SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

November 30, 2010

Bank Fraud and Foreclosures


Banks accused of misleading owners

OCTAVIAN CANTILLI /DISPATCH                                                                                                                                Caitlyn Corso and fiance Anthony Richardson say advice from Chase put them in foreclosure.

When Caitlyn Corso’s salary as a veterinary technician was cut last year, she couldn’t keep up with her mortgage payment.    She fell into a pattern of making her $1,200 payment 30 days late. She asked for a loan modification from her mortgage servicer, Chase Home Finance.    After a four-month cycle of 30-day-late payments, Corso said a Chase employee advised her to stop paying the mortgage on her Hilliard house as a condition to seal the loan-modification deal. Corso, 26, followed the directive in May. Chase filed for foreclosure in September.

In 2008, Chase gave Shirley McQuay a loan modification after her employer trimmed her work hours. Chase drafted a trial modification that dropped her monthly payment to $605 from $702. The trial was to last three months, but McQuay said that Chase kept verbally extending it. For more than two years, McQuay, 49, made on-time payments of $605 on the Worthington condo she has owned since 1995. In September, Chase filed for foreclosure because McQuay had failed to make full payments for the past two years.


Shirley McQuay is fighting with Chase to try to keep her home. She had received a trial loan modification in 2008, but later, Chase filed for foreclosure.

When Charles and Renee Harris moved to Cincinnati for a new job, they couldn’t sell their Northeast Side house. The couple said in court papers that Chase agreed to a “short sale” that would have allowed them to sell the house for far less than the amount due on the mortgage.    But  proceed with such a sale, they said, Chase told the couple, who had been making on-time payments, to stotop paying the mortgage. They did. Chase foreclosed.

Consumer advocates say these cases are more evidence that the foreclosure process isn’t working properly and continues to threaten the country’s economic recovery. “If this were a state agency, there would be a major investigation into what went wrong,” said Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.

Chase spokesman Thomas E. Kelly wrote in an e-mail that “we are reviewing all three files to see if we can help the borrowers. In addition, it is our policy to encourage customers  to continue paying.”    He declined further comment because of the pending litigation.

The chief executive officer for Chase’s home-lending division told a congressional committee this month that it doesn’t file foreclosures “until the modification process fails.”    “That is not to say we are perfect — we service millions of loans, and we sometimes do make mistakes,” David Lowman said. “But when we find an error, we fix it.”

Such issues aren’t isolated to Chase customers.    The Dispatch reviewed   547 foreclosure cases filed in Franklin County by the country’s four largest lenders.   Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15,   Bank of America and its mortgage-servicing arm BAC Home Loans,  Chase,   Citimortgage and Wells Fargo foreclosed on 15 borrowers who were actively negotiating either a loan modification or a short sale.

The problems arise because servicers deal with borrowers who are behind in payments along a dual-track system. One division of the company is negotiating a loan modification with borrowers while another is marching toward foreclosure. The two divisions don’t necessarily communicate with each other.

“There is not currently a coherent loss-mitigation system,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller told a congressional committee this month. “Instead, there exists a system of Russian roulette, where whether or not a borrower receives a modification that will save the family home depends in large part on who picks up the phone on the other end.”    Miller heads the investigation by the 50 state attorneys general into lenders’ foreclosure practices.

In Ohio, the foreclosure track has far outpaced the resolution track. The state ranks 47th in the percentage of borrowers who have received   a loan modification.    The number of foreclosures in Ohio has doubled in the past 10 years, rising each year. Lenders have foreclosed on about 652,000 homeowners here since 2000. And about 700,000 Ohio borrowers owe more than their home is worth.

Consumer advocates lay some of the state’s foreclosure problems on Ohio state senators who have sat on a bill to regulate the mortgage-servicing industry. Provisions of that bill would prohibit servicers from telling borrowers to stop paying as a condition of receiving help and would ban foreclosures while borrowers with the means to make payments are seeking a settlement.    The bill zoomed through the Ohio House with bipartisan support. It has been collecting dust in a Senate committee for 18 months.

“I’m pissed,” said Rep. Mike Foley, the Cleveland Democrat who sponsored the bill. “It’s an out-of-control system. They’re incentivized to bring foreclosure.” Servicers recoup all fees they’ve charged borrowers when a house is sold at a sheriff’s auction. Fees for late-payments, attorney fees and house-check fees quickly can add thousands to homeowners’ debts. Those debts are paid before the loan’s owner is.    U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has called on federal regulatory agencies to adopt strict standards for the mortgage-service industry to give struggling homeowners a fighting chance. Under current policies, servicers “continue to game the system,” the Cleveland Democrat said.

Ohio Attorney General   Richard Cordray said Chase might have violated the state’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, which forbids unfair business practices.    His office has used the consumer-protection law to crack down on mortgage servicers who misled borrowers.    Servicers in general are “pretty aggressive. It drives me nuts. They’re creating the problems,” Cordray said. “We see the injustice.” He also said that right now, borrowers’ best chance to save their homes once foreclosure is filed is to seek mediation through the courts. “By the time they come to the end of this process, they’re beaten down and feel betrayed,” he said. Mediation “can save them.”

Corso, who is fighting her foreclosure under the consumer law, said she wouldn’t be in this mess if not for the advice from a Chase employee to stop paying.    “A company can’t just tell you anything,” Corso said. “We were their consumers, and we were relying on Chase to give us precise, concise information.” She and her fiance, Anthony Richardson, have enough saved to bring the mortgage current. What they don’t have is the money to buy their way out of foreclosure — an extra $3,000 in fees that have been added to their debt.    McQuay needs an extra $4,000 to halt her foreclosure. “I’ve had the run-around for two years: You don’t make enough money; you make too much money,” McQuay said. “I’m at the end of my rope. I’m scared to death I’m going to lose my house.”

November 29, 2010

Fate of many await “DADT”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 2:22 am

Lesbian wants to return to West Point in the open

Ohioan prepares in case ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is halted


Katherine Miller felt that lying about  her sexual orientation violated the academy’s honor code. .

FINDLAY, Ohio — Katherine Miller got pretty good at hiding her sexuality in high school, brushing off questions about her weekend plans and referring to her girlfriend, Kristin, as “Kris.”    She figured she could pull it off at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, too. After all, “don’t ask, don’t tell” sounded a lot like how she had gotten through her teen years.

But something changed when she arrived at West Point two years ago. She felt the sting of guilt with every lie that violated the academy’s honor code. Then, near the end of her first year, she found herself in a classroom discussion about gays in the military, listening to friends say gays disgusted them.    “I couldn’t work up the courage to foster an argument against what they were saying for fear of being targeted as a gay myself,” Miller said. “I had to be silent. That’s not what I wanted to become.”

What she has become is an unlikely activist for repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military. She resigned from the academy in August and within days was one of the most prominent faces of the debate. Yet her greatest hope now is that she can return to the place she just left.    For that to happen, President Barack Obama must make good on his promise to gay-rights groups that he would push to repeal the 1993 law by the end of the year. The House has signed off on the idea, and the Senate is preparing to debate it in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, the Defense Department will release a   report that will help shape what Congress decides.

Miller, 21, grew up in rural northwestern Ohio, where she was captain of her high-school softball team and voted most likely to become president.    She started dreaming of going to West Point around the time she turned 16 — more than a year before she came to accept that she was gay. Even after that, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was no more than a passing concern.

Miller wanted to be a leader at the academy, someone with honor. She excelled, ranking near the top of her class of more than 1,100 cadets going into their third year. But she also was hiding. “I realized that I wasn’t becoming the leader of character that I wanted to be,” she said.    Other gay cadets in her small circle of friends tried to persuade her to stick it out. Conforming, after all, is a tenet taught in the military.    “It was definitely an option,” Miller said. “I just chose not to live my life that way. I’m pretty stubborn in my values. I needed to get out and declare who I was.”

Still, she wonders whether she should have stayed and tried to survive under the policy. “At the same time, I don’t think that I would’ve made nearly the impact that coming out publicly made,” she said.    What hurt the most after her resignation were negative comments from people in her hometown, Miller said. Some were hateful. Some accused her of wasting the military’s time and money. Some called her selfish for taking a spot in the academy from someone else.      “My intentions were honorable. It wasn’t to become a gay-rights activist,” she said. “It was something I was forced to think about once I got there.”

Miller resigned a week before she would have been required to commit to finish her final two years and serve five years in the military. Cadets who withdraw in their first two years don’t owe the government service or compensation for the education and benefits they’ve received.    There was no answer Friday at the academy’s public-affairs office. A West Point spokesman said in August that Miller had done very well academically, militarily and physically.    The harshest criticism from former classmates came after she wore her dress whites on the red carpet with Lady Gaga at the MTV Video Music Awards. They felt she was using her uniform to make a political statement.

Miller doesn’t regret the decision. But she doubts she’ll wear her uniform again — at least not until she’s back at the academy.    “I’m trying to get back into the military,” she said. “I’m not trying to make that difficult when that occurs.”    She calls strangers “sir” and “ma’am.” She wears her black hair tightly pulled back.    Miller is now preparing her application to the academy in case Congress acts quickly on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” She knows that not everyone will welcome her back.    “There’s going to be hostility toward me, and that’s inevitable,” she said.    For now, Miller is taking classes at Yale University, including U.S. lesbian and gay history and sexual gender in society — courses not found at the academy.    She has found freedom in the school’s gay community and likes staying up late. Still, her heart is at West Point.    She misses the respect, the hierarchy — everything but one rule.

. *                                  *                               *                              *

Pentagon survey: Gay troops no issue for most personnel


WASHINGTON — When a majority of troops told the Pentagon this summer that they didn’t care whether gays were allowed to serve openly in the military, it was in sharp contrast to the time when America’s fighting forces voiced bitter opposition to accepting racial minorities and women in the services.    The survey, results of which are due out Tuesday, is expected to find pockets of resistance among combat troops to ending the ban on gays. But about 70 percent of respondents are expected to say that lifting the ban would have a positive or mixed effect, or none at all, according to officials familiar with the findings.

The study is expected to set the stage for a showdown in the Senate between advocates of repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law and a small but powerful group of foes in the final days of the lame-duck Congress.

Repeal would mean that, for the first time in U.S. history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.    U.S. troops haven’t always   been so accepting. Troop surveys conducted throughout the 1940s on blacks and Jews, and in the 1970s and 1980s on women, exposed deep rifts within a military dominated by white males but becoming increasingly reliant on minorities.

For a study in July 1947, four of five enlisted men told the Army they would oppose blacks serving in their units even if whites and blacks didn’t share housing or eat together.    The same study also revealed a deep resentment toward Jews. Most enlisted men said Jews had profited greatly from the war and many doubted that Jews had suffered under Adolf Hitler.    But President Harry S. Truman issued an order in 1948 on equal treatment of blacks in the services — paving the way for integration during the Korean War.

It wasn’t until Vietnam, when racial tensions in the civilian world bubbled over, that race riots erupted in all four military branches.    By the 1980s, the military faced the issue of whether to allow women to serve on Navy ships and on the battlefield. Troops were generally much more open to serving with women than they had been to serving with blacks 40 years earlier. Still, many   expressed concerns that women would cause problems.

In one 1981 study, lower-ranking sailors blamed female crew members for a decline in “discipline, leadership and supervision.”    Women still are barred from many combat roles. But allowing women to join most military units never produced the backlash or decline in military effectiveness that opponents predicted.    By the time President Bill Clinton proposed allowing gays to serve in the military in 1993, gays had been explicitly barred from military service since World War I.

Foes of lifting the ban argued that the military shouldn’t be used to expand the rights of gays and that allowing them to serve openly would hurt troop morale and a unit’s ability to fight — the same arguments used against women and blacks.

In the end, Congress agreed to let gays serve only if their sexual orientation remained secret.    Much of the coming debate is likely to hinge on the results of the Pentagon study, with many senators saying they wanted to see whether troops would support such a change before voting for repeal. Still, it’s unclear whether the bill would advance to a floor debate.

November 28, 2010

Cold and Flu tips

Cold and Flu. . . we can stop this thing

It is reputed to be that time of year – – the cold and flu season.  TV and print advertisements are admonishing us to get our flu shots and so on.   That’s what you hear on the street, in the doctors office and from government officials and your friendly insurance company.    But not here.  Most definitely not here.

My thinking runs more to  preventing these intrusions in the first place without interfering with our body’s ability to  take care of business on its own without numbing it, shutting it down with laboratory chemicals which always bring intrusive side effects.  We want to nourish our physical structure with the best we can possibly provide.  This would include eating at home – as much organic as possible, with more “raw foods” instead of everything ‘cooked’;    keep hydrated and eat more fruits,  vegetables, nuts and seeds;   filter your water at home and greatly increase your mineral content by using Celtic Sea Salt which is actually very beneficial for us unlike the processed varieties which do harm us and do not raise our mineral levels;  increasing the amount of bountiful plant food – – that is where the minerals are.  One would never have to fret over the acid/alkaline balance of the body if  eating an adequate variety of gorgeous, tasty leafy veggies.   And you know what this means,  you could worry less about stuff like catching colds, having a weakened immune system and being a fertile ground for cancer to grow in (an acid soil).  Alkalinity (from plants) is definitely the way to go.  And so much cheaper than alternatives.

By now probably almost everyone knows that adequate Vitamin D is one of the greatest protections we can utilize.  This vitamin/hormone serves us in so many ways (heart, brain, kidney and liver, etc) but I am especially thinking of it’s great benefit to the respiratory system (I have personally been helped so much in taking  10 to 15 thousand mg daily and as recently reported to you, I test at the 70 level now, and have not had a cold or flu for over a year (very rare for me).

Below is a portion from  Dr Joseph Mercola’s newsletter with a helpful solution to rid yourself of a cold, should you get one.  I chuckled because I know it works and had forgotten about it.  I learned about such techniques from   Dr. William Campbell Douglass who was saying much the same thing twenty years ago.  He also recommended using the stronger dosage [35%] orally to cure a number of conditions.  I wanted to believe him and trust his “science”. . . I bought the stuff, mixed a dose but could not bring myself to drink it.  .  .  that was then and perhaps I wasn’t as daring then as I am now. . .  Jan

From Dr. Mercola:

Hydrogen Peroxide: A Simple Trick to Beat a Cold

I don’t advise over-the-counter medications, but one simple treatment you can try that is surprisingly effective against upper respiratory infections is hydrogen peroxide.

Many patients at my Natural Health Center have had remarkable results in curing colds and flu within 12 to 14 hours when administering a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into each ear. You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and possibly feel a slight stinging sensation.

Wait until the bubbling and stinging subside (usually 5 to 10 minutes), then drain onto a tissue and repeat with the other ear. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide in 3 percent solution is available at any drug store for a couple of dollars or less. It is simply amazing how many people respond to this simple, inexpensive treatment.

November 26, 2010

Non-GMO movement

Happy Thanksgiving

Celebrating our National Non-GMO Movement

A young woman came up to me at a Cambridge bookstore just before my presentation. “I heard you on Coast to Coast radio last year,” she said. “You changed my life.” No one had ever said anything like that to me before. I was deeply touched.

That was 2004. It was just 8 months since launching Seeds of Deception and I had already toured five continents. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was just getting started. And I would meet countless others whose lives were also transformed by the truth about genetically modified (GM) foods.

The world today is quite different than when I started out as a non-GMO road warrior. Most Americans had said they would avoid genetically modified organisms if labeled, but now millions are no longer waiting. They’re actively seeking non-GMO foods. And many are enthusiastically getting the word out to others.

As a personal thank you, I wanted to share a few stories from this year’s travels in the US about individuals whose commitments to non-GMO eating were inspired by rather compelling circumstances.

Non-GMO Doctoring

I spent some time at the medical practices of two Chicago area doctors who, like many I know, prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone. The doctors had told me that taking people off of GM foods is a very important part of health and healing, but I didn’t appreciate the full extent of it until I spoke with their patients. One after the other they described chronic symptoms that quickly improved or disappeared after changing their diets—skin conditions, irritable bowel, migraines, weight problems, fatigue, and much more.

At the end of my interviews I asked one of the doctors, “Where did you first learn about the health impacts of GMOs?” She smiled, “From you.” I held back tears.

The patients I interviewed had avoided GMOs by switching to organic food; some had also eliminated processed foods and/or specific food categories, so it was not clear how much of the improvements were based on avoiding GMOs versus other healthy changes. Soon after the visit, however, I came across other folks where the impact of a non-GMO diet was not ambiguous at all.

Animals on the Mend

These were veterinarians and farmers who had taken livestock—pigs and cows—off of GMO feed. What do you suppose happened? Death rates dropped, still born rates were down, litter size was up, and overall health improved. One farmer was ecstatic about the huge increase in milk production in his herd; another described how healthy his pigs looked—even down to reduced blood shot eyes.

The vets I spoke with had all been in practice long before 1996, when GMOs were introduced. Each had his stories about the surge in diseases and disorders after GM feed came on the scene. One told me that the jump in dog and cat allergies correlated exactly with the introduction of GM pet food. Whenever he switched his allergic animals to an organic (non-GMO) brand, their symptoms such as itching would usually disappear. Others described inflammation, infections, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Both vets and farmers saw differences inside GM-fed animals during autopsies or butchering, including liver damage, stomach ulcers, discoloration, and an awful stench. One farmer said that after seeing the alterations inside GM-fed animals, he and his wife started a strict non-GMO policy for their family’s meat.

(Apparently the vets who started their practices after GMOs entered the food supply consider all these problems normal.)

A Movement of Non-GMO Eaters and Feeders

Although some might dismiss these stories as “anecdotal,” the doctors, patients, vets, and farmers do not. Nor do the two autism organizations I visited, who now specify a non-GMO diet as part of the treatment protocol. These are just a few examples of the informed individuals, families, and organizations around the nation who are getting the message loud and clear—GMOs are NOT healthy.

We now have a movement in America. A BIG ONE! Thanks to you, we’re a force of nature—like the Earth’s immune system—a vast network rejecting dangerous genetically modified organisms. We will soon reach our goal—the tipping point of consumer rejection—which will force GMOs out of the market.

To respond to this new movement, our Institute is making some significant shifts—which I will tell you about very soon. But I wanted to take this opportunity to share these stories and to thank you for being part of this historic movement.

Much love and happy holidays,


For articles, online videos and more visit the Institute for Responsible Technology
Shop Non-GMO, visit the Non-GMO Shopping Guide

uh, no Turkey Thanksgiving

Filed under: Turkey abuse — Jan Turner @ 12:11 am
Tags: ,

(. . .or maybe  ever again. . .  Jan)

Turkey hatchery accused of abuse

By Paul Walsh                                                                                                       (MINNEAPOLIS) STAR TRIBUNE MINNEAPOLIS

The Humane Society of the United States is accusing a mammoth hatchery in Minnesota of abusing baby turkeys as it winnows out those unworthy of America’s dining tables.

An investigator the society sent to work undercover for 11 days last month at Will-mar Poultry Co., the country’s largest turkey hatchery, filmed practices that included workers tossing sick, injured or surplus animals into grinding machines while still alive.

Willmar said much of what the video shows is accepted industry practice but acknowledged that some of its employees’ actions appear to “violate the company’s animal-welfare policies.” Spokesman Rick Vanderspek said the company might use the video to retrain employees.

The society said the video documents mistreatment of poults, or day-old turkeys. Workers amputated parts of turkeys’ toes and snoods without painkillers, according to the society, and jammed their heads into a machine that sears off parts of their beaks with lasers.

The society said workers also threw sick or injured poults into plastic bins or left them on the floor.

November 25, 2010

Lenhart’s Homiez Hatz

The  COLUMBUS CREW  Has SO much to be THANKFUL  for

ED MATTHEWS DISPATCH PHOTOS    Columbus Crew soccer player Steven Lenhart watches Elizabeth Greenwood begin to knit at their weekly gathering at the Westminster-Thurber retirement community. Lenhart and more than a dozen residents usually crochet hats for his Homiez Hatz charity serving the needy and homeless.

Hatz off to crochet crew

Soccer player, senior women gather weekly for his charity


He often zooms up on a skateboard or bike. They arrive slowly, sometimes with help from a cane or walker.    Once seated in their usual Monday-afternoon spots, the 24-year-old soccer pro and the ladies of the Westminster-Thurber Community, average age north of 80, proceed to bond — over crochet hooks.

“I do feel like I have like 20 grandmothers,” Steven Lenhart says as he checks the stitches in his purple beanie-to-be.    Donna Chapman looks up from her yarn and smiles. “Steven was raised right,” she says.  The unlikely friendship among the Columbus Crew player, a couple of his pals and more than a dozen residents of the retirement community on Neil Avenue is an intergenerational delight, all agree. They get together every week to crochet hats for the needy and homeless.

“Isn’t this something?” said resident Urma Mains.     “Who would have ever thought — old women and soccer players.”    Mains is a devoted newspaper reader but acknowledges that she used to throw away the sports section. Now, she and many in the crochet club scour it for news about Lenhart. “Steven is a striker, or a forward,” Mains said. “I like striker better.”    The women gasped when they read this summer that the 6-foot-4 California native had suffered a broken nose. And they noticed right away when he buzzed his trademark   blond, bushy hair. “Oh, you should hear them,” said Sabrina Bobrow, activities coordinator at Westminster-Thurber. “When I come in to work, I get, ‘Steven got a haircut! Steven broke his nose! Steven got ejected! We’ve got to get a card!’”

Lenhart, a free spirit known for his charity work, said the club just makes sense. He met Bobrow in Goodale Park this year, and they talked about Homiez Hatz, his project to make beanies and raise money for   needy men, women and kids.    Bobrow knew how to help. “I said, ‘You know, I’ve got a whole tower full of women who know how to crochet.’”    The beanies, in a rainbow of colors, are piling up. Dozens soon will be delivered to the YWCA Family Center, which is helping a record number of homeless families   this year.

“These ladies definitely feel useful,” Bobrow said.    Norma Webb said residents are happy to crochet with a purpose. And the adventures — to a Crew game, out to dinner with Lenhart, meeting his family — have been a blast.    “We have a lot of time on our hands,” Webb said, and it’s nice to fill some of it. “We like being with younger people.”

Lenhart’s schedule is busier than theirs. But he couldn’t agree more about the fun.    “There’s a lot to be learned from them,” he said. “And it’s just a good time.”

Lenhart’s friend and roommate Cornell Thomas, right, counts rows of stitches while crocheting a hat. Thomas often goes with Lenhart to the Neil Avenue retirement community.

ED MATTHEWS DISPATCH    The Crew’s Steven Lenhart leans in to get a kiss on the cheek from Norma Webb after bringing flowers to the women in his crocheting group at Westminster-Thurber. Lenhart, 24, is a California native and free spirit known for charity work.

November 24, 2010

Diabetes costs don’t have to soar

Filed under: Diabetes,obesity — Jan Turner @ 7:13 pm
Tags: ,

(If stuff keeps keeping on the same ole way, the following article surely is true –  – no question!  Keep doing the same thing, of course, we get the same result.   It just doesn”t have to be that way, but it will take effort to change it.    I sent for and watched the film “Raw for 30 days” recently displayed on this blog.  [David Wolfe etal]  It was so excellent.   As everybody knows – – WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!  If we make better choices, one can not only handle this disease, but reverse it – even type 1.

All participants in the film were successful [well, one elderly man couldn’t – – he claimed he missed his family too much and disliked the food. ]  He made remarkable progress, was down to 1/4 of his insulin dosage and was doing okay, but emotionally, was not up to it.   All their problems either went away or were so dramatically diminished, amazing.  Their REALLY high blood pressure readings came to normal   and for that alone, I want to try it.  This is THE way to go, my friends.

Hey, if anyone out there has a VITA-MIX [even an old one] you’d be willing to sell cheap, let me know. Jan)

Diabetes costs could soar in 10 years

Americans must lose weight, insurer says


NEW YORK — Diabetes or prediabetic conditions will strike half of all adult Americans by the end of the decade unless people lose weight, said UnitedHealth Group, the largest U.S. health insurer by sales.

The disease will cost the nation almost $3.4 trillion in the 10 years through 2020, with more than 60 percent paid for by the U.S. government, according to a study released yesterday by the insurer based in Minnetonka, Minn. The number   of Americans with high blood sugar will rise 44 percent to 135 million in 2020, from 93.8 million in 2010, researchers said.

Diabetes is growing as the U.S. population grows older and fatter, said Simon Stevens, executive vice president of the company’s Center for Health Reform & Modernization. About 28 million adult Americans, or 12 percent, are currently diabetic, while 66 million others, or 28 percent, are prediabetic, according to the study. Prediabetics can lower the odds of getting diabetes by losing weight, he said.

“There is nothing inevitable” about the rise in diabetes, Stevens said. “Even quite modest changes, like losing five percent of body   weight, have the potential of producing decreases. If we don’t take obesity seriously, we risk our children living shorter lives than we parents have lived.”    The U.S. government has issued similar predictions about the growth in the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a study on Oct. 22 saying new cases will more than double by 2050, afflicting at least 1 in 5 adults. That amounts to as many as 75 million by midcentury. The CDC’s estimate of adults with diabetes now is at least 32 million, according to the study.   “I can’t comment on the differences in the numbers, but both show a growing problem,” said Ann Albright,  director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “The message for everyone is that we need to take this issue seriously as a country.    “Diabetes is like dropping a rock in a pond and watching the ripples flow out from it,” Albright said. “It’s the No. 1 cause of blindness, the No. 1 cause of kidney disease and a huge contributor to heart attack and stroke.”

People can help prevent diabetes through changes in lifestyle, such as increasing physical activity and losing weight, she said.    This is an “epidemic that is larger than breast cancer and HIV together,” said Deneen Vojta, senior vice president at the UnitedHealth center.

(Please notice that nowhere is anything mentioned about DIET CHANGES.  Nor is your doctor or any government agency a help on this. Its cruel and frankly like beating a dead horse to just keep demanding we go home and loose some weight!  Most everyone has tried to do that and for many different reasons “can’t”.  Kids can’t.  Seniors can’t.  There is no clear and precise information out anywhere that will work for all people anyway.  We are all different.   However, the RAW FOOD diet is something anyone can do if he or she is willing.  . .for a limited period of time, then segue back into addition of favorite foods so that you can be happy and thin and healthy.  It IS worth a decent try.   Try googling Raw Food diet protocols for help on how to do.  or visit the library.  That’s what I plan to do.  Good luck to all on this.  Seems we are in this boat together.   Jan)

November 22, 2010

Weak Economy serves republicans

Filed under: Paul Krugman — Jan Turner @ 8:02 pm

Weak economy works for Republicans

PAUL KRUGMAN  writes for The Mew York Times.

What do the government of China, the government of Germany and the Republican Party have in common? They’re all trying to bully the Federal Reserve into calling off its efforts to create jobs. And the motives of all   three are highly suspect.

It’s not as if the Fed is doing anything radical. It’s true that the Fed normally conducts monetary policy by buying short-term U.S. government debt whereas now, under the unhelpful   name of “quantitative easing,” it’s buying longer-term debt. (Buying more short-term debt is pointless because the interest rate on that debt is near zero.) But Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, had it right when he protested that this is “just monetary policy.” The Fed is trying to reduce interest rates, as it always does when unemployment is high and inflation is low.

And inflation is indeed low.   Core inflation — a measure that excludes volatile food and energy prices and is widely considered a better gauge of underlying trends than the headline number — is running at just 0.6 percent, the lowest level ever recorded. Meanwhile, unemployment is almost 10 percent, and long-term unemployment is worse than it has been since the Great Depression.

So the case for Fed action is overwhelming. In fact, the main concern reasonable people have about the Fed’s plans — a concern that I share — is that they are likely to prove too weak, too ineffective.

But there are reasonable people — and then there’s the China-Germany-GOP axis of depression. It’s no mystery why China and   Germany are on the warpath against the Fed.   Both nations are accustomed to running huge trade surpluses. But for some countries to run trade surpluses, others must run trade deficits — and, for years, that has meant us. The Fed’s expansionary policies, however, have the   side effect of somewhat weakening the dollar, making U.S. goods more competitive, and paving the way for a smaller U.S. deficit.   And the Chinese and the Germans don’t want to see that happen.

For the Chinese government, by the way, attacking the Fed has the additional benefit of shifting attention away from its own currency manipulation, which keeps China’s currency artificially weak — precisely the sin China falsely accuses America of committing.

But why are Republicans joining in this attack?      Bernanke and his colleagues seem stunned to find themselves in the crosshairs. They thought they were acting in the spirit of none other than Milton Friedman, who blamed the Fed for not acting more forcefully during the Great Depression — and who, in 1998, called on the Bank of Japan to “buy government bonds on the open market,” exactly what the Fed is now doing.

Republicans, however, will have none of it, raising objections that range from the odd to the incoherent.

The odd: On Monday, a somewhat strange group of Republican figures — who knew that William Kristol was an expert on monetary policy? — released an open letter to the Fed warning that its policies “risk currency debasement and inflation.” These concerns were echoed in a letter the top four Republicans in Congress sent Bernanke on Wednesday. Neither letter explained why we should fear inflation when the reality is that inflation keeps hitting record lows.

And about dollar debasement: Leaving aside the fact that a weaker dollar actually helps U.S. manufacturing, where were these people during the previous administration? The dollar slid steadily through most of the Bush years, a decline that dwarfs the recent downtick. Why weren’t there similar letters demanding that Alan Green-span, the Fed chairman at the time, tighten policy?

Meanwhile, the incoherent: Two Republicans, Mike Pence in the House and Bob Corker in the Senate, have called on the Fed to abandon all efforts to achieve full employment and focus solely on price stability. Why? Because unemployment remains so high. No, I don’t understand the logic, either.

So what’s really motivating the GOP attack on the Fed? Bernanke and his colleagues clearly were caught by surprise, but budget expert Stan Collender predicted it all. Back in August, he warned Bernanke that “with Republican policymakers seeing economic hardship as the path to election glory,” they would be “opposed to any actions taken by the Federal Reserve that would make the economy better.” In short, their real fear is not that Fed actions will be harmful; it is that they might succeed.

Hence the axis of depression. No doubt some of Bernanke’s critics are motivated by sincere intellectual conviction, but the core reason for the attack on the Fed is self-interest, pure and simple. China and Germany want America to stay uncompetitive; Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House.    And if Bernanke gives in to their bullying, they may all get their wish.


GOP serve own agenda, not country

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 7:10 pm

Got my “moxie” back

(As the supremacy and immensity of the corporate-greed-money  [guaranteed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision] bankrolled the distortions seen in the mid-term election, I was frankly overcome with such an immensity of loss, that I almost gave up on blogging – – what for?  What’s the use?  If people can buy into this pack of lies and choose the very people who got us into this mess to take ANY appropriate action whatsoever to get us out of this quagmire, then my fellow citizens aren’t as  perceptive as I believed them to be.   So how can my little blog expect to reach people or make any difference at all?

Suffering gets to me – – my gut isn’t strong enough to accept that our suffering masses, cheated out of their jobs and ability to have an equal chance at their dreams, have families, educate their children and all the rest. . .how can any of this be?  With only two classes left – the uber-rich and the impoverished, tossed aside underclass whose  only resource is government handouts,  how does anyone see a path back to normalcy?  The great “middle-class” has been chopped down and tossed aside – yet it was this class of people who made this country what it is – made it great!

I am still sick at heart over the wrangling I have been witnessing in Washington.  There is no room for the GOP to cooperate with our president.  Apparently its not in their DNA.  Wouldn’t even accept a dinner invitation to the white-house – not in the mood for any discussion let alone agreement.  Well,  I hope some people are happy.   Our president is a good man who deserves every person’s respect.  This is very disturbing to say the very least.

Like it or not I will not sit in a corner and melt-down.  Had enough!  So here we go with some observations  using literate experts with ability to speak truth to power starting with David Broder and Paul Krugman [separately].   While my main thrust has always been wellness/health issues, for me it is difficult to separate this thrust from the home, country and American values we have always been known for.  If we don’t have the  quality of life we need in order to have that life we seek – – then we MUST question why.  . . .and then follow the dictates of our heart.        Jan)

GOP shows no signs of wanting to give ground


Washington began last week to come to grips with the new order of things, a regime in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds as much sway as the president of the   United States.    With the additional leverage that six more Republican senators and a new Republican majority in the House has given him, McConnell is challenging   President Barack Obama’s agenda for the lame-duck session of Congress and signaling that he is prepared to keep up the fight right into the 2012 election.

Whether it is tax rates or nuclear arms, Republicans are being assertive about their views and challenging Democrats to step up to the fight. Not one sign has appeared so far of any willingness to compromise.    On the face of it, Democrats hold the high ground rhetorically. When it comes to taxes, Obama is calling for extending the Bush cuts for every family making below $250,000 a year, which he says will take care of 98 percent of the population. Only Republicans are holding out for the millionaires to be included.

But if McConnell and his partners are embarrassed by their roles, they certainly don’t show it. Instead, they are playing chicken with the White House, in effect daring Obama to let rates rise for everyone on Jan. 1, whatever the risk to the fragile economic recovery. Despite the good news that General Motors, which needed rescue in 2009 from impending bankruptcy, has recovered enough to become a star on Wall Street, the broader economy as this Christmas season opens is still barely limping along. It makes no sense even to be talking about a broad tax increase. Yet that is what could result from the partisan warfare in Washington.

The international counterpart of this fight is the debate over ratification of the New START treaty with Russia on control of nuclear weapons. A central goal of American foreign policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations has been securing our ability to monitor and limit Russian missile development.    Intrusive examination of Russian facilities ended with the expiration last December of the START treaty negotiated by President George W. Bush. A follow-on agreement, reducing the number of missiles on both sides and guaranteeing the inspections will continue, was negotiated and signed by Obama and the Russians earlier this year.    Obama has urged publicly and privately that it be ratified in the lame-duck session, rather than extend the unmonitored period into some point next year, when the new Senate may or may not get around to it.

At a White House event last week, his call for action was endorsed by former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III, and by Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser.      But those three, representing the Republican foreign-policy establishment of the past two administrations, are being countermanded by Jon Kyl, the senator from Arizona who is the No. 2 man to McConnell in the Senate.    McConnell has made it clear that he backs his partner in delaying the treaty, forcing Obama to seek at least nine Republican votes despite the opposition of the GOP leadership. It is notable that McConnell bases his opposition on the claim that the Senate schedule does not allow sufficient time for debate on the treaty. That is normally a judgment that would be made by the majority leader, Harry Reid, who backs the president in calling for action by the lame-duck session.    It is typical of these Republicans to usurp that role, even if they did not reach their goal of claiming a majority in the Senate elections. All this signals that they are feeling their oats, and will be hard to deal with.

David S. Broder writes for the Washington Post Writers Group.

November 19, 2010

Elderly Ripped Off

Friends, family increasingly rip off elderly

In the U.S. each year, a million older folks lose about $2.6 billion to scammers and thieves

Millie Rutherford, 81, of Bremen, Ohio, was deceived by her son, Daniel L. Rutherford. The 49-year-old heroin addict stole an estimated $55,000, authorities say.

At 81, Millie Rutherford wanted only to help her son when he moved back into her Bremen home.

Daniel L. Rutherford was 49, an unemployed heroin addict living at a trailer court in Pickaway County. He had worked as a state prison guard for about a decade until he was fired in 2003. He told his mother he had stopped using   heroin and wanted to find a job.    He helped out around the house in rural Fairfield County, and she generally gave him $100 a week. Then he wanted more, and she gave him more. Then he began taking his mother’s money on his own, forging checks and using her debit card without her knowledge.

Daniel L. Rutherford pleaded guilty to theft from an elderly person — his 81-year-old mother.   He was sentenced to seven months in prison.   His attorney, Jim Fields, is at left.

