ObamaCare Architect On State Vs Federal Exchanges

Watch Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Admit in 2012 That Subsidies Were Limited to State-Run Exchanges

Why should you care? Who exactly is Gruber and what difference does it make?
1. “Earlier this week, a three-judge panel in the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that, contrary to the Obama administration’s implementation and an Internal Revenue Service rule, Obamacare’s subsidies for private health insurance were limited to state-run health exchanges.”

2. But Obamacare defenders insist this is a totally ridiculous reading of the law.

3. Unfortunately for them, Gruber, “One of the law’s architects—at the same time that he was a paid consultant to states deciding whether or not to build their own exchanges—was espousing exactly this interpretation as far back in early 2012, and long before the Halbig suit—the one that was decided this week against the administration—was filed. (A related suit, Pruitt v. Sebelius, had been filed earlier, but did not challenge tax credits within the federal exchanges until an amended version which was filed in late 2012.) It was also several months before the first publication of the paper by Case Western Law Professor Jonathan Adler and Cato Institute Health Policy Director Michael Cannon which detailed the case against the IRS rule. ”

This is not the first time Gruber’s been caught deceiving us over ObamaCare. We paid him for that, too – he received a $400,000 dollar paycheck, courtesy of the taxpayers.

Here’s what he said (then):

What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits— but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.

Here is his laughable, mock-worthy defense now:

Gruber told The New Republic that he had made a mistake:

“I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it,” Gruber told The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn. “But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.”

A second recording has surfaced showing Gruber making similar statements about subsidies not being available on federally run exchanges. Asked over email whether those remarks were a mistake, too, Gruber wrote back, “same answer.”

A speak-o?! What a coincidence that the DC Circuit court made almost the same ‘speak-o’ based on their plain reading of the law as written. Unfortunately for Gruber, when he made the same remarks again at another function, he was reading from his prepared remarks. Not so off the cuff after all.

Less amusing is reporter Adam Serwer’s rhetorical questions about how the court will rule on this:

Far more than Gruber’s remarks or the appearance of hypocrisy on the part of the justices, the main political question for the Supreme Court is whether it is willing to strip millions of people of their ability to purchase affordable health insurance.

Pointing to another legal analyst who made a similar observation, Hasen asked, “Is Roberts, and I would say, is Kennedy, going to be willing to deny health care subsidies to millions of people because of what Jon Stewart has called a typo?”

Millions of people already lost their doctors, their insurance, their right to keep the doctor and insurance they liked and already had thanks to the Democrats in Congress and President Obama. But Serwer works for the Democrat party, er, I mean, MSNBC.

Gruber isn’t the only one caught lying in connection to promoting Obamacare, either.

More about Gruber’s twists and turns here:

In a January 10, 2012, speech to the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, he said the following:

“The third risk, and the one folks aren’t talking about, which may be most important of all, is the role of the states. Through a political compromise, it was decided that states should play a critical role in running these health insurance exchanges. And health insurance exchanges are the centerpiece of this reform, because they are the place that individuals can go to shop for their new, securely priced health insurance. But if they are not set up in a way which is transparent, and which is convenient for shoppers, and which allow people to take their tax credits and use them effectively by health insurance, it will undercut the whole purpose of the bill.

Now a number of states have expressed no interest in doing so. A number of states—like California, has been a real leader—one of, I think it was the first state to pass an exchange bill. It’s been a leader in setting up its exchange. It’s a great example. But California is rare. Only about 10 states have really moved forward aggressively on setting up their exchanges. A number of states have even turned down millions of dollars in federal government grants as a statement of some sort—they don’t support health care reform.

Now, I guess I’m enough of a believer in democracy to think that when the voters in states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians of a state are costing state residents hundreds and millions and billions of dollars, that they’ll eventually throw the guys out. But I don’t know that for sure. And that is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.” [emphasis added]

Gruber reiterates in the speech that he “helped the Obama administration” craft the legislation.

