Fundraising Follow-Up

Mahadaughter Erin here again. I wanted to report that New York Cares Day was this past Saturday, and my team (Team Truthiness) worked at a school in Jamaica, Queens, where we painted and cleaned up the grounds. My team leader mentioned that this was one of those schools that No Child Left Behind left behind, since their funding got cut when grades were low. The good news is that test scores are back up, so they’re getting money again. (I think this is some pretty Republican logic. Your school is failing? Let’s take away your money!) So the work New York Cares does is necessary.

So I figured I’d post and thank those of you who donated for doing so. If you missed out, you’ve got until November 9th to contribute and can do so by going to my personal donation page.

That’s all. I will stop bugging you about money now. Back to your scheduled blogging.

Oblivion With an Order of Fries

This is why Joe Bageant is becoming one of my favorite writers. Excerpt:

…But it is safe to say most Americans don’t give a damn about the rest of humanity, starving infants, the homeless and whatnot, so long as the unhygienic swarms stay the hell out of our yards and don’t bring up that tired commie stuff about our lifestyle being based upon sweatshop misery. In that way, we all test positive for the devil’s hickey.

Republicans may flaunt their hickeys like high school kids in the locker room, but guilt-plagued Democrats console themselves that they can banish it at the ballot box, if only they close their eyes and wish upon a star. Thus, their comfortable self-delusions that the Tiger Woods of the Democratic Party, the technically black, is somehow blessed with a melanin-based inner moral compass lacking in the rest of society, and therefore does not bear the damnable mark. Wiser souls, who are aware that Barack Obama possesses a net worth of several millions, a Harvard law degree and a career born in that venerable political whorehouse called Chicago, assume the mark is probably located where we cannot see it. Another political wish upon a star is that Hillary Clinton, a woman marked by so many hickeys she looks like a victim of massive subdermal haemorrhaging, will reform the brutal health care system without pulling up her skirt for the insurance industry. She says “there is no possible governmental solution that does not include the insurance industry”.

Well, of course not. Industry is America’s government. Voters merely decide which industries have front spots at the public trough. One’s home is the new debtor’s prison, a place where we sleep while we work off interest payments on the mortgage.

Meanwhile, out there in the vast looms of government-as-corporation, the fast food industry weaves the MacDonald’s Cheeseburger Bill, giving itself immunity to lawsuits as it fattens a nation of steers whose sole purpose is to consume, never to be butchered, except in the wars that protect the corporate cheeseburger. Even on the battlefront, it turns profit on millions of burgers and fries that are served to those who fight America’s oil and cheeseburger wars.

American consumers watch this on TV and see it as comfortably familiar. We cannot possibly be doing so badly in Iraq if a soldier can get a Red Bull energy drink and a Puff Daddy CD on the battlefield.

Right? Which is true enough, if you have been obliviously conditioned to see these as symbols of liberty and the utmost accomplishment of the republic – if you see it as “our way of life”. And indeed our way of life is rapidly coming to that: oblivion with an order of fries.

He loses me a bit with the riff on McDonalds, although I get where he is trying to go.

Been There

Today BlogHer is promoting a virtual rally for the Mother’s Act, which would ensure that new mothers are screened for postpartum depression and provided with education and treatment. It would also provide for increased research on postpartum depression at the National Institute of Health.

Screening for postpartum depression amounts to asking the patient some questions. No expensive high-tech gizmos are required.

Postpartum depression is a serious, sometimes life-shattering condition
that deserves more respect. I’m all in favor of screening, because people in the grip of serious depression are challenged to cope with everyday life situations, like getting out of bed and knowing what time it is. And I’m not exaggerating. It’s unrealistic to expect severely depressed individuals to take the initiative to get medical help for themselves. Screening could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment and prevent what should be a challenging but happy time from turning into a nightmare.

Researchers are still groping about in the darkness to understand why new mothers are particularly susceptible to depression. The more we know about causes, the better we can treat and possibly even prevent postpartum depression.

Although I can be militant about respecting depression as a disease with a physiological basis, I share this writer’s concerns:

[Psychiatrist James] Potash summarizes the state of postpartum science, and it’s largely focused on attempts to find the genetic and molecular underpinnings of postpartum depression — underpinnings that could, in turn, be treated with drugs. Non-medicating approaches, such as cognitive behavior therapy and psychotherapy, are an afterthought.

I don’t want to imply that scientists ought to ignore the biology of this condition. But neither should it dominate their research. The bill next goes to the Senate; maybe they can slip in a little language about earmarking some of the money for talk therapy.

I think they should slip in a little more money to see if lack of physical support for new mothers is a factor. In our society new mothers can be terribly isolated. Their husbands and their friends work during the day. Extended family members — the new mother’s parents or siblings — may live some distance away or also work full time. Until I had children myself I didn’t appreciate how unnatural this is. It may be that to prevent the usual “baby blues” from turning into something worse, some new mothers just need more rest and another adult around to talk to.

In most human societies since Cro-Magnon Man new mothers lived in the midst of an extended family or tribe that provided physical and emotional support. Today, although we don’t expect women to give birth in the cornfield and go back to picking corn, neither do we respect the physical challenges of the postpartum period. Women are expected to snap back into their pre-pregnancy state and activities almost as soon as they leave the hospital, which is unrealistic. Women should be able to take the time they need to recover without feeling socially substandard.

And although generally I’m all in favor of people taking meds instead of “toughing it out,” nursing babies are exposed to whatever drugs the mother is taking. Non-pharmaceutical means of helping the mother need to be thoroughly explored.

Katstone writes,

The bill is currently with the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee of the Senate. If the majority of the HELP Committee members endorse the MOTHERS Act, the bill will move forward for consideration by the Senate. Without Senate sponsors, the bill could languish in committee and await reintroduction at a future date. The moms of America can’t wait for that.

Please contact these senators:

Committee members:

Democrats by Rank

Edward Kennedy (MA)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Patty Murray (WA)
Jack Reed (RI)
Hillary Rodham Clinton(NY)
Barack Obama (IL)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)

Republicans by Rank

Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Wayne Allard (CO)
Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK)