Monday, August 17, 2009

Silly Rumors About Health Care Plan

I was hoping that I wouldn't have to dignify the ridiculous "death panel" rumors with a response, but once Sarah Palin starts making things up great ignorant hordes take it for truth and regurgitate all over their even less-informed friends. SO... to do my little part in dispelling some of the silliness (and downright dishonesty) I am reposting a summary from The Daily Beast, a news site, at the end of my post. You can find the post the site discusses at Talking Points Memo.

When members of Congress receive death threats for merely wanting to have a conversation, a dialogue, about Health Care, that's when I begin to lose faith in my country. You don't like the plan in Congress right now? Super, then first, actually learn what it says (instead of immersing yourself in far-right-wing hysteria) and then second, have a DEBATE about it. This is not a point-scoring issue, this is a legitimate problem in our country--we need reform and there should be an actual conversation about it.

To conclude, I will let our President make my point better than I ever could. Please read his recent Op-Ed article for the New York Times:

"In her first communication since officially resigning as Alaska's governor (and just days after telling the media to quit "makin' things up"), Sarah Palin stated Friday on her Facebook page that health-care reform, or what Palin calls Obama's "death panel," may kill her infant son, Trig. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil," Palin writes. Palin's spokeswoman pointed to page 425 of the House Democrats' bill when asked what Palin was referring to, which contains a section that refers to "advance care planning consultation" for seniors, which includes voluntary discussions of living wills, power of attorney, or the decision to reject "extraordinary measures of life support." The proposal, which has nothing to do with euthanasia, has been widely circulated by conservative critics of the administration as part of a false rumor that health care reform would pressure senior citizens into killing themselves. As for Palin's description of mandatory Sparta-style murder of Down Syndrome babies, the paranoid vision doesn't match up with any component of any health care plan being discussed."
Read it at Talking Points Memo

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I'm Back! Thoughts on Letter Writing...

Well it's been an unacceptably long time I'm afraid--and about a million things have happened since I last blogged including a Bachelor's degree, marriage, a cross-country move, and another trip to Europe (hooray!)--not to mention an utterly glorious election (!). I won't bore you with details of the fabulous past three years--those of you who need to know already do. Suffice it to say that grad school is expensive and time consuming though we hear that it's worth it. I'm looking forward to giving it a go myself when my husband has finished his turn in two years. Anyone who has ideas for my grad degree please post btw--I'm having the worst time deciding between something in Education, American Literature, or a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry.

Now--to business! For the past few months I have been corresponding with two former room mates currently serving missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It had been a while since I had written letters on such a regular basis and I've found that I very much missed this intimate yet removed form of communication. There is something very moving about holding a hand-written missive in your hand--you really feel like you have a part of that person with you and it isn't gone in an instant like a text or instant message or Facebook post--it is tangible and all yours. Growing up, my father was in the Air Force and we moved around a bit. I used to write letters consistently to my friends whose families were stationed elsewhere. I remember the day that I first sent an email to one of these friends on the family account--I was astounded by how fast it was, but looking back on it I remember mixed with the wonder was the inability to write quite the same way as I had formerly. Email just wasn't the same thing and it looked and felt sterile to me.

Now, just so I'm not misunderstood, I LOVE my email and work especially would be far more drudgerous without it (I think all form letters should be emails, for example--we kill trees for this?), but I miss the intimacy of handwriting and that physical representation of a loved one far away--that rush of feeling you get when you hear the voice of someone you love on the phone--that's what I feel when I see a familiar script. That rush of emotions is something that you just don't get from these evenly spaced lines.

So every now and again, send someone a nice handwritten letter. Heck, go crazy and use some cute stationary too. You just might make their day.

Happy Mother's Day everyone! Moms (especially mine), you are completely and utterly fabulous--thanks for putting up with all of us :).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back Home

Hello my dears,
So I'm back stateside-- got in a day ago now-- still alive and intact after going through customs (a bit intense that...). It was a long day and a half of travelling. I was exhausted when we made it in, but I'm much better now. It's incredible being back. Everything's familiar yet decidedly off in some way that I can't quite explain. Everything I took for granted before is all shiny now. Like going to the supermarket and buying milk and produce that's not rotten-- and granola bars! Yay for granola bars! And not having to think about where things are before I head out for the day. And I haven't see any pigeons in the last 2 days. It's been glorious. It's nice not having to lock up my stuff all the time either. And just sitting in the passenger side of the car singing along with the radio (there were lanes on the road lol). I listened to some of my CDs yesterday. I'd missed my music. I'd missed my home. I really do fit here.

That being said, my trip has stirred in me an insatiable need to keep seeing the world so I'm sure I'll be headed off again once I've got this trip and a chunk of school paid for. Seeing these beautiful places with their alien yet compatible cultures... it just integrates itself into your being and slowly makes you more and more human, if that makes sense. I feel like a purer artist now. It's been quite frustrating trying to explain to people what looking at a Van Gogh up close does for you. How you're a different person after walking along the Seine or Avon, when you close your eyes and just let yourself exist in something bigger than yourself, being kissed by the sun in an ancient city that's known philosophical and artistic greatness. And for that moment you're a part of it too, one line in the story that is Paris, or Vienna, or Athens, or London. That's basically the best I can do :). Do you ever wish there were just more words? I yearn for a pure vocabulary every day, some way to completely show others how you feel. Someday, yeah?

So I'm off to do tedious normal things like apartment hunt and paperwork, it's been an excellent adventure all, and I recommend you all get out there too. Now's the time before you're locked too deeply in a career or a family and the next thing you know you're 75 and knitting with 5 cats (no good). I love you all, thanks for being so supportive of this crazy lady. Talk to you all soon. Love,

Sunday, June 11, 2006

And now... the time is near...

Hello all!
So six weeks have come and gone.  Can't believe it, but I'll be back Stateside on Tuesday (after about 24 hours of straight travelling mind you...).  England's been great, I have to come back here.  Today we went to church in the morning and then spent hours on Hamstead heath (this huge open park)... gorgeous.  The weather's been amazing-- not a drop of rain.  It was perfect I tell you.  I loved people-watching there.  There were these tiny kids trying to play cricket (one walked right into the ball, poor thing).  And this dad and his son messing around with a soccer ball, and the dad kept holding the kid back so he couldn't kick it (Dad!  No hands!, Alright, referee) so then the kid latched on to his dad's leg and rode it while his dad tried to kick the ball-- SO CUTE.  And these two couples celebrating with a picnic basket of caviar and champagne.  And this dad who had to climb a tree to get his kid done cuz he was  singing at the top of his lungs over and over 'I believe I can fly!  I believe I can touch the sky!' no joke.  Freakin' hilarious.  Almost couldn't handle it.  Made me smile.  Oh, Sarah's addicted to Agatha Christie novels btw lol.  It's very giggle-inducing.  She's devoured 3 in like 2 days and is searching for more for the plane ride.

This has been an incredible experience for me.  I don't even know where to begin with all I've learned, but I feel like I should be completely different than I was before, so much has happened.  And I've met the most amazing people from all over the world.  Eaten amazing chocolate (mmmm... chocolate...).  Can't wait to show you all the pictures.  I'm trying to think of a good way to say this, but the words just aren't coming, so I'll settle for that people really are good deep down.  Slipping and falling on the bus is funny in every language.  You can communicate with anyone no matter what language barriers there are if you really want to (and have a good time doing it).  Honestly, we all want basically the same things:  a good laugh and someone to miss us when we're away.  And that's an end, all.

Oh, a warning.  Once you start traveling you'll never want to stop... I'm already planning my next trips :).  Love you all and thanks for your support.  I'll see my US lovelies soon.  As for the rest of you-- keep in touch.


Friday, June 09, 2006

One day upon the Avon...

Hello my dears!
So I love London.  And not just for the accents... Sadly I've had to watch the money a bit, seeing as how it's the end of our little journey and not the beginning.  Still a blast though.  There are tons of awesome things to see.  It just takes a bit with the traffic (during rush hour in the morning I swear you go backwards).  It's also glorious to understand everything I read and hear.  I didn't realize how much I missed that. 
Today we took a day trip down to Stratford upon Avon.  It took ages it seemed on the bus to get there and back, but it was completely worth it for me.  Bit of a pilgrimage actually to be completely honest... you all know how I am about Shakespeare... so I got to see his birthplace and the remains of his retirement house, his church, and his grave (all roped off of course).  Sadly there were no matinees playing at the Royal Shakespeare Company theater and our bus was leaving way before any of the night performances so I'll have to catch them on my next trip to London (Someday...). 
Stratford feels a lot like Warrensburg, crazy as it sounds.  The people were so similar.  All the families and high school rejects wandering about the park.  Everything all claustrophobic yet charming in its way.  We spent a bit of time by the Avon river, me writing, Sarah reading Agatha Christie.  It was really nice.  Like a scene out of a Kristi literary fantasy.  We just relaxed.  I did some decent work, don't know if a poem will come of it or not.  I like where it's going so far though. 
Oh, and just so everyone knows, there are pigeons in heat in Oxford, Stratford, and London.  Yes-- the pattern holds true everywhere.  Closure.  Tomorrow I'm hitting Portobello market (like the song in Bed knobs and Broomsticks!) in the morning and then spending the afternoon in Westminster.  I plan to see the Abbey, walk by Buckingham, and see Big Ben (yay!).
I've met lots of cool people on this trip, I just wanted to say hey to all the new friends reading this-- you've made my experience richer and far more memorable than I ever could have managed on my own.  I hope to visit all of your countries someday (and you best get your butts to the US- you hear me?).  I'll do my very best to make it to Canada, Northern Italy, Ireland, and South Africa.  Love you all heaps and bunches! We're in London until Monday, we take the Chunnul back to Paris at 8 and we'll be back in the states Wednesday I believe.  Whew, that's crazy.  It's been an incredible 6 weeks.
PS- Everyone in London is super nice.  It feels a lot more like home here as well, they run on a much more American time schedule.  It'll be a good stepping stone back down to reality for me I think.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Paris continued... and a bit of London

Hello my dears!
So we have much cheaper internet in London than we did in Paris so I thought I'd toss up a better update than you've been getting of late (your patience has been much appreciated).  So I can't recall what I've told you about Paris, so if any of this is a repeat I'm very sorry. 
So Paris is fabulous.  LOVE IT.  Notre Dame was the only Cathedral that actually felt good to me.  I actually felt close to God there as opposed to the overblown gilt grandeur thrown at you in the several others I've visited in the last few weeks.  And the view from the towers amid those fabulous stone gargoyles is worth the climb and 4 euros definitely.  Paris is meant to be photographed btw-- just gorgeous.  The Seine frames everything so beautifully.  There's a rhythm under the city, a current that kind of strokes the artistic ego... it's a city meant for artists and lovers and those who want to be artistic and lovely ;).  I visited this bookshop across the river from Notre Dame called Shakespeare and Company that was floor to ceiling, two floors of books, all kinds, poetry, drama, philosophy.   I thought I was going to weep from the beauty of it.  Old gorgeous volumes as well.  Loved it.  Like I've mentioned the art in Paris is incredible.  I much preferred the Musse Rodin and Musee d'Orsay to the Louvre.  The Louvre sucks energy out of you... after 5 hours in it I needed crepes and a nap lol.  I got sucked into the Egyptian section and didn't get out for 40 minutes, no joke, there was no end!  Though there are amazing works of are there no question.  Da Vincis, Botticellis.  Good stuff.  It's just not as invigorating as the others.  The Rodin museum had a beautiful garden full of his sculptures.  His Thinker was very cool in person.  Sarah and I ironically contemplated him for a while :).  We saw the Modern art museum (the Center Pompidou) on Sunday, they had a cool exhibit on art and the moving image-- neat stuff.  Mad me think, and the building itself is incridible.  It has pipes and such on the outside.  I loved it around there cuz all these music students were out playing.  I love how there are just random art exhibits everywhere in Paris.  We stumbled on excellent ones on one of the brideges over the Seine and in the Jardin du Luxembourg.  Fabulous stuff.  I learned tons and grew definitely.  Recommend the city to anyone.  And if Italy spoiled ice cream for me in the states, Paris definitely ruined pastries for me.  SO GOOD.  Never will I taste croissants like that.  Pure pleasure from heaven I tell you.  Enough said.
We got into London 8 this morning their time.  Rode the chunnel.  It was only 3 hours or so.  We saw the British library today-- it was incredible.  They have King George III's library in a giant glass cube in the middle of the library-- awesome sight.  They have these vast holdings in there and they display some of it-- I was nerding out.  I saw Shakespeare's First Folio, and an ancient copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and Chopin music written by the man himself (I kid you not), Beatles's lyrics, the Wycliffe Bible, the Magna Carta, notes from Leonardo de Vinci's notebooks... the list goes on.  Just incredible.  They had a cool temporary exhibit on the history of the press in England as well and you could design your own front page.  Very cool.  My top story was soccer (football) of course.  MMMM football. 
So we're having a good time.  I met two great Italians tonight in our hostel (which is fabulous and clean btw, very nice) and had a fabulous enlightening conversation about similarities and differences between our languages and cultures.  They think I should move to the north of Italy where their from and teach English lol.  I would have a great time, but I'd miss home of course.  Hopefully we get to hang out again.  Like the Italian people.  They agree that their driving is nuts lol.
We're going to attempt to visit Oxford tomorrow if we can figure out the bus schedules.  Very efficient if you can get the drift.  Love the language here of course... you guys know me, nerd that I am.  I'll probably have a British accent for a bit when I get back.  Please be patient with me.  I'll write more in a few days.  Love you all dearly!  We'll be back soon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Grand ol Paris

Hello my dears!
So I love Paris.  I mean I'm actually in love with it, everything about it, from the free clean public restrooms, to the everpresent fountains, to the crepes, to the coffee-drinking poets spouting philosophy in the parks... (sigh of contentment).  So I've had a wonderful past few days.  We've seen monuments and museums mostly.  The Musee d'orsay was by far my favorite.  It houses mostly impressionist stuff, though they had an incredible exhibit of art nouvou furniture (very cool).  I spent at least 15 minutes in the Van Gogh room communing with the master.  It was an intense experience.  All of the art was fabulous, blew Florence away by miles, and the museum itself was incredible.  It's inside an old train station-- and everything is easy to find, and well displayed... it's just a nice change from dark corners and ridiculous lines.  So I don't have a ton of time, but I wanted to let you all know that we're safe and we'll be in London on Tuesday (we take the chunnul at 6am).  Very much looking forward to England, expenses not withstanding.  I'm learning a ton from the city and from my roomies.  There's a girl in our hostel from Virginia-- I've gotten the best lines off of her.  Ask me for the stories and the imitations when you see me :).  I love you all and will email soonish!