Friday, December 21, 2007

We can haz peace 4 earthz now?

Sorry for my inattention to all of your lovely brilliant blogs. I have a very bad cold.

Although I swear it is not from my recent superhero fantasy adventure, but from an infected coworker. Isn't that always the way? A word to all infected coworkers everywhere: stay the fuck home, okay? Nobody wants what you got, game boy.

Of course, I myself was forced to go into work while infected, because I AM INDISPENSIBLE.

I am also, I suspect, when all is said and done, a big fucking hypocrite. Or maybe that's just the Nyquil talking.

Anyhoos, because I love you all, I have roused myself from the couch and torn myself away from the Hell's Kitchen marathon and the giant lotion-infused box of tissues to wish you all a nice, you know, whatever the fuck it is you're celebrating.

More in 08. Peace.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


For the second year in a row, Bells On has one the much-coveted and pretigious Drysdale Award for Least Influential Political Blog.

I hope, dear readers, that you won't think that fame has gone to my head if I tell you that seldom, if ever, has an award been more richly deserved.

I would like to thank the RNC. Without them, the evil-osity level of the United States of America would plummet, and then what would I write about?

Also, I would like to thank Jesus for this award. I know this time of year is a busy one for him, what with the Golden Globe nominations, and the Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy, and of course the upcoming Patriots v. Dolphins game. Everybody's going to want Jesus in their corner for that one!

Thanks to all who voted for me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wheel of fortune

Last night, I briefly became my brother.

Or rather, a lamer, non-medically trained version of my brother.

The day started out scarily, as a car accident happened right in front of me on the freeway on my way to work. I was driving in the second lane from the left, when, about 3 cars in front of me, I saw a white Mercedes careening sidways across all 4 lanes of traffic. Luckily, I had enough of a cushion in front and in back that I could brake safely, and luckily for me, the momentum of the accident took the Mercedes away from my lane and into the right guardrail, dragging 3 other cars with it. Cars in the right lanes started pulling over, probably because they got clipped or bumped, but on my side, everyone proceeded slowly on their way.

Then, on the way home from work, I got stuck in a giant commuter clusterfuck as a 6 car accident took up every lane of that same freeway except the HOV lane, and all the traffic had to squeeze through that one lane to continue on their way.

It was just one of those days in LA. Somedays, on the freeways, you can almost smell a recklessness in the air. Minivans, usually the most predictable of vehicles, suddenly zip past you doing 90 in the slow lane. 20 year-old Chevy Malibus weave in between the other cars at high speeds with mere inches to spare, severely testing the limits of American economy car engineering. On those days I turn down the radio, grip the wheel and stay alert. And it’s saved me from a freeway shoulder tow-truck party more than once.

Then later that same night, I went to a party at a girlfriend’s house, and as I was driving home at about 11pm, it began to rain. Not heavily, but it doesn’t take much rain to confound an LA driver. Generally, LA drivers are not accustomed to “weather,” and if you’re driving in LA when there is actual weather happening, best to stay on your toes, because people tend to freak the fuck out. My entrance ramp onto the 110S featured a stop sign, and as I accelerated from 0 to freeway speed, my car fishtailed just a little.

The road was slick. But it was also deserted. Without other vehicular lunkheads to over- or under-react to conditions, I figured I would get home without incident.

A couple of minutes later, I was merging onto the 5N via a long, two-lane ramp that curved to the left. I was aware that there was another car some distance in front of me, but I could no longer see the car because of the curve of the ramp.

Suddenly, there was that car in front of me, stopped dead in my lane, lying on its side with its hood facing the left lane, and its undercarriage facing the guardrail. It was about a thirty foot drop on the other side of that guardrail to the freeway below.

“Really?” I remember thinking, “Really?”

I managed to stop my car about 15 feet behind the wreck, and I threw on my hazards. I yanked my cell phone off the charger that I had fortuitously not forgotten that evening, and dialed 911 as I ran toward the car.

As I approached, I could see sneakers poking out the driver’s side window. A woman was trying to escape out the broken window by pushing her feet through the four-inch opening between the window frame and the pavement. “Why is she going that way?” I thought. Go out the top. Go out the passenger side door, which as far as I could see was undamaged.

