Friday, July 31, 2009

There Is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

OK people it is time to remind you that the anti-health care group is going to lie to you in any way and at any time they can. Fear is their biggest weapon and the ease and speed in which this fear can be spread is their greatest resource. That makes e-mail their most insidious agent. The number of people who send on false information by e-mail is staggering. To those people I say, "Stop It. For God's sake, stop it!"

If you receive an e-mail that states some outrageous claim as fact check it out before you send it on. One of the best places to start is, a website that keeps track of all the rumors floating around the Internet. Snopes will tell you whether or not what you read or heard is true.

Right now people are sending an e-mail around that claims, under the proposed health care reform bill (H.R. 3200), seniors will be required to have euthanasia counseling every five years. Oh my God, the Obama administration wants old people to hurry up and die! Those bastards!

This, of course, is not true. As Snopes explains:

Section 1233 is saying that Medicare will pay for an "advance care planning consultation" no more often than once every five years unless the patient's health status changes as a result of certain diagnoses or the patient is admitted to a nursing home, long-term care facility, or hospice. Such a consultation may result in a written directive about care and that directive may include information about such areas as antibiotics and intravenous feeding and hydration as well as the usual DNR instructions and any wishes with regard to facility transfer.

In other words, Section 1233 is creating new type of "treatment" that will be paid for by Medicare. It will only pay for one such consultation every five years unless the patient's health status changes, in which case Medicare will pay for a consolation when that change occurs. This is not a mandate; this a new entitlement.

In other words, "Advance Care Planning Consultation" will be no more "compelled" than the "intensive cardiac rehabilitation program" or the "kidney disease education services" listed [elsewhere in the bill]. The five years is a limitation, not a requirement.

(Complete Snopes article here.)

If this does not convince you that "killing seniors" is not Obama's aim, maybe AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Executive Vice President John Rother's reply to the misinformation spread by one person recently will:

More concerning, Ms. McCaughey’s criticism misinterprets legislation that would actually help empower individuals and doctors to make their own choices on end-of-life care.This measure would allow Medicare to pay doctors for taking the time to talk with individuals about difficult end-of-life care decisions. It would help provide people with better information on the positives and negatives—both physical and financial—that different treatments can mean for them and their families. Facing a terminal disease or debilitating accident, some people will choose to take every possible life-saving measure in the hopes that treatment or even a cure will allow them more time with their families. Others will decide that additional treatment would impose too great a burden—emotional, physical and otherwise—on themselves and their families, declining extraordinary measures and instead choosing care to manage their discomfort. Either way, it should be their choice.

This measure would not only help people make the best decisions for themselves, but also better ensure that their wishes are followed. To suggest otherwise is a gross, and even cruel, distortion—especially for any family that has been forced to make the difficult decisions on care for loved ones approaching the end of their lives.

(Complete AARP statement here.)

So please, please, please make sure the information you receive in an email is true before sending it on to others. If you do receive false information from someone be sure to let them know that what they sent you is wrong. The only way to fight fear mongers is to expose their lies for what they are and to not let them spread any further.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two Plus Two Equals... Five?

In the comments on yesterday's post I linked to an article in the LA Times that criticized the media's coverage (mostly television) of health care reform.

They have transformed the story of how to fix an overpriced and inadequate care system into an overheated political scrum, with endless chatter about deadlines and combatants and very little about the kind of medical care people get and how it might change.

I'd like to point out that this is because they aren't very smart, as Bill O'Reilly so clearly proves in the clip below:

(The O'Reilly Factor, July 27, 2009)

The ignorant leading the ignorant.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Republican Party, Health Care Reform, And The Lewin Group

Last night on the Rachel Maddow Show Maddow discussed the Republican Party's reluctance to vote on health care reform before the House and Senate's month long recess in August. This is because they want that month to run television ads across the country attacking health care reform as dangerous. In their attacks against reform Republican politicians have been quoting the reports released by a consulting firm know as "The Lewin Group." As Rachel Maddow points out, the Washington Post has reported that the Lewin Group is owned by UnitedHealth one of the country's largest insurers. Can you say, conflict of interest?

So, in quoting a bias source are the leaders of the Republican Party just being idiots or lying scum? I pick lying scum.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Good News Day

I started the day reading the papers as I usually do each morning and was happy to find a few articles that made me feel good.

First, they are stripping the old varnish off the murals at Rockefeller Plaza. As the varnish aged it turned yellow hiding the murals true colors. When they are finished the murals will look as they did when the project was done in the nineteen thirties. Article here. Slide show of work being done here.

Next, a bear in the Adirondacks may be smarter than the average bear or human. Read about her here.

Finally, a film from the 1970's showing a lion born in London and raised as a pet being reunited with its former owners in Kenya. The lion had be released back into the wild after the owners realized that this was the best thing for him. See film and read article here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thank You, Mr. President

For pointing out at your press conference last Wednesday just how morally bankrupt the Republican party is at this point.

I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics – to turn every issue into running tally of who’s up and who’s down. I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to “go for the kill.” Another Republican Senator said that defeating health reform is about “breaking me."

None of this is that big of a surprise to me. I've said before that the leaders of the Republican Party always put themselves first and politics second. What is best for the country and its citizens has always been an after thought. They are nothing but a bunch of vicious, self-righteous, sanctimonious, elitists. They make me sick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's That Kind Of A Day

Lazy Day by Spanky And Our Gang

Blue sky, sunshine
What a day to take a walk in the park
Ice cream, daydream
'Til the sky becomes a blanket of stars

What a day for a pickin' daisies
And lots of red balloons
And what a day for holdin' hands
And bein' with you

Lazy day, just right for lovin' away
Lazy day. made for a stroll in the lane
Baby you and me
(Baby you and me)
And the honey bee
('Neath the shady tree)
Lazy day, lazy day
Lazy day for you and me

Blue sky, sunshine
Flowers bloomin', children sayin' hello
Rowboats, bird notes
People smilin' everywhere that we go

What a day to be together
And what a sky of blue
And what a day for thinkin' right out loud
I love you

Lazy day, just right for lovin' away
Lazy day, made for a stroll in the lane
Baby you and me
(Baby you and me)
And the honey bee
('Neath a shady tree)
Lazy day, lazy day
Lazy day for you and me

(What a day for a pickin' daisies
And lots of red balloons)
And what a day for thinkin' right out loud
I love you

Lazy day, just right for lovin' away
Lazy day, made for a stroll in the lane
Lazy day just right for lovin' away
Lazy day, made for a stroll in the lane

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grazing In The Grass

Can you dig it, baby?
-The Friends Of Distinction

As I've pointed out before, early morning is my favorite time of day. That time between it still being dark and sunrise (called morning civil twilight in aviation) is magical. The world seems fresh, clean, peaceful, quiet and new. The only problem is that I hate getting up for it. Rolling out of bed when it is still dark outside is almost painful for me.

I have managed to get up early and run Duke for the last six morning and I must say it has been worth it. Each morning I've see at least one species of animal making its early morning rounds. One morning it was a fox slinking though the underbrush down by the river. Several mornings it has been a family of turkeys making their way across the dirt country road I drive on to get to where I let Duke out to run. Turkeys grow fast. When I first spotted mom and her babies the seven chicks were about six inches high but yesterday I saw them again and they were about two feet tall and looking more like miniature turkeys than baby chicks.

I have also watched a pair of large hawks soaring over an open field looking for prey. At first I thought they were Turkey Vultures but their head profiles were wrong. Now I think they may have been a pair of hawks that are not normally found this far north. Since I first mistook them for Turkey Vultures they may have been Zone-tailed Hawks, the head looks right.

This morning Duke and I came across three deer grazing in the grass along side of the road. They were at the top of a hill and Duke and I were at the bottom. I could tell they were males by the antlers on their heads but I was very surprised by how those antlers looked. All three looked as if their antlers had been pruned severely by an overzealous tree surgeon. Unfortunately, I was not close enough to tell whether they were White-tailed Deer or Mule Deer- I have got to start carrying my binoculars with me.

Duke and I started slowly walking up the hill, trying to get closer to the deer without them noticing us. I would stop and tell Duke to whoa, which he would do instantly, eyes locked on the deer, whenever one of them looked our way. We got halfway up the hill before the deer finally noticed us and turned and bounded away. Duke took off after them but came back quickly. By the time I got to the top of the hill they had all vanished. Duke and I stood looking off in the direction they had disappeared for a few seconds and then continued our walk. Maybe we will see them again tomorrow morning.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Join The Circus Like You Wanted To

I don't know which is the bigger circus act this year, Michael Jackson's death or Sonia Sotomayor's Senate conformation hearings. In Michael Jackson's case you have these shocking facts being released:

1. The list of supposed drugs he took, up to fifty a day.

2. The revelation that one of the drugs he was taking was a skin bleacher. (Duuh, he was a white skinned black man.)

2. The number of needle wounds on his body.

3. He was starving himself. (Duuh, look at his brothers. His "thinness" was not normal.)

4. He was completely bald! (This should not be that big of a surprise. Again, look at his brothers, Jermaine has painted on hair and Randy shaves his head.

In the next clown car we have the Republican Senators who were grilling President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Nothing like the image of a bunch of middle-aged, sanctimonious, white men playing politics to get my blood boiling. They are going to approve her but first they had to make sure they got their television air time by asking her "tough" questions and making stupid remarks. I'm talking to you Sen. Tom Coburn. That "You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do," remark doesn't necessarily make you a racist but it does make you a f'ing doofus.

You know, I've been a big supporter of gun control but now I think I will amend my views. Gun control for everyone except Republican politicians and pundits. That way they can keep shooting themselves in the feet.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Woman's Work...

Busy day, woke up at 5:00 AM this morning when the alarm in my bedside clock went off. I must have accidentally reset it yesterday morning when I fumbled with it trying to turn it off. I did not fall back asleep until almost 6:00 AM and then did not wake again until 7:30 AM. and that only happened because Duke was standing on my side of the bed grunting like a pig. That is his not too subtle signal for, "I need to go outside right now." So I got dressed and took him for his morning walk. It was a beautiful morning. We have had enough rain to keep everything green. Usually by this time of year the heat has turned it all yellow.

It has been so wet and cool this summer; my flowers are just blooming. This weather also kept most of the wheat from being harvested until this week. Last night a quarter of a mile long line of grain trucks sat on one of the main roads through town waiting to unload at one of the grain elevators. I've never seen that before.

Today I got the mower out and mowed the lawn. I also got the weed whacker out and took care of the weeds in the alley and trimmed around the fences and the house. The weeds in the alley were wet so when I finished the front of my jeans, sneakers, t-shirt, and me were covered in bits of green slime. I put the clothes in the washing machine and myself in the shower. After my shower I decided that since I was already doing one load of laundry I might as well do all the laundry so that is what I've been doing most of the afternoon between short naps. I guess the naps prove that I am not as well as I thought I was but even though, I do feel better than I have in a long while. It's about time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm Baaack

My horoscope for today:
Gemini (May 21-June 20) ***
Use the morning, when you feel more together and connected than you have in a long time. Your optimistic thought patterns continue to be an asset. Tonight: Take a personal night.

-Jacqueline Bigar

Yep, that's how I feel.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

I knew I was in trouble when I woke up in the small hours of the morning inside a bucking aircraft headed for JFK somewhere over the Midwest. My gut was in an uproar and the movement of the aircraft was giving me motion sickness. I stumbled to the toilet and sat down. The next thing I knew I was back in my seat waking up from a long nap. Only I wasn't in my seat, I was still on toilet but slumped into the back wall. The antibiotics I had been taking had destroyed all the good bacterium in my gut and my intestines where trying to evacuate everything I had ever eaten in my lifetime. And it kept doing so until yesterday.

I don't want to go into anymore details but I will say that I now completely understand the phrase gut wrenching pain. I am on the road to recovery thanks to time and a doctor friend who sent me a more potent brand of probiotics than you can get over the counter. I am also about ten pounds lighter. Seven pounds of that ten I lost the first seven days but this is not a diet I would recommend to anyone.

Now, you would think that this put a big crimp in my Maine vacation but, all in all, it was enjoyable. I did do two things I should not have; I ate lobster twice. I found out when I got home that eating the lobster wasn't the big mistake, the butter that went with it was. When your gut is compromised fats are the hardest thing for it to break down. I can verify that this is true and that it is also very painful.

One of the highlights of my trip was meeting fellow blogger, Ronni Bennett, of Time Goes By. She was kind enough to meet me at the Hilton near the Portland airport on my way home. We had planned a half-an-hour meeting but ended up talking together for an hour-and-a-half. It would have been longer but I was worried about missing my plane.

One thing about meeting people who's blogs you read is that you usually have an idea in your head about what they are like. I had the advantage since Ronni has photos of herself at the top of her blog but she only knew me from my writings. She was amazed by my short hair. What she didn't know is that I have a tendency to cut my hair very short whenever I feel some kind of change is coming in my life. It may be a emotional change or a physical change (like a trip) but it is always a sign that I am ready for something new.

So, that's it for now. I plan on spending the weekend catching up on other people's blogs and if everything continues as is, will be back Monday. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I've Been Everywhere

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere

I've crossed the country fair, man
To breath that sea coast air

I've been to Portland, Yarmounth, Bath, and Blue Hill

Stood in picturesque Camden town,
Ate seafood from a lobster pound,

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere

I've been to Rockland, Rockport, Northport, and Moose Point Park

Listened to the ocean roar,
Lying on Acadia's rocky shore

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere

I've been to Wiscasset, Lincolnville, Deer Ise, and Ducktrap

I've looked down on beautiful Clam Cove,
Took a ride on Turnpike Road

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere

I've been to Ellsworth, Belfast, Searsport, and Bar Harbor

Traveled on a road that soon was done,
To a town called Stonington

Yes, I've been everywhere

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Edna And Me

(Me in front of the Edna St. Vincent Millay statue in Camden, Maine)

My candle burns at both ends It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Home now and will get back to regular blogging next week. See you all then.