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Posts Tagged ‘Public Policy’

But Mr T plays one on TV.

He says we should probably wear masks, but he won’t. Why? Because hey, kings and dictators don’t wear masks behind a “resolute desk.” This guy with the bad spray tan is too vain to model the best defense we’ve got for this “invisible enemy,” besides social distancing. I get why he thinks he’s a king, but how could an inanimate object be resolute? So of course I had to look up the definition of “Resolute,” an adjective:

firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion:

characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc.

I think we can all agree a desk cannot feel resolute, but Mr T is resolutely set in his opinions. He is vengeful, narcissistic, and mendacious. Maliciously mendacious in fact. I’ve been trying to look for the silver lining in this global pandemic. Bob and I have stopped watching Mr T’s coronavirus pressers, which are just stand-ins for his campaign rallies. I’ll occasionally listen to Governor Cuomo who is the voice of reason these days, along with a real doctor, Anthony Fauci.

Another real doctor is the Groom, who is currently researching that anti-malarial drug that Mr T is so fond of mentioning. His research on this drug started last week, LAST WEEK, along with 40 other institutions across the United States. Until we have any evidence, any evidence at all, it is political and medical malpractice for Mr T to continue to push the idea that we “may” have a possible “cure” for coronavirus.

The Groom is set to be back “On Call” in his ICU in about 2 weeks, right when our curve should hit its peak. This is not a reality show Mr T, and you are not a doctor.

Dr Sanjay Gupta on CNN is another doctor I believe; he’s been saying the same thing my husband, another real doctor keeps saying – the antibody test is going to be critically important. Not just to bring those who’ve recovered back into the workforce, but also to give everyone a certain sense of comfort. After all, my little “cold” right after the tornado may have immunized me already.

Dr Gupta and Bob have also been criticizing our lack of testing in the beginning; seeing how South Korea confronted the pandemic with lots of testing and tracing and isolating is illuminating.

“At the peak, medical workers identified 909 new cases in a single day, Feb. 29, and the country of 50 million people appeared on the verge of being overwhelmed. But less than a week later, the number of new cases halved. Within four days, it halved again — and again the next day.

On Sunday, South Korea reported only 64 new cases, the fewest in nearly a month, even as infections in other countries continue to soar by the thousands daily, devastating health care systems and economies. Italy records several hundred deaths daily; South Korea has not had more than eight in a day.”   https://www.n20/03/23/world/asia/coronavirus-ytimes.com/20south-korea-flatten-curve.html

Of course it’s extremely hard to catch up when your president spends 2 months blaming this pandemic hysteria on the mainstream “Fake” news, like a toddler. Nothing is ever his fault! He is, after all, the greatest living con man with a “…disordered mind, a darkened attic of fluttering bats.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/opinion/trump-coronavirus.html?searchResultPosition=1

My daughter is another doctor on the front lines of this outbreak. She gets out of her car after a shift in the ER, takes all her clothes off and dumps them in their red zone (garage apartment), then takes a shower. Only after that, will she walk across her lawn and enter her home. She has had to reuse her PPE and still worries about possibly infecting her family. I believe every single thing she says.

Our family will be Zooming in for a Passover Seder this week with another doctor in the family, a retired orthopedic surgeon on Long Island. It’s Holy Week for the 2 big religions in our country and I wish you all a peaceful and safe Seder and Easter. And I wish Mr T would let his real doctors do the talking.

Here they were as baby doctors in Virginia!

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The first case of Coronavirus is in New York. It’s in Florida. More than 3,000 have died around the world so far because of some bat droppings. I guess it’s time to start Doomsday Prepping; what would you need if you had to spend 2 weeks in quarantine? In your house… with your spouse… would you cook?… read a book?

OK Boomer Dr Seuss, I would need BOOKS! But thanks to my Parnassus mail delivery and an infinite supply on the iPad – which the Love Bug has told me many times I must give to her when I upgrade – reading a book will not be a problem. I’m currently reading Gish Jen’s The Resisters. It’s about a split society in the future that is run by a benevolent AI – the POC live in swampy areas and the “angel fair” live above sea level. https://www.npr.org/2020/02/05/802683530/the-resisters-could-use-a-little-more-resistance

MEDICINE. Bob tells me that lots of our drugs, surprise surprise, are made in China! So as that supply chain is impacted by the virus, we may want to front-load on our prescriptions. Since I mostly take vitamins and supplements a trip to our new Whole Foods on Broadway is in order – milk thistle for my psoriasis, and more fish oil in a smaller capsule size please. And speaking of fish…

PROTEIN. Canned protein would be good to stock up on, like tuna fish. Tuna fish sandwiches were my go-to lunch in high school accompanied by a nice bag of chips, before chips came in flavors. What is it with seaweed or crab flavored chips? I actually thought salt and vinegar went a bit too far. And don’t forget Spam for protein! Made in Minnesota and loaded with who knows what! The Bride said it was all over Hawaii but I’ve never even tasted it. And canned BEANS!

LIQUIDS. Water of course you can get out of your refrigerator filtered, or the faucet even. We don’t need to go buying jugs of water, unless you live in Michigan. But if you like a certain beverage, like Snapple iced tea, Gatorade, beer or wine or vodka now’s the time to visit your local market. I think it’s hysterical that TN has GOT to card anyone buying alcohol, I mean I remember feeling good when NJ would card me in my 30s, now it’s just a pain in the keister. Cashiers wait patiently while I try to pry my license out of my wallet with arthritic fingers .

DOG FOOD. Luckily we order Ms Bean’s kibble online, but after her GI upset around the holidays she is also getting a very special canned meat additive. It’s so special in fact, we have to purchase it at our Vet’s office. Hmmm, I wonder where that is made? Maybe a trip to Target is on order for her treats, biscuits and twisty rawhide bones. She has plenty of stuffed toys she drags over to us at dinnertime, dropping them at our feet and looking longingly into our eyes, as if to say, “You see, I killed this tiny thing for you, now won’t you please FEED ME!!!”

OTHER STUFF. We have plenty of frozen veggies, rice and spaghetti! If Bob’s not in the mood to make ravioli, my pantry is full of DeCecco pasta. Long ago I stopped buying Barilla for a political reason I’ve forgotten but I’m clinging to that conviction. In fact, last night we had the Grands for dinner because the Bride was working and the Groom has the flu (NOT coronavirus). I combined a spinach fusilli #34 with penne rigate #31 and it was a huge success. The Love Bug at first mentioned not being sure about green pasta, but I’m prepping her for St Patrick’s Day. https://www.dececco.com/us_us/recipes/

Here’s what we don’t need. We don’t need to panic or buy masks; even ER docs don’t wear masks. If a patient is febrile a nurse may slap a mask on them as soon as they enter the waiting room, but we all do not need to walk around like it’s Mardi Gras. Also don’t forget your neighbors. I just sent Bob out the other night with some good old fashioned Jewish chicken soup for our young friend who was down and out with the flu. If you were thinking of getting on an airplane right about now, I probably wouldn’t. But that’s a risk we each have to take.

Meanwhile people, wash your hands and pray for the Democrats! This is my famous chicken soup in the making – the secret is fresh parsley.

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I’m all for second chances. You need to warmup your arm before you serve a tennis ball. Or try making that cake again when the first one won’t come out of the pan. But we need to have a talk with Ohio; a fertilized egg that has jumped the gun and implanted itself in a fallopian tube is a done deal. It can kill its host and cause all sorts of problems. So let’s be perfectly clear, there is NO such procedure known to medicine as “re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy.” NONE.

“Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation that would jail doctors for “abortion murder” unless they reimplant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus. Unfortunately, there no such procedure in medical science. Ectopic pregnancies, where the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube, can be fatal for mothers. Legislators have been told in the past that this fantasy operation cannot be done. Ohio obstetrician and gynecologist Dr David Hackney wrote on Twitter: “I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible. We’ll all be going to jail.” The bill proposes punishing women and girls as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they have an abortion, and creates a new law called “aggravated abortion murder” which would be enforced with the death penalty.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/ohio-bill-says-doctors-must-reimplant-ectopic-pregnancy-or-be-jailed-for-abortion-murder?

There have been times when I’ve felt like we’re approaching the Handmaid’s Tale, but seeing this pop up on Twitter made me question if we’re not already there – living in a dystopian future where extreme religious right legislation has codified a woman’s body.

Once legislators decide a fertilized egg is a “Person” – which it is NOT btw – well, then the government gets to decide your future. You’re a 16 year old girl and your step father raped you? Too bad, you either go to prison for trying to get on with your life, for wanting a second chance, or you have a baby and give it up for adoption.

Or maybe worse yet, you end up giving the baby to your mom and step dad to raise. Of course today, you could always keep the baby and live with a friend or relative, finish high school, get a job…. But let’s not forget our government cares less about child care for working families and single moms than it does about a cluster of cells.

Not everyone has an Aunt Bee child care story like Elizabeth Warren, and she was a law professor with a husband at the time.

The language politicians use around women is prescient, so listen very carefully. Mr T talks about women in a very gendered, “marked” way. He calls Nancy Pelosi “nervous Nancy” and added to his crude comments on a bus with Billy Bush, he specifically calls out their sex, usually followed by saying how much he “loves” women, implying they need his protection.

“Justifying his decision to oust her (Marie Yavanovitch), the president told Fox & Friends last Friday he heard “bad things” about “the ambassador, the woman… This was not an angel, this woman, okay? And there were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like.”

Mr Trump added that his staff felt they had to be kind because “she’s a woman – we have to be nice.” Professor Marianne LaFrance, a psychologist at Yale University, says this remark is a prime example of gendered language.

“That referencing says she’s not an individual, she’s not a professional, she’s first and foremost a woman,” Prof LaFrance says.” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50563106

You have to be “nice” because she’s a woman? Mr T wasn’t happy with Ms Yavanovitch because she was actually doing her job for the American people, fighting corruption in Ukraine, making Rudy’s shady political dealing difficult. That portrait thing was just another lie.

Stop calling our candidates a “woman politician,” do we call men that “man politician?” Stop making up medical procedures for women that do not exist.                                     Stop calling for “personhood bills.” Stop the nonsense.

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Stop the presses!

You know how you have to initial a HIPAA form every time you go to a doctor’s office, or a hospital, or a car wash? We Americans like to think our medical records are sacrosanct, we deserve privacy, in fact we demand it. That boil the size of a baseball we had removed from our back in high school – nobody needs to know.

Until now.

Google wants to know our medical history! It’s bad enough they are already taking pictures of our backyards and listening in to our wants and needs, sneaking ads into social media like a flickering lightbulb to a moth. Google has cut a deal with Ascension Health to access troves of its patient data:

Among the data Google reportedly has access to under the deal are lab results, diagnoses, records of hospitalization and dates of birth.

Neither doctors nor patients need to be told that Google can see this information.

The Wall Street Journal reports that data access began last year and was broadened over the summer. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50388464

Ascension runs 2,600 hospitals, including St Thomas in Nashville.

Along with an overnight dusting of snow, this bit of news sent a chill down my spine. What’s worse is their data trolling started last year! While we’re busy attacking Elizabeth Warren about Medicare for All, this corporate giant stuck its finger in the cookie jar. “Ascension said the deal would help it to “optimise” patient care and would include the development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to support doctors.” Sorry for the British spelling but I’m quoting the BBC.

Wasn’t I just talking about doctors and AI? I know this is the generation of solipsistic selfies, living their lives online, charting every meal, video taping every hotel room, uploading their songs to YouTube in search of InstaFame. Jumping onto Tic Toc which I don’t even understand.

I had an appointment with a retina specialist yesterday at Vandy, about my little West Nile incident 20 years ago, and people were sitting like zombies in a dark, crowded waiting room with dilated pupils staring into their smart phones. HGTV was on in the corner but everyone was glued to their tiny black mirror. I was thinking to myself, why not get rid of all the TVs in doctor waiting rooms, and what kind of neck problems will this generation have?

I still thought we had a right to our own medical records. And granted, this blog is a peek into the window of my soul, but do we no longer care about privacy… at all?

Send in the lawyers! Here is my lame attempt at a selfie in that old ice cream parlor.

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I was talking with Great Grandma Ada this morning and I mentioned that disrespect, or its evil cousin “contempt,” is a most toxic part of some marriages. I figured this marriage counselor had seen her fair share of marital discord over the years. We started off discussing how Pompeo is holding Congress in “contempt” by refusing to hand over documents relating to our President’s abuse of power in Ukraine, and now VP Pence has joined this “League of Sycophantic Gentlemen Eager to Ignore a Subpoena!” 

Ada pivoted immediately from politics to personality. She told me how she had always wanted to do a study of newlyweds, specifically of videos detailing how they handled the whole wedding cake situation. I blurted out, “Oh, you mean did they smash a piece of cake into each other’s mouth?”

“Yes,” she said, she could usually predict if a relationship was going to last by the way they fed each other cake on their wedding day.

Nine years ago, my reluctant Bride was having nothing resembling a huge, monstrous, wedding cake at her ceremony in an apple orchard. No, she chose cupcakes that would be named after her dogs – Bailey’s Irish Cream and Guiness’ Dark Chocolate – and since we didn’t have an MC to set aside a special time for cutting a cake, guests were served their tiny sweets during the reception on a rooftop downtown. I added small maple sugar candies, the kind the Bride loved as a child in the Berkshires.

They went so fast, I’m not sure if the Bride and Groom even tasted them?

Their marriage has grown into a mutually supportive, loving and respectful partnership. Getting along with your partner in the good times is easy; but getting along through grueling residencies and fellowships, punctuated even now by weeks of MICU on-call-endless nights and emergency phone calls, takes commitment and courage to a new level.

Ada brought up Melania Trump, how she slapped her husband’s hand away. I mentioned a recent video montage of world leaders looking disgusted and appalled at Mr T’s remarks. What are the signs of contempt?

“Here’s some common signs that contempt is underlying the negative tone in a conversation.  Eye-rolling suggests contempt.  An upper lip raised on one side suggests contempt.  So does a sarcastic tone of voice.  Beware if you have these habits, and also if you have been on the receiving end of these negative communications. They are sure signs that someone is not listening or listening to deprecate you (or you to deprecate your partner), not to gain understanding.

Empathy and contempt are polar opposites.  Empathy involves caring about others feelings and concerns.  Contempt is arrogant (“I know best”) disregard, dismissal and denigration of others’ concerns.  Empathy nurtures relationship bonds; contempt invites relationship and marriage problems.”  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201303/how-contempt-destroys-relationships

Will House Democrats have the WILL (I was going to write a different word, but after having to look up “BLANK Strap” thinking Mr T meant “boot strap” which he didn’t, I thought the less coarsening of language the better) to impeach? What will it take for this League of Sycophants to release the documents desired so that articles of impeachment may be served? Will they claim executive privilege once again? Shall we remain a sovereign state? These old white men are in contempt of court and we are a nation of laws. Straight jackets have come to mind.

Meanwhile, here is the Love Bug learning how to decorate a cake. It’s up to us to model  empathy, to teach kindness.

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“Where the wind comes sweepin down the plain.” That Rogers and Hammerstein musical was my first taste of show biz. I was new to public school and new to ninth grade, so naturally I tried out for the school play! My first boyfriend was a drummer in the orchestra; a nice, Irish Catholic boy who gave the Flapper the impression he would watch out for me after school at rehearsals…

I’ve thought about the theme behind the play many times, about how the farmers and the cowboys can’t really be friends. About building walls and fences to keep certain people out, and certain people in. It’s about conflict with a capital C, and are we going to blame others for our problems or try to cooperatively fix things – “Flowers on the prairie where the June bugs zoom. Plenty of air and plenty of room. Plenty of room to swing a rope!”

Well, states’ AGs have decided to treat our country’s big problem, the opioid epidemic and our addiction to pain-killers, in the same way they treated our addiction to nicotine – by blaming corporations. Yesterday, Johnson & Johnson lost their landmark opioid trial and was ordered to pay $572 Million to the Sooner State.

Surprisingly J&J stock went up, because the decision fell far short of the 17 Billion judgement the OK state was asking for – from the New York Times:

“In his ruling, he (the judge) wrote that Johnson & Johnson had promulgated “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” that had “caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths” and babies born exposed to opioids.

Johnson & Johnson, which contracted with poppy growers in Tasmania, supplied 60 percent of the opiate ingredients that drug companies used for opioids like oxycodone, the state argued, and aggressively marketed opioids to doctors and patients as safe and effective. A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, made its own opioids — a pill whose rights it sold in 2015, and a fentanyl patch that it still produces.”

Bob tells me that it’s kind of difficult to abuse a patch. But what made me chuckle just a little was the actual law on the books the judge used to cite his landmark decision, the “Public Nuisance” law! 

What constitutes a public nuisance, one might ask? This law is the bread and butter of local government: you let your lawn grow into wildflowers till it overtakes the sidewalk; you play your music too loud and for too long; or more broadly, you act (or fail to act) on something that endangers an entire community.

In 2017, 117 people died in Nashville due to overdoses, though it’s hard to find out if the drug was pushed via needle or via mouth. For some reason the TN death rate due to drugs has been going up every year: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/health/2019/07/19/opioid-crisis-tennessee-overdose-deaths-climbing-heroin-fentanyl-meth/1550137001/

I’m wondering why a smart AG shouldn’t treat gun violence with the same strategy? How many people were killed with guns in your community last year?

Why not go after Sturm Ruger or Smith & Wesson also known as American Outdoor Brands? Allowing people to walk around town brandishing an assault weapon, even though they managed to get an “open-carry permit,” might also fit into this “Public Nuisance” category. https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/03/04/can-you-guess-the-biggest-gunmaker-in-the-us.aspx

After all, gun deaths are on the rise. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gun-death-statistics-cdc-study-says-gun-deaths-are-on-the-rise-after-years-of-decline/ While drug deaths due to prescription opioids have been going down in most states (exception TN), albeit deaths due to fentanyl laced cocaine and meth have been going up. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/its-not-just-opioids-deaths-from-cocaine-and-meth-are-surging

I remember when Rumson passed a Noise Ordinance law, though I’m not sure how they managed to enforce it. Mostly driven by extremely early sounds of lawn maintenance equipment on the weekends; the Wall Street traders in town wanted to sleep in, while the townies who did their own lawns wanted an early start. It’s always the cowboys and the farmers.

This was me at 15, rather a drawing my big sister Kay did of me as a Can-Can girl in Oklahoma.

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Yesterday, Bob attended a zoning board meeting.

Over the years, I’ve attended my fair share of borough council, school board, and zoning meetings as a reporter, taking copious notes and trying hard not to fall asleep on a hard wooden bench, the kind most civil servants prefer. So I opted out of going with Bob and our neighbor Berdelle, even though this was a mid-afternoon meeting and chances were good I’d be wide awake.

It seems yet another company would like a variance in the number of parking spots required for a bar.

We live in a mixed-use, historic neighborhood in Downtown Nashville. Monstrous building cranes do battle every day (not the bird-variety), and explosions pierce the landscape rippling through limestone bedrock. We are about to get thousands of new jobs downtown thanks to the Amazon Empire. Being a most popular city is a blessing and a curse. Small shacks are selling for half a million dollars, only to be demolished and replaced by two “tall skinny” houses on one lot. Tall apartment buildings are rising quickly along, dwarfing smaller homes like ours,  and real estate prices are still climbing.

So it’s no wonder that regular people cannot afford to live here. The large, stately, historic Victorian brick homes sell for more than a million dollars and are being snatched up by LLCs – lawyers, dentists, shops and restaurants mingle closely with residential properties. Pretty soon our riverfront is going to be developed, and traffic lights just might find their way onto our streets, instead of the comforting four-way-stop sign.

But back to yesterday. According to our metro government zoning code, bars must have one parking spot per 75 sq ft! This particular big, brick building was 3657 sq ft last year, but the proposed bar reduced it to a smaller size requiring 36 parking spaces! Out in the back is a tiny residential slab for parking maybe 3 cars!

The lawyer for the bar thinks that street parking, and a paid parking lot a block away will magically make up for their lack of spots. The zoning board tabled their request thanks to Bob and our neighbors showing up.

Another local bugaboo has been tabled recently; Mayor Briley’s idea to install a bunch of parking meters downtown. This was the Tennessean’s take on the matter:

“Nashville is in a rush to secure a deal to outsource its public parking.The solicitation for proposals from private companies to take over its on-street parking operations asks for $30 million up front to take over the city’s work.

The winning bidder — which would also pay the city its current net revenue parking of $1.5 million — would manage the city’s parking spaces, issue tickets, collect fines and issue permits for valet parking, loading zones and street parking permits in residential areas. It would be a 30-year deal.”

I wonder where Bob and I will park ourselves in the next 30 years? After all, Great Grandma Ada is turning 95 next week and she’ll be the first to tell you she never saw herself living in TN! Will we eventually find a beach house? Stay tuned to our adventure in aging and fighting for residential parking permits! Here I am in front of the old slaughterhouse by the river which will soon become condos.

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