The Looming Health Care Trainwreck

“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Richard, of Free the Animal notoriety, recently posted this erudite dismantling of ADA (American Dietetic Association) group-think (in general), and more specifically, the Tatyana Kour piece that I mentioned a few days ago in this post.  Today’s offering, then, could be thought of as a continuation of that same theme.   This post is not meant to address the (multiple and extreme) failings of the ADA in particular, or government health care reform efforts as such, but will focus more so on each individual’s responsibility to “the health care cause”, and the unique place of Metabolic Syndrome within the grand scheme of things.  That said, in matters concerning the current debate raging on the Hill, and more specifically, in the Senate, I defer once more to the erudite GK Chesterton, and his observation that,

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected”.

Alright, alright – so the “Gub’mit” is a big, broad and easily bashed entity.  And I’ll admit that Gub’mint hatin’ is kinda like hunting sloth – there’s just not much sport in it.  But now that I’m on a roll, I have to add one more philosopher’s take on the subject.  These two snippets are from my man Friedrich Nietzsche, and they offer a tidy segue into what I wanted to discuss today.  In Nietzsche’s view, democracy can be explained as:

“two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to have for dinner” and “A political system calculated to make an intelligent minority subject to the will of the stupid.”

And both statements are apropos, I believe, when it comes to government involvement in health care.  Now, I’m not opposed to government’s involvement in health care in a contemporary Conservative/Progressive sense, nor do I stake any claim along mind-numbing, sound-bite, ideological lines.  There are too many competing (and symbiotic, as well) tentacles wrapped around the whole of the issue.

With that said, to the left is a sketch depiction of how I envision the make-up the black hole that is our (collectively) current health care situation, with Metabolic Syndrome smack dab in the center of the vortex.  All the blather currently taking place on the Hill will ultimately result in only shifting the vortex a smidgen left or right – momentarily deform the storm structure, as it were – until it ultimately re-organizes anew (and it most certainly will) with the same veracity as before.  The only way to permanently disable the storm is to bust-up the vortex, and TTP reader’s know very well how to accomplish that task.  The problem is that the entities fueling the storm have the same knowledge as you and I – or worse, they are truly clueless, manipulable, and in a position to serve, unknowingly as added fuel (see Richard’s post, re: the ADA).  Defeating Metabolic Syndrome is easy – TTP readers slay the beast on a daily basis.  But who stands to profit from this slaying?  No one, and that’s the crux of the problem.  Big Ag., Big Pharma, Big Oil?  Remove Metabolic Syndrome from the center of the storm, and these players’ profits are soon (and permanently) crippled.  Not only are their profits crippled, but their influence over government policy is reduced – double whammy.  The self-perpetuating, self-strengthening storm then collapses in upon itself.  A victory for health equates to an ugly bottom line for the big players, and that simply won’t do.

Surely, though, we’ll all be saved by the next, more enlightened generation, right?  Uhh, not so fast – the big boys, it seems, have beat you to the punch –

Cute, huh?  Budding little diabetics.  Or worse.


Save yourself, and save those who’ll listen and can be turned.  And stay in touch with my friend Brent Pottenger, at healthcare epistemocrat, as he explores some ingenious options for mapping our way out of this morass.

There is hope.  There is always hope.

In health,


Job Security…

“A conscience which has been bought once will be bought twice.”

Norbert Wiener

photo: Malingering. Yikes…

Disclaimer: as many of you know (or, if you didn’t before, you are hereby notified), that I work in the pharmaceutical industry; in validation, to be exact – a branch of quality control.  So I can take the following cited article in one of two ways – as a public service nightmare, or as, well – a positive indication of continuing job security – for as long as I care to stay in the game.  It’s not in my nature to be self-serving, and so my natural inclination here is deep contempt for those in “power/knowledge” positions, and pity for the masses who listen to them.

So, with “news” like this, out of Amman, Jordan, all indications are that the rest of the world is doing its damnedest to surpass us (“us” here, being the good ol’ USA) in obesity rates.  As if being drubbed math and science weren’t already enough…

According to Kenneth Thorpe, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy & Management, in the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, By 2018, 103 million American adults — or 43 percent of the population — will be considered obese.  I would venture to guess that the numbers for those below the age of 18 are just as gruesome.

Of course, any manner of health care reform will simply implode under the weight of disease management if these numbers hold true.  And “news” like the above-cited Jordan Times story indicate that while the US may lead the way over the cliff, the rest of the world is following, quite lemming-like, right behind.

More to follow…

In health,


Common Ground with a Vegetarian? ~and~ The Health Care Reform Manifesto, Writ Paleo

“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.”

John Galsworthy

H1N1 is killing me. No, not literally — and not the virus itself — but all the extended hours I’m having to put in as a result of readying a manufacturing plant for the full-scale filling and packaging operations associated with putting the vaccine on the street.  Whether the threat of this virus is real or manufactured I’ll leave to your own personal conclusions (for what it’s worth, I’m passing on the vaccine) — what I do know for a fact, though, is that I’m working my damn ass off as of late.  Unfortunately, the only drawback to the Paleo way is its inability to put more actual hours in my day.

Before I move on, though,to the topics at hand, allow me a quick rant.  This, my friends, is what American-style, hyper-capitalism business has come to: work the few people you’ve retained till they drop, then reload from the ranks of the over-educated and marginalized, who (and this is the full-circleness of the issue) are inclined (due to a sputtering economy) to accept less-than-adequate wages/working conditions/benefits.  Why not carry a little extra fat in the ranks?  Wouldn’t that be prudent, from a business (not to mention, humanistic) point of view?  Hey, are you friggin kidding me?  Have you seen the price-tag associated with a benefits package as of late (I’ll forgo the health care reform rant here)?  Not to mention that the fat cats on Wall Street want quarterly results, Jack, and the issue of any additional headcount — over and above the overworked zombies required to produce a satisfactory profit margin — is a non-starter.   How’s this for irony: scrambling through the business corridors in your work-induced brain fog, you’re forced to dodge impromptu hallway gatherings of upper-level management, and representatives from the notorious McKinsey Group.  A pretty innocuous looking bunch from the looks of their site, eh?  Just what the hell do they do, you ask?  Slash and burn, my friend.  Headcount elimination.  The “do more with less” (and we all know what that means) specialists.  Ah, but here’s irony x2: isn’t it odd that 90% of the group’s representatives are of Indian decent?  Seems as if the group that specializes in outsourcing has taken the notion to heart and outsourced itself.  Can’t label them as hypocrites, I suppose.  Pure contrived fiction, I tell you, could not be steeped in such irony.  Such is life as a member of the American workforce…what’s left of it, anyway.

So, just a couple of things you may not have run across this week:

Common ground with a vegetarian?

Well, if the issue is limited to the protest of the horrid conditions found in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), it would seem so.  Now I can certainly appreciate a vegetarian who leads that particular lifestyle purely as a statement against needless animal cruelty.  I’m not so sure, though, that Jonathan Foer, has considered the optimization of his own health in this “go veggie” decision — but hey, to each his own.  I just wish that the author of Everything is Illuminated would study the virtues of the free-range/grass-fed experience — both from the animal’s point of view, and from that of the consumer (and of the earth, for that matter) — and tweak his stance accordingly.  And although I loath the very idea of CAFOs, and how they’ve totally adulterated the mainstream protein supply, I find it hard to believe that they are as heavy a greenhouse gas producer as say, what’s produced from world’s combined coal-fired power plants.  Now, I don’t know this for fact — and I’m certainly not defending CAFOs in any way, shape or form — I’m just sayin’… if you’re interested, there’s another quickie-interview with Jonathan, here.  He does come across as an intelligent and affable enough fellow.  If you’ve read Jonathan’s new book, Eating Animals, drop a comment and let us know what you thought.  To be quite honest, I’ve not placed it high enough on my “to read” list to ever realistically get to it — I’m currently engrossed in two Gandhi-related works (here and here) — so if you’ve already read — or plan to read — Jonathan’s work, give us the run-down.

Health Care Reform

Wow, Dr. Kurt G. Harris, of the wonderful blog, PaNu, nails this essay on health care reform — a copy of which ought to be tacked to the doors of congress, Martin Luther style.  Make sure you read Dr. Harris’s essay, and while you’re over there, peruse the balance of the PaNu blog as well.  Plenty of great Paleo-minded information can be had, there, of the type that I take and integrate into workable, real-life scenarios — putting Theory to Practice, if you will.

Becoming Human

I hope that the next two installments of this NOVA presentation are as fascinating as episode #1.  What a show; TV at its finest!   Part 2 is coming up November 10 (my birthday, by the way).  Be sure to catch it.

In health,