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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I hope this goes well but I bet it doesn't

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it's going to "decide whether the constitutional right of individuals to own firearms trumped state and local laws."

It stems from challenges by individuals and guns rights activist groups over laws in Chicago, specifically.

Check out these statistics:

"Eighty percent of Chicago's 510 murders in 2008 were committed with guns -- among them 34 Chicago schoolchildren."

But hey, let's fight for our gun rights. Us having guns individually is far more important than trying to tamp down the number of people who are shot and killed in the city, right?

I know the arguments, too--I can hear it now. The people for shooting down the state and local laws are going to say that it's not the law-abiding people who will shoot and kill people--it's the "outlaws" and criminals who we need to defend ourselves against.

But the statistics show otherwise, frankly, and I'm not going to get into that here.

The city governments will come out against these state and local laws being found unconstitutional.

The state governments are going to come out against dropping these things, of course.

The police departments will be squarely against this, of course. (But what do the police know, right?).

Churches? Most likely the same way--against it.

But, much as I hate to say it, I'd put money on this Supreme Court coming out for knocking down these state and local laws that restrict guns and gun ownership and, instead, for individuals gun rights.

I hope I'm wrong but doubt it strongly.

And that's sad.

And unfortunate.

"More guns for everybody!"

It's the NRA way.

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE58T44S20090930

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who have we become?

Have you heard or read about the 51-year-old, part-time Federal Census worker who was found dead in Kentucky?

The fact is, it hasn't been announced if he was, in fact, hung and so, was asphyxiated or if he committed suicide or what yet so we shouldn't get to conclusions yet.

It just doesn't sound good at all.

It was reported in the Associated Press yesterday that he had "Fed" written on him somewhere. Again, it's insubstantiated, to date.

But if this does turn out that this man was killed--hung, it's said--for being a Federal worker and employee, what does that say about us?

I thought, as I think most people would, that we grew beyond this kind of act.

A Federal employee killed for being just that?

Forget that he was a part-time teacher and Eagle Scout. Let's just focus on this employment.

Sure, a lot of us are extremely upset to one degree or another, about the state of our economy and the state of politics in the country and our health care and representation out of Washington--all kinds of things.

But didn't we get more educated and sophisticated enough that we should--all of us--be beyond this kind of thing?

And sure, it's an isolated incident and yes, "things happen"--there's kooky people all over the place--but when you see this kind of thing happen, along with an upswing of 400% in threats to the President, tied to the existence of a poll on whether or not the current President should be killed, posted on Facebook, it makes me wonder.

I still go back to the idea that the Republicans doing away with the "Fairness Doctrine" in our media several years ago did the country a great injustice and has negatively and severely polarized the country, quite possibly laying groundwork for some of the worst, most extreme thoughts and actions.

I hope we are, in fact, better than all this as a people and a country.

Links: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2009/09/census_bureau_died_of_asphyxia.html
http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/09/29/kill-obama-facebook-poll-latest-sign-of-healthcare-anger/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fairness_Doctrine

Steve Kraske's take on Dr. Covington

Mr. Kraske seems to agree with yesterday's column:

http://www.kansascity.com/news/columnists/steve_kraske/story/1399143.html

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Must-see television

If you didn't see KCPT's "Kansas City Week in Review" this week with Nick Haynes interviewing Dr. John Covington of the Kansas City, Missouri School District and you're interested, at least, in what's going on in town, I recommend you go online or do whatever you have to, to see it.

It was really a good, if brief, interview. Fascinating stuff.

Some of the things Dr. C. owned up to:

1) He nor no one else in the District knows how many employees they have. That's a shocker right there. He did say it's somewhere between 3300 to 3400 but they just don't know.

2) of the employees they do have, the don't know who they all are;

3) of those same employees, they don't know where they all work;

4) of those same employees, they don't know what they all do.

That is incredible.

Can you imagine trying to run any organization without that knowledge?

That is no way to run a business, to be sure.

So get this--that's why they are having all the employees come down to the District offices to get their paychecks.

And we just thought that showed--more--of how screwed-up the District is. No, no, for once, it's intentional and it's a good thing.

A pain in the butt for the employees, sure, but a good thing.

A quote from Dr. C: "The Kansas City Missouri School District is over-staffed. We don't need the number of employees that we have to deliver instructional programs and services for 16,000 plus students." (Correction on my part. I had earlier put up this figure as 1600).

Good for him.

This should have been said and taken care of years ago. It would seem that the School Board members of the past--and quite possibly the present--are protecting all those jobs, to the detriment of the District, frankly.

More information from the interview: in the district Dr. C. just left--Pueblo, Colorado--it had approximately the same number of students KCMO has now.

Their staff size?

2400

What's that tell you?

It looks strongly like, if Dr. C. has his way--as I think he should--1000 more employees of this District are going to get the ax.

Let's see if the School Board or anyone else gets in his way.

They do have a deficit to contend with, besides the fact that they need to get the kids performing.

So it seems like Dr. Covington is on the right track and is doing what he needs to, to get the KCMO School District closer to performing and functioning well. Good luck to him. He's a tough guy, it seems. He'll need all the toughness he can muster.

But the fact is, it's going to be up to the students themselves--and their mothers and fathers and families--to do the work that has to be done so the District is successful. Dr. Covington and the District and and should do what they can to lay a good foundation for success but it's up to the kids and their parents.

______________________________

Side note: Did you see where Dr. Amato was fired this week from his latest Superintendent job? Yeah. Isn't that great?

And get this--they gave a quote on the show that he left that district "in chaos."

Sound familiar? It does to anyone who worked for our schools while he was here.

I just wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they had to throw at him, to buy out his contract and get him to leave.

Link: www.kcpt.org/news/kcwir/shtml

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On second thought...

Exactly that, on second thought, what the heck. If Clay "I don't have anything better to do with my time" Chastain wants to literally fight City Hall to try to get mass transit, fine. Let him have at it.

Actually, we need mass transit, to begin.

Second, the idea of having everthing go through our Union Station is a good one. It would centralize our transportation and make retail more vital in the station, which would help keep it thriving.

But, as Bill Maher would say---"New Rule": Chastain cannot waste our taxpayer money by wasting city government time and effort. If this thing hasn't got a chance in heck, then he must, at last, put his tail between his legs and just go away.

And permanently.

For the love of God, just go away.


And I still feel the same way about KU's basketball and football teams fighting--about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Did you recognize what yesterday was?

It was called "Peace One Day."

It's an attempt to organize all of us on the planet to go one day with peace--and without war and killing.

It's pretty idealistic, sure, but frankly I think we need some hopeful idealism.

You can see things about it if you do an internet search on it in general or if you search for it on You Tube.

Naturally, if you know anything of me at all, you know this would get me thinking.

Think about this.

The idea that we've always had wars and so, always will, starts to look as though it's really not true after all.

Let's look, briefly, at the largest wars of the last 100 years. Fortunately, it won't take long.

World War I began when a lunatic/anarchist assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary.

If there had been more information and even education, it could, possibly, have been avoidable, some historians believe.

WWII?

Again, I think historians, politicians and even the average "man on the street" believe that another lunatic started that war, too, in the person of Adolf Hitler.

Then there was the Korean War which I think the general consensus is that that was either a mistake or unnecessary or both, too, one way or another.

Vietnam War? We know the architects of that war itself--Robert McNamara, in specific--declared that a debacle and huge mistake.

Then there's the Iraq War, which I believe strongly that historians are going to prove was for protection of our own oil supply, at least, and again, unnecessary and completely avoidable.

So there you are--100 years of the biggest skirmishes of the 20th Century and they were, I think it's proven here, however lightly, that were avoidable.

I'm convinced that we are completely capable of wisely working our way out of wars one day.

And this Peace One Day and the International Day of Peace (Sept. 14) and universities that have been set up to study war--and peace--can go a long way to getting us there one day.

And the sooner the better, of course.

Link: http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sp0QGCYmnI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLH1NTEgEvM
http://www.peaceoneday.org/en/welcome

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A glimmer of hope on the Plaza

 
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Of course, this is good news, what with the Country Club Plaza apparently getting a big, new retail tenant--next year. That's some good news, sure.

And I was happy to see Brookstone was going into the old Sharper Image site but then looked closer.

It's for the holidays and only for the holidays.

Word has it Brookstone wanted to negotiate a permanent store location there but Plaza management said "No", as always. They'd rather pretend they are the high-end retail location they want to be, rather than be realistic and fill the space.

That should sound terribly familiar since they did the same thing to Meiner's, what? 5 or 6 years ago?

Instead of giving that terrific little store/restaurant a financial break, they preferred to throw them out and have it closed up--empty--ever since. Area residents on the Plaza needed a little grocer, sure, and they were a great tenant. The bistro they ran was fun and attractive and served reasonably-priced and good food but negotiate a lower lease?

Oh, heck no.

That just makes too much sense.

The space would be full, sure, and people could do commerce and we'd still be making money but not the highbrow money we want. That would never do.

Talk about pretzel logic.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Late Show with David Letterman? Really?

I wrote once before here, how I think President Obama's appearance on late-night television shows cheapens the Presidency.

And I'm trying to not be an "old fogey" about it. I'm trying to be open-minded, too.

And I realized there were at least two good things that come out of this.

First, it pushes the President's agenda with younger people that he might not otherwise reach.

Heaven knows we need all the people we can get, supporting his push for health care reform right now.

The second thing that comes from this, and it's particularly important for this President like no other and that is to importantly humanize him.

President Obama needs wide exposure before the American public so he can be seen as wise, witty, even funny, eloquent, yes, and ultimately, human.

People too frequently demonize those they believe that hold opposing views to their own.

If the President is seen, then, as a person, capable of all these other very human, basic, typical things, maybe, then, they'll consider his views and more, won't work to harm his agenda.

Or anything or anyone else.

Here's hoping it helps and that it works.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This is what we need

 
The single payer option for health care claims. Keep it simple. Health care solutions should be--but sadly, won't be, kept simple. If we reduced the 1300 insurance company forms to only one and then offered governmnet insurance for health care, along with private insurance, we'd save billions and keep costs down.

Sadly, it's likely that won't happen.
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Calm, lucid and intelligent analysis of both sides of issues

It seems that PBS is one of the last bastions of what I describe above--calm, lucid and intelligent--truly "fair and ballanced"--reporting and information.

And with health care reform being prposed right now and debated nearly ad infinitum, it also seems true the we, as Americans, need good information sources on what's happening and being proposed.

With that in mind, I feel it important to get word out that the local PBS station, KCPT, is broadcasting a formal "Special Report on Health Care" this Thursday evening at 8:30 pm.

We all need to know what's going on, as I said.

I don't even think the average American knows how bad our current health care system is, really. This should be able to help.

Let's all have a good week.

Link: http://kcpt.org/

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A few, important things that are improved because George W. Bush--and the Republicans--are not in the White House

Let's get right to it:

The first thing is that the Federal Reserve is considering limits on pay for the leaders of the big banks.

This would never happen--far from it--in the last administration. That group was far too interested in letting the foxes guard the chicken coop to even consider this. It was always about "free-market Capitalism", "unfettered markets" and virtually completely untregulated banks in specific but markets in general, to consider any kind of limits.

"The simple proposition should be that you don’t want people being paid for taking too much risk, and you want to make sure that their compensation is tied to long-term performance," Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury.

This statement would never have come from that previous group.

Mind you, we still have big banking problems, for sure, along with the banks virtually owning Congress and Goldman Sachs still pulling the strings from inside the White House but at least it's an improvement. And President Obama and this new administration are also pushing for more change and regulation of the banks.

The second change is a rather big one and it is President Obama's decision to do away with the truly, utterly ridiculous "missile shield" we'd proposed to install in Eastern Europe, virtually on the former Soviet Union's back door.

Besides the fact that it was absurdly expensive--and not working technology yet--can you imagine the US' response if Russia proposed doing this very thing in, say, Cuba? The comparison is a legitimate one. We'd have gone crazy about such a proposal.

Then there's the fact that this was supposedly to counter possible missiles from Iran, which is patently silly for at least a few, if not several reasons but the worst is that this wouldn't do what it was supposed to and, really, it would have been to fight "the last war."

The Soviet Union collapsed. This "missile shield" would be to fight what we perceived years ago, during the now-gone "Cold War." It's no longer reality, by any stretch.

President Obama clearly did the right thing here but we won't hear any such thing from the Conservative Right on this. They'll be going ballistic themselves--pardon the pun.

Another thing improved that we're doing now that we wouldn't be if George W. Bush or other Republicans were in charge is that we're back pushing for a cleaner environment, fighting climate change/global warming--whatever you want to call it--and cleaner energy choices, all three. These are huge.

