Monday, 31 August 2009
D of 60 going on 16 gave me this. Visit her wonderful site for the background. I once got an "Excellent Blogger" one and thought that was stretching credulity a bit far. I only had one blog - my Costa de la Luz Gardening - at that time and it hardly had mass appeal.
Now I need to come up with 7 interesting facts about myself and pass the prize on to others. So watch this space until I marshal all the stuff for the next phase.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Ooo, this looks like fun - I'm just in the mood for this. Every last Wednesday in August this festival takes place in Buñol, Valencia. Special, largely inedible, tomatoes are grown in Extramadura province and shipped over to Valencia province when they're over-ripe. A canon sounds to signal the start of the fight, special goggles are worn, the minimum of clothing, and the tomatoes must be squished before throwing to minimise harm. After an hour a canon sounds again, it all stops and the streets are hosed down.
All the pictures show hundreds of young men involved. Do you think they'd let "the oldies" participate. Oh yes, I'd have some of that.....maybe next year.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
It seems that while all the protest statements from the U.S. were being made, Senator John McCain " reported on Tuesday via Twitter, the instant internet messaging site, that he had met Gadaffi, whom he described as “an interesting man”. McCain was reported by the Libyan news agency to have praised Gadaffi’s peace-making efforts in Africa and to have called for expanded US ties with Libya. Exxon and Chevron, the American oil giants, are among companies vying for lucrative new exploration contracts".
The greed for oil, bloody oil, is responsible for so much death and suffering. Today, I've had it with the news. I'll go and tend to garden.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Here in Spain, shortly after I arrived and before organising myself in the Spanish free health service for pensioners, I paid monthly at a private health clinic , which offered free g.p. consultations and half price specialist treatment. Prescriptions, however, had to be paid for. I remember having to fork out 180 euros for 5 tablets for shingles and was horrified. Now I'm slotted into the Spanish system. Because I'm eligible for free care and prescriptions in the UK, my Government has transferred that eligibility to Spain and I'm now enjoying a free service again.
I wish it could be so for the thousands of US citizens who have no health care and I back Obama all the way in trying to introduce a system that will be of benefit to all. People with money will always have greater choice.
Here is an article from the Financial Times about the reality of all health care systems in the face of spiralling costs.
Home truths about rationing healthcare
By Philip Stephens
The brouhaha in the
Beneath the transatlantic waves lies an awkward truth; one that politicians of all shapes and sizes – conservative and progressive, European and American – would prefer not to discuss. Healthcare is rationed everywhere.
Join an FT debate on health care in US and
Some countries, of course, choose to spend more on health than others, just as they set different priorities for education or defence. Some prefer direct state provision, others more plural arrangements – compare
The NHS stands condemned by US President Barack Obama’s opponents as an instrument of state-sponsored euthanasia. Its socialised medicine, Americans are asked to believe, would have deprived, on grounds of age, Senator Edward Kennedy of treatment for a brain tumour.
Such charges are palpable nonsense, serving only to unite British politicians in defence of the distinctly imperfect NHS. The Tories have been put on the defensive. Mr Cameron has spent years insisting his party cherishes the NHS. Now one or two discordant Tory voices are heard cheering on Republican attacks on Mr Obama’s proposals.
Mr Cameron’s discomfort will not deter Republicans. As my colleague Edward Luce has written in these pages, US conservatives sense a chance to re-ignite
European criticism of the
I say “US model”; in reality, there are two. How many of Mr Obama’s critics, I wonder, realise that the 8 per cent of national income
Overall, the 16 per cent of national income the
What those Americans lucky enough to have top-flight private insurance get for this is care unmatched in terms of technological capabilities and expertise. The
The rationing is applied by the exclusions imposed by employers and insurance companies on all but the most expensive policies and, most obviously, by the fact that many working Americans simply cannot afford any insurance. To say everyone can get emergency care is little comfort to the diabetic or cancer sufferers denied ongoing care.
Yet all this money has failed to improve overall health outcomes. Life expectancy for Americans is a year below the rich country average of 79, while infant mortality is well above the average.
True, there are other social and cultural factors to be taken into account. But that the world’s richest country can spend so much and still lag so far behind the best is an extraordinary indictment. On present trends, this hopelessly inefficient system will soon consume 20 per cent of national income, making it as unaffordable as it is inequitable. The challenge for all
At least, though, the NHS is relatively efficient.
