Wednesday, 09/16/09, Public Square

intrnl day for toleranceIn 1995 the 16th of November was declared The International Day for Tolerance, an annual observance to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.

I didn’t know this date existed as an official declaration, but it’s easy to see the need  for positive measures to promote tolerance in our societies, because tolerance is not only a cherished principle, but also a necessity for peace and for the economic and social advancement of all peoples.  Take time to read through the wiki page linked above, and think about the noble goal of encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction.



Filed under The Public Square

49 responses to “Wednesday, 09/16/09, Public Square

  1. lilacluvr

    This is a good thing to see that people realize the need for declaring such a day, but isn’t it a sad commentary on our society that we would even need to have this day?

    On the Opinion Line today on the WE, someone sent in that they will no longer watch American Idol because Ellen DeGeneres is now a judge and this person does not like homosexuality.

    With a mindset like that, is it any wonder the world needs an International Day of Tolerance?

    • I gain strength and encouragement here among this small group of people who “get it.” Some days I need that strength and encouragement more than other days. Thankfully, you’re all always here and always sounding sane, rational, thoughtful, kind…

    • I sometimes stop and realize that for PrairiePond every day is one where she is potentially crucified for being herself. Sometimes I see her defensiveness, but most of the time she doesn’t even show that — she’s just a person visiting and sharing opinions with friends and potential friends. Says a bunch about her!

  2. lilacluvr

    I am also reminded of an email I received from a Republican friend yesterday. It seems the GOP is now scaring people about Muslims taking over America because they are having a day of prayer at the White House.

    I was on the WE blog yesterday and someone posted that Obama is 50%, 43% Arab and 7% black and then the poster asked why does Obama not acknowledge his white side? Obama has always acknowledged his white mother and grandparents. Without their support, Obama would not be where he is today – and he has said that several times.

    If this is what our society is now based on – the percentages of one’s heritage, then our country is already doomed for failure.

  3. lilacluvr

    So what does everyone think about Bush’s speech writer publishing that book about what George W. really thought about the other politicians?

    I especially liked Bush’s assessment of Sarah Palin – especially the part ‘isn’t she the governor of Guam?’

    Bush may have not been the sharpest knife in the drawer but even he knew what Sarah Palin was from the start…

  4. Lilac, do you have a link to the above story on Bush? Thanks.

  5. I just heard on NPR that John Mohammed, the D.C. Sniper, is scheduled to be put to death on November 10th. I recall in 2002 when those shootings were going on, that many wondered if it was terrorist activity. We thought differently back then. I think most, but not all, think differently now.

  6. The Votemaster is a place I read regularly. He doesn’t update daily and in fact sometimes a week goes by before he does, but I always find something worth reading. Here’s his synopsis of a WaPo article:

    “Public Option Would Have Little Impact

    Ruth Marcus has a good column on the public option today discussing Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), someone we have brought up repeatedly here. People are starting to catch on. While the discussion of the public option in the health care bill has caused a huge uproar, it is just one of those symbolic issues that gets everyone’s dander up, but would have little practical effect. Some people want it because they see it as a first step towards a single-payer plan that would eliminate the private insurance companies. Other people oppose it because they see it as a first step towards a single-payer plan that would eliminate the private insurance companies. But as currently formulated, the idea that everyone would be forced into a government-run plan is not true. Only people not eligible for employer-sponsored health care and some very small businesses would even have the option of choosing the public plan. As Marcus points out, even for a person whose employer chooses a plan with high premiums, copays, and deductibles, the public option is no option at all. He or she must use the employer’s plan.

    This is where Wyden comes in. His plan, written jointly with arch-conservative Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), scraps the employer-based insurance altogether and instead has all the health-insurance companies compete nationally (something not currently the case) to force real competition and thus lower prices. What would also be needed is to remove the health-insurance industry’s current exemption from antitrust law.

    All the plans currently floating around Congress have as their real goal to get more people covered, in most cases by giving them government subsidies. This approach does not rock the boat because the insurance companies like it–it gives them 40 or 50 million new customers without creating any real competition to speak of. That the government is paying the premiums for many of their new customers is of little interest to the companies.

    The Wyden-Bennett plan is not the only way to force competition. Another way is to allow anyone–including the already insured–to buy into either Medicare or the plan that federal employees have. Short of something like this, even if a health care plan passes and even if it has a public option, a lot of people will be very, very surprised to discover that absolutely nothing has changed for them except that they can quit their jobs and still get insurance, even with a pre-existing condition.

    But even the pre-existing condition part may be illusory. In 1996, Congress passed the Kennedy-Kassebaum (also called HIPAA) bill by a vote of 98 to 0 in the Senate and 421 to 2 in the House. It was supposed to allow workers to keep their insurance when they left their jobs and prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. But it had no teeth, which is why it passed both chambers almost unanimously. Things that sound good on paper but don’t actually change the status quo or have any economic impact on the industries supposedly being regulated are always winners in Congress. Here is more on Kennedy-Kassebaum.

    Consider the following. Recently, a Texas woman, Robin Beaton, was scheduled to have surgery for breast cancer but three days before the operation her insurance company said they wouldn’t pay for it because she had failed to disclose that she was once treated for acne. The insurance company didn’t cancel her policy, a practice called rescission, due to a pre-existing condition, but due to her failing to disclose complete information about her health history. Of course, the company can make the disclosure form so complex and detailed that nobody could ever get it perfect making rescission easy. Eventually, her congressman intervened and she got her surgery, but only after her tumor had doubled in diameter. The point here is that the devil is in the details and that merely saying that companies can’t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions doesn’t mean a lot. The only thing that will keep them honest is genuine competition–and competition from the private sector is probably a bigger threat than a weak public plan or co-ops.

    The bottom line is that when all the screaming and yelling is finished, Congress will pass a bill–with or without a public option–and half the country will cheer and half the country will be dismayed but nothing will change for most people. Whether this is a bug or a feature is in the eye (or wallet) of the beholder.”

    This seems to include what 6176 was saying a week or so ago about taking the shareholders out of the insurance picture. By removing the state lines you get true competition is the contention and it makes sense to me. What do you think?

  7. I was HR most of my adult life and encountered many times when a non-custodial parent was under court order to provide health insurance for children who lived in another state. Eliminating those state borders with regard to insurance would take away the hoops that must be jumped through in these situations too.

    • lilacluvr

      That would make too much sense in the complicated world of the current health care system and might even solve some of the problems.

      But, I suspect that is the way these insurance companies want things – kinda like that old shell game – where is the money?

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      I understand your point, fnord; however, I’ve some troubles with it from a regulatory perspective. Won’t be able to get into this today in any depth, but this is why (for health insurance purposes) I strongly favor single payor, etc.

  8. Lilac,

    When I read this article I thought of you and your story about finding a doctor who kept you positive while you were facing your cancer. It seems research now points to depression having an effect on cancer survival.

    “Depression can affect cancer survival: researchers

    Depression can affect the likelihood of surviving cancer, but there is no clear association yet with how quickly the cancer progresses, according to a report published on Monday.

    Death rates are nearly 40 percent higher for cancer patients diagnosed with major or minor depression, according to University of British Columbia researchers who surveyed more than two dozen international clinical studies.”

    continue reading —

    • lilacluvr

      I know from personal experience, if I had not changed doctors when I did, my chances of surviving cancer would not be as good as the positive outcome I’ve had.

      BTW – my latest lab results from last week were still very good – there is still no indication of the cancer coming back.

      I think that my brother endured his liver cancer for 3 years due to his positive outlook on life. He willed himself to live for his kids and grandkids and that is exactly what he did. He did go through some agonizing and painful days, but he always told me that he wanted to spend as much time with the kids as possible.

      I remember talking to him on the Wednesday before he died the following Monday night. He always took the kids out for pizza at Chuck E Cheese monthly. The pizza outing was planned for that Sunday. My brother went to the pizza outing and then the next day asked my nephew to take him into the hospital for one last ride in his beloved truck because he knew it was ‘time’.

