Monthly Archives: February, 2010

Secrets of the Emergency Room

Good article in the New York Times here. Good comments section, too.

Party at Everyman

Rhode Island, birthplace of the diner, is going nationwide this Monday, February 22.

Everyman Bistro will host a viewing party, starting at 8:30, to celebrate the appearance of the Libery Elm Diner on The Food Network at 10:00pm.

Music will be provided by The Killdevils, Lucky 57, and Mark Cutler and Friends. I count myself as one of Mark Cutler’s friends. Though I’m not a musician I love listening to him.

Details and directions are here.

Massachusetts, What Have You Elected?

Joe Stack, by his own standard, was a failure…

He slammed his plane into the building – the last, desperate move by a man overwhelmed by personal and business failures, trying to strike out at enemies all around him.
“Nothing changes unless there is a body count,” he wrote.

He planned his blaze of glory for the beginning of the work day, when offices would be full, but he only took one life and left one man badly burned in the hospital. Not enough pain and devastation to set a record.

And pretty sad by Oklahoma City standards…

It is estimated that 646 people were inside the building when the bomb exploded.[83] By the end of the day of the bombing, twenty were confirmed dead, including six children, and over one hundred injured.[84] The toll eventually reached 168 confirmed dead, not including an unmatched leg that could have belonged to a possible, unidentified 169th victim.[2] Most of the deaths resulted from the collapse of the building, rather than the bomb blast.[85] Those killed included 163 who were in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, one person in the Athenian Building, one woman in a parking lot across the street, a man and woman in the Oklahoma Water Resources building, and a rescue worker struck on the head by debris.[86]
The victims ranged in age from three months to seventy-three

In 1995 President Clinton made a statement recognizing the sacrifice of the federal workers. He said, “They served their country, and they served well.”

I told my friend, who is a civil servant, and I saw tears come to her eyes.

So far it seems likely that Joe Stack was an angry, isolated man suffering from suicidal depression. But he did not strike out randomly. He followed a script written by terrorists domestic and foreign and left a manifesto on the internet.

So now is a time for leaders to condemn this attack on Americans– targeted because they are working for our government. This is a test of patriotism. This is a test of character for politicians elected for being ‘anti’ the government they campaigned to be part of. This is a time to remember Vernon Hunter, murdered while he was working for us, murdered by a man who never looked him in the face. It’s a time to think of all the other people injured and terrorized. This is a time for eloquent words that powerfully condemn violent acts and the demagogues and opportunists who encourage and enable them.

This is Senator Scott Brown…

Scott Brown: Well, it’s certainly tragic and I feel for the families and obviously being affected by it. And I don’t know if it’s related, but I can just sense, not only in my election, but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated. They want transparency, they want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things that are affecting their daily lives. So I’m not sure there’s a connection, I certainly hope not. But we need to things better.

Massachusetts, you elected an empty suit. Weak and vague at best, appeasing the more violent wing with a covert endorsement at worst.

This is the Senator who will hold outsize influence in votes that will affect health care, employment and the environment. This is a man who can not even talk straight when a domestic terrorist attacks his fellow Americans. Don’t expect him to stand up for you.

MORE: A 28-year-old Iraq War veteran risked his life to rescue people from the fire.

AND YET MORE: Daily Kos contrasts the timid silence of the right wing commentators with the kinds of things they say when the terrorist is not a white, male Christian.

Talking Back to Sarah Palin

I don’t watch Family Guy, because even though Seth MacFarlane is local, he seems to have been deeply affected by Garfield cartoons. I just can’t get past that. Sorry.

He’s also offensive. I watched part of one episode and it struck me as creepy-racist-misogynist and I only lasted a few minutes. Sorry– I can’t justify it in an argument, it was just an impression. Maybe I’m wrong. Just an opinion.

We don’t all think alike. Sarah Palin took a recent episode of Family Guy as a slam on people with Down Syndrome. Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who did the voice for the cartoon character, thinks otherwise. She herself has Down Syndrome, but she is an adult and too large to carry around as a prop and old enough to speak for herself. So read what she says here.

You may agree with her or not, but it’s good to remember that people with Down Syndrome are not God’s innocent angels sent here to teach us something about life, but actual people who have their own lives to live. Trig Palin will grow up, and I hope he will have a good life. Sarah Palin better hope she doesn’t pick up the NYT some day and see a best-seller called, ‘Drafted–My Life on the Campaign Trail When Mommy Went Rogue’, or ‘Going Rough–Missed Naps and Noisy Crowds in Days that Made History’. At least it’s not ‘Vice-President, Dearest’ –not yet.

Daily Kos has the startling news that Sarah Palin’s grandson receives health care coverage from socialized medicine.

TOUGH WEEK: Palin came in third runner-up in the Conservative Popularity Awards Convention (CPAC) Pageant. It seems unfair. She has way better hair than Ron Paul, who might want to consider having a little work done– nothing drastic, just a little lift. Mitt Romney is tough competition. I think he’s encased in some kind of impermeable wrinkle-proof plastic. He’d better wear Kevlar under the suit though, because Sarah Barracuda does not forgive or forget. Except for things Rush Limbaugh says or things she needs to not recall in testimony.

Beware Scams

A warning about fake health insurance scams. But no advice on what to do about the lack of affordable health care for millions of Americans.

Scams like this wouldn’t even exist if we had an organized single-payer national health care program. The only vultures picking on Medicare are the ones who offer ‘insurance’ at pennies a month. They’re bad, but not as dangerous as the predators looking for working people who have no options.

If the People Lead

One disadvantage of blogging is that you put your principles in writing and then you have to answer to yourself. Yesterday it was cold, I was totally chilled after driving around all day making visits, and I did not want to go downtown to hold a sign once again for health care reform. But I had to. I kept getting emails like this–

Join us to call for urgent action from Congress to create more jobs for Rhode Islanders, reduce damaging state budget cuts by sending federal money to the state, and finish the job on health insurance reform.
We can’t solve the economic crisis in Rhode Island or around the country unless Washington helps by creating jobs, covering the uninsured, lowering health care costs, and helping to close state budget gaps.
We need Rhode Island’s members of Congress to push their colleagues and Congressional Leadership to get this done!
Join Rhode Islanders, union members, small business owners, and the faith community to call on Congress and the President to act now for:
The JOBS FOR MAIN STREET Act to help reduce the Rhode Island budget deficit and to extend unemployment and COBRA for unemployed workers,
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE REFORM to control costs, extend coverage to everyone and make sure insurers are treating consumers fairly,
and the PUT AMERICA TO WORK Act to create jobs for unemployed workers in urban core communities and meet community needs.

Hosted by:
Ocean State Action
RI Jobs with Justice
SEIU 1199 NE
RI AFL-CIO
Direct Action for Rights and Equality
American Medical Students Association, Warren Alpert Medical School
Open Table of Christ Church
OpenDoors
RI Progressive Democrats of America
Brown University Student Labor Alliance
RI National Organization for Women

I wish I had my reporter’s hat on, or a tape player. Among the speakers were George Nee of AFL-CIO, Dr. Hanna Watson of the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, Pat Crowley of Rhode Island’s Future. Labor was well-represented, and organizers for the unemployed spoke for Rhode Islanders who need a living wage. Tom Sgouros, candidate for Treasurer was there. There was a warm endorsement of Senators Whitehouse and Reed, who sent representatives. Other candidates also, sorry I don’t have their names. I ran into my friend and writing-group partner Ruth, who could represent the citizens who are covered by Medicare but very concerned about what is happening to all the people left out of the system.

The Providence Journal and I estimated about 100 people there, but you’ll get more detailed reporting from me, your citizen-journalist.

