Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Has the War of Words Begun? Lab Corporation Challenges Quest Diagnostics!

In what might be the beginning of a panic radio advertising blitz, Lab Corporation of America seems to be launching a radio advertising campaign in order to let people know that they are a lab which people should choose for their laboratory needs. Clearly this campaign is in response to the radio advertising campaign begun weeks ago by their chief competitor Quest Diagnostics.

All of this name brand advertising translates back to the decision of the Executive of Quest Diagnostics to walk away from the table in contract talks with United Healthcare. That decision was made due to the fact that the Executive and his qualified staff of lawyers and advisors deemed the demands of United Healthcare to not only be bad business for the stockholders of Quest Diagnostics, but bad for the entire industry.

The fact that it was a bad contract did not dissuade the executives from Lab Corp. from entering into a long term contract with United Healthcare. But that is water under the bridge. Any negative fallout from that will have to be handled by Lab Corporation of America’s executive board. The fact that they will have to account for $200,000,000.00 of lab test redirects to other labs (read Quest Diagnostics) will be an issue which they will have to make explanation for.

It appears that by directing the public’s attention to the availability of Lab Corps. services by way of radio advertising they are already attempting to stop the leakage of medical specimens to other labs in order to prevent loss. But according to some of my friends who work at Quest Diagnostics it is clearly going to take more than that to stop the sales and marketing team at Quest Diagnostics from producing a fair market share, contract or no contract.

But my main concern is still that of a particular business practice of Lab Corporation of America. As I mention in another article
it seems to be the practice of Lab Corp. to permit the specimen fleet vehicles to be utilized by the drivers as personal vehicles when not in use for company related business.

Yes, when you see a Lab Corp. vehicle going down the road it might very well be going to the market for groceries for the family. Since it is still not clear to me that Lab Corporation of America is accounting for all of the personal use when filing tax information with the Internal Revenue Service I have to ask a simple question. Is Lab Corporation of America sticking it to the American taxpaying public?

I have to ask other questions as well. Do I want to support a company who is making me pay for the gas which their drivers use to go to the market to shop? Wouldn’t it be better if they would simply give their employees other benefits and better pay instead of allowing them to drive on my dime and calling it an employee benefit?

But of course I could be wrong about this. Perhaps the Executive at Lab Corp. could use his radio advertising to address this issue of the apparent lack of honesty and integrity doing so on behalf of his company.

In the meantime perhaps someone at the Internal Revenue Service could take a few minutes out of his or her busy schedule to look into what might very well be a legal issue involving a lack of honesty in bookkeeping.

Personally I prefer to use a company such as Quest Diagnostics, which has a high standard in a very transparent environment of maintaining compliance to governmental regulations which are applicable to the entire industry. If Lab Corp. can’t even comply with tax regulations related to the proper use of a corporate fleet, can I trust them with any other regulation pertaining to the industry and the proper testing of a medical specimen? Can you?
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Barry Farber is Simply Michael Savage with Class!

A true gentleman filled in for vacationing Larry Kudlow on a recent Saturday at 770 W.A.B.C. in New York City. No stranger to the radio airwaves or W.A.B.C., Barry Farber “Took to the airwaves like a duck takes to water.” It was such a joy to hear the man speak on basically all subjects with such deep insight, blended with just the right degree of humility, a trademark of Barry Farber.

Farber who describes himself as a speaker of one language and a student of 26 languages is clearly a man who has an opinion worth hearing. What surprised me was when speaking of “Islamic Fundamentalism” and his position on issues surrounding the “War on Terrorism” his views were clearly linked to those of Michael Savage.

Perhaps it is a matter of geography, Farber being I believe a person raised in North Carolina, and Savage a New Yorker by birth, but the styles and approach to speaking to the audience is at opposite poles. While Savage has no qualms about insulting the intellect of any caller, Farber would be hard pressed to insult anyone.

And if Farber did insult a caller it would be with such an amount of style and class that the audience would have to give it serious thought before realizing that the caller had indeed been insulted. In example of the class of Barry Farber, when coming to a point of no resolution with a caller, in order to end the call Farber said “you and I are getting along like a slow waiter and a poor tipper.” Mix such comment with his gentle and soothing “Southern Gentleman” voice quality and you have an extraordinary talk show host.

Savage on the other hand would have simply said something on the order of “you are an idiot, drop dead” and would have then terminated the connection. He would have then gone into a diatribe about how stupid the caller was without the caller having the ability any longer to defend himself.

Indeed, though each man has the same perspective, Farber clearly demonstrates a far more willing ability to debate in a moderate tone. On the other hand sometimes I really have to laugh at the way that Michael Savage blows off a call. Perhaps I am being a little too critical of Savage. Perhaps I am simply confusing lack of class with a high degree of passion mixed with a generous amount of frustration.

I know that someday we are all going to hear a very load bang as Savage has a massive heart attack and hits the studio floor. I hope that he doesn’t fall on Teddy. Michael you really need to calm down and try to be a little more balanced. Listen to Barry Farber and try to imitate him.

On the other hand forget that last comment Michael. It would never work for you. You are far too Alpha Wolf to do your program in that mode. Just keep on yelling Savage. I guess that it takes all kinds of people to make life interesting. And one thing is for certain, Savage does make life interesting.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Black and White and Red all Over Issues of MSN Version 7.0

What’s black and white and read all over? A newspaper! Or as in the case of the internet the answer is this blog. A somewhat new look has been assigned to this blog for a simple reason. Even though I have always liked the look of an all black page with mostly white text change is necessary.

Even though I think that white font face has a good look that is nothing more than personal taste. Sometimes in the publishing field it is, for technical reasons, necessary to make changes. Such is the case with the switch from white to blue font face type.

After having recently downloaded the latest version of msn’s browser to version 7.0 and trying out some of the features I find that one of the issues raised is that of font color. One of the features of the new browser is an rss button which automatically identifies the rss feed if one is present. That is a great idea in my opinion.

So, wanting to try it out I clicked on the button while viewing my own blog. That action gave me the option of subscribing to my own blog which I, being the narcissist who I truly am, chose to do. Now whenever I add new content to the blog it notifies me in a window that I can easily check by switching from favorites to feeds. You can, if you are using version 7.0 do the same thing and I hope that you do!

However when clicking on the link to the latest content I found that rather than being directed to the site it opened up some other sort of page which displayed the content in a format other than my own black and white format. One of the problems with that is that since I or anyone who uses white font face in a blog will have to change the font color to something that shows on an all white page.

That is of course an easy fix. But if however anyone has a blog which already contains a large quantity of material posted in white font face, that issue easily could become a very time consuming fix. There are other issues of which I still need to investigate related to this feature such as will the connection in this manner cause the hit counter change or will it be viewed from version 7.0 and yet remain an uncounted and unnoticed visit?

In any event I do think that the new msn version 7.0 has some pretty nice features. I mostly like the way it is set up with drop down boxes which gives it a much less cluttered look and feel. I hope that you all like the new look with the light blue font color.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Michael Savage’s Perspective on the Tragedy of Racial Comedy

Once again Michael Savage, whom I have already stated for the record is one of the most honest and intelligent men in America today, has gotten it all wrong. In reference to the issue of Michael Richards, Savage connects the incident at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles with a comedy routine performed by one of the most popular and well known comedians alive, Chris Rock.

Savage often refers to what he suggests is the Rodney King effect, whereby the individual viewing the matter makes assumptions based on only the portion of the story which the video shows. The only way that a person can get a true picture of Chris Rock and what I call the “shopkeeper/cracker” routine, one of my personal favorites, is to see the entire routine in context.

Yet Savage, who openly admits not knowing much about Rock, makes a comparison to Rock and Richards basing that opinion on audio content and not by viewing the images and mood of the event. While Richards was clearly a man angry at the audience and out of control, Chris Rock performed his racial comedy bit to the laughter of the audience.

The “cracker” routine was understood to represent the reality of the feelings of an old black man and the bitterness which existed in that generation. The juxtaposition of the “polite” black shopkeeper serving a white customer and the true feeling which was vented by the “angry” black shopkeeper after the customer had departed the store made for a very funny routine.

The difference between the two situations Michael is clearly evident. All reasonable people can relate to the things which Chris Rock states as a matter of comedy. Yes, we can laugh at the shopkeeper who was the subject of the routine, because we see some degree of truth in the words spoken. They are an honest reflection of who we are as Americans. It was presented in such a fashion that we can just simply laugh at ourselves.

On the other hand the outburst of Richards touches a nerve because it has far too much of a feeling of raw hatred. There was nothing funny in those words. They were spoken with the intention of hurting people. Even if after saying them the person realized how harmful those words were and offered apology, to suggest that the routine of Chris Rock was analogous to Michael Richards outburst is simply wrong.

Savage you owe an apology to Chris Rock. What’s more, you owe an apology to your audience, not for your viewpoint which you are clearly entitled to, but you owe an apology for being wrong.

We can accept that you have an opinion Michael Savage, but we expect that such opinion should be well researched and well thought out. More importantly, you owe an apology to yourself for lowering the bar by which you conduct yourself.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Jersey’s New Heights of Condo Construction

It seems that if one were to take a leisurely drive, if in fact a leisurely drive is even possible any longer, through just about any part of Northern New Jersey, especially if that person had not done so in some time, that individual would see some things which had changed in New Jersey’s landscape. Where at one time there was a beautiful and ancient cliff with a beautiful tree line now stands in all starkness new and of course expensive condo’s or McMansions.

Yes, it seems that land that was at one time not even considered to be useful for housing has come to be the most sought after land. The higher up the hillside the better and the nearer the edge of the cliff, now that is living. Would you just look at that view! That is what it is all about, a view, and the rest of you be damned.

Driving West on Interstate 80 I look up at Garret Mountain and wonder to myself, where the hell did those things come from? I don’t think that they where there when I passed by last week. And since I see the same type of condo’s being built all the way on the South side of Garret Mountain or at least what was Garret Mountain before they blew it into rubble, at Route 46 in West Patterson I have do wonder does that construction cross the entire reservation?

Take a drive out to beautiful and quaint Hackettstown driving West on Route 46 and after passing beautiful Budd Lake look to your left at the top of Budd Lake hill and view what was not to long ago wooded hillside is now a conglomeration of condo’s and acre after acre of new houses. What happened to the beautiful horse farms? What happened to the tree lined hillside? What happened to the pasture land?

But it doesn’t end there. Even old and established communities where people have enjoyed a degree of space between neighbors has been visited by this blight of homes that are designed to be crammed into what was one time a lovely and well landscaped single residence lot. Bergen County, Passaic County, Morris County and Warren County to name a few, have seen this cancer of growth.

And of course the politicians love it because it adds to the tax base. But what concerns me even more than this aspect of construction is that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that, basically we as taxpaying American citizens no longer have the right to own private property. Sure, it’s yours today, but what will tomorrow bring?

Since any wealthy developer can convince or simply bribe corrupt politicians to misappropriate land under laws of eminent domain what is there to stop them from taking an old and well established community, calling it blighted and knocking it down and destroying what might in fact be buildings which have some sort of historical significance? The answer to that question is that there is nothing that can be done.

And since there will always be someone who has more money than you do in corporate America, even if your personal wealth is substantial, the land development mafia will always win so everyone is at risk in this land grab insanity. New development projects are springing up everywhere and everyday. Who will be the next victim of a land developer in New Jersey who wants your land for a new transit village or big box store or new condo community?

Until the people understand what is going on in New Jersey and until people become united in some fashion in order to prevent this land grab insanity New Jersey will continue to lose some of what has made it a unique and historic state.

Perhaps there is no stopping this thing from occurring. Perhaps it is just a part of the evolution of life in what is one of the most densely populated and wealthy per capita states in the nation. Maybe it is time to change the state motto from “the garden state” to “the condo state.”

Now don’t even get me talking about tolls on Interstate Route 80 Governor Corzine.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An Open Letter to Lab Corp. Sincerely Your Friends at Quest Diagnostics

Snake Oil Sam has been talking to some of his friends who work at Quest Diagnostics and decided that what he heard from them was worthy of writing about. So once again I write in my own satirical and sarcastic Snake Oil Sam way in order to talk about a subject that at least some people are either interested in or concerned about.

Yes, you are correct, it is United Healthcare and what is down the road for Quest Diagnostics, Lab Corporation of America and perhaps even United Healthcare. This is certainly one of the more interesting stories in the industry, especially when you consider that it has such a wide ranging impact on the lives of so many people.

It is a story which involves the health and wellbeing of everyone who depends on a medical professional to make an accurate diagnosis of potential illness. And that is just about everyone since at some point in time we will all become the victim of some germ that wants to spread joy in our life by making us sick.

So how will this situation play out between these two capable and worthy opponents? Have you ever hit a speed bump in the road? I have. But just because someone placed a speed bump in my path, even though it might have managed to slow me down a little, it sure didn’t stop me. I guess that is about as much of an analogy as is needed for this tale of woe.

The question to be asked is for whom is that woe directed? Many people seem to think that the woe might be placed upon the executives at Quest Diagnostics. But from what I am hearing that woe just might be more suitably placed at the doorstep of the Executive of Lab Corporation of America. Perhaps some of the joy of that woe of life in Corporate America will even find its way to the doorstep of the Executive of United Healthcare.

So, if I were asked by one of my friends at Quest Diagnostics to compose a letter to the Executive at Lab Corporation of America what would I say? Now some of the executives at Quest Diagnostics know that Snake Oil Sam just loves to write letters. Some of them even think that perhaps old Snake Oil writes too many letters. But what would I say? I guess that I would make it a general letter of introduction, bringing up this topic and then annoying the Executive at L.C.A. with just a little nudge about other issues. Fuel on the fire you understand.

Dear Lab Corporation of America:

I am a citizen of these United States of America and as such feel that I have the right to communicate issues of importance and interest to the people of this great nation. Since you are a business that impacts the wellbeing of people what you do and how you conduct your business is important to me.

I am concerned that you might not be as qualified to test my medical specimens as another company, Quest Diagnostics. Have you given any consideration to the matter that you might not be able to handle the logistics of the transition of the workload after the United Healthcare contract goes into effect on January 1, 2007?

I understand that many people have come to rely on the quality of service at Quest Diagnostics. Do you believe that you can do the job or will there be a change in the way I receive my current service? Quest Diagnostics has a lot of Patient Service Centers and the people there always treat me very well.

I understand that even though you have the contract with United Healthcare in 2007 that I can still direct my doctor to send my blood work to Quest Diagnostics. From what I have heard that company will even take care of all the paperwork just like they do now and it won’t cost me anything more than what my insurance company pays for the testing process. Even if it does cost me a small amount I think that my health is worth that extra cost.

So, since nothing really is changing as far as I am concerned why should I let my doctor send my blood work to Lab Corp.? It seems to me that since Quest Diagnostics has been doing such a good job, well like grandpa always said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So I guess that I will just keep sending my lab work to Quest Diagnostics.

I know that when that happens that you will have to pay for the cost of the re-direct of the work to Quest Diagnostics. I think that they call it “leakage” or something like that. Maybe it was a bad idea for you to sign a bad contract with United Healthcare. I think that you got suckered by those guys. I’ll bet that the big shots at United Healthcare are laughing at you behind your back.

But it is as they say “he who laughs last, laughs best.” And you will be able to laugh at the executives at United Healthcare in time because after Quest Diagnostics takes the $200,000,000.00 from you as per the contract you signed with United Healthcare, then United Healthcare will have to start paying for the lab work re-directs sent by doctors and patients who trust and rely on the quality and excellent reputation of Quest Diagnostics.

I understand that Quest Diagnostics expects to retain about 60 to 70 percent of the business that they currently receive under the current United Healthcare contract. Let me tell you those guys at Quest have one hell of a dedicated sales staff. It is really sad that United Healthcare decided to be so greedy because now both you, Lab Corporation of America and United Healthcare are going to be hurting.

But that is the nature of free enterprise. You try to do the best for everyone, but in the end you have to do what is right for the consumer and the only person here who tried to do the right thing for the people is the Executive at Quest Diagnostics.

On just one other topic since I have your ear sir, could you please tell me how it is that you manage to allow your drivers to take their Lab Corp. specimen fleet vehicles home and use them as personal family vehicles when they are not doing there assigned job? It isn’t like they are the sales staff. They don’t need them at all hours. How do you justify the practice? After all, you surly must write off the cost of fuel, vehicle maintenance, insurance and vehicle depreciation on your end of year tax statement.

Do you have some formula for calculating the amount of time the vehicle is used for the business of Lab Corp. and the amount of usage of the vehicle when not used in business activities? Or do you simply fudge the books and screw the government and the American taxpayer? How is it that the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t caught onto this issue yet?

At Quest Diagnostics my friends drive specimen fleet vehicles which are only for business use. When they go home from work the fleet vehicle stays at the Quest Diagnostics facility. I can’t imagine that you are giving the government and taxpayer a fair shake. But I might be wrong.

At Quest Diagnostics the people do everything based on a simple concept that makes doing things really easy. It is called integrity. As a matter of fact my friends at Quest Diagnostics tell me that “Integrity Is the Bottom Line.” How do you folks at Lab Corporation of America operate your business?

One more thing before I wish you a good day. Who is your favorite rocker? Mine is Bruce. You know who I mean, “The Boss!” “Born to Run” is one of my all time favorite songs. My favorite line in the song, “Wendy, I want to be your friend; I want to guard your dreams and visions.” O.K. that last comment might be just a little bit to inside for this submission, but the person for whom it was intended gets it.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Child Predator Issue

After reading certain things on the internet I thought that I would take the time and write on a subject of community interest since I have been seeing so much on this particular subject. The subject is sources of the danger which our children face. You might be shocked to read a story in the news about a teacher, community leader, religious leader or perhaps even a well know politician. Child Predators are among us in virtually every community.

Anytime any child is harmed by a pedophile it is a sad thing. I even learned recently that someone whom I once worked with was swept up in a nationwide roundup of such sad and pathetic people. Yes, you just never know any longer whom you can trust.

It has gotten to a point where almost everyone and anyone is suspect. Much has been the focus of the Catholic Church in recent years. But as a religion they do not seem to be alone with facing such accusations.

While doing a Google search I found information on this subject relating it to a group that would never have crossed my mind. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses have come under scrutiny recently. Some of this talk has been seemingly especially vindictive. Yet, any accusation related to this subject deserves to see the light of day and not be hidden from public view.

But such things should be done in a fair and honest way no matter who is involved. However, to talk about the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses as though they are an organization completely filled with such people is ridiculous, just as it would be to relate such a thing to any church organization comprised of many diverse people. Suffice it to say that most good people love children and want to protect them.

Any group can have someone of this ilk enter it, but when found out strong measures are as I understand it taken by the leadership of this group to hold such individual accountable for their actions. That might not have been the course of procedure in the past with this group just as it was not in the Catholic Church. Public pressure brings about change and that is always a good thing.

To consider that a large list of “pedophiles” exists within the records of this organization as claimed by some does not give a true picture. In my research of this matter related to Jehovah’s Witnesses it seems that in many cases what is not mentioned about this list is that when these events took place the individual involved was at the time not even a part of this organization.

As a matter of fact in many cases it was an event which took place when the perpetrator was himself a child. It might have even been something as simple as an act of two young teens, a boy and a girl, “making out” which is I believe not even something that most people consider wrong.

But since Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to consider this childhood play to be sex sin they document it for their records, a thing which might just come back to bite them on the ass. I always have a problem with any group who is so anal about record keeping that they document activity of a persons past life. That scares me more than anything.

Yet due to high moral standards among this group such child play, something which most people consider simply a part of growing up, is seen as wrongful act, an act that would not even be considered by civil law to be an act of pedophilia.

Why would they keep such records? It has something to do with their perception that they must live highly holy and morally clean lives in order to be considered righteous in the eyes of their God. Are there some among them who fit this category of predator? Sadly the answer is clearly yes. But to paint this entire group as a pedophile paradise seems something south of what is true.

Consider that the individual who is in charge of what seems to be one of their main detractors, the SilentLambs group might very well have an ax to grind as a former member. Just because that person makes accusations does not justify or certify their being accurate or true.

To consider that when doing a Google search about these people brings up so much negative information should in itself be a reason to question the legitimacy of the information posted. If they are such an evil group then the F.B.I. should be raiding there Kingdom Halls and Child Welfare should be taking their children from them.

Of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that I know, many who have lovely children, they always seem well behaved and well cared for. Perhaps the reason that they seem to be so despised is that people don’t like other people coming to their door to preach about their religious views. When you go around telling people that their religion is all wrong and that God is not happy with you, people tend to not like you very much.

If Jehovah’s Witnesses would simply stay in their own community and leave everyone else alone perhaps then there would not be such a commotion about their being such horrible and evil people. The only real problem that they have is that their religious belief is that they must teach others what they understand to be the message of the bible.

If the people who believe all the hype about how bad Jehovah’s Witnesses are in protecting children then why not see for yourself and someday walk uninvited into their local worship hall. I think that you might get a different view of who they are.

Like someone once said it must be true because I read it on the internet. If Jehovah’s Witnesses have any predators among them then they should deal with it and not attempt to hide it.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Michael Savage Declares America’s Gelded Age

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage has stated in a turn of a phrase, that rather than a “gilded” age America has apparently entered a “gelded” age. It would seem that Lord Savage is not far off the mark on this subject.

While it might be an overstatement that all of the men in America have lost their testicular fortitude, it does appear that what we all perceived as a man a few short years ago is a rare commodity these days.

Thinking back to the words of a radio pastor that I would hear from time to time, a man whose name escapes me at the moment, he would refer to the subject by saying that he grew up in an age when “men were men and women were glad for it.”

On the other hand consider that even though many men have lost their balls, a quick check of the internet in a Google search will prove that even though the men have lost theirs, there is apparently an overabundance of “women?” who seem to have them. What’s wrong with this picture?

But seriously, in all reality, when the time arrives there are always those who are born of the Alfa male variety who will stand to meet the challenge. And I can say with confidence that Michael Savage is one of that breed.

Sure, he might get discouraged thinking that he has no power, but simply by being a lone voice in the wilderness, Savage is a beacon of hope for those who listen to his words. He seems to forget that a prophet is never accepted in his own generation.

Still the people hear the words of the prophet. A prophet does not always bring about change. Often it is the nature of the prophet to announce the wrath of God. A warning to those who are in danger to become wise in the path they follow.

A lamp placed under a bushel basket servers no useful purpose. A lamp is to be a guiding beacon. Savage is a beacon of light, the only one who has a forum and who always speaks the truth. Savage is a man who carries the water for no other man. He is in such unique position because he has no friends in the beltway.

I have just one point of contention Savage. When speaking of Rudy, please Savage, don’t say that he doesn’t play west of the Hudson. In truth he plays as far west as the Pocono’s, especially since a goodly portion of Brooklyn now lives in North Eastern Pennsylvania.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Victoria Wefer and Carmela Sinco Performance at New Jersey City University

Few words are required to describe the recent performance of lyric soprano Victoria Wefer and pianist Carmela Sinco. As a matter of fact I believe that I can describe it in only two words. Absolute talent! Even fewer words are required, indeed one word will suffice. Perfection!

Together these two women became one in a transition of substance into pure energy. A room filled with people who love the art of opera became silently aware that these two women represent the future of American Opera.

Wefer, who performs in no less than five languages, and attributes her unique abilities to her exotic heritage, having been raised by her mother who hails from the Netherlands Antilles has won numerous awards for her performances including but not limited to an award in the IX International Music Festival in Trujillo, Peru.

Sinco enjoys a career as a pianist, composer and educator in the New York City area. Though her list of accomplishments is far too great than time allows writing about, she has performed with classical singers in music festivals in Nice, France; Barcelona, Spain; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Montpelier, Vermont.

In this most recent recital Carmela performed her original composition set to a poem by Dorothy Parker titled “The Little Old Lady in Lavender Silk” to the delight of the Audience.

During the recital Sinco also took to the stage to offer a solo performance of Francisco Buencamino Sr.’s work titled “Harana.” Playing without the need of sheet music Carmela played the work as though in a trance. Her arms effortlessly flowed across the keyboard in a way that made any observer believe that she was possessed by a spirit of music.

But it was in fact simply the well trained and skilled accomplishment of a young lady who has so well rehearsed the work that it has become a part of who she is. Yes, she has the ability to transform into the music becoming one with the instrument. Like a Zen Master of music Carmela had become the music.

Much the same can be said of Ms. Wefer who performed this day in English, High German, French and Spanish. She was later praised and complimented by a local Priest of the Roman Catholic Church who though stating that he was quit impressed with her selections in Spanish, as that is his native language, declared without hesitation that Pope Benedict himself would be greatly impressed by her ability to sing the High German opera.

If in fact you missed this event you might want to hear these two wonderful young artists perform some of the works in Spanish, a beautiful C.D. titled Jurame is available. Address e-mail to for information on how to obtain copies of this C.D. for your listening pleasure.

Until next time I look forward with much anticipation to the day when I will once again get to hear Victoria Wefer and Carmela Sinco share center stage as they did in this recital.

Those of you who have come here to read this review might want to
read more
of what I had to say about this event and learn a little more about the Town and Gown Concert Series. Also learn more about New Jersey City University.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

A Perspective on Quest Diagnostics Future Business Strategy

People who have been following Quest Diagnostics and the issue of United Healthcare, and their no longer being under contract with Quest Diagnostics as of January 1, 2007 may be concerned about how this will affect the stature of Quest Diagnostics. To be clear, as of the publication date of this editorial comment Quest Diagnostics is still the contracted provider under the current contract. The specific contract remains in effect until the end of this calendar year 2006.

It is clear that Quest Diagnostics is not simply going to settle for less volume of business as much as they are able to control any loss due to this situation. You can be certain that the legal and business sectors of Quest Diagnostics have been hard at work, tirelessly checking all statutes and regulations affecting this matter on a State by State level.

Consider that any company which desires to remain competitive will not be idle while business slips away. Quest Diagnostics has, through much hard work and future vision at the hands of Dr. Surya N. Mohapatra Ph.D., in conjunction with the past efforts of former Quest C.E.O. Kenneth Freeman built the company into the preeminent provider of medical diagnostic testing services.

The issue of any contracts with Lab Corporation of America starting in 2007 does not necessarily rule out Quest Diagnostics as continuing to be the laboratory of client choice. Wherever laws permit, the actions of Quest Diagnostics will, I believe, be to match the contracted pricing arrangement negotiated between United Healthcare and Lab Corporation of America.

If in fact Quest Diagnostics is able to continue to provide service to the medical community and their patients without causing any undue expense to the patient then you can be certain that Quest Diagnostics will provide such service to the community. Even if it costs the patient a small amount to go out-of-network it is not an unthinkable situation that patients who have come to rely on and trust Quest Diagnostics might take that route.

The contract between United Healthcare and Lab Corp. has, as I understand it, been written in such a way as to protect United from loss caused by leakage to other laboratories. Yes, the executives of United Healthcare had the foresight to recognize that Lab Corp. might not be able to maintain the degree of performance required to retain all of the volume of business undertaken by Quest Diagnostics.

Realizing that they stood to lose a substantial amount of money in giving the business to Lab Corp. the executives at United Healthcare shielded that concern from such loss electing to lay off any accountability to the stock holders of Lab Corp. The contract makes Lab Corp accountable for as much as $200,000,000.00 of potential business redirects of specimen flow out-of-network.

With that little fact in mind I believe that it is the intention of the executive staff of Quest Diagnostics along with the work of their sales staff and the logistical support of the entire Quest Diagnostics family to have as much of that honey pot as is available. And since the amount of the original contract is far greater than that small amount of $200,000,000.00 it would seem to me, Snake Oil Sam that the remainder of any leakage would come from the source of the insurance provider, United Healthcare. That is the way I view the matter.

When you play in the big leagues you play with a big bat and a hardball. And the industry of diagnostic testing is a major league game. Out there is the glory of the win. When you play in such a game you play by the rules. But as in any fair game the rules never favor any one team. The only way that you can win is by thinking smart and being the best team. Quest Diagnostics is in this game to be the best team.

The contract with United was not lost as some have suggested. It was the decision of Dr. Mohapatra to walk away from the table as I stated in
another article on this subject. In the words of Surya Mohapatra to all 42,000 employees of Quest Diagnostics “If we had accepted the terms and conditions that United was proposing, I firmly believe that we would have damaged not only Quest Diagnostics but also our entire industry.”

Quest Diagnostics has recently launched a media campaign in major U.S. markets in an effort to develop strong name recognition within the community. The campaign is structured in such a way as to help the public understand that they do have choices in their healthcare. It also suggests that people understand that they should make certain that when selecting health insurance that the insurance company has contractual agreement with Quest Diagnostics.

When it comes to matter of business no company will be passive and remain competitive. Quest Diagnostics is no different in that aspect. Quest Diagnostics has created a website in order to give people a good overview of the company and why it is beneficial to the client to select Quest Diagnostics as the laboratory of choice.

That website can be found by going to and reviewing some of the important issues raised there. Quest Diagnostics will continue to grow with or without the business associated with this issue. It remains to be a leader in the medical industry and there is no reason to believe that is going to change.

Quest Diagnostics points out that it still has nearly six billion dollars in revenue from other business not related to United. Through the current efforts to retain as much of this business or through organic growth Quest Diagnostics will be there when the medical community needs them.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Political Spin of Michael Savage Election 2006

As it relates to the results of the extensive Democrat victories, Michael Savage has left himself in a very good, though somewhat difficult position, to spin the subject the way which he wishes to spin it. Unlike his peers in the radio industry, if indeed he even has any peers, Savage did not work incessantly at supporting the Republican Party as did Limbaugh, Hannity and others. That fact in and of itself is in the long-term a good thing in the humble opinion of Snake Oil Sam.

While I suggested that to be the situation in my prior writing in the subject of
Michael Savage, it shall prove interesting to hear just how Savage approaches the subject. He ventured onto dangerous ground recently when again he clearly stated that it was his audience that holds the power to who will be elected.

Judging by the outcome it is apparent that Savage will have to take the position that the Republican Party lead by President Bush is so mired in issues which have turned the Republican base away that it cost them the House and possibly the Senate.

It is clear that Savage has strongly spoken out against the current administration over issues involving control of the Border with Mexico and things related to spending, declaring that Bush is spending like a drunken sailor.

With that in mind he may likely state that his audience stayed away from the voting stations. Yet I don’t know if that is something that he will say because I don’t know if that is something that he will want to take any sort of credit for doing. The fact is that if his audience does control the outcome and by decree of Lord Savage his words were that thing which kept his audience away, then credit can be attributed to Michael Savage for giving victory to the Democrats. Way to go Mike!

Michael Savage will have to do a little tap dancing around this subject. But in the long run the only people who can truly be blamed for the Republican loses are the leaders of the Republican Party. This election was in reality a national poll on the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mumia Abu-Jamal and a Call to Boycott

Recently I received an e-mail from a friend, Mr. Rocco Chierichella, asking all of his contacts to assist in the boycott of a number of people and businesses. The boycott is directed against those who have in one way or other stood behind and supported convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Whatever side of the fence you might happen to stand on, one thing is certain. And that is that
Mumia has proven to be at the center of a very serious controversy for far longer a time than any felon deserves. Yes, a controversy which has divided segments of the population for far too long. It seems that it is a controversy which will not soon end. Perhaps the only thing which will bring an end to it is the day that true justice is served.

The story of Mumia is one which has from time to time captured my attention and though while not having been actively following the story recently I felt it to be a good subject upon which to comment.

When is enough found to be enough? When will a convicted cop killer pay for his crime? For all practical purpose the man should already be pushing up daisies. Yet Mumia continues to not only remain alive, but to have a
Voice in the way people see and understand the American political system.

Perhaps one of the reasons that Mumia remains alive is that he has a significant intellect. It is truly sad that someone of his intellectual capacity is unable to use those gifts in a way which benefits society. I imagine that from his perspective he believes that he is helping society by speaking out against his enemies, those he perceives to be enemies of America.

I tend to not make judgments of others in any form stronger than offering an opinion. But when the legal system has already made that decision it is appropriate to ask questions. When will justice be carried out? When will those who protect society get their pound of flesh?

The e-mail I mentioned is reproduced here for your enlightenment. And though I believe that boycotts such as this tend to have little effect, still it is interesting to know that there are those in law enforcement who have not forgotten the death dealing actions of a cop killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Fraternal Order of Police National Delegation in attendance, voted unanimously to begin a boycott of persons, products and companies associated with the supporting of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

In case you don't know, he was convicted in the 1981 killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner under overwhelming evidence. The act was an especially brutal and sadistic murder that still haunts the family, friends and coworkers of Officer Faulkner.

The New York Shields, a police brotherhood organization, presented Officer Faulkner's family with a Medal of Valor at their 1999 Police Memorial Breakfast.

Convict Abu-Jamal has written a book, "Live from Death Row," and attempted to place himself in a celebrity status as a result of his criminal behavior.

Others have supported his pathetic attempt to gain stardom and freedom, all the while spitting in the face of Officer Faulkner, his family and every single law enforcement officer in the United States.

The F. O. P. has announced the formal boycotting of the following:

1. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Products (donators to a defense fund for the killer).
2. Actor Paul Newman, and his products (an outspoken supporter of the killer).
3. Actress Susan Sarandon (supporter of this convicted killer).
4. Filmmakers Spike Lee, Oliver Stone and John Landis (supporters of the killer).
5. Writers Norman Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates (supporters of the killer).
6. Super model Naomi Campbell (supporter of the killer).
7. Musicians Sting, David Byrne and Michael Stipe of REM, (supporters of the killer).
8. The Backstreet Boys who are performing "free" benefit concerts for the killer's defense fund.

As a side note, one of their "benefit concerts" scheduled for Baltimore, MD had to be canceled when Baltimore police officers refused to work the overtime shifts for site security at the concert.

As you may not know, a tape recorded statement made by this heinous convicted killer, was played at the spring graduation commencement ceremony at Evergreen State College, in the state of Washington (June 1999.) This resulted in over 800 graduates walking out and another two dozen turning their backs during the killer's three minute diatribe of hate. The F.O.P.'s position is getting widespread coverage in the media, as well it should. The members of the New York Shields stand with our fellow brothers across this country in strongly supporting this boycott and honoring the memory of slain Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

We urge you to participate in this boycott and request that you pass this e-mail on to your coworkers, business partners, and family and friends.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Is Teterboro Airport Safe?

For a considerable period of time people who live in the geographic region surrounding Teterboro Airport in Northern New Jersey have been asking a simple question. That question “Is Teterboro Airport Safe?” has been answered by the N.T.S.B. and clearly that answer suggests that it is not safe. In addition to that it is likely that it cannot be made safe because of the extensive development of the region. In fact it is that very development which has caused Teterboro Airport to become such an attractive destination for the rich and famous.

Yes, it is safe to the extent that Federal Aviation Administration regulations are strictly adhered to as much as is humanly possible. But to the extent that an airport in an urban setting can be made safe, Teterboro Airport clearly cannot be made safe.

Often airports of this dynamic magnitude are in areas where there is a substantial amount of natural buffer surrounding the airstrip. That is not the case however with Teterboro. It is an airport surrounded by industry, a State Highway, State Route 46 to the North and local roads to the East, West and South.

When first developed the region was mostly farmland or swamp. That has over the years changed drastically as the entire region just outside New York City has seen extreme overdevelopment of the real estate do in large part to the proximity of the area to New York City.

Of principle concern are the areas affected north and south of the airport as those are the areas directly affected by the launch and landing of commercial aviation. The area south of the airport has several trailer parks and a small area which represents the civilian housing population of the residential zone of Teterboro, New Jersey. North of the runways are State Route 46 and an industrial zone of South Hackensack which also is home to a small Technical High School directly next to the building which was rammed by the runaway jet in February 2005.

As I stated in my article recently about the newly installed
“Arrestor Bed”
though offering a small bit of protection it is clearly not adequate to stop a jet at high speed. That statement of mine was confirmed in an article appearing on the front page of the November 1, 2006 edition of The Record of Hackensack, New Jersey in which the N.T.S.B. states that the measures to stop a jet at high speed as in the case in 2005 would not have prevented the Jet from departing the airport on the ground.

That jet was simply traveling too fast for the arrestor bed to have made any dramatic effect. According to the article in The Record the Canadair CL-600 was “Going about 127 miles per hour" when it left the grounds of the airport. According to the Pilot John Kimberling the nose of the ship would not lift and the Jets control column became stuck. The investigation determined that the center of gravity had not been calculated and adjusted in preflight resulting in the aircraft not having the ability to get in the air.

The N.T.S.B. investigation has since attributed that fault of that event to the flight crew. As a result of that accident and the following investigation certain changes have been made in regard to specific procedures and clarification has been made on things which seem to have gone on in plain sight in what I can only describe as a gray zone.

Perhaps if the F.A.A. had been clearer on those regulations prior to this serious accident it might have prevented this accident. But apart from the strict enforcement of the regulations by the letter of the law and a full adherence to them by all parties involved it is still undeniable that because of the nature of the geography of the region patterns of development and an increase in the availability of such convienient charter air service to those who can afford such service, those who live work or simply drive in the area of Teterboro Airport are always at risk greater than what would be considered standard risk caused by a general aviation airport.

Consider also that the flight pattern of jets approaching or leaving this airport takes the flights directly over a sports and entertainment facility under the control of The Meadowlands Sports and Exposition Authority. Meadowlands Racetrack, Giants Stadium home of the New York Giants and New York Jets football franchises, The Continental Airlines Sports Arena current home of the New York Nets and the future site of a very large and ambitious though financially troubled entertainment/recreation/hotel/mall development and you have a recipe for disaster.

This does not even take into consideration the many radio broadcast transmitter towers in the region which includes the 700 foot tall W.O.R. 710 AM towers which are being converted to a smaller and more technologically advanced tower array nearby. As the older and larger towers are slated for demolition which is also a matter of local debate it is noticeable that the older towers have recently become more of an aviation hazard as a number of the red aviation lights no longer are functional.

But all of these things add up to one simple fact, and that fact is that even the N.T.S.B. has serious concerns about issue of safety involving Teterboro Airport. Is the recent decision of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take a proactive stand to limit night departures and noise levels enough to satisfy the residents of the region? It would seem that based on the information contained in the article in The Record more needs to be done.

But what can be done to insure that this airport operates in a safe environment. I believe that there is little that can be done short of a complete ban on the airport in allowing the use of this facility for charter aviation. But that in my view is highly unlikely as Teterboro Airport represents a significant investment by the Port Authority and anyone who pass nearby will see constant upgrades in both the length and width of the runways and the construction of a number of new and improved terminals and ramps.

The fact is as in all other things American, Cash is King and for that reason alone no real changes will be made in this situation. If money could be spent to improve the situation it would be and has been. But even after the installation of an 8.5 million dollar arrestor bed at the north end and the planned installation of a 12.5 million dollar bed at the south end there is still the high likelihood that at some future point in time an event will take place which will result in the death of someone or perhaps even a greater number of people.

When that day arrives all those who have a voice in the operation of this airport, either on a State, Federal or facility ownership level will have to make account of their actions. It will also be the obligation of the legal profession to demand an accounting of those who will be proven to be accountable.

Perhaps it will take a major lawsuit before anything changes and the people of the region get any form of real justice in regard to the responsible operation of an airport, Teterboro Airport, an airport which has clearly outgrown the ability to exist in a safe environment.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

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