Monday, November 16, 2009

A Reposting of Dick Cheney with Lipstick

One of the perks of long living is the ability to pick out toxic people pretty quickly. An acquired skill it serves me well and I am rarely wrong. I penned this post as I watched the Republican National convention 18 mos ago. This woman, who has perfected sanctimonious self absorption has turned out to far more toxic than I could have imagined!
Dick Cheney with Lipstick
There is something very unseemly about this self described pit bull mom, but I have to give Sarah Palin props, she has redefined chutzpah! As the mother of three daughters and the aunt of a special needs child this woman is really making me angry. Will this woman stop at nothing,accusing her opponents of playing the gender card and and drawing her children into the campaign and then she turns and does it at every turn? You can't exhaust the gender/ mom card and than cry foul when your opponent brings it up. Is nothing off limits?
In her convention speech she referred to herself as a mother at least 5 times. She then opened with "As a mother of a special needs child you'll have an advocate in the White House". Well my sister, who has fought for 30 yrs to get her son the services and education he needed to become a functional adult, was not impressed, and in fact, thought her shout out was just the beginning of the evening's overall exploitation of her children to "excite the base" and found it disingenuous.
Next came her foreign policy position pitch which began and ended with, "I'm a Mom with a son in the national guard who leaves next week for Iraq...(cut away to camera closeup on the kid). Again the Mommy card played face up,her son used as a deflection, why? Because a month ago when asked to discuss foreign policy, she stated, "I really haven't focused much on the war in Iraq"-ouch! It should be noted here that Biden and McCain also have sons who have, are currently, or soon will be deployed to Iraq, and they have had the class to leave their son's out of the fray. In fact, taking his cue from Va. Sen. D. Jim Webb, John McCain when pressed on the subject in an interview recently stated "Id rather not discuss my sons military service if you don't mind". (Perhaps McCain and Palin need a sidebar)
But the coup de grace of the evening was yet to come. Talk about Brass Ovaries! All while demanding her daughter be left out of the campaign rhetoric, she flew the baby's daddy of her 17 yr old pregnant daughter in from Alaska, to the convention, and then pranced the gum chewing man child around on stage with the moose in the headlights suddenly very pregnant daughter! As a mother of three daughters ( I've got a mommy card of my own to play) I found this disturbing on so many levels it hurt my heart and my head.
The Inmates have taken over the Asylum!
Ms Palin, as I try to process what I saw and heard I have questions:

1.In light of recent events, do you revisit your decision to cut funding 20 percent earlier this year to Passages, a teenage crisis pregnancy center in Anchorage? According to Passage House's web site, its purpose is to provide "teen mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives" and help teen moms "become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families."

2. You oppose all funding to prevent teen pregnancies, "sex-ed programs will not find my support," you wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates but you cut funding for the teenage mothers who do not have the family or socioeconomic support your own daughter will have the privilege of- please explain how this connects you to the needs of everyday small town people?

3. Will this time missed out of high school classes qualify baby's daddy an excused absence? cool!

4. Social Conservatives decried the movie Juno,complaining it glorified teenage pregnancy (teen gives baby up for adoption),and indeed a spike in teenage pregnancy was dubbed the Juno effect. So I ask, with all this prancing about, can we expect a Bristol effect and what are you going to do about it if your the VP?

5. You decreased teen pregnancy services, but increased funds for aerial wolf shooting, please explain?

One more thing, being pro choice is not pro abortion, what part of that is hard to understand?
The DAVISReport
for an update on Palin's egregious self promotion go to
for fact check information to help you survive Thanksgiving with a teabagger relative by stuffing them with fact.
The DAVISReport

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Spontaneous thread Reviewing Obama's first year

Below is a real time,real people Facebook posting series prompted by the Question-
" A Facebooker friend believes our Republic is "burning away" with Obama & wants to know 5 good things Obama's done for Main Street or even for us as a nation. Any thoughts?"
The following is wonderfully in depth noise free information!

John L-What's he done for us? He's replaced a past president who embodied the fears of your Facebook friend..!
6 hours ago
Abdul J-Equal pay for equal work. Ending the Iraq war
6 hours ago
Marina G-I will add the passing of the Lily Ledbetter Act here.
6 hours ago
Sanjay U-Signed on October 30, 2009
Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009
Signed on October 28, 2009
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010
Signed on October 22, 2009
Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act
Signed on August 06, 2009
Cash For Clunkers Extension
Signed on June 22, 2009
Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
Signed on May 22, 2009
Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009
Signed on May 22, 2009
Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act
Signed on May 20, 2009
Helping Families Save Their Homes Act
Signed on May 20, 2009
Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
Signed on April 21, 2009
Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Signed on March 30, 2009
Omnibus Public Lands Management Act
Signed on March 20, 2009
Small Business Act Temporary Extension
Signed on February 17, 2009
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Signed on February 04, 2009
Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act
Signed on January 29, 2009
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
6 hours ago
Bryan W-Expanded S-CHIP
6 hours ago
Denis H-, how about repairing the bush-broke economy, fixing the bush-broke warS, restoring the bush-broke national image, restoring the bush-broke sense of national honor and the nation's adherence to its liberties ...
6 hours ago
John L...moving us in the direction of peace and reconciliation, instead of in the direction of intransigence and more war.
6 hours ago
Alice O-. He has returned us to a nation that values dialog diplomacy.
2. He has held the politicians in DC accountable for getting a national health care bill through one house of congress after a national discussion of said bill that has lasted for over 100 years, this is a historic first.
3. He has shifted America's focus to renewable energy ending the policies of the Bush years that sold our national treasures away to the oil companies who were his closest Texas friends.
4. He has changed forever the simple belief that America is a nation of racists who could never elect a black man to the whitehouse.
5. He has presided over the distribution of the stimulus package and has with it turned the economy around.
& 6, in case you don't count his getting elected, because we did that. He has changed federal policy so that all federal government employees, regardless of sexual identity, receive the same family benefits, setting the stage for states and more private corporations to do the same.
I too would like more. I too would like to see more of the changes he promised, and, I am overjoyed with what he has done, I feel more championed, and I live on Main Street...
5 hours ago
John L- Cash for Clunkers - now people in the red states can see their front lawn..!:)
5 hours ago
Manny M- He has restored TRUST in America for the rest of the world.
5 hours ago
Dick Y- If the Republic is burning it's because of the napalm attacks that were done for the 8 years by dubya and his criminal administration. Bush did tings that make 9/11 pale in comparison. Blaming President Obama would be like blaming the first responders at ground-zero for the mess they found.
5 hours ago
L.S-I love all your comments, especially Sanjay, Annie and John L's. Thank you! : o)
5 hours ago
T/A- Much of what you are going to tell your friend if she/he is conservative will not be satifactory. This is their classic set up. Give me 5 things blah blah blah and then when you do those things are "bad things" Sonjay gave a great list.
5 hours ago
W/S- Did they return their small but more than they had stimulous money?
4 hours ago
D/B- This thread should be made into a book. When asks what Obama has done...simply hand them the book. Delightfully informative! Rejoice! For we have survived BushWorld!
4 hours ago
WaltS- Jr- He has maintained an excellent Father/Daughter relationship! Seems personal but it really is a great example for all young men!
4 hours ago
P/D-. As part of stimulus put more $ in American's pockets (reduced tax tables were issued Feb 09). Most taxpayers -- not the upper 1% of the wealthiest -- will see a reduction in their tax liability on thei 09 returns.
2. Restored digntity to the White House -- an intelligent, thoughtful person is now the president and, more, is one that is not surrounded by goons and crooks posing as advisors.
3. He has improved what became terrible relations with Russia by scrapping Bush's Poland missile plan, and has saved billions, as well, on the massive DoD budget by scrapping the F22.
4. The first time home buyer credit is helping to improve the terrible real estate market -- ask any realtor -- and if we could get Dodd's bill throught and get the still-frozen credit going by the banks that took so much money last fall before President Obama took office, it could improve that much more.
5. He has brought honor and dignity to fallen military service people through his attendance at the Honorable Transfer at Dover -- Bush did not do it, he was always taking time off in Crawford (check his records) -- and walking among the buried military personnel at Arlington....
Should I go on???
International diplomacy and statesmanship = improved status for US aboard?
An end to the crime of torture -- something that this country never did until the bushcrymefamily?
4 hours ago
4 hours ago
W,J-Raised pay for all military personel, if that counts
4 hours ago
W J-Decisively stomps foot on would be pirates of American ship. Hostages home safe and unharmed!
4 hours ago
Patty D-Increased Pell Grants.
3 hours ago
Walt S-Impeach him!!! He has done too much good in less than a year in office. Impeach him!!! America has never known so much positivity. Impeach him!!! America didn't vote for such a radically positive change. Impeach him!!! say the republicans.
3 hours ago
Tina B-Increased Pell Grants will do no good if there are no jobs waiting for the graduating students.
3 hours ago
Walt S- It is a lot easier to become entrepreneurish with a good education. If you doubt your leadership skills, choose another major. It is foolish to defer an education because the job you seek is currently unavailable.
3 hours ago
Walt S-President Obama also increased the dated ceiling amount the Small Business Association could lend as seed money.
3 hours ago
Anita G-I like David's idea; let's consolidate this and I will post as a note. Any other ideas?
3 hours ago
David M- Wow, thats a tough one. My life has gotten worse, not better. Im losing my faith, as many others are, in Obama. He better get jobs back to this country but forcing the corporations to comply to new rules. If they want to manufacture their goods abroad, they must move their ENTIRE operations there. Then, the CEO's U.S. citizenship should be revolved, their bank accounts and personal property seized. Their company HQ's and what remains of their manufacturing in the U.S. will be confiscated by the gov't and turned over to Americans willing to rebuild the company and pay decent wages and give healthcare benefits, etc., to their loyal workers. Thats how you get America back to work. Nothing else will suffice.
2 hours ago
Walt S- David, If your life has gotten so much worse, reprimand the man in the mirror! All that other stuff you just shared is completely fabricated and is only believed by the mindless tea baggin' lambs who are led insipidly by the rhetorical bullshit heard on AM radio and FOX prevaricating News. Is this what the man in the mirror has been doing with his opportunity to grow himself time?
about an hour ago
Annie O- David. I feel your pain my friend, but the economy and the unemployment are NOT President Obama's fault. Those are things that have been brewing since the Clintons left office and have come now to roost. The conservatives have convinced America's working class that they are on their side when they do nothing to help the people. Obama has been in office less than one year and had to squeeze everything he's done through the tight fist of the republican party. I hope the Congress will let him help you David. I hope they'll let them help us all....
Walt. I want to say I am with you as far as Obama's family is concerned. I think that it means a lot to this country, it means a lot to me, to see a strong family in the White House. Barack and Michelle Obama (and there's a special place in whatever heaven may be for grandmas who take care of the children) are setting an example for black families, for working families, for all families. The tender closeness I see when they are together, as a couple, as a family, is good for us as a nation. It's good for the world....
about an hour ago
Peter G- By most counts, there are 195 countries in the world.. there. There you have 195 good reasons. ;)
about an hour ago
Annie O- Oh right, I forgot $4.3 BILLION (!!) for the Race to the Top fund, discretionary funding to help school districts thrive when they REALLY produce forward motion for American kids, arguably the worst educated youth in the developed world....
58 minutes ago

Your Thoughts?
The DAVISReport

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dialing down the rhetoric, tuning up meaningful debate=About time!

I would like to commend Congressmen Eric Cantor and Bobby Scott for planning a bipartisan debate/public forum on Sept 21 10-1130 am at the downtown office of the Richmond Times Dispatch 300 E Franklin St Richmond Va. Perhaps others will follow their example and stop the hate train. Lets all show up and respectfully work for consensus and solutions. Please contact us if you want to attend!We need to be respectfully heard and show our support for healthcare reform at this event!
The DAVISReport

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Important historical videos re: the history of previous healthcare reform attempts

The first video is an achival news clipping record of Nixon's attempt at reform in 1973
The second is Clinton's healthcare reform speech to Congress in 1993
To those who say what's the hurry and we're moving too fast in our current efforts to reform healthcare- these videos speak to the fact that we have been chewing on this issue for far too long. They speak to "woulda, coulda, shoulda", and that the current opposition's pushback is "same shit ,different day". They tell us that pushing off to the future a yet more expensive and more broken system to yet another generation is a dereliction of our respondsibility. Action is long overdue and it is noteworthy that the cost numbers these historical documents cite that were used as the bullets that killed earlier reform efforts seem like such a bargain considering what the delays have cost us. It is frustrating to look at these missed opportunities and to ponder where they have brought us.
"Those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it"- George Santanyana

To review the plan released by the White House that is THE plan moving forward click on:
read understand and share
It's time
The DAVISReport

Monday, August 10, 2009

Healthcare Bill fact check site. know the facts not the fear
Knowledge not fear is power
check out this site and share it with others
The DAVISReport

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Watch Rep Weiner Call Bullsh*t on the GOP re Healthcare! on youtube

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lies,damn lies and statistics - the healthcare fear mongering needs to stop!

The fact that the dems are cannibalizing each other and not pushing back on the GOP distortions is really disappointing.
Its all about a power struggle and the collective us is being thrown about like a soccer ball. The game is getting real dirty with illegal earbiting and groin kicks in the way of misinformation that has the dems running scared ,rather than pushing back.

This article enunciates my point
Bob Cesca New Media Producer
Posted: July 29, 2009 05:39 PM

Republicans Lying to Old People About Euthanasia

There appears to be a simple two-pronged strategy for killing health care reform.

One of those prongs involves, of course, delaying reform until it's too late. If it's not passed by the end of the year, there won't be the political balls to do so because of the fast approaching 2010 midterms when members of Congress will be much more focused on raising money (health care industry money) and pandering to voters.

Another reason for delaying health care reform is it gives the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats plenty of extra time to inject their special cocktail of mind-bending crazy into the discourse and make it stick, furthering both the current delay while also eroding any voter impetus to pick up the issue again after the midterms. That'd be prong number two.

Not a single dose of the aforementioned "mind-bending crazy" actually holds up when run through even the most cursory fact-checking scrutiny, and, in every statement, the obstructionists trafficking in these lies further underscore their already obvious contradictions and ideological hypocrisy.

Regarding the latter, I can't recall, for example, this degree of nipple-twisting from Republicans and Blue Dogs about spending and fiscal responsibility when the Bush administration was pitching a blank check invasion and occupation of Iraq on the heels of invading Afghanistan -- all during a recession -- while also passing a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest one percent the year before.

Yet affordable, accessible health care for everyone is a bridge too far, right? (My blood pressure kicks up into the red zone whenever I hear Republicans today suggesting that they were against the Bush administration's spending habits when, in fact, they supported each program individually. After all, opposing the commander-in-chief in wartime emboldened the enemy, no? Not any more apparently since we're still at war and the heretofore "patriotic" far-right won't even admit the president is an American citizen. Consistent of them.)

Back to the mind-bending crazy. I detailed some of these attacks last week, and my friend Michael J. Elston (Washington, DC radio's "Buzz Burbank") hit some of the arguments in his new Huffington Post blog as well. But who knew they would top themselves this week with an attack so simultaneously absurd and shameless that it easily fits comfortably in the Birther/Truther wackaloon syllabus.

This is of course the notion that the president's health care reform plan includes a mandate to kill old people.

First, here's Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Cuckoo's Nest) on the House floor:

It'll make sure we bring down the cost of healthcare for all Americans, and that ensures affordable access for all Americans, and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.
And the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh:

According to Politico:

Sean Hannity believes it. So does House Minority Leader John Boehner. Talk show host Fred Thompson calls it "the dirty little secret" of the health care reform debate.
Yes, if you believe what these cranks are selling, the Obama administration is engaged in an elaborate plot to rid the nation of its burdensome population of old people. All this fluff about a public option, all the debate about reducing costs and making health insurance more affordable is merely subterfuge in the White House's scheme to impose a final solution to the nation's obvious elderly problem.

Seriously, this is a legitimate argument being used in mainstream Republican circles right now. This is an idea being circulated by the same party that Max Baucus, Harry Reid, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh and Mary Landrieu want to negotiate with and capitulate to, all in the name of their fetishistic obsession with bipartisanship porn.

How many more examples of GOP insanity must we enumerate before the aforementioned Democrats stop taking seriously the nincompoopery on the right? Is there no level of ridiculousness too intolerable before enough is enough? At what point does Harry Reid finally overcome his low-T, call bullshit on these jokers and figuratively pummel their soft skulls using a sledgehammer with the number 60 burnished into the handle? Soon, I hope.

The reality:

House bill that would provide Medicare coverage for an end-of-life consultation once every five years. If a person falls ill with a life-threatening disease, more frequent sessions would be allowed.
Put another way, the bill would actually provide an additional and very optional benefit for senior citizens to consult with their doctors about end-of-life decisions -- decisions we'll all have to make. It's a consultation which is usually an out of pocket expense for the elderly, but now it'll be covered under Medicare. Again, it's an optional benefit for Medicare recipients to meet with their doctor. I repeat: optional benefit. Optional, as in "choice." Benefit, as in something "good" or "helpful." O-p-t-i-o-n-a-l. B-e-n-e-f-i-t.


"This measure would not only help people make the best decisions for themselves but also better ensure that their wishes are followed," AARP Executive Vice President John Rother said in a statement. "To suggest otherwise is a gross, and even cruel, distortion -- especially for any family that has been forced to make the difficult decisions on care for loved ones approaching the end of their lives."
Why do the old-people-haters at the AARP want to kill old people?

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, House minority leader John Boehner and most other congressional Republicans are taking this wingnut conspiratorial position outlined by Rush Limbaugh. Because naturally they're a very serious political party -- so much so that the Blue Dog Democrats want to work with them rather than laughing them off the floor. Oh the relationships $1.3 million-a-day in healthcare industry lobbying can buy.

And they're getting away with it because, despite their utter lack of seriousness, they continue to be granted untold latitude and legitimacy through this inexplicable Democratic bipartisanship deference (not to mention a wide berth from the establishment press), while peddling an obvious lie. And then, next week, there will be another one. And another one. Until healthcare reform is dead in the water.
The DAVISReport

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What if we were people of color?

So a few months ago my husband and I came across a distressed,possibly injured, greyhound dog stumbling down the middle of a busy road. We got behind it and followed it into a side street. Not having our cell phones with us, I went up to a door with a porch light on (thought it would be less threatening than if my husband went) and asked the woman(she would not open the door and as it turns not the best house to have chosen),to call the police as there was an animal in distress that was threatening to cause an accident. Five minutes later three cop cars roll up from two different directions. I left the porch, to speak to the responding officer nearest me and my husband stepped out of our Camry. The officer nearest my husband approached him and stated loudly "stay right there,don't move".
Turns out the woman had called 911 and said there was a woman trying to enter her house and she was in danger. No mention of the dog, even though she had said
"I don't do dogs" when I explained why I was at her door?
After minutes of confusion and explaining about the dog,the officers softened in their response and we were no longer explaining we had done nothing wrong.
The officers never looked at our ID, and the officer who had been aggressive with my husband nicely stated " I'm sorry I came on so strongly, but the call we got made us believe we were responding to a crime in progress with no mention of an injured dog". It ended cordially, and we left with the police following up with animal control.
Yes, we had been the recipients of a misinformation police call. And yes though of similar age to Professor Gates and socioeconomic background, we are of caucasion descent. And yes I believe if we had been people of color, we may well have been sorting it out down at the station, providing ID, etc and experiencing the saying "that no good deed goes unpunished".
Upon discussing Professor Gate's situation bounced up against my own, with The Central Virginia Progressive's guest blogger, Mr. Robert House I received the following to share with you:
What the "whole connected world" now knows, the renowned Professor Henry Louis Gates, of Harvard Univ. was arrested at his home in Cambridge, Mass. It is reported that Prof. Gates felt that he was being disrespected in his home by the police officer who was there responding to a possible "break in". Prof. Gates "spoke up" with indignation to the police; (is it because I'm black) and was arrested for "loudmouth and tumultuous behavior". There is an "unwritten law" in America that was instilled in me as a child (I'm 72) for my protection and survival: "There is no law, or rights that a negro has that a white person must respect". I can recall my gran'ma telling me that the "graveyard is full of you black boys and men who were right .....dead right". It can be argued that Prof. Gates was lucky not to be one of those unknown, young black men.
To conclude,I was standing on someone else's front porch and it resolved cordially.
Prof Gates was on his own front porch and his encounter ended in arrest. Which brings me back to the core issue,exploring how similar situations yielded such different outcomes.
Aside from disecting the behavior of the officers in our comparative tale and how training or cultural expectations may have affected their handling of the situation consider:
Professor Gates's cultural expectation was that he was being treated as a potential criminal in his own home b/c he was a black man in a high end neighborhood. A defensive and yes angry response ensued.
My response of complete surprise,on the other hand, showed my lack of expectation I could ever be mistaken for a criminal.
Which brings us back to Mr. House's mother's caution:
There is no law, or rights that a negro has that a white person must respect".
your thoughts?...

The DAVISReport

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thank you Mr. Potter

The health clinic Wendell Potter refers to is the rural clinic in Wise County that Richmond providers bring to Wise County every summer. As someone who works in indigent care in Virginia and is a member of the California Nurse's Association as a national member I applaud Mr. Potter's voice.
full video at Bill Moyers journal
The DAVISReport
Last month, testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation by a former health insurance insider named Wendell Potter made news even before it occurred: CBS NEWS headlined: "Cigna Whistleblower to Testify." After Potter's testimony the industry scrambled to do damage control: "Insurers defend rescissions, take heat for lack of transparency."

In his first television interview since leaving the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter tells Bill Moyers why he left his successful career as the head of Public Relations for CIGNA, one of the nation's largest insurers, and decided to speak out against the industry. "I didn't intend to [speak out], until it became really clear to me that the industry is resorting to the same tactics they've used over the years, and particularly back in the early '90s, when they were leading the effort to kill the Clinton plan."

Potter began his trip from health care spokesperson to reform advocate while back home in Tennessee. Potter attended a "health care expedition," a makeshift health clinic set up at a fairgrounds, and he tells Bill Moyers, "It was absolutely stunning. When I walked through the fairground gates, I saw hundreds of people lined up, in the rain. It was raining that day. Lined up, waiting to get care, in animal stalls. Animal stalls."

Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."

You can view Wendel Potter's congressional testimony online or read the text.

You can learn more about Remote Area Medical, the organization that put on the "health care expedition" here.

Red-Flagging and Rescission

Among the other testimony heard by the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation was that of Robin Beaton. It reflected some of the insurance company tactics condemned by Potter.

It was a nightmare scenario. The day before she was scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy for invasive breast cancer, Robin Beaton's health insurance company informed her that she was "red flagged" and they wouldn't pay for her surgery. The hospital wanted a $30,000 deposit before they would move forward. Beaton had no choice but to forgo the life-saving surgery.

Beaton had dutifully signed up for individual insurance when she retired from nursing to start a small business. She had never missed a payment, but that didn't matter. Blue Cross cited two earlier, unrelated conditions that she hadn't reported to them when signing up — acne and a fast beating heart — and rescinded her policy.

Beaton pleaded with the company and had her doctors write letters on her behalf to no avail. It was not until Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) personally called Blue Cross that her policy was reinstated and she could undergo surgery. In that year, Beaton's tumor doubled in size, leading to further complications necessitating the removal of her lymph glands as well.

>>Watch Robin Beaton's testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

The practice is called "rescission" and Beaton's is not an isolated case. The House Energy and Commerce Committee found that the major private health insurers had rescinded the policies of approximately 20,000 people in a five year period, to avoid paying out approximately $300 million in benefit claims.

Appearing before the same committee, CEOs of the major health insurance companies stated that they would continue to use rescission, arguing that it is a necessary protection against fraud and abuse.

>>Watch the health care CEOs appear before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Wendell Potter
Photo by Robin Holland

Wendell Potter has served since May 2009 as the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin's senior fellow on health care. After a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, last year he left his job as head of communications for one of the nation's largest health insurers to try his hand at helping socially responsible organizations — including those advocating for meaningful health care reform — achieve their goals.

Based in Philadelphia, Potter provides strategic communications counsel and planning services as an independent consultant. He also speaks out on both the need for a fundamental overhaul of the American health care system and on the dangers to American democracy and society of the decline of the media as watchdog, which has contributed to the growing and increasingly unchecked influence of corporate PR.

Before his switch, Potter held a variety of positions at CIGNA Corporation over 15 years, serving most recently as head of corporate communications and as the company's chief corporate spokesman.

Prior to joining CIGNA, Potter headed communications at Humana Inc., another large for-profit health insurer and was director of public relations and advertising for The Baptist Health System of East Tennessee. He also has been a partner in an Atlanta public relations firm, a press secretary to a Democratic nominee for governor of Tennessee and a lobbyist in Washington for the organizers of the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tenn.

Wendell Potter first worked as a journalist. When fresh out of college, he worked for Scripps-Howard's afternoon paper in Memphis. He wrote about Memphis businesses and local government before being sent to Nashville to cover the governor's office and state legislature. Two years later he was promoted to the Scripps-Howard News Bureau in Washington where he covered Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court and wrote a weekly political column.

Wendell Potter is a native of Tennessee and a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he received a B.A. degree in communications and did postgraduate work in journalism and public relations. He holds an APR, which means he is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America, and is still a dues-paying member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Club in Washington.
Medical practitionersReforming Health Care
Washington's abuzz about health care, but why isn't a single-payer plan an option on the table? Public Citizen's Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Physicians for a National Health Program's Dr. David Himmelstein on the political and logistical feasibility of health care reform. (May 22, 2009)
Medical practitionersCalifornia Nurses Association
The California Nurses Association advocates a single payer national health insurance system. (May

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sadly little changes...thoughts on Iran and human rights

Guest blogger
Kathy Baratta, Monmouth County .New Jersey

We all grew up learning about Anne Frank and revering her and her family's struggle for their human rights. Anne, we know what happened to her but we didn't see it however the world swore, "Never Again."

Well, now we must all remember Neda Soltani. We can see what they did to this beautiful young girl, hear the anguished cries of her father as he watched her die. We should be filled with the same feeling of rage and sorrow for Neda as we did for Anne and remember that underneath it all we are all people who just want to make the most of the life we have and not have tired, scared old men afraid of losing power (Khameni and his band of clueless clerics and witless followers like the Basij. The Basij is to life in Iran what the brown shirts in Germany were to life there.)

Neda is now the martyr for all freedom-loving people and those who can show their support by keeping her memory alive. - song is in Farsi but it's sadness translates no matter what language you speak. - in English

The DAVISReport

Saturday, May 9, 2009

There is Nothing New.... Happy Mother's Day

It wasn't about cards, flowers and the obligatory phone call.
It began after our devastating Civil War...
It was a proclamation and prayer to build a better world.
Powerful in its hope
Sad still in its unrealized dream
The DAVISReport

By Julia Ward Howe, 1870

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blue Dog is the new Red

Originally from Jersey, I lived in Maine for almost five years ( home state of Senators Olympia Snow and Susan Collins)  and moved from Pennsylvania to Central Virginia 15 years ago. Politically involved in all these  places, I have said for years that North East Republicans would be  Blue Dog Democrats if they lived south of Maryland. Up to now,the  Northern Republican electorate, "Bless their hearts",  has had little understanding of how they differ from their southern cousins . Michael Bloomberg ( New York's Mayor) who originally ran as Republican, figured this out and is now an Independant.  Like the 200,000 voters who switched parties in Pa.,he figured out that the "big tent party" had been replaced by a much less inclusive fraternity that has ever narrowing requirements for inclusion and they didn't fit in.
I am not all all surprised by Arlen Spector;s switcheroo. Frankly I believe he has, like others who fall in the center on issues been marginalized for a long time, but lacking choices and feeling a sense of legacy remained.
Like all tipping point events, as the paradigm shifted, the choices changed.
Those who are angry at his "abandonment" need to understand, like a surprise breakup from a couple you thought were solid, this has been a long time coming.
But lets be cordial for the sake of the kids....
The DAVISReport Obama, Biden, welcome Specter to Democratic Party

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Emergency Preparedness - learn the facts and be careful out there

The DAVISReport- a cooperating member of the Medical Reserve Corp.
This is an official
CDC Health Advisory

Health Alert Network
Investigation and Interim Recommendations
Swine Influenza (H1N1)
CDC, in collaboration with public health officials in California and Texas, is investigating cases of febrile respiratory illness caused by swine influenza (H1N1) viruses. As of 11 AM (EDT) April 25, 2009, 8 laboratory confirmed cases of Swine Influenza infection have been confirmed in the United States. Four cases have been reported in San Diego County, California. Two cases have been reported in Imperial County California. Two cases have been reported in Guadalupe County, Texas. Of the 8 persons with available data, illness onsets occurred March 28-April 14, 2009. Age range was 7-54 y.o. Cases are 63% male.
The viruses contain a unique combination of gene segments that have not been reported previously among swine or human influenza viruses in the U.S. or elsewhere. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment of infection with swine influenza viruses. The H1N1 viruses are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine but not to oseltamivir or zanamivir. It is not anticipated that the seasonal influenza vaccine will provide protection against the swine flu H1N1 viruses.
CDC has also been working closely with public health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO). Mexican public health authorities have reported increased levels of respiratory disease, including reports of severe pneumonia cases and deaths, in recent weeks. CDC is assisting public health authorities in Mexico by testing specimens and providing epidemiological support. As of 11:00 AM (EDT) April 25, 2009, 7 specimens from Mexico at CDC have tested positive for the same strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) as identified in U.S. cases. However, no clear data are available to assess the link between the increased disease reports in Mexico and the confirmation of swine influenza in a small number of specimens. WHO is monitoring international cases. Further information on international cases may be found at:
Clinicians should consider swine influenza infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with febrile respiratory illness and who 1) live in San Diego or Imperial counties, California, or Guadalupe County, Texas, or traveled to these counties or 2) who traveled recently to Mexico or were in contact with persons who had febrile respiratory illness and were in one of the three U.S. counties or Mexico during the 7 days preceding their illness onset.
Patients who meet these criteria should be tested for influenza, and specimens positive for influenza should be sent to public health laboratories for further characterization. Clinicians who suspect swine influenza virus infections in humans should obtain a nasopharyngeal swab from the patient, place the swab in a viral transport medium, refrigerate the specimen, and then contact their state or local health department to facilitate transport and timely diagnosis at a state public health laboratory. CDC requests that state public health laboratories promptly send all influenza A specimens that cannot be subtyped to the CDC, Influenza Division, Virus Surveillance and Diagnostics Branch Laboratory.
Persons with febrile respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections (including influenza and other respiratory illnesses) to others in their communities. In addition, frequent hand washing can lessen the spread of respiratory illness.
CDC has not recommended that people avoid travel to affected areas at this time. Recommendations found at will help travelers reduce risk of infection and stay healthy.
Clinical guidance on laboratory safety, case definitions, infection control and information for the public are available at:
* Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Biosafety Guidelines for Laboratory Workers:
* Interim Guidance for Infection Control for Care of Patients with Confirmed or Suspected Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection in a Healthcare Setting:
* Interim Guidance on Case Definitions for Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Human Case Investigations:
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports Dispatch (April 24) provide detailed information about the initial cases at
For more information about swine flu:
1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)
Health Alert conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
Health Advisory provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
Health Update provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.
Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can't yet explain why.
"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."
At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.
Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.
Napolitano called the emergency declaration standard operating procedure — one was declared recently for the inauguration and for flooding. She urged people to think of it as a "declaration of emergency preparedness."
"Really that's what we're doing right now. We're preparing in an environment where we really don't know ultimately what the size of seriousness of this outbreak is going to be
The DAVISReport

Monday, April 13, 2009

Remembering Va Tech and The Gunshow Loophole

The two-year anniversary of Virginia Tech, the largest massacre by a sole gunman in the country's history, is April 16th.Folks, for those who missed one or more of the weekend shows on gun violence in America, here are two video clips of the full segments from "20/20" and "60 Minutes" followed by 2 print articles

20/20 Segment, "If I Only Had a Gun":

60 Minutes Segment, "The Way of the Gun":

Best regards,

Ladd Everitt
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Despite two years of rhetoric minimal improvement is public safety has been realized. Follow Omar Samaha's actions in these two articles highlighted below as he honors his sister's memory, by working to protect us all from the dangers of easy Gun access.

Omar Samaha worked with ABC News to see how many guns he could buy at a gun show in one hour with $5,000.
(ABC News )

In the two years since, what has changed, what has been fixed, and what has stayed exactly the same?

Immediately following the tragedy, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and other authorities called on lawmakers to close the so called "gun show loophole" -- by which anyone can buy a gun from a private dealer with no background check and no questions asked. Two years later, that loophole is still very much open, in Virginia and 32 other states around the country.

So just how easy is it to buy a gun at a gun show?

The Challenge: To Buy a Gun in One Hour

For over a year, ABC News has followed Omar Samaha on a very personal quest to hold those lawmakers to their word. Omar's sister Reema was one of 32 shot and killed at Virginia Tech. We went with Omar to a gun show in Richmond, Va. -- one of hundreds held every weekend across the state of Virginia and the country. We gave Samaha $5,000 and one hour to see how many guns he could buy, and how many questions he would be asked.

By 9:30 in the morning, the parking lot was already packed full of cars. Groups of men, couples and even families with children in tow streamed toward the quickly growing line out front. Samaha, 25, joined the crowds and while waiting on line, he was approached by a seller and given the opportunity to make a quick purchase. He bought a Glock handgun, with no background check, and no questions asked.

"He was just sitting right outside the door, I went up to him. 'How much do you want for it?'

"'$450 bucks.'

'Here's the cash.'

'Thanks. See you later.'

"That was it."

For Samaha, the Glock handgun was a particularly painful purchase. It was the same kind of gun used to kill his sister Reema when she was a freshman at Virginia Tech. Just holding the gun in his hand was difficult.

"I don't want to think about how gruesome it was and how somebody used this type of weapon on my sister and so many other innocent people. It's devastating," he saidSamaha walked back into the gun show, and within minutes he was out again, this time carrying a Colt AR 15, a semi-automatic assault weapon very similar to an M16. We asked if there were any questions asked.

"Nothing," he said. "I just went up, gave him cash. He's like, 'Cash is all you need.'"

Over the course of the hour, Samaha purchased 10 guns: three rifles, four shotguns, one handgun. He could have purchased many more handguns, but he wanted to abide by Virginia State law, which allows the purchase of one handgun per month, and two assault weapons.

Samaha was never asked to fill out any type of background check. At one point he was asked to show identification. When Samaha said he didn't have any, the seller quickly relented, not wanting to lose a sale.

"He's like, 'Give me $100 more and I'll let you go and take the risk.' I got two guns for $600 without any identification check," Samaha said.

Easy Access: $5,000 and One Hour Buys 10 Guns

When Virginia lawmakers voted against closing the loophole, Samaha was shocked. "It really made me wonder what kind of people we have making our laws," he said.

Among those who voted twice against closing the gun show loophole is state John S. Edwards, a Virginia Democrat who represents the district that includes Virginia Tech. After repeated attempts to reach Edwards, the state senator did not respond to calls from ABC News.

Gun rights groups don't want to see the loophole closed because they fear that background checks will hurt business at gun shows, and also threaten privacy rights. They also argue that the Virginia Tech shooter didn't buy his gun at a gun show. Seung Hui Cho bought his gun legally at a gun store even though he had a documented history of mental illness. That breakdown in the system was addressed immediately following Virginia Tech, but families of the victims argue that with the gun show loophole still open, it is just too easy to buy a gun with no questions asked.

For Samaha, it's not about the right to own a gun, it's about how easy it is for guns to end up in the wrong hands.

"We're not trying to keep guns out of the hands of good citizens. If you can pass a background check, which anyone can do in a matter of minutes, then you can buy guns," he said.

'None of Them Could Have Stopped Him'

Former ATF agent Gerald Nunziato was with Samaha at the gun show in Richmond, Va. With years of experience fighting gangs and drug organizations, Nunziato was all too familiar with the guns that Samaha bought.

"My experience as an agent in Detroit and Miami is that these guns [shotguns] would be sawed off at the barrel," he said. "They're a very high-powered scatter gun that's used a lot by drug gang members 'cause they're easy to get in and out of your car."

Even though Samaha immediately turned in all the weapons he bought at the gun show to the Richmond Police Department, Nunziato pointed out that if Samaha had wanted to, he could have caused a lot of damage with the guns he purchased.

"There were three or four police cars in the parking lot [at the gun show]. None of them could have stopped him [Samaha] with the firepower he bought," said Nunziato.

For Samaha, it's all about honoring his sister Reema's memory and working to prevent another tragedy from happening again.

"I think I'm doing something she would do," he said. "I think she would be proud of me and tell me to keep going."


Angel Fund: The Angel Fund web site honors the memory of Reema Samaha and explores those issues that contributed to the tragedy at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

Students for Gun Free Schools: O
Article 2- The path of least resistance
The Washington Post

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is teaming up with a Fairfax County man whose sister was killed in the Virginia Tech shootings in a campaign to encourage Virginia lawmakers to require that private sellers at gun shows conduct background checks-

On Monday, Bloomberg, whose gun control campaigns in Virginia have roiled gun rights groups, will join Omar Samaha at an Arlington hotel to unveil a 30-second commercial that will air statewide next week. Their campaign calls for the General Assembly to close the so-called gun-show loophole in Virginia law that allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks. The commercial, which will be previewed at the Crystal City Marriott at 11:30 a.m., was paid for by Americans United for Safe Streets, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that counts Bloomberg as a financial contributor.

The campaign comes as the Virginia Tech community prepares to mark the second anniversary of the April 16, 2007, shootings. Yesterday, the Blacksburg campus held a "reopening celebration" at the newly designed and refurbished west wing of Norris Hall, where gunman Seung Hui Cho killed 30 of his 32 victims, including Samaha's sister, Reema.

A Bloomberg spokesman said the mayor has campaigned at other events with the Samaha family and believes strongly that Virginia needs to tighten its gun regulations. "Because of the gun-show loophole . . . we know that a criminal will take the path of least resistance," said spokesman Jason Post.

A National Rifle Association spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment. In February, Virginia senators rejected a bill requiring that private firearms sales at gun shows include background checks. Nearly all the Senate's Republicans voted against the bill, fearing, among other things, that it could have led to more restrictions on constitutional rights.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happiness is a Warm Gun???!!

Watch 20/20 Fri 4/11 and 60 mins Sunday 4/12 as both shows bring Virginia and Richmond,(Henrico County) into the national spotlight as they show the gunshow loophole laws in action to a national audience. Yes, right here in River City, Omar Samaha,whose sister Reema was shot and killed at Va. Tech, buys 10 guns,including a glock and 2 assault rifles in 1 hour at the The Showplace Gunshow without even showing one ID, all fully legal purchases, and it will sicken you! Shame on the Virginia Legislature for allowing this travesty to continue! As someone who lives within miles of this demonstration, I am outraged! This ongoing threat to public safety defies common sense!
The DAVISReport

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nurses Denounce Big Health Blackmail scheme to put profit over patients

As a national member of The CARN association per this article link, it is important for the public to know their lives/health are being brokered for profit and that Nurses as advocates stand firm collectively in opposition.

Nurses Denounce Big Health Blackmail

The Examiner

The nation's largest organization of registered nurses today condemned the conditional offer by the insurance industry to stop denying coverage to sick people in exchange for a massive government bailout.

