There was an error in this gadget

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weather Matters: Whether We Weather The Weather Underground or Above?

I posted yesterday about weather, and the torrents of rain in southwestern Mexico.  Fortunately the casualty rate due to the mudslides was less than feared, but the region has been devastated and as many as 300 homes buried.

Tropical Storm Nicole is barreling up the east coast, and should entertain us on Long Island Sound tomorrow with a bit of wind and rain.  Storms are beautiful, casualties and damage not so.  Meteorology does matter indeed, in that it can save lives.  However a larger point is at hand.

Two man-made disasters threaten ours and many other species.  Nukes and global warming.  Nukes are unfortunately only in the hands of policy makers(not a reliable place for them, to say the least-how 'bout eliminating them--the Obama administration has set that as official U.S. policy for the first time since the civilian targets Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed by the U.S. in 1945).

Global warming was indeed put on the map by Al Gore.  He may not have invented the internet, as he once claimed, but he did have an election stolen from him by one vote(5-4 party line US Supreme Court vote) and he did win the Nobel prize for advancing the facts of climate change.  To the point that even conservatives no longer try denying it's reality.

Generally speaking, those in the scientific community go unrepresented staff-wise in the news media, especially the broadcast media.  They are usually represented by meteorologists who wind up doing all kinds of other science duties, since hard science does not result in the desired demographic numbers NBC, Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner's successors desire.

Prominent meteorologists, both local and national, tend to know their science and tend to advance certain causes when given the opportunity.  One such cause is the reduction of carbon emissions asap, because they know the damage already done and the damage being done and the damage that will be done.  As a group, these people have done much to advance many good causes.  Including investment in tsunami warning devices since the last devastating one a few years ago.  Also in tornado warning devices and systems in areas prone to twisters.  Advocating for scientific research funds.  Improving relief capabilities during disasters, especially post-Katrina.  And persistently reminding us of the imminence of the climate change threat.

Not organized in any sense, this loose confederation of on-air and off-camera weather experts are doing much to save the world, quietly, subtly and every day.  So to this small army of motivated experts, I say thank you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weather Matters: Whether Weather Matters?

It flat out does.  Meteorology is the only segment of local and national news broadcasting[if what transmits electronically through cables nowadays may be called broadcasting] that can either routinely save lives or cause lives to be lost.

Tragically today, as of this posting, as many as 1,000 people may be buried under tons of mud in southeastern Mexico due to landslides caused by as much as 30 inches of rain that has fallen from the remnants of the tropical cyclone Matthew which assaulted central America late last week.  The Weather Channel, despite NBC's many blunders since acquiring the Atlanta based network, continues to do awesome work in the area of saving lives routinely.  And today's reporting by them and their reporting of Matthew since it hit Central America, and of the tropics in general this season is emblematic of the staff's commitment to helping people who find themselves in the cross hairs of all types of weather phenomenon.

Unabashed Left has become somewhat of a recreational meteorologist this year, and has been blessed with many opportunities to meet some wonderful people dedicated to saving lives through weather reporting and forecasting.  Thanks to a now very dear friend, we ordered and acquired a wall-sized hurricane map and began charting tropical systems.  At the NOAA[the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is the umbrella federal agency which includes both the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center] website blank charts are available free for the printing.

Sally, my wife, just bought me an updated weather station for our 3rd anniversary earlier this month[hi honey, I love you].  In Wallingford, CT it is currently(3:48pm Tuesday September 28, 2010 according to the atomic clock based in Colorado) 74.1 degrees Fahrenheit; relative humidity is kind of stifling at 95%; the dew point is 73.4 Fahrenheit; wind chill equivalent is 74.1; heat index also 74.1; winds are light and variable out of the Northwest at present @ 2mph; the barometric pressure is on a slow downward trend at 1005 millibars right at this moment, skies are overcast and should continue be the next few hours, with the rainfall for the previous 24 hours at slightly less than one half inch.

On-air weather reporting done accurately and well, without what we've come to call the "one eye on the radar and one eye on the ratings" syndrome, can actually prevent lives being lost, injury and property damage.  Most obviously, for example, is the risk involved in hyping storms routinely, resulting in a 'crying wolf' scenario in which people in those areas prone to tropical cyclones are inured to weather events and choose to ignore evacuation orders or even protect property[board windows, batten down hatches on boats, secure lawn furniture, etc.].

Over the years our observation has been that The Weather Channel and its newly updated weather.com has been responsible in its reporting in general.  That's not to say that some individuals haven't been prone to exaggerate and enhance their own careers by doing so, even on TWC, but in general, the net effect of TWC I believe is to have saved many injuries, deaths and at least $millions in property damage. 

Since joining NBC's "family" of networks, the media conglomerate has botched some things at TWC, especially personnel-related matters.  They've dispensed with some on-air people who are highly responsible and competent at the expense of cosmetics such as youth, appearance, celebrity and demographic appeal.

In the long run, NBC will learn that these moves will not improve TWC ratings at all.  At weather.com, we've been privileged to participate in two online chats.  One involved the recent anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the other about Hurricane Earl as he posed a threat to the U.S. east coast.  These events included on-air personalities such as Jim Cantore, Jeff Morrow, Mike Seidel, Dr. Rick Knabb, Stu Ostro and Brian Norcross as well as out of camera range experts. 

