America My America


So I have dry eye. When you hold your eyes open without blinking, your tears are supposed to take about 10-15 seconds to evaporate. Mine take 2.

The eye doctor says she’d like to see 7 seconds for me to be able to safely wear contacts without risking infections, etc, although she hasn’t told me to stop wearing contacts (which I wear as-needed for exercise, glassblowing, going out, not full-time). With a previous course of medicine, I got up to about 6-7 seconds two summers ago, but have since fallen back.

So I’m going back on Googleproofed Medication, which is eye drops twice a day for at least six months, which is supposed to convince your eyes to make more tears. It’s expensive—$130/month. In addition, it comes in 60 little vials for a month, each of which holds about 8 drops of medicine, but you are only supposed to use 1 drop in each eye and then throw the rest away, because “there’s no preservative”. (My eye doctor explicitly said I could use a vial twice.)

So now they have this rewards program—$25 off each prescription, your 7th prescription free, a gift card after the 4th prescription.

Now, I have a good job, with good insurance. But we just changed insurance providers, or that is, we shifted from a big company to a management company that will run a self-insurance program. And I was all pissed, because the previous company just allowed the medication, but the new company made me try some over-the-counter remedy first for two weeks, and then go back to the doctor for a check-up, to prove the expensive medication was needed.

But the old company assessed a $50 co-pay, and the new company only demands a $15 co-pay. Which the rewards program covered for me. Maybe I should believe “there’s no preservative” and use a vial only once.

The financial infrastructure of health insurance in this country is all screwed up.

TalkingPointsMemo says Tennessee tea partiers are trying to fuck with our history:

“No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Sure, no problem.

Washington helped make this country prosperous by supporting slavery, a key element in the wealth of the new nation.

Jefferson made his own personal contribution to “the melting pot”.

Jackson opened the frontier by removing Native Americans from the land.

More (saddening) detail from the Memphis newspaper:

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds, whose website identifies him as a Vietnam War veteran of the Air Force and FedEx retiree who became a lawyer in 1995.

Among those that were killed are…

– U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63.

– Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Giffords’ director of community outreach.

– Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ.

– Christina Greene, 9, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary.

– Dorthy Murray, 76.

– Phyllis Scheck, 79.

Thirteen others shot.

Tears for Arizona.

James W. Loewen at History News Network:

In 1971 I testified in Yazoo City about how the county formed its juries. Among its registered voters, Yazoo County was almost exactly 50% white, 50% black. White officials supposedly drew juries from the list of registered voters, supposedly randomly. Nevertheless, juries, consisting of twelve members and two alternates, kept coming out twelve white, two black. Moreover, the African Americans would often be the same two individuals! As a sociologist, it was not hard to do the statistics and show that this could hardly have happened by chance. Indeed, such a string of juries would have occurred randomly less than one time in four billion attempts! Haley Barbour was 24. He had just managed the U.S. Census for the state of Mississippi, so he had to know the racial composition of his home town. He had enrolled in Ole Miss law school and had connections with his family’s law firm in Yazoo City, so he had to know the racial composition of Yazoo’s juries. Yet about the state of civil rights in his home town, as he told Andrew Ferguson, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad.”

Pretty damning, I think.

Small upside: hopefully people who haven’t thought about the history of this country have learned a little bit more than they knew before.

More at HNN; Ta-Nehisi Coates doing good work as always.

and haven’t posted since, I will repeat this paragraph from Tom Levenson at Balloon Juice (via Edge of the American West) which I just now read, and which brought tears to my eyes.

There was one incident that captured the essence of war on the western front, the distillation of its arbitrary violence. At two minutes to eleven in the vicinity of Mons a Canadian private named George Price was hit by a sniper’s bullet. He died instantly. The man who killed him remains unknown. That man made a choice. He was a marksman, a skilled soldier. He had just moments remaining in which it was legal for him to kill. There was no need to fire, no purpose, and some risk at least to himself and any comrades near him. If he waited until eleven, and then put his gun down, the only consequence would be that a young stranger would go home. Instead, the shot rang out. Two minutes ticked past. The war ended. George Price lay dead.

I really like these AdoptUsKids.org ads. They show a teen arguing with or being embarrassed by a parent (usually a mother, I think), and then end, capturing so much in a single line, “There are thousands of kids in foster care who would love the chance to put up with you.”

At first I was thinking it’s too bad they can only afford to run the ads at 1am, but maybe that’s actually a good demographic.

* * *

I’m perturbed that the religious channel is showing a “documentary” on the martyrdom of the Waldensians, who were imprisoned and then forced out of Italian Piedmont in 1686 by the vicious Roman Catholics because they refused to give up Protestantism. I did not know these things were out there. It seems to me to be stoking old hatreds that should be let die.

And then I wondered why I don’t think that about documentaries on slavery.

“I” is often unnecessary. I mean, who else would be speaking (in such a self-centered medium)? Gaining a new appreciation for Spanish. (This one has made it’s way into my email.)

Conjunctions such as “and” “because” “since”, etc, can often be replaced with a period and left unsaid, merely implied. Likely NOT a good idea for email.

Actually using my pretty decent vocabulary. Picking the precise word becomes very important; active verbs are usually the shorter way to go.

Incidentally, blogging is totally jacking up my concept of title case. Not capitalizing “about” and “from” just doesn’t look right.

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