Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Voted

Today the Wife and I exercised our rights as citizens and cast our votes in the general election. City council, state senate, congress, President. We went and let our voice be heard.

It is a big deal to both of us, this right to vote. For me, it is one of the reasons I spent time in the Marines. Americans have the right to vote, because we are free. And freedom was bought and kept at a high price throughout our history.

As an average citizen, it is one of the most American things we can do. Yes, we are just one vote of millions. Yes, the electoral college picks the President in the end anyway. Yes, with all of the problems with voting sometimes it seems like our vote doesn't really matter at all anyway.

But remember Florida in 2000? Gore was down by three hundred and some votes. That turned the entire election on it's ear.

What if it's your vote this time that tips the balance?

Anyway. I voted today. And in the end, who I voted for is insignificant to the vote itself. That right. That freedom. That so many have fought to defend in the past two hundred plus years.

If you have the chance, please go vote. I would consider it a personal favor. I would love to think my near decade in the Marine Corps was spent, if nothing else, guarding your right to make a choice. Thanks.

More Later

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shaffer South

My Sister in Law has a blog over at www.shaffertimes.blogspot.com. It is usually an update on the kids and their life down near St. Louis, MO. Her last posting was a bit more in depth to who she is though, and an awesome one at that.

I know that she and I disagree on many things. But we agree on many things as well. We both love my brother - in different ways of course. We both believe that we should all be "voting with [our] own well-formed conscience and well-informed mind". And even though there will be disagreement, our opinions should still be respected.

At the end of her post she writes, "I don't think I'm so arrogant as to think that life should be the way I wish."

Which got me to thinking. How many times have I thought, and sometimes out loud, that life would be so much easier if we all just believed the same things. Of course, the other speakers in my head chime in how boring the world would be and such. But I do wish that there could be respect in disagreement. Compromise in the extremes. A middle ground where, though not perfect, could at least be a way for us all to move forward in a positive way.

And, of course, I am arrogant enough to think that life should be like that!

I respect her most for her love of my brother and their kids, my nephews. It shines through in what she does, and they really are a good match.

So, well written posting, my sis-in-law. I'd like to believe there are more people out there like you and my bro, and me for that matter, who are one step out of what the media would have us believe is 'normal'. And Viva Bella Roma! And the growing and canning! And the random knowledge and gifts that make you unique.

More Later

John's Economic Stimulus Plan

So a few of us were joking around while chatting about our Titanic Economy, and the subject of the Stimulus came up. It was pointed out that one of the main 'plans' for that money was for us consumers to go out and buy a big screen TV or a new washer and dryer or something, and thereby boost the economy through retail spending.

What really happened though is most of the American people put the money towards existing debt, or paying their taxes, or they just put it in the bank. Not such a big help for the 'plan' of boosting consumer spending.

So we were joking that perhaps the government should just buy everyone a big screen TV for the next stimulus package. That led me to write a letter to my senator. Here's what it said...

To my Government Representative,

Here's a thought for the next economic stimulus. It is my understanding that the stimulus checks were supposed to boost consumer spending amongst other things. The last stimulus package didn't work out so well since most of us used the money to pay down debt or, in my case, pay my taxes.

What if this stimulus package was given out in the form of something akin to a gift card or gift certificate? Redeemable at any retail store, the stimulus recipient could 'pay' with the card and the retailer would then submit the bill to the treasury. This way the money goes to actually boosting spending instead of being tucked away for the economic hurricane to come. The cards would only go to the taxpayers who pay in anyway, much like the last stimulus. So the Republicans shouldn't have any "spread the wealth" issues. And the consumers would be literally forced to buy something retail, thus boosting the local economy and such.

Best of all, if someone fails to use their stimulus card within, say, six months, the money reverts to the treasury thereby saving taxpayers the cost of paying it out in the first place.
Just a thought.
Thanks for your work and your service to our state.
John the Paramedic

So, whaddya think? I almost threw in as an aside something like "Or you could just buy everyone in the country round trip tickets to Hawaii." But thought better of it.

How will you 'spend' your next stimulus check?

More Later

Saturday, October 25, 2008


What does it mean to be an American? For most of us, it seems to mean only that we were born in this country and therefore have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of cheeseburgers.

Election time always seems to bring out the worst in people. Or perhaps just their 15 minutes. And we see the daily reminders on TV and such of just how backwards we are as a society. Crazy McCain Lady, Joe the Plumber (and the people holding up signs supporting "Joe the Plummer"), angry blogs on both sides of the political divide (and yes, I am guilty of it as well). Seems there is little room for tolerance of others opinions.

What is an American? Is it the white middle or upper class? Born into this land with a deep felt sense of entitlement? Is it the immigrant from Europe here to work and study, and staying to become a citizen? Is it the illegals from any nation who come here in hopes for a better life? Red States? Blue States?

There are as many ways to divide our society as there are stars in the heavens, yet very few talk of bringing us together under a common cause. There are probably too many differing opinions to really ever get people to see eye to eye on things. And those opinions are mostly formed from experiences based on regions.

Living as I do in the "great white North" I don't have nearly the racial interactions with someone living in the South or Southwest would. Oh, we have our enclaves of different races, but we are mostly fish belly white up here. Sadly that leads to a distrust, and sometimes hatred, of those who are "different". Personally, I enjoy mixing with the Latinos or Somalis, the Hmong or the Serbs. It's fun to eat different food and learn about other cultures. As a white guy, I have learned a lot, and have a lot to learn about people from other parts on our planet.

But I always seem to run into those folks who gripe about those non-white people. Who claim that the "foreigners" are just taking jobs, or too lazy to get jobs, or using the welfare system to steal our tax money. They talk out of their hindquarters, because I've only met folks who are hard working, trying to do the best they can, supporting families and living the American Dream.

I know there are people out there that think Americans should only be white, middle class and Christian. But the reality is that Americans take all different shapes, colors, religious beliefs and personal beliefs. Trying to come up with a set of laws in a country with so many differing opinions has proven to be nearly impossible. Yet somehow, we all seem to pretty much get by.

I'm looking forward to a day when we can come together as Americans, regardless of any differences, and really live up to our potential. I think for me that is the American Dream. And I think that a dream it will forever remain.

More Later

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Old Kids

Tonight I ran into someone I have not seen in a decade. She was a high school senior the last time I saw her, with a group of kids that I absolutely loved. Those were the days when I was a youth director at a small church, and our group was awesome and fun, and I missed those kids when I left, and have wondered over the years what may have become of them.

Turns out she and the others are doing pretty good. I can't say I'm surprised, as they were great kids.

Now she's all grown up and living life. It was so much fun to see that she's doing well.

I awoke at 5:45 this morning to take the Wife to work, and stayed up all day with the kiddos. Now I'm at work until 7am tomorrow, and hoping beyond hope I can stay awake...

More Later

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Dangers of Politics

At Work...

Yes, I made the mistake of answering the question of "So who are you voting for?" asked by a co-worker. In a room of republicans. And one democrat who buried her head in the computer and would not respond.

I was accused of being a left wing liberal. Hee hee! Just because I didn't agree with most of McCain's campaign pledges. And when I said there were also a few things I didn't agree with Obama on, I was pretty much ignored. One nurse asked how I could agree that nationalized health care is a bad idea and still vote for Obama. As if that were the only issue we were voting on. It's very simple really. I vote with the candidate who I most agree with. This round it's Obama. As I've said before, I could have gone with McCain except for three major flaws in his campaign.

1) He has been erratic in his decisions. The campaign message changed, what, half a dozen times? Not to mention the dozen or so plans to 'rescue the economy' last week. Pick something and stick with it.

2) His choice of Sarah Palin as VP. With so many other great options, he went with her. Most of my family has more foreign policy experience, and she has proven herself less than credible as a politician on a national scale. Hmm. Maybe picking something and sticking with it isn't such a good idea.

3) The devolution of the campaign from issues to slander. Very junior high style work.

These three things make me question his ability to be Presidential on the world stage, which has to be a big part of the next President to help this country regain some respect from the international community. They also make me question his integrity, and his leadership style.

Of course, the same nurse who grilled me on health care also thinks Obama is a terrorist, a Muslim, and has a deep dark agenda to turn the country into Black America. She's a good nurse, but a bigot and a bit of a nut job!

And while I do lean left, I also research the candidates pretty well, and choose based on my own views and beliefs. Not just the party line. But I suppose I can't just be independent. I got the same treatment at the Democratic caucus in town when I voted against an amendment to the platform supporting universal health care. I asked how it would be paid for and got pretty well shouted down. I'm also pretty sure that's what shot me in the foot for getting to the next level of conventioning.

The Wife is right. I wouldn't make a very good politician. I don't do BS well, and I'm not afraid of a difference of opinions.

A far more amusing conversation happened much later as one of the lab techs, our reg rep and another medic and I were discussing movie sequels. Our lab tech wants to see the latest Indiana Jones movie, and the other medic said there might be another sequel in the works. Then the jokes started flying about much older action hero's. Indy in a wheelchair. Rocky getting opponents from nursing homes. Rambo heading into the jungle with a bow, explosive arrows, a walker and his AARP card. We were laughing pretty hard.

Ah, life in the ED. Just don't talk politics!


The Boyo had his very first dental appointment today. It went swimmingly! The kid has no fear I tell ya'.

The dental hygienist did a great job too, letting him play with some of the equipment and such. He chose cookie dough flavored toothpaste for the cleaning and seemed to have a pretty good time.

It was a brief visit and completely untraumatic until the very end. That's when I scheduled my visit for next week, and it was only traumatic to me. I'm a big baby when it comes to dental visits.

More Later

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Weekend is Here

The Wife works all this weekend, and so I have the kiddos all to myself. There are pros and cons to this, of course. We all miss Mommy when she's gone. So we'll have to find some fun things to do.

First up after a waffle breakfast, drawing fun!

More Later

Friday, October 17, 2008


Life continues on. Dinner with good friends tonight at the local Mongolian Grill. Tasty.

Autumn is here and the trees are beautiful! In the corner of my garden, which really needs to be tilled under soon in preparation for next season, I have some plants racing to beat the snows. They are all volunteer and include corn, beans, tomato and tomatillo.
Bean Blossom

We've already had a frost, not too hard, but enough to blacken the pitiful tomato plants I did plant this year. Which were ravaged by all sorts of critters, resulting in a gross harvest of 0.

There's always next season. (That's the motto of my Cubbies as well.)

The Boyo and I are going to play in the leaves if it's nice tomorrow. No raking right away, as he likes to sort through and find the good leaves.

More Later

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Final Debate

So, I'm at work and missed the televised debate. But I read through the transcript of it.

Uff Da.

I can see at least three or four good SNL lines in there. "Bresh of Freth Air" being the most obvious.

I was disturbed a bit by the abortion segment. Here's why. Obama said, quite well I think, that regardless of pro-choice or pro-life stance, we need to find some common ground to prevent unwanted pregnancies. He also said, and I challenge anyone to find fault with this,

"But what ultimately I believe is that women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision. And I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn't be subject to state referendum, any more than our First Amendment rights are subject to state referendum, any more than many of the other rights that we have should be subject to popular vote."

Do I agree with abortion? Of course not. The Wife and I never had any pre-birth tests run on our kids to check for any "issues" because we would not have aborted unless absolutely medically necessary. But I personally think it is incredibly offensive for anyone other than the mother and maybe father of that fetus to make that decision. We cannot have politicians, or citizens for that matter, who on one hand say that government should "just get outta the way" and let us live our lives, and on the other say that government should be allowed to control the choices we make. It's a hypocritical view.

Yet another reason I just can't agree with the McCain/Palin ticket.

Now, as for the health care stuff. I have had a hard time agreeing with Universal Health care. The systems in England and Canada are just as messy as ours, but in different ways. I like both candidates proposals for health care plans. The $5k tax credit would about cover our plan. Just a couple thousand bucks short.

I think we do need more focus on prevention though. Although they both mentioned it, neither one was very clear on how. Though I did like McCain's plan to reward those who join health clubs. But what if you can't afford the health club?

Here's an idea. Lower insurance costs for those who show a marked effort and success with following a good diet and exercise plan. It wouldn't be hard to implement. A doctor checkup first, for baseline stats... weight, cholesterol, smoker/non-smoker, etc. Then follow up with a visit to a nutritionist for a healthy eating plan, and a trainer for an appropriate exercise program. Then visit the doc every six months for a checkup on how the plan is going. Lose weight? Take some dollars of your insurance premium. Stop smoking? A few more dollars. (us non-smokers would start at a lower premium at the get go) Reward people monetarily for getting in better shape and taking better care of themselves. Sort of a fair tax plan but for health. This of course would need some tweaking for pre-existing conditions, but that shouldn't be hard to do.

