Tuesday, September 30, 2008

USS Kearsarge In Haiti

080926-N-4515N-047 GONAIVES, Haiti (Sept. 26, 2008) Haitian civilians unload relief supplies from a landing craft utility assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2 embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge completed her humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission in Haiti Sept. 26, delivering more than 3.3 million pounds of food, water and other supplies. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Adam Nuzzo (Released)

The Ogre Called

Haven't heard from that crazy bastid in a while and I was thinking of him because of Galrahn's post on the LPD-17.

I called and left voice mail. "I am thinking of you because of Galrahn's post on Information Dissemination, which by the way you should be reading. He has a pic of your LPD transitting the Suez. It's impressive. You, by the way, are not."

He called about twenty minutes later. He's been out on ships. He's been all tied up. When am I coming back down? He's sorry. Did I have fun in Vegas? Too much fun?

I laughed as he launched into his opinion on a few subjects.....the man has no filter.

I have to get back down there!

Give me liberty and give me death

Give me liberty and give me death
As one's mortality swings into view, be thankful for life -- and whiskey.
By P.J. O'Rourke September 28, 2008

I looked death in the face. All right, I didn't. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I've been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I'm told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it -- as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound -- my chance of survival has been improved by cancer.

I still cursed God, as we all do when we get bad news and pain. Not even the most faith-impaired among us shouts: "Damn quantum mechanics!" "Damn organic chemistry!" "Damn chaos and coincidence!"

I believe in God. God created the world. Obviously pain had to be included in God's plan. Otherwise we'd never learn that our actions have consequences. Our cave-person ancestors, finding fire warm, would conclude that curling up to sleep in the middle of the flames would be even warmer. Cave bears would dine on roast ancestor, and we'd never get any bad news and pain because we wouldn't be here.

But God, Sir, in Your manner of teaching us about life's consequential nature, isn't death a bit ... um ... extreme, pedagogically speaking? I know the lesson that we're studying is difficult. But dying is more homework than I was counting on. Also, it kind of messes up my vacation planning. Can we talk after class? Maybe if I did something for extra credit?

Why can't death -- if we must have it -- be always glorious, as in "The Iliad"? Of course death continues to be so, sometimes, with heroes in Fallouja and Kandahar. But nowadays, death more often comes drooling on the toilet seat in the nursing home, or bleeding under the crushed roof of a teen-driven SUV, or breathless in a deluxe hotel suite filled with empty drug bottles and a minor public figure whose celebrity expiration date has passed.

I have, of all the inglorious things, a malignant hemorrhoid. What color bracelet does one wear for that? And where does one wear it? And what slogan is apropos? Perhaps that slogan can be sewn in needlepoint around the ruffle on a cover for my embarrassing little doughnut buttocks pillow.

Furthermore, I am a logical, sensible, pragmatic Republican, and my diagnosis came just weeks after Teddy Kennedy's. That he should have cancer of the brain, and I should have cancer of the ass ... well, I'll say a rosary for him and hope he has a laugh at me. After all, what would I do, ask God for a more dignified cancer? Pancreatic? Liver? Lung?

Which brings me to the nature of my prayers. They are, like most prayers from most people, abject self-pleadings. However, I can't be the only person who feels like a jerk saying, "Please cure me, God. I'm underinsured. I have three little children. And I have three dogs, two of which will miss me. And my wife will cry and mourn and be inconsolable and have to get a job. P.S. Our mortgage is subprime."

God knows this stuff. He's God. He's all-knowing. What am I telling him, really? "Gosh, you sure are a good God. Good -- you own it. Plus you're infinitely wise, infinitely merciful, but ... look, everybody makes mistakes. A little cancer of the behind, it's not a big mistake. Not something that's going on your personal record. There's no reason it can't be, well ... reversed, is there?"

No doubt death is one of those mysterious ways in which God famously works. Except, on consideration, death isn't mysterious. Do we really want everyone to be around forever? I'm thinking about my own family, specifically a certain stepfather I had as a kid. Sayonara, you s.o.b.

Napoleon was doubtless a great man in his time -- at least the French think so. But do we want even Napoleon extant in perpetuity? Do we want him always escaping from island exiles, raising fanatically loyal troops of soldiers, invading Russia and burning Moscow?

Well, at the moment, considering Putin et al, maybe we do want that. But, century after century, it would get old. And what with Genghis Khan coming from the other direction all the time and Alexander the Great clashing with a Persia that is developing nuclear weapons and Roman legions destabilizing already precarious Israeli-Palestinian relations -- things would be a mess.

Then there's the matter of our debt to death for life as we know it. I believe in God. I also believe in evolution. If death weren't around to "finalize" the Darwinian process, we'd all still be amoebas. We'd eat by surrounding pizzas with our belly flab and have sex by lying on railroad tracks waiting for a train to split us into significant others.

I consider evolution to be more than a scientific theory. I think it's a call to God. God created a free universe. He could have created any kind of universe he wanted. But a universe without freedom would have been static and meaningless -- the taxpayer-funded-art-in-public-places universe.

Rather, God created a universe full of cosmic whatchmajiggers and subatomic whosits free to interact. And interact they did, becoming matter and organic matter and organic matter that replicated itself and life. And that life was completely free, as amoral as my cancer cells.

Life forms could exercise freedom to an idiotic extent, growing uncontrolled, thoughtless and greedy to the point that they killed the source of their own fool existence. But, with the help of death, matter began to learn right from wrong -- how to save itself and its ilk, how to nurture, how to love (or, anyway, how to build a Facebook page) and how to know God and his rules.

Death is so important that God visited death upon his own son, thereby helping us learn right from wrong well enough that we may escape death forever and live eternally in God's grace. (Although this option is not usually open to reporters.)

I'm not promising that the pope will back me up about all of the above. But it's the best I can do by my poor lights about the subject of mortality and free will.

Thus, the next time I glimpse death ... well, I'm not going over and introducing myself. I'm not giving the grim reaper fist daps. But I'll remind myself to try, at least, to thank God for death. And then I'll thank God, with all my heart, for whiskey.

P.J. O'Rourke is a correspondent for the Weekly Standard and the Atlantic. A longer version of this article will appear in Search magazine. searchmagazine.org.
h/t to Attila of Argghhh!!!


The Revlimid is here!The first thing I did was call my Dad and tell him I had it and I would start taking them tomorrow. 47, and I still get spooled up at the thought of being in trouble with my Dad.

Then I called Jen, I am currently winning the "most costly medication" contest. Twenty-one days of Revlimid is $6,769.29...........I beat her M.S. meds by $2G per month.

I ran out to CVS to drop off the accompanying script for dexamethasone (an oral steroid) & the 81 mg aspirin. I also wanted to grab a little more cold medicine, this thing won't let go.

So I give the guy the script, I have the cold medicine and aspirin in my hands when the hysteria hit. I'm picking up stuff for my cancer. My cancer. MY CANCER!

I walk over to the cards and I pick out two Halloween cards for Keira & Kevin, my ex-husband's children.

Then I turn around and I see some Burt's Bees lip balm and I pick it up. Then some candle like thing...it's rose scented.

That's when Grace called. She was just home from her hematologist and they had had a discussion of about my MM. I was still walking around the store picking up a different color lipstick.....a body scrub in coconut....and something else.....I said to Grace "I'm glad you called. I was getting hysterical in here. You know what I am doing, don't you? I am buying health and beauty products that I don't need. I just picked up lip balm and body scrub. I'll need chocolate, they have a whole aisle of that." Grace laughed and I heard the CVS employee standing behind me laugh before she walked away. Grace noted that I needed some aromatherapy. I told her about the rose scented stuff. She said I needed lavender, it was calming. Yeah, you need to be calm about cancer. Suddenly there was the CVS employee, she had gone to get me a basket (I had stuff piled up in my arms). I laughed and thanked her. I told Grace, now I had room for chocolate. She said "Only one thing!" So I bought M&Ms for me. And a Toblerone for Jen.
I told Grace not to worry about about the chocolate because I have to give it all up tomorrow. A low carb diet makes it easier to tolerate the medicine and reduces the possibility of side effects.

I found some lavender scented Tide and figured, two birds, one stone.
I'm back at work. I have to work a little longer tonight to make up for a) leaving work to run this errand and b) blowing money on body scrub and lipstick and lip balm and aromatherapy.

Not Sure How Long This Video Will Stay Up

This assigns a lot of blame to Clinton, Democrats, Carter, Obama. It's interesting and worth looking into. It's clearly a pro-McCain video. I don't think Obama backers will leave it up on YouTube for long.

More Fannie/Freddie Background

Not sure of the complete accuracy of this. It was emailed to me. Anyone care to comment? Refute any details? Otherwise, these people should be brought up on charges. There's no way crimes weren't committed here, that statutes weren't violated.

Here is a quick look into 3 former Fannie Mae executives who have brought down Wall Street.

Franklin Raines was a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Fannie Mae. Raines was forced to retire from his position with Fannie Mae when auditing discovered severe irregularities in Fannie Mae's accounting activities. At the time of his departure The Wall Street Journal noted, " Raines, who long defended the company's accounting despite mounting evidence that it wasn't proper, issued a statement late Tuesday conceding that "mistakes were made" and saying he would assume responsibility as he had earlier promised. News reports indicate the company was under growing pressure from regulators to shake up its management in the wake of findings that the company's books ran afoul of generally accepted accounting principles for four years." Fannie Mae had to reduce its surplus by $9 billion.

Raines left with a "golden parachute valued at $240 Million in benefits. The Government filed suit against Raines when the depth of the accounting scandal became clear.
http://housingdoom.com/2006/12/18/fannie-charges/ . The Government noted, "The 101 charges reveal how the individuals improperly manipulated earnings to maximize their bonuses, while knowingly neglecting accounting systems and internal controls, misapplying over twenty accounting principles and misleading the regulator and the public. The Notice explains how they submitted six years of misleading and inaccurate accounting statements and inaccurate capital reports that enabled them to grow Fannie Mae in an unsafe and unsound manner." These charges were made in 2006. The Court ordered Raines to return $50 Million Dollars he received in bonuses based on the miss-stated Fannie Mae profits.

Tim Howard - Was the Chief Financial Officer of Fannie Mae. Howard "was a strong internal proponent of using accounting strategies that would ensure a "stable pattern of earnings" at Fannie. In everyday English - he was cooking the books. The Government Investigation determined that, "Chief Financial Officer, Tim Howard, failed to provide adequate oversight to key control and reporting functions within Fannie Mae,"

On June 16, 2006, Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., asked the Justice Department to investigate his allegations that two former Fannie Mae executives lied to Congress in October 2004 when they denied manipulating the mortgage-finance giant's income statement to achieve management pay bonuses. Investigations by federal regulators and the company's board of directors since concluded that management did manipulate 1998 earnings to trigger bonuses. Raines and Howard resigned under pressure in late 2004.

Howard's Golden Parachute was estimated at $20 Million!

Jim Johnson - A former executive at Lehman Brothers and who was later forced from his position as Fannie Mae CEO. A look at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's May 2006 report on mismanagement and corruption inside Fannie Mae, and you'll see some interesting things about Johnson. Investigators found that Fannie Mae had hidden a substantial amount of Johnson's 1998 compensation from the public, reporting that it was between $6 million and $7 million when it fact it was $21 million." Johnson is currently under investigation for taking illegal loans from Countrywide while serving as CEO of Fannie Mae.

Johnson's Golden Parachute was estimated at $28 Million


FRANKLIN RAINES? Raines works for the Obama Campaign as Chief Economic Advisor

TIM HOWARD? Howard is also a Chief Economic Advisor to Obama

JIM JOHNSON? Johnson hired as a Senior Obama Finance Advisor and was selected to run Obama's Vice Presidential Search Committee

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Are we Having This Problem?

Why are we having a problem with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?

Oh, I don't know, let's ask HotBottom's boyfriend.

CuraScripts Called

It was like a comedy. One last phone call before they ship my meds. Just a few more questions.....just to re-enforce a few last points.

No toothpicks.

Buy a soft toothbrush.

Get rid of my razor and switch to an electric razor. (No effing way am I giving up shaving my legs unless someone is forking over the dough to get them waxed!)

Wash my hands more often. Use Purell or something similar more frequently.

A pregnancy test once a month.....if my cycle becomes irregular.....every two weeks.

It went on.......I stopped listening........yeah, I know that was bad. The girls in work have already yelled at me.

No toothpicks, for pity's sake.

Word Of The Day

I get some email word of the day and today's word is "indolent".

indolent \IN-duh-lehnt\ (adjective) - 1 : Disinclined to exert oneself; habitually lazy. Conducive to inactivity or laziness; lethargic. 2 : Causing little or no pain. Slow to heal, grow, or develop; inactive.
"For the indolent body there are soft lounges, soft stools; for indolent feet soft rugs; for indolent eyes faded, dingy, or flat colors..." -- Anton Chekov, 'The Wife'
Late Latin indolens, indolent-, painless : Latin in-, not + Latin dolens, present participle of dolere, to feel pain.

It struck me because, at one point, Dr. Schlossman at the Dana Farber used the word to describe my cancer. At the time he was speaking generally about my options. Remember, he wouldn't get specific because he didn't have the foolish bone marrow biopsy results? But he did discuss things in general terms. At one point he said I had the option of doing nothing until things got bad. I was surprised. Everyone else has talked as though it is best to get going. I questioned him about that and said the others have told me it's best to seek treatment while I am strong and symptom free. He shrugged and said yes that was a good point and after all my cancer was indolent but it could change without warning into an aggressive form.

Just another reason we didn't pick him. It was like he was rambling and correcting himself. I like decisive men, always have. From my father to John Wayne to the Rotation, I have never had patience for a man who says "Well, I don't know......what do you think?" Just another reason that Dr. Miller from Tufts/NEMC won. I understand Schlossman didn't have my actual results, but I am pretty well versed in my condition. I knew and relayed the highlights, the pertinent factors that make my case what it is. Dr. Miller had a recommendation. Dr. Hochstin had a recommendation. This guy just wavered and argued with himself.

LOL, can you tell the more I think about Dana Farber, the pissier I get? I am resentful everytime I have to tell the story and I get to the part about Schlossman, his zoo-ish waiting room, his not having my results and his attitude towards my Dad....and I have to tell the story a lot! Now this morning I open my email and there is that word "indolent" another reminder.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Was Almost In Trouble With My Dad

So, I've covered all the craziness with the Revlimid. I told them on August 29th that I would begin the Revlimid treatment. I was told it would be settled in a few days.

Oh, the doctor is on vacation, he will call it in on the 2nd of September.

Oh, then there was some paperwork, come in on the 8th.

Oh, then there was a pregnancy test on the 10th.

Oh, then there was another appointment on the 24th.

Oh, then there was an automated telephone survey on the 25th.

Oh, then there was another pregnancy test on the 26th.

29 days later......still no Revlimid.

You know from reading this blog how my father is. "When do you start?" "What will you do?" "What will this entail?"

I keep saying "In a few days."

Now it's been a month. I was in my parent's kitchen this morning after CCD to pick up a coffee cake I conned my mother into making for the Campos.....they live down the street and she is near the end - I brought pizza the other night and I got Jen to make cookies. I will drop off the cake tomorrow with the batch of chicken soup I made today.....but I digress.

So my Dad starts asking me again about the Revlimid. He is looking for the green pen. He uses only the green pen to write on the calendar and someone has moved it. I tell him that I took another pregnancy test Friday and I should have the pills in a few days.

He stops the green pen search. He looks at me and asks about the side effects of Revlimid. I am startled, we have discussed this extensively. I tell him it's unlikely that there will be significant side effects.

Grace and my mother leave the room and he comes to the table and sits near me. "If there is a problem with finances and this medication I want you to tell me. I don't want this delayed."

My eyes are big as I process this. He thinks I am stalling the Revlimid. He questioned me about side effects to see if I was stalling because I was afraid. Once he saw that it wasn't that he questioned finances.

I'm so tired of this. It's so hard to talk to him. No one else can bring me so close to tears.

The other night Frankie freaked out because I brought home a pizza for him and Bill. I got a mini lecture about money. I laughed. He sent me a text message later apologizing, but he is so worried about money and losing the house. LOL, me too, but I don't think that pizza is going to make or break me.

Plus I had a lecture from a certain person who is connected to the company that manufactures the Revlimid for not calling him about the delays.

So let me just say, I am not stalling. I am doing this as quickly as I know how. I have filled out every form, completed every survey and signed all consent forms. I have taken two pregnancy tests. If I had known on August 29th that there would be this many delays, I would have called and beefed.

It's not me.

Dinner At East Bay

Maybe I pay too much attention to Dick????

I know most of the bartenders, but Dick is my favorite. Tonight he wasn't there and we had Jeff. Jeff introduced himself. LOL I know who Jeff is! Maybe I have to spread some attention around.

Anyway, Amy, Jen and Chris joined my sisters and I at East Bay for dinner. I told Chris he was going to look like he had a harem walking in with five women. He agreed he was the man.

We haven't had the chance to hang with Amy since her wedding more than four years ago and it was great. We haven't seen much more of Chris.

It was fun and dinner was good and we have promised to do it more often.

I felt the teensiest bad for Amy and Chris. I was talking about the cancer and the Revlimid and they looked shocked. I apologized and told them I thought they knew. Chris said his parents hadn't really gone into it and Amy was just shocked even though both Jen's had told her.

I have to be more careful. Not everyone is ready for how casual and irreverent I am about it.

A Good Follow Up Point.....

....to the post below this one.

Sure it's all well and good for me to enjoy a good "gotcha" moment, but someone over at the Corner had a very good point.

More Important than a Bracelet [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:

While some are looking for confirmation whether Mrs. Jopek had asked Senator Obama to stop wearing (or using it) her son's wristband, what all are ignoring is Sergeant Jopek supported the mission in Iraq and died supporting a cause he believed in. That is Obama's greatest shame, that he has always failed to say that SGT Jopek gave all in a cause he believed in.

Yet that is just like what the liberal media failed to say when they propped up Cindy Sheehan. Not once to date in over 150 entries has the NY Times mentioned that Casey Sheehan 1) reenlisted knowing he would be deployed to Iraq, 2) volunteered for the rescue mission he died during, and 3) when told he did not have to volunteer, replied, "Where my Chief goes, I go." ('Chief' is the formal title for the head of a maintenance section in the U.S. Army. Casey Sheehan was a mechanic).

Now This Is Funny

If you are mean like me, reading about Obama getting caught with his pants down is funny. It's not funny for the Jopeks and I am sorry for their pain.

When Obama pulled this stunt in the debate, I cringed. I thought just the way he came off talking about the bracelet was bad. "I've got a bracelet too" Childish and not sincere. But this! Holy cow, an NPR interview. Isn't NPR the Holy Grail of the Left?

Family Told Obama NOT To Wear Soldier Son's Bracelet... Where is Media?
By Warner Todd Huston (Bio Archive)September 28, 2008 - 03:53 ET

Barack Obama played the "me too" game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.

Read the rest here.

Hat tip The Corner

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No Corned Beef Except On Thursdays????

So we drive to Wistah and grab up Gen for lunch and a movie. She wanted Irish food. We go to O'Connor's Restaurant & Bar. The place *looks* great! There were shamrocks and Irish flags and claddaghs and pictures of Ireland and pubs and even pics from "The Quiet Man".
But you can only get a boiled dinner on Thursday. Come again? We killed ourselves laughing. Gen ended up with some chicken dish with an Italian name.
My review is mixed at best. To get to the ladies room you had to walk from a carpeted surface to wet, slippery tile to another carpet. Then downstairs. And it smelled like urine.
Next, our waitress. Initially hostile, then she warmed up. We were at a long narrow table and we passed everything we wanted her to take to the end and stacked it. Even so, she tried to take my apps plate from in front of me with food still on it. Hello? Clear signals. Jen says I am tough on wait staff. She says one would think I was a fabulous waitress. I was not. I was terrible. Couldn't handle heavy traffic. But people liked me and I got good tips. I never touched a plate with food on it until I asked.
Food. As I said, I'll never get over not being able to get a boiled dinner in a place that purports to be Irish. However, Gen liked her chicken. Deb liked her fish and chips. I loved the appetizer, "Miriam Lucey's Corned Beef Shillelagh Sticks - Six savory corned beef hash wrapped in flaky pastry. Baked and served with our heather-honey and Colman's mustard dip."
Drinks. Jen got Sam Adams OctoberFest so she was happy and had I been drinking they had Boru vodka.
Dessert. “Our soon to be Famous….” Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding Perfect for the fall, Sticky Toffee Pudding is a wickedly delicious warm dessert, moist cake flavored with apples and dates, topped with a decadent sticky toffee caramel sauce. Served with vanilla ice cream. - Fabulous!!
Gen picked the movie "Ghost Town", I was not enthusiastic.....but it was good. Laugh out loud funny in parts. Especially the parts where the lead character was mean. You know how that sort of thing resonates with me.
Jen was on a minor crime spree. When the check came, she filled out the tip and signed Grace's name. Grace protested that it wasn't legal. Then when we got to the cinema it was raining. I dropped everyone at the door, gave Jen my credit card for the tickets and went off to find a parking spot. Forgery.....is that a gateway crime?
We dropped Gen back at the dorm and Grace gave her all the things on her mini wish list.
A good day. I will never again pass up the chance to be with my sisters and nieces. I was always pretty good about it, but now...........well......you know.

Gone For The Day

The McInnis girls are off to Wistah! (Worcester). That is of course as far as we can go because Mama Kelley always said "There is nothing west of Worcester." So we know that it's true.

But we are going to "Family Weekend" at Clark to see Gen. She wants off campus. She has requested Irish food and a movie. We will oblige.

This means I probably won't answer the cell phone, should you be important enough to have the number.

I won't be releasing comments on the blog because I will be no where near a computer.

Obama Explains To McCain How To Talk To Iran

I've highlighted my favorite part of this exchange in red.

OBAMA: Look, I mean, Senator McCain keeps on using this example that suddenly the president would just meet with somebody without doing any preparation, without having low-level talks. Nobody's been talking about that, and Senator McCain knows it. This is a mischaracterization of my position.
When we talk about preconditions -- and Henry Kissinger did say we should have contacts without preconditions -- the idea is that we do not expect to solve every problem before we initiate talks.
And, you know, the Bush administration has come to recognize that it hasn't worked, this notion that we are simply silent when it comes to our enemies. And the notion that we would sit with Ahmadinejad and not say anything while he's spewing his nonsense and his vile comments is ridiculous. Nobody is even talking about that.
MCCAIN: So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, "We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth," and we say, "No, you're not"? Oh, please.
OBAMA: No, let me tell...
MCCAIN: By the way, my friend, Dr. Kissinger, who's been my friend for 35 years, would be interested to hear this conversation and Senator Obama's depiction of his -- of his positions on the issue. I've known him for 35 years.
OBAMA: We will take a look.
MCCAIN: And I guarantee you he would not -- he would not say that presidential top level.
OBAMA: Nobody's talking about that.
MCCAIN: Of course he encourages and other people encourage contacts, and negotiations, and all other things. We do that all the time.
LEHRER: We're going to go to a new...
MCCAIN: And Senator Obama is parsing words when he says precondition means preparation.
OBAMA: I am not parsing words.
MCCAIN: He's parsing words, my friends.
OBAMA: I'm using the same words that your advisers use.
Please, go ahead.

Dr. Kissinger weighs in by way of The Weekly Standard's Blog

TWS Exclusive: Kissinger Unhappy About Obama
Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: "Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."
Posted by Stephen F. Hayes on September 26, 2008 10:55 PM

I've Got A Bracelet Too

Obama - "Jim, let me just make a point. I've got a bracelet, too, from Sergeant - from the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopeck, sure another mother is not going through what I'm going through."

What the eff?????

Mary Katherine directs us to Michelle for video.

I don't know that Obama actually looks at the bracelet for the name, but it definitely looks bad for him to stumble calling to mind Sgt. Jopeck's name. If the guy's name is on your wrist 24/7, how do you hesitate that way?

Anyway, it's just after this McCain comes back and zings Obama over the lack of committee hearings on Afghanistan. Took a while........

MCCAIN: You might think that with that kind of concern that Senator Obama would have gone to Afghanistan, particularly given his responsibilities as a subcommittee chairman. By the way, when I'm subcommittee chairman, we take up the issues under my subcommittee. But the important thing is -- the important thing is I visited Afghanistan and I traveled to Waziristan and I traveled to these places and I know what our security requirements are. I know what our needs are. So the point is that we will prevail in Afghanistan, but we need the new strategy and we need it to succeed.

Debate Rebroadcast

I am listening again as I surf and blog. Frankie is behind me. We are discussing it.

Obama says "Well, this is an area where Senator McCain and I have a fundamental difference because I think the first question is whether we should have gone into the war in the first place.
Now six years ago, I stood up and opposed this war at a time when it was politically risky to do so because I said that not only did we not know how much it was going to cost, what our exit strategy might be, how it would affect our relationships around the world, and whether our intelligence was sound, but also because we hadn't finished the job in Afghanistan

Frankie dryly observes..........."Well, we're in it........."

I tell him "Yes, perfect, you get it!"

Ah.......my son, my son.

Hey! Where is my other son? Why hasn't he called yet?

Jen's Favorite Part

Was when Obama said

"Tom -- or John mentioned me being wildly liberal."

Of course I see people making a big deal about McCain stumbling on "Imma-dinner-jacket"s name......but we think it's funnier that Obama stumbled on McCain's name.

Graham Makes A Huge Point

This is one of my biggest beefs and Graham articulates it well.

Afghanistan Is War the EU Way [Michael Graham]
Sen. McCain should point out that we are fighting Afghanistan the way Sen. Obama believes we should fight all our wars: with the permission of the UN and relying on our European allies.

We are fighting the war in Iraq the American way. And that, Sen. Obama, is the war we're winning.

That is a huge point. We are winning Iraq because we are doing what we know is best. Now we are going to do the same in Afghanistan.

When Obama says "we took our eye off the ball" to go into Iraq that is simply not true. McCain needs to call him on it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Despair

Jen & I just watched the first debate. We were so upset by the crap McCain let Obama get away with. Jen goes crazy when Obama says 95% of Americans will get tax cuts. McCain needs to call him on it and explain it. I go crazy when he doesn't make more of a big deal on Obama spouting nonsense on Afghanistan.

Then we listened to some commentary afterwards and had to ask.....what was Michelle McPhee listening to? She said McCain wiped the floor with Obama. Come again?

Then Michael Graham said that McCain coming back again and again to "earmarks" was his way of keeping Obama off of some of McCain's economic weaknesses......I guess.

I wanted McCain to come out swinging, but it was a little more subtle. I guess there were some points scored, but they were few and far between.

McCain already has an ad out highlighting the fact that Obama agreed with him on several points. The pundits at Fox also pointed out the McCain was not so conciliatory, he said several times the "Senator Obama doesn't understand".

Maybe because I am so into this, but the "I wasn't voted Miss Congeniality" line needs to go. It's old.

Obama talked about his budget proposals and Lehrer asked what he'd change in light of the current economic crisis. Obama dodged and McCain let him. McCain proposed a spending freeze on all but the essential items. That was good, but he didn't hit hard enough with it.

During the discussion of healthcare and funding it, I wanted McCain to make more of not turning it over to the federal government. He said it, but it was more of a throw-away line.

Then we finally get to the foreign policy part of the debate and Lehrer comes up with a question that ties Vietnam to Iraq. I guess you can take a guy off of PBS, but.......well, you know.

Obama makes the "we took our eye off the ball" crack about Iraq and Afghanistan and McCain doesn't make him explain it. Obama talks about American troop levels in Iraq vs. Afghanistan and McCain doesn't point out the coalition troop levels.

Obama remarks that "Oh, there's no doubt. Look, over the last eight years, this administration, along with Senator McCain, have been solely focused on Iraq.".......McCain doesn't call him on it and say "Really? Eight years? We've only been in Iraq for five. Get your facts straight, boyo."

Or how about this one, McCain lands one with "Senator Obama is the chairperson of a committee that oversights NATO that's in Afghanistan. To this day, he has never had a hearing."

And Obama responds "Look, I'm very proud of my vice presidential selection, Joe Biden, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as he explains, and as John well knows, the issues of Afghanistan, the issues of Iraq, critical issues like that, don't go through my subcommittee because they're done as a committee as a whole."

Why didn't McCain come back and question that? If your subcommittee doesn't have any reason to hold hearings, why doesn't it exist? Was it just to give you something to pad your resume, Senator Obama? Why isn't someone mentioning Biden's harsh words for Obama's MIA status with this sub-committee?


The Beauty Of A Love Letter

I was reading an online discussion of love letters and letter writing in general. Someone wrote me a letter recently saying that emails and IMs were ok, but there was nothing like a letter received in the mail. Those two things got me to thinking of my favorite love letters....the letters between John and Abigail Adams. If you should have an Inclination to write to Cadiz, for any Thing by any Vessell going there, Mr. Robert Montgomery, who is settled there I fancy would chearfully send it you, and draw upon me in Paris for his Pay. If any Vessell should go to Corunna, Mr. Michael Lagoanere would do the same, but this is not a likely Way.

I shall write as often as possible: but Conveyances will be very rare, I fear.

I am as I ever was and ever shall be Yours, Yours, Yours.


