Monday, June 13, 2011

I Swear I Didn't Know...

I just thought she was some idiot. So I wrote her a comment to this: (It's about the weiner issue)

My comment:

When I vote for someone and pay them big bucks with my taxes I want them to do the job, not spend time looking for tail and giving the company a bad name.
In the weiner case, as in the spitzer case (no capitalizations; I’ve made the choice), these guys were online for hours of taxpayer time exhibiting bad judgement and lack of restraint—not want I want in a person who’s representing me.
If you’ve made a promise and married an individual at least hang on until your term is over. You not only made a promise to a spouse and children but you have a responsibility to use your brain—the one in your head—for the people you represent. After that—go for it—I won’t respect you but at least you applied yourself to the job at hand (so it speak).

Don’t make promises to spouses and families that you know you’re not going to keep.
Stay single, fu** your brains out in your off hours and give your constituents the 8-12 hours of serious thought they elected you for.

Oh…and this:
“If only our news networks led with what matters: the three million women and girls who are currently enslaved in third world brothels — enslaved, literally, beaten, raped, drugged, not permitted to leave unless someone “buys” their freedom. The eight thousand children who died today largely of preventable diseases like malaria, and what’s working to help them. The mounting scientific evidence that climate change is shaping up to be the worst ecological and humanitarian disaster in human history." ~~L.Bloom

The money and the sex is all that matters to powerful, arrogant men, the ones who own the media.
There’s no money in third world nations, I am very sad and ashamed to say.
If the cameras are NOT on these men (the ones we can reach)—if the media does NOT pay attention, even more women and children will be sacrificed as playthings to power…as revenue and as spoils of war.
There’s really no stopping it but don’t tell us not to pay attention to the likes of weiner and spitzer et al.
Given the freedom you suggest they’d escalate to third world tactics pretty quickly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's Not New and it Will Never Change

The male of the species just has to show it off. Women aren't impressed.

‘In the sad case of Representative Anthony Weiner’s virtual adultery, the Internet era’s defining vice has been thrown into sharp relief. It isn’t lust or smut or infidelity, though online life encourages all three. It’s a desperate, adolescent narcissism.’ R. Douthat in the NYT.

Narcissists head for the Big-time. They’re surgeons and priests and politicians. They are ubiquitous in nature and they never learn—it’s a DNA thing.

We may just have to learn how to handle the issue. When you get a photo decorate it like a Christmas tree. Use a chainsaw on it. Dress it in Vera Wang then take another photo and post it on a website still to be named.

Suggestions welcomed.

There is not going to be an end to this.

Turning the Table - Gina Barreca

Imagine If a Female Politician Photographed Her Genitals
June 10, 2011, 11:36 am
By Gina Barreca
Really, take a moment: Imagine if a middle-aged female politician decided she should send to random strangers a photograph of her vagina the way Congressman Weiner sent to women a photograph of his penis.
She would not be asked to resign. She would not be the subject of witty, albeit salacious, banter on television and radio programs. She would not be subject to serious questions concerning her judgement, her ability to govern, and the state of her marriage.
She would be institutionalized. She would be grabbed in the street, put into a straightjacket, and carted off to an asylum.
She would be medicated instantly and heavily.
Her family would explain, in tears, that she been subject to catastrophic emotional trauma because otherwise there could be no excuse for such outrageous and utterly insane behavior.
But if a guy is waving his flagpole around we’re supposed to salute it as evidence of his being “just one of the boys”? If a man exposes his penis and scrotum in order to take a fuzzy picture of it (or is it “them”?) our collective response is to wonder what the implications are—culturally—of this act?
Just think: if Sarah Palin exposed her vagina rather than her ignorance, she would be thrown out of politics instantly.
Americans—male and female—still have trouble saying the word “vagina” although they have no trouble with the 23,425 words for “breasts.”
Women’s bodies, like women’s lives, have always been the subject of stupid jokes and whispered, ignorant remarks. Despite the fact that about half the world spends half a lifetime bleeding once a month, for example, we still advertise menstrual products as if we’re selling weed at a playground (“Hey, you want it ‘Because’? You want it ‘Always’? You want it ‘With Wings’?”).
But a New York politician takes a bunch of photographs of his body and mails them to powerless young women—not to Pelosi, or Clinton, or Sotomayor, mind you, which would have been GREAT because their responses would have gone down in history—and he yet still wants to be taken seriously as a leader in our government?
Sure, everybody has done something in our personal lives of which we are not proud. And sure, most everybody is willing to forgive politicians some kind of weirdness in their own personal lives because otherwise NOBODY would run for office.
But Weiner was driven, not by lust—which we can sort of find forgivable—or even by some other kind of desperate passion—but by vanity. It was plain old lousy, dumb, nerdy, unmerited, creepy vanity that made him take pictures of what he thought was his handsome virile self and send those pictures to women he didn’t know personally in order to feed his sense of unparallelled perfection.
That’s not somebody we need on our side. He’s on nobody’s side but his own.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hospice and Palliative Care

This TacomaGal is a recently retired oncology nurse.
I can tell you that there are a lot of very sick people out there who'd give their eye teeth to have someone tell them it’s ok to stop treatment so they can go home and stay home and be comfortable with their families.
The relief in someone's eyes when you ask them how they think this is all going and what they'd like to see happening is palpable--really.
Patients sometimes keep up a front because they don't want to disappoint their families or their doctors.
The atmosphere around end of life issues is much more open than it was 15-20 years ago but we still have a way to go.
Palliative care and hospice care are all around the country now but still not used optimally.

I think the death panel scare didn't go the way the Tea Party wanted because too many people have had very good care with hospice and palliation in the past few years. More and more people see the need for practical thinking as we come to the end of our lives. And, gratefully, more and more doctors are asking patients how they want to live their lives.

Euthanasia is a very personal decision and one I can understand all too well.
Hospice provides simple comfort and relief from the pain and anxiety at end of life.

For the chronically ill who are worn to a thin string and still can see years of suffering before them--that's the rock and the hard place--I would recommend to anyone who asked me about it to see a palliative care MD (if they can't talk to their own doc) and have a good long serious talk.

For those who don't know: palliative care is matching the patient's treatment to the patient's desires.
Ultimately all medical care is palliative.

Assisted Suicide

Ross DoubtThat (my spelling)
Wrote this for the NYT this morning, I reproduce it here in it's entirety.
The comments it produced follow.(Selected by me)

The Link:

Dr. Kevorkian’s Victims

The case for assisted suicide seems to depend on human sympathy — on the impulse toward mercy, the desire to ease what seems like pointless pain and suffering. Why shouldn’t the terminally ill meet death on their own terms, rather than at the end of prolonged agonies? Why shouldn’t the dying depart this earth with dignity, instead of enduring the inexorable stripping away of their physical and mental faculties?

Such are the sentiments that made Jack Kevorkian, who died last week of natural causes, a hero to many millions of Americans. Though he was tried repeatedly and finally convicted of second-degree murder, the former pathologist’s career as “Dr. Death” (he said he assisted at more than 130 suicides) was widely regarded as a form of humanitarianism rather than a criminal enterprise.

But if such sentiments are understandable, they are morally perilous as well. We do not generally praise doctors who help dispatch their terminally ill patients, as Kevorkian repeatedly and unashamedly did. Even when death is inevitable and inevitably painful, it is not considered merciful to prescribe an overdose to a cancer victim against her will, or to gently smother a sleeping Alzheimer’s patient.

The difference, of course, is that Kevorkian’s clients asked for it. That free choice is what separates assisted suicide from murder, his defenders would insist.

But this means that the moral case for assisted suicide depends much more on our respect for people’s own desire to die than on our sympathy for their devastating medical conditions. If participating in a suicide is legally and ethically acceptable, in other words, it can’t just be because cancer is brutal and dementia is dehumanizing. It can only be because there’s a right to suicide.

And once we allow that such a right exists, the arguments for confining it to the dying seem arbitrary at best. We are all dying, day by day: do the terminally ill really occupy a completely different moral category from the rest? A cancer patient’s suffering isn’t necessarily more unbearable than the more indefinite agony of someone living with multiple sclerosis or quadriplegia or manic depression. And not every unbearable agony is medical: if a man losing a battle with Parkinson’s disease can claim the relief of physician-assisted suicide, then why not a devastated widower, or a parent who has lost her only child?

This isn’t a hypothetical slippery slope. Jack Kevorkian spent his career putting this dark, expansive logic into practice. He didn’t just provide death to the dying; he helped anyone whose suffering seemed sufficient to warrant his deadly assistance. When The Detroit Free Press investigated his “practice” in 1997, it found that 60 percent of those he assisted weren’t actually terminally ill. In several cases, autopsies revealed “no anatomical evidence of disease.”

This record was ignored or glossed over by his admirers. (So were the roots of his interest in euthanasia: Kevorkian was obsessed with human experimentation, and pined for a day when both assisted suicides and executions could be accompanied by vivisection.) After his release from prison in 2007, he was treated like a civil rights revolutionary rather a killer — with fawning interviews on “60 Minutes,” $50,000 speaking engagements, and a hagiographic HBO biopic starring Al Pacino.

Fortunately, the revolution Kevorkian envisioned hasn’t yet succeeded. Despite decades of agitation, only three states allow some form of physician-assisted suicide. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous 1997 decision, declined to invent a constitutional right to die. There is no American equivalent of the kind of suicide clinics that have sprung up in Switzerland, providing painless poisons to a steady flow of people from around the globe.

Writing in The Atlantic three years ago, Bruce Falconer profiled one such clinic: Dignitas, founded by a former journalist named Ludwig Minelli, which charges around $6,000 for its ministrations. Like Kevorkian, Minelli sees himself as a crusader for what he calls “the last human right.” And like Kevorkian, he sees no reason why this right — “a marvelous possibility given to a human being,” as he describes it — should be confined to the dying. (A study in The Journal of Medical Ethics suggested that 21 percent of the people whom Dignitas helps to commit suicide are not terminally ill.)

But unlike Kevorkian, Minelli has been free to help kill the suicidal without fear of prosecution. In the last 15 years, more than 1,000 people have made their final exit under his supervision, eased into eternity by a glass of sodium pentobarbital.

Were Minelli operating in the United States, he might well have as many apologists and admirers as the late Dr. Death. But it should make us proud of our country that he would likely find himself in prison, where murderers belong.
Selected comments:
Karen Garcia
New Paltz, NY
June 5th, 2011
11:04 pm
Have you ever noticed that conservatives and some religions are only concerned with people during their nine months in the womb and then again when they are drawing their last breaths? Those trying to deny health care to poor people in our current nihilistic political climate have no right to criticize assisted suicide when they themselves are indirectly contributing to assisted homicide through enforced medical neglect. Fifty million Americans currently lack health insurance, and with the burgeoning unemployment crisis, that number will only grow.

Ross Douthat seems to think anybody feeling the slightest physical or emotional pain will run to the suicide clinics should they ever become legalized. He sure doesn't seem to have much confidence in the resilience of human beings. To compare a terminally ill person with a bereaved person is just plain silly. Some grieving people kill themselves, but most do not. They know life goes on. For the terminally ill, life does not go on.

Maybe if we had universal health coverage, more people would stay alive and not want to kill themselves due to a disease that was never treated due to lack of money. How about it, Russ? Sounds like a humane plan to me.

Marie Burns
Fort Myers, Florida
June 5th, 2011
11:04 pm
Ross, probably hundreds of doctor-assisted suicides occur every day in the U.S. People like me who have living wills volunteer to let medical professionals let us go.

I have personally witnessed two such decisions within my own family. The doctors were not only aware of what was going on, they helped both the dying patient & the family through the wrenching ordeal. No, the doctors didn't -- as far as I know -- administer any drugs to shorten the patients' lives. But they honored the patients' wishes to go when they were ready. These were rational decisions made by fearless people who were fortunate to have brave, caring doctors.

Most people have heard some version of, "I don't know how she did it, but Granny stayed alive till Uncle Fred could get here." Or "After Paula died, Jim just didn't want to go on." We don't have much control over when we die, but in the normal course of dying, we do have some. People who don't want medical personnel messing up that normal course or do want doctors to help that course along should indeed have the option.

Perhaps when you are older you'll better understand the process of dying. It's a bit flip to write, "We're all dying every day." Most people your age have no idea what that means. And I'm glad of that.

The Constant Weader at
Susan L.
New York, NY
June 6th, 2011
12:13 am
I feel the same way about assisted suicide as I feel about abortion: If you don't like it, don't do it - but don't you dare tell me what I can (or can't) do with *my* body! If I had the horrible misfortune to have a terminal illness and I was unwilling to continue suffering needlessly, I just hope I'd have the ability to decide when I'd had enough. I also find it quite ironic that right-wingers are only too eager to tell the rest of us what we should or shouldn't do - in myriad aspects of our lives - and yet otherwise they have a totally hands-off attitude when it comes to things we desperately need (like taxes to pay for pesky little things such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, healthcare and a whole host of other critical things that are part of a First World society).

Whales Unhappy and Distressed

Does it occur to anyone that whales are throwing themselves out of the water for the same reasons that people throw themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flacking? They spelled that wrong.

Flacking for Big Pharma

Drugmakers don’t just compromise doctors; they also undermine top medical journals and skew medical research.

This from me:
It’s true. They’ll give you something that works but it will be more expensive (by at least 300%--judging by what they charge in Canada) and there’s very likely to be something that already works quite efficiently out there for you.
Do some research, people. Go buy a few medical journals and take a look at the advertising. Get someone to translate the medicalese for you.
Or just look at the regular magazines you buy, especially the ones for new mothers or for the elderly. And then ask some questions.
Clinical trials for new drugs are necessary but often they are only done to replicate some drug that’s gone generic and isn’t making enough money for them to send to the offshore financial institution.
You can check it out yourself. It just takes a little time.
Yours in poverty,


Topic: Philosophy
Blue-Collar Philosophy
We working-class stiffs don't hate intellectuals. We know someday we may need intelligent people around, so we like to reward and encourage that sort of behavior -- just so they don't get the idea that they're BETTER than the rest of us
by Richard in Japan
Monday, May 30, 2011

This is from me, TacomaGal:

Everyone who asks 'why?' or says 'tell me more about that.' is a philosopher.
I become overwrought when I hear someone going off about philosophers or elites or intellectuals. Most people want to know things so that they can understand and not be idiots.
True there are other people who want to just scare the pants off of you and take your money, but if you do a little research before you hand your money over you will be a philosopher, elite, intellectual as well--not so bad.

Richard from Japan whose headline I stole ends with this, for which I applaud him:

'In conclusion, we great unwashed have nothing against philosophers, or philosophy. We reject the false dichotomy of intellectuals vs. anti-intellectuals since ultimately each of us appreciates true wisdom when we hear it, and deep down each of us aspires to be the one who utters it. One can laugh at Descartes for oversleeping, but once he managed to pull himself out of bed, he contributed greatly to both mathematics and the science of rational thought. Thales, when he wasn’t falling into wells, made significant contributions to Western thought also, but falling into a well? That’s funny.'
R from J's weblink:

And…(this is from me and GBS)

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. ~GBS

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Thought He Was Dead

I don't mean to be crude or unfeeling but I was surprised each time one of the Arness brothers died--It had been such a long time since I'd heard anything about them.
It brings to my mind a poem by Mr. John Updike.

Were I to die, no one would say,

“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full

Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes

Will greet my overdue demise;

The wide response will be, I know,

“I thought he died a while ago.”

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,

And death is real, and dark, and huge.

The shock of it will register

Nowhere but where it will occur.


It's going to be that way for most of us. But that doesn't make our lives smaller or of less import.
As you lift yourself through life make sure to lift the people around you too. With kind, instructive words and sincere smiles and pats on their shoulders.
And there's your immortality.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recluse? Maybe.

I may call myself a recluse but I'm not really, I have too many friends and neighbors to actually qualify.
I do however like a lot of time to myself and it seems to run in my family. After a day or so of too much input we have to run home and draw the blinds and pull the covers over our heads. We seem to gather together our scattered energies that way.
I've been this way since I was a really little kid and my mom pulled me out from under the blankets and dropped me at the bus stop.

What could she do? There were laws to be observed...

And then of course adolescence came along and I discovered men which kept me out and about, and then college and work and marriage and kids of my own--you know the drill.

And now there's retirement. Hallelujah! I'm reading all the books I missed out on and never listen to radio or TV or even go out much except for long walks, blessedly alone. I also go to the symphony, the park, the botanical garden...

There are recluses who, Kazinsky-like, just hate people and are just too busy writing manifestos to bother with socializing.
And agoraphobics who really are afraid to go out.
And older folks who subsist on so little money that they can't afford to ask anyone in for coffee. Too many of those...
And quite a few of us, as the years go by, have lost our friends and close relatives to death and as nice as young people are and neighbors newly met (say at the senior center). They are strangers to us when we long for people to 'remember' with. We're just adjusting.

I can't speak for anyone else but I've always valued my time, I'm even jealous of it and won't hand it over to just anybody except my really good friends. I have four of them and they're scattered around the USA so when I want to see them I have to take my shoes off, get scanned and get on a plane. Next spring I'm going to Europe for a month where I'm going to see all the big cities and sit in art galleries and in front of the duomo in Florence and Milano and go into a trance of appreciation and gratitude. None of my friends are trance-prone like I am and they want to be a certain place at a certain time and I don't have to deal with that so much anymore more. I can say, "Go there and I'll meet you at the Pantheon, Wednesday, 2pm--we'll have lunch."

I do miss a man's company more than I care to admit. But I can't eat my cake and have it too ( or whatever ) so aside from the occasional 'how do' I live without.

I am fortunate in my reclusiveness. I enjoy it and appreciate it and I've been longing for it since I sprang from my mother's womb.
For me it's a wonderful choice and a tremendous relief.


I'm thinking out loud here and probably being tremendously simplistic. You'll let me know, won't you?

As far as legal marriages and partnerships--does it make that much difference who marries who? Why so many rules?

When people respect/love each other enough to want to spend their lives together perhaps the only rules should be that:
First: they are over eighteen years of age and
Second: That making the promise and signing the papers in front of God or the J.P. or whoever means that everything is halfsie until that time when the marriage ends.

Man/woman, SSM, Siblings, Cousins, Capulets/ doesn't matter. Not anymore. The way we're playing with genomes pretty soon we'll be speculating on inter-species marriage. I'm not being facetious.

If any two (or three--more than that as mentioned somewhere on this site--leads to choosing sides and wearing armbands) entities promise to take care of each other and provide for each other's needs, they should be able to engage in a full-bodied, no holds barred marriage.

Real committed love and respect for another human is a gift (and a miracle) where ever you find it. Honor it. They'll pay taxes and conspicuously consume and mow the lawn like the rest of us and if they start having whacked-out sex on the freshly mowed lawn they'll get arrested like the rest of us.

Life is hard. It would be a little easier if humans stopped being outraged at every label they didn't like. Look beyond the label.

ALL committed love and respect needs to be celebrated whether it lasts a lifetime or not.

Get To Work

I can't imagine having a full time occupation that didn't spill over into my life. You'd have to be a real expert at compartmentalization. Or conversely to perform an occupation and not have your life affect it.
There may be some jobs or careers that you could separate out but would you want to?
I've always thought of work as being art anyway. You put your mark on any kind of work you do, you bring yourself to it whether you're a nurse or a teacher or a spot welder on the GM line. You make the work and the work makes you.
Is this what you mean?
Not letting one portion overwhelm the other is tricky. Engineers shouldn't make their kids inventory their toys every night and it's a bad idea to treat your co-workers like your children (or your spouse).

As for living like an artist, the art of living is work. I don't like the way that sounds but I can't think of another way to put it. It's all one thing and achieving a happy relation between the two aspects is the real art and I imagine there's a continuum for that; sometimes work and life come together in detente and sometimes not so much.

The Scary Hate Question. How do Short, Brown Americans Deal with It?

I tried to reply yesterday but the subject is too big and too sad and I couldn't put fingers to keys.
When I consider how people are manipulated and tortured and terrified the world over I'm ashamed to be human. This has been the way of power since the first animal was hatched. Humans have refined it to a horrifying level.
Ignorance and helplessness lead to hate, a powerful emotion that can and is used to further agendas of governments, businesses, tribes, families...individuals...

More of us need to discuss this, I am completely confounded in the face of FOX News.

The best we can do, I think, is to refuse to hate and refuse to be afraid and to be glad there is a Daily Show to call the manipulators out and point to the lies.

Don't let them get to you. Refuse to hate and refuse to be afraid and keep on stepping.

Hermana honey, jump in here.


Thirteen years of hard-core Catholic School right here. Catholic born and bred.
Atheist now and it wasn't a big change--I look back on all that crazy stuff and I pick out what really fascinated me. It's a really witchy and superstitious religion. Blessed mothers and saints and torture and dying for your faith--horribly--and this when you're 7 years old. What nuttiness.
My husband grew up the same way but his school years were with the priests and brothers; he did not like them at all and he was atheist before he even got out of school. No god would invent the kind of stuff Catholics do.

Anyway, I have integrated some of it into my life. May Day--hail to thee, oh beautiful mother, just lovely. Easter--eggs and new growth and all that. Christmas and the days begin to get longer, Candlemas and the light returns...
So, I guess it made a pagan out of me.
I don't have any particular resentment against them any more. I do think that religions in general are a painful scam to control people and take everything they've got--even their peace of mind--is that resentment?

Happy Summer Solstice!


What do we do to make our livings? What are our motivations for doing it? Do we enjoy what we do or are we laboring away at something we can't stand?
Whatever it is and however we do it, joyfully, half-heartedly or resentfully, I submit that for most of us living in the States (or anywhere else) it is the individual doing the task who gives respectability and standing to the work.
My Dad was a plumber and my sister and I are nurses--up to our elbows everyday in--you know--whatever...But he was the best damn plumber and we are the best damn nurses we are capable of being. We go to our jobs prepared, we dig in and do it wholeheartedly and with dignity. We maintain the standards of the professions and we maintain the standards we hold for ourselves as human beings living in a flawed race of individuals.
No manner of employment or profession is inherently bad or good--it is the individual that makes it so.
Priests and clergymen: awe inspiring we used to think, but now, not so much.
Bankers and financiers: likewise.
Experts, in any area: are expert in getting their own paychecks first, so buyer beware.
If you don't like what you do, advance honorably, don't leave a pile of crap in the chair when you go.
Life itself is the hardest thing any of us will ever do--do it with care.

Girls may not be funny. MY ASS!

I never thought about this before--male vs female humor-- this this is my first musing on the subject.
I married my husband for a lot of reasons, one of them was because he was funny. You just can't live with someone you can't have a laugh with.
I'm funny too--funnier now that I'm old and my responsibilities are lighter. It's a great way of lightening a situation up--of taking the edge off.
Maybe female humor is more calculated to deflect pain or more aware of pain--no, I don't think so.
'Pain plus time produces comedy' That's a universal truth.

Well, I just don't know, but I'll keeping thinking about it.

Re: Thinqon, look it up. ON LINE PERSONAS

Online persona:

I'm old and I've come to the conclusion that caution is over-rated. Of course I don't want to be so loose that I paint a target on myself for any old serial killer so I'm going with judiciously carefree.

I found this site a couple of days ago and I'm overjoyed to make statements and ask questions and not have family and friends taking wide detours around me or just giving me blank stares--I'm the crazy old aunt/grandmother who probably has a gun in her purse ( I don't though, just an umbrella and a fork--in case I find something to eat. )

In youth we have to be cautious to a degree--we have things to protect; things we could lose. But as time passes and you find that you really can't protect anyone or anything and that loss is a direct result of living, well then you'd probably better open up to life a bit more so that it doesn't become a closed, airless room.

I'll probably think of more on this topic but for now my opinion is that you have to become less cautious as you proceed through life; 'entropy is all' --I can't remember where I read that-- but I want to steer clear of it until increasing decrement takes the choice away from me.

Writer's Block

I read somewhere that if a bricklayer came home and told his wife he'd have to go to bed for six months because he had 'bricklayer's block' said wife would hit him with a brick and then throw him out. I believe it was James N Frey.

If we have writer's block we're writing about the wrong thing--or we need to paint (or some such) for a while.

If you CAN'T do something you probably need to do something else for a while.

There's a story in that.