I seems strange how change has returned in a way it hasn't in some time now.
I can feel "me" again.
I noticed a large "twin" maple in our neighbor's yard yesterday (pic forthcoming). It is h-u-g-e. Old. Steady.
I told Tom: "I want to go talk to that tree."
He choked on his coffee.
For most of my life, I had a deep connection to nature. I loved the outdoors, creatures in it, rocks, trees. I have had many times when I have felt my connection to the greater Gaia strongly.
Maybe it was easier when I was younger, living in Montauk, NY. Being close to the water. Hitch-hiking, mountain biking and living my life just as free as any young *man* would... I went out alone for happy hour and spent lots of time just writing and being. My only possessions: one suitcase of clothes, two boxes of books, and my bike. I was a nomad for a long time. People called me the Cinnamon Girl (long amber hair, free spirit, independent).
But when my mom got cancer in the mid-nineties I was called upon by my family to return to their lives and help care for her.
So began my slow process of losing my connection to myself. I have a great family; they just thought it was a bit odd that I liked to go sit in the grass for an hour and do nothing other than breathe.
Add my own diagnosis with cancer in 1997 (irrefutable proof to me that I was *not* my body; but as to what I am, what we all are, still not sure); after that, a five year abusive relationship with one of the biggest mooches on the planet, and a general stumbling around in my little life.
I fell into grad school. Waded through first years of teaching and coursework, partying a lot (until I met Tom). Feeling that the days of Cinnamon were lost forever, but chasing after them thinking that I would find her again at the bottom of a Ketel One dirty, dry martini.
It seems she's right where I left her. In the care of the trees and the grass and the earth. You may notice a change in my blog for the coming weeks. I don't know.
I feel the need to turn toward something more positive, less snarky, a small patch of peace away from all of chaos and hate of these psychotic battles over the finite "things" I see when I read or watch news.
It's time for me to spend some time outside again... outside the anger and sadness consuming so many lives. Political Skye will still be here; she just may not shout as loudly.
Happy Thursday, All.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I seems strange how change has returned in a way it hasn't in some time now.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It is only day three of the new semester and I have thoroughly enjoyed almost every moment of every class with my 65 students (three sections of Composition).
Something has changed.
I wonder if students' parents sat them down and gave them a good talking to about the expense of sending them off to school in these hard economic times and how they should study, study, study, or they will quickly find themselves back at home with a curfew, garbage that needs to be taken out, and a yard that needs mowing.
I have never had students that are more eager to learn.
We are still unpacking; I just found our digital camera (need to find the USB cord, tho') and promise to try to take pictures of our yard soon... yes we have a lawn and flowers and tomatoes (cherry, mini-yellow, and beef-steak), and peppers (green, ancho, and hot, hot, hot jalapenos).
We also successfully trapped and (humanely, instantly) killed a mouse that literally had been shitting all over our kitchen. On Sunday it ate an entire jalapeno, seeds and all. We thought that might have killed it, but then I saw it scamper across the counter-top late Monday when I turned on the kitchen lights to get a glass of water.
I screamed like a girl. 'Cause guess what? I am a girl. But I didn't scramble up a chair.
Last night... it was us or the mouse and I knew it wasn't going to be us.
I said to Tom at 2 AM this morning (after we got finished bagging up the little lifeless body) that the mouse was now free to be reincarnated as a bird that can nest in the gigantic red maple in front of our house whose branches overhang the driveway. It can continue to poop in our general direction, but at least it will be on our car and not in our kitchen.
*"Epona" by Susan Seddon Boulet; she's a beautiful artist; one of my faves. I know Epona is the goddess of horses but her horses were also considered to lead souls in the after-life. May that little mouse find comfort in her guidance.
PS: I wanted to mention the passing of Ted Kennedy, but the tone of this post didn't seem appropriate.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This week I have been having thoughts about one of the saddest and most infuriating things: people in power who choose not to do good with it.
I am sure that you can think of many such people, but one who really sticks in my craw is Sarah Palin.
Come on: she's pretty, charismatic, and seems to be able to gather a loyal following of people.
What a waste that is on her.
She's gotten the things in her life and opportunities to do and have those things because she looks a certain way (sorry, folks, we all know deep down that is the case for some people) and has a charm about her.
I remember the very FIRST time I saw her talk. It was the day McCain announced her as his running mate and my thought was: Oh. Fuck.
True, her speech was short and well-rehearsed and written by a professional speech writer.
But now, I am just sad at the reality behind her glammer (and yes, I spelled it that way because of the lowness of that glammer).
She could have used her position of authority to save or improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, starting with the native Americans in the Yukon Delta who are facing another winter of starvation, freezing and no access and no money to buy basic things like diapers and baby food.
This is in our country, people.
And the person in charge who could have done the right thing for those people (even if it meant furthering herself politically) *chose not to*. She even quit before she was faced with another Alaskan winter with starving and dying constituents.
Then I think of folks like Bush, who had the chance to bring our nation together in a way seen only once in a generation. Instead, he chose anger, fear, and blind retaliation at an elusive enemy-- the pursuit of which has cost us to date 4,333 American lives. That's about 2 per day. Human beings who will never see their families again, who will never know that their sacrifice was all for a war built on lies. *So that people could profit*. See Xe and it's disgusting record on contracts or Blackwater (both former subsidiaries of Halliburton) if you have any doubt as to the scope of the war-profiteering that has lined the pockets of hundreds of corporate slugs like those we handed blank checks to last October.
Want health benefits? Join the military. Have they got a job for you.
I am not one prone to conspiracy or paranoia, but I cannot help but see some connections here.
Limit the options available for people to improve their lives and the lives of others. Add a population that needs jobs, jobs, jobs. Want some security, join the armed forces. They'll take care of you until you die in combat and your government denies press coverage of flag-draped coffins coming off of airplane transports. (I know this has changed, but our press seems preoccupied at the moment with lies about health care reform; pay no attention to the man behind the curtain).
So much waste.
A White House and Congress all with a Democratic majority and they are looking to waste that, too.
And who gets dumped on? Take a wild guess...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Last night over dinner, I said to Tom: "The so-called 'liberal' media are morons."
But not for the obvious reasons that may pop to mind.
It seems, I told Tom (and now you, dear reader) that the so-called "right-wing" media are controlling what news gets reported... indeed the right-wing in general is controlling the media at the moment.
This has been festering in my noodle for a while now.
For example, why the eff are we paying attention to that nut-bag Michelle Bachmann, her insanity, and her son? Or Palin, for that matter?
Further, why are they still yakking about the misinformation on health care reform?
Or the attention-seeking folks not-so-subtly threatening the president at his town hall meetings by showing up strapped? Don't our "enemies" in those countries "over thar someswhere" do the same fucking thing?
Seriously, what is the purpose of that other than a child's response: "Cuz I can."
Good on you.
I can talk with food in my mouth, but don't even if I can.
It's bad manners, poor etiquette, and frankly, gross.
Instead, I posit, the national conversation should be about what's needed instead of pointing fingers, like Keith Olbermann does *non-stop* saying: "Nya, nya, nya, I'm right and you're wrong."
I am about finished with the defensive crap that has become the smorgasbord of the "news."
Everyone's a fucking critic and wants a seat at the grown-up table but no one seems to want to put forward solutions.
People are talking with their mouths full of shyte.
What this country needs is civility, not barbarism.
Some keep-your-elbows-off-the-table and chew-with-your-mouth-closed kind of table manners.
We also need the dumb-asses we elected (by a very safe margin) to do their jobs and get the things done we elected them to do.
I fear that a train-wreck is just around the bend. And the media will be sitting there, literally, on their asses saying with their mouths chock full 'o crap, "We told you so."
And I'll say, "Good for you. You were right. Now what the frick are we going to do?"
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I had a great idea for a blog post... yesterday.
Actually, last night. It was deep. Personal. Something I thought: "Wow. I really need to blog about that."
No clue what deepness I was plumbing.
Back to being shallow, I suppose.
Moving is hell. (Didn't I already write that?)
Actually, I am just feeling like a drama queen (pronounced: draa-maa).
I have committed myself to one section of Comp at the U from which I recently received my degree (they *cannot* take it back was my first thought, can they?).
I am also going to be teaching several courses online for two different universities.
Wish I could remember what I was going to post about today.
It had something to do with the meaning of life or some such nonsense.
When I remember what it was, I promise to share.
Missing the monkey badly these days. I have been dreaming about her a lot. Yesterday morning I dreamt about a dragonfly outside my window. When I touched the glass, it turned into Emma. I woke up crying. I know whatever she is doing she is doing it in a good place. And if you knew her, a dragonfly seems to really suit her personality.
In the meantime, here's some terrible cuteness. So cute it hurts.
That website always makes me laugh.
I hope you all had great weekends. I will be back with photos... we actually have flowers and a garden in our new place...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Hate. Hate. Hate. Moving.
And I am generally not a hater.
Sorry to have been lax on the updates with the health care bill. Haven't had any time... Just sick about the so-called "debate" that is going on between the yellers and screamers and fucktards who obviously haven't so much as glanced at the thing.
If you are a conservative stumbling upon this blog:
Please do yourself and your fellow Americans a favor. Exercise your right to inform yourself instead of reading/listening to what *other* people are writing/saying/lying about this legislation.
No death panels. No loss of coverage you like. No getting denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. No lifetime limits on coverage. Nothing awful, horrific or bad.
You are a paranoid, sad, freak if you think this bill is a concoction of evil-doers.
The only bad guys are the insurance companies and you are helping them keep sick people sick and the bad guys' pockets lined with blood money. YOU are a death panel if you don't stop this insanity. Please click on the previous sentence for an excellent argument about the lack of ethics of the GOP and big money behind this absurdity.
Lives or money?
Says a lot about a person given which side they choose...
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Here's a quick summary (bulleted points) of the highlights of the first title of the bill.
*Sorry for some of the goofy margins and returns on this. I wrote it in wordpad while reading the bill and the format did not translate well into blogger.*
First 14* pages definition of terms.
Title I (pages 1-72): Protections and Standards for Qualified Health Benefits Plans (QHBP)
Section 102: "Protecting the Choice to keep Current Coverage" (page 16).
Includes restrictions on premium increases during the "grandfather" period (page 17).
Subtitle B: Standards Guaranteeing Access to Affordable Coverage
Section 111: "Prohibiting Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion" (page 19).
People cannot be dropped for non-payment of premiums unless a specific course of consumer protection has been provided (page 20).
Individuals and families will all be charged a uniform rate (page 21).
Eighteen months after the date of the enactment of the legislation, a commission will provide Congress and applicable agencies a report on the study of factors affecting coverage (page 22): "To ensure that the law does not provide incentives for small and mid-size businesses to self-insure or create averse selection in the risk pools of large insurers and self-insured employers" (page 23).
Section 114: "Nondiscrimination in benefits: parity in mental health and substance abuse benefits" (page 23).
Section 115: Ensuring adequacy of provider networks; transparency in cost for in-network
and out-of-network benefits.
Premiums are to "be used for services" (page 25). *I need to study about the term "medical
loss ratio"; not sure what that means.
Subtitle C: Standards Guaranteeing Access to Essential Benefits (sets the bar for coverage for private insurers)
Choice of coverage (page 25)
Accordance with general medical standards (page 27)
No annual or lifetime limit on coverage
Is equivalent to average prevailing employer provided coverage
Minimum services to be covered:
Outpatient hospital, outpatient clinic, and emergency services (27)
Professional services of physicians and other health professionals (28) (they get
paid; it's not voluntary all of a sudden)
Services, equipment and supplies incident to the delivery of care (28)
Prescription drugs (28)
Rehabilitative and habilitative services (28)
Mental health and substance disorder services (28)
Preventive services (28)
MATERNITY CARE (28)
Well baby and well child care including oral health, vision, hearing etc. for children under
21 years of age
People who are using private insurance cannot pay more than $5,000/year out of pocket for
an individual; $10,000 per family
Section 123: Health benefits advisory committee (oversight)
Term limits for committee members (3 years)
Duties (pages 32-35)
Section 124: 45 day maximum for committee to review recommendations (keep 'em moving,
18 months after enactment of legislation, initial standards for coverage will be set but will be
reviewed periodically (36).
Subtitle D: Additional Consumer Protections
Section 131: Requiring fair marketing practices by health insurers
Claims and appeals processes (37)
External review process (38)
Section 133: Requiring information transparency and plan disclosure (38) (no more fine print; no more quick changes to coverage, etc)
Subtitle E: Governance
Examination and Audits
Work with state regulatory agencies to terminate non-compliant plans (45)
Coordinating communication between state attorneys general (45) and all other overseeing
Subtitle F: Miscellaneous
Section 152: Prohibiting discrimination in health care (50)
Section 153: Whistle-blower protection (51)
Section 154: Collective bargaining shall not be restrained (53) (unions?)
Subtitle G: Early Investments
Section 162: Ending health care rescission abuse (55) (fraud is the *only* exception for losing
Third party review of rescission
Section 1173A: Standardize electronic administrative transactions
Including: Letting patient know the cost at point of service (58) (no sudden bills out of the blue)
Protection of data (62)
Section 164: Reinsurance program for retirees (65)
More tomorrow as time permits: we are painting at the new house tomorrow so I may not be able to update until the evening.
Here's a link to the House version of the Health Care Reform Bill. It may take a few moments to load...
Now, let's all read it and try to act like adults when communicating about it (@those fucktards who are screaming at town-hall meetings like thugs and bullies).
It's called civil discourse for a reason...
I'm off to start reading...
It is a celestial conspiracy that there is a full moon two days after the President's birthday.
It makes perfect sense.
Thousands of years ago, wise people charted the moon cycle to coincide precisely with this period in history.
8. 3. 2009: Crazy, batshit, loonybin Orly Taitz produces the "smoking" noodle that is the Kenyan "birth certificate" for our President.
