Dateline: Wed 30 Sep 2009

Sweatshirt seen today at the VA Hosptial in Indy -- a black lady who works there was wearing it.


At least we know who to blame when he screws up.

The fellow who spotted this noted, "Talk about being oversold." And it's true: the giddiness that led up to Obama's election is not possible to replicate. Makes it a hard row to hoe for the prez.

Thanks, Jesus.




Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Funny shirt.

Ya know what's gone these days? Any sense of humor about our national dialogues and issues.

Obama tried to poke fun at himself on Letterman last week--a quality his immediate predecessor would've done well to duplicate.

Listening to the rightwing medianoise, you'd have thought he president asked us all to jump off a cliff.

And today, they're whining about his trip to Copenhagen to promote a potential Chicago Olympics.

The volume and shrillness of the Nobamaites tells me one thing is behind too much of the crap thrown at him: underneath it all, there are too many folks who can't quite stomach a black president--not yet.

When the dialogue landscape is that littered with nonsense, it creates one casualty:

We're missing a chance at some of our generation's best public issue give-and-take. Civil discourse and a sense of humor are nearly dead, so, sometimes we resort to...

Clever t-shirt sayings.

2009-09-30 11:41:58

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

My wife was walking in front of two African-American ladies a couple of weeks ago and heard their conversation about Obama:

This is paraphrased a little:

"Well, I hope Obama is a strong finisher because he sure has been a slow starter."

Like Bill Moyers, Maher, Oliver Stone and these two ladies, I'd like to see Obama take the bull (government by corporation and the military/industrial complex) by the horns a bit more firmly.

I'd hate for his time in office to be remembered as those of Repub-locrat presidents like Clinton and Carter (who has since been reformed - smile).

Social justice and economic justice aren't going to make everyone happy. Obama needs to quit trying to build consensus and lead with authority. I hate to use a Bush quote, but after all, Obama is "the decider" now.

2009-09-30 12:04:07

Write Man [Member] said:

Patience is a virtue, but one that's hard to come by just now.

Some jobs have a 90 day probationary period, but most give an employee review after 12 months (I'd include that a merit raise is part of that equation, too, but we're talking today's economy).

Perhaps we should all give him a year (and try hard to block out all the noise in the meantime). Imagine if you had that job and inherited the same mess...yeesh.

2009-09-30 12:16:44

hendy [Member] said:

The rhetoric never quits.

Here's a guy that was the great _____ hope. He was elected into the worst economic conditions in seven or eight decades. The country is running three wars, with one on the horizon (Iran). Dissent was at its peak. Global warming had been ignored. Gas was cresting towards $4.50/gal. The stock market was in the dumpster.

Solving any one of those issues might be heroic. Any two, superhuman. Any more than two, unbelievable.

And so when you add in health care, bank reform, consumer protection, stopping the wars, dealing with people that talk with their fingers in their ears, it's not a wonder that Obama needs Jesus. Perhaps the reverse is true, too. I shudder to think where we might be if McCain had won..... with Palin as a VP.

Patience people. It took a decade to get this screwed up, and it's going to be as long to unwind it. Much has been decimated-- and most importantly, our winning attitude. If you believe we're screwed, we really are.

2009-09-30 13:30:59

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I agree with hendy that it is a little early for complete judgement. But The O should stay off TV for awhile. Too much talk and little to show for it.

Reminds me of a Texas saying: "He's all hat and no cattle."

(Take note of how NPR has become very critical of The Prez! It isn't total love in the liberal tent.)

2009-09-30 13:41:53

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Tom, Obama has discovered that multi-media appearances reach quite different audiences.

You watch Hannity or Olbermann. I watch Meet the Press and CNN. My neighbor watches none of those, and thinks CBN is God's-gift-to-news (the poor soul).

If he's surfing across multiple channels, he figures his message gets out better.

I don't know if it's smart. But the folks who got him elected, and some others, are smarter than me by a long shot. And they think this works.

I'll give him this--he doesn't duck problems. He faces them head-on.

