Benny's World

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Tech BBQ's Bevo in Spirit Arena

Texas Tech, under the new direction of Pat Knight, pulled an absolutely amazing upset of 83-30 over nationally ranked #5 Texas (and conference leader). I watched the last few minutes of the game, and while I give Texas for attempting to make up a double digit deficit, Tech learned not to be impatient in making mistakes. Alan Voskil was fouled 4 times, and John Robertson once. All made their FT's almost effortlessly.

Bevo, you got BBQ'd in Lubbock. Sweet sauce, peppers, potato salad and beer to follow.

Congrats to my alma mater, Texas Tech Red Raiders, who got their guns up today!

TEXAS Lost! YES!! Revenge is sweet!

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Thank You, Prince Harry

For being a soldier in fighting against terrorism in the Middle East.

Drudge is a scrub. I wish he could get sued for revealing where HMS was in the front lines.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Photo Memory: John Edwards in Columbus, KY

Courtesy of Kilowat.

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Announcing EENR Blog

Dear BW Readers,

As you know, this blog is devoted to the Edwards family and their vision of One America. However, it is under sole custody of moi and I choose the topics. I appreciate anyone who comes by and cares to leave a comment.

However, I am also part of an endeavor to make a real home for Edwardians. It is called the EENR Blog. This is the official flyer so to speak, that I am posting here and will be in other places as well.

Introducing EENR ( – a new home for Edwards Democrats, progressive activitists, and all interested in serious discussions to further a progressive populist agenda, with a side of fun of course!

Brought to you by many of the same folks (and several other familiar faces) who brought you EENR every night at Daily Kos and now the new EENR For Progress series on Sundays at DKos and Docudharma.

EENR is up and running and ready for you! We're announcing it today to all the great Edwards Democrats and progressives we've met along the way over the past year through the John Edwards 2008 run for the Presidential nomination. We want to give you the first shot at coming on over, signing up (yea! low UIDs), and getting comfortable. Later this week, we will make the Big Announcement on the major blogs.

EENR is a community blog, and we hope you will be part of that community. We've tried to set standards for discussion that reflect our desire for open communication, the search for truth, and that wonderful lesson we all learned in kindergarten, "Play Nice and Share Your Toys." There are lots of toys, too. There's a wonderful video wall, lots of diaries already there waiting for your comments, links to a mirror of the JRE campaign website, and much more. We'll have Open Threads, and special guest bloggers. And we're always open to suggestions!

EENR has a really unique feature. We have 12 subject sections located on the left hand side. This gives us twelve front pages and if you write a diary with one of the sections in your tags or use the drop down menu in creating it you can be a front pager in any section except the Home Page. ;-) Please join in creating the community discussions in all progressive areas.

EENR is a work in progress. Our resident designer, RedJet is still working on the overall look. Do expect a few changes as you join in and watch the development of the blog.

So come on by and get comfy. It's your home, your local hang-out, the coffee house where everyone knows everyone and the conversations flow.

Welcome to EENR! Come make it your own!

One final note: We want to give a very special hat tip to those in our merry band who took on extra responsibility to help build and put this blog together. They know who they are, and you'll find them if you need help, have questions, or ideas to make things better! Without their technical abilities, passion and service, the EENR blog as you see it now would never have come to be!


From the About Us section:
EENR: Who We Are

Welcome to the EENR blog, a community to provide a discussion space for progressive issues.

Our acronym, "Edwards Evolution, Next Revolution," reflects the formation of the EENR group originally as Edwards Evening News Roundup for supporters of John Edwards during the 2008 presidential primary.

We have continued as EENR because we want to continue the movement for progressive change based on the platform laid out by John Edwards, which we consider the gold standard model for progress in America. We are not affiliated in any way with John Edwards, except as supporters, but we have retained his surname in our acronym as a nod to his significant contribution to the progressive movement.

We are unapologetically progressive and populist. We welcome discussion on a range of progressive issues. We believe in bold, transformative change. We reject the notions of baby steps, moving to the center, bipartisanship, and letting corporations run our government. The current system is out of balance, rigged to favor the powerful interests, unable to hear the voices of those without power. We believe in public financing of all federal elections as a cornerstone to achieve change.

Our government and Constitution belong to the People, who should be protected more than profits. Equality and economic justice are cornerstones of the progressive movement. Universal heath care is a fundamental right, and poverty a fundamental wrong, here and globally. We believe that work should trump wealth, and that a progressive movement must include the working class, unions, and people from diverse backgrounds in all 50 states.

Before commenting on this blog, please see our Community Guidelines.

We encourage intelligent discussion of progressive issues, and substantive communication based on the exchange of ideas. We discourage attempts to define politics as a sporting or money event. Candidates should prevail on their character, honesty and the power of their ideas and plans to effectuate progressive change, not by how much money they can raise, their stature in the polls, silly gaffes, or the whims of punditry.

So please, enjoy yourselves and let the discussion begin. We plan to keep fighting until the Next Revolution becomes a reality, and you are invited to participate.

EENR blog...a real home for the supporters of John Edwards and his vision for One America. Go grab a snack and look around.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Great Video by Ed Fallon, a John Edwards Progressive Candidate

Ed Fallon ran for governor 2 years ago. Considering he ran on little money, he came in second to Chet Culver. Fallon came over to John Edwards' camp in 2006, and I had the privilege of meeting him at the kickoff of JRE's campaign in Des Moines. He greeted supporters as they came in and also directed me and another supporter where to find JRE's areas where the bloggers were to gather for a meet and greet.

I hope he wins the primary against Len Boswell. Best wishes to Ed Fallon, a true John Edwards progressive.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Health Insurance May Have Saved a Life

The following post is by Desmoinesdem (DMD), a very respected blogger from Iowa, who is one of the architects of a wonderful blog, Bleeding Heartland. DMD wrote an outstanding series about how the Iowa caucuses work.

DMD also was one of two bloggers who had the keys on Tuesdays at MyDD to advocate for our candidate, John Edwards, when he was actively campaigning for the presidency. She was a precinct captain for JRE in West Des Moines.

DMD's father was one lawyer who gathered evidence for the Warren Commission when the country wanted to know about who, how, and why JFK was assassinated.

By DMD's permission, I present an excellent guest post...but note: this true account will scare the living wits out of some of BW readers as it did me; I could relate to it. It will drive home the need for UHC.


I am a healthy woman in my late 30s who rarely sees a doctor outside of regularly scheduled checkups. I have had two uncomplicated pregnancies followed by easy, midwife-assisted births.

Most years we pay far more in premiums for our family's health insurance than our medical care would cost if we paid for everything out of pocket.

Not this year. Yesterday I returned home after spending seven days and six nights in the hospital. It might have been a lot worse if I were uninsured.

We've had one illness after another go through our house this winter. My husband has battled sinusitis, bronchitis, and walking pneumonia, while my sons and I all came down with strep throat, along with various other minor colds.

On Friday, February 15, I felt my left ear close up in the mid-afternoon. I soon realized that I was getting an ear infection, the first I'd had in approximately 30 years. I asked my husband to pick up some homeopathic ear drops (oil infused with garlic and other herbs) after he came home from work, and I got out the ibuprofen.

We try to avoid using antibiotics in our family, and the medical community has swung away from automatically recommending antibiotics for ear infections, because so many resolve within a couple of days on their own. The idea now is to use other methods to reduce the pain while waiting for your body to fight the infection.

By Friday evening I was miserable. The ear drops and ibuprofen did nothing to reduce the pain. Sitting upright was no more comfortable than lying down. I had no idea how I was going to make it through the night, but in the early hours of Saturday morning my eardrum ruptured. That released the pressure from the fluid building up in my ears and brought the pain level way down.

Saturday I called someone I know whose husband is a retired ear, nose and throat doctor. Her husband confirmed that many ear infections are viral, and it was prudent for me to wait it out. I used ibuprofen to control my fever and used tissues to wick out the fluid that was seeping out of my ear.

Sunday morning I noticed a slightly sore spot just below my right knee, on the outside part of my leg (around the top of the outer shin bone). I thought I slept funny, perhaps because of the ear infection. I also had a sore spot in my upper left arm, which I figured was from getting whacked by my two-year-old.

By Sunday afternoon I no longer had full mobility in my right knee. I take Pilates twice a week, so I called my teacher. I told him I couldn't think of how I would have injured my knee, since all I'd been doing was lying around getting over an ear infection. He said it was possible to strain a tendon by sleeping in an awkward position, and we'd need to keep an eye on it.

Sunday evening I started limping heavily, and Monday morning I could hardly put any weight on my right leg at all. I briefly considered toughing it out, but decided to make an appointment with our regular doctor, an internist. He was fully booked, but I got in with a nurse practitioner who called in my doctor when she saw my knee.

At that point it was painful and swollen, but not red or hot.

A blood test revealed a high white cell count, and my ear was still draining fluid, so they prescribed an antibiotic for my ear infection. I got the prescription filled right away and started taking the oral antibiotics around noon on Monday.

The big concern was that I might have a blood clot developing. The doctor and nurse were skeptical, given the location of the swelling. On the other hand, I had been lying around all weekend. Other possibilities included tendonitis, which didn't seem to fit, or some kind of inflammatory auto-immune reaction related to my ear infection.

Because I have health insurance, I spent all of Monday afternoon getting these possibilities checked out. First, to the imaging department for x-rays of my leg in various positions. Then, off to the vascular center, where a nurse used a doppler (ultrasound) to check for blood clots in my legs. Then, to a different imaging center where I had x-rays standing up and an MRI of my right knee.

Without insurance, these diagnostics would have been prohibitively expensive. I would likely have stayed home, hoping my leg got less sore soon.

I went home Monday with no answers and an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor first thing Tuesday morning to get his interpretation of the MRI.

Monday night was miserable for me. I was told to take a double dose of ibuprofen to help with inflammation, but even so my leg was killing me. I still had a low-grade fever, which shot up whenever the ibuprofen was wearing off. My right calf started to get red and hot.

That was when I should have gone to the hospital, but I didn't realize it at the time.

Tuesday morning my neighbor drove me to my 8:45 appointment with the orthopod. By this time I was sure the swelling in my leg was an infection. The sore spot in my arm was getting worse too, and I couldn't see any bruise there, even though I bruise easily if I've been bumped.

It was 10:15 before the doctor came in to look at my leg. A huge area around, above and below my knee was swollen, red and hot. He immediately said I would need to go to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics, and excused himself to go call my doctor. I remember thinking it was a bad sign that he left the room instead of calling my doctor right in front of me.

My neighbors were tied up, and it took a while for my husband to get our kids in the car and out to the suburban office to pick me up. He then took me downtown to my internist's office, where I waited for a while until the hospital room was ready. Then I waited a while longer until they got an IV going. The infectious disease doctor put me on three heavy-duty IV antibiotics while we waited for the results from culturing my blood and the fluid seeping out of my ear.

Meanwhile, she ordered more x-rays and a CT-scan of my leg.

Late Tuesday afternoon, I got the diagnosis: cellulitis, a bacterial infection in the soft tissues of my lower leg. She thought the sore spot in my arm was probably part of the same process, but less advanced. The good news was that the CT-scan didn't reveal any abcesses that would have required surgical draining or any air pocket suggestive of necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria).

Normally cellulitis would start from a cut or open wound in my leg, but in my case the skin was unbroken, so the assumption was that the bacteria infecting my ear had entered my bloodstream (a septic infection) and somehow taken root in my leg.

Thursday the infectious disease doctor told me that they had cultured strep A from my ear. They couldn't grow anything in my blood, probably because those oral antibiotics I started taking on Monday stopped the strep from further multiplying in my bloodstream. I am very fortunate that the bacteria did not take hold in any vital organs, which could have been life-threatening, or bones or joints, which could have been debilitating in the long-term. They switched my IV antibiotics to ones even better-suited to fighting strep A.

My white cell count came down a little bit every day. On Friday, three days after I was admitted to the hospital, my fever finally came down for most of the day. The excruciating pain in my leg started to improve on Saturday and Sunday, and I was able to slowly reduce my pain medication. On Monday, my seventh day in the hospital, the infectious disease doctor felt it was safe to send me home on oral antibiotics and ibuprofen for the remaining pain and inflammation.

I can't even imagine how costly my hospital stay will be. My husband and I pay through the nose for a family health insurance plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield. We can afford this in part because we have no rent or mortgage payment (I inherited my family's home). We have a ten percent co-pay and are hoping that the insurance company doesn't try to deny coverage for any major costs associated with my strep infection.

Mostly we are relieved that I survived this infection without any lasting damage to joints or organs.

I asked various medical staff during the past week how my care might have been different if I'd been uninsured. The consensus was that an uninsured person who showed up at the emergency room with a leg looking like mine would have been admitted for the same kind of care. As one doctor said, "hospitals take it on the chin" quite often in caring for patients who lack insurance or any ability to pay. (I have no doubt that an uninsured patient would have been sent home sooner I was, though.)

The infectious disease doctor declined to speculate about how my blood infection might have developed if I hadn't made that doctor's appointment on Monday and started taking oral antibiotics. She agreed that it was very fortunate that only my leg and arm seemed to be affected by bacteria spreading from my middle ear.

Thanks to anyone who reads this long personal diary. I am more determined than ever before to fight for universal health care coverage in this country. My scary experience could have become a life-threatening emergency if I had hunkered down at home in an effort to avoid an expensive doctor's visit.

Cross-posted from MyDD

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Monday, February 25, 2008

John and Elizabeth Edwards to Join Forces with for Recession/ Iraq Initiative

John Nichols from the Nation Reports that JRE and EE will be on a conference call with and SEIU to launch a get out of Iraq initiative.

The multi-million-dollar Iraq/Recession Campaign, which launches Monday, seeks to remind voters, in the words of organizers, that, "As economic concerns weigh heavily on the minds of Americans, opposition to President Bush's reckless war in Iraq continues to grow. The massive cost of the war in Iraq – hurtling toward one trillion dollars – has increased demand for a strategy to bring U.S. troops home. The Iraq/Recession Campaign will highlight the majority of Americans who want to see leadership on investing in critical priorities at home and establishing real security throughout the world."

( h/t NCDem Amy at Daily Kos)

Now BW readers, you may recall that John Edwards predicted some time ago that McCain was likely to be the Republican front runner and nominee. When Bush announced the surge in late 2006 and McCain supported it, JRE called it "the McCain Doctrine".

JRE at Riverside Church last year, talking about the McCain Doctrine. He could not be silent on the surge.

I also found this piece at HuffPo. More l8tr...

But don't expect any candidate endorsements from the Edwards at this time: just causes.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

There Will Be Blood: Daniel Day-Lewis Wins Oscar

No denyin' he was going to win. Even after the nominees were announced for Best Actor, there was no moment of opening the envelope, no sound: it was announced he was the recipient of the Oscar. They forced him to make a short speech, which probably suited him in character (or not) well.

Congrats, Daniel Day-Lewis. Despite what critics say, I think the character loved his adopted son, but felt betrayed for some reason, maybe because Plainview began to hate himself more and thus, others. I appreciate that picture very much for its symbolism, and best character study, although nearly all of the nominated films had them.

DDL gives thanks here.

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