Death panels, swine flu due, clever crows, big trains, juvie disaster

Massive feature finished, should be in print this November ... but more on that later. By way of returning to blogdom, a few of the few notables I've had time to read lately:

Effect Measure, usually quite restrained about predictions, joins quite a few others in predicting the swine flu will hit us pretty hard this fall. (The U.S. has already had 6,506 hospitalized cases and 436 deaths, despite it not being flu season. And while we've been tracking health-care debacles debates and pondering Palin, the flu has been hitting the southern hemisphere pretty hard.) Now, not later, when you're sick, might be a good time to get that hand sanitizer and a few surgical masks, and know who you're gonna call if you live alone.

Mike Madden, in Salon, wishes to remind Sarah Palin that the death panels are already here.

Replicated study dept; Crows, replicating the behavior of one of their ancestors in Aesops fables, figured out how to "raise the water level in a lab container by dropping stones in it to retrieve a tasty worm floating on the surface."

Kottke reminds us how much value public transportation provides. "You'd need the equivalent of a 228-lane Brooklyn Bridge" to replace the NYC subway lines into Manhattan on Monday morning rush hour.

The Times reports on, and WSJ Health Blog and Philip Dawdy ponder, the thousands of youths diagnosed with mental health disorders and incarcerated in America's juvenile justice system. Something -- several things -- badly broken here.

All for now.

More like this

On "death panels" -- I know well how insurance companies work, and what I don't think many people realize is that many of the current government/taxpayer paid programs are administered by the same insurance companies that are so denigrated in the Salon column.

I'm not defending them, or denying they are the equivalent of "death panels". I'm just saying that it's Humana or some other insurance company, not the government that decides on a lot of the treatment available for Medicare recipients.

What I think many of those who sympathize with Palin think, is that the determining factors in deciding who gets care may change from the "expensive" patients to the ones whose care may not be just expensive, but whose lives are not deemed "worthwhile" in some way.

On juvie jail -- it's shuffling and the problem is not confined to juveniles. Many adults in prison are also there because they are mentally ill. The real problem, IMHO, is that nobody knows what to do with the mentally ill who are also violent, regardless of age. I think this a relatively small percentage of mentally ill people, but, like squeaky wheels, they get more attention at some level.

That the level is jail/prison instead of a locked mental facility is simply shuffling and name changing to some degree.