Saturday, December 19, 2009

Like Harry Potter

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fela on Colbert

Wednesday, December 16, 2009





Howard Dean: Health Care Bill 'Bigger Bailout for the Insurance Industry Than AIG'
Top Democrat Urges Lawmakers to Kill the Bill and Start Over
By HUMA KHAN and JONATHAN KARL
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2009

President Obama said he likes the Senate health care compromise and wants it passed by Christmas, but he faces a revolt from some liberals who say the health care bill has been gutted to appease insurance companies.
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Gov. Howard Dean responds to the latest push on the health care debate.

"This is a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG," former Democratic National Committee chairman and medical doctor Howard Dean told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today. "A very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all, until 2014, if the bill works.

"This is an insurance company's dream, this bill," Dean continued. "This is the Washington scramble, and I think it's ill-advised."

Dean sent shockwaves when he said Tuesday in an interview with Vermont Public Radio that the removal of the Medicare buy-in means Democrats should just kill the health care bill and start over.

"This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate," Dean said. "Honestly, the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill."
Related
WATCH: Health Care: Will There Be a Deal?
WATCH: Teabaggers Protest on Capitol Hill
WATCH: Obama 'Cautiously Optimistic' on Health Bill

The former Democratic presidential candidate argues that in the rush to pass a health care bill, lawmakers have essentially stripped it of true reforms -- mainly the choices it would give to people -- and given too much to special interest groups and insurance companies, the chief executives of which, Dean says, would get 27 percent of the money Americans contribute.

"We've gotten to this stage ... in Washington where passing any bill is a victory, and that's the problem," Dean said. "Decisions are being about the long-term future of this country for short-term political reasons, and that's never a good sign."

He said he also doesn't see cost-control measures but, rather "a whole bunch of bureaucracies and a lot of promises."

There are some good elements in the current health care bill, Dean said, but "at this point, the bill does more harm than good."

The former Vermont governor said he would suggest using money allocated for community health centers and wellness and prevention programs to help people buy insurance and that less power be transferred into the hands of the private insurance companies.

Dean, who said he believes the bill will pass the Senate, initially supported health care legislation.

"I've been involved in this all along. I put up with a lot of stuff I didn't like because I thought at the end of the day what was good about the bill outweighed what's bad about the bill," Dean said. "I don't believe that anymore."

Democratic leaders in the Senate argue that even without the option of expanding Medicare or providing government-run insurance to compete with the private sector, the bill will still cover millions of uninsured Americans and is worth passing.

"I disagree with Howard Dean," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday in an interview with ABC News. "Howard Dean is a medical doctor. He has to know what it will mean when 30 million Americans are finally going to have health insurance, that peace of mind and protection for the first time in their lives. For many of them, that is a dramatic step forward."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Hundred?!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rules: A Least Common Denominator for Morality.

Rules are like mini political talking points: they don't say much but give us a standard around which to form teams.

Rules, as it turns out, are best when they are (and in) black and white. This saves us from thinking to hard about the cloudy areas they overlook.

Rules give us simple answers to complex issues; they form meaning from the gray.

Best of all: they define boundaries over which we can wage our ethical wars.

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Human beings are complex moral fruit flies, and unless you cut off our arms and legs we don't fit well into boxes.

When we don't have rules determining the rallying cries of our ethical discussions we must continually provide backup information to clarify what we are saying. Even with this information, we will check back regularly - "Do you see where I'm coming from?" - to make sure our fellow conversees are keeping up. When there is a rule attached to the discussion, we do a lot less checking-in. We use short definite phrases like: "It's against the law," "It's a woman's right," "I was first in line!" We don't feel the need to check-in because there is an understanding that whatever we're talking about has exactly two familiar sides. All we're doing then is verbalizing where we stand relative to the standard.

No matter how cumbersome and unrepresentative they may be, we evoke rules, laws and social codes to lend weight to the most basic of our opinions. Despite being a cheap substitute for thought, there is a more dangerous issue at play when you argue from these rigid, codified perspectives. The rules you cite are not specific to your situation and carry their own weight, prejudice and subtext with them wherever they go. Statutory rape, for instance, means something quite different when referring to an incestuous uncle than it does when you're talking about an 18 year old senior in high school dating a 17 year old senior in high school. Rules touch on the theme but in no way get to the heart of the issue.

Please, don't misunderstand me: I'm not a rebel who hates authority and thinks rules are made to be broken. On the contrary, they should be neither obeyed nor disobeyed.

Rules should be politely ignored and substituted with our own morality.

Only then will we be able to have honest discussions about real issues. Only then will see our own hypocrisy reflected in the judgment we have passed on others. Only then will we be forced to evaluate ethical decisions for ourselves instead of turning blind eyes to injustice while falling back on whatever scaffolding was there when we arrived.

It might keep us from confusing ethical laziness with moral virtue.

It might help us see the gray

for gray.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Werewolves


While talking on the phone with my dad last night I heard a funny kind of howl. It was like the coyote song I've been enjoying every night since I moved to The Farm, but this time it was different - closer and more pained. One would call from deep within the woods and another would answer from just outside the old observatory 60 feet from my bedroom window. I walked outside, squinting into the darkness and wondering how close I could get without-

And it howled again, an agonized plea to a full moon too busy pushing a ring of clouds out of its wake to notice. I imagined the shallow pet cemetery in front of the observatory that had been dug up just a few nights previous, revealing the mangled carcass of a long-dead golden retriever. The new caretakers picked up the pieces and reburied what they could, but maybe, maybe those gasping, yelping howls were from that poor old dog just trying to claw its way back to the surface.

What about werewolves? I thought, staring up at the full moon. A werewolf would make the most sense...

And then I realized I hadn't slept in quite some time. So, I backtracked to my porch, found my bed and curled up in a nest of thick sheets. Soon I was elsewhere making my way through world after dreamy world as a great dark wolf with matted hair and yellowed eyes. And everywhere I went, I pleaded in whimpered yelps with the peasants I met along the way that I was not in fact the monster they saw before them but just an old retriever looking for a warm place to sleep.

When I awoke this morning, I remembered I hadn't written anything in quite some time and that it's good to let the crazy out every now and then if only to keep from bursting.

Sleep Tight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Save the Gay Pot-Smokers!

Maine Voters!

Protect the rights of socially minded, earth friendly, gay, pot smokers who don't want their adopted children's education dollars being spent on unnecessary bureaucracy! VOTE: No on 1, Yes on 2, No on 3, No on 4, Yes on 5, Yes on 6, Yes on 7.

Vote early today or tomorrow or head to your poling place for the madness on Wednesday! For a better summary of the Ballot / Issues check out:
http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming.html
or
http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Maine_2009_ballot_measures
(The latter of the two breaks down the measures and lists supporters and opponents on some of the bigger measures.)
... Read More
Happy Voting!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What, more dildo inspired hilarity?

That's right friends, I got such positive and/or awkward feedback from my last post on sex-shop closings and the dildos that suffer that I had to share this bit-o-hilarity from the Daily Show. Enjoy.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ah The News...

RapeNuts

Another proud moment for the Republican Party...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sorry To Hear About Your Dildo


Nice to see the South is still living up to our stereotypical expectations...

This week the Supreme Court voted to uphold Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys to it's citizens. One woman - outraged by the decision - responded,

"They are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand!"

Like "medicinal marijuana," there are certain medical conditions which require the use of devices such as a self-lubricating double-headed vibrating dildo or a tiny semi-translucent french maid outfit. Sex shop patrons presenting with one of the worthy conditions may still purchase items by entering their names and medical conditions on a list at the register - you know the kind of database we use to keep track of controlled substances that could be used to brew meth...



And that's not the worst of it! (Ok, for the lonely postmenopausal widow, that's the worst of it.) Shop owners who push limits of medical necessity - like selling edible underwear along with the prescribed vibrator - can receive a $10,000 fine and up to a year in jail for a first offense!

Other than reaffirming my belief that the Religious Right cares more about their own twisted, repressive social views than the personal freedom they claim to value above all else, what does it all mean? Call me crazy, but men the whole world over fear and systematically repress female sexuality*. This can be through the genital mutilation termed "female circumcision" or by preventing women from purchasing sexually stimulating devices. If anyone thinks I'm over reacting - thinks this legal ruling affects both males and females equally - do a quick Google search with me.

