Category Archives: cogitations

quote for the day

We will make mistakes if we go forward, but doing nothing can be the worst mistake. What is required of us is moral ambition. Until our composite sketch becomes a true portrait of humanity, we must live with our uncertainty; we will grope, we will struggle, and our compassion may be our only guide and comfort.

~ A. Stone, Law, Psychiatry, and Morality


With a bang and a whimper…

Health care comes at last. With half of us kicking, screaming, wailing, and digging fingernails into the door frame and the other half throwing a kick-ass victory party, America will at long last join the ranks of developed countries who have recognized that health care is a critical piece of the social fabric and the legitimate province of government regulation, even if we are still fidgeting uneasily at the end of the line.

It’s certainly not a perfect bill. And it’s not a quick fix either. The pieces will take several years to fall into place, and there will be kinks along way. Good people will look at the same fact sets and differ over implementation and scope. But finally – finally!! – we are moving in the right direction.

I hope to flesh this out a little more thoroughly in the days to come, but let me put forward just a few salient points:

  • Just for the record, the procedural maneuvers that brought us reconciliation and deem and pass are no more illegitimate than the use of a filibuster to require a super majority of 60 votes.  The Senate was designed to operate on a majority vote, and an excellent case can be made that requiring 60 votes thwarts the expressed will of the majority of the electorate. Reconciliation and deem and pass serve as a check to a dictatorial minority in the Senate.
  • Requiring citizens to purchase health insurance is no more tyrannical than requiring them to purchase car insurance. Uninsured people impose huge costs on the rest of society. It’s just good economics to require everyone to participate in order to minimize costs across the board.
  • Health care cannot be unmoored from its moral implications. I don’t want to get mired down in a debate over whether it’s a right or not. I don’t care what you call it so much, but it is important to recognize that we’re talking about services that make the difference between living and dying, and that changes the terms of the debate in important ways.

If you really can’t bring yourself to find a scrap of good in this, I hope you can at least enjoy the political theater. It’s been unusually exciting lately, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon.

Bon voyage, Rushie baby! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Mental health

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. ~Bertrand Russell

No missed chances

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good that I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn

Beautiful thought for the day

Life is short, and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us.  Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind!

Henri Frederic Amiel

Also, coming soon…pictures of our new house!! We’ve been so busy moving in and unpacking that I haven’t had a chance to post pictures. But I will.

New every year

It’s amazing every year. I line up the pots, fill them with dirt, stick dead, dried-up little seeds in them, and in two weeks give or take a little, I have live, green, growing things. I suppose it’s kind of cliched to talk about seedlings like this every spring, but the eight year old inside me is still wowed by it every. single. time. I look at the different seed shapes and imagine the plants that will grow, and I think to myself that we have one really cool God.

plants in trays

seeds in trays 2

Justice for all who can afford it

I’ve got about two atoms of trust left in the political process, but I was trying to maintain some kind of hope in the legal system. Yesterday didn’t do that trust any good.

I’m training to be a guardian ad litem, and I was in court completing my required four hours of court observation before my swearing in. The first matter proceeded smoothly enough. But in the second case, the attorney for the mother screwed up. Badly. He stood up in court and made some kind of argument that left everyone in the courtroom scratching their heads. It had no apparent bearing on the case.

 Turns out that everyone was so confused because the argument truly didn’t have any bearing on the case. He was talking about someone else. The court-appointed lawyer didn’t know anything worth knowing about the woman that he was supposed to be representing.

 Later on in the day, another court-appointed lawyer showed up 45 minutes late to an adjudication. She hadn’t contacted her client in over 60 days, and she didn’t recognize him when she walked into the courtroom. To her credit, she did seem to know something about him and his case once she got going, but she got off to a rough start.

 In theory, our legal system sounds like it should work pretty well. Put both sides of the story in one place with equal representation, and the truth is most likely to emerge. But in reality, the system founders badly when qualified representation is frequently only available to those who can afford to hire it. I have no doubt that somewhere there are court-appointed lawyers that care and work hard to represent their clients as well as they possibly can. But too many people get a lawyer who is only working for the court because (s)he can’t get a job anywhere else.

Justice isn’t for sale here as overtly as it is in other countries. But it’s for sale nonetheless.