Rock Star Alex Chilton Dies From Lack of Health Insurance

The year was 1967 – middle of the Vietnam War. Those of you not familiar with Blue-Eyed Soul may or may not recall the Box Tops version of the letter.

(Did we actually dress like that in the 60s?)

Their lead singer was Alex Chilton, who would later move to NOLA and join the music scene there. Last week he passed away…

Yet another victim of the dysfunctional Health Care System right wingers fight so hard to protect-

Alex Chilton Delayed Medical Treatment Due to Lack of Health Insurance

Alex Chilton‘s unexpected death last month at age 59 might have been prevented if he had health insurance. According to a report in the Times-Picayune, Chilton’s wife, Laura Kersting, says that although he had symptoms of heart trouble, he declined immediate treatment due to lack of coverage.

Chilton, who at age 16 had a No. 1 US hit single with ‘The Letter’ in 1967 as lead singer of the Box Tops, passed away just days before he was to appear at a reunion show in Austin, Texas, of his ’70s group, the widely influential power-pop band Big Star.

“At least twice in the week before his fatal heart attack, Chilton experienced shortness of breath and chills while cutting grass,” the article reports. “But he did not seek medical attention, Kersting said, in part because he had no health insurance.”

The Times-Picayune reveals that on the morning of March 17, the Big Star frontman called Kersting at work to tell her he wasn’t well. She made it home before the ambulance and rushed him to the emergency room, running a red light at his insistence, before he lost consciousness when they were just a block from the emergency room.

The piece also takes a close look at Chilton’s private life in New Orleans, where the Memphis-raised Louisiana transplant lived in the mixed neighborhood of Treme, where he rode out Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “He identified with black people more than white people,” Kersting said. “He was very much a part of this neighborhood.” Neighbors across the street marveled as Chilton cut his grass with a manual push mower.

Despite his iconic indie rock stature, Chilton’s wife said, “He was kind of lazy … He took it very easy. He’d say, ‘Why work when I don’t have to?’ He wanted a very simple life. He was not interested in fame. He was interested in money — he wanted enough to be comfortable and to travel.”

The Box Tops seminal song would later be covered by a number of groups, none more famously than by Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in 1970…

In the Age before white people learned to dance in this country! :)

Republicans Threaten To Impeach Georgia Attorney General for Following the Law

How stupid are Republicans?

The right-wing morons in Georgia are now threatening to impeach their Attorney General…

Because he refuses to waste the state’s money on filing a frivolous lawsuit against the Health Care Reform Bill.

Considering that such lawsuits have only about a .005% chance of succeeding – even in a stacked SCOTUS whose 5 member majority puts politics and ideology over the welfare of the country and the Constitution, and the fact that most states are cutting back on everything from schools to policing due to budget shortfalls…

You have to ask if the bozos who are joining in the Lawsuits to attempt to overturn the Law shouldn’t be charged with criminal malfeasance.

Republican Waterloo

David Frum, a leading Republican strategist points out the obvious – Instead of handing President Obama  his Waterloo, Republicans have led themselves to their own. The radicalization of the Republican Party and platform is going to have a kickback – it may not be obvious now…

But by November.

Waterloo

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

Tea Baggers Hurl Racial Epithets At Black Lawmakers

One of the Signs at the Tea Bagger Protest Before Congress

Not really surprising the racism coming out of the closet with the Tea Baggers now that push has come to shove on passage of the Health Care Bill. It is what it was really all about all along…

Protesters hurl racial insults at member of Black Caucus

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care overhaul bill, shouted racial epithets Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death at an Alabama march in the 1960s.

The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, lawmakers said.

Capitol Police escorted the members of Congress into the Capitol after the confrontation.

“They were shouting, sort of harassing,” Lewis said. “But, it’s okay, I’ve faced this before. It reminded me of the ’60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean.”

Lewis said he was leaving the building across from the Capitol when protesters shouted, “Kill the bill, kill the bill,” Lewis said.

“I said, ‘I’m for the bill, I support the bill, I’m voting for the bill,’ ” Lewis said.

Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., told a reporter that as he left the Cannon House Office Building with Lewis, some among the crowd chanted “the N-word, the N-word, 15 times.”

“It was like going into the time machine with John Lewis,” said Carson, a large former police officer who said he wasn’t frightened but worried about the 70-year-old Lewis, who is twice his age. “He said it reminded him of another time.”

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was behind Lewis and distinctly heard the slurs. Cleaver’s office said later in a statement that he’d also been spat upon.

Protesters also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress. A writer for Huffington Post said the crowd called Frank a “f—–.” Frank said the crowd referred to him as “homo.”

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday as the House Democratic leadership worked to gather enough votes to enact the health care legislation. Most were affiliated with so-called tea party organizations that originally sprang up during last summer’s protests of the health care proposals.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Saturday’s ugliness underscored for him that the health care overhaul isn’t the only motivation for many protesters.

“I heard people saying things today I’ve not heard since March 15th, 1960, when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus,” Clyburn said. “This is incredible, shocking to me.”

And more -

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement late Saturday saying that he was spit upon while walking to the Capitol to cast a vote, leading the Capitol Police to usher him into the building out of concern for his safety. Police detained the individual, who was then released because Cleaver declined to press charges.

“The congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The congressman would like to thank the U.S. Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the other Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care,” said Danny Rotert, a spokesman for Cleaver.

And this tidbit -

Republican Opposition to Healthcare Backfires

It appears Rethugly opposition to Health Care Reform peaked too soon, and now public opinion is shifting… Rapidly.

For the Interactive verion go here – Tracking Trend in Healthcare polls

He’s winning!

Warren Buffet Lays Out Why The Failure to Pass Health Care Reform Destroys America Economically

Warren Buffet lays out that the current Health Care System is inferior to that of much of the competitive world, and is a fatal drain on the American Economy resulting in America being less and less competitive.

Mr. President – Time to Flush This Toilet

The US Commission on Civil Rights became  complete farce during the Bushit Administration, just as the Justice Department’s Division on Civil Rights became polluted and dysfunctional through ideologically racist Republican hires. While we can hope Attorney General Holder is ultimately successful in cleaning out the ideological debris, and returning the Justice Department to an organization which actually has something to do with it’s charter to protect all Americans (and there is some evidence of this). However, there is also plenty of evidence that Republicans will do almost anything to prevent those efforts in blocking a number of President Obama’s nominations, including that of  Dawn E. Johnsen to head the Justice Department’s  Office of Legal Counsel. However, as part of the effort to clean up the maisma left by the previous administration…

The US Civil Rights Commission needs more direct action.

Under the precedent set by the Bushit Administration, that can be accomplished by the simple expedient of removing two or more of the Appointees, including naming a new Chair.

Case in point is this letter from the Commission.

Two arguments are being advanced in this letter – both are duplicitous.

There are several issues which the Bill is trying to address. The first is Health Care disparities, in terms of lack of Health Care professionals in low income areas which include Rural and Urban environments. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, yet they are served by only nine percent of the nation’s physicians.

The second, is something I’ve discussed here numerous times is the racial disparity in Health Care, in terms of treatments received by patients of different races. A recent study by the Mt. Sanai Urban Health Institute in Chicago concluded -

There’s a stark, human cost in that: In all, the researchers estimated that the toll of the black-white health disparity is an additional 3,200 deaths of African Americans in Chicago every year.

Indeed, the study – Researchers reported that the African-American death rate from breast cancer was 99 percent higher in Chicago than for white women, a fivefold increase since 1990.

Two provisions in HR 3590 and HR 3200, the Affordable Health Care Act seek to address these issues through contracting with Schools and Universities to produce more Health Care personnel from, and serving these communities – including rural communities.

So why exactly do the Republican appointees oppose the legislation?

Because statistically it will result in the training of more minority Health Care personnel – and it might be a step towards stopping medical genocide of minorities in the US.

Now, as usual when there is racial dirty work to be done, cover is provided by one or more of the captive Uncle Toms on the right. ..

President George W. Bush designated Gerald A. Reynolds to serve as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on December 6, 2004.

Peter N. Kirsanow (AKA Snidely Whiplash) received a recess appointment from President George W. Bush on January 4, 2006.

In this case two appointments by the Bushit – Reynolds and Kirsanow…

Both of whom signed the above letter.

In view that neither of these individuals has offered the least idea of how to address the problems inherent in the current system – the only thing I can do is to make a brutal comparison…

The temptation is to compare these two to the Jews who tossed other Jews into the ovens at Auschwitz. That’s not a fair comparison – to those Jews who chose to serve the Nazis. It’s impossible to say who will, or won’t make an accommodation with the Devil with a gun pointed at their heads. Reynolds and Kirsanow don’t have guns pointed at their heads – so their full acquiescence and support of genocide comes from a much deeper trough of degeneracy, devoid of exigency or moral principle.

Buckdance on down and get your “Lawn Jockey of the Year”, awards boys.

Representative Clyburn on Jobs Bill and Health Care

President Obama – if these guys don’t produce a bill on Health Care…

Make them stay here in session through Christmas.

Olbermann: Ruined Senate Bill Unsupportable

Olbermann sums it up…

more about “Olbermann: Ruined Senate bill unsuppo…“, posted with vodpod

Racism, the Right – and Health Care

This is the newest Ad from the anti-Health care folks. Oddly, the ad doesn’t discuss their reasons for opposing Health Care Reform – it discusses the fact that many of them are motivated by racism. It attempts to erect a straw man that criticism of people on the right is “playing the race card” by playing the race card…

Complete with the obligatory Uncle Tom images.

There is plenty of statistical, as well as anecdotal evidence of racism among some of the people in America most virulently opposed to the Obama Presidency.  I like tossing around a football with friends or some of my younger relatives. I guess I’m a dog killer because Football star Michael Vick was…

Which is exactly the sort of false comparison the ad makes – seeking to defang the very true racism accusation.

One of the video responses -

And as usual, Maddow provides a succinct analysis -

Republican’s Lone Minority Votes For Health Care Reform

As near as I can tell – the entire minority caucus of the Republican Party is made up of one man out of the 250 or so seats held by Republicans in the House and Senate.

Cao_img1

Congressman Cao, Louisana 2nd District

And that one minority, Anh “Joseph” Quang Cao – who was elected to fill the seat vacated by William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, who, along with his Lawyers is running from having been “elected” by 12 of his peers to an Orange Jumpsuit. The 2nd District in Louisiana is 64.1% black, and Cao became the first Republican to be elected to a majority black district. Obviously, Cao is that rarest of rare Republicans who gives more of a damn about the people he represents than ideology.

Cao Casts Lone GOP Vote for Health Care

Cao, the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress, surprised Democrats and Republicans by becoming the only one of the 177 House Republicans to support the health-care bill.

“I felt last night’s decision was the right decision for my district, even though it was not the popular decision for my party,” Cao told CNN on Sunday.

The decision, he said, was a lifeline to the poor and uninsured in his district, rejecting the idea that it had anything to do with reelection hopes. Members of both parties privately said, however, that Cao’s prospects are doomed unless a large number of Democrats in his district embrace him.

In a statement released by his office, Cao touted the abortion limits in the health bill, which had been insisted upon by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cao’s office also quoted Gregory M. Aymond, archbishop of New Orleans, who said, “I am grateful to Congressman Cao for his courage and determination to defend life.”

Democrats in Washington and New Orleans, noting how Cao has voted with Republicans on other issues, including opposition to the $787 billion economic stimulus package, said his record cannot be erased by his health-care vote. Democratic Party officials view Cao as one of the nation’s most vulnerable Republicans .

“He votes along party lines more than for the district,” said state Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who hopes to unseat Cao next year.

Cao is well aware of his potentially short Washington career.

“I know that voting against the health-care bill will probably be the death of my political career,” Cao told the Times-Picayune this year. But he added: “I have to live with myself, and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, ‘How does it profit a man’s life to gain the world but to lose his soul?’ ”

Somebody get Congressman Cao a Membership in the CBC!

Congressman Artur Davis Stabs His Constituents In the Back

Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama’s 7th District, who is running for Governor next year, was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the Health Care Reform Act in the House Saturday – releasing this statement:

Artur Davis

“I am a supporter of health care reform who believes that the House leadership’s approach is not the best we can do. Because we risk a disaster if we get this wrong, I have voted no on the House legislation and continue to root for a final bill that fixes the holes in our health care system and contains soaring costs in both the private and public sectors.

While the Senate Finance Committee bill needs work, there are three reasons it comes closer to achieving the real reform we need. First, the Senate bill tries to roll back some of the aggressive government subsidization of the private health care industry, a trend that has made that industry much too bloated and inefficient. The Senate bill would take the savings and use them to pay for many of the reforms in the package. Second, while there is no ideal way to raise new revenues, the Senate’s proposed excise tax on insurance companies is the best of the imperfect options. It will help rein in the profit spiral in the insurance industry. Finally, while the Senate does not mandate that companies insure their workers, their bill would make companies share with the government the cost of subsidizing any of their workforce that is uninsured. In contrast, the House bill sets a mandate on businesses, but allows larger companies to walk away from it by paying a limited penalty: this will surely drive some companies to drop coverage they already provide.

These are all factors that should make even my more liberal constituents cautious about the virtues of the House bill.  By the way, its much discussed public option will actually cost more than most private insurance plans. It is also estimated by the Congressional Budget Office that fewer than 2% of Americans would end up in the public option.”

Now -Davis’ constituency is 71% black, a group disproportionally impacted by the lack of, and quality of health care in the United States – with an estimated 8,000 black children dying each year in their first year of life due to poor, substandard, or nonexistent health care resulting in mortality rates 2.5 times that of whites.

So i find it hard to understand under any circumstances, Davis’ so called “pricipled” stand.

The Democratic congressman recently received the support of Communications Workers of America Local 3902. It represents about 2,500 workers in the Birmingham area. As a former CWA member – I would hope the Union seriously considers rescinding that support.

Tim Kaine and Michael Steele Head to Head

Yesterday, on This Week with George Stephanopoulos DNC Chair Tim Kaine and RNC Chair Michael Steele went head to head -

At some point, Democrats need to realize they have wasted way too much time and effort allowing the Republicans to foot drag and draw out the Health Care Reform debate. This issue has sucked the wind out of every other legislative effort. It is way past time to use the proverbial 2 x 4 between Rethugly eyes – and get on towards solving the many many issues created by the previous 8 years of Republican destruction of our country.

Why Health Care Is Out of Control in the US

$30,000 for 5 minutes?

Olbermann Makes the Case for Health Care

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