“Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009. People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups—or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore the latest problems to classic and beloved works of American literature.”—Info: Banned Books Week (via shorterexcerpts) (via taramarie) (via kaytee) (via soupsoup)
“What we are talking about here is access to healthcare. We are talking about mothers and fathers losing their homes and their life savings trying to save their children. We are talking about families helping a loved one to fight cancer. We are talking about people suffering with diabetes, asthma and AIDS. We are not talking about death panels and for God’s sakes we are not talking about Nazi Germany. We are talking about tending to the sick and the poor… does that sound familiar to anyone? You Value Voters out there claim to read the Bible. Maybe you should crack the cover on that one again. You are so damn worried about who is marrying who and what immigrant is getting the best shift at the Taco Bell, but God forbid someone’s suffering doesn’t come with a price tag. Honestly, if I could , I would put the entire Republic party over my knee and give them a good spanking. What does it say about our country if the biggest debate of the decade is no longer about the two wars we are fighting but rather about preventing children and families from having access to affordable healthcare? I’ll tell you what it says to me. It says the Christian Right never really was and Value Voters aren’t very valuable.”—Margaret and Helen (via thesmarttart) (via apsies)
The south end of Miami Beach floods each time this year from high tides that flow into the drainage system that exits the seawalls around South Beach. The city is spending $1 million to study how to overhaul the system and wants to spend 100 times more to implement it.
The city can send me the $1 million check. No study needs to be done at this exorbitant rate. Simply install a one-way gate in each of the outflow pipes leading into the bay. Water will be able to flow out when it rains, but if the tide rises too high, the force of any incoming water will seal the gate and keep the water from backing into the streets.
The city doesn’t need to pay some outside engineer to figure this out.
“A good leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a black beard will turn white; a curled pate will grow bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon; for it shines bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly.”—William Shakespeare, Henry V (via apsies)
“This is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of, just coming in here and ruining this whole thing for them, I love it.”—Giants RB Brandon Jacobs on Sunday Night’s epic win over Dallas in their new stadium’s debut. (via thegreg)
“You’re a damn quarterback! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first - the leader of a team who will support you when they understand you, who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. Because you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.”—Any Given Sunday (via filmquotes)
“8 years later the 9-12 project has been reduced to a movement of no Blacks, no Hispanics, no Asians, just 78,000 white people who can’t spell. But it’s not really the marchers that worry me. It’s the media that gives them so much attention. Have you ever noticed when a million Pro-Choice women march on Washington while 50 Pro-Life nut jobs stand on the corner mis-quoting the bible, it’s the bible thumping nut-jobs getting more coverage on the evening news? 69 million people voted for Barack Obama knowing full well that Universal Healthcare was a major issue in his campaign. 78,000 people marched on Washington claiming that America has been stolen. Now I am not an expert, but I have to believe that fancy CNN map of John King’s should be able to figure out that math.”—Margaret and Helen (via thesmarttart) (via apsies)
They’re not even trying to pretend it’s about “health” anymore.
“The point of insurance is to insure against catastrophic care costs. That’s what you’re trying to aggregate and pool for such things as heart attacks and cancer,” said an Anthem Blue Cross spokesman. “Having a child is a matter of choice. Dealing with an adult onset illness, such as diabetes, heart disease breast or prostate cancer, is not a matter of choice.”
"She was turned down because she had given birth by Caesarean section. Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, Golden Rule did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified.”
“Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”—J.D. Salinger (via capricious)
I know a lot of younger people who think this health care debate doesn’t concern them. Why should they care? For the most part they are healthy - in their minds they are practically invincible. They aren’t thinking about high premiums, co-pays, deductibles, bills or paperwork - they are worried about more important things like where the party’s at or who to try and have casual oral sex with next. (I can’t say I’m not a little jealous, in this case ignorance is bliss.)
I posted here earlier this year my story of how my long lost father sent me a letter in the mail - A letter that changed my life in more ways than one. He said in his letter that he had ordered my books from Amazon, that he enjoyed them, although he wished to defend himself and that he was not the monster I had made him out to be in my writings - at this point in the letter I felt the emotions you’d expect - lots of anger and resentment, some sadness, lots of questions - but as I continued reading the subject matter took a strange turn…
“One of your young cousins you never met just died of an embolism… He had a rare but sometimes fatal blood disorder called Factor V Leiden. You and your brother should get tested immediately”
Factor V Leiden causes hypercoagulability in the blood. There’s a protein whose job is to tell the blood when it’s time to stop clotting - but that protein, with Factor V Leiden, does not work properly. So the blood clots into a bump on an artery, then a long string starts to form, anchored to the wall of the vein - blood continues streaming by and along the string form little bulbs of clots - much like a string of kelp - swaying in the sea - until one day the entire mass snaps off and goes with the flow… Ultimately ending up in the heart or the lungs.
So I got tested for this thing the week I got the letter and the results came back positive.
After a tiny bit of crying and a lot of self pitty, I ordered a medic-alert necklace online and tried to go about the business of being my normal scatterbrained multitasking dreamer self.
I have to look at it like this, nothing has changed aside from my knowledge of the situation. But I’e made it this far just fine…
So now I live with grossly increased risks of stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis complications. Or, to be more clear, I am now aware of the fact that I have always been living with these time bombs ticking inside of my body.
I could get on blood thinning medication, but the list of side effects and the possibilities of non-stop-bleed-to-death car accidents and bar fights mean, for now, sitting around and waiting for the blood clots is my best bet.
Ultimately the diagnosis has not changed me much - I eat right, exercise, I don’t smoke anymore - I’m healthier than I have been since grade school. Besides, I’ve always tried to live my whole life like I could get hit by a bus at any time - Only thing that’s different now is there are now a few more buses out to get me.
My doctor says I should be very paranoid and vigilant with my body, especially my legs and that I should see a specialist or go to the emergency room if I feel anything strange, any weird pains deep in my legs or my arms. If there are any bruised or reddened areas, warm to the touch… All duly noted. Thanks Doc.
A couple of months pass without incident until one weekend, after returning home from a trip to Kansas City where I played a show, I found myself rubbing my right calf a lot - the area was warm and achey - I had taken a total of four plane rides on that trip but I did my leg stretching and exercises mid-flight like I was told to - but there was this dull pain deep inside my leg that would not go away no matter how much I tried to ignore it.
Eventually my wife noticed my slight limp and how I was absentmindedly stroking my leg while we sat on the couch watching movies…
“I’m taking you to the doctor, let’s go,” she said.
“What? It’s eleven at night, we can’t go to the emergency room for this.”
“I’ll grab your phone for you, get your shoes on.”
I can’t argue with her when she’s like that - Not that I should, she only gets like that when she’s right.
We arrived at the hospital at 11:15 and checked in.
Then we waited for two hours with the bruised and the bleeding before a nurse took me into what looked like a trauma room, complete with leather restraining straps on the bed and an operation mirror lamp.
For the following two hours my wife and I played a game of “Spot the Spot” - finding tiny blood spatters on the floor-runners, the handles of cabinets and on the ceiling…
Making what could be a much more tedious story a little shorter; By 6:30 am I was discharged from the hospital having had one ultrasound procedure done, to listen to the blood flow in my leg. They found nothing out of the ordinary and we went home.
Less than a month later I received a letter from United Healthcare’s DEATH PANEL just letting me know that they wouldn’t be covering me for anything that might happen to me having to do with my blood disorder because it is a pre-existing condition. In other words, if I were to have a heart attack or a stroke or anything even remotely having to do with blood clots, I’m shit out of luck. Not like they’d pay fifty percent instead of eighty percent, not like they’d send me to a doctor of their choosing instead of mine, not like they’d recommend a less expensive method of treatment, just NO. Sorry. United will not cover a penny of my expenses.
I understand, I can see their point - It’s my fault I was born with a blood disorder less than %5 of Eurasians of carry.
It’s my fault I’ve been paying my hard earned cash every month to this gang of white collar racketeers, all the while thinking I was buying some sort of peace of mind. It’ my fault I’ve been dumb enough to think “If anything goes wrong, I have health insurance to take care of me.”
My doctor said to take any abnormality seriously - go in whenever I notice something weird in my limbs - Now I have bill collectors coming after me for three thousand dollars for my little emergency room visit. Calls to attorneys unreturned.
I watch the arguments on TV and wonder how much these right wing assholes must be getting paid by the Healthcare Industry to take their side. Maybe they don’t get money though, maybe they just get to be on some “No small print” list - Maybe they just get the premium treatment where if they need medical attention they’ll get it. Lucky elitists.
People like Sarah Palin are spreading lies about the coming government death panels who’ll decide the fate of our citizens. They have obviously never been told by their private insurance companies, “Now that we know there’s a good chance you’ll need medical attention in the near future, we’ve decided to cut you off.” I wonder if her special-needs baby will ever have to deal with this regarding his pre-existing condition.
They talk on TV about how a government run health care program would mean government people getting between you and your doctor, as though having a bunch of people at United Healthcare working around the clock to find new ways to fuck people out of the treatment they think they’ve paid for is any better.
These congressmen and governors, these government employees suddenly think it’s a good thing for us to be afraid of our elected officials and their ‘marxist’ ways. (meanwhile they’ve forgotten about the 700 billion dollars stolen from the public as a final kick in the ass from the Bush administration.) These people probably couldn’t define Socialism if they were asked to.
If they think it means big government, they’re only partly right.
In a lot of ways I think the government is too small. I want more.
I want it to be illegal for insurance companies to exclude patients for pre-existing conditions. I want there to be health care options that I can afford. I want to know there will be a doctor cutting me open or stitching me up when I need one, regardless of whether some prick at a desk somewhere thinks I’m worth the money or not.
I want laws in place to protect me from corporations in the health care industry - not the other way around.
I want it to be mandatory that people buy health insurance, private or public, just like it’s mandatory that we all have car insurance. People without car insurance drive up the premiums for all of us, so much that government now requires all drivers to have car insurance. Is that Socialism?
I want the electricity and the water that magically come straight into my house to keep on coming, safe and reliable as always. I want the roads I drive on to be smooth, I want the cops to come when I need them and the firemen too - I want the mailman to bring those checks to my PO box - I want the airlines to be monitored and regulated, I want the food I by at restaurants and grocery stores to not make me sick.
“I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work.”—Obama speech to school children: ‘You make your own future’ - CNN.com (FULL TEXT) (via apsies)
"Time after time, when the choice has come down to books versus bars, our political leaders have chosen to build bigger prisons rather than figuring out how to have fewer kids in them.
How is it that we are willing to spend so much on kids once they are found guilty of crimes but so little when they are still innocent? What kind of society spends more than 10 times as much to incarcerate a child as it does to educate him?”
Yesterday, I wrote that 49 Americans die each day due to lack of health insurance. A more accurate number is 60—and even that number is dated. The number comes from this article on a report that analyzed the different death rates between the insured and uninsured in specific age groups. I simply broke the 2006 annual rate into a daily rate and rounded down. Earlier I inadvertently used the 2000 number and got 49 deaths per day. If a 2009 number were available, it would doubtlessly be higher than 60.
If you live on Miami Beach or hang out here, there’s this card that gets you discounts. They have two, one for residents and one for visitors. If you are a resident of Miami Beach some of the restaurants give up to a 17.5% discount. Every little bit helps right? There’s lots of other stuff too. Check it out. The card is free and there’s no fee.