Friday, July 31, 2009

How Lies Grow WIngs

Warning to self: I am about to get in hot water.

When my granddaughters were here I told them if I could only teach them one thing it would be to think critically and to think for themselves. I have always been bewildered by people who never delve into important facts that affect their lives; instead they let their friends, talking heads on the media, and hate pieces circulated on the Internet do their thinking for them.

How can adults be so gullible? Is it due to being lazy mentally, culture, ideology or the heat of the South that atrophies their brains when it comes to logic? I make the last statement based on the fact that a recent survey found that 23% of Republicans in the South still believe that Obama was not born in the U. S., in spite of all proven evidence to the contrary. And 32% aren't sure. (Bear in mind, I live in one of those red states in the South - well, southwest - before you southerners get mad at me.) As Jan pointed out on her great blog, Happening HERE, it is obvious that this is not the viewpoint of the blacks in the South; therefore, the percentage of white's that believe this goes up. On Jan's blog you can find a chart that details the areas of the country and the percentage of those who are most gullible.

Paul Krugman cites a recent statement by a man in Florida when he said he wanted the government to keep their hands off of his Medicare. When the Republican Senator pointed out to him that Medicare was a government program the man would have none of it. Facts be damned - my minds made up.

Another lie being circulated (and there are many) is that Seniors will have to sign a pledge that they will commit suicide. This is supposedly to keep the government from having to pay the expensive cost of the last days of an illness. Do you kno
w the origin of this fabrication? It is a clause in the health care bill giving the option of advanced care end of life planning. In other words, it is the option of having a living will directive. I do have one and I hope other elders do, too. But it is not a euthanasia clause as the ones who would defeat this bill claim.

Krugman continues in his op-ed piece by citing that the only thing that keeps our medical care working at all is because of government intervention. Most people who are satisfied with their insurance (I am one of them) are on Medicare or have employer based insurance. The government has rules for the latter that keep the insurance companies in line. Without such mandates, the insurance companies routinely kick the sick out when they need expensive care and deny coverage to the already sick for idiotic reasons. Example: a woman had cancer and was denied coverage because of an acne treatment she had undergone years before. Any excuse will do to let the insurance industry keep their obscene profits.

Insurance companies can deny coverage, kick people off when they require expensive treatment, raise the rates at will and people who are opposed to the Public Option say they don't trust the government. How lame is that? The fact that Veterans, government workers, Medicare recipients and all of our representatives have government insurance doesn't seem to enter the minds of those who decry "Socialized " medicine. Republican representatives are the loudest in using the word 'socialized'. How ironic is that?

Getting back to how and why the anti-reform pundits are so successful in misleading people I want to give an illustration on how it's done.

I have a good friend, a college educated Republican, who gets many e-mails from his friends and family full of these out-and-out lies in the form of hate pieces. Once in awhile he sends them to me to check out the facts. A recent one was a video clip from Betsy McCaughey. Because the clip was long and it would take me over an hour just to download it (that's a problem for another day) I just researched her and didn't watch the clip. The following is the result of my research and what I sent back to my friend about the veracity of Ms. McCaughey.

According to Snopes It seems that Betsy lifted a few words out of an entire sentence in Tom Daschles book, incorporated them into her own sentence and changed the entire meaning of what Daschle had maintained. Of course, she had so distorted his meaning and given the wrong impression that it was bordering on the big lie. She got away with citing him as proof of her assertion by putting his words in quotes in the sentence. How many people reading her claim noticed that little device at deception?

So here's how it works:

Bloomburg published this:

Here is Betsy McCaughey, a staffer at a conservative think tank who also used to be a Republican Lt. Gov. of New York, attacking the economic stimulus plan. Specifically, McCaughey insisted that the policy would create a "new bureaucracy" called the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, which will "monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective." McCaughey said the federal government would then "'guide' your doctor's decisions," adding, "Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far."

The claim, not surprisingly, isn't true. The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology isn't "new"; it was created by George W. Bush five years ago. More importantly, the measure is about medical records, not limiting physicians' treatments.

In fact, the language in the House bill that McCaughey ... referenced does not establish authority to "monitor treatments" or restrict what "your doctor is doing" with regard to patient care, but rather addresses establishing an electronic records system such that doctors would have complete, accurate information about their patients "to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care."

