Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’


The term “thinning the herd” comes to mind when I think about the private discussions ultra conservatives have regarding public health and ethics.  It’s messy business to mix our faith beliefs and mores with the public policy of a diverse nation and world.

In ranching, you evaluate your cattle to determine which ones will make it and you make hard decisions about the rest.  For humans, applying this concept is similar to Darwinian evolutionary theory or Survival of the Fittest.  The best America to me would be one in which everyone has a fair shot at a nice life.  Conversely, those who don’t grind hard or make poor decisions will deal with the consequences.  Of course, we could break out Jesus teachings on caring for the poor…your brethren.

In the 1980s, I had a feeling that some hardcore conservatives saw AIDS and Crack as thinning the herd.  Today, we are in the middle of a healthcare debate and Crack is replaced by opioids addiction.  When President Obama was trying to provide healthcare for as many people as possible, some thought “let the uninsured die”….thinning the herd.

Oh, they voted for Trump to Make America Great Again…more like Make America Hate Again.  With all of her issues and warts, America is now and has always been great.

But, wait.  President Trump breaks out a budget and some folks are surprise that they too have been eating at the public trough.  “Yea, lock up the crackhead and toss away the key in the 80s but this new drug has hit my family in the heartland…time for government funded treatment.”  We should pray that everyone breaks the chains of addiction.

Regarding abortion choice, the Clintons, the Obamas and I think abortions should be safe, legal and very rare.  Obviously, they are rare if fewer unwanted pregnancies occurred in the first place and I personally hope that people would explore options as early as possible.  But, it’s hard to impose your faith’s views on the nation as a whole.  If the founding fathers wanted to declare Christianity as the official religion of this nation, they would have.

The same people who are against early abortions support zero assistance to poor “born” babies and children.  They aren’t pro-life; they are just pro-birth.  If you are deep enough to conceptualize your unborn children, you should be compassionate enough toward them to have them when you can afford them.  If you never have the money or proper situation, you never have children.  I don’t know the answers.  To me, heaven sent every baby on earth down here but I also see people and think “that person needs a baby like a fish needs a bicycle.”

We need single-payer, universal coverage healthcare in America.  Look, the uninsured use the emergency room as a doctor’s office.  They wait until an easily treated issue becomes an expensive matter… $100 to $100,000 and the government still gets the bill.

I am also guilty of a little “thinning the herd” mentality.  My favorite blog post was “Fat On Food Stamps” because how did you get fat on public assistance.  Okay, I am over simplifying the situation but we need doctors to sound the alarm during annual physicals.  And if someone insist on unhealthy behavior, they dug their own grave… my goodness, I am a conservative Democrat.  I hope the progressives don’t thin the Democrat herd of me.


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Health/Wellness: Diet and Exercise; Wise Food Choices, Moderation; “Own Grave”, Understanding Wellness/Health Care Industry

Health/Wellness is an area of public policy that really hits home because we are talking life and death.  Would someone in the government or a recently retired congressman just drink some truth serum and tell the God’s honest truth.   The average American is personally responsible for their health problems due to bad diet and infrequent exercise.  While some ailments occur naturally, fast food and sugary drinks are the roots of too many issues.

If Beretta don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, a similar saying should be “don’t eat everything and anything if you don’t want to do hospital and early grave time.”  Are some foods literally “to die for?”  I had a chubby buddy who was told he was a diabetic but he simply said no…maybe later but for now no.  He learned everything about diabetes and dropped most of his body fat in six months by exercising and eating right.  While he is still a diabetic technically, he doesn’t take medication because he fought the good fight.

The good fight makes me think about Paul’s biblical statement in 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.   So, you have all these obese church folks up in the buffet spot on Sunday afternoon polluting the temple of the Lord.

Wise food choices are so easy for Americans because the stores are plentiful with variety and T.V. shows tell us what to prepare and why.  We jokingly say that modern-day soul brothers are using low-fat fatback.  Right On.  I decided to walk away from pork and beef until I get my 230 pounds weight under 210.  That was two years ago and I really miss hamburger but pork is likely gone for good.

People drink a surprisingly large number of calories.  Is Mountain Dew worth the health trouble…it’s basically syrup.   High fructose corn syrup and salt kill more people than bullets.  I want to declare my respect for the First Lady Michelle Obama and really all first ladies of my lifetime.  Even Betty Ford turned pill issues into a noble cause.

I have friends who have issues with (hate) Flotus Obama for championing the food choice issues.  From the public policy standpoint, it seems Orwellian that the government and the non-elected first lady would tell (advise)  kids on eating habits or work to remove unhealthful foods from schools.  The eating habits of kids led to a lifetime (sometimes a shorten lifetime) of medical problems.  Oh, health concerns are no problems…give ‘em pills for this and pills for that.

Yes, some people actually take the cholesterol drug Lipitor in Golden Corral before eating a fried chicken…not some fried chicken… a whole fried chicken.  Too often, that person with long-term bad eating habits is the same uninsured person that cost the government over $200,000 as doctors try to save them…from themselves.

There is a difference between what Mrs. Obama wants us to eat and what the government can force or compel us to eat.  At the same time, should medical ethics draw treatment lines when someone dug their own grave?

When Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House, he considered changes to the health care system that would reward those who ate right and exercised.  His plan was similar to the auto insurance plans with vanishing deductibles today.   If a person didn’t have a major health care expense in say five years, that person’s premium would be zero until there was a big expense.

Another aspect to consider would be the food kids receive free and reduced as part of the school lunch program.  Should the government have a right to dictate the healthfulness of that food because the taxpayers are buying it?  What about food stamps for veggies only?  Of course, the beef, corn and pork lobbyists aren’t having it.

Moderation: The motto of the great state of Georgia is “justice, wisdom and moderation.”  Friends in the health care profession tell me that I didn’t need to abandon beef and pork totally; I should have moderated my consumption of all foods.   The smart First Lady Obama promotes the USDA change from the food pyramid of old to the new food plate which calls for wise amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy.   Like Columbus discovering a place with millions of inhabitants, Americans are discovering what the Greeks and Japanese have known for centuries.  You put a lot of veggies on the plate and add a little protein for seasoning.


As we get older, we apply moderation to many parts of life: one glass of wine, an occasional cigar, ribs on the Fourth of July only.   The workout process starts with moderation because you have to crawl before you ball….it starts with walking.

Healthy choices also involve “relations.”   Like with food, alcohol and drugs, don’t do it if you aren’t prepared to live with the possible consequences.   Relations are likely better for most people without latex but I don’t want to hear a dam word of complaining if the worst results happen.  You knew the risk factors and you made your choice.

Healthcare Industry: Again, everyone has an agenda and it usually involves staying paid.  When I was a kid, you went to the doctor and he tried to figure out what was wrong with you.   Today, the doctors want to give you medications to stop your body from sending pain messages to your brain.  You don’t need pills long-term; you need to correct what is wrong.

The whole Obamacare debate was a political football being kicked around by two political parties with donors from all sides of the private sector.  The reality is this: uninsured people use the emergency room as a doctor’s office and go to the doctor far too late.

If I had my own island nation, we would have universal health care coverage with an annual doctor’s examination.  My doctors would catch a little bump that was going to be cancerous and remove it for a few bucks.  In America, that person would receive half a million dollars in government-funded indigent care before dying.  Dam.  The annual exam on my island would give doctors the opportunity to say “you are 100 pounds overweight from poor eating habits and zero exercise.  If you don’t get those 100 pounds off you in two years, the state will not pay for fat-related treatments.  We will, however, pay your gym fees.”

While the last paragraph was mostly humor, there is nothing funny about the insurance industry making decisions about coverage for insured people.   I didn’t say doctors making decisions.  We are talking about insurance company employees in call centers somewhere.  So, do you want to know why I eat wiser and limit Budweiser?   It’s because I don’t like those people making life decisions about me.  Yes, illness is part of life but it’s a part I avoid by fighting the good fight.

Big Pharma is the nickname for the pharmaceutical industry and they sell drugs.  To me, helpful drugs are gifts from heaven but we shouldn’t seek a big pharma solution to a problem that can be addressed naturally..ie. diet and exercise.

Mrs. Obama must be dumbfounded when she thinks that we give bad free foods to poor kids and those kids become adults with horrible eating habits who again cost 500k for healthcare coverage.  We are the greatest nation in human history because the best third of the population makes things happen but the worst third needs to step their game up …with no more excuses.   And yes, the first lady and the government should discuss eating habits carefully because the taxpayers often fund medical care resulting from bad choices.

Mental/Emotional Health: People with emotional and mental health issues often self-medicate with alcohol, illegal drugs and wrongful usage of legal drugs.  We should be mindful that emotional eating leads to health problems.  Chris Rock says Black folks only go to counseling when it’s court ordered but with all kidding aside, all people need to check their mental health with the care they give their precious cars.

Peace, rest and happiness are good medicines; the soul needs wellness.  Some people go from childhood to the grave stuck on angry – mad at the world for spinning.  You don’t need experts to tell you that constantly boiling blood isn’t good for the mind, body or soul.

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While pink wristbands on football players are great, voting now would be cool also. Yea, local elections have an effect on the healthcare and all cancer.  Local politicians are the building blocks to state and national elections.  On those two levels, the big business in the healthy industry fought Hillary Clinton in the 90s and Barrack Obama recently on healthcare reform because the status quo keeps them paid.


In the Audacity of Hope, President Obama wrote of universal healthcare so everyone would have at least some coverage.  We know that uncovered people often use the emergency room as a doctor’s office—reacting to sickness rather than implementing wellness.  We are praying for the recovery of Rep. Sanford Bishop from throat cancer.  Early detection located it in time.  If everyone had an annual doctor’s exam, we would have more early detection rather than cancer growing; once cancer grows, we then spend billions often fight a losing battle.  Understand, a little money up front would have saved more people and more money.  We should thank Rep. Bishop for supporting rural healthcare for decades.


To be fair, my current local officials do a decent job on municipal matters but they also serve as sounding boards for the state legislature and U.S. Congress.  I think of that old gospel song about “he never said a mumbling word” and think of those whose tried to help poor people get basic health coverage being attacked on all fronts.  Where were the local leaders (who we know privately to be reasonable people) during those vicious attacks?  They never said a word.  We had a pastor who was nice with her logic.  She said people say “Lord they need you over here and they need you over there….but the Lord is likely saying ‘why do you think I put you there…get to work.'”

Oh, they attack Bill and Hillary Clinton in the nastiest ways.  How can you call yourself a southern gentleman or lady and attack a woman the way Hillary was attacked in the 90s and the way First Lady Michelle Obama was assailed on the campaign trail and every second of husband’s presidency….while supposedly good people stood by silently.


The local elections of the next two weeks are also about two other elections down the road.  In the U.S. Senate race next year in Georgia, Michelle Nunn might face former candidate for governor Karen Handel.  After losing the governor race, Handel went to work for one of the biggest women cancer fighting organizations but left in a controversy about funding or defunding places that provide women reproduction services.  Bill, Hillary and Obama always say that you reduce the number of abortions by reducing the number of unplanned pregnancy in the first place but that logic is lost on some people.


Sam Nunn was a great conservative Democrat in the Senate and his daughter would add a woman’s view to the Georgia congressional delegation.  But, she can’t win without local officials getting out the vote.  So, we need to put local leaders in office this year that will stand with Nunn in 2014 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.  The silly drama in Washington today could be reduced in the future if the old boys club had some more reasonable women.


I got to get me some pink gear for my tennis bag but I also need some local, state and federal officeholders who will make healthcare coverage (and therefore early detection) commonplace.

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Henrietta Lacks’ contributions to medical research are amazing but were unknown to her when she died in Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951.  Taken without her permission, her cancer cells or HeLa cells have growth in lab settings better than any cell lines and are central to many medical breakthroughs while her family is uninsured. 

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is part Black history book, part biology book and part spiritual book.  Rebecca Skloot wrote a fine novel and I hope that money from the movie rights will fund Lacks’ grandchildren’s education. Henrietta gave in life and continues giving to this day.  Can you imagine a biology student working with living cells that belong to his grandmother.

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President Obama should listen to the jam band Cameo during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation.  Of course, he must hit the Black Dog Tavern and cop a t-shirt and cap.  An old friend sent me a Black Dog hat and people in south Georgia wonder if the “Black Dog” is an African-American sub-group inside the Blue Dog Coalition.

It should be because people can’t understand how some Democrats who benefited from President Clinton and President Obama conveniently sidestep the Dem team at times.  Cameo is coming to Albany, Georgia, next month and I hope they do the slow jam “Don’t Be Lonely” in honor of President Obama since the lyrics summarize how some Dems are running from him or how the Democrat base might feel about some candidates—“Hey, long time no see.” “Don’t be lonely…you’re not the only one who feels the way you do.”  “What would you do if you were in my shoes..you insist on trying to find a way back into my heart..I was never one to take two steps back and I will never start.”  It sounds like Larry Blackmon was singing about slick candidates.

The dictionary’s definitions of “cameo” include “a brief but dramatic appearance of a prominent actor in a single scene.”  In politics, the cameo appearance of candidates in our community will be central to swaying swing elections this fall—come correct.

At black college football games, Cameo’s “Talking Out the Side of Your Neck” is another standard.  With important issues on the table, more voters are well-informed these days and candidates can’t say one thing to one group and something else to another.  Conservative Georgians in both parties have concerns about the healthcare reform law while other Georgians will back those who supported President Obama’s historic efforts. Mr. President, you shouldn’t be lonely- enjoy your vacation and come back ready. 

One day, I am going into the Black Dog Tavern and buy my own t-shirt.  If you see a brother in ATL, MIA, NYC or DC with the Black Dog logo, it is a sign of success.  I really shouldn’t rock that hat while my wealth is shorter than a midget on his knees (Ice Cube lyric.)  At the same time, candidates shouldn’t rock “Democrat” on the ballot if they can stand up for the sitting President as GOPers stood up for President George W. Bush. 

Albany State University Show Band

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The 13th District congressional race in Georgia is interesting because Dr. Deborah Honeycutt is again facing Democrat Rep. David Scott.  Former Honeycutt campaign manager Michael Murphy is also in the race but as a Democrat.

When Murphy decided to move from the GOP to the Democrats, I was surprised and disappointed that a comfortable place did not exist for someone like him in that party.  As a Democrat with many conservative friends, I like options and choices for southern voters and don’t get me started about putting all of our eggs in one basket. 

Some observers think that the move farther Right signaled moderates and centrists toward the GOP exit door—let’s hope not.  But, my conversations with Murphy in the past have centered on a lack of an urban agenda in the GOP; which is sad because the party of Jack Kemp shouldn’t be that way.

Dr. Honeycutt has always seems like a positive person and should she enter congress I don’t see her standing idly as ugly rhetoric becomes the foundation of the GOP agenda.  In that regard, I think all voters should keep a hopeful eye on GOP candidates who are about constructive policy-making and yes, there are several out there. 

In a recent T.V. news story, Scott, Murphy and Honeycutt pounding the pavement as the primary election approaches.  Like Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a health competition keeps all involved sharp and keen.   


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While listening to Marketplace on National Public Radio this week, I was surprised to learn that the guy from the Free Credit Report T.V. ad campaign is French Canadian.  He sounds nothing like the All-American voice of the person who actually singing in the ads.

That situation got me thinking about the “grassroots” of political debates in this country.  People are bad as hell and rightfully so because the diet of information in their ears would lead anyone to certain conclusions and opinions.

But, not so fast.  We must consider the agendas ($$$) of those who would prod and push this great nation toward another civil war.  My life-long friends are basically good people but when they hear something over and over again it must be true because they heard it over and over again.  I am personally concerned with our mounting debt with China and to learn that a Chinese company now owns Volvo.  I have had five Volvos and wanted to one day purchase a new one but with “no money it’s still a wish” as Rakim rapped. 

Real people with real concerns is a real problem for officeholders.  But, what is really real is that the Machiavellian brains behind movements on both ends of the political spectrum are at it again.  They are about job creation and job protection—theirs.  To achieve their goals, they will stop at nothing.  Thomas Jefferson said the institution of slavery was like having a tiger by the tail—you don’t want to hold on but you can’t let go. 

To me the current congress is in a similar situation.  The Democrats know spending is out of control but the interest groups who support them want their goodies.  The Republicans have the powerful Tea Party Movement in their corner but those guys are not along for the ride; they want to drive.  If the TPM doesn’t drive, the GOP can get ran over. 

So the Free Credit Report guy Eric Violette actually sounds like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and my friends who live on misinformation are sounding like Che Guevara.  It’s going to be an interesting summer and eventful fall.  They should listen to NPR more before they explode in anger.  Doesn’t healthcare reform cover that and how much is the co-pay.  Okay, I must admit that I thought “why can’t more Americans be cool like that band on the credit report ad.” 


Albany Herald columnist Carlton Fletcher wrote a great piece on a related subject in yesterday’s paper.


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I watched NCAA basketball, Ken Burns’ Civil War and the healthcare reform debate on T.V. yesterday.  Options and strategy came to mind involving all three. 

At Gettysburg, General Robert Lee called for Pickett’s Charge when everyone could see that a second plan of action or inaction was needed.  An officer in the field must assess the situation and make wise decisions.   On the second day at Gettysburg, Union General Joshua Chamberlain had his Maine’s 20th Infantry troops pivoted like a barn door on the hill known to history as Little Round Top.  This flanking maneuver stopped the 15th Alabama Infantry.    

In basketball, the “Dropstep” is a classic pivot move for a big player with his or her back to the rim.  The player must decide if he should do a sky-hook, turn and face the defender, drive to the basket or (if the double team comes) pass the ball out to an open teammate for a three-point shot.  The Dropstep move to the rim is a classic because the first step makes defending or blocking the shot difficult. 

With votes against healthcare reform, many Democrat members of congress made their first big step toward this year’s elections.  However, cumbersome southern GOP is likely not flexible enough to assess their options and execute a move to score.  That assessment involves analysis of their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their opponents.  Is he out of position? 

Great generals and ball players also notice and exploit problems and confusion with the other side like General Washington crossing the Delaware River when his opponents were celebrating the holidays.  Democrats who voted against the healthcare reform legislation had genuine concerns with cost and the size of government.  They knew the November elections would be fine because their GOP opponent would be someone angry and off-putting to moderate voters.  If the GOP has smarter coaches, they would give the voters approachable options since some view those Democrats as Benedict Arnolds.

The GOP has a big man with his back to the goal that is shadowed by a tough defender.  The move would be kick the ball out to a three-point shooter if you have some of them on their team.

The Drop Step


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I think the congressional Republican leadership team has been reading this old blog in the cloakroom because they recently did exactly what I have been recommending to my Black GOP friends for years.  At the health care summit, they tried like crazy to be nice and smile while seriously expressing their concerns.  “And the Best Actor Oscar goes to…..” 

