"In an attempt to evade responsibility for the misleading statements that pushed the nation into war, Bush has announced plans to form an independent inquiry to look into what went wrong. An inquiry would serve the Bush administration well: it would envelop the issue in a fog of uncertainty, deflect blame onto the intelligence services, and delay any political damage until 2005, after the upcoming election.
But the facts need no clarification. Despite repeated warnings from the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, President Bush and his administration hyped and distorted the threat that Iraq posed. And now that reality is setting in, the President wants to pin the blame on someone else. We can't let him.
Congress has the power to censure the President -- to formally reprimand him for betraying the nation's trust. If ever there was a time for this, it's now."
And here's the link to the direct action part of today's program!
Vox Et Gilly--Update on Steve, and Ideas for the Blog
Vox Et Gilly--Update on Steve, and Ideas for the Blog
Saw Steve yesterday--I'll get to the general update news in a minute, but first, an important message from the Man Himself:
Steve says that "he doesn't want the blog to be all about me; all about Steve Being in the Hospital." He wants folks to suggest ideas, post essays, rants, etc...and to keep new threads appearing, and to see them flourish.
To that end, please send your rants, with links if necessary, to jen at runne dot com. If you want your email added, just let me know. I myself will be posting a topic that I had discussed with Steve after this.
Oh, yeah, and buy more crap from the CafePress store! He was really into the idea of logo visibility, etc...and don't forget folks, you WILL need something fly to wear at the protests for the NYC Rethuglican Convention... :D
Okay, now onto more News of Steve. He's still in semi-isolation; visitors are still restricted and need to wear the hairnet, gown, gloves, and face mask. However, he's at least TALKING. He's on dialysis, which hopefully won't 86 his kidneys permanently--its a definite risk (he had other kidney ishes before he went in) but one that must be taken. They're installing a new dialysis interface today I belive, into his chest, "which is a good thing" according to Gilly, as it get the needle out of his neck.
He's also loosing a lot of weight, which is also a good thing. I got to meet his Dad and his physician, and the prognosis looks good, thank G-d, so far. He's already in limited physical therapy, and can finally take himself to the shower and bathroom. Yes, they can actually unhook him from all of his drips and stuff long enough so that he can actually bathe, something which is very welcome by him!
When this is all over, he'll have an impressive scar, but he also wants to come back to a robust blog. Having said that, keep the good thoughts, prayers, good karma-blasts, and so on! Also, he is most insanely thankful and astonished by and for people's generosity, goodwill, and general goodness....
One final thing--healthy visitors are always appreciated by him--he's still not exactly doing Olympain handsprings up and down the cardio ward, and there's only so much CNN he can watch (yes, he still can't have books, cards, flowers, etc. in the room with him)....so...if you're in the NYC area and want to visit, email me at jen at runne dot com for details! As he put it, "hey, the parents need a break!"
Thanks again, everyone! And DO send along stories so I can post em.
1) First let me note that CommentThis is acting gimpy; will check/respond to comments as soon as I can get back into the darn things. If anyone has any adminihints or tricks that I may be able to fix on my end, please email me at jen at runne dot com and let me know....
2) Gilly says that he WILL be taking at least a week of rehab and nutritional training--everyone, keep cheering for him! ETA for homecoming is around 2-21.
3) To his friends: You need to call HIM at the hospital as he cannot call OUT.
4) For everyone who sent him stuff at the hospital early on before the "no sending stuff to the hospital" note came out--his folks got the flowers, cards, boxes, etc. OK, and it's all waiting for him back at his folk's place. Again, his gratitude is deep and genuine.
5) Okay, here's the specific request from Steve. He knows that many, many people have offered to help him out with copays, etc...and...well, he wants to at least alleviate the financial hardships for out-of-pockets that his FOLKS have paid. Over the month, his parents have paid quite a bit for things NOT covered by insurance, such as his phone and TV fees. So, Gilly is requesting that people who are so inclined please send him checks to his home addy--you can get that from me at jen at runne dot com if you don't already have it. So far, the tab it up to $300 and rising. Both of his folks are retired, in their 70's, and on limited incomes. He wants to surprise them with a check for the full amount when he's out. So, please, if you can and want to help, any amount would be very very appreciated.
Wow, you guys and gals are FANTASTIC....I just checked both of Steve's Wish Lists (scroll down further to earlier posts) and MAN, they are almost all sold out of stuff that's in stock!
So, if anyone wants to send him an Amazon Gift Certificate, you CAN send them to:
sgilliard at yahoo dot com
and I'll make sure that they don't get deleted from his inbox!
Also, much to my own astonishment, many, many folks have asked me for MY Amazon wishlist URL! I am totally amazed, awed, and thankful...not sure what I did to deserve anything, but here's the URL for curious parties:
Thank you so much again--Steve is gonna be so surprised when he gets home! Oh, and yeah, to whomever sent him something at the hospital early on--his family picked it up OK, so all is well! In the meantime, of course, anything on his wishlist gets sent to his home addy automatically.
And, once again, please feel free to email me at jen at runne dot com if you want his home addy.
Hopefully, I'll be able to get Gilly on the phone later today, and/or touch base with his family. In the meantime, his football buddies are planning visits now that he's not so much in Borg mode anymore, which should also lift his spirits.
Okay, gonna type in pre-dictated statements after this, but I have him on the phone NOW:
Thank you so much my family, Jen and I really appreciate your efforts and support...I plan on replying to each and every one of you at some point, it may take some time, because I'm lazy [ed note--bullshit he's still in Isolation] but your acts of kindness and support can't go unnoticed.
MAKE SURE TO VOTE wherever you are if you can, keep reading the other sites and keep participating, and keep the comments and other sites going, and keep the exchange of ideas going. I am going to get better, the prognosis is good, and I'll keep on writing things people don't like. So, let's keep exchanging ideas. As my father says, it's time for Bush to go back to the Pig Farm (my Dad is a lifelong Republican).
So says Steve, live from the cardio ward!!
---and some comments from over the phone, earlier....----
First of all, he got moved, and he has a TV now! Believe it or not, they actually wheeled a TV in front of his glass for the Superbowl!
So now he's in semi-isolation--still can't have extra stuff in his room, but he's at least hooked up to less shit....and he's learning to walk again. He should be home in about 12 days or so. He still needs an external pacemaker for a few days, and has a few tubes left in him, but ht'e improving VERY rapidly.
And, he's on solid hospital food, "if you can call hosptial food that." "All I want when I get home is a SANDWICH" says Gilly...."With mayo." [Gilly goes on to regale me with tales of today's fish lunch, which was "too dry to eat."]
"These guys are good" says Gilly of is surgeons...
And note, I was mistaken--Gilly has had insurance for a few YEARS, not a few months...AND all of his copayments are taken care of with Family Health Plus. So, that's nailed down. He's "lucky enough to have it all covered, medicine and all." His copays WOULD have been $5K on what is turning out to be around a $200K tab.
He goes on...he doesn't need help with his copays, but one day, he wants to do a charity event for his pal who has a Down's Syndrome kid--"and for everyone who was generous now, please be just as generous then." He said this with empathy and enthusiasm. He's rather raise money for his pal than for any political candidate.
"Kerry looks like a president--America wants someone who looks and acts like a president, and Kerry fits the bill...Kerry and Edwards look like John and Bobby Kennedy...."
"Kerry looks like a better person than Bush.." [went on to mention his Vietnam record, etc.]
Oh, and he was AWARE the whole time he was in isolation, and yes, bored to shit...
"Hospital time is like jail time--every second of it. People assume you're in a coma or senile or drugged, and it just ain't so." He was even bored on morphine, which he was on for a few days...
At this point he's learning how to walk and sit up again. He'll be walking by the time he's out, and getting Visting Nurse Service for 6 weeks. That includes IV drug treatment and other fun--but in the comfort of your own home.
His family came down to prep his room.
So, he's on his way...
And very, very grateful for everything and to everyone....
Okay, it's update time...sorry I didn't get this out sooner; dealing with apartment sitch (no heat or hot water) all weekend...
I saw Gilly at the hosptial on Saturday evening...and it was a surreal experience.
Before I launch into the details, here's good news...he should be out of there in two weeks!
Until then, though, visiting is limited--he really IS in a sterile glass box full of equipment, and he still really can't move.
I had to go in in special duds--I had to disinfect my hands and then get into: a gown, hair cover, rubber gloves, and full face mask. I got ten minutes total. At this point in the game, even a common cold could kill him, and I NEVER would dream of visiting him if I wasn't 100% healthy.
Gilly is in this little glass room , with full-time staff on the other side of the partition. No TV, no extra light, no table---just all of these machines that he's hooked up to, and disposable sterile contact point covers on everything. When I was led into the antechamber to drop off my coat and bag before getting into the sterile gear, I looked to my left--and behind a partition was Gilly.
He was semi-propped up in a huge almost throne-or-podium-like bed. He was covered to just under his breastbone. Tubes and wires bristled out of everywhere--three out of his mouth alone.
However, when I was finally let into the clean room, his eyes showed response. He can't talk, and even squeezing my hand was an effort. His scar was in plain sight--a Y-shaped incision the size of a smaller frisbee on one side. The very first thing I told him was that it was great to see him alive. I then told him about all the support and good thoughts that the blog was sending him--his eyes lit up. He obviously coulnd't believe just how many folks from so many different places were pulling for him.
For amusement value, I also told him about the BBC crisis and Kerry's pull ahead. I did NOT tell him about that horrible stupid troll rumor--let him find that BS out when he gets home. I also told him that good wishes weren't all we were sending him; he'll have plenty to read at home. This also got an eye-change response.
He's obviously still sedated, and when he went to rotate his wrist to give a thumbs-up, he could barely get his arm off of the bed. But he'll make it. I also told him that we all collectivley demand that he take advantage of any rebab, physical therapy, and nutritional help that the hospital can give him--we don't want to see him back in the cardio recovery ward--and that got a faint nod and another thumbs up.
On top of the sheer horror of just seeing anyone linked up like a Beta Borg to all of that stuff...I can only imgine the BOREDOM. His only view, 24/7, is through the glass partition in front of his (curtainable off for particularly painful/humiliating procuedures it seems) is the goings and comings of the nurse in the front half of the ward-room and the unfortunate fellow in less critical condition, also in a bed alongside the nurse's station. Everything in his little cube is sterile and necessary--nothing spare is allowed, nothing that may trip or upset some of his wires and tubes. I mean, he had stuff hooked up to ever visible locus--through the veins on the backs of the hands, neck, chest, mouth, and who knows what the hell else he had doing out of sight under the glare white sheets....I wouldn't wish any of that on my worst enemy, nevermind one of my best friends, and I genuinley hope that his two-week prediction is correct (I asked him when he was getting out, and he squeezed my hand twice, and I asked if that was two weeks, and he eyeball-nodded yes).
After that I talked to his Mom on the phone for a bit. She's also grateful for everyone's support and understanding.
So, his condition is officially "critical stable" which is apparently S.O.P. after heart surgery.
I shall keep everyone posted as I find out more. Keep up the good-karma blasts, prayers, and wishes--it seems to be working!
Hey, all--finally got thru to Gilly's Mom--here's the haps--please read.
1) do NOT ATTEMPT to visit him at the hospital! A few guys from the bar did and were turned away. He's heavilly drugged, hooked up to a halftime show's-worth of instruments, and only immediate family can visit him--when wearing a full gown, face mask, and gloves. She couldn't emphasize this enough--I promise to let everyone know when he can take visitors, phone calls, and the like...
2) Don't send stuff to him via the hospital! They keep moving him and stuff is at risk for getting lost. Some dear people already sent flowers and cards, which alas, can't go in his current isolation-type room--it's a "constant clean" environment, and as noted, they keep moving him as his equipment needs change. Rather, send stuff to his home addy--his Mom said that in a lucid moment, Gilly said that that way he'd have what to do (and read) once he gets home...
3) In the end, he didn't need a valve replaced--they were able to repair the valve, and this is already having a positive effect on his kidneys.
4) Both he (in his two seconds of lucidity since the zipper went in) and his Mom are overwhelmed and very grateful by the outpouring of concern and generosity from everyone...
For his home addy, please email me at jen at runne dot com
His Mom can bring him stuff as he's ready for it...
You know where to find me, guys! I'll keep ya posted. Thank you so much again for your kind words of support for Gilly, his family, and to me...
Okay...still trying to get thru to Gilly's Mom (pronounced with a hard G for all who asked :) ) but she left a note on my machine late last night. Apparently she may get to talk to him today---he was pretty well out after the surgery. Still don't know if they gave him a pig valve or a plastic one; we'll find out....
ALSO--looks like our wily Gilliard has two different wishlists--one is actually more recent; I gave the URL for one that I've had in my Amazon info for ages.
So, it looks like he uses the following email for his Amazon stuff...
sgilliard at yahoo dot com
And this is the URL for a fresher Wishlist--but feel free to deplete the old one also!
Keep the good thoughts coming...gonna go check his inbox now...again, while I'm sure he's love a gift cert, please try to work the wishlist instead--while I'm doing all I can to keep up with his Yahoo account, it's 95% full of business stuff that doesn't look safe for me to delete!
Bill Lessard got to speak with him; I missed him two nanoseconds after he got whisked away for yet more dialysis and pre-surgical nasties.
Also spoke to his Mom...and I told her to tell him about the many well wishers here...
He goes into surgery tomorrow AM. His Mom can't even see him until 1 PM or so.
As of this afternoon, he was too weak to feed himself when he was finally allowed to eat...all he wanted was water. "Picking up magazine feels like a barbell" he said.
Hopefully, Gilly will pull through the surgery with flying colors. I'll let everyone know as soon as I have more to say.
In the meantime, please keep the good karma blasts and prayers coming, both he and his parents need them, real badly...I truly feel for his Mom, whom I've spoken at legnth to. Needless to say, she's freaking out, and once the surgery is over, there's a lot of unanswered questions...like how did this happen when he was being pumped full of antibiotics, and so on.
Okay....just talked to Gilly's Mom....update, and a mailing addy for get-well cards and the like...
Looks like our Gilly got himself a nasty infection in his heart valve--they're still trying to figure out how it got there. This has meant a living hell of tests and procedures, including a full transfusion and dialysis.
Surgery is scheduled for either Tuesday or Wednesday as doctors, space, etc. become available.
In the meantime, this is how you can send him a card:
c/o Lenox Hill Hospital
100 E. 77th Street
Room 1110 <---note new room post-op! New York, NY 10021
If they move him, they should move around his mail also until he's discharged. Naturally, no visitors for quite some time.
Let's all keep the good vibes pouring out to him....this is starting to get scary.
Still no update on Steve, still trying to get in touch with his Mom.
THANK YOU to everyone who sent me the URL for the radio spot--I need to catch up on that. Also, as soon as I get an address, I will tag up a snail mail addy for sending cards, well-wishes, the heads of prominent Republicans, and so on to our beloved Gilly! :)
Thank you again to everyone....will post stuff as I find it out...I'm sorry I can't maintain the board the way Steve can; I am HYPER busy and doing my best to do what I can, please be understanding...
On the phone right now with Steve's Mom...he went back to the hospital at 1 AM Tuesday night. He felt like hell and had trouble breathing--turns out he has a bum heart valve. Surgery may take place some time next week.
Pray for our beloved Gilly, folks. This time, he's in ICU and I don't have a number for him even..I'm glad that I thought to call home when he hadn't posted, called, or emailed....
As I recover from my hospital stay, I have to admit, I'm not doing much more than sleeping, drinking juice and regaining my strength. But this SOTU was unreal.
First, there was a series of fictions about Iraq and the fact that he dragged Chalabi to the speech is truly scary. But that isn't what stood out for me. It was his call for abstinance and preventing STD's. Then he goes off on gay marriage.
Excuse me, we have other issues to work out here. Like jobs and a war in Iraq. I was just stunned by the content of the speech ans it's weirdness.
Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims have marched against coalition proposals for a transfer of power, just hours before the US sought UN backing for the plan.
US administrator Paul Bremer is having talks with UN chief Kofi Annan to try to elicit his support for its plan for an interim selected authority.
He was also seeking the return of UN staff to Iraq, after their withdrawal following bomb attacks last year.
Iraq's Shias majority want direct elections to a transitional government.
The rally in Baghdad came four days after a peaceful protest in Basra demanding direct elections.
Any sustained opposition by Iraq's Shias would cause serious problems for the US, correspondents say.
Monday's protest saw thousands upon thousands of Iraqis marching through the capital, many clasping each other's hands above their heads.
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says the Shias - who were repressed for decades by Saddam Hussein - fear they will be marginalised again under the US plan, which allows regional bodies created by the Americans to select a transitional parliament.
"Yes, yes to elections; no, no to selection," was one of the main rallying cries.
It doesn't matter who wins the early primaries in the US because it seems the Iraqi primaries are going to be the ones which matter. Ten miles of Shias and Sunnis marching in Baghdad. I think that's going to be a problem for Bush.
GCHQ worker Katharine Gun faces jail for exposing American corruption in the run-up to war on Saddam. Now her celebrity supporters insist it is Bush and Blair who should be in the dock. Martin Bright reports
Sunday January 18, 2004
She was an anonymous junior official toiling away with 4,500 other mathematicians, code-breakers and linguists at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.
But now Katharine Gun, an unassuming 29-year-old translator, is set to become a transatlantic cause célèbre as the focus of a star-studded solidarity drive that brings together Hollywood actor-director Sean Penn and senior figures from the US media and civil rights movement, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Gun appears in court tomorrow accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act by allegedly leaking details of a secret US 'dirty tricks' operation to spy on UN Security Council members in the run-up to war in Iraq last year. If found guilty, she faces two years in prison. She is an unlikely heroine and those who have met her say she would have been happy to remain in the shadows, had she not seen evidence in black and white that her Government was being asked to co-operate in an illegal operation.
The leak has been described as 'more timely and potentially more important than The Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated whistleblower who leaked papers containing devastating details of the US involvement in Vietnam, in 1971. Ellsberg has been vocal in support of Gun. She was arrested last March, days after The Observer first published evidence of an intelligence 'surge' on UN delegations, ordered by the GCHQ's partner organisation, the National Security Agency
I have to say that you never realize how important it is to have friends until you need them. I have to thnk Jen Runne for not only keeping my spirits up, but keeping the site up and breathing while I was getiing treatment. I also have to thank Dave and Bill for their concern. As well as my parents, who despite the crappy weather and their age, visited me every day and my sister calling me from Boston. I sometimes wonder why I have been so blessed with such wonderful people in my life.
And I want to thank all the readers for their concern and support while I was flat on my back. There is no reason to read a blog from a guy who isn't writing and your collective loyalty is touching.
With that said, I want to make a larger point here.
I watched a lot of CNN and CSPAN while sick. I saw a profile on Dick Gephardt. You could not want to have a better neighbor. He is a man who's decency is manifest. I have to say I respect him now more than ever. Yet, there is no way he can beat George Bush. He is a decent man and Bush is manifestly not. Dick Gephardt is the past, a past of unions and blue collar work and sunday pot luck dinners where a decent job can send a working class kid like him to Northwestern and on to law school. But that isn't America today. And his vision of America doesn't appeal to enough people to win.
Bush would beat him like a whipped puppy. Same with John Edwards, who throws off a creepy vibe of self-actualization. He's about John Edwards and Bush would womp him as well.
John Kerry is probably the most experienced candidate running, but there is no there there. There is Kerry's manifest belief in himself and that's about it.Would he be a good president? Sure. He just wants the job too much to get it.
All these men would be better presidents than Bush, so would Jon Stewart or Chris Rock. But they have to win.
In the end you need someone who wants to fight and you've got Dean and Clark. Dean has more domestic experience, Clark is vastly more liberal.
I think Iowa works for Dean and works well for him. Because his supporters can explain why he should be the next president of the US in the open, and if Dean has anything, it's his people. They have a message and the means to deliver it convincingly. Neighbors can talk to neighbors and that is an edge for Dean, who pulls in people who wouldn't ordinarily vote Democratic or vote at all.
In other news, I was pleasantly surprised to see Juan Cole on the Newshour last week and his statements about Sistani came out clear. On TV, he comes off calm, but make no mistake, he was stating the obvious, Sistani is about to play his hand and the US is going to be quite unhappy about it. It's a far more serious situation than people admitted and that little test run protest in Basra last week was a hint of things to come.
Sistani knows who helped filled those graves with dead Shia and his name is George Bush. He has no incentive to help the son out of a jam.
Watching Ted Koeppel in Iraq was frustrating. On one hand, he saw the utter anacrchy enveloping the country and what an assclown Bremer and the Young Republicans Abroad are, yet feels that the US must stay to "protect" Iraq for years to come. Uh, no. You have real elections, US troops are gone or there's open warfare. This won't be a quisling government making these choices. It was as if he couldn't imagine we were going to lose and that Iraqis had to want us around. Reality dawns slowly for some people,
I'm back from the hospital, after a week of bad food and having blood drawn daily.
A bad drug interaction on top of a viral infection. Let's just say me and penicillin will never mix again. My face is sunburned, I had to shave off all my facial hair and my lips are now bee-stung. It ain't pretty.
But, I am back online and ready to kick ass and take names.
First, let me pass on some hospital survival tips:
One, always have someone visit you. The hospital staff notices those people with relatives vs. those without.
Two, hospitals are worlds of women. From the doctor to the orderly, you will deal with a lot of women. If you like little brunettes, go to a hospital. It makes my brain hurt to think of the possibilities.
Three, be nice. Be nice to the staff because if they hate you, your life there will suck, Hospital work is hard. Let someone else cause the problems.
Four, the food may suck, but grin and bear it.
Here's my question for the week: Is Paul O'Neill going to be proven right?
I think the pundits are wrong about Iowa. Dean will do well because his people wil make their case,Gephardt is the past.
Jen here--just got off the phone with Gilly. While he had no fever when he entered the hospital, he seems to have one now--apparently there was a kid with a cold running all over the place--and it's back to 8 zillion tests at the crack of dawn, etc.
At this rate, he expects to be out hopefully by the end of the week. Keep all the good thoughts/comments coming...
Everyone: Typing this up for Steve over the phone. In since Friday. While blogs are wonderful, hospitals are funny about letting you use laptops. He caught some kind of viral infection during the holidays, which resulted in dehydration. He's in the hospital getting rehydrated and carefully restored to health. It gives him lots of time to watch CNN, shake his head at the news, and plan on a bunch of wonderful things to say upon his return.
While normally he doesn't like open threads, please use this site as an open space until his return (which should be at some point near the end of the week).
Don't send e-cards or other stuff to his mailbox, because it'll just clog it up--he won't be gone that long, and I'm sure he'll want to recieve good wishes in person.
Thanks for your support and concern,
--SG. dictated to Jen
PS--buy t-shirts! :D Just because he's sick doesn't mean he's still not a capitalist!