Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rights You Say?

As we increasingly find our civil rights being decimated, know that it extends to all areas of life.  And when any member of the Industrial complexes in America - Medical, Judicial, Educational -  decides to put the evil eye on you and designate you "persona non grata" know that you and yours will not come out on the winning end.

First we have the idea of 'zero tolerance' and that is of course putting kids out of school for any number of convoluted reasons.  I really get this I do as I work with kids but there is so much going on here that I cannot even delve into the complex reasons kids are challenged to act and behave the way they do.  The sheer number of shootings and attempted acts of violence at the hands of children say we have a lot of problems that we clearly aren't addressing.  And frankly when we are "afraid" of children what does that say for and about our culture?  But here are two cases of the punishment and the crime once again don't match.

I just watched the most amazing Danish movie, The Hunt, starring the fabulous Mads Mikkelsen. The story is one familiar to us all as it parallels the famous McMartin case decades ago.  The idea of a child telling a "story" that is seized and in turn used to destroy lives without any provocation or justification shows how adults convolute, manipulate and add their own versions and bias of events to add even more salacious and disturbing element to the narrative.  Then when you have genuine situations of abuse as in the Catholic Church or the Sandusky case, often those children are ignored and dismissed.  And that children in both those cases were from poor and/or minority class homes adds to the dilemma.  So it becomes very much another case of mob justice and revenge and retaliation.  The film does an outstanding job of demonstrating just how the process begins and the end results.

So it may explain why zero tolerance came to be. I see many Teachers and more often Substitutes simply defer and do little when it comes to discipline and what that in turn leads to overall classroom management and instruction. If you are afraid for your job can you do your job? You either shut up or SWAT up.

So take that into account why the Police go ape shit bat shit when it comes to most any resolution. Shoot, kill and ask no questions.   Defend, deny and when all else fails obfuscate and lie.  This is our new way of resolution and restitution.

And then we add my other favorite of the industrial complexes - the Medical one.  This family finds itself in the hands of all of the above when a Hospital decided that the parent care was insufficient to the medical lack of care they were offering.

I know first hand the danger of the goon squad of the Hospital Social Worker. They are NOT there to help you in anyway. Their primary role is to secure the Hospital and indemnify it from potential litigation and financial problems.

I met a woman who had suffered Traumatic Brain Injury at the hands of her partner, she ended up having secondary trauma when a blood clot formed requiring her to go back to Harborview, home the incompetent. Post surgery left her more ill than prior and she lost her job, her business and was on the verge of losing her home. The fantastic crackerjack goon squad of Harborview referred her to the faux TBI institute, a group formed by personal injury lawyers to get access to an ambulance full of willing prey.  Don't have to chase it when it is handed to you.  Harborview willingly gives this fake non profit all incoming records of those diagnosed with TBI and tells them that they will help you.  Their help is non existent.  They do nothing that the Social Workers are supposed to and should do, but don't.

Truly there are amazing non profit groups in many cities that work with TBI victims and family, the one in Seattle does not.  They are utter frauds and do NOTHING to help those truly in need.  Again proving that you get what you don't pay for and that many non profits are nothing more than fronts.

So read below about the family who is not a family and the secrecy and idiocy that Boston Children's decided to inflict on a family who chose to pursue a course of action that they did not agree. Second opinion was that of the Courts apparently when they took this girl out of the home.  Justice? Is there any anymore?

Mom of Sick Connecticut Teen 'Collapses' in Court After Judge Sends Kid to Foster Care
Feb. 25, 2014


Justina Pelletier, the Connecticut teenager who has spent the last year in state custody in a case that has pitted Boston's top doctors against a family who claims their daughter is being medically mistreated, will go into foster care, a court has ruled.

In a two-hour closed door hearing on Monday, Justina's mother "collapsed" and was taken to a local hospital and her father "shouted in anger" when they were told by a Department of Family and Children's judge continued to deny the family custody of their 15-year-old, according to the Boston Globe.

Lou and Linda Pelletier, of West Hartford, Conn., have been fighting for their daughter who they say has mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect every part of the body.

Boston Children's Hospital reported the Pelletier's to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families for suspected child abuse in February 2013. She was confined to its psychiatric unit for treatment for a somatoform disorder for nearly a year before being moved to a residential facility for mental health treatment, according to the family.

"We are just so stressed out," Lou Pelletier, a financial planner and father of three daughters, told today. "What they put us through yesterday crossed so many lines. My wife has been at the breaking point."

Family court Judge Joseph Johnston has sent Justina to Shared Living Collaborative in Merrimac, a non-medical facility run by the state, according to the family.

The family said they had brought in additional First Amendment lawyers who are opposing a gag order placed on all involved in the case and say they hope to bring Justina home. The custody case has dragged on since last fall and was continued until March 24.

"The court really didn't accomplish much," said Mathew Staves of Liberty Counsel , a conservative organization that advocates for "religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family,” who was at hearing.

"She is not doing very well," said Staves. "Linda saw her on Friday … and there were five DCF workers present. There is no private time and she is not allowed to take cell phone photos of her daughter. ... She had red marks on her abdomen and she was very week. It's now the third semester of school since February 2013, and they haven't given her any education, she can't attend church. It's unbelievable."

"If she had somatoform disorder, then her condition would have improved," he said. "She's not gotten any better."

Pelletier had already broken an Essex County family court judge's gag order with earlier this month, saying, "I have got to save my daughter's life."

Justina was a seemingly healthy teenager performing jumps and spirals at a skating show, then six weeks later, on Feb. 10, 2013, she was in the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Boston after a severe bout with the flu, refusing to eat and barely able to walk, according to her family.

A team of doctors at Boston Children's said her symptoms were psychosomatic, according to the family. The hospital then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, as required by law, because they suspected the parents of child abuse for subjecting they laid out a treatment plan for Justina, which her parents refused to sign, and on Feb. 14, 2013, when they attempted to check their daughter out of Boston Children's to take her back to Tufts to resume medical treatment, the family said they were told by Boston Children's that they could not discharge Justina.

"We didn't even get a chance to say goodbye," Pelletier said.

Justina was diagnosed with somatoform pain disorder, a psychiatric condition when a person experiences physical pain for which no known medical explanation can be found, according to her family. The case highlights a growing concern among those with rare diseases and autoimmune disorders that physical symptoms that cannot be explained will be dismissed by doctors as psychosomatic.

Lou Pelletier said he and his wife have been only allowed to see their daughter on one-hour weekly supervised visits, first while she was in therapy at Boston Children's psychiatric ward Bader 5, then at a residential treatment center in Framingham, Mass. They say her condition has deteriorated because the hospital has stopped all medical treatment for mitochondrial disease.

The case has enraged advocates for children with mitochondrial disease.

"We feel deeply saddened for Justina and her family today," said Cristy Balcells, executive director of MitoAction. "This is an injustice to the rare disease patient community and to the dedicated and valiant physicians who do the right thing in caring for these patients. Mitochondrial disease is a very complicated illness with complex multi-system problems to treat so we are gravely concerned that Justina's medical needs are not being attended to, and we are concerned that her health will continue to decline without proper medical care."

The Pelletiers reached out to MitoAction for help last year, said Balcells, and they have been speaking on their behalf and providing support.

"We would have expected this to have been wrapped up in December," she told "We are truly dismayed that this continues to be prolonged. Justina has lost a year of her life living in an institution without people who care for her – no friends and family, nothing that a typical 15-year-old would have. It's been drawn out because of a political battle and it's not good for the child."

Mitochondrial disease affects the body's ability to make energy, according to Dr. Richard Boles, medical director of Courtagen Life Sciences, a genetic testing company in Massachusetts, and a practicing physician in Los Angeles.

"The symptoms can affect any part of the body," said Boles, who did not treat Justina. "It can cause just about anything. People with mitochondrial disease can have diabetes, autism or other types of retardation, seizure disorders or migraine, chronic fatigue or intestinal failure."

"People with mitochondrial disease have a lot of pain," he told earlier this month. "Normal sensations are amplified by the nervous system. They are not making it up. The idea of somatoform is you are making it up to serve some need. But they are having real pain."

Dr. Mark Korson, chief of metabolism at Tufts, has been an advocate for Justina, according to the family, who say they worry lack of proper medical care could be fatal for their daughter.

When called Korson and Tufts Medical Center for comment, they declined, citing patient confidentiality.

Boston Children's Hospital said in a prepared statement to earlier this month that they "acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our staff in caring for this patient. We are proud of their work and positive impact on the patient."

But the Coalition for Diagnostic Rights, which has also worked closely with the Pelletiers, is critical of the hospital and has called on the DCF to resume medical care for Justina.

"This case could not have developed had it not been for flagrant violations of patients' rights when Justina and her parents arrived at Boston children's Hospital a year ago," said spokeswoman Bridget Mildon. "We continue to demand that these violations be remedied by allowing the parents' original doctor of choice to determine what's in the child's best interests, and to advise the court in that capacity."

Pelletier said he and his wife have been only allowed to see their daughter on one-hour weekly supervised visits. They say her condition has deteriorated because the hospital has stopped all medical treatment for mitochondrial disease.

"She is going off a cliff," Pelletier said of his daughter, who is now confined to a wheelchair. "She looks awful and is pale and her hair is falling out. Her gums are receding and she has no body strength."

"The system has failed," said Justina's father Pelletier. "I am battling the medical world that thinks it knows everything."

Crime Pays

After today's disturbing decision by the Supreme Court I went and reread Bill Keller's "farewell address" from Sunday's New York Times. I find it amusing to say the least that the former editor who in that position contributed towards the further destruction of American liberties and global views with his fraudulent reporting on the war on Iraq that now he is concerned about the wars closer to home, well at home, the War on Civil Liberties.

But hey join the party, the Journalist/Writer Radley Balko has joined the Washington Post, another tome that was headed to the newspaper graveyard until that peculiar quasi Libertarian, Jeff Bezos, purchased it so one can hope that great journalism is not dead and not the sole provocation of the internet set.

Whenever I remind myself that newspaper writers are made not bought, I read David Carr in the New York Times, he never fails to disappoint. This column is a personal favorite.

But what is disturbing about Keller's revisionist or neglectful history is how Obama and Holder and the dipshit Biden have suddenly done a turnaround on the issue of the drug wars and criminalization of America. We are obsessed with putting people in jail for EVERYTHING. We are sure that incarceration will enhance sublimation and in turn we will send messages to anyone else that you can be a bad person too.

In the interim lives are destroyed and no crime does not stop it still pays. It just pays those in the business of legislating and imprisoning a little bit more than it used to. Keep those numbers up and the prisons full and the Cops get grants, states get federal funds for roads and jails, schools and food no, roads and jails yes, and Lawyers get more. Its the new Jerry Maguire.

Crime and Punishment and Obama

By: Bill Keller
FEB. 23, 2014

I DOUBT any president has been as well equipped as Barack Obama to appreciate the vicious cycle of American crime and punishment. As a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s, he would have witnessed the way a system intended to protect the public siphoned off young black men, gave them an advanced education in brutality, and then returned them to the streets unqualified for — and too often, given the barriers to employment faced by those who have done time, disqualified from — anything but a life of more crime. He would have understood that the suffering of victims and the debasing of offenders were often two sides of the same coin.

It’s hard to tell how deeply he actually absorbed this knowledge. In the Chicago chapters of his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama notes that in the low-income housing projects “prison records had been passed down from father to son for more than a generation,” but he has surprisingly little to say about the shadow cast by prisons on the families left behind, about the way incarceration became the default therapy for drug addicts and the mentally ill, about the abject failure of rehabilitation.

Still, when the former community organizer took office, advocates of reform had high expectations.

In March I will give up the glorious platform of The Times to help launch something new: a nonprofit journalistic venture called The Marshall Project (after Thurgood Marshall, the great courtroom champion of civil rights) and devoted to the vast and urgent subject of our broken criminal justice system. It seems fitting that my parting column should address the question of how this president has lived up to those high expectations so far.

I’ll begin by making his excuses. The president’s powers in this area are limited. The action (and there is a lot of it right now) is mostly at the state level. His first term was entangled in economic crisis and health care. This president has faced tireless and often petty resistance from the Republican House on almost every initiative. Historically Democrats have risked being Willie-Horton’ed if they don’t maintain a tougher-than-tough-on-crime posture. And African-American constituents — who are also disproportionately the victims of crime — are not necessarily bleeding-heart voters. In short, it was probably na├»ve to assume that Obama was going to be the Criminal Justice Reform President.

And yet Obama took office at a time of tidal shifts. The economics of imprisonment, the ebbing of crime rates, the horror stories of overcrowded penitentiaries and the persistent activism of reform advocates had begun to generate a public consensus that merely caging people is not a crime-fighting strategy. Fiscal conservatives alarmed at the high cost of incarceration, evangelicals shocked by the waste of lives, and libertarians who spotted another realm of government power abused have clambered onto what was once a liberal bandwagon. (How much those conservatives will be willing to invest in alternative ways of protecting the public — drug treatment, more intensive parole and probation programs, job training and so on — is another question.)

In his first term Obama did not make this a signature issue; he rarely mentioned the subject. But his proxy, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., was outspoken from the start. Six months into the first term, he was already at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York talking about the social costs of mass incarceration and pressing for policies that would divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and ease the re-entry of former prisoners into a productive life. In the last five years, Holder has become increasingly bold, and encountered little backlash. This month he exhorted states to repeal policies that deny felons the right to vote, policies that disenfranchise 5.8 million Americans, including nearly one in 13 African-American adults. He framed it not just as an act of compassion but as a way of re-engaging prodigal souls.

“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said.

“All that sounds very good,” said Michelle Alexander, the legal scholar who wrote “The New Jim Crow,” a scorching 2010 indictment of the racialized war on drugs. ”And it is good, because for decades the rhetoric was running in the other direction. But if the rhetoric is not matched with action ... then it is fair to wonder whether the shift in rhetoric reflects significant shifts in public opinion in recent years, rather than a real commitment to these issues and a willingness to take political risks.

By the crudest metric, the population of our prisons, the Obama administration has been unimpressive. The famously shocking numbers of Americans behind bars (the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s people, incarcerates nearly a quarter of all prisoners on earth) have declined three years in a row. However the overall downsizing is largely thanks to California and a handful of other states. In overstuffed federal prisons, the population continues to grow, fed in no small part by Obama’s crackdown on immigration violators.

The administration has some achievements to tout. Obama signed the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, and has put some muscle behind the Smarter Sentencing Act, two measures aimed at making drug-sentencing laws less absurd. Holder has issued guidance to prosecutors to avoid routinely seeking maximum sentences for low-level offenders — though it’s not clear yet whether prosecutors are going along. The administration created an Interagency Reentry Council that uses federal guidance to whittle away at the barriers to employment, housing and education so that released prisoners have some hope of becoming productive citizens.

At the same time, long after the War on Drugs has been recognized as a failure, there has been little serious effort to cut the number of federal drug prosecutions, or to shift money from incarceration to drug treatment. Alexander cites as a significant disappointment the continued federal reluctance to decriminalize marijuana, despite Obama’s acknowledgment to David Remnick of The New Yorker that pot is less harmful than alcohol and that the laws are mostly enforced against poor minorities. Another missed opportunity: he could have pushed more aggressively to fill district and circuit court vacancies with judges who would buck the status quo.

Obama has also been the stingiest of recent presidents in using his powers of pardon and commutation to undo the damage of the crack panic and of sentencing that keeps prisoners in lockup long past the age when they represent a danger. Marc Levin, director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank with a justice reform agenda, points out that in his first term Obama pardoned one in 50 applicants while Ronald Reagan pardoned one in three. Late last year Obama commuted the sentences of eight drug offenders, out of more than 8,000 federal convicts serving time under outdated crack laws.

Obama is, we know, a cautious man, leery of getting ahead of public opinion and therefore sometimes far behind it. And some reform advocates argue that it made sense for Obama to keep a low profile until a broad bipartisan consensus had gathered. That time has come. Now that Obama-scorners like Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee and even Ted Cruz are slicing off pieces of justice reform for their issue portfolios, now that red states like Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky have embraced alternatives to prison, criminal justice is one of those rare areas where there is common ground to be explored and tested.

The Obama presidency has almost three years to go, and there is reason to hope that he will feel less constrained, that the eight commutations were not just a pittance but, as he put it, “a first step,” that Holder’s mounting enthusiasm for saner sentencing is not just talk, but prelude, that the president will use his great pulpit to prick our conscience.

“This is something that matters to the president,” Holder assured me last week. “This is, I think, going to be seen as a defining legacy for this administration.”
I’ll be watching, and hoping that Holder’s prediction is more than wishful thinking.

So who is the criminal?

Having a Seizure?

Of  your home, your personal assets? Well thank the Supreme Court if that should happen to you  in the most disturbing decision since Citizens United.  To think it could not get worse.

The ruling with regards to consent of a warantless search of a home and seizure of property was based on two separate cases which further erode a tenuous hold on our civil rights with each passing day. The article about these cases/decision is here.  Read, weep and use a copy of the Constitution as your tissue.

Since 9/11 in the name of law and order this is what we have wrought as a Country:

The Executive Body  can declare any organization a terrorist organization without trial or appeal.  
In the name of protecting us from terrorism, the administration has: 
* Denied habeas corpus rights, trial by impartial jury, legal counsel, and knowledge of the evidence against the accused;  
*Employed enforced disappearance/secret prisons, including kidnapping and rendition to regimes known to employ torture;
 * Approved the use of torture and other mistreatment;
* Supported use of coerced and hearsay testimony;  
* Conducted warrantless searches and wiretaps; intercepted e-mails and phone calls without warrants;  * Instituted secret no-fly lists, including reportedly, to punish White House “enemies;”  
* Passed the USA Patriot Act that permits secret arrests, sneak-and-peek searches and access to many private records;
 * Issued 45,000 secret administrative subpoenas (National Security Letters) per year to circumvent the FISA court, while issuing gag orders on revealing their existence; and  Passed the Military Commissions Act that allows U.S. citizens to be labeled enemy combatants and held under indefinite preventive detention.  The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policy permits border agents to search, copy and even keep travelers’ electronic devices at the border — including laptops, cameras and cell phones — without “reasonable suspicion” of a crime. 
 According to federal law, police can seize assets — houses, cars, money — without ever charging a crime if they suspect you may have been involved in drug trafficking. No proof is required. Having a large amount of cash is sufficient.  
For the record the President of the United States is a Constitutional scholar and clearly he is studying ways on which to ignore and in turn deny our Citizens their rights, unless that is guns then shoot away!

To put this search and seizure in perspective I reprint this story below.  America the land of search and seizure.   And people wonder why I quit voting for either political party. Really? You do?  It didn't take watching my civil liberties be yanked from me to figure it out but it helped.  And I had good Attorneys, even they can't stop the wheels of justice as they run over you.

King City Police Chief and Ex-Chief arrested
UPDATED 8:13 PM PST Feb 25, 2014

KING CITY, Calif. —King City's longtime former police chief, Nick Baldiviez, current acting police chief, Bruce Miller, and five others were arrested in a major corruption bust Tuesday morning.

Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said King City's top law enforcers became lawbreakers when they orchestrated a scheme victimizing the most vulnerable residents in King City.

"The victims were economically disadvantaged persons of Hispanic descent who were targeted by having their vehicles impounded, towed and stored by Miller's Towing," Flippo said.

Investigators said police ordered hundreds of vehicles in King City to be towed and owners never got their cars back because they could not afford to pay impound fees or could not speak English. Police officers kept the cars for free, or sold them to make money, Flippo said.

One minute before 6 a.m. Tuesday, five teams of FBI agents, Monterey County Sheriff's deputies, and Salinas police officers simultaneously arrested six King City police officers: Chief Bruce Miller, former chief Baldiviez, officer Mario Mottu Sr., officer Jaime Andrade, Sgt. Bobby Carrillo, and Sgt. Mark Baker. They were all placed on paid administrative leave.

One civilian was also arrested: Brian Miller. Brian Miller is the brother of Chief Bruce Miller, and the owner of Miller's Towing company.

The seven were booked into the Monterey County Jail and were released within six hours when they posted bail.

KSBW Reporter May Chow talked to Chief Bruce Miller as he was leaving jail.

"I'm completely surprised. Accept a bribe? I've never done that. I'm blown away, I did not know this was coming," Chief Bruce Miller told Chow.

Chief Bruce Miller said he knew the FBI was investigating his department for more than a year, but he had no idea he was considered a suspect until he was being placed in handcuffs.

Chief Bruce Miller said Tuesday was the worst day of his life, and his reputation was tarnished forever.

"There's no coming back from this, even if I'm found innocent. People are always going to look poorly upon me. I think my career is done," the police chief said.

Flippo held a press conference in Salinas at 2 p.m. to release more details on his office's 6-month investigation into corruption and criminal acts within the King City Police Department dating back three years.

"Some officers dishonored their badge. Any time you end up investigating those who are sworn to uphold the law and treat everyone fairly -- and you have violations of that oath -- that is difficult. My conclusion is the citizens of King City deserve better than what they have been receiving," Flippo said.

Investigators said Sgt. Bobby Carrillo acted like the ring leader.

"For every 10-15 vehicles impounded by Sgt. Carrillo, he would receive a free vehicle for himself, or whatever he wanted to do with it," Flippo said.

The investigation was spearheaded by a strong undercurrent flowing through King City in which residents had zero faith in their police department.

While digging for clues, district attorney investigators said they watched KSBW's news coverage of community meetings, where residents voiced their distrust and grievances. As it turns out, the residents were telling the truth, Flippo said.

Flippo said King City residents told him, "The police are taking our property. They are taking our cars. They take our money. And we can do nothing about that."

City Manager Michael Powers said the entire incident is a "black eye" on the community. The investigation has been hanging over the city's head for a while, Powers said, and he is hopeful the arrests will allow leadership in King City to move on.

The small agricultural town off Highway 101 has 17 sworn police officers.

A sign reading "closed" was posted on the front door of the King City Police Department Tuesday. Powers said the police station's front office cannot remain open because so many officers were arrested.

Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller said, even though nearly half the police force is on administrative leave, residents have no reason to fear that law will not be enforced in their city.

The sheriff said he has a substation in King City and his deputies have stepped in to patrol the streets. The sheriff said he will provide law enforcement while the City Council and City Manager decide on a long-term plan.

"We are available from this point on to provide whatever level of law enforcement services the city of King City needs," Sheriff Miller said.

Baldiviez has continued to receive paychecks from the city ever since he retired in September 2013 because King City owed him so much overtime and vacation pay that he built up during his nine years as chief. VIDEO: Baldiviez announces he is retiring

The charges against the seven are:

Sgt. Bobby Javier Carrillo: Conspiracy to commit a crime. Accepting a bribe. Bribing an executive officer.
Acting Police Chief Bruce Edward Miller: Accepting a bribe.
Civilian Brian Albert Miller, Owner of Miller’s Towing and brother of Bruce Miller: Conspiracy to commit a crime. Bribing an executive officer.
Former Chief Nick Baldiviez: Embezzlement by a public officer.
Officer Mario Alonso Mottu, Sr.: Embezzlement a by public officer.
Officer Jaime Andrade: Possession of an assault weapon. Illegal storage of a firearm.
Sgt. Mark Allen Baker: Making criminal threats.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Under Observation

Another article about another way Hospitals and Doctors rip America off.  Wait for it ..... SHOCKING I KNOW!

The current myth, rumor or lie is that it is Immigrants, the Uninsured and the Elderly that are causing the rise of medical care and that once they are either booted out of the country, insured and dead (in that order but optional for all of the above).

And of course that is also why Medicare and Medicaid must be absolved, destroyed and in turn utterly decimated as those people and their sickness is what caused the Government debt.  

And why there are clear problems with the administration and operation of any Government program, there are more middle men then in the Lego movie, the real truth is that the problems are due to the "gamers" of the system. And unlike Legoland where it seems functional and durable, this complex makes the Pentagon seem like an a  parallelogram. 

Hospital Administrator's and their goon squad, which in most hospitals is either or both the Social Workers and Nurses, are front line to ensure that the insurance pays the bills.  They pump more than stomachs, just ask those admitted or their families about that "process."

 But ultimately the head of the squad, the Doctors, are the ones who code and diagnose the patient.  The idea is that the diagnosis should come from the source, the patient, who has the symptoms and necessary complaints that match a diagnosis.  Now most Doctors will of course order needless tests, consult Google, Web MD or just the software prompt that will send them  the appropriate code to match the illness with the patient. Whether or not they are needed or accurate is irrelevant.  Somebody has got bills to pay. And those bills will yours.

The below article discusses the deliberate and manipulative way a hospital can remove the horrible middle man and notorious Scrooge, the Government, which despite their inefficiency, has been that opposing front line to the escalating costs of medical care.  You know care that in one hospital has you paying $300 for Aspirin but in another city $150.  Hey it is half off! Why are you complaining?

I just spoke to a young woman who had a serious car wreck. Her husband was transferred to the dump truck Harborview Medical Center here.  Immediately within 24 hours he was released despite a Doctor offering to do the nasal repair surgery right then.  Oddly nothing was done and yet sustained crushing blows to the face and of course Traumatic Brain Injury, yet released very early.  Why? I am assuming she has very inadequate insurance.  And they couldn't Medicare fraud as they did with mine and coded me as an "outlier" with the 72 hour catch and release mentioned in the article. 

That is what they do. They assess your ability to pay or your insurance and in turn diagnose and treat accordingly.  This young woman's husband desperately needed to stay in hospital and be "observed" but no send him home and have him return for expensive and yes needed surgery that they have convinced her that they are only ones who can do such surgery.  Uh a quick call to Virginia Mason and Swedish led me to several names who can do said surgery.  Part of your medical bills these day are paying for the marketing and advertising you see in magazines and on billboards.  "Come to Valley Hope where every day is a valley of hope!" 

But when you scared and worried about your loved one you want the best and you are also kinda sorta busy with caring for someone whose unexpected illness/accident has lead them there.  But this woman was different and she cared in the right way, being aggressive and assertive. And those are two disorders Hospitals hate to treat.

How to Avoid the Two Words that Cost Thousands in Medicare Bills


It’s not something they teach doctors in medical school. And it’s probably not something you’d know to look for if you were suddenly rushed to the hospital in an emergency. But when a doctor decides to write the words “under observation” on a Medicare patient’s chart, it can have lasting consequences.

Those two little words can be the difference between spending thousands of dollars out of your own pocket and having Medicare cover the entire bill.

Brenda Kelley-Nelum was driving her husband Al 'Doc' Nelum to an appointment when he started having symptoms of a stroke. An ambulance took him to the nearest hospital with a stroke clinic. Hours later they were still there, waiting on test results, when someone mentioned her husband had been put on observation status. As an advocate for seniors in Virginia, Kelley-Nelum had a vague recollection that she’d heard that term before. And it wasn’t good.

“I was really frightened about what's wrong with my husband. And then they came up with this observation status and I questioned why?” Kelley-Nelum said.

She was right to worry.

As it turned out, her husband would go on to a nursing facility for rehabilitation, at a cost of about $22,000. Medicare pays for rehab only for people admitted to a hospital for three or more days as “inpatients.” Medicare will not pay for rehab if they were classified as “observation status” when they received treatment at the hospital.

Watch the video below for tips from Dr. Ashish Jha of the Harvard School of Public Health, who explains what you can do to prevent this kind of billing issue.

Kelley-Nelum did what advocates advise anyone on Medicare to do. She found out how her husband was classified and asked if he might need rehab later. Then she spoke up -- loudly. She asked so many questions, she said, the doctors grew tired and sent in someone from hospital administration. That person relented and changed Doc Nelum's status to “inpatient.” His entire $22,000 bill was ultimately covered by Medicare.

Kelley-Nelum says her husband is lucky she was there.

“If I had not been there my husband probably would have accepted the observation status ... on face value.”

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Doctor's LIe? Really?

When I read this in the op ed page the first thought that came to mind was Doctor's Lie? Oh wait only when accused of malpractice.

Then I saw that pic and laughed my ass off. Apparently it is a danger to lie to your Doctor? To who? You or your Doctor?

I have nothing to add except - first do no harm - that did not work out. Maybe they need to re-examine the Hippocratic Oath and call it the Hypocratic one. 

For the record it is neither ethical nor moral to lie, illegal? Well that one is gray area in America today. You are only as good as the lies you tell or the liar who tells them. Jim Carrey should remake Liar Liar and star as a Doctor, it might be a box office dud.

When Doctors Need to Lie

FEB. 22, 2014

I ONCE had the unenviable task of informing a 22-year-old Jamaican man that he was suffering from severe heart failure and would probably need a heart transplant. The man’s father warned me that his son would be devastated to hear the diagnosis. “It would mean a lot to me if you could go back in and tell him he’s going to be all right,” the father pleaded. “Please tell him that if he does the things you say, he’s going to be O.K.”

Though physicians are obligated to disclose all relevant medical information to their patients, it was obvious that this young man wasn’t prepared to hear the news I had to present. He was lying on his stomach, crying, refusing to turn around to talk to me. So I told him exactly what his father had requested. Then, over several days, I eased him into the knowledge of his true condition. Doctors sometimes have to know how to keep secrets.

The moral basis for withholding information from such a patient is clear: Above all, physicians must do no harm. The underlying philosophy is paternalism. Paternalism derives from the image of the paternal figure, the father, in a family. The father is motivated by an interest in his children’s welfare. He acts on their behalf, but not at their behest. The beneficiaries — his children — may even repudiate the actions taken on their behalf.

Such paternalism was once widely accepted in medicine. In the mid-19th century, the American Medical Association’s code of ethics stated that physicians had a “sacred duty” to “avoid all things which have a tendency to discourage the patient and depress his spirits.” But times have changed. The prevailing ethical mantra in medicine is patient autonomy. Today, patients own their health information. They have the right to direct their own care, and to do so they must be fully informed. As doctors, we no longer “care for” as much as “care with” our patients through their illnesses.

While this is a welcome development, it should not obscure the fact that there is still a place for old-fashioned paternalism in medicine — though the decision to defy a patient’s wishes or withhold information is one of the trickiest that we doctors face.

When I started my medical internship, in 1998, I viewed patient autonomy as an absolute good, an ethical imperative that trumped all others. I had learned in medical school about some of the most infamous breaches of autonomy in the history of medicine. For example, in the Tuskegee experiment, a clinical study conducted by the United States Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972, black men with syphilis were intentionally left untreated, despite the availability of penicillin, in order to study the disease’s complications.

I also learned that even well-meaning paternalism can be damaging. The doctor-patient relationship is founded on trust, and any instrument of paternalistic interference not only compromises the relationship but also can erode faith in the profession. Studies have shown that patients who have been deceived by their physicians, even if the deception is well intentioned, have reported immense frustration and even thoughts of suicide. Who are we as doctors to decide which truths our patients can handle?

Patients may of course experience regret because of what they later regard as their bad decisions. But many people argue, as the medical ethicist Katie Watson did last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that the cost of regret must be balanced against the “dignity of risk”: the fact that pain or regret can also be an opportunity for growth. “To the degree decisional regret is harmful,” Professor Watson wrote, “the regressive remedy of eliminating or reducing competent adults’ decision-making authority is worse.”
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But as I have learned over the years, autonomy can be a double-edged sword. It may conflict with other moral virtues, such as a doctor’s obligation to do the best for his patients. Surely the standard for a patient’s ability to make his own decision should be raised as the consequences of the decision become more severe. If an ill-advised decision could cost your patient his life, are you not compelled as a physician to prevent him from harming himself?

Year after year I continue to struggle with these issues. No ethic in medicine is absolute.

OF course, even when a doctor believes that a paternalistic approach is justified, he should aim to keep it as “soft” as possible. Soft paternalism involves negotiation, persuading a patient to see things from your point of view. Hard paternalism, on the other hand, is coercive. It is what parents routinely practice. As a parent, you are duty-bound to prevent your children from making bad decisions or doing harm to their bodies.

Even so, there may be a place in medicine for hard paternalism, too. I am reminded of a patient I took care of some years ago. Fifty-something, he had received a stent to open up a blocked coronary artery. A few days after the procedure, while on blood thinners to keep the stent from clotting, he started bleeding into his lungs. He needed to be intubated with a breathing tube or he was going to die. However, I was informed that he had told doctors that he never wanted to be intubated.

The bleeding was a reversible complication I had seen several times. I was sure that with a few days of ventilatory support, it would stop and we would be able to pull out the tube. The alternative was to watch him drown in his own blood. I didn’t know the quality of the discussion he’d had with the other doctors, and I couldn’t talk to him because he was nearly unconscious from lack of oxygen.

So with a troubled heart I intubated him. He had a rocky course. The bleeding in his lungs continued for several days, requiring large blood transfusions, but it eventually stopped. He had protracted fevers. After a few days, his condition improved. A week after that, the breathing tube was removed.

When I went to see him, he didn’t recognize me. “When you were really sick, I was one of the doctors who made the decision to put in the breathing tube,” I said. He nodded, eyeing me curiously. “I know you didn’t want the tube,” I went on, “but if we didn’t put it in, you would have died.”

He nodded again. “I’ve been through a lot,” he finally said, his voice hoarse from two weeks of intubation.

“I know,” I replied.

“But thank you,” he said.

Free But At A Cost

As I have been writing about the increase in exoneration's and in turn more and more innocent are being released from years of wrongly being convicted and in turn imprisoned, you wonder if they are welcomed home, greeted with open arms. And that may be true but for most that is about it. 

Only a few are offered any assistance in assimilating back into society and those are the cases associated with the Innocence Project, a small number in an ever growing population.

