Category: Health

Weather Bombs & the Superfund Sites

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 18, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

There’s no better example of climate injustice in the Unites States than those Americans living near Superfund sites. Superfund sites came to be in 1980, and are ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300labeled with this classification based on hazardous waste contamination.

  • The United States currently has 1,344 Superfund sites on the National Priorities list
  • An additional 48 sites are in the process of being added
  • There are 2 million Americans who live near Superfund sites
  • A large number of the sites are near populated coastal communities  — Portsmouth, NH, Boston, New York City as well as both coasts in Florida.
  • Hurricane Harvey flooded over a dozen Superfund Sites in the Houston area

Following World War II, it was common practice for corporations to dump their waste into the ground. No one thought much of it at the time. But eventually, medical conditions began to spike, and we grew to learn that toxins cause major health risks and in many cases lead to cancer, heart problems and birth defects. So the EPA was tasked to clean up these life-threatening toxic locations.

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And then along came climate change extremes. Weather bombs are fierce deluges over a relatively short period of time that result in major flooding. Flooding near a Superfund site results in water spreading the toxins far and wide, endangering the well-being of millions more people. The toxins are usually invisible. So, once spread, it’s nearly impossible to retrieve, and families are left unaware that they’ve now been impacted.

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There now needs to be a major push in congress to address this calamity immediately. The health consequences of not moving quickly, are extreme and incalculable.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch & ‘The Ocean Cleanup’

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 2, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

The simple fact about cutting carbon, and saving our civilization and returning to 350 PPM, is that if everyone does their little part now, we’ll succeed. And if not, we won’t. It’s that basic.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Knowing this, it becomes super exciting to see individuals, families, groups, corporations and innovators dive in and act, and quite infuriating when corporations that I love from a consumer perspective, do nothing. In fact, I feel extremely disappointed with the “do nothing” sector, and if it’s a corporation, quickly search to see whether their top competitor is moving more quickly with climate action.

Saving our civilization is going to take grit and sacrifice, two vital traits that require practice to make perfect. Both become charged when inspired. The story of 25-year-old Dutchman Boyan Slat, and his seven year journey of bringing a dream to life, drawing a diagram on a napkin while in high school, and having his boat The Ocean Cleanup  set sail from San Francisco, CA on September 9, 2019, is quite dazzling. He’s young, lives across the globe, yet he was the one who became so infuriated with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that he moved into high gear and took action.

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The Ocean Cleanup is testing it’s theory that the ship can use ocean currents along with a massive boon and skirt to collect the plastic from the garbage patch — that’s twice the land mass of France — and harvest it. Slat had to make the huge personal sacrifice of foregoing his studies in aeronautical engineering to follow through with his vision. But his sacrifice paid off. And we’ll be able to follow the success of this determined humanitarian. Mr. Slat recently became the youngest winner ever of the UN’s greatest environmental honor, The Champion of the Earth award. Congratulations!

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Our contribution to this noble cause of saving our oceans which then saves humanity is very simple. We all MUST:

  • Use reusable bags INSTEAD of single use plastic
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Metal straws
  • Fly kites instead of balloons

Nominal cost, maximum gain. It doesn’t get any easier than this. #ActNow

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Music Catalog Meets TV Series | Oh, the Wonder

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 1, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Two great experiences combined into one unique series is sure to net an exciting result. MGM Television is joining Universal Music Publishing Group to breath dramatic life into Billy Joel’s deep music catalog and create a TV anthology series based on Mr. Joel’s extensive repertoire of stories told through his lyrics. How brilliant!

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300It’s the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups concept, “two great tastes that taste great together.” I’m so in the mood for something original, especially when it’s rooted in something extremely successful — Billy Joel’s incredibly deep catalog. Nearly every single series streaming service is bloated with way too much dark horror, which I personally find depressing at the end of a dark day of current events. Isn’t entertainment supposed to be fun and uplifting, a vehicle through which the public can “forget about life for awhile?”

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is landing at an ideal time, providing a unique entertainment experience for viewers. Billy Joel’s music appeals to all generations, evidenced through his Madison Square Garden monthly residency. More than 70 consecutive sold out shows, beginning January 27, 2014 and running to the present. I’ve attended several — most recently this past Friday night September 27, 2019 — and was in awe that one packed event could contain multiple generations of die hard fans. In fact, a 14 year old boy explained that his high school band plays 4 – 5 Billy Joel songs. According to this young piano player, the school’s band members love Billy Joel’s music because his songs contain so many instruments.

Kevin Fox is writing the Scenes from an Italian Restaurant series. Mr. Fox is a heavy hitter, the creator of Law & Order: SVU, so very familiar with New York City, Mr. Joel’s home turf.  Mr. Joel & Mr. Fox will be the Executive Producers along with Joel’s producing partner, Steve Cohen. Mr. Cohen is Billy Joel’s co-created Billy Joel — New York State of Mind together.

The “arc-thology” — what is an arc-thology anyway, I googled and couldn’t find an answer (it appears to be a new word invented just for this series) — will be based on Billy Joel lyrics “reimagined and rearranged by Joel’s music team — with his input — and take his tunes in new directions.” I speculate that this means transformed to the present. Many of Joel’s greatest hits were released in the mid to late 70’s, before computers and smart phones were invented. Joel also mentions brands and hairstyles in his songs, some of which are now extinct. As well as years —  “summer of ’75” for one — which are so last century. It’s a whole new world out there. It would make sense if we could see Joel’s universal themes that run through his songs, themes that have remained true across the centuries just like Aesop’s Fables, as well as the different generations in modern times, brought into the present. Disney does this with it’s classics. But please don’t hold me to this, I’m merely speculating absent any specific details.

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What I consider the most exciting part about a unique series like Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is that so many Billy Joel songs have become the soundtracks of our lives. Listening to these faves, brings back waves of nostalgia, reminding us of “good times,” but also about American ideals, as well as our country’s history. I’ve enjoyed seeing this at the MSG concerts. Thousands of people collectively enjoying awesome memories.

Through this series, it seems like we’ll be able to create new memories too, with a whole new collection of mental images to match up to the lyrics, broadening and deepening the song’s imprint on our lives. I love it!

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And most impressively, there’s also the positive health impact of Billy Joel’s broad eclectic collection of genres. The actual melodies and beats and the instruments themselves. I began noticing this a while ago and took a deep dive into researching how music impacts health, as well as music’s connection to our body chemistry, and was astounded. I was very aware of it personally I guess, when I discovered I could run twice as far (four miles) listening to Scenes From An Italian Restaurant over and over, versus any other song. This was so consistent that I determined there must be a scientific explanation. I’ve noticed the same type of phenomenon when driving long distances. No matter what music I used to listened to, I would eventually become groggy and terrified I’d fall asleep. The only exception was a Billy Joel soundtrack. How bizarre is that? Researching, I discovered Pythagoras’ “quantum harmonies” and how these harmonies connect humankind to the cosmos. I’m convinced that many, if not all, of Billy Joel’s compositions are quantum harmonies.

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I wish it was more clear what “coming soon” means. Once an exciting series like this is hinted at, it’s must more difficult to scroll through Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offerings and not feel disappointed. Six of Billy Joel’s thirteen albums were released in October & November, so my fingers are crossed that “soon” means real soon.

News of the Scenes from an Italian Restaurant series broke on September 25, 2019, so I’ll speculate that the pilot is complete and ready to air. (Is that wishful thinking?) And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that there’s a wise risk-taker at one of these networks that has enjoyed a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and can recognize brilliance when she/he sees it.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Hope for the Future of Healthcare In America | Gathering Ideas

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | May 27, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

The House Congressional Budget Office attempted to shed light on the pressing healthcare issues Wednesday May 22, 2019, during a robust exchange of bipartisan ideas shared at its hearing on a potential single payer healthcare system for America.

Fielding questions from the House CBO Committee members was a panel of experts:

  • Mark Hadley, Deputy Director, Congressional Budget Office
  • Dr. Jessica Banthin, Deputy Assistant Director for Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis, Congressional Budget Office
  • Dr. Jeffrey Kling, Associate Director for Economic Analysis, Congressional Budget Office

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After several rounds of questions and answers between House Representatives and the panel of witnesses, it seemed clear that there is bipartisan support for unravelling the healthcare tangled knots of challenges and finding solutions for each one. Doing so will enable a bipartisan push towards creating a strong healthcare system for all Americans. The following are several key areas that need to be addressed in order to reach a bipartisan agreement:

  • Finding a way for Americans with strong private healthcare plans, provided by their employer, to keep these plans if they so choose. Typically, these healthcare plans are associated with America’s largest companies.
    • The vast majority of large companies are located in specific regions of the country, as well as in certain cities. For example, silicon valley employs nearly 1 million people. They likely all have exceptional healthcare and won’t want to change it, nor should they have to.
    • However, just a few hundred miles away it may be that the majority of employers are small mom & pops who struggle to provide adequate healthcare for themselves as well as the few employees they may have, and are eagerly awaiting a government healthcare plan.
    • A substantial percent of the employed work as contractors and are simultaneously reliant of alternative solutions.

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  • IT infrastructure. A looming obstacle for establishing one giant healthcare plan for America, is crafting the IT plan for securing all medical records and making them accessible anywhere. An example cited was the modernization of securing the VA health records.
    • The IRS seems to have this down and may be a potential roadmap for healthcare.
    • Our election systems are another possible pathway that can be duplicated for health records. However, we’ve recently learned that this intricate system can be successfully hacked.
    • The GOP House Representative who raised the IT roadblock, seemed to be implying that this was the reason why we would never be able to implement a massive national healthcare program. But again, we have several expansive systems already in place that can be be potentially duplicated and modified for healthcare. Breaking down the large national map into smaller state components, divided into districts just like our voting districts, seems like an effective starting point on the IT front.

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  • Competition. Our American system of free markets has proven that competition results in innovation, strengthens ingenuity and resourcefulness, and drives down prices. It was apparent at the hearing, that a bipartisan majority believe that competition will improve the quality and price of healthcare in America.
  • Toxic and contaminated zones that impact health. Certain parts of the country are more toxic than others. Industries such as coal and oil, farming communities with toxic fertilizers, military bases, superfund sites, polluted city air all impact health and create a large pool of Americans who are often born with pre-existing conditions as well as impacted with health conditions at a young age. It’s self-evident that these Americans have been impacted health wise through no fault of their own and should be covered by some type of medical plan that can aid with managing their care –  ie, healthcare support similar to what was provided to those who worked at Ground Zero following 9/11.

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  • The real cost of healthcare. The real cost of healthcare is mystifying, but thanks to technology, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. What we know instinctively as individuals by going through bills with a fine-tooth comb, is that there’s a huge markup and that none of us would pay that price if we had to cover everything on our own. But since the insurance company writes the check for a significant portion, we often let it go, even if when frustrated. However, a certain percent of Americans end up filing for bankruptcy when the monster medical bills begin to roll in.
  • Miscellaneous. Establishing creative solutions for those who believe in natural and holistic methods for staying healthy, and are willing to cover the cost of their own vitamins and wellness regemines, and only need healthcare for a catastrophic event. There are currently no alternatives for this slice of the public if they’re over the age of 30. And yet, there’s an increasing number each year who fall into this particular niche. An effective healthcare plan should find ways to grow this niche.

If we’re willing to find common ground in these specific areas, and are open to comprise, then we should be able to find a path that will lead to bipartisan support for a healthcare overhaul sooner rather than later.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.2Pillars&Gold-mini

Overdose Quick Response Team | Saving Lives During Opioid Crisis

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | May 15, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise  

Huntington, West Virginia Mayor Steve Williams spoke with Axios Co-Founder Mike Allen this morning in a conversation with several other concerned leaders – Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Dr. Vanila Singh Chief Medical Officer US Dept HHS – to discuss a pathway for overcoming the pain crisis in America. More than 50 million Americans are battling chronic daily pain.

Mayor Steve Williams is on the front line of the opioid crisis, speaking candidly about his growth in understanding about the size and scope of this devastating disease, stressing that it is indeed a disease rather than a crime. “We can’t arrest our way out of this.”

Williams walked the audience through his journey of understanding. Initially, his strategy had been to tackle the crisis through law enforcement, with a hard on crime approach. “River to jail.” Anyone crossing the Ohio River to sell drugs in Huntington, WV, was going straight to jail. But arresting 200 in 9 days, didn’t change the results. Drug sellers kept coming. Williams was forced to reassess the root cause of the opioid crisis. Addiction is a disease, he eventually determined. Williams explained that Americans have done a superior job at addressing cancer head on by establishing cancer institutes, and dementia by founding Alzheimer institutes, but there are no addiction institutes.

“The epidemic of addiction is the greatest existential threat facing our nation.” ~ Mayor Steve Williams, Huntington, WV

When asked about solutions for getting overdose survivors into treatment, Williams outlined Huntington’s Quick Response Team, a group of four wearing plain clothes, who immediately move into action within 24-72 hours, to help survivors following an overdose.

The Quick Response Team consists of:

  •  Paramedic
  • Law Enforcement Professional
  • Recovery Coach
  • Pastor

QRT’s mission is to:

  • Better their community
  • Instill hope for people struggling with substance abuse
  • Offer Treatment
  • Show vulnerable citizens that their city cares about them

Overdose deaths In Huntington, WV have dropped by 50% since the QRT program was established. Mayor Williams’ ability to define the problem, so that he can solve it, appears to be paying off. His central message at the start of this campaign was,”Everybody, EVERYBODY, had to take ownership.” Medical system. Churches. Schools. ETC.

“If you can name it, then you can own it.” ~Mayor Steve Williams, Huntington, WV

Getting the whole Huntington community to own the crisis resulted in a turning of the tides that changed the outcome, saved lives, and revitalized the community. Excellent small scale example that can be applied in every town and city in America.

Thank you, Mayor Williams!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.2Pillars&Gold-mini

Music’s Effect On Body Chemistry

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | April 27, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

The science of music is spellbinding. Whether we realize it or not, so much in our lives is influenced by music. The impact is usually subliminal. However, once we’re tuned in, it becomes fairly easy to identify our body chemistry responses. And once we know how our neurotransmitters will react to certain songs or music, we can be strategic. We can play specific songs at precise moments to elicit the neurotransmitter responses we need.

For example, every year on September 11, I play “Can’t Cry Hard Enough” by the Williams Brothers (1992) all day long. Over and over and over again, to make sure I never forget. And just like the song promises, I literally can’t cry hard enough. I can’t fathom that there are very many who wouldn’t cry, or feel emotionally distraught, by this heart wrenching work. Male or female. Young or old. Every ethnicity. The words and video images of Bethesda Terrace are also impactful. But it seems that it’s the music – the instruments, the melody, and the harmony – that triggers our body’s chemical reaction. Eyes dripping with tears seems as guaranteed as when peeling an onion.

The songs we choose when we exercise can make a dramatic difference. I have a running soundtrack of top rock favorites that I’ve used for years. The songs are upbeat and fast-paced. They seem ideal. While listening to these, I can run two miles every day. Two miles isn’t very far, I realize this. But running is better exercise than walking, so it seems that my exercise routine is sufficient even though I dream of running a 5K.

I recently had the good fortune of attending a Billy Joel concert in Madison Garden. It was sensational. I left feeling very inspired. A few days later, I went running and decided to listen to “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” Without even realizing it, I ran an extra mile. All I did was keep replaying “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” I never grew tired. Easy. Within three days of maintaining this new song choice, I reached four miles. How is this possible? Especially considering that running four miles to “Scenes from a Italian Restaurant” is easier for me and more enjoyable than running two miles to my original soundtrack. So it’s clear there has to be some sort of science going on for this improbability to occur.

There are many other examples that point to a science phenomenon taking place when we’re listening to music. Retailers have fine-tuned their soundtracks to exploit this. Wegman’s focus is on 80’s top hits, honing in on who’s carrying the wallet. I could shop in Kohl’s for hours because of their exceptional music choices. Interestingly, Barnes & Noble doesn’t have influential listening music that motivates customers to buy, but rather calming, restive instrumentals, making it easy to hang out and read. The objective is clearly to sell B&N coffee. It works.

These tangible anecdotes seem to prove that music does indeed trigger neurotransmitter responses. Test it out and see for yourself. I imagine the chemical reaction can be both positive and negative. I much prefer positive neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline – but apparently some prefer dark and twisted songs that can possibly trigger aggression through body chemicals such as acetylcholine.

The song that literally saved my life when I was under extreme stress and traumatic fear for twelve straight months, believing every single night that I wouldn’t be alive when the sun rose, was “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind & Fire. I played this song every minute of every waking hour (slight hyperbole, but not too far off the mark actually). The song kept me incredibly calm, focused and aware. Over and over and over again, maintaining a trance-like response to a sustained daily threat. It seems as if “fantasy” released the much needed GABA neurotransmitter.

After experiencing these connections, it was interesting to read tonight after Google searching, an amazing article in the The Guardian that confirms the link between music and body chemistry, The science of songs: how does music affect your body chemistry?

“Research has revealed that music holds the keys to your body’s pharmacy, and can promote or suppress the release of these chemicals.” ~John Powell, physicist and author

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Power of Majority | Fighting the Opioid Crisis by Rejecting Sackler Family Name

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report |Perspective | March 21, 2019) –  Money may buy family influence, but the Sackler family will lose all of it’s power when it’s up against an army of millions angered at the wrongful death of nearly 700,000 Americans as a direct result of the Sackler’s aggressive marketing campaign of OxyContin to America’s primary care physicians, along with the intentional misrepresentation of the potential risk of addiction. In Massachusetts last month, the recent public release of the unredacted court documents in a lawsuit brought against eight members of the Sackler family, along with nine employees at Purdue Pharma, has finally shed some much needed light on the Sackler’s willful indifference towards the millions who suffer daily from chronic pain, resulting in a nationwide tragedy, shattering hundreds of thousands of American families.

 Purdue Pharma began manufacturing Oxycontin in the United States in 1996. Initially, it was prescribed to cancer patients, as well as patients who had surgery, and those suffering from chronic back pain. The specialists managing the care of these particular patients were very aware of the potential addiction of OxyContin and kept prescriptions in line with FDA recommendations. In the early 2000’s however, Richard Sackler identified a lucrative path to staggering profitability by aggressively marketing OxyContin to primary care physicians as a solution for any type of pain. The sky was suddenly the limit.

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The Sackler family fortunes totaling over $12 billion, have mushroomed in direct relation to Richard Sackler’s unconscionable marketing campaign that veered dramatically from FDA recommendations. Richard Sackler intentionally honed in on primary care physicians who wouldn’t question Purdue Pharma’s prescription recommendations, both the dose and the frequency. These doctors who weren’t specialists, trusted the enhanced recommendations of the Purdue Pharma reps, who were paid lucrative bonuses when their doctors hit targeted prescription milestones. The doctors were wooed to symposiums at posh resorts. All the typical marketing schemes used to sell upscale consumer products.

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However, OxyContin most assuredly isn’t the same thing as a NordicTrack, and shouldn’t be marketed as such. There’s now a growing movement, in light of this greed motivated annihilation of nearly 700,000, that pharmaceutical profits should be capped, or even prohibited.

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The Sackler’s close ties to the arts, with exquisite galleries heralding the Sackler name, each exuding such inspirational, positive vibes, now seem more like an elaborate mask of deception, covering up a malevolent heart.

The Sackler ties to the most prestigious museums in New York City, London and Beijing may have begun long before OxyContin his pharmacy stockrooms, but this artistic veneer, is in conflict with the hundreds of thousands of deaths that lie beneath the surface of this deceptive wash.

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These fabulous aesthetic pillars in our top cities are relying on the public to support their existence. But how can we possibly visit if the Sackler works, now ornamental symbols of evil and greed, grace these beautiful museum walls. Today, the Tate in London announced it will no longer be accepting any Sackler family donations. the National Portrait Gallery of London banned Sackler money earlier in the week.

The following is the list of Sackler Galleries that should be closed down and replaced:

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We cannot bring back the dead, unfortunately. But we can certainly honor the dead by demanding that the world’s top museums, remove the Sackler Galleries immediately.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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