The insurance trade lobby America's Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross and Blue Shield offered to stop denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions – but only if the healthcare reform plan under consideration in Congress contains a requirement forcing all Americans to buy private insurance – and if Congress rejects a proposal to include a public plan alternative for people not wanting private insurance.

"That's not a sign of flexibility at all, its blackmail," said Geri Jenkins, RN, co-president of the 85,000-member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

"They are only willing to scale back on their immoral denial of coverage for people who are sick, even those who have had minor illnesses, if they are given billions of dollars in payments from private individuals and government subsidies," said Jenkins. The insurer's proposal "amply demonstrates what is so fundamentally wrong with our insurance-based system. Decisions on whether patients can receive healthcare coverage are not based on patient need, but on how much profit the private insurers can make."

Nurses, said Jenkins, were also disturbed at the response of lawmakers and others who praised the proposal.

"In a more rational public debate on healthcare reform, we would be making it clear that all Americans should be guaranteed coverage and full access to needed medical care regardless of prior illness or ability to pay. Instead we are treated to a charade of policy makers continuing to seek proposals that protect the insurers' business priorities, rather than on what is best for the tens of millions of Americans enduring a collapsing and broken healthcare system," Jenkins said.

"Only one reform will achieve that goal and end our national healthcare emergency, a single-payer system, such as expanding and improving Medicare to cover everyone," said Jenkins, as proposed in HR 676, a national bill by Rep. John Conyers.

The DAVISReport

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Virginia's Smokefree Law on Leno monologue

How fun and satisfying to watch Jay Leno giving us a well deserved laugh. With humor, he reminds all of us who worked so hard to promote public health how hard we worked to secure public health in an environment of entrenched oposition.
watch here:

The DAVISReport

Friday, February 27, 2009

Central Virginia's Eric Cantor makes the list

Yes Eric Cantor is very likable as the article linked here states.
Politics aside, he is a genuinely nice solid family man who at times seems uncomfortable with the more angry divisive rhetoric coming from the corners of his party. Managing all the apples in his basket must require the skills of a neurosurgeon.
A solidly fiscal conservative who will go on Fox and CNN at any moment to discuss a financial budget issue I must say the water gets murkier on his position on social issues and health care. (Is it a right or a privilege, inquiring minds want to know?)

Friday Line: Ten Republicans to Watch - The Fix

The DAVISReport

Friday, February 20, 2009

Power To The People! Where's My Pen Says Gov. Kaine!

400 hundred Years ago slavery and tobacco were the two economic engines that founded Virginia. Well slavery is long gone and racism publicly denounced but tobacco's roots in Virginia, being the insidious weed that it is, has proven to be a lot harder to pluck from our garden.
As a healthcare professional who has seen with my own eyes people remove their oxygen to go sit outside in the cold to smoke a cigarette through the hole in their neck (I swear every word is true)I know sadly too well the human health toll it exacts and tobacco's additive grasp. It is for this reason that today is a great day in Virginia when people not politics prevailed, when the currency of commonsense meant more than than the currency of big Tobacco lobbyists who fought hard to stop Public Smoking Legislation in Virginia.
That's right the Statehouse in Richmond Virginia,the Mother Ship of Big Tobacco and Philip Morris has finally succumbed to what Del Kilgore called an oncoming "Train" of overwhelming public sentiment who favored this legislation.
Delegate Kilgore who offered amendments to try and weaken the bill per my last entry accepted defeat saying, "One thing I have learned in politics is, don't get in front of a train". Well Mr Kilgore you still don't get it, Public Smoking legislation was never about politics, it was always a non partisan public health issue and
now it will soon be
The Law.
The highlights:
-Prohibits smoking inside all public restaurants, with exceptions for eateries with separately ventilated closed off smoking areas
- Exemption for private clubs only
-Permits smoking in open outdoor patio
- If patio area is the only public entrance it must have a raised open roof
-An employer cannot force an employee to work in the closed off smoking area
The DAVISReport

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let's Not and Say We Did! The Truth about the Virginia's New Smoking Law Proposal

Virginia's Proposed Smokefree Compromise was pretty weak and far from Smokefree to begin with, but with Terry Kilgore's amendments added it is a downright farce that needs a new name. Per the Press Release below, all this legislation is now is a pretend bill whose function is to confuse the 75% who want Smokefree into believing that legislation was passed. To add to the duplicity, Terry Kilgore has proposed that the new law not go into effect until January 2010 (after November's local delegate elections, how convenient!) to avoid the public living the reality of this farce before the election. Another of Kilgore's amendments completely throws out all Smokefree public protection if no minors are allowed.( because second hand smoke only kills you when the "youngins" are around)! Is this like calories don't count if you eat standing up?
The details:

Virginia Smoke-Free Compromise Goes from Bad to Worse
And Should be Rejected By Senate and Gov. Kaine
Statement of Matthew L. Myers
President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, DC (February 10, 2009) – The Virginia House of Delegates once again has put the interests of the tobacco industry ahead of Virginians’ health by approving weak, loophole-filled smoke-free restaurant legislation that fails to protect workers and the public from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke. We urge the Senate to reject this bill – and Governor Kaine to veto it, if it reaches his desk – and instead enact a real, comprehensive smoke-free law that protects every Virginian’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.
If the House-passed legislation is enacted into law, Virginia WILL NOT join the ranks of the 24 states (and Washington, DC) that have enacted strong smoke-free laws that covers restaurants and bars. Instead, Virginia will become an example of what not to do – and will earn the distinction of having one of the worst statewide smoke-free laws in the nation. Far from representing a break with Virginia’s long history of being beholden to the tobacco industry, the House-passed legislation represents a continuation of that history that has cost the state so much in lives, health and health care dollars lost to tobacco use.
The amendments approved by the House yesterday made an already bad bill even worse. As originally introduced, the legislation already included significant loopholes designed to appease the interests of Big Tobacco, including exemptions for private clubs, smoking rooms in restaurants and weak enforcement provisions. The revised bill further weakens the legislation by eliminating the requirement that smoking rooms be separately ventilated, permitting smoking in rooms separated only by doors, exempting restaurants hosting private functions, and permitting smoking at any establishment where under-age patrons are not admitted.
The U.S. Surgeon General has found that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that the only way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke is to require smoke-free workplaces and public places. Other approaches, such as air ventilation systems and smoking and non-smoking sections, do not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
This legislation does not protect the health of Virginians and goes against the wishes of a large majority of Virginians who don’t want to risk their health in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out in a restaurant. In a January 2009 poll, 75 percent of Virginia voters said they support a statewide law that makes all restaurants completely smoke-free.
While some have touted House passage of this smoke-free restaurant legislation as an historic cultural shift for a traditional tobacco state, it is far from a new day in Virginia. The truth is, this is the latest example of state leaders choosing the interests of the tobacco industry over the interests of their constituents. In addition to introducing this unacceptable smoke-free legislation, lawmakers so far have refused to increase the state cigarette tax – which would keep thousands of kids from smoking and help pay for critical programs – and are currently considering cutting the state’s tobacco prevention program.

Facts about Secondhand Smoke and Smoke-Free Laws:
* Twenty-four states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico – as well as hundreds of cities and towns – have passed smoke-free laws that cover restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
* Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.
* The evidence is clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. As the Surgeon General concluded, “Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”
Email or call your legislator today and let them know you expect them to put people first!
The DAVISReport

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

It is important to remember that the Tobacco Settlement Foundation money comes from a 1998 court settlement. At that time,the Attorneys General of 46 states, including Virginia, signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco manufacturers in the United States to settle state suits to recover costs associated with treating smoking-related illness. The spirit and intent of the MSA was to provide states with funding for tobacco use prevention programs that would ultimately lower the prevalence of tobacco use, thus lowering medical costs to care for citizens with tobacco-related diseases. According to the MSA, the tobacco manufacturers are projected to pay the settling states in excess of $200 billion over the next 25 years. Virginia is expected to receive approximately 4 billion.
Well, lookie here at the press release below, seems the legislators have quietly raided the till to pay for obesity programs for kids ( the bill passed). Can't they just put daily gym back in elementary school and take Mcdonald's concessions out of the cafeteria?
The DAVISReport
HB2456 Threatens the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation’s Progress
in Reducing Youth Smoking
RICHMOND, VA (February 4, 2009) -- The American Lung Association in Virginia and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are opposed to House Bill 2456, which is under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly. It is likely to come up for a vote in the House General Laws Committee as early as February 5 or as late as next week.

This legislation would change the name of the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation (VTSF) to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and create two divisions within the new entity: Virginia Tobacco Prevention and Virginia Youth Obesity Prevention. As written, HB2456 allows the youth obesity program to use the 10 percent of Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) funds currently dedicated to VTSF -- with the only restriction being that the VTSF funds are for the “primary purpose” of tobacco prevention. While VTSF is doing a good job with the resources it has, it makes absolutely no sense to dilute the budget of an agency that is already underfunded.

The American Lung Association in Virginia and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids support amending HB2456 to place a cap on the total tobacco funds available to obesity prevention at $100,000 per year. The cap would prevent substantial amounts of tobacco money from being diverted from their intended purpose. The evidence is clear -- we should be expanding funding for tobacco prevention and cessation, not cutting it.

Virginia receives $310 million annually in tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments, yet spends less than 5 percent of this revenue on tobacco prevention. The state’s funding for tobacco prevention is a mere 13 percent of the best-practices level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ninety percent of Virginia’s tobacco settlement dollars are already directed away from tobacco prevention and cessation. Tobacco settlement funds should be used for tobacco prevention.

Tobacco prevention programs reduce smoking and save lives. Studies have shown that the more states spend on tobacco prevention, the lower the youth smoking rates and overall tobacco use. Already, VTSF initiatives have helped reduce youth smoking by a dramatic 28.6 percent in just two years -- with 15.5 percent of Virginia high school students smoking in 2007, compared with 21.7 percent in 2005.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Virginia (and every state). It kills more than 9,000 Virginians every year and results in more than $2 billion in tobacco-related health care costs. It is critical that we fund tobacco prevention programs to keep kids from smoking because the tobacco companies are spending record amounts to market and promote their products. The most recent data show the tobacco companies spend almost $440 million each year on marketing and promotion in Virginia alone -- much of which influences kids to smoke.

Recent polling shows that the public clearly supports using tobacco money for tobacco prevention. By nearly a 2-to-1 margin, Virginia voters support funding tobacco prevention at the level recommended by the CDC. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents support funding tobacco prevention at the CDC- recommended level. In addition, while the state spends just 4 percent of its tobacco settlement and tobacco tax money on tobacco prevention and cessation, 76 percent of Virginia voters think the state should spend a quarter or more of the tobacco revenue on those efforts.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Healthier Days In Virginia are Coming!

The press release below reviews Virginia's compromise smoking bill legislation agreement. It's not Smokefree, buts its Virginia and as good a deal as Gov. Kaine could broker. The Devils in the details, however; example, a fine for noncompliance for a half wall (huh?) is $25.00 ( a parking ticket is more!) and staff walking in and out between closed rooms will be exposed and contaminate the nonsmoking area beyond acceptable levels especially for people with respiratory conditions like asthma.
Final vote comes Monday?
The DAVISReport

Governor February 5, 2009

Contact: Gordon Hickey
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Cell Phone: (804) 291-8977

~ Statewide ban will prohibit smoking in most bars and restaurants~

RICHMOND—Governor Timothy M. Kaine and key leaders in the General Assembly today announced a landmark agreement to pass a statewide smoking ban in Virginia’s bars and restaurants. The legislation will ban smoking in nearly all restaurants across the Commonwealth, allowing narrow exceptions for private clubs and restaurants with a designated smoking room that is physically separated and independently ventilated from non-smoking dining areas.

“The dangers of second-hand smoke are undeniable—that’s why I made a restaurant smoking ban one of my legislative priorities. This legislation will make Virginia’s restaurants safer for both patrons and employees,” Governor Kaine said. “I’m proud to have been able to work with leaders in both parties of the General Assembly to find common ground on this reasonable and necessary public health measure.”

Today’s announcement comes after Governor Kaine worked closely with legislative leaders to craft an agreement acceptable to both parties and both houses.

Virginia House Speaker William Howell also noted the agreement as a step forward for Virginians: “I am pleased to join in announcing a reasonable compromise on an issue important to Virginians,” said Speaker Howell. “The compromise strikes a fair balance between the rights of smokers who choose to enjoy a legal product and the rights of other individuals who want to enjoy a smoke-free environment when eating at a restaurant. This legislation is all about finding opportunities for cooperation and compromise where possible. And, where state leaders can find and share such common ground, we should.”

Second-hand smoke is responsible for an estimated 1,700 deaths per year, according to the Virginia Department of Health. In addition, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates the Commonwealth spends $113 million a year on health care expenditures related to exposure to second-hand smoke.

To improve the health of Virginia’s employees and minimize health risks in the work place, Governor Kaine signed Executive Order 41 banning smoking in all state buildings and vehicles in October 2006.

The agreement makes Virginia part of a growing list of states around the country that are passing legislation curbing smoking in restaurants. Twenty-three other states and Puerto Rico have already passed bans on smoking indoors at bars and restaurants. Maryland and the District of Columbia passed similar restrictions on smoking in restaurants in 2007 and 2006, respectively.