SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

August 30, 2012

Sign a GMO labeling petition

A Petition to sign for Labeling  GMO’s  

Most of us won’t sit down to write letters or look up phone numbers for our Senators and Congressmen, but most of us WILL  gladly sign a petition.   Not a problem, especially, since it means so much to most of us.

I keep signing them and it isn’t done yet, is anybody listening to us?  Well, we must keep trying.  .  .     Candidate Obama said he would do this, but he has dragged his feet.     Our Health and lives are on the line.  Why not just get it done?      Jan

An Urgent Message from Ronnie Cummins   An Urgent Message from Ronnie Cummins
Please help us pass this country’s first GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling law – Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act – by signing this petition today.

August 29, 2012

FDA’s Cult of Tyranny

Gary Null’s Urgent Message to ALL OF US

Have just finished watching Gary Null’s  Movie  FDA’s Cult of Tyranny.  It was well done,   peopled with important voices who have long been involved in this battle – – physicians,  top-level attorneys and other prominent people we know and trust.   For me, it was uplifting to realize so many others feel as I do – – recognize how we are being conned and cheated out of our right to good health and a healthy world.    That our right to help ourselves through self-education and right choices is about to come to an end.

I have been fighting this fight for years beyond counting.    There is much energy and passion inside to try with all I know to plant seeds where ever I can, to tell what I know where it is possible to be given.  I have so much wanted others to be aware of our sacrificial-lamb status and to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.  But CHANGE comes slowly and far too many just don’t want to hear it.  And who of us doesn’t already have more on our plates than we can deal with?   I get that.    The information in this movie is essential stuff,  I hope you find it valuable and helpful.  If enough of us DO  understand and make our wishes known, we just might slay this dragon.    Jan

War on Health: The FDA’s Cult of Tyranny   War on Health
Their ignorance is linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually, and unless we fight back they’ll continue their militaristic operations against organic food providers, alternative physicians and supplements. In 20 years, health care costs could exceed 100% of family income

Tides of Beauty and Joy


Alabama beaches offer waves of activities and big-name golf courses

By Dale Leatherman

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — A boardwalk spans fragile sand dunes topped with sea oats that flutter in an ocean breeze. The water is mesmerizing, a sheet of turquoise so brilliant that the blue sky is no match.
Ditching my sandals, I step into sand that’s sugar white and soft as talc until I reach the water’s edge, where warm waves lap at my ankles. It’s early. The sun is just peeking over the horizon, and the beach is unoccupied as far as I can see in either direction.
This bit of paradise is not in the Caribbean or Hawaii but the lesser-known — and no less delightful — communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The region frequently appears on lists of top beach destinations or undiscovered golf locations — all without the overcrowding and prices of better-known locales.
The area has rebounded from the devastating 2010 oil spill. Fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners, visitors and residents toiled together and supported each other until the beaches were clean, the market for local seafood was restored and tourists began returning.
That shared experience is evident in the locals’ quiet pride, easy camaraderie with each other, and the sincere Southern hospitality they show to visitors.
The neighboring resort towns of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores occupy a 27,000-square-mile island on the north side of the Gulf of Mexico, bordered by the Intra- coastal Waterway and rife with lakes and bayous. The island holds aplethoraof natural riches for water-sports, fishing, bird-watching, hiking and golf.
Covered in glittering quartz sand, the island’s 32-mile-long shoreline is brilliant white from tip to tip. Although some beachfront property is private, a dozen public beaches offer access to the surf.
One popular public beach is Florida Point in Orange Beach, a perfect spot to sunbathe and people-watch as charter boats and yachts motor slowly through a pass leading into the back bays.

DONNELLE OXLEY   Parasailing just off the beach is a popular activity in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area.

Gulf Shores’ Gulf State Park is a favorite of surf fishermen. Families like it, too, because it has shade trees, a beach pavilion and a snack bar, and a huge fireplace if you get chilled. The park encompasses Lake Shelby, 900 acres of smooth water for boating and freshwater fishing.
Looking for action? The Gulf Shores Public Beach is where the volleyball and beach bar crowd hang out. It’s the place to play and party.
If your idea of bliss is communing with nature, check out the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. More than 400 species of migratory birds frequent the refuge, and the beach is a nesting ground for three species of sea turtles.

DONNELLE OXLEYRIGHT: A heron puts on a show for bird-watchers, who find much to see in the parks and marshlands.
With water everywhere, you can enjoy it in limitless ways, from deep-sea fishing to scuba diving, parasailing to ballooning — plus myriad nature, dolphin-watching, dining and sunset cruises.
On land, visitors will find amusement parks, playgrounds, water parks, nature preserves and the Gulf Coast Zoo. Shopping options range from boutiques and novelty shops to the 120-store Tanger Outlet Center.
Fort Morgan, the brick stronghold that saw service in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and both World Wars, is a magnet for history buffs. So are the Native American mounds that may predate the Pyramids.

