Today in My History2000: A Winery Crawl
2001: No entry--in England
2002: Why It's Different This Time
2003: Decisions, Decisions
2004: The Music of My Life
2005: Family Ties
2006: Teaching Fang to Play
2007: Expanding the Heavenly Choir
2008: Carnival of Follies
Books Read in 2009
"A Thousand Splendid Suns"
Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
VIDEO OF THE DAY / WEEK / WHATEVER
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IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY OR WHAT?
7 May 2009
An African-American veteran, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and is the recipient of the bronze star is running to replace Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Army Captain Anthony Woods, the son of a single mother from Fairfield, California (just 20 miles from Davis) is a West Point graduate and holds a masters degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He biked across the country to raise money for Habitat for Humanity and helped rebuild homes in New Orleans.
Great guy, right?
Well, apparently the Army doesn't think so. When Captain Woods finally decided he couldn't live under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy any longer and admitted to being gay, he was honorably discharged...and then received a bill from the U.S. Government for $35,000 for his educational benefits!!!!!
Can you believe that? He served this country in Iraq twice but because he's gay, he can not only not continue in his chosen career with the military, but he must REPAY them for all the educational expenses.
Since Don't Ask, Don't Tell was enacted, nearly 13,000 service persons who only want to help protect this country have been discharged. Some of those had valuable skills that could have helped us directly with actions in Iraq. Between 1998 and 2004, for example, the military discharged 20 Arabic and 6 Farsi speakers at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies don't have enough Arabic speakers.
That the military would demand refund for educational expenses from someone who has served not once, but twice in a war zone and been decorated for extraordinary heroism is one of the most disgusting things I've ever read. The time is NOW to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell....and perhaps if Captain Woods is elected, he can work to accomplish that himself.
And then there's good ol' Average Joe the Plumber:
"People don't understand the dictionaryit's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to dowhat man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children."
"Actually homosexual," eh? But he won't have these "friends" anywhere near his children. How stupid are people, anyway?
On a somewhat related topic (how screwed up we are in this country) Walt is presently in Santa Barbara. His mother is scheduled to be released from the convalescent hospital on Thursday and here's the rub: The convalescent hospital can't keep her because they feel she has reached maximum rehabilitation and her insurance company won't pay for her to stay longer, but she can't get around the way she used to and her assisted living facility doesn't want her to come back because she needs more intensive care and they don't have a third tier in their facility.
So that leaves a 95 year old woman with nowhere, really, to go.
Walt is going to stay with her 24/7 and keep a record of everything she does in 24 hrs so they have a better chance to assess what she can and can't do, what she needs and doesn't need. Mentally she is pretty much with it, though still gets confused about where she is, since she can't see and isn't in her familiar surroundings.
I have to admit that I've been just blown away by the diligent care that Walt and his sister and, when he's able to get away, their brother, have given their mother. She definitely raised 'em right. Alice Nan is there every single day, checking to make sure that everything is all right, that all the doctor's instructions have been followed, that she gets the very best care she can possibly get. She's also there for companionship, totally enjoying the friendship she has with her mother (as I do the friendship I have with mine) while she can.
Walt will be staying with her, as I said, 24/7 until he comes home. She has this tiny apartment with a teeny tiny couch that seats 2 people, barely. I have such incredible admiration for how he is behaving toward his mother and the love he is showing her.
As for my mother, she feels I'm being a bad daughter because I won't promise to end her life when she gets tired of living. I tell her she's being selfish because that will mean I'll have to spend the rest of my life in jail, but I have offered to drive her to the edge of the freeway, if she decides she wants to run out into the traffic and end it all.
Coincidentally, I met recently with Jade McCutcheon, from UC Davis, who is writing a play called "The Elephants' Graveyard," which is about the problems of aging in this country. We talked about the love and care we give our animals when they reach the end of their lives and their quality of life deteriorates so badly. I remember the peaceful end of life for all the dogs we have had to put to sleep.
I don't know that we need to always end the life of an old person whose quality of life has deteriorated, but it's not always possible to follow the requests of someone or do give them the best possible quality of life because costs are prohibitive and insurance turns its back.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 105 miles