As I got along side it, I could tell the car wasn’t running anymore, and I could see the woman through the unbroken glass of her sunroof. No blood. She seemed alert, if scared. “Are you injured?” I yelled at her through the glass. She thought for a moment and shook her head. I wasn’t sure she understood me. She kept trying to jam her feet out that small opening. It made no sense, but I figured she wasn’t thinking clearly.

Just then, a large pickup truck came barreling down the ramp. I waved my arms and the got the guy to pull over in front of the scene. He was a young hipster dude, and he looked very freaked out. “Watch for cars,” I said.

I reached up to the passenger side door on what was now the top of the vehicle and pulled the handle. Locked. “Can you unlock this door?” I yelled. She didn’t seem to get it. I repeated myself slowly. She shook her head. “Are you hurt?” I asked again. “I’m okay,” she said, and I thought, okay, she can speak, and she seems like she understands me. That’s a good sign.

In the next few minutes two more cars stopped and there were 4 more young men on the scene. None of us could figure out why she could not unlock her passenger door. A couple of guys started rocking the car back and forth, gently, figuring they would set it back down on its wheels. “No!” I said. “Do not mess with the car. Let the fire department free her.”

Unless the car catches on fire, I thought.

“We need to check and see if there is a fuel leak,” I said. I was kicking myself for not thinking of that right off the bat. Several of us moved to the underside of the car, but it was raining – no way to tell if it was leaking gasoline. Then one of the dudes pulled my sleeve and said “This is the gas tank here.” He was running his hands along the sides of what indeed looked like the tank. He peered around the sides of it. “It’s intact,” he said. Whew. “Still,” I said, “we should keep working on getting that passenger door open in case we do have to pull her out fast.”

A couple of the guys were talking to the woman and telling her she was going to go to the hospital, and she should call someone. She was curled up in a ball against the back of her seat, and although she managed to locate her cell phone and make the call, she couldn’t or wouldn’t stand and try to unlock that door for us.

I noticed that the guy on the ramp watching for cars was not doing a super job of getting them to slow down, and I started directing them too, jumping up and down and waving my arms, and then motioning them by once they had gotten into the open lane and slowed sufficiently so that they could safely pass. I thought about how to free the woman. I thought about breaking her passenger window, but that would rain glass down on her, and suddenly, oh look, there’s the Highway Patrol.

Two very young and intense highway patrolmen blocked the open lane of the ramp with their car and got the lowdown from me as they approached the scene. The first words out of my mouth were “a woman is trapped,” and that really kicked them into high gear. After a few minutes, one motorist tried to sneak by the scene in his car after being told by the officers to stop and they really let him have it. They made him roll down his window so they could yell at him up close and personal-like.

Then, I saw two large LAFD trucks lumbering onto the ramp. I realized that since the CHP car and the back-up of traffic on the ramp was preventing the fire department truck from reaching the scene, I moved my car further down the ramp past all the vehicles so that they could get by. Then I walked back to the scene. No cars were being allowed through anymore. Slowly, as the fire department worked on freeing her, my fellow Samaritans drifted away. I was standing by myself again, watching the trapped woman continue to talk on her cellphone. No longer being a part of the scene, the rescue, and watching her through that bubble of sunroof glass as others bustled around her, it struck me that she looked sort of comical. A little LA native in her track suit and sneakers, talking excitedly on her cell, staring out at us like a fish in some kind of broke-down Toyota fishbowl.

“Officer,” I said, “you don’t need me here, do you?”

He turned and looked at me. It took him a second to recognize that I was the same woman who met them when they first arrived on scene.

“Oh, no,” he said, and then he turned back to his work.

“Okay,” I said.

He turned back toward me again, smiling a kind of nice but official-looking smile.

“Thanks for stopping,” he said. He meant it.

I smiled back and nodded. “My brother was an EMT,” I said, more because my brother, and what he would do in that situation, had been in the forefront of my mind that whole time, rather than because I thought it was something the patrolman needed to know.

It was going to take awhile for the whole rescue thing to play out. Meanwhile, I was wet. I hadn’t realized that my uncovered head had been getting steadily soaked the whole time. As I walked back to my car and started the engine, I laughed at the thought of all those motorists I had directed past the scene in my knee-high leather high-heeled boots and my knee-length leather trench coat.

They probably thought “what the fuck?” or maybe “only in LA”.

