Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Purple Thread 2.0

This is the purple thread. Discussion: what topics do you want to keep in here?

100 comments:

Judy B. said...

Purple makes me think of the book/movie "The Color Purple"...
Maybe an easy reminder for civil rights, affirmative action, immigration, etc under this title...
Also makes me think of "When I gro old I will wear purple...", so ageism would also fit here...

Cheryl V said...

Christin,
I enjoyed hearing about your baby bird. They can be quite adictive.

When you look into more affordable places to live, remember that different parts of the country can be amazingly different. As much as we liked living there, we often felt like foreigners when we moved from New Orleans to Raleigh. People kept asking us how we liked the "South". They weren't too far off, we actually had more in common with the Yankees. (big port city vs small homogenous town)

Georgia does have some nice areas. I would think twice about Texas. It really is another country there. Just ask any Texan, although ya gotta respect the pride they have in their state. Reread Marilyn's posts, or old Molly Ivins columns. They still haven't fixed the mess that Bush left behind.

dan said...

In honor of the all new "purple thread":PURPLE

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Judy, all of the above. Plus, what about "swing states", since they're often referred to as purple?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Cheryl,
My nephew (the one who is a student at Harding Univ. in Arkansas) married a girl who grew up in Dallas. They plan to live there after they graduate. Besides the affordability, that's one of the reasons Texas appeals to me. It's always better to have family already living at the new destination.

My Mom has had her eye on both Coconut Grove, Florida and Savannah, Georgia. If she sells her house out at the Cape and buys a house in Coconut Grove, she'll only break even. But if she buys a comparable home in Savannah, she'll still have a good chunk of money left over to add to her retirement fund. So Georgia is looking like a definite possibility (please excuse the oxymoron).

Now, talk about good timing -- an ad just came on the TV guide channel offering buildable land for sale for $30,000 in Horseshoe Bay, Texas. They said that because of high demand, the price is going up to $35,000 beginning August 31st. About a week ago, I saw a similar ad with that same offer -- $30,000 for buildable land, but in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

After this post, I'll try to stick to purple topics in this thread, and I'll put these kinds of posts in the Admin thread.

Richard Yarnell said...

First, beware of "buildable" land advertised on TV.

Second, I think that's more violet, than purple, but whatever it is, it is lurid.

Which brings me to the color purple: I've always been fond of purple prose.

Our administratrix should post a guide on the front page: Green = etc.

Oh, and money is now referred to "sorta peach backs."

ry

Judy B. said...

I second richard's warning about "land deals"... Unless you have had quiter a bit of experience in real estate, you are better getting a boneafied agent to look for you...
So many of the grat sounding advertisements turn out to be swamp land, or no water at all... code or deed restrictions or land that is about ready to slide down a mountain....
Research where you want to go and then hire a pro....

Marilynn M said...

Christin, Dallas is terriably hot, and full of Republicans. Austin is where the Democrats are. If you are going to the Dallas Area my suggestion is Rockwall. We don't get flash floods here because we are on top of the hill. We don't get much tornado activity either. We have a huge lake (Dallas's water supply).Rockwall County was the fastest growing county in the US for two years. Houses start at around one hundred and thirty thousand and go up to several million. I love it here but we are going to sell and move because I'm allergic to everything and I have to have clean air. Texas has dirty air thanks to GWB's relaxing the pollution laws. You can get a beautiful house here very cheap. This is the builder we bought from. He is one of the most reasonably priced we found.
http://www.robbiehalehomes.com/vfp.php
Personally I like Oregon.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

It's taking so long to research the quality of life in the different states, I'm thinking that maybe I should take the time to get training for a higher level job skill that I can take with me wherever I go. That way, I’d be able to make a high enough income to have more options for places to live. I wrote in more detail about this earlier in the yellow thread.

Judy B. said...

Christin...I am a firm beliver in "do what you love and the money will follow" principle... It works for me...Whenever I get dissatisfied with what I am doing, the money just seems to dry up, or the job gets harder, or my life takes a turn for the worse... It is then that I have to look at SELF and make decisions that are in tune with my spirit...
I teach a class on "Prosperity Consciousness" that is really quite simple, but sometimes hard to do because people do not want to change... If you are interested in learning more, email me at elkmeadows@tdn.com

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Judy,
I did e-mail you earlier for that information. Did it reach you okay?

If not, let me know and I'll try again.

Judy B. said...

Christin... got your email and replied...
As you think about moving, don't put restraints on yourself... Going where there is family, or wanting family to move with you can hold you back...
Figure out what YOU want and go for it.... sometimes you can't figure out what you want until you try it... For many (most)people the decisions are based on what they DON'T want rather than what they DO want, so trying this and that only to discover that it doesn't work for you is a workable approach, but it takes a lot of mistakes along the way...
So do a personal check list like:
I want to work... indoors, outdoors, at a desk, moving around, formal or informal conditions, using my mind, being physical, at night during the day.... and the list goes on...

The same goes with where you want to live: in a city or in the country, or somewhere in between... in the sunbelt or in a cool, darker area... 4 definite seasons or a gentler climate...
Ask yourself some compelling questions before jumping into a job or into a move...

Judy B. said...

LINK TV has had a number of programs on lately about the immigration problem... What is unique about their coverage is that it follows the story from both sides of the border... tries to give a balanced approach...

dan said...

The GOP is thrilled that Iraqis can now vote. They're not as enthused about Americans voting.

Photo ID required to vote

Cheryl V said...

It's almost as though they think there is a Law of Conservation of Democracy. We have to decrease it here in order to increase it somewhere else.

Richard Yarnell said...

I agree that the timing is unfortunate, but the requirement of a photo ID has many benefits.

Oregon doesn't require photo ID to vote yet, but an ODL or a State issued photo ID does suffice, provided you match the photo.

Oregon relies on signatures which are available to County Elections officers on line in digitized form. All such workers have received signature recognition training from the State Police. Now that voter registration records have been put on the State server, it's fairly easy to spot double registrations (usually inadvertent - someone moves and registers at the new address but the old registration is not purged.

48 hours is also a pretty short period to get a new ID. Now, if they had their licensing people in the precincts to take applications....

deb said...

How big of a problem is it that people are using someone else's name and going to vote again? My guess is that a person would have to vote in a different district than their own, because of fear of being recognized, caught and prosecuted. Then there would be the chance that someone in the other district would recognize that they aren't the person they are claiming to be. And a cheater would have to be assured that the real person didn't vote or they'd be caught. I just don't believe that it is happening. I think the voter ID requirement is keeping people who don't drive, those who failed to renew their liscense, those who have had their liscense revoked, etc. from voting.

The reality is that the more people who vote the more likely that dems will win...the less, the more likely for gops.

Cheryl, I LOVE your take on things. Ever thought of doing columns like Molly Ivans?

