Tag Archives: Beverly Perdue

Hackers: 21st Century MacGyvers?

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There were SO many interesting and/or disturbing news stories  yesterday,  my brain nearly exploded when I contemplated blogging. No DREAM, Bev Perdue choppin’ away at the remnants of NC state government, good riddance “don’t ask, be a douche”, Republicans, Bev Perdue, Republicans…

I just couldn’t do it. I knew if I started, I’d be sucked so far into the blogosphere, they’d have to send a search party to get me to go to bed.

Instead, I read What Would MacGyver Do? by Brendan Vaughan, starting myself in another direction, which – as usual – came back to the very issues I was attempting to ignore… MacGyver is now part of our cultural heritage & English lexicon. Anyone capable of reading this bog ought to know what “to MacGyver” means. If you don’t, go look it up, or you’ll be a bit confused.

MacGyver burst on the scene only a couple of months before my daughter burst into the world. Since I was finishing my master’s thesis at the same time, naturally I spent plenty of time watching TV. A little 14″ cutie from a pawn shop, our TV kept me entertained on long Sunday afternoons, soothing me to sleep with football commentary. We’d actually bought it to play Atari, but … (slap face. get back on topic!) The series spanned a my new career, 2 children, a divorce & start of  medical school, so it swam in & out of my consciousness. Through the wonders of syndication, I could catch an old episode every now & then.

When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be James Bond. Now I realize I would much rather have been more like MacGyver.   Not only could he jury-rig himself out of almost any situation, he was also a truly good human being. What Would MacGyver Do? contained stories of real human beings improvising brilliant solution & saving themselves from the perils of arrest, embarrassment, angry spouses & heat stroke. (That whole drinking your pee thing makes me gag, but I’m sure I’d do it too if the circumstances were bad enough…) I was impressed by how imaginative deceptions people invent, but many of those are not in the good-hearted MacGyver spirit.. On the other hand, use of common sense, the tools at hand & basic scientific principles, in the face of other people wringing their hands or stomping around having temper tantrum, is what I consider truly MacGyverish.

When faced with an impending crisis, most people tend to react in one of 3 ways.  Most frequent & most familiar is the “OMG! Whatever will we do? We’re going to die! Or something horrible! Or at least have to put up with the running toilet for 4 days until the plumber comes!!!”. You can’t tell them anything; all they see is the sky falling & they must run & tell Farmer Brown. Now. Something has to be done now. Extremely short-term results oriented – they’d escape the chicken house, then get eaten by the fox.

There is also the “Whatever” denial group. Hearing some horrible crashing, grinding sound, these guys (yeah, usually guys) will poke their head up from whatever they’re doing. They’ll then look at their immediate surroundings, determine nothing can be touched, tasted, smelled or seen (yet), and promptly resume watching the 24th re-run of  “Whatever”.  Until they start roasting, they never know a B-52 crashed in their front yard, engulfing their entire neighborhood is in flames. Unobservant & immobile, these rock-like mules will never see or hear anything that they don’t already think they know or believe. Uh huh – read that one again!

Both OMG! & Whateverare maladaptive responses to fear: Fear of the unknown, the known, the might be, the what if & I might have to do something different.

In contrast to incompetent frenzied flapping chickens & self-centered  snoring ostriches, there is a third group. We’re the people who say “I’m sure we can figure something out…I don’t know quite how, but we’ll get through this…Whatever happens, I can handle it…Here, let me fix that toilet for you…”.  We’re the people who will spend 18 hours learning HTML by trying to figure out how to keep the funky script from appearing on our (pre-made) template on website x, when it worked fine on y. Having taught themselves before they were 14 to repair toilets & re-wire the Christmas lights (sometimes out of self-defense), they think – high school dropouts can do this, so can I. We know never, ever leave home without duct tape, rope, a knife and – of course – a wire clothes hanger. (Yes, that’s all based on personal experience…)

I’ve noticed there are several characteristics that set the “MacGyvers” apart. One is a sense of competence, of one’s self as a competent human being. It’s important to believe you will be able to handle whatever comes your way, including failure. Another is the ability to pause & evaluate the situation, before doing anything else. I mean really evaluate the situation & environment, making as few assumptions as possible, only as reasonable extrapolations of what you know. Willness to admit you don’t know, to be wrong, to ask for help when appropriate – these are all MacGyverish characteristics. A big helping of (un)common sense, a basic understanding of the physical world & knowing what you don’t know is needed, too.

Here’s where it comes full circle. I see state, national & international governments being shredded by the tug-of-war between the OMG! & Whatever factions.  Various groups take turns playing those roles in different situations. Currently, as US is over-run by squawking Democrats & Republican rocks, Obama has been trying to MacGyver the government. Unfortunately, there’s too much chaos & volume to accurately assess the situation, much less to expect to implement any brilliant solutions. Mr. Obama’s willingness to “be wrong” has made him a target of ridicule, instead of admiration.  Most Western politicians have been squawking about wikileaks, but the US is screeching most loudly. I believe it was the Israelis who made a comment about the US being so busy reacting to wikileaks that they didn’t have time to have talks. Not, I think, an admirable face to show the international community, eh?

Meanwhile, there are some MacGyvers in the international community, but they don’t belong to a government or any particular political ideology. They are the hackers, the new “freedom fighters”, the ones who say – it’s out there, I’ll find it… this shouldn’t be hiding under a rock, let me shine some light in there…   They have networks of resources, contingency plans, others who’ll get their back, and, above all, confidence. Often mistaken for arrogance, confidence is more self-understanding than self-glorification.

I see this in Julian Assange. He is confident that he has taken the best course. He understands he’s not the only or even most important part of the wikileaks movement anymore & has been quite willing to let it be so. He used his resources, took time to consider his actions and turned himself in to the British in a quite calculated move.

In many ways, I identify with JA. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd unquestioningly. Somehow, I know, like me, he’d never settle for “because that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Like JA’s mother, I’m working hard to make certain my home-schooled son doesn’t develop an unhealthy respect for ‘authority’!!

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Dorthea Dix is Floating in the Water with the Corpse of NC’s Mental Health System

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(Please see my previous post “When will they eeeeever learn?” for the 1st part of this unfortunate series…)

Hey! They’re at it again!

Who’d have thought? Did anyone “thought”?

I’m pretty sure the answer to that is

“No, and who cares?”

It’s just those crazy people. The court said they had to be cared for in the least restrictive environment possible; isn’t under the bridge least restrictive? The ones in prison? Oh, they’re not our problem. They’re criminals, right? Mentally ill, you say?

Look, there’s some birds!

The controversy over closing Dix has been going
& going for years. For much too long, it’s also been a distraction from the real issue: North Carolina no longer has ANY public mental health system. Yes, there are a few feeble farcical fronts (hehe) claiming to serve those poor, lazy, undeserving wretches. They left almost 1,000 beds (in the entire state…); surely there was no need for 1700… We have plenty of least restrictive environments… our roads are just great!!

Bird! Bird! Quick! Look!


No money? Why is there no money? Because we
MADE CERTAIN there was no money! We put NO MONEY in the budget, then we complain there’s no money?

Look! A Bird with Money in its Beak! Wait a minute; that’s not a Bird!

Flying to contractors in the county where the “New” Cherry Hospital is being built.

Did the State pick “the lowest bidder” ? Well, sure, we made certain of that…  Our buddy Jim-Bob put it in, of course…   Will there be cost over-runs?

BBWWWHHHHAAAAAA!!!! (That’s the noise the Bird makes when it sees food…)

Here I present the latest “News” article”:

Money problems pushing NC psych hospital’s closure

RALEIGH, N.C. — The spirit of “Dorothea Dix” says too many mentally ill people are still waiting for help from the state, or getting little like when she first visited North Carolina 163 years ago.

Her CORPSE is rotating in her grave faster than a cat on a fair ride!


“Dix” was actually Wake County activist Ann Akland, wearing a long, 19th century-style dress while playing the role of the public mental health pioneer in front of microphones and TV cameras. She pleaded on behalf of Dix workers, advocates and patients for state officials not to close the state psychiatric hospital bearing Dix’s name.

But she didn’t throw money…   they can’t hear if they don’t smell $ at the same
time!

“The same thing that was happening in 1848 is the same thing that’s happening today,” Akland said in front of the Legislative Building last week. “Many can live productive, independent lives, but they need help. They need treatment. They need help in our psychiatric hospitals.”

Who? What? Gov. Perdue can’t HEAR you…     Where’s the money??

Look!The Handsome Bird…

But with a modern replacement for Dorothea Dix Hospital in Butner already taking patients and the state facing a potential $3.5 billion budget gap next year, Gov. Beverly Perdue may have little choice but to close Dix.

How is it a ” replacement ” if it has fewer beds than JUH & DDH had together?? Do they understand the word “replacement”?

Oh, as in “They replaced the name-brand with a much cheaper after-market part made in Somalia”?

OK. I Understand now. Birds, do you understand?

“ The bottom line is there are no new moneys. There are very few resources, ”Perdue said in an interview.   “I don’t believe that given the current fiscal environment, North Carolina can afford to keep Dix open. Patients will be transferred and they will be given great, great care.”

Dear Gov. Perdue, When was the last time you visited an acute adult ward in one of our state hospitals incognito? Hysterical joke you made there – connecting the words “great, great” with the word “care”!

I’m looking for the News Birds!! 


Wake County legislators who want to delay closure at the hospital that opened in 1856 will need the support of other colleagues during the 2011 session. Many argue Dix exemplifies the failings of mental health reforms in North Carolina that haven’t made up for a 44 percent reduction in the number of institutional beds.

Hey! These the people are right! But they aren’t waving money,   so no one can hear them.

“Several years ago the mental health reform process was assumed to work, and it hasn’t,” said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, who plans to file a bill to try to prevent the closure if she’s re-elected.

Ummm, If the patients are transferred in December & you, if re-elected – Wait! What’s wrong with this picture? I mean, besides the Large Purple Bird standing in the way?


You’re ALREADY in office, sweetie!!   Where’s the bill?  Why is it waiting for your ” re-election “?

Of Course! Blackmail – It’s what’s for Politics!!

Stop hiding behind that Bird!

The General Assembly agreed in 2003 to build a new hospital to consolidate Dix and John Umstead Hospital, also in Butner. Dix, which had between 300 to 400 beds for several years, initially was supposed to close in 2007. Buildings there are several decades old, and residential space doesn’t comply with modern building codes.

Why in Butner?   Because it’s SOOO convenient for all the patients now served by Dix? Because then you can take the land DDH is on & sell it to the highest bidder? In direct violation of State Law? Wipe up all that drool off the floor, you (fill in the blank with ugly word of choice)

Don’t blame the Bird! That’s so disgusting, the Bird won’t even get near it!

The first patients arrived at new Central Regional Hospital in July 2008, but Dix patients were delayed for a year
while litigation by Disability Rights North Carolina led to safety improvements at Central. Now the Department of Health and Human Services is moving another 125 beds from Dix to Butner and 30 more to Cherry state hospital in Goldsboro. Only 30 forensic beds — for minimum security patients committed because of crimes — and a child outpatient program could remain at Dix by Christmas.

Falalala lala lala.

Sorry, Santa doesn’t bring new buildings for the Criminally Insane … Nor does he actually build more space at CRH or Cherry. Those extra folks from Dix will actually be put right into high-class rooms at – guess where?- the old JUH!!  Not to mention the o nes going to Cherry. Aren’t they justifying the new hospital because of “over-crowding”? Where are they putting these 30 beds?

On the roof? With Santa, I presume…

The shift is necessary, according to the department, because it received no additional funds to operate Dix this year, leaving it with a $29 million shortfall. State hospitals division director Luckey Welsh told a legislative oversight committee last week that the change will save the state $16.9 million and slightly increase the number of beds at the state’s four psychiatric hospitals. Dix workers have been offered jobs at Central.

Umm, see the beginning of my post…     No budget line = no $.

Welsh said later plans are being formulated to close Dix entirely, but state law requires it first get approval from
Perdue and the Council of State. Lawmakers also could vote against the closure. The forensic beds would stay at Dix for awhile longer even if Dix closes but would be managed by Central Regional.

Same song, different verse. Purdue’s stumbling all over herself to approve the closing. They’ve been formulating these “plans” since 2001.

Who’s formulating them? Monkeys with typewriters???

Bed capacity at state mental hospitals dropped from 1,717 as of June 2000 to 954 last summer, according to department figures. Advocates said that’s the wrong direction (duh) when community treatment hasn’t reached levels envisioned when lawmakers began reform in 2001 in part to comply with federal court rulings that mentally ill patients be served in the least restrictive settings possible. The idea was to use money saved by downsizing the mental hospitals to expand community treatment capacity.

