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Location: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Interests: Disability rights activism, independent living, Judaism (studying Torah and doing mitzvos), American Politics, History (American and ancient stuff like Kublai Khan or the Carthaginian civilization), Wikipedia, girls, books, music, TV and games.
Expertise: Health care policy, politics, history and Judaism
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|Wow! What an amazing night. |
NBC News abruptly announced that Barack Obama had become the 44th
President of the United States, I was watching with my girlfriend. We
were yelling with joy. I yelled "VIRGINIA IS BLUE!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE
IT! VIRGINIA!! IS! BLUUUUE!!!!!!"
the hospital room door, we could hear the staff shouting in happiness
and surprise (one of the very Christian nurse's aides voted and fasted
and prayed to Jesus for this win).
was an incredible moment of spontaneous elation like I've never
experienced. Me and my soulmate sharing the excitement of sudden new
hope our lives and the lives of all Americans could actually improve
was one of the happiest times of my life. I'll never forget it.
And wow, the tally is amazing...
349 electoral vote OBAMA LANDSLIDE! (and climbing)
This wasn't remotely close. This is an electoral blowout.
Obama became the first Democrat to win Virginia in 44 years. A black man won the Virginia of Loving v. Virginia infamy. Even my grandfather in Virginia Beach voted Obama.
RECORD-SHATTERING YOUTH TURNOUT!!
And, our first post-boomer, post-culture war president.
UNPRECEDENTED CLEAN SWEEP of the midwest.
Obama won Ohio and Indiana ...he won Florida and handily flipped (over 60%) several Bush counties in Central FL.
Obama won North Carolina, Virginia, the heart of the Confederacy.
This is a HISTORIC NATIONAL REALIGNMENT.
I'm so lucky and happy I witnessed this moment.
I'm so glad we finally have a president who isn't openly resented by minorities and the poor (e.g. me).
so glad we have a city-oriented president (this is our first president
basing himself directly from a big city since Kennedy in 1960). More
and more people live in cities, and our public policy should shift
accordingly (more light-rail funding pls, kthx).
And most of all, I'm so glad we finally have a president who is free of the unAmerican can't do attitude that has metastasized over the past eight years.
Improve health care? Sorry. Can't do.
Modernize our crumbling infrastructure? Sorry. Can't do.
Fund research breakthroughs? Sorry. Can't do.
Finish a war in a shorter time than WWII? Sorry. Can't do.
Encourage alternative energy sources? Can't do (unless it's inefficient corn ethanol, cynically subsidized to placate Iowa caucus interests).
Build an effective levee system? Sorry. Can't do.
We're the people who put a man on the moon; we can do anything. Surely we can nation-build in our own country.
Now it can be:
Make health care suck less - YES WE CAN.
End a costly Iraq occupation - YES WE CAN.
Overhaul our infrastructure - YES WE CAN.
Produce green technology and invest in alternative energy - YES WE CAN.
Create lots of good jobs rebuilding infrastructure and making green technology - YES WE CAN.
Shore up some levees - YES WE CAN.
"Anything is possible" - Barack Obama
In 77 days, the Obama Administration begins, and the hard work of making possibilities into realities begins anew.
won't be easy to say the least. It will take a LOT of work to get
anything good out of this corrupt Congress. But for the first time in
my adult life I have hope some good changes can be accomplished.
Let's get started.
|Today, November 4th is the big General Election in the United States.|
Last week I mailed in my absentee ballot and voted for Barack Obama for president.
it's always a bit difficult for me to vote for one of the two dominant
parties (whose incompetence, lack of principle or outright corruption
got us in this mess in the first place) I just can't support any of our
current third-party options. All the third-party candidates I've seen
so far are scumbags, crackpots or extremists on the Lunatic Fringe who
I don't want near the White House, because most of their ideas are
incredibly dangerous to the general welfare.
of third-parties, I strongly support this concept: we sane, common
sense people must HIJACK both parties and rebuild the system.
the system!! Our infrastructure is shamefully decrepit. If you look at
infrastructure and train stations in Germany and compare to ones here,
you may mistakenly think the Germans won WWII. The people are willing
to pay to modernize this country. Americans want to nation-build, but
we don't want to nation-build in Iraq on the other side of the globe
anymore, we want to nation-build IN AMERICA. How about giving all the
poor people a job rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure? I've met
very few Americans who want a handout. Most want a good job where they
can actually contribute. Let's create jobs repairing it, and building
the transportation network of the future (MagLev anyone?)
the system!! For example, a good way to fix the health care crisis
would be for a strong supporter of consumer choice and a dogged
opponent of profiteering middle-men to take over at Department of HHS
and spearhead a total redesign of the system with COMMON SENSE reforms.
Obama hijack the party and get stuff done? I'll be pressuring him as
much as I can to start. Amputating both the Clinton and Bush platforms
from our politics is a very important first step, and I will give no quarter until I see a full exorcism of those dangerous old ideas.
afraid of old, failed policies hanging around and sapping our country's
strength further. Pro-war "conservatives" do not support the amount of
sacrifice required to make their foreign policy plans financially
feasible (instead they fight tooth and nail against paying the tab they
ran up) which will doom this country to insolvency. They want a
grandiose foreign policy, but don't want to pay for it.
are very expensive, always have been, and always will be. War debt has
driven numerous nations to economic collapse (ask the Russians about
the Soviet-Afghan war). Read David McCullough's books on early U.S.
history, they make it clear how serious war debt can be. After the
Revolutionary War, the United States government had to seize people's
houses to pay off the war debt, which led to armed revolt in
Massachusetts. I wish pro-war advocates realized just how financially
untenable their "two land wars in Asia plus no paying the tab" policies
are. This can ruin your child's quality of life, they'll be the ones
forced to pay up. Eventually. you've got to pay the piper.
biggest problem with John McCain the neo-cons isn't that their "Team
America: World Police"-style foreign policy is immoral and doomed to
failure (though this is close second).
biggest problem is that they won't pay for it, and I'm very worried
that in 5, 10, 15 years when we must choose either to gut Medicare and
Medicaid or not make good on our interest payments to China and risk an
international incident, America's (and my) quality of life will be
ruined. It's WRONG, deeply unfair to put your fellow Americans in that
position. I don't want to be punished for policies I hate and never
supported (of course, upcoming administrations will be blamed because
the Republicans wouldn't pay the piper, and that's unfair too).
Check out this great case study of the Missouri battleground
in TIME Magazine. It seems the heartland is hurting, and hurting badly
economically, and for pretty much everyone interviewed for this story,
that's meant a tidal wave of emotion against the Republican brand, and
support for Obama (even among former Bush voters). After reading
articles like this one, you can almost feel a 1932-style landslide
But this election is just the
beginning of the battle. It will take extraordinary pressure, people
DEMANDING real change, for any meaningful reforms to get past Congress,
and it will be especially difficult with the next president hemmed in
by events, but it can happen. I believe.
Americans can't just poke a voting booth, then go back to loafing on
the couch and expect the government to fix itself. It won't work that
|Wow. Last Thursday was my first CODE BLUE since February 1992.|
error + clogged lung = over 10 min hypoxic and unconscious. And it led
to a not-so-happy jaunt to Bellevue ER which was ultimately pointless
aside from the observations gleaned, and my first sight of the Empire
State Building from the back of the ambulance.
triggered all this? My airway became totally occluded by mucous.
Suctioning didn't fix it. The vent was unable to get air to me. At
home, we know to BAG BAG BAG if the vent's normal operations are being
blocked. I TYPED AMBU. The nurse said "ambu?"
then, DIDN'T AMBU!
after that, everything went black. Then I felt oddly disconnected from
corporealNick; not like sleep--this was a near death experience. Then a
split second later, I open my eyes, and the RT with the big Goliath
beard is bagging me. As soon as someone AMBUed and oxygen started
reaching my brain again, I woke up. It felt like a split second later,
but the clock was indicating 10+ min later!
was around 4:15am. Mohammad is bagging me, Tony the RT is also there,
the on-call doctor is there, the nurse is there and also several people
I've never met are there. I realize a code blue had been called (your
patient is blue? CODE BLUE!!) though they canceled it once they
realized my pulse had never stopped and I was pretty easy to revive
(just bag me, dammit!)
Tony dumps a
bullet of albuterol solution direct to my trach. The young on-call
doctor is calling an ambulance and calling the number on the "next of
kin" form (my mom) and telling her it could be a pulmonary embolism or
heart attack or stroke. He didn't think someone could be that blue, and
that unconscious for so long, from just a mucous plug, and wanted
people in acute care to rule out serious problems, so off I went to the
ER at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. The ambulance left Roosevelt
Island and all types of tall buildings, complete and incomplete,
Going to Bellevue ER was
rather pointless. The ER doctor said "he's not hypoxic," which was
true, and after that they pretty much ignored me (to focus on patients
who are actual in crisis). . Bellevue is better than USA hospital in
Creighton in Mobile, where gangsters with gunshot wounds bleed beside
you in the waiting room or occasionally wander in and shoot their
friends, but not by much. It is the same genre of place, a "last
resort"-type hospital for the city's uninsured, though it seemed a lot
better funded than USA (most everywhere is). But it's definitely not as
bad as NYPD Blue depicted Bellevue on TV, putting violent people in
cages, etc. (maybe that's upstairs). Some staff were friendly, others,
as my girlfriend put it, had "a false veneer of helpfulness," and lots
of others just ignored me because they were too busy dealing with the
city's drunks, criminals and psychos. The dude across from me drank a
brewery and ran afoul of the law and the NYPD brought him in and
brought him out.
Aside from observing
interesting things like that, spending my day in the Bellevue ER was a
total waste of time. My girlfriend (thank G-d she was there to help me
communicate) and I sat there for eight hours while they did nothing
they couldn't have done here at Coler (an EKG and an x-ray). They can
do this here, and did!
As I returned
to Coler via ambulance, I got a great view of the Empire State Building
from the back window, right before we turned into a tunnel. That was
I was so glad to get back to
my room and the nurses who are familiar with what I need, and very
happy to be alive after all that.
later that night, I did break down psychologically some. It was so
scary, so close to death, so close to losing everything I want so much.
It was too much.
But I am okay now, physically and mentally intact.
Monday, one of the Filipino RNs (insights often come from unexpected places) mentioned I almost died on The Day Of Atonement. "On that day, The Powerful One decides who goes," she said. "You stayed. This is a good omen for the New Year."
I hope that's true.
This is like my hundredth second chance. I feel the pressure. I can't waste this chance, not even for a day.
|AP: Economists see financial bailout as necessary |
It's hardly the soup kitchen for people at the very top.
The chairman of Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld, still has his mansion in Greenwich, CT, his oceanfront estate on Jupiter Island in FL, and his Park Avenue co-op in Manhattan.
at Lehman blame Fuld for dallying while his investment bank went bust,
taking risks with other people's money while he cleared over $40
million in salary and stock in the last year alone.
not be reached for comment by 20/20, but outside the Lehman offices
this week, employees took glee in telling him off in pen on a portrait
"He made a lot of money and he lost a lot of money,"
said Fox business news anchor Alexis Glick, "and he made dramatic
mistakes, mistakes of the highest magnitude."
Glick has been
highly critical of Fuld, feeling the pain in a direct way. She has many
friends at Lehman and her mother worked there for years.
just unbelievably shocking," said Glick, speaking about the devastation
felt by her family and friends. "So they're crying, they're sick, I
mean guys have been telling me they've been throwing up because they
just can't stomach what has happened."
Fuld isn't the only top
executive who remains well-off despite his firm's collapse. Former Bear
Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz collected more than $38 million in salary and
bonuses in the last three years for which figures are available, though
he and Lehman executives also saw their net worths drastically plummet
as stock values crashed. Bear Stearns was on the brink of financial
ruin when JP Morgan Chase bought it in March.
Full article: The Fall of the Gilded Age
IS BAILING OUT LEHMAN REALLY NECESSARY?
Shouldn't we wait until their CEO had to sell one of his three luxury homes before bailing out Lehman?
really seems like we're rewarding these guys instead of letting them
naturally get picked clean and displaced by smarter competitors.
Obviously we do need to do something
to restore confidence in our banking system. I recently overheard
nurses talking about pulling their money out of banks and hiding it at
home (1930s-style) for fear it'd disappear in a bank collapse. That's
how serious the problem is getting. I'm not saying do nothing.
I don't have an issue with helping out banks like IndyMac or Washington
Mutual, but bailing out rich Wall Street investment firms seems a whole
The $700 Billion
financial "bail out" bill seems to be all about providing a soft,
pillowy landing for stupid decision-makers at taxpayer expense. They
keep their three luxury homes, and we pay the price for their idiocy.
And articles like this only highlight the unfairness:
7. Do the Wall Street executives get to keep their bonuses?
Bush Administration says it needs to encourage executives to get their
cooperation, and that clamping down on their pay would only hurt their
willingness to get on board. Critics in both parties say the threat of
the executives' firms going belly-up should ensure their cooperation
regardless of what restrictions are placed on their once golden
parachutes. Mounting pressure from constituents on Main Street is
likely to mean there will be some cap on compensation associated with
the bailout. But corporate America usually finds a way around such
limitations, and there are even legal questions about what kind of
restrictions can be placed on the firms' compensation structures.
Full article: 7 Questions About the $700 Billion Bailout
If this disaster really requires $700 BILLION worth of government intervention, who is paying for it? My first instinct when corporations harm us, is TRUST-BUSTING! And this meltdown is a screw up of unprecedented magnitude, with harm to the public of historic proportions.
Where are the CONSEQUENCES for bad, stupid leadership?
anyone tell me why, as part of this bill, the Treasury Department isn't
seizing CEO yachts and mansions to pay for this debacle? Why is
demanding real consequences worse than paying nearly one trillion
ourselves? We'd rather foot the bill in their stead? WHY??
If these idiotic decisions by Wall Street have no real consequences, and the dumbasses responsible keep their three estates and golden parachutes, no real lessons have been learned, we're basically incentivizing even more stupidity down the line.
And now Congress has weighed in. They are saying:
I'm not saying do nothing. But clearly we have to do something different. The original Paulson plan isn't going to fly. We can't afford a cushy deal for the uber-rich.