Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, April 18, 2005


Physician, Train Thyself

Good medical care comes from good doctors. Good legal representation comes from good lawyers. One might ask the question, "What's the difference between the two?" The answer is simple and could make a newcomer to the land of liberty and freedom shake their head in bewilderment: If you are accused of a crime, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer, but if you are in sick you do NOT have a right to see a doctor.

We go as far as to require attorneys to perform Pro-bono work (charitable work) but make no such requirements of doctors. Perhaps there is something to that. After all, lawyers don't have to serve an apprenticeship the way doctors do in order to start a successful practice. And let's not forget that, even though law school is an expense, it pales in comparison to the costs of a good medical school education. Look at it this way: A college graduate could actually earn their law degree on line. That graduate could then pass a state's bar exam. They could represent you in a civil matter or prepare your will, or do any number of other tasks that one requires an attorney to do. You might not want them to represent you if you were accused of a capital offense, but for a speeding ticket, you might take a chance.

As far as I know, there are no on-line medical schools, but imagine if there were. Would you trust a prescription written by a "correspondence school doctor"? How about risking a hernia operation by a graduate of EMed-U (I made that one up)? I wouldn't trust my dog to a veterenarian who didn't graduate from a real veterinarian school, so you know I wouldn't trust a doctor from a "fake" medical school.

Here are other questions you need to ask yourself: Are the best people: A) Getting into medical school and; B) Are they even applying to medical school in the first place due to their limited finances? Do we want the best doctors or the best doctors that can afford medical school tuition? What if the next great neurosurgeon is now digiging ditches on the Gowanas Expressway in Brooklyn, NY because he wanted to get married to his High school sweetheart and start a family instead of asking her to wait until they are 30 years old or so?

Where am I going with all of this, you may ask? (Go on.... ask.)

I recommend a new system be put in place in the United States that recognizes talent in the science field as early as High School. I recommend a system that would keep tabs on young and talented students with an eye on allowing them a way to go to college, then medical school.

Let's say that student "A" graduates from high school in a poor district of an inner city with high grades. Student "A" attends a public college, mostly on scholarships and financial aid and graduates with honors. Student "A" wishes to become a doctor, but the financial burden would be too great. Student "A" instead heads out into the work force. Even of the student makes it in the business world, we should have wondered what might have been.

Now, let's say we have a plan that allows us to send Student "A" to medical school on the public dollar. No loans. No part time jobs. The sudent is just that... a full-time medical student who may become the next great research doctor, or heart surgeon, or emergency room doctor, etc. What if, in return for the years of school this doctor has received at public expense, this doctor gives four years of his life, after residency, internship, and whatever else doctors have to go through, at a minimum, but liveable wage. Maybe, instead of working in an urban clinic for four years, this doctor might want to repay his debt as an Army surgeon or a doctor on a Naval vessel in 2 or 3 years.

Maybe if we identified the best young people who want to be doctors, we can have the best doctors. Maybe then we can cut the cost of health care by staffing clinics with young, supervised physicians instead of hoping that some good-hearted doctor will help out the poor and indigent when he gets a chance.

Don't just stand up and say, "It'll never work'" or, "the guys in office will never go for it," or, "the medical establishment wouldn't stand for it."

Maybe this is an idea that needs a lot of work, but you have to start somewhere. Why not here and why not now?

Here are questions that should always be asked when confronted with your ideas: If not now, then when? If not me, then who?

-Noah Greenberg


"We didn't even know they had done this (switched from the name brand drug to the generic drug) until we saw these developmentally delayed kids and adults coming into the clinic or emergency room with seizures. It turned out all these kids had been switched from brand-name Dilantin to generic."
-Ilo E. Leppik, MD, MINCEP research director and professor of pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, from WebMD's Daniel DeNoon's article "Generic Epilepsy Drugs Not the Same- Patients Warned Switching Between Dilantin and Generic Brands Can Cause Relapses

A black out from a seizure is risky - particularly while operating a motor vehicle. Some insurance companies will not cover generics at all even when there is evidence that the brand name is more effective. I know that generics contain inert ingredients and hence are not chemically the same. In many cases, this does not matter but in this case it does! Why not simply make the co-pay for the generic higher rather than totally refuse coverage?
-Robert Scardapane

What scares me the most is this: Why would there be a difference between the name-brand drug and the generic at all? Is there some funky monkey-business going on? Is it some sort of conspiracy that will allow the drug manufacturer a way to cast doubt on a generic drug (or all generic drugs) so people will have to pay more for the name-brand out of their own pocket? Is it a fault of the generic manufacturer in production? Is it some sort of substitution to save a nickel at the expense of the patient?

In any of these events, there needs to be some sort of investigation, and we know we can't trust the drug companies to police themselves. So who's going to do it?
-Noah Greenberg

Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Blackwell misrepresents a “True Culture of Life”
Catholics for Faithful Citizenship
For Immediate Release
by Eric McFadden

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. -Jeremiah 1:5

Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell states on his Gubernatorial Campaign website that this verse from Jeremiah is his favorite from the Bible. The site further proclaims the “Pro Life” credentials of Blackwell with a press release announcing his recent endorsement by the “The Republican National Coalition for Life” (RNC for Life) Blackwell himself is quoted on the site as saying “I pledge to continue my work to protect the unborn if elected, and continue to lead our state towards reflecting a “true culture of life” in every thing we do.”

As Catholics for Faithful Citizenship we are concerned that Mr. Blackwell may not truly understand what a “true culture of life” is. While we applaud his intentions to protect the unborn, we wonder how the State Leadership in Ohio that Blackwell is a part of considers the more than 200,000 jobs lost in Ohio during the past four years a part of a “true culture of life”? Is the $5 Billion Budget deficit now facing the State of Ohio, given to Ohioans by the failed leadership of Blackwell, Taft, Petro and Mongomery part of this “true culture of life” ? Is the leaderships plan to cut Disability Medical Assistance (DMA) to fix record budget deficits, a plan that could cost the lives of vulnerable Ohioans, end services to 30,000 families and shift millions in costs to cities and hospitals part of the Blackwell’s “true culture of life”?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently began a campaign to bring an end to use of the Death Penalty, but Blackwell vows to follow the lead of his mentor, George W. Bush and continue to advocate the use of the Death Penalty while at the same time claiming to understand Catholic Teaching and continuing to pander for our votes, but we are not fooled by their veiled Culture of Death.

More than one million Ohioans are impoverished and one in seven children lives in poverty. More than 40 percent of persons in food lines across the state are working poor – working jobs that do not keep their families above the poverty level. Poverty relief programs such as support for food banks and school feeding programs are vulnerable to funding cuts. Somehow in the midst of all this, Ken Blackwell proclaims himself to be “Pro Life” and says he will lead a “true culture of life”. Note to all Ohioans. This proclamation by Blackwell only applies to those who can afford his “true culture of life”.

Maybe Mr. Blackwell should have taken the time to read beyond the first couple verses of Jeremiah. At Catholics for Faithful Citizenship we feel Blackwell would be better suited by reading from Matthew.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. - Matthew 23:28

Maybe if Mr. Blackwell took the time to read the entire book of Jeremiah he would come to reflect that a time will come when not only will those in power realize they have failed in the past, but God will put all those who have failed as far away as the east is from the west. God will give us a new heart; will make a new covenant with his people to say we are all in this together. This is a “true culture of life” and a consistent one. Ohio needs a Governor that will be in it together with the people of Ohio and not in it for the special interest groups of the radical right as Mr. Blackwell is.

The Hero of Connecticut


Betty J. Sternberg is a hero, or is it heroine? She is the first woman to head Connecticut's Department of Education. Dr. Sternberg is one of the sternest opponents of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" initiative. When Margaret Spellings, the new Education Secretary called opponents of NCLB "un-American", Dr. Sternberg demanded an apology. She got it from a member of the most arrogant administration in recent memory.

Dr. Sternberg wanted to state her case to the Education secretary. At the urging of Connecticut's Republican Governor, M. Jodi Rell, she will get the chance.

Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall for that one?

-Noah Greenberg

An Open Letter to Tom DeLay
Excerpts from a letter by James Carville

Dear Tom,
    Recently I heard you tell all Americans concerned about having an ethically challenged man leading the Congress to “bring it on.” I've also heard you and your allies crowing about how any real Republican will come and stand by your corrupt side in your time of need.
Well, Tom, I'm here to tell you that at your request, we are indeed “bringing it on.” As for forcing “real Republicans” to rally to your side, I have to ask: How much more to do you want?
    Your precious little rubberstamps in Congress have already gutted the ethics rules, forced out the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, and purged two other GOP Members of the committee, all to protect you. They've voted as you've told them more than 90% of the time, taken your dirty money, and helped bring your legal defense fund to over $1,000,000.

-Thanks to Casey Sweet

A Monster in Bolton


Dear Sir:
    I'm writing to urge you to consider blocking in committee the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the UN.
In the late summer of 1994, I worked as the subcontracted leader of a US AID project in Kyrgyzstan officially awarded to a HUB primary contractor. My own employer was Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, and I reported directly to Republican leader Charlie Black.
    After months of incompetence, poor contract performance, inadequate in-country funding, and a general lack of interest or support in our work from the prime contractor, I was forced to make US AID officials aware of the prime contractor's poor performance.
    I flew from Kyrgyzstan to Moscow to meet with other Black Manafort employees who were leading or subcontracted to other US AID projects. While there, I met with US AID officials and expressed my concerns about the project -- chief among them, the prime contractor's inability to keep enough cash in country to allow us to pay bills, which directly resulted in armed threats by Kyrgyz contractors to me and my staff.
    Within hours of sending a letter to US AID officials outlining my concerns, I met John Bolton, whom the prime contractor hired as legal counsel to represent them to US AID. And, so, within hours of dispatching that letter, my hell began.
    Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats.
    When US AID asked me to return to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in advance of assuming leadership of a project in Kazakstan, I returned to my project to find that John Bolton had proceeded me by two days. Why? To meet with every other AID team leader as well as US foreign-service officials in Bishkek, claiming that I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely was facing jail time. As US AID can confirm, nothing was further from the truth.
    He indicated to key employees of or contractors to State that, based on his discussions with investigatory officials, I was headed for federal prison and, if they refused to cooperate with either him or the prime contractor's replacement team leader, they, too, would find themselves the subjects of federal investigation. As a further aside, he made unconscionable comments about my weight, my wardrobe and, with a couple of team leaders, my sexuality, hinting that I was a lesbian (for the record, I'm not).
    When I resurfaced in Kyrgyzstan, I learned that he had done such a convincing job of smearing me that it took me weeks -- with the direct intervention of US AID officials -- to limit the damage. In fact, it was only US AID's appoinment of me as a project leader in Almaty, Kazakstan that largely put paid to the rumors Mr. Bolton maliciously circulated.
    As a maligned whistleblower, I've learned firsthand the lengths Mr. Bolton will go to accomplish any goal he sets for himself. Truth flew out the window. Decency flew out the window. In his bid to smear me and promote the interests of his client, he went straight for the low road and stayed there.
    John Bolton put me through hell -- and he did everything he could to intimidate, malign and threaten not just me, but anybody unwilling to go along with his version of events. His behavior back in 1994 wasn't just unforgivable, it was pathological.
    I cannot believe that this is a man being seriously considered for any diplomatic position, let alone such a critical posting to the UN. Others you may call before your committee will be able to speak better to his stated dislike for and objection to stated UN goals. I write you to speak about the very character of the man.
    It took me years to get over Mr. Bolton's actions in that Moscow hotel in 1994, his intensely personal attacks and his shocking attempts to malign my character.
    I urge you from the bottom of my heart to use your ability to block Mr. Bolton's nomination in committee.
Respectfully yours,
Melody Townsel
Dallas, TX 75208

-As forwarded by Chris Tennant, UN Consultant and former Programme Officer, MENA and CEE/CIS Regions

Why am I absolutely NOT surprised by that account? Bolton is a total creep AND wacko!!! He even looks like a madman! If they confirm that slimeball's appointment to the UN, that does it!!! What is even worse, for some reason TOTALLY unbeknownst to me, Kofi Annan is backing that lunatic who would like nothing better than to see the UN fully dismantled! Maybe there is more than meets the eye to that whole business involving Annan's son and the food-for-oil scandal.

Moreover, Negroponte isn't a whole lot better, although he is certainly more intelligent and a helluva lot more presentable than Bolton. However, if he is confirmed as the overseer of ALL the intelligence agencies in the US -- which it looks like he will definitely be -- we can kiss the rest of our civil rights goodbye and say hello to Big Brother in person.

Quo vadis?!

-Chris Tennant, UN Consultant and former Programme Officer, MENA and CEE/CIS Regions

Stupid Quotes


"Bank of America Corp.'s first-quarter earnings rose sharply from a year ago as the nation's No. 3 bank benefited from its acquisition of FleetBoston as well as strong commercial loan growth and deposit growth."
-The Associated Press, April 18, 2005

Nowhere in this entire article does it mention the fact that in order for Bank of America to record these profits, they had to do so on the backs of FleetBoston's former employees. Lest we forget, when the mega-bank from Boston was eaten-up by the mega-bank from California, 12,000 people were:
A) Downsized
B) Opted-Out
C) Permanently Laid-Off
D) FIRED! - "Now gather up your things and these two bohemith security guards will escort you out."

So what have we learned, boys and girls? When Corporate America makes profits, jobs are NOT created. Corporate America will use any means to make a buck, no matter who it hurts. Sometimes the easiest way to make a buck is to get rid of employees. Now some might say these employees were duplicating jobs. Others might say these jobs were no linger needed. Ask yourself one question: Has the service of YOUR bank, credit card company or loan office gotten better or worse?

Let's see... 12,000 people at an average salary of $43,000 is $516 MILLION!

That's an easy way to make a profit.


-Noah Greenberg

"When a man is in trouble or in a good fight, you want to have your friends around, preferably armed,"
-Tom DeLay, to the NRA, while accusing the "liberal Democrats" and the "national media" of giving him a hard time

First, DeLay and his friends in the GOP controlled House threaten state and federal judges, then say they didn't mean it. Now DeLay threatens the lives of "liberal Democrats" and the "national media." Better arm yourselves, boys and girls. Somehow Tom DeLay wants to create a revolution even though his party is in power.

Shouldn't Delay be held up in a mountain cabin somewhere?


-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg