Wednesday October 14th 2009

payday imagesHour One: "Payday lenders...helping or hurting the poor?" Thom challenges Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute

Hour Two: "Health care workers: get a flu shot or a new job!!" Thom talks to bio-ethicist Dr. Art Caplan

Plus...Why health care workers should be able to choose if they get flu shots or not. Jan Rodolfo

Hour Three: Should creationists be shunned and ridiculed the way holocaust deniers are? with Richard Dawkins author, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution  http//


Mark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

The Republicans, the insurance companies, the AARP, the AMA, the libertarians, the Cato Institute and Ayn Rand people, and the John Lotts of the world all claim that they want ordinary people to have the right to have “choice.” But their concept of “choice” is decidedly a limited one. They seem to fear that the people may make choices that hurts the “production” of profit, and wish to leave what “choices” people have in hands of those who want to maximize personal profit at the expense of the common good. This country is of the people, by the people and for the people—not of, by and for the corporations, the wealthy “elite” and politicians of any stripe. What right do they have to deny the people the choice to decide if they want to participate in a public option when they have clearly been failed by current system? For at least six decades since Truman called on Congress to pass universal health care, the public has been denied the opportunity to make that choice; it is time for politicians to set aside selfish considerations of their own hides and consider that of the general public.

If people wish it, they should be able, by their own choice, to enter into a government-sponsored public health care option that will not deny them coverage under any circumstance as long as they contribute to, say, a payroll deduction. This deduction can be made through a simple form similar to a W-4 form, where a person can select the public health care option, with the deduction based on the number of dependents and wage level. It seems so simple, yet lawmakers stumble over each other to find the most chaotic way around it.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Accounting Firm Admits Cost Savings Left Out Of Report Prepared For Insurance Providers

Accounting giant Pricewaterhouse Coopers has issued a statement about the audit it performed for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

Most notable about the statement, issued late last night, is an acknowledgment the cost savings from the bill weren't included, though PWC points out that is noted on page one of the report.

The report, intended to frighten Americans about impending huge increases in health care premiums, was commissioned by the insurance industry.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Nurses to sue New York over vaccination mandate
Count four Albany County nurses among those scared of H1N1. Not the virus itself, but of the vaccine for it that New York is requiring all health care workers to receive by the end of November.

"Receiving the vaccine doesn't mean you're not going to get the flu," says Lorna Patterson, an emergency room nurse at Albany Medical Center. She is one of the four nurses who are planning to file a lawsuit this week against New York in order to stop the state from enforcing its mandatory vaccinations. In addition to H1N1--or swine flu--nurses, doctors, and others who care for the health of others in New York will have to receive a seasonal flu shot. It's the first time the state has mandated such a vaccination.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

£14billion: That's the record amount Goldman Sachs staff will get in pay and bonuses
City bank Goldman Sachs is expected to confirm tomorrow that bonuses will smash all records in 2009, just a year after the Government rescued the financial system from oblivion.

The Wall Street giant is on course to lavish £14billion on pay and bonuses on staff this year following a surge in profits between July and September, experts said.

Goldman's 5,500 UK workers are now set to pocket an average of almost £500,000 each for this year - the highest rewards in the firm's 140-year history.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Former right-wing leader warns of religious right violence: ‘Anyone can be killed’

Frank Schaeffer is an outspoken critic of the politicized Christian evangelical right. He sees the “End Times” movement as anti-Semitic. He fears that a right-wing terrorist might assassinate the President of the United States.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Worst. Idea. Ever.

Saudi Arabia is trying to enlist other oil-producing countries to support a provocative idea: if wealthy countries reduce their oil consumption to combat global warming, they should pay compensation to oil producers.

I always thought that toppling these corrupt, torturing desert oligarchs was one of the main reasons for not using so much foreign oil, almost as much as saving the environment. That said, I'm not surprised that the Saudis would resort to this idea -- once you've proven that you're good at terrorism, extortion isn't that big of a deal, is it?

mstaggerlee (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Regarding her vote with the Senate Finance Democrats yesterday, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said "When history calls, one must answer."

Responding to that statement, Randi Rhodes said yesterday - "When history calls Orrin Hatch, he lets it go to voicemail."

Well, of course he does - The Senate is all about seniority, and Orrin Hatch is older than history. ;)

DDay (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Alan Grayson for President.

B Roll (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Jane Hamsher founder of Firedoglake and had some interesting things to say about the current status of health care reform on Democracy Now today. Her comments about the intentions of the administration are especially interesting.

The transcript is already up so you don't have to tear your ears away from Thom.

B Roll (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Free Speech TV

I dozed off watching FSTV a few evenings ago and as I woke up I heard one of the people doing the fund raising say that FSTV would soon be carrying Thom Hartmann doing a weekly call-in talk show.

I hoped I had just wakened from a nightmare, but now it seems it's true. Well, FSTV has just established its right flank. Thom will have the most conservative program on the FSTV lineup.

On the good side, maybe some members of the Hartmann cult will subscribe to FSTV and have the opportunity to discover programs like Democracy Now and GRITtv. It would be very enlightening.

One interesting thing you'd notice is that there are more people of color on GRITtv in one week than Thom Hartmann has on his show in a year. And they're intelligent, articulate and perfectly able to speak on a wide range of topics, not just issues relating to their particular ethnic groups. It's actually quite interesting and intellectually stimulating.

You don't need DISH TV to watch Democracy Now and GRITtv. They're both available online.

Wendy (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Thom, your medical "expert" guest seems to be operating on the assumption that vaccines are 100% effective in preventing disease. Truth is they are not. He seems more interested in promoting the pharmaceutical company propaganda about vaccines than debating the truth.

mathboy (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

It is possible to do a scientific test of how well a vaccine reduces infection in hospitals. All the CDC has to do is compare the infection rates in hospitals that had their employees get the vaccine to hospitals that didn't, and account for other factors.

mathboy (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

I'm not one of those people that believes thiomersal (American slurring: thimerosal) caused autism, but the difference between eating a tuna sandwich and getting a vaccine could easily be which mercury compound is involved.

KJacobs (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

If the flu shot is a condition of employment, would the hospital be responsible for any adverse effects on the employees? i.e. the manufacturers have complete immunity, suppose the health care worker has an incapacitating reaction that prevents them from working ... it's almost like russian roulette even if the odds are 1000 to 1.

Mark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Concerning the discussion with that nurse, are doctors being required to take the flu vaccine? Why haven’t we heard from them similarly? I can’t help but observe that nurses frequently go on strike, but you never hear doctors doing the same, even over the hours they work; perhaps they feel they have an obligation to the patient first before themselves. It seems to me that nurses place themselves on a different plane than other health care workers. Why, I don’t know. The fact is that nurses aids and orderlies do most of the “grunt” work like passing out pills and hooking-up IVs.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago


Thanks for addressing the question about whether or not the "opt out" option for states is a race to the bottom. I was relieved to hear reasons that this probably would not be the case.

mathboy (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Dawkins says the selfishness of genes leads them into cooperation. That's because what we call altruism is really roundabout selfishness. What we call selfishness is simplistic, dumb selfishness. That is how Republican politicians behave. They have dumbed down their worldview to the point where they can't see how "selfish" altruism is. Therefore, they reject environmentalism and corporate regulation to everyone's ultimate detriment.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Who says the Republican Party does not love the Mafia? I mean the Mafia and the RNC are allies on so many things. If there is any love lost, I am guessing it would be the Mafia being disturbed by the brazenness of the RNC, experiencing jealousy over the RNC’s success and the RNC taking a bigger ‘taste’ up front.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago


PLEASE send Dan Gainor links to research that shows increases in minimum wage result in better economy, etc. He is just working off right-wing assumptions, without any proof.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Historical FACTS are not on DAN Gaynor's (jack_hole) side. What is up with recessivists ignoring facts?

Oh. That’s right . . . . Facts and reality have a noted liberal bent.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

That’s not appropriate or fair . . . . I have no actual information that Dan Gainor is a ‘jack_hole”. He just continually plays one on the radio.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

I have been concerned with some of the problems with the current bill on which Barney Frank's committee is working. Frank addressed these problems on MSNBC's Morning Meeting today. Video:

Quark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago


I am probably posting this just to share the visual of Tom Donahue, the current president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, getting "an earful" of complaints about how he and his organization are hurting this country, but here goes (video):

Tim From LA (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Interestingly, Richard Dawkins said that through evolution, cells works in conjunction with other cells to support the survival of the whole body. Yet if a cell goes from working together to working for itself, it's called cancer. That same cancer reminds me of the Republican party and it's fine time we remove that cancer so the body can survive.

B Roll (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Report from Free Speech TV:

Thom looks really young on his TV show; like around than 35 years old. It might have something to do with having no beard or mustache.

B Roll (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

afterthought about Thom on FSTV

His youthful appearance probably also has to do with the fact that his picture isn't sharp so no wrinkles appear on his face. That might be in part to the fact that the color looked oversaturated which blurs details. One thing for sure, he looked a hell of a lot better than Dan Gainor.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago


I just listened again to the "Morning Meeting" sound clips for which I sent you links; I winced. Dylan Ratigan seems particularly pugnacious today. (I try to "listen through" the volume of his questioning to hear the points he is arguing. Today, they were a little more distracting than usual, I think.)

Dan (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

I know this does not pertain directly to the subject of the first hour. However, today October 14, 2009 during the first hour Tom read a parody from an outside source whose name I have forgotten. The parody saying Senator Snowe's republican party was demanding she show her kenyan birth certificate is subtle to some but to me blatant racism that needs to be identified when it comes up. I hope Tom will do a retraction as created by him or not he read it to his audience. It does not little good to further debate on health care reform and probably detracts from moving forward.

B Roll (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago


The parody you referred to comes from The Borowitz Report.

If you read this, could you please explain how or why that parody was racism let alone "blatant racism". You say such racism needs to be identified when it comes up. What are the identifying features?

I have some Kenyan friends and I can't imagine them finding this offensive.

I doubt that the parody you referred to would have even a slight affect on health care reform.

By the way, I'm a constant critic of Thom and one of my criticisms is over the scarcity of people of color as guests on his show. In fact, if you look at my second post on today's blog you'll see I raised that issue today.

Kalyga (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

I was disturbed by your segment on mandatory flu vaccines for health care providers on several levels.
First, bio-ethicist Dr. Art Caplan was dismayingly dismissive and disrespectful of personal/ religious objections to a proposed mandated medical procedure.
Second, the flu shot does not guarantee immunity from the flu- there are many strains circulating each year and the shot only covers some of them.
Third, hand-washing is the single, most effective thing that people can do to combat illnesses, including H1N1, according to a NY times article published last month
Fourth, profiteering for big pharmaceutical companies! At $25 a shot, they are laughing all the way to the bank, again. . . or have they offered to provide the shots free of cost to the hard working health care providers on the front lines of this annual "epidemic/pandemic" illness? Or at least provide the shots at cost (not at a profit) for all health care professionals!
Fifth, a government mandated flu vaccine, or any other medical procedure, strikes me as dangerous territory and an affront to personal liberty. It is also a bigger issue than just flu vaccines. As a progressive, pro-choice woman, I cringe at the idea of the government being so directly involved in health care decisions. This should be left to individuals to make well-informed, personal decisions. Otherwise, what’s next?

nora (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Thom's guest Dr. Art Caplan sounded unprofessional to me, even sort of like a quack. Dr. Caplan pushed the illogic that only vaccinated healthcare workers are safe to be around and that unvaccinated hospital workers caused hospitals to be places where patients get secondary infections.

Think about what Caplan said! He is insinuating that healthcare workers are the cause of infectious problems in hospitals as if healthcare workers are a new version of TYPHOID MARY or something! That is goofy and unscientific!

Poor sanitation, poor hospital design, poor hygeine habits -- and lots of sick people are the cause of infection.

And when Caplan insinuates that an unvaccinated healthcare workers are equal to infectious carriers of disease -- that is just plain SCREWY! A person only has the flu IF THEY HAVE THE FLU.

And it is crazy to conclude that getting the so-called "Seasonal Flu Vaccine" will prevent getting the flu also because in making that yearly vaccine the pharmaceutical companies just GUESS which virus to use in the production of the vaccine. It is just a sort of spin-the-bottle choice with no guarantee.

What the flu vaccine business is about is MAKING LOTS OF MONEY, getting lots of government subsidies, and being FREE FROM LEGAL LIABILITY for the harmful aspects of their products.

This issue is a can of worms. And has the hallmarks of a hoax.

No studies on the safety OR efficacy of the vaccines? WHY not?

Removed liabilites? WHY?

Probably the reason the industry wants the healthcare workers to get it first is that the profiteers have done their homework -- their FOCUS GROUPS -- and realize how the general public TRUSTS healthcare workers -- and if healthcare workers get these vaccines it will be easier to get the general public to acquiesce to getting vaccines.

nora (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Another point about the mandatory flu vaccine:

If a person is so afraid about catching the flu and BELIEVES the flu vaccine will protect them (and I sense that consumer BELIEF and FAITH are required in the case of being willing to injest/inject these vaccines). then why doesn't that person just get their vaccine and leave others alone about it? If the flu vaccine is TRULY protection against the flu, then those who get it will be protected and don't have to be concerned anymore. Forcing EVERYONE to get the vaccines is pretty strange.

And even if the flu vaccines (whether the guesswork-seasonal or the geneticly-altered H1N1) were proven to work -- WHICH IS WORSE: Being flu free a couple of years or later suffering from chronic, inescapable auto-immune illnesses or early-onset dementia which are being linked to the materials in the vaccines and how the vaccines are administered (by-passing the body's natural barriers against foreign proteins and toxins -- the skin, the gut, the blood-brain barrier? I personally wouldn't care if i missed a few days work a year with colds or flu as long as I was protecting myself from vaccines that increased my risk of getting horrible debilitating diseases and chronic and costly problems!

nora (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Here's a question: What is it worth to the Pharmaceutical Industry if millions of Americans suffer from auto-immune diseases and other sicknesses that result from the longterm effects of their vaccines?

First, they get the vaccine profits and $ubsidies liability-free. Next they get the huge profits from pharmaceuticals to treat the symptoms of the problems the vaccines cause. There is NO downside for the Pharmaceutical Industry!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

I was only able to listen to Thom for a few minutes. Thom briefly said that he may have a TV show. Did he elaborate on the possibility?

TTUEagle (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Nora, except if that was what they were really doing they would have to fear a competitor that wasn't doing it. A competitor that could show (or cast suitable doubt) that they were doing it would drive them quickly out of business. Or, are they all in cahoots and it's a conspiracy!!??

B Roll (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

Gerald Socha

The 3rd hour of the Thom Hartmann Show airs live Monday - Friday on Free Speech TV (FSTV) which is a channel that is only carried by the Dish Network at channel 9415. FSTV carries some excellent programs. It's not a separate TV show.

DDay (not verified) 10 years 33 weeks ago

For what it is worth, by way of credentials: My wife is a certified clinical nurse mid-wife. My oldest and best friend is a leading infectious disease doctor. The amount of false or misleading clap-trap broadcast by this and other shows recently concerning the flu vaccines is ignorant and damaging to the public interests. Nora's comments in particular are shrill and ill informed. Dr. Art Caplan is one of the greatest minds in his field of Bio-Ethics. To Thom's credit, he dialed back his inherent idiosyncratic medical beliefs somewhat after talking to the nurse. Mark your comments regarding Doctor's greater concern for their patients in relation to nurses is so very off base. I can tell your experience in medicine has been confined to being a consumer only. Health care professionals who refuse to be properly inoculated against infectious diseases should have their licenses revoked. The same goes for those who would impose their private moral beliefs on their patients. (Like the pharmacist who refused to provide the morning after pill, etc.) Way too much irrational silly science being practiced here! We sound little better than the Bushies in this. Grownups should act better. No single invention or discovery has resulted in more saved lives than the syringe, in all human history. If you are pregnant and get the flu, you have a 9 times better chance of dying. Do you want your provider to be immunized given this fact? Maybe I should shut up...Maybe it's time to thin the herd.

Will Trump Stop Us From Voting in November?

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This anniversary is happening in the midst of a week in which the President of the United States has militarized Washington DC and is calling for the crushing of dissent here in the United States.
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