Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pick One

When I read this story on the front page of the New York Times today I could not decide what defined America's war on drugs, the assault on women, the militarization of the police, the failed system of jail, nail em and let them go or just all of it that says "we got nothing for you loser" so gofuckyourself.

Where to begin - a woman whose own family was murdered and in grief turned to drugs as their clearly was no mental health counseling that she could have found easily and accessible; then we have the drugs, men using them and exploiting women to sell them; how about the children living with the men - note that was not a problem as if using and dealing drugs is less urgent than letting your kid play alone in the park; a system that did little to actually provide counseling and drug rehabilitation once incarcerated so back to the streets and the needle or in fancy legal terms - recidivism; cops busting down doors with the SWAT team and getting little to nothing of merit; the observing a low level user but the dealer/distributor goes unscathed and drives off while arresting the sad woman with drugs in her bra; then we have the murder victims, a son who was so severely mentally ill he killed his parents. The real issue in this story is the issue surrounding mental health and the lack of mental health care in this country. And note to the NRA, he did so without a gun he stabbed them to death. Mentally ill is not an issue when it comes to killing, they will kill with whatever is available. Guns are often the easiest and most effective.

Sad.Grim.Pathetic.  I got nothing for you.... win or lose.. we all lose.



Heroin Takes Over a House, and Mom

MICHAEL WILSON & J. DAVID GOODMAN
New York Times
November 30, 2014

The condo is one of several that back up to one another, a gravel path alley in between. Strangers, lost, stumbled into the wrong yards.

“All white,” one neighbor, John Barclay, said. “They blended into the neighborhood.”

“People were coming out of the alleys, throwing up,” a third neighbor said. “They were finding needles in there.”

After months of this — after community meetings, complaints to the police and countless calls to 311 — the police raided the home on June 5. Officers arrived in full armor. Children playing outside gawked at the battering ram. The police arrested the woman inside, Laurie Sperring.

By the time she and her boyfriend were led to a police vehicle in handcuffs, neighbors had gathered out front, and they clapped.

A mother told her young children, “They’re bad people, and that’s why you should stay away from drugs.”

Ms. Sperring’s fall from life as a suburban mom and a wife played out with dizzying speed. By the end, her modest condominium was a locus for a borough’s ravenous heroin demand. Dealers set up there; Staten Island’s bands of addicts, linked by word of mouth and cellphone connections, descended en masse; the police followed.

“What possessed me? I don’t know,” Ms. Sperring, now 45, said in one of several interviews from the Rikers Island jail complex. She was describing the first time she took heroin. “I just wanted to see what it was like. Which is stupid, I know.”

She openly acknowledges that after that first experience, she and others flooded her quiet corner of Staten Island with drugs and interloping addicts. She also suggested, as others have in recent months, that heroin, once thought of as a scourge of days past, is back, everywhere. Those touched by her descent were also remarkably open to recalling it — her ex-husband, the police officers who took her in, even her daughter.

The drug washed over the borough in the wake of law enforcement crackdowns on painkillers, replacing oxycodone as the intoxicant of choice for the bored and restless. Elected officials characterized heroin’s hold on Staten Island as an epidemic, with the borough second only to the Bronx in per capita deaths from heroin overdoses.

To witness what happened in 19 Wood Court, to grasp the mix of temptation, chance and dark opportunity that took place there, is to see how heroin addiction can metastasize and ruin the many lives it touches. The drug has been found in all walks of life on the island, but Ms. Sperring’s addiction offers a vivid, telling example of the blight, one that drove away her family and poisoned her neighborhood.

“People have this misconception that you have to look a certain way,” she said. “There’s not a face of heroin.”

Life for Ms. Sperring began on Staten Island. She dropped out of high school and, aimless, moved to Florida, married and had a daughter. But in 1999, with that marriage over, Ms. Sperring with her daughter, Christina, 5 at the time, returned to Staten Island, finding work with her aunt and uncle. She met a man, Steven Sperring, a technician for Verizon.

He was as even-tempered and deliberate as she was brassy and spontaneous, but the two clicked. He was divorced with a teenage son and daughter. They married in 2003, living for a time in Arden Heights. But he was sick of renting. He came across a condominium for sale in Rossville.

Wood Court is part of a winding complex of condominiums built alongside a hilly park in the 1980s, its pastoral aspirations announced in the naming of the streets within: Balsam Place, Larch Court, Berry Court. There is a pool and a clubhouse. Middle-class families, including several police officers, live in and around the development alongside Rossville Avenue.

“All the homes are beautiful, the landscape was kept nice,” said Mr. Sperring, 48.

They were warmly received, he said, with neighbors dropping by to introduce themselves. They threw parties with their friends, and sat in the little backyard that opened up to the gravel alley. A fence at the end of the alley had been built years earlier, to deter thieves from taking lawn furniture, but in truth, crime was practically nonexistent.

Life was good for the Sperrings. But Ms. Sperring’s daughter, Christina Potter, was 15, and she saw things.

“Growing up, me and my sister found, like, cocaine residue,” she said. “We weren’t stupid.”

Ms. Sperring called her relationship to cocaine “recreational.” It was not, looking back, a big deal to anyone in the home.

That changed in a day.

Loss of a Mother Figure


Ms. Sperring’s aunt and uncle, Marian and Arthur Bellucci, owned a home health care agency, and gave Ms. Sperring a job. She visited elderly clients on the island, helping out. Her aunt was more than an employer. She was a mother figure and a friend and a daily coffee companion.

On Oct. 13, 2010, unimaginable tragedy struck the family. The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Bellucci were found, stabbed to death in their home. Their son, Eric, with a history of schizophrenia and violent outbursts, had booked and boarded a flight to Israel earlier that day. He was later arrested and charged in his parents’ murders. He has been repeatedly deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The deaths left Ms. Sperring reeling. “Everyone went back to their normal lives,” she said, “and I was like, ‘How could you do that? My aunt’s not here anymore.’ ”< “I went crazy,” she added. “I was drinking, getting high.” She sold her jewelry for money to buy cocaine. When that was gone, she turned to her daughter’s. “She stole my tennis bracelet,” Ms. Potter said. It was engraved, a gift from her mother. She ran up credit card charges. She went to a P. C. Richard & Sons electronics store with her cocaine dealer and let him pick out a new computer and a camcorder for himself in exchange for $500 or so worth of drugs. Her husband found out. “That’s when the fighting started,” Mr. Sperring said. She screamed at him. She threw dishes. He moved out of the bedroom and into the basement. “She would just come down for hours on end and berate me,” Mr. Sperring said. She found a source of money in the form of an elderly man she looked after, stealing from him. She was arrested and jailed for a short period, then released, a cycle that repeated over and over in 2011 and 2012. She opened a credit card behind her husband’s back, hiding the statements. She sold her own Xanax. She hit up the neighbors. “She started going around, asking, ‘Can I borrow 10 bucks?’ ” one of them, Mark Ponemon, 61, recalled. By 2012, everyone had had enough. “I just couldn’t take it anymore,” Mr. Sperring said. “I was going to have a nervous breakdown.” ">
He left, along with the three children.

First Taste of Heroin

Left alone, Ms. Sperring accelerated her descent into crime and addiction.

By 2013, to support her crack habit, she had fallen in with an identity theft ring. Her role was to use counterfeit credit cards with stolen numbers to buy iPhones at retail stores. She turned them over to her boss, who paid her, say, $100 for her troubles. She was arrested outside a Best Buy in March 2013 and charged with identity theft, and, after pleading guilty, was sent to the women’s jail dorm at Rikers Island to begin serving what turned into an eight-month sentence.

The time at Rikers helped her clean up, and she looked forward to her release in November 2013. She recalled a phone conversation she had had with her daughter.

“She said, ‘Mom, be careful when you come home, because heroin is really big on Staten Island,’ ” Ms. Sperring recalled.

Heroin?

“Christina,” Ms. Sperring replied, “Mommy would never do that.”

She came home to Wood Court in November 2013. Only a bed remained of her old life; Mr. Sperring had cleaned the place out. But he let her stay there, rent-free; he filed for divorce but the couple remained cordial while she was in jail.

Then another former Rikers inmate, named Ashley, tracked down Ms. Sperring and came to Wood Court to visit her in February.

“She goes, ‘Do you want to come to this guy Eric’s house?’ ” Ms. Sperring said. “She wanted to get high.” Ms. Sperring feared relapsing into her cocaine habit, but felt safe going with Ashley: In this house, the drug was heroin. “I wasn’t going to do heroin,” she said.

Eric’s house, eight miles away on Jefferson Avenue, was bare inside. A couch, a little table, an empty refrigerator. There were six or seven guys sitting around. Ashley and Eric, a dealer who looked to be in his 50s, went back to a bedroom to get high. Ms. Sperring stayed in the living room. Then the women left.

No harm done.

Ms. Sperring accompanied Ashley on another visit to Eric’s house soon after, in March. This time, there were two new faces, a father and a son of high-school age. There was a woman there, too, some kind of dancer. Ms. Sperring learned that the father and son were living in Eric’s living room.< The father was Christian Patterson, 38. “I liked him,” she said. “I was attracted to him. He’s like that Brooklyn tough guy. Rugged. And his son, she said, was adorable. Mr. Patterson injected heroin, she said. Maybe there was something about the way he seemed to have his act more or less together. Whatever it was, Ms. Sperring said she could not believe what she said that night. “Let me get a bag of dope,” Ms. Sperring said. “I want to try it.” She sniffed her first dose. The high was thrilling, she said, a peaceful rush that washed over her. A few days later, she went back again, and snorted again, and in this state, while Eric and the dancer were arguing — “this big to-do” — Ms. Sperring had an idea. Come stay at my house, she told Mr. Patterson and his son. It is bigger than this, and nicer, and empty. They threw their stuff in a car and moved in that very night, while Wood Court slept. A Condo Filled With Strangers

The condominium was attached to identical homes on either side, with private, numbered parking spaces out front. Two stories, red wood facades, bay windows. The master and two other bedrooms upstairs, the kitchen and living room downstairs and a spare bedroom in the basement.

Very quickly, the rooms of the house filled up. Mr. Patterson not only used heroin, Ms. Sperring said, but he also sold it. So others followed.

A man named Steve traded haircuts for drugs. There was Andrew and Joey. There were six or seven regular visitors who came at least once a day, Ms. Sperring said.

They did not use drugs in front of Mr. Patterson’s son, she said. The boy had his own friends coming over regularly to hang out.

Then Eric, the dealer on Jefferson Avenue, moved into the basement.

The basement had its own entrance, from the backyard. It got busy back there. Addicts who bought heroin from Eric would park on Rossville, open the creaky wooden gate, and walk along the gravel path past the yards and kitchen windows of four homes — two on each side —to get to that basement door.

How many people were doing that every day and night? How many stumbled around lost? “I have no idea,” Ms. Sperring said. She mostly stayed in her bedroom, getting high.

Neighbors started rigging up motion-activated lights in the backyards. Mr. Ponemon answered his doorbell once and saw strangers at the door. He remembered one wayward visitor asking, “Do you know where that lady lives who sells?”

There were still the periodic flashes of normalcy. Ms. Sperring woke up early most mornings to get Mr. Patterson’s son out the door to school, allowing the father to sleep in until the feelings of withdrawal were too urgent for her to ignore.

About a month after letting the Pattersons move in with her, she had stopped sniffing heroin and started shooting up with a needle. But she was unable to do it herself.

“Chris shot me up,” she said. “He always shot himself up first.”

Soon, she was using a bundle — a package of 10 tiny bags — per day, three bags per dose. Ms. Sperring bought clean needles at Duane Reade every couple of days. “Heroin was a whole new world,” she said.

May 11 was Mother’s Day, two months after her introduction to heroin. She went downstairs to the motley assemblage and decided she was baking a cake. She did not notice when a car pulled up outside, and a woman, now 19, stepped out with her boyfriend. It was Ms. Sperring’s daughter, Ms. Potter, visiting from Florida and there to surprise her.

The doorbell rang.

As she waited outside, Ms. Potter recalled, a man drove by.

“He looks at me and my boyfriend like, ‘Can I help you?’ ” Ms. Potter said. “I gave him a little attitude back. ‘No, I’m good, thanks. Just waiting for my mother.’”

The man parked his car and opened the front door, entering with some friends whom Ms. Potter described as “shady."

Then she saw her mother.

“She was wearing sweatpants and a white T-shirt that had stains on the front,” she said. “It could have been blood. I knew she was using. But she said, ‘Oh no, I was baking.’ When she’s using she has an excuse for everything.”

Ms. Potter looked down. “I saw a mark on her arm,” she said. “It wasn’t like the movies, where it’s purple and red. It was just a raised bump.”

She looked up.

“What told me something was different than cocaine or crack, this time her face was, like, sunken in,” she said.

She immediately confronted her mother, demanding answers.

Her mother denied anything was going on. “How can you do this to me on Mother’s Day?” Ms. Sperring said.

“Call me when you want to tell me the truth,” Ms. Potter said, and left. It was the last time she saw her.

Ms. Sperring distinctly remembers her reaction as her daughter walked away: not anger or sadness, but relief.
>
“I didn’t want her to know what was going on,” she said.

‘Drug Parties’ at All Hours

“ ‘What’s going on?’ ” they asked him, Mr. Sperring recalled. “ ‘There’s drug parties going on at all hours of the night. There’s screaming, there’s yelling.’ I said, ‘O.K., I’ll see what I can do.’ ” He began looking into ways to evict whoever was living there, including his ex-wife.

The complaints to the police reached Detective John Fahim, with the Police Department’s Staten Island gang squad, in May. He knew the address from growing up just down the block.

“I never believed so much heroin could be coming out of that house,” he said in an interview. He started watching the place from an unmarked car. This particular brand of heroin coming out of 19 Wood Court seemed hugely popular with users. (Tests on the drugs would show that the heroin was mixed with crystal methamphetamine.)

At least one neighbor noticed the surveillance, and told Ms. Sperring, “Laurie, they’re watching your house.” Ms. Sperring told Mr. Patterson to be more careful where he sold heroin.

Before long, Detective Fahim had witnessed enough heroin sales to get a search warrant, and he led a police raid on June 5. Mr. Patterson was outside at the time, arguing with a neighbor — the pit bulls, Max and Missy, were an increasing source of neighborly friction — when he noticed the detectives and ran inside. Officers entered quickly. The house was a mess; the basement was worse, dog feces and used needles everywhere.

Ms. Sperring went quietly. “I should have been surprised when men with guns kicked my door in,” she said. “I really wasn’t.”

When officers led her outside, she saw the neighbors applauding. “I’m not blaming them. I’m ashamed,” she said. “I could never go back there.”

For all that, the police found only a few bags of heroin, and a wad of cash on the floor: $1,106 wrapped with a rubber band. A dealer was supposed to bring a delivery of drugs, but drove away when he saw the raid in progress, Detective Fahim said he later learned. Ms. Sperring spent about 10 days in the infirmary at Rikers Island. She got out, and went straight back to Wood Court.

She found some money and dispatched Joey to buy a bundle of heroin. Mr. Patterson was to be released from jail the same day, and he was probably on the subway or ferry already. When the drugs arrived, she sniffed a couple bags and set the rest aside. It would not be long before the couple, and those around them — including the police — resettled into their routines.

On July 1, a dealer who sold drugs to Mr. Patterson came to the Wood Court neighborhood. Mindful of the recent police raid, he parked his van away from the house. Ms. Sperring went to the van and paid the dealer.

The 20 bundles of heroin?< The dealer pointed to a car parked nearby.< “ ‘See that black bag underneath the tire?’ ” he asked her, she recalled. Ms. Sperring walked to the car, picked up the bag and stuffed it into her bra. She headed toward home. “As soon as I got to the corner, a blue Subaru pulled up next to me,” Ms. Sperring recalled. She recognized the driver as an officer from the raid in June. It was Detective Fahim. “He said, ‘Laurie, please give me the bag.’ ” She was arrested and taken to jail and has been there ever since. Cleaning Out the ‘Junkie Den’

Even without its matriarch, the house continued to be a suburban heroin den. Mr. Patterson was still selling heroin into July, according to an indictment. By then, another dealer, Shaun Sullivan, 33, was living in the basement with his wife, the police said. Ms. Sperring said she had never heard of him.

Detective Fahim could not believe it; it was as if the raid had never happened. “Now you’ve got two businesses running,” he said. The police eventually arrested Mr. Patterson, Mr. Sullivan and his wife.

Mr. Sperring, after learning of his former wife’s arrest, asked a nephew to head over to the house and lock things down.

The nephew told Mr. Sperring that an unfamiliar man answered the door. His nephew told the man, “ ‘Here’s 40 bucks,’ ” Mr. Sperring said. “ ‘Get out.’ ”

The upper two floors looked fine, all things considered. The basement, where he himself had once slept, was another story.

“Like a junkie den,” Mr. Sperring said. “Needles, spare needles, blood rags all over the place, all over the floor. Everywhere, everywhere. As soon as you turned on the light, the entire floor was littered. You had to watch where you stepped or you’d step on one.”

The locks were changed, the place cleaned out. Today, a renter from Brooklyn lives in the home. She found needles tucked behind the boiler, but otherwise, it has been quiet. Things around the neighborhood, though, seem different: Younger residents say they believe the police are now monitoring them for no reason.

“They said, ‘What are you doing over here?’ ” said Kate Barclay, 21, who was recently pulled over because the police said she did not use her signal. “They searched my entire car,” she added, including the occupants: one by one, a stop-and-frisk search that was, until this year, unheard-of in the neighborhood.

Eric, Joey, Steve, Andrew — all seem to have eluded arrest in this case, and have moved on.

Mr. Patterson pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance and was released from jail on Nov. 20. He declined to be interviewed, as did his son. Mr. Patterson is suing the Police Department over what he says was a rough arrest at Wood Court.

Ms. Sperring was indicted on charges of selling heroin, and pleaded guilty in August. She will be sentenced in December, but after her time served, she anticipates being released in late February.

Life in jail has frayed her nerves. But without the heroin, she said she feels healthy again, staying busy with drug treatment programs, classes, a job in the jail and church services.
What seems to frighten her most is the prospect of getting out. She has no idea where she will stay. She hopes her ex-husband helps her so she can rent a room somewhere. Asked if she would contact Mr. Patterson, she paused for several beats.

“I don’t know,” she said. Then she added, “I’m not going to reach out to him, no.”

Her heroin use began and ended in less than four months. She does not want to return to that life.

“This is my last shot,” she said. “I can’t go out and do this again. I’ll be dead. I don’t want them to find me in a hotel with a needle in my arm.”

It's All Greek to Me

The ludicrous "punishment" to the frat system of the University of Virginia eviscerated as the epitome of "rape culture" in the Rolling Stone was to not allow any celebrations or events until January 9th. Not that the campus is actually busy with the need for frat parties as I am sure the football shit is over (I don't follow sports), there are semester finals and of course the closure for the holiday break.  Well color me Sally Hemmings ah Lawdy masta we gots to clean the sliver anyway.

The Washington Post has a new article discussing the future of the system and where does it go from here in response to the article. I suspect as many things the rugs will be lifted and this will be swept under them.   We do not care about a bunch of drunk college kids that is really the issue, they are just thought of as dumb drunks.. with date rape drugs and a propensity for violence but hey ask the boys of Sayetville or any other town in America with the same problem

As like Bill Cosby more women are coming forward to lend their stories which now has affected his future earnings, yet people somehow think that this man of our past was the good and reliable spy or Cliff Huxtable pushing jello while getting a kid to say the darndest thing.  What has that got to do with the man he is and was.   Why do we dismiss the women of the past as worthless to come forward to remind us that the past can affect the future.  And why can he go on with his lives while theirs seem to be on hold.

This leads me to the profile of the young woman victimized by both the frat and in turn the University.  Its double jeopardy when it comes to rape.  Trust me on this one you are raped by the man or in this case men and you are raped repeatedly when you enter the system. From the hospital to the criminal or investigative end you are victimized, brutalized and punished over and over again.   Weren't gang raped the first go around well you are eventually when you decide to tell someone.  You really never move on or forward it is the Linus blanket that drags behind you forever.

I don't like to use my personal story as supportive evidence because then individuals see that as my "excuse" "explanation" or justification for why I feel so passionate and so strident about my views.  Well unlike most Americans who need some actual connection to something such as when you hear women CEO's go "I am a mother..." or Men go "I used to play football"  to somehow show that they are more aware and in turn empathetic to the demands or needs of those individuals hurt.  Hey you can have something called empathy and sympathy without actually having to have had cancer, be a victim of a crime, have a child etc, etc. etc.   But Americans long lost that connection to what is called being a human apparently with a brain and have feelings and emotions that resonate when someone talks about being in pain.  Where is Oz, not the Doctor but the place, as he clearly needs to fix that.

I recall my asshole, whoops I mean attorney, asking me to take a lie detector.  Then I recall the Police and the Prosecutor saying I made him up but never looking to the report by a hospital social worker that documented the phone numbers and the texts exchanged nor even calling the number or better yet getting a court order to track the owner of the phone.  But hey I am the liar.  Yes a grown woman lies and what was the purpose or reason?  I seriously injured woman would lie why?  Well ask Jennifer Miller the City of Seattle Attorney when she inferred me a slut and whore in open court.

So yes I do know what these women go through.   I still go through it.  It is akin to walking on fire.

We criminalize and "demonize" the victims as that way it justifies the laziness and incompetents of those who should be there to help resolve a problem not make new ones.

This column in the Washington Post discusses the concept of black boys as these larger than life figures that must be contained, shot, killed as they are not "normal" so in turn that justifies the fear and loathing that ends up with someone dead; that someone is of course the black "man/child/demon"

The same justification for rape is that women should not dress like sluts, remember the slut walks. Or drink, or go out with younger men. Yes my asshole, whoops attorney, said to me that I need to have long term counseling for my "lifestyle" choices.  This after making me re-enact my last memory of the evening.  It was then when I was traumatized he "believed" me.  Read my last entry about that relationship with this attorney.. and again is the excuse, explanation or justification why I loathe Attorneys.  

I never "liked" or "disliked" Attorneys and thought of them as evil necessities but this experience only confirmed my belief.  But yes in many cases until you experience this first hand you have no idea how badly this system is broken.    But no I did not need to be drugged and raped to know that it FUCKED UP.

America is in desperate need of a new revolution but we need clear leaders to do more than stand by they need to grab the ladder and start a new hierarchy.  Obama was never the one (this man in his biography well published before his election quotes Reagan and admired him, so really he was never the great liberal saviour that was projected upon him.. but I read and shit)  so who is?   (For the record while I would love it to be a woman/gay/minority I don't think Hilary is one either get a copy of Harpers that discusses what a hot mess this woman is)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Thankful Surprise

I love the blog Grits for Breakfast, plain honest talk about the fucked up system that defines jurisprudence in Texas.  Frankly I don't think it is all that unique but Texas does it bigger that is for sure.

In a recent entry about the defense of the indigent and issues that surround all cases not just capital felonies, the lack of lawyers and in turn abilities to defend oneself becomes further and further out of reach with each passing day.  Once you waive that right for a speedy trial or even if you don't as in some municipalities they can and do work round it, you find yourself on what I call a conveyor belt.

I wrote this to comment about my frustration and in turn found a comment that was so self depreciating I could not believe it was from an actual Attorney.  The exception and the rule just met the most angry distrustful woman with regards to Attorneys and their self interest.  Every now and then it is nice to be wrong.

I agree. Regardless of the type of crime in which one finds oneself, you are pushed through as if on a conveyor belt....with or without a private attorney. I should know after going into debt and being forced to sign a promissory note to the Public Defenders office after getting a loan from a bank to pay a private attorney. He then goes I can't do anymore on your case without more money. Okay then. So off to the PD who said we can't take your case so we will pay your Attorney and you can pay us. This is the system criminalizing poverty and ensuring poverty if you try to fight it. 

Attorneys are loathe to actually do the heavy lifting. Such as find the law, argue the law and force the state to actually prove their case with evidence. Cross examine the States experts, challenge their role (as in the infamous Stephen Hayne) and demand Judges to truly be unbiased individuals whom are there to hear all sides of the case, 
Anyone trying to challenge the State finds a wall created of bullshit created by Attorneys to ensure that their bottom line is protected not those they serve. 
Prosecutorial misconduct is an epidemic, imagine if the Bar Association actually did something about that!   
Read some of the bullshit "BLAWGS" by defense attorneys that rant on lamenting the lack of justice for certain cases.. meanwhile doing NOTHING to change it. 
The system is broken. We need to change it by working with some of the existing groups that truly see the system for what it is - a sham  

Anonymous Anonymous said... (in response to my above comment) 
The comment I'm about to make probably will be of little use and is nothing more than my observation but, a previous commenter wrote: 
"Attorneys are loathe to actually do the heavy lifting. Such as find the law, argue the law and force the state to actually prove their case with evidence. Cross examine the States experts, challenge their role (as in the infamous Stephen Hayne) and demand Judges to truly be unbiased individuals whom are there to hear all sides of the case 
Now for my comment: Truer words have never been spoken. After a bout with a corrupt Texas criminal justice system myself, at 41 years of age, I went to law school. In the short couple of years I have been practicing I have been amazed at how lazy and incompetent a typical lawyer can be. I haven't really ventured into criminal defense but what I've seen on the civil side is downright scary. Right out of law school I could argue circles around much more experienced attorneys just because I took the time to do some research and actually learn what the law was on a particular issue. 
Way to many attorneys never do any research and simply fly by the seat of their pants thinking their dazzling personality and brilliance will carry the day. I hate to say it, but, in some cases, a criminal defendant may be better off going pro se than relying on some of the attorneys I've seen. Don't get me wrong, I have also seen a few truly brilliant, hardworking, and dedicated attorneys but they are the exception rather than the rule.  
Now, unfortunately, this phenomenon isn't limited to those in the legal profession. I saw it in other fields I worked in also. Just pure laziness and wanted to make a buck the easiest way possible, whether it was the right way or not. I guess that's a symptom of our sick society. Or maybe its just human nature. I dont' know. Like I said, my comment really has no purpose or usefulness.
Anonymous Anonymous said... (my response)
It has immense use to me. Thank you for your supportive and most importantly honest words. 
As I have found myself at the end of a broken chain of two systems - the criminal and the medical one - I found it better to at least on the civil end go alone after I watched two supposed highly acclaimed Attorneys utterly botch my case. One went to Harvard which I have always suspected as a school on reputation alone. These two men sat on the sidelines and utterly allowed the Prosecution and a Judge who should be judging dog shows he was so clueless to allow me to lose.  
As I watched my civil rights go out the window along with my savings I could not believe what I was watching. I had been warned that the PD was a useless tool of plea bargaining but this is our system... arrogant, ignorant and yes lazy.  
Lazy is the definitive when it comes to both systems. Education is the third in that Bermuda triangle and on that I can say I also have experience.  
It is embarrassing to think that law schools are plowing out these idiots at a rapid clip, with immense debt to the point that our system is clogged with more underemployed lawyers that could actually do something useful. And they elect to not. Why? Money, I assume. 
I have paid the same lawyer now with the current PD debt I just assumed that he "negotiated" for me over 25K. The other lawyer I tried was 3K. I make 25K a year. I will file bankruptcy once the appeal is done but he walks away free and clear regardless of the outcome. I am not sure I can say the same. 
He is an utter asshole and I have no respect for him or the member of his "tribe" whom I have encountered on this road to ruin. But your words restored my belief that some people are honest. Thanks for that. 

It came after Thanksgiving when I had received a brief from another Attorney in the civil case I am going pro se on.  And even the paralegal went "wow that was one nasty response, he sure opened the door to a reply that at this point leaves nothing to lose" and I have nothing to lose. They are scum and their representation reflects that.

And it is good to know that regardless of the kind of law these fuckwits practice they are largely fuckwits who then become Judges! Ah the circle of life.

The Hierarchy

I had a conversation with one of my favorite Baristas yesterday about the way we address and deal with  issues of significance that matter.  And we concluded that there is a clear hierarchy when it comes to listening and more importantly respecting and HEARING what is being said and by whom.

When it comes to the Great White American Male (the GWAM) they take precedence.  Their position in that hierarchy also matters.  So a white male who is a Doctor, Lawyer and "Indian" Chief which means Law enforcement as being Indian is not on the ladder at all.   We have a great way of ignoring the ground under that ladder, the Native American by relegating them to reservations and having casinos and selling fireworks as a form of business.  See we care!

The Washington Post did a great job addressing that when it comes to handling their crime and violence with juveniles it is not much better than we do when we gun them down in the street and kill them.   Think Michael Brown is an anomaly? No

The hierarchy of the ladder means that white men use the rungs as their mythical bootstrap holder to pull themselves up while the lower rungs are for those who are deemed essential to maintain that order and hierarchy and the rest, well you better be strong enough to hold up that ladder.

Which means black men, brown men are essential for heavy lifting and then when done they need to be in prison or dead, either is fine.  Then we have women, the ugly ones can stay down there with the colored men as no one will want to fuck them and have their ugly children.  And lastly the gays.  And any of the children that these fugs have well we don't need them so hopefully we can lock them up or kill them too.  Whatever works.

If you actually think this is bleak or hostile, then you don't live in America or you are one of the dying breed of the Great White American Whale... whooops typo.. I mean Male!

The adage is fight or flight.  Well I think it is more self preservation and the need to ensure that he who has the most "toys" wins.   I look at some of the great personas of the last decade and the stories of their homes, their cars, their art and the women that have passed through their lives is not something for film its real.   How many hedge fund divorces of late have exposed the fraud, the duplicity and the greed of the GWAM (although the Brits are topping the divorce charts right now).

So when you are a minority of any kind you are ignored.  You are deemed important if in fact it brings attention and therefore money in the direction of the one who is providing the attention.  It could be Lawyers, Doctors or the Media...the new Indian Chief. Then when done the heavy lifting is left to poors and coloreds.  Think Ferguson will matter by the new year?  This movement is already being dissected as directionless and purposeless.  Sounds like the new Occupy Wall Street.  A novelty that brought attention to an important issue and we clucked clucked and showed concern and then we sent in the Police to rid ourselves of that group of unruly and unclean.

Funny as I found a site that documents that those same enforcers are actually perpetrators, raping, assaulting women and children.  Shocking I know!

Everything that happened once before happens again. What is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over again expecting different results.  Maybe we need some organization and some leaders as clearly the mythical leaders who we adore are showing the crumbles of aging.

Bill Cosby is one such example.  20 women have come forward now.  And yet I still find the "blawgs" dissecting each claim as false and questionable.  Many of them are defense Attorneys so I suspect they want a bone thrown their way.  Funny why don't they spend more energy trying to fix a broken criminal system that fails anyone who can't afford lawyers.. oh let's not do that shall we?

By the way the first who renewed this allegation about Bill Cosby was a black MALE comic.  But who listens to him?

Then we have the fraternity system in America as applauded as a symbol of brotherhood and elitism. The same for football. Interesting that these two are being questioned for their roles in abuse and assault  of both women and children.   But blame the victims shall we?  Who are the guardians of those gates? I suggest you look to the "Indian" Chief of those organizations.

Should we pick and choose our indignity? Or should we face the truth here?   Hey you are on the ladder or holding the ladder but we are secure on our rungs.   We hate anyone but the Great White American Male.



Cosby and Ferguson: Why Addressing Gender Violence and Racial Violence Is Not Either/Or Option

Andrea Cambron
American Prospect
 November 26, 2014

 Why would you believe the accounts given by eyewitnesses to Michael Brown’s slaying, but not believe the testimony of many women who say they were raped in the same way by the same man?

 I've never understood the "one or the other" mentality. Being a mother, I am in an ever present state of multi-tasking. So when a male acquaintance that the Cosby scandal was a a distraction from the grand jury decision regarding Ferguson, I inquired, "How?"

 He asserted that if the lead news story becomes Cosby, then Ferguson and the protests in response to the police violence there become a footnote to the issue of racial violence in the town. He took the view that I've seen from a lot of men lately, which is that it is horrible "if" these alleged sexual assaults occurred, but we need to "wait until all of the evidence comes out" for us to fully understand what happened with these women and Bill Cosby.

 If you find it necessary to take a "wait and see" approach to the outcome of the allegations mounting against Bill Cosby, wouldn’t it logically follow that you would have taken the same approach to the accusation that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown without adequate cause? 

This is my issue: If you find it necessary to take a "wait and see" approach to the outcome of the allegations mounting against Bill Cosby, wouldn’t it logically follow that you would have taken the same approach to the accusation that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown without adequate cause?

 In order for you to be O.K. with Bill Cosby bullying news outlets to silence these allegations, it follows that you would have to be O.K. with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declaring a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury’s decision in an apparent attempt to silence the people of Ferguson.

Why would you believe the accounts given by eyewitnesses to Michael Brown’s slaying, but not believe the testimony of women who say they experienced rape at the hands of a particular man?

Regarding which should be the top headline, I don't disagree with my friend: The legal system’s treatment this week of the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer of the law, and its aftermath in the streets, naturally takes precedent in the priorities of news coverage over the decade-old allegations, however egregious, of a celebrity’s serial assaults of women.

But both stories speak volumes about the way vast societal institutions—law enforcement, the legal system, media—treat marginalized people. But if such priorities reversed the precedence, my friend would have to apply the same benefit of the doubt to Darren Wilson as he does Bill Cosby. And he does not.

In terms of importance, he was placing the racial violence in Ferguson ahead of sexual violence against women. However, as a black woman—being a double “minority,” as it were—I see race and gender violence through the same prism in terms of atrocities against humanity. They are equally horrific, and equally need addressing. On these issues, we must multi-task. I can be equally outraged at the killing of an unarmed black male and at the same time stand in solidarity with the women allegedly raped by Bill Cosby. You can't downplay alleged sexual violence of now 17 women yet exalt the grievance of the alleged racial violence against Michael Brown simply because you don't share the same gender as the former—because, you know, male privilege.

Watching this entire Cosby debacle unfold, I've been in mourning. The slow trickle of victims telling—and in a number of cases, retelling—their stories about Bill Cosby being a rapist has been depressingly sobering. And it’s not the first time that a number of these women have made these allegations. Some go back years. But it wasn’t until Hanibal Burress called Cosby a rapist in his comedy routine that the allegations gained traction.

Bill Cosby, beloved for his groundbreaking role in I Spy and his groundbreaking program, The Cosby Show, has built a life out of choosing projects that foster a sense of learning and education among his audiences. These also include his shows A Different WorldPicture Pages, the Fat Albert cartoon series, and, even later, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Children and adults could tune into his programs to watch clean, fun entertainment.

I grew up watching The Cosby Show. I was the same age as "Rudy," the character played by Keisha Knight Pulliam; watching Cosby every Thursday was a family ritual. As I got older and A Different World, a spinoff from Cosby, aired, I aspired to be one of the college kids at the fictional Hillman University, an historically black college (HBCU). This was a big reason why I eventually chose to attend Howard University.

My story is not unique. Many African-American men and women between the ages of 25-45 who matriculated at an HBCU can attest to the influence of Bill Cosby and A Different World as one of the reasons why they attended. A generation collectively followed this man's advice, whether explicit or subliminal, from the time we were babies watching Picture Pages, until we went to college.

However big the influence that Cosby commanded on society, that should not cause us to deny nor turn a blind eye to likelihood that he is someone capable of horrific crimes, even if his public persona is the direct opposite—that of the upstanding citizen. Violence is violence. The women who accuse Cosby were allegedly drugged and raped by him.

This wasn't the case of a philandering man who had many consensual extra-marital affairs. As morally reprehensible as that would be, at least the women would hold agency in their part of an affair. This is a man who allegedly took young, impressionable women and rendered them unconscious and powerless, so that their voices were nonexistent. In one sense, it is a criminally violent expression of the gender dynamics of the time in which Cosby grew up.

Vintage ads speak to women's constrained role in society. Mad Men, the period drama on HBO, depicts the lives of ad executives in the 1960s, whose sexist behavior pretty much epitomizes the era. It took women more than a century to secure right to vote in the United States; African-American men won that right before we did. Even in the present day, women's agency over their bodies is questioned when we stand up for ourselves. As a class of people, women are still in a struggle for full human rights, as are African Americans.

Make no mistake, the ongoing uprising in Ferguson is fully warranted. At the heart of the issue in Ferguson is a town currently constituted via a history of oppressive laws against citizens, the color of whose skin was treated as an irredeemable flaw. This is the reason people have been demonstrating for over 100 days since the killing of Michael Brown. Within this historical context, it becomes clear that African Americans continue to be viewed as less than citizens. What Darren Wilson did was  a modern-day lynching, conducted in front of neighbors, an act born of the impulse to incite fear and obedience.

This same dynamic that prompted the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s has renewed itself in Ferguson. The reason for a protest is obvious. The irregular proceedings and delays in the grand jury process point to an institutional bias against an indictment for the officer who shot Michael Brown in broad daylight. A system in which the police force is overwhelmingly white, and the convictions are overwhelmingly black points to systemically implemented, racially oppressive intentions by those who control the law.

Then what are we to make of the media’s—and society’s—long-time indifference to the rape allegations against Bill Cosby? Is this not a systemic issue, an institutional bias against indicting a powerful man accused of violence against 17 women?  Considering these two sets of circumstances—Ferguson and Cosby—there is no choosing. This is not "one or the other." This is both and then some. Racial violence does not trump gender violence, and gender violence does not trump racial violence. Oppression is oppression.

It seems that, even in the 21st century, it takes the voices of men speaking up about gender violence in order for people to start to pay attention. Hanibal Buress started the conversation; now other men, such as Michael Dynzel SmithTa-Nehisi Coates, and Marc Lamont Hill, have joined him. It shouldn't take men's voices validating the grievances of women for the masses to hear us. The fact that it is so proves the point that the struggle for women’s rights remains as urgent as the struggle for racial equality. Both struggles ultimately aim at a common goal: equal justice under the law.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pusher Dealer Doctor

Whatever you want to call them, it is that like all of the above they profit from your pain.

The below article discusses the fact that big Pharma cares little about the medical "professionals" that push their shit on you, be it the man in the white coat with a lovely waiting room or the dude on the corner, they are all the same.

Painkillers are the number one drug of choice and despite the fact that states are running around worrying about too many sales of cold medicine they are utterly disinterested in the legal scripts that are pushed through.

Doctors are scum. From their bullshit expert testimony that is funded and paid for and serves no one to the Doctor that finds the need to run needless tests, call in a second opinion to a friend who is conveniently not on the payroll, to Medicare fraud, the medical industrial complex lives up to its name and rivals the defense industrial complex for bullshit contracts that fuck the government, their patients or an insurance company. Irrelevant when the Doctor's bottom line matters.

Anyone got a pain killer I have a headache.



Using Doctors With Troubled Pasts to Market a Painkiller

By KATIE THOMAS
NOV. 27, 2014

Dr. Judson Somerville, a pain specialist in Laredo, Tex., received $67,000 in speaking fees, travel and meals in 2013 to promote a powerful and addictive painkiller called Subsys, according to a new federal database of payments that drug companies make to physicians.

But while Insys Therapeutics, the Arizona company that makes the product, was paying Dr. Somerville to promote it, he was under investigation by the Texas Medical Board. Last December, the board ordered him to stop prescribing painkillers after it found that he had authorized employees to hand out pre-signed prescriptions to patients and after it learned that three of his patients had died in 2012 of drug overdoses, most likely from drugs that he had prescribed.

Dr. Somerville, who received more money from Insys than any other doctor between August and December 2013, is just one of the company’s highly paid doctors who have recently faced legal or disciplinary trouble.

Dr. Gavin Awerbuch, a Michigan neurologist who received $56,000 from Insys, was arrested this spring after federal prosecutors said he defrauded Medicare of $7 million and improperly prescribed Subsys to patients who did not need it. Another top Insys speaker, Dr. Jerrold Rosenberg of Rhode Island, was reprimanded in September for inappropriately prescribing painkillers, including Subsys.

An analysis of the new federal Open Payments database shows that five of the 20 physicians who received the most money from Insys recently faced legal or disciplinary action, including three who were said to have inappropriately prescribed painkillers.

Many of the 20 highly paid doctors — most of them pain specialists — were also top prescribers of Subsys, according to prescribing information from Tricare, the health insurance program for military families, and internal Insys documents.

The data, which covered only that five-month period in 2013, provides unusual insight into the lengths that some drug companies go to cultivate relationships with doctors, and shows that Insys enlisted doctors with troubled track records to market its product to other physicians.

The drug industry has long paid influential doctors to speak to peers as a way of building word-of-mouth marketing. But such practices can cross the line, legal experts said, when doctors promote uses of the drug that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and when the speaking fees are paid in exchange for the doctors’ prescribing behavior.

In recent years, drug companies have paid billions of dollars to settle federal charges that they inappropriately marketed their products. But the same companies have made billions more in sales of the very drugs they were accused of selling inappropriately. Insys told investors last December that federal investigators were looking into its sales and marketing practices, and in September it said it had received another federal subpoena.

“This appears to be the business plan,” said Eric G. Campbell, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who studies conflicts of interest between doctors and the drug industry. “It appears to be, you do whatever you have to do, and you know that eventually you will pay fines, but you will pay the fines and still make a lot more.”
Continue reading the main story

The aggressive marketing of Subsys, the company’s only brand-name product, is especially remarkable, given that its use is highly restricted; it is approved only for cancer patients who are already taking opioid painkillers around the clock. Previous analyses have shown that only 1 percent of prescriptions for the product are written by cancer specialists.

Several former sales representatives said in interviews that they were encouraged by the company to call on pain doctors who treated patients with a wide range of ailments, and to reward high-prescribing physicians with perks like paid speaking engagements. And in at least two cases, the company hired the adult children of top doctors to serve as their parents’ sales representatives.

In a statement, Insys said that it had appropriately marketed Subsys and that the drug had been successful because it works better than its competitors. “We believe that existing data strongly supports that prescribing decisions have been driven primarily by the clinical attributes of Subsys,” the company said.

Insys paid doctors $2.8 million in the final five months of 2013, a marketing budget that put it in the company of major drug makers like Boehringer Ingelheim and Novo Nordisk, which market several products that are used to treat common medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. During a five-month period at the end of 2013, Insys paid 20 doctors more than $30,000 each in speaking and consulting fees as well as perks like travel and meals.

Sales of Subsys are strong: The product brought in $58.2 million in the third quarter of this year, more than double the $28.4 million it generated in the same quarter last year. Subsys represents close to 100 percent of Insys’s revenues.

Subsys is a form of fentanyl, a narcotic that is often used when other painkillers fail to provide relief. The product, which is sprayed under the tongue, begins working in as little as five minutes, which is useful for patients who experience sharp bursts of pain. But it carries a high risk of dependency and can cause respiratory distress — and death — for those who are not using painkillers regularly.

Several of the highest-paid doctors said they spoke on behalf of Subsys because they believed in the product.

“I’m not a big ‘talk for companies’ kind of guy,” said Dr. Somerville, who noted that he was a former president of the Texas Pain Society. “They liked my personality and how I approached things, and I liked their product.”

Dr. Somerville, who was a top prescriber of Subsys, said Insys representatives never questioned him about the Texas Medical Board’s ruling, and he continued speaking about Subsys for a few months after the board’s decision. Insys officials said they removed him as a speaker after learning of the disciplinary action.

Dr. Somerville took issue with the medical board’s claims, saying the board did not have evidence that he contributed to the patients’ deaths and that the action was the result of a vendetta against doctors who frequently prescribe opioids. “I’m very aggressive in trying to help my patients,” he said. “I’m a very caring doctor. I like money, but that’s not my god, O.K.?”

Other top speakers for Insys have also faced regulatory or legal trouble. Dr. Paul Madison, a pain specialist in Chicago, was indicted in 2012 on federal fraud charges after the authorities claimed that the surgical center he owned billed insurers for procedures that were never performed. Insys paid Dr. Madison nearly $33,000 in 2013.
Another top Insys speaker, Dr. Steven Y. Chun of Sarasota, Fla., paid $750,000 in February to settle federal charges that he had billed for procedures he did not perform. Dr. Chun received $45,000 from Insys in 2013, according to the database.

Dr. Chun said that he admitted no wrongdoing in the federal settlement and that he provided excellent care to his patients. Dr. Madison said he had done nothing improper; both doctors declined to comment further.

Insys officials said Dr. Chun and Dr. Madison were not accused of improper medical care. Dr. Awerbuch, the Michigan neurologist who was arrested on Medicare fraud charges, declined to comment through his lawyer. Insys said it ended its arrangement with him after his arrest.

In addition to paying high-prescribing doctors to speak on behalf of Subsys, Insys also hired the doctors’ family members. In 2013, Dr. Rosenberg’s son, Abraham, was a top sales representative for the company. Another highly paid doctor, Thomas L. Whitten, has a daughter who worked this year for six months as a sales representative.

Dr. Whitten, who received $43,000 in payments from Insys at the end of 2013, said his daughter, Alexandria, began working for the company this year after the previous representative in his region quit. He said the company asked him for a few recommendations to replace the previous representative, but when his suggestions fell through, his daughter’s name came up. “It was kind of mutual — it was simultaneous,” he said. Ms. Whitten is a recent college graduate and had never worked in pharmaceutical sales previously, he said, adding that she quit a few weeks ago.

Dr. Whitten said he did not write any new prescriptions for patients while his daughter was his sales representative. “She didn’t get any extra bonuses for anything she did,” he said.

In a statement, Insys officials said Dr. Whitten was already prescribing Subsys before his daughter was hired as a sales representative, and he continues to prescribe it even though she has quit.

Abraham Rosenberg did appear to benefit from his father’s prescribing practices. As of last June, Mr. Rosenberg was the second-highest performer in his region and the seventh-best sales representative nationwide, according to a company report that was provided by a former sales representative for Insys. At the time, Mr. Rosenberg’s top-prescribing doctor was his own father, who wrote prescriptions for 6,404 units of the drug in the second quarter of 2013, more than the combined total of drug units written by all the other doctors in his son’s territory.

Dr. Rosenberg, who did not return calls for comment, was also among the company’s highest-paid doctors at the end of 2013, according to the federal database, earning close to $36,000 from Insys.

In September, Dr. Rosenberg was reprimanded by the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline for prescribing Subsys to patients without cancer pain and failing to properly document the reasons.

In a brief interview, Abraham Rosenberg confirmed that he had worked for Insys for “about a year,” but said he had quit around a year ago and declined to comment further.

The company said Dr. Rosenberg’s prescribing practices were consistent with national trends among speakers and nonspeakers and said he did not appear to prescribe the product differently because of his son’s employment. The company said Dr. Rosenberg’s reprimand did not prohibit him from prescribing painkillers.

Insys officials said the company previously allowed sales representatives to call on physicians who were family members, but said its policy had recently “evolved” and the practice was no longer allowed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jesus Saves

And supposedly so do Police and Firefighters. But as I have found that is a myth that seems to be the select and few. If you live in Atlanta and are gay or a heathen you may find yourself out of house and home should this fire chief be on the call line that day.

I would read the book but I like books written above a 6th grade reading level.



Atlanta fire chief suspended after distributing his religious book to employees


By Abby Ohlheiser
November 26 at 1:21 PM 



Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran started a month-long suspension without pay this week after some of his employees complained about the content of his self-published religious book. Among other things, the book calls “homosexuality” and “lesbianism” a “sexual perversion” morally equivalent to “pederasty” and “bestiality.”

That book, city spokeswoman Anne Torres told Channel 2 in Atlanta, was distributed to some of Cochran’s employees. “We understand that he was distributing the book to other employees. We are still not sure what the circumstances surrounding them are,” Torres said. “The bottom line is that the [Mayor Kasim] Reed administration does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

In a later emailed statement to The Washington Post, Torres said the administration was “not sure about how many employees received the book.”

GA Voice reviewed a copy of the book and highlighted a couple passages.

In one, Cochran wrote: “Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

In another section, Cochran wrote that “naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

The mayor’s administration learned about the book after employees complained about it last week. The city is now investigating whether Cochran broke any city laws or discriminated against some employees in the city’s fire department, according to a statement the mayor’s office gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The mayor has read the book, Torres told The Post. “There are a number of passages in the book that directly conflict with the City’s non-discrimination policies,” she added.


“I am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community,” Reed said in a statement. In the future, Cochran will be prohibited from distributing the book on city property; he will also be required to undergo sensitivity training.

At least one local LGBT group has asked for Cochran’s permanent removal from the force. “Frankly the only course of action at this point and time is his immediate and permanent dismissal,” Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, told WBAE. “It appears that his language is so extreme, so belittling of gay and transgender people that I don’t see how he could possible [sic] lead a diverse workforce.”

According to Torres, it’s “too soon” for the administration to know whether further disciplinary action will be taken against Cochran. Any further action will be based on the outcome of the administration’s investigation.

The Atlanta Professional Firefighters union said in a statement that it was “disappointed to discover how the Fire Chief chose to represent Atlanta Fire Rescue in his book,” adding, “We applaud Mayor Reed for his quick decisive decision and look forward to working with the Mayor’s of LBGT services to develop strategies to ensure equal treatment and rights for all.”

The book in question,“Who Told You That You Were Naked,” is available in paperback on Amazon.com. [Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.]

The book’s title is a line from Genesis — it’s what God says to Adam and Eve as he figures out that the first humans ate from a forbidden tree. In the “about the author” section of the book, Cochran identifies himself as the Atlanta fire chief.

In the wake of Cochran’s suspension, several of the fire chief’s supporters and detractors have left reviews of the book on its Amazon page. “refreshing to see public figures openly state their beliefs. I stand behind you Chief Cochran !!! God Bless you and God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” writes one reviewer. “Ignorant and hateful,” says another.

Some wrote that they purchased the book specifically to support Cochran. “I bought this book because the author was suspended without pay from his ‘regular’ job for a month just for writing it,” one person writes.

Although the mayor’s decision to suspend Cochran seems to focus on Cochran’s comments about LGBT people, along with complaints about the chief distributing materials to employees, Red State’s Erick Erickson encouraged his readers to purchase Cochran’s book, writing that the fire chief was facing suspension for “publicly professing Christian beliefs.”

Cochran first served as Atlanta’s fire chief in 2008. The next year, President Obama appointed him as the U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration. He returned to Atlanta, and his old job as the fire chief, in 2010.

Money Maker

I am not sure who these Doctors are blaming - Obamacare, Big Pharma, Insurance companies, the Government as in Medicare/Medicaid, Patients or all of the above.  But what is clear is that Patient care is linked to Doctor's compensation.  Less compensation means less care. Shocking, I know.

When the Doctors control the drugs, set the pricing this might explain why their is a lack of continuity with regards to pricing and in turn to care giving. More ways to show that income inequity is not just about work. It is about health care and once again the Affordable Care Act does nothing to prevent drug hoarding, price fixing or the increasing move to consolidate medical practices and in turn more ways to price jack.

Drug wars? Well they should add this to the list.






Private Oncologists Being Forced Out, leaving Patients to Face Higher Bills


GINA KOLATA
NOV. 23, 2014


When Dr. Jeffery Ward, a cancer specialist, and his partners sold their private practice to the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, the hospital built them a new office suite 50 yards from the old place. The practice was bigger, but Dr. Ward saw the same patients and provided chemotherapy just like before. On the surface, nothing had changed but the setting

But there was one big difference. Treatments suddenly cost more, with higher co-payments for patients and higher bills for insurers. Because of quirks in the payment system, patients and their insurers pay hospitals and their doctors about twice what they pay independent oncologists for administering cancer treatments.

There also was a hidden difference — the money made from the drugs themselves. Cancer patients and their insurers buy chemotherapy drugs from their medical providers. Swedish Medical Center, like many other others, participates in a federal program that lets it purchase these drugs for about half what private practice doctors pay, greatly increasing profits

Oncologists like Dr. Ward say the reason they are being forced to sell or close their practices is because insurers have severely reduced payments to them and because the drugs they buy and sell to patients are now so expensive. Payments had gotten so low, Dr. Ward said, that they only way he and his partners could have stayed independent was to work for free. When he sold his practice, Dr. Ward said, “The hospital was a refuge, not the culprit

When a doctor is affiliated with a hospital, though, patients end up paying, out of pocket, an average $134 more per dose for the most commonly used cancer drugs, according to a report by IMS Health, a health care information company. And, the report notes, many cancer patients receive multiple drugs

“Say there was a Costco that had very good things at reasonable prices,” said Dr. Barry Brooks, a Dallas oncologist in private practice. “Then a Neiman Marcus comes in and changes the sign on the door and starts billing twice as much for the same things.” That, he said, is what is happening in oncology

A Quirk in Drug Pricing
Insurers pay hospitals and doctors affiliated with hospitals more to administer chemotherapy drugs than they pay independent doctors.


The situation is part of the unusual world of cancer medicine, where payment systems are unique and drive not just the price of care but what drugs patients may get and where they are treated. It raises questions about whether independent doctors, squeezed by finances, might be swayed to use drugs that give them greater profits or treat poorer patients differently than those who are better insured. But one thing is clear: The private practice oncologist is becoming a vanishing breed, driven away by the changing economics of cancer medicine.

Practices are making the move across the nation. Reporting on the nation’s 1,447 independent oncology practices, the Community Oncology Alliance, an advocacy group for independent practices, said that since 2008, 544 were purchased by or entered contractual relationships with hospitals, another 313 closed and 395 reported they were in tough financial straits. In western Washington, just one independent oncology group is left

Christian Downs, executive director of the Association of Community Cancer Centers, said that although there are no good data yet, he expected the Affordable Care Act was accelerating the trend. Many people bought inadequate insurance for the expensive cancer care they require. Community doctors have to buy the drugs ahead of time, placing a burden on them when patients cannot pay. The act also requires documentation of efficiencies in medical care which can be expensive for doctors in private practice to provide. And it encourages the consolidation of medical practices

The American Hospital Association cites advantages for patients being treated by hospital doctors.

“The hassle factor is reduced,” said Erik Rasmussen, the association’s vice president of legislative affairs. Patients can have scans, like CT and M.R.I., use a pharmacy and get lab tests all in one place instead of going from facility to facility, he said

And, he added, there is a reason hospitals get higher fees for their services — it compensates them for staying open 24 hours and caring for uninsured and underinsured patients

For doctors in private practice, providing chemotherapy to uninsured and Medicaid patients is a money loser. As a result, many, including Dr. Ward before he sold his practice, end up sending those patients to nearby hospitals for chemotherapy while keeping them as patients for office visits

“We hate doing it, I can’t tell you how much we hate doing it,” said Dr. Brooks, the Texas oncologist. “But I tell them, ‘It will cost me $200 to give you this medication in my office, so I am going to ask you to go to the hospital as an outpatient for infusions.’ 

Dr. Peter Eisenberg, in private practice in Marin County in Northern California, said: “The disgrace is that we have to treat people differently depending on how much money they’ve got. That we do diminishes me

Society of Clinical Oncology. Many private practice oncology offices, he said, “Run on time, they are efficient, you get in, you get out, as opposed to academic medical centers where they may be an hour and a half behind

Dr. Ward and others in private practice said they tried for years to make a go of it but were finally defeated by what he described as “a series of cuts in oncology reimbursement under the guise of reform to which private practice is most vulnerable

Lower reimbursements have two effects. One is on overhead. Unlike other doctors, oncologists stock their own drugs, maintaining a sort of mini-pharmacy. If a patient gets too sick to receive a drug or dies, the doctor takes the loss. That used to be acceptable because insurers paid doctors at least twice the wholesale price of drugs. Now doctors are reimbursed for the average cost of the drug plus 4.3 percent, there are more and more drugs to stock, and drugs cost more

“The overhead is enormous,” Dr. Schilsky said. “This is one of the reasons why many oncologists are becoming hospital-based

The second — and bigger — effect is less profit from selling drugs to patients. For years, chemotherapy drugs provided a comfortable income. Those days are gone, doctors say

The finances are very different in hospitals, with their higher reimbursement rates for administering drugs, discounts for buying large quantities, and a special federal program that about 30 percent of hospitals qualify for. The program, to compensate research hospitals and hospitals serving poor people, lets hospitals buy chemotherapy drugs for all outpatients at about a 50 percent discount

In addition, Dr. Schilsky notes, cancer patients at hospitals use other services, like radiation therapy, imaging and surgery“A cancer patient is going to generate a lot of revenue for a hospital,” Dr. Schilsky said

Health care economists say they have little data on how the costs and profits from selling chemotherapy drugs are affecting patient care. Doctors are constantly reminded, though, of how much they can make if they buy more of a company’s drug

Celgene, for example, in a recent email about its drug Abraxane, told one doctor who had bought 50 vials that he could get a rebate of $647.51 by buying 68 vials. If he bought 175 vials he’d get $1,831.


This hidden profit possibility troubles Dr. Peter B. Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

“When you walk into a doctor’s office you don’t know that in most cancer scenarios there are a range of therapeutic choices,” Dr. Bach said. “Unless the doctor presents options, you assume there aren’t any

While individual oncologists deny choosing treatments that provide them with the greatest profit, Dr. Kanti Rai, a cancer specialist at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Cancer Center, said it would be foolish to believe financial considerations never influence doctors’ choices of drugs

“Sometimes hidden in such choices — and many times not so hidden — are considerations of what also might be financially more profitable,” he said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The New Cosby Show

This past week has been a soap opera - with the Ferguson decision rendered and the chaos that still reigns there - this is an issue that lending my voice to an already packed platform serves no purpose.

So its on to the Bill Cosby Show, its new and improved Jello but even more wobbly. David Carr today does an excellent mea culpa in his column for his own role in obfuscating the gossip, heresay, allegations or whatever you want to call them by the media. You know the same media blamed in the Ferguson situation as the Prosecutor neither affirmed, then denied as Lawyers do the role of the Grand Jury. 

This Grand Jury could NOT indict a ham sammy as the saying goes as most don't when it comes to Police misconduct. The Houston Chronicle did a fantastic series explaining the bull and the shit present in their convoluted Grand Jury system, it is well worth a read.  But the Texas Observer also notes in many articles the inconsistencies and oddities prone to their system of indictments. But if you think this is unique to Texas and their hideous system of justice then think again.. such as in Ferguson. 

We again are the only civilized country that still pulls this bullshit and well we still kill people too. Its clearly working on stopping crime.  The next on the death squad is a criminally insane man. This one has more opera that soap, as he was during his original trial clearly insane, continues to be and the only way anyone knew he was to be exterminated, whoops executed was by an announcement in the paper. Is this the new wedding/engagement section in Texas "to be executed" section.

And lastly the issue of the rape of the grand institution founded by Thomas Jefferson - University of Virgina The profile in Rolling Stone of the culture of rape, frats and booze of that school while touting the ethics and standards of the great founding hypocrite, Thomas Jefferson, is disturbing best, horrendous at worst. What is more appropriate is that in irony that the school is proud of the slaveholder who fucked his slaves, had children by them, failed to acknowledge either and they were freed after his death. Yes we are all born equal and free. What.the.fuck.ever And now the proud campus has been found to be more like their founder than they care to admit. Turning rocks are hard when you are not a slave. Shoe foot, tree apple, cotton gin. What.ever.

Why college campuses feel compelled to fail to try, help or actually investigate these crimes are all Title IX requirements. Clearly that is not working.  But is law enforcement ever when it comes to sexual assault?  Going with the big no on that one.

And what do these historic halls of academia do with these young women who have begged for help? It appears nothing.  Well clearly academia is no better than our public courts when it comes to investigating and charging rape. Or or military, or our sports venues or well anywhere men whip out their dicks to physically harm women. And it not just women, the casualty of war includes men.

The fallback on both Cosby and the frat boys has been rather interesting.  Odd one is a black man yet I would never think of Bill Cosby as the typical black man that we vilify in our streets. Well he puts the Clarence in Thomas if they are thinking of making that Lifetime movie or that other douche, Herman Cain, who ran for President while he too hid his sordid past, Mr. Cosby might be available to play either one or both.  Well they do in fact share two things with Thomas Jefferson - being free and male.

And we have the issues of course of the white male genitalia, I mean apologists that seem to find fault with the Cosby accusers. My favorite so far comes from a "blawger" who claims no such drugs existed. Apparently he was not alive in the 70s when Valium was a drug of popularity and the predominant ingredient - Benzodiazepine - the predominant amnesiac drug in modern day date rape drugs. But hey I remember it being thrown around like candy and I was a kid, it was the housewives best friend, he might want to pick up a copy and read the Diary of a Mad one.

Yes a bunch of women in their 50s and 60s were sitting around watching Bravo and drinking Green Apple Martinis and were sharing conquests of their day and Bill Cosby was one fuck they shared.  Like the dudes in the frat house - right. What would they gain from coming forward and they have repeatedly over the years? Oh that is right money or anger or whatever the great genitalia believe. I suspect douche bags like this Greenfield and his cronies share as well - small genitalia.  This Greenfield person likes to say you need tummy rubs, hey maybe he needs a blow job.

This is America we have a problem. From Bill Cosby to the boys at the Phi Beta FU, boys become men who become rapists. This is an article that regardless of age I think possibly explains the reasoning and the behavior of men who rape. And yes once a man rapes he is likely to re-offend and that is well demonstrated by both Cosby and the frat boys.

I apologize for the rough tone and hammer that marks this entry. I need to move on. I watched the Ferguson announcement with no surprise or shock. This is a pattern that has been cut so much Simplicity is trademarking it. There are no shortages of those who know it, cut and it and make it again and again.

The reality is we refuse to accept, believe or do anything that faces the truth about our criminal justice system. It is as if we are attacking the founding fathers. Well they are dead and frankly they were not all that great, right?

Here are some of the top 50 facts about rape. Share this with the men in your life as if this is to stop, they need to do something other than apologize for them.

So yes we need to take to the streets and start voting these pricks out. They had two successful recalls in Colorado last year and threw out 2 out of 3. We need to start holding them accountable or throwing the bastards and bitches (as many are women) out.

We can vote you in and we can vote you out. Which do you choose?




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apple Meet Tree



After a week where I was verbally abused, accused, and in turn laughed and complimented and watched kids play civilly with one another in PE you see the gamut in the urban school system.

Whenever I encounter kids who demonstrate the daily stresses of living while still being a teenager, I know that the family life is one of chaos or distress.  You see it in a myriad of ways - verbalizing, organizational issues, sleeping in class, hitting, and poor academic skills.  