Ok, HIPAA has had a big impact on my life from both sides. In my business we are careful to guard our patient's privacy and in my personal life I am somewhat sensitive with my own.

Because I am going on Revlimid and I am still physically able to bear children, there are some extra hoops to jump through. I have to promise that I will not get pregnant, share my meds, or nurse babies. I have to promise that on the occasions that I engage in sexual intercourse there will be so many barriers that there would need to be a star in the East for conception to occur. And finally, as if that weren't enough, I must also present myself at the blood drawing station for a pregnancy test.

So I pop over to the satellite location here in the industrial park. I have my health insurance info. I have some stuff to read (thanks Galrahn!) to pass the time. I am in a good mood.


The waiting room is small, 10x12 maybe. There is a window with a receptionist. The receptionist has a patient at the window, so I stand back a discreet distance. I am in no hurry. The receptionist looks past her patient and asks if I have a slip. I reply that I don't. She asks if my doctor has sent a fax. I reply that I have no idea. She states I need a slip or a fax. I know this is not true so I smile and say I am in the computer. I am getting irritated because, of course, everyone is watching us and listening. I am failing to understand why she does not just wait on the patient she has at the window and then ask me questions when it is my turn.

She continues to question me and asks what I am there for. I quietly reply "A pregnancy test." I am asked to repeat myself. I am getting angry. I raise my voice slightly "A pregnancy test." Her reply? "Oh. I'll be with you in a moment." I think to myself "No shit. Now that you have made me announce my business to the entire waiting room." Don't get me wrong, it would take a lot more than this to embarrass me. I am peeved on principle. The reason I am there is no one else's business.

When it is my turn at the window she tries to make pleasant conversation. I do not cooperate. Princess Crabby is not bound by conventions, if someone wants me to be nice.....I feel no compunction to oblige them.

After my blood is drawn I explain this situation to the girl who drew my blood. I tell her I know this is not her fault or responsibility, but I am not a nice enough person to speak to the receptionist in a civil manner.

If this turns out to be a monthly thing, that woman isn't going to like me much.
I just related the bulk of this to Jen and of course she had the best line. She told me that when asked why I was there I should have told the receptionist that I was there to discuss their HIPAA violations!!!!!
The girls in the office agree that would have been the best comeback.

An Update on Kendra Johnson

I know things are moving along with Kendra's recovery and I asked her Dad for an update.

If you haven't been following along you can go back here and catch up.

Here is her Dad's update.

Where to start....

Last month Kendra was on her way back. I was in the hospital with her during her physical therapy most of the time in August and all was going well. Her eye sight returned. She was able to wheel her self around in a wheel chair even though she is paralyzed on her right side. I saw her stand up for the first time on her own for two minutes. She is so strong with her will to live and recover. We had an inkling that she had some speech capability and on my last day in Norfolk they removed her tracheotomy and the first words out of her mouth were hi.

Oh my God! We just jumped. That was a small miracle.

Her brain is speaking to us but all that comes out is hi. Hard to explain but I am not a doctor. The left side of the brain controls the speech etc... and she will have to relearn speech if that is at all possible. Before she went back into surgery she knew at least 12 words, but she has yet to say the word; dad. For some reason that one word is hard for her to say. She has no idea how much I want to hear her say Hi dad! But you know what she can take her sweet time.

Well I returned to San Diego at the end of August and three days later tragedy struck again. Kendra became very ill with a high fever and they diagnosed her with a brain infection. She had another brain surgery in early September to remove the infected brain matter and fragments. So I flew back to Norfolk and spent several more days in Norfolk until she got out of ICU. More complications incurred since that time but the end result is that Kendra is now back in physical therapy. Infection is gone, blood clots are gone and we have been celebrating this new miracle ever since. Whew. What a woman.

The grand kids are doing fine and we are coping as best we can.

Thanks for the support!

Hey this is about the best I can report after a Newport drinkex. So edit accordingly. LOL


So there we are - there's progress, but there is still a long road ahead for Kendra and her family. You can still make donations to the Kendra Johnson Fund by clicking on the button on the top right of the blog.

BTW, her Dad is still a smartass. Zinging me about the Newport Drinkex!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Glimpse Into The Culture of The Navy

As I mentioned a day or two ago, I lucked into an interesting evening aboard Old Ironsides. Besides being a prestigious post for those assigned to her, it's also a coup to have your milestone recognized with a ceremony aboard. Old Ironsides has been the backdrop for many promotions, re-enlistments and retirements. This past Tuesday night was just such an event.

CDR O'Malley was arriving at the ship to prepare for his part in the Senior Chief's official party when I bumped into him. We boarded together and CDR O'Malley was greeted by the OOD. We stood off to the side and watched the preparations. Constitution is currently undergoing a massive two year renovation and space is limited. Chairs were set up on the main deck facing the podium where CDR O'Malley and the MC (master of ceremonies) would speak.

I wandered over to four young Sailors who were shooting the breeze as the sun came close to setting. The ceremony would begin after evening colors (complete with cannon), so there was some down time. The group was comprised of three young men and one young lady. None had been in the Navy more than two years and all were very excited about their posting (or billet). All agreed that they were in the "right place at the right time" in getting such a plum assignment. One young man who had signed on for five years with the Seabees took this on even though it added two years to his overall obligation. I asked if their families had been able to visit them in here in Boston and their huge smiles answered the question before their words could. They were from all over and very excited to be living in Boston and serving aboard Constitiution.

When they were called to perform some task I stepped back to where CDR O'Malley was standing. Then the man of the hour came aboard with another officer and introduced themselves. I thanked him for allowing me to "crash" his retirement. The Senior Chief was very gracious and told me he was glad to share this event. A few moments later he gave me one of the programs for the evening. The cover illustration fit perfectly, a painting of Constitution at just about this very time of day. The inside listed the Senior Chief's active and reserve commands. The list reflected twenty eight years of service to our country from Great Lakes to Spain to NOLA and back to New England. The page facing the Chief's list was a poem, "The Watch". The entire back cover was the very impressive bio of CDR O'Malley. I know enough about the Navy to have been "wowed". CDR O'Malley wasn't the Senior Chief's current commanding officer, but it was pretty clear why he was the most outstanding one.

I left the ship for evening colors with most of the retirement party. If you visit Boston, you should make the time to visit Old Ironsides during evening colors. The ceremony is just a few moments, but it's very moving. I've been near or aboard other ships during colors but it's best there in the Charlestown Navy Yard. (LOL! I wonder why I think that?)

We made our way back aboard and took our seats. I took the last seat but was moved to the front row by one of the others present. He told me a cute little joke about polar bears being cold and I laughed and asked if he thought of that joke because he was the only one present without a jacket. His laugh told me that I had caught his drift correctly.

Then the official party (CDR "O'Malley and the Senior Chief) "arrived" (they were on the gangplank). The sideboys were assembled and the BM2 piped them aboard. The Senior Chief went to stand with his wife and two young children; CDR O'Malley went up to a seat behind the podium. We all sat down. The MC welcomed us in his opening statement and explained the history and tradition of the sideboys, the piping aboard, etc. Very interesting to a Navy girl like me.

Next up was CDR O'Malley. His remarks highlighted the differences in the world from when the Senior Chief enlisted to now. The comparisons caused more than a few chuckles. Then he addressed the significance of the date. It turns out that the Senior Chief was honoring his late brother by holding the ceremony on what would have been his brother's 43rd birthday. CDR O'Malley noted the bittersweet aspect aspect of the timing, but his positive words made one feel good about it.

The MC announced that CDR O'Malley would now be presenting awards. I had peeked at these awards earlier during the prep and was surprised to see there were awards for the entire family. The Navy recognizes that a Sailor's service is only possible with the support of those who love that Sailor. The awards were presented and pics taken of the CDR and the Senior Chief, both of them and the Senior Chief's wife and then their children.

I'm sure for some retirement is a sad time, but not for the Senior Chief. In his remarks he talked about his struggle with the decision. He spoke of how he came to realize that it was time. Once that was settled he saw himself going on to be happy in his next endeavor. One could clearly see that with such an attitude and an obviously happy and supportive family he is going to be a success.

The MC announced that the Senior Chief would now request permission to go ashore for the last time.

He saluted CDR O'Malley smartly, "Sir, request permission to go ashore!"
CDR O'Malley returned the salute, "Permission granted! Bos'n, pipe Senior Chief ashore."
The Senior Chief moved to the head of the sideboys, two bells were rung and the MC announced "Senior Chief Petty Officer, United States Navy, Departing!"

The Bos'n's Mate started piping the side and the CDR and sideboys saluted as the Senior Chief moved through the ranks. On the last note they all dropped the salute in unison.

Once we were all ashore, there was a little dockside party complete with sandwiches, coffee and cake. The Senior Chief introduced everyone, even me. I am not a very successful party crasher, I never manage to stay in the background.

It was a great time and even though it made me late for dinner by over an hour........it was totally worth it.

Congratulations, Senior Chief! I wish you fair winds and a following sea!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How's This For A Compliment?

"First off, she's like oxygen, she appears to be everywhere at one time, and where there was fire, you'd find her."

And that's only part of what TSO wrote about me.

This is the whole thing -
"Let me tell you people, this woman is something else. First off, she's like oxygen, she appears to be everywhere at one time, and where there was fire, you'd find her. I think the only adjective that fits is "vivacious" and that is to downplay her presence. At one point she was giving out advice to the single women present, advice BTW that I will not share here, but which every male would have whole heartedly seconded VERY loudly. She's wonderful, and it was an absolute pleasure meeting her."

Baby, you were a lot of fun too. And when you find the woman of your dreams (I already know about some of his searches), if she needs a tutorial on that subject, I will be happy to help out. Every girl should know about this.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jeff Beatty For US Senate

H/T Hub Politics

Up To My Old Tricks

I wanted to look for a gift in the Constitution Museum store after visiting my parents this afternoon. I got distracted by the view of the sun setting behind the ship. As I was wandering over near there, I bumped into a guy I met at the Sunset Parade.

After exchanging pleasantries I asked what he was in the neighborhood for. Turns out he was there for a retirement being held on Old Ironsides.

You know me..............I wheedled my way aboard! He called CDR Bullard and left him voice mail that he had "Bumped into BostonMaggie...hanging around the shipyard again!" LOL That sounds nice, doesn't it?

Anyway, it's late and this head cold is kicking my ass, so I will have to post the details tomorrow. I just wanted to note I had a really great night and point out that some of the best stuff, just falls into your lap when you're not looking.

This Day In Navy History

Not feeling up to snuff, so I am just going to be lazy and send you into my archives.

September 23rd

UMass Chaplain's Understanding of Bipartisan

Political lesson for UMass chaplain
September 23, 2008

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst hardly has a reputation as a hotbed of political activism. But now a chaplain's electioneering has landed the flagship campus squarely on the partisan fault line.

News that a UMass chaplain had urged students to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama - and told them volunteering could earn them course credit - ricocheted through the political blogosphere yesterday, an immediate flashpoint for conservatives who rail against the school as a liberal bastion.

In an e-mail to students last week, chaplain Kent Higgins told students they could earn two independent study credits if they campaigned for Obama in New Hampshire, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

"If you're scared about the prospects for this election, you're not alone," Higgins wrote. "The most important way to make a difference in the outcome is to activate yourself. It would be just fine with [Republican candidate John] McCain if Obama supporters just think about helping, then sleep in and stay home between now and Election Day."

University officials said that there is no such independent study program and that Higgins was not authorized to promise students credit.

"There is no independent study for credit in the history department that involves partisan political work, and no such activity has ever been approved," said university spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

Higgins recently approached faculty members in the history department about a program involving political campaigning. They approved the proposal but then found out that Higgins initially only contacted Obama supporters, before contacting McCain supporters as well. The department then terminated the project.

Higgins, who could not be reached by the Globe for comment, told the Associated Press he never intended the program to be limited to Obama supporters. "We have to be bipartisan," he said.
Love the last line! "We have to be bipartisan"........LOL! Someone needs to endow UMass with a dictionary so this clown can look up the definition.


Plane landed at 2330.

Luggage was retrieved.

Car was retrieved.

Niquil was purchased and chugged.

Off to bed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

All That Damn Hugging and Kissing

I have a sore throat. I know it was hugging and kissing a hundred of my closest (and in some cases, newest) friends.

Yes I heard some people sniffling, sneezing and coughing.

Yes, I remember that MM makes me more susceptible to infection.

It's ok, it was worth it.

OK, it's off to the CVS, then back to the Excalibur spa for another day of relaxation and indulgence.

Then out for dinner with my cousin, Jessica and her husband Mark. They live here in Vegas.

So, if you are looking for me......poolside at Excalibur is a good starting point.

I'll justify it by saying that it's part of my medical treatment....bake the summer cold out of me.

2008 Milblog Conference

It's done.

It was great.

I was there.

You should have been.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

That ConcreteBob!!

Another Milblog trip......another instance where ConcreteBob torments me in my fashionable sandals.

Last year, after our tour of Congress, Bob took us out the wrong door and we had to walk a great distance. And I don't mean saunter, I mean march. Eventually I gave up, took off the shoes and walked barefoot.

Tonight I put on my new lovely sandals and take a cab down to his hotel. He is here for work and he and his cohort are in the bar. I join them.

Then it was time to meet the Master and Mistress of Argghhh!!! for dinner. They are staying at the Excalibur, which looks like a castle...very appropriate.

Bob. Made. Me. Walk.

I have a blister!!!! That never happens to me. We got past Bally and I had to take the shoes off and be barefoot for the rest of the evening. I have probably caught some horrid disease walking barefoot.

We had dinner at the Irish Pub in New York, New York. The food and the company were excellent. I didn't invade John's personal space and I got a present.

Great evening.

Another Great Packing Job!!

Not one toothpaste -two.
Not one kind of floss - two.
Not one jar of Carmex - two.
What's missing?
Yep, a toothbrush.

I'm Here

Something happens everytime I travel.....at least this one was minor.

I finished up at work around 0200 or so....went home to pack. Frankie wanted to talk. So packing was difficult. No sleep, ADD, and deep thoughts from Frankie.

I pulled it off, Frankie went to bed. I packed. I showered. I hit the road by 0400 as planned. I called the cab to meet me at Grace's house at 0500. I figured I could stow the car there and save some money.

Cab pulls up at 0501. Close enough. I am at Logan 20 minutes later. I print my boarding pass. I go to look at the cell phone to check the time - I don't wear a watch.

No cell phone.

My brain froze! Is there still such a thing as a payphone anymore? Do I have quarters?

I call Grace, which is great - she wanted to drive me to the airport and I said no, getting up at 0500 is ridiculous! Then I end up calling and waking her at 0530! She checked the car in case I dropped it there - no - the phone isn't in the car. She gives me the cab company's number (because I have it stored in the phone I don't have). I call, he's got it.

He brings it. I pay a second cab fare. I make my flight. That puts me one up on last time.

Now I am going for a swim. So far the Stratosphere is nice.

This Will End Up Being An All-Nighter!

So I got up at 7.....ish, lol. Close enough! I made it to Boston by 10 am and that included a pitstop at work and everything.

My Dad took me to meet Dr. Schlossman. He's not going to win the prize, kids. The Dana Farber myeloma clinic was a zoo. Compared to Tufts/NEMC you do not feel that you would receive good patient care. You feel you will slip through the cracks....and I did. Every seat was full. People in wheelchairs and stretchers were stuffed in every nook and crannie. The wait was interminable. Don't tell me they weren't overbooked.

There was some comic relief. An older gentleman came in - long white braid, chambray shirt, canvas tote bag. Looked like an old hippie college professor. My father leaned over and said "Probably from Harvard." I laughed and asked how the things I was thinking came out of his mouth. Later a woman walked past me, overly tanned, gold slipper shoes, capri pants, mid to late sixties. I looked at the gold shoes and smiled. My father holds the newspaper higher and says "Gold shoes? Where do you even buy them?" I replied that she probably bought them in Boca where she spends the winter, tanning. My father laughed and said "Yeah, that didn't happen at Dewey Beach!" Then the woman beside me placed a hand on my arm, apologized for eavesdropping and asked me if we were talking about Dewey Beach. I said "Yes, we're from Charlestown." Turns out her family was too. If you are ever somewhere and you want to know if people in the room are from Charlestown just mention Dewey Beach. They'll find you.

Two different people came out for me at the same time. One woman seemed peeved and directed me to go with the other & she would come back & find me. She didn't, I had to find her. Her excuse at first was that she had already seen me, and waived a paper with my supposed vitals. Umm, no, trust me having my weight checked is so traumatic, I never forget it. Then she tried to say there must be someone else here with same name. Finally, she said that she had told me to come back to her after the bloodwork. I said "No, you didn't, this is my first visit, I would have told you I didn't know where you were." She walked away and left me until I went out in the hall and found someone else.

At this point I can well take care of myself. When the time comes, I have my sisters and parents. After that, there are others who won't let me get pushed around. But what about the people in power wheelchairs and stretchers that were dropped by ambulance? Who is advocating for them?

After that big long wait to get this appointment, I couldn't get solid answers - he didn't have the bone marrow biopsy.


He was curt with my father. Way to lose points, boyo! I think Schlossman realized pretty quickly things weren't going well for him. He kept talking about being involved on whatever level, even if I went with Dr. Miller. He specifically stated that he'd like to be on the team because my case was unique.

I was glad to be shut of the place. On the way to the parking garage, my father noted Schlossman seemed nervous I agreed. Then my father noted the doctor's attitude toward his questions and I agreed to that as well.

My father told me to think about it and we debated the merits of thinking about it in Vegas.

When I called to talk to Grace, she said she had spoken with our father and he told her I would be going with Miller, lol. When I talked to Jennifer, she said that she had spoken to our father as well and he didn't say it directly, but she knew Miller had won as well.

So I came into work to settle last minute things on my desk. I'm all set and headed home to pack, lol. It's 0139 and I am leaving for Boston at 0400 to catch my 0700 flight.

I hope my snoring on the plane doesn't bother anyone!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Exhausted!

I did my civic duty today and worked in my town as an appointed election official - Clerk Precinct 2. The day started at 0530 with hitting "snooze", "snooze", "snooze". I made it to the polls by 0630 - I was supposed to be there at 0615. No one was surprised. I was given a wide berth.........they don't call me Princess Crabby for nothing!

When the polls closed and we reconciled all our numbers - we never get overturned in recounts, we are really careful and really good - Ed wanted dinner. So it was off the East Bay Grille and Dick, my favorite bartender.

Tomorrow is Dr. Schlossman at the Dana Farber. It's an interview for me and for him. My case is interesting and we'll see if he gets me or I stay with Dr. Miller at Tufts, New England Medical.

My Dad is taking me. This is going to be tough. I can't talk to my father about this. I can't look upset in front of him. I will have to be relentlessly cheerful. I will be wise (as in "ass", not *smart*) and hide behind that.

Wish me luck!

I had a problem with my Milblog Conference registration and the most wonderful Andi (of Andi's World) took care of it. I am so grateful. I dumped it on her at the last minute when she has a million things to do to get ready for this........and she was so gracious about it. Thanks Andi!

OK, off to bed. I could sleep for ten hours. I will have to settle for seven.

Monday, September 15, 2008

USN Sailors from USS Kearsarge Prepare Humanitarian Aid to Haiti Part 1

B-roll of U.S. Navy Sailors preparing aid for Haiti, post Hurricane Ike. Scenes include the supply helicopter landing and unloading boxes of supplies. Produced by Petty Officer 1st Class David Crawford. Part 1 of 2.

USN Sailors from USS Kearsarge Prepare Humanitarian Aid to Haiti, Part 2 of 2

B-roll of U.S. Navy Sailors preparing humanitarian aid to the people of Haiti post Hurricane Ike. Scenes include a supply helicopter in flight and landing on the deck of the USS Kearsarge. Part 2 of 2.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Am Very Lucky

Jen & our cousin Chrissie have a gang of friends. They have been tight since grade school. They still get together every six weeks or so for dinner or a movie, etc. I have attended several of these gatherings. I have honorary status because when they were in their mid teens and I was newly married they would spend weekends at my house. I hosted many sleepovers and these girls have long memories.

I hadn't realized how long.

Some of you know because you have been reading along that I am facing some medical issues. One side effect of that is some financial discomfort. I have never been the ant, I have always been the grasshopper. I am not whining, it's just a fact. I've had a good time. If I had a few extra bucks, I would attend a lecture, buy a book, go out to dinner rather than put it in a savings account. I've always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl. Long range plans were never my strong suit. As a consequence, I have no savings, a mortgage that I barely make, no short term disability insurance. So here I am facing a ton of time out of work, copays for visits and medications, etc. On the other hand I have good health insurance, a great boss and a supportive family.

When the prospect of a bone marrow transplant was first brought up, I dismissed it out of hand. My cousin Chrissie rightly deduced I was dismissing it soley due to financial considerations. She was right. I am not afraid of the cancer, far from it. I am not afraid of the bone marrow transplant. But I am afraid of three months out of work. I am afraid of losing my house.

Chrissie went to three of the others and told them this.

Last night we met to go to see the new DiNiro/Pacino movie. Afterwards we stood in the lobby talking about the movie and kids and life. You know the drill. Finally it was time to say goodnight. Chrissie handed me a card and told me to "Read it later." I laughed and asked if it was a "Happy Cancer card". Yeah, I'm pretty fresh. She waved me off. Jen and I drove home.

I waited until I got to my own driveway to open the card. You know, just in case Chrissie happened to write anything that might penetrate my teeny-tiny black heart.

Well, it wasn't too mushy. It had the USS Constitution on the front and a few heartfelt lines about keeping me in their thoughts and prayers written inside. There was something else. I thought it was a prayer card. But it was not.

It was a check for a considerable sum of money. I was astonished.

I haven't talked about it too much, but the trip to Vegas has been making me feel so guilty. I had arranged and paid for it before I got my diagnosis. Of course it was all non-refundable. So I felt bad about having spent money that would be better spent on copays and covering time out of work. I hadn't realized how tense I was about it until I saw that check and physically felt the tension drain out of me.

Chrissie, Stephanie, Amy and Christine - I always had/have a good time with you. But today more than ever I am glad I made all those batches of cookies and bowls of popcorn, lol. Thank you. I appreciate you all more than I can ever say.

I am very lucky.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Newt Puts Palin In Context

I love when people like Alan Colmes express concern over Sarah Palin bringing God into the discussion.....but it was fine for Obama and Gov. Kaine of Virginia to quote Scripture at the DNC. LOL

GINGRICH: You know, Alan, it is a sad commentary on the growing anti- religious hostility of the elite media. In the movie that Callista and I made on rediscovering God in America, there's a direct quote from John F. Kennedy which was wildly received by liberals at the time, "I believe that God has a plan." That's John F. Kennedy. And if you listen, we have Kennedy himself saying it. We have Kennedy on tape saying it. We have Abraham Lincoln saying it. We have Franklin Delano Roosevelt saying it.
Only in the last 30 years have we got this rabid anti-religious bias that suggests that people who care about God and people who hope America is, in fact, trying to understand what God wants are somehow unacceptable or out of touch.

COLMES: I don't think it's fair to characterize those who have been critical as those who don't care about God, don't love God, don't believe in God, because when she said, "Pray that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God," it sounds like she's saying, Pray that the Iraq war is God's will, pray that they are doing God's will, that this war is...

GINGRICH: That is exactly...

COLMES: Is that what it sounds like?

GINGRICH: Alan, that is exactly what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in World War II. That is why Eisenhower's memoir was called "Crusade in Europe."


GINGRICH: That's why Roosevelt prayed for six-and-a-half minutes with the entire country on D-Day, as our young men and women were fighting for America.
So what I'm surprised by is how utterly ignorant the modern television and news industry is of the history of America. And that's why we did "Rediscovering God in America." And you can listen to John F. Kennedy, Alan, then you tell me if you're bothered by John F. Kennedy's words...

Thanks, Charles Krauthammer!

Bill Steiner sent me a link to this Charles Krauthammer's article on Sarah Palin and the "Bush Doctrine". I am very grateful. It answers the questions I had. When I watched Sarah, I didn't see confusion, I saw caution. I thought that was smart to make Gibson clarify his question. Then I got into work and one of the girls asked "Isn't it bad that Sarah Palin didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was?" I explained that the question wasn't clear enough as originally asked and I would have prompted Gibson for clarification as well. It was pointed out that the panel my coworker was watching commented that the exchange showed Palin didn't know the "Bush Doctrine". I disagreed, but I wondered what I was missing.

Now this article makes everything clear and I am back on solid ground.
Charlie Gibson's Gaffe
By Charles Krauthammer
Saturday, September 13, 2008; A17

"At times visibly nervous . . . Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of 'anticipatory self-defense.' "
-- New York Times, Sept. 12

Informed her? Rubbish.

The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"

She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?"

Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."


I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism," I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." This "with us or against us" policy regarding terror -- first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan -- became the essence of the Bush doctrine.

Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

It's not. It's the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy's pledge in his inaugural address that the United States "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson's 14 points.

If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration.

Not the Gibson doctrine of preemption.

Not the "with us or against us" no-neutrality-is-permitted policy of the immediate post-9/11 days.

Not the unilateralism that characterized the pre-9/11 first year of the Bush administration.

Presidential doctrines are inherently malleable and difficult to define. The only fixed "doctrines" in American history are the Monroe and the Truman doctrines which come out of single presidential statements during administrations where there were few other contradictory or conflicting foreign policy crosscurrents.

Such is not the case with the Bush doctrine.

Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nice Hatchet Job, Obamessiah!

Obama's new ad berates John McCain, in part, because he does not email.
Jonah Goldberg has the answer with far much less invective than Princess Crabby would use.
Wondering No More
Jonah Goldberg
Yep. The day after 9/11, as part of its "get tough" makeover, the Obama campaign is mocking John McCain for not using a computer, without caring why he doesn't use a computer. From the AP story about the computer illiterate ad:
"Our economy wouldn't survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats," [Obama spokesman Dan] Pfeiffer said. "It's extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn't know how to send an e-mail."
Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "extraordinary." The reason he doesn't send email is that he can't use a keyboard because of the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country. From the Boston Globe (March 4, 2000):
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.
In a similar vein I guess it's an outrage that the blind governor of New York David Patterson doesn't know how to drive a car. After all, transportation issues are pretty important. How dare he serve as governor while being ignorant of what it's like to navigate New York's highways.
The emphasis added is mine.....

More Of The Chief's Dreams of Princess Crabby

I posted about parts one to four here.
Now we move on..........
Part Six (link to the post at The Castle) Part Seven (link to the post at The Castle)

Conclusion? My Darling Chief dreams about having me clutch him to my "heaving bosom"....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From the Fishmugger

The Fishmugger (so named because he catches the fish, but throws them back....I think) is a Jersey boy. I asked why he hadn't posted or commented something at the Castle about the day. Here's his reply -

If you think I should post...hows this? You can use it if you like.

When you live and work in the shadow of the World Trade, had lunch and dinner up at Windows on the World; where the view is spectacular and you look down on the Statue of Liberty, the event is a little more personal.

The phone rang..."Turn on your TV, a plane hit the World Trade"...click. I had a call like that when Regan was shot. We have three major airports around NYC and a few minor ones. The Hudson is a corridor for small planes staying under FAA ceilings. So some stupid private pilot hit the building, I know the building...he went splat. But it was a slow morning, so I looked in. Jesus.

While watching TV all day, I fielded calls from club members on what we should do. We originally centered on getting food to the rescue workers...make soup and sandwiches. But when we called to find out where to bring it, we were told the restaurants in NYC were giving more then enough. Then we freed up $25,000 out of the clubs budget to buy tools because there was a call for crowbars and gloves and what all. We broke Roberts Rules to do that with a phone poll but we figured we can clean it up with an official vote at the next board meeting and the IRS be damned. The members were going to fan out and hit every hardware store for miles but a phone check told us that companies were bringing so much stuff that a holding area was now being used at the Meadowlands. So we stopped.

We checked up on friends and most were OK. Denis Rossi's son in law went for a hair cut instead of breakfast with friends at the World Trade. We called families to find out what floor someone worked on. Phones were jammed in NY and we couldn't get through on regular cells so we mapped the buildings and figured the odds on chances of survival.

And it didn't end on just that day. We lived it for weeks. One of the saddest notes were when we found out that the cops were going around to the commuter train stations and marking tires. That way they could determine if the owner survived. Summit NJ, a small town lost 50 people. We lost Tom Celic, NYFD, brother of Steve, one of our members. The funerals went on forever.

After that we just hung out waiting to see where we could help. That years Oktoberfest went to Firemen Widows and Orphans fund in Tom Celic's name, $28,000+. They didn't need it...they had millions. We gave it anyway because we advertised it. Oh well.

Where Were You.....

"Where were you seven years ago?" is the theme of day based off of an email several of us have received.

I covered this last year and it's still my answer. "8:46 AM"

The Chief has his here.

The Armorer has his here.

The Phibian has his here.
CDR Salamander's post has a YouTube clip from "9/11"the documentary by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. I consider it the best of all the films on the subject of 9/11. The Naudet brothers were in that spot at that time, I find to be an extrordinary circumstance. This is one film I think everyone should watch.

Steeljaw Scribe has his here.

ArmyWife ToddlerMom tells us "Time has not helped....".

I'll add more throughout the day as I see them, but for now I am going to watch the Pentagon Channel coverage.