Dreams Come True (For Dogs and Women With Chutzpah)

It seems that when I drop in to my old timeline (and I’m not talking about Facebook!) I’m always apologizing because it’s been too long since I’ve checked in.  Heavenly time is measured differently than Earth time, and in the wag of a tail, weeks have passed since I’ve communicated with my earthbound pack.

No excuses…just a different pawspective…

As always, I’ve been delighting in watching over my family.  Timmy Elijah is growing so quickly and he is

Timmy E brings laughter & smiles wherever he goes!

a constant source of laughs.  His gangly legs and puppy exuberance are an uncoordinated sight to see!  I’m beyond elated that Timmy E has been such a healing presence for mama and has restored her smile.

Wilbur is happier than ever with new energy in the house, although he still misses his big brother.  And Bella is…. well, her dog-like kitty self even as she’s gone through cancer surgery and recovery.

I continue to be inspired by the strength and accomplishments of my family and friends.  For the past couple of months, mama has been helping promote a new documentary, Sexy Baby, co-directed by two extraordinary and inspirational women, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus.  These ex-journalists had a nugget of an idea for a feature documentary, although neither had made a movie before.

Jill and Ronna with Tribeca Film Festival co-creators, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal

Through their drive, spunk and tenacity, Jill and Ronna attracted executive producer Abigail Disney (yes, of the famed Disney family) and created a documentary that has the film festival circuit buzzing.  Sexy Baby premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and Jane Rosenthal, co-creator of TFF, introduced the film.  Three screenings were planned, but they sold out so quickly that a 4th was added.  And, my personal hero, Michael Moore — icon to all documentarians — attended the final Tribeca screening.

I am deeply inspired by Jill and Ronna.  Their motivation and chutzpah , plus a hefty dose of perkiness, aided in getting their dream realized.  As my loyal readers know, I dig perkiness and spunk and these ladies have confirmed that going for your dreams with abandon makes them come true.  My philosophy has always been that wagginess (sister to spunkiness and perkiness) is a huge asset in life and in business.

Look for my review of Sexy Baby later this week. (Spoiler alert: it’s an absolute must-see film for our times!)

Who’s inspiring you this week?

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Is Michael Moore My Guardian Angel? Part 2

I closed part one of this post wondering if a precocious pup like myself had any chance of receiving support from the illustrious Michael Moore with our health insurance battle.

You FOA’s know that I’m a persistent pooch and loathe to let injustices just slip by without trying to create some sort of change.  Hey, my tactics have worked (somewhat) with the Folsom Police Department and I had hope that Mr. Moore, one of my personal heroes, would somehow come to our aid.

I took it upon myself to tweet and email Mr. Moore last week asking his advice with mama’s situation.  Sure, he’s an Academy Award winner and busy with Occupy Wall Street right now but I was hoping he’d see himself in me (albeit, I’m a bit smaller & hairier):  he’s a truth seeker, I’m a truth seeker.  He seethes at injustice, as do I.  He strives to make our country a better place, and I do too.  And, we both look fabulous in baseball caps!

Michael & Me (notice the resemblance?)

I believe what happened on Sunday morning was a miracle of sorts.  Mama was getting ready to go to the Spiritual Center for Positive Living while I was checking statuses online.  When I logged on to twitter the very first tweet I saw was from Michael Moore saying that he was about to start a 3 hour interview on BookTV and calls were welcome.

Blimey!  Open access to Mr. Moore just as I was reaching out to him.  Mama tried and tried the phone number but kept getting a busy tone.  We figured if we got through before 10am that it was a sign.  & if not, it was also a sign (for mama to get her behind out the door and up to the spiritual center!).

At 9:55am we reached one of the producers and our question was “accepted”.  Now we had to wait until the interviewer said “we have Heidi on the line from California” and then we were live with Mr. Moore!  As expected, he was gracious and anxious to give us his advice.  He and mama even shared a little laugh.

Mr. Moore urged us to hold insurers accountable and fight, fight, fight!  Never give up.  He confirmed what we already knew (from watching his masterpiece, Sicko) about insurance companies:  it is their goal to deny as many claims as possible to enhance the wealth & profits for executives and shareholders over the health of it’s customers.

If Michael Moore (and dogs) ruled the world, these practices would be illegal.

We feel a renewed sense of feistiness to fight for what’s right — to fight for our rights!  Receiving encouragement from Michael Moore was like getting a vaccination against health insurers.  We feel strong and resilient; confident that with tenacity we will prevail.

Mama and I really feel that our opportunity to speak directly with Michael Moore about our plight was a miracle.  We prayed, wished and hoped for a conversation with Mr. Moore, and that conversation materialized.  A pawsome miracle, I say!

Have you had miracles, big or small, occur in your life recently?  Please share!

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Is Michael Moore My Guardian Angel?

Apologies for my absence, friends.  No, I am not injured or sick again (phew!) but the past week has had it’s trials.  You know that saying whatever can go wrong will go wrong?  Well, I think that statement describes the last week.

First, our laptop had a very sad and untimely death.  Thankfully we had nearly everything backed up (a reminder to always back up every day!) and we were back in action with our new MacBook Pro in a matter of a couple of days.  The new laptop is so pretty and shiny that it took some convincing on my part to get mama to let me put paws to keyboard.  Aw, this beautiful, backlit keyboard… I think I’m in love….