A few States have established monetary compensation but frankly there is a lot more needed for an individual to rejoin society with the "it was just a big mistake" card they must carry, right?

The article below discusses one group that is working to get the innocent back on track and I wonder if this Police Officer has ever had to face those he undoubtedly put in jail when he was in jail for life or not or back in jail for life or not. Do they teach this on the job?

The innocent until proven innocent and the guilty who put them there seems to get more get out jail free cards then they have in Monopoly. They need to hand those out to the men and women who were mistakenly put there in the first place.

Exonerated. Now What?

FEB. 21, 2014

It had been a while since Jeffrey Deskovic hosted one of his weekday evening singalongs, so last month he made a few calls and brought some friends together at the Karaoke Cave, a noisy little bar on East 13th Street in Manhattan. At 6 p.m. the place was filled with young professionals sipping beers and shouting into microphones in an undemanding, if embarrassing, environment. But to Mr. Deskovic and the men who joined him, standing up in public and singing cheesy pop songs was more than an innocent release.

“Things like this are different for us — they’re almost therapeutic,” one of the men, William Lopez, said, when he and Mr. Deskovic finished their dissonant duet of an old Beastie Boys hit. “We’re not exactly family, but we relate to one another. It’s kind of like we get together for treatment or something, like we have the same disease.”

That disease was not a physical illness, but an emotional disorder of a sort, a lingering condition of dark disbelief arising from the fact that each of the four “singing it out,” in Mr. Deskovic’s phrase, had done a stint in prison for a crime he did not commit. In all, they had spent 63 years behind bars until, through their own perseverance and the efforts of their lawyers and their families, they were exonerated and freed.

A sprawling literature exists describing the challenges of re-entering society after serving time in prison, an experience that is marked by depression and disorientation, and is hard enough for those who have been rightfully punished for their crimes.

 But what about those who are wrongly sent away as the victims of mistaken identity or prosecutorial error? The justly incarcerated are likely to have access to a battery of post-release services like health care, housing aid and social-work assistance, but those who should not have been locked up in the first place are rarely given treatment to address their special needs, and are often left to fend for themselves, finding the cure for their “disease” in one another’s company.

“There was a gap for men like us and I wanted to fill it,” said Mr. Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and a murder he did not commit. After his release in 2006, he filled that gap with the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, a product of a settlement with his jailers that is focused on helping the innocent who found themselves imprisoned to manage the financial and emotional results of their own release.

A combination of advocacy organization and support group, the Deskovic Foundation, since its creation in 2012, has collected a small, tightknit brotherhood of exonerated inmates, a society of the wronged whose members have been forced to come together and assist one another in the absence of assistance from anyone else.

When Eric Glisson, improperly imprisoned on a murder charge for 17 years, was recently planning at age 40 to open Fresh Take, his juice bar in the Bronx, Mr. Deskovic offered him marketing advice and bolstered his credit by co-signing the lease. When Mr. Lopez, convicted of a killing he did not commit, was freed from prison last winter after serving more than 23 years, Mr. Deskovic replaced the clothes he was arrested in with an outfit from Macy’s and put him up for six months — rent free — in the foundation’s apartment in Washington Heights.

And there was Kian Khatibi, who was released in 2008 after serving nine years for a stabbing he eventually discovered that his brother had committed. Beyond the travail of coping with this filial betrayal, he was freed from prison with only the pocket cash he had when arrested and without identification, which left him initially unable to apply for a credit card, a bank account or assistance from the welfare office.

Within weeks of getting out, Mr. Khatibi, still in shock, came across a newspaper article about Mr. Deskovic and got in touch. They had lunch and talked about the ordeal of being innocent but imprisoned — an experience akin to an alien abduction.

“I only wanted one thing from Jeff when we met up,” Mr. Khatibi, 38, said. “I wanted to know, from someone who had been through it, what had just happened to me. I wanted to know if it was real.”

In the last quarter-century, 1,314 wrongfully incarcerated Americans have been freed, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project run by the University of Michigan Law School and the Northwestern University School of Law. In 2013 alone, 87 inmates were released after serving time improperly.

Jeffrey Deskovic is one of those men. In 1989 the body of Angela Correa, one of Mr. Deskovic’s classmates at Peekskill High School in Westchester County, was discovered lying naked in some woods outside town. Ms. Correa, a sophomore, had been raped and murdered. Mr. Deskovic, who was 16 at the time, fit the description of the killer stitched together by a criminal-profile expert employed by the police.

Although hair and semen samples taken from the scene did not match Mr. Deskovic’s DNA, he aroused the suspicion of detectives by weeping openly at Ms. Correa’s funeral. After two months of intense interrogation, Mr. Deskovic confessed to the crime, though he later contended in a lawsuit that police investigators had fed him the details of the killing and promised him that if he admitted guilt, he would not go to prison but would instead get psychiatric treatment.

But Mr. Deskovic did end up in prison — for 16 years. And when he finally got out in 2006, with the help of the Innocence Project, a legal clinic that specializes in exoneration cases, he was 33 years old and unprepared for ordinary life, as The New York Times reported in an extensive article in 2007. He had never owned a car, had never tied a necktie, had never balanced a checkbook. He had never voted for a president, had never made love.

It was only in 2011, when the lawsuit he had filed led to a $6.5 million settlement with Westchester County, that Mr. Deskovic understood how to heal his psychic wounds and effect his escape from what he called his time capsule. With a portion of his settlement, he established his foundation the next year in an office on West 72nd Street on the Upper West Side. He hired a staff of four and began to seek out his fellow exonerees, as they are sometimes called. He helped them adjust to the unfamiliar world outside prison by offering them money and by making simple gestures like inviting them to his home on Sunday afternoons to watch football games.

“It was how I made sense of what had happened to me,” he said. “I always wished that I had had a Jeff Deskovic when I was on the inside.”

Mr. Deskovic’s foundation is one of only a few organizations in the country that devote themselves to exonerated inmates. The Innocence Project, for one, has two social workers on staff at its office in New York who disburse $10,000 grants to those who have been wrongfully imprisoned and help them find apartments and health care on release. But this assistance is made available only to clients of the project, which restricts its legal work to cases based on DNA evidence. Many exonerations, if not most, result from other causes, like newly discovered evidence or witness recantations.

The Innocence Project tried several years ago to create a broader program to assist exonerees called Life After Exoneration. But Barry Scheck, a founder of the group, said he could not get money for the program because the cohort it was meant to serve was relatively small. Yet if the number of exonerees in need of aid is comparatively limited, the support that they require is often more acute than what is typically available to other former inmates.

“People who have been wrongly convicted don’t have any reason to trust authority,” said Karen Wolff, a social worker with the Innocence Project. “The irony is it impacts their ability to deal with the people there to help them — with their lawyers, the social-service agencies they go to, even with potential bosses down the line.”

Then, of course, there are “bitterness issues,” Ms. Wolff said.

“The first year out is critical in their ability to transition back to life,” she added, “and there is no central place, no single institution that can tell them, ‘O.K., this is what we took from you, now here’s what we’re going to give you back.’ ”

It is widely assumed that exonerated inmates can simply make a claim against their jailers and walk away, like Mr. Deskovic, financially set for life. But only 29 states have laws that permit the wrongfully imprisoned to sue for compensation, and even in those states, the cases often languish in court for years.

In New York, for example, only prisoners who contested the charges against them can sue for damages, although the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, recently proposed allowing people who had confessed or pleaded guilty to sue.

That means that men like Mr. Khatibi, Mr. Glisson and Mr. Lopez, who all have litigation pending, have no choice in the meantime but to rely upon themselves — and one another — to get back on their feet. Each of them is doing reasonably well despite his situation. Mr. Khatibi is scheduled to graduate from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in May and plans to do part-time pro bono work with the Deskovic Foundation on exoneration cases. Mr. Glisson recently struck a deal with a bottling company to distribute his juices to a couple of local stores. Mr. Lopez is trying get his engineering license, which he lost when he was imprisoned, reinstated by Local 94 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

“Jeff’s been helping out,” Mr. Lopez said. “He calls me up. He asks me how I’m doing. He makes me set my plans and get myself together.” For the first time, Mr. Lopez has an email address. Mr. Deskovic helped him pick out his handle: FreeWillyLopez.

Late last month, on a snowy weekday evening, Mr. Lopez celebrated the first anniversary of his release from prison. Mr. Deskovic gave a party in honor of the occasion at his roomy house in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx.

There were chips and guacamole, and appetizer plates of Swiss cheese and charcuterie. As a magnum of red wine quickly disappeared, Mr. Deskovic played the role of host, urging everyone to please eat more and showing off his new Venetian blinds, which worked by remote control.

Then it was time for dinner — salad and lasagna — and Mr. Lopez sat down at a table set for seven across from Mr. Glisson and next to Mr. Deskovic. Mr. Khatibi was unable to attend, but Mr. Lopez’s wife, Alice Lopez, and his brother, Eugene, were there.

“These guys give him a ton of reinforcement,” Eugene Lopez said, as the food was passed around. “It isn’t easy getting out of prison and back into society. You need your family, but family can only do so much. You also need people who’ve been through what you’ve been through for support.”

Toward the end of the meal, Mr. Deskovic tapped a fork against his glass and proposed a toast to Mr. Lopez. He remembered the first thing that the guest of honor ate after his release: shrimp cocktail and a heaping plate of chicken Parmesan. He remembered what Mr. Lopez looked like on that day a year ago: his “pale face” and his “big lost eyes.”

“I’m just happy to be a part of where you ended up,” Mr. Deskovic went on, looking at his friend. “The three of us” — he turned to look at Mr. Glisson — “we speak the same language.”

Mr. Glisson raised his glass and said, “Here’s to being the victor, not the victim.”

Part of being the victor, it appeared, meant finally speaking openly about the experience of being an innocent man in prison. Mr. Lopez and Mr. Glisson, who initially met in Sing Sing, both said that it was a breach of prison culture for falsely jailed inmates to say they weren’t guilty.

“Everyone claims that they’re not guilty,” Mr. Lopez said, “so no one wants to hear it — even if it’s true.” Besides, he added, claiming that you’re innocent makes you appear weak and vulnerable. “It’s crazy,” he went on, “but you almost have to pretend to be what you know you’re not in order to survive.”

The red wine was followed by Champagne, and Mr. Deskovic picked up his cellphone and called Jabbar Collins, another exonerated inmate who occasionally hangs out with the group. “Hey, J,” he exclaimed when Mr. Collins answered, “it’s Bill’s one-year anniversary.”

Putting the phone on speaker, Mr. Deskovic held it up to Mr. Lopez. Mr. Collins wished him a happy anniversary.

“Thanks, man,” Mr. Lopez said. “It means a lot to hear that. You know how it is, Jabbar. We all come from the trenches, like I call them. From the trenches, bro, the deep trenches.

The Model of Design

As we are seemingly moving away from the art of the hand, with fewer graphics and design actually being produced, another trade and skill, model making may be going the way of the 3D Printer.

Today the New York Times profiled a modeler who might be more the art in architecture. As we move more and more away from traditional design, art and talent, I wonder what we are truly gaining or are we losing more than what is just a job but a true profession.

A Translator of Blueprints

FEB. 21, 2014

When “60 Minutes,” the CBS News show, secured an exclusive interview with a member of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden, one of the first things it did was search for a model maker who could replicate the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

“I said, ‘We have to do a model,’ since to my mind, I couldn’t understand the story without it,” said Henry Schuster, a producer at “60 Minutes.” “A model is the original 3-D, it allows you to see everything at scale, and spatially, you can move from place to place and get a sense of progression that isn’t possible with fancy graphics.”

To find someone who could replicate Bin Laden’s home and its surroundings in miniature, the producers called various experts for recommendations, including Robert A. M. Stern, the architect and dean of the Yale School of Architecture. At the top of everyone’s list was Richard Tenguerian, 57, a model maker who has spent the past three decades working for some of the world’s most famous architects from his basement workshop on Lafayette Street near Astor Place.

One of a handful of people in New York who practice the craft of making building models, Mr. Tenguerian, who was born in Aleppo, Syria, and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, has worked for the likes of Richard Meier, Philip Johnson and Renzo Piano. His replica of Bin Laden’s compound is now on display at the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., while his model of the new Yankee Stadium was featured in the groundbreaking with then-Governor George E. Pataki and is part of a permanent exhibit at the New York Yankees museum.

“He is a true artist,” said Kenneth Drucker, director of design for the New York office of the architectural firm HOK, who has worked with Mr. Tenguerian for the past quarter century. “We have relationships with multiple model shops, but he is my model maker of choice. We have an unspoken language, we have worked together so long, he knows what level of abstraction I need — and he has never missed a deadline for me, ever.”

When one thinks of models, it is typically of the dollhouse or train set variety. And Mr. Tenguerian’s subterranean studio on Lafayette Street does have a toy store feel: he keeps a pet snake in a tank near his desk and two birds tweet contentedly in a cage near the elevator. On a recent Saturday, a not unusual workday when a deadline must be met, employees were toiling away, their heads bowed over draft tables, painstakingly applying leaves to miniature trees like a reality-television version of Santa’s elves.

But their work is not child’s play. Architectural models can cost upward of $100,000, and sometimes far more. Architects use models to realize and improve upon their designs; developers rely on them during presentations, hoping the models will convince the relevant authorities to approve their plans. For brokers, models have become a key marketing tool, used to persuade buyers to shell out millions of dollars for homes that have yet to be built.
“There is nothing better than a model to really understand how a building looks,” said the architect Morris Adjmi, who has worked with Mr. Tenguerian on several projects. “His models have a warmth about them. Even though they use a lot of automated processes, there is this handmade quality that gives them a soul and life.”

Mr. Tenguerian comes from a long line of artists. His family, which is of Armenian descent, can trace its origins to the 1700s, and includes artists, diplomats, clergy and translators. His parents, who survived the Armenian genocide before fleeing to Syria, worked in creative fields. His father, Antranig, was a sculptor and his mother, Mary, a clothing designer for Chanel when the design house had an outpost there.</ “I grew up in a creative environment,” Mr. Tenguerian said. “We used to make all of our own toys, sketching, drawing, playing outdoors.”

At age 14, Mr. Tenguerian worked as a summer intern for Hagop Atechian, a Lebanese architect, for whom he built his first model. “Every summer after that, they would call me to make more models for them,” Mr. Tenguerian said. “When you are that age, you think that everyone can do what you do. It isn’t until you get feedback or a reward that all of a sudden it’s a turning point. Still, I never thought about being a model maker, I wanted to become an architect.”

In 1975, when Mr. Tenguerian was 18, the civil war in Lebanon broke out. He had been accepted to the American University of Beirut, but in the wake of the war, chose instead to leave for the United States. Mr. Tenguerian arrived here alone, with plans to live with an aunt in Woodside, Queens. “I came with just $25 in my pocket — which I used for the cab ride from J.F.K. to my aunt’s house.”

In New York, Mr. Tenguerian worked for a jeweler, and eventually, found a job at AWAD Architectural Models. He saved up enough money to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, working during the day and attending classes in the evening. He graduated in 1984 with a degree in architecture.

“After school I was confused,” he said. “Architects wanted to hire me, but they were going to give me jobs making models.” Ultimately, Mr. Tenguerian embraced the calling. “I decided to stay being a model maker because the demand was so high. I thought, ‘the architectural community wants me to stay a model maker so I can contribute that way to the field.’ ” In 1988, he opened his own company.

“As a professional model maker, we bring the architect’s vision into reality, that process from the invisible to the visible,” Mr. Tenguerian said recently, sitting behind his desk, his voice occasionally punctured by the sound of whirring machinery used by his workers. “Modeling is not new, it is historical. In Egypt, there was no photography or paper and they created clay models to preserve and document their history. I am part of a long practice.”

Depending on the size and type of job, it can take anywhere from a few days to more than a year for Mr. Tenguerian to complete a model, and he often hires craftsmen such as carpenters, painters and electricians to help. Technology has also become integral, including LED lights, 3-D printing and computer programs that allow, for example, a model to be controlled using an iPad.

His ability to translate an architect’s vision has been a key to Mr. Tenguerian’s longevity, and the walls of his studio are an ode to his successes. Photographs, which are tacked onto nearly every available surface, include Mr. Johnson in his trademark round black glasses with his arm around Mr. Tenguerian’s son, the model for the new Tappan Zee Bridge and a strange oblong mock-up of a proposed hotel in Abu Dhabi. On one wall, several shelves are lined with clay busts of famous architects, many the work of Mr. Tenguerian’s brother Harout, a sculptor, who created the likenesses from photographs taken when the architects visited the workshop.

Mr. Tenguerian hopes one day to write a book about model making, and to that end, he has begun collecting materials. He has even written a document in which he poses questions that he then answers, such as, “What do you do as a model maker” and “What does architecture mean to you.”

In response to “What is a model maker’s job besides cutting and pasting?” he says, “Every architect has their own expectation and ways of looking at things. They often are personal and we must find a way to exceed their expectations. Certainly, a model maker should treat the model as a piece of art, and not just any product.”