8. 4. 2009: 218th day of this year. Barack Obama's birthday as 44th President of the United States. Age:48.
8. 6. 2009: The 8th full moon of this year.
1054 C.E.: A powerful supernova is observed. It is so bright it can be seen in the daylight. The remnant is now known as the Crab Nebula.
"It even has a well-established pedigree since it was sighted by royal Chinese astronomers when light from the supernova arrived here in 1054. The Crab Nebula and the star at the center of it are the Rosetta Stone of modern astrophysics" (Chandra Science Center).
I think not.
The first full moon I ever saw I was ten years old riding the bus to school.
It was early morning and my African-American friend sharing the seat slid open the window, pulled down his pants, and showed his bare bottom to the side of the road. I had never seen such a beautiful contrast of perfect, smooth, dark skin and tighty whities. Haven't since.
Tell any birther, and they will find a way to make that part of the cover-up, too.
Tyrone Washington's flawless tush, the election of our first African-American president, and a full moon on Thursday.
Anything's plausible if you persistently twist the "facts" enough in your favor...
Sunday, August 2, 2009
For some summer reading I just finished Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama. While not for a causal reader of history, I think this book is eerily prescient of current events in the U.S.
In the latter part of the 18th century, France was heading toward disaster.
Widespread unemployment, disease, and hunger lead to many French-folk being pissed (for lack of a better term) at their government.
Add to that numerous wars, including the Seven Years War, in which King Henry XV involved the French military (which almost bankrupted the government) and the expensive support provided to American revolutionaries by his successor, King Henry XVI (I'm grateful, but just sayin'). The French government was also challenged at this time to provide basic social services for the needy and Veterans.
Heap upon that an inequitable taxation system, which placed the burden of most taxes on the poorest of the French people. Food costs were out of control and the populace was gripped by what historians call the "The Great Fear" wherein scuttlebutt and paranoia fueled suspicion and crime.
Is any of this sounding familiar?
Think about the current agenda of the GOP:
Stop health care reform (i.e. let the poor and unemployed get on with the business of dying already). If you haven't read the memo, it's a must see. Really. The lowness of these political power-grabbers never ceases to amaze me.
Screw the unemployed (see the video of Michele Malkin's appearance on This Week from this morning).
Ramp up the delusion that our president is a non-citizen.
Convince middle income families that income tax deductions for the wealthiest of Americans on investments and estates (i.e., inherited wealth) are bad things and should not be allowed to expire. Because as we all know, most middle class Americans are waiting to inherit wealth from elders and are drooling to keep dividends on their extensive and useful stock portfolios, right?
Weren't these the same group of people who claimed that it was a sign of protest to stop eating "French" fries because the French would not support an unfounded invasion of Iraq?
If I were prone to think the absolute worst of people, and the congressional GOP has put me to the test this past decade, I might think they wanted a revolution...
Good thing none of the supporters of the GOP want our president to fail, for him to be torn out of office, or for America to stay on her knees from economic stress brought on by corporate greed.
I close with a great video summary that only Keith Olbermann could provide. As the great state representative from Missouri, Cynthia Davis, says: "Let them eat McDonalds"
Saturday, August 1, 2009
So, one line of attack against health insurance reform is the claim that small businesses will disproportionately opt to dump insurance coverage if a public option is available.
I think I might be safe in saying "duh" in light of the following information:
1. Premiums for small businesses have risen 129% in the last eight years.
2. 58% are having a hard time keeping up with the cost of health care (see above link).
3. Plans for small businesses cost more for less coverage. One common excuse for the skewed cost is higher "administrative" costs. It costs *more* to manage small groups of people than it does large groups? Huh? Anyone who has ever been a teacher can say they'd rather be in charge of a small group of students rather than large ones. Smaller groups would seem, logically, to generate less work, less paperwork, less oversight, etc.
Ohio is one instance of the effect of the cost of insurance on small businesses. 69% of small businesses in Ohio, for example, already *do not* provide health insurance for their employees.
Notice anything missing from the initial claim and the three (very) basic points listed here?
How about the health insurance companies? You know, those who are responsible for telling your doctors when and how and if to treat you based solely on their own bottom line?
99% of "employer firms" are small businesses. I think if the insurance companies want to stay in business, they should try to keep providing coverage for those businesses instead of losing that business to the government.
And a public option would kill competition? Ummm, I think it might actually create some instead of the monopoly/craps/Russian roulette games the insurance companies are playing with peoples' lives.
*See this link for a great online tool to compare proposals side-by-side to be informed yourself.
Also, thanks to themom for the nod to my blog. I feel loved. I mean it. Really.
Random acts of kindness are what keep the world from crumbling into utter chaos. Well, at least my wee corner of it.
Happy 1st day of August (holy shyte I cannot believe it is August already...)