Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Latest corner block finished

Only 2 more corner blocks and one more center block to hand applique and then I can sew this quilt together. I don't know what I will do with it in the end. I started it in a class with Sue Nickols, and most of it was machine appliqued. I have only been doing hand applique on it for a few months, as I so rarely get a chance to use the sewing machine. I do have to sit and watch DVDs every bloody night though, so I have a chance to do handwork if I can do it in the dark.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

From the Times

Op-Ed Columnist
The Rage Is Not About Health Care

Published: March 27, 2010
THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television. On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber — instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.
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But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.
How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.
No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.
Yet it’s this bill that inspired G.O.P. congressmen on the House floor to egg on disruptive protesters even as they were being evicted from the gallery by the Capitol Police last Sunday. It’s this bill that prompted a congressman to shout “baby killer” at Bart Stupak, a staunch anti-abortion Democrat. It’s this bill that drove a demonstrator to spit on Emanuel Cleaver, a black representative from Missouri. And it’s this “middle-of-the-road” bill, as Obama accurately calls it, that has incited an unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric, from “Kill the bill!” to Sarah Palin’s cry for her followers to “reload.” At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.
When Social Security was passed by Congress in 1935 and Medicare in 1965, there was indeed heated opposition. As Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post, Alf Landon built his catastrophic 1936 presidential campaign on a call for repealing Social Security. (Democrats can only pray that the G.O.P. will “go for it” again in 2010, as Obama goaded them on Thursday, and keep demanding repeal of a bill that by September will shower benefits on the elderly and children alike.) When L.B.J. scored his Medicare coup, there were the inevitable cries of “socialism” along with ultimately empty rumblings of a boycott from the American Medical Association.
But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.
The apocalyptic predictions then, like those about health care now, were all framed in constitutional pieties, of course. Barry Goldwater, running for president in ’64, drew on the counsel of two young legal allies, William Rehnquist and Robert Bork, to characterize the bill as a “threat to the very essence of our basic system” and a “usurpation” of states’ rights that “would force you to admit drunks, a known murderer or an insane person into your place of business.” Richard Russell, the segregationist Democratic senator from Georgia, said the bill “would destroy the free enterprise system.” David Lawrence, a widely syndicated conservative columnist, bemoaned the establishment of “a federal dictatorship.” Meanwhile, three civil rights workers were murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.
That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.
In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer to “You lie!” piercing the president’s address to Congress last fall like an ominous shot.
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.
They can’t. Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.
If Congressional Republicans want to maintain a politburo-like homogeneity in opposition to the Democrats, that’s their right. If they want to replay the petulant Gingrich government shutdown of 1995 by boycotting hearings and, as John McCain has vowed, refusing to cooperate on any legislation, that’s their right too (and a political gift to the Democrats). But they can’t emulate the 1995 G.O.P. by remaining silent as mass hysteria, some of it encompassing armed militias, runs amok in their own precincts. We know the end of that story. And they can’t pretend that we’re talking about “isolated incidents” or a “fringe” utterly divorced from the G.O.P. A Quinnipiac poll last week found that 74 percent of Tea Party members identify themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, while only 16 percent are aligned with Democrats.
After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.
Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.

Correction: Timothy Geithner’s title at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was president and chief executive officer, not chairman, as I wrote here last week.
Sign in to RecommendMore Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on March 28, 2010, on page WK10 of the New York edition.
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Past Coverage
The Crescendo of the Rally Cry (January 24, 2010)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

From the Daily Green

23.2010 5:14 PM
Study: High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar
A new study finds high fructose corn syrup causes significantly more weight gain than table sugar.
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As if you needed another reason to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS): researchers at Princeton University have found that HFCS is actually much worse than regular sugar when it comes to causing weight gain.
The study found that rats with access to HFCS gained significantly more weight than rats with access to table sugar -- even when they're caloric intake was the same. A second study by the researchers found that HFCS lead to long-term increases in body fat, obesity, and a rise in body fats called triglycerides.
Said Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel, "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
This new study contradicts earlier beliefs that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar were similar in that they both contained high levels of fructose. Instead, say the Princeton researchers, they now believe that fructose -- in HFCS -- and glucose -- in table syrup, may be processed by the body differently. Fructose is metabolized to produce fat, they believe, while glucose is processed as energy or stored as a carbohydrate in the muscles and liver.
Researchers also pointed out that since high fructose corn syrup was introduced 40 years ago, U.S. obesity rates have skyrocketed. In 1970 15% of the population was considered obese, and today around 1/3 of American adults qualify as obese.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From the High Country News

Taking back the country

Ed Quillen | Mar 22, 2010 12:14 PM

Colorado's political season got off to its official start on March 16 with precinct caucuses, but even before those gatherings, some candidates had ads on TV.

Among them was Jane Norton, former lieutenant governor and one of several candidates for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. The seat was won by Democrat Ken Salazar in 2004. He was appointed Secretary of the Interior, and his appointed replacement, Michael Bennet, is also involved in a contest for his party's nomination, and his campaign has also aired some advertising.

Back to Norton. Part of her televised message is "We can take our country back."

Like many GOP candidates this year, she's trying to get some Tea Party support. And there's a message you see and hear at Tea Party events: "Let's take our country back" or "It's time we took our country back" or some variation thereof.

Indeed, the unofficial anthem of the movement is a song called "Take our Country Back" by Chris Cassone, who performed it at the 9/12 Rally in front of the U.S. Capitol. He also plans to be there singing it on March 27, when a traveling Tea Party "Just vote them out" series of rallies starts in Searchlight, Nev. (home town of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), and wends toward Washington, D.C., through Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

But just what do they mean by "Take our country back"? The song lyrics aren't much help; the lines point to the sinister powers of an unnamed "they," as in "Draw a line in the sand so they all understand" or "Soon they'll try to take away the only voices left that say the truth."

The phrase "take our country back" implies that there was a time when "we" had "our country," that something happened since then to dispossess "us," but "we" can organize to get it back.

Now, if this were a rallying point for the Utes, Navajo, Lakota or similar Native American nation, "take our country back" would make sense. I'd understand it.

It might also make sense for hard-core Texans or Californians, since those states were independent republics before joining the United States. While there may be some secessionist sentiment in the Lone Star State these days, the "take our country back" attitude extends far beyond its borders.

So what do they have in mind? Who's the "they" that has at some point swiped the country from its rightful rulers?

Politicians? Since America started governing itself, the government has, pretty much by definition, been run by politicians. So they're nothing new.

Lobbyists? They've been around pretty much since, well, before America was a nation -- Benjamin Franklin went to London in 1757 to lobby the British parliament on behalf of Pennsylvania's.

Pundits? Well, there's Franklin again, along with many other founding fathers, like Alexendar Hamilton and James Madison when they produed the Federalist Papers.

As for economic domination, you could make the case that America was pretty well run by slaveholders before 1861, and after the Civil War came industrialists and financiers. So that may be what's changed, in the sense of there being something to go back to. But I seriously doubt that the "take our country back" rallies are really calling for a return to chattel slavery.

So even though "take our country back" resonates as a slogan, I can't figure out what it means. And I'm a rural white guy with no college degree -- that is, part of the demographic group that really should be able to understand Tea Party slogans.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maybe, another interview

Someone from HR called me at home this afternoon, on Sunday no less, and asked me questions about my background and experience in preparation for, perhaps, an interview for a parttime bed placement position I have applied for. It may just be for a token interview, since she several times talked about how many "internal" applications there have been for the position. I don't know what mine was, if not "internal". At the end she did say she would forward my info to the hiring manager for the position first thing Monday morning. So maybe I will get an interview. That would be a perfect position. I would stay in touch with the ER and the ER people I worked with, without being exposed to every virus and sickness that crosses the threshold there. I love the ER, but I can barely afford to work there when I catch so many bugs and have to go to the doctor and/or call in sick.,+Buckeye,+Maricopa,+Arizona+85326&ll=33.338892,-112.543935&spn=0.01911,0.021844&t=h&z=15

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sick but working

Believe me, if I had health insurance, I would not be working tonight. But I can't afford to take the time off with no pay, no work, and I cant afford to go to the doctor without having insurance either. I probably should make a serious effort to transfer to Ob or Inpatient or SOMETHING else, as working in the ER seems to just cause a cycle of being sick, working, being sick, etc.
But most of my coworkers seem to be sick too. We have all had colds, and I at least am on the second round of a cold in the last month. SOre throat, congestion, coughing. Grrrrr.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bobcat encounter

I would like to give credit for this photo to whoever took it, but I can't find the original again. Sorry.
On my way home today, in broad daylight, a bobcat crossed the dirt road in front of me, less than 1/4 mile from home. I stopped, and he stopped, not 2 car lengths away from me, and we just looked at each other. Gosh, he was so beautiful, with deep rich color and his fur was thick and looked so soft. He was bigger than I thought bobcats are, about the size of Sam, when I thought they were about the size of Robin. Eventually, he turned and ambled away toward the river bottom.
If a bobcat were to kill all our chickens, I guess we would just have to make our chicken pens stronger, because I wouldn't want to kill a bobcat since I have looked into his eyes.
My bobcat was a deeper richer brown than this photo, and his head was bigger in proportion to his body. This photo is of a Florida bobcat, and mine is an Arizona bobcat.