aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The elitist menace among us
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Barack Obama Clinches Historic Democratic Nomination
Full text of Obama’s speech in extended entry.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Dream ticket a nightmare for Democrats
On Monday Andrew Sullivan had a piece about the possibility — and what he claimed was the powerful logic — of a unity Obama-Clinton ticket for the Democrats.
They call it the “dream ticket” - a unity deal, brokered at the Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado, that puts both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on a bumper sticker and, hopefully, in the White House. Now that the mainstream media, Clinton’s greatest ally, has finally recognised the legitimacy of Obama’s triumph over her grinding and obdurate campaign, the dream ticket has lost any speculative vagueness of Beltway cocktail chat. Now, that dream is a matter of deadly seriousness - because it is now Hillary’s dream, and her last remaining option. Make no mistake: going into Denver with a heap of white votes and fortified by the new power of the post-Cheney vice-presidency, Hillary Clinton intends to force her way onto the ticket. If it knows what’s good for it, the Democratic party should stop her.
He details how Hillary has consistently put her own interests and passions above those of her party, everything that Obama’s about has demonstrated that he’s as good or better than she (wasn’t that why we went through this extended primary battle?), and there is no VP “problem” to begin with.
The nomination of Barack Obama presents the Democratic party with more than its fair share of historic opportunities, and not just skin deep. Among these - and I think Obama would be the first to agree - are the possibilities which open when Democrats realise that the 2008 campaign is about more than the petty personalities of particular persons. Democrats have a once-in-a-generation chance, sorely needed, to fully refresh their national leadership. This chance has conveniently come at a time when Republican fortunes are at lows unseen since the last days of Herbert Hoover. To accept the GOP’s most profitable punching bag onto the national ticket after Democratic voters have plainly rejected her is to sacrifice the party’s best hopes to its worst habits. With American citizens of all persuasions crying out for fundamental change in Washington politics, such a failure hurts not just the Democratic party but the country as a whole.
Monday, May 05, 2008
I’m still thinking Obama’s our next president. No matter what the polling shows or the outcome of tomorrow. Hillary is indeed nothing of not dogged. But the numbers aren’t working for her.
Voter excitement, always up before a presidential election, is pushing registration through the roof so far this year — with more than 3.5 million people rushing to join in the historic balloting, according to an Associated Press survey that offers the first national snapshot.
Figures are up for blacks, women and young people. Rural and city. South and North.
Overall, the AP found that nearly one in 65 adult Americans signed up to vote in just the first three months of the year. And in the 21 states that were able to provide comparable data, new registrations have soared about 64 percent from the same three months in the 2004 campaign.
Voters are flocking to the most open election in half a century, inspired to support the first female president, the first black or the oldest ever elected.
Also, the bruising Democratic race has lasted longer than anyone expected, creating a burst of interest in states typically ignored in an election year.
Superdelegates are you listening?
Among the new voters in North Carolina is Shy Ector, 25, of Durham. She favored Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry while a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill four years ago, but never actually took the time to make sure she was registered to vote. Barack Obama’s candidacy was enough to make sure she did this year, she said.
“I was like ‘Oh, now this is a reason to vote. This is different,’” Ector said. “I was inspired and I was excited.”
New voters are generally less reliable. So there’s no guarantee this year’s newcomers will stick around in years to come — or even cast ballots in November if their candidate doesn’t make it.
“I will be very disappointed, and it will take me some time to recover,” Ector said of an Obama loss to Hillary Rodham Clinton. “I’m not going to say I’m just going to write off politics for good, but it does make you feel like you’re doing all this work for nothing, and nothing’s coming to fruition.”
Still defending Wright
I’ve got a piece up at The Moderate Voice with a more in-depth articulation of my position on Jeremiah Wright.
The historical movement shift of emphasis from “freedom and justice for all” to “tolerance” frees us to be intolerant of others, in this case Wright. Once marginalized, we don’t even have to ever address or deal with the substance of any of his arguments.
MEANWHILE.... Big Tent Democrat is betting on an 8 point win for Obama in NC.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The Empire Strikes Barack
1 day and 320,525 views…
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Bush a liability to McCain
No news there. But look at the context:
According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, could end up hurting his chances of winning the White House.
So could his earlier comment that small-town Americans are “bitter” and cling to guns and religion.
Question have also been raised over Sen. Hillary Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness, as well as her husband’s possible return to the White House.
But a bigger problem appears to be John McCain’s ties to President Bush.
The NYTimes on Mr. Obama & Mr. Wright
It is an injustice, a legacy of the racist threads of this nation’s history, but prominent African-Americans are regularly called upon to explain or repudiate what other black Americans have to say, while white public figures are rarely, if ever, handed that burden.
Senator John McCain has continued to embrace a prominent white supporter, Pastor John Hagee, whose bigotry matches that of Mr. Wright. Mr. McCain has not tried hard enough to stop a race-baiting commercial — complete with video of Mr. Wright — that is being run against Mr. Obama in North Carolina.
If Mr. Obama is the Democratic presidential nominee, we fear that there will be many more such commercials. And Mr. Obama will have to repudiate Mr. Wright’s outbursts many more times.
This country needs a healthy and open discussion of race. Mr. Obama’s repudiation of Mr. Wright is part of that. His opponents also have a responsibility — to repudiate the race-baiting and make sure it stops.
It’s abundantly clear that if Barack Obama becomes president of these United States of America, he will have earned it.
Michael Moore on Larry King tonight
For the full hour. I’m going to be very interested to see what Moore will have to say about Jeremiah Wright. I’ve got lots to say… I’ve yet to say it… It’s along the lines of this…
We’ve moved from fighting for freedom and justice and liberty for all to some esoteric notion of “tolerance.” With tolerance comes the right to be intolerant of those who do not meet our standard of tolerance. Wright’s “anger” puts him into that category so we can all tut-tut at him all we want.
The Right can have at him no matter what. No one on the left can defend him—he’s thrown Obama under the bus after all—and he’s ruined Obama tactically. None of has to engage the issues he raises. He’s been declared “beyond the pale.”
I don’t think so. He doesn’t reflect my views. I don’t support them. But I believe in freedom and justice for all. He’s not outside the range of rational discourse any more than Falwell or Dobson or any of those he mirrors on the Right. And he is only Obama’s former pastor!!! I think Moore will say something I’ll be quoting tonight…
Colbert on Florida’s Christian license plates
Says Stephen, “They’ll look great with your Shroud of Turin mud flaps.”
Friday, April 25, 2008
It is time for us to take back our profession!
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study a couple weeks ago claiming that doctors often put their name on studies published in medical journals when those studies were actually written by pharmaceutical companies. JAMA’s editor-in-chief Dr. Catherine DeAngelis published what steps medical journals should take to prevent this practice.
She was interviewed for On The Media last week. A key point:
BOB GARFIELD: What do you suppose the chances are that your recommendations will be embraced?
DR. CATHERINE D. DEANGELIS: I don’t know. All I know is that if we don’t do something, patients are going to continue to get harmed. We are all going to continue to be manipulated. It is time for us to take back our profession.
We gave it away, or we allowed it to be taken from us. Now let’s take it back. None of this stuff could happen if we didn’t cooperate. It’s as simple as that.
I’m struck by how true that statement is. And it’s true not just about the pharmaceutical industry, but media, and food, and law, and politics, and government. It’s our world. Let’s take it back and make it our own.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Paul Broun: No boobs on base
That headline is shamelessly lifted from the brilliant Radley Balko:
What’s maddening about it is the legal reasoning.
Broun said he wants to bring the Defense Department into compliance with the intent of the 1997 law “so that taxpayers will not be footing the costs of distributing pornography.” [...]
Exchange officials noted that tax dollars are not used to procure magazines in the system’s largely self-funded operations. [...]
But Broun’s spokesman John Kennedy contended that taxpayer dollars are involved - “used to pay military salaries, so taxpayer money is, in effect, being used to buy these materials,” he said.
Balko notes that line of argument would open up all sorts of other possibilities. It is absolutely amazing that conservatives can find legal rationale for nanny state intrusiveness whenever they’re in the mood.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Clinton wins, asks for $$$… why not put up her own?
Clinton won PA, as expected, so her bionic quest continues.
The headline over Patrick Healy in the NYTimes reads, With Clear Victory, She Has Rationale To Fight On.
This text suggests she needs more than a rationale:
Mrs. Clinton faces major challenges: her campaign is essentially out of money, with unpaid bills piling up, and she faces growing frustration among some Democratic officials who would prefer her to end her campaign in recognition of Mr. Obama’s lead in the overall popular vote of the primaries and caucuses so far, as well as his continuing edge toward amassing the 2,025 delegates needed to secure the nomination. And Tuesday’s night’s results likely did little to cut into his edge on that front.
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign spent Tuesday planning a fresh fundraising drive to trying to capitalize on her performance in Pennsylvania, while other aides mapped out political strategy and staff movement to Indiana and North Carolina. [...]
The Pennsylvania Democrats who cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary did so with the economy weighing heavily on their minds, according to surveys of voters leaving polling places. Those surveys showed that more than half the voters questioned believe that the worsening state of the American economy is the most important issue confronting the country, with about 90 percent saying the United States has already slipped into a recession.
So with 90% of voters saying we’re in a recession, the millionaire candidate is pleading with them to give her money to stay in a race in which it is a virtual mathematical certainty she cannot win.
If Hillary Clinton is so convinced she can win, but she desperately needs money, can’t she and her husband just write her campaign a check for, say, $20 million? $109 million - $20 million still leaves $89 million, no? ... Then she’d be on solid ground asking others to sacrifice for her candidacy as well.
BTW… we got robo calls yesterday from both Barack and Michelle Obama here in rural Georgia yesterday asking us to get out friends in PA to vote. I’ve not lived in PA for 35 years! We’re guessing maybe my nephew, who moved down in August, but he never gave out our land-line phone number. We’re baffled.
RELATED: The NYTimes in an editorial today, The Low Road, “It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.”
Monday, April 21, 2008
Michael Moore on Hillary Clinton then and now
Michael Moore on Hillary Clinton on the Today Show on January 6, 2005:
COURIC: What about Hillary Clinton, do you think she has a chance?
Mr.MOORE: What--she’s a star. Absolutely she has--absolutely she has a chance.
COURIC: Many people think she could not--even if she won the nomination could not win the election because she’s so polarizing.
Mr. MOORE: I don’t--well, talk about polarizing, how about George W. Bush? They don’t worry about--they never ask themselves that question. `Geez, I don’t know, should we run Bush again? He’s kind of polarizing. A lot of people don’t like him,’ you know? It’s like, you know, we--our side has got to knock that off. Hillary Clinton is beloved by millions of Americans. I’m not saying, you know, she should necessarily be the one. But, you know…
I guess the debate last week was the final straw. I’ve watched Senator Clinton and her husband play this game of appealing to the worst side of white people, but last Wednesday, when she hurled the name “Farrakhan” out of nowhere, well that’s when the silly season came to an early end for me. She said the “F” word to scare white people, pure and simple. Of course, Obama has no connection to Farrakhan. But, according to Senator Clinton, Obama’s pastor does—AND the “church bulletin” once included a Los Angeles Times op-ed from some guy with Hamas! No, not the church bulletin!
This sleazy attempt to smear Obama was brilliantly explained the following night by Stephen Colbert. He pointed out that if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!
Yes, Senator Clinton, that’s how you sounded. Like you were nuts. Like you were a bigot stoking the fires of stupidity. How sad that I would ever have to write those words about you. You have devoted your life to good causes and good deeds. And now to throw it all away for an office you can’t win unless you smear the black man so much that the superdelegates cry “Uncle (Tom)” and give it all to you.
But that can’t happen. You cast your die when you voted to start this bloody war. When you did that you were like Moses who lost it for a moment and, because of that, was prohibited from entering the Promised Land.
How sad for a country that wanted to see the first woman elected to the White House. That day will come—but it won’t be you.
I quoted Moore in 2005 and held out for Hillary for a long time. I’d say it a little gentler but at this point I have to agree with Michael’s sadness.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Generational cleavage (!) among evangelicals
Go to minute 36:45, where homosexuality comes up, and stay tuned for a striking contrast between Colson and the younger men.
Colson answers a question about homosexuality with a doctrinaire natural-law exegisis of Paul. The younger men warn against Colson’s hard-edged judgmentalism. Boyd agrees that homosexuality is wrong but can’t understand why evangelicals pick on this one moral failing as a “deal breaker” while downplaying so many sins of their own (divorce, e.g.). He argues that evangelicals’ reputation for “homophobia” (his word) is well earned and that Jesus ministered to prostitutes, rather than trying to pass laws against them. (Subtext here: the tension between the churches of Paul and Jesus.) Claiborne asks what sort of place the Church has become if it can’t minister lovingly to a young gay man who feels like he is one of “God’s mistakes” and wants to kill himself. “If that ‘mistake’ can’t find a home in the church, who have we become?” He goes on to condemn the “meanness” of evangelical political style and speaks intriguingly of “post-Religious Right America.”
I’ve yet to listen but I promise I will. Rauch sees it as evidence “that homosexuality has become a major point of generational cleavage among evangelicals.” I’m right there with you Jonathan—on the gay point. But I think that gay cleavage comes at the same time we’re seeing a depoliticization of evangelicals.
Evidence for that depoliticization comes from a speech Laurie Goodstein gave at Princeton back in October 2006, Backlash: Are Evangelicals Disillusioned with Politics? (podcast here) and, more recently, from Frank Schaeffer, author of the memoir, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back” in his talk Crossroads of Religion and Politics (podcast here), and a myriad of other examples.
It’s the same old story: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Religious Right leaders had unchecked devotion and used it to fleece their flock. Gays were an easy, vulnerable target.
If, in fact, I am correct and there is a depoliticization taking place, I am not a liberal who will celebrate it. I find that here in the south we are not as politically engaged as back home in NYC. And my bias inclines me to suspect that is because government here has not worked well for the people so we are stuck in a self-reinforcing downward spiral of bad governance.
For government to succeed—for government to be good—it needs full participation. I’m ready to engage and debate my Christian neighbors on the topic of same sex love and any other topic of their choosing. Bravo Shane Claiborne. I look forward to hearing what you had to say.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Nunn hits Hillary where it hurts
Sam Nunn’s national security credentials bring to Barack a lot of what Hillary claimed she’s got. Nunn was born in Macon and raised in Perry, GA to boot!
Based on my conversations with Senator Obama, reading his book and his speeches and seeing the kind of campaign he has run, I believe that he is our best choice to lead our nation. Senator Obama, as evidenced by his words and his deeds, recognizes that:
â€” We have developed a habit of avoiding the tough decisions and seemingly lost our ability to build consensus to tackle head-on our biggest challenges.
- Demonizing the opposition, oversimplifying the issues, and dumbing down the political debate prevent our country from coming together to make tough decisions and tackle our biggest challenges.
- Solving America’s problems will require difficult choices and sacrifices and leaders capable of considering new ideas from both political parties.
- On foreign policy and security policy, we must recognize that we are not limited to a choice between belligerency and isolation and that we must listen to lead successfully on the key issues facing America and the world.
â€” Our next president must also recognize that the battle against violent terrorists, while requiring a prudent use of military power, is also a long-term contest of psychology and ideas.
Of course Nunn was only one of the day’s Obama endorsers. David Boren, the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in history, and Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich round out the list.
