:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Tuesday, July 29, 2003  

Congo's at war because of their rich resources of gold, diamonds, and the mineral calamot, which is used in cell phones. Could my cell phone use be contributing to the death of over 3 million people? At least the next diamond I buy will be less likely to benefit warring factions. Wonder when I'll actually have enough money to buy a diamond?

posted by Rahat | 7/29/2003 10:16:00 PM | (0) comments |


posted by Rahat | 7/29/2003 10:10:00 PM | (0) comments |


posted by Rahat | 7/29/2003 09:49:00 PM | (0) comments |


posted by Rahat | 7/29/2003 09:44:00 PM | (0) comments |


posted by Rahat | 7/29/2003 09:39:00 PM | (0) comments |



"What I believe is now essential for all those who are aware both of the danger and of the potential of the time is to plunge into the work of serious transformation that will fuse together profound inner work with passionate external radical action. This I call "Mystical Activism." As I write in my recent book, A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Ramakrishna, "It is crystal clear I think to anyone who sees the depth of the global predicament that we are in, that there can be only one way out now---the way of 'mystical activism'. An activism that is not fed by mystical wisdom and stamina will wither in the fire of persistent and persistently exhausting disappointment and defeat and tend to create as many new problems as it tries to solve. A mysticism that is not committed to action within the world on behalf of the poor, of the oppressed and of nature itself condemns itself to futility at a time in which so much is at stake. Only the highest spiritual wisdom and tireless sacred passion for all of life united with pragmatic, radical action on all possible fronts can now help us preserve the planet."

-- Andrew Harvey

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/29/2003 08:41:00 AM | (0) comments |

Saturday, July 26, 2003  

The Hardest Hit

Hispanics are disproportionately affected by AIDS and HIV yet are less likely to be tested or seek treatment than non-Hispanics, according to a report released Thursday...While Hispanics are increasingly affected by AIDS, blacks are among the hardest hit. The report found the black community accounted for 54 percent of the new HIV infections in 2002, while whites represented 26 percent of new cases.

Also, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study found that "almost one in six black Medicare beneficiaries 65 and older did not fill at least one prescription in 2001 because it was unaffordable. The number for whites was only one in 15... The study found that poor, elderly Medicare beneficiaries -- incomes for a single person below the poverty level of $8,590 a year -- are nearly three times as likely as seniors with incomes above 200 percent of poverty to go without a prescription because of cost. Nearly 40 percent of elderly black beneficiaries lived in poverty in 2001, compared with about 10 percent of whites."

"Helen Gaskins, a 71-year-old African-American from East Orange, said her four medication prescriptions total about $500 a month. Gaskins, a widow, suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and colon problems. She must take daily insulin shots for her diabetes and that medication alone runs her more than $50 a month. There is no way she can afford to fill all the prescriptions at once, she said. So Gaskins ends up putting off one medication until she has the money. Other times, she obtains a lesser amount -- that is she talks her pharmacist into giving her a 15-day supply of high blood pressure pills, for instance, instead of the prescribed 30. She even admits to sometimes cutting her pills in half to "help them last," although doctors certainly advise against this."

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/26/2003 12:14:00 AM | (0) comments |


Harm Reduction in NJ!

In the US, New Jersey has the 5th highest rate of adult HIV, the 3rd highest rate of pediatric HIV, one of the highest rates of HIV among women, and more than 22,000 of NJ children have lost their parents to AIDS. If you're from NJ, please check out the Drug Policy Alliance Action Center and send a message to support Assembly Bill 3645 which allows for the sale of syringes in pharmacies without a prescription, and removes syringes from the state’s drug paraphernalia law so they can be provided to injection drug users by doctors and other public health professionals. By doing this the hands of New Jersey’s doctors and public health professionals will be untied so they can implement effective strategies to prevent injection-related HIV and hepatitis. This will cost New Jersey nothing and save thousands of lives, and millions of dollars in medical costs. Sign up to join the Personal Action Center of the DPA Action Center and you can add a personal message to the letter that is sent on to NJ state legislators.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/26/2003 12:06:00 AM | (0) comments |


Antiretroviral resistance up to 10%

"Dutch researchers have found that 10% of newly diagnosed patients with HIV in Europe are resistant to at least one antiretroviral drug, it was reported at the international AIDS society conference on treatment and pathogenesis in Paris on July 13-16... But Robert Grant, from the University of California at San Francisco who led a similar study in the USA told The Lancet: 'We should not let the resistance problem eclipse the larger, more compelling problem, which is that many people with HIV die around the world without having any treatment. We must not let fear of resistance undermine our will to treat and be treated.'"

It's good to hear someone stress that.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/26/2003 12:01:00 AM | (0) comments |

Friday, July 25, 2003  

The next G-8 summit will be held in Georgia in June 2004, states the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Some "unbiased" reporting: "The three-day event will bring together the leaders of the world's eight major industrial democracies, diplomatic missions from dozens of other nations, thousands of journalists, and probably thousands of protesters with an international reputation for violence." (WHAT? THIS is how protestors are portrayed?)

"The Department of Homeland Security will designate the summit a special security event, which makes available the most sophisticated intelligence and security assets the country has to offer..." (Warning to protestors -- BIG brother will be watching. It's great that the billions of dollars we put into this department are being used to spy on and "control" protestors).

"Over the last few years, the economic summits have drawn demonstrators who view the G-8 as a political body whose members develop world policies at the expense of poorer nations..." (and we must continue to freely develop world policies at the expense of poorer nations, so the meeting is being held where protestors cannot even voice their opinions -- see picture of Sea Island)

"...the G-8 has become the fireside council meeting of the global village and a vehicle for the American president to put his priorities before his international counterparts." Sounds like a true global village to me. There's a forum on the paper's website for thoughts on the summit being held in Georgia. Some interesting comments below:

--> "Can't wait to see the protestors use violence as a form of 'free speech'."
--> "Unlike many sites previously chosen for the G8 Conferences, this feature should make 'crowd control' [read that as anarchists/protestors/people with nothing better to do] somewhat less complicated."

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/25/2003 03:19:00 PM | (0) comments |

Thursday, July 24, 2003  

Guess who I saw tonight?

After a long day at work, my dear friend Erica and I got tickets, and headed out to Wolftrap, a fabulous national park that also has an amphitheater, in northern VA. Man, sometimes I don't realize how much music is a part of my life, and how happy it makes me feel. Tracy Chapman lifted me up, and really moved me with her music. Her sounds are from the heart and from the stories of the downtrodden but hopeful. Her music is very different from Ani Difranco's, but both of them really know how to write and sing "love songs" and what I like to call "tell it like it is" songs. Also, the Filene Center of Wolftrap, where the concert was held, is so beautiful and added to the ambience of the evening -- it's made completely of Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine wood, and has a roof but is open to the lawns and trees on the sides. The center is housed in the middle of Wolftrap National Park, and Tracy Chapman said she was so happy to be there because she could walk from soundcheck (before the show started) to the brook and the trees and "enjoy the insects". I haven't heard the album "Crossroads" and she sang some songs from it -- thought i'd share some lyrics from one of the tracks on it:


People say it doesn't exist
'Cause no one would like to admit
That there is a city underground
Where people live everyday
Off the waste and decay
Off the discards of their fellow man

Here in subcity life is hard
We can't receive any government relief
I'd like to please give Mr. President my honest regards
For disregarding me

They say there's too much crime in these city streets
My sentiments exactly
Government and big business hold the purse strings
When I worked I worked in the factories
I'm at the mercy of the world
I guess I'm lucky to be alive

They say we've fallen through the cracks
They say the system works
But we won't let it
I guess they never stop to think
We might not just want handouts
But a way to make an honest living
Living this ain't living

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/24/2003 10:27:00 PM | (0) comments |

Tuesday, July 22, 2003  

Radiohead album titles and yellowcake emotions

It's been a while since the last post on this site. I've been super-busy preparing for the AMSA Chapter Officers Conference that occured this past weekend -- a training conference of 180+ student leaders at medical schools around the country. It was an amazing and invigorating weekend, and i'll try to comment on it more a little later. And Rahat, pretty much the only other person who posts on this site right now, is in her very busy dermatology rotation (i think i talked to her yesterday when she was done at 1 pm).