On the other hand, my man President Obama was killing me with the whole using first names thing.  Members of Congress were saying “Mr. President” and while he was saying John and Mitch.  Joe Sixpack is at home in his Lazyboy talking about uppity this and arrogant that.  It is all part of a diabolical plan and the White House doesn’t see it coming.

Old school folks know what time it is and I would strongly recommend that the first couple retire to the executive quarters, dig in their stacks of vinyl and play the O’Jays hit “Back Stabbers.”  The lyrics apply to the Right, those on the far Left and some in the center.  On the other hand, the Blue Dogs in the South might be humming the same tune when thinking about the WH and their party’s leadership.  I can’t call it.  The other O’Jays song that applies to politics is of course “For the Love of Money.”



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The health care debate dances around the idea that people are obese and unhealthy from lack of exercise and poor eating habits.  The public policy question is how much money should be spent saving someone from themselves.  There was a pastor down here who said when he was in “the world” he knew he was in the world. I appreciate that honest self-analysis and I personally know that if I eat too much of the wrong things I cooked my own goose.  (And drink Grey Goose in moderation.)

The Congress is considering legislation to paid spouses of war veterans with serious brain injuries to assist with their care.  What a great idea since to can’t imagine to debt this nation owes those families.

I wonder if engaged couples are really thinking that this person will be a solid and interesting companion with whom to grow old for the next half century.  As we prepare for Thanksgiving, give thanks for the smooth old couples who demonstrated how it should be done—with style, grace, commitment and responsibility. They don’t make marriages like they use to because they don’t make people like they once did; find yourself in a wheelchair and Boomquesia is out of here like last year.

Happy Thanksgiving and I give thanks that I did not marry Boomquesia.

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Former Senator Bob Dole recently said what needs to be said about deep partisans on both sides of the political divide; people who want to kill issues not on the merits but because they don’t want the other side to get credit for an achievement.  These old school guys did it with grace and style back in the day; tastefully opposing legislation but primarily putting the national interest first. 

If you are not familiar with “getting someone told,” you are not from the South.  My mother would tell us, “When I get you (pending whippings), I am going to get you for old and new.”  She would wait days until we were having fun…talk about your domestic terrorism.  As Tom Petty sang, the waiting is the hardest part.  If people in Dole’s party don’t open up to more positive members of their team, they might have plenty electoral whippings in their future.  Listening to the old school guys (like wise uncles) can keep you out of trouble and in good graces but the hardhead never learn.  They listen to their mischievous friends (talk media) who “get ghost” when the drama starts.   



The big headliner of the day was former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who used plenty of humor to lay out a case for a bi-partisan package. It’s a plan that keeps affordability in mind and puts quality of care front and center, along with making health care available to all Americans.

“Sometimes people fight you just to fight you,” Dole said about bi-partisanship. “They don’t want Reagan to get it. They don’t want Obama to get it. So they’ve got to kill it. Not because of the merits of the bill, but because they don’t want the president to get any credit.” 

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With a nod to the ladies of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, “Don’t Be Tardy For the Party” should apply to some folks in the political arena also.  First, Kim should understand that the song is as much her tune as the GOP is Michael Steele’s operation.  Kandi is the wizard behind the curtain who made that track hot and Nene came up with the idea.  Steele is a smart man but heads a party with a different mindset and demeanor than his.  To continue the analogy, Rush Limbaugh is Kandi and Glenn Beck is Nene.  

Steele, who I really wanted in the Senate, heads a party that is not remotely interested in the blueprint he outlined while running for chair.  Diversity and reaching out has given way to the “spirit” of the protest movement; moderates and centrists shouldn’t be comfortable in the new-look GOP.  Georgia is one of the best states in the nation for African Americans and Steele’s party should find a Black congressional candidate down here.  The brother is tardy for the party because he knows that what is being played is something he doesn’t want to hear—it’s back to the future with a rehashed southern strategy.  This tune sounds very familiar.  

President Obama should slow down because his plate is too full; he can’t be everywhere for everyone.  Going to Europe to support Chicago’s bid for the Olympics was too much with everything else that is popping.  I agree with Michael Steele on this one; the Chi-town crew should have given the first homie a pass on this one.   In Georgia, we had an Olympics and it is a party that is a lot of work; and things can turn tragic if the wrong people show up.  (I better leave that alone before talk turns to domestic terrorists who are fueled by reckless hate speak—“just words.”) 

The Blue Dog Democrats must be with the party on healthcare reform.  Of course, my mother used to say the only thing I must do is “stay Black and die” when I said I must be at a party or the skating rink.  Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall skipped the Democratic National Convention and likely didn’t vote for Obama/Biden—the ultimate tardy for the party but voting no on the healthcare reform would be the final indication that his district really is a red one and not blue.  I am not going to slam the guy for voting the will of his constituents but I question the supporters of the public option who allow Democrat money to flow into his war chest.   My Blue Dog congressman in southwest Georgia took heat this summer for standing strong at townhall meetings regarding his views on healthcare reform–I respect that. 

