Sunday, August 30, 2009

TNDP's Jackson Day was a blast

Be still my beating heart. My favorite men are smart, Democratic, Tennesseans... like these guys. The world needs more men like these three. Hear! Hear!

TNDP
Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore with the Mayor of Signal Mountain Bill Lusk.
and
TNDP
Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore with Attorney and good friend, Tom O'Neal.

We had a great time up in Nashville. The place was packed, even the Finance Council reception had hundreds in attendance. Let's see: a thousand bucks times hundreds of folks equals Kaching! Kaching! Kaching! for the TNDP. There were way over three thousand at the dinner last night. I know there were many from Chattanooga but the place was so large, I couldn't find them.

It was great to know a protest for health care took place outside the convention hall. I saw some folks walking at the dinner with Pass HR3200 stickers (I was a little jealous because I didn't get one) but am glad to see the stickers outnumbered the Blue Dogs. I was thrilled to hear all of our speakers come out strongly for health care reform, especially President Clinton and my President Al Gore. Also, Mark Nacarato, head of the SEIU, passed out great flyers to each table discussing the Blue Dogs who are trying to sabotage President Obama's health care plan. Kudos to Mark and the SEIU!

Speaking of saboteurs, Vickie Gregg of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee was in attendance. So was Fed Ex.

But best of all, our own Weldon Markham, member of the State Executive Committee and best Yellow Dog Democrat anywhere, was there to support the party he has served for so many years. Weldon's health is declining but his heart is still strong. Can't think of a more loyal Democrat than Weldon. He's the greatest.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Semper Fi, Sgt. Bill Cahir (updated with funeral arrangements)

This IGTNT tribute was posted by me at Daily Kos last week. Bill Cahir was my cousin's brother- in -law, I am deeply saddened by his death. Sgt. Cahir touched many lives and leaves behind his wife, Renee, who is pregnant with twin girls. Bill's father was hospitalized this past week and I hope he gets well soon.

Sgt. William Cahir will be laid to rest at Arlington on August 31st. Service will be held at Memorial Chapel. Please, if you are in Northern Virginia, attend his funeral. Bill Cahir was a great patriot. Read his story below:
Tonight, we honor a remarkable man and great patriot. Bill Cahir was a Penn State graduate, journalist and a progressive candidate for Congress in PA-05. He was 34 when he joined the Marines, just after the 9-11 terrorists attacks on our country. Almost everyone was outraged after the senseless acts, but Bill made a brave decision to serve and protect our country and enlisted. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, and was on his third tour, when he was killed in the Helmand province of Aghanistan. He is survived by his wife, Rene, who is expecting twins. A memorial fund has been set up for his children.

cahir, bill
It was Friday morning, August 14th around 8:30 am, when my mother called and informed me my cousin's brother-in-law had just been killed in Afghanistan. She asked me if IGTNT would write about him. I told her yes, we honor all of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. After our conversation ended, I spoke with Blue Jersey Mom and she told me there was a diary already on the rec list written by Glacial Erratic (let's have a huge shout out to her). The outpouring of sympathy and compassion from this community is deeply touching. Thank you, Kossacks, for honoring and remembering Bill Cahir.

DoD identifies Marine Casualty


Sgt. William J. Cahir, 40, of Washington D.C., died Aug. 13 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 4th Civil Affairs Group, Marine Forces Reserve, based out of Washington D.C.


Chris Matthews from Hard Ball on MSNBC honored Bill Cahir on Tuesday night. It was a beautiful tribute and a worthwhile watch. Yes, Chris and MSNBC, you do not do these often enough. Please do more, it is the least we can do.

My deepest gratitude to Corn Syrup Awareness in providing a link that worked.

From the New York Times:

He wasn’t your typical Marine Corps recruit, this 34-year-old newspaper reporter and former Congressional aide. Doing 84 situps wasn’t enough; he had to talk his way past skeptical recruiters to get an age waiver. But persistence paid off and William J. Cahir joined the Marines in 2003, astounding friends, family, colleagues and the Washington politicians he covered.

Cahir was a Vote Vets endorsed candidate. Fellow Vote Vet candidate, Paul Hackett, told the NYT:
Paul Hackett, a Marine reservist who served with Sergeant Cahir in Fallujah, remembered him as cheerful even after he was nearly knocked unconscious by a roadside bomb. “He could have been an officer given his degree from Penn State, but chose to enlist,” Mr. Hackett said.


He chose to serve. We will not forget his sacrifice. He will be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart on September 13, 2009 in a private ceremony and he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are pending. Please take a moment to remember and thank him for his service by providing for his unborn daughters at the Bill Cahir Memorial Fund.

My deepest condolences to Rene, his parents, sisters, brother, friends and fellow troops. My heart goes out to all who love and miss him.

b
photo courtesy of AP

Rest in Peace, Sgt. Bill Cahir



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Thank you, Timroff, for our beautiful logo.

We Remember Them


In the rising of the sun and its going down,
We Remember Them.

In the bowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We Remember Them.

In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring.
We Remember Them.

In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,
We Remember Them.

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.
We Remember Them.

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We Remember Them.

When we are weary and in need of strength,
We Remember Them.

When we are lost and sick of heart,
We Remember Them.

When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share,
We Remember Them.

Sp long as we live, they too shall live, for they are part of us.
We Remember Them.

~From the Jewish Book Of Prayer~



According to I Casualties there have been 794 Americans killed in Operation Enduring Freedom and 4332 killed in Iraq. Please take a moment to reflect and remember their sacrifice.

I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

All of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here and here. They all had loved ones, families and friends. The DoD news releases are here. I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect and remind. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries.

Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, greenies, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Media Prof, rb137, True Blue Majority, and me, Sandy on Signal. .

Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

TNDP's Jackson Day... meh, why bother?

I was excited about going to the Jackson Day event until a week or so ago. But now, my heart is not into it at all. I am tired of dealing with so-called Democrats, who do not support what 77% of Americans want, the option to have Medicare for everyone, not just Seniors. I am tired of writing, calling and doing my part while Congress took a recess and the President went on vacation. They are sending the wrong message to me.

Next year, the Dems will need my help and vote, but I don't think so. Right now, the TNDP has our thousand bucks, so they are happy to censor me for sticking up for the Democratic Plan instead of a co-op, weakened, GOP/ Blue Dog sabotage plan. Only way, I will help any of them next year is if they get a primary challenger to the TNDP Blue Dog Congress Critters. Why vote for a Blue Dog when you can have a real Republican? At least, you know where they stand and they don't betray you.

So tomorrow, we are Nashville Bound, we have the sitter, we have the funds, only thing missing is the good mood. My husband wants to go to Asheville instead of Nashville, they sound the same, but one place has real Democrats and the other place has Vichy Dems.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Earth to Obama: There is no such thing as "bi-partisanship"

He sort of gets it, but then during this interview with "Joe the Nerd" he continues to give praises to Grassley, Enzi and Snowe. And just what are they saying about Obama?
From Greg Sargent: Grassley's Bar keeps Rising and Rising:
Grassley raised the number of votes he wants for a truly bipartisan Senate bill to 80. More recently, Dems handed Grassley a win, nixing the public option from the Senate bill.

and here is more:
So what are the make-or-break issues for Grassley moving forward? Grassley says there are four: no public option, no rationing, no government bureaucrats getting between doctors and patients, and tort reform.

But yesterday, Grassley added a fifth condition, telling NPR he couldn’t back a “pay or play” mandate requiring employers to cover workers or chip into a national coverage fund:

“No public option, no pay-or-play, no things that are going to lead to any rationing of health care, no interference with doctor-patient relationships, and tort reform.”

In other words, Grassley is hell-bent to destroy health care. So Obama, why is he important to this plan?
And what about the moderate, desperate RINO, Olympia Snowe, what does she have to say about it? From Crooks and Liars:
Olympia Snowe admitted to Andrea Mitchell that the Senate Finance Committee is not even considering a public option in their bill and never had it on the table. She said that the skyrocketing costs of health care are paramount to their bill which is why they are ogling co opts.

Earth to Obama: if you listen to them, you will lose health care reform. They have no interest in working with you or the American people. They are beholden to big insurance and pharma, who want to continue to deny, kill and steal from us. Your poll numbers are falling fast... please wake up and do something. Next year, will be a tsunami of crushing defeats for Congress, if you continue on this path. Keeping Congress is not the most important thing to the American public, we cannot wait any longer, we need Medicare for all Americans.
Here's Joe the Nerd aka Joe the Hero asking Obama to be more forceful:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Labor issues strong ultimatum to Dems

Trumpka from the AFL-CIO was at the NN in Pittsburgh. He raised the roof at the Convention Center. Labor is now our partner with the Netroots, environmentalists and GLBTs . We are all on the same side and united.

Labor gave a message to the Dems in Congress: if you don't vote for health care and favorable to labor, we will sit out 2010. The Dems need labor,unfortunately, they treat them about as well as they treat the liberals with "we already have their vote". Well guess what? I might sit out 2010, too. This will kill the down tickets, but take up your gripes with your Party bosses, not me. I have written about our impending losses in 2010, so Dems have to listen to their voters. Every vote counts and every activist counts.
Here is Trumpka on Rachel last night (two minutes into this clip):




P.S. All the big unions were at the Netroots Nation : AFSCME, Teamster's, AFL-CIO, and SEIU. We had a panel for finding and creating green jobs in our community which will work closely with the unions. We are all one happy family now.

We don't need them. Go it alone.

Americans need health care. The Dems have the votes. Democrats don't need any Republican votes to pass health care with a public option. This is worth repeating: we have the votes. Now, let's get down to business.
That's right. The public option has already passed 3 House Committees, the full House, and one in the Senate. As long as any bill, any bill, survives the Senate, it can be marked up in the Budget process after October 13 in a process called "Reconciliation" on a simple majority vote - only 50 Democrats needed.

We don't need the Republicans. Let them vote no; however, a strong word of warning to the wavering blue dogs. Don't betray us. You either vote the President's plan, which is the Party plan, or you vote with the Republicans. A no vote by you means you are a Republican. Got that? Capiche? Good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

2010 will be rough for the Dems, especially the Blue Dogs

Originally this post was meant to be cross-posted at the TNDP, but it was deleted by them because I was too critical. When I criticize them, it is meant only to help and encourage them to consider change, because I do care about and love Democrats and our country. If they keep up the way they are going, they are in for a rough time in 2010. Three days from now another poll will be released on whether Rep. Jim Cooper truly listens to his district, or is he listening only to the insurance companies. The poll is already underway and it will not be hidden because the TNDP or DNC did not commission it. They can pretend all they want, but denial won't help. Read my post below:


Last week, I attended a conference on getting the most out of polling data. The panel consisted of some pretty good names in the pollster business: Charlie Cook (Cook Political Report), Nate Silver (538.com), Mark Blumenthal and Charles Franklin. Charlie Cook spoke about the wave election in 2008, and how fantastic it was for the Democrats. In fact the last two election cycles, 2006 and 2008, were excellent for us. In 2010, we will not be so fortunate. Cook predicted Dems will lose 9-20 seats and this number could rise as time goes by, Nate Silver of 538, pessimistically predicted a 20 to 50 seat loss for us in Congress, and a 1-6 loss in the Senate. The most endangered Dems are the Blue Dogs, because they live in redder districts and are vulnerable.

Of course a few things need to happen to turn around this miserable trend. 1) Have a President with high approval ratings. Right now, Obama is around 62% so that is okay for Obama, but he isn't running in 2010. Many of his supporters won't show up especially if they feel that Obama's policies were rejected by the very people who represent them in Congress. 2) The generic congressional approval ratings are a good predictor of their ability to win. Fortunately, Dems fare better than the GOP in this area, but they still should worry. Here is the latest poll issued last week from Research 2000 for the Daily Kos:


Percentage of Undecided Voters, 2010 Generic Congressional Ballot Test

Democrats 19
Republicans 14
Independents 58

With so many Independent voters remaining steadfastly on the fence, it is worth examining what they think of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in this most recent incarnation of the tracker:

Favorability Ratings of Democrats and Republicans, 8/13/09 (Independent Voters)

Democrats 42/47
Republicans 5/85

Clearly, this subset of the electorate has a net negative opinion of Democrats, but Democrats are practically revered by Independents in comparison to the lack of support that this corps of voters has for the GOP at present.

This, of course, could be read two ways. Democrats should, without a doubt, have some pause about the fact that a group who so uniformly has disregard for the GOP remains on the fence vis-a-vis their vote preferences next year. However, it can also be read that the Democrats, over the next fifteen months, will have a more than fair opportunity to convert those undecided voters, who the data makes clear are not Republicans in nonpartisan clothing.


So, if I were a Blue Dog, especially in Tennessee, I would work on supporting the President's plan with respect to health care and the economy. Plus, I would cultivate a friendship with his supporters. The Obamnicans are organized, well funded, and extremely popular. When a blue dog criticizes our President Obama, he is estranging himself from the biggest supporters in the Democratic Party. When most Democrats think of Blue Dogs, we think of someone closely aligned with George W. Bush. Their so-called fiscally responsible and conservative tag they boast about themselves, seems superficial at best because they voted for a $3 trillion dollar war in Iraq for no good reason and Bush tax cuts. This is not a winning strategy for them. The last election was all about change. If they continue listening to the tea baggers and party of NO, there will be change in 2010, but not favorable to them. Time to get with the Democratic platform, time for all of us to be united.

Feel free to flame away, if you believe something should be hidden from view instead of rectified, I would like to hear the reasoning behind this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Big Dog at NN

Clinton was awesome. We sat at a table with some ultra-progressives, who were no fans of Bill and Hill, but even they ended up clapping by the end of the night. Clinton spoke for over an hour with no notes or anything. He was excellent. Here is a bit of an exchange between Clinton and a heckler/ frustrated blogger.



This morning we read the blogger's (Lane Hudson's) account of what happened at Huffington Post: Why I interrupted Bill Clinton at Netroots Nation.

Hope you enjoy the video. I will post photos as soon as I am home, I wish I remembered that wire that goes from the camera to my computer. Darn.

Good News for some, not so good news for others

Yesterday, I attended a panel on how to get the most out of polling data. There were several good speakers, including Charlie Cook and Nate Silver. Flaws from the method to the raw data affect polls, so before anyone gets excited about a poll, one should ask who, what, where, when and why in determining the worth of the poll.

Charlie Cook pointed out the Dems can expect to lose several congressional seats next year. His numbers keep moving and not for the better for us. At this point, Charlie predicts the Dems will lose 9-20 seats. Nate Silver, who is quite accurate, predicted the Dems would lose 20-50 seats in 2010. gulp.

Charlie Cook thanked the Netroots for playing good offense from 2005 until now and winning so many seats. It is now time to play defense. I took that to mean that we need to support the blue dogs, who are the most vulnerable. I have a difficult time with the blue dogs and am not sure I will support them unless I see something from them that supports Democratic policies. They were a rubber stamp for the Bush wars, civil rights abuses, and out of control spending. Now, they are balking at health care and a public option. This is bull. I am not going to play defense for this kind of representative, who aligns himself with the Republicans more often than not. I will actively play offense to primary any blue dog Dem who undermines health care for its citizens.

Each year 18,000 Americans die because needlessly due to lack of insurance. Health care difficulties are the leading cause of bankruptcy. During the Bush years, the Republicans rammed through a bankruptcy reform bill that truly screwed the poor and middle class, and protected big corporations. Now, one can lose their home to creditors. If we keep going in the usual manner, in ten years, health care will consume 50% of our household income. More Americans will be left sick and in poverty. And Congress doesn't want to reform this? They don't deserve to be there, then.

If blue dogs prefer to listen to a couple hundred teabaggers instead of the thousands of Democratic voters who contribute, blog, knock on doors, and work their tails off for them, then they will pay for this action. Nate's prediction will be right as usual: 20 to 50 seats in Congress, and 1 to 6 Senate seats. Harry Reid must be relieved he won't have to worry about having a veto proof Senate ever again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Investor's Business Daily joins with "teh stoopid" Party

We would expect this kind of anti-intellectualism from Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber, but hey IBD joined in the fray of liars and know nothings. In this story, titled " How House bill runs over Grandma ( I am not kidding) it states the Democratic plan is modeled after the British plan, and the Brits are famous for cost cutting and ending one's life.

The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror movie script.


Then IBD provides an excellent example by putting Stephen Hawking into the story:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.


In case you don't know who Stephen Hawking is and where he lives, here is a little biography on him. From Wiki:
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA (born 8 January 1942) is a British theoretical physicist. Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (but intends to retire from this post in 2009),[1] a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and the distinguished research chair at Waterloo's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.[2] He is known for his contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes.


The article goes on to say Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, resides in England, and his nationality is British. Hawking first noticed symptoms of ALS (a neuro-motor degenerative disease also called Lou Gehrig's disease) when he was a student at the University of Cambridge. The ALS became so debilitating for Hawking, he contemplated not finishing his doctorate because he would die soon. Hawking completed his Ph.d in 1965.
Way to go, IBD. Meet your new fans.
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Thanks to MLBD over at the Daily Kos :Epic, EPIC- Anti HC Reform- Fail for his good work in finding this .

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's not just me who United Health Care treats terribly

Robert Greenwald made a whole movie about this vile company. Watch the trailer, especially the end where they list the long stream of litigated cases UHC has settled.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home at last

It was the first night of the first Gulf war, when Captain Michael Scott Speicher's plane was shot down . The FA-18 and flight suit were recovered years ago, but Speicher's body was not in the debris. The missing body of Speicher fueled speculation that he was alive and imprisoned. In March 2002, the Iraqi government invited the United States to a discussion about the missing pilot. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the offer and told the New York Times
''I don't believe very much that the regime of Saddam Hussein puts out,'' Mr. Rumsfeld said. ''They're masters at propaganda.''


In October 2002, the Department of Defense changed Speicher's status from killed in action to missing in action. The Pentagon based this on new evidence they said they had which showed Speicher survived the crash. At this point, it was believed he was imprisoned and tortured by Saddam. The family would have to wait seven more years to find out the fate of their son.

Earlier this summer, US Marines spoke to an Iraqi citizen who provided information on where Captain Scott Speicher was buried. Bedouins discovered the crash site and buried the body. DNA and dental records confirmed the remains of Captain Michael Scott Speicher. Finally, after 18 long years and many theories, there is closure for the Speicher family.
His family issued the following statement:
"The news that Captain Speicher has died on Iraqi soil after ejecting from his aircraft has been difficult for the family, but his actions in combat, and the search for him, will forever remain in their hearts and minds."


There is a special Purple Heart ceremony on Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida. The public is encouraged to come and those who have a Speicher POW/MIA bracelet should bring it along. The bracelets will be buried with Captain Speicher. Funeral arrangements are still pending.


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My deepest condolences to the Speicher family.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rep. Bart Gordon Exposed for being a Craven Shill

for the health insurance and pharma companies on national t.v. during prime time! Yeah! Thanks Keith Olberman for following the money trail on the corrupt and sleazy folks in the Senate and Congress. This is a must watch for everyone.

Just yesterday, I took my son to his therapy, which he receives once a week, and has helped him a great deal. Last week, we were informed by United Health Care, he is allowed 6 sessions from July to November. Hmmm... can you do the math? That doesn't work out to one a week, it turns out to be one every four weeks they will pay. And how much are they paying for therapy? $25 an hour. Yep, that is all. Of course, this is less than the cost the group needs to operate its facilities. The group takes it because they know their patients need and benefit from occupational therapy.

This is just wrong. United Health Care raked in record profits last quarter up 155% from a year ago according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
For the quarter ended June 30, UnitedHealth said net earnings were $859 million -- a 154.9 percent increase from $337 million a year earlier, when earnings were dragged down by big lawsuit settlement costs.

Earnings per share jumped to 73 cents from 27 cents a year earlier. Analysts had forecast 70 cents. Quarterly revenue was up slightly, to $21.7 billion from $20.3 billion.


What was that big law suit last year? There were several, but a notable one brought forth by Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General of New York, charged the company with defrauding consumers by manipulating rates. They also underpaid the medical profession. United Health Care settled this for $350 million. Yes, that is a settlement. Imagine what would have happened with no settlement? They also had several others of this nature.


We need change in health care now. If Congress won't act in the best interest of their constituents, then they should expect to be thrown out in 2010. Good riddance to the Blue Dogs of Tennessee. Au Revoir, Vichy Dems.