Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mrs. Dahl Got a Surprise and We Got Cake

There was only about an hour left for the day shift. We all worked regular eight-hour shifts back then, meaning that it was about 2 p.m. on a quiet Sunday afternoon in early June many years ago.

We used to get some of the patients up in reclining geriatric chairs and set them out in the hallways so we could have contact with them as we worked. I was at the nurse's station shuffling papers. The phone was not ringing. The doctors had basically come and gone for the day. Nurses were standing at the wall servers outside the patient rooms finishing up their charting.

Then, oddly, I heard the rustle of silk and the taps of formal shoes in the entrance hallway.

I looked up over the nurse station counter to see a stunningly radiant and beautiful bride in her long wide pearly gown, followed by her retinue. They were hushed.

They went down the hallway to Mrs. Dahl's room. She'd had a fall a week ago and was recovering from hip surgery. She often spoke about her worry that she was going to miss her favorite niece's wedding.

So they brought the wedding to her. A clergyman was among those who came with the wedding party. There were bridesmaids and attendants to the groom, all in their fancy attire, and various family and friends.

Time slowed.

The clergyman performed the ceremony in the hall with Mrs. Dahl, smiling unforgettably, in her geri-chair sitting among the wedding party.

Our staff had gathered at a respectful distance to watch. Many of the nurses had tears.

There was The Kiss and then things got louder as people celebrated and a guitarist played a crude version of the appropriate music.

They shared their lovely cake with us staff. Mrs. Dahl loved chocolate.

Me too.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Plath; A Day After Her Birthday

Lately I've been considering posting poetry not written by Plath, but others that I regard highy: Dickinson, Millay, Blake, cummings, Yeats, et.al. But yesterday would have been her 75th birthday had she not put out milk and cookies for her children in an upstairs room, sealed them off from the gas, and died from the cold asphyxiation of the oven's deadly fumes.

May, one of the best nurse bloggers out there, has expressed a little concern about my Plath obsession, which I readily confess to having. Of course Plath was simply a masterful poet who had developed a compelling and individual voice. I have been championing that for decades. But her story is also just operatic in its intensity and interest.

She was thirty years old when she died in 1962. Had she been of a later generation she probably would have been just another silently struggling member of Prozac Nation. But her kind of depression had few medical treatment options back then; electroconvulsive shock therapy probably didn't help her much.

A Birthday Present

What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful?
It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?

I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
When I am quiet at my cooking I feel it looking, I feel it thinking

'Is this the one I am too appear for,
Is this the elect one, the one with black eye-pits and a scar?

Measuring the flour, cutting off the surplus,
Adhering to rules, to rules, to rules.

Is this the one for the annunciation?
My god, what a laugh!'

But it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
I would not mind if it were bones, or a pearl button.

I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
After all I am alive only by accident.

I would have killed myself gladly that time any possible way.
Now there are these veils, shimmering like curtains,

The diaphanous satins of a January window
White as babies' bedding and glittering with dead breath. O ivory!

It must be a tusk there, a ghost column.
Can you not see I do not mind what it is.

Can you not give it to me?
Do not be ashamed--I do not mind if it is small.

Do not be mean, I am ready for enormity.
Let us sit down to it, one on either side, admiring the gleam,

The glaze, the mirrory variety of it.
Let us eat our last supper at it, like a hospital plate.

I know why you will not give it to me,
You are terrified

The world will go up in a shriek, and your head with it,
Bossed, brazen, an antique shield,

A marvel to your great-grandchildren.
Do not be afraid, it is not so.

I will only take it and go aside quietly.
You will not even hear me opening it, no paper crackle,

No falling ribbons, no scream at the end.
I do not think you credit me with this discretion.

If you only knew how the veils were killing my days.
To you they are only transparencies, clear air.

But my god, the clouds are like cotton.
Armies of them. They are carbon monoxide.

Sweetly, sweetly I breathe in,
Filling my veins with invisibles, with the million

Probable motes that tick the years off my life.
You are silver-suited for the occasion. O adding machine-----

Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it go whole?
Must you stamp each piece purple,

Must you kill what you can?
There is one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.

It stands at my window, big as the sky.
It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center

Where split lives congeal and stiffen to history.
Let it not come by the mail, finger by finger.

Let it not come by word of mouth, I should be sixty
By the time the whole of it was delivered, and to numb to use it.

Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.
If it were death

I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
I would know you were serious.

There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
And the knife not carve, but enter

Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
And the universe slide from my side.

Sylvia Plath

This poem comes from the notorious Ariel collection, and I imagine that it was written in that manic period during the few months preceeding her death, possibly in October of 1961 around the time of her own birthday.

In 1998 Ted Hughes, Plath's estranged genius husband, published his Birthday Letters. He had maintained public silence regarding Sylvia for decades, but in secret he had been devoting some of his best words to her each year.

Yet another reason for my ongoing fascination.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Smith Hopkinson - PRELUDE BWV 1006

I love this guy. I heard him play the Bach Chaconne once. I was in the front row, just a meter or two away from him.

That was a musical highlight of my life. I rate it right up there with Horowitz and Body Count as one of my great musical experiences.

The lute was once a very popular instrument, much like the electric guitar is today.

Alert (Am I Ever)

Do not get into a small airplane with these people.

If you don't want to buy her book then I'll send you my copy when I'm done with it.

As you will recall, she's an intelligence expert on the tracking of aquisition of nuclear materials by foreign groups. That was her job. Now she is unable to continue doing this.

As if there were too many people on that.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Ponied Up To

I was a good friend of his. Better than ever. Really. But don't ask him. No good, that.

He was personable, he had really good hair, and seemed to have this Woodstock-era sweet concern for the elderly, the sick, and the medically-challenged. Even those who might not be the first recipients of sympathy: the obese, the addicted, and the disordered. I really respected him. He was commandingly beautiful. Yes. Very. Like that, but not that.

Poor me. I was less schooled then. Less savvy. Less empowered. Less me.

Less pointed.

He had a history of narcotic addiction and he never beat it. Like many others.

When he worked on the med-surg floor other nurses told stories about him. They said he drained multi-use vials of morphine.

We don't use those any more. Just single doses now. Individually sealed.

He himself told me that when he had prostrate surgery the issue of narcotics was paramount. But by then he had been accused of stealing morphine from orthopedic patients and diverting this drug to his own use, and his license was imperiled.

He lost it.

Once we caught another nurse staring blankly ahead by the narcotic drawer in the E.D. crash cart.

"Hey John. How ya' doin?"

"Hey," he said, in a stupor.

"Been into the Versed, have you?"

"Yup," he replied.

The end.

The plain sad truth is that both of these people were very nice. Caring and loving individuals. Smart. They taught in the local ACLS courses. They knew their stuff. I liked them. But they were major fuck-ups. Big time. Too bad. There's a nursing shortage. But people like that cannot work around controlled substances. It gets to them.

The last time I saw the first guy he was working on the ferry, and the other one was a part-time skiing instructor.

What Orcs Are, What America Is

They do not process emotions the way the rest of us, the normal 96%; do, because they have no conscience. It's just hereditarily missing. Instead of feeling emotions, they calculate them. And they know it. They pity those of us who are hindered in our actions by the consideration of others. And then they manipulate us.

It's difficult for most of us to even conceive of such a person. Nancy Pelosi, for example, seems to be unable to understand that the president of her country feels no regard for others. He has no conscience. If you live or die, to him it just does not matter. He doesn't have that capability.

"According to Hare, the key emotional and interpersonal traits defining the psychopathic personality syndrome are: a smooth, glib capability to lie, manipulate and dissemble; a completely callous lack of empathy or concern for others; shallow emotional affect and lack of remorse; and egocentric grandiosity."

Said Bush to the entire country in a speech:

But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me. We're so grateful to be living in this compound and I'm grateful to be working in this office. It's a joy to walk in here every morning, realizing that I'm the President of the greatest country on the face of the Earth.


That's what our monkey-in-a-man-suit President said years ago.

The Towers fell, the Pentagon was attacked, but George and Laura had a "fabulous year."

No, you don't count. You are nothing. A hindrance, maybe, if you have concerns about neoconservative political policies as I do.

He's a psychopath. He has no conscience. He's psychologically deformed and in many other scenarios he would be permantly imprisoned. But neoconservative Republicans like this kind of thing. They are sicker than Bush himself. He's their man.

They represent sociopathological corporations. Not people. Just monstrous *things.* Beowulfs. Satan. The bad guys in The Lord Of The Rings. Assholes. Fuckheads. They are Mordor. Babylon. The cold-war Soviets. The Fascists. The Nazis.