Daniel Rutherford stole an estimated $55,000 from his mother, authorities said when they arrested him in August.    The amount could not be proved, however, and had the case gone to trial, said Assistant Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx, Daniel Rutherford was prepared to argue that his mother wrote him checks willingly.    He took a plea deal in Common Pleas Court on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to theft from an elderly person, a fourth-degree felony, and admitted stealing $1,290 from his mother. Daniel Rutherford was sentenced to seven months in prison.

Sitting at home, Millie Rutherford cried as she shared her feelings.    “I had to do it; I had to take him in. I just didn’t know how to say no to him,” she said.    “I feel like I’ve been pretty stupid.”    She does not stand alone.

~                ~            ~              ~

Financial exploitation is a form of elder abuse that is thought to be increasing as the U.S. population ages.    Family members, friends and caregivers are the thieves in 55 percent of the financial-abuse cases against the elderly, according to a report issued last year by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech.

An estimated 1 million older Americans lose more than $2.6 billion annually to all forms of financial fraud, the report found. For each case reported, an estimated four to five are not.      The federally funded National Elder Mistreatment Study released last year estimated that 1 in 20 adults older than 60 had been financially mistreated by family members or by others they trusted. Most prevalent was spending money without permission.

Researchers interviewed 5,777 older adults by phone and wrote that the study’s estimates are based on self-reporting of mistreatment, which is “notoriously under-reported” by older Americans.    Elderly victims are embarrassed to have been swindled and worry that family members will think they are incompetent and need to be put in a nursing home, investigators and adult-protection workers say.

Sometimes victims are incompetent because they have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and cannot testify in court.    Pinning down elder fraud also is difficult because there is no national repository, and each state collects data differently, said Sharon Merriman-Nai of the National Center on Elder Abuse, based in Newark, Del.

~               ~                ~               ~

Predators such as Deborah G. Johnson and Anita L. Esquibel, who obtained power of attorney for 94-year-old Peter W. Svaldi and then stole more than $850,000 of his savings, commonly groom their victims and isolate them from family members before moving in for the crime.

Misused power of attorney is a license to steal, say police and prosecutors in Columbus who worked the Svaldi case. They said it was the worst elder fraud they had encountered.    Home-health aides, financial planners and others in positions of trust also swindle the elderly. Visiting nurse’s aide Cindy L. Flagg of Lancaster was sentenced in Fairfield County to three years on probation and ordered to pay restitution this year in such a case. She admitted that she stole several thousand dollars from an Alzheimer’s patient she cared for, along with his wife, in Pickerington.

Last year, a federal judge in Columbus sentenced financial adviser Julie M. Jarvis, of the Far North Side, to 5 1/2 years in prison after she admitted stealing nearly $2.7 million from two elderly clients.    Strangers prey on older people as well, using mail and telemarketing scams. Traveling bands of con artists offer driveway paving or tree-trimming at reasonable rates and then demand more money, draining hundreds of millions of dollars in all from older Americans annually.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien does not track the number of such cases his office prosecutes each year. “Anecdotally, it appears to me that there’s been an increase in targeting of and crimes against elderly victims,” he said.    Ohio increased the penalties for theft against people 65 or older and disabled   adults in 1999.    The theft committed by Johnson and Esquibel, for example, would normally be a second-degree felony, punishable by two to eight years in prison. Because an elderly person was the victim, the crime was elevated to a first-degree felony, punishable by three to 10 years in prison.

Virtually every jurisdiction nationwide has “bump-up provisions” for various crimes against the elderly and disabled because those groups are deemed more vulnerable, said Ric Simmons, a criminal-law professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. And even if there is no correlation between enhanced penalties and deterrence, he said, such laws are politically popular.    “I tend to be retributive,” said Simmons, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan. “Morally, that’s a worse crime. I have absolutely no problem making it a worse punishment.”

. –               –               –                   –                  –                  –

David Kessler doesn’t need a study to know the   trends. The investigator for Fairfield County Adult Protective Services said most of his cases involve elderly people who have been victimized by their families.    “It is going through the roof,” he said. Family caregivers rationalize their behavior by thinking, “Look at all I do; I’m entitled.”   “Because of the economy, it’s even more on the increase,” Kessler said. “Before losing your house, the last resort is grandma or grandpa.”

Also, he said, many who prey on an elderly family member are addicted to drugs or gambling or another vice so powerful that they are driven to steal.    “The No. 1 excuse I hear from the predator is, ‘They wanted me to have it’ or ‘They gave it to me.’ But that was based on lies, deception and undue influence.”    Millie Rutherford was deceived and pressured by her son into writing him check after check, ostensibly for medical bills at the Veterans Administration hospital in Chillicothe and for car repairs, said Kessler, who   was frustrated that he and the prosecutor could not prove the extent of the fraud.    “It breaks our heart to not be able to prove he stole all of it,” Kessler said.

.              –                –            –                 –                –

In a Licking County courtroom in September, Samantha L. Crawford held out her wrists so a deputy sheriff could fasten the handcuffs.    She had just been sentenced to four years in prison for aggravated theft, a third-degree felony, and aggravated theft from a disabled adult, a second-degree felony. The victim was her mother, 62-year-old Crystal A. Crawford, who has Parkinson’s disease.

Behind her mother’s back, Samantha Crawford transferred the deed to her mother’s house in Newark into her name. She acted while she had temporary power of attorney for her mother, who was in a nursing home at the time recovering from surgery.      Samantha Crawford said she took the house, where she and her boyfriend had been living with her three children, because she was afraid her mother was going to kick her out.

At sentencing, Common Pleas Judge Thomas Marcelain ignored her plea for mercy, noting that this was her second conviction for stealing from her mother. She had received probation in 2006 for theft and forgery convictions related to taking money from her mother’s checking account.    At Crystal Crawford’s house, which is now back in her name, she reflected on what happened.

Her 36-year-old daughter has used drugs since high school, most recently crack cocaine and methamphetamine, she said.   She tried to help by giving her daughter a place to live and money to pay bills.    “Samantha seems to think that anything bad that has happened was someone else’s fault,” her mother said. “I suppose that’s my fault to a certain extent. I always stepped in and tried to help her.”    She reported the deed transfer to Newark police when she learned of it last year, and that led to the prosecution and imprisonment of her daughter.    “It’s called tough love,” she said, “and it gets mighty tough at times.”

‘Friends’ clean out man’s life savings

Women win retired brewer’s trust, then steal his fortune

Stories by Mary Beth Lane THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Peter W. Svaldi was a frugal millionaire. He was the first brewmaster when the Anheuser-Busch plant opened in Columbus in 1968 and built his fortune with work and thrift. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment at Worthington Towers on High Street in Clintonville and wore the same pair of gray, suede Hush Puppies for 40 years.

But it took only about a year for two women who befriended the 94-year-old to steal and spend more than $850,000 of his money.    Deborah G. Johnson and Anita L. Esquibel were about to help themselves to another $50,000 when police arrested them in March. They pleaded guilty to theft and attempted money-laundering and were sentenced in September to four years, 11 months in prison.

“To me, it’s the worst case of theft from the elderly ever — the amount, the speed,” said Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blake. “It’s definitely a case that stands out.”    With the population aging, law enforcement officials say they are confident there are more Peter Svaldis out there — and more Deborah Johnsons and Anita Esquibels.

Columbus police detective Eric Harp was at his desk in the Economic Crime Unit on March 3 when he took an urgent call from a Fifth Third Bank security manager.    The detective was told that two women with power of attorney for a customer named Peter Svaldi had deducted and spent more than $800,000 from his accounts and were now trying to transfer $50,000 from another account. Harp took notes, hung up and opened a case file. He knew he had to work fast. He tried to visit Svaldi at his apartment at Worthington Towers in Clintonville the next day, but he wasn’t home. The detective left a message with the building manager.

Johnson later called and told the detective that she had power of attorney for Svaldi. She said that she and her sister cared for him and that he was in a nursing home recovering from a fall.    Harp and another detective drove to the nursing home and found the two women in Svaldi’s room. They ushered them out and interviewed Svaldi. It quickly became clear that he had no idea what the women had done. The detectives next questioned the women. They were nervous and kept looking at each other before answering. They said they were Svaldi’s neighbors at Worthington Towers. He was estranged from his family, they said, so they had helped by obtaining his power of attorney. And no, they said, they had not moved any large amounts from Svaldi’s accounts.

On March 5, detectives served search warrants at Fifth Third that seized and froze Svaldi’s accounts and the women’s accounts.

Harp reached Svaldi’s cousin Michael Svaldi in Miami.    “Thank God you called us,” Michael Svaldi told the detective. “We have been trying to get hold of Pete.”      The transfers from his accounts into accounts that the women opened for themselves before their arrests March 12 were staggering.

Between Jan. 1, 2009, and March 3, 2010, the women took $857,172 from Svaldi.    Then they went on a spending bender.

  • They bought a Dublin condominium for $166,300 and splurged on furnishings. They bought and traded five new vehicles, including a Toyota Highlander, a Toyota RAV 4 and a Honda CR-V.
  • They dropped tens of thousands at Best Buy on a high-definition television and a home-theater sound system, an iPod, desktop and laptop computers and other electronics.
  • They spent more than $40,000 at local jewelers, buying so many diamond and gold earrings, pendants, bracelets and charms that police later found the jewelry still nestled unworn in sales boxes.
  • They treated themselves to cosmetic procedures at a plastic surgeon and got porcelain veneers and teeth-whitening at a dentist. They commissioned nearly $50,000 in paintings from a Worthington gallery, including a portrait of their dog, and bought clothing from Chico’s, Macy’s and Filene’s Basement.
  • Johnson paid her $5,000 tax bill to the Internal Revenue Service with Svaldi’s money.    Eventually, the detective filled a three-ring binder with page after   page, documenting line by line the thousands of dollars in purchases from hundreds of merchants.    “It was like The Price is Right,” Harp said.

. _              _            _             _                _                   _

Harp got to know Svaldi while working on the case.

The son of Austrian immigrants grew up in Illinois and left home at 20 for brewery work in Miami. Uncle Sam drafted him before Pearl Harbor was bombed and made him a staff officer in the Far East Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater. After the war, Svaldi made a career with Anheuser-Busch.

Today, he reads two daily newspapers and follows his beloved Chicago Cubs. He wears a fedora when he goes out and has taught the detective the proper way to enjoy a beer: from a pint glass after giving it a stir, never directly from a can or bottle.

“After Pete found out about this, he was devastated, absolutely devastated,” Harp said of the theft. “It had nothing to do with the money. It was the betrayal.” Less is known about the women.   Johnson, 54, and Esquibel, 69, lived together and told people they were sisters. Esquibel taught kindergarten at St. Michael School in Worthington. Johnson claimed to be a registered nurse but wasn’t, the detective said.

The women have never explained why they did it. They did not respond to questions that The Dispatch e-mailed to them at the   Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.    “The intent appears to be sheer greed,” Harp said.

. –                        –                     –                    –                          –

Now 95, Peter Svaldi remains at the nursing home. Harp stops by to visit and so does attorney Lorelei Lanier, Svaldi’s court-appointed legal guardian.    Lanier is trying to recoup what she can. She is selling the Dublin condo and vehicles, and last month auctioned the furnishings, clothing, jewelry, paintings and electronics the women bought with Svaldi’s money.

The auction grossed about $52,000. That is a fraction of what the items sold for new but a success nonetheless, said Columbus auctioneer Mark Van Hook. Electronics held their value as they customarily do;   a 55-inch flat screen television that retails for $1,900 fetched $1,700 at the auction, he said.      The art the women commissioned had no resale value. “No one else in the world wanted those paintings,” the auctioneer said.    Michael Svaldi, who visits about once a month, has tried to persuade his cousin to move to Miami to live with him and his family.    Peter Svaldi considers Columbus home and won’t leave. He is bewildered and hurt by the women’s betrayal.    “The three of us were very good friends,” he said. “They did a pretty good job of cleaning me out.”

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