My favorite t-shirt saying: "Sasha and Malia are lucky."

Amen to that.

2009-09-30 14:00:04

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

A Harvard study reports that 45,000 people died in the U.S. last year due to lack of health care coverage.

Maybe I see things too simplistically, but if Bush could start two wars without getting anyone's okay then I don't understand why Obama couldn't start a national single-payer health care plan without various and sundry okays.

What appears to be in the works now is an extremely watered-down proposal that will improve the health care mess only minimally. It may even make some Republicans happy.

This has nothing to do with "rhetoric." It has to do with good people dying and good people going bankrupt on a daily basis because they have a family member with terminal illness. How patient are THEY supposed to be? These people don't need someone to send them an ambulance (metaphorically speaking) in three or four years, they need one today!

And "rhetoric" has nothing to do with the thousands of innocent civilians - many of them children - who are dying in Afghanistan villages because of the war that is STILL being waged there by the U.S. - with Obama conversing on escalation with his generals. "Oh, so sorry one of our robot planes accidently killed your grandma."

"War on Terrorism." How about the "terrorism" that goes on every night in the inner-city neighborhoods of Indianapolis and every other major city in the U.S.?

My wife of 30 years spends 50 hours a week right in the middle of it, so I get plenty of first-hand accounts. Many of them involving minority children.

Yeah, I guess we need to be more patient.

2009-09-30 14:10:26

John Howard [unverified] said:


"The preliminary number of deaths in the United States in 2006 was 2,425,900, a 22,117 decrease from 2005.

"There were 12,045 deaths from HIV/AIDS in 2006, and age-adjusted death rates from the disease declined 4.8 percent from 2005.

Alzheimer?s disease overtook diabetes as the 6th leading cause of death in the United States in 2006. Preliminary data indicate 72,914 Americans died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2006."

Instead of forcing 300M people into government-controlled healthcare, there are far greater potentials for saving lives beyond a mere 45K who died last year and were judged not to have 'adequate healthcare coverage.'

Note by the way, NO ONE has ever died from 'inadequate healthcare coverage.' People with inadequate healthcare coverage do die, and people with adequate healthcare coverage die too - and in much greater numbers.

2009-09-30 16:01:45

hendy [Member] said:

And stop watching TV. There's really very little news there any more, at least not on the national level. The talking heads have become more entertainers than old-school journalists. They're what the BBC calls "news readers".

Here I sit, now only getting a Sunday newspaper, watching only MadMen and occasional doses of Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart. It's really refreshing and good for the blood pressure. Plus-- I no longer want to throw things at the TV!

Yes, I have an RSS feed reader, and many admittedly duplicate sources of information. Like how IndyStar tells me about Purdue monitoring cow emissions. Still, I get the news on my schedule, not by some TV programmer's clock.

2009-09-30 16:02:54

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"I'll give him this--he doesn't duck problems. He faces them head-on."

And solving which ones?

hendy is dead on with this: turn off the damn tube. The nattering nabobs of negativism are smiting us all! Yelling, yammering, opining, rudely interrupting, each thrashing about for his or her face time. There's way too much reliance on media trolls, and too little on reflection and careful examination of the bits and bytes that gnaw at us.

2009-09-30 17:08:31

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

Wringing hands about civil discourse gone to Hell? Much of it because of an underlying racism among those who oppose The Annointed One? Oh, please -- verbal Ipecac. Bushie was savaged mercilessly by the left and enlightened moderates -- and some of it was deserved. Films were made about how to assassinate him. Where was the outrage then about uncivil discourse? By gosh it was patriotic duty to be uncivil and vitriolic. A lot of people have genuine concern about dangerous levels of debt run up in six months and honest disagreements about government's ability to provide certain services -- it's not that they have a Klan hood cutting off circulation to their brains. How's "question authority!" feel when the shoe's on the other foot, you hand-wringing NPR listeners? Go pour a cup of Celestial Seasonings.

2009-09-30 17:23:52

hendy [Member] said:

Ah, Vlad, but we neo-lefties do question authority. And surprisingly, the local NPR affiliate has a significant balance of lefties and righties. Bah.

Bush needed savaging because he was a dolt. I could say more unkind words about him, but it's a waste of good effort; fear drove his elections-- the one that wasn't stolen by chicanery. Assassination is wrong no matter who the target is. That Obama might be a target is the problem with every president. Idiots with guns that can't understand civility and the madness of democracy. I'm outraged at any attempt to overthrow the government.

And yes, I'm the descendent of Klan members. And I rebuke their stance. I see the John Birch members now rear their ugly hating commie-fearing heads once again. We have to tolerate even those we consider idiots in this country. I do so willingly, because I recognize that to a small fraction of others, I'm an idiot. This is how we survive each other.

2009-09-30 18:16:33

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

A "mere 45,000 people have died" and "no one has ever died of inadequate health care coverage."
"Mere?" Really? What if one of those 45,000 human beings was your mother, father, son, daughter, best friend, etc.

I'll let this Reuters report speak for itself:

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.

The findings come amid a fierce debate over Democrats' efforts to reform the nation's $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry by expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costs.

President Barack Obama's has made the overhaul a top domestic policy priority, but his plan has been besieged by critics and slowed by intense political battles in Congress, with the insurance and healthcare industries fighting some parts of the plan.

The Harvard study, funded by a federal research grant, was published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health. It was released by Physicians for a National Health Program, which favors government-backed or "single-payer" health insurance.

An similar study in 1993 found those without insurance had a 25 percent greater risk of death, according to the Harvard group. The Institute of Medicine later used that data in its 2002 estimate showing about 18,000 people a year died because they lacked coverage.

Part of the increased risk now is due to the growing ranks of the uninsured, Himmelstein said. Roughly 46.3 million people in the United States lacked coverage in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week, up from 45.7 million in 2007.

Another factor is that there are fewer places for the uninsured to get good care. Public hospitals and clinics are shuttering or scaling back across the country in cities like New Orleans, Detroit and others, he said.

Study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler said the findings show that without proper care, uninsured people are more likely to die from complications associated with preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

2009-09-30 22:47:04

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

So now we're reduced to fighting about whether uninsured or insured people die at a higher rate? Really? It's come to that?

I'm continually amazed at the blogworld's reduction of big issues, to run-on sentences and empty debates. Please. It's national health care we're discussing.

Government is the only entity that can stop the current madness. I've had health insurance--all my life--never uncovered. And I'm sitting on about $30,000 of medical bills from an illness four years ago. Paying it off slowly. From a starting balance due of over six figures. With insurance that cost me $350 a month. And my employer paid an equal or larger amount.

It's blatantly ignorant to ignore the impending doom we face, if we don't tackle this problem. The impact to our economy is mind-boggling. It's a trade issue, too, because all goods purchased overseas come wiht affixed employee costs much lower than ours, for the most part--and the gap is growing by the year, when we fail to tackle this problem. There are multiple solutions, and our president is trying his level best to herd cats toward a corral.

It's difficult when the chairman of one of the oversight committees is pushing legislation that blatantly favors health insurers--and he's gotten over $3 million in the last 10 years from the health insurers' PACs. What a pathetic gasbag.

It's also difficult when we can't seem to focus on the right issues. The rate of people dying with and without insurance? Seriously? As if that matters a damn.

Oh yeah--this one hit close to home. I lost a loved one to "the long goodbye." The docs told us no one ever dies from Alzheimer's...it's the myriad other health problems that ultimately overtake Alzheimer's patients.
The disease itself, I'm told, doesn't kill.

If there are medical pros among us who can enlighten me differently, I'll gladly listen and learn.

2009-10-01 05:47:47

boomer [unverified] said:

The stat that 45,000 people die each year because they lack insurance or don't have access is ridiculous. How in the world do you quantify that statement? There's no way to know this. Here's the deal. Life's not fair. There will always be the haves and have nots. Sure, we can try and help those in need. But those with the money will always make the rules. And have nicer things. Socialism is all about making the playing field fair. I prefer capitalism, where the strong survive. I make a dollar, and shouldn't have to give away 60, 70, 80 cents to fund all kinds of government programs. Let's reward hard work (capitalism) not tax and squeeze the rich.

2009-10-01 08:55:30

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

People without health insurance can go to the ER. And they do. So, why would they want to pay for government mandated insurance if they can continue doing this?

(It occurs to me there are about an equal number of gasbags on both the right and left. Lying is an equal opportunity condition.)

Bush was a moron, Obama is a brand.
And Americans get the leaders we deserve. (HLM)

(If African-American is defined as a person of American slave ancestry, how is it Obama is defined as African-American?)

T3, persons afflicted with the long goodby generally stop eating (as you know) and I think the diminishment of the will to live may let the wick burn so low it simply goes out. My wife's mother took 10 year to go this way (at least that long- only her husband knew when the alarums actually began). She was completely non compo mentis,requiring 24 hour care, when a stroke laid her low, and then took a couple more weeks to die. So, is Alzheimers the precipitant cause of death? I'd say yes. But does it directly cause organic failure? Don't know....

2009-10-01 09:42:03

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Yeah, Tom, you're probably right. Alzheimer's is a tragic and cruel condition.

Boomer, I'd go along with your have/have not argument, except for a few salient facts:

1. We taxpayers pay for the uninsured. Always have, always will. Ipso facto--I want those costs to be as low as possible.

2. Our global economy changes by the hour. The TV I buy at hhgregg this Saturday includes one-tenth the labor cost a (formerly) American TV did. Ditto with almost every product you can name, soft and hard goods. If we're going to "make" ANYTHING to sell any more, it's got to be competitive with global brands. Health care is the largest single containable cost, if it weren't spiraling out of control.

3. Humaneness.

Isasmuch as my tax dollars are going to pay for the poor, whose numbers are growing quickly, I demand that my government reign it in. They'd already have done it if the insurance companies didn't conspire for 60 years to basically shut-down interstate competition in that field.

But the toothpaste is way out of the tube now, and it requires a huge fix.

To steer around all the antitrust and legal arguments, the feds must do it. I don't trust Indiana to do it, because the first chance a neocon governor got to show his true colors in this arena, he privatized welfare and food stamp and AFDC bureacracy, and made sure the contract went to a buddy's firm.

The least among us deserve better. And I demand better for my (substantial) tax dollars.

2009-10-01 11:03:19

B2 [unverified] said:

Yeah, T3, the Gov's actions have been so unpopular that he was re-elected in a landslide in a year when Indiana went D for Prez for the first time in nearly forever.
Ticks you off, doesn't it?

2009-10-01 11:17:28

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

No, not really. I kinda like some of Mitch's moves. Careful with the boarding-house reach on assumptions: you'll strain something.

The IBM welfare privatization was low. He lined the pockets of Mitch Roob and tens of thousands of Hoosiers lost in the process...people who need our help.

I was a fan of the Toll Road lease (not the execution, but the idea), and many of his other stands. But the welfare IBM deal was just nasty from the get-go. He ought to be ashamed. Every credible review says the IBM folks have gummed up the process and hurt direct relief to Hoosiers.

And his recent cricitism of Judge Riley of the Court of Appeals, was uncalled-for, personal and broached the standards of the legal profession. He is a lawyer and knew better, but then...pandering is so much easier when you don't have to worry about specifics and facts.

2009-10-01 12:02:29

Whitebeard [unverified] said:


"The least among us deserve better."

I'm confused about your comment diminishing the importance of statistics that show that 45,000 people die annually due to lack of health care access, but...

"The least among us deserve better."

That summarizes this debate from my perspective.

Human kindness, concern and compassion as opposed to narcisistic, self-centered, left-brain-dominated Alpha-wolvery.

What a piece of work is man? Somebody tell me.

2009-10-01 12:42:09

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I'm not diminishing the fact that 45,000 people may be dead because of lack of proper insurance.

I just don't know how anyone can quantify that number, and frankly, I think the argument distracts from the main focus.

