Comedian John Stewart, host of Comedy Central's cable TV program, has been a significant force in moving legislation on medical care for 9-11 responders sickened by the toxic materials in the air following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Now, after securing funding nearly 10 years later, Stewart alerts his views to a complete travesty of legislative overreaching.
The Earth has undergone several mass extinctions of living species since its creation. I remember an old article of Time magazine asserting that, since the beginning of human civilization, “Climate Change” is the most dire crisis of human existence, more dangerous than any wars that human has fought, any natural disasters that human has encountered, or any epidemics that killed many of us throughout history.
Since the late 2008, we have undergone the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s: crisis with health care system and the meltdowns of housing market and financial sector. These are tragic social, political problems that we have encountered cyclically but can be solved depending on what kind of politicians voters chose to put in power. But none of these problems are as fundamental as the current challenge posed by “the Crisis of Climate Change.”
Sadly, poor people always seem to be the targets of natural or man-made disasters or any kind of misfortunes. For example, recent political history showed that health care crisis, housing market meltdown, recession and unemployment hit the less privileged, poor people hardest while the rich always seem to find ways to avoid any kind misfortunes. Even “Global Warming” is expected to hit the poorest people in poor or developing countries or those in the United States of America instead of rich people, rich countries.
Pontius Pilate asked, "What is truth?" It is always a good question.
For several columns, I have done my journalistic best to explain that climate scientists overwhelmingly agree: Our planet is warming. Humans are mostly to blame. We would be wise to take that seriously.
I have explored motivations of those advancing a different view: the fossil fuels industry, and those who oppose all government regulation as anti-capitalist. In short, those who want to privatize the profits and socialize the costs. It's an old story.
We know about the campaigns of the tobacco industry. Two more recent issues are whether cell phones can cause brain tumors, and whether high fructose corn syrup is a bigger factor than sugar in Type II diabetes. Both products are profitable--at least in the short term, by the short view, for those who sell them. Independent research will predictably be opposed by manufacturers and distributors--just as climate change science is fought today. Money talks.
But there's also a brand of religion which sees science more as a threat to comfortable dogma than an ally in facing sometimes uncomfortable truths.
As I mentioned in a previous post, CDM board member and Baylor Hospital Chief Equity Officer, Dr. Jim Walton has joined other health care professionals and rescue volutounteers in Haiti.
His wife, Dr. Rhonda Walton, has provided us with updates of his experience. It helps me visualize just how extensive the devastation to both property and persons and how it will take the world community to help rebuild and restore this tiny island.
We should all be thankful to anyone and everyone who has devoted their time, treasure and prayerful support to the Haitians and those who have been able and available to respond personally.
Central Dallas Ministries board member and Baylor Hospital's Chief equity officer, Dr. Jim Walton, is among the physicians lending his services to help in Haiti.
On Saturday, two doctors from Baylor University Medical Center left with a group of surgeons and anesthesiologists from Austin-area churches to work with Mission of Hope Haiti...
[The]Two Baylor doctors, Christopher Berry and Jim Walton, left for Haiti on Saturday with a team of surgeons and anesthesiologists out of Austin. Walton, who practices internal medicine, said the group wanted to include primary care physicians.
Well, Many have been hurt by the recent news of the Earthquake that hit Haiti. Many relief efforts are underway to help the poor country get back on it's feet and deal with such a major catastrophe. But others are not that generous offering "theological reasons" as to why the suffering people are underfire...."They Have officially made a pact with the Devil, according to TeleEvangelist Pat Robertson"
According to Salon.com, "One of the most callous reactions to the Haiti disaster thus far has come from televangelist Pat Robertson, who told viewers of his Christian Broadcasting Network on Wednesday morning that he knew the real reason for the quake: The country's long-standing pact with Satan."
Since the news of the earthquake in Haiti numerous relief efforts have been underway to help the country through such an awful crisis. Many Haitian Americans struggle and pray for news of family members and friends who have been hit by the devastating disaster. "Women and Children" are considered some of the most "in need" at the present time.
According to Salon.com, "Beyond the desperate scramble to deliver basic aid to the people of quake-ravaged Haiti, there are attempts under way to specifically help women and children. It may seem an outmoded approach -- something along the lines of "women and children first" -- but they are typically the ones most vulnerable in the wake of a catastrophe like the 7.0 earthquake that hit the country Tuesday, potentially killing hundreds of thousands."
"It's easy to see how [children] are more prone to outbreaks of disease,” UNICEF’s Patrick McCormick told Broadsheet.
“They are weaker, they are smaller and there are more of them."
In Haiti, almost half the population is under age 21 -- and "women are with their children, usually," he explains.
"So, what we do in situations like this is to create safe areas where they can congregate." Even before Haiti was rocked by the quake, it had “the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere,” according to UNICEF.
We all sense that there is a big difference between feeling hungry and being afraid of dying due to not having enough nutritious food to eat. Since most of those reading this blog have never experienced the latter, when we hear that some Americans are now experiencing food insecurity, we can mistake that to mean that those Americans are feeling unsure about some future ability to provide food for themselves. But that's not it. Food insecurity isn't a mild fear of future grocery shopping challenges. Food insecurity is indeed health and life threatening. The term food insecurity is used to describe real hunger and the immediate dangers that threaten health when people do not have enough to eat.
A household is considered food insecure when its occupants live in hunger or live in danger of starvation. The term food insecurity originated in the mid-1970s during the discussions of international food problems at a time of global food crisis. Then, the focus of attention was primarily on food supply problems - of assuring the availability and to some degree the price stability of basic foodstuffs at the international and national level. Much has changed since the 1970s. The gap between the rich and poor has widened dramatically. Average incomes have declined, even among the middle class. Many of our social outreach programs have been reduced or eliminated. Existing programs don't reach all the hungry Americans.
With at least one in eight of us facing hunger insecurity and our nation still struggling with a severe economic downturn, do we have the political will to make sure that our fellow citizens can eat during these tough economic times? If so, what exactly will we do?
I chose to take a Hurricane Katrina Tour yesterday. My interest in the tour disturbed me. I didn't want to be the sensational tourist who wanted to see other people's devastation, but I wanted to understand and see for myself the lack of resources that have been placed toward this effort to rebuild. Seeing what New Orleans offers on the surface and what is easily available to tourists makes it too easy to overlook that so much has not been done. It makes it easy for me to be comfortable listening to jazz, eating jambalaya, and going back home thinking everything is fine.
Not too long ago I met a 17-year old girl from New Orleans. As I was taking her home one evening, I asked her if she had moved to Dallas because of the hurricane. She did.
She began explaining the horror and the fear she and her family endured during the hurricane as they moved to the upstairs of their home, then had to break through the attic as the water rose higher and higher. She explained that they were ordered to evacuate a couple of weeks before for a different hurricane scare and they didn't have the money to evacuate again. They were hoping this would also be a false alarm, but as the water rushed in, they knew they were in trouble.
They were stranded on their rooftop with only a box of cereal. She talked about how they communicated from the rooftops with three other families, trying to figure out a plan to survive. Helicopters kept flying over, but none bothered to stop.
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