A Stranger in a Strange Land

A conservative visits Rep. Joe Sestak’s health care town hall meeting in downtown Philadelphia

The first thing I saw, from a few blocks down Broad Street, was a news van and others like it. I could see a tangled mess of people and a few signs, but nothing that I could read from such a distance.

In my heart, and even though I knew that this was downtown Philadelphia–a liberal stronghold to say the least–I hoped to see a group of concerned, right-thinking Americans standing up for the Constitution, for our economy, for our children, and against the erosion of our freedom.

Boy, was I wrong. The first thing I heard was the chanting:

“WHAT DO WE WANT?”
“SINGLE-PAYER!!”
“WHEN DO WE WANT IT?”
“NOW!!”

Go figure. Everywhere else in the nation, Democrats have been working overtime to perpetuate the party line, falsely, that the public health care option will not lead to a single-payer system, countermanding even the taped words of Barack Obama, Barney Frank and others — here, however, people are singing the praises of a single-payer system. Demanding it.

Welcome to Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love.

The funny thing is, Philadelphia isn’t even close to Joe Sestak’s congressional district. And while it should be noted that the congressman was invited to speak by the Broad Street Ministry, any of his constituents who live and work in his district would have to drive at least 30 to 45 minutes to attend the event. Philadelphia is Obama Central; for that reason, it didn’t surprise me that upon my arrival to the church at 5:30 p.m. yesterday evening–an hour before the scheduled start of the event–I was behind about six hundred people in line. Obviously, the Craigslist advertisements and other “astroturfing” measures had worked as planned.

And, boy, was there a line. As I approached the front door of the Broad Street Ministries facility, I could see a seemingly endless line of people stretching down to the end of the block and around the corner. The crowd was a good mix of younger and older, black and white and everything in between. I could see a few fellas proudly displaying their gay pride, and a few aging hipsters looking around, awestruck, no doubt digging the obviously organized, modern day activism as familiar as the occasional acid flashback. I counted two sets of bongo drums, and what looked like one miniature sitar.

Toward the front of the line, that’s where I saw the most venom and vitriol. That’s where the hardcore socialists were, the people who would gladly destroy the ingenuity and innovation inherent in our health care system for the sake of “social justice.” Many, it seemed, were college students. Most, it was apparent, came in groups. I counted two people in ACORN shirts, one of which was getting an earful from an event attendee who came to protest the health care reform legislation.


Nearly all of them were sporting professionally made, campaign-style stickers which read “HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW,” distributed by community organizer wannabes all wearing shirts featuring the Obama logo, or something to do with his “Organizing For Healthcare” group.

Any grassroots effort here was about as natural as the vice president’s hairline.

Most of the folks in line were carrying professionally made, campaign-style signs reading “HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM NOW” or “SINGLE-PAYER NOW,” while some–a minority by far–wielded hand-made posters, like this gentleman, who chose to display his sign merely feet from wheelchair-bound event attendees, some of which may have had special needs. You stay classy, Democrats.


All in all, the line was an experience in itself. While most of the right-leaning attendees seemed to fly under the radar, it wasn’t long until I was outed. Perhaps it was my opinion on the gentleman in New Hampshire who, just yesterday, lawfully carried a firearm to Barack Obama’s staged health care event. Or perhaps it was my failure to see the sarcasm in one liberal attendee’s sign, which read something along the lines of:

GOVERNMENT, TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF MY:
HEALTHCARE, SCHOOLS, BANKS, CEOs, AND AUTOMAKERS!

I told the kid that he had a great sign, and asked him why he was wearing an “HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW” sticker like all the other supporters. As a fierce proponent of a limited federal government, the whole thing sounded great to me, and it took me a moment to get the joke. In fact, it took a gentle nudge and a whisper of “he’s being sarcastic” from a gentleman directly in front of me who looked a bit like an aging hippie before I understood what I was looking at. To me, it looked like a sign that I wanted to carry. By God, if only the federal government would actually remove its hands from my healthcare, schools, banks, CEOs and automakers.

At one point, volunteers for Barack Obama’s “Organizing for Healthcare” group walked along the line with a clipboard and a sign-up sheet for the group. A few folks ahead, the kid with the sarcastic sign filled out the paperwork. Directly in front of me, the woman glanced at the clipboard and form and said to her husband, “gosh, honey, I think we’ve already signed up for this.” Finally, when the Obama volunteer attempted to hand me the clipboard and the form, I said simply: “No, thank you. I’m already on the list.” I don’t think she got it.


A number of different people and different parties were distributing leaflets and other materials, organizations from the political left, the political right, and from the depths of crazytown. First, the International Socialist Organization was handing out a flyer entitled “The Case for Universal Single Payer Health Care,” which included the following (emphasis mine):

The reforms currently being debated between the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress unfortunately are inadequate given the scale of the crisis. What’s needed is a universal single-payer health care system that puts the needs of its patients first and keeps the corporate-driven profit-motive out of the decision-making process.

Where exactly do these people think that life-saving drugs come from? We’re not beating back cervical cancer because of collectivist goodwill. Tamiflu and the various pharmaceutical cocktails currently fighting the spread of AIDS in Africa don’t just dribble out from the swollen teat of the federal government, after all. The products and pharmaceuticals which make it possible to save and extend lives come from drug companies that spend billions on research and development, only to watch a small fraction of their work reach success in pharmacies and on store shelves. Money, and the promise of it, is integral to the advances in health care rooted in the American system. We have the best doctors because we pay them. We have the best technologies because there is profit to be had in the successful development of those groundbreaking technologies.

The free market is essential to a human race living better and longer than ever. Those among us who want to keep the “corporate-driven profit-motive” out of the system might as well be advocating shorter life spans, higher infant mortality rates, and decreased quality of life for all. But that doesn’t sound as nice.

Second, a group known as Philly Voices for Life was distributing a small sheet of paper encouraging “life, not money” to be the “guiding force” for health care reform. The group, which describes itself on its Web site as being a “diverse group of people,” many of which are without health insurance, highlighted the importance that any health care reform maintain “respect for the dignity and rights of each human being,” that “[p]reborn children . . . be cared for as patients and [that] no funding will go towards their deliberate killing,” and that “[o]lder Americans will not have to fear for their lives.”

Unfortunately, as I’ve written before, when it comes to matters of end of life care, President Obama’s own attitude toward medical procedures that would extend lives for the aging and make the quality of life better for the terminally ill makes the Democrats’ approach to health care reform look more and more like Cash for Clunkers II. From a previous piece here at America’s Right:

Both [the Democrats' health care reform and Cash for Clunkers] interfere with the free market. Both would take serviceable, working entities–in one case, a person, while in the other case, a vehicle–and either significantly shorten its life span, or snuff it out altogether. Both would do so in a half-hearted attempt to foster the increased effectiveness that a younger fleet would purportedly bring to America, as well as the cost savings associated with preventing the need for bearing increased costs associated with those entities–cars, humans–as they advance in age.

Of the aging American population, Philly Voices for Life insists that we should “respect their age” rather than punishing them for it. Man, what a bunch of heartless, racist, violent Nazis.

Finally, a rather skeevy-looking older man wearing a “DEFEAT THE BRITISH EMPIRE” sign and stumping for Lyndon LaRouche. Much like Nancy Pelosi and the left improperly characterized the Nazi Party as being on the political right, some of the liberals in line were overheard to mistakenly claim that LaRouche was “just another nut-job conservative”; in reality, LaRouche ran several times for the Democratic Party nomination, and is said to be a student of FDR’s economic policies. Some of the liberals around me knew this already, and a light-hearted moment came when many of us in the line engaged in a bit of bipartisan laughter, each of us taking turns acknowledging that folks on both sides of the political spectrum really don’t care much for LaRouche or his flunkies.


Every so often, I could see some folks in line engaging in pretty heated debate with one another. Thankfully, my section of crowd seemed a little older and more subdued, refraining from joining the chants and such coming from the front of the line. I’d even go so far as to say that everyone was pleasant and nice. So for me, at least, the conversation in the line was frustrating, but civil. Being a reformed liberal Democrat myself, I knew what to expect from the folks I was standing with, and was at least able to understand what it felt like to maintain a worldview so divorced from reality.

Topics around me ranged from guns to welfare to health care to history and to the Constitution. I didn’t agree with anybody on anything, made sure they knew it, and made sure they understood that I harbored no ill will toward anyone because of their political views. I was determined to keep my volume and vigor level in line with what I was receiving, and while it was maddening as can be to be surrounded by liberals, given the nature of the discourse seen from coast to coast, I think I lucked out in that we could actually have a conversation.

Going back-and-forth with the aging hippie couple in front of me was especially surprising. I listened to them, and they listened to me. They were well-informed, though obviously they looked at the issues in a different way than I did. They shook their head at the president’s botched argument from the other day–that FedEx and UPS are “doing fine” while it’s the U.S. Postal Service which is riddled with problems–and agreed that the “un-American” rhetoric from the Democratic Party leadership was absolutely despicable. I agreed that, with regard to health care, some changes are necessary, especially to billing and record-keeping procedures. All of us agreed that we’d like to see term limits in place, and a Congress that listens more to the people. By the time we all shuffled toward the door, someone behind me even mentioned to me that, until that point, she was convinced that all conservatives were loud and venomous, and that I had made some valid points she had never heard before; I thanked her, and confessed that I was impressed she never once brought up the words “George” or “Bush” during the course of the entire conversation.


Congressman Sestak was waiting for everyone as they reached the door, shaking hands, looking everyone in the eye, and exchanging pleasantries. I mentioned my name, that I was a conservative and that I was a constituent, and he smiled and said: “Jeff, thank you for coming. Really.”

As an aside, I should mention that throughout the event I was extremely impressed with how Sestak handled himself. While I will likely never agree with his stance on any of the issues, there’s something to be said of an elected official who conducts himself like a public servant. I was in overflow seating in a cafeteria area downstairs below the meeting, but we could hear the event and at one point, when a conservative veteran spoke out of turn and was being quieted and ushered away, Sestak reprimanded his staffers, explained that he knew the guy, and demanded that they let him finish. On one evening news broadcast, the congressman explained that he personally knew the gentleman who asked the question, that he had been to several veteran-related events with him, and that the gentleman even had his mobile phone number.

Sestak’s demeanor throughout was refreshingly respectful. I may not like his politics, but the way he interacted with his constituents was a far cry from the rudeness, apathy and elitism we’ve seen in Georgia from Rep. David Scott, in Missouri from Claire McCaskill, in Texas from Sheila Jackson-Lee, and here in Pennsylvania from Arlen Specter, just to name a few. It may be the case that he knew the television cameras would be rolling, and he was acutely aware of his recently announced bid for Specter’s Senate seat, but whatever the reason, it was equal parts surprising and exceptional.

Now, if he would only listen to his actual constituents. In his district.


During the event itself, I was seated in the overflow room with about 200 to 300 people. Most of them were like the khaki-dressed gentleman in the photo above, who walked into the room with a fresh copy of the Socialist Worker newspaper. Some, though, were surprising.

A doctor from Sestak’s district seated next to me couldn’t believe that the congressman was ducking his own constituents by playing to a friendly audience in Philadelphia. I agreed wholeheartedly, and still do. He then explained that he considers himself to be fairly down the middle, politically, but was worried about the effect the health care reform would have on not only his profession, but on the economy as a whole. I got the distinct impression that he was an Obama voter back in November, but was now having second thoughts. He didn’t care for the White House’s new privacy-infringing efforts, nor did he care for the way the mainstream press was giving the administration a free pass on every essential health care question which needs to be asked — one, for instance, being with regard to the downward consequences of mandated coverage even for those with preexisting conditions.

On economic matters, Sestak didn’t make much sense. He spoke about the negative economic impact of the uninsured in America. They tend to get acutely ill, he said, and argued that America simply cannot continue to absorb their health care costs in this economy, especially when we’re “trying to compete with China.” If he’s so concerned about competing with China economically, I asked the doctor next to me, why did he vote in favor of cap and trade?

To Sestak’s credit, he did agree to sign a pledge promising to refrain from voting on bills which he hasn’t read, as well as bills which haven’t been made available ahead of time to the American people. Both the good doctor and I were pleasantly surprised at that.

Still, the congressman explained that, no matter the calls for compromise, he simply would not budge when it came to the public option, an emphatic statement received by this Philadelphia crowd with roaring applause. The doctor next to me groaned audibly, and soon left. I couldn’t help but think about how elsewhere across the country the argument that the disastrous public option would eventually prevail over private insurance–leaving us with a system modeled after those in Great Britain and Canada–is an argument against health care reform while, among the socialists here in Philly, that’s an argument for reform. The church basement was proving as frustrating as the line.


I left a few minutes early, and was delighted to find some protesters outside. Boy, were they menacing and disrespectful. Bobby Hughes was toting his skateboard and sporting a t-shirt that read “Barack Obama: The Economy Terminator” and depicted President Obama in the traditional Arnold Schwarzenegger role. I liked Bobby immediately — this, I thought, must have been what California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer was talking about when she decried the protesters to be “too well dressed” to be part of a grassroots movement. I decided to ask the kid a few questions.

AR: Who is more effective at terminating the economy, President Barack Obama or Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Bobby: Both, I’d say, are pretty good. Obama is obviously a slicker, newer model. I think he wants to be as good as Schwarzenegger.

AR: What brought you out here today?

B: Well, first, I don’t live too far away, so I decided to come out here and check things out. I’ve been to a couple of the tea parties downtown here as well, and wanted to make sure that the voices of those who value their freedom are heard.

AR: What’s been the response to the shirt? Any rudeness?

B: There’s been some rudeness, that’s for sure, but mostly it’s been people who are here protesting the health care reform that have said that they like it.

AR: You said that you live around here. Is this Joe Sestak’s congressional district?

B: No, sir. I think the congressman felt he needed to find some support somewhere.

Another gentleman was holding a smallish cardboard sign which read, simply, “I Am NOT Your ATM.” The woman with him held one which read: “INdependence, NOT DEpendence.” The pair were engaged in a debate with an aging liberal in a pink dress of some sort when I walked up. She was making the argument that the so-called “public option” would not result in a single-payer system, and that a single-payer system would be a disaster for us all. The two sign-holders gently explained to her that most of the crowd earlier had been shouting and chanting in favor of a single-payer system; I confirmed it by showing her the photo of the signs. After a few moments, the gentleman with the ATM sign introduced himself as Steve.

AR: Steve, are you a Nazi?

Steve: No, I am not.

AR: Have you seen any Nazis here today?

S: Not that I’m aware of.

AR: Why are you here? Are you here to shout down opposing views? That’s un-American, you know.

S: I’m not here to shout at anybody. I’m just here to let people know that there are opposing views. If you were to look at the way the media portrays conservatives, people like Rush Limbaugh and others, you wouldn’t even know that there are rational people out there making rational arguments.

AR: How has the response been to your sign? Has anyone here in Philly approached and asked for a withdrawal?

S: If they’re in line for this health care plan, they all are asking for withdrawals.

AR: Good point.

Before I settled into my seat in the church basement, I spoke briefly with one of Joe Sestak’s handlers. I pointed out that, while I was aware that the congressman was invited to the church to speak, as a constituent I’d really like to see him in his district. The staffer assured me that, indeed, town hall meetings were in the works.

I hope he’s right. I can understand why these senators and congressman are hesitant to meet with their constituents — there’s a lot of frustration and anger out there, and understandably so. Even though he certainly had a crowd stacked in his favor due to “astroturfing” efforts and location alike, Sestak showed that conducting yourself as a public servant, treating people with respect, and maintaining eye contact rather than looking down your nose, can work wonders in diffusing the emotion and getting to the details of the issue at hand.

Now, on those details, we must never relent. It saddens me to see that we have a generation of people who actively pursue the abrogation of their freedoms and rights in the form of a single-payer system. In essence, we are charged with saving this country from itself. Is it any wonder that many of us feel like strangers in a strange land?

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Comments

  1. Michele says:

    Jeff,

    I had just found out about the advertisers pulling ads on Fox (especially Glenn Beck) and now you do this. Is this a joke? I saw part of the town hall on Fox and there were people there opposing. I've been so tense that I cannot handle any jokes. Anyway I've noted this on the story you wrote below this one but I am going to list it on this one too.
    Everyone please contact the advertisers listed on the website: FoxNewsBoycott.com because the people that own this website are having people contact the advertisers so they will pull their ads from Fox, and it is working. We have to fight back.

    Thanks,
    Michele

  2. Anonymous says:

    why can't we recall representatives who voted for legislation without any attempt at reading it or knowing what was in it? Isn't this negligence of some sort…

  3. Anonymous says:

    a anxiously await the results of the representatives when they return to vote.

    how many will say, "my personal opinion is to vote for this Bill but since i represent my constituents and by a majority they wish to do otherwise i cannot vote for this Bill."

    lets see who has the guts to do their job.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous said…
    why can't we recall representatives who voted for legislation without any attempt at reading it or knowing what was in it? Isn't this negligence of some sort…

    August 13, 2009 1:17 AM

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    not to mention the INSULT to those you begged to vote for you because YOU PROMISED to represent them? this alone is a turnoff to anyone who voted for these people regardless of party affiliation.

  5. PERRY MASON says:

    To pass a bill you haven't read is FRAUD. You are fraudulently pretending to be a legislator. To accept a salary as a legislator and not really be doing your job is EMBEZZLEMENT. To accept the dictates of Obama and Pelosi to do something to 'keep your job' or their good graces is BRIBERY.

  6. SLEEPY SLEEPY says:

    Will HR 3200 issue cyanide pills to those of us who do not wish to continue living in the America they are creating?

  7. SIXTH SENSE says:

    "I see dumb people"

  8. GEORGE S. PATTON says:

    Hell, lets just call it what it really is, TREASON. Hang em all.

  9. JOHN EDWARDS says:

    Hey, I told you there are two Americas! Those who will be under this healthcare plan, and then Congress & unions.

  10. TALK ABOUT SS GESTAPO says:

    Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development.

    It's outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children." The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.

    The bill says that the government agents, "well-trained and competent staff," would "provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains … modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices," and "skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development."

    -Chuck Norris

  11. JACQUES COUSTEAU says:

    To anonymous at 5:14….. what are you smoking? I want some. These jellyfish in Congress have no spine. GEESH.

  12. AS FOR ME...... says:

    All this in the city of Independence Hall. Mr. Jefferson, I personally apologize to you for the impending death of this great experiment Liberty.

  13. Rix says:

    Thanks, Jeff, a very interesting description. It is amazing what kind of acrid political cesspools our metropolitan areas have turned into. And just FYI, among Russians, "brotherly love" in a politically correct euphemism for unabashed gayness.

    Michele:

    Ad boycott, when perpetrated by private unmonopolized businesses, is a valid political tool that the right wing must start using more often. As for quasi-governmental corps like GE, Google or Chrysler, their ad budgets are, unfortunately, a mighty political tool that is firmly in Democrats' hands and will not be wrested out without bloodletting. Too bad our leaders are too gullible or pseudo-gentlemanish (read: soft-balled) to organize either.

  14. sharon says:

    A Stranger in a Strange Land….

    I know all about it, I live in Michigan.

  15. WTF? says:

    Jeff,

    I thought we had a substantive discussion of the issues in line last night, but it seems you were simply humoring me and my wife now that I have been tagged with the dismissive "aging hippie" label.

    This and the tone and content of your article reinforce the popular opinion that the right will fail to actually fairly consider any alternate argument. You smiled in my face and then stabbed me in the back. Your readers should not be surprised, then, that the majority of Americans dismiss your single-minded, blinders-on rhetoric and look for answers to their problems in institutions and leaders that, while certainly to the left of you and, I presume, your readers, are not nearly the left wing radicals as you are predisposed to describe them.

    As far as the "aging hippie" tag you hung on me, I want you to know that I showered and pressed my shirt in the morning before I left for my job at a major pharmaceutical company in downtown Philly as I have done for 14 years and have done all my professional life (OK, that's 30 years now so the "aging" label my be accurate), I pay my taxes, speak respectfully to cops, and wear my hair long mostly because I have NEVER been given a good haircut.

    So, I thought I would stop by your little rant site this morning and try to continue what I perceived to be a reasonable conversation, but you've shattered any illusions that I may have harbored that that might be possible as it now appears that your ignorance is exceeded only by your hubris.

    PS – Why should Sestak not hold events in Philadelphia? In case you haven't noticed he's running to represent PA in the US Senate. Oh, I almost forgot, there's nothing he could do or say that would not be worthy of your condemnation as long as he maintains positions that are not aligned with yours. Duh… I forgot my Conservative 101. Well, I am aging and not as sharp as you'd like to think you are.

  16. Rix says:

    > Will HR 3200 issue cyanide pills to those of us who do not wish to
    > continue living in the America they are creating?

    Yes, it will. They will be made of lead though. You know, cyanide is classified as HazMat so union purpleshirts are not as acquainted to working with it…

  17. Anonymous says:

    The constitution the United States basically wrote for the new Iraq government guarantees every Iraqi citizen the right to a job, to an education and to healthcare. Tens of thousands of Americans have died and been wounded to secure these constitutional rights for the people of Iraq. Over a trillion American taxpayer dollars have been spent to make the Iraq government with its constitutional guarantees of a job, education and healthcare a reality.

    My question for everyone is: why are Iraqis allowed to enjoy these constitutional rights but we here in the United States do not? Seriously. How do you defend what we've done for the people of Iraq while accepting that Americans themselves have no claims to such guarantees? What makes the Iraqi people so much more deserving than us?

  18. Gail B says:

    Jeff, I sent you an email yesterday evening about the Herman Cain Show and told you I would be listening to it. Well, I did.

    "Ben" called in and told of his experience at (D, GA-13) Rep. David Scott's town hall meeting. Scott told Ben that the FBI wanted to talk to him. That was a lie. Ben called him later about it and asked for an apology. Scott said, "I apologize." Ben thought that was a bit short and asked Scott what he was apologizing for. Ben said that Scott told him, "I don't have time for this" and hung up in his face.

    The question keeps coming up, even though I know the answer: "WHY is it so IMPORTANT to pass the ObamaCare bill?" The answer, of course, is FOR CONTROL OVER OUR LIVES. When it becomes so important that the regime HIRES people to crowd out constituents, that to me is overreaching and, to use Pelosi's word, UN-AMERICAN! This 111th Congress is the most un-American regime I've ever lived under in my nearly 70 years!

    Excellent coverage of the town hall meeting you attended, by the way.

    And to "WTF?" — WTF's wrong with YOU? Have you been sucked into the push for a dictatorship, too? I want to keep the best healthcare system IN THE WORLD, and these minions want to destroy it for the sake of 10-15 percent of the population. NOTHING that the Obama/Soetoro regime has passed has worked. His ratings are at a record LOW. And before you start jumping on Jeff's rosterium, how about providing some proof of the IDENTITY of your usurper in the White House!

  19. Robert Wallace says:

    I just noticed that this is the 1,000th post for America's Right.

    Way to go, Jeff!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Philadelphia is a parasite. Can we secede from the state that hosts it? Or maybe just give it to NJ?

  21. Rix says:

    > Philadelphia is a parasite. Can we secede from the state that
    > hosts it? Or maybe just give it to NJ?

    We'll take it any day. It exchange for Camden, of course. :)

  22. Anonymous says:

    @anonymous at 10:51am:

    Uh,… they (Iraqis) have the balls to stand up and demand the basic necessities of modern life?

    Much like the British, who in 1948, after a century of dying in wars to enrich the aristocracy, stood up and demanded the same for themselves.

  23. Linda says:

    I'm afraid this story is more typical than not. I have a brother who thinks that it's wonderful that this imposter is "throwing cold water in our face" to get us to realize there's a "problem." The only problem (in his eyes) is that the country is not the facsist country he would like to be in control of. The health care system is not broken. A doctor does not charge $30,000 to cut off someone's foot; AMA verifies the cost is about $550. Lies, lies, lies. Everything he says is a lie. Tort reform would go a long way to 'fixing' whatever needs to be fixed (fyi my "cold water" brother is a lawyer, so tort reform is not in his makeup – and I've worked for lawyers for 35 years, so I know from where I speak); and, oh yes, let's stop paying for the illegals. Illegal means you have no rights under our system.

    But if you think that living in Philly is bad, try living our here in California. Land of the "spend, spend, spend on me and my political hacks" Pelosi, the "just ignore them, they'll go away" Feinstein and Boxer, and the "those poor illegals" Sanchez sisters. We have practically no reprsentation at all, yet these people just continue to see their names and make their mark on election day.

  24. WTF? says:

    @Gail B:

    I guess it will surprise you to learn that we actually have the 37th worst health care system in the industrialized world as measured by life expectancy, cost, infant mortality, treatment outcome, etc., etc., etc.

    You'd be better off if you moved to Costa Rica or Columbia. If you lived in the dreaded France, you could expect to live the longest, healthiest life possible. But we're proud, benighted Americans. We should pay more and get less, don't you think?

  25. Linda says:

    Just received from Politico.com:

    "A new coalition today is launching $12 million in TV ads to support President Barack Obama’s health-reform plan, in the opening wave of a planned tens of millions of dollars in spending this fall."

    (I can't even comment – words escape me.)

  26. Gail B says:

    Rasmussen Reports:

    Pennsylvania:
    42% Favor Health Care Plan,
    53% Opposed

  27. Gail B says:

    @ WTF?–

    The reports that I've seen say that life expectancy, etc., of the United States is the best in the world.

    You've been watching the Obama/Soetoro/Soros-controlled MSM too long. Don't you know that the owners, top executives, and talk show hosts of the major networks were threatened if anything pertaining to Obama/Soetoro's past, pastports, eligibility, school records, medical records, friends and associates, citizenship, birth certificate, or identity were aired? Their careers and personal safety were threatened.

    Before you say "not so," there are signed, notarized affidavits along with certified copies in different places as proof of this. And, the originals are stored in a safe place (out of the country?) for safekeeping.

    Listen to the archived interview at http://www.therothshow.com and hear for yourself.

  28. Rix says:

    > You'd be better off if you moved to Costa Rica or Columbia. If you
    > lived in the dreaded France, you could expect to live the longest,
    > healthiest life possible. But we're proud, benighted Americans.
    > We should pay more and get less, don't you think?

    I think longer life expectancy in France has less to do with the socialized medicine and more with better climate, better food and, not to forget, legal awards and malpractice insurances smaller than ours by an order of magnitude. Truly, there isn't a single social evil in the USA that a disbarment of a thousand random trial lawyers wouldn't alleviate.

  29. CHEECH and WRONG says:

    Works for an evil pharmaceutical company!!!! damn hippies…. paid out of their PROFITS I bet.

  30. Gail B says:

    WTF?–
    That's from nine years ago.

  31. Gail B says:

    Linda, I'm forwarding this to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al, with the suggestion that their networks to some public service announcements to counteract.

    We won't be watching the ads anyway, unless they flood Fox News.

  32. Gail B says:

    They call grassroots "astroturf."

    I call the Organizers "Castroturf."

  33. Gail B says:

    And another thing! Those protesters of constituents at the town hall meetings are PAID TO BE THERE, probably with tax dollars through ACORN, et al.

    How un-American is that?

  34. Gail B says:

    THIS JUST IN:

    ***Obama Flip-Flops on Being Supporter of Single-Payer System

    (CNSNews.com) – In 2003, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama received a big round of applause for telling a gathering of the AFL-CIO, “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care plan.” This week, speaking at a town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., President Obama said, “I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter because, frankly, we historically have had a employer-based system in this country with private insurers, and for us to transition to a system like that I believe would be too disruptive."

    and

    ***AARP Corrects Obama: It Has Not Endorsed Health Care Reform Package

    (CNSNews.com) – The AARP, the nation’s largest advocacy group for seniors, corrected a statement by President Barack Obama yesterday that indicated the group was “endorsing” the health-care plan being developed in Congress. “We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors,” Obama said at one point.

    verify: billa (being sold a BILLA goods?)

  35. cherpa says:

    Take a stand America, like our dear leader said push back harder.
    Fox news is under attack by the left.6 major advertisers have pulled their adds on Glenn Beck or Fox news.Everyone needs to be informed.Foxnewsboycott.com and colorofchange.org have started these attacks.Call the following companies advertising or marketing departments and tell them they are making a big mistake.
    Geico
    Procter and Gamble
    S C Johnson
    Mens Warehouse
    Sargento foods
    Lawyers.com

  36. Bodenzee says:

    Decorum lost?

    Yesterday I watched most the Medal of Honor presentations on TV. Although I'm not an Obama supporter, I do believe that the Office of President deserves respect.

    I was flabbergasted and dismayed to hear not just applause as the recipients' arrival was announced but grunting reminiscent of watching baboons the last time I visited the Bronx Zoo. The White House is not a football stadium. Have all Americans lost sight of this, or just those that Obama invites into our House?

  37. Anonymous says:

    It is true U.S. health care is the most expensive in the world and we rank #37 out of 190 countries.

    How did the other nations fare? In terms of cost Switzerland is #2but overall they rank at #20. Germany is #3 in cost and they rank #25 on the list. France is #4and they rank #1 on the list. All those having the highest cost are in the top 20% of the list, including the U.S.

    The study based its conclusions on eight different variables. Guess what? We rank #1 in health responsiveness. We also have the exact same health response distribution as France which is at the top of the list. Our overall health goal attainment is better than San Marino which is third on the list!

    Sure, we've got some issues with our health care system which need to be fixed, but we've got a good system in place. Because it is a good system it would be wreckless to think about a total overhaul to the extent Obamacare intends to provide. Could it be perfected? Of course! Tweak it, modify it, or do whatever else is needed to improve it; but leave the majority of it alone.

  38. Gail B says:

    This is a list of companies that DO SPONSOR Fox News (for example, under Office Supplies, Staples is not a sponsor):

    SPONSORS BY CATEGORY

    *Banking
    American Express, Bankrate.com, Capital One Services, Inc., Community Financial Services Association of America, Edward Jones Investments, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton Investments, Morgan Stanley, UBS Financial Services Inc., Wachovia Finance

    *Car
    BMW, Acura, Bridgestone Tires, Buick, Cadillac , CarsDirect.com, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC , Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep / Daimler Chrysler, Lexus, Lincoln-Mercury, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, OnStar, Progressive Insurance, Subaru, The Hertz Corporation, Toyota , Vehix.com

    *Computers & Electronics
    CDW, Dell , Hewlett-Packard, Intel

    *Education
    Rosetta Stone

    *Entertainment
    American Movie Channel, Direct TV, Hula Networks, Lowe’s, Napster.com

    *Groceries
    Dannon, Florida Department of Citrus Headquarters, Splenda, Totino’s Pizza Rolls (Pillsbury / General Mills), Tyson Foods

    *Health
    24 Hour Fitness, Advair, Aricept, Astra Zeneca, Avodart, Bayer, Boniva, Bristol-Meyers, Capzasin , Centrum , Enova, Garlique, HealthMart Pharmacy , LensCrafters, Inc., Lipitor (Pfizer, Inc.), Lunesta, One-a-Day, OneTouch (LifeScan), Pfizer – NFA Nat’l Fibromyalgia Association, Plavix, Spiriva , ThermaCare, WebMD

    *Household
    Black & Decker, Dawn , Duracell (Procter & Gamble), Finish Jet Dry (Dishwasher Products) , Hefty Bags, Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner, Terminix

    *Information
    Yellow Book

    *Insurance
    Aflac

    *Internet
    Earthlink, Yahoo! Inc.

    *Lifestyle
    Chemistry.com

    *Manufacturing
    Boeing, Delphi

    *Office
    Adobe, Best Buy , Office Depot

    *Pets
    1-800-PetMeds, IAMS

    *Real Estate
    Ameriquest Mortgage, Ditech, Eloan.com, Lending Tree, Prudential Real Estate, Remax

    *Restaurants
    On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

    *Retail
    Burlington Coat Factory, John H. Daniel, Custom Tailors, L. L. Bean , Skip Gambert and Associates, Target, Wal-Mart

    *Services
    ComData, Laurie Azzano, Servpro Industries, Inc., SpendOnLife.com

    *Telecommunications
    Nextel (aka Sprint), AT & T, Avaya, Cingular, Comcast , Sprint, Time Warner Cable Inc.

    *Toiletries
    Clairol, Crest Whitestrips, Dickensons Witch Hazel, Gold Bond

    *Travel
    Celebrity Cruises, CheapTickets.com, Choice Hotels, Holiday Inn Express , hotels.com (Expedia,Inc.), Hyatt Corporation, Orbitz , priceline.com , Travelocity

  39. Rix says:

    Gail – great work, thanks for the list! I am glad to find my employer, as well as most of my favorite services and retailers, in it.

    As for Geico, I'm surprized; I think I saw their ad on Fox just recently. I'll make a call to their PR dept, just in case.

  40. Gail B says:

    There was an email circulating for Hannidy's special documentary on Obama (/Soetoro) but was pulled.

    Just received this email from JB Williams. He gives the links to the segments to the program.

    Friends,

    Many tuned into the Hannity Show this past Sunday on the promise of an explosive expose' on Obama's past. We saw that the show was just another average Hannity Show.

    It is now being alleged that the show was pulled hours before airing, and we can all guess why that would be, if it is true.

    But here are six YouTube links alleged to be the six segments Hannity intended to show last Sunday, and some are circulating another email telling folks to tune in again this coming Sunday.

    Here are the links. Take a look before they are removed from YouTube.

    I do not have any direct information on this special, whether or not it was ever real, whether or not is was pulled hours before airing, or even whether or not these six segments are from that special.

    But, there is a lot of important information in these six links. So, take a look and decide for yourself.

    Part 1 –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rthv8QmJLUw

    Part 2 –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJNhKZh8mGY&feature=fvw

    Part 3 –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95XFUi8PrTs&feature=related

    Part 4 –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl4twMf1xyM&feature=related

    Part 5 –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKzFtKEysjw&feature=related

    Part 6 –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmEmRbRJFLU&feature=related

  41. D.A.Gust says:

    To Aging Hippie dude,

    …and anyone esle that may have had thier tender feelings brushed against…

    I'm an aged "baby killer", "biker scumbag", "Repuglican't" from a part of Pennsyltucky's portion called fly-over country, where we are said to be clinging to guns and stuff.

    Just 48 miles north west of the attended talking party in the big city, at which you and that young law student backstabber dude were yesterday.

    Sorry you are, or were offended by his not-so-well-thought-out-words, but he had, more than likely, just "mis-spoke" or "mis-typed".

    I am sure the young backstabber law student meant no harm in discribing you, to his blog readers as he did.

    I'm serious, I bet he doesn't think of you as a real hippie, as I bet you and I think of real hippies anyway. (cause we be older folk, and know a hippie when we see one)

    Lucky for us the young backstabber doesn't have the time to write like Edgar Rice Burroughs in his discription of people he happens to see or meet, or I would still be reading the articles from last week…

    In closing, can't we all double down and lighten up? Lets try to pretend that we have a sense of humor, if it still lives…? Not like I'm trying to defend or deflect here, or say that calling someone a "Hippie" is cool, mostly by someone like the young backstabber…

    Respectfully,
    Old baby killer type dude

  42. Shark Girl says:

    If only Liberals and even Conservatives who support health reform would just think, they would realize they are putting their own health in the hands of a man that murders babies.

    Tell me, people…what don't you get? Obama doesn't want his girls punished with a baby. He also wants babies to be allowed to die if they happen to survive the gruesome torture of abortion that rips a baby apart. He even wants partial-birth abortion to be legal. After all, an unwanted baby is just a punishment to the woman, right?

    And you want the government to manage your health? Can you say "Population Control"?

    Probably not. So, while you are lining up for your government health care, the Right-Wing people who still think for themselves will be out working for a living, paying for your health care that you will be denied any way, because let's face it…if a baby is a punishment to Obama's girls, what do you think your petty little ailment is going to be to him?

    Excuse me now, I have to get back to work and try to figure out why our courts are so corrupted.

  43. READ AND WEEP HIPPIE says:

    "Those who cite the WHO rankings typically present them as an objective measure of the relative performance of the national health care systems," states Whitman. "They are not. The WHO rankings depend crucially on a number of underlying assumptions — some of them logically incoherent, some characterized by substantial uncertainty, and some rooted in ideological beliefs and values that not everyone shares."

    So what of the United States placing 37th – behind Slovenia – in the WHO rankings? WHO rankings result from an index of five health-related statistics: health level, health distribution, responsiveness, responsiveness distribution and financial fairness. Only health level and responsiveness, Whitman writes, are justifiable measures of a health system. The remaining rankings, he argues, fail to take into account differences in health outcomes not explained by spending or literacy, and instead attribute them to health care performance, creating a fertile ground for demagoguery and selective citation.

    "The WHO health care ranking system does not escape ideology," concludes Whitman. "On the contrary, it advances ideological assumptions under the guise of objectivity. Those interested in objective measures of health system performance should look elsewhere."

  44. Sick and Tired of Health Care Reform says:

    WHO also takes into consideration the number of soldiers killed on the battle fields. Yeah, France is right up their sending loads and loads of there men to Iraq. Maybe the poster can find some nice stats from 1960? I am sure Russia had some good ones then. Or maybe pull up some stats from the early 1900s. (Why should doctors bother washing their hands anyway? We all know we have such terrible medical care here.)

    [That was dripping with sarcasm for anyone who couldn't figure it out.]

  45. Gail B says:

    Jeff, just wanted to compliment you on your coverage of that town hall meeting. It was excellent! Your journalism talent added to your education in the field really make the points in the story pop.

    I always enjoy reading your writeups when you "go journalistic" on us! Great pictures, good movement through the story, and the final, powerful statements to wrap it up.

  46. INFILTRATE! says:

    I'm with Gail, that was like reading a novel. You should go 'undercover' more!

  47. 20 MINUTES, FLIP says:

    Gail, does this president not flip more than a valley girl on her first day tanning at the beach?

  48. Anonymous says:

    http://pawatercooler.com/?p=14952

    "As the article in today’s Daily News reveals, we also uncovered the fact that Sestak worked closely with MoveOn.org organizers to stage this “open” event; then proceeded to stack the room with left wing cronies."

    I wonder if astroturf would be considered propaganda, when conducted by the government? Maybe I'm wrong, but stacking the room with government-approved activists strikes me as a free-speech violation against those who might disagree.

  49. FANTASTIC SAM'S says:

    Can anybody recommend a 'good' hairstylist in Philly for this guy?

    verification word: nuozi
    What Tom Cruise calls us protestors

  50. PAGE 2,012 says:

    Sick and Tired,

    that condition is covered in Section 102 Page 2,012 titled "Sick and Tired"…. no copay under universal coverage

    verification word: pudsting
    Happens in a limo if not careful

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