Sunday, May 10, 2009
Those of us who write, which now is the world thanks to the Internet, believe we have book inside of us the Earth's inhabitants would bow before to worship for its enlightenment.
I couldn't tell you what would make a good book today. Some folks even asked me to write a book about my life experiences of losing my health, career, my mother and other things we try and assemble around ourselves for protection and security. But I would always remind them, my story is not over yet.
I never believed my leukemia would be over. The only lesson God wanted me to learn was to appreciate the moments of extra living he gave me, along with the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the 24/7 dedication of my heroic wife. She fought everyone from insurance companies to doctors for me. But I forgot too much of her heroics, which is to my great shame.
With my leukemia back, the moments become more precious. What book would one write at this stage of such a story? What should the world know? What feelings should rise to the surface to make the reader remember the moral?
One of the tasks I'm trying to complete is asking forgiveness from many people I have hurt in the past nine months in particular. Just like tellling people "I love you, offering a balm from an unnnecessary hurt is very important. And there are friends in Oklahoma I treated most badly.
Where my life goes from here, I do not know. There won't be a book. That I know for sure.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I have not be blogging lately because of a drastic turn in my health that has returned leukemia to my body. The first obstacle in trying to free the body is seven straight days of killer chemo, which takes out the good and cancer cells at the same time.
Unforunately, it must be done in the hospital for 30 straight days. For once they take you down physically, they have to build you back up.
There were so many events I was looking forward to due in May, particularly THe Mother of the Year celebration at the Tennnessee Family Justice Center. Call Michelle Johnson there. You won't find dry eye in the house. I will terribly miss not working with the children at the Smithson Craighead Academy. Those young people from the most deprived areas of Nashville are brilliant. They just needed truly committed educators to show them and understand the hurts from their lives -- and to serve those needs ahead of school district bureaucracy.
I wish there was some great moral to all these stories, for the mother with two preemie twins trying to raise them the best she can while fighting the Tne TennnCare bureaucracy to children just wanting to be farily educated for lottery scholarships and professional careers to a beaten down journalist re-enterting the leukemia fight after trying to do more good than bad.
Sometimes, it a real fine line. And stretched across a hospital bed for a month or longer gives you a long time think
Ulimately, Life is just life. It's having God with you in the good and bad times and always being appreciative for every good day you have and everyone you can tell you love and always being grateful when God has gotten you through a bad day and all its fears.
AS Father Joe Pat Breen always says, be your best -- for God and yourself.
My prayers are for all of you for your personal hardships, particularly in this economy. But remember, if you have your health and those of your children, you really still have it all.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Since 2002, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew the extent of torture the Bush administration was using on terrorists, and did not speak up in protest -- publicly on in private.
That's according to The Washington Post and further reporting by Politico.
So the Left's hunt for Bush administration officials to prosecute -- with the release of torture memos -- should logically and morally include one of their own -- Speaker Pelosi and other high-ranking Democrats.
At times of crisis, few in power are innocent.
Nancy Pelosi didn’t cry foul when the Bush administration briefed her on “enhanced interrogation” of terror suspects in 2002, but her team was locked and loaded to counter hypocrisy charges when the “torture” memos were released last week.
Many Republicans obliged, led by former CIA chief Porter Goss, who is accusing Democrats like Pelosi of “amnesia” for demanding investigations in 2009 after failing to raise objections seven years ago when she first learned of the legal basis for the program.
“As soon as the president made the decision to release [the memos], I was telling people that the Republicans were going to come after us, saying she knew about it and did nothing,” said an adviser to Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaking on condition of anonymity. “And I’m sure we’re going to get hammered again when they release all those new torture photos,” the person said.
But Pelosi’s allies were less prepared to confront the fallout from her convoluted answers during three sessions with reporters last week — answers that raised new questions and handed Republicans a fresh line of attack on a speaker at the height of her power.
“I’m puzzled, I don’t understand what she’s trying to say,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and currently the committee’s ranking minority member.
“I don’t have any sympathy for her — she’s the speaker of the House; there should be some accountability. She shouldn’t be given a pass,” added Hoekstra.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised to keep up the heat, telling reporters last week, “She and other leaders were fully briefed on all of these interrogation techniques. There’s nothing here that should surprise her.”
The Associated Press reports the following warning to European travelers.
What I'd like to know is what we as American citizens should be doing? Should we be wearing masks out in public and avoiding large crowds since this respiratory illness is so catchable?
I'll be asking my hematologist that question today.
LUXEMBOURG - The European Union's health commissioner urged Europeans on Monday to postpone nonessential travel to the United States or Mexico due to swine flu.
EU Health Commissioner Andorra Vassiliou met with the EU foreign ministers on the subject as Spain reported the first confirmed case of swine flu in Europe. That was also the first swine flu case outside North America.
On arriving in Luxembourg, Vassiliou advised Europeans to reassess their travel plans.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Swine flu threat to United States is real and growing; NYT says it will take time for laboratories to determine if it's outbreak or edge of pandemic
In an ominous story just published late this evening, The New York Times describes the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and now with 20 confirmed cases in the United States as now possibly approaching the edge of a pandemic.
But we won't know for some time the size of threat due to the lack of facilities in North America to determine everything from the potency of the virus to how easily it is transmitted and who has an official case of the illness.
Reporting from Los Angeles, The Times of London sounded this ominous note about some Americans on the border being told to get painter's masks from hardware stores:
North of the border, in the US, doctors were advising people worried about the illness to buy painters’ masks from DIY stores as a precautionary measure. Authorities across the globe were torn between the imperative of slowing the spread of a potential flu pandemic and the need to avoid bringing every big city to a grinding halt.
Last night the US authorities were still allowing people to cross the border from Mexico, where it is thought that the swine flu emerged. But customs officials at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings were given protective clothing.
The New York Times reports on this fast evolving story:
Responding to what some health officials feared could be the leading edge of a global pandemic emerging from Mexico, American health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday as 20 cases of swine flu were confirmed in this country, including eight in New York City.
Other nations imposed travel bans or made plans to quarantine air travelers as confirmed cases also appeared in Mexico and Canada and suspect cases emerged elsewhere.
Top global flu experts struggled to predict how dangerous the new A (H1N1) swine flu strain would be as it became clear that they had too little information about Mexico’s outbreak — in particular how many cases had occurred in what is thought to be a month before the outbreak was detected, and whether the virus was mutating to be more lethal, or less.
“We’re in a period in which the picture is evolving,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization. “We need to know the extent to which it causes mild and serious infections.”
Without that knowledge — which is unlikely to emerge soon because only two laboratories, in Atlanta and Winnipeg, Canada, can confirm a case — his agency’s panel of experts was unwilling to raise the global pandemic alert level, even though it officially saw the outbreak as a public health emergency and opened its emergency response center.
Mother regains custody of daughter only after husband is charged with child sex offenses; something is really wroing with our family courts
Bonnie Russell, long-time fighter against abuses by divore courts, reports a victory in one California case that was long coming and hard won.
Russell says the woman in this case originally came to her through one of her websites, www.FamilyLawCourts.com, in trying to keep her daughter from her husband whom she suspected of sexual abuse because of his affection for child pornography.
And the woman only won after her husband was ultimately charged years later with sexual offenses against minors. The case is indicative of family courts operating completely beyond community moral standards and the law in decisions being rendered. If you are a woman with less money, you are at a distinct disadvantage that can result even in your jailing for speaking out in court and then losing all visitation rights to your children.
As Russell tells me, this case could be from Anytown, USA. From what we've seen in Tennessee, she is right. Something must change now with too family/divorce courts operated according to the judge's whim and bar association connections, not our standards of justice and what is best for the child. These are our courts, not the players in the judicial system.
The ABCNEWS affiliate in San Diego reports:
SAN DIEGO -- When Joyce Murphy gave birth late in life to a beautiful, healthy little girl, it was a surprise. Murphy was told she couldn't have children.
"I was ecstatic," she said.
She is a 20-year employee of the University of California, San Diego, and was married to Henry Parson when her daughter was born.
"In the beginning, he was very charming," she said.
But as their child grew, Murphy said, her husband's behavior became disturbing.
"He would wake me up at two o'clock in the morning, tell me about pornography he'd seen and wanted to reenact, and it was pornography about kids."
She became frightened of his post traumatic stress disorder from his tour in Vietnam, which included a story about raping villagers. She filed for divorce in 2002 when her daughter was 6.
A battle ensued in San Diego County Family Court over custody of the little girl.
Murphy claimed that her daughter was afraid of Parson.
"She would cry if she had to be left with him," said Murphy.
The young girl told a doctor that when Parson was angry he pushed down on her shoulders and injured her. The doctor reported it to Child Protective Service, which Murphy said termed the incident inconclusive.
"From that point on, I was demonized by the courts," she said.
She said she was viewed as a delusional, argumentative trouble maker, while Parson was viewed more favorably.
One therapist appointed by Family Court, Marilyn Marshall, wrote that Mr. Parson was "no danger to anyone, especially his daughter."
"So this therapist said it was my fears of the father that was making the child afraid," Murphy explained.
Parsons was granted immediate overnight visits.
"And I just broke," said Murphy. "I thought, either I go to jail or I protect my child. It was like a primal instinct."
Murphy took her daughter and ran. She was arrested in Florida, brought to San Diego and tossed in jail.
She eventually pleaded no contest to felony kidnapping, accepting the charge without admitting guilt. She was placed on probation.
"I was told I was toxic to my daughter," said Murphy.
Her bosses at UCSD stood by her, but she lost her daughter to her ex-husband and was granted only limited visitation.
"And I thought, all I'm trying to do is protect my little girl from someone I know is a danger," said Murphy.
So she waited and worried for six years, until a call last November. Murphy had to pick up her daughter, because another young girl had bravely come forward, accusing Parson of molesting her. Parson was now the one behind bars.
"This man is a monster, and he hurts little girls," said Murphy.
The criminal complaint charges Parson with hurting three girls, two of them younger than 14 years old. The charges include oral sex with a child, molestation, possessing child porn and using a child to make porn.
A report from the District Attorney's Office said, "The defendant's computers and camera were seized ... revealed numerous photographs of young girls."
Using those photographs, an Oceanside police officer was able to identify and speak with one of the girls, which led to more charges against Parson.
Joyce Murphy feels vindicated, but it's bittersweet.
"I blame the entire family court system," she said, "because they are not held accountable."
I-Team reporter Lauren Reynolds posed the question to the supervising judge of the San Diego County Family Court, Lorna Alksne.
"Is family court doing a good job?"
"Family court is doing an excellent job," Alksne said.
She said each judge must juggle between 200 and 300 cases every month. She said the judges read before work, after work and during breaks to be prepared for their full day of hearings.
She can't comment directly on the Murphy case, and was not involved, but she acknowledges the need for improvement in how child custody cases are decided.
"Family Court has, statewide, some issues on how do you really make a determination on where children should live?"
Joyce Murphy said Family Court's only good decision in her case was granting her full permanent custody of her daughter after her ex husband was jailed.
Henry Parson's daughter is not one of the victims alleged in the criminal complaint. Parson declined to speak with the 10News I-Team. His attorney has a policy of not commenting on pending criminal cases.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Gore hands Blackburn her head in hearing on climate change; she was one brain short in battle of wits on a topic way beyond her understanding
In a match of Tennessee intellect, former Vice President Al Gore on Friday showed Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn to be one brain short as he made her look very foolish for questions she asked concerning whether he was personally profiting from climate change legislation.
You can see the exchange at http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=326113.
Gore was testifying as founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit working to try and save this world from its ongoing environmental mistakes.
Blackburn cited a New York Times story about an environmental firm Gore has invested in and questioned whether he would profiting from legislation he was supporting before the congressional committee.
Gore rightly unloaded on Blackburn for her low-blow tactics and told her any profits from his environmental investments go to fund the non-profit he heads to educate the world.
Blackburn said she was only asking questions asked of her by constituents. Gore said he knew her true motivations and that he has been working on climate change for 30 years. And greed has not been his motivation.
Nice try, Marsha.
Next time, Congresswoman, don't match wits unless you have some wits of your own. Gore made you look very foolish and petty considering the incredibly serious matter at hand being discussed by the committee.
Floyd Norris of The New York Times writes that a Pew survey released today found the lowest percentage of Americans -- in 36 years of questioning -- consider TV to be a necessity.
Yes, just 52 percent of Americans see it as a must.
I agree. I'm finishing my second month without television and doing quite dandy.
For more of us, a computer, Internet and cell phone are the necessities of living a connected life. And I believe that means connecting to more people than through watching the boob tube.
Change is good. Twitter, anyone?
Veterans get apology from Obama Cabinet member for memo connecting them with right wing extremist groups as terrorist threat
Veterans yesterday got an apology from the head of the Department of Homeland Security for a memo she put out concerning domestic terrorist threats and who among us might be more prone to join.
The apology was needed along with an assurance that veterans from the Iraq war would not be singled out for more scrutiny than any other citizen. The only way to get that assurance and sense of respect for service rendered is to press for an apology and explanation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized Friday for a department assessment that suggested returning combat veterans could be recruited by right-wing extremist groups.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says she offered her "sincere apologies for any offense."
She met with American Legion National Commander David Rehbein at Homeland Security headquarters.
"The secretary started the meeting with an apology to me personally, to the American Legion and to the entire veterans community," Rehbein told reporters after the meeting.
In a statement issued by the department, Napolitano said, "We connected meaningfully about the important issues that have emerged over recent days, and I offered him my sincere apologies for any offense to our veterans caused by this report. ... I pledge that the department has fixed the internal process that allowed this document to be released before it was ready."
The report was an unclassified assessment sent to law enforcement agencies. It was titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."
The mention of combat veterans surfaced on a conservative radio program earlier this month, and it drew the scorn of commentators and conservative members of Congress. Rep. John Carter, R -Texas, called on Napolitano to resign.
Now it's time to move on.
Mayor, school board on collision course: How can Nashville build a $1 billion convention center when it is cutting teachers for failing schools?
In this ongoing tale of two cities, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean on Thursday described the "about to wet his pants" need for the city to build a $1 billion convention center with a hotel.
Entertainer Keith Urban, who provided entertainment for the State of the City speech, even chimed in about the need. I didn't even know he and Nicole Kidman lived in Davidson County.
Yet a day later in what is supposed to be the Athens of the South, the Metro school board was forced to pass $15 million in cuts on the working poor employed by the district and teachers. Yes, teacher positions will be cut in a school district that has failed to meet No Child Left Behind Act standards for five years.
More, the board discussed the need to cut another $20 million because the mayor does not want to do the politically unpopular thing of raising property taxes. And with the recession, there certainly is not enough sales tax to go around. So let's get rid of textbooks while we're at it.
How can teachers bet cut when the district is out of compliance with federal education law? This is a gross civil rights violation. Is there any attorney and organization out there willing to go to federal court to ask this question and slap a TRO on Dean's budget and his convention center plan?
The gross immorality of pushing a convention center -- that the Nashville Scene in its most recent edition proved would not meet pie in the sky economic projections -- while cutting teacher positions and boosting class sizes is truly Bredesen-like. And it is appropriate that Dean is Bredesen's student when it comes to compassionate government.
But the movers and shakers in this community don't send their kids to public schools anyway, or manage to get them into magnet ones while the majority of Nashville children flounder in a dysfunctional education system.
If the people of Nashville allow this tale of two cities to continue, they'll pay the price with higher crime, more exodus of families and schools that never will be turned around. Folks, you only get one chance to do the right thing.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Here is why some Tea Party protestors gathered and shouted: General Motors gets another $2 billion in taxpayer money on its way to bankruptcy
For some reason, MSNBC decided Janeane Garafolo was an appropriate political analyst to offer a sane comment on the reason behind all the taxpayer Tea Party protests on April 15.
And Garafolo, who was an abject failure as an Air America radio political host, went on to label all protesters as racists, that there only reason for protesting was that a black man was in the White House.
The insanity of that remark would make Charles Manson blush. And it is indicative of extreme comments I find more common from the Left than the Right. That MSNBC would air the kind of caustic crap reduces the little credibility it has with Keith O. and Rachel M. rattling on.
The reason for the protests, at least how I viewed them, was the derelict amount of spending in Washington to bail out an entire industry and corporations that made arrogant mistakes and in some cases committed fraud. I don't believe in corporate welfare or socialism.
Meanwhile, people paying their bills and doing the right thing get nothing as unemployment rates in more states hit double digits. Tennessee is at 9.6 percent.
Yet today, the U.S. Treasury announced that it has given General Motors another $2 billion in taxpayer money for working capital. This is a company headed to bankruptcy. It is like giving a person who is going to drink and drive an extra gallon of gas.
Who voted for Barack Obama to bail out the AIG of automakers?
Despite what Garafolo and MSNBC say, there remains plenty of reason to protest.
WASHINGTON – Taxpayers invested another $2 billion in General Motors Corp. this week as the struggling auto giant continued efforts to restructure and avoid bankruptcy court.
The Treasury Department said Friday it lent the additional money to GM on Wednesday to provide working capital. The loan pushes the total amount of GM's government aid to $15.4 billion after the company said it would need more money in the second quarter to stay afloat.
A government report revealed earlier this week that the Treasury was prepared to provide GM with up to $5 billion more in federal loans and Chrysler with up to $500 million more in bailout support as they race against deadlines to restructure.
In my political writing, I have found people on the Left much more intolerant of different thinking on issues than those on the Right.
And in its most recent act of arrogance, the Left has made a media darling of a Miss USA runner-up contestant who had the courage to say she was against gay marriage -- then lost the crown.
A gay judge on the Miss USA panel has flip-flopped on whether her answer lost her the crown. But he and the crowd sure did not like her answer and booed.
The appropriateness of the question in the contest should have been criticized instead of the contestant's answer. What a Miss USA contestant thinks about gay marriage or federal bailouts means nothing to wearing the crown.
Riding in parades and cutting ribbons at business openings do not require such positions. And if asked by the media in interviews, all she has to say is "no comment; that has nothing to do with my title. The USA I represent has to do with finding common ground and unity, not debating divisive issues".
Miss California may have lost her shot at becoming Miss USA after expressing her opposition to same-sex marriage but she’s nevertheless emerged as a star.
After getting booed by the beauty pageant crowd and berated by one of the contest judges Sunday, Carrie Prejean is suddenly a conservative sensation, a poster girl for the right who has bloggers, talk show hosts and Republican pols singing her praises.
Prejean’s beauty contest saga began Sunday when competition judge and openly gay blogger Perez Hilton asked her if she supports gay marriage.
“We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman,” she responded during the televised event. “No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised.”
Her response wasn’t exactly what Hilton—or the crowd—was expecting. Prejean ultimately finished as the first runner-up in the competition to Miss North Carolina, who drew a less combustible question about taxpayer bailouts. In an interview the next day with NBC “Today Show” host Matt Lauer, Prejean said she knew she wasn’t going to win the moment she answered.
Hilton later said in a video on his blog that Prejean’s answer did not sink her chances of winning, though his disdain for her was unmistakable.
“She lost not because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage. Miss California lost because she is a dumb [expletive].”
What a class guy.
Forget about Rush Limbaugh. The Left often is its biggest enemy.