Housekeeping Note

Posting will be more erratic while traveling over a long Thanksgiving Weekend. I should be on line intermittently to at least add some links to stories of interest.

Dana Perino Has Forgotten About 9/11

Bush apologists typically deny the degree to which George Bush undermined our national security and placed us a far greater risk of terrorist attacks. Now’s here is the ultimate revision of history (via Political Wire):

“We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”
— Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, in an interview on Fox News.

E&P On The Media Coverage of Acorn

The right wing noise machine has fabricated a mythology around Acorn which has little to do with the actual organization. Editor and Publisher has reviewed both the truth about the stories about Acorn and how the news was covered. The report points out how the distorted news began in the conservative media and how, as so frequently happens, the mainstream media began repeating their claims:

We found that conservative “opinion entrepreneurs” – primarily business and conservative groups and individuals – set the story in motion, the conservative media (e.g., Fox News, conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and his many local counterparts, conservative magazines like the National Review, the Washington Times, the Washington Enquirer, and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal) heighten the sense of urgency with an unwarranted amount of coverage, and the mainstream media report the same allegations with largely the same conservative frames, usually without investigating their veracity.

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From Hospital to Bankruptcy Court

The New York Times looks at the increasingly common path of going from hospital to bankruptcy court:

The legislation moving through Congress would attack the problem in numerous ways.

Bills in both houses would expand eligibility for Medicaid and provide health insurance subsidies for those making up to four times the federal poverty level. Insurers would be prohibited from denying coverage to those with pre-existing health conditions. Out-of-pocket medical costs would be capped annually.

How many personal bankruptcies might be avoided is unpredictable, as it is not clear how often medical debt plays a back-breaking role. There were 1.1 million personal bankruptcy filings in 2008, including 12,500 in Nashville, and more are expected this year.

Last summer, Harvard researchers published a headline-grabbing paper that concluded that illness or medical bills contributed to 62 percent of bankruptcies in 2007, up from about half in 2001. More than three-fourths of those with medical debt had health insurance.

But the researchers’ methodology has been criticized as defining medical bankruptcy too broadly and for the ideological leanings of its authors, some of whom are outspoken advocates for nationalized health care.

At the bankruptcy court in Nashville, lawyers provided a spectrum of estimates for the share of cases in Middle Tennessee where medical debt was decisive, from 15 percent to 50 percent. But many said they felt the number had been growing, and might be higher than was obvious because medical bills are often disguised as credit card debt.