Posted by: michelle2005 | June 10, 2009

“Let’s Put Away Childish Things”

 temper tantrum

 

 

When I was much younger, my father rejoiced on the day that Richard Nixon won the 1968 election.  I in an attempt to bond with my father agreed that the church bells ringing that day heralded a new beginning for our country.  Many issues arose in the next four years one of them was desegregation. The use of bussing children from one school district to another had been proposed to alleviate the disparity in education that was prominent between city and suburb. I was too young to understand that there could be two sides to an argument. 

 

 

 

When I was middle school age, I interviewed my town’s mayor… a man responsible for over a quarter of a million residents.  Looking back at the transcript, I recognize that I asked this man about the issue of bussing and if such a program would ever affect our city.  His answer reflected the popular notion that my classmates would take just one year later. He stated that he strongly felt that bussing was not necessary and that the citizens of our fine city need not concern themselves with something that will never occur, as it was too unpopular among the electorate.   

 

   

 

As I grew and developed, I reached the pinnacle of middle school in time to argue over Nixon’s re-election. Our teacher assigned the class to argue over various election issues.  One such issue was bussing to end segregation.  As such, we were instructed to construct a pro and con debate over the issue of bussing.  As children living in the suburbs less than five years removed from the riots of the sixties in the inner cities of our country, my fellow classmates did not wish to be bussed to inner city schools.    I was assigned to take the position of George McGovern, of whom we were told had favored bussing.  Because the Nixon position was, so popular it would have been foolish to argue that bussing my fellow classmates to the dangerous inner city neighborhoods was a correct position.

 

 

 

As a youngster who had attended an inner city school until halfway through grade school I was in a unique position to quell my classmate’s fears, yet two years removed from living in the city, I had succumbed to the popular notion that there must be other ways to improve conditions among disadvantaged inner city children.  Nevertheless, I mounted a defense of the McGovern position by advocating that bussing would only occur when all other means of providing equal opportunity in education had been tried. In a sense, I tried to argue that McGovern was not really for bussing, and that other options were available that would more effectively mimic the Nixon position.  This was not an official position of the McGovern campaign in 1972.   What I had sought to do was to make the opposition’s position look as close to the more popular position that my classmates clearly favored. I was essentially convinced that Nixon’s position was the correct one.  As such, I was uncomfortable at having been assigned a very unpopular plank.  This was my first exercise in critical thinking, and I admit I failed but who could blame a youngster for desiring the popular position.

 

 

Today I find myself listening and reading large tracts of political speech that resembles the same capacity for thought that my middle school classmates and I exhibited in our key developmental years.  This is the time when students have a great deal of trouble writing papers that ask to compare and contrast different points of view.  So enamored are we of one opinion that we cannot possibly allow ourselves to see that of the opposition.   I have illuminated this issue before when I have spoken of a lack of an objective viewpoint, with our national dialogue.  There exists in the minds of many the correct view that leads to the greatest happiness for everyone and the opposing view that would lead to destruction of our way of life.  Surely their must be a place for middle ground, but as I have read many news articles and editorial columns and watch what passes through the airwaves there is no room for compromise. As Groucho Marx sang out in “Duck Soup”… “Whatever it is I’m against it” has become the prominent political strategy of today.

 

tug of war

 

Years ago, I watched the intramural collegiate tug of war at my brother and sister’s college.  Each side was on the brink of exhaustion as they tugged and pulled to gain a small foothold so that eventually small incremental gains would yield a winner.  In the end after many hours both sides found that, muscles were sore some even torn; sweat and mud caked the faces of all participants.  To a youngster the effort seamed foolish and not of much worth.  In the same way today, I see the futility of the political tug of war.  Each side hoping that greater footholds will lead to total capitulation of the opposition. This may be a desirable outcome for a sporting event; but in the reality of day-to-day life, a stalemate of this nature can never be productive. We cannot afford to govern if the majority and minority parties both argue, “I am right and you are wrong.”  This proposition that you are wrong becomes incendiary when one extends their argument to state not only are “you are wrong but your thinking is treasonous and will destroy our way of life.”  How can any member of our country really believe that other citizens would actually rather live in chaos; that the opposition hates America so much that they would rather wallow in misery with death and destruction all around them.  It is time to listen… not lash out at the opposition.  The time to put away childish things is now.

 

Michelle

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Posted by: michelle2005 | June 6, 2009

“Installing A Husband”

Installing Husband

 

This post did NOT originate with me.  I don’t even remember who it was that sent it to me.  However, we thought it was hysterically funny, which is why we are posting it here for you to read.

==========

INSTALLING A HUSBAND

 

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and
noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate.

DEAR DESPERATE,

First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while
Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed, Husband1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.

Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law
1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend
5.0 program.These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck!
Tech Support

 

 

Installing husband really cute

Posted by: michelle2005 | April 16, 2009

“Astro-Turf/Propaganda”

astro-turf-small

I have thought long and hard about populist uprisings, how people are lead into a battle by those charismatic few who can crystallize a movement. Think about the power of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, about the Chicago Seven and the Vietnam anti-war movement, Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abjug of the Equal Rights Amendment. These movements were not bankrolled with money from lobbyists, or ideologists who had one goal getting like party members elected. These true grassroots movements were begun to right an injustice.

None of the aforementioned groups had access to news media, such as we have seen with the TEA Party movement. Fox News and the American Family Radio network, the former of the “fair and balanced” variety, the latter as always telling its listeners the “truth”, have crossed the line from reporting the news to becoming the news. Each network has openly incited listeners to attend rallies, and have directed their audience to websites where information can be found to organize and even how to put together signs for protesters. Can you imagine if Walter Cronkite, Edgar R Murrow, or today’s Brian Williams or Charles Gibson had openly stated a position and directed their audience members to such blatant violations of Journalistic Integrity? Now I expect this type of cheerleading from Rush Limbaugh, he is commentator, not a news anchor, but the 24/7 constant pounding of this TEA party day by “news” programs leave one wondering about the state of journalism today. I am not saying the journalists do not have an ideology, they do, but Brit Hume when he was with ABC news never sounded so partisan.

elmo

Yesterday we were told that a new grass roots swelling was upon us. In my most recent post “Mad Hatter’s TEA Party”, I noted as others have, that powerful organizations with extremely wealthy benefactors are highly involved with this process. Conservative radio and television programs have endlessly advertised, advocated and some would say agitated a crowd into believing that their freedom has been greatly threatened by decisions of democratically elected members of our government.

These elected leaders are bound by our constitution to operate in a manner consistent with safeguarding our freedom and liberty. Where there is a violation of constitutional law there are three branches of government to address breaches. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches are charged with protecting our country. These three branches of government have always allowed for the continuance of our great country. For the most part, the freedoms and liberty we enjoy have been undisturbed since the founding of our nation. How then is it possible that the decisions of the present government in less than one hundred days have so greatly managed to shake the very bedrock foundation our forefathers carefully and deliberately put into place? The answer to that those seeking one for my rhetorical interrogative is that they can’t!

mr-rogers-jpeg-format

ADDENDUM:

Here are the tips provided to would-be TEA party attendees on how to make a protest sign, this is directly from the Freedom Works website. I personally like #7 but you may have your own favorite. When all else fails the one with the loudest voice wins, or so they would have you believe. Try reading these tips while thinking of Fred Roger’s voice or maybe Elmo from Seasame Street, (e.g. I like to use mostly black it’s easiest to read.)

Sign Making Tips:

1. https://www.freedomworks.org/contribute?form=c3Choose large pieces of white poster board or foam board. Colored pieces make text harder to read.

2. Decide on a slogan. Try to stick to short phrases. Avoid obscure references and the funnier the better – those will be memorable.

3. Sketch out the slogan in pencil – make sure the letters are large enough to read, your text should use the entire space.

4. Slogans should be written in a combination of upper and lower case letters – all caps are hard to read. Use them sparingly for emphasis.

5. Using broad-tipped markers, write your slogan in broad letters. Sometimes it helps to write it first and then go over it again to make it thicker. It’s okay if it looks homemade – that’s because it is. I like to use mostly black – it’s easiest to read.

6. Underline, bold, or use another color for words you want to stand out.

7. If you know someone who is good at writing in block letters and if you know you aren’t good at it then leave it to them. They will probably make great signs instinctively and you can focus on signing people up and shouting.

8. Sometimes, if there is a picture or image that helps your argument, you can use it on your sign. Just make sure it is large enough to see from a distance and fairly simple so that it doesn’t Obscure your words. But don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it – the words are the most important thing.

9. Make sure that every sign has the name and website of your organization or event so that people walking by know where to get more information and who you are with.

10. Have fun and be creative. Send pictures to FreedomWorks.

Sign Slogans:

Freedom Works

You can’t spend your way out of debt.

The government’s dumb, the market’s rational.

Yes we can – stop the bailouts!

Money doesn’t grow on trees, some of us work for it.

Bailouts + Debt = fiscal child abuse

Stop Spending, Start Cutting

Why don’t you cut my taxes instead?

Promote responsibility, no more bailouts!

Let the markets work

Stop rewarding failure.

Save the children – stop spending their money

Give me liberty or give me debt.

Who will bail out the government?

I will not pay for someone else’s house.

I don’t want your debt.

Stop punishing success.

You can’t multiply wealth by dividing it.

Redistribution just means less for everyone.

USSA

Your pork broke my piggy bank

We the people want our money back

Socialism – not the change we need!

No bailouts.

Freedom works – Bailouts Hurt

Freedom – A stimulus we can afford

Let the Failures Fail

From each according to the IRS….to Pelosi, Reid, and ACORN.

You have run out of our money!

Pathologically unable to accept responsibility

We hope Obama will change

Economic freedom is freedom

Hey Congress – You work for us!

We the People _______________

Stand up for liberty

Time for another tea party

All I have left is Change

I won’t loan my kids money, don’t borrow from my grandkids

“It is the people to whom all authority belongs” – Thomas Jefferson

Don’t Tread on Me

Any short quote from a founder

Let me off the OmniBus

I’m not stimulated

Bernie Madoff with billions, Obama “made off” with TRILLIONS! Both are CROOKS!

Liberty Tree, not Money Tree

You want your job back ? Sit down, hush up and LISTEN !!

We made the mistake of voting you in – We won’t be folled again!

Our POOR kids!

Down with the Spending

This time we really need change!

We’re Asking Honest Questions – We Deserve Honest Answers

You’re Taxing Us to Death

We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

Stop Playing with our Lives and Freedom

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

It’s All About the Constitution (Stupid)]

We’re Passionate About Our Country – Stop Destroying It!

Don’t Trash our Constitution

Stop Spending our Great-Grandchildrens’ Future

We Must ALL Live Within Our Means – That Includes the Govt.

Politicians: No More Lies, No More Games, No More Earmarks

Politicians are Our Employees – Let’s Fire The Rotten Ones

Stop Gambling with Our Future

Our Gov’t. Leaders are Out of Control

The Silent Majority is Silent No Longer

Don’t Make Us Pay for Your Mistakes

Stop Rewarding Bad Behavior

No More Bailouts

Stop Ignoring Us – We The People

Individual Responsibility

Limited Government

Quit Printing Money

America Uses “Monopoly” Money

I.O. U. – Forever

No Globalism

DO THE RIGHT THING!!!!

Common Sense

WE THE PEOPLE – Are Mad as Hell and We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

No Socialism (Socialism in a circle with a slash through it)

No Big Gov’t. (same as above)

No – Enslave Our Kids (same as above)

No – Privileged Class (same as above)

You Work for Me – I Demand Accountability

Government Bailouts = Ponzi Scheme

Pitch Them Out (with Picture of Pitchfork)

http://www.albanyteaparty.com/SignMakingTipsandslogans.pdf

To make these signs, it appears that crayons would work best!

crayons

Michelle

Posted by: michelle2005 | April 14, 2009

“Mad Hatter’s TEA Party”

mad-hatter

 

Tomorrow is a historic day for the Mad Hatters of Tea Party Day fame.  I am speaking of those who are vigorously proposing that Americans are TEA’d  (Taxed Enough Already).  Of course, this is not really as much about taxes as evidenced from a whole host of issues that have been brought to light during the early Tea Parties. The litany begins with accusations of Barack Obama not having been born on American soil to criticisms of evolution with a smattering of concern for every policy that the Obama administration has considered.  Paul Krugman outlines both the origin of this pseudo grass roots movement (He calls it an Astro Turf movement) and the issues that are dear to those who claim to be waking up Americans against alleged abuses of the constitution.  The members of Freedom Works and wealthy billionaires have bankrolled pundits who are claiming that our way of life is at risk.  They further insist that the rule of tyranny will come to the United States if we do not rise up and oppose efforts to destroy our country.  Who would destroy our country you might ask, why the very people that our country elected and who took office less than 100 days ago.

 

 

 

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show has it correct, he aptly reminded those on the right that when another president was in power and the opposition offered criticism, the response from the Right was why do you hate America?  Now with the opposition in power for the first time in eight years the sky is falling.  Amazing all these chicken littles so worried about their children’s futures never batted an eye at all the spending of the past eight years.  Remember that those on the right never concerned themselves with the loss of the surplus.  Now according to Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Representative Michelle Bachman of Minnesota et al. were are in a fight for our freedom?  These erstwhile Patrick Henry’s are screaming that we must protest against tyranny.  To which Mr. Stewart noted maybe what you are confusing is losing a democratic election with tyranny. So what policies pray tell do true conservative cite to alleviate this tyranny?

 

Chris Chocola former representative from Indiana and now future president of Club for Growth believes that if only republicans had gotten behind solid conservative principles Americans would have listened and voted Republican.  I think we lost the majority because we didn’t live up to expectations about what people expected us to do. I think if we’d done entitlement reform, tort reform, we might have expanded our majorities.”

 

Senate Minority leader John Boehner writes in Today’s National Review Online that Republican have new ideas on how to help American’s save more. This plan will be announced as soon as congress returns from Easter recess.  Here is a sample of Sen. Boehner’s revelation:

make it easier for individuals and families to save more for their retirement; effectively reduce by up to half the cost of a family’s contribution to 529 college-savings plans; allow more Americans to increase their income without being hit by the Social Security earnings penalty; immediately suspend the capital-gains tax on newly acquired assets for the next two years, and suspend taxes on dividend income through 2011; and preserve employee-controlled 401(k)s by blocking the aforementioned efforts to wipe them out.”

 

Me thinks that Senator Boehner should be more concerned with the 600,000 people losing their jobs each month.  He must know that the greater risk to one’s 401k has been reckless behavior by lending and investments houses think collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. 

smoking-bills-jpeg

Finally Ari Fleisher’s has decided that those earning less than $44,000 a year need to pay more taxes.  Mr. Fleisher relies on America’s aversion to math story problems in an attempt to convince us that wealthy Americans are paying too much.  This type of math usage is akin to claiming if Bill Gates walks into a room of ten autoworkers then they are all Billionaires since their average wealth is now over $11 billion.  Here is Mr. Fleischer’s Wall Street Journal Opinion Editorial from April 13, 2009:

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123958260423012269.html

 

“A very small number of taxpayers — the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year — pay 72.4% of the nation’s income taxes. They’re the tip of the triangle that’s supporting virtually everyone and everything. Their burden keeps getting heavier.

As a result of the 2001 tax cuts enacted by a bipartisan Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, the share of taxes paid by the top 10% increased to 72.8% in 2005 from 67.8% in 2001, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Contrary to the myth that Mr. Bush cut taxes only for the wealthy, the 2001 tax cut reduced taxes for every income-tax payer in the country. He reduced the bottom tax rate to 10% from 15% and increased the refundable child tax credit to $1,000 from $500 per child, both cuts that President Barack Obama says we should keep. In so doing, millions of lower income taxpayers were removed from the tax rolls, shifting the remaining burden to those at the top, even after their taxes were cut.

According to the CBO, those who made less than $44,300 in 2001 — 60% of the country — paid a paltry 3.3% of all income taxes. By 2005, almost all of them were excused from paying any income tax. They paid less than 1% of the income tax burden. Their share shrank even when taking into account the payroll tax. In 2001, the bottom 60% paid 16.3% of all taxes; by 2005 their share was down to 14.3%. All the while, this large group of voters made 25.8% of the nation’s income.”

 

What Mr. Fleischer fails to mention is also on a report from the Congressional budget office (CBO).  After tax (take home) incomes from the top 1 percent of earners rose $180,000 in 2005, compared to just a $400 increase for those middle class voters.  Using the aforementioned Bill Gates example imagine if Mr. Gates were in a room with 99 workers who on average make less than $58,000.   If the 99 and Mr. Gates were taxed at current rates for their respective averaged increases in income, (see ref.) of course, Mr. Gates would be paying an even greater percentage of taxes than before earning an extra $180,000 in 2005.  Simply put he made more money.  It’s no wonder that in Mr. Fleischer’s words,  the share of taxes paid by the top 10% increased to 72.8% in 2005 from 67.8% in 2001.  Of course, they did because the wealthy made much, much, much more money. 

 

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8885/12-11-HistoricalTaxRates.pdf (note the table on page 6 of the pdf file.the income numbers are staggering for the wealthy.

 

Mr Fleischer noted that “It’s time to create an Economic Growth Code whose purpose is to fix and grow the economy, not redistribute massive amounts of wealth. A new tax code that creates growth and reforms our entitlement system is the only way to dig our way out of the hole we’re in. Under an Economic Growth Code, everyone in American would pay income taxes — everyone.” 

 

Mr. Fleischer’s solution of increasing taxes on the lower and middle class households has even the National Review’s Ramesh Ponuru wondering:

 

“I was less taken by that op-ed than Veronique was. For one thing, I don’t see why the incidence of the income tax, in isolation, is all that important, as opposed to the incidence of federal taxes generally. And his bottom-line policy proposal—that Congress should come up with a new tax code that doesn’t cut anybody’s taxes, raises a lot of (low-income and middle-income) people’s taxes, and promotes economic growth—seems a little, well, crazy”

 

BUSH-2C-830_MAIN 1107 ALL21 SR

Mr. Fleischer’s madness continues,” Mr. Obama is adding to this trend with his “Make Work Pay” tax cut that means almost 50% of the country will no longer pay any income taxes, up from a little over 40% today. A certain amount of income redistribution in a capitalistic society is healthy, but this goes too far. The economic and moral problem is that when 50% of the country gets benefits without paying for them and an increasingly smaller number of taxpayers foot the bill, the spinning triangle will no longer be able to support itself. Eventually, it will spin so slowly that it falls down, especially when the economy is contracting and the number of wealthy taxpayers is in sharp decline.

 

Ok, let me see the Make Work Pay tax cut that the right has been ridiculing as only $10 a week is now going to far?  An extra $400 each year is going too far, and lining the pockets of those making over one million dollars a year with an extra $180,000 is just the free market.  Oh yeah those TEA party protesters they are the one’s who are making the extra $400 (income less than $58k) someone forgot to tell Ari Fleischer that they are TEA’d.  Maybe those making less than $58,000 should wonder why they are losing their jobs and finding they no longer have credit when so many millionaires and billionaires have been making so much more.

