Congratulations are in order to Michael Axelrod and all the folks who made Project Amend, an eight-bed live-in facility for detox and alcohol and drug treatment. As reported in the Trib by AnnMarie Cornejo, the small house off Broad Street (sorta near Staples) originally opened as a sober living facility. Thanks to a lot of work by clients living there and community volunteers, and hard work by director Axelrod and support by local legislators, the facility is now officially licensed for full live-in treatment.
Which is a good thing since SLO has been lacking in a local live-in treatment facility. (If memory serves, French Hospital used to have that kind of program but that went away with the wind years ago.) So now SLOtown has Mr. DeVaul at one end of town and Mr. Axelrod at the other trying to help people ready to get and stay clean and sober. Hooray for them. If any of you have any extra sheets, blankets, pillows, dishes (?) toiletries, towels, chairs (?), etc. that would help make the little Amends house more liveable, do give Mr. Axelrod a call. [Oops, forgot to give the phone #. It's 782-9600]
Next up, let’s see if we can finally fix our appalling medical systems so that drug and alcohol treatment is covered by Medicare and Medicaid and whatever medical coverage we come up with as a nation. (I noticed in the Yellow Pages, listings for several live-in detox/treatment centers do NOT take Medicare/Medicaid and/or insurance plans – cash an carry only, thank you – which means if you’re old and/or poor, good luck to you. Which is an interesting national problem that extends way past addictions problems: ignore treatment early on since it’s expensive then pay waaaaaaaayyyyyyy more later when a really, really sick addict/drunk totters into the E.R. for help. Not to mention the wasted “human capital” during the time inbetween.)
So, good on Mr. Alexrod and his Amends House.
The memorial service for Dr. Ruehr was lovely. The essence of Dr. Ruehr’s life and impact on his students and community were summed up by the minister in a quote: “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.” Wise advice for all of us wondering How, then, shall we live?
Hats off to Bill Morem
In a Jan 10 column, Tribune columnist, Bill Morem, wrote a column in response to a reader who wrote to express puzzlement by a lot of words Bill had used in one of his columns. (Full disclosure: Bill was editor of the local section of the Sun Bulletin centuries ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and was the one who asked me to write a column for the paper, even came up with the name, complete with clever parenthesis.)
Bill loves words and has a great time using them, which leaves some of his readers “flummoxed.” To which I can only say, Hooray Bill! Being flummoxed by words when you’re reading is a good thing. It’s why God invented the dictionary and various Dictionaries of . . . Foreign Words and Phrases, Eponyms, Word Origins, etc. And most especially why God invented the Internet & Google! It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to type in a clump of words and up pops info. Oh, and did I forget, Wikipedia? So, write on, Bill. Obscurer the better. Make your readers stretch those little grey cells a bit. Good for ‘em.
Yes, it’s the Department of Duh
AP headline: “Healthcare too costly for unemployed, study says.”
Somebody needed to do a “study” to figure that out? Here’s all anyone needed to know to understand how health care works in this country: “The Law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (Anatole France)
Lose our job? Quitcher bellaching, you’ve got COBRA coverage. Only here’s what Families USA, an advocacy group found: “At present, paying for COBRA boders on unrealistic for most people who lose their jobs. The cost cuts too deeply into their government-paid jobless benefits. ‘This very important right is not meaningful in reality,” said Ron Pollack, the group’s executive director.” And that “. . . workers [in at least 9 states] would have to spend more than 40% of their unemployment insurance on COBRA premiums for individual coverage.”
So, rent, food, medical coverage: take your pick. Yep, the American Way!
Oh, Promises, Promises
I found President Bush’s last press conference genuinely strange, but a perfect example of the depth of his cluelessness. Interestingly, I suspect Bush is a perfect example of the mind set of a great many people in this country – angry, defensive, jingoistic, semi-literate, zenophobic, ahistoric, unreflective, incapable of complex insight or complicated dot-connecting , historically ignorant, short and long term memory challenged, intellectually lazy, addicted to cant and meaningless mantras, and the perfect example of the Peter Principle at work: a man promoted to his level of incompetence.
Bush would have been just a swell guy as a small town Texas mayor. Have a beer with him, play a few rounds of golf, do a little towel snapping in the locker room, heh-heh. Do deals with his business cronies, fleece the sucker taxpayers, you know, traditional crony small town politics. But President during profoundly historic events? No. He was simply the wrong guy in the wrong job and the result has been a disaster.
On the other hand, the American people got exactly what they wanted and deserved. If huge numbers of us are jingoistic, angry, defensive, zenphobic, ahistoric, semi-literate, historically ignorant, & etc, then Bush was indeed The People’s Choice. Twice. He’s going to give a farewell address to the nation, so there’s one more gape-mouthed weirdness we have to sit through, unless we all throw shoes at the TV or change channels.
Let’s hope The New Guy understands his role (one of his roles) is to be Educator In Chief. That’s been one of the key things missing from so many recent presidents, but that was one of the good things Obama’s (and Hillary’s) year-long campaign(s) did: ‘splain, ‘splain, ‘splain again, point out the obvious, ‘splain how it can be fixed, engage, invite, educate . . .in short, lead.