Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not Over Until the Fat Lady Sings

They say it is never over until the fat lady sings. I think Joe DiMaggio said it first. But like Dirty Harry and "Make my day" it has been said by so many people since does it matter?

The health care reform bill - or should I say the silly and often irrational fight against it - has gone on for so very long that I had almost forgotten about it until I was reminded this Sunday by a friend it was coming up for a final vote. President Obama is planning a signing party for today. Then he goes on the road to sell what it is that has been passed. McCain is launching a national campaign for its repeal already and asking for $25 donations from everyone that doesn't want access to health care? I am a little unclear on the concept. Another friend of mine into holistic medicine (as am I) is protesting the new bill because it will not cover acupuncture and herbal remedies. Hard to find insurance not that does.

Amendments to this very new bill loom in the wings already. It was a pass what you can and then modify as able effort. But we are no longer the only developed country in the world without open access to health care and insurance. The mere outlawing of exclusion for pre-existing conditions makes it worth the fight. But clearly the fight is not over.

A friend of mine noted recently that the world seems to be speeding up with all the technology and communication available but when it comes to laws and legal matters the wheels grind ever so slowly. I maintain something needs to be done. My relative small legal issue in the scheme of things has lingered on for two and a half years and already taken a full day in district court and likely to take another. And then there is the judge's time in considering the matter after both sides rest. My legal aid council figures roughly $50,000 spent to defend me against my house being taken from me. I estimate that opposing council has billed $36,000 to his client for an original $21,600 lien with no back up proof that has already been amended to $14,000 by the plaintiff because of an accounting error.

I believe that now we are on the road to a reformed health care and health insurance system we need to work on reform of litigation. Our legal system is almost as screwed up as the health insurance industry. It is just that people don't die waiting for decisions from judges like they do HMO's. A book I was reading about a murder in Victorian England has the accused tried and hung within three months. Average wait on death row in America today is 9 to 15 years.

On other news there is an extreme Cabernet shortage because of the Chilean earth quake, sharks lost their bid before the UN to be protected (did a legal shark plead their case?), and a Nazi man in Germany was convicted for 1944 murders. Now there is a legal case that has taken forever.  And Google China has decided to leave the Chinese mainland and relocate in Hong Kong. Fear of reprisal?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A quick review of recent news

I have a headline mind. I first noticed this in college when I would sneak off from the dorm with faked parental permission and then imagine disaster: College Coed found in Juarez Jail: Mother said she thought daughter was safe at college.

There does not seem much in my life that I can not reduce to a banner headline with caption.  And it appears that our busy lives means that even the news media is following my example.
I really have only a few questions I would like answered on these headlines: Is ex-governor, Sarah Palin, the one that shot the two wolves? And can spring be far behind if Fargo is already ordering sandbags? I already know that John Paul Stevens is the associate justice of the Supremes believed to be the leader of the liberal wing of the court. So retiring with a liberal president in office is a good move. And of course health care will be a fight to the wire because all people voting yea or nay have it already.

I am not interested enough in the missing woman and son on the Washington beach to follow the story further. They probably did something incredibly stupid. If further abandoned vans on beaches prove a serial killer in the area I may backtrack to this on Google. And of course, Toyota dismisses the California man's runaway Prius report. They are into denial, denial, denial. One of the amazing things about the disaster in Kansas City in the early 1980's when the Hyatt walkways fell and killed and maimed hundreds is that Hallmark, owner of the hotel, admitted guilt immediately. I guess those days are over. On to the Exxon Valdiz manner of handling things: Oil, what oil.

And the days of bayonets are gone too with the cavalry sword and horse. I suppose the Kevlar vest made them rather inefficient. And they don't mount well on the standard issue AK47's these days. Still a sad moment. But what is this about bust abs? Poorly written headline in my opinion. Probably just trying to lure in the entertainment news crowd with thoughts of Madonna.

 And that my friends is an in depth look at the news of the day. Go back to Facebook and enjoy yourself with who just planted potatoes in Farmtown.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What if this gets worse?

Geologists and vulcanologists say we have gone through a 200 year period of relative calm on earth. So calm in fact that some have theorized that the earth was going through a cooling down and settling in.

Others have studied the records laid down in layers of earth and sediment and warned that it is cyclic and the calm will soon be over. To bolster this argument monitoring of activity around the Pacific Rim would indicate things are already "heating up."

I have a friend that volunteers for the Red Cross and gets sent to places requiring aid following a disaster. She has been in the disaster counseling team following two hurricanes, dodged being sent to Haiti because of the unrest, and fully expected to go to Hawaii if the tsunami from the Chile earthquake had materialized as expected. She may yet be called up for Chile but they seem to be doing a pretty good job for themselves.

But disaster rescue and relief teams are finite. Due to the post traumatic stress they suffer their deployments are short and there is a lag time before redeployment. Stock piled relief supplies are also finite. And in this world economy giving of money or goods to non-profit relief organizations is down. How many more disasters can the world respond to in a given year? What if the Chile earthquake had spawned the tsunamis predicted? There would have been multiple "Thailands" out there for the world to deal with on top of the earthquake relief, especially if Chile had been as needy as Haiti.

I believe it is time for all of us to individually take responsibility for our own relief. We all need to have emergency supplies and be prepared for evacuation. Living in the mountains it has been a concern of mine since I lived on the front line of the Hondo fire for 22 days following the human initiation 13 years ago this May 5th. I keep enough food in the pantry and freezer winters to again be cut off from supplies by 6 feet of snow in 24 hours. If you live on the gulf or eastern coasts of the United States now is time to check those hurricane emergency supplies and evac routes.

And California, Oregon and Washington are on the Pacific rim. What if the Chilean earthquake had triggered the precarious San Andres fault, or triggered Mammoth Mountain to erupt, or just those tsunamis? Are you prepared to be your own disaster relief?