Posts Tagged ‘reporting’

Matriarch’s 300 descendants gather for funeral
Wichita Falls Times Record News © 2009 The Associated Press

VERNON, Texas — Gregoria Martinez, 94, might seem like your typical grandma. She made quilts for her grandchildren, encouraged them to go to church, prayed for them, and gave advice.

Except the Vernon grandma didn’t have just a handful of grandchildren when she died Tuesday.

She had nearly 300.

Ninety-eight were grandchildren; 164 were great-grandchildren and 16 were great-great-grandchildren — all descendants of her own 11 offspring.

That’s without counting her three stepchildren or any of their descendants — or the three great-great grandchildren currently on the way. The family purposely underestimated the total count, but felt if all were included it could be as high as 500.

Actually, they have been losing track. Now, with nearly half the family attending the funeral Wednesday, family members passed out index cards to update names and phone numbers while they had their chance.

Martinez’s survivors packed the 500-seat St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Quanah. The devout Catholic woman, whose husband, Ponciano, died at the age of 94 sometime after their 50th wedding anniversary, “could fill up our elementary school in Quanah with all the great-grandchildren and the great-great-grandchildren,” Jalamo said. And she knew practically all of them.

“If one of my sons would come up to see her, she’d say, ‘Are you JJ?’ He’d say, ‘It’s JJ, Grandma.’ And she’d say, ‘Are you doing right? Are you taking care of your family?'”

She didn’t preach about the benefits of large families, but did believe she was brought into the world to multiply.

“You know Catholics,” said daughter Elva Jaloma.

When Gregoria was raising her children, she and her husband were migrant workers, traveling to Wisconsin to pick tomatoes and cucumbers, then back to Texas to pick cotton. “They had 11 kids, and raised 14, and not one time did (they) draw a food stamp, a welfare check, or an unemployment check,” Jaloma said of his in-laws. “They didn’t believe in that. They said, ‘If you want something, you work for it.'”

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News from the far side (Medicare Div.)

MV5BMjAwMTQ1MjE3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTA5OTg4__V1__CR0,0,319,319_SS100_This is an actual news story from Associated Press in this, the United States of America:

Finger bitten off during California health protest
Thu Sep 3, 11:28 am ET
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – California authorities say a clash between opponents and supporters of health care reform ended with one man biting off another man’s finger.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank O’Hanlon says about 100 people demonstrating in favor of health care reforms rallied Wednesday night on a street corner. One protester walked across the street to confront about 25 counter-demonstrators.
O’Hanlon says the man got into an argument and fist fight, during which he bit off the left pinky of a 65-year-old man who opposed health care reform.
A hospital spokeswoman says the man lost half the finger, but doctors reattached it and he was sent home the same night.
She says he had Medicare.
O’Hanlon says the attacker fled but authorities have a good description.

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Experience life, briefly, in a nursing home

Would you want to spend even 10 days in a wheelchair–in a nursing home?
Interesting article this one, which we’ve condensed some, from today’s New York Times:
24nursing_650Kristen Murphy, a medical student at the University of New England in Maine, spent 10 days in June as a resident at a nursing home in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

August 24, 2009
Experiencing Life, Briefly, Inside a Nursing Home
MAMARONECK, N.Y. — For 10 days in June, Kristen Murphy chose to live somewhere she and many others fear: a nursing home.

Ms. Murphy, who is in perfect health, had to learn the best way to navigate a wheelchair around her small room, endure the humiliation that comes with being helped in the bathroom, try to sleep through night checks and become attuned to the emotions of her fellow residents.

And Ms. Murphy, 38, had to explain to friends, family and fellow patients why she was there.

Ms. Murphy, a medical student at the University of New England in Biddeford, Me., who is interested in geriatric medicine, came to New York for a novel program that allowed her to experience life as a nursing home patient.

Students are given a “diagnosis” of an ailment and expected to live as someone with the condition does. They keep a daily journal chronicling their experiences and, in most cases, debunking their preconceived notions.

The program started in 2005 after a student approached Dr. Marilyn Gugliucci, the director of geriatrics education at the medical school. “ ‘Dr. G,’ ” she recalled the student saying, “ ‘I would like to learn how to speak with institutionalized elders.’ What came out of my mouth was, ‘Will you live in a nursing home for two weeks?’ ”

To Dr. Gugliucci’s surprise, she found nursing homes in the region that were willing to participate and students who were willing to volunteer. No money is exchanged between the school and nursing homes, and the homes agree to treat students like regular patients.

“My motivation is really to have somebody from the inside tell us what it’s like to be a resident,” said Rita Morgan, administrator of the Sarah Neuman Center for Healthcare and Rehabilitation here, one of the four campuses of Jewish Home Lifecare.

“But she is really there to study herself, her own feelings about living in a nursing home,” Ms. Morgan added, referring to Ms. Murphy.

Geriatric specialists hope the program and others like it help generate interest in the profession, one of the most underrepresented fields in medicine. Medical schools and residencies require little to no geriatric training, and many students are reluctant to get into the field because it is among the lowest paid in medicine.
In 2005, there was one geriatrician for every 5,000 people over 65, according to the American Geriatrics Society; by 2030 that ratio is expected to increase to one for every 8,000 patients. Geriatricians must participate in a two-year fellowship program after medical school to become certified. In 2007, only 253 of 400 fellowship slots were filled, and only 91 of the physicians graduated from medical school in the United States.
“It’s kind of a crisis,” said Dr. Cheryl Phillips, president of the society. “I don’t think many seniors recognize this.”
Like many medical students, Ms. Murphy was scared of nursing homes. The feeling began when, as a young adult, she visited her grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s disease.
“I think nursing homes are scary,” she said, “but I don’t think you can be a good doctor if you’re scared of the place where a lot of your patients live.”
The first few days, which included filling out paperwork, undergoing a full-body mole and sore check, eating pureed foods and being raised out of bed with a lift, did nothing to validate her decision. When she wedged her wheelchair into a corner and could not get out, she cried in frustration.
“All I wanted to do was shut my door and stay in here,” said Ms. Murphy, whose “diagnosis” was a mild stroke that affected her right side, difficulty swallowing and chronic lung disease. “But I understood I had to go out.”
Not everyone does. Some patients want to talk for hours, while others act out, like a woman who pinched Ms. Murphy as hard as she could. Many sit in the hallway by the nurse’s station each day because it is a hub of activity. Emotions run high.
Ms. Murphy said she soon learned that many patients cried because they knew that they would most likely never live anywhere else, or because they missed family and their old life.
“At times I felt really lonely and got depressed,” she said. “Sometimes it was an emotional roller coaster, up and down, up and down.”
No one said a word the first time Ms. Murphy showed up at the daily bingo game. She started to talk to anyone who would listen. And she was surprised what happened.
First she bonded with Camille Stanley, the “queen bee” of the social scene. Then she found Dr. Thomas N. Silverberg, 89, a former internist and arthritis specialist with advanced rheumatoid arthritis. “My specialty is slowly killing me,” Dr. Silverberg said.
The two talked for hours about life and medicine. Unlike the friendships she makes as an adult, slowly nurtured over dinners and drinks, bonds in a nursing home, where there is nothing to do but talk, are forged quickly and deeply.
“When I came in, I was worried about working with older folks because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at it,” Ms. Murphy said. “Now, if anything, I’m worried I’ll love them too much and it will really hurt to work with folks at the end of their lives.”
The program has solidified Ms. Murphy’s desire to work with older people. And the hardest lesson she learned — that for some people, it is better to be in a wheelchair or to have limited mobility — will make her become a better doctor, she said.
“As a doctor, my job is to help patients live the life they want to,” she said. “And if they’re in pain, you have to say ‘That’s O.K. if you want to spend your time in a wheelchair.’
“For me that’s such a different place to be. Because I hate this chair. It still startles me that that’s the choice.”
Ms. Murphy said the care she received at the home was outstanding. But there were things that could use improvement: she did not realize she could ask for things like soda, and she felt that shower bars were too high for someone in a wheelchair. She also told the staff at a debriefing session that families should be included in more activities.

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Ken Bacon, showing his living quarters in Darfur

Ken Bacon, showing his living quarters in Darfur

Ken Bacon, a longtime Wall Street Journal reporter and Pentagon spokesman in the Clinton Administration, has died of melanoma.
Bacon in recent years served as the president of Refugees International, an advocacy agency for the millions of people displaced or rendered homeless by wars and conflicts and natural disasters. Bacon was a humanitarian who worked tirelessly and passionately for refugees through Refugees International, whose website is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in what’s happening in places like Darfur and Iraq and Afghanistan to the innocent and always neglected men, women and children who suffer from conflicts.
Here’s Bacon’s obit from the Washington Post.
Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Kenneth H. Bacon, 64, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was top spokesman at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration and later became a prominent advocate on behalf of international refugees, died Aug. 15 of melanoma at his vacation home on Block Island, R.I. His primary residence was in Washington.
Mr. Bacon had spent 25 years at the Journal’s Washington bureau before becoming the chief spokesman at the Pentagon in 1994, working under then-Defense Secretary William J. Perry. He held the position of assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and stayed in his post when William S. Cohen was named defense secretary in December 1996.
In daily briefings, Mr. Bacon kept reporters informed of developments in civil wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and other military matters. He was known for his bow ties and his cultivated, straight-arrow manner.
On a visit to the Balkans in 1999, Mr. Bacon saw firsthand the human toll of warfare, as hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes with no place to turn.
“I had never seen refugees before, never fully appreciated the sheer magnitude of one million people leaving their homes and needing food, shelter and medical care,” he told the New York Times in 2001.
After leaving the Pentagon in 2001, Mr. Bacon became president of the D.C.-based advocacy group Refugees International and emerged as one of the strongest voices for the dispossessed around the globe. His organization, which accepts no funding from governments or the United Nations, estimates that there are 12 million international refugees.
Mr. Bacon was among the first to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, and he helped bring to light the problems facing millions of refugees from the war in Iraq. He was instrumental in finding sanctuary for displaced Iraqis in Middle East countries and lobbied for greater numbers of Iraqi refugees to be admitted to the United States. Between 2006 and 2008, the State Department increased funding for Iraqi refugees from $43 million to $398 million.
“The U.S. cannot afford to win the military battle and lose the humanitarian campaign,” Bacon said.
He visited refugee camps in Afghanistan, Somalia, Colombia and Cambodia, among others, and often wrote articles or appeared on television to discuss humanitarian concerns. In the final weeks of his life, he provided seed money to establish a center at Refugees International to assist people displaced by global climate change.
“I’ve seen him in action in Sudan,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in his blog last week, “and he combines passion with intricate knowledge of policy to make a difference.”
Kenneth Hogate Bacon was born Nov. 21, 1944, in Bronxville, N.Y., and was a graduate of the private Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. His father was an administrator at Amherst College in Massachusetts, from which Mr. Bacon graduated in 1966. He received dual master’s degrees, in business administration and journalism, from Columbia University in 1968.
After working as a legislative assistant to Sen. Thomas J. McIntyre (D-N.H.), Mr. Bacon joined the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal in 1969. He covered banking, economics, education and international finance and was the paper’s Pentagon correspondent from 1976 to 1980.
“He was amazingly insightful and was seen as such by both sources and colleagues,” said Gerald F. Seib, the Journal’s executive Washington editor.
The one blemish in Mr. Bacon’s career came in 1998, when he was briefly embroiled in the scandal surrounding President Bill Clinton and onetime White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In 1996 and 1997, Lewinsky was an assistant in Mr. Bacon’s office at the Pentagon. One of her friends was an employee in the department, Linda Tripp, who had tape-recorded telephone conversations in which Lewinsky said she was having an affair with Clinton.
In March 1998, Mr. Bacon authorized a deputy to release parts of Tripp’s personnel record to a reporter from the New Yorker magazine, revealing that Tripp had not disclosed on an employment application that she had been arrested for theft when she was 19. The charge was reduced to loitering.
The episode touched off a firestorm in conservative circles, as critics accused Mr. Bacon of breaking federal privacy laws to damage Tripp’s reputation. He quickly admitted he had handled the situation poorly, and a Pentagon inspector general concluded in 2000 that Mr. Bacon had not followed Defense Department procedures. Then-Defense Secretary Cohen sent Mr. Bacon a letter expressing “disappointment” over his “hasty and ill-conceived” actions.
Despite that incident, Cohen said in an interview with The Washington Post last week, Mr. Bacon “was always extraordinarily well prepared.”
“He was a special guy,” Cohen added. “But for that Linda Tripp issue, I have nothing but accolades.”
Mr. Bacon was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies and was chairman of the board of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.
Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Darcy Wheeler Bacon of Washington and Block Island; two daughters, Katharine Bacon of Brookline, Mass., and Sarah Bacon of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his father, Theodore S. Bacon of Peterborough, N.H.; a brother; and two grandchildren.
After struggling with metastatic melanoma, Mr. Bacon wrote about his illness and his problems with insurance coverage in an essay published by The Post on July 21.
“My oncologist has spent hours filling out forms and arguing with the insurance company to arrange coverage for my chemotherapy,” he wrote. “Now my wife and I are waging our own fight with the provider to arrange payment for my daily brain radiation, which has been rejected as ‘not medically necessary’ even though the cancer in my brain is growing rapidly.”
“For me and other Americans suffering from advanced cancer,” he concluded, “the health-care debate this summer is no abstraction. It is a matter of life or death.”
© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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One of the best things about life in Dallas, Tx

Yes, one of the best things about Dallas is Krys Boyd, host of the KERA, PBS Radio program “Think.”
It airs Monday through Thursday, noon to 2 p.m., on KERA 90.1, and she’s also on the teevee on Fridays, 7:30 p.m., KERA 13.
Think is a topic-driven interview program covering a wide variety of topics ranging from history, politics, current events, science, technology and emerging trends to food and wine, travel, adventure, and entertainment.
The great think about the program, though, is Boyd’s incredible interview skills, her vast knowledge and burning curiosity about anything and everything, her obvious work ethic, since she comes to every interview about as well prepared as one can get prepared. We got nothing but jitterbug blog love for Krys Boyd. Check her out by radio, or, in other parts of the world, via the Net.


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Paul David Mckay | Create Your Badge
Paul David Mckay
Yes, I've not been on a spiritual retreat in a full week and so, I'm heading up to Fort Smith, Ark, in a while to spend time with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica and a 3-day/night retreat led by Paula D'Arcy on dealing with loss and grief.

And boy, few people know loss and grief like Paula D'Arcy, whom I know only by her books but I'm told she is one mighty fine retreat leader and expert on grief.
I'll blog from St. Scholastica, maybe. Then again, maybe not, as I'm open to whatever that ol' Holy Spirit moves me to do or not do.
Always remember the 3 things I want you to know:
The Holy Spirit like the wind blows where it will and you just gotta go with it.
You "got-ta got-ta have soul right now" like me and The Buckinghams band from my era (and BTW, the Bucks are still out there doing gigs, it turns out; look em up).
And I'll think of No. 3 when I'm more awake as I'm decompressing from my weekly duties at the hospital where, speaking of loss and grief, I'm all about it and helping others to see that God is there in our losses and our grief even though God feels so far away when we're grieving. In fact, methinks God is closest to us when we can't feel God's presence, even when we don't understand God, and myself---I don't understand Her/Him most days but that's what makes God a mystery and such a magnificent mystery.
You're too much, God.
But I love you amen.

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To all who’ve prayed me up — and moreso prayed up Adam McKay — so faithfully all these years that I’ve agonized over this war and over having my only son so far from home so long, and for responding to me when I asked you to think about all the ramifications and ripple effects of war that leave the warriors’ loved ones tossing and turning many nights, wondering, fearing, praying, vowing to never read or watch the news again because you just can’t handle the news of troops being killed and maimed, only to tune in to CNN or float around all the news channels in the middle of the night wanting war news and half fearing your son, your daughter, your brother or sister or loved one might be on some news film.
And for responding to me when I asked you to pray for all troops and their families and to always remember that war is hell, damn it, and hell on war families especially, and I’d rather you think long and hard about that than put a Support Our Troops sticker on your SUV or better yet–get involved, do something for all those warriors coming home with a few less limbs, often with not much brain left (Google up what the “signature wound” in Iraq was and is and here’s a clue for you all–it’s a brain wound), and being reduced to the care of parents or siblings who don’t know what’ll happen to the only son or daughter after they’ve died and gone and the son or daughter is going to be taken over by the government bureaucracy and we know how much they care.
I think I’ve said enough.
Just thanks for your prayers, and grace and peace today to all you who still have yours in harm’s way. I feel for you and pray for you and love you all in the way we all love each other.
And especially to Marine parents because they are obviously a little more special to me–I hear you. I know. I hear you. And once more, Semper Fi.

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Your Night Owl Special

Nora Jean & Lester

Nora Jean & Lester

In which we get to listen in as Nora Jean tells the kids about the first time Daddy took her out dancin, he swept her right off her feet!
No, you won’t get news, entertainment, commentary and the spirituality of Christ all rolled into one anywhere else but here at jitterbugging.
And so until tomorrow . . . . . . . .

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Beyond the stars and nightbirds

Art by Beckland, 2000

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Walter Cronkite, take your well deserved rest

First Class

First Class

JFJ readers know that my first calling in life was to journalism and that some of the best years of my life were spent sweating out those intense deadline hours at The Houston Chronicle.
Walter Cronkite learned his writing and reporting craft at The Houston Post and at the old Houston Press. (He mentored Dan Rather, of course, who passed through the Chronicle.)
I met WC a number of times after his retirement and he was the genuine article–not a pretentious bone in this global icon’s body. And let me tell you–he was an old working slug newspaper reporter at heart and loved nothing better than the company of inked stained wretches.
I’m partial to them myself. (See what may have been my first blog here in the archives–I was lamenting the passing of newspapers that very day, as you can see!)
I’m weeping over this loss. Really weeping.
Here’s a blurb about WC from the Chronicle about his Houston roots:

Walter Cronkite’s life and career reflected the words he used in a familiar advertising campaign for his alma mater, the University of Texas: “What starts here changes the world.”

Born in Missouri, he moved with his family at age 10 to Houston, where he attended Lanier Junior High School and San Jacinto High.

It was at San Jacinto where he met Fred Birney, one of his earliest journalism instructors. Birney, Cronkite wrote in his autobiography, taught him the “sacred covenant between newspaper people and their readers. We journalists had to be right and we had to be fair.”

Cronkite’s autobiography also includes tales of summer jobs on the Bassett Blakely ranch, now the site of the Cinco Ranch development, at Sylvan Beach on Galveston Bay and at the downtown Sako­witz store.

He held a summer job during high school at the Houston Post before attending UT, where he made his broadcast debut on radio station KNOW and was advised at the end of the school year that he would never make it as a radio announcer.

Began as newspaperman
Cronkite subsequently dropped out of college to cover the Legislature for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, then worked for the afternoon daily Houston Press before returning in 1936 to Kansas City. He was a newsman for radio station KCMO in Kansas City and at WKY in Oklahoma City, where he called Oklahoma Sooners football games on radio in 1937, before joining the United Press wire service.

As a UP correspondent, he worked in Dallas (where he was assigned to cover the 1937 New London school explosion that killed 295 students and teachers), Austin and El Paso, before covering World War II in Europe.

Cronkite joined CBS in 1950, returning on occasion to Houston where he spoke frequently with Ann Hodges, the Chronicle’s TV columnist for more than 40 years.

“He was certainly the most influential anchor ever on television,” Hodges said. “There will never be another that influential.”

One of the most stirring examples of Cronkite’s command of the moment, she said, came on the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

“That was an incredible, terrible day, and he was very important to the country at the time,” Hodges said. “He sort of held everybody together. Through him, we knew what was happening. We trusted him enough to know it was not the end of the world.”

Longhorn legacy
While Cronkite didn’t graduate from UT, his lasting ties to the university included his donation in the early 1990s of his personal and professional papers to the school’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

The collection contains hundreds of thousands of documents from Cronkite’s life and career — plus one moon rock, given to him by NASA in recognition of his coverage of the space program.

“It’s a really outstanding collection of materials documenting the inner workings of CBS News during his tenure,” said Don Carleton, director of the Briscoe Center.

Carleton said portions of the Cronkite papers will be made available to scholars later in 2009 and that an exhibit honoring Cronkite’s career will debut in May 2010 at the LBJ Library on the university’s campus.

He continued his relationship with Houston by narrating a documentary for KUHT (Channel 8) on philanthropist and publisher Jesse Jones.

But Cronkite’s most public gift to Longhorns everywhere is, of course, his voice. In association with the Austin advertising agency GSD&M, he has for several years provided the narration for public service announcements that appear during every televised Longhorns athletics event, extolling everything from UT’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible to its mascot, Bevo.


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