Archive for Health Care

Scan(t) Evidence

Remember when you got that flatbed scanner and the first thing you did was scan your ass or your lips or your breasts and post them to your GeoCities site (and don’t even think about asking, I’m not going to repost them)?  Well now TSA  can do the same thing and zap you with a bunch of radiation at the same time which does not make me feel safer, in fact it scares the crap out of me.

What scares me a whole lot more though is just how fast the Gotta Have Scanners cheer went up after the Is That A Big Stick In Your Pocket Or Are You Glad To See Me bomber wannabe totally messed up his chance to please all the awaiting virgins in heaven.  If you recall, so barely 24 hours after September 11, 2001, we already knew who piloted the planes, where they were based and who sent them, a few weeks later, we mysteriously had a large enough supply of flags and decals for every car in America.  If  we were good enough to figure it out so quickly afterwords, lets face it, we knew ahead of time.  And it is pretty damned clear that just happened again.

If that isn’t enough to make you a tad cynical, the fact that Michael Chertoff is a big scanner cheerleader ought to.  As James Ridgeway points out, it’s all about the money, honey:

(T)he rush toward full-body scans already seems unstoppable. They were mandated today as part of the “enhanced” screening for travelers from selected countries, and hundreds of the machines are already on order, at a cost of about $150,000 apiece. Within days of the bombing attempt, Reuters was reporting that the “greater U.S. government shift toward using the high-tech devices could create a boom for makers of security imaging products, and it has already created a speculative spike in share prices in some companies.”

Which brings us to the money shot. The body scanner is sure to get a go-ahead because of the illustrious personages hawking them. Chief among them is former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, who now heads the Chertoff Group, which represents one of the leading manufacturers of whole-body-imaging machines, Rapiscan Systems. For days after the attack, Chertoff made the rounds on the media promoting the scanners, calling the bombing attempt “a very vivid lesson in the value of that machinery”—all without disclosing his relationship to Rapiscan.

Want some swamp land in Florida too?  Meanwhile…there is now a new, new, new recommendation regarding mammograms:

This new advice, which is published in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, comes from the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). And these groups suggest just the opposite – that the screening does save lives.

The latest recommendations seem to be based primarily on bad-mouthing the earlier new recommendations to get less mammograms and dogged insistence that finding more cancers and finding them earlier saves lives.  This is the mantra that we have been made pepto aware of for years now, despite the questionable evidence to support it.  For more on this, see here, here and here.

I’m not a scientist, but what I do know is this:  No other country suggests that women have as many mammograms as we  do in the U.S.  And other developed countries where women start getting mammograms at a later age and less frequently have comparable or better survival and incidence rates.  But again, as with the airport scanners, we need to look at the money angle–if women don’t get mammograms on a regular basis before the age of 50 and then get them every few years, radiologists and imaging centers are going to lose a lot of money.  But that is not a justification for zapping our breasts unnecessarily.

Of course as a convenience for the busy traveler, maybe now we can just get mammograms at the airport.  But in all fairness since we now know you can hide explosives between your balls, how about we squish those too as a matter of national security.

But what really is key here is that our national security policy is a bad joke.  Scanners aren’t the answer (and lets be very clear here–any amount of radiation adds to our body load and is a risk).  Nor is stoking the fear of ‘terrorism’.  Nor is militarism. And like breast cancer, detection isn’t a cure-all.  If you want to end breast cancer, you need to find what causes it and eradicate the cause.  The same is true for global security. Real security comes from enabling people, not from disabling them.  Food, health, jobs.  For far less money, we would  reap far greater results.  But where’s the profit in that?

My New Decade’s Resolution

Most years, my New Year’s resolutions are the usual mundane fantasy items– lose weight, spend less money, improve my love life, yada yada.  The other day however, I received a lovely little notepad that says, “I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the World.”  Of course the author probably should have mentioned having a magic wand, but nonetheless, I was inspired to think that after the last ten abominable years, a decade-size resolution might be in order, so here it is:



Cut to the chase, the last ten years have been a horror.  From the stealing of two Presidential elections to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the wars first in Afghanistan and then based on outright lies, Iraq.  The fleecing of investors and non-investors alike by companies like Enron and Goldman Sachs.  Katrina, the economy, foreclosures, the healthcare debacle and the failure of substantive progress in addressing climate change.

Add to that a global perspective, and of course things are much worse-horrendous weather along the Pacific Rim, the ongoing hell of places like Gaza and Darfur, people starving and dying of disease unnecessarily, half a million maternal mortality deaths every year, melting glaciers, it was, let’s face it, a decathlon of disaster.

In a must-read piece about what is needed,  Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association refers to those who run the government as “indentured politicians,”  a thought echoed by Carl Bernstein who knows a thing or two about crooked politicians.

Meanwhile in Beltwayistan

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been telling Democrats a win on the health issue will reverse the slide in public opinion, just as passage of another controversial proposal, the North American Free Trade Agreement, lifted President Bill Clinton in the polls.

And after all, it is all about public opinion…not.

Health insurers get some big presents in the Senate’s health overhaul bill — about 20 million new customers and no competition from a new government plan.Taking advantage of those boons might take some time, though.

The bill imposes hefty new taxes and coverage rules that will pinch insurers by forcing them to cover more sick people without gaining enough healthy, lower-cost customers, industry insiders say. The industry is also worried the bill doesn’t do enough to control health care costs.

It’s a matter of figuring out how to make those new customers profitable, analysts say.

However, the most damaging thing about the health care debate is not the legislation itself,  flawed as that is, but rather that those who have opposed meaningful reform have been allowed to hijack the discourse with tactics such as using the issue of abortion rights not only to weaken the legislation but to create such a lengthy ruckus that things such as the economy, military spending and most importantly the environment have been relegated to afterthoughts.

“We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it’s very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,” said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economy-wide cap and trade “unlikely.”

At a meeting about health care last month, moderates pushed to table climate legislation in favor of a jobs bill that would be an easier sell during the 2010 elections, according to Senate Democratic aides.

“I’d just as soon see that set aside until we work through the economy,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), “What we don’t want to do is have anything get in the way of working to resolve the problems with the economy.”

Leaving aside the absurdity of cap and trade, so nice to hear from you again Sen. Nelson after your sellout of women’s human rights in exchange for the health of the insurance companies, and now you would have us believe that the economy is going to get better while the environment falters?  Can I interest you in some oceanside property in Florida?

Translation of all this thanks to my handy B.S.-to-English translator:  We need to see past our noses when it comes to the word from Washington according to self-serving politicians such as Nelson, Bayh and Emanuel.  We may have voted these  folks into power, but the reality is, their loyalties are to themselves and their corporate owners.

Which leads me back to that super-sized resolution.  Enough already.  Why in tarnation are we allowing corporations to pull the strings?  Why is corporate welfare being valued over human rights? Why are we allowing the continued trashing and degradation of our planet? Where is the culpability?

I’ve written several times recently about the need to stand up for what you believe (here and here).  It is time to do some serious introspection and to think about what we truly believe in and what is important, and quite frankly, whether we plan to be able to look back upon the next decade 10 years from now because that is just how serious the issue of climate change is.  And then it is time to get off the couch.

We don’t have the luxury of waxing poetic while we watch the ball drop in Times Square.  We’ve already dropped the ball enough.  We need to be in the street, we need to go to Washington, and yes all that might mean going to jail, but no  way around it, we need to reclaim the body politic and we need to do it now.

What Now?

Remember that  careful list you think about making early in the year about how much you will spend on holiday shopping and then it all goes to hell in late December when you mostly just want to get done and go home…

With almost no debate

The U.S. Senate approved a $636 billion military spending bill on Saturday that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also includes money to extend jobless aid and Medicare payment rates for two months.

By a vote of 88-10, the Senate approved the bill and sent it to President Barack Obama to sign into law. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday.

The bill covers Pentagon operations through September 30, 2010. But the $128 billion approved for ongoing wars probably will not be enough to cover Obama’s plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

…lawmakers funded 10 more Boeing Co C-17 transport planes than the Pentagon had asked for, at a cost of $2.5 billion.Congress also kept alive over the Pentagon’s objections the troubled VH-71 presidential helicopter, made by Lockheed, and an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made by General Electric Co and Rolls Royce Group Plc.

Then there was the health care bill that we were told last summer would cost a trillion dollars over 10 years.  The cost of the current plan is unknown because the Senate has devolved into  a last minute Christmas shopper who has to buy a gift no matter what it costs, might find a bargain or have to pay full price but hey as long as you get  it before Christmas who cares.  And then  there is the Copenhagen “agreement“:

“Finally we sealed a deal,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “The ‘Copenhagen Accord‘ may not be everything everyone had hoped for, but this decision…is an important beginning.”

But a decision at marathon 193-nation talks merely took note of the new accord, a non-binding deal for combating global warming led by the United States, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

The 193 nations stopped far from a full endorsement of the plan, which sets a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degree Celsius rise over pre-industrial times and holds out the prospect of $100 billion in annual aid from 2020 for developing nations.

The plan does not specify greenhouse gas cuts needed to achieve the 2 Celsius goal that is seen as a threshold for dangerous changes such as more floods, droughts, mudslides, sandstorms and rising seas.

If asked, I wonder how President Obama would characterize his leadership style, because I don’t know what you call it when the Congress spends the better part of a year crafting an expensive, deadly healthcare plan while barely blinking an eye about spending even more money on poorly defined wars  while completely trivializing the issue of climate change that ought to be a national emergency priority item.

Without a question we need to re-prioritize our thinking and change our framework, to wit, profit at the expense of human rights and environmental degradation should be considered a treasonous act.  We also need to play a little round of six degrees.

The U.S. military is arguably the world’s biggest polluter.  When we spend money on the military we need to take into account that aside from funneling that money from education, health care and other vital services that make us more secure, we are also contributing to the further environmental degradation of the planet.  And courtesy of, here are some other connections between military spending and the environment:

  • Projected total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends.
  • CO2 released by the war to date equals the emissions from putting 25 million more cars on the road for one year.
  • If the war was ranked as a country in terms of annual emissions, it would emit more CO2 each year than 139 of the world’s nations do.
  • The $600 billion that the US Congress has allocated for military operations in Iraq to date could have built over 9000 wind farms (at 50 MW capacity each), with the overall capacity to meet a quarter of the US’s current electricity demand and cut 1/6 of the country’s total CO2 emissions.
  • In 2006, the US spent more on the war in Iraq than the whole world spent on investment in renewable energy.
  • US president Obama has committed to spending $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of green energy technology and infrastructure. The US spends that much on the war in Iraq in just 10 months.

I’ve also been thinking about the odd juxtaposition of the use of abortion rights as a tool of white, conservative American men to jettison meaningful health care in this country and the increasingly louder drumbeat, mostly by white, liberal American men to tie the benefits of family planning to the use of population control for the sake of the planet. Really?  Using the latter line of reasoning we should also cut maternal health care funds such as they are because hell, half a million (almost exclusively non-white) women die of maternal mortality every year and if we can up that number, that means less babies and mothers and that is good for the planet.  It is no accident that the colonization and control of women’s lives is being ratcheted up at the same time we trash the planet.  And we need to make that connection.

Derrick Jensen has an eloquent vision of the first step of what it would take to re-frame the discussion of how we are going to walk in this world, and I’ll leave you with that:

A lot of the indigenous people with whom I’ve worked have said to me that the first and most important thing any of us needs to do is decolonize our hearts and minds. Decolonization is the process of breaking your identity with and loyalty to this culture-industrial capitalism specifically, and more broadly civilization-and remembering your identification with and loyalty to the real physical world, including the land where you live. It means re-examining premises and stories this culture handed down to you. It means seeing the harm this culture does to other cultures, and to the planet. It means recognizing that we are living on stolen land. It means recognizing that the luxuries of this way of life do not come free, but rather are paid for by other humans, by nonhumans, by the whole world. It means recognizing that we do not live in a functioning democracy, but rather in a corporate plutocracy, a government by, for, and of corporations. Decolonization means recognizing that neither technological progress nor increased GNP is good for the planet. It means recognizing that this culture is not good for the planet. Decolonization means internalizing the implications of the fact that this culture is killing the planet. It means determining that we will stop this culture from doing that. It means determining that we will not fail.

The First Church Of The Sidewalk

We’re having the wrong conversation, or perhaps more accurately, we’re having a lot of wrong conversations.

This past weekend, I joined a small group of people from across our community who felt moved to stand up against the escalation of the war in Afghanistan.  We chose to stand in a place where we have visited before in the cold December air–on the sidewalk next to the main road leading  to the biggest shopping malls in town because we knew people would have plenty of time to read our signs as they were stuck in traffic.  The traffic was lighter than it has been in past and several stores in the strip mall behind us have been shuttered in the last year.  No  doubt people heading into the malls will  be spending less this year, considering each purchase a bit more carefully.

A few people yelled angry things at us, most just stared, a few  honked and waved in support.  But they all kept driving.  Into the mall, with less money but refusing to see  the connection between the money we spend in Afghanistan, for what noble  cause (as Cindy Sheehan eloquently puts it) I have no idea.  In explaining the reasons for the escalation, Obama opened with references to 911, claimed that terrorists trained overseas had been found in America (although on  the Colbert Report a few nights later, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napalitano was hard-pressed to offer any evidence of that, and the mainstream media sure isn’t pressing the point).  Obama’s  speech offered no change, in fact it could have  just as easily been  delivered during the Bush presidency. Telling us we must risk more lives to fight the elusive enemy called terror. And meanwhile,  Americans rack up credit card debt at the mall just in time for Wall Street to hand out its obscene bonuses.

Change?  Not hardly, just a propping up of the system so that it can keep feeding on itself.  Congress meanwhile bound and determined to pass a healthcare bill regardless of merits cheerfully sold out women’s reproductive rights in the eleventh hour for 3 votes and whatever the final form of what is likely to be a very sorry piece of legislation looks like, the compromises made in the name of health industry ‘support’ will no doubt come at the cost of lives, probably many more lives than have been lost to ‘terrorism’. Still, people keep driving to the mall.

But perhaps nowhere is the discussion more nonsensical than when it comes to the environment.  The whole notion of Cap and Trade is insane (and for a wonderful, easy explanation that even a grade-schooler (although apprarently not members of Congress)  would understand of why, go here).  Here in the southeastern U.S. our mountains have been sacrificed for coal, the tops summarily cut off and the debris  dumped in our streams as if we have the right to do  such a thing without regard for the true cost to people and the environment.

As Bill McKibben points out, this wrong conversation about the environment, unlike the wrong  conversations about the economy and health care, has the potential to be an end game, to wit physics does not know to respond to politics, “It’s like nothing we’ve ever faced before — and we’re facing it as if it’s just like everything else. That’s the problem.”

And still, people keep driving to the mall.  Back in 2002, as the war in Afghanistan was ramping up, we had a  sign in our yard that said, simply, “Peace”.  Some of my neighbors felt moved to respond by literally circling our front door with “We Stand With President Bush” signs. It was a terrifying sight. When the Christmas season rolled around again later that year, one of my sons wondered what would happen if we put a sign up that said “Peace on earth, Goodwill to all.”   In the years since, I have stood my peace several times alongside the malls as we did last weekend.  And in the last few weeks, I have stood up for health care, and for the environment.  And I’ll keep standing up. I think of it as attending the First Church of the Sidewalk, surely a far holier experience than a day at the mall.

The one thing I know for sure–we need to quit the annual mall trek, get out of our cars, put down the plastic shopping bags and say enough of the damaging and downright deadly conversations.  Health care is a human right, war does not create peace and most assuredly begets terrorism.  The wealth of corporations cannot come at the expense of the welfare of people and we can not trade our way to capping carbon or fuel our world by destroying mountains.

Stand up.  Speak out.  It is  time to insist upon speaking truth to power.

Scenes From A Zipless Recovery

Dear Main Street Residents,

The recession is ending, no more worries, sorry for the inconvenience.


Your BFFs  on Wall Street

As the national economy starts its slow recovery, 11 states and the District of Columbia are showing signs of emerging from the recession, according to a new report. (from Moodys via Stateline)

Moody’s also estimated that the national recession ended in August, although the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private research firm that calculates the official dates of recessions, has yet to declare the end of the current downturn.

But let’s just bear in mind where that rose colored pronouncement came from– according to a report from McClatchy,

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a blistering report on how profit motives had undermined the integrity of ratings at Moody’s and its main competitors, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, in July 2008, but the full extent of Moody’s internal strife never has been publicly revealed.

Translation:  I’ve got some swamp land in Florida for sale.  Well actually I don’t but can you blame me from trying to sell it to you anyhow.  If you want a more  honest take on the view from the top of the economic pecking order, this refreshingly honest commentary from a Goldman Sachs executive is probably more to the point:

“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.” (Bloomberg)

Meanwhile, down the block on Main Street,  recovery NOT is still a happening event:

The official jobless rate — 10.2 percent in October

one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. (New York Times)

For black teens nationwide, the rate was 40.8 percent in September. (Chicago Tribune)

40.8%…just roll that number around in your brain for awhile. Then consider this:

U.S. companies increased their output in the third quarter even as they slashed working hours, driving productivity up at a 9.5% annual rate in the quarter, the Labor Department estimated Thursday. …

Productivity is output divided by hours worked. Output rose 4% annualized, while hours worked plunged 5%. Real hourly compensation increased at a 0.2% annual rate. (Market Watch via Daily Kos)

If you look in your Berlitz for Wall Street-ese, that translates to, ‘we worked harder for less hours to make more stuff which we can afford less because we
earned less or worse yet, lost our job. And here’s a little conjugation of the screw you verb translation above,

Credit card companies are rushing to increase interest rates to historic highs of more than 30 percent, cut credit limits, and add new fees, even for customers who pay their bills on time. (

And then there is the pesky matter of health care and the ‘reform’ that is supposed to  cure it:

According to research by the John Hopkins Children’s Center, an analysis of 23 million hospital records from 37 states shows that a lack of health insurance likely played a role in the deaths of nearly 17,000 U.S. children over a 17-year period. (Denver Post)

One wonders if “children not covered” is a line item in annual reports by insurance companies which just had a VERY profitable quarter:

Managed care company Cigna Corp.’s third-quarter profit soared 92 percent, as improving equity markets spurred a big turnaround in a discontinued business that hurt the insurer last year.

Don’t know about you, but I sure the hell can’t sleep at night with that.  And lastly, give a big cheer for the ever so Gross Domestic Product that rose a “better than expected” 3.5% in the third quarter.  And here is one reason:

Billed as a way for the government to put more fuel-efficient vehicles on highways, the popular $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program mostly involved swaps of old Ford or Chevrolet pickups for new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data.

The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.

The overall mileage increases over the clunker fleet represent a decline of 1.87 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, based on families driving an average of 12,000 miles, a yearly savings equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide spewed in the U.S. in just 2.5 hours. (AP)

(Note–To get a further idea of just how absurd this program was, during the Cash for Clunkers program, I traded in my 10 year old van that was beginning to have significant problems  for a car that gets much better milage.  However since my van officially got  19 mph, I didn’t qualify for the program, even though my new car is far more efficient than some of the trucks and SUV’s that qualified for the rebate.  And while it gave a huge short-term boost to auto sales, it is doubtful that will have a long-term impact and the more important question is why boosting the auto industry without a significant change in transportation policy is appropriate in the first place.  Yes jobs are at stake, but this kind of short-term thinking is not going to save those jobs in the long run.)

Dave Lindorff has a more detailed explanation,

Most of that rise was the result of government subsidies to car-buyers and first-time house buyers. It was a one-shot stimulus that pushed forward spending, but it was no indication of a recovering economy, just a spasm of spending using taxpayer money. Furthermore, an excellent article in Businessweek by Michael Mandel noted that fully one-percent of that GDP gain was the result of a failure by government economists to account for a collapse in corporate spending on research and development and on training and retaining intellectual assets (a complicated way of saying that engineers, scientists and technology workers were being laid off at a higher rate than other workers, and much R&D work was being shipped overseas for good), So really the “growth” of GDP in the third Quarter should have been at a 2.5% rate, and even that was largely government pump priming, not recovered economic activity.

So what to take away here?  First of all, let’s quit using the DOW as a measure of how things are.  As Lindorff points out apropos of the oft repeated ‘wisdom’ that employment is a lagging indicator,

High and pro-longed unemployment leads to reduced demand for goods and services, and to a psychology of fear and consumer withdrawal. Once people feel that they aren’t going to find a new job soon, and once those who still have jobs feel that their employment is not secure, they no longer buy things except what they absolutely need. And in an economy where fully 72% of economic activity is consumer spending, that is no longer a “lagging indicator.” High, prolonged unemployment becomes a causal factor in the economic downturn.

In other words, sooner or later (and I’m betting on sooner), there is  going to be major blowback on Wall Street.

In our current  economic system, the official barometer of whether we are economically healthy or not is based primarily on the health of corporate citizens, not human ones.  Don’t have insurance, a job or a house? No worries, the market is up.  Which really should give us pause to think that maybe, possibly, we are measuring the wrong stuff.

As all of the above should certainly serve to illustrate, the current discourse on the economy is delusional.  If we are  truly to ‘recover’ in a meaningful way, we will need to re-define what we consider as economic well-being. Imagine how our policies might be different if, as Riane Eisler suggests, we measured the value of caring.   Or if we gave to meet needs instead of assuming the necessity of an exchange of goods as Genevieve Vaughan suggests.

And while I am not going to address it in depth here, any sustainable economic policy must also take into account and be responsive to the issues of climate change and global warming.  We cannot continue to degrade the planet at will and we need to take immediate steps to address the changes that are already happening.

Until we make those paradigm shifts in the way we think about the economy, the rumors of its recovery should be considered as the poppycock that they are.


Postscript–Lest there is any doubt–the title of this post traces it’s origins to Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying,

The zipless fuck is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game . The man is not “taking” and the woman is not “giving.” No one is attempting to cuckold a husband or humiliate a wife. No one is trying to prove anything or get anything out of anyone. The zipless fuck is the purest thing there is. And it is rarer than the unicorn. And I have never had one.

–Erica Jong, Fear of Flying (1973)

Standing Up And Sitting Down For Healthcare At Humana Headquarters (Updated Analysis Of News Coverage)

More than 100 people (minimized in several media reports as “dozens”) gathered across the street from health insurer Humana, Inc. in downtown Louisville, KY on Oct. 29th to rally for meaningful health care reform.  After the rally, a smaller group “stormed”  into the lobby to hold a sit-in.  At least that is how one local television station would like you to frame it.  In reality, they walked peacefully through the door, which is exactly what the footage that accompanied the “storming” report shows.

I was at Humana for the rally. It was an honor and a privilege to stand with such dedicated activists who are not afraid to stand up and sit down for what they believe in. When I returned to my desk this afternoon, there was what has become the usual daily avalanche of emails about the health care issue. The Public Option is in. It’s out. Lieberman is in. He’s out. It’s worse than the Hokey Pokey and enough to make you ill. And actually all of this political delay is making us ill. In fact it is killing people every day.

And so today we stood up for health care for all because it it is the right thing to do. It isn’t some crazy liberal wingnut idea. It is a desperately needed change in this country we call a democracy. Full stop. Not only that, but it is DSCN0375overwhelmingly supported by the American public.

But yet the media persists in coverage such as the above that characterizes those who speak for the common good in such a way as to sound like dangerous people threatening a large corporation whose spokesman is allowed to frame the company’s position as being ‘for’ health care reform. Really? And how much exactly has Humana spent on lobbying against meaningful reform? How many people have been denied coverage for absurd ‘pre-existing conditions?’ How much more do they charge women than men? We don’t learn that on the evening news because Humana is one of Louisville’s star public citizens with a really nice building on Main Street (yes, their headquarters really is on Main Street in downtown Louisville) that makes mega bucks on Wall Street.

And so the viewing public gets a grossly distorted view of the health care debate, and the Congress that Humana and its ilk bought out dither us to death.


This story isn’t over, protesters are spending the night inside the Humana building. We will see what tomorrow brings.


Morning has broken and should have word soon from the Humana sleepover.

Supporters are invited to join us in the morning as we continue the sit-in. We’re inviting everyone to a solidarity celebration for a single-payer nation at the Humana building, 5th & Main, 11:30AM on Friday, October 30th.


In the revolution will be blogged, twittered and sensationalized on television and ignored by the local newspaper department:

If you ran out to get your morning paper in Louisville hoping to read the story, you would have had to do some mighty nuanced reading between the lines because apparently the reporter that the Courier Journal would have sent to cover the story was laid off during one of the recent waves of cutbacks which were accompanied by long-winded Gannett talking head drivel about how it wouldn’t affect the quality of what was left of the paper. In otherwords, the CJ got the memo, they just ignored it and there is nothing, nada, zip in the paper this morning. (Correction–a reporter did show up early yesterday evening and they do have a piece on their website, but nothing in the print edition).

Via The Louisville Courant (oh gasp, a blogger that I’m sure the former CJ publisher would say isn’t a legit news source) has this roundup of coverage thus far:

**Louisville Mojo
**Reclaiming Medusa
**FOX 41
**WAVE 3

Will have a wrap-up later today.


And here it is: The Humana 6, the sheroes and heroes who spent the night at Humana ended the sit-in at 11:30 this morning. The media was MIA.

Paranoia Strikes Very Deep

If this doesn’t scare you, nothing will. Listen to what they are saying and especially listen to their answers to the interviewer’s questions. None of this is about health care, as Jimmy Carter said at a townhall at the Carter Center in Atlanta, it is about racism.

“There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

The Georgia Democrat said the outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.

“Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care,” he said. “It’s deeper than that.”

In an interview with NBC, Carter added,

“Racism … still exists and I think it has bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the south but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.

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As the hatred ratchets up on the streets of the U.S., it is dangerously clear that this is a concerted effort to promote irrational, racist hatred to the point where one of these people will take it upon themselves to take a shot at the President. There is a large gaping wound still festering in this country and the peril of ignoring it is all too clear.