Saturday, October 11, 2003

She Can't Help Herself

You know, I may come of as this uncaring tough guy, but deep down inside I’m really a softie. I want to get along with people. I want consensus. I can compromise… really I can.

Considering that, imagine my surprise today when I was reading Rekha’s latest article and found myself (gasp!!!) agreeing with her. And, I know you’re not going to believe this… pleased that I could not immediately slam what I was reading. She was addressing a specific issue, from a topical point of view. She stayed on point, not invoking some greater social purpose or hinting at some darker right wing agenda.

Her article today is about midwifery and the obstacles that Des Moines midwifes have had establishing practices in the metro area.

Even her writing style seemed better; more concise… crisp. Sure, it was dour in tone, flat and utterly without humor. But hey, it’s Rekha Basu. We can’t expect miracles. My morning coffee was beginning to take hold and I felt filled with a warm glow and a feeling that maybe everything was going to be okay. I thought, maybe, just maybe my phase as an angry white male… well angry Puerto Rican-French-Spanish-Corsican-English-Scots male were on the wane.

Now, I know a little about the subject matter as my wife was a Labor and Delivery nurse for over 10 years and spent a few years on a midwife unit in Minneapolis. I worked in as an rehab aide for 6 years when I was supporting my acting habit. This has made me intimately familiar with the class system in medicine and the resistance of many Docs to accept nurse practitioners in general and midwifes in particular.

I was her perfect audience. This was a particular injustice I had seen… well… if not first hand, at least through the eyes of my spouse. Shit… I was agreeing with Rekha Basu.

I was just about to shout “You go girl!!!” And then… and then…


About two thirds through the piece came this:

Midwifery's comprehensive, nurturing approach to prenatal care can be especially effective for combating high infant mortality and low birth weight in some poor areas. Midwives are a natural choice for inexperienced or marginalized mothers-to-be because they offer a nurturing support system, and they emphasize nutrition and other self-care seen by others as peripheral to labor and delivery.

Come on Rekha.... You can do it… Stay on target… Don’t go off on the same old rant.

The medical establishment may not welcome the competition from midwives. But many patients who Hatch says are served by midwives in his district belong to groups no one is usually fighting over, except maybe exploitative employers and slumlords. Those patients are undocumented immigrants, low-income minorities, people with no particular clout or resources, and they fall most easily through the cracks.

There she went; back to the same old plainsong… la, la, la.

La, la, la…Poor and oppressed.

La, la, la… exploitative employers and slumlords.

La, la, la…undocumented immigrant, low-income minorities.

La, la, la… falling through the cracks.

Oh well, maybe this is a start. I got through the first two thirds without getting riled. Maybe this could be a sea change. Maybe Rekha has found a new voice. Maybe she'll start writing incisive commentary that addresses the complexities of 21st Century life and the changing nature of day-to-day existence in Des Moines. Maybe she won’t write the same old Tranzie, neo-Marxist, postmodern dreck week after week… month after month… year after year…

Well… maybe…


Thursday, October 09, 2003

Whittle - CA has Eject, Eject, Ejected!

Speaking of the California election, Bill Whittle has some new content content up. Check out Fraud! Treason! Conspiracy! The entry is brief for him, formadable for any normal human blogger. A sample:

And still these people wonder why, after insulting and demeaning the electorate, their poll numbers continue to go down? Shwartz---sorry, Governor Schwarzenegger and McClintock –two Republicans that essentially split the party ticket – together took home around 60% of Califreakingfornia! And instead of doing the smart thing – let alone the honorable thing – they keep hanging blame wherever they think it will stick. They lost because the machines were rigged. They lost because you voters are so stupid. They lost because of a backroom conspiracy. They lost because you’re all racists. Or sheep. Or blinded by cheap glitter.

What an uplifting, inspiring philosophy! How can a simple citizen like me become a part of this great vision of leadership and hope?

Go check it out.
Right Wing Power Grab Morphs into Grassroots Uprising

Man... I guess when you're desparate you reach for explanations that to a reasonable person might seem far-fetched... Check this out:

In California, Washington, and across the country Wednesday, Democrats struggled to portray the recall of Davis as the result of voter anger against the president, and not as a repudiation of a particularly unpopular Democratic governor.

