SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

September 29, 2014

The way Branson ‘thinks’

Celebrity scoop

                      Boss OKs vacation anytime

Richard Branson, whose company doesn’t track time off

British billionaire Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, thinks people should be able to take time off work whenever they want — no questions asked, ABC News reported yesterday.

“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off,” Branson said in an excerpt posted to his blog from his new book, The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership.

He has introduced the “non-policy” of not counting vacation time at Virgin offices in the United States and United Kingdom, and, if there are no snags, he will expand it to all subsidiaries.

The assumption is that employees will take time off only when they think their absence won’t damage the business, the team or their careers, Branson said.

He was inspired to try the policy, he said, after his daughter showed him a news article that mentioned how Netflix doesn’t track vacation time. She told of a friend whose company had done the same thing, and “Morale, creativity and productivity have all gone through the roof,” he recalled.

Jan’s musings. . .    

. . .   .   with this kind of thinking, open-mindedness and creativity, is it any wonder that this man is so very successful?  He deserves all the good which he continues to spread around.    Bravo, Mr. Branson!

 

Encyclopedia Britannica, changing

A  NEW  CHAPTER 

Reference provider makes more of its websites’ content available free in effort to reclaim readers

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ZBIGNIEW BZDAK | CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica, says expertise is what can make his company’s online reference work more   desirable to consumers than Wikipedia, which has more than 43 times as many articles.

By Robert Channick

Chicago Tribune • Monday September 22, 2014

Encyclopaedia Britannica, which shelved its venerable print edition in favor of a digital-only version more than two years ago, is looking to reclaim its legacy as the household reference of choice.

The 246-year-old, privately held company based in Chicago is shifting its virtual encyclopedia toward a free, advertising-supported model, believing it is poised to click with a new generation of online knowledge consumers.  (and I think it will)

“I think that most people in the consumer space would prefer to use Britannica to many other alternatives,” said Jorge Cauz, 52, Encyclopaedia Britannica’s president. “Whenever Britannica appears on search engines, we have a pretty amazing click-through rate.”

Once the undisputed king of reference libraries, with armies of door-to-door salesmen peddling the expensive multivolume sets to families across the globe, Britannica has struggled to find its place in the digital age, where user-generated Wikipedia offers something on just about everything free.

Hoping to boost site traffic and grow advertising revenue, Cauz has opened about half of Britannica’s online database to the public at no charge. Two years ago, 80 percent of the articles were accessible only to subscribers.

About 50,000 households pay $70 annually, and an additional 450,000 get full access through distribution partners such as telecom companies and Internet providers, a subscriber base that has remained stable despite the chipping away of the pay wall, Cauz said. Meanwhile, online traffic has more than doubled, and advertising growth has reduced dependence on user fees. Subscriptions now account for 75 percent of Britannica.com’s revenue, down from 95 percent two years ago.

Like many traditional publishers, Britannica is finding that what worked on paper doesn’t necessarily succeed online. The push-pull between advertising and subscription revenue, though, is nothing new, according to media analyst Ken Doctor.

“For consumer publishing businesses in general, they’ve always balanced circulation revenue on one hand and advertising on the other, and tried to optimize both,” Doctor said.

Advertising will generate about $13 million this year for the Britannica consumer websites, up 70 percent since 2010. Its digital portfolio includes Britannica.com, Merriam-Webster.com and more than 20 other reference websites, and the revenue upside is exponential, Cauz said.

“We think that there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising potential that Britannica could tackle, if we were to have a very different business model,” Cauz said. “It doesn’t mean that we are going to be able to do that overnight. It means that we are going to be experimenting to be able to capture a place in the consumer space again.”

Though the company itself is in the black, Britannica.com is barely breaking even, Cauz said. The educational business allows him leverage to tweak the online encyclopedia, and the patience to nurture it, as he seeks to increase its reach. That means taking back business from Wikipedia, which is built and maintained by users and dominates the digital reference space. (but remains less reliable due to its content source; tho I use it myself.  Jan)

Britannica is a decided underdog in the digital world. Wikipedia has nearly 4.6 million English-language articles, compared with 106,000 for Britannica.

Where Britannica trumps Wikipedia is through a “rigorous editorial process,” Cauz said. Like Wikipedia, users and scholars contribute to the database, but each article is professionally vetted by Britannica, enabling students and dilettantes alike to speak with authority on any given subject.

“I think the honeymoon for ‘everything goes’ is over,” Cauz said. “I think people are understanding that even though digital technologies are great ways of creating and disseminating content, knowledge and scholarship are not democracies. There are people that know better, and the challenge is how to make that knowledge more efficient and make that knowledge reach many, many more people.”

Britannica has added 2,900 articles and revised 7 million words this year, Cauz said. The site also includes 5,000 videos. Though the database continues to grow, its breadth won’t soon rival Wikipedia’s, which details a wide range of subjects and even includes what Cauz describes as an “ inaccurate” entry on himself.

On core subject matters, Britannica covers much of the same turf as Wikipedia. Finding its articles, though, can be a little more challenging, something Cauz readily acknowledges.

“We need more visibility,” he said.

(My Comment:  

This struck my fancy and thought you might like to know about this as well.   Jan)

September 26, 2014

Robber fees in Medicine?

Health care

Mysterious surgeons hit patients with fees

By Elisabeth Rosenthal THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

                                             JOSHUA BRIGHT THE NEW YORK TIMES   Peter Drier was shocked by a $117,000 bill                                                                 from a surgeon he never met during his neck surgery. Insurance paid the bill.

Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks in December, Peter Drier, 37, signed a pile of consent forms.

A bank-technology manager who had researched his insurance coverage, Drier was prepared when the bills started arriving: $56,000 from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, $4,300 from the anesthesiologist and even $133,000 from his orthopedist, who he knew would accept a fraction of that fee.

  • He was blindsided, though, by a bill for about $117,000 from an “assistant surgeon,” a neurosurgeon based in Queens, N.Y., whom Drier had never met.

“I thought I understood the risks,” Drier, who lives in New York City, said. “But this was just so wrong — I had no choice and no negotiating power.”

In operating rooms and on hospital wards across the country, physicians and other health providers typically help one another in patient care. But in an increasingly common practice that some medical experts call drive-by doctoring, assistants, consultants and other hospital employees are charging patients or their insurers hefty fees. They might be called in when their need is questionable. And patients usually do not realize they have been involved until the bill arrives.

The practice increases revenue for physicians and other health-care workers at a time when insurers are cutting reimbursement for many services. The surprise charges can be especially significant because, as in Drier’s case, they might involve out-of-network providers who bill 20 to 40 times the usual local rates and often collect the full amount.

“The notion is you can make end runs around price controls by increasing the number of things you do and bill for,” said Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, until recently a health-policy expert at the Brookings Institution. This contributes to the nation’s $2.8 trillion in annual health costs.

Insurers, saying the surprise charges have proliferated, have filed lawsuits challenging them. In recent years, unexpected out-of-network charges have become the top complaint to the New York state agency that regulates insurance companies. Multiple state health-insurance commissioners have tried to limit patients’ liability, but lobbying by the health-care industry stymies their efforts.

“This has gotten really bad, and it’s wrong,” said James J. Donelon, the Republican insurance commissioner of Louisiana. “But when you try to address it as a policymaker, you run into a hornet’s nest of financial interests.”

  • In Drier’s case, the primary surgeon, Dr. Nathaniel L. Tindel, had said he would accept a negotiated fee determined through Drier’s insurance company , which ended up being about $6,200. (Drier had to pay $3,000 of that to meet his deductible.) But the assistant, Dr. Harrison T. Mu, was out of network and sent the $117,000 bill. Insurance experts say surgeons and assistants sometimes share proceeds from operations, but Tindel’s office said he and Mu do not. Mu’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The phenomenon can take many forms. In some instances, a patient might be lying on a gurney in the emergency room, unaware that all of the people who turn up at the bedside will charge for their services. At times, a fully trained physician is called in when a resident or a nurse, who would not charge, would have sufficed. Services that once were included in the daily hospital rate now often are provided by contractors, and even many emergency rooms are staffed by out-of-network physicians who bill separately.

  • Insurers say they have limited ability to fight back. Insurance examiners “are not in the room on the day of surgery to see the second surgeon walk into the room or why they were needed,” said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group. And current laws do not require hospitals that join an insurance network to provide in-network doctors, labs or X-rays, for example.

So sometimes insurers just pay — to protect their customers, they say — which encourages the practice. When Drier complained to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield that he should not have to pay the out-of-network assistant surgeon, Anthem agreed it was not his responsibility. Instead, the company cut a check to Mu for $116,862, the full amount.

When Drier agreed to surgery in December, he was not in a good position to bargain or shop around. Several weeks earlier, he had woken up to excruciating pain in his upper back and numbness and weakness in two fingers of his left hand, which persisted. A scan showed that one of the disks that normally serve as cushions between vertebrae was herniated and pushing on a nerve. With a busy job and social life, he was living on painkillers.  (* See note below)

The rate of spinal surgery in the United States is about twice that in Europe and Canada and five times that in Britain, said Dr. Richard A. Deyo of Oregon Health and Science University, who studies international comparisons. Studies have generally concluded that after two years, patients who have surgery for disk problems do no better than those treated with painkillers and physical therapy — although the pain, which can be debilitating, resolves far more rapidly with surgery.

The United States has more neurosurgeons per capita than almost any other developed country, and they compete with orthopedists for spinal surgery. At the same time, Medicare and private insurers have reduced payments to surgeons. The average base salary for neurosurgeons decreased to $590,000 in 2014 from $630,000 in 2010, according to Merritt Hawkins, a physician-staffing firm.

To counter that trend, some spinal surgeons have turned to consultants for advice on increasing revenue through “innovative” coding, claim generation and collection services.

Some strategies, including billing large amounts for a second surgeon in the room or declaring an operation an emergency, raise serious questions. The indications for immediate spinal surgery, such as loss of bladder function or paralysis, are rare. But insurers are more likely to reimburse a surgeon with whom they do not have a contract if a case is labeled an emergency.

For months, Drier stewed over what to do with the $117,000 check Anthem Blue Cross had sent him to pass on to Mu, refusing to sign over a payment he considered “outrageous and immoral.” He worried that such payments could drive up premiums at his employer.

Drier tried to negotiate with the surgeons to divvy up the $117,000 payment in a way he believed was more fair; he felt Tindel was being underpaid. Drier’s idea, he wrote in an email, was to settle on “a reasonable fee” for both the surgeon and assistant and return the rest of the check to the insurance company.

But in July, he received a threatening letter from Mu’s attorney noting that he had failed to forward the $117,000 check. So he sent it along, with regret.

 

Jan’s musings. . .        

 . . .the Medical Community as a general class have continued to sink further and further into  the ranks of car salesmen, or worse still, Congressional politicians —  — totally driven by greed alone.  Pathetic, really considering all the dire parameters our country faces.  For every good and decent thing which comes out of Washington,  it seems we then have to take many steps back.  Why?  Because the Haves keep demanding more.    

But all this  is especially vile, for  health care was and remains desperately needed in our great and wealthy land with all its rich resources, but struggling  masses  remain without decent healthcare, or the ability to pay what it is costing. The details of this article are despicable, and immoral.  When did such freedom to steal become so easy?  Why is no one able to correct this and do something to fix it?  It is wrong, blatant and should be totally illegal;  after all, our taxpayers are footing this bill.  Medicine is not a sacred cow that no one dare touch!   It is nothing more than a greedy business with far too much latitude to do as it damned well pleases.  The affordable care act is not affordable at all unless one is penniless to begin with, in which case  a stripped down model is doled out which is difficult to deal with and provides little choice.  The picture hasn’t changed much;  we still pay more for less than any other country in the world for the worst standard of care given to the fattest, sickest people in the world — mostly, without choice!