As an aside, I was privileged to participate in an online chat at the White House recently with NOAA administrator Dr. Lubchenko through the whitehouse.gov website.  That chat surrounded the safety of seafood following the BP oil spill, and is a clearly indicative of the transparency of this White House and of the Obama administration in general(I was also privileged to participate in a chat 2 weeks ago at the White House involving a member of the Council of Economic Advisers following a major economic speech by the President).

These online events were informative, accessible and fun, to say the least.  Young people with interests in meteorology are stimulated by these types of events, and there is much more available at weather.com.  Kudos go out to all involved on-air and off for performing a very valuable and unheralded public service.

Of the news networks, CNN deserves a rare pat on the back these days for it's commitment to meteorology.  It is the only network with a stable of full-time meteorologists who do much more than meteorology.  In particular, Chad Myers did an awesome job on an ongoing basis explaining the technology involved in capping the oil spill sponsored by BP, and Rob Marciano + producer John Murgatroyd[husband of TWC reporter and graduate meteorology student Julie Martin-Murgatroyd] did a great service with a prime-time special recently on the people employed cleaning up after BP.  Also, Jacqui Jeras performs admirably as do several other meteorologists for CNN.

I've found that on social media, meteorologists from the two networks are accessible, real and encouraging.  One day, for example, early this hurricane season, I was wanting to chart then tropical storm Alex, and Samantha Mohr of TWC was on-air.  I facebooked her requesting that the coordinates be posted, and 15 minutes later and for the rest of the weekend there were the coordinates.  Thanks Sam!  On another occasion we observed reporting one morning on TWC of a potentially world-record breaking 8 inch hailstone submitted by photo through an I-reporter's lens.  We facebooked Jacqui Jeras at CNN about the story, she thanked us and put the story on CNN then and there and it became an almost viral report for the next 48 hours.  Thanks Jacqui!

The interactions between the on-air meteorological/scientific communities there in Atlanta is actually quite heartening.  I especially want to thank former TWC veterans Dr. Steve Lyons and Bill Keneely for their years of valuable service and their accessibility and enjoyable chats.  Dr. Steve is now performing valuable work for the NWS on the Texas Gulf coast, and enjoying mountain biking, fishing and other outdoor pursuits, his fans might be interested in knowing.

A special shout-out to a very special young aspiring on-air meteorologist who goes by the name Marina Carpenter.  She is a uniquely knowledgeable high school freshman, who has designed a facebook fan page called The Weather Explorers.  We recommend that everyone go there now!  ABSOLUTELY!  It is full of accurate weather information, safety tips, updates, essays and input from fans. 

Her mission is the most beautiful part of the whole thing.  Her mission statement is posted at TWE and can be pretty much summarized as having the sole purpose of "keeping YOU safe."  This Weather Explorer, Marina Carpenter, is an inspiration to me in so many ways I can't begin to recount them all.  Technologically savvy, she intends to begin live broadcasts via Skype soon, has begun a setup on Twitter and here on blogspot.com with her new blog page.  All in addition to her school studies.  If you visit The Weather Explorers on facebook you won't want to leave.  She is my technological advisor for Unabashed Left in all its manifestations, on blogspot, facebook, twitter, gmail, hotmail and more.  Thanks Marina!

By the way anyone may email us now at either unabashedleft@hotmail.com or at unabashedleft@gmail.com anytime.  Our Twitter page is under construction.  And of course we are always here at unabashedleft.blogspot.com for your political, sociological and comedic convenience. :)

Weather forecasting is an art ever inching towards science, and I encourage young people to consider it as a career--especially the engineering aspects.  Doppler radar, satellite imagery, oceanic buoys detecting wave motion and so much more has done much in the last 20 years to save lives, and much more remains to be done.  I am inspired by the great men, women and kids I've met in this journey who are almost all inspired well to do service to people and I wish the same could be said to the same extent of those on the other side of the news desk and those holding office.

Some simple advice.  If severe weather of any sort threatens you locally, tune in to local TV, radio or online.  Heed any and all official warnings, watches and especially orders.  Highly recommended websites include: hurricane.com, noaa.com, The Weather Explorers on facebook, theweatherexplorers.blogspot.com and, of course, unabashedleft.blogspot.com for all your political and military needs. :)

A quick prayer, if you would.  Lord, please bring Your peace to those affected by the rains in Mexico today, and if it be your will, that casualties be minimal.  And that for those who may have perished that You welcome them into your blessed arms and give them the eternity of joy for which we all yearn. And for the survivors, please grant them comfort and faith in the conviction that You are the Creator, the Prince of Peace and that Your peace, which certainly surpasses my understanding, be granted unto them.  Amen.

Media Matters: An Afghan/Pakistan Rachel Maddow Quickie

Rachel got a great "get" as usual tonight in her  interview with U.S. Ambassador to the Afghan/Pakistan Situation Richard Holbrooke.   She did an awesome job threading the needle in her talk with Ambassador Holbrooke about our current drone strike campaign(missile attacks are happening at a rate never before--more than 20 this month alone) in Pakistan.

Holbrooke speaks diplomatese by necessity, and Rachel navigated it extremely well, respectfully, but got answers.  I don't think anyone on TV could have done it but she.  Holbrooke justified these remotely-manned military incursions into the sovereign Pakistani nation adeptly, but with echos of Kissinger's justifications for the private wars in Laos and Cambodia.  She expressed her disapproval well, and closed the interview with the obvious intent on Holbrooke's part to return soon for another interview.

The idiocy that is the current Republican leadership in Congress guarantees that the Obama administration cannot even hope for adult consultations with Congress on its foreign policy, let alone any sort of approval for what used to be a bipartisan matter--U.S. foreign policy, especially the Commander-in-Chief's prerogatives regarding matters military.   So one can understand Holbrooke's  frustration, and justifications for going it more or less alone when it comes to these drone strikes.

General Petraeus, yesterday's NY Times reported, has finally acknowledged that high level negotiations are ongoing daily between Kabul and the Taliban(minus the half dozen or so fools at the top, including woman-stoner "Mullah" Omar) with U.S. approval.  Ambassador Holbrooke has all but confirmed these talks for weeks in on-the-record and off-the-record comments in the media.  Just as he has all but confirmed the drone strikes themselves.

This is a clear indication that the inside war within the administration[which had to be fought] between the civilian foreign policy leadership and the uniformed brass[especially McChrystal, Petraeus, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullens] is over, and that the civilians have won!  Secretary of Defense Gates will soon offer his resignation--mark our words.  Also good news!

But the best news of all is that Unabashed Left, as of today,  is optimistic that a negotiated and workable peace treaty in Afghanistan will happen well before the on-again off-again August troop drawdown deadline.  Congratulations are due to, in order for good reason:  VP Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, and Ambassador Holbrooke.  And to Rachel Maddow and the best little research, editing staff on television.
Peace...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Media Matters: Facing Up To Facebook

Loads of scumbag stuff happens. It's true, it's true.  Predation, identity theft, email scams, spam and more.  Social media is denounced regularly in the other media.  Indeed all sorts of media beat up on all sorts of other media routinely.  Segments of the same media beat up on other segments of the same media as well.  Just look at Fox and MSNBC.  Or the New York Times, the Daily News and the New York Post.  OK, forget the Post.  Keith Olberman and Bill O'Reilly.  Rachel Maddow and every Republican with an outside chance of losing(Hi Rachel!).

But social media is here to stay.  Oh yeah, that's what I was going to blog about--social media.  I forgot.  Got distracted.  What a concept.  Killing retarded people will do that to me every time.  :(

Anyhowww....   As I was saying.  Social media is here to stay.  Gotta take the bad with the good.  Cost/benefit analysis.  Gotta weigh the good with the bad.  Cars good.  Cars bad.  They'll get you there faster than Nikes or Adidas, that's for sure.  But 10s of 1000s die every year because of cars.  Cost-benefit.  Not even a close call.  Cars are here to stay.  I could walk, but everyone will get there first and be home and the place will be closed before I even get there.

Facebook.  MSNBC.  To Trap A Predator marathons, every weekend when 911 big-style news isn't happening.  Social media is a boon for sex offending scumbags.  No more Aqualung at the city park eyeing little girls in public on benches.  No risk necessary, compared to the old days.  Sucks, doesn't it.

Identity theft is now the dollar for dollar largest crime in the good ol' U.S. of A.  My spam now exceeds the total number of canned hams sold in the western hemisphere this decade.  Facebook.  I receive links to get rich quick schemes daily from a loved one who sends them to other loved ones and infects their computers without ever knowing she emailed anything, and her own computer crashed, but not long enough to stop her from unknowingly emailing more get rich quick scams.  Facebook.

The ownership of Facebook is in court.  No one really knows who even owns the enterprise.  Security breaches--news reports of "friends" viewing chats by "friends" which are unfriendly to the aforementioned "friends" without the original "friend" having any clue others were looking.  OMG.  Chatting with "friends" and having your friend drop out of Facebook sight at crucial moments dozens of times.  The old Facebook chat cliffhanger chat phenomenon.  Will he/she return or not.

Twitter is just unnavigable and really only for snobs anyway.  A computer genius nerd told me the other day that My Space was about to be absorbed by Facebook anyhow, so why bother.  I figure it must be the high-tech equivalent of Walmart gobbling up fun places like Caldor's, Sears and K-Mart.

So what good stuff is there to say about social media?  After all this is supposed to be a feel-good piece after a few days of nonsense bad news.  OK, I'll give it a try.

Good stuff and good people are happening every day on Facebook and other media.  I met an aspiring young meteorologist whose main mission in life is to "keep YOU safe."  Please check out The Weather Explorers on Facebook.  Definitely worth the while.  The technology has enabled her to help me and me to help her with our own personal electronic goals, and to become fast friends beyond Facebook.  She is near and dear to me now, and my wife and I take delight in her every success.

I've met a mother of 4 youngsters, including one with horrible challenges, the owner also of a litter of puppies, umpteen other dogs, cats, guinea pigs and much more.  One of her puppies nearly died this week.  She's real and trusts me to vent in the middle of the day about stuff that matters, not these Republican/Democrat beltway Olympic games we play every day.  She is half my age and my role model, to say the least.

I've met people raising funds and been able to help raise funds for great causes including la-spca.org which still needs the help.

I've had great debates about religion, politics, and crime + punishment and oodles of other stuff with ordinary people who think and feel.  I've met famous people who take the time to chat with a plain old guy from a blue collar neighborhood who they've never heard of before and can expect nothing from in exchange but appreciation for their time.  I've seen just tons of expressions of love of all kinds by all sorts of people, including people I never would have imagined capable of making such expressions.  I would have otherwise just blindly and ignorantly passed them by.

I've seen beautiful photography with diverse subject matter.  I've seen mammatus clouds, tornadoes, hurricanes, puppies, angels and many more photographs that will never be submitted to the Pulitzer Prize committee but which would demolish them in any fair competition.  I've seen much beautiful poetry and philosophy.

What I've seen is the good side of humanity, just like at the Tobin Chiropractic Center, as mentioned in an earlier post.  Maybe I'm looking for different things today.  I don't know.  But on balance, my Facebook experience has reaffirmed my faith that in His infinite wisdom, God has a plan that involves our species.  And that part of the plan is for me to discover in my sixth decade that most of us are, in fact, just good folks.  Not bad.  God don't make no junk, of that I am certain and Facebook is confirming this view.  Tea Partiers notwithstanding(LMAO).

I've learned some icons.  Here goes.   O:)  <(")  :-D  and that old standby :).     I am certainly no O:) or a <("), I enjoy :-D ing now more than ever, and I do <3 you, believe it or not, Tea Partier or not.  LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOL   TY    TTYL   PEACE

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sociological Stuff: Teresa Lewis Killed At Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, VA

Teresa Lewis, 41, died by injection at 9:13 p.m. Thursday, Virginia correctional authorities said.  She was the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly a century.  Supporters and relatives of the victims watched her execution.
Lewis apppeared tearful, her jaw clenched, as she was escorted into the death chamber.  She glanced tensely around at the 14 assembled corrections officials before being bound to a gurney with heavy leather straps.
Then, as the drugs flowed into her body her feet bobbed, but she otherwise remained motionless.  A guard tapped her on her shoulder reassuringly as she slipped into death.
Ms. Lewis had an Intelligence Quotient of 70 as tested by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  May she rest in peace.
Facts reported by the New York Times at 10:07 p.m. EDT September 23, 2010.

Sociological Stuff: PLEASE DON'T KILL TERESA LEWIS!!!!!!!!!

Teresa Lewis is going to die at 9pm tonight in a Virginia death chamber unless someone stops the state from committing the murder.

Teresa is a handicapped Woman with an IQ of 70 according to the Commonwealth of Virginia itself, making it illegal according to a 2002 Supreme Court ruling outlawing the execution of persons with retardation--which sets a clear guideline of 70 or under.  She has expressed remourse for her actions, is believing in God, and desires to not be executed.

Having worked with and loved literally hundreds upon hundreds of adults with retardation, please know that anyone with an IQ anywhere near the ballpark of 70 is a severely handicapped individual in our's or any society.

All involved, including The Supreme Court Justices who voted to kill her Tuesday, Governor Bob McDonnell who has so far signed off on the homicide, and those who participate in arranging for the lethal injection are guilty of premeditated murder if the mental torture they've been subjecting her to ends in her death tonight.  The motive is clear--it is revenge for her indirect participation in the 2002 fatal shooting of 2 men by Rodney Fuller and Matthew Shallenberger(she did not participate in the shooting of them).

Christians and Jews[and Muslims] abhor execution because of the Commandment provided in writing to Moses by God himself that is unequivocal and with no qualifications or legalese or fine print or asterisks or footnotes whatever.  It reads, in the King James version:

"Thou Shalt Not Kill."

That's the commandment in it's entirety.  I see no qualifications or loopholes whatsoever.  That's the good thing about the Good Book--no fine print or caveats to confuse the believer.  It's an absolute.  Thou shalt not kill-- not too hard to understand.  If she is executed, Teresa will be killed.  Thou shalt not kill my Christian, Jewish and other believing friends!

Jesus reiterated his own preference for unconditional love, forgiveness of sin and abhorrence of killing throughout his living ministry.

Evolutionists and creationists alike can only abhor the caveman mentality of revenge killing, hoping for a higher plane of morality, ethics, love and humanity. 

Both pro and anti choice people argue for the sanctity of life, in this case[and in the case of capital punishment itself] it's clear.

Nobody alive can possibly state with certainty what death for humans means.  Many believers suspect an eternity in a burning Hell where flesh is agonized with pain forever.  Others have notions of nothingness.  Some have the idea of earning a place in Heaven which fulfills all conceivable aspirations, with a catastrophic alternative such as eternal damnation for those who don't earn their ticket to Heaven.  Some postulate a lengthy "purgatory" -- a sort of waiting-room of worry and panic pending permanent placement.  Another grouping speculates that we return again and again, as either humans to give it another try or as another creature.  Still others simply don't even hazard a guess.  The fact is no one knows.  

No reasonable person can argue that killing someone by any means is not "Cruel and Unusual" by any standards of human decency unless they have a corner on the market of knowing exactly what death is and nobody does.  Certainly you have to acknowledge that reasonable people disagree on what comes after this life, and that any doubt at all renders death inherently cruel and unusual.

Reports abound that even lethal injection is torture and those killed suffer horrible pain and agony, in that consciousness persists while the lungs are paralyzed and the victim slowly dies while unable to breathe.  The movie, "The Green Mile" is a sobering one that depicts execution by electric chair and shows how merciless such torture is.

The mental anguish preceding execution, from handcuffs, through death row to death chamber--Cruel and Unusual to say the least.

Nobel Peace Prize-winning Amnesty International[world-renowned advocates for human rights] opposes death by governments for any motive, including the revenge motive and is pleading for Teresa's life here.  Human rights groups and governments the world over abhor the American death system.

How can a conservative, a Tea Partyer, a Republican or a Libertarian be so trusting of government as to desire  giving it authority over the life and death of legal U.S. citizens! The fact is that government has botched the whole scheme by executing many innocent people over the years.

DNA technology is now exonerating dozens upon dozens of inmates incarcerated for years falsely by the governments of the states and the feds.  Killing one person unjustly is too much government for me as a liberal, how much more so should it be for anyone who is conservative.

The Declaration of Independence calls "life" a "right" and the[distrustful of governmental authority] founding fathers' United States Constitution prohibits any punishment that even remotely resembles cruelty.

Iran is having a public relations field day with this and every U.S. execution. 
The  stoners of women and others in Tehran, of the Taliban, of Al-Quaeda, Mullah Omar and Osama Bin-Laden all endorse execution, as did Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Idi Amin.  Please let's get off of this pathetic committee!

Teresa is scheduled to die at 9:00pm Eastern Daylight Time tonight!  Please email Governor McDonnell at governor.virginia.gov  immediately!  Also visit saveteresalewis.org right now, please!!!

Thy will be done. We pray Lord, that it is thy will for Teresa to be spared death this day until you call her by your own determination, not by the hands of man. In Jesus' precious name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sociological Stuff: The Most Beautiful Woman In All The Universes

Happens to be my wife, my soul-mate, my other half, my partner, my best of best friends, the Love of my life, the very bestest of the best persons on Planet Earth, the Milky Way Galaxy, this universe, all the known and unknown universes, everything that's on either side of black holes, on either side of time and space, the ever and eternal one true woman for me: Sally(with a Y) Alexander.  I am Unabashed Left, I am Steve Alexander and I Love Sally Alexander.  She is the most beautiful woman, not only on the outside, but on the inside too. Thank you Jesus. ;)

Sociological Stuff: A New Dawn, Anna Bright New Day

This is a story about the Tobin Chiropractic Center, a mythical practice in a mythical land named North Haven, just south of the land called Wallyworld on Route 5, and just north of the land known as New Haven, famous for Yale University and for being south of Wallyworld.  A beleaguered patient named Unabashed Left wandered in one day.  Unabashed Left happens to be the first person singular; your trustworthy author: ME!   :)    

Unabashed Left(Me) dragged his sorry spine to the reception desk where he encountered a beautiful maiden with flowing raven hair named Anna. Anna smiled a smile that broke all records. Fortunately Unabashed Left had sunsensor lenses and was not blinded by Anna's smile. Anna comforted me, and asked me to fill out some fun forms and let me play with her pen.

Anna escorted me on a tour of the Tobin facility as obliged by the duties of her calling, and did so with much good cheer despite Unabashed Left's(my) unrelenting efforts at "humor."  Another beautiful maiden, this one with golden hair, Dr. Dawn Tobin, arrived and escorted me to an examining room.

Dr. Tobin reviewed my options regarding diagnosis and treatment and other fun stuff. She and I agreed that she would x-ray me, for example. Dr. Tobin proposed to adjust me over time, and I informed her that I was, in fact, well adjusted already as my psychiatrist has agreed, that I just needed my back fixed. The kind Doctor explained subluxation to me and chiropractic treatment. I was eager to agree to this great plan.

As mentioned elsewhere in this blog during an earlier post, I have recently had treatment for a relatively minor medical condition which has sidelined Unabashed Left for many moons. Although not directly related to my spinal concerns(indeed, she's been able to educate me since that almost everything has much to do with spinal concerns) Dr. Dawn listened raptly and at length to my concerns. For a very long time. Because unless the reader hasn't noticed, Unabashed Left can be quite verbose. And verbose. And verbose.  My philosophy tends to be "Why use two words, when a thousand will do!"

So Dr. Dawn listened. And listened. And listened. But amazingly, to me, she also shared. She shared her concerns about one of her own loved one's similar medical plight. And shared. And shared, not nearly as verbosely as I, but she shared. It made Unabashed Left feel warm and fuzzy. It also made me realize that there were still medical practitioners with "Doctor" in their titles who cared inherently about their patients, trusted in people enough to confide, and humble enough to consider advice regarding navigating the nightmare that is the American Medical system from a layman, as well as accept moral support from someone who had already received the same from her.

Dr. Tobin's office allows for an open sort of environment where patients are treated at Tables 1 and 2(I still haven't experienced Table 2, Ms. Anna) with simple dividers, more or less, separating them from the reception area. Patients are always offered the option of more private care should they prefer.

For my first "adjustment," [I still have difficulty accepting that I am not already well "adjusted]" I was assigned to Table 1(as usual Ms. Anna).  During Dr. Tobin's first attempt to put an end to my subluxations, Unabashed Left abused her with repeated attempts at such "humor" as were inflicted upon the raven-haired Anna the very first day. Dr. Tobin took these pathetic attempts with grace and genuinely good humor in return.

Following my "adjustment" I rounded the corner of the Table 1 partition to view the lovely Anna. I informed Anna that I believed that I had been a "good patient" that day and requested a scratch and sniff sticker, preferably a sunflower that smelled like a sunflower with a smiley face affixed, that said "good patient." With sadness in her voice, Anna admitted that the Tobin Chiropractic Center was out of stickers, and in fact, had never had scratch and sniffs. Indignant, I selfishly demanded that the Center acquire stickers ASAP, and that none other than scratch and sniffs would do!

Time passed. And passed. And passed. Dr. Tobin continued with her adjustments despite my attempts at humor.  I noted one day that my name had not been added to the new patient color erase board. I criticized maiden Anna mercilessly. I demanded that my name be added and in block letters and in a different color than all the other writings on the board! I was even so rude as to demand of her that she erase all the other new patients' names and allow only mine to be seen. Anna ever so diplomatically and with much care and compassion for this soon to be "well adjusted" patient agreed to many(certainly not all) of my demands and my name now proudly stands front and center of the new patient wall.

Dr. Tobin adjusts families, including small children and Anna posts them with certificates for the tykes' first chiropractic experience. Featured are baby pictures on many of the certificates.  I even rudely demanded a certificate of my own for the children's wall.  Anna held firm and mandated that I must provide a baby picture if I am to be allowed to join the other kids on that hallowed wall of fame.

I sat in the waiting room one day and 2 year old Goldilocks emerged happily but shyly from outdoors into the Tobin Chiropractic Center through the front door and walked to the center of the room.  She had curly golden locks, lacked several teeth, stood between 2 and 3 feet tall and was cute as all get-go. Anna's delight was obvious for all to see, and she abandoned her post at the desk, emerged to the center of the waiting room and scooped Goldilocks into her arms. Cuteness on such a massive scale is now outlawed in 7 states, and such legislation being considered in the other 43 and the District of Columbia. Goldilocks was clearly trusting and delighted to be in Anna's grasp. Goldilocks and Anna eagerly welcomed my own somewhat awkward attempts at collegiality, as did Goldilock's Dad.

Just today a woman came in to inform Anna and Dr. Tobin as I sat in the waiting room that she was there for her own appointment, having been there earlier today with a child for the child's adjustment.  She told them that she had to leave earlier because her elderly mother-in-law had passed away. Anna responded with loving care, affection, tact, skill, and clearly helped the patient through a very difficult day to say the least, as did Dr. Tobin when she joined the conversation. Then Dr. Tobin took her in to Table 2(yes Ms. Anna, she went to Table 2--you sent me to table 1....  again) where she also eased her hip pain.

Another day I had entered the same waiting room to observe Dr. Tobin in an intense discussion with a patient. The man was discussing his children; young adults in various degrees of post-secondary education, it seemed. Dr. Tobin had to retreat to Table 2 to manipulate another patient.  The gentleman turned to me to continue the discussion he had been having with the good Doctor. He spoke of his concern about the safety and value of an automobile purchase by one of his offspring. He spoke of financing both children's undergraduate education and the dilemnas one faces in financing graduate school. I could only think, "What a great father." He seemed to have forgotten that he'd never seen me before. I offered support and concern. I told Dr. Tobin later that she seemed to have a knack for attracting only the best. 

That's the way it is at The Tobin Chiropractic Center.  Dr. Tobin and Anna are awesome good people who treat people with Chiropractic care, optional accupuncture, other good stuff and specializing in love. Yes, I did use the "L" word. They specialize in love. I told Dr. Tobin today of my observation that much more goes on at the Tobin Chiropractic Center on a day-to-day basis than Chiropractic Care.  Anna and Dr. Tobin are indeed "adjusting" people in many, many more ways than ending subluxations, which the team accomplishes quite admirably, by the way, judging by their satisfied and delighted patients. 

My first week of treatment had to be interrupted by a medical treatment for the aforementioned medical condition I've suffered this year.  Dr. Tobin requested and received a hug the day before my treatment.  I've since requested and received one other from her, when she once again confided her own concerns about her own loved one. I can only hope this hugging trend continues from time to time.  Her hugs do much to heal, as do her skilled Chiropractic hands.  I've been attending the Tobin Chiropractic Center for approximately one month. No more.

Doctor Tobin actually went shopping for scratch and sniffs, as promised. She failed to find any.  What kind of country is this anyway, where a decent Chiropractor cannot find quality scratch and sniffs at a department store, a craft store, a conveniece store or even at the local gas station--for crying out loud.  There is a happy ending.  Dr. Tobin and Anna have collaberated, and have ordered a complete set of scratch and sniff stickers for the Tobin Chiropractic Center.  We await their arrival. In the interim I have provided an ample supply of basic, generic, non-sniff Walmart stickers until the scratch and sniffs arrive.  What a day for celebration that will be. :)

My point here is simple, but not really. My mother died of outright gross medical malpractice 17 long years ago, now. I've given medical providers, especially MD's but doctors in general a bad rap ever since.  Many deserve it but many do not! Dr. Tobin and Anna are real, not mythical at all.  They are typical of the millions of providers who do their work for love. For Love. But they have to make a living, too.  Where there's money, greed happens.  It's part of God's plan, and not for me to figure out. The vast majority of medical people could make more money doing other things, but choose their lives for love. Love. And they do abide by the Hippocratic Oath even if their positions don't require them to do so. Even if they haven't read it. Even if they don't read very well at all. Aides and orderlies; nurses and surgeons; Medical Assistants and receptionists; Chiropractors, Accupuncturists and General Practitioners. Almost all exclusively motivated at the outset as children and throughout their careers by one value. Love. Yes. Love. Unabashed Left likes that. No. I love that; as well as Dr. Tobin and Anna. I'm not Unabashed Left. I am Steven Michael Alexander(named Michael after the late Michael Palmieri, the MD who delivered me).  I believe that love is a lovely word.  It should be used whenever appropriate, but only when spoken truthfully, and very, very often.  Unabashed Left is a character for the purposes of this blog.  I am actually Steve Alexander and I love you Anna and Dr. Tobin-- Dawn, if I may. I apologize for painting the greed of very few medical professionals with a broad brush and indicting many erroneously.  Very few are such. The vast majority operate out of love.  My political view is that it's high time to get the profit motive out of medicine in this nation altogether. I need to respect the views of others on this issue as much as any other, despite my personal past experiences.

Dr. Tobin and Anna are not alone in the team teaching that's being given me by my glorious higher power regarding the simple common decency and genuine love of not only medical providers, but of the species homo sapiens in general. And of every other mammal and many other creatures that walk or fly or roll around this blessed planet.  Dr. Tobin has adjusted two of her own children the day they were born.  She demonstrated how to adjust a newborn to me today. It was beautiful. Very beautiful, as she is obviously on the outside, but just as obviously where it counts; on the inside.  You do it, please Dr. Tobin, believe me you don't want my clumsy paws attempting a newborn's adjustment.  You have a golden touch(as does your incredibly capable partner Anna).  I'll just sit back and enjoy the view. :)  And maybe try to share a laugh once in a while, if you don't mind.
With Love, and Peace to Anna and to Dr. Tobin and to all the wonderful people who reduce pain, maximize happiness and extend lives out of love as their chosen career.
Hi Sally; Except for our Wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the one true Christ, I Love you more than anything in the Universe!  Even if I had all eternity I could never even begin to find the words to describe the passion that is the Love that I have for you. I could never either repay you nor make up for the inadequacy of my ability to tell you just how much I love you.  I've failed to do so, and always will because the only expression of love adequate to do so was only done by Jesus Himself when I asked him how much He Loved me. He stretched out his arms as far as they would go and then died for me.  I Love you that much, and a zillion times more!
Hi Mom! Hi Joe! Hi Dad! Miss you like you wouldn't believe. I Love you and Sallie, and Janis, and Gary and Alf and everyone, too! And Grace, and Don, and Donnie and everyone, too.  And Augie, and Bluebelle, and Meow and Momcat and everyone, too.  I got two stickers today. Anna said I was a really good patient today. I think she knows.  No. I know she knows. :)
Mea Culpa

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Missile Madness: Unabashed Idiocy: Burning The Koran

An idiotic gesture by a disturbed and obviously mentally unstable "preacher" to burn Korans this Saturday, the 9th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks by fanatics against U.S. lives and property has been condemned by none other than Sarah Palin, General Petraeus, Robert Gates and President Obama.  At times on this page I have been highly critical of each and every one of these people. On this occasion I praise each of them for denouncing this dangerous nonsense.

The chorus of denunciation is loud and clear and I can add nothing to improve upon them.  Praise goes out to all on the right and on the left, Republicans and Democrats, Uniformed and Non-Uniformed who have spoken out about this despicable venom from this pastor of only 50 lost souls in Florida.  We pray for them and for the pastor, for guidance in the next two days especially!  Please, Lord, grant them discernment. Nevertheless thy will, not mine, be done. But please Lord forgive me for being so bold as to beg that the two are in conjunction at the present time.  Amen.

I hear in the other room MSNBC anchors denouncing the denouncers.  Nonsense!  A slight bit of unity in opposing the fear mongering surrounding anti-Islam(instead of opposing fanatical murder by punks claiming to kill in the name of Jehovah, God, + Jesus, to some, who also goes by the blessed name of Allah to others) is emerging yesterday and today.  Freedom of religion is actually a backchannel winner in this. 

I am often quick to criticize Petraeus, who was among the first to denounce the event.  More than others, he was and is aware of the damage already being done to U.S. security and the safety of Americans and Afghans and many others already happening because of the punk pastor and deserves special praise, not condemnation, on this.  Palin, Obama, Gates and any others who claim to be leaders are obliged to speak out.  America looks good today for the first time in a long time to Unabashed Left.  Only one Pastor, and the violent idiots who are threatening retaliation or any violence at all are looking bad here. 

My own Congregational Pastor has recommended a constructive protest.  For $25 the Massachusettes Bible Society will donate two copies of the Koran(for each one burned) to Moslems without access to their holy text, such as those in hospitals, prisons or shelters.  Not yet technologically savvy enough to ensure a direct link on this page, here it is to type into your own browser, in case my attempt to post the link here fails.  Peace and as the President always says, May God Bless The United States Of America.

constantcontact.com/They-Burn-One-We-Give-Two.html?soid=110944292789&aid=dAPnQ6XDfA&ref=nf

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weather Matters: Please Prepare Now For Hurricane Earl: This Is A Serious Storm!

Hurricane Earl is to be taken seriously. As of the 2am National Hurricane Center update he is packing 140mph winds, hurricane force winds stretch 90 miles from the center of circulation and tropical storm force winds stretch 200 miles from the center.  Warnings and watches are up all along the Eastern seaboard from North Carolina to Maine!

North Carolinians should already be prepared. Further to the north now is the time to take precautions. We all know the drill. Flashlights and batteries, non-perishable foods, board windows or tape them, secure patio furniture or other potential debris that could become dangerous projectiles. PETS INDOORS PLEASE! 

If you have elderly or infirm friends, relatives or acquaintances in Earl's path, take the time to ensure their safety.  HEED ANY AND ALL EVACUATION ADVISORIES AND ORDERS! Keep an eye on local news and weather reports.  Following the storm, should volunteer assistance be requested please do so willingly, eagerly and cheerfully.  If you have the means, cook for those without the ability to do so, and deliver food.

Emergency assistance groups are reconsidering the benefits of recommending the purchase of candles in advance of storms, because many do not take necessary safety precautions and people and property wind up damaged due to fire. If you utilize candles please monitor them, never leave them unattended especially if you have young children or pets who may knock them over, or otherwise cause a conflagration.

Use common sense and common decency. If you think you are in a position to help you most likely are. Step out and take the risk of erring on the side of doing the kind gesture.  In times of need communities are typically strengthened big time.  These are not times to lay low and not take action, exactly the opposite.  In times of need acts of kindness, random or patterned, pay boku dividends.  Please do not hesitate to help your neighbor.

In times of crisis, indeed in all times, the only criteria any of us should be utilizing in any decision we make is whether it motivated and meets the standards of unconditional love.  If we act solely on this basis we will make no errors. 

God bless all of us in Earl's path, may we benefit from adversity and may casualties not occur. Nevertheless Dear Lord, Thy will--not mine--be done. Our's is not to question nor even comprehend Your wider plan, allow us only to be  instruments for Your use and for the peace of our bretheren. These things we pray in the immaculate and precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Missile Madness: Mr. President: Please Show Secretary Gates The Gate!

Unabashed regular readers are probably already weary of our campaign to render Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even slightly vulnerable to the scrutiny of observers of all political persuasions.  The Secretary has presided over nearly a full Presidential term, 2 years under Bush and now approaching 2 with President Obama with notable lack of success.

The war in Iraq is not over, 50,000 U.S. troops(and over 70,000 civilian contractors) remain until December 31, 2011!  The "Surge," which we prefer to identify more accurately as "The Escalation," only caused more casualties on both sides and only delayed the inevitable fall of the current regime(it can't be called a government, because one hasn't been formed since the elections in March, now almost half a year ago) which those who've spent anytime in country agree will occur within a year or two of the departure of the final 50,000 uniformed American troops.  

The Escalation "succeeded" temporarily because irrational nuts like Muqtada al-Sadr who led armed gangs of thugs that killed in the name of Allah were paid off, and Baghdad rendered relatively safe, again temporarily.  Incidentally, al-Sadr has taken his American currency to Tehran where he is plotting future nonsense.

General Petraeus hoodwinked Secretary Gates into escalating the uncalled for Iraq war.  Then General McChrystal hoodwinked him into applying the same failing principle of "counterinsurgency" to a totally different set of circumstances in Afghanistan, and Gates presided over McChrystal's pathetic "dissing" of all civilian control of the military by means of flapping his lips and allowing his underlings to do the same in the presence of a Rolling Stone reporter while barhopping in Europe during the volcanic ash grounding of airliners earlier this year. 

Gates also presided also over Petraeus taking a demotion from CenComm commander down to Afghanistan commander in order to mop up after McChrystal.  Gates has been in charge of our failure to win two wars against entities(not governments, "gangs" really) without the benefit of air forces, navies, missiles, or anything but home made bombs, rifles and handguns.  

Gates is also responsible for the pathetic condition that Walter Reed Army Hospital was allowed to fall into(remember the videos showing moldy walls, etc.) for our returning heros, as well as for the loss of hundreds, maybe thousands of remains at Arlington National Cemetary.

He gets $700,000,000,000.00 in regular funding annually from Congress, which does not even include the funding for Afghanistan and Iraq, and has been unable for nearly 4 straight years to prevail over third world street gangs and the "Taliban." 

Clearly he is incompetent, to say the least, and the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and media on the right and on the left keep hands off the Teflon Defense Secretary.  Again, I ask:  Why?

There were never any WMD in Iraq, and no Al Quaeda in Iraq until after the Cheney/Bush invasion.  The Afghan war was won in 6 months and since then we've only succeeded in advancing Mullah Omar's cause by expanding his base throughout Pakistan as well as Afghanistan.  One day and 4 hijackings on one horrendous occasion killed too many Americans.  However, Al Quaeda has never been a threat to U.S. national security.  We all await the Breaking News Story reporting the successful Punk Bin-Laden drone strike, those of us on the right, the center and on the left!

The only legitimate military threats to U.S. national survival still only come from the nukes deployed by former KGB-er(and G.W. Bush's "good friend") Vladimir Putin and the godless Communist/Currently Captialist leaders in Beijing.  I don't worry at all about "Jihad" on a daily basis.

The Obama administration is definitely on the right track by compelling current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seriously negotiate with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  Netanyahu, as a right-wing Israeli politician, is uniquely qualified to sign a treaty with Abbas, just as right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin was in the same unique position to sign the first Israeli-Arab treaty with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat under President Jimmy Carter's leadership. 

Netanyahu's inflammatory rhetoric and military misadventures, particularly in boarding a Turkish relief ship headed for Gaza and killing numerous Turkish nationals several months ago, have put him in no position but to follow the Clinton State Department's lead in seriously negotiating with the more than moderate Mr. Abbas.  Should talks become promising, it is likely to undermine both Hezbollah and Hamas in the Golan Heights and in Gaza.

And nothing could more quickly undermine or even put an end to "Jihad" altogether than a Palestinian-Israeli peace and a legitimate and permanent two-state solution.  Neither could anything undermine President Ahmadenijad and the so-called Shiite Mullahs(not either Shiite, nor Mullahs; just "nuts") ruling Tehran and threatening to stone yet another woman this month.  And nothing would end more quickly the need to employ American uniformed personnel in wacky attempts to lose wars to third world punks like "Mullah" Omar, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin-Laden.

Once again America owes a huge debt of thanks to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Mr. President, your foreign policy will succeed in far more glorious ways for the people of the United States should you choose to dismiss Secretary Gates today(we suggest Senator John Kerry of Massachusettes as a great potential replacement) and eliminate the civilian link to the uniformed brass that despises civilian rule over our military.  Peace....