Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Signposts to Sanity

Where your lovin' Granny points you at some other folks' really good stuff.

I'm getting a regional training together for the Teens In Action groups in Juneau, Craig, and Sitka this weekend. So, I'm going to direct you to other people and concentrate all my time on last minute arrangements. And trying to figure out why my e-mails to Sitka didn't arrive and didn't get kicked back so that I would know they hadn't arrived.

Over at Junkfood Science, on May 8, Sandy Szwarc discussed how risk factors frighten us in her post The Greatest Myth of Health Risk Factors
Why do studies continue to find that health risk factors don’t actually predict who will succumb to disease or die early?
The answer comes down to what we’ve been misled to believe about risk factors. These misconceptions are the key to successfully scaring us about our health, food and life; the key to compelling us to do things proactively “for our health” that don’t really make all that much difference; and the key to identifying and blaming “bad” people, foods and lifestyles.
Dr. Malcomb Kendricks, Medical Director of Adelphi Lifelong Learning, Cheshire, UK, estimates that about 1,000 risk factors have now been identified for heart disease. And there are countless numbers for cancer. Just about everything, it seems, can cause cancer. Wearing a bra is a risk factor for breast cancer, wearing boxers a risk factor for prostate cancer, and eating (anything!) is a risk factor for most everything. Consuming a lot or too little garlic, red wine, chocolate, fat, red meat, whole grains, sugar, or produce; and having migraines, bad teeth, pot bellies, dark skin and big noses — have all been made a risk factor for something. And they’re sure to change tomorrow. It’s little wonder that we’re all nervous wrecks.
All that the term “risk factor” means is that a researcher has found a correlation between two variables. We get risk factors from epidemiology. And it’s easy to take a group of people and pull out endless correlations between those with and without some disease and produce another health “risk factor.” And something else to scare us with.
Remember: a risk factor is just a correlation.
The public has been convinced, however, to give risk factors such importance that it’s affected our very concept of what it means to be healthy. Rather than realize that most of us are healthy most of the time and only occasionally get sick and then get better again; it’s become widely believed that healthy young people need regular medical attention and constant diligence to stay healthy because we’re all at risk.
Then go to the Alternet article on Rosie O'Donnell by Jeanine Plant to look at just what makes this very opinionated star so very popular. Perhaps being true to yourself is appreciated by the public.
That she attracted the ire of Tom Delay, managed to stir up controversy with the Donald Trumps of the world, and often gets the conservative media machine in a tizzy bespeaks her power. That such a progressive force is in such high demand and so threatening to conservative men is a happy reminder that the sea change we saw last November is real and not going away, even though she is.
And then take a trip to and read Lee Iaccoca's Where Have All The Leaders Gone?.
Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.
I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged.
Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I’ll tell you what we didn’t do. We didn’t agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn’t agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that’s a dictatorship, not a democracy.
A leader must have COURAGE. I’m talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn’t courage. Tough talk isn’t courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn’t mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.
Thanks to our first MBA President, we’ve got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we’ve run up a half-a-trillion-dollar price tag (so far) in Iraq. And that’s just for starters.
We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero.

That was George Bush’s moment of truth, and he was paralyzed. And what did he do when he’d regained his composure? He led us down the road to Iraq
So here’s where we stand. We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.


Author Mom with Dogs said...

Thanks for the terrific links. It's always refreshing to read articles with a modicum of sanity.

Anonymous said...

"Remember: a risk factor is just a correlation."

And no one does remember this, so the health care industry and the retail industry make money off the behaviors that we as a society engage in to avoid this alledged awful risk factor. [That sentence might make sense.]

Someone is always making money off these health care discoveries. Cynic that I am, that is what I always remember.