Judy, Thanks for the reminder of Link TV. I don't get it in this area but I found streaming video at their website. It's terrific!!!

Richard Yarnell said...

With voter participation as low as it is (I heard that the expectation in one primary this week is for a 10% turnout!), and with the capacity to predict the vote, precinct byt precinct, it doesn't take many. Some of the bosses used to control things by enlisting the dead.

Besides, it's the princple of the thing. Everyone should get one vote and then use it.

The Democrats should get their butts in gear and take the elderly and others who don't have photo ID to the DMV, or whomever it is that issues them, and sign a lot of people up. Then the should take them to the polls or help them get absentee ballots.

Of course all of this would be unneccessary if we all voted by mail.

ry

Cheryl said...

Mike Ferner, a Vietnam-era veteran, says he was arrested at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center in Chicago for wearing a Veterans for Peace T-Shirt.

http://www.counterpunch.org/ferner07012006.html

dan said...

Cheryl, it's sad that wearing a t-shirt that says you're for peace makes you a criminal. I recall that during the Vietnam war, the sentiment was so hostile to war protesters that when the Ohio National Guard fatally shot some Kent State student protesters, the public response was very muted...as if the kids got what they deserved. The current administration implies that any opposition to their war policies is aiding the *enemy*...that being for peace is a traitorous act.

I hope Mike Ferner gets his day in court and stands before a judge who values the first ammendment.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Can someone please help? The default template I chose for my blog doesn't have a links section, and I'm driving myself crazy trying to paste the html code into exactly the right position within the template. I'm able to get the links section to post, but then the whole sidebar list gets shoved down to the bottom of the page.

The blogger help instructions don't seem to be specific enough for this case.

Cheryl said...

Sorry, I don't know much HTML. My best suggestion is:
1. temporarily choose another template
2. print out the code
3. cancel the changes and go back to your original
4. look for differences

I'm using Moto something. It has a links section.

My guess is that you need to do something to set the side bar up correctly. It sounds like the browser doesn't know where to put it.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

What that means is it is a SIZE issue. Some how you have made the links thing too big to fit in the sidebar and that is why it falls to the bottom.

Go into the template html code box.

Look specifically for start of content for side box.

On mine it is almost at the bottom.

Try and paste the link stuff underneath the html for the Archives section and see if that works.

Often there is other code involved in the actual formatting so look at the code around Previous Post, Archive, About Me and the Blogger button.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

You were right about size being the issue -- I was pasting in extra code that I thought belonged there. Once I reduced it down to exactly what was needed, I was able to get it to post the way I wanted it to. Thanks so much Christopher -- I had been trying to do it on my own for three days now, and was about to give up.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

While I'm working on getting my blog ready, I'm editing and deleting all over the place -- even preparing to completely re-write one post. Writing in a journal, which is sort of "writing to oneself", is so different from preparing to write for an audience. When I used to read my journals, every little detail mattered to me, and of course, everything I wrote made complete sense to me. But after I write something in the blog, I go back to look at it the next day and try to read it as though I were reading someone else's stuff. When I do that, I find that some of it is minutiae, or else doesn't make sense from an outsider's point of view. So then I edit or delete it. I'm hoping that sooner or later, I'll get the knack for it, so I can leave it "as is", and then I'll try to promote it -- especially to people who are day sleepers, whether because of shift work or natural inclination. There are millions of us out here.

Richard Yarnell said...

Most writers I know write to a schedule. They write every day for x pages or x hours. Then they go back to stuff they've written before, also on a strict schedule. Some rewrite then, some just read what they wrote the day before and let it simmer some more. Then they begin to rewrite, sometimes several generations.

I should do that, but the Internet is so current, so demanding, it's tough to rewrite. Sometimes, if it's on a public list, if you don't post immediately, the thread advances so far that your own contribution is no longer pertinent.

Oregon's ex-Governor, John Kitzhaber, who also happens to be an Emergency Medicine specialist, and who was responsible for the Oregon Health Plan which changed the rules in Oregon for Medicaid around the time Clinton was first elected, is now on a mission to re-organize the national health care system. He wants to do it the same way he did it back in 1991 and 1992: have a statewide discussion and then pass legislation that forces the feds to say yes or no and why.

Susan and I were invited to be in the audience of a video production of his Power Point presentation. Since I've been writing about single payer, universal health care for some time, I thought it might be an opportunity to get a lick or two in on behalf of unifying the many programs the deliver care in the US and the states. John is an approachable, friendly, smart, and enthusiastic man. I'd met him while I was trying to get Oregon to pony up a little more money for the arts. He was tight with arts money where his predecessor had been much more generous. It was a hard sell.

Anyway, whenever I go to one of these things, I take a letter with me to hand deliver to the man, jumping over the usual gate keepers. To prepare it, I went back to older prose on Tissue and Organ donation, tax revenue, and Single Payer Health Delivery systems. I printed a lot of it out and started stitching. There was more than one point at which I was embarassed when I realized some of the crap I was re-writing had already seen the light of day.

I got to ask a question: why limit your program to public money? Why not sweep up funds from all the sources now helping to deliver health care, eliminate some of the programs (Vets, Medicaid, and put everthing under Medicare, pre-natal to death bed) so that there's a larger chunk of money to use and then apply the prioritizing scheme that was the essence of the Oregon plan? (Oregon has roughly 500 procedures that are covered by the plan that are put in order based on how much good they do. The budget is applied until it runs out. There is a moving line below which some procedures are not funded publicly.

It turns out that I'd misunderstood him to say that he was not in favor of a Canadian style single payer system. Ultimately we agreed that it was one way to fund and manage a system and that it was far more attractive if one prioritizes on the basis of a procedure's efficacy.

Anyway, he took the letter and three enclosures. I got to give him a couple of performance pointers and have promised to put the program on three public access cable channels and a regular interview program. If they can afford to do it, he agreed it would be a good idea to post a streaming video internet source. If that happens, I'll be sure to bring it to your attention.

I had the sense I had just stumbled into the "beginning" of something really big. I hope so because we're busting our kids' bank the way we're going now.

Now, if I were smart, I'd put this aside, look at it tomorrow and break it down into two separate posts. But I won't be around tomorrow so you get it, warts and all.

ry

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Christina I just saw that you got your links section into the sidebar. Good work! I saved one of the Edit Me links as a blank template for a bit to use to copy and paste for making a new link until I felt more comfortable with how to do it.

With any of those links you have now you just replace its innards with the address and name of the site you want.

Richard warts and all you are several steps ahead of most people in clarity and sentence structure.

Judy B. said...

Richard...
I would be interested in reading your health care proposal...
Can you email it to me???
elkmeadows@tdn.com

dan said...

Re: "Oregon's ex-Governor, John Kitzhaber,...who was responsible for the Oregon Health Plan...is now on a mission to re-organize the national health care system...I had the sense I had just stumbled into the "beginning" of something really big."

Richard, I think you may be right. A national health care plan may very well need to get some form and momentum in the states and then be presented to Congress. Your ex-gov, with his experience, may be just the person to get that accomplished. It's exciting that you are in a position to influence the plan at its onset. Thanks for your work in trying to solve one of the country's most urgent problems.

Cheryl said...

Richard,
I think that everyone would be interested in your health care proposal. Can you post it somewhere?

deb said...

Richard, You never cease to amaze me. I have been reading your ideas for many months now, and wish I was campaigning to get you into office. I will settle for working to promote the national healthcare plan that you are assisting with and other plans that you are involved in developing. Once the video is made I will make sure that many of the NC politicians recieve a copy. I can also get a copy to Howard Dean who (I'm guessing here) would be one of the largest supporters.

I completely agree that our government on the national level has serious deficiencies...even if we are able to turn Congress blue. I easily forsee economic woes in the near future which will be blamed on the new dem Congress by mainstream media. Working at the state level to correct the failure that is now the fed gov't is, I believe, the best recourse.

I wish to thank your parents for that amazing gene configuration that enabled you to be so smart and you for using those abilities to help this country and world. I seriously wish to do what I can, so let us know how it is going.

Cheryl said...

"Three years ago, the United States defied the United Nations to show Saddam Hussein that he could not get away with defying the United Nations. Now, the Bush administration is apparently prepared to breach the NPT to show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he cannot get away with breaching the NPT."

from a post by Tad Daley entitled, America and Iran: Three Nuclear Ironies.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20060707_three_nuclear_ironies/

dan said...

Cheryl, that was a great article, I wish all Americans would read and understand it.

deb said...

This week the House and Senate will begin the voting process on the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Congressional leaders have scheduled this vote before the summer recess in the hopes of avoiding public debate that could turn it into an electoral issue. We need your help today to tell Congress to oppose this agreement.

Tell Congress to oppose the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement.

This agreement could be devastating to the livelihoods of small farmers, public health, and the regulation of investment to protect the public interest. We recently released a report which highlights some of the anticipated impacts of this agreement.

In a country where over half the population lives in poverty, this agreement could raise medicine prices by almost 10 percent within the first year of implementation, 100 percent in 10 years and 162 percent in eighteen years.

Agriculture is the main source of jobs in rural areas where the majority of the poor live. The agreement will expose Peruvian farmers of cotton and basic grains like wheat, corn and rice, to potentially ruinous competition with subsidized US exports. Twenty-five thousand US cotton producers receive $3.5 billion a year in subsidies from the government. Twenty-eight thousand Peruvian cotton producers, on the other hand, receive nothing. This agreement would remove and prohibit protections that seek to remedy this unfair advantage.

These examples show how this agreement is a bad deal for poor and working people of Peru. Please act today and tell Congress to oppose this agreement today!

Sincerely,


Tim Fullerton
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund


OXFAM

Judy B. said...

Deb... thanks for the OXFAM link... I passed it on to about 30 in my address book..

Anonymous said...

This seems to be the political thread to post. Outside my realm of expertise so I will turn this over to your talents.

A couple years ago congress passed a law limiting the reach of telemarketers and established a no call list complete with penalties for violators. Problem solved...

Not exactly. Many reputable and legitimate businesses telemarketed as a way to keep in contact with their established customers especially in an era of rising fuel and advertising costs.
This has hurt them significantly. No doubt.

Fast forward, election Ga. July 2006

Our airwaves and media are filled with political opponents berating and challenging the integrity of one another. They are promising to be "education" leaders while our children listen to them sling mud at one another, education?
At work the phone rings off the hook with political "vote for me because gibberish" interrupting our normal customer phone traffic. Very time consuming and counter productive to businesses that have already had their revenue cut by the "no-call" list. Go home (rural area) the intersections are filled with farm subsidized $75,000.00 shiny gas hogs (trucks) parked at every corner barely on the shoulder and candidates leaning far out into traffic waving their placards, trying to grab your babies cheeks smiling and screaming vote for me...
Dern traffic hazard and annoying as heck.
Get home and the answering machine has 12 messages all from candidates and their supporters, some of the recordings inaudible.
Last message from my father who had gone cross country to a fifty year class reunion and was having flight problems and needing assistance, the machine was out of memory and did not record the latter part of his message with a number in which to reach him or flight info, 7 hours later after much searching he was located. Hope he has a safe trip...

If you do get elected Richard, see if you can require congress and politicians to abide by the laws they pass. They are doing more damage than the Tupperware salesman and creating undue hardships on families and small business...
In the meantime, whom do I call and bit.. At?

Thank-You
John G. in Georgia

Richard Yarnell said...

The phone solicitation rules exempt businesses with whom you've already done business (within the last x months - six, I think) and political issue and candidate contact - you didn't think Congress would kill its own goose, did you?

I don't know what the rules are with respect to businesses being contacted by candidates. It would seem to me that any candidate who interrupts a business during the workday is alienating the management.

Why not call your congresscritter and ask what the rules are. Point out that they're not making friends.

Most phone databases will distinguish between business and residential lines, although auto dialers won't.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb, I went to the Oxfam site , but when I clicked on the link under "Act Now", it kept timing out before it could get there. I copied the link location that I'm having trouble with:

http://act.oxfamamerica.org/campaign/perufta_congress?source=fy06_action_oaaf

deb said...

I copied and pasted your link Christin...it takes me to the right page. Are you still having trouble?

Judy B. said...

Christin... if you are getting the link to load but not staying connected long enough to move on in the site, there are several potential causes and remedies...
First, try to refresh immediately..
if that doesn't work, move to another site and come back a little later... It could be that there are too many people trying to plug in at the same time...

Are you on dial up??? a slow connection might also be your cause... check your connection speed... if it is slower than your modem allows, you may just need to come back at another time...

also if you are runing several programs at the same time (some in the background), that can cause problems..

Let us know if you still can's make it work...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I got it now.

It's a cable connection, and I did keep refreshing, and also tried returning later. Since it kept timing out whenever I clicked on the link that says We need your help today..., I decided to right click on it so I could select Copy Link Location (it's that link location I put in my above post) to paste it into the address field in a new window. I thought maybe that alternate route would work, but it still kept timing out.

As always, I was running a zillion programs at once, though, so that is most likely what went wrong.

Now, since I don't know any more of the background about the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement than is already stated in that letter, I cannot put it into my own words. So what should I do?

dan said...

Christin, here's a link to tha *action letter*. Maybe that will work for you.
U.S.-Peru free trade responce letter

I send these types of letters frequently and I don't always have the time to add my *own words* so I just respond with the form letter.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks Dan,
I wasn't sure if it was okay to just submit the form letter. I do agree with what it says, so that makes it easier.

deb said...

A semi-victory...thanks y'all:

E from Oxfam:

"Congress will delay the final vote on the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement at least until after it returns from recess in September. More than 10,000 of you emailed your Representatives and asked them to oppose the agreement and your emails have helped to delay the vote! Now we need you to take another step to help the poor and working people of Peru.

Please write a letter to your local newspaper asking people to oppose the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement and then tell us which paper you wrote and what you said!"
Tell Oxfam what your letter said

Christin, I frequently send just the "form" letter due to time...my guess is that the form letter is better than not responding.

The DNC has an easy website to send letters to the editor:

Write letters to the editor

I have my state and national reps e addresses stored and copy and paste my letters and send a copy to them.

Judy B. said...

Deb... yopu are soooo gooood...

thanks for the update..

deb said...

Judy, Thanks. It's like, what else can I do but keep trying? And keep believing that if enough people wake up that we can change the country, which will change the world.

I am also using the "What the Bleep Do We Know" theory that if I keep believing then it WILL happen...thanks for recommending the movie Judy, it was a bit beyond my grasp, but reinforced my desire to stay optimistic.

deb said...

Our nation may be in breach of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Treaty. It seems that we are going to research and stockpile biological and chemical weapons. I believe this to be a horribly scary scenario. Please write letters to the editor and forward copies to your elected officials if this concerns you as much as it does me.

Naturally, it waswn't a US news source to break the story.

US begins building treaty-breaching germ war defence centre

deb said...

I suppose this belongs on the blue thread, but there is an interesting conversation about stocks going on down there so I will post it here:

A friend that lives here in Asheville had written so many letters to the Keith Olbermann show that she was invited to participate in an "e community forum" and e-mail that she sends to his writers will be read. She sent them this link WORST EVER SECURITY FLAW FOUND IN DIEBOLD TS VOTING MACHINE
along with a detailed synopsis of the "boot area configuration" (beyond my knowledge, btw) and Olbermann reported the flaw on his show that very night.

Thought I'd share how regular people are making a difference!!!

dan said...

Re: Keith Olbermann TV Show

Debbie, congratulations to your Ashville friend on her growing influence and of course to you on your ever expanding number of contacts.

RE:Our nation may be in breach of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Treaty.

I agree that it's a very disturbing story and it begs the question, why aren't we hearing about this in American news media?

dan said...

Re: Keith Olbermann TV Show

Debbie, congratulations to your Ashville friend on her growing influence and of course to you on your ever expanding number of contacts.

RE:Our nation may be in breach of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Treaty.

I agree that it's a very disturbing story and it begs the question, why aren't we hearing about this in American news media?

Cheryl said...

About the Diebold machine. Flipping the switch essentially causes the machine to run a different program. It's meant for testing. This shouldn't be allowed in the finished product. It also sounds like the alternate program could be loaded in the field.

dan said...

Astro turfing has been around a while and is getting more and more sophisticated.

Exxonmobil and the penguin

We should all be aware that special interests do disguise their propaganda and plant it on the 'net.

dan said...

I've been reading all the interesting topics on the blog but I haven't had much time to post lately. Tuesday is the dreaded moving day but I'll be only be unconnected for a couple days if I can sucessfully re-hook up all this equipment and if there's no hitch with Comcast (that's a couple big ifs).

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Dan, I'm looking forward to when you get re-settled, so you'll have more time to post again. Yeah, the physical part of moving is a major drag -- very tedious, but I would still be excited to be moving into a new home of my own.

There's something I want to know... Are Exxon stations and Mobil stations the only direct sources of income for Exxonmobil Corp? I want to completely avoid contributing to them. If they sell any products anywhere else, I'd like to know so I won't buy them any more. I would let my car run out of gas before I'd stop at an Exxon or a Mobil now! No longer does "any port in a storm" hold true for me.

Also Dan, since back when you informed us that the Mars family (M&M Mars candy makers) was one of the families seeking to repeal the estate tax, I've avoided all M&M Mars products. I'm hoping the other chocolate companies aren't just as bad...

deb said...

Cheryl, The way I see it, it all comes back to our media not reporting stories like the Diebold machine. Keith Olbermann did a short segment but, since then, where is the outcry that our voting machines are easily manipulated? So much research has been done on "advertising" that TV, radio, and print media are well aware of how many times and in how many markets a statement needs repeated in order for the general populace to have heard that information.

Hillary stated that there is a "vast right-wing conspiracy", a statement which has been ridiculed repeatedly...ridicule which has reached the eyes or ears of most every American, btw. However, I believe that there must be a group that has collectively decided that certain information should be suppressed and I know that other info, even if it is bogus, will be repeated so frequently that most every American hears it...and that info is usually beneficial to either the party in power or to the corporations that the party represent.

Thanks for the astroturf heads up Dan. It IS difficult for the financial top 2% of the pop to be a real grass roots organization;)

Christin, The choice of gasoline is a no-win deal. I buy Citgo as my first choice...in theory most of it comes from Venezuela, but the deal with gas stations is that they all buy and sell to each other. My second choice is BP.

I buy fairly traded coffee and chocolate. There are companies that buy from family farmers and insure that people are making a fair wage for their labor, and I believe that if I must have the stuff that I should do the right thing by others.

I buy "Larry's beans" coffee. I get the "shade grown" kind that preserves the forests. I buy different brands of chocolate, but here is one that is very good. Also, Newman's Own is delicious.

deb said...

While I'm up on the soap box...I am trying very hard not to give the "evil doer" corporations my money. Not all corporations fit into this catagory and sometimes it is not possible to have a particular service without giving money to the bad guys. I have looked at where I spend my money and researched the companies that I use and made changes accordingly. I bank at a local bank now (I'd rather have local millionaires that national billionaires). Rolled my 401K into a "green" investment co. Changed my credit card to support "green" causes. Changed my insurance company. Buy local whenever possible. We don't have a Costco nearby, but I do have a card and use it when I am near a store and they offer some products online. Phone, cable, internet and prescription drugs have no alternatives to giving "them" my money. If enough people shop with environmentally and socially responsible corporations then they will become the big guys and hopefully the others will cease to exist.

Judy B. said...

Deb...
You Go Girl!!!
I remember back in the 70's and 80's I use to have a list of products not to buy, and socially responsible businesses to give my business too...

I still try to do that on some scale, but you take it to the next level...

I'll bet that somewhere on the net there is a site that would help someone like me discover the most socially responsible businesses...

Richard Yarnell said...

Almost all major corporations have web sites that list everything from financial results (Investor Relations) to recruiting materials.

Here's the address that will take you directly to the Exxon/Mobil "Products" page:

http://www.exxonmobil.com/Siteflow/SF_PS_GlobalProductsServices.asp

deb said...

I found another dish made with cilantro that is delicious. A local Thai restaurant serves a slaw made with cabbage, radishes, onions, and carrots all sliced paper thin and chopped a bit. Add a bit of finely chopped tomato and a generous portion of cilantro. Sprinkle with a slightly sweetened wine vinegar (or maybe balsamic vinegar)....mmmmmmmmm.

Oh, and my french kids like it...which, naturally, gives the dish a great review;)

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Judy,
I just read the article you emailed me about off-shoring health care. If U.S. hospitals continue to price-gouge for huge profit as they have been, I don't see any problem with what that North Carolina company is doing. I think we need to withhold our money from all price gougers -- no exceptions. Since my primary care physician is from India -- and I think she's an excellent doctor, I'd have no qualms about being flown to New Delhi for surgery -- all expenses paid -- by my employer. And the best part is that the employer is giving the employee a portion of the cost savings in cash, upon his return. I don't see a down side anywhere in that scenario.

dan said...

I've made a note of Deb's slaw recipe and also Lulu's Ala caviar (from another thread) and Richard's salsa. I've also stocked the pantry with some Newman's Own salad dressing. I want to break in the new kitchen with some good cooking and some fairly traded items.

The club house here has a modern gym that I've been using daily. I thought I was in fair shape but now every muscle is sore (in a good sort of way). The place also has an indoor and outdoor pool and a hot tub. I'm feeling a little guilty since this is more luxury than I ever expected to live in.

I've got the Comcast $99. package, cable tv, internet and next Tues. cable phone service. I'll let you know how the phone works out.

The old house hasn't sold yet, so I'm off this morning to paint a couple rooms. The house is colonial in top condition on a beautiful wooded lot. If the Mi housing market wasn't so bad, it would have sold very quickly.

JG, I hope you're on the road to recovery.

I hope to join in on some of the conversations soon.

Judy B. said...

Dan...
Moving can be such a chore... but the "moving forward" excitement can overcome that... besides, it sounds like you have the luxuries that can make your new life very comfortqble...
Welcome back to this community...
You have been missed...

deb said...

Just a quick fly by...I am on my way to Drinking Liberally. Don't let the name fool you...many don't drink at all, but it is a terrific gathering of people who READ. We even have a few who used to be diehard Republicans...one can't overcome former bias enough to call himself a dem so he is starting a new "centrist" party. Females at our chapter are outnumbered 5 to 1 (just an fyi if anyone is interested). We have a few awesomely brilliant geniuses...and most of the rest are just people like me who want to do what they can to change the direction of the country. All ages show up...college kids to retirees. I don't think there is any age group that outnumbers any other.

Glad you are having such a wonderful time Dan...don't feel guilty a bit...it couldn't happen to a better guy!

Oh, Dan...soak in the tub (1/2 hour) in Epsom salt...forget the TV commercials...your Grandma WAS right...you will be a believer if your try it!

Cheryl said...

Christin,
I don't know the specifics of what you were writing about, but the usual method with outsourcing is to lower costs without lowering prices. Outsourcing is a major cause of the shrinking middle class.

Also, if you have any medical work in India, it will be under India's medical system and legal system. You won't have any of the protections you might expect from medical care in this country.

Personally, I wouldn't want to travel unnecessarily half-way around the world when I'm sick. It would be a major disruption to my family whether they came with me or not.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Dan,
Your old property sounds like it must be beautiful. A lot of our most attractive homes here are sitting empty now as well. But I think the reasons for our respective states' flat housing markets are probably different.

In Michigan, is the reason for slow home sales because of the loss of auto industry jobs?

As for the slow home sales here... Well, after the run-up in prices we saw from 2001 to 2005, it's about time! I was very happy to hear on the news a couple of days ago, that the median home price in this state has fallen to $360,000, which is typical of the prices I now see in the town where I live. Even further west -- in Worcester (pronounced WOR-stir, or with a particularly thick regional accent -- WIS-tah) County -- also known as Central Mass, it's way down to $290,000. But in the Greater Boston area, it's holding steady at around $500,000. As far as I'm concerned, those median prices all need to fall by at least another $100,000 to be realistic for average workers. But that would be an unprecendented drop -- unless you were to consider severely contaminated neighborhoods in the U.S. like Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY.

As far as living the "life of Reilly", I second what Debbie said. In my opinion, you of all people shouldn't feel even the tiniest bit guilty about enjoying a luxurious retirement -- being that you are a Vietnam vet and carried your own financial weight (It said in your profile you were a pipefitter, right?), and that you care so much about your family and society as a whole.

What I can't get over is the fact that the ones who least deserve luxuries, never for a second feel guilty about it.

Right now, the plain old "rocking chair on the porch" sounds like a pretty comfortable (literally) retirement to me. I'd just appreciate the two biggest luxuries of all: rest and free time.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,
What you said about males outnumbering females by 5 to 1 at your local chapter of Drinking Liberally -- especially the part in parentheses "just an fyi if anyone is interested", has put a big smile on my face.

I'm thinking there are only two of us who regularly visit this blog who are single, and for whom that statistic would probably be favorable:) All the rest of our group is married, no?

I've read that North Carolina -- among other southern and western states -- inherited a huge chunk of my state's single, well-educated male population. It seems like almost the only single males left here are the twenty-something year old immigrants from Central and South America.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Cheryl,
I thought that the best way to show you the specifics about self-insured companies' off-shoring of health care would be to copy and paste the article that Judy emailed me:

The LA Times on July 30 reported, U.S. Employers Look Offshore for Health Care”:

“As costs rise, workers are being sent abroad to get operations that cost tens of thousands more in the U.S.

“After going overseas to outsource everything from manufacturing to customer services, American businesses -- pressed by rising health care costs -- are looking offshore for medical benefits as well.

“A growing number of employers that fund their own health insurance plans are looking into sending ailing employees abroad for surgeries that in the U.S. cost tens of thousands of dollars more.

“Carl Garrett of Leicester, N.C., will fly to a state-of-the-art New Delhi hospital in September for surgeries to remove gallstones and to fix an overworn rotator cuff. His employer, Blue Ridge Paper Products Inc. of Canton, N.C., will pay for it all, including airfare for Garrett and his fiancee. The company also will give Garrett a share of the expected savings, up to $10,000, when he returns…

“Blue Ridge, which employs 2,000 and funds its own health plan, began studying the idea out of frustration with rising rates at local hospitals, company officials said. Blue Ridge's health care costs have doubled in the last five years, to about $9,500 a year per employee.

“‘The hospitals have a monopoly. They don't care, because where else are patients going to go?’ said benefits director Bonnie Blackley. ‘Well, we are going to go to India.’

“Every year, tens of thousands of Americans travel abroad for cheaper tummy tucks and angioplasties. This ‘medical tourism’ has typically been reserved for uninsured procedures or uninsured patients.

