Friday, July 31, 2009

The Lakeside-Mt. Morris connection

One of the most famous Lakesiders has a connection to Mt. Morris, Illinois, where I graduated from high school, and my parents, paternal grandparents and great grandparents lived most of their lives, and where my parents and maternal grandparents attended college. John Heyl Vincent, one of the founders of the Chautauqua Movement (adult education, Sunday school teacher education), a Methodist bishop and author of many books, was once the pastor of the Methodist church in Mt. Morris, and attended the Methodist Rock River Seminary, which was located in Mt. Morris (later changed hands and became Mt. Morris College, a Church of the Brethren school when the Methodists established Northwestern). He and his wife began their married life in Mt. Morris shortly before the Civil War.
    "John Heyl Vincinet was born 23 February 1832. He was educated at academies in Milton and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, began to preach at the age of eighteen, completed his training for the ministry at Wesleyan institute, Newark, New Jersey, and in the four years' theological course of the New Jersey conference, into which he was received in 1853. He was ordained deacon in 1855 and elder in 1857, when he was transferred to the Rock River conference, serving as pastor in Chicago, Galena [President Grant attended his church], and elsewhere [that would be little Mt. Morris] till 1865. In that year he established the "Northwest Sunday-School Quarterly," and in 1866 the "Sunday-School Teacher." He was appointed general agent of the Methodist Episcopal Sunday-school union, and in 1868 was elected by the general conference corresponding secretary both of the union and of the tract society, in which posts he was continued till 1884. He was the editor of the Sunday-school publications of his denomination, conducting the "Sunday-School Journal," published in New York city, with such success that its circulation rose from 16,500 to 160,000, while that of his lesson-books has been nearly 2,500,000 copies. In 1873, with Lewis Miller, of Akron, Ohio, he projected a Sunday-school teachers' institute for the purpose of preparing teachers for their work by means of lectures and drills. The institute first met at Chautauqua, New York, in August, 1874, and has since assembled each year in the same place. It has extended beyond the limits of its original design, and given rise to allied institutions, which, as well as the Sunday-school assemblies and the international lessons, extend their benefits to members of all Christian bodies. The Chautauqua literary and scientific circle, which prescribes courses of reading for all classes of people, was founded in 1878, and within a few years had 100,000 students on its rolls. In connection with this the Chautauqua university was established, a summer school in which lectures on most of the arts and sciences are given, and of which Dr. Vincent, who received the degree of D. D. from Ohio Wesleyan university in 1870, and that of LL. D. from Washington and Jefferson in 1885, has been chancellor from the beginning. At the general conference of 1888 he was elected a bishop. Among his published works are "Little Footprints in Bible Lands" (New York, 1861); "The Chautauqua Movement" (1886)" "The Home Book" (1886)" " The Modern Sunday-School" (1887); and "Better Not" (1887)." Appleton’s Encyclopedia (on-line)
Lakeside was established a year before Chautauqua NY, but the name of the movement to provide a cultural, moral and spiritual education for adults comes from that camp meeting. In Vincent's 1886 book he listed 38 "other Chautauquas," some former camp meetings like Lakeside, and some formed expressly for that purpose. So the movement grew very quickly, although it had no central organization and each location was independent. By 1891 there were 51 independent Chautauquas and by 1907 there were 97. (Figures from David T. Glick, "The Independent Chautauquas then and now" Herald, V. 13, no. 2, 1984). John Heyl Vincent's brother, BT Vincent, was the Superintendent of Instruction at Lakeside.

When my parents were young, traveling Chautauquas were popular, and there were tent Chautauquas in both Franklin Grove and Dixon, Illinois which provided plays, operas, monologues, speeches, and music for several weeks in the summer for rural people. Movies, radio and the Great Depression pretty much killed the tent Chautauquas. Today there are 12 permanent Chautauqua communities.

The other Chautauquas

Andrews, North Carolina
Bay View, Michigan
Chautauqua, New York
Colorado Chautauqua Association
DeFuniak, Florida
Monteagle, Tennessee
Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania
Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Ocean Park, Maine
The Florida Chautauqua
Waxahachie, Texas

Democrats didn't read it; Republicans did

The House Republican Conference has compiled a list of the new boards, bureaucracies, commissions, and programs created in H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.” These bureaucrats will control every aspect of our nation’s health care system – and these bureaucrats will destroy the best health care system in the world. Here is what the Democrat’s health care bill monstrosity will create (HT Traditional Values Coalition):

53 new federal bureaucracies

Health Benefits Advisory Committee (Section 123, p. 30)
Health Choices Administration (Section 141, p. 41)
Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman (Section 144, p. 47)
Program of administrative simplification (Section 163, p. 57)
Retiree Reserve Trust Fund (Section 164(d), p. 70)
Health Insurance Exchange (Section 201, p. 72)
Mechanism for insurance risk pooling to be established by Health Choices Administration Commissioner (Section 206(b), p. 106)
Special Inspector General for the Health Insurance Exchange (Section 206(c), p. 107)
Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund (Section 207, p. 109)
State-based Health Insurance Exchanges (Section 208, p. 111)
“Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 221, p. 116)
Ombudsman for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 221(d), p. 117)
Account for receipts and disbursements for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 222(b), p. 119)
Telehealth Advisory Committee (Section 1191, p. 380)
Demonstration program providing reimbursement for “culturally and linguistically appropriate services” (Section 1222, p. 405)
Demonstration program for shared decision making using patient decision aids (Section 1236, p. 438)
Accountable Care Organization pilot program (Section 1301, p. 443)
Independent patient-centered medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302, p. 462)
Community-based medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302(d), p. 468)
Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (Section 1401(a), p. 502)
Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission (Section 1401(a), p. 505)
Patient ombudsman for comparative effectiveness research (Section 1401(a), p. 519)
Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1412(b)(1), p. 546)
Quality assurance and performance improvement program for nursing facilities (Section 1412 (b)(2), p. 548)
Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1413(a)(3), p. 559)
Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 1413(b)(3), p. 565)
National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 1422, p. 607)
Demonstration program for approved teaching health centers with respect to Medicare GME (Section 1502(d), p. 674)
Pilot program to develop anti-fraud compliance systems for Medicare providers (Section 1635, p. 716)
Medical home pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1722, p. 780)
Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (Section 1802, p. 824)
“Identifiable office or program” within CMS to “provide for improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid in the case of dual eligibles” (Section 1905, p. 852)
Public Health Investment Fund (Section 2002, p. 859)
Scholarships for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 870)
Loan repayment program for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 873)
Program for training medical residents in community-based settings (Section 2214, p. 882)
Grant program for training in dentistry programs (Section 2215, p. 887)
Public Health Workforce Corps (Section 2231, p. 898)
Public health workforce scholarship program (Section 2231, p. 900)
Public health workforce loan forgiveness program (Section 2231, p. 904)
Grant program for innovations in interdisciplinary care (Section 2252, p 917)
Advisory Committee on Health Workforce Evaluation and Assessment (Section 2261, p. 920)
Prevention and Wellness Trust (Section 2301, p. 932)
Clinical Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 941)
Community Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 947)
Grant program for community prevention and wellness research (Section 2301, p. 950)
Grant program for community prevention and wellness services (Section 2301, p. 951)
Grant program for public health infrastructure (Section 2301, p. 955)
Center for Quality Improvement (Section 2401, p. 965)
Assistant Secretary for Health Information (Section 2402, p. 972)
Grant program to support the operation of school-based health clinics (Section 2511, p. 993)
National Medical Device Registry (Section 2521, p. 1001)
Grants for labor-management programs for nursing training (Section 2531, p. 1008)

Note from Norma: GW Bush was certainly no slouch when it came to expanding the federal government, but Obama's current cycle makes him look like he was in training wheels. Have you ever wondered why, if the government can deliver such great health care at a reasonable cost that 1) Congress and the White House aren't going to use it; and 2) why is Medicare and Medicare which are gov't plans are in such terrible financial shape?

Friday family photo--reunion at the Pines

If you know my family, you'll know who these people are. And if you don't, well, you probably don't care. L to R: Gene, Joyce, Janet, Stan and Lois.

What's the proper greeting?

Bill, a senior citizen who grew up where I did, asks in an e-mail list, some I know, some I don't
    "All the noise by the public has delayed Washington's direction and activity on the health care bill. They are now starting to horse trade to get something acceptable to get this passed. The democrats have offered to soften the impact on small business in hopes of satisfying the republicans. And there are other offerings as well.

    HOWEVER, have you noticed there is no mention of softening the impact on the seniors. Obama still stutters when people question this issue. The seniors are still going to take it on the chin with health care rationing and politician control of services offered. They cannot change this as this is where the big cost savings are hidden to support the expansion of services to others.

    The senate and house members are about to go home for their summer vacation. This means they will be in their local offices a great deal. They are going to get an ear full. Very little will be positive toward doing any thing to make changes. Now here is my point.

    Today every correspondence and communication by most has been fairly positive and non threatening, just stating one's opinion. We are about to take the gloves off and get very nasty. The politicians who are for this bill and pushing (Mostly Democrats) are well known. Those who oppose (mostly Republicans) are also well known. The next attacks after their summer holiday must be toward those who are for and are pushing; even if they do not directly represent you in your state. These folks must get a big picture of the size of the back lash which all politicians will feel as a result of this health care proposal. My problem is I am struggling to come up with a greeting line to address them on written letters that sets the tone."
What sort of a greeting would you use in advising a Blue Dog Democrat or a moderate what you think of Obama's treatment plan for seniors?

Dear . . . .fill in the blank. Bill suggests "Dear Senior slayer" or" Dear death deliverer". But Rusty chimes in with "Dear Asshole." And Richard agrees with Rusty.

Clunker cars

Do you suppose this Bentley loves Obama gets 18 mpg? Could the owner qualify for a tax break from me who drives a 2002 Dodge Van that gets 26 mpg on the road, is a real workhorse, and doesn't hurt my back? (As near as I can tell from the model, this one gets about 10 in the city, 17 on the road).

Clunker schools?

Now that we're getting all those "clunker" cars off the road (destroying their engines so that the young, poor and entrepreneurial will not be able to use them, many of them newer than what I and millions of Americans drive everyday), to meet a specific social agenda of the Obama administration, what else can be declared a "clunker" so that we tax payers can bail out a specific industry, class, union, lobbyist group, or academic field and sink deeper in debt? How about schools?
    "In February, the AIA [American Institute of Architects] led a coalition of more than 80 organizations and companies to press Congress to include funding for green, high-performance schools in the stimulus bill, and the AIA has advocated for legislation that passed the U.S. House to invest in school facilities." The Angle, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Priorities for swine flu vaccine

Usually the elderly are told to get flu vaccines. Maybe we're at no risk for this one--after all, older people die in great numbers in any year from the flu and no one except the family gets too concerned, certainly not the media. However, the Obama health care plan promoted for older Americans pretty much writes them off as not worth anything. At least as recently as 2003 JAMA reported that vaccinating those over 65 was a high priority because it was so successful in reducing morbidity and mortality. Oh well, those were the Bush years and values were different. People mattered. (In 2009, CDC published additional estimates of flu-related deaths comparing different methods, including the methods used in the 2003 JAMA study. The seasons studied included the 1993-94 through the 2002-03 flu seasons. Results from this study showed that during this time period, 36,171 flu-related deaths occurred per year, on average. CDC
    "A CDC vaccine advisory panel on Wednesday recommended that first shots should go to pregnant women, household contacts of infants younger than 6 months, health care workers, young people ages 6 months to 24 years and non-elderly adults at high risk for the flu."

Young ladies protest Obama and health plan

From left to right
    Reverend Wright told you wrong. We love this Christian nation Obama.

    Always proud of my country, Michelle. First time to be dumbfounded by the President.

    Love my country? You betcha!

    Obama's nuts (with ACORN logo).
Tarhill Pundit says, "I spoke to these ladies for a bit until we got seperated. They are big Sarah Palin fans, like myself, and were very educated on the issues. Some might call them radicals but I prefer to call them realists. . . Planned Parenthood was out in full force, petitioning for “Women’s Health Care Rights.” Because unlike preventive screening for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and STDs we just can’t get enough abortions these days!"

Lakeside Cottage architecture, pt. 4

Side gable houses with shed dormer to the street, pt. 3

I'll wrap up this topic about shed dormers on cottages at Lakeside with a few more photographs. This by no means finishes the topic, but here's a few that have had several second and third chances or do-overs in their 70-80 year life near Lake Erie.

This house on 2nd street faces Central Park and when built probably had a fabulous view of the lake. Now with all the mature trees, you would only see it in the off seasons. It has so many additions, roof styles, and replaced windows I'd probably need a photo to figure out how it began. I noticed at least one old window that hints it may have even been a traditional 19th cottage in it's embryonic stage.

Update: I checked with a man who had remodeled this cottage about 15 years ago, and he estimates it was built around 1880 and has had multiple updates. So the shed dormers were probably an early 20th century update to make it look "modern."

I think this one is for sale. I've attended a yard sale here--looks like it is in good condition with the usual 3/4 century updates and add ons. I think there is a garage on the other side and a decent yard, unusual for this little town of summer residents.

I like this photo because it shows 3 distinct cottage styles all in a row. On the left a cross gable with a wrap around porch, which is highly valued now, but many were so remodeled in the 40s and 50s they are hardly recognizable. The front windows appear to be remodeling ideas of about 50 years ago--remember when people were putting "picture" windows everywhere? The shed gable style in the middle would be more attractive with the porch restored, but like many Lakeside houses, most additions and remodelings are just folded into the next era or skills of the local homebuilders. Also, the Lake Erie storms can be brutal. On the right is one of the many hip roof, double porch styles which I wish had a shorter name, because they are ubiquitous here. This one has had the top sleeping porch filled in with small windows. These cottages face the lake--one of the best views in town.

Someone or ones loved this one to death. The worst of the 50s updates--aluminum siding and jalousie porch windows--the gal wearing her cheerleading outfit to the nursing home. And bushes out of control to cover the sins of the past.

I think this cottage could be a show piece. My husband and I disagree on what is original--I've looked very closely at the roof line of the side portico, and I think it fits, although it is sagging badly and looks like the front screen door might not open. If it mattered, I'd go to the archives and check. There might even be an old photo. He's the one paid to redo these cottages, not me. Those concrete molded blocks haven't been used in many years. There's a tiny little "house" added to the back with some creative trim and woodworking--probably not original, but someone tried to make it work. With the thick, stubby columns, and windows in three, it definitely wants to be a real arts and crafts bungalow, even if someone's messed it up a bit over the years.

But I have been to the archives and checked on my next topic, which will be the "Ross Hips" at the east end of Lakeside.

Lakeside cottage architecture, part 1

Lakeside cottage architecture, part 2

Lakeside cottage architecture, part 3

Eight reasons to just say NO

Some people have a problem saying or hearing the word NO. I think it is the first word children say, either because they hear it so often or because it is short and easy to say. So why is it, that people have such a problem with it later in life? My mother, God bless her, had a problem with that word. Her favorite phrase was, "We'll see." That just put off the inevitable, but she didn't get into trouble with it. I didn't follow her example. In fact, it drives me crazy when people aren't honest about wanting to say NO, so they just lead you on until it is too late to make other plans, or you've moved on only to find out later something else was about to happen.

So here's how I'd do it--how to say NO, a rerun from a blog of two years ago.

1. To a request to bake a cake for a fund raiser/good cause. I say, "NO, if you needed a pie, I'd gladly help out, but I don't do cakes. If you'll accept store-bought or bakery, I'll do it." I never say, "Let me get back to you on that." I'm 67 years old and I think I should know the answer to this one--you'll love my pie, and pass on my cake. Update: I've been asked to donate a cake for the hotel ice cream social this coming Sunday, and I asked if I could purchase one. "Of course," the volunteer said. See? I didn't even have to say NO.

2. To a request to join yet another organization. I say, "NO, I already belong to two small groups and that's about my limit. I don't want to add anything else to my calendar." However, I do say YES if it's a short term task with a beginning and end in sight, but that has to be clarified. Also, I can spot "empire building" from 50 yards, so don't even ask if that's your intent.

3. To a request for a dinner date with my husband for Thursday if we already have plans for Friday and Sunday. I say "NO, sweety, those extra calories don't bother you one bit, but I don't want them." I'm probably the only wife who says NO to a dinner out, but you gotta do what you gotta do, or else walk an extra 5 miles a day! Update: These days, I have to say NO if we've eaten out anytime during the week.

4. To a request for a donation. I say, "NO, we tithe to our church and contribute to several community organizations we believe in. We have met our limit for this year." Update: After listening to 3 presentations from the Great Lakes Historical Society this week and hearing they've had all their state money ($100,000) cut, I've decided to join. They do good work.

5. To a request to help in my professional area of expertise. I say "NO, I believe that level of support deserves an employee and not a volunteer. Have you considered hiring someone?"

6. To a request to join a committee. I usually say NO, but there are exceptions. You don't ever want to appoint me Chair, because I'll dissolve the committee. Update: I'm removing myself from a committee of 10 years.

7. To a request to borrow money. Usually this is NO, but we have helped out our children occasionally, and other relatives if we know they haven't been irresponsible. My parents loaned us the downpayment for our first house, loaned me money to finish college and financed a car for us, so I had help, too--in my early 20s. Dad would set up payments with interest. However, don't ever loan money that you can't offer as a gift, or you might be disappointed and don't use it as a means to control behavior. The relationship is more important than the money. You just create hard feelings by making people indebted to you. Once we gave money to one of my husband's relatives because we knew a loan was out of the questions--he would have never paid it back.

8. To a request to babysit or help in the church nursery. Can't think that any one would ask this today, but in the past, I always caught a cold. Babies and toddlers are crawling with germs for which I have no immunity. Wording this NO is tricky, however, or you do sound like a meany. Honesty would be best so they can call the next name on the list.

My mother did give me some advice on saying NO, although I don't usually follow it. She suggested, in her dear, nonconfrontational way, that I at least look like I'm thinking about the request before I say NO.

When my daughter was in elementary school, the teacher sent home a grade report that said something to the effect that she had an overdeveloped sense of NO. Good girl. A woman after my own heart.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anything going on with illegal immigration?

If we had to rely on the press for accurate reporting about illegals coming here to work, we'd be hard pressed. The war in Iraq (Bush's war) has dropped out of sight so they can cover Obama's war in Afghanistan, and the only thing I've read is about how poor villages in Mexico are suffering from our unemployment, since less money is being sent home. Around here, I see many local Ohioans/Americans doing those jobs they used to tell us Americans didn't want--housekeeping, maintenance and groundskeeping. President Bush lost a huge amount of support from conservatives with his "guest worker" nonsense. No one believed Congress would come up with anything that didn't import millions more for the rolls of our social programs along with many willing hard workers. Here's what I wrote about illegal immigration three plus years ago when Bush was fast unraveling the Republican party, never to get it back.
    Today I asked the Pakistani clerk at the grocery store and the Ghanian clerk at the department store, both of whom are here legally, have become citizens, and have relatives back home waiting on quotas, what they thought of this. "United States of Mexico" said the one; the other just rolled her eyes.

    I am first and most mad at our do nothing Congress who can think no further than the next election. And then the President. What idiots. How can we fight insurgents in Iraq when we can't even keep out 11,000,000 "labor insurgents" in our own country? What must our brave service men and women be thinking? Particularly those who have shortened their residency requirements to become citizens by joining up to defend and protect us. Now they're being asked to defend a group large enough to be a 51st state who are illegal aliens?

    Secondly, I'm angry at the American businesses who would employ these people because they are cheap and will work without benefits. It's like prostitution. It doesn't exist if only one group participates.

    Third, I'm angry at the socialist/communist/progressive coalition who is gleefully rubbing their hands together, organizing "spontaneous" demonstrations and illegally registering these people to vote so they can tie up our next election in law suits. I heard them recruiting on a local call in radio show Saturday. The guy was so excited I thought he'd wet himself.

    Fourth, I'm disappointed that the Democrats don't even see that #3 is stealing their party right out from under them.

    Fifth, I'm furious at the Republicans because in a tight situation when leadership is called for they can only dither, wring their hands, wimp out, wet a finger and see if the wind is blowing their way.

    Sixth, the border states' governments can't be absolved of responsibility. These millions of illegals didn't show up last year, or even the last decade. On a local radio show I heard a man who formerly worked in Arizona say illegals were given one-way bus tickets to northern states, which might explain why all our Ohio construction firms, landscape crews and restaurant kitchens speak only Spanish. So why a ticket north? It's too expensive (involving the INS, housing them, retaining them, food and medical care, to keep them in the border states until they can be returned to Mexico).

    Seventh, our schools aren't doing such a hot job if these people don't know their history or ours and think our border states were once are part of Mexico. (Spain maybe, but never just a blip in time, Mexico.)

    Eighth, I think it stinks that there are a lot of Americans who want a permanent underclass of maids to clean toilets and Pedros to pick tomatoes so they can vote Democratic in hopes of getting perks.

    Ninth, the Mexican government and Mexico's wealthy, light-skinned, European power class can be blamed for not wanting to create wealth for their own darker skinned, mixed race poor. This mess could be resolved on the other side of the border through a few political improvements (maybe we could send them a Kennedy/Pelosi dog and pony show?)

    Tenth, schools and businesses that have given their students and employees a pass to participate [in demonstrations] should be ashamed and don't deserve their position of responsibilty. The school administrators should be put on leave or fired; the businesses should be boycotted. They are stealing the American dream right out from under the very people they think they are helping.
April 2006 blog about immigration

The government and obesity

Here's what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has written about our expanding girth in this country:
    "American society has become 'obesogenic,' characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, nonhealthful foods, and physical inactivity. Policy and environmental change initiatives that make healthy choices in nutrition and physical activity available, affordable, and easy will likely prove most effective in combating obesity."
Notice which comes first; not our choices, not our habits, not our genes, but policy and environmental changes. In other words, inviting more government bureaucrats and regulations into our restaurants, our schools, and our dining rooms and kitchens. This is not new to the current administration. You can go back into the early 90s and read things from the CDC on this fact. And it was always alarming.

If there were a model community for losing weight and being fit, I'm here and blogging about it. Lakeside, Ohio. I'm here most of the summer this year, and even if I only lost one pound a week of the weight I've picked up in my interesting travels since September 2007 [Ireland (3 lbs.), Italy (3 lbs.), Greece, Israel, and Egypt, 3 lbs.], I'd be thrilled. But this morning I weighed exactly what I weighed six weeks ago. I buy at the local farmers' market and small grocery store in town; I walk 4-6 miles a day; I ride my bicycle; if we eat out (rare) there are no "fast food" restaurants; I eat 5-6 servings a day of freshly prepared fruits and vegetables--mostly raw; I eat nuts and yogurt; my brain is engaged everyday in interesting seminars, classes, art instruction and music programs. There's not a reason in the world why I shouldn't be able to get into the size 6-8 slacks I wore two years ago. Except my age, my metabolism, and my genes. My desires, my tastes, and my lack of will power. My delicious rhubarb pies, my crackers layered with butter, peanut butter and cheddar cheese, my glass of red wine with dinner, my pancake with real syrup at the Patio Restaurant on Sunday after church.

Yes, it's all becoming clear to me. No matter what the federal, state and local governments do at the policy and environmental level to make my life easy, active and low calorie, they will still have to deal with me.

So I'm wearing size 10 this summer, the CDC be damned.

If you would prefer the CDC telling you all this instead of me, go here to hear.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Cambridge Police

Officers white and black, male and female, stand behind Crowley. There was no racism.

"He [Obama] should have recused himself."

Remembering Gates' book: "I'm praying fervently that we will be spared a national Teachable Moment arising from the Gates Affair. But at least one good thing (for me, at any rate) has come out of the brouhaha: it prompted me to go to my bookshelves for the first book I read by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism, published by Oxford University Press in 1988. Whether or not Professor Gates said to Officer Crowley "I'll see your mama outside" (as Crowley insists he did, and Gates denies), there's no mistaking Gates' relish for "Signifyin(g)" as a "pervasive mode of language use" among African Americans. What I found most interesting when I first read the book (probably the only one in my library that features a conjunction of blurbs by Jacques Derrida and Ishmael Reed) was its insights into parody in black literature. Those insights are still worth pondering, despite the high proportion of sentences like this one: "It is indeterminacy, the sheer plurality of meaning, the very play of the signifier itself, which [Reed's novel] Mumbo Jumbo celebrates." Did someone mention parody?" John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture

The tapes are being released. Looks like Gates was in the wrong all the way around, from his posturing, pomposity, and prejudging the Cambridge police to blowing everything out of proportion, to bringing one more disaster to the White House.