And there’s golf, too

DONNELLE OXLEYBELOW: The eighth hole on the Cypress Bend course at Craft Farms makes good use of cord grass around water hazards.
Dazzling white sand is also abundant on the area’s golf courses, where bunkers accent emerald fairways and greens. If you’re lucky enough to get in nine rounds of golf on vacation, you’ll never have to play the same course twice here. Situated close to beaches, lodging and one another, all nine courses (some with 27 holes) are signature designs by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jerry Pate, Earl Stone, Bruce Devlin, Robert von Hagge and Jay and Carter Morrish.

GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH TOURISM   The Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend golf courses at Craft Farms are two Arnold Palmer designs.
A credit to their architects, these are high-quality layouts, which makes the greens’ fees a pleasant surprise. The most you’ll pay is $80 for a morning round in fall or winter at Kiva Dunes, which Golfweek ranks as the No. 1 public-access course in the state. Most charge less than $50, and attractive golf/lodging packages are available.
Despite their proximity, the courses are varied, ranging from links style to parkland, wetlands to forest. The Pate-designed Kiva Dunes is so close to the sea that you can hear it and smell it but not see it. You might feel it if the wind is up as you follow the route through sand dunes, wildlife areas and lakes.
The Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club sprawls over more than 820 acres of live oaks and cypress adjacent to the Bon Secour preserve, with 30 lakes that often come into play. Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend at Craft Farms are two Palmer gems with large undulating greens and myriad lakes. The former is tree-lined, while the latter is notable for the cord grass fringing its water hazards.

GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH TOURISM   ABOVE: Many homes and rental properties are located on inland lagoons.

Lost Key, another Palmer design, is often called “Lost Ball” because of its narrow fairways and out-of-bounds wetlands. The Dunes Nine at 27-hole GlenLakes Golf Club is a classic von Hagge-Devlin creation, with massive mounds bordering rolling fairways and undulating greens. Lined with magnolias, pines and dogwoods, TimberCreek is most memorable for its elevation changes. The Gulf Shores Golf Club, built in the 1960s, was enhanced by a Morrish redesign that added steep, deep bunkers.
Nine courses with quality, variety, value and convenience make for a fine golf destination. Thirty-two miles of shoreline make for a fine beach destination. Add in the lodging and land and sea activities, fresh seafood and local produce served in open-air waterfront restaurants, and the special ingredient — Southern hospitality — and Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are a fine “anything” destination.

If you go


Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala., are 843 miles from Columbus, about a 14-hour road trip. It’s 45 minutes from the resort area to the Pensacola, Fla., airport, and 75 minutes to the Mobile, Ala., airport.

For information on activities or accommodations, visit www.gulf  . For golf information and tee times, visit www.golfgulf  .

Know about Mov/Nat Ohio?

What They DO at Mov/Nat Ohio?

They call that work?   A Business?   Progress changes everything, doesn’t it?    Wait,  that’s not new.  People have been running, jumping and climbing since we crawled out of caves. .  .  .  what’s going on here?

I gotta say, it must be working because it seems everybody is having such a great time.

For me, it’s a little strange;  have to change my thinking as my son, Jeff has been  FIT 2 PLAY for a long time now and building his creds being  a respected athletic trainer as a strength and conditioning coach from California, then to Hawaii   and finally relocating in  Ohio, for elite athletes,  individuals both private and corporate and teams, both youth and professional, helping all be the best they can be.   Guess he still does that, but he has added a whole lot of fun to the the mix. To see what I mean.  .   .   .  .  check it out at the links below:
And yesterday’s post with “team building:

August 28, 2012

Reading Mitt and Paul’s faces

Dear Friends and fellow voters,  I am totally helpless to keep this to myself!

I remember sharing a “FACE READING”  post with you some time back.  This is an ancient science  in use for more than 5,000 years and practiced in this case by Jean Haner  Her website is One of her books is simply “The Wisdom of Your Face”    Can find her on Facebook as well.    Go sign up for her newsletter!

Because of the season we are in presently, it seems very timely, so following are both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  You might enjoy this as much as I did  –  always am open to new and interesting science, techniques or tools.  Enjoy.  Jan

Reading Paul Ryan’s Face

The US news is full of politics, and if you’re not yet feeling tired of all the posturing and manipulation, I admire your patience. While I’m not naturally interested in debating about the candidates, at election time I’m always inundated with requests to read their faces, and in fact, it can be pretty fascinating to see who they really are inside.

Since Paul Ryan has just been announced as Romney’s VP running mate, I’ll start with him and write about the other faces in the race soon. When I do a face reading for anyone in politics, I need to set any of my own views aside and approach the reading neutrally and objectively, to just communicate the facts of what I see.

So please know there is no veiled effort here to push any agenda or make negative or positive judgments. I am simply reading the information presented on his face.

What is Face Reading?
Just to make sure we’re on the same page here: Chinese face reading is an ancient branch of Chinese medicine, which is 3,000 years old. It’s based on a very sophisticated understanding of patterns inherent in all aspects of life on earth, including people.

There are patterns in the characteristics of your face – things like the size and shape of your features, any wrinkles you develop, the form of your ears, slant of your forehead, etc – that can reveal your personal potential, strengths and challenges in life, who you really are and what you need to be happy.

OK, let’s take a look at Mr. Ryan’s face.

Paul RyanDrive to Win
There is one very strong theme I immediately see, and that’s of what I call the “Warrior” – a man who’s incredibly driven. This is shown in his very large and highly-defined jaw, his eyebrows, indented temples, the wrinkles between his eyebrows, the rectangular shape of his face, and his complexion.

For one thing, that means he’s likely to be very physically active, highly competitive and probably interested in sports,. But of course this extremely driven and competitive nature is also the perfect personality for a politician – it means he likes to win, and he’ll do everything he can to come out on top.

However, these same patterns also show a person who genuinely wants to create positive change in the world, to make it a better place, and this probably is one of the reasons he chose politics as his career.

Only Working out of the Left Brain
This is a practical, pragmatic man who has a very logical, linear mind – he views everything through the filter of his left brain. He probably loves to analyze things, to solve problems, to think about things.

In fact, I’d say he’s a world-class “thinker” – and by that I mean waaaay too much of a thinker. His very thin lips combined with certain wrinkles on his face and the fact that his upper eyelids cover part of his eye show that he’s not emotionally open, is weak in tuning in to other people’s feelings, and lacks an understanding of how important community and relationships are.

In a cynical way, he may well understand the value of community and relationships in terms of using them to help him achieve his goals, but he lacks the softness and receptivity of someone who truly makes himself available to connect with others in deep friendship.

Instead he values work, achievement, winning. So it’s not that I’m saying he won’t make friends but the danger is that any friends may all share his somewhat aggressive nature, or else just be used as stepping stones to get to the finish line first.

Reading Ryan’s Individual Features:

His impressive jaw especially signifies that he’s quite judgmental and may be quick to reject anyone who doesn’t agree with him. In his world, it’s “my way or the highway” – He’s not easily able to listen to all sides of an argument or to consider other people’s ideas or concerns, though he may give the impression he does so.

His indented temples also show us a tendency toward compulsiveness, which often is expressed as workaholism, as well as the potential for addictive tendencies. But this also means he can be extremely disciplined, so if he does struggle with addictions, he can keep them under control by sheer force of concentration.

He has a cleft chin, and this is often a sign of someone who just naturally ends up in the spotlight in some way. It also means he does need to be “seen” and appreciated in life and wouldn’t be happy working behind the scenes in any situation.

That chin along with the Joy Lines by his eyes (what we call Crows’ Feet) do show that he is friendly, has a good sense of humor and can be affectionate, which is a relief after such a strong message of drive and competitiveness from his other features!

Without these two aspects of his face, I doubt he’d be successful as a politician – people need to feel SOME personal warmth and connection. But in this case, his ability to express affection may be only skin-deep, more for superficial public interactions than available in more private friendships.

He has a “widow’s peak” – that little V in his hairline, and that’s an indication of a magnetic charm, and some natural intuition, again, another great feature for a politician to have!

His ears stick out slightly, which is a sign of a willful and independent nature, someone who’s a bit of a nonconformist or does things in unusual ways. This can be good – I’d think we’d want a leader who thinks for himself.

His very large nose means that he’s a perfectionist, highly self-critical, and probably very controlling in both his personal and professional lives. This is definitely a man who needs to have things HIS way.

It also means he’s far more sensitive than people realize, and especially sensitive to being criticized. Being thrust in the spotlight now will be a greater challenge for him than people think. He hates to feel judged by others, and is distressed by any signs of criticism. To cope, he may have to avoid reading or viewing any press reports about him or he’ll just get far too stressed.

The vertical lines in his lower cheeks are called “Lack Lines’ and are not a good sign. These basically indicate a pattern of deprivation that can be expressed in various ways. They can just mean that he’s working too hard, that he lacks getting enough downtime and rest. It can also show someone who breathes too shallowly when stressed (deprived of enough oxygen).

Or it can be someone who’s stingy with money, a real penny-pincher. Additionally it can mean that he lacks a natural sense of warmth and generosity, which is probably true here because it’s reinforced by his thin lips.

Overall, it usually means someone who struggles with anxiety about “enough.” They worry about having enough money, about being good enough, or having done well enough. This usually includes an unconscious sense in life that since there’s not enough for them, how can they possibly be giving or generous with others?

For someone with his nature, these Lack Lines are a major warning sign of an imbalance in his system, and these circumstances are only going to get worse with this stressful campaign!

Additionally in many of the photos I’ve viewed of him online, he has what’s called “Three White-Sided Eyes” where the whites under his eyes are visible. This is another strong danger sign that his system is overly-stressed.

To top this off, a third detail of his face reveals that he’s severely stressed – his eyebrows look somewhat “splintered” – instead of looking like solid lines, the hairs are breaking up. This is a man who’s been doing too much for too long and it’s to the point where I’m really concerned about his ability to cope. And this is only the beginning of the campaign!

Anger or Depression
The weak link in the chain for him emotionally will be how easily he becomes frustrated, and even angry. When he’s stressed, he falls into that state, and he can be impatient, easily irritated, and it’s easier for him to blurt things out without considering how it sounds, or to behave impulsively, without thinking through the consequences.

This quality will also incline him to be very self-judgmental, beating himself up for every little thing, and that kind of inner tension can easily throw his entire system off balance. One way to release that kind of stress is through regular and intense exercise, so I hope he does indeed fit that into his schedule.

Lastly, there is a strong likelihood of a personal struggle with depression and exercise is also of great benefit to counteract that.

Two Sides
But what also disturbs me about his face is the different messages you see in the left half of his face when you compare it to the right half.

The right half of someone’s face is said to be the “public” side – the messages that person is willing to share with the outside world. The left half of the face is the “private” side – where you can read their inner feelings, their private suffering, what they’re really going through inside.

When we look at the right half of Ryan’s face, it looks relatively stable, normal, open, and friendly. But the left side of his face gives entirely different messages.

His left eye turns down, which means a pessimistic nature, and someone who easily gets depressed. There’s also a sign of what’s called “Unshed Tears” by this eye, which means he has suppressed his feelings when he should be dealing with them.

His Lack Line is stronger on this side as well, indicating that he’s more deeply affected by stress and anxiety that we might think.

No one has a perfectly symmetrical face; there are always differences between left and right sides. But if they’re very different, as they are here, it shows a major disparity between the inner self and the outer self – the person he’s trying to convince us he is and the man who’s really inside. There is far too much dissonance here. (This has nothing to do with dishonesty, please understand.)

When I look at where Ryan is in the cycles of time, I see that 2012 is a time of growth, change and new possibilities for him, so it’s no surprise this opportunity has landed in his lap at this very time.

It’s also apparent that his early 40’s brings a significant boost to his power and prestige, that only continues to increase in the next few years. Whether or not that means he ends up as VP is not something that face reading tells us but what we do see certainly shows some positive support for that goal. Whether that’s good or bad news depends on your own values and perceptions!

Reading Mitt Romney’s Face

August 26th, 2012

Following on the reading for Paul Ryan below, now let’s take a look at Mitt Romney’s face!

Please know that when I do a face reading for a politician, I need to set any of my personal views aside, and neutrally and objectively communicate the facts of what I see. So there is no veiled effort here to push any agenda or make negative or positive judgments. I am simply reading the information presented on his face.

And just to make sure this is clear – Chinese face reading is an ancient branch of Chinese medicine, and is thousands of years old. Basically, it’s a science about recognizing patterns. There are patterns in your face – the size and shape of your features, any wrinkles or markings that develop; all these characteristics combine to reveal a deeper pattern of who you are inside.

Businessman’s Face
And with Romney’s face, there is one major pattern immediately apparent. He could have been sent from Central Casting to fill the role of “businessman.” The rectangular shape of his face, his thick eyebrows, indented temples, fleshy nose, strong chin and a few other fine details are all classic messages of someone who could find great success in business, as he has.

These aspects of Romney’s face reveal that he is good at setting goals and achieving them. He’ll excel at creating a strategy to get from Point A to Point B and then concentrate on doing the work to get there in the most efficient way possible.

He values a logical, linear approach to everything. In his world, it’s really very simple: You set a goal, create an action plan to achieve it, and you go step by step until you reach that goal.

Concrete Thinker
If Romney encounters a problem during this process, he confronts it with a kind of “repairman” mentality. He believes you should tackle any problem head-on with a logical, structured approach. In other words, if you’re trying to repair an object, you look at all the pieces and decide what needs to be fixed or replaced and then you do it. Problem solved, move on.

This can be fine in many cases, but it leans a bit too much into a style of thinking that Western psychologists define as “concrete thinking.” This means he may tend to choose too much of a literal or systematic approach even in cases that require a more sophisticated thought process, to recognize the complexities involved in finding a successful solution.

Compatibility with Ryan
When it comes to his working relationship with his running mate, Paul Ryan, this view of the world is one that Ryan shares, so it helps us understand why Romney chose him. They’re both very comfortable approaching everything as a goal to be conquered or a problem to be fixed, all viewed through the filters of their left brains.

He Is – But He Isn’t!
Usually, when I read someone’s face, I get very clear, distinct information, but when I started to do a full reading of Mitt Romney’s face, it was bewildering. Every time I came to one conclusion about some aspect of his personality, I immediately discovered its opposite characteristic.

The overriding message his face is giving me is: “He is, but he isn’t.” Let me give you some examples:

If you look at Romney’s eyebrows, you’ll notice they’re set very low on his face, very close to his eyes. This usually means someone is approachable. For example, people are likely to feel they can go right up to him and have a conversation, that he’s comfortable interacting with everyone.

But with Romney, this is immediately countered by other signs on his face that give a strong indication of of “social awkwardness,” the fact that he’s actually not comfortable being approached by most people outside of his known community.

So when you do come up to him, if you’re at all sensitive, you may feel his discomfort and be confused those “is and isn’t” messages. He’s approachable, but he’s not approachable.

Joy Lines
Next, there are what I call Joy lines by his eyes. In the West, we call those “Crow’s Feet.” In face reading, they’re considered a very positive sign, that this person is warm and affectionate and you’ll have a positive experience with him.

You only develop Joy Lines by giving genuine smiles, which involve both the muscles around the mouth and the eyes. And I’m sure Mr. Romney does give many genuine smiles!

But these Joy Lines are modified by his very tense mouth. Most of the smiles that he gives in public are not genuinely felt. When he’s with his “own kind” he will feel comfortable and will smile authentically, but in most public situations, the smiles are forced and inauthentic.

So this is another example of “he is but he isn’t”  – he can be warm and affectionate when he feels comfortable, but in most situations, he’s UNcomfortable, and so – have a positive experience with him? Not so much.

In some angles in photographs, it seems that Romney has a strong jaw, and this is good for a politician. There have been several scientific studies that show that it’s usually the politician with the strongest jaw who wins the election.

The jaw shows how competitive someone is, how driven they are to win, but also how much they’ll stick to their convictions. So when voters see a candidate with a powerful jaw, even though they don’t know face reading, they unconsciously feel that this person will stand up for them, and they feel safe with him.

But when you take a closer look, Romney actually doesn’t have a very strong jaw. It’s really his chin that’s the largest feature in his lower face, and it makes it seem like his jaw is also big.

The messages I’m seeing in this particular jaw is someone who does have drive and strong values but at the same time privately struggles with low confidence and self-doubt. This can actually be a good thing because otherwise, he might be too confident or set in his ways! But again, we have the message of “he is, but he isn’t.”

Romney has a rounded upper forehead, which signifies an intuitive nature. But the message of this forehead is modified by his rectangular face shape, thick eyebrows and indented temples, which all talk about someone who doesn’t value intuition or instincts, or would be too embarrassed to admit he does! So he may be naturally intuitive but suppresses it. Yet another possible “he is, but isn’t.”

So this pervasive theme of “he is – but he isn’t” makes me wonder if it’s the reason the Republican Party has been so unexcited about his candidacy. It’s almost like there’s no “there” there!

Plan not valid – Abs be enuff?

Ryan’s budget plan is not a serious effort


Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate led to a wave of pundit accolades. Now, declared writer after writer, we’re going to have a real debate about the nation’s fiscal future. This was predictable: Never mind the tea party, Ryan’s true constituency is the commentariat, which years ago decided that he was the Honest, Serious Conservative, whose proposals deserve respect even if you don’t like him.

  • But he isn’t, and they don’t. Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Ryan joined the ticket.

Let’s talk about what’s actually in the Ryan plan, and let’s distinguish in particular between actual, specific policy proposals and unsupported assertions. To focus things a bit more, let’s talk — as most budget discussions do — about what’s supposed to happen over the next 10 years.

On the tax side, Ryan proposes big cuts in tax rates on top income brackets and corporations. He has tried to dodge the normal process in which tax proposals are “scored” by independent auditors, but the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math, and the revenue loss from these cuts comes to $4.3 trillion over the next decade.

On the spending side, Ryan proposes huge cuts in Medicaid, turning it over to the states while sharply reducing funding relative to projections under current policy. That saves around $800 billion. He proposes similar harsh cuts in food stamps, saving a further $130 billion or so, plus a grab-bag of other cuts, such as reduced aid to college students. Let’s be generous and say that all these cuts would save $1 trillion.

On top of this, Ryan includes the $716 billion in Medicare savings that are part of Obamacare, even though he wants to scrap everything else in that act. Despite this, Ryan has now joined Romney in denouncing President Barack Obama for “cutting Medicare”; more on that in a minute.

So if we add up Ryan’s specific proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts — with the tax cuts, surprise, disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Overall, the effect would be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.

Yet Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk. What’s the basis for that claim?

Well, he says that he would offset his tax cuts by “base broadening,” eliminating enough tax deductions to make up the lost revenue. Which deductions would he eliminate? He refuses to say — and realistically, revenue gain on the scale he claims would be virtually impossible.

At the same time, he asserts that he would make huge further cuts in spending. What would he cut? He refuses to say.

What Ryan actually offers, then, are specific proposals that would sharply increase the deficit, plus an assertion that he has secret tax and spending plans that he refuses to share with us, but which will turn his overall plan into deficit reduction.

If this sounds like a joke, that’s because it is. Yet Ryan’s “plan” has been treated with great respect in Washington. He even received an award for fiscal responsibility from three of the leading deficit-scold pressure groups. What’s going on?

The answer, basically, is a triumph of style over substance. Over the longer term, the Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it — and in Washington, “fiscal responsibility” often is equated with willingness to slash Medicare and Social Security, even if the purported savings would be used to cut taxes on the rich rather than to reduce deficits. Also, self-proclaimed centrists are always looking for conservatives they can praise to showcase their centrism, and Ryan has skillfully played into that weakness, talking a good game even if his numbers don’t add up.

The question now is whether Ryan’s undeserved reputation for honesty and fiscal responsibility can survive his participation in a deeply dishonest and irresponsible presidential campaign.

The first sign of trouble has already surfaced over the issue of Medicare. Romney, in an attempt to repeat the GOP’s successful “death panels” strategy of the 2010 midterms, has been busily attacking the president for the same Medicare savings that are part of the Ryan plan. And Ryan’s response when this was pointed out was incredibly lame:  He only included those cuts, he says, because the president put them “in the baseline,” whatever that means. Of course, whatever Ryan’s excuse, the fact is that without those savings his budget becomes even more of a plan to increase, not reduce, the deficit.
So will the choice of Ryan mean a serious campaign? No, because Ryan isn’t a serious man — he just plays one on TV.

Paul Krugman writes for The New York Times.

Hunter-Gatherers – clue to Obesity

From Dr Mercola, another insightful piece that I think is actually very helpful.  I agree with it, so, I have brought over just enough to  whet your whistle.  Click the link below and read it for yourself.

Hunter Gatherer Clue to Obesity

Story at-a-glance

  • Even though hunter-gatherer tribe members spent many hours trekking long distances to hunt and forage for food, new research shows they still expended no more calories each day than adults in modern Europe and the United States
  • The findings indicate that daily energy expenditure may be an “evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences;” in other words, eating more than the number of calories most human bodies are “wired” for could mean you’ll gain weight – even if you’re exercising religiously
  • About 80 percent of your ability to reduce excess body fat is determined by what you eat, with the other 20 percent related to exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits such as sleep and stress reduction
  • We’ve strayed too far from the foods we are designed to eat, so going back to basics and refocusing your diet on fresh, unprocessed whole foods, including only a minimum of sugars and grains, will help many people lose weight

Hunter Gatherer Clue to Obesity
Intriguing new research shows the reason why hunter-gatherer societies are lean while Americans are growing heavier is not due to exercise but this other key factor

(An aside, my own weight loss  – about 20 pounds, came about because of juicing.  My body was truly satisfied [with all those minerals], so it obviously cut back my desire to eat as much as I had previously.    And, don’t think you can get fat on juicing.   This was not a “dieting effort”,  just endeavoring to give my body the maximum health benefit and body shrank of it’s own accord.    I also ate solids, just not as much,. . . .salads, soups – crazy about beet borscht and when I make it will have for breakfast, too,   sometimes a smoothie – not often – prefer juicing.  Salmon when I want it, enjoy eggs, have two boiled eggs for breakfast frequently.  When I gotta have chocolate – – I have some. Yes I eat to live, but I have a rule, one must enjoy that food, so whatever it takes.  Hasn’t killed me yet.   (Little secret if you don’t tell, my Venus is in Cancer  conjunct Pluto in the 10th,  – – so one might say, my heart has always been pretty much in the kitchen where all the alchemy goes on.   Jan)

August 27, 2012

Amish trial begins

Trial to begin today in attacks on Ohio Amish

16 members of splinter sect charged in unusual cases of beard, hair cutting


Sixteen members of an Amish splinter group accused of terrorizing the Amish of eastern Ohio in bizarre beard-cutting attacks are scheduled to go on trial today in federal court in Cleveland.

Samuel Mullet Sr., the leader of the breakaway group that prosecutors and former members describe as cultlike, has been charged along with nine other men and six women with multiple counts including conspiracy, hate crimes, kidnapping and destroying evidence.

The assaults on the pacifist, plain-living Amish drew national attention because of their unusual nature — the forcible shearing of men’s beards and women’s long hair, both of which are central to Amish identity.

Former followers of Mullet also provided lurid details about his domination of some 18 families, many of them his close relatives, in an isolated settlement near Bergholz, Ohio. In a court document filed this month, federal authorities said Mullet had confined followers in chicken coops for days or weeks to “cleanse” them of impure thoughts or other sins and also had adult members hit one another with thick wooden paddles.

  • Witnesses said Mullet counseled couples, particularly women, “on how to be sexually satisfied,” at times having other men’s wives live in his house and have intimate relations with him.

Some of the defendants have acknowledged taking part in last fall’s attacks, which involved people Mullet had labeled enemies for questioning his methods or for helping residents of the settlement escape. The defendants have pleaded not guilty, and their court-appointed lawyers have challenged the application of hate-crime laws to what they say is a religious dispute.

In pretrial hearings, Judge Dan Aaron Polster of U.S. District Court ruled that the prosecutors may not refer to Mullet’s group as a “cult” or as “renegade” in front of the jury, though witnesses will not be so restricted. Polster denied a defense request to ban evidence about Mullet’s sexual counseling, accepting the prosecution’s argument that his tight control over the community was central to the case.

  • Mullet did not personally attack his opponents but, according to prosecutors, plotted the assaults with followers and later destroyed evidence, including a bag of shorn hair and a woman’s sliced-up bonnet.

In a pretrial brief, the prosecutors provided new details about five attacks on Mullet’s perceived enemies. In the first, which took place the night of Sept. 6, a group of 12 men and women hired a driver to take them to a home nearly two hours away. According to prosecutors, the two victims — the parents of six of the defendants — had questioned Mullet’s methods.

The parents said they were initially relieved to see that it was their own children knocking on the door at 10:30 p.m. But the group dragged the father to a chair and cut his beard “down to the skin as he cried and screamed for them to stop,” the prosecutors said. Five female attackers then cut off 2 feet of the mother’s hair as she prayed for God to forgive them, according to the brief.

Later in September, one of the defendants invited his brother-in-law to visit him in the Bergholz settlement to discuss his concerns about Mullet. A group met him for an ostensibly friendly lunch but secretly put a laxative in his coffee, cut off his beard and hair, and used a disposable camera to photograph his humiliation.

On Oct. 4, the brief said, more than 25 Bergholz residents went to the home of a 76-year-old bishop who, years earlier, was part of a group that refused to endorse Mullet’s request to shun people who fled his settlement. Five people from that group entered the bishop’s house and cut his beard, prosecutors said.

Foreclosure? can help, maybe


Help for those who endured foreclosure


If you’ve been pushed out of your home because of a foreclosure, you have an extended opportunity to have the process reviewed for any errors that might have occurred.

After widespread complaints by consumer advocates and borrowers about deceitful and improper practices, federal regulators required 14 large residential-mortgage-servicers to retain independent consultants to provide an unbiased review of their foreclosure actions. Initially, people had until the end of July to request this review.

But now, the comptroller of the currency and the Federal Reserve have pushed the deadline back to Dec. 31. If your primary residence was involved in a foreclosure process between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, you might qualify for action.

  • This really is your chance for a no-lose situation. If consultants find fault during the review, then borrowers who suffered financial injury because of errors, misrepresentations or other problems might get money or some other remedy.
  • The remediation could be significant. If reviewers discover that you were financially injured, you might be entitled to a lump-sum payment, a suspension or rescission of a foreclosure, a loan modification, a correction to your credit reports, or a correction of deficiency amounts. The servicers are providing the compensation as result of the enforcement actions taken last year.
  • If you homed in on the money part, which I certainly would if had gone through a foreclosure, here’s what could be on the table. Lump-sum payments can range from $500 to $125,000 in the worst cases involving the loss of a home, said Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the office of the comptroller of the currency. The cash payments aren’t subtracted from any debt you might have owed on the home.
  • If you had equity in your home, you could be entitled to get that money as well, Hubbard said. Of course, most people suffering foreclosure didn’t have equity.

Besides the primary-residence requirement, the mortgage servicer has to be one of the 14 participating companies. Through July, 228,000 people had requested a review, Hubbard said. In addition, 146,000 foreclosures were selected through a sampling process. Of all the reviews slated to occur, 192,000 are under way, he said.

  • The best part is that the review is free. Regulators are cautioning people to be careful about scams associated with this process.    “If anybody asks you to pay for a review or pay to complete the application, you should be cautious about that,” Hubbard said.
  • The review isn’t just for folks whose homes were sold through foreclosure. Consultants will be looking at cases in which homes are still in the foreclosure process or were slated for foreclosure but the process stopped because either payments were brought up-to-date, the borrower entered a payment plan or modification program, or the home was sold in a short sale or given back to the lender.

Go to the website independentforeclosure   for a list of the mortgage servicers and their affiliates, and for information about the review process. If you need help completing the form or you have questions, call 1-888-952-9105.

Michelle Singletary writes for the Washington Post Writers Group.

OH removes 75K from “safety net”


State whittles thousands off welfare rolls

By Catherine Candisky

State welfare rolls continue to nosediveplunging by a third in the past year and a half — to the lowest number of Ohioans receiving a monthly assistance check in at least five decades.

About 75,000 have left the tax-funded safety-net program since January 2011. But it’s not a sign that times are significantly better in the Buckeye State. Most have been kicked off as the state cracks down on those failing to meet federal requirements that they be working or training for a job to get help.

“Right now, Ohio is the star of caseload decline for no good reason,” said Liz Schott, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Ohio is among 11 states that failed to meet work requirements for 2007, and one of three currently at risk of a multimillion-dollar penalty if they do not meet the goals. But none has slashed their rolls to the extent Ohio has.

In the 15 years since sweeping welfare-to-work requirements were enacted, Ohio has never been at the national forefront of caseload reduction, instead placing emphasis on trying to move recipients to self-sufficiency. But the state’s aggressive approach to dodging millions in federal penalties has raised concern about the fallout on vulnerable families.

  • “To take families having the greatest difficulties connecting to work and say we’re done with you, we’re not going to work with you, we’re going to cut you off, is walking away from the promise of welfare reform,” Schott said.
  • While Ohio’s economy has shown signs of improvement in recent months, advocates for the poor note that the poverty rate continues to climb.

“They are just tossing people off the rolls,” said Eugene R. King, director of the Ohio Poverty Law Center. “I don’t think for a minute anyone thinks there is a lower need for people needing benefits.”

  • Stepped up enforcement of work and training requirements came at the direction of state officials hoping to keep federal welfare funding. Ohio will lose $130 million unless, by Sept. 30, at least half of the adults on welfare, and 90 percent of those in two-parent households, are meeting the criteria.

The state is on track to hit the first mark but likely will fall short on the other, said Michael B. Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

As of June, the most recent statistics available, Ohio was just shy of the requirement with 49 percent of adults meeting work-participation requirements. But the state still has a ways to go in two-parent households, where only 52 percent met the benchmark. Both rates are up from 25 percent in December 2010, just before the push began.

“We have to make work participation in Ohio and we’re going to work like heck to do it,” Colbert said. “Hopefully we will be one of the first big states to meet this requirement.”

  • He rejected critics who say many recipients are being removed from the program unfairly and before they are able to provide for themselves.

“We’re not kicking people off. It’s a personal choice. If you are going to get cash, you are going to have to do a work activity,” Colbert said. “The original law was designed so you were on the program for three years and during that time you would get some job readiness skills or other help, not be at home collecting a check.”

Welfare recipients who do volunteer work or take a job-training course should have a better chance of meeting a potential employer or getting experience to prepare for a job than those who don’t, he said.

  • But some cut from the rolls tell stories about unbending rules and unrealistic expectations.
  • Kristy Harris, a 34-yearold mother of three from the Northwest Side, lost benefits less than a week after missing a resume and job-training session and being late to two job interviews.   “We had the church giving us money and paying our rent so we didn’t get evicted. We went to the food pantry, my mom and dad helped, and my husband’s mom and dad helped,” she said.   Harris went on welfare after losing a customer-service job for a car company in 2011. Her husband wasn’t working to care for their son, who has autism. They also have two daughters, ages 7 and 1.

“I called and told them but they changed offices and the paperwork got jumbled. I fell through the cracks.”   A legal-aid attorney got Harris’ benefits reinstated over a technicality. Her initial assessment with a caseworker was over the telephone, and Harris never signed her work requirement papers. She’s since found a job.

Franklin County has sanctioned more welfare recipients than any of Ohio’s 88 counties — more than 6,400 between May 2011 and May 2012.

Lance Porter, spokesman for the county Department of Job and Family Services, attributed the high number to the fact that Franklin County also has more recipients subject to work requirements than any other county.

  • “It’s not that we enjoy sanctioning and taking people off, but we have to catch the ones that are causing us to miss” our requirements, he said.    When the push first began, those who were sanctioned tended to “not show up at all” for training or work, Porter said. “Now it’s the little things, like falling a few hours short of the work requirement” or missing the deadline for submitting attendance records.

Julie Marquardt-Ambrose, 39, of Logan, got her last $355 monthly welfare check in May. Seizures and other ailments have long prevented her from driving or holding a job, but an exemption for hardship has allowed her to receive cash assistance beyond the three-year limit.

Still, Marquardt-Ambrose was told in May her benefits would end, leaving her and her husband with no income except his $115-amonth disability check. He has congestive heart failure and hasn’t worked since suffering a stroke several years ago. Both are seeking federal disability benefits, an application process that can take years.

“My daughter is 17 and we couldn’t buy her school clothes or supplies or the other things that kids have. We’re still trying to figure out a way to get these things for her,” Marquardt-Ambrose said.

They have paid little or no rent to their landlady for months, and a friend has covered their utility bills. He also lends them a car to get to doctors’ appointments and the grocery store, about the only times they leave home.

“We owed (him) so much money, we put the trailer in his name,” she said. “If it weren’t for him we’d be living on the streets. I understand the state wants us to work, but what if you can’t work? What are you supposed to do?”

(I can’t find words to reflect the  disgust and rage I feel over  the injustice of this despicable plight of our needy here in Ohio as it continues to escalate even tho our state has broadly done better than some others to stimulate its economy.     There can be no possible logic  which could account for  ignoring the needs of the needy and helpless.  What does Kasich etal expect them to do?  Is this the new American way?  Much on our minds as we head on towards November.    Jan)

Next Page »

%d bloggers like this: