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Posts Tagged ‘president’

Our Thanksgiving dinner spread the length of a couple of tables near a stand of moss covered oaks and cypress. The thought of not sitting at a table with china and silverware at first seemed odd, but then I thought back to the first Thanksgiving. Our setting was much more in tune with the Pilgrims and Indians. This arrangement had an unexpected bonus, too, the chance to meet new people.

The camper in the next site saw the bald eagle as I was moving closer to get a photo. When it flew back into the trees he thought he saw where it landed, so we moved farther into the grove as he told me he had never seen a bald eagle in Florida. He was in his thirties, olive skinned, and his dark eyes lit up at such a sighting. Unfortunately we didn’t see the eagle again. The only birds above us were a flock of buzzards. They didn’t mind having their picture taken.

Do you have any idea how much you can learn about a person in a few minutes while you walk back to camp?

“See that small tent?” he said, pointing to a dark green, small pup tent by the larger one. I’m working on a design for a bear proof tent. That one is much stronger than our large, commercial one, but not strong enough.

“My next one will be made from high tensile strength airplane cloth.” This is where he got really excited. “With that cloth you can make a hole only if you really hammer something into it, and then to rip it takes 600 pounds of tensile strength.”

I took it word for it that that was really strong.

I asked what he did when not designing bear-proof tents. He had been a pilot for a cargo company before the economy went down. Now he buys and sells cars. That led to a discussion of the economy and presidents’ effect on it. We were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but discussed the influence of Obama, the Bushes, Clinton and Reagan, agreeing on some points while remaining a chasm apart on others.

As we neared our camps I wondered about his wife, still sitting in her camp chair. Did she have these conversations with him—or with strange men she wandered into the woods with? And was she hot sitting there wrapped from head to foot in a long garment with a scarf around her head? So yes, you can learn a lot in a short walk in a campground, but you can also end up with a lot more questions than answers.

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I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. No one tells me what to do, not even myself. I kinda figured a lot of you feel that way, too, so here is my out-of-the-blue resolution: No more politics on this blog. If I have thoughts that won’t be held in, I’ll create a separate blog. This country is more divided on political matters than I’ve ever seen it, but so many of us are in sync in more ways than we aren’t. That’s what is blog has always been about, with a few diversions on the soap box. The soap box is going.

What brought this about? An unnamed best selling author invited me to be a friend on Facebook (soft promotion they all do). I have not read any of her books, but she is considered a Southern writer, and I do gravitate to Southern writers, so assumed I would enjoy her “friendly banter,” and maybe pick up a few writing tips. Lately though, her page has become a litany of political videos and rantings (with a chorus of admirers offering amens). What this writer showed me is that politics is a poor PR business model, and so is throwing your web friends under the bus for their views by implication. I promise to try hard to not do that. Let’s see if I can. YOU are worth it.

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Our senior year 1955 Byron Bradfute and his long time neighbor sat in the locker room before first football practice. The coach had a special talk for the team that year. Beeville, Texas had closed black Lott Canada H.S. and folded the students into A.C. Jones H.S. The guys all listened and probably heard the waa waa waa of Charlie Brown’s teacher until Coach said players were to make the new classmates feel welcome and that there was to be no fighting. Byron looked at his black childhood friend and said, “Coach, we’ve been fighting all our lives. You mean we can’t fight anymore?”  For the racially deaf among you; it was playful fighting.

I can’t help but think of this story when I look around and see what is happening to race relations since Obama was elected. I don’t vote Democrat, so he wasn’t my choice, but I was soothed by the thought that race relations would get even better, that we had crossed the bar. How very, very naive I was. Only eight months have passed since inauguration, and I cannot remember this much acrimony in a long time.

Our family is at a place where dear friends are black or bi-racial, we have nieces who are bi-racial, my son finally found a church he feels at home in, and it is an African American church. We saw him baptized there last year and can see how the pastors and congregation have embraced him. When my husband passed and there was a delay in the memorial, it was my son’s deacons who piled out of a van and conducted a small prayer service for us one evening in our living room when we needed it most, complete with jubilee music.

Was this all for nothing? There seem to be factions, both black and white, which would tear apart all that has begun to be repaired – and I don’t like it. Not one bit. I pray cooler heads will prevail.

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Suddenly Senior (http://www.suddenlysenior.com) e-mailed an article by Tom Braun, RPh. Titled Health Care Ping Pong. He subtitles it Who is in Charge of My Health? Profiteers, God, or Me? May I suggest for most of Americans it isn’t “Me,” and therein lies the problem. Braun says:

“—little is done to provide health education and foster healthy (sic) eating habits for the American consumer via the educational system—“

Really? I haven’t been in school in a long time, but we had health classes back then which were reinforced by healthful meals in the cafeteria. There was no catering to a “children’s McMenu” of chicken fingers, French fries, hamburgers and pizza. You ate what was served or went hungry. Kinda the way I served meals when my children were growing up and my parents before me. And if perchance you missed the memo on proper food for health, open any magazine or newspaper or view a newscast. There is no lack of information. I can’t swing a cat without hitting something on the subject of proper eating. So who is dropping the ball? I vote “parents.” Things changed around the dinner table for a lot of reasons, like two working parents and a culture that caters more to kids than the one a generation or so ago. So yeah, education is key, but let’s start it at home, reinforce it in schools. Then we’ll see a healthier community down the road.

Braun goes on to say:

“Recently in Chicago, it was announced that two daughters of an elderly mother who did not want hospitalization were found guilty of neglect in the care of the mother. This could have been avoided if they were aware of Hospice which fitted their mother’s wishes.”

He points out that Hospice is less costly to Medicare than hospitalization. “So what’s the problem?” he asks.

The problem is an electorate so uneducated as to not have heard of Hospice, for God’s sake! What is AARP, Suddenly Senior, senior centers and even churches everywhere doing to educate elders on this issue? I’ll bet the majority of them could be snared and receive good advice about Hospice if all of those made an effort.

Braun says “Every senior should have a living will that expresses his or her view on how he or she wants to exit life. That’s why they are modestly suggesting a discussion between doctor and patient which Medicare would pay for every five years.”

Good idea. So is a durable power of attorney. In fact I refuse to die without either. My husband had these in place when he died and I am updating mine at this time. How did I manage to do such a thing without my doctor’s input? I picked up a durable power of attorney form at an office supply store years ago (today I download from the web). For the living will, we used one of the many copies slid in front of our face by a nurse on a visit to the hospital. (It’s the law in Florida at least that the hospital must offer the form to you.) So where did the doctor come in? No where. A little self education is all it took and that doesn’t require a PhD. A high school education and reading comprehension will suffice. It does require being able to admit you are going to die.

He ends with the question, “Does medical science have the right to play God?”

Only if you are so accustomed to handing your decisions over to someone else throughout your life it never occurs to you to make them for yourself in advance, or appoint someone you trust to do so in concert with medical information received on the spot as you enter an end of life scenario.

I think we should not forget the circumstances where neither patient, family. nor doctor is certain this time the patient will not survive. That’s a big if that can only be planned for with a durable power of attorney.

Braun went on to discuss profiteering in the form of lobbyists. That requires another fix and groups like Publix Citizen have been pressing for election reform for a long time.

So the solutions to disparate issues within healthcare crisis are best solved in targeted ways. Of course, these are only the few issues Dr. Braun discussed. A huge advantage to the insureds would be to uncouple health insurance and employment. There are ways to do that short of government going into universal healthcare.

There are a lot of shortcomings with health insurance in America and we should be addressing those. Despite the way it has been presented, healthcare is not one single issue. Let’s address each separately, but simultaneously. I suggest we put one solution in front of all the others: cleaning up fraud and waste in Medicare. President Obama says we will save billions doing this, enough to pay for much of a universal plan. I would challenge him to start there. We can do that today, right now with full approval of the American people. And when those billions in savings are in the bank, I’ll bet all sides would be willing to work out the rest. Everyday we don’t start, more money is down a rat hole. What is the hold up? Show us the money.

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I sent the following comment online to White House this morning.

Let me propose a simple solution that may take more time, but *can* hold out the possibility of getting many naysayers (including me) on board. I quote a myth and myth buster from Mr. Axlerod’s email today:

“We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis. “

DO THIS FIRST. Forget everything else until sufficient time has elapsed to prove whether this projection itself is a myth or not. I can’t believe that showing a huge savings after implementing your plans would not bring the majority on board. America is sick of RUSH RUSH RUSH, slick talking salesmen, and that includes you. It is demeaning. Show us the money or saving of it in this case. Then we’ll sit down and talk. After all, just choosing a proper dog for your children took months. Please give healthcare the same consideration.

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I quote Linda Douglas, communications director for the White House Health Reform Office at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

I don’t think I can add anything to that. Re-read what I put in bold. Now re-read 1984 by George Orwell.

Now I must worry if this blog will end up at the Whitehouse. Think about that.

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I tried, I really, really did, but can’t resist a comment on Obama gaffs last night. (Isn’t that his VP’s domain anyway?) Just allow me this after eight years of hearing similar remarks about Bush (not my Bush, but Bush). I’ll be kind.

I’m trying to understand how Obama could have upset two huge segments of the population in one press conference. The first, of course, were the nation’s police, because they all consider themselves brothers. He should have stopped with I’m not aware of all the facts and come to a screeching halt when he felt the word “stupidly” boiling out to describe police action about which he had no first hand knowledge.

Then there was the point when Obama insinuated that he considered all surgeons dishonest enough to take a child’s tonsils out because the fee chart showed higher payment than other treatments. The fact that the diagnosis of a sore throat is usually by a family doctor who would not be doing surgery was lost in the rambling thought.

You can’t say he isn’t thoughtful when he talks. My mother used to say of a man who spoke with Obama’s glacial speed, “I just want to finish the sentence for him.” Mother, you would have done a much better job last night –for sure.

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