Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hitting The Medical Grand Slam

Two moons and a fortnight ago, I was informed that I have cancer. In the past decade I have had lung disease (pneumonia and pleursy), necessitating a thoricotmy , followed by diabetes, followed by heart disease (quadruple bypass) , and now cancer. Intermixed with all this has been two blown discs in the neck, two blown discs in the low back, coupled with a torn rotator cup, and two carpal tunnel surgeries. I have medical experience.

I bring this up to justify my opinion on health care and costs in particular. I am a major consumer. (It is my understanding that Blue Cross/Blue Shield has taken out a hit on me.) In my last round of medical hijinx, I gave the exact same history at least four different times to four different people over the course of two weeks. Each one of these medical practitioners had his or her time consumed with me relaying the same information over and over. I finally started carrying a typed sheet around with me but that didn't help much since they each had to have their own peculiar form. I've seen estimates that say that one-third of our health care dollar is consumed with such paperwork. I find that number low. Most of my time and most of the medical time thus far consumed on my cancer has had more to do with insurance than medicine and most of the medicine being has more to do with insurance than with healing (or at least that is the way it seems to me).

I will not complain, too much, about the quality of care I have received during these varied miseries, though I did have have one very unhappy experience with a hospital and its funding cuts to the nursing staff. I paid them off in bits and pieces and came very close to delivering my payment in pennies. (If I had known for sure it would hassle the hospital boss, I would have. But that's another story.) But overall my health care has been excellent. What has not been excellent is the cost. Even with fairly good insurance, I am going broke between high copays for everything and higher copays for medicine.

Between a third and a quarter of my monthly salary is going to various copays and hidden costs and I supposedly have "good" insurance. What is also galling is that none of these expenses are tax deductible. Once upon a time, back when medical costs were much lower, medical expenses were fully deductible. Nowadays, you have to hit some high magic number of total income as a threshold before any of it is deductible.

Right now, I am also in the process of going deaf but I can't afford the thousands of dollars needed for a hearing aid so I'm struggling by trying to work but feeling I'm losing the battle. I hope, sometime in the near future, to finally finish all the VA paperwork so, I hope, I might can get a hearing aid. We'll see.

Anyway, I'll be away from the blog for a few days, so ya'all keep 'em honest while I'm gone and keep on pushing for single payer health insurance.

Update: see billy pilgrim's comment below for a quick take on the Canadian system.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Basic Economic Question

Here's an idea I can get behind-- the return of the manufacturing job. "Higher education cuts (expanded)" : Cannonfire,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blue Dogs Cashing In

Blue Dog PAC swells with industry cash - On Politics -

"The conservative House Democrats known as the Blue Dog Coalition have seen their political clout grow dramatically as they work to shape the health-care debate.

So have their campaign coffers -- and much of the money has come from industries seeking to influence President Obama's health-care overhaul and other key legislative efforts in Congress, according to reports out today..."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another O'Stink

After lawsuit, Obama releases info on health talks - White House-
"Despite his campaign promise to "make White House communications public," the Obama administration again is blocking the public from seeing White House visitor logs, this time refusing to disclose meetings with health care executives. Tonight, less than an hour before his news conference on health care, he released some of the information only after a nonprofit group filed a federal lawsuit...."

Sense In The Senate

(That's another headline I thought I'd never write.) I'm very much pro-gun but local communities need to be able to establish their own (reasonable and constitutional) rules. I would no more want to inflict our local gun laws on New York City than I want the City's law in force here. Senate rejects bid to carry concealed weapons across state lines - Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Comment Of The Day

"Public and Private"--Cannonfire

"private enterprise always does a better job

That cracks me up because the public has had to bail out one hell of alot of private enterprise ass within the last year and will bailout more private enterprise ass in the coming months and all in the trillions.But private enterprise always does a better job?

This notion is a lie meant to further the privation of public services .
It's like the best and the brightest somehow knowing best....another lie.

