lundi 31 août 2009

Measure twice, cut...

Once

inshallah


It's a gorgeous day. The kind that don't come often around here these days, but we have been exceptionally fortunate this year. First, a real winter; everyone asked, "Un vrai hiver pour une fois, peut-être on aura un vrai été cette fois-ci?" We waited. Summer broke clear and hot. We even went without rain without killing the crops around us, although things were getting pretty crispy in the garden right before I packed the Bimmer and headed for Dordogne. I spent two hours the evening before, in the near dark, watering copiously. It rained the 24th, maybe other days as well. You know why.

I watered for two hours the evening of the 21st.

Audouin came up to me sometime the week before he left for the Périgord with that look in his eye. The one that says, "Je t'ai cette fois-ci." Or, "This time I've got you."

"Oui?" I fear my irritation showed, as it usually does.

"T'as pas vu la plant là?" "There." That's his favorite way of referring to anything he has seen that I surely should have noticed and attended to, but neglected and let go to hell. Epic fail. I bit. You have to.

"Quelle plante où?" Which plant (mon amour, I said it all with my eyes) where.

"Là, sur la terrasse en bas, celle qui," here it came, the swipe of the knife, "est en train de mourir." Thrust. "Elle est, en fait, si tu me demandes, déjà morte." Dead. I and the plant. He was referring to a grapevine, the Chasselas Doré. It drops its leaves earlier than the others, actually.

"Elle est seche. Elle est en train de faire tomber ses feuilles dû à la secheresse et la chaleur. Elle n'est pas morte." I'm a Democrat. I don't know how to return the kill, other than to defend myself lamely and wait for events to prove me right. It could sprout leaves and he'd still say, "Tu vois, j'avais raison, si je ne l'avais pas vue, tu l'aurais laisser mourir."

As if I hadn't noticed. This, I let go. Like health care reform with teeth. It's best.

"Tu veux que je te le mettes ici pour que tu puisses mieux la surveiller?" Why not? Bring it on up here by the door, and then we can both watch it die. Together. That will be nice.

"Oui, bonne idée," is what I said. "Comme ça, je pourrais la voir de plus près. Mets-la un peu à l'ombre pour la proteger. Il y a des bourgeons de feuilles."

"Ils sont déjà morts," he pronounced, sure of himself and of my guilt. I let it drop.

I crunched all the dead leaves off, broke the twigs at the point where dry wood met green, and watered. Those dead leaf buds? They're opening.

He'd possibly rather it die to be right.

Then again, maybe not.
....

dimanche 30 août 2009

His project

Get a little closer, why don't you?


This does not exactly inspire confidence, but we're all used to it. Often, his nose touches the paper.

I exaggerate; his cheek does.

How, you ask, can that be? Well, he squints one eye closed and then brings the paper right up to his other eye, eyelashes tickling the fiber of the paper, or his eye right down to the surface he is examining, the work he is doing, the body on which he is operating.

No, no. I exaggerate. I don't know what on earth he does in the operating room. Maybe just feels his way through things. Actually, when there's a lot of blood involved, which is true in -- excuse me, but it's true -- obstetrics, at least, if less gynecology, is about the case.

I am, nonetheless, a little worried. He does not have the equipment of a professional wood shop to mark and cut the wood. He is using a mechanical pencil, a carpenter's "fat" pencil, a tape measure and an old protractor from the navy. His father's days in the academy? Something he picked up in a broccante? It usually sits collecting dust alongside his other precious naval bibelots on a shelf in the living room.

We drove back up from the Périgord Thursday in two separate cars, Sam driving the Bimmer alongside me and Audouin driving the Voyager, laden with 20 cases of Bergerac to set aside to age nicely, alongside his daughter. We followed. He looked miserable. About like he could throw himself from the window on which he leaned his head, propped on his elbow. I was a little miffed, shall we say, putting it nicely, with him the evening before our departure. I am sure there were very good reasons, but, as usual, I have forgotten them and remember only that they merited a good sulk. Snap goes the delicate strand connecting us.

Friday, he went to get the wood for the balcony. His project.

His Project.

He has assured me that he knows how to do this, but I think I have seen doubt cross his brow; I know it has crossed mine. I am swearing to let him get on with it and swear at himself, not at me, when and if he discovers that maybe it really does matter what you use to measure before you cut, and what you use to cut. From the sample cuts, I am not reassured. All I don't want is to have to live with a boy scout project rather than an accomplished finished project. Let me not rush to judge.

He has another week to work on it, although at this rate, it will be nearing Christmas before we'll know.

Meanwhile, I got another coat on the balcony. It's getting there. I could almost leave it the way it is. Almost.

By the way, the 3G+ key didn't pick up WiFi deep under in Dordogne. I missed you, but I got used to it. The days seem much longer without Internet.

Go figure.
....

samedi 22 août 2009

A fine filament tugs

Japanese Horsetail in the basin

There is a cane of the Japanese Horsetail that leans on a perfectly still summer morning. I walked over to greet the fish -- they race over in a clump of frantic activity anytime I approach, thinking "Here comes the food!"; I feel like a fraud when I show up empty-handed, which I do all but once in the morning --, and I notice a single fine filament of spider web suspended over the water and its residents, the tadpoles, frogs, water lilies and fish. I followed it down to the spent geraniums in one of the the three pots, and back up again to where it connected to the tip of the bent cane of the Japanese Horsetail. A single filament of spider web strong enough to bend the cane, but not enough to pull this carefully balanced potted plant, its pot attached with garden wire to a brick, set precariously on a stone in the bottom of the basin. It sways in any movement, toppling easily. The fish and the frogs aren't even surprised anymore. Not even when I have to grab it and move it around until I get it into the one position where it won't fall over again immediately. They sort of gather around to watch. Not the frogs. They are too wary even now.

There is such a filament that connects me to my husband. He has been with his family and my son at his parents' home in the Périgord since early this week. I am slightly bent, too.

Yesterday, I decided I'd stop waiting for deliveries and workers promised, but that never come, and drive down to surprise him. I imagined gliding silently up in the car (not possible) and walking from where we park our cars to the lunch table under the au vent and kissing him on the cheek. Everyone else would have seen me, except those whose backs, like his, were turned in my fantasy. He would smile with pleasure and give me a big hug.

That's when I realized it was a fantasy of my own imagination. What would he really do? He'd say, "Mais, qu'est ce que tu fais là? Je pensais que tu ne voulais pas venir. Pourquoi tu viens quand je vais bientôt partir?"

