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Old 08-24-2008, 03:10 AM   #1
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Default Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politic...hosp23.article

Very interesting...

Quote:
U. of C. shunning poor patients?

HOSPITAL DISPUTE | Obama's wife, 3 aides tied to plan to free up space


August 23, 2008
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BY TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters
Sen. Barack Obama's wife and three close advisers have been involved with a program at the University of Chicago Medical Center that steers patients who don't have private insurance -- primarily poor, black people -- to other health care facilities.
Michelle Obama -- currently on unpaid leave from her $317,000-a-year job as a vice president of the prestigious hospital -- helped create the program, which aims to find neighborhood doctors for low-income people who were flooding the emergency room for basic treatment. Hospital officials say such patients hinder their ability to focus on more critically ill patients in need of specialized care, such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

Obama's top political strategist, David Axelrod, co-owns the firm, ASK Public Strategies, that was hired by the hospital last year to sell the program -- called the Urban Health Initiative -- to the community as a better alternative for poor patients. Obama's wife and Valerie Jarrett, an Obama friend and adviser who chairs the medical center's board, backed the Axelrod firm's hiring, hospital officials said.
Another Obama adviser and close friend, Dr. Eric Whitaker, took over the Urban Health Initiative when he was hired at U. of C. in October 2007. Whitaker previously had been director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Obama has said he recommended Whitaker for the state job, giving his name to Tony Rezko, who helped Gov. Blagojevich assemble his Cabinet. Rezko, a former fund-raiser for Obama and Blagojevich, was convicted in June on federal corruption charges tied to state deals.
Medical center officials and Obama's presidential campaign staff say the Urban Health Initiative -- along with a three-year-old companion program called the South Side Health Collaborative -- will dramatically improve health care for thousands of South Side residents. They say that, rather than having to wait hours at U. of C.'s emergency room, those patients get seen sooner and at less expense at neighborhood clinics and other hospitals. U. of C. even offers them a ride on a shuttle bus to other centers and sometimes provides the doctors at those facilities.
"Senator Obama sees community health centers as a vital part of efforts to invest in prevention and reduce costs," said Ben LaBolt, an Obama spokesman.
But the Urban Health Initiative has critics, including South Side residents and medical professionals.
"I've heard complaints from a handful of constituents, but I've also had calls from people in the health care profession complaining," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, whose 4th Ward is just north of the hospital. "The medical professionals who have come to me are accusing the university of dumping patients on its neighboring institutions. ... Whether it's being implemented in the way that's in the best interest of the patient, I can't tell you."
Sen. John McCain, Obama's Republican opponent, criticized the Democratic presidential hopeful Friday for having pledged on the campaign trail to expand health care for Americans at the same time his top political strategist "was running a campaign to cut coverage for the poor."
Axelrod, whose firm stopped working on the project in October, responded that he was concerned that presidential politics was distorting the university's efforts to improve health care for poor people and to lower costs.
Whitaker, who has traveled with Obama on the presidential campaign trail, chalked up the criticism to people opposed to change.
"In the past, we opened our doors and saw whoever came," Whitaker said Friday. "We would see a patient who had general pneumonia, and if we needed to see a patient who needed a liver transplant, that liver transplant patient couldn't get in the door."
And rather than dump patients on other health care facilities, Whitaker said the initiative actually is improving their bottom lines.
"We were taking general patients away from Mercy Hospital, Michael Reese, and they were financially at risk," Whitaker said. "We harmed other hospitals without knowing we harmed other hospitals."
At the same time, the Urban Health Initiative is improving the university's finances. Fewer poor patients are showing up at the U. of C. emergency room for basic medical treatment and are no longer admitted to the hospital. That frees beds for transplants, cancer care and other more-profitable medical procedures that the university prides itself on.
"The collapse of the health care system was driving more and more people to the emergency room," Axelrod said. "The trend line was and is a disastrous one from the standpoint of maintaining the hospital. Their goal was to find an answer."
Axelrod's firm did polling and found that some of the university's primary-care doctors feared the hospital was turning its back on surrounding poor neighborhoods, according to a May 2007 report the firm gave the university.
Axelrod's firm also suggested the program's name be changed. "Some participants view the word 'urban' as code for 'black,' " according to a poll the firm commissioned.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

I'm sorry (no I'm not) for saying this, but this is par for the course. The main reason blacks have assimilated so poorly is that they just don't help each other out along the way the way other creeds/races have. The waves of immigrants who came over late 19th, early 20th century pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, then turned around and helped their friends and relatives as much as they could to do the same. Blacks (in general, of course...I'm not talking in absolutes here) pull themselves up out of the muck and mire and seem to walk away from the rest of their race.

OJ was the case that really brought this phenomenon to the forefront for me. He was the classic example, which made it all the more ironic to watch the reactions to the verdict break down directly along race lines. He turned his back on his race and "pretended to be white" while it worked for him, then embraced his race again when that was expedient for him.

Michelle Obama had a unique opportunity here, and fumbled the ball.

I'll probably get blasted for posting this, but it's just another uncomfortable truth that white people shy away from discussing...
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

You won't get blasted by me. Too many times I've heard the line, "You don't know what we been through."

I ask what that is and it's all about persecution. I ask for specific incidents and get incredulous stares and blathering ramblings.

Many of the people that come out of the "black community" don't want to hold out a hand because they fear being pulled back in to the muck and mire they just left.

I've asked many "Proud African Americans" what country their ancestors are from. Then I point out that Africa is not a country, it's a continent. Again, general stares, blathering and such.

I usually end the conversation with:

"A man who wants to improve will find a way. A man who doesn't will find an excuse."

My children's livelihood is significantly better than mine was growing up. Better neighborhood, better off financially, the whole shabang. But I had to work hard to get to that point.

Too many people lose sight of that, and not just the "black" community.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

I'm not talking about hand-outs. I'm not talking about money. I'm talking about a state of mind.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

XFL...

My views on this topic are pretty well documented on this site. However, there are a couple of things which I think need to be pointed out.

1. Africa... yeah, it isn't a country. But the fact of the matter is that slavery dislocated people from their tribal ancestry at a time when statehood wasn't an issue in Africa. Thus, when asked about ancestry, most European descendants can point to a nation-state. Most Africa descendants cannot, and thus have to refer to the continent itself. It isn't ignorance, but history that forces that answer.

2. Single vs. Whole. Have you ever been to a Jewish Seder (passover meal)? When talking about the Egyptian slavery and the passover of the death-angel, they state, "when WE were in Egypt." Now, just how old is my wife... or mother-in-law... or my relatives on that side of the family? The idea is a communial one, they are part of the people called Israel. As a result, my wife, as part of the people of Israel, experienced the Egyptian slavery, the Babylonian captivity, the diaspora, the inquisition, the holocaust, 5 wars in the late 20th century, etc. etc. WHy? Because her people experienced it. It is a communal, greater than one mentality.

The African culture... actually, pretty much all cultures except for western European have the same understanding. And in reality, we do too. Who was attacked at Pearl Harbor? We were... I am in my 30's, but it is still me. I still take offense at it.

Thus, when the American black culture speaks of persecution, it speaks of slavery and Dred v Scott and seperate but equal. Those are true and valid issues that cannot be discounted.

On the other side however, that background is not an excuse for not driving to create a new and better future. The problem is that they are listening to WHITE politicians and allowing WHITE politicans to destroy their families with social programs that replace the father with the state, tell them they can only get an education where WHITE politicans SAY they can go... then send them to failing schools instead of giving them vouchers to go to private schools that don't fail, then get them into a university where they are short-handed by a shoddy primary and secondary education.... and then give them "african studies" "Black studies" "Studies in social struggle" and other types of horrible majors which do nothing but help get a great minimum wage job when they graduate, perpetuating the problem. Meanwhile... the great "black" leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al sharpton are nothing more than 21st century African slave traders selling their own people out to the political system for their own power and money.

(The above post is not meant to included sweeping generalizations of every black american. It does included however, a GENERAL direction).

Want it to stop? Then stand hand in hand with black men and women who are pushing for better education, self-reliance and self-responsibility, and a desire to reach back out to the black culture and silence the voices of the modern day slave sellers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

But we CANNOT deny the over-arching metanarrative of slavery which sits heavily even on this generation.

__________________________________

I ask, please read through this post two or three times before responding...

If you (anyone) is offended... post it and why... so we can discuss. That is the only way to learn for the both of us.

Last but not least... I really would like those who have "first hand knowledge" of this issue to respond... otherwise, it is just like a bunch of men sitting around talking about the pain of childbirth... how the heck will we really know?
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

Susan Jacoby pointed it out brilliantly when she said that during the 60's, US colleges had a chance to include some black authors in their curriculum thereby exposing EVERYONE to their work, but, instead, they opted for "ghetto curriculum's" which serve nobody (Her term, not mine).

What good is there to having courses that teach black kids ONLY about great black authors to the exclusion of all others? It also severs white kids from the great black authors because they will only be exposed to them if they take "African American Authors 101".

This is just a microcosm of the greater problem, but a telling one...
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

Quote:
Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
Susan Jacoby pointed it out brilliantly when she said that during the 60's, US colleges had a chance to include some black authors in their curriculum thereby exposing EVERYONE to their work, but, instead, they opted for "ghetto curriculum's" which serve nobody (Her term, not mine).

What good is there to having courses that teach black kids ONLY about great black authors to the exclusion of all others? It also severs white kids from the great black authors because they will only be exposed to them if they take "African American Authors 101".

This is just a microcosm of the greater problem, but a telling one...
Absolutely.

Expose me to great American writers from all ethnicities so I can understand it all. It also puts them all on the same footing equally on the schools.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

Preacher, I agree with you in nearly every respect to a T.

However, (in my experience) the loudest "Proud" African Americans haven't bothered to try to research their ethnicity in the least. They couldn't tell you who their Great Grandfather or Great Grandmother is let alone figure out which state their ancestors were slaved in.

I don't mind taking pride in your ancestory, in your personal history...I'm also all about learning from your mistakes. Following my family name, I know that a part of my family came over to America from Germany because they believed that the holocaust was a bunch of crap and they wanted out of Germany. My Great (many times) grandfather was not Jewish and so was not faced with persecution, but saw through the lies being spread and didn't want his children raised in that kind of environment.

I can say that I am proud of my German ancestry. I took the time to attempt some research and find out a part of why I am here. I haven't researched every branch of my family tree, because it get's difficult the further back you go. There are many dead ends (where records are lost or incomplete) that have kept me from finding out about the rest of my family and our history. Some of it (I'm sure) is reprehensible, as is a great portion of American History in general.

I just don't want to be told how proud someone is of their heritage when they know next to nothing about it. Since 99% of what we read is by "the victors" it's very much likely to gloss over the less desirable actions done by that particular side. (Look at how many Christians are willing to gloss over the Crusades as a prime example.)

There's a huge difference between pride and bravado. Generally speaking, the most outspoken confuse the two.

I would love to see the day that true equality (without regard to historical nationality, race, creed or religion) has come about, but neither our government nor our society, in it's current state of affairs, will get us near that target.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

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Preacher, I agree with you in nearly every respect to a T.

However, (in my experience) the loudest "Proud" African Americans haven't bothered to try to research their ethnicity in the least. They couldn't tell you who their Great Grandfather or Great Grandmother is let alone figure out which state their ancestors were slaved in.

I don't mind taking pride in your ancestory, in your personal history...I'm also all about learning from your mistakes. Following my family name, I know that a part of my family came over to America from Germany because they believed that the holocaust was a bunch of crap and they wanted out of Germany. My Great (many times) grandfather was not Jewish and so was not faced with persecution, but saw through the lies being spread and didn't want his children raised in that kind of environment.

I can say that I am proud of my German ancestry. I took the time to attempt some research and find out a part of why I am here. I haven't researched every branch of my family tree, because it get's difficult the further back you go. There are many dead ends (where records are lost or incomplete) that have kept me from finding out about the rest of my family and our history. Some of it (I'm sure) is reprehensible, as is a great portion of American History in general.

I just don't want to be told how proud someone is of their heritage when they know next to nothing about it. Since 99% of what we read is by "the victors" it's very much likely to gloss over the less desirable actions done by that particular side. (Look at how many Christians are willing to gloss over the Crusades as a prime example.)

There's a huge difference between pride and bravado. Generally speaking, the most outspoken confuse the two.

I would love to see the day that true equality (without regard to historical nationality, race, creed or religion) has come about, but neither our government nor our society, in it's current state of affairs, will get us near that target.
You're talking about the difference between historie and Geschicte (as theologians discuss it), or the difference between history and historicity. The issue isn't what is absolute fact, it is the narrative which is passed down. The truth is found in the narrative of the event, not in the event itself, because the interpretation of the event is found in the community body.

I hate metaphysics.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Obama's wife shunning poor patients?

LOL, no doubt.

Sometimes, the community body get's it wrong. Particularly when they aren't interested in getting it right, but in complaining about how they have constantly and consistantly been done wrong.

I have no doubts that the Jews have been screwed over a great many times.

I have no doubts that racism is stil prevalent and that African's were extremely poorly treated well into the 20th century.

There comes a point where we become much more fixated on the problem than we are on the solution.

If the community body reflects on the problems faced, learns from the mistakes made and is prepared to move forward, then I am all for it.

Unfortunately (as you stated) you've got guys like Jesse Jackson who aren't nearly so much about the community body as they are about themselves and their small band of fellows.

If one of my coworkers wants to get involved in a cause to further the entire African American community, and needs time off to help in this promotion, I give it to him (happened once).

But, generally, the loudest proponents of "We've been done wrong" speeches aren't so much about the entire race, instead they're more concerned with their little community...their (for lack of a better term) gang of individuals.

I am not looking for the betterment of one race/religion/nationality. I'm looking for the betterment of mankind.
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