Welcome to this blog which is dedicated to providing a forum for a civil discourse on a variety of issues to try and make our society a truly better place for all. While the views expressed are strictly my personal opinions, please feel free to join in on these conversations accepting the premises that every attempt will be made to ensure that nothing but the truth be spoken and the truth be heard.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Potpourri III

Once again the in-box is brimming full and needs to be emptied to make room for more directed posts in the future.  Included under old business will be the first two which were triggered by last week's FEEDBACK post on health care and taxes.
American Health Care:  Thanks to one of my good doctor friends with whom I have an on-going exchange on a variety of subjects, he has provided me with the following statistics compiled by the United Nations International Health Organization which makes one once again ponder the question of whether our health care system is "the finest in the world". 
1.  Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:  U.S. - 65%,       England - 46% and Canada - 42%.
2.  Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:  U.S. - 93%, England - 15% and Canada 43%.
3.  Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:  U.S. - 90%, England - 15% and Canada 43%.
4.  Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:  U.S. - 77%, England - 40% and Canada - 43%.
5.  Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:  U.S. 71%, England - 14% and Canada - 18%.
6.  Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health":  U.S. - 12%, England - 2% and Canada - 6%.
When compared with only two other countries on these six criteria, we obviously rate very high, but what about the rest of the world and the many other factors which need to be considered in making this evaluation?
Taxes and Wealth:  I am not sure how many went to the link provided by another good friend who posted his comment, but it has a wealth (no pun intended) of information that I found very interesting, but too lengthy to summarize here. Instead, go read the full report "Who Rules America" at http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html.
Elitism:  With all of the anger against what some activists on the right call the "elite" of our society only because of their broad intellect and excellent educations at some of our finest universities, I wonder if they have any problem with a small group of conservatives who come from that wealthiest segment of our society, capsulated in the above referenced report, who supposedly will be meeting in California to decide on the destiny of our country as seen through their gilded prism.  How elite is that?
Process:  One of the interesting facts about watching Sunday morning news shows is that if you wait long enough someone on one network will eventually say something with which you agree that totally contradicts an earlier comment by someone else on another network with which you disagree.  Call it balance.  Today's subject was "process" in the context of government operations.  One talking head on ABC surmised that "No one cares about process", while another talking head on NBC had a "firm belief in process".  With almost fifteen years in public service I can say with a high degree of certitude that "process" does matter.  Often times it is the only thing that matters, because if the electorate are part of a well established, open and transparent process to determine public policy, they will more often than not buy into the final decision whether it succeeds or fails.  I learned the hard way that those public entities which choose to conduct their affairs in secret among a select few will bear the price of such arrogance.  The recent revelations about the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are a case in point.
What Are You?:  Thanks again to my good doctor friend mentioned above, I received a link to a really interesting and fun link at http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz where you can take a quick test termed the World's Smallest Political Quiz that helps you determine your political identity if you do not already know it.  You might be truly surprised.  I was.            
Will, I Hardly Knew Ye:  Last week while in New York I had the unexpected pleasure of being invited to a screening of a documentary film on Will Barnet, a famous American painter who in 1992 gave 75 pieces of work to the Arkansas Arts Center.  The invitation came from my old friend, Tinka, with whom I reconnected in August (re: my post RECONNECTIONS of 08-29-2010), and who was central to its production.  While there, I had the added pleasure of meeting Will, who is up in years but still very active, and his lovely and gracious wife, Elena.  As a result I have added the following link to his marvelous work at http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&expIds=17259,17315,23628,23670,24472,25834,26095,26328,26562,26637,26761,26790,26849,26992,27095,27126,27139,27147,27178&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=will+barnet&cp=9&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=xpfETMT1O4L6lwf66ugE&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CEkQsAQwAQ&biw=1350&bih=501 to the list of featured artists below.  Please go there and enjoy!

Growing national debt still at http://usdebtclock.org.

Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com 
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html 
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com 
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com 
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com 
Matt McLeod at http://matt@mattmcleod.com 
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Sandy Hubler Fine Art at http://sandyhublerfineart.com
George Wittenberg at http://postcard-art-gallery.com  
Will Barnet at http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&expIds=17259,17315,23628,23670,24472,25834,26095,26328,26562,26637,26761,26790,26849,26992,27095,27126,27139,27147,27178&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=will+barnet&cp=9&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=xpfETMT1O4L6lwf66ugE&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CEkQsAQwAQ&biw=1350&bih=501

Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com
Red Door Gallery at http://reddoorgalleryonline.com 
M2 Gallery at http://m2lr.com
UALR Gallery Program at http://ualr.edu/art
Gallery 26 at http://gallery26.com

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