View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, August 23, 2004

RMA in the Papers 

Local Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi has some very nice words for the RMA and its coverage of the Colorado Senate race:

The Rocky Mountain Alliance is a consortium of bloggers who opine on politics, culture and anything else that happens to interest them.

All the members of the RMA live in and around Denver and post daily musings on their respective blogs, which have compelling titles like Exultate Justi, exvigilare, Mangled Cat and Mount Virtus.

At their worst, political bloggers are boring, narcissistic windbags who throw every disjointed thought they have into cyberspace.

At their best, bloggers supply a fluid, real-time debate, providing issues in the depth that mainstream media can't always offer. They link to source documents and meticulously follow the news as it unfolds.

Well, the Rocky Mountain Alliance offers the best of what the blogosphere has to offer.

David focuses on one of the more remarkable stories the RMA has to offer, that of Jim Cannon. Jim would deny this, of course, but nobody else can.

Jim was a truck driver for eight years. In late 2002 and early 2003, he thought he was fighting off a stubborn cold or flu. He had also experienced some tingling in both his arms and legs. One night, while driving from Phoenix to Denver, Jim found himself unable to breathe regularly.

About two days later, after checking in to a Flagstaff, Ariz., hospital, Jim was unable to breathe altogether.

He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves - those outside the brain and spinal cord.

"I guess the easiest way to describe it," explains Jim, "is that your immune system overreacts to an infection that it's been fighting off for some time, and actually creates antibodies that attack your nerves."

In Jim's case, the disease affected all the nerves from the neck down. He spent a total of three months on a ventilator and another three months learning how to do everything again - to "feed myself, walk, stand ... everything."

"My blogging developed as a result of that," Jim says. "In most cases people get back a lot of what they lose, because nerves that cause sensation are fortunately the only nerves in the body that can grow. "

Jim still wears a brace and has to use a cane to walk. He has yet to regain a lot of sensation and movement in his left hand.

Jim's dad blogs at Damascus Road, and through his influence, Jim decided to start his own site. He wanted to talk about Guillain-Barré, spread information on the disease and connect with other survivors.

Jim says that blogging has helped him to regain some dexterity in his hands, but mentally, it's provided a boost that can't be measured. To this day, he maintains a private blog, documenting his personal journey. Meeting the other RMAers was just an added benefit.

Jim and his fellow bloggers at RMA are decisively right wing, but there is nothing else monolithic about them. They include retirees, professionals, master's degrees, the unemployed, and as Jim can attest, the disabled.

After meeting most of the RMA, I decided to focus on Jim's story because of his amazing battle and relentless spirit.

Jim caught on to my angle and called to let me know he'd prefer if I focused on the other members of the RMA.

Which tells you everything you need to know about Jim Cannon.

The rest of us couldn't agree more. Now, go read Jim's site.

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