Japanese woman ‘dies from overwork’ after logging 159 hours of overtime in a month

Fate of media worker Miwa Sado, 31, piles pressure on authorities to address large number of deaths linked to labour practices

Japan has again been forced to confront its work culture after labour inspectors ruled that the death of a 31-year-old journalist at the countrys public broadcaster, NHK, had been caused by overwork.

Miwa Sado, who worked at the broadcasters headquarters in Tokyo, logged 159 hours of overtime and took only two days off in the month leading up to her death from heart failure in July 2013.

A labour standards office in Tokyo later attributed her death to karoshi (death from overwork) but her case was only made public by her former employer this week.

Sados death is expected to increase pressure on Japanese authorities to address the large number of deaths attributed to the punishingly long hours expected of many employees.

The announcement comes a year after a similar ruling over the death of a young employee at Dentsu advertising agency prompted a national debate over Japans attitude to work-life balance and calls to limit overtime.

Matsuri Takahashi was 24 when she killed herself in April 2015. Labour standards officials ruled that her death had been caused by stress brought on by long working hours. Takahashi had been working more than a 100 hours overtime in the months before her death.

Weeks before she died on Christmas Day 2015, she posted on social media: I want to die. Another message read: Im physically and mentally shattered.

Her case triggered a national debate about Japans work practices and forced the prime minister, Shinz Abe, to address a workplace culture that often forces employees to put in long hours to demonstrate their dedication, even if there is little evidence that it improves productivity.

The government proposes to cap monthly overtime at 100 hours and introduce penalties for companies that allow their employees to exceed the limit measures that critics say still put workers at risk.

In its first white paper on karoshi last year, the government said one in five employees were at risk of death from overwork.

More than 2,000 Japanese killed themselves due to work-related stress in the year to March 2016, according to the government, while dozens of other victims died from heart attacks, strokes and other conditions brought on by spending too much time at work.

According to the white paper, 22.7% of companies polled between December 2015 and January 2016 said some of their employees logged more than 80 hours of overtime each month the level at which working hours start to pose a serious risk to health.

Research shows that Japanese employees work significantly longer hours than their counterparts in the US, Britain and other developed countries. Japans employees used, on average, only 8.8 days of their annual leave in 2015, less than half their allowance, according to the health ministry. That compares with 100% in Hong Kong and 78% in Singapore.

Sado, a political reporter, covered the Tokyo metropolitan assembly elections and national upper house elections in June and July 2013. She died three days after the upper house elections.

Masahiko Yamauchi, a senior official in NHKs news department, conceded that Sados death reflected a problem for our organisation as a whole, including the labour system and how elections are covered.

Yamauchi said NHK had waited three years to make Sados death public out of respect for her family, according to Kyodo news.

In a statement issued through NHK, Sados parents said: Even today, four years on, we cannot accept our daughters death as a reality. We hope that the sorrow of a bereaved family will not be wasted.

In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/05/japanese-woman-dies-overwork-159-hours-overtime

In Eric Ries new book, he tells companies to turn every unit into a cash-strapped startup

All companies are startups until they aren’t. Many struggle to find their way back, too. It’s not the days of constrained resources or terrible pay or the heart-stopping uncertainty that they’re missing, of course. Instead, the problem is that it’s a lot harder to implement change at an “established” organization, particularly one that’s making money. Yet the smartest companies know change is crucial. As journalist Alan Deutschman wrote a dozen years ago, including in a book of the same title: “Change or die.”

Because that’s easier said than done, CEOs are always seeking out new ideas. Enter the brand-new book of engineer and entrepreneur Eric Ries, whose last tome, The Lean Startup, became an instant best-seller when it was first published in 2011.

In his latest effort, The Startup Way, Ries says the way to stay on top can be traced to two things: treating employees like customers, and treating business units like startups — replete with their own constrained budgets, and even their own boards. Ries offers fairly concrete suggestions regarding how to implement both, too. “A lot of people write manifestos and basically say, ‘Do what I say,’” says Ries. “I try to get away from that. The details matter a lot.”

We caught up with Ries earlier today to learn more about the book, which will be available to buy beginning Tuesday.

TC: You established a name for yourself with The Lean Startup, which basically told founders to get a minimally viable product into the market, then fix it. Can founders still do that in an age where big companies are getting bigger and moving faster to either copy products, or else acquire their teams?

ER:  People said that years ago about Microsoft, too, that it was going to dominate the internet with its monopoly power. Disruption still brings new power players to the fore. But today, because Facebook and Amazon and Google are so good at what they do, startups do need to up their game. There was a time when you had one innovation that you could ride for decades. That’s over. Continuous reinvention is crucial now. Otherwise, you’re toast.

TC: What about the giant financing rounds of today, even at the seed stage — do they signal the death of the so-called lean startup? 

ER: “Lean” never referred to the size of a round. It’s about lean manufacturing and using resources more effectively. Also, huge rounds are really for the privileged few. I’m in Columbus right now, and [local startups] aren’t experiencing the jumbo seed round.

I will say that one commonality that Silicon Valley has with corporate innovation is that we often overfund things, which can be just as lethal as underfunding them.

TC: How did you move from advocating for lean startups to writing this new book? 

ER: When a lot of small early founders heard about the lean startup, they were excited about minimal viable products and about pivoting and learning, but they didn’t pay close attention to more boring parts like management and the need to do continuous innovation. In some cases, as these companies passed 100 employees, or even 1,000, they’d ask me to come help teach lean startups to people who work for them. You go from the person who is making innovation decisions, to supporting entrepreneurs who work for you, and they might not be as good as you or you’d be working for them.

These were my friends and I was happy to help them. At the same time, big companies were asking how they could recapture their innovative DNA and I realized how similar these issues are and thought it was worth exploring.

TC: Obviously, the need to innovate continuously isn’t a new concept. How is your advice to companies different? Is this about pulling in opinions and ideas from a more diverse group of people, either internally or externally?

ER: I’m a big believer in that thesis — diversity. But in this book, I tend to focus on structural changes: who gets promoted, how we make product decisions, the general accountability layer of a company. [In other words] how do you figure out who is doing a good job and who isn’t? Because there’s a lot of B.S. at the higher levels otherwise that distorts the decisions that are made and consequently makes it hard to attract top talent.

TC: Give us some concrete examples. Who in Silicon Valley was doing this wrong and figured it out?

ER: I talk in the book about Twilio and Dropbox and Airbnb; they all had to go through a metamorphosis to empower their internal innovators.

Dropbox, for example, had some failures and was willing to admit that some products didn’t work. Some of its product development was happening internally and some externally, but it doesn’t matter if you plant in the wrong soil. But it has since developed a much better process that looks closer to entrepreneurship.

TC: By doing what differently?

ER: You first have to look at whether you’re treating the people who work for you like entrepreneurs or something different; if you’re expecting your product managers to achieve instantaneous success, that’s not [the standard] to which you were held in the early stages of your company.

Along the same lines, if you aren’t [giving teams] clear, metered funding, how are they going to have that scarcity? It’s that mindset, that hunger, that let’s you say “no,” [to delaying product launches]. [Companies have to fight] that entitlement funding because the more money you have, the less you want to expose yourself to risk.

TC: Interesting idea. How else do you recommend that companies treat their teams like startups?

ER: We also talk about creating a growth board.

Right now, most corporate employees exist in a matrix management structure, reporting to different people and having lots of different managers who have veto power over what they do. But each time a middle manager checks in, he or she exerts a gravitation influence, and most product mangers who I meet with say they spend 50 percent of their time defending their existing budget against middle manager inquiries. That’s a massive tax on most product teams.

So we treat [these units] like a startup and create a board of [say] five execs who they report to infrequently. That way, if any middle manager has a concern, [the head of that unit] can say, “Talk to the board.”  It’s like at [ venture firm] Andreessen Horowitz. It has something like 150 employees [yet] not every person who works there gets to call a portfolio company founder. Not every limited partner who has invested in Andreessen Horowitz gets to call its founders. There are well-defined processes in place so that founders [aren’t fielding calls all day.]

TC: Of course, the downside to that is that VCs often don’t know when things go off the rails at startups. How do you convince executives that they aren’t running that risk by giving these teams so much autonomy?

ER: It only works if you do limited liability experiments. Often asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” is like a death sentence, but you have to think through the possible downsides to mitigate them. So you only let 100 people buy the product [at the outset] and add in extra provisions and securities to ensure they have a great experience and you’re smart about the liabilities.

TC: Say that works. What happens to the already oft-maligned middle managers of the world? 

ER: There haven’t been any layoffs at the companies I’ve worked with. Companies still have to run their core business; there’s plenty for [middle managers to do] Most are horrifically overworked. Others become reborn as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial coaches. Intuit and GE have a whole program for coaching and mentoring, and that becomes part of [managers’] job description.

This all culminates in preparing a new org chart, one that treats entrepreneurship like a corporate function that’s owned and managed. Right now, if you ask [many executives], “Who is in charge of the next big innovation,” they’ll sometimes say that everyone is in charge of it. Can you imagine if they said that everyone is in charge of marketing or finance or HR? Entrepreneurship is no different. Someone should have operational responsibility for it.

TC: Do you run into much resistance when you talk with CEOs about empowering employees in this way? It’s easy to imagine that some feel threatened, even as they know their companies need to keep innovating.

ER: What distinguishes really good CEOs is that they care about their legacy, and they’re committed to the long-term health of their organization.