“No major insurer offers such travel, but several employers that fund their own benefit programs have expressed interest, according to consultants and medical tourism agencies…

“‘This is not the solution,’ said California Hospital Association spokeswoman Jan Emerson. ‘In fact, this could make problems worse’…

“Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, and Apollo Hospitals in India, for example, are internationally recognized institutions. Despite the Third World conditions outside, the hospitals resemble five-star hotels and are equipped with the latest technology, American patients have reported. Many of the doctors are trained in the U.S., and visiting Americans are pampered around the clock, they have said…

“A coronary artery bypass surgery costs about $6,500 at Apollo Hospitals in India, [Mercer Health & Benefits chief physician Arnold] Milstein estimated.

“The average price in California is $60,400.”

Is India a Solution?

It seems to me a better question is "Why isn't India a solution?" The market (via India) is providing a wonderful solution to highly priced and overrated U.S. health care services.

If I were a major medical provider in the U.S., I would start offering lower rates to anyone willing to travel. I would also be contracting for services in India, Bermuda, and Mexico. Why fly to India, when flights to Mexico are cheaper?

$6,500 for a coronary artery bypass surgery sounds reasonable enough. Add in another $3,500 for plane fares and other miscellaneous expenses and the cost is still less than one-sixth the price of the same operation in California. Without the leeway, it is one-tenth the cost.

The price of medical services -- as with the price of houses -- has outstripped people's ability to pay for them. The market is finally weighing in on the situation. It has decided that a coronary bypass operation should cost $6,500 (plus travel expenses). I agree. Given enough time, the market will gravitate to the low-cost provider if quality remains constant. In this case, medical care in India may actually be of higher quality. It just takes time for the masses to learn about those options, and the education process is now underway.

So far, it seems that it is mainly self-insured companies that are taking the "medical tourism" route. At those savings, how long will it be before some major bank like Citicorp or some company like ExxonMobil decides to do the same with its health care plan?

The U.S. has the highest health care costs in the world. What are we getting for it? Our laws (essentially written by pharmaceutical companies) ensure U.S. costs will always be highest. We cannot import drugs from Canada or other places. That will change, simply because it has to.

Something like 70% of all health care costs are incurred in the last year of someone's life. That, too, cannot last. By definition, if something can't last, it won't, but the path from here to there is likely to be a long one.

The Huffington Post is reporting, “Cuba Has Better Medical Care Than the U.S.”:

“Figures from the World Health Organization clearly show that The United States lags behind 36 other countries in overall health system performance ranging from infant mortality, to adult mortality, to life expectancy.

“20 countries in Europe and four countries in Asia have a better life expectancy than the U.S. If you are a male between the ages of 15-59, your chances of dying are higher in the U.S. (140 per thousand) than in Canada, 95, Costa Rica, 127, Chile, 134, and Cuba, 138.

“The U.S. health system looks especially dysfunctional when you consider how much money we spend per capita on health care -- $6,0000-plus per year, twice as much as any other country -- and how little we get for it.

“Canada spends $2,163 and boasts a life expectancy of 79.8 years, 2½ years longer than the U.S. Their infant mortality rate per thousand is also better than ours, as is their adult mortality rate.

“Switzerland spends about 11% of its gross domestic product on universal health care for all its citizens, while the U.S. (with 50 million uninsured this year) spends 15% of GDP, with embarrassing results.

“One grand irony, Cuba, whose economy has been bankrupt for the last decade -- food shortages, drug shortages, chronic unemployment, etc. -- and which annually spends a miserly $185 per person on health care, has better infant and adult mortality rates than the U.S., and has a life expectancy nearly equal to ours.

“Why has our vaunted free enterprise system -- which has produced such great benefits in delivery of most goods and services -- failed so completely with regard to this most fundamental need?

“Simple, buyers don't shop for health care. Sick people don't negotiate with doctors or hospitals or drug companies. They don't care what it costs; insurance or the government will pay. This vulnerability has been exploited and hijacked by greedy doctors, drug companies, insurers, personal injury lawyers, HMOs, and hospitals. About 50% of health care funds never even get to doctors or hospitals -- which themselves run bloated operations.

“Maybe we have finally reached the ‘Tipping Point.’ Not because people are needlessly dying, but because big business is being crippled by astronomical health costs.

“U.S. companies -- with employer-funded health plans -- are having a hard time competing in world markets. General Motors spends more on worker health care ($1,400 per vehicle) than they spend on steel for each car they produce. ‘The three big automakers are "HMOs on wheels,"’ says Goldman Sachs analyst Gary Lapidus.”

Who benefits from the current mess?

Please consider the article “Inside Job: How Humana and other insurance companies rigged the Medicare prescription drug plan”:

“Last week saw the news that Humana, one of the country’s largest health insurance companies, experienced much better second-quarter earnings than had been expected. The announcement amounted to confirmation that the Medicare drug benefit is working exactly as planned -- not for the people enrolled in it, but for the insurers who drafted it.

“Humana’s profits jumped 10%, much better than Wall Street had anticipated, helped by a surge in seniors enrolling in Humana’s Medicare drug and HMO plans. Membership in their drug program now stands at 3.46 million, up a million and a half in the last three months. This increase in enrollment brought Humana $801 million in new revenue. Humana has also doubled its Medicare HMO membership in the past year, bringing it to almost a million. The company took in $2.1 billion in premiums from HMO members in the last three months, almost double what the firm received a year ago.

“Simply put, the Medicare drug program has been good news for Humana. But for seniors who had hoped that the Medicare drug plan, which began in January, would relieve them of worries about drug costs, things are not so rosy. About one-fifth of seniors in the Medicare program, concentrated especially among the poor who had been on Medicaid, report that they now pay more for their medicines than they had before. Since insurers can decide which drugs they cover and which they won’t, many seniors are finding that new medicines they need are not paid for by their plan. And millions of enrollees are now approaching the level of total drug expenses that will provoke a cutoff from any further Medicare help with costs -- the now-infamous "donut hole"…

“Humana executives devised a clever game plan for seniors. They would offer inexpensive drug-only coverage and then try to steer these enrollees into Humana’s more profitable HMO. Humana’s CEO, Michael McCallister, admitted to investors last October that it was offering the cheap drug plans as a way of ‘capturing as much market share as possible at a modest profit, to ultimately migrate those customers.’ Humana enticed their sales representatives to sign up seniors for the HMO program with large commissions. In fact, salesmen were paid twice as much for HMO enrollees as they received for seniors signed up for drug-only plans.

“Humana was not only involved in drafting the bill, they also had several former officials in top posts within the Bush administration as the program went into effect. The top Medicare official in charge of selling the program to seniors was Julie Goon, who had set up Humana’s Washington office in 1990. When the bill was going through Congress, Goon was in charge of legislative affairs for the health insurance trade group, then named American Association of Health Plans. This June, she became President Bush’s senior health policy adviser. Goon replaced Roy Ramthun in that post. Ramthun was a top Humana official for eight years, including the time when Congress drafted and passed the Medicare bill.

