Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 October 2013 secret incantations, a candle burning blue

Cassi Road:  Halloween arrives as always.  The trees along the valley walls are about at peak color now,  Lot more red evident today than yesterday. 
          The forecast for tonight is somewhat worrisome.  There is a wind advisory for the region and that’s never a good thing.  The winds this morning are spiraling in from the Southwest.  While they are generally cool, random bursts of warm air are being channeled down slope. 
          Congress, the GOP/teavangelists, is still wasting time and money trying to find any way they can to destroy the ACA and to impeach Obama.  Obama does not help his own cause by dodging questions with incomplete answers.  The entire Benghazi clusterfuck is just another target marker pinned upon his back.  Congress can’t change the fact that our Ambassador was killed and won’t acknowledge that their funding cutbacks for diplomatic security had any effect on the event.  Since the GOP was defeated during the last budget crisis/debt ceiling fight, they’ll table those until next year and then use them to destroy some other social safety net.
           One target will be the widespread internal data mining and frank spying on our citizens.  That inquiry is justifiable but should not degenerate into another Cruz, Issa, led witch-hunt.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 October 2013 On the nose

Cassi Creek:  Nose art on military aircraft is a rather unique form of graffiti that reached its pinnacle during WWII, lingered through the Korean War, and was nearly extinct by the end of the Vietnam War.  It was particularly apparent on heavy bomber, medium bomber, and fighter airframes.  It was a means of personalizing the aircraft for the men who flew and those who crewed and maintained them. 
          Much of the WWII work took the form of pin up images paired with suggestive or double entendre names.  Other names came from popular music, girlfriends and wives, and hometowns.   
By the time we were engaged in VietNam, such graffiti was rapidly becoming politically incorrect.  I can recall only 4 or 5 helicopters that carried nose art
The links below lead to several on-line collections of nose art.  While it may seem juvenile and/or offensive, it was an important morale booster for the aircrews.  Have fun looking through it while you can.  The remnants of nose art on thousands of planes are disappearing almost as rapidly as our WWII vets.

Note the number of bombing missions flown by Sugar's Blues

These pin up logos evolved into many forms of advertising for American products after WWII ended.  See also Vargas Girls.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

29 October 2013 Little of import

Cassi Creek:  Today is a partly cloudy afternoon with passing periods of leaf fall.  The mountainsides near us are starting to display some brighter yellows and some more apparent reds. 
          I don’t have much to say today.  I’m tired and trying to avoid moving my neck today.  The noise such movement generates must be audible from across the room. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

28 October 2013 Keep it straight and level

Cassi Creek:  The Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved on this date in 1963, when Nikita Khrushchev backed down and agreed to remove Soviet IRBMs from Cuba.  Photoreconnaissance released to the public by the Kennedy administration began to reveal just how good airborne imagery could be. 
          Follow up on yesterday’s B-17 post – The heavy bomber crews suffered high KIA and WIA losses and equally high aircraft damage and losses.  The description of the bomb run from the article linked below describes the discipline and courage required by the bomber crews to face enemy aircraft and AA fire without being able to take any evasive action until after the plane’s bombs were released. 

The other heavy bomber

Sunday, October 27, 2013

27 October 2013 Workin’ in a defense plant

Cassi Creek:  We drove into Jonesborough for dinner and the Halloween dance last night. 
          Gloria was well costumed, using a Rockwell cover as her guide for a “Rosie the riveter” appearance. 
          Keeping to the era, I turned out as an AAF air crewman that could have matched any of several jobs other than Pilot/Co-Pilot on a heavy bomber. 
          Gloria’s costume was, sadly, not well recognized by most of the under 60 group.  Mine was somewhat more recognized as aviation related but, again, the same younger folks didn’t manage to make the tie to WWII.  A few people wanted to know if my hat was genuine and were surprised when I told them it is older than I am. 

There are only a few of these behemoths surviving.  If you have the chance to see one, please take it.   It will surprise you that the aircraft were so Spartan in nature and so vulnerable to enemy aircraft and guns.  The odds were against any aircrew making a round trip without sustaining crew losses and plane damage.  Heroes, all!

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft primarily employed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II. Developed by Boeing, a total of 12,731 aircraft had been produced by Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed from 1936 until 1945. A vast majority (over 8,000) of these aircraft were lost in either combat operations or training accidents. The remaining combat veterans and early production modelswere stored and later scrapped in the vast scrap drives of the late 1940s.
The majority of the aircraft that survive today came from the last batches of aircraft produced by both Douglas and Lockheed, which had better corrosion control practices. These aircraft had found use in the 1950s and early 1960s as DB-17 Drone Director and QB-17 target aircraft with the USAF, as U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard early warning, air sea rescue or weather aircraft (known by the naval aircraft designations PB-1W or PB-1G), or overseas as photo mapping aircraft with French National Geographic Institute. After retirement from active service, these aircraft were converted during the 1960s to the late 1980s as bulk cargo transport, aerial sprayer, and water tanker aircraft.
During the late 1970s when the warbird movement began, these survivors were eagerly anticipated and as each came on the civilian market many were restored to original combat configuration. In the 1990s, as intact, existing airframes became increasingly rare (only 46 intact B-17's are known to exist as of August 2013); restorers began seeking out airframes that were previously considered unrecoverable.

Specifications (B-17G)

3-view projection of a B-17G, with inset detail showing the "Cheyenne tail" and some major differences with other B-17 variants
Data from the Encyclopedia of World Aircraft
General characteristics
·         Crew: 10: Pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier/nose gunner,top turret gunner, radio operator, waist gunners (2), ball turret gunner, tail gunner[193]
·         Length: 74 ft 4 in (22.66 m)
·         Wingspan: 103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)
·         Height: 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
·         Wing area: 1,420 sq ft (131.92 m2)
·         Airfoil: NACA 0018 / NACA 0010
·         Aspect ratio: 7.57
·         Empty weight: 36,135 lb (16,391 kg)
·         Loaded weight: 54,000 lb (24,500 kg)
·         Max. takeoff weight: 65,500 lb (29,700 kg)
·         Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-1820-97 "Cyclone" turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each
·         Maximum speed: 287 mph (249 kn, 462 km/h)
·         Cruise speed: 182 mph (158 kn, 293 km/h)
·         Range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km)with 2,700 kg (6,000 lb) bombload
·         Service ceiling: 35,600 ft (10,850 m)
·         Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)
·         Wing loading: 38.0 lb/sq ft (185.7 kg/m2)
·         Power/mass: 0.089 hp/lb (150 W/kg)
·         Guns: 13 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in 8 positions(2 in the Bendix chin turret,2 on nose cheeks ,two staggered waist guns,2 in upper Sperry turret,2 in Sperry ball turret in belly,2 in the tail and one in the nose)
·         Bombs:
·         Short range missions (<400 mi="" span=""> 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
·         Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)
·         Overload: 17,600 lb (7,800 kg)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

26 October 2013 There and there and back again

Cassi Creek: The anemometer fix seems to be working.  I’d like to get another year out of it. 
          Woke up yesterday with my right earlobe more swollen than Thursday.  Between Gloria and me, we managed to unroof the site a bit more and expressed some purulent material.  Studied opinion was that it was not going to heal by magical wishing.  Back into VA, leaving here at 1230 and having been triaged, treated, cultured, and prescribed before arriving home at 1600.  Subtract an hour’s travel time and that’s remarkably good turn-around for a facility the size of Mt. Home.  Of course, there were no truly emergent patients ahead of me and there was no lag time for diagnostic imagery or labs. 
          Started antibiotics last night and there is apparent improvement today.

Friday, October 25, 2013

25 October 2013 Cold, wind, and snow

Cassi Creek:  The morning hike with Mike was marked by a cold south wind and lowering clouds.  The temperature has been dropping slowly but steadily.  The prediction for tonight is a low of 22°F. 
          I need to bring in more wood for tonight’s fire.  Last night’s fire lasted until 0640, when I threw some more wood into the stove and poked up the coals. 
          Today’s other chore is to look at the anemometer for a possible repair.  I doubt it can be fixed but I will attempt it. 
          Other weather notes – very light snow flurries are happening.  One has to be outside, viewing them over a dark background for them to be apparent.
          Last item, my ear is about the same as yesterday.  I’m hoping that the prescribed warm compresses will provide the intended therapeutic effect and drain this annoyance.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

24 October 2013 Try just a little bit harder

Cassi Creek:  Temperature fell to 35°F last night and is forecast to fall to 31°F tonight.  We fired up the wood stove last night and by midnight; nearly the entire house was shirtsleeve comfortable.  Wood for tonight is inside with some thicker pieces to put into the stove when we have a good bed of coals. 
          There was still a workable bed of coals at 0430 had I wanted to spend 15 minutes or so playing with the stove.   By 0800 there were still a few pencil eraser specks of orange to be found but I cleaned them out with the ashes and took them outside in ash bucket.
          Made a trip into the ER at Mt Home today.  I developed a friction related infection in my right earlobe.  I’ve had several smaller lesions that I thought stemmed from ingrown hairs.  Apparently, this larger and more annoying one may be the parent lesion.  Or, it may be the development of a mob of lesions to come.  When it became too annoying, I decided to unroof it and express it.  Bad angle to work at so Gloria took over for me.  She got only sero-sanguineous return.  I finally gave up and decided that an ER trip was justified.  After all, that’s a very undesirable area for infections. 
          At Mt. Home, the check-in was very efficient.  I was logged in, labeled, and into triage in less than 5 minutes.  It took about 45 minutes to move me into a treatment room.  The physician on duty looked at my ear and asked what, if anything, I had done by way of treatment.  I told him the whole story about the massacre and he proceeded to do the same thing I had done.  Unroof and express.  He was a bit more aggressive in the expression portion of the dance.  But he was able to locate and remove purulent material.  Sent me home with care instructions and said no antibiotics were indicated. Return if necessary. 
          I left home at 1130 this morning and was home at 1500.  Overall, this was a very satisfying ER trip. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

23 October 2013 Chances are

          Yesterday I had an hour-long telemed consult with a neurologist in Richmond VA.  I sat in a room in the Mountain Home VAH and he sat in his office in Hunter Holmes McGuire VAH.  It was quite satisfactory for a consult.  The equipment is set up to allow him control of the camera focused on me. 
          During the entire workup and follow-on care I’ve experienced at Mountain Home, after ruling out space occupying lesions and other physical causes for PD, no one has suggested any causation except exposure to Agent Orange.  Yesterday, I was asked for the first time about familial history of  PD related to Ashkenazi genetic heritage.  According to the information relayed yesterday, the probability of genetic causation is greater than the probability of Agent Orange induced PD. 
Glucocerebrosidase Gene Mutations and Parkinson Disease

Stuart K. Shapira, M.D., Ph.D. 
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In November, 2004, Aharon-Peretz et al. reported that mutations in the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene increased the susceptibility for developing Parkinson Disease.
Aharon-Peretz J et al. Mutations in the glucocerebrosidase gene and Parkinson Disease in Ashkenazi JewsExternal Web Site Icon. 
N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1972-7.

  • Parkinson’s Disease
    A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
    A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
The question concerning the origin of PD has not been fully settled but VA has instituted an assumed causation following Agent Orange exposure.  I was first seen by VA in 1980 with symptoms consistent with peripheral neuropathy.  There was no assumed status then and nothing more was done other than putting my name into the Agent Orange Registry. 
          The assumed status decision has been beneficial to me. 
Still, I wonder how much of this is genetically caused and how much herbicide induced.  While there are ongoing studies to determine the prevalence of mutated genes among Ashkenazim, there has been no study to determine a correlation between mutated genes and Agent Orange exposure in Ashkenazi serving in VietNam.  We discussed this yesterday and both agreed that the sample cohort would be remarkably small.
          Therefore, whether my PD is genetic in origin, (no family history) or chemically induced, the treatment I will undergo is the same.  The prognosis is the same, and it doesn’t matter which door, 1, 2, or 3 the surprise leapt from.  The VA, in the absence of knowledge of causation, is doing the right thing for veterans. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

