Why don’t NRA officials donate to their own cause?

Could it be because they know they’re just making shit up? Or is it that they see their donors as rubes to be milked for their million-dollar paychecks? From Salon:

Four years ago LaPierre dusted off and embellished his Clinton-era prediction, arguing that if Barack Obama were elected, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity would be silenced, and “civil disarmament” would be implemented through a United Nations gun-ban treaty. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but LaPierre now says it’s only because Obama and his advisers decided prior to his election to forgo implementation of the dastardly plan and instead “hatched a conspiracy of public deception to guarantee his re-election in 2012.” According to LaPierre, Obama still plans to “erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and exorcise it from the U.S. Constitution” in a second term, when he will turn “American’s guns into international soup cans and park benches.” Exactly when that will transpire, and whether Obama will repeal the Second Amendment with a two-thirds vote of the Senate or simply forgo that constitutional formality and resort to extralegal means, remains unclear. LaPierre only says that Obama is “just waiting for the moment to strike.”

The only way to avert this calamity, the NRA’s 4 million members are told in daily email alerts, the organization’s various magazines and regular fundraising appeals, is if they all dig deep into their pockets and send money to the NRA. “This is the most dangerous election of our lifetime,” screams the April cover of America’s First Freedom, the NRA’s flagship publication, showing a stern, pinch-lipped LaPierre. The battle cry for this year’s campaign to defeat Obama is “All In,” a poker metaphor designed to convey the idea that the stakes couldn’t be higher. This election, LaPierre wrote in First Freedom, “will decide whether Americans remain free” and, “That’s why NRA is ‘All In’ for the 2012 election, and why you must be ‘All In’ with the NRA.”

But the “all” in “all in” apparently doesn’t include LaPierre or any of the NRA’s other top executives. In fact, when it comes to putting his money “in,” LaPierre, who earns nearly $1 million a year at the NRA, invariably folds his cards. During his 20 years as NRA CEO, LaPierre’s name hasn’t shown up once in government reports of contributors to NRA political action committees. (The Federal Election Commission requires public reporting of all contributions of $200 or more.) In 2003, when the organization was $100 million in the red and LaPierre was pleading with members to donate to a “war chest” to deal with a “full-blown legislative assault” by “gun banners,” he himself donated nothing to the NRA’s Political Victory Fund, the group’s political action committee. He again gave nothing to the PAC in the 2008 election, despite his claim that Obama would confiscate hunting rifles and “ban use of firearms for home defense” (a charge Politifact.com labeled “intentionally dishonest”). LaPierre, who has signed off on scores of fundraising appeals to NRA members to help defeat “gun-hating politicians” and elect lawmakers endorsed by the NRA, has also elected not to contribute to those campaigns. His last contribution to an NRA-backed candidate was a whopping $500 back in 2002.
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Thyroid wars

As my aunt the nurse used to say, “Why do you think they call it ‘practicing’ medicine? Because they didn’t get it right yet.”

By the way, the endocrinologists told me that all of my side effects — the same ones listed on the pharmacy side effects list they give you — have “nothing to do with your medication.”

Did you hear

About the two dozen black kids who were gunned down yesterday?

Nope. Because it happened one at a time, in America’s inner cities. Only when we invade the sanctity of an American (preferably white) mall does anyone take notice.

All over the internets, arguments from gun lovers saying “do the math, more people are killed by X, Y or Z” than gun massacres. But the very people who are trying to control guns (like Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Guns) are dealing with the slow bleed of gunfire, not the spectacular media display of a massacre.

Abuse of the brain-injured for profit

Isn’t this heartbreaking, that these poor people were at the mercy of this for-profit abuse? Understand that until we have a national health care system, this kind of crap is inevitable – because when you place the health and well-being of the patient against the needs of a for-profit entity to keep cutting costs, hiring the cheapest employees and raising profits, what else can happen?

Soon after Peter Price arrived at the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation to recover from a brain injury, he pleaded for a rescue.

“Jess, they beat me up,” Price told his sister, Jessica Alopaeus, in May 2009. “You have to get me out of here.”

Neurologic Rehabilitation say staffers didn’t always restrain them in the proper way, kicking them and punching them in some instances. BARR restraint on an adult is supposed to be administered by three people on a 2 inch thick foam mat.

Staffers at his new home held him down and punched him in the face and groin, Price said. When Alopaeus’s efforts to transfer him stalled, Price said his desperation led him to a step aimed at speeding his release.

He swallowed five fish hooks and 22 AA batteries he’d picked up during a patient outing at Wal-Mart. After emergency surgery to remove the objects, he was allowed to transfer to another facility.

Residents at the Florida Institute have often been abused, neglected and confined, according to 20 current and former patients and their family members, criminal charges, civil complaints and advocates for the disabled.

These sources and over 2,000 pages of court and medical records, police reports, state investigations and autopsies contain an untold history of violence and death at the secluded institute known as FINR, which is located amid cattle ranches and citrus groves in Hardee County, 50 miles southeast of Tampa.

Patients’ families or state agencies have alleged abuse or care lapses in at least five residents’ deaths since 1998, two of them in the last 18 months. Three former employees face criminal charges of abusing FINR patients — one of whom was allegedly hit repeatedly for two hours in a TV room last September.

The complaints underscore the problems that 5.3 million brain-injured Americans are having finding adequate care. Their numbers are growing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as better emergency medicine and vehicle safety mean that fewer die from traffic accidents, bullet wounds and other causes of traumatic brain injuries.

The long-term ills range from memory loss and physical handicaps to the inability to control violent anger or sexual aggression. Yet because insurance benefits for rehabilitation are scarce, less than half of those who need it receive it, according to the Brain Injury Association of America.

Organized as a company and operated for profit since 1992, FINR has become one of the largest brain-injury centers in the country, with 196 beds. Three rival providers say they know of no place bigger. Multi-site operator NeuroRestorative, owned by a holding of buyout firm Vestar Capital Partners, handles more patients.

FINR hasn’t grown by opening its doors to anyone who needs rehabilitation, customers say. Rather, its marketing is focused on the relative few who can pay bills that reach $1,850 a day.

That includes those injured on jobs with generous worker’s compensation benefits, and car-crash victims in Michigan –which mandates unlimited lifetime benefits for automobile injury coverage.

Those who have clashed with the company over the treatment of patients say its efforts to keep costs down and extend the duration of stays take priority over care and rehabilitation.

“All people are to them is a monetary gain,” said Jana Thorpe, a professional guardian who removed one of her wards from the company’s care in 2008. “They don’t care if they do anything for them.”

The Verizon squeeze play

I’ve thought for a long time that a broad-based consumer movement that went after the phone and cable companies for anti-trust activity would be unstoppable:

Verizon is consciously making DSL less attractive just as they’ve signed a new co-marketing arrangement with cable — driving unwanted DSL users into the arms of cable operators, with the understanding they can sell these users more expensive LTE connections later.

There’s numerous reasons for wanting their DSL services to die off, including the fact that newer LTE technology is cheaper to deploy in rural areas and easier to keep upgraded. But one of the larger driving forces is that Verizon is eager to eliminate unions from their equation, given that Verizon Wireless is non union. None of this is theory; in fact it has been made very clear by Verizon executives.

[…] In other words, Verizon will cut off copper in FiOS markets first (which makes sense given the lower maintenance costs of fiber). They’ll then leave users in DSL-only markets un-upgraded, forcing them to buy a costly landline so that remaining on Verizon DSL becomes less attractive. Those customers will flee to the same cable companies Verizon just signed a massive new partnership with, with Verizon planning to sell those users more expensive LTE connection later. Verizon will continue to “compete” in FiOS areas for now, if you call winking and nodding when it’s time to raise prices competition.

Rural areas could see the biggest impact from the shift, as Verizon pulls DSL and instead sells those users LTE services with at a high price point ($15 per gigabyte overages). Verizon then hopes to sell those users cap-gobbling video services via their upcoming Redbox streaming video joint venture. Expect there to be plenty of gaps where rural users suddenly lose landline and DSL connectivity but can’t get LTE. With Verizon and AT&T having killed off regulatory oversight in most states — you can expect nothing to be done about it, despite both companies having been given billions in subsidies over the years to get those users online.
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