Saturday, November 04, 2006

The midterm elections

I pretty much stick to CLL in this blog. I try to avoid politics because it is divisive, and because I think we CLL patients need to put our common cause first and all else second. (If you want to see a great example of this, go to CLL Forum, where conservatives and liberals coexist in good-natured friendship.)

But it is in the spirit of our common cause that I am now venturing into, ahem, politics.

On Tuesday, November 7, American voters will go the polls to choose 435 members of the House, a third of the Senate, and any number of governorships. In Arizona, we are also voting on 19 ballot propositions. In Sedona, we are even electing the board that oversees our fire departmen
t. There’s a whole lot of votin' to do!

The purpose of this post is to urge you to vote Democratic. Not because Democrats
are perfect and Republicans are evil. Not because of the mess in Iraq and George Bush’s insanity, which is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Not even because it is time that we had some checks and balances in our government, which our founders intended, as opposed to one-party rule.

I am urging you to vote Democratic because, as the slogan goes, the ass yo
u save may be your own. Ask yourself: Which party is more likely to fund medical research? Which party is more likely to insure access to health insurance?

If you answered “Republican,” BONK!

Did you know that George Bush has proposed a cut of $40 million in funds for the National Cancer Institute in 2007? And that the NCI funds the CLL Research Consortium? The Consortium's 4-year grant from the NCI has expired. My understanding is that this funding has not been renewed. And while the Consortium isn’t going away, it’s not getting much help from the government anymore, nor will it with Bush and the GOP calling the shots.

In April, acting NCI chief Dr. John Niederhuber gave a talk at MIT. “The NCI’s stagnant budget," it was reported, "which was about $4.8 billion in fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2006, doesn't keep up with infl
ation, so the funding actually amounts to a deficit, Niederhuber admitted.”

In October, from another report on Bush’s $40 million cut:

“That funding cut, argued Martin D. Abeloff, director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, will have a devastating effect on the progress of research of new cancer drug therapies.

“In an era when death rates for breast, colon, and lung cancers are declining and new targeted therapies for rare cancers [such as CLL] are on the 'cusp' of development, he said, 'this couldn't be a worse time' for a decrease in NCI funding.

“Many 'world-class scientists,' Abeloff maintained, already spend much of their time on writing grant proposals rather than on essential research activities.

“And their 'reward,' he lamented, is that less than 10% of those grant proposals get funded.”

Now, which party is more likely to restore that $40 million? Which party is more likely to increase funding for cancer research? Yes, the party that has traditionally taken an
interest in health care and social programs. Vote Democratic and restore the $40 million; vote Republican and make Bill Gates’ multi-million-dollar tax cut permanent.

Let’s look at another issue: access to health insurance. Some 50 million Americans are without it. What have the Republicans done about this since Bush took office? Nothing. What will they do? Nothing. And if you're having trouble paying skyrocketing premiums? Nothing.

The Democrats are not going to turn our health care system into a government-run nightmare (as opposed to the privately-run one that we have today). Bill Clinton learned the hard way that powerful interests will block any attempt to establish a national single-payer system. But Democrats will make reforms, they will try to address the imbalances, and if they have
the votes they will eventually insure that all Americans have access to insurance coverage.

Pre-existing condition such as CLL preventing you from getting care? The GOP doesn’t care. A longstanding Democratic proposal has been to let people in their 50s buy into Medicare. In 2004 John Kerry wanted to let people buy into the same federal program that
senators and congresspeople get. If Mark Foley comes down with CLL, he’s covered, even now that he has quit his job. What about you?

I’m not talking about people wanting free health care. I am talking about people who can pay being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

This is personal. I am self-employed and my insurer won’t cover stem cell transplants. What do you think my chances are of finding an insurer or a program that will?

Better under the Democrats.


Advocacy page at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website.


Jenny Lou said...

I have already voted. I like early voting. I voted for democrats--not straight ticket, but when push came to shove, they were either Democrats or Libertarians. I want to be a part of America. At the moment I am a constituent without a representative.

Anonymous said...

Your extreme liberal tendencies have come out. You seem to buy into the idea that Republicans love to see Michael Fox and others suffer. You forget that President Bush is the only president to fund stem cell research. Not Carter, not Clinton.

Embryonic stem cell research will not pay off in your lifetime. Period. It is not a cure for CLL. Period.

The only thing Democrats are good at are raising taxes. Period.

They lost the Vietnam war by not funding the anti-communist South Vietnamese. Over a million people were slaughtered after that war, because of Democrats.

They was desperately to lose in Iraq. God knows why they hate themselves so much.

I vote a straight Republican ticket. I don't think Republicans are 100% perfect, but I am for a smaller government, lower taxes, and a strong national defense.

The Democrats are for bigger government (the government can spend your money better than you can), higher taxes (ditto), and no national defense. They are for surrender and death.

The Republicans are for victory and life.

Vote Republican! The country you save might be your own!

