Saturday, August 29, 2009

Miscellaneous Musings

I am emotionally very moved, intellectually/ politically greatly inspired, and physically drained by last night’s and today’s tributes to Ted Kennedy and his dignified twilight burial. It is amazing to me that while his colleagues on the “other side of the aisle” rightly came to respect and appreciate him, I’ve seen so many comments from the public that still harp on Chappa-quiddick – even though the senator frankly and frequently acknowledged his human flaws, foibles, and serious mistakes, then worked for decades of his adult life to redeem himself through tireless public service. How interesting that human memory can be so short when it comes to the good, and so long when it comes to the bad – and how entitled many people feel to be judgmental in a very ugly way!


Although I greatly appreciated today’s extensive media coverage of Ted Kennedy, it is nonetheless unfortunate that the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005) got rather lost in the news shuffle. A bit of attention was paid, but as has been the case over the past four years, American media – and much of America – seems to have consigned Katrina to history, when in fact, the physical ravages of that killer storm are still hugely evident all along the Gulf Coast; the displacement of many thousands has yet to be restored; and the existence of those who remain or have returned despite enormous obstacles, rivals the misery of those in the slums of a Third-World country.

New Orleans, in particular, is unique in its place in American history and culture – African-American history and culture in particular. The lack of vigorous rehabilitation of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf is a national shame, but it looks like the Obama administration, despite the many urgent issues on its plate, will find the time and resources to focus attention on this situation with a competence, concern, and swiftness that his predecessor did not.


I want to introduce you to my dear friend and longtime colleague, Nadine Hack, the president and CEO of beCause Global Consulting, Inc. As it says on her company’s Web site, “Nadine B. Hack is recognized internationally for her proven expertise in strategic planning, creative problem solving, insightful policy analysis, and politically sensitive negotiations, she has provided innovative guidance to and created crucial partnerships for institutions from multiple sectors and has imparted tactical direction for their various campaigns, collaborations, and special initiatives throughout the world for over three decades.”

Recently, Nadine made a vitally important post on her company blog, entitled “Women, Girls and Philanthropy,” a rousing endorsement and enlargement of the issues (and solutions!) raised by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in their New York Times Sunday Magazine article (8/23/09), “Saving the World’s Women/The Women’s Crusade” and in their new book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide. Their work details the great success and enormous future potential of micro financing, which, with pathetically-small amounts of money by First World standards (usually less than $100), women are able to start their own businesses and lift themselves, their families, and often their communities, out of poverty, as well as oppression and abuse.

I heartily encourage you to read both the Times article and Nadine Hack’s blog; the latter offers many linked references to other written resources and active organizations. Practical and transformational social initiatives, and fascinating reading!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Health Care Reform: Can Our Grief Spur Success?

Since early Wednesday morning, American media has been singing Sen. Edward Kennedy’s praises, explaining his history of dedication and virtually unparalleled accomplishments – both for the record, and for the edification of the uninformed. He was a strong supporter of health care reform (not just recently, but for decades), and I know I’m not the first to suggest (and hope) that current reform efforts may have a better chance of success now, in Teddy K’s honor and memory. In other words, don’t send flowers, send a “public option” to the floor – and pass it!

Ted Kennedy was a lifelong, unabashed liberal – not like many of today’s liberals: frightened, unfocused, humorless and more concerned with political correctness than political effectiveness – but rather, a person who believed in human equality as a given, and who championed fairness, dignity, opportunity, and the appropriate support of government for all Americans. He was a rich man from a rich family that believed the rich had a moral obligation to share the wealth through philanthropy, patronage, service and, yes, taxation in balance with their bounty – a lost concept called noblesse oblige that even the early 20th century “robber barons” (John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, John Pierpont Morgan, et al) embraced. Journalist E.L. Godkin (1831-1902) once observed that “Plenty of people know how to get money; be rich properly is, indeed, a fine art. It requires culture, imagination, and character.”

That was the kind of wealth the Kennedys cultivated, the values of which John F. and Robert F. tried to promote before assassins stopped them in their tracks. But their baby brother, Edward M., took up the mantle. And, as fate would have it, the tragedy and scandal of Chappaquiddick that kept him out of the White House did not prevent him from settling-in in the Senate for 46 years and redeeming himself in the public eye by leaving his distinctive, and distinguished, mark on legislation for civil rights, health care, education, voting rights and labor (he was chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at the time of his death).

But perhaps most important, he came to define bipartisanship by working with unique effectiveness with colleagues on the other side of the aisle. It is in this spirit, in recognition of this kind of political teamwork, that I sincerely hope that Democratic politicians across the land will learn how to behave like Democrats again, and Republican politicians will remember that compromise and cooperation do not constitute disloyalty to their party and its values (whatever they are in the post-Bush/Sarah-Palin era).

The health care reform bill currently in debate and under attack is a mess. It should be clarified, simplified, expanded, and identified in non-clinical language that everyone can understand: Medicare for All – a complete “public option.” To be sure, Medicare as it is, and a new Medicare for All policy, require a major clean-up, streamlining and overall upgrading of the system. But it can be done. Ted Kennedy would have known how to do it, and how to sell it to the strident opposition. We can only hope that his death will breathe new life into the health care reform effort.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Care Reform: WTF?!

It’s beginning to look like not even a semblance of public health care will be part of the ultimate structure of health care reform. I expect self-serving obstructionism from the Republicans. But I feel betrayed by what I can only view as the cowardice of the Democrats, from the president on down.

Before President Dubya took us into the Iraq War for no legitimate or sensible reason, literally multi-millions of people protested in the US and around the world on the same day, but Bush didn’t flinch. He was abandoned by most of the world community and was only able to assemble an international military coalition of the D-List, but he went right ahead. And in the course of his two terms, he managed to set American democracy back by centuries, nearly nullified the Bill of Rights, sunk us into unprecedented debt, and laid the foundation for the global economic crisis by lessening regulations/ restrictions on everything but the American people. And he got away with it.

But now, the Democrats can’t manage to zip their pants up in unison, let alone forge ahead with radical, necessary, health care reform – and there are a dozen other equally-enormous issues they haven’t had a chance to run away from yet. They’ve allowed themselves to be defeated by a series of well orchestrated Town Hall protests, a well-funded media scare campaign, the inevitable objections and dirty tricks of Republican colleagues (including MySpace rants by the Wicked Witch of the North), and, I assume, their fear that they won’t be elected again if they dare to try to use the power they won.

It bears remembering that it was after the Clinton health care reform efforts failed that American medicine was turned into an HMO system designed by the insurance companies to protect themselves and cut their losses. What do we think they’ll do now that they’ve seen they’re still more powerful than the government and the will of the majority of the people? Why won't the Democrats unite, then stand their ground? Why have they allowed ignorance, lies, and relatively modest resistance to beat them even before they’ve really begun? Why hasn’t their media campaign been as large and hard-hitting as the opposition’s? Why did the president leave it to Congress to put together that huge, sloppy, unintelligible bill? And if we can’t get the change we were promised now, when will it ever be possible?

Barack Obama needs to have an epiphany, an essentially politically suicidal determination to do what has to be done. He should call yet another press conference and say this:

“We are the only country in the world where health care is a business instead of a service and I’m going to stop that, because that’s what I was sent here to do. You – politicians and the public alike – have been reciting a string of terms – socialized medicine, death panels, all kinds of crap – and you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You are putting your trust in the insurance and pharmaceutical companies instead of your own government. You are confusing competition with democracy and putting the profit of the health care industrial complex ahead of your own best interest.

“So, it stops now. I’m putting forth a government-run, non-profit health care system that will serve everybody and cost far less than it does now – essentially Medicare for everyone, but an updated, improved Medicare. I’m going to put the insurance companies out of business. I’m going to make the drug companies toe the line, and if they don’t, I’ll put them out of business, too. And I will smash any Democrat who doesn’t back me up. Pretend I’m a white Republican and just get in line.

“America, if you don’t like what I’m doing, you can vote me out in 2012. But so long as I’m here, I’m going to do what I know is right – just like my predecessor, who believed he was a messenger from God. I’m going to drag this country into the 21st century before we fall so far down it’ll make the Fall of Rome look like a holiday sale at Wal-Mart.

“I won’t be stopped by your outdated Cold War mentality. You can call me a Socialist or Daffy Duck, I don’t give a damn. I was handed a platter of crap when I came into office and none of the “public servants” on either side of the aisle have done anything but get in my way. I’ve had it with all of you. A big change is coming and if you don’t like it, tough! I’m the president, we’re in trouble, and I don’t care what you think or what you say. Any questions?”

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Woodstock at 40

Unlike many of my friends (one of whom still has the tickets he bought and never had to use), I did not go to the Woodstock Music Festival, August 15-17, 1969. That was the summer I was 17 and I spent it in England, primarily London. I watched the televised moon landing in a local pub, where, as Neil Armstrong set down his famous foot for man and mankind, the bartender said to me, “Well, you Yanks have made it!” and gave me a free beer. I left England before the fairly-as-famous Isle of Wight festival (that Bob Dylan did participate in, unlike Woodstock), thereby missing the two key pop-culture events of my generation. But even if I’d been here (or there), I wouldn’t have attended, because I was a hippie in spirit only, not in the physical sleep-on-the-ground, frolic-in-the-rain-&-mud kind of way. I loved the creed and music of the 60s, but I saw no reason to give up my bed and air conditioner in their name.

I did, however, get to visit The Beatles’ Apple Records and meet Derek Taylor, their longtime publicist, to whom I’d been given entrĂ©e by a popular young folksinger who was a close friend at the time. The Beatles were in the process of breaking up like a bad marriage and the Apple offices looked like they were under siege, with lots of boxes being packed and young assistants literally running around in a dizzy panic. The tall, slim Derek sat serenely cross-legged in his tall, round-backed Panama chair and said calmly, “This is what the end looks like.” I never got to meet a Beatle, but Derek gave me a 45 of Give Peace a Chance autographed by John and Yoko, the first joint I’d smoked in weeks, and a pass to a recording session at Abbey Road Studios (it was either Johnny Mathis or a symphony, I don’t remember which).

When I think of Woodstock now – the festival, not the town – I think of it as the last gasp of 60s sensibility, which struggled to be seen and heard through the Disco 70s and truly died with John Lennon in 1980. The 60s were the original days of “yes we can,” audacious hope, and change we not only believed in, but genuinely made. We kinda changed the world, but not in the ongoing way we thought we would. My generation – now aging, preoccupied with its waning health and wealth and doting on its grandchildren – has come to be reviled for our youthful excess and envied for the fact that we got to have loose, crazy sex in the last era before AIDS. We had faith and we had fun and we took action, and we were cool and looked cool before what we were got mainstreamed and diluted.

Remembering Woodstock – the era, not the festival – makes me sad now, because it turns out we were more wrong than right. Love is not all we need, nobody is willing to give peace a chance, one’s body can’t handle LSD after the age of 40 (and who in their right mind wants to trip now?), and we can’t stop the current wars which, like the one we fought against, are bleeding us dry for no good reason. A lot of us died young and most of the rest of us are deeply, deeply tired.

From 1981-2001, my family owned a rustic little condo in West Hurley, New York, which is just a few miles from Woodstock – the town, not the phenomenon. In order to survive economically, Woodstock evolved from a quiet artists’ community into a tourist monument to an event that took its name, but was held 50 miles and light years away. I loved the town of Woodstock and I miss it. I’m sure things are hoppin’ up there this weekend – to their relief and dismay. It’s not easy being the keeper of a flame you never lit. For the rest of us, it’s business as usual – or whatever it’s become since the Crash of 2008. For me, today is a wistful memory of my youth, the tenth anniversary of my father’s death, and time to clean up the kitchen. Time marches on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anniversary Greetings From the Tower

This blog is two years old today. If it were a person, it would just be learning to walk and talk. I know that feeling. I’ve been writing since I learned how to “letter,” in fact I clearly remember learning how to print and then how to write in script and finally how to type, not in the proper “asdf–jkl;” way, but in my own haphazard combination of touch-typing and looking down at the keyboard, which is what I still do, at about 60 wpm – as fast as a sentence needs to go. I used to walk better than I do now, but I’m working on it. And I talk just fine; some would say too much, too directly, but I ignore them. I have learned to listen – and also how to tune out when necessary.

I began this blog because I wanted to express my opinions about…everything; to write for myself, which in my 35+ year professional writing career I had done too little of; and to speak out on behalf of Smokers’ Rights and Fat Acceptance.

I still believe in Smokers’ Rights, but I’ve thrown in the towel on that one. Smokers have no rights and never will again. Not in the foreseeable future, anyway. I also still believe in the FA movement, but I haven’t made any friends within it, because I have this silly idea that being fat is often connected to what and how much one eats. Those aren’t the only reasons, but they play a big role; just ask anyone who starves on a regular basis in order to not be fat. But my sister and fellow FA-ers choose to focus on the genetic and other legitimate physiological factors that cause/maintain obesity, because they think that “it’s not our fault we’re fat” is the only pathway to Fat Acceptance.

I disagree. I consider “size-ism” to be a legitimate social- and civil-rights issue, regardless of how and why fat people are fat. Human beings come in all shapes and sizes and this should just be accepted as fact, but it isn’t. Many people who are not fat regularly discriminate against people who are, and they’re often downright hateful about it. But I no longer believe there is a pathway to Fat Acceptance. Those of us who are fat are going to have to fight this battle forever while knowing we can’t win. It’s about having self-respect and self-esteem in the face of rejection/recrimination and standing up for oneself instead of apologizing for who and what one is. I think that pretty much defines life for people of all sizes. And while I still see the need for/value in pointing out discrimination and ugly attitudes toward fat people, I no longer believe it’s going to result in Acceptance. People who are not fat will always think that people who are fat and are not doing everything possible to change, are crazy. Like I said, I’ve learned to tune out when necessary.

So now, as MizB VIEWS FROM THE TOWER enters its third year, I’m more interested in and concerned about the broader social and political issues – local, national and global – that have a genuine chance in hell of resulting in change for the better.

These issues include: racism, what and why and how it’s still a very real part of the American psyche and needs to be examined and changed; feminism, what it is and what it means in the 21st century and how modern feminism should be an integral part of larger social struggles (and vice versa); poverty and homelessness, which are increasing in fact but decreasing in public awareness and concern; American politics and economics, both of which are in trouble, outmoded, and fail to serve the common good; climate change and the environment, because the upheaval in nature has been stupidly politicized and insufficiently addressed; immigration and our collective failure to recognize the karmic legitimacy of the changes in our population; religion, its dangers and its blessings, and the inability of those who rightly reject those dangers to recognize the existence and value of a more peaceful, loving, less structured and essentially generic kind of spirituality; the gifts and thefts of technology, which are creating a more interconnected world but, ironically, are also resulting in less real communication; and contemporary culture, its banality, ignorance, aliteracy, social amnesia, tawdry values, and descent into barbarism.

If there’s time, I may also add beauty and decorating tips.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Risky Business

Do you know what “risk avoidance” is? According to, it is a “technique of risk management that involves (1) taking steps to remove a hazard, (2) engage in alternative activity, or (3) otherwise end a specific exposure.” English translation: it means what business does to cover its own ass, even if that entails screwing their clients, their employees, their customers, and/or the public at large. When companies lay off hundreds, if not thousands, of employees in order to decrease costs and increase profits, that’s risk avoidance. When health insurance companies reject legitimate claims, discontinue the coverage of individuals or companies who file too many claims, or deny coverage to persons with pre-existing conditions, that’s risk avoidance.

And when stores and banks cancel your credit card, decrease your credit line, or increase your interest rate – even if there is no balance due, or you’ve been making your payments on time – that, too, is risk avoidance, and it’s going on right now at an alarming (and what should be an illegal) rate. Banks, in particular, are taking these measures now to “protect” themselves before the new federal banking regulations take effect next year – and the health insurance companies are following suit, post haste.

I found this out first hand last week when my elderly living room air conditioner breathed its last cool breath and died. I’ve had a Sears account since 1981 that had a $7,000 credit line and a zero-balance-due. I hadn’t used the card in nearly two years and in the past 10-15 years had hardly used it at all. But I held on to it, and kept it clean, because I own my apartment and am therefore responsible for the maintenance and replacement of all major appliances. I have no cash reserves or other credit resources – but I felt “protected” in the event of a household emergency, because I had my Sears card.

