Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vicodin, Percocet, Tylenol to be banned?


acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the 1,600 cases seen each year in the United States, according to a 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate.

These drugs are far more dangerous than alternatives such as vitamins, herbs, and homeopathics.  Yet if there is even one fatality that might even possibly be linked to an alternative therapy, the FDA jumps in to ban and/or confiscate it (remember the big hullabaloo about the amino acid Tryptophan in 1989?). (See: http://www.lef.org/fda/fdaban95.html) All the while, Big Pharma drugs are causing all kinds of havoc.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Talk about sex affairs? Who, us? (Rove and O'Reilly): NEVER! (Yuk!)

I have to admit it is really funny to witness the hypocrisy of the right wing pundits! They don't seem to realize they are the laughing stock of the country (except for their dittoheads, of course--the number of whom is falling off drastically these days).



Apparently, Rip-Van-Winkle-like, Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove simply slept through the 1990s, when Republicans couldn't stop obsessing about the Mighty Clenis and its powers of seduction.

Yesterday on The O'Reilly Factor, they both were mewling piteously about the mean liberals who are having a bit of a heyday with Mark Sanford's Appalachian Trail Adventures:

O'Reilly: Some in the Muslim world believe in stoning people. Apparently, some in the USA believe in stoning as well -- stoning with words.

Because, of course, Bill O'Reilly never attacks people with his words. You Pinhead!

What really got Rove's goat was Paul Begala, having the audacity to point out that he, like a lot of us, have had enough of the GOP's Holier-Than-Thou schtick, which they use with great regularity to beat liberals about the head and neck for their supposed "licentiousness".

Rove: I guess what it comes down to is when you get to socially liberal ideas like abortion, and like gay marriage, the left will seize on any opportunity that they think they have in order to condemn those who are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. And it's just -- you know, there are people who are maybe moderate in their views on economics, or maybe nationalist on their views on international affairs, but when it comes down to social questions, they're liberal, and it's an instinct, and they cause a lot of people -- you know, like Paul Begala.

O'Reilly: I was just going to say that. Is that unbelievable?

Rove: Unbelievable. I don't recall -- you know, who exactly is accusing him of being a poor father or a poor Christian or not a patriot. But this sort of artificial victimhood -- and again, the purpose of it is, is to say to people --

O'Reilly: But wasn't Begala the guy, that it was just about sex, he and Carville were running around -- that's all they said for two years!

Don't you just love it when the guy who perfected right-wing victimhood as a phony schtick indulges it right there onscreen -- and then accuses the left of it!

And O'Reilly misses his own point: Begala was obviously complaining about Republicans' propensity to condemn all liberals as "immoral" based on a single person's failings (see, e.g., the right-wing claim after Sanford that "liberals are more to licentiousness"). Which is now the position he and Rove are trying to claim -- while accusing Begala of the opposite.

But the real capper was this:

Rove: What we saw last night was the coarseness and ugliness in American politics, carried forward by people who claim not to be political actors, but commentators and observers. And they gave the lie to their so-called neutrality or objectiveness last night.

Quoth the cohort of Lee Atwater and the man who "makes [Charles] Colson look like a novice".

The right's projection strategy is reaching absurd heights these days. But it at least makes for some amusing TV.


What will happen to autistic adults?



Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects language and social skills, was relatively rare [25 years ago]. Since then, for reasons that are unclear, diagnoses have skyrocketed and the condition is surfacing in an estimated 1 in 150 children.

As a tidal wave of these youngsters moves toward adulthood with complex behavioral and medical problems, society is largely unprepared.

"We don't have the programs. We don't have the research," said Dr. Robert Hendren, director of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute. "We have this very large adult population of autistics coming along, and we don't know how to deal with them. We just haven't come to terms with it."


Canadian healthcare myths

I just received the following e-mail from an acquaintance who ought to know what he is talking about, since he has been experiencing Canadian health care for the last 15 years.  There are those who won't believe him, of course. They would rather believe the Rush Limbaughs amd Bill O'Reillys who plant fear in their minds and hearts daily.  What we have now in America as our health care system is NOT working. CHANGE is not only necessary, it is INEVITABLE. 

Those who prefer the status quo in everything will always rail against change, because it is fearful to them.
They follow Limbaugh and FOX (FAUX) news and often vote against their own interests because of the fear generated by the propagandists they tune into daily. They're afraid they will lose something, and the Limbaughs and O'Reillys love to tell them they are losing their rights and their money. They rant on about the dreaded "socialism" and tell their "dittoheads" to fear it like the plague. The dittoheads march in a straight line after their paranoid leaders, shouting and cursing against anyone who would dare to bring CHANGE into their lives.  Even though they see how Medicare DOES work, and it is a government-run health insurance system, they still oppose a public health care system run by the government.  They fear the loss of capitalism and what it has devolved into--the Power and Greed system ruled by the wealthy, where one percent of the population have most of the wealth.

The followers of Limbaugh et al don't realize they have already lost their rights and their money to those who usurped and abused the capitalistic system we once had  (which used to be regulated to keep at least some of the wealth in the pockets of the middle class). But that kind of capitalism is long gone. The men the dittoheads love to vote for did away with all the rules and regulations for the wealthy power players, eliminating any checks and balances that might interfere with their acquiring yet more wealth, at the expense of the rest of the population.  We can all see the result of their rule.  We are living it now.

Please read the following letter and the article contained in it--and pass it along to your friends if you think it gives valuable information.

--- On Sat, 6/27/09, Andy Fielding wrote:

Date: Saturday, June 27, 2009, 11:21 PM

Hi everybody,

As a transplanted American, I can tell you that the Canadian healthcare system is nothing short of remarkable.

Imagine healthcare considered a basic human right, not a privilege just for those who can afford it. Imagine visiting your doctor when you have a health concern, then simply waving goodbye to the receptionist instead of digging out your credit card. Imagine entire families not being financially wiped out as a condition of treating serious illness.

Sound unrealistic, impractical? I've been here for 15 years, and I assure you, it's neither. And it makes me ill how the powerful U.S. medical lobbies have sabotaged every attempt to initiate such a system in the U.S.

A friend just pointed me to a great news story that debunks the myths that have been perpetrated to keep U.S. healthcare private. You owe it to yourself, and those you care about, to read it. Then please contact your government representatives and push for change, because the U.S. medical industry has been pulling the wool over your eyes long enough.

Debunking Canadian health care myths
By Rhonda Hackett / The Denver Post

Best wishes, Andy


Friday, June 26, 2009

Interesting article re. pharmaceutical drugs and alternative treatments


While I think western medicine is helpful for some things, especially trauma, it very often kills, rather than cures, with its potent, toxic chemicals. So I am in agreement with much of what Mike Adams, the author of this article, says.


I wholeheartedly agree with President Obama on this statement:  "Why would [a government plan] drive private insurance out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care; if they tell us that they're offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That's not logical." --President Barack Obama

If private insurance companies think they are doing such a wonderful job (denying claims, raising premiums and lowering benefits, refusing insurance because of "preexisting conditions," etc.), what do they have to fear from the government offering people a health plan that will actually cover them when they are sick, will keep premiums at a level people can afford, and never refuse insurance because of preexisting conditions?  Hmmm....I wonder.... (Power and Greed, Power and Greed....)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Extremely interesting article

The information given in this article ties in with many other secret symbols of the power holders in our present-day world.  Things like this are spoken about at the conspiracy conference that I attend each year. Of course, most of us are aware of groups such as the Masons and Skull and Bones with all their secret symbols, handshakes, and codes.  An inordinate number of Masons and Skull and Bones men hold power positions in our government and in giant corporations that donate big bucks to candidates running for office.  The power behind the thrones of this world manipulates and controls how we all live.  It's good to be aware of these things...

The Caduceus Decoded: Secret Symbols of Medicine


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gov. Sanford admits affair, ruins political career

FOX News, as it often does when one of its own (Republicans) gets in sexual trouble, identifies Sanford as a Democrat with a "D" after his name.  Talk about ostrich-like behavior, burying your head in the sand.  Of course, they always have to come out later and admit they made the wrong political identification.  But by then, I'm sure they figure, millions of those who watch FOX for "news" have already had it put into their minds that Sanford is a Democrat.  Once there, it is hard to budge that information out of their little dittoheads.  It is interesting, isn't it, how so many Republicans these days are committing political suicide with affairs?  Hmmm...isn't that a bit damaging to their claims of being the party that champions "family values"?


God's Wife



God's Wife


Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once
talked about a contest he was asked to judge. 
The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

  The winner was:

A four-year-old child, whose next door
neighbor was an elderly gentleman, who had recently lost his
wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old
gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
 When his mother asked him what he had
said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, 'Nothing, I just
helped him cry..'


Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were
discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture
had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted.
 A little girl said, 'I know all about
adoption, I was adopted..'

 'What does it mean to be adopted?', asked another child.

   'It means', said the girl, 'that you grew
in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!'


    On my way home one day, I stopped to
watch a Little League base ball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was
  'We're behind 14 to nothing,' he answered
with a smile.

'Really,' I said. 'I have to say you
don't look very discouraged.'

'Discouraged?', the boy asked with a
puzzled look on his face...

'Why should we be discouraged? We haven't
been up to bat yet.'


Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot
in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott.

  Jamie was trying out for a part in the
school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen.

      On the day the parts were awarded, I went
with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her,
eyes shining with pride and excitement.  'Guess what, Mom,' he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me....'I've been chosen to clap and cheer.'


 An eye witness account from New York
City , on a cold day in December, 
some years ago: A little boy,
about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the
roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.

 A lady approached the young boy and said,
'My, but you're in such deep thought staring in that window!'

'I was asking God to give me a pair of
shoes,' was the boy's reply.

 The lady took him by the hand, went into
the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

She took the little fellow to the back
part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.

By this time, the clerk had returned with
the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy's feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes..

   She tied up the remaining pairs of socks
and gave them to him.. She patted him on the head and said, 'No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.'

 As she turned to go, the astonished kid
caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her.

'Are you God's wife?'


Hope this put a smile on your face








Monday, June 22, 2009

Truth about Iraq invasion is coming out, slowly but surely

The horrendously deceitful Bush and Blair and their minions (and puppet masters) should all be brought before a world court to pay for their crimes.

Memo Reveals US Plan to Provoke an Invasion of Iraq

Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend, The Observer UK: "A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK's role in toppling Saddam Hussein. The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action."



While the rest of the loudmouths on Fox present "entertainment," it seems Shepard Smith is the only one presenting real news on the channel. He'd better hire protective guards for himself and his family members, though. The crazies are out there, which is clearly evidenced by the hate mail he is receiving.

NY Times

Of colleagues like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity, Mr. Smith said, “There’s a lot of money in opinion, and those guys are fascinating, terrific entertainers. This is a news organization. There can’t be a Fox News without news.”

One commenter on the site, quoting the network’s motto, wrote on June 12: “I don’t know if Smith is a conservative or a liberal, but it’s been clear for a long time that he’s the only one at Fox who takes the ‘fair and balanced’ thing seriously.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I agree completely with Frank Rich's assessment

Obama's Make or Break Summer
by Frank Rich



Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Tale of Woe from 1878

by Jaime O'Neill

At an auction, I buy a box lot containing nearly a half century of back issues of  American Heritage magazine, that richly illustrated compendium of the nation's history through good times and bad, with lots of special attention to the bad times -- the droughts, the downturns, and the disasters that tried the souls of our forebears. I pay $10 for the whole lot -- more than 600 magazines--and if I chose to stack them, they would make a pile of yellowing paper much taller than I am, more than ten feet of colorful characters, arresting episodes, and the vulgar pageantry of American life as it has played out over four centuries, all of it acquired for less than a buck a foot. History at less than a penny a pound. A great bargain.

 Over the period of a year, I nibble at all those back issues, grabbing a handful when I'm heading off to the beach, or about to board a plane somewhere.

A stack of historical magazines as tall as two tall men is bound to contain lots of particularly bad things that happened to lots of particular people who came before us. And, though our times are now quite bad, our predecessors on this land knew much worse.

From somewhere in that enormous number of old magazines, I stumble upon a letter written in 1878 by one James Fitzwilliam, a man whose words reveal bad luck and trouble in a measure that Job would recognize. In that year, Fitzwilliam was writing from Fort Worth, Texas, responding to a letter from his sister back east. She had written him seeking help because her own circumstances were bad and, though it appears that Mr. Fitzwilliam wanted to offer aid to his kin, he'd suffered a few troubles that made it impossible for him to accommodate her request. Here is why he couldn't help her, from the letter he wrote expressing his regrets.

"My Wife and little girl was kill'd by the Indians. House and everything in it burn'd. They took 27 head of horses. I was out after cattle. When I cam ehome everything was gone. I with 9 others took their trail and followed for 8 days. Came on the band numbering about twenty-five. We kill'd 7 and we lost one man kill'd. I was shot in the arm with an arrow and the first finger of my left hand was shot off. I came back to my ranch and sold out what cattle I had and what horses I had for $7000 and went to New Mexico. Bought 1500 head of sheep. Drove them to Texas and the first Winter lost about 900 of them caused by Snow -- cold Weather and Wolfs. Sold the remainder out for less than cost as I did not have Snow Sheds. I then went to work running cattle and worked a year. Made $300 dollars. I then went hunting Buffalo. Hunted them for three years. Quit that with about $900. Went to Henrietta Clay Co. and bought an interest in a Hotel. Run it about 8-1/2 months and lost money at it. While hunting I contracted a catarrh in my nose. It has disfigured me considerable. In fact for the past five years I have had a terrible hard time."

History takes little note of people like James Fitzwilliam, or hundreds of thousands like him who live through times before historians have found names for those times. "The Roaring Twenties" were not known by that nomenclature to the people whose lives roared through that decade, and people living out their lives in the years after the Civil War were denied the solace of knowing that period would come to be known as "Reconstruction."

We're living through our own historic time right now, a period of hardship and vast uncertainty for millions of people. How these times will come to be known to those who come after us will be determined by how things play out.

As bad as things are, however, no one in our time is likely to match the misfortunes James Fitzwilliam knew in 1878. Misery, as they say, loves company, and the miseries of that long-dead Texan give us perspective on our own miseries, and make us slightly less lonesome as we deal with our own losses.

But the travail of James Fitzwilliam offers us a model of stoic courage and perseverance in the face of adversity, and reminds us of the kind of people we once were -- and perhaps still are.

The Crazies in Our Midst

With the advent of a black Democrat in the White House, the right wing Limbaughs, Becks, Coulters, O'Reillys, etc., which the White Supremacist racist types listen to for guidance in their hatred, have become louder in their propagandizing of fear and paranoia. And the results are there for all to see: the crazies are on the loose, believing they are justified and supported in their murders of innocent people.

Neo-Nazis are nothing new on the American scene
By Ed Tant

EXCERPT: Back in 1950, nearly 60 years before the Department of Homeland Security would infuriate conservative TV talkers and online right-wing squawkers with warnings of terrorism from the reactionary wing of politics, journalist George Seldes was prescient and correct when he wrote, "The main threat to democracy comes not from the extreme left but from the extreme right, which is able to buy huge sections of the press and radio, and wages a constant campaign to smear and discredit every progressive and humanitarian measure."

He was an American naval officer who became an American Nazi. He claimed to regret having "fought on the wrong side" in World War II. His hatred for Jews, black people and anyone else who was not part of his "Aryan America" brought shame and sadness to his family members, who also were victims of his mad obsession.

He was George Lincoln Rockwell, and until he was gunned down by one of his own men in 1967 he served as the model, template and evil inspiration for later American Nazis such as James von Brunn, who fatally shot a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington earlier this month.

Like Rockwell, von Brunn is a former military man who hates blacks and Jews and embraces the deadly doctrines of the Third Reich. Like Rockwell, von Brunn's militant madness claimed family members as its first victims. Rockwell's parents had been vaudeville performers with many Jewish friends in the entertainment world, including Groucho Marx. They were heartbroken by their son's hatred. Von Brunn's murderous hatred caused emotional distress and embarrassment for his long-suffering wife and son.

Commander Rockwell, as he liked to be called, began his neo-Nazi crusade in the America of the late 1950s. He railed against the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement and, despite the laughably small size of his American Nazi Party, Rockwell had a vaudevillian's ability to garner publicity with speeches and appearances on television, radio and college campuses.

In "American Fuehrer," his biography of Rockwell, author Frederick James Simonelli says the neo-Nazi "never commanded more than a few hundred loyalists and never rose above the status of a curiosity to most Americans. Yet his influence on the racist right in American politics is lasting and profound. ... Within the racist right, Rockwell holds a place of honor and homage." Though he was deservedly disdained by the vast majority of Americans during his life, today he is championed by racists and reactionaries such as James von Brunn, who have gone even more crazy than usual now that a black man resides in the White House.

Nazis are nothing new in America. Two decades before Rockwell agitated for an Aryan America, the German-American Bund gained thousands of members during the Great Depression. The Bund packed New York City's Madison Square Garden with a throng of thousands who rallied for homegrown Hitlerism here in the land of the free that is fertile soil for the growth of fascism during uncertain economic times.

In 1984, members of a neo-Nazi group called The Order shot and killed Alan Berg, a liberal, Jewish radio host whose talk show broadcast from Denver reached listeners in more than 30 states. Several years before right-wing radio's Rush Limbaugh had a national stage, Berg was informing and entertaining large and growing audiences with liberal lambastings of the reactionary right-wingers until he was killed by the cowardly curs and neo-Nazi nutcases of The Order.

Today, such hate groups as American Nazis are once again at work sowing their poison seeds of domestic terrorism and discord. One does not have to look far to read sentiments like those voiced by James von Brunn and his ilk who howl that President Obama is a Muslim or a socialist who was not born in America.

Back in 1950, nearly 60 years before the Department of Homeland Security would infuriate conservative TV talkers and online right-wing squawkers with warnings of terrorism from the reactionary wing of politics, journalist George Seldes was prescient and correct when he wrote, "The main threat to democracy comes not from the extreme left but from the extreme right, which is able to buy huge sections of the press and radio, and wages a constant campaign to smear and discredit every progressive and humanitarian measure."

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Iranians put us to shame


They are doing what we Americans should have done in 2000 and 2004 when the elections were stolen from us.  Rather than endure 4 more years of Ahmadinejad, the Iranians are risking their lives to fight for their votes and their rights.  Although hundreds of thousands of us Americans protested in 2000 and 2004, when we knew Bush and Cheney had not really won the elections, our anger wasn't strong enough and our protests weren't loud enough to overcome the powers that be. The mainstream media ignored us, even when our rallies were huge -- but not enough of us stormed into the streets in protest.  And we soon got the message from the Cheney/Bush lapdog journalists: we were not being taken seriously, and we should "just get over it."  Think how different, how much better our world could be now had Al Gore been president since 2000, instead of the idiot son of a Bush and his master puppeteer, the dark and evil Mr. Cheney.

I pray for the Iranians that their protests will finally be heard by wiser heads and bring down the Ayatollah ("Supreme Leader") and the dark and evil Ahmadinejad.  It is time for goodness and wisdom to step into leadership positions on this planet, so that peace can at least be within our grasp.  On Bill Moyers' Journal tonight, the entire program was devoted to the brave women of Liberia who rose up in great numbers against Charles Taylor and the ruthless war/killings/rapes going on for years in their country.  The women, under the leadership of one brave ordinary woman, said "NO MORE!" to the men who were abusing them and their country. A documentary entitled "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" was made about this extraordinary happening in which the dark and evil sociopath Taylor was finally deposed and the hearts of the men who had followed him were reached by the women who appealed to them as mothers. The men finally saw the women as their mothers and, ashamed, they realized what an atrocity they had perpetrated on these women, their children, and their country. A new Liberian election saw a WOMAN elected to the presidency -- and with the new regime, a new, more peaceful life finally has begun for Liberians. All because the women stood up and said "NO MORE!!!"  You can see this program on pbs.org, if you missed viewing it on TV.


VERY Interesting story


It seems there is a lot more to the story of Senator Ensign's dalliance with an aide...this looks to be a very BIG story.  I find it funny that the cuckolded husband would go to (of all places!) FOX News for help. Did he really think FOX would help him take down a Republican senator? Talk about misguided, misplaced trust!  I'd bet a zillion dollars the Faux news channel immediately warned Ensign about what the husband was proposing to them.  It's becoming apparent that much more is going to come out on this story. When Ensign first admitted publicly to his "sin," the explanation came out from his protective group that he was telling the world because he had been approached for hush money by the husband--essentially, blackmail.  Well, it turns out that extortion is a federal crime...oops. So accusing someone of it is not a small matter...oops.  Suddenly, the story from the Ensign camp dramatically changed--it seems the husband didn't ask for money but just told them he was going to a major news channel with the story (not a crime). It appears that the holier-than-thou, born-again fundamentalist Christian Ensign (and member of Promise Keepers) is capable of all kinds of lies to protect himself.  This is the same man who demanded the resignations of Clinton and Larry Craig when news of their "dalliances" were announced to the world. But he says he is not going to resign. More chapters will be written in this book, that's for sure.  It could be titled, Hypocrisy and Karma: Revelations from the Right Wing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do as I do, not as I say: seems to be a GOP motto

With the revelation about Senator John Ensign's affair with a married member of his staff, down goes another hypocrite who condemns others for affairs while doing the same thing himself. He joins the ranks of Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, and many other political figures who have hidden their own faults at the same time they were berating others for the same actions.  Senator Ensign, as a born-again fundamentalist Christian who has trumpeted his religious beliefs in  "family values" and asked for the political resignations of others accused of sexual transgressions, should have instead been tending to his own field. He was, after all, a member of Promise Keepers, the fundamentalist Christian organization of men who promise they will be faithful to their wives.  (So much for that promise.)  That old adage comes to mind:  people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Agent Orange Still Poisoning Vietnam

Agent Orange Continues to Poison Vietnam http://www.truthout.org/061509R Marjorie Cohn, Truthout: "From 1961 to 1971, the US military sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, which contained large quantities of Dioxin, in order to defoliate the trees for military objectives. Dioxin is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects)." 

QUIZZLER: My daughter Linda's great game for the iPhone/iPod


Only 99 cents to download -- lots of fun for kids and adults. Two different games: Quizzler family and Quizzler dating
For more information about the games, go to Linda's site at http://www.quizzlergame.com/

For those who have iPhones, the games can be both entertaining and informative. We played the family game with my grandkids and their answers to the questions were laughably cute and quite revealing of their personalities. I like the insight it gives me about these children. It's a good way to get to know them better--and we all have fun in the process.

The same thing is true for adults. The questions in the Quizzler dating game are geared more to adults and can lead to some fascinating discussions. I think my daughter Linda has a winner in these iPhone games, and I want to share them with others. The applications are unique in that they are the only question games of their kind available for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Linda is a stay-at-home mom who has been searching for a rewarding career using her Silicon Valley skills. She loves her iPhone and uses several of the apps. But there was no app that did what she was looking for: a way to entertain her kids and have it be educational/insightful as well. One day she had the idea, "Why don't I make my own app? I already have this idea, and it could be the perfect way for me to work while staying home with my kids." And that was the beginning of Quizzler. The app was accepted by Apple and people all over the world are now downloading it from the online app store.

If you don't have an iPhone or iPod, please consider passing this information along to friends who do. They and their kids may thank you for it. And I thank you now. (~.~)


Moyers Interviews Robert Reich on "Who Runs Government"

This was an excellent interview!

Bill Moyers speaks with Robert Reich about health care  Moyers Interviews Robert Reich on "Who Runs Government" http://www.truthout.org/061509A  


I've never been to Florida but one place in that state intrigues me and I think it would be fascinating to visit there: Coral Castle in Homestead. Quite an interesting story of the man who built it can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_Castle You can see an absorbing 3-part video about Coral Castle and its builder Ed Leedskalnin at: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=DD93B66645841AC1
Leedskalnin evidently knew the secret of anti-gravity but died without ever passing it along to anyone.


They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.


by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

The parallels between the stolen Iranian election of 2009 and the American of 2000 and 2004 are tempting. The histories---and futures---of the two nations are inseparable. Bound up in their tortured half-century of crime and manipulation are the few glimmers of hope for lasting peace in the Middle East.

In both countries, a right-wing fundamentalist authoritarian with open contempt for human rights and the Geneva Convention has come up a winner, with catastrophic consequences. In both countries, the blowback of two George Bushes loom large.

In the US, two "defeated" candidates---Al Gore and John Kerry---said and did nothing in the face of two stolen elections. But an unprecedented election protection movement arose from the ashes of those defeats to assure the 2008 victory of America's first African- American president.

In Iran, the "defeated" candidate---Mir Hussein Moussavi---is fighting back, along with massive grassroots resistance. How far they get will define the Iranian future---as well as that of the Middle East.

In a fluid and unpredictable situation, here are some indisputables:

1) A half-century ago, the people of Iran attempted a democratic revolution led by a moderate progressive, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, whose social-democratic inclinations have been revived by Moussavi.

2) Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown by the Eisenhower Administration and its Central Intelligence Agency, which wanted to wall in the Soviet Union and protect western oil interests.

3) Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr. (father of the Gulf War general of the same name) used a suitcase full of US taxpayer dollars to bribe Iran's anti-democratic sympathizers and help overthrow Mossadegh.

4) They installed the pro-U.S. general Fazlollah Zahedi, who handed control of Iran to the brutal and vicious Shah. The Shah ruled through the infamous secret terror/torture police force Savak, which Schwartzkopf helped train.

4) A prototypical CIA asset, the Shah used his iron torturer's hand to "westernize" the country and make it more user-friendly to US oil interests.

5) Among other things, the U.S., France and other western powers were moving to provide the Shah with up to 36 atomic power plants designed to provide electricity and, ultimately, radioactive materials with which to build his own atomic bombs.

6) Despite his ostensible commitment to human rights, President Jimmy Carter made a point of spending a high-profile New Year's with the Shah, evoking the bitter hatred of millions of Iranians.

7) The Shah's overthrow by fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini led to the 1979-80 hostage crisis that finally sank Carter's presidency. Amidst indications of a secret deal involving past and future CIA Directors George H.W. Bush and William Casey, the release of the hostages was delayed long enough to guarantee Carter's defeat, thus inaugurating the Age of Ronald Reagan, with 12 of its 28 years under the two Bushes.

8) Secret dealings between Reagan/Bush and the Iranians led to the iran-Contra Affair, when covert operatives like Oliver North funneled arms to the Iranians and laundered cash and drugs through the reactionary Contra forces fighting revolution in Nicaragua.

9) The Contras in turn flooded the US with cocaine, feeding a horrific crack epidemic that has crippled the black and Hispanic communities here for two decades.

10) Those US-financed arms were used to fight the Iraqis and Saddam Hussein, whom the US also supported, and whom Donald Rumsfeld publicly embraced in the early 1980s. The American goal seems to have been to weaken both Iran and Iraq through a horrifying war that claimed at least a million casualties, ultimately infuriating both citizenries.

After a half-century of dictatorship under the Shah and the CIA, followed by the Ayatollah and the fundamentalists, the Iranian public appears desperate to return to the social-democratic vision of Mossadegh, denied so long ago.

In the US in 2000 and 2004, the corporate/religious right put George W. Bush in the White House---and then kept him there---with a sophisticated election theft machine built around elimination of voter registrations, manipulation of the vote count, and a wide array of supporting tactics. The US Supreme Court set it all in stone with its infamous Bush v. Gore decision, which prevented a true vote count in Florida 2000. History repeated itself in Ohio 2004.

In Iran 2009, the ruling fundamentalist elite has barely pretended to count the votes at all, merely rushing to announce a pre- determined outcome. The reigning Ayatollah has played the role of the US Supreme Court by certifying the outcome before a real ballot tally could possibly occur. Holes in the texts of Iranian newspapers and an electronic blackout created by official censors reflect the on-going vacuum in the US corporate media, which has yet to seriously face up to what happened to the American elections of 2000 and 2004.

What will happen next in Iran is anyone's guess. George W. Bush fueled its fundamentalist right by calling it a "terror state" whose nuclear weapons ambitions are fueled with materials produced by the "Peaceful Atom" Eisenhower inaugurated in 1953, around the time he was disposing of Mossadegh.

Bush's counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is now turning the state terror apparatus---reminiscent of the Shah's---against those who would mention the illegitimacy of his rule.

Thus tragedy looms at the brink of opportunity. That democracy in Iran so clearly won at the polls is a sign of great courage and hope on the part of the Iranian people. They are fighting terrible odds, not of their making. Should they break free, the storm would re- shape the Middle East---and much more.

In the meantime, perhaps their American counterparts, instructed by the ghost of Mossadegh, might finally face up to the true price of sowing such cynical, lethal whirlwinds.


What's Really Going On in Iran

Whenever and wherever right wingers try to hold on to power with lies and subterfuge, the people rise up in anger when they've had ENOUGH. In today's Iran, one thing seems certain:

by Steve Clemons

(To get a feel for what is going on in the streets of Tehran, watch this linked BBC video clip.)

Last night in London after appearing on Keith Olbermann's show, I got an email from a well-connected Iranian who knows many of the power figures in the Tehran political order asking to meet me. I told him that the only place possible was Paddington on the way to Heathrow -- and there we met.

He conveyed to me things that were mostly obvious -- Iran is now a tinderbox. The right is tenaciously consolidating its control over the state and refuses to yield. There is a split among the mullahs and significant dismay with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A gaping hole has been ripped open in Iranian society, exposing the contradictions of the regime and everyone now sees that the democracy that they believed that they had in Iranian form is a "charade."

But the scariest point he made to me that I had not heard anywhere else is that this "coup by the right wing" has created pressures that cannot be solved or patted down by the normal institutional arrangements Iran has constructed. The Guardian Council and other power nodes of government can't deal with the current crisis and can't deal with the fact that a civil war has now broken out among Iran's revolutionaries.

My contact predicted serious violence at the highest levels. He said that Ahmadinejad is now genuinely scared of Iranian society and of Mousavi and Rafsanjani. The level of tension between them has gone beyond civil limits -- and my contact said that Ahmadinejad will try to have them imprisoned and killed.

Likewise, he said, Rafsanjani, Khatami, and Mousavi know this -- and thus are using all of the instruments at their control within Iran's government apparatus to fight back -- but given Khamenei's embrace of Ahmadinejad's actions in the election and victory, there is no recourse but to try and remove Khamenei. Some suggest that Rafsanjani will count votes to see if there is a way to formally dislodge Khamenei -- but this source I met said that all of these political giants have resources at their disposal to "do away with" those that get in the way.

He predicted that the so-called reformist camp -- who are not exactly humanists in the Western liberal sense -- may try and animate efforts to decapitate the regime and "do away with" Ahmadinejad and even the Supreme Leader himself.

I am not convinced that this source "knows" these things will definitely happen but am convinced of his credentials and impressed with the seriousness of the discussion we had and his own concern that there may be political killing sprees ahead.

This is not a vision he advocates -- but one he fears.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Domestic Terrorists are being spawned by the right wing

Those neocon supporters who thought Cheney and Bush were great leaders are beside themselves with hatred of Obama, a black man whom they fear and perceive as the worst thing that could have happened to our country. Although they cautioned us "lib'rals" who were legitimately aghast at the idiot Bush being selected president in 2000 and told us to "Get over it!", they themselves are incapable of "getting over it" when the shoe is on the other foot--even though Obama's election was legitimate, and overwhelmingly so. It seems they only respect the will of the people when it agrees with their will. FOX News and its rabid O'Reilly and Beck, along with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and the like, are fanning the flames of paranoia in the crazies of the far right with outrageous propaganda and lies against Obama and all others they fear (which is almost everyone these days). Their paranoia knows no bounds. Fear and fury are being amped up through their implied marching orders to their "dittoheads" -- and the results are being seen with the murders of Dr. Tiller and the guard in the Holocaust Museum. Even Shepard Smith of FOX News is becoming frightened at the seemingly unstoppable vitriolic hatred raging forth from the far right wing. Frank Rich's column in tomorrow's New York Times is warning us that worse can come because "the invective in some quarters has unmistakably amped up. The writer Camille Paglia, a political independent and confessed talk-radio fan, detected a shift toward paranoia in the air waves by mid-May. When “the tone darkens toward a rhetoric of purgation and annihilation,” she observed in Salon, “there is reason for alarm.” She cited a “joke” repeated by a Rush Limbaugh fill-in host, a talk-radio jock from Dallas of all places, about how “any U.S. soldier” who found himself with only two bullets in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden would use both shots to assassinate Pelosi and then strangle Reid and bin Laden.

