Saturday, December 15, 2007

One Of The Big Reasons I Support John Edwards

Take a look at this video and see if John Edwards is on the right track. I think he is.

Part of what he states, is that we can not make the changes we need in this country if we do not win the battles against corporate power, big money and greed first.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dec. 15th 2007 is Bill Of Rights Day

This saturday Dec. 15th 2007 is Bill Of Rights Day.

I would expect to see the liberal/progressive blogs pushing this as a way to fund raise for our candidates and for our rights, but I see little.

I am a John Edwards supporter because I believe he is honest with his support of We The People, Our Constitution and Our Bill Of Rights.

For more information concerning Our Bill Of Rights go here:

For information on where and how you can help celebrate Bill Of Rights day go here:

In my town we are celebrating it here: (7pm to 9pm)

One last thing, some Dennis Kucinich supporters are attempting a huge one day donation drive on Dec. 15th.

See more info here:

and here:

As I mentioned, I support John Edwards but I wish the Kucinich supporters all the best with this fund raiser.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Open Letter to Sgt. Smith

Here is a passionate submission to the local publication, The Tahoma Organizer, by my friend Michelle. She, and the Organizer, have been invaluable in this community for being a voice for all of us who care what's happening in our world. Please take a moment to read:

As originally posted at The Tahoma Organizer

An Open Letter to Sgt. Smith

by michelle — 2007-12-12 14:44

I’m sorry that I couldn’t look you in the eye when I saw you in the McDonalds line today.

I’m sorry that I was going to sneak a peek at you on the sly. As I stood behind you, I knew from your height, the width of your shoulders and length of your limbs, the perfect shape of your head and, to be honest, the curve of your buttocks under your uniform, that you just had to be gorgeous. You spoke to the girl behind the counter with a surprisingly rich voice, like a smooth but smoky shot of bourbon, and the inept young woman finally looked up to provide some service, gasped audibly, and didn’t look away from you as she stuttered through your order.

I’m sorry I admired your form even more as the muscles in your back tightened with what I thought was masculine pride at her stare. I’m sorry I couldn’t wait for you to turn around to give me my little thrill of the day.

I’m sorry that half of your face is gone.

I’m sorry your cheek and jaw bones are missing, and that the grafted skin over that grossly concaved canvass looks so painful. I’m sorry your right eye is gone and that I wondered what that obscene, horrific white thing in there was, the sliver that I could see, anyway.

I’m sorry you don’t look people in the face anymore.

I’m sorry that while we waited for our orders I stood beside you for three minutes and didn’t ask what happened, even though I know what happened, so that you could talk about it, explain in a loud voice that you are lucky to be alive and not a freak of nature.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you how much pain I felt for your injury, for your new life, for the loss of yourself and the challenges you’ll have, maybe the love that you’ll miss, the conflict you must feel, have to feel, any time you are brave enough to look in a mirror.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that when I went to my car and burst into tears that I didn’t instead burst back into the restaurant and try to take you in my arms as a son or brother, husband or lover, neighbor, human-being, simple vertebrate, anything, to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, to lie to you and tell you everything is going to be alright.

I’m sorry that political parties send me straw polls asking me to help them prioritize our country’s “issues” and concerns, and that when I answer, it is blithely; that when ABC or CNN email me “breaking news” about the stock market I don’t find a way to insist they focus instead on this war and whether its vicious casualties are justified, and to not let go, hang on to that unholy bitch like a pitbull until we get answers and then act on them; that I haven’t sent even one, no, not one, letter to Congress or the President demanding an end or even just a time-out to this war until its purpose has been satisfactorily explained and understood, until we’re all grimly convinced the losses it incurs, including your face and future, really were and are unavoidably necessary.

I’m sorry that I did not start or participate in a different war, a bloodless but possible war that might have stopped the thoughtless and casual use of your flesh, that before I even put on a uniform I felt weary of the probable futility and rolled over, stomach up. It’s possible that when I rolled, my lazy flailing leg tripped the device that blasted your bones into pieces.

I’m sorry if you’ve been told or convinced you’re nobly protecting people like me, people who haven’t bothered to protect you. Because you were the vulnerable one. You enlisted to follow orders. You took orders from people who are supposed to take orders, ultimately, from the citizenry. Me. Us. And we haven’t demanded they be reasonable ones. We haven’t insisted they be held up to scrutiny every single day. Every minute. That very second you became someone no one will ever want to look at.

I’m sorry I didn’t storm the castle for you. You’d do it for me. There is hideous proof. I’m sorry I haven’t been held accountable for what’s happened to you, and to so many others like you. Because I am. I am the one who should hide my face.

I’m so, so sorry, but somehow glad, that I’ll never see you again, that you’ll never tell me you forgive me. Especially if you really do.

Yours, in shame, Michelle

Originally posted at The Tahoma Organizer

Monday, December 10, 2007

Prometa - Pierce County's Swan Song?

Things have gotten hotter than a glass pipe on a Friday night here in Pierce County, who some have referred to as the meth capitol of the nation. Yes, we have had more than our share of woes due to the hideous epidemic, and that is why it seemed a good place to launch the pilot program known as Prometa. As stated in a previous entry, the program consists of the ingestion of three drugs that have been FDA approved, but not together and not for said purposes. The first dose is administered intraveiniously, followed by supplements twice orally. The effect is said to be a reduction of cravings for methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol. This is to enable the patient to focus on counseling, which is required in the program, as well as to adhere to court orders, and to perform everyday tasks. Many graduates have claimed to have had phenomenal results and have credited Prometa with saving their lives. But the program is still in its infancy and the double-blind placebo tests, which compare subjects taking the drug cocktail with those who are only told that they are receiving such, have not yet been released.

Last April, the Pierce County Council voted to allocate $400,000 to the Pierce County Alliance to assist in Prometa aid to those unable to afford the costs. Those working with the program at the Alliance, as well as in other parts of the country who have been participating, have reported dramatic improvements in their clients. So much so, that the Alliance executive director Terree Schmidt-Whelan, in her excitement of Pometa's promise, bought stock in the Hythiam Corporation, the company that produces Prometa. So did Pierce County Executive, John Ladenburg. News of Mr. Ladenberg's purchase made it to some of the Council members, who cried foul due to Ladenberg's vote to approve public funding of the program. Ladenberg, as well as Schmidt-Whelan bought their shares after funding was approved and have since sold them at a loss.

Council members Shawn Bunney and Dick Muri commissioned the work of Performance Auditor Matt Temmel to conduct what was told to the Pierce County Alliance would be a pre-audit to determine if an actual audit into Prometa, and its effectiveness, was money well spent. Then, at the Oct.24 meeting, although not listed on the original agenda, but later amended, Bunney called upon Temmel to give his report. Other Council members and the staff of the Pierce County Alliance were informed on the previous day by e-mail that the Prometa funding would be reviewed. In what would prove to be an emotional exchange of debate between impassioned Alliance members, along with a drug court judge who inquired as to why this was being brought up before the original date of April 2008, and before the study results were concluded, and Bunney and Temmel. Claiming to be a concerned "steward of the taxpayers money", Bunney concluded that he would revoke the remaining funds of $150,000 from the Prometa program, even though Temmel admitted that, while he saw little evidence that the program worked, he had not taken into account the numbers as a whole, including patients who had financed their own treatment and those outside of Pierce County. He had instead focused on the patients receiving county funding, as Bunney had asked. The result has been that other areas of the country are facing having funding cut as well. But, on an interesting note, just up the road in Federal Way, Wa. (King County), on the advice of a former employee who is in recovery due to Prometa, City Council member Jack Dovey has authorized the use of $20,000 to begin a trial program in their city. This, even after the cuts in Pierce County.

The Prometa story had caught the attention of the fine folks from the television show, 60 Minutes, who paid Tacoma a visit. As a long-time fan of the show and having an interest in the story, being as we had been keeping an eye on it at Equal Time, I couldn't resist tuning in. Scott Pelley personally spoke to recovering addicts singing the effects of Prometa. He also spoke to the seemingly disingenuous CEO of Hythiam, Terren Peizer, who also rallied the cry for Prometa as he wiped the crocodile tears from his eyes. He did not, however, speak to Terree Scmidt-Whelan, John Ladenburg, Matt Temmel, Shawn Bunney, Dick Muri, or any other Pierce County Council or Alliance member.

Not too surprisingly to anyone who had been keeping an ear to the political ground locally, after the now infamous council meeting, and only after the
60 Minutes episode went into production, Shawn Bunney announced his candidacy to run against Council member Calvin Goings for the Pierce County Executive seat to be vacated next year by John Ladenburg. Unlike the Tacoma City Council, the Pierce County Council is a partisan race. Goings, like Ladenburg, is a Democrat. So is Pierce County Auditor, Pat McCarthy, who recently announced that she will vie for Ladenburg's position. Bunney, however, is the only Republican who has thrown his hat in the ring to fill the vacancy that will be left behind by the man whose ethics have been called into question over the Hythiam stock purchase and the frivolous spending of the taxpayers' money. Concerned representation or power grab?

Many of us here in our beloved town, ironically dubbed the "most wired city" (in recognition of our own Click! Cable TV company), will be interested in seeing what the placebo studies result in, and whether or not we will continue to tie up our jails and judicial system or continue to look for alternatives that may offer hope.

To follow the News Tribune's coverage of Prometa in Pierce County, see: