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Archive for August, 2009

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Dear readers: I’m taking a break from posting until after Labor Day in order to work on final edits for my new book and plan for upcoming projects. This blog may have a home at another address; I will also be blogging in other locations. I promise to let you know if you’ll let me know the best way to keep you up to date (if you’re on Facebook or you have Google Reader or use RSS, it’s easy. If what I just wrote has you puzzled or terrified, we’ll need to talk).

Beginning about this time of year, I find I’m on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Some of that is fairly recent, the result of the forever after anniversary that can’t help but bring back, if not the pain itself, then the memories of that pain. Much of it these days relates to my awareness that much more of my own time is behind me than ahead of me; just the thought of being in “the autumn of my years” could bring me unaccountably low.

beach1But ingrained in me is the sense that autumn is a time of transition; not the beginning of the end, but the beginning of something else. Autumn is part of a cycle, one we all experience differently, depending on where we are, who we are, and how we look at what we’re doing. It’s as possible to transition to something more meaningful, more remarkable, or more significant than it is to do anything else.

The secret to my autumn, I’m beginning to understand, is to focus on what can be done. Gone is gone, past is past, and the future is unpredictable. So I go into September as always, with a flexible game plan and a set of goals,  which include staying aware, alert and curious about what is to come. Hey, you never know.

See you in September.  sunsetbeach

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The news confounds, the mind boggles. Maybe this is what happens in an all -information world. Or in August. Or when people are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy or between critical and less so.  Or when they feel disenfranchised. Or hungry. Or tired. Or when they’re married to Bill Clinton. You get the picture.

What I thought I’d do this week is something called: What can you say? Below are tidbits I’ve come across this week in the news. Don’t think there’s necessarily anything that needs to be said; in fact this may be a rhetorical question. To tell the truth, I was stopped dead in my tracks by much of this. NOTE: As usual, this is a mix of the deadly serious, the seriously weird, and the weirdly logical. I apologize for the juxtaposition but that’s what the news is these days.

1. “This is about the dismantling of the country…we don’t want this country to turn into RUSSIA.” images(a woman speaking at a town hall meeting on health care in Lebanon, Pennsylvania).

 

2. This man

mitchell_190was hired to help structure the United States interrogation program, although he had never carried out a real interrogation, had no relevant scholarship, no language skills and no Al Qada expertise.

 

 3.  “Children are killed, women are raped and the world closes its eyes.” (comment by a woman in refugee camp on the outskirts of Goma in the DRC where Secretary of State Clinton toured recently) 535a19442c

 4. Yale University Press has determined a new book about the controversy surrounding the Danish cartoons book-3-190depicting Muhammad, a controversy that subsequently incited riots around the world, cannot include those twelve drawings, nor any other illustrations of the prophet.

 

5.  New research suggests that “the physical stress of marital loss continues long after emotional wounds have broken heartshealed and those who become single… suffer from a decline in physical health from which they never fully recover.

 

 

6. Paula Abdul, announcing her departure from “American Idol” on her Twitter feed, insisted her week is “idol-75filled with network meetings” about potential projects.

 

(I mean really, what can you say?)

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I am sick to death about the health care arguments. I know you are too. In fact, that’s something about which we can all agree, I hope, as it appears not much else is.  Well, wait, there’s something else: we all feel the health care system needs reforming.

The devil is in the details, as always, and there are far too many details for most of us to process. So we argue about generalities or about specifics that are either irrelevant, less relevant or completely  misunderstood by most of us. Now I read that as Congress recesses, partisans are planning attacks on each other and on selective specifics, such as targeting Congressmen who oppose a public health plan option as being in the pocket of the insurance industry (MoveOn) or preventing a public insurance option because it might cover abortion (private conservative group). The DNC will accuse Republicans of trying to kill health care  reform and the RNC will accuse Democrats of trying to foist a risky experiment on the American people. Doctors will show up at Republican rallies to rail against medical malpractice costs and lawyers will show up at Democratic rallies to rail against inadequate protection for consumers. At this rate, Congress will reconvene in September and do nothing because they can’t agree on what they’ll claim are key pieces of the legislation. leonardo_da_vinci_man_in_circle

Where does that leave us? Bluntly, it leaves me with more than adequate health insurance that, at the present time, I can afford, notwithstanding health-related expenses are becoming one of the single highest yearly expenses I have. But it leaves my single mother friend, my 58-year-old consultant friend, and my married friend with two children and self-employed, disabled husband with a lot less.

The insurance companies are promising to reform themselves, which I’d like to believe but unfortunately, I have only to think of the financial industry – well, you get the point. I detest the idea of more regulation but wouldn’t mind a conditional attempt at requiring the private sector to cover preventive health care and alternative approaches, not to mention pre-existing conditions. I don’t like the idea of more taxes but I don’t like the idea that small businesses can’t afford to insure their employees. I know the between forty to fifty million people are estimated to be without health care but I imagine many more are under-insured, and so the idea of a publicly financed option looks good. I think that trying to track down positive or negative examples of how health care works in Great Britain or Canada is asinine because first of all, the systems don’t resemble each other and second of all, neither will resemble whatever the Senate brings out of committee.

The real question all of us have to ask ourselves is whether we believe health care for all our citizens is a right or a privilege, an obligation or a blessing, a guarantee we must make or one we can’t make.  We should have asked and answered it long ago, but we sure as hell better know when we run into our representatives in August.

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