Raise Up A Child

Just a few meandering thoughts on personal family history.

When my daughter was approaching her third birthday, we went down the street and filled two 5-quart ice cream tubs with buckeyes. Back home, I took 26 sheets of paper and made an alphabet, upper-case and lower-case, and taped them along two walls at the ceiling. I worked with her at that age to build the letters out of the buckeyes. We would spend as much as an hour a day sometimes with me telling her the name of the letter I wanted her to build. Then she’d build a letter and see if she got the right one built and if she built it right. She had a blast doing that and she gave me a great feeling of pride in her intellect.

After my daughter finished kindergarten in a Christian school, I began preparations to home school her. Knowing the public schools were abject failures long before she was ready to attend, I needed to make sure my daughter was more properly and better educated than the public schools would permit. I also needed to be certain the anti-Christian tenor of public education would not poison her before she had the chance to have a Christian foundation. In three years, I gave her four grades of education and five grades of math, using material from Bob Jones University Press.

Continue reading ‘Raise Up A Child’ »

Update on Art Downs

I just got off the phone with a friend of the family — Mrs Downs had stepped out of the room for a while — and she said that Art was doing fine. The surgeon told them that there had been surprisingly little damage to his heart from such a major attack, and things were looking pretty good. They have just pulled out some of the various tubes stuck into Art, and he might actually go to a non-ICU room if one opens up this afternoon.

They now have my cell phone number, and I’m hoping for more information later today.

Donviti resigns from is fired by the Delaware Liberal

I’m a bit late getting to this particular story, and admit that I don’t know all of the details, but our good friend Donviti is parting ways with the rest of the Delaware Liberals:

Moving On.

By Delaware Dem

Well, never say that Delaware Liberal is hiding its dirty laundry. We have to air it out here. It is undeniable that there is friction between Donviti and a number of other members of this blog. It comes from personality conflicts, not substantive political differences, even though our conservative and Libertarian friends will undoubtedly say otherwise. Jason invited Donviti onto this blog precisely because he was an independent minded independent liberal who would keep it real. Not to mention he was a good writer. I don’t think any one of us here agrees with anyone about anything. We all write about what we want to write about, and if get into debates or disagreements with each other, so much the better.

And Donviti was free to write anything he wanted to write about whenever he wanted to write about it. Whether it be his personal stories involving the problems with his ex wife to his current struggles with alcohol to his frustrations with Democrats in Congress, the Delaware Way, or President Obama. And he knows that is true since the last Delaware Liberal blow up you all witnessed was all about making sure Donviti could say what he wanted to say. And in case you did not notice, it was Donviti that stayed then, and said what he wanted to say without any censorship from anyone.

To use a cliché, there is no “I” in team. Even though we post on this blog as individuals, we are also a team. A group blog is a team, where we all have to work together. The interpersonal conflicts between Donviti and others here have made it impossible to function as a team, and like any business or group venture, something has to change.

Whenever a cabinet member resigns, the speculation quickly starts: did he jump, or was he pushed? From DD’s article, as well as this comment, it sounds to me like Donviti was pushed, but I’m not privy to their discussions.

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think much of Mr Viti’s political positions, but he was funny at times. His laments about the first Mrs Viti could be over the top, and I suggested to him once that publishing that stuff might work out to his disadvantage. That he has “current struggles with alcohol” I wouldn’t have known had DD not specified it in the dissolution article, but I certainly haven’t read everything on the DL site. Mr Viti addressed it — somewhat — here.

Here on CSPT, we have a variety of main writers, and while we have some disagreements on a few things, they aren’t anything like what apparently arose between Mr Viti and the rest of his now former compatriots.

Well, the best of luck to Donviti, wherever he winds up blogging!

It’s amazing how much people who use their freedom of speech don’t appreciate the people who secure that freedom for them

You know, as the father of one daughter in the Army, and another who will start Basic Combat Training next June, after she finishes high school, some things just annoy the heck out of me; this article from David Swanson on OpEdNews is one of them:


Army Experience Center’s Bad Experience: Turns out Training Kids to Kill Not Popular with Public


By David Swanson

“This is so cool! This is so cool!” a thirteen-year-old boy repeated as he squeezed rounds from a real M-16, picking off “enemy combatants” in a video game while perched atop a real Army Humvee. “I just came to the mall to skateboard but everyone said this was pretty cool. I just had to try it and it’s great!”

The person reporting on this youthful enthusiasm was Pat Elder, who serves on the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth. Elder also described young teenagers congratulating each other for “killing ragheads” and “wiping out hajis.”

All of this fun went on at the Army Experience Center (AEC), a 14,500-square-foot “virtual educational facility” in the Franklin Mills Mall in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army opened the center in August 2008 and planned to run it for two years as a pilot program. If the center proved able to recruit as many new soldiers as five ordinary recruiting stations, the Army planned to build them nationally. The AEC cost more than $12 million to design and construct, but of course the Army spends several billion dollars a year on recruitment.

Naturally, the activists tried to shut down the Army Experience Center. However, the AEC is apparently going to be closed:

Days prior to this long-planned and publicly announced protest, the Army preemptively announced that it would likely close the AEC and not open any others in shopping malls, as had been planned. The reason? Are you ready to hear this?

By their own admission, the Army doesn’t need any more recruits because the bad economy has driven up recruitment significantly.

Now, I have to wonder, since Mr Swanson didn’t cite his source: did the Army say that recruitment was up because of the economy, or did it simply say that recruitment was up?

Now, the truth is that the economy is lousy, unemployment is rising, and the military has cut back on other recruitment expenses, the stated reason being the rise in recruitment that comes with a lousy economy.

Same claim, repeated. And the same response: did the Army state that it was the economy which has increased recruitment, or is that Mr Swanson’s added opinion?

The whopper of a lie is that the Army could ever be satisfied with its recruitment numbers. And the glaring omission was the protests. While the Army is cutting back in recruitment on some areas, it’s still spending billions of dollars per year, and it is spending those billions where they’ll be most effective, which means, in part, where they will generate the least opposition and negative attention. Early reports, prior to the protests, were that the AEC was succeeding in its recruitment goals. Following the protests, the AEC mysteriously became ineffective.

Emphasis mine. Perhaps Mr Swanson doesn’t realize it, but of course the Army could be satisfied with its recruitment numbers: the maximum size of the Army is specified by law, called the strength ceiling, and the Army cannot recruit in excess of its authorized force levels.

I can tell you, from our family’s experience, that recruiting is doing well: our younger daughter received a smaller recruitment bonus than her sister, because authorized bonuses have shrunk, due to the military achieving its goals easily. She wanted to enlist earlier, and do Basic Combat Training this past summer — between her junior and senior years of high school — but she started the process late in the year (May) and recruiting goals for the Army Reserve were alreadsy so close to having been met that she couldn’t. Her enlistment was delayed until October because she had to wait for the new fiscal year to begin.

As it happens, the younger Miss Pico went to the Hazleton Recruiting Center this morning, for the first step in her Future Soldier training.

Our military is made up entirely of volunteers; conscription ended in the 1970s. If Mr Swanson and those who believe similarly to him don’t want to join the military, I say fine, don’t join; that is their free choice. But, as I noted in a comment to Mr Swanson’s article, it’s amazing to me that people on the left, people who are supposed to champion freedom of choice and freedom of speech, are so adamant about silencing choices and speech of which they do not approve.

What the Democrats won’t tell you about their health care reform costs

Sharon asked a simple question:

Why Don’t Democrats Just Admit…

The Baucus “bill” explodes the deficit, creates even more disincentives for doctors to treat Medicaire patients and RAISES BLOODY COSTS FOR EVERYONE???

To be honest, I am so tired of the lying going on with the so-called health care debate. Read this and remember the 14 despicable jerks who passed this monstrosity out of committee.

And her simple question has a simple answer: if the proponents told the truth about the costs, it would never pass.

The Hot Air story Sharon referenced goes over how the projected costs soar during the second decade, and notes the disingenuous way in which the first decade is priced out: since the bill wouldn’t actually be implemented for a couple of years, two zero-cost years are included in the first decade, making it seem like the real costs are lower. Ed Morrissey quoted Jeffrey Anderson, a senior fellow in health-care studies at the Pacific Research Institute, in The New York Post:

As the CBO notes, his bill would cut Medicare payments to doctors by 25 percent in 2011, then hold them at that level perpetually. In other words, given inflation, Baucus proposes endless cuts in what the program pays physicians and others.

Thing is, physicians are already reluctant to take Medicare patients, because Medicare payments are already too low.

Note this, from the Department of Health and Human Services:


CMS PROPOSES PAYMENT, POLICY CHANGES FOR PHYSICIANS SERVICES TO MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN 2010

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today proposed changes to policies and payment rates for services to be furnished during calendar year (CY 2010) by over 1 million physicians and nonphysician practitioners who are paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). The MPFS sets payment rates for more than 7,000 types of services in physician offices, hospitals, and other settings.

CMS is making several proposals to refine Medicare payments to physicians, which are expected to increase payment rates for primary care services. The proposals include an update to the practice expense component of physician fees. For 2010, CMS is proposing to include data about physicians’ practice costs from a new survey, the Physician Practice Information Survey (PPIS), designed and conducted by the American Medical Association.

The Medicare law requires CMS to adjust the MPFS payment rates annually based on an update formula which includes application of the Sustainable Growth Rate or SGR that was adopted in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. This formula has yielded negative updates every year beginning in CY 2002, although CMS was able to take administrative steps to avert a reduction in CY 2003, and Congress has taken a series of legislative actions to prevent reductions in CYs 2004-2009. Based on current data, CMS is projecting a rate reduction of -21.5 percent for CY 2010.

As part of health care reform, the Administration supports comprehensive, but fiscally responsible, reforms to the physician payment formula. Consistent with this goal, the Administration announced in the FY 2010 President’s Budget that it would explore the breadth of options available under current authority to facilitate such reforms, including an assessment of whether the cost of physician-administered drugs should continue to be included in the payment formula. Thus, while working with Congress to develop a more appropriate mechanism for updating physician payment rates, CMS is proposing to remove physician-administered drugs from the definition of “physician services” for purposes of computing the physician update formula in anticipation of enactment of legislation to provide fundamental reforms to Medicare physician payments. While the proposal will not change the projected update for services during CY 2010, CMS projects that it would reduce the number of years in which physicians are projected to experience a negative update.

CMS is also proposing to stop making payment for consultation codes, which are typically billed by specialists and are paid at a higher rate than equivalent evaluation and management (E/M) services. Practitioners will use existing E/M service codes when providing these services instead. Resulting savings would be redistributed to increase payments for the existing E/M services.

Emphasis mine. Private insurance payers pay roughly 30% more than does Medicare, and, according to the American Medical Associations 2008 insurer study, Medicare denies a higher percentage (6.85%) of claims than do private insurers.

Of course, I documented earlier the fact that Medicare doesn’t pay its own way when it comes to hospital reimbursements, and now you can see that the government doesn’t pay its own way when it comes to paying physicians. If whatever health care passes the Congress keeps trying to save money by reducing payments to physicians, physicians will do the logical thing — the thing that many of them do now concerning Medicaid patients — and simply not accept them as patients. If we somehow force physicians to accept public-pay patients, we’ll eventually run into the same situation as our Canadian brethren: a shortage of medical personnel period, because they can’t make enough money.

It’s really pretty simple: the Democrats may have the political will and muscle to push some sort of health care “reform” bill through, but they are lying about the costs, and, deep down, they know they are lying about the costs. Perhaps they think that it’s just so important that knowingly lying about the costs is a price they are willing to pay to get it passed. But if it does pass, working men and women in this country will be poorer for it.