One final thought here has to do with the issue of back pain in general.  It is common knowledge that surgical solutions for back pain are often useless.  It rarely corrects the problem.  Primarily our pains of back, neck, shoulder and hips are almost entirely anchored in our lifestyle habits and activities.  The body was meant for movement and motion with equal amounts of play and recreation for balance.  Whether one is among the needy and underprivileged, or living in splendor with every choice imaginable open to them, we as a species have distorted our posture in numerous ways through too much sitting and inactivity to the extent that we have corrupted our once beautiful and balanced posture and the ability to move the way we were meant to. Our biological ‘core structures’ which hold our bones in place and allow perfect movement, become shortened, weakened.  We can see it in the forward thrust of shoulders and head and feel pains in hips, knees, rib cages and so on.  

Countless books have been written on this very subject by many fine physicians from various specialties including surgeons and chiropractors, etc.,.  It is known that many, many people walk around with bulging discs which biologically can impinge on the nerves which of course, can cause pain  but in these people, it isn’t painful or a bother to them. When it is determined that such a condition exists, the general recommendation, often,  is to operate.  It’s what they do.   I have sought solutions in some of these books and profited from one in particular written by Dr John Sarno – The Mindbody Prescription . . . Healing  the Body,  Healing the Pain. I loved it. . . it worked for me.  But you have to work it.  I recommend it,  have given away about six of them to friends.  But this is an aside, not what I was going to relate.  Mostly, this is or can be a fixable problem corrected by a chiropractic treatment for almost instant pain relief.  Just reach out and get it whenever its needed. I have been doing this since I was 16.  Long time.    

If memory serves,  about one or two years ago I watched a video of an interview between Dr Mercola and a beautiful young doctor (chiropractor) by the name of Eric Goodman;  it was simply superb.  He demonstrated quite a bit of what he is teaching  others in his “Foundation Training” of Structural Biomechanics.  Can’t tell you just where that post is  (can’t access my behind the scenes files due to computer problems.)   But I can put up a smaller post on Dr Goodman which I received recently and therein he is explaining what I am trying to explain — plus he shows how to do the Foundational movement.  The link  follows. There is a 2nd video further down the page in which Eric is speaking to a group at a TED meeting.  He has written a book, but I neglected to write it down.  Enjoy. . .

 

One of the Worst Things You Can Do for Your Back Pain
Odds are 3 in 4 you’ll get it at some stage, but don’t do this. Not only could it cost you $20,000 per year, it has a slew of nasty side effects including tuberculosis, life threatening infections, increased risk of cancer, heart failure, and liver problems. Try this instead…

 

September 23, 2014

Must SUE 4 help – Law says/yours

Lawsuit

Parents sue state over care for autistic boy

By Lisa Cornwell ASSOCIATED  PRESS

CINCINNATI — Parents of an autistic child sued the Ohio Department of Health and others in federal court on Thursday, alleging discrimination against Ohio’s autistic children by failing to provide what the lawsuit describes as federally mandated treatment.

Gary and Nikki Ruhl, of Mansfield in northern Ohio, sued in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on behalf of their 3-year-old son. The lawsuit says the Health Department and the coordinator of Ohio’s system that provides early intervention services aiding the development of children up to age 3 refused to provide necessary treatment. The complaint is similar to one recently settled in federal court in Cincinnati over an autistic boy in southwestern Ohio.

The Ruhls’ lawsuit says that the Health Department and system coordinator Wendy Grove refused to provide intensive treatment known as applied behavioral analysis for their son and “all infants and toddlers with autism in Ohio.” It also says the state has denied funding for services to make up for the earlier lack of treatment.

Grove’s office referred calls to the Health Department. Spokeswoman Melanie Amato said in email that the department has “no comment at this time pending litigation.”

  • Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by symptoms including communication difficulties, emotional detachment and repetitive behavior. The attorney for the families in both lawsuits, Richard Ganulin, said the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires states to provide early intervention services to autistic children. States get federal money to provide treatment aimed at helping autistic children develop into self-sufficient adults.

A U.S. Department of Education spokesman said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Mrs. Ruhl said requests to the state to evaluate their son were repeatedly denied, and he was nearly age 2 before a private hospital diagnosed his autism.  “We knew the sooner he received treatment, the better, and each day that treatment was delayed harmed him in ways we will never know,” she said.

The Ruhls are seeking more than $500,000 for services to help their son achieve the development level they say he would have reached with earlier treatment. They also want unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Jan’s musings:  

Stories such as this one are so distasteful, that it is difficult for anyone to think about, let alone discuss.    It is, frankly, hard to know how to begin — where?     why?     why me?   why my child?      For a disease virtually unheard of – unknown 100 years ago;  rarely heard of 50 years ago and now so common that every young parent  expecting a child is filled with unnecessary grief- – worries about such ‘stuff’.  Then to their joy, a beautiful, perfect child is born. . .  and then the so-called ‘protective inoculations’ start over which so many parents are genuinely ill-informed and unsuspecting.  

Many others who are suspicious and alarmed find they have no choice – – many coercive  mandates force compliance.  A young parent wants what’s best for their baby and wind up going against that inner knowing, pain in the gut,  or worrisome thoughts.  Couldn’t happen to us!    But it does.  This precious, beautiful seemingly perfect  baby doesn’t develop along the way as expected.  Pediatrician  is questioned, but there is nothing to worry about. . .he/she is fine. . . give the child ‘time’ to develop, you’ll see.  

But even with all this injustice, misery and confusion going on,  there IS a path here and there which can help. First, one can refuse this kind of medical abuse and stand up to them and resist or otherwise fight back.  Say no.  Find another doctor if you’re not locked into “the system” they are out there- – doctors who understand these things and treat children holistically and naturally, honoring “First, do no harm”. . .  but also, have you noticed how many women today (well-informed, drug opposed) are opting to have their babies at home, with proper help and sometimes in water.  So much safer (not to mention the financial savings).

Then, in almost all the states now, there are exemptions from these mandated vaccinations.  Barbara Lowe Fisher at Nat’l Vaccine Info Ctr has an awesome site  and has the info one needs (in the Blogroll).    There are options using food and supplementation to help the children over- come these obstacle . . . organic, no pharmaceuticals. . .go online and dig in. Gonna need to get smart fast, but there is help out there.

So what we have going on is a case-history of medical  mal-practice  coerced into law forcing our  people  to offer their children onto the altar of MEDICAL COMPLEX – BIGPhRMA  corruption and GREED  which has been enabled through the efforts of lobbying and the influence of corruption in our Congressional members to pass laws  designed by the Medical Complex which serve only their interest – NOT OURS.  What we get instead is injury to the delicate but powerful immune systems,  central nervous systems and brain which runs it, all impacted and often destroyed.    Yet these vaccinations keep coming thru the decades beyond the first injury.  It is all criminal and NEVER proven safe, just like the GMO thing or the farmed fish  which has so much pollution in it that there s no benefit in eating it at all.  Plus  all the thousands of toxins poured into our earth, air and water — — none of which you and I and folks like us ever approved of, or wanted.  We don’t want to eat chemicals,  we were (at least the older ones of us) raised on organic food-stuff and most of us did our own cooking, so we made it through just fine.    

If it seems like a losing battle, my friends;  that’s because it is.  Americans have become lazy about taking interest in our government or trying to figure out how stuff works.  Money runs everything ESPECIALLY politics.  Follow the money.  Dig in and learn.  If we aren’t ALL willing to understand that we are in this boat together, we’ll never get anything done.  We have to trust one another enough to open up to ‘others’ and let fresh air in.  Take part.  This mid term election coming up is so vital.  When people have had enuff and start to coalesce and find common ground. . . we can move mountains.   There are only a handful of people out there who are actually in the game for the GOOD they hope to do,  have you heard Elizabeth Warren speaking or telling it like it is?   How about Bernie Sanders?  If Warren is a no-go, I’d vote for Bernie.  He is smart as hell and gets things done – is a real mover and shaker.   I LOVE Sherrod Brown and would also vote for him as Prez. . .but that would mean losing him as our Senator and it hurts to even say that.    If we don’t use our voice and our vote, we will deserve what we continue to get.

Congress’ “DARK” Ag-gag bill

 We had “Freedom and Choice” in our laws 

‘Prior to Corruption in Congress

New today from Dr Mercola:    

. . . .we must take action since Multi-Millions $’s  are being spent against our choice and for their own interests. . .see this as their GREED vs OUR WELL-BEING.   They have the clout and money — but we have the sound of our voices and the VOTE.  All we gotta do is use it!       Are you registered; . . .check your latest – newest voting regs?  Jan

 

Man Dies After Being Doused with Agent Orange Ingredient in Backyard
He was immediately struck with nausea and breathing problems, and his condition rapidly deteriorated until he died shortly thereafter. The punishment for this criminal trespass: nothing but a silly slap on the wrist – it’s time to fight back.

Dangers of Toxic Chemicals

   Story at-a-glance

  • Last October, residents in Cedar Valley, Oregon were doused with pesticides by a helicopter aiming for privately-owned timberlands. At least one appears to have suffered complications that led to death
  • The “Farm and Forest Practices Act” prevents the residents from suing for damages. But 17 of those affected by the pesticide dousing are now challenging the constitutionality of that law
  • A federal judge has ruled that Idaho’s Bill 1337–dubbed the “ag-gag law,” as it criminalizes the secret filming of agricultural practices—may in fact be unconstitutional
  • The Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA) is suing Vermont in an effort to overturn the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling in the US
  • GMA is also pushing a Congressional bill, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, dubbed the “DARK” (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act, which would bar states from passing GMO labeling laws

September 13, 2014

Chuck Todd, destined host

Television

New host aims to boost Beltway bore

By Ben Terris THE WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON — With an office shelf stocked with a George W. Bush bobblehead, every conceivable issue of The Almanac of American Politics and a trove of recent electoral ephemera, Chuck Todd — the new host of the Sunday morning mainstay Meet the Press —is understandably perceived as a creature of Washington.

“Everyone likes to say, ‘He’s the ultimate political junkie; how’s he going to get out of Washington?’ ” Todd said.
“Do I get annoyed by this characterization? Sometimes, yes, but I try not to get angry about it.”

Todd has been a political reporter in Washington for 22 years — working at political tipsheet the Hotline, including as editor-in-chief for his last six years there, before moving to NBC in 2007.

But he points out that he grew up in unincorporated Miami.
His father wasn’t fully employed for the first five years of his son’s life. There were times, Todd recalled, when all of the members of his family slept on one mattress.

“I’m not trying to be Horatio Alger,” he said. “But it’s an advantage that I grew up middle-class in south Florida. . . . I feel like I understand that resentment that can build when the New York perspective or the Washington perspective doesn’t seem to understand what’s going on in America.

“Tim Russert had that advantage because he grew up a middle-class kid. I do think that helps.”

Even as Todd took the reins this month of the longest-running program on television, plenty of people think the show
— along with the other Sunday morning talk programming — is in need of help.

“As people have become more and more frustrated with Washington, the Sunday shows don’t seem to have adjusted to that,” said Jay Rosen, a media critic at New York University and a regular guest on Meet the Press.   “We have the same people having the same arguments. The political class is still invited on in the same way. There needs to be some recognition of that.”

The New York Times tabulated the appearances by the most frequent guests of Sunday programs since 2009.   The list is unsurprising: Republican Sens. John McCain (97 guest spots) and Lindsey Graham (85), former Obama strategist David Axelrod (83) and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin
(78) have logged the most face time.   Asked whether Meet the Press would implement a “McCain cap,” Todd laughed.  “The funny thing is, McCain hasn’t been on the show this year,” he said.

Although he won’t engage in a televised love affair with Washington, Todd acknowledged, “It’s important that the person who sits in this chair understands the insider part of this.”

He is facing a lot of pressure to succeed.

Gregory got $4M to quietly leave NBC

David Gregory, the previous host of Meet the Press, had a six-year run marked by a serious decline in ratings.

