Monday, March 29, 2010

Tuesday March 30th 2010

Today i am going to begin my post talking about the national and local news events and such,then i will mention other relevant things i feel necessary.The first and foremost thing on the national news front is the passage of the new health care reform law changing one sixth of our economy in one fair swoop.But the sky did not fall in,as the President said,and we continue to wait and watch as the new law gets implemented around the nation.The republicans are using the slogan"repeal and re-do"regarding this new law,but that would take the presidents signature or two thirds of the senate to override a veto to happen,neither of which is possible.Continuing to play to the "Tea Party"activists and the fringes of the far right like Dick Army will not benefit them in the next election any more than this victory will help the democrats.Our nation is focused like a laser on a faltering economy and massive job losses.Without a middle class this nation will collapse under the weight of its debt alone.How we change to a green economy is still a question as the rest of the world catapults ahead without us.To change the old factories and empty industrial sights to produce "green"products while keeping a small carbon footprint will take a decade or more.Retro fitting facilities will take large investments that are not guaranteed to happen here.Corporations can do it much cheaper with much few environmental regulations over seas.And as far as utilities and taxes are concerned as well,all these things and more point toward the continuing shrinking and withering of the hard working people who were the worlds greatest manufacturing force on the planet.Middle class folks are becoming poor folks ,and the chronic poverty of the inner cities is spreading out to the suburbs at a rapid pace.The uneasy feeling about the nature of the economy and of the financial markets continues because absolutely nothing has been done to address the problems in the system that brought us to the brink of another great depression.Banking industry giants as still to complex and intertwined to be allowed to collapse.This "too big to fail" concept was brought back out at the beginning of this economic train wreck in order to explain the complexities of these immensely intertwined giants and the risk if one failed it could collapse the entire system.At this point after all this time to examine what happened and why,the people at the top levels of our government on the committees that oversee banking have done almost nothing to address the shady trades called "credit default swaps"and other things done outside the view of the markets.An exchange created to put these in the light of day has been rejected and put down.Sen.Dodd (D.)of Conn.has flatly stated that nothing will stop another similar crisis from occurring again.Millions of lobbing dollars have been spent to make certain the same practices that brought us to the brink of another depression should continue.Complex derivatives such as groups of mortgage backed securities and other investments pooled together and then insured and sold again,and loose capital requirements for financial giants to back their investment portfolios all still remain in place.Even the companies who received billions in taxpayer money to rescue them from disaster are engaging in the exact same risky behavior.It seems as though nobody in Washington wants to address anything other than their campaign coffers and re-election chances by collecting as much money as possible from any and all sources.This money fundamentally corrupts the system and allows Politicians the ability to ignore all but the groups responsible to getting them reelected and the groups that can effect the outcome of their election.These groups are usually at the far side of each party,no matter democrat or republican the concept of by the people for the people is now by the people with money for the people with money.As this next election slowly approaches we will continue to see zero progress on any financial regulatory reforms of the way the system operates.Hedge Funds and others will continue to place huge bets for short term profits,as will other financial institutions and corporations,putting all of our futures on the line with each and every day that goes by.We the people sat back and watched as insiders now in charge of the very government agencies that oversee their former employers,men like Tim Gietner and Larry Summers,and Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke,removed any question of "moral hazard"and kept these practices alive by using their positions to backstop massive losses with the taxpayers money.Now as these practices continue they hem and haw about making the sweeping changes necessary to ensure this idea of "too big to fail" is eliminated and create some way to oversee transactions that are still conducted completely in secret even though the outcomes of these transactions have global implications if they can bring about the implosion of a giant like for example Merrill Lynch.The majority of regular citizens are completely unaware of the risks involved in continuing to ignore the massive problems in the financial system that brought about last Septembers crash.I hope we can continue to thrive and grow as a nation,but with the way we continually ignore lessons taught by our mistakes i think we may hand our children a very different nation than our parents gave us.
Things on the home front remain about the same,i am fighting my battle with chronic pain every day,and advocating for my children to the best of my ability.My wife continues to work very hard to support us and is my partner in this current struggle with my health issues and kids school programs.One thing i will mention is that our female dog,sugaree,is 14 years old and seems to be struggling more and more as the days go by.I hope it is just a passing thing but am very sad at the thought of her being gone.I will continue to add more as the situation develops.Until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday March 26th 2010

Well it has been a while since my last post due to being unable to stay up on my feet for any length of time.My issues related to my back injury have taken over my entire life.The pain clinic docs decided to put my pain medicine back to almost the same level it was,minus about 15mgs a week.This is a minor reduction compared to the 225mg a week reduction i mentioned in my last post.The reduction is in the immediate release medicine,as opposed to the slow release or extended release medicine that was increased from every twelve hours to every eight.This is a tremendous relief as the 12 hr dosage did not last as it was supposed to.The last three hours or so was brutal,and with the reduction in immediate release i had no extra dose for the middle of the night.I wish there was a magic pill to help,but alass this is not the case and i must continue with the regime dictated by the pain clinic.My family will continue to suffer from the effects of having me in constant chronic pain.The medicines help,but they only diminish the level of pain.I find it very hard to endure at night especially,and lack of sleep is taking a toll on me as well.My mood needless to say,is miserable.When i pick up my new prescription today i hope that it will help to alleviate some of this,but until i allow either surgical or larger prescription solutions i most likely will continue to be miserable.
On the family front i got news i was very unhappy with yesterday regarding the childrens educational plans outlined by the school district.First i will begin with my older son,Jeromy.He is,as i noted in my last post,having major problems with school.The school is new to him and it has much higher standards than the school he was in for the 6 years prior to this one.That was one of the reasons we put him here,with thew main reason being we wanted both of our children in the same school.He is now being tested for learning disabilities to discover how bad the situation is.As i eluded to in my last post i am very disappionted in the school he was in prior,as they never made any problems with his ability to learn an issue.His grades were average,but i was never made aware that he had any problems that would require extra attention.The level of his abilities are much farther below his grade level and may require him to repeat this grade.I will co-operate and help his teachers in any way i can and i hope we can address these problems without him being held back,as i believe that would be very bad for his self esteem.The next few school years are critical in his developement as a person in my opinion,and it would be wrong to hold him back.The process of pinpionting his deficiencies will take some time,and in the meantime there is no way of helping him catch up to his classmates.I can do everything within my power but without the school componant being in place it will be very difficult.I am not a profesional educator,i am just a dad with no way to formulate a proper gameplan for his specific needs.The first meeting i had with the 6th grade team of teachers they made me aware he had some abilities behind his grade level.The problem was that all of the avenues for addressing the problems,such as extra help,after school classes,ect..had been filled up already.So unless we could afford a private tutor or private institution there was no way to offer him the help he needed.So the farther into the school year we got the farther behind he was.Now we are at a point where it seems impossible to have him caught up in time to move ahead with his class at the end of the year.
When i was on the phone with the school psychologist having this conversation about Jeromy being tested for learning delays and deficiencies,he casually mentioned that my younger son matthew,who has been diagnosed pdd-nos(pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified)which is in the autism spectrum,is about to be declassified learning disabled and put into regular student status.This was quite a blow that i was completely unprepared for,and i had a hard time with the rest of the conversation after that.Matthew is a wonderful kid and he is doing very well with all the therapies they have been providing,such as speech,occupational,and physical,and i believe without these he will slide backwards fast.It is the first year he has been without a 1 on 1,and my opinion is he needs to continue with an iep and until his specialist says different,should remain classified as learning disabled.I will fight the district on this decision and use all the resources available to me to advocate for both of my children to recieve all the help they can get to become successful,productive,honorable citizens.There is no one else who will advocate for my children with more motivation than me.Professionals in the field who are child advocates,especially for kids with diabilities,are limited by work related codes of conduct,large caseloads,and can only do what is within their limited scope of duties as dictated by upper management and State education law.I will continue to post updates on this as they develope.
On to commentary on national news and related topics.As i am sure everyone by now is aware,the landmark reform to the Health care system is now law.My opinion has been discussed in past posts,and i continue to feel the same way.My family is insured through my wifes job,and i am curious to see if there will be any changes in that policy.I also am covered under workers compensation for my back injury,and i am very curious if there has been any changes to work related injuries and how they are handled and paid for.The scale of this new law is such that i think it will take quite a while before we will see any lasting positive effects on such a large industry.The fact that alot of the projected savings are coming from cutting waste fraud and abuse form medicare,while at the same time promising no reductions in benefits i have trouble believing in savings that are based on certain things happening.This and other projected savings to fund this giant new government program are just that,projections.The reality is,from past experience,that giant new entitlement programs cost alot of money to enact and continue,so we as a nation will watch and see if this is just another in a series of attempts to use government power to control what are supposed to be privately owned and controlled areas of our economy.The massive bailout of the financial industry that was dubbed TARP for troubled asset relocation program is another example.This was supposed to give the government the ability to purchase,hold,then re-sell the assets responsable for all the turmoil in the finacial markets.It was an unprecidented move to backstop the hemmoraging of cash by most of the major players in the whole of the financial world.These companies were gigantic complex entities that the people incharge of setting financial policy for the United States deemed them "too big to fail" and
convinced Congress to allow this massive rescue package from The Federal Reserve.One of the reasons was it was an emergency situation that could have ruined the entire economy.They projected a depression style collapse of the stock market followed by an implosion of the banking industry that would have global implications.The way the financial giants were operating involved short sighted profit grabbing without long term vision of results of new very complex financial tools like derivatives and credit default swaps on the very markets used to buy and sell them.The size and scope of alot of these companies were so massive and so intertwined that the collapse of one meant the collapse of the whole group,or "the house of cards" senario were it would mean catastrophy for the whole world.When financial powerhouses are allowed to operate under one view of capitalism ,is that "moral hazard" or the fear of risky unscroupulous behavior being discovered and having negative finacial consequences for the offending corporation will keep the market honest.But under that view,these corporations should have suffered the consequences of their risky behavior and should have been broken apart and sold just like any other corporation in any other industry would have been.Instead,the government intervened,backstopped the losses with the power of the Federal Reserve issuing billions in cash reserves to these collapsing corporations.This money was lent at 0% interest rate and was not tied to any timeline for repayment,as opposed to a loan to an ordinary citizen by a local institution such as a bank or credit union which would be subject to an interest rate and a timeline for repayment.Regular folks don't have access to the discount window at the federal Reserve to borrow to help pay bills,i don't understand why these companies and corporations after being deemed to have the same rights under the constitution as individual citizens,are treated as special by our Governments Financial entity.The reasons for this TARP program being created is not exactly what it ended up doing in the marketplace.It did not purchase these troubled assets,instead it purchased shares of stock in these companies allowing them to pay off short term debts and in effect started the whole house of cards scenario again.There has been no change in the practices such as credit default swaps or trading in morgage backed securities.These and other risky behaviors used as common business practice by these financial intitutions must be regulated and put under some sort of watchdog government agency.Anyways,we shall see if anything else can get done with this partisan environment.The picture i am posting today is of matthews first bikeride of spring.Until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday March 18th 2010

Today i will begin my post by talking a little more about recent trouble related to my chronic pain issues.I had a visit at my pain clinic today and was reduced by another 225mgs a week on my pain medicine.This is A SIGNIFICANT reduction and i am displeased to say the least.The Physicians at the pain clinic are very knowlgable and i trust their judgement,but after two years at the same dose i am at a loss how a 225mg a week reduction is going to help me manage the current difficulties.These have been discussed in prior posts and include inability to sleep,no real endurance to be able to maintain a normal schedule,and a complete lack of libido.Chronic pain is a horrible curse and i cannot live any semblace of a normal life while my pain level is so high.My family suffers because i am difficult to be around and i am not very good company.It makes me very short tempered and i have no ability to be patient with the kids.As long as i continue to have such a high level of pain and it is not well managed this most likely will continue.The common belief surrounding the medicines used for chronic pain is that they are no good and cause more harm than benefit to the patient.This is not the case in my opinion,but even being closely monitored by a pain clinic the average person still is taken back learning about medicines used.Mentioning specific meds i will refrain from,but they are very strong to say the least.They do have a propensity to be abused by a certain percentage of people who are predisposed to addiction,but most folks can use them without that being an issue.I believe the problem is the blurred lines between some one who is addicted to a substance,and someone who is dependant on a substance.If it were a drug for epilepsy or maybe depression,people assume dependance.With most pain meds the assumption becomes that person is that person either is or will become addicted.This is very frustrating and can become an obstacle to a pain patient's social abilities.This is very true in my case,and not only do i avoid going places in person,i find myself avoiding phone contact as well so i don't have to answer any questions about how i am feeling and what new changes to pharmacutical regime?Its not that i question folks genuine concern,its just i don't wanna unload my burden for anyone else to have to feel concern or worry.As it is i find it very difficult discussing my issues with everyone when we are in the middle of two wars with families makin more sacrifices than i ever could imagine.The heroes over in the "big sand box"deserve our support and prayers,and their families as well.These men and women are the reason i am free to write what i want,and i admire and respect them with all i have.
I went to a great group on Monday at the social skills group my youngest attends.The parental portion had a speaker who specialised in anxiety.He described it in such simple terms i was amazed.He used a visual that is common in describing it,called the "worry hill",where you get to the top as anxiety peaks,and if you can get over the hump it's never as bad as it seemed to be.Another common description involves the "what if?"question that seems behind so many of these worries.For example"why should i get on this elevator when it could get stuck?"Well,anything "could" happen,but that is an unrealistic assumption,as are most that bring about anxiety.It can be crippling and debilitating and can take over your life if you allow it to.I am not one of those folks luckily.I have small bouts of anxiety,nothing major though.These ideas and some of his other suggestions were very helpful,and i can use them to help with the childrens anxiety as well.
