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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 09:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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1973 Nebula winner: Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death

Not your usual SF story.


GOP Debate Decision Tree

Itís funny how inconvenient my lack of faith as a bereaved mother can be for those on the outside.


My daughter was born three years ago. I went into pre-term labor at 22 weeks gestation, and try as they might, the doctors could not keep her here with us. Her short life, just eight hours long, has marked my life and my husbandís life deeply. Margaret Hope (or Maggie, as we refer to her) continues to exist with us in her own way, but this persistence has absolutely nothing to do with god or Jesus or angels or any other specific afterworld. This is what works for us as parents. Itís what works for about two percent of the U.S. population who currently identify as atheists, and for about 20 percent who are agnostic or unaffiliated with any particular set of beliefs.

Being an atheist in a believerís world can be difficult at times, especially when some of the more fervently religious are close family or friends. Itís even more daunting when faced with grief and death. Christians believe that when we die, we either go to heaven or hell. Many, of course, believe babies go to heaven because they are, well, babies. When our daughter died, my husband requested to have our baby baptized, fearing in some way for her soul, a remnant of his Catholic upbringing. There was no time for a traditional baptism while she was alive but her NICU doctor performed the rite for her while we held her in our arms for the first time, our tiny, frail, lifeless daughter whose eyes never even got a chance to see. It felt bizarre to me, but I allowed it because my husband was suffering and it seemed to bring him some comfort. Later, as reality hit harder, he would lose all faith as I had done.

(. . .)

The thing is, though, if you tell someone of faith that you donít believe your child is in heaven, youíre met with confusion, or sad looks, or sometimes even a bit of anger. People donít understand how or why you wouldnít want to believe that your child is in a better place. Quite often, they take it as a personal attack on their belief when itís really more about being honest about your own grief. Itís funny how inconvenient my lack of faith as a bereaved mother can be for those on the outside. (Actually, itís not funny at all.)

I sought out support groups in my area, but could not find any that were not held within a church. I did not feel comfortable going to one of these places for fear of verbally assaulting anyone who might suggest my daughter had earned her angel wings. It made me want to shake people until they realized that maybe she died simply because people die. Maybe she died because there were errors made in the care I received at the hospital I visited twice in the week before she died, where those who saw me shrugged off that I was spotting without reason. Maybe she died because I was unable to visit a new doctor because the office refused to see me without receiving the paperwork from my previous doctor in Miami, whose office continuously forgot to fax over my records, leaving me without regular medical care for weeks. Maybe she died because I had experienced tremendous stress after being fired from my job due to early pregnancy complications that required me to miss work, causing me to go on Medicaid in the first place, resulting in the aforementioned doctor shuffle. Maybe she died because of any other reason except that it was godís will. Maybe it was more about socio-economics and my own personal health than about imaginary lords in the sky.

What is Hillary's optimum strategy in the general?

Assuming for the purposes of this thread that Hillary has won the primary then what?

A cynical strategist (is there any other kind?) would advise her to go to the right until she is just to the left of the leftmost Republican, Attila the Hun.

That would be the safe bet, who else are you gonna vote for suckas?

On the other hand Hillary could throw caution and prudence to the wind and tack hard left in the general, there is something to be said for that.

Cute bumper sticker I just found on an Electric Vehicle forum I frequent

I'm a VW owner (gas not diesel) and found this amusing..

The Donald gets a new pet :)

"I won't vote for Hillary" is the canary in the coal mine

Rather than take the canary laying on its back in the bottom of the cage as a warning that the political atmosphere is getting toxic many Hillary supporters seem to think that berating the canary for insufficient loyalty and showing its privilege is the answer rather than acknowledging the noxious atmosphere that caused the canary to keel over in the first place.

You can harangue DU until your keyboard is reduced to smoking ruin, that might get a few dozen or a few hundred DUers to vote for Hillary but it's not going to change the minds of the millions of others who would normally vote for a Democrat but will most likely just stay home if Hillary is the nominee.

FWIW, that's the very first time I have typed those five words as a sentence on DU.

Q: Do you buy the party unity argument?

A: I don't..

At 0:35

Forget the war on drugs: Alcohol ruins more lives than all other drugs combined


While our current political conversations often involve concerned discussions about marijuanaís imagined dangers or potential benefits (recall that the most recent Republican and Democratic debates both dedicated time to the question of pot legalization), our most problematic relationship actually seems to be with alcohol. America, it seems, has a drinking problemóand studies indicate it is only getting worse. There are real reasons, in addition to the pressing issue of mass incarceration and the failure of the drug war, for us to start thinking seriously about the cost of our increasing reliance on alcohol when we consider the ravages of drug use. Particularly since the toll of alcohol, though often left out of that conversation, actually outpaces those of every other legal and illicit drug combined.

Drinking is on the rise in the U.S. Precipitously. A study released this year from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation finds that heavy drinking among Americans rose 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012. Not only are Americans drinking more, but in an increasing number of cases, theyíre consuming those drinks in rapid succession. The same study found that binge drinking increased 8.9 percent nationally during the same time frame. In 2012, 8.2 percent of Americans were heavy drinkers, meaning they had one drink per day on average over the course of a month. An additional 18.3 percent of Americans that year fit the description of binge drinkers, defined by the CDC as men who have five or more drinks and women who have four or more drinks in a single drinking session.

(. . .)

The price of drinking is astronomical in every way. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that binge drinking among Americans costs the country nearly $250 billion annually in lost productivity in the workplace, alcohol-related crimes and treatment for the health issues that result from excessive alcohol consumption. While the wages of Americansí boozing have always been pretty high, the study notes that costs have notably increased in recent years. In 2006, the price of binge drinking for the nation was $223.5 billion, the equivalent of $1.90 per drink. By 2010, the figure rose to $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lionís share of those costs, 77 percent, were related to binge drinking.

Of far greater concern should be the ways in which alcohol destroys lives. The CDC estimates that alcohol was linked to 88,000 annual deaths in America between 2006-2010, while the agency found that 38,329 people died of drug overdoses in 2010. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, alcohol is the cause of death for more American teenagers than all other drugs combined, and is ďa factor in the three leading causes of death among 15- to 24-year-olds: accidents, homicides and suicides.Ē The New York Times reports that, on average, six Americans die of alcohol poisoning each day. Three quarters of those who died were 35 to 64 years old. And 30 percent of Americans report that theyíve had enough struggles with alcohol at some point in their lives that it could be considered a problem.

When Bernie loses the nomination will Hillary ask her donors to pay off his massive campaign debt?


June 25 , 2008

(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama has asked top contributors to help former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton retire the debt from her failed presidential campaign, an Obama campaign source said.

Obama and Clinton ran a protracted race for the Democratic presidential nomination that left Clinton with a campaign debt of more than $22 million when she bowed out this month.

About $12 million of that amount is money the senator from New York loaned to the campaign herself.

Obama asked members of his National Finance Committee to contribute to Clinton's campaign if they were so inclined, but he did not direct them to do so, the Obama campaign source said Tuesday.
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