Sunday, October 25, 2009

Read 'Zeitoun,' by Dave Eggers - A True Story of Monumental Significance

I just finished reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Eggers is my favorite author and his writing style comes through again for me. He writes a non-fiction story like a novel. It is constantly flowing and moving, like his other books. He weaves the character's background and history into the story, in a way that sounds like it took years of research and conversing with each person in the book.

His great writing sets the stage for a fantastically unbelievable story of what can happen in our country when our government does not serve us. Zeitoun stuck around in New Orleans when Katrina hit, and his accounts of the post-storm happenings gave me the first true sense of what was going on there. The story then weaves in another whole issue: the plight of Arab-Americans in the post 9-11 world. The story reminds me that our government needs to serve and protect us, but also needs to be kept in balance with itself.

The book is a condemnation of what can happen when authority go unchecked and does not serve the people. To me, it is also a reminder of some of the catastrophes that went on while the worst President in our Nation's history was in power.

Please buy this book at McSweeney's or Amazon. Proceeds benefit the Zeitoun Foundation, which funds several organizations working in the New Orleans Area.

More form the NY Times: Book Review - 'Zeitoun,' by Dave Eggers - Review -

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Coca-Cola sponsoring Family Physician's Organization's Massive Harmful Industry Alliance

I guess McDonald's sponsorship wasn't enough. Now the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP):
"We've made a conscious effort to diversify our sources of revenue," Heim said. "This is the first of what we hope will be many Consumer Alliance agreements. We're looking across a broad spectrum. This is just our initial partnership."

Coca-Cola Grant Launches AAFP Consumer Alliance Program -- AAFP News Now -- American Academy of Family Physicians

"Consumer alliance agreements." What kind of stupid term is that? This an "industry" alliance. How dare you call it a "consumer" alliance?
A few years ago the AAFP partnered with McDonald's on its obesity project. Now Coca Cola. Who's next? Frito Lay? So we can have education program on picking which chips are best for you? Mars? So we can educate you on which candy bars to buy?

The AAFP should take the advice of someone Micheal Pollan posted on his
NY Times website:
"Eat foods in inverse proportion to how much it's lobby spends to push it." -Krik Westphal

Meanwhile, some lawmakers are starting to get it: "I don't think that most parents truly appreciate the role soda pop has in causing weight gain," California State Senator Padilla said.

Calif. lawmaker plans hearings on soda-obesity link

I hope the AAFP changes this direction. Substituting one industry (Big Pharma) for another (Big Food) will not help our patients. How many mistakes does it take? First med organizations partnered with the smoking industry. Then (and now) pharmaceutical industries. Now Big food industries. When will we start to reframe what our medication organizations do? How about we start medical organizations that don't rely on industry funding? Join the National Physicians Alliance.