Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why Universal Health Insurance is a Moral Imperative

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers offers a glimpse into the world of the uninsured that is frightening and, frankly, makes me ashamed of this country's choices:

I'm an infectious disease specialist. Today I saw a patient with a horrible foot ulcer from diabetes. She likely has infection in her bone, will need weeks of treatment, and may lose her foot. She cried with guilt, regret, and disbelief at her condition. She had been an excellent patient. She saw her doctor, managed the complicated treatment of her diabetes, saw her foot specialist.

Until her husband lost his job and insurance. She couldn't afford her insulin pump supplies, started stretching her doctor visits. Paid cash when she could. And ignored...pushed away her pain. Tried to hide the smell coming from her foot. For 4 months. Now it may be too late.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mom and the (Last) Depression

I had dinner with my mom a couple weeks ago, and we were discussing her having grown up during the depression.

She told me the story of a neighbor girl about her age named Clare, when mom was about 9 or so. This girl was a recent transplant from dust-bowl Oklahoma. She and her family lived in a tumble-down shack that was down the road a ways from mom's nicer (but still modest) childhood home.

Mom invited Clare to her birthday party, and for her present Clare gave mom a scarf, one with a pretty flower pattern on it.

Mom went to her mother and said, somewhat scandalized, "Mommy, I saw Clare wearing that scarf!"

Grandma said to Mom, "Well, that was all she had, Anne. That was all she had to give."

Mom still gets misty when she tells that story. To me, there is no greater example of childlike simplicity and generosity.

If only we could all be like Clare, the world would be a place of aching beauty and simple love. There would be no poverty, no greed. I hope we can commit ourselves to building such a world.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I live in Berkeley, about 2 blocks from the University of California, and in my walks up around the (mostly) pretty campus, one of the ironies that usually strikes me is that the School of Architecture is housed in one of the ugliest buildings on campus - a building built in about 1964 or so in the aptly-named "Brutalist" school of modernist architecture. It is an enormous, hulking box of reinforced concrete, gray and foreboding, looking like something used by the Dark Lords of the Sith.

Thank You For Your Prayers

Monday was a tough day, as I said - things are looking up. Prayer is powerful. God is good.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Prayer Request

I have PTSD, and today has been a rough day for me. I had the mother of all flashbacks this afternoon, and need your prayers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Colbert sends up Glenn Beck's fear mongering: