George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
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
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
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
YOU ALL A
HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR, something only you can work
However, here's a little help.
In the practice of Medicine, the most important element is the
What follows are two diagnoses, one for the individual and one for the
of which we are a part.
A recent series of articles in The
Lancet, the product of a massive amount of research from 50 countries,
supports the finding that we are living longer - and
sicker - with more pain and chronic illness. The "golden
years" have turned out to be fools' gold, the direct result of
our profligate life-style as related to what we eat, drink, smoke and
expose ourselves to over decades. The treatment is inherent in
that finding, although the effects of life-style modification will be
less effective in those already over 70 years of age. But for
those who are younger, indeed from childhood, the stakes are
hugh. These many chronic illnesses can be mitigated and even
avoided by a clear course correction in our lives, the elements of
which have been well-established over decades...and which have been
largely ignored. "CAVEAT EMPTOR". We in the Health Care
Profession have become very adept at keeping you alive, however
miserable you may be. it's your choice.
As for Society, a cancer in our
midst is the dissolution of Marriage as the foundation stone for that
Society. Today, more than half of births among women
under age 30
occur outside of marriage. And an estimated 60% of
children are raised in single parent households. As noted in a
recent report: "This decline of Marriage in Middle America imperils
the middle class and fosters a society of winners and losers". And
cohabltation is no effective alternative. such arrangements are twice
as likely to break up before their child is 12. Once, again, it's your
choice. And choices have consequences, for the individual and for
A GREAT DAY.
GS SUNDAY, December 30, 2012 MORE
DISCUSSION REGARDING OUR VIOLENT SOCIETY,,,BUT NOT YET FROM OUR
published Dec 30, 2012 in The Day Gun debate
pretext to ignore real issues
By Chris Powell, Journal Inquirer Blame the National
Rifle Association if you want, as many politicians do, for the wide
distribution of guns in the United States. At least blaming the NRA is
safer politically than blaming the tens of millions of Americans who
own guns legally and responsibly. Leading
Connecticut politicians, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal and
Sen.-elect Chris Murphy, raced to denounce NRA Executive Vice President
Wayne LaPierre for arguing the other day that the best response to the
elementary school massacre in Newtown would be to put armed guards in
all schools. Yet
the first response of government itself throughout the country was to
increase police presence at schools, and of course about a third of all
schools, mostly high schools, already had a permanent police presence -
not to protect students against rampaging outsiders like the one who
attacked the school in Newtown but to protect students and teachers
against other students. Even
before the NRA agitated the country with its proposal, a few political
leaders already had been denounced as too bloody-minded for wishing
aloud that an armed guard or teacher had greeted the gunman at the
school in Newtown. But then who wouldn't wish that the whole 101st
Airborne had been waiting for him? Simplistic
as the NRA's proposal was, at least it had strong relevance to what
happened in Newtown. Some pending gun-control proposals have only
modest relevance, like outlawing high-capacity ammunition clips. Other
proposals have no relevance to Newtown at all but long have been
compelling, like requiring background checks, waiting periods, and
registration for all gun sales, not just those by gun dealers but
private sales as well. But
relevance to Newtown particularly or to crime generally is not the
objective of other political responses, like the proposal of two
Connecticut state legislators, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, and Rep.
Robert Godfrey, D-Danbury, to impose a 50 percent sales tax on
ammunition, as if such a tax somehow would deter people bent on robbery
or murder. The objective of such proposals is simply to disarm the
country, especially the law-abiding. Newtown is being used as a pretext
for that ideology. Proposals
like the ammunition tax distract from other weaknesses in arguments for
more gun control. First
is the failure of gun-control laws like those establishing "gun-free"
zones around schools, which are no more effective than "drug-free"
zones, and laws forbidding ownership of guns by felons. Such laws don't
deter; mostly they just enable police and prosecutors to pile up lesser
charges. The psychotic who this week shot four firefighters in Webster,
N.Y., killing two, possessed an arsenal even though as a felon he was
prohibited from owning weapons. Second
is the connection between gun crime and drug prohibition, where the
cure is far worse than the disease. If the drug problem was
decriminalized and medicalized, most gun crime would end. Third is
social disintegration generally, the raising of nearly half the
country's children in households without fathers, a catastrophe heavily
correlated with physical and mental illness, ignorance, poverty,
demoralization, and crime. Social disintegration cripples all cities in
Connecticut; New Haven had three shooting incidents last Sunday alone.
But Connecticut has no effective policy response. And
fourth is leniency in sentencing for violent and chronic criminals. The
psychotic in Webster had served only 17 years in prison for what the
state considered mere manslaughter - beating his grandmother to death
with a hammer. In Connecticut most murderers amass extensive criminal
records but get long sentences only after killing someone, as if no one
could have seen it coming. Discussing
these issues would impugn not just many gun-control proposals but also
the very construct of modern government and the muddle-headed
liberalism that animates it. So the political power structure is glad
to blame guns instead.
COMMENTARY, PUBLISHED IN THE WSJ SATURDAY-SUNDAY, DEC. 29-30, OPINION
"A Reluctant Vote In Favor Of Armed School Guards", by Robert
Bernat, M.D., J.D.
SATURDAY, December 29, 2012 MORE
REASON, AND PLAIN TALK, ON THE SCHOOL
published Dec 28, 2012 in The Day Safety of the
kids comes first, before everything Mike DiMauro
For 10 years P.F. (pre-fatherhood), I was in first grade. Every
Friday. That's when yours truly, my wife Karin and Day sports pal
Vickie Fulkerson embarked on the ever-noble endeavor of helping
first-graders with their reading and writing at the Lillie B. Haynes
Elementary School in Niantic.
We volunteered for our first-grade teacher, Mrs. Currier. She is now
the retired Dede Currier, a friend for life. We listened to the kids,
encouraged them, teased them, paid attention to them, helped where we
could, refereed on occasion and loved their company.
They made us want to be first-graders again.
They are in middle school, high school and college now, no longer
little first-graders. But that's how I will remember them. Always. They
will always be my little kids.
Matt Binaco attends college at Virginia Commonwealth. Jane Bartlett
is the goalie for the girls' lacrosse team at East Lyme High. Nick
Geary plays football and basketball there. They'll always be
first-graders to me. So will Emma and Aayma, Tyler and Gino, Isabella
and Truely, Adrianna and Puja.
And it is through the prism of their faces, their voices and their
innocence that I saw the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.
For two weeks, I've been preoccupied by their faces. Their memories.
The morbid thoughts of "what if?" I'd been in 10 years' worth of first
grades. What if it had been our class? How do you cope?
The same kids who died two weeks ago have the same thoughts,
demeanors, personalities and dreams as the kids who chanted "no cuts,
no buts, no coconuts" at me for 10 years.
I am haunted by it all.
And it has triggered some thoughts as we try to move forward. It's
been hard to move forward, admittedly, amid the cacophony of soapbox
sermonizers spewing their views on guns with the urgency of Paul Revere.
Let's begin there.
Message to the gun-toting, arm-the-teachers, arm-the-world crowd who
can't merely quote the Second Amendment verbatim, but is only too happy
to accept its most literal interpretation: I am tired of you. So is the
rest of the world. You scare us.
Message to the anti-gun cluster, the zealots on the other side, who
won't acknowledge even a recreational capacity - hunting, target
shooting - for guns: I am tired of you. So is the rest of the world.
You annoy us.
This message is aimed at the thinking members of society, we who can
find our way to the town green and talk to each other, rather than
What befell Sandy Hook Elementary was the confluence of a disordered
mind with bad intentions and a culture that cultivates too much
violence and too many guns. No one thing can fight that.
But schools need School Resource Officers, school-based law
enforcement officers. Surely, they'd provide a better sense of
security, illustrating that good guys carry guns, too. But there's a
deeper significance. School Resource Officers build relationships with
children they perceive as at-risk. They won't reach every child. But
they can reach at least some of them. That's a start.
And before you lapse into some idealistic drivel suggesting it's the
job of the parents, not the School Resource Officer, come back from
Utopia. Ask yourself: How are parents are doing so far?
The question becomes funding. How do we pay for resource officers?
Because as sure as we've heard from wingnuts on either side of gun
issues, we'll hear from the next most irritating segment of our
society: the aggrieved, overburdened taxpayers. They're the townsfolk
who thought it was just swell when schools were funded properly while
their kids were in school, but now find it a bigger affront to society
Find me one Board of Education with some guts that will, during the
next budget cycle, earmark all money that would have gone to
extracurriculars (sports, music, etc.) and instead use it to defray the
cost of system-wide School Resource Officers. All schools and school
systems need them. Don't you dare think that because you live in
suburbia your school is immune. Sandy Hook and Columbine provide pretty
And what becomes of extracurriculars? They all become
pay-to-participate. I know. I've railed against pay-to-participate
since right about the time the American League went to the designated
hitter. I'm a sports guy.
But circumstances change. Specials, quite clearly, are part of the
educational process. But there is no educational process without a
baseline of security in our schools with law enforcement officers who
are also trained to identify and help problem children.
I'm not suggesting School Resource Officers solve everything. But
they contribute to safer environments. That's priority one. They're
kids. They need protection.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.
FRIDAY, December 27 and 28, 2012 THE
MORE INSIGHT REGARDING THE ISSUE OF SCHOOL SAFETY. THE MESSAGE
BE: "ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL".
Trained police needed for school security By
By LARRY MARGASAK | Associated Press – Fri, Dec 28, 2012.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The student's attack began with a shotgun blast
through the windows of a California high school. Rich Agundez, the El
Cajon policeman assigned to the school, felt his mind shift into
People yelled at him amid the chaos but he didn't hear. He experienced
"a tunnel vision of concentration."
While two teachers and three students were injured when the glass
shattered in the 2001 attack on Granite Hills High School, Agundez
confronted the assailant and wounded him before he could get inside the
school and use his second weapon, a handgun.
The National Rifle Association's response to a Connecticut school
massacre envisions, in part, having trained, armed volunteers in every
school in America. But Agundez, school safety experts and school board
members say there's a huge difference between a trained law enforcement
officer who becomes part of the school family — and a guard with a gun.
The NRA's proposal has sparked a debate across the country as gun
control rises once again as a national issue. President Barack Obama
promised to present a plan in January to confront gun violence in the
aftermath of the killing of 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School students
and six teachers in Newtown, Conn.
Agundez said what happened before the shooting in the San Diego County
school should frame the debate over the NRA's proposal.
With a shooting at another county school just weeks before, Agundez had
trained the staff in how to lock down the school, assigned evacuation
points, instructed teachers to lock doors, close curtains and turn off
the lights. He even told them computers should be used where possible
to communicate, to lessen the chaos.
And his training? A former SWAT team member, Agundez' preparation
placed him in simulated stressful situations and taught him to evade a
shooter's bullets. And the kids in the school knew to follow his advice
because they knew him. He spoke in their classrooms and counseled them
when they came to him with problems.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, school boards, administrators,
teachers and parents are reviewing their security measures.
School security officers can range from the best-trained police
officers to unarmed private guards. Some big-city districts with gang
problems and crime formed their own police agencies years ago. Others,
after the murder of 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999, started
joint agreements with local police departments to have officers
assigned to schools — even though that was no guarantee of preventing
violence. A trained police officer at Columbine confronted one of two
shooters but couldn't prevent the death of 13 people.
"Our association would be uncomfortable with volunteers," said Mo
Canady, executive director of the National Association of School
Resource Officers — whose members are mostly trained law enforcement
officers who "become part of the school family.'"
Canady questioned how police officers responding to reports of a
shooter would know whether the person with a gun is a volunteer or the
Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who also was a top Homeland Security
official and will head the NRA effort, said the program will have two
One is a model security plan "based on the latest, most up-to-date
technical information from the foremost experts in their fields." Each
school could tweak the plan to its own circumstances, and "armed,
trained, qualified school security personnel will be but one element."
The second element may prove the more controversial because, to avoid
massive funding for local authorities, it would use volunteers.
Hutchinson said in his home state of Arkansas, his son was a volunteer
with a local group "Watchdog Dads," who volunteered at schools to
patrol playgrounds and provide added security.
He said retired police officers, former members of the military or
rescue personnel would be among those likely to volunteer.
There's even debate over whether anyone should have a gun in a school,
even a trained law enforcement officer.
"In general teachers don't want guns in schools period," said Dennis
Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, one of the
two large unions representing teachers. He added that one size does not
fit all districts and said the union has supported schools that wanted
a trained officer. Most teachers, he said, do not want to be armed
"It's a school. It's not a place where guns should be," he commented.
The security situation around the country is mixed.
—Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he has the authority
to mobilize private citizens to fight crime and plans to post armed
private posse members around the perimeter of schools. He said he
hasn't spoken to specific school districts and doesn't plan to have the
citizen posse members inside the buildings.
—The Snohomish School District north of Seattle got rid of its school
officers because of the expense.
—The Las Vegas-based Clark County School District has its own police
department and places armed officers in and around its 49 high school
campuses. Officers patrol outside elementary and middle schools. The
Washoe County School District in Nevada also has a police force, but it
was only about a decade ago that the officers were authorized to carry
guns on campus.
—In Milwaukee, a dozen city police officers cover the school district
but spend most of their time in seven of the 25 high schools. In
Madison, Wis., an armed police officer has worked in each of the
district's four high schools since the mid-1990s.
—For the last five years, an armed police officer has worked in each of
the two high schools and three middle schools in Champaign, Ill. Board
of Education member Kristine Chalifoux said there are no plans to
increase security, adding, "I don't want our country to become an armed
—A Utah group is offering free concealed-weapons permit training for
teachers as a result of the Connecticut shootings. Arizona Attorney
General Tom Horne proposed a plan to allow one educator in each school
to carry a gun.
Ed Massey, vice chairman of the Boone County, Ky., school board and
president of the National School Boards Association, said his district
has nine trained law enforcement officers for 23 schools and "would
love to have one in every school."
"They bring a sense of security and have done tremendous work in
deterring problems in school," he said. "The number of expulsions have
dramatically decreased. We used to have 15 or 20 a year. Now we have
one or two in the last three years."
An officer, he said, "is not just a hired gun. They have an office in
the school. They are trained in crisis management, handling mass
casualties and medical emergencies."
He said a poster given out by the local sheriff's department shows one
of the officers and talks about literacy and reading.
Kenneth Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security
Services consulting firm, said having trained officers in schools is
"more of a prevention program than a reactive program if you have the
right officers who want to work with kids."
But he also criticized a drop in funding for school security, saying,
"Congress and the last two administrations have chipped away to the
point of elimination of every program for school security and emergency
Dr. Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety
Center that provides training to schools, said the NRA's suggestion of
using volunteers "is a whole new concept of school safety." He
questioned whether the NRA wants to bring the best sharpshooters on
"How is that going to create a positive atmosphere for young people?"
he asked. "How does that work on the prevention side?"
Agundez, 52, who retired as a policeman in 2010, learned shortly before
his retirement just how much his trained reaction to a shooter affected
students at Granite Hills High.
He was writing a traffic ticket and the driver's whole body started
shaking. He had been a student that day nine years earlier.
"He gave me a hug," Agundez recalled. "He said 'I always wanted to
thank you.' You saved our lives."
Associated Press writers Todd Richmond, Michael Tarm, Greg Moore, Ken
Ritter, Sandra Chereb and Donna Blankinship contributed to this report.
See " Two Cautionary Tales of Gun Control", by Joyce
Lee Malcolm, WSJ Thursday Dec. 27, Opinion, pA13.
#3) The State of Connecticut has one of the most stringent set of gun
laws: a ban on assault weapons; a waiting period for rifle purchases;
background checks and permits to carry hand guns; prohibitions
felons, those with restraining orders against them, and those
committed to mental health institutions. A bill to limit the
of ammunition failed.
Truth be told, there are several specific elements to this problem that
be addressed simultaneously. I have addressed those in an earlier
in this section.
WEDNESDAY, December 26, 2012 NOW,
MIGHT THAT BE?
You Live In A Country Run By Idiots?
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... You
can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being
in the country illegally.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Your
government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of
dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... A
seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for calling his
teacher "cute" but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity
class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... The
Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower
courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom,
while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Children
are forcibly removed from parents who appropriately discipline
them while children of "underprivileged" drug addicts are left to
rot in filth infested cesspools of a “home”.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Hard
work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government
intrusion, while slothful, lazy behavior is rewarded with EBT
cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... The
government's plan for getting people back to work is to provide
99 weeks of unemployment checks (to not work).
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Being
self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Politicians
think that stripping away the amendments to the constitution is
really protecting the rights of the people.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... The
rights of the Government come before the rights of the
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... You
pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big
screen TV while your neighbor defaults on his mortgage (while
buying iPhones, TV's and new cars) and the government forgives
his debt and reduces his mortgage (with your tax dollars).
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Being
stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you "safe".
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... You
have to have your parents signature to go on a school field trip but
not to get an abortion.
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... An
80 year old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a
Muslim woman in a burka is only subject to having her neck and
know you live in a Country run by idiots if... Using
the "N" word is considered "hate speech" but writing and singing
songs about raping women and killing cops is considered "art".
TUESDAY, December 25, 2012
BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS
sincere wish. But
wishing won't make it so. We have to work at creating and keeping
life and society we want for ourselves and for our families.
That takes, above all, critical thinking...not the wishful
prevalent today. Three examples will suffice.
The deluded perception that there is
no God...and that, if there is a God, He doesn't care about us and our
embrace of the Seven Deadly Sins. The only thing that will save
atheists is that they are CERTIFIABLE...and crazy people don't go to
delusion that this world can be just one happy family. The best
medicine for this illness is the article that appeared in the WSJ.
Monday, Dec, 24, entitled: "The Return of Toxic Nationalism", by
Robert D. Kaplan (Opinion, pA13).
delusion that, in the "gun
culture" that permeates this nation, we can protect ourselves by means
that do not include guns. Indeed, one of the reasons that Thomas
had for supporting the Second Amendment was that citizens might need
protect themselves from their government. Now, that does not
that we all should be allowed to have assault rifles, machine guns,
capacity magazines, etc. If we want those weapons, we should be
to have to enter into "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to
security of a free State...." Meanwhile, for our personal
- and especially for the safety of our children in their schools - we
authorize and train individuals in potentially targeted locations to
weapons, and to shoot to kill when attacked. Any approach short
GS - - - - - - - - - -
OBAMACARE. Another shoe falls.
Health care tax hikes for 2013 may be just a start
By By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
| Associated Press – Tue, Dec 25, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — New taxes are coming Jan. 1 to help
Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Most
people may not notice. But they will pay attention if Congress
decides to start taxing employer-sponsored health insurance, one option in
play if lawmakers can ever agree on a budget deal to reduce federal
tax hikes already on the books, taking effect in 2013, fall mainly on
people who make lots of money and on the health care industry. But about
half of Americans benefit from the tax-free status of employer health
insurance. Workers pay no income or payroll taxes on what their
employer contributes for health insurance, and in most cases on their
own share of premiums as well.
the single biggest tax break the government allows, outstripping the mortgage interest
deduction, the deduction for charitable giving and other
better-known benefits. If the value of job-based health insurance were
taxed like regular income, it would raise nearly $150 billion in 2013,
according to congressional estimates. By comparison, wiping away the
mortgage interest deduction would bring in only about $90 billion.
"If you are looking to raise revenue to
pay for tax reform, that is the biggest pot of money of all," said
Martin Sullivan, chief economist with Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan
publisher of tax information.
It's hard to see how lawmakers can avoid
touching health insurance if they want to eliminate loopholes and
curtail deductions so as to raise revenue and lower tax rates. Congress
probably wouldn't do away with the health care tax break, but limit it
in some form. Such limits could be keyed to the cost of a particular
health insurance plan, the income level of taxpayers or a combination.
Many economists think some kind of limit
would be a good thing because it would force consumers to watch costs,
and that could help keep health care spending in check. Obama's health
law took a tentative step toward limits by imposing a tax on high-value
health insurance plans. But that doesn't start until 2018.
spring will be three years since Congress passed the health care
overhaul but, because of a long phase-in, many of the taxes to finance
the plan are only now coming into effect. Medicare spending cuts that help
pay for covering the uninsured have started to take effect, but they
also are staggered. The law's main benefit, coverage for 30 million
uninsured people, will take a little longer. It doesn't start until
Jan. 1, 2014.
biggest tax hike from the health care law has a bit of
mystery to it. The legislation calls it a "Medicare contribution," but
none of the revenue will go to the Medicare trust fund. Instead, it's
funneled into the government's general fund, which does pay the lion's
share of Medicare outpatient and prescription costs, but also covers
most other things the government does.
The new tax is a 3.8 percent levy on
investment income that applies to individuals making more than $200,000
or married couples above $250,000. Projected to raise $123 billion from
2013-2019, it comes on top of other taxes on investment income. While
it does apply to profits from home sales, the vast majority of sellers
will not have to worry since another law allows individuals to shield
up to $250,000 in gains on their home from taxation. (Married couples
can exclude up to $500,000 in home sale gains.)
Investors have already been taking steps
to avoid the tax, selling assets this year before it takes effect. The
impact of the investment tax will be compounded if Obama and
Republicans can't stave off the automatic tax increases coming next
year if there's no budget agreement.
High earners will face another new tax
under the health care law Jan. 1. It's an additional Medicare payroll
tax of 0.9 percent on wage income above $200,000 for an individual or
$250,000 for couples. This one does go to the Medicare trust fund.
Marron, director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, says the health
care law's tax
increases are medium-sized by historical standards. The center,
a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute,
provides in-depth analyses on tax issues.
They also foreshadow the current debate
about raising taxes on people with high incomes. "These were an example
of the president winning, and raising taxes on upper-income people,"
said Marron. "They are going to happen."
Other health care law tax increases
taking effect Jan. 1:
— A 2.3 percent sales tax on medical
devices used by hospitals and doctors. Industry is trying to delay or
repeal the tax, saying it will lead to a loss of jobs. Several
economists say manufacturers should be able to pass on most of the cost.
limit on the amount employees can contribute to tax-free flexible
spending accounts for medical expenses. It's set at $2,500 for 2013,
and indexed thereafter for inflation.
MONDAY, December 24, 2012 Sounds
about right to
1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University
of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian
Republic some 2,000 years prior: "A democracy is always temporary
in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form
of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the
time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts
from the public treasury. >From that moment on, the majority always
votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the
public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."
average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning
of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years,
these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
bondage to spiritual faith; >From
spiritual faith to great courage; >From
courage to liberty; >From
liberty to abundance; >From
abundance to complacency; >From
complacency to apathy; >From
apathy to dependence; >From
dependence back into bond age." The
1776, Died 2012 It
doesn't hurt to read this several times. Professor
Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St.
Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the
last Presidential election:
of States won
McCain: 29 Square
miles of land won by: Obama:
580,000 McCain: 2,427,000 Population
of counties won by: Obama: 127 million McCain:
143 million Murder
rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Obama: 13.2 McCain: 2.1
Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain
won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of
territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income
tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."
believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency
and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy,
with some forty percent of the nation's population already
having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal
invaders called illegal's - and they vote - then we can say goodbye
to the USA in fewer than five years.
SUNDAY, December 23, 2012
OLD GUYS DANCING
James Cagney and Bob Hope
at a Friar 's Club Meeting back when actors were real performers. Bob
Hope was 52 and James Cagney was 56.
looks like it’s from a movie, not a routine from a Friar 's Club
meeting. Doesn't take away from it though!
the young folks, here is something you probably have never seen before
and, unfortunately, you may never see again.
us older folks, this is the best of the best, and we had it for many
years! This is a side of these two entertainers you hardly
ever saw, but it shows you their enormous talent. Bob Hope,
the best of the comedians, and Jimmy Cagney...mostly cast as the bad
guy, gangster in the movies.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, December 21 and 22, 2012
TUESDAY through THURSDAY, December 18 through 20, 2012
the upcoming Christmas season, this is what one
man and his crew did to help make some others relax and have some
enjoyment for a short spell.
SUNDAY and MONDAY, December 16 and 17, 2012
THIS IS THOUGHT PROVOKING.
There was a chemistry professor in a large
college that had
some exchange students in the class.
One day while the class was in the lab,the
noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept
rubbing his back and stretching as if his back
The professor asked the young man what was the
The student told him he had a bullet
lodged in his back. He had been shot while
communists in his
native country who were trying to overthrow his
install a new communist regime.
In the midst of his story, he looked at the
asked a strange question. He asked: "Do you know how to catch wild
The professor thought it was a joke and asked
for the punch
The young man said that it was no joke. "You
wild pigs by finding
a suitable place in the woods and putting corn
ground. The pigs
find it and begin to come every day to eat the
"When they are used to coming every day, you put
fence down one side
of the place where they are used to coming. When
used to the
fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you
another side of
"They get used to that and start to eat again.
continue until you
have all four sides of the fence up with a gate
in the last
"The pigs, which are used to the free corn,
come through the
gate to eat that free corn again.
You then slam the gate on them and
catch the whole herd.
Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom.
They run around and around inside the fence, but
Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They
are so used
to it that they
have forgotten how to forage in the woods for
so they accept
The young man then told the professor that is
happening in America.
The government keeps pushing us toward
and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as
supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income,tax exemptions,
subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare,
medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms, just a
One should always remember two truths:
“There is no such thing as a free
lunch, and you can never hire someone to provide
cheaper than you can do it yourself.”
If you see that all of this wonderful government
"help" is a problem
confronting the future of democracy in America,
want to send this on to your friends.
If you think the free ride is essential to your
life, then you will probably delete this email.
But, God help us all
when the gate slams shut!
Quote for today:
"The problems we face
today are there because the people who work for a living are now
those who vote for a living."
SATURDAY, December 14 and 15, 2012
Maybe I shouldn't be doing this, given the
reaction this story has had on me - including predictably another bout
But I can't NOT do it. My whole life has revolved around
solving problems. That's how I cope with stressors. It
After the revelation of new information regarding the shooter and his
must give up the original rage I felt. Evidently, he was not a
an inherently evil person. His parents were evidently not
inept as parents. He was evidently not a casualty of a
health system that has given up on personal interaction ("talk
therapy") in favor of prescribing more and more varied drugs that - if
taken at all - can be either ineffective or can produce serious side
effects. There is so far no mention of his having used illicit
So, we must undertake a much broader analysis of the societal
surrounded him and that could produce this result...and similar
nation-wide. Herewith follows an initial stab at such an
A loss of belief in God and in the
inherent goodness of Man. Into that vacuum enters Evil, promoted
by the more base instincts of human nature that a too rapidly evolving
Homo Sapiens failed to sublimate. Organized Religion is neither a
necessary or a sufficient counterweight to that, but it surely helps.
A society and personal mind-set that
'other", selfish over self-less.
A progressive dehumanization effected
from early childhood by immersion in media violence, sadism and a
studied elimination of any external value system. This is also a
result of the disintegration of the Family and the understandable
inability of schools to act "in loco parentis".
A demand for more and more "freedoms"
without the countervailing responsibility required as a cost of
membership in a Society.
A "gun culture" that goes far beyond
the guarantees of the Second Amendment and that gets its greatest
support from business interests - making a buck.
An excessive demand for privacy
regarding psychiatric disorders, even where third parties may
reasonably be in danger. Just as any attorney is also a
Commissioner of Superior Court with attendant duties, any physician or
licensed health care worker should be recognized as being a
representative of the larger society when safety is involved, apart
from duties of confidentiality.
An apparent unwillingness on the part
of leaders to take reasonable precautions for the safety of those under
their responsibility. Again, that may impinge on "freedom"...but
only to the extent that the requirements of a civil and safe society
Implementation of appropriate changes required to address the above
will require LEADERSHIP. What a concept. But I will
offer such leadership with specific proposals in future offerings in
now I do fell better: engaged rather than
adrift; empowered rather than impotent; pro-active rather than
PLEASE JOIN ME IN THIS EFFORT TO MAKE SOME SENSE OUT OF THE SENSE-LESS.
WHAT? Good news for a change?!
The world seen from Rome News
Dolan Gives Update on Religious Freedom Battle Welcomes
Judge's Decision in Favor of Archdiocese
YORK, DEC. 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of New York welcomed a
victory in the legal battle to overturn the government mandate forcing
institutions to pay for sterilization and abortion-causing drugs.
Timothy Dolan blogged Wednesday about last week's decision in favor of
the Archdiocese of New York in its suit against the Health and Human
cardinal noted media silence on the victory, contrasted with a New York
Times article from October, when a judge in Missouri found for the
administration and dismissed a similar case brought by a private,
mining company, a decision that has since been temporarily blocked.
[Brian] Cogan’s decision last week turned back a motion by the
administration to have our lawsuit dismissed, Cardinal Dolan wrote.
remember, perhaps, that back in May, the Archdiocese of New York,
Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre,
Catholic Health Systems of Long Island filed a lawsuit in federal court
Brooklyn, one of more than two dozen similar lawsuits filed around the
that day. These lawsuits argue that the mandate from Health and Human
would unconstitutionally presume to define the nature of the Church's
and force religious employers to violate their conscience or face
for not providing services in our health insurance that are contrary to
consciences and faith.
judge's decision allows the case to proceed so that it might be heard
court, though two co-plaintiffs, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and
Charities of Rockville Centre, have been dismissed from the suit, as
found that their insurance plans would not presently be affected by the
Dolan said the decision is significant and noted the judge's finding
that there was very real possibility that we plaintiffs would 'face
injuries stemming from their forced choice between incurring fines or
violation of their religious beliefs.'
prelate continued: And what of the administration's contention that the
suit should be dismissed because they were going to change the HHS
address the concerns of religious employers? As Judge Cogan wrote, '…
Amendment does not require citizens to accept assurances from the
that, if the government later determines it has made a misstep, it will
ameliorative action. There is no, Trust us, changes are coming clause
Dolan admitted that there is a long road ahead, and reiterated hope
that the HHS mandate will change and provide a true religious exemption.
then, he concluded, we will continue to seek justice in the courts.
Thanks to last week's decision in Federal Court in Brooklyn, it looks
will have that chance. We'll keep you posted.
WEDNESDAY, December 12, 2012 Now
it begins: "
OOPS. Forgot to tell you about that...
published Dec 11, 2012 in The Day
insurance fee in health overhaul law
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
Associated Press Washington
- Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably
are, too. It's a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering
people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama's
health care overhaul. The
charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of
dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is
likely to be passed on to workers. Employee
benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a "sleeper issue" with
significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers. "Especially
at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, (companies will) be
hit with a multi-million dollar assessment without getting anything
back for it," said Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox
on figures provided in the regulation, employer and individual health
plans covering an estimated 190 million Americans could owe the
per-person fee. The
Obama administration says it is a temporary assessment levied for three
years starting in 2014, designed to raise $25 billion. It starts at $63
and then declines. Most
of the money will go into a fund administered by the Health and Human
Services Department. It will be used to cushion health insurance
companies from the initial hard-to-predict costs of covering uninsured
people with medical problems. Under the law, insurers will be forbidden
from turning away the sick as of Jan. 1, 2014. The
program "is intended to help millions of Americans purchase affordable
health insurance, reduce unreimbursed usage of hospital and other
medical facilities by the uninsured and thereby lower medical expenses
and premiums for all," the Obama administration says in the regulation.
