Archive for the ‘Over the Mountain Democrats’ Category

>An American Hero

March 27, 2009

>Here’s something new. I’ve created a new blog, Bessemer Science and Nature.

Bessemer Science is where I will be posting articles, information and pictures related to science and nature. This could be anything from reports on embryonic stem cell research or my thoughts about the solar system to my own pictures of Nature. Science encompasses a lot. You might be surprised what you see there.

Today, there are just some pictures I took yesterday and comments. A lizard, a bee and a flower.
Sometimes science will still make it onto Bessemer Opinions.

Yesterday Over the Mountain Democrats hosted American Hero Lilly Ledbetter and Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb at Samford University. While there, I couldn’t help but notice the impressive pipes from which music flows in Reid Chapel.

Bobby commented that it could possibly have been the most democrats on campus in history, and I did notice that the program had a disclaimer on the back, “This event is not sponsored by Samford University.”

Chief Justice Cobb spoke mainly about indigent representation and how Alabama is lacking in certain important aspects of that, and what she and others are doing to correct it

The highlight of the evening was, of course, meeting and hearing Lilly Ledbetter, who was the main player in the fight that led to the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. She got nothing out of this 10 year battle, but the country got a great deal. Fairness and equality of pay is just right. Plain and simple. That the executives at Goodyear could not see that makes me never want to purchase a Goodyear Tire again. That the Supreme Court could not see that makes me wonder about the quality of our judiciary (actually I have wondered about that since Al Gore got shafted).

She has become quite a hero and she said that at the signing of the bill that she had three people approach her and say they would write her a check that day if she would run against Mike Rogers (her republican representative who voted against the bill). She didn’t say anything more about it, so who knows. Somebody certainly needs to run against him and beat him.

In addition there was a reception prior to the event where I got to talk to Terri Sewell who is running to replace Artur Davis in our district (Congressional District 7). Visit Terri Sewell for Congress and read her biography. You will be hearing a lot about her in the next few months.

Here is Terri talking with Lilly.

She received the Afro-American Studies Thesis Prize for her senior thesis entitled, “Black Women in Politics: Our Time Has Come.” Terri, I think you are right.

Upon graduation from college, Terri was featured on NBC’s Today Show as one of the “Top Collegian Women” and was chosen as one of the “Top Ten College Women in America,” by Glamour Magazine.

She has extensive background in public service including work in the under served areas of the Black Belt. She was born in Selma, but lives in Birmingham now.

>Last Night and Tonight

March 26, 2009

>You are invited to a great event tonight. Details below.

Yesterday the power kept going out in the late afternoon so I was not going to try to cook. It was a good excuse to go out to eat. Never mind that the stove is gas.

We were going out anyway, to participate in TAP Project. This week several restaurants in the area are collecting “$1, or more, for the tap water you usually enjoy for free to help UNICEF provide clean drinking water to children around the world.”

900 million people (that’s almost a billion, for those, mostly republicans, who struggle with big numbers) in the world lack access to safe drinking water, and 4,200 children die every day due to lack of clean water.

$1 provides safe clean drinking water for 40 days (and 40 nights).

World Water Week is this week. Here is a list of participating restaurants in Alabama. We chose Rojo. Oh, if we only had a restaurant like Rojo in Bessemer.

Or you can donate online.

Watch this site for a way to help those without water here in Alabama soon. Yes, here in Alabama there are people without safe, clean water.

Then we thought we might visit a charity BINGO hall near Bessemer. A recent article in the paper said all the bingo halls used paper bingo now, awaiting the city or state or somebody to give them the OK to use machines. But these sure looked like machines to me, with little leprechauns and four leaf clovers spinning around and lining up to return credits. And, they sucked your money in just like any machine. But I don’t think they are slot machines.

Tonight

Over the Mountain Democrats is proud to present an American Hero, Lilly Ledbetter, and an Alabama hero, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb. This event is free and open to the public.

WHO: Lilly Ledbetter, pioneer for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb
WHAT: Telling their stories and taking questions from the audience
WHEN: 6:15 pm Thursday, March 26th
WHERE: Reid Chapel, Samford University
HOW: FREE and open to the public

We also expect (probable candidate for governor) Jim Folsom, Terry Sewell (candidate to replace Artur Davis), Priscilla Dunn (candidate to replace E. B. McClain) and others to be there.

You’ve probably heard this song by Chris Isaak, “We Let Her Down.” I know that a video has been released, but I can’t find it. Here’s a live video, though, filmed at a concert in San Fran. Like most Chris Isaak songs, this is a good one to turn up pretty loud and sing along, even if your voice isn’t smooth like his.

HealthCare Crisis addressed by Democrats

January 15, 2008

I am separating my thoughts today into two posts with regards to the Over the Mountain Democrats forum titled “Crisis in American Healthcare: Is Universal Coverage the Solution?” The forum was held last night at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and was attended by about 400 interested people, including many from the School of Public Health and fellow blogger Kathy who writes about the event on Birmingham Blues.

Questions about disparities in healthcare, why so many are uninsured or underinsured, why we pay more than twice as much as any other country for healthcare in spite of low rankings among industrialized countries when it comes to quality of healthcare and whether healthcare is a right or a privilege, were addressed (sort of).

Panelists were Dr. Wally Retan, state coordinator of Health Care for Everyone – Alabama and whose son is Chris Retan, executive director of Alethia House, Mr. Terry Kellogg, executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dr. Max Michael, dean of UAB School of Public Health and former medical director of Cooper Green Hospital, and congressman Artur Davis of the 7th congressional district in Alabama.

The one thing we all knew going into the forum was that healthcare in America is a complex issue that is not going to be resolved by a 4 person panel in Alabama. But what this panel did was offer hope in that 4 people with very differing opinions sat and talked and took questions without calling each other names or losing their tempers and those who make the policy decisions over the next few months and years that change our system will have to do so in the same manner.

In four snapshots, here is what the panelists offered.

Dr. Retan gave the keynote address, but his pitch is for universal coverage, no exceptions, no exclusions, but at the expense of doing away with the private insurance companies. He spoke highly of the German model for healthcare.

Mr. Kellogg, wanting to hold on to his company of course, wants to reduce costs by having physicians stop performing expensive procedures such as all types of spinal fusion for which there is no evidence that the procedures work or that they improve the quality of life for those who receive them. In addition, he is all for doing away with pre-existing condition exclusions if his competitors are required to do the same (because his premiums would have to go up so the others should too).

Dr. Michael would like to reduce costs by removing simple monitoring and treatment such as for high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol from the healthcare system and allowing people to monitor and treat themselves. Of course, this would only work if his big picture was accepted, and this would be rather than using $120 billion to insure everyone, use the money to improve education and job training so that people would have a better understanding of their personal health and why and how to maintain it, and this also would improve the socio-economic status of many so that they would be in a position to have employer provided insurance or buy insurance.

Artur Davis would like to see Barack Obama elected.

To be fair, Davis did offer some good points, but they were lost after his insult of the audience’s intelligence and slamming of the LGBT community, and this is what will be addressed on another post.

The most uplifting part of the evening was when the question was posed asking how many believed providing healthcare was a moral issue. Almost every hand in the room went up. It is a moral issue, and what is immoral is that how much money one has determines whether you get treated when you are sick. One thing Davis said was that in our country, when you are accused of a crime, innocent or guilty, you are assured of getting legal representation. There is some degree of morality in assuring that everyone is represented. Where is the morality that assures that everyone in America who gets sick is able to see a doctor and get first class treatment? And I don’t want W’s answer that everyone can go to the emergency room. That is not a solution.

Another point he brought up (as a result of appearing on right wing radio talk shows and hearing complaints that “illegals” are being treated in our emergency rooms) is that medical professionals take an oath, and to refuse treatment to anyone would be in violation of that oath and could lead to forfeiture of their license.

So the forum did not solve the problems of healthcare, but it did give those in attendance a chance to hear differing views, all of which seek solutions and all of which, to some degree, will be a part of the solution.

Let’s just hope the democrat who is elected president will also have a congress she or he can work with to find ways to address the growing crisis, or we may find all of us without the type of healthcare are accustomed to.

Comic relief was provided by Barry Ragsdale, the moderator, and by two ladies sitting next to me, who, when Barry recognized the help provided by the Young Democrats from Hoover and Mountain Brook High Schools whispered “Both of them!” in repsonse.

>HealthCare Crisis addressed by Democrats

January 15, 2008

>I am separating my thoughts today into two posts with regards to the Over the Mountain Democrats forum titled “Crisis in American Healthcare: Is Universal Coverage the Solution?” The forum was held last night at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and was attended by about 400 interested people, including many from the School of Public Health and fellow blogger Kathy who writes about the event on Birmingham Blues.

Questions about disparities in healthcare, why so many are uninsured or underinsured, why we pay more than twice as much as any other country for healthcare in spite of low rankings among industrialized countries when it comes to quality of healthcare and whether healthcare is a right or a privilege, were addressed (sort of).

Panelists were Dr. Wally Retan, state coordinator of Health Care for Everyone – Alabama and whose son is Chris Retan, executive director of Alethia House, Mr. Terry Kellogg, executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dr. Max Michael, dean of UAB School of Public Health and former medical director of Cooper Green Hospital, and congressman Artur Davis of the 7th congressional district in Alabama.

The one thing we all knew going into the forum was that healthcare in America is a complex issue that is not going to be resolved by a 4 person panel in Alabama. But what this panel did was offer hope in that 4 people with very differing opinions sat and talked and took questions without calling each other names or losing their tempers and those who make the policy decisions over the next few months and years that change our system will have to do so in the same manner.

In four snapshots, here is what the panelists offered.

Dr. Retan gave the keynote address, but his pitch is for universal coverage, no exceptions, no exclusions, but at the expense of doing away with the private insurance companies. He spoke highly of the German model for healthcare.

Mr. Kellogg, wanting to hold on to his company of course, wants to reduce costs by having physicians stop performing expensive procedures such as all types of spinal fusion for which there is no evidence that the procedures work or that they improve the quality of life for those who receive them. In addition, he is all for doing away with pre-existing condition exclusions if his competitors are required to do the same (because his premiums would have to go up so the others should too).

Dr. Michael would like to reduce costs by removing simple monitoring and treatment such as for high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol from the healthcare system and allowing people to monitor and treat themselves. Of course, this would only work if his big picture was accepted, and this would be rather than using $120 billion to insure everyone, use the money to improve education and job training so that people would have a better understanding of their personal health and why and how to maintain it, and this also would improve the socio-economic status of many so that they would be in a position to have employer provided insurance or buy insurance.

Artur Davis would like to see Barack Obama elected.

To be fair, Davis did offer some good points, but they were lost after his insult of the audience’s intelligence and slamming of the LGBT community, and this is what will be addressed on another post.

The most uplifting part of the evening was when the question was posed asking how many believed providing healthcare was a moral issue. Almost every hand in the room went up. It is a moral issue, and what is immoral is that how much money one has determines whether you get treated when you are sick. One thing Davis said was that in our country, when you are accused of a crime, innocent or guilty, you are assured of getting legal representation. There is some degree of morality in assuring that everyone is represented. Where is the morality that assures that everyone in America who gets sick is able to see a doctor and get first class treatment? And I don’t want W’s answer that everyone can go to the emergency room. That is not a solution.

Another point he brought up (as a result of appearing on right wing radio talk shows and hearing complaints that “illegals” are being treated in our emergency rooms) is that medical professionals take an oath, and to refuse treatment to anyone would be in violation of that oath and could lead to forfeiture of their license.

So the forum did not solve the problems of healthcare, but it did give those in attendance a chance to hear differing views, all of which seek solutions and all of which, to some degree, will be a part of the solution.

Let’s just hope the democrat who is elected president will also have a congress she or he can work with to find ways to address the growing crisis, or we may find all of us without the type of healthcare are accustomed to.

Comic relief was provided by Barry Ragsdale, the moderator, and by two ladies sitting next to me, who, when Barry recognized the help provided by the Young Democrats from Hoover and Mountain Brook High Schools whispered “Both of them!” in repsonse.