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The decline and fall of the United States

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  • The groundwork has been laid. The neocons don't need to win the next election to hold onto power.

    Last October two provisions were inserted into a Defense appropriation bill in the middle of the night without debate or public notice that repeal posse comitatus and the Insurrection Act of 1807.

    It used to be that Federal troops (including federalized National Guard troops) could only be used within the United States in the case of insurrection or the refusal of State authorities to enforce the law. Now the president may use Federal troops within the US to respond to "natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any other condition."

    Editorial: Making Martial Law Easier

    -Mark

    Comment


    • We, you! me!, each of us!, all of us! are responsible because we allow it to happen. Billions wasted down the rat hole of Iraq, but no money to fix a kid's abcess and he dies.

      How can we continue like this? How can we justify untroubled sleep, and worry about whether or not we're ready for a HD TV in the den? Just how can we let this happen?

      WP: Md. boy dies from toothache
      Maryland boy, 12, dies after bacteria from tooth spread to his brain
      By Mary Otto
      The Washington Post
      Updated: 11:11 a.m. CT Feb 28, 2007
      WASHINGTON - Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

      A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

      If his mother had been insured.

      If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

      If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

      If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

      By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

      Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

      Some poor children have no dental coverage at all. Others travel three hours to find a dentist willing to take Medicaid patients and accept the incumbent paperwork. And some, including Deamonte's brother, get in for a tooth cleaning but have trouble securing an oral surgeon to fix deeper problems.

      In spite of efforts to change the system, fewer than one in three children in Maryland's Medicaid program received any dental service at all in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

      ‘They know there is a problem’
      The figures were worse elsewhere in the region. In the District, 29.3 percent got treatment, and in Virginia, 24.3 percent were treated, although all three jurisdictions say they have done a better job reaching children in recent years.

      "I certainly hope the state agencies responsible for making sure these children have dental care take note so that Deamonte didn't die in vain," said Laurie Norris, a lawyer for the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center who tried to help the Driver family. "They know there is a problem, and they have not devoted adequate resources to solving it."

      Maryland officials emphasize that the delivery of basic care has improved greatly since 1997, when the state instituted a managed care program, and in 1998, when legislation that provided more money and set standards for access to dental care for poor children was enacted.

      About 900 of the state's 5,500 dentists accept Medicaid patients, said Arthur Fridley, last year's president of the Maryland State Dental Association. Referring patients to specialists can be particularly difficult.

      Fewer than 16 percent of Maryland's Medicaid children received restorative services -- such as filling cavities -- in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available.

      For families such as the Drivers, the systemic problems are compounded by personal obstacles: lack of transportation, bouts of homelessness, erratic telephone and mail service.

      The Driver children have never received routine dental attention, said their mother, Alyce Driver. The bakery, construction and home health-care jobs she has held have not provided insurance. The children's Medicaid coverage had temporarily lapsed at the time Deamonte was hospitalized. And even with Medicaid's promise of dental care, the problem, she said, was finding it.

      When Deamonte got sick, his mother had not realized that his tooth had been bothering him. Instead, she was focusing on his younger brother, 10-year-old DaShawn, who "complains about his teeth all the time," she said.


      DaShawn saw a dentist a couple of years ago, but the dentist discontinued the treatments, she said, after the boy squirmed too much in the chair. Then the family went through a crisis and spent some time in an Adelphi homeless shelter. From there, three of Driver's sons went to stay with their grandparents in a two-bedroom mobile home in Clinton.

      By September, several of DaShawn's teeth had become abscessed. Driver began making calls about the boy's coverage but grew frustrated. She turned to Norris, who was working with homeless families in Prince George's.

      Norris and her staff also ran into barriers: They said they made more than two dozen calls before reaching an official at the Driver family's Medicaid provider and a state supervising nurse who helped them find a dentist.

      On Oct. 5, DaShawn saw Arthur Fridley, who cleaned the boy's teeth, took an X-ray and referred him to an oral surgeon. But the surgeon could not see him until Nov. 21, and that would be only for a consultation. Driver said she learned that DaShawn would need six teeth extracted and made an appointment for the earliest date available: Jan. 16.

      But she had to cancel after learning Jan. 8 that the children had lost their Medicaid coverage a month earlier. She suspects that the paperwork to confirm their eligibility was mailed to the shelter in Adelphi, where they no longer live.