How we got here

Speed, ignorance, and power. Or why no one bothers to read the bill.
    "Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich offered lessons from past presidents on pushing health reform. “First, move very fast. . . The honeymoon will be over and the gravitational pull of the midterm elections will be too great. Second, leave the details to Congress … up to a point. And override your economic advisers. Every time health reform has come up, they have always been skeptical or said no.” at the American Hospital Association Summit in San Francisco last week." AHA Vantage Point
Well, I guess there's hope, if we can just slow them down until the midterm elections, even then we're just nibbling around the edges. Until Obama, no President had spent more on social programs than George Bush. Obama makes him look like a beginner in throwing money around.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A few more things in week 6

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. is the bird walk and Wednesday morning at 8:30 is the herb class and the topic will be camomille. During the last birding event I learned that Europeans are anxious to see our cardinals and blue jays, which we hardly notice, because they aren't native to those areas. I'm still trying to find a time to get to the archives to research some of the cottages that I write about. It was closed today. Tuesday and Thursday evening the community theater group is doing Cheaper by the Dozen, and we've got tickets for Thursday. The play almost had to be cancelled because they didn't have a "father," and obviously, he's a key player. But Joe Day came to the rescue. He was supposed to be in South America this summer, but his backpack with his passport and plane ticket was stolen, so he's spending the summer with his parents, and the talented young man was available to take on the challenge. Some of the kid-actors were hawking tickets the other night--really cute. On Friday I may skip the Great Lakes lecture and instead do the tree walk with our neighbor Bill.

Today was the first watercolor class of five with Bob Moyer. He'll be doing a fall watercolor workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday September 22-23, 2009 at the Idlewyld Bed and Breakfast. The Workshop with lodging and Wednesday breakfast is $140. Although I've never stayed there, it's a lovely B&B. The hosts are Dan and Joan Barris. (Don't miss the recipes on their site.)

Here's today's class work, an iris. Bob did a demo, and then we dabbed around and copied what he did. Everyone in the class took home a good first effort.

A few minutes into the class, I became aware of a really irritating sound that just wouldn't stop. I said, "What's that awful noise?" "Oh, that's the children's rhythm and drumming class." And it went on, and on, and on, and on, for about an hour and a half. Glad we don't live close to the Rhein Center!


"[Obama’s racist error in the Gates arrest] allows us Joe and Jane Voter Americans to see him more clearly than we could see him before. Barack bumbled into an area in which we regular Americans have expertise. “Cops” plays 10 times a night on cable TV. We understand the lack of reasoning behind the rash Gates Assumption. We understand the racial agenda behind the Gates Assumption. We understand men who are too vain to see their mistakes and apologize for them. We GET this. Barack is unmasked in our eyes. And, if he’s unreasonable, agenda-driven, and unwilling to admit error here: WHERE ELSE is he unreasonable, agenda-driven, and unwilling to admit error? The End Zone" and this . . .
    "How many Black American Princesses does it take to change a light bulb?


    One to change the light bulb. One to scream out "racist society" to the neighbors. One to berate the black police officer on the scene. One to berate the Hispanic Police Officer on the scene. One to call the (black) Mayor. One to call the (black) Governor. One to call the (black) President. One to begin booking the talk shows. One to start production on the documentary film." Also End Zone
Positive things will come from the haughty "Black American Princess" attitude of Professor Gates being publicized. It's not just at Harvard, you know. Students are exposed to this marxist, sexist, elitist, racist nonsense at the overpriced ivy colleges and state universities alike, and not just in Black Studies programs. The constant harange against our history and particularly white males, or anything good and decent in traditional values like marriage or religion is in literature class, American history class, biology, sociology, and education. From the experience of an OSU student I met last October and recorded in this blog:
    He told me that he has seen every one of Michael Moore's movies in his college classes! It was required. One was a biology course, one was a political science course, and I've forgotten the other two. For one class final in a Latin American history course the only question was to write an essay on the seven best things Fidel Castro had done for Cuba. In another course where the students needed to write a persuasive paper, he chose "Why the U.S. needs to drill in ANWR." His instructor, an honest but not particularly ethical woman, told him at the outset he'd need to choose another topic. She'd have to flunk him because he'd never be able to persuade her, no matter how good his argument or bibliography, she said. He says the ridiculing and trashing of the Bush administration has been relentless in all his classes.

Joys and Concerns

Many Protestant churches have a time during the service to express "joys and concerns." I believe our ELCA Lutheran church did in the pre-Wessel days 25 years ago (he was LCMS), but when the time was shortened to fit in 6 or so services on a Sunday morning, that was dropped, and never returned when the new locations were added (we now have 9 or 10 services in 3 locations). I can still get teary remembering my father, who became an orphan when he was 70 years old, standing up in church after his mother's funeral thanking everyone for their kindness and God for blessing us with her wonderful life.

We have such a time of sharing here at the lakefront 8:30 service. All prayers are recorded and mentioned during the pastoral prayer if the list isn't too long, plus they are prayed another time during the week. Yesterday after various joys (reunions, young people attending camp, being back at Lakeside, a 50th wedding anniversary) and concerns (stroke, cancer, liver transplant, aneurysm, surgery, etc.), my husband brought a little levity to the list with, "We are asking for prayers to find a daughter-in-law." People laughed, but several have spoken to us of answered prayers. One mentioned a prayer for 6 years for their son-in-law; one who asked Jesus for a baby brother and got one by adoption.

The sermon, which came later in the service, was on persistence in prayer.

Shower rules

My husband and I have discussed this many times--rules for taking a shower. Not how to get clean, mind you, but how to keep the cottage bathroom from becoming a playground for mold. A disaster of peeling paint and drooping wallpaper. Sticky floors and standing water. If you click on this photo, you'll see what we'll have to repair this summer--two years after we repaired it.

So, after 21 years of thinking people would follow our cheery suggestions (our adult children, our guests, our relatives and strangers), I 'm going to write and post some rules. I haven't firmed these up, but for starters:

    Please limit your shower to 3 minutes or less.

    Check the water temperature before pushing the plunger that releases the water from the shower head. The plumber installed everything backwards; you are forewarned.

    Remove the shower head from the wall and hold it over the tub before pulling the plunger. It is designed to be hand-held, not wall-squirted.

    If the main spigot squeals and whines, adjust the plunger just a smidgen. DO NOT SMACK IT. It's easily as old as you are, and maybe more.

    Turn your face to the window, and your rear to the curtain. You won't die if a clammy plastic curtain pats your bottom.

    Get your face and body wet. If the shower head can't be placed on your shoulder while you generate some suds, turn off the water with the plunger. I just lay it on my right shoulder, and it has never fallen.


    Turn off the water.

    Step only on the bath mat.


    Do not hang a wet towel on the door--it has a varnish finish and will turn white.

    Take the small utility towel from the slanted grab bar and wipe down the small amount of water that has splashed from your body to the walls, miniblind, and window sill. NEVER leave water on the window sill. Blot, do not rub, the water on the wallpaper border.

    If you dry and spray your hair in the bathroom, please use a wet paper towel and wipe up the linoleum when finished--or the next person to use it will stick to the floor.
I may never post this in a frame in the bathroom, but I sure feel better. Most people 50 and under have never known a life when showers weren't enclosed and tiled. Coming to the lake and using a 65 year old bathroom which was remodeled in 1985 has challenges.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The viral wedding video

But why do they wear sun glasses?

We're planning our 50th. Maybe we could jitterbug into the reception? Our first date was a dance.

Obamacare--doesn't save, doesn't stretch, doesn't strengthen

Check out the analysis and number crunching of Obama's prime time address on health care on July 22. Summary:
    "Obama promised once again that a health care overhaul “will be paid for.” But congressional budget experts say the bills they've seen so far would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade.

    He said the plan "that I put forward" would cover at least 97 percent of all Americans. Actually, the plan he campaigned on would cover far less than that, and only one of the bills now being considered in Congress would do that.

    He said the "average American family is paying thousands" as part of their premiums to cover uncompensated care for the uninsured, implying that expanded coverage will slash insurance costs. But the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation puts the cost per family figure at $200.

    Obama claimed his budget "reduced federal spending over the next 10 years by $2.2 trillion" compared with where it was headed before. Not true. Even figures from his own budget experts don't support that. The Congressional Budget Office projects a $2.7 trillion increase, not a $2.2 trillion cut

    The president said that the United States spends $6,000 more on average than other countries on health care. Actually, U.S. per capita spending is about $2,500 more than the next highest-spending country. Obama's figure was a White House-calculated per-family estimate."
It's too bad we can't get a REAL figure on the REALLY uninsured American--the one who either doesn't want insurance, or who doesn't sign up for the aid that is available. I've heard reports of 10% or less. Why can't he go to work on that group? Rhetorical, of course. If he did only that, then he couldn't take over another segment of the economy! When Congress went to work on S-CHIP (after welfare reform they wanted their dependants back), the minimum family income incrementally was raised to around $80,000 to qualify, and that was under Bush (Congress does it, not the President).

FactCheck broke down the 46 million uninsured figure this way in 2007 (would be higher now due to higher unemployment, which Obama is exacerbating):
    Twenty-six percent of the uninsured are eligible for some form of public coverage but do not make use of it, according to The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. This is sometimes, but not always, a matter of choice.

    Twenty-one percent of the uninsured are immigrants, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But that figure includes both those who are here legally and those who are not. The number of illegal immigrants who are included in the official statistics is unknown.

    Twenty percent of the uninsured have family incomes of greater than $75,000 per year, according to the Census Bureau. But this does not necessarily mean they have access to insurance. Even higher-income jobs don't always offer employer-sponsored insurance, and not everyone who wants private insurance is able to get it.
    Forty percent of the uninsured are young, according to KFF. But speculation that they pass up insurance because of their good health is unjustified. KFF reports that many young people lack insurance because it's not available to them, and people who turn down available insurance tend to be in worse health, not better, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Occasionally I talk to a young man (40) who has been on either unemployment or disability for the last 3 years or so. He is college educated, owns a house which he partially rents to people with similar problems, has sold all his investments, and is scrambling to cobble together insurance for his multiple medications and his bills. Believe me, when the government takes care of you, it's no easy life! Fortunately, he has a mother and father (divorced, living in different states, but well employed) who can help him. When I listen to his tale of woe (often and repeated because it's his obsession), I realize that government programs, even those that are essential for the very needy, keep a person in perpetual poverty and tied up in red tape.

Dawn of the 6th week

Walking out the door at 5:45 this morning I could see a bright star in the east. Very different than the first week when it was much lighter. I also met a skunk and a raccoon checking out the tent on the hotel grounds. Today was actually the Raccoon Run, a 5 mile run. I did this once--walked after the first 2 blocks. This year's t-shirts were mint green. I used to buy one if they had extras, but we have drawersful of t-shirts from travels, VBS and Lakeside, plus our son used to be in the business and he designed some for us.

By the time we got to the Patio Restaurant for breakfast after church on the lakefront, things were pretty much over. My husband has an art display at The Patio, and has sold four paintings this summer, which will certainly help with the expenses.

Throwing gasoline on a small fire

The president made this minor heated exchange between the Cambridge police and Henry Gates a major conflagration, and it's only right he should fix it. As I noted in an earlier post, the police stopped by our house once after a neighbor's report about a strange car in the drive-way (our daughter's). She didn't get abusive and charge the police were harassing young people with sporty cars. The Gates incident was a local issue concerning an arrogant man full of self-importance, who is a friend of the president, harassing a police officer who was called to the scene by a neighbor, who noticed someone trying to break in to Henry Gates Harvard house. If the president had first asked to see the police report, he might have wisely counseled his friend to tone it down, instead he chose to ratchet it up.
    "The actions of the Cambridge Police Department, and in particular, Sgt. Joseph Crowley, were 100 percent correct,'' said Hugh Cameron, president of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police. "He was responding to a report of two men breaking into a home. The police cannot just drive by the house and say, 'Looks like everything is OK.'

    "Sgt. Crowley was carrying out his duty as a law enforcement officer protecting the property of Professor Gates, and he was accused of being a racist," Cameron added. "The situation would have been over in five minutes if Professor Gates cooperated with the officer. Unfortunately, the situation we are in now is the environment police work in now." ABC News. . . which noted the residence belongs to Harvard, not Gates
More proof the president can't talk off teleprompter! First he says he doesn't have the information, then he offers an opinion anyway. He spoke stupidly and pompously, without "calibrated words." (When running for Illinois Senate, he had to drop the pompous, erudite speech after he was beaten by a fellow black Democrat, but he has lapses into what is normal for him.) What kind of example is that to the folks on the apology tour? Can only speak nonsense to long standing tensions here at home.

But even that counsel to Gates would have been unwise, because he campaigned as a non-racial, non-racist healer who would lead this country to hope and change. Many liberals and moderates had hoped by electing a black man, the U.S. could set aside some nasty things of the past. A first woman president would have some meaning that we've moved beyond misogyny and sexism, but nothing like that, so they threw Hillary over. They weren't counting on the number of people who are invested in keeping the fights going. The disappointed voters are Barbara Boxer Liberals and have found out not all blacks will do their bidding. Obama's handlers, all of whom know his credibility is already on the line and his poll numbers below Bush's at 6 months, have had to tell him to back off--the health insurance issue is more important than your buddy.

You wanted it; now own it!

Aren't we all just so sick of the whining, apologies, snipes and darts of this current administration? Is it the victim mentality we've become accustomed to? Blame the other guy? Bush inherited a mess too; he got a technology bust and I'll show you my old accounts from 2000 in case you're too young to remember. He got one heck of some bad intelligence reports, at least according to the Congressional investigations after the fact, after all the warnings of the late Clinton years about WMD and the dangers of Saddam. I don't ever recall hearing Bush blame Clinton for anything. Yes, the talkers, bloggers and media did, but President Bush was, well, Presidential. He followed the tradition, which he continues to follow, of not criticizing former presidents, not besmirching the reputation of the other guy, knowing someday he would be yesterday's news. I think Al Gore started it, even though he was never President. He thought he should have been and opened the door.

Today we hear Biden making excuses for the non-stimulating stimulus. He just might be an old Democrat who believes Obama's handlers had some intention to save the economy, rather than just use it as an opportunity to float his own agenda. Maybe if he'd been serious, we would have seen some action. We have the 1930s as a template. Both Hoover and Roosevelt made things worse with their meddling, but FDR contributed most by trying to change society rather than the economy.

Here's the nonsense on "Organizing for America" Obama's personal song of glory on the internet:
    President Obama inherited a terrible mess: a $1.3 trillion deficit, two wars, rising unemployment and unprecedented crises in our banking system. The Obama Administration has worked tirelessly to address our immediate problems of rising unemployment, falling home prices and limping credit markets, while taking a longer view in laying a strong foundation for future economic growth that benefits all Americans. We are fighting for economic recovery on all fronts.
He probably doesn't write this any more than his speeches, but he knows that "fighting for economic recovery" is total nonsense. You don't burden the country with cap and trade or government trillions for health care when only 10% need it, if you are serious about restoring the economy!

But Bush did have one advantage Obama will never have. A vigilant, critical press and media. We may not even have a media by the end of Obama's terms. You couldn't miss a single mistake or thought or vacation of Bush. And it was always wrong. Poor Bo. Think what he could have accomplished if he just believed in us.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week 6 at Lakeside

We're back at the lake after a week in Columbus. Tonight's program looks great -- Ohio State Alumni Band --always a big favorite. There's a lecture series this week in the mornings on the Great Lakes, shipwrecks, passenger travel, WWII Coast Guard, and the storm of 1913. Celtic Spirituality is in the afternoon, however, if I get in the watercolor class at 3:30, I won't attend that. The Symphony's 46th season starts on Wednesday, the tradition being to open with "light classics."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Obamaman sung by Greg Morton

Friday Family Photo--Party Time

I'd better get going on this cleaning. We're having a bunch of people (Cursillo team) over tonight. We're providing the meat, otherwise it's pot luck. Do you know what this hostess' nightmare is? The woman who brings a "salad," still in the grocery bag and needs about 10' of counter space, your sink, utensils, and frig to put it all together! Ladies, puleeeze. Pot luck means you bring it in the pot, not in 6 baggies with contents that need to be washed, cut up and mixed!