(BTW, why don't you stick to CLL??? I really don't care about what you feel about politics, just as I have no interest in what car you drive or what your in-laws do.)

Anonymous said...

To the person above my post.
Everyone is allowed freedom of speech. So there is yours.
This is David's blog. Thank you David! Therefore he
can write about anything he feels like. Anything, not just
CLL. I think it is interesting when David shakes up HIS blog.
It is your choice to read David's blog or not. Also it
is your choice to leave a comment (only because David
made that possible on HIS blog). But I think you should try
not to be so mean. I am grateful to David for sharing his facts
and opinions on many subjects. If you feel the need to leave
a comment be nice. Your mean comments may or may not
hurt David's feelings but they hurt my feelings for him.
Don't you dare post the lyrics for the song "Feelings". That
would be so predictable for you, mean person.

Go vote, so will I. I am going to knock your vote! How do you
like that. Save your gas!
Carlin C.

Anonymous said...

Mean? Where? Just because I disagree with almost everything he has written?

A few points remain to be discussed. What David neglects to point out is the budget of the NIH went up 100% in five years under Clinton and Bush. So any stability or minor cuts come from a budget that is 100% higher than it was 10 years ago.

I'm not in favor of cuts in medical research, and I've written both senators and my representative as well as President Bush protesting these cuts.

Have you?

David is also incorrect when he states that the Democrats don't want to have socialized medicine. Many, many Democrats tout the failed Canadian or British system as models to ruin the best healthcare in the world.

The problems with American health care is insurance, not performance. Poor people can get coverage from Medicade. Some hospitals are experimenting with opening free urgent care offices that take illegal immigrants, who now use emergency rooms as free health clinics.

Democrats pledge to cut and run from Iraq, to raise taxes on everyone (they define 'rich' as those making over $50,000 per year, btw), weakening the military, making gun ownership illegal, libralizing abortions, and cutting medical research by imposing price cuts on drug companies.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Martin D. Abeloff that David cites, is a well-known liberal hack that has given lots of money to Democrats over the years.

So he's hardly impartial on the subject.

And as far as wars go, I suppose David would rather have a cure for CLL, and live in slavery, than live free with a strong military, and wait for his cure.


David Arenson said...

I expected the wingnut to appear out from under his rock. Whenever I touch on politics he shows up, spouting every Rush Limbaugh talking point that he can.

The choice is not between living in slavery and having a cure for CLL or living free and waiting for a cure. Talk about your specious analogies. The choice is between insuring access to health care and improving funding for research, or not.

Look at Canada and the UK and any number of other industrialized countries that provide some kind of access for all to health care. Are Canadians living in slavery? The British?

Or is the poster simply in slavery to his own irrational beliefs?

If the poster is so dedicated to whatever he thinks freedom is, perhaps he'd like to give up his Social Security, instituted by that no-good commie FDR, and his Medicare, courtesy of that dangerous Trotskyite LBJ.

Anonymous said...

BTW, if you disagree with most everything David says, then
why do you follow HIS blog? Don't answer that because I
don't want to engage you.
Mean, I'll show you your mean......

"(BTW, why don't you stick to CLL??? I really don't care about what you feel about politics, just as I have no interest in what car you drive or what your in-laws do.)" That is not nice or needed. I want to hear about politics,cars and in-laws, so there!

Take a hike, it will help the gin and juice wear off. Do not put a deer head in a mailbox on your hike.
Carlin Cowboy

Sorry David this is stupid stuff. In no way intended to cheapen your blog. Keep up the writing, it is a treat we
are lucky to have. Also CLL Topics is a wonderful site, thanks for all you and Mrs. M. do. You have helped me in so many ways understanding my darling brother's illness.

Anonymous said...

What I REALLY LOVE about liberals is they are soon reduced to name-calling ('wingnut'). They have no arguments, so they resort to third-grade 'debating' techniques...'Oh yeah? well you're a bigger idiot!!! No! you're a BIGGER idiot' Soooo productive!

Since I don't listen to Mr. Limbaugh's radio program, it's difficult to get his talking points. Perhaps he gets his talking points from me.

In Canada, it is ILLEGAL to pay for your own healthcare. You must either go to a government doctor, or do without. I don't like that.

In the UK, the National Health Service is so beset with problems, they can't fund lifesaving cancer or other drugs. The latest insult is they are letting 50 Brits go blind each day, because they won't fund drugs that will save precious eyesight.

I don't want to be denied rituximab for first-line CLL treatment like they do in Canada and the UK. Do you?

Or have you said you yourself have used rituximab as a first-line treatment? You are lucky you live in the US, and my view prevails. Or are you just of the opinion that others should be denied rituximab, and only you are special, and should get the drugs you want.

If your view did, you would have a choice of chlorambucil or having a shaman say magic words over your enlarged spleen. Would you like that to be your only choice?

Not me.

You just don't see that changing the system we have will only make it worse for cancer patient, do you?

If you love freedom of choice in medical care, thank a Republican.

(Previous blogger..."Mean, I'll show you your mean......" Perhaps what you mean to say is, "Mean, I'll you you're mean...." Again, the threats and insults.

Anonymous said...

Ya you keep talkin', but you ain't saying nothing.
Grammar on that. I know people just like you.
Sitting alone in your home, perfecting your words,
correcting others' words, protecting you in a cloak
of superiority. I am such a winner, you say to yourself
in the mirror.
Best of luck with your CLL, you will need it with your
angry, aggressive personality.
BTW, I wrote in my post exactly what I meant to say.
You make a perfect example of what I hope my children
never become.
I am toying with you because I have the spare time. In between
knocking your vote, talking to friends, enjoying a wonderful life,
I can still manage to take time to mess with you. What great
fun! Most aggressive I will be all day, can you say the same?
Nap time, good for the soul.

Anonymous said...

Liberals are such sorry creatures. Conservatives do, liberals whine and moan. Why does that man over there who works hard have more money than me, when I sit on my rear end all day?

If your children were exactly like me, you would be very proud of them, since I am quite successful in life. And yet, I'm so humble...You're right. I guess I am pretty amazing.

I do get my dander up when people try to make changes that will hurt me.

BTW, you are starting to ramble. Nap time and cookies sound like what you need.

Anonymous said...

I get my dander up when people care about change that will "hurt them" rather than what is best for their country and her people.
Want to talk success. Here is a clue..
International Paper bought my family's
company. I just dusted you on "success". I just lowered myself to trump you, jerk.
I am now really going back to my life.
Carlin C.

Anonymous said...

Whoopee! You coast on your 'family's' success. What have you done yourself? Anything?

Please, go back to your fantasy world.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you could call my life coasting on success.
Look around our country and see how how much our "success"
is being shared.
I am proud I am from a family that has given libraries to colleges, started Free Clinics,
funded quite a bit for cancer research. I think it would be very touching if my family's
success plays a part in a cure for you. That would be unusual karma for someone like you,
but I wish for it.
Hopefully as you are keeping up with your portfolio, counting your compounded interest, there
are more people "coasting". People like you may not know it, benefit from people like me.
I will now go back to my "fantasy" world, it is a real good place to be.
OMG, you have engaged me yet again. I hope David A. is more amused than horrified with
our charming banter. At least about 51% of our country is not like you!

Anonymous said...

It is so funny to sense the undercurrent of hatred towards those who disagree with you on a few important issues, such as defending the country and ensuring excellent health care for all.

Actually, the country is more conservative than liberal. The Democrats and their media allies elected pro-gun, pro-life and pro-democracy candidates in some districts. Joe Lieberman won over 'defeat at any cost' Lamont.

The mid-term losses by the good party were EXACTLY in line with the average losses in the House and Senate historically. It's only the liberal media that 'trumpets' some 'realignment'. Just ain't so.

Money from research comes from many places, not just you. It even comes from me since I donate to CLL charities.

You coasting in your family allows you, I guess, to claim the good deeds that others who are related to you actually do.

Marc said...

Jeez David! Why do you put up with comments like that. I would delete them from my blog.

And especially anonymous comments. If people don't have the "balls" to show their identity, then they don't deserve to post.

I sure hope he was just joking!

Damn! Now I forgot what I intended to say!

Oh yeah, now I remember. Your insurance won't cover SCT's? All SCT's? or just a particular one, i.e. auto, full allo or mini-allo?

That doesn't sound right. Usually if Medicare covers it, then all insurances will cover it.

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

i don't hate you because you disagree with me.
That is your right as a person. I would like to apologize if my opinions
seem harsh.
I guess I was unfairly trying to make you see issues more like I do.
That was wrong of me and a waste of our time and also all the other
folks who follow David's blog.
There is nothing more I would like to see than excellent health care for all.
It doesn't matter at all, but I am my family. We are the generation that is living
and therefore responsible for using our money not just for our families but
giving in way that helps our fellow Americans.
I really think the way you express yourself is mean. That is one more of
my opinions. Thoughtful, kind words make a person more inclined to listen.
Mean words make people angry and then they close their ears.
I do "good deeds" and I don't consider CLL donations as charity, I see
it as necessary research. By the way I do not have CLL, but cancer
research is a necessity.
Again I apologize for my harsh words.
Most sincerely,
Carlin C.

Anonymous said...

I do so enjoy the comment, 'Why do you put up with comments like that?'

That's right, censor opposing views! That's something you and Hitler agree on!

As for Mr. C, I still don't see where I've said anything 'mean'. To assertively expound on one's views isn't 'mean'; it's simply voicing an opinion.

David Arenson said...


My insurance excludes all SCTs. Mine is not the only plan to do this, according to people I have spoken to from the National Marrow Donor Program.

As to deleting posts, my tendency is to allow all posts that are not spam, even if I disagree with them, and even if they become tiresome after awhile!