Saturday, July 31, 2010


On July 14th, Dick Cheney's heart failed. The doctors say it was congestive heart failure. He would have died if surgeons hadn't installed a Left Ventricle Assist Device, known as a LVAD.

It's an internal pump the size of a D battery.
It's has been installed in his chest.

An external device is strapped to his body.

Each night, throughout the night, the external device must be plugged into a wall outlet. This will re-charge the device, enabling it to support the pump. The pump keeps blood flowing in and out of the heart.

During the day, the battery which lasts six to eight hours, will need to be replaced by one of the extra battery packs Cheney will be carrying, in purse of briefcase.

Cheney, age 69, no longer has a pulse; The LVAD is keeping him alive

Cardiologists refer to the LVAD as a "bridge to heart transplant." It sounds frightening. It is a major setback for Cheney. Without a transplant the device will possibly give him two more years of life. Whether he is a candidate for a transplant will be determined later.

This Time Magazine cover -- the vision of Cheney whispering in Bush's ear haunts me.
In my mind, Cheney is a villain, the conniving, powerful instigator/supporter of election fraud, war with Iraq, unconstitutional spying on Americans, water-boarding, the mishandling of aid to Katrina victims, our country's inappropriate employment of Haliburton, the imprisonment of possible terrorists with no trial or legal counsel ... and other things.

The surgery took place last week at Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in northern Virginia where Cheney is now recuperating. In a statement released by his office, Cheney said: "The operation went very well and I am now recuperating -- the surgery will allow me to resume an active life."

Is this surgery the beginning of the final days of Dick Cheney? Am I quietly rah-rah-ing, glad he's sick, hoping the end comes soon?

No. The man's a fighter -- he's alive, adjusting, and making plans -- I admire him for that. Wait a minute -- isn't he the enemy? Why not rejoice that he's at the end of his life -- that it's uncomfortable, depressing to have to change your batteries during the day and plug yourself into a wall at night? Is this punishment for the bad things he 's done?

Actually, I think this guy's ability to survive is ... well, it's a marvel, and an inspiration that's giving hope to the five million other people in the country who are dealing with congestive heart failure. And Cheney, husband and father, has stood by his family -- with his wife, he's full-out unequivocally supported Mary, his gay daughter and daughter Liz.

Rachel Maddow, a trustworthy strong voice that I listen to almost every night, told us about the operation, and then said, "Dick Cheney is, of course, among the most significant and polarizing figures in modern American politics and policy. And as always, we sincerely wish him good health tonight.

She's generous, affirmative, and right.

I want Obama's White House to achieve what Obama is trying to achieve. I want the no-sayers to say yes, and help. I voted for Obama -- in voting for him I voted for a better, richer, fuller life for us Americans. I voted for LIFE.

If Cheney manages to keep going, get a transplant, and have more years, it's something to celebrate.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Even if I had an invitation from you personally, Hillary, I wouldn't want to be one of your guests at Chelsea's wedding tomorrow. It's too many famous people, too much media attention on who will be there, what are they wearing, and how you and Bill look and react to each other.

I find myself wondering, as if tomorrow were a big day on my own calendar, how's "MOTB" Hillary doing? (I read that's what you, Mother of the bride, call yourself.)

I can't help picturing that other MOTB -- Palin's reaction when her daughter and her daughter's lover, (Father of their baby), told grandma Sarah that they were going to get married. Oh boy, you betcha Sarah was not pleased, not ready, willing, and able to put her arms around the couple and say, "That's wonderful!"

Palin's knowing forefinger, her convictions about what's right and wrong, her moral judgments -- yes indeed -- she's what she's been touting -- the "Mama Grizzly bear" protecting her cub -- not a thoughtful, in-tune-with-the-times Mom, supporting what these young people feel.

What about you, Hillary -- are you having an inner time-marching-on feeling, a there she goes sense of your daughter as she's off into another phase of life, another world, a place that you can't really share with her?

That's how I felt when our son got married

It's a relief -- the wedding day. The decision's been made. There's a new member of your family, and new thoughts about newlyweds making love, giving and taking, rapport, the intertwining of ideas -- how the two young people will be braiding themselves into a couple. Those sort of thoughts flutter and flow while you adjust to your new status.

As a parent-in-law you find yourself keeping out of the couple's private business, but taking it in, sharing it with the man you married. Even without talking about it, you know what he's feeling.

(Whenever you and Bill are together, we're touched, remembering the Lewinsky scandal, and the graceful, loving. abiding unity of the two of you.)

When you were running for president, we saw you growing, discovering how to just very simply
be yourself. That was a revelation for me -- liking you, rooting for you, shifting to Obama gradually, and somehow, liking and admiring you, more and more.

You've given me and a lot of women a new sense of the importance of intuition, truthfulness, inner strength -- as you reacted to the ups and downs, the winning and losing in the polls.

Oh sure, we'll study every slight expression that cameras allow us to have of President Clinton and reporters write about what he says and does. We'll see Chelsea in her prime, in her dress, and the serious-faced groom, Marc. (I hope he'll smile or grin -- the poor guy isn't accustomed to being observed as you three Clintons are.)

And you? The MOTB? I am sure you'll be a loving Mother taking in the day, the event, the moment when the bride and groom kiss -- radiating the right feeling of love and joy and the "ahh" that weddings make us feel. You'll be there, showing and teaching us to just simply -- be what we are.

I hope Sarah Palin, with her twitters, her busy selling-herself schedule, has time to watch some of what will be on the television news of the MOTB -- former First Lady, Senator, losing/winning candidate for President, our Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I typed l-i-b-r-a-r-i-e-s on my "Do List" two weeks ago. I crossed it out. The news that libraries in New York City are going to be closed on Sundays, didn't seem very significant. They're already closed on Sundays in Brooklyn, and in quite a few other cities as well.

Isn't the fact that more than a few hospital emergency rooms have been shut down more significant? And there are probably going to fewer policemen, firemen, and street cleaners -- garbage/recycling pick-ups have already reduced.

So why am I fussing about libraries?

Because going to the library -- heading for the quiet, wonderful walls of books, the grey, green, blue, brown bindings in neat rows, is for me, a cherished routine.

Actually I haven't been to a library for a long time. Researching online is faster, easier, more up-to-date. My dictionaries, my collection of World Books, my Britannica, Americana, and Lexicon encyclopedias are getting dusty.

Okay -- the library was a sacred place for me in Winnetka -- a soothing, special, private place for me in Harrisburg -- the only place at Antioch College where I felt at home. I wasn't a student, I worked at the library -- my job was repairing books, also putting returned books back where they belonged, according to the Dewey Decimal numbers, or the author's last name.

Re-arranging books was a tedious chore, but I loved being a book mender -- removing a broken book back -- covering it, pasting on a strip I cut from a paper-bag -- sometimes replacing an entire cover with a double-layer of colored paper, folding in the sides and corners like a nurse making a bed. Then checking the entire book -- scotch-taping all the tears on its pages.

Yes, some of my dusty books could use mending, but I don't have the supplies, and I've forgotten most of the techniques I mastered when I was paid 85 cents an hour as a book mender.

I can't forget the day I told my sister -- "I've read all the A's --fiction by authors whose name begins with A -- I'm starting on the B's." I was a book devourer in school. And later, in the car, as a dancer/artistic director, chief-cook and bottle-washer of a dance company, I was a voracious reader of paperbacks, when I wasn't behind the wheel.

I love books. I love libraries. I love the New York Main Library on 5th Avenue and 42nd, with its stone lions. The builders named them Leo Astor and Lady Lenox. Mayor LaGuardia dubbed them Patience and Fortitude.

I love the guys who donated the money to build that library, to build all the libraries in New York, and other places. I love the world that has developed people who love books, love to read, and love libraries.

I'm not sure if that same world will exist two years from now. I'm not even sure that books will exist with Kindles, iPads, or other new technology that puts book stories and research pages on a palm-sized screen (your phone's face), and is making newspapers, bulletins, newsletters, anything written on paper unnecessary, obsolete. And last night, a reporter announced, "Publishers say they will no longer be publishing hard-covers."

All that's happened is that New York City libraries will be closed on Sundays. But so many things I used to count on are no longer something I can count on. Is it because of the recession? I don't think so.

There's a creeping unnessary-ness that's sort of like a tide coming in and washing away too many things that I love.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


"Button, Button, Who's Got the Button." It's a child game.

Some adult puts a button in the hands of a kid, and he/she is IT.

Everyone's in a circle with their hands pressed together. IT goes around the circle, pressing each kid's hands and surreptitiously passes the button.

Oh boy! Big fun! Nobody knows who's got the button!

Each kid takes a turn, chanting "Button, button --who's got the button?" till the kid with the button is discovered, and becomes IT.


Who's in the circle? Romney, Jindal, Gingrich, Sarah, and others you'll recognize -- Jeb Bush, Lou Dobbs, Huckabee, Ron Paul etc.

Media folks are asking --"Is Sarah Palin going to run for president?"

C'mon, guys, obviously she is! She's got a huge pile, shiny, ready buttons, all sizes, all colors, oval, square and round. And this ...

Oh my God, this speech -- it's so good, the pauses, the music, the cheering, adoring, motherly women, Palin's tone, timing, bearing -- she's brilliant -- her seemingly oh-so-truthful way of warning them about the "terrible fundamental transformation of America that's going on that we're going to turn around "-- the way Sarah revs them up -- oh yes, ma'am, yes -- you wonderful pink elephants, go-go and stampede!


Sarah P for president? It's a nightmare! Please God, don't let us get trampled by the pink elephants!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I think I know a lot about creativity. I am sometimes the most creative person I know.

"Creativity in America" is the cover story, a five-page article in a recent Newsweek. I found the article hard to read, jam-packed with overloaded sentences that developed a construct about how important it is to nurture creativity -- a construct that, in my opinion, is NOT constructive.

Back in 1958, E. Paul Torrence, a highly-credited professor, tested a group of 400 kids. In order to evaluate a child's creativity, he created a test that included handing a kid a toy, and asking what would you do to make it more fun to play with? Other tests included half-finished drawings that the kid was asked to finish. The test results were evaluated by trained psychologists.

The professor's colleagues have been tracking these children. Their surveys show that kids who tested high fifty years ago, ended up three times more successful than the kids who tested low.

Torrence and his colleagues define creativity as -- "Production of something original and useful. To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas), and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result)."

Tracking what these children accomplished -- inventions they patented, businesses they opened, research they did, grants they received, the books, plays, art, software, hardware, advertisements, music, architecture, public policies they created -- show that children who tested high in creativity became somebodies -- entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, software developers.

The Torrence creativity tests, called the CQ, or creative quotient, show that a child's creative quotient is a more significant predictor of what the child may accomplish in his life, than the child's IQ. Today, the tests are considered "the gold standard" in creativity assessment.

I think the CQ is a life ruiner, part of what I call the number disease -- polls that tell what percent (of those surveyed) disapprove of what Obama said/did yesterday; percentage numbers that tell us and sell us how long we will live, how much we may earn, how much we should weigh, eat, sleep, exercise -- advise us on sex, marriage, divorce, family, what to earn, what to buy, what to expect at what age -- tell, sell us about all of our needs and feelings.

Do you remember the "The Age of Anxiety?" It was an Auden poem, a Leonard Bernstein Symphony, a Jerome Robbins Ballet. Well, I think we are living, right now, in the age of Tell/Sell."

Put on earmuffs, or wear ear plugs! Creativity is making something. Do it, try it, if at first ... try, try again. Or don't. You make your life. You make a day. It is your hour. You make your mood. It can be changed, turned, re directed, rebuilt, undone. stopped, re-started. The numbers -- polls, IQ or CQ -- the knowledge of your statistics stops you. Your probabilities stop you.

Here's the Em Q: Why some people succeed, why some people fail, who wins, who loses is like sweet or sour, spicy or creamy -- what do you enjoy tasting? Do you enjoy scary, risky ventures, or choose safety, security?

Turn off the numbers, polls, percentages, and react. Perceive what you are thinking and feeling. If you aren't sure, mull it over. Or dive -- jump! It's YOUR splash, YOUR air, YOUR floor, YOUR window, your life. You can always re-invent yourself.

I've re-invented myself at least twice. Anyone can do it at any age!

P.S. My intelligence at age 9 was average. I am now sometimes brilliant, sometimes an average, ordinary, impatient person, a rather sloppy-thinking, but intuitive know-it-all.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Lisa Murkowski, the Republican Senator from Alaska, might vote YES on the Environment & Energy bill, if Obama permits drilling for oil in Alaska's deep water.

DEEP-WATER DRILLING? NO way! How can he permit it?

This is awful!
Is this going to be like Healthcare, like getting benefits extended for the unemployed -- filibustering, debates, attacks on parliamentary procedure that stop Congress from functioning?

Obama needs to get the bill passed -- it sets up stronger restrictions on emissions, and gets money for researching new sources of energy and jobs. Obama told the country jobs, jobs, JOBS -- that's his priority.

Murkowski is adamantly opposed to anything that restricts emissions more than they already are restricted. Loud, and clear, she's said it! She's tooth and nails determined to get deep-water drilling going again in Alaska.

What can Obama do? He imposed a ban on deep-water drilling in May, a moratorium that expires November 30th. For the time being, oil companies cannot get permits to drill in deep water below 500 feet.

I can't forget what the Healthcare bill was supposed to be, and how it had to be compromised in order to get it passed. FILE IT AWAY, EM -- Obama did what he had to do!

There's a mood right now, in the media, in the polls, that's making me wonder if the price we are paying for voting for, electing, and celebrating Obama in the White House is costing us more than we can afford ... FILE IT AWAY EM!

The oil spill in the gulf -- what it killed, murdered and destroyed is still not fully evaluated and the moratorium is what Obama did to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

Should the White House negotiate temporary restrictions and find a way to restore Alaska's drilling rights? If a compromise can't be made, does it mean no energy bill? WE NEED IT -- the new sources of energy, the jobs!

The anti-administration guys are saying NO to everything. Whatever they seem to be winning, they are also losing! But they don't care -- they're thinking about the next election, and the next, and the presidential election in 2012!

Writing this helps me make sense of what to think, what to hope for ... It's SIT TIGHT! DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS! Obama is a lawyer, a negotiator with the best advisers, facts at his fingertips. He's doing his job.

He got us the Economic Stimulus package, Credit Card reform, Student Loan reform, the Hate Crimes act -- other stuff, major things -- President Barack Obama will figure out what to do.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

BAD STUFF (video)

Emily wants to discuss the unacceptable untruths, the brain-washing commercials, the stuff that's being promoted on television. John has his own list of grievances --the sudden boost of volume --the length of the ads, and their frequency.

And the promises -- you'll live longer -- you'll feel better -- you'll have a better sex life -- you won't be depressed -- always followed by the litany list of symptoms, and the suggestion that if the pills make you sick, immediately call your doctor.