Thursday, July 23, 2009

America's Wars: How Serial War Became the American Way of Life

Well said. As a veteran who is disabled, I once believed the lies, (This was years ago, but it is a never-ending pattern in American politics, and government.) and was naive to the reality staring me right in the face. I've changed over the last 30 years, and I question everything. It has been so sad over the 8 years in particular, because of my stance against these wars, that I, I have been looked at as unpatriotic, and a traitor. I live in Wyoming, so people of my ilk are frond upon, and a small minority. Lincoln once said, "To stand in silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men." So, I have dealt with many wilsonveteran's for years, and even my early letters to the editor in our local paper have come to fruition. I have become cynical about what our government does on many levels, and I believe we as a country need to question them more often, with greater intensity, and with more force. Americans need to be more open-minded, more educated and informed about our government, and stop listening to the meme produced by them, and repeated back to others as if they were a parrot.

Thanks for your post Austintatious.
About Vietnam
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Help keep wolves out of harms way, Or, Beware of Governor Otter!

Today, the Defenders of Wildlife, filed suit in federal court to challenge the terrible rule that removes vital protections for wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies.

We (We meaning me and Defenders of Wildlife) have a tough legal fight ahead, but our work to save the lives of wolves doesn’t start -- or stop -- at the courthouse doors.

America's wolves were nearly eradicated in the 20th century. Now, after a remarkable recovery in parts of the country, wolves are once more in grave peril.

In Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies-
On March 6th, 2009, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the Bush Administration's discredited plan to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana -- a decision that could lead to the deaths of more than 1,000 wolves! Take action now to save wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies...

In Alaska-
More than 900 wolves in Alaska have been killed by aerial gunning since 2003, and Governor Palin is pushing to kill even more wolves this year using aerial gunning, poison gas and snares.

In the Southwest-
Misinformation and anti-wolf sentiment runs high, with the few remaining wolves in Arizona and New Mexico at risk of extinction. With only two breeding pairs of Mexican wolves left in the wild, we need sensible, science-based wolf management to ensure the “lobo” will survive -- and thrive -- in the wilds of the Southwest.

While extremists in the region like Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition’s Ron Gillette would rather see wolves dead, Defenders of Wildlife is working on the ground in the region to keep wolves alive.

For more than 10 years, Defenders has been the primary conservation organization working with ranchers on the ground to keep wolves away from livestock -- and out of harm’s way.

Wolf depredations are rare, accounting for less than 1% of livestock losses each year. But when livestock is lost, it could mean certain death for a wolf -- or even an entire pack.

With the fate of our wolves in the hands of state officials like Idaho Governor "Butch" Otter, our wolf-saving programs on the ground are especially critical to save their lives right now.

Defenders, in cooperation with ranchers, biologists and federal land managers, has developed several effective, non-lethal strategies to prevent needless wolf deaths.

Turbo fladry -- a simple red flag system of fencing -- keeps wolves out of sheep pastures. Range riders -- modern day cowboys -- ride along with herds, keeping them safe. Guard dogs stay with livestock and keep wolves away. These and other techniques paid for by Defenders are working today to prevent livestock losses and keep wolves alive.

Defenders of Wildlife is working on-the-ground with ranchers, biologists and federal land managers to save the lives of wolves. These non-lethal methods are keeping wolves away from livestock -- and out of harm's way. To support these and other efforts, please visit

And let's not forget Wyoming just filed suit because they feel that wolves in Wyoming should be taken off the endangered species list in Wyoming because they feel their plan, for all of Wyoming's 300+ wolves will work. But their plan is based on myths and ignorant propaganda. In Wyoming, where percentage wise, ranchers are over represented on the state level. Less then 5% of Wyoming's GDP is from agri-biz, which includes ranching, and tourism is only second to energy as far as our GDP is concerned. And tourists want to see ? Yes, the answer is wolves. But these fools, like Governor Freundenthal(D) want to list wolves as predators so they can be slaughter in 95% of the state. What is wrong with this wolf management plan? The foxes are in the hen house!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Former Iraq Interrogator Dismantles Cheney's Argument

Matthew Alexander--who writes at VetVoice as Major Matthew--spent some time last week deconstructing former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims about torture.

Dick Cheney says that torturing detainees has saved American lives. That claim is patently false. Cheney's torture policy was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of American servicemen and women.

Matthew Alexander was the senior military interrogator for the task force that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq and, at the time, a higher priority target than Osama bin Laden. Mr. Alexander has personally conducted hundreds of interrogations and supervised over a thousand of them.

"Torture does not save lives. Torture costs us lives," Mr. Alexander said in an exclusive interview at Brave New Studios. "And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool...These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse....literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives."

Sound off at

Here's the clip:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day by daisysalter

Memorial Weekend is not just the “beginning of summer” as it has unfortunately become trumpeted in the media and advertising. This is no more clearly indicated than in the chirpy, but oxymoronic greeting, “Happy Memorial Day!” all over the media, Twitter, and even in local communities. People wishing others a “Happy Memorial Day!” do not mean...

read more | digg story

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rick Scott, who helped fund the Swift Boat campaign, now attacks healthcare reform.

Rick Scott, the man behind Conservatives for Patients Rights is uncovered in this ad by HCA.

If one goes to CPRights website, Rick Scott's bio is missing some important parts, which are shown here. But it is the wolf in sheeps clothing that Scott is now using for his latest campaign. He doesn't give a rats' ass about patient rights, as he is more interested in the corporate healthcare profits, something so near and dear to his heart. He is a fraud, but the un and under-educated amongst us, i.e. teabaggers, right-winged fanatics, etc, will buy into his misinformation as they are too f&%king stupid to do the research for themselves. Lemmings going over the cliff comes to mind.

From HuffPo, Firedoglake, and Think Progress.

Check it out for yourself.

From Health Care for America:

Health Care for America Now (HCAN) the nations largest health care campaign launched a new television ad today detailing anti-reform front man Rick Scotts dubious past in the health care industry. The former CEO of Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America was forced to resign in 1997, and Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines and penalties the largest fraud settlement in US history. The hospital corporation pleaded guilty to a litany of criminal and civil charges including lying to the government about how sick patients were so they could collect larger fees.

Now Scott is using his own personal fortune amassed during those years to attack President Obamas health care proposals with false claims and recycled scare tactics. Scott formed a group called Conservatives for Patients Rights and is advertising on national cable outlets like CNN and Fox. While some press have mentioned Scotts past in covering his new multimillion dollar ad push, too many continue to ignore the agenda behind the expenditure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Liz Cheney Defends Dad On MSNBC (VIDEO)

All I can say is WOW! She is so wrong in so many ways, and has a severe case of amnesia. Does anyone remember how it was 6-7 years ago when you spoke out against the war? You are either with us or against us! You were anti-American/terrorist if you questioned what the Bush/cheney administration said or did. The media/journalists (MSM) were a no-show for most of the early days, except for a select few, Now Liz wants the media/journalists to do their job. She has also stuck with the old talking points about the war, (Along with revisionist history.) and still doesn't get it that the memos didn't divulge any interrogation secrets, as we already knew what was going on, but not the extent. We didn't know exactly how the process started exactly, but we knew about the water-boarding. And Joe S. is such an ignorant little man, sucking up to his faultering deity. And at the end, when ask about the radio-pundits, and how she wouldn't comment about their statements, I think Mika said yeah there are a few good ones out there, and ole' Liz gleefully mentions Rush. There are some serious mental health issues happening here, and it is scary. I apologize to those who may have mental health issues, (Myself included.) as I didn't mean to disparage you when I used Cheney for comparison, and as an example.
About Dick Cheney
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Security Blanket: How Social Security Can Save Us All- MoJo

This is an excellent article about our current economic crisis, and how it relates to Social Security. As a Social Security Recipient, living on SSDI, (Although I live on less then the average stated by $2000.00.) I understand the importance of this program for me, and many more I know, including my parents.

read more | digg story

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bat For Lashes - Daniel (HD) 2009

Single from the group Bat for Lashes called Daniel taken from the forthcoming album 'Two Suns'. I liked it, but that's just me. Interesting video.

read more | digg story

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Save the Wolves! From the Media?

"WOLVES AT LARGE: - CASPER AREA" That was the Lead story on April 22, 2009 during the 5pm, 6pm, and 10pm news @ K2TV, Casper, Wyoming-

From KTWO on April 22, 2009 (Earth Day)-



First of all, in Wyoming, wolves are a big, no make that a huge and passionate issue, because they live here, and some of us have plans for them to stay for a very long time. The facts are unimportant in this story, just emotions, and hearsay. As the rancher said, "I got friends that live up in the Jackson area, in that area, and they've seen what it's done to the elk, and the population up there, and we don't want to see that." Not mentioned were the non-lethal ways of predator control, or the fact that domestic dogs kill more cattle then wolves. Nor were the specifics this rancher was talking about, just inflaming generalizations. I did e-mail this reporter, Briana Bermensolo with facts related to wolves, both the pro and the con. But no, they have to hop on the fearmongering bandwagon, and produce a bias, and partial story. This is what they call journalism these days. How sad, both for the students who don't learn how to be impartial, but also include there own, or playing to their audience's bias! Facts no longer matter. And Briana says at the end, "If you see wolves on your property, call the Fish and Wildlife Service." WHY? Are they escaped prisoners from Gitmo, or the state prison in Rawlins? Why not get your camera, and take a picture of these beautiful animals?

Wyoming's Wolf Recovery Plan:

Wyoming Plan Summary-

Wyoming’s wolf management plan is a significant departure for wildlife management in the state because it was created by elected officials in the legislature rather than wildlife biologists at the state’s Game and Fish Department. The current plan divides Wyoming into two different zones. In 88 percent of the state, known as the "predator zone," wolves are considered varmints and can be killed by anyone, at any time, by nearly any means. In the remaining 12 percent of the state—the northwestern corner—wolves are considered to be trophy game animals and are subject to management by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

In addition, the state law grants private citizens broad latitude to kill wolves in "defense of private property," which could jeopardize wolf population numbers. What Could Be Improved The Wyoming plan is based on politics, not science, and needs to be reworked by the state’s game officials. We would like to see Wyoming adopt a similar approach to Montana’s—managing wolves like other native game species, rather than varmints to be shot on site.

Federal courts agree. A recent judicial ruling reinstating endangered species status criticized these elements of Wyoming’s plan. The federal government has since retracted its delisting rule and Wyoming is starting over with a new plan.

-From the Western Wolf Coalition- @

One of the greatest threats to wolves are human's fears and misunderstandings about the species. There are many fairy tales and myths that tend to misrepresent wolves as villainous, dangerous creatures. Wolves are responsible for less than 1% of ALL livestock kills, but that doesn't stop the media, i.e.- K2TV (KTWO) out of Casper, Wyoming from airing a story about wolves, and the great "wolf scare" going on here in support of Wyoming ranchers, conservative politics, hunters, outfitters, uninformed reporters, etc.

Wolves and all wildlife need to be protected, and all this misinformation and myths need to be addressed. And the media needs to be a little more impartial, specifically here in Wyoming, because playing to one audience does not make for sound and good journalism!

Ms. Stone from Defenders of Wildlife said, ""Today for example there are probably hundreds of sheep and cattle that have died from dogs, coyotes and a number of other species, but only the wolves are going to make the news,"

And from "My Yellowstone Wolves Blog"- "As the WY story states that wolves (not seen but assumed) killed on "private" property, perhaps we homeowners should begin reporting when their cattle wander onto our private property and do damage. Is there reciprocity? If they can shoot wolves, can we shoot their cattle? They (their wandering cows) are, after all, damaging our property and causing us a bunch of money." - susangeez

For more info, check out this link:,_gray.php

Also From Defenders of Wildlife-

Wolf Predation Plays Small Role in Livestock Losses in 2005-

1. In the continental U.S., health issues such as respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving complications and disease were overwhelmingly the most significant causes of cattle death in 2005.

2. Only 0.11% of all cattle losses were due to wolf predation in 2005.

3. Coyotes killed more than 22 times more cattle than wolves killed that year.

4. Domestic dogs killed almost 5 times as many cattle, and vultures killed almost twice as many cattle as wolves did in 2005.

5. Theft was responsible for almost 5 times as many cattle losses as were lost by wolf predation.

6. Predation by coyotes was the largest cause of sheep loss in 2005, accounting for 23% of all losses, followed by health problems & weather-related issues.

7. In states with wolf populations, an average of less than 2.5% of sheep loss was due to predation by wolves in 2005.

We all need to work this out, as it is not totally a black and white issue, rather it has tons of gray area, and it all needs to be addressed. And it is not only for the wolves sake, but in the end, for the sake of humanity!

Friday, April 17, 2009

What's up with NOM and Stephen Colbert?

Stephen Colbert just cracks me up at times. This is one of them. I am still confused how their freedom (The folks from NOM?) will be taken away. These folks are just prejudice and bigoted homophobes, not confident of their own sexuality. If you study the Implicit Project from Harvard, they talk about and have studied our deep-seat biases, prejudices, fears and hatreds. These folks from NOM, the National Organization for Marriage really do need a higher power to teach them about love, and not hatred! AMEN!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Monday, March 2, 2009

Drinking from the Cylindrical Trough! (No Kool-Aid Here!)

Buddy de Cat drinking from the cylindrical trough!

Tomorrow is the big day, although it is still only a 24 hour day, but a big day nonetheless. I am flying down to Florida for a month of R and R from the bitterly cold, and windy winters that blanket Wyoming for a majority of the year. To be honest though, since I have moved here 18 years ago, things have gotten considerably milder over the last 6-8 years.

Although I lived in Florida for almost 11 months from August 2002 through July 2003, it wasn't for R and R. It was more like a geographic cure, at least sub-consciously, if not consciously. What I said was I was selling my house here in Wyoming to be near my folks, who were getting up there in years, and being the prodigal son, and it was my duty. What I was really doing was escaping my addictions, or so I thought, and leaving my wild and sorted past here in the Equality State. I'm an alcoholic, and have bi-polar disorder, neither of which I was addressing back in 2002, or 2001 or for many years for that matter. In 2001 I did something foolish, and illegal, and ended up on probation for 5 years. Yes, it was a biggie, because I could have ended up at the state prison in Rawlins for 3-5 years. That would have sucked.

So, off to Florida I went, and I remember clearly saying to myself that I would not drink when I got there, and screw things up like I did here in Wyoming, or any other place I've lived in the past 30 odd years. But there was one minor thing I forgot to do. I forgot to go to AA, or any type of aftercare group, or see a mental health specialist, and didn't do anything for the depression, which I had been diagnosed with for the last 27 years, (No doctor bothered to do a complete inventory of my entire life's history up until I came back to Sheridan, and entered the VA Hospital in July 2003. Doctors Anup Sidhu, and Victor Ashear were the first to actually figure out I was bi-polar, and since then my life has done a 180, but there is a lot of work I have to do to help maintain that fact. Thank you doctors!) so I was a ticking time bomb. Everything started to really unwind in March 2003, with me just walking out of my job, and drinking to oblivion everyday. It was to ease the mental and physical pain. The physical pain, as I found out later had to do with severe spinal cord compression at C-5 and C-6, and other neurological issues, including a brain tumor.

My attempt to establish myself as a sane and productive member of the community, and a loving and caring prodigal son was a failure. An utter disaster to say the least. But the worm was beginning to turn.

I came back to Wyoming in July of 2003 via a Greyhound bus. I came back because I could get help here, and I felt save here. I was a complete embarrassment to my family, but what else was new? Nothing changes if nothing changes. I left my dog Bear with a neighbor who said he would watch him while I was in the hospital. That also turned out to be a disaster. I miss Bear a lot, and I hope he can forgive me someday.

Bear at his 3rd Birthday Party!

So that brings me to tomorrow, and my flight to Florida to see my folks, and watch some spring baseball. This is the 4th year I have done this. The first time in March of 2006 was 10 months after I moved out of an assisted living facility in Buffalo, Wyoming. Some know it as the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home, but now a days it is called the Veterans' Home of Wyoming. It is a state run facility, but it gets a majority of it's funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA. I spent almost a year and a half there, after an almost 6 month stay at the VA Hospitals in Sheridan, WY and Denver.

The first time I went down to Florida, post Florida fiasco, was in 2006, I had saved up some money from my birthday in October, and Christmas of the previous year. The following years I was given the plane ticket as a Christmas present from my folks. I think they realized how poor, in money that is, not spirit, I was. I am extremely grateful for their kind and generous gift. And each year, my stays get longer and longer. The first year I was down there 2 1/2 weeks, and this year it's 4 weeks. This year we have new kink, as my dad just had back surgery about 2 weeks ago, as he had to wait till their trip to NY for Christmas, and cruise to Hawaii at the end of January, and beginning of February was over. He is walking with a walker most of the time, and I think he thinks his recovery would have progressed quicker then it has so far. This is because every morning he would do his 2-4 mile walk, and then maybe a couple of miles on the treadmill. He is not a patient man. So this should be interesting.

But I am looking forward to this visit. I am also looking forward to visiting the different AA groups I have attended during these visits. I was known as Buffalo Bill to some of them, but seeing as I now live in Sheridan, who knows what nickname they will come up with.

That brings me to Buddy de Cat, or Nature Cat, whichever you prefer. Just a month after getting out of the Veterans Home, in June of 2005, my good friend Stan moved up to Buffalo from Laramie WY. He had been downsized from WYO Tech in 2003, around the same time I went into the hospital. He had lived off unemployment for awhile, then off savings, but couldn't find a job. So, before they foreclosed on his house, he was able to sell it, and thought of moving to Sheridan, where we both had lived in the 1990's. But, while on a road trip to Sheridan, he stopped by to visit me, and saw they had applications for apartments in the lobby, so he got one, and applied for an apartment, which he got with no problem.

Stan is a good hearted man, but like me, he may have an issue with John Barleycorn, but that is something he has to decide. Anyhow, when he moved to Buffalo, into the same apartment building as me, they only allowed residents to have one pet, either cat or dog. He had 2 cats. Lucky, a completely black semi-long haired cat is about 11 and a 1/2 years old now. I gave him to Stan as a birthday gift back in 1997 as a kitten, when we were housemates. And then there is Buddy de Cat. He is a domestic short-haired, and he is about 10 years old now. So, he asked me if I could watch Buddy until he got a place where he could have 2 cats. His timeline was about 6 months until he would get another place, maybe up in Sheridan, (More job opportunities.) or in Buffalo. Well, one thing led to another, and Stan is still in the same apartment, and working in Buffalo, running the city's recycling center. And I'm still cat-sitting Buddy de Cat. So, now, every time I have to go somewhere, whether an extended trip to the Denver VA Hospital, or trips to NY for Christmas, or Florida in March to see my folks. That means he is cat-sitting his cat which I've been cat-sitting for the last 3 and 1/2 years. Thank God for good friends, even if they are just cat-sitting their cat.

Bon voyage, and chat when I return from Florida, or maybe sooner if my dad lets me use his computer, (That is if he gets better, and goes back to his old routine of being on the computer a lot, mainly playing video games like solitaire, or Monopoly, or whatever!) so I can make some entries. We'll see, but it doesn't matter either way for me, as I'm going down there to spend time with my folks. But I do have some Fantasy Baseball live drafts I have to participate in, as does my dad, but he only has one team to pick.

Buddy has taken his last drink from the cylindrical trough today, at least for the next month. Ciao!

Buddy de Cat giving us a BIG Yawn!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Military Working Dogs Tribute!

After watching a tribute to Military Working Dog Handlers I found this video, which I found interesting, along with the music. I was a Military Working Dog Handler when I was in the U.S. Air Force in the late 70's to early 80's. We didn't have Dobermans though. We had mostly German Shepards and Shepard mixes, along with some Labrador Retrievers, and dogs they called bio-dogs, dogs they bred with special skills and abilities. My dog was a German Shepard/Collie Mix, and his name was Mac, so I use to call him "Mac the Knife". He was a great dog. Being a dog handler probably rated as the best job I ever had. I mean the part when I was working with the dogs, because the humans were the ones that I had some issues.

The above pictures are of Mac. He looks vicious, doesn't he?

This is me and Mac back in 1978.

My training last about 5 months, and was at Medina Annex at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX. I was then stationed at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, near Shreveport/Bossier City. I volunteered to go overseas on a regular basis, but you know the military, they sent people who didn't want to go. Go figure! But I really loved working with the dogs.

At a break during dog school.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Equality State shows it's True Grit!

The Equality State done itself proud, in a rare break from it's normal ultra-conservative reputation. Although it wasn't totally liberating, they didn't take 2 steps backwards.

This year, in Wyoming's 60th Legislative Session, House Joint Resolution 17, also known as the "Defense of Marriage" resolution, failed by a vote of 35-25. If it had passed, it would have put on the ballot for a state constitutional amendment to be put to the voters of the state. That will not happen this year, but I don't see the issue as a dead one. Becky Vandeberghe, who is chairwoman or chairperson to be politically correct, of WyWatch Family Institute, a Wyoming based group that lobbies in support of legislation that promotes the "Sanctity of Marriage" and other narrow-minded "Let's control all the state's social issues by our own warped sense of reality" issues, called Friday's vote a "grave injustice." Oh yes, it was a truly grave injustice, but for whom? Is Becky not comfortable with her own morality and sexuality?

"The elitist legislators decided not to accurately represent the people of Wyoming, and we certainly do hope that their constituents will take a look at their voting record and keep track of it for the election in 2010," said Vandeberghe, who promised to push for similar legislation in the future. Oh no, she made a promise for more misguided political theater.

Becky, that sounded like a threat to me! Oh Becky, what are we going to do with you? Mr. Dobson might be looking for a new protege, hay?

Although it didn't pass the House, it does not mean same-sex marriages can be legally done here, because Wyoming law already stipulates that only marriages between a man and woman are valid, but the law also requires the state to recognize valid unions performed in other states. That was the part that the right wanted to change, the part where "the state recognizes valid unions performed in other states". That was how they were going to defend marriage, by giving a religious, or their religious definition to a legal civil union. How they think it will defend there own narrow-minded concept of marriage is beyond me. How are they really threatened? Is it a physical threat? Verbal? Sexual? Moral? A threat to their self-esteem and self-worth? I don't know? I give up!

The resolution sponsor, Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, said, "It's my opinion that voters should be allowed to express their opinion on this social issue, and not leave the matter to the courts or some other source,"
Rep. Petersen stated he was inundated with tons of letters in support of the resolution, (I would truly like to see the tons of letters myself.) and he pointed to a private study (And I'd like to see that private study too.) that he said showed overwhelming support for the amendment among members of the Wyoming public.

Petersen said, "It is a society policy decision that needs to be done." No, it is a decision that wants to impose your moral/religious standards on everyone else. Separation of church and state comes to mind here.

Something that is forgotten by legislators, both on a state and national level, and many citizens, is the question, what is a democracy or a republic?

We have heard for many years that we are a "democracy". This was not the vision of our founding fathers, as they saw democracy as another form of tyranny. The word “democracy” appears no where in our Constitution, or “The Declaration of Independence”. We are a constitutional republic. These words are not interchangeable, but over time, semantic inattentiveness has caused us to use these words way too loosely. Our founding fathers would be deeply saddened by both our laziness, and our lack of comprehension of the differences.

So you are probably thinking now, “What is the difference between a democracy and a republic form of government?” In a republic form of government, there is rule of law, and the law can protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. All of its citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. The government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. The framers' vision of a republic contrast with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that visualized under a republican form of government, rights are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be revoked by the government. In a democracy, the majority rules, meaning that there are no protections for minority rights. Whatever the majority wants rules the day.

Chalk up one for the good guys, at least for now. Until tomorrow, Ciao!

Treason? Maybe!

What has been going on in Congress the last few weeks by the Republican minority is down right treason and perfidy. They do not hold the interests of the American people as a high priority. Their attempts to solidify their new image as the party of small government, less spending and tax cuts has been echoed across the TV box, Internet, and every format possible. And then I thought, wait a second, maybe they have stopped taking their medication for their mental illness, that being Narcissistic Ego-Maniacal Bi-Personality Disorder, or NEMBO. Some of the symptoms are thinking you are Dean Martin, and maintaining a constant tan, drink Martinis (Or whatever the drink du juor is.) and smoking cigarettes with those long filters. One also has a diminished sense of reality, and view everything from their psychotic alternate universe. And what is black is white, and vice-a-versa. They are also compulsive liars, and seek attention while discussing their lies and misinformation, (i.e.-FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and on and on.) and the MSM obliges them, and never questions their misinformation. Hallucinations are quite common, as are feelings of grandeur. There are many, many more, and they will be completing a new separate edition of DSM-VIIEX (EX- Extended Addition) to just cover this particular mental illness.

Congressman Boehner has been one of many in the lead, with statements ranging from, when he manipulated it to his advantage, a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services, and called it a plan to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives.” (It is very depressing that Johnny's egg and sperm donors were not afforded the option of using contraceptives prior to them meeting up.) Or when he exclaimed, "Oh my God" in reference to the size of the stimulus plan. The quotes and comments from the right are far to many to list here, but they all had the same goals. They wanted to rile up their base with misinformation, focus on small parts of the plan, making them out to be what the whole plan is about, cry about government spending contrary to what they have done over the last few decades, starting with Reagan, and his massive defense spending. And again, they claimed the panacea of their tax-cut agenda, and how that will be the be all and end all of all our problems, again contrary to the history of this tax-cut philosophy. And they were prepared with a massive PR campaign, filling the air-waves with their ignorance and propaganda. And yet, they acted like they were dumber then a box of rocks when it came to them trying to understand that spending on many of the projects and programs that they cherry-picked and accused as waste, could create jobs. I just scratched my head (It is kind of raw and tender now.) every time I heard them say they couldn't understand how such and such was stimulus. I was and am baffled to no end. I thought, they really can't be that dumb, could they? Then I remembered who they were playing to, their un and under-educated base.

These wingnuts are holding the country hostage, and it needs to end now. All their arguments are of a strawman nature, and their huffing and puffing will only cause oxygen loss to our country, and the well-being of millions and millions of Americans. I understand that the Stimulus Plan is not the end all, and be all for our economy recovering, and that there are many, many factors that need to be addressed. But we have to start somewhere, and do this fast.

Our country is like a heart attack patient, laying on the operating table, who also has suffered a serious, life-threatening wound to his/her femoral artery, and the docs are trying to figure out what to do. There is one group (Group 1) who are trying to not only stop the bleeding, but also jolting the heart back to life. Then there is this other group (Group 2, AKA-McConnell, McCain, McHamburglar, etc, etc.) of docs who figure they can put a band-aid on the leg wound, and have one of there own take the 2 "AA" batteries out of his Walkman, (And he is a little pissed that he has to do that, because he was right in the middle of listening to a song from the Wizard of Oz that talks about, "If I only had a Brain...") and just places them on the operating table. That's it. Not the best plan that I can see. The docs in Group 1 have also hooked up an IV, transfusing blood back into our patient, along with all the monitoring machines. They have all the associated specialist standing by, brain-storming, discussing the next possible steps, like by-pass surgery, rehab, diet changes for the patient, monitoring cholesterol, and all the options for a recovery program. Group 2 keeps telling the first group that their plan will work because one of their members is the sole surviving member of Heaven's Gate, a Church that is an American UFO religion and formerly led by Marshall Applewhite. And this doc still believes, as do his co-horts in the theory of Intelligent Design and travel to other dimensions (i.e.- hallucinations). And that is what they are basing their medical decisions on! Oh boy, are we in trouble.

While this is all happening, the docs in Group 1 are willing to do whatever it takes to get it done, and Group 2 is obstructing them at every turn. I think now is the time to get them out of the operating room, and quickly. But Group 1 decides they can negotiate with these noodle heads, and in the process threatening the life of the patient on the table. But all Group 2 is doing is running around the hospital, and community yelling that Group 1 doesn't want to listen to their hair-brained ideas. Tantrums and fits are the order of the day, and they are scaring the community, and the docs in Group 1, and they are now second guessing their decisions. Oh my, oh my, are we in a conundrum or what? So, what would you do? And we can't forget the Hippocratic Oath, and to do no harm! Oops, group 2 forgot about the damn oath, but then again, I don't think they ever took it.

I am now back to treason. I know that is a harsh work, but just look at the facts. Treason can be defined as adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Well the enemies are depression, economic collapse, homelessness, personal disaster, both of a financial and personal nature, and are also affecting our country's and our individual mental health. By doing what they are doing, the "New Image" Republican Party are committing treason, along with the betrayal of any trust or confidence, and treachery toward our country. Shame on them.

I believe part of the underlying issues for the Republicans is that the W.A.S.P.'s can not stomach the fact that we have an African-American as President, and they now feel threatened, particularly their "White Manliness" because of that. They are now insignificant men who have ruled their way for centuries, and no black man is going to tell them what to do. A sublime racism, but racism none the less. I know this sounds a bit extreme, but just look at it from their perspective.

Racism is alive and well in America, although some of us are in denial about it. Some thought, from a black and white perspective, that once Obama was elected, that racism will no longer exist. And some have gone so far as to fight to have voting right legislation done away with in the south. We also can't forget McCain's comment (Along with the many other racist comments over the last couple of years.) during the debate when he referred to Obama as, "That One", code for I'm superior to "that one", and his kind should be mopping the floor, or cleaning the toilets, not on stage with me, the Mighty W.A.S.P.! So, nothing changes if nothing changes, and these white men are angry, tantrum throwing, fit tossing, insignificant ingrates. And they will stop at nothing when it comes to them trying to get their way. Now is the time to talk about the "nuclear option"!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eclectic Electric!

My ultimate vision of sustainable mobility is two-fold.

First on the community side, I am looking for a mass transit system that not only works in urban areas, but also inter-city. Inner-city, urban areas, and suburbs could use various systems, ranging from an electric powered buses/trolleys/subway systems,and various other people pushers that we see today in various airports and urban areas. For inter-city, we have ultra-fast bullet, and mag-lev trains that make it affordable and convenient for all.

Secondly, I would tie in, and on an individual basis, electric personally owned vehicles. This can run the gamut of Segways, electric Smart cars, shuttle cars, bicycles, and also walking. And of course the infrastructure for all these electric vehicles need to be established throughout the country and world, along with the technological aspects of all this to get the best bang for the buck. This is such a massive project, but even the longest gets started by taking the first step. I will not see it in my lifetime, but our future as a planet depends on us doing something, and now is as good a time as any to get the ball rolling.

And I would go with electricity as the fuel for all this, coming from various renewable sources. And there are many options in this area, but it will take a concerted effort from all members of our country, and the world. And it will take a huge investment in capital, and is a long-term project. But I see it as a matter of life or death for our planet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wyoming, The Equality State- Ha! Ha!

In the last post I talked about how visually beautiful Wyoming is, and I'm not going to change that opinion. But there is a dark side to Wyoming, one that Wyomingites want to keep behind closed doors, and one that they chose to ignore, all the while it is slapping them upside the head. The Equality State? I think not!

Wyoming is a backwards looking, socially conservative and misogynistic state. Sure, we were the first state, in 1890, to give women the right to vote. We were the first state to have a women governor, a women justice of the peace, and the first all-woman jury. But these times are a changing, or something like that. The majority of Wyomingites (Human Critters) are regressing, going back into the Dark Ages, including the state's Congressional Delegation, Senators Barrasso(R) and Enzi(R) and the newly elected Representative Cynthia Lummis(R).

What comes to mind is the decision in the "Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company" case and the court's ruling. Because of that ruling, Congress set out to rectify and overrule this decision with the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act". Although this was attempted in the 110th Congress, and was passed in the House, it did not make it through the Senate. Go figure, as obstructionists were at work again.

So, in the 111th Congress, the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009" was attempted again. It passed in both the House (250-177) and the Senate (61-36), and will become law once President Obama signs it. This is an important victory for not only woman's rights, but human rights. The Misogynistic Supreme's, 5 of them in this case, and we'll now forever call them "The M-5s" for short, and to act cool for the younger generations, because that is how Gen-Xer's or are they Gen-Zer's now, would refer to them, like J-Lo, L-Rod, blah, blah, blah.

The M-5s are "J-Boy" Roberts, "Fish-Scale" Scalia, "Ron-Rea" Kennedy, "Ta-Ta" Thomas, and "Sam-E" Alito. These fine young men decided that Lilly didn't deserve a legal and judicial remedy in her case, or equal pay for equal work. Separate and unequal! Shame on them, for they lacked any and all common sense whatsoever in deciding this case. A summary of the case can be found here: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Which brings me back to Wyoming, a state where pay disparity between genders in not rare, but more like the norm. Sure there are a lot of theories, studies and rationalizing for why this is, but the bottom line is that in Wyoming, where the Republicans are the King, and entrenched to a point that I think it is in the non- Indian natives DNA. Look, we are the state of Dick Cheney where he revered as a deity, and worshiped like he is the second coming. The state of Wyoming is ranked last in the nation on gender pay equity, yes, I said LAST, with women earning about 67 cents to every 1 dollar earned by men. There are numerous socio-economic issues that need to be addressed to help turn this around, and the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009" would have an immediate impact.

So, Moe, Larry and Curly, or in politiko speak, Enzi, Barrasso, and Lummis decided they would vote against the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009". Why you ask? Because the Wyoming Republicans march in lockstep with the Misogynist Republican Leadership in Congress most, if not, all of the time. And because the majority that voted for these "3 Stooges" are so ignorant, un and under-educated, and believe all the propaganda and lies spewed forth by these clowns. I really think that these "Three Stooges" could actually convince these unintelligent republican voters to do anything, (i.e. kamikaze pilots, suicide bombers, etc.) that they will follow them off the cliff, just like lemmings. How sad, how sad!

So, wage disparity is alive and well in Wyoming, and barefoot and pregnant is the rule and not the exception. It is ashame this happens in such a visually beautiful state. But we can change this, and hopefully soon.

From Nancy Freudenthal, in a letter to the Casper Star-Tribune-

Specifically, we can:

• Raise public awareness: The wage gap is real. It is hurting our families and our economy. We cannot allow the issue to be shelved as ust another report. Equal opportunity and equal pay will happen only when our leaders say it should.

• Become informed and end discrimination: A certain amount of the gap is due to illegal discrimination. Workers employers must become better educated about their rights and responsibilities. Employers might consider a self-audit to make sure pay differences are not caused by discrimination.

Wyoming must enforce its laws to stop discrimination.

• Promote equal economic opportunity: As long as women remain in in education, nursing, service, support and sales jobs, while men choose higher-paying mining, transportation and construction jobs, the wage gap will be a problem. Women should be persuaded to choose higher-paying occupations, and employers should allow them equal opportunity to enter these nontraditional jobs. Schools and parents can begin to break occupation stereotypes. Mentoring programs can help women understand what it takes to succeed and how to gain recognition for their work. We can join other states in documenting a "self-sufficient" wage and then use this as a basis to improve wages. Finally, Wyoming must continue its long-term efforts to diversify the economy is there are better career choices for women.

• Provide more opportunities for full time work: Wyoming women work more part-time jobs than pn do. In many cases this occurs because childcare is unavailable or extremely ex-pensive for multiple children. Part time work pays less and has fewer benefits. An examination of childcare options could improve this situation.

• Change practices: Government, with its thousands of employees, can lead by examining and changing wage practices for appropriate jobs.

• Become involved: We should support community and nonprofit efforts to end wage disparity. I am supporting the Wyoming Women's Foundation, as an important endowed fund dedicated to help women in the Equality State achieve economic self-sufficiency.

There is a chance to change our society's sexist ways, the time is now, if not yesterday. And it is going to take a long time to change the mindset of all the sexist men in charge of this country. And sure we are going to step on the toes of Big Business (Probably why the Repubs were against it.) but screw them and their $50 million Dassault 7-X business jet.

Oooh, And we can't forget McCain's brilliant remark, another ignorant little man:

From ThinkProgress- On 4-23-08: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which “restores the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” overturned last year by a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling. In New Orleans today, McCain explained his opposition to the bill by claiming it “opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.” Later in Kentucky, he added that instead of legislation allowing women to fight for equal pay, they simply need “education and training“:

“They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said. “And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.

“It’s a vicious cycle that’s affecting women, particularly in a part of the country like this, where mining is the mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say the least,” he said.

The issue is not “education and training.” When denied equal pay by her supervisor, Lilly Ledbetter was doing the exact same job as her male counterparts and received numerous performance-based awards. McCain has a long record of failure on women’s issues, earning him a 0 percent rating from NARAL ProChoice America six years in a row, from 2001-2007.

In case you haven't read it yet, you can find the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009" here:

One final comment and it's about the Stimulus Bill. All the States and Congessional districts who Senators and Representatives voted against/or will vote against it, they should be kept out of the plan. No $$$ to them for infrastructure, jobs, tax credits and tax breaks! Nothing, Nada! I know it will not happen, but just fantasizing. I want everyone to succeed, and for everyone to have a job who wants one. Let's end poverty, NOW! Let's save our Country, on so many levels, NOW! Let's save our one and only Planet Earth, NOW! Amen!

Oral Argument in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Case before the Supreme Court: Click Here

And don't forget to read the Stimulus Bill if you truly want to argue/discuss it. Just a thought?

Wyoming posts nation's lowest unemployment rate!

The AP just released this story about Wyoming and our unemployment rate by By MATT JOYCE. Having lived here, in Wyoming that is, not in this blog in cyberspace, for most of the past 17 years (Except for about 11 months in 2002-03 when I lived in Florida.) I have found Wyoming a great place to live, and raise a family. We lack the congestion of big cities and big states. Our pay scale may not be as high as other parts of the country, but our cost of living is also lower. We have a very business friendly state government. And the beauty of the state is incredible. We have The United States of America's First National Park- Yellowstone, and the first National Monument- Devil's Tower, and an assortment of National Forests, and Wilderness Areas.

Granted, we are also the least populated state. From where I live in Sheridan, in north-central Wyoming, going to the mall is an all day trip, whether it is to the East Ridge Mall in Casper (144 miles) or the mall in Billings (125 miles) or in Rapid City (200+ miles). Although you can find just about everything you need in town. And Sheridan, WY has been voted the Best Western City in the U.S. Hey, what more can you ask for.

Well, here is what AP said today:

Wyoming posted the country's lowest unemployment rate in December 2008 at 3.4 percent - less than half the nationwide average of 7.2 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Tuesday.

Wyoming was followed closely by North Dakota at 3.5 percent and South Dakota at 3.9 percent. December jobless rates were highest in Michigan at 10.6 percent and Rhode Island at 10 percent.

Wyoming's December unemployment rate was up slightly from 3.2 percent in November and from 3.1 percent in December 2007.

Senior economist Wenlin Liu of the state Economic Analysis Division said Wyoming had job growth of 2.2 percent from December 2007 to December 2008. That was driven by job growth of 7 percent in the mining sector and 3 percent in the government sector.

The state's budget surplus of recent years helped create more jobs at government institutions such as public schools and the University of Wyoming, Liu said.

But Liu pointed out that falling oil and natural gas prices could eventually affect employment numbers in the mining sector. Whereas coal producers are working on long-term contracts, oil and gas producers could feel the pinch of weakening prices.

"Normally in the winter time, gas prices are relatively higher, but now it keeps dropping because of weak demand," he said. "Probably many of these coal-bed methane producers will have to reduce their activities if the price of natural gas continues to drop."

Granted, we are not perfect, but this is a beautiful place to live. I could have left out the bad parts of the above story, but unlike those who like to cherry pick stories to suit their agenda (Politicians) I thought it best to share the entire piece, the good, the bad, and the really ugly! This is my contribution for the day! So far?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

And we found a strange thing in your brain, and...

[Continued from a post on Wednesday, January 21, 2009- After seeing my psychiatrist today...(It's actually yesterday now)]

There I sat for what seemed like days, and waited, and waited and waited...

I was in daydream la la land, and I heard a voice call my name. Was it that beautiful young woman, with long and shiny brown hair, seated in a lounge chair to my left, a scant 15 feet away, at the resort on the beach in St. Martin? No it wasn't, for as the fog began to clear, I was awakened from my deep cerebral daydream, and there she stood, in her mauve scrubs, the radiology tech, repeating my name again. Granted there were only 2 of us in the waiting room, and the other person was a female, so I think she deduced that I was the patient waiting for the MRI. She led me through another pair of doors, and we made a hard right. She took me to a changing room, where I was to take off all my jewelry, watches, belts, shoes, and anything that might have metal in it. I was lucky because I was wearing sweatpants, t-shirt, socks and sneakers. I least I wouldn't have to change into one of those lovely white hospital gowns, that are tied off in the back, with my ass hanging out the back. I was having flashbacks of an earlier time many years ago when I was in that precarious situation. It's a long story.

When I was done, I was to continue walking down the same hall, and enter through these really large and heavy doors, with all these hospital like warning signs all over them. What had I gotten myself into, I thought. I forgot the tech's name, but she was very nice, and professional. She asked if I ever had an MRI before, and I said no. She explained what was going to take place, and about how long it would last. Good thing I went to the bathroom before I got there, because it was going to take awhile, unlike an x-ray. I laid down on this skinny examination table that was attached to the MRI machine. The machine's name was Siemens, or something like that. So, I laid down, with my head closest to the Machine, and she gave me headphones to wear, and asked what kind of music I liked. I thought that was very caring, not realizing how damn loud these MRI machines are. Then she put this plastic, or plastic coated cage over my face, and it sort of reminded me of when I played football and wearing a football helmet. Lastly she gave me a hand-held buzzer squeezy bulb thing, in case I had any problems while I was in the machine. She told me that about halfway through this MRI procedure that she will slide me out and give me an intravenous shot of this gadolinium, which is a contrast substance that shows some changes before and after you get it injected into your system.

So there I laid, ready for this machine to work it's magic. At that time, I thought nothing about having anything wrong with my brain, just my neck and back. The MRI machine started it's "Symphony in D Minor". I think it is an experience everyone should have at least once in their life time. Not really, as it means you might have something wrong with you, and that's not a good thing. The headphones were a godsend, because it is incredibly noisy in there, and if you are claustrophobic, use some type of medication, because it feels like you are being placed in a noisy, and bright coffin. About half way through this event, the tech stopped the machine, and slid me out to give me the IV. It seemed like I was in there for a very long time. They were doing both my c-spine and brain, both before and after the gadolinium, or maybe just my brain with the contrast. I forgot, but I know it was something like that. Back I went into the machine, and the "Symphony in D Minor" started again, with Part II. One important aspect that I had left out earlier, that being you can't move, at all, because if you do, you screw the whole thing up (At least that is what they told me.) and you have to do the whole damn thing all over again. Oh, that would be fun. Not really, it would suck!

Finally, after what seemed like a couple of hours, the ordeal was over. I asked the tech why they gave me the IV, and her explanation was that it's like my brain cells are having a party, and it livens them up, and cells being like little magnets lining up, and on and on, to produce a contrast in certain areas, or something like that. To quote Rich in Casablanca: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Yes, me and the infamous MRI machine were going to meet again, and again over the next 5+ years. My MRI examinations have numbered in the dozens, and still counting. I have had MRI's done of my brain, c-spine and lower back area (L-5 and S-1). We are starting to get on a first name basis lately, but the positive thing about all these tests is that I am still alive, and I'm lucid and cognizant, both a plus. I know more today then I did almost 5 1/2 years ago about MRI machines, and MRI images. I've seen pictures of my brain, which I thought was pretty cool, and was even able to pick out that strange thing in my brain. I know, it sounds a little warped to say it was cool, but it was. How many people get to see picture of their brains? Not that many. This first MRI took place on October 14th, 2003, the day before the day that changed my life forever.

Well, I finally got out of Sheridan Memorial Hospital, and I was running behind schedule, like I had one to begin with. By schedule, I mean my "New Beginnings Program" at the VA, whose class time had already started by the time I got back. I hated being late. As I walked into the small conference room where our classes were being held, Dr. Ashear asked me if everything went OK, and I said yeah, and sat down in my seat. I had done my homework from the previous day, and that was what we were going over when I finally arrived. So, no harm, no foul! The rest of the day was uneventful. I had no idea how long it would take for Dr. Trahan to get the results, so that we could plan our next course of action.

October 15th started like any ordinary day for me. The unit I was in was called SNU, or Special Needs Unit. It was the politically correct version of psychiatric care unit. It was a none locked down unit, except after 10pm and before 6am everyday. So, my normal routine was as follows. I would get up around 5;15am, and go down to the med room to get my morning meds, then fix myself a cup of coffee, and time for the three "S's", s%$t, shower and a shave, although the shavers were locked up in the nurses station, and they only let you use battery power units. Over time, if you weren't a suicide risk you could use an actual razor blade, like those disposable Bic types, but you had to did it in the bathroom that was adjacent to the nurses station. I know, they really made it tough on us, but the reality was that there were some seriously mentally ill patients on this unit. They did have another psychiatric unit, over in Building 8, and that was a totally locked down unit. I spent my first 10 days there as they evaluated me, and thought it was safe enough to send me to SNU. Oh, where was I, oh yeah, I took my shower, got dressed, and fixed up another cup of coffee in the patients kitchen. I had this big 64oz. mug, the standard hospital issued drink device, with all the ounces and milliliters marked on the side, just in case they needed to monitor a patient's fluid intake. I usually drank black coffee with some Sweet and Low. By now it was almost 6am, and they would be unlocking the doors to the outside.

It was 6am, and they unlocked the doors, so off I went, to the elevator that was about 12 feet from the now unlocked door. I had put on a jacket, or more like a Arctic parka, as it was the middle of October, and it had been pretty brisk outside over the last few weeks. My folks had sent me my clothes up from Florida over the previous 3 months, so I now had a stockpile of clothing for all seasons. I originally came back to Wyoming in July of 03 with just 2 suitcases, one large, and one medium. Now I had boxes of stuff, and the staff use to kid me, and say, Hey Bill, do you need a separate room for all your stuff? Not really, as I could store some of my stuff down in a place where patient could store some of their property. I got off the elevator at the ground floor, walked out of the little elevator alcove, and hung a left. I passed the intersection of another hallway, to my left, that led to the main hospital, and the other dozen or so building connected by an enclosed network of hallways and tunnels, to link the entire hospital, because we were in Wyoming. And it would be really tough rolling a gurney through 6 foot snowdrifts in the winter, with the wind blowing at 40-50mph. Nope, can't be done. To my right was the hospitals canteen, and cafeteria. It wasn't the same cafeteria us patients ate at, at least the ones who were ambulatory. It was mainly for the hospital staff, which numbered over 300. A few more feet, and I stepped to the outside world. The exit/entrance to the ground floor of building 86 faces in a southeasterly direction, so you can catch the morning sun. It usually wasn't up yet when I got out there, but that was OK. To the left when you walked out the door, about 25 feet away stood our veterans butt hut. As you weren't allowed to smoke in the hospital, and a lot of veterans smoked, they had a few of these throughout the campus. They were pretty simple, with all 4 sides encased in large, seam to seam vinyl, or Plexiglas windows, a sliding door for handicap accessibility, benches around the inside perimeter, and a couple of picnic tables. They also had heat, and an exhaust fan located at the peak of the roof to suck the smoke out. I know, it's a hospital, and you shouldn't be smoking, but these guys and gals had more important things to deal with and worry about here, and stopping smoking would have been an added stressor. They also had a couple of benches and tables outside the butt hut, which were nice during the day when it wasn't to damn cold or snowing.

The Sheridan VAMC is a 203-bed medical center, with 54 buildings on a 296-acre campus. Their primary catchment area extends to veterans from Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and portions of Idaho and it serves as the psychiatry tertiary referral site for VISN 19. The bed complement includes 50 psychiatric, 23 medical, 50 extended care, 40 mental health residential beds, and a 40 Domiciliary Residential Treatment Program for Homeless Veterans.

I sat outside in my parka, and wearing a pair of glittens (A combination glove/mitten hand wear.) I drank my coffee and smoked a few cigarettes. Occasionally one of the guys would join me, usually because they wanted to bum a cigarette, but that was OK. Most of us were classified as indigent, but I had the luxury of my family supporting me while I was there by sending me money and cigarettes, along with tons of clothing. I stayed outside until about 6:45am, and then headed in to drop my coffee mug off at my room. I then headed to the chow hall, which I could have went to in 2 different ways. First, I could use the outside route, and walk past the butt hut and head in that general direction, northeast, which would lead me to building 6 where the patients chow hall was, or take the inside route, and head down that long hallway I talked about earlier, and when I got to the end, hang a right, and the chow hall would be about 50 feet ahead on my left. Every patient saw a dietitian once they arrived, and numerous times while they were there. I had initially asked to be put on a 1750 calorie diet because I knew from previous VA hospitalizations that I gained a lot of weight while I was an inpatient. Mainly because I wasn't moving around a lot, like when I was in a manic state, and/or working. So, that was my cross to bear.

Breakfast was at 7:00am, and I was usually one of the first dozen or so to arrive. Most times we had to wait for the chow hall folks to open the door, but it usually wasn't a long wait. Breakfast went well, as did the rest of the day. I was anxious to see what these MRI pictures told us, and what the heck was wrong with me. I kind of knew there was something wrong with my neck, and for me that was a given, but this one of the brain, well I had no idea what was going on there. But I waited, and waited, and waited...

It was a little after 5pm, and my classes and sessions were done for the day. My plans were to go to dinner, and then head back to the unit and do some painting. My favorite was to paint these little plaster or gypsum statue figures, mostly of animals, and I would spend hours doing that. It kept my mind and hands busy, and I took great pride in the ones I finished. I still have some to this day, and I also gave a lot of them away to fellow veterans, and staff. The lady at occupational therapy had all kinds of crafts and artwork for the veterans to do. She was kind of nice to me, because she saw I actually did them. When I was done painting these statues, I would go down to occupational therapy and clearcoat them. That was my plans for the evening, something nice and simple, because the last 25 years of my life were far from that. Deep inside my brain laid the history of one wild and wacky life, but that would soon be put on it's end in a little over an hour later.

I walked through the chow line, grabbed my diet card, snagged some silverware and napkins, a milk, some fruit, and on to the main course. I forgot what we had that night, but most of the food was OK, and they had a different menu everyday. I walked out of the room that housed the chow line, and made a sharp right to grab a glass of ice-tea. It was self-serve, which made it nice, as you could have as much as you wanted. I scanned the chow hall to see where I wanted to sit, and saw a couple of my friends on the far side, so there I went. The chow hall had these big round tables that seated 5-6 people. I took my seat, greeted my friends, while a couple more veterans sat down to join me and the others for dinner. One can make a lot of friends while in the hospital, as we all had a common bond, we were all veterans. Sure we still kidded each other about what branch of the service we were in, but that went without saying. But there was this camaraderie that is hard to describe unless one has actually gone through it, and served in the military. I know there have been countless studies done about this, but the bottom line was that we all, at one time or another, took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and our country against all enemies, with everything we had, up to and including our lives. Not too many jobs have that as a requirement. So, there we sat, chowing down on some fine VA Hospital grub, talking about only God knows what, and continuing our bonds as veterans.

I was just about done, and nobody really rushed to get done, because, once the kitchen decided that everyone had gone through once, they opened up the line for seconds. Most times I passed, and today was one of those days. I was seated with my back to the chow hall, and me facing the people across from me and the wall, and windows to the outside world. Most times I sat with my back to the wall, but not tonight, for whatever reason I do not remember. All of a sudden, to my left, I catch someone approaching. I look up and to my left, and it is Dr. Seymour Thickman, a spry 80+ year old primary care physician. He had been my primary care doctor from when I first arrived in Sheridan back in March of 1992. He was originally from New York, and he would always ask me when I was going to open a New York style deli in Sheridan, and I would respond with, well, show me the money. It was our own little back and forth that went on for years. It looked like he was coming over to me, and I just figured he saw me and wanted to say hi. Boy, was I wrong. When he got to me, on my left side, I looked up at him and said hi, and he responded, "Billy, we just got your MRI results back, and this is what I want you to do. I have sent over a Philadelphia Collar, so when you get back to SNU, and I want you to put it on immediately, and don't take it off. I have tried calling the Denver VA to speak the chief resident in neurosurgery to get you set up to go down there as soon as possible. I'm the duty officer tonight, and I should hear something back from him soon. And, they found some strange things in your brain." And then he left. I was speak less for a short while, and one of my friends asked, "What's wrong with you?" I said, "I have no fucking clue, you heard him, so you know as much as I do." I really couldn't finish what little food I had left. So, this is great, I have to wear this Philadelphia Collar, whatever the hell that is, and there is strange things in my brain. No need for me to eat dessert, as I have more important things to do. So, off I went, back to SNU, chain-smoking, and having racing thoughts going through my mind at light speed all the way to the unit, and all night long. So much for my bi-polar medication helping with my racing thoughts.

So on October 15, 2003, one door opened as another door closed, and so began the next chapter in my life...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Is Kit Bond smarter then a 5th Grader, a Turnip or even my Cat?

No, No and a BIG NO! I saw Kit "Chuckles the Idiot Clown" Bond on the TV machine with Chris Matthews last night, and I truly could not believe his answers to the questions Chris was asking him.

From the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: But we begin with Senator Bond. Senator Kit Bond joins us from Capitol Hill. Senator Bond, what is your thinking when you heard that Barack Obama's going to close Gitmo?

BOND: Well, I think it's irresponsible to say you're going to close Gitmo without having a plan. What are you going to do with the hardened terrorists that are there? I can't think of any town or city in Missouri who wants to have hardened criminals, illegal combatants like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or Abu Zubaydah coming into their community.

Now, if you don't bring them back to the United States, if you release them, we know already, that's more than 60 of the people who have been released have been killing our troops, our Americans and civilians on the battlefield. If you really want to bring them back to the United States, people in Missouri and Kansas believe Gitmo is just fine. Folks in San Francisco want it closed. I'd suggest you put them in Alcatraz.

MATTHEWS: Well, why wouldn't you imprison somebody after holding a trial or execute them? Why don't we do it by law? What's the problem with doing it the usual way?

Kit was first asked what he thought about President Obama's plan to close Gitmo. Kit thought it was irresponsible to close it without a plan, and what are we going to do with all the "Hardened Terrorists" we has housed there. Yeah, like these folks have been lounging around at the "Gitmo Bar and Grill", watching sporting events, and drinking those cute little drinks with the umbrellas in, talking about world politics, and how well they've been treated the last 7 years! Yeah right. If these folks didn't have an agenda when they first went in, now they had one, and are even more pissed off. But a lot of them weren't even originally apprehended by American Forces. They were there because folks back in Afghanistan, fellow villages, or tribal members were pissed because Khalid stole one of his goats, so he turned him in as an Al Qaeda member, and to collect the bounty. Some are probably very messed up, from a mental health standpoint, from the years of torture. You, Mr. Kit helped harden them by your detention and torture programs, you ignorant asshole!

Then Kit goes on to say the folks in Missouri don't want these criminals in their neighborhoods, like they'll be out and wandering around the neighborhood selling pencils to survive. This man's whole argument is based on fearmongering, ignorance, and faulty logic. He also has a slim grasp of the legal system when talking about lawful orders given to folks, like, "Torture Kalid Sheikh Mohammad, because Mr. Yoo or Woo or whatever wrote a memo and said it was OK." I can't grasp the fact that these folks forgot about the US Constitution, the Geneva Convention and UCMJ. It is just beyond comprehension. It baffles me that these dirtbags continue to rationalize and justify their immoral, and illegal behavior. I just don't get it?

Of course Senator Kit had to throw out that ring-winged talking point, which are usually myths, or some made up shit to suit their twisted and warped agenda. And the sad thing is, that there is a whole class of brain dead troglodytes throughout the country that buy into these lies, and see them as facts, and in Wyoming, they are in the majority. Look at the 3 members of Congress they just elected. We have Cynthis Lummis, our new House of Representative member, who has already voted against equal pay for women by voting against the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009"
and Sen. Enzi and Sen. Barrasso have already showed which way they are leaning by voting against Cloture motion so debate on the same "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009" in the senate could get started. What the heck is wrong with these Wyoming dipshits? As Obama told these same republicans (Not necessarily Enzi and Barrasso.) today at a meeting to discuss his stimulus package, and the repubs wanted all these tax-breaks for you know who (Not the middle class) and also wanted to slash spending on infrastructure projects, not pork, to stimulate the economy, and the middle class. Well Barack told them, "I WON!" Short and sweet and true. Now back to Kit's Mythology...

Kit started talking about the 60+ Gitmo Hardened Terrorists who made their way back onto the battlefield, killing our Americans, both military and civilians. The problem with this myth is that there are no facts to back it up. None, nada, not a single thing to verify his claim. He is just making up shit again. part of the ongoing fearmongering campaign, that has failed to work for the last election, but these assholes forgot to throw out the playbook. My cat is even smarter then that, because if he does something, like sleep on me when I'm in bed, and I throw him off, he takes that out of his playbook.
My Cat is smarter then Kit! Wow!

The New York Times reported on January 23 2009, that "although the Pentagon has said that dozens of released Guantánamo detainees have 'returned to the fight,' its claim is difficult to document, and has been met with skepticism."

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell during a January 13, 2009 press conference, asserted: "The new numbers are, we believe, 18 confirmed and 43 suspected of returning to the fight. So 61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight."

And in a Press release on January 15th, 2009, from Seton Hall University Law:

The Seton Hall Center for Policy and Research has issued a report which rebuts and debunks the most recent claim by the Department of Defense (DOD) that “61, in all, former Guantánamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight.”

Professor Denbeaux of the Center for Policy & Research has said that the Center has determined that “DOD has issued 'recidivism' numbers 43 times, and each time they have been wrong—this last time the most egregiously so.”

Denbeaux stated: “Once again, they’ve failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies. Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers. They have included people who have never even set foot in Guantánamo—much less were they released from there. They have counted people as 'returning to the fight' for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning—except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men.

"Forty-three times they have given numbers—which conflict with each other—all of which are seriously undercut by the DOD statement that 'they do not track' former detainees. Rather than making up numbers “willy-nilly” about post release conduct, America might be better served if our government actually kept track of them.”

So, again, with less then 4 days into the Obama Administration, the right-winged nut jobs are out and about, spreading their vitriol, fearmongering and lies to deceive the American People!!! I know they will succeed with some, because they are not smarter then a 5th grader, a turnip or my cat either.

This country is in trouble if we let these morally corrupt degenerates gain any glimmer of power, as they will destroy our country, our freedoms, our children, our rights, our lives, and our planet. God, please help us from your severely mentally ill and deranged children, and place them in a facility (And I'm not talking about Congress as that facility.) where they can do no harm to us, this country, the world, and themselves. Thank you God!

PS- This is an important read about torture , Army Field Manual, and Obama over at firedoglake by bmaz.