Today's Note from a Madman

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


"If the ship is sinking, maybe the rats have a point." -David W.

Ocean County Freeholders Feign Impotence

What Happens When Local Politicians Have Higher Aspirations?

Last week, about 100 LGTBI rights supporters and activists converged on the Ocean County Freeholders meeting. Also present was Lt. Laurel Hester, the 24 year veteran of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office who came to fight for the pension she has earned over her long and stellar career.

After a lengthy presentation of awards to seemingly everyone in Ocean County who had ever served in the Armed Forces, and a short voting session, it came time for public comment. Dozens and dozens of people, PBA officials, GOAL, clergy, attorneys, police officers and dozens of citizens, straight and gay, spoke on behalf of Lt. Hester, and urged the freeholders to exercise their option to adopt Domestic Partnership benefits for Ocean County employees.

Garden State Equality chairman Steven Goldstein spoke first, and introduced Lt. Hester. She could barely be heard, due to the ravages of the lung cancer from which she suffers.

What she wants is for her pension to go to her registered Domestic Partner, according to the New Jersey law, which went into effect on July 10, 2004. Since that time 4 counties (including Union County) and about 100 municipalities have complied with the law.

Well, no matter what anyone said, no matter how many facts and pleas and admonishments; all they had to say at the end of the meeting was that "there is a problem with the law, caused by the state, and they are NOT ABLE to take the action" which is of course, either profoundly stupid, or a blatant lie.

There is a good report on this meeting being shown on NJ12 which comes up on Comcast on channel 62. The newspapers have reports as well.

-Joan Hervey

Bush - The Elevator Man

What goes up, must come down! A new poll from Zogby indicates that Bush's approval rating has once again dropped from 41% to 38%. Also, note that a CBS/NYT poll shows that 70% of America does not believe Bush has provided an exit strategy for. Iraq. I would say that Bush's PR campaign is not working.

We need a Commander-In-Chief not a Campaigner-In-Chief. Sorry Georgie!

-Robert Scardapane

Political Agenda is an Economic Agenda

A REAL Capital gains idea:
Today, if you sell your home, but don't buy a new one within 2 years, you are obligated to pay taxes on the money you "earned" over the cost of the original purchase price. Additionally, if you do buy a new home for less money, you have to pay the tax on the difference above the cost of the original price of your old home. I recommend eliminating that tax completely for homes under $1 million.

-Noah Greenberg

A Change for the Worse

I was recently sent an article about the loss of universal health care to the Chinese people. In the 1980's the "cradle-to-grave cooperative medical schemes, which, according to the article from Reuters, covered "94 percent of China's villagers" was disbanded. Now, these people are in a fend for themselves situation, much like the 45 million Americans who are in a similar situation here.

"60-80 per cent of Chinese die because they cannot afford health care. Among farmers, 40-60 per cent have never had a medical visit,"
-China's Vice Health Minister Zhu Qingsheng, according to

Bear in mind, this is a Communist (Socialist) country without a universal health care plan. About half of the Chinese population didn't go to a hospital last year when they needed to while an additional 30 percent left hospitals before they were really well enough to leave. The web site also said that in all, the nation with 22 percent of the world's population has only 2 percent of its resources.

The reason this is so shocking is because China's GNP has grown by about 8 percent a year, without the multitude of its citizens reaping any reward at all.

Now compare this to the United States. We have about one-sixth of our nation's citizens without any health care coverage while others spend a large portion of their income on co-pays and/ or deductibles, employee contributions to their company's health care plans and out-of-pocket expenses due to doctor and hospital overcharges over and above the "usual and customary" fee. In fact, anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of our nation's bankruptcies are the direct result of unpaid medical or credit card bills resulting from a medical condition.

The Chinese may be learning from US, but the lesson they are learning is the wrong one. Fixing the American Health care system to cover all Americans is the only answer. Maybe then we can teach our Chinese friends better.

-Noah Greenberg, from an idea by Rhian

Cover-Ups are Business as Usual - Even at the VA

VA murder doc Paul Kornak has been Sentenced today at U.S. District Court in Albany receiving 71 months in federal prison, just under 6 years for pleading guilty to a 41 count grand jury indictment including murder and negligent homicide for the deaths of 5 veterans in 2002 at VAMC Albany, NY.

Kornak never completed medical school but was allowed to sit as, and sign his name as Dr. Kornak. Falsifying the patient records of over 70 veterans inpatients, the 5 murdered veterans were entered into a “clinical trial” for cancer treatment that they were not eligible to be in.

2 VAMC Pharmacists caught the lethal prescriptions, and when trying to report it to VA Administration, they were both fired from their jobs. After repeated trips to the Albany FBI, and the VA Inspector Generals Office, the news media pressured the FBI into an investigation. The 2 Pharmacists eventually became our Grand Marshals for our Memorial Day parade followed by an entire battalion of VA nurses in full uniforms, all loudly blowing on whistles that they held in their mouths as they marched down Central Avenue.

Kornak used a Defense that he was only answering to higher ups at the hospital, and in fact, an unindicted co-conspirator was fired from the VA along with Kornak, but has relocated into another hospital in Georgia and is still practicing medicine under the name of Dr. Holland. Kornak’s attorney has said that Holland is still under investigation, and that other “higher ups” at VAMC Albany may still be prosecuted in separate actions. Today’s actions only dealt with Paul Kornak.

Viewers can Google out most of the news coverage on Paul Kornak including the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s announcement page detailing their “official” statement for the press on the Paul Kornak case.

The families had to take out second mortgages to pay for the Defense attorney, and have already prosecuted a similar civil case on wrongful death, using the Nuremburg Treaty from the Nazi era against patient experimentation as the main body of law for pleadings.

Kornak’s lawyer has said there will be no appeal to the sentencing.

-Jim North,

How Most of US Feel About the Patriot Act
And Why it Shouldn't Live in its Present Form

I have only one thought on the Patriot Act, and it's a thought that many regular citizens probably have had. It's okay to extend the Patriot act as long as it doesn't effect ME. It's okay to extend the Patriot act as long as no one looks at MY medical records or wiretaps MY phone or looks into MY personal life.

Then it's not okay.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to "I ask you all to go back to your youth. Some of you in my generation (I'm 45 years old) will remember the jobs we had when we were in high school and college," Robert Scardapane writes:

You are absolutely right. In high school, I worked for a food store delivering groceries. Those sort of jobs are important. They give young people their first experience in the business world. They teach them responsibility. Now that it's so hard finding such jobs, because illegal immigrants are doing them for less than minimum wage, young people are idle way too much and that can lead to trouble.

I am not in favor of looking the other way at illegal immigration. I realize this puts me at odds with people who believe in the concept of open borders. I don't think any nation has ever survived with an open border policy. The political leadership of both parties should realize they have a responsibility to ensure that job creation keeps up with population growth.
Sadly, they have failed to manage population growth to some extent by looking the other way at illegal immigration (this isn't the only problem - see my note on temporary work visas).

What's the solution? For now, I would favor a temporary increase in green cards for people that have been in this country at least 10 years. People with green cards must be paid according to labor laws and contribute to the tax base. I think we need to be cautious about an overly generous amnesty as that will lead to even more illegal immigration. In addition, I am in favor of tightly managing our borders. The borders are the front line in the security of any nation. I urge open border proponents to re-consider their position. They may have noble intentions but such a policy will inevitably destroy our economy and may even allow terrorists easy entry into our country.

In response to "An Ann Coulter Quote" - I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am," to a crowd of 2,600" and Madman's "I want to know why the 2,600 people who were there to hear her speak didn't walk out at that very moment," David W. writes:

...because they were ReichWing brain zombies, happy to be there and give Anthrax Coulter their time and short they were more stupid than she.

In response to "Needless to say, I am no longer a 'Lieberman-Democrat,'" Casey Sweet writes:

Ditto. Ever since Bush kissed him on the head at the last State of the Union, it has felt like Lieberman is favoring (or veering) to the Republican right in some important areas. I keep expecting to hear that he has changed parties. Makes me think of the General Electric days where they finally convinced Reagan to be a Republican and I wonder what might be behind Lieberman. I would expect some of the views he expresses to come out of the mouths of some Southern or Midwestern Democrats, but not a Democrat from the state of Connecticut. I keep wondering what his state really thinks and would love to see a poll.

And if he did replace Rumsfeld, I would put big money that he and the Democratic party would then become responsible for all the ineptitudes of the war and everything else that transpires – past, present, and future. The Bush administration desperately wants to find scapegoats and Lieberman in that position would be the perfect one. The Republicans would do a masterful job of spinning everything into simplistic, negative messages that leave the non-thinking followers to echo the chants of “look how bad the Democrats have done with the war” and then Lieberman would slink aware in disgrace to be saved/replaced by a Republican hawk. That would be one way to psychologically cement in the public’s mind that Democrats are inept with war.

Let’s hope Lieberman is not really a serious consideration because on top of it all I am not in the least bit convinced that he would be capable in the position. A military person should be in that position, someone who knows and understands, like Rep. Murtha. Someone who knows military thinking from the inside out, not from looking from the outside – we already have too many fumbling bumblers in the administration who don’t have a true clue of what they are doing or either don’t care. All I can say is, I hope Lieberman will not be naïve or stupid enough to fall into such a trap in a mid-term election year when the Republicans who want to get re-elected need to take the focus off their administration of this war.

And Bruno Cory adds:

Good for you Noah! You are no longer a Lieberman-Democrat, but still a thinking and reasonable good human being. I hope I fall in this category as well. Lieberman has sold his soul for whatever opportunity comes his way. I don't think he is aware that his wish of freedom for Iraq is a little different than the pursuits of the Neo-Con fanatics that are quickly destroying our beloved country as we used to know it. Lieberman has lost my respect and the respect of
God knows how many others.

In response to "I also don't think there is a 'secret liberal plot' to 'take Christ out of Christmas.' As long as there are Christians to celebrate Christmas, Christ will be part of the celebration," Robert Scardapane writes:

This is Bill O'Reilly at his most insane. Every year he prattles on about the war against Christmas. If you ask me, the people who demeaned Christmas are those that commercialize it. If people want to fight back against losing the meaning of Christmas, Christ's birthday, they should fight those who would make it nothing but an exercise in shopping until you are dropping. The liberals aren't the enemy, it's once again capitalistic extremes.

To all, A Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays ... whatever makes you content, caring and at peace with the world.

In response to "Why are wealthy individuals subsidized to grow their riches and working class people taxed heavily? Did you also approve of the Bush gang allowing businesses to bring their hidden, offshore profits back into the U.S. for a 5% tax assessment instead of the typical corporate tax rates of 30% or more?" Robert Scardapane writes:

Allegedly, this tax cut was given to create jobs in America. In fact, the tax break was imbedded in a bill called the Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Yet, the Republicans refused to put a Democratic sponsored amendment in the bill that required accountability. The Democrats wanted to associate the tax break with concrete evidence of job creation. I think that is fair!

Were any jobs created from this tax cut? According to the Economic Policy Institute in a word, no! Instead, the repatriated money was used mainly for stock buy backs. In fact, some of the companies getting the largest breaks, outsourced even more jobs overseas than they created in America. Just peachy!

In response to "This suffering happened because the government failed on every level to protect its citizens. Katrina should have been a wake-up call for the Bush Administration. It hasn't been," Robert Scardapane writes:

I agree completely. If anything, the Bush administration has become more arrogant and out of touch than ever on this issue. Several months ago, the President promised the nation that New Orleans would rise again. His PR people brought in power generators just to make sure that he was well illuminated for television. Well, the generators went off and this area of the city remains in darkness as does the Republicans re-building plan.

The Democratic Congressional Black Caucus, supported by groups such as the NAACP, Rainbow/Push, Acorn, have provided a comprehensive plan to re-build New Orleans that takes the displaced people into account Since the Republicans lack such a plan, isn't it time to work with the Democrats that thought this through? Unfortunately, that would require bipartisan cooperation - something that the Bush administration does not know how to do.

The Not-So-Sure Quote of the Day

"The U.S. Senate is where Sen. Lieberman wants to be, which is why he is actively campaigning for reelection to his fourth term,"
-Senator Lieberman's spokesperson, Casey Aden-Wansbury

There are rumors that if and when Donald Rumsfeld (or is that Ronald DUMBS-Feld) leaves his position as Secretary of Defense (forced out - retires -gets a better job) Senator Joeseph Lieberman (D-CT) will be the first in line to take his place.

Remember that Lieberman is a Democrat from a BLUE state with a RED governor (although Governor M. Jodi Rell recently, with the help of her state's Democrats took a very big stand against lobbyists and appears to be quite moderate) and his replacement would be made by that RED governor, Gov. Rell. The appointment would no doubt be another Republican.

Lieberman has been leaning to the right due to his stance on the Iraq war. I just hope, no matter how he feels about that, he remembers that he is a fair and moderate who did, and hopefully still does, believe in the social issues that got him elected in the first place.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg