Around my neighborhood …
Around my neighborhood …
It’s pretty hard to find anything good to say about the federal government’s response except to thank G-d that Nancy Pelosi is around. As always we have brilliant, dedicated, and empathetic health care professionals trying their hardest to get us through a pandemic. They show up, they provide the best healthcare they can, and we are damn lucky to have them. Had the US government had our hospitals and medical supplies ready at the earliest stages of the pandemic, the world might have been facing a more easily contained outbreak that could have avoided many of the deaths and erosions of our lives.
The US Government was not ready. For three years, there has been no federal leadership that was appropriate for preparing for a pandemic or a huge natural disaster. Highly trained experts, medical leaders, and bureaucrats had been forced out of the Executive Branch, to be replaced (if they were replaced at all) by the what can be termed at best frivolous hires that were inappropriate and with replacement hires (appointees) incompetently selected for their political affiliations, not professional training and achievements.
In spite of a deliberate attempt to cut medical and social services in the USA, we are still fortunate to have marvelously trained doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals ready to help. But our bureaucrats, as of this day, still cannot them the medical tests, supplies, and facilities that they need to minimize the effects of the pandemic. Politics and greed in the Executive Branch of the US government have greatly affected the healthcare system of the United States and left our country without the resources needed in times of disaster.
In a word, it was and is STUPID.
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The USA currently has a huge shortage of GOOD leaders of all races, political parties, sexual orientations, national origins, religions, education levels, and gender.
Time to get rid of some BAD leaders sitting in positions where they can do a lot of damage be it to the social integration of all, equal treatment under the law, safety, human services, politics, economic trends, healthcare, financial services, international relations, or educational opportunities.
It is pretty easy to spot the BAD leaders. Here’s a mind map to help you do so. Click to expand the image.
Click here for Part 2 (in a new window) on the Fourth Characteristic of the “Bad” Leader.
And yes, bad leaders are everywhere!
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It is not illegal in the United States to ask job candidates to take physical and psychological examinations before being hired for a job that has huge physical and psychological demands. For instance, such public employees as police officers, firefighters, military personnel, and others take appropriate physical and psychological tests both before and during employment. They also take tests to detect illegal drug use.
As Americans like to say, the POTUS job is the most powerful person in the world. There is no question that the job has the huge physical demands of prolonged periods of 12-16 hour days under high stress condition. Many problems can be made much worse by such a lifestyle. The president also makes make key decisions, often under high duress and without full data, than can affect the lives and welfare of thousands if not millions of individuals throughout the world. We all know about the use or not of the nuclear codes, but remember that the President may make decisions daily or weekly that affect the safety and well beings of US and other world citizens in profound ways such as food distribution, medical aid and research, international trade agreements, and regulations on the US stock market and financial institutions.
Most Americans agree that we want healthy law enforcement officers that can assist in situations requiring physical fitness without harm to themselves. We also agree that we do not wish to have psychologically distressed individuals without mental stability intervening into situations of aggression, ambiguity, potential harm to bystanders, or mistaking innocent individuals for those who have committed a crime. The same is true for all other first-responders, military personnel, nuclear plant operators, airline pilots, and many more.
Why are willing to let someone be hired for the job as President of the United States (through the process of majority vote) without complete physical, psychological, and neuropsychological examinations conducted by a team of physicians, psychologists, and other appropriate healthcare professionals. A team of 3-9 individuals could be appointed through some type of consensus process among professional associations and political parties. Even better, we could make use of some of the thousands of highly qualified and brilliant healthcare professionals who are officers of the US Military and already sworn to protect the Constitution and laws of the United States without regard to partisan issues.
If there was ever a time to implement this, it is before the November presidential election this year.
I do not want an individual as the “most powerful person in the world” who is physically and/or mentally unfit for the job unknowingly hired by the electorate. I am especially concerned that candidates above the age of 50 could have untreatable neurodegenerative diseases (such as I have) that affect decision making processes, especially under stress.
If POTUS is the most powerful job in the world, it should have the most stringent job requirements including physical, mental, and neuropsychological health making it possible to adequately perform the high demands of the job. Cutting through all of the politics, I believe that the physicians, psychologists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals of the US Military are capable of making competent, non-partisan judgments about fitness requirements for ensuring that the Constitution of the US is protected and followed.
Given the public statements being made by both presumptive presidential candidates this year, it is time to ensure that the contentious statements made by both are not the product of physical, mental, or neuropsychological illness, and rather are being made by motivated but angry, expressive but overly so, individuals using typical standards of normal and healthy logic and decision making. The electorate deserves to be informed about the results of such fitness exams before making the decision in November whether to hire one or none of these candidates.
World AIDS Day is December 1, 2015.
We are closer but still very far away from solving HIV/AIDS. The UN Goal of 2030 for the effective stop of HIV will not happen with the current international politics of HIV/AIDS and the huge global disparities in income, infrastructure, and other resources.
2030 is possible, but to meet that goal, we are going to need a lot more compassionate and adult behavior in the world than we have ever had during the 64 years of my lifetime.
Doable? Yes. But you better start doing your part to do it.
To fix HIV/AIDS, we have to fix income disparities.To fix income disparities the rich of every country in the world need to be taxed at 100% on any individual net worth greater than $X. It may be more difficult to define an $X that the world will accept than it was to develop the theory of relativity.
Doable? Yes. But not without some new definitions of the rights and responsibilities of rich brats like Donald Trump.
The only way I see to develop effective medical treatments and care models for many of the thousands of rare diseases is to pool the RESEARCH resources that individual countries are spending and the data countries are collecting about individual rare diseases and put those research resources under international control for prioritizing research agenda and ensuring public access to ALL results and research data.
Yes, I know the USA (probably the largest resource contributor) Congress will go in front of the television cameras and say that the failure of the United Nations and the disproportionate contributions to a pooled resource fund will ensure failure. They will point to the failure of the world to effectively coordinate collaborative research on HIV/AIDS and point to politics, homophobia, disrespect, and the hatred of American politics by certain national and fundamentalist groups and say we would be wasting our money by letting Africans and Arabs and the Russians and Chinese and Indians and Asians and South Americans collaborate with the USA on research and ensuring that research leads to effective treatments for at least some rare diseases.
Enough already. Let’s rise to the occasion of solving resource limitations in studying rare diseases and get an effective mechanism in place for expanding the impact of admittedly small research efforts by individual countries through international cooperation. I trust the governments of the world to collaborate, contribute as they can, and help us start to get some of these diseases treatable. Disease knows no boundaries.
In the last century we collectively developed very advanced medical research techniques. In this century we need to use these methods to solve all of the medical problems possible by putting aside the nonsense politics and nationalism and individual egos and predatory profits and focus on solving many medical issues and ensuring access to effective treatment world wide.
Here’s a way to start. Any yes, this is a test of our humanity and commitment to universal human rights of which medical treatment is but one. But let’s start somewhere that should be relatively easy to agree on (and let a few hundred angry politicians in the USA know that the world considers them bratty children and cannot tolerate their obstructionist and oppositional behavior).
Click on the image to expand. And let’s start the process of collaboration.
Big data this, big data that. Wow. At the end we will have better ways to sell underwear, automobiles, and “next day” pills (although in the latter case politics and religion might actually trump Amazon and Google). Blind empiricism. Every time you click a key on the Internet it goes into some big database.
“Little data” — lovingly crafted to test theories and collected and analyzed with great care by highly trained professionals — has built our theories of personality, social interactions, the cosmos, and the behavioral economics of buying or saving.
Big data drives marketing. Little data drives the future through generalizable theory.
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The USA has no highly visible, charismatic, scientifically-medically experienced, brilliant, and creative leader-spokesperson for federal healthcare programs. IMHO, the last one we had was C. Everett Koop in the 1980s.
Since being such a leader should be a Cabinet-level position, the best-qualified leader would get the same salary as an out-of-work former governor or political operative in the Senior Executive Service (about $200,000).
I favor a “healthcare czar” position to which the directors of various health-related US federal agencies report.
The effects of having a great leader with oversight on most major US healthcare initiatives would be huge. A positive thinking, creative individual should be able to get $100s of millions (or billions) out of the healthcare system while increasing quality. Instead of squeezing physicians on Medicare reimbursements we need someone who can squeeze the bureaucracy to lift money-wasting and unnecessary health regulations, squeeze the health insurance and big pharma industries to get-real about their profits, and energize the general public to personally address such preventable diseases as those related to obesity, alcoholism, tobacco use, and unwanted pregnancies. Such an individual could get cooperation from the press to research and write stories about positive system change.
Such a change costs only the small expenses of a search committee compromised of prominent health stakeholder groups, and the commitment of the President to health- and socialcare.
There are 100s of great medical-science leaders in the USA who can do a fantastic job of getting healthcare coordinated and understood by the public. Koop was a conservative, traditionally religious, Republican who took on the religious right over his medical conclusions that the reality of good medical practice in the USA had to get over homophobia and hatred of the homeless drug abusers in order to dampen the effects of the HIV epidemic. He also took on the major of lobbies of the tobacco industry in stating clearly that tobacco was addictive and responsible for millions of deaths. Koop’s politics were almost opposite to mine but the actions he concluded were necessary were the same as I would have taken from my liberal vantage points. Just as a conservative Republican can do an excellent job of guiding the healthcare system if she or he is a committed medical-scientist, so too can a liberal Democratic medical-scientist do a similarly excellent job.
Go ahead dismiss this idea. Then go back to reading my posts on your big Cinema Monitor from the company who had a charismatic leader and type your responses on a keyboard from the same company.
You want a great US national healthcare system that is efficient, treats patients and healthcare providers fairly, and stresses prevention and patient-centered care? Get a great leader. This individual will cost only about $200,000 per year and some ego stroking by POTUS and the Press. Let the unemployed former governors go find out what it is like to live on unemployment benefits and use Medicaid.
WTF hasn’t the search committee already started to form?
I am writing this text. Alone. Now.
What do you think? Why?
How should I improve? When? Why? Where?
