Camp Twitch and Shout

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Tourettes

Imagine being a kid with Tourette syndrome; the muscles in your body and your face seem to have minds of their own, you make noises — sometimes alarmingly loud noises — that you do not intend to make. Perhaps worse than the disease you feel alone; people are scared of you because they don’t understand Tourettes; the adults want to shield their children from you and most of the other kids think you’re weird and funny and, in the school yard, they gather around you and laugh at you and imitate your tics.

An article at CNNHealth.com talks about a special summer camp in Georgia for kids with Tourettes and about the camp director Brad Cohen. Here’s what Brad Cohen remembers from his childhood more than 20 years ago:

“I remember eating lunch at school all by myself and the mean kids would parade around me and mock my noises. My teacher made me get up in front of the class and apologize to everybody for the noises I was making.”

For Brad Cohen the nightmare, the uncontrollable barking and squealing noises he could not control, began in the fifth grade and made his life hell; to this day, at the age of 35, Cohen still “barks” occasionally but something happened to Brad while in Middle School, — at that point in his life when his symptoms were the worst they had ever been — the school principle approached him and asked him if he would like to educate the other students about his condition.

“They gave me a standing ovation, and it was on that day that I realized the power of education. I wanted to be that teacher that I never had. And that was my dream. I wanted to be the teacher that focused on kids’ strengths, not weaknesses.”

And he did that and more — thanks mainly to that one middle school principal who understood the power of education.

Today Brad Cohen is an elementary school teacher, the author of a book about Tourette syndrome and the first director of Camp Twitch and Shout, a week-long summer camp in Georgia for kids from ages 7 to 17 who suffer from Tourettes.

Camp Twitch and Shout offers normal summer camp activities: swimming, fishing, music and arts and crafts but the most important thing about Twitch and Shout is it allows a child who has always felt like an outcast to see that there are many other kids just like him or her and to understand that they are not dysfunctional monsters they are just kids who have a special challenge.

“According to experts, Twitch and Shout is one of only five weeklong camps in the country for children with Tourette syndrome. Atlanta-based child neurologist Howard Schub says such camps help children better cope with their condition. Some campers have never met another kid with Tourette syndrome.”

Read the Article: At Camp Twitch and Shout, Tourette kids can be themselves

And understand more about Tourette Syndrome with this Fact Sheet from The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Petition: Stopping Obamacare

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Obamacare

So far, nearly three-quarters of a million people have signed an online petition designed to let our congress know that they (we) don’t want a government controlled/government run healthcare system.

We have seen what happens to EVERY government social program (e.g., social security): they go broke because the congress has no idea what the words “trust fund” mean. We have seen and heard the horror stories created by the National Healthcare systems in Canada and Britain we don’t need to emulate systems like that; but now our legislators are proposing a system that will do just that; it will force insurance (THEIR insurance) down our throats, increase everyone’s financial burden, put thousands of people in hospice-care situations and, in general, take away control of our own healthcare decisions.

Our current healthcare system IS NOT BROKE and doesn’t need to be trashed and replaced. The current system has some problems — no doubt about that — but most of the problems have either been caused by the U.S. government’s meddling and/or could easily be fixed with some sensible legislation.

The online petition is at http://freeourhealthcarenow.com/. It specifies some basics for any healthcare legislation:

  • Choice: The right of individuals to choose their own doctor and health insurance provider based on their own individual and family needs.
  • Access: Patient-centered, not government-centered healthcare.
  • Fairness: Fair taxation (and tax breaks) for individuals who buy their own insurance.
  • Responsibility: Individual control over healthcare decisions and portability of insurance.

This petition, admittedly, does not say everything we as individuals want to say but it sends a sure signal to Congress that we don’t want Canadian or British healthcare — we want healthcare that is controlled by a patient and his or her physician.

If we can get congress to (1) trash that abominable, bureaucratic mess that is working its way through the legislature, (2) start listening to their constituents instead of the Obama-controlled robots that are in charge, and (3) understand that the government is the real problem, we might get some intelligent healthcare reform.

Please sign the petition! Go to: http://freeourhealthcarenow.com/.

A Portrait of Obama From the UK

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Obama in the UK

When President Obama visited the UK he was quite a hit as evidenced by the ‘wall-to-wall’ news coverage but they, as well as us, have had a better chance to digest his policies and it seems to be common knowledge that Obama’s once brilliant aura is beginning to dim.

A scathing article in the London Telegraph (linked below) by the noted British author and commentator, Gerald Warner, looks at the Obama Presidency and hits hard on the major milestones (if that’s what you want to call them):

His Popularity:

“Are the people rejecting their saviour? Barack Obama’s approval rating has slipped to below that of George “Dubya” Bush at the same stage in his presidency and this is causing some concern among right-thinking (by which, of course, I mean left-thinking) people.”

His Economic Package:

“How is it with the economic rescue package? Terrific – if you are a Wall Street banker. But if you happen to belong to that uncovenanted majority of the population, the lumpen salariat, you may be coming to the conclusion that crossing FDR’s depression-prolonging New Deal with LBJ’s Great Society is not the answer to your problems.”

(“lumpen salariat” those who are struggling to ‘move up’ in their careers).

His Healthcare Plan:

“It is no longer Republicans who are the problem about getting this package through Congress: it is Democrats. Even the American left balks at a socialist scheme for health care that would have had Nye Bevan shouting “Hold on a moment!” Your brainchild, Barack — enjoy.

(Nye Bevan: The primary architect of Britan’s National Health Service.)

His Foreign Policy:

“American foreign policy is beginning very satisfactorily to fill the vacuum left by the Soviet Union. The Obama administration has set itself the objective of establishing Marxist regimes in the remaining democratic states of Latin America.

They tell me Barack Obama was a lawyer. They also told us he was a democrat. Yet the Honduran crisis is a direct confrontation between Jeffersonian and Bolivarian principles, in which the President of the United States has chosen the Bolivarian (more bluntly, the Marxist) option.”

(Bolivarian refers to Simón Bolívar, an early 19th century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the South American Wars of Independence. His philosophy is espoused by the current flock of Latin American dictators.)

Mr. Warner ends with a grim reminder:

“Three and a half more years to go — this could get very interesting.”

I found this criticism from the other side of the ‘pond’ particularly interesting in light of the several articles in the last few days like this one that proclaims “U.S. image abroad surges under Obama”.

These articles point out that we are still a long way from being “popular” in the Muslim world but most of the rest of the world likes the US better under Obama than they did under George W. Bush. Well of course they do! Obama has been round the world telling everyone about, and apologizing for, all the “mistakes” we have made in the past and how we are now the friendlier, gentler nation. That must make those who think that Democracy is ‘obscene’, much happier. That must make those who have ambitions to destroy our Democratic system much more relaxed.

I wonder, Mr. Warner, if we can survive another three and a half years!

Links:

London Telegraph: Barack Obama discovers socialist projects at home and a pro-Marxist foreign policy are making him unpopular

San Francisco Chronicle: Poll: U.S. image abroad surges under Obama

Professor Gates Should Thank The Cambridge P.D.

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Gates Arrest

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. returned to his home in a taxi last Thursday; he had been in China filming a documentary for PBS. When he arrived at his front door he found it to be stuck closed so he asked the taxi driver to help and according to news reports the two of them finally ‘pried’ the door open.

A neighbor, seeing these two men breaking into the front door of a home acted responsibly and called the police. After the police arrived, the news reports of exactly what happened are sketchy but one thing is clear, Professor Gates was eventually arrested by the responding officer. Here’s a blurb from the Metro International News:

It still isn’t entirely clear what transpired last Thursday when Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested outside his Cambridge home. A police report indicates Gates was screaming at the officer, called him a racist and ignored warnings to calm down.

Gates, however, denies he acted inappropriately and said the officer didn’t respond to his requests for identification.

By the way, Professor Gates is black and the arresting officer isn’t; and Professor Gates is, according to the Boston Globe, a Harvard professor and “a leading authority on African-American history.”

So who is the arresting officer: He is Sergeant James Crowley, who is, according to the
Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, a highly respected veteran supervisor with a distinguished record in the Cambridge Police Department. This police association also reviewed the arrest reports and they have concluded that “his (Crowley’s) actions at the scene of this matter were consistent with his training, with the informed policies and practices of the Department, and with applicable legal standards.” Just a guy with a hard job to do.

As a result of the situation: Professor Gates wants an apology from Sgt. Crowley and Sgt. Crowley says he absolutely won’t apologize because he feels he has nothing to apologize for. Professor Gates is threatening a lawsuit. President Obama took a few moments out from his destruction of the economy to, in effect, call the arresting officer “stupid.” And the one photograph of the arrest (above), taken by a neighbor who saw a man he didn’t know being arrested, has made the rounds of the morning TV shows and newspapers.

