Progressive Calendar 11.10.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 04:36:31 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   11.10.09

1. John Marty/forum      11.10 4pm
2. Pentel/ecology        11.10 6pm
3. Tang poet film        11.10 6:30pm
4. Amnesty Intl meetup   11.10 7pm
5. Women's rights film   11.10 7pm
6. Eyes on fries/film    11.10 7pm
7. Sick around world     11.10 9:30pm

8. AlliantACTION         11.11 7am
9. MN schools/KFAI       11.11 11am
10. Diet 4 a DailyPlanet 11.11 7pm
11. Israeli prisons      11.11 7pm
12. At war with women/p  11.11 7:30pm

13. James Ridgeway   - Health care sellout/change you can't believe in
14. John A Murphy    - Why progressives should filibuster v health bill
15. John Nichols     - 6 smart progressive complaints vs House health bill
16. Stephanie Condon - Abortion rights groups now vs House health bill
17. Marcia Angell    - Is the House health care bill better than nothing?
18. ed               - Last November  (haiku)

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From: "Daniel Fanning, Campaign Manager " <daniel [at]>
Subject: John Marty/forum 11.10 4pm

John Marty for Governor 2010

MGRC DFL Gubernatorial Candidate Roundtable in St. Paul, 11/10, 4:00 p.m
[This is all I have on this - ed]

DFL Veterans Caucus Candidates Forum, 11/14, 2:00 p.m
DFL Senior Caucus Autumn Gala in Minneapolis, 11/15, 1:30 p.m

Volunteer at the Marty for Governor Campaign Office-
2395 University Ave, 3rd Floor, St. Paul, MN (651) 646-4468
For more info please contact:
info [at]

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From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at] YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Pentel/ecology 11.10 6pm

Ecology Democracy Network November 2009 Calendar

Each date below (Except for All Nations Church on the 6th.) offers, an
introduction meeting to learn about the Network, as well as, a study
group. The November study group book is: Unequal Protection, The Rise of
Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights, By Thom Hartmann. You
may be able to check this book out at the library, online, or I will make
available copies of a few pages we study.

(December Study group: Real Choices New Voices, By Douglas Amy)

All the gatherings below are located at the Bryant Square Park. 31st and
Bryant Ave. in South Minneapolis (One block south and west from Lyndale
and Lake).

Please help to recruit other like minded people. I spend a few days each
week in the field knocking on doors, flyering in front of the Wedge Co-op,
events and posting notices of the gatherings below. I need help doing
this. Call or e-mail to join me in the streets or, I have attached a PDF
of a handout you can print, mark down some of the upcoming dates, work
your turf and spread the word via e-mail too.

If the dates or times don't work for you, or you are in greater Minnesota
and want to arrange a presentation contact me

Dates are subject to change, notify me if you are going to participate.

-Tuesday, November 10th
Ecology Democracy Network Introduction Meeting 6-7pm
Study group: 7-8:30pm

-Thursday, November 19th
Ecology Democracy Network Introduction Meeting 6-7pm
Study group: 7-8:30pm

-Saturday, November 21st
Ecology Democracy Network Introduction Meeting: 11:30-1pm
Study group: 1-2:30pm

Ken Pentel Ecology Democracy Network P.O. Box 3872 Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 387-0601

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From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Tang poet film 11.10 6:30pm

Nov 10, Media MIke, Mike Hazzard will present the film, Cold Mountain by
him and Deb Wallwork.  It is about the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, Han
Shan, with Gary Snyder, Buton Watson, Jim Lenfesty and Red Pine.

[Q: The Chinese invented Tang? A: Yes. Billions of instant peasants were
made to just add water and serve. -ed]

Cold Mountain is a half hour film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese
poet Han Shan, a.k.a. Cold Mountain. Recorded on location in China,
America and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine, Jim Lenfestey and the
legendary Gary Snyder describe the poet's life and tell poems.

A trickster, Han Shan wrote poems for everyone, not just the educated
elite. A man free of spiritual doctrine, it is unclear whether or not he
was a monk, whether he was a Buddhist or a Taoist, or both. It is not even
certain he ever lived, but the poems do.

Co-directed by Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork, the music is by the
internationally renowned pipa player Gao Hong and animations are by John
Akre. A production of the Center for International Education, the film has
been supported by the Outagamie Foundation, the family of John W. Brower
and the Bush Foundation.

Deb Wallwork writes, "Cold Mountain is a rollicking, tasty film filled
with poetry, colorful characters, Zen wisdom and witty commentary. The
film gives us glimpses of that mysterious - some say crazy, some say
enlightened - figure, Han Shan, who left the dusty world to become a
hermit and a poet, and in so doing wrote the intimate and inspired lines
that speak to us today

[Such as the spiritually moist haiku:

  Instant drink built the
  Tang Dynasty. Now we say:
  Orange you glad you're you.

Who can imagine living without that Zen insight? Not me. Not you. Not the
man in the street. Not the lazy dog sleeping in the middle of the freeway
to Fridley. Not the happy frog going "plop-slurp" into the week-old
glass of Tang. ]

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

[Tang has also been shown to combat forgetting. Drink some and you'll sing
"Tang's for the memories..."]

--------4 of 18--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl meetup 11.10 7pm


Join other Amnesty members and friends for a casual, agenda-free social
meetup on the second Tuesday of each month. Free flowing conversation
about our shared interests. Common Roots Cafe, 2558 Lyndale Ave S.,
Minneapolis MN 55405. Beer, wine, coffee, and food available. If the
weather cooperates, we'll be outside on the deck. Look for an Amnesty logo
or ask for Gabe.

For a map, directions, and more info on Common Roots Cafe, visit their web

--------5 of 18--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Women's rights film 11.10 7pm

November 10: Women's Human Rights Program at Advocates for Human Rights
2009 Women's Human Rights Film Series features "La Americana", an
undocumented immigrant's journey from Bolivia to New York City and back,
as she struggles to save the life of her ailing daughter. 7 PM at
Riverview Branch Library, 1 East George Street, St. Paul. Free and open to
the public.

--------6 of 18--------

From: Deborah Rosenstein <dgr [at]>
Subject: Eyes on fries/f 11.10 7pm

No matter how hard they work or how well they do in school, young people
know it can be difficult to stay afloat when you're coming of age in a
"McJob" economy. *On Nov. 10, attend a free screening of a new film about
the challenges facing young workers -- and how they are taking the lead in
addressing them.

The film "Eyes on the Fries: Young Workers in the Service Economy" will be
shown Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. at Minneapolis Community and Technical
College, 1501 Hennepin Ave. S. The screening will be in Room L3000 of the
library in Whitney Hall (take the elevator to the third floor and follow
the signs). *

The screening is free and open to all. Following the 20-minute film,
workers active in the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) will hold a
panel discussion on organizing in the fast food sector in the Twin Cities.

--------7 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Sick around world 11.10 9:30pm

PBS | This week on FRONTLINE
COMING TUESDAY: Sick Around the World
Airs Nov 10th, [9:30pm - from tpt listing]

"If your latest battle with your H.M.O. has you pounding your head with
frustration, 'Sick Around the World' may spur you to more drastic action,
like leaving the United States altogether..."

That's how a New York Times reviewer reacted to the report which we are
re-airing this Tuesday - Sick Around the World. It's a journey in search
of something that has eluded U.S. lawmakers all year: a health care system
that doesn't leave out some 47 million people, and bankrupt others.

In this film, FRONTLINE teams up with veteran Washington Post foreign
correspondent T.R. Reid to find out how five other capitalist democracies
- the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland - deliver
health care, and what the United States might learn from their successes
and their failures.

Want to know what a "public option" really looks like? Curious how another
industrialized nation took on Big Pharma and its own health care giants to
drastically reform its health care system? Is a $10-per night hospital
stay really possible in Japan?

As time runs short on the Obama administration's hopes for a health care
bill this year, we hope you'll tune in to this entertaining and
eye-opening hour Tuesday night. And visit us online as well, where you can
watch the complete film - and of course, join the discussion.

--------8 of 18--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at]>
Subject: AlliantACTION 11.11 7am

Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am
Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday
morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems,
7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie.
We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies?
directions and lots of info:

--------9 of 18--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: MN schools/KFAI 11.11 11am

Who Should Be? KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING
at <

GOVERNING MN SCHOOL SYSTEMS: Who's in Charge? Who Should Be?
The departure of two urban school superintendents in the same year, both
Bill Green in Minneapolis and Meria Carstarphen in St. Paul after a
relative short time in their positions, not to mention the continuing
issue of achievement gaps, resegregation, state vs. local funding bases,
teacher contracts and accountability, the politics of central office
control vs. site-based management alternatives raise very serious
questions over the best constructs for K-12/P-12 school governance.

Why have charter schools with their far less restrictive covenants become
so popular among public school parents, despite data that show little or,
in some cases, less academic success than traditional public classrooms?
Is something much more fundamental at play here? Is the inadequate funding
and public attention paid to K-12 education at all connected to the
separation of education, in general, from all other aspects of the social
contract and public policy? Did we create a mess of monsters with the
creation of the independent school districts, essentially segregating
education from all other aspects of life in our communities?

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN examine those questions and
query representatives of school boards, parents, teachers and policy
observers as we begin a conversation about where school governance should
go to make education the truly important and integrated system most
everyone sees as grooming every next generation of citizens and leaders.

 PAM COSTAIN - Minneapolis School Board member, former Chair
 ELONA STREET-STEWART - St. Paul Board of Education member (newly
 LAURA BLOOMBERG - Director, Center for Integrative Leadership (HHH
Institute/Carlson School); former Deputy Director, HHH Center for
School Change; fmr school board member, Mahtomedi Schools
 DENNIS SCHAPIRO - former Minneapolis school board member; editor/
publisher, Public School Montessori
 AND YOU! CALL 612-341-0980 and Talk to Us! CAN'T GET US OVER THE

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From: Richard Broderick <richb [at]>
Subject: Diet 4 a DailyPlanet 11.11 7pm

Greek Feast At Gardens of Salonica / Benefit for TC Daily Planet

As many of you might know, I am one of the co-founders of the Media
Alliance, which sponsors the TC Daily Planet, an award-winning independent
news website that focuses on our many diverse metropolitan communities. I
hope that at least some of you will be able to attend the dinner -- should
be fun, and the food at Gardens is outstanding.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Jeremy Iggers
Subj: Greek Feast at Gardens of Salonica / Benefit for TC Daily Planet

Please join me for a family-style Greek feast on Wednesday November 11 at
7 p.m. at Gardens of Salonica in Northeast Minneapolis. Chef- owner Anna
Christoforides will prepare a special menu of Greek specialties, including
Cretan boureka, yigandes (giant beans), eggplant with tzatziki, chicken
with roasted potatoes, masticha mousse with grape sauce, and a selection
of very good Greek wines (included) - plus some surprise dishes that Anna
insists on keeping secret. Anna will emerge from the kitchen from time to
time to share stories of her recent culinary adventures in the Greek
Isles. Suggested minimum donation is $30 per person, including wines; tax
and tip are additional.

This dinner is a benefit for the Twin Cities Daily Planet
( ), and its non-profit sponsor, the Twin Cities Media
Alliance ( ). The Twin Cities Daily Planet combines
original reporting by citizen journalists with the best of the
neighborhood and community press. The Daily Planet received the Minnesota
Society of Professional Journalists' Page One Award for Best Independent
News Website in 2008 and 2009.

Advance payment is required. To sign up, visit the Twin Cities Daily
Planet donation page at and make
a one-time donation. (Or if you are feeling generous, become a sustaining
member.) Provide your contact information on the following page, and
please be sure to write the words "Greek Dinner" in the comment box. These
donations are not eligible for membership premiums, but any donation over
$30 is tax-deductible, and will be greatly appreciated. Seating is
limited, but feel free to forward this invitation to your friends. Hope to
see you, Jeremy

--------11 of 18--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Israeli prisons 11.11 7pm

A Talk by Ala Jaradat: Israel's Palestinian Prisoners - America's Other
Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Blegen Hall,
Room 150, 269 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis.

The $3 billion dollars of annual U.S. aid to Israel helps fund Israeli
prisons and detention centers where 8,100 Palestinian prisoners -
including 60 women, 390 children, and 550 administrative detainees held
without charge - are imprisoned in substandard conditions and subject to
torture. Human rights activist Ala Jaradat, the program manager of
Addameer, the Palestinian prisoners' rights organization in the occupied
West Bank city of Ramallah, and a former Palestinian political prisoner,
will be sharing his experiences campaigning against political prosecution.
Hear his struggle for the rights of political detainees, his work against
the use of torture, arbitrary detention, the use of isolation, and other
forms of political repression.

Co-Sponsored by: the Anti-War Committee and WAMM. Endorsed by Al-Aqsa
Institute. FFI: Call 612-827-5364.

--------12 of 18--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: At war with women/play 11.11 7:30pm

Performance: "At War with Women"
Wednesday, November 11, 7:30 p.m. Hamline University, Sundin Hall,
1531 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul.
Friday, November 13, 7:30 p.m. Macalester College, Chapel, 1600 Grand
Avenue, St. Paul.

Directed by WAMM member Esther Ouray, "At War with Women," reflections on
the experiences of several Minnesota women who serve in the U.S. military,
was the last of four dramas Fran Ford created for the War Plays Project,
Inc. There will be exhibits related to the theme and to Fran's life. Free
copies of her "Vetspeak" DVDs, interviews with a dozen Minnesota men and
women veterans, will also be available. Free and open to the public.
Produced by: the War Plays Project, Inc. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call Don
Irish, 612-724-3061.

--------13 of 18--------

Change You Can't Believe In
Health Care: Winning a Battle, Losing the War
November 9, 2009

On the House floor Saturday night, Nancy Pelosi managed to muster enough
votes to pass a health reform bill, in what's being widely celebrated as a
great victory for the Democrats. (Pelosi herself has even compared it with
the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935 and the Medicare Act in
1965.) But while Republicans may have lost this battle, they continue to
take their shots in what's clearly a larger war. Lindsay Graham has
already pronounced the bill "dead on arrival" in the Senate. And in the
House, as the debate wore on, one after another, GOP members of Congress
rose to denounce the Democratic health care plan as a socialistic plot
that will lead to government-run medicine and bankrupt the country. While
they were at it, many also took the opportunity to blame Democratic
policymaking for the rising unemployment figures and the continuing

It's the height of gall, of course, for Republicans to lay any of our
economic woes at the feet of the current administration. The frenzy of
deregulation and speculation that have left a reported 10 percent of
Americans without jobs (and in reality, closer to twice that figure) can
be traced directly to conservative policies, which got a leg-up during the
Clinton years and flourished under Bush. So why can't the Democrats seem
to fight back? In part, perhaps, because they aren't willing to engage in
the kind of all-out, brazen, incendiary lying that's become commonplace
within the GOP. But there are other reasons, as well.

I know the prevailing opinon among the mainstream punditocracy is that
Obama is in trouble because he is trying to do too much, too fast. I think
it's the other way around. There's no doubt that the president faces tough
opposition, much of it fueled by the kind of ignorance and racism that is
nearly impossible to quell. But they still do, after all, control a
majority, both in Congress and among the American public. What makes
Democrats most vulnerable to conservative attacks is the fact that they
have no compelling message of their own to offer - and nothing to match
the soaring rhetoric of the Obama campaign. Instead, they tiptoe
cautiously down the middle of the road, and wonder why no one feels
terribly inspired to follow them.

Take their health care legislation. When Obama addressed the Democratic
caucus on the Hill this morning, they reportedly responded with "scattered
chants of 'Fired up, ready to go'". But fired up is exactly what reform
supporters are not. There's nothing in the bill to inspire any fervor on
the left that could rival the tea parties. In fact, Republicans are partly
right when they say that it won't do much of anything but run up the
deficit. The reason for this is not, as they claim, because it's a
socialistic big-government plot to take over the private medical system;
the reason is that it isn't any of those things - not by a long shot.
The Democratic legislation is a costly, futile mess precisely because it
refuses to rein in the industries that have been ripping off the American
public year after year.

Obama and the Democrats have no real vision for a transformed health care
system, so they've gone for a slightly modified version of business as
usual. They've cut backroom deals that win a few meager concessions toward
the public good, while at the same time ensuring the profits of the
insurance companies, Big Pharma, and other health care profiteers by
maintaining their basic control of the health care system and rewarding
them with bigger assured markets and more and more money. (To make matters
worse, at the last minute they also cut a deal with anti-choice members of
their own party that will further undermine women's access to what was,
when I last checked, still a legal medical procedure.) In other words,
they're doing what Democrats have done since at least the Clinton years -
acting like kinder, gentler Republicans, rather than like the defenders of
the common people.

A whole lot of Americans don't like the current health care system, and a
whole lot more hate insurance companies. The Democrats might have been
able to translate that into some sort of populist support for real change.
Instead, they dithered and compromised, and failed to invoke any
compelling ideology. Health care ought to have nothing to do with profits.
It should be a basic human right in a civilized society. But that's
precisely the kind of statement the Democrats are unwilling to make - so
they end up saying nothing at all.

Likewise, the Obama White House has yet to take any strong, principled
action against the forces responsible for wrecking the economy. And how
could it, since it is staffed by the old Clinton economic team that set
the financial debacle in motion a decade ago? At the root of the economic
mess was the decision to rip down Glass-Steagall, the law that separated
Wall Street from commercial banking. One of the men at the center of that
endeavor was Larry Summers. And having been a prime cause of the
recession, where is Larry Summers today? Ensconsed in the White House,
running the Obama economic program.

There was a time, shortly after Obama took office, when a rising populist
rage at Wall Street greed might have been harnassed to fuel some genuinely
meaningful regulatory action. Instead, with men like Summers and Tim
Geithner at the helm, we've seen Wall Street recover while Main Street
continues to suffer. We've seen a large portion of the stimulus funds
chanelled through the private sector, where they've yet to trickle down to
the people who need help most. Obama says his goal is for every American
who wants a job to have one. So why not start creating government-funded
jobs, as FDR did in the early years of the Depression? Why not launch
federal projects to create a new green energy industry, instead of waiting
for the energy monopolies to come up with a way of making a killing off

Obama was elected because people took him seriously when he said sought
real change. So why won't he take bold action on any of these fronts? Is
it because if he did, the Republicans would abandon him and crush his
dream of bipartisanship? Or because he doesn't want the Democratic party
to lose electoral ground among the so-called swing voters? Or because he's
afraid of being branded a crazy maniacal socialist? Oh, wait - all those
things have happened already. So what does the president have to lose? If
he's going to be called a radical when he's acting like a timid moderate,
why not be a little more radical (or mildly progressive, even) in service
of the public good? Then he might actually bring about some change we
could believe in. [Answer: because he doesn't want to, never wanted to,
and never will want to. He is on THEIR side, always has been, always will
be. He knows what the rich want, and is doing it. He never had the
slightest intention to do what we want, so it is futile to ask why he is
failing to do so. We should be asking what WE are going to DO about it.

James Ridgeway can be reached at The Unsilent Generation.

--------14 of 18--------

Why Progressives Should Back a Filibuster of the Health Care Bill
Can Lieberman Save Single Payer?
November 9, 2009

"Cowardice asks the question 'is it safe"? Expediency asks the question
'is it politic'? Vanity asks the question 'is it popular'? But conscience
asks the question 'is it right'? And there comes a time when we must take
a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but we must
take it because our conscience tells us that it is right." [Unless of
course you are a Congressional Democrat or Obama, in which case you don't
hafta; right is a word but money is money. -ed]
  -Martin Luther King

On Saturday, November 8 the Democrat Congress gave us a corporate driven
healthcare bill which amounts to nothing more than a de facto bailout of
the healthcare insurance companies. The carnival conducted by the
Democrats, masquerading as a debate around healthcare, demonstrates
conclusively how craven are Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats.
[Amen. Shout it to the skies. -ed]

We have witnessed cynicism in other administrations but the Obama
administration has as raised cynicism to a veritable science. Imagine
promising the poor and desperate people of this country healthcare reform
and passing legislation which will not only hurt the working class but
strengthen the very forces which oppose real reform - the healthcare
insurance companies!

The darling of the Democrats, Alan Grayson, voted in lockstep with most of
the other so-called progressive Democrats to destroy any possibility for
meaningful healthcare reform for the next 40 years. How easily the
Democrat rank and file is impressed. Grayson only had to bad mouth the
Republicans, something which should be part of the job description of any
elected Democrat. For doing the bare minimum he is hailed as a hero. So
far removed from real heroism have the Democrats traveled. So ineffective
and slimy have the Congressional Democrats become in sucking up to their
corporate pay masters so they can keep doing more harm to the American
people, that they are praiseworthy simply for criticizing the opposition.

Imagine! The Democrat rank and file is impressed by a Democrat Congressman
who criticizes the Republicans but votes for a healthcare bill that will
spread misery on national level! Only Dennis Kucinich remained steadfast
in his opposition to a corporate welfare bill masquerading as a health
care reform bill. Perhaps Kucinich does more harm than good by remaining
in such a party. By remaining a Democrat he legitimizes the actions he
opposes and keeps millions of well intended people from forming a truly
progressive opposition party believing the myth that the Democrat Party
can be changed from within. [A standing cruel joke. -ed]

All of the Congressional Democrats and even the successor to George Bush
himself recognize that universal single-payer health care (Medicare For
All) is the only meaningful solution to the health care crisis in America.
But these Democrats have decided that keeping their jobs is much more
important than saving the lives of 45,000 Americans. By passing this most
cynical piece of legislation they have put their thumbs in the eyes of the
American people while the silk tongued oratory of the successor to George
Bush will praise this bill even as he delights in the idea of how many
people will live in misery.

Obama is so ignominious that even in this miserable mockery of health care
reform he will deny benefits to the slave population in the United States
as well as to women who need abortions. Obama continues to refer to the
slave population created by the heinous William Clinton as "illegal
immigrants". We have 13 million slaves; they are not illegal immigrants.
They are economic refugees created by trade agreements like NAFTA which
allowed companies like Archer Daniels Midland and ConAgra to ship billions
and billions of tons of cheap corn into Mexico destroying the Mexican
family farm. We are not talking about dirt poor farmers but farmers who
employed 10-15 people. Having lost their farms, they wandered into the
streets of Mexico City looking for jobs in those corporations that moved
to Mexico thanks to the beneficence of that ever hated sperm stain, the
successor to Ronald Reagan, who murdered a million innocent Iraqi men,
women and children with bombs and sanctions.

When the US corporations closed up their plants in Mexico and moved off to
China and Bangladesh where they could pay people $.50 an hour and $.35 an
hour these former farm owners had the option of watching their families
starve in the streets of Mexico or live as slaves in cardboard boxes in
the underpasses of the United States. They have now become a new slave
population, paying taxes and Social Security using phony identifications
but denied even what would be considered hospitality anywhere else in the
world - health care! Only the proslavery Democrats treat human beings in
this way. Just as William, the stain, Clinton destroyed the women's
movement with his "Welfare Reform Act" which threw tens of thousands of
single mothers into the streets and forced tens of thousands of others
into the slavery of Wal-Mart like jobs, so also will Barry The Bomber's
healthcare reform continue pummeling the already staggering working-class

Here we have a health care bill which will not only drive up insurance
costs but will not even permit the government to negotiate with
pharmaceutical companies, thereby driving up pharmaceutical costs as well!
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that only 2% of Americans
will be able to participate in this plan while 33% of Americans will
remain either uninsured or underinsured. The bill even was stripped of the
Kucinich amendment which would have permitted states to develop their own
single-payer options. Americans will now be forced to buy health care
plans from private insurance corporations. Forced! [Revolt, anyone? ed]

Even a little arithmetic indicates what a horror show this nasty piece of
legislation creates. Imagine a family at roughly 300% of poverty -- around
$55,000 a year. It will cost them in the neighborhood of $15,000 in taxes,
$14,000 in mortgage or rent; close to $20,000 on childcare and they'll
need around $7,000 for food. That puts them in debt already! Now they will
be forced to buy health care -- forced! Under penalty of law! Even with
government subsidies they will still be in debt! (There is not enough
money in the bill to subsidize all the people who will need it). Now
imagine a medical catastrophe. Even if caps are eliminated this family
will be deeper in debt as the insurance companies increase their profits!

But wait! It gets better - worse if you please. The Congressional Budget
Office also explained that one of the other reasons why so few people
would be able to buy into this plan is that it "would typically have
premiums that are somewhat higher than the average premiums for the
private plans." Yes, you read that correctly: "premiums that are somewhat

What about those people who don't get coverage through their jobs or who
have their health insurance dropped at work because there will now be an
incentive to dump benefits? History already provides us the answer to that
question. Most of the adults who tried to buy insurance on the open market
never bought a plan because they could not afford it or they could not
find a plan that met their needs. Now the prices will be higher! What a
choice: buy insurance coverage or pay a penalty of hundreds or even
thousands of dollars per family if they decide to forgo insurance.

                     LIEBERMAN TO THE RESCUE

The Senate version of health care reform is even more draconian than the
House version but the real hero of this tragedy, Joe Lieberman, promises
to join a Republican filibuster! The independent senator from Connecticut,
hated by liberal Democrats may yet save us! The senator told "Fox News
Sunday" today that Democrats can certainly count him in the "no" column if
they keep in a government-backed insurance plan. "If the public option is
in there as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to
a final vote," signaling as he has before that he would back a Republican
filibuster -- which Democrats need 60 votes to break.

While it is never morally acceptable to do something wrong even for a good
reason (the ends never justify the means), it is always morally acceptable
to do something right even for the wrong reasons! Lincoln, for example,
did not free the slaves because it was the morally correct thing to do. He
did it for political reasons but nevertheless he did do it and it was the
right thing to do. We may not like Joe Lieberman and Max Baucus but
ironically we may be in their debt if they join the filibuster to block
this anti-working class, corporate welfare legislation. We should be
castigating Conyers and Grayson because of their vote in the House while
we may have to heave sigh of thanksgiving for people like Lieberman and
Baucus if they are successful in preventing this very dangerous piece of

John Murphy was the independent candidate for House of Representatives in
the 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2008. He is
one of the founding members of the Pennsylvanian Ballot Access Coalition ,
working to change ballot access laws in Pennsylvania. He can be reached
at: johnamurphy [at]

--------15 of 18--------

Six Smart Progressive Complaints About House Health Bill
by John Nichols
Monday, November 9, 2009
The Nation
Common Dreams

The Affordable Health Care for America Act was approved by the U.S. House
Saturday night with overwhelming support from progressive Democrats who
serve in the chamber and from a president who was nominated and elected
with the enthusiastic support of progressive voters.

But that does not mean that informed and engaged progressives are entirely
enthusiastic about the measure.

In fact, some are openly and explicitly opposed to it - among them former
Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and CPC
member Eric Massa, D-New York, both of whom broke with the majority of
their fellow Democrats to vote "no" when the House approved the measure by
a narrow 220-215 vote Saturday.

How can this be?

Isn't this a fight between Democrats and Republicans? Between reforming
liberals and tea-party conservatives?

How can there possibly be any subtlety or nuance to this debate?

Well, of course, the debate over this 1,900-page behemoth of a bill is
more complicated than the easy spin of political insiders - and media
cheering sections - would have Americans believe.

Key interest groups, such as the National Organization for Women, and key
congressmen who have been long-term supporters of reform, such as
single-payer backers Massa and Kucinich, argue that the bill is not the
cure for what ails the U.S. health care system.

Indeed, they suggest, the bill as it is currently constructed could make a
bad situation worse.

Many sincere progressives in the House, and outside of it, chose to back
the bill as the best that could be gotten. Others supported it on the
theory that flaws could be fixed in the Senate and in the reconciliation
of the House and Senate bills.

But those repairs will only be made if activists are conscious of what
ails this bill.

For that reason, even supporters of the House legislation would be wise to
consider the criticisms of it by groups that advocate for the rights of
women, patient advocates, unions and some of the most progressive members
of the House.

Here are six smart progressive complaints about the House bill:

1. FROM CONGRESSMAN ERIC MASSA: "This Bill Will Enshrine in Law the
Monopolistic Powers of the Private Health Insurance Industry"

At the highest level, this bill will enshrine in law the monopolistic
powers of the private health insurance industry, period. There's really no
other way to look at it. I believe the private health insurance industry
is part of the problem.

This bill also, I believe, fails to address the fundamental question
before the American people, and that is how do we control the costs of
health care. It does not address interstate portability, as Medicare does.
It does not address real medical malpractice insurance reform. It does not
address the incredible waste and fraud that are currently in the system.


While the current bills will provide limited assistance for some, the
inconvenient truth is they fall far short in effective controls on
skyrocketing insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital costs, do little to
stop insurance companies from denying needed medical care recommended by
doctors, and provide little relief for Americans with employer-sponsored
insurance worried about health security for themselves and their families.

Women's Fundamental Right to Choose"

The House of Representatives has dealt the worst blow to women's
fundamental right to self-determination in order to buy a few votes for
reform of the profit-driven health insurance industry. We must protect the
rights we fought for in Roe v. Wade. We cannot and will not support a
health care bill that strips millions of women of their existing access to

Birth control and abortion are integral aspects of women's health care
needs. Health care reform should not be a vehicle to obliterate a woman's
fundamental right to choose.

The Stupak Amendment (to the House bill, which was approved and attached
on Saturday) goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied
federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if
incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform
legislation, will:

. Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to
purchase private insurance that covers abortion;

.Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange,
administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of
their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;

 . Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many

NOW calls on the Senate to pass a health care bill that respects women's
constitutionally protected right to abortion and calls on President Obama
to refuse to sign any health care bill that restricts women's access to
affordable, quality reproductive health care.

Religious-Right Extremes

It is extremely unfortunate that the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops and anti-choice opponents were able to hijack the health care
reform bill in their dedicated attempt to ban all legal abortion In the
United States.

Most telling is the fact that the vast majority of members of the House
who supported the Stupak/Pitts amendment in today's vote do not support HR
3962, revealing their true motive, which is to kill the health care reform

These single-issue advocates simply used health care reform to advance
their extreme, ideological agenda at the expense of tens of millions of

5. FROM CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH,: This Bill Worries About the Health
of Wall Street, Not America

We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only
within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system
which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance
companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which
the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of
the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem.
When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and
deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.
Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They
are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy
avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to
hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid
getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since
1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the
number of administrators has increased by 3000 percent. It is no wonder
that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs,
not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The
single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance
policies that do not cover you when you get sick.

But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance,
H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the
privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at
least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very
industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least
$70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers.
This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher
profits for insurance companies - a bailout under a blue cross.

By incurring only a new requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, a
weakened public option, and a few other important but limited concessions,
the health insurance companies are getting quite a deal. The Center for
American Progress' blog, Think Progress, states, 'since the President
signaled that he is backing away from the public option, health insurance
stocks have been on the rise.' Similarly, healthcare stocks rallied when
Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill without a public option. Bloomberg
reports that Curtis Lane, a prominent health industry investor, predicted
a few weeks ago that 'money will start flowing in again' to health
insurance stocks after passage of the legislation. last
month reported that pharmacy benefit managers share prices are hitting
all-time highs, with the only industry worry that the Administration would
reverse its decision not to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, leaving
in place a Bush Administration policy.

During the debate, when the interests of insurance companies would have
been effectively challenged, that challenge was turned back. The 'robust
public option' which would have offered a modicum of competition to a
monopolistic industry was whittled down from an initial potential
enrollment of 129 million Americans to 6 million. An amendment which would
have protected the rights of states to pursue single-payer health care was
stripped from the bill at the request of the Administration. Looking
ahead, we cringe at the prospect of even greater favors for insurance

Recent rises in unemployment indicate a widening separation between the
finance economy and the real economy. The finance economy considers the
health of Wall Street, rising corporate profits, and banks' hoarding of
cash, much of it from taxpayers, as sign of an economic recovery. However
in the real economy - in which most Americans live - the recession is not
over. Rising unemployment, business failures, bankruptcies and
foreclosures are still hammering Main Street.

This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall
Street at the expense of America's manufacturing and service economies
which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear, especially
the cost of health care. America continues to stand out among all
industrialized nations for its privatized health care system. As a result,
we are less competitive in steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping while
other countries subsidize their exports in these areas through socializing
the cost of health care.

Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to
recognize the broad social and economic benefits of a not-for-profit,
single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people and
good for America's businesses, with of course the notable exceptions being
insurance and pharmaceuticals.

6. FROM "SICKO'S" DONNA SMITH: The Bill Does Not Cure What Ails Us

Passing a healthcare reform bill that does not provide me with better
access to care or protection from bankruptcy and financial ruin is not
what I asked you all to do. Stripping away all reference to a
progressively financed, single standard of high quality healthcare for all
- also known as single-payer - is done only to more deeply ensconce the
deep pocketed interests in healthcare: the private, for-profit insurance
giants, the big pharmaceuticals, the medical equipment companies, the
hospital corporations and all the other making huge profits as thousands
die needless deaths.

Healthcare is a basic human right. Granting that right is not something to
be calculated differently in swing Congressional districts, off-year
election strategy or second-Presidential term planning. It is your
(members of Congress') duty to me, to my fellow citizens and to your

And (members of Congress) are marching away from reality when you think
all the hard-working people who counted on you to make this a better
healthcare system will not notice when you deliver insurance purchase
mandates and a corporate bail-out that will dwarf the Wall Street
trillions you've already justified.

Watch Smith's video: "American Sickos: Will the Current Bills Help? No"

Follow Smith's organizing for real reform at the website of Progressive
Democrats of America. She is the national co-chair of PDA's Healthcare NOT
Warfare campaign.

 2009 The Nation
John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate
editor of The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. A co-founder of the
media reform organization Free Press, Nichols is is co-author with Robert
W. McChesney of Tragedy & Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin
Elections, and Destroy Democracy - from The New Press. Nichols' latest
book is The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism.

[Are they trying to provoke revolt? People in the streets, followed by
martial law? This would be a good way to get it started. We need a large
alternative progressive/radical party, and we need it NOW, ready to
challenge House Dems by next November. -ed]

--------16 of 18--------

Abortion Rights Groups Now Oppose House Health Care Bill
by Stephanie Condon
Monday, November 9, 2009
CBS News
Common Dreams

The passage of comprehensive health care legislation in the House of
Representatives Saturday night was bittersweet for many liberal supporters
of reform, and profoundly disturbing for those primarily concerned about
the right to have an abortion.

The inclusion of Rep. Bart Stupak's restrictive abortion amendment in the
bill has prompted well-established abortion-rights groups to oppose the
entire House bill, and it is drawing the ire of feminist bloggers and
activists. Pro-abortion rights members of Congress are also attempting to
derail the final passage of any bill that includes the Stupak amendment.
Yet as the Democrats' reform package teeters between success and failure
- with just a few more votes needed to kill the bill - it remains to be
seen whether leaders will risk stripping out the amendment, which was
added to win over conservative Democrats.

The Stupak amendment passed on the House floor Saturday with the support
of 64 Democrats - of whom 62 were men, liberal bloggers have been quick
to point out.

The provision would prevent women who receive subsidies to purchase
insurance that covers abortion - inside or outside of the proposed
national health insurance exchange. It would also explicitly ban abortion
coverage from the government-run plan, or "public option." While it does
not explicitly prohibit private plans on the exchange from offering
abortion coverage, insurers would have little incentive to offer abortion
coverage, since most customers on the exchange would pay with subsidies.

"Abortion is a matter of conscience on both sides of the debate," said
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). "This amendment takes away that same freedom
of conscience from America's women. It prohibits them from access to an
abortion even if they pay for it with their own money. It invades women's
personal decisions."

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.) released
the text of a letter today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that says, "We
will not vote for a conference report that contains language that
restricts women's right to choose any further than current law."

The congresswomen claim to have more than 40 signatures collected for the
letter so far, though the signatures have not yet been released.

Meanwhile, abortion-rights groups are stepping up to pressure President
Obama and the Senate to keep the measure out of the final health care
bill. The National Organization for Women held a rally at the Capitol
today in opposition to the amendment and is fundraising to lobby on the
issue. The group opposes the entire House health care bill because of the

"We cannot and will not support a health care bill that strips millions of
women of their existing access to abortion," NOW President Terry O'Neill
said in a statement. "NOW calls on the Senate to pass a health care bill
that respects women's constitutionally protected right to abortion and
calls on President Obama to refuse to sign any health care bill that
restricts women's access to affordable, quality reproductive health care."

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards also said in a statement
that, "On behalf of the millions of women Planned Parenthood health
centers serve, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has no choice
but to oppose HR 3962."

The organization sent out an e-mail to its supporters on Monday, asking
them to send President Obama a message to "to live up to his campaign
commitment and stand with us to protect women's health care."

Yet while Planned Parenthood now opposes the House bill, the organization
must tread carefully to promote reproductive rights without sabotaging a
health care bill they would otherwise find generally beneficial. In
addition to lobbying for reproductive rights with its political action
committee, Planned Parenthood runs health care clinics throughout the
country. This puts the organization in a tight spot, much like the
supporters of abortion rights who voted against the Stupak amendment but
for the passage of the bill.

Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood's vice president of public policy,
declined to say whether her organization would consider a vote in favor of
the bill as an vote against abortion rights on its congressional

"We've got a long way to go before we get there," Rubiner told the
Hotsheet. "Planned Parenthood is a provider of health care services to 3
million women, and we're focused on getting the Stupak amendment out so we
can deliver affordable, quality care."

Rubiner said Planned Parenthood thinks the chances are very good that the
Senate will include more favorable abortion language in its bill, which
could prevail over the House language in conference committee.

"The Senate has always been a cooling off place," Rubiner said. "I don't
see in any reason to engage in brinksmanship at this point. This is about
getting the best bill we can and making sure women aren't left worse off
than they were before."

Similarly, NARAL Pro-Choice America says it is now focusing on defeating
any attempt to add the Stupak amendment to the Senate bill. The
organization will at least attempt to hold lawmakers accountable for the
Stupak amendment with its congressional scorecard, which will take into
account who voted in favor of the amendment.

"We opposed the Stupak-Pitts amendment and scored that vote, which means
we will hold those lawmakers who voted for this measure accountable for
abandoning women and capitulating to extreme factions of the anti-choice
movement," Ted Miller, communications director for NARAL, told the

Some advocates are suggesting a more hardline approach with the Democratic

A blogger on the liberal grassroots site FireDogLake wrote an article
headlined, "Stupak Amendment Passes; 64 Dems Ask for Primary Opponents."

"It's a fundamental part of our belief system in the Democratic Party,
that women have a right to privacy in their reproductive health care
decisions," Rayne wrote.

Similarly, radio host Allison Kilkenny noted on Huffington Post that some
of the same Democrats who favored the Stupak amendment also voted to
authorize the invasion of Iraq, making them prime targets for primary

"If it goes to war like a Republican, and votes against women's rights
like a Republican... I can't wait for the primaries," she wrote.

Ann Friedman, deputy editor of The American Prospect, suggested on the
blog ways feminists could push back. For instance, she
suggested making a donation to an abortion rights group rather than
President Obama.

The amendment, she wrote, "sets apart women's rights from the
Democratic/progressive/whatever agenda. As something expendable. But
fundamental rights for women are not peripheral... Seeing as how the
Democratic party relies on women voters to win elections, you would think
they would have come around to this no-brainer by now."

Some more squarely pinned the blame on the president.

"Let's be honest. It was Pres. Obama who opened the door to sell us out
when he decided to put the Hyde Amendment in the budget, something Bill
Clinton never did," political analyst Taylor Marsh wrote at the Huffington
Post. "Right now every woman who values her civil rights should understand
how the gay community feels. Democrats just sold us out too."

 2009 CBS News

--------17 of 18--------

Is the House Health Care Bill Better than Nothing?
by Marcia Angell
Common Dreams
Monday, November 9, 2009
Huffington Post

Well, the House health reform bill - known to Republicans as the
Government Takeover - finally passed after one of Congress's longer, less
enlightening debates. Two stalwarts of the single-payer movement split
their votes; John Conyers voted for it; Dennis Kucinich against. Kucinich
was right.

Conservative rhetoric notwithstanding, the House bill is not a "government
takeover." I wish it were. Instead, it enshrines and subsidizes the
"takeover" by the investor-owned insurance industry that occurred after
the failure of the Clinton reform effort in 1994. To be sure, the bill has
a few good provisions (expansion of Medicaid, for example), but they are
marginal. It also provides for some regulation of the industry (no denial
of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, for example), but since it
doesn't regulate premiums, the industry can respond to any regulation that
threatens its profits by simply raising its rates. The bill also does very
little to curb the perverse incentives that lead doctors to over-treat the
well-insured. And quite apart from its content, the bill is so complicated
and convoluted that it would take a staggering apparatus to administer it
and try to enforce its regulations.

What does the insurance industry get out of it? Tens of millions of new
customers, courtesy of the mandate and taxpayer subsidies. And not just
any kind of customer, but the youngest, healthiest customers - those
least likely to use their insurance. The bill permits insurers to charge
twice as much for older people as for younger ones. So older under-65's
will be more likely to go without insurance, even if they have to pay
fines. That's OK with the industry, since these would be among their
sickest customers. (Shouldn't age be considered a pre-existing condition?)

Insurers also won't have to cover those younger people most likely to get
sick, because they will tend to use the public option (which is not an
"option" at all, but a program projected to cover only 6 million uninsured
Americans). So instead of the public option providing competition for the
insurance industry, as originally envisioned, it's been turned into a
dumping ground for a small number of people whom private insurers would
rather not have to cover anyway.

If a similar bill emerges from the Senate and the reconciliation process,
and is ultimately passed, what will happen?

First, health costs will continue to skyrocket, even faster than they are
now, as taxpayer dollars are pumped into the private sector. The response
of payers - government and employers - will be to shrink benefits and
increase deductibles and co-payments. Yes, more people will have
insurance, but it will cover less and less, and be more expensive to use.

But, you say, the Congressional Budget Office has said the House bill will
be a little better than budget-neutral over ten years. That may be,
although the assumptions are arguable. Note, though, that the CBO is not
concerned with total health costs, only with costs to the government. And
it is particularly concerned with Medicare, the biggest contributor to
federal deficits. The House bill would take money out of Medicare, and
divert it to the private sector and, to some extent, to Medicaid. The
remaining costs of the legislation would be paid for by taxes on the
wealthy. But although the bill might pay for itself, it does nothing to
solve the problem of runaway inflation in the system as a whole. It's a
shell game in which money is moved from one part of our fragmented system
to another.

Here is my program for real reform:

Recommendation #1: Drop the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55. This
should be an expansion of traditional Medicare, not a new program.
Gradually, over several years, drop the age decade by decade, until
everyone is covered by Medicare. Costs: Obviously, this would increase
Medicare costs, but it would help decrease costs to the health system as a
whole, because Medicare is so much more efficient (overhead of about 3%
vs. 20% for private insurance). And it's a better program, because it
ensures that everyone has access to a uniform package of benefits.

Recommendation #2: Increase Medicare fees for primary care doctors and
reduce them for procedure-oriented specialists. Specialists such as
cardiologists and gastroenterologists are now excessively rewarded for
doing tests and procedures, many of which, in the opinion of experts, are
not medically indicated. Not surprisingly, we have too many specialists,
and they perform too many tests and procedures. Costs: This would greatly
reduce costs to Medicare, and the reform would almost certainly be adopted
throughout the wider health system.

Recommendation #3: Medicare should monitor doctors' practice patterns for
evidence of excess, and gradually reduce fees of doctors who habitually
order significantly more tests and procedures than the average for the
specialty. Costs: Again, this would greatly reduce costs, and probably be
widely adopted.

Recommendation #4: Provide generous subsidies to medical students entering
primary care, with higher subsidies for those who practice in underserved
areas of the country for at least two years. Costs: This initial, rather
modest investment in ending our shortage of primary care doctors would
have long-term benefits, in terms of both costs and quality of care.

Recommendation #5: Repeal the provision of the Medicare drug benefit that
prohibits Medicare from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices.
(The House bill calls for this.) That prohibition has been a bonanza for
the pharmaceutical industry. For negotiations to be meaningful, there must
be a list (formulary) of drugs deemed cost-effective. This is how the
Veterans Affairs System obtains some of the lowest drug prices of any
insurer in the country. Costs: If Medicare paid the same prices as the
Veterans Affairs System, its expenditures on brand-name drugs would be a
small fraction of what they are now.

Is the House bill better than nothing? I don't think so. It simply throws
more money into a dysfunctional and unsustainable system, with only a few
improvements at the edges, and it augments the central role of the
investor-owned insurance industry. The danger is that as costs continue to
rise and coverage becomes less comprehensive, people will conclude that
we've tried health reform and it didn't work. But the real problem will be
that we didn't really try it. I would rather see us do nothing now, and
have a better chance of trying again later and then doing it right.

 2009 Huffington Post
Marcia Angell, M. D., is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social
Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She stepped down as Editor-in-Chief of
the New England Journal of Medicine on June 30, 2000.

Read more at:

--------18 of 18----------

 Do you remember
 last November? Was it worse
 than now? Or better?


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