Thursday, December 24, 2009

Share Jesus Not Religion This Holiday Season

A thought occurred to me while I was in the kitchen preparing potato salad for Christmas dinner.

Sadly the joy of the Christmas holiday season has been ruined for many non-Christians because they equate the holiday with the often judgmental, thoughtless and, sometimes downright mean-spirited behavior of many Christians.

So Fellow Christians,

This Christmas let's remember to share a lot more of our Savior and a little less of our doctrine. Share the love of Jesus with the people in your life. It's the best birthday that you can give Him.

It's the real reason for the season.

From my house to yours, Merry Christmas.

Who Comes This Night from the 2006 album 'James Taylor at Christmas'. Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So You Expect the Health Insurance Industry to Play Fair?

Sure they will, just like AIG.

As Brady Dennis reports in his article for the Washington Post on the failure of the majority of AIG executives to return their bonuses, old habits are hard to break. Profit often has a way of trumping principle in corporate America. Dennis writes:
"When word spread earlier this year that American International Group had paid more than $165 million in retention bonuses at the division that had precipitated the company's downfall, outrage erupted, with employees getting death threats and President Obama urging that every legal avenue be pursued to block the payments.

New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo threatened to publicize the recipients' names, prompting executives at AIG Financial Products to hastily agree to return about $45 million in bonuses by the end of the year.

But as the final days of 2009 tick away, a majority of that money remains unpaid. Only about $19 million has been given back, according to a report by the special inspector general for the government's bailout program."
Does this really shock anyone?

So why is anyone shocked that a large portion of the progressive population is distrustful of a Senate health care reform bill that both fails to offer a public option and fails to address the insurance industry's exemption from anti-trust laws? Isn't trusting the health insurance to contain consumer costs a little like asking Wall Street executives to return their bonuses?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Insanity Run Amuk in the Health Care Reform Debate

Headline Huffington Post: Robert Byrd's Death Seemingly Wished For By Tom Coburn

Enough is enough already. This Huffington Post headline is ridiculous and definitely in poor taste.

Heaven knows that the last person I am interesting in defending is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). But unless he specifically referenced Sen. Byrd by name or made some veiled reference to "the good gentleman from West Virginia" then neither Senator Durbin or the author of this post knows what was in Sen. Coburn's mind.

Have many of the Republicans acted like hateful, petulant children about health care reform? Of course.

Have some of the Democrats acted in their own self interest? Yes, to that too.

Have members of the Senate used the idea of prayer and religion to advance their very own agendas? Yes indeed. Coburn's comment was out of line.

And do persons on all sides of the debate secretly harbor thoughts of throwing a few members of the Senate under a moving train? You Bet. I know that I have my list and it's pretty long.

But to say that Tom Coburn seemed to be wishing for Senator's Byrd's death is irresponsible and the very type of comment that gives progressives and bloggers everywhere a bad name.

Shame on the Huffington Post for this headline. You have now officially stooped to the level of a Rupert Murdoch rag. All may be fair in love, war and the health care reform debate but this headline is too much for this progressive to stomach.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Corporations Run Government This Is What You Get

When corporations have undue influence on government you can count on one thing: the interests of the corporations will always be placed before the interests of individuals. Never has this been more true than in the devolution of the Senate version of H.R.3590 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka the health care reform bill. And regardless of your political party affiliation or whether you are for or against the bill, you should find the handling of this bill by the Senate and the White House deeply troubling.

Obviously no one really believed that in just one year after an election, albeit an historic one, the world of Washington politics was going to dramatically change. However, I suspect that most people did hold out hope that our elected officials would finally realize that the American people were no longer naive and/or clueless about the influence peddling that occurs in our nation's capitol. I believe that most Americans, at least the progressives that I know, held the hope that their elected representatives would respect their intelligence and realize that while they may have been fooled more times than they care to count, they can't be fooled all of the time. Yet sadly it appears that a lot of people in Washington didn't receive that memo. Because now the American people are being asked to be happy about a proposed Senate health bill that throws them a few crumbs but leaves the most vulnerable in society at the mercy of the insurance industry.

Yes, there are a few good things in the current version of health care reform bill but let's all be honest. If an insurance company is allowed to charge a senior citizen three times as much for their health care coverage does it really matter if there is no longer a doughnut hole in their prescription coverage? In fact, the amendment that would have made a significant difference in the the cost of prescription drug costs, the Dorgan/Snowe amendment, was rejected in order to protect the interests of Big Pharma

Here's what we are now being asked to cheer. A bill that opens for the door for a senior citizen who currently pays $200/mo ($2,400/yr) for supplemental Medicare coverage to now see the possibility of that rate jumping to $600/mo ($7,200/yr). In that scenario, the Senate's bill would, at best, guarantee that that senior faces extreme financial hardship or, at worse, force them to choose to forego medical care that they may desperately need.

In another scenario, a young person, with what is currently considered "a pre-existing" condition, could be forced to purchase an insurance plan at an exorbitant rate. That certainly wouldn't leave much money left over to spend on the other items that help fuel our economy, would it?

In both of these scenarios, the only entity that is really benefiting is the insurance company. Surprise, surprise!

As physician and former Gov. Howard Dean wrote in his article, Health Care Bill Won't Bring Real Reform, for the Washington Post:
"Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG."

In an interview with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann former Cigna executive Wendell Potter calls the current version of the Senate health care reform bill, a big gift for the (insurance) industry.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This bill is a travesty. Even worse, anyone who has the courage to speak out against this sell-out to the insurance industry is being labeled as "irrational" and their dissent is being misrepresented.

During an interview with Keith Olbermann, Lawrence O'Donnell touched on why it seems that Howard Dean's comments are being taken out of context as well as why the White House seems to be more upset with Dr. Dean than the obstructionist Sen. Joe Lieberman:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In a post for The Hill, Alexander Bolton quotes Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) as saying: “This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth." And that takes me back to the heart of this post.

As long as election campaigns involve obscene amounts of money, then corporations will have undue influence in politics. And when corporations have undue influence in politics you can count on one thing: the interests of the corporations will always be placed before the interest of individuals.

So who is to blame for this madness? Sen. Lieberman, Pres. Obama, Harry Reid, Congress, the lobbyists? Or maybe we should all take a look in the mirror. Because if we quietly sat by while our government was sold to corporate interests we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Related posts:

An Appeal for Real and Comprehensive Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform - How Bad Do We Want It?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Reality of War for America's Women in Uniform

Thanks to Marcia G. Yerman for bringing Kimberly Hefling's article, Female Veterans Struggle for Acceptance, to my attention. As Marcia noted in her comment on the post, "Military Sexual Trauma is a major issue."

Sadly, it's a major issue that is gravely under-reported.

In her article, Ms Helfing writes:
"Female service members have much higher rates of divorce and are more likely to be a single parent. When they do seek help at VA medical centers, they are screening positive at a higher rate for military sexual trauma, meaning they indicated experiencing sexual harassment, assault or rape. Some studies have shown that female veterans are at greater risk for homelessness.

Former Army Sgt. Kayla Williams, an Iraq veteran who has written about her experience, said she was surprised by the response she and other women from the 101st Airborne Division received from people in Clarksville, Tenn., near Fort Campbell, Ky.

She said residents just assumed they were girlfriends or wives of military men."

Read Kimberly Heflng's Article at HuffingtonPost

Unbelievable! It's sounds like Sgt. Williams is encountering people who've watched too many episodes of MASH and taken the fiction as gospel.

But as one response to the HuffPo article indicates, even if people view today's service women as more than the "girlfriends and wives of military men", many are still unaware of the scope of the problems that they face. In his comment Kidorf asked, "Are you suggesting that those female soldiers are being "offed"?

Well, Kidorf, the parents of Army Pfc Lavena Johnson may well answer that question with, YES.

On July 19, 2005, Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson was found dead in Balad, Iraq. It has been reported that when her body was discovered in a tent belonging to a private military contractor her remains displayed
a black eye, broken nose, burned hands, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals and a bullet hole in the head. The military ruled her death as a suicide.

While it is yet to be confirmed by the military that Pfc Johnson was murdered, it is certainly clear that she and many other service women have been and continue to be subjected to various forms of abuse. It is also evident that their concerns (and those of their loved ones) are largely being dismissed.

The following is a video clip from a 2008
hearing held by The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs' on "Sexual Assault in the Military." In this segment, you see Subcommittee Chairman Tierney and Full Committee Chairman Waxman practically threaten Michael Dominguez, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Defense, with contempt after he reveals that he has ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to defy a subpoena to appear before the committee.

In his opening comments to the hearing Chairman Tierney remarked:
“What’s at stake here goes to the very core of the values of the military and the nation itself. When our sons and daughters put their lives on the line to defend the rest of us, the last thing they should fear is being attacked by one of our own. We fundamentally have a duty to prevent sexual assaults in the military as much as humanly possible, and to punish attackers quickly and severely. We also must empower victims so they feel comfortable coming forward to seek justice and to receive help to get their lives back on track and to restore their dignity. Finally, we simply must ensure a climate in our military where sexual assault is in no way, either officially or unofficially, condoned, ignored, or tolerated.”

Another article which addressed this same troubling issue was "Rapists in the Ranks" by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), a must read for anyone concerned about this issue.

In this article Rep. Harman wrote:
"The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken."
She also noted:
"At the heart of this crisis is an apparent inability or unwillingness to prosecute rapists in the ranks. According to DOD statistics, only 181 out of 2,212 subjects investigated for sexual assault in 2007, including 1,259 reports of rape, were referred to courts-martial, the equivalent of a criminal prosecution in the military. Another 218 were handled via nonpunitive administrative action or discharge, and 201 subjects were disciplined through "nonjudicial punishment," which means they may have been confined to quarters, assigned extra duty or received a similar slap on the wrist. In nearly half of the cases investigated, the chain of command took no action; more than a third of the time, that was because of 'insufficient evidence'."

In the following video Massachusetts School of Law Professor Diane Sullivan interviews Kirsten Holmstedt on her book, The Girls Come Marching Home: Stories of Women Warriors Returning From The War In Iraq. In the book female veterans of the war in Iraq speak about soldiers dying on their watch, dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the difficulties of returning home.

Recently, President Barack Obama announced that an additional 30,000 troops will be deployed to Afghanistan. Of course, a percentage of that number will be women. Regardless of how you feel about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, isn't it time to make sure that the women who courageously serve in the armed services be treated with the respect that they have earned.

Related Posts:

Will You Become One of 25 Million?

Speak Out Against the Sexual Violence in Iraq

What Happens When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Response to President Obama’s “Just War” Doctrine

As Ben Feller reported for Associated Press, "President Barack Obama evoked the cause of a just war on Thursday, accepting his Nobel Peace Prize just nine days after sending 30,000 more U.S. troops to war in Afghanistan but promising to use the prestigious prize to 'reach for the world that ought to be.'"

In response to President Barack Obama's "Just War" statement, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has issued the following statement:

WASHINGTON - December 11 - “Yesterday, our president mused about the inevitability of war, war’s instrumentality in the pursuit of peace and just wars.

It is important for us to reflect on his words, because once we believe in the inevitability of war, war becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once we are committed to war’s instrumentality in pursuit of peace, we begin the Orwellian journey to the semantic netherworld where War IS Peace, where the momentum of war overwhelms hopes for peace. And once we wrap doctrines perpetuating war in the arms of justice, we can easily legitimate the wholesale slaughter of innocents.

