Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Corporate Free $peech

Remember that Supreme Court ruling that Corporations are people & giving corporate money in the elections process was "free speech"?

Fast forward to elections later this year & the new law is hitting the streets, or fan, if you will.
An Oregon congressional race suddenly, almost magically had some serious cash flowing for commercial TV advertising.   $86,000 last week, $79,000 this week - big bucks.

The RG reports:
"When campaigns receive money, federal law requires that they detail who gave it.
The money being spent falls into a new category of contributions- unlimited & possibly anonymous donations by corporations that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled are permissible.
The court ruled that in campaign spending, money is the equivalent of free speech & corporations can spend as much as they want on any campaign, as long as they don't coordinate with the campaign itself. PACs, or political action committees, must report donations, but "non-profit organizations" are not required to report.

Having third party ads whose funding sources are hidden is unprecedented in U.S. history.
The Supreme Court decision also overturned a portion of a recent election law that required ads to indicate who had paid for them.

Then the truth starts to see the light of day....
Republican Congressional candidate Art Robinson is getting out of state funding from a network of people interested in his efforts to disprove the notion that climate change is caused by humans, and his development of educational materials for families who home-school their children.

The Concerned Taxpayers of America are behind the secret donations, with offices in Princeton N.J. & Washington D.C. the group has not disclosed where the money originated from. "
Turns out Art Robinson, in these "paid for by the Concerned Taxpayers of America" ads, favors stimulating private business. That's doublespeak for "he will allow for the rape of the last remaining stands of old growth forests." Any candidate who wants to debunk the "notion of climate change" is a disaster in the making. Too bad he's not in L.A. in the 113 temps, the hottest ever recorded in over 100 years. Or in Bolivia- experiencing such a horrific drought, they have had 47,000 fires . Or the "snowpocalypse" record snowfall in the NE last winter.

Sounds like something Dick Cheney or Karl Rove might come up with.

The damned Supreme court uncorked a nasty venom & slippery slope. What they did was destroy any semblance of a level playing field. For one,  big money domestic or foreign, under the cloak of anonymous protection, can donate endless amounts of money.
Also research shows these independent ads are historically all negative. So beware of ads that don't have that annoying "I'm  (candidate name here), & I approve this message."

Not only do they not have to disclose the source, but individual donors (actual people) are limited to specific maximum  amounts, as well as having to disclose their identity.

So much for Democracy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Pledge to America

Remember those great publications the GOP put out in the last few years-- The budget proposal with no numbers? The Health Care reform plan with blank pages?
Now comes "A pledge to America". Your 21 page manifesto of what the GOP has to bring to the table.
Notice John Boehner  went all out with the theatrics here by rolling up his sleeves?
Or is that because it is easier to golf with sleeves rolled up??
Never mind. That's not the point. The point is that the GOP wants us to join their bandwagon. Suddenly they promise to focus on creating jobs.
Hey people Boehner & his pals need golf caddies, and shoe shine boys.
They want to "take back our country". They did not answer the question just how far or how much.... back to the stone age, or just back before employees had no rights, and Wall Street had no regulations?

They just don't finish the sentence-- take back our country-- for the rich.
Just look into the Billionaires for Social Insecurity Clip:

So you see, the GOP is there for us when we feel the need to be screwed.
The only jobs they created in the last decade were those that shipped off to Iraq & Afghanistan-- and that includes you too National Guard!

Filled with the same tired rhetoric with glistening new ideas, the GOP will slash taxes (never mind slashing taxes & recklessness brought us a $13 trillion dollar debt).
Oh they promise to also slash spending on social programs, and one of our all time favorites.... cut down on Government regulation. Because really, that whole deregulated Wall Street thing went SO well. (For the fat cat bankers, who screwed up big time, then were handed the key to the Federal treasury.)
Wow!!! The GOP counts on America's lack of short term memory, in order to roll out the same old shit they have always served up-- only now with gumption & shiny newness.

MSNBC describes it as "The new agenda is rife with grass-roots rhetoric". Uh huh....  here are the low highlights & the interpretation:

- Stop job-killing tax hikes   READ: TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH
- Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income  READ: TAX CUTS FOR BUSINESS
- Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit
- Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law. READ: NO NEED TO INSURE THE PEASANTS
Cutting Spending:
- Repeal and Replace health care READ: LET THEM EAT ADVIL!
- Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone) READ: DON'T KNOW THE DETAILS, BUT I'M GUESSING IT INVOLVES LESS MONEY FOR EDUCATION, SENIORS & MEDICARE.
- Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward READ: ABOVE.
Reforming Congress:
- Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority  READ: OH PLEASE!
- Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote READ: FRIDAY NIGHT NEWS DUMP
- Provide resources to troops READ: MORE OF THE SAME OLD CRAP  & ENDLESS WARS

Oh! Get this-- of the 21 pages, 14 of them are full page photos. The book has one sided pages- so if you took out 14 pages of pictures, made the remaining 7 pages two sided the GOP plan would be 3.5 pages! 
But I guess the GOP is already creating jobs by adding fluff- wasting more paper & adding  photos for those who prefer pictures of a cowboy, lady liberty & John Boehner. 
The pledge does not cut pork spending & earmarks, so rest easy all you billionaires, all your favorite pork is still being served, only now with more rhetoric & rolled up sleeves!

We all know who the GOP is pledging to.... Corporate America & the wealthy.  I can see how they shied away from the title TAX BREAKS FOR BILLIONAIRES, for their booklet ~ a little too much truth for the masses. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Target not so gay

What a great flash mob street theater. This idea of Corporations being people- then using that to squelch equal rights & workers rights. I'm happy to join the boycott..... how about you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

gotcha covered, kid.... kind of

Some components of the Federal health care reform laws will begin in January.  My husband got notice that their company will begin to implement the coverage for "kids" up to 26 years old, early, starting in November. No longer is it a requirement that the young adult be a full time college student, live at home, or have parents cover at least half of their expenses, annually. Allegedly, they will not be able to disqualify pre existing conditions. In our case, adding one child would be $143 bucks a month. That's $1716 a year... but considering the fact a recent 2 day hospital visit will run about $8000 bucks, that's a bargain. 
Of course the insurance bean counters are probably busy figuring out ways to add co pays, exclusions & addendums, exceptions, restrictions & any other fine print that will allow them to not pay any or all of a claim- but still having some coverage during these formative years is a huge relief. 
Our kids have had health coverage their whole lives, but as they became adults, they could not longer get coverage, and it scared the hell out of me. We all know most young/healthy people don't give much thought about medical expenses, until something happens & the big bills start to flow. 
I experienced jaw dropping sticker shock when I saw how much a 2 day stay with little more than IV antibiotics is enough to bankrupt a person. Medical bankruptcy that is. 

One American goes bankrupt every 30 seconds due to health care costs.
More than 75 percent of these medically bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

From the Insurance & Financial Advisor website:

"The provisions take effect amid a backdrop of two federal court cases challenging the individual mandate that forces people, starting Jan. 1, 2014, to either buy health insurance or pay a fine. Both challenges, one in Virginia and one in Florida, appear likely to move forward, creating the possibility that the law could be altered or deemed illegal by a federal court, maybe even the U.S. Supreme Court.
Further muddying the waters is the possibility that Republicans will earn enough seats in Congress in November to take control. If they meet that goal, then it is likely that they would seek repeal Obama’s reform law consumers’ rights to appeal their decisions,” said Guest.
Two major changes that will apply to all health insurance plans in the individual and small business markets include a ban on the practice of canceling coverage when people get sick and a ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits.
Most consumer protections will kick in at the official beginning of a plan year. Many employer-based plans start in January but some start later. Also, consumers will start hearing the terms “grandfathered” and “non-grandfathered.”  The former refers to plans that existed when the health care reform law was signed six months ago.
The law forces health insurance plans to allow adult children to stay on their parents’ plans until their 26th birthday.  The new requirement takes effect when the next plan year starts. Some insurers and companies voluntarily started offering young-adult coverage earlier than the new plan year.  Parents should check with their plan administrator to find out the exact renewal date.
Health insurers won’t be able to cancel coverage if people become sick or set annual dollar limits on coverage, phased in over three years.
They also cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 with pre-existing conditions or impose barriers to emergency care."

If some GOP or Tea Party "Tax cuts for the rich" idiot causes problems with health care reform, I think I will become quite discouraged. Realizing we did not get a true Public Option for genuine health care reform, but even the shitty watered down measure will get sliced & diced as well. 
Look at what a total dog fight it was just to get the scraps of health care reform we did. Clearly the GOP would fight tooth & nail to prevent Universal Health care from ever seeing the light of day  in this country.
Leaving the for-profit model in health care means some schmuck will figure out a way to rip you off

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some rallies to rally behind!

A little dose of sanity to keep us going~

The March to keep fear alive

America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear -- that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty. But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear -- forces with salt and pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. They want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget -- "Reason" is just one letter away from "Treason." Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can't afford to take that chance. 

So join The Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A. on October 30th for the "March to Keep Fear Alive"™ in Washington DC. Pack an overnight bag with five extra sets of underwear -- you're going to need them. Because, to Restore Truthiness we must always... Shh!!! What's that sound?! I think there's someone behind you! Run! 

Ahhh yes, Stephen Colbert's Keep Fear Alive campaign. 

and Jon Stewart.... Rally to restore sanity

Then we'd like you to join us in Washington, DC on October 30 -- a date of no significance whatsoever -- at the Daily Show's "Rally to Restore Sanity." Ours is a rally for the people who've been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) -- not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence... we couldn't. That's sort of the point.

Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we'll be actively *not* throwing our feces at Tila Tequila. Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice. Or don't. If you'd rather stay home, go to work, or drive your kids to soccer practice... Actually, please come anyway. Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We'll make it worth your while. 


Seriously, if I lived in the area I would love to attend these rallies. 
Thanks to both these bastions of truthiness for taking to time to mock all these bullshit rallies, with trumped up attendance, and trying to use historic sites & dates (MLK) to imply their tea party cause is in any way related to the Civil rights movement. Please!

Take that chalkboard & shove it where the sun don't shine Glenn Beck!!!

We need humor, satire & mockery of all this rally cross the country crapola. 
Mock away oh ye of sharp wit. 

How refreshing!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It ain't over yet....

Widespread Fish kill

Fish & Wildlife updates Gulf Deepwater Horizon Collected Dead:

5939 Birds
584 Sea Turtles
92 Mammals (Includes Dolphins)

These daily counts continue to rise. The media has moved on from the oil spill story, but it has not yet ended. It does not take a Wildlife biologist to figure out the "dead zone" is closest to the spill zone.

Click to embiggen---------------------------------------->

Remember all that hocus pocus chemical dispersant that magically made the oil disappear?
Well maybe not so much-- looks like there is what has been dubbed a slime highway-- yea folks, it looks like that oil did not disappear, but it is down at the bottom of the ocean floor. As you might have guessed it is not benign either...
"Samples taken from the seafloor near BP's blown-out wellhead indicate miles of murky, oily residue sitting atop hard sediment. Moreover, inside that residue are dead shrimp, zooplankton, worms and other invertebrates.
"I expected to find oil on the sea floor," Samantha Joye, a University of Georgia marine sciences professor, said Monday morning in a ship-to-shore telephone interview. "I did not expect to find this much. I didn't expect to find layers two inches thick."The scientists aboard the research vessel Oceanus suspect it's all from the BP spill, but will have to wait until they return to shore this week to confirm it's the same oil source.
"It has to be a recent event," Joye said. "There's still pieces of warm bodies there."
If it is BP oil, it could undermine the federal government's estimate that 75 percent of the spill either evaporated, was cleaned up or was consumed by natural microbes." - MSNBC reports.
The Government is now requiring 3,500 unused Gulf wells to be permanently plugged & the dismantling of 650 unused platforms. What a mess!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A little sampling of Western Oregon....

Blue Herons @ the nearby river & a shot of the Southern Oregon Coast

Monday, September 13, 2010

feeling older

Remember when you were a kid & being older was a desirable goal? A four year old might say "I'm 4 and a half"- letting it be known they were half way to five... not just a mere 4 years old. Well, when you pass the half century mark, you rarely hear such enthusiasm for aging. Sure, I am glad to be alive. Having a birthday *beats the alternative* of not having a birthday. I count my blessings. I am thankful for so much. This year's birthday wish includes my son getting well ( he seems to be responding to the antibiotics) and another wish that the rest of the household does not get MRSA, while nursing him back to health. Hey! Some years are like that. So cheers to all for another year alive & thanks for putting up with me!

Friday, September 10, 2010


My son arrived home from helping another elderly family member in another State. Upon arrival, my son's knee was bright red- all swollen, I noticed at the baggage claim area, he was limping. This is someone who rides bike 10 miles a day, easy- in excellent health

 Back at home after unloading luggage & serving a late dinner, we took a closer look at that knee. We agreed it was probably infected, and since it was a late flight & after 10 pm, we'd have a Doctor look at it in the morning. By the next day, the whole front of the knee was worse, with the redness spreading further,  very warm to the touch.
The Doctor said he should be admitted to the hospital- but notices he has no health insurance, so she offers an interim solution. She would give him 2 shots of antibiotics, that would be equal to 24 hours of IV antibiotic, plus get started on oral antibiotic. We would give this a try-- but as she drew a pen line around the border of the bright redness-- if this spreads, he has a fever, or any worsening of the condition, he goes to the hospital. We discuss having admit orders on file, so he does not have to go through the ER to be admitted. He's already been seen. She puts that in place.
By that evening, a fever spiked, the streaking had spread, and the knee was so swollen, he could barely walk just the few steps to the bathroom.  He tried to say the spiked temperature was just a fluke, a result of having just taken a shower, but no, 10 minutes later, the temp was still approaching 102.

There were 3 items now that qualified his to need to go to the hospital, fever, increased swelling & pain, and spreading/streaking beyond the border of the line.
We have to go through the chain of command-- call the number & get the answering service exchange operator. She calls the Nurse, with a 20 minute call back buffer, the nurse returns the call & determines it is worthy of passing on to the Doctor.  She advises of another 20 minute leeway for the Doctor to call back. Thankfully, he calls in about 5 minutes. The admit info is confirmed & they tell him to come directly to a specific floor in the hospital. We bypass the ER & even the admissions desk.  He chides me for saying yes to wheelchair assist, "I can walk" & "Don't speak for me" are snarled at me.
The admissions lady instantly has a wheelchair ready to roll faster than I could say "you can barely walk & this is a huge hospital"-- it could potentially be a long walk. They plunk him into a wheelchair & off we go. It was a long walk, by the way.
A Doctor examined him & he is put on IV antibiotics.

By the time the first lab results came back the next day, the consensus was he had a Staph infection.
But likely it was the mutated superbug version known as MRSA. It was confirmed.
The good news is that it had not spread to the bloodstream.
We were seriously in need of some good news. He no longer has a fever now as well, another bit of good news.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to most antibiotics. 

So that is what we are in the thick of.
The house now reeks of bleach. We joked about how now all meals are like a picnic for him, because he is eating off of disposable dishes. We glove up for lots of things & are going through Bleach, Lysol, antibacterial soap & sanitary wipes like we are neurotic & obsessive compulsive.  The MRSA superbug Staph infection remains highly contagious, as the center of the knee wound oozes live bacteria.

Oh! Did I mention he has no health care insurance? The last thing you need in a health care crisis, is to be worrying about money, but for the uninsured it is a concern right away.
He often wondered aloud how much all of this was going to cost.

Is it possible 2 days in the hospital, no surgery, might cost as much (or more than) as an entire years' college tuition?

Apparently so. Damn it!

I won't even go off on that tirade.... just to say it is another element of stress. Huge stress. Yes, he will apply for financial assistance... he already has tons of forms to fill out.

So we take it one day at a time.
I almost feel like we should be drinking shooters of Lysol & Bleach.
The worst of the swelling & inflammation seems to be beginning to start to fade, but it is still an open wound they WANT to drain out.
Happy to say he bought flight insurance, as he is medically grounded from travel @ this time. One less worry.
He was supposed to fly to Ohio tomorrow. No way!
He is to finish a total of 14 days on antibiotic, and the wound needs to be not draining, not discolored, not painful before he is no longer medically grounded.

So! They say THE BEST WAY to avoid the spread of disease is to wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Wash in between your fingers & wash long enough to sing Happy Birthday.

From the Mayo Clinic website:

How to wash your hands

It's generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these simple steps:
  • Wet your hands with running water.
  • Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
  • Lather well.
  • Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet.
Keep in mind that antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap. Using antibacterial soap may even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product's antimicrobial agents — making it harder to kill these germs in the future.
* We were told to use antibacterial soap when dealing with MRSA. Also that hand washing is preferred to Alcohol based hand sanitizer gels- best used when soap & water is not available. 

How to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers — which don't require water — are an excellent alternative to soap and water. If you choose to use a commercially prepared hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Then follow these simple steps:
  • Apply enough of the product to the palm of your hand to wet your hands completely.
  • Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces, for up to 25 seconds or until they're dry.
If your hands are visibly dirty, however, wash with soap and water. Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are another option, although they're not as effective as alcohol-based sanitizers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hold everything!

Serious illness in the immediate family. Going to have to take a break... be back later. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Turn the page?

Maybe it is just me. Is basic decency & lawfullness, abiding by the Constitution, and sense of what is right just a thing of the past? The President says we need to turn the page on one of the Bush wars, while at the same time escalating war in Afghanistan.
 Let bygones be bygones? We are not talking about a little difference of opinion here.
Crimes were committed and mass slaughter was wrought upon the Sovereign Nation of Iraq.
The man is responsible for the deaths of 1,366,350 Iraqi people.

American Military Casualties in Iraq 
In Combat
American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03):44173494
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03) (the list)


Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03):39563189
Since Handover (6/29/04):35582862
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09):18990
American WoundedOfficialEstimated
Total Wounded:31929Over 100000
Latest Fatality Aug. 31, 2010

The war does not just magically end. The hellish experience of war, death, & serious injuries will have changed people's lives irrevocably and forever.  Ironically, the day President Obama announced the "end of combat in Iraq", another Soldier lost his life. 
No. I do not accept this kudos to Bush part of the Obama speech-  
no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops"

We are not talking about photo ops & playing military dress up to pretend Bush is a patriot who loves his troops. Like this is some damned sporting event. 

Yes I'm bitter, and disgusted that our country would let anyone get away-- literally, with not just murder, but mass murder.
4,417 soldiers died, just for us to one day walk away, and say  "the premise on which we justified going to war proved not to be valid. ... it will always be clouded by how it began."

– U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates

That's it? We shrug our shoulders because , in the end it just happened to be an invalid premise?

Someone please tell our Constitutional Scholar President about the laws that were broken. 

If we just turn the page & let this one go, then the precedent is set for future presidents to go down this same deadly path. Wars of choice. Human right violations. Collateral damage. 
Torture. Special prisons tucked away in other countries, where no laws prevail.