Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grandma on an ice floe: My trip to Antarctica....

My lawsuit against the Department of Defense finally ended last week when I filed a "Stipulation to Dismiss" based on a signed order from a Ninth District federal court judge. In June of 2008, I had sued the DoD in small claims court for the return of my airfare when one of my Iraq embeds had been canceled, allegedly without due cause. Then, after about a year of sparing in court, the Department of Defense finally agreed to settle with me and reimburse me for my airfare, allegedly in order to avoid further legal fees after they had bumped my case up into federal court.

Apparently I didn't exactly WIN my case against the DoD but simply wore them down. Whatever. My main point here is this -- that after the DoD settlement, I had a bit of extra money left over so I immediately ran out and signed up for a trip to Antarctica this December. Yaay!

But what does this mean?

It means that I just paid Overseas Adventure Travel a good chunk of money in order to "set grandma loose on an ice floe." This December I'm gonna become a poster-child for the Republican party!

PS: I also will be leaving for Russia and Ukraine in two weeks, hoping to report back from the Kremlin and Red Square (and Chernobyl if I'm lucky) regarding the social and economic conditions of one of the top major players on the world stage today. And, no, I will not be going anywhere near the North Pole.

PPS: According to a Daily Kos article entitled "Red Alert: Health Care as National Security Crisis," 166,000 Americans have died since September 11, 2001 due to lack of health insurance. 800,000 Americans have also died due to inferior healthcare. So. Has having a crumby healthcare delivery system made us feel any safer? Nope.

Plus, as my friend Mike just pointed out, "We don't have enough general practitioners, regular doctors and nurses to contain or detect a major pandemic before it breaks nationally." Americans are willing to spend big bucks on nuclear weapons but are not willing to spend even peanuts on sending the necessary amount of students to med school needed to protect us from pandemics. And without enough doctors, we are in just about as much -- if not more -- danger than we were when the twin towers went down.

According to recent USA Today headlines, "Flu could infect half of USA: 90,000 deaths, 2M patients possible." And with a crisis like this in the making, do we really want to have the same slow top-heavy bureaucratic for-profit healthcare insurance companies that have already screwed up bigtime in charge of this possible national disaster? I can see it all now. "I can't treat those two thousand people in my waiting room desperately dying of swine flu," doctors will cry. "None of them have the correct forms!" In case of a major national health crisis, wouldn't we rather have the same folks that brought us MediCare be in charge?

And another thing I don't understand is this -- why every doctor in America doesn't go out on strike until Congress finally enacts a single-payer healthcare plan that will keep the medical profession from being strangled, beaten and swamped by all that insurance company bureaucratic red tape?

And according to the Daily Kos article on healthcare being a national security issue, "Today, like every day, 275 Americans will die because of the inferior level of U.S. health care relative to other industrialized nations; 60 Americans will die today due to lack of insurance."

Will some of us grannies be among the 335 who will die today due to inferior healthcare or lack of it? Probably not -- because we all have MediCare and are not effected by what those lame-arse health insurance companies are doing to our children and grandchildren. But if we ARE gonna be among the 60,300 Americans who will die within the next six months due to the current healthcare system's failures, then I would highly recommend that us grandmas run out and make our reservations to go visit Antarctica NOW -- before the ice all melts and there are still some high-quality ice floes left to choose from down there.

PPPS: My son and one of my daughters currently have minimal (but expensive) healthcare insurance, and my granddaughter has none. In memory of Teddy Kennedy and in the name of national defense, let's get my children and grandchildren -- and your children and grandchildren too -- some decent single-payer healthcare insurance that will keep our loved ones all safe.

Here's my "Talking Grandma Blues" video on YouTube about being out on an ice floe:

"Blogger Jane Stillwater, a grandmother herself, figures that if she is going to be put out on an ice floe by the healthcare insurance industry, she might as well do it in style!"