Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Nite, Irene and Hello, What?

Photo borrowed from my friend Elizabeth's blog
Of all the many heartbreaking photos captured from this destructive event, this one touches me the most. These folks lost their historic beach house on the Outer Banks of NC, and in a bittersweet move of sorrow, gratitude, respect and sadness, they chose to wade out to the front steps (all that remained) and watch one last sunset together. It's just very poignant to me and captures the loss eloquently. One day, they will be glad to have the photo to remember how they honored their memories there.

Well, as Neil Young said, Rust Never Sleeps. We are looking at another 2 storms this week, one of which is headed into the Gulf of Mexico and my neck of the woods. And no one can say what it's gonna do yet. They are guessing right now we will either get rain from a storm this weekend or nothing. For an area in drought, this is kind of cruel, don't you think? Last week, my dad commented he wished we'd get a good tropical storm come through and I told him, hush your mouth and don't invite trouble. Just sayin'...if we get a hurricane, it is all his fault!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What About Rick?

Rain, rain, glorious RAIN!!!

SPLISHSPLASH my ducks are takin' a bath...
It rained here Thursday morning! A light, steady soaking miracle. Of course, it was steaming and sunny and up over 100 before the day was done but last night was not the usual sauna. I enjoyed and appreciated it. Our neighborhood ducks took the opportunity to take baths and noodle around in the little rivers at our street's curbs. It was so cute to watch.

And call me crazy, but like a mama bear who always responds to a baby bear's cry, I have maternal hurricane attention disorder (mhad)...I cannot quit watching any channel covering Irene as she approaches. Guess it's in my blood from living down here so long and going through several myself. Part of me even falls back to thinking Irene's gonna hit here, until I remind myself that is not the case. I told Hubs my entire weekend is probably shot, I might as well give it up to watching Irene.


And then my Ike memories always come back -- check out the link of those memories.


And then my thoughts go to what a waste and tragedy it is that stimulus money was not spent in a more coordinated way federally to put electrical lines underground all over this country, particularly on the coasts. Damn, I truly sometimes believe that I could do a better job as president! Especially when it comes to thinking up solutions to what we out here in the real America need and don't need. I imagine the East Coasters will be learning up close and personal just how good it would have been to have had their utils put underground already. Cuz, I've said this a million times but it's still true: It ain't so much the storm that sucks, it's the aftermath.

So, speaking of governors who let me down by using our stimulus dollars to build fricking highway visitor centers on our borders:


I took Chris Cellizza's quiz, How Much Do You Know About Rick Perry? -- and my score was:

Your Results:
Wow. You are a Rick Perry expert. You got 9 questions right out of 9 (100%).
So, that must make me an expert, right? Ha-ha. I actually blamed Perry's opponent, former Houston mayor Bill White, last election for the lack of underground lines more. I mean, he was mayor during Katrina, Rita and Ike, so he more than anyone would have known how our quality of lives would have improved. But noooo. Nobody can think up the good stuff until it's too late, if at all. EYEROLL.

Back to Perry. I guess he's gone and done it now. I have all kinds of mixed feelings about it, too. But I am often finding myself mentally defending him, so I've had to examine my real feelings. And I've discovered that I'm a bit pro-Perry. It's more of a gut feeling at present. I cannot tell you exactly why, but I do recognize a great source when I see it.

If you want a reasonably objective listing of Rick Perry's facts, accomplishments, problems and criticisms, go HERE. It's a blog called The Pesky Truth, and after reading his last few blog posts about Perry, I have to say he's done a pretty good job ironing it all out without a lot of persuasion or any manipulation of facts that I could see. And this guy is a Republican from Dallas who has voted for Perry the last 3 elections.

I am a recovered Demacraholic-turned-Independent who has even less desire to join the GOP and I only voted for Perry in 2010 in order to send Team Obama the message that Texas is not in play for 2012. See above: my vote was also really more against Bill White for being same old same old when he could have really made a little difference for the good. So my point is, if I feel I can trust this info, you can too. Go read what Pesky Truth guy has to say.

I also want to speak up for Rick on something. You may have heard the uproar about his trying to force a Guardasil vaccination into every 6th grade female student in Texas. Turns out that evangelical Christian conservatives are completely over the top histerical about it. Here's the deal on it. First off, being a mom of one of those girls, I THANK RICK PERRY for making us all aware of this vaccination, and AT NO TIME was my daughter ever in a position to not opt-out of it. We made the decision to vaccinate her, and we are already thankful. A few weeks ago, her grandmother was diagnosed with cervical cancer and her doctors believe it's the kind caused by one of the strains of HPV that the vaccine protects against. When you get that kind of karma message, it hits home. Any protection is better than none.

Yeah. You don't hear that story too often, but there are many Texans who feel thankful like myself. Plus, never once did I or my husband ever worry about sending our daughter a message condoning promiscuity by vaccinating her. GIVE ME A BREAK! Geebus. Let me tellya, though, that is the real reason why the evangelical CC's were and are so hot about it. Just the other day, on a popular political blog, I tried in vain to defend Perry on this and I got run out of town (figuratively) by those people. I was all but called a jezebel mom for allowing it.

My eyes were really opened as to the vehement behavior of some of these people. It's hideous. And really wrong-minded, too. I tried reaching them by posing, what if it were an AIDS vaccine? I KID YOU NOT, THEY ALL SAID IT WOULD DO THE SAME THING, SO NO THANKS.

WHAT????????

Unbelievable. Not only do I have personal knowledge that the vaccine does not lead to promiscuity, which is ridiculous, condemning your child to death by AIDS for disobeying you once is a REAL IDIOT THING to do. This completely reinforced my previous belief that the far right fringe is every bit as looney and bad as the far left fringe. They are like matching bookends. And it's not so much their beliefs themselves, because I'm always willing to let everyone believe what they want, it's the making me have to believe it too and thinking it is okay to impose those beliefs because you think it is your divine duty or something, or even worse, you feel cornered and have to lash out so aggressively. Believe what you want, but do not expect or fight to make the law of the land a codified image of your weird-ass fringe beliefs.

Now, the far left fringe (and the far religious right fringe) will have you think that Perry will crack down and end freedom and yadayada. Oh yeah? I haven't seen him do it here, and he's had over ten years to try. A couple times when he's believed in something, he has tried to execute it into law, but when the people rose up and told him no, he backed off and said fine. Dang, wouldn't it be nice to see this done nationally (Obamacare)?

What I do not like about Perry is his communication skills, or lack of. The little greet line video of the boy being prompted by his mom to ask Perry why he hates science is a great example of what I mean. Perry said we teach both evolution and creationism in Texas and that is true. We teach both and let the student decide. I'm fine with that. Gridlock over, move on. But what Perry missed was an opportunity to say, I'm not anti-science. I use it all the time. Last month, I had experimental back surgery using my own stem cells to grow new nerves. I believe in good sound science so much that I used myself as a guinea pig for it. (it is true, he really did have that surgery and his own stem cells were used).

He is very good at rehearsed choreographed stuff and not so good at off the cuff stuff. And I wish that were not true, because thinking up those kinds of ways to put in some good info is what he needs to do in order to calm a lot of the rhetoric going around about him.

Dang, ok, first I have to be president, and now I gotta be Perry's advisor. Geebus, my life is suddenly so busy. WINK WINK

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Immigration Reform for Dummies

Behold a scan of my immigration reform plan, which came to me while thinking about our current political gridlock, in light of real stuff we need to happen right now, like jobs and revenues.

My ridiculously simple T-account chart for compromising a deal on Immigration Reform...
This is really so easy and simple a plan that even a fifth-grader could have come up with it. Plus, it's already been done once, back in the 1980's. Reagan promised amnesty as the revenue to save Social Security (which it did, rendering it back in the black less than a decade later), in exchange for a fence to appease conservatives. The amnesty part worked wonderfully. Congress didn't follow through on the fence, however (and since it has had GOP leadership more than once since then, they could have corrected that and never did).