It’s a strain to have to keep doing this, but our politicians really do pay attention. For everyone who was able to get downtown yesterday there were more who were there in spirit, and even more who vote. Demonstrations are one way of demonstrating support for reform. You have to do something. Otherwise louder and well-funded voices will be the only ones heard.

DO WE FEEL A PULSE? This health care debate is giving me an ulcer, but here’s another push for a public option, or Medicare for all, or the ‘In God We Trust’ bill, or whatever you want to call it. Call it the ‘Never Visit Kmareka Site’ bill and if it will help Americans get access to health care I’ll march for it.

PEOPLE’S PRESS– Good coverage from Rhode Island’s Future including video of all the speeches. You might see Ninjanurse in the right hand corner, because they liked my sign and told me to hold it up high. I tried to put a word of sense into the Journal comments, but my word of sense vanished. Was it censored out, or more likely just dropped? Anyway, I’ll try again. The Journal coverage of this action is pretty well buried by now anyway.

Once Again–No Nukes

I’m discouraged that President Obama is not putting more emphasis on renewable energy and conservation, and worse yet, proposing to give a huge loan and protection from liability to the nuclear industry.

Too busy to cover all the aspects of this, but I’m going to post a link to some earlier posts referencing the Providence Journal’s fine article about United Nuclear in Charlestown, RI.

Whenever I hear claims that no American ever died in a nuclear accident I think of Robert Peabody. I think of all the people exposed to radiation, and the enormous cleanup costs.

So here’s a link to ‘Rhode Island’s Nuclear Fatality’.

And a reminder that nuclear power is such a bad investment that banks won’t touch it unless the government underwrites it and the public takes the risk.

More on this here, including the unsolved question of where to put the waste.

Vote for Him

Just because the zeitgeist is crying– ‘Marry Him’, I’m linking to Nomi at ‘I Dreamed I Saw Grace P. Last Night’ considering how to choose a candidate, and support her or him against an avalanche of money and favoritism. The lesser of two evils is getting pretty old.

Should we settle for the least bad for Pat Kennedy’s seat, or go for the best, even if they are a long shot?

From the Reverend

My minister posted this poem from some beatnik.

Before Completion

I’m not a February type person. We’re in the deepest of the cold, on the edge of a snowstorm, in the dark of the moon. Two days before Ash Wednesday when all the Catholics wear a mark on the brow. Don’t ask me to give up blogging for Lent. I don’t attempt the impossible.

The news is appalling. Our President of Hope sends drone bombs to Afghanistan, which miss their target and kill civilians. Reform of any kind seems to have been politicked to death.

Before Completion

This hexagram indicates a time when the transition from disorder to order is not yet completed. The change is indeed prepared for, since all the lines in the upper trigram are in relation to those in the lower. However, they are not yet in their places. While the preceding hexagram offers an analogy to autumn, which forms the transition from summer to winter, this hexagram presents a parallel to spring, which leads out of winter’s stagnation into the fruitful time of summer. With this hopeful outlook the Book of Changes come to its close.

We have just completed the Year of the Ox, now begins the Year of the Tiger. We are gaining two minutes of sunlight every day, with a little jump ahead every third day, and a very gradual rise in the average night-time temperature. Theists like to rag on Atheists, saying they have no one to be grateful to. But one reward for rationality is reverence upon seeing the days get longer, and knowing they will increase according to their season regardless of human disorder.

My front yard has thrived on neglect for so long I declared it a butterfly garden and nature preserve. Dull green blades are pushing up out of the frozen dirt. They’ll probably get freeze-dried in the next few weeks, but by then more will be growing. It’s dark at 5:30, but there’s still a little blue in the sky. The ground is still frozen. New England Spring will visit us soon and tempt us to believe while wearing us down with penetrating cold and freezing rain. But seasons change, because they must. So here’s writing from President’s Day, just before Ash Wednesday, with 4-6 inches expected and a North wind blowing, before completion.

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