End of the line for ethanol?

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

No more pork-fed corn?

Has the federal government’s appetite for ethanol ended?  A bipartisan group of Senators signed a letter today calling for an end to subsidies and tariffs designed to protect and enhance domestic production of ethanol, which has been until recently the darling of the alternative-energy movement.  In a sign of how far ethanol subsidies have fallen […]

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Somali Pirates on Their Way to British Welfare Line

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

One advantage of the Islamification of Britain is that soon Britons won’t have to travel to the Indian Ocean to get kidnapped by Somali pirates:

Two members of the Somali pirate gang that held Britons Paul and Rachel Chandler hostage for 388 days are believed to have family in the UK.

One of the pirate leaders says he plans to travel to the UK to join his wife and two children, who have claimed political asylum and live in London. …

A second pirate involved in the seizing of the Chandlers is suspected to have lived in Britain and to have family living in London. It is unclear whether his family has also claimed asylum and whether either family receives benefits.

It certainly would be unusual if they aren’t getting benefits. A life of luxury at taxpayer expense is one of the main enticements for the hordes of Muslims flooding into Britain, the other being the convenience of having infidels to murder so close at hand.

Both men are said to have received a ‘cut’ of the estimated £625,000 ransom paid for the release of Mr Chandler, 60, and his 57-year-old wife.

Investigators say the revelations raise the possibility of pirates travelling to Britain and of part of the ransom money being transferred to family members in the UK.

Their warnings come just weeks after Home Secretary Theresa May highlighted the links between British extremists and Somalia, with some UK citizens travelling there to train alongside Al Qaeda-linked groups. Anti-terrorist investigators believe some have returned to Britain and they have been looking at associations between the UK and pirate gangs, who currently hold some 40 ships and 500 crew hostage.

Multiculturalism certainly is livening things up in Britain. Look for plenty of excitement much closer to home than Africa as the once great nation allows itself to deteriorate into Somali North.

On a tip from Dystopic PC.


Britain To Officially Embrace Arab hard Line On Israel

November 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip recently made a trip to the UAE, where the Queen doffed a hijab and walked barefoot through her first official visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

The mosque was named for the former ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed, who hosted the British Royal Family on its previous visit in 1979.

While she was involved with that, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague put together the new strategic and economic alliance with Britain as set forth by in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which was signed in the presence of the Queen.

The Brits themselves are quite forthright about the price of this new agreement and what it means:

Whitehall officials said Foreign Secretary William Hague’s decision to reach out to Gulf states in an effort to secure better diplomatic and trade ties meant Britain had to ‘take on board’ Arab foreign policy goals. Requesting better ties would be a two-way street, not just plea for more defence contracts and exports, they said. ‘It will be a six lane highway with movement in both directions,’ said one diplomat. ‘We have to respond to what Gulf States want. If we want a long-term partnership on foreign policy, then changes in our stance have to be part of it.’

… Officials in both Abu Dhabi and London make no bones about stressing the significance of the defence relationship as the West and its regional allies gear up to a possible confrontation with Iran. That may mean yet further withdrawal of traditional British support for Israel, with criticism of its government already more marked under Mr Hague than it was under New Labour government.

In another indication of the Foreign Office’s new sensitivity to Arab opinion, officials admitted to The Daily Telegraph that policies on the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006, Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, and its occupation of the West Bank and settlements policy were ‘motivators’ for the Islamic radicalism that they confronted daily in the Gulf.

I would question that phrase ‘traditional British support for Israel’ in view of the fact that the Brits were quite happy back in 1948 to arm, train and in the case of Jordan officer the same Arab armies who made no secret of their intention to launch a second Holocaust among the Jews of Israel…less than three years after the liberation of Auschwitz. And that is far from the only hostile actions the UK has taken against Israel since its birth.

But this is something new in that it’s an official recognition that the UK has bought into the same perverse nonsense the Obama Administration has when it comes to Israel..

Britain’s latest move plays into a wide spread campaign to make Israel illegitimate and isolated, just as the Jews were made illegitimate and isolated before the Holocaust.

According to this logic, if the West forces the Jews of Israel into indefensible borders or even if Israel conveniently disappears, all the Islamic radicalism and the jihad directed against the West will go away with it.

Yes, Hezbollah, Hizb al Tarir, al-Qaeda, Hamas and all their similar organizations will go out of business, Iran will give up its nukes and cease its war against the West, an Islamist Turkey will no longer be a concern and Pakistan will cease to be a haven for Islamist terrorism. According to the underlying,almost never openly expressed narrative, all the West needs to do is give the Muslims the Jews, behave like good dhimmis and the West will be left in peace.