But would it affect them, I thought? Would they drive slower or more cautiously after that? And what about that motorist who tried to sneak by the road block? Had he learned his lesson, or would he go home and complain to his wife about some jerkoff cop?

And what about the woman in the car? What did she think about what had happened to her? Did she see it merely as the consequences of the confluence of wet road, cheap tires, and shitty compact car, or did she look at it as the hand of fate? Did she cross herself on the way to the hospital, or thank her lucky fucking stars she didn’t go over the guardrail? Did she know how close she came to buying it in those milliseconds of action? Jeez, you change one variable of that equation, that confluence, just a little bit -- you decrease the traction, increase the surface moisture, add another two months of wear on the treads, and instead of a befuddled victim you got a dead victim. I wonder if she’s thought about that yet. I wonder if she ever will.

Me, I was happy that the city had picked someone else to fuck with last night. I was happy that I wasn’t repaid for my sense of responsibility by having some dipshit plow into the back of my car while I was off playing Good Samaritan. They say that no good deed goes unpunished, and I guess I’m here to say that at least until this very moment, I’ve managed to beat those odds.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Willie Horton

Remember Willie Horton? The Massachusetts murderer who committed assault and rape while out of prison on an extremely ill-advised weekend furlough program? His case was used by (the evil and thankfully dead of brain cancer – hello, karma!) Lee Atwater, head of the presidential campaign of Bush Sr., to bury their rival, ex-Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, under charges of being soft on crime. Never mind that Dukakis was only continuing a program brought about during the administration of his Republican predecessor. Never mind that he was not remotely involved in the exceedingly bone-headed decision to furlough a man who had been sentenced to life without parole. He was the guy in charge when it all went down, and was therefore responsible.

Imagine if we applied that same standard to Giuliani?

Also, I just have to mention that William “Willie” Horton never went by the name “Willie.” The nickname was Atwater’s idea, presumably so that even the blind, who couldn’t see the mug shot used in the commercial, would understand that Horton was black-ity-black-black.

Atwater, and then-media consultant Roger Ailes (why yes, it is the same Roger Ailes who’s now president of Fox News) vowed to make Horton a household name, and they succeeded. Famously unrepentant about stirring up racial tension in the campaign, Ailes remarked "the only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it."

Hey, what’s with the subtleties, guys? How about a knife in one hand, and a watermelon in the other?

In the ensuing years, the Horton commercial has become infamous in the annals of campaign dirty tricks. And now, Mike Huckabee would have us believe that he has become the latest victim of a Horton-style smear.

The perp’s name was Wayne DuMond. He was one of several men whose sentence was commuted by Huckabee at the urging of the perp’s pastor.

DuMond was a bad guy with a history of sexual assault and other crimes. But he was in prison for raping a third cousin of then-governor Bill Clinton, and that made him somewhat a cause célèbre for the rabid Clinton-haters, who said, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that DuMond was framed.

Huckabee had a bad habit of freeing criminals over the objections of the parole board and seemingly based solely on recommendations of right-wing pastors with whom he was personally acquainted. Apparently, all you had to do to get out of prison in Arkansas during Huckabee’s tenure was to buddy up to one of those gullible Christian crackpots.

Predictably, after his release, DuMond wasted little time in returning to his former ways, and within a month of moving to Missouri he had raped and murdered the first of two women.

So much for the “Dumond is an innocent victim of the evil Clinton empire” theorists.

Although Huckabee has been benefitting from a lot of “aw shucks”-type press coverage, I have been suspicious of his motivations from afar for many years.

Why? Because during his entire tenure as governor, he turned a deaf ear to the overwhelmingly obvious innocence of the West Memphis Three.

Has there ever, in the history of American justice, been a more grievous example of railroading than in the case of these three young men? I doubt it. These kids were accused and convicted basically because they were Goths and loners in a town spooked by the gruesome murders of three young boys. But because the so-called “ringleader,” of the three, Damien Echols, is not Christian, Huckabee couldn’t be bothered with him, and that makes him just as bad as the ignorant, malevolent, incompetent bigots who put Damien on death row.

So unlike the frustratingly hapless Dukakis, Huckabee’s current scandal is entirely of his own making, and is further proof that the former preacher would be, as president, more inclined to favor one kind of American over another.

P.S. For more on the West Memphis Three, watch the two excellent documentaries that have been made about them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This is a serious post about John Edwards, and not just an excuse to show this totally hot college football pic

Oh, my lord.

Is it any wonder that our presidential campaigns are, in terms of integrity, like a notch below reality TV? Man, look at what the press is writing about. The Washington Post, THE FREAKING WASHINGTON POST, is doing these really silly little “profiles” of the candidates.

What that really means is that they assign one reporter to make fun of the way the candidate speaks, one to make fun of the way they dress, one to come up with bitchy little “Facts you didn’t know” and so on.

Tuesday’s target was John Edwards. And yes, don’t you worry, there are hair jokes aplenty.

Readers, I can’t even bear to discuss with you the column wherein a Robin Givhan cracks wise about Edwards’s wardrobe. Check it out only if you have a strong stomach and an even stronger will to survive, because after only a couple of sentences, the temptation to kill yourself will be powerful.

Here, I’ll give you just a teeny tiny little taste of its heinousness, but seriously, do not read the following if you have entertained thoughts of suicide in the last six months, or have experienced a depression lasting more than one day: “He pairs his faded jeans with sport jackets in that baby-boomer way, rather than a metrosexual way.”

Yeah. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

But, like I said, there’s really very little point in criticizing tripe like that, even if it is appearing in a newspaper generally respected around the world.

Hey readers, even I get tired of shooting fish in a barrel.

On the other hand, when a famous columnist like Dana Milbank takes aim at Edwards, one is forced to sort of pay attention. Because, well, other people sort of do as well.

In case you haven’t figured out what the RNC-dictated media script is on Edwards this campaign, he’s “the millionaire who pretends to care about poor people.”

Yeah, it kinds sounds like the script against Kerry in ’04, but hey, if it ain’t broke, right?

But let’s get to the Milbank version of the script:

"What America needs right now is America needs a fighter," says the candidate, who was a trial lawyer and a Democratic senator from North Carolina. "Let me tell you why we need a fighter. There's a wall around Washington, and we need to take that wall down. The American people are on the outside, and on the other side -- on the inside -- are the powerful, the well-connected and the very wealthy."

Sounds like a bit of class warfare -- coming from a man with a 28,000-square-foot house, $30 million in assets and a $400 haircut.

"This is not class warfare," he continues. "This is the truth."

Okay, a couple of points:

1. RE: the haircut. He was in LOS ANGELES. You cannot get a stylist to come to your hotel room and cut your hair for less than $400, people. But take a look at Dana Milbank and tell me whether you think this man has ever paid more than 20 bucks for a haircut in his life.

2. Re-read the quote from Edwards he uses at the beginning. Is there ONE SINGLE WORD OF IT that is not true, and more importantly, is not desperately in need of saying?

3. Should we not commend a man who has amassed some personal wealth (about 1/10 the wealth Mitt Romney has amassed, BTW) and who has centered his campaign for president around the plight of the poor and those others who are getting screwed by the Beltway?

4. What the fuck is wrong with class warfare? This is charge frequently leveled at Democrats by Republicans (and soon thereafter, the media) and yet no one really ever explains what is so horrifying about admitting the fucking truth about this country, which is that MONEY WINS. THE END.


Still, we know that Edwards means what he says. We know this because he says everything loudly, shouting from beginning to end as he denounces the "rigged" system in Washington.

Although I understand, Dana, that you are probably directly quoting Edwards when you use the word “rigged,” I also understand that there is a definite hint of air-quote-y-ness going on as well. You’re being sarcastic, and I’m not sure why that is, because isn’t the system in Washington rigged? With no air quotes? Isn’t it rigged? I think it is rigged, Dana. And I think you know it’s rigged. And so I’m not sure what your fucking sarcastic little point is when you say that a rich man cares that it’s rigged in favor of people like him.


For further evidence of sincerity, he swaps his trademark smile for a pained squint when he speaks about the "disappointment" of the parents who have no money for their children's college, and he shakes his fist when he demands removal of the "wall."

Wow. I wonder if Edwards also closes his eyes when he “sleeps,” and opens his mouth to “eat.” What a phony.

Look, readers, I can’t even stand to go over the rest of it with you. Go check it out if you want, or, better yet, don’t. I’ll be here, waiting for some coverage of Edwards that isn’t a complete load of disingenuous bullshit.

Because Edwards is a serious candidate. And he would make a good president. A better president, I think, than either Obama or Clinton. Joe Biden would be a good president, too. So would Chris Dodd, for that matter.

There. I said it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear organizers of Movies Rock®,

Fire the producers. Fire the director. Please, please, fire the choreographer. Fire the set designer, the lighting designer, the sound designer, and by all means the costume designer. Fire the dancers. Fire the casting people and the talent coordinator. Fire the composer who did the arrangement. Fire the orchestra who performed it. Fire the freakin stage manager if that's what you have to do to get the stank of Fergie off of your ridiculous excuse for product promotion little crappy-ass shindig.

(Link from Scanner)

Friday, December 07, 2007

And to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under Canada

So yesterday Romney, the dog-torturing Mormon, took his shot at a JFK moment.

I was expecting him to be evasive about the kookier side of Mormonism, and he did not disappoint on that count. He said, no doubt in response to those people who have been asking him “You think Jesus actually lived in America? WTF, dude?” that he does not want to be subjected to a “religious test,” and that “no candidate should be the spokesman for his faith.”

Especially if your faith is…ah…how shall we say…oh, yeah. Crazy.

Okay, okay, I’m not saying he shouldn’t be free to practice his religion. He absolutely should be, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. And he’s right to point out that religious freedom is without a doubt one of the greatest things about this country.


I am free to evaluate and judge the mental acumen of anyone running for public office. And of course I have made peace with the fact that every four years I have to vote for a world leader who believes that, if you screw up this world, you get a second chance in the next. But you know what I cannot make peace with? Anyone who believes that a woman cannot enter that next world without a man. It’s like the Mormons think that heaven is some kind of nightclub, and without that man on the inside to tell St. Peter that you’re cool, a woman would have to stand behind the velvet rope for all eternity.

So why should I respect a religion that regards me as the Tara Reid of the afterlife?

Maybe the Mittmeister has some answers:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

Oh, really?

Freedom requires religion? Why not just buy the founding fathers some skeleton-sized rotisseries, Mittski, so that they can spin in their graves unencumbered?

It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it's usually a sound rule to focus on the latter -- on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.

Because if you’re not religious, you have no convictions, or if you do, they don’t count. Not because they’re not the same convictions that religious people have, but because YOU’RE not religious. The problem is you, get it?

We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion.

Okay, so he’s doing good so far with this argument, but I sense a bomb about to explode…

But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong.

Jesus Christ on a crutch, Mitt, WHO THE FUCK IS “THEY”?

Talk about a fucking time bomb. Kids, you have just glimpsed the future - if Romney becomes the nominee, and, “God” forbid, president. You have just gazed into the crystal ball and seen 8 more years of crazy, Jesus-infused paranoia, and fear, and politics that must divide in order to succeed. I’m not one easily given to phrases like “mark my words,” but MARK MY FUCKING WORDS.

And in case you’re not yet convinced, kids:

We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders -- in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places.

Well, I’m sure everyone who has fought to maintain religious freedom in this country really appreciates you reducing their arguments to nativity scenes and menorahs on the court house lawn. Way to take the high road, Mittski.

Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from "the God who gave us liberty."

Our constitution rests on a foundation of faith? Really? Because the constitution says, and (unlike you) I quote: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Seems pretty clear cut to me, Mittens. But perhaps my mind has been clouded by rational, non-magical thinking. In any event, I’ll give you the last word:

Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government.

Okay, I take it back. I get the last word. Look, Mittenator, you can believe that liberty springs from the head of Zeus, or is sprinkled upon us by an omniscient Tom Cruise in a tu-tu for all I care. But don’t play word games with me and hint that those who are not religious believe that liberty is an “indulgence of government.” Believe it or not, you fucking hypocritical piece of shit, an oath is a serious thing to me, and the one overriding purpose of our government is to keep our people free, and the most serious oath in this world or the next is the oath that a public servant takes to dedicate themselves to upholding the purpose of this government.

Something tells me you are not the man for that job.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Guest blogger: Bro

Some of you might remember my adventure on the 101 a few months ago as my brother investigated the scene of a freeway accident. Now he is back as a guest blogger, telling one of his many amazing stories from his days as an EMT.

I'm not going to give this story a big intro, as it surely speaks for itself, but I will say that after reading it, I went home and gave my Spooney an extra big squeeze. I take too many things for granted, I think. And I'm probably not the only one.