      It was on Jan. 11 that Deamonte came home from school complaining of a headache. At Southern Maryland Hospital Center, his mother said, he got medicine for a headache, sinusitis and a dental abscess. But the next day, he was much sicker.

      Eventually, he was rushed to Children's Hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery. He began to have seizures and had a second operation. The problem tooth was extracted.

      Deamonte appeared to be mending slowly
      After more than two weeks of care at Children's Hospital, the Clinton seventh-grader began undergoing six weeks of additional medical treatment as well as physical and occupational therapy at another hospital. He seemed to be mending slowly, doing math problems and enjoying visits with his brothers and teachers from his school, the Foundation School in Largo.

      On Saturday, their last day together, Deamonte refused to eat but otherwise appeared happy, his mother said. They played cards and watched a show on television, lying together in his hospital bed. But after she left him that evening, he called her.

      "Make sure you pray before you go to sleep," he told her.

      The next morning at about 6, she got another call, this time from the boy's grandmother. Deamonte was unresponsive. She rushed back to the hospital.

      "When I got there, my baby was gone," recounted the mother.

      She said doctors are still not sure what happened to her son. His death certificate listed two conditions associated with brain infections: "meningoencephalitis" and "subdural empyema."

      In spite of such modern innovations as the fluoridation of drinking water, tooth decay is still the single most common childhood disease nationwide, five times as common as asthma, experts say. Poor children are more than twice as likely to have cavities as their more affluent peers, research shows, but far less likely to get treatment.

      Serious and costly medical consequences are "not uncommon," said Norman Tinanoff, chief of pediatric dentistry at the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore. For instance, Deamonte's bill for two weeks at Children's alone was expected to be between $200,000 and $250,000.

      The federal government requires states to provide oral health services to children through Medicaid programs, but the shortage of dentists who will treat indigent patients remains a major barrier to care, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

      Access is worst in rural areas, where some families travel hours for dental care, Tinanoff said. In the Maryland General Assembly this year, lawmakers are considering a bill that would set aside $2 million a year for the next three years to expand public clinics where dental care remains a rarity for the poor.

      Providing such access, Tinanoff and others said, eventually pays for itself, sparing children the pain and expense of a medical crisis.

      Reimbursement rates for dentists remain low nationally, although Maryland, Virginia and the District have increased their rates in recent years.

      Dentists also cite administrative frustrations dealing with the Medicaid bureaucracy and the difficulties of serving poor, often transient patients, a study by the state legislatures conference found.

      "Whatever we've got is broke," Fridley said. "It has nothing to do with access to care for these children."

      © 2007 The Washington Post Company

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        • USMC, I askedthose same questions when I read that story on MSN. What I would love to know is couldn't at least one dentist have yanked the tooth, let Ms Driver pay what she could then write the balance as 'charity'? Or is that to simple?

          Comment


          • What I would love to know is couldn't at least one dentist have yanked the tooth, let Ms Driver pay what she could then write the balance as 'charity'? Or is that to simple?
            And the answer too often is ... yes.

            Not so long ago I couldn't afford dental care. I had a new job with medical coverage but no dental. I had already had some emergency dental work done, and was paying a third of every paycheck to pay off a $2700 bill. (I later learned that as a non-insured patient not on medicaid I was charged the very highest rates - about twice what would be paid by an insurance company). When I returned with a toothache the business office of the practice refused to allow me to see the doctor without paying a large down payment - which I couldn't possibly pay since I was already paying them every cent of my disposable income and then some. I was turned away. No other dentist would touch me without money in hand.

            That was years ago. But I'm still paying the price for that time when I couldn't get necessary dental care.

            Dental problems are not considered life threatening. Even though they occasionally are. Apparently there is no ethical obligation to treat those who can't pay in the manner desired.

            -Mark

            Comment


            • Bad teeth, abcesses, and gum disease can lead to more than discomfort. In some instances they can contribute to things such as mycardial infarction and other fatal or debilitating health problems.

              The answer to the question has been stated here a number of times. It is single-payer, all-encompasssing, cradle-to-grave, universal health care. No more, no less.

              Until then, we will continue to have stories such as this, and the one from earlier in the week where a desperate, parapalegic homeless man was dumped on the street by a hospital unwilling to pro-bono his health need. Not just put out of the hospital, but taken in a van by hospital employees and dumped out into one of the more dangerous neighborhoods of the city.

              Kafka is now writing our history.

