Thursday, September 03, 2009

Letter to the President (and Others) Regarding Healthcare

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to you in support of, and in anticipation of, serious and true reform of the healthcare (i.e., insurance) industry. First, I should admit up front that I’m unabashedly in favor of abolishing the for-profit administration of healthcare, and replacing that broken model with a single-payer system. Reportedly, you are as well.

The elected officials (particularly Democrats) in the legislature are calling out for leadership and direction from you on this issue. Including my House representative (Allen Boyd) and Democratic senator (Bill Nelson), who are copied on this letter. You could start by making one thing clear to them, perhaps during your address to the joint session of Congress next week: The so-called “Public Option” IS the compromise.

The whole concept of for-profit healthcare is abhorrent. This isn’t an issue of using profit as a motive to spur innovation. What’s innovative about finding new ways to say “no” to people’s medical claims? The healthcare insurance companies are being paid more and more each year to provide less and less service. They decrease their reimbursements for routine treatments, narrow their lists of approved treatment options, increase deductibles, and minimize the rates they pay providers for treatment. Maybe this thinking is where their “innovation” comes in. And these issues only address people with health insurance. What about the tens of millions with no insurance at all (many of those likely with the stigma of “pre-existing conditions” that prevent enrollment).

The post-9/11, frontier mentality that America does everything better——be it ideas, technology, or general creativity——is holding us all hostage. No-one wants to be challenged with new ideas or possibilities, or troubled with facts. You’ve seen the polls; many Americans are wary of any “government option” but, upon learning the details of what’s actually being proposed, they’re overwhelmingly in support of it. Sure, your poll numbers are dropping. Perhaps it’s a combination of people (the ill- or under-informed) concerned that you’re going to take their healthcare away, and people (like me) concerned that you’re not going to do enough to fix the legion of problems.

You’ve also seen the stats:
• The United States has the highest medical costs, as a percentage of its GDP, of any industrialized nation. And, yet, 15% of its citizens have no health coverage at all.
• The United States has a lower life expectancy (lowest, actually) and a higher infant mortality rate (er, highest) when compared to the same industrialized nations.
• The United States is the only industrialized nation to have “for-profit” healthcare. Even supplemental insurance (over and above what’s provided by the government) in European countries must be (mandated) as not-for-profit.

The healthcare company executives and lobbyists are afraid of any reform that would cut into (or effectively eliminate) their profits. And that such reform would actually be proven far more successful and satisfying than the situation in which we collectively find ourselves. To be sure, these executives and lobbyists are privately surprised we’ve allowed them to operate like this for so long.

The “Public Option” is just that, an option. It’s not a government takeover. Hell, it’s not even an option for those of us with employer-provided health coverage. If it’s established and proven successful, the façade of superior health-management by the private sector will fall away.

Thank you for your attention, and good luck Wednesday night.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Liveblogging the 2006 Midterm Election Returns

Looks like the Networks have surrendered Election coverage to the cable-news channels (until 10 p.m.). Guess all the non-geeks are gonna be watching regular broadcasting. (See you at 10, Brian Williams . . . said the geek.) Coming to you from an undisclosed location . . . in Tallahassee, Florida:

7:00 – We’re over to MSNBC. Chris Matthews is already telling us that . . . Virginia is too close to call (Senate), but the “self-proclaimed” Socialist (Bernie Sanders) is gonna win in Vermont.

7:05 – Big surprise: All of our friends are late. (My wife and daughter are off to do a puzzle until all of the “aunts and uncles” show up.)

7:09 – Blah, blah, blah . . . The crawl says that Britney and K-Fed are getting divorced. I’m actually surprised they haven’t broken in with a live update of some kind. I’m starting to think that this is gonna be slow-going until 8 o’clock.

7:13 – David Gregory is saying that GOP officials are “bracing for losses.” Still seems like some of them may have some optimism about keeping the House, though.

7:20 – Taking a break while we try to set up a wireless router to make this blog more “live.” (Friends are showing up now.)

7:29:35 – CNN is COUNTING THE SECONDS until the polls close in Ohio, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Wolf Blitzer is getting excited.

7:39 – West Virginia for Byrd (big surprise). We’re switching to Fox News (for pure entertainment value). Initially, this looks like REAL news. You go, Chris Wallace.

7:41 – Commercial break . . . back to MSNBC.

7:44 – David Gregory is reporting . . . uh, reports of “presidential-year turnout.” (Our daughter is looking at pictures that The ‘Ju took of animals in his yard.) Gregory going on about a “glum” mood in the White House.

7:54 – Matthews is talking to Bill Richardson about his optimistic commercials (wherein he was playing cowboy). About 15 states are closing in six minutes.

