Matthew's News and Gossip: 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
Matthew's News and Gossip
A man with no talent, but armed with a digital camera, can waste lots of bandwidth
Saturday, December 31, 2011
My 2011 becomes 2012 letter!
Dec 31: I'm sitting next to Amanda and sleeping baby Coco (or properly Colette Sophia Holt) in the Java House diner, and due to the magic of technology, I can take a photo on my phone and have it appear on my end of year letter. Coco's arrival was obviously the highlight of my personal year, and Amanda has become the most amazing do-it-all-while-being-incredibly-loving mum of all time. There's of course way way more in terms of photos and stories about Coco, but you can find those by following my Twitter account @boltyboy & Facebook page
Here then is the annual Holt missive about charity and politics (here's 201120102009s, 2008s and you can search back to 2000 when they started), They don't change too much and I suspect that I use them as much to remind myself to give as to inspire anyone else to!
Just in case you didn't know, on the work front (with my partner Indu Subaiya) I'm still running Health 2.0 which now has multiple conferences, and lots of other great stuff like challenges and market intelligence, and (gulp) 14 more or less full time staff. I still own The Health Care Blog but basically now that's a group blog I just contribute to very occasionally! After a few months off post Coco's arrival, Amanda is back to running HR at her company PRN with Coco hanging in day care across the street!
As ever, this letter is about my views and suggestions for donations about health care, poverty in developing world, poverty at home, torture, and drug prohibition. Please read/comment/reply or delete, and if I get any of you to write a check or hit a "donate" button along with me, then it's not a total waste!
First, health care stuff.
It's still impossible for an American small business to buy its staff healthcare in a rational manner--especially if there are employees in multiple states. The sooner that the exchange promised in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appears, the better. Otherwise we need the Canadians to invade. Meanwhile now 52 million Americans are uninsured and many millions more are under-insured. The ACA is not anyone's preferred outcome, but the "repeal & (don't actually want to) replace" crowd have no alternatives. As a small business owner I'm disgusted with the NFIB and other allegedly pro-entrepreneur groups that are fighting the law. Nothing to be done, but hope the law stays in tact. OK, enough grumpy politics...
My health care favorites:
Engage with Grace founded by my friend Alex Drane. No donation needed--use the 5 questions you can download to start that hardest of conversations about what you want for your care at the end of life.
We got really involved in pediatrician Alan Greene's campaign, Whiteout--it has had lots of success in educating families and pediatricians about eliminating white rice baby cereal--but the goal of getting it off the shelves is not done yet. Here's Coco showing Alan how to do that first bite properly. (And she's got much better since!)
Poverty in developing countries
While I'm now thinking a lot about helping my little girl develop into a healthy, active daughter, here are some organizations I support that that promote social entrepreneurship, microfinance, and education for girls who--unlike Coco--were not born well off, in a developed nation.
No long explanations, but my favorites for a while have been:
Mercy Corps multiple projects in the very poorest countries in the world
Heifer International gives animals directly to the very poor in order to get them out of the cycle of poverty.
Saigon Children's Charity a smaller charity focusing on providing rice (and bikes and books and pens) to the families of school children in Southern Vietnam so they stay in school. We support a few individual pupils.
And back on the list this year, Softpower Health working to prevent malaria and improve maternal and child health in Uganda
This year I'm adding the sOccket which was co-founded by someone we're interviewing for a job at Health 2.0. It's a soccer-ball that really acts as a mini generator for lights and is charged as it gets kicked around, and you can buy one for a poor family for $75! Brilliant idea.
Finally We Care Solar makes a suitcase-sized portable solar powered generator and supplies it to health workers in off-grid clinics across the world. You can help out here
Poverty in the US
Is not getting much better. You may have your local favorites, but here's the list I support:
Delancey Street Foundation helps people who have hit bottom (think addiction and prison) get back into society, It's run by the residents themselves and it's across the street from us(as well as elsewhere in the US). You can donate here.
Torture and human rights
These organizations help those being tortured (or who have been) and protest those governments who should act better--especially our own Administration which seems to have forgotten its proud intentions from early 2009:
I give to both the Sierra Club (respectable) and Greenpeace (more radical), and locally to the Marine Mammal Center--a wonderful facility that helps seals recover, often from being shot (yes, really!). Drug prohibition--a terrible idea that still holds sway
A system of taxed and regulated drug distribution is the only solution to removing the criminality associated with drug taking, much of which is relatively harmless anyway. For almost all drugs the harms caused by prohibition exceed the harms caused by drug taking. In yet another piece of backsliding the Justice Department, instead of promoting a rational way to manage and regulate medical marijuana, is now wasting taxpayers money coming after medical marijuana dispensaries--even though it said it wouldn't two years ago. Where's the legislation about rational management of drugs from the President who was a self proclaimed pot and coke user in his youth? We're still waiting.... I support:
DRCNet home of the best blog and email newsletter, the Drug War Chronicle.
A Dog's Life. Charley goes to the new Health 2.0 office with me most days, but still gets bacon at Java House and sausage at Crossroads many days. He's just getting used to a little baby pulling his fur. For dog's that aren't as lucky, Amanda and I support Rocket Dog Rescue $50 pays for an adoption, which usually means saving a dog from being destroyed.
That's it for 2011--please stay in touch (if you've got this far). an easy way to catch up is to see the photos of Coco I put up on Facebook. Let's hope for a great 2012 for everyone!