Look! Isn’t that a Bird? Look at the Bird!! Don’t look under the bridge!

But budget shortfalls have forced cuts in services, and some state hospital admissions actually rose. The state also wasted as much as $226 million through providing non-medical care for at-home patients, according to a legislative report.

Wasted? Wasted? How ’bout “allowed itself to be robbed of”? Or “was complicit in $226 million disappearing into pockets of unqualified, uncontrolled, un-inspected greedy companies”? Or “so totally ignored what was going on, it was criminal”?

BTW, who is “The State”? Can “The State” be held accountable?

Hey, wasn’t that MY MONEY???? Bird, Bird, come back!!


“The state continues to operate (Dix) on an old, outdated, flawed plan about how to develop a continuum of care for people with mental illness,” said Vicki Smith, executive director at Disability Rights, which wants more attention to community-based care.

Old? Was this the plan they were using i n 1850? That one where Aunt Sally was locked in the back room & Uncle Paul was chained to the wall?

Akland, with the Wake County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said closing Dix makes no sense when thousands of people are in inappropriate settings for treatment.

No. Really? Isn’t that bridge an appropriate  setting?

Smith’s group filed a complaint in August highlighting poor conditions for mentally ill patients winding up in adult c are homes. Akland uses state data to argue there are six times as many prisoners with serious mental illness as there are beds in state mental hospitals. The Correction Department couldn’t immediately confirm the numbers.

Most “adult care homes” are only a little bit better than under the bridge. But I hear the food’s better in prison…Is that why there are more mentally ill people there? I hear they get “3 hots & a cot”…

Rep. Jeff Barnhart, R-Cabarrus, a likely key budget-writer next year should the GOP take over the House, said it would be a tough choice to close Dix. But he said it’s hard to justify keeping it open when the state is entering a third straight year of budget gaps. What? By that “logic”, we should close UNC Hospitals too. They cost a huge amount of $ and we already have so many private alternatives. Look! We have Duke & WakeMed & Greenville & Rex, etc…

“We’re more of in a survival mode,” Barnhart said. 

Yeah? When’s the last time YOU lived under a bridge?

Dead Bird.


I guess I should have titled this post:

“NC releases hundreds of mental health patients to least restrictive environment:  under the bridge”

Original WRAL article is Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved (copied from the WRAL News website)

Election Day 2008: Tears of Joy!

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Doesn’t the title say it all? .…. ….. Yes We Can! A new day has Dawned!!

I got 2 out of 3 in the races I really cared about. Obama is #1…. Here’s an entry from another blog with lots of great Obama pics – most for sale! And there’s a set of photos from the Boston Globe in their section, The Big Picture that is one of the best photo essays I’ve ever seen – a great tribute to our new president-elect!!

I found a nest of swarming humor bees at politicalhumor.about.com and here are some of my favorites!

OK, so I got MY President (and your president and yours and yours and yours and…you get the idea!!)

And I got MY Senator Kay Hagan!! (more about her later)

But I didn’t get MY Governor!!

For some reason (laziness, stupidity?) NC voters tend to just bubble in “Straight Democratic Ticket” without a thought to the individuals running in each race.  Pat McCrory, the well-qualified but Republican candidate, was a victim of this disgusting habit.  Every major newspaper, professional organization and homeless mentally ill person had endorse Pat for Governor of North Carolina. Tells you something when the other candidate is a Dem straight out of the current administration’s pocket.  Voters were supposed to be sending a message to the NC State government similar to the national message.  Somehow, that didn’t penetrate the brains of the more thick-headed & slow denizens of our great state. Somehow, “That Woman” is now Governor of North Carolina. Why?  Why?  She’s stupid, she’s a liar, she’s incompetent, she’s same-old same-old, she’s Gov. Sleasley’s little girl clone who’s a member of his corrupt & self-destructiong administration , she owns stores that sell Confederate flags, etc etc etc…. Here’s a link to a satirical blog entry relating how nauseating she is…. (note: I do not endores anything else this blog writer might say – this one time, however, we agree!)

Well, that’s enough for today.  I’ll continue my rant about Madame Gov. for the next for years.

My next entry will be about how wonderful Ms. Hagen drpped a house (or a really big rock… on the Wicked Dole of the North (Carolina) or something….