Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mayor's Office of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness » Ending chronic homelessness through housing first.

Blue Cross CEOs gorge on profits from premiums | KnoxViews

To learn that the CEO of Blue Cross Tennessee received a $2 million bonus is really not news at all. It is merely more of the same, and exactly what we can expect if the Healthcare Industry is expected to "curb" their spending. It just ain't gonna happen.

This is just goes to demonstrate that we MUST have immediate intervention, regulation, oversight and accountability over the Healthcare Marketplace.

I did not need another reason to demonstrate the need for immediate intervention, however for those who do, please read the excerpt below from KnoxViews:

"Blue Cross CEOs gorge on profits from premiums."

"The chief executive officer of Blue Cross of Tennessee got a big salary boost to over $2 million this year. Searches for "salary president ceo blue cross [statename]" will get you the figures for the rest of the states. To keep it simple, though, let's just assume that the 50 CEOs of each Blue Cross operation in each of the 50 states makes roughly what the top guy in Tennessee gets, Tennessee not being exactly one of the wealthiest states. That means we're looking at well over $100 million of our health insurance premiums poured into the homes, yachts, and kids' private schools of a tiny elite instead of going into the provision of health care for Americans." -Vigil Proudfoot, KnoxViews available:

Obama's plan to come to the table with the Healthcare Industry is being passed off as Healthcare "reform" is a farce. The concept of self-regulation as the newest chapter in healthcare reform effort is a joke, and my concerns continue to grow with each passing day. Since that compromise was made, have any of us seen any movement towards reform or seen our healthcare dollars get more bang for the buck?

Asking or expecting the health industry to reduce costs through self-regulation without accountability is simply ridiculous. Especially when we see reports such as these that show a CEO salary of several million dollars.

Health care is already completely self-regulated and controlled. A person does not have free choice when choosing a provider. Due to an unholy alliance of provider networks, insurance underwriters, pharmaceutical conglomerates and private for profit hospital corporations such as HCA.

By negotiating with providers and developing one-size-fits-all prescription formularies and treatment protocols, we remove the ability for the consumer to make independent informed decisions about the value of various treatment options.

We rely upon one the ratings of physicians who have self-interest in controlling access and information to accurate information through their reliance upon Certification and Licensing Boards. By limiting access into the profession, health care costs are inflated and it is near impossible for the consumer to determine the fair value of a health care service.

Second, the consumer is far removed from the negotiating process, so we do not have a good sense of the fair, free market value of one particular service in comparison to another. All you need to do is look at any EOB (explanation of benefits) report for your last trip to the hospital.

Billing codes are used and assigned through various service departments and the insurance carrier then decides which services are covered and at what rate. They use the terms like “Reasonable and Customary Rates” and then choose to pay 80% of that amount. Therefore, by definition, that 20% must be built in to the billing rates to adjust for the actual (and expected) rate of reimbursement.

Such complicated billing procedures and methods are so complicated and technical that the end recipient of services (the consumer) really has no idea if an X-ray costs $90 or $73. Add into that a separate fee for the radiologist, and sometimes a charge just to use the facility, and even smart people find it difficult to understand.

The bills are then processed by an insurance adjuster who must determine primary and secondary (supplemental) plans and determine who is responsible for what, the end cost and intricate design is truly “priceless.”

Good luck to those people who actually purchased supplemental plans they saw advertised on TV, you have been duped. Giving people (especially the infirm and the elderly) a false sense of security is unfair and unjust.

Without regulation, intervention and enforcement, many people will continue to believe they are prepared and protected from that ultimate for “just in case” scenario that results in major, catastrophic medical loss.

The administrative cost alone on the part of the “Responsible Party” is probably more costly than the initial service they received at whatever hospital for whatever condition.

You cannot apply basic economic theory and free market principles to health care. Health care is fundamentally different and should be considered a public good.

We cannot believe or expect health insurance conglomerates will control their own spending and free from government intervention. We need to do something NOW!

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, TN

"You may not care how much I know, but you don't know how much I care!"

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Introducing News Dots - By Chris Wilson - Slate Magazine

@almostvisible we like this! dots...

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Nashville Mayor Karl Dean makes a deal with the Chamber of Commerce: Details Unknown

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This will be edited... Because in typical Nashville Style, I would 7.50 to read about this "economic package Mayor Dean put together with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. As someone who has spent the part of my life evaluating various social welfare programs, this make NO sense to me! Put out a press release for god sakes, send a letter or email to those of who are repeatedly denied services these programs are supposed to help! It is just beyond my capacity to understand how you actually spin this shit when there are people like me shouting it the rooftops! Have you NO shame? Don't bother to answer, not as if you might actually take 5 mins to READ an email some "random" constituent sent a year ago early March. Where are Brady's files? Did he leave them behind? Enough. I have had enough. Thank you for giving me such a clear sense just how much you really do value my support and dedication and hard work on your campaign! Excuse me while I go throw up, AGAIN tripping down memory lane.

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March 8, 2010 at 11:03:56

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By Bill Simpich (about the author)     Page 1 of 12 page(s)     Permalink

For OpEdNews: Bill Simpich - Writer

Memos released in full show that Lee Harvey Oswald was used in espionage aimed at the Soviets during 1959 and 1963. On both occasions, Oswald was seeking an instant visa in order to enter a Communist country.

Documents recently released in full reveal that alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was wittingly or unwittingly used in CIA spying activities referred to as LCIMPROVE during the two months before John F. Kennedy was killed. Until the last few years, these documents only existed in less-than-complete form.

LCIMPROVE is defined in two separate CIA documents as "Counter-espionage involving Soviet intelligence services worldwide". The request for the definition of LCIMPROVE by government staffers to the CIA is here (see item #2) The CIA's response is here.

Counter-espionage involves actions taken to detect and counteract espionage. Several CIA memos with the subject line "LCIMPROVE" were written during the two periods of Oswald's life when he was trying to instantly obtain a visa to enter a communist nation.

The LCIMPROVE memos in 1959 dramatically describe the time when Oswald was seeking to defect to the Soviet Union. These memos are also linked to the REDCAP program to induce Soviets and Eastern Europeans to defect to the West.

These REDCAP/LCIMPROVE memos are filled with wild yarns about sex-and-alcohol parties involving Americans and Soviets together in Helsinki. It was days of wine and roses, with each side testing the other. American vice consul William Costille was enticing the Soviet consul Gregory Golub to defect. By all appearances, Soviet consul Golub just wanted to let the good times roll.

Soviet consul Golub was warmed by the camaraderie. Helsinki became the only place in the Soviet borderlands where a foreigner could get a visa in a matter of minutes if you "looked all right". This change in policy came down shortly before Oswald needed to cross the Soviet border from Helsinki.

Oswald was still a Marine when he came to Helsinki. Oswald would probably never have received permission from Soviet authorities in Moscow to enter the USSR. The instant visa from Golub is what made it possible for Oswald to successfully defect to the Soviet Union during October 1959. He married a Soviet woman and returned with his new family to the United States in 1962.

LCIMPROVE documents from late 1963 report on Oswald's quest to get instant visas to visit Cuba and the USSR. The CIA reports on Oswald's visits to the Soviet and Cuban consulates in Mexico City to obtain these visas less than two months before the JFK assassination. Oswald showed up with his visa application at the Cuban consulate on a Friday all fired up to leave for Cuba the following Monday. This was during a time when Mexico City was an "intelligence battlefield" for both sides in the Cold War.

On the lighter side, Oswald was behaving like a clown. He was demanding an instant travel visa to go to Cuba. The American government ban on Cuban travel had begun two years earlier in 1961. Mexico City was the only place in Mexico that an American had any chance to get into Cuba at all. The Cubans were only providing travel visas during time to American travelers when a way station was needed while en route to one's ultimate destination.

In this case, Oswald hadn't even applied for a Soviet visa. Obtaining a visa from the Soviets was going to take four months. Oswald was doing one of the things he was best at - being an impossible person.

Oswald had succeeded in making himself the talk of the town on Embassy Row in Mexico City. Tongues were wagging inside the Cuban consulate at Oswald's rash and rude manners as he tried to convince the employees into giving him a visa to leave for Cuba the following Monday. His flat-out lie to them about having a Soviet visa added more fuel to the fire.

The buzzing of the consulate employees was picked up by CIA wiretaps throughout the building and on every telephone. As a bonus, such an event inevitably worsened relations between Cuba and Oswald's Fair Play for Cuba Committee during a time when a documented CIA-FBI plan to discredit the FPCC was nearing fruition.

The more hidden aspects involved the shadowboxing between the Americans and the Soviets. For years, there was a practice in intelligence circles of slightly altering items in Oswald's biography and using these items as "marked cards" as they passed information back and forth with each other. If an unauthorized person had access to a particular spelling of a name, for example, that "marked card" indicated that there had been a leak. A leaker might be a defector.

Thus, Oswald was wittingly or unwittingly involved in a molehunt aimed at at American intelligence officers. Ann Egerter was the main mover in this effort. Egerter was with the Counter-Intelligence Special Investigations Group, or CI/SIG. For years, the CIA and other agencies had been using "marked cards" as a method to see if the CIA itself was being infiltrated by Soviet or Cuban agents. Egerter referred to her group as the "office that spied on spies".

At the same time, REDCAP memos surfaced during the summer of 1963 directed at Kostikov and other Soviet Embassy employees. As mentioned above, REDCAP was a CIA program that encouraged Soviet defections. Soviet vice consul Valeriy Kostikov was the subject of a REDCAP memo written the same day that Oswald first visited the Soviet embassy. The CIA may have wanted to see if Oswald could effectively test the emotional makeup of Soviet vice consul Valeriy Kostikov or another embassy employee. Oswald was a provocateur, in the classical sense of the word. He knew how to get an argument going, as well as how to spur a discussion that might reveal a vulnerability that Kostikov or another embassy employee.

The story is that Oswald came to the Soviet Embassy in late September, buttonholed Kostikov, threw a loaded revolver down on the table, and burst into tears. The purpose of this drama may have simply been to get Kostikov and the other consuls to let down their guard and talk.

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Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Free the JFK Files Now, Not in 2017 or Later

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Article: Needed; Editors, Awakeners, Putting-the-pieces-together People

i don't understand these are people who #banned me! no fair.... Censorship sucks!

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Article: AIG, Goldman Sachs,the Fed and Treasury, Shenanigans, Skullduggery and Incestuous Ties?

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Article: Economic Warfare? Europe versus Wall Street

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still #banned

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Article: To what extent are rigged bond auctions being used to 'finance' our 'economic recovery'?

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Under Pressure: Evolution or e-volution...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Letter to Mumia Regarding Exceptional Injustice. 
By Linn Washington (about the author)     Page 1 of 3 page(s)
For OpEdNews: Linn Washington - Writer
Two inmates on Pennsylvania's death row raise the same issue on appeal blatant misconduct by prosecutors and police yet Pa's Supreme Court issues different rulings in these respective cases.

The Pa Supreme Court released Jay C. Smith directly from his death row cell, ruling the misconduct by prosecutors and police so "egregious" that retrying Smith for murdering a school teacher and her two children would violate fair trial protections in Pa's state Constitution.

However, in appeals from convicted Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pa's highest court repeatedly rejects solid evidence of wrongdoing by prosecutors and police despite that misconduct being more extensive than misconduct in Smith'scase.

Why, people wonder worldwide, does Mumia Abu-Jamal remain imprisoned when mounds of evidence unearthed since his 1982 trial undermine all aspects of the controversial conviction that sent this acclaimed journalist to death row?

The answer to this justice denying/logic defying question is simple: "The Mumia Exception."

This "Mumia Exception" is the phrase devised to describe the practice repeatedly employed by state and federal courts to strip Abu-Jamal of the same legal relief those courts extend to other inmates raising the same legal issue when challenging violations of their legal rights.
Jurists bending and/or breaking the bedrock American legal principal of equal justice under the law is the driving dynamic of "The Mumia Exception."

This "Exception" explains how Pa's Supreme Court in the Smith case castigated authorities for illegally withholding evidence crucial to the high school principal's defense while that court constantly refuses to criticize any of the misconduct that crippled Abu-Jamal's defense.

The fact that courts including the U.S. Supreme Court have consistently upheld the conviction of the world's most recognized death row denizen is a key argument advanced by persons backing Abu-Jamal's execution when countering claims of his innocence.

Execution advocates reject "The Mumia Exception" as the reason why courts uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction despite the fact that dismissing the role of the "Exception" requires embracing scenarios that defy statistics and common sense.

For example, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania appellate courts overturned 86 Philadelphia death penalty convictions between Abu-Jamal's December 1981 arrest and October 2009 after finding various errors by prosecutors, police, defense attorneys and even judges including the judge at Abu-Jamal's trial.

Yet, those same courts declare that not a single error evidentiary or procedural exists anywhere in the contentious Abu-Jamal case a statistically improbable circumstance.

Pa and federal courts have even brushed aside credible evidence that on the eve of Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial the presiding judge, Albert Sabo, declared he would help prosecutors "fry the Nigger" an odious admission oozing racial bigotry and lack of impartiality clearly violating Abu-Jamal's constitutionally guaranteed fair trial rights.

The twin pillars of this "Mumia Exception" are: courts refusing to apply their established legal rulings (precedent) to Abu-Jamal's appeals; and/or courts creating new legal standards to sabotage Abu-Jamal's appeals.
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Linn Washington Jr. is a veteran investigative journalist who writes regularly on issues involving the criminal justice system, the news media, race & racism, constitutional rights and the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. He is passionate about examining (more...)


March 7. And now more than ever I am homeless at home.

A Letter to Mumia Regarding Exceptional Injustice.
There is no explanation. We are three.

What kind of a world allows children to go hungry and forces people out on the street because they owe $4.50 in late fees?

Well there are no more late fees or gas prices to bitch about. There are just memories of my father's last words as I walked into the courthouse alone.

And the knowledge that he didn't lift a finger to stop the two men from removing my clothes as they put all their weight into to middle of my back, forcing my head into a plastic matress that lay on the floor.

They left bruises, abrasions and scars in places no one ever bothers to look... deep inside my heart that still aches for the injustice I have witnessed. Not only on March 7 2002, March 7, 2009, but right now as I lie hear with nothing left but broken appliances, water stained journals I kept over the years.

My body will never heal, that I can live with. But watching my neighbors, friends, collegaues, and community look the other way is much more difficult. Doctors that left the wounds untreated, records missing several pages of listing the first 72 hours before I was seen by a medical professional.

While I was kept in a room with no vathroom, food, speakers, or emergency call button to cry for help. Injected with drugs and that were mysteriously absent from any medical chart.

I spent the next 5 and a half months documenting my experience. I took 1,890 photos. I sent out 32,000 tweets.

No one called. No one came. No one cared.

My spirit is every bit as broken as my already fragile bones have been since I was twenty two.

There were my colleagues who lost the medical record that I so carefully preserved on the blank pages of a telephone book.

There was Christina who brought me clothing and the Pastor who promised to visit. I never saw either of them again. There was chamber meeting I so carefully composed myself to give my regrets to the Mayor. The same fucking Mayor who names me on his committee of educators. I haven't forgotten, and trust me, neither will you.

My name is Elyssa. Elyssa Durant

Yes, I am the daughter of the man who did this to you. Marc. "L." Marc Durant from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. There was  Abscam, COINTELPRO, John and Ramona, you and I.

The thee was Five Squad, and now there is Madoff and lots and lots of money.

But he is my fatherm and I can't say it was all a complete loss.  After all, I learned that I am every bit as strong as the gang of dirty cops who beat down the voice of resitance in so ny ways.  I too am beaten.  I am tired, I am sick, and I am lonely.

en down. I am ready to give up. I don't have much to live for. Very few people would miss me or notice I ws gone. I am well aware that I take more from more from society, financially and fom the limited pool of social services and welfare benefits that our sick materialistic society uses to keeo us enslaved fo eterrnity.

But I do have one thing. I have a voice, and I have passsion, And i have love. Lots and lots of love give, though you willnever know see me giving it to those who need t most.

Maybe I can find a way out this miserable country except to give back to those who have been marginalized like you and I.

I too was beaten, silenced, and forced to retreat into a rison that is really just a social construct of the post modern world. 

There are invisible jailers made of "respectable members of society."

Sure, I loook the pat, but I won't play it for very long.  I simply can't stomach the intoleance and hypocricy.  Not quite the same as the way you wee beaten and jailed  in West Philadelphia, but I did feel a certain connection to your experience wheen I read your first book in Union Square. 

God, I woild give anything to be in that bookstoe right now. To lose myself in the wonders of the unknown and fill my mind with thoughts and ideas other than the ones running through my head.  Yes, I do relate to your experience,and I am sorry for my father and his colleagues have done. 

To you, Mumia, and the 13 innocents that died in that fiery inferno that can bes be described as hell on earth.  The Philadelphia Fire of May 13, 1985.

Sometimes I think they were the lucky ones.

I am now thirty seven years old but not a day goes by that I feel I am any more in control of my life than I was when I first learned who "you people" were. 

I was just a child, 7 or 8, but I knew the target, and I was told, you "Shoot to Kill." 

Sometimes I wish I had.  Maybe Myself.  I even know the exact place my father planned to bury me should I speak the very words I have spoken these last 72 hours... not on suicide watch, but definitely on guard. 

I didn't because he was so focused on bringing down John Africayou down at any cost... wwell, eally see him much, nor did I know what he was capable of until these last months when I realize that the fear and pain I knew as a child evolved into a self-sustaining emotional and physical state of uncertainty and futility. Learned helplessness. Real helplessness.

I live in a state of uncertainty futility and regret.  We are not a free people. I do not claim to be a victim, however if I tell were to believe that repeaing the same actions that I have for the last 15 and a half years and expect some positive outcome, than I truly would be insane. 

So to have hope or act with deterrmination and purpose than I would be be sadly mistaken.  Actually if  were to believe that my actions ha some consequence than I could feel something... anything other than completely vulnerable the predators that have made my father the success that he is. 

So, I have nothing.  And I don't want anything I haven't earned.  I learned ealy in life that anything that is given to you can be take away. Including love. 

I don't want it. But as I feel the tears swell in my eyes, I so desperately want to believe I am worthy of being loved. An I wish someone had told me that as a child, a teen, an a younf adult or even right now.  Because I am locked into the prison where the things I love most are always the first thing to be compromised when ... if.. yes... iI did! I told the truth, and I pay for it everyfucking day of my life, becase no one want to know such evil exits.

I don't want be the one to tell them, but they are at risk. Anything I cae about is at risk.  But it ddoesn't matter.   People don't like me much anyway. So fuck you all, maybe some day I will leave my house and come to one those shallow FaceBook invites and see how you would react. 

Yeah, maybe I will.  And stay as long as I like without a single apology.

You know who you are. The people who showered me with paise and promises until you realized how bad off I really was.  And promises were never honored, and yes... I do rememberm and there times like right now  when I want tell the world how shallow and incensere eah and every one of you are. 

Everyone leaves. I would too if I could. Without apology. Probably not tommrow either, because There Are No Children Here. There never were.

"The Crazy One"

Post Script: March 10, 2010

Elyssa D' Educrat has shared items with you through Google Reader

Hi, I thought you might be interested in viewing the items that I've shared through Google Reader.


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Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
(615) 424-8810

"You may not care how much I know, but you don't know how much I care."

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Former guard sentenced in deadly bar shooting | Nashville City Paper: Nashville's Online Source for Daily News

Former guard sentenced in deadly bar shooting

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 5:30pm
Staff reports
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A judge ordered the former Nippers Corner security guard who shot a Marathon Sports bar patron two years ago to begin serving a six-year sentence today.

Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt Jr. sentenced Jeremy Holmes to a six-year sentence with a status review after two years, when Holmes could get probation for the remainder of his sentence. After defense attorneys argued for six years of probation, Wyatt determined Holmes should serve at least two years for the offense.

Holmes was indicted on a second-degree murder charge in September 2008 for the shooting death of Adam Villegas in a Nippers Corner parking lot on May 16, 2008.

An August 2009 trial ended in a hung jury, and in January, Holmes accepted a six-year sentence for pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Holmes contended that Villegas got into his car after a night of drinking and started to pull away as Holmes tried to record his license plate number. Holmes said he then drew his gun and ordered Villegas out of the car.

When Villegas didn%u2019t cooperate, Holmes fired one shot into Villegas%u2019 car hitting him in the neck. Villegas died at the scene.

According to police, Holmes said he felt at risk of being hit by the car.


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The Wealthiest Towns in America: Belle Meade, Tenn. - BusinessWeek

Belle Meade, Tenn.

Belle Meade, Tenn.

Overall rank: 12
Households: 1,027
Average income: $333,923
Average net worth: $1,578,235
Change in income since 2000: 18%
Income rank: 4
Net worth rank: 39

The affluent Nashville suburb is home to former Vice-President Al Gore. Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker paid $1.5 million for a Belle Meade mansion last year.

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Just a few miles away fromthe homeless shelter for children, and the Nashville Rescue Mission that can barely feed the growing number of homeless children and families in Nashville, Tennessee.


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