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I just read today that Hillary Clinton is getting ready to make an announcement. Everyone anticipates that she will be expressing her desire to be the Democratic nominee for president very soon. My heart filled with dread at the inevitable ascension of the former first lady.

I have been an admirer of yours for a few years, since I witnessed you courageous fight for a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. My love for you was solidified when you lead a spirited fight against your callow opponent, Republican incumbent Scott Brown, winning the general election on November 6, 2012, and becoming the first female senator from Massachusetts. Knowing that you are in the Senate taking the fight to the banksters and 'moderates from both parties’ has given me the assurance that democracy is not just another corrupt political system.

I know that Hillary is quite a formidable lady with a long list of credentials and rock solid name recognition, not to mention a powerful ally, her husband Bill Clinton. It certainly seems like she has a check in every box of desirable qualities for president. And yet I long to see you run. I admire your depth of knowledge of financial affairs. I am touched by the way you champion various causes on behalf of the middle class and your genuine desire to see hardworking Americans succeed on a level playing field. We need you grit, wisdom and passionate voice in a real primary, debating the many issues that are plaguing the middle class, and I believe you can win the hearts of the American people. You were born to seize this moment to change the trajectory of our country.

The market driven plan for housing the middle class has only made homes more unaffordable. Homes that used to represent a place to raise our families, providing them stability and love, are now tickets in a great big bank-controlled lottery where any day you may be driven out by artificial supply and demand, unreasonable mortgages and appreciating taxes. In many areas of the country modest homes are on sale for a million dollars or more.

Our banking system was meant to provide reasonable loans to qualified borrowers for a profit, but our current system no longer wishes to serve the average American. The typical customer does not have the net worth to satisfy the insatiable desire for profit that now drives the banking industry. Even though banks profit from most transactions through debit and credit cards fees, they still charge customers for every possible request, even for a basic account. Banks boasting of free checking are finding numerous ways to nip a little bit here and there from their customers whose wages have been stagnant for years. Then there is the wheeling and dealing taking place in the derivatives market, with losses being underwritten by taxpayers, legislation that you so eloquently lobbied against.

The root of many of our social ills: crime, high-cost unattainable higher education, a less than desirable job market, could see a turnaround if you became president.
Am I too naive to believe that what American needs now is a leader whose heart beats every day for the American people and who strongly supports economic fairness for all?

I know the polls are indicating that you would wage an uphill battle against our dear former secretary of state and the pundits tell me that Hillary would amass a billion-dollar war chest to fight any possible Republican challenger. They also say that you don’t stand a chance to be elected in a country where JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has a golden seat at the table from which he can lobby Congress. They say you are not moderate enough, all because you still believe, not in what is politically palatable, but what is best for our country. Given these facts I am told that Hillary Clinton is the ‘inevitable’ democratic nominee for president – “signed, sealed and delivered.” But my heart beats for you alone. Please run.


I had a rude awakening recently when I visited the emergency room with an excruciating stomach ache. I could hardly walk and required morphine to stop my pain. Little did I know the pain from that visit would also include a doctor bill for almost $1,400 dollars.

I am enrolled in a very good, reputable insurance plan and I went to a hospital which was in my network. I only expected to pay under $400.00 for this visit. Yet the hospital, unknown to me, was hiring out of network medical providers. I received a lovely letter telling me I was a valued customer, but it clearly stated “You will likely receive separate bills from physicians or other healthcare provider for services or tests they provided while you were in our hospital. These bills are separate from your hospital bill. If you have questions about these bills, please contact their billing office at the number provided on their statement."

We religiously pay our health care premiums with the expectation that we have set copays and deductibles, provided that we use in network providers, yet we have had to face similar bills before for diagnostics test from doctors’ offices that were in the network. This happens in many other scenarios, not just emergencies. What then is the value of having health insurance? Mind you, my out of pocket costs for doctor visits have tripled and in some cases quadrupled over the last decade while significant deductables have also been added.

It is useless to try to budget for medical costs if enrolling in a health care plan does not shield you from being billed the full cost for your medical care. Some states have laws that protect patients from these billing practices while others do not.  The total bill for my treatment for my non-life threatening ailment and overnight stay exceeded $13,000. Am I lucky that I only have $1,400 to pay? I guess I should be doing the happy dance. Lucky me!

I have noticed that many doctors’ offices are using various methods to get more cash up front. Recently I went to see an optician who was using all kinds of doublespeak to get my spouse to avoid using an insurance card, like offering to charge only $10.00 for a follow up visit which would have required no out of pocket costs. Another was advising me repeatedly to buy drug store glasses instead of filling my prescription for no out of pocket costs with my card, even though drug store glasses are made with inferior lenses and other cheap materials. The level of service the public receives from some doctors is truly appalling and the system requires a lot more regulation or middle class families will continue to be saddled with ridiculous medical bills.


A bevy of so called pundits have jumped on the media carousel shouting at former White House intern Monica Lewinsky to just shut up and go away already. Monica's recent interview with Vanity Fair about the repercussions of her affair with former President Bill Clinton is roiling the beltway politicians and some powerful female personalities.

Among her outraged critics is Cokie Roberts who attacked her today on Morning Joe claiming: "You wonder how much of this is aimed at Hillary Clinton. Wouldn't she like it out of the way"? God forbid that Monica Lewinsky should attempt to derail feminist darling Hillary Clinton's second attempt at occupying the White House.

Many political operatives argue that if Monica is so shamed by her story, and if her past indiscretions have ruined her life as she claims, then she just retreat into her 90's closet and stay there along with her skeletons. The problem with that argument is that Monica Lewinsky's name has been repeatedly dragged back unto the national stage, particularly by right wing activists who are seeking to one-up Bill or Hillary Clinton in the political battles de jour. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has invoked Lewinsky and Clinton's affair repeatedly in his effort to lay the groundwork for a presidential bid against possible nominee Hillary Clinton.

Public documents stored at the University of Arkansas library detail some of Hillary Clinton's discussions with deceased friend Diane Blair. Clinton told Blair that Lewinsky was a "narcissistic loony toon." Should we just rip the pages referencing Monica from our historical documents? In fact CNN did a story in February headlined "Where is Monica Lewinsky?' Is she the one who keeps rearing her tarnished head, or is it the American public who won't let her remain encased in a historical vault?

Monica Lewinsky is, and always will be, a central figure in American history and she has a right to be heard on any issue on which she chooses to speak. Her freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution. The problem is there are certain establishment interests that would like to rewrite Bill Clinton's history and pretend he did not defile the Oval Office with his predatory sexual behavior. They are more concerned with protecting the legacy of one of our richest and most powerful men, than allowing a young woman the space and time she needs to resurrect herself from an ugly life experience.

Monica Lewinsky needs to stay in the spotlight for a number of reasons. Her shame is also our collective shame because of the way we, as a society, treat our women. She is a reminder of our discomfort with all things sexual, even as we splash nakedness across the internet and television.

We have celebrated and adored Bill Clinton, a man who may have seduced this young woman or even used his power to sexually coerce her into having relations with him. We will never really know. The reality is that she was a very young, unpaid intern and he, the President of the United States, was her boss. Clinton came out unto a public stage and denigrated her as 'that woman'. Now these so called pundits, many of them women, are yelling at Monica to shut up and go away. It also highlights the way women repeatedly run to the defense of men behaving badly, to the detriment of their own gender.

America is still a male chauvinist bastion. While we do not have marauding terrorists kidnapping our women and selling them into slavery, we are more focused on shaming those who have been sexually victimized than highlighting so many gender related atrocities going on in our country. It is not a coincidence that we have so few female CEOs in corporate America.  A recent report by PBS highlights the unbearable cost of day care which is forcing women who desperately want careers to stay home with their children.

The Supreme Court recently stripped away a rape victim's right to the entire judgment she won in a lawsuit filed against a relative who sexually assaulted her and posted the pictures on the internet. The ruling set aside nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of 'Amy.' Her losses had been calculated based on the ongoing internet trade and viewing of images of her being raped by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old. The justices were more concerned that 'discretion' should be exercised when awarding restitution. The feministas were practically silent about this outrageous abdication of duty by our highest court.

Men who assault women are frequently giving slaps on the wrist like probation.  Millionaire RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal recently kicked his girlfriend 117 times and was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor.

Abortion clinics are silently closing all around the country as the right wing continues to place fetal rights over that of the mother. Mississippi and Texas have closed almost all their clinics while Louisiana and Arizona have passed very restrictive and onerous laws aimed at shutting down the clinics that still remain. This is happening all around America and the media has looked the other way.

When will we as a society stop silencing women who have been sexually victimized? We silence victims of rape, incest and other sexually related crimes.  Prostitutes are imprisoned day after day while many johns walk away unscathed without humiliating mug shots and arrest records. The White House sex scandal is a part Monica's life experience and it always will be and she deserves the right, like anyone else, to tell her authentic story. If you can’t stand to hear it, then shame on you.


Justin Bieber's criminal behavior is proving to be a test for prosecutors in Los Angeles who are under pressure to hand out another serving of celebrity justice.

He has been implicated in a string of incidents, including drunken driving in his Lamborghini in a drag race in Miami Beach, Fla., an assault charge in his native Canada and a Los Angeles investigation into whether he egged a neighbor’s mansion, causing twenty thousand dollars in damages.

After the drag racing brouhaha, Bieber was charged with three misdemeanors for driving under the influence, resisting arrest and using an expired license.

