Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, August 19-21, 2005



Isn't it funny how "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party-led House and Senate, after promising in 2000 to "reform health care" will not step on the toes of the pharmaceutical industry or huge health insurance companies in any way, shape or form, but have no problem "stealing" a family's home or business "for the better good" citing "eminent domain".


I ask you, what could be more "for the better good" of a country than making sure all of its citizenry are fed, healthy, and stay that way?


-Noah Greenberg

Patients Shouldn't "Fall Through the Cracks"


"Hospitals are busy places, and doctors are fallible, and things will fall through the cracks, and they'll fall through the cracks a lot,"
-Ashish K. Jha of the Harvard School of Public Health, author of a study on hospitals' performance that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine last month

Yes, hospitals surely are busy places. And they are made busier by the fact that the working poor have no alternative but to use them as their "primary health care providers". But this should not explain why doctors and hospitals "forget" to give heart attack victims beta blockers and aspirin, or antibiotics and immunizations for pneumonia victims in order to save their lives.

Sounds like "Oops, I forgot," to me.

The bottom line is, as we have said before here on "Note From a Madman" this: Doctors and hospitals shouldn't have to spend such a huge amount of their time on filling out health insurance documents; then filling them out again and again because they forgot to dot an "i" or cross a "t".

Just like the inexplicable rise in Heart Attack deaths in and around New York City, part of the problem is the health care industry and how it stands today. It is time for a health care system that actually keeps doctors practicing medicine, not practicing how to fill out medical claim forms.


It is tome for a health care system that benefits everybody.

-Noah Greenberg

Medicine: Going Backwards

Patient: (On the phone) Hello. I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor, please.

Receptionist: (On the other end of the call) Yes, of course. Which doctor?

Patient: Yes, that's right... the WITCH DOCTOR.


Yes, the people of Hawaii are going back to the doctor... the Witch Doctor that is. Because of the sky-rocketing costs of such things as prescription drugs, co-pays and the absurd monthly cost of health care premiums native Hawaiians are seeking the help of the dwindling supply of "Native Hawaiian Healers".

Now, who am I to scoff at the power of natural healing. After all, the drugs that we are overcharged for today were the ancestors, more than likely, of the native cure of yesterday. I truly believe that many of these mixtures and potions of leaves and minerals have medical applications. But what I fear most is that, due to the non-affordability of "modern medicine" today, many people will opt-out of seeing a real, licensed doctor and choose only to see natural healers.

If I have a sprained arm, and I don't want the side effects of a Percocet or Morphine to kill the pain, I might try something natural from one of these natural healers, much the same way an evangelical Christian believes in the power of faith healing. But if that sprain stays with me for a month or so, it's back to the waiting room at "Doctors are US" for me. (Has anyone else noticed that more and more doctors' offices are beginning to look like fast food lines at lunch hour?)

"People are not happy with Western medical treatment and are seeking alternatives,"
-Babette Galang, complementary health officer for Papa Ola Lokahi, a nonprofit group set up to improve the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians

Not happy with is one thing, but sometimes a substitute can be a bad idea.

"People want a quick fix but that's not how it works. It's a whole way of looking at life, a whole way of living, taking care of yourself."

That's just fine, WHEN one can take care of oneself.

Let's look at a disease like diabetes. Is there any substitute for insulin? I don't think so.

"It's all very spiritual, like how American Indians speak of a higher power, such as Mother Earth,"

We all hear stories of people with "incurable" diseases seeking spiritual help and surviving well past any expectations of their doctors. I refuse to belittle those who have put their faith in something or someone other than a doctor and have lived to tell about it. But when push comes to shove, and I hear my doctor say "that little thing on my back that looks like a mole, and I think we should remove it," I'm going to give him the go-ahead (my doctor's a guy - feel free to substitute "her" for "him", if you wish).

"We believe Western medicine can be complemented by traditional practices to maximize the health of our people,"
-Dr. Kalani Brady, a family practitioner and vice chairman of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the University of Hawaii's medical school

Hey... that's a great idea. Now how about we all get on board and do something about drug costs, health care premiums and co-pays before on the wealthiest members of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party are able to afford a doctor's advice and a pharmacist's medicine?

-Noah Greenberg

Speaking Up, Finally


Not to tick off my ACLU friends, with whom I agree with about fifty percent of the time, but, in case you haven't noticed, I've been rather silent on the John Roberts for Supreme Court Justice front. Initially, I said to myself, "Hey, John Roberts isn't so bad," and, "from "G"lobal "W"arming Bush (that's even how my 'inner monologue' refers to him), Roberts is as good as it's going to get." The latter statement might be true, but the former is not. Check out this quote:

"there of course is no such right,"
-Roberts referring to a housing bill that included the language everyone has "fundamental right to be free from discrimination."

That just scares me.

I certainly hope that the Senate, during Roberts' confirmation hearing, gets asked a lot of questions. More to the point, I want to know what are the "rights" Roberts considers "fundamental". We'll find out a lot about our elected officials, both Democrat and Republican, once that question is answered.

-Noah Greenberg

Will the Real Bill Frist Please stand Up... Please stand Up?


Bill Frist is running for president. Not exactly a breaking story, huh? He is presently getting back in touch with his constituents in Tennessee even though he isn't running for re-election in 2006. There is, however, one tiny, little, miniscule problem: No one knows just who Bill Frist is.

-Is he Senator Bill Frist, the ultra-conservative Senator from a south-South-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line state with the views of an Evangelical preacher in search of a flock?
-Is he Doctor Bill Frist, the "amazing" physician whose talents are so great that he can diagnose a woman from 1200 miles away via an eight-minute video tape, never having examined her?
-Is he Board Member Bill Frist, of HCA (Hospital Corporation of America), the fourth largest FOR-PROFIT hospital chain in the nation, started by his brother?
-Is he presidential candidate Bill Frist, the flip-flopping, wishy-washing, mind-changing poll-shifting politician who will say anything to get elected. Is he they guy who announced in 2001 a very ambitious embryonic and adult stem cell research program; then, after President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush announced his opposition to any stem cell research, Frist changed his mind to that of the president; then either realizing that the president had lied about the number of existing lines or that he might have trouble becoming the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party's nominee in 2008, Frist changed his mind once again, to the dismay of the ultra-religious-right that claims to be all-powerful?
-Or is he the other Doctor Bill Frist, the physician who spends much of his spare time administering to the world's sick?

Will the real Bill Frist please stand up... Please stand up?
(With apologies to Marshall Mathers.)


-Noah Greenberg

Media Madman
A Real New York Times Headline
Bush Confidante Begins Task of Repairing America's Image Abroad

Karen Hughes, at her new position in the US State Department as the under secretary of public diplomacy (only the likes of Karl "The Traitor" Rove and his cohorts could have come up with THAT office), is in charge of changing America's face abroad. When bad news comes along, Ms. Hughes' new "rapid response teams" will work on "spinning" the news so it just doesn't seem all that bad.

That. of course, goes right along with the Bush administration's philosophy of:
"It's the framing of the message, stupid."


Sounds like Hughes is the new State Department "Undersecretary of State for Propaganda". Maybe we should call her Ms. Karen Goebbels.

The new units under the command of Ms. Hughes would "work to deal with misinformation and misinterpretation."
-Secretary of State and Hughes' boss, Condoleezza Rice

Are they pro- or against the "misinformation and misinterpretation"? It seems that the Bushies have had a hand in both.

Here's another place where Ms. Hughes' "influence" will be felt: at the Pentagon. Foreign Service officers, who used to be evaluated on the basis of skill will now be promoted on their public relations skills instead.

After all, "It's the framing of the message, stupid."

Now when a General is asked his opinions of how a military campaign is going, he or she) is no longer going to have to rely on that nasty old candor, intuition and experience they have used in the past. All they're going to have to do is look down at their little "Karen Hughes Cheat Sheet" for their answers and everything will be OK.

After all, "It's the framing of the message, stupid."

"What I don't want to imply is that we're going to change policy because it's unpopular."
-Secretary Rice

You might not want to "imply that", but it's exactly what you're going to do, Condi.

According to Edward P. Djerejian, a former ambassador, White House spokesman and consultant to Ms. Hughes, about 80 percent of the image problem the US has internationally is due to the policies of the Bush administration. There is something that can be done about the other 20 percent.

One would think that if the issue is 80 percent policy-oriented, perhaps we should look at that as well as the 20 percent that could be "fixed", Mr. Djerejian.

Remember, "It's the framing of the message, stupid."

-Noah Greenberg

The "Telling" Quote of the Day

''stay the course'' is not a policy. ''By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning,''
-Senator, two-time Purple Heart and other military honors winner, and Viet Nam Veteran Chuck Hagel (R-NE), sounding more like a Democrat than a Republican

''We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam,''
-Hagel, saying it's too late for a stronger military presence in Iraq to make a difference today

''The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have.''

Hagel is in the hunt to become the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party's 2008 presidential nominee. (Does Bill Frist know this?) He is known for speaking his mind and frequently disagreeing with this administration. Isn't it ashamed that those like Chuck Hagel are stuck in a party with no vision other than that of "global ownership"?

You're right Senator Hagel. it is time to talk about bringing our troops home. In fact, it more than time to "talk" about it, it's time to act.

Hey Chuckie, why not give Cindy Sheehan a call? That'll "shock and awe" them all.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg