What's Good for the Goose…


As the saying goes, what’s good for the goose is apparently good for the gander. During the Bush administration, many critics mercilessly slammed the then President for just about everything under the sun, whether he was connected to it or not. Please understand that I’m no fan of Bush’s Presidency but he was certainly far from the utter failure that many lefties would have you believe. Anyway, I just read an op-ed in the Indianapolis Star by Ruben Navarrette that I wanted to share here because it shows the double standard of much of the press and leftists in how President Obama is currently being treated.

They say the older you get, the smarter your parents get. Likewise, it seems, the deeper President Barack Obama gets into his first term, the smarter President George W. Bush gets.Hard-line liberals will never accept this. They have too much invested in the narrative of Bush-as-incompetent-dolt to make room for the possibility that the Texas Republican got a few things right in eight years. Nor do they want to believe that the supposedly more enlightened Obama is emulating his predecessor.

Yet the Obama administration has adopted as its own some of what the president’s supporters refer to derisively as “Bush-era tactics.”

In one of the latest examples, the White House decided to continue the Bush administration’s controversial practice of rendition, which amounts to shipping terrorism suspects to third-party countries for detention and interrogation. Liberals used to complain that this practice was an invitation to torture and other forms of mistreatment. In fact, former detainees insist they were indeed tortured in some host countries. The administration promises that the State Department will closely monitor how prisoners are treated to ensure they’re not abused. And, officials insist, the countries have offered “diplomatic assurances” that they’ll be on their best behavior. Still, human rights advocates noted that the Bush administration also got “diplomatic assurances” and this didn’t stop countries from allegedly committing appalling acts.

Here are more examples of Obama following Bush’s lead:

On Afghanistan, Bush started that war, but Obama is dutifully carrying it on. In fact, the president sent an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan this year.

On outsourcing military operations, the Bush administration used the private security firm Blackwater, now known as Xe Services LLC, to offset troop shortages. According to recent news accounts, the contractor in 2004 was given operational control over what had been a secret CIA program to kill top al-Qaida leaders. The program was canceled before any missions were carried out. According to experts familiar with the security company, the Obama administration continues to do a lot of business with Xe. Jeremy Scahill, author of the best-seller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” said in a recent television interview that the Obama administration has more than $100 million in contracts with the firm for work in Afghanistan.

On anti-terrorism policies, the Bush administration was criticized by civil libertarians for its lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to detaining terror suspects. Now Attorney General Eric Holder has said that, should a prisoner intend to harm the United States, “we will do all that we can to ensure that that person remains detained.” The Obama Justice Department has also followed the lead of its predecessor in arguing that the 600 prisoners at Bagram air base in Afghanistan (aka “Obama’s Guantanamo”) may not challenge their detention in U.S. courts. And, it tried to quash a lawsuit challenging the rendition policy and warrantless wiretap program — just as the Bush Justice Department had done earlier.On education reform, the administration is pursuing an initiative called “Race to the Top.” Its emphasis on greater accountability, more testing, merit pay for teachers, and higher standards mirrors what the Bush administration trumpeted in No Child Left Behind.

On immigration policy, the administration continues many of the same enforcement measures — workplace raids, deportations, prosecutions — that infuriated those on the left during the Bush administration. And it is doing so for the same reason. Like Bush, Obama wants to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to legalization. The president has suggested that the best way to make that controversial reform more palatable to voters is to beef up enforcement measures.How’s that for “change we can believe in”?

So what gives? Here are three options: Obama is learning that being president is much more difficult than running for president, or he’s a bigger pragmatist than we thought, or he never really believed President Bush was as bad he made him out to be during the campaign. And whatever brought them to this point, Obama supporters only have two options: Stand by their man, or their principles.

http://www.indystar.com/article/20090831/OPINION12/908310312/1301/OPINION

Revisiting F.A.S.


Well, I’ve been scratched and bitten by a sedated cat today and endured being verbally assaulted by an 11-year old. What a great, fun day it’s been (sarcasm intended)!

Anyway, for those of you who’ve read this blog…The VERY few, I should say (your check is in the mail, btw)…You may have read my post about FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). It’s what’s at the root of all the behavior problems my daughter has.

Please, please, please…If you know a pregnant woman that is drinking alcohol, please beg her to not drink while she’s pregnant. Even a small amount can be harmful. Believe me, we’re now living with the effects of it and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.

_______________________

Most of you reading this (is that an echo I hear…) probably have never heard of FAS/FAE (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects).  FAS is a disorder caused by a pregnant woman ingesting alcohol during pregnancy that causes brain damage in the unborn child.  There is no hard or fast rule on how much alcohol causes brain damage or how much damage will result from it.  Much of it depends on the physiology of the child.  Some doctors report being able to smell alcohol in the amniotic fluid during the birth of an FAS child.

Consider yourself fortunate if you’ve never had to raise an FAS child or if you’ve ever been close to someone raising such a child.  My wife and I adopted our daughter at the age of 6, knowing that it was possible that she may have full-blown FAS or, at least, FAE.  Since this was an international adoption and we had not yet met our daughter in person, we consulted with a physician who specialized in reviewing medical information, video tapes, etc., of these kinds of children.  He cautioned us and we came away from the consultation being somewhat disillusioned.  We didn’t change our minds, however, and truly believed God was leading us to go through with the adoption.

We had a great adventure while we were in Europe, travelling, doing paperwork, meeting various interesting people, and interacting for the first time with our new daughter.  She was very quiet and said no more than a few words each day.  Occasionally, there would be an excited outburst when she would notice an airplane flying over, a helicopter, or a motorcycle.  After we returned home, however, things headed south fairly quickly.  We began experiencing severe temper tantrums, sometimes one to two hours long or longer (once up to 6 hours).  She was often completely out of control, becoming physically and verbally abusive.  We finally had to resort to therapeutic holds to keep her from destroying property and from hurting herself or us.  My wife especially suffered a lot of, well, crap during this time.  Our daughter would punch, kick, spit, bite, scratch, head butt, and just about anything else she could think of during these tantrums.  I remember coming home from work that first day after returning from Europe and finding my wife with her arms and legs covered with bruises and scratches.  I also remember how powerless and defeated we felt.  What were we doing?  Were we handling this correctly?  Did we just make a huge mistake?

Things finally got better after a few months, though we would still hit a bump in the road every now and then.  We’ve recently experienced more severe problems, in the last few months, since the onset of puberty.  Fun wow!  There’s not as much violence, though she does occasionally throw things, kicks holes in the wall, bangs on the doors, walls, etc.  It’s now mostly verbal abuse.  We’ve been called stupid, idiots, dummies, etc., heard her say that she doesn’t want to live here in this boring house, that we never should have gone to Estonia to get her, etc.  You name it, we’ve heard it.

I’m telling you all this to illustrate how life can be with an FAS child.  Due to the brain damage from alcohol exposure, she has learning difficulties that make it extremely difficult for her to understand things.  We have to be very literal with her and, even then, she may not understand.  Part of her diagnosis is that the two hemispheres of the brain do not communicate together like a normal child’s brain.  This causes her to get “stuck” often in her emotional state.  She will dwell on something and will just not let it go.  I’m sure normal children can be like this but multiply that by about a million and that is what you’re dealing with.  Things that would cause minor or, at the most, temper tantrums lasting a few minutes to maybe a half hour are now an hour, two hours, three hours long, sometimes longer, happening several times over the course of a day or even several days.

FAS children usually appear normal to everyone else.  Our daughter is mostly well-behaved in public, appearing very sweet and lovable and, for the most part, this isn’t far off.  When she’s not in an emotional state like I described above, she is very loving.  However, watch out if she gets “stuck”!

Unfortunately, she’s also very delayed in her learning and will always require supervision.  We’re resigned to the fact that she will never be “normal”, if that even exists anymore.  She certainly has potential but the goals we would like to see her achieve are not normal, either.  She’s 11 now but her developmental age is actually closer to 7, so she usually plays much better with children who are much younger than her.

Due to some of her habits, she tends not to make friends or keep them very easily.  Other children are easily annoyed by her.  It saddens me that she doesn’t really have any close friends.  My heart hurts for her when I think of how some of her peers have treated her and especially now going into her teen years.  If she does make friends, I worry about her being able to keep them.  She’s not very socially conscious, so it’s easy to be annoyed by her.  Been there, done that myself.  Anyway, I worry about it more than she does but, then again, she can’t comprehend it.

This is one of my longer posts in a while but it still feels like I’ve left out a lot.  If you know anyone raising an FAS child, please support them as much as possible.  They probably need it far more than you’ll ever know.  Pray for them.  Be there for them.  Listen to them.  Just be available.

