Monday, December 6, 2010


I absolutely love this time of year. Spring is beautiful, all fresh and green and flowers everywhere, but this time - autumn - has a charm all its own. My yard is just beautiful right now. It's a bit shaggy, (OK, it's a LOT shaggy). The grass could use mowing, and leaves are lying everywhere on the lawn, and piling up in billowy drifts in the flowerbeds. Those that remain on the trees (and there are still a LOT) are a beautiful mixture of yellow, gold, red and still quite a lot of green). The crape myrtles quit blooming a few weeks ago, and are almost finished shedding their leaves, but the ones that still cling are a brilliant red. The biggest tree, or trees - it's actually a clump of six trunks - is now completely bare. My prized little Satomi dogwood out front is now in its second year, has grown several inches, and I think is going to make it. Right now it's sporting ruby-red, crinkly leaves and it's lovely. I'm hoping that next spring it will set the gorgeous blooms so typical of a dogwood, and which will result in beautiful red berries for next fall.

The planned-for reblooming iris are putting on their show. That was one idea of mine that actually worked out like I planned. I love iris, and have them growing all over the yard. Their bloom time, of course, is in the spring, and they put on a spectacular display then. Certain ones, though, are classified as "remontant", which means they will bloom again in the fall. I had a half dozen or so of those, scattered around the yard. Having one lone plant blooming here, another there, just isn't very impressive, so my friend Joe and his helper created a new flowerbed, up fairly close to the house, easily seen from my window. We took "pups" from the iris (iris can be both singular and plural) that I knew would rebloom, and planted them in the new bed. I also ordered about a dozen more from my favorite iris supplier. It's paying off - I've had a lovely display of iris out there for the past couple of weeks, and next year they will do even better. The blooms are surviving the colder weather very well, though I suspect a real freeze will get them. No matter, the plants will survive.

There are roses blooming all around the yard. The knockouts along the fences are blooming, and some of the bushes in the rose island are sporting fat buds and lovely full-blown roses. The impatiens on the back fence haven't felt the nip of winter yet, so are still blooming, though the plants look a bit tattered. The periwinkles I put around the pond last spring are nearly two feet tall and blooming madly. Of course, the pansies and snapdragons Joe just planted are blooming, and will continue to do so, even after winter hits. The lantana beside the path is still covered with yellow blooms, to the delight of the last stragglers of the butterflies that have moved through here for the past few weeks. There are mums blooming in random placement, the result of potted gifts after some occasion or maybe an illness - I always plant them after their initial bloom is done - just find a place and stick them in the ground. They will bloom every fall for years! Then, of course, all the nandina bushes (about fifteen in all, scattered around both front and back yards) are wearing great huge clumps of bright red berries, like Christmas ornaments. So pretty!

It smells of autumn out there. Spring graces our noses with the rich scent of new-mown grass, and bursting flower buds. Summer smells of heat and dry grass and someone's barbecue grill, and the promising scent of rain, if you're lucky. Winter freezes one's nose, but the fresh, clean smell of ice or snow or even just cold air somehow makes it through. Fall has its own unique scent, an earthy smell, an aroma of dry, crunchy leaves, and wood smoke from some impatient person's fireplace.

The things one can see from this window at this time of year! The birds are not as plentiful as they are in the summer, when life is good and they hang out around the feeders and seem to especially enjoy the birdbath. They'll be back in hungry numbers when the weather gets very cold, and especially if there's ice and snow, and while the birdbath will be ignored, the feeders and the flat feeding stones will be popular again. However, right now, with flowers and grasses everywhere going to seed, the birds are very independent. They don't need my meager offerings, their Father is feeding them abundantly right now, helping them store up a little fat for the cold that's to come. Once it arrives, and all the natural seeds have been eaten, they will accept my bread, crackers, suet cakes, cereal and store-bought seed, and will consider me to be God's emissary, charged with the responsibility of feeding them temporarily.

This autumnal dip in the bird numbers, however, does not mean that there's nothing to see here. The squirrels make up for the birds, never doubt it! They are out in numbers. They're frantically scurrying around, searching in and beneath the pear tree for an overlooked pear (they won't find any) and shuttling between my neighbor's pecan tree and my flowerbeds, burying a stash. I wouldn't mind, if they'd go back and dig them up later, but the little critters forget where they are, and in the spring I'll have a small forest of pecan trees sprouting in the beds.

They planted some of the peanuts-in-the-shell that I put out for them and the bluejays last spring, and when the peanuts sprouted, I allowed a few of the vines to remain. They flourished, there were peanuts in clusters beneath the ground. I left them too, and now the squirrels have returned and harvested their crop. Surprisingly, they replaced the soil where they dug the peanuts up, and I actually had to dig to be sure they're gone. They are!

The level of activity out there is high. I wish I had half their energy! They work hard, but still find time to play, and carry out their little flirtations. Two females have scouted out my nest boxes, and one, maybe both, have staked their claim. There will be babies in those boxes in the very early spring.

I love this time of year. Spring, I guess, is my favorite, when the yard has been cleaned up and groomed, and new bloomers planted, and all is bright and colorful and tidy. Summer is a struggle, with the heat, but the roses and lantana and a few other things thrive in it. Winter is a time of rest and repose, with only a few things popping up with a bit of color here and there. But Fall, that transition from summer's heat to winter's chill, is such a lovely, carefree time. Weeds have given up, neatness doesn't seem to count anymore, and the yard is just a somewhat untidy place of leaves and random flowers, where kids and dogs can romp, squirrels can dig with impunity, and the gardener can just relax and enjoy the casual beauty of it all.

God is good.


Folks, this is really scary. I'll admit, I know nothing of the credentials or credibility of those who have prepared this and started it on its way. I'll grant that this event will probably end up in the same vault where the Roswell files are hidden - never proven, but never disproven either.

I'm not really hiding under my bed, thinking that the Chinese are about to overrun America. I do not believe that will happen. They won't need to resort to this, they'll just simply call in the loans!

Be that as it may, I have to say - what really scares me the most is that many, if not most of us are fully prepared to believe it. Our confidence in our government is so shaky right now, that we are prepared to believe that our defenses have been so weakened that something like this just might be true. We can believe that our own political structure, our own government and our defenses appear to the rest of the world to be so weak and so poorly supported that China or anyone else can just take a pot shot at us and get away with it.

The Islamic Arab world did it on 9/11, and got away with it. Granted, no "official" government was involved, so we couldn't go to war, like we did after Pearl Harbor. No, they're too smart for that now. Like the monkey using the cat's paw to pull his chestnuts out of the fire, the Islamic nations are using the deluded extremists among their people to do the dirty work for them. How do we retaliate? We can't!

Like I said, the scariest part is that we're prepared to believe this was a "shot across our bow" and nothing was done about it. Well, this is one American who just doesn't believe that our historic American spirit is dead. Maybe our leaders are running scared, maybe they're wimps, maybe they're even subversives intent on destroying us from within. That I CAN believe. However, I also believe in the remnants of patriotism, the last shreds of the spirit that fought WWI, WWII and that still is ready to try to protect the weak and liberate the oppressed where we find them, and that will most definitely defend our own shores.

I'd like to make a prediction here. I predict that if China or any other nation actually launches an attack against us, and our highly-questionable leaders don't respond immediately and forcefully, there is going to be an uprising of the American people that will make the Caine Mutiny look like a child's tea party. Hey, that's pretty good! A tea party. Where have I heard that before?? Seems to me that the American people have fired a "shot across the bow" of their own. Did you hear it, Mr. President? Are you listening?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It's hard to believe, but the lunacy contest continues. The idiots are on parade. It began with Ms. Napolitano and her daft Homeland Security department, with their outrageous policies and techniques. In their infinite wisdom (ha) they decided that we must now all pass through an x-ray scanner (creatively named a "back-scatter imaging machine") that provides a nude picture of your body to whomever happens to be seated at the viewing screen. It may or may not store, forward, transmit and/or sell those images to whatever voyeur might be interested - depends on whose accusation or denial you choose to believe. It also may or may not be harmless - no one has come forth with a total, unchallenged opinion on that. "Oh, just go on and pass through it, it probably won't hurt you."

Should you object to that, your option is to submit to a procedure lovingly named the "enhanced pat-down." The enhancement is that you get groped and felt up apparently quite thoroughly by a "same-gender officer." Well, that's comforting. Girls, have you seen some of those agents? Scary! I think I might just prefer a male agent!

Now, here's where the other side of the idiot's challenge comes in. The Muslims have flatly declared that their women will NOT be subjected to either screening procedure. No nudie photos, and no groping. Can't say I blame them, in fact, I'm on their side in this one. However, I'm pretty sure my two year old grandson could see the disparity, the mind-bending violation of American rights that is inherent in this whole situation. Just in case someone doesn't get it, though, I'll spell it out.

The whole purpose of all this touchy-feely stuff is to identify and stop potential terrorists, which of course have been Muslim extremists, about 99.9% of the time. Very few 80-year old nuns or three year old baby girls have proven to be terrorists. So, these Muslims are so concerned about the rights of their women (wow, I got a cramp in my fingers while typing that one!) that they are demanding exemption from the screening, and serious consideration is being given to granting them that exemption. Meanwhile, every non-Muslim American, male and female, who wishes to board an airplane is being felt up in airports all over the nation. How do you teach an innocent child that they are not to permit anyone to touch their bodies in such an intimate way, and then stand there and watch while the child is forced to submit to being groped by a total stranger? Answer that for me, Ms. Napolitano.

There are two points I wish to make, and I'm serious. I want to see Ms. Napolitano, on TV, going through a screening. I want to see her stand in the back-scatter box and allow it to bombard her body with the same radiation the rest of us are being asked to accept. Then I want her to step over to the gropers pen and stand there and submit to the "enhanced pat-down", and let us all see how easy and non-invasive it is. Don't tell us, Janet, show us.

Second, if they really do allow the Muslim women to pass through unscreened in any way, then I will buy or make a burqa, and it will become my traveling garment any time I'm flying commercial. If Muslim men can hire a prostitute and the relationship is called a "temporary wife", and it's legal in Islam, (don't believe me? Google it!) then I can be a "temporary Muslim" on the day I'm flying somewhere.

Where is this insanity going to lead us? When is it going to end? I can only pray that it ends with some voice of reason stepping in and saying "Enough!" - before it ends in a more forceful and destructive way. People have just about had all they're going to take.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Oh, dear Lord! How diabolical are those people? And how stupid are we? That mosque is nothing but bait. Very expensive bait, with the added benefit of providing an in-your-face insult to the American people. I doubt you could find so much as a three-year-old child who believes their propaganda of it being a gesture of respect, memorial, good will, etc., ad nauseum. No, it starts off as an insult, and will continue as bait.

Can you imagine what will happen once that monstrosity is erected? It will be egged, spray-painted, maybe even bombed - constantly. It will require a full-time guard, which the city of New York can ill afford to provide. It will be a sore thumb, sticking out there for every American to see, and to resent and hate. It will give the "peaceful" Muslims the thing they love the most - a cause. A reason to cry foul. An excuse to retaliate. They have taunted and insulted the rest of the world for several decades now, and America as well for quite a while, culminating on 9/11.

If this monument to mayhem is built, there will be war. You know it, I know it, and anyone with a teaspoonful of brain cells knows it. That's their plan. The thing will be used to goad, to taunt, to insult America until someone snaps, and the Muslims will then have their reason to escalate the jihad they have already declared against us.

Can you imagine? Suppose you're a New Yorker, who witnessed firsthand the horror on 9/11. You saw people jump to their deaths to avoid the inferno at their backs. You watched in disbelief as the towers buckled, first one, then the other, and collapsed in a flaming heap of torment and death. Maybe you stood in the streets and watched, or ran from the choking clouds of dust and debris that roiled down the canyons of the city. Perhaps you lost a friend, or even a family member in that holocaust. Or maybe you spent the day with your eyes glued to your TV set, as most Americans did, unable to wrap your mind around what you were seeing. We all became New Yorkers on that day.

Maybe you heard the screams from the almost three thousand people who died in that horror. Did you also hear, did you perhaps sense, the chuckles of satisfaction from the masterminds of the attack? They weren't in those planes, they were holed up in a cave somewhere, pulling the strings of their deluded puppets who thought they were earning a one-way ticket to Nirvana when they flew those planes into the buildings. Make no mistake, there are more puppets where those men came from.

Now imagine that you're in New York, standing at Ground Zero, at the memorials that have been erected, and you're remembering what you saw that day. You can still hear the roar, the screech of twisting metal, the screams of the dying. Then, amplified and spreading over the city, you hear the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, which our President publicly stated was "one of the most beautiful sounds on earth." It is emanating from the huge obscenity that sits just a few yards away. The muzzein is calling the faithful to prayer. And the "peaceful" Muslims, from whose belief system the seeds of evil sprouted on 9/11, will troop inside, remove their shoes, spread out their little rugs and kneel with their faces to the floor, to worship the twisted manifestation of error they call Allah, or God.

With this in mind, how long do you think it will be before someone does something that will light their fuse once again? Build that embodiment of evil, that warehouse of hate, and there will eventually be war. I would hope not, I pray not, but I fear it will indeed happen. Dear God, how much can people take? You can't even carry a Bible publicly in their countries or they'll cut off your head, but they want to build that insulting edifice right alongside Ground Zero? The whole Islamic world is laughing at us now, with Barack Hussein Obama as our president, and they will be rolling in the aisles if this move is accomplished. God help us!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


It was time, and past time, for America to elect a black President. Had the right man been running, I would have voted for him. I believe that the election of such a man could have gone a long way toward healing many of the hurts that still plague this nation. When Barack Hussein Obama announced his candidacy, hope rose in the hearts of black Americans. That's understandable. He looked so good, like the answer to prayers. He's charismatic, delivers a speech remarkably well, as long as his teleprompter is working, and it usually does. He spoke eloquently of "hope and change." He promised to right the wrongs done to the down-trodden (presumably meaning blacks) over the years. He promised to share the wealth, to give everyone "a piece of the pie." Most important of all to a lot of people, he was black. I overheard one very young woman say, "Well, I voted for him. He's cute and he's black and that's all I needed to know." However, I also heard one older, more experienced black man say, "He's just an empty suit. He talks, but he doesn't say anything."

Yes, it's easy to see why the black community would vote for him, at least at first glance. However, let's dig a little deeper, let's examine the hope that was in the hearts of the voters, and let's take a look at what they got.

They thought they were electing one of their own. A black man, a brother, someone who understands, who was a part of their struggle over the years. Well, he's black, I suppose, at least partly. Never mind that his mother was lily-white, and apparently was a woman of unusual social and political proclivities. His father did have black skin, but he was a Kenyan, not an American black. So what we actually got was a half-blood Kenyan, someone who has absolutely no knowledge of what it means to grow up black in America. We needed a man who was a child in America in the forties and fifties, who might have grown up in Birmingham or Atlanta, who experienced segregation and separate water fountains, who personally remembers Selma, who might have been among the first students to integrate a school. We needed a man who knows what it feels like to hear his father addressed as "boy." We needed a man who slept on a pew in an AME church, with his head on his grandma's shoulder while his mama sang in the choir, and where the pastor preached love and forbearance and the promises of God.

Instead, we got a man who grew up in Indonesia, far removed from America, who was educated in Muslim schools, who still thinks the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the most beautiful sounds on earth." This man's black grandma, presumably, was still somewhere in Kenya, living in poverty and in the fear that dominates most Muslim societies, particularly for women. Little is known about his contact with his black family, but it appears that it was limited to a few visits. His white grandma wasn't beside him in church, either; instead, she and his grandpa were busy consorting with known Socialists, Marxists and two-bit terrorists. His mother deposited him with her parents at some point and left him, so we can imagine that he sat in their living room and absorbed a boatload of Marxist ideology.

His mother split with his Kenyan Muslim father, and later took up with an Indonesian Muslim. (There's just something about those Muslim men, apparently, to some women.) Little Barack was adopted by this man, and became "Barry Soetoro". He attended a Muslim school, registered as a Muslim. As nearly as can be determined, his Christian experience consists of listening to the rants of Jeremiah Wright, and that took place in the last twenty years or so, as he was being groomed for the political role he was to assume. His handlers obviously knew that an outright Muslim wouldn't be elected President of the United States, at least not yet. Still, his early background appears to be primarily Muslim, and as my own grandma used to quote, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."

So, to my black friends I would say - I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you were misled, sorry that the man you thought you were getting wasn't who you hoped he would be. I can understand why you voted for him, I really can. You had high hopes, and who can blame you? Now, as for those few of my white friends who voted for him, I have to say - I don't understand. I guess your daddy was a Democrat or something, and you just can't make the break.

So, we've got him for another two and a half years, and then we get another chance! That's the good news. This IS still America, at least for now. We don't have a dictator-for-life. Every four years, we get another chance, and if necessary, we can right a wrong. We and our children and grandchildren are going to spend a lot of years paying for this particular wrong, but at least we can start over and try to correct some of the democracy-threatening, Constitution-smothering, Socialist disasters he has created.

Again to my black friends - I would hope that you will start now, and find a man who really is what you hoped Barack Obama was. Find a man with a personal knowledge of the black experience in America. We don't need a hatred-spewing, pot-boiler of a man like Jesse Jackson or Jeremiah Wright, or a bitter zealot like Louis Farrakhan. We need a good and godly man, with solid political and administrative experience, someone who has actually held a job, one with great responsibility, and proven himself worthy. We need a man who loves America in spite of her faults, and who will work to rebuild her into the great nation she can and should be. Present such a man (or woman) and they will be elected. Black, white, brown or green, it doesn't matter. Color is not the issue. It's just as wrong to vote FOR a person because of their color as it is to vote AGAINST a person because of their color. What matters is WHO they are, and what they believe in, and that they have a positive vision for this country, this democracy, this America of ours. That's what matters!

Friday, January 8, 2010


In the last post, I said I'd tell you about someone who found out the system isn't as broken as we might think. Here goes:

Several years ago, I had an acquaintance who had serious health problems, no education, no job, not much going for her. She was a severe diabetic and couldn't have held a steady job if she had found one. When she was feeling up to it, she cleaned motel rooms for minimum wage.

She would run out of her glucose monitoring strips, and out of insulin, and her blood sugar would rise to life-threatening levels. At that point, she would appear in the ED at the hospital where I work, and would usually go into ICU for a couple of days, then another week or so in general care. During the last phase, she would attend classes in our diabetic clinic and would be sent home with a supply of strips and insulin.

Since this hospital receives no government assistance, it does not provide ongoing free care. The care she was given during her admissions was not intended to be free, but she would be admitted nevertheless, because that's the law. She was ill, and could not be turned away. She was admitted, with the hospital knowing full well they would eat the bill. The end result of all this was a bill totaling over $200,000. She volunteered this information to me one day, so that's how I know.

I asked her if she had ever considered going to Parkland's free diabetic clinic. She replied that she called once, but they gave her an appointment about six months down the line, and she got sick and went to our hospital before that time arrived. She said she would like to get in the clinic, but just couldn't wait that long.

I suggested to her that she wait until she knew her sugar was rising, then pack a lunch and a good book and go to Parkland's ED. I told her she would have to wait, but it would be worth it, because that would put her on the fast track for their clinic. I could tell she wasn't buying it, so I dragged out some bigger guns. I told her that many hospitals were struggling financially because of unpaid bills like hers, and that if it continued, there might come a day when we would no longer be there for her! She said she'd think about it.

Well, just under a year later, I encountered her one day and she was just joyful, gave me a big hug and thanked me over and over. It seems she had followed my suggestion, and went to Parkland's ED one morning. She waited all day, but was finally seen in the late evening. They treated her rising sugar levels on the spot (not severe enough for hospitalization), gave her strips and insulin, and made an appointment for her for the next week with the diabetic clinic. Through the clinic, she was given strips and insulin as needed, she received laser surgery on her diabetes-damaged eyes which halted the advancing damage, her ulcerated feet were treated and healed, and she was put on medication to help her neuropathy. She had a hot-button number to call if she was in distress.

Naturally, she was just elated, and for the first time, had real hope. Because Parkland is tax-supported, they can offer these things. She just needed to position herself to receive them.

The point here is simple. Healthcare is available, if you do your part first. Someone just looking at her pre-Parkland situation might conclude that our health care system was letting this woman down, but that would not be true. It is true that she can't just waltz into a private endocrinologist's office at her convenience, and be given everything she needs, all the time, with no requirements on her. For that matter, neither can I. In order to do that, I have to do something first. I have to hold a job that provides insurance, or I must pay the premiums on private insurance. If I don't - or can't - do that, then I would need to go to Parkland. I am able to hold a job, so I have insurance. She was not able, so her responsibility was to play by the rules and make herself available to the Parkland system.

I'm sure there are people who, for whatever reason, don't fit in anywhere. Maybe their income is a little too high for one and a little too low for the other. I don't know, but I do know there are those who fall through the cracks. I believe it's in this area that some tweaking of the system is needed. Identify these folks, determine what the glitch is, and fix it.

Along with that, identify the wasteful spending and plug the leaks. These measures would, in my opinion, go a long way toward fixing our "broken" system. I really don't think it's broken nearly as badly as we're being told. Let's fix the obvious things first, and then we can see if it needs anything more.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Well, it has been about five months since I last posted here, and it would appear things haven't changed much. The battle still rages over that ridiculous monstrosity our President and his Socialist comrades are trying to shove on us. They are employing their usual tactics - throwing up smoke screens, making ridiculous charges, trying to confuse the issue any way they can.

A favorite ploy is to accuse the conservative right of being so stupid that we don't even realize that healthcare reform is needed. This, of course, is utter nonsense. Of course we realize that reform is needed. It's just that we don't believe this bill is the answer. It's too complicated, no one understands it, few on the left have even bothered to read it, and it gives with one hand while taking with the other.

The left always assumes that the right has made an all-encompassing judgment. They never seem to understand that we can acknowledge a problem, but not necessarily fall in love with their solution. Case in point - our president. I have said many times, as have thousands of others, that America had reached a point where we were ready for a black President, that such a choice would go a long way toward healing the hurts that still exist in this country. Silly me - I guess I thought that when such a man was found and elected, he would be an American black, a product of this country. He would naturally have African ancestors, as all American blacks do, just as most of us American whites have European ancestors, but he would be an American born and raised, and would have some sense of what it means to be an American.

As I said - silly me. What did we get? We got a half-blood Kenyan, who spent most of his formative years outside this country, who does not share much of the experiences we all had growing up here, and who apparently does not even share the Judeo-Christian religious beliefs of the majority of our citizens. He says he does, but his actions and words spoken in unguarded moments cast doubt on that.

So, I'm still waiting for that black American President. If the Republicans have any sense at all, they'll find such a man, vet him VERY carefully, be prepared to disclose everything about him down to his shoe size and a copy of his first-grade report card, check his closets for skeletons and shake his tree to see what falls out, then run him against the incumbent in 2012. That should be extremely interesting.

Now, as for the original intent of this entry, to point out some things about healthcare reform. I repeat, we conservatives do see that there's a problem, and we acknowledge that reform is needed. This bill just isn't the answer.

One problem is in wasteful spending. Money is spent where it shouldn't be, which makes it impossible to spend it where it should be spent. Example - when my dad had a knee replacement, Medicare dictated that he was to have a bracing device that would force his leg into straight-leg extension, to be worn for an hour three times a day. It cost $1600 and Medicare paid for it. My dad didn't want it, told the doctor he didn't want it and wouldn't use it. The doctor told him Medicare would consider his treatment incomplete and would pay nothing, if he didn't order the brace. So we brought the thing home and put it in a closet.

My ever-resourceful dad took a large dishtowel, tied a knot in two opposite corners, and tucked large heavy cans of pork-and-beans in the resulting pockets. Sometimes he used 5-lb bags of flour. He then sat in his chair, heel up on an ottoman and hung the dishtowel across his knee. Voila! Straight leg! He could hang the towel there in two seconds, vs the ten minutes it took to strap into the brace, which was very heavy and uncomfortable. If he needed to get up, he just dropped his foot off the ottoman, and his make-shift appliance settled to the floor.

Final note - when cleaning out his home at his death, I found the brace, carried it around in my car trunk for a while, and finally gave it away. I tried to give it back to the rehab center, but they refused, explaining that those braces are "custom-fitted." That's wasteful, any way you slice it, and I suspect something similar happens every day.

We need to examine things like that - cut out the waste, trim the fat, ask questions like "Is this necessary? Is it effective?" We should go through the Medicare regulations and look for words like "always" and "must", or "never." Words with absolute connotations are usually a red flag, and bear investigation. My mother taught me - and surely yours did too - to "never say never." Good advice. In my dad's case, you can bet there's a line somewhere that reads something like this: "Rehab following knee replacement surgery must include the use of a custom-fitted brace in order to achieve straight-leg extension. Failure to do so will result in incomplete rehab and therefore will not be reimbursed." There's that "must." Why couldn't it say "Rehab following knee replacement surgery will have as a goal a return to straight-leg extension, and the therapist should employ any reasonable means to achieve that goal. If an appliance is necessary, it will be reimbursed."

Of course, all of this makes too much sense, and therefore would just never work in Washington. In order to pass there, any document must be confusing, obscure, double-tongued, and must have many little loopholes and pockets where pork can be tucked in. I wouldn't be surprised if the brace-makers had a hand in engineering the little requirement that resulted in my dad receiving a brace he didn't want or need.

I just have to say this, though. While the system is broken, it is perhaps not as broken as we are led to believe. In another entry, I'll tell you about a friend who found that out, much to her surprise.