Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

2013 had it's ups and downs.  But I will forever be grateful because this is the year my beautiful grandson Frankie came into my life.
And 2014 with Frankie and my family and friends can only get better!  

Monday, December 09, 2013

Thursday, December 05, 2013


Back in the day, before social media, people like me pushed our issues by writing "Letters to the Editor" and sending "The Hell with Shell" messages with our pagers, lol!  We bought Little Steven's "SunCity".

I clearly remember getting up at some crazy hour (you know how I love my sleep) so that I could be in front of the TV to watch Nelson Mandela walk out of Victor Verster prison.  And feeling the great and historical significance of the moment right there on my couch in the US.  I had my cup of tea and my afghan on that cold February morning.....before DVRs and On Demand, lol!  Totally worth it.  An amazing man and an amazing life.

Years later I recall being further amazed by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission which Mandela established.  That sort of forgiveness is beyond my ken.

I was agog at the presentation of former LTCol Hentie Botha, Former, South African police.  He was sitting on the panel at the 2006 EPIIC, "The Politics of Fear", calmly discussing the abuses he had visited on South African blacks.  Botha explained the policies that called for these atrocities and his compliance with that system.  No shame.  I looked around expecting some visible sign of outrage.  But Mr. Botha had been through the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.  So all is forgiven.

Intellectually, I get it.  In my heart I don't.  But fortunately for the world.....Mandela got it, and believed in it and gave such forgiveness to the world.  I say sincerely, Mandela was a man will not see the like of again.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Reason I Blog

So you don't miss stories like this.

From the blog "I Drive Warships" this heartbreaking & heartwarming post "A Sailor's Dying Wish".

After signing my Pop, EM2 Bud Cloud (circa Pearl Harbor) up for hospice care, the consolation prize I’d given him (for agreeing it was OK to die) was a trip to “visit the Navy in San Diego.”
I emailed my friend and former Marine sergeant, Mrs. Mandy McCammon, who’s currently serving as a Navy Public Affairs Officer, at midnight on 28 May. I asked Mandy if she had enough pull on any of the bases in San Diego to get me access for the day so I could give Bud, who served on USS Dewey (DD-349), a windshield tour.
The next day she sent me an email from the current USS Dewey (DDG 105)s XO, CDR Mikael Rockstad, inviting us down to the ship two days later.
Go and read the rest.!  You will be moved and proud.  Bravo Zulu to all involved.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Thought This Clown Was Supposed To Be A Constitutional Scholar?

Last month, some GOP Congresspeople tried to get up support to amend the ACA, aka #ObamaCare.  Most notable were Senators Ted Cruz & Mike Lee.  The President, Harry Reid, and the rest of the Democratic Party said, "No, it's the law.  And furthermore, we won't even discuss it.  Period."

The government shuts down and in an incredibly shameful move, the Administration makes the shutdown as ugly and painful as possible.  They spend time and taxpayer money on scumbag moves like closing down the WWII Memorial.

Incredibly, the Administration and the Main Stream Media blamed Cruz, Lee, Republicans and the Tea Party!  Seriously?  Anyway, the #ACA is law deal with it.

Fast forward a few weeks - the Healthcare.gov website doesn't work.  Why?  It isn't ready, insufficient testing.  Why did you open it?  Sibelius says "We had to, the law said so." Buzz!  That's a lie, the ACA law says the Secretary (Sibelius) can open it any time they wish.  But deal with it, it's the law.

Fast forward another few days - Numbers start coming out.  Few can sign up.  Rates and policies don't appeal to anyone except those getting Medicaid.  Democrats & MSM explain this is because Republicans want the #ACA to fail.  Ummm, what?  Well anyway, the #ACA is law, deal with it.

Then the individual market cancellations started coming in.  I'm sure this is also the fault of Republicans somehow.  Anyway, it's the law, deal with it.

And today,
"Insurers can extend current plans that otherwise would have been canceled in 2014," Obama said.

Ahhh, the President does not have that power.  The Executive Branch does not just call out changes to law.  I thought Obama was the smartest man ever to be President?  Not only would it not be possible for him to make such a change to the law, it can't happen no matter how hard he wishes.  So what was this?  Smoke & mirrors.  President Obama just wants you to redirect you frustrations America.  Don't fall for it.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Sara's Dog Is Going To Love Me To Death

Sara's puppy, Tank is always trying to get under my feet.  I try to pay attention, but the other day he caught me on the cellar stairs with an armload of clothes. I caught myself before falling to the cement floor, whew!  But I wrenched my knee and boy does it hurt.  I've been keeping it elevated and Tom got me an ace bandage.

I'm miserable!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Dr. Ezekial Emanuel - It's Not An Effin' Car

Dr. Ezekial Emanuel has been described as President Obama's "Chief Architect" for the Affordable Care Act.  He has been hitting all the media outlets defending the #ACA and attempting to explain away the individual policies that people are losing all over the country.  Dr. Emanuel wants you to know that it's not a bad thing that Americans are losing insurance coverage that they liked; that they felt they could afford.

And to illustrate this, Dr. Emanuel repeatedly draws comparisons to purchasing a new car.

This morning on FoxNews Sunday -

"The second thing is, just as we have safety standards for cars, you can't buy a car without a seat belt. You can't buy a car without an air bag. You can drive them, we're not going to take you off the road. But if you're going to buy a new car, you have to have safety"

It's not a car.  It's healthcare insurance.

Healthcare insurance that you are mandated by law to obtain and pay for.

If you don't want a new car, you don't have to buy a new car.  The law doesn't say that you "must" buy a car.  The IRS will not penalize you if you don't buy a car.

Stop comparing it to a car.

So, you may ask - "What kind of guy would try to mislead people this way?"

Well, I'm glad you asked!  I give you, Dr. Ezekial Emanuel, "bioethicist".

Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief
White House health-care adviser Ezekial Emanuel blames the Hippocratic Oath for the overuse of medical care.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?  "Overuse" because your doctor is paying attention to his Hippocratic Oath and taking care of you and not society as a whole.  Yeah, the "Complete Lives System".  I don't know about you, but as a Multiple Myeloma patient who at times has required chemo costing over $22,000 in the space of one month.....this isn't the guy I want anywhere near my healthcare.

Friday, November 01, 2013

A Little Affordable Care Perspective

On FoxNews Sunday, Dr. Ezekial Emanuel just used the 50 million number, which is false on it's face.

I guess I'm feeling ambitious.  I don't know why, lol.  It's 72 here in the Shenandoah Valley and I am on the deck getting some Vitamin D.

But as I sit here I read and have to listen to people talk about how heartless Republicans are.  We fought ObamaCare.  We want it to fail.  Not cause it's a boondoggle mind you....no, because we never cared about the uninsured.  Didn't we understand that 50 million people in America were uninsured in 2008?  More than 16% of the population!  Read the census!

Well, did you?  Did you go read the 2008 census they are/were citing?  Cause I did.  And a few others did.  They tried to tell you.  I told everyone who would listen, including my sons who stopped listening, lol!  "Yeah, yeah Ma.  We know.  They are playing with the numbers.  Can I get back to what I was doing?"

But it was more than a headline.  It was more than a soundbite.  People didn't have the time or inclination to fact check.  So they were fooled by the whole "50 million Americans have no healthcare!"  Never mind healthcare is not health insurance.  Word games, numbers games, whatever.

From the 2008 census the number of uninsured in America - Page 20, Table 7.  "People Without Health Insurance Coverage by Selected Characteristics: 2007 and 2008"

Number of uninsured in 2008; 46,340,000.  Not 50,000,000.  OK, so they rounded up a little.

Number of uninsured people whose household income was over $75,000 per year; 9,725,000.  Did they need saving?  No, more likely they decided they could pay out of pocket and  not bother with insurance.

Number of uninsured people whose household income was over $50,000 per year; 8,034,000.  Some might have struggled in that bracket depending on their location, but most?  No, I don't think so.  Again, I believe the majority made a conscious choice to abstain.

Number of uninsured people with a household income under $25,000 per year; 13,673,000.  Now again, this number represents something that is not being discussed.  It includes a great deal of people who qualify for insurance /Medicaid /Medicare /VA coverage and they are not obtaining it.  Why?  Well some just aren't aware.  Some don't understand the process.  Some don't want to be "in the system" whether out of fear or stubbornness.  And in all categories, again, there are those who just don't want to opt in.  I want outreach to help those who qualify get through the process and get coverage through existing avenues.  Don't tell me that there wasn't an easier lest costly way to help this demographic.

Number of non-citizens who do not report health insurance?  9,511,000.  Ok, now there are many differing views on what this number represents and how much we should care.  This number does not represent a solid block of malnourished, abused, illegal immigrants living in abject poverty.  And while you may disagree, I do not think we should be turning 1/6 of our economy to make sure they have insurance.

After I make what I consider to be reasonable adjustments, who is left of those 46,340,000?

Well, I don't want to count anyone making than $75,000 or more per year.  If there is an extenuating circumstance, chances are there is a corresponding charity.  If not, it must be possible to fix that on a small scale.

So we're down to 36,615,000.

Next category is those making between $50,000 and $74,999.  Conceding geographic location, I'll give you half.  How's that?

Down to 32,598,000.

What's left is people with incomes under $25K.  I'll give you a third of them - 4,557,667.  Again, I think that's more than generous.  So I'm subtracting two thirds, 9,115,333 people.

Non-citizens?  I don't want to count any of them.  My Federal tax dollars should not be taking care of you.  Go home to your own country for care.  Or pay the bill.  Taking them completely out would cut the number drastically , but there is no telling where they fell in the income breakdown.  So I can't take any off.  But you know darn well some of them are represented in the numbers for households making over $25,000 and less than $49,999.  And I'm leaving that group whole.

Now our number is 23,482,667.  I won't quibble about people who chose not to be insured, as is their right.  But where does this leave us?  Less than half of what the Affordable Care Act's proponents cried about.

23,482,667 people represent not quite 8% of the 301,483,000 counted..

Now let's watch and see how many people who were responsible and had a policy in 2008 will lose what they had.  And I don't mean just the people getting letters that their individual policies are cancelled.  You know the ones who per this link on Forbes -

"On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney attempted to minimize the disruption issue, arguing that it only affected people who buy insurance on their own. “That’s the universe we’re talking about, 5 percent of the population,” said Carney."

So Jay Carney doesn't think *those* 5% are any big deal.  You know, it's not like it was 8% or anything.

However, in addition to the people who had individual policies and will lose them.....let's add people whose employers lost or dropped coverage.  And what about people who lost access to their employee insurance coverage when employers cut their hours?

So at the end of the day, you will have disrupted far more than 8% of the population.  You will have moved them out of policies that were adequate.  You will have forced people who simply paid their own way into purchasing insurance they didn't want.  Because the ACA also forces insurance companies to drop bare bones policies to offer policies with bells and whistles that some Americans neither needed nor wanted.  You will have people moving from adequate plans to plans with higher deductibles and out of pocket costs.

In the big picture you will have a net loss of coverage.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spending Time With Tommy

Just as I was grateful for the chance to live again at 88 Elm Street with my parents; I am grateful for this time with Tom.

He works nights, so I make him breakfast around four in the afternoon.  The other day after putting his plate in the sink he walked past me "Thanks for the eggs mom." I was struck.  I got a little leaky and went in the other room.

I realized that now I am getting another chance to relive another happy part of my life.  For the first six years of Tom's life I was lucky enough to be home with him most of the time.  Especially after we moved to Rocky Nook.  It was a happy simple time.  And my life now is very like my life then.  I hang, I do a little housework, I make Tom's breakfast and sometimes pack his lunch.

On nights he doesn't work we do stuff and talk.

Living in Virginia is painful for me, lol.  I long to be in Boston.  The independence of hopping on the "T" and going to events and lectures and movies.  The ocean, God!  I miss the ocean.  I  miss my city.

But inside this house?  Inside this house is very nice.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Robert Hale, Pentagon Comptroller Should Resign Immediately

Ok, so here's the deal.

The Pentagon let the Congress know that the shutdown would cause certain things to effect the defense department.  They let them know this *before* the shutdown.  The Pentagon cited many items, but they specifically said "death benefits"

And a bipartisan Congress approved the money.  They thought, as did most, that the matter was settled.

Then the shutdown comes and we descend into this macabre theater where WWII Vets are barry-caded from outside monuments and hotel guests are escorted out of national parks by armed park rangers.

Now the sad reality of war, which is never too far, returns.  We lose servicemen and women who were fighting on our behalf.  Some stop and turn and reflect as they always do.  Their hearts big and wide and grieving.

But this time, something is different.  And the national grumble turns to a roar as we realize that the Pentagon is saying there will be no death benefit because of the Shutdown.  There is bewilderment.  Congress funded this.  Both parties agreed.  For once the right thing was done.

Fisher House, a marvelous and worthy charity steps into the breech and takes care of those grieving families.  Thank God, for Fisher House.  That's not just an expression of relief.  That's me saying to you that if you believe in God, please thank Him for good people like Arnold Fisher and his family and everyone who works for, fundraises for and helps Fisher House.

Congress, both sides, springs into action.  They are going to immediately fix this oversight.  According to Jay Carney, the President wants a solution immediately.

OK, so everyone is scrambling.  They thought this was settled, it wasn't, we'll look into it.

First problem - Reporters ask when the President was first aware of this problem.  Fair question, no answer.

Second problem - White House spokesman says POTUS isn't going to sign the law that Congress threw together because now the problem is being handled by Fisher House, so no need.  Plus it's just a gimmick.  Yeah buddy it's just a gimmick that was signed unanimously.  It's hard to call something a Republican trick if the Democrats are hustling too.


Arnold Fisher blasted the President at some event last night  "It's the worst thing this country has ever done:  Allowing these families to come to Dover Air force Base on their own money....Stop the nonsense."

Then the President signs it saying he meant to all along.

Third problem - Robert Hale, Comptroller of the Pentagon, before the Armed Services Committee saying the problem was the law was vague.  So he consulted with lawyers.

Vague?  Did it not occur to you to call someone?  Like that steaming pile of shit Chuck Hagel?  How about the Commander in Chief?  How about the House Armed Services Committee?  How about the author of the bill "Pay Our Military Act" Rep. Mike Coffman R-CO.  That's the bill that Congress thought solved this problem back on the eve of the shutdown.  No, Hale sent a memo to Justice.  Well, we all know how useful Eric Holder is.

So yesterday Coffman reams Hale in a hearing.
Hale "resented Coffman's remarks".  Too fucking bad.

If  Robert Hale can't handle this he should resign.  If Hale, as Coffman accuses, used it to further the "Make it hurt" White House political strategy, he should be tarred & feathered.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Nothing Much Is Going On Today

There was some furniture to arrange yesterday.  I know better than to heft that barge and tote that bale.  But in my current anal fashion, I decided some (more) cleaning should happen.

I emptied my room of everything in prep to wash walls, ceilings and floors.  I even talked Sara into buzzing me to the local "Dollar" store to find a cleaning liquid I liked the smell of.  We found Comet Lilac Bliss.
 I must go back and stock up since an appearance in a dollar store is often the last stop before oblivion.

I listened to MIDRATs as I scrubbed the ceiling, up and down the step stool.  I checked their chatroom as I scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees.

Once everything was put back together, the first move was complete.  It smelled great!  I love lilacs.

I looked at the second room and promised to get cleaning in there this morning.

Yeah.....no.  More like on the couch watching movies with my friends "Milky Way" & "Bayer Aspirin"

Saturday, October 05, 2013

My Share Of Tom's Vacation

So Tom has some time coming to him and he asked if I wanted to do something.  He's going to take me to have lunch or dinner with Mary Ripley......his request.  He's awesome, isn't he?
****UPDATE - My Marine would like me to inform you that while many have suggested visiting Civil War.....he is the most important among them, also the most insistent and the biggest taskmaster.
He asks what else I might want to do.  When I moved down here many suggested some Civil War sites.  So I ask Tom what he thinks.  And he brings up the #GovernmentShutDown.

The World War II Memorial and it's special reinforced Barry-cades.

And the blocked of scenic drive so no one can park & take pics of Mount Rushmore.

And the locking of the gates to the parking lots at MinuteMan Park.

So, what Civil War places will we visit?

Any damn one I want.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Smart Political Advice

From yours truly!

Every Republican in Washington, DC should be down at the World War II Memorial escorting anyone who wants to walk around inside.

I get why POTUS thought barricading it was a good idea.  Everyone is trying to get their point across.  POTUS wants to blame the Republicans for the fact that he, Harry Reid, Nanacy Pelosi, et al said they would not negotiate.  There are a million clips on the internet.  Google one up.  "We won't talk."  "We won't compromise"  "Just forget it."

You can disagree with me here.  That's fine.  You can say it is the fault of the Republicans.  Not my point.  My point is that blaming Republicans has no oomph unless someone suffers.  Sure, people have been furloughed, but does that really grab America?

But shutting down memorials and monuments, that's a soundbite!  "Yeah, me and the wife saved up all year to bring the kids here and now it's closed!"  Mr. Middle America opines into the reporters mic.  The the MSM bot gets to point out that polls blame REPUBLICANS!!!!!

It's the same thing as closing down the White House tours but not cutting the entertainment budget inside the White House.  They aren't tightening their belts, they are trying to make a point.

So yesterday they threw a few symbolic barricades around a number of outdoor monuments.  I am sure they expected that their loyal MSM cohorts would record sad pics of tourists barricaded from National Monuments and Museums.  Just like the pics of school kids outside the White House at the beginning of the Sequester.  Mean, mean Republicans!

But something else happened.  World War II veterans, some escorted by Honor Flight, just moved shit outta their way and went in anyway.  It's an outdoor memorial, morons.  You can't close it up.  So essential park police came to stop them and (if I understand correctly) Rep Peter King sent some of his people down to diffuse the situation.

So that photo op didn't go POTUS's way.  And, Honor Flight has stated they aren't changing their schedule.  The Republican National Committee has offered to pay for the memorial to be opened.

Mistake!  Stop.  Back off.  It is the wrong message.  Mean old, rich Republicans throwing money at a problem.

Instead every Republican should be down there daily escorting these vets.  Wear out some shoe leather.  Your reward will be whatever tales these amazing men and women want to share with you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Much Did It Go Up This Month?

Every month lately I have my IgA level tested.  Ever since the cancerous protein came back, signalling the end of my remission, it has been climbing.

Between October '12 and January '13 it went up 41 points.  Between January '14 and March '13 it jumped another 41 points.  Yikes.  At that rate I was going to sail right past the upper level of normal (normal ranges run from 50 or 80 to 350 or 400, depending on the scale).

After March it went up more slowly, but it was going up.  The month I took the curcumin religiously it only went up 2 points.  Since then it's been spotty.

Every month friends and family hold their breath with me - "How much did it go up?"

So I just listened to Karen's voice mail..........it went DOWN!!!  From 319 in August to 310 on Monday.

I hear Nelly singing "Ride Wit Me" in my head "Hey!  Must be the Milky Ways."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Remind Me Never To Use The Restroom At Sears

My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears

My grandmother puts her feet in the sink
        of the bathroom at Sears
to wash them in the ritual washing for prayer,

Yeah, I hear you - "Maggie, what the ...."

Well folks this is the poem that the principal of Concord-Carlisle decided would be an appropriate for a school wide reading on.........September 11, 2013.  Yeah, that Concord.

Did I mention that the kid that was supposed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance wasn't available, so they skipped it?

Oh and also, the representative of the school committee is "disappointed" that people thought that poem was inappropriate.

What's above is just the opening.  Want another sample?

And if you Americans knew anything
about civilization and cleanliness,
you'd make wider washbins, anyway
My grandmother knows one culture—the right one,


Friday, September 13, 2013

Got To Sit Outside Today!!!

Yay me!

I've been spending a lot of time indoors in the new place in Craigsville.  Mostly because I sleep more than you can imagine.  Also because there are so many cleaning projects in this place, it's been closed up for three years.  But also because of the heat here.

It's not like it doesn't get beastly hot in Boston.  But when it does I go to the beach or the Clougherty pool at the top of Bunker Hill.  I love to lounge in the sun.  My Marine refers to me as a housecat because I love it so much.

But there is no water element nearby.  And no dependable public transit to reach the nearest public pool......21 miles away!  The hose doesn't even reach around to the back of the house, lol.

But today at noon it was 69 degrees!  Whew.  I was getting pretty pale.

The outdoor space here is pretty sad, just like the inside was when we moved in.  But it has great possibilities.  This is a view of the back of the house.  There is a small well built deck that we need to refinish.  As you can see, I also need a screen door.  But the magic screen is batter than nothing.  The insects here are very serious.
This is a view from the deck going up.  The yard goes up this hill and over.  Lot's of space.  Lot's of privacy.
And this is a partial view of the bleak front yard. 
  But I can't do anything outside until I finish inside.  I know once I start trimming bushes, planting bulbs, carving paths......I won't go back inside!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today Is Important

For many reasons.  But today let us turn our attention to Benghazi.  We need answers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Battle of Lake Erie

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Oliver Hazard Perry's famous message to General Harrison after the American victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, 200 years ago today. 

Battle of Lake Erie: Building the Fleet in the Wilderness

Thursday, September 05, 2013

My Dear Stella

My fun on FaceBook has irritated my friend Stella.  I have "shared" every derisive post on the fact that some party line hacks in the Democratic party who howled over "W" and Iraq are now backing intervention in Syria.  I have repeated every petty, pithy comment on their hypocrisy.

You can't be surprised.  Everyone knows that my most finely attuned sense is my sense of schadenfreude!

But I am well aware that not all liberals back military intervention in Syria.  I know that not all Democrats blindly follow President Obama.  I know that the Americans who voted for Barack Obama are not a monolith unquestioningly following his lead.

Mathematically that would be impossible.  50% of voters chose to re-elect Obama over 48% backing Romney.  Yet Real Clear Polling averages 51.3% oppose intervention on Syria's civil war with only 34% favoring it.  And I have heard numbers putting that support as low as 19%.  Politician after politician talks about calls and emails coming into his/her office against intervention.  I've heard no one discuss a flood of calls in favor.  I think that is even more telling because those people made an effort as opposed to just answering the phone.

I understand that my stand on Syria puts me in bed with MoveOn.org and Code Pink.

I further understand that John Boehner the nominally Republican Speaker of the House, backs the President here.  But Boehner's actions don't move me.  He's a boob.  He's not a true republican or a true conservative.  And ack, the crying!  Don't get me started.  Boehner is a non-entity in this discussion.

Facebook is for fun and snark.  Please scroll through my timeline.  A pic I shared last night jokes about Pope Francis, who I respect and admire, being a bad catholic for sitting in the back at Mass.

You know I loathe John Kerry to the point that seeing his visage gives me agita.  You know I am disgusted that Obama talked smack about "W" and Iraq for years.  But now that he is sitting in the hot seat, things are different.  Yet, he still takes the occasional pot shot at "W".  Have you heard anything from "W" in terms of a counter volley?  No.

So when we make vicious fun of those involved here, that's what it's about.  Never, never about you.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Can I Umm, Get Me A Red Line Here?*

Sudan: Letter to Human Rights Council on the Human Rights Situation in Sudan

"Two years after the secession of South Sudan, armed conflict continues to devastate large parts of Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile. "

Darfur in 2013 Sounds Awfully Familiar

Nicholas Kristoff reporting for the New York Times
ABGADAM REFUGEE CAMP, Chad — ASIYA TAHIR, 20, had her 4-month-old baby, Mariam, on her back in April when three armed men in Sudanese military uniforms seized her and her sister at a well in Darfur.
The soldiers beat Asiya and then — according to both sisters who were interviewed separately — pulled Mariam off her back and laughingly checked to see if she was a boy or a girl. Grabbing Mariam by one arm, a soldier flung her into the distance.
“You’re lucky she’s a girl,” Asiya remembers one of the soldiers saying. “If that were a boy, we would have cut his throat.”
Not that I would expect our SecState to be much help on Darfur.  After all, when we had Khartoum at the negotiating table in 2010, Kerry was the one who brought that Administration's offer to "decouple" the issue of Darfur from the talks.
The UN estimates that as many as 300,000 have died in Darfur.  No they weren't gassed, just shot, displaced, starved and left in camps to die from preventable disease.
The asterisk in the blog post title is to explain the poor grammar.  I am jeeringly using some of John Kerry's own words.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Mismanaging Syria

All war is ugly.

Chemical weapons are a crime against humanity.

However, President Obama has mismanaged this situation and is on the way to making it worse.

I just watched CNN's State of the Union - as well as Kerry on "Meet The Press".  Later, I will catch a repeat of FoxNewsSunday.

But so far several things really bother me.

First is SecState Kerry and others such as Rep Eliot Engel, D-NY trying to drive support by talking about Syrian children who have been gassed.  Do not try to manipulate me this way.  I care about those children, but no more or less than the children Assad has killed with bullets and bombs.  I also care about those who have been orphaned and displaced.  How about the children killed by rebel forces?  Don't tell me the answer is to bomb and kill more Syrian children.

Oh and when Kerry makes his passionate statements in front of this picture
Just know it's a lie.  This isn't a depiction of the aftermath of a Syrian chemical weapon attack.  It's not the result of anything Assad has ever done.  It's Marco Di Lauro's "The Aftermath of Saddam" in 2003.

Then there is the "we must back Obama now that he has committed" argument.  I find this best exemplified by former diplomat and current JFK School professor R. Nicholas Burns (a guy who I have agreed with on some things in the past).

"The congress has to vote in favor of this resolution or else the credibility of the United States as a global power in the Middle East is going to be vastly reduced."

Yeah, no.  Saying Congress must blindly follow whatever nonsense and poor foreign policy POTUS comes up with is bullshit.

And when some talking head tells you that it's a crime against humanity - and it is - so the US must handle it.  Remind them that's what the UN and other world bodies are for.  If this was sooooo important, where was Obama's Ambassador to the United Nations when it was brought up?  Oh, yeah, Samantha Power was vacationing in Ireland.

Well then, they'll say it's a US national interest.  Really?  Please define it.  Syria can gas every last Syrian and it will not effect the US as a nation.  So absent a vital national security interest, the answer is in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the US Constitution.  One would think someone who has referred to himself as a "constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School" would understand that.

Meet The Press had a segment on the horrors of refugee camps.  I've never seen a nice one and the UN says this is a huge crisis.  OK, I'm with you there.  I want to help there.  No one is going to argue that.  Send aid.  We're good at that.  But don't blow smoke and tell me that bombing strategic targets in Syria is going to make any difference in refugee camps.  These camps were there before the chemical attacks.  Syrians are fleeing the fighting overall.

Finally, people will tell you President Obama "wants to send a message".  Ok, I understand "gunboat diplomacy". Currently we have USS Gravely DDG107, USS Barry DDG52, USS Mahan DDG72, USS Ramage DDG61, and USS San Antonio LPD-17 in the Med.  USS Stout DDG55 is heading over to relieve the Barry.  So tell me, if DDGs deliver Tomahawks and LPD deliver US Marines.......what is your message?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ten Years Ago I......

.....landed in Dubai.  The U.S. Navy Commander, formerly known as the Favorite Naval Consort may have turned out to be a selfish jerk who got "tired of my cancer", but too many other things were wonderful.
The pool; the gym; the spa and the staff at the Taj Palace took marvelous care of me during my eleven days in Apartment 245.  And thanks to the Navy phone (mine didn't work internationally) he gave me from his office and the use of his car and driver, Ali, it was the best vacation ever!
I have a pic of the two of us, but I can't find it.  Ali coached me on bargaining in the souks.
That's where I got these little treasure chests filled with frankincense.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Long Dark Winter..........

....of my lack of good reliable Internet connectivity is over.

No more looking for unlocked networks.

No more driving near a McDonalds just to update my Kindle.

Thank you, Sara.  I know it was a sacrifice.  My son is as much of an addict as I am.

Signal strength: Excellent.  Mmmmmmm.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

We've Made A Move

Is it for long?  I dunno.

We've been in a temp place in Harrisonburg since the beginning of June.  And our "Find-An-Effin-House" deadline was looming August 1st.  Sara, Tom's gf finally came up with something that met every requirement but one.  My request to be near some kind of public transit.

On the other hand, it has reduced Tom's commute to an hour....if he walks.

I am moving to Craigsville.  The correctional facility where Tom is an officer is less than four miles.

I know I make lots of jokes about how there's "Nothin west-a-Worcester" but this place is the back of beyond as Mama Kelley used to say.  The town has about a thousand residents within it's 2 square miles and borders the George Washington National Forest.  Charlestown is half the size at one green mile and 16 times more people.

Sara said something last night about burying mothballs near the house to keep away snakes, but "la-la-la" I didn't hear that.

It's twenty miles from Staunton and I don't know if I can hack it.  Although, no light pollution!  The stars at night are big and bright in Craigsville as well as Texas.

So, I'll give it a shot.  I may end up with a pied-a-terre in Staunton.

But it's better than an empty FridgidAire box.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Part Two; Trying To Put The Milky Ways Down

Ok, I've recharged the batteries a little.

In the aftermath of admitting to myself that my cancer was back, I did every wrong thing.  I stopped going to the gym.  I slept more.  I subsisted on frozen Milky Ways.

But mostly, I thought about what I would do when Dr. Miller got tired of "waiting and watching".  A second transplant seems a ridiculous idea.  The general consensus as far as I know, is that subsequent transplants get you half what an initial transplant does.  If you are an IgG patient who gets twenty years, certainly a second one giving you ten years seems worth the effort.  But for me, going through six months of chemo, one month of heavy chemo, three weeks for the transplant, one hundred days without a salad, and six to eight months recovery (bald no less) to get half of twenty three months........yeah....no.

So that leaves drug therapy.  Revlimid, velcade and a host of other drugs are out there to help suppress my numbers.  And for the majority of all myeloma patients drug therapy tends to have a very low impact on their quality of life.  Unfortunately, that is not the case with me.  So, I am not looking forward to that.

Now there are some other things that pop up in my email group.  The most frequently mentioned alternative to chemicals is the herbal supplement curcumin also known as tumeric.  There are no real, documented, long term studies.  But there is tons of anecdotal evidence.  In particular there is a blog "Margaret's Corner" which deals pretty much exclusively with Margaret's battle against her disease using this herb.

I've done some reading on and off about curcumin and now I did some more.  What I finally settled on was 1800mg of curcumin with biopeperine (black pepper to help absorption) along with 1000mg of flax seed oil in the morning and again in the evening.  I called Karen my nurse practitioner and let her in on the plan.

At my May appointment, with six weeks of this regimen under my belt, there was another blood test. Karen was laughing when she called with my results.  "I don't know if it's the tumeric, but your result was 264."

2 points!!  I don't know what it was either, but I will take 2 over 41 any day.  They also did a full skeletal survey, which is a series of head to toe X-rays.  There was no new damage.  Whew!  And the pain in my upper arm is not a tumor, it's something muscular.

I called my sons and told them the results which could mean nothing or everything.  That's when this whole move to Virginia came together.  I have talked about it for a while, but I always talked about it as something that I would do....and never got to.  But Tom and Frank made their case for having me there and spending this time waiting for treatment with them.

I gave notice on my beautiful waterfront place in Hull and packed.  I went to my parents and told them all that had been happening and why I was leaving Boston.  I asked them to keep it to themselves.  I told very few people.  Its' so hard to tell people.  I feel so guilty.  It is the fastest way to wreck someone's day.  Why make everyone miserable?

But I'm better now.  I lifted the gag order.  I called my cousin Kathy.  I wanted to make sure she knew directly from me.  She found out about my original diagnosis from the internet and that wasn't fair.  I have left messages for my cousin Martine, she better return my call if she wants direct info, lol.

My next test is in a few weeks.  We'll see if my 2 points were a fluke or a pattern.  It would be nice if curcumin could slow my cancer's growth because it has no side effects.  Well as long as I remember to have something in my stomach.  Trust me, curcumin burps are hell.

All Good Things Must Come To An End.....

That's what they say, isn't it?

My cancer, which was successfully knocked out with my February, 2011 stem cell transplant, is back.

Stop!  It's bad, but not hugely bad.  I will explain.

In Multiple Myeloma a patient has an overabundance of a corrupt protein.  Mine is the IgA.  Most MMers have a corrupt IgG, but 20% have IgA.  An even more rare occurrence is a problem with the IgM, IgD and I think there are others......but they don't pertain to me and it is a Maggie-centric universe, so we move on.

The point of chemo for us it to knock the corrupt protein down and keep it down.  Some patients stop there.    The SCT (stem cell transplant) people go further.  A successful SCT can work to the point where the cancerous protein can't even be seen.  This is described as a "complete remission" or CR.  That was the case with me.  After my SCT, which has been described as being brought to deaths door and then being snatched back,  my cancer could not be seen.  I was in CR.

I was told that one general rule was that if an IgA patient makes it to the two year mark, they will make it to five.  The IgG people tend to get 10/15/20 year remissions.  For the first year or so, I decided not to think about that.  After a very unsuccessful first go around with chemo and the very bitter disappointment of failure, I decided that I would set all expectations low.  But as the twenty four month mark approached I began to get excited.  At first, I was quiet about it.  I kept it to myself.  But then I began to mention it to close friends.  I remember the smile on my face when I revealed my hopes to My Marine and he said "I know, I remember, I'm waiting too."  LOL!  Nothing gets by him.

As February, 2013 approached and my hopes grew I went to my January, 2013 appointment with Karen and Dr. Miller.  I was being tested every three months.  It was during that appointment that Dr. Miller said that they could see a protein and he wanted me to start coming in every other month.

Buuuuttttttt.......I didn't want to hear that.  Soooooo.......I didn't.

This is not the first time I have completely and successfully blocked bad news.  When my older son Tom was born, we were told he had a heart murmur and it would need to be watched.  And apparently it was remarked on during pediatrician visits for the first thirty months.  But when I was told in the early spring of 1984 that he would need an operation to fix it, I was completely blindsided.  I swore it was a shock.  Tom's father my ex was flabbergasted.

So when February 10th rolled around, I celebrated it!  I had a celebratory lunch with my parents.  I was all smiles.

Because I have mad blocking skillz!!

Then I went to the March appointment where Dr. Miller assured me that while my cancer was back and my levels were rising......we would hold off on treatment.  We would wait and see.

I nodded and smiled.......inside my head I am screaming "WTF????  What is he talking about?  I made two years!  I am going to get five.  He said he saw "A" protein, not "MY" protein!"

But after a few days, I pulled my head out of my ass and called for some numbers.  In the three months between October, 2012 and January, 2013, my cancer reappeared and my IgA level increased by 41 points.  In the two months between January, 2013 and March 2013 the IgA level again increased by 41 points.  However, these increases only brought me to 262 and normal levels are 50 to 350, so technically speaking, I was not out of remission.  But realistically speaking, at that clip, I would sail right out of remission shortly.

Ok, I am going to stop here for now.  I am tired.  When I am being honest, I will admit that my fatigue levels are indeed rising.  But I will come back for Part 2- "What I Am Doing About This".  Or some such.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stumbling Upon A Great Group - Warrior Hike

A few days ago on Facebook my dear friend, ConcreteBob posted that he was going to be in Front Royal, Virginia on Friday night.  I thought surprising him would be fun.  After all, we are in Harrisonburg, Virginia for the next month and it's close by.

I asked Tommy to put me on the calendar for the 21st.  "Is this one of those things where you walk into the room and people yell "BostonMaggie" and you smile beneficently?" he asked.

Why yes..........yes it is.

LOL!  I didn't know why Bob, he of the famous homemade BBQ sauce, was going to be there, but, whatever.  His post mentioned the Front Royal VFW.  So it's something I can crash, I'll stand a round, buy raffle tickets, whatever.

But I didn't know a time.  And I didn't know how to find a time without tipping my hand.  There was nothing on the Col Samuel R Millar, VFW Post 1860 web page or Facebook page.

Soooooooo, I emailed a perfect stranger and asked.  I got lucky.  No one had warned her about me, so she clued me in.  A potluck dinner.....crap.  I am here with a wok and paper plates.  What am I going to bring.  Cookies from the supermarket would have to suffice.

When we arrived everyone was back in a covered picnic area.  I kept my head down and walked up to ConcreteBob's table.  "Hi, I'm here from Women For Obama and I'd like to talk to you."  He was so confused.  Then he jumped up and hugged me fiercely!

After many hugs and laughs, Bob sat me down with Sean Gobin to explain why we were there.  Warrior Hike 2013 started in Georgia in March and they were headed up the Appalachian Trail.  Every five or six days they come off the trail and meet up with veteran and community organizations.  Tonight was the Front Royal stop.

From their "About" page;
In 2011, while deployed to Afghanistan, Marine Corps Captains Mark Silvers and Sean Gobin founded a nonprofit called Warrior Hike and in 2012 hiked all 2185 miles of the Appalachian Trail to raise donations for wounded veterans.
During their journey, Mark and Sean organized 35 fund-raisers at veterans organizations that were located along the Appalachian Trial.
At the completion of their hike, Mark and Sean had raised $50,000 in donations to purchase adapted vehicles for seriously wounded veterans from the war in Afghanistan.
Recognizing the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Warrior Hike has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to create the Walk Off The War Program. The Walk Off The War Program is designed to support combat veterans transitioning from military service by thru hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There is more on their website plus pictures (you should click the link, they're cuties).

Like them on FaceBook!  Follow them on Twitter.  Spread the word and help out any way you can.

It was a win/win for me.  I got to see Bob and surprise him.  Then Mr. & Mrs. Sniper showed up.  You can really spend the whole night laughing when they show up at a party.  One of the guys had a phone/tablet?  A Phablet?  Holy crap, Sniper was off and running with that one.  Plus I found a great group to follow on Twitter.

I'm going to try and hit them at another stop to show my support and I can do more than shop for cookies in the supermarket.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Big Changes

I have moved to Virginia.

For a while.

It's been the plan for a while.

I loved this last five months in Hull.  I wanted to stay until at least the fall.  But things happen and I am here in Staunton now.

I will go back often.  My parents are there.  I am not leaving Doctor Miller and my wonderful medical team who have seen me through this far.

I will be very lonely here in the land where no one understands me when I speak........

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Who We Remember On Memorial Day

ScottTheBadger mentioned his Dad's cousin Lt. Francis Albert Riley, USN.  Lt Riley was aboard USS Albacore SS-218 when she was presumed to have struck a mine on 7 November 1944 near Hokkaido.  All hands were lost.  I got the picture from "On Eternal Patrol", a website dedicated to all men lost while serving in the U.S. submarine force.

I will be remembering my grandfather's brother PVT Dan Kelley, USMCR.  Dan enlisted one week before his 18th birthday; became active duty within 3 weeks and was KIA at IWO Jima a mere 9 months later.

When you eat your hot dog or shop that car sale today, remember you are free to do so because men and women like Scott's cousin and my uncle paid the ultimate price.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Separated At Birth

An English Defence League supporter takes part in a march in Newcastle on Saturday. Photograph: Jonathan Pow/PA
 Sloth from "Goonies"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day is......

Memorial Day is........

.....this coming Monday, May 27th b/c it occurs annually on the final Monday of May.

....a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

....a day formerly known as Decoration Day. Decoration Day originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. 

.....NOT to be confused with Veterans Day which occurs on November 11th of each year.

.....NOT a sale at Macy's or a car dealership or an appliance store.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Awesome Goddaughter!

Mother's Day was awesome.  Giving and getting gifts, flowers, chocolates.  My mother made her famous potato salad.

Although getting there was kind of like crossing the country in a Conestoga wagon!  I love Hull, but convenient it is not.  No shuttle on Sundays till after Memorial Day (although Frank's Britt took care of that part); on and off the 220 to pick up last minute things - yeah, last minute, I said it; and the Red Line under construction.....whew!  Then again, it's not like I had anything else to do except get up to my Mum's house.

I've been trying to weed through my stuff and contain my spa/facial/cosmetic/body lotion addiction - no support groups for that.  It's slow going and a few days ago I thought "Deb will give me something new for Mother's Day, I should call & stop her".  My goddaughter Debbie shops in Bath & Body Works or Victoria Secret, which I have heard is even more expensive than Bath & Body Works.

I thought I should ask for some chocolate chip cookies, which are no better for me.....but cost less and never sit around waiting for the next purge.

But I forgot.

Still.......I opened my gift bag and it contained.........brownies!  Pretty good considering we were communicating on a psychic connection.

We all had a chuckle about that.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

My Kindle

I went from -

"I like books.  I like holding them.  I like the way they feel.  I like the way they smell.  I like wandering around book shops.  Especially the Brattle."  

To -

"It's used.  It's short money with this coupon on top of it.  What's the harm?"

And then yesterday when the screen froze -

"Oh my God!  All my zombie books! All my foreign policy books!  This magazine is weighing down my bag!"

All in just one short year, give or take a few days.

Amazon had a helpful page and my Kindle is back.  Whew!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Thursday's Good Deed

I'm going to do you all a favor......cause I love you all so much!

I believe in doing a good deed a day......I don't always get there, lol.

Here is an easy one and you can all do it.

Vote for Joshua Newey as a favorite "Life Moving Forward", "Local Hero" to celebrate National mobility Awareness Month.  I became aware of Josh because he is a friend of a friend from Bridgewater, MA

Josh Newey was born on May 13, 1977. His date of injury (C5 quadriplegia) was January 11, 1997. Always an active young man, Josh became quadriplegic at age 19, following a terrible accident involving a snowmobile. After three years of rehabilitation, hard work and perseverance, Josh began attending Bridgewater State College, becoming involved with the Peer Leadership Program and also Managing the Swim Team! Josh’s bright spirit and love of life showed through during his Peer Visitor sessions at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital, where Josh also did his rehab. He has visited others injured under similar circumstances, in an effort to “give back”, and to aid those whose injuries are fresher, and has tried to help them as they face an altered future. Josh is very independent, taking care of his own “personal” needs, even working three days per week as a Marketing Specialist. Each workday morning Josh must roll out to a cold vehicle which may or may not start, with a MANUALLY operated door and ramp. Somehow he manages to open the door and pull down that ramp by himself – a difficult task for even an able-bodied person. Seeking financial independence and wishing to end his need for disability payments, Josh’s greatest wish is to work full-time, but desperately needs a reliable vehicle to make that dream come true. Unfortunately, the economy has hit Josh’s family as hard as many others and they are unable to help him acquire a new van. His current van, a 1999 Dodge, is in deplorable condition – unsafe and undependable, with rotting floors, some non-functioning equipment and no heat. Josh acquired this van after family and friends pulled together a fund-raiser THIRTEEN years ago. He has certainly made full use of that van, putting 204,000 miles on it in the course of his travels. Josh is a dear friend and a loving son, brother and uncle, and is always looking out for the welfare of others. Josh leads an active life that could only be made more productive with the increased mobility a new van would provide. Josh’s love of life, selfless spirit and independent nature truly make him our HOMETOWN HERO!

 Please click on the link and vote.  You can vote every 24 hours until May 10th.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Apparently Thursday Was Too Much To Expect

I was productive Monday....Tuesday......and Wednesday.

Thursday was a bridge too far.

I am still in my PJs.

But there will be a post on the USS Constitution event I attended last night.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Believe In America

Angelia reminds us of Thomas Paine's opinion on the subject.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself. ~Thomas Paine

Ok, someone just thought "Hey, that's what Bonasera says in the opening of "The Godfather"!"  Yeah, stick with me here, it's not trivia night at your local pub.

America is not a religion or an ethnicity.  America is an ideal.  And I believe in that ideal.  An ideal is not something mankind is capable of achieving, but only working every day toward it.  The guiding principles of America are laid out in the Constitution.  Following that guidance is a constant balancing act for individuals and for America as a whole.

We talk about the common good.  And sometimes it seems that the common good would be best served with a wink and a nod at this document that was signed more than 225 years ago.  Especially when emotions are running high.

We are only humans and weak at that.  But there are three hundred million of us, give or take.  So when emotions run high and some people are weak, there are always going to be some of us to stay calm enough to hold to our ideal.

Now, if this were just me, just Maggie, sitting in a room with the Tsarnaev brothers, I'd be beating one nearly to death and kicking the corpse of the other while I waited for the first to recover so I could beat him again.

But it's not, is it?  It's me, an American citizen, upholding a principle.  Believing in America more than indulging my desire for vengeance.

And it's not easy until you remember this - if you let go of the Constitution for that moment of vengeance....what did you avenge?

So when people say "No Miranda rights for a terrorist!"  I say "Due process for American citizens." (and I get a little snippy and think it's a Miranda *warning*, not a Miranda *right*, but whateva).

And when people point out that Tsarnaev was born somewhere else; hasn't lived here that long; hasn't been a citizen that long.  I say "And your point is?????"

And when someone says the word Gitmo in this conversation, I think "Boy!  You need to sit down and think hard.  Quietly, in a corner, before you speak again.  Because clearly you are overwrought."
There's a reason she's blindfolded.  It doesn't always work.  But you never give up trying.

And on a separate note - to those who say that law enforcement overreacted in shutting down Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, the T, etc. - faaack you!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lindsey Graham Should Get A Fucking Grip

GOP SENATOR: Boston Suspect Should Be Held As 'Enemy Combatant' And Should Not Have Miranda Rights Read

This disregard for the US Constitution is far more frightening than anything a terrorist could do.

ANYONE who suggests that suspected terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should not be read his rights as enumerated under the Miranda Warning is an idiot.

Do I hope this guy doesn't "make it"?  Of course I do.  Do I hate him for what he has done?  Of course.

But like it or not, Tsarnaev is an American citizen.  He gets due process.  That's it.

If we abridge the Constitutional rights of this piece of shit, we will be doing more harm than he or his brother could have hoped for.

Everyone is talking about "Boston Strong".  If we sell the Constitution down the river out of petty vengence, what is there to be strong for?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Farewell, Matthew Colin "Big" Darne

Matt Darne, "BigDarne" or just "Darne" to some of his friends was a presence in the lives of many people.  Not the least of which were his fellow correctional officers at Augusta Correctional Facility in Virginia.  I know this because my son Tom is a fellow officer and among those mourning Matt.
Matt Darne graduated from McLean High School, and enlisted in the US Marine Corps.  He served a tour in Iraq and saw action in The Battle of Fallujah.  Matt was also at one point stationed in Korea.  My Tom recalls Matt's humor fondly; citing some of Matt's "When I was in Korea...." quips.

When you read Matt's obit and "guest book" entries, you see that many are recalling that very sense of humor that they all feel the loss of.  But it's not lost, as long as you remember it.

You will think of Matt and when you do, smile and be grateful that he was in your life for a time.  Because Matt was grateful for you as well.  I found an online profile that read;

"Hi my name is Matt. But to the people who know me I am Darne. I am a 24 year old former Marine. I am a combat vet. I saw action in the Battle for Falluja. I was an 0341/0331. That means I was a Grunt / Ass Kicker / Ground Pounder. To some I maybe crazy and to others I maybe the coolest guy in the world, but what matters to me is what I think of myself and thats it. I like to work out alot and I do various forms of martial arts but my real love is for the outdoors... Hunting, Fishing, Camping, Hiking... theres no greater thrill in the world. For me, family and friends are the most important thing to me... I would do anything for them, ANYTHING..."

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Sometimes I Get A Headache

I got an email containing the Sparrow Project's latest press release.  I read it and thought, "Good Heaven's, I'm so glad these people let me know the nonsense the will happen later this week in NYC".

It seems that -


Yeah, this nitwit Birgitta Jonsdottier us going to visit NYC and on Friday the 5th she's going to

" host an evening of art and dialogue in support of jailed Iraq war whistleblower, Pfc. Bradley Manning, at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Sq. South, NYC [map]).  A 6pm benefit informal art auction & film screening will be followed by a panel discussion, beginning promptly at 8pm. The panel discussion will feature Jonsdottir in conversation with Alexa O'Brien and Kevin Gosztola, journalists who each have providedextensive coverage of the Manning pretrial proceedings at Ft. Meade, MD, along with Peter Hart, a critic with the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.  The panel will be moderated by Sam Seder, host of the political talk show, The Majority Report."

So I get right on Twitter and send some anti-Manning tweets while surfing for info on this chick and her supporters.........

Haha! Sparrow Project isn't warning me about this event - they are celebrating it!

What?  Why would anyone who reads my blog or my FaceBook or my Twitter or any comments I've ever made think I would want to do anything but spit on Manning for endangering US Troops???

First it was a Twitter follow from the IAVA (Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America).  Now this.  What could these groups possibly be seeing to think I would agree with them or work with them?

So I emailed the Sparrow Project guy -

Hey Pal,

I don't know what I could have sent out into the social media universe that would have sent you a green light to contact me.  But mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  Bradley Manning is a treasonous enemy of the United States.  And not even an earnest principled one.  Just a loser.

I'll unsubscribe myself, but maybe you want to check your filters or something.

Many people I love stand or have stood between your freedoms and America's enemies.  I feel sorry for you that the best you can do with those freedoms is spout this nonsense.  But it is your right.  Don't worry, I cherish and appreciate it enough for both of us.

Diane Miller

Good God!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

When Did The Ford Hall Forum Become A Drinking Game?

How was that?  At the end of the presentation, we were encouraged to ask questions.  But we were first admonished to remember that a question starts with "Who; what; why; where; when and ends in a question mark." by Edward Powell, the executive director of  StreetSafe Boston and the evenings moderator.

So how is that for a question?  It starts with "where" and ends in a question mark.  I hope is also conveys my disappointment with the "Ford Hall Forum".

Being the nerd I am, I would happily spend all my time traipsing from one lecture, presentation, forum to another all around Boston and the surrounding area.

So last Thursday, armed with birthday money (thanks Mum & Dad) for a nice dinner and a cab ride home, I set out for Suffolk University.  The Ford Hall Forum topic presented for discussion on March 21st was "Guns Don't Kill People, The Media Kills People".  Now before we go further, let me point out that a forum is, according to Websters, "A public meeting place for open discussion".  And thus it is not a lecture.  This will be important to remember later on.

The moderator, Edward Powell, gave a short presentation on the topic and his background working with Boston's youth and his efforts to stem violence, gun and otherwise.  It's very laudable work, if there were something I could do to assist him, I would.  I get right off the bat where he will be coming from during this forum and I understand.

Then Mr. Powell introduced our two speakers on the topic; John Rosenthal the founder of Stop Handgun Violence.  Mr. Rosenthal in the program handed out, describes himself as a gun owner and reiterates that point several times over the course of the night.  Mr. Rosenthal wants you to know that he is not against gun ownership, and tries to make the point several times with stories of skeet shooting and duck hunting.

Our second speaker is Charlton McIlwain, associate Professor of Media, Culture & Communications at NYU Steinhardt.  I would hazard a guess that Professor McIlwain thought he was brought in to discuss the media's view and impact on gun violence, I know I was there for that discussion.

Instead it was a diatribe against the NRA and Republicans.  A rant about people who require more than three rounds in a gun - that's all they give you when you duck hunt.  And for the most surreal aspect of the evening during the Q&A there was a celebration of how marchers on Washington and the Mai Li Massacre stopped the Vietnam war.  It was the most ridiculous bit of revisionist history I have seen outside of an Oliver Stone movie.

We were treated to such half truths like Republicans, surrounded with issues of great import are only concerned with the cancellation of White House tours.  This information was greeted with gasps, then murmurs of approval.  Evil, useless Republicans (remember, this is Boston)!  Of course Mr. Rosenthal left out all the examples where POTUS wastes far in excess of $18K per week (the cost of the tours).  It's what is known as "Washington Monument Syndrome" and it's a very valid criticism......when you tell the whole truth.

We were also informed that we must strike at this issue while it's hot in the wake of Sandy Hook. You see, these gentlemen, Rosenthal & McIlwain want you to know that no one cared when black boys are killed, but now we have white babies.  So that's an important fact to know, there has been no serious discussion of gun control until now because we are all racist pigs.

You think that's disgusting?  Oh no!  You haven't heard anything yet.  Mr. Rosenthal wants America to WAKE UP.  You know how he wants to do it?  He wants to get his hands on post mortem pictures of Sandy Hook victims.  He claims each child was hit 3 to 11 times.  And he wants to take these pictures and post them on his Mass Pike billboard!!!!

So anyway after explaining we are all racist and we can't make good decisions without gory pictures of bullet riddles babies..........the rest of the talk called for national gun owners registry, restricting types of guns and ammo, etc.  One unintentionally humorous idea that Mr. Rosenthal proffered was that Smith & Wesson produce guns like the one James Bond used in "Skyfall".  Great movie, don't miss it.  Anyway, the gun only works in Mr. Bond's hand and for no one else.  Who is going to buy that?  You know I have only been shooting twice, but half the fun of the other participants was trying each others guns.  Some people buy and resell guns.  What's the market on a gun that only shoots for one person?  Smith & Wesson, like most other businesses in this country are in it to make money.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

Mr. Rosenthal listed off horrific incidence of how many suicides, accidental deaths workplace violence happen every year in the US.  He incorrectly added Fort Hood which is not "workplace violence" but was an act of terrorism.  But there is risk and death and injury all around us.  Ban cars and you'll save more lives.  If this is your attitude, take away guns, cars, swimming pools, bathtubs, washing machines, staircases, knives, baseball bats, bycycles, boats.  Just wrap every kid in cotton batting and sit him in a climate controlled room, and feed him through a tube (can't have him choking on less than well chewed food).  Mind you, it won't help save all the children who get cancer

And never mind that face that more than 50 million Americans own handguns and never do anything wrong.

There was also an aggravating, aggressive mind-numbing misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment.

Did I get everything?  Lies, half truths, bad ideas.........oh yeah.  The drinking game.

Had I been so inclined and brought an adult beverage with me.  Then say I took a drink every time Mr. McIlwain finished up a Rosenthal point with "Well I basically agree." And/or a drink every time John Rosenthal said "When I was at the White House".  I would have been hammered.