News on the national front seems to be that the action in the house on the current health care reform bill will happen this Sunday.The procedural manuvers used to pass this massive new economic burden are going to be shifty at best,but for the republicans to balk at the use of these tools seems silly as they have used them to advance their agenda many times in the past.I will continue to monitor and comment on the situation as it developes.I am going to go to the park with my young son to let him swing on the swingset.The pic i posted today is me at the Casino in Atlantic City i mentioned in prior posts.Until next time,thank you for reading.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday March 15th 2010

Today began a usual Monday with the kids,and again as usual i was on about four hours sleep.It is difficult but not impossible to greet the day with a smile,i just need to count my blessings and pray for strength.I have alot to do tomorrow as its my Darling wife's birthday.So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wife,i love you with all i got and hope you get to celebrate many many more birthdays with me.We will celebrate with the usual pleasantries,a small cake and giving of gifts,which makes the kids very happy.
Tomorrow is also the too week mark and i haven't heard back from the school about Jeromy's current problems.The sixth grade team and the school psychologist asked me to give them two weeks to ready a plan,but they did not get back to me so i am going to call the school principal tomorrow.I must act in the best interests of my son and i believe he needs something done immediately to prevent an educational crisis from becoming something much worse.This is a critical few years in his adolescent development and social interaction with his peers is vitally important to his chances to succeed in this difficult situation.To hold him back at this point would be ruinous to his self esteem and his confidence.He has thus far been a good student,but apparently passed along without the necessary skills to achieve the results expected in a school with higher academic standards.I will add more tomorrow and as things develop.
I really don't know how or where to begin on national political news as nothing has been brought to a vote yet.The last ditch efforts being made by senior party officials trying to round up the votes necessary to move heath care reform forward are falling on mostly deaf ears.Peoples positions have hardened and the republican position is and will continue to be obstructionist.As the final moments quickly approach it looks possible that it will squeak by with the thinnest of margins in the house and go on to a tougher senate vote on the changes.If this results in some health reform i really am curious what the final product will actually be.With all the compromises the parties involved agreed to it may be more harmful to regular folks like me in the end.My families health issues range widely but needless to say we spend a good amount on health and medical.Every year the cost rise and rise and they cover less and less.The send giant books with amendments and addendum's that would confuse all but the most savvy average citizen.I will comment as the story develops.until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday March 13th 2010

Today i will begin my post with how our Saturday is going so far.We began our day early so we could go to the kid's school for activities.They opened up the Gym and the Library for the students and their families to have some fun.We enjoyed playing some basketball and hula hooping,then we just ran around and played tag.Jeromy was really good with the smaller kids rooting for them and giving them praise for doing whatever they were doing at the time.Matthew had alot of fum riding the small rider scooter and running after the other kids.
Next on the agenda was the Saint Patricks day parade.Matthew and Jeromy love to watch parades,but it was very cold and windy so we only stayed for about 15 minutes due to the medical problems i have mentioned in prior posts.After about 40 mins at the school i was already in need of rest,but the weather at the parade pushed my limits to the brink.I wanted a chance to say something to our elected officials from Washington who were marching in the parade,but i could'nt wait around til the end for a meet and greet.
As i have mentioned in prior posts my family and i enjoy music,and i am like to play guitar for fun.Todays pic are of my little set up for playin and singin,a two channel peavy ecoustic amp,my takamine electric acoustic guitar,and a standard microphone and stand from radio shak.My wife also has a small djembe that she will occasionally sit and play while i strum and sing.The other photo is from the Gov't Mule concert Jeromy and i went to that i have also mentioned in prior posts.The pic shows Warren Haynes and Jackie Green playing during the smokin hot 3 song encore they played that night.It was 10/29/09 and the opening act was Jackie Green and his band.Jackie joined Gov't Mule onstage for the encore,Don't let it bring you down>Find the cost of freedom>Ohio.That was the cherry on top of an awesome show for Jer"s first.Here is the setlist minus the aforementioned triple encore:set one;steppin lightly,brokedown on the brazos,railroad boy>monday morning meltdown>forevermore,don't step on the grass sam,banks of the deep end,lively up yourself,soulshine. set two: which way do we run,trampled underfoot,have mercy on the criminal,like flies>LeBrers in a minor tease,drums,the other one w/paint it black and gimmie shelter tease,effigy>hey joe>effigy,folsom prison blues jam>effigy and encore.It was quite a fantastic show and the reason i mentioned it again is because last night in San Fransisco there was a Furthur concert that celebrated an icon of music and one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead,Phil Lesh.His 70th birthday is monday,and he is a liver transplant recipient and very grateful to be alive and still playing music.I admire him as a musician but also as an advocate for organ donation and giving blood,as he promotes at every show,it is something we all can do to help out and give back a little.All you have to do is let your loved ones know you want to be an organ donar if God forbid anything was to happen to you.And giving blood is a good thing to get in the habit of doing as well,so please try your best to do so as it could save someone's life.The concert to celebrate this milestone in Phil's life included guest musicians of which Jackie Green and Chris Robinson of the black crows were among.Jackie Green is worth checking out live if you have the chance,he has an excellent voice and is very enjoyable to watch.
The News of the day remains to be the same old thing in washington,as nothing continues to be the result we can expect.I saw two of my own Senator and also a Congressman marching today in the parade i mentioned,i am glad they at least try to get facetime with the folks they represent.The situation continues to look more and more like Health Care reform will pass with reconcilliation as the only way to pass it now.Speaker Pelosi said "it's going to be historic"on friday,hinting the vote will take place fairly soon.I am eager to see what happens because the atmosphere will turn from bad to worse upon passage of this legislation.We shall see,until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday March 12th 2010

Today i am starting this post talking about some personal pain related difficulties i am having.I suppose it is just cathartic to be able to write this stuff down and move on so i am grateful for this place for giving me that ability.I am really having quite a difficult time managing my pain issues lately,especially not being able to sleep.Last night i went to bed around 1:30 am and awoke again around 4:30 absolutely soaked through in a cold sweat.I was'nt due for another dose if medicine until 6:00 am and the time crawled by so slow it felt like forever.Now it is around 2:30 pm here and i am not due again until 6:00pm,and my pain is almost unbearable.I am an insufferable bastard to be around and i feel horrible that my wife and children are stuck with me.It seems so unfair but at the same time i feel i should be grateful,and i do,for the blessings in my life.I would feel silly to list them now but needless to say no matter what my physical body is feeling matters not to the spiritual and mental part.It can begin to affect or infect all parts of my life if i allow it to,this horrible beast they call"chronic pain" that so many folks are saddled with along with me.Of special inspiration to me are wounded warriors back from the war zone and their families.These folks are the salt of the earth and i respect and admire every one of them.They endure so much in their struggle to return to some sense of normalcy and i am very grateful for their patriotic sacrifice.For me to complain in the face of their burdens seems offensive because i should be grateful i can walk and do things like take the dogs around the block.Simple little things that remind me no matter how bad i hurt i am still lucky.
Watching the process in Washington is sometimes likened to sausage making because it is something people would prefer not to watch or know about.Well i personally think we need to pay very close attention to this national political scene as we have time forThese Politicians like nothing better than have the public look the other way while they do their backroom deals and make decisions that will affect us all.We can no longer sit on the sidelines while these people enrich themselves and fail to address the people's business in any substanative way.Immediatly after election they immediatly go right back into campaign mode and start collecting money for next time.We must have some kind of term limits to stop carreer politicians and bring our democracy back to the small,limited,by the people for the people vision of our founders.I am hopeful this next election can bring some sanity to the process down there,but i don't know if that will be possible.Hope springs eternal,but reality and truth can sometimes suffocate our ability to have faith in the process.Personally i will continue to try and comment and hopefully see some results on issues that need to be addressed like job creation and greening our economy.I believe it will be at least a decade to retrofit factories here to produce windmills and small portable nuclear reactors that do not require cooling,as well as other products to move us away from fossil fuels and coal burning powerplants.This is not going to be easy,and we need to entice global corporations to make these investments here and not elsewhere where they can have cheap labor and lax enviornmental regulations.We shall see,until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday March 10th 2010

I am going to begin todays post with a smile on my face as today is another beautiful sunny day,and the kids went off to school in a very good mood.My night was difficult as usual,but greeting my children in a good mood before sending them off to school is a must.It is very hard to do sometimes,but warm sunshine always helps to start things nicely.Bringing our dogs outside to check their wee mails is also much more pleasant with the sun shining.The family has also been boosted recently by good news at my wifes job.She works as a custodian at a large airport and has been employed there for 7 years now.Most of that time she has had an uncomfortable relationship with her boss.The reason is unclear,but this guy had it out for my wife and was gunning to mar her perfect work record.Well to make a very long story short,the man was fired by the new administration in charge of the airport.My wife is finally getting some recognition for her very strong abilities and spotless work record.This may someday translate into a promotion and raise,but we don't want to look too far ahead.This has made her feel alot better about going to work and a happy work environment leads back to a happier home environment.
In the news today the usual continues in Washington,gridlocked congress with no chance of anything getting done.The rediculous nature of the stalemate is,as i have eluded to in prior posts,due to the short term political advantage that is so beneficial to whomever holds it at the time.As the political environment sours and gets worse and worse,i hope enough voters realise that incumbancy is road to complacency and vote for new and fresh faces to send to Washington.We really are at a crossroads in our democracy,in my humble opinion,that is going to take us either up and out of this horrible economic mess and away from political obstructionism,or we will collapse further into financial distress and government failure.Even the smartest economists and most brilliant political scientists cannot predict where this will find a bottom,and i believe that political paralysis in the US can have enormous negative impact on the economy.In the middle of what most likely will be a double dip recession,these things could spiral from recession to depression in unsettlingly fast ways because of this new global economic environment.If the Health care reform act passes through reconcilliation nothing further will be possible until after novembers election.I hope somehow these Political leaders can act in the best interests of Americans and not their own re-election campaigns.Anyways,until next time,thank you for reading. Spacewalker

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday March 9th 2010

Today's weather here in upstate NY is sunny and a balmy 42 degrees.It is great to feel the sunshine on my face as i started the day.Our family's morning routine starts at 6:15 so the kids can be dressed clean and fed by the time the bus arrives at 7am on the nose.The kids morning bus driver is a really nice guy who greets both me and the children with a wave and a smile.The rapid pace of the morning schedule usually continues with basic domestic duties as most households do,sometimes interrupted by my inability to stand for any long period of time.The chronic pain issues i have discussed in past posts really limit my ability to maintain any semblance of a steady routine,but i try my best to start early most days.As the morning progresses into afternoon frequent pauses to lay down are necessary to ease the worst of the pain,which in my case is from my back down my legs and into my feet.The best way to describe it that i use is that of a visual image that i try to articulate of someone striking a large gong with a big striker and seeing the way it vibrates from the center.Every step of my feet i feel a pain the reverberates to my lower back.After standing for a while the pain in my legs is such that i must recline to remove the weight and relieve some of the discomfort at least for the moment.Sometimes reading or writing or other manual tasks can help get my mind off the pain as well.
Continuing on with my commentary related to Washington and the Presidents current agenda of passing health care reform through reconciliation,the parliamentary move both parties use to ram through new legislation without bi-partisan support.This is going to continue to be the focus until the up or down vote the President is calling for.Not sure if she has the votes to even use reconciliation,House speaker Pelosi is being put in a very untenable situation that won't fare well for the democrats no matter which way the final tally turns out.Our system seems to be hopelessly locked in this awful cycle of no co-operation between parties going as far as to cripple the process and put a stranglehold on any progress in either direction.The American people are not ready to allow any more of this nonsense and seem poised to hand the democrats some very costly defeats come this November.The republicans do not look like they stand to reap all the benefits of this wave of public distaste for all insiders and incumbents.The "tea party movement" is being marginalised by the media but stand to endorse third party and outside the mainstream candidates from both sides.Most of the media outlets,in my humble opinion,are too wrapped up in the opinions and aspirations of their parent companies boards of directors and owners who benefit greatly from reporting news stories through the limited scope of their own financial and political goals,and present the public with such a whitewashed and narrow view as to lose any credibility as a honest broker of the public trust given to previous generations of news organizations.
On to other stories in the news related to the health care legislation,Rep.Eric J. Massa,who went from saying cancer,then his behavior related to charges by a male aide,now says the White House pressured his resignation because he didn't support the President's position on the bill now pending.Of course this freshman congressman is from New York,adding his name to the long list of recent corrupt and undignified behaving New York Politicians.All of the other names are well known so i will not dignify them again by listing them now.As a resident of New York i am personally not voting for any incumbents for national,state or local level offices,and will work as my health allows to endorse and support candidates that are new and dynamic who i will hold to a standard that i feel comfortable with personally.I will end here so until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday March 7th 2010

Today i will begin my post with a little family stuff and then continue to commentary about news and current events.I am very happy to report the children are doing just fine health wise,we are very blessed.As the weather begins to warm i am looking forward to getting our boat back into the water.We are very lucky to have a camp up on the shoreline of lake Ontario,and i look forward to spending family time out fishing.I really enjoy making memories up there for my children just as my parents did for me.Some of my best childhood memories are up at the camp with my parents and brothers and sisters.My dad had a float plane that would be parked out front at the dock,and dad got up very early to fly it in to skaneatles lake where his car was parked.He would go in to the office and then drive back to the plane and fly back up to camp.I remember watching him with his pants of his suit rolled up so he could get in front to turn the prop to start the motor.He was a very kind and gentle man,i only wish we had more time together.
The problems with Jeromy at school still have yet to be resolved and i am very frustrated with the timeline and how this will be resolved before the school year ends.The fact that the 6th grade team of teachers saw at the very beginning there was a significant delay or deficiency in his neccesary basic skills but even when i had my first parent teacher conferance with them it was too late to get any extra help.The classes were already full,during and after school.Now at this late point in the year the team really believes this delay may actually be some sort of learning disability that has gone undiagnosed all this time.I would like to believe they are sincere because i do believe they are overworked and underpaid.That doesn't mean i am excusing them from any responsability at all,but reality is they don't have time to spend helping a student who is as far behind as jeromy no matter what the source of the delay may turn out to be.I will continue to advocate for him and will post updates as they arise.
With Matthew things seem to be going along fairly well in school,he is above grade level with both reading and writing and progressing nicely with his goals put forth in his IEP.For those readers unfamiliar with an IEP it is the Individual Education Plan that is designed specifically for a child with a disability.There is also a 504 plan for kids with learning problems which some refer to as an IEP light.This allows the children access to therapies that are education related,such as physical and occupational therapy and speech therapy as well.Matthew has had an IEP since pre-k and has been very lucky as far as early intervention goes,another reason why i am a little frustrated with the system's apparent overlooking of my older son having some sort of educational delays that are yet to be realised.I have great family who help my wife and i with our challenges in this regard including both my sisters and my wife's sister as well.We are grateful for their help and encouragement.
On to news events and current events.I suppose i should begin with the continued gridlock suffocating our democracy in Washington.The blatent disregard for the peoples business by these Politicians is just sickening.How they continue to do nothing but jockey for political advantage and exploit any mistake while running campaigns for re-election all the while.We wait to see if any of these folks can put partisan political tactics aside to pass some kind of meaningful legislation prior to starting the full fledged campaign activities for this next election.However difficult it may be some of these folks need to learn to accept half a loaf as opposed to no loaf at all.Lets look at the recent example of the Bunning Blockade.Sen.Jim Bunning R-Ky.,used current Senate rules to block a one-month extension of unemployment benefits until it was paid for.While pay-go is a noble notion it is not a sensable policy during the worst recession in decades.Rebublican opposition was in stark contrast to the way democrats view their obligations to provide help during difficult times,while republicans worry about tax relief for rich people.Besides,any compromise on any issue is not a possibility for the forseeable future as long as obstruction continues to reap political advantage that translates into election plans for both sides.Thats all for now,until next time thank you for reading. spacewalker

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday March 4th 2010

I will begin my post today with some good experiences from the last week or so and then move on to commentary about local and national news.My wife and i were very fortunate to recieve some tickets to a concert as a gift from a close friend,and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together.My wife is the breadwinner in our household and she has'nt gotten a vacation in about 10 it was great to have a night together.The concert was fantastic and we really liked the venue.It was at one of Donald Trumps casinos in Atlantic City called the Taj Mahal.After the concert we gambled for around three hours and ended up breaking even,so it was really a great time.My sister in law watched the kids and took care of our animals for us while we were gone,and it went off without a hitch.There was an Art Exibit of Jerry Garcia's artwork at the Hard Rock Cafe inside the casino and we marveled at the great artwork,but i was a little taken back by some of the other stuff they had for sale.For example,they had mounted in a frame an ashtray and bic lighter once used by Jerry,and i found that a bit morbid to be honest.I think Jerry would find it strange for someone to pay large sums for everyday items just because he had touched or used them.Anyways i want to say THANK YOU to my friend Wayneo for his generousity in giving us the tickets for the show,i count myself lucky to be your friend.
