Monday, May 9, 2016

Fort McMurray

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="940.0"]   Scott Olson/Getty Images   Scott Olson/Getty Images [/caption]


If this is any indication of how devastating it is going to be for people in Fort McMurray, Alberta to return to their homes, I can only imagine how hard life is going to be in the months ahead. 

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley warns "dramatic images" emerging from Fort McMurray, Alta., may upset evacuees as she and Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake get their first look at wildfire damage during their tour today.

Fire Chief Darby Allen, as well as a limited number of media personnel, will accompany Notley and Blake on the tour.

The group will be escorted by RCMP and emergency vehicles. A news conference at the regional operations centre will come afterwards.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley became emotional Sunday when talking about the two young people who were killed in a vehicle crash while trying to leave Fort McMurray. (CBC )

Notley warned the stories that result from that tour could upset some evacuees.

"There will be some dramatic images coming from media over the next couple of days," Notley said at a news conference Sunday. "I want to reiterate mental health supports are available for anyone who needs help."

Trigger warnng!

The offer of providing mental health professionals sounds uniquely Canadian to me, and makes total sense. Here in America, we give you a blanket, a cup of water, maybe a trailer, and we move on. How many people were offered mental health counseling after Hurricane Sandy or whichever disaster? I don't remember reading about that, but here is an academic paper about the aftermath:

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate mental health outcomes among New Jersey shore residents with health impairments and disabilities after Hurricane Sandy.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Six months following Hurricane Sandy, a cross-sectional survey of 200 adults residing in beach communities directly exposed to the storm located in Monmouth County, NJ, was conducted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, mental health service use, and medication use.

RESULTS:

The average age of residents surveyed was 59 years (SD = 13.7) and 52.5 percent (95% CI = 45.5-59.4) reported recent hospitalizations, physical limitations, fair to poor health status, multiple chronic health conditions, or physical disabilities. A total of 14.5 percent (95% CI = 10.2-20.1) of residents screened positive for PTSD and 6.0 percent (95% CI = 3.1-10.2) met criteria for depression 6 months after Sandy. In addition, 20.5 percent (95% CI = 15.4-26.7) sought some type of professional counseling after Sandy and 30.5 percent (95% CI = 24.5-37.3) experienced PTSD symptoms, depression, sought professional mental health support, or used psychotropic medications. In multivariate analyses, the best predictors of mental health and service use were having sleep problems, suicidal thoughts, moderate or severe pain, and having high exposure hurricane-related events. Analyses also suggested that noncollege graduates were more likely to receive mental health services (OR = 3.10, p = 0.009), while women were less likely to have depression (OR = 0.12, p = 0.038).

CONCLUSION:

Having physical impairments and health conditions were not directly related to adverse mental health outcomes following Sandy, but having sleep problems, pain, or suicidal thoughts were. Further research is needed to assess the health status of community residents with serious health impairments over time following disasters.

It should be more prominently featured in the coverage of these disasters that receiving mental health assistance is normal and natural. Not everyone has to project the face of resiliency and act all stoic. Many people need help and there's no shame in asking.








Friday, May 6, 2016

I Cannot Win Friends or Influence People

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="417.0"]  They seem like such nice chaps and I'm interested in America so what could possibly go wrong?  They seem like such nice chaps and I'm interested in America so what could possibly go wrong? [/caption]


You would think a happy fellow like me could just wander onto some website and start making friends. You would be wrong:

The state of our union can be summed up pretty easily: Democratic policy ideas don’t work, and the Republican Party is melting down. From New York state, where Democratic power brokers are beginning to be herded into prison, where so many of them belong, to Chicago, where a civil war between Democrat-run public unions and the Democratic mayor rages even as the city’s finances fall apart, to the collapsing cities of Detroit and Flint, and on out to the high-speed rail boondoggle in California, the country is covered in the ruins of decades of “progressive” governance. Take Obamacare itself, a “reform” that is already making health care more bureaucratic and less affordable. Even as premiums and deductibles rise and the provider networks shrink, special interests like labor unions, insurance companies and hospital chains seek to rewrite its rules and regulations to achieve windfalls for themselves at the public expense. They will almost certainly succeed, and over time, Obamacare like other programs will become increasingly encrusted by sweetheart deals, carve-outs and other provisions that reduce its positive qualities while making it ever more expensive and bureaucratic.

Inadvertently, I wandered onto a site that would make the John Birch society look like a meeting of the San Francisco Committee on Handing Out Things to the Homeless. Damn, son--why do I keep trying?

"Up until now, at every similar crisis in American history, a wave of religious revival like the colonial-era Great Awakening, the Kentucky Revivals of the early Republic, and a series of successor movements has renewed and refreshed this source of national coherence and strength. Without something like this today, it’s not clear that American culture will continue to support the kind of republic that we’ve come to think of as eternal and unchanging."

So, I said:

This would be the same religious fervor that allowed us to destroy the South and free millions from slavery, right?

Seriously, though--religion is going to cure us of what ails us? Please. What will cure us are more jobs, reducing the deficit, and keeping us out of foreign wars of choice. In other words, another eight years of President Obama. Fools.

And I know I'm not helpful, but you seem like such nice chaps.

All I have to do is shut up and keep moving. And yet, I can't help myself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

MSNBC Sinks to a New Low




MSNBC is no friend to liberals, the liberal agenda, or the American viewing public:

Alex Wagner, the charismatic host of the canceled NOW with Alex Wagner and formerly one of MSNBC’s rising stars, has finally said adieu to the network. It was announced on Tuesday that she had taken a position with The Atlantic. She will now serve as the magazine’s senior editor and will be heavily involved in the company’s video and live events. This will include moderating a panel on Saturday mornings.

This company is actively jettisoning people of color and everyone is mostly okay with that? If ratings counted for anything, Joe Scarborough wouldn't even be on television. Instead, he's the mouthpiece of an organization that might as well continue to have nobody watching. That's a helluva business model. Screw over your employees, screw over the people watching, eliminate diversity, and then wonder where all the money went.