"I think the message from California is a message to President Bush: Stop your reckless economic policies," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

"It's clearly not good news for George Bush," Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday night. "I'm telling you, the message across this country is that [people] have had it with George Bush's economic plans...George Bush should be very nervous."

"The voters in California directed their frustration with the country's direction on their incumbent governor," added Democratic presidential frontrunner Howard Dean. "Come next November, the anger might be directed at a different incumbent — in the White House."

The post-election Democratic interpretation of the recall stands in stark contrast to the pre-election Democratic interpretation of the recall. Just a few days ago, Democrats portrayed the recall as part of a right-wing plan to seize power in California and elsewhere around the nation.

In his speech to the state on August 19, Davis described the recall as a "right-wing power grab." That characterization was echoed by former president Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democrats who visited the state to campaign on Davis's behalf.

Now, however, what was once a "right wing power grab" has become a stern warning for President Bush.

Nothing wrong with turning lemons into lemonade. This is more like saying that piss is lemonade. "Come on Gray, drink that up now... it's really lemonade."

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Out of Africa

Kim du Toit has a captivating, emotional letter from an African (born in the US) and a measured, respectful (and yet devastating) response from another African (who immigrated to the US).

Here's one sample:

There comes a time when all patience has been exhausted, all compassion used up, and all emotion blunted. Twenty years ago, pictures of starving African children spawned LiveAid. Today, there are no LiveAids, because we learned that most of the LiveAid supplies were deliberately withheld from starving people by various governments and warlords, as a political weapon. Waste of time, people say -- and they're right.

Famine in Africa is not a natural disaster, but a man-made one -- and that "man" is not Western European or American.

Let me finish with this: if anyone wants Africa to succeed as a viable entity, it's America. Not because we're especially humanitarian, although we are surely that.

No, we want Africa to succeed because if Africans become prosperous, we can sell them our stuff, improve their standard of living, and everyone makes a buck -- if the United States "exploits" a country, they get rich: ask Japan, or more recently, China. Believe me, if African factories could make T-shirts cheaper and better than the Chinese (and they could), Wal-Mart would be knocking on the door the next day. But when an American bank invests in a T-shirt factory in Africa, and most of the funds disappear into bribes and theft, why should they do it again? Or if the factory is built, becomes successful and profitable, and the ruling junta then nationalizes it -- why invest any more?

Now, as they say, go read the whole thing.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

An Old Lileks Screed

I was wandering around James Lileks' web site when I stumbled onto his Screeds. WOW!!!

In this one, he's written about Stephanie Salter from the SF Chronicle.

I don’t read her much, because it’s a variety of columnist I can’t abide - inches and inches of miffed melancholic vague agony over . . . things. When editors decide to add a local Ellen Goodman to their pages, this is usually who they come up with. It’s never someone who writes with the crisp verve and enthusiasm of Caroline Hax (sure, she’s an advice columnist, but she can write about anything, I suspect) or the steady, sober, relentlessly empirical Kathrine Kirtsten. No, they get these worried souls whose columns always make you feel as though you’re chewing a damp blanket.

Hmmm... can you guess who this reminded me of...?

Monday, October 06, 2003

The Media - Subtle and Insidious

I can't stand watching even human-interest stories on network television. In an ABC Nightly News piece on the Sigfried and Roy tiger attack, famous animal expert Jack Hanna was commenting on how wild tigers are well... wild. They're unpredictable. Well... that makes perfect sense. But, here's where I got in trouble with my wife for talking back to the TV (I've been getting into trouble more and more over this behavior...).

Mr. Hanna said that "They can go off at any time... just like a loaded gun." "No!!!" I said, with vigor. "A loaded gun can only go off if you pull the trigger. Having a gun in your house is nothing like having a great cat that weighs over 500 pounds." That was about where I was cut off.

I know, I know... in and of itself it's nothing. But in the context of everything the mainstream media feeds us, it's quite telling. I see the pattern of bias in almost every story on the national news.