Any time I say you want see what dysfunction is  watch the Housewives of the  Kardashians, as despite the script "ness" of the shows these are people who have no concept of order to the disorder that runs their desperation and neediness in the same way teens do.    

And to have this escalate to violence is not shocking. We have a culture that embraces it and the idea of owing guns and solving one's problems with said weapon is the matter of choice for many kids, regardless of color or economics.  The violence in the city streets is one problem but when you see wealthy children who live in suburbs have access to all kinds of services and opportunities who also have access to guns that levels the playing field. 

And to see the numerous shootings in schools, as in Marysville, Seattle Pacific, FSU (although he was an adult but he was an alumnus), from Columbine to well pick one... how sad, you see that it is predominately males, and the voices in their head were speaking to them for quite some time before opening fire.  

It takes a match to start a flame.  The media and the schools often contribute to this.  The Monday after the Marysville shooting, a counselor walked in to a class and said we need to make an announcement to discuss what happened on Friday.  I go what was that, lost the big game? She goes no, the shooting.  What shooting.  Hey I had been out of the country and had no idea so as she was talking I go to the Internet and at that same moment, another school, an alternative, located in the Seattle Center public facility was on lockdown as a student there arrived with a Molotov cocktail to blow up the school.  The role of the need to talk incessantly and the media onslaught has no doubt a contributory role in troubled mind and the need to seek trouble.  

What can I say except that he too had expressed a history of problems and threats of violence.  This was then followed on Tuesday of a death of a family other than a little boy who witnessed the crime when the Grandfather killed all the members and himself as his granddaughter had begun to tell others about her grandfather molesting her for years.  


The middle school, which is also down the road from me, went on lockdown in response to the shooting where she was a student there further complicating a school with a history of issues.  I do not go to that school as it full of deeply troubled children who admittedly lie about adults to not get into trouble or to garner attention, transfer pain, whatever reasoning they have to express what is within their troubled minds.  Which of course lends to the issue of credibility. I and other teachers have been victims of these sad children who will go on without the help they need in that school as long as test scores improve.    And this adds to the trauma.  Who in their right mind allows this school to remain open and not re-think what they are doing there is just another issue in public education. Denial is a street in Seattle too. 


So when the The Office of the Child Advocate in Connecticut  released its report on Adam Lanza it revealed a history of problems - from mother to son.

The report is 114 pages long and available here. The Daily Mail has this recap. Here are some of the more notably points I found in the report with my own notes above.


So we go on where we kick the can down the road. These are children not cans. Instead of spending millions on absurd education reforms, look at what the dynamics of the schools population are.  Then look to see what the schools need to at least offer an opportunity for sanity and security that they are not getting at home.

Here are my ideas.  Hot meals provided at breakfast and lunch and time to eat them.  Have Social Workers, skilled therapists of all kinds available, two teachers or one teacher and one instructional assistant in every classroom.   Cameras in every class.  Tutors and labs that offer extra tutoring.  Better physical education and more of it.  Later start times and in turn later end times.   Use the time wisely to provide a thorough but diverse curriculum so that all kids at all levels are getting what they need.  And use testing to determine that but let go of it as anything other than a measure of progress and establishing a base level from which to work.

And start funding education and compensating those who man the front lines.  The excessive bureaucracy and idiocy with school boards and middle management dominate most districts. That money could be better spent on what matters  - children.  


You are not your parents unless you want to be and there comes a point where we cannot remove all these children from them but why when the parents just need support and help too.  Clearly had Mrs. Lanza had that for herself that might of helped Adam as well and in turn all those at Sandy Hook.

 
You fall from the tree but you can also be picked from it and not left to rot on the ground. 





Recall the "diagnosis" of Autism.  Well I knew that was bullshit.
Autism Spectrum Disorder or other psychiatric problems neither caused nor led to his murderous acts 
This report raises, but cannot definitively answer, the question as to whether better access to effective mental health and educational services would have prevented the tragic events at Sandy Hook. It is important to emphasize that AL’s developmental condition and mental health cannot be seen as determinative of his extreme violent behavior.
An interest in the Holmes mass shooting in Colorado.  
As far as the Holmies go…well, the .gif of him dancing on a llama was cute. I guess that’s all I can say about the whole Holmie thing since I can’t really relate to it. I don’t understand why there weren’t the “he’s just a poor misunderstood puppy who needs help” type flocking around Jared Loughner since that spiel ostensibly applied to him more than James Holmes. And speaking more generally, I don’t really understand why Aurora shooting was considered such a big deal all-around, as if such a thing had never happened before. It’s not like its 1984.
Family matters - literally and figuratively. 
[I]n a 2006 interview with a child psychiatrist, AL stated that he attributed his parents’ divorce to the fact that they must have “irritated” each other as much as they irritated him.
The report indicates Nancy Lanza had some issues of her own. When Adam was in elementary school, she wrote letters to a friend (this may be  John La Fontaine, who previously came forward with emails or letters) in which she said she had a terminal auto-immune disease, was trying to make sure her children and husband would be cared for, but she was terrified. But her medical records don't indicate any life threatening illness:  In other words the mother was a hypochondriac with her own mental health problems. 

Despite Mrs. Lanza’s preoccupation with her health and concerns about her mortality, a review of her medical records from that time do not confirm a significant neurologic disorder, autoimmune disorder, or multiple sclerosis—the latter a diagnosis she sometimes indicated that she had. 
A medical record from her July 1999 neurology follow up indicates that all testing was unremarkable. The record notes that Mrs. Lanza was experiencing “significant stress in her life related to her husband.” Additional medical testing was recommended along with “psychotherapy for [Mrs. Lanza’s] emotional issues.”
 Interesting that while they are neurological testing her at god knows what costs you don't see that any point to a proper referral to proper mental health treatment. It was suggested but it appears again no providers communicated with each other nor had any proper conversation with Ms. Lanza about her health versus mental health issues.  The medical industrial complex cannot be ignored for their failure in this equation.
...There is no indication that Mrs. Lanza was provided a terminal diagnosis by doctors at any time. 
...a 2012 medical record signed by Mrs. Lanza’s primary care physician indicated that the physician treated Mrs. Lanza for over eight years, had seen her many times, and had “never noticed or treated any symptoms of multiple sclerosis.” The medical form also stated that there were no related medical conditions or history....nor [according to the family] did autopsy results confirm the presence of findings consistent with MS.
At some point you would think as the mother was running to the Doctor every minute that Adam would be as well.  Apparently he was also ignored for this.
AL was anorexic (six feet tall and 112 pounds), to the point of malnutrition and resultant brain damage....Anorexia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and autism are conditions that individually increase the risk of suicide. Anorexia can produce cognitive impairment and it is likely that anorexia combined with an autism spectrum disorder and OCD compounded AL’s risk for suicide.
After an exhaustive review of records, emails, and conclusions drawn by law enforcement agencies, authors conclude that AL was not obviously psychotic in the time period leading up to the Sandy Hook shooting, though he had a history of depression and suicidal ideation that can be seen in his emails during 2011 and 2012.
There is no such thing as the "tipping point" or that he just suddenly "snapped" another fallacy:
Authors conclude that there was not one thing that was necessarily the tipping point driving AL to commit the Sandy Hook shooting. Rather there was a cascade of events, many self-imposed, that included: loss of school; absence of work; disruption of the relationship with his one friend; virtually no personal contact with family; virtually total and increasing isolation; fear of losing his home and of a change in his relationship with Mrs. Lanza, his only caretaker and connection; worsening OCD; depression and anxiety; profound and possibly worsening anorexia; and an increasing obsession with mass murder occurring in the total absence of any engagement with the outside world. AL increasingly lived in an alternate universe in which ruminations about mass shootings were his central preoccupation.
 This was not spontaneous nor without planning (again read Columbine)

The attack on Sandy Hook Elementary appears to have been a purposefully thought-out and planned attack—AL did not just “snap.” He visited the school’s website on numerous occasions. He had looked at the student handbook and viewed security procedures at the school.
[T]here is no connection in the literature between AL’s developmental profile and an increased likelihood of violent actions.
Mental health is not the sole reason, explanation or reasoning for why:
The likelihood of an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or severe problems with anxiety and obsessive compulsive tendencies committing an act of pre-meditated violence, much less one of AL’s magnitude, is rare. Individuals with these mental health or developmental disorders are more likely to internalize (that is, to feel distressed emotionally or to be confused, socially inappropriate or inept, and sometimes to harm themselves inadvertently or intentionally) than to externalize (that is, to act out aggressively so as to harm others).
An obsession with other mass murders:
There is no way to adequately explain why AL was obsessed with mass shootings and how or why he came to act on this obsession. In the end, only he, and he alone, bears responsibility for this monstrous act.

We have a long road to resolve the matters of what defines a mass shooter and how to prevent such from happening. But the NRA has found that it is video games and being crazy the problem and their resolution is to provide everyone with guns.  Yes that clearly will work to have even more arms available to fragile individuals who are looking for ways to resolve the pain in their minds.   This is suicide by cop and by mass murder with mass attention.  They will not be ignored on the way out as they felt they were when they were alive.  Tragic. Grim. Pathetic.

More lives, more time wasted and the resolution is more laws.  That is clearly not working.