 

Lest you think, that Mr. Fleischer is an outlier not representative of conservatives’ beliefs. Note he is simply revealing the truth behind the TEA party.  We have all heard continuously that the rich are the ones paying all the taxes; listen to Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh et al.  If that’s the case then the only solution is to either cut programs for the middle class and below, or to raise their taxes.  Either way those protesting outside tomorrow will get the shaft.

 

 

 

 

Remember the poem the Hatter recited it makes as much sense as present day TEA Party advocates:

 

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!

How I wonder what you’re at!

Up above the world you fly,

Like a teatray in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle little bat!

How I wonder what you’re at!

 

 

 

Let’s not forget that the hatter was not mad as hell, but rather in need of serious medical help.

 

 

 

 

 

ADDENDUM:

 

Freedom Works is run by the following people according to wikipedia.com:

 

 

Founded in 1984 as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the organization was renamed FreedomWorks on July 222004, and is chaired by formerHouse Majority Leader Dick Armey. Publisher Steve Forbes serves as Vice Chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation.

 

 

President and CEO Matt Kibbe, a former aide to Republican Representative Dan Miller and a former staffer at the Republican National Committee, said that the new group “will encourage Republicans — and Democrats — to take positions on issues of individual freedom.” Armey said that “Ronald Reagan launched a political and intellectual revolution, and the Contract with America expanded it. Today, it’s time for the next wave. We have a rare window to make the big ideas of individual ownership and economic opportunity a political reality for all Americans. That’s the purpose of FreedomWorks.

 

 

 

Note: Don’t these people sound like real grass roots non-partisan organizers?

 

 

Michelle

Posted by: michelle2005 | April 5, 2009

She is Still…”Just Jenny”

jenny-with-canvas-color

Most of you know by now that Jenny is our little Sheltie.  I’ve written numerous posts regarding her many antics.  The most recent post I did was titled “The Scent of Dog and Garlic Do Not Mix!” (03-13-09)  I received many emails asking me to do more posts like that one.

 

Well, I must say…living with Jenny means there is never a shortage of things to write.  She is constantly keeping me on both my toes and hers.  The latest of her antics is regarding a squirrel and Jenny’s bottom teeth.  Let me explain….

squirrel1

Jenny thinks it’s her job to chase every squirrel she sees.  However, the beginning of last week there was a bit of a problem.

Just as a squirrel took a leap up the trunk of the tree, Jenny caught a few of it’s tail hairs in her teeth.  She immediately came over to where I was sitting.  She was ‘pawing’ at her mouth and then rubbing it on the ground as if she had something in it.  To my chagrin I noticed that she had numerous squirrel hairs lodged securely between her bottom teeth.

I tried pulling them out with my fingers…no success.  Next I got some needle nose pliers…no success.  Then I tried flossing her bottom teeth.  Not only was it no success…but it was like fighting an alligator for her to let me try to floss her bottom teeth.  They were too close together…

The only other thing I could think of was to call her veterinarian (she is also my best friend).  Reluctantly, I called the office.  The receptionist answered the phone.  She asked what the problem was…I explained that Jenny had squirrel hair caught between her bottom teeth and I could not get it out.

Dead silence on the other end of the phone…next she asked me to repeat what I just said.  So, I repeated it.  Then I heard uproarious laughter on the other end.  This receptionist had put me on “speaker phone” so the entire office could hear what I had just said.  Now, they all knew that my beautiful little Jenny had squirrel hair securely lodged between her bottom teeth.

Jenny’s bottom teeth are all so close together that I could not get the floss properly where it needed to be.  Their solution…use eyebrow tweezers. BINGO!  The eyebrow tweezers worked perfectly and before too long Jenny was free of the squirrel hair between her bottom teeth.

jennys-bottom-teeth1

One of the photos with Jenny that drew the most emails, I did a complete post.  It is titled…”Why is She in A “PEPSI” Box!?” (10/29/08)  Another time Jenny tried her paws at surgery that post is titled “The Dog Did It” (11/28/08)

One post that the sports fans liked is titled “NFL Infractions”…Dogs Behaving Badly (01/09/09)

robin

The beautiful bird above (Robin) is our state bird.  We have seen dozens of them in our yard.  Jenny likes to sit and stare at them…however, when she sees a group of them gathered in one spot…she thinks it’s her job to “inform” me that there are intruders in our yard.  So, she begins barking and then curiously watches the sky in the direction they begin flying.  She doesn’t understand why they just don’t run up the trees like the squirrels.

 

Kindest Regards,

Jenny’s Mom

Posted by: michelle2005 | March 25, 2009

“The NRO”…Out of Whack!

kathryn-lopez-quarter-size

What is wrong with the National Review Online this week?  In one article, Mark Steyn criticizes Americans for foolishly following President Barack Obama, since we hardly know him. Mr. Steyn questions President Obama’s compassion, while he himself employs a derogatory choice of words in an attempt to be ironic. By the way, the article Mr. Steyn wrote was about the supposed hypocrisy of the Obama administration over the AIG bailout. Remember when President Obama addressed the need to end childish things; he was speaking about the way pundits like to play in the mud.

 

 

 

In another article Kathryn Jean Lopez, makes the claim that today’s youth are confused as to the role of males in society. To make this statement she has sited a recent public case of domestic violence. She then blames apparent youth confusion as to who is the victim on the feminist agenda of former Equal Rights Amendment supporters.  Wow talk about the law of unintended consequences!  I really doubt that anyone believes that gender confusion issues, leads one to think the woman deserved being beaten.  Let me reiterate my belief, very rarely is violence to ever be condoned in domestic society with the possible exception of self-defense.

 

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=Y2UwYjY5YTVkNzVkYjFmZDU5ODVmNTIxOWQxYzE2YWM=

 

 

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjkwMGRhY2NmNDFjZDhhMWFlZGQyZmI5NTMxMmRkNzk=

 

 

 

Mr. Steyn even speculates that because of a gaffe the President made on Jay Leno’s tonight show appearance, we can not be certain the level of compassion our President has for Americans.  However, most astounding of all Mr. Steyn closes  his second paragraph with the following “And besides anyone who says the president shouldn’t be doing crip jokes is a racist.”  Mr Steyn’s attempt to be ironic falls, in the face of his own insensitivity to Americans with disabilities.  President Obama referred to his bowling skill being the equivalent of the Special Olympics.  He quickly apologized before the press had even broken the story.  The head of the Special Olympics immediately accepted his words of contrition.

