Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, March 14, 2005



Health Care

Why we need either an affordable health care or a Single Payer Universal Health Care Plan in the USA

Health Insurance and Jobs
If 70 percent of all jobs created are by small businesses, shouldn't we help small businesses start, develop and grow?

If there is a would-be entrepreneur who is willing to invest the time and money necessary to start a business, shouldn't we find a way to help that person start that business?

If the only thing holding that person back is the cost of health insurance, shouldn't we attempt to do something about that as well?

Q: Why are health insurance costs are so high, and growing higher?

A: Fear is an easy way to keep the American worker in line.

In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny... "Could be"

A Scary Scenario
Two candidates are up for the same job. Candidate 1 is a 35 year-old white male. He graduated from a state college. He has 2 small children and a stay-at-home wife. He has been out of work for 7 months. He has exhausted his unemployment benefits. Candidate 1 REALLY needs this job.

Candidate 2 is a 35 year-old white male. He graduated from a state college. He is single. He has no children.

The company they are interviewing with offers a modest pension plan, 2 weeks vacation and an employee participation health care plan, 75 percent of which is paid for by the employer. Each married employee costs the company $600 per month ($7,200 per year). Each non-married employee costs the employer $200 per month ($1,200 per year).

Two questions arise:
1) Who needs the job more?
2) Who is going to get the job?

Health insurance for everybody creates jobs.
Scenario 1: A white-collar professional (network engineer; software engineer; middle manager; etc) and main breadwinner of a family loses his job. After exhausting 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, COBRA payments and part of the family savings, he decides that drastic measures are needed. The house is sold and the money is used for every day expenses. The former professional is now mired in a meaningless position (meaningless to him), lacks self-respect and is frequently depressed. Worst of all, as time goes by, there is a feeling of surrender that overtakes him. He gives up on finding a new position and the deteriorate. The hole just gets deeper and deeper until all light disappears.

Scenario 2: A white-collar professional (network engineer; software engineer; middle manager; etc) and main breadwinner of a family loses her job. While collecting unemployment insurance, less 10% for health care insurance, this head-of-the-family decides to strike out on her own (network consulting; software services; management consulting; etc) while still looking for a new position. She discovers the ability to communicate with business decision-makers. One of these decision-makers likes what he sees in the consultant and offers her a position. JOB CREATED.

Scenario 3: A white-collar professional network engineer; software engineer; middle manager; etc) and main breadwinner of a family loses his job. While collecting unemployment insurance, less 10% for health care insurance, this head-of-the-family decides to strike out on their own (network consulting; software services; management consulting; etc) while still looking for a new position. He discovers the ability to communicate with business decision-makers. One of these decision-makers likes what she sees and contracts the consultant to improve business. The consultant discovers a new market for the company’s existing product line and advises the decision-maker to hire sales people to address this new market. JOBS CREATED. By word-of-mouth, the consultant attracts more and more business. He finds it necessary to hire a salesperson and a receptionist. EVEN MORE JOBS CREATED.

-Noah Greenberg

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?*

    Why does it seem tough for some people to do what they know is right? We've been watching the steroid saga unfold, and its a sad statement for our moral values that there are those who pretend they don't know what should be done. Major League Baseball, for one, should truly be ashamed of itself. You'll hear people ask, Should Barry Bonds be allowed into the Hall of Fame? The answer is obvious: No way, no how. In fact, Bonds, Sheffield, Giambi, and anyone else who used an illegal substance to get an unfair edge should be expelled from baseball completely.
    Possibly the worst argument you'll hear against their expulsion is this one: Oh, they've [players in general] been doing it for years! Its Baseballs fault! Its the fans fault! Its the game! This argument has two main parts, both fallacious. The first part of this erroneous argument assumes that something is OK so long as it has been done for years. I guess then that murdering people is OK, just as long as you get away with it for a while. What else is OK?
Slavery? That went on for hundreds of years in this country. I think we did the right thing in putting a stop to it, though. The second part of this argument assumes that we should have just arbitrarily named those who were doing steroids before we had solid evidence.
    Apparently the qualification for this is that someone was doing very well, especially if they hadn't done as well in the past. That's not a very good way to prove things, and it seems to go against the American way of encouraging greatness. Also, you cant expect parents to stop taking their children to ballgames based on personal suspicions. The fans shouldn't have paid to go to games, some say. This is a bit unreasonable, but even if you believe it, it doesn't excuse the actual culprits. The players responsible should most certainly pay for their deeds. If you want to investigate the MLB or the NBA or the NFL in addition, that's fine; they should be investigated. But don't let the players off the hook either. If kids at school start a fire and the alarms don't go off, you'd be right to be upset at the alarm company,
but you'd be wrong if you weren't also upset at the kids.
    Here's another terrible argument you'll hear: They're all doing it, so its fair. The first and most obvious error with this argument is the assumption that 100% of the players are doing it. If that's the case, we have a serious moral crisis on our hands, but I think the odds of it being the case are extremely unlikely. Even if 60% of the players in the MLB are on steroids, is it fair to the other 40% that those who are committing the crime are getting away with it?
In our society, we strongly encourage competition; but its fair competition. And the fact of the matter is, it isn't how many people were committing an immoral act that determines its immorality. As noted before, slavery was accepted for hundreds of years in this country, and it was always wrong. Morality is not a numbers game.
Then there's this one: It wasn't against the rules at the time. This is just plain silly. It was against the law. The baseball rulebook doesn't have to encompass everything. Its obvious, for instance, that shooting the first baseman while trying to run out a ground ball is not allowed. Does it specifically say that in the baseball rulebook? I don't think it has to. Why? Because its against the law.
    Yet another poor argument is, We don't know what players in the past were doing. We don't know what Babe Ruth was doing, for instance. First of all, its doubtful that Ruth or DiMaggio were doing The Clear. Why? Maybe because it wasn't invented. The advanced steroids involved here were not around for use. Its as simple as that. And even had they been, perhaps it wasn't in style to cheat yes, cheat. Ruth, DiMaggio, Aaron, Mantle, Williams they did it the old-fashioned way: with hard work and talent. We cant argue from ignorance. Not knowing that they didn't do it doesn't mean that they did. That's a dangerous way of thinking.
    Here's another dangerous way of thinking: We cant do anything about this or We shouldn't do anything about this because the players mean too much money. From an economic standpoint, this argument suffers from the fact that the legal battles and tarnished image may cost the pros money in the long-run, compared to the state they would be in if the drugs had never come into use. But truly the economic position matters little. Sometimes you have to do the right thing, despite the cost.
    We've let this issue linger for too long, but that doesn't mean we cant do something about it. When Sammy Sosa was caught with cork in his bat, we should've done something. We knew he was cheating, so why did we allow him to get away with it? These players knew that they were doing something wrong, and that's all there is to it. If the pros cant take care of this issue (and they truly haven't yet), Congress should get involved, and we as a people should make a
statement: Clean-up your act.

* from Mrs. Robinson, Simon and Garfunkel, 1967

-Ross Rosenfeld

GOP in 2008?


Hey boys and girls. Who do you want to see get the GOP nomination to run for president in 2008?
a- Condi Rice
You remember Condi Rice, don't you? "We would have moved Heaven and Earth to prevent 911," but torture's OK.
b- Sen. Bill Frist
You remember Bill Frist, don't you? He's the guy who said Social Security Privatization is all but dead, then did a FLIP-FLOP when pressured by the Bushies. You remember Senator / Doctor / Majority Head and Bush Suck-Up Bill Frist, don't you? He's the guy who took hundreds of thousand of dollars from Health Care Organizations like HealthSouth while they their CEO was being investigated, then prosecuted and saw no conflict of interest there.
c- Newt Gingrich

You all remember Newt, don't you? He might be the last Republican ever to have to pay an "ethics" price.

d- Sen. john McCain

You remember John McCain, don't you? He's one of many who spoke out for the guy who called him the "Manchurian Candidate." he'll be 73-years-old in 2008.


There are others. I encourage all of you to put forth your picks.


-Noah Greenberg

From: Anne Lewis
To: Robert Scardapane
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 6:06 PM
Subject: Rant of the People

Dear Robert,
How's that whole mandate business working out for you, Mr. President?
Remember a month ago when George Bush was trying to convince us he has some mythical "mandate" to dismantle Social Security? Turns out that even some members of his own party didn't really believe it.
Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both from Maine, have refused to endorse Bush's privatization scheme. Even one of Bush's top White House advisors was quoted anonymously today as concerned that losing on Social Security now will cause Republicans to lose Senate races next year.
My question is where's the vaunted Republican party discipline when they really need it?
Rick Santorum, Man of the People?
A new and improved Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was in the news this week offering a proposal to raise the minimum wage. Well...sort of.
Actually, Slick Rick's proposal would have made it harder to collect overtime pay by abolishing the 40-hour work week and replacing it with an 80-hour two-week accounting period. It would have forced waiters and other tipped employees to work for tips only by allowing employers to pay those employees zero actual salary.
Despite all that, we just might go along with Santorum's new-found "compassionate conservatism." Except that his minimum wage proposal was so stingy that even Sen. Arlen Specter, another Republican from Pennsylvania, rejected it in favor of Sen. Ted Kennedy's much larger proposed increase. That's right. Santorum's proposal is so bad that some Republicans are supporting Ted Kennedy instead.
The truth is that Rick Santorum is no friend of working families. He's voted against increasing the minimum wage at least half a dozen times. Now that his 2006 reelection bid is shaping up to be the fight of his political life - Presto! - he is trying to recast himself as a dedicated man of the people. We're not going to buy it. Of course, with the minimum wage so low, I'm not sure we can afford it.

Pennsylvania Polling
More good news from the Keystone State just today. SurveyUSA has Santorum losing 49-42 to leading Democratic candidate and current state Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. It's a good thing Sen. Kennedy is trying to enact a real minimum wage increase. A two-term senator with numbers this low this early is likely to be looking for a new line of work real soon.

Senate Republicans Oppose Everything
Senate Budget Committee Democrats are doing their best to make the Bush budget into something tolerable. It's not working.
Yesterday, Budget Committee Republicans voted against Democratic efforts to do the following: save Social Security first, restore fiscal responsibility, put more cops on the streets, equip and train first responders, revitalize communities, provide full funding for veteran's health care, and let Medicare negotiate better prescription drug prices for seniors.
There's still one more vote left on preventing the kicking of puppies. We'll see where the Republicans come down on that one.

Quote of the Day
"We don't do Lincoln Day dinners in South Carolina. It's nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things." -- Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), speaking to the annual Knox County Lincoln Day dinner

Well, at least it's nothing personal.
Anne H. Lewis


Thanks to Robert Sccardapane


There are a large group of peoples who believe that the Rapture will occur in our lifetime. Some people say that this group includs GW Bush.

There are a lot of people that believe everything GW Bush tells them, including that they will have no Social Security Retirement money available when they retire sometime after 2042?

I have one question for these people: Why bother fixing Social Security? If your Faith is so secure, what is the reason to fix what really isn't broken?

-Noah Greenberg

Polluting is OK
by GW Bush

President Bush is pushing through congress a bill that would allow polluters to purchase the right to add mercury to the air and water. He is calling this the Clean Air Mercury Rule. Sounds a bit like the Clean Air Act that allows polluters to pollute more, doesn't it?

Polluters will no longer have to scrub that nasty mercury-laced stuff from their power plants.

"This rule gives big energy companies an extra 10 years before being required to reduce their mercury air pollution. To say we are disappointed is an understatement. This is an ill-conceived plan that puts the future of our children and natural places at risk."
-Felice Stadler, a mercury policy specialist at the National Wildlife Federation

So how will allowing companies to "purchase" the right to "pollute more" decrease the amount of mercury in our air and water supplies?

More Bush Fuzzy math, I guess.

-Noah Greenberg

Stupid Quotes

"We recognize that one of the biggest challenges for the United States is to foster the integration of China into the international system in a way that it's a productive force, not a destructive force,"

-Condoleezza Rice to Congress last week

So is that why you and President Bush have China finance the US budget... "to foster the integration of China into the international system?" They're already "fostered," Condi. They take our jobs and ignore the rights of their own people. Oh yeah, and they own quite a bit of the US economy right now.

Great job, Condi.

-Noah Greenberg

Send your comments to: or

-Noah Greenberg