Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A bit of a hiatus coming up.

I’ve tried – sometimes without a lot of success – to post here on a fairly regular basis, but things do sometimes get in the way. Starting in a few days, there will be what could be an extended gap … perhaps ten days or more.

About a month ago, my doctor gave me the cheery news that I have prostate cancer and, early next week, the damn thing is coming out. (The sooner the better, if you ask me!) A number of tests followed the nasty biopsy and the good news is that it appears to be confined to the prostate. That simplifies things a lot and made the choice of surgery easy for us.

But here’s the interesting part: The surgery will be done by a robot … operated by a doctor, of course. The Queens Medical Center in Honolulu has one of these machines and it’s really a marvel. For one thing, it allows the doctor to get a close-up view of your innards that’s enlarged several times, meaning he can do very precise work.

Another plus is that it’s much less invasive. Without the robot, surgeons make what appears to be an eight- or nine-inch incision in the abdomen. With the robot, the procedure is done through five small holes … so small that no stitches are necessary once the procedure is over. The recovery time is a lot less, too.

In a detached way, I find it interesting that I’m finding this whole experience, well, interesting. Not scary … in fact, not even worrisome. (Gee … maybe that’s something to worry about.) Well, there is one thing: I came across a photo of the doctor who’s going to be manning the joy stick. He looks like he’s 12 years old.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

46 Years ... And Still Counting

Today is the 46th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the intervening years, there have been other tragic events that have affected me: 9/11 and the death of my parents among them. But, all these many years later, November 22, 1963, remains the worst day of my life.

Jack Kennedy was a whole new kind of politician. Smart. Young. Inspirational. With new ideas and new approaches to old problems. And the ultra-right hated him.

Sound familiar?

Frightening, isn’t it.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

With Enemies Like That …

They say a person can be judged by the enemies he or she makes.

I submit that’s also true of an issue such as health care reform. Take a look at the people and organizations that are against it.

There are the elderly Tea Partiers, whose grasp of the issue was summed up perfectly by the guy at a town hall meeting who yelled at a beleaguered member of Congress: “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”

Then we have the Republicans in Congress demanding a bipartisan approach to health care reform while boasting that their goal is to prevent any bill from passing in order to damage President Obama politically.

Next there are the pharmaceutical companies who are raising their prices just in case a bill does pass.

And finally – although there are many other people and organizations on this shameful list – there is an organization called Americans for Quality and Affordable Healthcare.
This shadowy outfit is organizing opposition to health care reform in a number of states represented by influential members of the House and Senate.

So who is behind AQAH? No one knows. And, so far, no one has been able to find out.

Such are the opponents of health care reform: The ignorant, the partisan, the greedy, and the anonymous. Surely “enemies” like that tell us much about the merits of what they oppose.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obviously a Chip-esse off the Old Block

Appearing on Fox News Sunday – Fox? Why are we not surprised? – Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President, touted Sarah Palin as a credible candidate on the Republican national ticket in 2012. She then suggested that a Dick Cheney-Sarah Palin combo would make a first-rate GOP tandem.

Not satisfied with that, she went on to say that, if elected, they would have their hands full undoing “… a lot of the damage that this president has done to our national security, to our economy, to our health care system, to our standing around the world …”

To our standing in the world??

Right! Water Boarding's biggest fan is just the right guy to improve the way the world thinks of us.

You really have to marvel at the way these people can say such things with a straight face.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wrong Again, and Again, and Again, and …

The Republicans have blathered for months about wanting a bipartisan bill for health care reform. By now, however, it’s quite clear they have only one goal: killing any bill in order to weaken the Obama presidency. Or, failing that, they will try to delay any vote (with help from the miserable little weasel, Joe Lieberman) until next year when, they hope, they will gain enough seats in the 2010 elections to defeat any bill that may come to a vote.

How irresponsible. How cynical. How partisan. And how typical for the Party of No.

The Republicans, after all, have a long tradition of opposing reforms and progress. Here are four examples (there are many more):

* The Republicans opposed the creation of Medicare.

* They opposed the creation of Social Security.

* Before World War 2, they opposed Lend Lease, which provided obsolete ships to help a desperate Great Britain defend itself against the Nazis.

* And – here’s a nice little bookend for you – after World War 2, they opposed the Marshall Plan which is credited with keeping millions of Europeans from starving and their countries from falling under Russian domination.

Let us hope that they will not be able to add health care reform to that shameful list.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Progress Toward Health Care Reform … Sorta.

Well, OK … so the House passed their version of health car reform. Barely. Now we have to see what, if anything, the Senate will do.

Clearly, the Republican strategy is to stall and delay, trying to push it all off until next year when, they hope, they will pick up some additional seats in the off-year elections. And all of this could be made possible by the contemptible little weasel, Joe Lieberman, who has said he will side with the Republicans to prevent the forcing of a vote on the issue this year.

I did note that AARP has endorsed the House version of the bill. That’s nice. But what AARP really needs to do is confront every member of the House and Senate with a simple ultimatum: if they vote against health care reform, AARP will actively campaign for their opponent in their next election. That is the only way to get their attention.

Incidentally, have you noticed that so many of the protesters ranting about socialism in these Tea Party rallies against health care reform are obviously senior citizens, most of whom are on Medicare or get their health care through the Veterans Administration? Wouldn’t you love to take them aside and ask how they rationalize that?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Headline for the Day from The Onion:

Obama's Declaration Of Swine Flu Emergency Prompts Pro-Swine-Flu Republican Response

Pathetic ... but that pretty much nails it, doesn't it!