Friday, August 14, 2009

Netroots in Pittsburgh This Weekend; Pancreatic Cancer Walk on Sunday

Hello World Family,
There are some pretty cool events in Pittsburgh this weekend, and some food for thought from one of my favorite brothers. If you are in the area:

Important Reminders for Pick Up the Pace

Please double-check these event details!
Registration opens at 9:00 a.m.
Event begins at 10:00 a.m.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network invites you to Pick Up the Pace for Pancreatic Cancer this Sunday, August 16, 2009! Join us at the North Park Boathouse in Allison Park, PA as we create awareness, raise funds and meet others who share the same goal: to find a cure for pancreatic cancer!

Pick Up the Pace for Pancreatic Cancer includes a 1- or 3-mile walk, live and silent auctions, a raffle and live music. Activities for kids include face painting and balloons. New this year will be a survivors' tent, children's tent and organized team photos. Registration and check-in begins at 9:00 a.m., and the walk's opening ceremonies begin at 10:00 a.m.

There is no parking at the boathouse; parking will be provided in the surrounding lots, and shuttle buses will take participants from the swimming pool parking lot to the event beginning at 8:00 a.m. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.

Register online for this event. Online registration will close today at 5:00 p.m. EDT, but you can also register at the event beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. T-shirts will be available while supplies last. Pancreatic cancer survivors register for free! After registering, your very own personal fundraising site will be created for you to customize and share your story. We encourage participants to fundraise and you can earn fun prizes for doing so!

Pick Up the Pace for Pancreatic Cancer will also feature an honor wall at our event. If you would like your loved one's picture on the memory wall, bring your photo the day of the walk. You can also include information about your loved one to post alongside the photo.

For more information, please contact Theresa Dukovich at

Pick Up the Pace for Pancreatic Cancer
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Registration opens at 9:00 a.m.
Event begins at 10:00 a.m.
North Park Boathouse
Pierce Mill Road
Allison Park, PA 15101

Netroots in Pittsburgh at David L. Lawrence Convention Center-food for thought

Falcon has been covering a booth, and talking to a lot of people about a lot of things. This article by our Brother Garrison came to my attention this week, and it provides some interesting food for thought: about blogging, the Internet, and how the New Media revolution is changing the face of communications…for the better. There are also some comments about Healthcare Reform. Thanks to Tribune Media. I will contribute my own at the end of this piece:

The tragedy of the Internet
By Garrison Keillor

Aug. 12, 2009 | You know it's going to be a difficult day when you wake up with "Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera, Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera" going around and around in your head and it won't stop. You know that probably you should not tackle healthcare reform today though brainlessness has not stopped other people from weighing in on it. (FALCON’S NOTE: I haven’t heard that song in years).

Here are mobs of flannel-mouthed robots denouncing Socialist Gummint Takeover as Medicare goes rolling along rather tidily and the private schemes resemble railroads of the early 19th century, when each line decided its own gauge and each stationmaster decided what time it is. Anyone who has tried to coax authorization for payment from Federated Amalgamated Health knows that, for incomprehensible standards and voluminous rules and implacable bureaucrats, the health insurance industry carries on where the Italian postal service left off. But don't mind me, I'm a man with a viral song in my head and I should go soak it.

The goons who go to town hall meetings and shout down the congressmen are museum pieces. They can shout until the bats fall off the rafters, but if you really want to know about health insurance, you just look around on the Internet and it's all there and more. The president gave a good solid tutorial on the subject back in June to the AMA, and you can still find it at YouTube. When you come to choose between him and the goons, you don't have to think too hard.

This is the beauty of new media: It isn't so transitory as newspapers and TV. Good stuff sticks around and people e-mail it to friends and slowly it floods the country.

What the new media age also means is that there won't be newspapers to send reporters to cover the next war, but there will be 6 million teenage girls blogging about their plans for the weekend. There will be no TV networks to put on dramas in which actors in costume strut and orate and gesticulate, but you can see home video of dogs and anybody's high school graduation anywhere in America. We will be a nation of unpaid freelance journalists and memoirists. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

It comes too late for Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton. In the new media age, there would not be a Watergate or a Monica Lewinsky. The president could conspire to break the law or canoodle with anybody within arm's reach and likely there would be nobody in the forest to hear that particular tree fall. And that would be just fine. All we got from those enormous Old Media events, frankly, was entertainment. They were no more enlightening than a Harold Robbins novel.

I'm an old media guy and I love newspapers, but they were brought down by a long period of gluttonous profits when they were run as monopolies by large, phlegmatic, semi-literate men who endowed schools of journalism that labored mightily to stamp out any style or originality and to create a cadre of reliable transcribers. That was their role, crushing writers and rolling them into cookie dough. Nobody who compares newspaper writing to the swashbuckling world of blogging can have any doubt where the future lies. Bloggers are writers who've been liberated from editors, and some of them take you back to the thrilling days of frontier journalism, before the colleges squashed the profession.

The Internet is a powerful tide that is washing away some enormous castles and releasing a lovely sense of independence and playfulness in the American people. Millions of people have discovered the joys of seeing yourself in print -- your own words! the unique essence of yourself, your stories, your jokes, your own peculiar take on the world -- out there where anybody can see it! Wowser.

Unfortunately, nobody is earning a dime from this. So much work, so little pay. It's tragic.

But one door closes and a window opens. The healthcare industry is wide open and there's a need for writers. Old people are lonely, old people want to be listened to and their stories written down, old people need entertainment. That's why I am opposed to the current healthcare reform bill -- there is nothing in there for creative therapy and the artistic fulfillment of the sick and elderly. A humorist in every hospital ward. Laughter is the best medicine. Sick people need distraction. When you wake up in the morning with "Guantanamera" going around in your head, you forget about your troubles except for that one.

(Garrison Keillor is the author of "77 Love Sonnets," published by Common Good Books.)
© 2009 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Falcon thinks the Healthcare Reform issue has been focusing on the wrong things. Here is what I have been thinking:

One: When that pandemic breaks out, are we going to be arguing about who gets the vaccine first? The guy next to you on the morning bus or subway train…the child next to your child in class…or at a university? The pregnant woman who just moved to a new state? The person in front of you at the coffee shop?

Answer: Well, I know one thing: I would be a lot more concerned about the 43 million people who don’t have any access to healthcare and pay whatever it takes when a pandemic could take us all out, indiscriminately.

Two: Socialized medicine? Yes, we have had it for quite some time: seniors, children in some states, handicapped, SSI, those on public assistance. Frankly, they have better healthcare than I do. Bring it on!

Three: Do you really want the current bunch in charge of deciding whether you get the life-saving drug or not? How about that ‘experimental’ drug not approved for your child, but has been in use in other countries for years, and your insurance company won’t cover treatment? Yeah…what about that scenario?

Four: What about those with pre-existing conditions that can’t get health care? Whole families denied because of one person’s illness in the group…what do we do about them? This is why having something concerned with health and profits are mutually exclusive goals; you can’t serve two masters. I say serve the former and screw the latter!
There are other ways to make money; making it on the backs of the most needy is most repugnant.

Five: If integrative therapies are not included, this is all still a sham…just a smaller one. Alternative therapies work, have been in use for literally thousands of years, and save big bucks. If we are talking about saving money, why hasn’t this been said more loudly? Oh, yeah…big pharma…shhhh…they may hear me….

Food for thought, World Family…I hope you eat well. Have a great weekend!

Falcon and Dove

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