Sreeeeech. Fantasy comes to a grinding halt.

Indeed, he called last night and in the midst of chit chat about wood, his new circular and some other kind of electric saw we call "une scie sauteuse" -- you've seen them -- , he mentioned coming back home early in the week.

"Lundi ou mardi, probablement mardi, je pense."

"Oh! Mais -- pourquoi si vite?" I knew very well, actually that he wanted to drive back up early in the week, Monday or Tuesday, and I knew very well why, too, but I asked anyway.

"Pour travailler sur la maison lorsque j'ai le temps." It's true that he has two more weeks of vacation and wants to make use of them on the house, but --

"Mais, le bois ne sera même pas prêt pour le balcon jusqu'à la fin de la semaine." That deflated him. He knew that the wood wouldn't be cut and ready until the end of the week because I had already told him that when we talked about the quote; 779 euros for the Iroko to match the big balcony, cut into lengths for him to turn into the pieces of the balcony.

That introduced, however, all the doubt I needed to wonder should I stay or should I go now?

I only have a few more morning tasks I'd have to do anyway to go now before I have to decide whether to pack my bags and get ready to go, cause I'd be leaving, in a Beamer; don't know exactly when I'd be home again. I'm not so lonesome I can't take it anymore, but I'm leaning towards leaving in an old Beamer.
....

PS: I heard sirens go by and wondered where the fire was. Then, there were voices and the motors, I realized, weren't racing. The fire was nearby. I went out to the gate to look, and there was a caravan of American army jeeps and guys dressed in combat fatigues rolling past.

It was the army encampment I had discovered yesterday evening when I took the neighbors' house keys to her mother up by the soccer field behind the village social hall, Canadian, British and American flags floating in the evening breeze, men standing around like a pre-combat cocktail party, a little boy dressed in navy blue shorts, a light blue shirt and high socks, some kind of beret set on his head. He tugged at his proud father's hand and then set off at a trot.

The Second World War is still big here in France, especially so in Normandy, which we neighbor.

vendredi 21 août 2009

My point, illustrated

Last evening -- yesterday afternoon for everyone in the US -- I watched President Obama's Health Care Forum on Organizing for America's (the old Mybarackobama.com site transformed from campaign mode to netroots legislative support tool) website.

He took questions, screened by the OFA organization and entirely from people with on-the-ground volunteer roles with OFA, or as precinct captains and neighborhood team leaders for the Obama campaign. In other words, no unfriendly questions.

All questions were deemed by the President as good or excellent questions, and to be fair some were particularly good, like the woman talking to her community who comes up time and time again against the question "Am I going to get pushed by my employer into the public option if it exists?" (no, there will be a firewall preventing employers who offer good health insurance from doing that, which no one would need with a single-payer system, but never mind), or the man who asked what will happen to those who can't afford even the public option (there will be exemptions for hardship cases -- one had the impression that President Obama decided that on the spot, extemporizing).

He was truly a fine communicator. Likable, clear, amusing, serious, tough but accessible. If I were living in Washington, I'd be pretty excited about Michelle's farmer's market outside the White House. What a great use of a condemned public street. Anyway.

He told us, and I paraphrase, "Look, we haven't been perfect or played a perfect game, I won't claim that. Yeah, we messed up a little on the Public Option thing. Listen, yes, I am for the public option (he stopped short of saying that no bill without it would be vetoed, but I'm supposing he's leaving that to the House Dems to take care of), but what you've got to understand is that my words were misconstrued, or I wasn't really clear enough. What I meant when I said the Public Option is only a sliver of the pie is that this is really also about reforming the insurance industry."

Here's the thing, single-payer, as practiced throughout the industrialized, capitalist world -- last time I checked, there were financial markets in Paris, London, Frankfurt and Tokyo and plenty of luxury cars waiting in Knightsbridge outside Harrods, on the rue Georges V outside the Hôtel Georges V, or on the Place de la Concorde outside Le Crion, next to the American Embassy, and Tokyo! Have those worried about socialist creep in countries with government-run health care systems noticed the scores of well-dressed, impeccably behaved Japanese tourists all over the world with money to spend in restaurants, hotels and luxury boutiques? Just check out the line at Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Elysées, with Paris (in socialist -- gasp! -- France) still considered the luxury goods capitol of the world -- doesn't require the bulk of the president's or campaigner's remarks to be about reforming the private insurance industry because its role is reduced to supplemental coverage above the national health care system, or for those snobbish and deluded enough to believe that the more medicine costs them, the better it is.

Speaking from firsthand experience, I can tell you this is false. Where shall I commit the tales to pixels or paper? But I digress into support for single-payer again (Weiner... Kucinich...).

But, concerning a public option, he said it. He spoke to those tuned in, his supporters, and he told them in no uncertain terms "I continue to support a public option." This supporter instantly posted it to Facebook, tweeted it and committed it to pixels here in her political scrapbook and journal. Nancy Pelosi backed him up from the House, saying "There's no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option."

Wait, does that really mean "There's no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives"?

This morning, I opened my email from the New York Times with the day's headlines and tracked to the article by Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, "Obama Insists Health Plan Will Pass". Ten paragraphs into the article discussing the bipartisan chances of this bill, the public option is finally mentioned:
"As the bipartisan Finance Committee negotiators prepared to discuss a bill that almost certainly would not include a public insurance plan, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters in San Francisco on Thursday that legislation without such a public plan could not win House approval."

Four more paragraphs of discussion on the chances of bipartisan support in the Senate resting on the requirement that "any legislation produced would have to be scaled back from measures that have cleared other committees in the House and the Senate."

Forget it. It's all shadow theater when Senator Grassley (and he is not alone, nor are there no Democrats with him, read Jeff Sharlet's The Family; you might not enjoy it, but you'll recognize the sick feeling that know you already knew about this movement in the darkest corner of your conscious self), with his ties to C Street, those "followers of Christ" bearing their swords to fight against "Godless" socialism in the name of the Lord's own free market, his chosen to lead, like King David and Genghis Kahn, who are not to be judged or to judge one another, and hold power in the world and at home. Ronald Reagan was their poster boy, their greatest spokesman, nearly destined to become their most influential president.

Everyone is required to attend their National Prayer Breakfasts to play the game, from the United States president to the PM of Great Britain, US UN proxies like Benin and Ecuador and congressional staffers.

Addressing the National Prayer Breakfast held annually at the Washington Hilton on February 5, President Obama said:
“I know this breakfast has a long history in Washington," the president said at the annual event, held the first Thursday in February since 1953. "Faith has always been a guiding force in our family’s life, so we feel very much at home and look forward to keeping this tradition alive during our time here.”
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/05/obama-cancels-national-prayer-day-service.html

However, he sent another signal when he canceled the National Day of Prayer service at the White house, held every first Thursday of May since President Reagan made the occasion, signed by President Truman in the National Day of Prayer proclamation, a permanent fixture of the White House calendar. According to the LA Times, under President George W. Bush the day was "a political event, confirming a conviction that religion was a core tenet of Republican politics."

This year, the President would sign a proclamation to recognize the day, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs explained that "Prayer is something that the president does every day... I think the president understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays."

A missive sent straight to the heart of the brand of religious fundamentalism practiced by America's political elite, establishing that some news rules had been written into the play book of the role of religion in American business and politics.

How would all this play out on the legislative stands the President would take with representatives proud to call themselves "Followers of Christ", their personal Jesus -- a Christ who is unrecognizable to the Christians I know and to the priests who have celebrated the masses I have attended, a Christ who would surely be leading the effort to establish health care reform alongside Howard Dean, and more happily still with Anthony Weiner and Dennis Kucinich --, in the unabashed quest for power and wealth and intimate with their Brothers inside the insurance industry? Could a President change the rules by which legislation is made and separate the conservative from the Follower of Christ conservative? Is such a distinction still in existence today? You'd have to believe so, as much as you hoped so, from the number of self-labeled conservatives who switched sides and voted for Obama.

It's also easier to understand, to place in some context that makes some sort of sense these placard-carrying right-wingers, screaming against Obama the Socialist and Socialized Medicine when you see them for what they are: martyrs to their image of Christ, ready to play their role to further the Glory of their chosen leaders, who will take them to the Lord after this life.

Listen to Johann Hari, who writes in his article for the UK's The Independent August 19, "Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason: How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality":

Up to now, Obama has not responded well to this onslaught of unreason. He has had a two-pronged strategy: conciliate the elite economic interests, and joke about the fanatical fringe they are stirring up. He has (shamefully) assured the pharmaceutical companies that an expanded healthcare system will not use the power of government as a purchaser to bargain down drug prices, while wryly saying in public that he "doesn't want to kill Grandma". Rather than challenging these hard interests and bizarre fantasies aggressively, he has tried to flatter and soothe them.

This kind of mania can't be co-opted: it can only be overruled. Sometimes in politics you will have enemies, and they must be democratically defeated. The political system cannot be gummed up by a need to reach out to the maddest people or the greediest constituencies.

Maybe he's playing too fine a game with a blunt opponent? Watch...



Asking "WTF?" yourself? Having a hard time accepting this? Then check out TPM:

Americans for Prosperity Compares Health Care Reform To Holocaust, Tells Protesters To Put 'Fear Of God' In Members Of Congress




Yeah, they're gonna' write their representatives and put the fear of God in them. You heard the man these people listen to.

So, then, the Smerconish interview, very possibly one of those conservatives, the ones to whom President Obama is talking when he speaks of hope for bipartisan agreement. Senator Olympia Snow being another. 16 paragraphs into an article largely dealing the odds of achieving bipartisan support, which President Obama signaled in both the Smerconish interview and the OFA Health Care Forum that he thinks is unlikely, and the Republicans reasons for dragging their feet (no, they say, this is not a repeat of the Gingrich strategy in 1994, our concerns with the bill are legitimate; I believe some said that in '94, too), the President's position on the public option appears:
"The president took a handful of questions Thursday on the radio talk show, which originated from the White House and was hosted by Michael Smerconish of Philadelphia. Mr. Obama renewed his support for a public insurance option, seeking to quell the uproar among some Democrats that he was abandoning his position to make the plan more acceptable to moderates...

“'The press got excited, and some folks on the left got a little excited,' Mr. Obama said, referring to the news reports this week that the administration was leaning toward health care cooperatives as an alternative to a government-run program to compete with private insurers."
Great news! It took 16 paragraphs for someone wishing to know the answer to this question who is not following as closely as some of us news hounds, but the President does still support a public option. He does not use language to indicate that he requries it, but he has said that he still "supports" it.

This has been the question of the day among those of us who supported him and continue to do so, if not somewhat more tentatively until he is very clear on the subject of the public option, but who are feeling just a tiny bit nervous, asking ourselves, as Frank Rich put it, "Is Obama punking us?".

It's actually a little more than a little bit. We were pretty upset when Rahm Emanuel -- with the support of the Oval Office (read President Obama) -- told the vocal progressive groups running ads to put pressure on centrist Democrats happy to exercise the power of a swing vote to stop them. According to POLITICO:

"Some on the left believe administration officials are making such statements only as a favor to Democratic legislators whose votes they’ll ultimately need.

But the White House indicates to POLITICO that it truly believe the ads aimed at Democrats are counter-productive and largely ineffectual. There is no winking and nodding when Obama and Emanuel deliver their message, say West Wing officials."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/25900.html#ixzz0Onzm1vUc


Can you blame us? It wasn't very nice. We feel strongly about our position, and we choose to let them know, otherwise it's business as usual (just look at the lists of campaign donors to the Blue Dogs, and you know you have to speak up and work for serious campaign finance reform) and they just might think we aren't interested and let important pieces of legislation drop for "lack of support", when in reality it suits the lobbyists at the door and the pols' ability to finance their next campaign. An inconvenient truth, Mr. President, but a chance we can't afford to take when every intelligent commentator and analyst agrees that without a public option, there is no reform, just rules requiring the insurance industry to insure everybody, without making it possible for everyone to afford it.

So, we tuned in to listen very carefully to what he would say, and what he wouldn't say. We waited for the question, or, in the absence of the question, his voluntary renewal of his support for the Public Option, and it came from a man attending the forum, but the NYT writes:
"no such concerns were expressed on Thursday as Mr. Obama delivered a pep talk to the group in a meeting at the Democratic National Committee that was broadcast on its Web site."

Now, I agree that it was a pep talk. It was a really good one, too; the President does them very, very well. However, he was specifically asked by one questioner to say whether he supports the public option, and if not, what he proposes to replace it. It is true that it was as unagressive a way as anyone could imagine to ask for his stand on the public option, but it was included, and the President said:
"I continue to support a public option."

He didn't say which one. Let's hope it's the public option that has been described, but c'mon NYT, don't say that we members of OFA and other "liberal groups" did not challenge him on it.

The forum was a meticulously prepared, carefully screened platform designed to help his supporters understand what he stands for and how to get that message across to those among the 23% who don't already support inclusion of the choice of a public option (pretty good numbers for those of us who favor it) and those among the 49% or 47% (depending upon the poll consulted, NBC or Survey USA) who do not yet "favor his approach" when read a statement of his health care plan, but might once their questions are answered honestly.

As for some unknown percentage of the others, don't worry about them. They have their own personal Jesus.


....

jeudi 20 août 2009

Pelosi: “There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option”

From Bloomberg.com:
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won’t be able to pass health-care legislation in her chamber if the measure doesn’t include a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

“There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, said at a press conference in San Francisco today.

The idea, a central component of President Barack Obama’s effort to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, has emerged as a flash point in his party. Suggestions by administration officials in recent days that the White House might be willing to give up on the public plan drew protests from some House Democrats.

Obama today reiterated his support for the proposal.

“If we have a public option in there it will help keep insurance companies honest,” he told a group of community volunteers in Washington.

Not with 77% of Americans in favor of a public option as a choice, with emphasis on that word "choice", as the Huffington Post reports:

A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

Keep talking to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors who aren't clear on what President Obama's health care/insurance reform plan does and does not include and mean because it works:

Read a description of the president's health care plan, 51 percent of Survey USA respondents said they "favored" the approach, while 43 percent opposed it. In the NBC poll, 53 percent of respondents said they favored the president's plan, 43 percent said they opposed it.
And keep those cards and letters and telephone calls on their way to congress, the senate and the White House. Let them know where we stand and that we've got their backs.
....

Obama: "I continue to support a public option"

OK, he said it. President Obama said that he continues to support a public option as a part of a health care/insurance reform that also focuses on insurance reform.

If that is the case, then Howard Dean can't really be a thorn in the side of the White House as Phillip Rucker suggests in his article "Dean challenges Obama to deliver reform" in today's Washington Post. He'd theoretically be on the same side as the President. Perhaps holding his feet closer to the fire to keep him honest, but not really a thorn. After all, Dean is out there in public, rallying the progessives, a role that Rahm can't take on.

But why not keep the staff on message? Why the apparant miscues from the White House this week? Sibelius, Gibbs and Emanuel all apprently failing to grasp the President's position on health care/insurance reform?

The President brought it up himself, more or less attributing it to the way things go, but you have to ask if things have been so clear in the White House, or if it somehow works best to keep it hard to nail down in the general public, while you stand on the sidelines, hold a town hall or two under controlled conditions and then lay it all straight with your supporters in an Organizing for America Health Care Forum.

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to make those same arguments directly to the undecided? To those genuinely interested in getting answers to the questions they have? You have the world's greatest bully pulpit to talk to the people directly, but your best material, in this case, is offered to your supporters to take out to their neighbors and the shoppers at the mall who stop by the OFA Obama health care reform tables.

I would say that unless you have a tremendously complex and sophisticated strategy that you cannot possibly unveil at the peril of a public option -- the real thorn in someone's side -- that it would be better to go directly to the nation, to the media and to us at the same time. You know, only your most loyal supporters are on http://my.barackobama.com/watch to watch your health care forum.

Just don't let us find out that we were strung along and punked. Don't let us find out why the questions about deals with Pharma weren't included in the OFA Health Care Forum because the deal was you told us you are still for a public option, so in exchange we don't ask about deals with the lobbyists. Don't let us find out that you weren't straight with us, when you gave every appearance of talking straight, because it's an inside the Beltway thing, and we'd just mess things up.

My question for you tonight would have been, "What, Mr. President, did you tell Rahm Emanuel when you leanred he told we progressives who voted for you to 'shut up'?"
....

Firedoglake congressional accounting

If this pressure was exerted from within the progressive caucus, it would be one thing. But it wasn't. This was created externally, by a true grassroots movement, without the support of MoveOn, HCAN, the unions, the think tanks, or any of the other normal well-funded progressive validators living in the veal pen, who have been AWOL through the whole thing. Rahm told them to sit on the sidelines, and they have.

Does anyone think that intensity of feeling is just going to go away? That people will simply accept Obama's "goody bag" of health care toenail clippings which delivers nothing but a political victory for him, and give up on their dreams of delivery from the current health care system? Taibbi's right -- this will be to Obama what the Iraq War was to Bush.

But instead of repeating the mistakes of the Republicans, who allowed their representatives to line up behind George Bush and walk their party over the cliff, grass roots progressives are the ones who are taking control of the health care debate. They have rejected the discredited progressive leadership of the veal pen, and they are telling their progressive members of Congress that they will not accept a health care bill with a co-op "bait and switch."

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, If Progressive Members of the House Think We’ll Accept Co-Ops As Public Plan, Think Again



Which all brings me back to my Atul Gawande post after yesterday's glow in light of (no pun intended) Howard Dean's remarks on Morning Joe about how the Public Option will make it through in reconciliation with only 50 votes needed. How will this happen? Because progressives will have held enough feet to the fire with their online donations and support (blackmailing, I dare say some of those enjoying their seats in the House are thinking about now as it starts to get really hot for them with their colleagues ready to do business with Rahm and the WH, President Obama, alas) to force them to put it back in and force the Dogs hand.

Well, there are two issues here. One, is whether or not Dean is right and how much influence the netroots nation -- Hello! -- really has. The other is all about our President and of what he turns out really to be made.

For me, that won't be decided by a Middle East peace agreement and good relations with the North Koreans (who might have been begging for them, bizarrely I'll admit, with their nuclear shows over the Pacific in some pretty aggressive, schoolroom acting out strategy).

No, where our President -- a man who made me want to believe that Hope was possible for a just society in America, all while having a slight qualm after reading Audacity of Hope (I wasn't as convinced of his authenticity as I'd fully expected to be, but I figured I'd give him some slack, and I definitely wasn't so enthusiastic about his centrist politics (read legislative success-at-any-price, or what others called "pragmatism") -- will show me of what he's made will be if he throws off the gamesmanship and deal-at-any-price counsel of Rahm Emanuel (some Plan for America, by the way, Rahm) on his shoulder and steps up to the plate of moral and intellectual honesty to call for and defend a Public Option at the very least.