So, imagine my surprise when I got on the phone to Sears to place an order for a new air conditioner, only to discover that the order would not go through because my account had been closed in June due to “lack of use” – and, that Sears no longer owned and managed my account; that privilege had been turned over to Citibank, minions of which explained in no uncertain terms that once an account is closed, for whatever reason they see fit, there is no way to reactivate it and my only option is to reapply for a new account. I told them that I had not been informed that Citibank now owned my Sears account, or that my account was in danger of being closed unless I used it, or that it had in fact been closed when it was. They didn’t respond. I told them what I just detailed above, also explaining that I’m single, disabled, have no living relatives, live on a fixed income, and have a poor credit rating. I told them, “I know, and I’m sure your company knows, that if I reapply, I’ll be denied.” They didn’t respond. I did reapply. But it will be a month before I receive their inevitable rejection.

In the end, I sold some belongings I did not want to sell. Nothing fancy or particularly expensive – but put all together, it was enough to buy a new air conditioner (which I did not buy from Sears). I did what I had to do. What I’ll do if my stove or refrigerator go, both of which are 32 years old, I don’t know.

What I do know is that Citibank could care less and the reason they “can’t” reactivate a closed account is because they choose not to. Sears could also care less. As far as they’re concerned, it’s all about “what have you bought from us lately?” and if the answer is “little or nothing,” the fact that I started shopping at Sears in the 1970s, spent quite a bit of money with them, and paid off my account in a timely and proper manner throughout the 80s and 90s means nothing, because they no longer have personal business relationships with customers. Almost no one does. In America’s “mall culture,” relationships have been replaced with anonymity and discount bargains created by exploitive labor practices.

I also know that mine is an increasingly common, important story. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this has had their own story in reply. People I know whose affairs are in good standing have had credit card limits reduced, accounts canceled, home equity loans rescinded, interest rates raised to three, four and more times the previous rate, and in general, have been the consumer victims of companies (banks!) practicing “risk avoidance.” The irony, of course, is that they are not really risking much of anything, since their losses are largely tax deductible. But they’re unwilling to take manageable risk and reasonable loss or even endure the possibility of it. To them, all loss is unacceptable; profit is the only game they’re willing to play.

We have allowed ourselves to become a nation of faceless consumers instead of recognized citizens, loners instead of members of a community – big or small, real or symbolic. People made fun of Hillary Clinton when she cited the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” But it does take a village, not only to raise children but to sustain us all. Only we don’t have villages anymore. We have cities and gated housing “sub-divisions” and wild, rural country – all of it territory where it’s every man for himself (as we used to say…). A friend of mine from Nigeria tells me there’s an expression in his country that translates as: “the people in your life are your garments.” But we don’t cover each other here.

This all feels especially pertinent right now, because while I support President Obama’s well-meaning determination to reform health care and rein in the banks, I don’t believe that banks, insurance companies, health care providers, major corporations, or any profit-based enterprise will allow themselves to be controlled. They’ll find loopholes in any law or just flaunt whatever law interferes with their prime directive: make money by any means possible, any means necessary, at the cost of anyone or anything that isn’t them.

So, I’m writing this to give you a heads up. If your credit rating is good, don’t assume that this will protect you, or that it will stay good, despite your best efforts. If you have access to ample credit, don’t assume that will continue to be the case. Don’t let your cards lay dormant and don’t pay them off in full on a regular basis; that doesn’t make you a good profit center – it makes you a risk. And we are, all of us, living without garments in a cold climate of risk avoidance that is riddled with what criminal law defines as “depraved indifference.” Personally, I’m planning on saving cash in a coffee can and flying as low beneath the corporate/financial radar as I can. As long as the powers that be are indifferent to my well being, I’d prefer that they not know I’m here.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Filling the Emptiness of August

August begins today and it seems that everyone and everything that’s able to, is going on hiatus. Even if they can’t go anywhere, people are finally using their vacation days. Shrinks all over Manhattan are packing late into the night. And Congress is heading out of Washington next week faster than you can say “campaign fund raising.” Even President Obama will soon join his Mrs. and the girls, who are currently staying at Caroline Kennedy’s in Martha’s Vineyard (or so I hear).

But for many of us, life will go on as usual – and for all of us, health care reform is still hanging in the balance. Earlier this evening, the news reported that a few improvements were made to the battered 1,000-page bill before it was kicked out of committee today. That’s good to hear, but I’m relieved that this process will be forced to slow down for a month, because nobody, including the President, appears to have read this tome in its entirety – and who can blame them? With the bill in its current verbose form, our elected leaders are being asked to vote on poorly and confusingly-written fine print, rather than on an inspiring proposal of sweeping concepts, clear intentions, specific policy parameters, and freedom from extraneous, unrelated crap.

The writer/editor in me is confident that this could (and should) be about 100 pages prefaced by a well-worded, ten-page executive summary, a document that any Rep. or Sen. could read at poolside anywhere in the world. Instead, they’re going back home (or wherever) with only whichever party line they’re tied to wrapped around their heads. And not for nothing: I have so had it up to here with the fractured, bickering Democrats; will they please stop trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

I’m hoping (forgive me for my naivety) that all of them (on both teams) will fill at least some of the emptiness of August with generous, big-picture contemplation of what health care reform really means: ensuring that all 300+ million Americans have ready access to quality and need-specific medical treatment, care that they can either afford or will receive free of charge.

Among the things I’d like them to consider is that the United States is the only country in the world where health care is a profit-making enterprise – a great big fat profit-making enterprise for health insurance and pharmaceutical companies; medical equipment manufacturers and retailers; hospitals, clinics, doctors, and home health care agencies – a major money-maker for everybody except patients and employers.

The Republicans/Conservatives and their fellow travelers have very successfully convinced a lot of Americans that any government health plan would be an administrative disaster and a shortcut to socialism, thanks to their many-multi-million dollar smear campaign, aided (it shames me to say) by their p.r. and advertising minions – the same message that warns we’ll be forced to give up the doctors we have and like, the coverage we have and are satisfied with, and that medical decisions will be made by government bureaucrats instead of patients and their doctors.

If this weren’t such a serious issue, their propoganda would crack me up, but it’s very serious and their campaign is working. It’s working because nobody is even suggesting that health care should not be a profit-driven business. Americans are generally ignorant about the health care programs in other countries and they've simply bought into lies about their rules, options, procedures and effectiveness. And of course, my favorite lie: that the patient/doctor relationship will be sullied – when in fact, for most people, there are no meaningful patient/doctor relationships, and care decisions are made by insurance companies, not doctors or patients. Indeed, denying legitimate, necessary care is often standard operating procedure, even to the point of causing the death of patients, because keeping people healthy costs insurance companies too much, which angers their stockholders.

The anti-reform advocates never point out that Medicare, for all its high cost and inefficiency, is still run substantially more effectively and much more cheaply than private companies. Ditto for the Veterans Administration’s medical services, which are eons away from any sort of medical utopia – but both offer more bang for the buck than the profit makers.

I also fervently hope that all Americans, whether they’re luxuriating in the emptiness of August, or are so busy, worried, tired, and heat-frazzled that they feel they just can’t cope with this awesome, cumbersome problem, will find the time and strength to do a little research as well as contact their Reps. and Sens. and tell them what you need, what you want, and what you expect of them if they expect your vote in 2010 (or any other time).

You may also wish to contact President Obama and let him know what you think and how you feel. As I’ve said before on this blog, I think he’s overly concerned with trying to garner bipartisan support, too willing to compromise on the health care plan (in the quest for that support) and too eager to get something passed because he believes something is better than nothing. I disagree. I say a new but weak/confusing plan is worse than the status quo. The health care industrial complex is out to get Obama and he should use the power he has to fight back hard. The man who says Lincoln is his hero should know that you can’t please all of the people all of the time – so don’t even try; just do the right, progressive, all-encompassing, full-throated thing: craft and get the Democrat-dominated Congress and Senate to pass nationalized, non-profit health care.

For your information and convenience, click on and read one or more of the following from PBS programs: program transcripts and special online articles about health care from Bill Moyers Journal, particularly the interview with Aetna’s former VP of Communications, Wendell Potter. A Frontline report on health insurance companies dropping customers who dare to file claims. Health Care Crisis, an online site and TV program of facts and resources. A report on health care from the news program Now. And program information plus online extras from these programs, too: Remaking American Medicine, Second Opinion, and Who Cares: Chronic Illness in America.

I couldn’t copy the link to the full text of the bill (my browser’s too old…), but you can find it at; just search for Health Care Bill HR3200. Also, here’s the site for a fairly cogent short summary of same: Real Clear Politics.

If you’re sick of bad health care in America, make use of August by making lots of noise!