Tuesday, March 20, 2007

HotK - Ch. 58: Unsaid

Whoops, got behind on my announcements there.

For the fanfiction readers, on March 3rd I posted a chapter for Hands of the King, Ch. 58 - Unsaid. Click on the story title to go to the overview, click on the chapter name to go to the chapter.

1 of 2 Denethor POV chapters. No warnings.

A single day of Denethor's life. What is the price for keeping your silence? What are the uses of words unspoken? How do fear and hope conspire to make us keep thoughts to ourselves?

Significant scenes with Finduilas, Imrahil, Ecthelion and Thorongil.


Big Brother BS

Some Mac user with more time than brains hacked up the Apple "1984" ad and substituted Hillary Clinton's face for the Big Brother face in the ad. I'm honestly surprised it wasn't done before.

Where it gets interesting are the non-denial denials from the Obama campaign about it, including a totally lame excuse from the senator himself about his campaign not being able to afford to create something with production values that high. Oh, puh-leeeze. It's a farking YouTube mashup. There are no production values.

I for one firmly believe the Obama campaing did not create the video, if only because they know better than to dirty their hands directly. It was done by an Obama supporter/Hillary hater. What they have done is cynically ride the viral marketing wave produced by the video.

Sorry, Sen. Obama, if you want to run on the platform of being more squeaky-clean-than-thou, you needed to have loudly and aggressively condemned the ad from Day 1, not half-heartedly try to distance yourself from it days after it has been circulating. You must be and not just seem.

Hillary, on the other hand, has made a joke out of it, as well she should. It appeals only to those who already don't like her, and raises sympathy among those who dislike smear politics, not to mention pisses off people sick and tired of Mac peddling itself as the computer of the masses when it is the most elitist product line in the computing industry.

Ponder that for a minute.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Some Family History

I've been overwhelmed with a big (but fascinating and rewarding) project at work, plus I'm spending most of my free time trying to wrap up Hands of the King, so I haven't had spare brain cells for blogging. I still don't. Instead, I offer up part of a letter from my dad about his dad, who was a surgeon in the Navy from just before WWII into the 50s:
Reminded was I of you and of your grandfather, by the display of the effects of inadequate funding, planning and preparation on service and facilities for the severely injured soldiers and their families uncovered by the Washington Post in the administration's back yard.

Way back in 2003, a Marine general accused the administration of trying to fight a war on the cheap, which always costs more in suffering and money in the long run. About then, Salon was reporting that other hospitals in other parts of the country were failing to provide the care and accommodations for them, but it took a big newspaper to publicize the lack.

Your grandfather was given the assignment to provide shelter, beds, care, medicines, and the concomitant support in preparation for the wounded Marines and Navy people in the assault on the major islands of the Marianas Islands -- Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. He was to do this on Kwajalein Atoll, which the Marines took by assault about a year before. After designing the hospital, and coordinating with the construction battalion which would build it, he found that, next, he needed to have the people killed in taking the island exhumed and reburied where they would not be under the construction. If I remember correctly, he organized the task well enough that it was completed in one day. He needed to anticipate that the men doing the work would become too sick to work at it all day in the tropical sun. He divided the force into two groups, the first to work through the morning, then be rewarded by being relieved from the work. The second group than took over, did their work, which they finished by evening.

Then he supervised the construction of the evacuation hospital, in time for the first casualties who arrived by air, then followed up by operating it throughout the Marianas campaign, and then, I believe, the Iwo Jima campaign. He was not constrained by an administration that believed in doing everything for the service men, and the few women, on the cheap.

During the war, he had demonstrated that he, his sense of what was necessary, and his work ethic were valuable enough that he was allowed to do what he believed he should do. This was training doctors, particularly surgeons, so he requested, and received, training that would qualify him for membership in the American College of Surgeons. Thereafter, he could request chief of surgery posts at whatever naval hospital to which he was assigned. The benefit for the Navy was that each hospital to which he was assigned immediately became a teaching hospital, and lost that certification when he was reassigned, if no similarly qualified surgeon were available to replace him. He served two tours of duty as commander of the hospital on the USS Haven, whose primary concern was care of wounded Marines, with a few Naval or other service personnel, work that mostly involved surgery.
Well, perhaps I have energy for a few rants. Having worked at a military hospital (though in a non-medical position) I know that the difference between having something that runs "ship-shape" and something that does not is leadership. Trite, perhaps, but true. And the key to leadership is giving a shit about the people who serve you. How can you lead if you don't care for the people following?

This is perhaps the core of the Cheney administration - treating everyone around them as expendable tools. The Army as paper plates; use 'em and throw 'em away. Props for photo ops. send them home and them treat them as undeserving and parasites when they need care for the injuries suffered in a bogus war.

The buck for the debacle at Walter Reed stops on the desk of the commanding officers who DAMN WELL KNEW the conditions in which the soldiers were living (and dying). I know how things like that get reported. The military runs on gossip. You bet that word of the mess was percolating up - and getting shoved right back down. Every officer in the chain of command from the CO of Walter Reed right up to the top needs to be demoted and fired for dereliction of duty.

And then the entire administration needs to be impeached.