So, I lied…

I’m not a supporter of the public option in this national health care debate. In fact, I think it’s quite stupid.

I had simply hoped, as I said, that it would be a good first step. For some reason though, I fear that if it is passed, if it appears in this country, it will be the last step.

What do I support?

Well, you know that 30% or so that I lose from my paycheck every two weeks? I support taking a part of that, perhaps that part that is currently financing bombs and artillery, and creating a true nationalized, dare I say, socialized health care system.

What I want is for any person in the country (yes, even if they don’t “want” health coverage, weren’t born here, or a host other absurd exceptions) to be able to walk into a hospital, any hospital, and get care.

No, I don’t mind paying for someone who is unemployed to have coverage. I don’t mind paying for a college kid who chooses not to work. I don’t mind paying for a retired person who is living off of social security.

I pay for a lot of things that I do mind, so why not pay for something that I actually support.

And for people who feel that it’s not their responsibility to provide for the health coverage of other people, I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that you don’t care at all for the 17-year-old kid who lies in intensive care, but whose parents can’t afford health insurance. But, no, no, that’s not who you’re talking about. I know. You’re talking about the people who don’t work and don’t try.

Well, guess what?  It’s not your place to judge, and they’re people, too. And if you think health care is any type of responsibility or privilege, then you and I simply do not agree.

It is the most basic of human rights. Not American rights. Human rights. And, I’m sorry if you can’t bear to part with your $100 shoes or that you feel that it’s your hard-earned money. Well, I work hard, too. And at the end of the day, I would rest a lot easier knowing I was working toward the common good.

So, I’m tired of the debate. I’m tired of talking about this. Public option or not in this bill, it doesn’t matter. It’s still wrong. All it says is that we need to keep working and working and working.

And while I may be tired of listening to inane banter about why people feel this is not their responsibility, I’m not tired of saying that it is. So, it’ll reappear in this blog from time to time, and my senators and congressmen/women will hear about it. Probably forever. They have for the past 14 years. Why would I stop now? I won’t. Not until it’s right.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
-Robert F. Kennedy

Fresh Cantaloupe & Other Loves

Mmm. I’m going to start with sleep. A whole 8 hours of it. Somewhere around 11 p.m. on Friday night, I was at the shaky-must-sleep-now-or-collapse point. So, what did I do? Went home to work. But this morning, I woke up after 6 hours of sleep and told myself “no” and put a pillow over my head.

Now, I feel a little over-rested, but that’s never a bad thing in the long run.

And my second love of the day: freshly sliced cantaloupe. That was my noon breakfast. After 2.5 cups of coffee. (Ah, I have cut sugar out again. Of the granulated sort. Fruit is my substitute.)

Workaholism. Missed it. Seriously. I know that sounds masochistic, but I enjoyed the last week because it was a challenge.CIMG5829

Angel Dance. The Los Lobos (of course). It reminds me of the best part about teaching.  And they’ll laugh up and down the hall, Don’t you go shout when you hear them fall, Let them fly across the wall, Let them cry – ’til the morning calls, Little two step angel dance…

Workaholism II. Nine hours of work on a Saturday. Morning meeting and photo editing.

IMG00364Casey Blake. For real. Just one of those guys that goes out there every single day and does what he’s supposed to do. He’s ridiculously overshadowed by Manny and the Dodger youth  movement. I’ll take a .282 AVG and a .358 OBP any day.

Scoresheets. Love them. Missed them. Thought they started to distract my enjoyment of the game, but really they only add to it.

Running & Yoga. Never did I think I would list running or yoga on a list of loves, but here they are. I love running because it’s taken me 5 months to get to a point where it’s easy. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. And I love the Bikram yoga that I learned (minus the heated room in my home) because it’s made my back stronger than it’s every been.

Naps. Another line about sleep. But the afternoon nap has reappeared. Instantly. Without even thinking about it, I quickly regressed to work-gym-sleep-work-eat-sleep-repeat.

Baseball in August. It’s giving Baseball in July a run for it’s money.

Three and a HALF!?!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the Dodgers. I didn’t want to create some dramatic rant about how every time I’m at Dodger Stadium since the All-Star Break, I’m nervously jiggling my foot, holding my breath when anyone gets up in the bullpen or otherwise going into some sort of rant against some situation that I have deemed ridiculous as that particular moment.

My spring mantra of “who am I” to question Joe Torre was replaced with a 15-minute discussion with Tanaya about how Torre needs a Twitter account so we can helpfully point out all of the things he’s missing during the game.

My desire to not to engage in any scoreboard watching has been replaced with a midafternoon check of the Giants and Rockies score and a nightly reading of the box scores.

My steadfast belief that we “should just see if we can win with this team” has resulted in my quite literally banging my head on my desk when the Dodgers let John Smoltz end up with the Cardinals.

I’ve watched the offense struggle. I’ve watched Manny’s lackluster defense in front of millions of adoring fans. I’ve watched pitcher after pitcher not make it through the 5th inning.

Right after the Break, we sat in the stadium in some sort of nailbiter, and I clearly remember saying, “This is not good. It’s only July.”

We both looked at each other and pretty much realized that we’re going to be nervous wrecks through the end of the season. Forget the playoffs, my blood pressure is going to rise and fall with the numbers in the W-L column for the next six weeks.

And I love it.

I absolutely love it.

Yes, it would have been nice to cruise into September with a 15-game lead, all but obliterating the hope of Giants fans for the NL West title. Yes, it would have been nice to sit here knowing that Kershaw had finally worked through the issues I witnessed firsthand in the spring and that he was consistently overpowering hitters for 8 and 9 innings. Yes, it would have been nice to be able to name all five guys in the rotation with confidence.

But baseball happens. It happens this way as a sort of slow torture that is designed to keep me coming back. After all, when have I ever liked anything easy?

And my nerves? And rants? And screaming?

Love. All love.

And I take that love, along with a clenched jaw and a tapping foot, with me for the next few weeks.

Until I can progress to nervous pacing in October.

Catching Up

After my super helpful-ness of a few weeks ago, I returned to my brother and sister-in-law’s home on Saturday to help them try to complete sodding their yard. I had a complete blast even though I was sore for two days afterward. I didn’t realize how much I was twisting getting the sod into place with my sister, but it was quite a workout.

If I were to be totally honest, I would have to admit that I truly love playing in dirt, and it’s a good thing because it was everywhere. At some point, we just took off our shoes and were on our knees in the dirt, moving it, smoothing it, putting everything into place.  So, I have this theory about dirt. Not to get all philosophical about dirt—well, yes I am. You have to think about it. If dirt contains all these vital elements that, presumably we come from, it’s a good way to get in tune with the universe (and God) in a lot of ways. It’s a pretty simple way to do it, and probably why I want a garden.

At any rate….that was Saturday….

Fertilizer galore!

Fertilizer galore!

Sod galore!

Sod galore!

About 1/3 of the way done. It was mostly the girls working.

About 1/3 of the way done. It was mostly the girls working.

The best part. Grass!

The best part. Grass!

So after nine hours of work on that Saturday, I woke up early the next day so Tanaya and I could head down to Long Beach for our second bridal show. (Clearly, I don’t plan things well and was about to keel over standing up all day.) But it turned out well and were able to get our information out to several hundred people.

Us in the middle of our display.

Us in the middle of our display.

And for the last part, I started a new job. After about 3 months of job searching, I think a job may have found me. I’m excited for two very big reasons. The first is that as much as I loved my last teaching job, I really wanted to teach English. So, now I’m teaching English. Not only teaching English, but American Literature, which is my absolute favorite in the California Content Standards for high school English.  In addition, I will also have 2 sections of World Religions and Social Justice, which as I said in my interview I’m uniquely qualified to teach not because I’ve studied it, but because I’ve attempted to live it.

I used to say that working in the inner-city is comparable to an abusive relationship. It hurts like heck, but you can’t help but returning. So, as I embark on my third journey into such an environment, I am nothing but excited. I had a bit of conflict of, I suppose you could call it, conscience during the summer. And things didn’t work out as they shouldn’t have. I am very glad that I have stayed true to my desire to make a difference in the very small way that I can and have come to peace with this next chapter in my life in a way that I couldn’t have imagined would be possible.

Oh, the other thing, is that I’m teaching all-girls. It should be interesting, and I’m sure somewhat amusing. I know lots of people are already laughing at me, but the girls I have already met during the teacher prep week are absolutely delightful. I’m thrilled to be spending the next year of their lives with them.

Senate Finance Committee

This is not about my personal beliefs on “death panels.” This is about the fact that the Senate Finance Committee has yielded to lies spread by Sarah Palin. We cannot even begin to have a true discussion about health care until every issue is out on the table. When President Obama was elected to office, it signified a change in American politics. A change that showed that for once people were reading about the issues. They were understanding. They were engaging in lively debate based on fact.

Now, we’ve reverted to scare tactics and lies. And the worst part of all is that the lies are coming from someone who doesn’t even hold political office. The Senate Finance Committee made a major mistake. Not because they decided to remove end-of-life counseling from the national discussion.

No. They made a huge mistake because, yet again, they have succumbed to dirty politics, lies, and have shut down healthy debate in the name of unhealthy compromise. If, at the end of the day, end-of-life counseling was not covered under the public option, that would be fine. But to remove it simply because someone started screaming about Nazi Germany and death squads is a disgrace to the political process. If you say the American people don’t understand, then educate them. And re-educate them. And tell them again. Then, and only then, should any element of this debate be removed.

So, here are the members of the Senate Finance Committee. Contact them. Tell them what you support and don’t support. But most of all, tell them that democracy thrives on debate, not fear, and their actions were cowardly and grossly disappointing.

Matt Baucus, D-MT
511 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2651(Office)
(202) 224-9412 (Fax)

Jay Rockefeller, D-WV
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
(202) 224-6472
(202) 224-7665 Main Fax

Kent Conrad, D-ND
530 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3403
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776

Jeff Bingaman, D-NM
703 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5521

John F. Kerry, D-MA
218 Russell Bldg.
Second Floor
Washington D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2742 – Phone
(202) 224-8525 – Fax

Blanche Lincoln, D-AK
355 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510-0404
Phone: (202)224-4843
Fax: (202)228-1371

Ron Wyden, D-OR
223 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3703
Phone: (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 228-2717

Charles Schumer, D-NY
313 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6542
Fax: (202) 228-3027

Debbie Stabenow, D-MI
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4822

Maria Cantwell, D-WA
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-228-0514 – FAX

Bill Nelson, D-FL
United States Senate
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Fax: 202-228-2183

Robert Menendez, D-NJ
528 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202.228.2197 fax

Thomas Carper, D-DE
United States Senate
513 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190

Chuck Grassley, R-IA
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1501
(202) 224-3744 (O)
(202) 224-6020 (F)

Orrin Hatch, R-UT
104 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-5251
Fax: (202) 224-6331

Olympia Snowe, R-ME
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5344
Toll Free: (800) 432-1599
Fax: (202) 224-1946

John Kyl, R-AZ
730 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4521
Fax: (202) 224-2207

Jim Bunning, R-KY
316 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202.224.4343
Fax: 202.228.1373

Mike Crapo, R-ID
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Pat Roberts, R-KS
109 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1605
Phone: (202) 224-4774
Fax: (202) 224-3514

John Ensign, R-NV
119 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6244
Fax: (202) 228-2193
TTY: (202) 228-3364

Mike Enzi, R-WY
379A Senate Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-3424
Fax: (202) 228-0359
Toll free: (888) 250-1879

John Cornyn, R-TX
517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-2934
Fax: 202-228-2856

On Health Care

A single-payer plan would be a plan like Medicare for all, or the kind of plan that they have in Canada, where basically government is the only person — is the only entity that pays for all health care.  Everybody has a government-paid-for plan, even though in, depending on which country, the doctors are still private or the hospitals might still be private.  In some countries, the doctors work for the government and the hospitals are owned by the government.  But the point is, is that government pays for everything, like Medicare for all.  That is a single-payer plan.

via Obama’s healthcare townhall transcript — remarks, audience questions | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times.

The first letter I ever wrote about health care was in 1996. It was addressed to Senator Diane Feinstein. I was 13, and working on a letter writing campaign with my father to help prevent the closure of LAC-USC Medical Center. I was able to convince my teacher to get my entire class to write letters.

When I taught high school in South L.A., the closure of the King-Drew Medical Center was imminent. I taught that, too. My math students looked at budgets. My journalism students read news articles. And I wrote more letters.

I have not dedicated my life to public health like my father has, but watching him for my entire life, I have seen and understood the importance of it. Living with sick family members, I have felt the pain of inflated drug prices and ridiculous add-on elements such as oxygen tanks and ambulance rides.  I have struggled finding insurance during two periods of unemployment.

I fully support a single-payer system. Not because I am a socialist, but because it is the right thing to do. Health care should not be another capitalized opportunity to further stratify an already-segregated society.

When I hear someone like Sarah Palin say “death squad” and all of her cronies supporting her absurd claims, I am literally sickened. Not because it’s an absurd attempt to slander a plan that doesn’t even fully cover the needs of all Americans. I am sickened because her description of someone deciding whether or not her Down’s Syndrome child is a productive member of society, is exactly, exactly what the current system does every single day.

A stratified system is a death squad by its nature.

It decides who gets quality care and who gets less-than quality or no care.

It decides who gets to see a doctor and who does not.

It decides who benefits from technological advances in medicine and who does not.

It decides who gets preventive care and who does not.

It decides who gets to live and die.

And for those who get to live, it gets to decide the quality of life received.

So, that death panel that gets to sit around and decide who lives and who dies? Take a look at our current system. Looks like a death panel to me.

And for the record, panels are common. Diseases require specialization. And specialization often requires multiple levels of care. And multiple levels of care require discussions. So, before you start spewing your Republican, capitalistic venom all over the country, take a look at all successful hospitals.

I have said before that I think the core of our problem lies in the drug companies, and I still believe that. They run health care in this country. The only way to get past that is with true, full government regulation.

Socialization. Fair. Humane. Whatever you want to call it. That’s what we need. We need a not-for-profit system which has one goal and one goal alone: to keep people healthy and provide for an equitable quality of life for all Americans.

I commend President Obama for trying to push through the public option. I really do.

The problem is that’s not what I voted for. Someone rightly referred to Obama’s support of the single-payer system in the past. A system that he wrote extensively about. I voted for that.

At the same time, I fully support progress. I think a public option is an excellent step in the right direction.

An excellent first step.

I just don’t think we should rest until a universal plan is the final step and all people are cared for exactly the same way.

You should not be able to use money to make your physical quality of living better simply because capitalism says you can.

We need to stop. It’s enough that education and jobs and opportunities are determined by wealth. More than enough. And conservatives should rest in that knowledge.

But, I say no. You cannot, must not continue to make health care something that can be bought.

Your life is no more precious than mine.


I have fallen into an abyss of online games.

Once upon a time it was Bejeweled and Collapse that would keep me engaged for hours. They were like my modern Tetris.

In fact, now that I bring up Tetris that’s probably where this all started. Tetris and Zelda. The first time I was unemployed in my adult life was early 2004. I was living with my parents, and I remember clearly my mom leaving for work in the morning, and I would be playing in the living room. Tetris. She would come home, finding me pretty much in the same position, my brain fried and still playing Tetris.

When I was teaching, it was Collapse. During my off periods, of course. I would play for an hour at a time. I remember my supervisor walking in one day, and asking what the heck I was doing. I showed him, and he laughed and shook his head. “I guess we all need an escape,” is what he said.

Then, when I had an office job, I discovered the “Dash” series. Diner Dash was my favorite. I was mesmerized. The problem with that was that I played it at home, too.

It’s funny because I remember having summers off when I was a teacher. I would watch TV all day. Now, my television is hardly ever on. I watch an hour of SportsCenter at the gym, and an hour of “The Nanny” at midnight every night. In between, there’s music and a lot of silence.

I had two Playfish game accounts that I touched once a day, updating what I felt like and pretty much letting pets and plants and crops die.

Now, that I sit here, writing cover letters for hours at a time and compiling writing (or writing new writing) for portfolios, Playfish has become somewhat of an obsession.