But you’re right. Most CEO are not serious about change because it requires senior managers to change their behavior. You know how corporate bosses can be. This is not always a very welcome method. I’ve been kicked out of plenty of boardrooms.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/13/in-eric-ries-new-book-he-tells-companies-to-turn-every-unit-into-a-cash-strapped-startup/

This is How Much The Friends Apartments Would Cost Today

Everything I’ve learned in life, I learned from . No, not my core group of Comm-majoring-drunk on-a-Wednesday-afternoon-losers—I’m talking about the six greatest people you will ever meet on the single greatest sitcom you will ever see (except for Ross and don’t @ me on that). Like, I’d never survive my 20s had I not learned that counting Mississippily when spray tanning results in borderline blackface, “meat sweats” are a legit medical condition, and being “on a break” apparently doesn’t mean I have a free pass at drunk-dialing my ex.

But out of everything, this is hands down the most valuable piece of info I’ve learned:

JK, that one I actually did learn from my own friends’ mistakes. But something I was forced to learn the hard way was that spending weekday afternoons in a coffeehouse bitching to my friends about being ghosted doesn’t result in me coming home to my comfy downtown loft with takeout (the ‘90s term for Seamless) every night. Not that shacking it in a studio apartment with three other people plotting ways to divvy up the remaining $12.35 balance on my debit card isn’t my definition of fun, but it’d be cool if someone gave me a heads up that life was gonna be this way, ya know? Anyway, I know your job’s a joke, you’re probably broke, and your love life… wellppp… but the friends would’ve been much worse off had their apartments been IRL-priced, so grab a bottle and chill the fuck out.

Joey & Chandler’s (& Rachel’s) Apartment

Address: 90 Bedford St., #19 New York NY
Rent: $4,200/month

I won’t discredit the size of Joey and Chandler’s apartment located across the hall from Monica’s, but I will discredit Joey’s acting career, which was comparable to gas station sushi. After being killed off early on, he went flat broke (as do most acting wannabes). Luckily, Joey had Chandler to save him from being a full-time dumpster diver, but Chandler was forced to provide for Joey and two farm animals on a transponster whatever-the-fuck-he-does’s salary for at least five seasons, which makes no sense.

A 2-bed/1-bath apartment in West Village that’s big enough to fit a foosball table and two Barcaloungers isn’t as shocking as the $4,200/month rent Chandler put down, which is like $2,850/month 18 years ago (yes, you’re old af), and that’s on the lower end of the spectrum, assuming the place hadn’t yet been tampered with during a game of “Hammer Darts” or “Extreme Fireball.” That rent also doesn’t include the utility bills and other shit Chandler had to pay for, like Joey’s health insurance and will to live, but honestly thank god for Joey, or Chan would prob still be half a virgin by now.

Ross’ (& Rachel’s) Apartment

Address: Somewhere across the street from Monica’s place
Rent: $4,500/month

If it wasn’t for Ross pulling the No. 1 fuckboy move and mixing up his hoes in different area codes almost marrying that British bitch with a scone up her ass, he’d still be living in a typical NYC shithole. Instead, he found an apartment with a bird’s-eye view of his sister’s and best friend’s sexcapades every night (EW). But out of every character’s living situation, the only believable one just so happens to be Ross’s, thanks to his career as a doctor paleontologist/college professor who sometimes fucks his students.

A 2-bed/1-bath, 700-square-foot apartment in the same West Village neighborhood as Monica averages to about $4,500/month, which would’ve been about $3,054/month back in ‘99. And considering Ross threw a bitch fit (when tf did he not?) about his fucking apothecary table that one time, I’d assume his bougie dino cave was equipped with an updated interior and (prob) fossilized foliage preserved in the wood flooring or some shit. Therefore, it’d likely be at the more expensive end of this rent spectrum.

Monica’s (& Rachel’s & Chandler’s & Phoebe’s) Apartment

Address: 90 Bedford St., #20 New York NY
Rent: $8,500+/month

Monica illegally subletting her grandma’s old apartment for 10+ years is the kind of savagery I strive to reach one day. But you seriously have to be a verified idiot to think that a ‘50s diner cook with flame-retardant boobs and a barista with waitressing skills as abominable as Blake Lively’s acting career would live comfortably in a 1,500-square-foot apartment, and not to mention while also feeding four other mooch-y parasite friends who apparently enter and eat and leave as they please.

She and Rachel were only paying $300/month living in their 2-bed/1-bath open floor plan apartment with a balcony that’s been rent controlled since apparently 600 B.C. Yeah, I said $300, like one pair of Khloé’s stupidly priced denim line, or a weekend bar tab. I already mentioned that 700(ish)-square-foot apartments in West Village average $4,200/month, so just double the rent for double the floor plan and maybe pop a Xanny immediately after.

Phoebe’s (& Rachel’s) Apartment

Address: 5 Morton St. # 14, New York, NY
Actual Rent: $3,400/month

First off, I’m calling bullshit on Phoebe and this whole freelance masseuse thing which, looking back, was def a fancy term for the upscale West Village prostitute, Regina Phalange. You heard it here first. This brings me to my next issue. Phoebe might’ve also inherited her 1-bed/1-bath apartment from her grandma, but I’d rather believe the blatant lie that is Trump’s latest tweet than believe that a freelance masseuse, who literally cancelled on and fucked over 90% of her clients every episode, made a comfortable living in Manhattan.

Her decent-sized 1-bed/1-bath pad, which was later turned into a 2-bed when Denise lived with her (K WHO TF WAS DENISE?!), was located four blocks from the rest of the friends’ apartments with an average monthly rent of $3,400 ($2,300 in the ‘90s), but there’s still no fucking way she’d be able to make rent while also doing this thing called LIVING. And do NOT even think about bringing the loose pocket change and occasional condom tips from Phoebe’s open mic days into this equation. #ItsNotSmellyCatsFault

Phoebe’s Rundown Buick LeSabre

Address: Probably some alleyway in Hunts Point
Rent: Stolen

Ok, so we never really saw Phoebe’s life pre-friends (or we did if you count watching ), but we do know that she lived a fucking badass/hard-knock life by living in a rundown Buick LeSabre on the streets of New York growing up. I mean, she mugged prepubescent goober Ross who collected rocks instead of Hot Wheels, and that in and of itself is iconic.

Based on the cost of gas to keep her car warm in the winter, the medical costs from getting Hepatitis after a pimp spit in her mouth, the shared funeral costs for her mom who killed herself, and the priceless cost of living to tell it all, Phoebe is a fucking legend and a probable alien, but mostly a complete mystery that I will dedicate the rest of my life to cracking the case on.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/how-much-each-friends-apartment-would-cost-today

Somebody Please Explain Why Diet Avocados Exist

We’re all familiar with this dilemma: You want to eat an avocado because they are delicious and supposedly full of “healthy fat” (whatever tf that is). You go to preemptively enter one into your calorie counter and realize, “Fuck, this is a lot of calories for something that is supposed to keep me skinny. But now that dilemma is a thing of the past thanks to Satan Spanish food company Isla Bonita, who just introduced the world to Frankenstein’s monster The Avocado Light, aka, diet avocados. Helloooo Nobel Committee? I think we’ve found your next Peace Prize.

So what is the Avocado Light? Is it the harbinger of the apocalypse, as foretold in the ? Maybe.

Here’s what we know: Not only do these avocados have only 70% of the fat content found in OG avocados, but they also ripen faster and turn brown slower, so you won’t have to deal with the avocado’s other biggest issue: the fact that they’re only edible within a 24 hour window. Before that window, hard as a rock. After that window, disgusting mush. There is no in between.

But before you head to Amazon and attempt to buy a life supply of these scientific marvels, slow your roll. Because America literally can’t have nice things right now, Isla Bonita is limiting distribution of these diet avocados to Spain. TBH, stocking up on diet avocados sounds like a good enough reason to plan a trip to Spain for me. Like, I’m doing it for my health. 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/diet-avocados

Hugh Hefner Death Certificate Reveals ‘Highly Resistant’ E. Coli And More

We knew

The e. coli was specifically described in the report as “highly resistant to antibiotics.” This was likely the infection we heard about from a couple years ago which began his downward turn.

E. coli infection can be caused by consuming raw or undercooked food, contaminated water, or even close contact with a person who is infected.

Unfortunately, the M.E. could not determine the source of Hef’s infection.

[Image via DJDM/WENN.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-10-03-hugh-hefner-cause-of-death-certificate-e-coli-septicemia-cardiac-arrest

How a trip across the border inspired a doctor to fight for health care equality.

When Dr. Paula Aristizabal first started working in pediatric oncology, she was a little uneasy.

“I was scared because I didn’t know what to expect,” Aristizabal explains. Even though cancer specialists have to assume they’ll be treating people with a lower than average survival rate, knowing that all her patients would be children made it somewhat more daunting.

Fortunately, however, that was far from the experience Aristizabal ended up having.

Aristizabal. Photo via Northwestern Mutual.

“I learned pediatric cancer is highly curable, so it was very rewarding because I would be able to make a difference in [my patients’] lives,” Aristizabal says.

Little did she know treating cancer in children wouldn’t be the only way she’d make a positive impact on health care.

After completing her pediatric oncology training, which is the study of childhood cancer, in her home country of Colombia and her fellowship at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Aristizabal joined the medical staff at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. She, soon after began collaborating with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital on a project to improve pediatric cancer care in the U.S- Mexican border region.

On an initial visit to a city hospital in Mexico, she learned they didn’t have anything like a pediatric oncology ward.

“I thought, ‘Oh, goodness, it’s so different from the U.S.,'” Aristizabal shares. “I saw the disparity right there.”

Since 2008, she’s improved care in several Mexican hospitals, including two in Tijuana and La Paz.

Image via iStock.

But that was just the beginning.

It became Aristizabal’s mission to address the racial and ethnic disparity occurring in hospitals in the United States as well.

When she began to notice disparities in how the treatment worked for Hispanic patients where she practiced in San Diego, she decided to do some research to better understand barriers to response to treatment.

Aristizabal learned that while it’s likely there are biological differences that can contribute to disparities in the survival rate of Hispanic children with cancer, she also found a disparity in access to health care due to language and cultural barriers.

Thanks to funding assistance from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Northwestern Mutual, whose Childhood Cancer Program has generated more than $15 million for research and family support nationwide, Aristizabal was able to conduct her own research on that disparity. This was an important research focus for Northwestern Mutual in their mission to ensure that all kids have a chance to grow up.

She took an in-depth look at her own specialty in particular. She learned a large percentage of parents of kids with cancer have a low level of health literacy, meaning they have trouble navigating America’s complex health care system due to their cultural background. For example, Hispanic families are less likely to participate in clinical trials, which, in pediatric cancer, often offer the best chance of survival.

Image via iStock.

Since her first language is Spanish, Aristizabal knew she could do her part to help close that cultural and linguistic gap.

At the Peckam Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital, where she practices pediatric oncology, 50% of the children who receive treatment  are Hispanic. At her clinic, 95% of her patients are Hispanic, and 65% of their parents speak Spanish as their first language. Aristizabal knew her cultural background was key to providing them the best care possible.

“Since I’m Hispanic, and I know the culture and speak Spanish, I try to provide cultural concordant care and language concordant care,” Aristizabal says.

Research shows that when individuals receive care from someone in their own language and culture, the treatment results are much better.

Image via iStock.

When a doctor can fully communicate with patients, they can be sure they’re getting all the necessary details about a medical condition. In turn, patients feel more at ease knowing their doctor fully understands their condition and can clearly communicate a treatment plan. All this adds up to better results.

But Aristizabal can only do so much as one doctor. That’s why she’s inviting others to contribute to lessen this country-wide disparity.

“We need to prepare because the Hispanic population in the U.S. will comprise more than 30% of all Americans by 2050. There’s something we can really do in our own institutions.”

Image via iStock.

One simple step is to access a free bilingual treatment journal from the ALSF website to help families track their care plan.  The journal is funded by Northwestern Mutual as another way to address disparities.  

If pediatric cancer centers don’t have bilingual doctors on staff, they can improve access to interpreter services. Another strategy is that their doctors pursue cultural awareness training. Institutions can also offer medical Spanish lessons to their staff or any other language that might help their patients.

It requires a bit of effort, but it will make a world of difference.  

Just imagine a scared child who doesn’t speak English in a hospital. A doctor who can speak their language could be the only thing that puts them at ease.

“It’s so rewarding when you learn about other cultures,” Aristizabal says. “It facilitates the care that you provide because when you learn about another culture, you’re able to better understand where [patients] are coming from.”

And any doctor knows that’s more than half the battle.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and its subsidiaries. Learn more at northwesternmutual.com

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/how-a-trip-across-the-border-inspired-a-doctor-to-fight-for-health-care-equality

What Alec Baldwin got right and wrong about the power of art at the Emmys.

Alec Baldwin is getting a lot of press following the jabs he took at President Donald Trump in his acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at this year’s Emmys.

During Trump’s time hosting “The Apprentice,” he was nominated for two Emmys but never won. Trump has often detailed his grievances with the award show, saying, “The Emmys have no credibility“; arguing that he didn’t win because of politics; and, in 2012, even blaming the show’s “bad ratings” on the fact that he wasn’t nominated that year. But Trump’s inability to lose graciously is not what we need to talk about right now.

In the closing moments of Baldwin’s speech, he kinda missed the mark on something vitally important.

Baldwin wrapped his speech with a message of hope about the power of art, but in doing so, downplayed something else (emphasis added):

“I always remember what someone told me — that is when you die you don’t remember a bill that Congress passed or a decision the Supreme Court made or an address made by the president. You remember a song. You remember a line from a movie. You remember a play. You remember a book. A painting. A poem. What we do is important. And for all of you out there in motion pictures and television, don’t stop doing what you are doing. The audience is counting on you.”

Baldwin accepts the award for his portrayal of Trump. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

The power of art is a nice sentiment, especially at an award show celebrating just that, but downplaying the significance of legislation and court decisions is a luxury many cannot afford.

While Baldwin may be right — a poem or TV show may stick in our brains more than a piece of legislation — it’s pieces of legislation that truly have an effect on our lives and can alter everything from our quality of living to how long we live. A Supreme Court decision may one day determine once and for all whether or not it’s legal to deny me housing, employment, health care, or access to public accommodations protections simply because I’m transgender. Legislation being proposed in Congress could gut access to health care for low-income individuals who rely on Medicaid or any number of other social programs.

Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections may be pulled away from the only home they’ve known if legislation doesn’t soon grant them a more permanent status in America. Some members of Congress are moving to turn the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into a shell of what it once was, making the world a lot less accessible to millions of people. As Robyn Powell of Rewire wrote of the proposed ADA changes, “Never in my life as a disabled woman have I been so terrified of losing my civil rights as I am now.”

Even the songs, movies, plays, books, paintings, and poems Baldwin championed in his speech are at risk of losing funding, depending on what moves the government makes when it comes to budgeting.

Government legislation matters, and good legislation affects our lives in ways that aren’t always apparent.

For instance, during a July debate between conservative commentator Tomi Lahren and comedian Chelsea Handler, Lahren unwittingly admitted that she benefits from the Affordable Care Act.

Asked whether or not she had health insurance, Lahren replied, “Luckily, I am 24, so I am still on my parents’.” That’s thanks to a provision in the ACA that allows people to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. Millions of people benefit from that change, and it’s such a commonsense, helpful bit of legislation that it’s easy to forget things haven’t always been this way. It’s not something we should take for granted.

Baldwin speaks at January’s “We Stand United” rally outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York. Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s not as though Baldwin is aloof here, and he would almost certainly agree that things like court rulings and pieces of legislation can affect us in both positive and negative ways — even some that we might not be immediately aware of. Baldwin, famously, is open about his personal politics. He’s been an outspoken proponent of addressing climate change and even protested Trump’s inauguration. There is no doubt that he understands the power of government — for good and for bad. It’s safe to say that his speech was not meant to downplay those effects.

The truth is, however, that there are people who wonder why everything has to be about politics lately. The answer is simple: Millions of lives hang in the balance. Art is important, but we can’t forget the lives that can be drastically affected by various court decisions and legislation.

Watch Baldwin’s acceptance speech below.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/what-alec-baldwin-got-right-and-wrong-about-the-power-of-art-at-the-emmys

Catalonias Split With Spain Is About Identity, Not Just Money

As recently as July, secessionists in Catalonia seemed to be in retreat. Spain was the fastest-growing of continental Europe’s big four economies, creating jobs at a rapid clip. A poll that month by the Catalan government showed that support for independence had fallen to 35 percent, its lowest level since 2012. It appeared that Enric Millo, the Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia, might have been right when he predicted in 2012 that once removed from the flame of financial crisis, “separatism would sink like a soufflé.”

What’s sinking instead is the reputation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Acting on his orders, Spanish police used batons and rubber bullets against those who took part in an Oct. 1 referendum on independence that Spain’s constitutional court had declared illegal. Hundreds were injured in the melees.

The Catalan government claimed that despite Madrid’s attempts at suppression, 2.3 million people voted—about 42 percent of the total electorate—and about 90 percent of them chose to separate from Spain. The Spanish government cast doubt on the result, pointing out that the referendum, in addition to being illegal, lacked certified voter lists and wasn’t overseen by an official election board. And many of those who opposed secession heeded Madrid’s reminder that the vote was illegal. Spain’s King Felipe VI said in a televised address that separatist leaders showed “unacceptable” disloyalty.

Featured in , Oct. 9, 2017. Subscribe now.
Photographer: Juan Teixeira/Redux

The groundswell of separatist sentiment in Catalonia has shown Spain and the world that money isn’t everything. A strengthening economy may have quelled Catalan nationalism a bit, but the desire many have for independence had deeper sources and never went away. Then Rajoy, playing to his conservative base, badly miscalculated. He thought a show of force would keep voters at home. But his attempt to stop the vote just pushed more Catalans into the separatist camp. “In the longer term, the divisions in Spain become more entrenched,” says Antonio Barroso, a political risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London.

Economics probably did matter in Catalonia, just not in the way that Spanish optimists were thinking. The reality is that the region hasn’t fully recovered from the global financial crisis, which pushed the economy into a double-dip recession and sent unemployment in the so-called autonomous community as high as 24 percent. (It’s still more than 13 percent.) “The financial crisis brought to the fore the fact that so much of our money is transferred” to the central government, says Jordi Galí of Barcelona’s Center for Research in International Economics, known by its initials in the Catalan language, CREI. “In a context of high growth and prosperity, this may be more easily forgotten. But during the crisis the Catalan government had to undertake huge cuts in services: health, education.”

The transfers issue might not have been enough to stir secessionism all by itself. After all, there’s little call in Connecticut to break away from the U.S. even though the state gives more than it gets. The difference is that the northeastern corner of Spain has its own language, traditions, and aspirations to national greatness. Its history is a seesaw of autonomy and what some see as subjugation. Catalans still commemorate the fall of Barcelona to King Philip V of Spain on Sept. 11, 1714. In 1939 the city fell to the Nationalist forces of Francisco Franco, who suppressed Catalan culture during his 36-year rule.

In recent years, independence-minded Catalans have focused their anger on a 2010 ruling by Spain’s constitutional court that erased parts of a legislative deal that accorded the region broad autonomy. In 2012 the Catalan economist Xavier Sala-I-Martin likened Spain to a possessive husband who reacts wildly when his wife asks for a divorce. “We Catalans have tried to explain during 30 years that we were uncomfortable and the replies have been no’s, scorn, indifference, and contempt. And now they’re surprised!” the Columbia University professor wrote on his blog.

The marriage is far worse now. “People are extremely disappointed, and I would say shocked, by the activities of the Spanish police,” says Giacomo Ponzetto, an Italian who teaches at CREI in Barcelona. “It was absurd, unacceptable behavior, and I would add extremely stupid.” Stupid as in self-defeating, he says. “The Catalan government was looking for this. It’s very obvious. They wanted to provoke a response.”

Like it or not, Catalonia has been very much part of Spain—not least because it’s a fifth of the national economy. It exports more to the neighboring region of Aragon than to France, and more to Madrid than to Germany or Italy, says Pankaj Ghemawat, who teaches at the New York City branch of IESE Business School, which also has campuses in Madrid and Barcelona.

Many economists think Catalonia would be worse off economically on its own. The outcome hinges on whether it would assume a share of Spain’s national debt, whether it would be permitted to join the European Union and adopt the euro, and how much it would cost to replicate services—such as defense—it gets from Madrid. Further complicating matters, Spain could throw up legal obstacles to secession. One reason many Catalans have shied from independence in the past is that they weren’t ready to take a leap into the unknown.

But the violence that marred the Oct. 1 vote has focused Catalans’ minds on issues other than euros. “At some point the economic considerations start to be irrelevant and identity becomes paramount,” says Ghemawat. On Oct. 1, he says, “we took a giant step in that direction.”

    BOTTOM LINE – A long and painful downturn fanned separatist sentiment in Catalonia, which, contrary to predictions, didn’t die down with the recovery.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-05/anatomy-of-a-bad-marriage

    Donald Trump Blocked A Stage Four Cancer Patient On Twitter After She Criticized His Support Of The Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

    Donald Trump

    wouldn’t know compassion if he got hit on the head with it.

    Laura Packard — who battles stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma — has regularly been tweeting POTUS about health care and how the Affordable Care Act is keeping her, and millions of others with pre-existing conditions, alive.

    Related: Trump Praises A Non-Existent African Country

    After expressing her concern over the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, the Nevada resident discovered she had been blocked by Trump on his favorite app:

    Please watch her emotional story, and learn just how what’s happening in Washington affects her, in the video (below)!

    Tell your reps to vote NO by calling 202-224-3121. Laura’s life depends on it.

    [Image via Twitter.]

    Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-09-21-donald-trump-block-cancer-patient-twitter

    The illness that affects one in six of us

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    At any one time, a sixth of the population in England aged 16 to 64 have a mental health problem, according to statistics body NHS Digital.

    Whether it is family or friends, neighbours or work colleagues, the chances are we all know someone who is affected.

    And bearing in mind the figure leaves out less common conditions and is a snapshot in time, you could easily argue it is even more prevalent than that. Indeed many do.

    With Prime Minister Theresa May expected to announce plans to improve care next week, these 10 charts show the extent of the challenge.

    1. Problems are on the increase

    It seems to be getting more common – or at least among those with severe symptoms. While the proportion of people affected does not appear to have risen in the past few years, if you go back a little further there has certainly been a steady increase.

    Evidence from the NHS Digital study in England shows the rise has been driven by an increase in women with illness.

    Why is this? Undoubtedly some of it is down to people being more willing to report and admit mental health problems.

    Experts point to the way self-harm in particular is recognised in a way it was not 20 or 30 years ago.

    But it is also clear 21st Century life is taking its toll on some people. Economic uncertainty, social media, the influence of the media and rising expectations of what life should be like have all been suggested as possible causes.

    2. Women are now more likely to be affected

    Women are now much more likely to have a common mental illness.

    One in five report they have, compared with one in eight men in England. If you include only those with severe symptoms, the difference is less acute, but still apparent.

    Young people are particularly susceptible.

    A number of theories have been put forward for this. The economic uncertainty of the past decade has particularly affected the young, making it harder to get on the career ladder.

    And psychiatrists and mental health campaigners are increasingly raising questions about whether social media increases peer-group pressure and online bullying.

    Whatever the reason, the one thing experts are agreed on is that the figures are shocking.

    3. But men are more likely to take their own lives

    Mental health problems prompt thousands of people to take their own lives.

    In fact there are about 6,000 suicides in the UK each year and it’s the biggest killer of men up to the age of 49. Men account for three-quarters of the total figure.

    The best overall measure is the number of suicides per 100,000 people. That’s because, with a rising population, the absolute figure is almost bound to go up. Since the 1980s, the trend is down.

    There’s quite a big national variation, with England having the lowest suicide rate and Northern Ireland the highest. Scotland and Wales have similar rates and are in the middle.

    4. Mental health problems tend to start early

    As already mentioned, mental health problems are particularly common in the young in the UK.

    In fact, most mental health problems develop in childhood or when a person is a young adult. Three-quarters of problems are established by the age of 24.

    It is why there is such an emphasis at the moment on addressing childhood mental illness. In 2015, the government promised funding for child and adolescent mental health services would increase.

    5. Mental health services are the poor relation when it comes to funding

    Extra money has also been earmarked for adult services in England. Together with the investment in children’s services it means by 2020-21 £1.28bn more should be spent in real terms than was in 2015-16.

    Ministers say the money will be used to put mental health services in A&E, more crisis teams in the community and a focus on helping new mothers, with one in five reporting problems in the first year after the birth of their baby.

    But an analysis last year by the King’s Fund health think tank found 40% of mental health trusts in England had actually seen their budgets cut in 2015-16.

    The government is adamant things will change. They have to.

    While 23% of NHS activity is taken up by mental illness, mental health trusts have been receiving only about 11% of funding in recent years.

    Extra investment is being made in the other parts of the UK. Wales and Scotland have both recently unveiled new plans.

    But like England, mental health remains the poor cousin compared to the spending on physical ailments.

    6. A nation of pill-poppers?

    The promise of investment has also been accompanied by a desire to reshape services – and particularly how quickly we can access them.

    The government established the first set of waiting time targets for the NHS in England in 2016. They mean the health service should be providing access to talking therapies within 18 weeks and treatment for those experiencing their first episode of psychosis within two weeks for at least half of people.

    Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland all have their own targets too.

    But drugs are still the most common form of treatment. The number of medicines dispensed for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

    An increase in the numbers of people getting antidepressants is clearly a factor.

    But so too is the fact prescribing patterns have changed. Doctors are much more likely to keep people on drugs for longer with evidence suggesting it is a more effective way of treating patients.

    But as common as antidepressants are, the fact remains the majority of people with mental illness report they are not getting help.

    Only one in three of those polled said they were receiving treatment, according to NHS Digital.

    7. More and more people are being detained

    With the high rates of non-treatment in mind, it perhaps should not come as a surprise that there is an upwards trend in England in the number of people being detained under the Mental Health Act.

    Campaigners say patients in crisis are given just enough treatment to stabilise them before being sent home too early to ease pressure on beds.

    What happens then? They suffer another crisis and are detained again. So some people spend years being detained over and over again without ever getting well.

    8. A long way from home

    The pressure on the system also manifests itself in long journeys for treatment.

    Last year a major report looked at the issue and pointed to thousands of people being sent more than 30 miles for services like acute care, psychiatric intensive care or rehabilitation.

    In some rural areas, of course, travelling long distances is not that uncommon for all sorts of care. But that’s not the point, said the report. Far too many people in towns and cities, where services should be easier to access, are affected, and the situation was “unacceptable”.

    Everyone knows it’s a problem. Nobody likes it, and it can be massively disruptive for patients and their families. Yet an awful lot of sufferers of mental ill health travel a long, long way to get treatment.

    And, according to the British Medical Association, things are getting worse not better.

    In fact, it says, there’s been a “startling rise” in the number of patients being sent out of area for treatment, a rise of nearly 40% between 2014-15 and 2016-17 to 5,876 adults.

    One patient they found had been sent from Somerset to the Highlands, a journey of 587 miles.

    9. It’s not all bad news…

    The use of police cells for people in mental health crisis has attracted huge disquiet, not least among officers themselves.

    In a rare public statement of concern from a senior police chief, Devon and Cornwall Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton tweeted “#unacceptable” when a 16-year-old girl was held for two days in a cell in 2015 because no beds were available.

    That caused quite a stir among officers, patients and distraught families who felt that police cells were the last place someone in a health crisis should be held.

    But now the use of police cells is down – at least in England and Wales, though figures in Scotland suggest it may have gone up.

    In England and Wales it has fallen by more than half from 4,500 in 2014-15 to just over 2,000 in 2015-16, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

    The NPCC also says the downward change is even bigger for under 18s to just 43 cases in 2015-16.

    10. It’s Time to Change

    But perhaps the most promising development in terms of mental health is the changing attitude towards mental illness. A public campaign called Time to Change was launched in 2009 by leading charities Mind and Rethink.

    It has been supported by the lottery and government along the way – and seems to be working.

    Latest results from the National Attitudes to Mental Illness Survey, released in May, showed people’s willingness to work, live with and live nearby someone with a mental health problem has been improving in England.

    Campaigners have described the progress as wonderful but warn against complacency.

    Despite the improvements, nearly nine in 10 people who have had mental health problems report they have suffered stigma and discrimination.

    For all the positives, there’s a long way to go, it seems.

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    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41125009