So, the opinion piece Bloomberg ran was wrong. Ordinarily, that's hardly worth getting excited about; news outlets run misleading opinion pieces every day. But what's interesting about this particular story is they way in which it spread.

Step One: Rush Limbaugh told his minions audience on Monday about McCaughey's piece, insisting that a "national coordinator of health information technology will monitor treatments that your doctor gives you to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective."

Step Two: By late Monday, Drudge was trumpeting McCaughey's mistake with this headline: "'National Coordinator of Health Information Technology' Slipped in to Stimulus..."

Step Three: Fox News and members of the Wall Street Journal editorial board got in on the act on Tuesday morning, arguing that the government will "essentially dictate treatments," thanks to the "secret" provisions in the stimulus bill. FNC's Megan Kelly said the non-existent language "sounds dangerously like socialized medicine," while FNC's Bill Hemmer said the recovery plan includes "new rules guiding decisions your doctor can make about your health care." All of this, of course, is patently and demonstrably false.

Step Four: Limbaugh took a bow yesterday, taking credit for the misinformation campaign, and telling listeners that his show "uncovered" all of this. "I found it," Limbaugh said. "I detailed it for you, and now it's all over mainstream media."

Remember, McCaughey got it wrong. Limbaugh and Drudge took the wrong information and exaggerated it further. Then Fox News took Limbaugh's lies, and stretched them even further still. That none of this is grounded in reality in any way was of no importance to any of these clowns. Untold thousands of Americans, who don't know better, get their "news" from these people, and have no idea they've been lied to.

"This is how the conventional wisdom often gets set in Washington -- an article that 'the right people' read builds among the chattering class and then is distilled out to the people, no matter its veracity. While zombies like McCaughey are still churning out the lies, there's a whole new set -- Rush, Drudge, Fox -- of opinion leaders that get to set the agenda on these matters."


These lies grow wings and are repeatedly churned out by other reporters and viewers until they are taken as absolute fact by the uninformed. Words have consequences and these lies are about to defeat any real health care reform. I sometimes weep for my country when money talks so much louder than truth.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sarah and the Rat

Sarah had really been looking forward to going down to one of our complex pools each day. It was too hot for me to sit on the covered patio during the middle of the day so Sarah got up early one morning while the temperature was still bearable and we headed for the pool.

When we got to the pool there was a notice by the gate that there was a dead rodent in the filter. I had Sarah check for it before she got in the pool and she didn't see the rat. I decided that the pool man had taken care of it and that the sign hadn't been removed.

Sarah cleaned all the leaves and bugs from the pool with the skimmer and got in the pool to swim. After a few laps her mother arrived to join her in the pool. Much to our disgust, the rat had not been removed and the swim was over.

Gail and Sarah showered at the pool, then went home and showered again with some anti-bacterial soap. That ended Sarah's daily swim. The other pool is about a half mile away, but parking is not close to that pool and I couldn't walk on the gravel path to reach it. Such a disappointment for Sarah because that is the activity she had really been looking forward to. She loves to swim, which is surprising since she nearly drowned twice when she was a toddler.

This is a Century Plant near the Kartchner Caverns Visitor Center.

I will wind this series on Gail's visit with more photos of our activities.

Sarah loves working picture puzzles.

Rachel and Hans

Everyone knows about Linus' blankie. Well, Hans has his version in the form of a blue ball. He walks around with it in his mouth and, as they said goodbye, he held it in his mouth. Hans learned a new word at my house "Move". He really needed the comfort of his blue ball because he heard that word from me quite often!

All too soon it was time to say 'goodbye".

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Kartchner Caverns II

I had so much trouble formatting the first post on Kartchner Caverns that I gave up on including all of the photos. That is the reason for this second post. (Why does formatting have to be so hard? I need a guru to walk me through the steps. I know how I want it to look, but Blog Spot has different ideas.)

The top photo shows soda straws. That line down the middle is not a flaw, but a formation. The bottom photo shows the immense size of the Big Room. (See the tiny man in red in the lower half of the photo). It is the the maternity home to a common colony of cave bats.

The following information on the Caverns is from Wikipedia.


