Author: winter b

Furthermore! – Shame on us

I knew a woman who couldn’t drive because every time she got in a car, she saw babies on the road in front of her. I knew another who couldn’t be left alone in her own kitchen because voices would start demanding she put her hand down the garbage disposal and turn it on.   <More> These people and many like them are caught in the cracks of a society that decided back in the Reagan era that they didn’t need custodial care. No more snake pits, or so we thought. I clearly remember when the decision was made, and I didn’t object to it. Most of us had gleaned the impression from movies and television that mental health patients were being held against their will, and were often mistreated. Unfortunately, the mistreatment part was true in too many cases. But when you take people who have serious problems connecting with reality, people like the women I mentioned above, or people whose strongest impulse is to kill themselves, people who can’t hold jobs because of their behavior when the voices start in their heads, or the times when the tears won’t stop falling, you’ve got to ask yourself if it was right to put them on the streets. For a while we thought we’d found a panacea in drugs. Everything should respond to a pill, and the pharmaceutical industry not only...

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Midday Matinee – 1984… it’s still here

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. 1984 has come and gone. We’ve all become accustomed to a world where words are twisted in ways that create new meanings. The only question is whether people have become more aware of how they are being manipulated. I know I had to read 1984 by George Orwell when I was in high school. I’m not sure if it’s still required reading. But even if it were, how many of us even pay attention to the manipulations going on all around us? Remember”death panels?” We used to have real death panels in this country decades ago when committees selected by a community would decide who would receive dialysis and who would not…until Congress stepped in and started paying for it because of moving testimony that made even those hard hearts melt. And today we have real death panels for organ transplants. Some will be chosen for a chance at life, and some will be denied even the possibility. We sure tolerate those. But mention euthanasia for Granny, and the world is suddenly up in arms. But I don’t want to talk about euthanasia or death panels. I want to talk about a different manipulation of words that could costs tens of thousands of Americans a healthy future: the transformation of...

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Midday Matinee – Is my kid being stalked?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I’m honestly not sure.  I just know it creeped her out when her coworkers told her what had been happening, and I know when I got the final tidbit all the rest snapped into place. But what do you do?  I can’t prove anything, nothing has really happened yet.  So let me tell you about it.  Maybe you can tell me I’m not crazy to worry.  Or maybe you’ll tell me otherwise. My daughter worked nearly full-time at a coffee shop over the summer, then went to one day a week when her college semester started (she has two jobs so one had to give a bit). So for the last two weeks she’s been in the coffee shop only once.  A regular customer noticed her missing.  But it didn’t stop there. He started asking when she would be working again.  They told him they couldn’t tell him that.  He asked where she was.  They answered, “She’s going to school these days.” He called four times asking for her by name, and asking when she was scheduled to work again.  They told him it was against the law for them to tell him. Then he topped it all off with the thing that made my heart sink: he went...

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Noontime News Roundup – September 14, 2010

Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour. U.S. pledges millions to end child labor in cocoa harvests “WASHINGTON — The U.S. government and the chocolate industry pledged $17 million on Monday to help end child labor — some of it forced and dangerous — in two African countries where much of the world’s cocoa is grown. “ ∞ Rock the Casbah “First Secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles requests political asylum in the United States after Saudi officials discover he’s gay.” ∞ Rubio Flips: ‘I’m Not’ Open To Social Security Privatization, ‘I Don’t Think That’s The Solution’ “In recent months, a number of Republican leaders have endorsed various schemes to once again attempt what President Bush failed to do — privatize all or part of Social Security. Former House Speaker and likely presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently endorsed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to privatize Social Security and Medicare; Reps. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have all touted personal accounts; and, Alaska GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller has suggested that the social safety net programs are unconstitutional.But in an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto today, Florida GOP Senate nominee Marco Rubio made a stark break with those in his party who want privatize the social safety net, saying explicitly that he is not...

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Midday Matinee – Why do people run?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. My youngest daughter was in a car accident this morning. She’s okay, so let me start with that so no one wonders or worries. Shaken, but fine. And so, apparently, is the car. Mostly. But you can imagine what I felt when the phone rang this morning while she was on her way to college and her first words weren’t “I’m here,” but “I was hit.” Man, you can pack a lot of panic, fear and terror into a split second. Then, “I’m okay, the car seems to be okay. But the lady who rear-ended me just drove off.” She did? What the hell are some people thinking? More worried about an insurance claim than whether the person in the car they just hit is okay? Okay, maybe she panicked and ran. But she left my baby on the road, shaken, unsure about whether she was okay, whether her car was okay, and not sure what to do next. Years ago when I backed into a car in a parking lot, the first words out of my mouth as I leapt out of my car were, “Are you okay?” Seems to me to be the most important thing. You’d think. Instead a scared 18-year-old was left to drive her car...

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