Friday, April 18, 2008
What’s wrong with our health care delivery
Ezra Klein quotes these three paragraphs from Shannon Brownlee’s excellent Washington Monthly article on the Gingrich Republicans emasculation of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a government group that had the potential to control health care costs. He says they’re as clear an example as any of what’s wrong with our health care delivery system—as distinct from insurance:
Last year, we spent more than $16 billion on back surgeries, and, in the past decade, surgeons have been performing spinal fusions at a furious rate, even though there still has never been a rigorous, independently funded clinical trial showing that going under the knife is superior to cheaper, less invasive remedies. At the same time, the nation’s total health care bill continues to skyrocket, propelled in no small measure by procedures that are equally as questionable as spinal fusion. In 2000, America spent $1.3 trillion, a figure that nearly doubled to an estimated $2.1 trillion by 2006. In the view of Peter Orzag, head of the Congressional Budget Office, this has put the U.S. on “an unsustainable fiscal path.”
Of course, some of our money is going toward new treatments and tests that help Americans live longer and healthier lives. However, as much as 30 cents on every health care dollar is spent on unnecessary care-or “overtreatment,” in medicalspeak. That may sound odd after all we’ve heard from people like Michael Moore about how everybody from your hospital to your insurer is getting rich by denying you care you need. Yet both problems exist simultaneously. All too often, patients don’t get necessary medical treatment. At the same time, we risk being given stuff that not only doesn’t improve our health but which may actually harm us. One estimate suggests that as many as 30,000 Medicare recipients die prematurely each year from unnecessary care.
This overtreatment is due in part to an excess supply of medical resources-hospital beds, intensive care units, specialists, CT scanners-in many parts of the country. But it is also the result of our national failure to fund the research that could show what works in medicine, what doesn’t, and for which patients-and then to train doctors to understand that research and use it. Our current fee-for-service payment system, which pays hospitals and doctors for each hospitalization, office visit, procedure, test, and surgery performed, simply gives providers an incentive to adopt anything that’s well reimbursed, regardless of whether it actually helps patients. Medicare pays for practically anything that physicians deem “medically necessary,” much of which, from spinal fusion to a fancy new imaging scan for Alzheimer’s, remains unproven by anything resembling good scientific evidence.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Clinton on Colbert tonight & the state of political debates
I’ve got a guest post up at The Moderate Voice commenting on my hopes for Hillary’s appearance on Colbert tonight titled, Matthews, Clinton & Colbert: retributive justince in the modern mediascape. A snip:
There’s nothing saying that appearance will be an interview and it’s too bad, too… A Clinton on the Colbert set the day after a debate that some say could have been scripted for her by a sycophant press caught up in all of the non-issues of the day is all of the license Colbert needs to go for comedy of epic Correspondents Association Dinner proportions.
I had another post at The Moderate Voice on Monday that I am quite proud of and would have pointed to earlier had I had the time. Stephen Colbert: A Media Maestro Plays Philly is an interview with Dr. Robert J. Thompson, Professor of Television and Popular Culture and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
We discussed Colbert’s four day Philadelphia run, Comedy Central, journalism and the news media. I was very complimented that Ms. Interpreted of the Colbert fan/news site No Fact Zone called it “one of the more thoughtful analyses of The Colbert Report that I can recall reading.”
Thompson is a really terrific interview; a fascinating guy, I revel in our conversations. In that same discussion we talked about the state of political communication as practiced by modern politicians.
As I watched Obama struggle last night under the primitive form of what passes for televised political debate in the twentyfirst century, I thought of what Thompson said about the state of political communication in general, using Al Gore as an example:
Poltical rhetoric and speeches are, like the news, stuck in a time warp a lot further back. At least the evening news is behaving like it’s 1975. A lot of political speeches are behaving like it’s the age of Cicero or before the microphone. I think Al Gore really hit on something and he’s an especially interesting character because he wasn’t a good speechmaker. He was known as being wooden and not terribly compelling and all the rest of it, and he discovered that there’s been a few advances in media since the age of the podium, and he made a movie using those advances in media. Nothing too fancy. Film. PowerPoint. That kind of thing. And all of a sudden he scored one of the most victorious rhetorical coupes to come along in a long time: he got an entire nation to embrace an idea that they had been kicking and screaming against. He got people to take their dates to the movie to watch a political presentation. Essentially, a speech! But not a speech that uses the old nineteenth century, eighteenth century, second century, notion of somebody just getting up and saying some wordsâ€¦ he went to the clips, he showed some graphs, he showed all the stuff. Ross Perot was about the most modern political candidate we’ve had maybe up until now. He at least brought some graphics to his presentations.
Thompson went on to point out that one of the problems is we, the public, tend to criticize the use of technology as a kind of cheating, when in fact it is an entirely appropriate and just means to a desired end. As Gore proved. So we lock our politicians in a box, then complain about them because they’re wooden while locked inside it!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A surge of black & young voters for Obama in GA
Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel has released the race, age and gender breakdowns for the February primary.
- Democrats cast nearly 53 percent of the 2,007,544 ballots counted on Feb. 5.
â€” Within the Democratic primary, African-Americans cast 55 percent of the vote. This is the first time that’s happened. White voters made up just a tad less than 40 percent of the Democratic vote.
- White voters made up 96 percent of the Republican presidential primary vote.
â€” African-Americans cast 30 percent of all votes on Feb. 5. In November 2006, with gubernatorial candidate Mark Taylor at the top of the Democratic ticket, black voters cast only 24 percent of all ballots. This is the number causing Republicans to lose sleep.
- In addition to juicing turnout among black voters, the Feb. 5 primary showed signs of a shift in party preference among the state’s youngest voters. You read above that Democratic voters accounted for 53 percent of all ballots.
But 61 percent of voters 24 and under picked up a Democratic ballot.
- Young voters are notoriously unreliable, but young African-American voters - 24 and under - had a voter turnout rate of 26 percent. That’s remarkably strong. Turnout among young white voters was 22 percent - again, not too shabby.
Scientists Putting Their Names on Papers Written by Companies
Papers that bear academic scientists’ names as authors, but are ghostwritten by for-profit companies, may be disturbingly common in medical journals, a new study indicates. Some of the scientists accused of being involved in that practice deny any wrongdoing, but journal editors are already outlining measures to prevent future breaches of academic integrity.
In the new issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association,four scientists have published the results of a search of court documents related to the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, which has been withdrawn from the market because of concerns about its safety, and which has been the subject of hundreds of lawsuits.
The search revealed mentions of many articles that were published under academic researchers’ names but appear to have been written by others. And those others were employees of Merck & Co. Inc., which is the developer of Vioxx, or of medical publishing companies.
In one example, the JAMA authors compare the draft and published version of a paper about a clinical trial; the draft lists only Merck authors along with “External author?” as first author. The published paper has three external authors: one from the University of California at San Diego, one from New York University, and one from a contract research organization. (The Chronicle was unable to reach the New York University scientist, Steven H. Ferris; the researcher from San Diego, Leon J. Thal, died last year.) An e-mail message from one Merck scientist to another said, “I think you should be the first author since you have done virtually all of the writing.”
In an editorial accompanying the article, Catherine D. DeAngelis and Phil B. Fontanarosa, the editor in chief and executive deputy editor of JAMA, respectively, call researchers’ guest authorship “unprofessional and demeaning to the medical profession and to scientific research.”
The JAMA researchers, led by Joseph S. Ross, an instructor in geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, searched a database of millions of documents provided by Merck for two Vioxx product-liability cases. (All four of the researchers had served as consultants to the plaintiffs in the cases.) Dr. Ross then analyzed individually each of the 20,000 documents that came up relating to authorship.
The researchers examined 96 articles that had been discussed in internal Merck documents before they were published. They found that papers reporting the results of clinical trials or reviewing data from multiple studies sometimes appeared to be written by employees of Merck or of publishing companies, and only later were given the names of academic authors.
As we credential up the academy, we dumb down the scientist, making them reliant on companies seeking to cash in on academic cache. Like the politicians who are not writing their own legislation—industry lobbyists are—and don’t know what’s in it, more and more scientists are relying on companies to do their research!
Dr. Ross, quoted again later in the piece:
“This is a widespread practice,” he said. “These just happen to be people whose behavior we had witness to because of the litigation documents. The point is that physicians in the scientific community need to come together and agree, This is wrong; this is not how science is conducted.”
Doubt it if you will but science has already been dangerously watered down. This trend has got to be stopped.
Sick Around The World
...isn’t afraid to talk about the problems in other countries. In England, the film notes, patients frequently wait for elective services; in Germany, physicians are unhappy that they don’t get paid more; in Japan, the government’s hyper-aggressive price controls have led to chronic underfunding. And yet the new film also puts these drawbacks in their rightful context. Every system the film portrays has its problems, but overall each one seems to deliver a better total package than the one in the U.S.
The most interesting case study is probably Taiwan. A few years ago, when Taiwan decided to revamp its health care system, it studied other countries to determine which system might work best. Its conclusion? A single-payer system - one in which the government insures everybody directly - made the most sense.
Virtually alone among health care commentators in the U.S. - a category that includes me - Paul Krugman has been touting Taiwan for a while. The film makes it easy to see why. Today, the people of Taiwan have guaranteed access to health care - and, according to the film, it’s very good health care. There are no chronic waiting lists, like you find in Britain, and the care is very advanced. Among other things, Taiwan is among the world leaders in establishing electronic medical records - an innovation that should significantly improve care by keeping doctors and nurses better informed about patient histories and, no less important, avoiding potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Critics of national healthcare are always able to come up with reasons why the success of systems in other countries doesn’t mean they’d work here. The Japanese are healthier than us. Belgium is smaller than us. Sweden is more homogeneous than us. Germans are more willing to pay higher taxes than us. Etc. Etc. It’s always something.
But the opposite is true too. National healthcare, it turns out, is pretty effective in big countries (Germany, Japan), diverse countries (France, Britain), tax-phobic countries (Switzerland), and countries with health profiles similar to ours (Canada, Britain). And as [the reviewer] says, even warts and all, each one seems to deliver a better total package than the jury-rigged, pseudo-private mish-mash that we have here. So tell your skeptic friends to tune in tonight [watch online] and watch the show. Maybe they’ll start to understand that we can, indeed, do better if we put our minds to it.
Broun instructs House on ‘proprer’ pledge technique
"There should not be a comma between ‘one nation’ and ‘under God,’” conservative Republican congressman Paul Broun instructed his colleagues on the floor of the House before beginning his rendition of a pause-free pledge Monday. Raw Story has more:
It may seem a minor issue, but some have argued that saying the pledge as Broun prefers—and as it was written when “under God” was inserted in 1954—implies a fealty to religion that is inappropriate in the US.
“Without a comma, the phrase indicates that the central characteristic of the United States as a political community is its subordination to God,” wrote history professor Matthew Dennis, after the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to strike “under God” as unconstitutional. “In short, the political community is defined by its religious charge. A pledge that states this becomes, in the words of the 9th Circuit, ‘impermissible government endorsement of religion,’ functioning to ‘enforce a religious orthodoxy of mono- theism.’”
The pledge had no reference to a diety until 1954, when Cold War fever saw its inclusion to separate Americans from “godless Communists.” The Supreme Court dismissed a case arguing that the phrase violated the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion because the plaintiff had no standing to argue the case, not because of any inherent legal justification for the phrase.
A Broun spokesman even said there should be no pause to emphasize there is “no separation or implied separation between nation and God.” So his House floor lesson may be more than just a penchant for details.
“As a Marine, clearly, he’s had to face a lot more difficult challenges than instructing Members of Congress on the proper way of saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” spokesman John Kennedy told Roll Call‘s Heard on the Hill column. “There is, in fact, no comma in that section. So correctly, it’s said, â€˜One nation under [God],’ no separation or implied separation between nation and God.”
A first-term lawmaker from the northeastern corner of Georgia, Broun’s House floor admonition was not his only attempt to insert God further into American life. Last November, he supported a resolution honoring a group promoting the Ten Commandments.
“I commend the Ten Commandments Commission for their efforts to remind Americans that we are, in fact, ‘one nation under God,’” he said at the time.
Here’s theC-SPAN video:
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Health Insurance in America: Dying for Coverage
Facing South reports on a recently released report from Families USA, Dying for Coverage, finding that in all 50 states the number of uninsured and the estimated number of deaths is directly related to lack of health insurance:
A study by the Institute of Medicine, tha basis for the Family USA report, found that uninsured adults are 25 percent more likely to die prematurely than adults with private health insurance. Another academic study found that lack of health insurance is the third leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer, for uninsured adults between the ages of 55 and 64.
While the percentage of uninsured, working age (25-64) people in the South reported by Families USA in 2006 (20.5%) is similar to overall U.S. percentage of uninsured in the same age group reported by the U.S. Census (19.9%), several Southern states have a significantly higher percentage of uninsured.
For example, the Families USA report found that Louisiana had the highest rate of uninsured among working people at 26.2%. Florida (25.3%), Arkansas (23.2%), and Mississippi (22.1%) also exceeded the regional and national rates. Virginia (15.1%) and West Virginia (16.5%) are well below the regional and national rates.
Other state reports from around the South on the percentage of uninsured working age people include Alabama (20.1%), Georgia (19.7%), Kentucky (19.0%), North Carolina (21.1%), South Carolina (19.7%), and Tennessee (18.3%).
The U.S. Census report shows that the South has the highest percentage of uninsured overall, 19.0%, as compared to 11.4% in the Midwest, 12.3% in the Northeast, and 17.9% in the West.
When you add it all up, there are nearly 8.5 million working age people in the South without health insurance. Even more disturbing, the Families USA report attributes nearly 52,000 premature deaths to lack of health insurance in these states between 2000 and 2006.
Meanwhile, in my ongoing war with SHPS, Ms. Quigley wrote me back summarizing my calls but said nothing about my $179 in reimbursement (not did she answer my question about making those calls available to me—like I expected she would???). It’s now 14 business days after providing the required documentation and I have not been reimbursed.
I’ll spare you the snippy email I sent in response. Flexible Spending Accounts are another Republican corporate welfare program masquerading as a healthcare tax benefit. SHPS is making money—my money! I’ve not gotten the benefit. It’s a scam!
Jim Marshall: uncommitted superdelegate
Five of Georgia’s six superdelegates have committed to Obama. They are Sanford Bishop, District 2; Hank Johnson, District 4; John Lewis, District 5; John Barrow, District 12; and David Scott, District 13.
But Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon remains uncommitted.
“I am an uncommitted superdelegate who doesn’t feel too super,” Marshall said. “Nobody asked me whether or not I wanted to be one, and my plan is to just stay out of it and hope the others make the decision.”
Maybe he’s waiting for Carter & Gore to step in and deliver the coup de grÃ¢ce to Hillary.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Georgian recalls rooming with Michelle Obama at Princeton
Catherine Donnelly shopped at Kmart, settled into her dorm room and soaked up the Gothic stone buildings where, over the next four years, she would grow into her own woman.
But her first day at Princeton held a surprise, too. And Donnelly knew it would mean confronting the past.
The reason: One of her roommates was black.
“I told them we weren’t used to living with black people - Catherine is from the South,” Brown said. “They probably thought I was crazy.”
Today both Donnelly, an Atlanta attorney, and Brown, a retired schoolteacher living in the North Carolina mountains, look back at that time with regret. Like many Americans, they’ve built new perceptions of race on top of a foundation cracked by prejudices past - and present. Yet they rarely speak of the subject.
Barack Obama’s run for president changed that. When the Democratic senator from Illinois invited more dialogue on race last month, Donnelly and Brown, both lifetime Republicans, were ready.
But their willingness to talk isn’t a response to the candidate born to a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya. It’s more about Obama’s wife, Michelle.
She’s that roommate from a quarter century ago.
READ ON. To entice you further I’ll add these two lines… “[Donnelly] came out that first semester, chopped off her hair and partied with other lesbians on campus. Soon she, too, learned what it feels like to be part of the ‘other’ group, to be seen as a student second.”