Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today In Iran They Remembered Neda

Today in Iran they remembered Neda, the young woman whose shooting by a rooftop sniper made her a symbol of the opposition to Iran's ruling theocracy, and a martyr to the cause.

Today, July 30th, it is 40 days, since she was gunned down in the streets of Tehran during post election demonstrations-- an important interval in terms of Iranian mourning customs. Family, friends, and reformers asked for governmental permission to mourn at the graveside. It was denied.Word went out, by word of mouth and on the internet, that mourners were to gather at Beheshteh Zahra cemetery in Tehran with Neda's family at the grave today. Thousands did just that in a breathtaking show of solidarity . In spite of attempts to stifle communication with the outside world, the internet is full of words and images from Iran today, and of demonstrations in the name of Neda

You can read the excellent, English language reports from people on the scene at the Tehran Bureau website. There is a good slide show of today's events posted online by an Iranian blogger. One of my favorite American political bloggers has done an excellent post which gives the blow by blow of today's action. Another good source of information is the New York Times blog The Lede, which has been filing reports from Iran all day long. Videos are being uploaded to YouTube by the minute it seems, The one below was filed today. Have a look. Neda may be gone, but she is far from forgotten.

photo source:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Gold Star for Susan

Susan's blog, Everyday People, is one of my favorites. She gets a gold star from me today for talking about right and left wing conspiracy theories in a post I can only say I wish I had written. It is just terrific. Go have a look for yourself.

Everyday People: Enough With the Conspiracy Theories!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stand With Iran Today for Freedom

Today, July 25th, is a day of global solidarity for the people of Iran. You can stand with Iran today at events in more than 110 cities across the globe.

Even if you can't attend an event, you can let the people of Iran know that you salute their bravery and are with them in their struggle. There is plenty you can do. Go to the website that is coordinating all of today's events, and check out all the ways you can show your support, by donating, or by blogging the struggle, following on Twitter and retweeting Iran tweets, becoming a Facebook Fan or just by spreading the word among your friends and family.

Let us not forget the people of Iran who are struggling to make their voices heard

Iran Solidarity Update

Have a look at some of the videos posted today on YouTube from events and marches all over the world. People across the globe stand in solidarity with the people of Iran.

London outside the Iranian Embassy

Hamburg Iran Election Demonstration

Chicago Rally

Brisbane, Australia


Heidelberg, Germany

Stockholm, Sweden

Paris, France


More than 2000 people watched a live stream of a green scroll being unfurled at the Tour Eiffel in Paris. You can see it too here For more information check the United4Iran website I have also become an avid reader of an excellent website, Tehran Bureau. I recommend it highly. Do check it out and follow on Twitter for up to the minute, cutting edge reports.

Today, July 25,2009 is only the beginning of the story, I am certain.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Experience With Socialized Medicine

They are wrangling in Congress right now about universal healthcare. Everybody knows that the current American system is broken, but there is a lot of disagreement about how to fix it. Personally, I think that what we need is a single payer, government run system or what a lot folks are referring to rather stridently as " socialized medicine".

They say it like they are discussing Armageddon. You would think that Joe Stalin was going to come back from the grave and throw them all into prison or something. " You won't get to choose your doctor" they say. Well, do you get to choose your doctor now? is my response. Not if you have an employer funded health insurance plan. Your employer chooses your doctor not you and if you lose your job( as millions of Americans are in the process of doing) you won't have any insurance at all. Get a grip folks. The only people doing well under the American system are the insurance companies and big pharma.

I had a personal experience with socialized medicine a few years ago in Iceland. I sprained my ankle very badly( I'd like to say I did it hiking a difficult mountain pass, but I actually fell off a curb in Akranes)In any case, it was a bad sprain. My foot was the size of a basketball and I couldn't walk.

A friend took me to the local hospital. We walked in and within ten minutes I was seeing a very nice, white coated, English speaking doctor. There were no forms to fill out, no releases to sign. He examined my foot and sent me down the hall, where a nice technician(also English speaking) took four x-rays of my foot and ankle to make sure no bones were broken. Next, the doctor bound up my foot with some very tight supportive bandage, told me no bones were broken but I should stay off the foot and take ibuprophen. We shook hands and off I went to pay the bill. I was worried because I didn't have travel insurance and was wondering about the cost. I handed over my credit card. The total charge for everything, including the four x-rays was $50.00. The x-rays and emergency room visit in my home town would have been five times that amount, and I had no insurance at the time. It made a believer out of me, I can tell you.

