09 April 2009

It's Short

Typically, I avoid writing about personal matters (and when I do, I usually end up deleting the post), but I'm 'bout drowning here.

My beloved husband, after being cancer free for four and a half years, had a resurgence of the disease in the autumn. It metastasized into a vertebra. He underwent a course of radiation and all seemed well. One month after his treatment ended, his weight dropped drastically, he began acting fatigued like I've never seen before, he started slurring his words (like when someone is trying to talk to you when s/he is about to fall asleep), and he lost the ability to stand upright or move about without holding onto something--a chair, the sofa, bracing himself against a wall.

He's to have a brain scan in the coming week. I admit, I'm terrified. With the loss of balance, the slurring. . . .but that's borrowing trouble. (Update: an MRI revealed a brain tumor). Today we learned that his most recent PET scan reveals that the cancer has invaded both soft tissue and bone structure. Yup. New tumors. Three of them in different parts of his body. Just. Like. That.

The good news: the doctor seems hopeful about chemotherapy (however, whether or not he can receive chemo remains contingent upon the brain scan's results). (Update: He's started a four-week-long course of radiation for the brain tumor. After this treatment, he'll go onto chemotherapy).

The bad news: My medical insurance ends in June. I might be able to get an extension until September, but I'll have to sit down for some heavy duty negotiating. When I told the doctor about my insurance status, he hemmed and hawed--seriously, he took his time--and said "I'm sure we can work something out." Dude--this is my husband's life. You don't hem and haw when he is in the room. you say "right. Let's talk about that later. Right now, let's . . . ."

While the doctor is hopeful about chemo, he suggests it may only be effective on the soft tissue tumors, and my beloved cannot have further radiation in the area where cancer has invaded bone.

If you have prayers, chants, good wishes to spare--we can use them right about now.

Thank you.

And, if you can, please give something to the American Cancer Society.

Bill Posey (R-FLA) Eases Out of Birther Status

One month after introducing a bill--H.R.1503--that would require all presidential candidates to provide a copy of his or her birth certificate, U. S. Representative Bill Posey still lacks a co-sponsor for said bill.

Additionally, Representative Posey says that,
he has "no reason to question" that Obama — born in Hawaii to an African father and an 18-year-old American mother — is a U.S. citizen. (Orlando Sentinel)

Sorry Birthers.

Update: Representative Robert Goodlatte [R-VA6] has signed on as co-sponsor to H. R.1503. It only too a few months then.

Showing Confidence in His Cause

I have just received a phone call.
Upon my “hello?,“ a male voice began reciting "are you aware of the tea parties happening. . . "
Because it didn’t sound like a robo-call, I repeated my “hello,” and, sure enough, the voice faltered. When he caught himself and began again, I asked “is this a recording or a live call?,” because it seems pretty weird to phone someone, even a stranger, and read a script without adding any niceties such as “hello,“ “good afternoon,“ and so on. You know, humanizing elements.
Anyway, upon my question, he hung up.

06 April 2009

Wrath and Weeping

"FEMA camps," "a usurper president," "gun bans," "fascism," "socialism," "a one-world currency," "the end of our way of life."

There's been an explosion of fear and paranoia that seems to emerge from the 'blogosphere and makes its way to talk radio, to televised talking heads, to state legislators and, finally, to the U S Congress--wild rumors thereby gain a sheen of legitimacy each step along the way and gradually become "conventional wisdom" and intensify the paranoia. Sadly, this free-floating fear is driving an increasingly ugly rhetoric of revolution, of insurrection. Even more sadly, there are people who appear to thrive off of the panic and prove only too eager to encourage it. Certainly, there might be a short-term payoff for such folks (money, celebrity, etc.), but I wonder--what happens when it turns on them? And it will. It always does.

Later: So we discover that the Pittsburgh shooter was a conspiracy theorist and a Stormfront regular. Yes, he was insane for opening fire on innocents, but what kind of "encouragement" had he been receiving? For an answer, you might want to visit The Washington Independent. Journalist David Weigel spent Saturday at a Kentucky gun show, along with white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and Orly Taitz of Birther fame (I'm sure some normal folks were there as well). His photos of the event are pretty suggestive. Take a look.

And the ADL has a piece on Poplawski and his history of right-wing and white supremacist rhetoric here. It's disturbing.

04 April 2009

Michelle Omania

Pity the President. His wife's approval ratings (78%) are higher than his o'er here, and she seems to have outshone him o'er there. Between her open displays of affection (for Queen and commoner alike), her largely down-to-earth fashion choices (J Crew over haute couture Dior), and her demeanor, Michelle Obama seems to have won universal acclaim in Europe (you doubt it? Google)--even in France:

“People identify with her, even here, she is seen as a woman of the people,” said Crystal Fleming, who is affiliated with the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. “The French magazine Le Point dubbed her ‘the princess of the people,’ which is pretty impressive when you think about it. She’s an African American woman.”

Fleming said that for non-Americans, Michelle Obama, even more so than her husband, “incarnates how far African-Americans have come, she’s the descendant of slaves, Barack is not, and that is really a source of inspiration that she is in the White House. She is seen as a symbol of progress and source of pride.” (Henderson and Martin)

Mrs. Obama embodies the USA in the best possible way, for she is entirely representative of America's opportunity: a girl from a working-class family, raised without privilege, who studied and worked her way up the socio-economic ladder, and who found success even before meeting a fella named Barack Obama. Far from being detrimental to America, as some pundits portrayed her before the election, Michelle Obama has helped to improve our image--and, thereby, our standing--in the world.


After yesterday's tragedy in Binghamton, New York, we have today's tragedy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Words escape me.

Clearly, one must be insane to open fire on innocents, and economic uncertainty might help push someone "over the edge" (both Wong [NY] and Poplawski [PA] recently lost jobs)], but really--what the hell is going on?

Added: before the day is out, we learn that five children in Washington State have been murdered; their father is dead as well: he killed himself. Authorities think he might be responsible for the children's deaths.
It's been a bloody 24 hours.

Prayers, sympathies, condolences.

02 April 2009

Salon on the Birthers

Alex Kopelman at Salon reviews the latest "Birther" nonsense, a "citizen grand jury" that opted to "indict" President Obama over the past weekend. Kopelman's concise discussion also notes the creeping violence emerging from the "Birther" folks.