I now have four different games to keep up with: a restaurant game, Pet Society, Planet something or other, and some farming game called Country –something. I don’t know their names. I just realized how insane they are when I spent 2 hours the other night redecorating my pet’s home in Pet Society.

Clearly, clearly, I need to focus……but as someone once said……we all need an escape.

I Blame Manny

For three innings, Kershaw confounded Brewers hitters and breezed through the order without giving up a hit. But his control faltered in the fourth, and the Brewers took advantage.

I blame Manny.

I don’t blame him for popping out to right field in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. I don’t. It was a stupid moment in its own right, especially in contrast to the way Juan Pierre played his at-bat in the ninth inning. Heck, the way Blake, Kemp, Loney, Hudson, Furcal and Ethier played their at-bats in the ninth inning. All played team baseball. All got the small hit, the sacrifice, the HBP that allowed the Dodgers to score three times in the bottom of the ninth. Manny got up there and starts swinging for the fences. It would have all been well and dandy had he smashed it out of the park, and then I would have felt a little less confident in this post but this was already formulated in the fourth inning.

I blame Manny.

Not for the aforementioned ninth-inning at-bat. I blame him for lackluster defense in left field.

I sat in left field last night for the game and witnessed it firsthand. He lacks hustle. He lacks attention. It was apparent in the fourth inning in a way that still irks me. Clayton Kershaw had pitched a decent three innings to that point, walking 2 batters but allowing no hits.

A ball was hit into the left field area. Let’s just say that Rafael Furcal made it closer to catching that ball that Manny did.

Enter: implosion.

As my brother said at the time, “Manny killed Kershaw’s spirit.” He can be a little melodramatic when it comes to no-hitters, but I think he was dead-on.

He may not have killed Kershaw’s spirit, but I am more than certain that not only would Juan Pierre have gotten a better read on that ball, he would have hustled to try to make the play.

I think it says a lot when the team behind you is…umm…actually behind you.

This is not about steroids. I’m leaving my opinion out of this discussion. I would wholeheartedly cheer for someone who came back from any situation and worked hard, but this is a little ridiculous. I guess Bill Plaschke was right.

When you’re playing next to a guy like Kemp who routinely puts his body on the line to make plays and behind Orlando Hudson who makes the extraordinary look ordinary in a year when he’s coming back from a wrist injury, you really need to step it up.

Step it up. Or sit down. I know people get excited when Manny comes to the plate. And his theatrics are well-documented and applauded, but on a team with a core nucleus under the age of 27, the example needs to be a whole lot better from a “team leader.”

Salad #2

I scrolled down the list of the New York Times 101 simple salads, past the vegan and vegetarian section I was in yesterday to something with protein. I CIMG5726figured after forcing myself to the gym (yes, forcing) and not having eaten all day, some protein was in order.

This was another very simple salad. I realized that my favorite thing about these recipes is that they aren’t really recipes, per se. They’re just a list of ingredients. So, you’re kind of left to your own devices to make it what you want it to be (sounds exactly like me!).

This one is tuna, apples, red onions, seedless grapes, olive oil, black pepper and cumin.

I used gala apples and green grapes for my version. I like cumin a lot and was pleasantly surprised with the way it tastes on grapes! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a tuna salad without mayonnaise so it was nice to learn that not only is it possible but you can still get a very good tasting salad out of it!

Salad, The First

The New York Times recently published a list of 101 simple salads for the summer. I flagged it when I first saw it, and have been waiting to try out some of them. Part of me would like to say that I’m going to try to make all 101, but I know that will only breed slightly obsessive behavior about completing them all.

CIMG5705My butcher asked me what I was making for dinner, as he always does. I told him about the list, and said I was going to work my way through parts of it and just needed various ingredients. He asked if I had heard about the new movie, Julie & Julia. I have and actually want to see it. He started laughing and said that I sounded like the movie. I guess I kind of did. He made my day!

So, this is the first one. It sounds like an odd combination of ingredients but it has a light and fresh taste. It mixes sour with sweet perfectly and I actually liked it a whole lot.

Tomato and peach wedges. Red onion slivers. Dressed with olive oil, lime juice and red pepper.