But more importantly -- some quick humor. I've been listening to Radiohead's new album "Hail to the Thief" nonstop for the past few hours and I'm hooked. Which brings me to McSweeney's website of lists. Found this -- Radiohead Song Titles Vetoed by Thom Yorke. It's hilarious! Some titles -- "There, there, it's not a tumor", and "Everything Stowed in its Upright, Locked Position"! Two other fun McSweeneys lists I found interesting: Emotions/Bodily Responses I Experience When Reading About the Controversy Surrounding President Bush's State of the Union Address in Which He Falsely Stated That Iraq Had Tried to Secure "Yellowcake" Uranium from Niger -- the list consists of three emotions "Anger, Disbelief, Hunger" hahaha! Also, Recent Unpatriotic Thoughts: Canadian Edition -- really funny!

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/22/2003 11:02:00 PM | (0) comments |

Monday, July 07, 2003  

Finally, Funding for Neglected Diseases

Some good news came from Medecins Sans Frontieres recently. They have launched a new body called the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) which will work in conjunction with public health agencies in developing countries to improve drug treatment for pharmaceutically unfashionable diseases such as sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and Chagas. In the past 25 years, 1% of the drugs developed have been specifically made to tackle these illnesses despite the fact that such tropical diseases represent 90% of the global disease burden. The DNDi effort is being backed by research agencies in Brazil, France, India, Malaysia and Kenya, along with the World Bank and WHO with an investment of $250 million dollars over 12 years. According to Reuters, "Its success depends on pharmaceutical companies allowing its scientists access to their compound libraries, expertise and research facilities, as well as on public and private donations." Let's hope this happens successfully!

posted by Rahat | 7/07/2003 09:01:00 PM | (0) comments |

Wednesday, July 02, 2003  

Touch me and I'll take your military money away

Americans probably don't even realize to what lengths their government goes to bat for them, even when we commit a booboo. Let's say for example, I was feeling a little bored so I hopped on a plane, went to another country and incited um, mass violence and genocide. Some might think that I ought to be prosecuted by an international court or something silly like that. Luckily however, as I'm an American citizen I don't have to worry about such annoying repercussions. Because if any country tries to prosecute me, my government will sanction them. So far 35 countries, including 6 seeking NATO membership will be denied further military aid on this basis, with almost 50 nations declared ineligible for military assistance altogether. After all it would be unfair to let those nasty little dogooders in the international community use excuses like atrocious crime to persecute American citizens for political reasons.

Somehow, Human Rights Watch doesn't agree and has attempted to debunk some of the Administration's reasons to justify its opposition to the International Criminal court.

posted by Rahat | 7/02/2003 09:18:00 AM | (0) comments |

Tuesday, July 01, 2003  


This week a Supreme Court decision on affirmative action was made – allowing schools to use race in admissions decisions to support the recruitment of a diverse student body. This means so much for the future physician workforce and the equal care of patients.

There's a story in the Village Voice this week on the Supreme Court's "go with the flow" attitude, along with some interesting history about the Court.

And an op-ed in the Boston Globe about Bush turning the White House into The Apollo (he invited black musicians to perform to celebrate Black Music Month). The author comments "He put blacks folks on the turntable and spun them into soulful senselessness" because Bush equated affirmative action with quotas, and blacks still let him get away with that. In a public statement, our president said ''Quota systems that use race to include or exclude people from higher education and the opportunities it offers are divisive, unfair, and impossible to square with the Constitution.'' He actually made this wrong statement on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr! Later, after the Supreme Court made its decision, he acted like he was in favor of affirmative action all along and said, "I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our nation's campuses.... Race is a reality in American life.'' The author concludes:

African-American ministers need to think about this the next time Bush wants to come to a church. Entertainers need to think about this the next time they are asked to sing at the White House.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/01/2003 11:21:00 PM | (0) comments |

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