Save the Date

That is often on an invitation that is a precursor to a wedding date the supposedly greatest day in a woman's life.  As for the man it is apparently an invitation to a jail sentence.  Ah the irony as it appears in this country it is having a vagina, be you born with one or have one installed, the likelihood of you going to jail is much higher.

Why is that? Well the former Governor of Arkansas and failed Presidential Candidate, now talk show host, Mike Huckabee likes to remind people that Government health care is not in the business of controlling women's libidos.

Former Representative Todd Atkin informed constituents that women can't get pregnant when raped and others have affirmed similar beliefs, thoughts or other insane ideas of course supported by junk science.  Remember it is only junk science if you don't believe it or wish to reject it.  And while there may be truth in that at some level,  what it really means is that the scientists are as only as good as those hiring them and the agenda they wish to pursue.  Science like math can have some alterations to the black and whiteness it is supposedly to have.  Human error I think it what it is called.  I just call it bias and the reality that science is just like anything else - fallible.

March 8 marks the date of International Women's Day.  This day is the one in which we are to respect and acknowledge the role of women in the world.  And apparently March is Women's History Month.  I would get right on that curriculum but I actually never knew that so clearly we have some issues there and I am thinking this may actually not be about me, a woman.

And then I read Human Rights Watch and of course read about the problems of rape across the world and that women in North Korea are frequently targeted by police for such atrocities as wearing pants, openly slapped and assaulted by Police while being called "bitch."  And we have Venezuela in riots with a young beauty queen killed by a random bullet in the head, of which I am sure its origin was that of the uniforms sent to corral and control the riots.  But then I stumbled on this report:  In Harm's Way.

This report was on Prostitutes being arrested, harassed and prosecuted in Louisiana.  Last time I checked that was in America.   The flag or tell that lead Police to assume and in turn arrest them is that these women are carrying condoms.  Apparently that is reason alone to assume one is a prostitute. They are particularly aggressive towards transgender Prostitutes, often raping and beating them.  That is good way to keep a good woman down.

This is from the report:
The New Orleans municipal code also criminalizes “loitering for prostitution,” an offense so vague and broadly drawn that it permits police to consider a wide range of behavior to be grounds for arrest, including where people are, what they are wearing, and what they may have done in the past. Loitering statutes interfere with the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and invite discriminatory application, particularly on the basis of gender, race and ethnicity. In New Orleans, Human Rights Watch found that enforcement of these laws targeted transgender individuals, who described a community under siege from the police, subject to constant harassment, verbal abuse, stops for suspicion of prostitution, and demands for sex in exchange for leniency. 
 Now of course Louisiana has often been the target of much denigration and head shaking throughout history and once again another Mayor is on trial for corruption during his infamous watch when in office during Hurricane Katrina.  And certainly the Governor Bobby Jindal is no liberal paragon in which to believe he cares about those deemed as criminals.   This is the state of Dead Man Walking.

But these arrests are not limited to just New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and my personal favorite, Washington DC has also stepped up condom watch.  A Mother Jones article discusses this topic with reference to the Human Rights report.

So to think this some REDneck aka "state" problem take a look at those states of this union, they are pretty blue and blue in more ways than one.   I find it interesting that men are not arrested for carrying condoms or any drugs that could be used to assault or harm women, drugs such as Ambien or Xanax have the same side effects of many date rape drugs.  Don't see a Police officer asking for his prescription and why he would be carrying it do you?

We are having a rally here to stop the Patriarchy that has dominated our current society and I am sure there will be sufficient flag and sign waving and speeches to discuss the roles of women at the hands of men.   Funny my life has been in the hands of men for the last two years but it was a women who prosecuted me.  I am not sure I can say either gender has a lock on sheer hubris and abuse of power.

I will not be there but ask yourself if you have a vagina or not is this the world in which we live one where we have the audacity to demand human rights of other countries while failing to provide them for our own citizens?   It makes getting slapped and called a bitch seem rather innocuous.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Give It Away Now

I have been very interested in the concept of philanthropy as it applies to "new" money.  Today's new money call it "venture" capitalism but it is not just advocated by the young, many of the greatest generation, aka their Grandparents (where do you think they learned it?) are the biggest advocate of this idea of measuring the affect and understanding the bottom line when it comes to redistributing their wealth.

The young call it "measuring metrics" and the old call it "strings attached."  They are basically the same idea. You want my redistribution of wealth? Well you need to prove to me why you need and it what you are going to do with it and then I may give it to you or not.  But if you do it as I want you to then okay.   That latter one is often the most interesting one as that is foundation of the PAC s and other fake charities that donate to political campaigns.  Buying a Legislator today ain't what it used to be.

So the New York Times found the real deal, the old school Philanthropist.  Loved his story because so much there is about saving American landmarks and valuing the community in which he lives, the American community. 

And then I looked for more articles about similar Philanthropists and found this story.  He is no member of the Giving Pledge where the rich plan on giving their wealth away after they are dead.. no this man is very much alive and wants the last check he writes to bounce! Hope it is too the funeral directors! PSYCH!

And I loved this late Philanthropist who made me appreciate their ads just a little more.  Looking at his gifts they were diverse as his clients.  But he did make demands although I am not sure they are anywhere near the level of a say a Gates Foundation gift.  And it looks like while he joined the Giving Pledge he gave most of it away before he died.    Maybe I just like him for bragging about terminating  Harvard Business school grads.  I think he sounded like a cool guy who knew what and who he liked.  I would have bitched too about cost overruns on a Gehry build.  Shame we never met.

So when you read about the web of Philanthropy tied to Comcast you think new school.  As we are on the verge of one of the most disturbing mergers of late, Comcast and Time Warner.  So, it was not shocking (did I say shocking? DRINK!) to read about their role in "quote/unquote"  philanthropic pursuits.    Again, influence can be bought but it doesn't mean you have to follow traditional routes.

Buying your consumer groups might be the next plan Zuckerberg looks into as he continues to explore other fraudulent ways to "lean in" and I think this sums up his philosophy about charity. But I do want those to remember Bill Gates once said similar thoughts.  Then he figured out the new way to do it.

Looks like Mark learned the idea from the master. The Tech Sector is saving the world, lather, rinse and repeating every idea that came before.   The below came from an interview with the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Zuckerberg believes companies like Facebook are better equipped to tackle society’s problems than nonprofit groups.
“I think building a company is the best way to change the world, because it’s the best way to align the interests of a lot of smart people and a lot of partners to build something that’s great and that serves people,”
 “You can’t do that if you’re an individual because it’s just you and there’s no one to align, and you can’t do it if you’re a nonprofit because you have no resources and you’re constantly out trying to raise money instead of generating it and being self-sufficient.”
I think the article below is well worth  about this amazing man who is the personification of the up by the bootstraps archetype who gives "patriotically" and not in the way we have come to know or expect from those of his generation (as in the Warren Buffett dead one).

A Billionaire Philanthropist in Washington Who’s Big on ‘Patriotic Giving’

FEB. 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — The expansive reach of David M. Rubenstein into the public life of the nation’s capital can be seen during a brief excursion from his downtown office at the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm that he co-founded and that made him a billionaire.

Begin across the street at the National Archives, the site of the new gallery, named after him, where Magna Carta, which he bought in 2007 for $23 million, is on permanent loan. Then head to the Library of Congress, and see the first map of the United States, also his, in the Great Hall.

Make your way to the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument, which will reopen this spring after a $15 million repair, half paid for by Mr. Rubenstein, then zip to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where his $75 million has bought, among other things, a new pipe organ. End up at the National Zoo, where baby Bao Bao frolics in the panda habitat Mr. Rubenstein endowed, part of a $7 million Smithsonian gift.

Over the years, Mr. Rubenstein, who has a fortune estimated at $3 billion, has made gifts to the usual array of universities, hospitals and cultural organizations beloved by wealthy donors. But he stands nearly alone in shoring up institutions generally under the purview of the federal government. About $200 million of the $300 million he has given away has been what he calls “patriotic giving.”

“The United States cannot afford to do the things it used to do,” Mr. Rubenstein said, “and I think it would be a good thing if more people would say: ‘My national zoo needs money, the archives need money. I think we’re going to have to do more for them.’

And there is plenty more to do in a city that has not only suffered from cutbacks in federal spending but which historically has lacked both the wealth and the philanthropic traditions of places like New York.

