table.

Meantime, he goes on to say, President Obama still encourages fossil fuel development, an "all of the above" approach to energy. He supports conservation and clean energy, too, but continues to be hampered by Congress, or himself, when it comes to projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline or drilling in the Arctic.

We can't let this become a matter of too little too late. The life of the planet is at stake:

The president must be pressed to do all he can — and more. But there's another possibility we need to consider: Perhaps he's simply not up to this task, and we're going to have to do it for him, as best we can.

Those of us in the growing grass-roots climate movement are moving as fast and hard as we know how (though not, I fear, as fast as physics demands). Thousands of us will descend on Washington on Presidents Day weekend for the largest environmental demonstration in years. And young people from 190 nations will gather in Istanbul, Turkey, in June in an effort to shame the United Nations into action.

We also need you. Maybe if we move fast enough, even this all-too-patient president will get caught up in the draft. But we're not waiting for him. We can't.

climate change polluters protest

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Live Streaming Video- President Obama Speaks on Tropical Storm Isaac 10:00 est

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