nobody loses all the time
i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle
Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
my Uncle Sol's farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when
my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner
or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who'd given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scrumptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol's coffin lurched becauses
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
and started a worm farm)
e e cummings
The above poem, although written in 1948, is the nearest thing the Bush administration will get to a memorial. I am not sure why that should be. Another dismal, but similar, period in American history produced two Pulitzer-winning plays, "Inherit the Wind" and "the Crucible," both reactions against McCarthyism. Here we are into year eight of special renditions, denial of habeas corpus, unreasonable search, and Broadway has ignored it all. London, on the other hand, did have "The Madness of George Bush," but, for some reason, it has not made it across the pond.
McCarthyism cost many in the theater their livelihoods and a few took their lives. Is it just that no creative oxen have been gored by the current suspension of our civil liberties that nobody seems upset?
Could it be that our president is just too ridiculous for serious thought? On Monday, he gave an interview to Juan Williams of NPR. Williams asked if, in the light of reaction, the President thought he should have mentioned New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The President responded, "I gave a speech that I thought was necessary to give," as if a President would tie up Congress, the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the networks, and the American people with a frivilous speech. Well, in this case, you never know. But, the speech was necessary because the Constitution mandates it. So, what the President was saying, in his snide way, was that he had once more done the bare minimum required.
At the same time, Robert Novak, not normally known as a lefty, wrote that the State Department, under Condoleezza Rice, is a mess, but that should come as no surprise. Look at FEMA before and during Katrina. Look at the Department of Homeland Security four years after 9/11--the border is a sieve, ports are not secure, but airplanes, were, for a time, safe from the scourges of moisturizer and makeup.
I suppose a worm farm is as fitting a monument as anyone could muster for this administration. RIP the sooner the better, Bush Administration.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
nobody loses all the time
Posted by tammyswofford at 1:36 PM
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The truth about journalism is that there is nothing new. For instance, every now and again, some well meaning soul decides that the world would be a better place if only the kids could be brought to God through the public schools. Since the well-meaning souls who think this are not students of history, they don’t know why this is not a good idea, much less that the question has been debated and decided in the negative.
For instance, in 1851, the Right Reverend Joseph P. Hughes thought New York City’s public schools should provide a Catholic education to the children of the Irish immigrants flooding into the city.
Here is what Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, thought of the suggestion:
“That we differ with the Bishop on certain points of Religious Faith, is quite true, but we have no wish to abridge his liberty on that account…We hold his right to Civil and Religious Freedom as precious as our own…He would have Religion form a part of every child’s education. Very good—we concur in that view. But it is one thing to assume that each child should be taught Religion, and quite another to maintain that Religious dogma should be taught in common schools (i.e. public schools). We desire and intend that our own children shall be taught Religion; we do not desire that it shall be taught them in Common Schools. For this we shall take them to Church, to Sunday School, to Bible Class, or wherever else they may be taught by those who we believe will teach them Divine Truth in its purity, while for the acquisition of Reading, Writing, Arithmetic etc, we shall send them to Common or secular Schools. Why is not this distinction a natural and just one? How can a man so wise as the Archbishop speak of our Common Schools as not ‘not calculated to meet the requirements which Catholic parents, at least, are bound to fulfill toward their Catholic offspring? Why, Rev. Sir! It never pretended to do any such thing. You might as well object that they do not wash, dress and vaccinate them…Why should you find fault with the Schools for doing their own proper work and not attempting yours?”
Enough is enough. Let us have no more debate over prayer in school, etc.
The above quotation was taken from “Outrage, Passion & Uncommon Sense,” by Michael Gartner.
Posted by tammyswofford at 1:07 PM
Monday, January 29, 2007
From the world of clueless parenting, we have the story of the three year old girl who delayed a flight for fifteen minutes with her tsunami tantrum. The family will end up with a potentate of a daughter, based on their response. While not faulting the airline for allowing them to catch another flight, why reward bad behavior by offering additional free flights for their "trouble"? Although the mother whines that they were not given enough time to console the child, logical parents everywhere know the truth. Children who are screaming and hitting adults do not require consolation. They require a bit of consternation.
All children can be brats. That is why little kiddies require stronger and smarter parents. And intelligent design has certainly made it possible for parents to do their jobs if they will only step up to the plate and meet head-on the demands of their children. My number one job description for my children between the "serach and destroy" ages of 2-4 was not to help them develop "self-esteem" as that particular concept produces indulged children who are over-rated by their parents, but not by parental peers. It was not to make sure that they could count to one hundred, read on a third grade level or play a sonata on the piano. My number one job, was to keep them from being insufferable and hated brats. My job, was to put a zipper on their lips, teach them to say please and thank you, mind their manners in public and treat adults with respect.
I distinctly remember the day my oldest son sat in the basket of the shopping cart and pitched a fit that looked like a wildcat tied up in a burlap bag with a snake. Snatching his sorry little butt out of the cart I calmly told the cashier I would be back to resume my shopping in ten minutes. I calmly drove home. I then calmly spanked his hindquarters, sat him on my lap and informed him that if he wanted to go a second round I was up to the task. But we would be returning to the store and we would come home and repeat the instruction if necessary. Aside from a slightly melted carton of ice cream, the shopping resumed nicely. I know neither of us remember the item which he was denied, and as far as I know, he is not in counseling for abuse. And active denial, is a necessary component of healthy parenting.
I know a mother who was having severe marital problems because of her inability to discipline her son or allow her husband to take the young man by the hand. He would throw horrible tantrums and she would send him to his room where he would literally scream for hours and toss his toys around. My simple question: Why are you allowing this? And if a five year old can intimidate a parent, just wait until they are fifteen and outweigh you by one hundred pounds. I have one of those creatures at my house right now. A lumbering tower of a boy with a pecan-sized brain. Thank God, he knows enough not to cross his mother too much.
Should a three year old pitching a walleyed fit be allowed to delay a flight and possibly cause a missed connection for other passengers? Should a paying adult client have to listen to a toddler without parental boundaries scream their way through a flight? Next time, just let little Elly and her parents have the whole flight to themselves. Make them reimburse the cost of the tickets for the other passengers. Because little Elly will move on to newer and bigger adventures. A wake up call might be nice, before it is too late.
Posted by tammyswofford at 10:17 AM
Friday, January 26, 2007
Be sure of this one thing: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a danger to the West. He is also a danger to his own. Because when radicalism usurps intellect, anything can happen. As our Naval Fleet maintains a ready posture for all contingencies we need to remember the historical timeline of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This is the man whose seed of thought toward governance sprouted during the heady months of the Iranian Revolution. These are the days when university students were pushed to their deaths from dorm windows for their intellectual dissent and when men of influence quietly disappeared in the middle of the night into the meat-grinder of the secret police. President Ahmadinejad is a man who sat under the teachings of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Consider a portion of the speech which the Ayatollah gave at Feyziyeh Theological School in August 1979:
"Islam grew with blood..... We do not fear giving martyrs....Whatever we give for Islam is not enough and is too little.... Yes, we are reactionaries, and you are enlightened intellectuals. You intellectuals do not want us to go back 1,400 years."
On November 7, 1979 Islamic students breached the perimeter of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held our citizens captive a total of 444 days. This event led to an embargo on a pending deal for aircraft parts for the Iranian Air Force from the U.S. government which degraded military capabilities significantly. A destabilized economy and the ongoing purge and governmental tumult in Iran presented a venture of opportunity for Saddam Hussein which resulted in the disastrous Iran-Iraq War which lasted eight years and had a million body bag count. And the radicalism of decades gone by is now firmly institutionally entrenched in the current corpus juris and legislative arm of the Ahmadinejad government.
This radicalism is partially bound up in an Islamic doctrine of bi'dah, which means to avoid all that might be considered "innovation". As such, when fossilized thought clashes with current reality there is no wiggle room for true intellectual progress. As mayor of Tehran, Ahmadinejad made municipal elevators gender selective. As president of his nation, he has banned Western words such as "pizza". A stranglehold on a free press has been strengthened. His government retains a combination capability of mobilizing a massive population to war and also containing the same from free political thought. The latter, makes a populist rebellion highly unlikely.
Al-Quran states: "For everyone of you We have ordained a Divine Law and an open road" 5:48 As such, Islamic Divine laws are the unchangeable components of governance, while the "open road" makes allowances for what is know as "Ijtihad" or temporal contingencies in the formulation of legislation to meet the demands of technology and a changing geopolitical landscape. Progressive Muslims are able to take the scaffolding of their law and allow free thought within its' confines, making legislative moves that do not violate the tenets of Islam. President Ahmadinejad is unable to make the leap. While separating men and women on elevators and banning the word "pizza" may seem like doltish moves, what president Ahmadinejad envisions on the world stage is both dangerous and destablizing to the region. Can we afford to be complacent? Because in the world of radicals such as president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the price of success is not measured in the currency of rials. It is measured with the currency of blood.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:16 AM
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Big News! Archaeologists uncovering the rudiments of an old civilization are viewing a combination of hieroglyphics and crude paintings on palace walls which depict the culture of a time gone by. Boy, are we all excited! But today the bomb dropped. The archaeological team granted their first full interview and reports the following sober claim: Among the expected pictures of warriors to the hunt or women at the hearth with children at play, they have uncovered additional very disturbing drawings. They have found walls covered with paintings that depict childhood rape. There are paintings of prepubescent females in various stages of being aggressively sexually assault by more physically dominant males. Paintings of little girls struggling, their mouths open in silent screams. How should we judge such a culture, weighing them in the balance of civility and decency? Does not the word "depravity" come to mind?
And how will the world judge America? Deborah Kampmeier has presented the modern day analogy with her film "Hounddog" which is showing at the Sundance Film Festival. Depicting a 12 year old female being raped is not art. It is filth and absolutely disgusting. Hiding under the guise of "we need to explore these things" one must ask the obvious: Is there a distinct and warped need in Ms. Kampmeier to tittilate and cause sexual arousal in men toward young girls? One of her prior films, "Virgin" was, you guessed it right, about a young virgin who is raped after passing out at a party. Forget that the writer/producer tries to put a bandage on something that has wounded many a little girl into her adulthood. She placates her critics by claiming that most of the rape scene is filmed in the dark. Forget that the genitalia or the yet formless breasts are not shown. What Ms. Kampmeir wants you to remember is the screams. Yes, the screams coming from a young actress' mouth.
Why are we complacent regarding this film? Is it "artistry" to be consumed with staging and filming a child being raped? And what kind of parents allow their little girls to assume such roles? Where is CPS to investigate both the parents and all involved parties for child endangerment? If you care to defend this film and what it portrays I would certainly like to hear from YOU! But I have not seen it and do not intend to see it either. The film should be offered with a barf bag, not a bag of popcorn.
Under what judgment should America fall? What do we deserve? Are we comfortable now, with a mainstream film of this nature? Or should there be a necessary rage?
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:04 AM
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
President Bush’s sixth State of the Union message was a very sad occasion. Where would we be now if he had recognized our addiction to oil in his first message? How much imported oil would we have saved if he had increased CAFE standards in 2001? Would global warming be the imminent threat that it is if he had not insisted that the science was not good? There were also moments of hilarity delivered with a perfect deadpan. Consider, if you will, the ridiculous proposition that we will be able to increase the size of our military significantly while sending more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, and still balance the budget with no increases in taxes. No wonder oilman Bush went broke so many times. Almost half the speech was taken up with Iraq, but it was almost all cheerleading. Iraq has been ripped apart and rendered nonfunctioning. All the president has to offer is more troops with more fire power. We tried that in Vietnam and it didn’t work. The French tried it in Algeria and it didn’t work. We will be saved by the fact that the Iraqi troops will do what he thinks they should do. If Iraq is to be a bulwark of democracy in the Middle East, shouldn’t the Iraqi government have the power to say what the Iraqi army will do? The other boffo laugh was the president’s idea that Congress will vote itself a tax increase. If the Bush healthcare proposals actually find their way into law, Congress will vote itself a huge tax increase. On the other hand, municipal hospitals will be a thing of the past. Fortunately, there is no chance that these harebrained ideas will pass.
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:12 AM
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Did anyone catch the story of the woman who pocketed almost a million dollars offering satellite scans for disease? To top it off she claimed to be a C.I.A. agent who would then send other agents to your home to administer medicine while you slept. Sadly, this was not just a scam which duped the elderly, but according to a prosecutor, the victims included young adults who were "solid, middle-class, educated citizens". (Dallas Morning News, 22 Jan. page 3A) Of course I am horribly shocked that this scam was pulled off in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. These three states represent a mecca for intellectual thinkers in the United States. smile
Just last year police busted a man who offered "free vaginal exams" working out of a storage rental unit. He was not arrested for the exams, but rather because he advertised that he was an M.D. He possessed no such degree. Major cities do deploy portable mammograms into poor neighborhoods, much like a library will send out a "Book Mobile" for the same reason. But what woman in her right mind would knock on the door of a storage unit for a well-woman check-up? My guess is the hopeful entrepeneur did have a white lab coat, high expectations and not much else going for him.
While it is easy to have a good laugh regarding such stupidity, many educated folks also buy into other silly scams of less damage, but that nonetheless drain the pocketbook. If you have been purchasing "sublingual B-12" for health benefits, let me issue your "stupid certificate" right now. I know Dr. Scott Conard, who hawks sublingual B-12 on the James Robison show "Life Today" which is broadcast from the Dallas area. He used to be a staff physician at my hospital. He is correct in stating that individuals with a B-12 deficiency anemia will benefit from B-12. But the truth is that only a small percentage of those suffering from fatigue or depression have an underlying anemia issue. And what is offered sublingually for about $25 dollars a month, can be taken in oral form with sufficient efficacy for $2 dollars a month. And if you want the gritty truth, your diet provides approximately 5-15 micrograms of B-12 per day and your liver generously stores up to 3,000 micrograms of B-12. So even if you decide to become a vegetarian, it can take years to develop a serious B-12 deficiency problem. But it if you want to take it, feel free to do so because it will not hurt you. But you also get the "stupid certificate".
Many such things are hawked via television infomercials. You might as well be taking a ride in a hot air balloon and getting advice from your guide, because hot air is what is being sold. Just think of all the cellulite products. You know, American women had no idea about this sort of stuff until we were corrupted by the European elite. The term "cellulite" was coined in European salons and spas to describe fat deposits in the thighs and buttocks. I am suspicious that it was skinny French women who heaped the guilt on what they considered their uncultured American counterpart. The French don't have bragging rights to much of anything these days. Plus the average person in France does not even own a toothbrush. (Based on a recent poll.) Until the mid-1970's women in the U.S.A. did not even worry about such things. Now we buy grape seed bioflavanoids, herbal extracts and horsehair mitts to use in the shower. We purchase body wraps to lose "inches in minutes" easily dismissing the fact that it is a lifetime of cookie consumption that put the inches there in the first place. See what I mean? It is just healthier to adopt my attitude. What you see, is what you get. It ain't easy, bein' ugly. But it sure saves money.
But unfortunately, in the Land of Oz where infomercials dwell, what you see is not always what you get. And the only health benefit from some of these items is in the healthy bank account of the master of ceremonies running that show.
Posted by tammyswofford at 9:03 AM
Monday, January 22, 2007
When trickles of information begin to come into my e mail regarding a subject of interest it may take a few days for me to take the bait. But the hints of the readership can be the impetus for a blog. Such is the case now with the whispers of information coming to my "in box" regarding Senator Barack Obama. There is no need for me to link the information coming to me. Most likely, you will find the same at your own cyber address soon. E mails that defame and defraud public figures proliferate like miniature weapons of mass destruction as they travel through cyber space. So I have become very careful to not allow myself to be spoon-fed information and prefer following scraps of news with research, or in this case, merely commentary.
The scraps of news regarding Senator Barack Obama claim he has enhanced portions of childhood history to give an appearance of a much more disadvantageous beginning and family life than actually in existence. Having listened to his interview on "Oprah" I can attest to the power of this man to mesmerize an audience. But can he govern a nation?
But because of the unspoken message of the e mails, why not just speak in public about that which sounds so much more salacious in a whispered format? E mail is so cozy. But it is time to get out of the cozy zone and into the danger zone. Let's bring some questions to the public forum today. This blog, is about the right to free speech and healthy discourse.
So here comes the question which needs to be addressed. Suck in your breath and then blow it out slowly. Is it possible for a person to take what is perceived as a societal disadvantage and parlay it into enhanced political clout? In other words, does the story of a poor, disadvantaged black kid that "makes it" in America buy votes because of the symbolism? And if Senator Barack Obama has lied about his childhood, why is he engaging such a lie? And if the man with the golden vocal cords has lied to political advantage, does he represent the very thing that has already caused many of us political indigestion?
Just look at the two rising political stars of the Democratic party and repeat after me:
*First black American President
*First female American President
See what I mean? Are we going to vote for symbolism in the next presidential election? And what does it take to be a darling of the press club these days? The potent Hillary-Obama combo seem to fit the bill, leaving other candidates in the dust, and somewhat unable to have their own voices and thoughts magnified to legendary proportions by the press. So answer me this! Do we have to vote for a black, a female, or a Muslim for office to prove we are equitable people? Can we possibly just cast our vote setting aside symbolic gesture and put into office people of good character who have the gift to govern? I don't give a rat's ass about color, religion or gender when casting my vote. But to be the "first" in attaining to an elected or appointed office should never trump all other concerns. And in this day and age of self-gratification and self-absorption must a candidate possess a story worthy of "Oprah" to sway the emotions of the electorate? Can a person run for office stating simply that they had a good childhood, and two stable parents, no adversity or perceived disadvantage? Or does a story which is boring but true no longer draw a crowd? Can honesty, personal integrity and ability be the order of the day when we enter the polling place and consider the candidate?
Yes, I can vote for a black man for President of the United States. I am willing to do it. But it does not have to be the first or second black man to throw his hat into the ring. Senator Obama will not get my vote. There are too many "unknowns" about him and where he stands on issues. Sure, I can vote for female presidential candidate. I thought PM Margaret Thatcher did a marvelous job in her role. But Hillary Clinton has shown a penchant for corruptability. She completely lost my trust with some of her political behavior and maneuverability as First Lady.
And what about Siamese twins? Shouldn't they have a shot at top governing positions in America too? Does it sound ludicrous? Of course not. Just go ahead and vote for Ms. Clinton in the next presidential election. We can forever settle that particular issue.
Talk Back! This is America. We will all take what is wheat and blow away the chaff. Why do we vote for certain people? And how much does symbolism carry the vote?
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:38 AM
Sunday, January 21, 2007
When Dr. Alan Keyes tried to gain the Republican nomination as the 2000 presidential candidate, I followed his story. I read his literature and attended one of his speeches. He showed great intellect and passion. I voted for him in the Republican primary. He would have made a great president!
The next blog will express concerns regarding the two trailblazers in the Democratic party, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. There are questions we need to consider. The blog will not be PC. But it will not be offered with an adverserial spirit of "us" versus "them". Please read it and consider my thoughts. Then keep what is wheat and blow away the chaff. Our next presidential election and the outcome is very critical to our nation. We will still be in a war posture, there will still remain for decades to come terrorism threats to our shores, Iran will be an operational nuclear state. And Americans everywhere will continue to need jobs, health care options, education for their children, and the future extended to their generations which has been extended to them.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:29 AM
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Bill and Bernard are standing somewhere on a balcony sipping cognac and smoking cigars. While we're all holding our ears through the first few hours of "American Idol" and wondering what the heck "Stockholm Syndrome" is, the communist Chinese government is checking "missile accuracy" off its TO-DO list.
Thanks Mr. Clinton! Thank you Loral Space and Communications!
I'm sure the world is a much safer place now that America has been matched in high-tech weaponry. It makes the photos of Al Gore with a bewildered look and a pink lei come back with a much greater appearance of accomplishment.
How proud they must be. China just successfully destroyed a satellite with a ballistic missile. Not many years ago they couldn't have hit the broad side of a barn, but today the Chinese are standing tall and proud. Do you suppose the democrats will laugh and make fun of THESE guys for playing "star wars"? Somehow I don't think so.
A quick civics lesson for us...
Who enforces campaign laws?
Nobody! Exactly. You get an "A". The only time and reason that laws "work" are that people obey them. When your country's chief law-enforcement officer openly displays contempt for the rule of law, you can bet you're in trouble. The difference with Billy and his Riady, Li Ka Shing, and Hutchison Whampoa buddies is that the ramifications are far more dire than blue dresses and the threat of listening to Hillary shriek her way through presidential campaign speeches.
The selling out of a country in the nineties, overlooked by a willing media and FOB's (Friends of Bill), is coming back to us in spades. Complain all you want about Bush's Iraq strategy and Rumsfeld's follies: What 42 did to us will make 4 years in Iraq look like child's play one day. And look at the line-up of candidates for '08. ..
Inspiring, with the threats multiplying? What do you think?
I had come tonight just to drop a note to let everyone know I will be limited to the occasional pithy reply for a while, and perhaps not mucking up Tammy's page with my conservative rants as much right now. This is still the case, but I saw that story in the London Telegraph and my blood started boiling again. I will leave you with this one just to keep my fix going for a while...
Do we Americans have short memories or what? No wonder the political elites have absolutely NO respect for us. We don't demand it.
Some heads should have rolled (figurative?) over what was allowed and what transpired under the "co-presidency". Their deceptions are beginning to bear poison fruits. Does anyone else ever worry when reading a story like that?
Last night my husband and I had the distinct privilege of hearing Michael Reagan speak at the Vitae Caring Foundation dinner in Dallas. When he spoke of his father, Ronald Reagan, and shared regarding this great man and his struggle with Alzheimers, his words resonated in my heart. He related that although toward the end his father did not know him, he was recognized as the man who gave hugs. When he would visit, Mr. Reagan would throw his arms wide open to receive his son. Michael said that one day he forgot to hug his father goodbye. As he and his wife were leaving his wife told him to look toward the front door. There was his Dad, standing with his arms open, needing his hug. If I hadn't been in a crowded room of influential donors it would have been easy to cry and blow a snot bubble straight out my nose. Because everything I ever needed to know about love, I learned from my relationship with deeply and semi-comatose patients; their responses to me and to their families. The three years I worked in neuro ICU are fondly remembered as the best in my career.
Love is not really about me. It is about the other person. Because when we love another, their life has great value. And when we cease to love, the other individual can suffer great harm from our own hands. It is love, that determines the quality of life. Human worth is not determined by the ability of the person to give back to society in a measurable way. It is determined by the value placed on them by their fellow man.
We see love poured out into different pools of humanity where there is great need and constant lack. For myself, I can see a homeless person seated under a bridge or sleeping in a cardboard box and not give it a second thought. Their plight does not touch my heart. Thank God, there are those who are drawn in love to help such as these. The protesters against abortion? I have been in their midst. We have found an outlet for our love in a maternal-child paradigm. Please do not accuse us of hating the women who seek an abortion. Give us credit for love, even if disapproving of some tactics. We may scoff at those who seek to save the whales or some obscure species of snake tucked into a rain forest where we never intend to visit. But is it possible that they are also motivated by love? Their concern is for the stewardship of the earth. We need the people that love the creatures of the earth too.
For three years I gave love to a segment of society who could not give back to me. The brain injury from a car accident, the stroke which incapacitated, the child with anoxic encephalopathy at birth were God's gift to teach me about life. Life was full of rich emotional reward when I worked with such clients. Some of them made substantial progress to recovery while others remained the same. But I believe the capacity to love was augmented in my own emotional circuitry by my experience. I did not shy away from the shell of a man but learned to embrace, much as Michael Reagan embraced his own father. Many a comatose patient on a ventilator received oral care and a bath, to then receive a soft brush of my lips on their cheek telling them to hang on, things would get better.
Who can you love? Cast your gaze outward and look for a segment of society that is in need of your expertise. There are people with smiles who have hearts with hidden sadness. Find those people. Assess their needs. Then roll up your sleeves and get to work. Because love also has a cost. Unlike the current "rewards card" commercials, the payback for the work is not always immediate. But the manner of the reward, may catch your own heart by surprise.
Tammy Swofford R.N.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
A successful House Speaker must, first and foremost, act for the good of the nation. Once that obligation has been discharged, the Speaker may act for the good of the Party. A successful House Speaker will never be seen to be acting for the good of the Speaker. Nancy Pelosi has stumbled badly on that last bit, which means she has stumbled badly on the first two.
Pelosi, the daughter of Maryland Congressman, later Baltimore Mayor, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr, and the brother of another Baltimore Mayor, Thomas L. J. D’Alsandro III, in addition to being a 20-year veteran of the House of Representatives in her own right, has pulled some tyro blunders so far.
The dust from the November election had just begun to clear enough to reveal that the Dems had captured the House, which meant that Pelosi would be speaker, than she pulled the bonehead play of going to bat for John Murtha as Majority Leader. She may have felt that she, and the Party owed Murtha for his recent stand on Iraq, or she may have an animus toward Steny Hoyer, but there was absolutely nothing to have been gained by supporting Murtha over Hoyer. House Dems were not gong to scuttle the seniority system on this, especially since Murtha has some baggage that did not fit the corruption-free image the party wished to project.
No sooner had she been dealt a defeat on the Majority Leader than she decided to take the Chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee from Jane Harman (D-Calif) and give it to Silvestre Reyes (D-Tx) , ostensibly because Harman had supported the Iraq War in the beginning, while Reyes had always opposed it. Reyes almost immediately failed to justify Pelosi’s confidence in him by blowing an interview in which he did not know that al Qaeda was a Sunni organization and did not know Hezbollah is Shiite, although that is probably less important than its anti-Israeli program.
The Dems came to power partially over public disgust with the corruption exhibited by Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney and Jack Abramoff’s pet legislators. No sooner had Pelosi announced that an ethics overhaul would be at the top of the Democratic agenda than she waltzed off to a $1,000/plate fund raiser paid for largely by lobbyists, and Senate press secretaries bellied up to a $200 a plate dinner at New York’s Rainbow Room paid for by seven companies with business before Congress. To most people that would sound like business as usual.
And, finally, there is the loophole in the increase in the minimum wage act. American Samoa was not originally scheduled to benefit from the $7.25 wage. It is the only territory not to be covered. American Samoa is represented by the Delegate from Starkist, Del. Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa). Starkist’s parent company, Del Monte Foods Co., is in Speaker Pelosi’s district. Last week, Speaker Pelosi said she has told the House Education and Labor Committee to help get the bill changed to include Samoa before it gets to the President’s desk.
Not an auspicious start, Ms. Pelosi.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The last few days I have been venturing into the world of ethnobotany. It is interesting how the womb of the earth provides for the needs of man. Even the story of creation shows a logical evolutionary process. The lower life forms were created before the higher forms, culminating in man. Grasses were made before cattle so that which sustained, preceded that which needed sustenance. Some may look to the greater forces of nature, such as the tsunami or the shifting of the earth's plates to theorize a Creator of vindictive and mythical proportions, such as Zeus who marshals the thunderheads. I prefer to look at the constancy of the sustaining earth, the small seed, the cyclical change of the seasons to assure myself of a Creator who is also constant and unchanging.
As a child I was unaware of the term "ethnobotany" but my childhood in Oaxaca, Mexico submerged me in a land where ethnobotany was a strong part of the culture and folk medicine. In the open-air market we would buy lemon grass to make tea for an upset stomach. Everyone knew that slicing a lime, salting it heavily and grinding it into a ringworm would dry it and relieve the itching. "Te de Tila" was the perfect fix for a fussy baby who could not sleep. Zapotec and Mixtec Indians would travel from their villages high in the Sierra Madre on Saturdays and lay plastic tablecloths on the ground piling high their fresh herbs gathered from the slopes of the mountainside. Squatting behind mounds of herbal medicines and giving curbside consults for various illnesses they would dispense a cure without a prescription. Making a cone out of old newspaper, the peasant entrepeneur would weigh out your purchase in old balancing scales using weights of various sizes to get the amount just right. Reaching unwashed hands out of the colorful serape, their hands would then snake back into the safety of their woolen all-weather gear as quickly as the pesos were passed to them. We always made a mental note that the "cure" might actually kill us. But invariably, whatever was purchased brought at least a palliative sense of relief. And when you think of it, the Aztec had their own pharmacological stash of knowledge. Think "Classic Codex of 1552". Talk about remedies!
While in the PACU I may use ephedrine to treat hypotension secondary to anesthesia. It makes me chuckle to remember that it is not just American ingenuity at work in all of these situations. The Chinese used the herb "ma huang", whose principle ingredient is ephedrine, long before America was a blip on the world map.
Looking at Pakistan, there are 6,000 species of wild plants. Approximately ten percent of them are medicinally important. There are ethnobotanists who have catalogued these plants and the benefits range from fruits especially useful for laxatives, to nuts that produce diuresis or plants to cure pruritis. Dr. Muhammad Hamayun, is just one example of an individual involved in this important type of research. In Africa, certain wild plants are consumed by pregnant and lactating mothers for maternal health. And while acknowledging that some plants may only have folklore value, the preponderance of evidence points to a solid truth: many of the tribal groups which are both agrarian and also nomadic have a strong sense of how to make the earth give back to them. Drawing on their own simple experiments they have made observations, formed hypotheses and proven their results. They pass these things on to their children, as a gift from the forefathers , and a gift which springs from the earth.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Little Jack Horner sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie:
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”
So who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? In the unfolding tale of prestigious law firms engaged in representing the Gitmo inmate population there are charges of lack of ethics and countercharges of foul play. Of course it is not surprising that Mr. Stimson, who was a Navy lawyer, sprung this trap. Not surprising that the Pentagon has used LtCol Brian Maka, another military officer, as their spokesman to distance themselves and the Bush administration from his remarks. But I do consider it surprising that there has been such a vehement response against Mr. Stimson by the law community at large, for his suggestion that CEO's with retainers with some of these firms may want to weigh their options.
First of all, let me make it clear that I believe the detainees at Guantanamo Bay deserve full legal representation. Let me further clarify that your average lawyer running a local and small practice may not be up to this task. Not every law office retains resources to defend a case with national security and also international ramifications. But that being said, I think it could still be a stinking kettle of fish. Flying under the banner of "Justice for All" we need to take a peek into the law tent below, to see what might really be going on. And as the saying goes, "The camel's nose is now under the tent." Charles Stimson, is that nose.
When I was in college we feted Richard "Racehorse" Haynes at one of our general assemblies. He was invited because he had successfully defended T. Cullen Davis against a murder charge. He was invited, because of the notoriety he gained from defending the notorious. Are we beginning to see an emerging picture here?
I think we need to establish "motive" regarding these lawyers. Sure, their work may be pro bono. But defending the Gitmo inmates can move from pro bono to a ringing cash register if these trials are either successful, or highly publicized. The cash register is not always monetary either. It can work in the realms of both emotion and influence. On the emotional end, what an absolute "kick" for the lawyer to engage the speaking circuit with his tale. The lowly lawyer, a David against the Goliath of government is surely a story which sells. And then we have to cast our gaze to the net affect of influence. If defending one little inmate at Guantanamo can morph into influence, then we get back to the real reason to take the case: money. More money will come into the coffers of the law firm over the long haul. Hell, that influence may begin to pierce into untapped global law markets, such as Qatar or Dubai. It is worth the effort. These lawyers are looking at the ten year plan and their own bottom line; not just securing the inmate his freedom and plane ticket home.
Why do I think this could be true? Because I know that if tomorrow I strapped a bomb under the hood of my neighbor's car and killed him because I despised his lousy life, none of these lawyers would call me. Because I know that if a prostitute on her third strike for whoring were to call one of these firms and ask for pro bono advice, the phone would click off. These cases, do not further enhance the agenda of a prestigious law firm. But defending a terror suspect from Guantanamo? It puts many nice little perks on the table for the lawyers engaged in the process. Don't let them fool you. I think there is a plum in this pie.
Friday, January 12, 2007
We are in a terrible mess. Anyone with any idea of how to get out of it, please let the President know, since neither he nor the people advising him seem to have the slightest idea of what to do.
That was unfair. It is a Gordian knot which won’t be solved by hacking it apart with a sword.
As far as I know, there are three proposals on the table.
1) The Surge. Add about 20,000 troops to the mix so that we can clear, hold, and build. The problem with this solution is that we really haven’t addressed which war we are going to get involved with. Are we attempting to halt the civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites? Are we going to ignore that war and merely concentrate on fighting the people who want to fight us? Or, are we going to try to stop outsiders from coming in so they can fight us? Our plan now seems to be to handle all three and, we certainly don’t have enough troops to do that.
2) Let the Iraqis handle it, also called cut and run. OK. Let’s see. We took a functioning country in which people were employed, with schools, hospitals, electricity and running water and made it into a cesspool with more than 40% unemployment, less than half the electricity that they used to have, without schools or hospitals, and with raw sewage in the streets. The Iraqis say, OK, but you have to arm our troops. It will take at least $70 billion to restore our military to its readiness before the war. How much will we have to supply the Iraqis, especially when, based on past performance in Fallujah, the arms we provide are used against us?
3) (And this is tied closely to the second choice, since it is what is likely to happen if we leave.) We partition
None of these alternatives is going to do a thing for the Israeli-Palestinian problem, which is where we all came in. On top of that, something very serious seems to be happening in
Like I said, all suggestions welcome.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
In the last couple of days reporters have included the word "surge" when writing about the rapid deployment of additional assets into Baghdad and the Anbar Province. The word pops up in headlines and commentaries written by the desk jockeys riding the crest of the news wave. But for this Navy gal, the word surge means more than a strong, wavelike rush. "Surge" is all about 21st century Navy doctrine and our predominance on the seas. When my Commander in Chief addresses the nation regarding the need for an immediate increase in troop strength most civilians will count the cost with a calculator. The Navy, will view the challenge with an eye to configuration and surge capabilities. Congress allocates approximately 50 billion dollars annually to Naval operations. This allocation it used in support of approximately 375,000 military personnel and we try to use the money judiciously.
It was events of 9/11 which brought about the evolution of Navy doctrine with a Fleet Response Plan. Prior to the terror attack on our soil, our carrier strike groups maintained a somewhat cookie-cutter six month deployment schedule. But now, our operational posture is one which allows a greater availability of ships for short-fuse response into regions of conflict. We have improved our surge capabilities and adeptness at platforming from the sea. Our carrier groups are configured to be manned and at-the-ready in windows of time compressed in days, instead of weeks. Our newest generation of surface combatant ships, the Littoral Combat Ships, will increase our configuration abilities, maneuverability and strike force capabilities to continue to secure maritime dominance.
So what are the benefits of the Marine Corps Strategy 21 in tandem with the Navy Sea Power 21 doctrine? There are many benefits and the vision continues to evolve to give us an even more successful and potent sea-dominance capability. Sea-basing by our Marine Expeditionary forces allows for bypassing of certain enemy fortifications. It allows brigade strength strike forces to off-load and move inland quickly, marry up with their equipment already on the ground and to move rapidly without leaving a footprint.
Our sea-basing and surge capacity will continue to strengthen over the next decade and the 21st century will be a great time to be a part of the Marine-Navy team. Please remember as our Commander in Chief speaks, that the United States Marine Corps, the Navy, Air Force, Army, National Guard and Coast Guard depend on the goodwill and support of the American people to effectively do our jobs.
LCDR Tammy Swofford, USNR, NC
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
For reasons that completely escape me, the paid gums have ignored the news that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is little more than a presidential goon squad. The fact that such abuse by the executive branch completely destroys the system of checks and balances upon which our government is supposed to be based seems lost on the self-satisfied pundits at the nation’s leading rags.
Apparently, the FBI doesn’t really like that role, which is why it has sort of fessed up in its 1,561 page dossier on late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist.
We know that President Nixon used the FBI, the IRS, and anybody else he could to get the goods on the people who made his enemies list. Now we know that the FBI was used to chill opposition to Rehnquist’s nomination. In October 1971, Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst asked the FBI to do a criminal background check on two people from Phoenix who were expected to testify against Rehnquist at his confirmation hearings. Actually, the FBI interrogated a lot more than the Phoenix two. Harvard Law professor, Lawrence Tribe, found their interview of him “seriously intimidating.”
The FBI says it did the same thing for the Reagan Administration before Rehnquist’s confirmation as Chief Justice. One can only wonder what shenanigans the G. H. W. Bush had to pull to get Clarence Thomas on the bench.
The U.S. Senate has a charge to advise and consent to presidential appointments. The Senate holds hearings so that it can discharge that duty responsibly. If the administration is allowed to use the FBI to chill possible dissenting testimony, the Senate cannot do its job and we will end up with a completely politicized judiciary. There are some who would welcome that in the belief that such a judiciary would outlaw abortion and constitutionally define marriage. What these people overlook is the fact that the law of the land depends on the consent of the governed. Consider the prohibition and the 55 mph speed limit, two noble experiments that failed for want of public support.
Senators like Whinin’ Joe Biden, a convicted plagiarist in his own right, have abrogated their senatorial responsibility in favor of the completely unsupportable idea that “the President deserves to get the people he wants.” If that position had any validity, the Constitution would not have required the Senate to waste time and money on hearings.
Monday, January 08, 2007
The Economist had a recent special report titled, "Pentecostals: Christianity Reborn". The impact of evangelical Christianity on foreign policy is part of an ongoing streaming dialogue within print journalism circles in recent months. Other articles which I have read, such as the one in Foreign Affairs by Walter Russell Mead last summer, are worthy of your time. But what caught my attention when reading of the pentecostal movement was a reference by the correspondent to a "ubiquitous Israeli flag" at one of the gatherings. This writer alluded to something which I am just beginning to understand. Having grown up in pentecostal/evangelical circles I can attest to the close identity between these movements and the State of Israel. But having now branched out into dialogue with Islamic scholars there are a couple other issues which must be examined in looking at the close Judeo-Christian alliance and the concurrent perceptions of the Muslim community.
In reality, the problem that presents its self is like viewing two sides of a coin. On the one side, the sense of alienation which is felt by the Muslim community because of the warmth of relationship between evangelical Christians, the Jewish state, and the Jewish diaspora at large. Tremendous monetary assets go into both the support of Israel, whether it be to subsidize a "return to the land" or a trip to Israel to see the sites and boost the tourism trade. Missionary organizations to convert Jews to a Messianic Christian faith have sprouted like mushrooms across the landscape of Israel and areas of Europe where there are large Jewish populations. All of this is being observed from afar by the Muslim community. And as one Muslim man wrote me as we discussed the issue of Christian "Zionists", the subtle picture that formed in my own mind was one of a psychological wounding. This particular Muslim pinpointed favoritism toward the Jew as the axe he had to grind.
But the other side of the coin is just as real. There is overt hostility meted out against Christian organizations who try to bring humanitarian relief or social services to Muslim majority nations. Whether it is a letter in my e mail accussing Christians of running NGO's in Bangladesh to convert the Muslim, or the one accusing American missionaries of offering hot chocolate to Iraqi children to entice them from the cradle of Islam, I have heard it all! The cold hard fact remains that while some missionaries endeavor to merely deliver that cup of water "in Jesus name" and thus gain a heavenly reward, they are thwarted by the very ones they are attempting to help. So while they are ladling up that hot chocolate thinking of how delicious it will taste to the child, the Muslim parent sees that cup of hot chocolate as the door to apostasy. Should their hungry child even be drinking the stuff?
Many of the faint-hearted of the Christian faith also ignore Muslim-majority nations, heeding the call to safer zones of operation for fear of martyrdom. Unlike the call of Osama bin Ladin to shaheed with the challenging words "....ye who cling heavily to the earth...." modern Christians prefer to keep their spirits in their bodies. They live by the creed "I wanted to be a martyr but my feet wouldn't let me." We tend to shy away from the whole martyrdom issue unless it is to cozy down on the couch and read Fox's "Book of Martyrs" in the safety of our living rooms. Why should we risk life and limb to drill a well in a poor Muslim village? Let 'em thirst to death. Post-modern Christianity preaches prosperity, not martyrdom.
There is the need for more evangelical/pentecostal Christians to allocate resources to improving the lives of Muslims in other nations. But unless there is a cooperative effort between Muslim-majority governments and some of the large Christian-based organizations working in partnership to feed that poor citizen, teach that child to read, or clothe an orphan, it will never happen.
It is estimated that one-third of the children in the world go to bed hungry at night. Many of those children, are Muslim. What is each side willing to do? How can Muslim governmental bodies work to remove the blockades to private Christian organizations that retain monetary and structural assets, talent pools of physicians, nurses, carpenters or social workers to assist their people? It can be done. We can cooperate, without fear.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
It has been a productive week. I gave my first interview to a writer on the East coast. This blog will be featured in a magazine at a later date. I got into the thick of it with a couple of blog readers regarding issues of importance in America. Phone calls and several e mails later, still no viable solutions to the concerns expressed, but free speech reigned! Gained in research knowledge and started writing a piece for print journalism.
But more importantly, Tom Gordon has been coaxed back into the blog fold to take up his position again as the Wednesday blogger. In his absence, Tom has undoubtedly been engaged in all sorts of subversive activity against my political party. And I am absolutely positive that on Wednesday he will eviscerate someone with his words. Welcome back, Tom. Some of the readers, have really missed you! smile
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:09 AM