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Ground Beef Sukiyaki

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
2 Tablespoons of molasses
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup A-1 Steak sauce
salt to taste (not much)
6 oz can of sliced mushrooms
2 medium onions, sliced very thin
1 green pepper sliced in thin strips
6 scallions cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, thinly sliced
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots
1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
cooked rice.

Directions:

In large skillet brown beef until crumbly. In small bowl, mix molasses, soy sauce, A-1 steak sauce, and salt. Set aside. Drain mushrooms, reserving lidquid. When meat is cooked, mix in vegetables. Add sauce. Simmer 3 minutes or until vegetables are just crisp-tender. Combine cornstarch or arrowroot powder with the reserved mushroom liquid. Stir into simmering sukiyaki. Cook while stirring, just until sauce thickens and is not so milky in appearance.

Serve over rice.

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Chicken Liver Pâté

chicken liver quoteChicken Liver Pâté

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 chopped onion

1 garlic clove, chopped or minced

5 oz of chicken livers

3 1/2 ounces of butter or bacon grease

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 or 2 pieces of bacon, cooked, minced (optional, but WHY?)

Directions:

Heat the oil or cook the bacon in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft, but not coloured.

Add the chicken livers and fry on both sides until golden brown all over.  Then allow it all to cool for a few minutes.

Place the butter, cooked bacon (if you’re using it) and the chicken liver mixture intto a food processor and chop in spurts to form a smooth paste.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then spoon the Pâté into a bowl.

If you want to serve it right away, chill in the freezer for a few minutes.  Otherwise, just cover and chill in the fridge and eat as desired.

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The Cherub has low iron levels, so I like to cook up a package of chicken livers each week and then just give one or two livers for lunch, with a couple generous spoonfuls of Kkakdugi (깍두기) (cubed radish kimchi) on the side.

But this week I wanted a change, so we’re having this in the fridge and she’ll have some spread on a rice cake or a ‘flacker,’ a rosemary flaxseed cracker that has no wheat, eggs, or corn products, so the Cherub can eat it.

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Gotta Watch This

Trey Gowdy vs Irs Commissioner John Koskinen again.

Reminds Koskinen that he testified under oath to Congress that ‘We confirmed’ the Lerner emails and hard-drives were gone, gone, gone and there were no back-ups existed. Asks Koskinen to please explain who this ‘we’ is and how does he define the word ‘confirm,’ and is he still ‘confirmed’ about this?

Thanks to the Daily Caller, and I agree with their take that Koskinen looks considerably less snotty and smug here.

More here.

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Police State

winamac police militaryThe above picture is from the Indiana Libertarian Party.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of the entire county was 13,402.  Of the towns in the county, Winamac is the largest with a population of about 2400.

The estimated Winamac crime index is 47% lower than the Indiana average and and the Indiana crime index is 3% higher than the National average.
The estimated Winamac violent crime rate is 67% lower than the Indiana average and and the Indiana violent crime rate is 10% lower than the National average.
The estimated Winamac property crime rate is 44% lower than the Indiana average and and the Indiana property crime rate is 5% higher than the National average.
http://www.areavibes.com/winamac-in/crime/

Winamac is safer than 67.7% of the cities in the nation.
The crime rate in Winamac is less than 52% of the cities in Indiana.
The estimated chance of being a victim of a crime in Winamac is 1 in 56.
The estimated chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Winamac is 1 in 883.
The estimated chance of being a victim of a property crime in Winamac is 1 in 60.

More here:

Johnson County is one of eight Indiana law enforcement agencies to acquire MRAPs from military surplus since 2010, according to public records obtained by The Indianapolis Star. The vehicles are among a broad array of 4,400 items — everything from coats to computers to high-powered rifles — acquired by police and sheriff’s departments across the state.

Law enforcement officials, especially those from agencies with small budgets, say they’re turning to military surplus equipment to take advantage of bargains and protect police officers. The MRAP has an added benefit, said Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer, whose department also acquired one: “It’s a lot more intimidating than a Dodge.”

 

Even in Pulaski County, population 13,124, a more military approach to law enforcement is needed these days, Gayer suggested.

“The United States of America has become a war zone,” he said. “There’s violence in the workplace, there’s violence in schools and there’s violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

 

None of the other towns in the entire county even reaches a thousand in population. One of them has a population of 218 people (saaahlute!)

Town of Winamac’s website.

To be precise, the military style vehicle you see is for the whole county, not just Winamac (That’s Winamac, not Winaraq, pronounced like winning a Big Mac, Win-a-Mac, accent on the Win).

Pulaski County, IN, violent crime, on a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, is 2.

 

Between 2003 and 2008 Sheriff Gayer’s warzone, Pulaski county had 1 murder, 2 rapes, and 500 thefts reported.

Now, I think the fancy toy up above was given to the county for free, the military was getting rid of something.   But maintenance will cost the county something.  Furthermore, there is always a danger when government officials are given toys like this- and that danger is that they will want to use them since they have them.  I mean after all, they are already sitting there, might as well be put to good use, right?

We’re heading toward a police state, and it’s a serious problem. There are few reasons, if any, a police force in America needs a fully armored vehicle capable of sustaining a direct hit from an explosive device in order to do its job.

More here:  http://reason.com/archives/2014/07/23/over-policing-america

And here: Conservatives, libertarians and liberals should all worry about the militarization of police

(Updated because I hit publish before I had finished adding all the information I had ready for this post)

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Bed-Sharing

Sleepy Blog PicMy eldest shared this link with me (and the rest of her FB friends) recently:

“Breastfeeding mothers and babies sharing sleep is a biologically normal behaviour, while formula feeding and separate sleep are departures from the norm. It is these behaviours that need to be shown to be effective and safe, not the other way round.  In some reports on SIDS and other sleep related deaths, breastfeeding mothers who do not smoke and have not consumed alcohol or arousal-altering medications are considered a sub-group to be discounted from the analysis – whereas they should be the normal starting point. A first step in looking at infant deaths in adult beds would be to look at what was wrong with the beds, not what was wrong with the mothers.”

The American medical community, frankly, doesn’t know what they are talking about on this issue.

 

“The lowest SIDS rates in the world are in countries where bed-sharing is traditional, for instance parts of Asia and South Asia. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of geography, as when people from a low-risk cultures move to other countries if they bring their traditions with them they also tend to bring a low rate of SIDS . The US has a higher rate of SIDS than just about anywhere else and the four big risk factors for this are mentioned above. Bed-sharing is not one of them.”


The whole article is worth reading, the FYG says.  She notes there are ‘some technical bits about research and data, but honestly, that’s missing a lot from the Scare Tactic Spiels many give about co-sleeping.’

“the four biggest risk factors for SIDS: smoking, laying a baby facedown for sleep, leaving a baby unattended, & formula feeding.”

You can still sleep with your baby even if you formula feed.  The HG slept with her firstborn, even though  he was tube fed and sometimes on formula when donated breastmilk wasn’t available.  She was cautious and took some precautions she didn’t take with her younger two (like sometimes not using a pillow).

She says:
“From the researchers I’ve read on this subject, I think the consensus is not that it’s a bad idea to do if your baby needs to be on formula, but you should be aware of extra risks and plan accordingly.”

 

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Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but a real friend doesn’t need to say that

i do not look sickIn other news, although maybe this, too, was made possible by therapy, I deleted, blocked, or unfriended a couple of sanctimonious sorts from my friends list because they were seriously SO not helping.  I’ve known that the things these particular people said to me were actually harmful for months, and in one case a few years, but I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.  Then I accepted the fact that the possibility that I would hurt their feelings was not more important than me not being able to function for a full day (or longer) because of the kinds of stuff they felt free to say to me.

They said these kinds of things not because they are horrible people, but because they have no clew what they are dealing with but don’t know what they don’t know (and unfortunately apparently couldn’t be bothered to spend five minutes learning about it).  They were very much Job’s comforters, although I couldn’t really tell their goal was comfort.   And once I blocked them and gave myself the gift of space and protection from their darts and arrows, I realized that it probably wasn’t going to hurt their feelings at all.  Instead, it would give them the opportunity to pat themselves on the back and tell themselves that they tried, but I just wasn’t willing to listen, or just didn’t want to hear, or whatever.  I’m pretty positive they will not be questioning themselves and asking themselves if there might perhaps be something wrong with what they said.

We all say dumb things sometimes, unhelpful things sometimes, hurtful things sometimes. I am talking here about people who had pretty much nothing to offer but criticism and unhelpful, hurtful, counterproductive remarks. What they offered was not help, it was sabotage. It’s as though somebody wrote a list of all the things you could say that would trigger a meltdown from a person with PTSD, and they used that list for all their communications with me.  So you probably don’t need to worry if you are one of those people.  But just in case,  if you are worried about what you might be saying wrong to some suffering soul in your life, this post on helping a family dealing with cancer is useful for many traumatic situations.  And if you’re like me, you might find the snark on my PTSD pinterest board helpful.  Or at least fun.

You know how when a person describes themselves as ‘humble’ they probably really aren’t that humble?  And if somebody has to tell you, “Look here, I am a grown up!” they really aren’t all that grown up?  I’ve begun to suspect that when somebody begins a conversation with ‘faithful are the wounds of a friend,’ they aren’t that much of a friend, either.  That’s a good verse for you to use to filter words when you are processing something potentially painful which somebody else said to you.

If you’re using it to describe yourself as you tell somebody else why they need to listen to the oh, so important yet admittedly hurtful things you want to say,  you’re probably not doing it right.

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Therapy Week Three (? I think)

wrestling with demonsI might post these once a week, I think, roughly coinciding with therapy appointments.  Or not. No promises (or threats).  We’ll see.

I’ve tended to post updates the day after therapy because I’m especially a big kind of a mess after therapy and blogging/writing is how I process.  I’m not so much of a mess this week because I didn’t have therapy this week, more on that momentarily. I’m also kind of conflicted about therapy itself at the moment. But writing a bunch of stuff about why I’m conflicted (and then deleting it, so HA) has kind of clarified it in my head, although that does not mean it’s going to be clear to you when I hit publish. Most blog posts are to a certain degree at least partially an exercise in unabashed narcissism, but maybe this one more so than others.

So.  After writing out the very long and emotional unloading post which I have now deleted, I’ve concluded that there are legitimate reasons why I might get quicker, more immediately effective results with a different therapist.  I wrote those reasons out and then deleted them because… delete, delete, delete.  So you just have to take my word for it.  Well, and I did share them with a close friend who was all, “Really? That’s crazy….” and other stuff that kind of agreed with me.  Did I pick this friend because I knew she’d agree with me? I will leave that to your imagination.

I also was writing largely out of frustration- the therapist wrote down one appointment time on the card she gave me last week, but a different appointment time in her appointment book, so when I got there for my appointment yesterday, the office was locked, nobody was there, and the cell phone number I have was disconnected.  And when I got home later there was an email canceling the appointment she had scheduled in her book for a different day, so… yeah.  I know stuff happens, and I understand why she needed the time off this week, it just was particularly complicated to get there and back yesterday.  So I was irked.

“Do I really need to keep this up? She’s given me some direction, surely I can just do this on my own from here.  Mabye there’s another therapist who could help me more.  What about _____ in _____, who does _____ therapy?  That would be better.  Why not just keep up with my current ‘homework’ on my own until I master it and am ready to move on, and then call her or somebody else to start the next step?”

That’s the direction my thoughts were running.

BUT- for me at this time,  the alternative isn’t a better therapist, it is none at all.  Realistically, there’s nobody else in town I’m going to go see, and there’s absolutely no way I can get myself to another town on a regular basis.  I’m pretty sure nobody in my family can commit to that (we’re talking an hour drive one way and inconsistent work schedules as well),  and even if they could, I couldn’t.  I know I’d be canceling appointments every week with lame excuses and exaggerated illnesses- the mildest prickle of pain in my pinkie toe would turn into crippling gout, arthritis, a sprained ankle- or my genuine distress about the travel would manifest as very real stomach issues and migraines as the therapy appointment loomed larger and larger in the oncoming semi-truck of life.

And it’s not that I am saying she is just better than nothing at all, because that’s not true, she’s much, much better than ‘nothing at all.’

One reason has nothing to do with me, it has to do with my family.  Just the fact that I am going to therapy at all matters so much to them I can’t even explain it.  A few weeks ago I gave the book Shock Waves: A Practical Guide to Living with a Loved One’s PTSD to my 16 y.o. to read.

Tonight my 16 year old boy who covers all emotions with a smile or a scowl and a joke or a jibe told me in a rare serious moment that he didn’t need to finish reading it, because the fact that I was going to therapy was kind of all he needed for now (necessary explanation: I’m paraphrasing, and I don’t think that’s all he’s ever going to need, and he may need to revisit the book in a few weeks or months), that it made a huge difference to him.  I could hardly quit going to therapy after that, now could I?

I did wonder if the therapy was actually helping, but I think the fact that I leave her office with a major head-ache and often have back spasms within a few hours, and the next day I basically feel like an antique toy stuffed with sawdust, particularly between the ears, indicates something is going on.

In talking to her about PTSD causes, signs, symptoms and issues, I know I also have recognized several things that indicate this goes way back.  I thought it was just from the Thing that happened a few years ago that I don’t discuss because hello, big, flashing, neon warning sign, symptom 6: Avoid thinking about or talking about a stressful  experience from the past.

And definitely, that is the Biggie.

But, as I mentioned last week, I realized my reaction to math is a classic PTSD thing and I know why.  I also have this other thing that I thought was just a random weird quirk, but my reaction is just too severe for that.  I hate having my mouth covered, and I mean hate it.  But that’s not strong enough.  I seriously cannot endure it, not for a second.  I might not hurt you if you walked up out of the blue and put your hand over my mouth because I’ve worked on self control with this ever since the time my firstborn child was maybe 1 year old and we were snuggling and having a fun mommy-daughter moment on the bed while my husband was at work, and without warning she clapped both her little hands tightly over my mouth and just as much without warning the next second I knew, she was on the floor crying.  I was horrified.  I don’t even know exactly what happened, but clearly, in pushing her away from my mouth I also pushed her right off the bed without even knowing it. But I think it’s a PTSD trigger. I don’t exactly why, and to be honest, if I don’t remember why, I’d rather just keep it that way right now.  I never reacted quite that extremely again, but my reactions were strong enough that none of my kids ever put their hands over my mouth more than once.

Another weird discovery- When I was in high school and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I had answers for them because I knew answers were required, but they were all fiction.  I didn’t really believe I was going to grow up.  I didn’t tell any adults this, but I did tell most of my friends that I did not see myself surviving high school.  They were kids, too, so they mostly put it down to my macabre and/or devil may care reckless personality, which was also true. But hello, symptom 12: Feeling as if your future will somehow be cut short.

Kids and teens can present PTSD symptoms a little differently from adults.  Here’s one list I found:

  • Fear, worry, sadness, anger, feeling alone and apart from others, feeling as if people are looking down on them, low self-worth, and not being able to trust others
  • Behaviors such as aggression, out-of-place sexual behavior, self-harm, and abuse of drugs or alcohol

Well.  I don’t think I was that aggressive, and I didn’t abuse drugs, so there’s that.

Impulsive is another character trait of kids with PTSD and I know I was pretty much off the chart for impulsive decisions. I thought it was a virtue.  I have some very dark and ugly thoughts about all this, including precisely how I know that I was off the chart for impulsive decisions. I’m not speaking metaphorically or figuratively there- I was given a psychological test that indicated I had almost no impulse control at all, and there’s more to that which I am not yet ready to share.

I would not necessarily know these things without therapy, or at least, I would not accept them.  My youngest brother also has PTSD and a few years ago when we were discussing our childhood he told me he didn’t see how on earth I didn’t have it, either.   I don’t remember exactly what I said to him, but I know that thankfully I did not say this even though I do remember thinking it: ‘because I have God and you don’t.’

I wasn’t being smug- at least not intentionally so- it was more in sorrow than in smug- I was sad for him.  Now?  I don’t know.  There’s a galaxy of empty space and unanswered questions in those three words.

I get frustrated when I think about it for a number of reasons, so I try not to- the above discoveries basically burst unbidden through holes in my defenses when I wasn’t looking.  Just typing this out brought out a couple other memories of my own behavior that make me seriously question my judgement about how aggressive I was or was not as a child.

So there’s something therapy has done, but I don’t know how helpful it is to know that I’ve probably had PTSD since grade school and more recent incidents and the Event of which we do not speak piled on with all the ambulance rides and traumas of this year just basically put gas and a match to an already existing problem.

ON a more positive note:

I’ve made a few advances in things I can do each week. I get frustrated because I know from the outside, it looks like all the progress of a three toed sloth, but on the inside a journey of sixty feet is like a marathon.  Saying a word I have not been able to say aloud is like climbing a mountain, and just as exhausting.

Here’s what some progress looks like:

Usually, I watch movies until I fall asleep against my will and without my knowledge OR I do the same by listening to loud and raucous K-Pop (seriously, who else puts herself to sleep listening to songs like this one because it’s calming?). Instead, thrice in the last 7 days I managed to go to sleep on purpose before 4 a.m. by sprinkling my sheets and pillow liberally with lavender oil, sniffing deeply and on purpose and concentrating on the smell while listening to Pachelbel With Nature’s Ocean Sounds.  Okay, before 4 a.m. means by 3 a.m. two out of three of those days, but still.  And also, one of the three days when thunder woke me up I had to resort to movies again.  But again, still.

I went someplace twice last week and twice the week before, and two of them weren’t to therapy.

Last week I mentioned the one activity that I really cannot do without drenching myself in panicked sweat within about 20 minutes.  Well, I still can’t.  I might have a better grip on why (or not, the jury is still out, but I’m working on it).  In addition to figuring out the why, I’m working on working around it- this is not going to work long term, but it helps for now (that’s a lot of uses of the word ‘work’).  I make a plan before I start, I set the timer, and I go work on doing that thing, being in that place, for at least ten minutes. Sometimes I’ve gone over 20 but that’s been a mistake every time. Waterboarding territory, and here there be most foul and horrendous dragons.

This morning I tried moving my base of operations to the adjacent room, so that I only have to be in that space that for some reason triggers me so badly for a couple minutes at a time.  I managed to stretch out my time working on that stuff to almost an hour that way, but I spent only about fifteen minutes total in the ‘trigger room,’ which also helped me confirm it’s that room in my house, not the activity, which is one more indication I’m right about the cause (updated to add that I don’t really know why I am being so mysterious about this- the room is my kitchen, and I think the cause is merely that I was in the kitchen when I got some very upsetting and frightening news this year, and I paced back and forth in the kitchen for almost an hour, I think, before we got word back that made everything mostly okay, and then I stuffed it and set it aside and almost forgot it completely because that seemed easiest, and it came back to haunt me).

A lot of things make me very angry.  Some of them are legitimately issues that are wrong, some not so much, and some of the legitimate ones it just doesn’t matter how angry I am, they are what they are.  This week it helped me a lot to just tell myself, “this is probably not as big a deal as you think it is, it’s just your PTSD brain doing what it does.”

I started using tension tamer tea in my green smoothies. Probably that’s just in my head, but I’ll take what I can get.

I use my lavender bottle like sniffing salts.  In all seriousness, I like essential oils for a handful of medicinal or cleaning uses (about five) that I consider legitimate enough to stand up to scientific testing.  Sniffing Lavender oil to derail an oncoming PTSD meltdown is not one of them- because I don’t think it’s the lavender essential oil that’s working, it’s me focusing on something physical that I really, really love, and I’ve always been one to notice smells.

On this screening test my score is a 79 and nothing is below a 3.  But a couple months ago my score was higher and nothing was below a 4.

I did two or three things this week and last week that I wasn’t able to do last month.  They were seemingly small things to most people, but it was a huge deal to me.

So I guess that means therapy is helping.

 

P.S. So, yes, I’m continuing.

 

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Food Prices Rising, Again

vintage housewife grocery shopping at the butcher shopYou’re not imagining it- food prices rising faster than wages.

http://thefederalist.com/2014/07/22/american-families-are-right-to-be-worried-about-inflation/

Inflation is a tax on the poor.  But the gov’t doesn’t count food or utility prices when it calculates the cost of living.

Not all that long ago, a can of tuna was less than .50 at my discount grocer- and sometimes I could get it on sale for less.  Today it was on sale- a slightly smaller can for a dollar a can.

A can of black olives was just under .70 cents.  1.69 now.

Butter was 1.99, now it’s 2.99 and sometimes more.

If you want to eat ‘clean,’ organic, nonGMO foods, meat and dairy products from pastured reared animals, there are some tips here.  It’s helpful, but honestly, with the husband working part time and going to school, we just can’t even do that for the most part. I do buy raw milk, but our raw milk is not that much more than pasteurized.  But I couldn’t even do that if we were not buying with a group to help with transportation costs.

You can look for wild, local foods- there’s a list here (not all the foods listed are listed for food purposes, some are useful as dyes, or have medicinal applications, so read carefully).

day lily, edibleI do eat day lilies- the flowers and pods- raw and in stir fries. I’ve read the tubers are also edible but I haven’t ever tried them.

I eat lambsquarters (I like them in omelettes, I think I will try them green smoothies.

I like purlsane raw and in stir fries.

Also look for fruit trees in the neighbors yards- fruit trees where they aren’t gathering the fruit.  Often if you ask, they are willing for you to take it, or at least some of it.

More here

The Four Moms once discussed keeping the food budget under control.

And here I shared some tips for finding organic foods on a budget.

Other ideas here, with the reminder that you’re not a bad person if you cannot afford organic.

What about you? What are some of your best budget saving meals?  Do you have any wild foods you eat?

 

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Illegals and Math Problems

border kidsThis is just a collection of links to stories where some sort of effort is made to quantify the issue of illegal border crossings.  I am making no claims about this, I just found it all interesting:

1/4 of those at the border have criminal records, only a small fraction are unaccompanied children. Story here.

Senator Dan Patrick said there are at least 100,000 illegal immigrant gang members in Texas and they have committed crimes such as rape and murder (they’ve been charged in nearly half a million crimes in four years, including several thousand rapes and 2,000 murders). But also, 60,000 illegal immigrant children have been apprehended since October of last year. Story here.

Perry sending Guard to the border because unaccompanied minors only make up roughly 20 percent of those being apprehended illegally crossing the border. Story here.

Indeed, “Nearly all of the illegal immigrant children who have been apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border in the last two years have been teenagers.
According to a new Pew Research report, in fiscal year 2013, 91% of illegal immigrant “children” apprehended at the border were teenagers. Of the nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant “children” who were apprehended since October of last year, 84% have been teenagers.” Story here.

There’s a reason, or several thousand reasons, why Texas is legitimately concerned about this:
“Each week, more illegal immigrants enter Texas than people who are born in the state during the same time period.
On Monday’s The Laura Ingraham Show, Dan Patrick, the Texas state Senator who is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said two weeks ago, Border Patrol agents “apprehended almost 10,000 people crossing the border, in one week.”
“Every week, week after week, we’ve been averaging for the last year apprehending between six and ten thousand people a week,” Patrick said hours before Texas Gov. Rick Perry formally announced that he would be sending National Guard troops to the border. “If we apprehend eight or nine thousand a week, that’s more people than are born in Texas each week.”
Patrick also said law enforcement officials have told him that somewhere between one in five and one in ten illegal immigrants are actually apprehended.
“Now, we think we catch one out of every five. That means twenty five or thirty thousand are crossing the border, that we don’t catch,” he said. “Don’t focus on the numbers that are apprehended, that’s the ones we catch.”" Story here.

Children 12 and under fastest growing group of unaccompanied minors at the border (okay, I do have an opinion about this one- somebody is trying to muck about with statistics to make this a bigger crisis than it already is).  Story here.

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