This homicide-saturated vituperation is endemic among mini-Limbaughs. Glenn Beck has dipped into O’Reilly’s Holocaust analogies to liken Obama’s policy on stem-cell research to the eugenics that led to “the final solution” and the quest for “a master race.” After James von Brunn’s rampage at the Holocaust museum, Beck rushed onto Fox News to describe the Obama-hating killer as a “lone gunman nutjob.” Yet in the same show Beck also said von Brunn was a symptom that “the pot in America is boiling,” as if Beck himself were not the boiling pot cheering the kettle on."

...It was a prominent former Reagan defense official, Frank Gaffney, not some fringe crackpot, who accused Obama in The Washington Times of engaging “in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain.” He claimed that the president — a lifelong Christian — “may still be” a Muslim and is aligned with “the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.” Gaffney linked Obama by innuendo with Islamic “charities” that “have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.”

If this isn’t a handy rationalization for another lone nutjob to take the law into his own hands against a supposed terrorism supporter, what is? Any such nutjob can easily grab a weapon. Gun enthusiasts have been on a shopping spree since the election, with some areas of our country reporting percentage sales increases in the mid-to-high double digits, recession be damned.

Published: June 13, 2009
WHEN a Fox News anchor, reacting to his own network’s surging e-mail traffic, warns urgently on-camera of a rise in hate-filled, “amped up” Americans who are “taking the extra step and getting the gun out,” maybe we should listen. He has better sources in that underground than most.

The anchor was Shepard Smith, speaking after Wednesday’s mayhem at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Unlike the bloviators at his network and elsewhere on cable, Smith is famous for his highly caffeinated news-reading, not any political agenda. But very occasionally — notably during Hurricane Katrina — he hits the Howard Beale mad-as-hell wall. Joining those at Fox who routinely disregard the network’s “We report, you decide” mantra, he both reported and decided, loudly.

What he reported was this: his e-mail from viewers had “become more and more frightening” in recent months, dating back to the election season. From Wednesday alone, he “could read a hundred” messages spewing “hate that’s not based in fact,” much of it about Barack Obama and some of it sharing the museum gunman’s canard that the president was not a naturally born citizen. These are Americans “out there in a scary place,” Smith said.

Then he brought up another recent gunman: “If you’re one who believes that abortion is murder, at what point do you go out and kill someone who’s performing abortions?” An answer, he said, was provided by Dr. George Tiller’s killer. He went on: “If you are one who believes these sorts of things about the president of the United States ...” He left the rest of that chilling sentence unsaid.

These are extraordinary words to hear on Fox. The network’s highest-rated star, Bill O’Reilly, had assailed Tiller, calling him “Tiller the baby killer” and likening him to the Nazis, on 29 of his shows before the doctor was murdered at his church in Kansas. O’Reilly was unrepentant, stating that only “pro-abortion zealots and Fox News haters” would link him to the crime. But now another Fox star, while stopping short of blaming O’Reilly, was breaching his network’s brand of political correctness: he tied the far-right loners who had gotten their guns out in Wichita and Washington to the mounting fury of Obama haters.

What is this fury about? In his scant 145 days in office, the new president has not remotely matched the Bush record in deficit creation. Nor has he repealed the right to bear arms or exacerbated the wars he inherited. He has tried more than his predecessor ever did to reach across the aisle. But none of that seems to matter. A sizable minority of Americans is irrationally fearful of the fast-moving generational, cultural and racial turnover Obama embodies — indeed, of the 21st century itself. That minority is now getting angrier in inverse relationship to his popularity with the vast majority of the country. Change can be frightening and traumatic, especially if it’s not change you can believe in.

We don’t know whether the tiny subset of domestic terrorists in this crowd is egged on by political or media demagogues — though we do tend to assume that foreign jihadists respond like Pavlov’s dogs to the words of their most fanatical leaders and polemicists. But well before the latest murderers struck — well before another “antigovernment” Obama hater went on a cop-killing rampage in Pittsburgh in April — there have been indications that this rage could spiral out of control.

This was evident during the campaign, when hotheads greeted Obama’s name with “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” at G.O.P. rallies. At first the McCain-Palin campaign fed the anger with accusations that Obama was “palling around with terrorists.” But later John McCain thought better of it and defended his opponent’s honor to a town-hall participant who vented her fears of the Democrats’ “Arab” candidate. Although two neo-Nazi skinheads were arrested in an assassination plot against Obama two weeks before Election Day, the fever broke after McCain exercised leadership.

That honeymoon, if it was one, is over. Conservatives have legitimate ideological beefs with Obama, rightly expressed in sharp language. But the invective in some quarters has unmistakably amped up. The writer Camille Paglia, a political independent and confessed talk-radio fan, detected a shift toward paranoia in the air waves by mid-May. When “the tone darkens toward a rhetoric of purgation and annihilation,” she observed in Salon, “there is reason for alarm.” She cited a “joke” repeated by a Rush Limbaugh fill-in host, a talk-radio jock from Dallas of all places, about how “any U.S. soldier” who found himself with only two bullets in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden would use both shots to assassinate Pelosi and then strangle Reid and bin Laden.

This homicide-saturated vituperation is endemic among mini-Limbaughs. Glenn Beck has dipped into O’Reilly’s Holocaust analogies to liken Obama’s policy on stem-cell research to the eugenics that led to “the final solution” and the quest for “a master race.” After James von Brunn’s rampage at the Holocaust museum, Beck rushed onto Fox News to describe the Obama-hating killer as a “lone gunman nutjob.” Yet in the same show Beck also said von Brunn was a symptom that “the pot in America is boiling,” as if Beck himself were not the boiling pot cheering the kettle on.

But hyperbole from the usual suspects in the entertainment arena of TV and radio is not the whole story. What’s startling is the spillover of this poison into the conservative political establishment. Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan G.O.P. chairman who ran for the party’s national chairmanship this year, seriously suggested in April that Republicans should stop calling Obama a socialist because “it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.” Anuzis pushed “fascism” instead, because “everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.” He didn’t seem to grasp that “fascism” is nonsensical as a description of the Obama administration or that there might be a risk in slurring a president with a word that most find “bad” because it evokes a mass-murderer like Hitler.

The Anuzis “fascism” solution to the Obama problem has caught fire. The president’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and his speech in Cairo have only exacerbated the ugliness. The venomous personal attacks on Sotomayor have little to do with the 3,000-plus cases she’s adjudicated in nearly 17 years on the bench or her thoughts about the judgment of “a wise Latina woman.” She has been tarred as a member of “the Latino KKK” (by the former Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo), as well as a racist and a David Duke (by Limbaugh), and portrayed, in a bizarre two-for-one ethnic caricature, as a slant-eyed Asian on the cover of National Review. Uniting all these insults is an aggrieved note of white victimization only a shade less explicit than that in von Brunn’s white supremacist screeds.

Obama’s Cairo address, meanwhile, prompted over-the-top accusations reminiscent of those campaign rally cries of “Treason!” It was a prominent former Reagan defense official, Frank Gaffney, not some fringe crackpot, who accused Obama in The Washington Times of engaging “in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain.” He claimed that the president — a lifelong Christian — “may still be” a Muslim and is aligned with “the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.” Gaffney linked Obama by innuendo with Islamic “charities” that “have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.”

If this isn’t a handy rationalization for another lone nutjob to take the law into his own hands against a supposed terrorism supporter, what is? Any such nutjob can easily grab a weapon. Gun enthusiasts have been on a shopping spree since the election, with some areas of our country reporting percentage sales increases in the mid-to-high double digits, recession be damned.

The question, Shepard Smith said on Fox last week, is “if there is really a way to put a hold on” those who might run amok. We’re not about to repeal the First or Second Amendments. Hard-core haters resolutely dismiss any “mainstream media” debunking of their conspiracy theories. The only voices that might penetrate their alternative reality — I emphasize might — belong to conservative leaders with the guts and clout to step up as McCain did last fall. Where are they? The genteel public debate in right-leaning intellectual circles about the conservative movement’s future will be buried by history if these insistent alarms are met with silence.

It’s typical of this dereliction of responsibility that when the Department of Homeland Security released a plausible (and, tragically, prescient) report about far-right domestic terrorism two months ago, the conservative response was to trash it as “the height of insult,” in the words of the G.O.P. chairman Michael Steele. But as Smith also said last week, Homeland Security was “warning us for a reason.”

No matter. Last week it was business as usual, as Republican leaders nattered ad infinitum over the juvenile rivalry of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich at the party’s big Washington fund-raiser. Few if any mentioned, let alone questioned, the ominous script delivered by the actor Jon Voight with the G.O.P. imprimatur at that same event. Voight’s devout wish was to “bring an end to this false prophet Obama.”

This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-Scriptural call to action, is toxic. It is getting louder each day of the Obama presidency. No one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren’t warned.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Check out this article -- re. cell phones and iPhones

and the Blue Tube (not Blue Tooth) headsets that reduce radiation. They are more reasonably priced than the Blue Tooth headsets, too.

DISGUSTIPATED: will the Palins NEVER go away?

I agree 100% with author Elisberg. McCain created a FrankenPalin monster when he put Sarah front-and-center. News of the whole Palin tribe is being fed daily to neocon lovers who seem to think they are the greatest family ever (since the Bushes)!!. David Letterman should NOT have made those snide comments about the Palins. I never watch his show and never will. Sarah is now using those Letterman comments to get even more air time. I do hope, however, that her popularity in the far right wing continues, despite how difficult it is for the rest of us to endure the Palin clan--and that she runs for president in 2012, with Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter as her running mate. Can you imagine the lies that would be spewed out in that campaign? They'll be spewing them out, regardless of whether they are nominees, so might as well put them in the most visible spots for all to see and hear--and let all the people recognize them for what they appear to be--Klondike hillbillies (Palins) and loud-mouthed bigots (Coulter and Limbaugh).

Sarah and Bristol Palin: One Child Left Behind

By Robert Elisberg

This didn't just happen over night. It didn't even happen during the shameless campaign. It began afterwards, with the Fox TV interview that Bristol Palin gave with her baby, as Sarah Palin hovered behind. It grew when the unwed mother claimed to be a spokesperson for abstinence. (A message her son will no doubt love to hear one day). But even that wasn't perverse enough to provoke a reaction.

No, it was finally when visiting a friend's home the other day that I gaped, unbelieving, at a recent copy of People magazine with Bristol Palin on the cover, in a fire engine red graduation cap-and-gown, so you couldn't possibly miss her - holding her baby in her arms.

At long last, I was disgustipated.

Yes, I know that's not a real word. But an expression from Popeye cartoons is more appropriate than anything I can possibly think of.

I don't care what Bristol Palin has to say. I wish her an exceedingly happy life, but it's her life. Beyond that, she's a teenage girl whose entire claim to fame is that her mother is a failed vice-presidential candidate, and she got knocked up in high school. When Bristol Palin asked America to accept her as a spokesperson for abstinence, can you name one other thing you ever heard her say - let alone say that would make you think she was qualified to be the spokesperson for anything?

Is this unfair and mean of me? No. She and her mother have shoved themselves in our national face. They have said, "Here we are world! Bristol wants to be a role model. Listen to her. Look at her. It's Bristol!!"

Sarah and Bristol Palin have chosen to pummel America by lecturing on abstinence. Except for that part about how cool it is to be a high school graduate with your baby.

If someone is shoved in your face, you react. Just like if you got smashed in the head with a baseball bat. The difference is there the perpetrator would be arrested after the first attack. This just won't stop.

But that isn't what has me disgustipated.

Just imagine if this had happened to a Democrat. Can you even comprehend the mountain of non-stop venom that would have spewed forth against that candidate - and also against the libertine, pregnant, teenage daughter? Rush Limbaugh would have ranted about little else. Glenn Beck would have been in tears over what this said about his America. Sean Hannity would questioned how a candidate so unfit to lead his own family could think about leading the nation. Ann Coulter would have screeched how this proves what is wrong with all permissive liberals. Newt Gingrich would have made his "Americans are surrounded by paganism" speech months earlier than he did.

It would all have been malarkey, but you know they would have all done it.

But Sarah Palin, the flaming hypocrite who preached against this very sort of thing like a demagogue zealot, she got a pass from them all.

But that's not what disgustipated me either.

What finally disgustipated me is that throughout the campaign, Sarah Palin whined regularly that her family was off-limits (which they should have been) - yet used them as circus props more than Barnum and Bailey. At every appearance, her new baby was hanging on her shoulder like it was an epaulet. To promote being a hockey "mom," she dragged her youngest daughter to center ice. She hauled the pregnant Bristol with her all over, even making sure that the fake-fiancé was there for every disingenuous photo op. (If ever there was a new meaning for the term "forced labor," this was it.) The only people surprised when the couple broke off their faux-engagement were those who thought Sarah Palin was actually a foreign policy expert because she could see Russia from the beach.

And then, after declaring her family off-limits (which they should be), there was Sarah Palin skulking behind her daughter during her Fox TV interview. There was Bristol Palin wanting to be a spokesperson. And here is Bristol Palin now posing for the cover of People magazine in red cap-and-gown-and-baby. A photo carefully planned and executed, because Sarah Palin was happy to again use her family as campaign billboard.

The pathetic irony, of course, is that an unwed pregnant daughter is everything Sarah Palin rails against. Only last week she told an audience, "I'm concerned about my kids' future." It's their past, though, that's the problem here. If you're really concerned about their future, you don't keep sticking them in front of TV cameras and national magazines for public scrutiny to serve your selfish political needs. Because that scrutiny can only lead to ridicule.

Spokesperson for abstinence? Bristol Palin has made herself the poster child for getting famous by getting pregnant. She couldn't have provided teenage girls a better roadmap to "how to become a star" if she was cover girl for the Auto Club.

Is all this unfair and mean of me? If Bristol Palin wants to be a role model, like all parents she should raise her child in private grace and loving dignity, for - I can only assume - the child's sake. That would be a role model to admire. But if she, as an adult, chooses to stick herself and her child in the public spotlight and professes to be a spokesperson for anything, she is fair to be looked at, just as she wishes.

With her mother right behind, pushing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is a physician I admire and respect! I hope you agree...

Dear American Medical Association,

I recently had the opportunity to read your response to the Senate Finance Committee proposal [pdf] for health care reform, and it is clear to me that I cannot remain a member in your organization. Please remove my name from your membership rolls, effective immediately.

In reading the response, I was frustrated and disheartened by the fact that you couldn't get through the second paragraph before bringing up the issue of physician reimbursement. This merely highlights how the AMA represents a physician-centered and self-interested perspective rather than honoring the altruistic nature of my profession. As a physician, I advocate first for what is best for my patients and believe that as a physician, as long as I continue to maintain the trust and integrity of the profession, I will earn the respect of my community. The appropriate financial compensation for my endeavors will follow in kind.

I encourage the AMA leadership to read Atul Gawande's recent article describing how physician culture drives up the cost of health care without benefiting patient outcomes. At the heart of this problem are physicians who have a vision of themselves as money-generating profit centers rather than professionals serving the public good. The AMA represents, and encourages, this mindset with its single-focus on physician reimbursement over all other health care reform issues.

However, the most disappointing aspect of the AMA's response to the proposed health care reforms was the opposition to the public health insurance option. I simply cannot support an organization that opposes the public health insurance plan for my patients. Instead of advocating for patients, the AMA is supporting the private insurance industry, which has been a driving force in creating the dysfunction health care system we have today.

But this should not have surprised me: when health care reform has been necessary, the AMA has always stood on the wrong side of history. The AMA opposed the creation of Medicare in the 1930s, when it was first proposed as part of Social Security. The AMA opposed Medicare again in the 1960s, going as far as to hire an actor named Ronald Reagan to read a script to the AMA Auxiliary declaring Medicare as the first step toward socialism, and concluding with the statement that if Medicare were to become law, "One day, we will awake to find that we have socialism.... One of these days, you and I will to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children's children, what it was once like in America when men were free."

That was 50 years ago ... and none of that has come to pass. And yet this year, the AMA argues that a public health insurance plan will destroy the private insurance market. I challenge the AMA leadership to cite a single example of an industry where involvement by the government has lead to the elimination of private enterprise. This has not been the case with the creation of public police forces in the second half of the 1800's (private security companies still exist), we have a robust system of public and private colleges existing the same market, and bookstores still sell books despite the presence of public libraries. A mix of public and private enterprises in the market is a truly American solution to ensuring equal access, as well as competition to drive quality improvement. In fact, the creation of the public health insurance option will *increase* competition, as demonstrated by the AMA's own studies showing that 94% of health insurance markets only have 1 or 2 providers in the market.

It would appear that the AMA's position against the public health insurance market is driven by out-dated political ideology that blindly supports private industry rather than a careful examination of the facts of the current situation.

The AMA seems to be fixated on the fact that Medicare and Medicaid payments are lower than other payers. Let's go back to the history again: because the AMA opposed the creation of Medicare, physicians were not represented at the table when the system was designed. As a great policy wonk once said, "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." And thanks to the dismal leadership and short-sightedness of the AMA in the 1960s, physicians were not a full partner in the creation of Medicare. And we're still feeling the reprocussions of that today. And yet now in 2009, the AMA is going to repeat that mistake by opposing the public plan.

The health care system is broken, and physician leadership is needed now more than ever to help direct the reforms that are desperately needed. However, the AMA has not shown itself to be the organization to provide that leadership in restoring the profession of medicine. New physician leadership is needed to fully achieve a reformed health care system that works for our patients and for our country.


Chris McCoy, MD


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Hatred-filled Crazies Are Out There

Even FOX News' Shepard Smith is aghast at the stupidity and rage of gun-owning people who hate Obama and are willing to kill to show how angry they are. There is no educating these people. They are insisting Obama is not a citizen, even though his birth certificate has been made public and birth announcements of his birth were published in both Honolulu, HI newspapers at the time. These people are filled with hatred and refuse to believe the facts even when they are brought right to their face. The Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, and Ann Coulters are fueling the fire of this kind of fear and hatred that often ends up in murders like that of Dr. Tiller and the guard at the holocaust museum today. I don't know how these insane people will ever be reached with reason. They seem incapable of it.

Watch video: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/10/shepard-smith-says-his-em_n_214013.html

GOOD NEWS--Republicans say Cheney, Gingrich, and Limbaugh are their leaders

...with a smaller group choosing Palin. This couldn't be better news... I hope they keep revering these guys...and put two of them up as pres. and vice pres. candidates in 2012.


Republicans aren't sure who speaks for their party, a new Gallup poll found -- but opinion is split between three fairly old white men who hold no political office.

Asked to name the "main person who speaks for the Republican Party today," Republicans across the country were most likely to name three men: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Dick Cheney. (Both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly say Barack Obama is the main person who speaks for the Democratic Party.) Forty-seven percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents could not even come up with a single name in response to the question.

USA Today noted that "the dominant faces of the Republican Party are all men, all white, all conservative and all old enough to join AARP."

"We cannot be a party of balding white guys," former Republican Party national chairman Ed Gillespie told the paper. "We have to have a broader appeal, but there's time for us to make that change."