Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Open Letter to the Candidates

To The Honorable Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama:

I know that I am probably wasting my time writing this letter, as you are all quite busy right now and don’t have the time to read it, but I feel that there is an issue that whichever of you is elected our next President needs to address urgently.

During this campaign, we have heard a lot about various issues. There has been a lot of talk about the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration and health care. These are all important and worthy of debate, but one issue overrides them all.

The threat of global warming has made the environment the most important issue in this election. To your credit, all three of you have supported bills in the Senate that address global warming.

I submit that your efforts are not going far enough, as evidenced by your stands on other environmental issues. All of you have expressed support for biofuels, which would not only add to greenhouse gases, but would also divert agriculture from producing the food that people desperately need to eat.

All three of you are also proponents of “clean coal,” which would merely transfer waste from one stream to another, and would not be feasible until around 2020, anyhow. It would also encourage the coal industry to continue its hideous practice of blowing the tops off mountains and destroying the surrounding environment.

It is easy to put your name on a bill purporting to do something about global warming. It is quite another to propose policies that undercut those efforts.

None of you are doing much to support the alternative energy sources that would truly reduce the threat of global warming—solar, wind, and hydro power. Other Presidential candidates have brought these forms of energy to the forefront of their campaigns, including John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that those candidates have fallen by the wayside. Maybe that’s because they couldn’t rely on money from the oil and coal lobbies?

My litmus test for a candidate for any national office used to be their stand on abortion rights. I reasoned that, if you don’t have the right to your own body, what rights do you have? I still think a woman’s right to choose is very important, but global warming has forced me to supplant it with the environment as the number one issue. The survival of man and many other species is at stake. There are many other vital issues, but we can’t argue about them if we’re dead.

As I write this, one of the top news stories is the collapse of a 160-square mile ice shelf in Antarctica due to global warming. The time for denying that the environment is the number one priority for the next President is past. The threshold is now.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Fritz
Penn Hills, PA

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

2008: A Pain Odyssey

Contrary to how it may appear, Fritzburgh An’at has not been abandoned.

My Sitemeter tells me that this site has been firing blanks so far. I can (sort of) understand why, since all I’ve done is take shots at obvious targets like Fred Phelps, and make a Presidential endorsement that became the kiss of death. But I will soldier on, mainly because I hate abandoned blogs. Especially since I had to name this blog Fritzburgh An’at because both Fritzburgh and An’at, by themselves, were already taken by blogs that haven’t seen a post since there were actually good IT job opportunities. If you’re not going to blog, at least have the decency to take your page down.

I have an excellent reason why I have not posted to this blog in over a month.

On the night of Jan. 17, I received a phone call from my wife, who had been bowling in her regular Thursday night league. She had lost her balance while trying to pick up a spare, stepped into the lane, slipped, and heard “all sorts of popping noises.” She was lying on the lane as she spoke. I rushed to the bowling alley, where she was surrounded by an EMS crew and being placed on a stretcher. From there, it was off to one hospital, and then another.

The next day was full of waiting and conversations with doctors. A surgeon said that two large incisions would have to be made in Jamie’s leg in order to relieve compartment syndrome. There would be six operations over the next month. The first one was to make the incisions (a fasciotomy—note that there are some graphic photos at that link), and four were to clean and dress those wounds. The third operation in the series fixed the actual break, which turned out to be a fracture of the tibia plateau. A fixator was placed on the leg, which involved the insertion of two pins in the break and two more farther below in the shin. The fixator was removed after a month, then replaced by a brace and boot.

The prevailing feature of Jamie’s life this year has been constant pain. She has been on various pain medications, with a dose given every four hours. In addition to the physical pain, there’s the frustration at not being able to move freely or do more than the most minimal tasks by yourself. It is so hard to see someone you love in such pain and be helpless to do anything about it. It is easy to feel like a failure.

She is now in a rehab facility, where she will be for several more weeks. She does physical therapy daily, which involves exercises such as hopping across the floor while holding parallel bars, and gradually bending the knee farther. Bending the knee is especially painful, because she could not bend the knee for over a month.

I go to see her every night when possible. I have also been taking care of two dogs and three cats, and keeping our house in a semi-normal state. But it is hard for me to complain when I see Jamie spending minutes pivoting across the floor to go to the bathroom or put on a CD, or struggling to get in and out of bed, or trying in vain to find a comfortable position in bed.

Jamie is my hero.