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Tag Archives: america

People of the United States and likely elsewhere across the world put shame upon the People’s Republic of China when it was discovered the young girl who appeared to be singing for the opening ceremony had only been lip syncing. The girl who was actually singing had been deemed not beautiful enough to represent the country. One became a heroine, the other became a “role model” for proper Chinese conduct. A similar shame should be relinquished to the United States. Students in China may sometimes blindly praise Mao Zedong (River Town by Peter Hessler), but in the U.S. students are taught to blindly believe in the goodness of past presidents. George Washington went from “chopping down a cherry tree” to perfect leader. There are other examples of false perceptions in the U.S. as well. Martin Luther King Jr. is appraised qualities of sainthood by the education system. Indeed his feats were great, but he also struggled at times too. In fact, the NAACP felt so strongly about perceptions that it determined who the heroine of the Civil Rights movement would be. Before Rosa Parks took a stand (or more literally, a seat) against racism, another woman took a similar action. The NAACP considered a legal challenge, but one problem arose: the woman was unmarried and pregnant (Soul of a Citizen by Paul Rogat Loeb).

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Recent polls are showing that Barack Obama became even more popular as the inauguration approached. The expectations for Obama run high, and the promises he has made may be even higher. This trust in one man to make-do on lofty promises may be familliar to someone who has seen The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent, the white knight district attorney of Gotham City: Two-Face, a twisted foe of justice. They are one and the same, although the people who trusted him, including Batman, could never have imagined this to be so. Dent’s Idealism, the expectations of the people, and the grim reality of the situation combined to create a murderous monster. Obama has the expectation, and possibly an even greater expectation than the fictional character of Dent; Obama speaks as though he may have the same level of idealism; and Obama faces the grim reality of hardships he listed in his speech (economy, health care, education, war, terrorism, etc). One can only trust Obama to stick to his promises unlike Harvey Dent who failed the people of Gotham. Had Batman not taken the fall for Dent’s shortcomings, all hope would have been lost. If Obama comes up short of the goal line, even by a foot, it could have drastic consequences on the morale of America. Thankfully, this is not a movie script, and the outcome has not been written yet.

Is it okay to love another country?  In the United States, Patriotism is held as one of the most important values, and I do care deeply for my country. However, my experience living in Germany for three years and making friends with people from many other countries has lead me to a different point-of-view than the blind patriotism that prevails. I find it hard to dislike, let alone not care about a country that is the home of a friend. Maybe I would disagree with the way the government functions, or certain lifestyles that the people might adopt, but those apply to the United States as well. Then the argument that the U.S. adopts is that its freedom makes it worthy of the patriotism. But isn’t the love of a country an important basis for the willingness to improve that country? Of course it is not possible to actually love a country where one has never been, but there are a growing number of countries that I want to U.S. to have good relationships with; not just for the sake of the United States but for the sake of that country too.

This is the transcript from a presentation I gave about the connection between Homeland Security and the field:

            Good Afternoon, I’m speaking about a connection between Homeland Security and the field of medicine that is generally ignored. The two fields are often thought of as completely separate, although cooperative. My presentation is a basic overview on the subject.

 

The field of Homeland Security conjures thoughts about counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, and intelligence analysis. The field of medicine brings about images of treating patients; surgery, diagnostics, cardiology, neurology and so on. But, the two are linked by a large number of factors that need to be acknowledged.

 

            The National Strategy for Homeland Security lists six critical mission areas, in this order. Health Care mostly fits under the Emergency Preparedness and Response category. However, it can be shown that, pending the circumstances, it can fit under the other categories as well.

 

            Emergency Preparedness & Response is most often associated with first responders. By the nature of their title, they are usually the first to arrive at an emergency situation. EMTs, and if the circumstances warrant it, hazmat units, are the first to provide medical care. Planning is a basic foundation of preparedness. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council published the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. The plan sets aside the department of health and Human Services as one of the lead agencies to implement the strategy. Also, in 2007, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 to establish a national strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness. A few weeks ago, it was discovered that the water supply of Alamosa, Colorado was contaminated with Salmonella. The cause remains unknown. It is unlikely that it is an act of terrorism, but in an area with a population of about 10,000 almost 400 people have been treated for Salmonella. Jim Martin, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Hans Kallam director of the Colorado Division of Emergency Management worked together closely to solve the problem. The water system has been thoroughly cleaned, water bottles have been brought in with the aid of helpful companies, and an investigation as to the cause of the situation has begun.