The absurdity and danger of this kind of appeasement mindset ought to be self-evident to any thinking person, but Britain appears hell bent on proving that it has learned nothing from history.

The UK has been anti-Israel for quite some time, and it’s no secret. In fact, most Israelis can’t even enter the UK safely any more. This just makes Britain’s anti-Israel stance official.

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Black Friday Door Buster; Let me in line or I’ll shoot you

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

21 year-old Middleton, Wisconsin woman gets busted at Toys “R” Us ‘Door Buster’
American Thinker Blog

Aggregating The Official Line

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Joshua Keating asks whether Google News is lending legitimacy to authoritarian regimes and their news outlets by featuring their stories fairly high in the results:

Informal studies have observed that Google tends to prioritize original reporting over re-reported content. With either shrinking news budgets or government restrictions preventing Western news agencies from covering events in countries like Iran and Russia, that gives state-sponsored outlets a clear edge. A search for the latest news on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely to turn up so many stories from loyal state-sponsored outlets like PressTV and Fars News because they spend a lot more time covering him and have much better access. …

But he explains why Google is hesitant to change:

Google already labels some stories as blog posts, press releases, or paid content, rather than reported articles, but Gaither explained the company's reluctance to expand labeling further.

"One thing we have not done is to label anything according to any perceived political bias," he says. "We feel that's a slippery slope that we don't really want to go down."

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Reality of 24/7 Home Care of a Loved One With Alzheimer’s: The Family Caregivers who are front line soldiers doing all the work, are seen by government as only ‘informal support…’

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

During this holiday, we can be thankful for those who labor 24/7 to care for our elderly and our broken mind ones. This is a Guest Contributor on The Reality of 24/7 Home Care of a Loved One With Alzheimer’s: The Family Caregivers who are front line soldiers doing all the work, are seen by government as only ‘informal support…’

by Carol Wright
Far from the purple banners of the recent “Alzheimer’s awareness” events sit an estimated 6.6 million family caregivers for an estimated 5.5 Alzheimer’s sufferers (nobody really knows the exact figures for either group.) Compare that with 300 million people in the US total +/-. It’s a lot of disabled people, a lot of caregivers who cannot work outside the home while caregiving in the home.

Some of these caregivers include supportive extended family, but all too many caregivers are toiling alone and unpaid, caring for a frail senior suffering from dementia. This often means, an aging woman caring for her elderly parents, a senior spouse struggling to keep their loved one home, out of the nursing home just one more month.

The recent “Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” emphasizes that it’s the women who overwhelmingly take on caregiving duties.

But some light should fall in the corners too: More than a few families have forsaken their own. Often just a single brave, compassionate soul steps forward for that end of life walk with the afflicted one. Their other relatives, their own children, their own sisters, brothers, former friends, even spouses, turn away or come around only once in a very long while for a very few minutes.

“Informal support.” This is what we 24/7 caregivers are most recently called by government and parroted by media, we who tend to our loved ones day in and day out.

“Informal.” Inferring not serious work, when in fact each day caring at home for an Alzheimer’s patient is deadly serious work of lifting, hauling, hefting, guiding, feeding, issues of urine, feces, medicine, cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry and so much more.

Sole caregivers are especially brutalized by this burden, and they catch the flack, the very bulldozing brunt impact of frontline dementia care. The hours can be 24 on and zero off. Days are seven on and on and on.

Perhaps a neighbor comes for a few hours to seniorsit so the caregiver can get a break that is not a break. It’s scramble to shop for groceries, medicines. To rake up the leaves so the grass doesn’t die. Take dying cat to the vet and have put to sleep. Get back before patience of friend wears thin, or person with dementia gets out of control. Hope for no sudden feces situation, or friend will not return again.

“Informal support.” Caregiverscannot snag a full night’s sleep. Often their charges are up half the night, pulling out drawers and emptying on the floor. There is assistance needed always with trips to the commode and changing protective pads on the bed. Start first load of laundry for the day at 3 am. In our house, my mother wakes up screaming about something “out there…out THERE!…oh gawd gawd!” Last night it was a fire she saw, which was really a shiny birthday hat. I spent hours extinguishing a birthday hat, reassuring my mother, and even after removing such and other items from environs, my mother continues to no longer be able to tell the real from the imagined.