There are some things that aren't not meant to generate profits. The sick, the elderly, the police and fire dept, prisons etc.

The health care mess stems from trying to find obscene profits, within the medical costs for care.

Health care is not an industry. You might as well call the police an industry....and perhaps we will shortly. Stop paying insurance companies CEOs 300 million a year and you'd be amazed at how many more people could be covered. Why do we even have insurance companies at this point? They were created to supposedly cut costs. They are past their time...the problem there is they give so much $$$$ to elected officals for their campaigns. How many more people could be covered if that lobbying money went to health care?

We live in a world were maintaing the three martin lunch at the strip club culture is way, way more important than health screening the public.

The Daily Uh-Oh

From Logistics Monster: California To Release 27,000 Criminals This Year

Jovial Smack

Astronomers Detect a New Impact Site on Planet Jupiter - "Anybody get the number of that truck?

Astronomers were scrambling to get big telescopes turned to Jupiter on Tuesday to observe the remains of what looks like the biggest smashup in the solar system since fragments of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into the planet in July 1994..."

Follow-Up On Gates Mess

Gates chastises officer after authorities agree to drop criminal charge - Local News Updates - The Boston Globe: "“...Because of the capricious whim of one disturbed person . . . I am now a black man with a prison record,” Gates said. “You can look at my mug shot on the Internet.”"

"Disturbed" person, eh? Now who's profiling?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Let Vick Fly

Michael Vick deserves opportunity to play in NFL again - Jim Trotter - "...My wife also is among those who believe Michael Vick should get a second chance in the NFL now that his 23-month prison sentence for bankrolling an illegal dog-fighting operation is over. 'Ban him from owning a dog,' she told me last weekend. 'But let the man earn a living.'

Can I get an amen?..."


A Mess A-Brewing

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested - "...CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Colleagues of Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard’s most prominent scholar of African-American history, are accusing the police here of racism after he was arrested at his home last week by an officer investigating a report of a robbery in progress ..."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Clinton Out Of Luck In India

India Refuses to Bend to Obama Pressure on Carbon Emission Caps - "India won’t bend to demands from the Obama administration or threats from the U.S. Congress to adopt legally binding caps on its carbon emissions, the country’s environment minister told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday.

“There is simply no case for the pressure” the U.S. is exerting, considering India produces among the lowest per capita emissions in the world, Minister Jairam Ramesh told Clinton during an unexpected discussion of climate negotiations during an event intended to showcase U.S.-Indian cooperation on clean energy at a “green” office building outside New Delhi..."

"Per capita" sounds like a good ploy here, but the concern is the total damage done to the planet, and if you have more "per capita" than just about anyone else, even if the carbon footprint per person is low, the overall effect can be enormous.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Intelligent Column On Race

Here's a link and a sample-- Eugene Robinson - Black America's New Reality - "...In his six months in office, Obama has taken few occasions to confront the issue of race head-on. This moment was inescapable. But his words about the deficits that still plague black America were delivered to a room full of NAACP convention delegates who are, by and large, highly educated and comfortably affluent -- men and women who already have high expectations for their children and know how to hold their elected officials accountable. Missing was the too-large segment of the black community that has been left behind..."

Friday, July 17, 2009

ReBourne In The USA

Sounds like Blackbriar to me. Raw Story » Report: ‘No geographical limitations’ on CIA assassination program:
"The Central Intelligence Agency’s secret assassination squad was allowed to operate anywhere in the world, including the United States, according to a Thursday report in The Washington Post..."

ACLU Half-Happy

ACLU Criticizes Senate Version of Hate Crimes Law - TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime:

"The ACLU has now weighed in on the Senate's passage of the Hate Crimes Law. In a nutshell, the ACLU says the House version is okay but the Senate version is not..."

Army Suicides Down

New Study to Examine Vet Disorders: "Suicides reported among soldiers have tapered off from extreme highs of early this year amid intense Army efforts to stem the deaths, but officials are not yet ready to say they have turned a corner on the problem..."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dissing The Dead At Arlington

More Disrespect For The Dead : NO QUARTER: "...This is an odd tale of poor record keeping, tossing away personal items left for soldiers killed, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, whistle-blowing, and the firing of the whistle-blower. It ends with an investigation of the Director of the Cemetery, but I’ll save the results of that for later. I am just shaking my head in disbelief that this is going on at the National Cemetery. It boggles the mind:..."

Click on the link above and read the post. It's... not good.

Fighting Cancer One Bra At A Time - ‘Bras for a Cause’ raises funds for breast health center: "What at first glance appeared to be a transvestite takeover of downtown Franklin on Saturday was in fact just silly fun on one hand, and deadly serious on the other. A courageous group of mostly men were participating in a walk-a-thon to raise funds for Angel Medical Center’s new breast health center. The events on Saturday, July 11, also included a Best Bra contest and were a part of the AMC Foundation’s “Bras for a Cause.” The foundation is the fundraising arm of the hospital..."

No Woody For Bushies

U.S. Interior Dept throws out Bush logging plan | Green Business | Reuters: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday killed a plan issued by the Bush administration to allow more logging in western Oregon that reduced protection areas for the endangered spotted owl, saying it was 'legally indefensible and must be withdrawn...'"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CC Bucks Coming

Obama Announces $12 Billion Community College Initiative -

"...Obama refused to concede that point during his speech at Macomb Community College, where he said part of the answer to recovery is also in a new focus on community colleges. His proposed American Graduation Initiative would pump $12 billion into community colleges and add 5 million new graduates by 2020. The program, he said, would offer training to millions of students who cannot afford four-year universities and opportunity to older workers who need new skills.."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Provincial MindSet Expose

Well, Hawaii, at least in my mind, was a state of liberal policies and political refuge, just as the villain in the following link claims, but, eeerrrggg, I now discover that if I disagree with a position of the state, I am, at the very least, a bad person. Claiming Hawaii as refuge territory, a local politician calls for the release of Gitmo detainees into Hawaii. My house is a refuge for stray dogs, but I don't take in the rabid variety. More here: The Kelly Greenwell Saga Continues

Good China, Bad nKorea

China to Sanction North Korean Officials Over Nuclear Tests - "China agreed for the first time to punish senior North Korean government officials for defying United Nations resolutions barring nuclear and missile tests, China’s deputy ambassador said..."

Meanwhile, cancer.

Threatening Jets

Obama Repeats Threat to Veto Bill Over F-22 Jet - "President Obama placed his political capital on the line Monday and reiterated his threat to veto a military spending bill unless the Senate removed $1.75 billion set aside to buy seven additional F-22 fighter jets..."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Darth Glowing In The Dark

vpResident Evil « The Confluence
"...From the NY Times to the Washington Post to the nattering nabobs of cultural Obanality at CNN, everything is coming up probes. While the White House wants to avoid looking back, the Justice Department appears to be sending out signals that it will look back, hard and deep (per Newsweek). To Eric Holder, servant of the people, I say, full steam ahead! Do we finally have Richard B. Cheney in the targeting sights of ladies liberty and justice or are we being teased again? The economy, universal health care, and just about every other agenda we could possibly support means nothing if our rule of law means nothing. President Obama, of all people, should know and appreciate this..."

The pursuit of the Bush Criminals would have been my third priority as President. They must be brought down if our nation is to continue, otherwise the law means absolutely nothing and eventually no one will be paying it heed. Obama needs to remember the Constitution and his duty to enforce it.

A Profane Excuse

Study finds swearing can be beneficial - "People in pain should try swearing, researchers at Britain's Keele University say.

Keele University said in a release Sunday that school of psychology researchers Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston had 64 undergraduate volunteers place their hands in ice water, once while swearing repeatedly and once while repeating a commonplace word..."

Fat Plague Coming

Swine Flu Kills Obese People: Is U.S. Primed for a Pandemic Catastrophe? by Mike Adams the Health Ranger: "The fact that nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are clinically obese is worrisome for a whole new reason: Evidence emerging from a hospital in Michigan (and published by the CDC) appears to indicate that obese patients may be very easily killed by swine flu..."

I guess I'm doomed, but at least I'll die knowing that I've made many non-smoking vegetarians happy-- they can dance in the street now that all the fat people are dead. But then-- at whom will they wag their fingers ?

Little O And The SOS

Hillary Clinton hidden in the shadows by Obama?: "Barack Obama seems to have effectively marginalized Hillary Clinton by making her Secretary of State and then publicly humiliating her, being left behind in the United States as he travels around the world. Has anyone noticed her absence except for a few women who have suddenly become aware that she is nowhere to be found as he preens his ego before foreign dignitaries?

Perhaps, from time to time, he will trot her out so that the public knows that she still exists, unlike the way he treats Vice President Biden, who continues to make a fool of himself around the world as Obama's emissary..."

A Moderate Turn

Palin Says She'll Stump for Conservative Democrats - ABC News: "The Washington Times reports that Palin plans to stump for conservative issues and even for Democrats who share her values on limited government, strong defense and energy independence.

'I will go around the country on behalf of candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label or affiliation,' she said in an interview, 'People are so tired of the partisan stuff -- even my own son is not a Republican.'

Palin's son, Track, 20, is registered as 'non-partisan,' according to the Times.."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Phony Democrats Flogged

Credit card “reform”:just another hoodwink and bamboozle « The Confluence: "There was a time when I associated the Democratic Party with liberal ideals and considered them to be champions of the working class and the poor. Where did that party go? From FISA, to FOCA, to torture, to bank give-aways, to abandoning real healthcare reform, and to so-called stimulus packages that brought nothing more than increased unemployment and devastating debt to be passed on to our heirs, their actions are nothing like the party I once knew. It wasn’t like this during the Clinton years. Bill Clinton defined for me and many others what being a Democrat meant. Because of Bill, I not only voted for Democrats, I fought like hell for Democratic candidates. I gave of my time and my money – both precious – to see that as many candidates from this great party were seated in the highest offices of government. I wanted to sustain the good times for the middle class and I wrapped my hopes in the idea that someday Hillary would return to the White House and take us back to the days of peace and prosperity we had with Bill. But somewhere my party took a decidedly right turn. They continued to wear their “D’s” but failed to maintain the precious ideals of the party; and on one issue after another, these counterfeit Dems failed us and they continue to do so, with each and every bill they pass.

As an example, let’s look at the alleged credit card reform recently signed by our president..."

Bush Exceeded Excess

Report: Bush-era surveillance went beyond wiretaps - Los Angeles Times
"Reporting from Washington -- The Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 surveillance efforts went beyond the widely publicized warrantless wiretapping program, a government report disclosed Friday, encompassing additional secretive activities that created "unprecedented" spying powers..."

What Part Of "No"...

AIG, U.S. Talks Focus on $250 Million in Bonuses for 2010 -
"American International Group's recent discussions with President Obama's compensation czar have centered on whether the company should pay about $250 million in promised bonuses that come due during the next nine months..."

Darth Dissembles

The Associated Press: AP sources: Cheney told CIA not to discuss program: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney directed the CIA eight years ago not to inform Congress about a nascent counterterrorism program that CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated in June, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday..."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Comment Of The Day

Warren Buffett: “Wall Street Owes the American People” : "Comment by WMCB | 2009-07-10 13:53:03

When we said that the economy was badly broken and would be a horrible job to fix, and we questioned Obama’s readiness to do that, you and your Obot friends went LIVID.

You assured us he was entirely up to the task, that yes he COULD fix it, and how DARE we question whether he had the ability.

So spare me your excuses. He has yet to give any indication that he can do the job that you and he SWORE he could do. The economy was broken by Bush, but YOUR repairman gave us an estimate and a guarantee of the quality of his work. Don’t bitch now that the job is too hard, or harder than you thought.

HE is the one who said he could do it, not me."

Another Media Stink

Single Pool Reporter allowed at WH July 4th party where several other “reporters” attended as guests : NO QUARTER
"Gawker has a very interesting story today. Obama’s 4th of July party was, at the last minute, open to the press. Well, not for reporting, of course. The party had some invitations left over and passed them out among the WH press corps, many of whom happily attended.

Reporters from roughly 30 television networks, newspapers, magazines, and web sites celebrated the Fourth of July with Barack Obama at the White House last weekend. Why didn’t you know that? Because they were sworn to secrecy..."

Snakes On A Car Lot

Dodge Viper will stay in production, Chrysler says - Jul. 10, 2009: "NEW YORK ( -- Chrysler Group LLC has reversed course and decided not to sell off its V-10 powered Dodge Viper sports car business. The car will remain in production after this year, the automaker announced Friday..."

CA Is Taking Donations

That's one headline I thought I'd never write.

Michael Jackson memorial cost L.A. $1.4 million | TV, movie and music news | News |
"...A spokesperson for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lauded the final cost, saying it was "far less" than the initial estimate of $4 million. City attorney Carmen Trutanich said his office is looking into ways to legally require third parties to pick up some of the tab. The City of Los Angeles has also set up a Web page asking citizens to contribute money to help defray the costs. So far, fans have donated $17,000 through the site, but the effort has been hampered by heavy Web traffic that crashed the servers Tuesday night and several times Wednesday, according to the mayor's office."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Palin's Positions

In case you think you know what Palin thinks about, oh, let's say abortion, look here to make sure you know what you think: Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive » Stop the lies

Stupidest Name Change Ever

On the science fiction channel forgetting basic English: Congrachoolayshuns on yore noo nayme, Syfy! | PopWatch Blog |

WSJ On Palin

Why Palin Quit - "...Contrary to most reports, her decision had been in the works for months, accelerating recently as it became clear that controversies and endless ethics investigations were threatening to overshadow her legislative agenda. 'Attacks inside Alaska and largely invisible to the national media had paralyzed her administration,' someone close to the governor told me. 'She was fully aware she would be branded a 'quitter.' She did not want to disappoint her constituents, but she was no longer able to do the job she had been elected to do. Essentially, the taxpayers were paying for Sarah to go to work every day and defend herself...'"

Monday, July 06, 2009

Haunts Of 'Nam

The Associated Press: Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara dies at 93

I well remember his drive to bring cost efficiency to the military. A sniper once killed four Viet Cong with a single bullet and remarked that the feat would surely warm the cost-cutting cockles of old Mac's heart.

Distracted Palin

Palin Confidante Cites Distraction of Investigations - "WASILLA, Alaska -- Sarah Palin resigned as Alaska's governor because the volume of state investigations and public-record requests scrutinizing her activities kept her from doing what she wanted, said one of her closest confidantes.

Kristan Cole, who has been friends with Gov. Palin since both were in the same elementary school nearly 40 years ago, said she heard personally from the governor over the Fourth of July weekend. She was one of the few to speak with Gov. Palin, who stunned the political world when she announced Friday she was resigning, effective July 26. The governor gave no specific reason for her exit, beyond citing relentless complaints into her affairs that were hampering her ability to do her job..."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Google-Eyed

Palin may just win in 2012 | Midwest Voices: "The adjectives to describe Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation are just too easy to come by, unless you’re one of her googlie-eyed followers who’ve drunk her Kool-Aid. Let’s start with: irresponsible, overambitious, megalomaniac, martyr, and of course, quitter..."

Haven't had Kool-Aid in years and my eye pressure is normal, but I still like Palin, not to the exclusion of all comers perhaps, but at least she has actually accomplished something in her life, unlike all the other political balsa that simply rose with the tide of mediocrity and family or business connections. We shall see.

For more Palin, Diamond Tiger has an excellent opinion piece up here. Charlotte Front and Center has a good piece here.

Who Briefed Little O?

Barack Obama makes basic error over balance of power in Kremlin - Times Online: "President Obama has made his first mistake in Russia even before he arrives in Moscow today. His attempt to cast Vladimir Putin as yesterday’s man and to drive a wedge between the Prime Minister and President Medvedev demonstrates a misreading of relations in the Kremlin..."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Another Price Of Freedom

Franklin, North Carolina. The Franklin Press Online. The local newspaper of Macon County, North Carolina.
"This is part two of a three part series recounting the experiences of Franklin part-time resident Helena Hoffman, who was a POW in two different Nazi prison camps for American citizens during World War II. It follows her journey from her birth in Pittsburgh to Polish parents through to her young adult life in Warsaw, Poland in WW II and ends with a description of her return to the United States and some of the difficulties she encountered upon her reentry and adjustment back into everyday life..."

Very interesting article which makes the point that injustice knows no national boundaries.

Friday, July 03, 2009

ReBushing Afghanistan

Letters: Failed strategy in Afghanistan | World news | The Guardian
...When will the Obama administration stop transplanting the Bush administration's failed methods from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan (US begins major offensive against Taliban, 1 July)? The strategy is the same one Rumsfeld used in Iraq in 2004-06. Cities like Samarra and Falluja were repeatedly assaulted with artillery, helicopters and air strikes, resulting in heavy civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees...

Palin Sets Intertoobs Ablaze

I've been groaning about how boring politics has been lately, so, be careful what you wish for. The next link is probably the best, and certainly one of the most comprehensive, discussions about Palin's intended departure: Ohhhhhh Sarahcuda!!!! « The Confluence.
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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Comment Of The Day: Frankly Speaking

Barney Frank: “…Now They’re Starting to Hate Me…” : NO QUARTER
"Comment by Peggy Sue | 2009-07-02 15:06:59

Hahaha. Good one, oowawa. And perfect for Barney!

Frank must be tone deaf if he thinks the growing distrust and animosity started last week. His comments about Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year, how they were perfectly sound and solid, shortly before they collapsed was the point at which I said, “something’s very rotten in Denmark.”

It would be bad enough if Barney was the exception to the rule. But we have a whole slew of these so-called “representatives” from both parties with dirty hands and blanched hearts.

Time to start calling them out. They deserve more that our disdain. They deserve a Spartan jailcell. Toss them in with Bernie Madoff, birds of a feather.

The Frank whine is incredible. These people really have no regard for the public. They’re too busy covering their own rearends."

New Leadership At NOW

After a Coup d’Etat at NOW, the Future of “Feminism” : NO QUARTER: "...And in 2008 we reached a nadir. For Wall Street it was the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. For the women’s movement, it was the sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

As the Next Wave of “feminism” is ushered in, women’s advocacy can learn a thing or two from the lessons of Wall Street. The success of national organizations such as NOW and The New Agenda are just as critical to the way forward for women’s advocacy as it was for the stock market to see Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley shore up their capital base..."

Deja Vu All Over Again

Election Protests Upset Iran's Delicate Balance of Power - "...After two terms, however, many reform-minded Iranians were disillusioned by Khatami's insistence on working within the existing political system and his inability to bring about more meaningful change. Cynicism led many to boycott the 2005 presidential election, which ushered in Ahmadinejad and a return to harsher rhetoric and isolationism. Arrests and exile of reformists followed..."

Sounds like the Dems immediately after Raygun's first election.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hope For Luck In Afghan Op

US launches major offensive against Taliban - Times Online: "Thousands of U.S. Marines stormed into an Afghan river valley by helicopter and land early today, launching the biggest military offensive of Barack Obama's presidency with an assault deep into Taliban territory..."