Category Archives: health

60 was the loneliest number

We are still in denial here in MA… is this really our home state?

The consequences of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the race for the Senate seat from Massachusetts fall into two categories. The first involves the optics of the race itself and the message Brown’s victory sends, about Obama’s first year, the economy, anti-incumbent sentiment, and the generalized “fuck ‘em all” feeling that seems to burst forth in American politics at times of stress. (The pollster Stan Greenberg a few years ago developed a taxonomy of voters that included the useful categories “F-You Boys” and “F-You Old Men,” groups that were quiet in 2008 but were heard from yesterday.) That message is somewhat complicated coming from Massachusetts and was provoked by the failure of a candidate who might as well have been a double agent for the Republican National Committee, but it won’t be perceived that way.

To the extent that the outcome is perceived as the beginning of the end of the Obama administration, and a one-blue-state equivalent to the 1994 Republican takeover, it is potentially a disaster. But that is the kind of straight-line projection that is the stock-in-trade of both Chris Matthews and the folks at, which produces the wild gyrations from ecstasy to despair that rarely prove correct. To the extent that it is perceived as an opportunity to press the reset button on the administration, to focus on the economy, and to go to the people rather than work inside Congress, with almost 11 months before the next election, it is potentially healthy… Read the Rest

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Brave New World Order


So aparently Dubya was read a passage from [which is hilarious - he never read this $hit himself?] Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and ‘learned a lesson’ from the book – which was to ban further stem cell research.


First and foremost – this ninja here really thinks we believe that he took anything away from Brave New World, other than some racy talk of promiscuous women and ‘savages’? My ninjas, PLEASE.

In a new [PMNP: as of Dec. 2007] piece in Commentary magazine, Jay Lefkowitz — who advised Bush on stem cells — reveals how the President formulated his 2001 policy. While Bush heard from a variety of groups on both sides of the issue, the turning point appeared to come when Lefkowitz read from Aldous Huxley’s fictional novel, Brave New World, and scared Bush:

A few days later, I brought into the Oval Office my copy of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s 1932 anti-utopian novel, and as I read passages aloud imagining a future in which humans would be bred in hatcheries, a chill came over the room.

“We’re tinkering with the boundaries of life here,” Bush said when I finished. “We’re on the edge of a cliff. And if we take a step off the cliff, there’s no going back. Perhaps we should only take one step at a time.”

[FYI to Lefkowitz: anti-utopian novel = dystopian]

Seriously though – thanks for using this piece of literature to justify something that has nothing to do with the novel. Stem cells and Brave New World? This research isn’t about making test-tube babies, my ninjas – and even if it is in some cases, we can legislate against that specifically by addressing the problems we’ll undoubtedly be facing soon enough with designer babies, genetic engineering, etc. Not to mention that Bush and his administration have probably helped bring us closer to the real issues that Huxley was getting at – like an increasingly powerful government using technology to oppress/control it’s people, and the effects of excessive consumerism [I mean, $hit - they worship Henry Ford in the book] on a society. Using this as an example for your position against stem cell research is like citing Frankenstein while condemning the use of prosthetics.

And I just had to toss this in here, my favorite comment from the ‘Think Progress’ article:

Apparently no one has taken a copy of “1984″ into the oval office.

- G

Sure they did ‘G’ – Bush + Cheney just thought Orwell had written a ‘How To’.
::original article from Think Progress, via The New Republic:

[[brought to you by your friendly neighborhood orangemenace]]


Did you ever wonder how Luke’s mechanical arm actually worked?


The University of Pittsburgh School of Medecin’s resident ninja, Dr. Andrew Schwartz, is furhter down the path than anyone. In a few decades, imagine the shit ninjas will have figured out.

[Note: The dojo ninjas feel bad for the monkey. I’m sure this wasn’t a voluntary procedure … but it’s pretty incredible. Ninjas for Animal Rights, please vent]



You european ninjas, man, I love you. The McD’ses in Europe just rolled out their new designer food service wardrobe in an attempt to ninjafy the appeal of a McJob.

Bruce Oldfield told the BBC that one of his earlier designs for the McDonald’s uniform had to be withdrawn after trials. “We found that there was one design of shirt that chafed. We had to get rid of it because we didn’t want our boys’ or girls’ nipples chafed,” he said.


Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

You all should go check this article out over at the green site. It’s an open letter written by one of Hillary’s fellow Wellesly grads. An excerpt:

You have connections to Monsanto through the Rose Law Firm where you worked and through Bill who hired Monsanto people for central food-related roles. Your Orwellian-named “Rural Americans for Hillary” was planned with Troutman Sanders, Monsanto’s lobbyists.

