Its complicated again

David just walked through carrying a plastic bag with all his bottles of meds and supplements. When he visits his cardiologist, he must bring the bag of pills he takes for this and that.  Over the years he has added one thing after another to his supplements, and in the past two years he has been prescribed various pills.  Sometimes I worry about the meds and supplements interfering with each other, so I go through them looking for obvious conflicts.

I subscribe to a number of magazines dedicated to various ailments, and the better ones carry information about recent medical research, as do major newspapers, like The Washington Post. For example, I recently read in the Post that Lipitor and its cousins have been linked to weight gain and diabetes.  This was only one study, and more research is warranted of course.  I have been taking Lipitor for seven years, and not because I ever had a cholesterol problem, I didn’t and still don’t, although my doc thinks the Lipitor is giving me the good readings he sees quarterly. He put me on Lipitor after I had a stroke.  The doctors never determined why I had the stroke, although tension or inflammation look like possible culprits (not cholesterol).  I would like to stop taking Lipitor for a number of reasons, and when I see Doctor Lessin at the end of the month, I will discuss this problem with him.


Meanwhile, David is off to the cardiologist who is tracking him because he has an AFib problem.  He is in total denial of course.  He will stop on the way to the doctor’s office to vote for Romney in the Republican VA primary.  Romney is likely to carry VA with no problem because Newt and Santorum are not on the ballot. Both of the latter have urged the Tea Party folks to vote for Ron Paul who is on the ballot.  Ron is OK and certainly has his devoted followers, although mostly around here (Washington DC, Arlington, and Alexandria), folks  are either Democrats or moderate Republicans.   In recent years, Bush, McCain and Hillary have all had their VA headquarters here in Arlington.  Romney will too, and David says he’s going to vote for Romney.

Tim Kaine in 2008.

Tim Kaine - Wikipedia

I am not voting today because I want to vote in the Democrat primary, and in VA you can’t vote in both primaries.  I am not a Democrat, but I often vote Democrat, and I have already sent money to Tim Kaine‘s campaign. Tim was our governor for 4 years and then went on to head the National Democrat party for a while.  He has returned to VA to run for senator, hoping to replace outgoing Jim Webb.  I liked Webb and voted for him, but, he’s had it with Washington and is going to go back to write pot boilers.  Webb, a decorated Marine who served as one of Reagan’s undersecretaries (defense) did much to help normalize US relations with Burma.

Webb’s pot boilers got him into hot water when he ran for senator. Apparently they are full of “sexy” scenes.  Both Webb and Kaine are Blue Dog Democrats (Webb was a Republican at one time). Kaine, a devout Catholic, is pro-life and fluent in Spanish which plays extremely well in Virginia. 

David has not decided who he will vote for in the fall, but at present he favors George Allen, who also served as senator and governor of VA. Both Kaine and Allen are good guys, and at different times, I have voted for each of them, but Allen faces an uphill battle with the extreme right-wing of his party here in VA.  We shall see how things shake out in the primary elections, but at our house civility is the key word.  


I have spent the past few days assembling material for my final paper in which I plan to examine reform (regarding issues associated with sex and gender) in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. I have distilled the many books on the subject to 10, which I have mostly read, plus 4 articles which I’ve half-read. Much of my work is combing through the library (online) and searching through the extant literature and finding the best material. This semester my long paper is mostly based on secondary information; last semester I delved into much primary information including court transcripts. I plan to begin writing next week, so if I disappear for several days at a time, you will know I am not dead. 

What I find amazing is: 

 1/ how much of the material about this period is contradictory, controversial or misleading;

2/ how many people living today who identify themselves as Progressives, even “Politically savvy” people, are ignorant about the Progressive Era. 

Many of the reform movements we 21st century types might think of as “good” began before or just after the Civil War (Civil Rights) were associated with the Republican Party, and are not really from the Progressive Era. Some things that are associated with the Progressive Era might have been thought “good” at one point, but are now judged very differently by some historians. Eugenics is an example of an idea thought good at the time but now condemned, also, restrictive immigration laws designed to keep out “undesirables” and abortion

These issues are related.  The contraception and abortion movements were driven by the same middle class women who pushed for temperance regarding alcohol as well as female suffrage.  Ethnic Catholics were opposed to the abortion and the banning of alcohol, and certainly to immigration restrictions. Some historians and sociologists (Angela Davis, for one) see the push to legalize abortion as racist.

Oh history is so complicated, and I am so limited in my time to explore this whole complicated topic. 



16 thoughts on “Its complicated again

  1. Cholesterol meds for a few people has been said to cause muscle wasting — think there is usually some pain, i.e. in extremities, if that happens, I’ve read. I have also heard that there have been increased instances of a certain percentage of people developing diabetes type II. Probably good to talk with your doctor about the issues since I would think they’d monitor patients for those things. Of course, we really have to educate ourselves, too.

    I was fascinated with the reverse views that occurred with the political parties in one of the generations before my time. That all came to mind as I observed what was happening with the Republican Party beginning a number of years ago. It certainly doesn’t seem to practice what they’ve claimed to stand for all these years of my life. The Demos seem much less “left,” too, and seem moderate by comparison. Repubs. don’t seem to have any moderates left in that Party, or maybe it’s because the others are so noisy.


    • Compared to Republicans the Dems as a whole are “left.” However, the Dems are split too. One group very far to the left, “red stockings” etc. The other more moderate Blue Dog Dems. Unfortunately, in recent years, a number of Blue Dogs have fallen to Republicans. Too Bad.


  2. A was on Lipitor for many years. About two years ago, my doc changed me to a generic statin he said would do as well. Cost was cut in half. The first year I used Lipitor, my chlorosterol counts adjusted nicely and they have stayed down ever since. No indications of approaching diabetes, heart problems, or memory loss. Uh . . . how do you post a comment?


  3. I have been on a statin for almost 20 years and totally dismiss the article about the possibility of diabetes and memory loss associated with it. I…er…..uh….what was I saying?


    • Ethnic Catholics were immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century who entered the US in very large cohorts and did not become integrated with the mainstream Protestant culture that existed until the Civil War. Remanants of these groups still exist. They mostly lived in large NE cities particularly Chicago and NY. My great grandmother from Poland, did not stick to the ethnic community in Chicago, she migrated to Green Bay and married a native born Portestant who later converted to Catholicism.

      I don’t know if Catholics from Korea would be included in this Gilded Age definition, but I know there were Asian enclaves in Hawaii and California.Chinatown in San Francisco is an example. I don’t think they were predominantly Catholic, however. The Census has never asked a questioin on religion to my knowledge, do I don’t have a definitive answer.

      As you personally are second or third generation, you would be a native Catholic unless you did not speak English, which I assume you do. and lived in a Korean enclave composed of Catholics.

      A good example of Ethnic culture of the Catholic kind can be seen in the film The Deer Hunter (Polish) or in one of the Irish films like Miller’s Crossing.


  4. It is interesting how political party issues have flip-flopped since the days of “Fighting Bob” LaFollette and Teddy Roosevelt. You indeed picked an interesting time in American history for your paper.


  5. My spouse also takes Lipitor since a quadruple by-pass five years ago. Like you, I’m anxious about it. When we were in NYC, he visited a cardiologist who seemed to me far too prone to much medication. His primary doc would reduce some of those meds when there were side-effects. Now in the Rose City out west he only sees primary doc, gerontology specialty, connected with our retirement place. She’s conservative about meds but I still worry about Lipitor.

    Reading of the many issues of your research, I can see that it will be quite a challenge in sorting through them, integrating. Perhaps our mistake in using an “old” descriptor like “Progressive” is how much has changed. For me one of the outstanding characteristics of that group was there were many involved who were wealthy. They had more of a sense of need to alleviate the stressors in lives of impoverished. And sometimes that led to “solutions” that could be misinterpreted by opponents. Or, their own values were not as tidy as one would wish–like Margaret Sanger.

    Our present times scare me in the viciousness that conservatives have allowed themselves to express. Disturbing how little reporting about the happenings this weekend at Virginia’s state capitol. Arresting non-violent protestors, holding handcuffed women in police vans without water (and I assume, bathroom opps), would you describe this as similar/different from labor strikes of early 20th century? From what was reported at Daily Kos, the men were treated less severely.


    • Naomi,
      I think Santorum is over the top, and Rash Lamebrain is not a Republican he is a conservative Independent he says. I also think Rachel Madows and some of the others over at MSNBC are out-of-line. We listened to MSNBC until the last election. They treated Hillary terribly. Ed Rendell (D-PA) who worked for Hillary, said to Sean Hannity or some one on Fox, “You don’t like us, but you treat us fairly.”

      Anything that suppresses civil discussion is truly unhelpful. Santorum lost in Michigan because Republican women turned on him. If the Republicans nominate him, I will vote for Obama. David says if they nominate Santorum he will work in Obama’s campaign. We like moderates, and don’t see Obama as a crackpot, although I am a bit ticked about the recent brou-ha-ha-ha over birth control involving Georgetown. (Biden, a Catholic, told him not to do it.)

      I think the treatment of women in the early part of the twentieth century was despicable, and much worse than today. Yes, they were upper-middle class Protestant women and the police were mostly Irish males who disliked them thoroughly. Still waiting to see that book written, however.


      • Dianne,
        This is a useful exchange; thanks for your openness to it. Trying to quantify the treatment of people in a time before our own is always tricky. As a feminist–same age as Gloria Steinem– who has personal memory of a range of anti reactions, I have to say that what is happening now is just as despicable. Because we were supposed to have made progress. Not feeling like that to many of us in the land heavy with the distortions from Disney and Komen pinkness.

        The HBO film, “Gloria: In Her Own Words,” which I watched last night, has synchronicity with my own public life as a feminist since the late 1960s. I always enjoy your writing about similar/different experiences then.


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