The Magic of Pyrgi, Greece

On the island of Chios, Greece- Travel, on any level and in any place, can often be a life-altering experience. Merely breaking your daily routine and seeing unfamiliar people and vegetation can freshen the mind better than most forms of therapy.

Once you allow yourself to cast aside as much baggage as you can, you move into new places where you have the potential to become a new person, either for a moment or forever. All of this is a preface to a description of what happened to me and my wife Roberta when we visited the town of Pyrgi on the Greek island of Chios.

There are rare moments during travel when something magical and mystical happens. I think a person would be lucky to have two or three of these moments during a lifetime of travel. When Roberta and I entered the town of Pyrgi we were immediately immersed into a world where children of all ages play unattended in the streets, running with more joy than will ever be experienced by any American child in a lifetime.

Lunar New Year of China, Vietnam, and Korea

Asian Cultural Center of Vermont (ACCVT) presents the 23nd annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (Zhongqiu Jie) which is celebrated in China, Korea, Vietnam and other places around the world. Celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival with crafts, songs, food, taiji, paper lanterns, Chinese exercises, the Korean rope tug and more. Hear the story of The Goddess of the Moon, Chang’e; the great archer Hou-Yi; and the Elixir of Immortality. Then watch the harvest moon rise. The celebration will start with a pot-luck (bring a dish to share).

Questions for Sep 19 Brattleboro SelectBoard Meeting

The SelectBoard meeting scheduled for Tue, Sep. 19 promises to be of great significance … Details regarding attendance are here:

The Sep. 5 SelectBoard meeting recessed to Sep. 7 due to technical difficulties. Near the end of the meeting which lasted beyond 11:00pm SelectBoard member Elizabeth “McLoughlin motioned to have a discussion of the transition of care and intergovernmental coordination, interagency coordination by the town staff in recognition of consultation with the town attorney.” “McLoughlin discussed rescinding her motion. The motion was not rescinded” and the “motion passed, as presented. 3-2 (Goodnow and Reichsman opposed)” Case, Quipp and McLoughlin in favor. Minutes pp. 10-11 in the Backup Materials

COVID Update Are We Too Complacent?

COVID will always be with us and most of us have learned to live with it. Unfortunately, people continue to die from the disease at a rate of 255 deaths per day in the U.S. Hospitalizations for the disease are up 8.7% and the death rate has increased by 4.5%. The U.S. full vaccination rate is 68%.

Mask-wearing continues to be rare, but it seems to me that a few more people are starting to mask up again and I am even considering if it makes sense to wear a mask in crowded public places now that a new variant is on the scene.

Many health care policy experts who also serve as talking heads tend to operate in the political realm as well. Too many of them are minimizing the threat of COVID and they are doing a disservice to the public by not urging more active prevention measures. The fact that the federal government has declared an end to the public health emergency doesn’t help.

Audio Issues with BCTV Channels?

Has anyone had problems with the audio on the BCTV channels (both of them) over the last several days?   I’ve contacted both BCTV and Comcast with no response from either.  Have been unable to get any TV audio on BCTV for several days,  but do get it on all other TV channels.  Happens both on “live” stuff and on replays via the BCTV schedules.  Not intermittent problems – constant silence.  Am I the only one?  (OK online, but that’s not convenient; lots of important stuff going on, hate to miss it.)

Medicare Drug Negotiation Is A Sham

If you want a good example of meaningless political activity and wishful thinking look to the current announcement that there will be negotiations for price cuts for 10 drugs in the Medicare drug program. People need to be reminded that Medicare D, the drug program created many years ago, was a gift to the pharmaceutical industry and did little to help seniors struggling to pay for medication. It has increased the profits of drug companies and that is no accident.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 mandated that the federal government negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry and now the Biden administration is trying to get PR mileage because they are going to “try” to negotiate to lower prices for 10 drugs commonly prescribed for seniors. I say try because big pharma is already lining up all of their legal teams to fight the negotiation process. It will be hard for the drug company CEO’s to buy another vacation home if profits are not maximized.

Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – September 2023

Here’s the September 2023 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them.  Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT and MA seem to be doing weekly updates, near the end of the week. Variant updates and NH updates are every two weeks now.

Note that MA stats are the only dashboard that has remained steady and unchanged.  Most reliable of the three, in my humble opinion.

Supreme Court Poised To Make The Sackler Family Accountable

The Sackler family (primarily the Machiavellian Richard Sackler) the people who owned Purdue Pharma the company that promoted and pushed Oxycontin, have evaded criminal prosecution so far. They became big time drug dealers and pimps with a stable of sales whores as they created the opioid epidemic that persists.

A 2020 New York Times article cites a study by the Economic Research Bureau noting that, “And 65 percent of the growth in overdose death rates between 1996 and 2017 could be attributed to the introduction and marketing of OxyContin.” Oxycontin was put on the market in 1996 and it was aggressively marketed by people who showered doctors and other prescribers with gifts and a lot of misinformation to persuade them to give the drug to their patients.

The Sacklers were directly involved in all of the unethical and immoral tactics that surrounded the marketing of Oxycontin. All accounts make it clear that all they cared about was making a lot of money and they cared little for the lives they were ruining in the process.

Medicare’s Death Spiral

Americans who rely on Medicare for comprehensive health insurance are being assaulted by the forces of the American insurance industry. It’s nothing new. In 2003 the Medicare program was revamped and a new product, Medicare Advantage (MA), was created.

MA was created to privatize the Medicare insurance program and it is succeeding. People are lured in by low premiums and add-ons such as gym memberships and other lifestyle benefits. But MA is not the kind of insurance you want when you get sick. It works a lot like a managed care plan, meaning it is not portable from state to state and a lot of claims end up being denied that would have been easily accepted by traditional Medicare (TA).

What Do Tiggers Like?

The Tigger character from Winnie the Pooh is definitely based on life, and here’s how I know.  We have these two kittens, you see, and being relatively new to the planet, they’re curious about everything, especially food.  If food appears, no matter what the food is, both kittens (but especially youngest) have to come and investigate.  And this is how we discovered that tiggers like…