Bieber and his African American friend Lil Za were both implicated in the vandalism of a home owned by Bieber's neighbor. Eggs were tossed at the home, costing $20,000 in damages.

Detectives searched Bieber's mansion looking for evidence and encountered Lil Za. They found him with ecstasy and oxycodone and he was charged in January with two counts of felony drug possession. Authorities initially said they arrested him on suspicion of cocaine possession, but they amended the charges after testing the drugs.

Lil Za, whose real name is Xavier Domonique Smith, was the only person arrested during the search. Bieber however remains 'under investigation' for felony vandalism. Lil Za was also charged with felony vandalism for damaging a $400 jailhouse phone. That's three felony charges for Lil Za, folks.

Not so in the case of Justin Bieber. It is taking an eternity for his charges in the egging incident to be filed.

TMZ is reporting that prosecutors, after much hand wringing, have finally decided to charge Bieber with misdemeanor vandalism.

Justin Bieber will be charged with a crime for allegedly egging his neighbor's house, but the case will probably never go to trial ... sources connected with the case tell TMZ.

Our sources say the L.A. County D.A. has contacted Bieber's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, and asked for a meeting to discuss restitution for the egging damage -- which the neighbor puts at $20K.

We're told the discussion between Weitzman and the prosecutor will center around paying for the damage, and pleading no contest to misdemeanor vandalism.  Bieber would serve no jail time and be placed on informal probation.

The short of it all -- the case would be over before it begins.  Bieber will be charged, the plea bargain will be entered and it would then be case closed.

Our sources say the D.A. and the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. are at odds over the case.  The Sheriff wants Bieber charged with a FELONY because the egging was intentional and it caused a huge amount of damage.  The D.A., we're told, thinks Bieber's hijinks does not rise to the level of a felony ... and a misdemeanor is more appropriate.

We're told Weitzman has not met with the D.A. yet but that should happen shortly.  It looks like this case could be resolved as early as next week.

It appears that the wheels of justice turn rapidly when it applies to regular folks like Lil Za. From all appearances prosecutors are prepared to give Bieber another 'get-out-of-jail-free card.' It's sad that the justice system does not apply the same standards to us all.


A chorus of 'learned' medical ethicists have been making the media rounds to blast the anguished family of brain dead teen Jahi McMath after a horrific tragedy following what they assumed was a routine tonsillectomy surgery.

Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, told the LA Times last month, “I think it’s disrespectful to the dead in a fundamental way, and it opens the floodgates for other people to say, ‘Oh, you don’t really know when we’re dead, do you? So please make more efforts for my loved ones.’”

This African American family dared to stare down the doctors of Children's Hospital Oakland demanding that they do not turn of Jahi's ventilator after what they described as negligent treatment which precipitated her cardiac arrest from massive bleeding. They perceived that they were dealing with a set of bean counters cloaked in medical degrees who are often immune to the personal tragedies that unfold in the wings of their hospitals. They clinically refer to patient deaths from medical procedures as 'adverse events,' call the coroners, issue death certificates and then retreat in silence behind HIPPA laws.

The 'ethicists' are virtually silent on the Texas law requiring brain dead pregnant mothers to remain on life support despite the wishes of their families. There are no rampant ghoulish commentaries and editorials referring to these women as corpses or 'the deceased.' No one is speculating about the rapid decomposition of their bodies. They are often housed inside hospitals for months until they spontaneously abort, but few argue about wasted precious bed spaces and equipment and little is said about the costs incurred. Certainly not these 'medical ethicists' that have suddenly emerged from their crypts to create a storm about Jahi.

Marlise Munoz, a 33-year-old paramedic, has been in the intensive care unit of a Fort Worth hospital since collapsing on 26 November. Several medical procedures have been performed on her as they monitor the development of her fetus.

The doctors at Childrens Hospital Oakland claimed they did not perform procedures on deceased persons, refusing to insert a feeding tube into Jahi's body to keep her nourished. They had no problem beginning the process of euthanasia by withdrawing her food supply and were livid when they could not turn off her ventilator. Those concerns have never been raised when they are harvesting organs. Is the organ donation industry behind this firestorm over the brain dead? Will keeping them on ventilators for long periods of time slow down the harvesting of organs for lucrative transplant surgeries?

So one must ask: are doctors and families of the brain dead in Texas shielded from criticism by a rabid, wealthy and politically connected pro life, anti abortion lobby, while a poor pro life African American family and their attorney are mercilessly pilloried in the press and threatened with death?


In recent days  immigration advocates have been vociferously championing the cause of allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country and fighting for the reunification of their families. I think it is important to treat illegals humanely and such considerations are justified. But what about those who have legally attained residency status but whose basic human rights are trampled upon as if they were illegals. I refer to the mass deportation of green card holders.

The changes to the immigration law in 1996 vastly expanded the crimes that fall into the category of 'aggravated felonies.' Prior to 1996 this description was limited to crimes involving murder and drug trafficking. Under current law any crime for which an individual serves a year in jail makes a legal immigrant eligible for deportation.

Advocates have been fighting to give green card holders who commit minor offences a chance to stay in the country but I am advocating for the more wretched. Those who came here as children and committed felonies, including those who were tried as adults. These young people have been written off by the system and viewed as incorrigible.

The Dream Act specifically excluded these young people from ever having a second chance at a full, productive and meaningful life in the United States. Will some of them continue to offend? Absolutely. But there are many who, if given a chance to join an intervention program would be able to turn their lives around and contribute to society in a meaningful way while continuing to stay with their loved ones.

Human come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us adapt to societies rules and some of us have more challenges based on our upbringing and individual circumstances. Some are genetically wired with emotional challenges and many of them run afoul of the the law. But for a young green card holder theses bad decisions are catastrophic.

Current immigration law is written as if human are not inherently flawed. Being an immigrant requires moral purity and if one should turn out to have any human failings or flaws, the consequence is that one is banished from the United States forever.
Under current law they are not entitled to any judicial discretion or legal services. The 'Immigration Court' is merely an administrative process to rubber stamp your deportation papers. In many cases such young people leave their entire immediate families behind and are returned to a country they have never known. They will never be able to return to what they have known as home again and will live in exile for the rest of their lives. I ask you to consider these dreamers too and give them a second chance.


Georgia's Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, in a statement to local television station Channel 2 Action news tonight, said he hopes the Obamacare website 'implodes.' The state had previously refused federal funds for an expansion of Medicaid.

With 1.7 million uninsured, Georgia has one of the nation’s highest percentages of adults who lack health insurance, often because they cannot afford it. Georgia also has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S.

GA was one of many Republican leaning states that demanded more oversight of Affordable Care Act workers to 'protect consumers.'

In the spirit of meanness with which we have become accustomed from Republicans, Hudgens has rolled out many obstacles in the way of navigators who are assisting Georgians with finding information about health care policies available to them through

The state imposed their own certification and licensing requirements, a process that critics say could hinder the availability of navigators. Hudgens ensured that the state required navigators to pass the same test as insurance brokers, even though federal law makes a clear distinction between navigators and brokers.

In August he bragged to a crowd of fellow Republicans in Floyd County: “Everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”“Let me tell you what we’re doing,”
We have passed a law that says that a navigator, which is a position in that exchange, has to be licensed by our Department of Insurance,” Hudgens said.

 “The Obamacare law says that we cannot require them to be an insurance agent, so we said fine, we’ll just require them to be a licensed navigator. So we’re going to make up the test, and basically you take the insurance agent test, you erase the name, you write ‘navigator test’ on it.”

An Act to amend Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,Chapter 23 of Title 33 was amended by the passage of HB198. The new law created a new license type entitled Navigator and an intimidating list of other requirements.

Navigators must complete 20 hours of federal training, 10 hours of state training and a fingerprint background check before they can help people sign up through the exchanges in Georgia.

By the end of last month, According to Glenn Allen, a media relations representative for Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, only four “healthcare navigators” had been licensed in the state.

However, an additional 16 navigators had passed the state insurance exam and 13 were scheduled to take it. Once a navigator passes the test, he or she does not receive a license in Georgia until also passing a background check.

Rules and Regulations 120-2-3-.48 Navigator

(1) No person shall act as a Navigator, as defined in O.C.G.A. 33-23-201(3), without first obtaining a license to act as such from the Commissioner.

(2) The Commissioner may not issue a Navigator license to any applicant until such applicant has:

(a) Submitted an application on forms provided by the Commissioner. Such form shall include an acknowledgement from the applicant that such applicant understands that a Navigator license is not alone sufficient to sell, solicit, or negotiate insurance in the State of Georgia;

(b) Submitted an application fee of 50 dollars pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-8-1(6)(Z);

(c) Submitted a résumé listing the applicant’s educational background and experience related to the functions of a Navigator;

(d) Successfully completed not less than 35 hours of instruction;

(e) Passed an exam as required by the Commissioner;

(f) Attained the age of 18;

(g) Submitted electronic fingerprints through a vendor selected by the Department to run criminal background checks. The applicant shall bear the cost for electronic fingerprinting; and

(h) Submitted proof satisfactory to the Commissioner that such applicant (or such applicant’s sponsoring entity) has been approved by the federal authorities, by being awarded a grant or otherwise, to act as Navigator, as defined in O.C.G.A. § 33-23-201(3).

(3) Each Navigator license shall expire August 31.

(4) In determining whether any applicant has satisfied the pre-licensing education requirement set forth in subparagraph (d) of paragraph (2) of this regulation, the Commissioner may consider any training provided by federal authorities to act as a Navigator, as defined in O.C.G.A. § 33-23-201(3). Up to 25 hours of pre-licensing training may consist of education provided by federal authorities provided that the applicant submits documentation, satisfactory to the Commissioner that the applicant has, in fact, spent the amount of time requested engaged in federal pre-licensing training. If the applicant completes 25 hours of federal navigator training, the remaining 10 hours must be satisfied by completing the 10 hour Navigator prelicensing course through an approved provider.

The Navigator Pre-licensing Course must contain a minimum of ten (10) hours of instruction in

1.   Health Benefit Insurance,

2.   The Exchange Provision of the Federal Act,

3.   The Medical Assistance Program provided for by Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49,

4.    The PeachCare for Kids Program provided for by Article 13 of Chapter 5 of Title 49,

5.     Information pertaining to state licensing laws and,

6.     Any other information which will give the applicant a proficient knowledge of state insurance laws.

The state of Georgia through its top leadership, including the Insurance Commissioner and Governor Nathan Deal, have made it clear that they have no concern or empathy for the plight of the state's uninsured. For them good health care should be a luxury, attainable only for certain classes. Health care providers deserve to be financially rewarded by 'the market' and doctors should serve only those with deep pockets. Medical professionals should be ensconsed behind the majestic walls of million dollar facilities dispensing presriptions for expensive medications, tests and other services. If many of the sick cannot afford them - too bad.

One wonders why 'red states' continue to elect politicians who have no concern for their basic welfare. They clearly have a much different view of the purpose of government than the rest of the country, one which jeopardizes the lives of millions.


Hailed as the latest breakthrough in virtually scarless, minimally invasive surgery, da Vinci robotic surgery devices were adapted from systems used in war torn areas and manufactured by Wall Street darling Intuitive Surgical, Inc. They has been made available to the general public over the last  decade, but the very high risk of deaths and adverse events, almost 5,000 to date according to the MAUDE database (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) kept by the FDA, are largely unknown by the general public, who continue to undergo these very costly procedures without full knowledge of the risks involved.

Many doctors who are peddling these procedures hand their patients glossy marketing materials produced by Intuitive Surgical which highlight the most positive aspects of the surgery, but hardly anything about the real dangers and risks involved. Consultation times are kept to a minimum and some surgeons direct patients to their websites where glorious videos are posted. If patients ask too many questions they get brusque answers, as doctors head for the door and say quick goodbyes because they are very busy, important people you know.

But despite the Da Vinci's popularity, its surgical talents may not surpass those of flesh-and-blood physicians.

"There's never been a study showing clinical superiority," says Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "For the patient, there's clearly no difference."

Citron Research has been compiling huge amounts of data on several lawsuits pending and detailing all cases of adverse outcomes in the FDA records to make investors aware of potential trouble ahead for Intuitive Surgical.

In a damning two-part report, the research firm describes how the company targets doctors who perform high volume procedures like hysterectomies and prostatectomies in order to maximize profits. For many patients, the outcome is loss of life or severe injury. Approximately two to five deaths involving da Vinci robotic devices are reported each month. The most horrific cases include a patient who's intestines were hanging out of her vagina; another was uncontrollably passing urine out of her vagina, and a prostatectomy patient who urinated out of his rectum and defecated out of his penis. The surgeon, Christopher Kopp, MD, said in his operative report that the robot malfunctioned several times. When he and the technicians couldn't get it working properly, he decided to convert to an open procedure.

Medicine for profit over utility is not an uncommon theme, but now the lawyers have taken notice – and investors should take note as well.

It is Citron's opinion that Intuitive Surgical has reached exactly this tipping point.  
Not a tipping point which will put the company out of business, but rather a tipping
point that could break the halo and have Wall Street assign a comparable multiple to
other mainstream medical device companies… that could take this stock down 50%.

Here are the new data points of the last four weeks:
Three new highly credible lawsuits over hysterectomies with bad outcomes have
been filed – in addition to six really ominous ones from earlier in the year
Large insider sales.  Within the last month, Chairman Lonnie Smith sold shares from
options exercise (not 10(5)b) netting over $50 million, a rather large percentage
of his recently apportioned stake

- Peer criticism – a number of recent articles summarizing from highly credible,
recent studies that highlight the gap between the company marketing materials'
claims and full scientific disclosure of the true risks and differentials in medical
outcomes.  This gap creates the basis for legal challenges to the company due to
inadequate disclosure of the risks of bad outcomes.

- Further skepticism about the true cost/benefit of robotic surgeries

- Indications of loss of morale and sharp erosion of confidence in management and
oversaturation coming through the sales force.

But the most serious issue facing Intuitive is that while its deployment is well past the 10 year point into mainstream healthcare in the US, there is still a severe vacuum of real scientific evidence that the da Vinci is of any clinical benefit when the
full arc of costs and outcomes are weighed, in the most commonly performed
surgeries in which it is utilized.  While this is not a new thought, the current legal cases will bring this issue to the forefront.  

Anyone considering and of these procedures should check out the report by Citron Research and visit the FDA website where these adverse events are described in great detail.

Robot lawsuits involving da Vinci Surgical Robot procedures allege that patients have suffered serious, and even deadly, injuries including:
- Surgical Burns to Arteries or Organs
- Peritonitis (painful and tender inflammation of the lining of the abdomen)
- Sepsis
- Excessive bleeding
- Burning of nearby organs including the intestines
- Punctured blood vessels, organs or arteries
- Burns and/or tears of the intestines
- Severe bowel injuries
- Punctured or cut ureters
-Vaginal cuff dehiscence (reopening of the incision made to remove the uterus
  and cervix during a hysterectomy)
- Additional Surgical Procedures Following Robot Surgery
- Wrongful Death

At least one plaintiff in a da Vinci Surgical Robot lawsuit alleges that the device is defectively designed. Other lawsuits have alleged that doctors lack the training needed to properly use the robot. Critics of the da Vinci Surgical Robot have also questioned the way it was marketed, charging that Intuitive Surgical touts the robot as a way for hospitals to increase revenues and market share.

March 2012: A New York father filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of the State of New York alleging complications related to the use of the da Vinci Surgical Robot caused the death of his 24-year-old daughter. The young woman underwent a hysterectomy in a Bronx hospital in August 2010, and the robot caused burns to an artery and her intestines, which led to her death two weeks later. The lawsuit alleges the woman’s injuries were the result of design flaws, including un-insulated surgical arms and use of electrical current which can jump to healthy internal organs and tissue. The lawsuit is believed to be the first to be filed alleging da Vinci Surgical Robot design defects.

February 2012: The family of a Chicago man who died following a da Vinci Surgical Robot procedure was awarded $7.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against his doctors. The man had died in 2007, after doctor using the robot to remove his spleen accidently punctured the lower intestine. The injury wasn’t discovered for two weeks, and by then, there was no way to save the man’s life. The man’s surgeon testified it was the first time he had used the robot on a living person, according to court documents.

May 2010: Sherry Long, a 47-year-old woman, sued New Hampshire’s Wentworth-Douglass Hospital alleging that both of her ureters were severed during a robotic hysterectomy performed on March 2, 2009. The injury resulted from the surgeons’ lack of training on the da Vinci, the suit alleged.

December 2003: The widow of a Florida teacher filed a lawsuit after a doctor at St. Joseph’s hospital in Tampa accidently cut his aorta and the vena cava while using the da Vinci Surgical Robot to remove a cancerous kidney. The lawsuit alleged that the hospital allowed doctors inexperienced with the robot to perform the surgery. The claim further charged that the hospital was more interested in using its new device than in ensuring her husband’s safety.

The media is oversaturated with coverage of Beyonce's Superbowl Halftime show and the latest edition of 'Right Wing Racist Clap Trap" while these real stories are largely untold, but now you have been warned.


I have been engaged in an epic battle with my child's school for the past two years because they have adopted the nonsensical and illogical policy of banning recess. I could understand, to some degree, if this policy was implemented for high school students, but instituting this at the elementary level for students as young as six seems preposterous to me.

In an attempt at a gut check, I asked a close friend for his opinion because he had an eight-year-old attending elementary school in the state of Florida. That school also implemented a similar policy that ended recess after second grade and my friend was very happy with this rigid, Draconian way of thinking.

In one Georgia county recess has been delightfully renamed 'study hall' and administrators are terse, if not downright hostile, with any parent who dares to request that their child be allowed to have recess. Parents are characterized as 'soft' and academically challenged students are thought of as lazy and lacking discipline.

Recess is gleefully withheld to address an array of classroom sins like unfinished work, excessive talking and bad grades. Childhood is now old school in the 'No Child Left Behind' era. Playing, socializing and exercising during recess is now regarded as a wasteful and frivolous waste of precious time that could be used for studying and cramming in those precious facts that children must know.

I was delighted to see that the American Acadeny of Pediatric is now calling on schools to stop cutting recess:

Since the advent of the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, some schools have been cutting or eliminating recess to spend more time teaching academics.

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging schools not to cut recess, which the organization says is a much-needed break and helps children develop a healthy lifestyle....

Recess is a fundamental component of development and social interaction children ought to receive in school, said Lead Researcher Catherine Ramstetter, a health educator at the Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Cincinnati and a member of the Academy's committee on home and school health. It "offers a unique opportunity for children to experience a break from the academic demands of school as well as a forum for creative expression, social engagement and physical exertion."

Co-researcher Dr. Robert Murray, a professor in the department of human nutrition at Ohio State University, added that "recess is a crucial part of a child's development. That's mental as well as social development."

In order to learn well, children need a period of concentrated academic activity followed by a break that allows them to process information, Murray said. That's also true for adults, he added.

"Studies have shown that children do a better job of processing information if they don't move from one challenging task to the next, but rather, have a break in between," he said.

Moreover, they say withholding recess should not be a form of punishment. Recess, they added, is an important part of child development and provides social interaction that children may not get during class time.

"Schools ought to examine other discipline methods, and look for ways to provide safe and properly supervised recess for all children," Ramstetter said. "Whether it's spent indoors or outdoors, recess should provide free, unstructured play or activity."

I have had numerous discussions with school administrators trying to point out these same common sense facts and I have now become persona non grata. Will the schools heed the advice of the Academy, or will they continue with their insane policies of punishing teachers for failing students and coralling students in classrooms, relentlessly spoon feeding them until they are satisfied that their grades have improved? Do we want the next generation of students to learn at any cost, even if the price is their deteriorating physical and mental health?


The CEOs of America are banding together to ensure that the voters feel their wrath for rejecting their preferred presidential candidate Mitt Romney with the billions accrued from tax cuts and corporate government handouts.

Having failed to buy a president to ensure that their special perks continue, the wealthy 'job creators' have decided to train their guns on their employees. They will be ratcheting up their attacks on all workers. This appears to be phase two of an unprecedented attempt by Republican governors to outlaw the rights of union members.

Many business owners are threatening to cut workers' hours to avoid paying for their health care costs. John Metz, CEO of Denny's said he will add a 5 percent surcharge to customers' bills to offset increased costs he anticipates from Obamacare. He will also be reducing his employees' hours. This follows on a statement by Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter who promises to raise pizza prices and reduce the working hours of the pizza chain’s stores.

Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Mark Bertolini, who, along with several chief executives will be meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama later this week, is also sounding off that companies are "preparing backup plans that include layoffs if the White House and congressional leaders are unable to reach a deal to avoid the combination of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."

"The American people are going to suffer because we'll lay them off--because we know how to respond to these kinds of situations," Mr. Bertolini spewed at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council event.

The makers of the iconic Twinkies, Hostess Brands Inc. are also threatening to liquidate the entire company if enough striking union workers don't return to work by Thursday evening.

Thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike Nov. 9 to protest cuts to wages and benefits under a new contract offer, which the union rejected in September. Union officials say the company stopped contributing to workers' pensions last year.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January. It is the second time since 2004 the company filed.  Hostess cited increasing pension and medical costs for employees as one of the drivers behind its latest filing.

Members of the union are not happy with proposed salary cuts, or the company's plans to reduce their contribution to employee's pension plans and health care plans.

These companies are clearly trying to use their economic influence over fiscal cliff negotiations as their political power wanes. "Raise our taxes and see what happens!" is the clear message they are sending.

It is time for consumers to wield their power by supporting companies that create American jobs and support workers' rights. These CEOs need to understand that they are not mini gods because they are 'job creators.' The consumers of their products do not serve in their kingdoms and we can take our money to other providers of the same goods and services who are prepared to consider the welfare of their workers as part of their business ethos. Papa Johns, Aetna and others will collapse and other companies will step in to take their place. So what if there are no more Twinkies? The world will go on without them!


Walmart and American Express will be rocking the foundation of the banking sector with the new Bluebird banking service, scheduled to begin next week. They are promising not to charge overdraft fees, a minimum balance will not be required and an array of other services will be offered, according to Credit Union Times.

The collaborators said in a statement that the product – which will be available at some 4,000 Walmart stores and also online – is aimed at “tens of millions of consumers” who want advanced banking services but do not want to pay high fees.

“Our customers tell us that they’re tired of navigating a complex maze of do’s and don’ts to avoid the ever growing list of fees found on checking products. Bluebird solves this problem,” said Daniel Eckert, vice president of financial services for Walmart U.S., in a prepared statement.

Dan Schulman, a group president at American Express, added in the same statement, “The financial services landscape is changing. Technological advances, regulatory changes, and evolving consumer needs are redefining payments ranging from prepaid, to checking and debit.  Bluebird is our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products. It allows them to easily and safely move, manage, and spend their money.  In an era where it is increasingly ‘expensive to be poor,’ we have worked with Walmart to create a financial services product that rights many of the wrongs that plague the market today.”

I hope this will be the beginning of a new era in commercial banking where the focus will be on saving. Banks have become service providers and fee collectors using accounts to upsell a number of pricey services with the sole purpose of skimming as much of your hard earned money as they can. For the privilege of being fleeced, they demand that you pay them a monthly fee while they earn a cut of every debit and credit card transaction you make on your account.

I recently opened a bank account and I had to endure an hour of rigorous upselling for an array of expensive add on service to my account, from credit monitoring to overdraft protection among others. The goal was clearly to get some type of monthly fee added to my 'free checking'. I will be one of the first in line to check out Bluebird banking because my bank is way behind the times in responding to real world needs.

Canada is fast tracking a law that will allow for the deportation of permanent residents who serve sentences for crimes of six months or longer. The Bill C-43 'The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act' will also streamline the deportation of convicted criminals by limiting their access to appeals. It is an even more Draconian version of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act passed in the United States in 1996.

Many human rights advocates and immigration attorneys have been expressing concern over many years about the current US law which has wrenched away family members who have long established roots in the United States and banished them home with no hope of return. They have urged that special consideration be given to parents of American born children and to those who grew up here and consider America home. Supported by a fellowship from the Open Society Foundation in NYC, the team of Joel Medina, a deported immigrant, Erin Siegal and Beth Caldwell have been researching the impact of U.S. deportation policy, beginning with the effects on U.S. citizen children now living in Mexico.

Calls for ending the pain and suffering that immigrant families have endured for decades with more reasonable policies in the interest of family reunification have fallen on deaf ears. In the face of high joblessness in these metropolitan countries  and the vilification of criminal activity among legal immigrants, governments and citizens of these countries have taken the view that criminals should simply be sent home. It has also proven to be very politically popular to simply ignore the basic humanity of any permanent resident who commits any crime at any age with a simple, permanent solution.

In a story written  in the Toronto Sun by Tom Godfrey, Toronto lawyer Mendel Green called the proposal heavy-handed, claiming it will have a significant affect on the immigrant community since many do not take out citizenship.

"I am concerned about the monumental affect this will have on the immigrant community if it becomes law," Green said Monday. "This will be a life sentence for many people."

Andras Schreck, vice-president of the Ontario Criminal Lawyers Association, said the bill raises constitutional issues under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"I am concerned that there is no right of appeal for those being deported," Schreck said. "This is serious injustice in that cases should be heard on their own merit."

Lawyer Joel Sandaluk said if the bill becomes law, it will split up families.
"This will destroy families who've been here for a long time," Sandaluk said. "It will create more criminals if parents or other family members are removed from Canada."

Criminality is a phenomenon that has existed in the human race from time immemorial, yet people who speak and look different and are considered 'foreign' are expected to be morally perfect in order to enjoy the benefits of permanent residency. If they should ever run afoul of the law, everything they have ever worked for and all the people they love will be ripped away from them forever. Many believe that citizens should be sheltered from foreign criminals and they blame lax immigration laws and weak border security for any act of criminality by a foreigner. Foreign criminals in particular trigger extreme levels of xenophobia, paranoia and intolerance, resulting in inhuman punishment for even petty crimes with no relief under the law.

According to the Canadian Newswire:

Canadian permanent residents who have been convicted of a single crime will be exposed to cruel and unusual punishment by a new law being proposed by immigration minister Jason Kenney which will see them deported from Canada without any right to seek a humanitarian appeal to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board.

The conservative government of Canada has now tabled a bill which proposes that these "permanent" residents be deported regardless of the age they arrived in Canada, the time they have spent here, the impact their removal will have on their spouses or children, their positive contributions to Canadian society, or the hardship they would face in their country of origin.

For decades, these factors have been the cornerstones in deportation appeals to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board which will now lose its jurisdiction to hear the cases of any permanent resident who has been handed a sentence of imprisonment of six months or more regardless of the nature of the crime committed.

"Our government is seeking to return to biblical times when sinners were banished to the wilderness for their sins without the right to ask for mercy" said veteran immigration lawyer Mendel Green of Toronto's Green & Speigel.

"It is unconscionable that a country like Canada, which has always allowed for second chances, to now embark on a new 'one strike you're out' approach" lamented immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann who has won many such second chances for his clients.

The lawyers claim that bill C-43 entitled "The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act" is named as such to give the impression to the public that it targets foreign criminals who are seeking to enter Canada when, in fact, its main targets are lawfully admitted permanent residents many of whom were brought to Canada at a young age and who have been raised here, educated here, and who have established families and businesses here.

One recently deported young man who spent most of his life in the US and was recently banished home leaving his family behind could only express his wrenching agony through the words of Miranda Lambert from the song The House That Built Me:

I know they say you can't go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma'am, I know you don't know me from Adam
But these hand prints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
And I bet you didn't know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From "Better Homes and Garden" magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
And nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama's dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home, you move on
And you do the best you can
I got lost in this whole world
And forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could walk around, I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me.

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