Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PURE Reflections: Beauty Reimagined -- A Life-Changing Experience

January 2014 Update:  It is not only in fairy tales that the pursuit of beauty leads to the most rancid ugliness.

When we first created PURE Reflections, we sought to expose how commercial images of beauty were false and destructive, and explore how true beauty springs from deeper levels of wholeness and appreciation of self and others, which we experienced through our practice of bellydance.

Yet over the past five years, the show and those now behind it have degenerated into the very shallow, image-obsessed, self-indulgent, destructive egotism we sought to heal.

If the show's most recent promo is any indication, it is no longer about appreciating the beauty of many different body types through middle eastern dance. Rather, every lead role is played by slim media-standard perfect modern dancers ... dancing perfectly modernly. And while they are talented performers, to be sure, the lack of variation in size, age, shape, and race wholly undermines the show's message, which is more apparent in the shows initial cast (show in the video below).

Indeed, most if not all of the original cast members are no longer with the production, or even with PURE itself. 

I never learned why they left, though I'd heard rumors ranging from their belief that PURE had an "inner circle" from which they were excluded, or that the real purpose of the group was "ego stroking" of its remaining artistic director, Kaeshi Chai (the original co-facilitators, Sarah Locke and Darshan left the group for undisclosed reasons in 2007).

For years, I did not want to believe this group that for years had been so dear to me precisely because it was ostensibly devoted to healing and peace was in fact in service only to Kaeshi's ego -- until she unceremoniously ejected me and another long-time member from PURE following the increasingly successful productions of PURE Reflections in Japan, Taiwan, and Florida..

I have considered removing this blog post since the show has been, to my mind, destroyed by a focus on commercialism. But after much consideration, I decided to let it stand -- since its themes are still dear to my heart, and I continue to explore and develop them in my own work in Tandava Arts' Blood on the Veil.

And part of me still believes that Kaeshi will come to her senses one day and realize the damage she has done, apologize to those whom she has harmed, and restore the show to its original intention -- which brought the most stunning awakening in audiences and cast members alike.


See footage of PURE Reflections: Beauty Reimagined here:

[Note: if you are viewing this through my Facebook feed, and are unable to see the images, please go to the original entry at Thanks!!]

Last Friday, September, 18th, I had the honor to debut a remarkable dance theater work with PURE entitled PURE Reflections: Beauty Reimagined.

Audience members had been moved to tears and laughter. One educator remarked that "this should be seen by every teenage girl!"

We were honored to be joined by the extraordinary musical talents of Tamar Kali, Kristin Hoffmann and PURE's very own drummers, with our bodies lit by dramatic visual images created by techno-wizard Nasha Masha, and clothed by Couture dressmaker Diana Susanto, who created stunning costumes for us.

Since many of us are not experienced actors, it is no exaggeration to say this production would have been impossible without the contributions of Desert Sin's visionary founder, actor/director/dancer Djahari, who coached us through the beginning stages of exploring and embodying our personal demons, furthered by coaching by Dixie Fernandez, also an actor/dancer/musician, and finally with the task of creating this psychologically complex narrative in barely two short weeks falling on my shoulders, as I was the only member of the group with writing and directing experience, as well as foundation in Jungian archtypes and individuation.

This project had been a 13-year dream of PURE's co-founder Kaeshi Chai, also known for her excellent work as Artistic Director of Bellyqueen and a dance captain for the Bellydance Superstars.

She, like many of us, discovered bellydance as a means to heal both body and mind, and formed PURE in 2004 with co-founders Darshan and Sarah Johanssen Locke to bring the healing and peace of this dance to audiences everywhere from theaters to sidewalks to subways to parks.

The response to PURE was overwhelming, as chapters formed throughout the United States and beyond!

Most PURE chapters meet once a week, as both a supportive community of friends and a dance collective. And at least once a year, we hold a Procession at approximately the same time in our respective cities.

But this year, in addition to the Procession, Kaeshi came to us in early May with the idea of doing a theater project around the theme of body image.

She had been inspired by a riveting work by LA-based tribal dancer Heather Shoopman's troupe Se7eN where a young woman is tortured by demon images within a mirror telling her she is fat, ugly, etc. She is pulled through the mirror, confronts and ultimately calms the demons.

With the singular idea of body image/mirror/demon, we began to create this show.

We attracted new members who were intrigued by this theme, and began to explore our own paths of recovery from various eating disorders, low self-esteem and other unhealthy states.

We examined the source and effect of those punishing "Demon" voices that often set in during adolescence, and we looked to the healthy reflection we see of ourselves when we are very young, before we learn there is an image we "should" try to emulate.

We found how dance, peace, self-love and loving connection to others reintegrates the healthy image we once knew.

And we learned how the "Demon" voices merely speak for tortured parts of our own psyches that are squelched as we try to fit an artificial mould.

And then we set about putting all of this into a narrative dance.

Needless to say, this creative journey was a profound one. Many of us revisited traumas, dove into the heart of our insecurities and deepest fears. And, as one might expect, personalities clashed and hackles rose.

But it is a testament to the dedication of the group both to this project and the larger purpose of PURE -- healing and peace -- that we were able to voice and confront our conflicts; indeed, our resolutions came not by denying our uncomfortable feelings, but by expressing and reining those very passions towards our greater shared goal.

As a result, many of us experienced extraordinary transformations as friends, dancers, people...

One dancer, delving into her past as part of this journey, reunited with her father who had been estranged for many years.

Having missed many of her life's important events, he was moved by her enthusiasm for this project and attended the performance. They both beamed with exuberance and pride after the show.

Below are select images taken by Ken Stein, accompanied by the Program information.



[Note: As we explored the birth scene, we came upon the idea of a central figure -- a Mother Goddess -- representing our authentic feminine nature from which we would be separated and to which we would ultimately need to return.

Since the Mother Goddess figure has become highly charged in a religious as well as feminist sense, we found it would be necessary to clarify her meaning within the context of our psychological/emotional narrative.

About the Mother Goddess

The Mother Goddess is a symbol often associated with nature and fertility, representing the part of us that is at home and happy in our bodies, that trusts the body’s instincts and freely enjoys its creative sensuality. To quote Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, “She knows the sacredness of matter...the divine body of love that holds creation together.” Yet her deeper wisdom recognizes that “ forever renewing itself [because] what does not move dies.” Through her we learn to bear and ultimately respect the pangs of transformation as essential to developing a consciously embodied, whole, and fulfilled life.

BIRTH (EMERGENCE)Music: Free Flow by Kristin Hoffmann

The Mother Goddess stirs us into life, nourishing and supporting us.

Birth 1

Birth 2

Music: Truth by Kristin Hoffmann

Enjoying and exploring the world around us, we find the Mirror and begin to discover who we are.


Childhood2 - Discovering the Mirror


As our bodies change and we are immersed in media images of idealized, unrealistic beauty, the Mirror reflects a new, distorted vision: A seducing, controlling Demon emerges, exhorting us to embody impossible ideals. Overshadowed by this new influence, our connection to the Mother Goddess is lost.

This image is just before the Demons emerge. At the start of adolescence, we enjoy our bodies and emerging sexuality... before we are taught to do otherwise.....


Music: Displaced by Amon Tobin from the Chaos Theory CD

The Demons reflect our inadequacies, driving us into compulsive, unhealthy behaviors as we struggle to conform -- to the point of despair, depression and ultimate collapse.

Demons Attack 1

Notice the tape measure in the background of this one....

Demons Attack 2

Demons Attack 3

Alura's demon was compulsive plastic surgery; Debbie was her demon-surgeon!.

Demons Attack 4

That's me torturing Amy... her dysfunction was self-mutilation (cutting, hair-pulling/twisting). As her demon, I would do these things to her to make her "feel better" -- after first shaming her, of course, for not being perfect....

Demons Attack 5

On the screen above us, just out of frame, is the message "Your butt is huge!!"

The Demons Still Attack!

Music: Ocean in Me (Om Mani Padme Hum) Kristin Hoffmann

At bottom, we surrender and close off to the noise around us. We return to Nature, which becomes a second womb where we can once again feel the Mother Goddess’s support and nourishment of our true selves. We may further connect with others on a similar journey through suffering and recovery, and begin to rise again on a more solid foundation.


Recovering - Returning to Nature 2

Recovering, Return to Nature

Music: Primal Breath Kristin Hoffmann

Stronger, but still developing, we return to the Mirror to reclaim the healthy Reflection it had shown us in childhood. To complete the integration, we confront and embrace the darker aspect of ourselves that had once functioned as a Demon.



That's Kaeshi, as Liz's Demon, trying to get between her and her Healthy Reflection. That's me in the back (just out of frame -- click on the image to view the original), desperately trying to control Amy, but unable to... Oh those darned Healthy Reflections!!!
Demons try to Attack Again!

EXULTATION OF THE MOTHER GODDESSMusic: Chaos by Gabrielle Roth & the Mirrors from the Tribe CD

Having helped us integrate our full selves, the Mother Goddess celebrates our ability to reconnect with her.

The Mother Goddess Celebrates!

The Mother Goddess Celebrates8

The Mother Goddess Celebrates2

Music: Sundance Kristin Hoffmann

The Mother Goddess awakens each of us to the Divine within ourselves and each other.

The Mother Goddess Awakens us to our Divine Selves!

PURE FOUNDATION (COMMUNITY)Music: Live Percussion by Brad MacDonald, Pete List, Dan Myers & Gina Callender

Now whole within ourselves, we are able to connect to others. [Note: The Foundation is PURE’s central choreography, created by co-founders Kaeshi Chai and Darshan at the collective’s inception in 2004, and which is now performed by PURE chapters throughout the world.]

Pure Foundation - Diagonal Reflection

The PURE Foundation

Music: Ocean by Tamar Kali

No longer a source of shame and despair, the Mirror can be enjoyed playfully, as we celebrate the journey on which it has taken us.

[Sorry, I have no photos of this one -- yet!! We had several photographers at the event, so images are trickling in slowly... stay tuned!!]

Special thanks to Ken Stein for taking these excellent photos!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pondering "Authentic Feminine Values"...

Recently, I've been doing some writing for the program to PURE Reflections: Beauty Reimagined.

As many of you know, this project is very important to me and explores important psychological and cultural issues relating to body image/beauty, the value we place on image, and the harm we do to ourselves in attempting to embody -- or reject -- an image-based value system.

In a typically "feminine" fashion, I like to cast a net and get a sense of what others are saying.

There seems to be no shortage "love your body" campaigns in the media...

These campaigns, with varying degrees of sincerity, encourage women to love our bodies as they are.

Dove amusingly refers to "widening stereotypical views of beauty" ... So we won't get rid of the stereotype, but we will pry it open a tad? Well, OK. I'm down with that: Baby steps are better than no steps.

But more important than cosmetically tweaking the visuals presented to us (which I give Dove credit for doing in their own limited way), is taking a closer look at the system of values that has driven this obsession with physical perfection.

This is where I get into the whole masculine/feminine thing.

Above, I refer to an "image-based" value system, which is predominant in our culture, implying that this is associated with the masculine (feminine would be feeling-based).

Other characteristics commonly associated with the masculine/yang are: rationalism/intellectualism, physical strength, heat, hardness (yeah you heard me), aggressiveness, visibility.

Seen as the opposite of masculine/yang, the feminine/yin is often characterized as: irrationality, weakness/vulnerability, coolness, softness, passivitiy, mystery.

But the more I learn of what I am coming to know as an authentic feminine, the more convinced I am that the very definition of feminine as the opposite of masculine, is itself a masculine mode of perception.

So I started searching for the term "feminine values" and came up with more of the same -- feminine defined as the opposite of masculine.

And then I came to a blog called the battlefield of love, the mercenary romantic, by a British Muslim political commentator (or so she says), who appropriately goes by the name Andromeda ("andro" = man, "meda" = think on, i.e. "she who thinks of or upon men").

Clearly an intelligent woman, she seemed to think only of men, and indeed appears to believe she thinks as a man, or rather her idea of a man.

And herein lies part of the violence women do to ourselves as we function in a system of values that is -- whether by nature or nurture -- somewhat alien: We embrace ideas and ideals far more vigorously than men do, and with no compassion for ourselves and others.

Men embrace these ideas too, of course, but somehow they seem to be less literal about it... or perhaps they, unlike many women, are able pad their egos with a healthy dose of delusion...:->

But women end up starving ourselves into a "perfect" body form, or mentally eviscerate ourselves ... in the end, making ourselves and everyone around us miserable.

Anyway.... obviously these are difficult and nuanced topics, which I will explore further.

In the meantime, for what it's worth, after reading some of Andromeda's nauseatingly sad entries, I finally commented on her blog.

She has not yet approved the comment (and maybe never will), but it gave me an opportunity to think and write about the concept of "authentic feminine values" that has become so important to me.

The comment is as follows:

This comment is not about your post, but your blog in general.

I came across one of your entries on a google search for "feminine values."

You refer to this term repeatedly, and often note that feminism will destroy society, etc. but in reference to the values themselves, you say only things like: "social cowardice, excessive emotionalism, an inability to reason and worst of all, masochism and victimhood."

But those are not feminine values; they are merely unfortunate behaviors to which many women resort precisely because they have lost touch with authentic feminine values.

Indeed, lost in a culture that infantilizes women as (to use your words) the "weaker and more unreasonable sex," women either believe this about themselves and enact the atrocious scenarios you gleefully report in your blog; or they muster their genuine power of analytic thought and reason -- as you appear to be doing -- and proceed to skewer their, perhaps, less intellectually adept sisters (as the quintessential father's daughter, Athena, did to Medusa).

So what, then, are authentic feminine values?

Unfortunately, our culture is so steeped in masculine values, that it is only able to envision the feminine as the opposite of the masculine which it prizes so much:
A la Bill Mahr in this segment it might be:

- sensitivity vs. truth
- feelings vs. facts
- commitment vs. individuality
- safety vs. fun

How typical of masculine values, and our cultural blindness to them, to necessarily see the above as opposing pairs?

To my understanding, the strongest feminine values are inclusion and relatedness:

- The feminine can see how the "cold, hard truth" might be known and comprehended with sensitivity -- and sensibility.

- It can grasp that a discerning awareness of feeling can lead to a more accurate perception of fact.

- It knows that a true relationship can only occur between individuals.

- It can enjoy danger while taking responsibility for the consequences of risk.

In its mature, differentiated form, the feminine does not need to define itself through competition with others.

It does not need to parasitically attach to men, because it regards the masculine as equal and values its different (note I do not say "opposing") perspective.

In the end, I daresay cultivating feminine values may save our culture.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

July-August Archive

Wednesday, July 8th, 8pm
Performing Comedy (yes Comedy!) at "Mezzo Mezzo 31-29 Ditmars Blvd (corner 33rd St)
Astoria NY

Wednesday, July 15th @ 7pm
Performing Stand-Up Comedy at the Broadway Comedy Club.
318 West 53rd Street (btw 8th & 9th Aves), NYC
$10 cover/2-drink minimum

Sunday, July 26th, 8pm-midnight
Dancing in Nourhan Sharif's
Egyptian Superstars Gala
Featuring Mohamed el Hosseny and Karim Nagi
Lafayette Grill & Bar.
54 Franklin Street (3 block south of Canal), NYC
212-732-5600 - call for reservations!
$20 Cover
$20 Table Minimum

Wednesday, July 29th, 8pm
Dancing Funny in NY Artists' Cringe Fest
(A Festival of Deliciously Awful One-Act Plays, Films & Musicals)
Tonight's Show: "Your Money or Your Art"
The Producers Club
358 West 44th Street @ 9th Ave, NYC
$25 Tickets

Sunday, August 2nd, 2:30-4pm
Teaching Beginning Bellydance at Greenhouse Holistic
88 Roebling St (near the Bedford Ave stop on the L)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
$15 drop-in

Wednesday, August 5th @ 8pm
Performing Stand-Up Comedy at the Broadway Comedy Club
318 West 53rd Street (btw 8th & 9th Aves), NYC
$10 cover/2-drink minimum

Saturday, August 8th, 10:30pm
Dancing Funny in NY Artists' Cringe Fest
(A Festival of Deliciously Awful One-Act Plays, Films & Musicals)
Tonight's Show: "Go Genital Into That Good Night"
The Producers Club
358 West 44th Street @ 9th Ave, NYC
$25 Tickets

Sunday, August 9th, 7-8:15pm
Teaching Beginning Bellydance at Shambhala Yoga & Dance Center
348 Saint Marks Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238-3661
(718) 622-9956
$135 for 10-week series (The extraordinary Mariyah teaches the other 9 weeks; this will be the second class, so new students will be accepted).

Sunday, August 23rd, 2:30-4pm
Teaching Beginning Bellydance at Greenhouse Holistic
88 Roebling St (near the Bedford Ave stop on the L)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
$15 drop-in

Friday, August 28th @ 10pm
Performing Stand-Up Comedy at the New York Comedy Club
241 East 24th Street (btw 2nd & 3rd Aves), NYC
$10 cover/2-drink minimum

Sunday, August 30th, 2:30-4pm
Teaching Beginning Bellydance at Greenhouse Holistic
88 Roebling St (near the Bedford Ave stop on the L)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
$15 drop-in

The Great Healthcare Debate: Facebook Style!!

Recently, a FB friend posted a video of Ted Kennedy's passionate plea for universal health care.

I and many others weighed in with a whopping 77 comments.

One comment-poster in particular, whom I'll call John because that is his name, seemed at first to have some interesting devil's advocate points. He had done a lot of reading and offered multiple links.

And then I started following the links and found that they didn't say quite what he said they did.

And then I found he began to use this tactic on me.

What follows are the final dozen comments in this thread. (His comments are italicized, mine are not. Original grammar -- typos and all -- are intact for your amusement.)


Insurance companies are being dumbly demonized to pass this bill, and anyone who looks a the facts has to conclude that Pelosi & company has been misleading the public. That's why they need to go on a fishing expedition to find something 'wrong' in the spending of insurance companies... because the vast majority of people are just fine with their insurance company. That's why they keep paying the premiums.

People keep paying premiums because they have to -- but choosing the lesser of two evils still leaves you steeped in evil: Ultimately insurance companies are asking for your money or your life, and they know it. And that's sick. ...

And as to the "contract" that insurance companies claim is violated as an excuse to cancel expensive policies -- do you really think it's fair to deny a cancer patient care because she was once treated for acne?? Or to deny a person whose weight was written down incorrectly by the INSURANCE AGENT who SOLD him the policy?? See

Carol; whose selling fear?
You wrote that insurance companies are asking for your money or your life?

Thus the dichotomy; our president is telling us that conservatives are selling fear while saying things like:
"What is truly scary, what is truly risky, is to do nothing..."

Yet, no insurance company can make me buy insurance. At least, not yet...

I hope you'll pause and consider this thought: You seem to be arguing that having to pay insurance companies is evil. Correct?
Then why would you be in favor of a law that is making insurance mandatory, and where if you don't have 'adequate' insurance, you pay increased taxes?
How is that not *more* evil, given what you've written?

"no insurance company can make me buy insurance. At least, not yet..."

Um.... do you own a car?

yes, Carol. I own a car.
But its not the insurance company that makes me buy insurance. Its the government doing it.

Now I presumed we were talking about health insurance.
You were arguing that having to pay health insurance companies is evil.
Right now, you have a choice as to whether or not you HAVE to buy it.
Given your stance that paying for insurance is evil...
Why are you in favor of a bill that would REQUIRE you to buy insurance, or be taxed if your insurance does not meet the government's minimum standards?

Tell me again where I said paying for insurance is evil?

"People keep paying premiums because they have to -- but choosing the lesser of two evils still leaves you steeped in evil: Ultimately insurance companies are asking for your money or your life, and they know it. And that's sick."

Granted, I did use the words "premiums" and "evil" in the same sentence -- but that comment, either in itself or within the greater context of everything I've written in this thread, cannot be logically interpreted to mean that I have been "arguing that having to pay health insurance companies is evil."

As is apparent to anyone with a grasp of the English language who is not sealed within an echo chamber of his own ideology, the "two evils" to which I was referring are:

(1) Going uninsured, risking the possibility of a catastrophic illness that could leave me destitute or dead; OR...

(2) Paying premiums honestly and in good faith to a morally questionable industry that may, at a crucial moment, deny coverage because I was once treated for acne, leaving me destitute or dead.

The evil is in the behavior of the companies, not in the exchange of money.

To take my words and jumble them to erect a strawman opponent -- at which you can then take seemgly logical shots -- is a dishonest, manipulative or weakminded tactic (manipulative if you know you're doing it, weakminded if you don't -- and dishonest, either way).

And this is not the first time you've done so!

To paraphrase Barney Frank: Debating you is like having a conversation with a dining room table ... only a dining room table is on the level.

"Ultimately insurance companies are asking for your money or your life, and they know it. And that's sick."

Carol; no one could read that phrase, nor the one that sets it up, without fairly coming to the conclusion that you were equating having to pay for insurance as being evil. For you to call my repeating of that phrase as a strawman argument isn't right. Stop blaming my ideology for your wording.
You equate being uninsured with being evil.
I don't.
You equate trusting in insurance companies as evil, because you believe that they are morally questionable.
I don't.
Insurance companies don't stay in business by refusing to pay out. If they did on any bit of a regular basis, guys like me wouldn't be buying in..
Moreover, the current administration wouldn't be trying to get people to buy into their program by suggesting that we could keep our insurance... because a lot of people actually like their insurance.

That's not to say that insurance companies are without reproach... but the knee jerk approach to create evil where there isn't any is, in my opinion, evil.
Insurance companies are making 3.4 percent profit. That's not going to keep me up at night.

John, you said, "no one could read that phrase, nor the one that sets it up, without fairly coming to the conclusion that you were equating having to pay for insurance as being evil."

No one?? Really? NO ONE??"

I decided give your claim a reality check and created an informal survey using my status update. I wrote the following:

"PLEASE read the following sentence and let me know which choice BEST FITS the meaning of the sentence: 'Ultimately insurance companies are asking for your money or your life, and they know it. And that's sick.'"

In creating the fairest possible choices, I did not add anything outrageous or unusual (other than your interpretation, which you do not see as outrageous) to see if ANYONE would agree with your interpretation within the context of other reasonable interpretations.

Incidentally, I have many conservative friends and family members.

The choices, and my reasoning behind each of them, are:

A. Insurance companies charge unfairly high premiums; (not what I meant, but something many consider to be true; this choice is a red herring).

B. Having to pay for insurance is evil; (your looney interpretation);

C. People pay high premiums even though they may be denied coveraged on a technicality because this is better than not having insurance; (This is what I meant when I wrote it, but which might not be clear out of context.)

D. The health insurance industry is corrupt, unethical and scares people into buying insurance. (This is not what I meant, but is a fair interpretation of that single sentence, out of context).

Over a dozen responses appeared over the following hour. Most people chose "C" or "D." NOT ONE PERSON CHOSE "B".


It would appear that my wording is not such a problem after all. If you doubt this, repost the survey on your own status in its entirety and see what your own friends think.

Your wording, on the other hand, has more than a few issues....

You wrote: "You equate trusting in insurance companies as evil, because you believe that they are morally questionable." And you stated this belief is a "knee jerk approach to create evil where there isn't any..."

It is not the trusting that is evil; it is the behavior of the companies that is evil (which you may have meant, but this is hard to tell from your poor wording).

You cite the companies' 3.4% profit (this is down from the 4% you cited earlier, but who am I to quibble?).

Well, OK, that's true -- but take insurance giant Humana's respectively meager profits of 2.2% in 2008. Their revenue was $29 billion -- that's BILLION -- with a "B"!!

2.2% of a whole lot of money is still a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY!!

But the problem isn't with them making money. It is that an average of 18,000 people DIE EACH YEAR due to lack of insurance (this is the uninsured, and people who are denied, etc.).

Indeed, the problem isn't the money, per se. Insurance companies could make 99% profit for all I care -- as long as people aren't dead or destitute (or both) as a result.

But for-profit companies are beholden to their stockholders more than they are to the lives of their clients who depend on them. And they employ a series of despicable tactics to make their 3.4% (but still multi-mega-million-dollar) profits.

This is a conflict of interest and results in, yes, tremendous evil.

You say: "Insurance companies don't stay in business by refusing to pay out. If they did on any bit of a regular basis, guys like me wouldn't be buying in."

Sure, for routine matters, insurance companies can be great (as long as you're not seeing the insane premium your boss is paying for your coverage). And for most people, we bump along pretty happy for years. Maybe forever.

But those of us with a conscience or moral compass can envision a time when catastrophic illness or injury MIGHT occur ... or we imagine the state of others who are denied coverage for cancer -- like the woman I cited in the PRI article above -- because they were once treated for acne.

In her case, her insurer did finally conclude that -- surpirse -- acne is not related to breast cancer.

But months of paperwork and unnecessary stress went by before her surgery was approved; her tumor doubled in size and her chance for survival greatly diminished.

For a list of other such underhanded tactics, go to:
Do you really want an industry standard that allows your insurer to fine-tooth your application for a typo -- or, I daresay, a misused semicolon -- and rejects coverage when your life is at stake?

Well, that is the current for-profit industry standard.

Go Free Market.

And for those free-market true-believers who insist that profit is the only and/or best incentive for excellence, THINK AGAIN:

You have repeatedly said that I believe having to "pay for insurance is evil." I have not said or implied this.

You seem obsessed with this idea that those who favor health care reform don't want to "pay." This isn't our position at all, and if you think it is, you haven't been paying attention.

No one minds paying premiums that are reasonable -- as long as the coverage is delivered when needed. End of story.

You said, "You equate being uninsured with being evil."

Really? I equate BEING uninsured with BEING evil? Really? "BEING??!!"

If you really believe that I said or implied anything like this, then I hope your insurance includes mental health, because your projections are getting the better of you. You need help.

As such, I think it is best to follow Mr. Frank's lead and table this discussion.