7:56 – Some precincts in Cleveland will stay open until 9 p.m. because of Diebold. Chip Reid is talking about the Robo-calls . . . REPUBLICAN Robo-calls.

7:59 – Second reference to New Jersey as some kind of “cesspool.”

8:00 – ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? MSBNC went to a commercial break as the polls were closing. Over to CNN.

8:10 – Three obvious races called in the Senate . . . not much happening. Mr. Glory Hole said that Bill Bennett has money on some of the races.

8:13 – More commercials, so back to MSNBC, where Brian Williams is taking an opportunity (probably not for the first time) to let us know that he doesn’t like to express opinions.

8:30 – Tried switching to Fox News, but they had commercials, so over to MSNBC.

8:34 – Howard Dean chastised Matthews for invoking polarizing issues.

8:35 – MSNBC called New Jersey for Menendez. We switched to Fox News to see if they would call it. (They did, but it took a couple minutes.) Fox News is also calling Pennsylvania for not-Santorum.

8:43 – MSNBC called Ohio for Brown. Mr. Glory Hole and I high-five for the third time.

8:46 – Oooooo, Dr. Frist.

8:48 – Olbermann goes to David Gregory again on the no-longer-spreading of the Santorum. Mr. Glory Hole is giving us exit-polling data that shows Crazy Conrad Burns going down—er, losing—in Montana.


8:57 – Mr. Glory Hole is carrying on about channels not calling races in Virginia, Tennessee, and Maryland. (Why is Maryland at 0% precincts reporting?)

9:05 – C’MON, Webb! (Lots of unsurprising results in, too.)

9:08 – Over at CNN, Paul Begala is saying that Bush was an anchor on Santorum, when we all know that Santorum was his own worst enemy. (Begala is going on to prove that Santorum was his own anchor.)

9:10 – Mr. Glory Hole and I discuss the South’s black presence in the Senate during the Reconstruction, which I was unaware of. As Ford is gonna lose to Corker, BTW.

9:12 – Connecticut called for Lieberman. We discuss Lieberman being the most powerful Senator, should the Democrats get up to 50% (along with our Favorite Socialist).

9:18 – MSNBC calls Maryland for Cardin.

9:20 – Nancy Pelosi is already at the fuckin’ microphone.

9:22 – “Wonder twins activate in the form of . . .” “A douchebag.” (Future NIO bloggers Mr. Glory Hole and Prof. Thom)

9:33 – The Chicago Tribune took two minutes to load on The ‘Ju’s laptop. None of the cable channels are telling us what’s going on with Tammy Duckworth in the Illinois 6th. (She’s down with very few precincts reporting.)

9:37 – Dude, Keith Olbermann is BAITING Dick Armey with his party sucking ass.

9:39 – Jim Webb is still behind in Virginia, with many Northern Virginia precincts still to report.

9:46 – Bill Kristol is a bottom. “There’s no WAY Brit Hume is gay.”

9:49 – Tasking Mr. Glory Hole with checking on local (Tallahassee) reports on the Internets.

9:53 – We’re trying to save our energy for NBC’s coverage in a few minutes. Russert is gonna be ALL OVER the place with his list of states the Democrats have to win to take control of the Senate. (Trying to get others to weigh in on what time Russert’s “list” will make its first appearance, and Mr. Glory Hole somehow goes to Russert “nailing Andrea Mitchell in the ass.”)

9:55 – Chris Matthews to Charlie Cook on MSNBC: “Charlie, I’m gonna push you . . . I know you’re gonna feel this.”

9:59 – Is that Harold Ford wearing a baseball cap giving the Clinton thumbs-up? We’re switching to NBC now (to a commercial, apparently).

10:01 – Do we NEED this fucking setting-the-tone intro from Brian Williams? We’ve been watching election coverage for THREE HOURS.

10:03 – Going over all the “too-close-to-call” races in the Senate.

10:04 – Russert’s white board makes its first appearance.

10:06 – “Tom Brokaw could take Brit Hume.”

10:07 – “Why is [Campbell Brown] at the desk? Norah O’Donnell needs to be there.” “She needs to be ON the desk.”

10:10 – Fifty minutes before polls close in California, we call the Senate seat for Feinstein. John McCain looks very, very old. Sorry, you good little Republican.

10:11 – Brit Hume is becoming a running joke. As is Andrea Mitchell involved in various sexual situations.

10:15 – Bored with Obama, we switch back to Fox News / Brit Hume. Ooops, it’s Michael Barone. Yay.

10:17 – Fox is giving us more House races. We might stay in the House of Hume for a while. Ooops, commercial.

10:19 – More talk about Virginia. We’re certain that this one’s gonna end up in court.

10:20 – Our Senate-race pool is still tight . . . waiting on results from Tennessee, Missourah, and Virginia (which the pool hinges on). Closeup on Norah O’Donnell gets a collective “wow.” Mr. Glory Hole: “I’d like to chisel away some of that eye makeup.”

10:24 – “KY . . . you’re gonna get fucked in Kentucky.” “Hume’d.”

10:28 – I’m not liking Olbermann and Matthews at the desk together. Aaaannnnnnd BACK to John McCain. Jesus.

10:32 – We’re calling Hawaii for the Democrats (Akaka?). What time to polls close there, anyway?

10:35 – No, Keith, Harry Reid’s title is NOT going to change.

10:39 – Mr. Glory Hole checked on Tammy Duckworth in Illinois . . . still down with 10% of the precincts reporting.

10:42 – MSNBC cuts away from Hillary when it’s clear her husband isn’t gonna get to speak.

10:47 – Michael Barone (on Fox News) is predicting that Virginia’s Senate race is gonna end in a recount.

10:50 – “Is that a smile from Hume?”

10:54 – Negron (Foley’s scab) concedes in Florida.

10:55 – Mr. Glory Hole and Prof. Thom have pulled up a full-screen photo of Brit Hume.

10:58 – I’ve forgotten there are more polls still open. (Arnold’s gonna win; no mystery there, Jeff Greenfield.)

11:00 – Funny watching Blitzer try to stretch his blather out for 10 seconds waiting for the polls to “close” on the West Coast.

11:03 – I learn that J.C. Watts’ initials stand for “Julius Caesar.” At least according to Mr. Glory Hole.

11:09 – CNN projects that the Democrats will win the House.

11:12 – The Washington Post is pulling their projection on the Maryland Senate race, and Steele is reportedly refusing to concede. (This is according to Fox News, where we switched to see if they’d call the House for the Dems.)

11:13 – Over to MSNBC, as we need our Norah fix. And we get Brokaw. (Apparently, NBC has also projected the House for the Democrats.)

11:18 – We’re now at Comedy Central checking on the fake-news take. Jon Spencer is trying to prod Dan Rather into being himself. I’m about to switch away . . . and I did as Mr. GH urged me to “real” news.

11:22 – Everyone has Denny Hastert conceding the House to the Democrats.

11:31 – David Schuster is talking about the recount implications in Virginia. Apparently, many of the precincts still to report are in heavily Democratic areas.

11:34 – David Gregory is reporting that Bush is having a press conference tomorrow afternoon to “react to this,” and “reaching out to the Democrats.” Oh, NOW he’s gonna reach out of the Democrats.

11:37 – Ken Mehlman is a douchebag.

11:39 – On to Fox News. “Wow . . . it’s Clay Claymation Guy.”

11:40 – “Jesus, it’s Alfred E. Newman!” (Prof. Thom on Fox News White House correspondent Bret Something-or-other) I don’t think Bush is making many congratulatory phone calls.

11:44 – They’re finally showing numbers on Montana and Missouri. McCaskill looks to be WAY behind.

11:46 – We’re projecting that the Democrats will hold all of their Senate seats. (I think we somehow missed a call for Cantwell in Washington.)

11:51 – I miss Norah’s freckles. Goofy laugh, though.

11:53 – MSNBC threatens a commercial, so back to the House of Hume.

11:55 – I’m running out of nasty things to say about and/or call Bill Kristol. Oh, they’re spinning that this “remains a conservative country.” Thanks, St. Hume.

11:58 – Apparently, Arizona was called for Kyl. That leaves the four “hot” seats. Oh, boy, it’s Chris Wallace.

12:00 – Jim Webb has pulled ahead in Virginia. And, “there are no cities in Montana.” (That was me, after Brit said that big cities in Missouri could swing the vote total over to McCaskill. She’s a lost cause, but Tester seems to be pulling away from Crazy Conrad Burns.)

12:05 – Bill Kristol is tentatively predicting a majority for the Democrats (figuring Ford loses in Tennessee and the Democrats win the rest of the outstanding seats).

12:09 – The rest of my guests leave. (Wife has been in bed for about two hours.) I’m going to get ready for bed. Back to sign off and get some last-minute calls . . ? No? Dammit.

12:21 – Looks like we’re not getting any of those close Senate races settled. No-one can stop talking about the Democrats winning the House. Back in the morning.


At 7 a.m., it’s looking like the Democrats picked up 227 234(?) seats in the House. As for the Senate, Virginia and Montana are reportedly too close to call (Democrats currently lead in each). Still trying to get a line on Tennessee and Missouri (no Internet access outside the bedroom where the wife is sleeping). Channel-surfing has revealed Fox News is going to interview TOM DELAY to get that unbiased view of how Nancy Pelosi will do as Speaker of the House. Imus had very mean things to say about Tim Russert when he decided to appear on the Today Show instead of HIS show. (“Anyone who watches the Today Show is DEAD!”)

