Category Archives: News

Why the double standard?

President Obama traveled to Ft. Hood today to attend a memorial service for those slain there last Thursday. I was struck by something he said during his prepared remarks:

But this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor.

It appears the president is treating this horrendous act as a murder committed by a nut. He is quick to discount the strong possibility that terrorism is involved.

He was certainly quick to render judgment on the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department last summer:

…that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

Why the double standard? Political correctness? Please, Mr. President, be consistent in your message.

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Finance Committee Democrat Won’t Read Text of Health Bill

I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life,” Carper told

At least this senator is honest about not reading the health reform bill. I wonder if any legislator plans on reading it?

What a bunch of tools!!!

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Another overreaction!

I have seen a number of similar cartoons about Obama’s upcoming speech to students. Most contain themes similar to this cartoon. I’m personally not aware of any parent referring to the president as a Nazi (although the Speaker of the House earlier referred to health care opponents at town hall meetings as carrying swastikas!).

Most parents are concerned about the politicalization of the speech. True, presidents have often talked directly to students…usually about the importance of staying in school and learning. No argument there. However, this is the first time that I’ve heard of a president asking students to submit essays to help him run the country. I thought he already had a plan!

Many schools are letting students “opt-out” should their parents wish that they not be exposed to the speech.

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Night Launch of Discovery

My son, Kevin, found this incredible photo on the NASA website of the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery Friday night. These night launches are way beyond cool!

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Cartoonists Color Their Contempt for Lockerbie Release

Miami Herald cartoonist Jim Morin said he found Scotland’s decision to release Pan Am bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi “quite shocking.”

“This one was a little personal for me because 35 kids were killed in that plane who attended … the Syracuse University arts program abroad in London and I had attended that same program,” Morin told

“I just find it to be outrageous” that Scotland released Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 bombing that killed 270 people.

“I understand how they feel about it, I understand that they have a compassionate system,” he said. “I think that they maybe should have consulted with the victims’ families and listened to them before making the decision.”

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Car dealers getting stiffed on “Cash For Clunkers”

The federal government has only reimbursed auto dealers for 2 percent of the claims they’ve submitted through the popular “cash for clunkers” program, a Pennsylvania congressman said, calling on the Obama administration to help speed up the process.

This is typical government tomfoolery. According to the Department of Transportation, there are a total of 338,659 rebate requests under the “Cash for Clunkers” program; but only a staff of 225 to review the claims. That’s 1,500 claims per employee currently!

And the government wants to manage health care too………..

Home Video Captures Hudson River Mid-Air Collision

New amateur video has been released of last weekend’s helicopter and plane collision over the Hudson River. I cannot image the horror the passengers must have experienced as it happened.

STS-125 Atlantis and Hubble Solar Transit

This is amazing! This image taken in May of the Shuttle Atlantis with the Hubble Space Telescope as they passed briefly in front of the sun. They appear as a speck in the lower left-hand corner of the image. Click on the photo and view it at full size.


Something worth forwarding

Update [August 13, 2009]: It finally dawned on me today this this e-mail list is the one under attack by the media and those Americans concerned about privacy. A few days after the inauguration, I sent a comment via about the loan modification program that was being discussed early on in the new administration. They obviously harvested my e-mail address for further contact as I do not recall being asked if I wanted to receive additional e-mail messages.

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I’m obviously on some mailing list at the White House (hope it’s not an enemies list!). I disclosed the earlier e-mail that I received from David Axelrod and now I have received this e-mail. I was also listening to today’s press briefing and it is obvious that the White House is attempting to correct the “misconceptions” about health care that are being disseminated.

A lot of these misconceptions are generated by the White House itself. For example, at the recent town hall meeting in New Hampshire, President Obama said that A.A.R.P. was “on-board” with his health care plan. A.A.R.P., however, said that — no — they have not endorsed any proposal. The Democrats have not helped their cause either at the locallevel as town hall meeting and constituent meetings have fallen into disarray covered happily by news outlets and bloggers. I’ve seen several videos about the meetings and posted one this morning about the Texas congresswoman who ignored a questionner and listened on her cell phone instead.

I think most Americans agree that some kind of health care reform is needed. But this package — with the cost involved and the way it is being shoved down everyone’s throats — is not the answer.

Here is the e-mail I received today from David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president:

Dear Friend,

This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.


David Axelrod
Senior Adviser to the President

P.S. We launched this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we’ve just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details:

8 common myths about health insurance reform

  1. Reform will stop “rationing” – not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business – not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts.  Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose.  Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job.  Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance – projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:


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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee talks on the phone as a woman asks a question

I saw this video several times yesterday on TV. I have not heard the spin from the congresswoman’s office yet about to whom she was talking. I’ll be curious how they spin this. Perhaps she was talking to Michael Jackson!