The Year of Magical Thinking

What the health care debate and the credit crisis have in common Did you hear? Barrack Hussein Obama wants to pull the plug on your granny, so...

What the health care debate and the credit crisis have in common

Did you hear? Barrack Hussein Obama wants to pull the plug on your granny, so he can plug in his hybrid! In the meantime, he'll make you sit before a Death Panel-to distract you, as he tries to raise Lenin's ghost at a Kenyan séance led by Witch Doctor in Chief, Jeremiah Wright.

Those hideous distortions pale against what's actually being floated about Obama and his health care plans. But the recriminations and misinformation aren't new. For over 100 years, mass hysteria has derailed every president who has tried to reform the insane mess that is our health care system. Both Truman and Roosevelt saw their attempts at universal health care squashed by Red baiting. So it's not surprising that there's a nut fringe out there more likely to believe an email forward about covert government conspiracies rather than the numerous fact-checking outlets that have rebutted those myths again and again. That's our country, and that's freedom of speech.

And it's not what's most troubling about the garish farce that the health care "debate" has become: Rather, it's that the crazies actually reflect the attitudes of a broad swathe of America. Since June, opposition to health care reform by Congress has risen from 45 percent to 53 percent. There are reasonable, middle class people who hear Obama calmly debunking smears about the Democratic plan and then watch right-wing groups shouting that Obama's a Nazi-and they say to themselves, You know, I'm with the guys carrying handguns.

How does such mistrust take root? You can blame Republicans for cynically twisting words or you can blame Obama, for not communicating more forcefully or clearly-and for leaving the policy details to an inept and crooked Congress.

But it still doesn't explain why we're so unable to deal with the plain fact that the United States spends an inordinate amount of money getting tragically poor results. Or the fact that if health-care costs continue to rise at their current rates, we'll be spending a third of our GDP on health care in 25 years.

That kind of financial insanity can have crippling effects. You don't have to mine American history for proof. You just have to look at the consumer-credit crisis we're living through. There, the ultimate blame couldn't be laid on greedy corporations alone. We were also at fault, because we all thought that magically, we'd never have to reckon with any long-term costs.

We were the ones who were too happy to take out loans we couldn't afford; the ones unable to deal with the idea that money should dissuade us from owning what we've always wanted-who believed that jeans might be $200, but the happiness they imparted was "priceless." And we're now the ones who cloak ourselves in rage when the very prospect of "money" or "cost" gets raised in relation to health care-no matter how broken our finances become, or how clear it is that we have to change.

We lost our minds about debt, buying up houses, cars, and jeans. That mentality lives when it comes to health care. We don't care if tests and surgeries are unwarranted or ineffective; we just want more. But health care resources, like credit, have to be used wisely.

NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

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Climate change means our future is uncertain, but in the meantime, it's telling us a lot about our past. The Earth's glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, but as the ice dwindles, ancient artifacts are being uncovered. The Secrets of the Ice project has been surveying the glaciers on Norway's highest mountains in Oppland since 2011. They have found a slew of treasures, frozen in time and ice, making glacier archeologists, as Lars Pilø, co-director of Secrets of the Ice, put it when talking to CNN, the "unlikely beneficiaries of global warming."

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When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

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October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

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