Monthly Archives: July, 2009

Don’t Be Fooled

Up on Mineral Spring Avenue there’s a big billboard for a doctor’s practice with a photo of five guys in lab coats (the doctors). In the bottom left corner is a little slogan– ‘Don’t be fooled by others’.

This intrigues me. Who’s out there fooling patients? Are there offices around with guys in lab coats that don’t have MD’s? It’s vaguely unsettling, like the slogan, ‘there’s one near you’. One what, you wonder?

Anyway, it reminds me of the old joke about the businessman who put up a big ad– ‘Why go elsewhere and get cheated? Come to us instead.’

While I was typing this post, the TV was playing a commercial for…let’s call it Bear Aspirin. A woman was saying she got chest pain and her daughter gave her a Bear Aspirin which saved her life. I’d better run out and buy some Bear, because all I have at home is generic, and the genericness of it would surely cause me to fall down dead, stiffening before I even hit the ground, if I ever tried to use it for a heart attack.

Don’t be fooled by others, come to us instead.

Million Dollar Lunch

Just a quick one, because work is the curse of the blogging class. I heard on NPR yesterday that lobbyists are spending 1.4 million dollars a day to influence the health care reform measures being debated in Washington.

The voice of the people doesn’t have a million dollar megaphone. Writing your rep in Congress is not very satisfying, but I’ll do it today, because it’s what I can do.

Considering how much money is poured into ‘goodwill’ I’m jealous that I never got more perks than a few sandwiches, but they were good sandwiches. So I’m re-running a post with all the lurid details– Confessions of a Drug Lunch Slut.

Also, today’s Washington Post has an article about a politician who’s enjoying way more than free pizza from his friends in the for-profit health care complex.


This had got to be pretty terrible in zero gravity…

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The bathroom lines at the already crowded space shuttle and space station complex got a lot longer Sunday because of a flooded toilet.

Good luck, astronauts, hope you get the plumbing fixed soon.

Faith-Based Governance

Verily, I say unto you, this is like shooting fish in a barrel…

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, still clinging to office after admitting to an extramarital affair, wrote in an opinion piece released Sunday that God will change him so he can emerge from the scandal a more humble and effective leader.

They must like drama in South Carolina. They don’t elect some boring person who does their job and takes care of state business instead of funny business.

In the opinion, Sanford vows to work with lawmakers he’s long fought and cites scripture and his faith in God — just as he’s done in his few public appearances since admitting the affair.

I always wonder why God never seems to want these people to repent, resign, and pay back any state money they have wrongly used. Are Christians so scarce that God has to recycle adultering evangelists right back into the pulpit with hardly a Sunday off and lying politicians back into the Governor’s office? How come God never tells them to do stuff they don’t want to do–like repent and end the affair before they get caught?

Wild Turkey

Last night at dusk a wild turkey strolled down Elmgrove Avenue on the East Side, delighting walkers and stopping traffic. A jogger didn’t slow his pace–the bird ran away from him. The turkey was last seen heading East at a brisk trot toward the Blackstone River.

Update from Steve Stycos

We are on the Vineyard this week, which is wonderful. It’s quieter here this year, results of a difficult economy no doubt. It was interesting to get Mr. Stycos’s update, which starts with a small piece on “Pigs on Drugs” and the good news that the farmers at the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market sell organic eggs. I have been worrying myself much more of late about endocrine disruptors and their growing impact on human health.

But more on that later. From Mr. Stycos:


Seventy percent of the antibiotics given to US livestock are given to healthy chicken, pigs and cattle, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The drugs make the animals grow more quickly and prevent illnesses. The Obama administration, however, hopes to change the practice because it encourages the development of drug resistant bacteria.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York is pushing legislation to reduce the use of anti-biotics on our food, according to the NY Times, but the move is opposed by agribusiness, particularly the pork industry. The Times says Slaughter’s bill is not likely to pass, but backers hope to incorporate its provisions in the upcoming health care reform legislation.

Although the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market has no meat vendors, we have two farmers, Michele Kozloski of Zephyr Farm and Chang Xiong of Pak Express, who sell eggs. When Mike Dahlquist of Long Entry Farm joins the market later this month, he will also sell eggs. Talk with them about their farming practices and you will find their birds are not on drugs.

Also look for the movie “Food, Inc.” a critique of agribusiness, to learn more. The film will open in Rhode Island July 22 at the Jane Pickens theater in Newport. It will also be shown soon at the Avon in Providence.


Bernie Bieder, the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market’s beekeeper will be extracting honey from one of his hives Wednesday July 22 at 7 pm if the weather is clear. No bees are involved and Bernie welcomes his customers and their children to watch the process.

Bernie lives at 140 Coldbrook Rd in Warwick. If you have questions, you may call him at 463-8654.


Saturday July 25 the Pawtuxet Village Association will hold its third annual Illuminations Afloat event. The music starts in Pawtuxet Park at 7 PM. Boats will go in the water at 8 PM. If you come with a kayak or canoe (boats with motors are not allowed) remember that lifejackets or personal flotation devices are required. Also bring a light.


July 16th, 6 PM: The “Music on the Lawn” summer concert series continues at Hall Library with the popular Navy Band Northeast. Bring a chair and snacks and enjoy the jazz sounds of this exciting group of musicians.


The Pawtuxet Village Association Garden Group is looking for volunteers. Because of the recent heavy rainfall, they have not finished weeding, raking and mulching the flower beds in Pawtuxet Park. If you are able to lend a hand for a couple of hours before August 1, please call Carole Panos at 461-0705 or send her an email.

See you Saturday at the market.

A Case of Ethnicity

It’s 1988. Somehow I’ve managed to get admitted to the CCRI associate degree in nursing program. There’s a waiting list–perhaps my credits from attending the community college in the 70’s counted in my favor. I’ll never know why my name was chosen after just a few months.

I’m sitting in a large auditorium, there’s hundreds of us attending the lecture. We are an overwhelmingly white group, at least from appearance. The same goes for all the teachers. Two of the students of color are a man and woman I talk to on the bus from Providence, we help each other with the physiology questions on the ride.

Today’s lecture is cultural sensitivity. The professor clearly needs a remedial course herself. When I get home that evening I tell my husband about it.

‘The way she presented it was–My patient has a case of ethnicity! Omigod! What will I do about this? Is there a cure?’

‘Not only that–she actually said that some of these ethnic groups are greasy, and you need several changes of water to get them clean!’

My husband suggested that a good response would have been to raise my hand and ask the teacher to name the 10 greasiest ethnic groups, in order of greasiness. Ah, lost opportunity. He’s much quicker than I am, perhaps due to practice in dealing with racial prejudice from his earliest years.

Anyway, I was listening to the radio yesterday, and I heard Sen. Lindsey Graham claim that if he had made a remark equivalent to Judge Sotomayor’s ‘wise Latina’ remark his career in politics would be over. Then some caller said that as a private citizen his reputation would be ruined if he said something like that.

Well, due to the magic of the internet, there are billions of people who are knocking off from work to troll the public statements of anyone who makes such a claim, so Sen. Graham can stand on his record.

His colleague, Sen. Jeff Sessions has a long record of inflammatory racial statements, a few of the high points collected here.

But they are neutral, normal, regular guys. They have no bias. Sonia Sotomayor, on the other hand, has an obvious case of ethnicity. She has to prove that this won’t interfere with her ability to be an impartial judge. No, don’t look at her long list of decisions–that’s boring legal stuff. Look at one statement, for which I think she owes no one an apology. Because there is a double standard here.

The ambient prejudice in our culture allows a nursing professor to blissfully insult the few ‘ethnic’ students in her class. She doesn’t know whether her words hurt, she doesn’t have to know. But her students know a lot about prejudice–it’s a wisdom they could not survive without.

Each judge brings his or her life experiences to the court. This is law for human beings. There are nine justices, and each one will have a say–diversity is a strength. When there is no evidence of a trend to bias or unfairness in Judge Sotomayor’s record her opponents focus on her character. She has a case of ethnicity! Omigod- what will we do?

She also has a case of femaleness. A condition I share with her. This writer has experienced the double standard–where male is normal and female is the other. Where women are guilty of weakness and emotionality until they can prove otherwise. Where the regular guys run the show. All of us who have had to prove ourselves have gained a kind of wisdom, and this will be a good quality to bring to our country’s highest court.

For a link to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s claim that a remark equivalent to Judge Sotomayor’s would result in his being banished from public life, go here. There’s also Sen. Coburn’s remark that the Judge would have a ‘lot of ‘splainin’ to do.’ Golly, aren’t they cute.

Monstrous Regiment

Here’s a link via Wikipedia to the Scottish Reformer John Knox, published in 1558. He was worried about what ‘those people’ would do if they were allowed to come to power. It’s been going on for a long time.

Perry Mason Moment

My friend is a legal secretary and she’s seen a few cross-examinations. She explained to me that what makes high drama on TV–when the defense pulls out some evidence that the prosecution had no idea of–doesn’t result in a triumph of justice in real life. It’s called a ‘mistrial’.

So the Perry Mason moments are few and far between but Judge Sotomayor pulled one off.

You won’t see the Wall Street Journal quoted often on our site, but here it is…

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), seeking to discredit Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, cited her 2001 “wise Latina” speech, and contrasted the view that ethnicity and sex influence judging with that of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum, who “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”
“So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation,” Sessions told Sotomayor.

“My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here,” Sotomayor riposted, to Sessions’ apparent surprise.

Read the whole post. Perhaps Judges Sotomayor and Cedarbaum have some wisdom of experience that Sen. Sessions could learn from.

Health Care is a Right

I used to wear a button that said, ‘Health care is a right not a privilege’. I never expected to see Congress wearing it too.

WASHINGTON – House Democratic leaders, pledging to meet the president’s goal of health care legislation before their August break, are offering a $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans. Left to pick up most of the tab were medical providers, employers and the wealthy.

This might sound like a radical redefinition of what ‘rights’ are in our society, but actually we’re conflicted and have been for generations.

If your teenager is out with his friends and they get in a car accident and the rescue comes–the EMT goes through your kid’s pockets and finding no proof of insurance leaves him on the sidewalk… No, we’re not that kind of society. We help one another in emergencies. In fact, our former President had a brilliant idea for solving the health care crisis–send them all to the emergency room.

The rich, the poor, and all of us in between pay for this in some way. We are all paying for the time that nurses like me spend serving the needs of insurance companies, and we pay for the extra office hours that doctors need to fill out all the forms. We pay for disability for people who would not have been disabled if they had gotten care when they needed it. We pay for special education for children whose mothers had no access to prenatal care.

We’re paying for water damage because we didn’t plug the hole in the roof, and the floor guy is willing to give us a break on repairs by the square foot as long as we leave the roof alone.

Public Health. Primary. Preventive. Health Education. Responsible Behavior.

A ‘right and a responsibility’. We all have to contribute.

We are already paying for duct tape when we need a comprehensive repair. It will cost more up front but it’s necessary. The coming generation has enough to deal with, and we can’t afford to chuck millions of Americans overboard when jobs are insecure and health security and job mobility is the way out of this recession.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 998 other followers