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Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Brian Casey Missed in His Anna Chacko Article

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers, in which I dedicate chapter four entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

In his article on the radiological website, Aunt Minnie, Brian Casey listed the charges by Dr. Anna Chacko against the Pittsburgh VA in detail. Most of it comes from the memo she had published on the internet. Here's one of the charges repeated by Casey of Chacko's against the Pittsburgh VA.

Chacko and Melhem also butted heads over clinical issues, such as the hospital's use of technetium-99m, the radiopharmaceutical that's been in short supply due to repairs at the Canadian nuclear reactor that produces most of North America's supplies.
Chacko said that due to its lower radiation dose compared to an alternative radioisotope, thallium, she preferred that VA physicians work around technetium supply shortages to ensure that patients were scheduled when the radioisotope could still be used. But Chacko said she found cases in which orders made by nuclear medicine physicians for technetium studies were changed without their knowledge to use thallium instead. Substituting radiopharmaceuticals without the prescribing physician's knowledge is a serious violation of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rules, she said.

In fact, the VA was asked about this specific charge and here's they responded to other media about it.
Frantz said the VA Medical Inspector General investigated whether the radiation doses affected patient care and concluded that "no issues were identified."

Yet, the fact that this specific charges was investigated by the Inspector General's office and found to be without merit is NOT mentioned anywhere in the piece. Casey has also not responded to multiple emails for comment on the ommission.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Coucil Winners

The Council Winners are up.

Council Winners

Non – Council Winners

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In Case You Missed It

I've been blogging less because my new freelance piece is now up in Chicago's artsy newspaper, New City. Watch for my self deprecating humor of my social status in high school. Also, I have no less than two quotes from movies and I think every male that lived in a fraternity can appreciate how cool that is.

Please pick up a copy if you live in Chicago. Here's Kevin Coval's break out spoken word piece.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Council Nominations

The council nominees are up.

Council Submissions

Non – Council Submissions

Catch Me At New City

I have the front page and featured article at New City, Chicago's artsy newspaper. It's not on line yet but it will be shortly. If you live in Chicago, just pick up this week's New City.

Here's the full piece and hopefully you'll see why I haven't written as much lately.

Monday, July 26, 2010

If the Sherrod Affair...

Is all Secretary Vilsack's fault, how does he still have a job? Talk about a debacle and everyone in the administration says the ultimate responsibility lies with Vilsack. So, why is he still the Secretary of Agriculture?

Another Chacko Update

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers, in which Chapter 4 is dedicated entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

In the Aunt Minnie piece, Dr. Chacko suggests that she may try and get her old job back.

Ironically, Chacko claims that the Pittsburgh VA has put Chacko's former job as chief of radiology out to bid for the second time after failing to find a candidate in its first search. A representative with the Pittsburgh VA declined to comment on personnel matters at the facility, citing privacy concerns.
With the political winds appearing to shift in her favor, Chacko says she's considering whether to apply for the Pittsburgh VA job again.
"I'm going to apply," Chacko said. "I know the corruption in the VA better than anyone else. I want to make the VA safe for veterans."

In March of this year, Dr. Chacko was terminated as head of radiology at the Pittsburgh VA. The position has not yet been filled. Dr. Chacko is claiming that she plans on applying again for this position. Here's how a congressional source with knowledge of the situation characterized her chances.

I’m confident that it’s beyond the realm of possibility for someone who’s been terminated from the VA for cause to get another job there – especially the job from which they were removed!

On that note, here's how one veteran radiologist described the medical profession.

there are high percentages of the entitled, sociopaths, arrogants, and logic-challenged in the medical field. Take your pick!

That may explain in some small way the whole Dr. Anna Chacko affair.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dr. Anna Chacko and Saul Alinsky

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers, for only $3.95, in which I dedicate chapter four entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

Anyone who has watched even five minutes of Glenn Beck knows that he has no use for the current President of the United States. If you've watched him for ten minutes, you also know that he has no use for Saul Alinsky, the famed community organizer and author of Rules for Radicals. Beck is especially fond of harping on two of Alinsky's techniques. First is his rule number thirteen.

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.

The second involves throwing out so much information all at once into the media that it distracts from your true intentions.

Obama perfected the tactics that so-called community organizers like ACORN use every day. It's the tactic of misdirection.
The community organizer mentality — the ACORN mentality — is to distract you from their main goal, so even though some people are looking at their voter registration fraud, we should follow the money, too.
While politicians talk about 46 million people without health care, what's their real agenda? And what's the effect on the 255 million with health care?

Both these strategies should be kept in mind as I again analyze the tale of Dr. Anna Chacko. In October of 2008, Dr. Anna Chacko arrived in Pittsburgh to work at the VA hospital there. She arrived there following a fourteen month stint at St. James Hospital in Butte, Mt. Prior to that, she spent just over a year at the Boston University Medical Center in Boston. That means that Pittsburgh would be her third job in her third city since 2006. At this time, Dr. Anna Chacko was 64 years old.
Almost immediately, there were complaints about Dr. Chacko. These complaints were filed by members of the administration like Dr. Mona Melham. They were also filed by members of the radiology department. The complaints included accusations that Dr. Chacko threatened legal resident aliens with calls to immigration if they crossed her. There were allegations of threats, lies, and bullying behavior. One doctor complained that Dr. Chacko called their other employer and spread lies about them there.
This is not merely accusations made by me. In fact, radiologists testified to all these threats in not one but two investigative boards held against Dr. Chacko by the Pittsburgh VA. In January of 2009, a doctor working at the Pittsburgh VA slipped in their driveway and fell. She thought her wrist was broken when she came to work at the Pittsburgh VA. Dr. Mona Melham approved for this doctor to have her wrist x rayed even though she was an employee and not a patient.
Upon hearing this, Dr. Chacko complained to the Inspector General's office of the VA and claimed that Dr. Melham committed fraud. She then demanded that an administrative investigative board be formed to determine if Dr. Melham be removed. Only by then, Dr. Chacko had alienated most of the radiology department that the Pittsburgh VA held an ABI to determine if Dr. Chacko herself should be removed herself. That's exactly what the board recommended in March.
Then, Dr. Chacko hired a lawyer and reached out to Congressman Brad Miller of North Carolina. Congressman Miller had his own history with both the Pittsburgh VA and Dr. Melham. He'd conducted an investigation into this Pittsburgh VA over some destroyed strands of legionella in 2006 and determined that Dr. Melham had acted with malice in destroying them. It appears that Dr. Chacko had in fact convinced Congressman Brad Miller to side with her because on May 15th, 2009 he wrote to General Shinseki on her behalf.

Senate Letter 2009-05-19[1][1][1] -
After this Dr. Chacko was given her job back and returned on August 1st, 2009. Her behavior didn't improve and several employees of the Pittsburgh VA began reaching out to her former colleagues at St. James. One such employee, using a dummy email account, reached out to an individual with whom I was communicating. They became my first source on the story.

I wrote my first article on September 2nd, 2009, and wrote several more throughout the month of September. At the end of September, Dr. Chacko was put on indefinite administrative leave and terminated the following March. This time her political friends wouldn't stand up for her, and Congressman Miller would only explain his involvement this way.

Miller said he wrote the letter because "it appeared that a VA hospital which was given to infighting was proceeding in the same way again."
He said the 2008 investigation showed management at the Pittsburgh VA "appeared to be chaotic and a very valuable collection was destroyed out of spite."
The congressman said the Legionella investigation concluded that local VA officials "proceeded in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons."
He said that assuming the VA followed proper procedures in Chako's termination, he did not plan further involvement.
Neither Miller nor Shinseki have ever responded to my repeated requests for comment about their involvement with Chacko. Since her termination, Dr. Chacko has reached out to anyone with a sympathetic ear with claims that she's a whistleblower and that she was only fired as retaliation. First, she found a sympathetic ear in Dr. Vijay Mehta who allowed her to publish a manifesto on his site detailing the charges made by her against the Pittsbugh VA. Curiously, Dr. Chacko demanded that he take this manifesto down when Roche reported on it in the Pittsburgh Tribune.
Then, Congressman and Senatorial candidate Joe Sestak referenced Chacko in his press release for his bill the Transparency for Heroes Act.