 

The show needs to regain its “edge,” Deborah Turness, president of NBC News, told The New York Times.   “I think the show had become a talking shop that raked over the cold embers of what had gone on the previous week.”

 

(Jan’s musings .  .  .

. .  .  Meet The Press is not only the longest running show on TV, but also a Sunday Morning Main-stay.    

Yes, it recapped the weeks major political/global activity, (seems we all have a craving for that) from the mouths of the most knowledgeable, involved and authoritative minds.

I shall forever see Tim Russert at the helm, his smiling congenial presence who genuinely “liked” people. His warmth and friendliness put guests at ease which produced more than a data driven piece,   we were given the workings and essence of events and those who were involved with it.   

In point of fact, no one could “replace” Tim Russert for he was  one-of-a-kind whom everybody loved and  trusted.     David Gregory accepted this position fully aware that trying to occupy those vacant shoes could not be the same.   But he did a very good job.  His was a smart, somewhat   reserved, dignified and pointedly ‘neutral’ manner.  A very professional performance.  

I missed the warm, heartfelt quality I had been accustomed to,. . took for granted.  Russert also  practiced a sense of neutrality, but in such an overt, friendly and casual way with candor, ease and openness.

Apparently, the Sunday AM shows became less important to me. . .just happened, I guess.    

Missed Gregory’s final show — didn’t anticipate it, and frankly, wondered what happened.  There was no announcement, no goodbye, well-wishing – the usual sendoff to a valued member of the group.  It was, frankly a bit stunning and in my opinion in bad taste.   In fact, I didn’t know until right now as I headed over to Google to find a photo of David for my comment here.   I’ll let it go at that as gossip is not my forte.  But I admired Gregory and found him competent and felt kinda bad that I had been so absent from the show.  Wish I could have let him know that there are those who appreciated him .  He was tall, handsome and a presence.            

Now we have Chuck Todd.  Everyone knows Chuck Todd.  He seems to have quite a reputation that I didn’t know about with his political smarts.  Easy to like him, has an easy smile and uses it generously.    He has been a presence, always there or nearby, kinda like a little brother, usually somewhere near. . . . Because he is ‘smaller’?  I donno — hope not!  Bill Mahr is smallish as well, but man — — what a presence!  Perhaps, I just never thought of Chuck as the guy in charge. (Of course, still missing Tim and his huge presence so much)  But this is old history now. . .  

With Chuck’s background, ethics, training and experience level  he should do very well.  But lets not forget that it was Tim Russert who brought Chuck Todd aboard!  Getting down to it — that’s all we need to know.    So Chuck, I’m ready to tune in and return to the fold. . so to speak.   Much success to you, Chuck. . . go for it ) 

 

 So Long, Old Friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2014

Food Norms changing

 UNDERSTAND SOME CHANGES  and Get Healthier

We are living in interesting [if not strange] times.  So much is changing right before our eyes.  While it may be hard to stay currant and useful, it is nevertheless — exciting.  Do we all think about the value of these ‘changes’?  Lets see, there was:      

            THEN                                                    NOW

  • FATS  bad for you. .get fat            No Fats, we die > heart/brain need
  • GRAINS  good for us,                     Anti-nutrients >Diabetes, immunity, Alzh’s
  • CHOLESTEROL, bad -limit         Heart needs    >make CoQ10/function
  • Eating FATS make us fat              CARBS  make us fat [converts to sugar/liver]
  • Low SALT intake > heart             Heart needs 4 cell regulation 
  • Limit EGGS [cholesterol]            Perfect protein,  NEED cholesterol – eat up

Many worry about getting enough energy, and to give up grains, cereals, what is there left to eat.  How do we survive, be healthy?  A body gets energy either from Carbohydrates or fats. . both work fine.  If one limits or cuts out the grains, the body gladly converts all fats it gets to energy and actually is preferred – shown by better function.     It is the variety of Carbohydrates (grains, cereals, rice, potatoes and sugars in any form), which once presented to the liver is converted into sugar which consequentially draws the pancreas into overuse working to handle the sugar overload; producing all sorts of sugar problems for the body which ultimately become diabetes.  . . which then fully demands attention!  

Grains and/or sugar are two of the worst things our body must deal with, for they both lead to disease and death while being trapped in the addiction we have for them.  None of this is really and truly ‘our fault’ so to speak.  Its how we were raised.  What our trusted parents did;  what our doctors find no fault with and our government espouses – even encourages — look at any pyramid chart of dietary needs they put out.  

The scientific way our dietary guidelines come to us are based [as it happens], not on science but on skewed info  which is not scientifically conceived or tested, but accepted and becomes (biased) “truth” which all accept and live with.  But its not the truth any more than GMO’s are exactly the same as the original food..  . that farmed fish are just the same health-wise as those which swim freely in the ocean;   or that factory farmed chickens so grossly distorted with un-natural foods that they literally topple over frontward due to the large, unsupportable heavy chests and in cages, their beaks are cut so as not to injure the next one with which  they are stuffed together. Not to mention the hormones or antibiotics.  Ditto for all factory farmed animals. . . .  this is the world we occupy now.  Of course, it presents major challenges to those who prefer “CHOICE” and “LABELING”   But we can do this if we have to, and then maybe we’ll be able to get our voices heard and responded to with the kind of representation we are demanding.  That is, IF we demand,  and IF  we vote!  It’s kinda up to the people isn’t it?  They say people get the kind of government they deserve.

So we’ve touched on some changes we’ve seen of late, and they’re all good.  But outside the three major classifications of food into proteins, carbohydrates and fats   — there’s a whole lot more to food.  I absolutely loved the CEREAL KILLERS movie that Donal O’Neill did under the guidance of sports doctor Tim Noakes.  It was more than just amusing or slightly informative, it has changed my life, or rather my way of thinking about my lifestyle.       I have bought into the nut thing big time as a way of compensating for my inability to acquire pastured beef (won’t buy supermarket stuff, all factory farmed these days), nor do I buy bacon or swine in any form tho I once loved it.  I object to how they are bred, raised, live and fed.  Same with chicken which was once my mainstay.  Dr Aukerman cut me back on that idea as it wasn’t contributing to my health.  So between nuts, seeds, eggs, and a rather smallish amount of pastured ground beef, I’m getting by.  Can’t wait to buy Noakes new book, but the world is waiting with me — more printings are necessary to keep up with demand.     

Meanwhile I subsist as I generally have on fruits and veggies (mostly juicing), salads – a biggie, and occasional soups [Hippocrates, Beet Borscht and so on).  Remember, health is tied greatly into how much by way of minerals we are ingesting – not buying in pills!   Supplements are fine and at times necessary  when addressing certain issues as I do with my heart.  Still big on my amino acids which I have told you about.  Without eating most food raw, we aren’t getting our need for digestive and other body processes met.  There is no life without enzymes.  Take it or leave it, but if overlooked or ignored, be aware, a price will be paid in illness, dysfunction and early death.  So, give it a think.                   

What got me started on this post was an input from Kelley Herring of HEALING GOURMET. It is well done and I totally concur;  Have been using  Sea Salt from the Grain Society for decades, but this one  sounds hugely interesting.  Hope you like it and that it adds to your usable knowledge.  She points out another of the fabrications generations have lived with to our detriment.  She informs us of something we can’t get from our doctors.  Enjoy,  Jan

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Dear Jan,

If you have ever talked to a doctor about reducing your risk for heart attack, stroke or high blood pressure, I can almost guarantee that one of their main recommendations was to take it easy on the salt shaker.

For years, we have been told that the key to cardiovascular health is a “low-sodium diet”…

The American Heart Association and various public health nannies have portrayed “sodium” as the enemy of heart health – something to be feared and avoided.

Would it surprise you to learn that their advice is not just wrong… it could be “dead” wrong!

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study which examined the relationship between a person’s salt intake and their risk of fatal heart disease.

What the researchers discovered is that people who consumed less than 3,000 mg of sodium per day had a 27% higher risk of death by heart attack or stroke than those who consumed between 3,000 and 6,000 mg per day.

In other words…

The “heart-healthy” recommendations given by government health organizations and the American Heart Association could actually INCREASE your risk of fatal heart disease!

The truth is that your body needs sodium to function properly. This vital substance helps carry nutrients into cells, transmits nerve impulses, influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles, impacts hormones, helps to regulate blood pressure and volume, and much more.

Why am I bringing all this up?

Well, my good friend John Cawrse recently uncovered some “unsettling” facts about salt after working with some salineros (salt farmers) in Colima, Mexico. Turns out, leading health officials are still pushing the “salt is bad for you” agenda - despite over 40 years of scientific research proving it’s not true.

He’s summarized his findings in this special exposé.

Before you sprinkle ANY salt on your next meal, I encourage you to read this…

To your best health,

Kelley Herring
Healing Gourmet

P.S. You might wonder how an essential substance got such a bad rap. As is the case with most foods, it is important to realize that all salt is not created equal.

In addition to sodium, unrefined primordial salt can contain more than 90 essential and highly beneficial trace minerals. On the other hand, the refined table salt found in most grocery stores and processed foods has had all of these valuable minerals removed (they are usually sold off to industry).

What’s left is sodium chloride and chemical additives, including, including bleaching agents, deodorizers, iodine, and other chemicals designed to keep the salt free-flowing.

It should go without saying that what you want is REAL unrefined salt with all the trace minerals your body needs…

OH Charter School Crisis

Elections / Attorney general’s race

Democrat puts focus on charter-school ‘crisis’

By Alan Johnson THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Troubled charter schools are “reaching a crisis level” in Ohio and must be made accountable for putting students and taxpayers in peril,

David Pepper, Democratic candidate for attorney general, said yesterday:  “We need to take a timeout,” Pepper told a retired-teachers council at the Ohio Education Association, 225 E. Broad St. “There’s millions of dollars missing” from failed and failing charter schools. “If this was a company doing trash pickup, it would be a big scandal.”

As part of his “Protecting Ohio’s Children” plan, Pepper said, if elected on Nov. 4, he will get tough on charter schools — something he says Attorney General Mike DeWine has not done.

DeWine’s office dropped out of an Ohio Supreme Court case that pitted charter-school operators against for-profit White Hat Management over who gets to keep computers, textbooks and equipment purchased with taxpayer dollars. White Hat owner David Brennan is a major campaign contributor to DeWine and the Republican Party — a reason DeWine didn’t pursue the case, Pepper claimed.

“When it hit the Ohio Supreme Court, the attorney general abandoned the case and the schoolchildren of Ohio,” Pepper said.
But DeWine’s office staff previously said the decision not to continue the White Hat case was made because the judge had dropped the Ohio Department of Education, whom the attorney general represents, as a party. It was decided that a friend of the court filing would be inappropriate, they said.

A Dispatch analysis this year found that 29 percent of Ohio’s charter schools have closed, dating to 1997 when they became legal. About 400 charters are operating, but 134 have closed.

  • Some shut down because of money problems, others because students weren’t getting healthy lunches or buildings were unsanitary. In one case, students were reportedly allowed to engage in sexual activity in a Dayton charter school.

Pepper also said he will work to rectify Ohio’s school-funding system, ruled unconstitutional in 1997 by the Ohio Supreme Court and never fixed to be “thorough and efficient.”

The system is going in the wrong direction, Pepper said, by increasingly relying on local revenue and less on the state, the exact opposite of the direction dictated by the court 17 years ago.

Christine McVicar, a retired schoolteacher from the Marietta area, said her son, now 28, was in elementary school when the DeRolph school-funding decision was issued. While he made it to college, “it was not a level playing field for him” because of school-funding inequities, she said.  “We are wasting the talent of so many students that could be adding to the state of Ohio,” McVicar said.

DeWine campaign spokesman Ryan Stubenrauch slammed Pepper for overreaching.  “If he’s elected the lawyer of the state, he’s going to do the job of the legislature, the governor and the attorney general all at the same time.

“No one is saying school funding is perfect right now,” Stubenrauch said. “But it’s inappropriate and unethical for the attorney general to be standing on the street corner yelling, ‘My client is breaking the law.’” ajohnson@dispatch.com

(Jan’s musings. . .          

 . . . indeed, no one is saying  anything about Ohio’s Educational System is perfect or even remotely adequate.  For a very long time!  But it had been part of his plan when Kasich took office to eradicate it,  such as it was, for his plans included his good friend David Brennan and his WHITE HAT Charter Schools.  To me, this is old news and just part of the angst Kasich has brought to Ohio’s struggling “middle class” if one could even call it that!  A problem which can’t be fixed as there is no money. . .why?. .because Kasich keeps cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations, leaving  the tax -payer who also has no money to try to cope.

What does surprise me however is the part our AG Mike DeWine seems to have played here.  While I cannot place him in the same amazing category of Marc Dann whose every conscious pursuit was geared to the “people’s business” and what served them best;  I must say, of the entire Republican Gang of Thieves Kasich brought with him plus those already deeply ensconced here, I found DeWine to be most honorable and well motivated. . .from what I could see. So, this is a bit of a jolt to me that he is just another part of this ironclad rule of Political domination of this heartless regime.   For shame on DeWine and the Judge too.  

The rumbling also continues on the Common Core issue as well.  But it is wise to recall that it has been eagerly awaited in the majority of our states.  It was put together one might say by professional educators, Governors, parents and business leaders all having input and equal say and for the purpose of more completely equipping our students toward a more fulfilling life and enabling them to more efficiently handle entry into college.  All efforts have been applied over the last four years for the entry into full exercise of Common Core as the time has come to implement, only to find a great many Republican minds want to bail on this and start over.    All are entitled to a difference of opinion, for sure, but what on earth has happened to the idea of doing what serves the Highest and Best “GOOD” for all?  )

September 10, 2014

Autism-spectrum wide, varied

Autism in older adult not a common diagnosis

 

To Your Good Health
Keith Roach

Q: I am writing about a lifelong problem I’ve had with food.

A newspaper article spelled out exactly what I’ve lived through for 55 years.
The article was about an 8-year-old boy who is autistic and caused problems by taking his own food into a restaurant. The story described him as “autistic,” “a special-needs child” and that he “only eats 15 types of food.”
Also, it noted that, to the boy, “certain foods smell different . . . look different . . . have to look a certain way.”

This is exactly my life story. I eat only a limited number of foods, too. Many look bad, smell bad or are too pungent for me to eat. I also can’t tolerate many smells.

I was ridiculed, punished, harassed, lectured to and bullied as a child for my eating habits.

I am a poorly adjusted adult with many problems. I am single and have no friends. I have lost many job opportunities. I have had no girlfriends or dates after high school and can’t eat in public places.

Could I be autistic in my 60s? How do I find out?

A: I am very sorry to hear of the experiences you have had.

Autism is a disorder of development, with poor function in language and social interactions, usually with repetitive movements. Autism probably isn’t a single disease but multiple diseases that have a similar appearance to parents and doctors.

Most important, autism is a spectrum of illness, ranging from severely affected people to people with deficits that can be in large part masked through other strengths the affected individual might possess.

Autism in the 1960s was considered a rare disease, with prevalence rates of about five affected individuals in a population of 10,000, with males affected about five times more often than females. In contrast, the most recent data now show 147 cases per 10,000.

There is no way for me to tell you whether autism is the correct diagnosis for you.  The diagnosis in children is usually made by an expert in pediatric development after a comprehensive series of tests, usually with a dedicated team.

My guess, based on what you have told me, however, is that it is likely you would be considered to be on the autistic spectrum.
I have certainly seen adults diagnosed as autistic, but never someone as old as you.

If you want to look into this as a diagnosis, I would find someone experienced with autism in adults.

The group Autism Speaks has a list of support groups, including ones specifically designed for autistic adults.  Visit http://www.  autismspeaks.org  .
Dr. Roach answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or ToYourGoodHealth  @med.cornell.edu  .

 

(Jan’s musings. . .

 . . . one can’t fault Dr Roach’s response to this man who questions why he is the way he is. His life has been difficult through no fault of his own and apparently, no one has questioned why he is the way he is, or determined answers.  I do question the data Dr Roach is referencing however,  for current data I have been seeing is a good deal higher today with prevalence in ADD, ADHD and of course, all the various levels of autism and nervous system damage, none of which is the ‘fault’ of the child or parent, but most generally, the interference of normal childhood development by medical intervention using “protective vaccinations” throughout early growth periods.  

The dramatic escalation over the last 4 to 6 decades both in volume and intensity is reflective of the current data’s horrendous cost to humanity. . . in so many ways.  Fifty and sixty years ago, the inoculations were minimal and scant. Indeed, there have been successes, but very few of them. . .Salk’s Polio vaccine as an example.  Mostly, it has been over done to the detriment of families and to the benefit of the rising, ultimate power, dictate and greed of BIG PhRMA.  

For those like this querant, it seems he has struggled alone feeling out of step with everyone else for  his lifetime.  At this point, I question whether any ‘out there’ can provide the “why” to anyone’s satisfaction;  but there are  directions one could take if relief from of his preferences are growing too uncomfortable to continue. But it requires thinking outside the box and would take much effort to be able to willingly do the work required to incorporate the type of nutrient change which could enhance normal function within the entire organism.  The body is a simple organism with simple but definite needs.  And yet it is magical, complex and all knowing.  It knows how to heal itself, if freed of toxins and provided the natural, organic nutrients it requires to function normally.  

Since this man’s diet is an unknown, it can’t be determined what and/or which steps need to happen and/or how.  But seeing a doctor or practitioner who uses natural methods; and/or especially someone like Donna Gates of the (BED) Body Ecology Diet who has had great success helping those afflicted with autism. . .there can always be relief. She has a product line, personally developed using natural enzymes and potions.  Tried some and they  are delicious and do work.

But I also have an additional thought.  If this condition now under discussion were my own,  I would be motivated to secure an appointment with  DONNA EDEN (or one of her fully credentialed practitioners) of EDEN ENERGY over at “Innersource” for a consultation.  Why?. . .because they ‘see’  things differently, or one could say — they look for different things.  It is in their purview to determine if the body’s meridians (energy channels) are open and free-flowing or perhaps blocked and malfunctioning. They can test the health of the vital organs thru simple, educated  maneuvers, and importantly, how all of it is working together.  They also can test the efficacy of a nutrient’s effect on one’s body needs or conversely, it’s rejection.  One can find these helpful people all around the world, for surely, Donna Eden is a “Healing Goddess” who comes from an understanding of pain and sickness without hope. So these are my thoughts. .)

Where’s ‘Buck’ stop @ OSU 4 athletes?

Ohio State

Second incident of ‘rhabdo’ occurs

By Todd Jones THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A member of the Ohio State women’s track and field team has been hospitalized since Friday after being diagnosed with exertional rhabdomyolysis following a team workout one day earlier.

“She’s stable, doing well and recovering well,” said James Borchers, a team physician for the Ohio State athletic department.
Borchers would not name the hospitalized athlete, but the mother of Ivy Horn, a sophomore multievent athlete from Wapakoneta, in western Ohio, said her daughter is being treated at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State. Kitt Horn declined further comment about her daughter’s condition.

  • Medical experts say rhabdomyolysis, commonly known was “rhabdo,” is potentially harmful. It occurs when muscle fibers break down after intense physical activity, releasing the protein myoglobin into the bloodstream. Myoglobin can cause kidney damage.

Borchers said five other members of the women’s track and field team were hospitalized on Friday after participating in the same workout and showing symptoms and signs — muscle soreness and fatigue — of possible rhabdo.

None of those five hospitalized athletes was diagnosed with rhabdo, Borchers said, and all five were released on Saturday after evaluation and treatment. Borchers said it’s uncertain how long the athlete suffering from rhabdo will be hospitalized.

In March 2012, six members of the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team were sent to the emergency room and told they were suffering from rhabdomyolysis. Five of those six were admitted, and three were hospitalized for as many as six nights.

An OSU committee investigated that incident and made recommendations that included more education about rhabdo for all members of the university’s 36 varsity sports programs. Three of the six families of the hospitalized lacrosse players implored then-OSU president E. Gordon Gee to have the university do more.

  • Asked if he was concerned about a second incident of rhabdo among OSU athletes in less than 2 1/2 years, Borchers said: “We see isolated cases of this occurring in athletes. I don’t have a concern other than the fact we have a large athletic department and we have a lot of athletes. I don’t have any concern from a medical standpoint, no.”

Although Ohio State has not identified the athletes in this most recent case, the father of OSU sprinter Khara Walker, a sophomore from Mason, near Cincinnati, said his daughter was released from the Wexner Medical Center on Saturday after being tested a day earlier.
“She’s feeling better,” Kevin Walker said. “I think there were some precautionary measures taken, as far as I understand it, to get IVs and rehydrate. They had some issues with dehydration and exhaustion and those types of things.

“Khara called me Friday afternoon en route to the hospital. She was going in to get an IV because she was experiencing some severe cramping in her calves. She mentioned it might be rhabdomyolysis.”

  • The latest case of rhabdo is another of a growing list of incidents that medical experts consider to be preventable but have been documented in recent years from youth to professional sports. Perhaps the most publicized case of rhabdomyolysis occurred in January 2011, when 13 college football players at Iowa were hospitalized after an offseason conditioning session.

Walker didn’t know details about the OSU track workout on Thursday that led to his daughter’s hospitalization, and neither did Borchers.
“I can’t really speak to the nature of the workout, the conditions and those sorts of things,” Borchers said. “All I can speak to is that an athlete had a condition and it was brought to our attention, and we treated her appropriately.”

Kevin Walker, who’s also a former NFL player, said an OSU trainer called him on Friday to notify him that his daughter was going to the hospital for precautionary reasons, but Walker said he hasn’t heard from anyone at the university since then.
“That’s very surprising, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m kind of puzzled by their lack of communication. ... I’m thinking at minimum I’d at least get an update. I’m thinking even if you have a sprained ankle or something, people would call and let you know what’s going on.”

tjones@dispatch.com

(Jan’s musings. . .  

I must confess that my heart isn’t into sending kids off to college on any kind of “sports scholarship” arrangement after reading such stories.  While it continues and seems endless — what is jumping out at me now is there is no progress, its the same ole, same ole.  After an investigation, the  committee recommended additional training for all in charge of the 36  varsity sports programs to incorporate training about “rhabdo”  back in 2012 – – but was that done?  If so, why has it continued to be a problem?  Is it their mind-set?. . .must be where the problem is, because instead of overseeing this precious bunch of potential entrusted to them, they are being treated like maybe they are being trained to become ‘navy seals’ willing to die for country and honor.    

Why would I even dare to say such a thing?    Read this article again especially Dr Borchers’ responses.  There isn’t a trace of care or concern which remotely sounds like we are dealing with hurt or possibly injured athletes.  Only that he has done the appropriate thing.  He doesn’t know why this happened, how this happened. . .only that it did happen and he – they acted appropriately . .[this is the kind of cover-your-ass comment which is endeavoring to satisfy insurance claims], just in case.  But certainly NOT what one might expect from one of the most prestigious campuses in our country!  

This is a bit sticky for me to think about or discuss on several levels, 1) the Earth-mother thing I so easily segue into which always calls for the ultimate concern for our kids – no matter the age,  and 2) that I know just a smidgen about this athletic training thing with regard to athletes whether elite professionals or youngsters just trying to learn how to be the best they can be in their choice of sports.  Why?. .because of my son — that’s what he does, guess one could say, its his passion.  You know, stuff I’ve heard from him over the years.

If Dr Borchers is typical of the ‘group-think’ of the other doctors on board at OSU, well then,  Houston, we have a problem!. . be sure your Obama-care is up to snuff. )  

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