We've got horrible environmental problems, worldwide, but all we can do here at home is do our best efforts to keep our water, air and soil as clean and workable as possible. It only makes sense but we got away from that for a while. Now we're back on the right track.

Finally, for today and this entry, is the President's push for health care reform.

We may already have been sold down the river, so to speak, but hopefully some good things for us will come out of this. Hopefully our costs for this health care will be driven down so it's more affordable for us.

These are but a few of the more right-headed things were doing as a country right now that would not be happening but for this new administration and leadership.

There are still so many things screwed up--and horribly so--but at least some things are going in a better direction.

It's enough to give me hope.

I hope the same for you.

Links to stories:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/19/business/economy/19pay.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/19/world/europe/19shield.html?th&emc=th

Sunday addendum: There is an important, informative article today in The New York Times, pointing out the benefits of President Obama's new plans to replace the "missile shield" of the former President:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20gates.html?th&emc=th

Friday, September 18, 2009

With this, no one can say it's not racist

Did you see where death threats on this President's life are up 400% compared to the former president--George W. Bush?

That makes up to 30 per day for the Secret Service to keep up with.

If you do the math, for one year, that comes to nearly 11,000 threats.

How do you keep up with that kind of insanity?

And how, exactly, can anyone, let alone leaders of political groups or news organizatitions--Fox "News"--claim that at least some of the obvious irrationality President Obama is being exposed to, isn't partly based on racism?

How can it be claimed that South Carolina's Joe Wilson did his disrepctful, unmannered, classless "shout out" at the President during his speech to a joint session of Congress wasn't at least partly "okay" to this chucklehead, because that same President is African-American?

I don't think it can be claimed otherwise.

And when you put this hostility with the fact that death threats on this President have shot up as high as they have, it's clear the problem--and the source--is, at least in part, racism.

Now, then, can we just accept this as fact, try to fix it and move on?

That would make sense and we could possibly get on to our solutions.

Link to:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/5967942/Barack-Obama-faces-30-death-threats-a-day-stretching-US-Secret-Service.html

Thursday, September 17, 2009

May I ask a question, please?

The Kansas City Star reports today that a young man was killed in an unfortunate shooting on the East side of town--of course--unnecessarily and pointlessly.

Here's the story:

It seems this young man, one Ian Jones, was following his girlfriend home from the 18th and Vine district when he accidentally but dangerously pulled out in front of another car.

That car was driven by who knows whom but they pulled out a gun, took a shot at young Ian's car, hit him and drove on.

Ian took the hit, drove on another block or two, wrecked and later died.

So pointless.

But get this, straight from The Kansas City Star: "Jones had just left a nightclub in the 18th and Vine District. He and his girlfriend met there but couldn't get inside because the club had a minimum age requirement of 25."

What?

Are you kidding me?

This young guy is 22 years old--old enough to be called off to fight for our country in a war--but he isn't old enough to go into a bar at the 18th and Vine District, here in Kansas City?

Does that makes sense?

How about fair? Does it seem fair?

Let me propose something here. Let me take this possibility of fairness to a logical extension.

I would propose that, if young Mr. Ian Jones had been allowed into this bar, at his adult age of 22 years, he would still be alive today.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying the bar or its rules are responsible for Mr. Jones' death, absolutely not. The knucklehead who pulled out his gun and shot him is solely responsible for that.

But a regular, "prove you're 21 years old and you're in" rule would have changed this outcome.

Sure, it's conjecture. One can always play "what if?".

But the fact is, Ian Jones was a young adult, wasn't allowed into this bar and so, coincidentally but tragically got shot and killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If Ian were in your family, you'd find it horribly, again, tragically, wrong. And unfair.

One last question, too: Are there other bars in town that only allow people in who are 25 years and older?

I'm not aware of any.

Link to story: http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1450861.html

Notes from a day

There are so many things, I think, I could write on that are occuring currently.

Rather than go on and on, I'll touch on one of the most poignant--or just out and out stupid.

I saw in the paper today that the NRA got our Senate, in all their wisdom, to allow us all to bring our handguns onto Amtrak trains.

They've done it again.

Like we need to bring our guns, once more, into some new arena of our lives.

We don't allow them on jet planes but we think it's a good idea on trains.

More handgun insanity.

More American stupidity.

They pushed to get them into our national parks and now on trains.

We have one wacko, cowboy culture.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/senate-votes-to-ok-guns-on-amtrak/

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not that the insurance companies give a damn

From Politico just now:

""The New Numbers -- Health Insurance Reform Cannot Wait: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released a new state by state analysis of last week's U.S. Census numbers regarding the uninsured. The results are sobering and confirm that health insurance reform cannot wait another year. "These numbers only serve to further confirm a reality that far too many American families live with every day," said Secretary Sebelius. "Our health care system has reached a breaking point. The status quo is unsustainable, and continuing to delay reform is not an option." The facts below underscore the urgency of health insurance reform. Nationwide, the number of uninsured has increased the number of uninsured increased from 39.8 million in 2001 to 46.3 million in 2008."

And keep this in mind:

"These numbers don't even include those who have lost their insurance in the recent recession or have had coverage gaps of shorter than a year."

"Even among high-income households, the ranks of the uninsured are rapidly growing."

This effects big business and small, every household in America, everyone.

Anyone who says we don't need health care reform either doesn't know the hard data, works for the insurance companies or takes money from the insurance companies via their lobbyists.

Amidst all this controversy, I just got notice, myself, that our health insurance is going to go up between 8 to 13 percent shortly. The only way we can keep it down to just 8 percent is by upping my annual minimums AND increasing my co-pay 33%.

I feel sure the insurance companies are thinking they'd better pass along increases now, before any bill goes to Congress.

I foolishly thought they'd want to lay low right now, as this bill goes through our government.

Silly me.

Link to story: http://www.politico.com/politico44/

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Federal or State, there's too much ugly money in government

Thank you, Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee, for your audit of Missouri government, recently released.

Ms. Montee found that "The Missouri House and Senate regularly solicit donations from lobbyists to pay for office parties, gifts and meals..."

Further: "The audits suggest the practice raises conflict-of-interest questions and notes some instances appear to violate state law."

Ya' think?

The more you hear about our Federal and State governments, the more difficult it is to not be cynical.

But this is my favorite revelation from the audit and article in The Kansas City Star today: "The audit found that in the Senate, lawmakers and staffers have solicited donations and banked them in a private account outside the state accounting system since 2003."

Can you say "slush fund"?

"More than 100 lobbyists donated more than $76.000.00 to the account through December2008. Of that, nearly $61,000.00 was spent on Christmas parties, retirement receptions, gifts for senators and staffers and meals for evening work sessions."

And think about this--not only are the legislators and bureaucrats getting "money on the side", so to speak--which is bad enough--but then, like a street cat to a saucer of milk, they get to keep going back to the source--the lobbyists--to get more and more money, again and again.

You don't think that wouldn't make for some relationships you'd want to keep happy?

This way, the government employees of all levels have a vested interest in giving these lobbyists and their organizations--mostly corporations, no doubt--just what they want, legislatively, so they can keep their money pot full.

This is wrong on so many levels it's hard to fathom.

And, of course, it gets continually better, too.

Check this out--"The audit...called the Senate's bank account illegal, because the Missouri Constitution requires all state funds to be 'held and disbursed' by the state treasurer."

This is where it gets good: "The Senate, however, maintains that the money received from lobbyists does not constitute 'state funds' and isn't subject to oversight from the treasurer."

So, basically, folks, what the Senate is saying is 1) "Yeah, sure we've got this money--so what?" and b) "Law or no law, this money is ours and don't mess with us."

Talk about thumbing your nose at Missouri citizens---and our laws.

Sheesh.

These guys have some major cajone's.

This needs to be stopped and it needs to be stopped now.

They should either turn it over to the State Treasurer immediately or give it to a worthy charity right away, be done with it and not repeat it.

We have to get the ugly, corrupting money out of our legislatures and as soon as possible.

It won't happen in Washington anytime soon--until we really raise cane, anyway--but we can push for it.

Oh, and please note---this is why we need metropolitan newspapers of some sort. If we don't have them in some form, we can't keep an eye on our government and keep them "straighter", if not "straight".

Link to article: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics/story/1446445.html

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A different entry today

 
One of few times, if ever, my entry for the day--my message--is a photograph of mine and not prose.

Ronnie is a friend of mine, of a sort, honestly, and I occasionally have shot pictures of him or his things. You may have seen them if you ever saw my other, photography blog: www.kcphotogblog.blogspot.com.

I was just putting this up on that photo blog under the heading "Ronnie's bedroom and closet", when it occurred to me it would be very appropriate here, as well, today.

I think it can speak volumes to us, if we care to look.

If I were a better photographer, you could read that the sign says "No Loitering".

Try to have a good weekend, y'all.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two fights for America and Americans

There are two fights, at minimum, going on right now--today, in fact--and it truly is over America and Americans.

Mostly our money.

The first was made obvious by the debate today at the Supreme Court over whether corporations will be allowed to pour their untold billions of dollars into our political campaigns, so they can say whatever they wish and about whomever or whatever they wish.

If you've read me before, you can no doubt guess I'd be vehemently against this.

In the first place, it simply goes against all court rulings and precedence and so, our law.

More importantly to me, though, is the fact that because of the dissolution of the "Fairness Doctrine" years ago by Republican lawmakers, our airwaves have been made far more ugly and vitriolic while at the same time, taking accountability and level-headedness out of our discourse.

Pouring far more corporate money, anonymously, into our political campaigns--which is what is being considered--will only increase the ugliness, bitterness and irresponsibility into our lives and political development.

There are other reasons, too, but these are the two main ones for me and certainly enough to show this should not change and should not go the corporation's way.

The second fight going on right now in America is evidenced by President Obama's address this evening to a joint sesson of Congress over health care reform.

He's pushing for this, sure, but it does look, in this case as well as the first one, above, that the corporations and big business are winning while Americans are losing--mightily and badly.

It's interesting but it doesn't look good for you and I--the man and woman on the street.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where we are with health care reform right now--by Matt Taibbi

If you haven't read the latest article by Matt Taibbi from The Rolling Stone on health care, you're missing an important covering of where we've come from and where things seem to be going.

Very informative.

Just a little bit of the article--

Opinion:
"Without a public option, any effort at health care reform will be as meaningful as a manicure for a gunshot victim."

Conjecture that seems true:
"Nearly a third of all health care costs in America are associated with wasteful administration. Fully $350 billion a year could be saved on paperwork alone if the U.S. went to a single-payer system — more than enough to pay for the whole goddamned thing, if anyone had the balls to stand up and say so."

Fact with great, fun analogy:
"'Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that "private insurance will not be able to compete with a government option.' This is a little like complaining that Keanu Reeves was robbed of an Oscar just because he can't act."

It is 7 computer pages of material which isn't really that much and it is an excellent, important article.

Of particular attention is Senator Max Baucus' remarks, work and multi-million dollar contributions he gets from the health care industry. It is terrific reading.

The other thing that occurs to me is that Mr. Taibbi should write with just as much "anger" or energy and less expletives so more people can and would read his material.

We need to get this kind of thing out.

And the sooner the better.

Link to story:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/29988909/sick_and_wrong/

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It would be nice if it were only stupid

There are still many conversations right now about the people who are so upset and revolting about President Obama's request to speak for a few minutes to shcool children about studying and working hard.

It is stunningly stupid.

Stunningly ignorant.

Stunningly irresponsible.

Whatever happened to respect for the office of President?

Even when the second President Bush was in office, we on the left gave him the respect of the office. We just put videos of him speaking on You Tube and let that speak for itself.

We didn't tell our children to specifically not listen to--or respect--the highest office in the land, the President of the United States.

Worst of all, we certainly didn't show up at his speeches and appearances with guns on our hips or shoulders.

Fortunately, to my knowledge, this hadn't happened in the history of our country. If it did, it didn't happen in the last several decades.

And this is why rebelling against this President in the ways these people have been and are is not just irresponsible or stupid or ignorant.

It's incendiary.

And it's hard to believe this is not born of hatred and ugly, pure racism.

It is decidedly not good for the country.

It is decidedly unhealthy for the country's current existence and ongoing future.

I'm not saying the sky is falling, by any means but it is the opposite of productive.

Far from it.

We should, all of us, calmly and intelligently discuss our problems and possible solutions and we just don't seem to be doing anything productive like that, most of us.

Link to story: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/05/opinion/05sat2.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good move, Mr. President

It's great to see the President has called for an address to Congress next week, to clarify and push for health care reform.

That's great news.

As everyone has discussed, he didn't want to make the mistake of the Clintons by pushing through his own reform so he left it up to Congress.

Maybe a little too much so.

So now, with the reform somewhat floundering, he seems to be taking the proverbial "bull by the horns", thank goodness.

This should do two things that are badly needed for this reform, too.

First, it should help him clarify the statistics--the true, hard data--on health care in the US and how dismal it is.

It costs so much, it covers so little, our costs have gone up exponentially and continue to do so, etc. This message, next week, can and should be kept simple so the more of the American public "get it" and so it can't be overridden by the right wing and corporate rants.

Second, it should help him dispel the blatant, out-and-out mistruths, misrepresentations, lies and even hysteria that has been created and distributed by anyone against this reform.

On a side note, I think the President and his staff should stop saying we need government insurance so we can "keep the insurance companies honest." That just creates more problems, I think, and puts them on edge. Instead, he should just say we need this 2nd insurance option to "keep them competitive." He won't so automatically create enemies this way.

So this is terrific. We need to refocus this push and this is just the time and he is the only person, singularly, who can do this.

We have to all be behind him and get the information out, sure. We can help but there has to be a leader and it can only come from him. He has to push Congress.

And then we can bring them along.

Link to story:
http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE58146N20090903
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/health/policy/03care.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More proof of the need for health care reform

Further proof, as if we need it, that our health care industry needs reform--did you see this story yet?

Pfizer to pay record $2.3 billion to settle charges

"Pfizer Inc agreed on Wednesday to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge relating to promotion of its now-withdrawn Bextra pain medicine and will pay a record $2.3 billion to settle allegations it improperly marketed 13 medicines."

"The world's biggest drugmaker was slapped with the huge fines after being deemed a repeat offender in pitching drugs to patients and doctors for unapproved conditions."

So don't tell me Big Pharma is doing all they do just for the benefit of America and its citizens.

Link to story: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5813XB20090902

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Senators Bond, Mitchell and McCain were way out of line

If you haven't read the front page story of The Kansas City Star today, you need to.

The three Senators listed above were in town and held a very small (100 people), "invitation only" meeting to discuss health care reform here in town at Children's Mercy Hospital.

What chutzpah.

They all said "compromise with Democrats hasn't been found."

Well, no kidding.

And why would it?

If the Republicans won't compromise, how can you get a compromise?

They were, it seems, in effect, blaming the Democrats for not giving them the compromise they were denying and wanting to deny.

Talk about blaming the victim.

"They blasted President Barack Obama's vision of health care reform, calling it outlandishly expensive, and predicted it could lead to rationing and outsized budget deficits for years to come."

There they go again--putting out nothing but fear.

Oh, and that rationing? We already have that, since rich people can and do get care and the poor and uninsured don't.

Get this beauty from Sen. McCain: "No country can continue to spend more than it takes in..."

That's good, coming from the Republicans. How come we got those huge deficits from that last 8 years of Republican rule, then? Where was the concern then?

Then there's this: "McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky, said if government got into the insurance business, it would wipe out the private insurance industry."

Ah, NOW we've struck on what--and whom--they're really concerned about--the insurance industry.

Their benefactors.

These Senators aren't concerned about you and me, ladies and gentlemen.

The insurance corporations are spending thousands and millions of dollars to make sure government stays out of the insurance business because then they won't be able to keep increasing our premiums while reducing care, all across the country.

What's stunning is that Sen. McConnell would even blurt that quote out for the press. He should know better than to make it clear who he's really working for.

"The three Republican senators said they are more interested in incremental health care reform..."

You bet they are. That way they can say they did something about health care in the US while ensuring that the insurance companies and other big business operations continue to clean the financial clocks of Americans.

But real, far-reaching, intelligent, all-encompassing health care reform that addresses the problems of the American public, their constituents?

No way.

Let me point out three simple, brief statistics, to show we need health care reform:

1) We have, above and beyond, the most expensive health care system in the world;

2) We rank, internationally, in mortality rates, 37th--behind Costa Rica and

3) Nearly 50 million Americans have no health care insurance or coverage at all and the number is growing daily.

There are more statistics available, quickly and easily. (See some here: http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/_media/SiCKO_sickofactoids.pdf)

So lets stop putting out all the fear, untruths and misrepresentations.

The health care system in America is broken. It is badly broken. It is financially breaking both households and businesses.

The Republicans need to stop being "The Party of No" and get behind a fix for this mess.

It's irresponsible to not offer true solutions and put the American public first and it's plainly bad for the country now and into our future.

Link to story: http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/1417107.html