In Todays' s NY Times, Tom Friedman suggests that outsouring jobs will prevent terrorism. That may well be true, but what about the local terrorism of gangs and poverty. India is not the only poor place on earth and violence is not all terrorism related.
In the real world, we all have to live with the fear of losing our jobs. Friedman does not. No more that the president's economic advisor. They can spout theory because it is only theory to them. To the middle class mother, a call-center job fed her family. When she's scraping by on a Slave-Mart salary with no benefits, who really pays for it an her trips to the food bank or food stamp office. We do, not the theorists.
I'm all for Indian econmic success. We all should be. But not at the expense of my friends and community. That is suicidal. It is just as dangerous for my personal safety to have the local homies unempoyed and bouncing in and out of the court system as it is to have some kid in a madrassa planning to bring America to it's knees.
It may be locgical to Freidman, who is rich, but to the rest of us, the clear and present danger lies with angry, unemployed men at home, who have caused far more damage in the streets of America than Bin Laden ever could.
My rehab has a computer which goes on line and typing is part of my therapy.
First, while I'm still in the hospital, I want to thank everyone for their kind words, contributions and support. It has made a very lonely time not so lonely. The knowledge of your love and support has made a difficult time far more bareable. My family and I thank you.
I'll have more to say when I'm back on my machine.
One other thing: there is no way that this site would still exist without Jen Runne's support and dedication. Thanking her would be a wonderful thing, because without her, this site would have gone ghost.
With that said, I appeal to everyone in New York to vote on Tuesday and vote for John Kerry. The fact is that a lot of you believed in Howard Dean and thought he would be the man to win. Well, that didn't happen and all the support Dean and Clark garnered should go to Kerry.
I've had questions about Kerry's "flexibililty" for years. But, when no one else was quesrtioning foreign policy, Kerry was the only one who raised issues about Reagan, Bush, and Clinton's policies. And to be fair, he's been on the right side. For all the people who were going to support Dean, the best was to ensure the defeat of Bush is to support Kerry without reservation. Raise money, do Meetups, network. We cannot allow Bush to lie about this man with his 130m warchest.
You have to decide: are you dedicated to a man or the rights of all Americans. You can see what Bush has planned: a war against gays who want to marry.
Why do gays want to marry? To protect their homes and kids. Not to offend the churchgoing. Without the right to marry, custody, divorce, even illness can turn a loving relationship into a nightmare. I'm single and Jen gets along with my parents, so it was easy for my parents to step in when I got ill. But if I were gay , they could reeneter my life over my objections, no matter how long I was with my partner, and that would be hellish. I could never know where my kids would wind up if I died or split. No American deserves to live under that kind of cloud.
John Kerry and his rivals are concerned about jobs, healthcare (I'm living proof we need it), and Iraq. Bush wants to tell you how to live. I don't want to live that way and neither do you.
John Edwards is running for vice president. Which he should be. He's a decent man, but has too little experience. If you want to give Sharpton and Kucinich delegates, fine, but the main fight is with Kerry and stopping Bush.
Many of you wondered why I didn't endorse Dean last year. Well, this is why, to support the man who can beat Bush, regardless of who he is.
1) Gay Marriage--well, the comments in the last thread on this are screwed up, so here it is again. Surprisingly, even the venerable New York Times has no front-page news (on the website at least) of the move by the Mayor of New Palz to start performing gay marriages. I believe that like abortion rights, this is something that will become part of the legal landscape, state by state, until the Federal Government is forced to realize that it exits. Once again I pose the question: How can people seriously say, with a straight face, that letting two men or two women marry affects the "quality and sanctity" of heterosexual marriages? As more than one op-ed person has pointed out, if "protecting het marriages" is a national priority, why not outlaw divorce and up the penalties for adultery? The hypocrisy is staggering.
2) Mel Gibson's new movie--come on, folks, why is THIS front-page news? A nutcase ex-12 step participant--for whom the Pope himself is not Catholic enough (Gibson has gone on record in the past as saying that he disagrees with many Vatican pronouncements, including that little thing about not blaming all Jews everywhere for Christ's death, although he's played that down now)--comes out with a bloody, distorted, self-serving take on the New Testament. IMHO the best thing anyone can do is ignore it, unless you're a member of the Catholic clergy, in which case damage control is the best bet. Kudos to Cardinal Egan for immediatley putting out a call for tolerance, and a well-worded statement on the nature of Christ's death ("Nobody took Jesus' life--he gave it").
3) Speaking of priests, how 'bout those sex abuse reports? Some countings put the numbers of accused preists at anywhere between 1 in 7, with Boston being the hardest-hit diocese.
In a way, one should be grateful for all of this reactionary behavior--in an age of real, international crisises and massive issues at home in the U.S., the absurdness of the socially ultra-conservative agenda is being brought out into full, bright light. Making people feel more "powerful" as the country falls apart by letting them control the minutaue of others' lives just isn't working as a panacea anymore, and I truly believe that more and more people--even those usually swayed by simple arguments--are seeing this.
Spoke to Gilly and his Mom last night. Sort of a good news/bad news situation...
The Good News: Rehab IS coming along as planned, and he's something *knocks wood* of a star patient. Part of this is because they put him in the Spinal Injury Ward, "and I'm the only person who can feed myself, bathe myself, dress myself, and wipe my own ass." So, he's grateful for the little things, as he wasn't able to do most of these before he went into rehab.
On the downside, the dialysis and other meds are taking his toll, and he's having issues keeping his blood pressure up and his food down. So, his release date has been pushed back for a while, while his stomach re-acclimates, his kidneys reboot, and his system generally just gets used to moving in an upright position again.
However, he CAN finally have stuff brought to him, and he's started to read newspapers and the like again "as too much bad TV will make anyone crazy." He is VERY VERY grateful and astonished by everyone's generosity and concern--as is his family.
He's raring to get back, and SOUNDS stronger every day. The fact that I'm getting calls from him almost every night past 11 PM--way after they turn off incoming calls--shows that he's well and alert enough to be bored, which is a positive sign. He's at the stage where he can start taking proactive steps towards his recovery, as opposed to just sitting there and having stuff stuck in him.
More as it develops! PLEASE keep the good wishes, prayers, and karma-rays coming!
Looks like Nader is running for President, so Progressive Majority is reviving our Just Say No, Ralph! campaign this weekend. Ralph Nader plans to announce his plans this Sunday on Meet the Press with Tim Russert. He's raised money, he's got a web site, and everything points to another Nader run for the presidency - this time as an Independent candidate.
I challenge progressives to remain united in our will to defeat George W. Bush in November!
Ready to Take Action?
1. Email Ralph
2. Show Up at NBC this Sunday
We all need to work together to make sure that we are a strong, unified force to win the White House in November. First things first, send Ralph Nader an email immediately and tell him not to run:
Progressive Activists in Washington DC:
Zap Action at NBC this Sunday, February 22, 2004
Place: In front of the gates of NBC Studios, as Ralph Nader enters for the Meet the Press taping
Address: 4001 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Time: 8:15 AM arrival, the show starts taping at 9:00 AM
Who: YOU and everyone you know who cares about kicking Bush out of the White House. Bring your friends, forward this email, get on the phone, do everything you can to get people to Nebraska Avenue on Sunday morning – we’ve got 36 hours to make this zap action a huge success.
What: Make “Just Say No, Ralph!” signs, “Don’t Do it Ralph!” signs. Be creative, be respectful.
Progressive Activists Nationwide:
We need virtual organizers who will help us spread the word.
Please use the link below to sign-up for Progressive Majority’s Just Say No, Ralph! campaign:
Click here to sign-up for the Just Say No, Ralph! Campaign
Now, here's my question...what kind of crack is Ralphie Boy smoking, and where can we all get some? 'Cause, if he screws up THIS election, I'm gonna need more than aspirin for the headache.
Yeah, only tangential to this blog, but still, it's a great hot button issue regarding the power of Big BizNess in America. A great article about the current status of the RIAA lawsuits can be found here....
Now, what really gets my back up is that they are now even going after schools for usages that for years and years have been considered "fair use." The fact that Mr. Music Teacher can now have students download music clips for research purposes, instead of having to make a tape from a vynil record at home and then play it for the class, has ZERO impact on the end use. The whole concept of "fair use" is an intent-based statute, and courts have long established that using at least part of a work without paying for it is OK in a number of contexts.
The RICO countersuit is both brilliant and legally sound. To have the RIAA say "we MAY beat you in court, but if you're smart, you'll pay up now, even though the amount we're asking for has very little bearing on actual damages--it's just easier for us to get" is pure extortion.
Well, looks like Gilly is on his last leg of his Inter-Hospital Journey! As of last night, he officially started rehab at Mount Sinai, and should be out by the end of next week. He's raring to get back to business, and to go about the long task of full recovery. He'll share more details when he's back, but he will still need dialysis for a while, and other stuff from the Visiting Nurse Service. However, he looks ten times better than he did after the surgery, and his spirits are high.
Oh, and he told me to remind the folks that keep wishing him dead to suck his dick.
The "Sanctity" of Marriage and the Gay Marriage Flap
The "Sanctity" of Marriage and the Gay Marriage Flap
Here's a great topic...what's with all of these right-wing groups yapping about the "sanctity" of marriage, in a country that's rife with divorce, incest, adultery, and other stuff of the sort? On a less moralistic, more practical note, how can we justify denying gays and lesbians the rights conferred to heterosexual couples when so many social benefits--such as the legitimacy of children, health insurance, welfare benefits (in many states), unemployment benefits in case of spousal relocation, pensions, caretaker rights, and so on--are tied almost ONLY to marriage?
After all, in the US, family status is the source of many "individual" rights which are vested in the PERSON (and not the marital status of them or their parents) in those countries.
As more and more states--and more and more people--see the simple truth behind the anti-gay-marriage movement, expect to see more and more blowhards sputtering about "Biblical intention" and other bigoted arguments.
The next time you run into one of these folks, ask them...how does two men or two women getting married threaten THEIR marriage? That's the real question, and the answer is of course, it doesn't.
At night, in the fly-speck town of Guthrie, Ky., in the rented farmhouse he shares with his 20-year-old wife, Debra, he surfs the Internet, roams the house. He lies down and gets up again. He drinks a beer and stares out the window at the black fields beyond. Hours pass. He can't sleep. Before the war, he could have six beers and sleep like a baby, but now that works against him. Drinking may help get his head to the pillow, but it also ratchets up the nightmares. For a while, he sweated out his bad dreams on the living-room couch, and it drove Debra crazy. She would come down from the bedroom, touch his shoulder, ask what the problem was. Shrode would just turn his back to her and not say a word. Now she knows better than to ask, though occasionally when the silence between them gets too deep, she'll put it out there, What're you thinking about?
''Iraq,'' he'll say. And then the silence falls again.
He pops Ambien to coax some sleep. The results are mixed. On the advice of his doctors, he is taking three different pills for pain, a pill for swelling and another pill for depression. There are days when he is unrecognizable to himself, a guy who a few years ago was a party-loving bartender at a Mississippi casino and who is now 29 and engaged in what can feel like a never-ending battle to see his own future brightly...
Sorry for the delay, but I had yet another weekend of no-heat no-hot water fun...but without further ado, here's what's going on in GillyLand:
He's been moved out of isolation, and should be out of the hospital by the end of the week. Note that this does NOT mean he's free and clear--we're looking at months of rehab, continued dialysis, etc. However, the good news is that in very short order, he will be back where he wants to be--in front of a keyboard and enlightening his audience with his news and views!
In the meantime I will do my best to keep the general entertainment and debate level up with a few more toics of my own devising...
Okay, two seconds of off-the-cuff commentary, and fuel for a pigfight, erm, enlightened political debate.
When I last saw Steve, we agreed that Dean's rise and fall was "one of the most spectacular cases of political suicide that [Steve] has ever seen." With this in mind, one has to applaud Clark for bowing out and bringing some sense of unity to a very hot party nomination race--without leaving too too much mud in his tracks.
But...now that Clark is on the back porch smoking a fatty, as it were...what kind of crack is Dean smoking? He still continues to try to "class bait" Kerry and whatnot, and whether it's TRUE or not, the kinds of attacks that he's using are NOT the kinds of attacks that can be smoothed over once a nominee is picked.
As another pal of mine put it, Dean will be the "New Ralph Nader" for the Dems, and may divide folks just enough to loose another election by a hair for us. He may be right. One thing that the Repugnicans have done well for years is to get their shock troops back in line after a nomination, and pull a common vote together. Dems are viewed, perhaps correctly, as whiny pains in the ass who will pout in the corner if "their" superspecial group isn't represented or heard, even if it means stopping the game, and taking their ball and going home.
Okay, there you go! Please keep the thread suggestions coming!
Also appropo to this thread: Matt Saroff correctly asks, "has there been major fragging of officers in the ongoing Iraqi conflict?" Whether he meant US or Iraqi officers, the answer is valid either way--please tag up relevant threads in the comments section!
"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!