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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

SUNDAY and MONDAY, August 30 and 31, 2009

As I was saying...and in no particular order...
GS


SATURDAY, August 29, 2009

AND NOW, ANOTHER EPISODE OF AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 OPINIONS.
Have we reached 80 yet?  If not, you can be sure that this count will continue.  

GS


WEDNESDAY through FRIDAY, August 26 through 28, 2009

GOOD FOR YOU, SENATOR ENZI.  YOU GOT THE MESSAGE.  THIS BILL IS A DISASTER THAT WILL GREATLY INCREASE COSTS - AND AMERICA'S MASSIVE BUDGET DEFICIT -WHILE DECREASING ACCESS AND REDUCING QUALITY.  ONLY IN WASHINGTON, D.C. CAN THIS BE CLAIMED TO BE A BENEFIT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.  GS

Chances of health compromise take another blow

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writer Sat Aug 29, 7:50 pm ET

WASHINGTON – A leading GOP negotiator on health care struck a further blow to fading chances of a bipartisan compromise by saying Democratic proposals would restrict medical choices and make the country's "finances sicker without saving you money."

The criticism from Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., echoed that of many opponents of the Democratic plans under consideration in Congress. But Enzi's judgment was especially noteworthy because he is one of only three Republicans who have been willing to consider a bipartisan bill in the Senate.

In the Republicans' weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, Enzi said any health care legislation must lower medical costs for Americans without increasing deficits and the national debt.

"The bills introduced by congressional Democrats fail to meet these standards," he said.

Enzi, together with Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Olympia Snowe of Maine, has held talks with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. But the chance of a bipartisan breakthrough has diminished in the face of an effective public mobilization by opponents of Democratic proposals.

"I heard a lot of frustration and anger as I traveled across my home state this last few weeks," said Enzi, who has been targeted by critics for seeking to negotiate on legislation. "People in Wyoming and across the country are anxious about what Washington has in mind. This is big. This is personal. This is one of the most important debates of our lifetime."

Hours after the address aired, about 1,000 people rallied in New York City in support of an overhaul. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., told the crowd near Times Square about legislation that she said would lower costs for almost everyone.

Earlier, Enzi called for more competition among health insurers, for the ability of small businesses to band together across state lines to negotiate for lower-cost insurance plans, for tax breaks to help people buy insurance and for reducing malpractice lawsuits.

The debate over health care will resume in Washington after Labor Day, just two weeks after White House budget officials projected that deficits would total a staggering $9 trillion over the next 10 years. Though President Barack Obama has said he wants the total health care bill paid for without adding to the deficit, congressional budget officials have estimated that House health care proposals would cost the government more.

"The Democrats are trying to rush a bill through the process that will actually make our nation's finances sicker without saving you money," Enzi said.

Democrats also are calling for cuts in Medicare spending, using some of the savings to help uninsured workers. A House bill would result in a net reduction in Medicare of about $200 billion, though Obama has insisted the reductions would not cut benefits in the health program for the elderly.

But Enzi said: "This will result in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the elderly to create new government programs."

He repeated Republican accusations that the Democrats' plans would result in less access to certain medical treatments, citing a proposed government board that would research the most effective medical practices.

"We're a nation of people who want the ability to choose what will best fit our families' needs and it should be that way with health care, too," Enzi said.


MONDAY and TUESDAY, August 24 and 25, 2009

LETTER TO A FRIEND RE “HEALTH CARE AS A “PUBLIC GOOD”, A “RIGHT”, Aug 09

Dear Friend,

You are right to pose the basic question: “Is health care a private good or a public good?”  I might re-phrase the question using the term “public utility”. 

In contrast to police protection (where we are generally not allowed to protect ourselves) and fire protection (where our bad luck can easily become our neighbors’ bad luck) and community acquired illness / disease, and energy (where we cannot fend for ourselves)…and particularly where 50% of all health care costs are directly life-style related and certainly under our individual control…Health Care is and should be a Private Good subject to private / personal responsibility leavened with societal milk of human kindness. 