An accompanying media fact sheet issued Nov. 30 referred to
"contributions" without detailing the total cost and scope of the
the total pot, $5 billion will go directly to the U.S. Treasury,
apparently to offset the cost of shoring up employer-sponsored coverage
for early retirees. The
$25 billion fee is part of a bigger package of taxes and fees to
finance Obama's expansion of coverage to the uninsured. It all comes to
about $700 billion over 10 years, and includes higher Medicare taxes
effective this Jan. 1 on individuals making more than $200,000 per year
or couples making more than $250,000. People above those threshold
amounts also face an additional 3.8 percent tax on their investment
the insurance fee had been overlooked as employers focused on other
costs in the law, including fines for medium and large firms that don't
provide coverage. "This kind of came out of the blue and was a
surprisingly large amount," said Gretchen Young, senior vice president
for health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, a group that
represents large employers on benefits issues. Word
started getting out in the spring, said Young, but hard cost estimates
surfaced only recently with the new regulation. It set the per capita
rate at $5.25 per month, which works out to $63 a year. America's
Health Insurance Plans, the major industry trade group for health
insurers, says the fund is an important program that will help
stabilize the market and mitigate cost increases for consumers as the
changes in Obama's law take effect. But
employers already offering coverage to their workers don't see why they
have to pony up for the stabilization fund, which mainly helps the
individual insurance market. The redistribution puts the biggest
companies on the hook for tens of millions of dollars. "It
just adds on to everything else that is expected to increase health
care costs," said economist Paul Fronstin of the nonprofit Employee
Benefit Research Institute. The
fee will be assessed on all "major medical" insurance plans, including
those provided by employers and those purchased individually by
consumers. Large employers will owe the fee directly. That's because
major companies usually pay upfront for most of the health care costs
of their employees. It may not be apparent to workers, but the
insurance company they deal with is basically an agent administering
the plan for their employer. The
fee will total $12 billion in 2014, $8 billion in 2015 and $5 billion
in 2016. That means the per-head assessment would be smaller each year,
around $40 in 2015 instead of $63. It
will phase out completely in 2017 - unless Congress, with lawmakers
searching everywhere for revenue to reduce federal deficits - decides
to extend it.
of the taxes and fees in the health care overhaul
Here's a look
at some of the major taxes and fees, estimated to total nearly $700
billion over 10 years.
• Upper-income households
Starting Jan. 1, individuals making more than $200,000 per year, and
couples making more than $250,000 will face a 0.9 percent Medicare tax
increase on wages above those threshold amounts.
They'll also face an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income.
Together these are the biggest tax increase in the health care law.
• Employer penalties
Starting in 2014, companies with 50 or more employees that do not offer
coverage will face penalties if at least one of their employees
receives government-subsidized coverage. The penalty is $2,000 per
employee, but a company's first 30 workers don't count toward the total.
• Health care industries
Insurers, drug companies and medical device manufacturers face new fees
Companies that make medical equipment sold chiefly through doctors and
hospitals, such as pacemakers, artificial hips and coronary stents,
will pay a 2.3 percent excise tax on their sales, expected to total
$1.7 billion in its first year, 2013. They're trying to get it repealed.
The insurance industry faces an annual fee that starts at $8 billion in
its first year, 2014.
Pharmaceutical companies that make or import brand-name drugs are
already paying fees that totaled $2.5 billion in 2011, their first year.
• People who don't get health insurance
Nearly 6 million people who don't get health insurance will face tax
penalties starting in 2014. The fines will raise $6.9 billion in 2016.
Average penalty in that year: about $1,200.
Indoor tanning devotees
The 10 percent sales tax on indoor tanning sessions took effect in
2010. It's expected to raise $1.5 billion over 10 years.
The 28 million people who visit tanning booths and beds each year -
most of them women under 30, according to the Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology- are already paying.
Tanning salons were singled out because of strong medical evidence that
exposure to ultraviolet lights increases the risk of skin cancer. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
TUESDAY, December 7 through 11, 2012 WHAT
CAN I SAY ABOUT
THIS THAT I HAVEN'T ALREADY SAID AND WRITTEN THROUGHOUT MORE THAN A
THIS WEB SITE?
EVEN THIS IS A REPETITION: CRIMINAL.
far from first in math, science
fourth-graders make strides, but progress elusive at eighth-grade level
By Josh Lederman, Associated Press
| Associated Press – Tue, Dec 11, 2012
(AP) -- American
fourth-graders are performing better than they were four years ago in
math and reading, but students four years older show no such progress,
a global study released Tuesday revealed.
remains in the top dozen or so countries in all subjects tested, the
gap between the U.S. and the top-performing nations is much wider at
the eighth-grade level, especially in math.
you start looking at our older students, we see less improvement over
time," said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center
for Education Statistics, which coordinated the U.S. portion of
the international exam.
where U.S. student scores have improved, many other nations have
improved much faster, leaving American students far behind
many of their peers — especially in Asia and Europe.
an eye toward global competitiveness, U.S. education officials are
sounding the alarm over what they describe as a recurring theme when
American students are put to the test. Lamenting what he described as
"sober cautionary notes," Education Secretary Arne Duncan
said it was unacceptable that eighth-grade achievement in math and science
are stagnant, with U.S. students far less likely than many Asian
counterparts to reach advanced levels in science.
"If we as a nation don't turn that
around, those nations will soon be out-competing us in a
knowledge-based, global economy," Duncan said.
American students still perform better
than the global average in all subject areas, the study found, although
students from the poorest U.S. schools fall short.
But the U.S. is far from leading the
pack, a distinction now enjoyed by kids in countries like Finland and
Singapore who outperformed American fourth-graders in science and
reading. By eighth grade, American students have fallen behind their
Russian, Japanese and Taiwanese counterparts in math, and trail
students from Hong Kong, Slovenia and South Korea in science.
The results of the study, conducted every
four years in nations around the world, show mixed prospects for
delivering on that promise. A nation that once took pride in being at
the top of its game can no longer credibly call itself the global
leader in student performance. Wringing their hands about what that
reality portends for broader U.S. influence, policymakers worry it
could have ripple effects on the economy down the line, with Americans
increasingly at a competitive disadvantage in the international
Elevating the skills needed to compete
with emerging countries has been a priority for President Barack Obama,
who has pledged to train 100,000 new math and science teachers over the
next decade. "Think about the America within our reach: a country that
leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new
generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs," he said
this year in his State of the Union address.
Asia continues to dominate the top
echelon of scores across subject fields. The tiny city-state of
Singapore takes first place in eighth-grade science and fourth-grade
math, with South Korea scoring nearly as high. Singapore takes second
place to South Korea in eighth-grade math, with Taiwan in third.
results also lean toward Asian nations when it comes to advanced levels
of learning. In Singapore, 4 in 10 eighth-graders achieved the
"advanced benchmark" in science, which requires an understanding of
complex and abstract concepts in physics, chemistry, biology and other
sciences. About 2 in 10 make the grade in Japan, South Korea
and Taiwan. In the U.S., it's about 1 in 10.
Reading skills are a major strength for
American students. Only a few points separate American students from
the top-scoring students in the world. In Florida, which took part in
the study separately, reading scores are second only to Hong Kong.
"We cannot rest until every child has
gained the power that comes through reading," said former Florida Gov.
Jeb Bush, a prominent education advocate. "If Florida can do it, every
state can and must."
The Trends in International Mathematics
and Science Study and its sister test, the Progress in International
Reading Literacy Study, are used to measure knowledge, skills and
mastery of curricula by elementary and middle school students around
the world. Students in rich, industrialized nations and poor,
developing countries alike are tested. In 2011, 56 educational systems
— mostly countries, but some states and subnational entities like Hong
Kong — took part in math and science exams. Fifty-three systems
participated in the reading exam, which included almost 13,000 American
"These kinds of tests are very good at
telling us who's ahead in the race. They don't have a lot to say about
causes or why countries are where they are," said Brookings Institution
senior fellow Tom Loveless, who in previous years represented the U.S.
in the international group that administers the test.
Other findings released Tuesday:
— Some U.S. states that were measured
separately were clear standouts, performing on par with or better than
some top-performing Asian countries. Eighth-graders in Massachusetts
and Minnesota score far better in math and science than the U.S.
average. But in California and Alabama, eighth-graders fell short of
the national average.
Racial and class disparities are all too real. In eighth grade,
Americans in the schools with the highest poverty — those with 75
percent or more of students on free or reduced-price lunch — performed
below both the U.S. average and the lower international average.
Students at schools with fewer poor kids performed better. In
fourth-grade reading, all ethnic groups outperformed the international
average, but white and Asian students did better than their black and
— Boys in the U.S. do better than girls
in fourth-grade science and eighth-grade math. But girls rule when it
comes to reading.
a global level, the gender gap appears to be closing. About half of the
countries showed no statistically meaningful gap between boys and girls
in math and science.
tests are carried out by the International Association for Evaluation
of Educational Achievement, a coalition of research institutions. The
U.S. portion of the exams is coordinated by the Education Department's
National Center for Education Statistics.
THURSDAY, December 1 through 6, 2012
This is what the most powerful nation in the world, economically and
militarily, achieves by deferring to the U.N., to Russia, to China, to
and to every tin-pot despot in the world - thereby creating a vacuum
all manner of mischief and evil can flow.
Pakistan. Not an ally...only a
debtor nation - and a nuclear one at that;
Afghanistan. A nest of
opponents, despite our years of blood and treasure;
Iran. An enemy of all our
efforts throughout the world...and now a nuclear nation in all but
Iraq. Only marginally better now
than when we invaded in 2003, thanks to our retreat.
Libya. Snatching defeat from the
jaws of victory, with dead American representatives to boot;
Egypt. Allowing a truly
democratic Arab Spring to be smothered in its crib, rather than overtly
supporting the moderate arm of the movement and coercing the military
to go along;
Israel. There comes a time,
long-since arrived, when "Israel's survival", 100% guaranteed by
America's might, must cease to be the rationale for all manner of
despotic and even reckless actions by the current Fundamentalist
And now SYRIA. Eighteen months
of vacuum in the face of a credible democratic revolt against a
criminal government. And now we "can't do anything" to stop the
increasingly likely use of poison gas on the Syrian people? That
use in itself could be considered a war crime on the part of this
American administration...at least by me. I am not a military
strategist, especially in playing "catch-up", but what about a "no fly
zone" imposed by our Air Forces over the entire land-mass of
Syria? Why, even France, Britain and Turkey have shown signs of
life in this regard...ahead of our Foggy Bottom and our cowardly
Nation has responsibilities in the
world...and it has been acting irresponsibly in foreign affairs
tenure of the Obama Administration. This is the real "cliff"
that we Americans - and the world - are facing right now.