Sunday, September 25, 2005

9/24/05 24th Street and Camelback Road

We settled in on the northwest corner to be in the shade. That's one of the really nice things about tall buildings, and it's why I think we need a lot more here: they make shade, of which we have too little.

The Code Pink ladies were there, some of whom are apparently of highschool age. Generally speaking most of the crowd was what you might call "older," but all ages were represented. My favorite sign, carried by a young lad, read "Kindergartners for Peace."

You have to stop and let that sink in.

A reporter from the local Fox affiliate (I think I linked the right one, but I did see a lot of faces,) asked to interview me on camera and I quickly and politely got in all my talking points, assuring that my image will be left on the floor of the editing room. I mentioned how the cost of the war would personally come to bear on her, and she said "Wow. And I just bought a house."

My spouse was also interviewed. A Code Pink lady tapped my shoulder to tell me she thought I "did really well" and I thanked her very much.

Everybody got a laugh out of the Billionaires for Bush. Some looked a little warm in their black tuxedos. They had funny signs and slogans like "Corporations Are People Too" and "Leave No Billionaire Behind."

Their humorous street theatre contrasted with the profound impression made by the Women in Black and the people carrying white crosses, one cross for each Arizonan who has so far died on the field of Bush's crazy dreams of war.

Hats off to the Phoenix Police. The city's finest cleared the curb lanes of 24th Street and Camelback west of the Biltmore as a safety precaution while we strolled down to Senator Kyl's office. (No link for Kyl, because he won't respond to any of your e-mail anyway. Well, maybe if you give him cash, but I have never done that.)

One of the bicycle policemen said "Next year!" as we walked by. "I have to retire, then I'll be with you next year."

There was a reading of the names of Arizona's war dead, and a presentation of a letter to Kyl. Can that guy even read? Or is he dyslexic like Bush?

People honked their car horns and made peace signs. The crowd stretched, in a very well-organized and efficient manner thanks to The People With Bullhorns, to the 22nd Street intersection and crossed over to the south side of Camelback, stopping between the corporate steakhouse and 24th. There a car blocked that loading-area drive (why did she stop there? I wondered. It doesn't go anywhere,) and the woman in it dared us to "touch her car." A policeman politely said she could not block the drive, and she left. In a huff.

There were still protestors waiting to leave the original corner. Both sides of Camelback for two whole blocks were lined three-deep with people and their signs.

A driver gave a one-fingered salute that seemed to just glance off me, as it looked like he was aiming it more towards the two highschool girls next to us. Weirdo. There was very little of that, actually, and when it did occur the crowd immediately responded with a loud chant of "Enlist! Enlist!"

It was all very normal. About the wierdest thing I saw, aside from the pink-tutu guy (every party has to have at least one of those!) was a Prius driver who gave us the finger. Beemers and Jags, I could expect that maybe, though most drivers of those models honked and waved peace signs too. But a Hybrid driver? That I did not get.

Many thanks to all the groups and individuals who I have failed to mention.

Veterans for Peace
Arizona Alliance for Peaceful Justice
Cost of War

And many, many others.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Necessary Rumors

The Navy Times reports that members of Congress are considering cuts in healthcare services provided to members of the military, among other things such as cuts to CDC funding (brilliant,) to "offset" money to help pay for rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.

Well, that's one way of looking at it. It's all spin, of course, because the real reason behind these cuts is to maintain the exhorbitant, unnecessary, and counter-productive tax cuts given to the richest one-percent of wealthiest people among us.

These tax cuts are also supported by the Chinese, who purchase U.S. debt. They loan us money which we use to buy cheap Chinese-made stuff, increasing their production to "bubble economy" levels of growth.

At one time, China's autarkic economy protected it from outside influence. But along with this week's figures on economic growth came another ominous big number. From once being nearly self-sufficient in oil, China is now the second biggest oil importer in the world - and is on the verge of needing massive coal imports as well. The China Bubble has expanded to a point where it will soon reach the sharp edges of infrastructural capacity and reckless over-investment to the point of over-production. That is when bubbles burst.


American companies may have forgotten what Henry Ford propounded when he first built his Model T: If you do not pay high enough wages to your workers, they can't afford to buy your product. One simple basis for that Bush boom is that China is recycling its US$100 billion-plus trade surplus with the US back into dollars, and especially into US Treasury bonds. Almost half of the US Treasury bonds are now owned in Asia. So China is financing Bush's bold economic experiment: running two or more wars simultaneously with a huge budget and trade deficit, and equally huge tax handouts for the richest Americans.

The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Meanwhile the perfect storms, both meteorlogical and economic, gather strength. Storms that do not discriminate, as do United States tax policies, according to one's social and economic class.

