Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Story That Wouldn’t Die

It's not me fueling the fire, either. This baby is sprouting legs and crawling out of the primordial ooze.

I'm talking about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame's commencement. The Notre Dame student paper published an excellent editorial on the subject, and it also appeared in our local paper this morning. It's worth a read, if you'd like to see the students' side of it. The seniors who will be graduating are overwhelmingly in support of the President speaking at their commencement.

Father Jenkins A group called the Cardinal Newman Society calls for greater orthodoxy on Catholic college campuses and has set up a website and started a petition. The group isn't affiliated with Notre Dame, and none of its seven employees are Notre Dame alumni, but they've gone after Rev. Jenkins in the past for his decision to allow a student production of "The Vagina Monologues," and his decision to allow the Notre Dame Queer Film Festival to take place. Rev. Jenkins wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in 2008 and mentioned this group. He wrote, "The Newman Society has no ecclesiastical standing and no academic standing. For me, it resembles nothing more than a political action committee." I am really liking Father Jenkins—this guy kicks ass!--and I believe he's going to stand his ground on this one. There are a couple of other petitions circulating out there in support of his decision, and I was happy to sign them.

Oh, and that fine upstanding Christian, Newt Gingrich, even weighed in on it, on his Twitter page:

It is sad to see notre dame invite president obama to give the commencement address Since his policies are so anti catholic values 1:26 AM Mar 24th from TwitterBerry

Hey Newt, let's ask your first wife how she feels about it. Remember her? The one who you visited while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery for uterine cancer, still coming out of anesthesia, and you tried to get her to sign off on your divorce demands? Yeah, that one. Not the second one, who you also divorced. I guess all is forgiven, though, because Newt is getting ready to convert to Catholicism.

There are voices of reason, too. Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit and senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University said, "The controversy over commencement speakers at Catholic universities pops up every spring along with the tulips," and called the brouhaha over the President giving the speech "absurd." He went on to say, "If Cardinal Edward Egan of New York can invite Obama to speak at the Al Smith dinner in October of 2008 when he was only a presidential candidate, then there is certainly nothing wrong with Notre Dame having the president speak at a commencement."

Unfortunately, there's a whole other level of crazy that has latched onto this like a tick onto a dog. Randall Terry has made his way to town. This is the guy who founded Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group, back in the 80's. He spent some time in jail because he sent a fetus in a jar to then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. I've got no problem with people using civil disobedience to forward their causes, but this guy is and always has been about hatred and intolerance. In 1993, he was quoted in the Fort Wayne, Indiana newspaper as saying this:

I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good.... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism.

After his jail time and his divorce, he was ousted from Operation Rescue, and the new head of the organization released a statement saying, "...he has completely disqualified himself from any leadership position in the Christian community through his unwillingness to be held accountable for his adultery, theft, lies, deceptions, misrepresentations, perjury, failing to provide for his first wife and children, and evasion of church discipline." Terry was also censured by his church at the time, Landmark, for several reasons, one of which was "a pattern of repeated and sinful relationships and conversations with both single and married women."

Stop the hatredBoth of his adopted daughters became pregnant outside of marriage and one converted to Islam.

In 2004, his adopted son Jamiel revealed that he was homosexual. Terry disowned him.

In 2005, he converted to Catholicism. I guess when one religion doesn't want you, you try another one.

"Hate is good."

This A-hole is not a good person. He is not a nice person. And he's camping out in my town. He has vowed to stay here, and is setting up a base of operations, until the invitation to the President is withdrawn or the President says he will not attend. Stand tall, Notre Dame, hang tough, Father Jenkins, and do not negotiate with terrorists. This creep is a terrorist and as far as I'm concerned, he can get the hell out of Dodge South Bend.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mail call

Button from DD When I got the mail today, I had a present! Oh boy oh boy!

The incomparable David Dust recently ran a little contest. He had interviewed an Australian artist named Rona Green (read the interview here--she does really cool anthropomorphic animal stuff) and was giving away a print that Ms. Green had donated. No, I didn't win the print, but he also had a handful of buttons that he was giving away, and I emailed him soon enough that I was able to get one. Isn't he cute? Thank you, David, you're a peach! I'll add it to my button collection.

And yes, I do have a small collection, and this particular blast from the past found me a couple of months ago. I was looking for something in the garage, and came across the strip of fake black leather with staples all over it onto which I'd stuck various band buttons (plus a couple of non-band items) I'd gotten back in college! I had it hanging on my dorm room wall. I have no idea how it made its way into the garage, but I'm glad I never got rid of them. I brought them in and cleaned them up (I didn't save the fake black leather with staples all over it, though) and was just delighted to see my old friends. (Click the pic for better Buttonsdetail.) I really like the square London Calling one, and the RIP Sid Vicious one, but I have to admit I still love the "I'm not strange, you are" one. Ha! I think my Dust bunny pin makes a nice addition. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with them all, but I suspect they'll end up framed. I love my pop culture! "New York London Paris Munich, Everybody talk about...Pop Musik!" (A Silver Squirrel to anyone who knows the name of the band that did that song. No cheating by googling must be a part of your personal memory banks!)

I also had a nice email from my friend and former coworker, Jillian. I miss her...she always laughed at my lame jokes! (One day, she had on striped socks in fall colors. I said, "Your socks are cute! Very autumnal." She said thanks, and I said, "Hey...they're Autumnal EquiSOX! Get it?!" I'm sorry, but that's just a classic, if I do say so myself.) Jillian is the one who started the book club, and apparently it's being changed up a little bit. For every three books on the Modern Library's list, a member picked at random will choose a book they want everyone to read. I told Jillian she's much nicer than I am. I would have been like, "Nope, we're sticking to the list." And if they wanted to read other books, I'd have said, "Then start your own club." I guarantee that any of my former coworkers who might be reading this are going, "Yep. She would have." Ha ha!

Books I told Jillian that I'll be opting out of the extras. I'm behind as it is, and I've got more books than I know what to do with, so I don't need to add any more. What I'm enjoying about the Modern Library's list is that it's getting me to read books I never would have read otherwise, and some of them I've enjoyed very much (The Magus, The Sheltering Sky), so I want to keep to that list, along with the handful of dozens of maybe a hundred, okay?! books I've got waiting in the wings. I guess people had pretty much stopped reading the books, and that's a shame. I hope everyone picks it up again--and maybe this will give me a chance to get caught up!

This is off-topic, but I picked up a TracPhone today, so you all can rest easy. [wink] I'll activate it when our Sprint contract is done at the end of this month. Looks like it's fairly simple to use, and I didn't even worry about getting a camera phone! *gasp*

Even more off-topic, have you ever had a mad craving? I'm not talking about chocolate, either. I thought of cottage cheese last night, and it's been a while since I had any. I just had to have some, so I got a container today and ate a big bowl of it. Man, I love that stuff. Ken hates it, so I know he'll never secretly eat my cottage cheese.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The four right chords can make me cry

Beth's music moment6 That's a phrase from the Third Eye Blind song "Semi Charmed Life." Cousin Shane and I have always agreed that that phrase sums up very well how we feel about music, and how it affects us.

We all have different kinds of music that we love, but I think many of us can find common ground in a mutual love of music in general. No matter what kind of music we favor, there is someone out there who also appreciates it. And even if it's not our usual style, any music lover will somewhere, somehow, find a way to connect with another music lover. For example, I'm not a fan of modern country music, but I worship love and value Johnny Cash and his music. Anyone who enjoys modern country, but says they don't like Johnny Cash...well, all I can say is bring it on, because it looks like we've got us a rumble. Give the guy his due, and don't mess with the Man in Black. Seriously. But I digress.

I'm not sure how to explain some of my special music moments, but I'll try. Sometimes it's an entire song, sometimes it's a hook, sometimes it's a guitar solo, sometimes it's a phrase or two, sometimes it's a drum riff. Whatever it might be, the right combination can definitely bring a tear to my eye, and it's usually a tear of joy. It's those moments that stick in your mind, and every time you hear it, in your head you say, "Man, that is so cool!" So here, in no particular order, are a few of my special music moments. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Some of you may know exactly what I'm talking about in some of these songs. Some of you will have no clue, but maybe it will make you want to hear the song, if you're into this kind of music.

Godfathers MSALH cropped I've been listening to the Godfathers a lot lately, natch, so there are going to be a bunch here from their songs.

The second guitar solo in "Birth School Work Death." It makes me want to do a Pete Townsend windmill.

This spoken bit from their song "Tell Me Why": "I told her I loved her very much. I told her I loved her more than life itself. I told her...I told her I loved her more than I loved myself. And that's sayin' something."

The phrase "I have to hear your sweet voice, honey, breathing down the line" from their song "S.T.B." In fact, the name of my AOL journal was originally Breathing Down the Line.

From their song "Cause I Said So": "And I don't need no Ph.D., 'cause I'm ten times smarter than you'll ever be!"

In their song "Obsession," for most of the choruses Peter yells "no no no," but towards the end of the song, he yells "YES!" with a cool echo effect. I love that, and I yell it every time in my car!

Okay, I guess that's enough Godfathers, but man, I dig those cats! On to other bands, other songs.

The big huge drum riff in "Fat Bottomed Girls" by Queen.

In the B-52's song "Devil in my Car" when Cindy sings, "I've got the devil juice in my...CAAAAAARburetor!"

The fiddle in John Mellencamp's song "Paper In Fire."

The crescendo of Harry Connick, Jr.'s song "When My Heart Finds Christmas," when he sings, "MYYYYY heart told me once before, to find my dream and search no more!" I just have to throw my arms out dramatically and sing along. Yes, I really do.

The segue from the Cars' "Shoo Be Doo" into "Candy-O." The first song is kind of low key and sinister, lots of loopy synthesizer, Ric singing "Don't you tell me what to do" then Ric yells (again with the cool echo effect), "Don't tell me what to--tell me what to--tell me what to---" and the throbbing bass and synths of "Candy-O" kick in. Oh man, TURN IT UP!

The minor tone of the Police's "Message in a Bottle" and this stanza:

"Walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I'm not alone in being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home."

When Chrissie Hynde sings "But I noticed his scent started to change somehow, his face went berserk and the veins bulged on his...brow" in "Up the Neck," and in "Tattooed Love Boys" when she speaks/sings, "Yeah, I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for." Chrissie's a bad girl! She's such a rock chick.

These lines from "Somebody Got Murdered" by the Clash: "Somebody got murdered, his name cannot be found. A small stain on the pavement, they'll rub it off the ground."

The way Jim Morrison's voice sounds all growly and tough and smooth and soft, all at the same time. And the way he sings "Try to set the night on...FIYAAAAAAH!"

"Ring of Fire." Is there a more perfect song?

It always makes me happy to sing along to Elvis's "Suspicious Minds." And "Viva Las Vegas," especially the big finish. There I go, throwing out my arms again.

The bassline and backbeat in Devo's "Going Under."

The lines "Levitating lovers in the secret stratosphere" in Blondie's song "(I am Always Touched by your Presence) Dear." Even the title of that song is ultra-cool.

The guitar in Dick Dale's "Misirlou."

I'd better stop, because this could get really long. What music moves you? Do you have certain songs, or bits and pieces, that you just can't get enough of? Do tell! Since I'm in such a rockin' mood, here's a live video of "Tattooed Love Boys." I also love it when she says, "Stop snivelin'!" towards the end.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It’s all a part of his Master Plan

When I saw this on CNN tonight, I started laughing and rubbed my hands together. I said, "Michael Steele, Sooooopergenius! It's all going according to plan. Eeeeexcellent."

I then laughed evilly.

Seriously, who is this guy kidding? So it wasn't a gaffe, it was all a part of his superbly crafted scheme to see who is with him and who is against him, who is "in the tent" and who isn't. Uh-huh.

How could I not think of this?

Catholic Campus Controversy Continues

Dan (AKA Milwaukee Dan #3) over at Slapinions commented on my entry yesterday about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame's commencement, Bishop D'Arcy's refusal to attend, and Rev. Jenkins' defense of the invitation:

ND is a Catholic University and while of course it's open to anyone it should still stand on its principles. That it doesn't is no real shock and serves as another signal that it is moving to the left (and risking many of its traditionally conservative alumni $ in the process)

Quite aside from religous issues, I wish the yahoo in charge of ND would just be honest. He thought it'd be nifty to have Obama speak, get a little face time for ND that doesn't involve the failure of the football TV ratings, yada yada.

"we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement." Yeah. It's ALLLLL about the chance to open a dialouge with him about abortion and stell cell research. Please.

Dan, you know I like ya, man, but...Jiminy Christmas, dude. First off, was it really necessary to call Father Jenkins a "yahoo," and to get a dig in against the football team?

Touchdown Jesus Actually, I think Father Jenkins realizes that while Notre Dame was founded as a Catholic university, it is an institute of higher learning, not a church. (Although they have a lovely one on campus, the Basilica.) A while back, there was another controversy when there was to be a production of "The Vagina Monologues" on campus, and some protested. (I guess the V-word is a no-no for some.) Father Jenkins stuck by that, too, and defended the students' rights to put on that production. I supported him in that, and I support him in his decision about the commencement and wrote to him to tell him so. I think Father Jenkins is progressive, and trying to bring the university into at least the 20th century. Maybe he can shoot for the 21st century, and really rile up the powers-that-be!

So this is nothing new for Rev. Jenkins.

The Vatican also opposes birth control, as they recently confirmed when telling the Catholics in AIDS-riddled Africa that using condoms still was not kosher (so to speak). I'm sure that plenty of those good Catholic kids attending Notre Dame kind of ignore that rule. Unless, of course, as good Catholic kids, they know that it's wrong to have sex outside of marriage. [snort] I don't care if it was founded on Catholic principles, it's a college campus. Sex is happening there, people, and I haven't noticed a higher-than-average rate of unplanned pregnancies or births in South Bend.

Bishop D'Arcy's statement said that while the President has promised to separate politics and science, what he has really done is separate science and ethics. You know, I really don't think the Vatican wants to get into a discussion about "ethics." The vast majority of Catholics that I know are very kind and wonderful (and ethical) people, but the Vatican has done some pretty iffy things, in my opinion, over the years. And since when are they the sole arbiters of ethics? Personally, I think it's unethical to let a person infect even one other person with AIDS on their way to their own death, because they feel they'll go to hell if they use a condom.

Finally, Rev. Jenkins thought it would be nifty to have Obama speak? Well, sheah. The President is one of the most powerful leaders on the planet, arguably the most powerful. He’s also an excellent speaker. Of course, it's a coup to have our sitting President speak at the commencement, and several--of all parties and philosophies--have done so over the years.

I doubt if I'll be able to actually go to the commencement, but I look forward to watching the address. It's an honor for South Bend, and it's an honor for Notre Dame.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As Prince said, “Controversy!”

Before I get to that, an answer to a question, and revisiting one of my pet peeves.

Mark of Stars Like Grains of Sand in My Pocket asked, based on my writing about how internships for MT's have gotten so much shorter:

I have to wonder if the MT's of today are as good as the MT's of the past ... what would you say to that, Beth?

Yes, I think so. I worked with a lot of students over the years, and there were plenty who really understood the theory behind everything and showed a great aptitude for the work in general, and for Microbiology in particular. As with any new graduate, they need to gain experience. Someone just getting out of school isn't going to work as well or have as large a knowledge base as someone who has been doing it for a couple of decades (or more). That's why it's important that newer techs work with and learn from experienced techs--you can't develop that experience overnight.

A while back, a decision was made by a couple of people to move a tech in training down the hall, so that they didn't "ask questions" and get the wrong answers from other techs. We were all like, "WTF?? Hold up!" We got the VP of the lab up there and said that one of our most invaluable resources was the experience of the people in our department. We started adding it up--Mary with over 20 years, me with over 20 years, Pat the same, Marsha with over 30 years as a Med Tech and probably half of that number in Microbiology, etc., etc. Our outraged plea was impassioned and heartfelt, and the decision was immediately reversed. I think of the people who trained me as I was coming up, and they had that kind of experience. That's how the younger techs learn, and when you put the younger ones and the more experienced ones together, they make an excellent team.

To sum up, while the internships may be shorter now, the real training begins when the job starts. As long as they've got the knowledge and understand the job, including the fact that behind every number there is a patient, they'll do well.

Litterbug After I got home from taking care of Shane's cats, it was sprinkling, but it cleared up and we had a beautiful day! I was able to get out and pick up trash along the road. Ken ran the mower out there to mulch some remaining leaves, and said that there was some junk that needed to be picked up. For the life of me, I will never understand why anyone would be driving down a country road and just throw their trash out the window! (And yes, we're to the pet peeve part!) Gaaaah, you nasty, littering A-holes, you make me SICK! I walked along the road and picked up Starbucks cups, plastic bags, cans, and several beer bottles. It's bad enough that these dumbasses are drinking and driving, but they're litterbugs, too! And can someone please explain how a coffee mug from the Excalibur in Las Vegas ended up in our woods?

Now for the controversy bits. Do you remember when I wrote about the breaking news that President Obama would be delivering the commencement speech at Notre Dame in May? Pretty exciting, right? Well, not for everyone. Remember that Notre Dame is a Catholic university, and Bishop D'Arcy of the Archdiocese that oversees the Fort Wayne-South Bend area has said that he will not attend this year's commencement because of the President's stance on reproductive rights and stem cell research. There are some devoutly Catholic student groups that are also protesting his invitation to speak. The thing is that Notre Dame isn't an exclusively Catholic university. It's not like if you're not Catholic, you don't get in. The president of Notre Dame, Rev. John Jenkins, issued this statement:

Presidents from both parties have come to Notre Dame for decades to speak to our graduates – and to our nation and world – about a wide range of pressing issues – from foreign policy to poverty, from societal transformation to social service. We are delighted that President Obama will follow in this long tradition of speaking from Notre Dame on issues of substance and significance.

We will honor Mr. Obama as an inspiring leader who faces many challenges – the economy, two wars, and health care, immigration and education reform – and is addressing them with intelligence, courage and honesty. It is of special significance that we will hear from our first African-American president, a person who has spoken eloquently and movingly about race in this nation. Racial prejudice has been a deep wound in America, and Mr. Obama has been a healer.

Of course, this does not mean we support all of his positions. The invitation to President Obama to be our Commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Yet, we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement.

Golden Dome Bravo, Rev. Jenkins! While Notre Dame may be a primarily Catholic university, and was founded by a Catholic order, it has obviously become more inclusive. Rev. Jenkins is not condoning the President's stance on some issues, but he realizes that it would be an honor for the university to have another sitting President give the commencement address. Our local news says that it is unlikely that the offer will be withdrawn. The President has already accepted, and obviously, the president of the university stands by and welcomes his appearance.

And Bishop D'Arcy? If you're not going, could I have your ticket? 'Kay? Thanks!

And the Silver Squirrel goes to….

Silver Squirrel Award As promised, there's a new award in town (she said, as she hitched up her britches).

It's the Silver Squirrel, and anytime I reference something trivial and/or obscure and ask if someone gets the reference, the Silver Squirrel will go to the person with the first comment or email that provides the origin. I love it when people get my weird references, and it tickles me to no end when others share my love for trivia. Whoever gets the Silver Squirrel can feel free to post the award on their blog, or can just enjoy it for the silliness it is. However, I reserve the exclusive rights to bestowing the award...accept no imitations!

There are two recipients already! The first is retroactive by a couple of days, and is the whole reason I thought of doing this. Laurel of Thoughts From a Route 66 Business Owner knew about the Plaster Casters, and that's some way cool rock 'n roll trivia. Laurel, I am very impressed with your perverse knowledge!

The second goes to Bob of I Should Be Laughing for getting the "I'm comin', Elizabeth!" reference. Classic "Sanford and Son." I was never a huge fan of that show, but I still love that phrase, as well as “You big dummeh!”

I suppose I should point out that many of my trivia references date me...and if you know what I'm talking about, they will probably date you, too! But don't be shy. It's all in fun. Oh, and we really do have a silver squirrel, the little guy in the picture. He’s a nutcracker. [insert joke here]

Monday, March 23, 2009

It’s UP!

Dow chart Nice to see a little positive news. The Dow is up, and has gained 1200 over the past two weeks. (Click on the picture to get a more detailed graphic.) They're saying that confidence is up because of the plan to buy toxic assets in order to get credit moving again, as well as a 5% upswing in housing starts. I'm sure we haven't seen the end of this recession yet, but it really was nice to hear some good news rather than the constant barrage of bad news and scary numbers. I see a glimmer of hope. I really see it! And color me shocked! They're interviewing Ben Stein on CNN, and he has pretty good things to say about the plan, that the assets that Wall Street is going to snap up at these prices are pretty good, and he thinks this will get investments moving. Ben Stein is saying this? [clutching her heart] I'm comin', Elizabeth! (A Silver Squirrel to anyone who gets that reference. I need to make the award first, though!)

I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments on my previous entry about healthcare. I think everyone realizes that there is a big problem, and it needs more than a Band-Aid. It needs major surgery. (Not to beat the healthcare metaphor to death. Ha! Death! Get it?) We really do need a major shift in how we think and operate. (Ha! Operate! Get i--oh, never mind.) I believe with all my heart that we must transition to a preventive mentality and provide preventive care for all, rather than ignoring our own health because we can't afford preventive care and waiting for a catastrophic illness to force us into the ER. We can save millions in healthcare costs. Here's just one example: a yearly Pap smear for sexually active women who aren't in a monogamous relationship (every other year for women whose previous Pap was negative and who are in a monogamous relationship). If caught early, cervical cancer is very treatable. But if it progresses too far, the costs of aggressive treatment, chemotherapy, surgery, etc., will become astronomical. We're talking $150 versus $150,000. Minimum. It adds up.

I especially want to thank my British and Canadian friends for weighing in on the issue. It's invaluable to get the perspective of someone looking at our country and saying, "Wait a minute...why doesn't everyone there have care?" We must do better, and we can do better. I know it.

Lab work I also got a couple of comments about my profession, Medical Technology, that I want to address. The Wiki page I linked to is very accurate as far as our training and the jobs that we can do. Even though I'm not working now, I still feel that I am an MT and always will be, and I'm very proud of the work that MT's do.

Giovanna wrote: I have a question: How can an internship be done in 3 months? If it used to take 12 months. Are they still learning the same or are they learning less?

And DB wrote: 12 month internship to 3 months is a big leap. Were you prepared after 3 months?

This is the first time Giovanna has commented, so welcome to Nutwood, Giovanna! And D, it's always good to see you, my friend.

Very legitimate questions. My internship started in July after my junior year, and went to July of my senior year. I had to move off campus (Remember the house on Rex Street, Dan? We had at least one big party there.) because I wasn't technically a Ball State student any longer, but I also didn't have to pay tuition! I stayed in Muncie, doing my internship at Ball Memorial Hospital, although there were several sites in the state where I could go. Even though I wasn't done with my internship until July, I got to go through the May commencement, so that was cool. Kind of a strange arrangement, but it all worked out well. (My parents especially loved the no tuition part!)

The internships are much shorter now, and I'm glad that I got to do such a long one. The shorter internships merely mean more classroom instruction. The training and knowledge base is the same, but the hands-on work is curtailed. We have to rotate through all departments in the lab, and my Microbiology rotation was...I think 11 weeks. Chemistry was the longest at 13 weeks. Most students now spend about 4-5 weeks in Micro, and the other departments are obviously shortened as well. I'm not even sure if they spend any time in Histology and Cytology, and I spent about 3 weeks going through those areas. (I'll never forget my first view of an amputated leg in Histology. Whoa.) Students now still receive plenty of classroom instruction, but the hands-on stuff is limited. Part of this is due to legal issues and more stringent regulations about who does testing. In my internship, those of us who showed special aptitude would end up doing the morning Hematology run, for example, and report out those results with the oversight of the tech who was working with us. I don't know about other departments, but in my most recent job, we did not let students report out any patient results.

Agar plates I think the main difference is that with a year-long internship, I was probably a little more in tune with what is was like to work in a lab. My first job was still an eye-opener, but I'd say it was an easier transition than some experience now. When you actually get in there and find out what a crazy workload it can be, it can be overwhelming. Of course, everyone remembers the really good students who seem to "get it," especially in Microbiology, because not many do. Those are the students that end up getting hired at the lab or hospital where they do their internship.

So rest assured, there are plenty of good people working in the lab, doing your lab work. There are multiple inspections for every lab, continuing education is a requirement, and almost every lab requires that their techs be certified by at least one regulatory agency. Several states also require state licenses.

Have you hugged a Medical Technologist today? [grin]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

License to Ill

Health care3 (With apologies to the Beastie Boys for blatantly ripping off their album title.)

I've written about health care reform before, and I believe it's a necessity. Outrageous healthcare costs are a part of our economic woes, and we need to figure out a new way of doing things if we are going to regain our equilibrium and prosper again. I like this graphic that I found online, because I think many bristle at the term "socialized medicine." I don't believe that universal healthcare is the equivalent of socialized medicine. We can do things smarter and more efficiently, and make sure that everyone has access to care. HMO's are a way of negotiating a better price on fees; yes, you are limited to going within your network if you want full coverage. Isn't that what a lot of people dislike about "socialized" medicine? Being forced to go to a certain provider? I was in an HMO for a couple of decades, and I got the care I needed.

Anyhoo, I got to thinking about the subject again, because I had an email from my pal and former coworker, Teresa. She's still working at the lab where I worked for the past ten years, and fills me in on the latest. Apparently there is talk lately of layoffs, and that is shocking. This particular lab has never laid anyone off in the almost 100 years of its existence, and they pride themselves on that. It's dismaying to hear that layoffs could be possible (although in any company, there are rumors that fly in times like these). The lab still is an internship site, as well, and it became very stressful to try to juggle the high workload while trying to teach our next generation of lab professionals. And internship lengths are way down from when I got my degree. I think now it's a matter of maybe three months total, and my internship was a full twelve months. I wonder if we aren't shortchanging students...but times have changed, and a lab just can't sustain such a long internship anymore.

I think I'm rambling. Hearing that from Teresa just made me think about how we need to rework our system and streamline things. I've said it before that we need to stop duplication of services and allow certain hospitals to take the lead in certain areas. Competition is good, but not when it drives up already astronomical costs. And part of it involves all of us becoming more educated about illnesses and more in control of our health. It infuriates me to hear of doctors caving in to patients with a stupid head cold when they demand antibiotics. Jeez, just say no! Are you an MD or a mouse?! And why are there still people who think that antibiotics are effective against a virus? Get with the program.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but it's obvious that we need to do something. No one should be going without medical care here, and we need to figure out how to make it happen while managing and reducing cost. I think it's possible.

I have a present for our President

Open mouth insert foot Yes, it was a bonehead thing to say.

No, I don't dispute that he said it.

Yes, I'm sure he will make amends somehow. (I suspect the special needs guy who is a bowling phenomenon may show up at the White House before too long.)

Yes, Palin has a special needs child. To me, that makes it almost worse that she is using this to keep herself in the spotlight, but that's just my opinion, and I can also see the flipside of that. I honestly just don't like the woman, and pretty much anything she says or does is going to irritate me. I can't be any more honest than that! In the interest of fairness, though, I did not include the misinformation that was going around for a while, which said that she reduced spending in Alaska for special needs kids. That was disproven and is not true.

As for the cell phone thing, I suppose I'll get one for emergencies. The moment I decide not to have one is when I'll have a tire blow out or something! Doesn't it make you wonder at what point a cell became a necessity? I lived about 30 years of my life without one, and managed to survive. I think I'd survive without one now, but that scenario of being stuck at the side of the road and having to walk somewhere, or rely on a Good Samaritan to help me rather than decapitate me, is what will cause me to get one. I guess this is a case where technology has led to better safety, so I'll reluctantly get another phone.

Off to do Kitty Care at Casa Shane! I'm taking care of his cats while he's visiting his Dad in Arizona. Hope everyone is enjoying their day!