22 October 2013 Whole lot of shakin’ going on

          After a week of phone calls and other attempts to find out where and when, VA came through. 
          Today, I find out more about the PADRECC program for veterans with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.  This will be a telemedicine event using a bi-directional link.   I’m uncertain where this will lead.  Currently, my treatment consists of a semi-annual visit with a resident rotating through Neurology, overseen by a consulting neurologist. 
          I was hoping to enter the research program for PADRECC.  In order to do that, I would have to be seen in Richmond every 2-3 days.  Not possible now.  The chance may become available in Eugene. 
          More tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2013

21 October 2013 Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

The shutdown is barely over and Cruz is planning to instigate another.  There’s something about providing health care to the currently uninsured that crawls up the idiots back and tells him that he can become POTUS.  He might win that election in Texas and some of the other red states.  But he’s generated enough hatred directed toward his self to make winning a national election highly unlikely. 
          The number of people claiming to believe Cruz is working for the nation is agonizingly high.  I’m reminded of the VietNam war protests and the counter protests organized by political fund raisers.  Pete Seeger’s song comes to mind.  If overlaid to today, it describes Cruz and the other teavangelists very well.

“Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.”

More lyrics:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

20 October 2013 Doomed to repeat history and idiocy

"It's easier to fool people," Mark Twain apparently never said, "than to convince them that they have been fooled." You can find those words all over the Internet attributed to Twain, but I can locate no credible source.
Too bad, because it's absolutely correct.
Twain probably did say something similar, because it sounds like an opinion the acerbic author of "Huckleberry Finn" would have endorsed.”

Cassi Creek:  Today’s political commentary television is an overload of Ted Cruz and the teavangelists.  Lyons, An Arkansas based political columnist Digs into the legacy of Samuel Clemons to demonstrate the cyclic nature of stupidity in American culture and politics. 
            The column is well worth the time spent to find it and read it.  Looking at his examples, it is easy to follow his connections between the older racist, anti-intellectual beliefs of the 19th century, the same policies and customs of the 20th century, and to see them dovetail into the teavangelist groups that we currently have to deal with, 

            It’s bright and sunny here today.  The overnight low was 39°F.  The anemometer on the weather station is not functioning so it is impossible to record any wind velocity other than Zero.  I need to cut to length, split, and stack about another ton of oak and red oak.  I’m hoping to get it completed this week.  I’ve already split and stacked about 2 tons of wood last Wednesday.  I’m still feeling the after effects of that chore. 
            ‘Nuff said for today.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

19 October 2013 Children underfoot will not be avoided.

Cassi Creek:  Yesterday we traveled to Asheville.  Since our travel took place in the afternoon and evening, we had great views during the early afternoon and magnificent moonlit views on the homeward leg.
          We decided to eat dinner at Tupelo Honey in downtown Asheville.  The food was everything advertised, worthy of returning.  As it was Friday evening, the wait to be seated was quoted as 20-30 minutes but actually timed out somewhat longer at about 45 minutes.  That left us plenty of time to watch people.  The Patton area seems to be a major gathering site for all manner of people from the ultra-straight to the freaks and geeks. 
          There is a drum circle that seemed to grow larger as more participants arrived.  The echo off surrounding buildings was out of phase with the active drumbeats, so the whole thing sounded ragged and fragmented for about the first 45 minutes.  The overall noise level was increased by buses, emergency vehicle sirens, a steady flow of automobile traffic, and the endless muttering undertones of hundreds of cell phone conversant passing by.
          What I found most disconcerting was the assumption by parents that other people are eager to experience their children in those places where children are out of place.  I speak of concerts, lectures, movies, restaurants, and busy sidewalks. 
          We were waiting for our table on the sidewalk outside Tupelo Honey.  So were other parities of various sizes.  There is a bus stop at that location and the sidewalk narrows somewhat.  So a couple with two children in a tandem stroller decided to block traffic into the restaurant, a very narrow door and entryway, by parking their stroller there.    They then released a 2-3 year old and another child still crawling  onto the sidewalk.  The infant was allowed to crawl about and then placed upright and allowed to stagger about the sidewalk full of people.  The older child was given a toy car, which he rolled about on the sidewalk as people tried to avoid the car, and both kids.  The longer the wait, the more annoying the kids became.  At one point, I noticed that the older child was often beneath and beyond my field of peripheral vision.  The 2nd time the toy car was rolled between my feet; I found it hard to appear tolerant.  Several times this child’s behavior forced people to step off the sidewalk into the street. Meanwhile, the infant stumbled about.  Anyone tripping over it would have sustained at least some superficial injuries and the infant might well have sustained grave injuries.  Unprotected skulls impacting concrete are never a good thing.

          There seems to be a willingness to allow people to bring children to such locations and then turn them loose, as if expecting others to become baby sitters.  While I wouldn’t allow someone’s child to run into traffic, neither would I excuse the child and its parents for being the cause of someone else’s injuries.  Hire a sitter and leave the kid home or stay home yourself.  I’m not willing to put up with your children behaving as if they were at home.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

18 October 2013 Proceed to room X for telemed

Cassi Creek:  I have a telemed conference to attend on 22 Oct.  According to the Richmond VA facility that manages the PADRECC program for the Southeast region, I am to attend this at Mountain Home VAH in Johnson City.  That will be fine if I can find someone who actually knows something about this at Mountain Home.  Three days of calls have resulted in no hard and fast appointment, actually, no appointment at all. 
          It seems that no one knows anything about a Parkinson’s Clinic.  I suspect that I’ll be amplifying this entry Monday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

17 October 2013 Hurricane Cruz

Cassi Creek:  We’ve managed to resolve and temporarily delay another manufactured financial crisis brought about by the Koch brothers’ minions wearing teavangelist disguises.  The current best estimate of cost to the American taxpayers is $124 billion.  While this may be diminutive in terms of the overall cost of running the U.S. government, it is money that would better have been applied elsewhere. 
          Once again, the reactionary right, claiming to be saving the Constitution, has managed to make a shambles of the legislative process as defined by the Constitution.  Their particular blend of pseudo-patriotism, bigotry, anti-intellectualism, and a lack of how a democratic republic is actually supposed to work, has resulted in weakening the U.S. economy.  Further, the resolution that was crafted has only an additional three months grace period before the entire mess will begin again. 

It left me coldly angry yesterday to hear the junior Senator from Texas, Cruz, claim that millions of Americans were suffering because of the onset of the ACA.  No news program that shoved a microphone into his face bothered to challenge his numbers or his claim.  While the ACA rollout is not beginning smoothly, it is in effect and it is providing better access to medical care for many previously uninsured. 
Is the ACA perfect?  Far from it.  Does it favor any industry?  The health insurance industry will be raking in a windfall profit.  We still need a single payer national health insurance. 

We’re required to report self-inflicted injuries to mental health agencies. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

16 October 2013 Please don’t dominate the rap, Jack; if you got nothing new to say

Cassi Creek:  Ahead, incessant obfuscation, ideological blathering, and a deliberate attempt to destroy the American economy.  That attempt is partly due to bigotry and malice on the part of the teavangelists.  The attempt is also due to an utter lack of knowledge about how the national and global economies operate. 
          By tonight, this blunder of morons may well have brought about the next great depression.  I’m willing to have them arrested and transferred to any country that will provide suitable punishment.
          The Congress has only a few hours remaining to resolve this looming disaster.  It is time for the Speaker of the House to remember that he works for all Americans, not just those who fund his re-election.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

15 October 2013 Can you use them old U.S. Blues?

Back to back/chicken shack
Son of a gun/better change your act
We're all confused/what's to lose?
You can call this song/the United States Blues
Wave that flag
Wave it wide and high
Done come and gone
My oh my”
"U.S. Blues"
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing

Cassi Creek: “ American Exceptionalism” keeps surfacing in the political arena.
This is another instance in which the GOP and minions grab symbols that were once universally “American” in perception, and then distort their use so that they become recognized as right wing, pseudo-patriotism. 
          American Exceptionalism as a doctrine dates back as far as 1831.  The concept of America as somehow unique was adopted and nurtured by politicians seeking votes from immigrants who viewed the New World as a political and social haven.  The doctrine fit nicely with the concept of manifest destiny.  As Americans swept westward, they took these concepts with them. 
          The political and social changes which occurred in the years between Teddy Roosevelt and the LBJ administration found the U.S. meeting the need for a progressive government, weathering the Great Depression, taking its place as a world power with a modern navy, and displaying its ability to fight a war taking place in two theaters because of assembly line manufacturing capabilities and vast resources to feed and fuel those factories. 
          As the Cold War became the dominant military driving force, the doctrine became less attractive to the political left but more so to the political right.  The Reagan era and the Bush II era found neo-cons appropriating doctrines and symbols to garner votes from people who no longer cared about the social foundations that made liberty and equality planks in the platform of Exceptionalism. 
          Now, the theft of symbols has degraded the concept to the level of drunken sports fans, ready to engage in a brawl at the slightest provocation but not knowing why the brawl began or how to end it. 
          This is not the country I grew up in.  This is not the country that welcomed immigrants, not the nation that went to the moon, and not the nation that once was truly exceptional.  Where that nation has gone and whether it will ever exist again, I cannot say.

Monday, October 14, 2013

14 October 2013 Columbus drops by for a brief visit

Cassi Creek:
          “ Palin called the government shutdown an act of disrespect against military families whose paychecks and death benefits were delayed. U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whose death in June prompted this election, "was the last World War II veteran to serve in Congress. His memory is dishonored, along with all of our military veterans."
          "Bottom line, guys: The politicians are using the military as pawns," she added.”
When push comes to shove, I’d rather not become a participant in the teavangelist oil wars.  Palin, Cruz, and company complain about troops being used as pawns while encouraging vets to voluntarily become cannon fodder for the far right.
          Today, we celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the “New World.”  His voyages and those of the other great explorers brought about the invasion of the Americas by countless missionaries to subjugate the native population in a manner far more devastating than the damage done by the Conquistadors. 
          Diseases brought to the new world, such as measles wiped out whole tribal groups of people who had no innate immunity to European illnesses.
          There is, of course, the New World’s revenge, Syphilis, remains active worldwide today.  Well done, Christopher!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

13 October 2013 Teavangelists and flat earthers sailing over the edge

Cassi Creek:
           Rand Paul, teavangelist senator from Kentucky, claims that President Obama is using the debt ceiling to scare Americans.  While I’m certain that there is an element of fear for the future included in Obama’s desire to have the debt ceiling crisis resolved before we default on our obligations; any rational person I’ve ever encountered realizes we have just cause to be not just “scared” but “scared shitless.”
            “Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said Saturday the consequences of a failure to raise the debt limit would be dire for economies around the world. She spoke to CNN's Richard Quest at an Institute of International Finance conference in Washington.
"You know, I've just spent the last two days with representatives of about 188 countries around the world. I wouldn't say they are confident. I would say they are concerned, and they are very anxious to see this crisis resolved, because they know it's going to impact on their economy," Lagarde said.”

          Despite the imminent default, the Senate will not meet until later today and the House is in recess until tomorrow evening because tomorrow is a federal holiday. 
          The house, the initial origin of this financial nightmare, does not deserve a holiday.  Millions of Americans are unable to celebrate that holiday or to look forward to the winter holidays because the teavangelists in both houses of Congress are masquerading as intelligent human beings while steering the nation ever closer to the edge of world economic collapse. 

16 hours ago
Posted by
Washington (CNN) – A military coalition including 33 of the nation’s leading veterans and uniformed services organizations on Tuesday will stage a major event in Washington to push for an end to the government shutdown.
Activists for veterans and the nation’s service members have warned the shutdown – especially as it approaches the end of its second week – has had a devastating impact on them and their families, and now they are stepping up their campaign to put political pressure to re-open the government.

The event will be held Tuesday morning at the National World War II Memorial, several sources familiar with it confirmed to CNN. Some of the major groups that will be represented include: The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Air Force Sergeants Association, National Military Family Association and Jewish War Veterans.
Officials from these groups say there is a lot of frustration and uncertainty as the shutdown continues, such as among veterans who receive disability and GI Bill benefits and survivors who rely on survivor benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs has said it would not be able to pay benefits if the government stayed closed through the end of month.
One of the approximately 3 million wounded veterans who are facing dire circumstances is Ryan Lamke. He told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr he had this message for the politicians about what he and his fellow veterans will face if their checks don’t arrive.

If I could afford the trip, I’d be there.