Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald addressed a veterans group for the first time since taking over the troubled agency last month, calling his plans to fix it “an opportunity we can’t miss nor underestimate.”
“This is an opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of veterans I care so much about,” McDonald, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, told a National Disabled American Veterans convention in Las Vegas on Saturday.
He praised a $16.3 billion law signed by President Barack Obama on Thursday to overhaul the department. Among other provisions, it devotes $10 billion to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can’t get prompt appointments at the VA’s nearly 1,000 hospital and outpatient clinics, and $5 billion to hire more doctors and other medical and mental health professionals.
Reports that dozens of people died while waiting to see a doctor and that employees covered up long wait times at a Phoenix VA hospital helped touch off a national firestorm over veteran care and led the former VA secretary to resign.
“We didn’t hold managers accountable for retaliation against whistleblowers,” McDonald said.
McDonald also was scheduled to tour the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas, where long waits for veterans to receive care have been blamed on a shortage of doctors, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1ktqbfG ).
Joseph Johnston, national commander of the National Disabled American Veterans, said McDonald “painted a clear picture” of how the VA must proceed to improve its performance and outlined “a clear, thoughtful agenda” that the organization supports.
That includes realistic funding levels, greater commitment to transparency, focusing incentives on patient outcomes and satisfaction, improving technology and systems, and commissioning an independent audit of VA scheduling practices, he said.
“We look forward to working closely with Secretary McDonald to strengthen the VA,” Johnston said in a statement. “The secretary’s commitment to accurately assess the resources needed to expand VA clinics and hospitals, and hire more doctors and nurses is an important step toward making sure the VA provides America’s veterans timely, high-quality health care.”
Some 4,000 of the organization’s 1.2 million members attended the convention.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.