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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In case you're pissed off at the court ruling about airlines today....
Posted by Jill | 8:43 PM
...it could be worse. You could be Deborah Shank.

Today we've seen a taste of what the Corporate States of America are going to be like, after Hillary Clinton finishes the job of being 2008's Joe Lieberman and handing the presidency to John McCain to keep warm for her until 2012. We've already seen that there's no money for children's health care or to rebuild the Ninth ward of New Orleans, but $236 billion can be found overnight to help J.P. Morgan Chase take over Bear Stearns. And today we had another taste when a Federal court overturned New York's Passenger Bill of Rights law. This audacious law dared to claim that when passengers are held captive on grounded aircraft for more than three hours, they are entitled to things like water to drink and toilets to use. In declaring the law null and void, the court declared that only the Federal government is authorized to pass such a law. And you know how likely THAT is. After all, it might cost the airlines money, and it's the government's job to throw money at the airlines, not make them provide basic necessities to the human cattle they transport.

But even so, it could be worse. You could be Deborah Shank.

Our good friend and sometime colleague Jurassicpork explains:

In my three plus years as a political/social blogger, I’ve read and have written about some incredibly outrageous stories that had tempted me to try to alter my DNA so I could no longer be considered human even at the genetic level. Because what Wal-Mart is doing to this family, one that seems to attract tragedy like a magnet attracts iron filings, makes me ashamed to be a terrestrial human.

I’ll give you the abstracts:

Debbie Shank, former Wal-Mart employee, was hit by a semi eight years ago. To this day, she has no short term memory, is incapacitated and will live in a nursing home for the rest of her life. Her husband, just recovering from prostate cancer, has to work two jobs to pay for her medical costs.

Or, should I say her ex-husband, because he divorced her just so she could get more disability benefits.

When Debbie was almost killed by that semi, Wal-Mart’s health insurance paid the medical bills promptly. However, what they didn’t go out of their way to tell Debbie when she first signed on for that coverage was that the company (a self-insured entity, in case you’ve yet to come to that conclusion) reserves the right to recoup all the medical bill money if they receive a settlement, which in this case was $417,000.

When Wal-Mart got wind of it, they immediately sued the Shanks for that amount plus $51,739, making nearly $470,000 in all. The trust fund opened for Debbie now contains roughly $277,000, far short of the money Wal-Mart, which pulled down $90,000,000,000 (that’s ninety billion) in retail sales in their last quarter alone, is trying to squeeze out of them. In fact, Wikinvest states that Wal-Mart’s annual revenue, based on the 2008 fiscal year, would place it in the world’s top 25 nations’ GDP.

If Mr. Shank were to somehow magically pull the other $200,000 out of his ass, not only would the family be broke and unable to pay Debbie’s medical expenses, their 17 year-old son wouldn’t be able to go to college.

Oh, and a year and a half ago their 18 year-old son Jeremy was killed serving in Iraq.

So ask all those friends of yours -- you know the ones I'm talking about, we all have them -- the ones who are so troubled by the fact that Barack Obama's pastor said mean things about America that they're going to vote for John McCain this fall -- if they think Wal-Mart ought to be able to garnish money that's supposed to care for a disabled woman. And if they talk about greedy plaintiffs and trial lawyers, ask them what they would do if THEY were disabled and their employer tried to sue them for money spent on their medical care.

And meanwhile, because Hillary Clinton is showing herself to be every bit as narcissistic as George W. Bush, this clueless, babbling, senile man is very likely to be taking the reins on January 20 of next year:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
A whole lot of people participated in making this unbelievable cruelty possible.

I'm saying this very carefully: may they come to this awareness, and realize what good they will have to do to balance the scales.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
CNN Anderson Cooper 360 is doing a story tonight at 10 p.m. EST about the Shank case. You can learn more and take action by going to:

To those who are saying that Wal-Mart is just following a common policy, I want to point out that Wal-Mart funds their own health care plan so this is just another case of them not wanting to put more money into covering the health care of their workers.