Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

3:00 PM is the national moment of remembrance. The entire nation will be unified in remembering our fallen veterans. There are various ways to participate. This site will help you choose a way to remember.

I love this flag. Just looking at it always makes me remember how fortunate I am to be an American.

Thanks, RW, for the nice picture and good feelings it always brings.

Wish I could write many good words about this special day. But I will only add : Enjoy and remember.

A nice unifying post. Who can argue with it's message?

I'll remember 3pm today. Meanwhile, I'm about to step outside. A squadron of Marine jets about to do a flyover, and I don't want to miss it.
thanks rw. this is really nice.

I'll be gone for most of the day tomorrow and don't know if I'll be back in time for curfew.

Maybe by then you'll have figured out exactly what Dusty said that had Washington State in such high dudgeon.

Happy Memorial Day and thanks for your very nice post here on the subject.
Buy Danish,

I won't be around at all tomorrow. I'll be driving back to rejoin the real world.

Maybe he was freaking out about Dusty calling JoRo on his outrageous comments, but I didn't see anything for WS to go so nuts over.

How anyone can stand by JoRo, rushncap, Candide, Midori etal and then get offended by anything is beyond me. If they don't offend you you've got to be immune.

This is part of that whole lib mindset that if you don't buy into their crazy ideas then you have questioned their patriotism, I believe. I'm still waiting for a real example of President Bush questioning someone, so I don't think we will ever get the Dusty questioning WS.
hey rw,
we had williamson bros bbq today. i come from a family of vets. everyone was so reflective today. i'm not religious btw, but i remember doing a lot of praying when brother went off for gulf war 1. i couldn't imagine life without him. my heart goes out to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one. i guess i'm a little reflective today, too.

hope you're doing well. i'll have to think about how to "award" michael - who is that???

Michael is a great guy that has put up with me at his bar for the better part of three weeks. You must have intrigued him with your free flowing lyrics the other night because the bar was already closed. (he plays on your team-male division. Is there something about the Flaming Lips I should know?)

Sorry that your vacay is over. Bummer.

For the life of me I can't figure out why W.S. felt so slighted by Dusty. Maybe he just needs to be called a homophobe and a racist a few times to toughen him up.

Have a good trip.
what is the "team male division?"

and you should know the lips - check out their website - you can listen for free.
Gosh! I just got back from the neighbor's. Didn't realize I caused such a stir at ml's. I was just trying to calm the attack on poor Dusty.

Maybe we should just label it bipatriotism.

You know, for people who are so opposed to war like Rushncap and Joe Roman, they sure do enjoy engaging in warfare on the blog.

You may not recall this RW, but when someone asked you long ago if you had served, you replied that you were a "Highly-Decorated R.O.T.C. cadet". Semper thought that was so funny.

Nice post for Memorial Day.
Sorry! Had to return to acknowledge the quote. Beautiful...I've never heard it before.

I won't be here tomorrow either. Andy wasn't on today. Maybe we can leave them alone to solve all the world's problems tomorrow.

If I said "highly decorated" I was grossly exaggerating, but I did spend two years in Army ROTC. I think that was back on Danielle's Freedom thread when some of the "progressives" were trying to say nobody returning from Viet Nam ever was spit on. It happened to me in the Fall of 1972 three times and I was in High School in Augusta. If it happened to me there then I'm pretty sure it was wide spread, although the brave protesters always had the women do the spitting.

See y'all back in the big city Wednesday!
my uncle is a vietnam vet and he has nothing good to say about how he was treated on his arrival home. probably some hippie calling him baby killer or something stupid like that. i am very proud of my uncle and proud to thank him for my freedom.
Buy Danish, R.W., and Dusty,

Sorry, I had to leave ML's blog before I could finish. Dusty walked into a buzz saw not entirely of her of her own making. I had posted a plea for people to cool it from their partisan bickering at least on Memorial Day. Dusty was the first one to break a half hour lull and resume the bickering. Prior to that, she had posted
"Have you ever looked around and realized what SORRY citizens you are? Today is Memorial Day and you are so busy bashing Bush you can’t remember anything else."
I thought my initial postings were fairly mild, but things escalated as they often do when people cannot see each other.
Dusty, my apologies, but from you I would like an acknowledgment that not everyone who disagrees with what Bush is trying to do is a traitor.
I dropped the last part of Dusty's post:
"Please stop posting. Everything you say is against this country. We are celebrating this Memorial Day and MOST of us love this country. Do us a favor and keep your ugly thoughts to yourself. THANK YOU!!!"
Buy Danish,

I would like to proceed with our discussion as to how we have arrived at the point where children are being aborted for trivial abnormalities when you have the time.

I won't be able to discuss this until at least Wednesday, but after reading your comments here where you quote Dusty I went back and read the thread more carefully.

You are MORE WRONG than I even thought at first glance yesterday. If you can read the comments from seeker, candide, Joe Roman, and rushncap ...(the people that Dusty was clearly talking to as she even addressed the posts which you left out when you quoted her)... and come away thinking Dusty is the problem then you are the one being blinded by ideology.

After your plea for silence on the matter fell on deaf ears you went after Dusty and the mob followed. The others just used the occasion to continue taking their shots at our country and the President while using Dusty as a punching bag with you providing cover for them.

I know you are a good person and I would like to think that the passions of your prior experiences blinded you to the fact that Dusty wasn't the problem. Look at the things that provoked her. Joe Roman jokes that we have decided to murder our troops in advance etc. You didn't say a word about those comments with any specificity, although I would guess they were included in your blanket plea for silence.

I won't pretend to speak for Dusty, but I think her passions for her country run just as deep as yours and you should appreciate the same deep feelings from her that you yourself feel. I'm sure she knows that dissent doesn't make you unpatriotic and she never once said that about YOU. I hardly think the comments she said crossed the line qualify as patriotic dissent.

Please try to look at this with an open mind. I respect and admire you for many things, foremost among them the pride that came through when your son got into med school. I also admire Dusty for many, many things and she is one of the finest people I have ever encountered.

/rant off

//road trip on

I know that you're invitation was extended to Danish, but I wonder how you can be surprised by the "Selective Abortion" process when we already have within our own country, the opportunity for amneo tests for women 35+ who have, for some time, been given the opportunity to abort if Downs Syndrome is detected.

Combine that with the use of fertility drugs, whereby women are given the option of "selective reduction". In that decision, a woman is given the opportunity to determine which fetus may have abnormalities (defects). Which fetus do you think the women choose to abort?

I'd be willing to bet, that if abortion is banned in a state, which recently it has been, then the abortion pill will become a black market commodity made available because of the ban. It's the "unintended consequences" of hasty decisions.

I'm done, but I'll be interested to observe your discussion with Buy Danish. I'm sure I will learn from it.

I am horrified by the whole idea of aborting a child with Down's. Most people end up in a situation they did not bargain for by accepting the testing for Down's in the first place. Not all are aware that there is no "cure" but abortion.

My question is deeper. How did we end up at a place where women can use abortion as a means of birth control and abortion for conditions like Down's has become acceptable.

Remember what you told me about ignoring the background noise when talking to someone? There are some drawbacks to that. I was not defending the people that Dusty was interacting with at all. I realize that Dusty is a good person. She just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As for the last part about my feelings for my country, that is exactly what I was trying to get her to see, not just for me, but for the other "liberals" who frequent the blog, even the crazies that you mentioned.

Maybe those other liberals are crazy and tasteless, but that is not reason enough to question their love of country.

How did we get there? When the federal government got involved! That's how. When the women's movement demanded the right and the government succumbed. When being pregnant for 9 months became an inconvenience women didn't think they should have to accept.

Adoption was always the best alternative in my opinion. Surrogate parenting for the infertile. People helping people. I like that concept.

It's ironic that the most selfish creature on earth is a newborn baby. "Meet my needs at my convenience." Don't get me wrong, I looooovvve babies, but I demanded compromise from mine. I think, for too long, we have been rewarding selfishness and not requiring and teaching compromise.

Education is the key. When you address the kids at school who may be sexually active, do you discuss the long-term consequences of their decisions? From conception to loss of personal freedom to welfare and a possibility of repeated behavior by the children they created?

There is meaning to the term "Compassionate Conservatism". I just defined it, in my opinion.

Now I am going to "shut my typing fingers" and let you and BD discuss. I hope you don't mind if I observe. I'm in the learning process and plan to be until my final day.

I think you are partially right, but I think that the problem goes deeper than easy access to abortions and the government. Remember back in the '60's when the pill first became available? That was the first step in the slippery slope. Yet I hear very few conservatives nowdays decrying the use of the pill. Of course, when children want to use it, it becomes a hot button issue. But what about all the married adults who use it or resort to tubal ligations or vasectomies? The denial of the potential for life is the first step in the slope that leads to the taking of life; the actual taking of life is way down the slope.
Do you think it could be rampant materialism? People talk about whether they can "afford" another child, almost in the same terms that they discuss buying a new car or a second home. Could that be the justification for birth control and ultimately what led to a country that tolerates the taking of hundred of thousands of lives each year in abortions? I don't know, but everytime someone wants to cut a program for children handicapped by poverty or disability in favor of larger tax cuts for the wealthy, I can't help but think of this. It is why I have such tremendous respect for the wealthy like Bill Gates, Sr., who recognize that their wealth is in part a gift, the result of the opportunity afforded them by living in the U.S. They don't mind giving back some of the money in the form of taxes, even inheritance taxes. Otherwise, we seem to have an "I've got mine" response.
As for the part of your response about talking to kids about their own personal responsibility and the consequences of their actions, yes, I do stress that. But most kids I see who are pregnant actually want to be pregnant. It gives some meaning to their lives. They don't see how they are limiting their chances of having a productive life. Those are the ones who are second and third generation welfare. The other hard to deal with group are the drug addicts who don't care. I have seen some on their 7th or 8th pregnancy with all the previous kids removed by Child Protective Services for abuse and/or neglect.
The most succesful anti pregnancy program ever run came our of Colorado. They gave a group of high risk kids a dollar a day to keep from getting pregnant. I am not sure about the ethics, but it worked better than any program yet devised. I am not sure whether that makes me want to laugh or to cry.
It took me awhile to find where we last talked. I never thought of taking it back to the pill. That's interesting. I do hear alot of couples putting off having children for that very reason. I always tell them that the expense is minimal but the joys are abundant.

Something else that has begun to concern me is women's delay in childbearing in exchange for career. The studies are showing that this can be risky. Fertility diminishes with age and then you end up with "selective reduction" process or a reduction in the population altogether thereby decreasing taxable income, thereby decreasing dollars available to those who are truly in need.

The Bill Gates' and Bernie Marcus's of the world are truly an inspiration. Maybe more people trained (fundraisers) to approach some of the larger corporations to encourage philanthropic donations. I can tell you. Our school has had consistent donations from corporations like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and others who give large sums year after year. They actually spend time at the school because they truly care about the kids. I'm hesitant to ask government for the help. I act as a liason between my church and a local program called "Child-Tech", daycare for teenage mothers so they can continue their education. I've gotta tell you, it was not an easy sell to our church members. They felt as though it was encouraging promiscuity. I finally had to argue that it is the second generation that should be weighing on our hearts. Lapses in judgment are common. Believe it or not, I asked some of the "older" members if they had experienced the same lapse in their youth. They were appalled that I would be so blunt, but finally admitted that they, too had become pregnant out of wedlock but then common sense told me that the probability existed and I needed to provoke empathy within them. Ahhhh, sweet success.

Here's the problem with government run programs. They really don't care about how efficiently it is run. Believe me, it isn't. The cost of overseeing their inefficient efforts exceeds the money that actually goes into the program.

OMG, this is going to be a long post. Hope RW has room in here. Anyway, I've really taken the opportunity to get to know some of the girls and the director of the program at our church. The girls are constantly getting suspended from school. If they are, they are required to come to the church and oversee their own child during suspension. If they fail to do this which they always do, the state does not pay for that child for that day. I understand the intent behind this policy, but it causes the operating budget to fluctuate diminishing quality of care and the ability to staff the centers.

The girls are required to bring all necessary items needed. Food, diapers, wipes and to pay $20.00 a month for the care. They need to experience some cost. They don't think they should have to pay this nominal fee and they don't 9 times out of 10. One of the teenage mothers only brings her child occasionally (rarely). One week he was there everyday. Why? Because he had all new clothes and she wanted everybody to see them. This is the immaturity that we are dealing with. When she was asked where he got all of his new clothes, she replied "I let somebody else claim him on their taxes and we split the money." Two other mother's chimed in that they had done the same thing. There were 7 seniors this year. Only one of them graduated. 4 of them are dropping out because this is their second year of failing the 12th grade. My county has finally offered an alternative type school where kids who have difficulty can pursue vocational training in a field in which they are interested. This was a key decision but long time overdue.

The child-tech program gets even more complicated, transportation issues, disconnected phones of grandparents. No way to get in touch in the event of an emergency other than to contact the mother at school, go pick her up and bring her to the facility. All of these things contribute to liability issues for the staff. Their yearly contract is up for review by our church. What am I going to say WS, I can and will only withhold so much information.

I've taken up enough of your time and RW's space. I'm glad you go into depth when talking to the kids. I always told the girls in our youth group and any young teenage girl who asked that their "virginity" was their power. You can give it away to somebody else or hold onto it. It was their choice. It seems to have been effective with all but one. She is an awesome Mom though, on welfare, but looking to escape that shackle. I am presently encouraging her to get training in a career. She wants to wait until her son is in school. Like I said, she is an awesome Mom.

A $1 a day huh. Looks like you're right, materialism rules society when individual character is so much more valuable.

Don't worry about the post length. This is all stored by blogspot free of charge so if you need the space for whatever needs to be said go for it.
There is a difference between programs run by the government and programs funded by the government. I have been on the advisory board for our local Head Start programs for over 10 years now. They depend heavily on government funding, but are run by local, non-government personnel. I don't think anyone could accuse them of being excessively costly. In fact the only people who will work for them at the wages they can afford to pay are truly dedicated teachers. They have done a tremendous amount of good with the kids (and families) they get. In the beginning, the program had truly bipartisan support. In fact, Cheney was the only member of congress who voted against its initial funding. Even now, it is an extremely popular program. What is happening though is that it becoming the victim of a death by a thousand cuts. For some reason, this administration has made it a priority to regulate it out of existence. Federal inspectors have shut down programs for such infractions as having unraked leaves on the lawn (a safety infraction.) The guidelines for who can be accepted have become more and more stringent. Even at that, there are close to 20 centers in our area that work together. It has been, by all accounts, an extremely succesful program, one of the few "liberal" programs that everyone agrees works like it is supposed to. Unfortunately, it look like it is about to become the victim of idealogic disputes.
Government run programs are not all ineffecient either. Medicare is a good example. 3% of medicare funds are spent on administration compared to 15% of most insurance companies. Of course, there are always rip off artists like the Frist family chain of hospitals, HCA, who have made an art of overcharging the government. When one of them opened in town here, they invited me to a seminar on billing. It was all about how to semi-legally bilk the government. I understand they have paid millions in fines and many of their middle management have served in prison. It is wonderful to see Bill Frist mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president. We meed honest men in politics.
I also see a lot of private-public coalitions. You are right. The amount of paperwork required by the government is onerous, to say the least. It would be great if there were enough private monies floating around to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished. Programs like the one you are involved with are great, but there simply aren't enough of them. Keep up the good work. We have a network of the kind of program you are working with in our area. They collaborate for fundraising and sometimes to keep down administrative costs. We could use a hundred times the number we have.
BTW, you are right about women putting off child rearing. It is actually one of the reasons that our infant mortality rate is high. Older women tend to give birth to small babies with their increased risk of perinatal death. But that is statistics. Fortunately most over 40 pregnancies are healthy, even with the increased risk of Down's and the low birth rate issues. Those are truly treasured babies and those mothers do everything in their power to stay healthy during their pregnacy.

You seem to have more experience at this than I do. I'd love to get your suggestions on how the Child-Tech program can be fixed so that it serves its' purpose. The director of the center at my church is frustrated with the administration of the program through our Board of Education. The monies are funneled to BOE through DFACS.

It's my understanding that if they were going to follow the guidelines as set, the girls would be dismissed from the program for not paying, too many absences, too many suspensions, and subsequent pregnancies thereby defeating the purpose. The administrators are reluctant to do that and I tend to agree. Early intervention for the babies is key to their futures and I wouldn't want them to miss out on that. But based on what I'm hearing, I'm not confident that the mothers or their families realize its' value. There is a HeadStart program running at one of the 5 Child-Tech in my county and serves as a continuation of the Child-Tech program there. I'm sorry to hear about the cuts. Is there information (articles) where you can send me to read up on these cuts?

We've actually come full circle here WS. Why do the families fail to recognize the importance of the program and support it through personal efforts? Our church is providing our facility free of charge. We've been asked not to talk to the girls regarding religion (separation of church & state) and I don't have a problem with that because I don't think that's where the girls heads are at right now anyway. The members were initially put off by that and may still be. I've got to sit there while this year's successes and failures are laid out to them for review of a renewed contract. I'm wishing now that I didn't know so much. I'm between a rock and a hard place. After the directors make their presentation, they'll be asked to leave so the members can get my input.

12 babies, three toddlers, 7 seniors, 1 graduate (the goal) and 4 drop-outs (the lost effort) 8 to go with others coming in, no doubt. Something has got to change. My church's efforts and the staff's there are commendable. The administration's effort and the families' efforts may defeat the program. I'm frustrated.

Don't get me wrong. I was told that there have been success stories in the past. One of the moms even went to Harvard. WOW! I'm just not sure that the success of a few will justify the cost of the many failures in the minds of the church members or society. I'm torn.

Oh BTW, at the new "alternative" school...they will have a Child-Tech program and night classes. I'm holding on to hope. I've even told our Director that I may be interested in substituting for the Child-Tech program in the evenings there so I can get a first-hand perspective. I'd like to think that everything I'm being told is exaggerated or personally motivated. The drop-outs and failures are supported by documentation though. I've seen it unfortunately. Once I get your suggestions, I guess we can end discussion on the topic. You're probably getting bored with me and it.

A quick question posed to a pediatrician.

There has been a substantial increase in Autism. I would say that 90% of our students are autistic.

What do you think the rise can be attributed to. Environmental factors, preservatives in combined vaccinations (MMR) something else?

I've worked with a lot of children with Downs Syndrome and they are easy to love when they're not exhibiting their stubborness which can be easily modified. Kids with autism have that "contact defense" thing going on. I'm fascinated by them and they with me. The staff at my school and myself wonder what the connection is. I tell them that I think I exhibit the tendencies they identify with. Who knows.

First the easy question. I think there is enough data out there to say that vaccines have very little to do with most cases of autism. There have been some huge studies from European countries with socialized medicine (like Denmark) that have shown no increase in autism in hundreds of thousands of vaccinated kids vs. unvaccinated kids. No one can categorically say that there are NO cases of autism due to the mercurichrome used as a preservative in vaccines up until about 5 years ago. But the fact that mercury is no longer used as a preservative in vaccines and there has been no fall in the incidence of autism coupled with those huge studies from Europe make it very unlikely. Most cases seem to have a genetic component. Many kids with autism have relatives with obsessive symptoms and/or difficulties socializing. In California, they are looking at the link between these characteristics and autism in the children born to computer nerds in silicone valley. There are definite indications of genetic factors there. Those kids usually are a little out of synch from early infancy. There is another smaller group of kids who are apparently normal until their second year of life, at which point they seem to regress and lose language and social skills. Less is known about them. The current working hypothesis is that they are kids with a genetic predisposition to autism who are exposed to an infection or toxin that allows the expression of that genetic predisposition. The treatment to date has focused on a method called Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), althought there are tons of alternative therapies which unfortunately have no research to back them up. One promising avenue of therapy is fairly mainstream in Europe and is starting to generate interest here. It consists of sending trained workers into the home starting when the diagnosis of autism is made. These workers try and teach parents how to "think" like their autistic children and generate meaningful communication out of the behaviours of the children. Not an easy task. Anyway, my own experience is that it is such a devastating diagnosis for a family that any explanation they choose to seize on which gives them comfort is good. And since we can't really give them a definitive scientific explanation, I usually leave it be. Talking to relatives is a more difficult task, How do you convince the parent of a child whose cousin has autism that they should immunize the child?

The other question is more complicated. Have you asked the girls who leave the program why they are leaving? Do they get high school credits in child development for attending? Are they hooked in with other community resources? Is there anyway to make the program more school based so as to encourage peer contacts? I supect the program based at the alternative school will be more succesful. My experience has only been with the school based programs. We may well be comparing different populations, so it is hard to say.
I would suggest you talk to some of the folks who are involved with the school based programs. Those programs usually have wsiting lists and I can't imagine someone not welcoming any help they can get.
If you want to read more about what is happening at Head Start since this administration took over, the best place is the horse's mouth, the National Head Start Association:
If you are so inclined, a letter to your legilators in support of Head Start would be greatly appreciated.

The research on autism is interesting. The genetic component coupled with a toxin. I guess I was suspicious of the vaccine because it had gotten so much coverage that seemed to be based in fact. Probably why parents are reluctant to vaccinate. Hasty reporting of unfounded claims.

With the genetic component in play, it can take you back to the time that "disconnected moms" were blamed for the behaviors. That one resulted in a backlash of "defensive guilt". I'm not saying that may be the cause, but maybe it has found a new name, "predisposed to obsessive" symptoms. A parent may be more inclined to acknowledge mild "obsessive qualities" within their own behavior. I think we all possess them to a degree. Toxins? I know that most of the kids seem to restrict or crave certain elements within their diet. Most of them prefer salt. One of our kids was found not to absorb the fat within their diet which created problems with her health. Her diet was changed, but she resisted to the point that her parents feared she would literally starve herself and decided to give her what she craved. She was a very unique child. Didn't want anyone to initiate contact, but when it was her decision, she was very affectionate. Non verbal. While putting her through "trip training" (potty), I would avoid eye contact, but quietly interject what was expected of her while I worked with the other kids at the table. I was sending her "subliminal" messages. She was resistant to sit until I realized that she was sensitive to the "cold seat" I made a little seat cover and she was content and actually hugged me for my efforts. The first time she was successful on the potty, she jumped up, came to me, called me by name, and exclaimed "I pee". She never had spoken before and has not spoken since. Amazing! I always think of them as little receivers who choose not to transmit and that incident ^^^ gave me even more assurance in my efforts.

