Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, January 12, 2006



Due to time constraints and the fact that I just flew across the country, Madman is abbreviated tonight. -NG


Number 4

In case most of you couldn't figure it out, I am most definitely a Jeffersonian Democrat. I believe in the rights of all the people to make decisions for themselves without the interference of government as well as their right to privacy. Yes, despite what the elite, ultra-rich right wing says, we do have the right to privacy and it is guaranteed by the US Constitution. Of course, if you want to take the Constitution at its literal word, then the second amendment only grants the right to "bear arms". It doesn't say anything about shooting them.

The US Constitution was written, mainly, by James Madison while Thomas Jefferson was the US Minister to France, following Benjamin Franklin, (As Jefferson told the French, "No one can replace Mr. Franklin. I am merely his successor.") When a draft of the Constitution was sent by sea to Jefferson from Madison, the former first Secretary of State (Jefferson, under George Washington) and future president advised that a Bill of Rights was needed. This Bill of Right has survived for over 200 years. Amendments have been made to change it as times dictated, but no one man (or woman) has been as close to ripping the US Constitution apart as George W. Bush, with the help of his "coharts".

The fourth amendment in the Bill of Rights is as straight forward a statement as any one that has been issued any time or any where. It simply says:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Take those words as they are... print them... and the next time one of your "Federalist Revisited" friends who support GW say to you "The Constitution doesn't even use the word 'privacy'," I want you to show them these words and have them give you THEIR interpretation of them.

Then, after they hem and haw, I want you to explain to them that the word "privacy" had a noun attached to it, called the "privy", or bathroom. Then explain to them that, in the 1700's and most of the 1800's people used the word "privacy" and its derivatives as a way of excusing themselves to go to the bathroom. Then take that scrap of paper with the words they won't be able to interpret "The Right-Wing Way", and let them have it for their very own.

When they ask "What should I do with it?",  just tell them to do what GW and his ilk are trying to do with it... take it to the "privy".

-Noah Greenberg

This is an outrage! I want to know why our political representatives aren't taking to the floor to decry this practice. -RJS

A Return to Debtors Prisons

Hospitals in several states have actually had patients arrested and jailed if they are unable to pay their debts. This legal tactic is chillingly known as body attachment.

"Body attachment is basically a warrant for arrest," says Claudia Lennhoff, executive director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers in Illinois.
She says that if a patient misses a court date, that they may not even know they have, the attorneys for the hospitals or collection agencies can ask the judge to issue a warrant for the patient's arrest.

"They can go out immediately and find that person or it can just kind of be out there and then if the person gets pulled over, for example, for having a taillight out or speeding or something, it pops up, and then shows a warrant for arrest and the person gets brought in, and then they get incarcerated,"
says Lennhoff.

Take the case of Jim Bean, a musician in Urbana, Illinois. More than a decade ago, he received treatment at the Carle Foundation Hospital, the primary teaching hospital of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, for a gunshot wound after a failed suicide attempt. He attended 13 court dates to answer to his $7,718 hospital bill. But then Bean missed a hearing, which he says he did not know was scheduled. The hospital asked the court for an arrest warrant.

"They put out this body attachment that I found out about the next day. I went and turned myself in," recalls Bean. "I went to find out what was going on, and they told me to go across the street to the county sheriff's office where I turned myself in. I was jailed, and I was put into general population at the satellite facility here until my brother could come up with 10% of $3,500 to bail me out of jail."

Bean says the next time he went to court, the attorneys for Carle Hospital asked that Bean's bail money be applied toward his debt to the hospital. The judge approved the request. "It was just a really quick way for them to collect $350," he says. "I had no say in that."

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Robert Tonkinson, chief financial officer for Carle Foundation Hospital, said the hospital would not end its practice of having patients arrested.

"We are exercising more review, and more care and more direction over that practice," says Tonkinson. But he says, "The reason we're not willing to say that we'll never, never use that practice again is because we do feel a very strong obligation to be a good steward of the resources we have." He adds that sometimes having people arrested is "the only option left in order to get the information we need to see if these people qualify for our charity programs or in assistance in other ways is to pursue that process."

Bean has been dealing with his debt to Carle Hospital for more than 12 years. He says he has made payments totaling $1,340. "When I started making those payments, my bill was $7,718.23," he says. "My bill today is $10,620.46. None of the money that I have paid has been applied to the debt whatsoever, it's all in interest charges."

Legal Aid's Benjamin says that Bean's case is part of a national trend. "In New York State, for example, the collection agents charge 9% interest," she says. "So, even though the federal interest rate is 1%, and most people can get mortgages for 6%, the hospital industry is charging 9%, at least, on average."

Lennhoff of the Champaign County Health Care Consumers says that practices like arresting people who can't afford to pay the exorbitant costs of health could have far reaching implications. "It creates a bad dynamic in our community, where people become very afraid of getting healthcare because they fear that they will be jailed if they cannot pay the bill," she says.
"They are treated as a criminals and that's outrageous."

Democracy Now! is a daily national radio/TV newshour. Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Mike Burke compiled this report.

-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane


This horse's (expletive deleted) keeps hammering away at the victims of Katrina. In the aftermath of the flooding, the evacuation and the loss of lives, jobs and disaster this braying jackass (oops - I missed that one) started in with crap about the "death of the welfare state in New Orleans". Michael Brown's utter unsuitability to the job at FEMA is not an issue--that was "pointing fingers of blame."

On the other hand, labeling the mostly "working poor" victims of Bush's decision to cut funds for levee maintenance as "welfare recipients" who somehow are responsible for their own problems has something to do with "personal responsibility."

Funny how personal responsibility applies to everyone but Bush. (or Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc)

So other than the scale of disaster, the lack of evacuation, the non-flooding which took place in North Dakota, the fact that FEMA isn't responsible for blizzards (is it?) what else is involved with this all too typical Reich-Wing BS?


This text is from a county emergency manager out in the western part of North Dakota state after the recent snow storm.

Up here in the Northern Plains we just recovered from a Historic event --- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.


* George Bush did not come....

* FEMA did nothing....

* No one howled for the government...

* No one blamed the government

* No one even uttered an expletive on TV...

* Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit

* Our Mayor's did not blame Bush or anyone else

* Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else either

* CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit - or report on this category 5 snow storm

* Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.....

* No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House....

* No one looted....

* Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government do something

* Nobody expected the government to do anything either

* No Larry King, No Bill O'Rielly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera

* No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found


* Nope, we just melted the snow for water

* Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars

* The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny

* Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families

* Families took in the stranded people - total strangers

* We Fired up wood stoves

* Broke out coal oil lanterns or coleman lanterns

* We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die"

* We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a
welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks.

* Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early...we know it can happen and how to deal with it

"In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% most of the world's social problems evaporate."

-Forwarded from the North Dakota News and Commented by David W.

Today's Bush Quote

"From when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to visit,"
-George W. Bush making a case for the "bang-up" job that he did in New Orleans

Anyone familiar with GW's "childhood" (which, by his own admission lasted until he was well over thirty years of age) figured out that the "fun-boy" of the "Skull and Bones" society made an occasional visit to the Big Easy during Mardi Gras.

(Beads anyone?)

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg