aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Sicko contest: trip to a universal health care country
Sicko, now one of the top five grossing documentaries of all time, opens in 500 small town theaters tomorrow. Not so small as my small town, but I’m expecting it will be in Macon. So I’m going to see it again. And planning a caravan of folks to go with me.
Maybe one of them will win the contest:
[T]o show my thanks to all of you who’ll go see “Sicko” this weekend, I’m going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That’s right. You’ll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says “Sicko” on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend’s date on it—Friday, Saturday or Sunday - July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: ‘Sicko’ Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You’ll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you’ll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (If you don’t have a passport, we’ll pay for that, too!)
Lower taxes = increased speeding fines
The $65 million expected to be raised annually from higher speeding fines was intended as a partial substitute for a statewide tax increase. Typically they don’t come right out and admit that they’re substituting fines for taxes. Virginia was proud of it, but now is learning a lesson:
Virginia began imposing huge new fines - some as high as $2,500 - for residents caught driving 20 miles above the speed limit or engaging in other reckless driving.
The fines were to raise money for road projects, but they have also raised Cain, with more than 100,000 people having signed a petition calling for their repeal.
All 140 members of Virginia’s legislature are up for re-election in the fall, and some say they have been deluged with angry calls and e-mail from constituents threatening to vote them out of office if they do not ask Gov. Tim Kaine to call a special session of the legislature to reconsider the law.
“You have no idea how angry people are,” said Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Republican of Prince William County, who did not vote for the bill that included the new fines and is leading the call for a special session.
“Criminal and civil penalties shouldn’t be created for raising money,Ã¢â‚¬Â� Mr. Marshall said, adding that constituents had stopped him on the street and even in the post office and called his office to voice frustration with the new fines. “You don’t want to turn our police into gun-toting tax collectors. They’re supposed to be officers of the peace, nothing else.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
How about a solution that reduces the number of police and increases effective enforcement? Now that’s an idea I like.
Troy Davis still needs our help
The 90-day stay “for the purpose of evaluating and analyzing” the information submitted during the clemency hearing was great news, but the reality is that the Board can lift the stay at any time. We must continue to spread the word and take action.
Visit the Amnesty International Online Action Center to send a message to the State Board of Pardons & Paroles welcoming their decision to stay the execution and urging clemency in this case.
SEE ALSO: A college of Charleston Freshman turns her question for Obama about Troy into a video for the CNN YouTube Debates (I give it five stars). And Mike King makes an economic argument against the death penalty in his AJC column today:
Georgia came very close to killing someone who may be innocent. And it will cost us millions to defend someone whose deadly actions are self-evident.
Removing the death penalty from the equation in both of these cases would better serve the cause of justice. Now we just have to bring ourselves to admit it.