Genetic engineering and industrialized food and animal production all come together at the Rose Law Firm, which represents the world’s largest GE corporation (Monsanto), GE’s most controversial project (DP&L’s – now Monsanto’s – terminator genes) [here], the world’s largest meat producer (Tyson), the world’s largest retailer and a dominant food retailer (Wal-Mart) [here]. 

[ ...]

What Bill did for Monsanto “genetic engineering” goes beyond inadequate concepts of giving corporate friends influence: He unleashed genetic engineering into the world. And then he helped close off people’s escape from it.

Huge Thursday on the Hill

Holy hell, was it a big day in D.C. All manner of stuff flying around on Capitol Hill. We’ll start with the bad news, from the House.


The House of Representatives held a vote to override the President’s veto of the S-CHIP expansion bill. As y’all remember from 8th-grade civics, you need 2/3 of Congress to vote “Yea” in order to pass a bill over the veto. They fell 13 votes short. To reiterate what I mentioned in an earlier post on this bill, this means that almost 4 million children will continue to lack basic healthcare. 156 members of the United States House of Representatives, in collaboration with the President, have decided that if your parents have the audacity to make enough money to pay rent and buy groceries, but not enough to buy comprehensive private health insurance, then you don’t deserve access to medical care. “No asthma meds, vaccinations, chemo, or routine checkups for you, little Billy. Your parents make a whopping $25,000 a year.”

Best part of the whole thing may have been this sign, unveiled by Rep. Steve King (R-IA):


I don’t know what to do with this, really, other than to say come on, Iowa. You can do better than this schmuck. (For those wondering, no, S-CHIP doesn’t cover illegal immigrants.)
Now we move across the Rotunda to the Senate. As I mentioned earlier in the week, they’ve been debating a move which would grant retroactive immunity from prosecution to telecom companies that cooperated with the Administration in wiretapping the phones of millions of American citizens. Well, they agreed to the damn thing. Sure, they violated the privacy rights of millions, but that doesn’t mean they ought to be punished in any way for it, right? And that’s where it stood this morning, with the Senate fully prepared to declare that the 4th Amendment is negotiable if you really think you’re doing the right thing.

Until this dude stepped up:


That’s Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Upon hearing that the Senate Democratic leadership had caved on the telecom immunity bill, he announced that he would place a hold upon the bill. A hold, in Senate rules, is a method by which any Senator may prevent a bill from coming to a vote. It tends to be used on nominations and similar action. What Dodd is effectively saying to the Senate is “No, guys, I don’t care how many of you want to do this, I won’t let you give away the 4th Amendment.” It’s an astonishingly courageous act, maybe the ballsiest thing I’ve ever seen a politician do. To stand against 99 colleagues, in the face of constant GOP rhetoric claiming that enforcing our nation’s most basic law is a luxury that will get Americans killed? I’m new here, so I don’t know the rules on this, but is there any way to confer honorary ninja status? Because the good Senator’s certainly worthy in my eyes right now.

That’s it for tonight. There’ll certainly be more tomorrow, there’s always something going on in the world of politricks.

GOP completes quest for the Holy Grail of Irony

“…we’re standing on our principle that poor kids ought to come first.”

Which prominent member of Congress said that this morning? Was it:

A. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, explaining the plan of House Democrats to keep pushing for an expansion of the S-CHIP program despite President Bush’s veto, or
B. House Minority Leader John Boehner, declaring his intention to support said veto?
It was, weirdly enough, B. Now, I’ve been following Republican doublespeak for a while now, but this may well set a new standard for absurdity. Follow the illogic with me, folks.

The United States, alone among the big industrial democracies, relies upon the private sector to provide healthcare to the majority of its citizens. (Read this for an amazing summary of the problems inherent in that system.) As a result, Americans pay about twice as much per capita for medical care than their Western European counterparts. Not all of us are left completely out to dry, however, as senior citizens are covered by Medicare and those who live below the federal poverty level ($20,650 a year for a family of four) are eligible for Medicaid.
However, as healthcare costs increase and wages remain constant, a growing number of families have found themselves in the unfortunate position of being “too wealthy” to qualify for Medicaid, but too poor to afford private coverage. Recognizing this problem, Congress enacted S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) in 1997. What it does, in a nutshell, is extend Medicaid eligibility to children in families whose incomes lie above the poverty line, but below a certain threshold set by individual states.
So to review… This is a program which gives healthcare to children who would otherwise be unable to receive it. Its expansion would increase the number of children who get said healthcare by almost 4 million. And by supporting a veto that would prevent this bill from passing, John Boehner and his fellow Republicans are supporting “the principle that poor kids ought to come first.”

How on earth does someone say that without the irony causing their brain to explode?

More on this fight later, but I couldn’t let that quote go without some sort of comment.


So, as we stated before, previous-like, back in the day, the month of August is our official Drug Extravaganza. Welcome!

In more or less 30 days we hope to at least peripherally cover more or less 30 years of the War on Drugs. It’s interesting to note that the term “war on drugs” wasn’t coined until pretty late in the game. We’ll get to that in a week or two.


While there’s an aspect of history lesson in this whole presentation, we’re going to keep it light and fun. As you can see, the year up in the subject line of this post is 1969. We know that the drug war didn’t really start then so we’ll sum it up for you. This is bitten from Wikipedia but in my own words.

Regulation of illegal drugs, or psychoactive substances (basically) began in the United States in the early 1880′s when the US and China agreed to stop the shipments of opium between the two countries. This all happened after the opium wars between China and England. You can obviously go check out the wiki about the opium wars if you want to, but what happened was that China tried to enforce the laws against trading opium with Britain. Britain reacted by beating the piss out of them in a heroin-induced frenzy. Here’s a quote:

By the 1830′s, the English had become the major drug-trafficking criminal organization in the world; very few drug cartels of the twentieth century can even touch the England of the early nineteenth century in sheer size of criminality. Growing opium in India, the East India Company shipped tons of opium into Canton which it traded for Chinese manufactured goods and for tea. This trade had produced, quite literally, a country filled with drug addicts, as opium parlors proliferated all throughout China in the early part of the nineteenth century. This trafficking, it should be stressed, was a criminal activity after 1836, but the British traders generously bribed Canton officials in order to keep the opium traffic flowing. The effects on Chinese society were devestating. In fact, there are few periods in Chinese history that approach the early nineteenth century in terms of pure human misery and tragedy. In an effort to stem the tragedy, the imperial government made opium illegal in 1836 and began to aggressively close down the opium dens.


So while most people think it was the British fighting a war against Chinese importation of opium, it was actually the British themselves who were importing the opium to China, and then balling out financially from said trade.

So, fast forward 50 some odd years and America has agreed with China to stop any opium trade, because by this time it has become popular enough in China that they’re growing it (I guess). Another 50 years would see Americans dealing with prohibition.


And so that’s that… Just before prohibition, the United States had convened an organization which would sign the first international drug treaty, the International Opium Convention. That convention would be responsible for the first regulation of marijuana as a drug. That brings us to about 1969, the year in our subject line. You should be just about all caught up. If you’re not go read all these joints.

Now fortunately for us, a Google search revealed a very necessary timeline from PBS Frontline. Therefore, we will be using this timeline as a guide for the rest of the month.

Late 1960s Recreational drug use rises in U.S. In late 1960s recreational drug use becomes fashionable among young, white, middle class Americans. The social stigmatization previously associated with drugs lessens as their use becomes more mainstream. Drug use becomes representative of protest and social rebellion in the era’s atmosphere of political unrest.


It’s ’69, baby! A time when pills were a-popping, and titties were a-swinging. Hendrix is at Woodstock and everybody is having a totally groovy time, or about to be anyway.

A drug subculture involving the use of marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs began to emerge in mainstream American society in the late ’60s and was loosely associated with an overall atmosphere of political protest concerning the Vietnam War and civil rights.



As far as protest and drug use goes, well there are a few interesting links out there that point to how it was in the late 60′s. Here is a list of 60′s protest songs. Here’s a good article about the Berkeley in the 60′s. And here’s a good link to the Hate-Ashbury gallery that mnp published on months ago.


Yeah, so, everybody was having a good time right? Well things were about to get hairy. Stay tuned.

Ecstasy Rising


Rapper I Self Devine said in the song Illegal Busyness “there’s no war on drugs/a war on us/a war to win love.”

No statement is made more apparent than by the U.S. government’s treatment of drug policy for the last few decades. August marks the beginning of the politricks.mnp Drugs Special Report.

For now, take a look at this Peter Jennings documentary about ecstasy. You might be surprised what you learn.

The problems with drugs and the war on drugs are twofold, as illustrated by this report. On the one hand, the government is creating a trust deficit by overstating the harmful qualities of certain substances. On the other hand, by challenging the government’s claims there is also a false sense of security amongst young people that is manifested in pop culture acceptance and celebration of the drug.

Before August, you’ll get a REACH Special Report: One Month and Counting, as well as a little info on REAL ID. Stay tuned!

Moore’s New Film Hits Cannes

Well that old rabblerouser Mike Moore is back at it again.  Although we don’t know exactly how we feel about dude, and nor should we, we know that seeing his film will probably be our guilty pleasure for this year.  OK, so, I guess his movie is about the state of American healthcare.

Although, I don’t know if what Fatty McFatterson has to say is relevant, I’m sure his film is sure to cause controversey.

Here’s a few links. Interesting.