Folks, this is a must read for anyone concerned with the election this November and the ’08 Presidential Election. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. presents a thought provoking article in the
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
When I decided to start blogging I wasn’t sure if and how often I would write about my feelings, moods, or daily adventures. My personal delusions of adequacy prevented me from taking any real time to contemplate how much bipolar depression content to include in this blog. I did some shameless self promotion with sites that I frequently visit. I believed that I could occasionally generate some clever or profound thoughts about
As I have begun to better understand my bipolar mind, my concern has also been that I may not be consistently adding to my blog. I want to make a serious effort at writing. My personal history of projects started and abandoned makes me worry a little. I once was all gung ho about buying and selling rice pattern china on eBay. I made some good money selling my coin collection and assorted memorabilia. I have a great eBay seller’s rating. But, I stopped that enterprise about a year ago and I haven’t had the enthusiasm to continue.
My life has had a series of starts and stops. Interruptions and what I thought was procrastination seems to have always been a significant part of my freaking roller coaster life. I was within 3 semester hours of completing my Master’s Degree Program in Educational Psychology when I just quit. That was about 10 years ago. I have not been able to fully explain why I haven’t tried to finish that degree. Money is one factor – but …
I do know what the trigger was that sent me down a dark hole before ending my studies. One fucking horrible stressful and career altering event crippled me. Then while I was being counseled and starting what I knew would be a life-long course of anti-depressants I was the victim of two automobile accidents. I didn’t deserve nor earn the despicable and slanderous attack on my character and livelihood that sent me to see a shrink. It happened. I survived. And, I will forever be pissed at a bully, bigot, and _________ that was a former colleague.
So, I am concerned that this blog may be one more project that is set aside and left incomplete.
I have an appointment tomorrow with my psychiatrist. He will tell me that I am improving because I have taken care of one more of the things in my life that has been a major source of depression – my neck. He doesn’t know that I had surgery or that it was ever scheduled. My visit to the orthopedic surgeon was two days after my last head shrinking. My surgery was scheduled two weeks later and now I am recuperating. It happened so fast that I am still processing it. I may finally be free of most of my physical pain.
My meds will be adjusted tomorrow. A new med may be added to the psychiatric cocktail that I take each day. I will show him the fresh scar on my throat and tell him that I have been manic all month. I didn’t even sleep in the hospital after waking up in the recovery room. I wanted to – but couldn’t. I can’t remember when I last slept more that two or three hours.
Diana and I have been cat napping together in a recliner in our formerly cat-free guest bedroom since my return home from the hospital. The oddest thing about napping with this cat is that Diana has not slept with or on top of me since she was a kitten. She and her litter mate, Fergie, are nearly 12 years old. Fergie frequently sleeps beside me in bed or at my feet. Diana never did.
We always describe Diana as being special. She has a few behaviors that make us wonder about her sometimes. These past weeks have been extraordinary for me as she has insisted upon sleeping with me. She cries at the door until we let her in the bedroom. As I have been wearing a neck brace since my surgery, I have been sleeping in a recliner for support and ease. Having our Di Baby purring on top of my blanket has been very comforting.
Well, so much for my version of “Friday Cat Blogging” and this slice of my bipolar life.
What a ride!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Shame on you.
Your vote for the tribunal and detainee treatment bill does not reflect what my parents and church have taught me about Christian and American morals. I am appalled that you voted to allow un-American values to be a part of our laws. You, the Republican Party, and our President have allowed the forces of evil to change our great American traditions of fairness and decency.
Our high moral standards are reflected in the protection of horses by the recent Congressional legislation outlawing the killing of horses to provide horsemeat for human consumption. This European delicacy will no longer be exported from the
Horse meat was once sold in many major city butcher shops, including one in
None of us freaked out. We were amused and not grossed out by the experience. I thought the meat seemed a bit dark red, but it tasted good. I look back fondly at the experience as just another testimony that, in the words of my mother, my family is a little flakey.
Today the moral standards of our great nation were further displayed by the cowardice of the United States Senate in its passage of legislation that will allow the President of the
The country of Good Samaritans will not just pass by the man in the road, we will be willing accomplices in his suffering.
We have confronted the specter of terror -- and the terrorists have won.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The Michigan Legislature enacted laws a decade ago to make several so-called improvements in the public school education of our children. They had a particular epiphany that led them to believe that
It seems to me that what is good for the goose should be good for the State Senate and House of Representative Michiganders. There should be a law requiring each individual legislator to be in his or her seat in legislative sessions for at least the same amount of time that they require public school children and their teachers to be in their classrooms. And, just like teachers, their committee work, continuing education, and mandated self-improvement hours have to be done outside of the school or legislative day.
Now, it seems that the Michigan Legislature has gone home and left their work undone.
I would give them an “incomplete” if they were not already failing the citizens of
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I saw the coolest x-rays at Dr. Montgomery’s office today. Within minutes of shooting two views of my new and improved neck, the x-ray technician had the x-rays displayed on the computer screen in the examination room. Way cool.
I love technology. I have my July MRI “films” on a CD-ROM and now wish I had brought a floppy disc to the doctor’s today so I could have copied the x-rays. Anyway, the titanium plate and 6 screws were clearly visible in the x-rays. The implant is there to insure that the donor bones fuse well with the cervical bones.
I am on the road to recovery and hope to put those long years with chronic pain and fatigue behind me. I am very confidant that the anterior cervical discectomies and fusions at C5/C6 and C6/C7 have increased the likelihood of an extraordinary reduction in pain. It is all about the quality of life.
I am thankful that both my primary insurance coverage from the State of Michigan, as part of my public school teacher retiree benefits, and my auto insurance company pay all of my neck injury related bills. Unlike my insurance coverage for my organic brain disease (bipolar depression) – my neck injury is guaranteed to be covered for my lifetime. If the State of Michigan doesn’t renege again on retiree health insurance coverage, I should always be able to afford treatment for my dysfunctional thyroid and hypertension.
I just don’t understand why 39 of our 50 States have insurance parity for mental health and organic brain diseases and our Great State of Michigan does not. Is it the stigma? Do the men and women in the State Senate and State House of Representatives believe that those of us with physical defects that cause mental illness are somehow personally responsible? Am I at fault for the roller coaster mood swings that my brain’s chemicals induce? Why, when the vast majority of the citizens in Michigan favor insurance parity, does the Legislature drag its feet?
I was taught that elected leaders are supposed to be acting for the good of the people of Michigan. If insurance company and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce campaign contributions and political support are more important to Legislators than the health of Michigan’s populace, then…
I guess I should stop here.
I might write something really crazy.
Monday, September 25, 2006
While Dick DeVos reaps his rewards for having invested in
Watch the newest Granholm ad below.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Every elementary school teacher can tell you great stories about the numerous excuses given for late, lost, and incomplete homework. When one of my kids tried to tell me that her baby brother spilled juice on her math assignment she had the wherewithal to bring in the evidence. No problem.
Absence and early dismissal notes can be quite humorous as well. The school office has always handled the tardy or sick calls from parents. My friends in the public school office should all write books. And, I say my friends because after 25 years of teaching in several different school buildings I can confidently advise every new teacher that there are only two people in an elementary school that you never ever piss off – the school secretary and the head custodian. Learn their names, always smile, always be polite, and always thank them for even the most mundane assistance. They should be the first folks you greet in the morning and the last folks you say good night to as you or they leave the building. Be a friend and your school life will be easier.
Here is a link to a Ned Lamont radio ad. Holy Joe Lieberman has missed a few important U.S. Senate votes and had to call in about his absences.
Give it a listen. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 23, 2006
The word is slowly leaking out. Rove and Company is salivating at the prospect of a giant boost in the opinion polls’ job approval ratings for King Bush. Prepare to see the approval ratings for the handling of the Wars on Terror and Iraq soar. Shortly after the November elections we will learn that the Torturer and Chief, George W. Bush, has moved in the Navy forces needed for the opening salvo in the next war -- code name – Desert “Roll the Rug Up” Freedom Farce.
Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish has the latest on the rumors about Osama Bin Laden. Andrew also provides us with this link to where we may discover what really happened to OBL.
Meanwhile, Dr. Donald Mallard from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is traveling to Afghanistan with the rest the team following shortly. The NCIS team has to detour to retrieve retired Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs from his beachfront shack in Mexico. The NCIS team is expected to present the definitive report that will shock and awe the world. Government sources predict that we will learn the truth sometime in early October. Stay tuned for further reports.
Dear Times Herald Editor:
Torture is a cruel and inhumane act of aggressive immoral behavior. There never is nor will there ever be any excuse, emergency, or threat that would allow Christian people or others with high moral standards to stoop to this depraved and indifferent action. Anyone that approves of torturing and assaulting the human dignity of another man, women, or any “neighbor” whom God has set before us on the path that we walk, denies the goodness, mercifulness, and honorable call from God to be like His Son.
The lessons of love and forgiveness have been disregarded by any that claim that our great nation should allow our secret police or military to torture. Our freedom is not defended by sacrificing the soul of our great nation. I would rather die a martyr’s death than bring myself or allow others to torture in my name for my defense.
No religious activist that decries the immorality of gay marriage, abortion as birth control, or capital punishment should ever raise their voice again in descent or protest if they do not loudly and forcefully object to this evil that our President and the Congress are considering approving.
We do not torture. Not in my name. And, certainly not in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Is torture truly something that Jesus would do?
J. Lee Harris
Friday, September 22, 2006
We all need to become “pitchfork peasants” – an apt observation by Craig Crawford from the Congressional Quarterly. He chatted with Keith Olbermann last night about Tim Ryan.
Please let us welcome a new blog -- stopdevos.com. Their mission is one that is truly vital to the health of my neighbor and nation. Literally.
Welcome to the blogosphere. Many thanks to Zack at Pohlitics for the heads-up. This new blog does know how to embed a YouTube video. I soon will have the patience and a few neck-pain free hours to figure it out. So, for now, please follow the link.
I am also hoping that I can figure out a way to get noticed. Yes, I know that my blog is too unprofessional– too eclectic – too folksy – too bipolar depressing – too autobiographical – too unfocused. I don’t have enough
I remember the days when as a leader in the teachers’ union I felt the need to defend and support the classroom teachers’ aide and library aid union. The pompous asses in the school administration had once characterized this group as a “dime a dozen”. They were of the opinion that the paraprofessionals were just a bunch of desperately bored housewives.
The school administrators were so wrong and so out of touch with reality. Every parapro that I knew was a dedicated caring hard-working underpaid friend. No Kelly Girl could just walk off the street and do the job that they were asked to do every day. The motherly compassion of Mrs. Howard wasn’t something you should ever take for granted.
Margaret was one of my childhood neighborhood parents. What she brought to the classroom that I once subbed in and to the school where I eventually taught full-time could not be found in just anybody. Her wit, wisdom, and willingness to go the proverbial extra mile were inspiring. In fact, her parenting of her actual children and her adopted neighborhood kids was indirectly responsible for my having become a teacher. Her daughter, Maggie, was the wise older sister that talked to me about her dream of dedicating her life to teaching. She told me all about this thing called the Peace Corp and how she dreamt of becoming a volunteer. She wanted to make a difference in this world. She was willing to give of herself to her community, her nation, and to those struggling people in a far off distant land where they once welcomed the enthusiasm and dedication of young Americans.
I once thought of being a Peace Corp volunteer. My life took many turns and that dream faded away. My dedication to teaching never faltered.
Anyway, my writing will be folksy and autobiographical. I don’t seem to be able to make a point about some things without giving a real life illustration. It is my nature. I can’t help it – I am a teacher.
From a favorite mug (You wouldn’t believe the number of mugs that I have been gifted with over the years!) says, “Those who can, Teach. Those who can’t -- yeah, yeah – you know the rest…..
Get real. The proud Democrats in the Senate stood by as a few so-called maverick Republican Senators challenged King George’s Freedom through Torture Bill. After only a short few days it seems that McCain and Company have a “conceptual” agreement. That seems to be code for “We don’t know what the hell we’ll do – but we scored some points for the Republican’s bid to maintain their majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives”.
The Democrats were thinking that they could watch the Senate Republicans self-destruct, but instead got caught with their pants down. It was all a show. The Republicans will preserve and support the President’s and our republics stumble from the high road of human rights and the preservation of human dignity. We will parse the meaning of torture and continue to lawyer our way to disaster.
The Democrats failed to jump into the fake fray and make it real. Too many defense contractors padding your pockets, so you won’t take a real stand for what is right and decent and American? The Democratic Party’s inaction is further proof that the fish rots from the head down. Our Democratic Leaders are truly out of touch with the Americans that they should be serving. The Do-Nothing Congress and the Imperial Presidency are serving the needs of the big corporate puppeteers.
I saw an advertisement the other day for a book about net activism. We know it – don’t we? The jackass on the other end of the tug of war rope gets a hard kick in the behind. Would someone tell me how we are to really do that? Is the blogosphere just another distraction for one demographic group within the “masses”? Sex, drugs, rock’n roll, and television just doesn’t work for everyone. Computers, broadband connections, Google, YouTube, Blogspot, and email – are they just another opiate for the bipolar, hyperactive, and intellectually over-sexed?
Would somebody please pass me a valium?
I received a campaign packet from the DNC today which further fueled my anger and disappointment with MY party. I got the usually Rah Rah letter, plea for money, and mini-poster. A really cheesy set of 5 “Liberty Postcards” was included. I am supposed to take these informative cards, apply postage, and mail them to 5 voters that I am to “adopt”. What freaking information is there? Six bullshit talking points that say absolutely NOTHING!
No plans. No substantive goals. I would be painfully embarrassed to send that crap to anyone.
It says – “Together, America Can Do Better”. Well, folks – I was a teacher and I need some concrete lessons plans. No stupid conceptual language.
Stop jerking your voters, supporters, and activists around. Give us a real plan. Fight for what is decent and right or WE won’t be staying with this lame ass party much longer.
In recent months I have been treated for profound grief and depression triggered by the death of my father and the then eminent death of my older brother.
My eventual and inevitable diagnosis of bipolar depression was not so much a surprise but strangely a relief. Finally after 51 years, my depression had a name and an explanation.
That explanation helped explain the whys and wherefores of a life that included suicide ideation, two serious overt attempts of suicide, and episodic flirts with death through self-destructive behaviors. Those self-destructive behaviors began sometime following my 14th birthday. An unspeakably traumatic experience set in motion my journey down the path (with promiscuity and the use of drugs and alcohol) to self-destructive addictions.
The lessons of thriftiness taught to me by my depression era parents were “lost on me” due to the bipolar compulsion to spend money that I didn’t have. My binge buying sprees were attempts to make myself happy. Both Mom and Dad parents whose cultural heritage was stereotypically true. Mom’s German father and Canadian-Reserved bipolar mother passed down a peculiar legacy of intractable stubbornness, neat-freakish homemaking, and the conservative use of money. Dad’s Canadian-Reserved and Scottish parentage resulted in an incomprehensible work ethic, emotional distance, generosity, and an uncanny ability to successfully squeeze a dime.
The encouragement to seek satisfying and successful life goals came from my public school teachers and counselors. The encouragement to choose a servant ministry and a humble “life path” was attempted because of selfless and caring role models. I choose a career that was intrinsically rewarding yet poorly compensated – teaching in a public school district. Though I was encouraged and expected to become a school principal, I chose to always remain a teacher. I never wanted the responsibilities of administration because I endeavored to serve both my community and church in the most direct and effective manner.
My bipolar personality traits helped me remain confident of my skills and creativity through long periods of my life when I was imprisoned by worthlessness and despair. My moodiness was even projected in a Freudian naming of a beloved stuffed monkey. I didn’t have a blankie, binky, or love-worn teddy bear; I had “Helpless”, a brown fuzzy monkey with an infectious, plastic smile of joy. After my 50th birthday I asked my best friend and life-companion to take Helpless out from my childhood collections and dispose of him. “Just take him and don’t tell me what you did with him.”
My frequently “racing mind” was seen by me to be gifts of inspiration and clarity of thought. I was and have been forever grateful for the confidence and the intelligence granted to me by nature and/or nurture. Whether or not my moody roller coaster disposition resulted from bipolarity or was a gift from God, I am thankful that I had the wherewithal to cope with wobbly eyes (congenital Nystagmus) and an equally jerky life. I have coped. And, I have been successful.
I have a lust for life. My experiences while traveling through life (and the
“So it is with minds. Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination ... And there is no mad or idle fancy that they do not bring forth in the agitation.” -Michel de Montaigne
Thursday, September 21, 2006
While most of the nation was focused on the speeches at the United Nations and the wrangling in the United States Senate over how we will torture our enemies, the U.S. Congress fell lock step behind President Bush and his GOP War Machine. Three resolutions passed through Congress, seemingly without comment from the media.
All three resolutions are pretty much meaningless unless you recognize the context in which they were presented.
You will remember that on Tuesday King George spoke directly to the people of
We respect your country. We admire your rich history, your vibrant culture and your many contributions to civilization.
You deserve an opportunity to determine your own future, an economy that rewards your intelligence and your talents, and a society that allows you to fulfill your tremendous potential.
The greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons.
The United Nations has passed a clear resolution requiring that the regime in
Despite what the regime tells you, we have no objection to
We're working toward a diplomatic solution to this crisis. And as we do, we look to the day when you can live in freedom, and
As GWB attempted to win the hearts and minds of the Iranian people, the House passed a concurrent resolution with the United States Senate (H.Con.Res.415) that:
“ (1) condemns the Government of Iran for the October 29, 2005 letter, calls on the Government of Iran to immediately cease such activities and all activities aimed at the repression of the Iranian Baha'i community, and continues to hold the Government of Iran responsible for upholding all the rights of its nationals, including members of the Baha'i community; and
(2) requests the President to--
(A) call for the Government of Iran to emancipate the Baha'i community by granting those rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants on human rights;
(B) emphasize that the United States regards the human rights practices of the Government of Iran, including its treatment of the Baha'i community and other religious minorities, as a significant factor in the foreign policy of the United States Government regarding Iran; and
(C) initiate an active and consistent dialogue with other governments and the European Union in order to persuade the Government of Iran to rectify its human rights practices.”
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed two additional resolutions. One resolution (H.Res.976):
“(1) condemns the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and strongly urges the international community to bring pressure on Iran to halt discrimination and violence toward its citizens, in particular women, religious and ethnic minorities, and vocal opponents of the regime;
(2) urges the Government of the United States to continue to pressure the Government of Iran into making measurable improvements in the human rights situation for the Iranian people; and
(3) expresses its unity with all Iranian people and shares their desire to see
The third House Resolution (H.Res.942):
“(1) recognizes the centennial anniversary of the Iranian constitution of 1906;
(2) is mindful of the democratic revolution of 1906 that lead to the drafting of the Iranian constitution; and
(3) expresses its profound hope that the people of
I admit that I am a true novice in the research of congressional legislation. I just happened to be looking for any significant House Bills that my U.S. Representative Candice Miller (R-10) had broke ranks with the Great GOP Machine. It seems she hasn’t seen a House Bill supporting clean water for the poor that she likes and voted “NO” on three HB’s despite the fact they were supported by her Grand Old Party. What’s the phobia with water all about? Candice is a veteran of the
Candice Miller also defied the GOP by voting against energy conservation, broadband networks and services, and rural housing assistance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Candice must not like our cats and dogs, as she voted against a bill “to insure that State and local emergency preparedness operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals following a major disaster or emergency.” She apparently doesn’t care that I want my cats (Diana, Fergie, and Jadzia Dax) to be rescued with me in the event of some disaster. Sink or swim, eh, Candy? Sure, get on your sailboat and save your own butt.
Anyway, it seems that the drums are getting louder. We are “in a crisis” and Congress is willingly skipping along with Boy George and his Neocon Draft-Dodgers. It’s a good thing that I am old and disabled; I won’t be eligible for the new Freedom Draft to Fight Terrorism. You never know – 51 could be the new 40. If we need to leave -- my cousins in
Aaaww crap, we don’t have a boat.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Here is a link to a political ad for Tammy Duckworth.
Tammy is an Iraq War veteran running to represent the people of
I found her ad to be compelling. I urge you to watch it and consider donating to her campaign.
I mentioned the other day that I planned to watch an HBO Special Documentary about Barry Goldwater. It was great and I recommend that those with HBO On-Demand watch the documentary.
Andrew Sullivan wrote a summary of the show and spells out the essence of what it means to be a Barry Goldwater Conservative.
I fancy myself to be a Goldwater Conservative.
Please read Andrew's post at the Daily Dish.
I am not willing to cut the Bush Administration and our do-nothing Congress any slack over the issues of torture and convicting alleged terrorists using secret information that the defendant is not allowed to see or confront. Currently both issues are working their way through committees. It seems that compromises have been offered and proposed laws may soon find their way to both Houses of Congress. I urge Candice Miller (R-MI-10th), Senator Levin, and Senator Stabenow to do all that they can to kill these outrageous morally-corrupt proposals. The bills should never make their way out of committee.
Any proposal, which redefines and allows even a jot of torture that is debated and voted upon, will demonstrate to the world that we have abandoned our nation's high moral standards. We must not forsake our cherished fair trial principles. We must not be willing to compromise neither our freedom, our liberty, nor break the sacred promises we have made to one another and the world because we fear thugs and zealots.
The blood of patriots has been shed to preserve our republic and we must not give George W. Bush the tools to erode our democratic way of life. If we allow torture or conduct unfair tribunals -- the terrorist win.
Will we be courageous? Will we do what is right?
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sorry. I just can’t help myself. I have a twisted sense of humor sometimes. And, as much as the onslaught of negative political ads has disgusted me over the last 10 years – I just get a real kick out of the ads that really nail some incumbent politicians.
Yes, I promised myself that I would frequently reread the dictionary definition of the word “malice”. I do need a reality check from time to time to make sure that I can honestly say that I have not made malicious remarks in my little essays or quick jabs at whomever or whatever has caught my attention.
Malice – a desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness: the malice and spite of a lifelong enemy.
Naaaaa – not yet. I admit that I deploy sarcasm as a cheap shot. And, I tease. But, as the scorpion said to the frog – it is my nature. I do not desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another human being. I am a conflicted pacifist at heart. I rarely have hostile impulses and I am not a mean person. I do sometimes enjoy seeing bad guys get their comeuppances.
And, now to my point – here are links to three stinging political ads that I came across in my Required Reading.
Enjoy! I did.
These ads were found at Daily Kos.
I am a life-long learner. My thirst for knowledge, my passion for exploration and travel, and my obnoxious know-it-all obsession [that’s a joke] has taken me on many rewarding journeys. My life was teaching, child advocacy, and political activism.
In November of 1997 I was driving the lead vehicle in a 4 car collision. I was just starting to leave a changing traffic light when a lady in a brand-new Dodge
My life changed. I had to abandon my union positions and most social activities due to the fact that by the end of a normal teaching day I was drained of all energy and overcome with muscle strain and pain. Eighteen months later, in June of 1999, my Dodge minivan was struck from behind by an elderly man with failed brakes. My mending neck was further injured
I am not seeking sympathy with my narrative. I am simply trying to help others to understand the effects of traumatic injuries, endless medical testing and treatment, and a life with chronic and debilitating pain.
A change in
To literally add insult to injury – the co-pay for mental health medical expenses went from 10% under my old MESSA Blue Cross coverage to 50% under the State of
I have had a life-long struggle with depression. I have managed to live a full and successful life with only having had to be under the care of mental health professionals through 4 short episodes in 50 years. My last round of treatment was coming to an end when the 1999 accident occurred. After a few more months of counseling my doctors discharged me. My primary care physician was advised to keep me on an atypical anti-depressant thereafter.
My only recourse was to finally accept my disability and file a claim for Social Security Disability. After a ton of paperwork, two independent medical exams and months of waiting, my application was rejected. Today, after another long 10 months, I am still waiting for a court date to be scheduled to hear my appeal.
Sorry, it takes some time to tell the key points of my story.
In January of 2005, my 79 year old father had his second heart attack. Dad had his first attack 19 years earlier and it was followed by a double bypass surgery on his heart. After the January heart attack, Dad’s health began to fail. Within months, I became the primary care giver to my father. For 5 days a week, I woke Dad in the morning, fed him breakfast, dispensed his insulin and heart medications, and set aside food for his lunch. I returned each evening to prepare dinner and dispense his medications. Fetching the mail, doing the dishes, doing small loads of laundry, and performing minor household chores were also part of my role in Dad’s care. My sister and an older brother took care of Dad on the weekends. They also took care of the housecleaning, grocery shopping, and other tasks that I was physically incapable of doing.
Taking care of Dad became my life.
My father passed away on February 28th of this year.
My oldest brother’s yearlong battle with cancer ended three months later on
My profound grief was a trigger for a serious battle with depression. My primary care physician referred me to a psychiatrist in early April. And, after 51 years – I was FINALY and CORRECTLY diagnosed as having Bipolar Depression. I will write more about this malady at another time.
Today, I want to focus on one of the major obstacles that I must overcome in order to manage my disease. Money- more precisely, insurance coverage parity.
Now, consider for a moment that someone’s child, brother, sister, or parent is limited to only 60 LIFETIME visits to a cardiologist for a severe heart condition. Or that a family member is only allowed to be hospitalized for just 20 days in a one year period for cancer treatment. How fair would that be? I have an organic brain disease. It is no different than my high blood pressure, neck, and thyroid problems. My insurance coverage to help me combat my disease should be on par with all other health conditions.
Presently, my pension is the primary source of income for a two adult and three feline household. I fear that I may not find enough money for both counseling and the short and costly visits to a medical doctor during the trial and error process involved in drug therapy. Finding the right mix of medications to stabilize my severe and frequent mood swings may be a long long trek. I am presently cycling from mania to depression several times a week and sometimes cycling up and down in a 24 hour period. This freaking roller coaster ride is not thrilling. As my brother would say, “it’s f@#*d up”!
Unfortunately, if I lose my Social Security Disability appeal, my STATE OF
Parity. That’s all I am asking for right now. Give me a fair chance and I will manage. I must.
Please write your State Representative and State Senator. And, please go to the Michigan Partners for Parity website for more information.
Monday, September 18, 2006
I've been working on a somewhat personal piece about insurance parity. I will post it sometime tonight (read -- Tuesday morning) after I watch all my TV shows.
Add Keith Olbermann to the list that I have already published and tonight's HBO Special on "Mr. Conservative", Barry Goldwater. I can't wait to watch it. Lou Dobbs has interviewed one of the producers of the documentary, Senator Goldwater's granddaughter, twice now. Barry Goldwater is an American hero and patriot.
I just got Keith Olbermann's book today and a copy of John W. Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience".
I have some great books to read while I recover from last week's surgery.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
After watching a televised debate between incumbent Senator Allen(R) of Virginia and his challenger, ex-Navy secretary Jim Webb (D), I have a better understanding of the controversy on the subject of allowing women to enroll in the Virginia Military Academy (VMI). I never quite understood the mindset that fueled the debate about women in that academy, in particular, and women in the
Senator Allen once voiced his concern that should women be allowed into VMI, the treatment of those women would have been “ungentlemanly”. I believe that implies that men were treated differently in their military training. Men were disciplined and motivated by “tougher” or more aggressive ways. The theory being that it was how you shaped boys into manhood.
I literally had a flashback to an incident that occurred in my 6th grade physical education class. I remembered the day that our male teacher told the entire class that we were “pansies”. That degrading statement troubles me to this day. To call an eleven year old boy a pansy in 1966 was the same as calling him a faggot or queer. Mr. E’s remark was inappropriate.
The mindset then and today is that subjecting boys and men to that sort of macho treatment is acceptable.
I have always rebelled against any double standard or discriminating treatment of girls and boys. In my public school classrooms, I consciously worked to be fair and firm in the treatment of all children. I even went to the “extreme” of never having boy and girl lines of students when taking my class to recess, to lunch, or to any other room for music, art, or school assemblies. I never ever wanted to catch myself comparing the boys to the girls neither in how they queued up nor in any other behavior. Girls and boys were motivated, disciplined, and cared for equally.
Not too many years ago, I had a 1st grade classroom that was adjacent to the doors to the playground. During the 3rd grade recess period an angry colleague brought a male student in from the playground and bellowed, “Bend over and grab your ankles,” then proceeded to give the child a rather forceful whack on his behind. I was shocked and appalled. Not only had the teacher violated the
I do not believe that Teacher X would have ever ordered a female student to “bend over and grab” her ankles. She would have been bullied and humiliated in some other “acceptable” manner.
It seems that in our culture “equal justice under the law” may be interpreted in different ways. Our children, our brothers and sisters, our friends and our enemies are subject to inconsistent and inequitable standards. Our highly moral country still allows exceptions when it comes to evenhandedness, civility and preserving human dignity.
How can we continue to brag that we have the fairest and freest democracy in the world? Is our brand of freedom truly "God’s gift to the world"?
Friday, September 15, 2006
"Karl Rove is certainly playing high stakes poker on the Kangaroo Courts. Set aside for the moment the merits of the underlying questions of whether our country should continue to abide by the rule of law and the principles our founders based the country on. Hard I know, but for a moment, put that to one side.
The aim here was to unite Republicans behind a bill and then force Democrats either to vote for or against -- demoralize the supporters of those who vote for and crush with 30 second ads those who vote against.
But if the White House actually gets tripped up in a fight with members of his own party over what kind of torture we should use, and that's the last legislative story out of
I don't pretend that it's a clear political shot to argue, in a highly polarized electorate, that there are certain rights we should afford to anyone in our custody, no matter how bad they may be.
If there's some division over a president who wants to sully our national honor by enshrining torture as national policy, I don't think there's much division over a would-be torturer-in-chief who's so feckless that he can't even get his bills through congress -- and this while he's twiddling his thumbs as
What will they do next?
A month ago or so, I watched a History Channel presentation about INTERPOL. The documentary described the difficulty that the American and European governments had had in investigating and apprehending known terrorists. It seems that at one time, the leader of INTERPOL had determined that dealing with terrorists and their actions was beyond the purview of that organization. INTERPOL’s valuable skills and resources could not be used.
When a change in leadership occurred, the mission of INTERPOL was reinterpreted to view terrorists as criminals and their terrorist acts as violations of local, national, and international law. A murderer is a murderer. Assassination is murder. Making and using a bomb to kill one person or twenty is murder. Terrorist cells are just another group of criminals that conspire to disrupt commerce, possess illegal weapons, forge documents, and murder.
So what the hell is the big deal with apprehending, interrogating, prosecuting, and punishing one terrorist or twenty?
How many times do Americans and the citizens of the world need to be reminded that the events on
President George W. Bush has been using smoke and mirrors to effectively hamstring this nation for far too long. We do not need to clarify the interpretations of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. We do not need to use lawyers to justify our actions. Legal opinions are just opinions. We have a justice system that demands that COURTS interpret the law and that judges rule during the proceedings of a trial.
It has been suggested that Article 3 may be outdated. Is our Constitution outdated? Are International Laws outdated? Do we pussy foot around the
If taking those 14 terrorists to trial would expose “national security” issues, then close the courtroom to the public. If taking them to trial would expose our corrupted government’s torture practices, then President Bush must be held accountable for permitting the CIA or the military to violate international law.
Good Golly. If we don’t change the law to fit this situation that GWB created – then we will have failed the American people. We will be less safe and the terrorists win.
The terrorist win if we sacrifice our moral principles. The terrorists win if we allow our government to suspend our Constitutional rights so they may spy on foreign criminals. The terrorists win if this Do-Nothing Congress and Imperial President keep taking us down the tracks to nowhere.
Democrat and Republicans need to reaffirm their oaths of office and get about the business of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the
You can protect us from the terrorists by continuing to apply existing law. Trust our judicial system. Trust our system of checks and balances. We have been working really hard over the past 230 years to get it right.
Get back on the right track. GIT-R-DONE!!!
My timer is set for just over an hour. I will make this post and begin some of my Required Reading. I must not sit too long at the computer. I want the vertebra and bone grafts to heal well.
Yesterday, I came across this little gem while reading the Democratic Underground. Our friends at DU posted a blog from Plaid Adder who had written about one his blogs becoming a short film. Here is the link to Plaid Adder’s posting.
Watch the film, then read the blog or vice versa.
My foray into the world of blogs has been interesting and somewhat uneventful. As a student of history I have been fascinated by internet activism and the real-time chronicling of current events. Toss in opinions, historical references, passionate debate, comedy, and bullshit -- this new world disorder is akin to pioneering. Yes, I’ve come along a few years after this quadrant of the universe had been explored, terra-formed, and colonized. And, as a technology geek and early adopter, I am surprisingly blogospherically retarded. I am here, now, and ready to be aggravated, amazed, and amused.
This adventure has been uneventful. No one knows me. And, no one I know reads this blog. Oh, yes, I have had three emails from three of the authors of blogs that I read, but as for advice, acceptance, or assurance that my writing has some potential – I have yet to have anyone give me any feedback. The only folks that have complemented my real or imagined writing skills have been colleagues, family, and friends that took note of one or more of my Letters to the Editor published in our local newspaper.
I have written some damn good professional contract language that has assisted both my union and former employer to navigate through the realm of working conditions, wages, and benefits. The insertion of the word “equivalent” in a clause in the union’s contract successfully stymied the local Board of Education from eroding the teachers’ health benefits at a time when wages and benefits were being reduced. At the bargaining table, the opposing team thought they had a “win” and only realized that my team had a “gotcha” when they attempted to secure cheaper and less generous dental and vision insurance coverage. I once was successful at bargaining and writing contract language.
My teaching career and union hyperactivity was my entire universe until two automobile accidents disabled me. I will likely write about that detour at a later date. It is literally too painful to blog right now.
I am on the mend.
I want to continue to share my local and world views. I want to share the wit and wisdom that I discover in my daily reading. The Required Reading highlighted in the sidebar is not a joke. I faithfully read each blog each day. And whether or not I have any real or imagined audience to share with – I will continue this journey.
Right now it is time for some pain medication and sleep.
Have a good night.
No one who has not pioneered can understand the fascination and the terror of it. -- Laura Ingles Wilder
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Please check out this television ad by Vote Vets.
Follow the Daily Kos link here.
We sent our troops to Iraq without the best body armor, the best helmets, the best up-armored vehicles, and the best leadership.
There must be a special section of Hell for .......
This morning the BBC is reporting that the
The BBC further reports that member countries are unwilling to support the war in
32 Iraqis were killed in a bomb blast in
Meanwhile, a British defense firm, BAE Systems, has reported a 15% rise in half-year profits.
King George has stated that we will remain in