“Humana is optimistic that it will continue to benefit from the Medicare program. McCallister told analysts last week that the Medicare business was ‘a long-term growth engine’ for the company. Indeed, Humana and UnitedHealth/PacifiCare together cover nearly half the seniors who have enrolled in drug plans.”

Plan Restrictions

If that was not enough, the article failed to mention the fact that plan providers can change benefits on 60 days notice, but plan participants cannot switch for a year. This means that participants can be enticed to join a plan because it covers the drugs they need, only to find out that those drugs have been dropped. Of course, those participants are then stuck for a full year, regardless of price.

It's time to cut out the middleman. If we are going to have our laws written by lobbyists, let's hire lobbyists directly, as opposed to senators and congressmen who are supposed to represent us. At least the system would be more honest. As for now, if you want great health care for cheap, you head to India. If you want low-priced drugs, you head to Canada or Mexico. If you live in the U.S., you are screwed.

Regards,
Mike Shedlock ~ “Mish”

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Judy,
I want to get back to you about the news on Starchild -- the Virginia teenager who is correctly refusing chemotherapy treatments. As you probably already have noticed, that's a subject of particular interest to me.

Right now, I'd better get to bed. My supervisor has been switching my shift back and forth as needed by the company -- from the noon-8pm shift, to an 8:30pm-4:30am shift, and back again. As of this week, I'm on the noon-8pm shift. So, I should have gotten to bed a couple of hours ago. I need at least an hour and a half to get ready for work and have something to eat -- plus I have a half-hour commute.

How am I going to keep doing this for another twenty years??? I'm so world-weary. Physically, I have more than enough energy, but I need some kind of positive incentive to get my enthusiasm back.

Judy B. said...

Deb... Drinking Liberally... What a great idea... checked the map and found there are three chapters within drinking distance.. but think it would be a kick to start one here in Cowlitz county...

Cheryl said...

Christin,
I completely agree that we are paying way too much for way too little health care. But outsourcing does have some downsides.

It does nothing to address our worst health problem, lack of access to preventitive and chronic illness care.

Even minor surgury needs follow-up care. Do you have to go back to India after a couple of months?

It may be great when everything goes well, but what do you do if there are complications?

I like a chance to meet the doctor before agreeing to surgery.

Should my husband come along to be my advocate, or should he stay home and keep his job?

Should I pull my kids out of school for a couple of weeks, or be half-way around the world from them? As much as they enjoy missing school, they hate the makeup work even more.

I just can't support anything that encourages outsourcing. Thanks to outsourcing and H1-B's, I have very little chance of staying employed until retirement age.

This may be a band-aid that helps a few of our medical system problems, but what we really need is universal single-payer health care.

Cheryl said...

By coincidence, Yes Magazine just posted an article about health care.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0818-27.htm

The cost of corporate bureaucracy

Where is the money going? An estimated 15 cents of each private U.S. health care dollar goes simply to shuffling the paperwork. The administrative costs for our patched-together system of HMO's, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, and government programs are nearly double those for single-payer Canada. It’s not because Americans are inherently less efficient than Canadians — our publicly funded Medicare system spends under five cents per budget dollar on administrative overhead. And the Veterans Administration, which functions like Britain’s socialized medical system, spends less per patient but consistently outranks private providers in patient satisfaction and quality of care.

But in the private sector, profits and excessive CEO pay are added to the paperwork and bureaucracy. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry averages a 17 percent profit margin, against three percent for all other businesses. In the health care industry, million-dollar CEO pay packages are the rule, with some executives pulling down more than $30 million a year in salary and amassing billion-dollar stock option packages.

Do those costs really make the difference?

Studies conducted by the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, and various states have concluded that a universal, single-payer health care system would cover everyone &ndash including the millions currently without insurance &mdash and still save billions.

Anonymous said...

Great thread! keep it up all.
What bothers me about our present system other than what I have already posted is the uneven way it is provided.
Those who need healthcare yet cannot afford it are not receiving adequate care. Those with some sort of government assistance or good insurance and the ability to pay are over treated. It seems no one is receiving proper care based on monetary reasoning as opposed to moral ones. recipe for disaster?
John G. in Ga.

Judy B. said...

I sent the article that Christin posted to a physician friend,one of the old fashioned kind, who is trying to keep a family practice going in competition with the corporate hospital mentality that makes it hard for him to survive.

This was his reply: "Judy, thanks for this. I am concerned about ALL jobs being outsourced, not just medical. Eventually we may not have a middle class that can afford standard prices." RAK

His practice has a hard time keeping doctors because the Hospitals offer them more money, and all kinds of incentives; it is common knowledge that they are trying to ruin his practice.... so instead of oursourcing he has had to rely on foreign doctors to keep afloat... Such a strange world...

It was one of these Docs from Russia that kept my dayghter alive until she could be accepted at OHSU.. with that in mind, I will not disparage foreign health care...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Cheryl,
I'm glad you posted that, because now I realize I wasn't taking into consideration that people who have young children to care for can't just fly off to other countries without turning their lives upside down -- even if their employers are footing the bill. I don't know why I overlooked that aspect of families' lives, since I see how much added effort my sister has to make, because in every decision, she always first considers its effect on her young daughter. I also see my brother and his wife facing these same kinds of dilemmas.

I guess it would only be an option for single people or couples whose children are already grown up.

As for H1B's, I guess my biggest issue is with the fact that workers with H1B visas don't have to pay the same income taxes that the rest of us do -- and I'm assuming employers get out of paying unemployment insurance and probably other taxes for those employees as well.

deb said...

Great post Cheryl. India is a 16+ hour plane ride...can't you just imagine sitting in a cramped seat, riding in a tin can with wings for that legnth of time after surgery? It seems that I pick up some bug or other any time I fly...so many people in such a small area that if any one is sick all will be exposed. No thanks on medical outsourcing.

I believe that medicare for all is a step in the right direction. But, as y'all have stated, there are many other concerns with our medical system. It seems that if something isn't readily diagnosible people get the run around to a variety of doctors complete with various radioactive scans. I like teaching hospitals because the med students and their instructors actually put their heads together to come up with a diagnosis.

Lab tests are specifically stated to look for "x" instead of looking for anything out of the ordinary. I know of people who just give up on finding out what is going on and tolerate an illness for which there might possibly be an effective treatment.

Over medication is a problem. Our system is based on prescriptions whether or not the person needs them. Checking things like vitamin levels isn't the norm in the states, but adaquate vitamins stregnthen the immune system and the person's body often will heal its self when the immune system is functioning properly.

Judy, One of my favorite doctor's is a woman from Thailand. She combines eastern and western medicine and is an excellent doctor. She and her father are in practice together in Alabama. I agree that the best of medicine from all over the world should be shared and researched.

Christin, the saddest part is that those workers really don't have any access to healthcare in this country should they become ill or get injured anywhere except work.

Judy B. said...

