Cancer, the great equalizer and savior.

It was extremely sad to hear that Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards are battling metastatic cancer. These battles are tough, painful, mentally exhausting and the percentage of survivors is quite low. Out of the ashes of such devastating news came increased interest/coverage of the fight for a cure for cancer and the importance of living each day to the fullest (the best survival tactic we know).

When prominent journalist Peter Jennings went public with his diagnosis of lung cancer and subsequent death, millions of people made a huge effort to stop smoking and were successful in quitting. Even though Mr. Jennings ultimately died of lung cancer, he helped millions extend their lives. I suspect that Mrs. Edwards and Mr. Snow will give millions hope,comfort and increased survivial as they have been quite public about their fight with this disease.

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Is Eubanks the Deep Throat, or Bush's John Dean?

Sadly, President George W Bush will likely escape the White House with his hide despite the gathering dark clouds on the horizon. It appears that those on the political left within the media and the blogosphere seem so intent on "getting Karl Rove" that they are missing the clear and present point before every one's nose.

The United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other intelligence gathering organs including but not exclusive to the National Security Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency very likely have become instruments of political power wielded illegally by the Bush White House to reward corporations and to gain political points due to failing poll numbers and the likelihood that he would have to face a Democratic Congress.

This imbroglio running faster on its legs by the day is taking on a far greater importance than even the Iraq war for so called equal justice under the law is one of those bromides for which Americans were supposed to be defending against al Qaeda in Iraq. If the Attorney General's office was willing to interfere in a tobacco case what would possibly stop them from seeking to politicize indictments or even move to stop investigations that might lead back to the White House with links to Jack Abramoff?

Cavalor Epthith
The Dis brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
52 Colnu 1 AS
22 March 2007 Anno Domini


Beats the heck out of first Death I imagine. F.S.

Cross posted at the Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork

I recall a particularly funny skit on Saturday night Live where Steve Martin played a medieval doctor named Theodoric of York. That was the late 1970s and such skits about bloodletting and maggots and poultices were hilarious in the age of the new powerful diagnostics and machines like the Magnetic Resonance Imager were fresh and carried a mighty gee whiz factor. Now as pointed out by our good friend Yule Heibel (frisky tail flick for pointing this out to us, dear lady) at her Post Studio, leeches and maggots are making a very heralded comeback in the world of medicine in the 21st Century.

Leeches have been used in many cultures on Terra to treat wounds promoting healing.

Now I know most of you humans (and admittedly some of us demons) bear a visual aversion to the squirming always moving writhing little buggers that are fly larvae. The very thought of their brigades of shuffling locomotors is enough to send some folk into a swoon. Others like Dermatologist Eliot Mostow credited in this USA Today article from July 2004 with saving a diabetic patent's foot smile with delight at the little worms and their leech cousins as well.

So at some time in the future your insurance may be presented with a bill not for thousands in high tech antibiotics that do not work but for a few hundreds for the low tech treatments of maggot bags that could save your life. Having your flesh crawl is a small price to pay for extended health in the first life.

Qu'ul cuda praedex nihil!

Cavalor Epthith
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
52 Colnu 1 AS


Credit Cards and Personal Accountability

The Agonist, via Crooks and Liars on the credit card companies' heads being questioned by Congress.

In light of the attention paid to this matter, two companies are now changing some of their excessive fees. (via Baltimore Sun)

I don't doubt for a second that abusive practices will continue. I got caught in a trap myself last year. I switched over to a new card and transferred a balance with terms that included no interest for one year. Then while on vacation, I was one day late in paying the bill. Not only did my interest bounce up to 12% interest, I also incurred the ridiculous late fee of $39, which took me over my limit, thus incurring another $39 fee. To make matters worse, I was paying the bill online and was one day out from the due date, but the way this company has their online service set up, they automatically put your posting date out plus two days, so you always have to be at least three days out from your due date not to incur the late fee.

Today, the issue was covered on - you guessed it - my favorite reality television show, Washington Journal. Many of the callers were unforgiving, you get what you deserve, how could you not know that you were sinking deeper into debt, personal responsibility banner wavers.

Here's a little list of questions for ya before you get too far in your support for hanging the individual and allowing corporations to run unregulated...
  • Did you pay oodles of money to become a public servant that does good works in a job that pays at the low end of the wage scale for the amount of ongoing education required?
  • Have you ever been instructed by a doctor to take your sick kid to a hospital for tests, only to be asked to whip out a credit card and pay your portion of the fees because having the doctor's referral just rendered it "not an emergency" for your HMO? Oh, and the hospital tells you that you must pay your co-pay immediately and then they send you follow up bills that the HMO won't pay because they considered it not an emergency?

  • Have you tried to rent a car or book a flight or a hotel room without a credit card?
  • Have you paid all your bills off just to have something big go wrong with your car or your fridge so that you had to start charging again?
It's pretty easy to be judgemental about credit card usage - chez Tits, we've run the gamut of having to use them to live on when one or both of us were out of work, to over relying on them when The Spawn were young and daycare was sucking us dry, to being careful paying them all off, to paying them off then having to use them for emergencies.

But the point of yesterday's hearings goes back to fairness. Yes, I'll pay my charges, but that doesn't make it right for the credit card companies to prey on people who are struggling by whacking them with ever-growing fees and abusive policies. It's been the lack of regulation that has led to a financial mess for so many Americans and less regulation isn't going to help them. Of course they should pay what they charged, plus a reasonable interest rate. That's what credit is, but the current unregulated and abusive practices that are being perpetrated on those card holders by the card companies is a much bigger crime than any sum of individuals who might skip out on their bills.


Scooter and the Trial

The first part of the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby is over. The jury has returned a verdict and we await the sentencing. After that, we await the appeals which have likely been filed. As I followed the progress of this trial with the various journalists and White House staffers testifying, I kept thinking about Scooter and why a middle-aged professional would choose to refer to himself by a nickname.

As a professional, I use my christian name and surname at all times. If for some reason, I found that I hated either of those names, I would have changed them to something that I loved but not once in my professional life, have I used my nickname. I just have a difficult time figuring out why these the folks in this White House love the "nicknames and pet names.

Do we remember that President Bush referring to the then head of FEMA as "Brownie" and telling him that he was doing a great job right after Katrina when we all saw thousands of people huddled in the Super Dome? And then there is "Scooter" who took one for the boss, "Dick".



Could naivete have that much to do with it?

My wife is an endless source of inspiration for me.

Just this morning she had read an article, "Defending marriage" I wrote many Terran months ago about divorce and how the Religious Right should allow marriage for all but should insist on the "binding for life" nature of the joining of two people.

So I put it to my friends here, what would happen to marriage if by law you were bound to your spouse for life and there was no divorce?

Cavalor Epthith
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
34 Colnu 1 AS
4 March 2007 Anno Domini