The Sandler Family 1963 (Nicole in the lower left hand corner at age 4)

I finished the show this morning with a brief mention that my mom died 32 years ago today.  She had leukemia, but that’s not what killed her.

The chemo destroyed so much of her insides that the doctor wanted to give her a colostomy bag.  My mom didn’t confide in me about her medical issues (her flawed reasoning was that she didn’t want us to worry), so all these years later, I still struggle with the facts.  But she did tell me that she refused the surgery. She wouldn’t get the bag because she didn’t want to be a freak.  At least, that’s how I remember it.

I remember also thinking “something’s got to give”… she can’t go on like this.  And she didn’t.

No, the leukemia didn’t kill her.  I think it was a brain hemorrhage.

I was away at college when my mom called to tell me she was going into the hospital.  “Nothing to worry about. They’re just going to run some tests,” she told me on the phone.  The next day, I called the hospital, only to have my dad tell me that my mom couldn’t come to the phone because she was sleeping… but I knew I heard her voice.

The next day, my dad called and told me to come home.  When I got to the hospital, my mom was already in a coma.  My dad explained that he didn’t put her on the phone the day before because she was very frustrated — she couldn’t find the right words to say what she wanted to say.

The doctor told us she was brain dead, but they’d have to wait 24 hours to officially declare her dead.  Just like that.

I knew something had to give… but never thought it would be her life.

That’s how I feel today.  Something’s got to give.  I’m not talking about the life of any one person, but of our country.   At least we have people fighting back.

To be continued…

On today’s show, I spoke with two friends who have been taking part in the occupations in Chicago and Boston.

It was kind of noisy where Aaron Krager was sitting to talk to us about Occupy Chicago, but we got the gist of the fact that 130 people were arrested Saturday night, the nurses are heroes, Rahm Emanuel is as big of a dick as Mayor as he was as White House Chief of Staff, and the protesters are standing all night as opposed to lying down to sleep and getting arrested.

Aaron also told us about the petitions petitioning the Michelle Rhee bogus petitions at and  Click those links and sign those petitions please.

Former Chicagoan Matthew Filipowicz now lives in Boston, and has been hanging with the occupiers there…  he joined in to fill us in on Mayor Menino’s many positions (and I didn’t mispronounce Filipowicz once!) …

I get to spend the second hour of Monday’s shows with Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars in a segment we call “Fools on the Hill”…. she watches those Sunday talking head shows so we don’t have to.  Here’s what she brought us today:

So here’s what I don’t understand about support for Republicans: how can you trust someone who tells you that government is the problem to actually be proficient in their role to run the government? Aren’t they pretty much guaranteeing you that they will be awful?

There was a whole lot of Republicans showing just how horrible they are. Andrew Sullivan quite astutely remarked that had with all his foreign policy successes, had Obama been a Republican, they would be clamoring to add his face to Mt. Rushmore. As it stands, however disappointingly centrist we perceive Obama, Republicans are falling all over themselves to spin his foreign policy successes into failures.

Michele Bachmann, whom I presume is only staying in the Republican presidential primary for a few more weeks until all donations dry up, not only doubled down on her recent GOP debate assertion that those ungrateful Iraqis should be reimbursing us for the cost of invading and occupying their country on false pretenses, but that if she was president, Gaddafi would probably still be in power.


Meanwhile, the news that American service members might actually be home for Christmas as the final drawdown of troops in Iraq should be completed by the end of this year has brought out the war cheerleaders in a big way. This drawdown, which incidentally, was negotiated by the Bush administration with the fledging Iraqi government before he left office, indicates to Lindsey Graham that Obama failed. Wannabe GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum says bluntly that Obama ‘lost the war in Iraq.’ Lord protect us from these Republicans with no concept of foreign policy from ever occupying the Oval Office.

Not that they have any good ideas on the domestic front either. Mitch McConnell took a rather cavalier attitude towards our public service workers, telling Candy Crowley that it wasn’t his problem that police and firefighters were facing layoffs.

But the ultimate cluelessness award this week has to go to Ron Paul. He unveiled his economic plan last week, which involves cutting one trillion dollars almost immediately from the budget, mostly by eliminating the Commerce, Energy, Education, Housing and Urban Development and Interior Department. This would cut 200,000 jobs that Paul calls “non-productive”. But never fear, he’s sure “nobody will be hurt” by these draconian cuts. He also thinks ending all federal student aid will actually be better for the country as well.

And if there’s time, Howard Kurtz decided to ask conservative pundits to weigh in on the media and OWS. Naturally, they celebrated the firing of NPR’s Lisa Simeone and condemned Dylan Ratigan’s campaign to reform campaign financing.