Monday, October 15, 2007

Carson Watch

Rep. Julia Carson's leave of absence from her work ends today. Will she return to work this week? What is her current condition? Does anyone really know? Blogger Mike Bowman notes the stark difference in how other members of Congress have dealt publicly with their recent health problems, including Sen. Edward Kennedy (D), Sen. Pete Domenici (R) and Rep. Charlie Wilson (D). In each case, their staffs provided detailed information about their health problems.

Carson's staff, by comparison, didn't even bother to tell the public she had been hospitalized until more than a week after the fact when the D.C. media started reporting on her absences from work and on signs she can no longer cast a vote in the House without the assistance of another colleague or staff member. Her staff has only told the public some vague information about Carson suffering from a leg infection and her being moved to a rehabilitation center after she left the hospital. We know she requested a leave of absence through October 15, but beyond that we are completely in the dark.

Local news media here in her district aren't even making an effort to report more details to the public. In fact, some members of the local media are apparently keeping quiet about the information they have learned about her current health problems to protect her and her family. This is simply inexcusable. The voters of the 7th District need to know the answers to these questions. Our local news media would do well to remember it's their job to inform the public, not to cover up.

UPDATE: An Associated Press story reports continued uncertainty about Rep. Carson's health status. Carson's chief of staff, Sarge Visher, declined to comment on her condition. A press spokesman expects to issue a press release later today.

UPDATE II: Right on cue, former Rep. Andy Jacobs arrives to make some statements to further throw off the public from the truth. The Star's D.C. reporter, Maureen Groppe, quotes Jacobs as saying her doctor wants her to spend more time at an undisclosed rehabilitation center. "She goes through many exercises all day long, from what I understand. As far as (her mental status) is concerned, she was there with the jokes and what's going on," said Jacobs, who visited Carson on Sunday evening. Jacobs said Carson is making progress and is in good spirits. "She had the nurses and me and a couple of other people who were visiting rolling in the aisles," he said.

This is completely unacceptable. Jacobs does not speak for Julia Carson. His "rose-colored glasses" spin is quite different than an account shared by one Carson family member to a close friend. It's time for the media to demand to see Carson in person or talk to her on the telephone. This simply won't cut it. The public must be told the truth.

UPDATE III: Her office finally released a statement late this afternoon telling us what we already surmised: "She may be absent from votes a short time longer on her doctor's advice." The Star's Groppe tells us Carson will be missing the critical veto override vote in the House this week on the children's health insurance program. "The veto override vote clearly ranks among the most important votes of this congressional session, but there will be many important actions to follow," Carson said in the statement. "I am working hard to get well for those activities."


Anonymous said...

I heard a rumor the other day that Jon Elrod is going to run in that seat. Is that true?

I think he would put together a good campaign and could provide for an interesting race.

Mike Bowman said...

I have called her DC office today - they do not have any NEW information as to wether she will be back at work today or not. They did say her Chief of STaff had gone to Indy on Friday - no new word form them either.

I also called the Majority Whips office to see if they have heard anything. They have not heard either way also. Members are supposed to tlet the whiops office know if they can not be there to vote.

Anonymous said...

Congestive heart failure combined with the debilitating effects of decades of alchohol abuse is not a good combination.

Anonymous said...

Mike, your information can't be completely correct.

Her COS is Sarge Visher, absed in Indy. It's rre, but some MCs do base their COS in the district. That has been the case here since she was first elected.

You know, Sarge Visher--husband of Belle Choate, who's chairwoman of the local alcohol bev. commission, whicih granted 300 East its license in the Carson Building.

Tidy little circle, isn't it?

(Shhhhhh---be vewy vewy afwaid...we can't wisk waking Wilson)

Anonymous said...

When I called Julia Carson's office here in Indianapolis to inquire about her status, the woman I spoke with had an attitude of thinly veiled hostility.

"Good morning, I'm calling to inquire about Julia Carson's status."

"And who are you?" she asked.

"I am a taxpayer, and I'd like to know whether or not she is returning to Congress today."

"What do you mean, you're a taxpayer?"

"I mean I pay taxes and am represented by Julia, and therefore I want to know whether she will be returning to Congress today."

"Well, that's a personal question. You're have to ask Julia Carson that."

"So no one there has any idea whether she is returning? Who makes that decision then?"

"No one but her doctor decides whether or not she is able to return, ma'am. And I just got here so I haven't heard anything." (interjected note here - at 11:30 had just gotten in?)

"No one but her doctor. Okay. Well, does anyone else in the office know? Could you please check?"
I hold for about thirty seconds, and when the woman comes back she tells me

"No one else seems to know. We are waiting on the doctor to tell us. Thank you for calling."

Anonymous said...

If only Matt Tully would have written that column doubting Julia Carson's health BEFORE the election rather than after, we might have a representative INSIDE the legislative chamber rather than in bed!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that she was in Methodist Hospital under a false name. Evidently so that no one would know she was hospitalized AGAIN.

Mike Bowman said...

My notes are unclear - I think they said COS - but they did say some one from the office had gone back to Indy on Friday.

The other question is whatever info they pass out today - how OLD will it be ? When did they know something before they did a perss release ?

Anonymous said...

The truth is Carson may never return to her job. Her condition is much worse than Jacobs describes. He knows this. Her family knows this.

Anonymous said...

If it's so much worse, then why prolong the inevitable? She should just retire right now.

Bart Lies said...

I predict we will know Carson's medical condition no sooner than November 7th. If she dies or is dying, we will be told about that a day or two BEFORE the election.

The reason is simple, a sick politician is a sign of weakness and a dead one garners sympathy.

Whichever way her condition goes, the stronger political effect is the one that will be used by her handlers.

Wilson46201 said...

Sadly, this Blog and other Republicans seem to be more concerned about Julia's health than about the need for decent healthcare for America's children...

Anonymous said...

Julia wasn't there to vote for the Dem S-chip either. So what good was she when she wasn't there to vote for it? Julia is no friend to the uninused.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that partisan Julia-bashers are not really helping their own cause. Perhaps instead of continuing to alienate all of the Dems in that district by incessantly trashing a sick old lady, they could be laying the groundwork for a moderate Republican challenger to start gathering support. There are plenty of folks in that district who are ready for a change.

But what does a dumb independent like me know? It must feel better to trash her than to talk about what it might take to take advantage of her shortcomings to make political inroads.

Bart Lies said...

Why should I be spending time thinking about childrens' healthcare plight when my representative isn't there to vote for me? I can't put in a vote myself, that's what my representative is supposed to do. That, and reliquish the seat if she can't do the job.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Jeff, How is expecting the same accountability from an elected representative that is being exercised by her colleagues under similar circumstances equate to Julia bashing? We went through this same exercise in the last campaign. Every objective observer noticed Julia's declining health and the fact that her mental awareness faded in and out. The media kept it all hush, hush. When we talked about it on the blogs, we were just Julia bashers. Then on election day, Matt Tully observes Julia being told she filled out her ballot incorrectly and requiring the assistance of an aide to help her complete her election ballot. So why should anyone be surprised all these months later to learn she can't vote without the assistance of another colleague or aide in the House and her absences due to health problems gives her one of the worst attendance records this session. I'm frankly sick and tired of people throwing all common sense to the wind when it comes to judging Julia Carson. Eric Dickerson was right. "A congressional seat is a terrible thing to waste."

Anonymous said...

It's this simple:

When someone's sick, they call into the job. Absences are certainly allowed to a point, as in, when that employee's sick/personal days are used up. If the illness is chronic and no return to work is expected soon, the employee is put on short-term disability, then, if it still doesn't improve, long-term disability.

Disability, as in, "unable to work."

No one wishes Julia Carson illness. And we all hope she recovers soon. But it looks like she won't. Which is sad.

There comes a point in time when we--the employers--deserve a straight answer. It isn't about health care for children, Wilson--it's about representation of all of us.

If this were a Republican, or worse, a fellow Democrat whom the Center machine dislikes, there would be covert nonsense going on all over the place, likely instigated or pushed along by the Wilsons of the world. And you know that's the truth.

There is no escaping this fact: apply the same standards of service to JC you'd demand from anyone else.

With perhaps a dollop of extra sensitivity dialed in because she's served for so long.

That sensitivity from us, requires in turn, that her handlers tell us the truth promptly.

I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Eric Dickerson was right. "A congressional seat is a terrible thing to waste."

More important, he was a big-L Loser, just like Ballard will be.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with most of you. A person's medical records and treatment are private and should remain so unless the person involved chooses to make them public. If and when Julia decides not to run, the repubs will run some right wing has been and lose again. That district is staying Democratic.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Wilson, you and other Democrats seem to be more concerned about Republicans pointing out the truth about Carson's health than about the need for Carson to actually VOTE about decent healthcare for America's children. Otherwise she would retire immediately, or get herself to D.C. to vote, and Democrats would make sure one of those two things happened.

How 'bout THEM apples, Wilson?

Anonymous said...

She won't be back and you can take that to the bank. Bart doesn't want her condition to get out because he's afraid he will lose the black vote that she brings by endorsing him. Think about it. She will not be back and everyone in her camp including Wilson knows it.

Anonymous said...

Our "Fool on Capitol Hill" is not voting due to her now physical infirmities....(we all knew she's had mental infirmities for quite a while). But, aren't we better off without her casting votes for the outrageous and against the will of our city?

Remember when she voted to have international oversight of our elections?

P. S. Wilson is a trespasser. Pay no attention as she attempts to divert the thread & obfuscate the issue at hand.

Anonymous said...

7:16 is WRONG! The medical condition (not records) of a public elected official ARE THE ELECTORATE'S business. The electorate has a right and need to know if their representative is capable of fulfilling the obligations of the office upon which that person was elected.

P. S. In South Detroit, Indiana, where corruption & The Democrat Machine rules, all bets are off.

Anonymous said...

6:05 Eric Dickerson was right...a congressional district is a terrible thing to waste!

-And Julia Carson is that waste

...her uninformed votes that disregard the people of this city on top of her disgraceful conduct/appearances are more than reprehensible.

It has been obvious for some time that The Democrat Machine has taken over her office, and been conducting all of her business except voting on the floor (which she hasn't been doing).

Sir Hailstone said...

Point of Odor:

Sarge Visher is now classified as a "Senior Adviser". A fella named Leonard Simtek is now her CoS.

This is per Legistorm website

Anonymous said...

I too would not wish illness on anyone. If she doesn't come back does that mean Sweet Pea and Wilson will disappear?

Anonymous said...

Sarah, if you really are so concerned about the veto override of the SCHIP, why dont you and your fellow republicans talk with the 150+ republicans who wont vote for it....all you need is about a dozen more to override and get our children protected. Instead of worrying about one vote, you have over 150 you can work to convince.

Mike Bowman said...

Maybe Wilson can chime in to confirm this.

From the Indy Star

"If any member of Congress is forced to leave office, the governor would call a special election for the congressional district. Republicans and Democrats would choose their nominees at caucuses; the Libertarians would call a convention for their nominee; and independent candidates could get on the ballot by collecting petition signatures totaling 2.percent of the vote for secretary of state in the district in the last election."

My calculations show an independent would need about 3 thousand signatures to get on a ballot.

Anonymous said...

Julia Carson is a hypocrit that says she a Christian (Baptist) but choses astrology instead of pray as “The Answer” when determining how to cast her vote.

Ask God for forgiveness Julia. Put the star charts away and pray to God when you are troubled about a vote.

... and remove yourself from Congress. I want representation when I get taxed to death.

Anonymous said...

12:22, She always checks in Methodist hospital under an alias. Last time it waa Ann Marie Jimenez.

Sir Hailstone said...

Per the Congressional Record, Julia Carson's leave is now extended to October 31st.

Anonymous said...

Update III, Update long is this going to go on?

And will some reporter with an iota of journalistic balls, call on some medical expert at a university or hospital to answer this question:

"How common is it, for a patient to get an infection at the site of a vein harvest, 12 years afterward?"

The answer you will get is: it's almost unheard of.

Yet the media herd in this community sucks up any answer, even one provided a week after her initial hospitalization.

Shame on Matt Tully, who personally witnessed her cerebral meltdown on a TV interview show 18 months ago, and never, ever once asked about it.

Shame on the rest of the media for taking the spoon-fed pablum answers provided by Andy Jacobs and others, repeating them as fact, and not doing a little legwork themselves. No pun intended.

This is one of the most powerful positions in America. We have a right to know some basic health answers.

Julia won't provide them, and this lazy-ass excuse for media won't demand them.

I went to for the above question, and read five excellent scholarly articles on related subjects.

(See how easy that is, Maureen, Matt, Jim, et al?) Media in this town wants to be too cozy with their news objects. It's not their job to be cozy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:38 is unchristian, evil and mean spirited. Who is he/she to doubt the religious beliefs of another person.......who make her judge of people's sincere religious beliefs??

Mike Bowman said...

AS posted by someone else on my blog.

Just spotted this on

"October 26 Target Adjournment"

So after the adjournment it won't matter until the 2nd session of the 110th Congress opens up.

So she really has the rest of the YEAR off.

Must be nice to be able take 3+ months off from work.

Anonymous said...

Jul;ia Carson Tells Bush: No More Money for Occupation