 

 

 

Mr. Steyn by contrast has fallen into the “he used it so therefore I can use it too” philosophy of anti-political correctness.   Apparently, Mr., Steyn needs to be more respectful of those who have through birth, accident or illness have found themselves in need of more compassion and understanding.  Certainly, these people need more respect than using a term that subjugates them.  If I have mischaracterized Mark Steyn please accept my apologies.   I am only employing his same logic he used in trying to mischaracterize President Obama. More importantly, we should remember that it is really, what is inside that counts.  You cannot measure the size of a man’s heart.

steven-hawking-jpeg

Photo above:  Stephen Hawking…British Theoretical Physicist

Kathryn Jean Lopez would have us view her as a modern day Phyllis Schlafely.  This modern self-made conservative woman has a few things to learn about our past and most recent history.  First, she made the dubious claim that feminists have “invented oppression where there is none”… Really, has she not seen the scars on the women who present to the emergency departments across America?

 

 

 

 

She closes her latest writing today with a remark that Kathleen Parker’s book Save the Males needs a sequel titled: “A Woman’s Memo to Her Sister Feminists: Lets Call the Whole Thing Off”.  The self-styled K-lo apparently does not realize the trailblazing efforts that such luminaries as Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan provided for her.  Does she sincerely not realize that when these women were working to better their cause women were not prominently showcased in conservative periodicals?  

 

 

 

 

Of course, Kathryn Jean Lopez can sit safely within her ivory tower of journalism.  She is safely ensconced in the cocoon of the right wing echo chamber.  To ask a question of whether feminism influences today’s youth, a sub-culture that objectifies women by calling them ho’s and bitches is beyond compare.  Amazing where did K-lo develop her incredible logical reasoning? To Kathryn Jean Lopez, it is enough to reach back into the past to find blame for the ills of today’s society.    It would be as if I decided that any one of a number of conservative politicians from the sixties were responsible for recent violence in churches and schools.  If you do not agree with one’s politics, at least have the courage to learn about them before you open your mouth.          

 

To Kathryn Jean Lopez the latest public report of “alleged” domestic violence is simply a matter of common sense.  “I appreciate the kids’ wanting Rihanna to take some responsibility for her situation.  She’s an adult, after all , as is Brown (Chris).  And if she gets beaten, she should get the heck away from the person responsible.  And as a best-selling artist, she has the financial freedom to extricate herself from her trouble. But where’s the outrage over what Brown is accused of doing?  There’s something off when so many people blame the victim, not the aggressor. 

 

 

This is almost laughable if not for the seriousness of the situation.  Remember these words so that you can recite them the next time you are violently abused “If you are beaten…get the heck away from the person.”   Wow, if only it were that simple. The statistics involving domestic abuse warrants enrolling Kathryn Jean Lopez in a sensitivity training course.  Perhaps spending a week at the local women’s shelter would help.

 

 

 

K-Lo feigns outrage at the abuse and the public’s lack of appreciation while displaying a total disregard for the complexities of leaving an abusive relationship. The average woman who manages to leave an abusive relationship returns repeatedly to that relationship before making the final break. Abuse crosses all lines of social stratification; maybe Kathryn Jean never heard Tina Turner’s abuse at the hands of her husband Ike.  From my own life, I was caught in the trap of the cycle of violence for over two decades.  I do not appreciate any writer trivializing the plight in which I was trapped and the plight of other women to score political points.       

terror-2

 

Michelle

Posted by: michelle2005 | March 23, 2009

“Why Can’t You Just Snap Out of It?!”

knee-injurt-small

When I was active in athletics injuries were common… the coach called and school officials contacted the parents and a trip to the emergency room ensued.  If the injury was serious, overnight stays or longer resulted.  When my neighbor’s wife called 911 because her husband was sweating and clammy and he described a feeling like a weight on his chest, short time later, the ambulance rushed him to the hospital. There he was treated for a heart attack.  He spent a week in the hospital; after this, he was sent home.  He spent months recovering.  When my cousin had an asthma attack and his rescue inhaler did not work, my aunt rushed him to the hospital.  The emergency room doctor ordered a nebulizer, and when his breathing did not improve, he decided to admit my young cousin for an overnight observation.

 

 

 

All of the above have one thing in common they all involve some type of injury to one’s physical health. Health insurers consider two types of illness… physical and mental.  Physical health, what does that mean?  To the casual observer all injuries involve one’s physical health; we are generally not insuring people’s metaphysical health.  Nevertheless, we as a society treat some ailments as physical and others as mental.  Is there a real need to separate physical from mental health?  Should we limit insurance coverage for those with mental health issues?  We can agree that changes occur to our bodies in all types of disease. We know for instance one cause of a heart attack, a blockage of a coronary artery.  However, in many cases the cause of one’s change in behavior is not as evident. 

 

 

 

Police sometimes will mistake the symptoms of a person who is experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) with that of an inebriated individual.  Both can act sluggish, confused and exhibit aggression.   Then there is the case of delirium.  A rapid change in one’s behavior particularly among the elderly frequently has a physical cause underlying the behavior.  Patients with influenza, pneumonia or even a urinary tract infection may show up in the emergency department with signs of confusion, which may resemble a mental illness.  Elderly patients frequently do not have an elevated temperature.  This means that in the case of the flu or pneumonia, or even a urinary tract infection the primary symptom may be confusion and aggression.  Here again there is a physical cause to what might be perceived as a mental illness.

 

 

 

Neurophysiologists explain that the mind emerges as a property of the brain.  The brain is a physical organ.  Students in healthcare learn that changes in the functioning of the brain often leads to changes in ones mental behavior. What about mental illness?   Are there changes that can be examined in the brain?  For purposes of brevity and because it is the most common form a mental illness I have limited further discussion to Major Depressive Disorders.  In reality with the exception of the specific symptoms, the following discussion applies to all forms of mental illness (e.g. bipolar, schizophrenia, etc).  I will address more specific symptoms in upcoming posts.   Positron Emission Tomography (PET SCANS) has revealed changes in the brains of patients who have been diagnosed with depression.  Clearly, there exists a physical component to mental illness.  Therefore, it is correct to call mental illness a physical illness.

 

 

 

2008:  Hasler G, Fromm S, Carlson PJ, Luckenbaugh DA, Waldeck T, Geraci M, Roiser JP, Neumeister A, Meyers N, Charney DS, Drevets WC Neural response to catecholamine depletion in unmedicated subjects with major depressive disorder in remission and healthy subjects.

Archives of general psychiatry

Volume 65, 2008. Pages: 521

 

 

2004:  Neumeister A, Nugent AC, Waldeck T, Geraci M, Schwarz M, Bonne O, Bain EE, Luckenbaugh DA, Herscovitch P, Charney DS, Drevets WC Neural and behavioral responses to tryptophan depletion in unmedicated patients with remitted major depressive disorder and controls.

Archives of general psychiatry

Volume 61, 2004. Pages: 765

brain2

 

 

Years of abuse, in childhood or one’s adult life, exposure to violence in general can lead to alterations in one’s mental health.  Genetics has been investigated extensively.  Studies of twins and of siblings some living in different environments through adoption have reveled a strong genetic component to mental health issues. While the nature versus nurture discussion has not been not settled.  What is known is that there are components of genetic and environmental influences that account for the state of one’s mental health.     

 

 

 

 

There is one thing that prevents people from recognizing mental illness as a physical illness and that is the culture we live.  Our society is geared towards self-survival; the rugged individualist is how we view success.  Weakness in the form of one’s behavior has attached stigma to mental illness that we do not attach to those who have had heart attacks, or suffered concussions, or even those who suffer from delirium.  Yet they are all physical illnesses.  The difference for most people occurs because of three characteristics of many humans.

 

 

 

First:  Fear, which is the biggest cause of social stigma, is how mental illness is often reported in the media. How many times does one read or hear, or watch on TV of an “ex mental patient” who committed some major atrocity.  Just as reports of airline crashes make people afraid to fly (when driving a car is much more dangerous), people associated the term mental illness with dangerousness. However, just as mathematical analysis proves that airline travel is safer than operating an automobile, the statistics indicate that the vast majority of people with mental illness are harmless.    

 

 

 

Second:  Lack of direct evidence, if it cannot be seen then, it is not real. Everyone can see the effects of a person with a heart attack, an asthma attack or, a compound fracture etc.  However, how does the average person detect a physiological change to one’s brain?  Hence is becomes easy to dismiss a person’s behavior. 

 

 

Third:   Many of us figure what is good for us must be good for everyone.  Hence, “If I feel depressed and it is a transient feeling that I can overcome with my willpower, then everyone must be able to do the same”. This belief leads many people to tell family and friends to “just snap out of it” or some other phrase to that effect. 

 

 

Some of these responses may be well intentioned, but the result is frustration, pain, and sometimes anger on the part of those who are suffering because they really cannot just snap out of their depression.  Sometimes the result of years of depression, the associated suffering, and the social stigma, is a suicide attempt, for many it may be their last. 

 

 

Some will get help.  If fortunate, they will present in an emergency department of a local hospital and a qualified provider will evaluate the person to determine if help is necessary.  If the person is deemed likely to hurt him or herself, they can be admitted to an inpatient facility where trained staff members are available 24/7.  Many fear being treated in this manner.   To insure one’s safety a secure environment is needed.  Providing this type of security involves removing many freedoms that we as humans take for granted in our everyday lives.

 

 

 

Many but not all psychiatric units in hospitals have locked doors, items that can be used to hurt one’s self are removed and sleep hours are usually enforced.  These restrictions can be very disheartening.  One thing that can help the person, who has been admitted for inpatient psychiatric care, is to think of the hospitalization as a time out from life’s stressors.  The inpatient setting creates an artificial environment that can be largely free from the day-to-day problems that prohibit one from overcoming their illness.

 

 

 

While one is hospitalized, the person receives care from many providers such as a nurse, psychiatrist, social worker, occupational therapist and others. Psychiatric facilities offer classes in coping, stress and anger management, social skills and other helpful programs.  The combination of treatment in the form of medication, group therapy, life skills classes and occupational therapy has been found to be therapeutic. 

 

 

 

 

Much has changed due to managed care with regard to hospitalizations for any type of care.  For instance those who had a total knee replacement used to be hospitalized for a week or more, now they are usually sent home by the third day after surgery.  This trend is no different for psychiatric care.  The average length of stay is less then five days, where once people stayed several weeks to even months to work of their mental health issues.  Today the goal of inpatient care is to get a person stable enough so that they can function safely upon discharge from the hospital usually with scheduled outpatient visits.  Discharge from the hospital does not mean an absolute cure has been accomplished and frequently the person who has been discharged is not ready to resume all previous activities immediately.  In any case, outpatient care either by regular visits to see the therapist and psychiatrist or in the form of a partial outpatient program may be necessary to help the person cope with their stressors.

 

heart-attack-sma

 

 

Let us look at depression. The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders IV text revision, (DSM IV test revision) is the definitive guide to mental illness.  The DSM IV TR defines a major depressive episode as:

 

 

Major Depressive Episode

 

  1. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
    Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or 
    mood-incongruent delusions orhallucinations.
  2.  
    1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.
    2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation mad by others)
    3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g. a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains.
    4. insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
    5. psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, no merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)
    6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
    7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
    8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
    9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
  3. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode.
  4. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  5. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g. hypothyroidism)
  6. The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for long than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation,psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

 

Note: To be considered a Major Depressive episode the person must exhibit at least five of the nine symptoms over at least a two-week period.  This measure provides a rigorous examination of a person who is being evaluated for Major Depressive Disorder.  Local hospitals provide screening for depression, with referral to qualified providers.   Many people get help in this manner without need of hospitalization.  If you or someone you know does not feel safe, if they indicate that they want to hurt or kill themselves then an evaluation at a local hospital emergency room is warranted.  If they will not get help or if a family member is preventing help such as in the case of an abusive relationship then a wellness check can be arranged with a local police or sheriff’s department.

 

There is one caveat to all the previous discussion, and that is that mental health services are severely limited to those without health insurance, and to those who hare not actively suicidal.  This dangerous shortcoming often leaves people in need of help without the resources to get help.  Two pieces of advice for those in this predicament.  First do not give up and try not to become discouraged, contact every agency that offers some form of help, and if possible do not take no for an answer. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has a website that is useful.  http://www.nami.org/

 

Michelle

 

Posted by: michelle2005 | March 17, 2009

Will the Nightmares Ever End?

Some of you are aware of bits of my past.  Some are familiar with much of my work…both overseas and here in the USA.  This has produced nightmares that have not ended.   I began emailing my beloved husband at work when I am suddenly awakened by night terrors.

 

He is a medical professional and often works midnights.  He suggested that the emails I’d sent be saved and included in the book I am working on.  This is a very good idea for many reasons.  First and foremost…it reminds me that I am NOT the only one that suffers trauma from the past.  I also know I am most certainly not the only one that’s been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).  Personally, I don’t know why it’s called “POST” Traumatic Stress…when it is present every day.

 

I am going to post just a few of the emails that I’d sent my husband.  It will be followed by an email he had sent me…after we had four glorious, uninterrupted days together.

 

scream

 

My Beloved Husband,

Sleep seems far from me tonight.  Laying within your embrace is the most comfortable place  there is for me…it’s easy to drift off as I lay next to you…listening to the  rhythmic sound of your breathing brings me great contentment…and before long I  too am asleep.

 

However, each night…it feels as if I’m “almost” asleep…when I suddenly am wide awake…I can “be” in an assortment of places.  The Gulf Coast…the rapists are there.  Another time, I am standing back a bit from the crowd…as I  watch a man hanging from a tree, as a man in the crowd steps out and
douses him  with lighter fluid…the out comes the cork-screw.  The joyous laughter from those in attendance reminds me of the joy demons must feel when God’s people are distressed.

 

Another time…I’m asleep in my bed…when my “ex” walks in and begins to beat me. Then I wake up and realize I am in my own bed and the dog is lying on your pillows.   Yet, for those few moments between sleep and consciousness…this is where fear lives.

 

I sit up and tell myself…don’t go to sleep.  Stay awake and think of other things.   This inevitably takes me across the ocean…to one of many nations that I’ve lived, loved, and has taken root within my heart.  Now…fully awake…I can “smell the smells”…”hear the voices” of those that were like family…I can “hear” the awful wailing sound of the bomb squad sirens.

 

I can “see” the sadness of hopeless within the eyes of such a vast number of street children…orphaned since the revolution.

 

Then I can see my life contained upon the walls of our home.
Now…this gives me joy!  It brings rationality to all the senselessness I have witnessed in my life.

 

I hate waking up in a cold sweat at night…finding myself back on
the Mississippi Gulf Coast.   It’s beyond frightening.  What should I do?

 

==========

 

My Beloved Husband,

Night after night, I wonder when the nightmares will stop.   With you sleeping next to me…at least, they are not a daily occurrence.  Due to the fact I do not want to awaken you…I slide ever closer to the edge of the bed as I do not want my trembling to disturb your sleep.

 

Which day will it be when I begin to feel better physically?  Tomorrow, maybe the next day?  On the other hand, will that day every arrive?
Hold me.  Just hold me.  This is my only desire…to be held within your embrace so tightly that nothing can penetrate your embrace to harm me.  YOU are my constant desire, concern and motivation.

 

 
When you are not here…I think, continually, of all the things I desire for you.  Such as love, joy, peace, hope, gentleness…etc., etc.   Do I provide these things for you?  I already know your answer…”Yes”!

Being raped, stabbed, chased…or having my home shot up night after night after night…is exhausting.  Do I regret the things I was once involved?  No. I do not.  However, I had no clue at the time, that these things would haunt my memory and steal hope from my heart.

 

Will I ever have “normal” thoughts…or have I seen far too much misery in so many places?
==========

 

 

 

 

My Beloved Husband,

 

 

I have been awake since 3:10 AM.  I checked my messages and hadn’t heard anything from you so figured you must be busy.  But it’s almost 6:30 AM now…so thought I’d drop you a line so you could read these words….I AM SO MUCH IN LOVE WITH YOU!

 

 

This is what woke me up:  I heard my heart beating rapidly and felt a searing hot pain as I was stabbed.  I could “hear” the waves hitting the shoreline; I could “hear” the seagulls.  What should I do…run?  Yes, run.  So I ran…although I did not get very far before falling forward.  I was on all fours with my head tilted downward as I watched my own blood be absorbed into the sand.

 

 

By now, I’m wide awake.  It took several minutes before I had the courage to move.  I then looked next to me … you weren’t there.  I used my left hand to feel above my head…and I felt the dog sleeping.  Immediate relief swept over me.  It’s OK…I’m home.

 

 

 

You were so tired by the time you came home from work today!  Couple that with all the stress I was feeling and it was a toxic mix.  The best thing for both of us was that we soon fell fast asleep….to awake totally relaxed.

 

 

Sometimes I feel afraid to fall asleep.  With the nightmares…I never know “where” I will wake up and what will be taking place.  Will it be the scenes of war…bombs, a mutilation murder by lynching or while on the beach either being stabbed or raped?  The weirdest thing is that it seems so REAL!  I can “see” the sights and “smell” the smells exactly as they were when the event occurred.

 

 Darling…I will always love you!

==========

My Darling Wife
Four days, that’s a span of 96 hours
for many the time goes by very quickly
especially when it is your time off
but for you and I, the last four days
lasted longer, meant more than any other
four days before!
I have never felt closer
understood more
enjoyed being around anyone
like I have you this past four days
I know that I am a better man for having spent
these past four days with you
I love you with every beat of my heart
J’aurai tous jour faim de toi!

 

==========

 

 

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: michelle2005 | March 15, 2009

“The Scent of Garlic and Dog Do NOT Mix”

jenny-grooming-edited1

As you can see, we have a beautiful little Shetland Sheepdog (“Sheltie”)  Her name is Jenny.  She is rather persnickety about her appearance and doesn’t even like to get her feet wet.  She is extremely personable and works as a therapy dog.

Those of you that have been following this site know that she is also extremely attached to my hubby.  He likes to cook…and whenever he is in the kitchen, Jenny is at his heels.  However, I need to tell you he is not the neatest cook 😦

Before going to work he decided to make his own concoction of a spicy pasta sauce…but there was also some sticky rice in his planning.  (Why the sticky rice…I have no clue)  

 minced-garlic1

I was in the other room and not paying attention to the happenings in the kitchen.  Although, late in the evening I noticed a familiar scent coming from my little Jenny!  I called her to me and looked at her and saw what looked like little grains on her forehead.  OMG!  It was GARLIC!

Next I notice she has rice over a large portion of her back…STICKY RICE!

 

sticky-rice-jpeg

There is a reason it’s called “Sticky Rice”…because it is most definitely sticky.  So, here it is almost midnight and I have a little dog that smells like garlic and has sticky rice all over her back.

When I called her over to me, at first she wouldn’t come…but instead went under the table.  I think she thought she must be in trouble…which of course she wasn’t.

I had to get her grooming tools out and completely comb out her fur.  Next, I got out her shampoo and had to clean the fur on top of her head.  I used a blow-dryer in order not to be up all night with her.

Well…she was all clean and her scent was again very sweet!  I emailed my hubby at work with the photo of the garlic.  I didn’t have to say a single word…he knew what I meant.

