No, the President doesn’t live in Iowa City. The satellite photo I linked you to was not even the Vice President’s famed ‘undisclosed location.’ The URL didn’t change when I changed the street address. You need to link here to see the White House roof.

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?

Clare: ‘My eyes have just opened! I’m reading about Peru in preparation for touring there and came across an observation about the ‘Shining Path’ guerillas, who apparently ‘hated the educated elites’ and executed them at any opportunity. By chance, the next day I came across a picture of the big Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban is contemptuous of the ‘educated elites.’ Then I happened upon a reference to China’s ‘cultural revolution.’ When, of course, the ‘educated elites’ were persecuted. Hmm… Are the conservatives who are so contemptuous of America’s educated elites learning their rhetoric and tactics from these radical sources?’

☞ Who knows where Karl Rove draws his inspiration? But I do think those of us who do think we’re so smart need to do a much better job of listening. That doesn’t mean changing what we believe, but perhaps learning to express it better. For example, I would venture to say we are almost ALL pro-life. Who isn’t? But that while most of us would be troubled by abortions, we don’t think the state should come between a woman and her doctor in this very personal, often agonizing decision. We understand not everyone agrees with us, and we respect their views. It’s hard to look at a sonogram and not respect those views.

(For a long time, Democrats have said abortion should be safe, legal, and RARE. But we need to do a better job letting people know that abortions fell under Clinton, have gone back up under Bush. Which administration was more pro-life? And of letting people know we really do respect their points of view, as Bill Clinton did. One reason: it’s the right thing to do. Second reason: we might lose the Evangelical vote 63-37, as in 1996, instead of 79%-21%, as in 2004.)

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE NEW BANKRUPTCY LAW

Ed Biebel: ‘I saw this story from Goizueta Business School At Emory University on how the changes in the bankruptcy laws may adversely affect entrepreneurial spirit. The article takes a balanced position and makes no final argument one way or another. But it does raise some interesting points that I didn’t know about how many businesses are financed personally. I think something that hurts small business can spell real trouble for the country.’

☞ And after the extraordinary compassion for Terri Schiavo, it does seem odd not to allow exemptions for legitimate hardships like, say, catastrophic medical expenses. Speaking of which . . .

THE COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM JUST KEEPS COMING

In case you missed this April 1 ‘Open Letter to President Bush and Congress From Two Americans with Disabilities’:

Republicans are pulling “the wheelchair out from under the child with
muscular dystrophy.”

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Anne Lindsay and Rod DeVaul

Dear President Bush, Governor Jeb Bush, Members of the House of Representatives, and Members of the Senate:

Like most Americans, we have been listening intently to your comments about Terry Schiavo and persons with disabilities. We’re delighted that you’re focusing your attention on disability issues and hope that you will continue to do so. While we have your attention, we thought we would take this opportunity to bring some issues that are pertinent to millions of Americans with disabilities and all of those who could join our ranks any day.

Mr. President, Rep. DeLay, Sen. Frist, Rep. Hastert, Rep. Sensenbrenner and other members of the House and Senate, we are perplexed by the contradictions in your statements and your actions. While you showboat about protecting people with disabilities and America’s “most vulnerable” citizens, you simultaneously have tried to cut funding for Medicaid, cut medical benefits & long-term care for veterans, medical services for children, and programs that provide housing for low-income persons with disabilities. These are just some of the inconsistencies over the years that all of you have been in office.

Republican legislators who have been most vocal and central to pushing the “Palm Sunday Compromise” through opposed Sen. Smith’s 2006 budget amendment to preserve the Medicaid cuts proposed by President Bush. Fortunately, seven Republican senators who understood what this would mean to people with disabilities and the growing number of Americans with no health coverage bucked you in the Senate. Republican leaders in the House are pushing for even more Medicaid cuts, over double the amount proposed by President Bush. Governor Huckabee said of your attempts to cut health care for the poor and Americans with disabilities, “You don’t pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy.” Yet that is exactly what your heartless cuts would do.

Governor Bush, despite all of your grandstanding on behalf of Terry Schaivo, you originally submitted a budget that cut the Medically Needy program that supports 36,000 catastrophically ill Floridians and also called for cuts to prescription coverage for poor citizens who cannot afford to pay for their prescription medications, as well as other proposed cuts to the Florida Medicaid program.

We note that all of you did this while continuing to support tax cuts for the wealthy.

Terry Shiavo’s medical care has been supported both by Medicaid and by the malpractice lawsuit she won. Not only have you attempted to cut Medicaid, you sided with insurance companies and against American citizens hurt by malpractice when you forced through limits on malpractice suits. Where would Terry Schiavo be now if she hadn’t won that suit? If she was in Texas, where then Governor Bush signed a law allowing the state to withdraw life support against the family’s wishes, we suspect this would be a very different kind of debate.

The number of Americans without health coverage grows daily. The Institute of Medicine estimates that lack of health insurance results in approximately 18,000 deaths per year. Where is your outrage there? What are you doing about it? Terry Schiavo is one woman in a tragic situation. Just due to your failure to effectively address the health care crisis in our country, there are 18,000 Americans dead each year, with the number to grow as you wage your battles on Americans with illnesses and disabilities. We are the only industrialized country to deny its citizens health care. Why is that? You proclaim that we are the greatest, richest country in the world — why is it that we cannot provide this basic service to our citizens? President Bush, since you took office, five million people have lost their health care coverage and yet you continue to side with big business insurance & drug companies. Where is your outrage? Many of the people who have no coverage thanks to your inaction will die. Others will suffer medical events that leave children and adults disabled, some very like Terry Schiavo. What do you intend to do about our health care to prevent all of this from happening?

And at the same time more and more Americans are denied health care you push through bills that are detrimental to our health. While we lose access to health care, we breathe increasingly polluted air, our water is fouled, our greenhouse gases are increasingly uncontrolled, nutritional and other wellness programs for children are under-funded or cut, our gun culture causes thousands of deaths needlessly in this country, and you push to destroy increasing amounts of our country and other countries in the pursuit of polluting oil while you fail to finance alternative energy programs. What will you do about all of the Americans who will become ill due to your anti-environmental programs? Will each of them get the same attention you have poured on Terry Schiavo?

Mr. President, your insistence that our leaders “always err on the side of life” is contrary to your actions in Texas when you signed into law a bill that allows withdrawal of life support against a family’s wishes and in America where you have consistently failed to address the true crisis in our country — the lack of appropriate health care for millions upon millions of our citizens, disabled or not. You proposed a cutback of $60 billion of federal contributions to Medicaid over the next ten years, which James McCartney noted in the Bradenton Herald noted was the “largest cutbacks for any program in [your] budget.” People will become disabled and will die due to those cuts, Mr. President. How does that square with your statement that we should “always err on the side of life?”

Sincerely,

Anne Lindsay (NC) and Rod DeVaul (TN)

☞ Before you write to note that some of these ‘cuts’ may only be cuts in program growth, please note also that as the country’s population grows and prices rise, you do cut programs if their budgets don’t keep pace. Technically, it could be true to say ‘not one single solitary penny has been cut’ from such-and-such program. But if the population has increased 10% (say) and prices another 20%, a nominally constant budget is indeed a sharp cut.

 

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