Before we get to the present-day gridlock that currently mars reform, let's explore a bit more. The fence was originally agreed to by Reagan on the grounds that it would stop the increase in illegal immigration once built. The amnesty would make all illegals already here citizens, thereby wrapping up the whole problem with a pretty bow tied round it.

Only problem was, the Dems, who had regained Congressional control before the whole thing became law, wanted amnesty and no fence, so that is what the law ended up being. (And, neocon corporatist GOP's wanted open borders as well, for cheap labor and global capitalism.) This produced, to this day, a taste in anti-corporate anti-neocon Republican mouths so bad that were they to eat some, they would either throw it up or die of indigestion.

And this is where I get frustrated. I cannot figure out why the GOP cannot lay the blame for this at the Dems' feet of the guilty charged with implementing it instead of aiming their blame at the concept of amnesty, probably the only good thing I think Reagan, their idol, ever did. Inconsistent much? Why must they now count it as a mistake Reagan made? Clearly it wasn't one, not as originally intended. The only mistake was the lack of Congressional follow-thru. The law was not actuated as designed. More importantly, this current position backs the GOP into the corner of supporting something shadowy and impossible to enforce (green cards, work permits, employer policing), in order to...what? Be against what the Dems are for?

Anyway, if you look at my chart, you see that I've assumed the Dems want Amnesty and No Fence. And the GOP wants a Fence and No Amnesty. I believe these assumptions are pretty irrefutable. What I do in this chart is show that Congress can produce immigration reform by forcing each side to choose one thing each wants the most and giving up on the other one. Merge the two first choices and voila! Instant legislation and reform. How is that even remotely difficult? And why hasn't it been done yet????

A few more things: it is imperitive for the Fence to be built first. Why? #1. Because it wasn't done the first time around. End of discussion. This one fact accounts for a LOT of the anti-amnesty opinion. Some things are just done because they are the right thing to do, and this is one of them. Yes, it's expensive, but if it is infrastructure and done as a jobs program, that cost becomes more palatable and money well-spent.

But, if that is not enough, here's #2. The Fence is no longer a structure iconized to represent keeping Mexicans out of the country. That's so yesterday. The Fence is now a representation of National Security, and it became that around the time that John McCain changed his mind about it, because he changed his mind about it because the people of his state became increasingly in danger of terrorist invasion, that's why. (You can always tell a way-too-partisan person by him calling that a flip-flop.) But, I digress. The point of #1 and #2 is that they are the arguments to be used to persuade Dems and to justify it to GOP'ers.

Now, let's go to the Amnesty arguments. Let's tackle No Amnesty first. YadaYada, yes, we all agree in the dark recesses of our souls that it's not quite right to give all of those party crashers a free ride and let them stay here and be citizens. But, let me ask everyone who says no way to letting them stay: do you have any idea how much money it would cost to round up each and every illegal and send them back? Do you? How about just an estimate? No??? Well, let me suggest to you that no amount is high enough. And that is assuming that we have all the money in the world available to throw at it, which is completely not the case now.

And the other assumption that's wrong is that even if we could pay for it, it would be impossible to do. A complete waste of money, time and energy. Take it from someone who lives in a city that has been completely transformed in numbers by the underground illegal. Officially, hispanics make up 30% at most, yet unofficially, we are at least 55% hispanic. The difference is the legal status of hispanics. How do we know this? The official numbers are the city's own stats. The unofficial percentages are the school district's, which have to educate all children and therefore include the illegal numbers.

I explain this because my city has a sophisticated and effective Mexican underground...not as in mafia or violence. I'm talking about a separate economy, whatever it takes for the illegals to live. About 15 years ago when I and my school volunteer mom friends first discovered it, we were offended and shocked. But gradually we all had to begrudge it some respect, as it worked like a finely oiled machine. Now, we all just accept it and wished our own institutions worked as well. We also got to know more and more Mexican parents thru school, work, neighbors, etc. And we now know they are just people, too, like us, wanting a better life. And they are by and large willing to work their butts off and then some to get it. Which I happen to think is admirable and is an example this country needs to see more of.

But my main point is still this: you cannot make any law that will root them out. They are entrenched and will just burrow deeper underground the harder you try to find them by limiting our freedoms more and more toward a police state. We will lose our freedoms long before we erdicate America of all illegals, mark my words. I know. I live among them. The only thing that will cause them to come out into the sunshine is amnesty and citizenship, for as confusingly as we have treated them, they still dream of becoming American citizens.

So, conservatives: why continue to cling to this impractical and impossible principal of rooting them out and telling them to get in the back of the line? Because it's the right thing to do? Its ineffective expense makes it just as frivolous as massive Obamacare reforms right now, and so not the right thing to do. Plus, there is a little matter of us accepting responsiblity for OUR part of this problem. How did they get over here, anyway? That fence was never built, remember? We closed our eyes or looked away, and they came over. We shouldn't have looked away if we didn't want them to come, so we don't get to decide it's not right after the fact. Accept the fact that we failed at policing our border, that these folks are here now, have been here for years, and we need revenues, so make them taxpayers and let them help us out!

But first, build that fence and enact one humongous JOBS package. Let's invest in some infrastucture and kill several birds with one stone. Liberals must recognize and accept that if a poor persecuted Mexican can make it over, so can an evil-minded terrorist. Every day that we leave that border open is one more day for terrorists to invade us. And those drug cartels are terrorizing our citizens on the border right now. Each side of this argument gets something, and each side has to give something up. The solution I've detailed is just crying out to be legislated and enacted. We need more taxpayers to create more revenues out in the open and officially, we need jobs, we need border security, we need to save Social Security again for a while (until our government's general fund manages to steal the profits from it like the 3.1 trillion dollars they have in IOU's so far).

But most of all, we need some LEADERSHIP on this issue. Why isn't Obama pushing for this right now? He needs something like this, badly. Independents would find this admirable and he would get some much needed props from them, and maybe a softening toward him for their vote in 2012. And if he got gridlock flack from the far left and far right, as he will initially because both of them want all their demands, he could paint them both as jobs-denying, Social Security-killing, national security-failing obstructionists.

Today I saw an article quoting Eric Cantor advising his GOP House colleagues "to avoid brinksmanship in spending fights". Being that Mr. Cantor was painted as a Tea Partying rebel in the debt ceiling kerfuffle, this can only mean that GOP'ers are taking the polls seriously, that the vast middle of America wants them to quit fussing and fighting and start solving stuff.

Well, NOW is the time to solve this! Perhaps Compromise can once again be a noble endeavor. We're not doing anything else that would be such...


Monday, August 15, 2011

Fortune cookie wisdom

Yes, but with my luck it's not carried by my cable company...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Get up and stretch!



Today I'm sharing some links to get help you get up off the couch or out from underneath the air conditioner vent! And because you may not be in shape or used to exercising right about now (heat makes exercising even more challenging, so many people just give up on doing it until the temps fall some), these exercises are really little more than stretching. That's manageable, right? In fact, if that is all you do while the summer heat rules, you will be doing yourself more good than you realize. So, if you have given up the exercise ghost, how about just stretch?

I googled stretching exercises for seniors free online videos and got a bunch of good links. If you are not a senior or that annoys you somehow, then re-google without the word. But it never hurts to do those kinds of exercises, at first, if you haven't been active in a while. And if you have any physical limitations, this filter might actually be better for you to begin activity.

If you grow tired of just stretching, then google for what you think you can handle next. You can also just go to YouTube and search. If you have Netflix, which is not free but is quite affordable, did you know that they have workout videos available for instant tv access? Check out the Genres tab, then click on Sports & Fitness. Most of the videos are in the Workouts subsection, but there's 10-Minute Kickboxing under the Martial Arts subsection. What I usually do is one of the many "dancercise-type" videos for aerobics, as well as their yoga videos. The basic beginner yoga positions are merely isometric stretches and nothing more. Just do the ones you can, but do them again and again. Soon you'll be able to handle more complicated positions.

I plan to explore Netflix's many pilates videos very soon, but for now I'm happy with these two beginning exercise types of yoga and dance. For me, the yoga videos are a precursor to the pilates, because of my body's limitations. Your mileage may vary, of course, as I am physically hampered by my five Arthurs (arthritises).

In my Dr. Weil newsletter today, I found this article:
"It doesn't take much exercise to help reduce your risk of heart disease. A new review of 33 earlier studies on the benefits of exercise found that people who get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week reduce their risk of heart disease by 14 percent compared to inactive people (150 minutes comes out to 30 minutes a day, five days a week). Of course, more is better, and with additional physical activity (five hours of exercise per week) you can lower your risk by as much 20 percent (again, compared to inactive folks). The review found that women benefit more from exercise than men, but the researchers aren’t sure why and have suggested that the difference may be due to a statistical quirk. You might also achieve an additional risk reduction of five percent if you're up for exercising 12.5 hours per week, but the researchers conceded that the extra five percent may not be worth all that added effort. The study was published online August 1 in Circulation."

The evidence grows that you don't have to push yourself to extremes to reap health benefits from physical activities. Just with what I have shared with you, there is now no excuse to stay on that couch, people!

I'll leave you with this thought: we live in stressful times. Our problems cause us stress to think about them, yet they cause us stress not to, as well, whether we admit it or not. If you avoid the stress by unplugging from current events (The Ostrich Effect), perhaps all you need is a little stress-busting activity to handle that stress. Things always feel less negative when the endomorphins kick in. You can engage in the responsiblity of citizenship AND be happy. My friends, trust the expert:
Elle advises: "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gangs of London

I ask you, what is up with London lately?


I, like many people around the world, have seen the videos and photos online and on television over the last several days, of the rioting and looting going on. I'm also aware of the many attempts to pigeonhole this nightmare of events as a reaction to a police shooting of an innocent man as opposed to a reaction to the UK's recent austerity reform measures , which I find a bit hair-splitting.

I mean, how do you explain the comment of a rioter who, when asked why they were doing this, replied that they were showing "The Rich" (shop owners) that the rioters could do anything they wanted.

If these recent riots were not a reaction to getting weaned off the tit of UK socialistic cradle-to-grave welfare programs, then wouldn't the rioting be aimed at their government? Instead, they are being aimed at their own who have managed to rise a bit above a government check for survival.

True, one may have fermented the other, but to delineate the two with a brick wall of rationalization is in my opinion ridiculous. I think it is the American Leftist way of attempting Slight of Hand. In other words, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, this is not what happens when the State provides cradle-to-grave subsidy, creates the addiction, and then takes it away.


But, it most certainly does. People, any people, get used to what they are given. Just look at the en masse rejection on the part of the American people to the idea of cuts in Medicare and Social Security. They come to expect it, gosh darnit, especially as Time makes an ally of the expectation. In America, a program that was created to be catastrophic insurance against old-age destitution is now considered a right by all retired Americans whether they need it or not to avoid the poor house.

Sobering reality, isn't it? Don't kid yourself. That is one version of our future we are watching unfold over in London.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A 2012 Advantage?


Is it beginning to sound like there's an echo?
Debt ceiling raised...through 2012.
Interest rates kept near zero...through 2012.

People, this goes against anything I've seen in my life. It almost seems like *UNFAIR* to the max (no one's beating down my door to ask my opinion, although that never stopped me yet). Nevertheless, I'll just ask: when does anyone get the right to have key parts of the economy jiggered with to help him win an election? Cuz, you know it sets a precedent. Yes, I know, cue the protests and cheeky comments, like, 'yeah, that has never been done before.' But it really hasn't...not out in the open and blatantly like this. Just sayin...

Well, so okay, so where's OUR 2012 advantage then? Maybe we'll have to make our own. Stay tuned, I might think up some possibles.

In the meantime, where is the Budget? Mr. Obama did submit one, finally, after 2 years, which was quickly and decisively voted down earlier this spring....like maybe on cue? It was weird when that happened. Now, I'm wondering if it was choreographed...to purposefully not have one. So, no Budget, no plan to have to stick to. That means "things" can evolve as needed, but only as needed by those powerful enough to get it, like Mr. Obama's administration (appointees' rulings, executive orders, negotiated legislation). This, too, is unprecedented in the increased range of its scope if not its contents, and in the tendrils that connect these unprecedented things.

I was talking with a neighbor recently, who voiced what I hear ALOT of people say, that they do not pay any attention to politics and what all's going on, because it is too negative. Historically, I've abided this without comment, but I'm beginning to sincerely believe that this is a bunk attitude that I need to call out. An attitude not worth bunk. A copout. More importantly, though, it is just what the pols want you to do, stick your head down your hole and leave them alone to screw things up the way they want to. This kind of attitude is fast becoming part of the problem, people. Instead, you -- we all -- need to be part of the solution. A solution that we need to not be quiet about.

For now, I've got my solution. Unless and until I see something better (something realistic, as opposed to clinging to the fantasy that Hillary will challenge Obama once more), I'm supporting Ron Paul. He's the only one out there right now in whom I can trust, I know fairly well what to expect, and whether we like what he's selling or not, it would be good for us. Who damn well cares if people accuse him of being nuts? That's a commonly used psychological tactic used to damage an opponent. And, as more and more of what Paul has been warning us about has come true right before our eyes, the tactic has been backfiring louder than a '54 Chevy in dire need of a tuneup.

Still, Team Obama continues to use the tactic shamelessly. Remember them painting McCain as confused and irrational? Those were code words for OLD. And for those under the rock star spell of Obama, it worked, on just enough swing voters who took the chance on Obama. Remember how McCain was painted as not expecting to survive a presidential term because of his cancer returning? One of my favorite things to do around those I know who bought into that is to greet them when I see them with something like, hey, imagine that -- McCain's still alive!!! They usually blush and mutter something like, yeah, okay, point taken. hehehe It never gets OLD for me. And when these same Koolaid drinkers gripe about how Obama has not turned out as expected, especially the lack of balls and conviction, I love to point out the many ways that illustrate that McCain has more of that in his little finger than Obama does in total. The most recent example I cannot wait to bring up is how he went right into a town hall meeting back home and refused to apologize for the hobbit remark -- LOVE THAT.

And while I'm on the subject of Team Obama's code word tactic, I saw yesterday that they are starting it up against Mitt Romney already. Romney's apparently WEIRD. This is their code word for Mormon. Hide and watch. I'm thinking, my word for that is LAME.

Anyway, back to Ron Paul. If and when he becomes a threat on Team Obama's radar, look for them to paint Paul as confused and irrational. It is just too damn easy, and Team Obama is lazy and not afraid to use these tactics blatantly and repeatedly. They do have balls in the campaigning dept. Too bad it doesn't spill over to governance.
Now, we are hearing that next Saturday, we may have a new entrant in the 2012 Presidential Circus, and I may have to reassess my choice of Paul, because as much as I've kind of not taken Governor Rick Perry seriously, really, the entire time he's been in office, lately I've realized, he is not that bad. He's got balls and he's not afraid of the Bushes, having already made himself an enemy of them by refusing to endorse someone they wanted him to. They have not been besties for several years now. The media is currently leading you to think he is the darling of Christian Conservatives, but do not be fooled. Perry's been persona non grata with many of them ever since he issued an executive order for Guardacil vaccination. The opposition is pretty intense. Guess ya just have to live here in Texas to know the real stories. I'll save it for a future blog post if he really jumps into the race.

For now, though, I'm waiting and watching the situation. Comparing Paul and Perry may leave me still in Paul's corner. For instance, this interest rate proclamation of Bernanke's that came out today. Paul would never agree to this because the market should determine interest rates in his view, and we all know that hasn't happened in like 20 years. This latest move, though, strikes me a bit like messing with DNA. I do not like it. Why that long of an artificial muzzle on them? Other than a political move to help Mr. Obama, please let me know what other reasons would cause this. Seriously, I would like to know. (But please, don't write to tell me it is to fight inflation. First, inflation will happen whether Bernanke wants it to or not, and Two, raising our interest rates, or allowing them to rise naturally, FIGHTS inflation. So, you can see the error in that  idea.)

A guy whose blog I read over at Seeking Alpha wrote the other day that he wondered what was causing interest rates to remain low, and his theory was that Bernanke must be constantly printing more money. That's just great. It's bad enough to have the dollar devalued, but to do it to ourselves? Again, one thing I do know is that Paul would never let this be done.

What do we have to look forward to indefinitely? Depressed real estate prices (some would say slashed, crashed, I do not disagree). Depressed stock market values. And increasingly, deflated currency. Great, just great. Are depressed Americans far behind?

I'm a big believer in leaving it up to God, which is why I have such a problem with all the Christians who don't do that, instead wanting to do the judge jury and executioner thing because they think that God wants and calls on them to do that. You know, the Bible says to render to Caesar what is Caesar's. It doesn't say, go take Caesar's job away from him and do it yourselves in God's or Jesus' name.

So, here is an idea for our advantage, the peoples' advantage in 2012. What if all the campaign money in the world (Obama is expected to raise record amounts), and all the political advantages of incumbency and government policies jiggered to his benefit, does not produce a win? Wow, wouldn't THAT be an amazing thing? Not for the incumbent, admittedly. But, it would do wonders for our political system. Perhaps a candidate's ideas and history and message would prove more important. I'd be happy with that advantage...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Proof is in the Email


I get an email every month from the Government Accounting Office called the GAO Month in Review. It is self-described as "a comprehensive list of all reports, testimony, correspondence, and other publications issued by GAO during the previous month, grouped according to topic."

Below, you will find the latest email I received. I am sharing it to impress upon you, dear readers, just how HUGE our government is, that the department charged with holding the government accountable prepares and issues this many reports...EVERY MONTH. Please do not confuse the message with the messenger. The GAO is awesome, and probably the ONE department our government has that earns its money. The problem is not the GAO. The problem is how immense our government has become.

