Tuesday Mashup (9/7/10)

September 7, 2010

  • 1) I don’t know how many people remember the story of 5-year-old Kyler Van Nocker (pictured), a little boy who suffered from neuroblastoma, which is a very rare form of childhood cancer that targets the nervous system and creates tumors throughout the body.

    As Think Progress told us here last February…

    Due to successful treatment in 2007, Van Nocker’s cancer went into remission, giving him 12 months of pain-free life. Unfortunately, in Sept. 2008, the cancer returned, and Van Nocker was once again in need of treatment. Unfortunately, his health insurer, HealthAmerica, refused to pay for one form of treatment doctors believe could save his life (MIBG treatment) because they consider it “investigational/experimental” since it has yet to be approved by the FDA.

    Yet in April 2008, the insurer approved cheaper treatment for Van Nocker that was also “experimental,” prompting Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky to ask, “So why, pray tell, is HealthAmerica playing the ‘experimental therapy’ card in the case of the MIBG treatment Kyler now needs? Gee, money couldn’t have anything to do with the decision, could it?”

    Well, as Polaneczky tells us in her column today, Kyler Van Nocker died last weekend at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, three months shy of his sixth birthday.


    Drained as he was yesterday by grief, (Kyler’s father) Paul was still able to express outrage at the immorality of the American health-care machine, in which the expertise of world-renowned doctors – like those who treated Kyler – is routinely usurped by insurance bureaucrats responsible first and foremost to shareholders, not to patients.

    “Because of the lawsuit, I have had to behave and keep quiet about what I think,” lest he jeopardize Kyler’s case in any way, he said. “Well, I don’t have to keep quiet anymore. I am a pissed-off dad whose son’s life was made hell by bean-counters who got in the way again and again of what was right.”

    And gee, where were the Koch Brothers-funded teabaggers to offer what they could in support of the Van Nockers? You know, to do something actually constructive instead of parading around with their racist signs and funny clothes, screaming about a government takeover of health care, or whatever? I guess they think our delivery of health care in this country, whereby a family could become utterly destitute while an insurance conglomerate refuses to fund treatment for a sick family member, is just A-OK.

    Our deepest sympathies go out to the Van Nockers over their awful loss, as well as admiration for their endurance and courage in the face of an ordeal no one should ever have to undergo.

  • 2) Returning to the more mundane world of politics, I give you the following from The Hill (here)…

    GOP Rep. Geoff Davis (Ky.) used the weekly Republican radio address to pound the Obama administration over its economic record, suggesting that the economy would revive quickly if the government loosened a swath of business regulations.

    Davis’s address came a day after statistics were released by the Labor Department that showed 67,000 new jobs were added in August — more than expected — but the nation still saw a net loss of 54,000 jobs.

    If you want to read what Davis actually said, be my guest, but suffice it to say that it was a rehash of every other Republican talking point about the economy (including Davis’s claim that the stimulus didn’t provide jobs, which is particularly hilarious coming from him seeing that, as Think Progress tells us here, Davis was one of the 114 (!) Repug lawmakers deriding the “stim” while taking credit for the jobs it provided).

    And as noted here, there’s the little matter of about $30 grand in campaign donations Davis received from Tom DeLay that he never donated or returned. And on top of that, this post tells us how he slashed funding for Medicaid, food stamps and student loan subsidies, abused Congressional franking privileges, sided with his wealthy donors over our troops by opposing caps on military payday loans, and has no trouble attacking the patriotism of those who disagree with him.

    With all of this in mind, let’s do what we can to help Davis’s opponent (and disabled Iraq war vet) John Waltz; to say Waltz faces an uphill challenge in this heavily Republican district is an understatement (and Waltz is a true progressive who deserves whatever support we can provide).

  • 3) Finally, I give you the latest from Tucker Carlson’s crayon scribble page (here)…

    Teachers who may be worried that their pupils don’t have enough access to curriculum materials with a liberal slant will be pleased to know that the lefty Nation magazine is revamping their Educators Program, which includes a weekly series of teacher guides designed to influence what is taught in schools

    A spokesman for the magazine told The Daily Caller that the magazine wants to ensure students are exposed to liberal thinking, citing what he said was a tendency for classes to exclude progressive ideas and viewpoints.

    And as you might expect, all of this is treated for yuks by TDC (including the pic of Malcolm McDowell’s “conditioning” experiment in “A Clockwork Orange” – nice touch), though if you read to the bottom of the story, you learn the following…

    According to the Nation’s spokesman Ben Wyskida, the magazine has proposed teaming up with National Review on a collaborative education program, but no decisions have been made. (The National Review’s publisher, Jack) Fowler said they were open to it, but he was not making it a priority.

    “If there was a backburner for the backburner for the backburner, this would be on it,” he said.

    Yeah, that sounds like a really serious commitment, all right.

    Well, at least The Nation is proposing educating students on more than one point of view.

    As opposed to this example (definitely not a shining moment for what passes for conservative thought).

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