Friday, 14 August 2009
It's true that those European countries with a universal health service are struggling with problems of how to fund the system. More and more people are living longer: there are such advances in medical technology, the high cost of pharmaceuticals, not to mention a mind-set of some who believe that whatever they want they should have for free, be it cosmetic surgery, IVF, gastric bands to reduce weight etc. It's difficult for any Government to keep up with demand but at least people do get treatment and care without the worry of being turned away because of an inability to pay.
I was reminded this morning of how fortunate I was to have grown up in a national health system in UK. My country has transferred my right to have free treatment and prescriptions to my adopted country, Spain so I have my medication, routine blood tests and ECG for my 2 year old condition, all without it costing a centimo. OK, I worked for 40-odd years and paid into the system (National Insurance) which guaranteed me a retirement pension at aged 60 and free health care and, boy, am I glad of it now at an age where I no longer work for my living.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
BBC article on US attack on NHS
Bloggers debate British healthcare
The most recent row erupted after an editorial at the Investors Business Daily (IBD) launched an attack on the British National Health Service (NHS), as a warning against what could happen if the
"The controlling of medical costs in countries such as
The article's author went on to assert that "people such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman quickly pointed out, Prof Hawking was born in the
Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein said the IBD article was an example of conservatives "lying" about healthcare.
"It's not just that they didn't know that Stephen Hawking was born in
"The point the IBD writer was trying to make would have at least been theoretically plausible if, as the writer believed, Hawking was not British," Mr Zengerle wrote.
It's worth emphasizing, for those who remain confused and misled, that Democratic reform proposals would not create a British system
"I'm just reluctant to credit the IBD writer with the sufficient smarts to concoct such a lie. Seems like basic stupidity is the easier explanation here."
The IBD's fundamental charge was that President Obama's healthcare plans would lead to the rationing of healthcare, and that rationing is a feature of the British system.
This point was echoed by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin , who warned that "the effects of socialised medicine in
In making this point, Ms Malkin was explicitly re-affirming the assertion made by former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that Mr Obama wanted to create a "death panel" to decide whether the elderly or disabled are "worthy of health care".
Liberal bloggers in the
Washington Monthly's Steve Benen argued that the healthcare plans put forward by Mr Obama and his fellow Democrats bore no resemblance to the UK system.
"It's worth emphasizing, for those who remain confused and misled, that Democratic reform proposals would not create a British system. The comparison doesn't even make sense in any substantive way, and the very premise of the IBD attack, which has been widely parroted by the far-right, reflects a fundamental lack of intellectual honesty and seriousness."
Matthew Yglesias, blogger for the liberal Centre for American Progress, lamented the fact that Mr Obama was not planning to follow the British example.
"The NHS is a pretty great model and the British are on to something... if you were actually able to get British levels of care for British price levels [in the US] you could redirect [the savings] to trying to improve the social circumstances of the poor, trying to reduce exposure to health hazards, and building infrastructure (trains, sidewalks, bike paths, even the dread parks) suited to less sedentary lifestyles. We'd be much better off that way."
The American conservatives' criticisms of the NHS, and an appearance by British Conservative MEP Dan Hannan on Fox News, in which he bemoaned the state of healthcare in the UK, has prompted thousands of British Twitter users to rush to its defence.
By early Wednesday evening
Some Twitter users, like Luke Richards, offered general words of support.
"I'm proud of our health service. It's one of this country's best achievements of the past century," he wrote.
Others, like Claire Thompson of
"My father had heart surgery last year, and my husband's life was saved after a fall - not perfect, but great when it matters," she tweeted.
Most seemed to reflect the feeling that despite its shortcomings, the British remain defiantly proud of the health service in the face of transatlantic criticism.
Matthew Yglesias, above, makes a very good point if you were actually able to get British levels of care for British price levels [in the US] you could redirect [the savings] to trying to improve the social circumstances of the poor.
Maybe even something would be done about the US appalling infant mortality rate.
Ronni Bennett on Time Goes By, HERE is calling all elder bloggers to post something on 20th August to dispel the lies and misinformation circulating. Do read her article and add you weight if you agree.