Well,i guess its time to comment a bit on things with the kids happening lately.First and formost was the meeting i had with my older boys 6th grade team regarding some performance issues they noticed at the beginning of the school year that have progressivly gotten worse.A little backround is warrented here to put my commentary in context.My older son,Jeromy,is new to this school as i wanted both my children in the same school.My younger son,Matthew,is in the autism spectrum and our neighborhood school does not offer inclusion classes,so i opted for another school in the district that does.Jeromy was in our neighborhood school for 6 years and was,as far as i knew,was up to grade level and had no discipline issues at all.At our first meeting the team mentioned the fact that Jeromy's writing and reading skills were sub-par and needed alot of work.Unfortunately for us there were no spots left in any of the after school or even in school programs designed to help kids like Jeromy.Our options at that point were few so we decieded to address it ourselves at home and try to get him caught up.Fast forward to this meeting,where they had the school pschycologist sit in to listen and comment,and we not only have not resolved the academic deficienctcies,we now are lookin at some discipline issues as well.So as a parent i want to do anything to help my child function as a active classroom participant and not a problem student.My first question was how far behind do they believe he is?The answer was they need more time to access his skillset,and they also need time to prepare.I wondered out loud why,after noticing this problem at the beginning of the year it took until now to realise the extent of the problem.And i was also concerned that he had attended our neighborhood school for the six years prior and showed no signs of any kind of acedemic delays or diffeciencies of any kind.I realise this school has higher acedemic standards than his prior school,but the source of this severe of a delay should have been apparent long before now.The team seems to believe this is a learning disability and want to begin a process to find out the source of this apparent signifacant deficiency in his acedemic skills.In the public school system there is a pre-set series of things that take place in order to do this but the team felt unprepared to begin this process yet,so they asked me not to sign anything yet.I readily agreed to a pre-referral intervention targeted specifically at his readind and writing,and whatever else they deem neccesary to bring him to grade level.
During the course or this meeting with my son's 6th grade team,i was discussing my younger son's aptitude in writing and his habit of helping his older brother spell words while they are at the kitchen table doing homework.I happened to mention the fact that my 7 yr old has been diagnosed in the autism spectrum,and the school pshycologist Dr.Coen spoke up and said"your son is not autistic!he may be a little Quirky,but he is not Autistic!"to which i responded "i wish the specialist would tell me that"and i continued with my conversation with the team.Dr.Coen is familiar with my son as he has accessed him twice before,and both times felt he had to point out to me he did not believe my son has autism.This seemed a tad out of the realm of his authority,and i feel he is in no position to diagnos Matthew or over-rule his current diagnosis from a specialist in childhood psychological disorders.And to add the comment "he may be a little quirky"was insulting to me as well.As the meeting came to an end and we were trying to work out a plan of action,Dr.Coen made another comment about my older son i found a little insulting as well.As we talked about our options he said"we need to find out if he has a real problem or if he is just lazy and the product of a broken system."which i found to be a bold statement in front of a parent facing major concerns about his childs achedemic abilities.As this new problem plays out i will post about it from time to time and continue to be the best advocate for my children as i possibly can.
Turning to national news,the health care legislation that passed the senate with a supermajority of 60 votes,the president has made it clear that using the parlimentary maneuver called budget reconcilliation is the only way his party can pass this bill.This works like this,house democrats approve and send to the president the bill passed by the senate last year.Both the house and senate would then approve a second bill containing the changes to the terms of the senate bill,using budget reconcilliation.Under Senate rules,bills voted on under that process can pass with a simple 51-vote majority,as opposed to the 60 vote supermajority needed to prevent fillibusters.During the second Bush administration it was used to pass the tax cuts for the wealthy,and a republican congress used itNow they are in the mid-90s to pass welfare reform.Now that it will be used against them they are calling it "the nuclear option"and saying use it and ignore the american people at your own risk."We shall see what happens from here,but one thing that is clear to me is that i won't support any political incumbants in this coming election,and will work hard to assure we have representation that works for the people and not for re-election.Perpetual campaigning must come to an end and Washington gridlock must be dealt with as well.
In this new global economy American corporations have been moving jobs overseas and into areas that provide cheap labor and lax enviromental standards and have found that it is highly profitable.The position of the U.S. DOJ on trade has been pro-consumer,while the position of European union and others is pro-competition putting more power into european hands to entice economic developement by investors.The power of emerging markets like China and india are enormous,but without putting restrictions on growth,China's 15% will lead to a bubble that will soon burst,leaving a whole lot of people who moved to cities from agricultural rural area without means to provide the aspirational goals for their children in the future.Wanting a better life for your children is natural and a product of better and better financial opportunities in these emerging market areas.American goals to provide a new jobs market through the "greening"of our manufacturing base are not realistic at all.The crumbling infastructure and the aged manufacturing plants are no enticement to corporations who can find much cheaper rent and labor,not to mention cheap power,low taxes and lax enviromental standards all over the world.And without a large and robust middle class in America,the world will be much less able to sustain any type of large manufacturing as its engine for expansion of their own burgening middle class population.I hope we are able to address this discrepancy so we can move forward together into the future.until next time,thank you for reading. spacewalker