 

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, tonight something unusual took place.  My hubby was gathering some ingredients together to make some pasta…GARLIC if course

Posted by: michelle2005 | March 13, 2009

“All Roads Lead to Tax Cuts”…Oh Really?!

The other day, while reading the “National Review Online” I saw an advertisement for a group calling itself “Conservatives for Patients Rights” cleverly abbreviated CPR.  This is the latest conservative effort (ala the famous “Harry and Louise” ads) to scared Americans away from real health care reform.

 

 

Those ads were created and paid for by the health insurance industry that had a stake in keeping the status quo.  Whenever you see an ad, telling how to feel about an issue it is best to know who funded the ad.  The old saying follow the money usually goes a long way to help one understand the rest of the story. 

 

 

http://cprights.org/

 

cpr-logo-large

 

Richard Scott former CEO of Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America (Columbia HCA) leads CPR.  Mr. Scott claims to have in “insignificant” financial interest in the health care industry.  Rather he has stated that he primarily concerned with the free market.  An article posted on politico.com noted: “Scott shied away from comparing his effort to the famous industry-led “Harry and Louise” ad campaign that helped torpedo universal coverage in the Clinton administration, saying that while they may receive some aid from health care stakeholders, the “goal is to get support from individuals.”  Of course, that was the point of the “Harry and Louise” ads to get support from individuals.  How dumb do these people think that we are?   

 

 

 

Mr. Scott has written an open letter to President Obama, requesting details of the administration’s plan:

 

 

You made health care a centerpiece of your campaign and just last week announced a sweeping $634 billion plan to reform our nation’s health care system. While you were very specific about how you would pay for this plan, you offered virtually no details on your plan itself.  One of our basic rights as consumers is to be able to shop and compare. As taxpayers, we should have the ability to not only know the cost of your plan, but the specifics of what we get out of your plan. That is the only way Americans can make an informed decision. As you convene your health care summit at the White House, we call upon you to lay out the details and specifics of your plan for all to see. We are entitled to a healthy debate on how your plan will impact each of us. Many Americans are leery about allowing the government to have a more significant role in making private health care decisions that should only be made by a patient and their doctor.” 

 

 

I found this letter quite strange given that on the same website there is a link to sixteen health plans including the Obama Administration’s own site. The Obama Healthcare Plan in provided in a nine page pdf. document. 

 

 

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf  

 

 

One sentence at the end of the brief letter exists to fuel consumer fears.  Mr. Scott wrote” Mr. President, Americans don’t want surprises. And we don’t want national boards or faceless bureaucrats taking away our rights to make our own health decisions in the name of controlling costs.”  It would appear that Mr. Scott never heard of HMO’s or their practice of rejecting patients’ medical claims, in the name of controlling costs.

http://cprights.org/pdf/openletter20090305.pdf

 

 

 

This week on “Point of View” a news segment of American Family Radio, commentators noted that while Medicare does not restrict patient choice, it is rife with fraud.  The reporters noted there had been $60 billion in fraud and that Medicare had no way to police the rampant fraud.  The news commentators on Point of View told the radio audience that if Medicare fraud could be controlled this would go a long way to controlling health care costs.  This is the “oh that is a big number” scare tactic.  Billions wow, if only they had that money we would have a solution.  Just one problem, the cost to reform healthcare exceeds $600 billion over ten years; $60 billion is less than 1% of that total. It is a lot of money but it will not solve our healthcare problems.      

  

 

The “Point of View” guest in the second hour was Richard Scott the man behind Conservatives for Patients’ Rights.  I was unable to get a call in to the show but if I had, I would have liked to ask Mr. Scott about the following piece of information

 

 

Your hosts of this show mentioned Medicare fraud.  Did you not as CEO of HCA Mr. Scott preside over the biggest case of Medicare fraud in this country?   How ironic!  I did not hear anything about that Medicare fraud when Mr. Scott’s segment was on the air. 

 

 

The CPR website has a link to an article published on the Heritage Foundation website: The Fallacy of Health Care Reform as Economic Stimulus.   The article questions how government investment into healthcare can help lower the costs of healthcare

 

 

Five paragraphs into a discussion on the merits of government investment into healthcare and healthcare reform I witnessed a familiar pattern.  Only lower taxes can produce wealth.  How convenient that in a discussion on health care taxes takes center stage.

 

 

“Any money the government spends on health care (or anything else) has to come from somewhere–either higher taxes, more borrowing, or inflation–and that means less is available to the economy for private spending. Government spending cannot cause prosperity; it can only reallocate resources from one person or activity to another. Prosperity–economic expansion–can be achieved only by increasing total production, not simply moving it around. For this to occur, entrepreneurial individuals and companies have to find it worthwhile to engage in productive activity and investment. The only way government can induce sustainable economic expansion is to reduce the taxes and regulations that inhibit productive activity.

 

 

 

A favorite canard of conservatives is that government does not produce wealth.  This should surprise economists as the formula for gross domestic product the chief measure of wealth includes government expenditures.

 

 

The most common approach to measuring and quantifying GDP is the expenditure method:

GDP = consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports), or,
GDP = C + I + G + (X − M).

 

 

The private sector is unable or unwilling to invest because of the credit market collapse, and decrease consumption.   Consumers have decreased consumption due to fear of pending unemployment and decreased credit available.  Looking at the above equation what area of expenditures is the only avenue to increase GDP and hence wealth?  From a careful examination, one would have to conclude that government spending must step in to support growth. 

 

 

 

The conservative argument that, lower taxes and decreased regulations continues to prevail in Republican Party.  The Heritage Foundation article closes with the same mantra, increased spending by the poor comes off the hard earned money of the American workers.  “Previously uninsured families to spend more on consumer goods, since they would not have to save for unexpected medical expenses. Gruber and Yelowitz find that previously uninsured households that become eligible for Medicaid do indeed spend more. But this does not mean that total consumer spending increases–the money used to fund Medicaid expansion has to come from somewhere; in particular, whoever paid the taxes to fund the expansion had to reduce their own spending. Furthermore, the recessionary effects of taxation mean that the decrease in spending by other taxpayers is greater than the increase in spending by new Medicaid recipients.

 

 

The tax rates proposed by the Obama administration are the same level that existed during the Clinton administration.  I do not recall that those at the highest income levels were stressed out about not having enough to spend.  Republicans and conservatives continue to Scare America First with the specter of higher taxes, even when the effects on the average earner would be nominal.  Let us have an honest conversation, we need healthcare reform now, we have waited too long.      

 

It appears that the RNC has lost their footing!

 

elephant-falling-large1

 

 

 

Michelle

 

 

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