Senator Robert C. Byrd Has Died

From the Sunday Gazette Mail online:


June 28, 2010
By Greg Moore,
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Robert Carlyle Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress in United States history, who spent much of his career as a conservative Democrat and ended it by fiercely opposing the war in Iraq and questioning the state's powerful coal industry, died Monday. He was 92.

"I am saddened that the family of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., tearfully announces the passing" of the senator, Jesse Jacobs, Byrd's press spokesman, said in a statement.

Byrd died at 3 a.m. at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., according to the statement.

Click here for full article.


May he rest in peace.

Do you deserve to die?

The Forgotten Question in the Health Care Debat

Rationed care.   Image

Do you deserve to die?

Do your friends and family?

Michael Collins

Scenario 1: You've just been diagnosed with a cancer of the lymphatic system.  You're told that it requires a procedure within the next two weeks.  Unfortunately, you were laid off from your corporate job 11 months, 30 days ago.  You are on your last day of COBRA.  Your company retirement and savings are all gone.  You can't afford the $1,200 a month premium needed to continue your coverage.  Without the operation, you will die.  Do you deserve to die?

Scenario 2: Your spouse has a long history of illness.  Then you discover she has a virulent infection that, if untreated, threatens to disable her to the point where she's immobile and requires 'round the clock medical care.  You work for yourself.  While you have catastrophic health insurance, it doesn't cover the needed treatment nor does it provide for nursing care.  Does your wife deserve to experience this untreated sickness and suffering until her premature death?

Easter Vigil: Remembrance

I posted the following as a comment in the recent DailyKos diary You Are Not Alone by noweasels, but thought it was thoughtful enough to also post as a separate piece -- please also read the piece by noweasels, and thank her for the inspiration.

The rest of what follows below the fold is essentially the entire comment -- two personal submissions for remembrance today that I submitted, plus a parting thought.

...if you're still with me, then jump...

A Loss of Innocence: In Memory of "The Mayor"

Today, my nephew "TJ" would have celebrated his seventh birthday, surrounded by his family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He would be seven -- a lucky number -- if he had lived.

He died on February 20, 2003, two days before his second birthday.

After several years of uncertainty about how to post a story I'd written in his memory, I finally posted it last June.1

Now, as the anniversary of TJ's death passed two days ago and the anniversary of his birth dawns today, I feel that it is only right and fitting to repost the piece here, on the newly redesigned ePluribus Media community page, to both honor my nephew and to further remind folks just how precious the young ones are in our lives. They are the hope for our future; we are their best, last hope that there will be a future for them to inherit. The legacy we have left so far, within the first decade of a new century, is not exactly promising.

The significance of this was driven home, ironically, by Melody Townsel's scary encounter which she originally posted on DailyKos on February 20th.2 Her 8 year old child, playing in front of their home, was asked by a stranger to help look for his lost dog. The person could have been innocent, might have really been looking for a dog, and the flyers he claimed to have put up -- which were never found by the police checking into the matter -- may have been pulled down. The person may have shown bad judgement. However, the "lost dog" ruse has become popular of late, and it is also quite possible that the man intended harm.

It wasn't up to Melody to decide that -- it was up to her to respond to the situation in a manner that she felt was appropriate. She did, and then posted about it in order to remind parents of a very important lesson that parents should pass along to their children. It wasn't a cry out for a legacy of fear and distrust but a call for parents to ensure that they've instilled an important lesson for their children's safety.

No matter the reason, the loss of a child is as tragic and terrible as the birth of a child is wonderful and miraculous. We have, through our children, the direct potential for imparting our wisdom (such as it is) and hope for the future through sharing of our experiences, informing them about our past and educating them to the best of our ability to provide them with the tools they'll need to navigate through life's challenges successfully.

The story of my nephew's passing is sad, but the hope, love and laughter he still inspires is wonderful.

Please keep that in mind as you read the piece that follows.


Loss Of Innocence: Children, Strangers, Sickness and Death

It's now an hour into the new day.

I am still up, although soon to retire for the evening. My last online task tonight is to provide a comment, a reference and a reprint for parents, uncles and aunts everywhere.

Today, a very scary event occurred in the life of Melody Townsel, a blogger at DailyKos and a mother. She relates it here; I've asked her to crosspost it and offered to do so for her if she wishes. If she is gracious enough to provide it or permit it, I will then front page her piece -- it is that important.

The event that occurred will raise the hackles and form a ball of nausea in the pit of anyone's stomach.

A stranger approached her young daughter in front of their house today, and sought to entice the little girl to accompany him in search of "his lost dog." The child had the presence of mind to go inside and tell her mother that she was going to help find the man's dog.

Go read the story. Hug your own children; look in on them if they are already asleep, and kiss them gently on the head.


This story would have had a strong impact on me if it was any other day. Time-wise, "today" has become "tomorrow" -- but for me it's still "today," February 20th.

Today, the story hit me even harder.

February 20th is the anniversary of the death of a young nephew, two days before his second birthday. He died in 2003 from an undiagnosed viral infection.

The loss of a child is difficult -- horrible, in and of itself, regardless of reason. Losing the child to an unknown disease, unexpectedly, sucks massively more. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose a child to a predator.

I don't want to.

I tried to fathom it and failed. I can't try again, and I never wish to know.

Melody must be still be freaking, and yet thankful that her child came in to tell her what was going on. I'm thankful for that, too.

Please read her story. We'll bring it to folks here, too, as soon as it's possible. Regardless, share the story with your friends and family, and let them know that they ~must~ talk to their children about strangers -- help them, if necessary, if they have trouble explaining.

It's too important not to.

The Dash, A Comma And A Footnote

The beginning of the poem The Dash by Linda Ellis sets the stage: a man, speaking at the funeral of friend, referred to the dash between the woman's birth and death as the most important aspect of the person's life. Read the poem, if you can. And read/watch it here: