Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Phone Call from God

Oh how I wish I could take credit for this.....but Loren Adams gets it all! I found it on TPJmagazine.

Receives a Call from the Almighty

by Loren Adams - December 10, 2008

Gabriel, do me a favor. Would you
dial up George W. Bush for me, please sir?

Your Excellency, do you mean Bush? George Walker Bush, the 43rd U.S. President, the one who stole
elections, lied his country to war, and set the world
on course to depression?

Yeah, that one. I believe his
number at the White House is 202-666-WARS.

rings at the White House; George picks up.]


This is God speaking, George. You
know, "Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the
End, the Everlasting Father, the Almighty...."

Yeah, yeah, I know. I talk to ya every day, hold
Presidential Prayer Breakfasts all the time, attend Bible studies, and pray
lots. I got my instructions to bomb Baghdad from you, remember?

Well, no, son. I never gave you authority to commit a million souls to eternity
in My Name. That's your acquaintance Lucifer's department. Mine is to bring
life and purpose for existence. Have you ever heard of the commandment,
"Thou shalt not kill"?

Why, shucks! I thought you was talkin' - orderin' me to make
war. Does that mean I got it wrong
'bout you wanting me to be president?

Yes, you got that wrong too. Really wrong! Why, no, I never meant for
you to be
president. That's why Albert Gore got the most votes the first time
around and
John Kerry won more votes that weren't counted. I prefer democracy.
And, no, I never ordered you or anyone else to make war in my name.
That's sacrilegious, son. You hear? Blasphemy.

But Daddy & Mommy taught me it was all right to make war -- just so long if
it profits corporations that make people rich and powerful.

No, that was Lucifer talking to you, your friends and relatives, not me. You know the guy -- Beelzebub, Angel of
the Morning, the Prince of Darkness, the Author of Confusion, the Accuser of
the Brethren, the Great Divider & Deceiver, Scratch, Satan, or commonly
known as the Devil? Yeah, that
guy. He's the one who likes wars,
death and destruction. Not me.

Oh. (Long pause) But what about
your son Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers?

You mean you want to compare turning over a few tables in the temple to
mounting wars and murdering millions of people?

Well, I gotta problem. I thought for sure you had ordered me
to bomb Afghanistan. Then
Iraq. Then go after Iran if I get
'nuff time. They had weapons of mass destruction that weren't accounted for and we
didn't know how to find out if they had `em....

So, why didn't you ask me? If they
had them, I'd be the one to know. Inspectors can't see under rocks. I can. I'm your
"source," right? You
claim to have had divine instructions to go to war, yet you didn't have the
same divine intelligence whether or not those weapons were there, right? What it boils down to, you were so
gun-ho about using my name to legitimize war, you didn't ask Me if they had WMD in the first place.

GW: Oh.... (Long pause) Well, I never thought of that.... I just knew that Daddy sold them to Saddam back 25 years ago, so I assumed....

You did what? "Assume"? That's
a 6-letter word — when broken down, the term makes an ASS out of U &
ME. I never "ASSUME"
anything, son. I know. 'Omniscient' -- they describe me.

What about "faith"? I
had "faith" that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was ready
to use them on us. Shouldn't we
act on "faith"?

Now, you're getting your terms mixed up, son. "Faith" is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the
evidence of things not seen, for sure. Did you HOPE for war, or were you just HOPPING to war? "Faith" is referring to
ME! Not some
rusty old weapons out in the middle of the desert that any smart Boy Scout
could verify weren't working for 15 years.
Naw, I believe you were just wanting to play war and see others die because you
never had to face consequences yourself.

What about Saddam? Didn't I do the
right thing catching and having him executed?

You caught him?

I mean, the Kurds caught him a few days before and told our guys where to pick
him up. Then an Iraqi kangaroo court had him hung.

That's better.... No, Saddam was scheduled to depart earth in three years
anyway, according to St. Peter's calendar. So capturing him was just a show for your right-wing
base. I don't mean to jerk the
applause button from under your "accomplishment," but there was no
need. I had it covered.

I thought you told me to strike Saddam....

