Archive for 26 febrero 2011

El problema creciente de bebes drogadictos en Florida.

26 febrero, 2011

‘Welcome to the Oxy-tourism Capital’<

Published: Friday, February 25, 2011 at 2:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 8:31 p.m.

( page all of 4 ) EDITORIAL: “The Sarasota Heradl Tribune” (Sarasota, Florida)

The reasons for Florida to implement the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program — despite Gov. Rick Scott’s opposition — are painfully apparent.

For instance, recently reported data show that the number of newborns with drug-withdrawal syndrome continued to increase last year.

This week, the Orlando Sentinel reported that, in the first half of 2010, Florida officials recorded 635 such cases. The frequency of reported cases during those six months was, according to the most recent data available, on pace to exceed the numbers from 2009 — when nearly 1,000 babies were treated for the painful symptoms linked to withdrawal. From 2006 to 2009, Florida experienced a 173 percent increase in such cases.

The state’s numbers don’t explain the cause of the newborns’ withdrawal symptoms, but many doctors believe that the increase in cases is linked to the rising rates of prescription-drug abuse and addiction.

Most mothers are not tested for the presence of such drugs, but the doctors’ hypothesis is supported by the rising number of deaths and addiction cases tied to powerful, addictive narcotics. Arrests, court cases, news reports and anecdotal evidence about the availability of such drugs from so-called pill mills and on the black market further support that conclusion.

‘The babies cry inconsolably’

Last year, a Herald-Tribune news report described the physical pain, emotional effects and financial impacts of such cases:

“The babies cry inconsolably in high pitches, while tremors make their limbs quiver like vibrating strings. Their open mouths drift, unable to find their bottles, until they do, and then they suck so much they throw up. Nurses wrap them tightly in blankets to keep them from hurting themselves as their muscles tighten and jerk in spasms.

“In Sarasota Memorial’s intensive care nursery, these infants are now up to half the population at times. They are born addicted to painkillers or the painkiller substitute methadone — collateral damage in a national epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

“‘They’re trying to come out of their skin,’ said Judy Cavallaro, a nurse who oversees the hospital’s nursery, where the withdrawing babies are sometimes first spotted and then sent to intensive care. ‘It’s traumatic for everyone.'”

And expensive for the state. Each baby’s stay in neonatal intensive care costs between $15,000 and $20,000, a bill often delivered to taxpayers through Medicaid.

Prescription drugs contributed to the deaths of about 2,500 Floridians of all ages during each of the past several years, with the numbers rising annually, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. Experts believe that the number of drug-related deaths is substantially understated, in part because medical examiners don’t conduct autopsies after all deaths.

In our region, the leaders of 12 area hospitals and county health departments, under the auspices of the County Health Improvement Partnership, have launched a “Campaign for Responsible Prescriptions.”

The coalition will sponsor events at which health care providers will be taught how to identify addiction problems and to direct patients to pain specialists or substance-abuse experts. Last weekend, the coalition conducted training for about 100 doctors and other providers; during the gathering, the coalition honored state Sen. Mike Fasano, a Republican, for his work to pass legislation that created the Drug Monitoring Program and enacted much-needed regulation of clinics that dispense excessive amounts of painkillers — at huge profits.

The coalition deserves credit for its campaign, but its members acknowledge that it is not enough: They strongly support a statewide database. And they are backed by legitimate pain-management clinics, public and private hospitals, key members of the pharmacological industry, a long list of health-care providers, drug-treatment specialists and law enforcement officials.

A raid on pill mills in Southeast Florida this week underscored the magnitude of the problem. Federal, state and local agents arrested clinic operators, many of whom have no medical background, for dispensing enormous quantities of narcotics — on a cash-only basis — and soliciting clients via phone calls and the Internet.

Florida’s failure to implement the Legislature-approved Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which would include a trackable database designed to flag the dispensing of large quantities of narcotics such as OxyContin, has even drawn criticism from officials in other Southeastern states.

The critics cite the fact that residents of other states routinely drive to Florida to buy prescription narcotics, and then return to sell those drugs. Authorities have found drugs dispensed in Florida at the scenes of numerous deaths throughout the Southeast.

Kentucky’s lieutenant governor is so angry that he recently threatened to buy a billboard, near the Florida border, that would project this message: “Welcome to the Oxy-tourism Capital of the World.”

Scott stands opposed

Despite the pain and suffering experienced by Floridians and residents of other states — and the embarrassment of Florida — Gov. Scott has proposed eliminating the Drug Monitoring Program. Scott said the program was ineffective, even though it hasn’t been implemented, and cited concerns about potential costs.

Fortunately, even some skeptics are becoming supporters. Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Wednesday that he not only wants to retain and implement the program, but would be willing to fund it with taxpayers’ funds if necessary. “We will get this funded, because it’s a major problem,” Haridopolos said. “It is destroying people’s lives. And I think we need to make a vigilant stand and lead and make sure that Florida is no longer the pill mill capital of America. And if it takes private money or public money, we should pay for it …”

Exactly. Implementing and funding the program — and improving the enabling legislation and regulations — are worth the effort, the cost and a showdown with Scott.


Para empezar a vivir, Pablo Milanes.

23 febrero, 2011


23 febrero, 2011

“En Silencio ha Tenido que Ser”, Jose Marti.

21 febrero, 2011

Ohio union protesters

18 febrero, 2011

Madison, Wisconsin, United States.

17 febrero, 2011

Public Employee Union Protests Spread From Wisconsin to Ohio

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Economista cubano critica reformas de Raul.

17 febrero, 2011

Reuters | La Habana

Actualizado miércoles 16/02/2011 19:46 horas

Un economista oficial reclama al Gobierno cubano menos planificación y más mercado

Cuba debe dar más espacio al mercado y mayor autonomía a las empresas estatales para que las reformas económicas emprendidas por Raúl Castro tengan éxito, dijo un economista local.

Según Pavel Vidal, investigador del Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana de la Universidad de La Habana, en una entrevista a la revista católica Espacio Laical, que Cuba debe superar el modelo de planificación centralizada.

Pavel Vidal. | ArchivoPavel Vidal. | Archivo

“Una transformación importante a favor de la eficiencia es otorgarle más autonomía a las empresas. O para decirlo con otras palabras: cambiar el modelo de planificación. Si vamos a intentar perfeccionar lo que no ha funcionado por décadas, entonces no llegaremos a ningún lado”, dijo.

“El cambio del modelo de planificación debe pasar por otorgarle un mayor espacio al mercado y a las señales que éste brinda en los precios, los tipos de cambio, y sobre la diversidad y complejidad de la demanda”, añadió en la entrevista publicada en el sitio de Espacio Laical

El comentario llega cuando Cuba debate una hoja de ruta de las reformas de Castro, que incluyen una drástica reducción del tamaño del Estado y la expansión del pequeño sector privado.

El Gobierno dice que la “actualización” del modelo económico es impostergable para salvar el sistema socialista instalado tras la revolución de Fidel Castro en 1959. Pero las reformas, advierten, no implican abrazar el mercado.

El Estado retendrá por ejemplo el control de unas 3.700 empresas estatales que dominan la economía cubana y donde según economistas predomina la mala administración.

Vidal sostiene que para mejorar su eficiencia, esas empresas necesitarán una inyección de capital extranjero y políticas de estímulo salarial, que actualmente están limitadas por el sistema de planificación centralizada.

El economista dijo que Cuba necesita asesoramiento internacional para encarar las reformas.

“La economía se va a mover hacia un terreno desconocido sobre el cual no tenemos experiencias recientes. Se necesita formar nuevas capacidades en las instituciones con vistas a enfrentar lo nuevo que se avecina y poder gestionar exitosamente el cambio estructural y el ajuste”, dijo.

Las reformas económicas que transformarán a una de las últimas economías estilo soviético del planeta deberán ser aprobadas en abril por un congreso del gobernante Partido Comunista.

“El”: Feria del libro en La Habana 2011.

16 febrero, 2011

La fiesta del libro en La Habana

Iván García | La Habana

Actualizado miércoles 16/02/2011 15:07 horas 

Hasta el 20 de febrero, la fortaleza San Carlos de La Cabaña es sede de la Feria Internacional del Libro, anualmente celebrada en La Habana. Después, durante un mes se extenderá a otras provincias cubanas.

Desde su estreno, en 1992, la afluencia de público ha sido espectacular. Como promedio, unas 80 mil personas visitan diariamente el recinto, antiguo fortín militar, y una de las prisiones más severas en los primeros años de la revolución.

Ahora todo es diferente. Los antiguos pabellones carcelarios se han trasformado en concurridos pabellones, donde editoriales latinoamericanas y europeas venden libros como perros calientes. El indice de analfabetismo en la isla es prácticamente nulo.

“En tiempos de crisis, cuando en Europa ha caído la venta de libros, es saludable ver en un país pobre, gente con una avidez increíble por la lectura”

Cuando La Cabaña abrió sus portones, el viernes 10, una avalancha impresionante de personas colmó los pabellones españoles y mexicanos, entre otros. A José Ferrero, representante de una casa editora española y por tercera vez en la Feria, le ha llamado la atención la gran demanda de libros de cualquier temática, en particular novelas y cuentos infantiles.

“En tiempos de crisis, cuando en Europa ha caído la venta de libros, es saludable ver en un país pobre, gente con una avidez increíble por la lectura“, señala Ferrero, mientras observa una extensa fila que espera su turno para visitar el stand de España.

Otras editoras no pueden decir lo mismo. Los libreros de temas políticos cubanos charlan de forma relajada en las frescas tardes habaneras. Los visitantes no parecían interesados en los tomos con las reflexiones de Fidel Castro o su obra sobre la guerra de guerrillas en la Sierra Maestra.

Los pabellones de Venezuela, Bolivia e Irán también estaban desolados y sus representantes, con caras de circunstancia, miraban el ajetreo de público que asomaba su cabeza y al ver los títulos, huían a sitios con ofertas más atractivas.

Los libros exhibidos por los países de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA), a quienes se ha dedicado esta feria, son ladrillos políticos con olor a panfleto y un diseño impresentable. A pesar de comercializarse en pesos cubanos, su venta era ínfima.

La gente en Cuba esta hastiada de los libros de contenido político. Son ya 52 años de un discurso con marcado tinte ideológico ha provocado que los cubanos se refugien en temas más refrescantes.

Y eso es lo que acontece en la última Feria. Los niños han sido los grandes vencedores. Junto a sus padres, salían del recinto cargados con ejemplares de vivos colores y llamativas ilustraciones.

La venta de esos libros es en divisas. Caros para un país con un salario promedio de 10 dólares al mes. Así y todo, se venden a granel. Roberto, 34 años, ingeniero, fue acompañado de su esposa e hijo. “Gastamos 28 dólares, pero valió la pena. El resto del año, en La Habana no se consiguen libros infantiles tan bonitos y de buena calidad”.

En Cuba, las ventas de libros suelen ser altas. No son caros. Pero su calidad, variedad y contenido no cumple las expectativas de lectores exigentes. El gobierno censura a los autores que considera ‘contrarrevolucionarios’, como los laureados Mario Vargas Llosa y Guillermo Cabrera Infante.

Ocasionalmente, algunos escritores prohibidos y textos no acorde con la ideología del régimen logran burlar la censura. La gente está a la caza de esos ‘gazapos’.

En el patio trasero del fortín, donde antaño estuvo el patíbulo de la colonia y la República, capitalista y socialista, niños, adolescentes y jóvenes se la pasaron de los mejor, leyendo los libros recién comprados, sentados en el suave césped o en muros al lado de antiguos cañones.

Marchas masivas en Italia contra Berlusconi.

15 febrero, 2011

Women and Men Demonstrate for Dignity – “More Than a Million Round the World”
Gelmini: “Just a few trendy lefties”. Finocchiaro: “Come and see”. Anti-premier chants: “Resign”. Protest march outside Montecitorio

MILAN – Women and men all over Italy – and elsewhere – took to the streets for dignity with the slogan “If not now, when?” Demonstrations were held in 230 towns and cities up and down the country “to demand greater respect for freedom and women’s rights”. There were no party or trade union banners but there was a specific call for prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to resign.

ROME – In Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, tens of thousands of demonstrators – 500,000 according to the organisers – gathered in front of a pink podium bearing the message: “It’s time for every woman and man to step forward. We want a country that respects women”. There were repeated shouts of “Resign” directed at the prime minister. Actress Isabella Ragonese got the demonstration under way: “I’m just a little girl. I didn’t take part in the women’s movement. I’m a worker on short-term contracts, I’m a mum, I’m a shop assistant, I’m an office worker. Today, I’m throwing it all in. Today, on 13 February, I’m taking to the streets”, she said to applause. Then the platform led the “outraged women’s cry” after a minute and a half’s silence: “If not now, when?” The packed square responded: “Now!” Democratic Party (PD) top brass was present in Rome but the party secretary and parliamentarians kept away from the platform and mixed with the crowd. “Berlusconi should have gone ages ago and that’s what these demonstrations want him to do” said Pier Luigi Bersani. Future and Freedom for Italy (FLI) deputy Giulia Bongiorno spoke from the platform: “I’m not here to criticise hard-core partying. I’m here to criticise hard-core partying as a way of selecting the ruling class”, she said in her enthusiastically applauded speech. “Anyone who remains silent in this situation can turn into an accomplice. This square is not full of moralists, as has been claimed in the past few days. That’s just a way of belittling your presence here. They’re scared of you”. A barrage of catcalls was unleashed when Giuliano Ferrara’s name was mentioned. Many speakers defended Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano. The Rome demonstration closed with a headcount (“There are more than a million of us around the world”, said actress Angela Finocchiaro) and a speech from Francesca Izzo, the university teacher who planned the initiative. “There’s no going back from this square”, she said. “Our next appointment is on 8 March and then we are committed to organising a national convention of Italian women, open to men as well, which will enable our voice to be heard”.

MONTECITORIO – There was even an unplanned detour. More than a thousand women broke away from the Piazza del Popolo demonstration and set off on a spontaneous march to the Chamber of Deputies at Palazzo Montecitorio. Demonstrators chanted anti-PM slogans, crossed barriers and reached the door of the Chamber. Some protesters in the group defended escorts. Police and Carabinieri officers moved away demonstrators who left behind about a dozen parcels with references to the law on abortion, assisted procreation and the security package.

MILAN – About 100,000 (according to the organisers) white-scarved demonstrators gathered in a rain-swept Piazza Castello, Milan, under a forest of umbrellas. “This is just a taster”, said Antonio Di Pietro, who took part in the Milan demonstration, for the referendum on legitimate impediment which he is asking for on 19 May, to coincide with the second-round vote for the administrative elections. Also present were Nichi Vendola, mayoral candidate Giuliano Pisapia and People of Freedom (PDL) zone councillor Sara Giudice, who collected signatures for the resignation of Nicole Minetti. Mr Vendola said: “I believe today is a mortal blow for Berlusconism. The premier has taken the attack to the heart of the state”.

DEMONSTRATIONS – A hundred thousand people were in the streets in Naples. No party flags were visible, just the Italian Tricolore. Many women were wearing white T-shirts bearing the words “I claim my future back”. Ten thousand demonstrators met in Palermo’s Piazza Verdi, among them many men and families with children. Some of the women taking part said: “Without realising it, we have crossed the boundary of decency. The model for relations between women and men paraded by the holder of one of the country’s highest offices has a profound impact on lifestyles and the country’s culture, legitimising behaviour that compromises the dignity of women and institutions”. Sardinians in about twenty towns and cities responded to the appeal by the “If Not Now, When?” committee by demonstrating. Taking part in Cagliari were leading figures from show business, the arts, Catholicism, the universities and politics, not just from the Centre-left, including Renato Soru and Enzo Costa, regional leader of the CGIL trade union confederation. In Bari 10,000 people, thousands of whom were men, marched through the streets under banners saying “Those who govern should set a good example, not seek legitimate impediment” and “Not available”.

CENTRE-NORTH – Pescara’s Piazza Sacro Cuore was more crowded than it has been for decades. No representatives of the Centre-right-led local council were present. In Pesaro, a thousand residents took part in the demonstration in Piazza del Popolo: “We are fed up with maintaining a ruling class that can be bought and sold“, “We want dignity” and “I’m not one of your women workers” were some of the messages on the banners. The Bologna event was very well attended, participants including the Centre-left’s mayoral candidate Virginio Merola. Thousands of people crowded Piazza dei Giudici in Florence. More than 5,000 people gathered in Piazza Caricamento in Genoa, among them the mayor Marta Vincenzi and MEP Sergio Cofferati. “Berlusconi, you’re ‘Rubing’ our freedom” said one of the placards at the protest in Venice. Campo Santa Margherita was packed and buses were blocked on the mainland, having had to turn people away. Organisers claimed that 9,000 people had taken part in the demonstration. A student on the platform read out a “Letter to Ruby” that started “we prefer to call you Karima” and an appeal against “the model for relations between women and men paraded by the holder of one of the country’s highest offices”. In Turin, Piazza San Carlo was packed, reviving memories of the heyday of First of May demonstrations. Organisers said: “There are 100,000 of us”. Three thousand demonstrators flooded into Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste. Italian women also took to the streets outside Italy. In Tokyo, a group of demonstrators protested “at the degradation of politics and culture”. A thousand women were joined by men and entire families in Brussels waving placards saying “We are not for sale”, “Now, you must go now”, “Ban Berlusconi from the Council of Europe” and “Silvio enjoy bunga bunga in jail” [in English – Trans.]. More than 150 people demonstrated outside the UN building in Geneva. In London several hundred people, many of them men, gathered on the pavement in Whitehall.

COMMENTS FROM PDL – The demonstration for the dignity of women was one of the focuses of political debate. “The demonstrators are just a few trendy lefties exploiting women to make a political point”, said education minister Mariastella Gelmini. “They can’t tell us they want to defend their dignity when they are the first to call any woman who sets foot in the premier’s home a prostitute. They’re just the usually snobby heroines of the Left”. She was answered by Anna Finocchiaro, PD group leader in the Senate, from Piazza del Popolo: “Minister Gelmini is wrong. She should come here to see for herself that this is a genuine demonstration by the people. Berlusconi offends the dignity of Italy, as well as the dignity of women”. “I think Ms Gelmini has missed another opportunity to keep her mouth shut”, said CGIL leader Susanna Camusso at the demonstration in Rome. Defence minister Ignazio La Russa said: “It would be nice if women were demonstrating for actual reasons and not out of anti-government opportunism”. Fabrizio Cicchitto, PDL group leader in the Chamber of Deputies, said: “The demonstrators are the anti-Berlusconi front founded by the Left, showing that the Left, with a hard core of politicised magistrates, is constantly cranking up the tension by extending the scope of political confrontation”. Francesco Storace, national secretary of La Destra (The Right), said: “The women demonstrating are the daughters of the ones who called for people to make love, not war. Today, they’re making war on those who make love”. Daniela Santanchè, junior minister for the implementation of the government’s programme, said: “[It’s] not a demonstration by women but by some women whose only objective is to send Silvio Berlusconi packing. Women who, in the third millennium, know only how to get themselves exploited by men. It’s a pity that the only thing driving them to demonstrate is hatred for one man”.

CARFAGNA: MISSED OPPORTUNITY – Equal opportunities minister Mara Carfagna was adamant: “Those who have government responsibilities always have a duty to listen to the streets” and the questions it poses politicians. “From tomorrow”, she said, “we will continue to work with renewed vigour for Italian women”. She said about the demonstrations that filled Italy’s squares: “They have the merit of promoting a very lively, broad-based debate”, she acknowledged but “I’m sorry that the opportunity was wasted by turning this initiative into yet another march against the government democratically elected by Italian men and women, and by exploiting for political ends the tens of thousands of women who participated in good faith”.

OPPOSITION – Opposition politicians took a different view. The speech by Gianfranco Fini to FLI’s constituent assembly in Milan was particularly hard-hitting: “Enough of judging women by how good-looking or available they are. We have become the laughing stock of the western world”. “Women’s dignity is a matter for everyone, right or left, and for us men as well”, said Christian Democrat UDC leader Pier Ferdinando Casini. “It’s a major demonstration of civil protest. It’s a major emerging feeling. It’s dignity bursting out. But then it must go on”, said PD senator Livia Turco as she arrived at the demonstration in Rome. PD president Rosy Bindi, also at Piazza del Popolo, said: “We want to put at the centre of our life, and of the life of the country, the word dignity, the dignity of the individual, of woman, of democracy”. Finally, former prime minister Romano Prodi said: “In Milan, I witnessed something extraordinary, a demand for dignity and a desire for serenity. Not just women but many families and men calling simply for a better, cleaner Italy. I truly believe that women have given Italy a big wake-up call”.

Giles Watson


15 febrero, 2011

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