The few facts presented in this post certainly represent insufficient reason to accuse anyone of anything but just from the information in the Metro International News quote above, the other facts about Professor Gates and what we know of Sergeant Crowley, one can start to get a picture of what might have transpired in the Gates house last Thursday. I certainly have a scenario in mind, but it would be inappropriate to share it based on what we know.

I will say this however — and I’ve already said it in the title of this post: “Professor Gates Should Thank The Cambridge P.D.” for doing their job, trying to protect the professor’s house. He should also track down the neighbor who witnessed his breaking and entering and thank him or her for being a good neighbor. Neither will, of course happen. The professor (as well as the president) is convinced that he was a victim of racial stereotyping and he will, no doubt, carry that belief to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Links:

Boston Globe: Officer in Gates case says he won’t apologize

New York Times: Obama Criticizes Arrest of Harvard Professor

Metro International News: Controversy over Gates arrest continues

Caping, Trading and Self-Destructing

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Cap and Tax

Former Alaska Gov Sarah Palin attacked the Administration’s Cap and Trade proposal in an editorial in the Washington Post this morning and she made some very valid, very important points about the problems with Cap and Trade but her argument was focused on energy production.

Here is my “top three” list of problems with Cap and Trade — problems that were not, IMO, given enough emphasis by Gov. Palin:

Problem 1: Now is the Wrong Time!

We have a very sick economy! Manufacturing businesses are being pushed to their limit by an economy that is providing few new opportunities to sell their products at a decent profit. As a result they are reorganizing, freezing wages, laying off workers, stopping their profit sharing and, in many cases, closing their doors. So why now? Why, at this worst time of all is President Obama so determined to add new burdens to our manufacturing industries. Possible answer: His focus is global warming — he doesn’t care about the “bodies” that lay in the path between the problem and the solution!

Problem 2: Cap and Trade is Completely Unilateral

We will be adding financial burdens and creating personal disasters here, in the United States, so we can reduce our Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions while the rest of the world continues to pollute. We need an IF statement in our legislation: IF the industrialized countries around the world force their polluters to reduce their emissions by some figure (lets say 10%) we will force our polluters to do the same. If they refuse to do to their economies what Obama is so keen on doing to ours, we are being foolish to punish our economy just because of our president’s pig-headed determination to be “Green” (God how I’m starting to hate that word!).

Problem 3: Cost of Living

Here’s an excerpt from a June 1st editorial in the Washington Post — the editorial is the work of Martin Feldstein who’s resume includes: professor of economics at Harvard University, president emeritus of the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research and former chairman (from 1982 to 1984) of the Council of Economic Advisers.

“The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that the resulting increases in consumer prices needed to achieve a 15 percent CO2 reduction — slightly less than the Waxman-Markey target — would raise the cost of living of a typical household by $1,600 a year. Some expert studies estimate that the cost to households could be substantially higher. The future cost to the typical household would rise significantly as the government reduces the total allowable amount of CO2.”

Oh boy, just what we needed — a raise in our cost of living by a minimum of $133.00 a month. If Cap and Trade becomes a reality, start packing your own lunches and start looking for a used bicycle with a basket, to help save gas on short trips to the store; and maybe you can cut back on some of those medications you’re taking.

There are many other problems with Obama’s proposed Cap and Trade legislation. To start finding out more, start by reading Martin Feldstein’s editorial: Cap-and-Trade: All Cost, No Benefit

Also read an factual, unbiased description of Emissions Trading in How Stuff Works

Obama’s ‘Fine Print’

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Change indeed!

Americans grow up, finish their schooling, get their own cars, their own places to live, go for an easy to get credit card or two, develop a credit history, eventually get married, raise a family, get a bigger place to live and if they haven’t already, at that point many start abusing their credit.

Problem is, the average American has very poor money management and credit management skills (that’s a subject not taught in too many schools) as a result they will quickly run their golden egg producing credit cards up to their limits by making those fabulous minimum payments and will, to their everlasting amazement, then be offered a new even higher credit limit.

What I’ve just described is more than just a series of snapshots that depict people getting into financial trouble, it also describes a culture created by and manipulated by our banks, credit card companies, loan companies and millions of businesses who advertise: “We Finance!” This has been going on for the past two or three generations and it has created a ‘False American Dream’; not the American Dream that says if you work very hard and use your money wisely you can accomplish almost any personal goal — this ‘False American Dream’ has led countless Americans to believe that they can ‘afford’ anything they want because the money is out their waiting for them — past credit history be damned. No one reads the fine print!

From Finance To The ‘Age of Obama’:

In 2008, many American voters were in deep financial trouble because of the False American Dream and this was exacerbated by the Bush Administration’s mismanagement of the economy. With these two conditions in play it’s only natural to assume that these American voters would reject any candidate with any connection to President Bush (i.e., the entire Republican party) and jump at the chance to elect a president who promised the most help. Thus, we entered the age of Obama.

Picking a president based on campaign promises is just as perilous an adventure as applying for that third credit card after the first two are maxed out. It doesn’t seem like you have any choice and you live on the hope that everything will work out all right. Trouble is, with everything you do in life there is “fine print” that needs to be understood and “consequences” that need to be faced. In the case of candidate Obama, the “fine print” was hidden in the practiced eloquence of his speech and in the blinding glow of his well-polished charisma. The fine print didn’t lie either; it presented a fairly accurate picture of the thoughts and aspirations of the candidate, i.e., ‘the free-market does not work; big business is not to be trusted; every individual American must sacrifice so the government can provide for those who have less and need more; only government control can save us all from the ongoing financial crisis and only the government can put American’s back to work.’ That and more was all there in the “fine print” for all of us to “read.”

It’s safe to assume that many people who voted for candidate Obama did not look beyond the rhetoric and charisma to “read” the fine print. Those who did and still voted for candidate Obama probably fall into two categories: 1) those who like the idea of an all-powerful government that would “take care of them” and 2) those who understood the implied socialism in what candidate Obama was saying and assumed that it was all just political rhetoric — like in every election — and not to be taken too seriously. After all who would seriously think that a new president would dare to even consider turning the United States economy and culture into something resembling a European country’s?

It’s time to face the consequences — next time “read the fine print”

Chicago Tribune: U.S. unemployment rate may be more than 10 percent already

Bloomberg: “ U.S. Commercial Construction to Drop 16% This Year, Report Says

Reuters: Waves of job losses sap U.S. states’ budgets

Obama’s Alternate Reality

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Obama

It’s apparent from President Obama’s weekly radio address (taped this week in Italy) that he does not see the same things as the majority of American’s see.

We see unemployment at a near record high and those who believed in Obama (according to every poll) losing their confidence. He sees a recovery act that is taking the country “in the right direction.”

His most astounding statement however was this:

“I realize that when we passed this Recovery Act, there were those who felt that doing nothing was somehow an answer. Today, some of those same critics are already judging the effort a failure although they have yet to offer a plausible alternative.”

Two more Obama lies — blatant lies — in a two sentence quote. NO ONE with any credibility whatsoever has ever said that “doing nothing” was an answer to the economic problems and the most obvious approach to resolving the crisis HAS been suggested hundreds of times; i.e., give businesses incentives to grow and hire by cutting corporate taxes and easing some of the regulation.

But what does Obama do? He starts a new WPA (Works Progress Administration); sure he’s created a bunch of new jobs, but they’re all government jobs being paid for by our much overworked and now practically worthless tax dollars. That’s not boosting the economy — that’s growing the government and in Obama’s reality that’s all that matters and the only thing that works.

Then, as a topper, in Obama’s ‘Alternate Reality’ he grabs hold of the thoroughly disenfranchised “global warming” theory (see John Stossel’s article: “The Global Warming Myth?”) and pushes forward an ADDITIONAL TAX on the economy — the “Cap and Trade” (or as his critics have correctly named it, the ‘Cap and Tax’) Legislation (see: the Washington Post article, “Cap-and-Trade: All Cost, No Benefit”).

President Obama and his lap dogs in the Congress are putting the U.S. Economy into a hopeless downward spiral; creating new legislation that will obviously make it worse; guaranteeing, through ‘cap and trade,’ that the United States will loose millions more jobs when employers have no choice but to move their operations to countries that are more friendly to business; and then he asks for “more time to allow it all to work.”

Perhaps “Alternate Reality” is not the right name for it — perhaps Obama missed the “sign post” that warned him he was entering the “Twilight Zone.”