Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My first column!

Finally, some good news for Kate!

My very first column is up! Column, what column?

My Health Care Column

Go read it!

It's a biweekly thing, so I'll be linking when they come.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

At Last!

Well, after 7 days, 2300 miles, and 9 states, I've completed the circuitous journey from Los Angeles to Kansas City.

Now I'm parked at my parent's house until January (more details on that to come). I finally got their internet to work. It took about 5 hours on the phone with Time Warner Cable, with a total of four people giving me conflicting information, thankyouverymuchforthat. But I'm finally online! On my own computer! This makes me so happy (it's really the little things right now).

I'm stealing a poem from my friend Shaina to put up here.


by Adrienne Rich.

You're wondering if I'm lonely:
OK then, yes, I'm lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean.

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I'm lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawns' first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I'm lonely
it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it's neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

At least people care

I must say it's been heartening to see different community and business responses to Katrina. I just have two small examples, but I think they're representative of the American spirit, and offer some hope and sense of good during such confusing and dark times.

I want to preface that these examples are from Kansas City, not LA. I haven't seen the same happening in LA but I'm sure it's there.

First, the homey little coffeeshop up the street has a sign saying "Thank you for helping us raise $1,300 for the Red Cross". Considering I'm the only customer in here, and this place seems pretty slow in general, that's no small accomplishment.

Moreso are the small homages that people all over the country are paying to the city of New Orleans. At my mom's tiny mysteries-only bookstore, they've made a display with all authors who are from NO or books that take place there. I don't know if they're donating money, but people are trying, in whatever small way they can, to say "We care, and we're thinking about it." And these acts, while insignificant on their individual level, become more than the sum of their parts. They represent care, care taken to honor those who have lost everything, including their lives, and become little altars to make others take a moment and think as well. I'm thankful for that.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Funny how things change

From NYT
At mid-afternoon on that Monday, a few hours after Katrina made landfall, state and federal leaders appeared together at a press conference in Baton Rouge in a display of solidarity.

Governor Blanco lavished her gratitude on Mr. Brown, the FEMA chief.

"Director Brown," she said, "I hope you will tell President Bush how much we appreciated - these are the times that really count - to know that our federal government will step in and give us the kind of assistance that we need." Senator Mary L. Landrieu pitched in: "We are indeed fortunate to have an able and experienced director of FEMA who has been with us on the ground for some time."

Mr. Brown replied in the same spirit: "What I've seen here today is a team that is very tight-knit, working closely together, being very professional doing it, and in my humble opinion, making the right calls."

I think you all know what happened next.

In retrospect, it's unimaginable that there was ever a moment like this. But before lake Pontchartrain started dumping its murderous waters into the city, it seemed the worst had been spared, and the city had escaped once again.

If only it'd stayed that way.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Poll for thought

Excellent post over at Health Care Renewal on a recent health care opinion poll.

I'm not going to cite the whole thing, but go look. The key here is two conflicting opinions on health care costs. (At least if you're a liberal and want to enact serious reform).

The good news:

71% cite high profits made by drug companies and insurance companies as major causes of increasing health care costs.

The bad news:

58% cite the number of malpractice lawsuits as a major cause of increasing health care costs.

So, we've successfully convinced the public that drug and insurance companies make too much money and abuse clients. But we haven't been able to pound in the malpractice-costs-mean-nothing-argument.

Remember folks, all malpractice costs add up to less than ONE HALF OF ONE PERCENT of health care spending in the US.

More on this later.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Words fail

In light of my last post, I must put something up. It's nothing, it's the smallest possible gesture, but I have to make it, because my heart is breaking right now hearing, watching, and reading the unbelievable nightmare befalling one of our cities.

There is no room for thinking about everyday things, and any suffering I am undergoing is beyond miniscule in comparison. I wish so much that I lived near this area so I could open my home to these people. I wish so much that I could do more than sit here, aghast at this fucking country, and the cruelty of this world that lets the privileged escape disaster while the poor and black might starve by the thousands as they're being completely ignored.

I am so angry, and so sad, and I hate that the only thing I can do is give money. God help us all.