“Informal support.” Communicating with someone who has dementia is often like herding cats, and one has to, in order to help with the most simple actions, give repetitive instructions for every phase of aid. “Put foot through here, no through …. the pant leg…this here. Put your foot through here. Your FOOT. Point your TOE, now foot…”

“Informal support.” Often the day comes when the outbursts need more meds (some will say). This happened to my mother. She had unexplained nausea after a fall, and I took her for many tests in the ER. No answers, and not better. Finally a four-day stay in the hospital. She had a few delusional/puzzled episodes while there, and she pushed away prodding, hurtful hands. She was labeled “combative; they said, We’ll try Seroquel.”

Two months later, my mother slumped to the side her chair so much I had to tie her in to keep her from falling. I stood guard so she wouldn’t be hurt while she thrashed in bed, now padded everywhere. Sometimes she stiffened, slid from her chair like a 2×6 board. Now on the floor, face contorted, tongue choking, eyes rolling.

I see a Seroquel TV ad with voice-over droning “Not for use by elderly dementia patients.” I see Mom writhing on floor. Is this advancing Alzheimer’s demanding a larger dose or ?? Who will tell us? I plead. Doctors don’t know. Or different docs give different answers. I research online. So many of the bad side effects -she has them! Her doctors have made my mother straightjacket insane. We stop the Seroquel, but Mom is switched then to Ativan to stop paranoia. The Ativan leads to chilling paranoia as Mom channels cold eyes up from the DeadZone.

“Informal support.” Each family caregiver is front line to strong daily challenges like these, often complicated by illnesses anyone might come down with. Deafness and dementia. Leukemia and diabetes…and dementia. Colon cancer…and dementia. Congested nasal passages and dementia.
“Informal support.” Caregivers carry the brunt of the work at great personal sacrifice on every level, their health and dental go downhill, they are not able to earn income, a certain amount of sanity that one has charge of one’s own life goes out the window. A social life; there is none. An eroded future occurs because a dedicated caregiver has no idea when this vigil might draw to a close, and can only plan to remain in situ.

For caregivers, there is little outside direct assistance available. We’re not even in the system noted as having a need. No cash grants, no benefits, no medical or dental coverage for us in any quarter; there are no unemployment checks. Some benefits overshoot the caregiver; the patient is qualified (vets qualify for some home caregiving hours) but payments go to licensed caregivers only, not to family members. Government sees the home caregiver as a resource until worn out, then tossed aside when parent dies or is placed in a nursing home. The governments, state, local, federal…the corporations… call it “informal support.”
I cannot quite tell you what it is like to be surrounded on almost all sides by government ‘officials,’ people who say do this or that with what meagher resources are left to us, medical personnel of many different and often opposing ideas, deadbeat relatives, drug companies… too often many wear a smug face of impunity. Something goes wrong, say a bad drug reaction, or financial abuse by a government employee who is supposed to have squeaky clean and timely oversight… it is only the sole caregiver who is cornered, totally responsible for others’ errors, lateness, underperformance. It’s the caretaker who has to scrounge, beg, step up threadbare. Everyone else walks free.

The Shriver Report and Alzheimer’s Association step up their action plans. I poked around the Alzheimer’s Association website to see if there was a hint of direct aid to family caregivers. In the report at http://www.alz.org/documents/national/World_Alzheimer_Report_2010_Summary%281%29.pdf
I read the summary report and recommendations. There I could finally see myself. Twice was I, the unpaid family caregiver, mentioned as “informal support.” Unpaid family caregiver. Excuse me, INFORMAL?? Recommendations to help us, even informally? There was nothing written to help us. Nothing. Big report, but nothing’s changed. Things are stable and predictable according to report writers. No support will be given to ‘informal support’ that is, human beings who nearly single-handedly are giving all they’ve got, now, again or it seems ever.
I wondered: Was this moniker “informal support” commonly used in studies, theses, and legislation. I Googled the term, and found this to be true. Basically, it means our caregiving is a “contribution.” Not a life and death necessity to keep a loved one as safe as possible, clean and fed and helped in whatever way we can… and without leave.
And as Maria Shriver points out in “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” three-fifths of the US caregivers are women. “The truth is,” she writes, “it’s women who are the ones who generally do the hands-on grunt work of caregiving—cleaning their parents or spouses and changing their diapers, feeding them, babysitting them, dispensing medicine to them. While men do represent about a third of family caregivers, they tend to arrange or supervise outside services.”