The caverns were apparently unknown to man until 1974, when Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, two amateur spelunkers found a narrow crack in the bottom of a sinkhole, and followed the source of warm, moist air toward what ended up being more than 2½ miles of pristine cave passages. Hoping to protect the cave from vandalism, they kept the location a secret for fourteen years, deciding that the best way to preserve the cavern — which was near a freeway — was to develop it as a tour cave. After gaining the cooperation of the Kartchner Family and working with them for ten years, together they decided that the best way to achieve the goal of protection through development as a tour cave was to approach Arizona State Parks. Tufts and Tenen even blindfolded state parks officials before bringing them to the site.

In 1985, then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt secretly left the state capitol with two bodyguards and spent three hours crawling through the cave's tight passages to reach the cave's showcase chambers, including the Big Room, Echo Passage and Cul-de-sac Passage.

The discovery of the cave was finally made public in 1988 when the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park and show cavern.

The state spent $28 million on a high-tech system of air-lock doors, misting machines and other gadgetry designed to preserve the cave. Kartchner Caverns opened to the public in 1999.


If you missed 'Kartchner Caverns I' please scroll down for the previous post.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kartchner Caverns State Park

One day the girls and I drove to Benson so they could see Kartchner Caverns. I didn't do the tour, but read the Sunday paper while they were enjoying the caverns. This was our only sight-seeing trip.

You are not allowed to take photos inside the cavern so I am including photos from post cards that I bought. The following information on Kartchner is from Wikipedia.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
located nine miles (14 km) south of the town of Benson (near Tucson) and is considered by many to be the "crown jewel" of Arizona's state park system.

The park encompasses most of a down-dropped block of Palaeozoic rocks on the east flank of the Whetstone Mountains in the Coronado National Forest. It is carved out of limestone and filled with spectacular speleothems which have been growing for 50,000 years and longer, and are still growing due to careful development and maintenance.


Please click on all photos to enlarge.

Photo 1) Flowstone Wall. 2) The Big Room. 3) The Big Room

4) Angel Wing Shield

5) Flowstone in the Strawberry Room. 6) Helicites {formations that grow in all directions.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Visitors

My girls arrived in the middle of a violent thunderstorm one week ago Thursday night. I had expected them the night before, but they were delayed 24 hours thanks to their dog, Hans.

Rachel was walking Hans on the shore at Huntington Beach when he went berserk after seeing another dog and that set him off. He is big, strong and lacking in obedience training. He jerked Rachel into a concrete bench and Gail had to take Rachel to the E.R. to make sure no bones were broken. Fortunately, severe pain was the only damage done.

One day the girls wanted to shop so we went to the funky stores in the University area. Sarah found a polka dot sun dress and Rachel was happy with her find of Gladiator sandals.

While I was waiting for the girls I did some people watching. The customer below really knew how to make that hula hoop spin.

While the girls shopped Gail and I took refuge in the patio of the FROG and FIRKIN. I have no idea where the name of the restaurant originated - perhaps a fairy tale? Since it's in the University area you can expect strange titles.

The day was blistering hot; over 100 degrees. Even so we were relatively cool thanks to the misters (see the photo of the pipes that emit a cooling mist). A cold beer helped our comfort level.

The girls caught up with us looking happy at having found more things to wear.

The resident pigeon was one fat fella. He had the patio all to himself and the crumbs were plentiful.
The clerk in the store where I sat and waited fascinated me. She was really colorful.

The day ended with dinner at a Chinese restaurant. To say that I was 'pooped' is the understatement of the year. Tomorrow it's on to Kartchner Caverns.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Computer Crash

I have tried to keep up with my computer friends this past week, but I was not always successful because my time was limited due to having a visit from my wonderful girls.

As if that were not enough to keep me from blogging, computer problems ended up in Gail
having to uninstall Windows on my PC. After she got me back on line this morning I have been re-installing all of my programs. This is extremely time consuming. My Money program is hiding on my hard drive, but I will have to find out how to retrieve it.

The last time this happened it took me weeks to download all of my music CD's into my music program and I am not looking forward to doing that again.

Of course, getting all my old programs back on my P.C. will take hours and I hope you will not give up on me during this time. I am afraid that my blogging will be a hit and miss proposition until things get back to normal.