Tell me again why it is said that the majority of our service people support the Bush administration, even as it again cuts support for them? It must be some blind ideological cult-of-personality thing, which I do not understand.

So why is all this occuring? Why does our debt pile up, while our soldiers die endlessly, while our leaders let down those they are sworn to support?

Well, maybe it's because our President is a drunk.

We would not need rumors if the mainstream media were doing its job. Unfortunately, Bush has never been thoroughly confronted about his admitted problems with alcohol and cocaine, among perhaps other things. And it is not known that he has ever sought treatment for these dysfunctions. The press remains codependent on this matter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


A friend at work loaned me a copy of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. I'm up to the part where she's working in WalMart, and she just had her shift changed. She's wondering if she should take one or both of her closely-monitored 15-minute breaks before the dinner hour, or afterwards.

Do I take both before dinner, which is usually about 7:30, leaving an unbroken two-and-a-half-hour stretch when I'm weariest, between 8:30 and 11:00? Or do I try to go two-and-a-half hours without a break in the afternoon, followed by a nearly three-hour marathon before I can get away for dinner? (Page 163 of the paperback.)

She wonders. I laugh. Hah! I say to your break dilemma.

I get a "lunch" break sometime during my 12-hour shift (which often stretches to 13 or 14 hours,) if I am lucky, and if I only take three or four phone calls during "lunch" I consider myself luckier still.

Usually I go from a little before 7 a.m. until about 2 p.m. (7 ceaseless hours of incredible stress,) before I am able to report off to some other starving entity and slip into the back room, still on the unit at which I work, and cram down a quick meal. Then I'm off for another 5 hours of being in four places at once until the next shift arrives.

The "covering nurse" does nothing for my patients while I am away shoving food down my gullet while fielding calls to radiology and the cath lab, because they are busy enough with their own assignment. But if one of my patients throws an embolism and codes, they come get me. That is what is meant by "coverage."

Often I am called from my pleasant repast to medicate a patient for pain, send one off to a procedure, or otherwise interrupt my unpaid meal time.

I come back from lunch with 20 minutes of tall fresh weeds growing up around me.

After reading Ehrenreich, briefly I ponder the sheer luck of WalMart associates, for they get breaks.

(On later edit: the link expired, but originally it was to a story about Wal-Mart workers bringing a legal case against the company for making them work through breaks and also making them perform unpaid overtime work.)

Then I pause to consider that they make $7 an hour, and I make something like $30 before calculating the value of my various benefits. It's a math thing.

What a depressing book. How I wish I could do more for my fellow working-class Americans, but to chastise them for their stupid and timid political leanings. But to tip well, which I do unerringly. But to treat them with utmost linguistic respect under all circumstances.

Sigh. But to mourn my working-class college-deprived parents. (They met in their freshman year, got married, dropped out, and bought 4 or 5 houses on 1960's wages, back when we as an affluent society actually rewarded people for their work.)

I am so glad that I am not a Republican.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Clamming Question

Imagine that you are an 82-year-old man and you once lost one of the things that is most important in your life.

Then you go to dig clams.

You find the treasure that you lost. A shrimplate moment.

Question: do you continue digging clams, or do you go home immediately?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Menthols On Belay

Let's say his name is "Trevor." Nice distinguished name, that. Like a character on that television show Frasier or something.

He was in his fifties and only the Great Buddha of Aging Homeless Alcoholics knows how he got to be even that age without succumbing to personal disaster or disease. They say he basically lived on the streets because he either had no family or had no family that would admit to knowing him anymore.

He had fallen and broken a hip. Probably due to inebriation, but as he had an episode of rapid atrial fibrillation while with us, treated by a cardizem drip, I suppose it's possible he fell during a syncopal episode brought on by such an arrythmia. Such a story sure worked out to benefit Joe Scarborough after the death in his office of his aide Lori Klausutis a while back. So why not a drunk who fell down using this defense also? See? I am such a patient advocate.

Then again maybe the sun got in his eyes. Maybe he choked on a pretzel.

I liked Trevor. He did his incentive spirometry all by himself. Usually us nurses have to brandish whips to persuade patients to do that. He was polite and behaved decently most of the time.

Usually. Good thing I have my nurse-spider-sense, otherwise known as rank cynicism, to assist in those times when "usually" does not apply.

Something told me (see above) to walk by his room before going upstairs to return the patient-controlled-anelgesia key I borrowed from another unit. I had promised to "bring it right back." So they weren't expecting me for another few hours anyways. Hospital time.

Trevor had an abductor pillow strapped between his legs and sequential compression devices strapped on, too. Plus had had an IV line running and an oxygen nasal cannula.

All those things are belaying devices that are commonly used to provide safety for bedridden hospital patients.

Anyways, Trevor had to go to the bathroom and decided that the nurse call light button that was lying annoyingly on his belly wasn't necessary, as he could easily just climb over the bedrails and drag all the belaying equipment with him without the help of nursing staff.

I caught him just in time. Pure luck. Help arrived and we got everything undone and used a wheeled walker to get him into the water-closet. He was tired after that and dozed off when we settled him back into bed.

Later he wanted to do the same thing only to go out to smoke a cigarette. That was during a blood transfusion. He was down a couple pints after the hip replacement surgery. I didn't let him go out to smoke, naturally, and he said he wanted a different nurse and told me I was "too strict."

As if I expected him to listen to reason, I politely explained to Trevor that as he had just had his hip fracture repaired, and was getting a blood transfusion, as well as a run of intravenous antibiotics, and supplemental oxygen therapy for his wheezy lungs, (one of which had just been drained of fluid during a CAT-scan guided thoracentesis, incidentally,) and along with the mobility limitations that occur subsequent to hip damage and surgical repair, (also one must note that because he was uninsured all this was paid for by your insurance premiums and tax dollars,) that going outside to smoke was just mathematically impossible.

He laughed. I had meant for him to do so.

We served up his meal, and later I saw him using his incentive spirometry device again.

These should come tobacco-flavored. Menthol, too. Then maybe somebody besides Trevor would use them voluntarily.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

What Isn't There

For some reason the television was turned on. Usually we listen to radio in the morning. Typically I am in front of the computer. Whatever. It was switched on and we saw the first tower burning. I recall wondering where the Air Force was hiding when we watched the second plane smash into the other tower.

Something else I remember thinking was "where are the engines?" when the smoking hole in the Pentagon was shown. It's so easy to say that, but I recall this distinctly. I said it out loud. And the Pentagon hole looked too small to me. I know nothing about engines but that these are quite big. I thought they would have made their own holes.

I didn't have to work that day. My spouse did. I do not remember whether or not my young one stayed home. Did we take her to her Children's Academy thinking that the television would be on for much of the day? Or did she stay home with me? I vaguely recall that we swam in the pool that day, to get out, but I could be wrong. I think that is right because of the relative quietness around the apartment complex.

When the towers fell we said to one another that it so resembled a controlled demolition. A little later we turned it off and my spouse drove to work.

For a few weeks the young one had fears, and she would say "the lights" and point up. Only after probing with questions did we come to realize how much she understood of what she had seen of it. Because we "come from New York" she somehow identified with the place, even though we were not from the city.

We lived less than a mile north of the approach path of the north runway for the airport. So we were accustomed to hearing jets going in and out all day. The quiet of Sky Harbor was itself a notable presence for those few days. That is why I think we swam that day. Because later there were no jets. And nobody else at the pool.

That's what I noticed the most. The lack of noise, the absence of defensive measures, juxtaposed with the sudden elevation of a flailing Bush presidency in the polls.

We still don't know where the heck Kennedy's brain is. Speaking of a conspicuous absence.

Reverse Star

The story, just a rumor, really, but reliable, goes like this: their dog got sick, so they took him to the veterinarian. The doctor found that the poor canine had been bitten, probably by a roof rat, because these have recently been seen around the apartment complex in which the family lives.

Because the dog was so sick, and also because the infectious disease that was causing the dog to suffer can be spread perhaps too easily from animals to humans, they destroyed the pet. It had bubonic plague.

In light of the recent storms, those of you who think of yourselves as optimistic glass-half-full types may consider investing in companies that make things like these. Though there was a mandatory evacuation of the drowned city under Lake George, it was after all only an evacuation of (warning: links to a News Corporation site) people. Pets were left behind, unraptured. So were the rats. That cannot be good. It can be assumed that a large percentage of their population died during the hurricane and the floods that came afterwards, but their reproductive rate would appear to make that a moot point.

Rats have litters of 6 to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats are sexually mature in about 3 months. Breeding occurs mostly in spring and fall. The average female has 4 to 6 litters per year. Individuals usually live 12 to 18 months.

Do the math. On second thought, do not. It might just spoil your beautiful mind.

It must be assumed that any part of a building above the level of the waters could now have these new occupants. But we can surely sleep peacefully tonight knowing in our hearts that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, blessed with our tax dollars, has truckloads of pest control experts poised to eradicate this problem, before it even becomes one.

That is, after all, what FEMA is for, isn't it?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Thanks, Bob

"She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.

''He said 'Why would I do that?''' Pelosi said.

'''I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?''"

There are several other quotes available. Bush thinks Brown did just fine. If you think he was incompetent, well, you are not his boss.

I saw this in a video clip played out on Faux or CNN a couple days ago. As I do not wish to spin their hit counters I am quite satisfied to have lifted this written transcript from the comments over at a real blog by a real blogger. The note was made by one "bob mcmanus" which is so plain a moniker one must assume he uses his real name.

I recall the video clip well, and Mr. McManus distorts not. Funny how I cannot specifically recall nor give a fig just which network on which I saw the Pelosi video, though. Like it matters. Faux? CNN? E!TV? The Comedy Network? Whatever.

Pelosi nailed it, and then, amazingly, went public with such comments. You see, regarding the absolute destruction of one of the most historic cities in America, Bush thinks things are going rather well.

Can they kill her for that? I do not know. But I would advise Madame Pelosi to avoid travel in small aircraft.

A familiar psychological theme emerges here. It has to do with death. When Bush was young, seven years old, his beloved little sister Robin died of leukemia at age three. He was said to have been very fond of her. Very fond of her. Who wouldn't be? My god, there is nothing on this fair earth more lovely than any three-year-old girl.

Just ask the father of any daughter. You will see.

Bush was not immediately told of her death. His parents, Robin's parents, played golf the next day. To mourn was not a family priority.
Damn them to hell. A three-year-old daughter JUST DIED. Let's play golf, eh? Bastards. Bitches. Monsters. Defend them, if you wish. Please excuse my emotional response. On second thought, if you should think my emotional response here inappropriate, well then too bad. In any hypothetical situation I will side with the child. I know me.

I know me.

Young Bush spent some time at a friend's house then, at which it was recorded that he had terrible nightmares. Christ, his little sister had just died. Damn. Of course he may have had a few childhood trauma-related calls to make. Of course. But he couldn't.

He was not allowed to grieve. His parents, though absent for long intervals caring for Robin in far away hospitals, basically hid her illness as best they could, and Bush, learning disabled as he already was, became emotionally stunted. To say the least.

He cannot grieve. He never learned how. Actually, he was taught otherwise, like his mother, to snicker at the misfortune of others.

Bush is unable to see things that go wrong. He is blinded by his own ideology; a blindness which is amplified by the blind men he has chosen to advise him. What are we to to?

We know what to do, as we are not losers, like our Republican leaders. Leaders. What a word. What a word. Losers. That's more like it.

Evacuees. What a word.

God bless the refugees. God damn those who witheld our help which we laboured to send to them. God help the refugees, for Bush knows them NOT. He knows them not a bit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No More Cheap Energy

The blogging sometimes goes unattended due to work or travel, but lately I've just been spending a little more time practicing. The storm and its catastrophic aftermath have me considering that energy-consuming pastimes such as television and web-surfing may become not only much more expensive but also may sometimes become completely unavailable.

That is, if one is allowed to survive.

We here in this great dry city have much to be thankful for. We are not Drusilla. And we have meaningful work to do for those who have come to us from the storms.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

In Turbato Mare Irato Naufragatur Alma Pax

Of course the Bush administration was slow to respond to the great tragedy still unfolding in New Orleans and surrounding areas. They do not believe it is their charge to respond to such things. They do not believe that is what government is supposed to do.

They believe that government is supposed to make rich people even richer; that is, if those people happen to be Republicans. Sometimes incidentally some Hollywood liberal type will also benefit greatly from Bush governmental policies, but this is certainly not the hoped-for result and the usual right-wing radio screamers decry this on a regular basis.

Would you be taken aback in the least bit if tomorrow Bush were to say that the rebuilding of the Gulf coast would be done in a faith-based manner, free from government interference, and free from government money?

Probably not.

And the great so-called-liberal-media would then treat us to another round of memes and trendy adjectives and adverbs would abound, all supporting the great genius of such an abysmally bad idea.

Faith-based rescue efforts. Faith-based corpses piling up in hospital stairwells. Faith-based gangs of looters shooting it out with faith-based paramilitary private-sector sub-contractors. Faith-based levees. Oh. Right. We already had those in place, didn't we?

Those of us who had done a little reading about Bush before he ran for president knew this was coming. A lot of us tried to tell you just how awful this man would be for this country, like Molly Ivins for a good; no, excellent example. And we are still trying to get the word out. Steve Gilliard has said it better today than I can, even if he does hold back a little, so please click and read.

Things are bad, and many people are now beginning to see that Bush and his policies have a big part in this. Sadly, the worst is yet to come. Bush isn't done yet. There is more damage on the way.

In the turbulent wrath-torn sea goodly peace is wrecked.