Saturday, September 3, 2011

Last Call

A pretty depressing story from right here in Cincy:  a 24-year old man is dead because without health insurance he couldn't afford antibiotics for an infected tooth.

A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn't afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.

According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis' wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.

When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn't afford both, so he chose the pain medications.

The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday

And yet that's the reality of the country we live in.  America is the richest, most advanced, most powerful country ever according to conservatives, and if you don't agree you hate America.  But at the same time, conservatives scream bloody murder that there's no way Americans can afford to help the least among us, because programs to do so immorally traps the nation's poor in unending poverty, where they are a drain on the "job creators".

Conservatives say only America can lead the world from a moral and military standpoint, American exceptionalism is our manifest destiny on the global stage.  And then they turn around and warn that we are a bankrupt, destitute, third-world socialist hellhole where the "misguided efforts" to "bribe" the weakest among us with government assistance is the only way a Democrat could ever get elected.

God wants Republicans in power, they say.  When a Democrat is elected, God hasn't failed, but the people have been fooled by the evil Socialist liberals.  America would be a shining utopia, and example to peoples across the planet, if we just got over our baser instincts to help the poor and simply left them to their own fate.

If that's confusing you, congratulations.  You have a conscience and are capable of both complex logic and compassion.  It also means you're probably not a Republican.  Here's the worst, most tragic part of Willis' death:

"People want to believe there's a safety net that catches all of these people, and there isn't," said Dr. Glenn Stream, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He noted that it is often young men who are the most likely to lack health coverage.

Dr. Jim Jirjis, director of general internal medicine at Vanderbilt University, said people, like Willis, without access to care often die of conditions that were much more common decades ago.

"He [Willis] might as well have been living in 1927," Jirjis said. "All of the advances we've made in medicine today and are proud of, for people who don't have coverage, you might as well never have developed those."

There are a number of free dental clinics in operation around the country, where dentists volunteer to provide care to those without health insurance. But even if Willis had access to a free dental clinic, Stream said he still may not have been able to get the care he needed for his infection. "The wait is often months at these clinics, and this young man died within two weeks of his problem," Stream said. 

According to the article one in three Americans forgo dental checkups because they can't afford them.   Even if you have dental insurance, you have to take time off from work to go to the dentist, and the combination of the expense and lost work time puts even simple dental care out of reach for some 100 million Americans.

And yet the richest country on Earth can't afford to help its own poor.  There's something deeply wrong with that.

Chart Of The Day

Republicans might not want to bring up the issue of Black unemployment, ever.  According to the Right Wing Noise Machine, President Obama is the worst President ever and if we Black people weren't such dumb mofos, we'd vote for Reaganesque Republicans.  Of course as Steve M. points out, Morning in America was a pretty horrific deal for African-Americans.

Black unemployment surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984...

Obvious point: who was president in 1984? The guy Obama's harshest critics revere above all other demigods. The guy whose view of government Obama has either accepted voluntarily or had forced on him by those same critics -- your choice as to which interpretation you believe.

Also, let's point out that the country overwhelming re-elected Reagan in 1984, despite black unemployment being over 20% for years.  Also please note that Reagan made black unemployment significantly worse when he took office in his first term (1980-1984) while Obama has actually kept black unemployment relatively stable around 15%.  That's not a bragging right by any means, but it beats the 14% to 22% jump under Reagan, yes?

Hell, under President Obama, white unemployment has gotten measurably better since the Bush crash, especially in the last year.  I don't know why Republicans would be complaining, they should be cheering.

Goodbye Girls: The Moose-ical

It's now gotten to the point where Republicans are officially sick of Sarah Palin.

It seems Sarah Palin has worn out her welcome with Republicans. An astounding 71% of GOP voters say they don't want Palin to run for president, according to a new poll by FOX News, with 25% supporting a bid and 4% unsure.

The numbers are brutal for Palin, who was long regarded as a potential frontrunner for the 2012 nomination. Even among Tea Party-identifying Republicans she fares poorly: 68% say she shouldn't run versus only 28% who say she should. The numbers aren't that far off from the general electorate, 74% of whom don't want her to run versus 20% who do. Outside of Tea Partiers, more than 70% of every demographic broken out in the poll's crosstabs -- men, women, white voters, non-white voters, voters with college degrees, voters without college degrees -- are against a Palin run.

Over two-thirds of Tea Party Republicans don't want Palin to even run for President right now.  Game over for the Grifter, folks.  Unfortunately, Palin has spawned a Clown Car full of even crazier candidates for 2012.  One of the nutbars will win.  Despite Palin saying "there's room for more candidates" in the race last night, she will not be one of them.

But she sure doesn't mind taking people's money to pretend otherwise, eh?

Epic Win: Timmy's Stuck Under Debris Edition

Santa Paula, California (CNN) -- When disaster strikes and people are buried in rubble, there's often no better search tool than a dog's nose.

It's a valuable asset that has already been utilized several times this year. Trained search dogs, along with their human handlers, have provided help in high-profile disasters such as the Japan earthquake in March and the Joplin, Missouri, tornado in May.

A woman realized the potential for unwanted animals and the need of people at times of disaster. For her, the choice was simple. She decided to fill two needs and start a project that would benefit everyone. Now, thanks largely to her, there are 250 units of dog and handler ready to deploy at any time. She feels this is about half of what we need, because while they are enough to cover any one disaster, there would not be enough if more than one major disaster happened at the same time.

Eric Gray's dog, Riley, was a former shelter dog rejected by two foster homes because he was deemed too hyper to be a pet. But his search-and-rescue training "gave him a purpose," Gray said, adding that Riley has become an important partner in his efforts as a firefighter.
"(Riley) was able to focus the incessant drive ... that he had, and (he was given) an opportunity to really blossom as a dog rather than just being handed from home to home," Gray said. The two recently helped with search-and-rescue efforts in Haiti and Japan.

Veteran handler Deborah Tosh searched the World Trade Center with her dog, Abby, after the September 11 attacks.

"When I rounded that corner and was a little overwhelmed by the enormity of it, Abby had just the opposite effect," Tosh said. "She started pulling on the leash, saying: 'Great! We finally get to go to work. Let's go.' ... She got very excited."

Dogs aren't stupid. They know they are saving people, the same people who rejected them. They are man's best friend even when man treats them poorly or neglects them. This is why I usually prefer the company of animals to that of people.

The Netflix Conundrum: Seeing Starz

Starz will be pulling its content from Netflix. That's a mighty blow and the stock has dropped in wake of the announcement.  Starz has remained relatively mum on the subject, which makes me wonder if they are still holding out for their preferred outcome.

This could mean a lot of things. It could be that Netflix has decided to not remain exclusive with Starz (rumors have flown about HBO trying to horn in on the action many months ago).  It could be that Starz wasn't getting enough money and a struggling Netflix couldn't pay what they wanted.  This could be related to the split of downloaded vs. DVD content.

One thing is for sure, however.  Neither company is going away anytime soon, so this is just a standard hiccup in the normal business of things, just with some awesome potential.

The Once And Future Dr. King

Some Classic Roy Edroso here on the GOP's new Marxist bogeyman:  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  No, seriously.  Apparently having a black President and Dr. King finally getting his own memorial in Washington DC has broken conservative reality badly enough to the point where Dr. King is now Bill Ayers or something. To whit:

A longer-lived staple of conservative anti-racist cred has been their effusions over Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, back in the old days they hated King ("For years now, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates have been deliberately undermining the foundations of internal order in this country" -- National Review. More here!). But when things got a little hot for them, bigotry-wise, they shifted to declaring King a good conservative; on every MLK Day, in and among their many confused tributes, you'll see many that insist King's vision of a color-blind society is exactly what conservatives have been trying to do all along. Then they grab parasols and handkerchiefs, burst into "When The Saints Go Marchin' In," and dance around. It's a grisly sight.

But then we get this piece from the Moonie Times (Title, "Martin Luther King's Mixed Legacy".  Yeah, if you're a student of the struggle for civil rights in the 20th century, wrap your head around how Dr. King broke even at best.)

King’s leftism ultimately betrayed his original civil rights creed. His call for a color-blind society was contradicted by his multicultural progressivism. Affirmative action, racial quotas, government handouts to minorities - these policies directly violate the basic principle of equality under the law. Contemporary Americans are not judged as individuals, but as members of a racial group, gender or ethnicity. This is a perverse inversion of the very kind of racialism prevalent in the Old South. More than 40 years after his death, we are further away from being a genuine meritocracy. Victimology and racial set-asides dominate large swathes of American life, from university admissions and government bureaucracies to big business and construction. The country has slowly Balkanized, splintering along ethnic lines. 

And this "Well, us white people will always resent you colored folks until you get over this whole slavery and reparations thing and just accept the fact we've got a 150 year head start on you in this country and always will" thing is standard boilerplate Black Republican nonsense, but rarely has the vitriol of (insert liberal here) been applied to Dr. King.  But, as Roy points out:

But conservatism has gotten crazy enough that you can try something like that, it seems. Any day now we'll see them burning effigies of Alexander Hamilton because he sold us out to the mercantilists (substitute "Jews" in some jurisdictions). Or maybe Lincoln -- I mean, what was that Civil War about? Statism and giving black people a new bunch of so-called "rights"! The boys at Free Republic have been all over that shit for years; they used to be considered fringe, but compared to what's coming, they're Rockefeller Republicans.  

At this point, when will the Tea Party Republicans start running on the platform to remove the King Memorial and to get rid of MLK Day in January because the idea of holding King in high regard itself becomes another anathema, just like old, evil liberal socialist tropes like "Teachers are good people" and "Infrastructure helps all Americans" and "Science is America's way forward."

Or, you know, like "Presidents deserve basic respect."  Liberalism is an idea, and hey, you can destroy ideas all day long, folks.  Republicans do it daily

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