              Put down that can of beer, get up off the couch, slip on soem threads and get out theree and and get involved at teh precinct level and select and help elect candidates who will do soemthing about this.

              We're the problem, and we're the solution.

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                • Great comic; thanks Naturist Mark.

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                  • Well, as another puts it 'the chickens are most certainly coming home to roost'.

                    Calls for the termination of Attorney General Gonzales' services are being heard from those who up until now have supported what this adminsrtation has been doing.
                    I suspect political motives are more to 'blame' for their calling for his firing moreso than the fact he has been involved in criminal activities that more than warrant termination ... they warrant prosecution and incarseration.
                    The dominoes continue to fall and reality is beginning to sink in, leave us pray the end will come quickly and the world will survive this nightmare without any further depridations of her soul.

                    Comment


                    • Leave it to Bill Maher to point out where the liberals are wrong on Bush:


                      click the pic for YouTube Video
                        "And finally, new rule: liberals must stop saying President Bush hasn't asked Americans to sacrifice for the War on Terror. On the contrary, he's asked us to sacrifice something enormous: our civil rights.

                        Now, when I heard George Bush was reading my e-mails, I probably had the same reaction you did--George Bush can read?! (Laughter.) Yes he can, and this administration has read your phone records, credit card statements, mail, internet logs... I can't tell if their fighting the War on Terror or producing the next season of Cheaters. (Laughter.) I mail myself a copy of the Consitution every morning, just on the hope they'll open it and see what it says! (Laughter and applause).

                        So when it comes to sacrifice, don't kid yourself--you *have* given up a lot! You've given up faith in your government's honesty, the good will of people overseas, and 6/10 of the Bill of Rights. Here's what you've sacrificed: search and seizure, warrants, self incrimination, trial by jury, cruel and unusual punishment. Here's what you have left: handguns, religion, and they can't make you quarter a British soldier. If Prince Harry invades the inland empire, he has to bring a tent. (Laughter).

                        You know, in previous wars, Americans on the homefront made a very different kind of sacrifice. During World War II, we endured rationing, payed higher taxes, bought war bonds, and in the interest of national unity, people even pretended Bob Hope was funny. (Laughter.) Right--like you laughed at him!

                        Women donated their silk undergarments so they could be sewn into parachutes. Can you imagine nowadays a Britney Spears or a Lindsay Lohan going without underwear? (Laughter.) Bad example, but look, George Bush has never been too bright about understanding "ferners", but he does know Americans. He asked *this* generation to sacrifice the things he knew we would not miss--our privacy and our morality. He let us keep the money. But he made a cynical bet, that we wouldn't much care if we became a Big Brother country that has now tortured a lot of random people.

                        And yet no one asks the tough questions, like "Is torture necessary?", "Who will watch the watchers?" and "When does Jack Bauer go to the bathroom?" (Laughter.) I mean, it's been five years--is he wearing one of those astronaut diapers?

                        In conclusion, after September 11, President Bush told us Osama bin Laden "could run but he can't hide". But he ran and hid. (Laughter.) So Bush went to Plan B: pissing on the Constitution and torturing random people. Conservatives always say the great thing Reagan did was make us feel good about America again. Well, do you feel good about America now?

                        I'll give you my answer. And to get it out of me, you don't even need to hold my head under water and have a snarling guard dog rip my nuts off. (Laughter). No, I don't feel very good about that. They say evil happens when good men do nothing. Well, the Democrats proved it also happens when mediocre people do nothing."[/list]
                        -Mark

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                      • Let's all supoort our troops as this administration does!
                        Yeah, that's the ticket!

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                        • In another thread I posted how the media keeps avoiding reporting the point of the US Attorney firing scandal. Now Congress, finally exercising its government oversite responsibility is examining the situation. the White House is digging in its heals, insisting that it will only allow Karl Rove and Harriet Miers testify in private, without any transcript being taken, and not under oath.

                          Or as the Daily Show summarized: "The White House is adamant that their advisors ... retain the right to lie ... without consequence."

                          Further proof that America's finest broadcast journalism comes from Jon Stewart and his fake news program.

                          See the Video


                          -Mark

                          Comment


                          • Mark, I'm not so sure we can continue calling "The DAILY SHOW" a fake news program any longer, it's the only program that actually reports the news.

                            Comment


                            • Keith Olbermann does a pretty good job too. Too bad he's a commie.

                              -Mark

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                              • The real reason Karl Rove can't testify under oath:

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