THE NEW YORKER: HEALTH CARE

The liberal senior editor of the liberal New Yorker Magazine, suggests in the current issue that liberals disillusioned by the health care bill – MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann calls it a ‘betrayal’ – are too gloomy by half.

In part:

When Congress reconvenes a few days from now, it will be on the cusp of enacting a sweeping reform of American health insurance and health care that could be, as the President put it on Christmas Eve, just after the Senate passed its version of the bill, ‘the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the nineteen-thirties and the most important reform of our health-care system since Medicare passed in the nineteen-sixties.’ Perhaps he was exaggerating, but not by much. Jonathan Cohn, the New Republic’s health-care correspondent, calls the bill ‘the most ambitious piece of domestic legislation in a generation-a bill that will extend insurance coverage to tens of millions of Americans, strengthen insurance for many more, and start refashioning American medicine so that it is more efficient.’ Paul Krugman, the Times‘ resident Nobel laureate (and a frequent Obama critic), calls the bill ‘a great achievement’ that ‘establishes the principle-even if it falls somewhat short in practice-that all Americans are entitled to essential health care.’ Princeton’s Paul Starr, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history ‘The Social Transformation of American Medicine,’ calls it ‘the single biggest measure on behalf of low-income Americans in more than forty years.’

☞ The piece certainly acknowledges the negatives, too. But I’d urge you to read the whole thing if you share what he calls ‘the subdued, sometimes even angry, mood among many of President Obama’s wavering, if not quite erstwhile, supporters.’

GREEN-LIPPED MUSSELS

Jim Roberts: ‘Jane Brody, New York Times personal health columnist, had an observation (March 2006) similar to yours.’

I’ll start with the easiest of the three challenges to my current life: the daily consumption of three capsules of glucosamine (1,500 milligrams) and chondroitin sulfate (1,200 milligrams). I’ve been using this product, more or less religiously, since it transformed my 11-year-old spaniel from an arthritic wreck into a companion with puppylike agility, giving him nearly six more active years. Since the dog had no idea what the capsules were for, or even that he was getting them (they were hidden in a meatball he swallowed whole), I knew there was no placebo effect.

☞ Well, I’ve been taking G&C for a long time, and as I wrote here, it seems to have worked for me, too. Early results for the mussels are similar, but of course there is a large element of voodoo in my analysis.

But at least as regards dogs and glucosamine, could it all be coincidence?

Gil: ‘Several years ago someone recommended Glucosamine for my daughter’s large dog. She was having so much trouble climbing the deck steps she was not eating. (Of course, they started feeding her at the bottom of the steps.) After a couple of weeks of the Glucosamine, she resumed climbing the steps. Dogs don’t understand double blind studies.’

DROPBOX – AND SUGAR SYNC

David Davis: ‘I absolutely love Dropbox. It is a dream come true. I have three desktops and a notebook (all Mac) and an iPhone and it is just what I have been looking for!’

Mark Knapp: ‘Yes, Dropbox is great, but I don’t think I would ever rely on just one service to protect my data. The Dropbox server goes down and your desktop HD corrupts and your laptop is stolen. It COULD happen. What I’d say is more likely to happen is Dropbox’s syncing logic decides an older version of a file is the latest version and overwrites the current file with an old one and propagates that out to all of your machines. Dropbox keeps previous versions of files, but during this blip, it mis-recognized something and you lose the current version of something. To protect against this, you can use multiple services for backing up / syncing data. I use a combination of the following to sync and back up data: Dropbox for syncing and keeping backups of synced files; SugarSync for syncing and keeping backups of synced files; Jungle Disk for backing up files primarily. They all keep previous versions of files. And at least twice, I’ve had one of the services hiccup and had to go back to another service to retrieve a previous version of a file.’

☞ When I asked what could possibly require such security – is he CIA? – and how glitchlessly the three systems play together, Mark pretended not to be CIA (but why wouldn’t he?), and elaborated:

‘My data’s not super secret or super important, it’s just important to me. If a file is lost, then I have to spend time recreating that file (if that’s even possible). I like my data to be (#1) accessible and (#2) protected.

‘Any one of the services below can satisfy #1 by syncing the files across multiple computers. I travel a fair bit and like having current versions of files always on my laptop without having to copy the files there before leaving. And then when I get back, the files are immediately current on my workstation. No copying. Syncing in this way has nearly completely eliminated any need I had for USB flash drives. I currently use SugarSync as my primary syncing tool. It’s a toss up between Dropbox and SugarSync, but SugarSync offers some important advantages at the moment: 1) I can specify folders to sync and 2) I can specify which folders sync to which computers; it’s not all or nothing. It works great almost all of the time. I also use the free version of Dropbox for sharing folders with friends and providing public download links to files I have synced.

‘Arguably, the syncing tool provides #2 from above as well as #1. SugarSync and Dropbox both store the synced files on their servers and store multiple versions, but I don’t like relying on only one service to back up all of my data. So, as a secondary measure for all data that is synced in #1, I use a tool whose primary function is backing up files: Jungle Disk. Jungle Disk backs up my synced files and keeps all versions of those files. If the syncing tool (SugarSync or Dropbox) makes a mistake somewhere and removes a file I need or if I need a file older than what the syncing tool keeps, then I can go back as far as I need to grab the file from Jungle Disk. I also use Jungle Disk to back up all of my photos and things (which will end up being more expensive than Mozy once I get a certain amount of data backed up), but I prefer Jungle Disk. The data is actually stored on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage, which I personally feel is about as reliable as you can get.

‘I primarily use a Windows XP desktop PC that has all three tools installed. They play nicely together and each has settings to use only a part of the available upload bandwidth. I also use a Vista laptop that has no problems with all three installed.’

 

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