While there were wealthy and civic-minded men like Duncan Phillips and Eugene Meyer who left their mark on Washington in the last century, it was the federal government that built and maintained the parks and museums that in other cities donors endowed, according to Steven Pearlstein, a professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University and a columnist for The Washington Post. “The federal government was the sugar daddy,” he said.

For the most part, according to Mr. Pearlstein, Washington has been a place where the currency has been power more than money. In the past two decades, that has begun to change as government contracting, banking and the law have created a new wealthy class in the city and its suburbs, but no one has given his money away quite like Mr. Rubenstein.

“This kind of giving is starting to happen more often because governments are really suffering,” said Stacy Palmer, the editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “But the extent of Rubenstein’s giving sets him apart.” Such giving, she said, is a subject of feverish debate in the philanthropy world, where many believe that private money should not permit government to abdicate responsibilities and in turn drain cash from food banks, hospitals and other services in need. There are “concerns about whether it is a good idea for philanthropy to step in for government,” Ms. Palmer said.

Mr. Rubenstein, 64, who first came to Washington to work in government, offers a simple explanation for what he has done: “I felt I owed my country a lot. I also felt I owed the city a lot. I built my company here; I met my wife here.”

He grew up in modest means in Baltimore; his father sorted mail for the Postal Service and his mother was a homemaker. After college and law school, he worked in a New York law firm before getting a job on Capitol Hill for the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1977, he joined the Carter administration, where he spent his days toiling over domestic policy as a White House aide, and met his wife, Alice Rogoff, who worked at the Office of Management and Budget. Newsweek once called him “the White House workaholic.”

After his stint ended, Mr. Rubenstein took another corporate law job but reassessed and concluded that he was “a mediocre lawyer.” With some partners, he set out to found Carlyle, named after the hotel in New York City, quickly accruing a fortune in the world of leveraged buyouts.

Ten years ago, Mr. Rubenstein said, he began to consider his legacy, and after learning from some actuarial tables that white Jewish males were likely to live to 81, decided to start plowing a lot of his money — and his time — into philanthropic causes. “There are other wonderful donors in Washington,” said Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, “but it’s the range of his giving and his collection of interests that is staggering.”

In choosing his beneficiaries, Mr. Rubenstein relies on his interests and his gut. He has a passion for American history and can lecture extemporaneously and at length about presidents, historic documents, the civil rights movement and beyond — and has no staff or foundation to vet requests. He spends little time agonizing over a donation. “To some extent when you’ve made the money, you feel you can give it away more rapidly,” he said.

In January 2013, Curt Viebranz, the president of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, took Mr. Rubenstein around the museum to show him how it had displayed some of his documents. Over lunch, Mr. Viebranz recalled: “I felt emboldened to ask him for a large gift, and much to my surprise and happiness, he made that $10 million gift in February. It was a remarkably efficient process.” He added, “It can take years of cultivating a donor to get a gift of that size.”

If you don’t call Mr. Rubenstein, he might call you. If you do “make the ask,” expect to get an answer in weeks. While Mr. Rubenstein likes to see results — and despite his unassuming manner, is not averse to seeing his name on the doors of his beneficiaries — he does not use the complex success metrics of philanthropists like Eli Broad in Los Angeles. He tends not to check in, but if beneficiaries send an update, they hear back from him, no matter his time zone (he travels roughly 250 days a year).

The donations can be transformative. Mr. Rubenstein will endow the expansion of the Kennedy Center, which otherwise would have had to go to Congress for an appropriation. At Monticello, his $10 million gift allowed Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, as she puts it, “to return the mountaintop of Monticello to something Jefferson would have recognized in just a few years what I would venture to say would have taken at least a decade to accomplish.”

Mr. Rubenstein says he likes to apply the “mother standard” to giving. “When I built Carlyle, my mother didn’t call to say, ‘I’m so proud,’ ” he said. “When I give a gift to some place of importance, she calls and says, ‘I’m proud.’ ”

Trade and Off

Much is made about the Government enabling those to remain unemployed and on the Government dime, teat or whatever expression floats your boat. There has been a great move to believe and endorse the idea that charity begins at home and that local communities, churches and "non profits" can easily sustain the hoarding masses who need help holding up those bootstraps.

In every scenario, in every compromise there is something called a trade off. We have to give up something and get something it may not be what we want but it may be what we need to get by.  But as things get tough the tough get going and what that now means is get going as in out of here is you are going to use/need or want services that the Government, local, state or city, once provided. 

I live in Seattle where like many liberal cities of the West Coast are infamous for their supposed generosity and supposed open door to those in need.  Our streets are littered with them. Littered as that is what they are garbage,  human garbage, to be tossed aside and ignored.

Yes we have public hospitals and churches and non profit missions and foundations that have existed for decades and their counterparts exist in less liberal states as well.   But what they have been doing is increasingly made being homeless or mentally ill a criminal activity.  And with our love of prisons as a form of public housing, incarcerating them is the preferred option.  The other is a bus ticket out of town and there are well documented cases I have written about many times.

And the mentally ill when imprisoned are largely confined to solitary, further contributing to their degenerating hold on reality which in turn means more problems in our prison for profit system.  There is a larger move to realize the inhumanity and tragedy that this causes as New York moves away from this practice and other states are following suit.   But we still have no way of dealing with what this means in treating and handling the mentally ill in this country, so if not jail then what?

I step literally over human waste getting off the bus daily. I  am asked for money within a door stop of my house, on the bus, walking the street by blocks and when I am not I am stepping over those passed out/sleeping in doorway after doorway. 

Many are taken to the defacto mental health holding facility/jail - Harborview Hospital. Then in 3 days as allowed by law released to their "own recognizance."   It might explain why this supposed acclaimed trauma hospital staff are incompetent, judgemental and utterly dangerous  as they have mini fiefdoms,  many chiefs and no Indians in which to uphold their charter mandate established by the County - to help the poor.

Again, if I was a patient in need of trauma services and flown here from Alaska I would hope that I was transferred immediately after the supposed only medical providers in the entire United States in this geographical region can apparently repair me are done repairing me.   Something tells me that I may be wrong on that one.    But nothing says bullshit more than Hospital Administrators.

So how can municipalities finding themselves further drained of resources by the federal government who find that discussing utterly useless arguments than actually truly examining a budget and funding appropriately survive.  Well many are simply going on part time, this way they can avoid raising wages and in turn Obamacare.  We here are looking at raising wages of our City workers  and not that service will improve as it was also proposed that we have garbage collection every other week. Trade and off.

And if you think that access to needed city and county services will improve as a result think again.  I support wage raises and health care but I am a municipal employee only on demand.  I work with no contract no guarantee and that sick leave that Seattle passed for all employees, I am exempt. As for health care I can buy it from the district or from the exchange.  Guess which one I chose, the exchange.  It is largely the former State run insurance but it has a new name. Still crappy care but it just didn't limit me to Harborview the dump as previous public insurance did.   And they have a program that calls you for work based on seniority and when you work certain hours your hourly rises, suddenly the phone stops ringing. Think that there are no sub jobs, no there is actually a shortage of subs but the district can't pay that wage so the schools go without and figure it out.  Done gigs at schools that day and you run up and down stairs, other teachers cover during their prep and even Administrators are forced to do the job.. actually I have never seen that but whatever.   Standing outside Lowes becomes an option it is pretty much the same.  And so when students treat substitutes like dirt, I get it.  No one gets what it is like to be treated as human waste better than me.

So while the Gap may be raising wages, what about the health care mandate?   Raise wages cut hours.  I am sure that will be the next story.

And the current union issue with regards to the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee is still up for debate. The funny thing was the company, German, those Socialists, was not against the idea.  Germany has strong unions or labor councils which they want to import here but who was against the idea - the legislators of the State.  They fear that this whole idea of worker representation would affect the State attracting business. What kind of business? I guess those who exploit labors and the States willing to be exploited by businesses taking advantage of tax loopholes and no regulations.  It is working out well in West Virginia isn't it?  That water makes the water in Sochi seem drinkable. 

The overwhelming resistance to raising hourly wages is the new Benghazi.  The report that claimed more jobs will be lost with the health care mandate is another flag to wave while not one single legislator sits down with their actual constituents or local leaders or anyone in their State to actually figure out what will work. That would require well working!

And when all else fails we can always talk about the weather!  Well maybe not as that too has put a strain on the pipes that in turn means more public works and repair needs to an already crumbling infrastructure and an equally crumbling budget to match.

These bootstraps on which we so rely are getting pulled a little thin if not apart.   And what is sad there is no Cobbler to repair them. Do they even exist anymore in our toss out the broken shit in the garbage nation. Shame there also will be no one to collect that garbage soon.