While I wouldn't want to fly away to India for basic healthcare, it is good to know that it is available for things that insurance might not "allow" here in the states....... Many people in the Northwest vacation in Arizona and New Mexico in the winter and while they are there many of them go across the border to Mexico for RX and dental care... And they swear that it is quality care...

One of my good friends and his wife flew down to Southern Californis (and went across the border)last spring when they both needed some quick dental work... crowns, etc... they paid for their "vacation" with the money they saved. They both said the care was great, the provider was an American educated, English speaking dentist...

Cheryl said...

It's a sad state of affairs when we have to travel to another country in order to afford health care. I still think it's a good idea to know what you're legal rights are before deciding to travel.

H1-B's are supposed to be used to import people with specialized skills that are not available in this country. One of the technical societies recently did a study on how it is actually used. The average salary paid to an H1-B immigrant is lower than the average salary of American workers in the same field. Obviously it is not being used to import rare skills, but instead it is being used to lower salaries here.

The immigrants are as much a victim as US born. They are a kind of indentured servant. If they lose their job, they have a very short time to find another before losing their employment status. Once they get here, they almost can't question salary, working conditions, etc. If they get laid off, they have to take anything at any pay if they want to stay.

The politicians like to carry on about our students not majoring in math, science, or engineering. They refuse to acknowledge one of the major reasons for this. There is no future in the fields. The unemployment rate for engineers is outrageous. I don't know of any studies on the underemployment rate, but I'm sure it's frightening.

I'll close with a quote.

"What the people want is called 'politically unrealistic'. Translated into English, that means power and privelege are opposed to it." Noam Chomsky

deb said...

Great quote Cheryl! Hopefully that is going to change to a gov't by and for the people.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I got this link from the Mr. Brown Thumb blog, listed at Christopher's blog. You'd think the mentality in the herbal remedy market would be different, but just as in the pharmaceutical industry, greed knows no bounds

dan said...

Christin, there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to kill an elephant for it's ivory, a shark for it's fin, a tree for it's bark or even a human for the watch on his wrist. It is sad.

Judy B. said...

I hope i did not leave the impression that I like the option of traveling outside the country to get health care... I was just pointing it out as another option... and one that is frequently being used by the retired community...

What we need is quality universal health care...

Cheryl said...

For the time being, we have to make the best choice we can both financially and medically. I think it's important to keep pointing out what is not acceptable in our health care system so that we can improve it.

Judy, if your doctor friend doesn't already know about it, he might be interested in Physicians for a National Health Program, http://www.pnhp.org/

dan said...

There's no doubt that people are scrambling to find affordable health care and medicine wherever that can. The fact that insurance companies find it cheaper to pay you a bonus to fly you and a loved one to India for your treatment should be a wake up call.

The Grandfather Reportis loaded with data and charts that show how the U.S. health care costs and results compare to other nations. If you have some time, many of the links there are interesting.

Judy B. said...

Thank you Dan for the Grandfather Report... Too much to digest in one setting so I will have to go back...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I didn't know which thread to put this in, but this is for Rich:

My landlord is experimenting right now with building an aluminum can stove for camping -- one of these.

It's making me nervous, because he's been lighting it right in the house. Is that safe?

Richard Yarnell said...

I wouldn't unless it were an emergency. If fuel is spilled, an alcohol flame is hard to see.

I'll admit that I don't see what's supporting the pan above the stove. I'll go back a look at it when I'm not so pooped.

One reason Sterno was developed was to avoid the danger of spilled fuel.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

He says he's still going to do it anyway, but at least not tonight. I'm especially nervous about his lighting those cans down in his machine shop in the basement, because that's also where he stores paint and paint thinner, and other volatile chemicals. I asked him if at least he'd experiment with the soda can stoves out back in the driveway (the driveway makes a horseshoe all the way around the house). He said okay, but he may just have said that to appease me. This house was built in the 1800's -- if it were to catch fire, it'd go up like a kleenex box. If he does do it outside, I hope he also stays away from the barn when he's lighting them -- he has a lot of volatile chemicals stored in there as well.

Richard Yarnell said...

Sounds like the kind of guy who becomes the center of lurid TV news stories.

There's no hope he has the paints and chemicals in metal lockers and the inevitable paint rags in air-tight cans, is there?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

No Rich,
He's not like that at all. He's more like the typical absent-minded professor -- kind of geeky. I think he has a slight case of Asperger's. He's just really into scientific stuff. He has too many close ties to be another Unabomber...

Richard Yarnell said...

Not that kind of lurid: just the everyday "tragic fire" kind of lurid.

Local TV makes everything into an "ironic tragedy."

Might I suggest that you replace all the alcohol in the house with water.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Nah, he knows enough not to sip the denatured alcohol... Anyway, at this point, I would replace it all with water, except I don't have access to his cabinets. He lives in a separate apartment and he locks up his workshop at night.

I think I might have gotten through to him this time, though. I told him -- Look, if this house catches fire and the fire department finds those little soda can stoves next to that can of alcohol, your homeowner's insurance won't cover you. Besides, doesn't it make more sense to practice lighting them outside, since you're going to be using them when you're outside camping this weekend?

He agreed that what I said made sense. Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed until the weekend...

Cheryl said...

Mother Jones has a new feature:

Lie by Lie: Chronicle of a War Foretold: August 1990 to March 2003

http://www.motherjones.com/bush_war_timeline/

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I found this guy via Anonymous Liberal. Very literary type, sometimes a bit obscure but always interesting. This post is excellent.

Tragos

dan said...

Cheryl/Christopher, thank you both for finding and sharing some powerful posts.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I would like to have Tragos in our links list. Would that be okay with all of you?

deb said...

The Mother Jones Timeline contains the crucial information that so many of us have been trying to share since before the war in Iraq started. Long ago I quit believing that mainstream media would get that information out, but kudos to Mother Jones for their investigative journalism and getting that information in one place. Thanks Cheryl!

Speaking of mainstream media...have you noticed a "left" shift? (still far right of center, but perhaps inching toward reality) Keith Olberman...Marilynn sent me this along with a note saying "Maybe there is hope"

deb said...

Oh, and I absolutely want the Mother Jones Timeline on the link column!!!

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I am working on the beginnings of new threads now. By tomorrow your folks time it will be fresh and rearranged slightly.

Links in the sidebar will come a few at a time I think.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,
I read the Keith Olberman commentary on Rumsfeld that Marilynn sent you. This particular statement grabbed me:

"And yet he can stand up in public, and question the morality and

the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the

Emporer’s New Clothes.
"

especially after just having received that email from democrats.org regarding the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. I did sign the petition, because it's our money that pays their salaries, and it's also our money they're all spending, so we have the right to know where and how it's being spent.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Christopher,
I'm looking forward to seeing your new design for our blog. I'll try not to stay up too late just so I can see it before morning. Reminds me of waiting up for Santa Claus...