The Virtuous Vituperator

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

... and BETTER

So I got most of it out yesterday. Was pissy, didn't *gasp and horror* put on any makeup and scowled a lot. Slept like a rock. Probably because I needed it and am waaaaay less bitchy today.

Now to survive the next 10 days with loads of work and distractions.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Too good to last.

And so, it's been a nice run.

My son is sick again. :( It's been a good fight for on/off six months. I'll never concede, EVER! But today I began to admit it to myself. Which completely pisses me off in every way. I don't have the biopsy confirmation yet, but if there are no eosinophils in his digestive system it will further support my contention that he has some sort of autoimmune issue concurrent to his eosinophilic gastroenteritis- or EGE is more than what they think it is.

He did have 18 months of good times of pretty much no illness.
Chronic diseases are just that-

He's been vomiting on and off for a while, complains of pain, has pica (eating nonfoods), and the telltale blackened circles under his eyes are back. To top it off, one of my crowning bragging points in my son is that he's never lost too much weight when he's gone through vomiting spells. Not this time. He's 7, and down about 5-7lbs now. And we've noticed it.

Better days early this past summer.
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So now we pack up and trek off to his doctor, 1100 miles away for information I probably already know.

Worse still! He's been on steroids for 4.5 years now and if he comes off of them then he'll start methatrexate (chemo drug) or 6mp (another chemo drug) depending on severity and what they find.

I'm REAAAAAAALLY not looking forward to this trip.

If they find something, we're screwed.
If they find nothing, we're still screwed.

To think I actually have days where I get burned out on trying to explain this disease to people? Honestly, I don't know if I'm burned out or actually more frustrated that we're not much better of than we were six years ago. Okay, I admit it we're better off than 6, but not better than 5 years ago.

No food. On steroids. No new answers, no new treatments. Just more worry that at any moment the side effects will kick in. Goody. The reality is, with steroids one is ALWAYS on borrowed time. It's no exaggeration. I know people who've had it all happen within 5 months- growth issues, severe bone loss, vision problems and moonface/body. Others, like us float around happily oblivious to the side effects till they bitch-slap you with a reminder that corticosteroids are not intended for long-term use.

I know I'm whining. But I get a day (today)- the day after he pretty much fell asleep (read: passed out) immediately after throwing up 10x (literally) a full 6 hours worth of feedings. About 600-700 ml's of fluid, aka 600-700 calories and just shy of 50% of his necessary intake for a day.

Tomorrow I will pull myself together for the good ol time I'll have next week subjecting my son to his 16th endoscopy and 12th colonoscopy complete with the rockin' good time we have doing a cleanout. He's 7. He doesn't deserve this- I can't stop it, nor can I fix it. What kind of shit is that? I'm his mom! He crawls into my lap, puts my hand on his stomach and says it hurts. All I can do is reassure him that we love him and are here to love him as best we can.

He knows I can't fix it, but it doesn't make it any easier as a parent.
And it never will.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Thought-provoking Read

It's long, it's inflammatory- I don't care WHO you are, it'll affect you SOMEHOW!
FAIR WARNING! There is a slant to the right, but get past it, get past the language and dig in for a STRONG message.

Being a somewhat liberal-minded lady who is married to a black man, a man whose family came up in the time of segregation, a man whose family rose up in to American successes through education and not buying into the "you cannot" mentality, that they were owed, or somehow less. That through hard work and education they would have comfortable lives in this country where their ancestors had suffered. They live it for all them.

In that- I take this article to heart for my own children. These are a time of crossroads for much of the black community and I support what this author has to say. I don't necessary agree with his language, but his message is clear.

Bill Cosby, a great man who lived through the civil rights movement and has always been considered a great man of the black community and a pioneer in white Hollywood has taken a public image beating these past 5 or 10 years. Why? Because he too believes that through community support and education the Black Americans will achieve what is rightfully their bigger piece of the American Pie.
I support that.
I have to- for the sake of my children.
I support that in honor of my deceased father in law who was a great man, father and mentor to those he touched in his life.

Thank you to my friend Susan who presented this article to me.

Taken from December 2006 Esquire Magazine

December 2006, Volume 146, Issue 6

The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger
By John Ridley

For eleven days in 2001, two blacks ran our country. It's their example and their achievement—and not the culture of failure fomented by the leftovers of the Movement—that must set a new agenda for black Americans.

Let me tell you something about niggers, the oppressed minority within our minority. Always down. Always out. Always complaining that they can't catch a break. Notoriously poor about doing for themselves. Constantly in need of a leader but unable to follow in any direction that's navigated by hard work, self-reliance. And though they spliff and drink and procreate their way onto welfare doles and WIC lines, niggers will tell you their state of being is no fault of their own. They are not responsible for their nearly 5 percent incarceration rate and their 9.2 percent unemployment rate. Not responsible for the 11.8 percent rate at which they drop out of high school. For the 69.3 percent of births they create out of wedlock.

