Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Guess Where I Am

Can you guess where I am?
*If you took the photo, your guess doesn't count!*

Bolton Mania

Condi Rice
introduces John R. Bolton
to a dismayed planet

"There is no such thing as the United Nations..if the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

"It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so ­ because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States."

"...most skilled diplomat...."
"....I am honored...."
......I am honored?



Federal funding cuts limit options for chemo patients

Federal funding cuts limit options for chemo patients

I want to share this story with you because the subject directly affects my own family.

My mother, a senior citizen, has been having chemotherapy at a fine clinic here in Syracuse. Her doctor and the chemo nurses are wonderful, and the room where she'd been having chemotherapy is bright with plenty of sun coming through the many windows that line the room. Plush, comfortable chairs are provided for the patient's comfort and ease. It makes the necessary routine more pleasant than it might be under other circumstances.

Catherine Miller's experience sounds familiar:
It's been three years since the 69-year-old was diagnosed with abdominal cancer, a strain of the disease that can't be cured. Someday, she knows, it will take her life. For now, she's beating the odds.

Miller has had plenty of time to learn the ins-and-outs of local cancer centers. Last year, she settled on ACT Medical Group, a small east-side clinic with hardwood floors and big, sunny windows.
It's hard enough having cancer. To have your government cut away a senior citizen's opportunity to have some form of comfort while battling a terminal illness is an abandonment of respect for and responsibility to our family members in their senior years.

My mother's doctor wants to continue providing chemotherapy to my mother, but the price Medicare pays him for the drugs my mother needs has been reduced by 80% as of January 1st. (A move federal officials have deemed "appropriate.) Her doctor cannot afford to provide extended coverage on a charity basis for his Medicare patients.

What's happening is that senior citizens are being forced to go into a hospital to have chemotherapy while only those (mostly younger patients) who have private insurance are getting the compassion, ease, and personalized attention afforded by the modern clinics. The hospital takes a very lengthy amount of time and the chemotherapy patient, who is no longer immune to disease because of the effect of the drugs on the body, has to be exposed to God-knows-what diseases while at the hospital for that period of time. The patient is placed in a hospital bed and in a room with another patient with who-knows-what illness. There is the admission process, the parking garages, the walk, and all the other inconveniences that come with hospital treatment.

How could our Congress have allowed this to happen? I keep asking myself that question.

As John Edwards recently said regarding more Americans struggling financially and falling deeper into debt - and how that trend is not an accident:

"It is by design because our Republican leaders value one thing: wealth. We see it in everything they do."

This cut in Medicare coverage for chemotherapy drugs is no different.
"Prodded by her doctor, Miller sent out letters to three federal legislators -- senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, and Rep. Don Manzullo -- to share the story of her chemotherapy treatments.
ACT's Edwards, hoping to inspire change and improve Medicare payments, asked her to do it.
"I don't imagine it will do much good," Miller said. "But I did it anyway. For him."
I'm going to have my mother do the same thing. It may not make a difference in time to get her back into the clinic that was a comfort to her in these hard times, but it may help me someday. My Mom loves me enough to act. I know she respects her doctor enough to try to help him and his clinic. I love her, and it breaks my heart to see her have to go through this.

Perhaps, if you see this, you will copy my words and put them in an e-mail to your own Representatives.

Our Senior citizens deserve so much better than this.

- Jude

Exploding Dog

Exploding Dog

Check out Exploding Dog.
It's sam's great interactive creation.

I particularly like "the glass is half full".

*Tip of the hat to Nick.

Cut Lindsay Graham Some Slack

"We don't do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina. It's nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things."

-Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC)

Cut Lindsay Graham Some Slack

That's my opinion.
I suppose I mean it in a tongue-in-cheek way.
Yet - I think Senator Graham's being truthful, albeit blunt.
Not an easy thing to be in Washington DC.

He's telling us that there is still a hell of a lot of bitterness over the outcome of the Civil War in South Carolina.

And you are surprised?

Let him clarify his comments, but I don't think we should go crazy over what he said as if the idea has come from some alien planet.

If the people of South Carolina demand an apology from their Senator, then he should apologize - without hesitation. However, if most of them do feel that way, then Senator Graham can only be accused of "representing". (I'll bet the black population there is none too happy. There goes any scarce African American support the Republicans ever had in South Carolina! Hear the sucking sound?)

Perhaps many South Carolinians do not want to see us as ONE AMERICA?

Does their Confederate heritage mean more to them than their allegiance to a united nation? I think these are fair questions to ask, since Senator Graham decided to bring up the subject.

I think it's time for a national conversation rather than a chastisement of Lindsay Graham. There are divisions in this land that can no longer be overlooked by a sense of false/forced civility.

Frankly, I have more of a problem with Senator Graham cheering President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. President Bush permanently lost half a nation's trust over that gross political misleading, and he has shown, time and time again, that he doesn't value the voice of that particular half of the American population who saw the misleadings for exactly what they were. He's created an American democratic black-out while his administration plots more wars for their cheerleading mob who hypocritically claim to seek "democracy" for nations that they barely understand.

We are polarized. It's eerily chilly where we stand in America today.
Sounds like a civil war all over again.

Will some be terribly skeptical about throwing Bush Day dinners in another 150 years?

Where we stand, here and now, we have a choice to move forward as one nation or languish in our foolish, unfounded hatred for one another and continue on the current path to being a democracy-sick and disrespected nation who gets their way in the world only because others fear our naked wrath.

That's not the America I want to leave behind for our children.

So, let's talk. Blunt honesty is going to be necessary, even if it borders upon incivility. If we want a stronger nation, our leaders are going to need to seek out the policies that are consistent with values that are common to all Americans.

Cut Lindsay Graham some slack.
He's just exposing the cracks in the ever-weakening cultural floor beneath our American feet.

I just wish he'd decided to inspire with his words rather than to serve to divide with them.