Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Eminent Domain and Saving an Urban Trailer Park

According to an article published in The Record of Hackensack New Jersey dated January 31, 2007 “Residents of two Lodi trailer parks left a courtroom Tuesday optimistic…” Lodi, New Jersey has been attempting for the past several years to remove from that wonderful Northern New Jersey town two trailer parks, Brown’s Trailer Park and Costa’s Trailer Court in order to replace it with more attractive and higher ratable commercial development and upscale housing for senior citizens.

But there has been something standing in the way of that plan. And that would be the people who call that trailer park home. I guess that a man’s home is his castle even if it is a trailer.

What right does any government entity have to take from a person what belongs to another simply to increase the tax base? But a recent ruling at the U.S. Supreme court has simplified and given just cause to such a thing. That is one of the problems here in this case. As well, the fact that the town will use a portion of the land to build senior citizens housing does in fact serve the public good.

Adding to the confusion in this case is that as it is a trailer park which has an owner, his interests also needs to be weighed. That owner has his own idea of what he would like to do with the land. So in a complication, three parties are involved in this case.

The town of Lodi says that the trailer park is blighted, a factor which needs to be proven by them in order to meet court standards for taking under eminent domain rules. The residents say that it is not blighted, but who can argue with reason that any trailer park is not blight from the outset. How many people would be overjoyed to learn that the land next to their residential property was going to be developed as a trailer park?

I myself live in a deed restricted community which forbids the placement of a trailer anywhere within the community. Does that make me an elitist? Well, in view of the fact that I live within walking distance to our ski slopes, and driving distance to our communities equestrian stables, lake and private Delaware River Park, then perhaps I am an elitist.

But this is not about elitism but rather about eminent domain. The people who live in that trailer park in Lodi, New Jersey seem to have been given words which have resulted in creating a sense that they will prevail in this case. But words have little meaning when politics are in play. The truth is public good will in fact occur in this plan and add to the value and tax base of the community at large. That is a large part of this issue in my view.

The only thing which might be to the benefit of the residents of the trailer park is the town's seeming unwillingness to fight for a victory. According to The Record, the mayor of Lodi, Gary Paparozzi has gone on record as saying that they will not pursue it in appeals court if the opposition party wins the early round. That would tell me if I were serving as judge how to rule.

The victory always goes to he who is willing to fight for the victory. That is true in all things. Clearly Paparozzi reveals that he isn’t willing to fight. That makes me wonder why he is even making the effort in the first place.

I hope that the residents of this trailer park win their fight, not so much that I am a lover of trailer parks or those who reside in them. My concern is that any government which can easily seize private property is a dangerous government.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

What Ever Happened to Jay Diamond?

In the glory days of talk radio the great Bob Grant introduced us all to a man we came to know and love, Jay Diamond. He was, I believe, the producer of the Bob Grant show at 77 W.A.B.C. in the early to mid 1990’s, in other words he was the guy who answered the telephone and set up the calls to Grant.

Apparently Grant saw something in Diamond, a special talent, which Grant managed to sell to the suits as a possible on air talent. From time to time Grant would bring Diamond onto his well known afternoon drive radio show in the guise of characters who would joke with Grant and make him laugh to the point that both men needed to exit the studio leaving dead air in order to regain their composure.

The line “I’m a renaissance man” delivered by Diamond during a radio bit was what was responsible for that dead air. Even after returning to the on air studio the two men had a difficult time regaining composure. For all intents the gag was finished but everyone loved it.

So, my question what ever happened to Jay Diamond is asked. Recently, as of this writing he can be heard at 92.3 free f.m. doing a one or two week long guest host spot at ten p.m., but what ever happened to Jay Diamond? That time slot at 92.3 has notoriously been reserved for the no talent fill in.

Whatever transpired between Diamond and Grant is something which is still a mystery to me, but there seemed to be a period of time when there was a falling out between the two men. Did Diamond at some point go behind Grants back in an effort to ingratiate himself to management? Did Grant become jealous of Diamonds talent? Did Diamond get under Grants skin by becoming far too full of himself? Or was it simply that Diamond changed his political color or worse, began to express his true beliefs.

If that is a true then it would be clearer to me why Grant seemingly moved away from Diamond. He would, I believe, see it as having been used by Diamond in order for Diamond to launch a radio career off of Grants friendship and then betray that friendship by revealing very different views than he had originally represented to Grant.

But my question is whatever happened to Jay Diamond? Hearing him on free f.m. he sounds like a astringent old man. He is bombastic and cynical. If he was not locked securely in a radio studio and acted the way he does towards callers he would, if face to face with some of those people receive, and deservedly so, and punch right in the kisser.

Diamond attacks the true talents of the industry and acts as though he is some sort of radio kingpin. Jay, you are on a station which until recently had become the laughing stock of New York broadcast radio. And even then you are in the loser time slot. And even then simply as a fill in talk show host.

Clearly John Mainelli is the only reason for which you are even in that fill in position. Perhaps Mainelli, himself a true industry talent felt sorry for Diamond. But his actions are questionable at best. Diamond is completely out of his market. The demographic is all wrong. Young people don’t want to listen to an old man with an old man voice tone talking about subjects which they have no interest in.

Jay, your day has come and your day has gone. You are now nothing more than a curiosity. It was nice to hear from the distant past. But the séance is over; the crystal ball has gone dark. Voices from the past are better left in the past. So Jay, it is time for you to go back down into the grave and sleep the sleep of the dead. The sun rises, be quick about it. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Here lies Jay Diamond. Once he was a real radio talent, he died of a bitter heart. Rest in Peace.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Quest Diagnostics and One Small Step for Man

Recently I was paying a visit to a Patient Service Center operated by Quest Diagnostics located somewhere in the fragrant and floral region known far and wide as Northern New Jersey, center of the universe. Upon spying out a pad containing something which appeared to be important information in the reception area of this facility, a printed sheet which contained the Quest Diagnostics logo, I became intrigued to learn what it said.

