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Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Call for Action



Imagine my delight when a newspaper located in the ultra conservative side of Michigan calls on the Michigan Legislature to pass a comprehensive insurance parity law. The Grand Rapids Press even suggested that Governor Jennifer Granholm showcase the mental illness parity law as part of her State of the State Address.

Here are some quotes from the article in today's paper:


"For the afflicted, however, nothing could be more real than the mind and soul crimped by chemical imbalance, past trauma or bedeviling addiction. Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety can be debilitating, even deadly. Scientific advances of the last few decades have created sophisticated therapies for these illnesses, especially more effective drugs, making them all the more treatable and offering new hope.

But disparity persists in the way insurers cover such diseases. When it comes to mental illness, some impose higher co-pays and deductibles, mandate shorter hospital stays and put stricter limitations on lifetime coverage amounts. Too many patients have to draw down their bank accounts to receive the help they need, and too many go without any help at all."


..........


"Offsetting the coverage cost, however, would be increased productivity and well-being for the currently under-insured. Mental illness takes a toll not only on lives but on the bottom line, especially in absenteeism and poor performance at work.

In addition, there would be a savings to the public health system, which bears the load when private insurance fails. When lawmakers consider the expenses -- and they must -- they need to consider all of them."


It's time to get off our butts and get this legislation passed!

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bipolar Sunday -- New York Legislates Parity


Most of the States in our Republic have insurance parity laws. As noted in an earlier post, insurance parity may become Federal Law in 2007 and Michigan Law, as well. At Northender.com there is an article about the insurance parity law passed by the State of New York. That law takes effect on January 1st, 2007.


"The law, passed unanimously by both houses of the State Legislature, is named for 12-year-old Timothy O'Clair of Rotterdam, who suffered from depression and took his own life in 2001. The legislation would require insurance companies to offer coverage for most mental illnesses, including a broad range of mental illnesses and conditions specifically related to children."


..........


"The law directs the New York State Superintendent of Insurance to implement a system that would help small businesses meet the guidelines. A fund will also be created to fully offset any increase in insurance premiums on businesses with 50 or fewer employees resulting from this legislation.

The New York State Insurance Department and the Office of Mental Health will also be required to conduct a two-year study to determine the effectiveness and impact of mental health parity legislation in New York and other states. The law is slated to sunset at the end of 2009 so that the findings of the study can be examined and the law amended accordingly.


Timothy's Law includes the following provisions:


Coverage for 30 inpatient days and 20 outpatient days of treatment for all mental illnesses.


Full coverage for treatment of biologically-based mental illnesses, including the following: Schizophrenia/psychotic disorders, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Delusional Disorders, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bulimia, Anorexia and Binge Eating."



I really will never understand why a Republican Michigan Legislator would block an insurance parity bill that had enough co-sponsors for the bill to pass. I will never understand why a Republican Congressman from Texas would block the Combating Autism Act of 2006.


Why? Malice? Special Interest Bribes? Or are they just plain mean and ornery?


I thank God, my parents, my pastors, my Sunday School teachers, and the Public Education School Teachers in Port Huron for helping me to cherish love, kindness, and justice. Whatever they did -- I am thankful that I don't understand these jerks. I really don't want to peer into that "darkness".

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Gloomy Economic Forecast for Michigan


(Cross posted in Candy Land.)

Despite Candice Miller's high praise for the economy in a September, 2004 House of Representative Floor Speech, Michigan's economy is floundering. An article in the Port Huron Times Herald published today paints a grim picture of Michigan's economy.


Times Herald "money" quotes:

"Although hiring is expected to increase during the first quarter of next year, the long-term economic forecast for Michigan in 2007 and 2008 is bleak, according to some economists."
..........

" Manpower found automotive companies and auto parts suppliers are unlikely to add to their staffs in 2007, said spokeswoman Debbie Thierry.

Locally, automotive suppliers have suffered losses at the hands of the Big Three, which are reducing their staffs through layoffs and buyout programs.

The state's unemployment rate dropped from 7.2% in November 2005 to 6.9% in November of this year. The rate is expected to rise again in 2007 and 2008, economists from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor predicted in a November study. The prediction calls for Michigan's unemployment rate to rise to an average of 7.5% in 2007 and to 7.7% in 2008 - the highest rate since 1992. The economists predicted the state will lose 29,700 jobs in 2007 and 15,000 jobs in 2008. The auto industry will account for about 70% of the manufacturing job losses."


When reviewing Miller's voting record and discovering the lack of any action by Miller and her fellow GOP cut-taxes-and-spend-spend-spend Congressmen their priorities seem clear. Giving away money to Big Pharma, Big Oil, the Insurance Industry, and anyone else that fills the Republican campaign coffers is "Job 1". Helping to improve the economy in Michigan falls last in Candice Miler's list of things to do.


So, let us recall that 2004 Floor Speech:


"Mr. Speaker, the U.S. economy keeps on growing and creating new jobs. Last month alone, 144,000 new jobs were created."


And:

" The U.S. economy has created jobs in each of the last 12 months for a total of nearly 1.7 million new jobs. The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4 percent, which is about the same as in 1996..."


