Daily Archives: July 18, 2007

NFL quarterback Michael Vick charged with dogfighting

hmmm….the National Football League better take a strong stand on this sicko.

link

The operation was centered at a property Vick owned in Surry County, where a fence shielded prying eyes from the back, and the two-story brick home was surrounded by fencing in the front, with several black buildings further back.

Unlike previous documents, which did not name Vick, the indictment is littered with his name, including this tidbit _ Vick was known as “Ookie” in the dogfighting world.

If convicted of all the charges, Vick and the others _ Purnell A. Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach; Quanis L. Phillips, 28, of Atlanta; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton _ could face up to six years in prison, $350,000 in fines and restitution.

A woman who answered the phone at the home of Vick’s mother, Brenda Boddie, said “no comment” and quickly hung up.

Telephone messages left at the offices and home of Vick’s attorney, Larry Woodward, and an e-mail sent to his office were not returned.

While the Falcons and the NFL said little Tuesday, John Goodwin of the Humane Society of the United States said the details were especially troubling.

About eight young dogs were put to death at the Surry County home after they were found not ready to fight in April 2007, the indictment said. They were killed “by hanging, drowning and/or slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”

“Some of the grisly details in these filings shocked even me, and I’m a person who faces this stuff every day,” Goodwin said. “I was surprised to see that they were killing dogs by hanging them, and one dog was killed by slamming it to the ground. Those are extremely violent methods of execution _ they’re unnecessary and just sick.”

Purses for the fights ranged from hundreds of dollars to the thousands, and participants and spectators often placed side bets on the outcome, according to the indictment.

After two Bad Newz Kennels dogs lost fights in March 2003, the indictment alleged Vick gave a bag containing $23,000 to the owner of the winning dogs.

Started in early 2002, according to the indictment, Bad Newz Kennels began purchasing pit bulls to train as fighters. Eventually, the defendants bought shirts and headbands “representing and promoting their affiliation.”

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Filed under dogs, football

Healthcare is not like shopping for a television

Anonymous Liberal makes a number of good points about why healthcare doesn’t behave like the free marketeers would have us believe:

While some services are elective (and these are already paid for out-of-pocket), the vast majority of medical services are not. If you have a heart attack, you are whisked away to the nearest hospital and operated on. There is no time or opportunity to shop and compare rates. Even for non-emergency care, you usually don’t know what you need until you’ve seen a doctor. And at that point, it’s not very realistic to expect people to get second and third opinions and compare prices (“please don’t treat me, doc, I’m just browsing”). Going to the doctor is a major inconvenience, usually requiring time off work. People don’t like doing it. They just want to be treated and leave. And many don’t even have the option of shopping around. If you don’t live in or near a big city, your options are generally limited. Many people only have one hospital in their area.

Moreover, not being doctors themselves, most people lack the knowledge necessary to meaningfully compare services. Sure, they might be able to determine who’s cheaper, but that doesn’t really help. If anything, I’d be tempted to go with the most expensive provider, on the assumption that what costs more is better quality. I may be willing to buy the bargain brand toilet paper, but when it comes to my life, I’m not fooling around.

Perhaps most devastating to this argument, though, is the reality that when people are forced to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses, they generally stop going in for routine preventative care and monitoring. This results in worse health outcomes (and unnecessary deaths), and has the perverse effect of raising health care costs. Preventative care has repeatedly been shown to reduce overall costs by heading off (i.e. preventing) the occurrence of conditions that are much more expensive to treat.

Finally, there’s a reason why we rely on insurance to pay health care costs. It’s the same reason we have car insurance and home owner’s insurance: without pooling risk, the costs would be unmanageable. Most people don’t have the financial resources to pay out-of-pocket to settle a lawsuit with another motorist or rebuild their home after a fire or pay for a heart transplant. The only way such things would ever be affordable to an average person is through participation in a large risk pool (i.e. buying an insurance policy).

The fact is that socialized medicine works. It works in other countries and it works in the US, in the form of Medicare.   The people will eventually be served on this issue, if we still have a democracy.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, healthcare, Politics

David Corn rebuts Bill Kristol’s paean to Bush

Kristol is a dishonest fool, and David Corn takes him to school, though even Corn leaves out some of Bush’s missteps and crimes, notably the revocation of habeas corpus and our rights to privacy. Effectively, Bush has taken us back to the days of King George II, and Cheney has taken us back even further.

Not to mention that Bush and Cheney are both mentally unbalanced.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Middle East, Politics

The paradox of “freedom” in Iraq: the Shia and Iran will prevail

There is no possible “victory” in Iraq for George Bush and Dick Cheney. The majority Shiite parties must prevail politically, and their militias are also prevailing militarily. And that means that Iranian influence will increase, and that Iraq will inevitably become a theocratic state much like Iran.  Patrick Cockburn:

Baghdad is more and more Shia-dominated and the Sunni are pinned into the south-west of the city and a few other enclaves. As Sunni and Shia are killed or driven out of mixed areas, there are less of them to kill. Some 4.2 million people in Iraq are now refugees, of whom about half have fled the country.

The real and appalling situation on the ground in Iraq has been all too evident this week. Thirty bodies, the harvest of the death squads, were found in the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday. The figure for Tuesday was 26 and, in addition, 20 rockets and mortar bombs were fired into the Green Zone killing three people. This was significant because they were fired by the Mehdi Army, who had been upset by criticism made on them by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki. By way of gentle reproof they shelled his offices in the Green Zone.

…talking to Iran has always been essential to any solution in Iraq.

“The Iranians can afford to compromise in Iraq but they cannot afford to lose,” said one Iraqi observer. The more threatened they feel by the US over nuclear power or the possibility of air attack, the greater incentive they have to ensure that the US does not succeed in gaining control of Iraq. For most of the past four years they have not had to do much because the US has helpfully ensured its own failure by pursuing disastrous policies.

Paradoxically, Iran, unlike Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab states, actually supports the Iraqi government in Baghdad. It is run largely by their Shia co-religionists and political leaders, who were supported by Iran for years against Saddam Hussein. The problem here is that Washington has never been willing to accept that the great campaign it launched to overthrow Saddam Hussein has increased Iranian influence and put Shia clergy in black turbans in power in Baghdad as they have long held power in Tehran.

It may be that Bush and Cheney will flail at Iran in order to temporarily derail the process of Iranification of Iraq. That will just make matters worse, kill thousands more, and ultimately fail. It is a hopeless situation, and we are unfortunately being led/ruled by two irrational men who can only create more havoc, rather than concede their errors.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Politics