Thursday, March 27, 2014

Obamacare’s Tough Day in Court

Divided Supreme Court Hears Hobby Lobby’s Challenge to the Contraceptive Mandate

By: Roger Aronoff  -  Accuracy in Media  -  Cross-Posted at the NoisyRoom

Since its passage, a number of lawsuits have attempted to undermine Obamacare as a law, with varying degrees of success. The individual mandate challenge failed before the Supreme Court in 2012, despite what seemed like positive reception to the challenge during oral argument. Hobby Lobby went before the Supreme Court on March 25 to challenge the religious liberty implications of the contraception mandate portion of the law.

While the media have largely focused on the Hobby Lobby challenge, a few blocks away, the D.C. Court of Appeals was hearing another argument about Obamacare—one that, if passed, could well have the effect of ending this law as we know it. And it has liberals running scared.

In the piece “Forget Hobby Lobby. The Bigger Legal Threat to Obamacare Still Has Life,” Alec Macgillis writes for the New Republic, “If the contraception challenge succeeds, it just means that that one sliver of Obamacare is struck down. If this other challenge succeeds, both sides agree that it would blow up the entire law.”

The argument for the plaintiffs is as follows: In order to provide the 60th vote, which was necessary to get the bill through the Senate, Ben Nelson, the then-Democratic senator from Nebraska, insisted on a clause that said that federal subsidies could only go to people who signed up on exchanges set up by the states. The purpose was to incentivize states to actually set up exchanges.

Then, the plaintiffs argue, the IRS wrote a rule in 2012 which reinterpreted the law to say that federal exchanges could give out subsidies as well. “The alternative policy under the IRS’ rewriting of the rule creates a bizarre circumstance where it’s almost impossible to fulfill the Act’s purpose of having state-run exchanges, because it eliminates any tangible incentive for these people to go ahead and adopt the exchanges,” argued Michael A. Carvin, the plaintiffs’ attorney, before the Court of Appeals on March 25. “So they’ve created a situation which has predictably resulted in only 14 states doing what Congress clearly wanted 50 states to do, which is to set up their exchanges.”

Arguably, however, the mostly Republican governors who have refused to set up exchanges also did so for political reasons.

Carter-appointed Judge Harry Edwards had a Hillary Clinton moment during the oral arguments. He demanded that Carvin “forget the subsidies” argument and explain why it was important whether the federal government or states control the exchanges. He demanded loudly, twice, “What difference does it make who does it? Forget the subsidy.”

But we can’t forget the subsidies. They are at the heart of the law, and its practice. The Washington Post has reported that “About 85 percent of those signing up for insurance in federal-run exchanges have qualified for financial assistance to purchase coverage.” In other words, this amounts to a massive federal redistribution of wealth for millions—85% of enrollees. (Let’s ignore for a moment that we have no idea how many enrollees actually purchase their insurance after “selecting” it. If they know, the federal government isn’t telling us.) “Without those subsidies, the insurance would be less affordable, leaving those with the greatest health needs with more motivation to purchase coverage,” writes the Post. “That makes for a worse risk mix, driving up the cost of insurance to cover the sicker pool of people, creating what’s known as an insurance ‘death spiral.’” The federal exchange is already at risk of a death spiral if it cannot entice enough of the young and healthy to sign up.

The case could also undo the individual mandate. “Were the case to succeed, it would mean that dozens of state governments opposed to Obamacare could significantly narrow its scope by refusing [to] set up exchanges, thus preventing residents from claiming subsidies,” explains the Washington Examiner. “In those states, employers wouldn’t be penalized for failing to offer qualifying insurance (which is triggered by workers seeking federal subsidies), meaning that anti-Obamacare states could become more attractive to businesses trying to get around the employer mandate.”

“It would also increase pressure on Congress to undo the individual mandate.”

Judge Edwards said that this was a transparent attempt by Carvin and his plaintiffs to “gut” the law. Indeed, those opposed to the lawsuit seem more concerned with saving the law than looking at the Act’s original language. MacGillis cites Clinton-appointed Judge Paul Friedman in his earlier ruling that “Plaintiffs’ proposed construction in this case—that tax credits are available only for those purchasing insurance from state-run Exchanges—runs counter to this central purpose of the ACA: to provide affordable health care to virtually all Americans…Such an interpretation would violate the basic rule of statutory construction that a court must interpret a statute in light of its history and purpose.” “Under the challengers’ logic, Judge Friedman added, the exchanges administered by the federal government ‘would have no customers, and no purpose,’” writes Macgillis. Is it really the Courts’ purview to decide whether a government program should survive, as opposed to whether the law is being executed constitutionally and legally?

Indeed, according to The Wire, without federal subsidies, “Many of those people would fall in to the hardship gap and not have to buy insurance or pay the individual mandate.” There are two other cases besides this one “challenging the authority of the IRS to rewrite the statute and allow subsidies to flow through the federal exchanges,” according to Forbes.

Never afraid of punditry, MSNBC abandoned all pretense of journalism and called this discussion of the Senate’s original intent a “drafting error.” Adam Serwer writes that “The Affordable Care Act managed to have two bad days in court on the same day,” adding that the argument means that “Congress was handing Republicans an Obamacare self-destruct button.”

But, he offers hope to his liberal readers: “If the government loses before the panel, it can ask for the D.C. Circuit to hear the case ‘en banc,’ before the judges on the D.C. Circuit.” Then it could go to the Supreme Court.

Why is the ‘en banc’ ability important? Because President Obama has stacked the court, of course. “After the Democrats nuked the filibuster, Obama was able to make four appointments to the court,” writes Serwer. “Though judges’ opinions don’t always track with those of the party that appointed them, thanks to the changes to the filibuster, more Democratic appointees than Republican appointees would rule on the matter.” In other words, partisan politics would play out if the entire bench were to hear the case.

A decision is supposed to come in late June, and looks like it will be in favor of the plaintiffs. But, the Washington Examiner warns, oral arguments can be misleading. “As always, it’s hard to predict judicial outcomes based on oral arguments, a lesson that was made abundantly clear when many observers predicted that the Supreme Court would strike down the individual mandate only to see it upheld,” Philip Klein writes.

Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

Hobby Lobby vs Sebelius Goes Before the Supreme Court

INFOGRAPHIC: What Exactly This Hobby Lobby Case Is About

If the contraception mandate passes, it will ruin a core U.S. ideology


Obamacare Navigator: 'No One Really Has to Pay a Penalty'

An Obamacare navigator tells the Chicago Tribune that the much-feared Obamacare penalty is not something most people should worry about.

Breitbart: The Tribune says Community Counseling Centers of Chicago navigator Tim van Alstyne said, "he tells people that between the state's broader Medicaid options (thanks to its decision to expand the program) and the available tax credits, 'no one really has to pay a penalty.'" 

The government says that Americans who choose to opt-out of Obamacare must pay a fine of $95 or 1% of their modified adjusted household income, depending on which is higher.

The original March 31 Obamacare deadline has now been extended until mid-April and will be run on the "honor system" for those who claim they tried but were unable to enroll before the deadline--a direct reversal of assurances embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave members of Congress during congressional testimony.

Obamacare remains deeply unpopular. The RealClearPolitics average of polls finds that just 39% of Americans now support President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Justina Pelletier: Judge Awards 'Permanent Custody' To Mass. DFC

Justina Pelletier and Mom

JoshuaPundit: Judge Joseph Johnston has ruled that The Massachusetts Department of Families And Children (DFC) will have 'permanent custody' of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, taking her away from her parents in spite of her own wishes and her rapidly declining health in state custody.

This case is a textbook example of child abuse promulgated by the legal system and an embedded bureaucracy, and it is worth looking at to see how far out of hand our ruling class has gotten.

Fourteen months ago, Justina, a Connecticut teen was being treated for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production.Her physician who had been treating her, Dr. Mark Korson at Tufts, wanted the girl to visit gastroenterologist Dr. Alejandro Flores at Boston Children's Hospital, who had treated Justina at Tufts in the past. Being loving and concerned parents, the Pelletiers made the appointment with Dr. Flores and duly went to Boston Children's Hospital to have Justina seen.

When they got there, instead of seeing Dr. Flores, Justina was essentially kidnapped. She was taken to emergency where a resident refused to let her see Dr. Flores. Instead, he decided that this was a psychiatric case and sent Justina to a psychologist who diagnosed her with somatoform disorder -- a mental condition in which a patient experiences symptoms that are real but are psychosomatic.

When the Pelletiers rejected the new psychiatric diagnosis and wanted to bring Justina back to Tufts, the hospital first tried to force the girl's parents to sign papers admitting her as a psychiatric patient and when they refused and understandably became insistent at taking their daughter out of Boston Children's, the hospital got the state Department of Family and Children involved and accused the parents of medical child abuse.

They were not permitted to bring Justina home or to another facility. Instead, the teen was kept at Boston Children’s psychiatric ward for nearly a year where her physical condition deteriorated while the parents unsuccessfully fought the system to get Justina released.The DCF has allowed the parents only one hour per week to visit their daughter, but always with DCF personnel present. DCF would not allow the parents to photograph their daughter, and even filed a motion to hold Lou Pelletier in contempt of court for speaking to national media.

"Tufts was working fine with her, diagnosed medically, going to school, ice skating and doing all those things," Lou Pelletier said. "Look at her then and look at her now."
The DCF also has refused to provide the medical care Justina's condition requires, will not allow her access to a priest or to communion (she's Catholic) has refused to make any accommodations for her education, with the result that she is now almost two years behind her classmates in school.

Three weeks ago, Judge Johnston approved a written agreement transferring care back to Tufts Medical Center from Boston Children’s Hospital. That still hasn't been done, as Boston Children's has refused to make any appointments with the doctors there in spite of Justina's condition.

This decision by Judge Johnston was in response to a motion presented by the 15-year-old’s court-appointed lawyer and the lawyers for her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier. It called for the girl's parents to be awarded “conditional custody” of their daughter.

Instead, the judge has granted permanent custody of Justina Pellatier to the DFC...who have done absolutely nothing to help her.

In his order, Johnston noted that the court considered granting conditional custody to the Pelletiers but “very concerning conduct … does not give this court any confidence they will comply with the conditions of custody.” The evidence? That Lou Pelletier once threatened a DFC social worker, who was afterward removed from the case, and oh yes..the media presence.

“Instead of engaging in quality visits with Justina, the parents use profanity directed at MA DCF personnel in Justina’s presence,” Johnston’s ruling said.

Johnston also included that he thinks Lou and Linda Pelletier should be “psychologically and clinically evaluated,” but refused to have the state of Massachusetts do it, insisiting that it must be coordinated through the State of Connecticut’s own DCF.

You bring your daughter in for medical treatment, she gets kidnapped, you see her dying in front of your eyes and you lose it with some heartless bureaucrat drone who's keeping her prisoner? And when you finally get fed up with doing the dance for months and go to the media to try to shed some sunlight on what's happening to your child, you need to be “psychologically and clinically evaluated?”

To tell you the truth, if the Pellatiers hadn't done that, I'd think they needed to be psychologically evaluated.

This is one of those canary in the coalmine moments. It is the State shoving our noses in the fact that they own our children and they know what's best, and we're just the sperm and egg donors.
What's next? On May 25th, Judge Johnston is expected revisit the decision to award permanent custody in a follow-up court hearing on May 25. His ruling leaves it up to the state DCF to decide whether or when Justina should be returned to her family, which means she could end up in state care until she turns 18. If she survives.

Meanwhile, the Pelltiers haven't given up. They're appealing the decision and have filed a writ of habeus corpus against Massachusetts for wrongful imprisonment. Hopefully this will get Justina freed by order of the Appellate courts, although it might just be that the attention this is generating could get Justina Pellatier freed sooner..perhaps at the review hearing in May.


Lou Pelletier, Father of Justina Pelletier on Glenn Beck Program and the Kelly File 

The Fascists of Massachusetts… Can what is happening to the Pelletier family happen to you? 

Pelletier Family Devastated After Court Hearing On Daughter's Custody

Rejecting God; Atheism and Autism


By Elise RonanThe Times of Israel: I want to introduce you to a term of art, “autism syndrome behavioral study of the week.” There is generally some new study into autism every few months. Most of them detail what may cause autism, why autistics may do certain actions, and who is best able to handle every autism–related issue that abounds (usually the individuals who did the study of course). Unless it’s a hard science discussion about autism, something that may truly help my boys, I generally shake my head and just say “whoopsidoodle.”

In fact, as a mom dealing with autism issues, I usually don’t wait for the latest revelation from the behavioral sciences ivory towers. They don’t tell me anything I don’t already know. I think to myself, heck I could have told the talking-heads the same thing as the study reported, and charged half as much as the researchers. You see my research is on-going and most of it has already taken place over the last two decades. I call it, life in the autism-fast-lane.

Now the real interesting aspect about the research that is done into autism behavior is that we, the parents and those self-advocates on the spectrum, have been ready, willing and able to tell the autism gurus the truth about behavioral issues and outcomes. But does anyone listen to us? Nope. It’s truly about time someone who has some pull did just that. Ask us and we will tell you the whys, wherefores and the whatnots. If the Phds want we will even let them take the credit for the study in its entirety as long as it is something that helps the majority of those in the autism community.

Furthermore, it’s also a question of what do you do with the study? Does anyone actually act upon any of the findings or do they just chalk it up to scientific research, put it on their resume and apply for another grant? How do these research studies actually benefit the average person with autism? Do these studies actually change society in anyway? Perhaps that should be part of the grant proposal. “How is your research actually going to benefit the day-to-day life of someone who lives on the autism spectrum?” Answer the necessity of that question and you get some of those very very very rare research dollars.

Unfortunately one of the rather more useless studies, to have emerged from the minds of Phds is to tell us that those with autism have the propensity to be atheists. Really, you don’t say. What a shock that people who operate with literal minds can’t and won’t take the leap into the realm of faith. So once again, how does this waste of time and money actually provide supports and programs for those adults on the spectrum?

Moreover, the study, interestingly enough, also missed out on one big factor. For some, like my oldest, it’s not about literal reality versus faith. It is about the feeling of abandonment. God’s abandonment. Not because he has aspergers. Quite on the contrary. He is very happy to have an autism spectrum disorder. His anger at God is something entirely different. Something not even related to himself, well not directly anyway.

Oldest-son was a Holocaust major in college. The more he learned about the tragedy that had befallen the Jewish people the angrier he became. Not just at the world at large but at the idea that God exists. Understanding why God saved the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt and had not saved them from the Nazis, isn’t something he could assimilate. And no matter how many times I tried to get him to read what religious people had written about the existence of God and God’s miracles in modern day juxtaposed with what happened during the Holocaust, it didn’t help. No matter how many times I tried to explain to him about the human responsibility connected to freedom of choice would he budge from his objection to the existence of God. Even when he took a class on Judaism, something that I thought might answer many of his questions,  it didn’t help. In fact, he drove the Rabbi to distraction.

Ultimately, I tried to point out the miracle that is Israel and how the Jewish people have survived. As a student of history he knows the story of the Jewish people. He knows the modern need for Israel and the place of the Jewish people in the history of the world. To understand how he views the world now you need to know that my nickname for him is traditional-secular-Zionist.

My youngest-son, on the other hand, is an agnostic. He is not sure what to make of God. He is not quite certain that he should just throw the idea of God away like his brother has done. Honestly, I think he is hedging his bets at the moment. Deciding that it might not be a good thing to anger the al-mighty powers that be in the long run. He is going to wait and see how things turn out. I figure he is trying in some way to manipulate the God-issue to his advantage.

Interestingly, one of the things that no one tells you in these wonderful studies on autism (but something we already know) is how adamant those with autism can be about their philosophies and beliefs. Some would call it rigid. I like to think of it as fervent. For an interesting view of daily living, just try living in a home with aspergeans with wildly differing views on major issues of the day. The continual individual need for them to try to get the other family members to agree with them creates a video game-like loop on steroids. It’s the same level over and over again with no one winning. Eventually you run out of lives (and aspirin for your headache) and you simply have to put a cabash on the entire discussion. You have to try to teach everyone to agree to disagree. Which also doesn’t quite work out at times either, since that lesson generally devolves into a discussion of why you need to respect someone’s “inane” opinion.

Now with Seder just around the corner, discussing the issue of God and his wonders becomes a rather interesting time in our home, once again. Because of the boys’ intense attachment to their own philosophies we have had to sit them at opposite ends of the room during the Haggadah portion of the evening. We have instructed them to ignore each other. Basically, no fighting, yelling or name-calling allowed. Meanwhile we find new ways to engage them and carry on the tradition of recounting the exodus from Egypt. Of course, when we get to the part where the Children of Israel are finally freed from bondage, the oldest without fail brings up the Holocaust. Hence, we begin, once again, our own unique version of life in Jewish-Aspergean-Wonderland.

Wrestling with God

The Search for Universal Truth: God and your Aspie

And just so you don’t think that the oldest only cares about Ashkenazi Jews here’s a link to his senior thesis:

History of Antisemitism in the Arab and Moslem Worlds

Yeah the research for that paper didn’t help with his acceptance of God either.


Study shows exciting insights into the mystery cause of Autism…

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bart Stupak’s Pig In a Poke


Fool or Liar… You Decide!

Nice Deb: I’ve held off on commenting on Bart Stupak because everything that needed to be said about him was said four years ago, and really, who wants to revisit that unpleasant, painful memory? I really don’t. It’s Lent, and I should be in a forgiving, charitable mood.

But then I remember how he was our only hope of defeating the ObamaCare monstrosity as he held out for statutory prohibitions on abortion funding. And he settled instead for a transparently fake fig-leaf of an executive order that was unconstitutional and obviously fraudulent.

As a result his  political career came crashing to an end and now he’s telling us  he’s unhappy and feeling “double-crossed.” Was there ever a more aptly named congressman?

Today, as a private citizen, I’m proud to stand with the Green and Hahn families and their corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, in seeking to uphold our most cherished beliefs that we, as American citizens, should not be required to relinquish our conscience and moral convictions in order to implement the Affordable Care Act. …

[W]e received an ironclad commitment that our conscience would remain free and our principles would be honored. With our negotiations completed and our legislative intent established by the colloquy, we agreed to an executive order directing federal agencies to respect America’s longstanding prohibitions on government funding of abortion and most relevant here, to respect longstanding protections for individuals and organizations conscientiously opposed to participating in or facilitating abortions.

I was deeply concerned and objected to the HHS mandate that required all health plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives, including four drugs and devices that could terminate human life at its earliest stages by preventing an embryo’s implantation in the womb. The FDA’s own labeling statements, as well as other studies, indicate that drugs such as the 5-day-after pill (Ella), as well as intrauterine devices (IUDs), may operate this way. The Greens and the Hahns cannot, in good conscience, risk subsidizing actions that may take human life.

He was also promised that no federal funding would go to pay for abortion under the health reform plans, yet that of course is happening. All of this was as predictable as the sun rising in the East.

Here’s what I said on March 21, 2010 – the Day Stup caved.

I can tell you right now; this won’t be worth the piece of paper it’s printed on. There is no one in politics today who is more viciously pro-abortion than Barack Obama, and every statement he makes comes with an expiration date.  If Obama was willing to lie to the Pope to his face about abortion, he certainly has no compunction about lying to Bart Stupak and his pro life stalwarts.

Tom Price called it “a pig in a poke” because he naively thought you couldn’t override legislation with an executive order. Way back in 2010 – that was considered beyond the pale.

A clearly disgusted Doug Ross, cut loose:

This bill fundamentally changes the relationship between the federal government and the people; and it does so in a despicably evil way. Health care will, there is no doubt, be wielded as a political weapon to reward and punish.

Congratulations, Bart Stupak and your so-called “Pro-Life” Democrat Caucus, you’ve sentenced the unborn generations of this country to misery, poverty and economic ruin. Way to stay true to your beliefs.

You aren’t pro-life, you’re low-lives.

Andrew McCarthy addressed the constitutionality  of the EO deal:

The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particular EO is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impoundfunds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.

Charles Krauthammer called the EO “worthless” and called Stupak’s cave “disappointing”…He said, “this is nationalizing health care. As of tonight, health insurance companies become agents of the government. Obama will be remembered as the father of nationalized health care.”

Michelle Malkin introduced us to next Congressman in Michigan’s 1st congressional district.

Meet Dan Benishek, Stupak’s GOP challenger in Michigan’s 1st congressional district. His campaign slogan: “You deserve better.”

The Daily Caller: Obama’s executive order that satisfied Stupak does absolutely nothing.

Of course, we were just a bunch of conservative crybabies bawling about being outmaneuvered by the clever and crafty ObaMessiah. After all ObamaCare was going to cover 30 million more people for less money and everybody would be able to keep their plans and keep their doctors and pay an average of $2,500 per family less a year in premiums.

The always behind the curve Bart Stupak continues to believe “the Affordable Care Act is critical to reforming our health care markets and providing a critical safety net for millions…”

Whatever, dude.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Obama Spends $17M Per Month Of Our Money Advertising ObamaCare

Joshua Pundit: According to Pravda-On-The Hudson, the Obama Administration is spending $17M per monthof your tax dollars advertising for ObamaCare:

From January until the end of March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

, which runs the site and administers the Affordable Care Act, will have spent $52 million on paid media, officials said. Conservative opponents of the law have concentrated their spending on ads focusing on Democratic candidates and sowing doubts about the viability of the law.

The idea is to get young, uninsured Americans to sign up for President Obama's signature program - high, unaffordable pricing, minimal coverage, high deductibles,numerous glitches and abominable security for personal data. Not surprisingly, they're avoiding it like the plague.

The president's new tactic reveals exactly how stupid he thinks we all are:

Russian troops were rolling through Crimea when Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff and a foreign policy expert, was deployed on a mission to do media outreach. But the focus of Mr. McDonough’s calls to local talk radio stations was not geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe, it was health care.

Mr. McDonough chatted with Andy Baskin and Jeff Phelps, hosts of a popular sports talk radio program on WKRK-FM (92.3) in Cleveland, about the coming N.F.L. draft, basketball at the White House and his days playing college football in Minnesota. Mr. McDonough then pitched a new website featuring games, videos and superstar athletes explaining the benefits of health insurance: a sports-themed portal to

“We’ve all seen it happen,” said Mr. McDonough, promoting the portal, GamePlan4Me, to the hosts of “Baskin & Phelps” and their mostly young, mostly male audience. “Somebody’s playing hoops, and they blow out a knee or something. And then all of a sudden, if you don’t have health care, you’re going to bankrupt yourself.”

Actually, with the standard deductible for Bronze coverage being between a hefty $5,000 to to $6,350 for a single adult, the average person is going to go bankrupt with that kind of injury whether he or she buys ObamaCare or not. As a matter of fact, given the stiff premiums, you might go bankrupt even if you avoid a major injury.

But again, this president thinks everyone's stupid but him and that you'll be distracted by games and celebrity endorsements.

The only people whom win in this con game are people who qualify for MedicAid, AKA free stuff. Which of course, was always what this was about - government control and a huge transfer of wealth from the Middle class  to the entitlement class.

The fact that the president, congress and the rest of the Ruling Class are trying to force you to buy into this cynical fraud when they  aren't willing to take advantage of this 'wonderful program' themselves ought to clue you in to how horrible it really is.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Coffee Research and Info

CoffeeResearchTwo Simple Owls: Coffee is usually associated with waking people up in the morning, but it can also perk up your skin. The caffeine in coffee has a number of benefits for your skin, from treating redness and inflammation, to reducing the appearance of under-eye circles, to getting rid of cellulite. By incorporating caffeine into your skin care routine, you can reveal evenly toned, smooth skin all over your body.

Reduces Inflammation
Caffeine has potent anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for reducing inflammation and redness in your skin. In a 1981 study performed at the Seoul National University, researchers found that caffeine is able to reduce inflammation almost as well as aspirin; in a 1978 performed at the University of Tennessee, researchers found that adding caffeine to anti-inflammatory creams significantly increased their effectiveness. Overall, use of skin care products containing caffeine will reduce and prevent inflammation and redness, leaving you with a beautiful, even skin tone.

Helps Get Rid of Under-Eye Circles
Dark under-eye circles can be caused by a number of factors, including dehydration, allergies, lack of sleep or genetics. Although caffeine cannot completely erase hereditary dark circles, applying caffeine under your eyes will reduce the puffiness and inflammation associated with dark circles. Additionally, caffeine reduces the build-up of blood under your eyes which contributes to dark shadows. Several eye creams contain caffeine, or you can apply moist tea bags to your eyes for five minutes to reduce puffiness and give you a more alert appearance.

Gets Rid of Cellulite
Caffeine can also reduce the appearance of cellulite. In a 2008 study performed at the University of São Paulo, researchers found that an application of skin cream containing caffeine to cellulite reduced the size of cellulite fat cells by 17 percent. In addition, a 2007 study performed at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro found that caffeine cream applied to cellulite decreased the hip’s diameter in almost 70 percent of participants. A number of anti-cellulite creams have been developed to reduce the appearance of cellulite, or you can take advantage of the power of caffeine by adding ground or instant coffee to your regular body scrub at home.

Info obtained from

Photo courtesy of

Are You Ready to Take Your Senior to ER?

How to be ready for emergencies so you and your senior can get to the hospital and be comfortable while you deal with the Emergency Room or extended stay. by francy Dickinson  -  SeniorCareTips

GrabnGo ER Kit 4 You!

Grab n Go Ready ER Kit – Just 4 You!

Dear Francy; I live in a small community and my dad lives with us. He had issues last week, his heart was in a race and he was fainting…on the floor…I was in a panic. I called the doctor, because dad was on a lot of heart meds and they said take him to hospital. A neighbor helped me get him in the car and off we went for a 28 minute drive to the hospital. Once there…they took over…but I just lost my head. I had none of his information with me, we start in ER and then were there for two more days while his drugs were adjusted and watched.  I was exhausted, worried and still dressed for work. It was an all around horrible situation. I remembered you talking about being prepared…I failed on that end…would you review the ideas for stress and emergency room trips. Thanks..Cindy, New Mexico

Thank you Cindy…don’t feel bad…I’ve been there too. You sit in that hospital and are uncomfortable…and can not just race home to change or get your things….so what I suggest is that if you are caring for a senior….YOU NEED A BAG FOR THE ER!

I have heard the stories for years…a spouse, family member or dear friend goes into a serious backward spiral and you know that you have to call 911 or take them to the hospital yourself. You are caught up in the moment of panic, worry and actual action of caring for the senior. Out the door you fly…to drive behind the ambulance or drive to the emergency care place yourself. The last thing on your mind is comfort..your mind is racing and your heart is in a high state of worry. But once at the hospital…everyone starts to ask you questions…social security numbers, health card information, does the senior have allergies, what are the medications that they are taking…you stand there in stunned silence…just wanting to be in the ER with your spouse or parent…and there you are – stuck with answering questions that you are not prepared to answer. After that nasty 15-20 minutes…you try to find your senior and they have started treatments. They are telling you things and you wish you could write them down…new ideas for treatment, interactions of medications and you are just trying to breath and tell your senior that they are OK…just hang in there. Then the ER puts the senior in a side area and they have to wait…wait for tests, wait for doctors to arrive, wait for ER or CAT scans…and the minutes stretch into hours and hours…then they say they will put the senior in a room for a couple of days…they want to keep them on close watch. Close watch? That means you don’t leave your senior’s side.

You are tired…your phone is on the last few minutes of energy…you have no phone numbers with you to use the hospital room line. You need to drink some water, have a snack but its the middle of the night and the cafeteria is not open yet and no change for the snack machines. You have now been at the hospital for 4-6 hours and you are looking at an over-night stay…sitting in a chair in the room. Nasty….and all of us…have gone through all of this and there is no reason to do that to ourselves….we do enough just loving and caring for our seniors. We need to be prepared for these fast, unscheduled emergencies….so we all need to put a kit together for our own use.

“ER Grab n Go Bag”

If you have not experienced this yet, please believe me…it happens…your senior can fall or become unwell in an instant…and you will be faced with all this drama…and wind up feeling like a fool that you did not plan ahead to make the trip so much easier for your self. REMEMBER: the hospital is going to give full care to the senior in the emergency…YOU are the one that is not going to be cared for…you are simply in their way…so you stay quiet and try to stay close to your senior so you can give them calm and love. BE PREPARED!

ER Info Kit for your Senior

ER Info Kit for your Senior


I keep an ER info Kit for George in my handbag…and one in the kitchen. I have given one to my sister and his kids know where I keep another copy. I have all the info that the ER entry office person is going to ask me. There is a good copy of all his cards, front and back. There is a review of what he is allergic to and his personal needs for check-in. There is a very detailed medical prescription and doctor listing and there is Power Of Attorney or a letter signed…that allows you to give and get medical information. I also tuck in the driving instructions so if I get too nervous or stressed…I can still get to the hospital. This is a must…and you have to take time to type it up and make copies…and then you are set to go. I update my medication listing…and you will find a whole blog on the details on April 21, 2010 called “If your senior goes to ER, are you ready” Please put that in the search bar on the top of the page and read over that blog…it has all the details for the paperwork to get you in the out of the check-in process of hospital or doctor visits. I can not tell you how many health care professionals tell me how they love my kit…you will too.

Just remember this information is all of the personal ID on the senior and it has to be kept private and safe…so keep it protected...I use a plastic envelope and I also have a whole booklet that I use for his medical information. If you do put together the “Grab n Go Ready Kit” you will also have a spiral notebook n pen to take notes. Trust me…I have given care to my mum and my husband for over 10 years now…you need these items when you go to the doctor and the hospital. I know you may think they have all the patient’s information in their computer system…but you are wrong…info is rarely updated and they often lose the patient in the computer files. Be ready to give them any thing they need to help the senior get well in the middle of a crisis. Do not count on your mind…even ss# can be forgotten or mis-stated when you see someone you love in peril! (NOTE: What I remember is wasting time at the check-in window when I wanted so badly to be with my frightened 95 yr old mother in the ER room…to keep her calm. I did all of this so I would never have to repeat that.) The next time we were at the ER…the check in lady…just took my paperwork and told me she would enter it all and bring it to me in the ER…it was perfect. I have been thanked by nurses, doctors and admin-people for having the information so well-organized and it only took the time for me to enter it into the computer the first time. I update the info every six months or on medication changes. Easy -peasy for no stress check-in’s.


hospital sleeping chairWell this is the chair you get to live in for a couple of days. As you can see it is not pretty, but it does recline and you can stay in the senior’s room…by their side and be part of their healing team. Even a First lady, does not get anything better than a sleeping chair in most hospitals. But trust me…its a lonely place if you don’t have anything with you.

So, out comes your ER GRAB n GO READY BAG…and you have a few things to make yourself feel comforted and rest as you help your senior do the same.

  1. Comfort and Warmth; I put an old pair of sweats and a warm top in the bag…with cozy warm slipper socks…that way my clothes are presentable to the public…but totally comfortable for me to sit and sleep. I also have a throw…or you could put in a hoodie so at night you can be extra warm…the hospital rooms are always cold to me. They often give you a blanket…but its never enough for me. As you see the chair it does have a lift so your feet will be up and the back will tilt. I have a pillow collar that I can tuck under my head or put on my lower back to ease the comfort level. You can get blow up neck pillows in the travel department. They are honestly the best gift to yourself in this situation. (I would rather use my things instead of hospital things…its a germ thing with me…my things make me feel safe, not worried about catching something)
  2. A small water bottle is in my bag…you can refill it in the hall with the drinking fountains. This is just a must…I don’t want to be buying soda all day…and swell up…the hospital can have dry air…so stay hydrated. I also have a couple of snack bars…to get me through. Usually the emergency is through the night and when I am able to take a few minutes to eat…the cafeteria is not open and you are faced with only snack machines. So, I have my snack bars and I tuck a few dollars in an envelope and keep in my bag. Often times, I am out of cash in my purse so this makes it easy to get anything I want out of the machines…and then I can also go to the cafeteria for a sandwich or soup during the day. I also tuck in a few tea bags and sweeteners…you can always get hot water from the nurse’s station…and it tastes so good to relax and calm yourself with tea. You can also ask them if there is a snack fridge for family….the VA has a nice area for us to go and get hot coffee, yogurt, or pudding etc – any time, when we are with our loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask…it maybe there for you, just steps away from the room.
  3. Keep clean…wash your hands until you drop when you are in the hospital…and I have a small hand cleaner in my bag with Kleenex if I get snuffy. Plus…you will never find me wo/ my Advil. I have a bad back and I tend to get pressure headaches…so my little package of Advil that I got at the Dollar Store is heaven-sent when I’m in need. If I was taking medications…I would have a couple of ziplock baggies with a couple of days of those in my Ready Bag too. Nothing worse than going without your bladder or blood pressure med for a day or two…add in the stress and your body will really complain.
  4. Bored? Remember…people that are unwell…sleep. The hospital will give them drugs to keep them calm…but what about you? I bring a book to read. I use a Kindle but you don’t want to depend on remembering that….as you run out the door. A good old fashion paperback book and a pair of readers can be tucked in and ready for you to dive into and remove your stress in a good story. An older Mp3 player is also a great tuck in…yes, TV’s are in the rooms…but often they are on a channel that you don’t like or you can not hear them…so I make sure I have my own things to keep me calm. If you are a knitter…just tuck in an old project you have never finished…in a zip lock bag and its there for you. Think what it is that you enjoy…and make that happen in your Ready Kit.
  5. Calling the family? You need to have a re-charger in your bag…buy one that will recharge all your devises and if you tuck in your reader or tablet as you run out the door…you will be able to keep them going with your charger. Your mobile phone is your lifeline to the family…but many times the hospitals…block the cell phone signals. What then? You have to walk all the way to the front of the building and make your calls…not an easy thing to do. I had that happen to me and it was exhausting. So, write down a few of the key family phone numbers to keep posted. You can always ask them to send the information out to others. This way you can use the in-room telephone for local calling. I have my number in the front of my spiral notebook and I’m ready to go.
  6. Pets left behind…what about the mail? After a long stay in the ER and then you find out you maybe in the hospital for a day or two longer….have a neighbor or friend that has a key to your home and will take care of your pets. They can also pick up the mail and put it in the kitchen for you and just keep the lights out and everything in order while you are gone. I always put a key ring with my name on it…so the neighbor can keep it and knows who it belongs to — it could be a couple of years before the call could come for them to help….once you have this info in place…you can relax and know that all is well without you leaving your loved one to run home.
  7. A Ziplock baggie with little things that mean something to you…to keep you calm. Maybe you need cough drops…or lip balm. A new toothbrush and small toothpaste. Hand cream and face cream…Glasses and a glass cleaning cloth. Maybe you are a person that needs a few peanuts to keep you going or hand wipes to feel clean. If you are in need…you can tuck in a few Poise/Depend pads. Think comfort. NO the bag does not have to be a huge case…its just a big tote…but keep it full of things that bring you comfort…so when you are stressed and worried…you can keep yourself calm.
  8. If you forget your tote…then you call a friend to retrieve it from your hall closet and everything is in the tote..instead of the friend wandering around your home for a “few things”.

I suppose you read this and think…Oh, I will get on this pretty soon….please do not do that. Go right now and just put a few things in a bag and tuck it in the hall closet. You can make it fancy or expanded later..but get the ER senior’s information kit, in order and a few things in your own Ready Kit–RIGHT NOW. Its like giving yourself a gift…and you will rejoice in it if and when the day comes that an emergency hits your home…and you can just open a door grab your Ready Kit and walk out the door caring for your senior in need.

I always want to thank you for caring for your senior. Would you do me a favor and “sign up” up for the blog. That way it will come to you via the email and you will not miss any of the tips…and if you know someone that is a care giver…please share my blog with them…thank you.

As a spouse of a Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s senior…I find the care giving can be so overwhelming and it represents such love. The gift of care is the dearest thing you can give to a person that has become unwell, unsteady or confused.

My Georgie has been declining a great deal lately. Falls and safety issues are a daily challenge for me to handle now. I am not blogging as much as I would like…but know I’m here for you to send me a message if you have a question or need help.

I am pleased to say I have a dear friend that helps me with my care giving….and I want to thank you for just “being there” for me in this journey I am taking with George….Friends are the best. I hope you feel I am on your friend list and you will feel free to ask questions that you may have at any time….Blessings…francy

Me with my friend Cheryl who is always helping me with George and supporting me as a loving friend...Thank you Cheryl!

Me with my friend Cheryl who is always helping me with George and supporting me as a loving friend…Thank you Chery

The anti-bossy campaign is just the latest example of the Left’s obsession with gender, sex, and sexuality as a way of remaking society

Little-girl-scolding-puppy-225x300 The Razor: In America, it used to be that boys were boys and girls were girls, except for a handful of boys and girls who didn’t conform to the norm.  Boys were at the top of the heap; girls had a carefully carved out, limited sphere of influence and opportunities; and sexually non-conforming people were ignored or abused, depending on both their ability to blend in and their community’s ability to cope with their differences.  Both women and sexually non-conforming people were routinely denied equal treatment under the law.

The women’s lib and gay rights movements were originally sold as a way to ensure that women and gays (and, eventually, the whole LGBTQ spectrum) received equal treatment under the law.  That was originally understood to mean equal access to education, employment opportunities, and house; equal pay for equal work; and freedom from overt, violent discriminatory practices — and that was it.

Since then, equal treatment under the law has become a picayune, limited goal.  Instead, the Left is using gender and sexuality as a way to remake society entirely in opposition to heterosexual males, the ones who created Western society in the first place.

The latest push to remake society is the effort either to ban the word “bossy” or to turn it into an undiluted positive when the word is applied to girls.  This, of course, ignores the reality of bossy little girls.

Girls are bossy, something that comes about because they model themselves on their mothers.  Despite decades of Leftist marriage, gender, and sexuality rejiggering, for most children, Mom is the Big Boss in the house.  (Indeed, considering the soaring number of single moms, she’s the only boss in the house.)  The vast majority of little girls identify with mommy.  That’s a fact that no gender theory will ever change.  So if Mommy is bossy — as she has to be in order to run a household with children — then a little girl’s logical assumption is that, to be a grown woman in training, she too must be bossy.

And what about the claim that we’re all wrong to say it’s obnoxious when girls are bossy?  I couldn’t disagree more.  It’s incredibly obnoxious when girls are bossy.  What’s appropriate coming from a grown woman with responsibilities is profoundly irritating whether a 4-year-old lisps orders to her friends, a 10-year-old hollers imprecations at her brother, her a 15-year-old, in a strident whine, tells her parents what she wants them to do.  It’s obnoxious not because the 4, 10, and 15-year-old are female, but because they haven’t yet earned the right to boss anyone around.  The issue is age, not sex.

Even as the Leftist/Progressive/Democrat establishment seeks to make it so that every girl’s fecal matter is perceived as perfumed, the relentless attacks on boys never end.  Fortunately for me (’cause I’m lazy), I don’t have to go into detail on this topic because Matt Walsh has already done so, saying what I would say, only doing it better.

So let me just skip ahead to a discussion of the Left’s latest attack on America’s last bastion of masculinity:  the military.  The military used to be the place where you sent your boys to become men.  Now?  I don’t know.  The military is still overwhelmingly male, but the Obama administration, even though it cannot change the numbers, is doing its best to change its manly ethos.

Gays can openly serve now, which puts a great deal of pressure on young men.  While the Left will freely acknowledge that women shouldn’t have to shower with men who view them in a sexually predatory fashion, and that women in the military are at risk of becoming victims of violent sexual attacks from predatory men, the Left refuses to acknowledge that gay men can be equally predatory to other men.  (And lesbian women are often predators to other women.)  Under the new paradigm, shying away from showering with an aggressive gay man or lesbian woman isn’t logical self-preservation and respect for ones own sexual integrity; it is, instead, homophobic and the people holding such views must be re-educated and/or destroyed.  It’s an interesting social experiment, but a disastrous burden to place on an institution that has as its primary task combat training and preparation to fight off enemies of unspeakable savagery.

Placing women in combat is also a de-masculinizing effort (yes, it’s a neologism) on the Obama administration’s part.  Training standards will have to be lowered because it’s the extraordinarily rare woman who can compete head-on physically with men.  Men are bigger and stronger.  They have stronger bones and joints.  Their skin is tougher and has fewer nerves, meaning it’s less sensitive to pain.  They get less breathless.  They can pee standing up or into old water bottles, and they don’t have periods or get pregnant.  They are vulnerable to rape (see the above paragraph), but less vulnerable, especially because cultures other than America subscribe to the Red Army’s approach to despoiling conquered women.

The only way women can compete equally with men is to lower the standards for men.  This means that young men will not be challenging themselves as much.  To the extent many join the military because men need challenges, the military becomes less attractive.  Additionally, young men aren’t fools.  They know that women will create physical and emotional drags on a combat unit.  Only in the Ivory Tower, surrounded by theory, would people think that women with their different biology are identical to men for all purposes, including combat.

Having turned the military into a Progressive experiment for gays and women, now what do we do?  We bring transsexuals into the military.  Although the number of transsexuals in the military will of necessity be small (there aren’t that many around), I suspect the transsexual-infused military will be a different animal from what it currently is.  Libby, one of my wonderful commenters, found this interesting tidbit about transsexuals:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention report on suicide attempts among transgender and non-gender conforming adults (Jan.2014)  found that the while rate for suicide attempts in the general US adult population is about 4.6%, in transgender people, the rate is 41% (46% for trans men).

transsexuals are deeply, deeply unhappy people, who wear their own bodies like a painfully ill-fitting outfit.  I feel nothing but compassion for their anguish (an anguish that gender reassignment may do nothing to help).  Having said that, I am appalled that our president somehow thinks that the military will be the group therapy environment these troubled souls need.  He is using America’s front line defense against a dangerous world to normalize that which, statistically and biologically speaking, isn’t normal.*

There is nothing closer to who and what we are than are gender and sexual orientation.  A wise friend of mine thinks that Islam’s entire beef with the Western world is the fact that, as Westernism creeps into Muslim communities, women fight to leave the harem, the burqa, and the hijab.  All other insults to the religion are tolerable, except for the one that shakes up the relative values between men and women under Islam.

The Left understands this, but it heads in an opposite direction from Islam.  Rather than attacking women and gays to gain control over culture, it attacks heterosexual males.  This is why, beginning when they’re just little children, America’s males are systematically demeaned and insulted.  They are also deprived of opportunities to express their masculinity in positive ways and, instead, are reduced to expressing it through computer games, random violence, and perpetual dorm-style sloth and slobbery.  If you want to see the end of a sustained Leftist attack on men, you need only look to the American black community, where men have been rendered useless.  The government fulfills all the functions women need (shelter, food, health care, and child care), leaving the men responsible only for spread sperm.  No wonder, then, that black men have developed a culture focused on the size of their weapons (both of which, ironically, are tucked in the pants):  guns and penises.


*No, I’m not saying people on the LGBTQ spectrum are “perverts” or “sickos,” or that they should be ridiculed, humiliated, discriminated against, hanged, beaten, imprisoned, or anything else.  I don’t believe that.

What I do believe is that love and physical desire are a combination of mind, biology, and culture, and that, when it comes to consensual adult relationships, it’s my business to stay out of it.  When I look at people, I judge them on values other than their sex partners, values such as individual freedom versus government control, stable relationships versus promiscuity, hard work versus parasitism, kindness versus cruelty, etc..  I do, however, reserve the right to look down upon people if their choice of sex partner is their only value.

So, rather than sit in judgment on LGBTQs, what I’m trying to say is that non-heterosexual orientations are statistical anomalies and that it is impossible to build a culture around a biological statistical anomaly.  It won’t stick.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Wife's Last Days -- And the Coming ObamaCare Death Panel

By Stuart Schwartz – American Thinker: We have been so absorbed by the cavalcade of government incompetence and individual hurt produced by the rollout of ObamaCare that it is easy to forget the tragedy-in-waiting should this federal healthcare takeover stay in place: the death panel, also known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). This is the group of political appointees designed to allow the federal government to use a combination of medical and social criteria to determine the healthcare an individual receives.

Or, to put it as bluntly as Sarah Palin did, to determine who lives and who dies. Why am I thinking about that now? Because my wife and soul-mate of 33 years, Sharon Harrah Schwartz, died at the age of 62 in January. Her passing put an end to a slow-motion death from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She would have occupied the bottom portion of an IPAB treatment list.

Her suffering and passing was and remains wrenching for her family and friends. It was especially difficult over the last year as her illness accelerated, destroying her muscles and, consequently, her ability to speak, to eat, and ultimately to breathe. A variety of drugs and equipment kept her reasonably comfortable, while medical technology helped clear the fluids collecting in her lungs. She enjoyed, as much as possible, the last months with her family. An advanced directive, worked out in concert with ALS healthcare professionals, proscribed the treatment limits. For almost two years, her healthcare relied on a myriad of individual decisions based on relationships with both the ones she loved and with healthcare providers. The most significant one: she and I -- lovers and best friends for more than three decades -- had decided together that, barring a miracle and/or last-minute medical research breakthrough, we would allow the disease to take its course, keep her as comfortable as possible, and let God do the rest.

This illustrates something that President Obama and his party, in its zeal to use healthcare as a driving force in transforming American society, accrue power, and expand centralized government, have ignored: that the foundation of what has become the uniquely American and consequently world-class healthcare system is individual decision-making and values, resting upon a multitude of relationships that work best when left to those with a stake in it -- healthcare professionals, patients and their families. The government has a role, yes; but its role should be limited, allowing the marketplace of providers and patients to work.

At its most basic level, healthcare is individual and personal, depending upon relationships and particular values. Our faith, our love for each other and belief in the sacred responsibility of marriage underlaysleepless nights, caring for her when she could no longer care for herself, servicing the machines that alleviated some of the symptoms, the decisions that allowed just a few more months to live and love with her family and friends.

Her… our struggles with this terminal disease -- she referred to it as the “beast” in her body -- illustrate the government-sponsored agony awaiting so many families just over the horizon. Love informed our decisions in consultation with those providing treatment. I valued her life as sacred and God-given, acknowledging the debt I owed to someone who had joyfully served as wife, mother, and friend.

But looming on the horizon is a whole other set of criteria. ObamaCare has established an agenda-driven political board that will shift the loci of healthcare decisions from individual and relationship to the application of social justice concepts. Even a cursory reading (something that few, if any, of the Democrats foisting this law upon us took the time to do) of the pages and footnotes of this intrusion and the writings of its designers -- many so-called medical policy experts from academia -- makes it clear that progressive social engineering by government-appointed experts will largely determine medical treatment.

Peruse the publications and reports of the thinking of the architects of ObamaCare. Their various scoring systems, their social priorities would have put my wife at the bottom of the list for treatment. Obamacare architects perceive healthcare, as they do income, as a zero-sum game -- every dollar spent on her treatment is a dollar taken away from someone else. Never mind that this notion, like so much of ObamaCare, is a deliberate lie with no foundation in fact; healthcare, like wealth, in the United States has expanded  as new medical technologies, techniques and research have brought ever more accessible and better care.

But centralized control needs to declare medical resources finite, which in turn demands rationing, and rationing needs, of course, a government board to decide who gets treatment and when, who gets to live… and die. My wife, under a fully implemented ObamaCare, would have been among the last in line for treatment. She was a retiree (too old!) with a terminal disease (too expensive with a limited future!), a woman who had chosen to spend most of her adult life raising children (that’s not really societally valued employment, the architects might sniff) and who lived simply and lovingly, taking pride in her family and her role as a homemaker (what --no greater ambitions?)

Sharon was loved by her family, her friends and, above all, by God. We devoted a considerable portion of our energy and resources to making sure she felt loved during her last year. We could do no less, as love is a basic tenet of our faith, a Christianity that says her worth depends solely on her standing as a creation of God -- not a federal bureaucracy.  Such was the sanctity of Sharon’s life, a human life. That is the opposite of Obamacare which, if fully implemented, would likely have robbed us of much of her past year. To a centralized and progressive federal bureaucracy, Sharon’s worth was the totality of the probabilities of her contribution to the good of a theoretical community, as defined by Washington politicians and technocrats.

But for us, it was much simpler: She was God’s gift, to whom we owed our love and resources and energy until she passed from life in this world.

It is time to repeal Obamacare.

Dr. Stuart Schwartz is on the faculty of Liberty University and has been a frequent contributor to American Thinker. His wife, Sharon, passed away on January 7 at their residence in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Republicans to Officially Present Alternative to Obamacare

Changing Winds?

By Katie Pavlich – TownHall:  Republicans have voted more than 50 times to repeal or alter Obamacare as the popularity of the legislation continues to be nearly non-existent. In the process, Republicans have been criticized for failing to present an alternative piece of legislation to replace Obamacare. More than a dozen alternative plans have been crafted on the Hill, but Republicans haven't been able to rally around a single plan. Now, that's changing as Republican prepare to present Americans with an official alternative to the Affordable Care Act:

The plan includes an expansion of high-risk insurance pools, promotion of health savings accounts and inducements for small businesses to purchase coverage together. The tenets of the plan — which could expand to include the ability to buy insurance across state lines, guaranteed renewability of policies and changes to medical-malpractice regulations — are ideas that various conservatives have for a long time backed as part of broader bills.

But this is the first time this year that House leaders will put their full force behind a single set of principles from those bills and present it as their vision. This month, House leaders will begin to share a memo with lawmakers outlining the plan, called “A Stronger Health Care System: The GOP Plan for Freedom, Flexibility, & Peace of Mind,” with suggestions on how Republicans should talk about it to their constituents.

The timing for this legislation is great for Republicans who just came off of a special election win in Florida where Democrat Alex Sink lost by running on a fix, don't repeal platform. Not only can Republicans running for election in the fall run against Obamacare, a law that will only continue to make the lives of Americans worse and more expensive, they can run on a new alternative.

Tzedakah or Tikkun Olam, How About Just Being Kind to Families with Special Needs

By Elise Ronan – The Times of Israel: One of the most important aspects of Judaism is our belief in charity, tzedakah. No I am not going to say “Tikkun Olam,” simply because there has been a controversy of late as to what those words actually mean. Growing up I was taught that tikkun olam refers to making the world a better place with acts of random and general kindness. Meanwhile some Torah scholars have written that it actually has more to do with following G-d’s commandments and mitzvote than the modern universalized ideal of “repairing the world.”

So for arguments sake, and this column, I am simply going to address the basic reality that at some time in our lives we all need that helping hand of human kindness. I am also not going to discuss whether Torah, Talmud or any Jewish book of laws prescribes when is it appropriate to be kind or giving, how that act is to be accomplished and whether we give anonymously or not. I am simply going to explain to you how you could support a family when they are dealing with a person with a special need. How families with fragile members experience the world under certain circumstances and how individuals can help.

The first thing society needs to understand is how these families feel. In my own experience, I would say that the overwhelming experience is one of isolation and separation. You end up being separated from the world at large, mostly because you end up at times not being able to go out into the world at large. Whether you are dealing with a physically ill child with a life threatening illness or a child with a physical disability or a child with a developmental disability, society is not always an accepting place for those that are different. Oh society today makes “accommodations” for those with physical needs, but it’s the human attitude found in society that needs more work.

When I began my journey over twenty years ago, there was no place to go if you had a child that could not handle the sensory overload of society. There were no accommodating movie theaters, play places or playgrounds. There were no real support groups. There was no Internet. You need to understand that when you were alone with a child with special needs, you were truly, utterly and absolutely all alone.

Isolation from the rest of the world is perhaps the worst of all the realities that families have to contend with. The loss of human contact and friendships completes the picture that you really live on the fringes of society. This aloneness only creates an added stress to that stress that families are already dealing with on a daily basis. No, it is not everyone’s responsibility to help out every family dealing with special needs issues. But if you know such a family would it really interfere with your world if you lived your life with a little compassion once in awhile?

In today’s world if you are looking to do something good and profound for a family that you know is dealing with the issues surrounding special needs here are some things you could do to help:

1. Smile when you see that family coming your way. Don’t turn away. Don’t walk in the other direction (people used to cross the street when they saw my family coming down the block). Spend a few minutes on the sidewalk and say hello. We don’t always only want to talk about special needs issues. We really do like to talk about everything that everyone else likes to talk about too: politics, sports, fashion, novels, and movies, etc.

2. If you see a mother struggling with a child that is melting down don’t just assume that that child is being “bratty.” The child could be having a sensory overload. Offer to help without being condescending. One day when my children were 6 and 3 they were having a hard time in the post office. Instead of offering to help the elderly people in line started verbally abusing my children. Well, yes I did stand up to them, and no I didn’t tell them that the boys were autistic. I had told strangers in public at different times, but instead of an apology for their actions all I got was a lecture about how I shouldn’t be bringing such children out into society if they can’t act properly. I learned those who would attack you in public have no care to apologize; they only want to shame you. In truth, jumping to conclusions about why a child is being inappropriate is not the way to neither handle nor help the situation. Being maligned in public, with the know-it-all attitude abuse, the unmitigated cruelty, by those who are ignorant, is also one of the main reasons families with children with special needs do not go out into public. Also if you don’t want to help then don’t stare, don’t whisper behind the parent’s back and don’t point. It’s all rude. In fact, ruder than an out of control child in public could ever be.

3. Because a child has special needs doesn’t mean it’s the end of your friendship. Offer to come over and spend time with your friend even if you have to stay at their home because she can’t afford a sitter. It is not easy to find childcare for those with special needs and if you do, it can be budget busting. The cost of taking care of a child with special needs can break the bank. You do not use your fungible money for frivolous things like your own need to go out with a friend when your child needs therapies, new technologies, medicines and/or a special diet. Come over and sit with your friend, bring a bottle of wine if you like, or just bring a fancy type of tea. Honestly just bring you. Let them know you are still there for them and are still their friend even though life has a way of changing your relationship.

4. Bring over dinner for the family once in awhile. Between, the requirements of childcare, housekeeping and cooking it can be very stressful for primary care givers of children with special needs. A little helping hand would be appreciated. Simply because a disability is invisible doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a huge toll on the family. Alleviating one stressful aspect of one day could go along way in giving the primary care giver a little bit of respite.

5. If you make a birthday party for all the children in the class invite the child with special needs. It’s OK to ask if there are any special requirements and tell the parent that it would be fine if they stayed just in case they are needed. (Most parents of children with special needs understand that other children’s birthday parties are not a freebie time for them and that they are needed in these situations to help out.) Do you have any idea what its like when everyone gets invited to every party but your child? Children with special needs do know what is happening in the world around them and if you don’t think alienating them is akin to bullying then you are wrong. You might only be thinking of your child and not wanting to have problems at their party (which is fair), but you are also teaching them to not care about those that are different and to be selfish and self-centered.

6. Teach your children to respect and accept people that are different. You can talk a good game all you want, but it’s your actions that make the most impact. If you tell your child to be nice to the “special child,” but don’t let them into your child’s life your offspring will pick up on that. They will know that the different child is fair game and they don’t have to be nice or respectful to the child with any kind of special need. You are teaching your child that a child with a special need, one who usually has no friends to stand up for them, is a bully-ready-target. And that there will be no repercussions.

Anyway these are just some ideas I have come up with letting families of children with special needs know that they are not pariahs and are welcome into the family of nations. Heck it’s a nice way of letting them know you don’t resent them living in your neighborhood, going to your school, or house of worship, too.

Kindness, teaching it to your child, is an important aspect of developing into a whole human being. It is easy to care in the abstract about people. However, its what you do face-to-face, on a daily basis, when confronted with those in need that really counts.

So what do you think? Is it tzedakah or tikkun olam or both or neither? In truth the family with special needs don’t really care which word you use. What they care about is kindness, being accepted and not feeling so very much alone.

K is for Kindness

Social Justice, Humanity and Autism

Society and Acceptance, But Your Child is More than Autism

Taking Care of Yourself