Today's Note From a Madman
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Here's a Scary Thought
The Bush administration does not consider Catholics to be Christians! Karl Rove says that Harriet Miers "found Christ" when she left the Catholic Church!
-Stephen J Spiro
Ala Cart Medical Care
There is an ongoing conversation about the cost of health care, and more precisely, MRI's, on the NF2crew newsgroup that I belong to (my daughter has this disease). The back-and-forth shows a major problem with the current system and state of the health insurance industry in the United States.
Here are the last few postings regarding the debate:
"The pharmaceutical companies are like the oil/gas companies,"
"Jane that is comparable to what's charge for my MRI's here in California. But keep in mind the hospitals only see a fraction of that money. Insurance companies negotiate contracts with hospitals. A hospital may charge $2600 dollars for an MRI but depending on the what their contract is with and ins. co. they may only get about 7 or 8 hundred dollars. Medicare it would be much less. Medicaid even less than Medicare. Everyone sees the bill assumes that the hospital receives the entire amount billed, and that's just not the case. One of the reasons that hospital charges seem so high has to do with vendors (pharmaceutical companies for one) who charge exorbitant amounts of money for their supplies and services. This forces the hospital to pass on the costs to the consumers.
"Sorry, I get a little defensive. I have worked in a hospital for over 12 years. I see this every single day."
Here's the rub to this conversation:
"Imagine that you don't have an HMO, and you sign one of those little papers that say, "I understand that insurance might not pay the whole amount and I am responsible to make up the difference." The "difference" in this case is the amount the POS would pay ($800-$900 or so?) and the charged amount ($2,600). So, whereas the insurance company might have a deal with the doctor or radiology group, we do not."
I think that is absolutely true; and if you don't have any insurance, try paying what the insurance company pays for your MRI; no way buddy, the hospital wants the full amount from you.
FEMA's Man on the Ground During Katrina
That's Right - Just One Guy
''I think there was a systematic failure at all levels of government to understand the magnitude of the situation,''
-Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, to a Senate Panel today
As part of Mr. Bahamonde's job, he continually gave updates to his superiors, including his boss, FEMA head Michael Brown. These warnings started on August 28, a full day before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and kept going days after, even from inside the Superdome.
''Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen,''
Bahamonde in an e-mail to regional director David Passey, August 28
''Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast.''
''estimates are many will die within hours.''
''Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical,''
''I thought it amazing. I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worst-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans.''
Here was a typical response from Brown or his staff to Bahamonde:
''He needs much more (than) 20 or 30 minutes,''
-Michael Brown's aide Sharon Worthy, letting Bahamonde know that Brown's dinner was getting cold
''We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his (choice), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you.''
These guys had a real "Let them eat cake" attitude while Brown was actually eating cake.
When Bahamonde needed to get in touch with Mayor Ray Nagin or Governor Kathleen Blanco, he found them. When he needed his very own colleagues at FEMA, Mr. Bahamonde
was literally left out in the rain.
It just fits in with how the Bush administration feels about the rest of US.
Return to Sender
"G"lobal "W"arming Bush's choice for the US Supreme Court, Harriet Miers did a poor job of answering the questions submitted to her by the US Senate Judiciary committee that has the first crack at ending her improbable run the replace swing-voter Sandra Day O'Connor. Committee Chairman, Arlen Specter (R-PA) and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy (D-VT - the same Senator Leahy that was the target of Dick "go <F---> Yourself" Cheney on the floor of the US Senate) sent a letter to Ms. Miers asking he to please answer their questions. They were concerned about her incomplete responses to questions from her work at the White House, possible conflicts and why her license to practice law was suspended in Washington, DC.
"This would include any and all communications, including those about which there have been recent press reports, in which friends and supporters of yours, among others, were said to have been asked by the White House to assure certain individuals about your views. If you do not have firsthand knowledge of these communications, please endeavor to determine what sorts of communications, if any, took place."
-The letter from senators Specter and Leahy
But, more importantly, they want to know about the views that were given to the friends of Karl "The Traitor" Rove referring to her want to overturn Roe Vs. Wade and other social issues.
"If the questions are not answered or their answer is incomplete, as they have been, then it's going to be a long hearing indeed,"
"From the very first, Harriet Miers told Senator Specter that she had years of files to go through and that there would likely have to be a follow-up on some of the questions. She's more than willing to diligently provide the information as soon as possible. As you know, it's mountains of information."
-Former Senator Daniel R. Coats (R-IN)
Every school child knows that an incomplete homework assignment is not acceptable. I guess no one told Ms. Miers or Mr. Coates.
"I became aware that, as a result of administrative oversight, my Texas Bar license was suspended from Sept. 1 to Sept. 26, 1989, due to late payment of my bar dues."
Sounds a lot like "My dog ate my homework," doesn't it?
The "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople Party Motto
Never admit blame when there is
someone around to take the fall, no matter how ridiculous it may
sound. In true White House form, spokeswoman
Dana Perino said
Miers' late payment was a result of her old law firm's failure to pay
the dues on time. If I went into a Miers'
courtroom and used that excuse to fight a parking ticket, what do you think she
would say? Oh wait! She never sat as a justice in a court of law so we couldn't
Please provide "canceled checks" that might "help us understand the facts and circumstances of your suspension."
-The letter from Senators Specter and Leahy
I bet the dog ate those, too.
If most of her experience with constitutional law "was gained during your years in the White House, it is important that we know more about the specifics of that experience,"
-The letter from Senators Specter and Leahy
This is most probably why at many of the smaller college job fairs lately, the Army is the only branch present, because their recruiting numbers are so very low compared to the numbers needed to replace their dwindling troops in Iraq.
I attended one of these fairs at the college that my daughter attends, and after watching them set up, approached their tent to find out what they were up to.
Their "attraction tool" was a "tricked out" hummer with a very loud stereo system, and big video screen in the back that showed music video's containing images of several military vehicles and aircraft in choreographed flight, along with other benign looking military images. The "hook" was sitting in a very big trailer behind them. It was a simulator ride, and in order to get in the simulator, the kids had to fill out the necessary paper work that asked for their contact and personal information, including their social security number, drivers license info, and family information.
The heavy recruiting was not being done on this day, but would be saved for later in private where there would be no witnesses.
I proceeded to go into counter-recruiting mode and educating the
young people on the truth's of recruiting who were at the tent. Many listened to
what I said and took literature, but the need to ride in that simulator was too
great to walk away from.
Unfortunately I happened upon this fair while waiting for my daughter, and didn't know before hand or I would have been better prepared.
I didn't have a full supply of materials on me, and I was the sole counter-recruiting force present until my daughter joined me.
These underhanded tactics truly infuriate me, and these kids have no idea what they're getting into, or just don't care to know. There were those who walked away, and others who will go home and think about what I said and do more research. Many will realize way too late how much truth there was in what I told them, and wonder why they didn't listen to that lady at the job fair who actually cared about them.
-Elaine, as forwarded by Jenny Hanniver
The Real Contract For America
by Robert Borosage of the Campaign For America's Future (CAF)
Crack Down on Corruption: In contrast to conservative cronyism, shut the revolving door between corporate lobbies and high office. Prohibit legislators, their senior aides and executive branch political appointees from lobbying for two years after leaving office. Require detailed public reporting of all contacts between lobbyists and legislators. Pledge to apply this to all, regardless of party. Take the big money out of politics by pushing for clean elections legislation.
Make America Safe: Commit to an independent investigation of the Department of Homeland Security's failures in response to Katrina. Detail action on the urgent needs that this Administration has ignored: Improve port security, bolster first responders and public health capacity, and require adequate defense planning by high-risk chemical plants. End the pork-barrel squandering of security funds.
Unleash New Energy for America: In contrast to the Big Oil policies of the Administration that leave us more dependent on foreign supplies, pledge to launch a concerted drive for energy independence like the one called for by the Apollo Alliance. Create new jobs by investing in efficiency and alternative energy sources, helping America capture the growing green industries of the future.
Rebuild America First: Rescind Bush's tax cuts for the rich and corporations, which create more jobs in China than here, and use that money to put people to work building the infrastructure vital to a high-wage economy. Start with challenging the Administration's trickle-down plans for the Gulf Coast, which will victimize once more those who suffered the most.
Make Work Pay: In contrast to the Bush economy, in which profits and CEO salaries soar while workers' wages stagnate and jobs grow insecure, put government on the side of workers. Raise the minimum wage. Empower workers to join unions by allowing card-check enrollment. Pay the prevailing wage in government contracts. Stop subsidizing the export of jobs abroad.
Make Healthcare Affordable for All: Pledge to fix America's broken healthcare system, with the goal of moving to universal, affordable healthcare by 2015. Start by reversing the Republican sellout to the pharmaceutical industry by empowering Medicare to bargain down costs and by allowing people to purchase drugs from safe outlets abroad.
Protect Retirement Security: In contrast to Bush's plan to dismantle Social Security, pledge to strengthen it and to require companies to treat the shop floor like the top floor when it comes to pensions and healthcare.
Keep the Promise of Opportunity: Instead of Republican plans to cut eligibility for college grants and to limit loans, offer a contract to American students: If they graduate from high school, they will be able to afford the college or higher technical training they have earned. Pay for this by preserving the tax on the wealthiest multimillion-dollar estates in America.
Refocus on Real Security for America: In contrast with Bush's pledge to stay in Iraq indefinitely, sapping our military and breeding terrorists, put forth a firm timeline for removing the troops from Iraq. Use the money saved to invest in security at home. Lead an aggressive international alliance to track down stateless terrorists, to get loose nukes under control and to fight nuclear proliferation.
-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane
The Marriage of Evolution and Religion
Thank God I learned about evolution in public school. It helped teach me the scientific method and opened up a universe of beauty that has enhanced my religion. My son learned of evolution in public school, too. So did my parents, back in the early part of the 20th century. My former husband told me he was taught the validity of evolution in parochial school. There's nothing irreligious about Darwinian evolution, and "intelligent design" plays no part in its basic mechanism, natural selection. So let's not teach concepts in school that are NOT scientific and simply degrade knowledge and confuse students.
This country must keep our scientific edge! We have already begun the downward slide to become a FOURTH WORLD nation, wallowing in ignorance.
In response to, "Another question we'd like the answer to: How much money did the Bush family *personally* contribute to Katrina relief?" Pat Thompson writes
If they had contributed anything, we'd have heard about it. They announced that Bush sent $10,000 of his personal funds to Tsunami relief, after a very slow response in US aid was criticized around the world. That is a drop in the bucket, when you consider what he and his father will gain in oil profits, and what he will make as ex-President in lecture fees and book deals. Unless this administration goes down in flames and is vilified for their crimes against humanity and the earth.
In response to, "We just can't afford a lifetime appointment of a Bush Crony to one of the most important and influential posts our nation has to offer," Pat Thompson writes
It is already too late -- the Supreme Court selected this idiot to be President of the United States in 2000. I gave up all hope for this country when that happened. We no longer have free elections. We are no longer a Democracy.
In response to, "It's not known what these emergency plans were, because neither Bush nor anyone in his administration mentioned this immediate response again. Implementing 'emergency response plans' seems to completely contradict Bush's "by the way 'recollection of a small airplane accident,'" Pat Thompson writes:
It is all lies. I do recommend, again, that anyone with any questions about what happened on 9/11 read the book "The New Pearl Harbor". There are just too many contradictions about so many events that day. This book asks some fair questions, and gives possible answers that prove our government either knew about the plan and through stupidity did nothing, or knew about it and purposely gave orders to "stand down" to the Air Force, or actually engineered the whole thing to give them the ability to implement the war in Iraq.
I really would like to know what people with open minds and intelligence, and no allegiance to this regime can answer to some of the points raised in that book. Some of it can be read on line. It is one of the best books I've ever read.
"This man has a good heart... The one thing that does not change is the quality of the Human Heart."
-Former President Bill Clinton regarding Senator John Corzine
"The people of New Jersey can't turn away from the most qualified person they will ever find,"
-Bill Clinton's closing remark in his endorsement of Jon Corzine
You can never know what is in a person's heart. But if you were to ask the people who knew, and know Senator Jon Corzine, you'd know about his good heart. For example, ask Garfield, NJ Reverend Calvin McKinney where the $1.8 million to finish building his flock's church when its funding was ran dry. It was Senator Corzine's Charitable Foundation. In the past five years, Senator Corzine's foundation, with Senator Corzine as its only trustee, has funneled over $32 million to worthwhile causes.
Republicans might say that Senator Corzine gives money to influence voters. But remember, he started his foundation in 1996, well before he ran for public office.
Jon Corzine has given money to a wide variety of causes from his present life all the way back to his childhood church. He even supports the US Ski Team.
"No strings attached; no nothing, I wish more politicians were like that."
-Rev. Albert P. Rowe, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Paterson
Minds can change and sometimes they should. A good hearts rarely does.
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