Aren’t questions interesting? How? Which? Why?
Who? Me. 11.12.12
The big questions of 2012: What, Who, Where, When, Why, How, Which, WTF.
Isn’t it interesting how WTF has been the primary question we ask while viewing politics, discrimination, inequity, stoopidity, and lack of human rights? And isn’t it a good thing it has?
The Research by Google Era (rivaling such earlier eras as the Babylonian Empire, the Empire of Alexander, the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages Papacy, the Incan Era, the British Commonwealth, the American Experiment in Democracy, and the forthcoming Intergalactic Federation) is here.
I think the Research by Google Era is the most “important” one yet.
Go ahead, Google it. How many minorities voted for Obama in 2008? How many times was Bill Clinton sued for “inappropriate” behavior toward female subordinates? How much money did Ghaddafi and family steal from the people of Libya? How many books are contained in the New York Public Library? What is the net worth of Bill and Melinda Gates? Their Foundation? What do they pay the Executive Director of their Foundation? Who should be credited for the “discovery” of the structure of DNA (this one is very complicated; not the DNA model but the politics about who would be credited)? How much did Mitt Romney pay in taxes? Has Mitt ever been audited by the IRS?
Think you know how many Christians, Muslims, and others are in the population of the world? Google it. Now compare the ESTIMATES from the top sources that come out of the search engine. Hhmmm. Kind of hard to tell what percentage of the world’s population is Christian, Muslim, or some other religion isn’t? [I do not hold anyone accountable for knowing the “correct” number of Jews in the world as Jews, to this very minute, are still trying to figure out who is a Jew and who gets a free pass to Israeli citizenship. Nobody has any idea how to count Russians forced to abandon Judaism during the era of the Soviet Union or Jewish dads who married a woman who is not Jewish. It goes on and on. Somehow, I suspect that if I knew as much about Islam and “Chinese traditional religion” (under the Chinese communists) as I do about Judaism and its politics, I’d be just as sure there is little consensus on basic number counts.]
Think counting religions is hard? Try getting data on the prevalence and incidence of health issues-problems.
It makes my head spin every night when I see 99% of the TV reporters struggling to explain the error of a survey. (They use several different erroneous explanations and once in a while somebody gets it correct.) What if we were to also hold them accountable for knowing whether the information they cite is valid, reliable, biased, consistent. Wow. And I haven’t started to spout equations yet. I watch them Google for data while they are on TV and the results are often so ludicrous that they should cut power at the broadcasting tower. Wait until the lawyers figure out that they can sue for incorrect data as the result of a search and win large judgments. Maybe they will even stop suing medical doctors.
Recently a college student was in the news because he plagiarized a post on a blog and copy and pasted it onto his class-assignment blog. Along the way he changed a numbered list to a text list (presumably by pushing one key in Microsoft Word or Pages). Did he plagiarize from a world expert, someone famous, his professor? Nope. He plagiarized from an 11-year-old boy. Presumably Google helped him identify the 11-year-old as the source of the definitive information on poultry farming.
OK boys and girls. Google does not tell you a number or a conclusion or an interpretation or whether a calculation is correct or incorrect. All it tells you is that the publisher of the information on the Internet knows how to get the search engine(s) to go to that site for information on various topics. If all you do is take the data from Google and cut and paste and reformat it the term “research” does not fit. Google itself states that as their lawyers have instructed them to tell you not to trust the data uncovered by Google.
These days, if I were to believe the bio statements in Twitter and Facebook and Linked profiles, I think that it is reasonable to conclude that there are now more people working to trick Google into citing them and their advertising-laden web sites (these are the practitioners of search engine optimization, an arcane field that seems to involve a boiling pot, wand, broom, and common spices available at Walmart) as a definitive source of information than there are people working on creating valid, reliable, and original information and other data.
The Google Era for research. Don’t get too used to it. The empire will soon fall down.
And yes, apparently an 11-year-old can trick Google (and a college student) into thinking he is more of an authority on poultry farming than the US Department of Agriculture or any university agricultural professor or any science writer at a major newspaper. And yes, both the sixth-grader and the college student failed to mention anything about inhumane poultry production practices, genetically engineered turkeys and chickens, and the use of antibiotics in over crowded production areas. Guess Google did not tell them to write that. Or think that such problems are ones worth thinking about. That’s OK if you are in sixth grade, although it is kind of sloppy. College? Lucky for him that pro football does not care about chickens.
This is the personal blog of George J Huba PhD. I was trained as a research psychologist, have 35 years of experience in research and program evaluation of healthcare models, and was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease in 2010. Since my medical early retirement in 2011, I have focused my personal research on evaluating and developing inexpensive visual thinking methods (such as mind mapping/modeling) for those with cognitive decline, dementia, typical aging, or for adults who wish to minimize future cognitive decline. Having professionally worked with several thousand health- and social care professionals over 35 years, my work is informed by the dozens of disciplines working on neuroscience research, patient care, aging, caregiving, and healthcare systems development.
The focus of the blog is on the issues shown below. If you click on the image, it will expand.
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