Random Thoughts: Keith "Rip 'n Read" Olbermann


Keith Olbermann…He was great on SportsCenter back in the day. Now he’s the bastion of liberal television talk shows. He gained most of his recent notoriety by seemingly daily ripping into President Bush for just about everything under the sun. Now he’s seen as one of the lefty cheerleaders for President Obama. Anyway, just a few random thoughts…

  • Is anyone more sanctimonious than this guy? Seriously, I watch and listen to a lot of talk shows all across the political spectrum and I hear a lot of anger from all sides but his seems more manufactured than just about anyone I’ve ever heard.
  • I just watched Olbermann talked about Presidential vacations, saying that Bush spent nearly 1/3 of his Presidency on vacation. Ummm…Yeah.  I’m sure those vacation days were spent relaxing, doing absolutely no work at all…{wink, wink}
  • Olbermann’s “World Best Persons”…Tonight’s #3?  Sean Hannity.  “Best continuing fraud…Sean Hannity of Fixed News.”  I don’t like Hannity’s show, radio or TV. However, how much more hypocritical can Olbermann get than calling Fox News, “Fixed News”. Mr. Olbermann, you’re working for MSNBC, not exactly the cupbearers of unbiased journalism.  You might want to think that over. Second, perhaps Hannity should actually make an honest appearance as one of your “best persons” since he’s currently in the midst of his now annual freedom concerts, which benefit our men and women in uniform and their children.
  • I see Keith’s jumping on the Tom Ridge bandwagon (big surprise). Interesting how the left couldn’t stand this guy back in the day. Also, don’t Ridge’s own words from 2004 contradict what he’s saying now? I’m just sayin’…

I’ll close by actually giving Olbermann some credit. He recently gave…WAIT FOR IT!!!…CREDIT to the 9-12 movement started by none other than Glenn Beck.

At its core beneficial, calling, unifying, thoughtful, restore the sense of September 12th, 2001? Not the dread or threat but of collaboration, meeting in the middle somewhere, standing together under one flag and trying to improve the conditions of all Americans.

Drive-By: Socialist = Passé


Is it just me or is the “socialist” label becoming rather passe in reference to Obama and his administration? I don’t go as far as some and say that people who use the label should be ignored. Some of those people make good points despite using the overused and somewhat inaccurate label. In all fairness, the trend of enacting socialist or faux-socialist policies started long ago. Regardless, the word is now overused and, consequently, overlooked. It’s effectively lost its meaning.

I liken the usage of the “socialist” term to the use of “fascist” during the Bush administration. Anytime the lefties didn’t like something Bush did, the “fascist” term seemed to rear its ugly head. Of course, some of these same lefties are ones who now seem to have a problem with the “socialist” label. Go figure. Imagine there being hypocrisy in politics.

What is Becoming of Us???


I’m sitting here listening to a caller by the name of Katie Abram on Glenn Beck’s radio show.  She was one of the citizens who spoke out at a town hall meeting with Senator Arlen Specter.  Since then, she has been undergoing threatening phone calls and e-mails. Her father’s business has been harassed as well. She was crying and upset because those who oppose her consider her to be a “trouble maker” and apparently cannot put up with contrary opinions. She was not discourteous to Senator Specter. She did not belittle him. She merely expressed her opinion and now she’s being subjected to harassment, almost torture really, by people who are one step removed from being subhuman garbage.

Here’s a video of an interview that also shows a brief snippet of what she said at the meeting.

Now see the shameful way she is treated by MSNBC host Larry O’Donnell. In this video, Abrams says that she heard Obama say on TV that he is a proponent of a single-payer healthcare system and that it would take five or ten years to move from employer-based coverage to the single-payer system. O’Donnell interrupts her and claims that Obama never said that. The problem is that he did say that. Okay…He didn’t exactly say that. He actually said it would be ten, fifteen, or twenty years until we moved to a single-payer system. My bad.

Then the snooty O’Donnell asks Abrams if her parents are on Medicare or will be moving to Medicare and would she want them to turn down Medicare because it is also a single-payer system and socialist program. As if what her parents do reflects on her stance against the single-payer system.

Then notice that he tries to make her feel guilty because she said that she didn’t get interested in politics until a couple of years ago. He brings up the fact that she’s 35 years old and that she lived through 9/11 and wonders why she’s interested now when that was a much bigger event than this. Also notice toward the end of the video how he’s trying his best to entrap her…Good grief…This guy is a real piece of work.

But getting back to the harassment…What is wrong with people? Is a different opinion now considered so politically correct that the person offering it must go through hell because they exercised their right as a free American to speak out?

This same thing happened to the opponents of Proposition 8 in California. Those folks were harassed mercilessly in some cases. A web site was even erected with a map showing the names and locations of people who opposed the new law. You can read my story on that travesty here.

I know what some of you are thinking…This happens on the other side, too, right? Absolutely. It seems much more virulent on the left these days, though. Why is that? Or am I just imagining it because of my own preconceived notions? Regardless, it’s wrong. I don’t understand it whether it originates from the left or from the right. It’s just plain wrong.

Healthcare and End-of-Life Issues


I’ve been posting a lot on healthcare reform lately, so I’ve also been reading a lot about the subject. I happened to run across an editorial by Eugene Robinson that has some good comments on healthcare reform as it relates to end-of-life decisions.

First, there’s been a lot of angst being displayed at town hall meetings and other political gatherings across the country by a whole range of people, from conservative to liberal, rich to poor, black to white, etc. Some have charged that these are largely a result of crazies and of insurance companies and other organizations whipping up people into a frightened frenzy and actually paying people to attend these meetings and disrupt them. Now, I’m not naive enough to think that that is not partly true. I’m sure some at these meetings aren’t necessarily there with the purest of intentions. However, the sentiments being displayed at these gatherings run far too deep for that to be blanket truth. I don’t buy for a minute that most or even a large percentage of those people are being persuaded by organizations to display fake outrage like that. I’ve studied the debate, read, and experienced too much to believe that load of crap.

Anyway, Mr. Robinson brings up a good point regarding this line of thinking:

But the nut jobs and carpetbaggers are outnumbered by confused and concerned Americans who seem genuinely convinced they’re not being told the whole truth about health-care reform.

And they have a point.

Another big point by those pushing the government option is that it’s just outlandish to believe that the government is going to ration healthcare. I hold the opinion that, though it may not start out that way, it will likely end up that way.  Robinson makes a similar point:

But reform is being sold not just as a moral obligation but also as a way to control rising health-care costs. That should have been a separate discussion. It is not illogical for skeptics to suspect that if millions of people are going to be newly covered by health insurance, either costs are going to skyrocket or services are going to be curtailed.

The unvarnished truth is that services are ultimately going to have to be curtailed regardless of what happens with reform. We perform more expensive tests, questionable surgeries and high-tech diagnostic scans than we can afford. We spend unsustainable amounts of money on patients during the final year of life.

Yes, it’s true that doctors order some questionable procedures defensively, to keep from getting sued. But it’s a cop-out to blame the doctors or the tort lawyers. We’re the ones who demand these tests, scans and surgeries. And why not? If a technology exists that can prolong life or improve its quality, even for a few weeks or months, why shouldn’t we want it?

That’s the reason people are so frightened and enraged about the proposed measure that would allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling. If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending. It’s irresponsible for politicians, such as Sarah Palin, to claim — outlandishly and falsely — that there’s going to be some kind of “death panel” to decide when to pull the plug on Aunt Sylvia. But it’s understandable why people might associate the phrase “health-care reform” with limiting their choices during Aunt Sylvia’s final days.

He makes a great point. Something has to be done about the cost of the system, which is outrageously high regardless of having the government option in place or not. If the dollar continues to be devalued and our government keeps spending those dollars like they have been over the last few months, there’s no way that I see a healthcare option like the one being considered NOT ending up in rationing. For a related article, please see my previous post “Complete Lives & Obama’s Plans for Your Healthcare“.

You can read Eugene Robinson’s entire article here.

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Complete Lives & Obama's Plans for Your Healthcare


When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.

The above statement was uttered by Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. He is also the chief healthcare policy adviser to the President. This quote is regarding the Complete Lives System, which Emanuel has commented on extensively.

While the Obama administration and other leading proponents of government-run healthcare have been busy poo-pooing opponents’ claims about end-of-life decisions being made for the elderly under such a system, Emanuel has been making other statements such as the following…

Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.

He goes further regarding this issue of who deserves care in regards to the age of the patient…

Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years.  Treating 65-year-olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.

The more I hear about the administration’s plans for healthcare, the more alarmed I am.  The President is not telling us the truth.

All this can be read straight from the source, Emanuel’s article titled “Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions“.