When you create a monster that is so big that you cannot longer afford to feed it at the rate it wants to eat, what do you do? You put it on a diet!
****************************************
Top 10 list: http://www.gao.gov/press/topten.html
Learn more about our Topics:
http://www.gao.gov/subscribe/topicdescriptions.html
* * * AGRICULTURE AND FOOD * * *
USDA Systems Modernization: Management and Oversight Improvements Are Needed, GAO-11-586, July 20 (47 pages)  http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-586
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11586high.pdf
* * * AUDITING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT * * *
Air Force Working Capital Fund: Budgeting and Management of Carryover Work and Funding Could Be Improved, GAO-11-539, July 7 (41 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11539high.pdf
American Battle Monuments Commission: Improvements Needed in Internal Controls and Accounting Procedures - Fiscal Year 2010, GAO-11-577R, July 28 (18 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-577R
Bankruptcy: Complex Financial Institutions and International Coordination Pose Challenges, GAO-11-707, July 19 (143 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11707high.pdf
Cost and Legal Authority for Selected Financial Literacy Programs and Activities, GAO-11-781R, July 13 (10 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-781R
DOD Financial Management: Numerous Challenges Must Be Addressed to Achieve Auditability, GAO-11-864T, July 28 (23 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11864thigh.pdf
DOD Financial Management: Numerous Challenges Must Be Addressed to Improve Reliability of Financial Information, GAO-11-835T, July 27 (23 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11835thigh.pdf
Federal Reserve System: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Policies and Processes for Managing Emergency Assistance, GAO-11-696, July 21 (266 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11696high.pdf
Improper Payments: Reported Medicare Estimates and Key Remediation Strategies, GAO-11-842T, July 28 (30 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11842thigh.pdf
Proprietary Trading: Regulators Will Need More Comprehensive Information to Fully Monitor Compliance with New Restrictions When Implemented, GAO-11-529, July 13 (62 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11529high.pdf
Troubled Asset Relief Program: The Government's Exposure to AIG Following the Company's Recapitalization, GAO-11-716, July 18 (97 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11716high.pdf
* * * BUDGET AND SPENDING * * *
Air Force Working Capital Fund: Budgeting and Management of Carryover Work and Funding Could Be Improved, GAO-11-539, July 7 (41 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11539high.pdf
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: Definitions, Focal Point, and Methodology Needed for DOD to Develop Full-Spectrum Cyberspace Budget Estimates, GAO-11-695R, July 29 (33 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-695R
Information Technology: Continued Attention Needed to Accurately Report Federal Spending and Improve Management, GAO-11-831T, July 14 (18 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11831thigh.pdf
* * * BUSINESS REGULATION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION * * *
Children's Television Act: FCC Could Improve Efforts to Oversee Enforcement and Provide Public Information, GAO-11-659, July 14 (42 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11659high.pdf
Residential Appraisals: Opportunities to Enhance Oversight of an Evolving Industry, GAO-11-653, July 13 (60 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11653high.pdf
Residential Appraisals: Opportunities to Enhance Oversight of an Evolving Industry, GAO-11-783T, July 13 (12 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-783T
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: Preliminary Information on Actions Taken by Agencies to Address Fraud and Abuse and Remaining Vulnerabilities, GAO-11-589T, July 28 (13 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11589thigh.pdf
Troubled Asset Relief Program: The Government's Exposure to AIG Following the Company's Recapitalization, GAO-11-716, July 18 (97 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11716high.pdf
* * * ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT * * *
Burma: UN and U.S. Agencies Assisted Cyclone Victims in Difficult Environment, but Improved U.S. Monitoring Needed, GAO-11-700, July 26 (82 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11700high.pdf
Department of Commerce: Office of Manufacturing and Services Could Better Measure and Communicate Its Contributions to Trade Policy, GAO-11-583, June 7 (45 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11583high.pdf
Economic Development: Efficiency and Effectiveness of Fragmented Programs Are Unclear, GAO-11-872T, July 27 (15 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-872T
FEMA and the Corps Have Taken Steps to Establish a Task Force, but FEMA Has Not Assessed the Costs of Collecting and Reporting All Levee-Related Concerns, GAO-11-689R, July 29 (15 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-689R
FEMA Has Made Progress in Managing Regionalization of Preparedness Grants, GAO-11-732R, July 29 (42 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-732R
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Compacts in Cape Verde and Honduras Achieved Reduced Targets, GAO-11-728, July 25 (124 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11728high.pdf
* * * EDUCATION * * *
Cost and Legal Authority for Selected Financial Literacy Programs and Activities, GAO-11-781R, July 13 (10 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-781R
Disadvantaged Students: School Districts Have Used Title I Funds Primarily to Support Instruction, GAO-11-595, July 15 (58 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11595high.pdf
Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program, GAO-11-737R, July 27 (19 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-737R
School Improvement Grants: Early Implementation Under Way, but Reforms Affected by Short Time Frames, GAO-11-741, July 25 (48 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-741
* * * EMPLOYMENT * * *
Federal Workers' Compensation: Questions to Consider in Changing Benefits for Older Beneficiaries, GAO-11-854T, July 26 (15 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-854T
Securities and Exchange Commission: Existing Post-Employment Controls Could Be Further Strengthened, GAO-11-654, July 12 (38 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11654high.pdf
* * * ENERGY * * *
Biofuels: Challenges to the Transportation, Sale, and Use of Intermediate Ethanol Blends, GAO-11-513, June 3 (57 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11513high.pdf
* * * EQUAL OPPORTUNITY * * *
Coast Guard: Civil Rights Directorate Can Enhance Workforce Restructuring Efforts, GAO-11-718, July 18 (45 pages)  http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-718
* * * FINANCIAL MARKETS AND INSTITUTIONS * * *
Bankruptcy: Complex Financial Institutions and International Coordination Pose Challenges, GAO-11-707, July 19 (143 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11707high.pdf
Cost and Legal Authority for Selected Financial Literacy Programs and Activities, GAO-11-781R, July 13 (10 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-781R
Dodd-Frank Act: Eleven Agencies' Estimates of Resources for Implementing Regulatory Reform, GAO-11-808T, July 14 (20 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-808T
Federal Reserve System: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Policies and Processes for Managing Emergency Assistance, GAO-11-696, July 21 (266 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11696high.pdf
Mortgage Reform: Potential Impacts of Provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act on Homebuyers and the Mortgage Market, GAO-11-656, July 19 (83 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11656high.pdf
Mutual Fund Advertising: Improving How Regulators Communicate New Rule Interpretations to Industry Would Further Protect Investors, GAO-11-697, July 26 (58 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11697high.pdf
Person-To-Person Lending: New Regulatory Challenges Could Emerge as the Industry Grows, GAO-11-613, July 7 (78 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11613high.pdf
Private Fund Advisers: Although a Self-Regulatory Organization Could Supplement SEC Oversight, It Would Present Challenges and Trade-offs, GAO-11-623, July 11 (31 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11623high.pdf
Proprietary Trading: Regulators Will Need More Comprehensive Information to Fully Monitor Compliance with New Restrictions When Implemented, GAO-11-529, July 13 (62 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11529high.pdf
Residential Appraisals: Opportunities to Enhance Oversight of an Evolving Industry, GAO-11-783T, July 13 (12 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-783T
Securities and Exchange Commission: Existing Post-Employment Controls Could Be Further Strengthened, GAO-11-654, July 12 (38 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11654high.pdf
Securities Fraud Liability of Secondary Actors, GAO-11-664, July 21 (47 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-664
Troubled Asset Relief Program: The Government's Exposure to AIG Following the Company's Recapitalization, GAO-11-716, July 18 (97 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11716high.pdf
* * * GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS * * *
American Battle Monuments Commission: Improvements Needed in Internal Controls and Accounting Procedures - Fiscal Year 2010, GAO-11-577R, July 28 (18 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-577R
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Status of Transition to Federal Immigration Law, GAO-11-805T, July 14 (21 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11805thigh.pdf
Criminal Cartel Enforcement: Stakeholder Views on Impact of 2004 Antitrust Reform Are Mixed, but Support Whistleblower Protection, GAO-11-619, July 25 (76 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11619high.pdf
Data Center Consolidation: Agencies Need to Complete Inventories and Plans to Achieve Expected Savings, GAO-11-565, July 19 (106 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11565high.pdf
Department of Veterans Affairs: Issues Related to Real Property Realignment and Future Health Care Costs, GAO-11-877T, July 27 (11 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-877T
DHS Science and Technology: Additional Steps Needed to Ensure Test and Evaluation Requirements Are Met, GAO-11-596, June 15 (61 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11596high.pdf
Dodd-Frank Act: Eleven Agencies' Estimates of Resources for Implementing Regulatory Reform, GAO-11-808T, July 14 (20 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-808T
Emergency Preparedness: Agencies Need Coordinated Guidance on Incorporating Telework into Emergency and Continuity Planning, GAO-11-628, July 22 (43 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11628high.pdf
FEMA and the Corps Have Taken Steps to Establish a Task Force, but FEMA Has Not Assessed the Costs of Collecting and Reporting All Levee-Related Concerns, GAO-11-689R, July 29 (15 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-689R
FEMA Has Made Progress in Managing Regionalization of Preparedness Grants, GAO-11-732R, July 29 (42 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-732R
Foreign Assistance: The United States Provides Wide-ranging Trade Capacity Building Assistance, but Better Reporting and Evaluation Are Needed, GAO-11-727, July 29 (65 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11727high.pdf
Information Technology: Continued Attention Needed to Accurately Report Federal Spending and Improve Management, GAO-11-831T, July 14 (18 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-831T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11831thigh.pdf
Interagency Collaboration: Implications of a Common Alignment of World Regions among Select Federal Agencies, GAO-11-776R, July 11 (40 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-776R
Social Media: Federal Agencies Need Policies and Procedures for Managing and Protecting Information They Access and Disseminate, GAO-11-605, June 28 (90 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11605high.pdf
Space and Missile Defense Acquisitions: Periodic Assessment Needed to Correct Parts Quality Problems in Major Programs, GAO-11-404, June 24 (63 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11404high.pdf
* * * HEALTH CARE * * *
Antibiotic Resistance: Data Gaps Will Remain Despite HHS Taking Steps to Improve Monitoring, GAO-11-406, June 1 (66 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11406high.pdf
Child Maltreatment: Strengthening National Data on Child Fatalities Could Aid in Prevention, GAO-11-599, July 7 (57 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11599high.pdf
Department of Veterans Affairs: Issues Related to Real Property Realignment and Future Health Care Costs, GAO-11-877T, July 27 (11 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-877T
EPA Health Risk Assessments: Sustained Management and Oversight Key to Overcoming Challenges, GAO-11-824T, July 14 (11 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-824T
Fraud Detection Systems: Additional Actions Needed to Support Program Integrity Efforts at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, GAO-11-822T, July 12 (14 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-822T
Fraud Detection Systems: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Needs to Ensure More Widespread Use, GAO-11-475, June 30 (49 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11475high.pdf
Improper Payments: Reported Medicare Estimates and Key Remediation Strategies, GAO-11-842T, July 28 (30 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11842thigh.pdf
Medicare Part D: Changes in Utilization Similar for Randomly Reassigned and Other Low-Income Subsidy Beneficiaries, GAO-11-546R, June 22 (21 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-546R
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Contracts Awarded and Consultants Retained by Federal Departments and Agencies to Assist in Implementing the Act, GAO-11-797R, July 14 (21 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-797R
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: Program Planning and Reporting, GAO-11-785, July 29 (44 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11785high.pdf
Safe Drinking Water Act: EPA Should Improve Implementation of Requirements on Whether to Regulate Additional Contaminants, GAO-11-254, May 27 (146 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11254high.pdf
Safe Drinking Water Act: Improvements in Implementation Are Needed to Better Assure the Public of Safe Drinking Water, GAO-11-803T, July 12 (24 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-803T
VA and DOD Health Care: First Federal Health Care Center Established, but Implementation Concerns Need to Be Addressed, GAO-11-570, July 19 (46 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11570high.pdf
Value in Health Care: Key Information for Policymakers to Assess Efforts to Improve Quality While Reducing Costs, GAO-11-445, July 26 (52 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11445high.pdf
World Trade Center Health Program: Administrator's Plans for Evaluating Clinics' Capabilities to Provide Required Data, GAO-11-793R, July 15 (33 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-793R
* * * HOMELAND SECURITY * * *
Aviation Security: TSA Has Enhanced Its Explosives Detection Requirements for Checked Baggage, but Additional Screening Actions Are Needed, GAO-11-740, July 11 (64 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11740high.pdf
Aviation Security: TSA Has Taken Actions to Improve Security, but Additional Efforts Remain, GAO-11-807T, July 13 (20 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11807thigh.pdf
Coast Guard: Action Needed As Approved Deepwater Program Remains Unachievable, GAO-11-743, July 28 (86 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11743high.pdf
Coast Guard: Civil Rights Directorate Can Enhance Workforce Restructuring Efforts, GAO-11-718, July 18 (45 pages)  http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-718
Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DHS has Developed a Strategic Plan for its Global Nuclear Detection Architecture, but Gaps Remain, GAO-11-869T, July 26 (14 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-869T
Combating Terrorism: Additional Steps Needed to Enhance Foreign Partners' Capacity to Prevent Terrorist Travel, GAO-11-637, June 30 (44 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11637high.pdf
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Status of Transition to Federal Immigration Law, GAO-11-805T, July 14 (21 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11805thigh.pdf
DHS Science and Technology: Additional Steps Needed to Ensure Test and Evaluation Requirements Are Met, GAO-11-596, June 15 (61 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11596high.pdf
Homeland Security: DHS Could Strengthen Acquisitions and Development of New Technologies, GAO-11-829T, July 15 (14 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-829T
Homeland Security: Protecting Federal Facilities Remains a Challenge for the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, GAO-11-813T, July 13 (18 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11813thigh.pdf
* * * HOUSING * * *
Mortgage Reform: Potential Impacts of Provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act on Homebuyers and the Mortgage Market, GAO-11-656, July 19 (83 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11656high.pdf
Residential Appraisals: Opportunities to Enhance Oversight of an Evolving Industry, GAO-11-653, July 13 (60 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11653high.pdf
Residential Appraisals: Opportunities to Enhance Oversight of an Evolving Industry, GAO-11-783T, July 13 (12 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-783T
* * * HUMAN CAPITAL * * *
Securities and Exchange Commission: Existing Post-Employment Controls Could Be Further Strengthened, GAO-11-654, July 12 (38 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11654high.pdf
* * * INFORMATION MANAGEMENT * * *
DOD Task Force For Business and Stability Operations: Actions Needed to Establish Project Management Guidelines and Enhance Information Sharing, GAO-11-715, July 29 (34 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11715high.pdf
Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking: National Data Collection Efforts Underway to Address Some Information Gaps, GAO-11-833T, July 13 (13 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-833T
Information Sharing Environment: Better Road Map Needed to Guide Implementation and Investments, GAO-11-455, July 21 (80 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11455high.pdf
Social Media: Federal Agencies Need Policies and Procedures for Managing and Protecting Information They Access and Disseminate, GAO-11-605, June 28 (90 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11605high.pdf
* * * INFORMATION SECURITY * * *
Cybersecurity: Continued Attention Needed to Protect Our Nation's Critical Infrastructure, GAO-11-865T, July 26 (20 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11865thigh.pdf
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: Definitions, Focal Point, and Methodology Needed for DOD to Develop Full-Spectrum Cyberspace Budget Estimates, GAO-11-695R, July 29 (33 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-695R
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: DOD Faces Challenges In Its Cyber Activities, GAO-11-75, July 25 (79 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d1175high.pdf
Social Media: Federal Agencies Need Policies and Procedures for Managing and Protecting Information They Access and Disseminate, GAO-11-605, June 28 (90 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11605high.pdf
* * * INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY * * *
Data Center Consolidation: Agencies Need to Complete Inventories and Plans to Achieve Expected Savings, GAO-11-565, July 19 (106 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11565high.pdf
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: Definitions, Focal Point, and Methodology Needed for DOD to Develop Full-Spectrum Cyberspace Budget Estimates, GAO-11-695R, July 29 (33 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-695R
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: DOD Faces Challenges In Its Cyber Activities, GAO-11-75, July 25 (79 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d1175high.pdf
Information Technology: Continued Attention Needed to Accurately Report Federal Spending and Improve Management, GAO-11-831T, July 14 (18 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11831thigh.pdf
Information Technology: DHS Needs to Improve Its Independent Acquisition Reviews, GAO-11-581, July 28 (65 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11581high.pdf
USDA Systems Modernization: Management and Oversight Improvements Are Needed, GAO-11-586, July 20 (47 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11586high.pdf
* * * INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS * * *
Afghanistan: Actions Needed to Improve Accountability of U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan Government, GAO-11-710, July 20 (48 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11710high.pdf
Burma: UN and U.S. Agencies Assisted Cyclone Victims in Difficult Environment, but Improved U.S. Monitoring Needed, GAO-11-700, July 26 (82 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11700high.pdf
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Status of Transition to Federal Immigration Law, GAO-11-805T, July 14 (21 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11805thigh.pdf
Department of Commerce: Office of Manufacturing and Services Could Better Measure and Communicate Its Contributions to Trade Policy, GAO-11-583, June 7 (45 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11583high.pdf
Foreign Assistance: The United States Provides Wide-ranging Trade Capacity Building Assistance, but Better Reporting and Evaluation Are Needed, GAO-11-727, July 29 (65 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11727high.pdf
Interagency Collaboration: Implications of a Common Alignment of World Regions among Select Federal Agencies, GAO-11-776R, July 11 (40 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-776R
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Compacts in Cape Verde and Honduras Achieved Reduced Targets, GAO-11-728, July 25 (124 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11728high.pdf
Pakistan Assistance: Relatively Little of the $3 Billion in Requested Assistance Is Subject to State's Certification of Pakistan's Progress on Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism Issues, GAO-11-786R, July 19 (18 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-786R
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: Program Planning and Reporting, GAO-11-785, July 29 (44 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11785high.pdf
The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Information on the Rate of Sexual Violence in War-Torn Eastern DRC and Adjoining Countries, GAO-11-702, July 13 (39 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11702high.pdf
* * * JUSTICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT * * *
Bankruptcy: Complex Financial Institutions and International Coordination Pose Challenges, GAO-11-707, July 19 (143 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11707high.pdf
Child Maltreatment: Strengthening National Data on Child Fatalities Could Aid in Prevention, GAO-11-599, July 7 (57 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11599high.pdf
Combatting Illicit Drugs: DEA and ICE Interagency Agreement Has Helped to Ensure Better Coordination of Drug Investigations, GAO-11-763, July 28 (57 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11763high.pdf
Criminal Cartel Enforcement: Stakeholder Views on Impact of 2004 Antitrust Reform Are Mixed, but Support Whistleblower Protection, GAO-11-619, July 25 (76 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11619high.pdf
Fraud Detection Systems: Additional Actions Needed to Support Program Integrity Efforts at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, GAO-11-822T, July 12 (14 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-822T
Fraud Detection Systems: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Needs to Ensure More Widespread Use, GAO-11-475, June 30 (49 pages)Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11475high.pdf
Missing Children: DOJ Could Enhance Oversight to Help Ensure That Law Enforcement Agencies Report Cases in a Timely Manner, GAO-11-444, June 21 (35 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11444high.pdf
Securities Fraud Liability of Secondary Actors, GAO-11-664, July 21 (47 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-664
* * * NATIONAL DEFENSE * * *
Air Force Working Capital Fund: Budgeting and Management of Carryover Work and Funding Could Be Improved, GAO-11-539, July 7 (41 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11539high.pdf
Army and Marine Corps Training: Metrics Needed to Assess Initiatives on Training Management Skills, GAO-11-673, July 28 (31 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11673high.pdf
Ballistic Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve Training Integration and Increase Transparency of Training Resources, GAO-11-625, July 18 (44 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11625high.pdf
Coast Guard: Action Needed As Approved Deepwater Program Remains Unachievable, GAO-11-743, July 28 (86 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11743high.pdf
Defense Acquisitions: DOD Can Improve Its Management of Configuration Steering Boards, GAO-11-640, July 7 (37 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11640high.pdf
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: Definitions, Focal Point, and Methodology Needed for DOD to Develop Full-Spectrum Cyberspace Budget Estimates, GAO-11-695R, July 29 (33 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-695R
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: DOD Faces Challenges In Its Cyber Activities, GAO-11-75, July 25 (79 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d1175high.pdf
Defense Logistics: DOD Needs to Take Additional Actions to Address Challenges in Supply Chain Management, GAO-11-569, July 28 (52 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11569high.pdf
Defense Logistics: Oversight and a Coordinated Strategy Needed to Implement the Army Workload and Performance System, GAO-11-566R, July 14 (37 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-566R
Defense Management: Actions Needed to Improve Management of Air Force's Food Transformation Initiative, GAO-11-676, July 26 (49 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11676high.pdf
DHS Science and Technology: Additional Steps Needed to Ensure Test and Evaluation Requirements Are Met, GAO-11-596, June 15 (61 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11596high.pdf
DOD Civilian Personnel: Competency Gap Analyses and Other Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Strategic Workforce Plans, GAO-11-827T, July 14 (19 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11827thigh.pdf
DOD Financial Management: Numerous Challenges Must Be Addressed to Achieve Auditability, GAO-11-64T, July 28 (23 pages)   Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11864thigh.pdf
DOD Financial Management: Numerous Challenges Must Be Addressed to Improve Reliability of Financial Information, GAO-11-835T, July 27 (23 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11835thigh.pdf
DOD Task Force For Business and Stability Operations: Actions Needed to Establish Project Management Guidelines and Enhance Information Sharing, GAO-11-715, July 29 (34 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11715high.pdf
Military Readiness: Navy's Report to Congress on the Impact of Training and Crew Size on Surface Force Material Readiness, GAO-11-746R, July 7 (11 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-746R
Space and Missile Defense Acquisitions: Periodic Assessment Needed to Correct Parts Quality Problems in Major Programs, GAO-11-404, June 24 (63 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11404high.pdf
VA and DOD Health Care: First Federal Health Care Center Established, but Implementation Concerns Need to Be Addressed, GAO-11-570, July 19 (46 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11570high.pdf
* * * NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT * * *
Abandoned Mines: Information on the Number of Hardrock Mines, Cost of Cleanup, and Value of Financial Assurances, GAO-11-834T, July 14 (13 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11834thigh.pdf
Climate Change Adaptation: Aligning Funding with Strategic Priorities, GAO-11-876T, July 28 (18 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11876thigh.pdf
Drinking Water: Unreliable State Data Limit EPA's Ability to Target Enforcement Priorities and Communicate Water Systems' Performance, GAO-11-381, June 17 (74 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11381high.pdf
EPA Health Risk Assessments: Sustained Management and Oversight Key to Overcoming Challenges, GAO-11-824T, July 14 (11 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-824T
Safe Drinking Water Act: EPA Should Improve Implementation of Requirements on Whether to Regulate Additional Contaminants, GAO-11-254, May 27 (146 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11254high.pdf
Safe Drinking Water Act: Improvements in Implementation Are Needed to Better Assure the Public of Safe Drinking Water, GAO-11-803T, July 12 (24 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-803T
* * * RETIREMENT SECURITY * * *
Federal Workers' Compensation: Questions to Consider in Changing Benefits for Older Beneficiaries, GAO-11-854T, July 26 (15 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-854T
Retirement Income: Ensuring Income throughout Retirement Requires Difficult Choices, GAO-11-400, June 7 (79 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11400high.pdf
Social Security Statements: Observations on SSA's Plans for the Social Security Statement, GAO-11-787T, July 8 (25 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11787thigh.pdf
* * * SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY * * *
DHS Science and Technology: Additional Steps Needed to Ensure Test and Evaluation Requirements Are Met, GAO-11-596, June 15 (61 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-596
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11596high.pdf
Nextgen Air Transportation System: Mechanisms for Collaboration and Technology Transfer Could Be Enhanced to More Fully Leverage Partner Agency and Industry Resources, GAO-11-604, June 30 (41 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11604high.pdf
Space Research: Content and Coordination of Space Science and Technology Strategy Need to Be More Robust, GAO-11-722, July 19 (31 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11722high.pdf
* * * SPACE * * *
NASA Needs to Better Assess Contract Termination Liability Risks and Ensure Consistency in Its Practices, GAO-11-609R, July 12 (18 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-609R
Space and Missile Defense Acquisitions: Periodic Assessment Needed to Correct Parts Quality Problems in Major Programs, GAO-11-404, June 24 (63 pages) 
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11404high.pdf
Space Research: Content and Coordination of Space Science and Technology Strategy Need to Be More Robust, GAO-11-722, July 19 (31 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-722
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11722high.pdf
* * * TAX POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION * * *
Criminal Cartel Enforcement: Stakeholder Views on Impact of 2004 Antitrust Reform Are Mixed, but Support Whistleblower Protection, GAO-11-619, July 25 (76 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11619high.pdf
Investment Management: IRS Has a Strong Oversight Process but Needs to Improve How It Continues Funding Ongoing Investments, GAO-11-587, July 20 (47 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11587high.pdf
Tax Preparer Regulation: Improving Tax Return Accuracy Depends on IRS's Use of New Requirements, GAO-11-868T, July 28 (13 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11868thigh.pdf
Value-Added Taxes: Potential Lessons for the United States from Other Countries' Experiences, GAO-11-867T, July 26 (14 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11867thigh.pdf
* * * TELECOMMUNICATIONS * * *
Children's Television Act: FCC Could Improve Efforts to Oversee Enforcement and Provide Public Information, GAO-11-659, July 14 (42 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11659high.pdf
Defense Department Cyber Efforts: DOD Faces Challenges In Its Cyber Activities, GAO-11-75, July 25 (79 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d1175high.pdf
* * * TRANSPORTATION * * *
Aviation Security: TSA Has Enhanced Its Explosives Detection Requirements for Checked Baggage, but Additional Screening Actions Are Needed, GAO-11-740, July 11 (64 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11740high.pdf
Aviation Security: TSA Has Taken Actions to Improve Security, but Additional Efforts Remain, GAO-11-807T, July 13 (20 pages) Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11807thigh.pdf
Nextgen Air Transportation System: Mechanisms for Collaboration and Technology Transfer Could Be Enhanced to More Fully Leverage Partner Agency and Industry Resources, GAO-11-604, June 30 (41 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11604high.pdf
Traffic and Vehicle Safety: Reauthorization Offers Opportunities to Extend Recent Progress, GAO-11-866T, July 27 (21 pages)   Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11866thigh.pdf
* * * VETERANS * * *
Data Center Consolidation: Agencies Need to Complete Inventories and Plans to Achieve Expected Savings, GAO-11-565, July 19 (106 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11565high.pdf
Department of Veterans Affairs: Issues Related to Real Property Realignment and Future Health Care Costs, GAO-11-877T, July 27 (11 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-877T
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: Preliminary Information on Actions Taken by Agencies to Address Fraud and Abuse and Remaining Vulnerabilities, GAO-11-589T, July 28 (13 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11589thigh.pdf
VA and DOD Health Care: First Federal Health Care Center Established, but Implementation Concerns Need to Be Addressed, GAO-11-570, July 19 (46 pages)
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11570high.pdf
* * * WORKER AND FAMILY ASSISTANCE * * *
Child Fatalities from Maltreatment: National Data Could Be Strengthened, GAO-11-811T, July 12 (9 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-811T
Child Maltreatment: Strengthening National Data on Child Fatalities Could Aid in Prevention, GAO-11-599, July 7 (57 pages)  Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11599high.pdf
Disability Insurance: SSA Can Improve Efforts to Detect, Prevent, and Recover Overpayments, GAO-11-724, July 27 (48 pages) http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11724high.pdf
Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking: National Data Collection Efforts Underway to Address Some Information Gaps, GAO-11-833T, July 13 (13 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-833T
* * * LEGAL PRODUCTS: DECISIONS AND OPINIONS * * *
Ahtna Facility Services, Inc., B-404913,B-404913.2, June 30 (12 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404913,B-404913.2
American Physical Security Group, LLC, B-405059, July 25 (5 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-405059
A1 Procurement, JVG, B-404618.3, July 26 (5 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404618.3
Birdstrike Control Program, B-404986, July 15 (8 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404986
Contract for Legal Services, B-322147, July 6 (6 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-322147
D'Andre Insurance Services, LLC, B-405046, July 21 (6 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-405046
Explo Systems, Inc., B-404952,B-404952.2, July 8 (11 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404952,B-404952.2
Intermarkets Global, B-400660.12,B-400660.13, May 6 (10 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-400660.12,B-400660.13
KGL Food Services, WLL; Intermarkets Global--Costs, B-400660.7,B-400660.8, June 20 (4 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-400660.7,B-400660.8
KNAPP Logistics Automation, Inc.--Protest and Costs, B-404887.2,B-404887.3, July 27 (5 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404887.2,B-404887.3
L-3 STRATIS, B-404865, June 8 (11 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404865
Mission Essential Personnel, LLC, B-404218.2,B-404218.3, June 14 (6 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404218.2,B-404218.3
National Labor Relations Board--Recording Obligations for Training and Court Reporting, B-321296, July 13 (8 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-321296
One Largo Metro LLC; Metroview Development Holdings, LLC; King Farm Associates, LLC, B-404896,B-404896.2,B-404896.3,B-404896.4,B-404896.5,B-404896.6,B-404896.7, June 20 (20 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404896,B-404896.2,B-404896.3,B-404896.4,B-404896.5,B-404896.6,B-404896.7
Re-Engineered Business Solutions, Inc.--Costs, B-404214.4, July 14 (3 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404214.4
Rod Robertson Enterprises, Inc., B-404476, January 31 (4 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404476
SafeGuard Services, LLC, B-404910, June 28 (6 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404910
SHG National, LLC, B-404613.3, July 20 (6 pages)
http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404613.3
* * * LEGAL PRODUCTS: FEDERAL AGENCY MAJOR RULES * * *
Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service: National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, GAO-11-792R, July 6 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-792R
Department of Energy: Energy Priorities and Allocations System Regulations, GAO-11-789R, July 1 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-789R
Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration: Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, GAO-11-841R, July 26 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-841R
Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary: Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Operating Rules for Eligibility for a Health Plan and Health Care Claim Status Transactions, GAO-11-838R, July 21 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-838R
Department of Health and Human Services: World Trade Center Health Program Requirements for Enrollment, Appeals, Certification of Health Conditions, and Reimbursement, GAO-11-821R, July 15 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-821R
Department of Housing and Urban Development: SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act: Minimum Licensing Standards and Oversight Responsibilities, GAO-11-817R, July 14 (5 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-817R
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Revision of Fee Schedules; Fee Recovery for Fiscal Year 2011, GAO-11-818R, July 15 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-818R
Securities and Exchange Commission: Family Offices, GAO-11-816R, July 14 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-816R
Securities and Exchange Commission: Rules Implementing Amendments to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, GAO-11-862R, July 28 (4 pages) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-862R
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Happy 50th, Mr. President


I have my differences with Mr. Obama, but birthday wishes is not one of them.

Many happy returns on reaching the big 5-0!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Crash Courses


I'm proud of what I came up for my title today, as this post is about more than one crash course. One, as in the seminar I attended last week. And Two, as in our crashing credit rating and economy-sinking debt (see cartoon above).

I am finally posting about the 2 days of the Health Care Costs Containment seminar with my friend Vanny.
I am really supposed to avoid doing anything stressful 2 or more days in a row as an all-day activity, so attending it did have me limited as to my activities. Anyway, this is it!
I'd planned to blog more in a lot more detail about the seminar, mostly to avoid writing about the congressional debt ceiling crap, but also because I think what I learned was very surprising. Now that I'm getting a later start on it, let me just summarize it as best I can.

Did you know that there are companies called risk analysis firms, that take our health care info and create statistics out of them? Yup. Because of privacy laws, insurance companies, private employers and doctor practices cannot send them our names or social security numbers, but they can assign each of us code numbers, scrub the records of privates and then share them with these kinds of companies. The risk analyzers take this info (which also includes what we each cost the system) and make all kinds of statistical conclusions out of it, sending reports and recommendations back to the sender companies.

They've been around for a few decades now. So far, they've just mostly been able to advise about tweaking benefit packages -- increasing co-pays on this plan or that, this procedure or that. But recently, as health care costs have increased even more, they are being asked to go further and deeper with their data analysis. It's predicted that risk analysis will soon dramatically change health care as we know it, no matter who provides it, and in surprising ways.

After recovering from the shock, it becomes apparent that this is enormous. For good and ill. I'd read an article in The New Yorker earlier in the year about some do-good doctors who used this kind of data analysis done by Verisk Analytics to actually help a few patients reverse damaging longterm trends and become cheaper to the system as well as healthier. At the time, I considered it noble, but I also wrote it off to anecdoctal insignificance. After last week seeing its power spotlighted, it's gotten me to taking it more seriously.

We attended a few talks and panels that attempted to show this analytical power in more specific (and surprising) settings. The one which stood out most in my mind was the panel discussion that dealt with the longterm health care cost liabilities of marathon runners. Not the professional ones. I'm talking the ones among us. The guy or gal down the block, the coworker, the boss...there are tons of folks who do this and/or train to do this. If you read crafters and artists' blogs, you read about plenty of them. It seems to be the in-thing, especially among Generation X women, as far as I can tell.

As the panel explained, at first people usually begin running as exercise to lose weight or get fit. But for many it soon becomes an obsession linked with higher risk taking, similar to those who get hooked on drag racing or bungee jumping or even four-wheeling. The runners don't often see it this way, though. Many see it as some sort of ultimate character-building. And they tell themselves it is the healthiest thing they can do for themselves and that it's all-good with no health downside. Many doctors agree.

But the more sophisticated emerging risk analysis statistics are beginning to tell a bit different tale.

Short-term damage to the heart after extended running (basically triggering a flight-or-fight response that lasts way longer than it ever was meant to in humans) is also being suspected now of causing long term damage as well, because of statistics being analyzed patient history by patient history over longer time by fresh third-party eyes.

Then, there is also the long term damage to skeleto-muscular frames. This was actually one of the high cost items that first caused health care providers to marry up with risk analyzers, because of the increase in surgeries on joints and ligaments. One panel presenter said he's learned they are alarmed at the huge increase in arthritises, wondering if this is solely a degeneration thing, or whether the aggravated state of joint distress may actually trigger the disease.

It does not help that researchers cannot help answer this yet. While they have made strides in identifying congenital / hereditary dna markers for it, there is still a big internal debate about it being a virus and how it strikes. Hereditary cases only account for perhaps 20% of all forms of arthritis as far as we know now, so that's alot of cases out there being triggered by stuff that's still mysterious.

Yikes! As someone who owns 5 of those arthritis babies through my genes (I never was a runner...aka jogger in my day...although I did try once, my boobs were always too big for comfort), I can honestly say that mine were not triggered by running, but I cannot think of any kind of high worth the pain and crippling that I now endure. So, my empathy is with someone who does something for years they think is healthful, only to find out, not completely.

Heart and joint damage are one thing, but another panel added addiction to the list, and frankly this surprised me most of all. I really wanted to scoff, but I did google once I got home, looking for something to confirm or deny. And geez, I landed in more than a few online running forum discussions about this! Wow. Comments like, have you ever known a dedicated runner who wasn't grouchy and demanding? And what if they cannot run due to injury or environment? I really only spent less than an hour on it, but just in that small timeframe I found more than a few runners who were quite candid about their concerns about having OCD or Narcissistic Personality or being an addict to the endomorphins and the self-discipline, the sacrifice, the uber-human effort.

Another presenter talked about how it's really tough to tell the addict that what they are doing has good effects for one part of the body (lungs and circulation), but they are playing with russian roulette fire when it comes to other body systems. He talked about all the teenage school sports deaths where the kid just drops dead, and that the majority of them are on the basketball court after a prolonged period of constant running.

Plus, remember when it came out a few years back that you could receive similar aerobic results with less work or time? He said that also buried in that were study finding recommends to walk and swim over running/jogging. That was the beginning of what these analyses were showing, but as often happens, never got fully explained, because the media does not always interpret properly. The panel said there should have been more emphasis placed on the dangers of marathon running.

The next panel day dealt with future trends possibly resulting from findings like these. IOW, a health care system that uses risk analysis to determine care, pre-existing conditions, coverage of procedures...would it end up treating a marathon runner as suspiciously as an obese smoker? Quite possibly, was the panel's consensus, because it is all about the numbers and cost is a big number. Someone noted at that point that, thanks to risk analysis, they are also discovering there are a shockingly big number of older and elderly people still among us who are obese and/or who smoke. Hehe, you know I heard that, for sure.

I learned other things at the seminar, but I've shared what was to me the most surprising thing, about the marathon running. I frankly hesitated at first about sharing this, because I do not want to turn off readers who do run. So just know that I am only the messenger here! So if you think it's all bunk, then go right ahead. But at least I've shared it.

I just hope that my friends who choose this form of exercise know all the risks in order to make an informed decision, and that many doctors are not the ones to inform them, as they are not privy to all of the risk analysis and many of them run themselves so they think it's wonderful. But, really, we live in a time where research findings and associated advice change all the time, so how would we know what is right or wrong long term anymore? Sigh. So, I'd say, take this with a grain of salt, but file it away as well, in case later you see corroboration to add to it later.