Okay, they’re projecting McCaskill in Missouri and Corker in Tennessee. So the Democrats have to win BOTH of the races they’re currently leading to take control of the Senate. More later.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I was reading the “Zings”* in our local paper this morning and there were several focusing on Kerry’s botched joke the other day. The one where he left out one word (“us”) and, thus, changed his slam on Bush into a jab at our soldiers. Now, I’ve seen quite a few stories on this, and some of them reference what he was SUPPOSED to say (one broadcast even put up the prepared text of his speech, which was released BEFORE he misspoke).

I agree that he should’ve apologized, but c’mon. Do Republicans really think they can stretch this into an election-swinging controversy? Probably. Y’know how? By only quoting Kerry and not acknowledging he was supposed to say something else. Which is just what Fox News is doing. I'm really understanding the education angle now. Let's NOT present both sides and let viewers decide. Because that's how Fox "eductates" its veiwers to the GOP position.

I caught a little of Tony Snow’s briefing yesterday. He tried to deflect journalists’ contentions that Kerry left out a word by lamely pretending he wouldn’t know where the word “us” would fall in Kerry’s “joke.” Wait, didn’t Tony previously work for Fox News?

Here’s Olbermann’s take on the whole thing.

* From the Tallahassee Democrat. “Zings” are anonymous, very brief opinions that are emailed or phoned in to the paper and are presented in a bulleted list (my favorite!). Usually, they cover a wide range of topics, but some days have quite a few focusing on one or two big issues.

Friday, October 20, 2006

They're Only Playing with One Card. And it's Not an Ace.

The GOP's new ad is a fun one. Are they going "all-in" in this high-stakes game? Does this mean there's no "October surprise?"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

They Want What We Got, and We Don't Want What They're GETTING

Yesterday, our president had a press conference about the . . . well, take your pick. War, basically. Trouble. Everywhere. Besides North Korea's nuclear saber-rattling, there's a new report out that estimates over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed in the Iraq war (the one Bush started in 2003). Sure, that figure is probably grossly inflated, but whatever. My favorite part was his response.

"I do know that a lot of innocent people have died, and that troubles me and it grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to -- that there's a level of violence that they tolerate. And it's now time for the Iraqi government to work hard to bring security in neighborhoods so people can feel at peace."

See, because we Americans can tolerate giving up our freedom(s) so we don't have to get killed. By terrorists. Which we're reminded of every motherfucking day.

If the GOP can't run on "security," then they can't run. Period.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It Keeps Bringing Me Back

I went on a politics hiatus. I stopped reading Wonkette. And stopped going to Clear and Present to torment Mike. I just stopped.

The summer before the 2004 election (or perhaps even before that), I predicted that someday, “down the road,” the American public was going to catch wind of just how inept the current Administration is. “The wheels are going to come off the wagon,” I said. Well, my Internet friends, that day has come. Or, y’know, came months ago. (Even years ago if you ask your Libertarian-Socialist friends.)

I didn’t feel like gloating. During the run-up to the 2000 election, and during the recount debacle, I had numerous debates with family members and coworkers about the crime being perpetuated on the electorate. And now would be a good time to bring out the coup de grace. Maybe I’m trying to stay above the fray. Or maybe I realize that it could still get worse, and I can bolster my case.

However, I’m still convinced that the Dems could fumble away this opportunity. If Bush’s poll numbers are still in the dumps in September and/or the summer is bursting with more Republican scandals, the Dems may slide into control of the Legislature. But we have to wait and see what Rove’s gonna do. An October surprise? Reigniting the Religious Right?

Being in Florida, I see a lot of what goes on with Li’l Brother Jeb. Y’know, how he was saying he definitely wasn’t going to run for president in 2008. But he’s flying over to the tsunami-devastated areas. And visiting the troops in Iraq. He seems to be putting a lot of effort into gaining national, and international, exposure. And with all the McCains and Giulianis possibly running as broadly appealing GOP candidates, they need someone with star power to carry the Religious Right banner. Besides, his brother wants him to run. I think he’ll announce late (like, the Fall of 2007) and get a lot of momentum going into the primaries. You heard it here first.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The "Rainy-Day File"

I have a feeling, now more than ever, that the Administration has a file (cabinet?) full of 9/11-related leftovers that they're gonna copy-paste into press releases every time they're getting fucking shellacked. Team Scooter says he was directed by someone "higher up" to leak the Plame info. Abramhoff seems pretty certain that the president hasn't conveniently forgotten who he is. Brownie adamantly stated that he had communicated the situation on the ground in New Orleans to the White House . . . er, staff with the president in Crawford. Support for Bush's wiretaps and the Patriot Act is dwindling.

It's time to press the button. And that button is marked "Fear."