Children with autism are as individual as snowflakes. ABA is something that we apply at school, but we've never gone to into the homes, yet, listening to the parents, they exhibit different behaviors there. It stands to reason in that the environment is different, probably less structured. Children with Downs Syndrome share "common" behaviors. Their stubborness is common in most, but not all. It can work for them in performing tasks independently and can easily be circumvented through redirecting that energy to be productive. Be a little silly while they're being stubborn, and watch that mood change. That's easy work for me, being silly.

Onto Child-Tech. I do know that the girls are required to take classes in child-development and care. Whether they receive credit, I'm not sure. I'll ask. Good idea!
I've often thought they would be better served taking "life application" classes. Home management, food preparation, budget management with less emphasis on required curriculum. Now how sexist does that make me sound. Those who desire something more should be encouraged to pursue it, but if they're not interesting in the required curriculum, give them something that will support their ability to be a good mom, along with some type of vocational career training, but by all means, don't forget the homemaking element, it benefits them and their children.

There is nothing within the school system that supports these girls. The director at my church has told me that the school actually calls her notifying them that a girl claiming to need to pick up her baby at Child-Tech has requested to leave school. Obviously, the school doesn't even know who is in the program. That's another good idea though, I don't have the opportunity to do it, but I can talk to my minister who used to be a teacher within the county school system. I don't get the opportunity to talk to the girls unless my off days allow me. That is rare. I work in one county school system and they are in another. The county where I work sometimes has different days off, but it's a rare occurence. When I do, I always go up to the church to spend some time. The girls aren't usually there when I am. They rush in in the mornings to drop off and rush in in the afternoons to pick up. Very little time. Like I said, we are not encouraged to have direct contact with the girls but the director makes exception for me. I had taken a couple of personal days once and went to the church. One of the moms was there because she had been suspended. She was funny and very helpful with the other children. I took the opportunity to talk with her. I asked her why she had been suspended. Something about carrying a bookbag. That's prohibited in my county. She kept telling me that she had been singled out that others had bookbags and they weren't suspended. It wasn't fair she said. I agreed assuming she was being honest but explained to her that it would have been better for her if she had just complied with the teacher's request to put the bookbag in her locker. That her resistance to comply had resulted in her suspension and that only made it harder for her to catch up on the days missed. I asked her how many years she planned on being in high school. She said four, I told her that the more suspensions she had, the longer she would be there and she needed to make a decision. Adhereing to rules is something that we all have to do in life and that doing so would assure her success. Don't worry about what's going on with the other kids, do what you have to do for you and your son. I found her to be delightful and intelligent and told her to use both those qualities to secure her future.

Based on what I'm hearing about the alternative school, the program will be more individualized. If I sign on as a substitute, I will entitle myself to input. I became very excited when I heard about it. I don't know what took them so long. It makes all the sense in the world for those kids who just can't cut it in typical academia and they do exist, we have just failed to recognize it. I'll check out the site on Headstart and get a letter or e-mail off. My understanding on how these things work is that although there may be federal cuts to a program, often a state will subsidize the loss of funds through individual budgets. I'll check out Georgia's past record. Our Republican governor is up for re-election, I really don't know that much about him. He and his wife are foster parents. I admire the little things.

Allow me to share one of my compulsions in that you are a pediatrician talking to parents. When people speak of children with disabilities, I request that they allow the child to define the disability rather than the disability define the child, i.e. "A child with (insert disability here) rather than "A (insert disability here) child. "Got it?" If you haven't then "Get it!" I insist. @-

I promoted it during a deposition I had to give regarding one of the students I worked with in the public school system. I was addressing the Special Education Director for that system. It had a profound affect on everybody there, they had never looked at it that way. Why the hell not?
Oops! Quick little sidebar. Have been watching 20/20 during the "Calling All Angels" (Older Foster Children). "Heart Gallery", professional photographers taking pictures of these kids which depict their hearts and souls. Individualizes them rather than institutionalizes them. Placing them in art galleries around the country. Responses to offer foster care have tripled. Yeah!!!

An artistic and creative solution to a complex problem. These are the things that inspire.

The life skills programs is definitely a good idea. Even better if they can gets credits towards graduation from it.
Your mention of professionals and parents referring to children by their disability brings back a lot of memories. I probably was guilty when I was younger, but now I am at the opposite extreme. I often tell parents that it is more important to look at their child's individual abilities and disabilities rather than attach a name to them. This is especially true with kids on the autism spectrum. PDD, autism, Asperger's, it doesn't matter that much what you call it. Down's is the same. I have some children with mosaic Down's who would be difficult to spot in a regular classroom and who keep up academically with a little help.
I didn't want to give you the impression that the pendulum is swinging back to "blaming the parents." It is not their behaviour that seems to predispose a child towards autism. It is their genes. There are subtle signs of a child not connecting with his environment in the usual manner even in the first week of life, so no way could it be a parent's behaviour. It is definitely a bioligically determined syndrome and, more than likely, a collection of syndromes lumped under one name because of their similarities.
Good luck with the program. I think you need to be honest and tell them it is a work in progress and point to the successes. Tell them that you have spoken to people involved with similar programs who have seen those ratios flip with some fine tuning. Don't be discouraged.
Head Start definitely gets some state funds. The problem is that states like Mississippi are not about ready to pony up funds for Head Start. That is why Head Start wants to stay federal. All kids deserve a chance, not just the ones in wealthy states.

I am sorry. I meant Head Start could definitely use state funds. We have done some creative blending of Head Start with other programs, such as early intervention for children at risk.

In no way am I blaming the parents for autism, maybe I miscommunicated.

You have left me encouraged in approaching the church members. I will have to get creative in my presentation.


By toxins, I mean industrial and chemical pollutants, either air or water borne or even present in foods. I used to think that parents who obsessesed about that were a little crazy, but now I am not so sure. Someone recently did a survey of normal volunteers in Washington State and found high levels of just about every toxic metal and pollutant in all the subjects. Even breast milk has been shown to contain unacceptably high level of toxic chemicals. The EPA has become a rubber stamp for industry and no longer inspires any trust.

Wow, I just dropped in upstairs and saw the conversation between you and RW. I gotta tell ya, I have always seen RW as very reasonable in his thinking and not a hardliner at all. Are you a hardliner?

Maybe I misunderstood in the Schiavo case, but I thought I remember the parents asking the government to get involved. My personal opinion on the Schiavo case was that both the parents and the husband's desires should have been removed from the equation, and Terry's dignity and quality of life should have been the only consideration. Death by starvation seems a terrible solution. I wish there was something else, but then you get into all the ethical aspects.

Somebody visited ml's recently JT and I was very interested in his posts. It provoked me to research different countries and their governments. I found this in an opinion piece from a Middle Eastern paper. It was interesting, I'm sure the definitions hold true:

Basically, a "dictablanda" is interested in maintaining its own power at home, and has no ambitions abroad. In a "dictablanda", the chief weapons of the regime are the distribution of favours, the bribing of the poor masses with government subsidies, and control of the media.

A "dictadura", however, is always based on hard ideology and often claims a mission to transform the entire society if not the world as a whole. It is often born with a major act of violence and terror, usually labelled "revolution" or " popular uprising". It begins life by forcing large numbers of people to flee into exile while countless others are murdered as "enemies of the revolution". A "dictadura" cannot survive without war and is thus a constant source of instability in its region.

Both the Taliban regime and Saddam Hussein's tyranny belonged to the "dictadura" category and, like most other regimes in that category, could not be changed without the use of force.

For me, the "dictablanda" dictatorship defines the Democrats and that is why I cannot vote for them. I used to vote Democrat, but when I saw how the programs failed time and time again to bring about change and rather compounded the problems, I was out. The new approach of individual responsibility may be painful in the shortrun, but I believe people will adapt, that's what people do. With power in the hands of the people, there will be more money to accomodate the truly needy. The people that can't help themselves. I have two sisters who have milked the government for 25 years along with an ex-brother-in-law. It's amazing the money they have gotten for disability claims when all the time, they could have been contributing to help others. My youngest sister recently died from drug-abuse, but they all voted Democrat.

BTW, the Middle Eastern columnist didn't see Bush as a "dictadura". I wish I could link, but I'm still not able to here. The process is more complicated than at ml's.

Liberal programs did not fail time and time again. They were succesful in transforming our country into a worker friendly nation. We talked about their accomplishments earlier (child labor, ownership of family members, reasonable work hours, safe work place.) Unfortunately, movements become stagnant and governmnent programs particularly get set in concrete and overpowered by regulations. I agree with you on a lot of what you perceive wrong with the Democrats. I have to deal with welfare cheats on a daily basis, not to mention the middle class who can't wait to file suit against the driver who tapped their rear fender. Onerous regulations at all levels of government make it hard to do business. But I don't think the Republicans have the answers either. Personally, I am most comfortable when the government is split and one party acts as a check on the other. As for my being a hard-liner, what do you think? You have talked with me enough that you should know. I just have a way of inadvertently pushing RW's buttons, I guess.

As for Schiavo's case, none of us really know enough about the case to get that involved. I do know that all the docs and all the courts involved in the case were unanimous. What we run up against in her case is an ethical dilemma:
There is no ethical obligation to prolong life if it means using extraordinary means. Legally, most states consider tube feeding an extraordinary means. Ethically, I am not so sure. Does yesterday's extraordinary means become today's ordinary means? I don't know. But I do know that it is a very difficult issue, especially with all us baby boomers reaching that stage of life. What I object to is the politicization of the whole case. It is one of those grey areas in ethics that needs to be ironed out, but not by politicians.

I don't like to witness conflict. I don't like to engage in it. That's why I often interject humor in an attempt to promote levity. You're right, initially liberal programs were needed and brought about necessary change. However when left up to the inherent nature of man who both receives and distributes, we have a problem.

I've got no problem with checks & balances within the houses. Too much weight within either or, often stands in the way of progress for political gain. Right now, the problems I see are within the individual parties. Within the Republican Party, it is to distance themselves from Bush. Within the Democratic Party, it's to distance themselves from the extreme left. Maybe everybody will end up more in the center.

I've said it before and I don't mind saying it again...Bush appeals to me because he wanted to try new and innovative ideas. He has been burdened with some unforeseen circumstances. Here lately, he has had to compromise in the interest of party on some issues. It disappointed me, but it definitely was not the issues that are important to me. I'd like to see the Democrats encourage compromise within some of their special interest groups. But they don't

I've got no problem with homosexuality. I've got no problem with civil unions as opposed to marriage provided the same legal priveleges are afforded in civil unions, but will the employers have a say so when it comes to benefits? Illegal immigration is oh soooooo complicated and didn't have to be when you consider we already had laws that weren't enforced. RW pointed that out to me. For every law that the government passes, they need to revoke two instead of piling on and complicating things.

I have a great deal of respect for RW. He has always been the person on here that provokes me to think. I've never considered myself to be an intellect. He is both intelligent and pragmatic in his approach to problems. He's also very funny. I'm just pragmatic.

Don't sell yourself short. You have made more sense to me than anyone else on these blogs. As for RW I kinda like him also. I suspect it is inevitable that two alpha male types with different ideas are going to clash. Believe it or not, I don't like conflict either. Maybe that is why I am bad at it.

I couldn't agree with you more about the need to move to the center and build consensus. It isn't easy though. Witness what happens when RW and I talk for any length of time and multiply that by a couple of million.
You have got to be freakin' kidding me.

OO I apologize for interjecting here, but this has gotten beyond out of hand.


I don't go for the insane psychobabble of "the inevitable clash of alpha males", I am about as far from the textbook definition of that as you can find.

Like OO said I am very pragmatic which seems to contradict the whole idea you've conjured up, but beyond that I have firmly held beliefs when I have studied an issue and think there is a proper course of action. You have demonstrated that you have zero respect for that and you ascribe the worst of all conservative positions to me.

There are issues that I am far more conservative than the leaders in Washington and there are many issues where I don't come close to toeing the party line, but one thing I am is consistent. If I tell you how I feel about an issue it is heartfelt and studied. You will not be reading one day and see me espousing the exact opposite position. I can be persuaded by logical argument from someone that has studied an issue, but I am never swayed by feel good argument or party politics.

This is why you and I clash and not some idiotic image of bull elks showing off to get the girl.

As far as trying to come up with some centrist consensus for issues I think that generally results in very poor legislation and seldom solves any real problem. When a problem that government is involved in reaches critical mass it is going to need strong leadership and unwavering commitment to the ideals that you believe will fix the problem once and for all. Centrist compromises will never manage that for truly difficult problems.

Now back to the real issue here. I would rather delete this whole blog than ban someone, so I would like to respectfully ask you to leave this site and not return. You can reach the same people at getalife's site or at ml's. Feel free to take any parting shot at me and then please leave.
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