47 million Americand have no health insurance, and the number is growing as jobs are lost. Many more are under-insured. The leading cause of bankruptcy in the USA is medical bills. People lose their homes if they get cancer or have a heart attack. It is crazy. The United States spends more on healthcare per capita than any other developed nation but we are at the bottom of the list when it comes to infant mortality and life expectancy. Medicine is not a business. It is not about profit. It is about people.

Let's hear it for socialized medicine

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Last Word on Sarah Palin

It's been a tough couple of weeks in American politics, so while the Republicans are busy grilling Sonya Sotomayor-- grab a cup of coffee and check out this video.It'll give you a laugh. Try not to spill your coffee:-). Autotune the News is at it again and Sarah Palin's resignation speech never sounded better.

OK. Now I'm done with Sarah Palin (at least for awhile)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Please Stop Talking About Sarah Palin

Could we please stop talking about Sarah Palin now? She's resigned and I don't really care why. I wish her well. She was in over her head from the get go and I for one don't care whether she is escaping an upcoming scandal, working on her book and negotiating a talk show with Fox News, or planning to stay home and cook moose stew for Todd. It doesn't matter. Let her be an ex governor and private citizen and for God's sake stop talking about her.

True, her resignation speech took everyone by surprise and was a bit odd--she rambled on with many sports analogies and seemed to be saying that by resigning she was not quitting but doing the right thing for Alaska-- huh? OK well, whatever. Personally, I think she is having a bit of a breakdown. But really, let's stop the rumor mill right now. We'll know eventually what the real story is. Until then, leave Sarah alone.

Meanwhile, TV pundits, how about turning your attention to, oh let's see, the President's ground breaking trip to Russia, the health care bill currently in congress, or even the Michael Jackson funeral.

Sarah Palin is old news. So stop talking about her, OK?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Have a Grand and Glorious Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July my fellow Americans. Enjoy the food, family, and fireworks, but stop for a moment and think about the men and women who gave us the freedom we take for granted today-- a freedom which is rare in some parts of the world, which is always worth fighting for, and which is never free.

I'm thinking about my father and uncles who fought in WWII, my schoolmates who fought in VietNam and the sons and daughters of my friends and neighbors who are serving now in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm thinking that this July fourth, I will offer my support to the IAVA( Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) by signing up as a supporter on their website. It's the least I can do. Have a look at the new video they just released and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mark Sanford is the King of TMI

South Carolina Governor,Mark Sanford, keeps trying to explain his extra marital rumpy bumpy and to let us all know that he really isn't a bad guy even though he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar(so to speak) The more he explains the worse it gets.

Last week's press conference where he admitted he was in Argentina with his honey and not hiking the Appalachian Trail was bad enough. Explanations of the "sparking thing"that developed between him and a " dear friend" along with lots of " I've been a bad boy, don't know what got into me, and I won't do it again" yah da yah da yah da. made me cringe. I swear, all adulterous husbands read from the same script, but most of them don't hold press conferences and tell it to the world. It was definitely TMI( too much information) and I know I wasn't the only one cringing. I bet his wife, Jenny, was just a tad embarrassed at having the family laundry washed quite so publicly.

But yesterday, Mark went and made it worse. Like a knight of old, coming to the rescue of the tarnished reputation of his ladylove Sanford told reporters

"This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day"

Great. I bet his wife, Jenny, was happy to hear that. Another brilliant TMI moment in which not only Mark Sanford's marriage, but also his political future hit the skids. What is he thinking? I guess I know. He's not thinking. He's feeling, And what he is feeling is life, love, and youth passing him by. He is having a classic mid-life crisis. Poor baby. He is madly, hopelessly, idealistically, crazily in love.

It's a guy thing and I don't pretend to understand it. But I do know, that in the end he is apt to lose his wife and possibly his children and his career as well. We all know what hell hath no fury like. I suspect that the lady in Argentina is apt to rethink things too and he won't end up with her either.

So set em up Joe and play another chorus of " Don't Cry for Me Argentina." But please please please, don't let soon-to-be-ex- Governor Sanford hold another press conference. I've had enough and I hope he has too.

Freedom Will Not Die in Iran

No matter how brutal the repression, freedom will not die in Iran. The more you try to stamp it out, the more it will surface. Once the people have spoken, their voices will not be silenced.

This video was uploaded to Youtube just today. I can't read the Persian, but I definitely get the idea. Have a look and you will too.