Dental Denial

Forget political policies and promises for a moment. Forget who you supported on the issues. The Swift Boaters managed to convince a significant percentage of Americans John Kerry, a certified war hero, was a coward and George Bush who flew a totally undistinguished and suspect career in the Texas Air National Guard was Rambo!

I’ve been thinking about insurance a lot recently–especially since I got a denial this morning for some dental coverage.

Routine dental exams are covered. Going in an emergency is not… at least it’s not covered when coded as it was for me.

I tried to ask the insurance company’s CSR how it could have been coded to be covered? Seriously, what was I thinking? They are not giving out maps on how to collect. Their job is to pay less, not more.

I’ve asked someone from my company to help and they’re usually very good about this. I suspect at some point the bill will be paid as a covered claim, though there is no guarantee.

Of course this has me thinking more-and-more about the whole national healthcare tumult going on in Washington and at town halls everywhere. There is a huge amount of vitriol and disinformation being spewed.

Here’s why: It works!

As it is in election politics, Swift Boating is an effective method of turning public opinion and convincing people to support policies which are totally against their best interest! Look how effective Swift Boating was against John Kerry.

Forget political policies and promises for a moment. Forget who you supported on the issues. The Swift Boaters managed to convince a significant percentage of Americans John Kerry, a certified war hero, was a coward and George Bush who flew a totally undistinguished and suspect career in the Texas Air National Guard was Rambo!

The healthcare debate is being Swift Boated quite effectively. People are being convinced good is bad, right is wrong. As long as this tactic works (it is totally dependent on convincing the naive whose votes count one-for-one with the informed) it will be used again-and-again.

You may ask, have the perpetrators of Swift Boating no shame? No, they do not. Individual facts are fungible commodities when you’re looking to a achieve a broader goal. That’s why people are screaming against policies they previously supported.

In many ways the healthcare debate is like a parent fighting with a child. The parent takes a long term look at what he’s about to say. The child, however, is willing to slash and burn to get what they want now.

But the bottom line is, as long as this strategy works it will continue to be used.

Katrina Timeline Straightening

I am one of those people who firmly believe FEMA and/or the National Guard should have been in New Orleans as soon as the wind began to die down. However, a great misconception most people have is the flooding started around the time the storm peaked.

Here’s what I wrote around 3:00 AM EDT Tuesday morning. By then the storm had moved north and New Orleans no longer had hurricane conditions.

Rick Sanchez was on the air, speaking by phone with someone from Tulane Hospital in New Orleans. The hospital’s spokesperson was talking about water – rising water.

The hospital had seen no real flooding while Hurricane Katrina passed by, but tonight, water had begun rushing in and it was rising at an alarming rate.

I could hear the fear in her voice as she described the water level rising an inch every five minutes. That’s a foot an hour. Already there was six feet of water outside the hospital. Soon, water would reach the level of their emergency generators on the second floor.

Sanchez was taken aback. I’m not sure he originally understood what she was saying. It was so unexpected – so out of context.

She said a levee keeping Lake Ponchartrain out of New Orleans had been breached. The cut in the levee was two blocks long and water was rushing in unimpeded. Even if there were pumps working, and she wasn’t sure there were, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with this deluge.

On CNN, Rick Sanchez kept asking questions, but it was obvious this woman wanted to get off the phone. Speaking to him wasn’t going to help her.

I heard terror in her voice.

The hospital had to get its patients out. Its patients were by and large critical. The only way to move them would be by helicopter and FEMA would be needed for that.

The other all news stations are in their usual reruns. I have no way of knowing if this is true. If it is, this is New Orleans’ worst fears are realized. Lake Ponchartrain could inundate the city.

As far as I can tell, that was the first national report of flooding in New Orleans.

From Editor & Publisher: On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told Tim Russert that one reason for the delay in rushing federal aid to the Gulf Coast was that “everyone” thought the crisis had passed when the storm left town: “I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, ‘New Orleans Dodged The Bullet.'”

So, maybe that was what Chertoff thought on Tuesday… but where was he on Monday? Even before the flooding, New Orleans was in great need. The city was without power. Windows were blown out all over the city. Buildings had been destroyed. People were homeless or were housed in shelters with no food, water or sanitary facilities.

Yes, the flooding came late, but wasn’t anyone there surveying the damage or deciding what kind of support the city would need before then? Even before the flooding, the city had suffered a tragedy.

Why was he depending on newspapers (or any media) for his information?

Where Is The Federal Government?

“Good afternoon…there is a desperate, desperate race to try to save those who made it through the storm, but may not survive the aftermath. This may be one of the saddest spectacles I have ever seen.” – Shepard Smith, Fox News Channel

I’m not in New Orleans nor the Gulf Coast. I only know what I see on television and read in the newspaper. I am not happy with what I’m seeing.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Looting on Tchoupitoulas Avenue

By Michael Perlstein

Staff writer

Looting in New Orleans was so widespread Wednesday that police were forced to prioritize their overwhelmed enforcement effort.

The officers were rushing to a break-in next door at the Sports Authority, desperate to secure the store’s stockpile of guns and ammunition.

“I think we ran them off before they got any of it,” said the commanding officer at the scene. The cops secured the store with heavy plywood before moving on to other emergencies.

There’s more, but it’s too depressing.

Where is FEMA? Where is Homeland Security? Where is the National Guard? Where are tents and cots and kitchens?

Why on Wednesday is this first being announced by President Bush&#185?

That Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast was no surprise. It was well forecast, both intensity and track. The predictions from the Hurricane Center were dire with some of the strongest cautionary language I’ve ever read relating to weather.

Wasn’t anything brought in to be ready?

As we have a moment to step back from this tragedy, maybe it’s time to question how the resources allocated for emergency services are deployed. If I were in New Orleans or the Mississippi and Alabama coastal towns, I’d be more than steaming right now. I’d want answers.

&#185 – Though President Bush is ‘in charge’, operational decisions should have been made at lower governmental levels.