Categories

Archive for December, 2008

The Lady Logician has tracked down an article that paints a pathetic picture of the Canadian health care system. She’s posted her thoughts about the Canadian health care system here. Here’s the appalling truth about the Canadian health care system:

Emergency room waiting times at some Ontario hospitals are prompting seriously ill people to walk away, sometimes with fatal results, health officials say. Dr. Sean Gartner says 11 per cent of the people who came to the emergency room at his hospital in Guelph last month ended up leaving without receiving treatment.

A few months earlier, Gartner said an elderly man who left after he became tired of waiting was later found dead.

In February, Patricia Vepari, a 21-year-old engineering student, arrived at a Kitchener hospital emergency room with a fever, sore throat and nausea. Facing an eight-hour wait, she decided to go home, where she died of an infection.

A little less than a year ago, Tarryl Clark held a health care forum at the Whitney Senior Center. After the panelists gave their brief presentations, a woman stood up to defend the Canadian health care system. Here’s what she said:

“The doctors are wonderful. You get good care. And it just makes me mad when they talk about how they have to come over here to get good care & that’s not true.”

“Now they say that Canadians have to come over here for good treatment. Well don’t you believe it. Don’t you believe it one bit. That government is so good to all its people. I don’t care if you’re rich or poor. They take care of you. And so many of the people come & they talk crap about how awful their system is. Well, don’t you believe it. Single payer is wonderful if it’s run right.”

The article above tells me that the story this woman told is a bunch of BS. People walking out of ER’s and dying isn’t anybody’s idea of getting “good care” nor does it prove that “The doctors are wonderful.”

After Ms. Linus’ statement, Sen. John Marty made this comment:

We need to think of health care like a community need, just like the police department or fire department.

My question for Sen. Marty is simple: When a person calls the fire department to report a fire at their home, isn’t it typical that the fire department immediately dispatches a truck to extinguish the blaze? Based on that article, it can’t be said that Canadian physicians don’t alway operate with an appropriate level of urgency.

Based on that article about Canada’s health care system, shouldn’t we avoid Canada’s health care system like the plague? Perhaps it’s better said that Canada’s health care system is something we should avoid like we’d avoid their ER’s.

The disturbing part about the Ontario ER story is that it isn’t an isolated incident:

Health officials say a man who died in the waiting area of a major Winnipeg hospital’s emergency department may have been dead “for some time” before medical staff was alerted, 34 hours after he arrived.

The 45-year-old arrived by taxi at the Health Sciences Centre around 3 p.m. Friday from the Health Action Centre, a community health centre in central Winnipeg, where he had an earlier appointment, officials said.

Based on these deaths, it isn’t a stretch to say that reports that Canadian “doctors are wonderful” and that “you get good care” in Canada are more myth than fact.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

A defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich ignored calls for him to step aside, instead naming Former State Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-Elect Barack Obama in the United States Senate:

Blagojevich, arrested Dec. 9 on charges of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the seat. He praised the 71-year-old Burris’ integrity and asked that the corruption allegations don’t “taint this good and honest man.”

“The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington D.C.,” Blagojevich said at a news conference in Chicago. “As governor I am required to make this appointment.”

From a political standpoint, this is a brilliant move. If the Senate votes to not accept Burris, they’ll be turning down an accomplished minority politician:

Burris was the first African-American elected to major statewide office. He’s served as Illinois’ comptroller and ran for governor three times, the last time losing to Blagojevich.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush came out of the crowd at the news conference to urge U.S. senators to seat Burris, noting Obama’s departure leaves the chamber without a black member. Earlier in the day, Senate leaders released a statement saying they would not seat anyone Blagojevich appointed. “This is a good decision,” Rush said. “Roland Burris is worthy. He has not in 40 years of public service had one iota of taint on his record as a public servant. “

Based on their official statement, it’s obvious that Senate Democrats aren’t happy getting painted into this corner:

“It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety,” the statement said.

“Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.”

I suspect that Harry Reid and Co. are upset with Gov. Blagojevich but that they’ll seat Burris because they can’t afford the political hit they’d take if they didn’t seat a qualified black politician. In this context, it’s irrelevant that Gov. Blagojevich is embroiled in a scandal.

Technorati: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

The St. Cloud Times’ Editorial Board wrote an editorial bemoaning the lack of politicians working for the common good. While such generalities sound nice, something that’s left unresolved is defining what the common good is. I’ll attempt to do that in this post. First, let’s look at the editorial:

Statewide

At the legislative level, we hold little hope for common sense. Why? In recent sessions, it usually gets lost in the ideological chasm between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-led House and Senate.

True, the 2008 session was fairly successful in that a bonding bill did pass. However, we attribute that more to it having been an election year, especially one with Pawlenty in the national spotlight.

The 2009 session features a $4.8 billion projected state shortfall along with several overarching structural budget challenges (think education funding, human service costs, etc.) and no pressing electoral incentives for legislators or the governor. When such a scenario last arose, it spurred a bicker-fest that some might say just won’t go away.

The Times Editorial Board talks about the common good but it won’t define what things contribute to the common good. Perhaps that’s because they don’t want to be specific.

To define the common good, we must ask whether each line item helps people be more safe, more prosperous or more free. If those line items can’t be justified that way, then it isn’t likely that it’s contributing to the common good.

Here’s a great example of defining what the common good isn’t: The original set of omnibus spending bills passed by the DFL in 2007 would’ve increased spending by 17+ percent during this biennium. Fortunately, Gov. Pawlenty’s veto was sustained by the House GOP. When the session ended, spending increased by 9 percent. The difference in spending between 9 percent and 17 percent is approximately $2.5 billion.

Adding an additional $2.5 billion to the existing $5.2 billion deficit is a 50 percent increase. That isn’t helping anyone except the special interests. It isn’t making Minnesota more prosperous. Adding $2.5 billion to the existing deficit isn’t making market-based health care reform possible. It isn’t helping fund additional police officers or additional firemen. Therefore it isn’t making Minnesotans safer.

The only thing that additional $2.5 billion deficit is doing is placing a higher burden on Minnesota’s families. That’s the opposite of making people more free.

Technorati: , , , , , , ,

This morning’s St. Cloud Times editorial page has the first post-election editorial touting the virtues of EFCA. It’s the same tired collection of misinformation and unproven facts that the DFL used during the campaign. Here’s one of their ‘golden oldies':

Major corporations pay their CEOs millions of dollars, and pad their salaries with millions of dollars in bonuses, but actively work against workers’ basic benefits. In fact, working Americans who try to organize and bargain collectively are often coerced, harassed, intimidated or fired for their efforts.

The editorialist didn’t provide proof that “working Americans” had been “coerced, harassed, intimidated or fired” for trying to organize a union. Similarly, the editorialist didn’t provide proof that CEOs “actively work against workers’ basic benefits.”

In other words, this editorial is long on allegations and short on proof. A brief history lesson is in order. I’ll start with this YouTube video of El Tinklenberg’s saying that he supports EFCA:

I’ll finish the ‘history lesson’ with George McGovern’s op-ed in the WSJ:

As a congressman, senator and one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, I’ve participated in my share of vigorous public debates over issues of great consequence. And the public has been free to accept or reject the decisions I made when they walked into a ballot booth, drew the curtain and cast their vote. I didn’t always win, but I always respected the process.

Voting is an immense privilege.

That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.

The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.

Through the years, Sen. McGovern was as staunch a supporter of unions as Ted Kennedy or Hubert Humphrey. This isn’t someone who didn’t know or didn’t like the union movement. He fought for increased unionization. Sen. McGovern’s opposition of EFCA is the equivalent or the Sierra Club or the National Wildlife Foundation supporting the building of nuclear power plants.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

If ever we needed proof that manmade global warming was real, one need only look at these pictures:


Check out this headline for proof that MMGW is the real thing:

Frigid Storm Closes California Freeways, Drops Snow in Malibu

If that isn’t proof enough, then check out the information from this article:

It is being called the snowiest December that Las Vegas has ever seen. Officially, 3.6 inches of snow were recorded making it the biggest snowstorm to hit Las Vegas since 1979.

