Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hillary's Health Care Horror Story False - Hospital Says It Didn't Happen

I remember President Regan telling a story about a “welfare queen” on all his stump speeches. The tale made the whole welfare system seem out of kilter and made poor people sound like conniving cheaters. Interesting story, in fact Regan often supplied details like, “80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards.” Problem is it wasn’t true. It may have been based on a case of welfare fraud, but the real story would have been much less sensationalistic.

Now Hillary Clinton, following in the footsteps of Regan is telling the “health care horror story”. An uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee. Funny thing, turns out its only partially true as well.

The woman did die at the hospital, but was under an obstetricians care and was insured. Just not nearly as dramatic that way, so why not embellish it a little?

Well the Ohio Hospital in the story is calling her out on it and asking her to stop telling the false version of the story.

“We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said Rick Castrop, CEO of the O’Bleness Health System, the hospital in the story.

My big problem is that our nation’s healthcare system is indeed screwed up, but you don’t have to lie to prove it. Just ask a few real people about their experiences and you can find plenty of good stories that don’t require embellishing.

GOP Congressman Calls American Soldier in Iraq “Two-Bit Security Guard”

If you are going to be gung ho about the war, then you damn well better respect the men and women you ship over there to fight.

Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) spent the night at one of Sadaam's palaces. When he wanted to go to the gym the next day, and a soldier asked him for ID, McHenry referred to him as "a two-bit security guard."

And these are the same jerks who will question our patriotism for questioning their actions!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Chinese Troops Kill 8 Including Monks In Tibet Protests

The Chinese have stepped up their battle against protesters seeking autonomy for Tibet the Chinese province of Sichuan. Today, TimesOnline reports that troops, last night, opened fire on protesters and several Tibetan monks, killing at least eight. This comes after they searched a monastery and destroyed photos and desecrating other materials.

The attack coming as the Olympic Torch is scheduled to travel through London will undoubtedly stir emotions and trigger protests in the UK. Chinese authorities are trying to open the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, to tourists by May 1. Their efforts to squelch protests and any activity that could embarrass the Chinese government during the upcoming games has drawn worldwide attention.

Personally, I think a boycott of the games would be in order. China has no business hosting them to begin with. Their dismal human rights record would seem to run counter to the spirit of the games. Of course the Olympic sponsors most likely have business interests in China and so the games will go on.

Dallas County Democratic Runoff Election - Vote!

Runoff elections are not glamorous. They don’t have the sizzle of the “big fight” and especially when they are part of a primary election, however there are several good reasons to vote in Saturday’s Democratic Runoff.

The first is to put a candidate who actually understands what the position is about. When it comes to Texas Railroad Commissioner that position is about oil and gas, not trains. That is why the choice is clear. Dale Henry come from a petroleum background. Henry was a petroleum engineer and he understands the business as well as the environmental problems it can cause. He has pushed for better pipeline safety and has the public’s interest rather than big oil at heart.

The second reason is Diana Lackey. She is running for County Tax Assessor Collector and has 24 years experience in tax assessment and collections. She has the endorsement of numerous groups including Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and Dallas County Young Democrats. Check her web site for more info.

Dr. King's America, 40 Years Later

Occasionally I go back and listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s recorded speeches. I have long loved the most famous “I have a dream” speech, but there are many more that bear witness to the voices of one of the 20th century’s great prophets.

One of my favorites is the acceptance speech he made upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. As he listed the reasons he accepted the award he made several bold statements about why non-violence was the path to justice and why he could continue to struggle for equality in an unjust world.

“I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.”

He found in America something called hope. With all its problems, oppression, violence and injustice he still believed in the goodness of mankind and our ability to rise from the base instincts to find an enlightened path.

Today, on the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, it is fitting to look at our country and wonder how he would have reacted to where we are now. We still are fighting unjust wars. We still battle our own prejudices. We still watch great portions our own population dragged down by the chains of poverty. And yet we still have hope. Hope that has brought us beyond the brink of nuclear annihilation we faced during the cold war. Hope that sees a woman and a black man both running for the highest office in our land. Hope that lets us face the problems of racism, homophobia and still believe we can overcome. Hope that lets us face the millions of people without adequate health care and believe that we can remedy the problem. Hope that we can end an unjust war and bring home our soldiers who fought so valiantly.

It is that hope I still have. It is that hope I get from reading and listening to Dr. King’s speeches. It is that hope that I try to carry to others in my life and my work.

Heady stuff? Yes, but the things that are really worthwhile in life usually are.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

President Carter Makes Veiled Obama Endorsement

Though he is still playing it close to the vest, former President Jimmy Carter was quoted in a Nigerian Newspaper as saying:

"We are very interested in the primaries. Don’t forget that Obama won in my state of Georgia. My town, which is home to 625 people, is for Obama, my children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama. As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for but I leave you to make that guess."

Ashcroft Smears Obama With "Accidental" Osama Remark

I won’t be blogging much today. Storm chasing with my partner in southern Oklahoma. If we get video or pics, I’ll post them tonight.

Just saw a report where our old friend, John Ashcroft made an alleged mistake at a speech at Skidmore College. He called Senator Barack Obama, “Osama”. This is a purposeful mistake being done by conservatives to subliminally make the connections with not only the terrorist but with the notion that Obama is somehow “foreign”.

