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January 14, 2011

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PagelO POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 14;, 2011 News Brief (Continued from Page I) American museum on Mul- berry Street in Little Italy. He says it is small and too low key for him. Governor Disgraces Self Dumping Kelley The state Veterans of Foreign Wars has lashed out rightly so at Governor Deval Patrick for removing State Secretary of Veterans Af- fairs Tom Kelley. The VFW in a recent state- ment called the removal of the 71-year-old Vietnam War veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor holder a "un- ceremonious dismal" and left "a very bad taste in our mouths." I agree with the VFW that Patrick owes Kelley an apol- ,- ogy for the way he handled the removal of this true war hero. As a Vietnam veteran of the US Air Force and mem- ber of both the D.A.V. Post 13 in Dorchester and G.A.R. Post 11 in Charlestown, I consider Kelley and friend and true advocate for all vet- erans in the Bay State. He was one of the most political cabinet members ever up on Beacon Hill because he didn't believe that politics shouldever play a role in helping veterans in need. He's been up on Beacon Hill since first appointed by then-Governor Paul Cellucci. I find this whole affair quite disgraceful!!! Medicaid a Budget Buster The Commonwealth keeps pouring money into the Med- icaid budget, but more is al- ways needed because of the huge numbers of folks seek- ing assistance during the current recession. The bal- looning of Medicaid is the biggest budget buster of them all. The state budget is already out of whack by S1.5 billion but Governor Patrick says Massachusetts is committed to the welfare of Medicaid: This wealth transfer program needs to be controlled but with qualifica- tions to receive Medicaid here in the Bay State quite easy to attain, we are being pushed to the brink. Beacon Hill is facing a hard choice. We can curtail health care services or we can tighten eligibility requirements. Politicians are happy with the choices facing them. Facing up to advocates lob- bying to keep the status quo, which is too costly, is some- thing that would make them look like the bad guys. Who wants to look like a bad guy?. However, the choices are dif- ficult because living in de- nial has pushed us all to the brink. Welcome to the Land of Obamacare Rationing Don't say you weren't warned. The FDA just re- versed its seal of approval for a widely used canker drug, which is approved for use in Europe to treat breast can- cer because it doesn't pro- vide a "sufficient" benefit. Shouldn't patients and their physicians make those de- cisions? The first baby steps of ObamaCare are already being felt by the FDA's revok- ing of approval of Avastin to treat late stages of breast cancer. The reasoning be- hind this government agency's decision is that the drug doesn't provide "a suffi- cient benefit in slowing dis- ease progression to out- weigh the significant risk to patients." I might add, what risks? These people are all dying, aren't they? This drug buys time and it would ap- pear the only risks patients have is from some govern- ment agency pulling the plug on them. Ironically, on the same clay the FDA said NO, the Euro- pean Medicines Agency said YES approving Avastin. Does the FDA's decision have any- thing to do with the cost of treatment? The European Union says Avastin 15rolongs progression of the disease "without a negative effect on the overall survival" ! wonder if the annual cost of treatment which is $88,000 per patient annu- ally played any role in the FDA's negative decision? How cost-conscious is ObamaCare? Should medi- cal care be decided by dollar signs? Every year over 17,000 American women are pre- scribed Avastin to treat their condition and prolong their lives. Avastin is the world's best-selling cancer drug. In some cases, it can keep people alive almost an extra two years. Who's running ObamaCare? Is it the ghost of Dr. Kevorkian? The Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance both signed a joint letter to lawmakers and the FDA to restore approval of Avastin. Komen says the decision to use Avastin should be be- tween a woman and her doc- tor. Breast cancer is the sec- ond most common cause of cancer death among Ameri- can women. Medicare and most probably Medicaid will never cover the coast of a drug disapproved by the FDA. The new head of Medicare and Medicaid Services once LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we requeg} that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday-on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: PamelaDonnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 said, "The decision is not whether or not we will ra- tion care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open." Guess for women fighting breast can- cer, there are some ration- ing care with their eyes open while more and more women will be seeing their eyes closing forever sooner rather than later. The Free Ward Bird There it was on page one of the Boston Globe on Christmas Day. Folks up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire have galvanized around the arrest, convic- tion and jailing of a 49-year- old farmer. This story is also about the right to own guns, property and individual rights of all. On the Sunday before Christmas, more than 100 Bird Supporters held a rolling rally that ended in Manchester, where many said his punishment didn't fit the crime. A local band, Jam Sandwich, even wrote a protest song, "Free Bird." Bird now sits in jail for a crime he still insists he did not commit. Three and a l{alf years ago, he warned a stranger on his property to leave. His property is posted with numerous signs that read "Keep Out," "Private Property," and "No Trespass- ing." After his arrest, the trespasser said that Bird waved a .45 handgun at her. He said it never left his hol- ster. It was he said, she said with no witnesses. The county district attor- ney charged him with felony reckless conduct. Later, the charge of felony criminal threatening was added on after a 2007 mistrial. After the second trial in 2008, he was acquitted of reckless conduct but found guilty on the criminal threatening charge. He went to jail this past November when the N.H. Supreme Court upheld the conviction. Today, Bird has become a folk hero of sorts. As one supporter of Bird said, "This is not about just one man. This is about all of us. What does it say on our license plate? Live Free or Die. We don't make motorcyclists wear helmets. We don't make adults wear seat belts. New Hampshire prides itself on individual freedom. This is not Maine. This is not Massachusetts. This is New Hampshire. This has struck a nerve in all of us. It's so wrong." By the way, last month the county district attorney who got him convicted was beaten 2-1 by her Republi- can opponent. Even the judge who presided over the case has said the punishment didn't fit the crime, but he had no discretion where the crime had a mandatory sen- tence of 3 to 6 years. Bird was offered a plea bar- gain but refused. He would probably be a free man today had he done so, but he says, he would admit to something he was falsely accused of doing. It was principle to him. A Facebook page has been created for Ward Bird and a website ( keeps everyone up to date on his plight. STONE (DVD) Anchor Bay Entertainment Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton star in Stone, and deliver powerful perfor- mances as a seasoned cor- rections official and a vola- tile inmate whose lives be- come dangerously inter- twined in this film that mixes passion and intensity masterfully. Jack Mabry (DeNiro), a parole officer days away from retirement, is a.sked to review the case of Gerald "Stone" C reeson (Norton)' in prison for arson. Now eligible for early re- lease, Stone needs to con- vince Jack he has reformed, but his attempts to influence the older man's decision with his wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich) have profound and unexpected effects on them both. This tale of passion, betrayal and corruption skill- fully weaves together the parallel journeys of two men grappling with dark im- pulses, as the line between lawman and lawbreaker be- comes precariously thin. (1 hr. 45 mins.) ROBERT KLEIN: UNFAIR & UNBALANCED (DVD) HBO Home Entertainment Comedy legend Robert Klein made hilarious his- tory with the first ever HBO stand-up special. Now, Klein returns for his ninth stand-up special, an hour of uproarious new takes on society's foibles and follies. plus several memorable music interludes backed by a symphony orchestra. From philandering congressmen, hypocrisy in Washington, pop culture obsessions and job outsourcing to comedic musical numbers about President Obama, medical marijuana, and gay mar- riage, he handles it all with trademark insight and timeless humor, (1 hr.) RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (2-DVD) Sony Pictures Home Ent. The gang is back and no topic if off-limits in the critically acclaimed fourth season of Rules of Engage- ment! Married couple Audrey (Megyn Price) and Jeff (Patrick Warburton) relive their "single days" by com- peting with each other to see who has the raciest past. Meanwhile, fed up with the hassles of planning a big wedding, Adam (Oliver Hudson) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich) attempt to race to the altar. And is it possible that eternal bad boy Russell (David Spade) has fallen in love ... with Timmy's (Adhir Kalyan) fianc6e? 13 hilarious sitcom episodes. (4 hrs. 36 rains.) FRENEMY (DVD) Lionsgate After witnessing a hor- rifying crime that one of their friends did not escape, Mr. Jack and Sweet Stephen wander the streets of Los Angles ruminating on life, death and their own twisted destiny Hilarity meets fate when Stephen's bloodsuck- ing lifestyle sends the friends on a chance at redemption. (1 hr. 20 rains.) HOT WHEELS BATTLE FORCE 5: SEASON I, PART 2 (2-DVD) Warner Home Video Roar into high-octane ac- tion with Vert, Aguara, Stan~ ford, Zoom, Sherman and Spinner, speeding through unbelievable inter-dimen- sional Battle Zones in search of the Battlekeys that unlock portals to Earth. But if these daredevil heroes don't work as a team -- like a finely tuned vehicle -- there's big trouble, like the- invasion-of-Earth trouble! And when their two rivals, The Vandals and The Sark form a dangerous alliance, it becomes a turbo-charged battle for the world with an extreme rescue you won't believe. Feel the rush of 14 exciting episodes full of hot cars and cool drivers! (5 hrs. 12 mins.) A DOG YEAR (DVD) HBO Home Entertainment Based on the real-life memoir by New York Times best-selling author Jon Katz, A Dog Year stars Jeff Bridges as a writer at mid-life cross- roads wh0'algrees to adopt and train a high-strung Border collie named Devon, only to discover it's he him- self who has the les 0ns to learn. After a reality-check visit from his daughter Emma (Lauren Ambrose) and still unable to break through with the dog, he moves to a farmhouse where he's introduced to a dog whisperer (Lois Smith). It's her tough love approach that sets Jon and Devon on a path to greater trust and under- standing -- but the question remains, will it be enough to turn both their lives around? (1 hr. 20 mins.) BITTER FEAST (DVD) Dark Sky Films A food critic can dish it out, but can he take it? Revenge is on the menu for notorious blogger J.T. Franks (Joshua Leonard) when he publishes a rumor that leads to the demise of TV chef Peter Grey's culi- nary empire. Grey (James Le Gros) kidnaps the writer, confines him in a remote cabin and presents him with a series of deceptively simple food challenges -- from preparing a perfect egg over-easy to grilling a steak precisely medium- rare -- punishing him for anything less than total per- fection. Bitter Feast is an exploration of the creative impulse gone tragically and ferociously awry. Horror icon Larry Fessenden and renowned chef Mario Batali co-star in this shocker served with wicked wit and savory flair. (1 hr. 44 mins.) 1 '1 i , ! '1 WWW. 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