No, like I said before, that was Satan. Obviously you get voices mixed up. Lucifer disguises his to sound like Mine -- the
peacemaker, when all the time he's out to start wars and kill people. Adolf Hitler claimed to hear from me
all the time he attacked one nation after another, sending 50 million souls to
eternity prematurely. You've
obviously fallen into the same old trap that Adolf did. You get confused by
. You, know, the guys who wanted to make
a new Roman Empire out of America? The guys that planned the war before 9/11? The war profiteers? Out to make a buck on somebody else's

GW: Oh.... (Long pause) Hey, I'm your "faith-based" guy on earth! My pals are uh Ted Haggard and uh Pat
Robertson and uh James Robinson and uh....

Forgive me, but I don't know any of them. Who'd you say they were?

Well, uh, uh, I ASSUMED they were with you! You know, the fundamentalists....

There you go again.... ASSUMING... Fundamentalists think they have a
monopoly on Me; think they have all the answers and
therefore don't have to ask anything these days. For instance, I created the world and universe the
equivalent of billions of earth years, yet the time-span was only days in
My-time. They assume I established
the universe in 24-hour earth-day increments to coincide with their narrow
views. Such stupidity! I confess,
fundamentalists evolved from monkeys.

Now, go tell that to your
political base and see what kind of reaction you get. Makes me almost
want to repent I ever created them. They don't speak for me. I speak
for me. And by the way, I don't
like you serving plastic turkeys on Thanksgiving to my troops. Who's
stupid idea was that?

Karl and Dick do all my planning. Karl told me photo-ops are most important in keeping power. And I, uh,
and I take no responsibility.

Now, how do you propose getting out of this war?

Well, I ... and uh... I don't know, God. Think I'll leave it for the next guy....

Now, that's the smartest thing I've heard you say all day! The next president will be in charge of
cleaning up all your messes. You've stirred up the hornets’ nest but don't have
a clue how to keep the hornets from stinging your people. If you would have studied Proverbs instead of right-wing rags you
wouldn't be crying about a tarnished legacy.

May I ask one last thing, God?

Sure, what is it?

Did I cause the end of the world? Armageddon?

No. I decide the end of the world,
not you. Especially not you! You're not bright enough. Now, get to packing so the next
president can come in and start trying to repair the damage you've made! And remember: I never order anyone to
make war and murder. The thief
comes not but to steal, kill, deceive, and destroy, but I have come to bring
life more abundantly. He that
loves not, does not know me, for I am the source of
all love. Have you not read the Bible I gave you?

Original article is here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

30-mile pile a symbol of FEMA delays

This is disgusting!
30-mile pile a symbol of FEMA delays

SMITH POINT, Texas - A 30-mile scar of debris
along the Texas coast stands as a festering testament to what state and
local officials say is FEMA's sluggish response to the 2008 hurricane

Two and a
half months after Hurricane Ike blasted the shoreline, alligators and
snakes crawl over vast piles of shattered building materials, lawn
furniture, trees, boats, tanks of butane and other hazardous
substances, thousands of animal carcasses, perhaps even the corpses of
people killed by the storm.

and local officials complain that the removal of the filth has gone
almost nowhere because FEMA red tape has held up both the cleanup work
and the release of the millions of dollars that Chambers County says it
needs to pay for the project.

FEMA says they are working as fast as they can, given the red tape and regulations. Apparently they have to figure out who's land it is before they can clean it up!

The federal government is responsible for public lands or hazardous
waste, while private landowners must handle their own cleanup but can
apply for assistance. Much of the debris has been left to rot while
crews determine whose land the junk is on and what's in it.

What?? After a storm like Ike? Shouldn't this be a case where the government goes in, does what needs to be done. It's not just a matter of debris, there are also chemicals and animal remains in this mess!

Mold is a danger after disasters like this. We all remember pictures of New Orleans after Katrina. This is also an area where mold can take off overnight, and this debris is wet from the storms, and the area is still warm enough to promote the growth of mold.

This is disgusting! Will January 20 ever get here?

Link to full article

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Get another job or turn in your license!

Recently, in an effort to push through as much as possible before leaving office, Mr Bush has passed an abortion ruling that will "sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds" It will prevent anyone receiving federal moneys from discriminating against anyone who doesn't want to participate in these areas due to religious or moral convictions. The fear is that this is going to empower pharmacists and others who take the same stance with birth control, the day after pill, etc as they do with abortion.

With this ruling, there is an increased chance that a woman in an ER that has been raped will not be given the choice of getting a prescription to Plan B ("the morning after pill"), or a woman going to a local pharmacy (maybe the only one in her neighborhood or for miles around) being refused when trying to fill such a prescription, or even a woman being refused birth control pills! Simply because the person she deals with is against abortion, birth control, etc.'s my real problem with all of this. These people should get out of the business or at least find another job! If you do not want to, or cannot perform these duties, find another job. Simple.

I am a RN, and have been for over 32 years. As a RN it was my duty to follow doctors orders, even if I disagreed with them, unless I knew it would cause a patient harm. For example, a patient comes into an ER with flu symptoms. This patient has no other medical diabetes or heart disease, no chronic conditions, pretty much a healthy adult with the flu. If the ER doc orders an antibiotic, which is useless against viral infections I must administer it. I can argue with the doc, but if he insists and writes the order, I am required to follow it. Now change the story to a person with a known allergy to penicillin and a doctor's order for penicillin, well now it is my duty to refuse to give the medication. The difference is that in the case with the allergy there is a very good chance this prescription will cause harm, while giving it for the flu with no allergy will not likely cause harm.

Now, what would happen if, in the first case, I refused to give the medication? At the very least I would be disciplined, at worst I could be fired.

I have a cousin that is a Jehovah's Witness. She doesn't believe in receiving blood or blood made products. She should she be able to refuse to give a patient a unit of blood? It is her religious belief that no one should be given blood products....but how long do you think it would take for her to be fired if she claimed it was against her religion?

I have no problem with people having religious convictions. I just have a problem with them imposing those convictions on others.

If a doctor or nurse doesn't want to be involved in abortions or birth control or the morning after pill, they shouldn't work in areas where those issues will arise. If a pharmacist has a problem with birth control or Plan B they should get into another business.

Friday, November 14, 2008



I almost cried when I read this article today: 
Acid attack keeps Afghan girls away from school

Men on motorcycles splashed acid on young women (girls actually) who were apparently going to school. Simply because they were headed to school, to learn, they were attacked, viciously attacked. Men with bottles filled with acid stopped and threw it at groups of girls on their way to school. Some of them were with teachers. Some of the girls were lucky, but at least one will be scarred for life and one still cannot see....she may be blind for life.

Horrible, disgusting. But it's even worse. This was a planned attack. According to MSNBC, at the same time, in 3 different places men on motorcycles attacked girls simply because they were going to school. A planned attack!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Olbermann: Gay marriage is a question of love

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."

Monday, October 27, 2008

The future of health care?

No matter who wins the presidency, there will be some major changes in health care in the coming years.....are they going to get it right?

I have been a Registered Nurse (RN) for over 32 years (ugh!) and have worked in several different areas. My first job was working with handicapped and developmentally delayed children, then I worked general medical and surgical floors in a couple of fairly large suburban and urban hospitals. I've worked in cardiac and intensive care as well as a cardiac monitoring center. I've worked in dozens of nursing homes. In addition to direct patient care, I've done utilization review and case management for an insurance company, a physician's group and a large, nationally known hospital. Currently I work for a company that has several electronic products for doctors, nurses, case managers and others in health care fields.

I've also been an avid reader and researcher of several medical issues including new drugs, vaccines, and devices; the pharmaceutical industry; the management of diseases like heart disease and diabetes; and various other health related issues. With the Internet it is possible to get more information and varying opinions, which allows one to make informed opinions.

It's very disconcerting to see some of the issues and realize that the very people that are making these bad policies are likely going to be the ones that will advise our next president. The very people that advocate drugs, drugs and more drugs are going to be making their recommendations. The people that are advocating treating diabetics with high carbohydrate diets, the people that are in favor of treating cholesterol levels that have no influence on heart disease, the people that are claiming fat is bad for us and grains are good, and the people that want to vaccinate everyone against everything (even if the vaccine isn't effective or the risk is minor).....these are the people that are going to be having their say about what the future of health care should be.

Are we going to hear from the people that have been damaged by unnecessary and/or ineffective treatment? Are we going to hear from those that have serious doubts about the healthfulness of certain diets? Are we going to hear from those that believe that currently the health care industry is broken? That the FDA. ADA, AMA and others are in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry? Probably not.....and even if we do, they will be the minority and ignored.

Our costs are out of control because of poor policies. Our costs are out of control because anyone with insurance can get almost any test, drug or device they want. Our costs are out of control because there is too much emphasis on something that doesn't matter (high blood cholesterol) while something else is ignored (high blood sugar), and the ignored factor is much more dangerous and damaging!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Does this make sense? I went to the local library today to register to vote....yea I know it's late, the deadline (tomorrow) kinda snuck up on me.

So anyway, I go into the library, get a form, fill it out, seal it and give it to one of the clerks. Nice, simple, no problem.

Now.....I figure as long as I'm there I should ask for a new library card. Here in NC the cards are by county, and I've moved to a new county.

So, I go back to the clerk, who pulls up something on her computer, asks for a photo ID and at least 1 item that shows my current address....and a phone number.

So I can vote by just filling out a form, but I have to prove who I am to borrow a book??

Monday, September 22, 2008

Economy fears

Is anyone else out there as nervous as I am about this economic disaster as I am?

Last fall I sold my house in an effort to prevent loosing it. I wasn't behind in payments, although I had been a year earlier. I had a lot of debt, but none of it credit cards, and most of it medical, and a big portion as a result of taking care of (some would say bailing out) my adult son. I don't have a great credit history, but I have always paid my debt in full, I have never tried to deal with those I owed, I just paid what was due as I felt I should. (I did have 1 medical bill "disappear" several years ago and I never checked up on was my ex's responsibility but I know he didn't pay it)

So anyway, I sold my house because money had gotten tight and I was feeling like I was paying for a whole lot of house that I didn't need. My house was 7 rooms (3/2) and I only used 4 of them. It was expensive to heat and cool and needed some work....a lot of work. My son still lived with me and once he left I would be down to 3 rooms, less than 1/2 the house....but all except 1 room had to be heated and cooled because of the layout. I also, truthfully, wanted my son to move out.

Because my house needed work and I was unable to get a loan to fix it up, I ended up selling to a nice young man who planned to fix it up and eventually sell it. Most of what it needed was cosmetic, but it also needed big things like windows and a new deck. I was not unhappy with the price I got....not happy, but not unhappy. It was the beginning of the market failure here in NC and I was just glad to get rid of it.

I had another house all lined up, but was unable to get a loan, due mostly to the sub-prime debacle, which was just starting to make the news. I wasn't a holder of a sub-prime loan, but because of the whole issue banks were not happy to loan to people without stellar credit....and mine wasn't. I ended up giving up on the house and moved into an apartment. (I got approved finally the day after I gave up the house, which made me think it was an omen) I'm still in the apartment, and not expecting to be out soon. The housing market here in NC is definitely a buyer's market, but no one is giving loans and there's a change in the wind with work. work. The company I work for is the latest in a long list of companies.....the first one that I worked for sold our division, to a company that then sold us to another....and now that company is merging with an even larger company....but this merger is being effected by the financial crisis. The bank that was all set to guarantee the loan involved in the merger is one of the biggies that has recently requested (and denied) assistance from the feds in order to keep their business afloat. So until this is settles, apparently our merger is on hold. Everything has been done....all the paperwork has been approved, all the approvals have been given and all the appropriate hoops have been cleanly jumped through....but without that guarantee the merger will not take place. Oh yea....the building we're in has been sold and no one knows what will happen if we don't merge and move to the new company offices...offices that will not likely be available unless and until the merger takes place.

I am single and live alone....just me and my 2 dogs. I have some significant medical issues which cost a fair amount, but not as bad as many people (and many on much lower incomes). Right now I live close to work so I spend little on gas, but if our office moves my travel will be about 5 times the distance and 10 times the aggravation. I can stop eating out, which really isn't all that often lately.....I can cut back on some food....and I guess I'll have to do with the clothes I have. As long as I have a job, I have no fear that I'll starve or become homeless.

As long as I have a job. That is a scary thing to think of when you're in your mid-50s and not in perfect health. Is my job at risk? I don't think so. Will it be if this financial problem isn't handled right? I don't know. Do I have faith that our government will do it right and fix it properly....well, that I'm not so sure of.

I do NOT understand all of what is going on. I have a fair understanding of how banks and businesses work with borrowing and loaning and depreciating etc, but I am by no means an expert. I have stock, but it's company stock and pretty much just sits there. I also have a little stock related to my retirement, and so far that's holding fairly steady.

But if this isn't done right we can be thrown into a severe recession and possibly even depression. What really scared me was hearing last week a financial expert say that we would only go into a depression if "we really worked at it".....and that if anyone could throw the company into a depression, it would be the guy that is currently in charge!

I hope this is done right....and the next administration is able to do something to get us out from under the massive debt we have incurred over the past 7 years!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm Voting Republican!

The video is excellent....but if you can't watch, go here for a text summary.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A new Special Comment from Keith Olbermann.

A new Special Comment from Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann: McCain should know better
Context and decency elude the GOP presidential nominee
By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
updated 9:23 p.m. ET, Thurs., June. 12, 2008

Tonight, a Special Comment on Sen. John McCain’s conclusion that it’s "not too important" when American forces come home from Iraq.

Thoughts, offered more in sorrow, than in anger. For two full days now, the Senator and his supporters have been outraged at what they see as the subtraction of context from this extraordinary remark.

This is, sadly, the excuse of our time, for everything. Still. If the Senator claims truncation, we will correct that, first.

"A lot of people," Matt Lauer began, "now say the surge is working."

"Anybody who knows the facts on the ground say that," the Senator interjected.

"If it’s now working, Senator," Lauer continued, "do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?"

"No," answered McCain. "But that’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea. Americans are in Japan. American troops are in Germany.

That’s all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw. We will be able to withdraw. General Petraeus is going to tell us in July when he thinks we are. But the key to it is we don’t want any more Americans in harm’s way. And that way they will be safe, and serve our country, and come home with honor and victory — not in defeat, which is what Sen. [Barack] Obama’s proposal would have done. And I’m proud of them, and they’re doing a great job. And we are succeeding. And it’s fascinating that Sen. Obama still doesn’t realize it."

And there is the context of what Sen. McCain said. Well, not quite, Senator.

The full context is that the Iraq you see, is a figment of your imagination. This is not a war about "honor and victory," Sir. This is a war you, and the President you support and seek to succeed, conned this nation into.

Yes, sir. You.

Of the prospect of war in Iraq, you said, "I believe that success will be fairly easy –" John McCain., September 24, 2002.

"I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time –" John McCain, September 29, 2002.

Of the ouster of Saddam and the Baathists: "There’s no doubt in my mind that once these people are gone, that we will be welcomed as liberators – " John McCain, March 24, 2003.

Asked, about a long-term commitment in Iraq, "are you talking about something in terms of South Korea, for instance, where you would expect U.S. troops to be in Iraq for decades?"

"No," you answered. "I don’t think decades, but I think years. A little straight talk, I think years. And I hope that we can gradually reduce that presence – " John McCain, March 18, 2004.

You were asked about the troops, and the future.

"I would hope that we could bring them all home. I would hope that we would probably leave some military advisers, as we have in other countries, to help them with their training and equipment and that kind of stuff."

"…I think one of our big problems has been the fact that many Iraqis resent American military presence. And I don’t pretend to know exactly Iraqi public opinion. But as soon as we can reduce our visibility as much as possible, the better I think it is going to be – " John McCain, January 31, 2005.

When a speaker at your town hall, five months ago, referenced the President’s forecast that we might stay in Iraq for 50 years, you cut him off.

"Make it a hundred! We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea 50 years or so. That would be fine with me. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. That’s fine by me … – " John McCain, January 3, 2008.

And your forecast of your hypothetical first term.

"By January, 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq war has been won – " John McCain, May 15, 2008.

That, Sen. McCain, is context.

You have attested to: a fairly easy success; an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time; in which we would be welcomed as liberators; which you assured us would not require our troops stay for decades but merely for years; from which we could bring them all home, since you noted many Iraqis resent American military presence; in which all those troops coming home will also stay there, not being injured, for a hundred years; but most will be back by 2013; and the timing of their return, is not that important.

That, Sen. McCain, is context.

And that, Sen. McCain, is madness.

The Government Accountability Office just released a study Tuesday that concludes that one out of every ten soldiers sent to Iraq, takes with them medical problems "severe enough to significantly limit their ability to fight."

In five years, we have now sent 43-thousand of them to war even though, they were already wounded.

And when they come home, is not that important.

Jalal al Din al Sagir, a member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and Ali al Adeeb, of the rival Dawa Political Party, gave a series of interviews last week about the particulars of this country’s demand for a "Status of Forces," agreement with Iraq, a treaty which Mr. Bush does not intend to show Congress before he signs it.

The Iraqi politicians say the treaty demands Iraq’s consent to the establishment of nearly double the number of U.S. military bases in Iraq,from about 30, to 58, and from temporary, to permanent.

Those will be American men and women who must, of necessity, staff these bases - staff them, in Mr. McCain’s MCEscher dream world in which our people can all come home while they stay there for a hundred years but they’ll be back by 2013.

And when they come home, is not that important.

Last year, a 20-year old soldier from the Bronx, on the day of his re-deployment to a second tour in Iraq, said he just couldn’t face the smell of burning flesh again. So, Jonathan Aponte paid a hit man 500 dollars... to shoot him in the knee.

Mount Sinai Hospital in New York reported treating a patient identifying himself as another Iraq-bound soldier, who claimed he had accidentally swallowed a pen at the bus station. No one doubted his story until examinations proved there was a second pen in his stomach bearing the logo of Greyhound Bus Lines.

In 2006, says his sister, a 24-year old Army Specialist from Washington State, on the eve of his second deployment, strapped a pack full of tools to his back, and then jumped off the roof of his house, injuring his spine.

And when they come home or more correctly all those like them who did not risk death or disability to avoid going back, when they come home, is not that important.

You’ve sold them all out, Senator. You.

You, whose sacrifice for this country was as all-encompassing and as horrible as the rest of us can only imagine in our darkest moments.

You, who survived, so that you could make America a better place where young men did not have to go and die in pointless wars or be maimed or be held prisoner or have to hire hit-men to shoot them in the knee because that couldn’t be worse.

You, who should know better.

Where, Senator, is the man who once said "veterans hate war more than anyone else, because veterans know, because veterans know these brave Americans, and others, know, that there is nothing more painful than the loss of a comrade."

Where is he, Sir? Where is the man who described that ineffable truth?

Oh, so long ago you touched the essence of the reality of Iraq. Your comments about your lost comrades, yesterday.

The men and women in Iraq, today, Senator, they are your comrades, too.

And you are condemning them to die.

To die, for your misdirection, for Mr. Bush’s lies, for whoever makes the money off building 58 permanent American bases and all the weapons and all the bullets and all the wiring so costly and so slip-shod that it electrocutes our comrades as they step, not to fight freedom’s enemies, but into the shower at the base.

That, Senator, that is context.

It is an easy thing to dismiss Sen. McCain as a sad and befuddled figure, already challenging for some kind of campaign record for malaprops.

Just yesterday in Philadelphia he answered Sen. Obama, not by defending or explaining his own "not that important" remark, but by seizing upon Obama’s "bitter" remark - or trying to.

Obama had foolishly said that some, in despair, in small towns, cling to their religion and their guns.

Sen. McCain vowed he’d go to those towns and tell them, "I don’t agree with Senator Obama that they cling to their religion and the Constitution because they’re bitter."

It was hard not to dismiss with a laugh, Sen. McCain, or any Republican, for even accidentally implying that he’s clung to the Constitution, not after the last seven years.

It was hard, the day before, not to become almost bemused when the Senator tried to say he would veto every single bill with ear-marks, but wound up, instead, vowing "I will veto every single beer."

It was hard, this week, not to laugh at how Sen. McCain could offer any serious defense against the accusation that he is running for President Bush’s third term, when a 2006 interview suddenly surfaced in which McCain said he would consider Dick Cheney for a position in a McCain administration.

"I don’t know if I would want him as Vice President. He and I have the same strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah."

These are all very funny, in a macabre yet unthreatening way.

And then one remembers Sen. McCain’s inability to separate Sunni and Shia, or his insistence that Iran is training Al Qaida for service in Iraq, and then being corrected about it, and then saying the same thing again anyway.

And then one is, inevitably, drawn back again to the overlooked substance of yesterday’s remark...

"If (the surge) is now working, Senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?"



The surge is working and even that still tells Sen. McCain nothing about when we can ransom our soldiers?

Wasn’t that the ultimate purpose of the surge? To get them out?

If we cannot tell, if McCain cannot even guess, doesn’t that, by definition, mean... the surge isn’t working?

And ultimately we are drawn back to the "not... too... important" remark, in its full context:

The context of the kaleidoscope of confused rhetoric, and endless non sequitur, and mutually exclusive conclusions—and what they add up to: a veritable tragedy, a microcosm of the American tragedy that is Iraq, a tragedy of a man who himself will never understand… "the context."

Your tragedy, Sen. McCain?

No. I’m sorry.

This tragedy is of Justin Mixon of Bogalusa, Louisiana. And it’s of Christopher McCarthy of Virginia Beach. It’s of Quincy Green of El Paso, and Joshua Waltenbaugh of Ford City, P.A. The tragedy is of Shane Duffy of Taunton Mass, and Jonathan Emard of Mesquite, Texas. It’s of Cody Legg of Escondido in California, and David Hurst of Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The tragedy is of Thomas Duncan the 3rd of Rowlett, Texas, and Tyler Pickett of Saratoga, Wyoming.

And who are they, Senator?

They are ten Americans, who have died in Iraq since the first of this month. There are four more. The Defense Department has not yet identified the others.

And while you, Senator, may ask for all the context you can get, those ten men... will never know any of it.

Because the true context here, is that if you could ask those American war heroes, or the family and the friends that loved them, if they have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq…

They could rightly say, "No. But that’s… not… too… important."


Monday, May 12, 2008

RA and PRA diagnosis

RA and PRA diagnosis This blog is mainly about low carb eating and living what I consider to be a truly healthful lifestyle. I also (since it's mine and I make the decisions) posted a few times on political issues and other topics unrelated (seemingly at least) to low carb. This is one of those posts. I'm posting thing for several reasons. First off, I feel like have almost have an obligation to my readers (there aren't many of you, but you seem to be faithful) to explain what's been going on in my life and preventing me from posting as much as I'd like. There are many other reasons for this post, including wanting to get some links out there for people that may stumble on this. I have found online support extremely important for me since I started following a lob carb lifestyle. I only have 1 close friend and no family near me as I live in NC and they all live in New England, about 700 miles away. Finding the online support I have found with low carb makes me believe that this can be helpful for all kinds of issues. About two to two and a half years ago I started having trouble with joints being very painful. There were times my ring finder on my left hand would ache, then a day later that was fine and my right shoulder would hurt. A few days later it would be my right ankle, or my left knee, or my left ankle....or my toes, or shoulders, hips, etc. Each time the pain would be moderate to severe, but only last for a day, maybe a day and a half. There were times when the pain seemed to travel from one joint to the next, other times it would go away and I'd be fine for weeks. At this point there was never any redness, swelling, or signs of inflammation, just pain (5-8 on a scale of 10). One day my right foot started bothering me....the outer ankle area. It rapidly progressed to the point where I had trouble walking. I slept little that night and had a lot of trouble just getting to the bathroom. I had a Percocette, so I took it and was able to sleep, but the pain was constant. The next day I went to Urgent care (didn't have a Primary Care doctor, PCP, at that time) and when I got there, discovered the ankle was now red, hot and swollen, very swollen. The first doc told me it was gout, then the second doc (his supervisor) decided it was just inflammation from an injury I didn't realize I'd had and it should be fine in a few days. That night the pain went away almost as quickly as it came on. The next day I was able to finally get an appointment with a new PCP, but still had to wait a couple of months. During that time, the joint pains continued to come and go. The worst is the shoulders....did you know it's tough to move without moving your shoulders? The wrist and hand isn't good, typing, getting dressed is difficult when every movement hurts. Eventually I started seeing more and more signs of obvious inflammation. I'd wake up and my right index finger would be swollen to almost twice it's size. I'd be fine and out of the blue my shoulder would start hurting, eventually getting to the point of tears. I had no idea what was going on, but of course started to look up symptoms online, having Rheumatoid in the back of my mind, but finding what I could to "prove" that I didn't have RA! RA hits joints on both sides of the body....some of my joints hurt on both sides, but hardly ever at the same time....and often only the joint on one side would hurt. Well, eventually I had my appointment with my PC, but of course had no symptoms that day. I told him about it and he sounded concerned, but didn't know what it was. He told me to call and try to come back if I had any obvious signs of inflammation. I did, about 2 weeks later. When I went in with symptoms, he immediately told me I needed to see a specialist, had a bunch of blood drawn and set up an appointment with a Rheumatologist. I went to see the Rheumatologist, who had my blood work and was told I had an autoimmune disease, Palindromic Rheumatoid Arthritis. The "rheumy" explained that PRA moves from joint to joint, sometimes shows signs of inflammation but sometimes doesn't, and comes and goes erratically. Wow! That was exactly what I had! He also explained that, like RA, they really didn't know the cause, so they treat it like RA and sometimes get good results. He also ordered more blood work, including a second RA factor, and added a few more tests. When I went back to see him a couple of months later, he ordered Plaquenil for me, but I was unable to tolerate it. In January I finally called and got an early appointment and when I saw the doc I asked for something else, as well as some pain medication. I was prescribed Doxycycline and Oxycodone. I filled both prescriptions January 18th and started taking the Doxy that night. Over the next few weeks, things didn't change, pains came and went, sometimes swelling, but mostly not. Then the pain got more severe, more frequent, and lasting longer in each joint. And then after a few weeks"intestinal side effects" kicked in. Oh man, I felt like I'd been on a bender....and I don't even drink very often (um, like 2-3 times a year!). Eventually I figured out it was the Doxy and stopped taking it. Apparently this stuff destroys a good amount of the "good" bacteria that live in our guts and you need to take probiotics on a regular basis to keep from having side effects. Right around this time I found a couple of sites about RA and PRA that have information about autoimmune diseases as well as support forums. The sites aren't "official" sites, but are set up by people that are themselves living with one of more of these diseases. All of the "official" sites have the same info. If you go to Web MD or Prevention, or any of the RA organization sites you basically see the same information. There is almost no information about natural, nutritional, or alternative treatments. Antibiotic treatment is apparently not widely accepted, but being found to have excellent results in some people. Eventually, with the help of probiotics, and the wonderful people on the support boards, I was able to tolerate the antibiotic....somewhat. I still have to stop it from time to time, but all in all I'm doing well with it. Now, I don't know if it's working or can take 3-6 months or more before you know if it's working or not. The beginning of March I gave in and asked (begged) my doc for steroids and that has helped a lot.....but it's also now wearing off and the symptoms are coming back. The good thing about having PR is that there usually isn't any joint damage like you see with RA. The bad thing is the degree of pain! I'm told that PR pain is worse than any other....and I sure won't argue with that. I cannot believe how much this can hurt!! So...that's where I am now, and what I've been going through the past few months. Right now I have sore joints and occasionally one will flare up to the point where I want to take a pain med. I am trying to not take them unless I have no choice.....but that's not always possible. I'm still taking the antibiotic, and still hoping it is helping. I imagine when I see my doc this week he'll order more blood work, and hopefully that will show an improvement. I want to post a couple of sites for those with RA, PR and other auto-immune (AI) diseases: International Palindromic Rheumatism Society: An excellent site that has been created by a man with PR. There is a ton of info on there and even a support forum. Tender joints R.A.I.S.E.D. (Rheumatoid Arthritis Information, Support, & Educated Determination): a forum for those with various AI diseases.