De Colores!

Update: I'm also saving the environment. Today I used one of those "friendly green" concoctions that cost triple the usual. Cleans like crap. I looked at the label and it is vinegar and water. Then I sewed a button on my husband's favorite summer shirt rather than throw it away the way rich politicians do. It had been in the back of the closet since 2007. Then on my walk I pulled weeds along the curb and didn't spray an herbicide.

Watermelon gum, or why I hate coupons

You just can't win with a coupon. I received a plastic, looks-like-a-credit-card coupon from Staples for $10. (Paper coupons are the size of a dollar bill; the original coupon was a wooden nickle--it's inflation.) First I went to the wrong store--it was store specific and apparently they were only sent to certain zip codes. Then the item I wanted, rechargeable batteries, was $19.99, and the minimum amount was $20. I asked the floor clerk about that, and he said Yes, it would count because of taxes. Nope. The check-out clerk said I had to buy something else. So I grabbed a pack of gum, which turned out to be $1.49 watermelon flavored, sugar free, with pieces so small it will get lost in my ample mouth. (I have all my wisdom teeth.) But I did win, in a way. I left the store with only what I came in to buy. Coupons aren't about reducing prices; they are about bringing you in. Or taking you in. Who, but the government, could stay in business by giving stuff away?

Should Senators be paid to promote stimulus spending?

Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. This is a "webinar" announcement received today.

"How the Stimulus Funds impact commercial real estate" is the subject of John Sununu's presentation on Tuesday. John is a current member of the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with the distribution and earmarking of the stimulus funds. This is a live webinar broadcast and you will be able to participate in the Q&A that follows. Because of the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to bring this first in the stimulus series to you for free. We want to help you make smarter decisions relevant to the design, construction, modernization, management, and operation of your buildings. By attending this webinar, you'll be able to do your job better, and will be prepared for what's ahead in your field. Listen in as former U.S. Senator John Sununu offers an in-depth look at the stimulus package and answers the questions weighing on your mind."

Obama's cost cutting measure--recommending death

The scariest thing in the whole bill, if you're over 65 or disabled by an accident or disease (others are included in Medicare, not just seniors) is this
    "One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430). The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and "the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration."

    This mandate invites abuse, and seniors could easily be pushed to refuse care. Do we really want government involved in such deeply personal issues?
For more fun and games read McCaughey's entire article, and check the link to the 1018 page bill. It's zipping around the internet via e-mail (thanks Charlie), but it's always a good idea to check the original source, rather than a forward. After the Terri debacle my husband and I wrote up all our end-of-life instructions, and even after 45 years of marriage and knowing each other longer, we disagreed on what certain terms meant and delved into the medical literature. Don't assume someone you know well understands your values and beliefs or your tolerance for pain. Put it in writing. And certainly don't leave it up to the government to counsel you when you're ill and vulnerable.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Requirement to buy health insurance

Some people are screaming about this in the Obamacare. Not me. I think it makes perfect sense. Nothing else about the federal government insurance taking over the industry does. We are required by law to carry automobile insurance to protect the other driver. We are required to carry mortgage insurance to protect the bank who loaned us the mortgage. When you buy or lease a car I think the company that loans you the money will require full property coverage until its paid for. I don't know any home owners who don't have fire and theft coverage, and many renters do, but it may depend on where you live. If there were really a free market for health insurance, and you didn't want it, there could be a law that you carry something to protect the hospital and staff who might be called on to treat you during a catastrophic event or illness (because they pass that cost on to me, so if you don't carry it, you're expecting me to pay). If employers hadn't gotten into the business of health insurance after WWII to attract better workers, I think we'd all have better choices and better coverage. We had private health insurance probably 10-15 years early in our married life and careers. That chunk they take off the top of your salary could have been in your hands with you deciding if you wanted well-care, pregnancy, vision or dental, or whatever. The government could have been there for the 10% who would be too high a risk for private plans (mental illness, inherited problems, catastrophic, etc.). We are in this cost situation because of government care--there's fraud, lack of oversite, and burdensome regulations. And lawyers, of course. Don't forget the law suits.

Nor do I agree with many people my age who say it's just terrible that Obama wants to rein in the costs of Medicare. I really question that I needed to be hospitalized last summer (bill was well over $5,000, but I have no way of knowing what it really was, because by the time if filtered down to me it was something like $300 out of my pocket). I know other seniors who have experienced the same--without the insurance, would they have needed that "level" of care? Unfortunately, once you start down that road--emergency room, intensive care, intubation, surgery, dialysis, and then maybe complications from bacterial infections after surgery plus all the misery and anxiety of being hospitalized, then the follow up, yes, I'd say someone needs to really look at this. I wonder sometimes if elders are being used as guinea pigs, considering that the billions of dollars spent in those final weeks and months of life often don't extend life.

I tried to look up the percentage of income that goes to health care, but unfortunately that figure depends on the political views of the writer. I saw everything from 5.7% to 15%. And if they say it costs more than housing, they aren't factoring in all the costs of housing, and they are adding in the employer's contribution for health care. Apples. Oranges. But it is a lot and it's going up fast. And it will be more if the government does it, with worse care. Folks. We know that from experience. Medicare is out of control BECAUSE it is a government program. Why would it be different if you had it too?

Now no homeowner in Massachusetts is safe

A report is called in to police that someone is trying to break into a house. So they go there. Unfortunately for Massachusetts, it's a black man trying to get into his own house, and he gets very testy with the police expecting them to know he's someone very important, Professor Gates of Haaavard.

Now even the President, who didn't comment for days on a Muslim terrorist killing one of our soliders right here in the United States, has decided to weigh in.
    "President Obama addressed the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Cambridge home during his news conference tonight, saying that "anyone would be angry" and "the Cambridge police acted stupidly."

    Obama prefaced his reply by saying that "I might be a little biased here" because "Skip Gates" is a friend, and by acknowledging that "I don't know all the facts."

    He then recited what has been reported, and joked that if he tried to jimmy the lock at his current residence -- the White House -- "I'd get shot." Boston Globe report.
Good luck, Cambridge. It's open house in your neighborhood from here on out. He wasn't arrested for trying to get in his own house as the media has reported, he was arrested for disorderly conduct--accusing the police of racism. And Obama was right--he didn't have all the facts. But he did have them about the murder of his soldier and he chose to keep quiet.

"Why don't we all just try to make the best of it."

Words of an Obama supporter and campaigner on his handling of the economy, taken from my comment window. I'm not willing to "just try" because I can see he has no intention of doing anything about the economy. He is using it and the fear mongering the Democrats have thrown at us for 8 years about "this economy" to put his social programs in place. If he were really serious about the economy and getting people back to work, he wouldn't be doing things that destroy jobs and discourage investment, which thicken the books of regulations on existing businesses, and taking over massive segments of the economy to burden us further. Complete take over by the government is his goal, and that is impossible to do when people aren't frightened, brow beaten and discouraged. He promised his followers and the true-believers that he would fundamentally change America, and that is a promise he can't keep if we go back to 4.5% unemployment.

I'll believe he's serious about improving health insurance when he says, "I know this can work, and we'll start with all federal, state and local officials, elected and appointed, me and my family, Congress and SCOTUS included, and civil service staff, run it as a model for 5 years to tweak and improve it, just to show to you it can work."

40 years of modern feminism and we've still got this

It's British TV and comedy, but spot on. Increasingly, men (if white) are depicted as equal opportunity morons, and it's still open season on older people, Christians, Sarah Palin and well dressed CEOs. Oh wait, that's the news.

HT Reclusive Leftist, good writing with some great wacko commenters

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Terrorist Attacks on Religious Figures, Religious Institutions, and Military Targets

News from START, Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, based at the University of Maryland.
    "As four suspects face possible conviction for plotting to bomb a New York City synagogue and Jewish community center and shoot down military aircraft, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) releases information on attacks on religious figures and institutions and military targets in the United States. The data were taken from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), which includes information on over 80,000 attacks between 1970 and 2007.

    There have been 25 terrorist attacks against religious figures or institutions in the United States, four of which were unsuccessful attempts. These 25 attacks resulted in a total of eight fatalities. Nine of the 25 attacks involved explosives or bombs.

    Nine of these attacks involved Jewish targets, including synagogues in Dallas, Nashville, New York, and Sacramento.

    Worldwide, there have been 1615 attacks on religious figures and institutions, with largest concentration in South America, Middle East, and South Asia.

    There have been 38 terrorist attacks against military targets in the United States, eight of which were unsuccessful attempts. Attacks against military targets were frequently aimed at recruiting centers. The GTD contains no records of attacks against military aircraft in the United States.

    The United States has experienced over 1350 terrorist attacks since 1970, peaking in the mid 1970s with 120 attacks per year. Since 1977 there have been fewer than 50 attacks per year. More than half of these have involved bombs or explosives, and the most common type of target has been private businesses."
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START) is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, tasked by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate with using state-of-the-art theories, methods, and data from the social and behavioral sciences to improve understanding of the origins, dynamics, and social and psychological impacts of terrorism. START, based at the University of Maryland, College Park, aims to provide timely guidance on how to disrupt terrorist networks, reduce the incidence of terrorism, and enhance the resilience of U.S. society in the face of the terrorist threat.

Let's all thank the people in our government who continue to protect us against terrorist attacks, and continue to challenge, advise, and/or vote out of office, those who won't.

Going down a God-Awful Road

Barbara Boxer is such a racist! She thinks if a black man speaks on energy, she needs to trot out what another black says. Oh! lady. Are some of your best friends black? Like your cleaning lady? Your gardener? The only transparency in government today is the liberals' motives.

Alford on the O'Reilly show last night: "It was pure race. It was like down there in Mississippi, back in the bad old days, when one Black preacher would rise up against the big boss, he'd go find another black preacher to fight against that black preacher. Yeah, it is — it was ugly. And she jumped — she opened up a pit, a mud pit that I wasn't going to jump into. . . I think it's her persona. I don't think she can help herself. When she gets caught up in a rut like that or against the wall, race comes out. . . the brainchild of Anita Hill attacking Clarence Thomas was Barbara Boxer. You go back to the election 2004 and all of that garbage against Ken Blackwell, secretary of state of Ohio, saying he rigged the election, that was Barbara Boxer." Oh yes, we remember dear Barbara in Ohio.

Bad idea all the way around

Gov. Ted Strickland, who has been quite two faced about gambling (outlawed cash-paying video games in bars and taverns, opposes casinos, but calls Keno just part of the lottery), and the state legislature last week approved a plan to install up to 2,500 video slots at each of Ohio's seven tracks as a way to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the state budget. So gambling’s OK as long as the state’s raking it in for social and education programs, but not if private parties get their cut by competing with the state. When Ohioans voted down casinos do you suppose that meant they wanted slots in their place?

No, Mr. Governor, Mr. former-preacher-man. It’s bad for people, bad for Ohio and bad for horses. State run gambling is a tax on poor people and stupid people and then we have to raise more taxes to help them out of the hole we helped them dig. Horses are thrown away like the racing greyhounds, over medicated, over raced. Who would adopt a has-been thoroughbred today? Good for dog food or to be shipped to Asia as steaks. There is just nothing good in this scenario.

Although it’s one of the few issues where I’d stand with the Council of Churches and the Methodists on their liberal social agenda. If the Lutherans have commented, I’ve missed it. The Methodists have got this one down cold. They put up a valiant fight against the state lottery--which was supposed to bring in all sorts of money for education, but it didn’t. Cleveland is probably lower now than it was then (just 28% of the class of 1998 earned a diploma; 23% of white students graduated -- far lower than any other district studied -- while 26% of Latinos and 29% of blacks graduated. Stats from Manhattan Institute
    "Religious leaders vowed to fight Ohio's plan to install video slot machines at racetracks to help close a budget gap.

    The Ohio Council of Churches and the United Methodist Church say they will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to declare the plan unconstitutional on multiple grounds. The churches say they will urge local leaders to delay installation of slots until the court completes its review or state leaders back down.

    The churches say they will also mobilize their members to begin a grassroots campaign against the plan. The churches will hold a news conference on Wednesday to outline their opposition plan.

    "For 19 years the Ohio Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church and tens of thousands of other in the faith community have successfully stopped predatory gambling from entering the state of Ohio with slot machines and casinos," the churches said in a joint statement.

Invasion of privacy

ABC News and the Obesity Police have gone too far in bringing up Regina Benjamin's weight. What else can the media do to discourage women from running for public office? The biggest topic on the anti-Hillary blogs wasn't her politics, it was her legs. So far, I think Benjamin's the best of the bunch of all the Obama appointees. At least I don't think she has evaded her taxes, been a lobbyist or hired an illegal. And OMG! She has actually worked for a living--owned her own medical practice! It's not a position with power, but she will have some visibility and like Clarence Thomas who also came up from poor, southern rural roots, she exemplifies the best in our society. And she'll be a role model for young women who don't fit the rah-rah cheerleader mold. Women like Sarah Palin who played on the team instead of cheering for it and didn't run on the reputation of a husband or father. You go girl. Now, some of the male members of Congress on the other hand, Murtha, Dodd, Kennedy, Frank. . . that's a lot of fat cat flatulence in the atmosphere. Didn't Dodd and Kennedy sponsor some anti-obesity legisation?

Retiring minds

Twice this week I made a mistake with my maturing CD. On Monday I went in to the bank to retrieve it. Wrong day. One day too soon and I hadn't read the small (or even medium) print. So yesterday I parked between Huffman's (grocery) and the bank, intending to shop, then retrieve the CD. Forgot. Here's an item from my 2005 blog about Sally Kriska's teaching at Lakeside.
    One of the tips that Sally passed along was the 10-24-7 tip. She said that in order to incorporate something into the long term memory, review it 10 minutes after hearing/reading it, then review in 24 hours, and then a week later. Then it is much more likely to make it to the long term memory, because most things drop out of our memory very quickly."
Today I'm doing Fran's mail run and she'll do mine next week. I tell myself every day, "don't forget the Wednesday mail run." But retiring minds are forgetful. Now, what was I saying?

Impatience with the messiah analogy

At first it was tongue in cheek--referring to Obama as "the messiah" during the campaign. After all, it was so far beyond the pale it made a point. And that ridiculous Soviet realism style art on the posters and buttons--glinting eye, jutting jaw. It all fit. A leftover from an era when God had been kicked out of the public square. But I'm tired of it. Yes. It disturbs me. I think he and his true-believer followers have internalized it at some very deep level of consciousness. We're not helping them clarify their thinking by repeating and cheapening the word messiah. So Christians particularly might just stop joking about it. 'Taint funny anymore, folks.

This morning I was reading a 100 year old sermon by G. Campbell Morgan on the resurrection with reference to Romans 1:4, the centerpiece of our faith, looking forward to the final resurrection of the saints. He says he dreams of unborn ages and new creations, and marvellous processions out of the being of God, through the risen Christ and the risen saints. Then he tells his congregation (in London) to go away rejoicing in the resurrection of Jesus because it is the message of a great confidence.
    "He is King, Priest, Warrior, and Builder, and all the great relationships are linked to His resurrection because he demonstrated thereby as the Son of God.

    His Kingship is an absolute monarchy. I have no anxiety about His reign. I believe in an absolute monarchy when we can find the right King. We have found Him.

    As to His Prophetic mission, it is one of absolute authority. What He said is true. It cannot be gainsaid. All the words gathered from His tender lips, and printed here and preserved for us, are words which abide. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall not pass away."

    As to His Priesthood, the resurrection demonstrates its absolute sufficiency. Why do you grieve God by this perpetual grieving over sin, and the declaration that you cannot believe He can forgive you?

    As to His triumph, He has broken in pieces the gates of brass. He has cut the bars of iron asunder. He has triumphed gloriously, and He will win His battle and build His city. Then so help me God, as He will permit me, I fain would share the travail that makes His Kingdom come, entering the fellowship of His sufferings, for all the while the light of His resurrection is upon the pathway, and I know that at the last, the things which He has made me suffer will be the things of the unending triumph."
That others have sneaked another name into those titles, responsibilities, and 3rd person pronouns is indeed a shame, but let's not encourage them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Malaria, DDT and children who are dying today

Westerners must look like the most evil, inhumane specters of death to 3rd world peoples. We tell developing countries not to spray their swamps and villages or wait on industrialization so we won't breathe their dirty air, so we can continue on our merry way in pursuit of climate control. I'm surprised they didn't boot Hillary right out of India with her pandering about clean air and global warming sop. We don't have enough wind mills to even power the electric cars being built, nor do we have a dump for the batteries or the mercury filled light bulbs made in coal fired plants in China.

And then there's the Boston Globe reporter who writes that DDT makes him shudder. Really? Has he ever seen children dying of malaria or adults disabled by it? Now that should make him shudder.
    “Why do we sit around looking for the impact on things we cannot see when we have the problem we can see right now?’’ Abwang Bernard said. “We have 5-year-old children dying. Many people have four episodes of malaria a year. They miss weeks and weeks of work. They cannot feed their families. Why not protect them for their future?

    “I understand the environmental arguments, but sometimes they cry so much fear, their arguments become inhuman to the people. It’s almost like they want the people to perish for the animals. No chemical has no side effects. But let us first reduce infant mortality. That is the environment I care about right now.’’

Obama hasn't read the bill?

Is that why he doesn't know that private insurance will be regulated or driven out of business under this plan he's trying to railroad through? I doubt it. He truly believes that too much knowledge killed Hillarycare, so he's trying to see that as much of this remains in the dark as possible. It's easier to lie or say he doesn't know than to allow an open, honest discussion. When asked about Section 102 of the House legislation, he said he wasn't familiar with it, but he keeps telling us Americans we will be able to keep our own plan if we like it. Not so, and here's why, according to Heritage Foundation Morning Bell, July 21
    Approximately 103 million people would be covered under the new public plan and as a consequence about 83.4 million people would lose their private insurance. This would represent a 48.4 percent reduction in the number of people with private coverage.

    About 88.1 million workers would see their current private, employer-sponsored health plan go away and would be shifted to the public plan.

    Yearly premiums for the typical American with private coverage could go up by as much as $460 per privately insured person, as a result of increased cost-shifting stemming from a public plan modeled on Medicare.

    It is truly frightening that the President of the United States is pressuring Congress in an all out media blitz to pass legislation that he flatly admits he has not read and is not familiar with. President Obama owes it to the Americans people to stop making promises about what his health plan will and will not do until he has read it, and can properly defend it in public, to his own supporters.
A very small percentage of American citizens do not have health insurance, and most of the misuse and outrageous spending on health that we do have is in government programs. So what's the big rush? It's not like he's got a bottom line or anything.

And in another act of transparency, Obama has decided not to release the mid-July economic forecasts. Wouldn't want the Congress making decisions on health care based on anything but his obombastic promises.

It's working

Congressman Chris Lee of NY said, "Since the stimulus was announced, we've lost 2 million jobs, so it hasn't done what it has proposed to deliver." Not so fast young man. I was watching a Toledo station last week and they were ecstatic that the area had landed 50 jobs for road repair. They said it was the stimulus money. And, Ohio had to pay half, but oh well. There were probably more government workers than that through whose hands it passed, so don't tell me it's not working! Gas is down to $2.20 in Columbus and that's probably put more money into people's wallets than anything.

Health care myths, pt. 2

Can the government do health care cheaper. No, that's a myth, or just a bald face lie. I was really puzzled by a report on rare and neglected diseases (TRND). Seems it costs private drug companies 2-4 years and $10 million to get a candidate molecule through preclinical development. Big hearted Congress is going to appropriate $24 million to work in this preclinical area and then pass it on to the drug companies for clinical trials. Maybe I'm math challenged, but even if the government could do something less costly (costs are probably high due to gov't regs), isn't that 2.5 molecules? Plus it wants "some funding from licensing." Sort of like owning a car company, heh?

And remember you won't pay higher taxes? Well, what is a user fee passed along to the consumer, if not a tax? In the omnibus spending bill for 2009 signed March 11 by Obama, Congress appropriated $1 billion for the FDA to regulate human drugs and biologics, which is made up in part from new user fees paid by the industries (google PDUFA). And I'm only guessing, but we'll still be getting our generics from India and China without the quality controls in order to "cut costs." (Have you forgotten pet food and lead in paint of children's toys?)

Also, a part of the big lie about costs is that what they shave off the federal ledger for health will be shifted to the states--and we all know what great shape Medicaid is in! States pay half of Medicaid now. How far back in time are they planning to go to recover those costs from surviving family members? Five years? Ten years? Also, if there is a profession with more garbled, obfuscation in its flowing prose than politics, it has to be medicine. Please translate into English or dollars
    "accessible, comprehensive, integrated care based on healing relationships"
But perhaps the biggest problem with the "cost" lie is that cost is all Americans care about, and it's the most critical measure we have against some mythical, socialist industrialized nation with rationed care. Americans really do care about safety, timeliness, respect, quality, choice, outcomes and efficiency. Also, for every life we save with surgery, new drugs,chemo, or new technology, that's a life that is going to require even more care--very expensive, monitored and lab test care--than before the life-saving event. The person who dies on a waiting list in Europe saves their government a lot of money. Unfortunately, that's the sort of community spirit Obama wants for us.

Health care myths, pt. 1

Let me count the ways we're lied to by politicians. There has been a bunch of lies in Obama's recent lectures, but just let me point out the biggie--reduced costs if we go to universal, government owned health insurance. Name one thing the government does more cheaply or which hasn't mushroomed in costs beyond what was promised/predicted, whether it's a war, education, or social program. It is not in politicians' nature to ever, ever cut back--they only know how to spend more because it isn't their money. Also, it's what keeps them in power. Medicare, a government program originally intended to insure retired people formerly insured by employers (a bad private system from the get-go right after WWII) has incrimentally become the biggest boondoggle in government, with no one to blame but Congress and past and present presidents. I wonder if anyone has ever checked Congressional districts by higher-costs per-capita for Medicare or Medicare based on number of repeat terms in Congress by their representatives?

The June 24 JAMA reports that Medicare is expected to operate at a deficit this year and is projected to exhaust its reserve funds in 2017--2 years earlier than previously predicted ( That doesn't sound like news to me, but maybe the years are different. All I know is that after I retired from the University, my health insurance costs soared under my pension plan (state), and then when I went on Medicare (federal) I needed to buy a pricey supplement with a high deductible to control costs, plus I really couldn't find out the real cost of anything because the bills are so confusing. (I think that's intentional so you just stop looking at them and think it's "free.")

Essentially, Obama is saying we haven't been able to control costs or tests or lawyers or end of life care or expansion of coverage with a plan for a limited population, so give us a larger group and more bundles of money, and then we'll show you what we can REALLY do. Republicans, even the non-RINOS--just nibble around the edges--they don't really have much of a contribution and are no help at all.

A private system not tied to employers with incentives and competition is the only way to truly bring down costs, with a government safety net for that 10% who will never be able to manage on their own, and requirements to be covered, just like car insurance or house insurance. Yes, some 19-year-old might have to give up his pizza, tobacco and beer to have money for insurance. Unfortunately, that window of opportunity closed a long time ago when I was a young woman not paying attention, pushing a baby stroller with a trundle seat and washing cloth diapers, owning one TV, one car and one phone with a mortgage that fit our income. I'm older than dirt.

Monday, July 20, 2009

They've ruined The Closer

Whenever there's a good series and it runs a few years, the writers run out of ideas. The Closer is in its 5th season. So some hot shot comes along and says, let's bring in a new character to the ensemble. I know, let's have two females battling and at the same time let the new character say negative things about police in her role as a victims investigator. Oh goodie. I just turned it off in mid-program. I watched that gal once, and once is enough. Bring back Irene Daniels if another woman is needed.