Monday, August 18, 2014

Another Look At The Dredd Blog Past

Some call it "a blast from the past."

Others call it "And that is the way it was."

From time to time we look at the past to see what was written down on Dredd Blog and passed along to readers here.

On this date in 2009, the following two stories is what was happening on Dredd Blog on August 18, 2009:

Health Care Includes Mental Health?

The sound and the fury of the health care debates raging in the land of pundits, journalists, and concerned citizens is sometimes less than clear.

I am not sure people are talking about the same thing sometimes, because they seem discordant and unsure of their facts about what physical illness is relevant.

I have heard no discussion about what mental health issues, if any, are covered in this raging health care debate.

Mental health care should be included in the discussion if the issue of mounting health care costs is to be a factor:
U.S. spending on mental illness is soaring at a faster pace than spending on any other health care category, new government data released Wednesday shows. The cost of treating mental disorders rose sharply between 1996 and 2006, from $35 billion (in 2006 dollars) to almost $58 billion, according to the report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time, the report showed, the number of Americans who sought treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and other mental health woes almost doubled, from 19 million to 36 million. The new statistics come on the heels of a study, released Monday, that found antidepressant use among U.S. residents almost doubled between a similar time frame, 1996 and 2005"
(Medical News Today, emphasis added). There is some potentially disconcerting language on some government sites in this regard:
The emotional impact of traumatic events can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of individuals of all ages. For many, it is easy to focus all energies on helping other people or on maintaining daily schedules and routines. Although these efforts deserve attention, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and to monitor your own emotions during difficult times.
(U.S. HHS, emphasis added). It is a bit strange but at the same time socially acceptable that we would be left to monitor our own mental condition, but would not even think of doing our own doctoring on physical maladies.

She Don't Mind She Don't Mind Cocaine

Once again we have a reminder of injustice and disparity in the U.S.A. when it comes to sentencing practices over the past decade or so.

Cocaine has been said to be the drug of the affluent, for which users get a comparatively light sentence in jail.

At least it is light compared to crack cocaine, said to be the drug of the poor, for which a much greater sentence has been given for the same amount.

A recent study shows us that cocaine is found on 90% of our small paper bills, our cash:
The scientists collected U.S. banknotes from 17 U.S. cities and found that larger cities like Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit had among the highest average cocaine levels. Washington, D.C., ranked above the average, with 95 percent of the banknotes sampled contaminated with the drug. The lowest average cocaine levels in U.S. currency appeared in bills collected from Salt Lake City.
(Science Daily). If it were crack cocaine on the cash there could be enough to send almost anyone to jail who handles enough currency so that the residue stays on them until a test on a person's hands is conducted:
For sentencing purposes, the rules equate one gram of crack cocaine to 100 grams of powdered cocaine. Essentially, the judge who sentenced Kimbrough ignored this punitive standard.

"The judge said, this crack/powder thing is just nuts," said Harvard Law School Professor Carol Steiker.

Other judges agree. So does the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which has repeatedly recommended revising the 21-year-old cocaine sentencing rules. So do members of Congress such as Reps. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, who've again introduced a bill to even out cocaine sentences.
(McClatchy). The 100 - 1 ratio has resulted in an unfair prosecution of blacks who make up the bulk of prisoners.

The Supreme Court held that federal district court judges could ignore the unfair 100-1 ratio and do sentences based on a more fair application of law.

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