Monday, November 30, 2009

What kind of nation are we?

Tuesday night, President Obama is scheduled to go to West Point to deliver a speech about his decision regarding sending troops to Afghanistan.

Click here to view the must read Michael Moore's Open letter to President Obama.
Excerpts:

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.

We're counting on you.

Yours,
Michael Moore

P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President.



It's all been said above. Our nation has become morally bankrupt, as well as financially. We have no business in Afghanistan. Anything we could or should have accomplished, should have been done in the 8 years we have already spent there. They told us we just needed a surge or more troops in Iraq, and then we would be victorious.
We are still there, fighting, dying, killing. And please notice those cost of war charts to the right.... the next time your elected official asks how they will pay for Health care-- tell them cut the war budget.
It is beyond money-- it is a fundamental change in taking action to stop the wrongful acts of the past, and become a nation that is not acting as 911 to the world.
The McChrystal War Generals will always say the solution is more troops, escalated war.
All of Obama's advisors are the same throwbacks from the Bush administration.
Thus we are getting more of the same. This war business is insidious, and inexcusable- and I for one no longer want the blood of other innocent people shed in the name of this country.
I want to have hope.
I want to have peace.
The time is now to act upon these ideals-- not to promote them to sell us the brand, then fall short when the time comes to make the changes we so desperately need.

Do you heart Art?


No wonder this 13 year old eventually evolved into a virtuoso violinist. Music is something that opens pathways in the brain that helps kids math scores. The band experience is a great social experience that not only teaches kids how to function in a group, but can help with lifelong social skills. Not all kids will be music virtuosos, but the arts are an important part of a well rounded education. When budgets get slashed, the arts are usually the first to get cut.
Support the arts at all levels of education in whatever way you can.




Friday, November 27, 2009

Swine Flu takes a holiday?


I guess in the midst of a pandemic, the hard working folks @ the CDC took a holiday & skipped a statistics update this week. Updating a simple/vague spreadsheet is too much to ask. After all, the CDC said over 4000 U.S. Citizens have died this year of swine flu, but it is not reflected on their statistics page.
Lighten up kids, it's only a pandemic!

Well, if the U.S. Center for Disease Control can't produce a nationwide update, we can look to the BBC to shed some light on the topic.

Jump in number of global swine flu deaths

The global number of swine flu deaths has jumped by more than 1,000 in a week, latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show.
At least 7,826 people are now known to have died following infection with the H1N1 virus since it first emerged in Mexico in April.
Europe saw an 85% increase in the week, with the total number of deaths rising from at least 350 to at least 650.

Might I point out, the Health Secretary Sebelius has no medical background...

A former president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Ms. Sebelius is an expert on insurance regulation.

I think the CDC is doing a lousy job of reporting- tweaking & changing reporting formats without explanation. The government is doing an even worse job just getting the vaccinations to the front line people in the medical profession, instead giving them to Wall Street. It was reported, but nothing was done about it.


Will the H1N1 Flu pandemic be Obama's Katrina? I fear this may be the calm before the storm.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Buy Nothing Day




Ok this one is dated--- but the message holds true.

I don't want to be preachy here. Just trying to do a little consciousness raising. I'm hearing ads on TV - each store trying to up the ante on creating a shopping stampede/frenzy.
In fact for some people, the stampede resulted in personal injury and fatalities. Brings new meaning to the term "shop till you drop". We've been brainwashed to think we must hurry down and skirmish to get the goods. That somehow, getting more stuff is the key to happiness. I'm not saying we should entirely not consume, we do have needs, even just for health, but but need to find the balance. Certainly we can boycott these merchants who are having their 2AM doorbuster blowout sales. Because if I had the day after Thanksgiving off (which I don't), I would certainly be enjoying the opportunity to sleep in, and having a restful day. I do not need to go to some consumer nightmare scene, fighting to find a parking space, and wrestling some bargain goods from some other consumer's hands. I mean seriously, who actually finds this to be an enjoyable experience?
Is there any real joy in all that hustle & bustle? Are the prices so good, that you are willing to risk your life for a bargain?

The official Buy Nothing Day movement is celebrating it's 18 year anniversary.


After a day-long consumer fast you may find that you enjoyed the simplicity and spirituality. In light of this experience, the garish materialism of the holiday season may suddenly feel offensive. So maybe this year, you extend the celebration of Buy Nothing Day throughout the holidays. You make a pact with your family to do things a little differently this year. Gather your loved ones and shift the focus.

They also participate in some creative street theater~
ZOMBIE WALK ~ You & many friends walk around in zombie costumes observing the shopping zombies.
CREDIT CARD CUT UP ~ Yep slicing & dicing those high interest rates, and nasty fine print rules & ever changing terms & conditions.
WHIRL MART ~ 10 or more people gather in a conga line of sorts each with an empty shopping cart, streaming through the stores, stockpiling ***nothing***.

"Economic meltdown, together with the ecological crisis of climate change could be the beginning of a major global cultural shift — the dawn of a new age: the age of Post-Materialism.

"A simpler, pared-down lifestyle – one in which we're not drowning in debt – may well be the answer to this crisis we're in," says Lasn. "Living within our means will also make us happier and healthier than we’ve been in years."

Do what you can to spread the the BND message this year. Blog it, up-vote it on Digg, or slap a poster on a wall. This could be the breakthrough year when the heavy consumers of the world finally get it." Ad Busters

Sleep in. Slow down. Love your planet. Take care of yourself & relax. Spend time with the people you love.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2009

Learn the language of Teabaggers....


This would be funnier if it were not actually TRUE!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Road Rage


This is an open letter to the aggressive driver I encountered on the freeway yesterday.
I am a seasoned driver, who learned to drive in a big city where defensive driving is key.
So when the asshole in the Ford pick up truck was barreling down the road behind me, I felt some angst. I had slowed down my speed because I was behind a vehicle towing a trailer, and I actually once drove behind a vehicle w a horse trailer that came unhitched! The fricking horse trailer came careening backwards after it broke loose, I've never forgotten this can happen when someone is towing something.
Back the hell off!
Besides that we were heading into a freeway traffic jam & we'd have to slow down anyway.
I notice Mr. Type A freaking out.... now giving me hand signals... Flashing all 5 fingers twice... telling me to go 55 mph. I am seeing the break lights ahead & know speeding up right now is the wrong thing to do.... so I gave him a hand signal of my own.
Yes, it was the one finger salute. He later passed me, on the right, but the other traffic in the right hand lane was not going faster, so he ate my fumes.
We both took the same exit. I pulled up next to him....we both rolled down our windows...
he said "You need to get a grip on YOUR anger"--- then electronically rolled up his window- not allowing me a chance to say what I had to say.
So here it is, jerkwad--

I just spent the morning taking my husband to the Doctor because he has whiplash from the 3 car wreck that happened on this same freeway, last night, in the same lane we were in, because some asshole drivers were driving too close & not paying attention to traffic slowing down.

So yes, Fuck You sir, for driving like an idiot- both too close, and trying to go too fast into a traffic jam. Maybe if you were not so busy tailgating my vehicle & having your tantrum, and your hand signal drama, you might have noticed what was happening just ahead in traffic.

By the way-- I did handle my anger. I wanted to hit the brakes & see if you were paying attention, but was not in the mood for 2 car wrecks in a 24 hour period.

There. Now I feel better.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

SWINE & SANTA?


HO HO HOLD the germs!
Yep a sign of the times-
All those snotty nosed kids, sneezing & sniffling their way up the line to visit Santa are a health risk.

RG reports:

Forget cookies and milk. Santa wants the swine flu vaccine.

Many of the men who dress up as Santa to entertain children in department stores want to be given priority for the vaccine and not just because of those runny-nosed kids. There’s also the not-so-little matter of that round belly. Research has suggested obesity could be a risk factor.

Swine flu has become such a concern that the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas featured a seminar on the illness at a recent conference in Philadelphia. The group also urged its members to use hand sanitizer and take vitamins to boost their immune systems.

The president of the organization said he also hopes parents will keep sick kids away.

“We don’t want any child to go without seeing Santa, but it’s not worth bringing your child to the mall, infecting the Santa and infecting the other children,” Nicholas Trolli said.

He recalled a boy who informed him last year that he had a fever and had stayed home from school. But, the child said, his mother thought it was a good day to visit Santa.

Read the whole article here. It goes on about heavy set Santas being at risk too.



THIS WEEKS U.S. STATISTICS:
ADDITIONAL 8477 HOSPITALIZATIONS
ADDITIONAL 377 DEATHS
ADDITIONAL 45 PEDIATRIC DEATHS

422 TOTAL SWINE FLU FATALITIES THIS WEEK


U.S. Laboratory Confirmed Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations and Deaths from August 30 to November 14, 2009 Posted November 20, 2009, 11:00 AM ET Data reported to CDC by November 17, 2009, 12:00 AM ET
Cases Defined by
Hospitalizations
Deaths
Influenza Laboratory-Tests**26,3151,049

*Reports can be based on syndromic, admission or discharge data, or a combination of data elements that could include laboratory-confirmed and influenza-like illness hospitalizations.


U.S. Influenza-associated Pediatric Mortality Posted November 20, 2009 (Updated each Friday) Data reported to CDC by November 14, 2009
Date Reported
Laboratory-Confirmed 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pediatric Deaths
Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza A Subtype Unknown Pediatric Deaths
Laboratory-Confirmed SeasonalInfluenza
Total
This Week (Week 45, November 8-14, 2009)156021
Since August 30, 2009113250138
Cumulative since April 26, 2009171281200

This table is based on data reported to CDC through the Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Music to soothe the soul


It's been a rough week.... smoothing it out w some Jackson Browne

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Show us the dead Canadians....

Michael Moore spouts off in Canada about the sorry state of affairs with the US health care & proposal on the table.
I don't know where I first heard the "Show us the dead Canadians" quote-- it was back when people were flocking to Canada & Mexico to get reasonably priced prescription medications.
US officials were trying to sell the idea that those meds have not gone through the strict testing that FDA approved prescription meds have. But in fact, they were often selling the same med, made by the same manufacturer for generally less than half the price in the US.
If that's true--" show us the dead Canadians", was the response.
The Mad as Hell Doctors are coming to town today. They advocate for Single Payer systems. What do they know? Several have been Doctors for over 30 years. They are health care system insiders who have to deal with insurance companies. Looking forward to their presentation. To date those who want single payer options have been shut out of the DC/presidential discussions.


People are sick of the government keeping Single Payer options off the table.
This is a little example of how well received the pay for play format is going...
Notice it was DOCTOR Flowers who spoke out 2nd- she was arrested along with all the others who decided to let Chairman Baucus know what they want on the agenda.
He cares so deeply, he personally has taken over a million dollars in insurance industry bribe money.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Halt the Political Prostitution


The health care lobby is stuffing politicians pockets with millions of dollars. This is really nothing less than political whoring-- anti-health care reform votes are being bought & sold.
In no other industry or sector would this kind of blatant bribery be allowed.
Is there no ethical consideration or violation? Over $3 million each to Baucus & Lieberman?
Is there any doubt they are opposed to the reform, and have undue influence on the bills they are about to vote on?

Indeed, our "civil servants" are talking about a filibuster on health care reform in the Senate.

A filibuster, or "speaking or talking out a bill", is a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body whereby one attempts to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a proposal by extending a debate on that proposal.
A filibuster can be ended by invoking cloture.

A similar procedure was adopted in the U.S. in response to the actions of isolationist senators who attempted to talk out, or filibuster, a bill to arm U.S. merchant ships. President Woodrow Wilson urged the Senate to change its rules to thwart what he called a "little group of willful men", to which the Senate responded by introducing cloture in the form of Rule 22 on March 8, 1917.

The cloture rule originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of all senators "present and voting" to be considered filibuster-proof. For example, if all 100 Senators voted on a cloture motion, 67 of those votes would have to be for cloture for it to pass; however if some Senators were absent and only 80 Senators voted on a cloture motion, only 54 would have to vote in favor. However, it proved very difficult to achieve this; the Senate tried eleven times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster was particularly heavily used by Democratic Senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.

In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to a strength of 61 (with an additional Independent caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100). However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion's passage from those Senators "present and voting" to those Senators "duly chosen and sworn". Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every Senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. (For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 Senators "duly chosen and sworn", it would only take 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.)



You can see where all this is going. Politicians are bribed heavily by the for-profit insurance lobby. They come to the floor for the vote, having already had their votes bought and sold. It has already been announced there would be a filibuster-- the GOP threatens to prevent the vote from ever happening. They want to kill the bill by refusing to vote, and they can, unless enough Senators can get enough votes for cloture- or to override the filibuster.




The Senate is a sandbox, and the GOP are the bullies. We the people need health care reform, and the Senators elected to vote in our best interests are going to have to face the bullies. They have already thrown sand (the teabaggers), and now they are throwing punches (the threat of the filibuster). There will be verbal pushing and shoving. Our ears may begin to burn from the repeating of the two talking points... "Freedom" & "Government takeover".

What IS at stake here, is the freedom of for profit insurance companies to continue to make obscene amounts of profit by denying claims, and continually increasing policyholders out-of-pocket expenses. Also the freedom of all US citizens to have access to healthcare, that currently yields fatal results.

The Government takeover is actually consumer takeover. Because reform would pull the plug on insurance companies having total control of if & how health care is administered.
Those who argue against the change, are actually arguing against their own best interests- because otherwise, it is only a matter of time before they hit the insurance coverage wall...
their claim is denied, or they now have a pre existing condition, or their fees, costs & co pays become cost prohibitive- or the job they had that provided access to healthcare coverage goes away. The COBRA extended coverage is so cost prohibitive, the majority of unemployed can not afford it, even if someone could afford it, it is of limited duration.

How different this debate would be if these Senators were to have to change to the end result of their vote.... whatever they come up with will be the plan they are required to participate in.

Until then, while votes are for sale, it appears that the highest bidders are winning- in which case the rest of us lose.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

wishing for peace & passing on the kool aid


I am an admitted Peace Monger. I dislike war, and all the suffering it brings. I loathe the war profiteers, who exploit human lives for financial gain.
I have read articles that Pres. Obama is talking about having trials for those who were responsible for the 9-11 attacks in Federal court in Manhattan. That sounds like a security nightmare. I would think somewhere in the middle of nowhere would be a better location.
Truthfully, though I wish they would go after the main man who caused so much death & destruction.
That would be G. W. Bush I'm talking about. He is guilty of crimes against humanity that are still being committed 8 years later. Beyond his time in office. For me it is not so much a revenge thing, as it is resetting our moral compass. No U.S. President should get away with murder, and violating so many domestic & international laws.
Even though I voted for Barack Obama to be president, the fact that he perpetuates Bush's wars and has failed to prosecute Bush & co, makes me less enthusiastic about his leadership.
Although Obama is no Bush, and for that I give thanks.
I voted for change, I am so far, disappointed.
SNL is starting to waiver as well....






Make that 4362 souls









Friday, November 13, 2009

Turning up the heat--on LIEberman

Oh Joe! You brought this upon yourself. Lieberman deserves to be hounded relentlessly for being on the take, and joining the GOP in lockstep, threatening to filibuster health care reform.

This U Conn student captures the topic:
HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT,
NOT A PRIVILEGE FOR
THE WEALTHY & THE WHITE.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Swine Data Switcheroo....

BREAKING NEWS: THE CDC NOW SAYS THAT 4,000 OR MORE AMERICANS LIKELY HAVE DIED FROM SWINE FLU- ABOUT 4 TIMES THE ESTIMATE THEY'VE BEEN USING.
THE NEW HIGHER FIGURE INCLUDES DEATHS CAUSED BY COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO SWINE FLU, INCLUDING PNEUMONIA & BACTERIAL INFECTIONS.

OFFICIALS SAY THEY'RE WORKING ON AN EVEN MORE ACCURATE CALCULATION.
MANY MILLIONS HAVE CAUGHT THE PANDEMIC FLU VIRUS SINCE IT APPEARED IN APRIL

SEE! I KNEW THEIR DATA WAS WAY OFF.
COMFORTING THEY ARE WORKING ON AN EVEN MORE ACCURATE CALCULATION-- BECAUSE OF LATE, IT'S BEEN EVEN LESS ACCURATE!


When all else fails, manipulate the data.

I have been keeping an eye on the CDC weekly updates for H1N1 flu since the summer.
They have changed the format a few times, from daily & by state reporting, to nationwide, weekly updates of cumulative numbers from August 30th.

It seemed the volume of cases had increased so much, they were posting general numbers, which allowed for them to enter late arriving statistics into the overall numbers.
That being said, one would expect the cumulative number to either stay the same or increase.
After all we are in the peak season, and numbers of cases reported are on the rise.

I found myself sending an e mail inquiry to the CDC to clarify my observation.

I am referring specifically to the Weekly update page

http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/updates/us/

The CDC said with revisions, the reported cumulative numbers could go down.
Perhaps that might be true by a slight margin, but the change we saw last week was dramatic .

These are cumulative data numbers from August 30th.

October 30th there were 25,985 Hospitalizations reported.
November 6th, there were 17,838 Hospitalizations reported.

The number from the cumulative data changed by -8147.

Cumulative data should either stay the same or increase. If there were errors, a slight decrease might be reported, but as the death toll increases, it seems very unlikely.

October 30th there were 2916 deaths reported.
November 6th, there were 672 deaths reported.

The number from the cumulative data changed by -2244.

Even if the new format with Pediatric specific death categories is added, 145 total (mortality), reported since APRIL 26th, the numbers do not add up.

My point is the CDC has clearly changed what data it is reporting, and is inconsistent.

Overall numbers since August, Pediatric numbers since April.

From one week to the next, 2244 less deaths in cumulative data???

I am just focusing on the one page of weekly updates & asking for consistency in the reporting.

I don't really know if they had just posted the numbers for 1 week.... and there were 672 Swine flu deaths in the US in one week. Previously, there had been over 500 in a week, so that would be consistent, but the CDC is playing with their reporting formats, and I'm quite certain the death toll has not cumulatively decreased by 2244.

I suspect they are trying to manipulate the data to make it look less alarming.

I just want the facts reported consistently!

Ok, I think the CDC has finally lost it. They just randomly change how they report data, without explanation. I guess they are trying to simplify the data & are publishing things like this: READ THE H1N1 NUMBERS ARE UP WAY UP, AND IT'S BAD.

Now they have a separate chart for pediatric statistics. They are slicing & dicing the data in ways that have me confused, I just hope THEY are not as confused as their reporting methods are!

U.S. Laboratory Confirmed Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations and Deaths from August 30 to October 31, 2009 Posted November 6, 2009, 12:30 PM ET Data reported to CDC by November 3, 2009, 12:00 AM ET
Cases Defined by
Hospitalizations
Deaths
Influenza Laboratory-Tests**17,838672

*Reports can be based on syndromic, admission or discharge data, or a combination of data elements that could include laboratory-confirmed and influenza-like illness hospitalizations.

*Laboratory confirmation includes any positive influenza test (rapid influenza tests, RT-PCR, DFA, IFA, or culture), whether or not typing was done.

The table shows aggregate reports of all laboratory confirmed influenza hospitalizations and deaths (including 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu) since August 30, 2009 received by CDC from U.S. states and territories**. This table will be updated weekly each Friday at 11 a.m. For the 2009-2010 influenza season, states are reporting based on new case definitions for hospitalizations and deaths effective August 30, 2009.

CDC will continue to use its traditional surveillance systems to track the progress of the 2009-2010 influenza season. For more information about influenza surveillance, including reporting of influenza-associated hospitalizations and deaths, see Questions and Answers: Monitoring Influenza Activity, Including 2009 H1N1.

The number of 2009 H1N1 hospitalizations and deaths reported to CDC from April – August 2009 is available on the Past Situation Updates page.

For state level information, refer to state health departments.

International Human Cases of 2009 H1N1 Flu Infection See: World Health OrganizationExternal Web Site IconExternal Web Site Icon.

**States report weekly to CDC either 1) laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations and deaths or 2) pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based cases of hospitalization and death resulting from all types or subtypes of influenza. Although only the laboratory confirmed cases are included in this report, CDC continues to analyze data both from laboratory confirmed and syndromic hospitalizations and deaths.

U.S. Influenza-associated Pediatric Mortality Posted November 6, 2009 (Updated each Friday) Data reported to CDC by October 31, 2009
Date Reported
Laboratory-Confirmed 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pediatric Deaths
Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza A Subtype Unknown Pediatric Deaths
Laboratory-Confirmed SeasonalInfluenza
Total
This Week (Week 43, Oct. 25-31)153018
Since August 30, 20097312085
Cumulative since April 26, 2009129151145

This table is based on data reported to CDC through the Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System. Influenza-associated deaths in children (persons less than 18 years) was added as nationally notifiable condition in 2004.

For more information about influenza-associated pediatric mortality, see FluView.The good news is more people are hospitalized with this flu that dying from it. But it still remains deadly for high risk groups.


The good news is more people are hospitalized with this flu than dying from it. But it still remains deadly for high risk groups. Children under the age of 4 should be kept isolated as much as possible, to reduce exposure.
Keep checking with your local health department for regular seasonal flu & H1N1 vaccine availability.