I just got off the phone with my friend, the one with the brain tumor.
“I got you a present,” I said and we both started laughing, because the last present was so spectacular (a tiara to wear after her first round of chemo).
“Do you want to know what it is, or do you want to be surprised?”
“No, no surprises.”
“It’s a cheesy wig. I got it so you’d have something to hold the tiara up.” We both started laughing again.
The Land of Cancer: You take what jokes you can get!
There is ample reason to feel relief that Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the world, and I say that not just because I was among the many congressional staffers told to flee the U.S. Capitol on 9/11. I say that because he was clearly an evil person who celebrated violence against all who he deemed “enemies” — and the world needs less of such zealotry, not more.
However, somber relief was not the dominant emotion presented to America when bin Laden’s death was announced. Instead, the Washington press corps — helped by a wild-eyed throng outside the White House — insisted that unbridled euphoria is the appropriate response. And in this we see bin Laden’s more enduring victory — a victory that will unfortunately last far beyond his passing.
For decades, we have held in contempt those who actively celebrate death. When we’ve seen video footage of foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America, we have ignored their insistence that they are celebrating merely because we have occupied their nations and killed their people. Instead, we have been rightly disgusted — not only because they are lauding the death of our innocents, but because, more fundamentally, they are celebrating death itself. That latter part had been anathema to a nation built on the presumption that life is an “unalienable right.”
But in the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys. Indeed, an America that once carefully refrained from flaunting gruesome pictures of our victims for fear of engaging in ugly death euphoria now ogles pictures of Uday and Qusay’s corpses, rejoices over images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging and throws a party at news that bin Laden was shot in the head.
Osama bin Laden’s death doesn’t really solve anything, as far as I can see. I do understand the political and strategic implications. I just find it impossible to celebrate anyone’s death. (“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”) And I don’t think it solves a thing.
It’s also hard to forget that bin Laden was a creature of the CIA, funded by us in Afghanistan, and that he represented many, many people who had at least some legitimate beefs against the U.S.
So how long until another bin Laden comes along?
Now I’m watching people on my teevee asking if we can “trust” Pakistan. Why, about as much as Pakistan can trust us, I’d say. We do have this habit of going into other countries, bombing them and taking them over, after all.
It’s not a football game, we’re not rooting for “our” team. The only team we’re on is humanity, and many, many of our corporate American global interests are on the opposing team.
I’m surprised Dick didn’t call a press conference and take the credit himself. He must really be sick:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney — a vocal critic of President Obama’s anti-terror policy since the end of the Bush administration — extended his congratulations to the White House after the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. forces. Cheney called the killing of bin Laden “a tremendous achievement for the military and intelligence professionals who carried out this important mission.”
“I also want to congratulate President Obama and the members of his national security team,” Cheney said.
Cheney said that though the death of bin Laden is an important step, it doesn’t end the fight against the terrorism that led to the catastrophic events of 9/11.
If we had more professional civil servants instead of outsourcing so many government functions, there might have been someone working for the FDA who saw this coming and did something about it:
Doctors, hospitals and federal regulators are struggling to cope with an unprecedented surge in drug shortages in the United States that is endangering cancer patients, heart attack victims, accident survivors and a host of other ill people.
A record 211 medications became scarce in 2010 — triple the number in 2006 — and at least 89 new shortages have been recorded through the end of March, putting the nation on track for far more scarcities.
The paucities are forcing some medical centers to ration drugs — including one urgently needed by leukemia patients — postpone surgeries and other care, and scramble for substitutes, often resorting to alternatives that may be less effective, have more side effects and boost the risk for overdoses and other sometimes-fatal errors.
“It’s a crisis,” said Erin R. Fox, manager of the drug information service at the University of Utah, who monitors drug shortages for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. “Patients are at risk.”
The causes vary from drug to drug but experts cite a confluence of factors: Consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry has left only a few manufacturers for many older, less profitable products, meaning that when raw material runs short, equipment breaks down or government regulators crack down, the snags can quickly spiral into shortages.