Sunday, May 27, 2007

Freedom Fries

During a discussion about what had become of 'freedom fries,' Jeru pointed out that last year the Congressional cafeterias had quietly reverted back to calling the snacks 'French fries.'

This made me wonder, what can patriotic Americans call these fried concoctions now that 'freedom fries' are out. In a flash (divinely inspired?) the answer came to me: We'll henceforth forth call them:

Dick Taters.

"Give me a large order of the dick taters! Hold the coup d'etat."

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Democrats Are Cowards

I can't believe it.

The Democrats gave "W" the money to continue this dispicable war. (All war is dispicable!!)

Listen to Keith Olbermann on this and--well, enjoy??

Kate Loving Shenk

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Are You on The Left, The Right ... or Up or Down?

Here's something that's not only fun to do but could be very useful for political groups when they're deciding on their Vision or Mission Statements.

This takes about five minutes of your time: Head to the Political Compass website and follow the link to 'take the test.'

What's unique about this test is that it doesn't just measure where you stand on the traditional Left-Right continuum (based primarily on your economic views), it also measures, on an 'up-and-down' axis, where you stand on social issues, then places your result on a x-y grid.

The links on the left-hand side of the Political Compass homepage are interesting, but don't read about the test before you take it!

Reading about the test beforehand might skew your results. Just dive in and take the test.

For what it's worth (which is: not much, at least until you take the test!), I scored a -8.25 / -6.56.

Harole & Maude

Our group keeps talking about having a movie night: maybe we should actually pick a night and start with Harold & Maude. And while we're at it, three suggestions for future movie nights from My Top Ten would be: Brewster McCloud, O Lucky Man, and Local Hero. I have tapes of the last two but not the first.

Besides the Cat Stevens soundtrack, what actually drew me to Harold & Maude to begin with was the involvement of Bud Cort: I'd gone to see Brewster McCloud three times when it came out and he starred in that. It's still one of my favorite Altman films; I loved the revelation of overlapping dialogue, among other things. (And I went to see that because I'd seen MASH, by Altman, etc, etc...)

Plus, we've got a few documentaries we could watch. I still have The Corporation which, in my opinion, becomes more relevant every day.

(This just occurred to me: you know what would be great on a double-bill with Harold & Maude? The Loved One starring Jonathan Winters, Rod Steiger, etc., etc., based on the wonderful Evelyn Waugh book.)

The entirety of The Corporation has been posted to YouTube, broken down into 14 segments. Here's the first segment; stick with it (I find the very beginning to be slow, 'laying the groundwork' stuff), but toward the end Howard Zinn appears and discusses the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and for me, that's where the film really kicks in.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Freedom--Is In The Mind

P4P members have recently been discussing our favorite tunes--this is one of mine--the first time I heard it after many years, I crashed into the back of a WGAL TV cameraman's car!!!

That's how totally excited I was!!!

Thank you,

kate loving shenk

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Truth About Social Security

We talk a lot about health care on this blog. We give statistics, we talk about how unfair the system is. But to really understand the problem you have to walk a day in the shoes of someone who has no health care, or has to rely on the government to get money.

I know what your thinking, because I used to think the same thing. I used to think that those on social security or who have no insurance at all are either down on their luck, very poor, or both. The truth is this kind of situation could happen to anyone. It could happen to your mom, your brother, your best friend, or even a girl who grew up in the suburbs, dreaming of life as an adult.

When I was in school I was different then a lot of children. I thought about world issues and wondered why things are the way they are. At first I tried to get my classmates to participate in these conversations, but they just laughed at me. So I kept these thoughts to myself and waited till the day when I could make the world a better place.

When I was thirteen I was a red belt in karate. I was training for a tournament. I was told to go practice in a small room near the dressing room, and when I went to do a blind kick instead of just hitting air I ended up hitting the door frame to the dressing room and broke a bone in my toe.

That injury caused me to be disabled before my fifteenth birthday.

Seven years later after discovering that despite my best efforts I probably won't be able to hold down enough of a job to keep me afloat financially, I started applying for social security. I believe it was the answer to my prayers. It took two years of rejections and court hearings for the government to finally decide I was telling the truth.

After the court handed down it's ruling my lawyer told me that I could expect somewhere between twenty to thirty thousand dollars in back payments (back payments are the way that the court apologizes for not believing I really am disabled the first time I applied). I was elated.

Two months later I had my first meeting with a social worker. He laid down the ugly truth. He told us that while I will be getting money every month it probably won't add up to more then four-hundred and thirty dollars, and my back payments, after they paid the lawyer, wouldn't amount to more then ten thousand dollars. I was crushed. Still, I believed it couldn't get any worse. Boy was I ever wrong.

Only a couple days after meeting with the social worker the mail started flooding in. Mail about the decision, mail about how to pick a health plan, mail about who was giving me which amount of money. It feels like the mail will never stop coming.

And talk about confusing. My parents and I went through the mail hundreds of times and still didn't understand it. But we did what it told us to do. First we picked a health plan that we thought my doctor accepted. Then we were told they didn't accept it, so we choose a new plan. Then we were told that they were sorry, they didn't accept that plan either. Finally on top of all of this I started to get sicker, and it didn't seem to have to do with any part of the problem that started with the broken toe. My doctor discovered an irregular heart beat.

While it seemed like a horrible thing, the doctor told us that it might be as simple as too much stress. He did some blood tests, and said that if they came back normal (which they did) I would have to have an echo. Then it got worse.

Since the doctor that diagnosed the disease was not part of my new plan, I would need to go to another doctor and get him or her to write out the script for the echo; and that's where the fun started once again.

We called the plans office and asked if there was any doctors in our area that accepted the plan. The woman on the phone came up with one. "Great" we said, and tried to call him; but the number she gave us was a wrong number. Turns out that that doctor doesn't work in our area anymore. So we tried again and got the name of a different doctor. I called the office and asked if they can see me right away. They told me they don't see new patients for another six to seven weeks.

Stumped, I went back to my old doctor's referral office and asked if there was anything they could do turns out they found a clinic very close to my house that can help.

So what should you take from all of this? Should you march on Washington and demand them to change the system or you aren't leaving? Maybe. First and foremost, however you should take the following two things from this story:

First, know that this could happen to anyone. It doesn't matter what race you are, how old or young, or even what social class you originally came from. All that has to happen is for you to get sick and not be able to pay for your doctor bills.

Second, remember how long it took me to get a simple test on something that could be very serious. Know that it shouldn't be this way, and know that if we don't do something it will stay this way. So write your congressman have forums, or even just talk about this to someone who may have false beliefs about it.

I might not be the last person to go through this program, but I'm hoping that soon there will be one last person. I hope you learned something from this, and I hope that you will do something about it. Thank you.

Blessed be,


Friday, May 04, 2007

My Introduction for a Better World

It's interesting-I have my own blog and I normally use it for complaining about my life; it never occurred to me that a blog like this one could be used to debate foreign and national policy. Then again, I don't get around much in order to know why others are blogging in the first place. Sure I attend my meetings and help to organize marches like a good progressive, but it never occurred to me to try to share any views that someone would take seriously.

Then again, a lot of things don't occur to me. That might be because I really don't get out much. I have a neurological condition known as Reflex Sympathetic dystrophy and while the pain from this disorder (you can learn about that pain at does keep me in most of the time, a lot of the time it's the idea of going out and dealing with the world that scares me more then the pain of going over road bumps.

It's not that I don't like being around people, far from it. The problem is dealing with people that don't know me, that feel they have to stare at me when I do something they feel is wrong or out of the ordinary. For instance while I can walk well enough, walking long distances is really hard on my body; so for that reason I have a handicap sticker in my car. It isn't because I'm lazy and use my relatives card to get in and out of places quicker.

Then there are the things people do that are in most cases a friendly gesture. If someone feels sorry for me and puts a hand on my shoulder it is actually extremely painful rather then comforting. The idea of shaking some one's hand makes me wonder about how I should handle the situation. Should just deal with the pain, or should I tell the person I can't do it and get an awkward look.

The point of writing this article is not to make you feel bad; but rather to help you open your eyes to the fact that a person who doesn't shake your hand or uses a handicap sticker when they can walk isn't necessarily being rude, and might actually be saving you from an embarrassing situation.

I'd like to think that by sharing this story I'll be able to get out more, or at least get less stares when I do get. Maybe by this time next year I'll be up to date on the way the world works. But till that happens I'll keep trying to keep up with society, and try to remember that a blog can be used for more then just complaining.

Did Rudi Giuliani Bury Himself Alive? (I Can Only Hope So)

Here is a link to a recent Keith Olbermann commentary based on a recent Giuliani talk he gave at a "Lincoln Day Dinner" in New Hampshire.

If you saw the Republican Debate last night, and made it to the end (I'm living testimony) then you know how sad a bunch these white men are who one of them could replace "W."

And we'd be sorrier for it.

Here's the link.

Peace (of mind)
Kate Loving Shenk

Did Rudi Giuliani Bury Himself Alive? (I Can Only Hope So)

Here is a link to a recent Keith Olbermann commentary based on a Giuliani talk given at a "Lincoln Day Dinner" in New Hampshire.

If you saw the Republican Debate last night, and made it to the end (I'm living testimony) then you know how sad a bunch these white men are who one of them could replace "W."

And we'd be sorrier for it.

Here's the link.

Peace (of mind)
Kate Loving Shenk

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bill Moyers Is Back

As you know, the Bill Moyers Journal is back on PBS television every Friday evening.

I just had the pleasure of watching Moyers interview Jon Stewart and wanted to share the link with you all to watch.

The discourse is thoughtful and indepth, as one would expect from both of these men.

Also entertaining!!!

Check it out!!!

Peace (of mind)
Kate Loving Shenk