Sen. Grassley thinks the government's involvement in health insurance would chase some private companies out of the business.

The vultures have been scavenging off us for decades. A few of them need to bite the dust, and they have absolutely no incentive, in most cases, to be productive, efficient or compassionate.

So if the number's 45,000, or 145,000--it's too many by a ton.

And I suspect it's many more than 45,000.

2009-10-01 16:04:59

Write Man [Member] said:

T3, I think you're correct on all points here: the number of people who die due to lack of health insurance really isn't the issue, or perhaps, not the sole issue. That anyone is dying because they cannot get medical attention because they cannot afford to pay for it is simply wrong (we're one of the richest countries in the world I believe). And we're constantly thumping one passage of the Bible or the other in order to make sure people follow one rule (belief/philosophy) or another. Except when it comes to saving their lives.

Undoubtedly many of those who cannot afford health care insurance do receive some level of treatment via emergency rooms, etc. But that is often when the illness has reached an emergency level or can no longer be tolerated. How many people put off the diagnostic treatment they need that could thwart the larger, more serious onset of that illness (which is, coincidentally, more costly to treat?). Lost in this is the lack of proper DENTAL care, which often leads to additional illness. So my guess is your estimate that the number far exceeds 45,000 is spot on.

I know this probably sounds naive, but given the entrenched nature of the insurance business/lobbyists and all, why don't we have a national vote to see if we the PUBLIC really do want a public option or not? After all, if experts (including Obama, Krugman and others) are to be believed, health insurance costs are significant issues in our inability to compete, pulling down the economy, etc. It's a big, big, problem. So why not let us vote on it and create a public mandate (or not) which then eliminates all the posturing (by both parties, though in fairness, largely on the part of the GOP)? Just a thought...

2009-10-02 12:27:17

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"Lost in this is the lack of proper DENTAL care, which often leads to additional illness."

Glad to see this addressed...though it isn't even a blip on the health insurance screen. Somehow dental care is thought of as a cosmetic issue. Many folks would not get seriously ill if they had some dental coverage...but the teeth don't get no respect.

I hope the propaganda about the US having the "best health care in the world" takes a bullet during this discussion. It is, rather, the most enriching health care in the world, making a lot of oflks feelthy rich.

2009-10-02 13:20:39

hendy [Member] said:

Some perspective from huffpost:


And to the dolts cheering the loss of the 2016 Olympics, I can only shudder.

2009-10-02 17:13:05

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"And to the dolts cheering the loss of the 2016 Olympics, I can only shudder."

Chicago is bust. Broke. Corrupt to the core. It would be a mess....

2009-10-02 17:51:34

hendy [Member] said:

You cheer for the homies. Like your relatives, they're all we got.

Yeah, it's a bust, and broke. All the tax base moved to the suburbs which surround the city. Cooke Country is broke, but look at DuPage or Will Counties.... and see where the tax base moved to. Indy is getting that way quickly.

Corrupt? So what else is new?

2009-10-02 18:56:08

Pete [unverified] said:

It's not just the uninsured who suffer under this current system, it's the underinsured.

My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2006. He passed six months later. In those six months, he spent exactly 10 days at home. The rest of the time was in the hospital. Give or take 170 days in the hospital, along with medicine, therapy, and the chemo, you don't need to be an MBA to ballpark just how big of a bill this racked up.

Dad was lucky. He had an unusually generous health plan from his employer that he was allowed to KEEP after he retired in 2003. I can only imagine that if he was under a normal policy, that a previous angioplasty as well as his mother's death from cancer would have been declared a "preexisting condition", and he could have run the risk of having his cancer treatment denied. So, either my parents would have been on the hook for a six figure medical bill, or he wouldn't have had the level of treatment that he did and would have died in one month instead of six.

LOTS of cancer patients aren't as fortunate about health insurance as my dad was. The fact that personal bankruptcy due to medical bills is literally a crapshoot in this country is a shame bigger than even the Iraq War. NO ONE else in an industrialized country has to worry about this.

2009-10-03 18:46:38

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