Until March of 2010, Dr. Pamela Gray was a rheumatologist at the Hampton VAMC. It is her contention that she was subsequently terminated as a VA employee as a result of her actions to stop the over-prescription of Schedule II narcotics. Dr. Gray joins Dr. Anna Chacko formerly of the Pittsburgh VAMC and Dr. Robert Van Boven formerly of the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System in alleging retaliation for exposing practices they believed negatively affected patient care. I respect the fact that these physicians put their careers and reputations at risk to advance the treatment of our Veterans.

Then, the radiology website, Aunt Minnie, wrote a largely sympathetic article in which her charge were listed in detail while my charges against her were characterized and retold like this,

But what's more, it characterized her as a "psychopath" and included a laundry list of accusations that included salacious details allegedly drawn from Chacko's personal life.

While systematically listing the charges, the author, Brian Casey, failed to mention that one of them, Chacko's assertion that thallium was being used to great harm to the patients, was investigated by the VA IG and it was found that there was no problem. Furthermore, the article failed to mentioned that Dr. Chacko has financial interest in Moly99Montana, a company which manufactures molybdenum, which just happens to compete with thallium.
Chacko has also received support from others including those that go onto my site. In a recent posting, someone identifying themselves as FBI said this.

Keep the entertainment go on while Moreland is forced to taking early retirement, Mona Melhem is forced to step down from ACOS and Jain is detailed against his wishes in DC. You follow the money{hope you are getting paid from one of the above}, she follows the money, the above members are following the money, the veterans suffer and the truth is lost. For some of us who witness this daily at VA, it is just an entertainment played by some educated fools called Radiologists, Pathologists, investigative journOlists and of course the dietitians at VAPHS.

Shame to all of the above for bragging how rightful they are while ignoring the plight of the veterans. Watch Veterans watchdog for more entertainement and 60 minutes!!!

All of it is meant as misdirection. Chacko is attempting to go after the Pittsburgh VA because they're an easy target. After all, the VA system has a history of corruption. The Pittsburgh VA itself has been the subject of a congressional inquiry. She dumps all sorts of charges in their lap. It's all very Alinsky like. Pick a target, isolate, freeze them, and escalate. It's all beside the point. Corruption in the VA, and at the Pittsburgh VA specifically, is not the issue. The charges against Chacko have nothing to do with corruption but bullying, lying and manipulating.

Furthermore, and much more importantly, the Pittsburgh Va is not the first place where these charges have been made. While at St. James, the radiology manager, Kristi George, also claimed that Dr. Chacko was attacking her in a systematic attempt to sully her reputation so that George would get fired. In fact, Kristi George filed charges against St. James, while both she and Chacko, were still working there.
5[1][1].29.09 Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial

In this complaint, George says that Chacko's attacks became so brutal that she had to take a leave of absence in order to seek psychological help. Furthermore, Chacko began to attack Kristi George before they'd technically even worked together. Chacko's first day, Kristi George was still on vacation but that didn't stop Chacko from going around the hospital and complaining that Kristi George was incompetent. This case was eventually settled and the dispostition sealed. It's one of five lawsuits involving Chacko during her time at St. James. She was only there for fourteen months.

Then, there's Linda Murphy, the only person that would put their name to charges against Dr. Anna Chacko. Murphy is Chacko's former secretary at St. James. Murphy told me that Chacko would routinely call her at 2 or 3 in the morning and demand that she get out of bed to fix Chacko's computer or other minor task. If Murphy didn't answer the phone, Chacko would call over and over until she did.

On one occasion, Murphy went on a three day vacation with her son right before he went to college. Murphy told me that Chacko called her repeatedly, forced her to come back a day early, and then made her work a sixteen hour day upon returning. Murphy says that she suffered a systematic psychological torture at the hands of Dr. Anna Chacko. Not coincidentally, the daughter of another of Chacko's secretary's describes a similar experience.

My mom worked for this tyrant, as her admin, for 3.5 years (mom always makes us add the .5 to the 3 yrs as it was torture working for her!). She absolutely sucked the life out of my mother. She finally got relief when AKC was removed from Lahey Clinic. I was not aware that anyone knew how evil this woman is and am relieved to know that the word is spreading. My whole family suffered as a result of the way she treated my mom as well as other co-workers.

According to Murphy, when she was fired, she was told that she was being fired because

You know too much about Anna(Chacko)

Then, there's this story retold to me by a radiologist at Lahey Clinic, where Dr. Chacko worked from 2001-2006.

The resident, an American educated daughter of immigrant Indian professionals, was a resident in Radiology in our department from July 01 to June 05 and had first hand trauma from her. She made a minor error, tiny and not clinically significant. But she had resisted Dr. Chacko's effort to make a big deal out of it. She did not become
subservient and grovel. At the next staff meeting, the resident was assigned to attend and Dr. Chacko laid into her, called her lazy, careless, stupid, etc. We, the staff, sat in horror, too amazed to speak up. We looked at each other in shock, and just as we were about to say enough, lets move on, she stopped and discussed another issue. But she swung that issue around to residents and then began the attack this resident anew. We were too shocked to say anything, we looked around like “are we hearing this correctly, this is too much”. We were whispering and about to say move on when she stopped, started on another item. The item was again artificially swung to residents in general and then on to this resident again. We again listened and were about to speak up and the cycle repeated itself 6 or 7 times, each time a shorter echo but no less personally violent.

The target, now working in a hospital just outside Chicago, confirmed this story to me.

Mike, I remember it like it was yesterday

She, like most people, refused to give her name, however.

Finally, there is another former colleague of Chacko's. This doctor also worked with Chacko at Lahey Clinic. They confided in me that they thought of committing suicide after Chacko repeatedly attempted to have their license revoked by repeated complaints to the Massachusetts Medical Board. This doctor hired a private investigator and had to get a second job just to pay to defend themselves against Chacko's charges.

There are thousands of stories like this, from hospitals all around the country. So, of course, Dr. Chacko would like everyone to talk about the corruption at the Pittsburgh VA. That way no one notices a long and documented history of abuse, blackmail, lying, and many other misdeeds.


This is to all my sources, commenters, and so called cheer leaders. I'm told I'm a rock star at the Pittsburgh VA. I believe the same is true at St. James and at Lahey. That's nice. It's also largely irrelevant. I will protect anyone's anonymity to my grave. I will go to jail before I reveal an anonymous source.

That said, hiding behind anonymity as everyone, short of Linda Murphy, has done is cowardly and all it does is put me in the crosshairs. That's fine, but the truth will never be revealed until someone has the courage to stand up and speak on the record.

I recently spoke to an individual at the Pittsburgh VA who didn't want to do that saying that just wanted to do their job. That's fine. No one signs up to take on Dr. Anna Chacko. I'd just point you all to Emery Joe Yost. He was a Chicago park district instructor when one day he noticed that Kevin Long was exposing himself. He reported Long to authorities and this started a ten year nightmare. It ended when the same Kevin Long was caught with several knives in the Daley Plaza a couple months back. He didn't sign up to be in the eye of the storm of a significantly mentally disturbed individual. He didn't flinch when it happened. That makes him courageous. Hiding behind anonymity is cowardly. As Shakespeare once said,

some men are born great, some develop greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

Greatness has been thrust upon you, and someone has to respond to the call. If you think it doesn't matter, that everyone already knows who she is, there's a thread right now on Aunt Minnie defending her.

Here's the full dossier of Dr. Anna Chacko.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Public Option?


Could the public option be revived?
Months after a Republican filibuster helped kill off a government-run health plan under the new health-care law, Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott and other U.S. House Democrats are calling anew for a Medicare-like public insurance plan that would compete with private carriers.
This time, the Democrats are taking their arguments straight out of the Republican handbook, saying a public plan would lower the deficit.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., Wednesday evening introduced the Public Option Act. McDermott is among the 128 co-sponsors. Others include the chairmen of the three House committees, and their three subcommittees, with jurisdiction over health care.
That would be the same Jim McDermott that was hanging with Saddam on the eve of the Iraq War. The Soros wing of the Democratic party could try and put this to the floor. It has a snow ball's chance in hell of becoming law.
Mere mention of the idea, however, once again brings health care to the front of our minds and that helps Republicans.

Councill Winners

The council winners are up.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Breitbart Digs In

If you were waiting for an apology from Andrew Breitbart for his role in the Shirley Sherrod affair, you'll still be waiting. This morning has a series of stories on Big Government attacking others in the media for missing context in the story and one about Congressman Steve King demanding an investigation into the hiring of Shirley Sherrod.

In fact, on his show, Bill O'Reilly did apologize for initially getting it wrong.

That's something that Breitbart still refuses to do. He says that the video was released to show the reaction of the NAACP and not an attack on Ms. Sherrod. Furthermore, he says that two clips were shown initially and the second clip did show Ms. Sherrod talking about her redemption. That's dubious. Here's how Breitbart introduced the first video.

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.

The second video includes a caption that says this,

There is no accountability in government and you can't get fired.

Furthermore, Breitbart has also admitted that he never reached out to Sherrod for comment nor did he attempt to get the full video. Meanwhile, Ann Coulter was on Sean Hannity last night claiming that the real villain is the individual that gave the edited tape to Breitbart.

Finally, since we've learned more about Ms. Sherrod, she also appears to be a far left radical with her own set of questionable statements including this one about FNC.

I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person.

So, it appears as though there will be few heroes here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shirley Sherrod's Statement on FNC

In an interview with Media Matters, here's what Shirley Sherrod said about Fox News Channel.

they (Fox News) are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to...where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person.

On the O'Reilly Factor tonight, Bill O'Reilly pointed out that this story is only getting started. Meanwhile, Dick Morris said the administration now owns this woman. The woman was taken totally out of context but she's far left and I suspect that, once fully examined, we're going to find all sorts of language like this particular quote.

This will be a long term problem for the administration and the gift that keeps on giving for those that love political theater.

Commercial Mortgages Thawing?

Was the demise of commercial real estate greatly exaggerated?

Analysts have been warning for months that commercial real estate could be the next shoe to drop in the subprime mortgage collapse that came to a head in 2008.

But with signs of thawing in the securitization markets and indications that investors are ready to come to auction when properties are on the block, the idea that the industry represents a major looming danger for the economy is losing traction.

Prudential Financial executives, speaking at a market outlook discussion Tuesday in New York, said they are "reluctant optimists" on the space. Marc Halle, the firm's managing director of real estate investments, compared the industry to a "fly wheel" that likely will accelerate in the years ahead.

Some, like me, predicted gloom in commercial mortgages last year. It should be noted that the worst of the balloon loans will expire in 2012 and so there's still a long way to go.

Council Submissions

The Council Submissions are up.

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Blago Won't Testify

The entire media world is totally disappointed.

After being given the night to think it over, attorneys for Rod Blagojevich will formally tell a federal judge this morning whether the former governor will take the stand in his defense.

The lawyers told U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Tuesday that Blagojevich would not testify and that they were prepared to rest their case without calling a single witness, sources told the Tribune.

After conferring that message privately to Zagel and prosecutors in a lengthy sidebar, the defense team was told by the judge to mull the decision overnight


Vilsack to Reconsider Sherrod's Resignation

First it was the NAACP that backtracked and now it may be Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he will reconsider the department's decision to oust a black employee over racially tinged remarks after learning more about what she said.

Vilsack issued a short statement early Wednesday morning after Shirley Sherrod, who until Tuesday was the Agriculture Department's director of rural development in Georgia, said she was pressured to resign because of her comments that she didn't give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago.

Sherrod said her remarks, delivered in March at a local NAACP banquet in Georgia, were part of a larger story about learning from her mistakes and racial reconciliation, not racism, and they were taken out of context by bloggers who posted only part of her speech.

This story continues to evolve and Sherrod canceled her appearance with Megyn Kelly yesterday afternoon. At some point, the attention will focus on Andrew Breitbart who first publicized the edited video.

Here's the full video.

Breitbart is holding firm.

The funny thing is, according to Tuesday’s statement issued by the NAACP’s Benjamin Jealous, it’s now all Fox News and Andrew Breitbart’s fault that the NAACP and the White House got ’snookered’ and Ms. Sherrod became an inconvenient speed bump:

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The NAACP’s after-the-fact back pedaling can’t hide the fact that they knew there was a contextual problem and they still condemned her (and the audience) anyway, making her the roadkill on their path to demonize average Americans.

Speaking of context, Big Government played two minutes of a nearly forty five minute speech and made someone look like a racist when they were telling a story of racial reconciliation. The white farmer in the story, Roger Spooner, has come to her aid.

Her husband told her, 'You're spending more time with the Spooners than you are with me,' " Spooner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "She took probably two or three trips with us to Albany just to help us out."

She said she called Sherrod — "a friend for life" — this morning. "She's very sad about it," Spooner said. "She told me she was so glad we talked. I just can't believe this is happening to her."


Georgia Primary

The Democratic primary went to Ken Hodges. Meanwhile, current AG Thurgood Baker lost in his primary race to Roy Barnes. Both were featured in several pieces and the last one is here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday, Shirley Sherrod appeared to be a racist working for the USDA and it was all based on this video.

Today, it appears that Andrew Breitbart has a lot of explaining to do. It appears that Breitbart selectively edited that video to make it seem as though Ms. Sherrod is a racist. In reality, that was a story about an incident that happened 24 years ago and Ms. Sherrod realized the error of her ways and helped this farmer. It also made her realize that she viewed the world through the prism of race. She evolved as a result.

Breitbart isn't backing down. If in fact this is true, Breitbart is through as someone that has any mainstream appeal. Conservative ideologues will continue to love him but if he did what Sherrod claims he did, it's totally despicable.

Meanwhile, both the White House and the NAACP rushed to condemn her and the comments and neither bothered to get her side before they did. The NAACP has since issued a retraction to their initial statement calling the remarks racist.

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias

The whole thing is a mess and continues to be fluid. Here's video of the full speech.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chacko Update

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers, for only $3.95, in which I dedicate chapter four entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

The radiology website Aunt Minnie has a piece on Dr. Anna Chacko. (you may need to create user id to read the article)

Incidentally, Congressman Joe Sestak has introduced the Transparency for America's Heroes Act, HR 3843, and in the text of the bill is this,

Until March of 2010, Dr. Pamela Gray was a rheumatologist at the Hampton VAMC. It is her contention that she was subsequently terminated as a VA employee as a result of her actions to stop the over-prescription of Schedule II narcotics. Dr. Gray joins Dr. Anna Chacko formerly of the Pittsburgh VAMC and Dr. Robert Van Boven formerly of the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System in alleging retaliation for exposing practices they believed negatively affected patient care. I respect the fact that these physicians put their careers and reputations at risk to advance the treatment of our Veterans.

There's no response yet from Congressman Sestak's office about Dr. Chacko's inclusion in the text of the bill. I don't know if Congressman Sestak read my dossier on her before declaring her a hero but here it is anyway
Finally, Dr. Chacko seems to have a liberal interpretation of our first conversation. In the piece, it's described this way.

The next day she received a phone call from Michael Volpe, a blogger with a self-styled government watchdog website on called TheProvocateur, who said he was writing an article on Chacko. Chacko spoke with him briefly, but she claims she was shocked when his article appeared, entitled "Clout: Congressman Brad Miller, General Shinseki, and the Pittsburgh VA ."

In her memo, she described the conversation this way.

On September 2nd, a blogger (Michael Volpe) called me at my office and told me that he would be writing up slanderous and very injurious articles about me on the Internet. Since I did not know Mr. Volpe personally, I asked him what his sources of information would be. He claimed and subsequently has stated on his blog that his sources of information would be the VA.

So, to one source she describes the conversation as brief and vague and to another source she claims that I said the piece would be "slanderous." Here's the piece in question.

Real Clear Politics and Health Care Reform

Today's health care section of Real Clear Politics is a microcosm of the problems that the administration faces on health care reform. Today, it links to three different stories and each is a problem for the Democrats. The first story is about how health insurers are pushing for plans that will limit the choices patients will have in choosing their doctors from the New York Times.

As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.

The plans, being tested in places like San Diego, New York and Chicago, are likely to appeal especially to small businesses that already provide insurance to their employees, but are concerned about the ever-spiraling cost of coverage

But large employers, as well, are starting to show some interest, and insurers and consultants expect that, over time, businesses of all sizes will gravitate toward these plans in an effort to cut costs.

The tradeoff, they say, is that more Americans will be asked to pay higher prices for the privilege of choosing or keeping their own doctors if they are outside the new networks. That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.

Of course, President Obama billed health care reform as a way to cut costs and expand choice. The reality is of course very different.

The second story, also from the New York Times, is about how the Obama administration has taken to calling the mandates a tax.

When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”

And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.

Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.

It's true that the power to tax is a constitutional mandate of the federal government. The problem is that if this mandate is a tax, then that's a tax on everyone. Yet, President Obama so famously promised that 95% of the country wouldn't be taxed under his administration.

If this mandate is a tax, then it also means that everyone's taxes are going up.

Finally, there's this story from Politico in which both the left and right are pushing back against his abortion policy in health care reform.

The key lines are these: "The Obama administration has decided that no woman in the new high-risk insurance pools will be allowed to obtain abortion coverage beyond limited cases (rape, incest, endangering the life of the woman). Not even if she pays for that coverage with her own money...

"...The president committed his administration to preventing any federal funds from being spent on abortion care. But the fact is, this announcement from HHS goes well beyond that. Nothing in the new health care reform law requires a ban on abortion coverage in the high-risk pools. No law passed by Congress forced this decision. The Obama administration has chosen to place a new burden on ill and medically vulnerable women seeking abortion coverage."


Talk dominated conservative news outlets over the last few days that New Mexico and Pennsylvania were going to allow elective abortions as part of their applications for access to the new federal insurance pools. Among the sparks for that round of stories was an AP report in which New Mexico officials initially said elective abortion would be covered under its policies, then started walking that back.

But the National Right to Life Committee sparked an uproar by claiming a similar issue was arising in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania officials strenuously denied that and Democrats accused the NRLC of creating an issue out of whole cloth aimed at testing an executive order President Obama signed last March.

It still remains unclear if the new health care reform will use federal tax dollars to fund abortions. The president said no and even signed an executive order to stop it. We don't live in a dictatorship and so an executive order is largely useless.

With Future Bleak: Obama Looks to the Past

If you've been following along recently, you know that the administration is attempting to frame November of 2010, not as a referendum of their own policies but as a choice.

"We already tried the other side’s ideas. We already know where their theories led us. And now we have a choice as a nation,” Obama said. “We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future. We can go backward, or we can keep moving forward. I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward."

President Obama has even taken to using his ditch metaphor again.

Republicans Drove the Car into the Ditch and Now They Want the Keys Back and, When They Get Them, Next Time They'll Drive it Off a Cliff!

It's a sign of his panic and desperation that this is happening. By November, the president will have been in office for nearly two years and he hopes the voters will choose Democrats because they hated Republican policies until 2008.

With deficits at astronomical levels, unemployment hovering at 10%, and the economy barely growing after a very deep recession, I'd want to talk about anything but my own performance as well. Still, does President Obama really think that the Democrats can win by running against the Republican record of 2008. If that were true, Republicans, following 1928, would have never won.

No one doubts that Republican performance circa 2008 was awful but that's much of the reason he was elected. He promised better days and things have only gotten worse. Now, he wants to run against the past. I guess that's all he has left.

Friday, July 16, 2010

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ghettoization of Obama

That's a term that Dick Morris used on the O'Reilly Factor last night. First, a recent Bloomberg survey has found that Obama and the Democrats are on the losing end of nearly every issue.

A majority or plurality disapproves of Obama’s management of the economy, health care, the budget deficit, the overhaul of financial market regulations and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted July 9- 12. In addition, almost 6 in 10 respondents say the war in Afghanistan is a lost cause. The Senate is scheduled to begin voting on the financial regulation bill today.
Almost two-thirds say they feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction, an even more sour assessment than in March when 58 percent felt that way. Two-thirds of independent voters are pessimistic, while just 56 percent of Democrats offer a vote of confidence.
“They don’t see any solutions in sight,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the nationwide survey. “They have been hammered by the economy and there is a disconnect between the lives Americans are living and Washington. They seem to have lost hope.”
There are all sorts of theories as to why the Obama administration is so forcefully attacking Arizona over its anti immigration law, not prosecuting the New Black Panthers, and why the NAACP has recently called the Tea Parties a racist organization.
One theory is that all of this is part of a strategy of energizing minorities. With the country headed in the wrong direction, and the people generally unhappy, the administration may be looking to gin up racial tensions for the cynical notion of energizing their base. Now, that's only the theory but the perception is that the "post racial" President is now deep in the middle of race.
Not 24 hours before the NAACP censured the Tea Parties as racists, Michelle Obama spoke in front of the group.

Now, Michelle Obama's speech was about child obesity and had nothing to do with the Tea Parties, but the optics couldn't be worse.

Michelle Obama’s participation as keynote speaker could prove toxic to the Democrats in the run-up to the November elections—even though she confined her remarks to obesity and the like, and steered clear of references to the Tea Party. Many in America already believe that she is a black militant in mufti, and her headlining of a gathering which cast the Tea Party as racist will have been noted by a good many ordinary, non-radical, middle-of-the-road Americans—not to mention Tea Party activists, who will be sure (and who can blame them?) to put together little YouTube packages from the NAACP shindig, cutting from Michelle O to Ben Jealous, the NAACP president who was the resolution’s prime mover.

As if the optics of naked racial tensions weren't bad enough, there's the Black Panthers case. The idea that these guys aren't being prosecuted despite there being video evidence is simply head scratching. No one has been able to explain it. What it has done is put these guys in the spotlight and we've learned that the New Black Panthers traffic in racism.

Finally, there's the Obama administration's full frontal assault on the Arizona law. How else can you explain the administration going against public opinion, against any logical policy sense, but that this is a naked play to gin up the Hispanics? It's all part of the Ghettoization of Obama.

Argentina Becomes first South American Country to Legalize Gay Marriage

The Argentine legislature just passed this fairly narrowly.

Argentina's senate passed a same-sex marriage bill today, clearing the way for the country to become the first in South America to allow gay couples to marry.

Following more than 14 hours of charged debate, during which thousands of Argentinians protested outside the congress, the upper house voted 33-27 for the proposal, with three abstentions.

"I believe this has advanced equal rights," Senator Eugenio Artaza said after the debate, in which many senators invoked their Catholic beliefs to explain their stance.

Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández, supports same-sex marriage on human rights grounds and is expected to sign the bill into law after her return from a state visit to China. It cleared Argentina's lower house in May.

The vote was 33-27 in favor of the passage. There's no word on whether this will spread throughout the rest of South America.

JUstice Department Responds Vis a Vis Sanctuary Cities

When the Justice Department first brought a suit against Arizona over its new anti illegal immigration law, Governor Jan Brewer said this.

The irony is that President Obama’s Administration has chosen to sue Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law and not sue local governments that have adopted a patchwork of ‘sanctuary’ policies that directly violate federal law. These patchwork local ‘sanctuary’ policies instruct the police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

This became a common criticism of the suit. If the government believes that immigration is strictly a federal issue what are we to make of so called sanctuary cities, like Chicago, that refuse to enforce federal law. In fact, sanctuary cities openly flaunt their refusal to follow federal immigration laws. On the other hand, Arizona passed a law that would help the federal government enforce its law.

The administration stalled in responding. Robert Gibbs was asked once during his normal daily White House briefing and he said he get back on it. Now, the Justice Department has issued this statement.

There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law. That's what Arizona did in this case.

That statement will be hyperanalyzed as it is totally without logic. In fact, it is sanctuary cities that actively interfere with federal law. Arizona's law mirrors federal statutes. On another note, fifteen states lead by Michigan have joined in the suit in support of Arizona against the feds.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FNC Classic

This is why FNC is number one. When was the last time you had this kind of a bare knuckles brawl on any other cable news network.There's just a few things of note. Kirsten Powers practices what Bill O'Reilly refers to as "excusing bad behavior by pointing out other bad behavior." Also, there was in fact specific complaints of voter intimidation. Finally, what's shocking is that even with video that Justice dropped the case. Normally, there isn't such clear cut evidence. Finally, this video speaks for itself.

It's important to note that Powers tried to make the argument that the New Black Panthers were in fact properly punished and of course even the New Black Panthers themselves laugh at that note. Finally, take a look at Megyn Kelly's interview with the same Malik Shabazz.

It's like we're watching a different, more respectul, person.

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