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This Week in Elder News: 26 January 2008

In this regular Saturday feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.

The collection this week is heavy on politics, but it's been that kind of week.

For me, there was only one announced candidate for president who has what it takes to be the kind of leader we desperately need, and now Dennis Kucinich has gone and dropped out on me. He never had a chance and in my cynicism about how most people vote, I believed (and still do) that some of his difficulty in gaining traction had to do with the fact that he is not classically handsome. That the media ignored him and debate moderators, when he wasn't excluded, barely acknowledged him didn't help either.

Here's his withdrawal statement posted at the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Thursday. Kucinich will fight to retain his House seat and (hear, hear, Ohioans) this is one representative we should hang on to.

January 31 will be the first anniversary of the death at age 63 of the great Molly Ivins, a political commentator who had in life and still has no equal. Her wry Texas humor and dead-on skewering of President "Shrub" and his neocon policies helped soften the sting of the past seven years. Here is some audio, about nine minutes, of her last appearance with Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion in 2006 - scroll down to the beginning of Segment 2. (Hat tip to Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles.)

James Ridgeway and Jean Casella have taken up the cause against the Thought Crime Bill, S.1955, at Mother Jones magazine. They say Senate hearings will be held early this year and that the bill "appears certain to be signed into law." Their story is long with much more detail of related actions going on in the U.S. than I've written here. It is worth every moment of time it will take you to read it. (Hat tips to Steven of Projections and Anita McClellan)

There is a new website that will not only reduce the load in your mailbox, but save a few trees too if enough of us join. Catalog Choice, similar to the Do Not Call Registry but not part of the government, allows you to opt out of receiving particular printed catalogs. Sign up, choose the catalogs you don't want and the organization will contact the providers to remove your name. Plus, it's free.

On Monday evening, 28 January, President Bush will give his final State of the Union Address. It is unlikely to be any more honest than his previous annual speeches, so here is a nifty set of facts and figures from the Campaign for America's Future to consult so you'll know when the president is trying to bamboozle you.

None of the Republican presidential candidates have put forth proposals to fix our broken healthcare system. At least two of the Democratic plans for healthcare reform mandate the purchase of health coverage, one of them with penalties for non-compliance. There are a lot of unanswered questions about this policy and next Thursday, 31 January, Kaisernetwork is holding a live webcast to explore the issue in depth. The public is invited to ask questions by email or phone before and during the webcast, which begins at 1:30PM ET.

I've been called many things in my life, some that pained me, but I'm pleased as punch to be included in Chuck Nyren's list of blogging "troublemakers" at his new Chuckhov's Fun Blog. He also says, "When she links to one of my blogs in one of her posts, the number of page views for me that day equals an entire month of normal activity. It's humiliating." Aw Chuck, I'm sorry...

My, my, my - it's amazing how our legislators suddenly get religion in a wide-open election year fueled by an angry electorate. Last night, in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republicans said they "believe that the earmark system should be brought to an immediate halt." Earmarks, of course, are the billions of dollars in pork projects, like the infamous bridge to nowhere, that are dropped into bills at the last moment often in secret. But being politicians, after all, they didn't really mean it. All they want is a bipartisan panel to talk about it - according to The Hill.

Last week in elder news we showed a video of 500 years of women's faces painted by the great masters. This week, thanks to Darlene Costner, it's a video of 20th century film actresses. I wonder why no one ever does this with men. From Glumbert Women in Film.


The Media certainly contribute to unfair coverage of the candidates. It is sickening. Kucinich was my first choice also, but he was doomed from the 'get go' by lazy journalists (?) who decided in advance which candidates they wanted to promote.

My second and third choices were Joe Biden and Chris Dodd and they, too, were doomed to obscurity because the media wanted the excitement of a woman versus a black for their coverage. Couple that with the obscene cost of the early primaries and we have a broken system.

I wish we could go back to real debates like the Lincoln - Douglas (am I right about his name?) debates between candidates and have them within a few months of the election. Equal time should be given to each candidate on free TV and radio time. Until we have public financing this will never happen.

I always enjoyed Molly Ivins--I wasn't aware of her passing. Such a loss...

Wasn't Ivins just the best?

Never be another Molly, that's for sure.

Ronni - You are not only an inspiration, but a vital link to elder sanity. Once, while writing a tirade against the world wide consumer culture that will probably be the death of us, I coined a phrase defining my elder passion as “a mature lust for sanity.” Your beautiful lustfulness is a resource of great value to me.

I had the privilege of attending a reading by Molly Ivins in Northampton, MA, at her alma mater shortly after Shrub hijacked the presidency, as she so eloquently put it. I second Ronni -- Ivins had and still has no equal.

Btw, I love that Bach prelude -- beautiful montage.

Since I normally have to go to the PO armed with a wheel barrow to haul back all the catalogs I'm sent, I can't thank you enough for posting the link for opting out!
I caught just a few minutes of a segment about this the other morning on Today, but didn't get the link.
Off I go to get rid of a million catalogs and save mega trees!
Thanks, Ronni!

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