My three girls, plus one big dog, left at noon today after a wonderful week. When I get caught up (If I ever do) I will tell you about the events of the week, but until I am better organized I will leave you with a remarkable threesome: Three Young Men from Verona.

Until I have time to post I hope you will enjoy these talented lads. I am sure you will be amazed at the virtuosity of these three teenagers. Is there another Pavarotti in the wings?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Information

If you are still reading my posts on health care I hope you will check out the following links. It is now or never time for reform and we need to keep reminding our representatives that we want universal coverage. Once the deed is done I promise to get off my soap box.

- Maggie Mahar's comparison of the House and Senate bills

- Full text of the House bill

- CBO's initial analysis of the House bill

- Joe Paduda's summary of the House bill

- Ezra kinda digs the bill, and gives a shout-out to its process

(Note: This is all based on initial review of the bill and other summaries. We'll keep reading ...)

RJ Eskow blogs when he can at:

A Night Light
The Sentinel Effect: Healthcare Blog

The House committee on Education and Labor approved an amendment by Dennis Kuchinich allowing the states to create single-payer health care. Now if it just doesn't get stripped from the final bill.

Congressman Anthony Weiner has an amendment , HR 676, to be voted on today,that would change to word in the bill to Single-payer coverage. Below are the numbers to call for support of his amendment. Please check to see if your representative is among them and call them today. The call is free.

Energy and Commerce Committee Phone: (202) 225-2927, Fax: (202) 225-2525
Henry A. Waxman, CA, Chair Phone: (202) 225-3976, Fax: (202) 225-4099
John D. Dingell, MI Phone: (202) 225-4071, Fax: (202) 226-0371
Edward J. Markey, MA Phone: (202) 225-2836, Fax: (202) 226-0092
Rick Boucher, VA Phone: (202) 225-3861, Fax: (202) 225-0442
Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ Phone: (202) 225-4671, Fax: (202) 225-9665
Bart Gordon, TN Phone: (202) 225-4231, Fax: (202) 225-6887
Bobby L. Rush, IL Phone: (202) 225-4372, Fax: (202) 226-0333
Anna G. Eshoo, CA Phone: (202) 225-8104, Fax: (202) 225-8890
Bart Stupak, MI Phone: (202) 225-4735, Fax: (202) 225-4744
Eliot L. Engel, NY Phone: (202) 225-2464, Fax: (202) 225-5513
Gene Green, TX Phone: (202) 225-1688, Fax: (202) 225-9903
Diana DeGette, CO Phone: (202) 225-4431, Fax: (202) 225-5657
Lois Capps, CA Phone: (202) 225-3601, Fax: (202) 225-5632
Mike Doyle, PA Phone: (202) 225-2135, Fax: (202) 225-3084
Jane Harman, CA Phone: (202) 225-8220, Fax: (202) 226-7290
Jan Schakowsky, IL Phone: (202) 225-2111, Fax: (202) 226-6890
Charles A. Gonzalez, TX Phone: (202) 225-3236, Fax: (202) 225-1915
Jay Inslee, WA Phone: (202) 225-6311, Fax: (202) 226-1606
Tammy Baldwin, WI Phone: (202) 225-2906, Fax: (202) 225-6942
Mike Ross, AR Phone: (202) 225-3772, Fax: (202) 225-1314
Anthony D. Weiner, NY Phone: (202) 225-6616, Fax: (202) 226-0218
Jim Matheson, UT Phone: (202) 225-3011, Fax: (202) 225-5638
G.K. Butterfield, NC Phone: (202) 225-3101, Fax: (202) 225-3354
Charlie Melancon, LA Phone: (202) 225-4031, Fax: (202) 226-3944
John Barrow, GA Phone: (202) 225-2823, Fax: (202) 225-3377
Baron P. Hill, IN Phone: (202) 225-5315, Fax: (202) 226-6866
Doris O. Matsui, CA Phone: (202) 225-7163, Fax: (202) 225-0566
Donna M. Christensen, VI Phone: (202) 225-1790, Fax: (202) 225-5517
Kathy Castor, FL Phone: (202) 225-3376, Fax: (202) 225-5652
John P. Sarbanes, MD Phone: (202) 225-4016, Fax: (202) 225-9219
Christopher S. Murphy, CT Phone: (202) 225-4476, Fax: (202) 225-5933
Zachary T. Space, OH Phone: (202) 225-6265, Fax: (202) 225-3394
Jerry McNerney, CA Phone: (202) 225-1947, Fax: (202) 225-4060
Betty Sutton, OH Phone: (202) 225-3401, Fax: (202) 225-2266
Bruce L. Braley, IA Phone: (202) 225-2911, Fax: (202) 225-6666
Peter Welch, VT Phone: (202) 225-4115, Fax: (202) 225-6790

Here is the nitty gritty.

"There are many models of health care reform from which to choose around the world ‚the vast majority of which perform far better than ours. The one that has been the most tested here and abroad is single-payer," explained Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat who proposed the amendment. "Under a single-payer system everyone in the U.S. would get a card that would allow access to any doctor at virtually any hospital.

Doctors and hospitals would continue to be privately run, but the insurance payments would be in the public hands. By getting rid of the for-profit insurance companies, we can save $400 billion per year and provide coverage for all medically necessary services for everyone in the U.S."

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Dinner Party

It would be my guess that everyone has had a party when something went wrong. How about a dinner party when everything went wrong? It happened to me and I still remember the night when I wanted to crawl in a hole and stay there.

At the time of this disaster we were living 8 miles south of Colorado Springs and a grocery store was far away. My 'ever-lovin' was the Sales Manager at one of the local radio stations. A new station manager and engineer had just been hired and the wife of the departing engineer was leaving.

On the spur of the moment my husband decided that we should give the departing wife a farewell party. He called me around 1:00 pm to inform me that we were giving a dinner party that night. The owner of the station would be a guest along with the others mentioned. A panic attack was imminent.

Murphy's Law kicked in and I was in for one of the worst nights in my life. My house needed a thorough cleaning and I only had five hours to prepare. Some of you efficient types may think that would be a breeze. You would have your house spotless, get out your best china, and have your hair done in that time. But I am a wreck when faced with having to entertain.

When my husband called with his bombshell I quickly did a mental search to think what I had on hand to serve six people. I had ingredients for a tossed salad, potatoes for baking and ingredients for a green bean casserole. I told Wayne to stop at the store and get six T-Bone steaks on his way home. We had just purchased our first bar-b-cue and we could do the potatoes and steaks on the grill. What could possibly be an easier menu?

I had the green bean casserole ready in a Pyrex dish, the potatoes wrapped in foil, and the table set when the guests arrived. Feeling quite competent at that point I felt I had things under control.

I instructed Wayne to light the charcoal fire and put the potatoes on to bake while our guests had cocktails. The steaks were on a cart ready to grill after the potatoes were done. So far so good. Then things began to unravel. Being neophytes we didn't know that the potatoes should be put in the coals. Wayne placed them on top of the rack.

Wayne kept going outside to check on the potatoes. At six-thirty they were still raw, seven o'clock and they weren't ready, eight o'clock - no luck. Meanwhile our guests were imbibing in 'tee many martoonies' and getting well oiled. Every time Wayne went out to check the spuds I put the green bean casserole in the oven. Finally at nine pm I knew the stupid potatoes had to be done so I wheeled the cart with the steaks out to the bar-b-cue to be broiled. Unfortunately, Wayne didn't see the cart and came back in the house. Did I mention that we had a German Shepherd dog named Heidi?

After taking the steaks outside I got the salad out to toss, put the green bean casserole in the oven for the umpteen time and asked Ginnie (the guest of honor) to toss the salad. She was, not to put too fine a point on it, pleasantly plastered and she put so muchTerragon vinegar in the salad that it was inedible. Wayne went out to do the steaks and discovered to his horror that, while he didn't see the steaks, Heidi sure did. She ate five T-Bone steaks and left us one for six people. Her sides were bulging and she looked like a balloon with legs.

I was ready to cry at this point and took the casserole out of the oven one last time. The dish had been heated and cooled so many times the it broke in two and the green bean mess fell all over the kitchen floor.

There were no Pizza parlors then and no fast food place where I could obtain something to feed my guests.
We made do with a baked potato each, a bite of steak, and a ruined salad.

You have heard the sick joke, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" Well, every time I saw one of those people who witnessed my catastrophe I was asked, "Has Heidi eaten any steaks lately?"

But it took years for me to forgive Wayne for hosting an impromptu dinner party.
In the final analysis this turned out to be the most memorable dinner party I ever gave.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Exciting Week

You will not be seeing my name on your blogs for the next week or so. My daughter, Gail,and granddaughters, Rachel and Sarah, will be arriving tonight for a most welcome visit. I am looking forward to seeing them and will really enjoy having them. I may even get out to take some pictures. My computer time will probably be limited to answering e-mail. I will try to make up for it after my girls leave with tales of our activities.

Red Alert: The best laid plans of mice and men so often go astray. The girls did not arrive last night as scheduled. Instead I got a phone call from Gail in a Huntington Beach ER where Rachel was undergoing an X-ray. She hurt herself on a concrete park bench and was in a lot of pain. I believe they had stopped at the park to take the dog for a walk. Fortunately, there were no broken bones and they will continue on to see me when Rachel feels up to it.
They told me to cheer up, things could be worse; so I cheered up and, sure enough, they got worse.

Monday I took a spill on my scooter and the firemen had to come pick me up again. It's getting downright embarrassing. I don't think they will have any trouble finding my house from now on. I consider myself lucky because I fell on my good hip and it didn't break. It is swollen and I am sure I will have a stunning bruise in all colors, but if it didn't break I will not complain. Some additional pain in my neck and shoulder kept me awake, but I will heal -slowly, to be sure. The scooter turned over with me in it and we both survived .

I will leave you with this very old poem that you have probably seen dozens of times:

I Am Fine

There is nothing the matter with me.
I'm as healthy as I can be.
I do have arthritis in both my knees.
And when I speak, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak and my blood is thin.
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

Arch supports I use for my feet
Or I wouldn't be able to step on the street.
Sleep is denied me night after night,
And every morning , I find I'm a sight.
My memory's fading, my head's in a spin.
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

The moral is - as this tale I unfold -
That for me and for you who are growing old,
It's better to say, "I'm fine" with a grin
Than to let the world know the shape we are in.

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my git up and go has got up and went.
Yet I really don't mind when I think once again,
Of all the grand places my git up has been.

Old age is golden, or so I've heard said.
But sometimes I wonder as I climb into bed -
With my ears in a drawer and my teeth in a cup,
My eyes on the table until I wake up -
As sleep dims my eyes I say to myself:
Is there anything else I should place on the shelf?

When I was young my slippers were red.
I could kick my heels right over my head.
When I grew older, my slippers were blue.
I found I could dance the whole night through.
But now I am old. My slippers are black.
I walk to the store and puff my way back.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits.
I pick up the paper and read the obits.
If my name is still missing I know I'm not dead.
So, I eat a good breakfast ...
And go back to bed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Select Few

Are you wondering why 69 to 76% of the people want the Public Option and it may not happen? Bill Moyers and Michael Winship tell you why. I am including excerpts from Sunday's article that was published in Truthout. I have edited it and omitted words to expedite reading it.

Some Choice Words for The Select Few by: Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Truthout
If you want to know what really matters in Washington, don't go to Capitol Hill for one of those hearings, or pay attention to those staged White House "town meetings." They're just for show. What really happens - the serious business of Washington - happens in the shadows, out of sight, off the record. Only occasionally - and usually only because someone high up stumbles - do we get a glimpse of just how pervasive the corruption has become.

Case in point: Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of The Washington Post - one of the most powerful people in DC - invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.

But CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry were invited, too, provided they forked over $25,000 a head - or up to a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy get-togethers. And what is the inducement offered? Nothing less, the invitation read, than "an exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will get it done."

In this case, the "stakeholders" in health care reform do not include the rabble. (The ones who have no health care and are suffering - my words)

The Washington Post dinner was canceled after a copy of the invite was leaked to the web site, by a health care lobbyist, of all people.

It was enough to give us a glimpse into how things really work in Washington - a clear insight into why there is such a great disconnect between democracy and government today, between Washington and the rest of the country.

According to one poll after another, a majority of Americans not only want a public option in health care, they also think that growing inequality is bad for the country, that corporations have too much power over policy, that money in politics is the root of all evil, that working families and poor communities need and deserve public support if the market system fails to generate shared prosperity.

But, when the insiders in Washington have finished none of these reforms happen. "Oh," they say, "it's all about compromise. "

That, people, is bull - the basic nutrient of Washington's high and mighty. It's about money - the golden ticket to "the select few who actually get it done."

When Congress passed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, "the select few" made sure it no longer contained the cramdown provision that would have allowed judges to readjust mortgages. The one provision that would have helped homeowners the most was removed in favor of an industry that pours hundreds of millions into political campaigns.

So, too, with a bill designed to protect us from terrorist attacks on chemical plants. With "the select few" dictating marching orders, hundreds of factories are being exempted from measures that would make them spend money to prevent the release of toxic clouds that could kill hundreds of thousands.

Everyone knows the credit ratings agencies were co-conspirators with Wall Street in the shameful wilding that brought on the financial meltdown. But when the Obama administration came up with new reforms to prevent another crisis, the credit ratings agencies were given a pass.

And by the time an energy bill emerged from the House of Representatives "the select few " had given away billions of dollars worth of emission permits and offsets. "It grew fat with compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts," expanding from 648 pages to 1,400 as it spread its largesse among big oil and gas, utility companies and agribusiness.

This week, the public interest groups Common Cause and the Center for Responsive Politics reported that, "According to lobby disclosure reports, 34 energy companies registered in the first quarter of 2009 to lobby Congress around the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This group of companies spent a total of $23.7 million - or $260,000 a day - lobbying members of Congress in January, February and March.

Data shows oil and gas companies, mining companies and electric utilities combined have given more than $2 million just to the 19 members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee since 2007, the start of the last full election cycle."

It's happening to health care as well. Even the pro-business magazine The Economist says America has the worst system in the developed world, controlled by executives who are not held to account and investors whose primary goal is raising share price and increasing profit - while wasting $450 billion dollars in redundant administrative costs and leaving nearly 50 million uninsured.

Enter "the select few who actually get it done." Three out of four of the big health care firms lobbying on Capitol Hill have former members of Congress or government staff members on the payroll - more than 350 of them - and they're all fighting hard to prevent a public option, at a rate in excess of $1.4 million a day.

Health care policy has become insider heaven. Even Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House health reform director, served on the boards of several major health care corporations.

President Obama has pushed hard for a public option but many fear he's wavering, and just this week his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel - the insider di tutti insiders - indicated that a public plan just might be negotiable, ready for reengineering, no doubt, by "the select few who actually get it done."

That's how it works. And it works that way because we let it. (emphasis mine) The game goes on and the insiders keep dealing themselves winning hands. Nothing will change - nothing - until the moneylenders are tossed out of the temple, the ATM's are wrested from the marble halls, and we tear down the sign they've placed on government - the one that reads, "For Sale."


Doesn't that just tug at your heart strings?

I got a video from a Republican friend filmed by that Tea Party bunch. I didn't agree with much of what the narrator said, but he did a bang up job. I wish some liberal would make a video this good that would stir the people to action. We need a peaceful revolution. I promise to lead the parade in my scooter. We will go up to the doors of the law makers and stay there until they listen to our grievances.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Grateful Dads Sing at Fenway Park

My husband was given box seat tickets to a Red Sox game in 1967 and we were quite excited about attending. Sadly that was the night when Tony Conigliaro was hit with a pitched ball. He was carried off the field on a stretcher and the game was very somber after that. I don't remember the score, but it is a game I will never forget.

Peter Samson who sings with the Barbershop Quartet The Grateful Dads sent this Video to me and I want to share it with you. Pete writes the blog As I Was Saying and has recently kept a Journal on his wife's ordeal of overcoming cancer. The courage and faith that he and Marge displayed is an inspiration to anyone having to face such severe adversity.

Pete is not only an excellent caregiver, but is also a good singer as you will see in this video. The Grateful Dads sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park in Boston. The quartet have been together since 1997. Pete is the second one from the left.

Health Care Reform

You knew I would do it didn't you? You saw me crawling up on my soapbox again and starting to rant about health care reform. I think I will just stay up here until we either get meaningful reform or it goes down in flames.

Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By has an excellent post on the subject today including a link where you can make your voice known. Please take advantage of this opportunity to tell you representatives that you want a Public Option without a trigger.

You can read it here:

Another option being kicked around is the cooperative approach. It is just another way of keeping the insurance companies in control. To learn about it go to Anne's blog 20th Century Woman's and read about her experience.

With the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies spending over a million dollars a day to defeat any kind of reform that will be of benefit you know they are scared. So far they don't have to worry. Their money is talking loud and clear in the Hallowed Halls.

The only weapon we have is our voice. Make it heard! Don't put it off. Write and call your representatives today.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Newfoundland Medical Dictionery

I am starting my second year of blogging with a smile. I hope to end it that way, too.


People in Newfoundland have the Lowest Stress rate because they do not take medical terminology seriously, you are going to die anyway, so live life and drink till you cannot lift your own mug!

Newfoundland Dictionery

Bacteria....................... Back door to cafeteria

Barium........................ What doctors do when patients die

Benign........................ What you be, after you be eight

Caesarean Section........ A neighborhood in Rome

Cat scan........................ Searching for Kitty

Cauterize...................... Made eye contact with her

Colic.......................... A sheep dog

Coma........................... A punctuation mark

Dilate......................... To live long

Enema..........................Not a friend

Fester......................... Quicker than someone else

Fibula......................... A small lie

Impotent.......................Distinguished, well known

Labor Pain................... Getting hurt at work

Medical Staff................. A Doctor's cane

Morbid........................ A higher offer

Nitrates....................... Cheaper than day rates

Node........................... I knew it

Outpatient..................... A person who has fainted

Pelvis................. ........ Second cousin to Elvis s

Post Operative............ A letter carrier

Recovery Room.......... Place to do upholstery

Rectum......................... Nearly killed him

Secretion...................... Hiding something

Seizure........................ Roman emperor

Terminal Illness............ Getting sick at the airport

Tablet.......................a small table

Tumor........................ One plus one more

Urine.......................... Opposite of you're out

I saw you smiling.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Today marks the first anniversary of my blog. I am amazed that I have stuck with it this long. When I started I didn't have a clue about what I would write about. Surprise - the opposite happened. I found more subjects that I wanted to tackle than I had time to write them.

If I didn't have other things to occupy my time I am sure I could be more prolific. At times I feel like I am obsessed with this critter I call my hodgepodge. It has certainly become one.

I seem to have a list going on in my head of topics I would like to explore. Then when I sit down to write, my mind is a blank. Where did that list disappear to?

Because it's my blog anniversary here are some random thoughts on why I blog:

  • I have made some wonderful friends through my blog. To my faithful followers I wish to send you a bouquet for sticking with me. Thank you so much.

  • Blogging has helped keep my mind active. It has stimulated my aging brain cells and kept them from atrophying. At least, I hope that's the case.
  • Keeping up with my blog has given me a reason to get up in the morning
  • When you no longer drive and are limited in physical abilities to partake in the social events of yore, blogging lets you do so through reading the blog of other's.
  • I have enjoyed vicarious trips to far away places with strange sounding names through reading other blogs.
  • Sharing thoughts on random subjects has enabled me to broaden my horizons.
  • Blogging is a learning experience. I have discovered that there are many new things and ideas that I didn't know about.
  • Blogging can be a way to share your life. It is like having a chat with your best friend. Only you are chatting with many friends.
  • Because I am in touch daily with all my blogging friends I don't have time to be lonely.
There are, of course, downsides to blogging. It is frustrating when I am unable to compose my blog the way I want. Then there are the times when your blog just vanishes after you have spent hours writing it. Other times, the final composition doesn't look anything like what your original looks like. (I have an evil elf in my computer that changes things around or steals things.)

Nonetheless, I intend to slog on as long as I am able to sit at this keyboard. I have an abiding gratitude for my friends who have overlooked my misspelled words or poor sentence construction and other errors. Thank you all for hanging in there with me on this great adventure called blogging.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Maxine's Living Will

Leave it to Maxine: She's the greatest!

This may be the best Living Will I've Seen

I, your mother / friend, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn't pass ninth grade biology if their lives depended on it, or lawyers/doctors interested in simply running up the bills.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:

Glass of wine
Cup of coffee
Cold Beer
Chicken fried steak

Cream gravy
Mexican food
French fries
Ice cream
Cup of coffee


It should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes, let the 'fat lady sing,' and call it a day!