      He was a real inspiration to alot of people and an example of the human spirit can endure anything when the will is there to overcome.

      And we both had good insurance – what do these people do that get cancer and have no insurance and no money to pay for their treatments?

      This is why I am so angry about this health care debate. If we can afford to spend billions on a war-for-profit, then we can afford to save those billions and put them towards health care for all Americans.

      No ifs, ands or buts – end of story.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        That’s good news, Lilac.

        As I may have mentioned, my doctors put me on anti-depressants following my CVH. Good attitude is important there, too.

        Speaking of attitude and cancer; did anyone else catch the Barbara Walters special last night on Patrick Swayze? I got home from Site Council late so only saw the last half hour. The questions directed to his wife brought back some strong feelings…

      • I didn’t see it. I’ll go see if I can find something on it. Sorry you had to have emotions resurface for another go at hurt.

      • I know what a CVA stands for, what is a CVH?

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        CVH=cerebral vascular hemorrhage (the kind of stroke I suffered).

      • Thank you. I finished a book not long ago that is entitled My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD. It is an educational and very inspiring story.

        Taylor is a Harvard Trained Neuro-Scientist who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain when she was 37 years old. It was a book that I could not put down once I started it.

      • Taylor’s specialty is neuroanatomy. She gave me a whole new respect for the right hemisphere. According to her, the right hemisphere sees all people and things as being part of a whole. I think we recognize and read faces with the help of the right hemisphere.

  9. lilacluvr

    Huffpost – Rush Limbaugh: “Obama’s America – White Kids Get Beat Up With The Black Kids Cheering”
    Nicholas Graham
    First Posted: 09-16-09 09:00 AM | Updated: 09-16-09 09:34 AM

    Rush Limbaugh couldn’t resist trying to connect the brutal beating of one student by another on a school bus to President Obama, using it as an example of how Obama is somehow causing racism throughout the U.S.:

    You put your kids on a school bus you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering ‘yeah, right on, right on, right on.’ Of course everybody said the white kid deserved it he was born a racist, he’s white.
    In fact it would be Limbaugh who seems to have the racial hangup. The St. Louis-Dispatch reports that the beating was not racially motivated, as a Belleville police captain had originally speculated, but was instead incited by a pretty common dispute on school buses: choice of seating

    Found this on Huffington Post and just another example of Rush playing the race card to fan those flames of intolerance – but, of course, we all know that only evil liberals play the race card – don’t we?

    Yeah, right – when that lipsticked pig flies.

  10. lilacluvr

    Associated Press
    Operation Rescue has told its supporters it is facing a “major financial crisis” and is close to shutting down unless emergency help arrives soon.

    Troy Newman, the anti-abortion group’s president, blamed the economic downturn for its money woes in a plea e-mailed Monday night to donors. But the Wichita-based organization has also been under attack since the May 31 shooting death of physician George Tiller.

    “We’re now so broke (as the saying goes), we can’t even pay attention,” Newman wrote to donors.

    Newman said in an interview after the mailing that the group has only four paid employees left, compared to nine a year ago. The group typically has an annual budget of $600,000, but donations this year have been down 30 to 40 percent. Newman, who earns $60,000 annually, said he hasn’t been paid in two months.

    Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., faces charges of murder and aggravated assault in the slaying of Tiller as Tiller, a Wichita abortion provider, ushered at a Sunday morning church service.

    Tiller’s killing has also been a public relations nightmare for the group — despite its public condemnation of the slaying — since the name and phone number of the group’s senior policy adviser were found in Roeder’s car when he was arrested. A television crew zoomed in on the scrawled note inside the car in images that made their way onto the Internet.

    “You see, this summer has been brutal for Operation Rescue. Not only did George Tiller’s death throw everybody in the pro-life movement for a loop (and especially us), but the economic crisis our nation is suffering has brought our financial support to nearly a halt,” Newman wrote to donors.

    Newman said that the decline in the group’s donations began last year.

    Meanwhile, other groups in the abortion fray haven’t noticed a similar decline in contributions.

    Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, said Tuesday that she has not noticed any drop in donations.

    “Most of the people that give us money are pretty dedicated, educated on this issue and certainly didn’t feel anything we did had anything to do with Dr. Tiller’s murder,” Culp said.

    Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, said that her abortion-rights group has had tens of thousands of dollars in new donations from people who were outraged by Tiller’s shooting it.

    Saporta also was not surprised by the financial problems at Operation Rescue.

    “They have publicly denounced his murder, yet they move their headquarters to Wichita and spend years harassing and trying to put him out of business,” Saporta said. “And people involved with Operation Rescue had also been in communication with Scott Roeder, so their hands aren’t necessarily 100 percent clean in this scenario.”

    Abortion-rights supporters contend some of Operation Rescue’s activities contribute to the atmosphere that encourages people like Roeder to take the law into their hands.

    Newman, who has publicly derided Roeder as a “lunatic,” has also been criticized by fringe elements in the anti-abortion movement. Roeder sent Newman a July 21 letter accusing the group’s president of “cowardice” in condemning the shooting while seeking to protect himself.

    Operation Rescue’s fundraising letter hinted at a secret project it hoped to launch in the next 30 days that would be a “new phase in the pro-life fight.” But while the group’s fundraising efforts are often tied to some new anti-abortion activity, its latest letter had an unprecedented tone of desperation.

    “Seriously. We struggle to pay every bill,” Newman wrote supporters. “I had to borrow money just to send you this letter, in hopes that you will come to our rescue.”

    Just saw this on the WE website. Interesting turn of events – or is it just Troy Newman trying to bamboozle more money from the easily swayed folks?

  11. I think I remember this as his annual fund-raising tactic. He’ll be flush within a week. He whines and scares those who think he is actually reducing the numbers of abortions. He isn’t, of course, but reality isn’t his or his followers strong suits.

  12. lilacluvr

    No, 6176, I did not watch the Barbara Walters special about Patrick Swayze. I wish that I had, though.

    I think Patrick Swayze was another amazing inspirational human being. He handled his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and the last 20 months with such dignity and strength.

    And, you’re right, it is not just cancer patients who benefit from being positive and not letting depression get the better of them. As a general rule, the healthier people are those with a positive outlook on life.

    But, as I look at it, the body and our spirit are energy-based and if given a steady infusion of positive energy – we feel better. If given a steady infusion of negative energy – we feel bad.

    No wonder I don’t care to watch Fox News….huh?

  13. 6176746f6c6c65

    Supplementing my post about the special; what struck me was the commonality of feeling between the two ill spouses and the two “survivors to be”. From many perspectives (fame and fortune,for example) we are poles apart, but cutting to the raw emotions, we were not any different. It was almost eerie as I watched, feeling I could predict the response to the gently worded questions, and then realizing I had, on both sides. Nothing like a few tears to settle one down before bed.

    It was worth it, fnord, to hear my fears, thoughts, etc., communicated so articulately by someone I’d never met, but with whom I felt a strong bond, even though the emotions resurfaced. I also found it noteworthy that their marriage had endured 34 years, ours 36. Given Patrick was two years my junior, it all just seemed “right”, although terribly unfair.

    • lilacluvr

      Hang on to your memories, 6176. Your lovely wife Judy was a special lady. And now you have that beautiful granddaughter – how is she doing?

      I think God gave us tears for a reason – for joy and sorrow – sometimes they are a mixture of both emotions.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        I shall, Lilac; I shall.

        The granddaughter is doing quite well, thank you for asking. Grandpa hasn’t been able to visit personally, but hopes to be able to once Sept. 29 has passed. She and I have talked on the telephone a few times, but there isn’t any way to spoil her that way. 🙂 If all else fails, she and her parents will be here for a part of the holidays.

    • wicked

      It can help to know we’re not alone in our trials, even after the trials. Why else would there be so many support groups?

      Be well, 6176.

  14. lilacluvr

    fnord – Can you help me to be able to link to a story I find elsewhere? I am not sure how to do that, so I find myself copying and pasting the entire article – and perhaps not everyone is wanting to wade through so many wordy articles?

    Here is another interesting twist to our current health care system:

    Loving Couple Divorces To Stay Afloat Financially

    For Mary McCurnin and husband Ron Bednar, money trouble has followed health trouble. In 2003, the couple declared bankruptcy after their insurance covered only 10 percent of treatment costs for her breast cancer and his intestinal bleeding. In 2004, McCurnin’s breast cancer returned, and Bednar underwent open heart surgery.

    Now, after repeatedly refinancing their house to pay medical bills and living expenses, they’re broke. To improve their chances of growing old together, they’ve filed for divorce.

    The question for all those traditional marriage supporters like Brownback, why is something like this even seen as something we wish to promote?

    Rather than going after the gay marriage ban, let’s change some laws to encourage the traditional marriages that certain lawmakers say they support.

  15. 6176746f6c6c65

    This type of thing is more common than we wish to acknowledge. ‘Nuff said.

    • Lilac,

      If you make a WordPress account — it does require sharing your email addy with WordPress — I can make you an Editor which then gives you some extra clicks where you can add links, edit your posts… Let me know. It isn’t a problem either way and I know some prefer not doing that WordPress account stuff.

      • lilacluvr

        thanks for the info – and thanks for shortening up that last article for me…

        I’m on my way out to do some errands right now so I’ll look into doing a WordPress account later tonight and see how that goes..

        thanks, again, for your help.

  16. With Tiller gone, what is the purpose of Operation Rescue? Might that figure into to Troy’s funding problems?

  17. jammer (or anyone else) what genre would you use to describe three guitars accompanied by a tractor?

  18. tosmarttobegop

    Rep Pete Stark and ” I would not waste good urine on you”

    • wicked

      Did you see the next question from the woman? The words on the screen said “How about a valid driver’s license?” And just how does one go about verifying a driver’s license is valid?

      Where did I read the stats about illegals who were able to sneak into the Medicaid system? It wasn’t much, that’s for sure. To apply for Medicaid, one has to jump through a lot of hoops, including more than one means of proof of citizenship.

      Do these people intend to pay for checking the validity of citizens? They don’t want taxes raised, yet they want the government to do, do, do, to their specifications. And then they’ll bitch about that, too.

    • jammer5

      Cant Say I was impressed by anybody on the vid.

  19. wicked

    Did you guys see this?

    Hartman announces run for Congress

    Saying he wants to take a direct role in fixing the national economy, businessman and Wichita Wild owner Wink Hartman formally announced his candidacy for Congress today.

    Hartman joins a crowded Republican primary for the seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, who is running for Senate.

    GOP National Committeeman Mike Pompeo, state Sens. Jean Schodorf of Wichita and Dick Kelsey of Goddard, and Wichita businessman Jim Anderson are also seeking the party’s nomination.

    The last line of the article lost my vote for him:

    He said some reform is needed in health care, primarily in the areas of accessibility and litigation control, but he opposes President Obama’s health care plan.

    Just one more republican to vote against. 😉

  20. Is Obama the Anti-Christ?

    Bet this is a question you didn’t guess pollsters would be asking a few months ago: Is Barack Obama the Anti-Christ? According to Public Policy Polling, over one third of New Jersey conservative voters either think yes or not sure. (That’s 18 percent yes; 17 percent unsure.) We wonder what they think in Oklahoma.

  21. Here’s a low budget public domain Zombie movie filmed partly in Lawrence, KS in 1962.

    After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival. Carnival Of Souls is in the public domain, and it can be downloaded here for free:

  22. Senate Democrats may not have to resort to budget reconciliation to pass health care, after all: The Boston Globe is reporting that legislative leaders in Massachusetts have narrow majorities in both chambers to give Governor Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim U.S. senator to hold Ted Kennedy’s seat. That move would give the Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the U.S. senate, as opposed to the 59 they currently have without Kennedy. Patrick has signaled privately that he’d like to sign the bill by Friday and make an appointment within days, possibly having an interim senator by next week.

  23. David B

    Add this to our listing of blogs??