The snow did cause some major problems around the valley bringing traffic to a standstill and causing numerous flight cancellations stranding hundreds of air passengers. Flights resumed Thursday morning. can check with Flight Tracker for the latest information on flights in and out of McCarran International Airport.

The heavy snow also caused some damage around the valley by snapping trees and collapsing carports. For the first time since the 1979 storm, The Clark County School District closed all of its schools and Nye County followed suit. Dozens of private schools were also closed.

Schools are shut in downtown Vegas after 3.6″ of snow fell? What a bunch of wimps. Sen. Coleman would get a hearty laugh from that. One of his standard lines during his stump speech was that when the temp hits freezing, the standard reaction of most Minnesota men would be to finally button the top button on their flannel shirts.

Technorati: , ,

Joe Quinn’s op-ed in today’s Strib is a perfect illustration of what happens when people think things through thoroughly. Here’s what Mr. quinn wrote that caught my attention:

I also was called upon in 2004 to rule on missing ballots. In fact, in my case, the issue may have been more clear-cut. We knew that 17 ballots had been destroyed by fire. In Minneapolis, an exhaustive search failed to produce any evidence that the missing ballots ever existed. The Minneapolis issue is a conflict between the count on the precinct’s voting machines and the hard evidence of ballots.

In the Mower County case, I ruled that if a ballot doesn’t exist, the vote doesn’t count. My decision did not set a binding legal precedent. The standards of law, though, dictate that a body overruling my decision must provide an explanation. Without imposing my judgment on anyone, it might be helpful for those now considering what to do with missing ballots if I share the two critical factors in my decision.

The first and more important point goes to the heart of a recount. A recount is conducted so that every ballot can be examined and an accurate total tallied from hard evidence. Vote totals should not be imputed from mechanical or mathematical probabilities; they should be based exclusively on ballots.

This opinion wouldn’t sit well with teh Franken campaign but that’s something that they’ll have to deal with. Of course, a painstaking search must be done to see if ballots got misplaced. If, after that painstaking search, there’s still a discrepancy between the number of physical ballots and the statistics on the machine’s tape, then it must be resolved on the basis of physical ballots because a machine’s tape can’t be verified.

It’s possible that the ballots were actually cast. It’s also quite possible that the ballots didn’t and that the scanning machine simply made a mistake. Without physical proof, we can only theorize. When criminal cases are decided, they’re theoretically decided on the basis of whether there’s reasonable doubt. When civil cases are decided, they’re decided on the basis of a preponderance of evidence.

Without proof of the ballots’ existence, there’s only reasonable doubt, which means that there isn’t a preponderance of evidence.

The second principle I followed is that recounts should minimize the risk of political mischief, not provide it a safe harbor. The Senate recount to date has demonstrated the integrity of Minnesota’s elections. After counting 2.9 million ballots, we are left with little more than a handful of question marks. The best and only reliable evidence of a person’s vote is the ballot itself.

What’s most interesting to me is that Judge Quinn isn’t a partisan GOP jurist. He’s a former DFL legislator. I point this out to highlight the fact that irrefutable logic is irrefutable logic wherever it’s found.

Judge Quinn used simple logic that ballots are the only physical proof that votes were cast. Without the physical ballots, you’re dealing with phantoms. That isn’t acceptable.

Technorati: , , , , , , ,

This morning, I was alerted to the NEA’s attack on the Academic Bill of Rights as it pertains to DuPage Community College in Illinois. Here’s a portion of David Horowitz’s official statement:

As background I should remind you of our nationwide campaign to get universities around the country to adopt our Academic Bill of Rights. I wrote this document to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as the objective and truthful pursuit of knowledge. The key provision was the one demanding that faculty not use their courses for political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

You can imagine the reaction of the faculty association at DuPage last month, therefore, when the school’s Board of Trustees proposed adopting the Academic Bill of Rights as part of the school’s basic philosophy and governance. “I and the other trustees thought it was important to provide for the academic freedom of students as well as faculty members,” Kory Atkinson, a trustee at DuPage and the principal author of the new policy manual which contains the Academic Bill of Rights, explained to the Freedom Center. “We’ve had some anecdotal evidence from students about faculty at DuPage providing lower scores [for ideological reasons] and even in some written reports for classes where professors made comments about sources being ‘right-wing’ rather than rejecting them for scholarly reasons, mainly in the social sciences where sources tend to be more subjective.”

Here’s the NEA’s reaction to the Board of Trustees’ saying that they might adopt this proposal:

In an 11-page letter to the Board of Trustees, the NEA chapter claims that the Bill has “political connotations.” The letter goes on to state, “ABOR supporters apparently hope that the bill will give elected officials the power to dictate, for example, whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution in college biology.”

This NEA chapter must have some Olympic-class athletes because it’s quite the leap to say that this is a backdoor attempt to get creationism taught. Saying that issues shouldn’t be decided by political philosophy but rather by scholarly reasons is the Religious Right’s way of getting creationism into schools is paranoid fearmongering. It isn’t rooted in anything resembling proof or thought.

I also find it laughable that the NEA thinks that dumping runaway political correctness has “political connotations.” It isn’t like their agenda doesn’t have “political connotations”, too. In fact, the NEA occupies its own wing of the Democratic Party. Here’s Horowitz’s response to the NEA’s overreaction:

Neither the DuPage bill nor the original Academic Bill of Rights proposes that politicians be given the power to decide what goes on in the classroom. And alleging that the bill would require the teaching of creationism is an example of the dishonest tactics of the opposition. The proposed new policy at DuPage states that “Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty.” Creationism is not a scholarly viewpoint and we have never suggested that it be taught in science classes.

The Academic Bill of Rights is explicitly drawn from the statements of the American Association of University Professors which urge professors not to “take unfair advantage of the student’s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher’s own opinions before the student has had an opportunity to fairly examine other opinions.” This is a sound educational principle, not a political statement. In objecting to it and fighting the DuPage trustees’s attempts to give students the academic freedom rights the faculty is struggling to retain what it regards as its own right to use the school’s classrooms as indoctrination chambers.

Why the NEA would react like this is predictable. They don’t like being challenged. Being challenged grates on them like fingernails across a blackboard. It bothers them because they think that they’re intellectually superior to conservatives. That’s the personification of chutzpah and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

Kory Atkinson sums it up nicely:

“[Right now] the only thing that a student can challenge under the current policy is a grade,” trustee Kory Atkinson told the Freedom Center covering the DuPage controversy. “Creating a specific right for a student to challenge ideological discrimination really worries them [the faculty]. They will have to be accountable for what they’re doing in the classroom and they really don’t like that.”

If anyone has firsthand knowledge of Minnesota college faculty who are using their classrooms as an indoctrination center, please contact me by leaving a comment. Also, anyone who has firsthand knowledge of professors using intimidation tactics on students should contact me by leaving a comment. Only I can see your email address.

I’d be stunned if indoctrination and intimidation aren’t commonplace on university campuses. It’s time we started pushing back.

Technorati: , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

There’s no denying that the political pendulum has swung in the Democrats’ direction the last 2 election cycles. This article in Politico.com suggests that, at minimum, Democrats will have more seats to defend in 2010. Couple that with Saxby Chambliss’ win in the Georgia runoff and the GOP’s John Fleming holding onto Bill McCreery’s seat in Louisiana and Joseph Cao defeating William Jeffferson in LA-02 and a case can be made that the Democrats’ momentum has ebbed somewhat. By no means should we accept as fact that the pendulum has shifted back in the GOP’s direction.

“The fact that there’s not an incumbent running for election, and having an appointed incumbent instead, helps us a lot,” Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams said. For those reasons, Wadhams said he was surprised that Salazar decided to accept Obama’s offer.

