July-August 2002

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Tues., July 2 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board meeting at the office. All welcome!

Fri., July 5­Wed. July 31

Ninth Annual LaborFest: A month of parties, videos & films, working

people's music and art, and history. For a complete program, call

415/642-8066 and ask them to send you one.

Sun., July 7 2:00 p.m.

Stern Grove Festival: The SF Symphony, in works of Gershwin, Bernstein,

Liadov, et al. 19th Ave. & Sloat Blvd. Free.

Thurs., July 11 10:00 a.m.

SAN General Meeting Meeting. St. Mary's Cathedral, 111 Gough.

Info: 415/863-2033.

Sun., July 14 2:00 p.m.

Stern Grove Festival: Hawaiian singer Keali'i Reichel; Island Riddim

Band with Hula Halau 'O Ku'uleinani.19th Ave. & Sloat Blvd. Free.

Sun., July 21 2:00 p.m.

Stern Grove Festival: SF Ballet in highlights from its repertoire. 19th Ave.

& Sloat Blvd. Free

Sat., July 27 10:30 a.m.­12:15 p.m.

OWL: Do You Need Long-term Care Insurance? A lecture by Ed Oviatt,

financial planner. Info: 415/989-4422.

Sat., July 27 12:00­3:00 p.m.

GP Summer Potluck: Enjoy each other's homemade specialties and bring

the overload of your bookshelves to share with those who "always

wanted to read that." We'll wish our convenor, Wende Chan, happy

studying and living in San Diego and have time to view your arts and

crafts and performing arts. At the Western Park Apartments, 1280 Laguna

Sat., July 27 10:00 a.m.­noon

AARP membership. Flood Building.

Sun., July 28 2:00 p.m.

Stern Grove Festival: Kenny Barron's Canta Brasil, and others. 19th Ave.& Sloat Blvd. Free.

Sat., Aug. 3 To be arranged.

Livermore Conversion Project massive non-violent rally and march

to the Livermore Lab to protest escalating arms race. Info:


Sun., Aug. 4 2:00 p.m.

Stern Grove Festival: San Francisco Opera's Merola program presents

The Merry Wives of Windsor. 19th Ave. and Sloat Blvd. Free.

Tues., Aug. 6 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board meeting at the office. All welcome!

Sun., Aug. 11 2:00 p.m.

Stern Grove Festival: Kent Nagano conducts the Russian National

Orchestra in premier of Jean­Pascal Beintus' The Wolf and Peter. 19th

Ave. & Sloat Blvd. Free.

Regional Meeting

San Francisco Gray Panthers ware hosts to the Northern California Regional GP quarterly meeting on June 1. This was combined with our May general meeting to familiarize members with GP regional concerns. Networks present were Sacramento, Berkeley, Marin, Central Contra Costa and San Francisco.

After brief reports from each network on their activities of the past three months, we were delighted to welcome Jim Dawson from the Los Angeles South Bay Network. For a long time our regional organization has been trying to coordinate activities of all California networks. Joan Lee, our representative in Sacramento, has been lobbying in the name of California. Jim reported there are probably three or four functioning networks in the southland, but they are having great difficulty getting together. Our region had hoped to organize a state-wide meeting in the fall, but in view of his serious doubts, plans for such a meeting was referred to the September regional meeting. It was also reported that there is a new network in Garden City near Auburn.

Our relationship with our national office was discussed in some detail. In general we support National as our public face and national unifying force. The San Francisco Town Hall meeting on Prilosec and drug companies was acclaimed a success.

Joan Lee reiterated her role as our representative in Sacramento. She bases her actions on set national and regional priorities. Each network contributes $75.00 annually toward her expenses.

The next regional meeting will be held in September. Hosts will be south Alameda.

Gray Panthers of the South Bay

A new GP newsletter has come out of Torrance and has recounted the history and purposes of our organization skillfully and succinctly. Jim Dawson, the network's interim convenor, attended the above regional meeting with the goal of bringing more networks from all over California into a broader, more effective nation-wide activist coalition.

We welcome his efforts, and with our convenor, Wende Chan moving to San Diego to further her gerontological education, ( and toot the GP horn), we can see the dawn of such a coalition.

What's to Come

After watching a well-made and quite stimulating video of a rousing rent control rally made by Deetje Boler, the June meeting offered her suggestions on how to make such presentations as effective as possible and promised to help her expand this promising enterprise.

Next, suggestions were invited about what topics were of prime importance to the membership when planning next year's agenda. First came local concerns including the San Francisco budget, how public services can be saved, housing, Health Department, and Hunters Point community's struggle for clean air and the clean-up of pollution. And more on homeless issuesnot just on housing but other problems of the homeless.

Local efforts with ramifications on a broader scale were introduced as important to Gray Panthers goals. Investigate ways to tie the need for nuclear disarm-ament to local needs. Have strategy meetings to find ways to tie the need for nuclear disarmament to local needs such as publicizing Livermore's Tri­Valley Newsletter and the Livermore Conversion Project. (See the August calendar for more on the latter project.)

And keep national issues in focus and express opinions on such issues as the Patriot Act, Civil Rights, nuclear power and the Clean Air Act and the need to defend the jury system are a few examples. A demonstration should be planned in December protesting the U.S. Army production of a game for children based on "War Games," a perfect foil for this "No War Toys" event.

Environmental threats include the need for an expert to speak on the ramifications of genetic modification of food; define and submit a position paper on universal/single payer health care and what does real universal health care mean. Re-activate health care committee. Work on the Clean Money Campaign and invite a speaker and/or investigate ways to encourage more leadership and participation by Gray Panthers in organizing and implementing public events.

Are You Missing Out on Drug Discounts?

California's prescription drug discount program can save Medicare beneficiaries 20 percent off retail drug prices, but many seniors, especially those with low incomes, may be missing out, according to an article in the March 14 New England Journal of Medicine. The study of 500 pharmacies found that while 75 percent provided the state-mandated discount, fewer than half did so unless the customer specifically asked for it.

The findings of the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and RAND Health suggest that low-income sen-iors who could benefit the most from these discounts many not be receiving them. Beneficiary awareness of drug discount laws and provisions for monitoring pharmacy compliance are crucial to enable seniors to use this program.

In California, pharmacies that participate in the Medi-Cal program are required to offer seniors discounted prices. To obtain the savings, Medicare beneficiaries must present their Medicare card at the pharmacy and ask for a senior or Medicare discount. On medicines used to treat conditions that are common in the older population, an elderly person can save money. Differences in compliance with the law were found among pharmacies by region, pharmacy type and neighborhood income level. Compliance was higher among chains than independent pharmacies and higher in the Bay Area than Los Angeles County.

California's current senior prescription discount law is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year and a new law has been introduced to extend the program indefinitely.

For more information on prescription drug options for seniors contact California Health Care Foundation, 476 Ninth Street, Oakland, CA 94607. tel: 510/238-1040. Not covered by insurance? Try the following:

<the canadian drugstore.com> <realfast drugstore.com> <crossborderpharmacy.com>

1696 Avenue Road 156 Duncan Mill Road, 2912 Memorial Drive SE,

Toronto, Ontario, Unit 21,Toronto, Ontario, Suite 100, Calgary,

Canada M5M 3Y4 Canada M3B 3N2 Alberta, Canada T2A 7R9

Tel: 1-888-372-2252 Tel: 1-866-412-6262 Tel: 1-888-626-0696

Fax: 1-888-575-5506 Fax: 1-800-697-7593 Fax: 1-888-635-0535

Drug Reform Bandwagon

Hey, Tim Fuller, you started a bandwagon that's picking up 'me-too-ers' allover the place!

Peter Jennings hosted a scathing documentary on ABC that took on all the profit-above-all pharmaceuticals from AstroZeneca through Zantac. It featured appearances by both the profiteers and such critics as the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

And AARP joined three lawsuits against AstroZeneca, Schering-Plough, and Bristol­Myers Sqibb.

Alert, E­Bay auctioneers: If you trade $2,000+ in Barbie Dolls or other essential commodities per month, you're eligible for low-cost health insurance through the web site. That's a relief!

A Feminist Beginning

For those of you who like their historysugar-coated by a fictional storylike meI recommend the books by Miriam Grace Monfredo. You may never have heard of her unless you are a mystery reader because her publisher is Berkley Prime Crime, N.Y., and her books are found in the library's mystery section. True, they are thrillers but the most thrilling part is the passionate defense of women in the 19th century and the rise of the women's movement.

This is a report on two of her books: Seneca Falls Inheritance sets the stage for the first women's rights convention and its amazing success, and how it almost didn't happen. The description of the librarian-heroine is most challenging. Read it and consider what you would have done had you been such a woman in the early 1800s. It's a question for you men, too.

Sisters of Cain is a double story of spying and of nursing in the Civil War. The heroine is modeled after a real woman spy, one of the first Pinkerton agents. (Pinkerton had a slightly unsavory connotation even then.) Her sister's efforts to be a nurse to the Union soldiers is an eye-opening tale not only of women and nursing and the medical hierarchy but of medical treatment of the day.

Both of these books are solidly grounded historically and properly referenced and cited and filled with actual historical characters. They are quick reads and well-plotted, if a little far fetched at times. Read Sisters and see if you believe in Bronwen all the way, in spite of the documentation. Hey, it's fiction. But how come we weren't taught any of this in history class? Anyway, I was completely captivated by the women's history and general background and the real and imagined characters and with each book stayed up half the night finishing it.

Mitzi Raas

Further Reading for Activists

Here's a short list of books, some heavy-going, some tongue-in-cheek, as Adam Cohen's the Perfect Store, that we'd like our voracious readers ro report on for the benefit of other members.

Among those that are foremost on our list are Cambridge Professor Noreena Hertz' The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy; Lone Schneider's Accidental Pilgrim; Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. That's all we have room for right now, but your suggestions and reviews are invited!

Back to the Future

The latest Following in the Hoover/Reagan/Nixon model, are we in for a new "enemies list," an echo of "subversives in high places," the overthrow of Venezuela's Chavez in the interests of South American "stability" and incidentally the United States sovereignty over Venezuela's oil pipeline? Will all eastern nationals, especially the ones with beards, be said to have "ties to terrorists"? Will we rerun Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, Haiti, The Congo and on ad infinitum?

If it's up to Bush, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld et cie., authors of the newest reins on our democratic processes, it appears we are racing back to the future!

Ear Candy

With the huge dearth of food for thought on TV, we suggest alternative mediaFM radioto fill the gap.

All SF GPs are familiar with KPFA programs, but some of these and more are aired on KQED: the Commonwealth Club, 8:00 p.m., Fridays; Cleveland City Club, 8:00 p.m. Wednesdays; City Arts & Lectures, 1:00 p.m. Sundays followed by On the Media, later at 4:00 p.m., SaysYou (hilarious) and then Cambridge Forum. KALW airs Alternative Radio at noon on Thursdays, and National Press club, at noon on Wednesdays.

The Newsletter of the San Francisco Gray Panthers is published each month, and distributed free of charge to members and friends of this nonprofit organization.

Editorial Board: Rebecca Hirshleifer, Mitzi Raas; Publisher, Astrid M. Spector; Art Director, Fannie Biderman; Proof, Lurilla Harris; Production, Michael Flandi Circulation: Harold Greenblatt and Mary Francis Smith. Printed by Graffik Natwicks; Webpage design: Barry Simpkins

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