Finally:

"...thanks to the leadership of our great President George W. Bush and the majority of the Republicans in Congress, our economy is strong and getting stronger."

The entire speech can be found here -- courtesy of Project Vote Smart.


Well, Candy, what will you do for Michigan in the 110th Congress?

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Crooks and Liars



Congratulations to John Amato and his team over at Crooks and Liars. The have been recognized as one of the top blogs in the blogosphere. I often link to their site or give them a tip of the hat.

Check them out! That blog is one of the best I read each and every day.

Huzzah!

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Dark Humor

The following YouTube from the Asylum Street Spankers may be "in poor taste" for some readers. It may be offensive to others.

Warning: Strong Language

Warning: Those of us that enjoy twisted humor may laugh their asses off.



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Friday, December 29, 2006

Health Parity Legislation May Pass in 2007


The Capital Times has a brief article about the GOP stalled legislation about health insurance parity. With the new Democratic Majority the bill should easily pass. The Washington Post also has a version of the Associated Press story.

The Capital Times' money quotes:

"After years of trying, advocates think they have a good chance of getting Congress to pass legislation next year that would require equal health insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses, if their policies include both.

The legislation, named for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a Minnesota Democrat who championed the cause, has strong support in Congress but has run into GOP roadblocks. In the last congressional session, 231 House members - more than half of the chamber - signed on as co-sponsors. The GOP leadership, which in the past had expressed concern that the proposal would drive up health insurance premiums, wouldn't bring it up for a vote."

And, from the Washington Post:

"A 1996 law already prohibits health plans that offer mental health coverage from setting lower annual and lifetime spending limits for mental treatments than for physical ailments. Backers of the new legislation want to see that expanded to co-payments, deductibles and limits on doctor visits.

"I'm very optimistic that 2007 will finally be the year that our health care system recognizes that the brain is, in fact, a part of the body," said Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat who sponsored the bill in the last Congress. "We've had majority support for this legislation six years in a row, and now we have a chance to bring it to the floor and pass it," the Associated Press reported on Friday."

Studies have shown that the costs to the insurance industry are minimal compared to the increase in employee productivity. With proper treatment folks that face brain disorders would miss less work.

Will the Michigan Legislature finally address insurance parity now that the Republican jerks will not be able to stop Michigan's current bill from coming to the State House floor for a vote?

Let's hope they do the right thing....

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Make Gentle the Life of this World



Here is a classic song by Dion set to a photo montage and found on YouTube.



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Just a Reminder



The philosophy of peace, hope, and justice that guides this blog:


“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and for his orphan -- do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”


...from President Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address.

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You Can't Make This Shit Up



As we all know, the Bushies and their religious right nutjobs declared a "War on Science".

Here is a quote from the AlterNet Blogs regarding the Grand Canyon:


"Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.

Furthermore, a book approved by the Service claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood, rather than by geologic forces, is on sale in the park for more than three years, even though a review was promised to Congress and the press. A Freedom of Information request [PDF] reveals that no review has ever been requested, nor taken place.


"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch."



Good Grief!

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Your Moment of Zen

Does anyone remember the "Where's Waldo?" craze?



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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lord Licorice Calling


A new blog has been welcomed to the community of Michigan Watchblogs. Candy Land is now among the growing number of watchblogs that have been created to monitor U.S. Representatives in several Congressional Districts. In Candy Land, we plan to continually ask, "Does Candice Miller truly SERVE the people in the 10th Congressional District?" And, "Does she serve the interests of the people of Michigan?"

Candy Land already has 4 posts not yet seen in this blog. I hope to bring my posts from Candy Land to the readers of "With Malice Toward None". As for now, please check out these snippets:

Are You Being Served?

Levin Announces Bid for Re-Election

Ford Praised by Candice Miller, and

Candy Land.

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John Edwards for President


John Edwards will be announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President in '08 today.

Here is a YouTube preview found on John Edwards' website.



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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Culture Wars


We all know that the religious right has promoted the malarkey that there exists a vast left wing and progressive conspiracy to erode the "values and traditions" of American families and of the nation as a whole. The bogus "War on Christmas", "War on the Bible", and their upcoming "War on Easter" are just 3 examples of their fervor and paranoia. Numerous conservative talking heads would have us believe that the United States is going to hell in a handbasket.

The extreme "values" of one parent with a fifth grade student in a North Dallas school are beyond absurd. According to the January 2007 edition of the NEA Today, a monthly publication of the National Education Association, a parent complaint following a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art may have cost the school's art teacher her job. Although the school's principal authorized the field trip and the teacher:

"was joined on the outing by four other teachers, a dozen parents, and a museum docent, her principal responded to a parent’s complaint about the nude statuary by suspending [the teacher] and immediately interviewing for her replacement."

A legal team from the Texas State Teacher's Association:

"sprang into action on [her] behalf and won a rare buyout for [the teacher] in November, requiring the district to pay her through May 2007."


Is it safe to take anyone to an art museum that has a Van Gogh exhibit and a small number of nude statues from various cultures and time periods?


Yes, we may have a "Culture War" but it is difficult to determine just who is the "enemy".


(The photo above is of a 2,300-year-old Greek funerary relief that is on exhibit in the Dallas Museum of Art.)

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MAN AT HIS BEST

And the Bible at War

Lest we forget the Crusaders ....

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You Can't Make This Shit Up



The religious right has a new war to wage against the liberal left. Yes, folks, we now have "The War on the Bible".

Conservation Dennis Prager believes that the Bible (at least the first four Books of the Old Testament) is under siege:

"I do not ask this about "the Bible" as a whole because the one book that is regarded as having divine authority by believing Jews, Catholics, Protestants and Mormons, among others, is not the entire Bible, but the Torah. Religious Jews do not believe in the New Testament and generally confine divine revelation even within the Old Testament to the Torah and to verses where God is cited by the prophets, for example. But "Bible-believing" Christians and Jews do believe in the divinity of the Torah."

Furthermore:

"Very often the dividing line in America is portrayed as between those who believe in God and those who don't. But the vast majority of Americans believe in God, and belief in God alone rarely affects people's values. Many liberals believe in God; many conservatives do. What matters is not whether people believe in God but what text, if any, they believe to be divine. Those who believe that He has spoken through a given text will generally think differently from those who believe that no text is divine. Such people will usually get their values from other texts, or more likely from their conscience and heart.

That a belief or lack of belief in the divinity of a book dating back over 2,500 years is at the center of the Culture War in America and between religious America and secular Europe is almost unbelievable. But it not only explains these divisions; it also explains the hatred that much of the Left has for Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and Mormon Bible-believers."

And:

"This divide explains why the wrath of the Left has fallen on those of us who lament the exclusion of the Bible at a ceremonial swearing-in of an American congressman. The Left wants to see that book dethroned. And that, in a nutshell, is what the present civil war is about."

Civil War? Nah, it's just those dead enders and trouble makers. We do not have a civil war.

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Rest In Peace





President Gerald R. Ford

1913 -- 2006

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Scott Kleeb: Robo Calls Made a Difference


Anyone that has followed this blog since October may remember that I supported a Nebraskan congressional candidate by the name of Scott Kleeb. I was attracted to this candidate because of his intelligence, education, experience at ranching, and, of course, his political affiliation. Mr. Kleeb was leading his Republican opponent in polling just before the November election. President Bush made a special trip to Nebraska to lend his support to incumbent Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE).

Even though Scott Kleeb received several key endorsements from newspapers and supporters, he lost the election by 20,000 votes.

Now we have a new development concerning that election in the 3rd Congressional District. The TPM Muckraker has a posting about the current controversy.

Money quote:

"The Nebraska Public Service Commission has launched an investigation into one of one of the more egregious examples of attempted voter suppression this year. In the 3rd District there, voters reported receiving repeated (often back-to-back) calls featuring a recorded voice that seemed to belong to Democrat Scott Kleeb. The calls, which went out to an unknown number of Nebraskans, prompted a flood of complaints to Kleeb´s campaign office."


And:

"The NRCC paid a firm called Direct Strategies approximately $3,500 for phone banking in Kleeb´s district just before the election, but neither Direct nor the NRCC has confirmed that they were behind the Kleeb calls. Direct also was paid for calls in Pennsylvania´s 10th District, where there were complaints about repeated calls targetting Democrat Chris Carney, but it wasn´t conclusively established whether the NRCC was responsible for the calls there, either. The Nebraska calls were more misleading than the robo calls the NRCC used in approximately twenty districts across the country."


I trust that Democrat Scott Kleeb is not discouraged about the outcome of this political race. I hope to see him continue to make a difference in Nebraskan politics.

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Bipolar Sunday (Late)


I've decided to try and create posts on particular days with particular themes. I had hoped to complete an article/post on Bipolar Depression every Sunday. Sunday, December 24, 2006 will be a memorable day.

On Saturday, I was consumed with baking four dozen honey corn muffins. (By the way, I bake from scratch.) On Sunday morning, I awoke exhausted and proceeded to prepare an apple square pie (new recipe) and my "famous" raisin rice pudding (triple batch). Oh, yes, throw in a quick trip to Wal-Greens for 3 last minute gifts, eggs, and whipped cream for the pie.

It was hectic here and as the time for the annual Harris Christmas Eve Party (30+ consecutive years) drew close -- all hell broke loose. There was not enough time to prepare the promised jicama and cucumber salad (a treat I learned to make in Mexico). I exploded.

A large part of my difficulty with my brain malfunction; besides anxiety, depression, hypomania, and what has been a non-healthy bit of agoraphobia, has been adverse reactions to unanticipated change. The planned salad, my obsessive need to arrive at the party on time, and a little bit of sniping with my companion resulted in an unfortunate argument.

My dread of Christmas this year was complicated by our argument. I missed having my expatriate brother, Dad, and Gary at the family gathering. Even though the party was enjoyable -- the earlier "fight" still loomed over me. It continued when we left the party and arrived home.

Christmas Day -- I stayed home and did not go to my partner's family Christmas Party.

So much for the new mood stabilizer. It will probably get me back on an even keel once the holidays are over.

Bipolar Depression really sucks sometimes.

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Ban Mondays #3 (A Day Late -- It was Xmas!)

WARNING! Adult Content

The following is reported as being a banned TV commercial. I have no financial interest blah blah blah... This is not an endorsement blah blah blah....

It's for the fun of it.



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With Malice Toward None

It is time for my monthly reality check. Any malice since November 25? Naaaaaaaaaaa.

Sarcasm and "racy" content? You betcha.

Okey Dokey! Next check in January.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

The War is Over: At Least for This Year


I have blogged about the bogus "War on Christmas". I must sadly report that this year's battles are over and the religious right has won. Not that there ever was a real war, however, the war profiteers have once again been successful.

According to an article from the Los Angeles Times on latimes.com the Christianists have once again filled their war chests from gullible but sincere good folks that believed their happy horse shit.

The MONEY quote:

"The American Family Assn., a conservative activist group, has rung up more than $550,000 in sales of buttons and magnets stamped with the slogan "Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saying."

Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit law firm affiliated with the religious right, has taken in more than $300,000 with its Help Save Christmas Action Packs. The kits include two buttons, two bumper stickers and "The Memo that Saved Christmas," a guide to defending overt religious expression, such as a Nativity scene in a public school classroom.

Also for sale through conservative websites: Christmas bracelets, tree ornaments and lapel pins intended to send a defiant message to those who would turn December into a multicultural mush of "winter parties," "seasonal sales" and "Happy Holidays" greetings.

Christmas warriors can also download — for free — lists that rank retailers as either "naughty" or "nice," depending on how often their ads refer to Christmas rather than a generic holiday."


And wait, wait, here's more:

"Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Assn., said he was delighted with the revenue from "War on Christmas" merchandise, which supplemented the ministry's $13-million annual budget. All 500,000 buttons and 125,000 magnets were sold out by early December. "It was very successful for us," Wildmon said.

Liberty Counsel too rated the sale a success. "It did help with donations, but more than anything else, it helped with exposure," said spokeswoman Robin Bryant. She said the group had added many names to its mailing list for future fund drives. "It just ballooned," Bryant said.

In fact, the fundraising went so well that the religious right plans to branch out. Next up: the War on Easter."

Oh, great! The false prophets are looking forward to Easter profits.

What ever happened to the true meaning of the celebrations of Christ's birth and His resurrection?

Dear, Jesus! Save us from your followers!


(H/T to Crooks and Liars)

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Merry Christmas



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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today


Today is the commemoration of the miracle of my little sister's birth. Mom didn't have a difficult pregnancy, my sister wasn't born with any handicaps, and all in all she has become a patient, loving, and compassionate women.

The miracle that I refer to is known by all mothers and fathers -- a new life filled with hope and promise entered this world 44 years ago.

Many years ago, on an episode of The Waltons, there was an exchange between John Boy and his youngest sister. I don't remember the quote exactly as performed. It went something like this:

"John Boy, do flowers talk?"

John Boy replied, "If we learn to listen, we might hear all sorts of miracles."


I truly appreciate that God expresses His love for us in miraculous ways. My wish for us all is that we learn to listen today and forevermore.

Merry Christmas.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

This is What Christmas is All About



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Virgil Goode: Not if you are Muslim

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.




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Your Moment of Zen

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Letter to a Friend


Dear Friend,

None of us can live your life for you. None of us can cause you to believe, feel, or experience what we know or believe.

We can share our concerns for you. We can attempt to encourage you. We can try to remind you of God's unconditional love for you.

Only you can choose how to react to the events of your life. You ultimately choose how to feel, what to believe, and in whom you place your trust.

Suicide is a selfish act. We can not judge you for considering it nor should we feel guilty or remorseful if you decide to follow through. Yes, we will be sad.

We all constantly make selfish decisions. It is how we make our way through life. It is how we survive. It is how we live and face the turmoil, the challenges, and our joys in living.

I made a selfish decision 20 years ago when I divorced my wife. She had no choice or say in my decision. In Michigan, we have "no fault" divorces. Without children, the process, though somewhat painful, was simple.

I chose to leave a failing marriage to embrace a life that I had been born to live. I have no regrets. I have weathered the consequences of that decision. I still have God's love and the love of an incredible family.

When I contemplated and attempted suicide, each time I came to the point of not caring about how those I'd leave behind would feel. I selfishly choose to escape this life and prayed for God's understanding and forgiveness. I am thankful that I never succeeded in ending this life.

After my father's and older brother's death this year, I grew extremely depressed. Yet, at no time did I ever want to end my life. When my primary care doc recognized my "problem" and sent me immediately to my pdoc (psychiatrist) -- I could honestly tell him that I was not suicidal.

You see -- I love life. I love my family, my companion, and all the pain and joy. I have done incredible things and choose to continue experiencing much more in the years to come.

My mantra since my 40th birthday has been -- Life is too short to take any bullshit......

I want to live as long and as fully as I can. My life may be short (as were my mother's and oldest brother's) but, I intend to live it well.

My friend, we can express all the love and concern that we have for you. We can tell you how much Jesus loves you but, it is you and only you that can decide to accept the love you are given. It is you and only you that can choose to love yourself.

You must decide whether these transient events and the accumulated grief and pain in your life is worthy of your death. Or you may decide to do the most selfish and personal act that you will ever face -- to love yourself.

I pray that you choose life. I pray that you choose to say F@*k you to all the things, the triggers, mood swings, and other BS that burdens you. You can cast them off, work to be healthy, and LIVE.

How can we ever tell you about the love and joy in our lives? You've had those experiences and you can continue to have them. How glorious it is that you brought life into this world. How glorious it will be if you choose to live and love and continue to help us live.

God's blessings are always with you.

May HE bring you peace and joy. And may you accept it and choose to continue to bask in His love.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Calling All 10th Congressional Liberals


Dear 10th District Bloggers and Activists,

Representative Candice Miller (R-MI) "serves" a conservative Republican leaning Congressional District. Candice Miller has a voting record that displays her lock-step march with the White House and the former Republican majority's "no questions asked" desire to maintain power. Miller also has a record of campaign financing from special interest groups, Political Action Committees, and large numbers of businesses and individuals that live outside of the 10th Congressional District. In fact she has banked nearly a million dollars that could be used for a run for another statewide office.

Miller has had the unapologetic experience of being reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee before it was overhauled and quit being effective. She and Tom Delay may have been the last two U.S. Representative to have such an honor. In fact, both of their reprimands grew out of the same intimidation and "vote for this issue or else" incident. Representative Millers role was both unseemly and possibly a true reflection of her unique attitude and "charm".

As Miller begins serving in the 110th Congress, her activities and voting record deserve closer scrutiny.

In the words of an old and wise red hen, "Who will help me make this cake?" I am appealing to all of the liberals and progressives living in Huron, Sanilac, Lapeer, and St. Clair Counties to assist me in creating, researching, and publishing a watch blog. Oh, yes, the folks in the small portion of Macomb County that was gerrymandered into the 10th District to include the home of Candice Miller are also invited to participate. We do not fault you for the Michigan Legislature's foul act that placed Miller into a "safe for Republicans" Congressional district that insured her an "easy" election.

At present, I propose that the blog be entitled "Candy Land". I am open to the suggestions of others for an appropriate title ala the inspiring watch blog, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. And, hopefully our friends maintaining the Rogers watch blog will not mind if we borrow some of their ideas and website formating for this new venture.

So, please contact me if you are interested in assisting me with this effort. Many hands will insure that our "cake" is prepared and baked well.

Sincerely yours,

Lee Harris

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Ban Mondays #2

The following is reported as being a banned TV commercial. I have no financial interest blah blah blah... This is not an endorsement blah blah blah....

It's for the fun of it!



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Sunday, December 17, 2006

23rd Qualm


Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

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Mental


I reject the labeling of my organic brain disease as being a "mental illness". I have real chemical imbalances that manifest themselves by causing bouts of anxiety, depression, and hypomania. I have had rapid cycling between depression and hypomania occurring a few times in one day or over the period of two or three days. I have also had severe depression lasting several months. And, yes, there are certain psychological "triggers" that seem to affect how those chemicals are processed by my brain.

Most people living with Bipolar Depression are placed in two categories -- Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The I's have extreme manic episodes that may require hospitalization for their delusions and/or psychotic breaks. II's seem to have deeper depressions and hypomania that may cause some delusions of grandeur, racing of the mind, insomnia, and frivolous spending or other "strange" behavior. Compulsive and obsessive behavior is often displayed. Many I's and II's have problems with sex addiction and drug addictions, as well.

Treatments for Bipolar Depression range from talk therapy to ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Most pdocs (Psychiatrists) attempt mood stabilization with a variety of medications. Certain drugs are prescribed for Bipolar I's and others for Bipolar II's. Some meds are used to treat both.

Scientists are still researching exactly how these drugs work. Nevertheless, they do. And, as each individual has their own particular brain chemical imbalances, some medications work for some folks and others meds do not.

My Bipolar Planet friends are treated with a wide variety of medications and each of those meds may have side effects that are manageable and some that are horrendous. My particular "cocktail" seems to have stabilized my mood so that I do not live with rapid cycling and depression. I currently have hand tremors and I feel that it is a fair trade-off for having a stable mood.

Every day, I take 400 mg. of Lamictal, 60 mg. of Cybalta, 300 mg. of Wellbutrin, 1 mg. of Klonopin, and 50 mg. of trazodone. Recently I added 2000 mg. of fish oil capsules that provide Omega-3 which seems to help folks with Bipolar Depression. Fun, right?

Perhaps, I am in denial about the term "mental illness". However, because of the stigma attached to that term and the disparity of treatment covered by insurance companies, I feel it is important to emphasize that Bipolar Depression is an organic brain disease. This organic disease should be treated by insurance companies in the same way that Parkinson's, diabetes, wonky tyroids, and other diseases of the body are treated.

In Michigan, state law does not require insurance companies to treat Bipolar Depression at par with other health issues. My State of Michigan Retirement plan does not provide the same level of co-payments. An office call to a doctor for my wonky thyroid and my high blood pressure is covered with a 10% co-pay. My co-pays for visits to my pdoc are 50%. If I could afford my much needed talk therapy, the co-pay would also be 50%.

I can not begin to imagine how I would cope without insurance.

Am I "mental" -- Hell no! I have led a productive life. I have achieved academically and served my community and the State of Michigan for 25 years as a teacher. I have been a successful union leader, advocate for civil and human rights, and children's advocate. My Bipolar depression was properly diagnosed only recently. In retrospect, I have been living with this disease for most of my life.

Please, take some time to educate yourself about Bipolar Depression. Use "the Google" on the "internets" to find out more. Educators, please take note.

Thanks.

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With Malice Toward None


Blogging about Bipolar Depression (a.k.a. Manic Depression) is a very personal act. Placing my views, news, and moods in THIS blog may have been a mistake. Nevertheless, I had planned to relate both my political and personal opinions. And, I am doing just that.

Having separate blogs relating my life with Bipolar II and relating my politics would not have been easy. I am not afraid of hard work. I could have done it but, I choose not to at this point. I do apologize to my liberal Michigan friends for not always posting about Michigan politics and having, perhaps, too many themes running through this blog. I also extend an apology to my Bipolar Planet family for posting what may be confusing and disjointed.

Recently, I put Rudy Giuliani "on notice" which evoked an inquiry about why I had done it. Some folks understood it. You see, both Giuliani and John McCain had once had my respect and admiration. Watching McCain turn his back on his principals and suck up to King George was disappointing. Watching both Giuliani and McCain star in political ads for Republican Dick DeVos simply destroyed all my respect for those so-called moderates. I believe that the billionaire slimy stealth candidate for Michigan governor (who LOST) bought their support. I find that contemptible and disgusting!

So, for the time being, I invite you all to skim through what may not be relevant to you and read that which sparks your interest. Enjoy. Comment. And, please continue to provide me feedback and/or encouragement for my efforts. Thank you.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Is Dick in Trouble?


The Associated Press has reported that the Michigan based school voucher group has broken Wisconsin law.

The "money" quote:

"The complaint filed Friday with the state Elections Board says an All Children Matter political action committee based in Virginia should have registered in Wisconsin before it donated $35,000 in October to its Wisconsin PAC.

The complaint also alleges that a $90,000 donation made to the Virginia PAC from a group not registered with Wisconsin election officials — the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Choices in Education — violated a state law barring corporate contributions."

Gee -- does the corporate group's name start with an "A" and end with "Y"?

Further more:

"The complaint asks the Elections Board to require the Virginia PAC to comply with reporting and disclosure requirements under Wisconsin law, showing who made contributions, and return the $90,000 to the Alliance for Choices in Education.

Richard Saks, of Milwaukee, a lawyer who filed the complaint on behalf of two individuals, the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Care Professionals and the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, said Alliance for Choices in Education faces a penalty of up to three times its donation, or $270,000."


This may be worth watching because:

"The new complaint is in addition to one the board took up at its November meeting related to All Children Matter's spending in the election.

Elections Board Chairman John Savage said at that meeting that the board may pursue criminal charges for making a false filing against All Children Matter if there is evidence showing that someone other than the Wisconsin PAC paid for the ads in question."

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Update and Explanation

According to an October 22, 2006 article from the Des Moines Register (and posted on the All Children Matter.org website):

“One of the founders of All Children Matter is Dick DeVos, the retired president of Amway Corp. who is running for Michigan governor on the Republican ticket. His wife, Betsy, is national chairman of All Children Matter. Another founder is Richard Sharp, chairman of CarMax Inc. and former chairman of Circuit City Stores.

Relatives of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have been major benefactors, contributing millions of dollars to All Children Matter, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance network.

The group is independent of any campaign or lobbying efforts by groups affiliated with church-operated schools, said political director Nikkila. "We just want to make sure parents can choose the best school for their child.”

The People for the American Way also reports that:

“Dick and Betsy DeVos started All Children Matter (ACM) in the spring of 2003, to recruit, train and fund candidates who will promote vouchers across the country. Today, ACM Inc, a federal “527” organization, is the lead organization of a network of affiliates classified as state or federal Political Action Committee’s (PACs), which can donate money directly to and campaign on behalf of political candidates. With its base of wealthy funders and ability to stealthily intervene in local, state and federal political races, the ACM network is an effective tool for the movement to privatize public education.”


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On Notice







Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central has a list of folks that have been "put on notice". I'd like to mimic that list for this blog. As time goes by I may or may not add to this list. So, just for fun, but with some serious intent:

Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
George W. Bush
Mike Rogers
Candice Miller

Lee Harris has PUT YOU ON NOTICE!!

And, as inspired by a recent post from Andrew Sullivan, I wish to share the music video of a song by Leonard Cohen being performed by Concrete Blonde.



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Friday, December 15, 2006

Just for Fun




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Snap Out of It


Nothing new. Nothing seems noteworthy. Nothing.

Yes, the so-called news media has been ghoulish about Senator Johnson (D-SD). How many news cycles were spent talking about the "what ifs" and the political impact? Assholes.

Yes, the blog, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, has sparked interest by the media and right wingnuts. Mike Rogers (R-MI) is being "watched" by some of our liberal Michigan friends. He will no doubt have every move he makes in the 110th Congress chronicled by them.

Yes, some of the Republican Leaders are talking about sending more troops to Iraq. Idiots.

Yes, there was a big explosion and fire in a petrochemical refinery in Sarnia, Ontario. I slept through it, but Billy was awake and heard it. He woke me up to see the live broadcast by a Detroit TV station. We were not compelled to drive to the south end of Port Huron to see the fire across the St. Clair River.

Yes, I've been mulling over whether or not I want to spend time and energy with my own watch-dogging of Representative Candice Miller (R-MI). Ms. Miller is the gerrymandered Republican hack "serving" Michigan's 10th Congressional District. I've already discovered that very little of her 2006 election campaign was financed by 10th District constituents. Her biggest donors were PACs and folks from Detroit, Flint, Washington D.C., Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Grosse Point. None of which are in the 10th District. Who does she really serve?

How about naming the blog (if I do it) -- Candy Land? Any suggestions? Encouragement?

Where are the 10th District liberals?

And, yes, the Christmas Blues have hit. So much for a stable mood. Our family has faithfully reserved Christmas Eve for our holiday gathering for over thirty years. Dan is in Mexico. Mom's been gone for twenty of those years. Now, Dad and Gary will not be there.......

Yes, nothing to report.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fire and Rain

James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" may be a bipolar depression classic. Listen to the song. Does it speak of our bipolarity?

Dedicated to Dobro -- There are many more sunny days ahead.




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Monday, December 11, 2006

Christians

To alleviate any confusion -- I am a Christian. My sarcasm is related to my belief that one's religion is demonstrated by the lives and acts of individuals. I do not believe in "cheap" grace. My greatest witness of my faith is how I live my life.

Yes, I trust that God forgives me for my sarcasm and my twisted humor. He loves me unconditionally.




(H/T to Andrew Sullivan)


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Ban Mondays #1

The following is reported as being a banned TV commercial. I have no financial interest blah blah blah... This is not an endorsement blah blah blah....

It's for the fun of it!






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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bipolar Planet



Nearly every day I quickly scan over two dozen sites from my friends on Bipolar Planet. Each site is unique and brings a different perspective to the challenges we face living with Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The NetRing members have various experiences to share and many do so without any reservations.

Some Bipolar bloggers post frequently and others do not. Some have taken breaks from blogging and those sites are quickly passed over. I often leave comments on posts that appeal to me personally or seem to prompt me to give encouragement. The "Reverend Harris" has been known to leave comments. He has expressed his faith in Christ and the belief that God loves all of His children unconditionally.

I often catch myself wondering how anyone manages the extremes of both Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Needless to say -- we all find ourselves challenged by "triggers" that sometimes send some of us into deep depression or soaring into extreme mania. We also "patiently" slog along during the methodical tweaking of psychiatric medicines by our "pdocs" (psychiatrists).

I just want my mood to be stabilized so I may live on a continuous horizontal plane. Cycling mood swings between depression and hypomania absolutely suck. As stated in an earlier post, I don't mind the hand tremors if I have a more stable and productive life.......... My psychiatric cocktail seems just fine right now even as the most horrific of my personal triggers arrives........

And, yes, I often report that I am on a bipolar coaster ride ..... now doesn't that sound like fun?


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Mary, Did You Know?

H/T to Dream Writer from "coming out of the dark".





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Saturday, December 9, 2006

What Will Bush Do?




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Representative Candice Miller (R-MI)



As expected, the Do Nothing Congress ends their term with not much done and some whining about the Democratic Majority's plan to lengthen the number of days that Congress will work in 2007. I guess the U.S. Congress never heard of the benefit of "time on task". Ask any Michigan teacher and they can tell you about the required number of hours in a school year, the days spent teaching, and the continuing education classes taken after school just to keep their jobs.

Representative Candice Miller (R-MI) ends the 109th Do Nothing Congress with a few note worthy votes. Miller voted with the Democratic Party on Vote 542 and Vote 543. Vote 542, the Pool and Spa Safety Act, failed. Vote 543, the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, passed.

Candice Miller did buck both the GOP and the Democratic Party by voting for House Resolution 6375, Requiring the Secretary of Defense to Submit to Congress An Annual Report and to Provide Notice to the Public on Congressional Initiatives in Funds Authorized or Made Available to the Department of Defense. With only 68 Republicans and 2 Democrats voting for the bill, it failed to pass.

Finally, Rep. Miller (R-MI) did not vote for House Resolution 1108, Expressing Support for Lebanon's Democratic Institutions and Condemning the Recent Terrorist Assassination of Lebanese Parliamentarian and Industry Minister Pierre Amine Gemayel.

Do you have a tardy note or absent excuse for missing that vote, Candy?



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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Pandering Jerks


Representative Candice Miller (R-MI) predictable voted with the GOP on the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006. The proposed bill was defeated. The proposed Act was doomed to fail, but to please the Religious right-wingers it came before the House of Representatives. Now:

1. The congressmen voting in favor of the Act may use their vote to continue receiving support from the anti-abortion folks.

2. The congressmen voting in favor of the Act may use their vote in their campaign ads in 2008.

3. The congressmen voting in favor of the Act may use their vote to blast their colleagues in speeches, media appearances, and newsletters.

4. The congressmen voting in favor of the Act may use their vote to CONTINUE TO PANDER to the GOP base.

Ms. Miller continues her lock-step march with the Republicans.

Jerks.



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It's About Time


Texas Representative Barton finally relented and the Combating Autism bill has passed the U.S. House of Representative.

(H/T to Crooks & Liars)




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AAAAAAAAAaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggggggghhh!


Can you believe it?

That stupid right-wing so-called news channel is "promoting" the "War on Christmas" again this year.

The bullshit propaganda continues on Fox News.

When will the Christians wake-up and realize that they are being used?



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Just for Fun

Believe it or not --- I did not drink any Tequila while in Mexico.






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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

ALL of the People

I'm a Dreamer

Christians


Being thankful for a liberal Christian education may be totally incomprehensible for the so-called evangelical "Christian" organizations. I feel sorry for those that equate the servant ministry of mainstream Christians as being somehow lacking by not defending America from the horrible pro-choice heathens, the "Welcoming Community Network" that promotes acceptance of those seeking a life with Christ (including gays), and from flag burning hippies. The Christian Coalition seems hellbent on promoting disunity and the condemnation of anyone that THEY judge to be lacking in their twisted and ugly christian values.

The recent resignation of the Christian Coalition's President-elect just confirms the ghastly narrow christian mission that their group has embraced. It seems that assisting the poor and advocating stewardship of the planet are radical deviations from their mission to serve Christ. Perhaps, the Christian Coalition and other groups of the same ilk read Bibles that have excluded the Great Commandments.

So very sad...

My Christian education included a three year attendance at a liberal Christian university. My faith journey included a calling from God to serve his Church. As a minister in the Church, I had the opportunity to serve my Lord by preaching, teaching, laying hands upon the sick, baptizing those seeking to join the Christian community, confirming those that sought membership in our Church, serving as a counselor to the pastor, being pastor, and bringing comfort to those that mourned the loss of loved ones. Never once was I called upon to promote division within the community of Christ and the condemnation of any of God's children.

I have learned one great truth -- "anything that does not call people to Christ in not of Christ."

Can you imagine our world and this great nation if and when the true believers actually heed the example of Jesus and the His call to love our neighbors as ourselves?



Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.



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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Mostly Good News


15 minutes of "news" was all I could take today. I can't remember what Wolf said before the Senator John Kerry (D-MA) interview. The interview was incredible. Kerry relayed an insightful tangible plan to end our occupation of Iraq. I don't know if he was starting the "talking points" circus for the DEMOCRATIC Party or displaying his statesmanship and thoughtful genuine intelligence. I tend to believe that John Kerry just contrasted his hoped for presidency with the incurious intellectually challenged presidency of King George II.

After the interview, Wolf announced the upcoming segments of his show and I changed the TV channel to MSNBC. I couldn't turn off the TV soon enough. The Blond Talking Head was hosting a show that was then discussing the recent comments of an actor.

Truly awful fluff that would never pass for NEWS was presented to a starved-for-news cable audience. Once again I am forced to ask the question, "Who gives a rat's ass about the comments of that actor?"

That 15 minutes was all that I could deal with today.

Yes, we need real news with real journalists that are constantly challenging power and exposing corruption and greed.

Someday.



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Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Ill and the Weak

Do we really have too much freedom?

Below is a parable called "Freedom River" (H/T to Andrew Sullivan).





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BTW


What dummy in the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives proof reads the content of their "Kids in the House" website? Please check our Constitution -- your page about the Oath of Office for members-elect is totally wrong.




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Aaaarrrgghh


Once more the crappy cable network news does not let me down. My low opinion of the news worthiness of the so-called 24 hour news channels is reinforced. Yes, I subjected myself to the misery of attempting to watch some real news on television this morning.

I haven’t a clue as to the name of the blonde talking head that seemed more upset that the 20 year old Lindsay Lohan is getting into Hollywood nightspots and getting drunk than the accuracy of the extremely brief report about Representative-Elect Keith Ellison (D-MN). Really, People, who gives a rat’s ass that Miss Lohan may seek the help of AA to overcome her “underage” drinking problem? Is her publicist just relating this so-called human interest/star watch story to hype LL’s most recent movie?

How many of my brains cells died and how many hairs on my balding head turned gray during the Blondes inane report?

The MSNBC’s blonde talking head took just a few seconds to parrot the same inaccurate and totally fabricated “news” item about the U.S. House of Representative’s swearing-in ceremony and Representative-Elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) alleged choice to use the Koran in that ceremony. Contrary to Ms. Blonde’s report, the members of Congress do not use Bibles, Korans, or copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when taking the oath of office. Members of Congress often POSE with their hands on the Bible for individual photographs but in actuality they only raise their hands during the REAL mass swearing-in ceremony.

Congratulations to the HACK that started this controversy. Once more, the religious right is being duped. Yes, you all give money to the phoney lame-ass liars and keep America great. Yes, give up your treasure to the forces of “right” to fight their imaginary foes. Forget about the poor and the sick.

Idiots.


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