The time is now for direct support for the family caregiver.
Researching the cause and treatments for Alzheimer’s or other diseases tends to draw the most attention and official funding.
But please, it is now time to actively support the real FORMAL caregivers on the front lines of eldercare, the family caregiver. Caregivers need assistance with respite care (typically the only aid offered), and though there is now some protection for caregivers to some day, perhaps, return to a job they may have left to take on caregiving duties… that assumes a short duration and no pay throughout. But, Alzheimers disease, is not a killer like cancer per se. It is a disorder that makes a person eventually as helpless to care for themselves as a new born infant, though often combative as well but with the body of an adult. And a person with dementia and no other illness can live to be in their nineties, as my mother is presently, and beyond.
What about people like me with so far over eight years sacrificed of sole caregiving? We need help with medical and dental, and with reentry into the work force.
I suggest a few simple approaches to help the formal family caregiver continue in their important duties and caregiving. One idea is to give the family caregiver payments in a “like amount” in a kind of disability pay. If their loved one is fully disabled from dementia, then the caregiver is also “disabled from being able to earn a living”—which is so true—anyone who has ever cared for a person with dementia, in home, knows one has to stop even a home business, for the loved one needs constant aid and supervision.
Another solution is to make the family caregiver eligible for welfare, full Medicare and Social Security benefits while care giving. If the caregiver returns to the workforce, then benefits are stopped until normally eligible at x age. This kind of approach does not add a whole layer of bureaucracy, no new programs; it just extends eligibility to a new level, to a new recipient.
But, how to replace the phrase “informal support” that so covers over the often desperate reality? I note a visible name change in the daily news is the change from “illegal alien” to “undocumented immigrant.” However, the immigrant issue is always hot news, where family caregiver headlines (until last month’s of Maria Shriver’s media appearances) are nonexistent. The term “Informal support” generally shows up in studies, scholarly theses, and reports; and these reports and studies are often the basis for legislation and grant requests, and carry the profound bias of naming THE essential caregiver as some seeming ‘nice but not necessary’ support. But what an impact this diminuizing term has had on the real front line for PFCG? That’s me, primary female caregiver.)
My next article will deal with what is called the Beers Criteria, a list of medications and protocols for weaning elderly patients off some of their prescription drugs. This drug free approach has resulted in a dramatic improvement in my mother’s mental and physical condition for periods of time. Three months ago, she was slumped over and headed for hospice. Most recently, she is attentively watching a DVD about a Cuban jazz musician while reading “National Enquirer.” This past week, we had to go to the ER, however. It is as they say, a roller coaster ride, of needs and aid to the one who has Alzheimers. It does not have an ending point.
Guest columnist Carol Wright was 54 when she left her home where she’d lived for the past eighteen years, to travel across three states to care for her mother in her final few months of life. That was 8.5 years ago. Carol has been primary, sole caregiver for her mother all this time, and has had some respite caregiver assistance only for the past year. She recently was honored as Caregiver of the Month by the Caregiver’s Voice here.

You can read and see more about her caregiving experience at her blogs here and here, and at and at YouTube

The Shriver Report’s book, written with the Alzheimer’s Association, is titled “A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s”; it is available in ebook format for $ 9.99. You can read excerpts here.
Government report from 1998 showing expectation that women shoulder the burden and take on the sacrifices of eldercare, and that their growing preference to stay in the workplace will rock the boat. Basically, the government assumes women will/should contribute this service, and their choice to now stay at their careers is a troublesome trend. Read more here.
There are a few programs to help pay family caregivers, and resources will vary from state to state. Read this article from the Alzheimer’s Association website.

The Moderate Voice

Food line in Skokie

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
Line at the Niles Township food pantry
During my morning run yesterday-yes, my tendinitis appears to be healed-I saw a group queued up in front of the Niles Township food pantry in Skokie.

I’ve lived four blocks from the the pantry for eleven years-and I’ve never seen a line in front of the place. So I asked an elderly woman who had just left, “What’s everyone lined up for?”

“Food,” she exclaimed in a classic Chicago axe-cent. “But ya gotta register first!” Yes, that’s why they were lined up. However, I believe the lady was incorrect about the registration part.

But still, yikes! Things are bad here. Between my home and the pantry I saw a Fannie Mae foreclosure house for sale during that run. There are now two of them within a block of me.

Fannie Mae foreclosure home, Skokie

Hard times in Niles Township.

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Marathon Pundit

Bike Line Backlash?

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

As bicycle advocates have been getting new lanes and other concessions in major cities across the country, a minor backlash has formed in reaction. Scott Goodman, reporting for the NYT:

Bowing to vocal opposition from drivers and elected officials, the city last week began removing a 2.35-mile painted bike lane along Father Capodanno Boulevard on Staten Island. In Manhattan, a community board held a special hearing this month for business owners to vent about problems posed by a new protected bicycle lane on Columbus Avenue — in particular, the removal of parking spaces and the difficulty of getting truck deliveries.

