Thursday, October 8, 2009

Personal Cost of Health Care

Last Friday afternoon I went to see my family doctor. I had been having some intestinal issues that were of concern and was sent immediately to the hospital for a CT Scan. After the scan I was given instructions by my doctor and sent home. Sunday evening my condition was worsening and at 1 am on Monday morning my husband took me to the ER where I was admitted. We pay a $30 co-pay for regular office visits, a $50 co-pay for urgent care and/or specialist visits, and $150 co-pay for ER visits and it is always expected that those are paid at the time of each visit. Our prescription benefits are on a tier system which means that we either pay $20, $30, $50 or 20% depending on which tier the drug prescribed falls in. We also have a $1500 deductible per person per year. Our out of pocket medical expenses are usually around $7,000 a year. That is with good insurance.

While I was still in my hospital bed a lady from accounting came in to see me. At that point I had been in the hospital a total of 34 hours. She informed me that our bill was in excess of $5,000 and wanted to know if we would be able to take care of our portion of the bill that day. My husband was not there and they had instructed him to take my purse home with him so I told her no. She then handed me an envelope and told me that they like to see no less than $250 before leaving the hospital but that I could mail it when I got home. I was a bit dumbfounded. We paid our $150 co-pay in the ER and we always pay our medical bills. I also know from past experience that that $5,000 does not cover the ER doctor, the radiologist, the floor doctor, or the gastrointerologist. We will be receiving bills from them shortly.

Why so expensive? Well... different people pay differing amounts. Our insurance will no doubt cut the cost of the bill because they have a set standard they pay for different procedures. If the hospital charges more than that they will write off the difference because they have a contract with the insurance company to do so. In many ways our insurance company keeps the cost down for us by having restrictions like that in place. But the cost is still too high. There is a lot that most do not understand about how health care works. On the surface someone may look at this post and take it as an example of the need for universal health care. It just is not that simple.

I wonder if I would have been able to get an appointment on Friday if we were under a government controlled health care system. Would I have gotten a CT scan the same day? My condition could have potentially become life threatening if not treated. What if I had to wait?

I know a lot of families that are not as well off as we are. There are health care programs for them. They do not go without care. What I hear about and what I know do not add up. I definitely agree that something must be done about health care costs but what is being proposed is not the answer. Why would it not be implemented if passed until 2013? The deductions from all of our incomes will take effect immediately. Does that not raise a red flag?

Friday, October 2, 2009

National Institutes of Health Research Grant

As someone who suffers from Spasmodic Dysphonia, I received the following e-mail today:

And now, for some really exciting news that could have a real effect on many of us with focal forms of dystonia such as Spasmodic Dysphonia. The NIH has awarded a 5 year, $5.6 million grant to help advance research and studies through a multicenter Dystonia Coalition!!! The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation will play a key role!! Read the complete information below:

NIH Awards New Grant to Develop Better Treatments for Focal Dystonias

September 30, 2009 – Officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have announced the funding of a five year award aimed at forming a multicenter Dystonia Coalition to advance clinical research on primary focal dystonias, including Cervical Dystonia, Spasmodic Dysphonia, Blepharospasm, and others. Leading the Coalition will be H. A. Jinnah, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Human Genetics at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. It affects men, women and children. Dystonia can be generalized, affecting many major muscle groups and resulting in twisting, repetitive movements and abnormal postures. Or dystonia can be more focal, affecting a specific part of the body such as legs, arms, hands, neck, face, mouth, or vocal cords. Currently, it is estimated that at least 300,000 individuals in North America suffer from dystonia, making it more common than Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and ALS. There is no known cure.

The $5.6 million award will allow the Dystonia Coalition to cultivate a better understanding of the primary focal dystonias and find better therapies. This includes projects to develop a better understanding of their natural history, establish instruments appropriate for monitoring disease severity in clinical trials, and develop proper diagnostic criteria. The creation of a biorepository to store biological samples to support future research is also planned, making these resources available to investigators worldwide. The Coalition will bring together the most committed dystonia researchers in North America and Europe, along with dystonia patient advocacy groups.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) will play an integral role by providing logistical and planning support for the Coalition. The Foundation is well-poised to serve in this capacity as it is the largest and most established patient support organization devoted to dystonia.

“Dystonias are rare and devastating diseases, with limited and sometimes inadequate treatment options,” explains Dr. Jinnah. “Funding of the Dystonia Coalition will allow us to address unmet needs in focal dystonia research, as well as make resources available to other investigators that will help to advance the field.”

“We are delighted about the funding of the Dystonia Coalition and pleased that Dr. Jinnah will be leading this effort,” says Mahlon R. DeLong, MD, Scientific Director of the DMRF. “This is a unique opportunity to provide much-needed attention to these rare diseases. The DMRF is proud to play a role in this important effort.”

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation is dedicated to advancing research for more treatments and ultimately a cure, promoting awareness and education and supporting the needs and well being of affected individuals and families. To learn more about dystonia, contact the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation at 1-800-377-3978 or
www.dystonia-foundation.org
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I would love for new treatments and/or a cure to be found for my condition. Being told by my doctor last year that there was nothing more they could do for me was a real blow. You would think that the above would come as good news to me. Sadly, it is not.
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The National Institutes of Health is the Nation's Medical Research Agency run through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This money will be used for research using embryonic stem cells to which I am morally opposed. I was quite disgusted when I went to the NIH Guidelines on Human Stem Cell Research.
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The guideline begins with this statement: On March 9, 2009, President Barack H. Obama issued Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells.
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This statement is misleading. I have previously written about the stem cell debate on this page. President Bush allowed government funded embryonic stem cell research through existing lines that had been slated for destruction. There has never been any sort of ban on any type of stem cell research, just government funding for embryonic stem cell research. The research already done, which is extensive, has revealed that embryonic stem cells are unstable and lead to cancer. Why they want to continue on in that vein... taking money from adult stem cell research that has held much more promise, is beyond me. Yes, I know that embryonic stem cells can be manipulated into any sort of tissue where adult stem cells are more limited. I just have a problem with the creation of life being cannibalized in the name of medicine and cures for diseases. It is wrong.
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So what happens if they come up with a "cure" for Spasmodic Dysphonia through embryonic stem cells? I will choose to live with it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Report on Good Morning America

I do not normally have the television on in the morning. However, I turned it on after hearing about a second earthquake during the night with another tsunami and knew that Good Morning America would be talking about it as well as the other earthquake and tsunami that hit Samoa yesterday. I was quite surprised by one of the other stories.

Apparently, those in Congress can pay under $400 a year to receive unlimited health care on site. If they need specialists they are brought in with no additional charge. They had a hard time getting people to speak about it on camera. Interestingly, the reporter made the case for primary health care being the key to lowering health care costs and that increasing the availability of primary care is what is needed. I agree with that... to an extent. Medical school enrollment is down and some doctors are leaving the field altogether. Why? I think it is the decline in incentive.

I just wanted to throw that out there real quick. I've got a busy morning and don't have time to look up some things I'd like to. I do know that some companies are now hiring doctors to have on site to keep their health care costs down while still providing services for their employees. I'm interested in seeing if I can find some good examples of how that is working.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health Care Reform

We all hear about it every day. We could use some changes in health care to make it less expensive. Does that mean we need to hand over control of it to the government? NO.

Where are the people dying in this country because they have been turned away from hospitals because they don't have insurance? It is against the law for hospitals to do that!

Case in point:

Someone I know in his mid-thirties is an alcoholic that lives in California. He had had four DUI's, his license taken away, and spent many months on house arrest in 2007. In August of 2008 he was in a serious car accident in which he was driving a friend's SUV... drunk. There were no other cars or people involved (THANK GOD!!!) and he was seriously injured. He was in the hospital for a month and required rehabilitation services for a brain injury for months afterward. He had no insurance and no way to pay... yet, he received the care.

I know families that receive state health and dental care for their children because they fall below a certain income level.

Health care costs are through the roof. That has more to do with sleazeball trial attorneys than anything else.

And that is my rant for the day on current U.S. political happenings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

World Politics

In my quest to understand the middle east I have had my eyes opened to a few things. The fact is that in today's world global politics are just as important as our own U.S. politics. There is no doubt that the United States is the current most powerful nation. However, there are changes being made here that could change that.

When I wrote the post on Palestine I went into researching that with a certain mindset. I first learned of the Holocaust when I was in high school and was very affected by it. I was not raised in a Christian home and was not aware of the history of the Jews from a biblical perspective. My heart broke for a people so mistreated. When I learned of the plight of the Palestinians, my heart also broke for them. As much as I know that life is not fair, I want it to be so.

What is it that drives different people groups throughout the world? Their beliefs. Those beliefs are shaped by their experiences... their history as a people, their lifestyle or culture (which is, in large part, determined by where they are located geographically and what natural resources are available in those areas that enable them to be either self sustaining and/or develop trade with others) and what they believe the purpose of life is. As much as many people would like to leave religion out of things, it is impossible.

Mrs. BLBeamer made the comment in my last post that she was hoping I would not be discussing the middle east as much because it seems to be a futile effort. Maybe so. However, I am more interested, at this point, in understanding it and how it relates to the rest of the world. I will, even though I am disgusted with U.S. politics, also get back into looking at what is going on here.

Today the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be addressing the United Nations. Gateway Pundit has this post up about Canada boycotting the speech and is planning on going to the U.N. today to report on what is happening.

We know that Iran now has nuclear capabilities.

What do you think this means for the United States?

For Israel?

Update: In case you haven't figured it out, Gateway Pundit is my favorite political blog. He has updates throughout the day of what is going on around the world. I really appreciate his straightforward style. He has this post up about the protest against Ahmadinejad outside of the U.N. complete with pictures. He says there is another scheduled for tomorrow. He also has this post up about President Obama using his speech to the U.N. General Assembly to warn Israel that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

I am currently taking a class on Bible prophecy. It is providing a different lense with which to look through at what is happening around the world right now. It is foretold in the Bible that the world will turn its back on Israel and that would have to include the United States.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Very Interesting...

Check out this blog post covering a protest in Denver on August 6th when Nancy Pelosi came to tour a medical clinic for the homeless. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Thanks Paula!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Palestine II

A new person, Shafiq, entered into the discussion on Palestine last week. In his last comment he posted this link to an interesting article. I'd like to discuss this article. One of the things that I find difficult is sifting through the news. Is it even possible to find unbiased news?

Also, a two state solution seems impossible at this point. There are too many Jewish settlers in the West Bank. In order for the West Bank to become the Palestinian state, those settlers would all have to leave because the Palestinians do not want them there.

Do any of you have any ideas of a solution to the problems in Palestine? Personally, and all fairness aside, I wonder if it wouldn't be better for Israel to just end this by taking over completely. Is that naive?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Political Burn Out

I have really been struggling with political burn out. There was some activity this weekend on the Palestine post that has piqued my interest so I am feeling the urge to get back to posting here. I need to get caught up to speed on current events and do a little research first. I hope to post in a day or two.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Religion

Between Internet connection problems, a busy summer schedule, and my attempt to wrap my mind around everything I've been trying to learn, I haven't been able to post.

I've been trying to condense all I've been learning about the similarities and differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As always, whenever I attempt to tackle making sense of things for myself, I find my faith challenged. This always makes me uncomfortable but I believe that in order for my faith to be real it must be able to be questioned. That is not to say that I have answers for my questions. There are so many that I don't. It does mean that I come to a place where I can accept that I don't know the answers and yet still believe what I do. I really wish that I was one of those Christians that isn't plagued by doubt. I'm not. I am often frustrated and confused. I don't know if this comes from the fact that I was raised in an environment that was, for lack of a better word, neutral about spiritual matters. God was something that just wasn't talked about. What I believed was left up to me.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam begin pretty much the same. Abraham is a key figure in all three religions. Interesting considering that Abraham is referred to as the father of faith in Christianity. For a quick comparison of the three go here.

I had hoped to be able to do one post on Judaism, Christianity and Islam and present it from a position of my understanding it all. I don't. I can't wrap it up and be satisfied with what I know at this point. So, today I am just going to write a brief synopsis of what each religion believes about who God is. All three are monotheistic in that they believe in only one God.

Judaism: God is spirit. To Orthodox Jews, God is personal, eternal and compassionate. To other Jews, God is impersonal and unknowable and defined in many ways.

Christianity: God is triune, meaning one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It can be explained as multiplied wholeness (1x1x1=1). The title God refers to the first person, God the Father. He is a spiritual being. He is personal and involved with people. He is eternal, holy, and loving.

Islam: God (Allah) is one. He is the judge that is sometimes merciful. They do not believe in a personal relationship with Allah.

The problem with breaking things down this way is that it is overly simplistic. There are many variations of what people believe that fall under each of the religions.

Question:

1. Why do you believe/not believe in God and why?

Also, today in the news:

"Now, in an unexpected move, Obama has told White House aides that instead of joining a congregation in Washington, D.C., he will follow in George W. Bush's footsteps and make his primary place of worship Evergreen Chapel, the nondenominational church at Camp David. " continue reading here.

2. What are your thoughts on that?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iran

Due to some Internet connection issues, out of town guests, our daughter coming home for Father's Day and our son's baseball games, I have not been able to focus on another post for this blog. I've got some housewife things to do too... you know, laundry, vacuuming and dishes. Our son also has a double header today. I just wanted to let y'all know I am planning on posting tomorrow.

In the mean time, Militant Ginger has an opinion post up about the election in Iran here. For those of you not familiar with Roland, he regularly posts here and has a unique perspective in that he is British, has lived in Paris and is now a resident of the United States. He and I have very different views on many things... but, we also share some common ground on others. I'm interested in seeing what some of your opinions are on how he sees the situation in Iran.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reaction to Sunday's Netanyahu Speech and Iranian Election Results

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed a Palestinian state alongside Israel for the first time today. However, the conditions he attached were that the Palestinians had to recognize the state of Israel, could not have an army, refugees would not be negotiated and settlements would remain. Palestinians rejected the proposal.

Netanyahu Corrects Obama in Speech

Netanyahu Endorses Palestinian Independence

The June 12, 2009, Iranian presidential election went to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with 66% of the votes cast leaving Hossein Mousavi 33% of the vote. Violent protests have been raging amidst allegations of voter fraud. Initially U.S. officials said they would not accept Ahmadinejad's victory but are now saying that they will negotiate with the regime.

Madness

Landslide or Fraud?

Questions:

1. What do you think of Netanyahu's speech?

2. What impact will Ahmadinejad have on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, if any?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Palestine

Back in January I posted that I wanted to understand the ongoing conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine here. We had the usual debate going in the comment section. In April I received a couple more comments on that thread. We were discussing why Israel hasn’t just taken care of the problem and I made the following comment:

I don't know... I liken it to the way my husband kills bugs. He taps them and often they get away. I obliterate them... and not many escape me. Although, it has led to the need for spackle and paint on occasion. Fortunately, we rarely see bugs here in Colorado.
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I'm sure Israel is very advanced technologically, as is the U.S. The problem in Iraq was that we went in with too few troops and tied our own hands in an effort to "fight fair." Is war ever fair?I certainly do not want to see innocent people killed.
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It just seems to me that by not dealing with things effectively in the first place, when you have more than the capability to do so, costs more in the long run in terms of lives and dollars.

Susanne left me this comment:

Wow, it's disturbing to read of Palestinians likened to bugs that need obliterating all at once so the problem won't crop up again and cost more money and lives. Amazing!
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I guess these people don't have souls worth saving? Just so long the Zionists are saved here on earth, the others be damned to hell for eternity, right?
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Whatever happened to "overcome evil with GOOD"? I think that would be from Jesus. And you think your method trumps His? Yours is better than GOD's?!
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I don't see the world in better shape for all the conflicts of "fighting evil" that we have done in recent years. What gives? Whatever happened to "if your enemy is hunger, feed him" and all that stuff? Where does bomb the daylights out of 'em and hope they all die like bugs come from?
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Argh!
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Is there any wonder not many people want Christianity? THIS is being the light of the world?

And then this comment:

Please quickly scroll through the pictures at this link. Do you see these as precious people who need Jesus or bugs that need obliterated once and for all?

http://americanarab.wordpress.com/2009/01/

Thank you for your consideration.

I immediately e-mailed her and said that I would respond in another post on my blog. That was two months ago.

The truth is that I feel very convicted by Susanne’s words and ashamed of my choice of analogy. I was referring to the terrorists, not the Palestinian people. However, I can see where my comment could be taken the way that it was and for that I apologize.

I never did click on the link she left until recently. I sensed that whatever she linked to would upset me. I did start doing some research and quickly became overwhelmed by the scope of it all. I then entered into a cycle of trying to put it out of my mind, doing research, trying to walk away from it, and then back to researching again. The more research I do, the more questions I have. When I finally did click on that link I had come to the conclusion that I, as well as most Americans and Christians are misinformed. What I saw, did in fact, upset me.

In many ways I am very much a girly girl. However, at the same time I find emotions highly suspect and don’t trust them. I have the ability to step out of the emotional and look at things from other perspectives. It is a sort of zooming in and zooming out. There is always a bigger picture. At the same time, the fact is the bigger picture is comprised of all the small pictures. I sometimes try not to zoom in too closely because it is then that it is hardest for me to zoom back out.

In my mind, Israel became a nation in 1948 when the United Nations gave them land in Palestine after the atrocities inflicted on the Jews through WWII giving those displaced by the war a place to live and heal. I equated Zionists with those who led the Revolution here in our country. God entered into an elaborate and eternal blood covenant with Abraham. In this covenant, God gave the Jews a biblical mandate to possess the land forever (Genesis 15:8-21) and that is the reason why we Christians support Israel as a nation.

Through my research everything I have believed about the ongoing conflict in Palestine has been turned upside down.

First of all, Zionism got its start in the mid 1800’s. The Zionist movement was officially announced in 1897 and the goal was to create a nation for Jews in Palestine. Turkey was in control of Palestine at that time and refused to give any part of it to the Jews. Small numbers of Jews moved to Palestine and initially the Arabs were not concerned.

The Zionists turned to Britain in an effort to advance their cause. In 1903 Britain offered some land in Uganda but they were only interested in Palestine. During WWI the French and British governments gave Zionists documents that expressed support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The French document was vague and never went anywhere. The British document, known as the Balfour Declaration, stated that the British government would help the Zionists create a homeland for the Jews as long as it didn’t bother the Palestinians.

In 1918 British troops drove Turkey out of Palestine. Due to the length of time they were under Turkish rule the Palestinians did not have a government. Britain agreed to protect Palestine until they were ready to self govern. In 1922 the League of Nations agreed to a policy extending that protection to 1948. The Zionists put pressure on the British government to allow them into Palestine. Britain allowed them to emigrate in small numbers but fighting began to break out between the Jews and the Arabs. Britain then entered into a cycle whey they tried to placate both groups where they would allow Jews in and then would not.

After WWII the Zionists took the Balfour Declaration to the League of Nations. As Jews fled Europe the size of the Zionist movement increased. The Holocaust gained the sympathy of the world, understandably so, for the Jews. As the time drew near for Britain to withdraw from Palestine it was clear that they were not in a position to self govern. Britain was trying to recover from the war and was no longer interested in protecting Palestine. They warned the United Nations that there was about to be a problem on their hands.

Representatives of the U.N. tried to figure out how they could divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab states and a plan was drawn up in 1947. A vote was taken that was passed in favor of the plan with 10 countries abstaining, one of which was Britain. But… the resolution to implement that plan was never passed. I was stunned.

At midnight on May 14, 1948, Britain officially withdrew from Palestine. At the same time the Zionists announced the new Nation of Israel using the borders set forth in the 1947 U.N. plan. Initially, only the United States recognized Israel as a nation. Slowly, other nations followed suit. Britain did not recognize Israel as a nation for two years. Interestingly, Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948 cites the U.N. “resolution” among items recognizing the right of the Jewish people to establish a state as did the failed 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence.

Did you know that not all Jews are Zionists and that not all Zionists are Jews? I did not. In fact, I’ve been reading about Jews who see Judaism and Zionism as incompatible and irreconcilable… that Zionism is rebellion against God and treason to the Jewish people.

I have uncovered writings by well known and respected evangelicals that have historical inaccuracies. What is the truth? There is propaganda thrown out by everyone. I have been reading some crazy stuff! The more I get into this the more I see that the big picture here goes back to the very beginning of recorded history. Whether you believe in God or not, religion is at the core.

I am going to step away from the politics as usual scene here in the United States and concentrate on history. Until I get that straight in my mind I think I am not going to be able to truly understand what is happening now. I also need to really understand what the bible says about war, the differences/similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, the differences between Zionism and Judaism, why Christians support Israel, and the history of the relationship between Israel and the U.S. I need to reconcile what I know and believe as a Christian with all of this. This even includes my re-evaluating what being a Christian means to me.

I have visited Susanne’s blogs and briefly skimmed through them. I refrained from really reading them because I did not want her personal experience to color my research. It is that zooming in too close for me that brings in the emotional… I do plan on reading them in their entirety at some point. The images on her blog are graphic and deeply disturbing. I know that similar images could certainly be found of the carnage brought on by Palestinian suicide bombers that includes children. I leave you with this image and the heartbreaking knowledge that no matter what the race, religion or political background, a mother’s grief over the loss of her child is the same.

**Note: The post below this one was added later in the day after I posted this one. I decided to move it below this post in order to keep this post at the top.

I'm Confused...

In the post below (now above) I stated that the 1947 plan for the partition of Palestine into two states was passed but that the resolution to implement it was not. I probably did not word that correctly. I came to that conclusion through the following found at Wikipedia:

The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine was a plan adopted by a decision of the General Assembly on November 29, 1947.[1][2] The decision recommended the division of the western portion of the Mandate of Palestine into two provisional states, one Jewish and one Arab, and provided the framework for a regional economic union. The General Assembly also recommended that the City of Jerusalem not be included in either state, but, rather, be placed under a special international regime administered by the United Nations (a corpus separatum). A transitional period under UN auspices was to begin with the adoption of the resolution and last until establishment of the two states. The resolution contemplated a gradual withdrawal of British forces and termination of the British Mandate of Palestine by August 1, 1948, and full independence of the new states by 1 October 1948.

The plan was approved by a vote of 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions. On March 5, 1948, the United Nations Security Council reached an impasse when it refused to pass a resolution which would have accepted the partition plan as a basis for Security Council action.[3] The United States subsequently recommended a temporary UN trusteeship for Palestine "without prejudice to the character of the eventual political settlement", and the Security Council voted to send the matter back to the General Assembly for further deliberation.[4] The General Assembly decided to appoint a Mediator, and relieved the Palestine Commission from any further exercise of responsibility under resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947.[5]

While the plan was never implemented, Israel's Declaration of Independence of May 1948 cites the UN resolution among the items recognizing the right of the Jewish People to establish a state. The Palestinian Declaration of Independence of 1988 (one of the attempts to create a "Palestinian state") similarly recalls the partition plan as being among the sources entitling Palestinian Arabs to statehood.


The entire page can be found here.

Everything else I have been looking at states that Israel became a state through the U.N. resolution. I don't get it. The U.N. plan was never implemented and while the Zionists initially declared their state along the borders outlined in the plan, they definitely did not abide by those borders. Of course, this source is Wikipedia and it is my understanding that people can add to things. I'm going to look for other sources to confirm this. Wouldn't the resolution have protected the Palestinians? Or did the fact that the plan was not implemented and the Zionists declared their state mean that the Palestinians were just left twisting in the wind?

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Response to the Murder of Dr. George Tiller

As someone who is vehemently pro-life I am very disturbed by yesterday's murder of Dr. George Tiller.

The term "Christian" encompasses many denominations, sects, cults and groups of individuals that hold wildly varying ideas of what being a Christian means. The fact that Dr. Tiller was a church goer involved in ministry through ushering and yet performed late term abortions is evidence of that fact.

In the past I've engaged in debate with individuals using the Word of God as a weapon as we've fired verses and interpretations of those verses back and forth at one another. I came to a place where I decided that I would not use scripture that way and now rarely quote it. However, today I feel the need to explain where I, a Christian woman who lives an obscure life, is coming from and I will need to quote some scripture to do that.

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due; taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor." NKJV Romans 13:1-7

This piece of scripture was written during the time of Roman government rule and they had recently crucified Jesus Christ. The Roman government was known for the viciousness of it's soldiers, was not a democracy and was by no means pro-Christian. In spite of all this Paul, a servant of God, said what he did in the above verses in the book of Romans.

It is clear that there is no authority except from God, and that God establishes government for His purpose and that citizens are clearly commanded to be in subjection to governing authorities.

If the Roman government persecuted Christians, how was it "appointed by God"? In what sense were Roman authorities "God’s ministers"? And in what sense are Christians to be "subject" to these "authorities"?

Even Satan’s authority comes from God and the story of Job demonstrates that. God did not morally approve of this persecution, but allowed it to occur, because it was in line with his divine plan. In other words, God “appointed” Satan to persecute Job. Throughout the Old Testament, there are many examples of where this theme is extended to human governments. Although these governments persecuted God’s people, often in brutal ways, they are described as God’s servant showing that they were appointed by God. Examples of this include the Pharaoh of Egypt and King Nebuchadnezzar.

The LORD instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh, "But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." NKJV Exodus 9:16 In God’s divine plan, he allowed the Pharaoh to persecute and enslave the Hebrews because it led to their ultimate good through their exodus from Egypt. The fact that the LORD instructed Moses to challenge Pharaoh shows that although Pharaoh was placed in that position by God, it does not justify his actions against the Hebrew people.

In the case of King Nebuchadnezzar, the prophet Jeremiah declared to the unrepentant people of Judah, "Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,' says the LORD, 'and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations." NKJV Jeremiah 25:8,9 And later in the passage, " 'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation.' " NKJV Jeremiah 25:12 Describing Nebuchadnezzar as God's servant does not mean that his actions were morally just. It only means that his sinful actions were used by God to the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Even as a believer, these types of passages are difficult for me. I understand God allowing things to happen for the ultimate good of the people as a whole but when I think about the individual suffering of people it can be hard for me to accept. We all know people who endure much suffering and, along with our own suffering, the knowledge that what happens in any of our lives is allowed by God can, and often does, incite anger toward God in many people. There's also the issue of the foreknowledge of God... our own free will... I often grapple with my own understanding of things and my efforts to reconcile everything in my mind. It's complicated.

It is interesting to me that Paul was the author of Romans in light of the fact that he constantly disobeyed governing authorities, was often on the run, was imprisoned for two years and eventually executed. Peter, John, the other apostles, as well as Jesus himself all disregarded and disobeyed governing authorities. Yet, they were still under the power and authority of the Roman government. Being called upon to love their enemies, violent resistance was not an option. This non-violent message was important to Roman Christians. Many of the Christians in Rome were of Jewish descent and Jews throughout the Roman Empire had suffered centuries of persecution and were continually on the threshold of violent rebellion. It was approximately at this time that the Roman Emperor Nero began his immense persecution of Christians. Taking this into consideration, it becomes perfectly clear why Paul would urge Roman Christians to be “subject” to the governing authorities. Rather than violently opposing the government, Paul instructed these Christians to subject themselves to the persecution they were suffering.

Throughout the New Testament are instances where the apostles, following Jesus' lead, set the example for later Christians regarding subjection to persecution, leading to their martyrdom. Jesus predicted this type of subjection to persecution many times throughout the Gospels:

"But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before ruleres and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them (v.9)... And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved." NKJV Mark 13:9,13

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of this world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember what I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." NKJV John 15:18-20

What exactly does this mean for Christians today? What is our role when faced with issues such as abortion, the death penalty, and child abuse?

"Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good." NKJV 1 Peter 2:13,14

"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vegeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord." NKJV Romans 12:17-19

For me, it is clear that human governments throughout the world are the avenue through which God chooses to bring evil doers to justice. Interestingly, there are Christians who believe that any involvement in government is wrong, whether that be through any kind federal or state employment, service in the military, holding of public office, or voting. Obviously, I am not of that opinion.

What about the commandment, Thou shalt not kill ? How does a Christian adhere to that in times of war? What about a police officer using deadly force? I believe that falls under the rule of law through our government. There are rules of conduct that have been issued in military and police action. If those rules are broken then the soldiers/officers who broke them must be submitted to the proper authorities.

I believe abortion is wrong. I find late term abortion particularly heinous. That being said, the man who took the life of Dr. Tiller yesterday was wrong and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

In this country we have been given certain rights, among them freedom of religion. People look to laws to define what is right and wrong. People of different faiths look beyond common law to the tenets of their faith on how to conduct themselves. As citizens of this country we do have a say, through our votes, as to the laws that are passed or abolished. We have a right to vote our conscience and as long as we have that right, we need to do so. The battlefront needs to be seen as the courtroom. It may seem that there is no point and that we are fighting a losing battle. That may be so. However, if through standing up and explaining why we believe as we do we can reach some people and turn them back toward God... shouldn't we? Jesus did not come to condemn the world... He came to save it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are you Surprised?

I have to admit I am shocked that the State Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8 in California banning same-sex marriage. Shocked! I've become a bit jaded in the belief that the people of this country have much say anymore. This decision has given me some hope that our system can, and still does, work. The fact that the majority of people in California voted to ban same-sex marriage says a lot.

What do y'all think about Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor? I haven't gotten excited this time around and didn't follow the speculation as to who Obama might pick. I mean, really, there's not a thing any of us can do about it. The time to be concerned about potential Supreme Court nominees under differing potential administrations was back before the election. I will say this... I find it interesting that it is acceptable for people to make comments against "white" males these days. I'm not into political correctness but... if a male were to make a similar comment about a woman there would be some backlash... regardless of ethnicity.

Doug Ross posted a RED ALERT on Monday, May 25, 2009, asking the question: Did anti-Obama campaign contributions dictate which Chrysler dealers were shuttered? (I found this through Gateway Pundit) The article is chilling. There have been many updates included as more people look into the possibility of some foul play in regard to which dealerships were to be shut down.

What are your thoughts on all of the above?

Monday, May 18, 2009

S.O.P. Syndrome

I've got it bad. Sick of Politics Syndrome. I'm wanting to just bury my head in the sand and not think about anything relating to the economy, Democrats, Republicans, Supreme Court Justices, Gitmo, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Rush, Hannity, or the environment.

But... I want to be a good little steward of my one little votes in the matters that affect this country and the only way I can be sure to do that is to be informed and to truly form my own opinions I need to put in the time it takes to understand how things work and the people that are the players in this game. Ugh.

Obama spoke at Notre Dame and received an honorary degree... "Jane Roe" was arrested for protesting at the event... I don't even have the energy to be outraged. Just sad. I was glad to hear that Notre Dame is losing close to 14 million dollars from alumni and donors due to Notre Dame's abandoning of its Catholic roots.

Cap & Trade debate is starting on Capitol Hill today. If this tax goes through our energy costs are going to go through the roof. Here in Colorado Springs our water prices have gone up 40% due to the fact that when we were in drought conditions everyone conserved to the point where now, although we have water, they weren't pulling in enough money. Thanks guys!

Has Obama even decided on a candidate yet for the Supreme Court? I don't even want to go through all the speculation of who he might pick.

Question:

What do you think is the most important or several most important things to pay attention to right now in regard to American politics? What I mean by that is... what is going on right now that us little uneducated housewives should be paying attention to that we might be able to make a difference in?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Changes to Come in the Supreme Court

Bloomberg.com has an excellent article up today that includes some speculation about some possible candidates for Justice David Souter's spot on the Supreme Court.

Democratic control of the Senate means Obama will have much leeway in selecting his nominee. Democrats hold a 59-40 advantage and have the prospect of a 60th vote should Democrat Al Franken be seated as a senator from Minnesota. That would be enough to overcome a procedural move to stall a nomination should the Democrats all vote together.

Question:

With Obama not having the types of restrictions that typically are in place when a president nominates a justice to the Supreme Court, what do you think is going to happen?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Current Events

This blog requires mental functioning on my part and is the first thing to go when things get crazy at my house. LOL! I'm not up on all the current political happenings but am trying to catch up!

Questions:

1. Did you watch Obama's 100 Day Press Conference? If so, what are your thoughts?

2. What do you think about Arlen Specter changing parties?

3. Are you worried about Swine Flu? Have you started taking any precautions?

Personally, I did not catch the press conference until near the end. I did watch all of the question and answer period. I take these sorts of things with a grain of salt. We'll see how things continue to go.

I don't know why, but I was surprised that Arlen Specter officially changed parties. I don't think it really matters. He votes the way he votes. I do think his political career is probably over.

I am a bit taken back by everything about the Swine Flu in the news. It is hard to gauge how serious it really is and what kind of threat it poses to us personally in Colorado. Our son has asthma and gets flu shots every year. When he was eleven (now 16) he came down with a normal strain of it and was seriously ill for 2 months. At this point, I am making sure he takes his meds every morning and once a vaccine is available he'll be getting it. I've also got our air purifier running on high and am working on getting our house disinfected. I'll be cleaning door knobs, light switches, key boards, and phones regularly after that and will be wiping down cart handles at the store, not touching public door handles with my bare hands and keeping hand sanitizer and wipes with me. We will get the vaccine when it becomes available to the general population. Our son is able to get things like that earlier. I'll also make sure we have over the counter meds, kleenex, and extra juice/fluids on hand. That is about all I can do right now. I am not freaking out or overly worried about it. I do think it is wise to start taking certain precautions.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Winners

Congratulations Angela from FREE SPIRIT HAVEN and BLBeamer, commenter without a blog! Send your addresses to coffeebeankel@earthlink.net and I will get that coffee ordered for you!

I found it interesting that the winners were both the first to comment on both blogs! Funny how things work out like that sometimes!

Things have been crazy here... I honestly thought this morning that it was Wednesday. Sigh...

I hope y'all have a great day!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Conscience Clause


Be Heard Project - A Special Message from Future Nurses of America from beheard on Vimeo.

Be Heard Project

The following is from Jay Sekulow's Trial Notebook of the American Center for Law and Justice:
Stand Up for Conscience Clause Protection

Just wanted to update you on efforts to protect the rights or pro-life medical professionals when it comes to practicing medicine. As you know, President Obama has indicated his desire to rescind the Conscience Clause protections in place that permits medical professionals to act according to their conscience - their Christian faith - to avoid abortion and abortion-related procedures.

The ACLJ has filed important comments with the Department of Health and Human Services clearly arguing that these protections should remain in place. You can read those comments here.

At the same time, there are reports that Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is introducing an amendment to the budget bill today that would protect the rights of health care workers. His budget amendment "ensures that the funds made available through the budget’s health care reserve fund will not be used to violate the conscience of health care providers."

And just this week, two Democratic Senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to keep the Conscience Clause protections in place.

Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania told the President: "Discriminating against health care providers because of their consciences or forcing coercion into their practices would be a substantial deviation from our shared goal of reducing abortions in America. Therefore, we strongly urge you to preserve the conscience protection rule."

Time is running out for public comment on this issue. The deadline for submitting comments to HHS is April 9th. And, I want to thank the thousands who already have signed on to our petition urging President Obama to reconsider and to keep the protections in place for medical professionals.

If you haven't done so already, please take a moment and add your name to our petition, which will be delivered to HHS. You can add your name here.

We'll keep you posted as developments unfold right here and on our daily radio broadcast, Jay Sekulow Live!


Posted: 4/2/2009 12:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oprah, Dr. Oz, and Michael J. Fox... with a Surprise at the End!

**I posted this over at The Righteous Buzz but felt it also belonged over here.

Yesterday Oprah had Michael J. Fox on her show along with Dr. Oz to discuss Parkinsons Disease and Dystonia. Spasmodic Dysphonia, or SD, of which I suffer, is a form of dystonia.

I was actually very nervous about what was going to be said on the show... Last June I posted this video of me talking in an effort to raise awareness about dystonia. In July, I was contacted by a representative from Bachmann Strauss about posting a PSA on my blog regarding dystonia. I did so immediately here. It had not occurred to me until after that that the relation between Parkinsons and dystonia might mean that research could include embryonic stem cell research.

I busied myself and tried not to think about it... until I couldn't any longer. I started doing some research and contacted the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and asked them if they were involved in embryonic stem cell research or were involved in the fight for federal funding for that type of research. I was assured that they were not.

Because I believe that life begins at conception I am opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells. At the same time, I have a focal form of dystonia that can be hidden simply by my not talking. I can only imagine what it is like for those that have Parkinsons and dystonias that affect their entire bodies. There is and has been great debate over when life begins and I can see where someone who does not believe that life begins at conception would see someone who believes as I do as being an impetus to progress in which they might someday be cured. I do have muscle spasms that occur in my face from time to time, usually when I am greatly stressed, that have caused me to fear that I will develop other dystonias as I age. I've often wondered if there were a cure found through embryonic stem cells if I would change my stance. It has been determined that I am now botox resistant which means I would not have that treatment available to alleviate those types of movements on my face. Where just my voice is concerned, I know that I would not.

This inner conflict has caused me to not use this blog (as I thought I might last summer) as much in the way of bringing others with dystonias on here to share their stories. I was afraid that if Obama was elected that federal funding would become available and that these research foundations would then get involved in ESCR.

It all just made me very uncomfortable.Over on my political blog I did write a bit about stem cell research. If this is something that interests you, here are the links (read in order): Embryonic Stem Cell Research ,Embryonic Stem Cell Research Part 2 , and Frustrated.

The subject of Obama lifting the "ban" on embryonic stem cell research came up. I was very surprised to hear Dr. Oz state that it really didn't matter now. Fox was obviously irritated (or defensive) when Dr. Oz went on to explain the problems with embryonic stem cell therapy. Fox said that we could have found that out sooner had the research been unfettered... with responsibility, of course. How you can have responsible yet unfettered research is beyond me. I don't want to seem like I have a problem with Fox... I understand where he is coming from and can see why he thinks the way he does. However, it is a perpetuation of the perception that President Bush banned that research altogether when the facts are that he allowed federal funding on that research through already existing embryonic stem cells that were slated for destruction, of which there was a lot, and it is through those strains that much of what we now know was learned!

Dr. Oz went on to say that he believed that we were single digit years away from a cure through adult stem cells. Whether that is true or not and whether that will affect me or not remains to be seen. It did give me some hope, more hope than I've had in awhile, for myself.

I found a website called Cell Medicine that is very informative regarding Parkinsons. The Oprah show did little in the way of actual information in regard to Parkinsons and Dystonia. There is only so much you can do in an hour and there was Fox's book to promote. The fact is that no two people are exactly alike and these conditions cover a wide array of symptoms and affect people very differently. I would like to throw a few quotes from the site down here, however, I would really encourage you to click on the link above and really read through it.

However, the actual use of stem cells to regenerate damaged neural tissue is an area of intense interest and research, and experimental studies have been conducted with varying degrees of success, depending on the particular types of stem cells that were employed. In the 1990s, stem cells from fetal tissue were directly implanted in people with PD in an attempt to regenerate their dopamine-producing neurons, and although many of the implanted cells were indeed found to produce dopamine in the brains of the patients, the patients themselves did not exhibit gross improvement. Some of the patients even developed a disabling dyskinesias that could not be relieved by the usual reduction in antiparkinsonian medications. Indeed, fetal and embryonic stem cells have been shown to carry a number of substantial medical risks to the patient, whereas such risks do not exist in the use of adult stem cells.

Since it is the dopamine-producing cells of the brain which degenerate in PD, an appropriate treatment for PD would be one which is capable of regenerating these dopamine-producing cells. In fact, this would constitute the only truly effective treatment of PD.

Adult stem cell therapy does exactly that.

Although adult stem cell therapy as a treatment for PD is not specifically targeted per se as an isolated area of research at many of the finest research laboratories, nevertheless, there have been numerous studies conducted by some of the finest researchers throughout the world, from which very promising results have been obtained. Indeed, the transplantation of adult stem cells directly into the brains of PD patients has already been performed and has already shown marked success.

One such PD patient, who received his own adult stem cells, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Technology, and Space on July 14th of 2004, regarding his own progress as a result of this treatment. The headlines from this very newsworthy event read, “Beneficiary of Adult Stem Cell Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease: Safaris and Swimming with Sharks.” The Committee was chaired by Senator Brownback, and the patient who received this novel treatment was Dr. Dennis Turner who had suffered with PD for 14 years. His poor responsiveness to conventional medications made him an ideal candidate for the experimental treatment, which was performed by Dr. Levesque. The procedure itself involved removing a very small tissue sample from Dennis Turner’s brain, from which adult neural stem cells were extracted and cultured into matured dopamine-producing neurons which were then injected back into the left side of his brain, which controls the right side of the body, which was the side that was most severely affected in his particular case. The procedure was performed in 1999. A portion of Dr. Dennis Turner’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee is included herein:

“Dr. Levesque did not tell me that this treatment would permanently cure my condition. Science has yet to learn what causes Parkinson’s disease, much less how to remove it. However, since this cell-replacement approach had never been tried in a human patient we hoped for the best. And since my only other realistic alternative was to continue growing worse until I eventually died, I decided to have the surgical procedures in 1999, one to remove the tissue and another to inject the cells. I was awake for both procedures under local anesthesia.”

“Soon after having the cells injected my Parkinson’s symptoms began to improve. My trembling grew less and less, until to all appearances it was gone, only slightly reappearing if I became upset. Dr. Levesque had me tested by a neurologist, who said he wouldn’t have known I had Parkinson’s if he had met me on the street. I was once again able to use my right hand and arm normally, enjoying activities that I had given up hope of ever doing.”

“Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease my condition had slowly, but continuously worsened. I can’t say with certainty what my condition would have become if Dr. Levesque had not used my own adult stem cells to treat me. But I have no doubt that because of this treatment I’ve enjoyed five years of quality life that I feared had passed me by.”

**I highlighted certain points in red for skimmers. :O)

For information on the specifics of Dystonia visit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and for more information on Spasmodic Dysphonia go to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association.

If you read this far leave me a comment and I will enter you into a drawing for a pound of Saint's Coffee. If you link to this post on your blog, I will enter you into a separate drawing for another pound of Saint's Coffee. Not only could you help me spread the word about Dystonia... you could get a free pound of coffee and feed and orphan for a month in the process.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Stock Market

So, how does the stock market work? To put it simply, companies choose to go public and issue shares because they need money. One of the first types of stocks was issued by traders who wanted to finance expeditions to India and China. Such a project was naturally very risky and really expensive, but if the expedition turned out to be a success and managed to bring silk, porcelain, spices, tea and other rare and valuable commodities to Europe the traders would become immensely rich. If, on the other hand, the ship would sink, be hijacked by pirates, or something similar, all the money invested in the project would be lost. High risk and high potential rewards. In order to gain sufficient founding, a trader could allow wealthy persons to invest in the project. If the expedition turned out to be a success, the investor would receive a specified share of the profit. If the ship sunk or failed in some other fashion, the money invested would be lost. Unlike a normal loan, each investor would take the risk here and if the ship sunk, they could not force the trader to pay back any money. If you can understand this basic concept, you are actually well on your way of understanding how our modern stock market works. How does the stock market work? Like 17th century trading expeditions! (stockmarket.nu)

Okay... I get that. However, I don't really understand all this Dow and points stuff. Why do the numbers drop so drastically and then go back up? Why does all this affect our economy?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break

My daughter has been home on Spring Break this week and our son's break is next week. I'm not sure if I'll be posting here over the next ten days or so. Just to let ya know.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 9-12 Project

Glenn Beck launched the 9-12 Project last Friday on his television show.

Mission Statement

This website is a place for you and other like-minded Americans looking for direction in taking back the control of our country. It is also a place to find information that will assist you in navigating the rough waters we face in the days, weeks and months ahead.

We suggest that you start in your own homes. Talk to your family about the Values and Principles. Discuss the importance of what the Founders designed for America.

Hold or attend a weekly meeting in your neighborhood or town. Communication with your neighbors is vital to the process of protecting our country. Gather in living rooms, coffee houses or restaurants. Share your thoughts and ideas.

Visit this website often. Make use of the resources that are linked here. Share the ideas and resources that have worked in your home or town.

This is a non-political movement. The 9-12 Project is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001. The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created.

That same feeling – that commitment to country is what we are hoping to foster with this idea. We want to get everyone thinking like it is September 12th, 2001 again.

Ask yourself these questions:

*Do you watch the direction that America is being taken in and feel powerless to stop it?
*Do you believe that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard above the noise anymore?
*Do you read the headlines everyday and feel an empty pit in your stomach…as if you’re completely alone?

If you’ve answered YES, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie. While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides—the reality is very different. Once you pull back the curtain, you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all.

We surround them.

At the origin of America, our Founding Fathers built this country on 28 powerful principles. These principles were culled from all over the world and from centuries of great thinkers. We have distilled the original 28 down to the 9 basic principles.

So, how do we show America what’s really behind the curtain? Read the nine simple principles. If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common.

The 9-12 website is well worth checking out and has much food for thought.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Gig Is Up



Populist lawyer, Gary Fielder, presents “The Gig Is Up: Money, the Federal Reserve and You." Live from Wolfe Hall at The University of Colorado School of Law, on December 4, 2008, Mr. Fielder, a criminal and constitutional lawyer from Denver, Colorado, presents a power point and video presentation on the creation of money with an historical analysis of our current banking system. With quotes from Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and many others, Fielder makes his case to abolish the Federal Reserve and return to a sound and honest money system. Fractional Reserve Banking. Currency. Amero. World Government. International Banking. www.gigisup.net Produced by Jack Creamer, Side 3 Studios, Denver, Colorado. Video edits by Jonathan Ellinoff. Technical Assistant, Rye Miller. This video is for educational purposes only. Admission was not charged, nor will any effort be made to profit from its production or sale. The DVD is free.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Court Ruling Against Homeschoolers in North Carolina

A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be "challenged."

The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.

The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue.

The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.

To read the full article go here.

The judge, when contacted by World Net Daily, explained his goal in ordering the children to register and attend a public school was to make sure they have a "more well-rounded education."

"I thought Ms. Mills had done a good job [in homeschooling]," he said. "It was great for them to have that access, and [I had] no problems with homeschooling. I said public schooling would be a good complement."


The judge said the husband has not been supportive of his wife's homeschooling, and "it accomplished its purposes. It now was appropriate to have them back in public school."

This ruling is of concern to me due to the fact that we homeschooled for nine years. I believe that parents are responsible to see that their children are educated, whether that be through public school, private school or homeschooling. For me, this means that if the public school is failing your child that you need to get involved and fight for your child or find other alternatives. That is what we did.

For a judge to say that the homeschooling the mother provided needs to be challenged is an infringement on the rights/responsibilities of parents and I'm afraid this case will set a bad precedent. It just smacks of children belonging to the state mentality. So often people spout about children needing to have a balanced education and social setting. The public school system does not even address religion/spirituality and the socialization that goes on in schools is not necessarily a good thing. When in life are you ever only around those of the exact age? Never. That only occurs in school. Are there times when children would be better off in school? Yes. There are homeschoolers out there that aren't homeschooling. I am not one of those that is against testing or having some sort of accountability. I just think that you have to be very careful where court rulings and bills about homeschooling are concerned.

The Mills are getting divorced due to the father's adultery. When we were living in Mississippi there was a gal in our homeschool support group that was in the middle of a nasty divorce. Her husband was a heart surgeon and she had previously been the VP of a company (I cannot remember what type of business it was... I think it may have been a company involved in research of some sort). She had a Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Mathematics. He was an uninvolved father who didn't want his kids homeschooled out of spite. We moved away before the case was settled and I don't know what happened.

Homeschooling is very difficult in many ways. Often times you have family members that are very much opposed. I cannot imagine attempting to homeschool without the support of my husband. What do you do in cases where a couple is divorcing? I do believe that fathers should have just as much say as mothers where their children are concerned, unless they don't pay child support. It seems to me, though, that in the case of the Mills that the judge has made the decision from an anti-homeschooling bias. These children have been homeschooled the last four years, are testing 1-2 grades higher and are involved in extra curricular activities. The combination of the trauma of their parents divorce and being forced into public school could be disastrous.

If this ruling makes you uneasy... check out parentalrights.org.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frustrated

How can the average American be informed without being swallowed up into the He Said/She Said type crap that goes on between the political parties in this country? It is easier to shut it out and focus on your own life. I know, I did it for years. The problem is that by shutting it out and not paying attention people get elected through sound bytes rather than facts. If you are like me, waking up late in the game, it is all overwhelming and it's easy to feel helpless. Even though I want to go back to not thinking about any of this, I can't.

The whole stem cell thing is really getting to me. I cannot stand to hear misinformation constantly being fed to the public. President Bush only had a ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research. He actually allowed federally funded research limited to already existing embryos. Privately funded research has been ongoing. Great strides have been made in adult stem cell research that is very promising. Much more so than embryonic stem cell research. The push is because in theory the embryonic cells can be programmed to become any kind of tissue whereas the adult stem cells are more limited. That research has showed that the embryonic stem cell created tissue forms tumors. I just don't get the mentality that sees government funding of research as a right and/or the lack of government funding as impeding progress.

Furthermore, what is with the U.S. providing funding for abortions in other countries? Not only do those of us that are against abortion have to participate in it through our taxes here in the U.S. but now, throughout the world? Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

What about Cap and Trade bills? These measures would set limits on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use. The effect of such a cap would be to impose rationing of coal, oil, and natural gas on the American economy. That would increase energy costs and do considerably more economic harm than environmental good. Interestingly, nearly every European country that is a participant in the Kyoto Protocol has higher emissions than when the treaty was signed in 1997 and they are rising at a rate faster than the U.S. For consumers, cap and trade means more expensive gasoline and electricity as well as net job losses in energy-dependent sectors. Such energy cost increases act as a regressive tax on the poor. Is this something that should be aggressively sought in our current economic circumstances?

There is so much going on that it is impossible for me to take it all in. It seems to me that there should be some sort of prioritization where the most critical issues are taken care of first. We all knew we were in for a change but those changes are so many and so fast that my head is spinning. Ugh... sorry, it seems my post is just a rant today.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Don't Understand...

Why would we allow countries, such as China, to buy our debt? I. Just. Don't. Understand.

Is this anything like the companies that buy housing loans?

What happens if we can't pay China back?

I don't get it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Where to go from Here?

I am feeling so very... uneducated. LOL! I am a bit overwhelmed by everything in the news, everything that isn't in the news and all of the great gaping holes in my understanding of what is happening in our country... and in the world around us.

I need to step back and pick one area to concentrate on and move from there. I just can't decide which area.

The obvious choice would be economics... the how, what, and why of where we are at right now. It is hard for me to move from understanding to explaining... well, probably because I'm not fully understanding everything.

I'm very interested in history and how it ties in to today. But... there is so much I don't know.

I'm very interested in the history of the middle east and how that ties in to what is happening today... and what it could mean in the future.

What would YOU like to see discussed on this blog? If you do not want to leave a comment here you can e-mail me at coffeebeankel@earthlink.net .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Role of Government and Definition of Freedom

OSO left the following comment on yesterday's post:

The ability to care for the weak and helpless define us as a civilisation. Our inability to help defines us too.

Our wage, our income, does not come to us because we deserve it. It is not due to our hard work or skill. It comes to us because the "market" determines its value, and the market is not concerned with fairness or wellbeing.

Our income comes to us based upon hidden subsidies found in a civil, ordered society. Without police, judges, teachers, doctors, nurses and a multitude of others paving the way, our income would be less.

We owe society for the income it gives us. We owe society for not breaking down. We owe society for preventing crime in our area. We owe society for an educated population, who can make better decisions that benefit us directly and indirectly, financially and not financially.

A country exists as a group of people, not as a canvass for a person's selfishness. The US Constitution was written for a group of people, not for one person.

There are many ways that community can band together and improve things for all. The most normal way is for tax revenue to be raised to pay for things that keep society together (roads, schools, law & order, health, etc). Without this cost being incurred through tax, the individual cost of coping with the inevitable societal breakdown would be much higher.

And it therefore stands to reason that those who benefit most from the market should in turn be made to pay proportionally more - for without society providing the peace the rich person may never have gotten rich in the first place.

I responded to him in the comment section of that post. I will admit that I found parts of this comment offensive. In reality, this boils down to a difference in thought in regard to government and the role it should/should not have in our society. It is almost as if conservatives are coming across as not agreeing with any kind of tax at all... that is not the case. It is about how those tax dollars are spent and about how much in taxes should be taken. There also seems to be an inability to understand that our tax system is and has been set up to where those who make more pay more. It leads me to believe that the thought is more communistic than socialist in that any and all differences in ability should not be recognized through income.

Questions:

1. What do you see as the ideal role of government?

2. What is your definition of freedom?

3. What is your opinion on what OSO had to say?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fairness

President Obama's US Trade Nominee Ron Kirk owes about $10,000 in taxes. Isn't he the 5th nominee with such problems?

Personal responsibility/accountability sure doesn't seem to mean much these days.

Did you ever whine to your parents when you were a kid about stuff you thought was unfair? I did. They always told me, "Life isn't fair."

My little brother and I were on a swim team together for several years. He excelled in most everything he did, academically and physically. At the end of the season we had a big party and a few awards and trophies would be given out. It was a pretty big deal if you got a trophy. For each trophy that was given they gave out a certificate for the person who was essentially the first runner up for the trophy... or second best.

My last season I received the certificate for every stroke. Four second places. My little brother got a trophy. When we got home I cried. I had even been put up into the age division above mine for the butterfly. I often came in fourth but ended up with the first place ribbon because the others would all be disqualified.

I never did get even one trophy growing up. My little brother? He received many. It was a bitter pill to swallow.

By the time my children came along the popular thought was that all kids should get a trophy. We parent's paid for them. Even with my background, I was never really comfortable with that. Incidentally, the dozens of trophies my kids gathered hold little to no meaning for them. They are just tokens of a sport's season.

It was painful for me to strive for a trophy and never get one. I would not change it though. Life isn't fair. That is just a fact. Learning those lessons have prepared me for real life.

In relation to taxes... which way do you look at it? The redistribution of wealth in the name of fairness... is it another instance of life not being fair for those that have had more... because life was not fair to those that have had less? Is it even possible to balance the scales? In terms of character development... is it better to just give and foster an entitlement mentality or is it better for people to earn and foster a mentality of independence? What about those that fall through the cracks? Do we have a safety net for them... or do we try to come up with a system where all conform to the needs of a few?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Capitalism/Free Enterprise vs Socialism

I found a very interesting report online, The Australian Achievement: From Bondage to Freedom, authored by a Dr. Mark Cooray.

Dr. Cooray was at one time a socialist. You can read his philosophy here. It is very interesting reading!

The third chapter of the report is titled, The Rise of Western Civilisation, and I found it very relevant to the discussions going on here in the U.S. I'm going to pull out a few quotes to share. I'd really like to reprint the whole chapter here but I don't think I can do that without permission.

A detailed examination of the great breakthroughs and inventions provides interesting data. It is significant that during the past one hundred and fifty years almost all of them have taken place in liberal societies. The reference is to the pioneering inventions which involved exponential advancement in science and technology. There have been developments in the Soviet Union and in other communist countries but these countries merely adopted the scientific discoveries made in the free world.

The great achievement of private enterprise over about two centuries has been to reduce levels of inequality and to improve standards of living. In feudal times there were relatively few privileged and wealthy persons. The "masses" were exploited and lived in near poverty or absolute poverty. The great achievement of private enterprise was to bring into existence a large middle class — and to reduce very significantly the areas of inequality.

Most of the benefits of western technology and capitalism have endured primarily to the benefit of the less privileged sections of the community. Poverty and injustice, which critics make much of, exist and will exist in any human society. Jesus Christ said, "the poor you will always have with you". However, the perspective which radical and not so radical reformers overlook is the extent of the change that took place under freedom.

Critics refer to the "crisis of capitalism" today. But if by capitalism the reference is to a system of free enterprise, such a system does not exist anywhere in the western world. Private enterprise has been so gradually strangled by government regulation and taxation that from about the 1960's onwards it has been incapable of reducing levels of poverty and inequality. Over a period of a few centuries limited government and private enterprise had been responsible for the gradual reduction of poverty and inequality.

It would really be worth your time to read what is contained in the links above!

What Incentive?

I read an interesting article at Forbes.com. It is titled, So What's in the Simulus for You? Nothing! In it they talk about phaseouts (curtailing tax breaks as income rises) and give the following example:

Take an example of a single mother with an adjusted gross income of $75,000. She claims the standard deduction and has one high schooler and two kids in college. Under the stimulus package, she'll have her 2009 federal income tax bill chopped to $1,465 from $7,865 thanks to two $2,500 college credits, a $400 worker's stimulus credit and a $1,000 child credit. But if she takes a second job to help pay college bills and her AGI rises to $90,000, she gets no college credits and only $100 of the worker's credit and $250 of the child credit, for a total tax bill of $11,265. That makes the tax rate on the $15,000 of extra earnings 65%--not counting the 7.65% employee share of Social Security and Medicare or any state and local income taxes.

If this hardworking parent knew what was about to hit her, she might be able to reduce her 2009 AGI, say, by increasing her pretax contribution to her 401(k). But with three kids and two jobs, she's likely too busy to figure this out. "With all these phaseouts, planning is pretty hard," says Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer (other-otc: WTKWY.PK - news - people )'s CCH business.

This really bothered me. I was listening to the radio the other day. I don't recall which program... and a gal called in that told the story of how the stimulus check she received under Bush pushed them up into the next tax bracket and in doing their taxes learned that it actually cost them money to accept it. Talk about falling through the cracks! I wonder how many people were right on that line and didn't realize it was going to cause them some problems? The people that have made more money have always paid more taxes... now they must pay even more.

I just don't get it. Of course, my husband is an accountant and he works for a small family owned company. A family that has worked to build their company for 25 years and who is going to be one of the many small company owners that are going to pay. The American dream is changing. Hopefully, there are enough people with character that will continue to do what they do and to live out their principles. Sadly, I think a lot of people will look at things and not see the point in working harder and independence will be lost.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Would You Like a Cuppa Tea?

Today is the big Tea Party day! Michelle Malkin has got a list of where all these Tea Parties are happening and is twittering (I don't twitter but some of you might). I'm very interested to see how the mainstream media covers this.

Gateway Pundit has a bunch of interesting stuff up (as usual) including a link to this Yahoo article about a panel suggesting a federal gas tax based on mileage. Sound familiar?

I've been reading Colorado Senator Brophy's blog and really like it. He's got a down to earth style. Check it out.

Finally, Two Dogs has got a post up that I really like that is a clarification of what he believes.

Questions:

1. What is your opinion of the Tea Party demonstrations?

2. How are you feeling about the changes already made under President Obama's administration?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Art of Becoming Informed Coffee Bean Style

Good Lord. I have spent the morning trying to figure out what to post. Newsmax sent out a plea from one of their sponsors, The Susan B. Anthony List, asking for people to sign this petition to stop an abortion bailout.

Well... I thought, Is Congress voting on bail out money for Planned Parenthood? What? I wanted to look at this 55 page proposal that was given to Obama in November laying out what they would like to see him do in his first 100 days.

Did y'all know that the main page of Change.org is no longer up? With a couple more minutes of digging I was able to find the original Advancing Reproductive Rights Rights and Health in a New Administration document. It definitely makes for some interesting reading.

Now, as far as I'm aware, this sort of money disbursement was removed from the original stimulus plan. However, I'm not clear as to what all is in the plan that passed. Is anyone yet?

On January 23, 2009, one day after the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, President Obama lifted the Mexico City policy, a Reagan-era policy that prohibits taxpayer funds from going to organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas. It had previously been revoked by President Clinton and then re-instated by President G.W. Bush.

So... I was wondering what kind of money has already been released or if that has yet to be voted on. I went to Congress.org... some women's rights watchdog sites, Planned Parenthood. I looked through bills... I tried to find a congressional legislation schedule...

My brain is all flip floppin' around and I can't see straight. I've got dishes to do, laundry to fold and toilets to clean. Why is it so hard to find certain information? Holey Moley! I am overwhelmed by the gaping holes in my understanding of what is going on in this country.

What do y'all know? Is there a Cliff Notes version of current events? Somebody help me!