I replayed a moment today… one and a half seconds from 14 years ago. Then like a television show flashback I ran the tape from beginning to the end surrounding that 1.5 seconds.

I was an EMT, getting into the burnout phase, I was now a squad Captain and didn’t do much hands-on patient care, mostly dealt with the big picture; the scene, the crew, the patient, and anything that would hurt us. You also kept a list of variables in your head: how far out were paramedics, what the flight time to the trauma center was, how many rescue trucks would be needed and just which direction actually lead to the nearest hospital.

On this night I arrived on scene in the command car just as 3683 (ambulance, “83”) announced their arrival over the radio, I keyed right after announcing 3685 (my vehicle, “85”) with 3680 (me) on scene. I saw the pole, I saw the wires, the vehicle torn almost in half, the one headlight already half dim but eerily still lit. The car was white, the patient was a woman and she was half out of the car with what looked like a bystander attending her.

The crew got the stretcher, board, collars, and other paraphernalia with their normal efficiency; someone touching a patient was unusual enough (and potentially hazardous to the patient) that I went pretty much straight to the patient rather than standing back as an IC (Incident Commander) typically does. The person that was bracing the patient’s head looked up and announced he was a doctor, I waited to see whether this doctor understood what was going on and about to happen, I have had optometrists, general practitioners, dentists and gynecologists tell me they were doctors and get oh so close to assuming patient care. (a bad thing unless they are a doc that understands emergency care and is going to make the trip to the hospital as a doc cannot turn over care to a lesser trained person once they start treatment)

He briefly reported: unconscious on arrival, definite head trauma and he was maintaining an airway. I looked down and he was doing the right thing, something called a modified jaw thrust which is how you hold the airway open for someone with possible neck and head injuries. He immediately handed over care as an EMT took stabilization and didn’t try to say more. I believe he understood that no matter what he said, we had to check for ourselves, we are trained to get facts firsthand, too much at stake for hearsay.

The Lieutenant was now standing beside me. I had watched her check the scene as I had done myself, I have been known to grab the back of this Lt’s helmet to rock her head back and the eyes up to whatever the wires are doing overhead. After once or twice it had become an automatic reaction with her and the memory also helped me to not forget to look myself.

The Lt. was Cathy, a young woman that played the giggling blond co-ed part to a tee, and was very competent… you could count on her to not lose a bump of composure, though she sometimes forgot her helmet. She stepped forward to take control of the patient and the EMT’s. I stepped back to watch. I had good training; I was trained to train, to not always be the one in the front so that others can learn while there is a margin of safety.

I stepped to her side: “what’s missing?” as the EMT’s were just starting to do a simultaneous evaluate and package. “Airway…” she started to reply and turn and see me offering one. I kept certain things in my turnout coat and a medium sized Oro-Pharyngeal airway was one of them. It’s automatic to assume that if someone was working a patient that they would have put one in if they had one, which the bystander did not.

I stepped back again. We would be on the road before the medics would arrive; the patient was definitely a “head” and also had massive blunt trauma to the midsection. She was dying.

In less than 5-8 minutes the rig was readying to pull out; there was a sense of movement with vehicles being put into drive with feet still on brake pedals, and the swaths of light started to shut off; first the take-downs on the side of the rig, then the middle doors close and finally one door then the other in the back, pulling the light back within as they shut.

The shadow outlines of the crew moving around within the rig testified to the continued activity as now the scene became just a wrecked car… now hard to distinguish in the dark with red lights playing off every surface in sight. I started a final walk-around and approached the other vehicle that had been near the scene, though not part of it. A bearded young man sat in the middle sliding door of a panel van crying.

I approached and looked at him.

“She’s pregnant” was all he said.

It was this next one and a half seconds that I played back in my head today, and it was from the “I wonder what he saw as he looked at me” point of view. He would have seen someone fix their gaze on him, a moment of complete concentration with otherwise no expression as I evaluated him, his state of mind, his physical condition/surroundings and whether he would really know this. I ran the equation; Yes? No? Truth? Would more information make a difference in treatment over the next 10 minutes?

In answer to this moment in time I keyed the mike in my hand and in a quiet voice stated “83… bystander states patient is pregnant”.

A second later a noise and an “…k..” came over the radio and I could feel the activity in the rig in that one second of radio noise as the Lt. answered.

I looked back and he and I had nothing else to say to each other based on where each of us was at that moment on that New Jersey night.

He sat and cried, I believe he knew what this was; he wasn’t chasing crazily after the ambulance as someone does when they are groping desperately for hope, he just sat and cried.

He was the father of the unborn child I had learned in that one and half seconds.

I turned back to the wreck and noticed that the headlight was just the dimmest of glows, now a dim orange glow of filament, a penetrating sadness in that thought that the life draining out of the patient was mimicked by the dying light of the headlight in a pile of twisted metal.

The tow truck pulled up as I finished some paperwork, killed the dome light and put it in gear.

“Central…3685, 3600 available” in that quiet radio voice that we practice so that we are calm even when we aren’t.

“….85…. patient is coding…” I remember hearing, again a snapshot of a siren in the background and activity over the carrier waves. I would have replied “…k…” though I don’t remember doing it. At that moment the crew would be performing CPR as the woman’s heart had stopped.

I imagined that the headlight would have gone completely dark just about that time.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What's all this fuss I keep hearing about the deaf penalty?

First of all, I would like to say that I think the WH reporters showed some balls during the press conference today. There was some actual holding of feet to the fire. That is, until they all dissolved into laughter over some remark the president made about not being able to remember whose turn it was. (I swear, if you ever really want to understand why W continues to hold the press in his sway, watch a great documentary called Journeys with George.)

Before W cracked them up, however, there came these two exchanges about a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that came to light this week. For those of you who remember the early days of Saturday Night Live, the NIE can best be compared to an old Gilda Radner’s character called Emily Litella, an elderly, hard-of-hearing lady who always got herself worked into a huge lather about some statement she misheard, like “violins on television,” and then, once corrected, would primly look into the camera and say “Never mind.”

BushCo’s imminent nuclear threat from Iran? Never mind.

From today’s transcript:

Q Mr. President, thank you. I'd like to follow on that. When you talked about Iraq, you and others in the administration talked about a mushroom cloud; then there were no WMD in Iraq. When it came to Iran, you said in October, on October 17th, you warned about the prospect of World War III, when months before you made that statement, this intelligence about them suspending their weapons program back in '03 had already come to light to this administration. So can't you be accused of hyping this threat? And don't you worry that that undermines U.S. credibility?

THE PRESIDENT: David, I don't want to contradict an august reporter such as yourself, but I was made aware of the NIE last week. In August, I think it was Mike McConnell came in and said, we have some new information. He didn't tell me what the information was; he did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze. Why would you take time to analyze new information? One, you want to make sure it's not disinformation. You want to make sure the piece of intelligence you have is real. And secondly, they want to make sure they understand the intelligence they gathered: If they think it's real, then what does it mean? And it wasn't until last week that I was briefed on the NIE that is now public.

Several questions later:

Q Mr. President, thank you. Just to follow, I understand what you're saying about when you were informed about the NIE. Are you saying at no point while the rhetoric was escalating, as "World War III" was making it into conversation, at no point nobody from your intelligence team or your administration was saying, maybe you want to back it down a little bit?

THE PRESIDENT: No, nobody ever told me that. Having said -- having laid that out, I still feel strongly that Iran is a danger. Nothing has changed in this NIE that says, okay, why don't we just stop worrying about it. Quite the contrary. I think the NIE makes it clear that Iran needs to be taken seriously as a threat to peace. My opinion hasn't changed.

Aw, geez, where does one start?

First of all, he calls a press conference to tell us about an NIE that he says is news but then says it’s had no effect on him. And he doesn’t think he is undermining his credibility, even when he admits that for four months he knew there was new intelligence on a subject that he was speaking about to the nation every day, but he didn’t ask what the new intelligence was? And Iran is just as big a threat now as they were, even though they’ve stopped doing what it was he had the problem with?

W is like that guy at your job, you know, the one that always has about a million reasons why he didn’t get done what he was supposed to, and none of the reasons really make any sense, but they’re all so contradictory and interwoven and illogical that it’s just too damn hard to try to straighten them all out?

And so you just sit there in the meeting, listening to him weave his web of bullshit, and you think “When the fuck are they going to wise up and fire this clown?”

Well, the answer is, they never will. Clown retires with full benefits 1/20/09.