Now, let me tell you something about my generation of black Americans. We are the inheritors of "the Deal" forced upon the entrenched white social, political, and legal establishment when my parents' generation won the struggle for civil rights. The Deal: We (blacks) take what is rightfully ours and you (the afore-described establishment) get citizens who will invest the same energy and dedication into raising families and working hard and being all around good people as was invested in snapping the neck of Jim Crow.

In the forty years since the Deal was brokered, since the Voting Rights Act was signed, there have been successes for blacks. But there are still too many blacks in prison, too many kids aggrandizing the thug life, and way too many African-Americans doing far too little with the opportunities others earned for them.

If we as a race could win the centuries-long war against institutionalized racism, why is it that so many of us cannot secure the advantage after decades of freedom?
That which retards us is the worst of "us," those who disdain actual ascendancy gained by way of intellectual expansion and physical toil—who instead value the posture of an "urban," a "street," a "real" existence, no matter that such a culture threatens to render them extinct.
"Them" being niggers.

I have no qualm about using the word nigger. It is a word. It is in the English lexicon, and no amount of political correctness, no amputation into "the n-word"—as if by the castration of a few letters we should then be able to conceptualize its meaning without feeling its sting—will remove it from reality.
So I say this: It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck. Just as whites may be concerned with the good of all citizens but don't travel their days worrying specifically about the well-being of hill billies from Appalachia, we need to send niggers on their way. We need to start extolling the most virtuous of ourselves. It is time to celebrate the New Black Americans—those who have sealed the Deal, who aren't beholden to liberal indulgence any more than they are to the disdain of the hard Right. It is time to praise blacks who are merely undeniable in their individuality and exemplary in their levels of achievement.

This, then, is how the praise begins. We need to burn into our collective memory the event that marked the beginning of our new timeline: an event from early in this millennium that seemed, for its moment in time, auspicious but that is now all but forgotten. It was lost in the ash of fires in Over-the-Rhine. Buried in the rubble of 9/11. But I for one will not let it go, won't let it get dumped into a potter's field of U. S. politics. It was too important. Far too significant. It was eleven days when two blacks ran America.

If the situation were just slightly altered, Condoleezza Rice might have been, and would have made, a better Mrs. George W. Bush than the current Mrs. George W. Bush. Same as George, Condi's politics are right. Her worldview is faith based, courtesy of her reverend pops. A protege of Brent Scowcroft's, she served as a special assistant for national-security affairs to George H. W. Bush, so she was preapproved by Dad. And should anyone posit that a woman of color would not be welcome to Thanksgiving dinner in Kennebunkport, well, Bush brother Jeb had married himself a minority, so even that trail was previously blazed.

But for G. B. the second, much to his credit, his interest in Condi was less about her being a woman, let alone a black woman, and more about her being an accomplished individual. And Dr. Condi is accomplished as hell: a Ph.D. in poli-sci from the University of Denver. Former provost of Stanford. At thirty-five, barely a kid in Washington years, she was a staffer at the National Security Council. She came onto the foreign-policy train wreck that was the early days of G. W. Bush's 2000 campaign. Helped mold his malapropism-afflicted worldview into a demicoherent one. After the certification of Bush's election, Dr. Condi got herself easily appointed as national security advisor.

Firsts all the way around. Black America should have been singing hosannas.
But Condi was Republican. So never mind. Never mind she'd spent a lifetime facing down racism. Born in Birmingham at the peak of race hate, Condi was a schoolmate of Denise McNair, one of the "four little girls" bombed to death in September of '63 at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Niggers and old-school shines couldn't abide her. Same as with Clarence Thomas, they let her politics obfuscate her accomplishments. They stamped her: Not Officially Black. Loggers tagged her a "Sally Hemming for the Twenty-first Century." Left-leaning pundits smeared her with the slurs "Aunt Jemima" and "brown sugar." Julian Bond, reaching deep into the old-school bag of tricks, turned to rhyme to asperse Dr. Rice's authenticity: "Just because they are your skin folks, doesn't mean they're your kinfolks."

Then they went back to entertaining themselves with another Wayans-brothers movie.
As NSA and confidante, Dr. Condi was with Bush and the real Mrs. Bush as they took some time with an old Yale buddy at Camp David on the last weekend in March of 2001.
Nine-fifteen P.M. on the thirty-first. They got the call. A U. S. EP-3E signals recon plane had literally gotten into a tangle with a People's Liberation Army (read that: Chinese) J-8 interceptor jet off the coast of China. The Chinese jet got shredded by the EP-3E's prop. The American plane, with a crew of twenty-four, was badly damaged. The Chinese jet went down, the pilot most likely killed. The U. S. pilot did better. Managed to land the FUBAR American plane. But he landed the plane on the island of Hanna. Chinese territory. And the Chinese claimed that the Americans had been spying over what were sovereign waters. And the Chinese claimed the plane had landed without permission. And its taillights were out.

From the get, this was stacking up to be a slightly dicey situation—China being in possession of twenty-four American servicemen and women and one of our top-tier surveillance planes (and the appropriate U.S. spokespeople went out of their way to note that it was a surveillance plane, not a spy plane). The People's Republic wasn't exactly our enemy, but it was hardly our close bud, either. Coming into the White House, following the domestic Chinese-spy-scandal scare of the late nineties, Bush had shifted the rhetoric re: China. Had dropped the Clinton-era designation of China as a "strategic partner" for the tough-talk appellation of "strategic competitor." The actual meaning of "strategic competitor" no one in the administration has ever tried to explain, but it struck the appropriately tough-talk chord in the new president's neoconservative base. Though such tough talk ignored the fact that China was a major trading partner that was doing $116 billion in annual business with the U. S., in millennium bucks.

So, then, here was the crux of Bochco's first international incident: Having swung his meat at China, Bush now very much had to be diplomatically shrewd while looking domestically strong in dealing with our strategic competitor.
This clearly required high-mindedness. Bush turned the situation over to the highest mind on his team: Dr. Condi.

Made sense.
Condi was a Russia expert. Wasn't this—this "Hanna Incident"—just some modern-day old-school commie-era nonsense? But that decision, right and plain as it seemed, set up the real conflict of the event. That conflict would not turn out to be the obvious one—U. S. versus China. It would be "us," elevated blacks, versus "them," those who not only hold little regard for people of color but who wish to make niggers of us all.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rusted were, are, old-school relics. Political leftovers of the Nixon-Ford years, they are the Retro Guard, sporting metaphorical wide ties emblematic of the '72 landslide. To appease the base, Bush had given such men seats at his otherwise progressive table. Wedging them in created multiple fractures across the administration. From the jump, it would be the old against the new. War hawks against moderates. Those who thought the republic was best governed in secrecy and shadow against those who recalled that the preamble to the Constitution is "We the People," not "Us the Government." The administration was a case study in "unified independence," a group working toward separate objectives rather than individuals working as a team.

Cheney and Rusted fronted the hard line of the Hanna Incident—the cadre who saw little to no value in talk and diplomacy and wanted to get with the figurative nuclear option quick as possible. It was against such a mind-set as much as the Chinese government that Condi would have to navigate. But she would not have to wield her intellect solo. Colin Powell was the undisputed superstar of American politics. His bio was bulletproof. His bona fides undeniable: service in 'Nam. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Part of the team that cruised to victory in Gulf War I. Author of the Powell Doctrine, which states that overwhelming force makes an enemy your bee-botch.

When he quit the military, real quick Powell became "the Get." Both parties wanted to snag him, wag him from their standard. Powell went right.

Predictably, niggers immediately abandoned him. How could any self-respecting black man want to run from the Liberal Plantation? Never mind that he was a self-made modern American hero who openly espoused the value of affirmative action. Old-scholars tagged Powell with the usual left-wing racist jabber.
Powell was a sellout.
A Tom.
In a particularly ugly rant, Harry Belafonte infamously alluded to Powell as being a house nigger.

At every opportunity, Powell was hit up with the invectives reserved for black men who succeed by way of intelligence and hard work. (How ironic that while the Left attempted to subjugate Powell with the bullwhip of liberal racism, Bush, who later would be accused by Kane West of hating blacks, somehow managed to see in Powell a sovereign black man.)

As secretary of state in G. W. Ebb's first term, Powell would spearhead communications with China during the Hanna Incident while Rice would be the conduit through which all information would flow to the president.

Dr. Condi and Colin.
The administration went into the Hanna situation thinking the China incident would go down like this: We make denials; they make demands. There's a shadow deal that gets us back our boys and toys in exchange for some tractors and a few bushels of wheat.

But this wasn't 1957. The Chinese weren't a superpower dying on the vine. They were more concerned about getting their international prospers than they were about quid pro quo. And respect had been a long time coming from the U. S. Most Chinese citizens recalled G. H. W. Bush being an apologist for the Deng regime after the Tiananmen Square crackdown. And then there was us dropping a bomb right down the Chinese embassy's smokestack in Belgrade during the air war over Kosovo.
And, you know, there was that strategic partner/strategic competitor thing.
But Dr. Condi and Colin strategize, surmised that all China was looking for was some contrition. A little humility. Secure in the knowledge that offering regret is different from taking blame, they figured they could show some remorse for the Chinese pilot without turning all of America into a weak sister weeping like she'd just messed her best Sunday dress. Just give a "My bad" and get the crew home.

Dr. Condi and Colin would not immediately get the chance to test their strategy Forty-eight hours after the American plane went down, after just two days of silence from China, the far-right hard-liners lost whatever patience they owned. What little confidence they had that Rice and Powell could end the situation quickly dissipated like a brief, bad smell. Diplomacy was boring and time-consuming and rarely came with the requisite display of machismo. Though delicatessen was the smarter play over sanctions, all the Retro Guard cared about was keeping Bush, just twelve weeks in Washington, from looking like Jimmy Carter on, say, day 239 of 444 of the Iranian-hostage thing.

Sabers got rattled. Tact got kicked to the curb. Cheney stomped around Washington doing a public nix on expressing any regret. Insisted being American meant never having to say you're sorry.

Illinois representative Henry Hyde—who is chairman of the House International Relations Committee—referred to the U. S. crew as "hostages," which put an ugly public spin on the benign truth. Was consciously counter to Powell's assessment that the crew was merely being detained.

Bush, feeling the pressure to back up all his reelection rhetoric, flinched. Or "blinked," in the pop-culture sense of making a quick decision based on suspect intelligence.

In a Rose Garden appearance, a hardened Bush excoriated the Chinese for not doing "the right thing." Insisted that "now it is time for our servicemen and women to return home."

These were, politically, cold assertions. The holdback was equally frosty.
A day later, Chinese president Kiang Zelman finally responded. Zelman wanted nothing less than total kowtowing. Wanted the U. S. to "bear all responsibilities" for the collision. Wanted an apology. Wanted concessions. Wanted the U. S. to quit its spy flights along the China coast. Forever. And it got real clear the circumstances might not now resolve themselves in a timely manner.

Just a few words. A few words choreographed to create some tough-guy theatrics from Bush and the situation had devolved from "incident" to "standoff."
And the loud-voiced whispers as to whether Bush had what it took to be a world leader began. Diplomacy was needed. Smarts. Intellect and canny.

Bush made another decision. No "blink" involved. As The Washington Post reported, the way forward was made emphatic to all concerned: No more useless posturing. No more Independent Unity. Cheney was sent out to stump for the tax cuts Bush was shilling. And while Rusted claimed to support the shift toward diplomacy, truthfully he was flatly told to butt out.

Dr. Condi and Colin would be given free rein.
We, collectively—not just black America but all of America that truly bought into the bromides of liberty and justice for all—we had risen.
The accomplishment was unmistakable. For seven days running, in the written press and the international media, and doing the rounds in the 24/7 cable-news meat grinder, it was Condi and Colin. They pulled the administration out of a Retro Guard–dug hole. Projected calm and rationality, where just prior there was only ego. Sticking with their game plan to double-team with poise and savoir faire, they expressed "regret" over the loss of the Chinese pilot. Powell followed up his public statements with an international "sympathy card" sent to the Chinese: a regret letter of his own.

Simultaneously, Condi counseled the president to display some humanity. Bush made a public statement that he was sending his prayers to the dead Chinese pilot and his family.
Little gestures.
Big results.
By Thursday, April 5, the Chinese foreign ministry, if not quite ready to sing kumbayas, acknowledged the U. Esq.'s new moves were a "step in the right direction."
At the same time, Powell came with another, stronger statement of lament re: the Chinese pilot's death. And contrary to the hawks' beliefs, the heavens didn't open and the stock market didn't drop and the commies weren't turning our wives and daughters into pleasure girls. But twenty-four servicemen and women were that much closer to coming home.

So close the scavengers could pick up the stink of imminent triumph. Around they came, real late in the game, looking to gain some stature by glomming on to the accomplishments of others.

Jesse Jackson came knocking.
Jesse Jackson, who is president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He put in a call to Powell offering help. Offering to add an "ecumenical religious component" to Powell's efforts. It was really just Jesse looking to shine up his image. It'd been just months since he'd been outed as having fathered a kid with the former head of the Rainbow Coalition's Washington, D. C., office, then given the girl tens of thousands of dollars from the Rainbow PUSH coffers as "shut up/go away" money.
Not sure if that's the ecumenical religious component Jesse had wanted to add to the standoff.

Powell smartly gave Jesse the go-by. Jesse and his old-school ways, even if they hadn't been offered belatedly and with self-service, were of no use to the New Black American.

Victory was at hand. The U. S. crewmen were just days and an official letter of regret to the Chinese government away from returning home. And you know that homecoming would have been filled with hoopla and pageantry. The Retro Guard would have to kneel before the superior intellect of the ascended black. Likewise, the Old-School Negroes and their liberal massas would be forced to acknowledge the evolutionary brother and sister. When the images of the homecoming were played and played and played from the morning empty-chat shows through the nightly news to Larry King and his first exclusive primetime interview (with call-ins!) of the crew, all of America would see freedom was won by a black man, a black woman.
They would have seen all that.

Niggers fucked it up.
The last thing recorded by the dash-mounted camera in the police cruiser was officer Stephen Roach running across an intersection off Republic Street in Cincinnati. Then he enters an alley. Then you can hear a shot being fired. Beyond that, all you can do is speculate. And/or take Roach's statements as to what led to Timothy Thomas's shooting death.
What we know:

White cop. Black kid. Nineteen years old. Troubles with the law. Fourteen outstanding warrants. All misdemeanors.

In the early-morning hours of April 7, 2001, Thomas was confronted by some cops looking to pop him for those warrants. Thomas ran. Same as he'd run twice before when cops were trying to pop him. Backup got called in. Roach was among them. Thomas wasn't armed. Roach had no way of knowing. All the cop knew was that he was doing a foot pursuit in what's plainly one of the most dangerous sections of Cincinnati: Over-the-Rhine.

Thomas headed down that dark alley. Ordered to stop, he complied. Made a sudden move for his waistband. Roach fired. Thomas took a single slug to the chest. Died.
"Fifteen since '95" was the cry. Timothy Thomas being the fifteenth Cincinnati black man to die during an arrest or shortly after being apprehended by the cops. "Fifteen since '95" was heard from local Blacktivists hot for justice, for whom vengeance by way of legal recourse would not do: the New Black Panthers. Some outfit called the Special Forces. Only things special about them were the white-hatin', Jew-hatin' rants they could call up at a moment's notice. And did so at a city-council meeting they crashed the day after Thomas got shot. Crashed it along with Thomas's moms. And a couple hundred more whipped-up locals of color. They showed up to "talk" with city officials.

There was some white-hatin'. Some Jew-hatin'. Precious little talking.
After three hours of contained ranting, the hatin' spilled out into the streets. Another thousand or so protesters got whipped up and swept along as the Blacktivists made their way to the Cinci police HQ. More screaming! More hatin'! Through the evening and into the night.

"Fifteen since '95!"
Rocks thrown. Bottles thrown. Broken glass was hurled at cops.
"Fifteen since '95!"

By 1:00 A.M. on Monday, April 9, while Powell and Rice were working to free detained Americans, the Blacktivists had achieved what they were pushing for, the typical post-civil-rights-era expression of urban rage when it unilaterally deems itself wronged: burning of businesses. Looting of businesses. Indiscriminate violence against whites and nonblacks; yanked from cars. Beaten near to death.
Simply, rioting.

If a gang of whites had done the same, the screams from the Blacktivists would've been of a roving racist pack. They, the whites, would've been called a lynch mob.
But the rioters were of color. What was begging to be heard by the rampaging mob was some tacit approval from the self-appointed HNICs that burning and beating and stealing were the way to go.

Approval was given.
Kweisi Mfume (real name Frizzell Gray), who was the president and CEO of the NAACP, ranted that Cinci was the "belly of the whale."
Al Sharpton—he who is the high self-appointed HNIC of a constituency that no longer exists—demanded the feds take control of Cinci's police. Of all America's cops!
The Big House of the Liberal Plantation, The New York Times, opined that economic discrimination was at the heart of the riot (though it failed to explain why poor whites rarely did the same).

The Blacktivists of Cinci got what they wanted: some old-school R-Card shysters doing some fire fueling with platitudes and the war cry:
"Fifteen since '95."

On the surface the numbers held up; at the hands of the police, fifteen black men had died since '95. But the stats didn't reflect fact. Have you had a chance to meet some of the fifteen poster kids of cop abuse in Cincinnati?

Say hey to Harvey Price, who hacked up his girlfriend's daughter with an ax. She was fifteen. Harvey got shot when he refused to surrender peaceably. Went at tactical cops with a knife.

Give a yo to Mr. Jeffrey Irons. Confronted for stealing a few bucks in toiletries, Irons responded by grabbing a cop's gun. Shooting the officer in the hand. Another officer, options up, looking to avoid worse, shot and killed Irons.

Can I get a what-up for Daniel Williams? In February of '98 Danny flagged down officer Kathleen Conway's cop car. Then he punched her in the face. Then shot her. Four times, .357 Magnum. After all that, Conway managed to fire back—I would safely say in self-defense—killing Williams.

The final count of those "fifteen since '95"? Twelve had threatened arresting officers' lives with some type of weapon before they were killed. Seven of those twelve threatened cops with guns. Four cops were killed or wounded in making those arrests (in a period when three Cinci cops had been killed in three years).
But facts don't serve the cause. And "a couple since '95" doesn't make for much of a war cry.

Three days of chaos. Nearly $4 million in damage to the city, most of it in predominantly black areas that could ill afford economic downturn. Record levels of homicides, particularly among blacks, as the police, hamstrung by new rules of engagement, could no longer effectively protect the very people who had demonized them.

It was a mess.
The Blacktivists, they would call it victory.
The night of 4/11/01 was the worst of the rioting in Over-the-Rhine. Lowlights included a cop shot, a state of emergency declared.
The next day, 4/12/01, while Cinci was still calming down, the detained U. S. crew got loaded onto a commandeered Continental Airlines jet. Were flown from Hanna to Guam, Guam to Hawaii. The patience, the intelligence, of two blacks had set them free. But for Powell and Rice there was no reaction from the greater—or lesser—black community. None from lefty America. Energy drained by the orgy of appeasement it had been forced to offer up over Cincinnati, the best the black establishment and the national media could or would toss Dr. Condi and Colin was a collective shrug. A dismissive act, the effect of which was to minify the significance of their accomplishment.

And maybe in early 2001 it didn't matter so much. After averting crisis, there were sure to be other achievements. But, you know, things change. Nine-eleven. The towers came down. The Pentagon got opened up. A hole was made in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The war in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq.
And Hanna was officially forgotten.

No more can we allow the crowning moment in our history to live in shadow, just as we cannot allow the deeds of our most accomplished to be overshadowed by the antics of our least ambitious. Near the end of his mortal existence, Dr. Martin Luther King famously queried, "Where do we go from here: chaos or community?"
Over-the-Rhine was chaos. Is this what we choose for ourselves? To continue as the ungodly construct of victim and aggressor?

I say there is only one direction for us to travel, the path already set. Dr. Condi and Colin are exceptional but not unique. Empirically, Hanna wasn't a one-off. With the pair as way points by which to plot a course, our collective ascension will be assured.

Undoubtedly, knees will jerk over this contention. The Reverends Al and Jesse and all those who judge actions by the single criterion of how they affect the remnants of the Movement will ask: These? These two are your ne plus ultra blacks? These two who caved to the will of the Right? Powell, whose dog-and-pony show at the UN revealed his true bent? Rice, whose "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying" for The New York Times showed her lack of spine? These two who sent America off to folly in Iraq?

I say yes.

Black America must look to that lost moment and realize that, short of a brother or sister actually being elected president, Hanna was the high-water mark of black political power. And whether Operation Iraqi Freedom is ultimately good and right and just, or if it is lousily named and uniformly disastrous, what is essential is that Dr. Condi and Colin earned for themselves positions from which to sway public debate.

That is, power.
Dr. Condi and Colin personify what niggers have forgotten: All that matters is accomplishment. The very pinnacle of ascendancy is the ability to live and work without regard for the sentiments of others and with, as Sister Rand would tell us, a selfish virtue.
We came up from slavery to freedom without regard for the Constitution, which gave us nothing, and the plantation masters, who gave us the whip. We came up from oppression to civil rights without regard for hurled bricks and sicced police dogs. Water hoses. The word nigger.

This, then, is my directive: Let us achieve with equal disregard for the limitations of racism and the weight of those of us who threaten to drag all of us down with the clinging nature of their eternal victimization. Our preservation is too essential to be stunted by those unwilling to advance. And in my heart I don't believe all blacks cannot achieve in the absence of aid any more than I believe the best way to teach a child to run is by forcing him to spend a lifetime on his knees.

As long as we remain committed to holding high our individuals of supreme finish, others will be inspired to loose themselves of the gravity of the waywards and downtroddens.

Once free, they will rise. They will drift high toward the attainments of which we are invariably capable; being better fathers and husbands and lovers. Better mothers and daughters, sisters and best friends. We will rise to the simple obligation of taking care of our own with the same dedication we will give to improving our community and country and our world. Yes, our influence will extend so.
Where do we go from here?
The only direction we can.
The New Black America will ascend.

Monday, November 20, 2006

One kidney washing another?

WOW! This is an interesting twist to organ donation! It really puts it to the families to support others around them! Truly amazing what we can accomplish when working together, eh?

Five lives saved! Way to go Hopkins!

5-way kidney swap performed at Hopkins By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 1 minute ago

It took 12 surgeons, six operating rooms and five donors to pull it off, but five desperate strangers simultaneously received new organs in what hospital officials Monday described as the first-ever quintuple kidney transplant.

All five recipients — three men and two women — were doing fine, as were the five organ donors, all women, said Eric Vohr, a spokesman at the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center. The 10 participants came from Canada, Maine, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida and California.

Several triple transplants have been done at Johns Hopkins, but hospital officials said the five simultaneous transplants performed last Tuesday were a first.

Four of the sick patients had approached Johns Hopkins with a relative who was willing to donate a kidney but was an incompatible donor. The fifth patient had been on a waiting list for a kidney from a dead person.

Together, those nine people and an "altruistic donor" — someone willing to give a kidney to anyone who needed it — had enough matched kidneys among them to pull off a complex, five-way swap.

Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of Hopkins' transplant center and head of the transplant team, pronounced the swap "a demonstration to the rest of the country that this is what's possible when people work together."

Sheila Thornton, 63, of Edgewood, said she felt "just joy, joy, it's almost inexplicable," after she learned she would receive a kidney from Sandra Loevner, 63, of Sarasota, Fla., whom she had never met.

"That really hit home," Thornton said of receiving a lifesaving gift from a stranger. "How do you thank somebody?"

The altruistic donor, Honore Rothstein of Martinsburg, W.Va., decided to donate a kidney after losing her husband to a brain hemorrhage and her daughter to an overdose. She did not know any of the donors or recipients.

"I'm thrilled I'm giving to somebody," Rothstein said, sitting next to Kristine Jantzi, 40, of Bangor, Maine, who received her kidney. "Her mom couldn't give to her, and I couldn't save my daughter."

The operations involved six operating rooms, 12 surgeons, 11 anesthesiologists, and 18 nurses, and took place over 10 hours. The removal of the donor organs began at 7:15 a.m. and was completed by 11 a.m. The kidneys were implanted in operations that began at 1 p.m. and were finished at 5:15 p.m.

Last year, Johns Hopkins doctors performed a triple transplant also involving an altruistic donor. The donor was from a Christian group, many of whose members have given kidneys to strangers.

Annie Moore, a spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that coordinates U.S. organ transplants, said she wasn't aware of any other quintuple kidney transplants. Triple transplants are the biggest that have been performed up to now, and paired transplants are more common, Moore said.

Most kidney transplants use organs taken from cadavers, but doctors prefer organs from live donors because the success rates are higher.

In a live-donor practice used increasingly in the U.S. over the past few years, a patient who needs a kidney is matched up with a compatible stranger if the patient lines up a friend or relative willing to donate an organ to a stranger, too.

About 16,500 kidney transplants were performed in the United States in 2005, of which about 10,000 involved organs taken from dead people and 6,500 from living donors, according to the Organ Procurement and Transportation Network.

About 70,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant in the United States. The wait averages about five years, during which time 30,000 will either die or become too sick for a transplant, Montgomery said.

Montgomery called for a national kidney-swap program, saying it could help ease the shortage of transplant organs and cut costs by getting people off dialysis. He said 6,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney from a dead person have a willing but incompatible donor.

He noted, however, that live-donor kidney swaps present ethical problems for some institutions since federal law prohibits receiving something of value in exchange for an organ. Some institutions feel multiple arrangements come uncomfortably close to quid pro quo, Montgomery said. He called for a clarification of the law.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Trip

Well, my trip to DC was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

My new friend (first and foremost) works at the White House. He's renewed my faith in high-level government employees. Dedicated, smart and carries a tremendous desire to help others. First class in every capacity.

Had dinner at the Capital Grille on Thursday night, saw Senator Coleman from Minnesota. He arrived shortly after we did, essentially bumping us down the wait time list (and we had a reservation)... THANKS SENATOR! ; ) He also sat at the next table. Didn't get to chat with him, but it was cool to see him. (at least to me anyway) Had a great dinner. CapGrille is always a nice meal for us meat eaters. Conversation was mostly light and we covered a lot of ground for my organization.

Highlights: An invite to the White House for the next day. Huh?! Are you serious? How's my schedule? NOW CLEARED!!!!! Also, my VP of APFED is officially being nominated for a Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Prestigious and well-deserved. I hope she gets it as there are few human beings finer than she. Offers to set up meetings with key people that we need to chat with to begin our political life in DC. Loads of "wows" throughout the evening.

Next Day. I had a meeting, then the White House. Had to wait on my background check, which was kind of weird and scary. We weren't IN the WH, but in the building next door, the Eisenhower Bldg. aka the Administration Bldg (I think). Met the Special Asst to the President, one of two. That was really cool and he was incredibly nice. Covered more APFED stuff and got a mini-tour of the area.

Below is the entrance to the West Wing.

We went in the doors, but without advance notice of a personal tour, we couldn't go any further. Promised a next visit personal tour of the inside. We were literally 1 minute's walking distance to the Oval Office. The entrance is in a side road, it's lined with TONS of black vans, trucks and scary guys with guns. I'd say it was one of the most exciting moments of my life to stand where every major political person in the history of that entrance has stood. Truly an honor. The public isn't allowed in this area- obviously.

Next pic- the side steps up to the front lawn of the WH.

Our guide/friend tried to get us up on to the front lawn to take pix. Also a rare opportunity. But something was going on up there and we couldn't go up. Not disappointed. It too was an honor to even stand there! Up those steps and quite literally- ON the front lawn.

How cool is that. I won't bore anyone with the mundane details of my organization's legislative agenda until we actually HAVE ONE! LOL. Suffice it to say, I feel renewed, energized and soooooooo appreciative of some of the people on the Hill in this Administration.

I don't always agree with President Bush's agenda. I don't always agree with ANY of the Presidents we've had. I do know he has some truly quality people working for him that took a LOT of time (3 hrs on Thurs and 2 on Friday) to see a lady who has almost nothing to offer them, asked little and just wanted to be heard.

For anyone who has every tried to get in to see their Congressman/woman, you know that IF you get in, you get 15 minutes and that is it. They are all so busy.

All the time.

I understand my privilege and do not take it for granted. All I can hope to do is see it through and make the most of representing the patient-community I try to make heard.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Pedestal

Ever have a hero? A person you admire? A person you look up to? How about a person you identify with? Perhaps this person is famous, maybe they are a friend, or a relative. All of that part is irrelevant in most ways.

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What is relevant to me right now is that a person I identified with when I was younger is; gasp! Human. The sad part of it all is not only is this person human, but they are a person I am now finding myself angry with. I don't know this person at all. I recently read an autobiography and found myself conflicted and annoyed. I had actually put off reading it because I had a suspicion I would feel that way.

I don't know why I didn't get that what I identified with (then) was the sicker part of this person's personality. It's derived from tough times and a self-abuse thinking suffering was the answer. I got through it and so did they, sort of.

It's like a kid growing up who loved Mickey Mantle. This adult-kid finds themself with liver disease (not of his own making) he needs a transplant. Along comes Mickey Mantle, his childhood hero, who drank himself stupid and sick, he gets moved up the transplant list (and is all too happy to do so) and bumps you down closer to dying for no other purpose than he is a selfish bastard. "Selfish Bastard" is not too strong either- one would have to be a selfish bastard to have advanced liver disease from alcohol abuse and accept being moved up the list on name value alone in front of people who are actually sick for no other reason than; they are.

How do you not feel like you've been kicked in the teeth by this person?

So this person I identified with in my own misspent youth is human. But that's not it- I didn't have a false expectation that delusional. I cannot quite put my finger on WHAT is making me angry. Perhaps it was the callous way the autobiography read... like he's invincible, realizes he isn't, shouldn't be here, but is, and still just doesn't 100% GET how lucky he is in this life. Perhaps it is that he brags throughout the text instead of recounts. Expresses zero remorse for the grief he caused many in his own life, and seems to take the fans who identified with him for granted.

Fans of books, music, art, film, tv, sports, whatever aren't your personal fans permanently. The fans aren't here to tell you how fantastic you are all day long or purchase tickets, books, movies etc to keep you in a new Mazarati. They admire or like you for a reason. When you fall from grace, nearly lose everything and make a comeback- howzabout showing some appreciation for those, your fans, who are still trying to hang in there and be supportive of your now floundering career.

The diehards (of which I am admittedly not one) are REmaking you rich again- they go away, your career goes away. It's really stupid to feel this way, but it kinda pisses me off to see someone take a talent for granted, waste it, use it up, come back and still not GET that they should appreciate each day, that very specific talent and those who support it.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I'm on a roll. A BIG ONE!

This terrifies me. Too much great stuff worries me because I am a firm believer in the balance of life. While for a few months there I had my world ripped from under me several times, this trip to Washington DC just took a big ol' public policy/healthcare/advocacy turn to the amazing!

Am I jinxing myself by even bringing it up?
For wanting to scream from the rooftops that great things are happening?
Will it come back to haunt me for taking pride in our hard work?

So it sounds silly to wonder if I'm jinxing myself. I'm not super-superstitious, but that balance thing always finds me. Perhaps I should just leave it at WOOOOOHOOOOO! and post the details next week.

Wish me luck. (in the unsuperstitious way!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

DC Bound

Just got home from Philly, now I'm off to Washington DC, then NYC. A day in each.

I LOVE! to travel. I always did. If I didn't have kids I know I would have a job that had me bouncing all over the world. But, reality is, I have children, a home, a husband and a life. I love my life too. When I'm away I miss it all so much.

It is such a dual existence.

In all honesty, every time I'm walking through the airport in heels with my laptop and business clothes on I almost feel like I am playing dressup working Barbie. Like somehow someone can see through the mid-30s exterior and see a confused kid trying to get by, yet at the same time I'm extra-confident in what I do. Again, that duality.

This is not my first trip to Washington, DC. Although it is the first trip where I am going up there for my own governmental purposes. My meeting is with an allergy society and piggybacked to this trip is the chance to start meeting with certain government agencies for APFED's agenda. It's almost like "making it" but we're not quite there yet. ALMOST there, allllllmost there... ALLLLLMOST! THERE!

I get to play dress-up, talk about things I am comfortable and confident speaking of and act as though I have a clue about how legislative agendas actually go- then I get to miss my kids, go back to feel oh, so self-important, miss my home, try to win over people who hear the same sob stories daily, get excited to get to go to NYC (which is always such a joy to just stroll through), catch a train (something we don't get to do in Texas) miss the kids again, not sleep, eat all too well and too much, call my husband 22x a day, hop on a plane home and be exhausted for a week.

I wouldn't trade it for the world. Now, how to split myself into two so I can enjoy both lives a bit more without the attached guilt of either being away from home or neglecting a love of my work and the accompanying travel.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Growing up TOO fast.

Now I am lucky, blessed and downright appreciative of the fact I have GREAT kids!!!! But darn it when did two of them grow up on me like this?

I trust my babygirl implicitly, but, sniffle, tonight she went to her first Homecoming Dance. It's killing me with proud mommy stuff and also with the first big time pangs of "where did the time go?"

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It's just not fair. I want to live it WITH them, and I am, but in the parental way! Darnit. I would have loved to have been at school with my kids and get to see them as they are when they are free from the home stuff. In their element- I'll never truly know that feeling because I'm always first and foremost their mom. A job I love, but it is a piece of them I can only glimpse and get.

Where does it go? She was just in First Grade?! I swear it! Someone built a time machine and moved me forward without my consent! Now can someone PLEASE! beam me back to my comfort zone?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Video, 2

Part 3, the Final Version is being completed. Sharing is a GOOD thing- also visible on