Anyway. I thought the debate was interesting. They both did well, but I think Obama won. At least in the transcript version. Mainly because his responses were concise and easy to follow. McCain seemed to be rambling through some of his answers. Still not sure why he was congratulating the now famous Joe the Plumber on being rich. Maybe it comes across better in real life. And I am still a bit upset that, while McCain did correctly say that he stops the trash talk about Obama at his rallies, he said nothing about the Palin rallies. She should really be stopping that sort of talk. Silence in those cases is tantamount to agreement. And I've watched most of the speeches by the candidates. can anyone tell me when Obama mocked Veterans wearing Vet hats?

McCain said this,
" Let me just say categorically I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies. Whenever you get a large rally of 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 people, you're going to have some fringe peoples. You know that. And I've -- and we've always said that that's not appropriate.
But to somehow say that group of young women who said "Military wives for McCain" are somehow saying anything derogatory about you, but anything -- and those veterans that wear those hats that say "World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq," I'm not going to stand for people saying that the people that come to my rallies are anything but the most dedicated, patriotic men and women that are in this nation and they're great citizens.
And I'm not going to stand for somebody saying that because someone yelled something at a rally -- there's a lot of things that have been yelled at your rallies, Sen. Obama, that I'm not happy about either.
In fact, some T-shirts that are very unacceptable."

Highlights are mine, of course. But is he saying that fringe "peoples" are still great Americans? And without fail, every time I've heard boo's or something at Obama's rallies, he is quick to put a stop to it. McCain does too. Palin...not so much. But then she'd have to say something unscripted, and I think we all know how that goes. (wink)

Well. I suppose I'm not very good at avoiding politics on my blog. C'est la vie. We had a discussion on politics at work tonight. Many staunch Republicans here. And they had some good points. But not a one could answer me when I asked why McCain kept changing the message and focus of his campaign. I'm a "right tool for the job" sort of a guy. Obama has been using a hammer on the campaign nail. McCain has been switching between wrenches, saws, screwdrivers, anything he can grab at to see if he can pound that nail. (He gave up his good hammer - experience- when he chose Palin)

OK, 'Nuff said for tonight. I think I'll go wash the rigs and think about my kiddos. Just imagining their smiles makes me smile, and hearing them laugh in my head makes me giggle.

More Later


One of my friends lost his mom last weekend. I didn't know her, but I like and respect him. Our condolences go to him and his family during these days.

I wish there was something more I could do.

More Later

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Politics and Punkins

It's hard not to talk about politics these days, especially with the last debate happening tomorrow night. So I will try to be brief. I know there are those in my family that disagree with my views. But I don't judge them on their politics, as for the other 99% of our lives the politics don't really matter.

I did want to bring up one more thing about Palin, who is the biggest reason I can't possibly support McCain.

Her ties to AIP and her hypocrisy about abortion really are telling about her character. She is sneaky and manipulative. Which would be great in like a 'secret agent' type gal. But not so much in a VP or (shudder) President. I wish those that support her blindly because she's "folksy" and "one of us average Americans" would do some research into her, and see just how dangerous she is for American Politics.

OK, enough of that. The Wife and I are voting early, as I've stated previously. I'm perfectly willing to give Obama the keys and see what he can do with the government. It can't be worse than the last eight years.

In other events around our little section of the world, the Boyo is learning about boundaries and consequences. He's pushing the former and then experiencing the latter! Sometimes he's downright belligerent and such. He knows he's headed for a Time Out. Occasionally he'll do something not so good, but kinda funny. And it's hard not to giggle while we put him in Time Out. He is exceedingly clever though, and comes up with new buttons to push almost every day.

On the flip side, he loves his little sister dearly. It is really fun to watch him comfort her when she fusses, and he's always ready to help out with her. Changing diapers, carrying her from Mommy to Daddy or visa versa, checking on her when she's asleep. He is just so very good with her.

Sweet Pea continues to grow and I absolutely live for a smile from her. Think she's got her Daddy wrapped around her little finger?

More Later

My Sister In Law

Born the 13th of October, on a Friday no less. But where others see luckless, she has found it in friendships and family, and where others see horror, she lives a beautiful life.

Happy Birthday Frenchie...Francie...what the heck are we supposed to call you now that you've been there? Or do we call you something for a place you haven't been?

Taj Mahalie? North Polie? Vladivostokie?


With love and apologies for being late...

