Friday, November 03, 2006


If there ever was a textbook example of what is wrong with conservatism in general, and the Republican party in America specifically, we saw it in Houston this week.

Houston mayor cancels free flu shots at polling places

The mayor of Houston, Bill White, and a private foundation came up with a great idea to distribute flu shots to those in need going into this winter season - one that had been used in several other cities around the country. Provide flu vaccinations to the poor and elderly at early voting locations around the city. If and when people come in for voting, at the same time they can get their flu shots.

This was a creative mix of public and private organizations working together for the betterment of the public health of our community.

Until Republicans got involved:
Mayor Bill White today ordered a halt to a privately funded drive to offer flu vaccinations at early voting sites in Hispanic and black neighborhoods, amid conservative criticism that the effort would boost Democratic votes.

Since Monday, the city had been offering the free vaccinations at four polling places around Houston under a national grant program, used in more than 20 other cities.

White defended the program at a news conference today, saying public health was the city's only motive in launching the initiative. Still, he said he decided this morning to abandon the plan after today to avoid perception that it could be viewed as an effort to draw certain voters to the polls. ...
"There was no political motive whatsoever to do it," he said. "I don't want to have to spend more money in defending a baseless lawsuit than we're giving away in vaccine — or allow anybody to question the integrity of the political process."

Critics of the program have been discussing the issue on conservative Web blogs and talk radio.
``I think the program was completely motivated by a plan to turn out Democratic voters,'' said [county Republican Chairman Jared] Woodfill, citing White's service as party chair and as a deputy energy secretary under former President Clinton.

He said the vote-vaccination plan violated a portion of the Texas Election Code that prohibits offering anything of value in exchange for votes.

This is simply beyond the pale. Rather than worry about the health of our community - and specifically our communities most vulnerable population - the Harris County Republican party is worried about their vice-grip on power. Shameful.

This program was a bright-light, an example of EXACTLY the way private and public entities should be working together:
Stephen Williams, director of the city's Health and Human Services Department, which has touted the program in recent days, said he hopes to get permission to use the vaccine in other locations.

The terms of the grant, he and White said, required a tie to polling places in medically underserved areas where populations are less likely to get a vaccination.

The city and Amerigroup Foundation got the 3,000 doses with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic group that devotes funding to health care.

The Amerigroup Foundation, according to its Web site, is the philanthropic arm of the Amerigroup Corp., a managed health-care company with a focus on providing services to low-income communities.

A textbook example of Republican party principles - power above people.


Anonymous said...

I know you won't post this, because you're a typical liberal. You refuse to let the facts get in the way of your agenda. Besides that, liberals are cowards who hate America, that's a fact. Oh, I didn't sign up for an account, because what's the use. I'll get censored anyway. Something you liberals love to do when someone disagrees with you, but boy you sure protect nambla's rights, and person's "right" to have child porn.
My name is Darrell by the way. And my email address is
But here goes anyway:

Just as a verdict was overturned (by a judge appointed by a Democrat) because the grieving members of a murdered family member wore badges with his picture to court (it could have swayed the jurors decision he said), these shots were ceased so as not to give the appearance of favoritism. If this had been a Democrat mayor doing it, you'd be praising him for it.
Why do you liberals look the other way when you do something wrong, but you make a Federal investigation out of the same thing when a Republican does it?
I'll be glad when the mid terms are over, because after the Republicans retain the House and Senate, you liberals are going to hide for a while.

Blake said...

Darrell -

I have no idea if I am the "typical liberal" or not. I can tell you this much - I do not hate America. But I doubt that is the only qualification in your mind. I am willing to publish any post to this blog that does not contain profanity or other vulgar content. (As an aside, I apologize for not posting your comment in a more timely fashion, I don't check the site as often on the weekends.)

I have real trouble (thus my original post) comprehending how providing flu shots to the underpriviliged could possibly "give the appearance of favoritism." (And FYI, it *was* a Democrat mayor who did this.) This was a power-play the the Harris County Republican party, pure and simple...and it came at the expense of my community. That bothers me, and it should bother more people.

Two more points -
1. I would encourage you to read more of this blog - I have actually predicted (and still stand by that prediction) that the Republicans will retain both the House and the Senate. It will be very small majorities - but I think they will hold the majority in both.

2. I'm not sure what court case (decided by a judge appointed by a Democrat) that you are referring to, but if you could provide a citation I'd like to take a look at it. I'd also like to point out to you that as of 2008 (when Bush's term will be up) the Republican's will have controlled the Presidency - and thus federal judicial appointments - for 28 of the last 40 years. Just an interesting fact.

Anonymous said...

First, Darrell is scarry.

Second, it was inappropriate to hand out free flu shots at voting locations. Don't be so naive. What the heck do you think they were trying to do? Help the poor, minorities who consequently tend to vote Democrat? No! They were trying to entice the poor, minorities to the polls to get the Democrat vote.

The Republicans wanted a stop put to this inappropriate behavior of bribing votes for the Democrats. They are not opposed to free flu shots. That is a great public service. Just do it in a proper forum at a proper time.

Incidently, if the mayor and others were really for the free flu shots and not the vote then they should have rescheduled the flu shots!

Blake said...

Anonymous -

First, the mayor and the Amerigroup Foundation did reschedule...actually I believe what they did was move the locations of the shots.

Maybe I am being naive. I actually believe that this was an effort to meet needs in the location where people would be. The idea was not to entice anyone to vote (in my opinion), the idea was to provide a service in a place where people would be gathering.

I thought this was a novel and creative place and time to offer services to the underprivileged. And I think it speaks volumes about those who oppose such services.