Friday, February 10, 2006

You Learn Something New Everyday

Georgia's Labor Commissioner, Michael Thurmond, wrote an interesting article on the founding of Georgia by Gen. James Oglethorpe, the former executive of a slave trading company who had since become an ardent opponent of slavery.

The genesis of Oglethorpe's anti-slavery advocacy can be traced to a young African prince named Job ben Jalla. Captured on the west coast of Africa in 1730, Job was subsequently enslaved on a Maryland tobacco plantation. Job's owner violated law and custom by allowing the prince to write a letter to his father, detailing the desperate circumstances surrounding his enslavement.

Written in Arabic, the letter passed through several hands until it was placed in the possession of Oglethorpe. Prior to the founding of Georgia, Oglethorpe served as deputy governor of the Royal African Co., a British enterprise that engaged in the African slave trade. After having the impassioned letter translated, he wrote Job's owner and promised to purchase the young man's freedom and pay for his passage to England.

In December 1732, Job's distant benefactor sold his stock in the Royal African Co. and severed all ties with the British slaving corporation.

The precocious prince arrived in London during the spring of 1733 while Oglethorpe was away in the New World. During his 12-month stay, Job became a "roaring lion" in British society. The following year, Job completed his miraculous journey back to his native country.

It's a pretty impressive story, one worth reading and posting about. Unfortunately, pro-slavery opponents engaged in efforts to destroy Oglethorpe politcally, judicially and financially. Though finally vindicated personally, Oglethorpe's efforts to keep Georgia slave-free failed, as you probably know. But the "rest of the story" is something I had never heard.

Doctors and Insurance Companies Suck

I know that after reading this, I'm supposed to hate insurance companies. And don't worry, I do.

When Flink talked to Tracy Pierce, his cancer was attacking his body. Despite being fully insured, every treatment his doctors sought for him was denied by his insurance provider. First-Health Coventry deemed the treatments were either not a medical necessity or experimental.

"I don't know what else to do but just wait," Tracy Pierce said last May.

As he waited, his doctors appealed again and again, including a 27-page appeal spelling out that Tracy Pierce would die without care. Coventry dismissed each request.


Even as he was dying, for more than a week, his insurance company denied him oral morphine, which had been prescribed to reduce his pain.

"That's unacceptable because in this day and age, no one should be in pain," Pierce said.

"I just hope we can get something done about it, that's all. We just have to get something done," Tracy Pierce said.

An hour and a half after Tracy Pierce talked to Flink, he took a nap and never woke up. His family calls his case death by denial.

"They just wrote a prescription for him to die," Julie Pierce said.

But why shouldn't I hate the doctors and hospitals who did nothing on their own dime to help the patient? It seems to me that they could have treated him while hospital administrators sought to recoup the costs from the insurance companies. Aren't the doctors just as complicit in this guy's death as the insurance company?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Dieter Zetsche

This guy's definitely my favorite corporate executive. And the John Bolton-esque mustache is the kicker.