Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We've been hit with a few days of really hot weather: the cats have been reduced to puddles of drowsy fur. Bandit has been laying in front of the other fans and when I put this one up on the chair in the gray a.m. to take advantage of the cool outside air I think it took her about two minutes to realize that yes, there was room for her up there too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

There Oughtta be Another Law...

So, we have a health care "reform" plan that is largely going to consist of forcing every citizen to purchase health insurance. The insurance companies assure us that the reason so many people cannot afford health insurance is that there are so many uninsured. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking the exact opposite is true--there are so many uninsured because nobody can afford health insurance. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Ah, the lobbies. Someone is spending a great deal of money somewhere to make people act on an assumption as obviously STUPID as what they want us to believe. I wish someone would do some research into how much money the Health Insurance lobby is spending to influence Congress...

Meanwhile, someone HAS done some research on how much money a different lobby is spending to make sure anything coming out of Congress is slanted in its favor... Anyone who thinks health care reform is getting any kind of a fare review by Congress, read this:


A commenter on this article mentioned that no significant legislation of any kind is going to make it through our Congress until "lobbying reform" happens...

When, exactly, is hell going to freeze over?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There Oughtta Be a Law...

...against adding bullshit special interest perks to important bills working their way through Congress.

I'm told it's "politics." I'm told it's the only way our Congress ever gets anything done. In order to get enough votes on board for any given bill, you have to "sweeten the pot" for legislators on the other side of the aisle.

But there are special interest groups out there poised to take every advatage of this convoluted "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" way of doing business.

Special interest groups like the NRA.

Which managed to attach a clause to a credit card bill, allowing people to carry concealed weapons in National Parks. WTF??!?!?

At least there was some good news today. Though it was a narrow squeak, the Senate chose to reject attaching a rider to a defense bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

Sometimes I really despair over our system of government...

But if there's a better one around, we have yet to find it. Fact is, I don't think we're particularly interested...


Monday, July 20, 2009

Wise Words from the Best of the Best…

"I am a news presenter, a news broadcaster, an anchorman, a managing editor — not a commentator or analyst. I feel no compulsion to be a pundit." ~~ Walter Cronkite, in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor in 1973.

Is there a person alive today, with even the remotest connection to any incarnation of our illustrious national media, who could or would make this statement?

Surely, if there were, our country would be in a whole lot better shape than it is now.

A couple more wise words from "Uncle Walter:"

"The nation whose population depends on the explosively compressed headline service of television news can expect to be exploited by the demagogues and dictators who prey upon the semi-informed."~~ From his 1996 memoir, "A Reporter's Life."

"The misfortune with broadcasting today is that all -- even including your network, which is dedicated to the news -- do not take enough time to give us all of the facts and the background." ~~From a 2005 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer

We will miss you more than we can possibly know, Mr. Cronkite.

And that's the way it is…


Please follow the link to the article.

Finally fed up with trying to change the Southern Baptists from within, Jimmy Carter formally leaves the Southern Baptist church. Actually it sounds as though the church left him, not the other way around.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Photo(s) Friday

Been awhile since anyone has taken advantage of "Photo Friday." So, this week, I have two...

Here's number 1:

bubble face 1

And why, you ask, is Lucy the Wonder Dog jumping at the husband's face, mouth open and fangs bared?

Because, the husband is... (as I hope you can see in this picture:)

bubble face 2

...blowing bubbles.

It's one of her favorite games. She will chase them all over the yard, but she is most fond of them when they are but milliseconds off the bubble wand. To the point where one fears for one's lips (eyes, nose, hands...life) when one is eye-to-eye with an airborn dog, snapping jaws of death inches from the point of origin of the object of her obsession.

Yeah....she's nuts.

Monday, July 13, 2009


This morning, I had an interesting realization. As my life is becoming more active, my private leisure time is becoming more fixated on death. It sounds a lot sicker than it is (I hope.) I'm not a big TV viewer. I gave up cable over a year ago, and most of what I watch is on the Internet or on DVD. For weeks now, I've been watching old Buffy The Vampire Slayer episodes, and its spin-off, Angel. In finding interesting shows on the net to watch, I rediscovered Dead Like Me. A fan of Charlaine Harris, I've also gotten into the HBO series inspired by the novels, True Blood. My reading time has also been spent with other vamp queens like Laurell K. Hamilton and Katie McAllister.

I spent months mourning and dealing with the hard consequences of real death. Now for just enjoyment, I now spend my time with characters who are undead -- dead, but walking around, seeing friends, making wisecracks, acute observations and having some pretty hot sex, if they're not dealing with some crisis that might involve their "real" death in the fictional world. All of the stuff the real dead aren't doing.

For once, I'm not going to over analyze this, just note that moving on with life can take curious forms.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Kinda Like This One...

Yes, I hate Sarah Palin.

Yes, I'm pretty sure Ms. Palin thinks she is trying to position herself for a run for national office in 2012.

Yes, I'm equally pretty sure she hasn't the slightest idea what she's doing.

And, yes...I know the left is trying every which way to paint Palin's latest move in the most negative possible light.

I'm embarrassed for the left that "we" are afraid of her.

I'm embarrassed for the right that she is any kind of a credible political figure.

Tell me again that we aren't all going to hell in a handbasket...

A Little Affirmation...

It's nice to know that, even though I have only about five seconds a day to devote to thinking about the Issues of the Day, I may still have some slight grasp of what is going on, and what needs to be fixed.

Found this article on the New York Times Today:

In Health Reform, A Cancer Offers an Acid Test

It talks about how the treatment for prostate cancer can be used as an example of why our medical costs are out of control. Pretty much concurs with what I wrote in my previous post about our medical community needing to have the latest widget, no matter how expensive or effective.

This is the first article I've seen that even mentions dealing with the root problem of runaway medical costs, rather than just trying to figure out who's going to pay. Perhaps we can start believing that, though the wheels of change may be grinding s-l-o-w-l-y, they are turning....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"The Fix" Is On. NOT.

Once again, I’ve been too busy and too exhausted to properly follow a national news story. So I suppose, in the interests of responsible journalism, I shouldn’t even be writing this. But since responsible journalism is a commodity that evidently went out of style a couple of decades ago, I’ve decided to write this anyway…

I have to admit, I’m disappointed with the Obama Administration’s inability—and, indeed, unwillingness—to consider any kind of meaningful change to the health care/health insurance system in this country. The fact is, our medical culture has degraded to where it has nothing to do with “care;” like everything else in America, It’s About The Money. Along about twenty-five years ago, Medicine jumped into bed with Big Business. And though that relationship may be golden for them, it’s completely toxic to the rest of the human race.

I have entertained several theories about why medicine has become business. I’ve wondered if it’s the fault of my problematic generation—the Boomers. Like everything else we do, we’ve consumed medical services on a grand scale. Since we were old enough to discover our first gray hairs in the mirror, we’ve been looking for ways to turn back the clock and live forever. And we’re willing to spend billions of dollars on the search. I suppose it was just a matter of time before somebody turned our quest into an unending source of positive cash flow.

Then again, perhaps it’s the fault of runaway technology. The medical community insists upon being on the cutting edge of every technological breakthrough. If a new gadget or widget comes out, every hospital, clinic and doctor’s office has to scramble to have one. It’s common knowledge, now, that the price of any given technology goes down with time. Smart consumers have learned to hang back and wait—both to see how a new gadget performs (and let other people discover the bugs that then have to be programmed out of the thing) and to wait for the cost to go down. But not our stolid medical community. “You just invented this? And it does what? And it costs three billion dollars? Send us one on the next truck…!”

Or could it be the fault of the doctors, who think that just because they emerge from medical school and internship with multi-thousand-dollar debts, they need to make enough money to satisfy that debt five times over in their first decade of private practice. After all, they are entitled to a certain lifestyle…are they not?

And then there is the ever-expanding system, growing like a cancer, feeding on whatever fiscal resources it can attach its tentacles to. Where there used to be doctors and nurses, there are now med techs, and EMT’s, and paramedics, and certified nurse aids, and physician assistants, and phlebotomists and dieticians and…and…AND… Each of these many layers of “care-givers" caters to its little piece of your medical problem, and each of them has to make a living wage. So where we were once paying doctors and nurses and lab techs, we’re now paying a whole host of practitioners to do essentially the same job.

I know…I sound like a cranky old fart whining, once again, about how much better things were in the “good ole days.” But, once again, I have to assert—things WERE better. You went to a doctor. One you knew and who knew you, and your history, and your family, and probably delivered you and your siblings and your kids. If you had a problem, the doctor slapped you in the hospital, they ran a bunch of tests, and they found out what was wrong with you. And then they treated it. How many of us, these days, are confident that our doctors--one of the half dozen or so you are sent to in order to diagnose any given complaint-- would recognize us if they tripped over us in the hallway outside the exam room?

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that simple, and maybe it was more hit and miss than I remember. But these days, everyone I talk to or hear about who is trying to deal with a medical problem, has to go through weeks or months of protracted diagnostics, running from doctor to hospital to specialist and back again, hearing differing and often conflicting opinions from every quarter, becoming more confused and more rattled by the day. There is no such thing as diagnostic urgency anymore. I guess the current thinking is that if you die of your problem before they get around to diagnosing it, they probably couldn’t have helped you anyway.

Americans can expect to spend 25% of their incomes on medical treatments and health insurance. Oh, yeah…let’s not forget health insurance. That essential commodity for which we pay an arm and a leg, but which then proceeds to find any possible way to avoid paying to maintain or repair the parts of our bodies we have left. That is an entire rant in itself, too long to go into here.

In any case, whatever the root cause, we now have this massive behemoth of a medical culture basically sucking our society dry. And yet, the question Congress insists upon asking is, “Who’s going to foot the bill?”

When they should be investigating: “How can we reduce/control the runaway costs?”

I really have to ask…why is no one asking that question????

I can only believe that the medical lobby(ies) are so influential that they have the power to utterly subvert that line of questioning before it can be fully formed. Someone, somewhere—or rather a lot of someones all over the place—have convinced the “powers that be” that medical costs are what they are; and not only is there no changing them, but there is no chance of even slowing the upward spiral. A tremendous amount of money and power depend upon controlling the flow of information just enough to assure that the public, including legislators, believe what a certain group of players wants them to believe.

Where have we seen THAT before....?

Helllooooo Congress! Helllllooooo President Obama!

The question isn’t “Who’s gonna pay for this?” It’s “Who’s gonna FIX this.”

It’s broken. Fix it.

Get a clue.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cringe TV - the Mark Sanford scandal, or Don't Cry For Me, Argentina...

A couple of weeks ago, Lisa invited writers to post on Cringe TV, the kind of stuff that makes you cringe when you watch it, referencing an NPR article that cited the stories then circulating about Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I read the article and found it interesting and thought about writing something, but hey! It's summer. The commute is long and hot, and when I'm home, if I'm not inside reading and making various pasta salads and drinking ice tea, well, the deck needed refinishing, and my flower beds needed work, among other things. So I didn't write anything, and didn't think I was going to write anything on that particular topic...but then the Mark Sanford story broke, and it's pushed me over the edge.

Would someone please tell the Sanfords, both of them, to just shut up? And it would help if the "news" media would develop some sense of journalistic integrity and just stop interviewing the two of them, period. In case you've been somewhere that you've managed to avoid this fiasco, I'm referring to the Governor of South Carolina and his wife, and their ENDLESS venting of their feelings, his and hers, about his having an affair with his soulmate (his description - puh-leez!), with whom he recently spent a week in Argentina (where she lives) while telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Sanford is a conservative Republican, by the way, a member of the God Squad who, while in Congress, opposed gay civil unions and abortion, among other things. He was, of course, an outspoken critic of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, voting for impeachment and calling for the President to resign, saying, "I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign)... I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he'd be gone."

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, he's not considering resigning, himself. In a message posted on his website, he writes that for God to really work in his life (I'm not making this up!), he (Mark, lover-boy Sanford) needs to stay in office.

Uh-huh. Dunno about you, but when I vote for our elected officials, it's not because I think public office is a way for God to really work in their lives. What a dumb ass. And as if that weren't enough, he will not shut up about it! And now his wife is talking too. At first, I felt sorry for her, especially after he said Maria Chapur is his soulmate, but he's going to "try" to "fall back in love" with his wife. This was in the news conference a couple of days ago in which he mentioned he's "crossed the line" with other women, too. But since Jenny Sanford has taken to quoting the bible in her smarmy comments about the situation, I'd like her to shut up too.

Hank Stuever, who writes about TV and pop culture for The Washington Post, is quoted in the NPR article as saying: "People now spend a considerable amount of time deconstructing what just happened to them," with the result that "our worst instincts are reflected back on ourselves."

The endless press coverage of this sordid story is a textbook illustration of that statement. The Sanfords have four young sons who will no doubt eventually read every word each of their parents is now saying about this miserable situation. If only someone would please point out to these two bible thumpers that those are four excellent reasons for the two of them to shut the hell up.

cross posted at Talking to Myself