The trick was recognized by the audience at the college and they jeered Ashcroft when he did it. Glad students are not fooled by these stealth attacks!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bill Clinton Blows A Gasket At Super-delegate Meeting

So the usual mild mannered Bill Clinton was replaced by Mr. Hyde at a recent meeting of California’s super-delegates. He was soft spoken and convivial until someone mentioned the recent endorsement of Bill Richardson for Barack Obama.

Clinton burst into a tirade, turning red in the face and wagging his finger. He then went on to rant about unfair media treatment of Hillary. Before it was over one super-delegate called the meeting, “one of the worst political meetings I have ever attended."

The outburst showed the increasing strain the Clinton campaign is under and its toll on the former President. Later in the meeting Clinton called for delegates to just “chill out” and wait before making any decision. Many wondered if he wasn’t speaking to himself.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Wal-Mart Sues Brain Damaged Employee! Outrageous.

Wal-Mart used to be a really interesting home-grown company that had a lot to recommend it. Its founder Sam Walton supported numerous American companies and sincerely tried to give people the best value for their money.

Now Sam was no saint, and indeed his business plan squashed lots of mom and pop stores and left many small towns in this country with only one shopping option, Wal-Mart. So fast forward to today.

Wal-Mart is a huge operation with little or no soul left. It buys almost everything from China and regularly pressures American firms to ship production jobs overseas to meet the “guaranteed low price” pledge of the store.

Wal-Mart is notorious for unfair labor practices and has been targeted by unions across the country for refusing to allow employees to unionize. Not a very nice place to work from the reports I have heard from ex-Wal-Mart employees.

Further proof comes in the story of Wal-Mart employee Debbie Shank. She was hit by a truck eight years ago and left brain damaged stuck in a wheelchair. She then lost her son in Iraq, killed in a battle while serving his country. How much worse could it get?

Pretty bad! Debbie’s medical expenses were paid for by Wal-Mart until she won a judgment against the trucking firm. Now Wal-Mart wants everything back. The problem is after her legal fees, she was left with only $417,000 and the suit is for $470,000. This act of amazing greed comes from a company that posted an $11 billion profit last year!

The action has caused such a moral outrage that Keith Olbermann has decided Wal-Mart ranks as “Worst Person in the World” for 4 straight nights. When contacted for comment, Wal-Mart spokesman said, “Wal-Mart’s plan is bound by very specific rules. … We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank’s case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan”

Bulls*#t! That is the kind of response a person makes when they do not want to admit that they are acting in a greedy and soulless manner. “I was only following orders” was no defense during the WW2 Nurnberg trials and it won’t work for Wal-Mart either. I already avoid the place but now I will never shop in a Wal-Mart again and I encourage everyone else to refrain from shopping there either. It’s a freedom to shop issue!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Clinton Campaign Getting "Deadbeat" Reputation

Need further proof that Hillary’s campaign is coughing up blood? Suppliers and vendors to the Clinton campaign are reporting that they are not being paid. According to Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel her campaigns record of late or delayed payments is “earning the campaign a reputation of a deadbeat in some small-business circles.”

He goes on to say, “A pair of Ohio companies owed more than $25,000 by Clinton for staging events for her campaign are warning others in the tight-knit event production community — and anyone else who will listen — to get their cash upfront when doing business with her,”

Up front money is typical for media buys in political campaigns, but other suppliers are usually willing to give credit. Losing that vital credit could hamstring the Clinton campaign, especially when it comes to the rapid response needed on the campaign trail.

Part of the problem is a large amount of cash that cannot be used for the primary, only for the general campaign in November should she win the nomination. The Obama campaign by contrast still has plenty of cash in its war chest and is more than willing to use it.

Hillary may decide to end her campaign both because she cannot win a majority of delegates needed as well as being in the red.

Bush Jeered As He Throws First Pitch

Talk about no joy in Mudville! President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington National's game to a chorus of lound and resounding "boos".

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Muqtada Al-Sadr Calls For Cease Fire - Will The Iraq Government Respond?

It seems that Muqtada Al-Sadr wants to end the bloodshed, even though Al-Maliki may not. A little background may be necessary. Muqtada Al-Sadr was part of the Iraq government coalition but pulled out when Prime Minister Al-Maliki refused to set a deadline for US troop withdrawal.

Today Al-Sadr is calling for a cease fire to end the fighting. I suspect he sees no good outcome of the conflict and genuinely wants the killing of his countrymen to stop. I sincerely hope the Iraq government will respond in kind. If not , they will continue the slide into anarchy that began a week ago when the fighting in Basra broke out.

In an interview by Reuters, Joost Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group think tank said, "The key question now is what the United States is going to do, If it allows (the crackdown) to go forward the ceasefire will unravel and the U.S. will face the Sadr movement in its full power.""This will be bad for both sides. Sadr will lose men and the United States will lose the gains of the surge".

I have to agree. Should the US unleash its power on the militias there would be not just devastation, but a complete end to any good will we might have earned. We would be seen as absolute occupiers and our troops might never get out.