Friday, March 30, 2007

Here's a freebie

Via TPM and PR Week -

Pentagon's WSH hires firm in aftermath of Walt Reed scandal
The Washington Headquarters Services (WHS), a provider of operational support to several Department of Defense agencies, has hired a PR agency on behalf of the President's Commission on Care for Americas' Returning Wounded Warriors in the aftermath of the controversy that has erupted over conditions at Walter Reed hospital.
Mo' better PR...yeah, that will fix the problem.

I wonder how many millions of dollars it will cost the taxpayer?

Give me a couple gallons of Lysol, a mop, broom, some cans of Raid, a hammer & nails and I'll fix the problems for free.

Fixing problems quickly and efficiently - the best and cheapest PR in the world.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bait and switch

The day is still young, but as far as I recall life insurance policies are generally honored.

But is there any other segment of the insurance industry that actually makes a practice of delivering value for the money?

I don't want my child having to care for me the way I'm having to care for my own mother now. We were thinking about scraping together some money for long term care insurance.

Not anymore.

Note to the next President of the United States (who better by-Gawd be a Democrat) - appoint a high-level, blue-ribbon commission with subpoena powers to investigate insurance company skullduggery.

If there's an industry that cries out for government regulation, the insurance sharks are IT.



Friday, March 23, 2007

Another lousy report card

There are a number of health care proposals being presented to Congress these days and every one of them would cover more uninsured and save taxpayer money - except the Dubya plan.

The Commonwealth Fund, a 'private foundation working toward a high performance health care system" has looked at ten of them. Results on four are below (and more at the link) -

(click for larger view)

The Bush plan snags a good score in ONE area. Note that it's the one area that gives the wealthy a decided leg up in life.

No surprises here....move on.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Edwards still in


I get this little blurb in my inbox at least once a month, and I like it -

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body...but rather to skid in broadside...thoroughly worn out and loudly proclclaiming:

WOW! What a ride!"

Elizabeth plans to get everything she can get from the ride.


It's back
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, will hold a news conference Thursday to discuss what sources close to Edwards described as possible developments with her health.

Elizabeth Edwards underwent treatment for breast cancer after the 2004 campaign, in which her husband was the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Sources said Elizabeth Edwards had a routine follow-up appointment on Monday to check her breast cancer, which was believed to be in remission. According to sources, the doctor called back on Tuesday and asked her to come in again on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer, invasive ductal cancer, is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 70 percent to 80 percent of cases, according to the American Cancer Society.
As of 2000, there are 202,044 new cases per year in North America and 51,184 deaths. That's nearly as many deaths per year as those KIA in the entire Vietnam war.

I've known a lot of breast cancer survivors (and some who didn't survive). Of all those, most of them had a recurrence at some time.

I'm sure Elizabeth Edwards has the very best care money and position can buy and I wish her all the best. She's truly a great lady and an outstanding human being.

Something tells me not every one of those diagnosed cases are getting the best care available, and we're losing a tragic number of daughters, wives, and mothers.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

House panel defies Bush, votes for subpoenas
House Democrats voted Wednesday to give their leaders the authority to force White House officials to testify on the firings of U.S. attorneys.

The House Judiciary subcommittee vote was to authorize subpoenas. It does not mean that subpoenas will be issued; only that they could be if the four White House officials Democrats want to question do not voluntarily testify under oath.
Well, good for the subcommittee. Bush has to learn some day that he can't have everything his way.

Assuming the subpoenas are actually issued and honored (I know, big assumption), I am confident the next step will most likely be White House officials lying under oath.


Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm shocked

President Rejects Health Care Proposal

The Bush administration on Wednesday rejected key recommendations from a citizens' group asked by Congress to find out people's health care wishes.

Suggestions included guaranteeing health coverage for specific checkups and treatments and protecting consumers from high medical expenses. The group released its report Sept. 29 after hearing from about 6,500 people at 84 meetings.

President Bush agrees with many of the goals, but differs on how to achieve them, according to a letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The group "chose an approach based on mandates and government intervention rather than an approach emphasizing consumer choice and options," Leavitt said.

Congress created the task force when it established a drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries. The group's 15 members represented consumers, the disabled, business, organized labor and health care providers.
A couple of points here.

Point one - the Citizen's Health Care Working Group was created and appointed by a Republican congress as a little 'lookee over here!' distraction while they crafted legislation to enrich Big Pharma (Medicare Part D). If anyone reading this has any illusions of the administration actually taking up the group's recommendations, please leave the room immediately.

Point two - the only health care the Bush administration is interested in is it's own and making sure they rack up enough dough to pay for their own personal needs. In their eyes, anyone who can't afford health care or falls between the cracks in the system is a lazy dead-ender.

Point three - what the hell are 'consumer choice and options" anyway? If you are sick or injured you go to the health care provider your (extortionate) insurance company mandates, pay out the nose for the provider you prefer, or don't seek treatment at all. That's a great bunch of choices.

The Bush administration is no more interested in actual health care reform than they are in getting out of Iraq.


Monday, March 12, 2007

The 'new' morality

Homosexuality - not okay - Gen. Pace calls homosexuality immoral

Anything else - okay - Army tops recruit goal by lowering standards
Of those accepted under waivers, more than half were for “moral” reasons, mostly misdemeanor arrests. Thirty-eight percent were for medical reasons and 7 percent were drug and alcohol problems, including those who may have failed a drug test or acknowledged they had used drugs.
...and -
In February, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was "a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms 'serious criminal misconduct' in their background" -- a category that included "aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats." From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hit by a truck

So I'm all ready to jump back into steady blogging when I go to the dentist and he yanks out five - count 'em - five teeth.

Ouch. I've been in Vicodin Land for a couple of days, and I do indeed feel like I've been hit by a truck.

Make that a freight train, because when Richard Land, head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, says something I agree with, it's a like a big smack upside the head -
Richard Land, head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, told The Associated Press that evangelicals believe the former New York City mayor showed a lack of character during his divorce from his second wife, television personality Donna Hanover.

"I mean, this is divorce on steroids," Land said. "To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That's rough. I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control."
Amen, Dr. Land.

Having been through a divorce myself years ago, I have no problem with a candidate who is divorced. There are plenty of good reasons to divorce.

But when you treat your wife and the mother of your children like a piece of trash, you're not fit to run for office, regardless of your political affiliation.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Just another empty suit

According to CNN's Jeff Greenfield, all Rudy Giuliani needs to do to snag the 2008 Republican presidential nomination is holler "9/11!" loudly and often.

Maybe not.

As pointed out by “Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11,” (HarperCollins), by investigative reporters Dan Collins and Wayne Barrett -

Who made the dumb decision to put the New York City emergency command center in the World Trade Center, knowing full well it had been attacked several years earlier?

You guessed it - our man Rudy.

Who resisted changes in the interagency protocols that contributed so tragically to the mass confusion of the day?

You guessed it - our man Rudy.

Who neglected to have the fire department's radios repaired and/or reconfigured, even though the fire department had been begging for it for more than ten years?

You guessed it - our man Rudy.

Who didn't bother to increase the number of police detectives assigned to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force before he left office?

You guessed it - our man Rudy.

The list goes on and on and on.

This man has made a career out of his image on that dreadful day.

The last thing the United States needs is another all hat-no cattle president.

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The wrong stuff

If you read a bit into the NYTimes piece Most Support U.S. Guarantee of Health Care you come across one of the prime reasons why the American "health insurance" system is an abject failure and failing further every day -
A quarter of those with insurance said someone in their household had gone without a medical test or treatment because insurance would not cover it. Six in 10 of those without insurance said someone in their household had gone without care because of the cost.
Those people going without medical care are people WITH health insurance.

Health insurance companies across the spectrum (health, property, auto, etc.) no longer insure; they extort.

I feel their pain. Even when we had group health insurance, there were plenty of times Mr. Andante and I refused to undergo tests or procedures because paying twenty or more percent of a multi-thousand dollar cost was out of our reach.

As the title of the piece suggests, every year more Americans come to the view that some sort of government-controlled system is necessary.

I particularly like this part of the poll -
Americans showed a striking willingness in the poll to make tradeoffs to guarantee health insurance for all, including paying as much as $500 more in taxes a year and forgoing future tax cuts.
I suppose it depends on whom you ask. If the respondent is one of the lucky ones with employer group health insurance, they may hesitate.

But if it's one of us whose employer has dropped benefits, you might hear "Why, yes - I think I'd rather pay $500 extra in taxes and forgo future tax cuts than the almost $10,000 per year I pay now for health insurance."

However -
Robert Blendon, an expert at Harvard on public opinion and health, said politicians had to find some compromise between these philosophical divisions on the role of government, which are deep-seated in American culture, or “we’re going to have the same train wreck we did before.”
He's right.

Every time I've brought up the subject with conservative acquaintances they jump in with a big sneer at "socialized medicine".

Some smart politician needs to re-educate the public on the difference between "socialized medicine" and universal health care.
Nearly 8 in 10 said they thought it was more important to provide universal access to health insurance than to extend the tax cuts of recent years; 18 percent said the tax cuts were more important.
There will always be those 18% with a permanent pro-business, anti-government sneer and I'm perfectly happy to let them continue paying for their own lousy so-called 'insurance'.

The majority of us prefer to join the rest of the industrialized world of universal health coverage.


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