We the people, however, have great advantages over this sort. We are sane. And we need to stay that way and act that way. We must vote that way. The Founders intended this. That was their dream. That is what they were thinking when they conceived America.

A sane country.

Can you believe that?

Glass Brick

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Milgram Experiment (Derren Brown)

This is something that I have been dwelling on for some time. Milgram's experiment, "Obedience," has been reproduced many times since he first made his film about it in the early 1960's.

Each repoduction of his set-up has resulted in the same statistical conclusions: about 60% of us will do whatever is requated by a person perceived as an authority figure.

Like some asshole in a lab coat.

If you cou0ple this with the notion that about one-out-of-twenty-five of us are without conscience; that is to say, sociopaths without any small internal voice to guide behavior to realms in which one considers others, then you have a rather dangerous situation.

"The Sociopath Next Door," an interesting book by clinical psychologist Martha Stout, proposes that a full four-percent of us are without conscience. Abel to do anythinbg without care about how it may affect others. Violence included.

Suppose that one of those four-percenters obtains a position of great political power over those sixty-percent of people who will do just about anything to please an authority figure..,

What results?

We know now.


Let us not allow psychopaths to obtain control of the most powerful nation in the world the next time. We can do better.

We must do better.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Plath for an October Sunday

By Candlelight

This is winter, this is night, small love --
A sort of black horsehair,
A rough, dumb country stuff
Steeled with the sheen
Of what green stars can make it to our gate.
I hold you on my arm.
It is very late.
The dull bells tongue the hour.
The mirror floats us at one candle power.

This is the fluid in which we meet each other,
This haloey radiance that seems to breathe
And lets our shadows wither
Only to blow
Them huge again, violent giants on the wall.
One match scratch makes you real.

At first the candle will not bloom at all --
It snuffs its bud
To almost nothing, to a dull blue dud.

I hold my breath until you creak to life,
Balled hedgehog,
Small and cross. The yellow knife
Grows tall. You clutch your bars.
My singing makes you roar.
I rock you like a boat
Across the Indian carpet, the cold floor,
While the brass man
Kneels, back bent, as best he can

Hefting his white pillar with the light
That keeps the sky at bay,
The sack of black! It is everywhere, tight, tight!
He is yours, the little brassy Atlas --
Poor heirloom, all you have,
At his heels a pile of five brass cannonballs,
No child, no wife.
Five balls! Five bright brass balls!
To juggle with, my love, when the sky falls.

Sylvia Plath

This was written in the last year of Plath's life and it evokes the interior of Plath's thatch-roof cottage in Devonshire where we can see her with her infant son and a humorous little candle-holder. I have always considered this poem to be a companion-piece, obviously, to Nick and the Candlestick from her Ariel collection.

In Candlelight was published in the New Yorker magazine and later in the Winter Trees collection put out by Ted Hughes well after Plath died.

It's too easy for us to slip Plath into the category of the anguished, tortured, jilted suicide. She was all that of course, but she was mostly a very excellent poet who had absolutely mastered her craft and she was capable, even near her end, of directly expressing the most tender and beautiful things.

When she was about seven years old.

How The Cat Wakes You Up In The Morning!

Hat tip to plum

Friday, October 19, 2007

For His Amusement

President Bush not a normal guy.

When he was a kid he blew up frogs. As a young adult he faked his way through college and struggled with various chemical dependencies, declaring himself sober (but untreated) at age forty. He left behind a string of business failures but he always managed to come out smelling rosy thanks to bail-outs provided by his family connections.

Antisocial Personality Disorder:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, pp. 649-650) describes Antisocial Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

*failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;

*deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

*impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;

*irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;

*reckless disregard for safety of self or others; .

*consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;

*lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

When asked what he thought were the biggest mistakes he's made since 9/11 he couldn't think of any.

It makes me ill so I'm not going to spell it all out. Others have devoted entire books to the subject of Bush's lack of conscience. He's basically a sociopath who has managed to drift along easily on the coattails of his famous, wealthy, powerful, and corrupt family.

This is what Representative Pete Stark recently had to say:

"You don't have money to fund the war or children, but you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."

There seems to be some concern expressed by some Very Serious People about Stark's choice of words, especially "amusement." Personally, I cannot think of a more apt term. Knowing about Bush's centerless personality, and the proclivity of such people to busy themselves with the harmful manipulation, degradation, and heartless disregard of others, I have to assume that Bush indeed is entertained by what he has wrought upon us. It serves his sickness. It stimulates him.

Why do we allow such people to gain such political power? It's crazy. Please... let's do better next time.

Light Timers

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What Bonkers Said

Over at Crooks and Liars there are links to video of the Olbermann interview with the Frost parents.

Not too far down in the comments section a poster by the name of "Bonkers" presents this little nugget:

"Thank you for mentioning the potential loss of their home for medical bills. The insane right has been yammering on and on about how these “affleunt” homeowners should not have been able to receive any government assistance in the care of their critically injured children. No, according to those filthy rejects, people should lose everything they own, even their modest homes and fair-to-middlin’ privately owned small businesses, in order to save their children (or themselves, for that matter). And naturally, their brain dead listeners, most of whom would be in the same spot as the Frosts should they encounter a medical catastrophe, can’t muster the empathy to realize that it could well be THEM next.

What righties really want to make is [s]o that any kind of government aid will only go to the most impoverished of Americans, so that they can THEN snidely call it a welfare program, thereby making it easier to work up their usually attack machines in order to cut funds or close it down altogether."

I rave madly and reference the Harvard study on a nearly daily basis. My spouse has more than once that I "should be on something" for that. So "Bonkers'" first paragraph is familiar terrain for me. I would ammend their comments, likely with their consent, to include those families with insurance because we all know private health care coverage is no better than a New Orleans levee when catastrophe strikes. You'll still go bankrupt.

But that second paragraph. That's the money shot.

Thanks, Bonkers.

And good health to you.

Somewhere out there is a Reservist family in the same situation as the Frosts, I would suspect. Statistically it's within reason to hazard the guess.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Time for Plath

I Am Vertical

But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them--
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
The the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

Sylvia Plath

This poem was published in the 1971 collection "Crossing the Waters," years after Sylvia's death. It was most likely written in 1961, before the quiet eruption of her "Ariel" voice.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Coffee Time

We'd finished morning bedside report and I was out and about to see my patients before 0730.

When I assessed my first patient of the day, chosen randomly from a small group of people who had recently had heart attacks, bypass surgery, sternectomies, diabetic foot ulcer debridements, frequent ventricular ectopy caught while in surgery, pleural effusions drained by chest tubes, and other minor inconveniences, I offered the family member who sat with that patient a cup of coffee.

"Your breakfast looks good!" I said to the patient, whose tray was steaming away with bacon, a lobster omelette, a croissant with Swiss cheese, and a stiff demi-tasse. I turned to their family member and asked "Can I get you a nice cup of morning joe?" and they said "Thank you very much. That'd be quite nice."

As I walked to the kitchenette to get some coffee my phone rang and it was the Tele room and the monitor tech said that one of my other patients "just had a run of V-tach."

Oops. No, not that. It's V-tach, not yak.

I peeked in on the patient and did a quickie assessment and they were fine. It was only a few beats and they'd probably been having it on and off for years. Their pressure was 123/77 and they were sitting up at their bedside eating breakfast. But the dressing on their foot was a mess so I got some stuff and changed it out.

In the meantime Nuke Med had called and they wanted one of my other patients for a stress test. They were on a nitro drip so I couldn't just take their tele unit off and have Transport take them for the test, so I got a portable monitor and hooked it up to the patient while I promised them that I'd have their breakfast waiting for them when they got back from the test. That was a lie. It would probably be 1200 by the time they got back here and time for lunch by then. Crab quiche with fois gras on a baguette with a nice young Shiraz.

I accompanied the patient down to cardiodiagnostics then scooted back up to my other patients. My phone rang and it was my spouse. They "wanted to talk." We'd recently gone on a trip to the beach and I just do not travel well. I get... touchy.

Our Jungian therapist thought we should review childhood family vacations and the stressors that we "suffered" back then.

I said that I would be very happy to investigate those issues later after I'd opened my skull and poured a bottle of bleach directly into my brain, and then said "I love you, my eternal deepest soulmate, but I'm just a little busy," and thought about really good sex for a split second.

One of the certified nursing assistants who I love almost as much as I love life itself came up to me to let me know that one of my other patients had a blood sugar of 508. That's a little high. So I called the doc and covered the patient with the sliding scale insulin I had at hand. The doctor said we could probably discharge that patient home later if their blood sugars resolved and ordered every-one-hour fingersticks and weird coverage until they were below 200 times two.

We were going to discharge that one but his blood sugars said "NO."

They had a PortaCath so I got a Huber Needle from Supplies and restarted it. I'm not really supposed to do that. I'm "not certified," even though I've done it more times than Bush has mispronounced "nuclear."

Nucleationerizinous. Whatever the dickhead says. Too late now. We're just counting days until he's outta here.

"Coffee," I said to myself silently. For me and them.

It's no big deal. You just have to be clean. Real clean. Aseptic.

They ended up getting lab draws and insulin pushed through that. And way later we found out that they would stay the night and not go home, because their sugars didn't come down.

There were orders to change the antibiotics on Foot Ulcer Patient, so I transcribed those. His peripherally-inserted-central-catheter needed a new dressing because it was all bloody and yucky from yesterday so I fixed that up.

The repeat blood sugar on the other patient was still 490 so I phoned the doc and took orders for more IV push insulin. This patient wasn't going home. They were going to Intensive Care, unless their sugars stabilized into the sub-200's.

Hemodialysis called to ask for another patient to be sent up to them, but that one was still in Nuke Med geting stressed, so I made a couple/few phone calls to get them scheduled out. After that patient went up to dialysis they called me to come give them pain and nausea meds, so I got those out of the medication dispenser and went upstairs to the Dialysis Unit and administered the medications.

The patient was fine; hungry, actually. No vomit. That's good.

Then I went to the kitchenette but the coffee pot was empty. I started up a new pot and went to the original patient's room and said "Please don't take this personally. I've been a little busy and I had to put on a fresh pot."

The family member, who had slept on a cheezy cot all night, was very gracious.

"Don't you worry," they said. "We think you're nice." I did my aw shucks thing and went to get the coffee.

The coffeemaker had gone wild and there was fresh coffee all over the kitchenette countertop and the floor. I turned it off and started over. I went back to their room and explained: "I had to start a fresh pot," and they were very understanding.

I had STAT Lasix orders and a few other things to take care of so by the time I got back to the kitchenette the coffee pot was empty again. I wanted to make a fresh pot but there were no packets of coffee. I called Dietary and they didn't want to send a new box of coffee packs. "We'll send you some. Two or three?" and I said just send three but sooner was better than later and I thanked them very much for their help.

One of the trauma PA's had stripped the dressing off the foot-ulcer patient so I had to go put another back on. There wasn't any sterile gauze wrap so I called Supply and they sent up some for me. That took a few minutes.

The V-tach patient had been seen by Cardiology and they wanted a drip started so I called Pharm and spoke to Sylvia. I'd worked with her at another place here in The Valley and we chatted about her new stereo system. She'd bought Martin-Logans.

She'd heard mine and persuaded hubby to go for it. Hers were newer, bigger, and mo' better, and my inner stereophile screamed with jealousy. But hey, my old Clarities are doing just fine. It's a small room irregularly-shaped with its corner fireplace, and these things sound great.

Transparent and detailed. And loud enough, too. Salome was not a whisperer. Steinways that sound like Steinways, voices that sound real, guitars that sound like fingernails on strings, and stuff.

Then I went to get the coffee. It was done, so finally I brought a cup to that family member. I told them not to take it personally that it had taken so long to get it for them. They were so nice about the delay.

My phone rang and one of my patients had their call light on.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Three Strikes You're Still In

From the venerable Pravda on the Hudson:

"Among military members and their immediate families who responded to a national New York Times/CBS News poll in May, two-thirds said things were going badly, compared with just over half, about 53 percent, a year ago. Fewer than half of the families and military members said the United States did the right thing in invading Iraq. A year ago more than half held that view, according to the a similar poll taken last July. The May poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 7 percentage points."

From Zogby International:

"An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows."

I saved the best for last. From that screeching left-wing extremist troop-hating bunch of feminazi surrender-monkeys at the Military Times:

"Only 35 percent of the military members polled this year said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved. The president’s approval rating among the military is only slightly higher than for the population as a whole. In 2004, when his popularity peaked, 63 percent of the military approved of Bush’s handling of the war. While approval of the president’s war leadership has slumped, his overall approval remains high among the military.

Just as telling, in this year’s poll only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003. That closely reflects the beliefs of the general population today — 45 percent agreed in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll."

I want out, you want out, we want out, but most importantly they want out. So why isn't it over? If, despite all this, it's not yet done, then when will it be?

Dialogue Overheard at the Coffee Shop Moments Before the Offices Opened:

Person 1: "Can we meet Tuesday? Monday's bad."
Person 2: "Can't. Out all day. How about Thursday?"
Person 1: "I'm full on Thursday, and Friday we start drilling early."
Person 2: "I'm looking at the following week and it's all bad."
Person 1: "I can't meet anytime that week anyway."
Person 2: "How about never then? Is that good for you?"
Person 1: "Never works for me. I'll pencil it in."
Person 2: "Great. I'll see you then and we'll talk."

Hat-tip to Brandon Friedman over at the Great Orange Satan via the Dirty Fucking Hippies.


No. Never again.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Robb From the Middle Class

Robert Robb screwed up his job and actually let a sliver of truth sneak into one of his pestilential newspaper columns.

"Well, in a May report, the Congressional Budget Office said this: "CBO concludes that the reduction in private coverage among children is most probably between a quarter and a half of the increase in public coverage resulting from SCHIP."

CBO estimated that the specific bill Bush vetoed would result in 2 million fewer children having private insurance. "

There's the rub. The idea is to take care of corporations, not children. Why should people demand from their government a service that should rightly provide profits to corporations?

The answer is: Because we are not fascists. It says so right there in The Preamble. The Founders actually believed in that stuff, you know. "We the people" and all that.

"Only lay down true principles, and adhere to them inflexibly. Do not be frightened into their surrender by the alarms of the timid, or the croakings of wealth against the ascendency of the people." Thom Jefferson again.

Back to Robb who sternly claims:

"It's regrettable when politicians won't honestly address the consequences of their proposals. Not surprising or unusual, mind you. Just regrettable."

It's even more regrettable and of much greater consequence when powerful corporations and their poltical and media whores similarly do not honestly address the true nature of their own proposals.

Middle class people who can afford private health insurance are not to be allowed government assistance. So say the rightwing waterboys for the rich. They have decided who can afford what. That's their idea of a "free market."

I presume that if Robb were to personally benefit from a program that would allow him to divert some of his own income away from private insurance and towards other things, like the purchase of a new brain maybe, that instead he would opt to send his money along to profit corporate class warriors.

Good boy. Have a biscuit.

But Robb inadvertantly let the secret out. His pimps think that the expansion of SCHIP was a bad idea because it might eat into corporate profits. He wasn't supposed to come right out and put that into print.

Bad boy. No biscuit.

One last little thing: it's not really a doggie-bone. It's a bar of soap. He should wash out his mouth with it.

Sunday Poetry For Our Time of Hysterical Fascism

Hysteria by T.S.Elliot:

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her
laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were
only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I
was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary
recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her
throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An
elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly
spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty
green iron table, saying: "If the lady and gentleman
wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ..." I
decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be
stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might
be collected, and I concentrated my attention with
careful subtlety to this end."

Published in November 1815 in Catholic Anthology.

The word "hysteria" is frequently used in reference to an antiquated notion of nervous disease and it almost always concerns women; at least as it was employed by Freud, who seems to have popularized the term, although nowadays the word aptly describes just about any mainstream media pundit.

I won't bother listing names. They shriek and moan. They twist and bend. They dart back and forth. Flip and flop. First there were weapons, then there weren't, then there were... They dissemble and tell lie after lie.

In this article from Common Dreams, entitled The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here," Thom Hartmann discusses a famous 1944 letter to the editor that appeared in the then-respectable New York Times:

"But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation's largest corporations - who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media - they could promote their lies with ease.

"The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact," Wallace wrote. "Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy."

My, how [the] Times haved changed.

Hillary Clinton, unlike the woman in Elliot's poem, does not laugh anymore, according to the corporate whores that dominate news and opinion. She "cackles." That meme is out. And, to the horror of many, she sometimes even has breasts. Would they prefer that she cover herself in perhaps a more modest outfit?

This is ridiculous. Gnats who say they review things. Fascist pigs.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dead Lesbians Tell No Tales

Both the Boston Herald and the Patriot Ledger have carried stories about the awful and most-likely criminal death of Clara Durkin.

"The Quincy soldier mysteriously slain by a bullet to the head on a secure Afghanistan airbase feared something might happen to her after discovering “something she didn’t like,” her devastated family revealed.

Massachusetts National Guard Spc. Clara Durkin, 30, was found with a single gunshot wound to her head behind a building at Bagram Airbase on Sept. 27."

While home on a visit she told family members that in her position working at the base finance unit she'd seen and reported some things which gave her concern. Now she's dead. You do the math.

Of course the military has stalled and even changed their story already, at first claiming that she was "killed in action." Behind a building on a secure base. Sure. That's the ticket... Now they're saying it will be weeks or months before autopsy results are available. Maybe by then they will also have found Kennedy's brain.

Oh, and she was a lesbian. Will I be surprised when that is used to smear her and provide the media with enough red herrings to divert entire networks? No.

Will freaks like Limbaugh try to push and shove public opinion about her death away from her murderer(s) and onto the victim herself? Yes.

Would powerful and corrupt people kill others to steal money? Yes.

I want her story. I want to know what she witnessed that was so interesting that they killed her to shut her up. I want the people responsible to be publically shown for what they are, and then imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

I wish you peace, Clara.

But for the rest of us there is a great deal of work to be done on your behalf. Thanks, bartcop.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Throw Pillows

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


The evolution of memes. As Dennet suggests. But the meme must first be birthed before it can evolve any further.

Now, some people might see the graveyard as half empty, but I see it as half full."

Another edition of what Dirk Gently said.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

You can open up a copy of your local newspaper or peruse the comments that the freepers and other anvil-headed creeps post in the online version, and on pretty much a daily basis you can expect to see attacks on single-payer health insurance proposals. There are also entire television networks featuring opposition to the same.

*Opponents of it tell vague tales about Canadians flocking to the United States in vast droves because their own system is so faulty. They exaggerate.

*They call it "socialism." Just like your local police and fire departments. As if that were a bad thing.

*They claim that it's "not free." Nobody ever said it was.

*They even say that you will not be able to choose your own doctor. As if you could with your company plan, if you are fortunate enough to have one.

But their boldest lie is when they try to tell us that most of us really prefer the system already in place.

[snip] "In a recent CNN poll (5/4-5/6/07), 64 percent of respondents supported the idea that "government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes." And a recent CBS/New York Times poll (2/23-27/07) found 64 percent support for the idea that the federal government should "guarantee health insurance for all," and 60 percent supported paying higher taxes to provide such coverage. Additionally, 50 percent believed "fundamental changes" to the healthcare system were necessary, and another 40 percent thought the country needed to "completely rebuild" the system."

Then they trot out their "liberal media" canards.

You can't fool all of the people all of the time. We have that google-thingie and the intertubes now.

"I have thrown out these as loose heads of amendment, for consideration and correction; and their object is to secure self—government by the republicanism of our constitution, as well as by the spirit of the people; and to nourish and perpetuate that spirit. I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom."

From Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, dated 1816. The University of Virginia Library has all of Jefferson's letters available online.

Jefferson is a very soothing balm and a great antidote to the billious and foamy rightwing rant-fests that are so ubiquitous throughout the electronic media these days.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Twenty Quebecois

From Kate Steadman's Health Policy blog:

"A 2002 Health Affairs paper examined hospitals near the border, as well as national surveys to tease out how many Canadians actually visit the U.S. to receive elective procedures.

In terms of hospitals along the border offering advanced treatments or special diagnostic technology (i.e. CT scans and MRIs), about 640 Canadians were seen, along with 270 for procedures like cataract surgery. They compare this to about 375,000 and 44,000 similar procedures in the region of Quebec alone during the same period. If you divide the total number of Canadians seeking those treatments in the US, divided by the number in Quebec alone that's about 0.09%. Not even a tenth of a percent.

But the most striking stats come from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS). From the article:

Only 90 of 18,000 respondents to the 1996 Canadian NPHS indicated that they had received care in the United States during the previous twelve months, and only twenty had indicated that they had gone to the United States expressly for the purpose of getting that care.

Only 20 of 18,000 sought care in the United States. I can't believe how many people are coming over here! Their system but be truly awful."

Indeed. All those Canadians flocking to the United States to take advantage of our near-perfect for-profit healthcare system.

Why, it's An Invasion. Be fearful. They could be carrying bacon and maple syrup, or even Glenn Gould recordings. Those may look like curling stones, but they could be pods!

Run. Run for your lives.