So, after peeling off one of the many duplicate sheets I began to read the message which was in fact addressed specifically to a certain segment of the market. In fact it was directed at New Jersey UnitedHealthcare and Oxford Members.

And as this issue of United Healthcare is a subject which seems to have no end in sight I will make a few comments here again by way of simply reproducing the body of the text so that if you are a person affected by this matter as so many who are being held captive by the executives of United Healthcare are, you might learn from Quest Diagnostics, through me, about your options and your ability to take control of your own healthcare.

Why is it important to be able to decide what laboratory to choose? Because a diagnostic test is what the doctor relies on to make an evaluation of your health and the fact is that one of the most important things you have to protect is your health. And doctors require the ability to interact with you without some executive who is standing between you and your doctor.

And since Quest Diagnostics has as a primary goal to provide your doctor, and mine, with as much accurate information as possible then the natural choice would have to be, in my humble opinion, Quest Diagnostics. So, having said that, I offer you a reproduction of the information which I received at a Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center located in fragrant New Jersey. Remember this is addressed only to United Healthcare and Oxford members in New Jersey.

As you may have heard, as of January 1, 2007 Quest Diagnostics is no longer an in-network provider of laboratory services to UnitedHealthcare and Oxford plan members in most parts of the country. However, many UnitedHealthcare and Oxford members and physicians have told us that they want to continue to use our laboratory services.

Quest Diagnostics will continue to provide laboratory-testing services to all UnitedHealthcare and Oxford members and we will continue to accept your insurance. If you live in New Jersey and have health insurance through a UnitedHealthcare or Oxford HMO or PPO plan, you will NOT receive a bill for laboratory testing from Quest Diagnostics. If, for any reason, you do receive a bill from us, please contact our Billing Customer Service Department at (800) 638-7284 and we will correct the situation.

Thank you for choosing Quest Diagnostics, Because it Matters.

Regional Vice President, NY/NJ
End Quote

I would suspect that even though this is directed at United Healthcare clients of Quest Diagnostics in New Jersey the legal department of Quest Diagnostics is researching all options and solutions to this issue in all geographic regions affected by this issue.

I would also suspect that as information and solutions become available to the clients of United Healthcare who are being forced to use what might not be their first choice in healthcare, then at that time if and when such solutions become available then those clients of Quest Diagnostics in those geographic regions will be notified of their individual options.

I will soon have a few things to say on the matter involving Quest Diagnostics and United Healthcare which will offer suggestions on how each side might extricate itself from this morass of billing and the potential of costly tort action which may be in the offing for United Healthcare if the $200,000,000.00 leakage provision in the Laboratory Corporation of America contract reaches the next level of United Healthcare responsibility.

And I understand that due to cost of services that could happen in a very short timeframe, especially with the ability of United Healthcare clients in New Jersey to utilize Quest Diagnostics facilities and be treated and billed as though they were operating within network.

If other states prove as progressive as New Jersey when it comes to patient rights, then the writing might very well be on the wall for both Laboratory Corporation of American and United Healthcare.

Remember it is important which laboratory you choose for your diagnostic testing services because there might very well be severe consequences to anyone who uses a laboratory simply because they might have been compelled by a health maintenance group to do so. A qualified laboratory needs to have a close relationship with your doctor so that there is no misunderstanding between doctor and laboratory of exactly what test is being requested.

Having stated the things I stated above and having reproduced for your financial enlightenment a message from Quest Diagnostics, I would like to simply add to it a link to a post from a blogger, a qualified medical professional, which I just stumbled across at MEDINNOVATIONBLOG for those of you who have an interest in the healthcare industry and especially the subject of the delivery of said product in conjunction with the cost containment of such in relationship to fair and available healthcare to all who require it.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Official Secaucus Website is Source of Municipal Contract Applications

After reading yet another fine article written by Mark J. Bonamo, reporter for The Secaucus Reporter, I just had to write this post to my blog. It seems that the people in charge of government in Secaucus, New Jersey a.k.a. the town council have a bit of an issue with just what website is the correct one, the “official” website for information and the conduct of business with the township.

Since I am never one to skip out on an opportunity to direct traffic here by way of misleading google search meta tags and confusing subject titles, it seemed like a good opportunity to promote myself while at the same time helping some poor lost soul find his way to the real “official” site.

Well if I can help the United States House of Representatives in researching Teterboro, New Jersey, which I in fact did do recently, then helping someone looking for Secaucus, New Jersey seems a rather simple and friendly thing to do. Yes, indeed Snake Oil Sam is a real “Good Samaritan.”

So, now that I have indulged in my narcissistic exercises for the day now please allow me to help you on your way. The website which you are possibly looking for is located here. And I wish you well in all of your business endeavors.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Challenge to Quest Diagnostics

This is a challenge to the executives of Quest Diagnostics intended to show the public that the employees of Quest Diagnostics really care about people. It involves your program of charity matching funds provided by Quest Diagnostics in which all charitable donations made by your employees are matched dollar for dollar.

I believe that you should begin a special project and notify all of your employees that all funds contributed by your employees to the World Trade Center Memorial Fund will be matched by Quest Diagnostics.

This is such an important fund because it is time for a Permanent Memorial to be built in New York City. Let the public know that you care. Let the public know that you care by telling them that you are a corporate sponsor of this memorial. You already do so many good charitable things through REACH that help others.

It is time to bring Quest Diagnostics into the picture and support the memorial. Now is the time to show the world that corporate America sometimes gives back to the people and communities which it serves.

So, as much as I appreciate you visiting, stop wasting so much of your legal departments time in the reading this blog ad nauseam and do something of value. Get that copy machine fired up and let your employees know that they have the opportunity to do something really important. Support the New York City Memorial Fund.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hilary Clinton and Snake Oil Sam Announce

Since Hilary Clinton has decided to announce her intention to seek the office of President of The United States of America it is only fitting and proper that I, Snake Oil Sam, not one to be left out, should also announce similar intentions. I see no need to form an exploratory committee as this is clearly going to be a one man mission. I will simply use this blog to put forth my political campaign platform.

As an Independent candidate my platform will be based on four primary areas of concern.

1: Civilian Law Enforcement
2: National Security
3: Education
4: Taxes

Though as President of The United States of America I will address many important issues on a daily basis, I will pledge to everyone my full attention to these four primary areas of concern as I see them as being of great significance to all Americans.

I list here the following four main campaign issues and the subtexts within each of the four major points of concern:

1: Civilian Law Enforcement

• Issue executive directive to Congress to create a bill making the killing of any law enforcement officer while in the commission of a crime a federal offense carrying an automatic death sentence.
• Create war on street gangs and gang violence. Utilize all police agencies local, county, state and federal to disrupt gang criminal activity focusing on gang infiltration and the identification, arrest and prosecution of gang leadership.
• Create hard labor work camps for juvenile gang members as an alternative to standard jail time.
• Create military style boot camps for adult gang members with military frontline service as a long term rehabilitation objective.
• Outsource prison housing of incorrigible hardcore and violent repeat offenders to Siberia.
• Take back urban and suburban streets from gangs and end gun violence.

2: National Security:

• Drastically increase funding to F.B.I. dedicated to domestic counter intelligence division and develop a Federal Rapid Response Police Force, a highly armed and highly trained federal paramilitary police unit trained in urban warfare to work in conjunction with and to supplement local, county and state police agencies.
• Secure the National Borders and triple the manpower of the Border Patrol with an additional supplement of all State National Guard troops who will use the training exercise time as a show of force.
• Build physical barriers wherever they are deemed to be required to harden the border with Mexico. Develop and utilize high tech surveillance drones and electronic monitoring equipment to fill in gaps in the border and as a way of supplementing manpower.
• Order the United Nations to relocate outside of the United States of America.

3: Education:

• Create and fund a Nationwide Charter School system as an alternative to the current public school system. Encourage excellence in results of public schools through competition with charter schools.
• Create a state by state centralized school district system in order to eliminate duplication of services reducing the cost of education paid for by taxpayers.
• Create a centralized materials purchasing department within each state in order to ensure equality of education format and to provide cost effectiveness for all school districts.
• End the current tenure programs and pay teachers on a sliding scale basing the pay scale on a combination of time of service and performance of the educator. Goal is to raise the pay of good teachers and eliminate teachers who are determined to be slackers.
• Advance the stature of the American education system by creating a full time 48 week school year.
• Higher more teachers in order to reduce the student to teacher ratio.

4: Taxes:

• Eliminate the current graduated income tax.
• Create a 15% flat tax system on all personal income with zero deductions.
• Create a 1% value added tax on all non food items.
• Create an import tax on all foreign automobile imports.
• Eliminate all corporate taxes.
• Eliminate the death tax.
• Encourage Wall Street investment through elimination of all capital gains taxes on capitol gains below $100,000.00.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Is Michael Savage a Snake Oil Salesman?

While the basic belief of Snake Oil Sam is “laissez faire,” though the format of this blog might not always reflect that concept, and while I am now about to wax political, mostly about Michael Savage, I have to make one off topic comment. It would appear that many individuals and organizations finding this humble little blog have one focus in mind. And that focus is to learn the deep dark secrets of Quest Diagnostics. At least that is what all of the Google searches would indicate.

Well there really aren’t in my view many secrets in a company which prides itself on transparency unlike other diagnostic laboratories who like to operate on an uneven playing field.

One of those things, sadly not so deep and dark is that the belt at Quest Diagnostics is starting to get just a little bit tighter than it had been before the contract with United Healthcare went to Lab Corporation of America.

That is a decision which some executives might be regretting just a little at the moment. But that is just an opinion. But if that comment gives the executives at United Healthcare any degree of succor keep in mind these words as stated by NOZ “every dog has its day, what goes around, comes around.” “Don’t worry ya’ll, we’ll get through it!”

I hope that little tidbit of information keeps all of you QuestOphiles happy. But what I really want to write about today so as not to waste any valuable Constitutional right of free speech while I still have it is to ask the question used to title this post. Is Michael Savage a Snake Oil Salesman? Not that I have any real problem with Savage or his attempt to sell such a fine product as snake oil.

God only knows I’ve sold plenty of it in my day, but people have come to rely on Savage to dispense truth and accuracy. When I heard him last night in an interview talking about the “fact” that the Arab political lobby has extensive influence in the Department of Defense I have to question if Savage is not simply attempting to vend fear to his audience?

What makes me feel this way is not the thought that this sort of thing might not in fact be happening, but the way in which the interview took place. While Savage often speaks with tremendous frankness, passion and integrity, his presentation of that interview came across as some sort of scripted and well rehearsed info-mercial. Indeed the sound of his voice did not have the ring of truth and believability that is a hallmark of Savage.

So I am left with wondering if the entire segment was simply some sort of ratings ploy intended to incite his audience into a mentality of dependence on Savage for prophetic vision. Michael, don’t you ever resort to that sort of thing.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting the situation. Perhaps it was just that the information presented, the unsubstantiated claims of just one individual reporting the story, was so unbelievable that Savage himself lost his own persona for a moment while he attempted to digest and analyze the information which was being presented. Perhaps his unusual sound was because Savage understood just how grave such a matter would be to the security of America.

If the information was indeed factual, then it looks as if the other side has the upper hand and in fact might have already one the war. That might very well play into the other aspect of the war. An aspect of the war which has caused me to wonder on more than one occasion if the war in the middle east is not simply a diversion for the far more important Machiavellian agenda.

That agenda is the establishment of a new superpower nation The United States of CanMexAmerica, oil and mineral rich and completely no longer dependant upon the middle east which will be given to Islamic radical fundamentalists at the cost of poor little Israel.

So get ready to trade in all of your greenbacks for the new and soon to be introduced $Amero. Be on notice Europe, the Euro is facing stiff competition. Be on notice Israel, “see ya’ wouldn’t want to be ya’.”
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ron Bennington Calls For the Destruction of All Sharks

In what can only be described as a routine of pure genius radio talk show funnyman Ron Bennington is calling for the destruction of the shark population in all of Earths oceans. His reasoning is based on the fact that far too many children swimming and surfers enjoying their pastime have been bitten by these thoughtless creatures of the deep.

According to Bennington, his reasoning is that sharks have been around from the beginning of time and they have had their day. It would seem to be a logical position and one which might be worth looking into. Since man is superior to the creatures of the deep, Bennington reasons that it is only right that we should rule the entire world and put sharks in their place.

Once again Bennington has proven to all that he is a valuable asset to 92.3 free f.m. in New York City. Who else could think of such a brilliant topic of discussion? Only the great Ron Bennington and his girl Fez Watley could present a show based on the destruction of sharks and make it a funny subject.

The timing required for such a subject and displayed by this pro radio entertainer is perfect. Bennington and Watley might be one of the funniest comedy teams to do a radio show in a longtime. This is exactly the type of material which New York needs right now. And these boys almost always deliver as advertised.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr.

Today I inadvertently tuned the radio to a station which was broadcasting the famous “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. in which he seemed to speak with his heart. I had never really paid much attention to those words. Someday I will have to listen to the speech in its entirety.

It seems to be a speech which had great relevance at the time of its original delivery. The words which I heard appear to have relevance yet today and I think that is something which separates a truly great speech from all the rest.

So why is it that so many seem to have lost sight of that dream? What went so very wrong? Are we today living the dream which Dr. King spoke of? It would be difficult to conclude that with all of the violence in the community which he spoke most often to that his dream has been fulfilled.

I believe that even though much progress had been made in the early days of civil rights that we have all lost sight of what it was that he had seen on the horizon. Was his death something which contributed to what society is today? Would it be any different if he had lived the fullness of his days?

I was just a young boy when that speech was delivered. Today we live in a greatly degraded society which has not yet even begun to see the true cost of hatred, drug addiction and the violence associated with such things. What is the true cost? A young rookie cop on the streets of Paterson, New Jersey is shot dead while standing tall in order to make those streets safe. That price is too high.

Violence and disrespect of women is commonplace among certain segments of society. I do not think that this is the sort of society that Martin Luther King Jr. had sought. Has freedom and equality which he rightly fought for in fact become the very thing which will destroy his people, all people?

Never shall such a thing come to pass. For when one segment of society stumbles and falls all of society is diminished. As a white man who lives far away from the bright lights of the city I suffer little from the violence of the inner city. But such a situation is echoed even in the peaceful countryside as the elements of a culture of drugs and violence reach out across the land.

A friend, a practitioner of Islam tells me that if one person is murdered it is as if the entire human race has been murdered. In other words all life is sacred and holy to God. So when an entire community is under siege in fact the entire world is under siege.

When will someone stand up and say that there is a better way to live. Who has the influence to change the current mood in America? Is there someone out there waiting for the right moment to stand up and say stop the violence? Has that person not yet been born to us?

I was recently performing my assigned duties and one of those things which I must do on occasion is to pay a very brief visit to one of Americas far too numerous abortion clinics which shall forever remain nameless.

While going inside I often encounter clients of that facility. I imagine that the scene is pretty much the same at any other abortion clinic in a large metropolitan area. I don’t write the following words in an effort to cast aspersions upon any particular group or class of people. It is simply an observation of fact.

It seems that so many of the clients appear to be teenage girls of African American ancestry. That is not to say that there are not also white girls but in this instance at this particular facility the clients are primarily of that particular minority.

Often they are with a few people who appear to be young girlfriends there simply to lend emotional support. Sometimes there is a young boy who is, I would image, the person responsible for the pregnancy which has in many instances just been terminated.

I have to ask myself where mom and dad are. Do they even know? I saw your daughter crying today mom. Her heart was breaking. Where were you daddy? The dream is dying. I can’t allow myself to care. I cannot afford that luxury. I know only one truth, “The world is cold.”

I simply turn off my emotion center and do my job. I record some basic information and place a container in a plastic bag. As I sit here in the comfort and warmth of my palatial abode I have to wonder, did I just pick up a container which held the person who would someday grow up to find his or her destiny.

Did I just see the end of the individual who would someday have a dream and lead people to a land which flows with milk and honey? I make no judgments about the decisions of others. I don’t know their circumstances. But still, did the world just quake in despair?

I can only think of the words of my Islamic friend who believes that to end the life of one is to end the life of the entire human race. I can only think on this day of remembrance of the words of a man who once spoke to the heart and soul of a nation. I can only believe that when Martin Luther King Jr. died, the entire world died.

I think of my own words written to consol myself after having returned home from the funeral of a thirteen year old boy who died in a tragic car crash on the way to hear a political speech to be given later that day by President George W. Bush in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania while on the campaign trail.

I share those words of mine with you and thank you for thinking about a special man and his dream. Perhaps someday you and I will be able to share the things spoken of in that dream.


When I feel like the world is slipping away
Like a rope that has been cut loose
When life seems dark and cold
As a feeling of despair creeps in
When no one seems to care
And joy is only a word
Or peace is just a dream
When hate fills the world
When words of hope fall down
Like a man who has failed at life
Because he knows not victory
When darkness is all around
If life seems as nothing
When hope is only a word
And dreams have gone away
When tomorrow never happens
In birth a child fills our heart with joy
In death a child fills our heart with sorrow
Is Sometimes Today
The world is cold
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Friday, January 12, 2007

Breakfast with Snake Oil Sam

Who at Quest Diagnostics is so dedicated to this blog that they would spend a half hour so very early in the day reading what I have to say while perhaps enjoying a cup of java? I can’t imagine that anyone would want to start the day by reading my words. I can’t even imagine that anyone would be at work that early in the day. But like they say “the early bird gets the snake.”

I read an interesting article in the Record about bloggers’ and the ability to obtain vital information in the war on terrorism by mining blogs. It is difficult to imagine that anyone would blog information which could be useful to the spooks. But I guess that people say the wrong thing sometimes and when put together with other snippets of info and a whole lot of luck then they just might come up with something worthwhile, the big picture.

I wonder what would happen to those not so secret operations if some group of people simply contributed countless hours of useless information related to subjects such as assassination, nuclear weapons and any of the other subjects which cause bells and whistles to alert.

I guess that anyone who wants to find something of value is trained to ferret out the superfluous information and focus on the important. This might very well prove to be the most superfluous blog of all time. This might prove to be an effective way to fight a war. But somehow the image of a computer geek fighting the war on terror doesn’t seem to be the thing of which big blockbuster movies can be made.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New York and New Jersey Point Fingers

Well, it seems that the blame game continues as to who is guilty of producing the stench which offended many people in the New York metropolitan area recently. Headlines in local papers carry stories of the detective work being performed on both banks of the Hudson River in an attempt to track down the illusive culprit.

But as I pointed out earlier it will prove to be as stated by Snake Oil Sam a natural event of noxious proportions. Old Snake might tend to make things up from time to time especially when I don’t have clear facts, but one thing which I do know with a degree of expert knowledge is the temperament of the Secaucus swamps which I played and grew up in as a small child.

And as I pointed out before, when the
right set of circumstances collide which they did in the days prior to the New York City Odor Event of ’07 you are going to get a very strong and unpleasant stench of about one billion rotten eggs. That is an undeniable and unavoidable, as far as I know, event.

What I find somewhat humorous is that the governing council of Secaucus, New Jersey is attempting to save face and blame it on Brooklyn, New York. Sorry Secaucus but the prevailing wind was out of the West at the time and Brooklyn being East of Manhattan was in fact downwind of Manhattan. On the other hand Secaucus was just three short miles upwind of Manhattan and the area affected that day.

Any hunter knows that if you don’t want the game which you hunt to pick up your scent you need to be downwind of the game. So Snake Oil Sam declares Brooklyn to be officially off the hook. The honor clearly goes to Secaucus, New Jersey and more particularly the estuary in the North East portion of Secaucus.

If anyone ever wants to see the guilty estuary, it is the area which borders the New Jersey Turnpike to the right of the southbound lanes on that roadways’ Eastern Spur as vehicles approach the Route 495 Lincoln Tunnel approach highway.

Actually it is a very nice portion of the Meadowlands when not producing that odor which it seldom does. The watershed is in fact an extremely important part of the environment. It has over that last several years been in the process of rebirth as a vibrant and healthy wetland which contributes to the health of the lower Hackensack River. That thanks to
Hackensack Riverkeeper, Captain Bill Sheehan and his staff and crew of volunteers.

I guess that Secaucus is not to happy about taking this honor as they have spent countless years in an effort to change the image of a town once known for the stench from the many pig farms which dotted the town.

That image was enhanced by the burning garbage dumps in neighboring Lyndhurst which often sent the smell of burning trash wafting across Secaucus. A slaughterhouse in nearby North Bergen was simply the icing on the cake on a hot summer day.

In defense of my hometown I would say that today Secaucus is a gem in the Meadowlands. Well, that might be an overstatement but it is still a pretty good town. I guess that you need to have lived there to understand that statement. It is a quality of life thing.

So, all I can do is say sorry New York. But you will get over it. Just think of all the money which we in New Jersey spend every weekend in your great town when we come across the river and get drunk, puke and urinate on your sidewalks before we go back home.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New York City and the Mystery Odor

Radio talk show host Michael Savage spent a good portion of his program yesterday in speculation of what might have caused the horrific odor which many New Yorkers were greeted with that day. Savage seemed to be convinced that it was some sort of sinister terrorist plot. Michael, the party line is that terrorists want to kill us, not offend our collective nose.

I Snake Oil Sam believe that I can offer a reasonable explanation as to exactly what caused that odor. It is important to look at the then current weather conditions in New York City and the entire region. Spring had come to the North Eastern part of America.

That is not only something which all but the hard core snow bum ski crowd had been loving; it is also the thing which brought about that noxious odor. For those readers of this blog unfamiliar with the geography of the region to the West of New York City it is a wilderness.

Yes, I know that sounds silly but just West of that city is an area known as “The Meadowlands." Not only is this area the home to the football Giants and Jets, it is also home to a great number of wild bird species and other exotic wildlife.

This is in large part due to a man beloved by many around here and known as Captain Bill Sheehan the “Hackensack Riverkeeper.” Sheehan is a man of vision who has a passion for the river and its many estuaries. One thing which he can’t control is the ability of the rivers mud flats in the North Eastern section of Secaucus, New Jersey from producing some very powerful odors under the right set of metrological circumstances.

And all the conditions required for such an event were indeed present prior to the New York City odor event. The smell of sulphur which smells like billions of rotten eggs is produced under those conditions.

The tide was extremely low at that time due to the phase of the moon. The wind was strong and out of the West, in other word blowing in the direction of New York City. A heavy rain fell during the night causing the odor to be forced out of the mud flats.

It is highly likely that the odor which can be likened to a fog bank, only not visible to the eyes, but highly detectable to the nose was what was offending and sickening so many New Yorkers. The area affected by the stench is only three miles to the East of this former swamp which is in the process of being revitalized by Hackensack Riverkeeper and many volunteer supporters.

Since the temperature was cool in the early part of the day and the wind subsided the odor would settle over the midtown and downtown portions of Manhattan. As the sun began to warm the surface of the city streets the invisible fogbank burned off and the odor was eventually gone as it would be expected to do and did in fact do.

So Michael Savage, I believe that is the answer to your question about the odor of ’07, the simple act of nature interacting with a densely populated city in a time of concern and fear of terror attack. It is a stench not often noticed by many as it is a somewhat remote area. And since it was in this event particularly potent and settled over New York City it is a smell which became a national story.

It is fascinating to see how so many people can become concerned by something as simple as a bad smell in time of war. It causes me to reflect back to the days of the cold war and motion pictures about mass hysteria. Imagine that it is possible that a group of people can become fearful due to a smell.

I see here a subject worth writing about in the future. Imagine if you will a government or agency like C.I.A. able to control a larger population through fear of things that go bump-in-the-night. Will they ever use such a scenario? Have they already done so? Is the “War on Terror” in fact such a grand scheme?

You say never can that happen! But George W. Bush can open and read you mail without a court order and you aren’t screaming “HELL NO!” Why? Simply because you are afraid of things which go “bump-in-the-night.” You have smelled swamp gas and you panic. Swamp gas is not a story. Violation of your privacy and a denigration of the integrity of the United States Postal Service, now that is a story.

But you have become so fearful of terror attack that you are ready to burn your rights and run away. You have already lost the war on terror to the people who are running it. Is your enemy really hiding, not in a cave in the Middle East, but rather in a place on the Potomac?

But our legislators will protect us you rant. They will preserve the Constitution of these United States of America! Won’t they? Blind fools will always fall of a ledge. Blind fools lead by politicians will always be given a helpful little push to speed up the process.

There is more of a stench in this nation's capitol than will ever possibly ascend from a swamp in New Jersey.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Smile and a Kind Word Goes a Long Way!

I can add little to the thoughts expressed by Bruce Friedman in his recent addition to his site Lab Soft News. I can only say that any executive reading this should pay serious attention to the experience of the individual who was subject to this sort of treatment.

It is clear that in light of the current situation Lab Corporation of America needs to communicate the same message to their employees as it is attempting to communicate to the general public.

No amount of money spent can ever undo the harm which an individual who has been poorly treated can do to the image of a company. And when that company has much riding on image, then the client experience is, or at least should be, foremost in the mind of every single employee of the company at every level. This is especially true of front line employees.

One has to wonder what the patient experience will be like for anyone who is going to have blood drawn or submit to a urine test when said test is being performed in a facility which was designed and built as a drug store and never had any plans for use as a patient service center. Yet that is the advertised goal of Lab Corporation of America in the New York City region

How does one even control the submission of urine for a drug screening in such an environment? Is it even possible to do such a screening test while assuring the legitimacy of the specimen being provided by a client in the environment of a chain of retail drug stores?

I urge everyone reading this to also read the
article written by Mr. Friedman and also to click on and read the links he provides within.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Side Effects of Quest Diagnostics United Healthcare Decision

Clearly the executives at Quest Diagnostics made what they believed to be the best possible decision for that company related to the contract demands requested by United Healthcare. The decision resulted in United Healthcare taking its business to Laboratory Corporation of America.

As a prognostication I believe that the current situation will play out in some volume of work being lost by Quest Diagnostics and an increase in work sent to Lab Corporation of America. But in a rush to gain what they thought to be a good deal for them Lab Corp. might just have bitten off more than it can chew.

That will result in doctors becoming fairly well unhappy with the service provided by Lab Corp. and might be reflected in a backlash against United Healthcare. I have been thinking about a possible way in which all parties might eventually come to an agreement which will in the long term prove beneficial to everyone.

But that is something I will expound on in the near future. Right now I want to delve into the current side effects of the situation on the home turf of Quest Diagnostics. Clearly they will be doing some belt tightening in order to deal with any loss of revenue. The easy path would be to make people do more with less.

However that is, I am reminded one of the things which recently set off a union push which was soundly defeated, not at little cost I might add. It is not a situation where all who were involved were ever satisfied and some have been waiting in the wings for just such opportunity for what might now emerge due in large part to the current financial concerns of the executives at Quest Diagnostics.

To be penny wise and pound foolish someone once wrote. I don’t know what the executives of Quest Diagnostics are planning in regard to belt tightening and that is a problem. No one in the ranks has heard much of anything official from what I am being told by my acquaintances there in the trenches.

But what I am hearing is something which should be of immediate concern to administration at Teterboro. Indeed it is noted here that the union agitating whores who would wish to find any reason to stir the pot and bring it to a boil are once again gearing up to agitate unionization as union whores will by their very nature do.

I apologize to anyone reading this that might be in favor of unions but I am clearly not one of those people. It has something to due with a very old story involving the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, a union representative, two ducks, a bottle of high grade Kentucky bourbon whiskey and a banjo.

It would explain my sheer hatred of unions and union representatives, my fear of ducks, my love of high grade Kentucky bourbon whiskey and my abhorrence of the theme from the motion picture titled Deliverance.

But that is a story which I really don’t want to think about anymore. It just goes to show that a well qualified psychoanalytic couch can be a good thing. Anyway, the administration of Quest Diagnostics should consider keeping their employees in the loop in regard to the fallout of the United Healthcare issue. From what I am told this has not been the case so far.

And that is in my opinion feeding into the sowing of union seed in the fertile soil of fear caused by a lack of timely information. I am sure that the executives have their hands full with what they believe to be more serious concerns namely keeping the company profitable.

But this is a situation which is exactly what the union agitating whores need to develop for their own agenda. When someone who depends on that paycheck feels any degree of anxiety about their position and being treated fairly and not being worked into the ground they tend to be very open to believe the distorted statements being made by union agitating whores.

The administration of Quest Diagnostics is spending countless hours reading this blog on an almost daily basis. And am truly happy to have you read my words if you find them worth reading. But you really should be spending at least some of that time concerning yourself with a very real threat to the wellbeing of your company, a union.

Let’s face it the last thing that you need right now is another union push. This one just might be the one which puts the union over the top. It can be put down like the sick dog which it is by simply communicating with those people whom you had to contend with last time.

I say simply this, open dialog and communication is the key in this issue. I have no doubt that you will get through it. But when, as I am told, word is being spread that people are going to be forced to “work through their lunch or break time” and that people who work overtime on weekends will be forced to “take a weekday off to cut that overtime,” a scenario which makes no logical sense to me, it is clearly time that administration, the human resources department and the legal department at Quest Diagnostics start to tell people facts.

Even if the facts are painful facts, the fact is that it is important that the facts be as factual as possible in order for you folks to be able to contain and control that house of pain. So those are my thoughts on your business situation at this point in time.

Just remember that people do not view or believe the old adage “No news is good news” as true. And the news that they get is the news that the listen to. And right now the only news forthcoming is union whore agitator news. Word!
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lab Soft News Perspective on Lab Corps. Fleet Vehicles

As just about everyone already knows I have been ranting about what I perceive to be a misuse of fleet vehicles used by Laboratory Corporation of America. But in an article by Bruce Friedman at Lab Soft News he makes an interesting observation.

I don’t know that it could be used by them to justify the action for tax purposes but it is a really great spin which I have never even considered. And that is a rare thing since my mind often works in sinister ways.

He states the following: Sam, I don't know anything about the IRS rules governing personal use of company cars. However, from where I sit, this is merely a component of the megadollar marketing campaign described above.
{see his article} How wonderful to have a large fleet of LabCorp company billboards traversing the highways of America night and day.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Will New Jersey Law Kick Lab Corporation of America In The Teeth?

From what Snake has been hearing while slithering around inside the walls of some legal department offices it sounds like the state of New Jersey has been kind enough to write laws in the interest of the medical consumer. And it also seems that the legal beagles at Quest Diagnostics have been doing their homework in extracting important wording related to those consumer laws.

Well, if I don’t have all of the details exactly right don’t blame me. It is really hard hearing what is being said when you are listening through concrete walls. But anyway, it sounds like New Jersey medical professionals are about to receive some very welcome news that they will be able to send lab work to “any diagnostic lab” which they choose to utilize and it will not be considered “out-of-network.”

That is the part of the title of this article which equates to a kick in the teeth. And that is not only the teeth of the executives of Lab Corporation of America but the teeth of the executives of United Healthcare as well. This has clearly, as I have predicted, become a real pissing match between Quest Diagnostics and United Healthcare.

I believe that the medical professionals of New Jersey are going to be very grateful to learn that with the backing of state law that it will be they, and not some suit at an H.M.O. who will be able to decide what is best for their individual patients.

Perhaps it is now time that the entire medical community takes this as a wake up call and put the state legislators of their respective states on notice that they will not have political lobbyists and lawyers tell them how to run their private medical practice.

After all, it is the individual doctor who answers to the patient. Isn’t it therefore his or her right as a medical professional to make such important decisions about patient care?

In New Jersey it looks as though it is the doctors who will be able to make the decision about who will test the medical specimens which they collect. Should not every single medical professional in America have that same option? Yet some doctors will face the threat of financial reprisal from companies like United Healthcare in example, if they dare to go out-of-network and refuse to tow-the-line.

What right does any H.M.O. have to do such a thing as make threats of financial reprisal? That sounds to me like the sort of tactics which were used in the past by corrupt unions. It sounds like the sort of thing that can easily fall under federal racketeering statutes. But what do I know I’m not a lawyer.

If in fact New Jersey law permits a doctor or medical facility to send lab work out-of-network and still have it billable to the H.M.O. as an in-network referral then it appears to be that case that the insured will not have to pay anything beyond the United Healthcare in-network contract terms to have specimens tested by Quest Diagnostics or any other licensed and qualified laboratory.

And that seems to be why United Healthcare wrote an article into the contract with Lab Corporation of America requiring them to protect United Healthcare with a $200,000,000.00 leakage clause.

Quest Diagnostics appears to be going to great expense to determine what rights the medical professional has as it relates to this important issue. They do it for a number of reasons. One of those reasons, an important reason is that they believe that choice in care and choice in choosing a diagnostic laboratory is a doctors right!

Well, that is the opinion of Snake Oil Sam anyway. These are just some things which I see as a high likelihood of hitting the presses soon. Don’t bank on my words. Use your own good judgment and remember this is a free society. Always do and say what you think is best for yourself. But always think about the other guy as well. One hand to man, one hand to God.

And if ever you should write anything to me in the U.S. mail remember to say something nice about our President. When he reads your mail it will make him feel good.

I extend my apologies to anyone at Quest Diagnostics for whom I may be creating a political crisis. But as Meatloaf once said, “God damn it daddy, you know I love you! But you have a hell of a lot to learn about ROCK AND ROLL.”
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New York Radio Quandary

Now that the New Year has begun and all of the talk show hosts are back from winter holiday vacation I am faced with a problem. How do I listen to a couple programs which I enjoy and which air at the same time?

Of course everyone already knows that Ron Bennington and his girl Fez Watley are back on air in New York City every weekday at six to nine heard on 92.3 free f.m. which puts them in competition with Michael Savage who is heard in that same time slot on 710 a.m., and that friends is my current New York radio quandary.

Since I have always loved both programs how do I choose. It is easy when one station has a game on. But what do I do when both shows are on simultaneously? Do I get a second radio installed and try to listen to both at the same time?

Savage tells me about all the things that I should be pissed off about. That is very important. But Ron and Fez keep me laughing. That is also very important. So how am I to resolve this quandary?

I can always hear the first few minutes of Ron and Fez without any problem since they air at six and Savage doesn’t hit the airwaves until after local news ends about 6:06 p.m. E.S.T. and I always want to hear the Ron and Fez intro music. So there is no problem there.

But a few minutes later I get a little bit uncomfortable since I know that Mike is starting to talk and I have to hear what he has to say. The intro of Savage always sets the stage for the night.

To miss that is to walk into a movie after it has already started. You miss the plot and you are lost. And since you never know just what spin Savage is going to place upon a subject it is important to be there. “Be there or be nowhere.”

I guess that I will just have to try to pick the best spots of each show but that in itself is a task since most of each show is the best spot. Why do radio programmers give me such a difficult life? It’s not easy being Snake Oil Sam!

I guess that I should mention something here about Quest Diagnostics and Lab Corporation of America not that this has anything to do with the current topic, but I recognize that the subject D.G.X. is a great way to attract google searches to this site.

Sorry guys, I’ll admit that was a cheap trick. O.K. let me make it worth the read since you didn’t get anything that you have come to expect from me this time. So in order to make it up to the people I love just take my advice and listen to the Ron and Fez show. It will cheer you up if the specimen count goes down because of the United Healthcare contract.

I’m sure that the spooks at Picatinny Arsenal are also reading this since they are doing so much data mining there in the hills of Jefferson Township, so I suggest that you guys listen to Savage since that show is more your speed. As a matter of fact if you listen to what he has to say about the war on terrorism and take his advice and stop playing politically correct games you just might win the war.

Wait a minute, to quote Fez Watley, you guys don’t believe in political correctness. I almost forgot, you guys are C.I.A. and don’t give a rats ass about privacy. Keep up the good work guys. Who cares about privacy when the stakes are so high? And thanks for reading my little blog.

Go team Central Intelligence. Skull and Bones rules!!! Your pal Snake.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Quest Diagnostics Outlook 2007

Well, with little fanfare the old year has left and with it the contract between United Healthcare and Quest Diagnostics. It is now 2007 and this is the time when the rubber meets the road to borrow a tire company marketing term from bygone days. It is now, today and in the weeks and months to come when executives at Lab Corporation of America and Quest Diagnostics will get a better feel for how things are to shake down.

The people who will determine the matter more than almost anyone are the medical professionals who will have to choose to remain with Quest Diagnostics or simply take the path of least resistance and send the work to the United Healthcare contracted party. It is an issue which has most people in the industry watching closely.

For some it is a test of how much faith is placed in the medical laboratory professionals at Quest Diagnostics to be the laboratory better able to serve the needs of both patient and client. To others it is simply a matter of practicality. When all is said and done, it will likely prove to be the educated consumer as it is they who will ultimately have the final say in the matter.

I believe that most people will want to have their medical specimens tested by the laboratory which they have greatest faith in. The recent advertising being run on radio would indicate that Lab Corporation of America believes that to be the case as they are in my opinion working that angle in the radio campaign. That is how I translate the current campaign.

Quest Diagnostics while attempting the same general scenario has seemed to have backed down on its own campaign of radio advertising a situation which has left me somewhat puzzled. I don’t know quite how to interpret the apparent lack of advertising spots in the New York market.

I am wondering if they have become so confident with their business dealings with the medical professionals which they serve that Quest Diagnostics simply feels no need to continue with the radio campaign at this point in time. Perhaps the timing of the campaign has simply run its course and has done all that it is worth doing at this moment in time. The dynamic for Lab Corporation of America might be slightly different requiring them to continue their radio campaign.

I believe that Lab Corporation of America had hoped to convert far more Quest Diagnostics accounts prior to the end of 2006 than have actually been converted. Perhaps the ability of Quest Diagnostics to retain accounts up to the end of the contract period which is now expired is viewed by Quest Diagnostics as perhaps many medical professionals determining to work out of network and continue sending much United Healthcare work to Quest Diagnostics.

That of course would be a disastrous scenario for Lab Corporation of America as they have within the wording of their contract with United Healthcare committed $200,000,000.00 to protect United Healthcare from leakage.

It is of course also a potential disaster for United Healthcare as anything beyond the first $200,000,000.00 falls directly on the shoulders of the executives of United Healthcare. And with the expense of medical diagnostic testing $200,000,000.00 is not a really large amount of money to burn through in the perspective of a ten year timeframe.

Considering that it is a ten year contract between United Healthcare and Lab Corporation of America that presents a very long and potentially painful period of time for both of those companies. It might very well prove to be a situation which leads to lawsuits and infighting. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

Of course this is all speculation on my part and only the passing of time, more specifically the next few months will determine what is ahead for all three companies. It shall be interesting to keep an eye on this issue.

Even if the majority of the work does follow the path of the contract, surely Quest Diagnostics will find ways to develop new business opportunities as it has always done in the past. When you make integrity your number one priority all other things always seem to simply fall into place. As long as the playing field is level I am sure that Quest Diagnostics will do just fine without regard to how things develop in the next few months.

The only thing which really still bothers me about this is that sticky little issue of Lab Corporation of America being able to offer their fleet drivers an employee benefit which still appears to me to be funded by the tax payers of the United States of America.

I still don’t understand how a company like Lab Corporation of America can improve their profit margin by making taxpayers like you and me provide a company vehicle to each fleet driver for personal use and write it off as a business expanse when it is clearly not any such thing.

That practice sure sounds like tax fraud to me and I really wish that the Executive at Lab Corporation of America and the accounting department of that fine company would explain to the taxpaying public how, if at all, they justify all of the expense associated with the personal use of those vehicles to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States of America.

Of course the sales and marketing staff at Lab Corporation of America might also want to explain to the medical professionals utilizing their service that above and beyond any cost associated with testing services there is the added expense to each medical professional on a personal level, out of his or her own pocket for the use of gas, tires, oil and mechanic bills to keep that Lab Corporation of America fleet vehicle going to soccer games, football games, vacations and to the market for groceries.

This little Lab Corp. vehicle driver went to market on your dime; this little Lab Corp. vehicle driver went to town on your dime, this little Lab Corp. vehicle driver ate roast beef on your dime and this little Lab Corp. vehicle driver ate none. And this little Lab. Corp. vehicle driver went wee wee wee all the way home on your dime.

Perhaps when the Lab Corporation of America driver walks into the office the receptionist can simply take twenty bucks out of the doctors’ wallet and hand it to the Lab Corporation of America driver.

Remember, when you as a taxpaying American fill up the gas tank just double the price per gallon. One half will be for the gas that you put in your vehicle. The other half will be for the gas you put in the Lab Corporation of America vehicle for personal use.

Someone once said you get what you pay for. She or he was wrong. Sometimes you don’t get what you pay for. Sometimes someone else gets what you pay for. You just get the bill.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

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