Assuming that Salazar is confirmed, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) will appoint a replacement to join the newly elected Mark Udall. A flurry of Democratic names are being floated, including Reps. Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and outgoing state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

The rumor that I’m hearing is that NFL legend John Elway is thinking about running as a Republican. If that happens, the Democrats will have a real fight on their hands. Elway wasn’t just a great quarterback. He’s a charismatic figure, too. It’s still too early to tell what type of candidate Elway would be but their’s no disputing that he’d have substantial fundraising prowess and significantly above average name recognition, two things that most candidates would die for. Here’s what CQ Politics wrote about Elway’s candidacy against Sen. Salazar:

Two-time Super Bowl winner John Elway’s name has been bandied about as a challenger for the Colorado Senate seat held by first-term Democrat Ken Salazar in 2010, but as of now, the former Denver Bronco quarterback, who campaigned in the state for John McCain during this year’s presidential race, trails 49 percent to 38 percent with 13 percent undecided in a Research 2000 poll conducted Dec. 2-4. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination before the first caucus or primary vote was cast, fares worse with Salazar leading 51 percent to 37 percent and 12 percent undecided.

That poll is now worthless now that Sen. Salazar isn’t in the picture anymore. Nonetheless, the Colorado GOP has alot of rebuilding to do. Still, having a charismatic person like John Elway at the top of the 2010 ‘ticket’ is bound to energize the GOP faithful and attract unafilliated people to the party, which is a great starting place.

Here’s more on why 2010 will present some challenges for the DSCC:

The departure of the popular incumbent from Colorado, along with Sen. Hillary Rodham’s Clinton’s move to secretary of state and Sen. Joe Biden’s ascension to the vice presidency, has suddenly given the GOP hope of contesting three more Democratic seats in 2010. With two special elections in Delaware and New York, there are now 19 GOP seats and 17 Democratic seats in contention next cycle, including that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the biggest Republican target.

In New York, Rep. Peter King (R) is weighing a 2010 challenge against whoever is picked to replace Clinton, and Republican Rep. Mike Castle, who has served as Delaware’s lone House member for eight terms, has not ruled out a run in 2010 against whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee, which could be Biden’s son Beau, the state’s attorney general.

John Cornyn will soon assume control of the NRSC, something that should put a smile on Republicans’ faces. Cornyn is in touch with the blogosphere. He’s a rock-solid conservative who preaches the gospel of energy independence through drilling on the OCS and in ANWR. Most importantly, he’s a very smart, disciplined politician who consistently makes the best arguments for conservative causes.

Sen. Cornyn should be pleased that Peter King is thinking about running for Hillary’s seat. This article should put a smile on his face, too:

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Thursday that he is “looking very hard” at running for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat and urged the political leadership in Illinois to hold a special election to fill the vacancy rather than allow a gubernatorial appointment.

In an interview with Politico, Kirk said he was concerned that the state Legislature was moving away from its original plan to pass legislation calling for a special election.
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who would succeed Gov. Rod Blagojevich if he resigned, said Thursday that, if he becomes governor, he’d rather appoint Obama’s replacement than wait for a special election.

Kirk said he would not be satisfied if Quinn filled the vacancy.

“At this point, everyone is tainted. In order to restore the trust of the people of Illinois in their representatives, this decision should not be made by people connected to a corrupt government,” said Kirk.

“We should return this seat to the people who own it, not the corrupt government. In this state, trust has been broken between the state of Illinois and its people.”

Kirk would be a strong contender and is giving national Republicans hope they have a shot at picking up a seat that was certain to remain in Democratic hands. A naval officer, Kirk has a clean image with no ties to Springfield or the Chicago political machine. And he has prevailed in two tough campaigns in his suburban Chicago district, giving him invaluable name identification for a statewide campaign.

If Kirk runs, especially in this environment, he’d cause Illinois Democrats serious trouble. Kirk is a polished politician with solid support from independents and conservatives alike. The fact that he’s maintained a squeaky clean image while practicing politics in Chicago won’t be ignored, either. I’d suspect that that’ll be one of Rep. Kirk’s main campaign themes.

Things aren’t looking nearly as gloomy for the GOP as they did in 2006. Still, there’s alot of rebuilding to do. Still, we now have a blueprint for 2010 and beyond thanks to the work of Redstate’s Erick Erickson and TheNextRight’s Patrick Ruffini and many others. It’ll still take alot of work. The good news is that Sen. Cornyn’s leadership, coupled with this new blueprint, represents a smarter leadership that identifies with the Heartland’s priorities instead of Washington’s priorities.

That’s a new direction I can get behind.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

Please keep Ronda Williams, the wife of columnist JB Williams in your prayers. She’s undergoing testing for some serious health issues.

JB Williams is one of the best conservative columnists in the nation. You can find his work by following this link.

Technorati: , , , ,

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that Pat and Kevin Williams won’t be suspended this season. Here’s the most significant news from the article:

Ginsberg refused to comment on if he had been in talks with the NFL about a settlement. The judge said the players union had shown it likely will succeed on its claims that NFL breached its duty to the players by failing to share what it knew about StarCaps.

The NFL didn’t claim that they’d supplied this critical information. Instead, they hid behind the claim that the CBA says that players are ultimately responsible for what they put in their bodies. Judge Magnuson just disagreed with the NFL in the strongest terms possible.

Saying that the “NFL breached its duty to the players by failing to share what it knew about StarCaps” says that the league has an affirmative responsibility to the NFLPA and to its players. PERIOD. Saying that the players would likely win their lawsuit put the NFL on its heels. The NFL’s response seems to indicate that they knew they’d lose:

Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of public relations, called Magnuson’s ruling, “consistent with the approach the judge has taken in giving careful consideration to these issues, which we fully respect.”

If the NFL thought they’d been wronged by this ruling, they would’ve appealed the ruling. That they didn’t is telling. I’m not a lawyer but it sounds like Judge Magnuson wants the NFL and the NFLPA to work out some sort of agreement on this issue:

Magnuson urged both parties to reach a solution. If that does not happen, the judge will preserve the status quo until he can hold a full evidentiary hearing on the case. He gave both sides until Dec. 22 to try to negotiate a proposed schedule for filing papers ahead of that hearing. He will determine the schedule himself if that fails to occur but he did not set a hearing date.

I think this is a positive step forward because it’s telling the NFL and the NFLPA that neither side might like the remedy he fashions for this lawsuit. One thing that is certain is that he’s upset with the NFL:

Because there are substantial questions about the process used to suspend the players, Magnuson said, they would suffer irreparable harm by being suspended. And if the suspensions are improper, he said, allowing them to go forward would violate the public interest.

Peter Ginsberg, the New York-based lawyer for the Williamses, isn’t letting the NFL off the hook easy either:

“It is disturbing that NFL officials thought so little about the health and safety of the players, deciding to attempt to punish the players, who were deceived by NFL officials, rather than to review the league’s shortcomings and failings,” Ginsberg said.

The NFL didn’t want to admitt that they screwed up by not sharing the information about StarCaps with the NFLPA. Whether they admit it now, it’s painfully obvious that that’s what they did. Their claims that player safety is first and foremost ring a little hollow. Here’s what MayoClinic.com says about diuretics:

Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, help rid your body of sodium and water. They work by making your kidneys excrete more sodium in urine. The sodium, in turn, takes water with it from your blood. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on the walls of your arteries.

I can’t help but think that artificially removing large amounts of water from a body is anything but harmful. The NFL have physicians on retainer just like they have lawyers on retainer. I’d doubt that those physicians didn’t tell them that diuretics weren’t potentially harmful. Here in Vikingland, we remember the tragic death of Korey Stringer. Officially, Stringer had taken ephedrine, which likely contributed to his death via heatstroke and finally heart failure. Here’s what Dr. Phil Kaplan wrote about ephedrine:

Ephedrine also has a diuretic effect and it alters neurotransmission to minimize appetite. The end result is often less food intake and a body that is cranking up in high gear. Calorie deprivation is NOT an effective way to boost metabolism, yet many who depend on these ephedrine based supplements for weight loss wind up using it as an aid in simply minimizing caloric intake. Residual water loss contributes to the illusion that it is really having a very significant effect on fat loss.

In other words, the NFL and NFLPA have long known that diuretics can cause serious harm, even death.

It’s incumbent on both the NFL and NFLPA to reach an agreement on the future handling of situations like this. It isn’t unreasonable to think that Pat and Kevin Williams and the New Orleans Saints players that the NFL tried to suspend should be punished for their taking StarCaps. It’s just that this punishment shouldn’t be a suspension for a first time offense. A fine would ‘fit the crime’ better. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail in the next couple of months.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,