Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Changes are afoot for this blog

Eventually, it will redirect over to my new site — just as soon as I get the redirect to work.

That may not happen for several days. So in the meantime, I’ll be updating this site with new content from now on.

If you want to read about why I’m doing this, check it out.

I’ll see you over on the other side.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Syrian war victims, flood survivors, and the 24-hour news cycle

This image once again lays bare the horrors of what’s been happening in Syria for more than five years.

And this image, just like a similarly heartrending photo last year of a dead Syrian child who washed up on a Turkish beach, is already being forgotten.

Isn’t it amazing how a single image can abruptly seize the world’s attention, if only for the most fleeting instant, and finally elicit the outrage that this crisis should have evoked from the very beginning?

And isn’t it equally stunning how quickly and sharply it fades from our collective consciousness — as if it never happened, as if it isn’t still happening now?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Aetna a case study on the urgent need for single-payer health care

This past week, health insurance giant Aetna announced that it is withdrawing from most of the exchanges under which it previously operated through the Affordable Care Act, citing losses it has suffered because of policyholders who are “sicker and costlier than expected.”

Subsequent reports, however, clarified the real reason for Aetna’s departure: It is, in essence, retaliation against a Department of Justice lawsuit that seeks to block a merger between Aetna and rival insurer Humana (as well as another between Anthem and Cigna).

The lawsuit has good merit: The mergers, should they go through, would substantially reduce competition, undermine consumer choice, and increase premiums for policyholders — all in the name of larger profits for the companies involved.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Many life experiences are simply priceless

Last Friday was the last day of my clinical internship — the one that was required for the final year of my master’s program, and the one I wrote about a few times with varying measures of trepidation and discontentment.

How do I feel about it in hindsight?

It’s definitely a mix — of relief, sadness, and surrealism.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton needs to nominate her own Supreme Court pick

Sorry, Mr. Garland.
If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in November, she needs to ask President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Merrick Garland as Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

Then, once she takes office in January, she needs to select her own nominee — someone with a more progressive judicial record. Someone who will make Republicans regret that they ever blocked Garland.

Then, the (hopefully) Democratic Senate needs to quash GOP obstruction and confirm Clinton’s pick. If that means killing the filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations, so be it.

Does this all sound a bit vindictive, to the point of skulduggery? Does it almost seem like a page snatched straight out of the Republican playbook?

It may indeed seem so, but actually, given the circumstances, it wouldn’t be an unreasonable course of action at all. Here’s why.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

There will be an October (and possibly September) surprise

It would be quite foolish to presume, based solely on current polling, that Donald Trump is done and that Hillary Clinton will just coast her way to the election from here on out. (Sadly, there are at least a few commentators who seem to be implying as much.)

A few months ago, I predicted that the mainstream media will do everything in its power to “normalize” this election — that is, depict it as a competitive contest, just like any other, between two normal, equal candidates, even if one candidate is like Coca-Cola and the other is like sewage water (to borrow an analogy from another article on this topic).

After all, an election whose outcome is preordained is not an election that will sell headlines. And the media, of course, must sell headlines.

I stand by that prediction. Hillary Clinton’s numbers may look excellent now, but mark my words — they won’t stay that way. The media and other outside forces will ensure as much.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hiking as a metaphor for life’s toughest moments

Until about a year ago, I never hiked alone. I always went with other people. That’s the safer thing to do, right?

But knowing that my time in this part of the country is limited, and that there are still so many spots I want to see here before I leave, I’ve taken to doing solo hikes during the week when responsible people would normally be at work. (Don’t worry, Mom — I always tell someone where I’m going and when I expect to be back.)

Hiking in nature by yourself gives you plenty of time to think.