In Brooklyn, new bicycle lanes have led to unusual scenes of friction. Along Prospect Park West, opponents protested last month alongside supporters of the lanes. And last year, painted paths along Bedford and Kent Avenues in Williamsburg caused disagreement between cyclists and Hasidim. The lane on Bedford Avenue was later removed.

So far, the opposition to the city’s agenda on bicycles has far less organization and passion than the bicycling advocates, but it is gaining increased attention.


Surging bike ridership has created a simmering cultural conflict between competing notions of urban transportation. Many New Yorkers object to bicycle lanes as sudden, drastic changes to their coveted concrete front yards.


Outside the city, bikes have begun creeping into political battles this year. The Republican nominee for governor of Colorado, Dan Maes, wondered during the primary whether bicycles were part of a plot to ruin cities. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who lost his bid for re-election in Washington, found himself painted as out of touch with residents, in part because of his connection to new bike paths.

Now, my sense is that this “backlash” is commensurate the one we’re seeing over the new airport screening procedures, with growing expressions of outrage coinciding with polls showing overwhelming quiet support. Whether either will grow into something more remains to be seen.

Still, this is a natural and entirely predictable fight.  Despite the “share the road” mantra, the fact of the matter is that cars and bicycles are diametrically opposed transportation cultures that have extreme difficulty co-existing in the same space — at least in areas with serious traffic.  (Which is to say:  a tiny number of cities across the country.)   Cars are heavy and fast moving and a constant danger to bicycles, which in addition to being vulnerable are also more difficult to see.  Bicycles are a nuisance, blocking a coveted traffic lane by moving much slower than the speed limit.  Moreover, they operate under conflicting sets of rules.   Motorists more or less obey road signs and traffic signals, while bicyclists view them as merely advisory.

Adding to the complication is the issue of pedestrian traffic which, again, is a serious issue in the handful of major cities where the car-bicycle conflict exists at any meaningful level.   Pedestrians take their lives into their hands, fearful of being struck by impatient motorists or lawless bicyclists.  (And then there are the pedestrians who dart out into traffic, oblivious to the rules.)  Gaggles of pedestrians lollygagging across an intersection frustrate motorists trying to make turn while backing up traffic behind said motorists.  Meanwhile, bicyclists create their own lanes — passing motorists anxious to gun it at the first sign of a break in the pedestrian action or decide to become fast-moving pedestrians and drive on the sidewalk.  Neither of these are helpful.

The hope, as a related piece from WSJ‘s Tom Perrotta implies, is that people will adapt to the new ecosystem and adopt customs that will allow all to interact reasonably well. Some cities have undertaken campaigns to educate drivers and bikers on the rules.  He quotes Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who observes, “Paris does it, Copenhagen does it. There’s a way for all of us to get things right.”

Outside the Beltway

Yet More Tales of the TSA (Along with the Line of the Day)

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Via MSNBC:  TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine

The piece contains the following from the individual who suffered through pat-dwon gone awry:

“I am a good American and I want safety for all passengers as much as the next person," Sawyer said. "But if this country is going to sacrifice treating people like human beings in the name of safety, then we have already lost the war.”


Outside the Beltway

Union Steward’s Guide Is Survival Manual for Labor’s Front Line

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

AFL-CIO Unionshop

Being a union steward is one of the toughest jobs there is. The Union Steward’s Complete Guide 2nd Edition book has become invaluable for tens of thousands of union stewards and members across North America. First published in 1997 and updated and expanded in 2006, the 404-page, fully indexed guide is a survival manual for the labor movement’s front-line troops.

Edited by David Prosten, editor and publisher of “Steward Update newsletter,” the guide offers procedures for handling a grievance on potential drug abuse to help in dealing with an out-of-control supervisor.

The Union Steward’s Complete Guide is published by Union Communication Services (UCS), based in Annapolis, Md. UCS has just released a catalog of its wide array of union-building tools and publications. Check out the new catalog here.

Noting that effective stewards are key to the growth and success of unions, David Bonior, chairman of the advocacy group American Rights at Work, says “there is no more valuable a tool than:

The Union Steward’s Complete Guide to help these front-line activists in labor’s struggle for workplace justice and dignity.

UCS’s newest publication for union members and leaders is the pamphlet, “Welcome to the Union,” a long-needed resource to help union officers and stewards explain to new members what being in a union really means. It helps answer some of the most frequently asked questions of new members, including how your union works, your rights and responsibilities and what to do if you have a problem on the job.

To order The Union Steward’s Guide, “Welcome to the Union” or any other UCS publications, click here.


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