But, Georgia Democrats who will vote against healthcare reform should anticipate the erosion of their Black bases—remember, that base gives you more votes that the vocal protesters.  If you tell me you are having a party, not only am I not tardy but I will ask if you need me to bring anything, come early to prep the grill or stay late to cleanup.  I was the party police in college and would watch an inconsiderate person put down a half full can of beer or soda, go to the bathroom and then go get a new can.  First, my daddy always said never leave a drink at a party for safety reasons.  Secondly, partygoers should not waste beverages.  We called those half-finished drinks “wounded soldiers” because you never leave wounded soldiers behind. 

If we can help all those people in foreign nations, we can figure out away to provide healthcare for most Americans—America first.  With secondary regard for political parties, anyone who doesn’t want to productively participate in the healthcare debate should not only be tardy for the party; they should RSVP so they can be removed from the list. 

The tea partiers can have their own gathering then crash your party.  But will they help clean up any mess created?  The new look GOP have their own issues with the tea partiers—are these guys energetic invited guests or crashers who improved the party.  Would they leave if you asked or start a ruckus?  Would they take your friends with them to a new party?  Back in college, a fight broke out between a fraternity and the football team but what should the guy do who is a football player and a frat member?  “Hey, Blue Dog, are you conservative or Democrat?” “Protester, are you Republican or tea partier?”  Can’t they be both?

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Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” drove compelling discussions about cultural and race in my circle of friends. In the book Lee wrote about making this movie and in interviews, he refused pointing the finger of blame at any one character for the riot that erupted in the plot. Film-making is an art and the viewers in this medium make their conclusions ultimately.

Danny Aiello’s character Sal owned a pizzeria in a transitioning neighborhood.  While people in the community grew up on Sal’s slices, it was clear that the Sal’s family “tolerated” the area out of business necessitate. 

When I think about the Blue Dog Democrats, I see a similar situation.  I was proud of most Blue Dogs for taking the town hall meeting heat this month and slowing the rush to pass a massive health care reform bill before August recess.  The protesters deserve some credit also but they need to understand that a member of congress who easily wins elections must defer to those ballot results first.

Long servicing Blue Dogs are starting to look like “I don’t need this juggling stuff in my life.” If the Blue Dogs helped conservatives with issues during the Bush years, some of those conservatives in their districts should reciprocate on some level now.  Federal retirement could be looming for some members of congress and political observers should remember that the total number of years for retirement includes time in congress, the federal bureaucracy and military.  As the possible full retirement year approaches, members (like school teachers) might decide to ride the wave without rocking the boat or tell it like it is. 

Like retirees in barbershops, these public servants can finally speak their minds with secondary consideration for pensions.  I had to smile pleasingly when I saw a few normally tactful Blue Dog show some bite when protesters questions did not give them the same respect conservatives received while supporting Bush/Cheney debatable policies.   While voting the party line on the far-left and far-right is easy, Blue Dog Democrats and the few moderate Republicans must analysis every vote to make decisions that best serve their diverse districts or states. 

Like Sal in “Do The Right Thing,” they must also decide when enough is enough and if closing shop would be better than continued conflict and aggravation—getting out before a riot jumps off.  On the bright side, Sal could have moved his business to a suburban mall and moderates on both sides of the aisle could move to better situations in the executive branch, private sector or academia—President Obama’s White House seems to like Republicans more than Blue Dogs.  While I am not the best person on faith matters, this situation makes me think of Luke 9:25:  

For what is a man profited if he gains the whole word, and loses or forfeits himself?

Discussions about using the reconciliation process in congress to pass health care reform makes me think about those brave Democrats who voted for Bill Clinton’s Budget Reconciliation Act in the early 90s and were defeated by smirking Republicans in the mid-term elections.  History has proven that Clinton was right but many Democrats in safe districts conveniently voted against that important legislation to save their seats. 

“I am voting the wishes of my districts.”  But what should a member do when his/her district has formulated opinions based on deliberate misinformation efforts.  Like Georgia native and eulogizer of Malcolm X, Ossie Davis’s character said in the Spike Lee’s film, always try and do the right thing.

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CNN has me thinking with an open mind about all sides of the healthcare debate.  Everyone has a study about this and an analysis about that but I personally turn to CNN for balance reporting and to FOX and MSNBC for commentary.  The following story exemplifies the type reporting I prefer.  If you only listen to FOX or MSNBC, that’s your business and I hope your insurance covers the explosion of that vein in your forehead—simmer down now. 

If folks spent less time yelling, the valid points about waste, tort reform and administrative mistakes could be heard.   

I have always said that healthcare reform needs “teeth.”  Not a dental plan but some hard decisions about the money this nation spends for healthcare that could have been avoided. i.e. the Diabetic who refuses to check his blood sugar level; your uninsured uncle who eats every and anything then gets rushed to the ER.  Some of the money uncle spent on food and drinks could have gone to a basic health care plan.

We should brace for a battle because one person’s waste is another person’s income.

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I tried to catch the Isakson Town Hall at ABAC/UGA Tifton but arrived at the end.  Clearly, the event went smoothly and was informative.

When I flipped on MSNBC a few hours later, Tamron Hall reported that Senator Isakson considered it “nuts” to misconstrue the “end of life” counseling provisions in the health care debate as “death panels” and I agree.   

This situation is now misunderstandings take place and in South Georgia, nuts better be Georgia peanuts. I think the senator was saying it would be nuts to read the information on Palin’s webpage to be euthanasia—not calling Palin nuts.  On the other hand, Palin wisely reframed her position to dial down the rhetoric after a rough weekend. 

Read the Washington Post article for yourself:


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The debate over health care reform has turned into a debate over debate techniques and tricks.  The opponents of the White House and Democrats proposals just scored again because the nation’s attention is focused on debate methods rather than the issues; which is surprising since they might have won anyway by sticking to the actual issues.

Yesterday, a lady at a town hall meeting said, “I want my country back.”  To be fair, she could have meant she wanted it back from Democrats who she feels tax and spend.  In my community, her statement was a thinly veiled reference to the hue of Barack Obama. 

My mind turned to Crispus Attucks, the first person shot at the Boston Massacre and the first martyr of the American Revolution.  Both sides in the healthcare debate have big money interests behind them; that is the American way.  The rich guys decide how it is going down and then get the spin-doctors to create a P.R. strategy to incite the masses.  The so-called Boston Massacre was actually British soldiers firing in self-defense against a taunting mob (sounds familiar.)  John Adams served as lawyer for the soldiers and got the murder changes down to manslaughter. 

In my neighborhood, we know the name Prince Hall from our friends and family who are Free Masons.  But, non-Masons might not know that Hall, the founder of Black Freemasonry, fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  If that protest lady wants her country back, she needs to go back to Crispus Attucks and Prince Hall rather than January 2009 and Barrack Obama. 

Prince Hall, American Patriot

Prince Hall, American Patriot

Chuck D from Public Enemy said in a song, “Even Masons, they know it but they refuse to show it…but it is printed in black…it takes a nation of millions to hold us back.”  I am not one to snoop around in organization’s secret information.  Barack Obama’s classmate from law school Hill Harper is an actor who starred in a movie called the Skulls, which is based on Skull and Bones at Yale.  His character, a journalism student,  sought the secrets and played the price for being meddlesome. Harper is the lab guy on CSI New York when he is not busy helping the youth with encouraging lectures and positive books.  I read “Letters to a Young Brother” and “Letters to a Young Sister” and recommend both for young people of any culture.

Chuck D was referring to Mason knowledge that the Egyptian pyramid builders mastered construction and architectural skills in Africa as far back as 2500 BC. It blows me away to think that the Great Pyramid at Giza was designed and constructed by Africans that long ago and yes I know some people consider Egypt to be in the Middle East rather than Africa but it is Africa to me.



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The drama begins.  Someone from D.C. emailed me this article about the GOP’s chances for 2010 in the aftermath of the Gates arrest situation and other matters.  When that former colleague calls to chew the political fat this weekend, I will say what I say everyday: until the Red Team produces a moderate division, the Blue Dogs will be fine.

While our community doesn’t normally rally during mid-term election, we have never had a Black president make the request. 

The energy and concern Americans are showing for policy this summer is refreshing and an indicator of the importance of the issues on the national plate.  However, I hope the debates and town hall meeting are conducted in a safe, respectful way.  What I am seeing on the news made me return to some classic Norman Rockwell paintings.

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech

The Problem We All Live With

The Problem We All Live With


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If the Gates arrest is a “teachable moment,” we must remember that not everything needs to be said and discussed in front of everyone; like the Congressional Black Caucus’s real talks about real problems and real solutions behind closed doors.  What we studied in high school about Jim Crow, de facto and de jure still needs unfortunate consideration when talking with youth (Black, White and Brown) about dealing with the authorities and preparing those youth to be law enforcement. 

My friend M has created a sociological concept she calls the 80/20 Rule (created or forgot where she read it.)  Under M’s rule, the 20% of a group or demographic does things that dramatically impacts the 80%.  For example, this blog constantly covers with a certain about of distain the worst 20% of “us” whose actions burden the community and nation as a whole.  The law-abiding 80% seems feted up and is ready for change. 

Another 20% could be the best among “us” like Dr. Gates—or would that be W.E.B. Dubois’s Talented Tenth.  Because they achieved so much in the face of adversity, they should be rewarded with decent treatment before they leave God’s green earth—like Mrs. Jane Pittman drinking from that “Whites only” water fountain in a pubic park.  Are we making slow progress forward as a culture or will the questionable actions of the worst 20% justify an actually reversal of gains.  Are the top 20% of “us” putting our children in private schools to avoid the worst 20% of “us” and an undetermined percentage of the nation that functions under preconceived notions about “us.”

I have still another 80/20 rule case: the worst 20% of any cultural or racial group in the country will scary the daylights out of the other 80%.  The people on the T.V. show Cops who are more interested in having a pre-jail cigarette than what they just did to their battered spouse trips me out. The A&E’s Invention shows that no groups has a monopoly on self-inflicted hard times.  I can’t call it but generally the 80% can’t give up on the 20%.  Colin Powell wrote in his first book we needs to reinstate shame in this nation—notice he said we. 

On healthcare, the 80/20 rule drives an ethical debate about living choices and coverage.  While many medical concerns are natural, what do we say to those who think that 20% of sick people made decisions (smoking, eating, drink, not exercising) that created their conditions?  I don’t know the stats but those people account for much of healthcare claims.  Will healthcare reform reward the 20% that makes a deliberate effort to live healthfully?  Worst-case scenario: obese guy drives up to an E.R. center in an insured new SUV but he has no health insurance.  Do no harm works both ways.        


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I just received an email about a tab on the side of aluminum foil that allows you to hold the roll during tearing.  Who knew that reading the box and thinking outside the box could be so helpful.


Foil is also device in literature that allows one character to make another look better or smarter. ie. Doctor Watson to Sherlock Holmes.  On a political blog, I better leave that alone before I mention that President Obama was born in the United States and I really appreciate conservatives who are about the business of improving policy rather than pushing wild theories.  At the same time, foil is also employed when the Democrats who want to tax rich people to fund health care reform present their proposals only to have the Blue Dogs rein them into reality.

So Senator Saxby Chambliss went to the White House to meet with President Obama on healthcare recently.  I like our Georgia senators and the Blue Dogs talking about the issues before voting yes or no.  It’s thinking outside the box and we elected them to listen to all sides of the debate.

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On Meet the Press this weekend, NPR’s Michele Norris made an interesting point about Americans and the Healthcare debate.

MS. NORRIS:  But outside of the Beltway there’s an interesting data point here that people involved in the process talk about, the fact that some 90 percent of the people who voted actually have health insurance and three-quarters of them are satisfied with what they got.  And there’s different ways of looking at that.  And one way to look at that is to say that perhaps there is not the public mandate for this that would dictate this sort of rush to legislation, and that’s going to make it harder to make that point and sell that when they, when they…(unintelligible).


If that stat is correct, 90 percent of actual voters have health insurance and most of them are happy with what they have.  The debate should focus more on affordability rather than universal coverage but U.C. is important to prevention costly conditions and to stop people from using the E.R. as a doctor’s office.

The numbers of issues voters decide for people who don’t vote amazes me.  All of the good work we (Capitol Hill Democrats) did for struggling Americans during the Clinton years should have made Al Gore’s election a cakewalk.  But certain folks don’t vote; don’t vote but are busy messing up the nation. 

As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and who are the squeaky wheels…voters.  And who are the most squeaky wheels—those tea partiers.  They are doing it big down here and in the court of public opinion, those voices register because they are bring stats and facts to the table. 

Here is a new stat for the discussion: what is the percentage of non-voters should we give a rat’s ____ about?  (Wow, that is a rough question and it ended in a preposition.)  Some voters would say zero percent while the compassionate might say 100%.  In the barbershops in my community, people often say it is hard helping people who won’t help themselves or vote.  In the end, reasonable people are concerned on some level because the actions of everyone ultimately impact are safely and financial well-being.  The “most real” guys in my neighborhood break it down so hard as to say that the answer for assisting poor people is to limit the number of poor people…China style.

An old friend who is a conservative sister asked me about their efforts/failure to approach the Black community seven years ago—where did the time go.  I told her then what I tell her during our weekly telephone policy debates: most members of her pachyderm party don’t want people unlike them around in the same way they sometimes use private schools and home-schooling to get away from certain elements. 

Michael Steele’s efforts to attract more minorities would drive away equal numbers of members who join to get away from those he is seeking to attract.  Not so fast; conservatives in the South are comfortable in the pachyderm party without “us” in general but they need a few percentage points of BWAV (Blacks Who Actually Vote.)  These people don’t realize that the average person you see getting arrested (Black or White) on Cops doesn’t vote and BWAVs experience the worst affects of the worst elements. 

If we consider how the Right plans to take power again, the answer doesn’t involve appealing to current moderates or centrists.  Oh no.  As quiet as it is kept, the answer is to employ the politics of fear to scare non-voting Whites into a defensive posture about losing their country…. “You better start voting Right or else.”  Being a southern, I know it could work because history has a way of repeating itself.  (I was going to type “the apple don’t fall too far from the tree” but decided against it.)

For the last time (today), our community needs better/more representation on the Right…mark my word. 


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