The war against Iraq was based on lies. Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are based on flawed doctrines of counter-insurgency. War is often not just; sometimes it is just war. And our ability to rethink the terms of our existence, to explore the possibility of peace without war, may well determine whether we end war, or war ends us."
Kudos Representative Kucinich. Progressives can not afford to only be against the war when the opposing political party is in office.

In case you missed the speech, here is a video clip courtesy of TPMTV

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pelosi Backs Off Public Option

Now that it's official that the "public option" died on the table today at 11:12 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, I can only say that I'm really not surprised. As I stated in an August blog post, I'm sure that Congress will eventually pass some form of health care reform in order to allow us all to pretend that America has taken one small step in the right direction. But to use a football analogy, driving 80 yards down the field means very little if you falter in the red zone and have to settle for a field goal.

As a nation, we have yet to determine that quality health care for all is a right. We say that we want health care reform, we just don't want it bad enough to make the sacrifices necessary to make it a reality. After all, most Americans have some form of coverage, don't they? We certainly can't cut the budgets for defense spending, farm subsidies and building new prisons. We wouldn't want to make the insurance mad. After all, they might threaten to raise everyone's premiums or refuse to offer coverage in certain states. And of course, no politician can afford to lose those campaign dollars, can they?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

A Television Event That May Remind People of Their Power

Every once in a while something truly special airs on television. When "The People Speak" airs on The History Channel this upcoming Sunday it will be one of those moments.

Inspired by the books of Howard Zinn, ("A People's History of the United States") and Anthony Arnove, ("Voices of a People's History"), The People Speak is a documentary which tells the story of American democracy through the words of the ordinary, yet powerful, people who have shaped it.

With a cast that includes: Benjamin Bratt, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson, Danny Glover, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Viggo Mortensen and Sandra Oh, this film shares the voices of the dissenters, the protesters, "the resistance in U.S. history " who have helped shaped this nation's history but are seldom mentioned in history texts. The result is a documentary which reminds us that democracies are built from the bottom up, not from the top down.

In the following video clip Howard Zinn and co-exec-producer Chris Moore discuss their film on the Today show:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Reporting for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Katie Leslie interviewed actress Jasmine Guy who shared her experience in making this documentary:

" 'The live experience, the filming process, was really incredible,' Guy said, explaining that actors and musicians practiced their lines backstage in character. 'We had Frederick Douglass in one corner and Martin Luther King in another and Abraham Lincoln... it was deep.'

Guy said she was most touched by the work of Abbey Lincoln, whom she knew as an actress and singer, but not as an activist. Guy depicted Lincoln, Alice Walker, Sylvia Woods and others in the film.

'In reading it, it was so raw and it kind of touched a nerve with me because it was talking about the acceptance of our own beauty as black women and how we can’t ever seem to get it right,' Guy said of Lincoln's work. 'And I think those people you don’t expect to come out with these profound powerful moving words really moved me the most because they did come from everyday people.' "

As Bill Moyers reminded us during his address at the NYU Kimmel Center on December 12, 2006, "democracy works when people claim it as their own" and "the next chapter is ours to tell." "The People Speak", reminds us of this important message once again.

Hopefully, enough of us are listening.

Related Posts:

A Challenge for Every American Citizen, 9/07

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Financial Industry Money Flows To Sponsors Of Industry-Friendly Amendments

As one commenter posted, "This is a surprise because?"

Sadly, it is no surprise to most Americans that the financial sector has undue influence on Capital Hill. That is why it is so very important that citizens contact their Congressperson and ask that they support

H.R.4173 - the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.

This may be the average consumer's last chance.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, November 30, 2009

Looking Back on the Dubai Ports World Deal

or, Why Sometimes It's OK to Be A Little Paranoid.

Remember this story:

United Arab Emirates Firm May Oversee 6 U.S. Ports
By Ted Bridis
 Associated Press

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.

The Bush administration considers the UAE an important ally in the fight against terrorism since the suicide hijackings and is not objecting to Dubai Ports World's purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

The $6.8 billion sale could be approved Monday and would affect commercial port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

DP World said it won approval from a secretive U.S. government panel that considers security risks of foreign companies buying or investing in American industry. The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States "thoroughly reviewed the potential transaction and concluded they had no objection," the company said in a statement.

The committee, which could have recommended that President Bush block the purchase, includes representatives from the departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security.
And now today the government of Dubai has announced that it will not cover Dubai Ports World's debts.

Graeme Wearden reported for the
"The Dubai government said today that it will not guarantee the debts of the stricken conglomerate Dubai World as the city state's debt crisis continues to haunt the world's financial markets.

After the Abu Dhabi stock market suffered its biggest ever one-day fall today as investors returned after the Eid holiday, Dubai's top finance official appeared on Dubai TV to say that the emirate's government will not guarantee Dubai World's $59bn (£36bn) debts.

The statement suggests that creditors, which include leading banks, could face billions of dollars of losses as the conglomerate's worldwide property, industry and leisure empire unravels.

Abdulrahman al-Saleh, director general of Dubai's department of finance, said: 'Creditors need to take part of the responsibility for their decision to lend to the companies. They think Dubai World is part of the government, which is not correct,' he said.

'Dubai World was established as an independent company, it is true that the government is the owner, but given that the company has various activities and is exposed to various types of risks, the decision, since its establishment, has been that the company is not guaranteed by the [Dubai] government.'"

Now let's just pause for a moment and imagine.

If that "secretive US panel that considers security risks of foreign companies", the Bush Administration and Dubai World had gotten their way, a non-US owned company, whose own government describes it as being a "company (that) has various activities and is exposed to various types of risks"; and is carrying $56b in debt: would be responsible for "significant operations" at the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami.

Of course, anyone who expressed a concerned of the proposed Dubai Ports World deal of 2006 was labeled as protectionist and paranoid.

Makes you wonder how any of us survived the Bush administration at all.

But wait, are any of those same people still working at CFIUS?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is A Crystal Vase Valuable If It's Free?

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
Matthew 7:6

For many years I thought that this verse of scripture was a little out of place. It immediately follows verses which caution us against being judgmental and precedes verses which teach us how to ask, seek and receive. I also thought that referring to dogs and swine was a little harsh.

I'm still not sure that I understand how the verses in Matthew 7:1-8 come together but I now understand that Jesus was just trying to make the point that not everyone is receptive to the gospel message and in those situations it makes no sense to press the point or be judgmental.

I also now understand that Matthew 7:6 has very practical, every day relevance. Simply put, gifts are not always appreciated by those who don't perceive their value. When this happens there is no sense in being upset about it or judging the person.

Here's an example. Many years ago, while going through a bout of depression, I gave a Mikasa vase to a friend. I'd had the vase for many years but at that moment, I just thought that this friend might enjoy it more than I. A few years later, I was in the friend's kitchen helping her entertain guests. I happened to look under her kitchen sink for a dish pan and, lo and behold, there was the crystal vase. My first thought was, "who puts a valuable crystal vase under the sink with their pots and pans?" But then I realized that it was my friend's vase now to do with as she pleased. But that incident made me think.

I've always believed that to whom much is given, much is required, a value instilled in me by my mom. So, over the years I've given away many items. When I replaced my computers I refurbished the old ones and passed them on. When I hadn't worn an item of clothing for a year or two, and it was still in great condition, I passed it on. Cookware, I wasn't using was passed on. If something was in disrepair I threw it out but if something still had value I passed it on. It just seemed like it was the right thing to do. I also applied this same practice to my time and professional skills. And I know that I'm not the only one who believes and does this.

However, now I know that not all of these gifts were appreciated, not because they were not valuable but because they were free to the recipient. The computer, leather suit or crystal vase suddenly was seen as not quite as valuable because they free. And that made me think, is that the way that we treat God's gifts?

How would we view Jesus if he were on the earth today? Would we think that he was less of a minister because he didn't have a mega-church or a big congregation?

After all, we only think that musicians really have talent if they have big recording contracts?

Poets and writers are only valued if they have published works?

Housewives are perceived as not making as valuable a contribution to the household as their working spouse.

And while the tasks performed by persons who care for our sick and elderly loved ones in nursing homes are perceived as "work", the same tasks performed for free by full-time home caregivers is not.

Is a crystal vase valuable if it's free?

Not everyone appreciates the gift of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. They don't perceive the value of the gift because it was done for free. There's no sense in judging them, threatening them with hell fire or beating them over the head with the bible. They're not ready to receive it.

And I guess that's where the "ask and keep asking" verse ties in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can We Say It Now?

Yesterday, ran a story titled, "Bailout Hasn't Checked Wall Street Risks, Warren Says."

My first response was, "Duh, and this is news."

Did anyone really think that the geniuses who made millions running their companies into the ground; who nearly brought global financial markets to a crashing halt; and who were bailed out in spite of their misdeeds were really going to change their ways.

Why should they?

Obviously, the message that they received from the TARP bailout was that their system worked. At least it did for them. And after all, since Wall Street drives the economy, they are all that matters, right?

In her article, Lorraine Wollert reported:
" Elizabeth Warren, a chief watchdog of the government’s rescue of Wall Street, said the $700 billion bailout hasn’t stopped the “culture of excessive risk-taking” that led to the financial crisis.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program also has “injected an unprecedented level of pricing distortions and moral hazard into the marketplace,” Warren said at a hearing today of the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP, which she leads.

“Uncertainty persists about the stability of our financial institutions and whether they can survive without the benefit of government assistance,” Warren said.

The oversight panel heard testimony from economists about the effectiveness of the program. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must decide whether to extend the rescue program beyond its scheduled expiration at the end of the year.

Warren said banks are relying on government aid and consumer lending to make money.

“That’s not a sustainable profit model,” she said.
So can we finally say it?

All together now:

An economy based primarily on debt and credit and very little production of tangible goods simply is not sustainable.

But this is what we have. A service economy that runs on debt and credit. An economy built on: financial schemes; health care for profit; outsourcing production; illegal labor: and most of all, GREED.

We just didn't learn our lesson. So now prepare yourselves for the rollout of TARP 2.0 aka TARP Reloaded.

In the following video from FireDogLake Elizabeth Warren provides an honest assessment of this situation.

I certainly don't have all the answers for fixing this problem. But I do agree with Albert Einstein who is quoted as saying, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

And if TARP Reloaded fails, don't hold your breath for TARP Revolutions. That would be a contradiction in terms.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Snake is a Snake is a Snake

There are two sayings that you've probably heard a million times but they always bear repeating:

"Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware"
"Some people will do anything for a buck"

Often these two phrases go hand in hand especially when it comes to real estate.

By now you've probably heard of the "We Buy Houses for Cash" scam but just in case you haven't here's a little background.

Andrew Dunn reported the following in his article, "Home Scam Stings Owners":

"Typically, this is how the scheme works: A distressed homeowner, who can't sell his house and may be facing foreclosure, agrees to sell his home to a company in exchange for a small cash settlement and the title to the house. The homeowner doesn't realize he is still named on the mortgage. The company brings in a renter, who pays a significant deposit. The company may or may not continue to pay the mortgage. When it can no longer find a renter, it abandons the property, for which the original homeowner is still liable.

It's the latest in a number of schemes that regulators are battling as distressed homeowners look for a way out of an overwhelming mortgage or impending foreclosure. The N.C. Department of Justice has been cracking down on foreclosure “rescue” outfits that require an upfront payment and promise to work with a lender to modify a delinquent loan. Now it's also taking aim at businesses that promise to take over mortgage payments if the homeowner signs over the deed or title.

The businesses often start by sending letters meant to look handwritten that offer to buy the house and pay off the debt. They count on the stressed home seller to not thoroughly review the deal or hire an attorney to vet the contract."

Now here's the new twist on this scam.