 

The Medical field holds high stakes in the planning for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear incidents. After an incident of this kind, health care would be a high priority and capability would be stretched to its limit. Bioterrorism does have a small history in the United States including an incident of salmonella poisoning intended to affect an election and the Anthrax attacks. In the case of an attack today, the Department of Health and Human Services is charged with deploying medical personnel and equipment to aid other agencies. The Department of Homeland Security works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Department of Veterans Affairs to detect biological and chemical attacks.

 

The relationship between Homeland Security and Health Care is a two-way street. Healthcare serves the purpose of Homeland Security and Homeland Security also serves the purpose of Healthcare. As a critical infrastructure sector, public health is important to the daily functions of the U.S. Public health services need security and an insurance of continuity of operations.

 

The area of intelligence and warning is important for taking preemptive, preventive, and protective measures. The field of medicine can be involved here through medical surveillance. David Siegrist from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies describes medical surveillance as the prospective statistical analysis of health-related data for rapid detection of anomalies that indicate the outbreak of disease in a population. This information can be used to detect a natural epidemic or act of terrorism. It can be useful for medical response and for the capture of a perpetrator. The shooting last year at Virginia Tech has highlighted a need to work more closely with the mental health system and to improve mental illness interventions. It is always helpful to know who is a threat to the security of the nation or the safety of citizens. Any actions in this area must maintain patient confidentiality. This is not necessarily an important term in Homeland Security but it is very important to the area of health care. Trust between a health care provider and a patient has become one of the bases of the U.S. health system, and patient confidentiality should be respected by Homeland Security and other fields that begin to work with mental health organizations.

 

May 24, 2007 a potential threat to the health and safety of United States citizens crossed the border from Canada to the U.S. Andrew Speaker, diagnosed with multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis was allowed freely into the U.S. despite an alert that he should be restrained and health officials should be notified. In this situation, border security had direct involvement with public health; failing in their responsibility to contact health officials could have put numerous people in danger of contracting TB. Fortunately no one is known to have contracted TB from Speaker and his diagnosis has been downgraded to a less resistant form.

 

            Domestic Counterterrorism is essentially a law enforcement field. However healthcare professionals can provide helpful skills and resources. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, offers training to protect workers from infection or contamination. Psychologists and Psychiatrists can be called on to help with interrogation. A new, controversial tool for interrogation and lie detection involves Neuroimaging. A medical technique that, in this case, uses Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Extensive research and testing has been, and continues to be done on effective countermeasures to biological, chemical, and radiological agents. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sub Health and Human Services agency, has computer simulation models for response planning and training modules on bioterrorism.

            The connection between Homeland Security and the field of Medicine is expansive and essential. For the field of Homeland Security, securing the nation requires a partnership with the medical community; and for the field of medicine maintaining the health of citizens requires a partnership with Homeland Security.

 

          

The day before his dream became reality, Lt. Caleb Campbell was told to put it in the back of his mind for at least two years. The Army took a step back on a policy that had allowed Campbell to be drafted into the NFL by the Detroit Lions. He and the team was informed the day before the start of training camp. The purpose of allowing graduates of a military academy to pursue professional sports is publicity, but apparently the Army sought even more publicity. It is very likely the Army knew the position on policy even before Campbell was drafted, and had they informed him and the NFL then, there would have been no publicity on the issue. Instead, they wait until the whole nation knows about Campbell to revoke his chance to play in the NFL immediately. Yes, he acquired a duty to his nation by going to a military academy, but that does not mean he should be used as a mere tool. If the Army wanted him to perform his military duties rather than serve as a means to publicity, it was their responsibility to make the decision in a timely fashion.

On the same issue, but not as important; will the Detroit Lions receive any reimbursement. They drafted Campbell under the assumption he would be able to play. By the time Campbell’s service is complete, they will have no right to him as a player. Drafted him was a risk, but they had all been informed, at the time, that he would be able to play.

July 23 and 24 CNN will be showing its special about “black america.” I am tempted to watch, and may very well do so, but I get the feeling I would be disappointed by the way went about displaying a group of people. The main question I have is if they are going to focus on the negative or the positive. For example, it is true that young black men are often undevoted to their families, but when I volunteered in a hospital pediatric emergency room, I remember seeing numerous black fathers who were completely dedicated to their children. Another concern I have about the show is that it appears to lump all black people together. Amongst the black community there is immense diversity and individualism as amongst any culture. The timing of the show is very good with the recent uprising of racism, but will the show be powerful enough to make people think? Will the show be from a viewpoint that does not destroy established community, but brings multiple communities of people together? Maybe my expectations are too large or maybe I have a misconception of what the show is actually about, but with the publicity they are giving the special…I hope that it is truly deserving of the spotlight.