Uncategorized

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Since 2000, overdose deaths due to prescription painkillers in Utah have increased by more than 400 percent. By 2006, more Utahans were losing their lives to prescription drug overdoses than to motor vehicle crashes. For Dr. Lynn Webster, a longtime pain management physician, the startling numbers were a call to action.

In the west Texas city of San Angelo, Planned Parenthood has been serving local women since 1938. It was one of the very first places in Texas to have a family planning clinic. Now, due to state policy and funding changes, the clinic’s ability to serve all those in need is on shaky ground.

Funny cats and disaster preparedness. It’s a marriage made in Internet heaven.

Another study, another support beam in the argument that access to insurance coverage matters — a lot.

It’s Tuesday evening and as usual, the small parking lot outside the Workers Defense Project on Austin’s eastside is packed. The dusty lot is strewn with cars and pick-up trucks parked wherever they can fit and get in off the road. I’ve arrived well before the night’s activities begin, so I easily secure a spot. But my gracious guide and translator, a college intern named Alan Garcia, warns me that I might get blocked in. It happens all the time, he says.

For six months, Jorge Rubio worked at a local chain of tortilla bakeries and taquerias in the cities of Brownsville and San Benito, both in the very southern tip of Texas. Rubio, 42, prepared the food, cleaned equipment, served customers. Eventually, he decided to quit after being overworked for months. On his last day of work, his employer refused to pay him the usual $50 for an 11-hour workday.

For years, Peter Rosenfeld was looking for an effective way to treat what doctors had diagnosed as severe and intractable migraines. He’d heard of medical marijuana, but thought it was a joke — that it was just a way for people to justify their marijuana use. Today, he’s a passionate advocate for medicinal marijuana and one of many advocates disappointed at recent federal actions.

To the long list of hard-to-pronounce bacteria and viruses that threaten people’s health can now be added one more threat: sequestration. Except sequestration isn’t a disease — well, unless you’d call Congress’ chronic inability to deal with the national debt in a fair and balanced way a disease.

In the fall of 2011, a new Texas statute took effect against employers who engage in wage theft, putting in place real consequences for employers found guilty of stealing wages from workers. It was a big step forward in a state where wage theft has become as common as cowboy boots and pick-up trucks. It was especially good news for workers in El Paso, where wage theft has become so rampant that workers rights advocates have dubbed it an “epidemic.”

Hunger in America can be hard to see. It doesn’t look like the image of hunger we usually see on our TVs: the wrenching impoverishment and emaciation. Talking about American hunger is hard because, well, there’s food all around us.