Friday, August 01, 2014

God is good


Top 10 educated cities in the United States—Forbes


Before we on the list get too big headed, every one in our federal government has advanced degrees, and look at the messes they manage to get us into!

Highly educated communities also have a high marriage rate, good schools, great libraries, many churches, strong environmental controls and zoning laws, not so great public transportation so every household has multiple cars, and homes and rents too expensive for the average homeowner. In other words, the poor don’t move into the well-heeled, high educated communities. We moved here in June 1967 (Farleigh Road) and weren't aware that we weren't in Columbus.

The EMR boondoggle

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are a health mandate that was included in Obama's stimulus, ARRA in 2009 ($19 billion). There was no research; no evidence it would improve health; not a smidgen that EMR would reduce costs. But what a boon for IT companies which must have terrific lobbyists. Those doctors who were already computerized, had a do-over, with either a penalty or a reward for doing it. So what is EMR really good for? Data mining. 70,000 new codes. A caller to the Glenn Beck show today was reading some of the codes: this was priceless, "walking into a lamp post, first encounter" and "walking into a lamp post, second encounter." Another one had to do with an alien space craft. This will allow government bureaucrats to decide who gets the grants to decide where lamp posts should be, and who is crazy enough to get medical help after finding an alien space craft.

I had an appointment with a pulmonologist this week (I’ve been diagnosed with asthma, and they can’t find an inhaler I can tolerate), and the whole practice was in a uproar over their new computer system.  For a week they had coaches from some computer firm with them.  Last fall, I went through the same thing at my internist office; every thing has to be reentered, you sign a digital signature, and have your photo scanned into the system.  Lots of mischief when not only all your identifying information is residing in cyberspace but it’s linked to your photo and signature.  My internist’s office and the pulmonologist’s office records are not compatible, by the way.  I spoke to the doctor about EMR.  “Nothing but data mining,” he said.  “Useless for health care.”

“Although the chief goal has been to improve efficiency and cut costs, a disappointing report published last week by the RAND Corp. found that electronic health records actually may be raising the nation’s medical bills. “ New York Times

“Despite the government’s bribe of nearly $27 billion to digitize patient records, nearly 70% of physicians say electronic health record (EHR) systems have not been worth it. It’s a sobering statistic backed by newly released data from marketing and research firm MPI Group and Medical Economics that suggest nearly two-thirds of doctors would not purchase their current EHR system again because of poor functionality and high costs.” Medical Economics

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Two hundred years ago in America

"Having an outdoor privy signified a level of decency above those who simply relieved themselves in the woods or fields. Indoor light was scarce and precious; families made their own candles, smelly and smoky, from animal tallow. A single fireplace provided all the cooking and heating for a common household. During winter, everybody slept in the room with the fire, several in each bed. Privacy for married couples was a luxury. ...

"It was a young society: The census listed the median age as sixteen, and only one person in eight as over forty-three years old. Women bore children in agony and danger, making their life expectancy, unlike today, slightly shorter than that of men. Once born, infants often succumbed to diseases like diphtheria, scarlet fever, and whooping cough. One-third of white children and over half of black children died before reaching adulthood. The women had enough babies to beat these grim odds. To help them through labor, neighbors and trained midwives attended them. Doctors were in short supply, hospitals almost unknown. This proved a blessing in disguise, for physicians then did as much harm as good, and hospitals incubated infection. The upside of rural isolation was that epidemics did not spread easily."

What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States) 2007, pp. 32,37

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poverty provides a good income for many

We have spent $15 trillion “fighting” poverty since 1965 and we are currently spending $ 1 trillion a year ― an amount equal to about $22,000 per poor person or $88,000 for a family of four. Yet our poverty rate today (16%) is higher than when we started (14%)! If there has been a War on Poverty, poverty won." John Goodman


You really can see Russia from Alaska

Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her house--that was her look alike Tina Fey. Here's what she actually said, "They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska." Big Diomede (Russia) and Little Diomede (U.S.A.) are about 2.5 miles apart. The media still love to play that meme to ridicule Palin. And God forbid that any woman other than Oprah becomes a media powerhouse, so she has to be attacked right now.

That said, President Obama may deserve impeachment (which Palin favors), but it's not going to happen, and encouraging others to believe this fantasy just diverts attention from what can be changed---like the Senate. I'm sick of the money appeals I get from groups I've never heard of wanting me to donate for this cause. And Democrats are getting funding appeals from their side on the same issue!

The fighting in Gaza

Hamas is the aggressor.  Its mission statement is to annihilate Israel.  Israel’s mission is to survive as a state, open to Muslims and Christians, but specifically as the homeland of Jews. So why are American leftists supporting Hamas?   Where is our “free press?”  Every news report on the situation begins with a subtle condemnation of Israel couched in words like “some could say,” or “it has been said,” so they can hide behind the weasel words.  Muslims are slaughtering each other through out the middle east, yet they are safe from their brother’s wrath in Israel. Stand up for the truth.  Support Israel.

It’s come to body counts—Hamas lobs hundreds of rockets at Israel which are effectively stopped by the “iron dome.”  Israel selectively targets sites in Gaza, protection is ineffective, so more Palestinians have died than Israelis—many are children.  Does this make the Palestinian cause (the destruction of the Jewish state and all Jews) just?

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Hamas started the conflict on July 8 with about 10,000 rockets. Since then, the militants have fired more than 2,600 rockets and mortars toward Israel and Israeli forces have destroyed about 3,000, estimated Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF's spokesman. USA Today, July 29, 2014

Celebrating 20 years of our mission school in Haiti

A huge crowd met at UALC last evening to celebrate the mission we support in Haiti (school and medical clinic) and the service of 2 of our missionaries who after 8 years are moving to another continent. Classes at the Christian school (Institution Univers, founded in 1994) may have 35-55 students--a huge improvement over the public schools where classroom teachers may have to handle 80. All the volunteers who have participated in short term missions admit they received so much more than they gave.

Children 3

Feb 19, 2009 136

Feb 19, 2009 230

Marinated Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes

Marinated Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes
 So yummy and healthy!!

 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
 1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
 3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
 1/2 cup vinegar
 1/4 cup sugar
 1 cup water
 2 teaspoons salt
 1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
 1/4 cup oil

 Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
 Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving

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3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings...
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving

Cucumbers are so plentiful this time of year—and your neighbors are probably looking for someone to take some off their hands!

Health benefits of Cucumber
  • It is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provide just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offer some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.

  • It is a very good source of potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte. 100 g of cucumber provides 147 mg of potassium but only 2 mg of sodium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.

  • Cucumbers contains unique anti-oxidants in moderate ratios such as β-carotene and α-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 214 µmol TE/100 g.

  • Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which perhaps attributed to their free-water, and potassium and low sodium content. This helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure.

  • They surprisingly have a high amount of vitamin K, provides about 17 µg of this vitamin per 100 g. Vitamin-K has been found to have a potential role in bone strength by promoting osteotrophic (bone mass building) activity. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The minimum wage and Mary Poppins



The No Fear Act

I had never heard of the "No Fear Act," which is victim program (discrimination and whistleblower) instituted in 2002 (Bush). Much of the Bush years were scrubbed when Obama came into office, so what I saw begins with the current administration with 2010 report. Scrolling down 9 pages of figures for USDA 2014 (including repeat filers) I see most complaint findings were usually zero--no one disciplined, or fired, or promoted or demoted. Must be somewhat sluggish, too, as many complaints were carried over year to year, or were pending. But it's one of the few government reports I've seen that is current--filed quarterly. “Retaliation” is the most frequently alleged basis in formal EEO complaints at USDA, then race, sex and age.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program."

Some of the filers used multiple categories. The bookkeeping alone must eat up millions of dollars considering all the agencies that must comply. But worst of all, it pigeon holes employees by differences.

Too late now—no do overs

Too many Christians sat out the election; too many conservatives stayed home and pouted.

Six ways to get more from your workout and prevent injury—Harvard Medical School

  1. Focus on form, not weight. Good form means aligning your body correctly and moving smoothly through an exercise. Poor form can cause injuries and hinder strength gains because you aren’t isolating muscles properly. “I often start people with very light weights because I want them to get their alignment and form right,” says Josie Gardiner, master trainer and fitness consultant to Harvard Medical School and co-editor of the Workout Workbook. “It’s good to start off using light to moderate weight when learning an exercise routine.” Concentrate on performing slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group. You isolate a muscle group by holding your body in the position specified for each exercise while consciously contracting and releasing certain muscles.

  2. Tempo, tempo. Control is important. Tempo helps you stay in control and avoid undercutting gains through relying on momentum. And sometimes switching speed — for example, lowering for three counts and lifting for one count instead of taking two counts for each — can enhance power.

  3. Breathe. Blood pressure rises if you hold your breath while performing strength exercises. Exhale as you work against gravity (when you’re lifting, pushing, or pulling); inhale as you relax.

  4. Challenge your muscles. The optimum weight to use depends on the exercise. Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two reps while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy to complete all the reps, challenge your muscles again by adding weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds at a time for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs); adding a set to your workout (up to three sets per exercise); or working out additional days per week (as long as you rest each muscle group for 48 hours between strength workouts). If you add weight, remember that you should still be able to do all the reps with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two reps.

  5. Practice regularly. A complete upper- and lower-body strength workout two or three times a week is ideal.

  6. Give muscles time off. Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. Muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always allow at least 48 hours between sessions for muscles to recover. You can always do “split sessions” — for example, you might do upper body on Monday, lower body on Tuesday, upper body on Wednesday, lower body on Thursday, etc.


From Healthbeat, July 26, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

After 2000 years, there are no more Christians in Mosul

“In making his own nation and setting up his Islamic Caliphate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was able to take advantage of the lack of a centralized authority in Iraq and Syria. Since the last of the Christians have departed the city, Christian churches have had the insides gutted, crosses and statues of the Virgin Mary destroyed, and many have been converted to Mosques. Survivors who fled the city tell gruesome stories of beheadings, crucifixions and worse being perpetrated by ISIS rebels.”

Mexico and Guatemalan border agreement

Mexico has strict and swift border enforcement, so how are all these kids getting to the U.S.? Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina met earlier in the month to work out new border agreement that gives them a 72 hour "gate pass" to travel through Mexico to get to the U.S. border. Mexico will provide medical aid, financial assistance and safety protection for these children--for 72 hours--and then it's our problem.

Children of the Tundra

This is Russia, but many of the lessons and child rearing thoughts will be familiar to you.  It’s about roots and challenges of the world.

Some children just want to return home to the Tundra (some have died trying), and others have become so worldly and accustomed to town benefits, they don’t want to return.

Amazing to watch toddlers eating frozen meat with a sharp knife at their mouth.  Reindeer Festival—what fun and competition.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Can Hutterites be born again?

This is a fascinating film about a communal Christian colony called the Hutterites.  Their origins are in the Amish and Mennonite Anabaptist tradition and there are over 400 colonies in Canada and the U.S. This group live near the Canadian border, but some time back during a time of grief, one family went to a tent revival and were “saved,” and now worship differently than the Hutterites.  The emphasis is on Jesus, not love and commitment to the community of believers. They worship in English, not German.

The Flatwillow colony born again women sell their bread at a farmer’s market and use the time to evangelize. This is different from other Hutterites that only send men outside the colony. The “born agains” have Bible study, a practice not observed by Hutterites who read the Bible literally without questioning or interpreting. The “born agains” will not be able to intermarry with the Hutterites, and the two groups no longer do the same tasks on the 15,000 acre property.

I didn’t know when the film was made, but the eye wear looked like the early 1990s, and I found a WorldCat entry for 1992, filmed by BBC. So this all happened over 20 years ago.  They were making so many dress and life style changes I assume they eventually didn’t follow any Hutterite traditions, although when the film was made they continued them.  I did find an obituary for Eli Stahl from 2011, which follows a comment one of his relatives made in the film about an early death for those who leave the faith.

Progressive policies are hurting the poor

The bottom half of the economy has gone nowhere the last 7 years. The gains you see are for the richest Americans in Obama's recovery.

Trust in a marriage—what does that mean to you?

"Trust in a marriage." Just what does that phrase mean? This is my list, your mileage will vary.

  • Trust with money--one doesn't decide major purchases without consulting the other. Check books and credit cards aren't a battleground. Money isn't about wealth, it's about values, which is why I put it first.
  • Trust with communication--no lying, but no unnecessary honesty either, like what was said 10 years ago that hurt, or what you really think of your mother-in-law or her best friend.
  • Trust that grievances will be worked out and not cherished and polished like prayer beads.
  • Trust that the other isn't "sharing" or "just joking" behind your back, demeaning the marriage relationship instead of lifting it up.
  • Trust that the marriage bed is pure and free of outside influences.
  • Trust that the marriage vows will be kept, in thought, word and deed.
  • Trust that the other can enjoy time with friends and family that may not include the other without jealousy or anxiety.
  • Trust that the other will maintain a strong work ethic to support the family.
  • Trust that one parent doesn't work against the other in discipline of children (minor or adult), family values, religion.

What would you add?

Coaxing the cat to eat

Our cat has stopped eating, so I took her to the vet, where I discovered she's only about 4.1 lbs even though she'd been eating well until Thursday. I turned down the expensive tests to find out why (she's 16), and asked for subcutaneous fluid and a few appetite stimulants. That has worked in the past when this happened (late summer, always at the lake house). Vet said give her anything to eat you normally wouldn't just to get some calories in her. So, this morning in addition to baby food she got some Häagen-Dazs ice cream and salmon meant for people. She'll get a little freshly cooked chicken and steak later--after she wakes up.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Who is this?


This is an early photo (yesterday) of a baby, the son and 4th child of mother, Sarah, whom we’ve known since she was 14.  The family is thrilled, as are grandma and grandpa.  But even if Sarah didn’t want him, even if his brother and sisters were not excited, even if grandma and grandpa said, “Oh, not again,” he would still be a baby and Sarah would still be a mother.  Separate and equal in God’s sight and love.