1. Open Google and type in: Alabama Strip Clubs
2. Click on ANY LINK YOU SEE

Or, try buying pornography in Alabama. That is A-OK as well. It seems the only sexual merchandise sold exclusively in the "Sex Shop" are vibrators and dildos - devices used almost exclusively for female and homosexual male stimulation. And I know, I know, there are the inflatable girlfriends and the prosthetic asses that we all can enjoy, but do you see my point?

I think that for the most part the discrimination against women is unconscious (the discrimination against people who like sex is obviously very conscious), but that doesn't get us off the path of systematically and progressively legislating ourselves into a conservative theocracy. We don't protest little violations of our personal freedom because, let's face it, they're little. We've got better things to do with our time than fighting a war over dildos. I mean if someone was fighting a war with dildos we might join in - hell, I'd definitely take a few pictures - but these little slights? Not a chance.

I wonder what Doctor Ruth thinks...





*By female sexuality, I mean a female sexuality. You know, where the female is the subject of the sexual experience. A woman shaking her ass in music video would not qualify as female sexuality in the definition I'm using. I'm not saying that isn't sexual - it's just not how I'm using the term.


References:
Seattle Times
Blog AL.com
Dildo Fight

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Diplomacy.

Neuro is over (I hope) and I'm working my way back into a writing spirit. After this 6 week fast I've got all kinds of fodder, my favorite being a dream I had about aliens taking over my mind! It was a keeper.

My second favorite is a conversation I had with UNE students about parking. Everyone was complaining about looking 20 minutes for a spot every time they drove to campus only to find themselves at the opposite end of wherever they wanted to be. One student suggested commuters each get a designated spot so they always have a reasonably close place to park and never have to search for a spot. Just as quickly another student said that was ridiculous because she wanted to be able to park near the gym some days and the classroom other days and the health center still other days. She would never give up this great freedom of possibilities for the certainty of a good spot every single day. I couldn't help but find an American health care metaphor schmeared all over that discussion.

But...

As I'm not in the writing mood just yet, those stories will have to wait. Today, you get some thoughts on diplomacy.

Enjoy.



Saturday, September 26, 2009

16 Seconds of Community

My Next Sub-par Hulu Addiction:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ze was reading my blog and....

Well, he thought he'd like to chime in on the protest debate. Debate protest?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sorry Jon, your reign could last only so long.

To: Jon Howland; With: Humor

All health care aside, this is some funny shit:
















Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Free Speech for All, Even Douche Bags

Elevating the debate, one sign at a time:








Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bill Clinton on Health Care

Finally, someone is letting out the dirty little secret that America isn't getting what we're paying for. We spend more money on health care than any other country in the world and have worse health outcomes than nearly every developed nation on Earth.

It's only two minutes; have a listen:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Respect (Ze)

And I've always been such a fan of disrespect...


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Assuming it's not all bullshit, I kinda like this guy:

"
Office of the Dean

Biddeford Campus
11 Hills Beach Road
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 602-2340 T
(207) 602-5977 F

September 17, 2009

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine;

I am pleased to have joined the University of New England team and to be a part of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Maine’s medical school has been critical for addressing the primary care and rural health needs of the state, the region and the country. Whether our students choose a primary care or ‘specialty’ care career option, they are assured that their excellent education will give them a solid foundation for professional success.

Throughout the years, our students’ success has been based upon a superb and committed faculty body that has served as both educators and mentors. I am proud to be your dean, and I am proud to be at UNECOM. As with any complex organization…and a university with a medical school is just that…there will always be challenges. I
recognize that fact! And I also recognize that it will take all of our efforts to assure continued success within the University of New England and the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Although my comments are meant to be general in nature, I am actively engaged at this point with the recent issues surrounding University Health Care (UHC). UHC has been an important part of our community, serving the patients in this region, training the next generation of osteopathic physicians and employing some of the finest
and most committed faculty and staff in the state. I am committed to explore all options available for assuring the success of UHC and protecting the complex multi-faceted missions of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of New England. Over the next several weeks, I will work with President Ripich, Dr. Pezzullo, Nancy Kiernan, MBA, Larry Turner, Dr. Bates and other internal and external leaders within the health care community to develop an appropriate solution. My goal is to identify a solution that assures: 1. Quality services
and continuity for our patients; 2. Excellence in medical education (including those uniquely Osteopathic Principles); and 3. Ongoing commitment to our loyal faculty and staff. But I will need everyone’s assistance
(faculty, staff and student alike) in maintaining the same high level of patient centric care, medical and health related student education and staff morale as we work to develop a model for the future.

These are challenging times for health care in this country. However, the University of New England, with its renowned College of Osteopathic Medicine; its rapidly growing College of Health Professions and the new College of Pharmacy is well positioned to impact the health and health care for the state of Maine, New England and the nation. In my other role as Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, I will work closely with Dean Ward, Dean Kay, Provost Carter and President Ripich to advance the university’s health mission in all arenas, both public and private. Thank you again for your commitment to the University of New England and our College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Yours Truly,

Marc B. Hahn, DO
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and
Dean, College of Osteopathic Medicine
University of New England
"

Just a Stall...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ok, A Few Shots...

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Nerdy Space Photography

Too sleepy and neuro-y to upload shots from the rally. In lieu of those images, check these out:




The kid in me likes the colors and the wonder!

The adult in me wonders if the colors represent atomic wavelengths or the Doppler effect!

(A few more Hubble masterpieces here.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

UNECOM Rally -- Medical Students and Osteopathic Physicians

.
Hey! I hacked onto this laptop I found in the library and saw this satire and ice thing opened up! The owner was writing something about respect for authority and the dangers of communism, but I said, "To hell with that!" I'm going to post something that totally goes against what this guys stands for and that he would never condone. Ha! I bet he'll be mad when he finds out, because he never approved this message!

from,

Theiving Library Computer Guy Who Happens To Be a White Female and Not A Teenager


Dear UNECOM Students:
For those of you that are concerned about the current state of the University and the College of Osteopathic Medicine, a group of D.O.'s and myself have been organizing a gathering (so-called "rally") to be held AT 2PM THIS SATURDAY THE 12TH OF SEPTEMBER at Monument Square in Portland (Downtown District). We already have a very large number of practicing D.O.'s showing up, many of whom are your preceptors, professors and health care providers! We were discussing the importance of student involvement in showing support for osteopathic medicine and it was decided that students are wanted (and are needed!) to come to the demonstration to stand side-by-side practicing D.O.'s and be very frank about the goings-on in UNECOM recently. This event will be covered by the media and is sure to make quite the impact.

I will be the student contact person - please email me at my NON-UNE email address (for obvious reasons): RMSmith8@gmail.com. If interested in making posters and materials for the rally, let me know, and I will put you in contact with the D.O. that is leading this up (who all of you guys know). Do note that I am on a rotation now with long hours, and will most likely only respond in the evening.

Again, the rally will be at 2PM, this weekend-Saturday, Monument Square, Portland. If you need a ride, let me know, and perhaps myself or a volunteer can form a so-called "caravan" to get you to Portland. A physical outpouring of support is essential - so please consider attending. The Board is meeting on MONDAY the 14th now - so time is of the essence!

If you will be in attendance -- please send me an email at the ABOVE GMAIL address -- as we need roughly accurate counts.

I am meeting with this group of D.O.'s tomorrow early AM - so will have more to pass on about this at that time.

Any questions, please give me an email -- RMSMith8@gmail.com.

All the best,

Ryan M Smith, OMS-IV
Past Student Trustee, UNE Board of Trustees

Socialism

Yeah yeah, it's not his finest work, but at least it distracts you long enough to keep you from scrolling down. Enjoy.




---
Jonathan Story has no official opinion about health care, reformed or otherwise. As a Republican he has never been sick himself or known anyone who was sick.

The Official Song of Healthcare Reform

Please note: The Official Song of Healthcare Reform was written as a satirical commentary on the national health care debate and not about the 20,000 patients who will lose their health care with the closure of UHC this November.



Don't Leave Us Behind (The Official Song of Healthcare Reform... - Click here for more home videos

PS.

I know satire is largely unprofessional, but come on: At least you're glad I'm not this guy, right?
Now there's a way to embarrass an institution and ruin a gunner's chance at a competitive orthopedics residency, right?! :-P*












*Now that's how you emoticon! See, my smiley came with a wry grin and a tongue deviating left on protrusion. Even if - after the multiple links to the placebo journal, the use of hyperbole and the dueling punctuation at the end of the statement - you were still wondering about my intent, little Sarcastic Sammy was there to set you straight.

Happy Typing!

---

Jonathan Story has no official opinion about health care, reformed or otherwise. As a Republican he has never been sick himself or known anyone who was sick.

University of New England Closes Health Clinics

Patients using six community health clinics run by the University of New England appear to have been left out of the loop, and in the lurch, on the impending closure of University Health Care services.

University officials have remained mostly silent on the reasons to close the clinics in Biddeford, Saco and Portland on Nov. 2. The university reached a memorandum of understanding on Aug. 14 with Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford that may lead to the continuation of some services provided by the clinic. But where this leaves patients is unknown at this point.

While staff learned in August about the closures, patients are only learning about the situation through media reports. Rose St. Onge of Saco saw her doctor Monday and was told nothing.

"I was there last night," St. Onge said. "They said zip. I'm ticked off. I finally found a doctor I like. I finally found a doctor my son likes. Some notice, other than in a newspaper story, would have been appreciated. You do want to be on a good rapport with your customers."

St. Onge and her 14-year-old son have been using University Health Care for the past three or four years. She would like to continue seeing her doctor in the future but is unsure if that will be possible.

"This is above and beyond. I have to shop for a new doctor now. My attitude is I want to wait and see. But I can't," she said.

University Health Care is a community service of the university and its College of Osteopathic Medicine, offering health care for patients of all ages in the six clinics and two student health centers. The university's statement indicates the student health centers on the Portland and Biddeford campuses will remain open but it is uncertain who will operate the student health centers.

The clinics are located on Beach Road in Biddeford, Forest Avenue in Portland and Main Street in Saco.

Calls to University Health Care clinics were referred to Director of Marketing and Communications Kathleen Taggersell, who did not answer questions after releasing the statement Tuesday afternoon. Medical Director Christopher Pezzullo was not in his office Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

The only potential indication St. Onge noticed was when her doctor had reduced her office hours to two days a week recently but did not give a reason.

"Over the past few years, it has become clear that it is not feasible for UNE to continue to operate UHC in its current form," read a press statement released on Tuesday. Senior university officials were at a conference in Boothbay and could not be reached for comment on whether the decision was financially based.

"Our decision to cease operation of UHC in its current form did not come easily, and we certainly appreciate the impact of this announcement on UHC's 82 employees and the community we serve," the statement reads.

The talks between the university and Southern Maine Medical Center have centered on providing services once the clinics close and enhancing the existing relationship between the two entities.

"We have had a long relationship with UNE," Southern Maine Medical Center Vice President of Community Relations and Development Sue Hadiaris said. "We are both working as quickly as we can. We realize they have established a time constraint of Nov. 2. If we had a longer period of time, we could look at alternatives for providing each of their services."

Hadiaris said the review of University Health Care services has just begun. Hospital officials are reviewing each service to see if they fit within the hospital's mission and, more importantly, its resources.

"We do understand the uncertainties that are out there," she said. "We are mindful of the situation patients, physicians and other professional providers are in."

"While no decisions have been made, we are hopeful that some or many of the services will be offered under SMMC after Nov. 2," the statement reads. "It is early in the process and active discussions with SMMC are under way."

Hospital trustees are expected to decide Oct. 5 whether the center can take on some of the services being provided by the clinics.

"UNE and SMMC will keep current UHC providers and staff informed as soon as decisions are made," the statement reads. "We are hopeful that many of the service lines and employees will benefit from these discussions and that our educational programs will be enhanced, as well. As discussions proceed in the coming weeks, it is UNE's hope that we will be able to announce a continuation of some or all of the UHC services, through another model. UNE students will continue to gain valuable professional experiences at numerous outstanding clinical campuses and affiliates throughout the Northeast with whom we have partnered for many years."

---

Article quoted from keepmecurrent.com:

(http://www.keepmecurrent.com/news/local/article_f7c0278e-9742-11de-ad7a-001cc4c03286.html)

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Jonathan Story has no official opinion about health care, reformed or otherwise. As a Republican he has never been sick himself or known anyone who was sick.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Samoans Swinging Southpaw

Samoa becomes the first country in almost 40 years to pull a Rocky I this late in the game.

Let's watch!