Archive for September 4th, 2009

by jhwygirl

Supermontanareporter John S. Adams, state capitol bureau chief for the Great Falls Tribune brings the news that state Senator Greg Barkus was drinking at the time of the crash. While that isn’t news to anyone but the greatest of skeptics, the fact that the Flathead County Attorney’s office is putting that information out there is.

It is worthy to note that Title 23 of Montana Code Annotated – which regulates the use of watercraft in Montana – does not require a specific level of alcohol (unlike motorized vehicles, which are defined by code as wheeled vehicles). Barkus merely had to be “under the influence of alcohol,” of which Title 23 lacks no specific definition.

We had some discussion here with regards to Title 23 in this thread.

Now – certainly the Flathead prosecutor would be far better off to have that BAC test back from the state crime lab before filing charges, and beyond that, Barkus is in Seattle at the Harborview Medical Center for surgery on his broken pelvis. He spent 5 days in ICU in Kalispell Medical Center, taking several blood transfusions, and was flown to Seattle today.

Before anyone goes getting all teary-eyed over Barkus (clearly, I’m not…), remember Dustin Frost, Rep. Denny Rehberg’s staffer who was seriously injured. Frost’s condition is still being described as “serious,” by his neurosurgeon. It will be that way for quite a while.

Dustin Frost has suffered a severe closed head injury and is requiring aggressive monitoring and treatment,” Hollis said in the statement. “He is showing slow improvements in his status but still requires intensive nursing care. Further recovery is anticipated.”

“Further recovery”? Yeah – don’t look for any sympathy for Barkus from me. I’m not wishing him ill….but he will reap what he’s sown.

We’ll wait now to hear what Barkus’ BAC actually was. When it comes out that he was falling down drunk, questions will come back to Rehberg (who’s BAC, according to Erik Iverson, was “well below the legal level,” at .05 BAC, 3 hours after the crash) and his utter lack of judgment in not only getting himself and his friends and staff into that boat, but in allowing someone he’d been drinking with for several hours get behind the wheel of a boat.

Again – keeping in mind that in Montana, there is no defined level of ‘under the influence’ for operation of a watercraft.

The utter disregard for the laws of this state and the utter disregard for not only personal safety but public safety to anyone that could have encountered this death rocket – piloted by state Sen. Greg Barkus – on the water will be, in the end, the real story here.

One will pay with at least a felony arrest charge, while for others – specifically Rep. Denny Rehberg – will live with the disrespect for the law and the lack of judgment regarding the personal safety of himself and everyone else, including the public on the public’s waterway.

I’ll call again for positive thoughts, prayers and concerns for Dustin Frost. He has a long way to go to just get himself out of the hospital. Life has changed for Dustin and his family, and positive energy and excellent care will go a long way.

by JC

Last week on Bill Maher’s Real Time, Bill Moyers, in a special “The Conscience of a Nation” edition, laid out a beautiful progressive’s analysis of the Obama administration’s struggling efforts to reconcile its legislative health care efforts with the progressive base’s demands. I think that Moyers’ words speak for themselves, so I’ll leave it up to you to watch, with but one comment. I want to offer up a quote about fighting principled battles, as it seems to be a recurring theme of debate:

“You Have to Lose Sometimes, in Order to Win”

What he was referring to was Truman’s losing battle for Medicare in 1948. But because he lost what Moyers termed “a principled victory” the nation was able to eventually move forward years later to do the right thing: get the whole loaf instead of just a half loaf, which he asserts is not enough to feed everybody. Medicare was born.

The analogy to today’s fight for universal health care was unmistakeable. Without coming right out and saying it, he intimated that progressives must hold fast to their principles. That if you hold your progressive values, that by losing the battle, you will have won a principled victory, and that eventually a better solution will prevail. If you want true universal health care, or single payer, then don’t settle for what we currently are being sold through our corporatist legislative process.

Enjoy the words of one of today’s most eloquent progressives.

This is part one. Moyers’ comments about principled progressive victories comes just after the 9:00 mark. You can watch part 2 and part 3 via the YouTubifier. The whole thing is definitely worth watching, if at all you are interested in a true progressive’s perspective on fighting great national policy battles.

by jhwygirl

Who hasn’t seen this?

convenience store health insurance

America has the best health care system in the world?

I think not.

by jhwygirl

I should just start calling them fascists – after all, they’re advocating that U.S. government prop up and protect the health insurance industry at the expense of the citizens of the United States…but I digress.

First up, we have a wheelchair bound woman in Red Bank, New Jersey trying – vallantly, I might add – to speak in support of health reform at a public meeting held by New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone. She explains that she has been diagnosed with two auto-immune deficiency diseases..that she’s worked hard all her life..and that she is afraid that she won’t be able to pay her property taxes and will lose her home. She sits in the wheelchair, attempting to speak over the jeers of the crowd, holding the hand of a male friend. has the video.

Remember – a similar incident occurred here in Hamilton Montana recently, when Rep. Denny Rehberg allowed the crowd of tea-baggers heckle a wheelchair-bound woman who was merely holding a sign in support of reform.

Second up we have Kansas Representative Lynn Jenkins, who – at her town hall meeting just the other day – laughed off a 27 year-old waitress who, standing just feet from her, spoke of not being able to afford a doctor for her 2 1/2 year-old son.

Afterward, Smith said her son hasn’t been to a doctor in 21 months, except for emergency room visits for ear infections, because she can’t afford either insurance or a doctor’s visit.

“I am frustrated,” she said. “In a functioning, civil society, people take care of each other.”

Heres the thing, Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Max Baucus – you don’t negotiate with people like this. Whether they dress in suits, like Sen. Chuck Grassley and say things like “The Obama Plan has death panels” or whether they hold signs at public meetings calling pro-reformers communists. As Congressman Barney Frank said: You might as well be talking to table.

Someone needs to sit these people down and tell them that if they can’t be nice and quit telling lies, they won’t be part of the conversation.

Kindergarten teachers do it everyday. Maybe we need to send a few out to Washington D.C. to teach them how it’s done.

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