Dear President Obama

What happened to the man I voted for? The man of courage and confidence who entered the election with overwhelming odds against him, and won. What happened to that man who was going to change the world? It looks to me like you have lost the stomach for the fight. By working with what you consider the possible you are giving up the chance to make the world better for all of us.

Thinking it was just an aberration, I didn't write to you when you selected Geithner and Summers. And I didn't know much about finance, although I am certainly learning about it.

I know a lot about healthcare, about fighting with insurance companies, about not being able to get insurance when my husband was made redundant (don't you love that word) at the age of 56. The only real answer to the healthcare mess in this country is to get rid of the insurance companies and institute a medicare-like single payer system.


Does that mean you have chickened out? Or are you now in the pockets of the insurance companies and big pharma?

David Sirota at talks about your early support for single payer:

In that speech six years ago, Obama said the only reason single-payer
proponents should tolerate delay is "because first we have to take back
the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take
back the House.

then asks some of these same questions:

So it's back to why — why Obama's insurance-industry-coddling
inconsistency? Is it a pol's payback for campaign cash? Is it an overly
cautious lawmaker's paralysis? Is it a conciliator's desire to appease
powerful interests? Or is it something else?

We need you to fight this battle just as you fought to get elected. If this is an impossible dream, your election was an even more impossible dream. Keep that in mind while you fight and win this one for us. Don't let  us down now.

AIG question

News about the bonuses to AIG executives has been annoying me all day. I don't understand about these so-called contracts they seem to have. I understand a contract as an agreement between two parties: one does something, the other one pays. Surely those contracts don't say these people get paid, lavishly, for running the company into the ground; for creating losses; for doing stupid things. Why are these people still employed, let alone getting bonuses? I'd like to see those contracts. Liddy, the government appointed CEO is worried about retaining  talented workers. They shouldn't be retained. They should be fired for malfeasance, at the very least. With talent like this you can be out of business in no time at all.

Book details

We have had quite a bit of snow (and rain) the last few days and I've taken the opportunity to mostly stay in and work on the China book. I now have 85 pages going through October 26, including pictures, emails and chats if they were not about my firewall troubles. I've started another file with information about the places I visited that I've copied straight off the internet. There are about 12 pages in that file. This book could have 250 pages. I have even more pictures from Japan. I don't want to think about that yet. I'm using Adobe InDesign to lay out the book and Photoshop to resize the photos. While I was in China I used Picasa on my toy computer, which had a Linux operating system. Now they are on my Mac and I am using iPhoto to manage them.

I have also started to think about the cover. I never found any fabrics in China and I really regret that, although I have some things I bought in 1982 when i visited the first time. I'm just not sure I want to cut them up. I bought two obis and a beautiful old kimono in Japan. I suppose it won't matter if I use some of that fabric. Or, I may have something else stashed away.

Congratulations to my friends in Chicago on your new governor. How did Blago ever get elected twice anyhow? I remember him from when I was still living in Chicago. I suppose I would have voted Socialist Labor again. I kinda remember the choices weren't great.

Back to the books

My Osher program began this week with two lectures on Wednesday, one yesterday, which I left a few minutes early to go to my Japanese art history class, (I'm still at it), and there will be another one this afternoon. All of the lectures are about various aspects of our current political and economic situation. They are given by guest experts or experts from the University of Pittsburgh. The first lecture, given by a distinguished professor, was about health care and the Obama administration. In the afternoon the lecture was given by a guest, Cindy Skrzycki, who writes on regulation and the executive branch of the government for Bloomberg, formerly for the Washington Post. Yesterday morning another distinguished professor spoke on foreign policy issues. This afternoon a guest expert will speak on military issues.

I learned a lot from the lecture about regulation, the one in which I thought I had the least interest. She explained how regulation affects all of our lives (and it does); how regulations are promulgated; how they are created or changed by lobbyists and special interest groups; how we can, and should, become aware of pending regulations and voice our concerns. For your information, read more from Cindy Skrzycki here (scroll down), find info about new regulations and how to comment here.

The other two speakers were good, but offered rather bleak views of their topics. Both reviewed the existing situation and what Obama has said and done up to now. After reviewing the healthcare situation in a very pessimistic manner, the speaker, almost in passing, said she was for a single payer system, but didn't think it would ever happen. She is one of many health care professionals I've met who seem to share this same point of view. I hope they are wrong.


Darcy and I went to Mellon Park for her walk this morning. There was lots of activity as they are getting ready for the Fair in the Park. As we left we passed three kids who were waiting to direct the artists as they arrive. One of them admired Darcy, petted her and asked, "What's his name?" My reply, "her" pause, "her name is Darcy." I thought about that as I walked away. Why was it so important I identify Darcy as a her. It certainly makes no difference to the dog, and none that I could figure out to the young man who asked. It was all my own bit of foolishness. What makes gender so important, anyway? Aren't we all created equal?

I love the photo Bob Brady posted today, but I found out it's been Photoshopped. You can see the original here.

I've been living in Robin's house since I returned from New York. It's a huge house and I could have two rooms and my own bathroom if I went up to the third floor. But I don't want to go up there–I'm having some trouble with stairs–and she doesn't want me up there–too hot, and we'd have to use extra air conditioning. So I'm in the guest bedroom on the second floor–enough stairs–and sharing the bathroom with Charna. And my computer gets a place on Steve's desk.  None of this is a problem for me. I hope it's not for them.

Food is something of a problem. Robin keeps kosher. I've had to learn how to do things in her kitchen. She's also more of a vegetarian than I am. She and Charna eat lots of veggies and lots of cottage cheese. I like the veggies. Cottage cheese is one of the few foods I avoid at all times. I spent a lot of time in Trader Joes last week trying to figure out what I could bring back here. At the time it seemed like a huge problem, but it has all worked out. I'm trying to be a contributing member of the household, thus the dog walking and some minor cleaning.

Sarah Palin and the dirty old man

My friend Raja has a wonderful analysis of McCain's pick for vice-president:

I consider him just another dumb-ole-boy with a penchant for beauty
queens. (including Cindy McCain). I know it's supposedly all about
politics, but a 72-year-old man selecting a young woman to achieve his
ambitions- one who perhaps could become the leader of our country–is
an insult to all of us. It's pure pandering–an outgoing, determined
personality with a pretty face–is now qualification for vice president?

You can listen to, and read about, all the expert in-depth political
analysis blanketing the news. Trust me. It's not that complicated.
There is no fool like an old fool.

Of course, there's another take on all of this. Read the top 10 things about Palin here. These things certainly freak me out. But I'm much more concerned about Shelby Steele's assessment of Obama's chances of winning. He asks the most frightening question: "Is America now the kind of society that can allow a black — of
whatever pedigree — to become the most powerful human being on earth,
the commander of the greatest military in history?"

The next question is: will America survive as the country I want to live in if Obama loses?

Of many things, including that Chinese visa

Fencing for the nonexistent crowds was gone, but there were twice as many people milling around inside the consulate when I arrived to pick up my visa. Despite the seeming chaos I was out in minutes, passport and visa for 60 days in hand. Whoopee! Now I can continue making plans without changing my plane tickets. Stay tuned for more details.

After this most important task we went to the Museum of Biblical Art and looked at a spectacular Durer show. I am amazed at the wonderful condition of these 500 year old prints.

My medications finally seem to be properly adjusted. I haven't had any palpitations for the last four days; the longest stretch I've had since all of this began. I'm now taking twice the amount of both meds as I began with, but it's still not much.

Monday was optician day. I went to see my contact lens doctor in the morning. She's the only doctor I still see in New York. I wasn't happy with the person I was referred to in Pittsburgh. The lenses she was prescribing would have cost more than my going out of network and returning to New York. I asked the Pittsburgh doc if I would see any better with the more expensive lenses and was told they would be the same. Returning to NY seemed a no brainer to me.

When I went to that Keratoconus meeting last month I found out about a study of possible genetic links in KC being conducted at Columbia. In the afternoon I went through an hour of testing and donated two small vials of blood to be part of the study. Since my mother also had KC I felt I might make some kind of contribution.

I loved Hillary's speech last night. Too bad she didn't have that same positive approach during the campaign. I really had no preference going into the campaign–only for the person who would unseat the Republicans. When Hillary became so nasty toward Obama I felt I couldn't vote for her. I particularly liked her saying: her mother was born before women were able to vote–her daughter was able to vote for her for president. Let's hope the next president will be a woman, but right now I still feel the most important thing is to get the Republicans out.

One of those questions

Why is it we can take to the streets to protest what the Chinese are doing in Tibet, but are able to ignore the transgressions of our own government?

We should be protesting the war in Iraq every hour of every day.
We should be protesting the use of torture.
We should be protesting government censorship of protest marches–see Winter Soldier 2008. Why is it no one in mainstream media reported on it.
We should be protesting irresponsible government spending in Iraq.
This government has done more illegal, corrupt, irresponsible things than I can begin to detail. Why arent’ we talking about it–ALL THE TIME.
One more thing: why aren’t we protesting the scandalous amount of money made by health insurance companies.

Thank you, if you’ve read this far. I just had to get it off my chest.