Saturday, August 29, 2009

A day shared with others

I love Rock 'n Roll First of all, the Silver Squirrel Award has multiple winners! The reference I mentioned was "paranoia will destroy ya." Dannelle sent me a video of a band called the Assembly doing a song with that title. Now, that's not what I was referencing, but that is obviously a correct answer, so Dannelle gets her second Silver Squirrel! Dannelle also made me that awesome tag. How cool--and appropriate--is that?! Thanks, Dannelle! Dawn of Carpe Diem weighed in next with the song "Paranoia" by the Kinks. That's not the name of the song, but Dawn gets a Silver Squirrel for knowing that it was the Kinks. Never let it be said that I am unwilling to compromise! Finally, we have Cousin Shane saying that the song is "Destroyer" by the Kinks, off of the "Give the People What They Want" album. Shane gets a Silver Squirrel for knowing the completely correct answer. Some say that the lyrics go "Paranoia, the destroyer," but I've always heard it as "Paranoia will destroy ya." If Ray Davies is reading this, feel free to weigh in, Ray! [grin]

Many of you have seen, via either Ken's blog or Facebook, that today is my birthday. Alaina, Joy, and Miss Ginger also posted entries on their blogs wishing me a happy one. (I hope I didn't forget anyone!) I want to thank everyone who sent their good wishes--it really touched me. I also got several cards from family and friends, one mentioning Cindy Brady (So funny...thank you, my friend!), and one from Shane that made me laugh so says "If you're not going to snort, why even laugh?" He knows me so well...I have, on rare occasion, been known to snort when I laugh. I won't lie and say that I snorted when I read it, but I did laugh really hard!

Thank you2 I thank you all very, very much. {{hugs}}

Ken and I don't do birthday gifts--we'd rather spend the money on things fun for both of us, so I said that the Alice Cooper concert could be my birthday gift--but we popped over to Granite City Brewery this afternoon for some appetizers and cool amber beverages. Thanks, Honey! (He also got me a little carton of Sangria, and a big chocolate bar. Is it any wonder I’m crazy about the guy?)

I've enjoyed my day and the kind thoughts of others, but I have to mention two things that will always stick with me. This morning, we watched Senator Kennedy's funeral Mass, and it was very moving to see the tributes given by family and friends. Ted, Jr.'s remarks were especially touching, as were President Obama's. If you don't like the guy's politics, I don't really care, but at least respect the man for serving his country for decades. He helped many people in his lifetime, and in learning more about the man rather than the legislator, it seems that he was a friend to many and the rock of his family. He made plenty of mistakes in his life, but I believe he faced them and did his best to atone for them in his latter years. Rest in peace, Senator, and thank you.

I will also never forget that it was on my birthday that Katrina hit New Orleans. I remember sitting out on the deck on that hot summer day (unlike today's cool weather), talking with my Mom, who had called to wish me happy birthday. We even talked about the hurricane, and at that time, it looked like New Orleans was weathering it well and everything was going to be okay. It wasn't until the following day that the levees were breached, and the true nightmare began. Here we are four years later, and things still aren't back to normal in New Orleans for many people, and probably never will be again.

I'm grateful for the thoughtfulness and kindness shown me today; I hope everyone will take a moment to remember Senator Kennedy and his family, and all those in New Orleans who are still struggling to find their way.

Friday, August 28, 2009

People are strange

Distorted view3 That's no news flash, I know, but I was exchanging emails with a friend this morning, writing about some behavior she's experienced in others. I wrote that I really don't understand the sort of mentality that wants to constantly stir up trouble, and I guess I never want to understand it. It made me think of the Doors song.

People are strange when you're a stranger

Faces look ugly when you're alone

Women seem wicked when you're unwanted

Streets are uneven when you're down

When you're strange

Faces come out of the rain

When you're strange

No one remembers your name

When you're strange

When you're strange

When you're strange

Distorted view I've always loved that particular song, because I think it reflects a certain state of mind very well. I've found that most behaviors and feelings feed off of themselves. I know that if I'm feeling a little blue, everything I experience seems to add to that feeling, until I can consciously snap myself out of it. (I'm fortunate in that regard...not everyone can do that, and I know that has to be so hard and so frustrating.) If I'm in a bad mood, little things that normally wouldn't bother me can seem irritating. When you're in a group of people, it seems like the negativity is magnified and increases exponentially. At work, there were times when someone would complain about something, and the next thing you knew, everyone was in an uproar! My friend Jillian and I used to tease people about being a Negative Nancy, and that would often get them to laughing and break the "spell." Believe me, there were plenty of times that I was in a foul mood at work, or angry about something, but for the most part, I tried to just keep to myself and lick my wounds until I was able to crawl out of my little hole. Haha!

I suppose it's connected to what I've written about some people seeming to thrive on drama...and if there isn't any handy at the moment, they'll stir up a little something in their big black cauldron. Not everyone does it out of sheer spite, although I've known those who do; sometimes it's just a matter of life not being exciting for them unless they have something to fret and stew over. I really don't get it, because I'm happiest when my life is drama-free. I don't find it enjoyable to be around people like that, and if you call them on it, they can get really defensive, and often lash out at you. [shrugs] Whatevah.

Distorted view2 I would think it would make for a difficult and unhappy life to have such a distorted view of reality, one in which everyone is out to get you (paranoia will destroy ya...a Silver Squirrel to anyone who gets that reference!), every little thing is perceived as a slight against you, and you believe that the sole existence of the rest of the world is merely to focus itself on you, glorious you. If you can't get the attention in good ways, you use any means necessary to get it, and the collateral damage to those around you matters nothing. I'm not a big Dr. Phil fan, but in this case, he's right: It ain't ABOUT you!

Call me idealistic, or naive (just don't call me late for dinner!), but rather than being a stranger traveling the world and seeing everything and everyone as strange or wicked or maybe just as "other," I prefer to be what Mark calls a "friend on the back roads of life." (He got it from a Stephen King novel, and I've grown to love the phrase, too.) It certainly makes me happy when I can brighten someone's day instead of making them say, "Jeez, what a high-toned bitch," or having to leave a job or a school or even a relationship because somehow everyone seems to end up disliking me. Hmmm. Life is much more fun the former way; there's a world of difference between the excitement of a life made enjoyable by the many wonderful things out there, and the excitement of a life made interesting by volatility and the needless creation of drama.

Now here's the Lizard King to sing us out, and Mr. Morrison, you may be long gone, but you're still as fine as frog's hair....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This just in: Launch scrubbed!

Bear with no lunch Wait...that's not right....

Lunch scrubbed!

It was pouring down rain this morning, so I called my mother-in-law and we agreed to go to lunch one day next week. She seemed fine with that, so I don't think she wanted to head out in such rain, either! It would have been a pain to mess with umbrellas, and getting in and out of the Mustang might take her a little bit, so one or both of us probably would have ended up soaked! It's stopped for the moment, but still very gloomy and overcast, and I expect more rain this afternoon. We're supposed to have some nice days next week, and I think we'll both enjoy it more when it's a pretty, sunny day.

I have another line from Angle of Repose for you:

Salt is added to dried rose petals with the perfume and spices, when we stored them away in covered jars, the summers of our past.

I loved that so much I wrote it down in my little reader's journal and also shared it on Facebook. Isn't that one of the loveliest things you've ever read? And so perfect for that end-of-summer feeling. I think I'm really going to like this book (despite the fact that it's a monster) because it's some of the best writing of the books on the list that we've read so far, in my personal opinion. I read lines like that one and just say, "Wow."

Silver Squirrel Award A big congratulations to Dannelle of MadMotherMema for correctly--and quickly--noting that my line about my new red Keds, "The angels wanna wear my red shoes" was a reference to the Elvis Costello song "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes." Dannelle gets the Silver Squirrel Award! Thanks for reading and playing along, Dannelle!

Now off to that book, if I plan on getting through it before the end of the year...! Perhaps more later.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, David!

I had never seen this commercial before tonight, and of course, I immediately thought of our dear David Dust.

Happy birthday, my friend!

Hodgepodge Lodge

I really like the word "hodgepodge," and that's what today's entry will be.

Even if you totally disagreed with his politics, I hope everyone today is joining me in sending Senator Ted Kennedy's family our condolences. I grew to respect the man for his convictions and for his many years of service to this country. It makes me very sad that he won't be around to see a health care reform bill, no matter what form it eventually takes, passed. I haven't had the news on at all today because I know it's a lot of sadness about the Senator's death.


Michelle Bachmann caught reading! Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle "Politics is Hard!" Bachmann recently appeared on a radio show, and asked listeners to "pray, fast, believe, trust the Lord, but also act." She went on to praise Sarah Palin for talking about (nonexistent) death panels, saying "These are true!" She stated "We all need to consider that in God's timing that he may have allowed us, as members of Congress, to be in the position that we're in just for this specific issue right now." So now God has endorsed her position in Congress, eh? Michelle? That voice you're hearing in your head isn't God. It's your own delusions of grandeur, your belief that you have been sanctified by God, and it's whatever little lunatic is living in your head that causes you to say such nonsensical things. You might want to try to ignore it before it tells you do something really weird. Like read a book or something.


Hey, did you hear about the town hall meeting in Virginia with Congressman Jim Moran and Howard Dean? Yeah, a circus broke out! Someone yelled "God save America!" Then someone yelled back "Shut up!" Then another one yelled "God save the Constitution!" and someone responded with "Shut up, you pig!"

A 17-year-old girl in attendance said that it was "better than Springer." After the meeting she and her friends said that they felt discouraged by the lack of tolerance and talk of death panels from people at the meeting who were older than them. The 17-year-old said, "I thought our generation was supposed to be the stupid one."

You know what? I think I've changed my mind on all this stuff. No, not health care reform, but the behavior of some of these people at the town hall meetings, and the loony yammering of people like Bachmann, Palin, et al. I think they should go for it. Really let loose and shout all they want, continue to spout off about things that they've heard from their favorite Faux News talking head, keep repeating all the talking points from whatever disembodied voice wafts its way over the airwaves. Keep going, folks! Keep yelling about how you want government out of your lives. It's getting downright entertaining, and it illustrates perfectly your mentality. The shriller your cries, the loonier you look, and for those of us who do want to see reform happen and are interested in being a part of the process by engaging in actual discussions and attempts to learn more about it, it's becoming increasingly easy to be dismissive of you.

Oh, I'll's kind of embarrassing to see you act that way and know that people around the world are seeing this and thinking that we all are like that. But I think the voice of reason will eventually prevail, and then you can go back to whatever you normally do when you're not red-faced with rage, with veins popping out on your forehead, talking about how Obama's gonna kill your granny and then he's gonna take away your guns. Or maybe he's gonna kill your granny...with your own gun! *gasp* (That's a nice twist...feel free to use that one.)

So keep it up, folks! Just make sure that no one gets hurt in the process, okay?


Angle of Repose I picked up my next book club book at the library yesterday, and about had a thrombo. A Bend in the River clocked in at about 280 pages...Angle of Repose is a cool 569. ACK! It's tiny print, too. This one might need a renewal. It does look very interesting, and I like the scholarly tone of the book and of the narrator.

The truth about my son is that despite his good nature, his intelligence, his extensive education, and his bulldozer energy, he is as blunt as a kick in the shins. He is peremptory even with a doorbell button. His thumb never inquires whether one is within, and then waits to see. It pushes, and ten seconds later pushes again, and one second after that goes down on the button and stays there. That's the way he summoned me this noon.

Isn't that great? Don't you immediately have a grasp of the character of the narrator's son? A good guy, a smart guy, but terribly impatient. I really think I'll like this one, but it will be a matter of getting through it. (She wrote, as she continued to write a blog entry, rather than reading.) I think only one other person in the book club has read it (Better crack the whip, Jillian! Haha!), and that was one of the people from out-of-state who joined our online forum. We've exchanged a couple of emails about it already, so it will be interesting to get her thoughts as I plow through it.


Silver Squirrel Award I love Kohl's. I got a pair of red Keds yesterday that normally cost $45...for $9! How could I pass those up? I couldn't. I didn't have a red pair, either. The angels wanna wear my red shoes. A Silver Squirrel award to anyone who gets that reference!


Lunch with my mother-in-law tomorrow! We're going to try a place I haven't tried before, La Esperanza. She loves Mexican food, but her husband doesn't, so I figured she'd like that. She's taking me out, so says it was my choice, but I wanted to pick a place that she would enjoy, too. I'm sure we'll have plenty to "dish" about. She cracks me think I tell it like it is...?!


I got an invitation today from my excellent brother-in-law, Tom, to go to a Cubs game in a couple of weeks with him and my sisters. My God, man, do you realize what you are doing?! Tom did his time as a Marine in Vietnam, so I suppose he's equipped to spend the day with the three of us. Wish him luck. He's a brave man. Of course, you have to be, to be a Cubs fan. Haha!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heretic! Blasphemer!

Yeah, I'm talking to YOU, Senator John McCain, for daring to stand up to a hostile crowd when you said that you believe that President Obama believes in and respects the Constitution, and then saying that you believe that he is sincere. When the crowd booed you for what you said, you told them that he is the President of the United States, so "Let's be respectful." Your audacity is shocking, sir!

As for the crowd that booed the Senator, even when he talked about respecting the President, perhaps you all might learn a little class from Senator McCain. (I'm happy to see that he regained it after last year's election.) Maybe it's time to start thinking, instead of this rabid Pavlovian response whenever you hear the words "President Obama." Not much thinking going on there.

It's not cool to be stoopid.

Get off the cross, Mary, we need the wood!

All your fault [Disclaimer: Please note that I am not speaking of fellow blogger Mary, who I think will know where I'm coming from with this entry!]

The fabulous Miss Ginger (click on the Ginger Snap tag over on my sidebar to pay a visit) used that in a comment here some time ago, and not about me, thank goodness! I loved it then, I love it now, and I've never forgotten it.

I'm sure we've all encountered at least one person in the course of our lives who is a member of the Cult of Victimization. It's been my misfortune to encounter more than one (including an ex-BF), because they're some of the most unpleasant people I've ever had to be around. You know the type I'm talking about--anything bad that happens to them is never their fault, and entirely because of things that others have done to them. In other words, they accept no responsibility or culpability for what they have done that has led to whatever current crisis that they are currently experiencing...and it seems that it's one crisis after another with these people.

I'm not sure what gets them to the point where they can't see the results of their own behavior. Maybe it's a combination of grandeur and delusion, as in "It can't possibly be anything I've done," followed by a re-imagining of events so that they fit their view of the current circumstances. What these people can never seem to comprehend is that there are usually multiple witnesses to such events, and their peculiar version of reality doesn't jibe with what really happened. Others see, and others know.

My best illustration of this occurred at a previous job, one at which I was never happy. My boss was getting ready to go on a business trip, so we were all having a little meeting about what we would be working on while he was gone. My project was to be purifying Bovine Factor V, and since we'd had a lot of problems with it, I was to save samples along the way and send them to a research laboratory in Atlanta (the guy there was an expert on Bovine Factor V). We were all there, including the manager of the lab. I was making sure that I was clear on what I was to do, and said, "Okay...I'll be going through the process, and saving samples to be sent out for testing, right? I won't be doing the testing here." The boss agreed.

A couple of days later, the boss calls up to see how things are going. I talk to him and tell him that I was doing the procedure, saving and freezing samples to be sent out.

The Boss: Wait a minute. Why aren't you doing the assay there?

Me: We talked about that right before you left. You said to send them out to so-and-so's lab.

The Boss: No, I didn't! You're supposed to do the assay there!

Me: But...that's not what you said. I even asked you if it was correct that I was going to freeze the samples and send them said that was right.

The Boss: I did NOT say that.

I got off the phone and asked my manager and a coworker if they remembered the meeting and that conversation. I asked them what he said when I asked about saving samples and sending them out for testing. They both said that he agreed, that I wasn't to do the assay there. When I told them what he had told me, they both said, "That's not true!"

What the--?? And yeah, I did the assay there, but you can believe that I was amazed and disturbed by this guy's level of self-deception. Despite several witnesses who agreed that he did indeed tell me to send the assay out, he continued to deny it (and they did confront him about it...he still said that he never said that).

Not my fault shirt I know that the human mind is capable of great things, and a good imagination can be a wonderful thing. It's disturbing, though, to see its capacity for the reinterpretation and rewriting of events. It also contributes to a loss of credibility...once you've been caught in a lie...or two...or however many, people tend to automatically distrust what you have to say. If I've seen you lie on more than one occasion, I would certainly be foolish if I were to believe anything that you have to say now, wouldn't I? Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf?

As far as responsibility goes, I've said before that I haven't been an angel in my life. I've made mistakes, I've hurt people, and I've tried to make amends for that when possible. In my younger days, I probably had that feeling of cockiness that leads someone to think that they can do no wrong. After the end of a long distance relationship, one in which I'd deluded myself into thinking was actually going somewhere, I took time to reflect on my behavior in the past, and did some major soul-searching. I realized that many of the mistakes I'd made had been because of my own arrogance and stubbornness, and that I played a part in many of the situations that had gone wrong. I knew that I had been very immature in many ways, and it was time to take control of my destiny and quit making excuses. It wasn't entirely my fault, of course; there were others who had their own hand in behaving badly. But that was no excuse for me to behave badly in turn.

Once I figured that out, things started to fall into place, and Ken and I lived happily ever after. Haha! (I think we've still got some good years left in us, too.) I guess my point is that if your life is nothing more than a long litany about those who have done you wrong, and if you constantly experience problems in relationships, friendships, and your workplace, maybe you need to take a good long look at what you might be doing wrong, and think about whether or not you are contributing to the problem. There are plenty of true victims out there, people subjected to cruelty and abuse, and it's a dishonor to them to continue to play your bogus victim card.

So get off the cross, Mary. It's beyond tiresome.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Let’s all go to the lobby!

Let's all go to the lobby Things have been a little tense here lately, what with all my proselytizin' and preachin' about health care, so time to back off and be mellow. For now. It's media day! Books, music, and movies.

It was a quiet day here at Nutwood, as my main goal was to finish my book club book, A Bend in the River. (It's due tomorrow!) I was successful, and I even enjoyed the book. Africa is a troubled continent, experiencing many growing pains and with a long way to go towards development. This book was published 30 years ago, and it seems that progress is at a snail's pace, at best. For me, the main premise of the book was how can you reconcile the past with potential? How can a continent with so many tribal differences put that behind them in order to look to the future, while still holding onto their traditions? I liked this one a lot, although the response from those who posted on our Google group seemed more tepid than mine. I look forward to the next book, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. I've read nothing about it, and haven't read any of the other members' takes on it--I like to see what my own impressions are before I read those of others.

I subscribe to the blog feed of The Daily Nightly, from NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams has been on vacation, but he's back. He's a well-known music fan, and he mentioned one of the songs he was loving while he was on vacation at the Jersey shore: "I Am Sound" by the Dandy Warhols! The Dandys are one of my favorites, and although I love "13 Tales from Urban Bohemia," I think "Welcome to the Monkey House" is my favorite, and that's the CD that "I Am Sound" is on. It also has my theme song, "Scientist." Ha! Really, though, how cool that Brian loves the Dandys!

We've been watching quite a few movies lately, and two were a couple of surprisingly decent horror movies. We were expecting B-movies (which are fun in their own right) but were pleasantly surprised at the genuine creep factor of "Shallow Ground," and the remake of an Asian movie, "Shutter." No, neither was spectacular, but both were not bad. I'm not sure why there is a recent interest in remaking Asian horror movies ("The Ring," "The Grudge"), but "Shutter" falls into that category. Horror movies are always better when you turn out all the lights and enjoy the creepiness. I'll admit to a little bit of heebie jeebies when I turned out the lights on my way to bed...but I survived!

Watchmen On Saturday night, we watched "Watchmen." Wow! I loved it! I knew very little about it, and have never read the graphic novel. I had only heard a little about it on NPR, and was intrigued by the premise: an alternate reality, in which Richard Nixon is in his third term, and superheroes are a part of history. Thanks to the superheroes, we won the Vietnam war. I thought it was a blast, but also very dark, like the Christian Bale Batman movies (my favorite Batman movies). These superheroes are very flawed, very emotional, and they get a little freaky in the bedroom. The altered history of this movie is certainly a bleak one. (Remember the image of a young hippie girl placing a daisy in a soldier's rifle barrel? Blam blam blam!) I thought it was unusual and intriguing, and was fascinated by it. I look forward to the second installment!

This is my superhero incarnation, Professor Precise Arrow. Click on the picture on my sidebar if you’d like to “superhero” yourself at the Hero Factory. I haven’t figured out my superpowers yet, but I’m thinking they’re somewhat professorial. [grin]

Beth Superhero

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A prescribed dose of reality

Health care3 I've made no secret of the fact that I support health care reform. I won't go into the apparent psychotic break with reality we're seeing from those who so strongly oppose a public option (at least not today); suffice it to say that the distortions and lies are becoming increasingly ludicrous, and if it weren't such an important subject, I would find them laughable. I think it would also be interesting one day to take a look into the mass hysteria and mob mentality that we're seeing at the moment. Really, how do we go from voluntary doctor-patient counseling about end-of-life decisions and living wills (I'm guessing the majority of people think that living wills are probably a pretty good idea, and in fact, here are a few who have supported the idea in the past: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin. Go figure.) to death panels? That's quite a leap from reality to falsehood, but "certain people" have made it with a straight face. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Palin.

But no, I'll save the Liars and the Lies They Tell topic for another day. (I can think of a couple of people in real life--no one who comments here, of course--who fit that bill quite well, but I'll keep this on a public level...the public option, if you will!) Today I'll do some facts and figures, followed by a little bit of philosophizing. (Click on any picture to embiggen.)

Health care spending chart According to a University of California at Santa Cruz health care database, "...higher spending on health care does not necessarily prolong lives. In 2000, the United States spent more on health care than any other country in the world: an average of $4,500 per person. Switzerland was second highest, at $3,300 or 71% of the US. Nevertheless, average US life expectancy ranks 27th in the world, at 77 years. Many countries achieve higher life expectancy rates with significantly lower spending. The chart...shows the top 30 countries in the world ranked by life expectancy. The red line indicates per capita health expenditure (right axis), and shows that many countries outperform the US with approximately half the spending."

A study conducted by a Johns Hopkins professor in health policy and summarized in Medical News Today confirms these findings, and also finds these interesting statistics:

  • Health care spending accounted for 14.6% of the U.S. gross domestic product in 2002, a time when only two other nations--Switzerland and Germany--spent more than 10% of their GDP on health care
  • The United States has 2.9 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, compared with a median of 3.7 beds per 1,000 residents among the other nations examined
  • The United States had 2.4 physicians per 1,000 residents in 2001, compared with a median of 3.1 physicians per 1,000 residents among the other nations examined in 2002
  • The United States had 7.9 nurses per 1,000 residents in the United States in 2001, compared with a median of 8.9 nurses per 1,000 residents among the other nations examined in 2002
  • The United States has 12.8 CT scanners per one million U.S. residents, compared with a median of 13.3 scanners per one million residents among the other nations examined
  • The United States appears to have more magnetic resonance imaging machines per capita than many of the other nations examined, but the machines are used only 10 hours daily in the United States, compared with a median of 18 hours daily in other nations

According to the National Coalition on Health Care, the main reason that people are uninsured is because of the increasingly high cost of health insurance coverage; 62 percent of bankruptcies filed in 2007 were primarily due to medical expenses, and of those bankruptcies, almost 80 percent of those people had health insurance; about 1.5 million families lose their homes each year because of unaffordable medical costs; and that "without health care reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years in health care costs for their workers, 178,000 small business jobs will be lost by 2018 as a result of health care costs, $834 billion in small business wages will be lost due to high health care costs over the next ten years, and small businesses will lose $52.1 billion in profits to high health care costs." See the full NCHC article here.

Health care A Kaiser Family Foundation study showed that nearly a quarter of our country's non-elderly uninsured are middle class; most of the middle class Americans with health insurance get it through their employers, and that has been greatly impacted by the recession; and that health insurance and medical care are becoming increasingly less affordable because costs have have skyrocketed...but wages have not.

Are you getting the picture? Many of us are one major illness away from losing our home and having to declare bankruptcy. For those who say "we can't afford it," I beg to differ. If we do not do something, and do it soon, health insurance will be beyond the reach of millions more than the almost 50 million people who do not have it now, and rising costs will force thousands of small businesses to close their doors. The writing is on the wall, Nation (as Colbert would say), and we can either get with the program or risk an even worse mess down the road--and it's closer than you think. Our system is antiquated and patently unfair, and we need take a tip from the rest of the civilized word and start taking care of our citizens. For anyone who says that they know of someone in England who had a horrible experience with their NHS, I'm willing to bet that there are a thousand others who are more than satisfied, and for everyone who says that they know someone in Canada who had to wait six months for an elective procedure, I'll bet there are a hundred in the US who were unable to afford to go to the doctor at all, or who take half of their prescribed dose of medication, or skip it entirely. It is on the verge of barbaric, and believe me, the rest of the developed world is astounded at our lack of compassion and care for all of our citizens.

Health care cartoon2 For anyone who says that a government option for health care is "socialist," I say that you have conveniently ignored numerous other government programs that are "socialistic" in nature--if by socialism you mean a redistribution of goods by a central government. What do you think our tax system is, for God's sake? We all pay the central government, which uses those taxes for the programs that they run. How many federally funded programs are there? As of June 2005, there were 1,607 of them. We can drop this "socialist" bullshit any day now, because it is an argument (I should say a non-argument...people just seem to like throwing the word around because it sounds scaaaaaary) that makes no sense whatsoever.

Some have suggested that it is up to our own society to take care of those who cannot afford insurance. Really? How is that working for us so far? Is our society taking care of those who are mentally ill and live on the streets? Is it taking care of those who are living in tent cities in some of our metropolitan areas? Is it taking care of the starving kid in Appalachia or the one in the ghettos of Chicago? We've all seen fundraisers for a kid who needs a kidney transplant, or leukemia, or one of dozens of life-threatening illnesses, and after several thousand dollars are raised at the pancake breakfast or the spaghetti supper, and that money is spent on treatments, what happens when the kid is hospitalized for a couple of weeks with a raging infection? Any idea of how much an organ transplant costs? It is one of the most ridiculous arguments I've heard to date, that we'll "take care of our own." We sure as hell haven't done it so far, so what magic wand is going to be waved to suddenly make us all dig deeper and start taking care of all of our people?

Roger Ebert (yes, the movie critic) wrote an excellent column in the Chicago Sun-Times in which he stated this:

I believe universal health care is, quite simply, right.

It is a moral imperative. I cannot enjoy health coverage and turn to my neighbor and tell him he doesn't deserve it. A nation is a mutual undertaking. In a democracy, we set out together to do what we believe is good for the commonwealth. That means voluntarily subjecting ourselves to the rule of law, taxation, military service, the guaranteeing of rights to minorities, and so on.

I agree with Mr. Ebert. It is indeed a moral imperative, and it is our duty as part of the greater good of our nation. That is the crux of the matter, but beyond that, if we are to hold our heads up in the international community, it is a necessity.

Health care cartoon I read something recently in which the author wrote that in the Civil Rights struggles of the 60's, it wasn't necessary to have the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Wallace agree on things. It was simply and obviously the right thing to do to treat all citizens with respect, decency, and equality, and if George Wallace didn't like it, too freakin' bad. (We still aren't there when it comes to gay rights, but that's an entry for another day.) I believe we are at the same crossroads right now when it comes to health care for all, and I stand with President Obama when he says, "One way or another, we're going to get this done."