Oh, I can hear the pragmatists saying, "At the price of getting legislation passed? We've seen that before. Live by your ideals, be prepared to die by them."

Well, as the other extremists (ha) say, "Give me Liberty or give me Death." I'll take legislative death over corporate welfare any day. If it comes to that, I'll take a pass -- and my chances -- and wait for the progressives to get madder still.

Am I ready to say I wouldn't vote for him for a second term if he fails to do so? No, not if Sarah Palin and her running mate Newt Gingrich are my only choice, but I would do it without enthusiasm and with only a hope of not seeing things worse still.
....

The Young Turks: Hey! Polls show people agree with Obama's health care plan



"'Man! We suck at our job! We have completely failed the American public!' The news media, as to why the vast majority of Americans have no idea what they're against."
-- Laurie, on Facebook


There are just so many great things about this commentary by Sam Seder on the failure of the press to report on the facts on the Obama administration's health insurance reform plan. It's here for posterity. It's here for the 5 or 6 people who peek here from time to time. It's here because it's true, while being highly entertaining.
....

The food chain

No drowned slug goes wasted


This is how frogs' legs get fat for eatin'.

No, we do not eat our frogs here. We take pictures of them. OK, I take pictures of them and worry over them lest they should leave the fish-pond-in-a-fountain and fall pray to one of our cats, which has happened. Sadly. They don't even eat them. They don't even kill them all the way. They just open their guts and leave them helpless to die in the heat.

Bad cats.

And then there was the dog (Baccarat, but I'm not mentioning any names) who bit the lily flower off its stem.

Bad dog.
....


An appeal from the UK for an equitable solution to America's heath care woes


"I am writing this note to urge you to support, be vocal,
be whatever it takes to find a more equitable solution
to America's health care woes.
It is a discredit to the U.S. that so many are without access
to affordable health care. It borders on a crime."

-- Carolyn, American living in the UK


The following is a letter, written by an American living in England. It was forwarded to me by a fellow supporter of President Obama, working to promote better understanding of what health care as a moral, societal and economic issue and what government participation in its payment and delivery really mean.

I could write the same letter as an American living in France, where I am married to an Ob/Gyn who has practiced in a public hospital for more than 25 years. I have told many stories here in this blog.

Those of us Americans living in Europe, like those living in Canada and Japan, know what benefit we receive in return for the higher taxes we pay: secure and certain, top-quality health care without question. No one cannot afford to see a doctor or be hospitalized. No one has to go without medical care. No one has ever to mortgage a property faced with the worst. And, American health care, while for those who can afford it is among the best in the world, is no longer the best in the world. Check out the WHO rankings of health care success by country. We're at the bottom of the industrialized world. Even if you consider only the top quintile of the population (in income), our infant mortality rate is higher than Canada's. Something is very wrong in the US as far as access to health care and health care delivery is concerned.

We might have bureaucrats receiving our claims and paying our doctors, but they aren't deciding which doctor we can see, what medical treatments will be covered, nor whether we can afford to see one at all. I'd rather have the government make doctors available to me than insurance executives decide what I need and don't need.

For us, health care is a given. We live our lives without fear of losing our jobs and losing our insurance. That's big peace of mind.
....

Dear friends,

I've been following with increasing anger and dismay the debate over health care reform and once again the scare tactics being used to discredit and confuse the debate. I am writing this note to urge you to support, be vocal, be whatever it takes to find a more equitable solution to America's health care woes. It is a discredit to the U.S. that so many are without access to affordable health care. It borders on a crime.

As an American citizen who now lives in England, I have had first hand exposure to both systems. In the U.S., I was self-employed and could barely afford private insurance and even then, one with a very high deductible. I could not and did not avail myself of basic care and, when I needed an operation, funded that through a home equity loan that took me 5 years to pay off. I was lucky in that I at least had home equity and could afford the long repayments. My brother, also a self-employed contractor, cannot. He suffers from a variety of ailments and can only afford a doctor only very occasionally. Needless to say, that has not helped his other health conditions, including underlying high blood pressure.

In England, I have access to the National Health Service which provides full medical care. When my local doctor can not address the problem, I am referred to specialists. I have used the system for 10 years. It has served me well with good quality care. I have good friends who have had breast cancer or need for a heart bypass and who have sought and received good care through NHS. What you are hearing in the U.S. media are a few cases where the system has not worked or met expectations. To my knowledge, some of those cases were of individuals who could not have been 'cured' even with all the best care money could buy. In another instance, there is a British politician who is hitting the media trail to criticize the NHS. He is called an 'eccentric' by his own party and I understand is someone who can well afford private care on his own money and has never ever had to use NHS.

As I face retirement I will admit that one of my reasons to remain in the UK is the assurance that I have access to such health care benefits. It is reassuring. I know that my English taxes have contributed to funding that system. Those taxes are high but well worth such benefits as this.

Please support the struggle for health care reform.

Best,

Carolyn
....

There's always the alternative... Wealthcare! No Welfare!



Yeah. That's the ticket.

Thanks, Jeannie!
....

Or, we can all get behind Howard Dean and keep Obama clean, fighting for the public option at the very, very minimum like the President has said he favors.

Me? I'm with Randy Huber:
"I would like to see single-payer health care in this country," said Randy Huber, 64, a retired state government worker from Canaan. "To me, the public option is only a start."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/19/AR2009081901773_2.html?referrer=facebook

And Representatives Kucinich and Weiner, and many more Americans than the Blue Dogs and the President wish to count, or hear from, it would seem.
....

mercredi 19 août 2009

This is just a great day, if Howard Dean is right



I'm laying a bet that he's right. How about cagey, too, our pols? Let us hope.

The thing of it is, if he is a thorn in the White House's side, then how does his saying this -- and with such confidence -- work at all? The rub lies there.
....

Anthony, I'm definitely moving to Rockaway if I ever come back


Why doesn't this make sense to everyone? If we're going to let the GOP off the hook (like they're practically begging us to do so they can save their derrières in their constituencies, and let's be kind and let them do it, shall we?) and carry health care insurance reform on our own, why not just go ahead and do it right? The government can hire a few of those the private insurance companies will have to lay off, and then the industry can just divvy up 1% of Cigna CEO Steve Hemsley's salary this year and give golden parachutes to all the rest.

The lucky ones.

I'll bet he doesn't even know how good we have it here in France, either.
....

M'am, talking with you would be like talking with a dining room table




Ooooh yeah! Go Barney! Go Barney! It's your birthday! Go Barney!
....

Bob Herbert just totally depressed me: get your tentacles off my reform

He concludes his OpEd so appropriately, to the very many of us feeling the same way, entitled "This is Reform?" as follows (if you have the heart, read the whole thing by clicking here):
While it is undoubtedly important to bring as many people as possible under the umbrella of health coverage, the way it is being done now does not address what President Obama and so many other advocates have said is a crucial component of reform — bringing the ever-spiraling costs of health care under control. Those costs, we’re told, are hamstringing the U.S. economy, making us less competitive globally and driving up the budget deficit.
Giving consumers the choice of an efficient, nonprofit, government-run insurance plan would have moved us toward real cost control, but that option has gone a-glimmering. The public deserves better. The drug companies, the insurance industry and the rest of the corporate high-rollers have their tentacles all over this so-called reform effort, squeezing it for all it’s worth.
Meanwhile, the public — struggling with the worst economic downturn since the 1930s — is looking on with great anxiety and confusion. If the drug companies and the insurance industry are smiling, it can only mean that the public interest is being left behind.

Call this health care reform "Leave no giant pharmaceutical or private health interest behind".

I've got to go do something else beside depress myself for awhile. Where's the mailperson with my big can of stain?
....

Ariana Huffington: the delusion of bipartisasnship and the WH vacuum


"The public option is essential, and the President has to make that clear."
-- Arianna Huffington on Countdown with Keith Olbermann


Let's just make it the Public Option behind which we rally, whip up the support and empower the President to get clear now.

Right now.

Robert Reich's calling for a March on Washington September 13:

“Very few things happen in Washington that are in the public's interest when corporations have huge financial stakes in the game, as they obviously do with health care — unless the public is actively involved, engaged and organized,” Reich wrote. “We won't get a public option, or anything close to it, unless people who feel strongly about it make a racket.”

The “first step is to be very loud and very vocal: Write, phone, e-mail, your congressional delegation and the White House. Second step: Get others to do the same. Third step: Get voters in Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and other states where Blue Dog Dems and wavering Senate Dems live, and have them make a hell of a fuss. Fourth step: March on Washington.”

Draw YOUR line in the sand -- and not just on the shore this hot August -- and mark your calendars, and I don't care if it is your birthday!

Show up. Bring your family. Visit the nation's capitol, just get up and do it September 13.
....

Ronald Reagan's Socialized Medicine LP for the AMA: The origins of a mentality



"From the 1961 Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against Socialized Medicine as proposed by the Democrats, then a private citizen Ronald Reagan Speaks out against socialized medicine. There is no video because this was an LP sent out by the American Medical Association."

wyattmcintyre, member YouTube.com

mardi 18 août 2009

The Great American Lie: a whole bay of pigs



"From the 1961 Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against Socialized Medicine as proposed by the Democrats, then a private citizen Ronald Reagan Speaks out against socialized medicine. There is no video because this was an LP sent out by the American Medical Association."

wyattmcintyre, member YouTube.com

Here is the plan for the construction of the Great American Myth. How strange that the year 1961 appears again. The year of Obama's birth. My own. Kennedy was in the White House. The US launched The Bay of Pigs. Communism was our Enemy, Socialism its basic political and economic philosophy.

Now it's finally time for the deconstruction of the Great American Lie.

Leave your country, my fellow Americans, to better see the truth. You're too close to the source of the power behind the lie. You've bought Capitalism with a Capital C's great fallacy, hook, line and sinker, and it's going to take you down.

Socialism is not communism. Socialism is not the enemy of Capitalism. They are partners working for a single goal: the augmentation of the wealth of society, and its equitable redistribution. No one ever said "equitable" is "equal".

The balance is ours to determine, but it always involves thinking critically about our leaders' motivations and their success at generating wealth for everyone, from the least to the greatest among us.

The larger and more complex the society, the more difficult it is to act together to bring the pressure needed to bear on the leadership when it has betrayed the interests of the lesser among us, who need representation and power. It's only a non-zero-sum game if the members of society stand up for themselves and make sure that their leaders distribute the wealth we produce.

France has many faults. One of them is not our, the United States of America's, greatest, the betrayal of society by private interests and their lobbies in the name of the unfettered free market.

Any 12-year-old here understands the meaning of "solidarity". We cheered when Lech Walesa named his party for it and brought democracy to Poland. We just chose to see it differently in our great American hypocrisy then?

That 12-year-old here can rebut Reagan, point for point. I'll give it a go as soon as I finish some more work for the house renovation, and feel free to join in with your own in the comments. make it a movement in a new American symphony, reclaiming the words stolen and soiled by US private interests and their henchmen, the lobbies.
....

lundi 17 août 2009

Hold the presses: Bill Kristol agrees with the unlegislation!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance


It's right there, at 5.16 into the segment.

He says:

BK: It's a very bad plan. It's unnecessary. There are lots of things you can fix in the American health care system without completely overhauling it and trying to micromanage it from Washington.

[Has he been having coffee with Atul Gawande?]

JS: What's a nice targeted thing?

BK: Insurance fixes so you can't discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, make it easier to keep your...

And then, the public option:

JS: Would you like to see a public option?

BK: No.

JS: Now why not? Why shouldn't the government provide some level of care for the 50 million uninsured?

BK: The government does have Medicaid for the poor, and there are many proposals, and there already are some subsidies for people to buy health insurance, uh, who can't afford to... one reason the price of health care is going up so fast is because of the government programs, the price of Medicare and Medicaid have gone up faster than private insurance [wait, really?], so the more government you have, the faster the prices are going to go up, and that's pretty well-documented over the last 20, 30 years, and then you're going to have to try to control costs, and that's going to lead to rationing. It is a bad plan.

JS: So you don't believe, no public option? So even though that's good enough for the military, not good enough for the people of America?

BK: Well, the military has a different health system than the rest of America.

JS: It's a public system, no?

BK: Yeah, they don't have an option and they're all in military health care.

JS: Why don't we go with that then?

[Gotcha'!]

BK: [nods head to the left, eh, you maybe got me there] Is military health care really what you -- well, first of all, it's expensive, I think they deserve it, the military, I'm not sure --

JS: But the American public do not?

BK: No. The American public do [sic] not deserve the health care American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve, and they need all kinds of things that the rest of us don't need.

JS: Well, no, they can have a level of care, but are you saying that the American public shouldn't have access to the same quality health care that we give to our better citizens?

BK: Yes. To our soldiers? Absolutely. The American public --

JS: Really?

BK: I think one thing, if you become a soldier --

JS: Should they have nicer houses?

BK: They don't have as nice houses, Jon. They get paid less --

JS: No, I'm saying, should they?

BK: They get paid less so one of the ways we make it up to the soldiers is -- and since they are risking their lives -- is we give them first class health care, the rest of us can go out and buy insurance -- as 90% of us have -- as 90% of us have --

JS: I just want to get this on the record, Bill Kristol just said --

BK: I feel that you've trapped me somehow [smiling, naturally] --

JS: That the government can run a first-class health care system

BK: Sure it can.

JS: A government-run health care system is better than --

BK: No [shaking his head and smiling] --

JS: the private health care system.

BK: I think of it, I don't know that it's better, I don't know if it's better but --

JS: No, you just said that it's better.

BK: The military, I don't know if it's better all around --

JS: No, you said it was better. You said it's the best. The military, it's a little more expensive, but it's better.

BK: The military need different kinds of health care than --

JS: I just want to get this straight [writing on a notecard] --

BK: Note that down.

JS: The government run is the best health care.

BK: I will support you in arguing for better health care for the military if they are in any way being deprived that.

JS: I understand that. So what you are suggesting is that the government could run the best health care system for Americans but it's a little too costly and so we should have the [censored] insurance company health care.

BK: What I am suggesting is that --

JS: Or, no health care.

BK: Our soldiers deserve better health care than --

JS: They deserve the best.

BK: because they are risking their lives --

JS: I agree.

BK: and they are not in the same situation as all the rest of us, and --

JS: They have the best government-run health care money can buy.

BK: [pause... you can hear pins dropping and breath held] That could be. I hope they do. I'm not sure the VA, for example, which is another government agency has the best --

JS: Don't try and back out of this, brother, you're gone.

BK: has the best heath care. I'm not sure Medicaid and Medicare, which are government programs, provide the absolute best health care --


Ah. So, we're getting closer to the truth. Some of us deserve it, and some of us don't.

American soldiers deserve it because they are risking their lives for our country.

And US congressmen and women and senators deserve theirs because?
....

From Gawande's mouth to Obama's ear: the unlegislation

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/06/obama-says-read-atul-gawande.php

"high levels of health care spending are not associated
with high levels of health care quality.
The system is screwed up."


I swore I'd give this up. I don't have the time for it, and it is probably the biggest effort in futility in which I have ever engaged.

We voted for Obama. We voted for Change. We voted for Hope. We all did this with our eyes more or less open. Many said, "You're being a little too progressive there. I'm not supporting Obama because he's a progressive, but because he's a pragmatist." I think they meant that he'd get things done, not that he'd trade away the barn.

People are getting nervous, though. On August 8, Frank Rich asked, "Is Obama punking us?" and by August 11 Maureen Dowd was asking where's the "young grass-roots army that swept Obama into office", saying it "has yet to mobilize now that the fight is about something complicated rather than a charismatic hope-monger" and Drew Westin, writing in The Huffington Post, was telling us what the other parents in his neighborhood, the ones who voted for that "charismatic hope-monger", were starting to let lose in criticism of the hope-monger now that he is POTUS.

And the MyBO listservs, as quiet as a mausoleum since the inauguration, were coming alive with murmurings of "This is what I received...", "What do you think..." and "Doesn't this sound like a concession to you all?"

And the foreshadowing of history's judgement:
What Obama and Democrats don't get is that not only are they betraying all of us by not advocating for and passing Improved Medicare for all, but they also are betraying themselves. They are giving away this huge cash cow to powerful corporate interests when instead they could use it to solve the health care crisis for generations to come, save Social Security for generations to come, solve the budget deficit for generations to come, and make themselves out to look like (and be) moral heroes and fiscal geniuses for the history books.

But they are trading all of that (money, mercy and saving lives) for a relatively few lousy campaign donations. The long view of history will judge them harshly, and they will end up looking bought-and-sold-out stupid.
And then, in response to Sibelius' remarks on the public option being "unessential" on CNN's "State of the Union":
I think we are on the verge of either real reform OR a revolution.




And this morning:
Is there any point to [the OFA rally for health care reform in Times Square, NYC August 29] now that the White House has given up the ghost to the pharmaceutical industry and is looking to drop the public option? As far as I can tell, real reform is dead.

This is what we get for voting a centrist into office.

All this, while The Huffington Post leads today with the following 10" banner headline under "Breaking News":

WHITE HOUSE'S
MIXED MESSAGES

Sebelius: Public Option Not "Essential"... Gibbs: WH Supports Public Option... Douglass: Obama Prefers Public Option... WH Official: Sebelius "Misspoke"

One is tempted to ask who the head chef is.

I have a suggestion. It's Dr. Atul Gawande, but the word's not officially out in the administration.

It's Atul Gawande's June 1 New Yorker article

The Cost Conundrum

What a Texas town can teach us about health care.

that President Obama has been handing out to our senators to read. It's Atul Gawande who has the President's ear, and he has never been for single-payer or a public option. Neither has the President. Not seriously. He's still debating the pros and cons in his head, while everyone's screaming and feeling betrayed.

Presidents used to get time to reflect in private, listening to their own angels and demons, before making a public announcement of intent, having lined up their arguments and support beforehand, and ready to defend their position. Now, the intellectual dithering is all out there for everyone to witness and splinter before it comes to maturity.

This is the part of Obama that wasn't apparent before now. It's the messy part of figuring things out. The part that's better done before you start talking and giving interviews.

Sure, those who said, "I'm not voting for him because he'll defend the progressive ideal but because, on the contrary, he's a pragmatist" had something of this in mind. They knew what many others wished weren't true: that he'd never support single-payer, no matter how many of us were willing to lie down our lives for it, and that he'd drop a "public option" like a hot potato if he felt that it wouldn't get him a bill to sign in the Rose Garden.

They would be satisfied with a little progress.

The fact is that Barack Obama is a centrist. Always has been, always will be. It's how he came to terms with his own identity, for heaven's sake. He wants legislation, almost any legislation, whatever he can get out of congress and make a claim for, like "Hey, it isn't everything we wanted, but we always knew [nod, wink] that we wouldn't be able to get it all, and we got this." [Applause.] He could make Bill Clinton turn green with envy.

Actually, he did already.

And here comes Atul Gawande, already "unfriended" by the single-payer movement and committed progressives, with the perfect solution: just do like some successful areas in the United States are already doing all on their own, and we'll be fine, and we've totally missed it. Dr. Gawande tells us in "1o Steps to Better Health Care" in the NYT August 13 OpEd pages:
We have really discussed only two options: raising taxes or rationing care. The public is understandably alarmed.
[Understandably? Did you explain to them how single-payer works and why? No? What are you afraid of exactly?]

There is a far more desirable alternative: to change how care is delivered so that it is both less expensive and more effective. But there is widespread skepticism about whether that is possible.

Yes, many European health systems have done it,
[Yes! Yes! Europe! Here it comes...]
but we are not Europe.
[Oh. The let-down: get over it. I have been trying, from my vantage point here in Europe, where I know how right we've got it.]
If the rest of America could achieve the performances of regions like these, our health care cost crisis would be over. Their quality scores are well above average. Yet they spend more than $1,500 (16 percent) less per Medicare patient than the national average and have a slower real annual growth rate (3 percent versus 3.5 percent nationwide).
[Now this sounds like Nirvana... but he does mention a caveat: "Because we relied on Medicare data for our selections, it is possible that some of these regions are not so low-cost from the viewpoint of non-Medicare patients. But overall data strongly suggest that most of these regions are providing excellent care for all patients while being far more successful than others at not overusing or misusing health care resources." They couldn't do a little checking of that strong suggestion of the data?]
... better, safer, lower-cost care is within reach. Many high-cost regions are just a few hours’ drive from a lower-cost, higher-quality region. And in the more efficient areas, neither the physicians nor the citizens reported feeling that care is “rationed.” Indeed, it’s rational.

Many in Congress and the Obama administration seem to recognize this. The various reform bills making their way through the process have included provisions to protect successful medical communities by incorporating payment approaches that reward those that slow spending growth while improving patient outcomes. This is the right direction for reform.

See? Obama agrees with him. This is what Obama wants, but how are they going to do this?

I'm not saying that it won't work. The three key ingrediants for success (not the 10 promised by the OpEd's authors) form a part of the fabric of the European, Canadian and Japanese single-payer systems:
  1. The "Mayo model, with salaried doctors employed by a unified local system focused on quality of care".
  2. "with several medical groups whose physicians are paid on a traditional fee-for-service basis" incorporating "ways to protect patients against the damaging incentives of a system that encourages fragmentation of care and the pursuit of revenues over patient needs."
  3. "a collaboration of doctors, state officials, insurers and community leaders to improve care. For more than four years, physicians have been tracking some 60 measures of quality, like medication error rates for their patients, and meeting voluntary cost-reduction goals."
So, Dr. Gawande and President Obama, is this a voluntary system and our representatives on Capitol Hill can just heave a sigh of relief and turn to another issue you'll be able to find a way not to legislate to improve, or will this involve legislation the AMA can accept to make heath care so inexpensive and successful that insuring it will be like calling Geico for your old wreck?

We're dying to hear the details.

And you'd better hurry before you have to do more of the damage control we saw in today's HuffPo and you look even more like a band of amateurs.

Meanwhile, what discussion of nearly anything would be complete without Paul Krugman's input?
So where does Obamacare fit into all this? Basically, it’s a plan to Swissify America, using regulation and subsidies to ensure universal coverage.

If we were starting from scratch we probably wouldn’t have chosen this route. True “socialized medicine” would undoubtedly cost less, and a straightforward extension of Medicare-type coverage to all Americans would probably be cheaper than a Swiss-style system. That’s why I and others believe that a true public option competing with private insurers is extremely important: otherwise, rising costs could all too easily undermine the whole effort.

But a Swiss-style system of universal coverage would be a vast improvement on what we have now. And we already know that such systems work.

So we can do this. At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/opinion/17krugman.html?src=twt&twt=nytimesopinion

Thank you, Mr. Krugman. Italics mine.

You don't get this done, and there's reason to be worried, very worried, for 2010. Ask Nate Silver.
....


dimanche 16 août 2009

The work goes on

The balcony, from the bathroom

yes, those are barbells on the floor

somewhat less amazing than

hanging

in midair



I am pooped. The interior side of the balcony has received a coat of black stain, and all that remains for the first coat is the underside. Tomorrow morning, first thing, I will order another pot of the Donnos stain from the Maison de l'Ecologie site. I hope to have it Wednesday, although Tuesday would be better, but impossible.

If I am not careful, I will get depressed from the effort, and the fact that it isn't perfect. I am already getting crabby with Audouin, who has pitched in to strip the window of the "petit salon". The one I am not sure is worth keeping. A problem is that it was made with exposed hardware angles a such to hold it together. These were then covered in some sort of wood filler because windows were painted then. Whenever "then" actually was. A long time ago, let's say. The question is what to do with them now.

I also think that the space between the exterior of the window and the face of the glass is too narrow for a proper application of window mastic, but he thinks it's fine. That's probably why two of the glass panes are cracked is what I think.

I'm getting to be too tired to battle the battles.

Everything will surely look better after a glass of wine and a bath. It's very unpleasant to be caked in SP 50 sunscreen, perspiration and dust.
....

samedi 15 août 2009

Leaving off here today

One coat on the front of the balcony


I spent this morning finishing the first coat on the exterior of the balcony in the bright sun.

The sky is blue. Time to go for a motorcycle ride up into Normandy, up around Les Andelys, before Audouin heads down to the Périgord before I do.

We'll take his bike together, I suppose.
....

vendredi 14 août 2009

Taking the Donnos plunge

One coat, center bay exterior


I keep thinking stables. Horses.

The label recommends it for exterior enclosures, stables, children's play equipment... nice things. I can't wait to see the second coat, but I have to wait 24 hours for this product, and up to 48 after a second coat.

Heading off to the wood supply store in Mantes to see if I can get the wood for my husband's attack on the smaller balcony. He's on vacation after today, and maybe it's time to give him credit for what he thinks he can do.
....


Schrödinger's Dunnos

Black


Please, please, please don't let me think "I dunno" when I see this on a sample area.

I opened the can, and it looks like a warm black, but what if... ? It's more of a stain than the product that my sister-in-law uses, which looks like the tar-based product it is. I am nervous about being disappointed. I want so badly to be thrilled.

For once.
....