Tuesday, October 7, 2008



Physicians for a National Health Care Plan -
Over 5,000 US physicians have signed an open letter calling on the presidential candidates and Congress to "stand up for the health of the American people and implement a non-profit, single payer national health insurance system." The letter is being circulated by Physicians for a National Health Program, a single-payer advocacy group. What is radical is not the content of the letter. What is radical is the fact that so many physicians, traditionally a conservative group, are coming out in public support of single payer health care. The strong physician support for this letter, with signers including some of the most prominent names in American medicine, reflects physicians’ growing realization that continued reliance on the private insurance industry is bad for both patients and doctors. The letter’s release follows a survey in the Annals of Internal Medicine this spring that shows 59 percent of U.S. physicians support national health insurance, a jump of 10 percentage points from five years ago.


Ballot Access
- Arkansas holds State Senate elections next month in 18 districts. In 17 of those districts, only one person is on the ballot. Only the 30th district has a contest, which is between a Democrat and a Republican.

Speaking to a crowd in Virginia, John McCain's brother Joe said, "I've lived here for at least 10 years and before that about every third duty I was in either Arlington or Alexandria, up in communist country. " Arlington and Alexandria lean Democratic.


Guardian, UK -
More than 370 young penguins, who were mysteriously washed up on tropical beaches in Brazil, have been airlifted to safety in cooler water. A Hercules military aircraft flew the flightless birds to Pelotas, in south Brazil, where they were released to cheers from a group of spectators. The young birds were among a thousand Magellanic penguins, which have appeared on Brazil's warm north-east shores over the last few months. The other birds either died or were too unhealthy to send back. The healthy penguins, which had been kept at an animal rehabilitation centre in Salvador, north-east Brazil, were flown 1,550 miles south on a plane usually used for transporting military hardware. . . Experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, who helped organize the airlift, hope these older birds will guide young ones south to the Patagonia.

Tree Hugger - In an effort to keep roads relatively clear, the Beijing government has decided to start a car ban like the one it used during the Olympic Games. Starting October 11, roughly a fifth of the city's cars will be kept from the roads on weekdays. Cars whose number plates end with 1 or 6 will be taken off roads on Monday, while those ending with 2 or 7 will be banned on Tuesday, and so on. The government has also said it will limit the registration of new license plates to 100,000 (400,000 are registered every year at current rates), raise the price of parking downtown, and continue developing public transit. . . To compensate drivers, who have already raised many concerns, restricted vehicles will be exempt from one month of vehicle tax and road maintenance fee a year. Drivers who breach the new rules will not enjoy the exemption.


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