Sunday, May 31, 2009

Healthcare Meeting: Martha Livingston, Speaker

Green Ann, Martha, Kate Anne and students
Ann Eagan, Kate Kelley, speaker Dr. Martha Livingston, Nicole Thompson, Sherie Williams, and Kate Anne Brennan. Not pictured, DFNYC's Dan Jacoby.

THANKS TO ANN EAGAN of the WEST QUEENS GREENS for her help in organizing the program for the GREENS, WQIDC, and DFNYC Sunnyside.

Single Payer Meeting Wrap-Up

I came to Thursday night's meeting on Single Payer with a pretty good basic knowledge but I went away with much more information. Martha Livingston, Ph.D., was terrific and urged us all to get involved -- talk up the issue with friends, neighbors, politicians, the White House. The next several weeks are vital and President Obama himself said if Healthcare is going to happen it is going to happen this first year. We're bucking a very powerful health industry lobby. The insurance companies don't want single payer, don't want a public option (though if it is there they will do their best to see that it fails) because they want to make money on depriving people of health service.

Martha pointed out that of the 2 million who declare bankruptcy every year, over half of them did so because of illness. Of those, 3/4 of them had health insurance at the start of their illness. 700,000 insured Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they are under insured. She noted that its when you get sick that your healthcare insurance is tested. She mentioned how forensic investigators find ways to deny care to people and even retroactively uninsure people [find pre-existing conditions,etc.]

16% of our gross national product deals with the health care industry. We're talking money here. They want it. That means they need to deny claims.

Because of the healthcare industry, "up to 40% of our healthcare dollar is being pissed away." Meanwhile, Medicare operates on a 3% administrative budget. Current Medicare could be expanded to meet our healthcare needs. Single payer is NOT socialized medicine but socialized payment: the government would pay the bill -- everything else is privately run.

Martha mentioned that to just have a Public Plan option would not work as the insurance companies would see to it that those in the plan would be a pool of the sick people, and thus "an insurance death spiral" and therefore "prove" that the government-paid insurance doesn't work. Healthy people must be part of any Public Plan but what we really need is what the other western countries have, Single Payer Healthcare.

And forget the waiting line talk we hear from the media. Martha is knowledgeable about the Canadian system and they are happy with it. When the Canadian system was deprecated in the NY Times recently, their source was the Fraser Institute, a Canadian right wing think tank. Bottom line, Canadians much prefer their system to ours.

Martha also explained how when they talk about 50 million Americans being uninsured, it is really worse than that, given how it is counted. There were others uninsured for only part of the counted time. But besides the uninsured there is also the underinsured. And healthcare is something that is a RIGHT, not a commodity on which a few lucky people earn a profit by depriving healthcare to the sick and less fortunate. Our country must begin recognizing it as part of the basic rights of everyone: "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" -- you can't have life without good healthcare.

For more information, check out Physicians for a National Health Program NY Metro Chapter. Talk to your neighbors and friends. Make phone calls to your Congressmembers and Senators. Yes, you can even join PNHP as a health reform advocate (and at a reduced cost level). But let's talk about this issue and make our demands for Healthcare NOW!

FYI, Friday on Thom Hartmann, Senator Bernie Sanders mentioned he would be meeting with Senator Baucus and single payer physicians this next week to discuss this issue so make those calls SOON. (Dan Jacoby noted Thursday night that Senator Schumer is on Baucus's committee and that we should especially be calling him on the issue.)

Martha mentioned a candlelight vigil and Ann Egan and I were two of the several hundred people at the May 30th Union Square event. See photos from both events.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

WQIDC May Update

West Queens Independent Democratic Club

Meeting Notice

Thursday, May 28, 2009

7:30 PM

What is 


and why is it the best option for health care reform in America today?

See the flyer emailed out May 18th -- and join WQIDC, the West Queens Greens, and Democracy for NYC-Sunnyside  as we cosponsor this event. Come hear Dr. Martha Livingston explain SINGLE PAYER, H.R. 676, "Medicare for All", and real healthcare reform.

PlaceAll Saints' Church, 43-12 46 St., Sunnyside, Queens

1/2 block north of the 46th/Bliss St. #7 station


Some Community News Notes

Members enjoyed our meeting on Obama and the internet, Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. Thanks, Dan Jacoby and Kate Brennan for presenting. Kate has established us as WQIDC on Twitter. Jump in, joinTwitter, and follow us: -- more info soon via our listserv and on our WQIDC blog -- and consider following some of those who WQIDC is following. Recommend others to us:

Amy Bobrow was remembered on her birthday May 15th by friends Joan DeCamp, Jaye Louie, Dorothy Morehead, Joan Pagan, Diane Capasella, Marcia Schumann, and Kate Brennan (Jane Levy had an important art class conflict.) at Dazies. 2004 was the last birthday we shared with our dear friend and past WQIDC president. Miss you, Amy!

Congratulations, past president Ira Greenberg, currently Sunnyside Chamber president and now named by Governor Paterson to serve as LIRR Commuter Council's non-voting representative on the MTA board. Way to go, Ira!

Kate Anne Brennan will be a recipient of our sister Ridgewood Democratic Club's Community Service Award on Wed., June 10th. Honor Kate and support RDC by buying a journal ad and/or attending the event. Contact Lois Marbach at 718-229-4201, email PromoStrat at or download the form at Kate's blog. Huzzah, Kate!

Thanks to our members who have been supportive of WQIDC members campaigning for office, including our president Jimmy Van Bramer (council-26), Marc Crawford Leavitt (borough president) [also read], and Danny Dromm (council-25). (Live links on our blog and our yahoo email and listserv.)

