May 30 2014
A giant icon has left us. Poet, artist, playwright, actress, civil rights advocate, motivator, Doctor of Letters, teacher…. all in one person. She survived so much, inspired so many, loved life to the nth degree, and was honored by all, tall and small. Her legacy is in the words she wrote for eternity.
Presidents honored her, movie makers, when the role was relevant, found the meaningful parts for her, and she was asked to speak at so many commencements, too numerous to mention. She rose up from misfortune, never went to college, for the world was her educator and she learned her lessons well, but she did not hold onto that wealth of knowledge, she spent wisely, and the world is a better place because of her.
She will receive accolades far more eloquent than I could ever match, but I know she is up there looking down, smiling with that rasp of a voice, writing another jewel for us to savor; not by her instrument, but through the pen of others that she has guided along the path of life. Rest will Maya, rest well…….. a job well done….
The VA Scandal
Many politicians are out for blood, screaming from the belfries of the towers of Congress for the resignation of the head of the Veterans Administration, Gen. Eric Shinseki for “mismanaging” the agency. There have been damaging reports from many different hospitals for “cooking the books” wherein, routinely, those hospitals and staff, misrepresented the wait times for veterans seeking health care. Reportedly, but not yet verified, deaths of veterans occurred while they waited in vain to see a doctor.
Horrifying and criminal but is Shinseki to blame this, or for that matter, President Obama? Gen Shinseki, a four star general, injured in combat, then an administrator in the Army, took on the monumental task of trying to streamline an agency overburdened with the medical needs of service men and women returning from Iraq (two wars) and Afghanistan, while dealing with the residual hardships of those who served in Viet Nam, with the realization that there was a dire need for trauma doctors and nurses, while the REPUBLICANS continuously attempted to cut the budget of the department. Doctors at VA hospitals earn approximately a third of what a typical doctor would make outside of the VA. You should understand that special training for the unique circumstances faced by these doctors is paramount, but funding and bureaucracy stand in the way of progress. The more patients seek help, the more difficult it became to maintain efficiency in wait times, so some administrator(s), yet unnamed, decided to lie about the problem, and keep the practice secret. The practice was so pervasive that it was systematically instituted across the board and no one, not even the inspector generals could find fault.
Remember, no matter the reason, those responsible for this tragedy, must pay…job, jail time, etc. we will find out, but finger pointing at Shinseki is wrong, he was not there ten or fifteen years ago and the fudging was going on then. The inspectors never caught on; perhaps they should be asked why.
The Congress should wait until the facts are in (I hope it won’t be another “Issa” idiot “investigation”). This should be apolitical and even handed, but you know your republicans… they’ll find a way muddle it up and try to beg for money and blame Obama. Let’s wait and see.
Pakistan Murderers, Her Own Family
Sometimes people do stupid and criminal acts and blame it on some ridiculous religious or honor code, and it makes righteous people look bad. In Pakistan, the family of a woman stoned and killed her for marrying a man not of their choosing. And the more horrible story is, the man she married, purportedly killed his first wife so he could marry the murdered woman! Now, I need someone from that area of the world to explain what was the benefit of murder? Honor, you say…if so, you’re plain stupid and ignorant.
And those who accept that principle are likewise fools and criminals. You dishonor the people of your country when you do such a dastardly deed!
It makes the Western world wonder about your values. Yes we do have horrible murders too; and some for “religious reasons” but stoning someone to death and claim it’s “honor. Stupidity. The Koran or any other religious text does not condone such behavior. All it does is show that there is no value of life where you live. You guys have been warring and killing for centuries. Come into the 21st century. Someone has to say “stop!!” Just like Al Qaeda, people who do this horrible thing, are terrorists. And you want to be safe from them!
If the president of Pakistan has any decency, he will denounce this foolish practice, make it a capital crime for all who participated and imprison them awaiting trial and convict them for life. (I do not believe in the state taking a life, for that too, is a crime, and perpetuates murder.)
A secondary note, the Middle East Asia and Africa, again, needs to come into the 21st century, and recognize that civil rights and personal protections are for everyone. When women and minorities are included in every phase of a society, that society is richer, stronger and more vibrant. Maybe you wouldn’t be considered “Third World” if you would let all those smart and industrious women get an world class education and contribute to potential of the wealth of your nation.
We, here in the good ole U.S. of A. have not fully learned that either. From the pseudo-Nazis, skinheads to the racist koch brothers to ted cru(de)z, and ran(ci)d paul, they need to stop thinking they can make America a better place by placing their money or 18th century philosophy and pigmentation above all else. We are stronger as a nation when we let all contribute, too.
I’m out…Enough said!!!