Computer up and running, data transferred and I was ready to rejoin the world of writing and my pack of virtual friends.

Not so fast, Fido!  It turns out that the computer burial would be the least of our worries this week.  Why is it that stressful situations seem to come in bulk?  One major speed bump a week is plenty for this pup.

I’ve mentioned that mama has had sports-related issues with her back, requiring some procedures and injections.  A few days ago we received notice from our insurance company (Anthem Blue Cross) that a post-procedure review by their “physician reviewer” finds these procedures were not “medically necessary”.  This was after the insurer had pre-approved them months ago!

why is this healthcare-for-profit, scam of an industry, legal?

I won’t go into the gory details (like mama losing her cool with the customer support person and eventually ending up on the floor with me in tears…) but bottom line is healthcare for profit is not a healthy model for anyone but the shareholders.

After many, many frustrating hours on the phone with the insurance peeps, I’m more convinced than ever of the sham and shame that is our healthcare system.  Of course we’ve seen Michael Moore’s “Sicko” multiple times and understand how the insurers are set up to hinder customers from receiving services.  But there’s a great difference between understanding an unjust system and being a pawn in their maze.

Wilbur and I listened to the conversations on speakerphone and my heart was pounding with angst hearing their mistruths and deliberate confusion.  How many hours on hold and how many transfers can any pup take — especially when each person we speak with has a completely different explanation than the last?

Mama is just one of hundreds of thousands in this country who everyday attempt to navigate the vast and untenable wasteland that is healthcare for profit — with little resolution, only greater frustration.

After days of this I thought, what would  Michael Moore do?  I figured he’d be the only person who’d know how to navigate this freaky system and wished to consult with him.  But what are the odds that this pup would have the opportunity to actually talk to the Oscar winning director?

Stayed tuned for the second part of this story coming soon…

Have you had any negative experiences with your health insurance carrier?  I’d love to hear your stories.

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Greed Is Not Good

In the late 1980’s, the iconic character, Gordon Gekko, famously said “greed is good”.  This pup thinks that statement is poop!  And not the good kind of cat poop that I enjoy as an appetizer.  Gekko uttered these words to cheers from the viewing public, as deregulation of industry (financial, energy, insurance, etc) continued in the Reagan era.

The “greed is good” mentality became even more deeply permeated in Wall Street’s objective; an “all for us, none for them” mindset, that has only become worse since Gordon’s statement was declared in 1987.  Don’t get me wrong, dear readers.  This canine is not anti-capitalism.  But, I fear that capitalism has evolved into corporate fascism.  Capitalism, unchecked, is certainly a recipe for disaster.  We are living through the effects of unregulated capitalism, as we speak.

The Wall Street bailouts of the Bush and Obama administrations, were, in this pup’s opinion, necessary, to prevent the collapse of the entire banking system.  But, had this country not jumped on the deregulation bandwagon of the early 80’s (and continuing since), we never would have ended up in this position.

The early ’80’s saw the rise of “derivatives and exotics” from Wall Street institutions.  Can anyone say high stakes gambling?  No one can really explain these highly complex, mathematical theorems (as hysterically demonstrated in Michael Moore’s masterpiece, “Capitalism: A Love Story”.)  And, since these equations are are so convoluted and inexplicable, regulation (what little was in place) was difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

While the market was hot, and money was flowing, Wall St. executives were wildly rewarding themselves, while raising interest rates on the paeans.  Fair market?  Me thinks not.

The U.S. taxpayers have been forced, with no other real option, to bail out these corporations.  The total cost of the federal rescue to Wall St. institutions and their affiliates, is estimated between $4.6 trillion, and $4.8 trillion (according to reports by SourceWatch and Real Economy Project, Center for Media and Democracy).  This costly bailout dwarfs even what this country has spent on the two ongoing wars.

The ransom money that we, the taxpayers, ponied-up, was supposed to keep the money flowing.  And that’s just what these bankers did.  Sadly, they misunderstood the meaning of keeping those dollars moving.  The intention was that with these funds, loans would freely be made to help small business owners, to renegotiate home loans, and to give credit to consumers needing to purchase a car or send their kids to college.

But, those silly banking pranksters, thought the money was to flow right back to them; the 1% of the population hoarding the assets.  Wall Street generously gave themselves $18 billion in bonus money, just in the first month of 2010.  That’s a whole lot of loan modifications for the average Joe, or Rover;  a huge pile of kibble that could, and was intended, to be shared with the pack (with interest, of course).

I bring up this subject today, because this week, Congress is debating a financial reform bill.   From what I’ve read, to date, there is much to be desired in this bill.  But, we need Congress to establish some reform and renewed regulation to ensure that a crisis, like we’ve seen since summer of 2008, does not happen again.

I need to jump on my civics soapbox, friends.  Now is the time to contact your Senators and let them know how you feel.  I talked with my Senators’ offices today (Barb & Dianne), urging them to institute financial reform immediately.  If this topic resonates for you, dear readers, I hope you’ll take a moment to pick up the phone and let your opinion be heard.  To find your Senator’s contact information, simply go to:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

I’ll leave you will these quotes to ponder…

“Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” ~~ Thomas Jefferson

“We view them as time bombs, both for the parties that deal in them and the economic system.  In our view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.” ~~ Warren Buffett (2003)

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