But if you want to make Health Care a Public Good, are you prepared to make health care personnel Federal employees with all the rights and benefits (including the right to collective bargaining) in keeping with that new status?  Or are you thinking more along the lines of indentured servitude?

GS


SATURDAY and SUNDAY, August 22 and 23, 2009

Subject: Whole Foods CEO responds to Obamacare
"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people's money."
—Margaret Thatcher
 
With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.
 
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:
Chad Crowe
• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees' Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.
Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
 
• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
 
• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
 
• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
 
• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
 
• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
 
• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
 
• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?
 
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America
 
Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
 
Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor's Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.
 
At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.
 
Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.
 
Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.
 
Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.
 
Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.
Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.


SATURDAY, August 21, 2009

NEWS FLASH, from Charles Babington, Associated Press, 8/20/09.
 
"Washington - President Barack Obama guaranteed Thursday that his health care overhaul will win approval and said any bill he signs will have to reduce rapidly rising costs, protect consumers from insurance abuses and provide affordable choices to the uninsured - while not adding to the federal deficit.  Obama listed those four 'bullet points' as his basic requirements in response to a question from a caller to a Philadelphia-based talk radio show." 
 
Unless the President is smoking something other than his cigarettes, in order to achieve the above he will have to scrap the current Democratic legislative proposals and finally address the real Health Care reform needs of this country...issues well reviewed in many Rapid Response and Managed Care offerings on this web site during the last 30 years.  Some of the most recent are dated July 31, July 4 and June 6...2009.  Will he ever realize that neither his country's nor his personal interests will ever be well served by the strident and wrong-headed demands of the radical liberal Left?

GS


FRIDAY through THURSDAY, August 14 through 20, 2009

AND THE DRUM BEATS ON...  GS

Mike, although this report describes laudable goals, it misses several points of substance in addition to using faulted strategy / tactics.  On substance, please see my Rapid Response offerings on my web site (www.asthma-drsprecace.com) for the dates July 31, July 4 and especially June 6.  Also see my commentary article for The Day that was published in 1978. (in the Managed Care category, I think).   I could re-publish this today with very little "up-dating".
On strategy / tactics, the AMA could have been part of the discussions without allowing itself to be categorized as "endorsing" the effort before seeing the final product...unless that endorsement was the price for being allowed "at the table" - too high a price.  The real table is the table of public opinion, since only our patients have clout.  We physicians, whether organized or dis-organized, certainly do n ot have clout.  The AMA should be exerting its efforts toward the continuing education of our patients and the general public instead of trying to curry favor with the legislators...a fool's errand, I believe.  George


George:
 
Here is the latest on what and why the AMA is doing what it is doing re healthcare reform.
 
Thoughts?
 
Mike


Subject: Health System Reform Message from AMA President J James Rohack
To: Delegates and Alternate Delegates

From: Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, Speaker, and Andrew W. Gurman, MD, Vice Speaker

The following message is being sent to members of the HOD on behalf of AMA
President J. James Rohack, MD.
- - -

We knew the battle for health system reform was going to be tough; but who could
have predicted we’d be dealing with allegations of euthanasia and death panels?

No question that all of us in physician associations have been hearing lots of
feedback, not only from our members, but from myriad others who have an interest
in the outcome of health system reform. The volume has been ratcheted up
considerably during the August congressional recess. With 24/7 cable and
internet blogs going full steam, how does anyone know what to believe?

To help physicia
ns better understand what is going on with the legislative
process, the AMA is reaching out to its members and members of supporting
organizations with facts and resource materials about health system reform,
which you can see on our website, www.ama-assn.org/go/reform.

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that legislation in the
House of Representatives (HR 3200) is very much a work in progress. The bill, as
introduced, promised to achieve many of our collective high-priority goals:

- Extending coverage to the
uninsured
- Making investments in the physician workforce
- Providing long-term relief from Medicare's flawed physician payment formula
- Increasing the nation's focus on preventive care and wellness initiatives
- Simplifying administrative burdens for patients and physicians

Three committees in the House have already adopted amendments and more will come
before the bill is considered on the floor. Meanwhile, two committees in the
Senate are still engaged in their own drafting process.

As the legislative process continues, there will be ample opportunity to work
with legislators on refinements to the bill. In fact, improvements were already
made during the House committee amendment process, particularly with respect to
the proposal for a public health insurance plan. It is also important to note
that among the House committee amendments was an AMA-backed program to test

alternative medical liability reforms.

Some physicians have asked why the AMA supported the House legislation so early
in the process. There were several sensible reasons for this strategy:

- The original bill contained a core set of high-priority provisions that our
organization has long supported;
- Bill sponsors were not likely to maintain the $230+ billion investment in
Medicare physician spending if we did not register support for the bill
(hospitals, the home health sector, Medicare Advantage plans and pharmaceutical
companies are all facing cuts in the tens and20hundreds of billions of dollars);
and
- As early supporters, we are well positioned to help shape revisions to this
bill, as well as the final legislation that will ultimately be presented to the
President.

Not only will the AMA and other physician organizations continue to work
collaboratively with legislators of both political parties, we will also share
our views with the White House…and have done so already. For instance, the AMA
and other physician groups have registered strong concerns with the White House
regarding recent comments made by President Obama regarding tonsillectomies and
amputations for diabetics. In no uncertain terms we have told White House staff
that the examples cited by the President were misleading. Further we have urged
that the President publicly recognize that physicians take an oath and live by a
code of ethics that commits
the medical profession to put patients’ interest
before economics or self-interest.

While some of the information physicians have received reflects legitimate
differences of opinion, other hyperbole reflects narrow political agendas and is
purposefully misleading.

The AMA has also developed a dedicated health system reform web page on which we
are continually posting important facts, breaking news and web links, so that
physicians have access to the best, most up-to-date information about reform.

Visit
www.ama-assn.org/go/reform
now to sign up for e-updates, get the latest
news, download patient information and take action.

We also urge you to read the Frequently Asked Questions document developed by
the AMA (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/399/hsr-hr3200-faqs.pdf). We
hope this information will be helpful to you.

Physicians are working hard to make sure that health system reform meets the
needs of patients and the physicians who care for them.

Sincerely,
J. James Rohack, MD, AMA President

SUNDAY through THURSDAY, August 9 through 13, 2009

President Obama is running a tone-deaf health-care campaign.
By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ

It didn't take chaotic town-hall meetings, raging demonstrators and consequent brooding in various sectors of the media to bring home the truth that the campaign for a health-care bill is, to put it mildly, not going awfully well. It's not hard now to envision the state of this crusade with just a month or two more of diligent management by the Obama team—think train wreck. It may one day be otherwise in the more perfect world of universal coverage, but for now disabilities like the tone deafness that afflicts this administration from the top down are uninsurable.
Consider former ABC reporter Linda Douglass—now the president's communications director for health reform—who set about unmasking all the forces out there "always trying to scare people when you try to bring them health insurance reform." People, she charged, are taking sentences out of context and otherwise working to present a misleading picture of the president's proposals. One of her key solutions to this problem—her justly famed message encouraging citizens to contact the office at flag@whitehouse.gov if they got an email or other information about health reform "that seems fishy"—set off a riotous flow of online responses. (The word "fishy," with its police detective tone, would have done the trick all by itself.)
These commentaries, packed with allusions to the secret police, the East German Stasi and Orwell, were mostly furious. Others quite simply hilarious. Ms. Douglass, who now has, in her public appearances, the air of a person consigned to service in a holy order, was not amused.
Neither has she seemed to entertain any second thoughts about the tenor of a message enlisting the public in a program reeking of a White House effort to set Americans against one another—the good Americans protecting the president's health-care program from the bad Americans fighting it and undermining truth and goodness.
She intended no such outcome, doubtless. That this former journalist, now a communications director, failed to notice anything amiss in the details of that communiqué is a bit odd but not altogether surprising.
Crusades are busy endeavors, the enlistees in this one, like those in every undertaking of this White House, concerned with just one message. Which is that the Obama administration is in possession of vital answers to ills and inequities that have long afflicted American society (whether Americans know it or not), and that those opposed to those answers and that vision are cynics, or operatives of the powerful vested interests responsible for the plight Americans find themselves in (whether they know it or not), or political enemies bent on destroying the Obama administration.
It shouldn't have been surprising, either, that the tone of much of the commentary on the town-hall protests was what it was. There was Mark Halperin for one, senior political editor for Time, bouncing off his chair, Sunday, in agitation over all the media coverage of this rowdiness—"a horrible breakdown of our political culture, our media culture" and so "bad for America," as he told CNN's Howard Kurtz. "I'm embarrassed about what's going on, as an American." The disruptions and coverage thereof distorted serious discussion, he explained. Mark Shields said much the same on Friday's PBS NewsHour, if with less excitation, pointing out that these events were "not good for the democratic process," and were a breakdown of civil debate.
There was no such hand-wringing over the decline of civil debate, during, say, election 2004, when cadres of organized demonstrators carrying swastika-adorned pictures of George W. Bush routinely swarmed about, and packed rallies. There was also that other “breakdown of our media culture,” that will dwarf all else as a cause for embarrassment, the town-hall coverage included, for the foreseeable future. That would be, of course, the undisguised worshipful reporting of the candidacy of Barack Obama.
That treatment, or rather its memory—like the adulation of his great mass of voters—has had its effect on this president, and not all to the good. The election over, the warming glow of those armies of supporters gone, his capacity to tolerate criticism and dissent from his policies grows thinner apace. His lectures, explaining his health-care proposals, and why they'll be good for everybody, are clearly not going down well with his national audience.
This would have to do with the fact that the real Barack Obama—product of the academic left, social reformer with a program, is now before that audience, and what they hear in this lecture about one of the central concerns in their lives—his message freighted with generalities—they are not prepared to buy. They are not prepared to believe that our first most important concern now is health-care reform or all will go under.
The president has a problem. For, despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country's heart and character.
He seems unable to grasp what runs counter to its nature. That Americans don't take well, for instance, to bullying, especially of the moralizing kind, implicit in those speeches on health care for everybody. Neither do they wish to be taken where they don't know they want to go and being told it's good for them.
Who would have believed that this politician celebrated, above all, for his eloquence and capacity to connect with voters would end up as president proving so profoundly tone deaf? A great many people is the answer—the same who listened to those speeches of his during the campaign, searching for their meaning.
It took this battle over health care to reveal the bloom coming off this rose, but that was coming. It began with the spectacle of the president, impelled to go abroad to apologize for his nation—repeatedly. It is not, in the end, the demonstrators in those town-hall meetings or the agitations of his political enemies that Mr. Obama should fear. It is the judgment of those Americans who have been sitting quietly in their homes, listening to him.
Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, August 7 and 8, 2009

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #10

One would never guess, from the abundant and turgid prose reported regularly on "Zenit...The World Seen From Rome" (see link) and from the occasional Papal Encyclical (including the most recent one), that the Catholic Curch regularly engages in a conspiracy of silence.  As the man said in the movie: "What we have here is a failure to communicate".  I have previously made this point in earlier offerings under this continuing series (see "Catholic Church", under "Abortion, Morality and Ethics" on this web site. 
But the opportunities for reinforcement unfortunately never end.
This Catholic Hierarchy evidently thinks it is suppressing controversy and enhancing its own authority through these methods.  It is doing the opposite.

GS

THURSDAY, August 6, 2009

FYI, an important scientific report.  GS

Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer Wed Aug 5, 7:41 pm ET

NEW YORK – The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.

Instead, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients whose sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.

In a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA's governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called "reparative therapy" which seeks to change sexual orientation.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

The APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its comprehensive report was endorsed by the APA's governing council in Toronto, where the association's annual meeting is being held this weekend.

The report breaks new ground in its detailed and nuanced assessment of how therapists should deal with gay clients struggling to remain loyal to a religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.

Judith Glassgold, a Highland Park, N.J., psychologist who chaired the task force, said she hoped the document could help calm the polarized debate between religious conservatives who believe in the possibility of changing sexual orientation and the many mental health professionals who reject that option.

"Both sides have to educate themselves better," Glassgold said in an interview. "The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality."

In dealing with gay clients from conservative faiths, says the report, therapists should be "very cautious" about suggesting treatments aimed at altering their same-sex attractions.

"Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome," the report says.

"We have to challenge people to be creative," said Glassgold.

She suggested that devout clients could focus on overarching aspects of religion such as hope and forgiveness in order to transcend negative beliefs about homosexuality, and either remain part of their original faith within its limits — for example, by embracing celibacy — or find a faith that welcomes gays.

"There's no evidence to say that change therapies work, but these vulnerable people are tempted to try them, and when they don't work, they feel doubly terrified," Glassgold said. "You should be honest with people and say, 'This is not likely to change your sexual orientation, but we can help explore what options you have.'"

One of the largest organizations promoting the possibility of changing sexual orientation is Exodus International, a network of ministries whose core message is "Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."

Its president, Alan Chambers, describes himself as someone who "overcame unwanted same-sex attraction." He and other evangelicals met with APA representatives after the task force formed in 2007, and he expressed satisfaction with parts of the report that emerged.

"It's a positive step — simply respecting someone's faith is a huge leap in the right direction," Chambers said. "But I'd go further. Don't deny the possibility that someone's feelings might change."

An evangelical psychologist, Mark Yarhouse of Regent University, praised the APA report for urging a creative approach to gay clients' religious beliefs but — like Chambers — disagreed with its skepticism about changing sexual orientation.

Yarhouse and a colleague, Professor Stanton Jones of Wheaton College, will be releasing findings at the APA meeting Friday from their six-year study of people who went through Exodus programs. More than half of 61 subjects either converted to heterosexuality or "disidentified" with homosexuality while embracing chastity, their study said.

To Jones and Yarhouse, their findings prove change is possible for some people, and on average the attempt to change will not be harmful.

The APA task force took as a starting point the belief that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality, not a disorder, and that it nonetheless remains stigmatized in ways that can have negative consequences.

The report said the subgroup of gays interested in changing their sexual orientation has evolved over the decades and now is comprised mostly of well-educated white men whose religion is an important part of their lives and who participate in conservative faiths that frown on homosexuality.

"Religious faith and psychology do not have to be seen as being opposed to each other," the report says, endorsing approaches "that integrate concepts from the psychology of religion and the modern psychology of sexual orientation."

Perry Halkitis, a New York University psychologist who chairs the APA committee dealing with gay and lesbian issues, praised the report for its balance.

"Anyone who makes decisions based on good science will be satisfied," he said. "As a clinician, you have to deal with the whole person, and for some people, faith is a very important aspect of who they are."

The report also addressed the issue of whether adolescents should be subjected to therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation. Any such approach should "maximize self-determination" and be undertaken only with the youth's consent, the report said.

Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist who has sought to discredit the so-called "ex-gay" movement, welcomed the APA findings.

"Ex-gay therapy is a profound travesty that has led to pointless tragedies, and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this psychological scourge," Besen said.


SATURDAY
through WEDNESDAY, August 1 through 5, 2009

545 vs 300,000,000 

EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS JOURNALIST HAS  SCRIPTED IN THIS MESSAGE.  READ IT  AND THEN REALLY THINK ABOUT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL DEBACLE.


545  PEOPLE
By Charlie Reese (Charley  Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.)

Politicians are the only people in the world  who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever  wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if  all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have  inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget.  The president does.

You and I don't have the  Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of  Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress  does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You  and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve  Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one  president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human  beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally,  and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague  this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve  Board because that problem was created by the  Congress.  In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty  to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central  bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a  sound reason.. They have no legal authority.  They have no  ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one  cotton-picking thing.  I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.  The  politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what  the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility  to determine  how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy  convincing you that what they did is not their fault.   They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What  separates a politician from a normal human being is an  excessive amount of gall.  No normal  human being would have the gall of a  Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating  deficits..  The president can only propose a budget.   He cannot force the Congress to accept  it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the  land, gives sole responsibility to the House of  Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.  Who is the speaker of the House?   Nancy Pelosi.  She is  the leader of the majority party.  She and  fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.  If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if  they agree  to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can  not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of  incompetence and irresponsibility.  I can't think of a  single domestic problem  that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.  When you fully  grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal  government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to  exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it  unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in  the red ..

If the Army &Marines are in  IRAQ ,  it's because they want them in IRAQ  

If they do not  receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available  to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no  insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift  the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can  abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to  regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can  take this power.  Above all, do not let them con you into  the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the  economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing  what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they  alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the  power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the  people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the  gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of  them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel  Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have  read it........... Is up to you. 


This might be funny if it weren't so darned true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:
  
      Tax his land,
      Tax his bed,
      Tax the table
      At which he's fed.
  
      Tax his tractor,
      Tax his mule,
      Teach him taxes
      Are the rule.
  
      Tax his work,
      Tax his pay,
      He works for peanuts
      Anyway!
      Tax his cow,
      Tax his goat,
      Tax his pants,
      Tax his coat.
      Tax his ties,
      Tax his shirt,
      Tax his work,
      Tax his dirt.
  
      Tax his tobacco,
      Tax his drink,
      Tax him if he
      Tries to think.
  
      Tax his cigars,
      Tax his beers,
      If he cries
      Tax his tears.
  
      Tax his car,
      Tax his gas,
      Find other ways
      To tax his ass.
  
      Tax all he has
      Then let him know
      That you won't be done
      Till he has no dough.
  
      When he screams and hollers;
      Then tax him some more,
      Tax him till
      He's good and sore.
      Then tax his coffin,
      Tax his grave,
      Tax the sod in
      Which he's laid.
  
      Put these words
      Upon his tomb,
      Taxes drove me
      to my doom...'
  
      When he's gone,
      Do not relax,
      Its time to apply
      The inheritance tax.   
      Accounts Receivable Tax
      Building Permit Tax
      CDL license Tax
      Cigarette Tax
      Corporate Income Tax
      Dog License Tax
      Excise Taxes
      Federal Income Tax
      Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
      Fishing License Tax
      Food License Tax
      Fuel Permit Tax
      Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
      Gross Receipts Tax
      Hunting License Tax
      Inheritance Tax
      Inventory Tax
      IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
      Liquor Tax
      Luxury Taxes
      Marriage License Tax
      Medicare Tax
      Personal Property Tax
      Property Tax
      Real Estate Tax
      Service Charge T ax
      Social Security Tax
      Road Usage Tax
      Sales Tax
      Recreational Vehicle Tax
      School Tax
      State Income Tax
      State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
      Telephone Federal Excise Tax
      Telephone Federal Universal Ser vice FeeTax
      Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
      Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge=2 0Tax
      Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
      Telephone State and Local Tax
      Telephone Usage Charge Tax
      Utility Taxes
      Vehicle License Registration Tax
      Vehicle Sales Tax
      Watercraft Registration Tax
      Well Permit Tax
      Workers Compensation Tax
  
      STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.  We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. 
What in the hell happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'
And I still have to 'press 1' for English!?


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