Archive for June, 2010
We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay.
And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it.
Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable.
For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers. Another is a blood screening test developed by mesothelioma doctors like thoracic surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit.
The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not.
The North Carolina Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation Monday to shutter hundreds of new businesses that bill supporters argue are offering just another form of illegal video poker where people buy phone or Internet time, then play games on computer screens to win cash and prizes.
By a vote of 47-1, the chamber continued its long history of opposing video gambling, this time through electronic and computer-based devices springing up at new “sweepstakes cafes” or “business centers.”
North Carolina Senate leaders, sheriffs and Christian groups say the sweepstakes games are an end-run around the state’s 2006 video poker ban. A series of pending court cases where the illegality of the machines has been questioned has led to the new law attempting to tighten the ban.
The number of such locations statewide has soared in recent months to about 600, according to Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, who is shepherding the bill through the Senate.
The state needs to “make crystal clear once and for all that running an Internet sweepstakes casino violates North Carolina laws,” Stein said. He added that they are “popping up in strip malls, targeting low-income communities across our state.” More
The bio-tech company Monsanto can sell genetically modified seeds before safety tests on them are completed, the US Supreme Court has ruled.
A lower court had barred the sale of the modified alfalfa seeds until an environmental impact study could be carried out.
But seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices decided that ruling was unconstitutional.
The seed is modified to be resistant to Monsanto’s brand of weedkiller.
The US is the world’s largest producer of alfalfa, a grass-like plant used as animal feed.
It is the fourth most valuable crop grown in the country.
Environmentalists had argued that there might be a risk of cross-pollination between genetically modified plants and neighbouring crops.
They also argued over-use of the company’s weedkiller Roundup, the chemical treatment the alfalfa is modified to be resistant to, could cause pollution of ground water and lead to resistant “super-weeds”.
But Monsanto says claims its products were dangerous amounted to “bad science fiction with no support on the record”.
I just ran across this story by Maya Rodriguez of WWL4 – Eyewitness News in Louisiana, that peaked my curiosity.
Did you catch the response from the chemist, who is a local environmental consultant?
Wilma Subra, a chemist who heads up a lab and environmental consulting firm in New Iberia, said the numbers she’s been analyzing give her pause.
“They’re there at a little over the levels that you would expect to start getting those health impacts,” Subra said. “So, that is of concern, that the people understand what is there and understand if they start getting the health impacts, they should take precautions to move out of the area.”
Those who should pay particular attention are the young, the elderly or those who already have underlying breathing problems. Experts said anyone experiencing symptoms of exposure to those chemicals, should see their doctor.
After watching the video, I decided to see if any Mainstream News Media had picked up the story. Guess what I found? The usual tone-deaf blah, blah and more blah.
So for the record here’s what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say on the subject:
Hurricane, Berm? which will win?
Video Transcript below:
MADDOW: Tom Costello from NBC News got a one-on-one interview with Doug Suttles, the chief operating officer of BP, on board a BP helicopter. And Tom asked a bunch of what I have been dying to ask BP.
Among his great pointy questions was one about the mythical Caribbean walrus and its role in BP’s oil spill response plan. To refresh your memory, the regional oil response plan filed by BP, the one specific to the Gulf of Mexico, listed walruses, that only live in very, very cold water, they listed walruses among the species of wildlife you’d have on worry about in the event of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
And that gave away the fact that the company had obviously not even bothered to make a Gulf of Mexico-specific spill response plan. They just cut and pasted whatever they done from some place cold, some place with walruses, and then called it the Gulf of Mexico oil response plan.
My new hero, Tom Costello, asked Doug Suttles from BP about the walruses in the company’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill response plan, and here is the incredible response that he got:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) appeared unreceptive to the question of an anonymous reporter this weekend, when he grabbed the self-identified “student” after he asked the congressman if he “fully supported the Obama agenda.”
In the video, the North Carolina lawmaker is seen approaching the camera, while the reporter asks, “Hi, Congressman. How are you? Do you fully support the Obama agenda?”
Etheridge appears visibly irritated and immediately asks, “who are you?” before knocking the interviewer’s camera to the ground.
I have one word for Bob……Rehab.
More here at the Huffington Post.
Additional charges have been filed against the “girlfriend”, who according to Granville County Sheriff Brindell B. Wilkins, accompanied suspected burglar Clayton “Clay” Michael Ellington, 29, during a recent attempted home invasion on Dove Road in Creedmoor, NC. According to court documents, Paige Allen Brummitt has been charged with Felony Conspiracy for her role in the June 1st, home invasion.
The incident for Richard Chapell, the homeowner, started with “a racket at the backdoor” on the early morning hours of June 1st, 2010. Chapell, 56, was hit in the upper right side of his chest with one round fired from the AK-47 assault weapon Ellington was carrying. During the attempted home invasion, Ellington was shot through the head and killed as he allegedly sought to break in.
Chapell, remains in stable condition awaiting surgery at Duke University Medical Center. Ms.Brummitt’s first court appearance for the related Felony Conspiracy charge is scheduled for June 16, 2010. Brummitt is also facing additional felony charges in Granville County for an unrelated crime.