What are we DOIN’???

Today, it was announced by Western State Hospital (the state’s largest mental health institution), that-because of budget cutbacks-they are seriously considering RELEASING into our general population 100-200 patients suffering from dementia-and laying off a similar number of staff!!!!! On what planet does this extremely dangerous move gain the light of day??

The bottom line reason these patients live at Western State, is that they are prone to committing acts that are unsafe, unsanitary, and dangerous to conventional caregivers. They are not safe residents of a nursing home, relative-caregivers, or for in the homes of their families-therefore, they have been forced into the extreme step of incarceration at a mental hospital.

Seriously, to turn these people out-onto our streets, with no family or home to land in, is absolute lunacy on the very part of society that can stop this madness. As budget cuts become the “norm”…we had best think carefully about the “big picture”! With  a minimum of public discussion, we are about to absorb a very dangerous group of mental health patients into OUR neighborhoods-where our children and loved ones WILL encounter them at some time…are YOU ready?

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Gone…but NOT Forgotten

This is the weekend of my 40th High School Reunion. The class from 1971 of Woodrow Wilson in Tacoma gathers this Saturday nite in the newly remodeled Cheney Stadium. Tickets are $35-$45 dollars in the same structure where general admission to a Tacoma Cubs Triple A baseball game was a mere 50 cents in’71. Considering I am much closer to the finish line than the starting blocks, this event has given me pause to consider just a few other  memorable changes that have occurred since we flipped our collective tassels into a warm June sky.

The ’58 Chevy Belaire that I filled with gas on the way to the ceremony drank leaded petroleum priced at under 3o cents per gallon! A basic burger at Herfy’s (one of my first paying gigs!) was a quarter (30 cents with cheese!), as the accompanying shake and fries brought the dinner tab to about a buck-including a 2.9% sales tax!

That decade, our greatest source of worry was in a place called “Nam”, and some of us walking the aisle that night would (some unwillingly) be called to settle the conflict that produced no winners, but plenty of losers. A man named “Tricky Dick” insisted it was the right cause to fight for-then he resigned in shame… as the choppers lifted our final troops out of harm’s way in Saigon. Some of the greatest heroes that emerged from that conflict were the very guys I faced on baseball diamonds and hardwood gym floors growing up…heroes that are still haunted  in their minds by a conflict that has never called  a truce!

Two years before graduation, I experienced two life-changing events…I sat in a drab hospital room with my father and watched a man step onto the surface of the moon-and, I witnessed rock and roll royalty, in the form of Jimi Hendrix– live in Seattle, and found my career passion.

Today, we can’t escape the ringtones and downloads constantly beckoning, but are members of the last generation that still got out of our chairs to change channels on the television, and many of us remember the world grow up  in grainy, wavy, black and white.

For me, it’s not the rising prices and sinking integrity of society today…the most hard to endure is the loss of our collective innocence. Time was, a mass murder or catastrophic weather event would freeze us in our tracks-we would actually stop and ponder the gruesomeness-actually FEEL the grief and pain inflicted on unsuspecting victims. Today, the sheer volume of horrific news has rendered us numb-almost incapable of rustling up any feelings of care or compassion for those afflicted. It seems almost like we have borne witness to an over-flowing saturation level of disaster, that any subsequent event just doesn’t carry the impact that would bring about the requisite tears or grief. Instead, like a punch-drunk fighter too long in the ring, we stumble forward in anticipation of the next crushing head shot. Many no longer have the will or strength to protect themselves-and therefore are totally incapable or unwilling to protect others in more dire straits.

This weekend I will relive memories, and again see familiar faces gone too long…that is the stuff reunions  celebrate. Truth be told, I’ll spend the time honestly wishing for a working time machine.

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“Time to WAKE UP, DAMMIT”!

    Finally, three years later, I sat in front of my computer and hit the link below:

http://vimeo.com/13726978

I am praying you’ll grab a beverage, turn off your phone, and do the same–for yourself, your family and loved ones…for all our futures. Peace.

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“Wherefore Art Thou, Uncle Walter?”

   Wall Street taking a rollercoaster ride to hell. Millions on starvation watch in Somalia. London burning in all sectors. Fear for Social Security and Medicare dependants. A “crazy lady” leading early in the Iowa caucus vote. Almost 30 elite Navy Seals lost in a meaningless and wasteful conflict. Who is there on our televisions to tell these stories?  Empty-headed fools.

    When we need comfort, strength and reassurance…wherefore art thou, Walter Cronkite?

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“Ain’t THAT somethin’?

   Admittedly, this one is more for me than you-but, I think it’s worth sharing the changes I saw, and what I learned in just a single half-hour newscast today.

     After what feels like a lifetime, long-time ABC news personality Harry Smith showed up with a feature–in his first appearance for rival network NBC. Kinda strange seeing him “across the street”.

     Stepping away from the “labor of a lifetime”, funny man Jerry Lewis has been removed as National Chairperson of the Muscular Dystrophy . Despite raising over a BILLION charitable dollars for the cause,  the Labor Day MD Telethon will be minus one of the world’s biggest hearts and smiles. Love him or not–no one can deny nearly 45 years dedicated to a better world for “Jerry’s Kids”.

   Already feeling the “budget pinch”, There’s quiet talk of disbanding the US Navy iconic Blue Angels. For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest during the past 40 years, there has been nothing that singularly raised a  larger lump in our patriotic throats more than the magnificent sight of those “Blues” soaring thru the Seafair sun-drenched skies above Lake Washington.(Maybe a couple bombs could be axed to save these “Angels of goodwill”…?)

  Lucille Ball would have been 100 years old this week, while our President reaches the half-century mark…wonder who’s memory will always bring a smile?

    Finally this question: Why can’t someone on this planet prevent the deaths of nearly 30,00 children under age 5, from the famine in Africa? They just never stood a chance…

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“The Wounds Were Self-Inflicted…”

At some point, we’ve all seen that description of an injury. The statement most assuredly applies to the results of slaughter that was the “debt crisis” debate. So, as we citizens express our outrage and disgust with the “Government”-aren’t we collectively denying our own culpability? As we throw barbs at “the other party”, and it’s representatives in Washington, ultimately, we need to look “inward”-and accept what WE THE PEOPLE have allowed to occur! The so-called solution (by the “government”) has left deep and open wounds throughout our land–threatening to prevent any kind of healing between us.

“The Government” is us!! We are the ones, who, thru our vote (or our apathy by not voting) that must shoulder the responsibility of this “crisis”. On a fairly frequent basis, we have the opportunity to decide what path we will travel as a society. Generally, in recent years, some percentage south of 50% have actually exercised the voice each citizen owns in any given election. Trying to put the shameful actions by Congress on someone else’s plate is fundamentally irresponsible-and so very WRONG! We elected this dysfunctional group-we can UN-elect them!

The current office holders have managed to destroy our peace of mind, and replaced progress with widespread fear and panic-especially among those least capable of defending themselves. In the so-called “greatest nation” on this planet, we simply can’t accept abuse and  terrorism from those sent to lead us!

If we are ever to return sanity in our dealings as a government, we MUST take the initial steps of that journey by taking responsibility for the things we can control. Getting involved, at a local level-with neighbors and co-workers, building like-minded coalitions–because, this is where answers and change begin!

Throwing bricks from across the country, at a faceless entity has never built anything resembling a strong building. However, if we each take our brick, and join it together with other similar bricks, I truly believe we can plant a solid and firm foundation…on which TRUE CHANGE CAN STAND!

Please accept your responsibility, and ACT-for a  change…

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Here’s a thought…

Disclaimer: the author of this blog posting is neither an economist or a professional politician. What I AM,  is pissed off!

   Since the self-appointed “financial gurus” have been exposing just how vulnerable the world economy is today, I’m thinking that I’ve stumbled on a pathway out of this debt ceiling mess: how ’bout we try “COMMON SENSE?”

    First, let’s quit trying to solve this problem with something non-existent: money from lower-income citizens. Poor people have no funds and therefore, are not the answer. Now, we have half the problem solved-we know what NOT to do! Remaining in the pool of potential solutions are: 1) highly profitable companies; and, 2) wealthy citizens.

    Fact: Any corporation that makes over 370 billion dollars in ONE QUARTER, of after-tax profits, is not in need of ANY tax breaks! I’m referring to Exxon, Mobil and Shell financial records recently released. Each of these corporations continuously report similar earnings-year after year. Why do they pay taxes at a rate less than the checker at your grocery store? Gigantic drug manufacturers and Wall Street institutions are also totally skating past the IRS, and I would submit that the wealthiest of our private citizens should be paying an equitable tax rate, as well.

    I don’t even pretend to know exactly how to apply a fair tax rate to wealthy citizens and corporations–I simply know this fact: THAT is where the answer to our dilemma lies-in the hands of those that DO have the funds necessary to solve the problem.

   …it’s just a thought.

 

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