My Stress

Before I begin, let me state for the record that my stressors are barely a blip compared to some others I know. Every patient I see is having a worse day than I, or so they believe. And I have come to believe that most of the belief of having a bad day is in ones head a lot of the time.

So, here's what's got me stressed, in no particular order...

1) The tanking economy.
2) The Upcoming Presidential elections.
3) Scheduling conflicts with the Wife.
4) The cost of the Great Wall Repair. (didn't even call it a fiasco!)
5) The sometimes futile aspects of my job.
6) What comes after death.
7) Having many things I want to be doing and not having the time to do them.

Let's break it down into two categories.

Category A = things I can't do a dang thing about.
That would be 1, 2, 4, and 6.

Category B = things I can do something about.
That would be 3, 5, and 7 respectively.

First, the A category...

Economy - like a wave over a coral reef, nothing I can do here but hang on and hope for the eventual best. Guess I can try to leave this out of my daily worries.

Presidential Election - I do believe that either way, the next President will be exponentially better than our current Lame Duck. What really bothers me is the decidedly negative turn the McCain/Palin folks have taken. Talk about divisive. It also scares me a little bit that some folks that I love and respect are buying into that BS. I suppose if you can't win on issues, best to try and scare people into voting for you. But again. The sun comes up and the days go by. I'm casting an absentee vote this week (I work all day on the 4th) and then there's nothing to do but see who wins on the 5th. So, less stress there is possible.

The Great Wall - steep price, but still less than any other estimates. I'm wishing I could have done it myself or with a few helpers. Ah well. I'm going to love it when it's done.

After Death - This gets a posting all it's own... more on that later.

As for the Category B stressors

Scheduling conflicts - There are things in the works... I'll update when we know more. This works for number 7 as well.

Futile aspects of my job - helping people who aren't that sick, but really want to be. Having "tasks" around the hospital that should be done by someone else, but "that's the way it's always been done". The constant dance with real illness, trauma and death that puts life into pretty clear perspective. I can see why there is burnout in this job. Dark humor and poking fun at patients (always well behind the lines, of course) It helps to maintain some distance from the sludge. But it still sticks and colors all I do outside of work as well. I find myself people watching and checking peoples hand veins to see how easy IV access would be. When I see someone speeding around me in traffic and rain, I don't get mad, I just think "job security". I have gone from thinking that every life is sacred and useful, to thinking, well... maybe not so much.

Sacred, yeah. I can still buy into that. But I see how people desecrate that divine spark. And like a bible buried in manure, I think it's ok to get rid of that one and get a new one.

I'm about to delve into death, so More Later

At Work Again

And catching up on the days gone by so quickly while I was playing sick.

I remember when I was growing up, vivid memories of some times. Yet I don't recall being particularly "sick" all the time. Oh, there was the mono one swim season that went undiagnosed. Symptoms: tired all the time, headaches, aches and pains, etc. But during those days I was up at 4am for swimming, then school, then a couple more hours of swimming, then a quick meal, then rehearsal for the school musical until 10 or 11 pm or so, then try to do some homework until sleep took over and the alarm went off at 4 and I did it all again. So I thought very little of the constant tiredness and such. I did have some sort of stomach bug once...

Anyway, I remember the times I was sick because they were few and far between and never too serious.

Then in March of '07 I had my first sinus infection. January of '08 my first pneumonia, and now another bout of the sinus crap and something that is at least threatening to go pneumonia-ish. All three bouts really knocked me for a loop and kept me off my feet for a while. What is THAT about? I'll tell you what I need. I need to get back into something close to fighting form like I was back in my Marine days. At least a little. I need to eat healthier, which should be easy since the Wife is such a phenomenal cook. And I need most of all to get rid of some stress in my life.

What stress? Glad you asked... Since I'm playing catch up with posts, I'll write more on that later.

More Later

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quick Post

Being sick has pushed me way behind on things. I need to make up a half dozen posts for this month here, and post a whole weeks worth of pictures over at the picture a day challenge. Uff-Da.

The head is finally clearing up a bit, but the Wife thinks it has moved into my chest and is worried about pneumonia. I've got three night shifts in a row starting tonight... maybe I'll get it checked there.

More Later

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Head Hurts

Ah, the gunk that is going around has reached us in force. I've got sinusitis - a sinus infection, and the kiddos are runny nosed and not feeling well.

It has forced me into slow motion, and everything that isn't eating, blowing my nose until the sinuses drain, or sleeping, has pretty much gone by the wayside.

Drugs are on the way though, and it will hopefully get cleared up in a few days. Let's hear it for modern medicine.

More Later

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Contractors Second Visit

I got to meet the contractor who we are pretty sure will be building the wall. Nice guy, knows his stuff. I'm well enough pleased with the price, but still wishing I had the energy of youth to re-stack those rocks.

Ah well, with the pros doing it, if anything goes hinky in the next few years they get to come fix it and not me!

If all goes as expected we'll have a new wall in a few weeks!

Still under the weather, so short entry tonight.

More Later

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Midnight Philosophy

People who are alive who want to die. People who are dying who want to live. What a world we live in, eh?

Of course, the sun comes up tomorrow regardless. Live, die, win big, lose it all, whatever. The planet will go on.

So what are you doing today to make the world a better place for you, your family, your friends or your world?

Be happy, and if you aren't, change it up.

More Later

Head Cold

I'm not feeling well. My head is congested, I've been producing copious amounts of yellow goo flowing freely from every orifice in my head, and I can do a pretty good Barry White impersonation. Not bad for a baritone/tenor ranged guy.

So today will be short.

Work last night was a little hairy. I was caring for people healthier than I was. That's not such a good thing. I've been avoiding patient contact as much as possible, especially with really young or really old folks.

I am very thankful to my partners from these two nights, who have quasi-quarantined me. I choose to believe that they are doing this out of their concern for my health and not because they don't want to catch whatever I have. Not that I would blame them for that!


More Later

Saturday, October 4, 2008

VP Debates

Got to watch the VP debates last night. I have to say, honestly, that I was not offended by Palin's performance. Now, to be fair, after the Couric interviews my expectations were pretty low.

But she was able to complete sentences, and not look too flustered when she gave answers that were embedded by her handlers. She stuck to the message for the McCain/Palin platform and didn't (as one observer noted) "run screaming from the stage yelling "I can't do this!"

So for that I give her credit.

However. She answered evasively on a whole bunch of questions. She didn't answer them so much as find clever ways to get back to the opinion that either she or McCain was a maverick, and that they wanted to put the country first. I've heard those lines before, and was hoping to hear a bit more about just HOW they plan on doing that. It was also very obvious when she was comfortable with a question or not. Comfortable = She shifted from foot to foot and looked relaxed, answered with some knowledge on the topic. Uncomfortable = stood erect on both feet, looked directly into the camera and the only thing that moved were her mouth and her blinking eyes. I've seen that look before in high school acting class when the performer knew the lines, but was unsure that they actually knew them.

The attempts at humor were pretty feeble and not well timed either. It was obvious that somewhere along the line during her prep, someone thought it would be clever if she could work in the time worn phrase "Say it ain't so, Joe". But she didn't really play that card well.

I agree with the Palinites that she does have a very folksy charm about her. Sort of like King George the Second had during his debates. But I think we've all seen that folksy does not equal competent to lead. I liked what one undecided focus group member said after the debates... She would love to have coffee with Palin, but not put her runner up to the President.

As for Biden. He didn't make too big a splash either. Although he did answer questions and stay on message well. He hit a homer with his 'bridge to nowhere' dig, it even made the audience "oooh". But other than that he played it cool and did a great job. I would have had a hard time controlling my tongue in correcting Palin at times, like the name of the commanding general in Afghanistan, or what the constitution actually says the VP powers are. But Biden apparently learned from the George the First/Ferraro debates back in the 80's that correcting someone could come off as condescending. But he didn't come off as forced or eager to get a soundbite as Palin. So I'd give the win, if there is one, to him. Of course, comparing their experience levels is like comparing a match to a forest fire, so we won't even go there.

Lastly, for those of you out there who will no doubt support the McCain/Palin ticket or are still considering them. Your pick has a slight uphill battle going into these last few weeks. I do hope you will pay attention to the style of campaigning that you are going to see. McCain/Palin knows they can't win on the issues anymore. Not after the economy mess and McCain's grandstanding. So they are going to go for personal, character attacks. I don't think the Obama camp will respond in kind very much, and would be disappointed in them if they did.

I know there are ideological issues at stake. Republican views and Democratic views. But in light of the current "Republican" administration that seems to go against everything real Republicans want, and their candidate, who agreed with that administration 90% of the time, I think it's time for a change. Please think about your vote before you go with the party favorite.

Anyway, enough on that debate. Two more debates between McCain and Obama. Those should be interesting.

More Later

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Never Ceases to Amaze Me

I am all for helping the poor and disenfranchised. I am all about providing health care in my field (that of emergency medicine) to any and all in need regardless of ability to pay. I can't count the number of times I have said to a patient "Don't worry about the money right now. You are very sick (or injured) and we are here to help."

I think I'm pretty liberal in my political views as it is. But when it comes to health care and money, I may lean a bit to the right. Like I said, all for helping those in need. But the words "in need" seem to need defining.

I am a paramedic. I'm good at handling medical and traumatic emergencies. I have a VERY good grasp of how "in need" should be defined.

Car crash, blood, broken bone... in need.

Headache that has been bothering you for three days... not in need.

Chest pain, left arm pain, shortness of breath... in need.

Thumb that 'hurts' after a day pounding nails on a construction site... not in need.

Diabetic and the sugar drops too low... in need.

Been feeling "sick" for the past week... not in need.

The not in need people may actually be sick mind you. But they need to schedule an appointment with their primary doctor or an Urgent Care doc, and not take up space in an Emergency Room.

We see all sorts of wacky stuff in the ED. Including people who are part of the 'Iowa Cares' program, or Title 19, who get their health care paid for for various reasons. There are, unfortunately, a few Title 19 recipients that know how to play the system to their advantage. Using an ambulance as a taxi service because you don't have access to a car...not in need.

And it is frustrating to those of us who are the care providers, because we see this waste on many occasions. Even if we report it and take it through channels the abuses continue.

So I fall in with conservatives on this one, to a point. There is little use in funding programs that are abused. But rather than cut the funding, I suggest better guidelines for the programs, and more stringent consequences for abusers. If I were King, I'd keep the Iowa Cares program, and put something in place for us health care workers to report abuses, then kick those abusers to the curb.

Harsh? Probably. But we can't help people who refuse to help themselves.

Meanwhile, while we are out, forced to play taxi service for a headache, someone on the other end of our service area has just swerved to miss a deer in the road, lost control and rammed a tree. They are broken and bloodied, definitely in need. But guess what? We're going to be ten minutes later than normal because of a "headache".

What would you change if you were King for a time? Or Queen. Or whatever leadership title you'd like. How would you fix our country? What things need fixing?

My Dad suggested I run for some office over dinner after the Rendezvous the other day. Not that I'm going to run off and try anytime soon. But the thought has occurred to me. The Wife says I'd make a terrible politician, because there are some things I'm unwilling to compromise on, and I'd have a nasty habit of firing those I deemed ineffective or unworthy of their position.

But as a voter, I do have a small voice in firing those who are unworthy. I just need to have a whole bunch of other small voices voting along with me. That's the tricky part.

Hmm. Uncommonly judgemental at work tonight. Think we've got some silly cases in here? You be the judge...

More Later

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October, Ball and Chain, Health and Such

Happy October. Really. I mean it.

The leaves are getting prettier and the weather is getting cooler. Halloween is just around the corner and already Santa and his various sundries are gracing the shelves of every mart around.

Ball and Chain does not and will never be a reference to The Wife. Most days I feel like she's the one helping me haul the ball around. It refers to the general feeling of being overwhelmed that I have. A thousand things to do and be doing, and I feel all the time like I'm slogging through knee deep mud with ball and chain on each ankle. I don't seem to be able to catch up, let alone get started on the things I'd like to be doing.

And when there are a few minutes or hours or (hallelujah) a whole day where nothing is expected of me by work or The Wife's work or family things, well, it's hard to even get off the couch and play trains with the Boyo.

I've got about three dozen projects in the shop that are waiting for me to show up and do them, and no real time in the foreseeable future (well into 2009) to actually get to them. Unless I want to sacrifice some sleep time... which is not such a good idea.

My personal health is wearing down in the meantime, as well I think as the other three in my clan. Boyo and Sweet Pea are, of course, still delightful as tired little ones. And The Wife is like the Energizer Bunny, she keeps going no matter what. I always get more sleep than she, but she just keeps going! She's hard to keep up with. Uff Da.

Anyway, Happy October. One more month until the elections, three more to the end of the reign of King George II. I am looking forward to 2009 with great anticipation.

Working tonight, spending time with my kiddos and lovely wife tomorrow.

More Later