Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Nobody nails it better than Joseph Galloway:
Let's all pay lip service to Support Our Troops. But if we want to be honest, we should edit those yellow-ribbon bumper stickers to say Support Our Troops — As Long As It Doesn't Cost Anything.

Let's acknowledge that this new generation of soldiers and Marines is amazingly motivated and talented. They're expected to be good killers, good diplomats and ambassadors of American goodwill who operate under impossibly complex rules of engagement in impossibly dangerous and deadly environments.

But if they come home wounded, their brains rattled by the huge IEDs of the new way of war, and if they suffer the horrors of PTSD nightmares and flashbacks, let's dump them on the streets with the least amount of help and benefits possible, as cheaply as possible.

For sure we don't want to improve their chances, better their future prospects, by offering them the same college benefits we gave their grandfathers six decades ago. God help us if they all get college degrees and figure out what we've done to them.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

The wrong person

I just yesterday finished my sixth round of chemo - eighteen treatments, by God - and I have severe chemo-brain. My fingers don't work well, and my brain is suffering a weird disconnect. I'm going to barf any minute, at which point the fatigue will overwhelm me.

What's Marie Cocco's excuse?

Woe is her, Hillary Clinton is the only woman in the country with the knowledge, portfolio, determination, yada-yada to ever EVER become president of these here United States.

She asks plaintively -
Clinton cleared the hurdles often cited as holding American women back, yet she is unlikely to surmount the final barrier. So you have to wonder.

Is it something about Hillary, or something about us?
In my admittedly plebian estimation, one word, Marie - Iraq.

There are some things some of us voters don't forget.

I could easily mention some more - namely, the Kyle-Lieberman Amendment and the Anti-Flag Burning Amendment which even Antonin Scalia considers constitutionally protected speech.

I could have easily voted for Dennis Kucinich.

I easily accepted the Iraq apologies from Edwards and Dodd.

But I am not forgetting the thousands dead or the tens of thousands permanently wounded or the gazillions of tax dollars thrown into the Iraqi cesspool.

Never fear, Marie - there will be a woman president some day...presumably one who has shown better foresight, less likely to trust the judgment of proven liars, and the ability to say "I was wrong".


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Compare and contrast

Hurricane Katrina makes landfall at 7 a.m. on August 29, 2005.

August 29, 2005 - Bush shares birthday cake with Senator John McCain in Phoenix, visits Arizona resort and California to promote Medicare drug benefits, and goes to bed without acting on Louisiana Governor Blanco's requests.

August 30, 2005 - Another day and another photo op in BushWorld before going to bed at his Crawford estate for a good night's sleep on his last day of vacation.

August 31, 2005 - Bush surveys damage from the comfort of Air Force One.

September 2, 2005 - "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"


May 12, 2008 - A 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastates China's Sichuan province.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reacts a bit differently...
Little more than 90 minutes after the 7.9 magnitude quake struck at 2:30 p.m., Wen was headed for the airport. By early evening he had arrived in the provincial capital Chengdu, 930 miles (1,500 km) from Beijing. That night, the country's state-owned TV stations repeatedly broadcast scenes of the Premier rallying rescue forces, issuing orders during a rainstorm, poring over maps, even venturing into the ruins to assure victims still trapped in the rubble that they should "Hold on a little longer" as help was on the way.
Surely I'm not the only one struck by the difference in the response.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Confusion, chocolate, the primary, McCain's folly,

I suppose I should start every post with "sorry for the long silence". As I've said before, chemo is a bitch and it doesn't get easier. I'm hanging in there. barely. I've finished five rounds, with one more to go before some tests to monitor progress.

Among the many hateful side effects, perhaps the most devastating to me is chemo brain. A definition from no less than the Mayo Clinic -
Research now shows that what these people are experiencing is called mild cognitive impairment — the loss of the ability to remember certain things, learn new skills and complete certain tasks. The cause of mild cognitive impairment during cancer treatment still isn't clear, nor is it clear how often it happens or what may trigger it. Doctors aren't sure what they can do about it."
I'm not sure what to do about it either. And it sure interferes with my blogging and even commenting around the blogosphere.

But in a way it's a handy excuse. My daughter no longer accuses me of getting senile.

Another annoying side effect is peripheral neuropathy - a numb, tingling sensation in my hands and feet. So far, it's just annoying - but if it gets worse it could get painful and cause nerve damage. Before that happens, they may adjust the chemo dosages downward. While I would welcome less 'poison' in my system, I also know the more offense the better.

But there's one thing that helps keep my spirits up, and that's my medical oncologist's latest 'prescription' for that foul-tasting 'chemo mouth' side effect.



It's the one thing that seems to counteract that awful acid/metal taste.

There may be long silences here, but rest assured that while I flounder around the internet and start posts and comments that never make it to completion - me and my bag of Hershey Kisses are still here.

I wish the treatments were over and I was pronounced cured. My second wish is for the primaries to be over.

I used to think it would be kind of cool to vote in a presidential primary and know that my vote actually meant something. Now I have great sympathy for the people in early primary states. I've thought about changing our voice mail greeting to "I've already voted - go away".

I've phone banked before (and I'm really, really bad at it) so I know the difficulties. But still - just go away.

My prediction for today's results - a slim victory for Obama, maybe Obama 48% Clinton 45%. I realize most polls give Obama a bigger margin of victory, but I know far too many rednecked Democrats who won't vote for a black candidate and far too many Republicans who have changed their registration to either Democratic or "unaffiliated" (we're an open primary state) in order to vote for Clinton.

I may have been confused and unfocused the last week or so, but not so much I didn't notice how St. John McSame scrambled to meet Elizabeth Edwards' challenge on health insurance for the uninsurable.
With federal financial assistance, his plan would encourage states to create high-risk pools that would contract with insurers to cover consumers who have been rejected on the open market.
That should go over quite well with the 'drown the government in a bathtub' crowd.

North Carolina HAS a contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield to cover high-risk 'consumers'. They wanted $1400 per month from us, and that was BEFORE I was diagnosed with cancer.

I really should send copies of my bills to the McCain campaign crowd. I haven't added them all up, and more come in every day. But I am confident they are pushing or exceeding $75K.

In the meantime, I'm glad to see both Clinton and Obama now want to make it illegal for health insurance companies to deny an applicant because of health status. That wasn't always the case, and it's a nice baby step forward.

But what makes them think the health insurance companies won't hike the premiums for everyone else?

I have chemo-brain...what's their excuse?

You want change we can believe in or want to fight for the middle class worker? Single-payer - or at the very least Medicare For All...and make outsourcing it to the private insurers illegal while you're at it.


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