Saturday, March 26, 2005

Our rescue boxer, Bruiser, the fraidy cat. Joined us one week ago. He is afraid of everything. With love, time and patience he will be a good family dog. He loves kids and his stuffed toys.  Posted by Hello

The Schiavo matter

The Schiavo case from a nurse's perspective, is outrageous. The matter should not be used for political purposes. This is strictly a family matter, a dysfunctional family that can't come to grips with the fact that their daughter is in fact, in a vegetative state. She feels nothing, perceives nothing, and only her brain stem is functioning. The parents need to stop thinking about themselves, and let her go with God. What purpose does it serve to keep her alive for their own gratification? She will not improve, will not miraculously get better, but will linger, in a limbo state between life and death. They cannot perform the self-less act of letting her go, they must greedily hang on to her. I am sure the loss of their daughter has been devastating, but now it is time to let her go. National polls support the opinion that she needs to be allowed to die with dignity. Is there dignity in being the latest news nationally and internationally? Is there dignity in being the pawn of the religious right and politicians seeking to garner personal gain? I think not.

A definition of permanent vegetative state, found in the August 2004, Volume 6, Number 8 AMA Journal,
Diagnosing The Permanent Vegetative State by Ronald Cranford, MD states the following:

"It is now well established in the literature and among clinicians with over 3 decades of experience in this condition that, for both children and adults in vegetative states secondary to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, the chance of any meaningful recovery beyond 3-6 months is negligible. In patients with traumatic brain injuries, the chances of meaningful recovery are practically nonexistent beyond one year. Reports of dramatic “miracle” recoveries surface in the lay press on a regular basis every few years, but these cases, when thoroughly investigated, have not substantially undermined the recovery period statistics given above.

A persistent vegetative state (commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as "brain-death") sometimes follows a coma. Individuals in such a state have lost their thinking abilities and awareness of their surroundings, but retain non-cognitive function and normal sleep patterns. Even though those in a persistent vegetative state lose their higher brain functions, other key functions such as breathing and circulation remain relatively intact. Spontaneous movements may occur, and the eyes may open in response to external stimuli. They may even occasionally grimace, cry, or laugh. Although individuals in a persistent vegetative state may appear somewhat normal, they do not speak and they are unable to respond to commands."

The key issue was aptly stated in the above article: "To the families and loved ones, and to inexperienced health care professionals, PVS patients often look fairly “normal.” Their eyes are open and moving about during the periods of wakefulness that alternate with periods of sleep; there may be spontaneous movements of the arms and legs, and at times these patients appear to smile, grimace, laugh, utter guttural sounds, groan and moan, and manifest other facial expressions and sounds that appear to reflect cognitive functions and emotions, especially in the eyes of the family."

One good thing has come from this, families and people of all ages are now discussing what they want to happen should they become seriously ill. That should be the legacy the Schiavo family stives for, helping other families learn to how to cope and let family members die with dignity, rather than what this has become. I fell very sorry for the family, sorry that their selfishness has not allowed them to see beyond their own personal needs.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sen. Tom Harkin (D) Iowa wants to raise minimum wage

God bless Tom Harkin:

Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, who supports an increase of the $5.15-an-hour base wage, put it in perspective.
“Since 1997,” he said, “the last time we raised the minimum wage, members of Congress have raised their own pay seven times in the last eight years, by $28,500. Think about that: We vote to raise our pay seven times in eight years by $28,500, but for minimum-wage workers earning $10,700 a year, we can’t vote to raise their minimum wage. Shame on the Senate.”

The entire article can be found: here

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Fundamental Right You Don't Have

Did you know that you do not have a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote in this country? It's all about states rights, and states grant you the right to vote, with restrictions applied county by county and state by state. I was suprised that I did not realize this fact. In the following article, from which I have included one excerpt, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Il., makes the facts clear. He also introduced House Joint Resolution 28 which would reverse the Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore that the citizen has no constitutional right to vote. The congressman says it's time to make voting a citizenship right.

On March 10, 2005, Jesse Jackson noted "The United States stands virtually alone on denying constitutional protection of the right to vote. 108 of the 119 democratic nations in the world have a right to vote in their Constitution—including the Afghan Constitution and the interim Iraqi Constitution. The United States is one of only 11 that do not. As we assist other nations in implementing democracy, we must also turn the mirror on ourselves and examine what we are doing, what rights we are protecting."

Giving Bush's Retreads the Byrd

In the article "Giving Bush's Retreads the Byrd" Molly Ivins noted "In the magical upside-down world of right-wing blogs, it is now an accepted article of faith that Sen. Robert Byrd compared George W. Bush to Hitler last week."

Sen. Byrd's speeches on the "nuclear option" of cutting off Senate debate on judicial nominees have been very informative, and history lessons to us all. They are compelling and well worth the time spent reading them. We seem to have forgotten many of the lessons of history as we complacently watch the sanitized news on TV, and plug into the pap of reality TV, never spending much time reflecting upon the machinations of the Bush administration and the neocons. We ignore this at our peril. Sen. Byrd gives us history lessons not to be ignored.

Monday, March 07, 2005

From Democracy for America, on health care

IMHO: Teri often has pithy things to say, and this rates as one of her best....

Teri Mills is a a longtime Blog For America community member and participant. You can find her comments under the name of "Your Aspiring National Nurse."

"Yes, we have trouble, right here in River City, OR. The number one domestic concern is health care, yet not a single elected federal official wants to talk about ways to improve our health care system. Instead, our government is using its usual duck-and-cover scare tactics; ducking the issue of health spending and covering it up with a crisis that does not exist—social security. As a result, costs continue to explode, and fewer Americans can afford the medical care they need and deserve.

In less than 9 years, health care in the United States is projected to be $3.6 trillion or about 19% of our GDP. This nation is expected to spend $11,045 for each person, and this cost is not adjusted for
inflation. Presently the U.S. spends about $6,423 on each man, woman, and child.

Our troubles become even more apparent when you consider that our government, which is already in the red by over half a trillion dollars, plans to foot the bill for nearly half the nation's medical costs. This is the result of the Bush administration's new Medicare drug plan. Remember—it was only supposed to cost a $400 billion dollars, but now is projected to cost $720 billion. This is what Al Gore referred to as fuzzy math.

Maybe we ought to model our health care system after Canada; whose citizens live two-and-a-half years longer than we do, who has an infant mortality which is 35% less that ours, and who spends about 50% less on their GDP for health care. Their prescription drugs do not cost anywhere near what we pay in the U.S. But what is even more appealing is that every Canadian is covered for basic/hospital care.

"What we ought to be demanding as Democrats, is what Harry Truman put in the 1948 Democratic Party platform: health insurance that covers everybody, just like they have in Germany, France, Costa Rica, Japan, Ireland, and Italy! Every single industrialized country on the face of the earth has health insurance for all of its people. Why can't we have what all those countries have?"
—Gov. Howard Dean's Speech at the Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC, June 5, 2003"

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Social Security 'War Room'

Bush Sets Up Social Security 'War Room': "A new Social Security war room inside the Treasury Department is pumping out information to sell President Bush's plan, much like any political campaign might do.

The president's opponents are organized too, though they do not enjoy the resources of the White House or Treasury to sell their message.

It is developing talking points to ensure that all officials are ``singing off the same song sheet,'' Nichols said. And it will soon launch a Web site featuring the president's comments on the issue, copies of speeches and news stories and columns that are supportive of the Bush plan.

Additionally, it will deliver ``rapid response'' to media coverage it doesn't like. ``If there is an editorial in a paper that does not reflect the view of the president, they will engage in the traditional rapid response effort to ensure an op-ed or letter to the editor that states our view,'' Nichols said."

IMHO: Bush is selling us a stinky program, that will obviously benefit corporate America, and not John Q. Public.

Your sanitized news

TomDispatch: "Deborah Amos, threw up her hands and declared that, between escalating dangers and American military control over reporting, the state of Iraq was essentially an unreportable story for American journalists. 'When you read a news report, look at the second line. More and more you will find it reads: "according to the U.S. military' or "according to officials.'' She added, 'You can no longer just rely on your news du jour, whether it's NPR or the New York Times,' and went on to describe NPR's offices in Iraq in this way: 'She said most NPR reporters are holed up in a compound on a hilltop that resembles a base for a Colombian drug lord. The guarded compound has a vault that journalists can step into if they' come to get them.' "

So, where do we get the real story? Is it possible that we ever get the truth? Bush and Co. carefully screen all questions from reporters, they screen attendees where ever they speak, and the news from Iraq is sanitized by the military and "officials." All this while the American public basically sleeps through this crisis in reporting and information. What can you expect from a public that sucks in the pap of reality TV, and can discuss nothing more earth shattering that what happened on Desperate Housewives. Americans have their heads in the sand, while our nation goes to hell in a handbasket.

Ode to our beloved boxer dog

Yesterday we had to put our boxer to sleep. Today the house is strangely empty. No dog underfoot, no dog poking me with his nose to ask to go out. No dog. He came into our lives one January, as a rescue. A happy go-lucky boxer, eager to please, healed from his heartworm, rescued from the streets. He gave unconditional love, wagging his stumpy little tail, and slobbering all over us. When the UPS man, the cable guy, the heating and air conditioning guy or anyone else came, he stood guard at the door looking fierce. His scary looking boxer face belied the sweet, gentle disposition lurking underneath. Some people were scared of him, but those who knew boxers would warm right up to him. Puppy baby would sometimes stand between me and those he considered not savory, and I knew exactly what he was telling me...beware. Puppy baby loved to sit on the chairs in the family room and wore out the upholstery! He had an 8 inch thick firm foam bed, custom made by my me, so that he could sleep comfortably in our room at night. As he got older, he loved that bed more and more. We had rituals, a morning and evening walk, chasing the neighborhood cats out of the yard. He loved cats, but the cats did not know it, and ran. He was scared of our old cat, and even after that cat died, he was afraid to go upstairs, fearing that cat would leap out at him and hiss. He was the light of our lives, the kids and grandkids all adored him. Yesterday, it was very difficult to explain to the little ones where our puppy baby went. Their second experience with death. We talked about what a soul is, and that his doggie soul went to heaven to be with Auntie Mary who would watch over him and love him. That he would not be alone and scared because Mary and God were with him. Yes, we would miss him, but we could always remember what a good dog he was, and how much he loved each and every one of us.
So, puppy baby, go with God, we will remember you with much love in our hearts.  Posted by Hello

Express Train To Disaster - Express Train To Disaster Discussing social security, President Bush stated:
"Because the all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how the benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases.

There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you?"

As the article in by David Corn concluded: "That hardly sounds convincing. Did Republicans at that point realize they were on an express train with a conductor who doesn't understand how the damn thing works? More importantly, will this train jump the rails? Slow down? Run out of steam? Or is Bush (with his nine-year-old assistant) dead-set on crashing it into the station? I doubt anyone knows. Maybe not even the man in charge."

The Bush plan to tinker with social security gets low ratings from most Americans. Face it, most of us don't want this program eliminated, gutted or severely altered.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Potemkin World or the President in the Zone

Read TomDispatch - Potemkin World or the President in the Zone As most of us know, the President is insulated from the populace by his design, after all why would he want to be exposed to any views that differ from his own? It amused me to read (in this article) that Brussels was "hermetically sealed" and the streets denuded of human beings as the Prez rolled through the streets. The same occurred again and again as he rolled across Europe. Looked good for the sanitized news right? Brussels is a vibrant city full of people, shops, restaurants and centuries of history. In fact, when my husband and I visited in Sept 2004, there was a weekend celebration commemorating US help during WWI, complete with re-enactors and restored vehicles and more. So, what was Bush thinking? These people like us, but he had the city locked down tight instead. Evidently Bush could not possibly be exposed to even a small view of reality.
Ah well, there is a monument of sorts, a fountain really, that is another symbol of Brussels, the Manneken Pis....which is dressed in a different costume weekly. I only wonder what they dressed the Manneken Pis in for Bush's visit...the media never said. They should have put a cowboy hat on the Manneken Pis, symbolizing Bush's manners in Europe...
FYI: the Manneken Pis, is a statue of a little boy peeing, that is dressed in various costumes year round.

We need to revamp our schools

Bill Gates has a great idea about redesigning our high schools so that everyone, no matter their zip code, has an equally good education. Today in Texas, we know the end result of the battle of the zip codes. What we do not have in Texas, and need to develop, is a state-wide feeling that all of us, ALL of us, have a stake in the education of our children. Everyone, property owners or not, should help pay for that education because if all of us were paying for it, we would more likely demand results. Texans need to wake up and revamp our funding policies and our schools in order to produce better results.