The "We Buy Homes" snakes are now working with service contractors in order to get information on the homes that they want to buy.

For example, a homeowner may hire a painter, cleaning service, or handyman to perform routine services. That contractor then has access to the home and, in turn, feeds information on the condition of the home back to the individual/business who wants to buy the home. And in the age of the camera phone, the contractors can often supply pictures. The scam artist then mails the intended victim a letter stating that they will buy homes that have the specific flaws in the home. And of course, the majority of the targets for this scam are senior citizens.

Evil? You bet.

Well, I know that if you're a regular reader of my blogs you're never going to fall for this scam. But here's a little information that you can pass on to a friend.

"How to Protect Yourself From Scams" from
"If you need to sell a house fast, here are a few rules for protecting yourself from falling prey to a scam like these.

Only Work with Professionals

The best way to protect yourself from scams is to work only with professionals who have an established history of home buying. These days, anyone can order a book from an infomercial and become a "professional home buyer," but real professionals have been in business for many years and have closed millions of dollars in real estate transactions. Their primary concern is the health of their business, and they will not risk that by cheating you or otherwise treating you unfairly.

Check Out the Buyer

If you have any concerns about the buyer, don't hesitate to check them out. Contact your state Attorney General's office, your state's Real Estate Commission, or your District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit. If they are an established business, also check out the Better Business Bureau.

Always Understand What You're Signing

Not asking questions because you are afraid of looking stupid could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars or more if you end up in a deal that wasn't what you thought it was. A lawyer or even your mortgage company can help you if you want professional advice from a third party. Never, ever sign a contract that you don't understand.

Get All Agreements in Writing

If a disagreement arises about a verbal agreement, the issue becomes your word against theirs and often must go to a court of law to be settled. Don't risk that. Insist that all terms be in writing, and don't agree to anything that isn't.

Be Willing to Walk Away

If you have any doubts about the buyer or the contract — or if it just doesn't feel right — just walk away. It's never worth the months (and maybe years) of future headaches to sell your house a few days sooner."

If you believe that you, or someone you know, is being targeted by "We Buy Houses" scammers, report them immediately to your state real estate regulatory board.

And just as a point of common sense, don't let just anybody into your home. I know, it's really a shame to live like this but the failure not to could have terrible consequences.

Related posts:

Caveat Emptor: Beware of Mortgage Modification Scams

Beware of Mortgage Leopards Trying to Change Their Spots

Everybody Takes Advantage of An Opportunity, Right?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When Michelle Malkin is Right, She's Right

Ok readers, you can get up off the floor now.

I haven't suddenly lost my mind. But you know that I have to call them like I see them, even when it gets me into big trouble. So here goes.

In a recent interview with FoxNews on the topic of the tragedy at Ft. Hood, Ms Malkin stated:
"I don't think that we have to play games with the rush to judgment anymore. I think that the bigger problem for the American government and their culture post 9/11 is that there are too many people still doing the rush to white-wash."

She later states: "the red flags were missed and it behooves everyone in Congress and in Washington to figure out who dropped the ball."

Friends, when Michelle is right, she's right. Sadly, the rest of her argument misses the point and her statement is a few years too late.

During the rest of the interview, Ms Malkin blames the recent tragedy at Ft. Hood on "the military's worship of the "false god of diversity" which, in her opinion, was placed before national security.

First of all, that is an insult to the military and all of the servicemen and women whom Michelle Malkin constantly criticizes liberals for not supporting. Shame on her,

Second, I submit that it wasn't the military's worship of diversity but rather the Bush administration's rush to war with an all-volunteer military and a "see no evil" recruitment policy that opened the door to disaster.

In an April, 2008 post, I referenced a December 2006 article in the San Francisco Chronicle which raised very serious questions about the military's recruitment policy. In his article, "US is recruiting misfits for army: felons, racists, gang members fill in the ranks",
reporter Nick Turse wrote:
"After falling short of its goals last year, military recruiting in 2006 has been marked by upbeat pronouncements from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, claims of success by the White House, and a spate of recent press reports touting the military's achievement of its woman- and manpower goals.

But the armed forces have met with success only through a fundamental transformation, and not the transformation of the military -- that 'co-evolution of concepts, processes, organizations and technology' that Rumsfeld is always talking about either.

In 2004, the Pentagon published a 'Moral Waiver Study,' whose seemingly benign goal was 'to better define relationships between pre-Service behaviors and subsequent Service success.' That turned out to mean opening more recruitment doors to potential enlistees with criminal records.

In February, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was 'a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms 'serious criminal misconduct' in their background' -- a category that included 'aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats.' From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.

In June, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that, under pressure to fill the ranks, the Army had been allowing into its ranks increasing numbers of 'recruits convicted of misdemeanor crimes, according to experts and military records.' In fact, as the military's own data indicated, 'the percentage of recruits entering the Army with waivers for misdemeanors and medical problems has more than doubled since 2001.'

One beneficiary of the Army's new moral-waiver policies gained a certain prominence this summer. After Steven Green, who served in the 101st Airborne Division, was charged in a rape and quadruple murder in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, it was disclosed that he had been 'a high-school dropout from a broken home who enlisted to get some direction in his life, yet was sent home early because of an anti-social personality disorder.' "

In that same post I mentioned, Paula Zahn's 2007 report on "Gangs in the Military". If you missed it, here's an excerpt from the show transcript:

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): No one knows for sure just how many gang members are in the military. By some estimations, it's less than 1 percent of all military personnel, hardly an epidemic, but enough to prompt the FBI to issue this report.

(voice-over): Gang members at military installations from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, have been involved in drug distribution, robberies, assaults, and murder. According to this 2007 internal FBI document, the report found that gang activity in the U.S. -- quote -- "is increasing and poses a threat to law enforcement officials and national security."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Military men training gangsters on how to use weapons.

GUTIERREZ: An issue law enforcement is taking seriously.

Al Valdez (ph) is a former detective. He trains police around the country on gangs in the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not illegal to be a gang member in the United States. And it's a protected right. In fact, the head of Army Recruitment Command correctly states that. What happens is, they bring that gangster mentality within the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When these cats come back from -- these gang members come back from Iraq, we are going to have some hell on these streets, because these dudes are coming back with training that's on another level.

So, if the military was willing to overlook gang members, overt racists and felons, then it wouldn't come as a surprise to me if they may have overlooked an Islamic jihadist or two. To be clear, I said "IF".

Of course, Ms. Malkin may not read the San Francisco Chronicle or be a fan of Paula Zahn but there were other signs that the recruitment demands placed on the military by the Bush administration's rush to the war in Iraq and lack of an exit strategy would have serious consequences. Where was her concern then?

Oh yes, I forgot. Ms. Malkin was busy labeling anyone who expressed a concern about the war as a "traitor", "a coward" and "an enemy sympathizer."

Yes, when Michelle Malkin is right, she's partially right.
"The red flags were missed and it behooves everyone in Congress and in Washington to figure out who dropped the ball."

Related posts:

What Happens When Johnny Comes Marching Home

The Illusion of An All Volunteer Army

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Sets the Record Straight on Health Care Reform

Rep. Debbie Wasserman (D-FL), one of the best spokespersons for the progressives, discusses the facts of the Affordable Health Care for America Act on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. During this interview Rep. Schultz sets the record on questions about abortion and illegal immigration.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Rep. Bilbray: "You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts."

Financial Markets May Be Working Again, But Average Americans Are Still Waiting

First, let's get the partisan politics out of the way.

It might have been the Clinton or the Bush (41& 43) administrations that got us in to this economic mess. And the policies of the Obama administration may be: correcting the problem; making things worse; simply applying a band-aid to a knife wound; or, all of the above. Your view of today's economic news will probably depend on how you're affected by it and your political affiliation. But one thing is true. Wall Street may be recovering but the average American is still maneuvering on a slippery slope.

Less than two months ago U.S. President Barack Obama stated that all signs indicated that the economy was
starting to grow and financial markets were starting to work again. But while sending an encouraging message to Wall Street he did add the caveat that employment statistics did not indicate improvement and, in fact, could get worse over the next couple of months. This was the message that the President reiterated today.

No one should be surprised by today's announcement that unemployment has reached 10.2 percent.

Columnist Lynn Sweet reported on details provided by the Department of Labor:
"In October, the number of unemployed persons increased by 558,000 to 15.7 
million. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2 percent, 
the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in 
December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 8.2 million, 
and the unemployment rate has grown by 5.3 percentage points.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.7 per-
cent) and whites (9.5 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult 
women (8.1 percent), teenagers (27.6 percent), blacks (15.7 percent), and
Hispanics (13.1 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment 
rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 
little changed over the month at 5.6 million. In October, 35.6 percent of 
unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more.

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed over the month 
at 65.1 percent. The employment-population ratio continued to decline in 
October, falling to 58.5 percent.

The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes refer-
red to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in October at 9.3 
million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been 
cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in October, 
reflecting an increase of 736,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not sea-
sonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and 
were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. 
They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in 
the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 808,000 discouraged workers in October, 
up from 484,000 a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Dis-
couraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe 
no jobs are available for them. The other 1.6 million persons marginally attached 
to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding 
the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities."

Add to these numbers: the millions of workers who lost a job and replaced it with a lower paying one; the millions whose salaries have been frozen for a few years; the millions of retirees who lost a large portion of their retirement savings when the market crashed; the millions who lost a substantial amount of the equity in their homes: and, the Social Security recipients who will not get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2010, and many Americans are still wondering when things will get better for them.

However, while many Americans are holding on by a life preserver the banking industry is preparing to throw them an anchor. Yes, the financial markets are definitely working again and working in the same old way.

Earlier today, Megan Woolhouse of The Boston Globe reported:
"Credit card companies are rushing to increase interest rates to historic highs of more than 30 percent, cut credit limits, and add new fees, even for customers who pay their bills on time.

Lenders are making the moves in advance of tougher federal regulations for credit cards scheduled to take effect on Feb. 22. The new rules will limit how companies can modify credit card agreements, specifically prohibiting them from retroactively raising interest rates and fees on existing balances.

US Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Financial Services Committee and is a leader in the effort to revamp credit card policies, said banks have 'abused’' the nine-month period granted them to re-tool their practices.

'I didn’t think they would be as blatant as they were about doing this,' he said. 'There’s no justification for raising rates retroactively. This is really just a way for them to make more money.' "

And by the way, have you noticed that gasoline prices are inching up?

Ok, I'm not going to say, "I told you...."

No I'm not going to say it. If you're reading this blog, I'd just be preaching to the choir.

Related posts:

Bill Moyers' Interview with Bill Black and How They Got Away With It

Saying "No One Saw This Coming", Just Doesn't Ring True.

Why So Many American Want Wall Street & The Banks to Suffer

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Will A Repeal of the Insurance Industry Anti-Trust Exemption Be Added to the Health Bill?

It will if Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has his way. And, his argument makes perfect sense.

Senator Schumer would like to include all or a portion of the bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), S.1681 into the final Health Care Reform bill. To learn more about S 1681 - Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009 visit:

An Appeal for a Real and Comprehensive Approach to Health Care Reform

While the US may be moving one step closer to health care reform with the passage of the Baucus Bill by the Senate Finance Committee, it is clear that a very important element in the health care discussion is being overlooked. What is making Americans so sick?

Health care costs wouldn't be so high and there wouldn't be so much concern about the cost of a public health care plan if so many Americans weren't so sick.


On Monday, the New York Times reported on the hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic waste being dumping into the nation's water supply
by coal-fired power plants. In the article, "Cleansing the Air at the Expense of the Waterways", Charles Duhigg reported:
"For years, residents here complained about the yellow smoke pouring from the tall chimneys of the nearby coal-fired power plant, which left a film on their cars and pebbles of coal waste in their yards. Five states — including New York and New Jersey — sued the plant’s owner, Allegheny Energy, claiming the air pollution was causing respiratory diseases and acid rain.

So three years ago, when Allegheny Energy decided to install scrubbers to clean the plant’s air emissions, environmentalists were overjoyed. The technology would spray water and chemicals through the plant’s chimneys, trapping more than 150,000 tons of pollutants each year before they escaped into the sky.

But the cleaner air has come at a cost. Each day since the equipment was switched on in June, the company has dumped tens of thousands of gallons of waste water containing chemicals from the scrubbing process into the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to 350,000 people and flows into Pittsburgh, 40 miles to the north.

'It’s like they decided to spare us having to breathe in these poisons, but now we have to drink them instead,' said Philip Coleman, who lives about 15 miles from the plant and has asked a state judge to toughen the facility’s pollution regulations. 'We can’t escape.'

Even as a growing number of coal-burning power plants around the nation have moved to reduce their air emissions, many of them are creating another problem: water pollution. Power plants are the nation’s biggest producer of toxic waste, surpassing industries like plastic and paint manufacturing and chemical plants, according to a New York Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data."

If the air pollution caused by coal-fired plants has already been linked to chronic asthma and COPD, just imagine the result of ingesting large quantities of the same toxins in your drinking water.

In an article for, Melissa Breyer reported on the link between pesticides and Parkinson's Disease.

A study by eminent oncologists Dr. Leonard Hardell and Dr. Mikael Eriksson of Sweden concludes that there is a link between "the world’s biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup, marketed by Monsanto), to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer."

The following video clip is from the documentary "The World According to Monsanto" which took an in-depth look into the bio-chemical companies impact on agriculture, the environment and health.

And while we're discussing Monsanto we certainly can't forget their efforts to bury the truth about rBGH (bovine growth hormone) in milk.

There are many, many more instances of links between toxic waste and disease but I think that you get the picture.

Corporations have been dumping toxins in the water, air and food supply with impunity. The American public has grown sicker which has in turn driven up health care costs. Health care insurers are profiting from this illness. And now the corporate lobbyists and insurance industry spin machine are waging a full scale assault on health care reform.

Dear Members of Congress and President Obama,

if you really want to reform health care please take a comprehensive approach to this problem. How can you not pass health care reform with a public option when the government agencies which were supposed to protect the environment, agriculture and public health have failed us so miserably.

The previously cited New York Time article shows that the Riverhead International Coal Plant in Macon GA has been cited for 124 violations, paid $0 in fines and
hasn't been inspected since 1979. 1979 - 30 years ago.

Let the teabaggers and birthers rant, rave and spread lies about "death panels" but don't give in to the insanity.

Americans can diet, exercise, visit the doctor and take all the pills we want. But if the biochemical and power industries continue to poision the air, water & food, we will grow sicker and sicker. Health care costs will both bankrupt consumers and increase the federal deficit. And in the end, we will die. Those without health care coverage will just die much quicker.

Congress must pass health care with a public option and if you want to reduce costs take on the corporations that have contributed to this crisis. Fine them. Shame them if you have to. Expose them for the greedy, heartless profiteers that they have become.

How dare Wellpoint sue the State of Maine to ensure that it is guaranteed a profit!

Enough is enough.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Little Common Sense About Health Care Reform: Priceless

In the best message that I've seen to-date about the health care reform debate, Will Ferrell, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Masi Oka, Jordana Spiro, Linda Cardellini and Donald Faison explain why we must protect insurance companies. :-)


In the following video, Bill Moyers sums of the insanity over the health care reform debate.

A little common sense goes a long way.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just Being Alive Will Soon Be a Pre-Existing Condition

Thanks PunditMom for sharing your story.

It's beyond unbelievable that any insurance company, anywhere would consider "domestic violence" as a pre-existent condition." However as Maria Tchijov reported in the SEIU blog:

"Insurance companies have used the excuse of "pre-existing conditions" to deny coverage to countless Americans. From cancer patients to the elderly suffering from arthritis, these organizations have padded their profit margins by limiting coverage to patients deemed "high risk" because of their medical condition. But, in DC and eight other states, including Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, insurance companies have gone too far, claiming that "domestic violence victim" is also a pre-existing condition. "

This has to stop.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Robert Greenwald on The Ed Show for Sick For Profit

Robert Greenwald talks about CIGNA and Sick For Profit on The Ed Show. For more information, go to

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This Is Our Brain on Fear

If you were raised in the United States, you can probably recall the PSA with the image of an egg frying and the saying, "This is your brain on drugs". Well the current political climate in America indicates that our collective brain is well on its way to being just as fried.

In an article for Alternet, Tammy Ganeva outlined the, "10 of the Most Obscenely Stupid Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories and Attacks Against the President."

Janet Shan of The Hinterland Gazette posted a story, "Capt Connie Rhodes Files Lawsuit to Fight Deployment to Afghanistan, Disputes the Legitimacy of Barack Obama's Presidency."

Stacy Morrow posted a story for MSNBC informing us that the Arlington Independent School District which passed on showing President Obama's address to school children plans to bus (yes, bus) some of those children to Texas Stadium on September 21st to hear former President George W. Bush.

What do these stories have in common?

They are all describing the insanity that has gripped this country. A form of mental illness so severe that it prompted Rep. Congressman Joe Wilson (SC) to shout "You Lie" at President Obama during the latter's address to Congress.

Friends this isn't Sparta, this is madness

Like an addict hooked on crack, it seems that a large portion of American society is hooked on fear. And now that fear is turning to disrespect, race baiting and worst of all, religious zealotry that twists the gospel of Jesus Christ from a message of love into a sermon of hate.

What bible is this man reading? Certainly not the same one that I am because in my bible Matthew 22:36-40 reads:

36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Pastor Steven Anderson needs to rethink his religion. A lot of people do.

We also need to rethink our political conversation. Yes, the blogosphere has had a lot of fun pointing out the hypocrisy and absurdities coming from both of the major political camps. In fact, some blogs/bloggers have become famous and infamous for their flaming conversations. But is this really who we want to be as a society?

It would be easy to say that this is all the result of the American public having had their fears manipulated for the past 8 years. I'm sure that eight years of: environmentalists being portrayed as kooks; war veterans being portrayed as cowards; twisted stories about weapons of mass destruction; politically timed and motivated terror alerts; anti-war dissent being labeled as of being un-American; the suspension of habeas corpus; mass wire-tapping by the telecoms; et. al. had their effect. But I suspect that the current outpouring of venom is something that has always been hidden in the dark recesses of our national soul like some dormant parasite just waiting to be fed.

In the months ahead, health care reform may or may not pass. The economy may continue to improve or it may worsen. And political candidates may or may not be re-elected. But many of the words of hate spoken over the past months will be remembered for a very long time.

America, this is our brain on fear. Consider this an intervention. Now get help!

Related links:

Tell Congressman Joe WIlson to apologize for disrsepecting the President during his address to Congress.

Sign the Credo mobile petition urging the FBI and Secret Service to do all that they can to protect the President.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just One More Reason Why Christians Should Stay Prayed Up

If I've learned anything in almost 50 years of living it's that when you're trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ there will be enumerable annoyances that will remind you that you have not yet attained perfection. Most of these annoyances will involve people.

One thing that is guaranteed to try my patience, humble me and bring me to my knees praying that God bridle my tongue is my #1 pet peeve. I simply can't abide customer service people who insult your intelligence by lying rather than simply telling you the truth.

Having worked in customer service for many years, I know all too well how uncomfortable it can be when you find yourself having to explain to a customer why their order isn't ready or a project can't be completed. But I have also learned that while some customers will fly off the handle and spew venom, most will respond calmly and rationally when you apologize for the inconvenience and tell them the simple truth. I like to believe that 99% of the time my behavior as a customer falls into the latter category. However, when I very calmly ask a customer service person to explain why there is a problem with something that I've ordered and they proceed to tell me one lie after another, I must confess that this very easy going, mild mannered Christian has visions of jumping across a counter and re-enacting a scene from the movie 300. This is why people should not carry weapons.

This morning I was tested again. Around 4pm this past Tuesday afternoon I dropped off prescriptions for my mother's respiratory medicine at my friendly neighborhood CVS pharmacy. I handed the prescriptions directly to the person at the drop-off window who confirmed my mother's date of birth. I told her that I would pick them up the next day and said thank you. Now you can call me naive, but I just thought is was reasonable to assume that if I didn't pick up the prescriptions on Wednesday that they would be ready by this morning, Thursday. Well wouldn't you know that when I called the pharmacy at 9:30 this morning to inquire about the prescriptions, the first person who answered the phone told me that she didn't even see the order in their system. When I explained, that I had handed the prescriptions to a person at the pharmacy drop-off window on Tuesday, she placed me on hold. A second person came to the phone and advised me that the medicine had to be ordered and would be available after 2pm today. OK, now I was a little miffed but calm and since I was in a car I said thank you and hung up.

I guess I was just asking for it but I just had to call back and ask why the first person that I had spoken to could not find the order in the system at all. I also was curious as to when the order was actually entered into the system, if it had been at all. As I said, I was just asking for it. I never received an answer regarding when the prescriptions were entered into the system. In fact, I didn't even receive an apology for the inconvenience. Instead I received a song and dance about how the person who was at the window when I dropped off the prescriptions may have been a temp or part-time pharmacy employee, (which I know is not the case). I was also offered another story, which she really shouldn't have uttered, about how they may have just been too busy to enter the prescription into the system on Tuesday afternoon. And finally, the person on the other end of the phone recited this scripted explanation about how they don't keep medicines in the store and have to order them but they do call customers if their prescriptions are not ready on time. At this point, I had a vision of the person on the other end of the phone saying, "talk to the hand, talk to the hand". So I just said thank you and hung up.

At this point, I began reminiscing about their previous excuses when an order had not been ready on time. Once I had been told that I had entered an old RX# in their telephone automated refill system. I had asked myself then, why would their automated system accept and confirm an outdated RX #. On another occasion, the excuse was that the prescription had been entered into their system for another day. I had asked myself then how that had happened since the automated refill system prompts you to select and then confirm the pick-up day and time. So this time I took the prescriptions into the pharmacy, handed them to a person, confirmed the pick-up date, even gave them an extra 1/2 day, and the order was still not ready. Forget "death panels", CVS is trying to kill my mother by denying her respiratory medicine. At this point, I was imagining how nice it would be to be a prophet who could call down fire.

Now I hear some of you saying, "So when were they going to call you, next week?". After all, I did drop the prescription off on Tuesday, for pick-up on Wednesday and this is now Thursday morning. I hear others of you saying, "Didn't they know that the medicines would need to be ordered when you dropped the script off on Tuesday?" Hmmm?

But I caution you, it is dangerous to attempt to apply common sense to these situations.

These situations can only be handled by prayer and strict weapons laws :-) This is why God will never give me the ability to call down fire.

Stay prayed up folks.


2pm CVS calls and says that the prescription is ready for pickup

3pm I pick up the prescription and lo and behold they forgot to note that there are 5 refills.

4pm After writing the obligatory letter to CVS Corporate Customer Service and notifying the doctors office of the mix-up, I thought about praying that God would consider a request to rain down hail & fire. But the Bible cautions us about praying amiss. :-) I can only take comfort in the words found in Matthew 18:5-7:

"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. "Matthew 18:5-7