A gentle reminder that 2009 membership dues can be sent to WQIDC at PO Box 4252, Sunnyside, NY 11104-0252.  Regular:  Individual $15; Couple $25;  Sponsor $35;  Sustainer $50; and Limited Income Individual $7.50; Limited Income Couple $12.50. But more than dues,please stay involved politically. Join us at the meeting(s) and on the web. If you are not receiving our WQIDC email and want to be, please send an email message to WQIDC at, with the Subject: Email Please. We do not overdo it, promise!

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Twitter Basics, Beginner Tips, More

As promised at our April meeting, this post aims to provide more guidance on Twitter and Tweeting. This will be updated, but for those members eager to become part of the Twitterverse and join WQIDC and others on Twitter, here are some very basic hints to help you jump in. Other Tweeters (a/k/a "Twitterers") will say it better, so look for those helpful hints as you go along [follow Mashable on Twitter and at for updates on social media].

  • Go to Twitter and watch the introductory video on the join page

  • Be aware there is a less published public feed for non-protected Tweets [for ultimate use of Twitter, we suggest not protect your tweets -- it defeats the purpose]:

  • Join with a shorter name (so people can easily spread your Tweets of wisdom, called re-tweets, and abbreviated RT)

  • In the upper right menu, select Settings to add your photo (under 700K -- use close-up and Twitter will resize it smaller but people can click on your profile pic to see the larger you) to show you are serious. Add a brief bio and a website if you have one -- again give people reason to Follow you -- and find you. Choose another stock background using the Design tag, if you want. (Later on you can upload your own background like Kate Anne's PeaceHugs's profile. You only see another's personal background at their profile - otherwise you see your own.)

  • You can search for people to Follow with the Find People tab by using addresses in certain email accounts or just look for friends' names BUT you can get started on some good groups/people to follow by looking at those people/groups who you like are following. We've followed some of our members and neighbors as well as some politicians plus good groups (political, issue, media, and/or cultural) at WQIDC. Some have automatically followed us. PLUS we've had a few spammers follow us whom we have blocked -- other good folks will follow YOU once they see your bio and your tweets under certain topics. [Note topic Trending Topics on right margin of Home page.] TO FOLLOW, click on the FOLLOW button by the Tweeter's photo icon.

  • HINTS on Following someone -- You do NOT have to follow someone following you. Check out their Twitter bio, their Favorites (see below) and maybe their website url if it sounds legitimate. (Don't go to the obvious spam ones -- you'll know.) You can also unfollow someone if they send tweets you don't enjoy/need or too many tweets by hitting the following button under/by the Tweeter's photo.

  • Add your Twitter url to your email signature to use when you are emailing friends, add it to your blog. (Later you can even add a badge with your latest tweets to your website or blog.) Tell your Facebook friends. There are Twitter apps which can suggest followers to you or automatically add them for you based on keywords, such as -- use these wisely as you want to watch to whom you give your Twitter password. (I've used Mr. Tweet without giving my password, but checking out the folks he's recommended.)

  • Tweet your first tweets to the public timeline or wait until you get a few followers at the Home page [Upper right menu] with short info.

  • When tweeting web addresses, use a shortening site like -- Twitter will shorten long ones for you but you waste your 140 spaces in the meantime. You can plug in your long article/website urls at Tinyurl then copy the short one they give back to you. Insert it into your tweet and voila.

  • SUGGESTIONS -- Don't over-tweet. Tweet 3 or 4 times a day, a little less or little more, until you get used to it. (At least try to tweet at least once every day or two or three.)

  • Save favorite tweets by clicking the Favorites Star Button which you will see to the right when you scroll over the individual tweet. (Your Favorites can be used to save info you like or want to use as reference and help others decide on whether or not to follow you. Find new people to follow by reading the Favorites of people/groups you admire.)

  • You can Tweet by text-messaging from your cell phone (once you set it up), but turn off the incoming Tweets -- except direct Tweets -- unless you have unlimited text messages or you will go broke.

  • HINT: You can send a Direct Tweet to someone your are following from your profile BUT you can Tweet someone you aren't following by using the @ sign in front of their Twitter name, usually at the beginning of the Tweet. (Lately people are getting Tweets in their Direct Messages whenever they are mentioned or RT-ed by someone as well.) Direct Messages you make to someone you are following are private. Re-Tweets and Tweeting to a non-follower are public -- your followers and the public timeline sees it.

  • HINT -- There are a lot of Twitter apps/web sites out there -- Do yourself a favor and READ this USEFUL and INFORMATIVE ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to everything Twitter.


    Twitter Support: Frequently Asked Questions (by Crystal)

       [daunting but fascinating!]

       [tongue in cheek but...]

    Mashable: The Social Media Guide: great resource for Twitter, Facebook, Google PLUS

    [Let us know YOUR favorite articles but more important, bookmark them for your own reference

Tweeting is Fun. Make it a Game. Be careful about personal info but check out the Twitter apps that reputable others suggest that interest you and have fun flying through the Twitterverse.


P.S. WQIDC members and friends and West Queens area neighbors are welcome to contact yours truly (Kate Anne -- a/k/a PeaceHugs and on yahoo as KateAnne7 or by phone) with questions or possible individual guidance. (Perhaps we could hold a Twitter meeting for more hands-on. Yes, I like Twitter and Tweeting that much and want more people, not just groups, in my Twitterverse :-)

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