pawatercooler.com

Toying with us

In a sane and rational world, and in light of the illegal delays and waivers issued by the administration, insisting that the individual mandate be delayed for a year was not a particularly radical demand.

Despondency surged as I realized Obama was toying with us, much like a predator might play with its prey before delivering the death-blow. The administration took extraordinary care to make sure the shutdown was as inconvenient as possible, shutting down things that it is not ordinarily possible to shut down, such as open-air monuments, private businesses and homes,… and the ocean.

At first I thought Obama’s strategy might backfire. Surely he had overplayed his hand! Then I watched the 6:30 news for a few evenings. And what finally convinced me that the administration would get away with it was the concern-trolling by the media about the Obamacare rollout failures.

–Oh, if only the Republicans’ antics weren’t sucking up so much oxygen, we might be able to report more about these glitches in Obamacare!–

Really? What have I experienced in the last five years would lead me to believe that the media was eager to report on a story reflecting negatively on Obama? Would that be the failure of the stimulus? Or Fast and Furious? Or Benghazi? Or the IRS?

No, they were pretty openly mocking conservatives. They knew what an empty promise they were suggesting.

Brian Williams’ snarky asides during the evening newscasts would have made Dan “fake but accurate” Rather blush.

Speaking of Benghazi, the modus operandi was pretty similar. Put out some bogus story for the weekend/Sunday show cycle, allow the media to go with it, and let the story die within a week, because heaven knows neither the media nor the American public has an attention span longer than a week. With Benghazi it was that ridiculous story about the YouTube video. With Obamacare, it was the fairy tale about overwhelming demand for the product.

Though nobody was exactly covered in glory in the public’s eye, polls showed Republicans faring worse than Democrats on the subject of the “negotiations” long before any actual negotiations took place, and in spite of the fact that it was the publicly stated position of both Harry and Barry that they would not be negotiating at all. The mind boggles.

And to top it off, you’ve got the likes of John McCain, who should be ejected from the party for serial violations of the eleventh commandment. If anybody invents a time machine, they need to loan McCain the Delorean so he can go back and retire 15 years ago.

This is not an environment in which any serious policy debates can be had, let alone won.

Oh, and the next time somebody says we’ll have more leverage on the debt ceiling rather than the continuing resolution, just go ahead and slap that person in the face for me.

October 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm Comments (0)

Deroy Murdock: How to Defund Obamacare

I’ve tried to make the case that Obamacare should be defunded, and Deroy Murdock shows us how to defund Obamacare at National Review.

Some highlights:

Republican lawmakers should stop quivering in fear of a president with a 44 percent Gallup job-approval rating. With a little courage and creativity, Republicans could fight the defunding battle effectively — if not to immediate victory, then to this dreadful program’s ultimate detriment. Here’s how:

[...]

Second, Republicans should adopt the Left’s practice of giving bills delicious titles. How can they counter liberal claims that they want to padlock Washington? Call their Obamacare-defunding vehicle the Keep Government Open Act of 2013.

[...]

Fourth, with news cameras present, every House Republican should march this physical bill through the U.S. Capitol and over to the doors of the Senate chamber. “The Republican House has voted to fund federal services,” Speaker John Boehner should declare. “We hereby deliver this bill to the Democratic Senate to complete the people’s work and keep America’s government open.”

September 2, 2013 at 9:32 am Comments (0)

I have a very short list of chores for the legislature

To say I’m sorely disappointed in a lot of Republican state Senators is putting it mildly.

Almost never should a person attempt a primary challenge on the basis of just one vote, but let’s just say I wouldn’t shed a lot of tears if some of the yes voters happened to lose their primaries.

Apparently some folks haven’t gotten the memo that we’re broke.  And I don’t just mean PA, but the whole United States, federal, state, and local – soup to nuts.

As a whole, the legislature needs to man-up.  Fix the pension system.  Sell the liquor stores.  Don’t expand  entitlements that are going to bankrupt us sooner rather than later.

It’s a short list.  Memorize it.

July 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm Comment (1)

#Gosnell Reporting

JD Mullane from the Bucks County Courier Times is pretty much the only reporter following case inside the courtroom.

Thursday’s testimony had sensational details. The court staff, convinced it would attract journalists from around the nation, has set aside three rows of seats to accommodate up to 40 reporters. But all Thursday morning, as Ashly Baldwin testified to horror after horror, only one reporter was in the reserved seating — me.

Several local news outlets were there, scattered about the mostly empty courtroom. The Philadelphia Inquirer had a reporter there. NBC10 sent a blogger for its website. The AP stopped in, but the reporter told me that resources are thin and trial coverage is not gavel to gavel.

An hour into afternoon testimony, Jon Hurdle of The New York Times showed up, and a few minutes later was gone.

The lack of daily media coverage for the most sensational abortion trial angers pro-lifers who said there is a “media black out” on the Gosnell trial.

I asked one of the court staff why so few are interested.

“If you’re pro-choice, do you really want anybody to know about this,” he said, motioning to the filthy medical equipment set up in the courtroom.

… and there’s your answer.

April 15, 2013 at 8:55 am Comments (0)

Obamacare couldn’t possibly derail this…

Good news for Western Pennsylvania:

Medical Device Manufacturer Selects W. PA for New Plant

A fast-growing manufacturer of components for medical devices and surgical instruments is expanding its business with a new operation in Cranberry.

Cadence Inc., based in Staunton, Va., said it will build a “clean-room” assembly area in leased space in the Cranberry Business Park.

The facility is expected to open during the first quarter next year and eventually employ about 60 workers. With special air-handling equipment and procedures, a clean room is used to assemble and package sterilized medical equipment.

“Pittsburgh was chosen for Cadence’s newest facility because of the availability of employees with specialized medical device knowledge and experience,” the privately held contract-manufacturing company said in a statement.

That’s nice to hear. I sure hope the Obamacare surtax on medical devices doesn’t kill this company before they get a chance to create some jobs.

Obamacare: bending the cost employment curve down.

November 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm Comments (0)

Tip The Scales Against Obesity? Try Shame

                                                        Part 2 of 2 on obesity, bullying, and the lack of shame in America

Several years ago, one of the best-loved theme parks in the world shut down a classic ride so it could make some “large” adjustments.  Why the need? It was something very “deep-seated” — people had become so obese that the boats in which they rode were scraping the bottom.

 

How would obese patrons feel if, in front of hundreds, they were required to stand in a different queue — one simply marked “Obese Riders Here.” And that instead of meeting just the height requirement, they were also forced to meet a “width” criteria.

 

Or when boarding an airplane, fat people would be called separately so they could sit in extra-wide seats, for which they pay double?

 

And what if stadiums had a section of reinforced double-wide seats where obese folks were required to sit?

 

Unfortunately, our country doesn’t binge on such options, which is truly a shame.

 

Literally.

 

And that’s precisely the problem.  There is no shame.

 

In genuflecting to political correctness, America shuns shame. It has become a nation so afraid to offend that it turns a blind to its biggest problems, such as obesity.   And that problem is burgeoning. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and a staggering percentage of our children — our future — are growing up (and out) with little regard for how this epidemic will impact them. In this regard, some medical experts have predicted that our children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. For many, they are the product of their environment, where parents (many obese themselves) and society as a whole have sent the message that being fat is no “big” deal.  The stigma once rightly associated with obesity is disappearing as quickly as fat is accumulating.

 

So how do we get to the bottom of this problem?  For starters, shame.  Because no matter what else is attempted, if shame is not the cornerstone of the solution, the situation will never improve.

 

*****

 

Two fantastic and courageous examples of how shame is being effectively utilized are occurring in Georgia and Minnesota.  In Atlanta, an extensive advertising campaign “Stop Sugarcoating It,” sponsored by Children’s Healthcare, targets childhood obesity.  Taglines under obese children include “Warning…It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not”; “Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid”; and “Big Bones Didn’t Make Me This Way…Big Meals Did.” There was also a YouTube ad with a sad girl saying, “I don’t like going to school, because all the other kids pick on me. It hurts my feelings.”

 

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota has launched a similar campaign, targeting overweight parents whose behavior is often mimicked by their children. One ad shows two chubby boys arguing about whose dad can eat more — a discussion overheard by a father as he approaches their table with a heaping tray of fast food.  Another shows an obese woman filling her shopping cart with junk food, only to notice that her obese daughter is doing the exact same thing with a smaller cart.

 

Both campaigns use shame correctly. Without being mean-spirited or over-the-top, they prod people to acknowledge, and change, their unhealthy behavior. Not surprisingly, though, both have something else in common: significant criticism from the waistline-challenged community.  Their biggest beef? It’s not education, but shaming, which, of course is “bullying.”

 

They simply don’t get it.

 

Shaming isn’t the total panacea, but it must be an integral part of the solution. And there is no better example than how it changed the perception of smoking, once considered cool but now viewed with utter disdain.  Sure, cigarettes are expensive, but that’s not why smoking is down.  It’s because society made a conscious effort to shame smokers.  Try lighting up in a bar with co-workers, and you receive dagger-like stares. Do it outside, and people immediately move away, because smoking is regarded as disgusting, and therefore, the smoker must be, too.

 

Smoking kills, and we have no problem pointing out that as a deterrent.  But so does obesity, yet we hesitate to mention it.  Just as non-smokers are picking up the tab for the massive medical costs related to smoking, non-overweight people are subsidizing the obese since it is “discriminatory” to charge differently for health care (though a section of the Affordable Care Act would change that).

 

But unlike the “good old days,” shaming is now taboo. No one is ever at fault or accountable for his actions. Consider:

 

-It used to be, when a student received a detention, they weren’t just shamed in front of their classmates.  They knew they had to tell their parents, which would invariably trigger another punishment.

 

Contrast that to the reaction this week of a New Jersey principal’s letter to parents about pictures of their underage children on Facebook holding alcohol bottles. Instead of thanking the principal for bringing that situation to their attention, a number of parents ripped him.

 

-Airlines have attempted to charge double for obese passengers whose girth extends beyond the armrests. While this is clearly commonsense, since not doing so penalizes paying passengers of normal weight, such policies are met with scorn and even lawsuits by those lobbying for obesity-without-consequence.

 

-And since it would be considered “discriminatory” to have an obese-only section in stadiums, seats are being made wider to accommodate overly plump posteriors.  And when seats are wider, there are fewer of them.  Who pays?  You do.  The same way that the non-obese eat the cost of new toilets that must be installed with ground supports, as the standard wall-mounted commodes can no longer bear the weight of America’s fat brigade.

 

We have coddled ourselves so much that we have shamed using shame.  As a result, people have become clueless to their appearance.  Sure, what’s under the skin matters, and no one should feel that obese people are bad, but what’s on the outside counts, too. Or at least it should.  But go to any beach, and count how many linebacker-sized women are showcasing themselves in bikinis.  Ditto for men whose guts reach the next block.  Since they all have mirrors, one can only assume that shame is simply not a part of their lives.

 

Should we have scarlet letters for the obese? Of course not, since there is no problem identifying them. But we should employ shame to shed light on an issue that affects us all, in the same way that some judges order drunk drivers to place “Convicted DUI” bumper stickers on their cars.

 

And speaking of cars, how shameful is it that overweight people are not just guzzling food, but fuel?  A recent report calculated that 1 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted every year (one percent of the nation’s total) just to haul Americans’ extra pounds. And given that the average American weighs 24 more pounds than in 1960, airlines are using roughly 175 million more gallons of jet fuel per year just to accommodate the overweight.  That’s downright shameful.

 

And if not shame, then what? Do we tax fast food? Soda? Candy?  Do we regulate portion size? No to all. Not only are such ideas preposterous and unenforceable, but they are tactics, not strategy.  It’s time to tip the scales against obesity and solve the problem.

 

Otherwise, we will soon find out that the “elephant in the room” isn’t a pachyderm at all.

 

It’s an average American.

 

                                                                                     *****

As published in Delaware County Daily Times:

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/10/16/opinion/doc507c724224c08947340181.txt

Part 1, as published in Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

 http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/10/10/america-open-honest-conversation-fat-people/

 

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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October 16, 2012 at 9:47 am Comments (0)

Obese News Anchor Sinks Over A Weighty Issue

Part 1 of 2 on obesity, bullying and the lack of shame in America

 

Think just because there’s a presidential election there aren’t other “big” issues? Believe that, and pigs can fly.

 

In fact, there is a large — huge, even — discussion eating at many Americans, the girth of which we are still trying to get our arms around.

 

What is this weighty issue that once again has been feasted upon by both sides?

 

The massive rate of obesity in America, and whether publicly calling attention to it, as well as obese individuals themselves, should be on the table.

 

The obesity issue got cooking again after overweight news anchor Jennifer Livingston of WKBT in La Crosse, Wisconsin, received a private email from a viewer.  Kenneth Krause called her weight into question, asking whether she considered herself “a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular,” and adding, “Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.” He ended by hoping that she would, “reconsider (her) responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

 

Since Livingston’s skin was surprisingly thin for someone in the public eye, she responded with a four-minute on-air editorial rebuking Krause.

 

But rather than giving viewers food for thought regarding her perspective on obesity, she left everyone wondering “Where’s the beef?” by barely weighing in on the issue at all. Instead she had a cow, ranting incessantly about bullying.  Yes— bullying. To the point where she even blubbered about how those struggling with sexual preference, skin color and even acne needed to stand up to bullying.

 

Bravo!  And since anchors often sink, that classic bait-and-switch tactic ensures Ms. Livingston a long political career should her day job not pan out.

 

However…

 

While many other media outlets are fawning over Livingston’s diatribe, Freindly Fire won’t serve up Grade A compliments so freely.  This is far too much at steak — stake, sorry — to allow her to duck the meat of the issue.

 

*****

 

First item on the menu are the facts:

 

1) Livingston received a private email, and chose to go public with it. Krause didn’t “bully” her, but offered his opinion to a public figure —which Livingston certainly is. She could have responded privately or simply ignored it. Getting nasty emails is part of the job.  Hell, Yours Truly gets pummeled so often — including occasional death threats — that a “bullying” email like Krause’s would be a dream. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the…kitchen.

 

And would someone please explain how a non-vulgar, non-threatening email can be even remotely considered bullying?

 

2) Every single aspect of the obesity epidemic needs to be discussed in an open, straightforward and respectful manner, regardless of whether feelings are hurt. That’s not bullying. It’s constructive dialogue, something quickly disappearing from the American scene.

 

3) The vast, vast majority of obesity cases — which includes nearly 40 percent of the

American adult population — are due to lifestyle choices, namely, immense overeating and a lack of physical activity. Only an extremely small percentage is related to medical conditions.

 

4) Let’s put a fork in the myth — perpetuated by so many obese people — that thyroid conditions are more prevalent than the common cold. Not only are they rare, but there are numerous medications which treat that condition, combating weight gain. Interestingly, Livingston never mentioned during her editorial that she had a thyroid condition. That morsel only came out after the story — and Livingston herself — became an international headline.

 

*****

 

 

In fairness to Livingston, it would seem that Krause formulated his opinion not knowing if she had a medical condition that contributed to her obesity.  While the odds were certainly in his favor that she did not, it would have been prudent to have addressed that question in his correspondence.

 

That said, as big as Livingston has become, given her appearances on national television shows, she is not the issue. Nor is Krause.

 

But before we get to the skinny on obesity, it is equally important to understand what this issue isn’t about — namely bullying.  Does it exist? Of course. Always has and always will. And reasonable efforts should be made to fight it. But “bullying” has become the catch-all phrase we use whenever someone feels jilted, offended, or bad about themselves.  The truly tragic part is that combating real bullying has taken a backseat to an all-appeasing political correctness running rampant throughout America.

 

From social media to the schoolyard, we’ve reached the point where children are no longer permitted to fight their own battles, instead seeing the authorities swoop in at the first sign of conflict.  Sounds nice, and sometimes intervention is necessary, but for the most part, that paternalism leaves children woefully unprepared for that pesky thing called The Real World.  And now we are seeing the results of crib-to-college coddling: our businesses are sanitized risk-averse petri-dish experiments for social engineering, wars are fought so as to not offend the enemy, and scoreboards are often turned off in youth sports so a team down by 5 goals doesn’t cry and quit.  But no worries! Everyone gets a trophy so all can feel good about themselves.

 

Maybe if America prioritized growing up and not out, we’d be a whole lot better off.

 

The real issue is how to gnaw away at the exploding obesity rate, an epidemic that is all-consuming.  Obesity-related medical costs are soaring (over twenty percent of all health care spending) as cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke meteorically rise.  Health insurance premiums for everyone increase in order to subsidize the obese. Worker productivity is down. Even energy costs are up.

 

But perhaps most alarming, America’s young people are being de-sensitized to obesity and all its negative effects.  In what is fast becoming a “do-whatever-makes-you-feel-good” society, that makes for an extremely dangerous recipe.

 

And the best way — maybe the only way — to change that fatitude is shame, a value in thin supply.  Part Two will chew that fat on how shame, correctly utilized, can lighten the load on America’s youth.

 

As published in Delaware County Daily Times:

 

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/10/11/opinion/doc5076b94a3667d182779799.txt

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

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October 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm Comments (0)

Use Your Brain — No Motorcycle Helmet Laws


 

No one ever accused the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board of using their “heads” when opining, and last week was no exception.

 

Like Big Brother that thinks it — not the individual — knows best, that “brain” trust is arguing that the State should mandate how motorcyclists protect their brains. In their editorial, they argue that “Keystone State motorists would be safer if Harrisburg followed Trenton’s example by strengthening enforcement of seat-belt use and restoring the mandate that all motorcyclists wear helmets.”

 

Ok, first the most obvious point: Snooki aside, emulating anything from New Jersey is simply insane.

 

Second, when will folks realize that regulating everything under the sun in the name of “what’s good for us” (such as soda bans in New York and foie gras in California) never achieves the desired result. Instead, such legislation only serves to h the loss of freedoms for all Americans.

 

*****

 

My wife’s step-brother was killed while riding his motorcycle.  He was an avid and highly experienced rider.

 

He also wasn’t wearing a helmet.

 

Standing in line at his viewing, I overheard people commenting that Pennsylvania should have a law mandating motorcycle helmets.  Such a law might prevent deaths and mitigate the injuries that plague motorcyclists, so that line of thinking goes.

 

The theory, of course, has merit.  Common sense tells us that wearing a helmet while riding on top of an engine, with virtually no protection, will provide at least some measure of safety for the brain in case of an accident.

 

However, just because a concept makes sense doesn’t mean that it should become law. Mandating helmets crosses the line because it is government intrusion on personal freedoms of the individual, since it has yet to be shown that a helmet-less rider is a threat to the physical well-being of any person other than himself.

 

It is interesting to note, however, that even with no mandatory helmet law, many motorcyclists still wear helmets — proof that people, entrusted to their own good sense, will make intelligent decisions.

 

In the same way, laws mandating seat belts for drivers are misguided.  How is an adult’s failure to wear a seat belt in any way affecting other people? It doesn’t, so why is it illegal?  Such laws only open the door to more intrusive regulations, and fuels the “government knows best” mentality. (Of course, common sense dictates that children under eighteen should be required to wear restraints because their lives are in the driver’s hands, and they do not understand the consequences of not using seat belts).

 

*****

 

Interestingly, many people state their philosophical opposition to the mandatory helmet law, yet support efforts to institute such a law.  Why?  Because riders not wearing helmets cause our auto and health insurance costs to go up.

 

This is a fallacy, not to mention a dangerous line of thinking.

 

The number of motorcycle accidents is minuscule compared to car crashes, since there are exponentially more automobiles on the road.  Therefore, the jump in insurance rates is an unfounded myth due to the statistical insignificance of motorcycle injuries. Beyond that—and this will seem quite callous— there is a strong case to be made that helmet-less riders actually save the health care system money because, in catastrophic accidents, such riders are more likely to die from their head injuries.  Health care costs for the deceased are, for obvious reasons, nonexistent, while long-term medical care and rehabilitation for the injured rider are substantial.

 

And a point often lost in the debate is that many experienced riders feel that helmets are virtually worthless in accidents over 35 miles per hour due to the tremendous forces exerted upon the motorcyclists.

 

If anything should be mandated, it’s appropriate auto insurance coverage for motorcyclists, including adequate personal liability and major medical amounts.  That is simply the cost of doing business when riding a motorcycle.

 

*****

 

The greatest danger America faces is not from outside invasion or terrorist attack. Rather, it is the loss of freedoms…

Read the rest and join the discussion in the Delaware County Daily Times:

 

http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/06/05/opinion/doc4fce126e42c53676906068.txt

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         
 
 

 

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June 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm Comments (0)

Diabetes, Donors—and Determination

For National Kidney Month, the story of one young woman’s fight against a ravaging disease—and time.

 

The difference between tactics and strategy is substantial. A tactic is a method employed to help achieve a goal. A strategy is the long term plan of action to achieve that goal.

 

Four years ago, that distinction was crystal clear a 31-year old Drexel Hill woman who had been ravaged by diabetes.

 

Christine Grosso’s strategy was simple, but far from easy— survive the debilitating disease that had left her nearly blind in one eye, caused her sugar count to frequently soar over 600 (150 is high), and made her a household name in Emergency Rooms from Temple to Shore Memorial.

 

More pressing, however, was the tactic she needed to employ to continue her fight. She needed a kidney transplant, since one of the consequences of diabetes is that the body’s overstressed organs often shut down, placing the person’s life in jeopardy.

 

Christine’s story was bittersweet, since her courage, determination and heartwarming attitude almost made one forget how perilous her situation had become.

 

 

What is Diabetes?

 

Christine’s symptoms first appeared when she was 13, and were noticed by her mother, Toni: increased thirst and appetite (yet the result was weight loss), frequent urination, and mood swings. Grosso’s pediatrician initially thought these changes were related to puberty. Further investigation, however, revealed something different and far more ominous: Type 1 diabetes.

 

Christine realized that her life would never be the same.

 

 “In the beginning, my treatment consisted of insulin injections twice a day; blood sugar tests four times a day and a strict diet— consisting of four meals a day, at specific times,” she recounted.

 

“Basically, I couldn’t eat the junk food that teenagers love. I would have to eat whenever my blood sugar was low, and couldn’t join everyone at a meal if my blood sugar was elevated,” Christine added.

 

Type 1 diabetes results from the lack of insulin production by the pancreas. Since insulin is a hormone required by all cells to utilize glucose for energy, a deficiency results in the depletion of energy stores, such as liver glycogen, fat and eventually muscle mass. This leads to significant weight loss and fatigue, and, left uncorrected, soon leads to the excretion of glucose in the urine and metabolic imbalance (ketoacidosis), requiring hospitalization. The longer-term effects are much more severe— damage to various organs and body systems, notably the kidneys, the eyes, the nervous system and the heart.

 

The need for a kidney

 

Christine’s condition steadily deteriorated over seventeen years. Whereas in high school she was involved in numerous activities, her lifestyle had become hampered. Her body functions had taken a tremendous blow, with the kidneys taking the biggest hit. When the tiny blood vessels (nephrons) in the kidneys become damaged by diabetes, the filtering units of the kidney are less able to filter unwanted substances from the blood. Damaged nephrons are also less able to retain essential substances, such as proteins. In time, as the kidneys continue to fail, the patient will require a kidney transplant.

 

After an exhaustive process, Christine qualified for such a transplant. But that was just the beginning. If a suitable donor was not found quickly, she would be forced to begin dialysis — never a sustainable long term solution. “My transplant time was as soon as possible since I was being evaluated for dialysis. If a live kidney donor was not found, I would have had to wait until a cadaveric source (kidneys of organ donors upon their deaths) was found which matched my tissue type. This could have taken years.”

 

Finding a Donor

 

The need for a kidney transplant is determined by a nephrologist, based on tests of the patient’s kidney function and clinical condition. Once the patient is found suitable as a transplant recipient, he or she is placed on the United Network of Organ Sharing list for a cadaveric source of a kidney.

 

But finding a kidney donor is a very personal process. “In my case, I began as soon as I was informed that I needed a transplant. I composed a Gift of Life letter in which I described myself and asked if anyone would be interested in being tested (to become a compatible kidney donor). Surprisingly, several people whom I did not know contacted me,” Christine explained.  Yet two of those individuals were not a match.

 

“When I found out they were not suitable, I revised the letter and again circulated it to friends, churches, schools, businesses and newspapers. Several more people offered to help. My donor profile was someone between 21 and 60, in good health, same blood type, and without a history of cancer, diabetes or high blood pressure.” Easier said than done. If the potential donor was either rejected by the center or by the recipient, a new potential donor would be tested, and the process starts anew.

 

Christine’s Support Network

 

Through it all, Christine’s parents never left her side. “Our lives changed drastically after Christine became chronically ill. One or both of us is with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” her father Lou explained.

 

Toni elaborated: “Before the transplant, Christine was constantly in the hospital.”  The hospital stays usually were a week to ten days, with Christine’s parents taking turns to always be in her room. “Although not under the best circumstances,” Toni added, “Christine’s illness has brought us all closer together.”

 

Christine’s attitude kept her spirits high. “My faith has helped me to deal with most of my medical problems, by trying to find positive reasons for my condition. Since I was 13, I have been searching for someone like myself to talk to. These people are hard to find, and dealing with diabetes is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

 

Because of this, Christine helps others with similar conditions. “I counsel young diabetics, and this helps me as well as them. It feels good making a difference in someone’s life.”

 

The search for a kidney was difficult but rewarding. Along the way, Christine became reacquainted with old friends, and met complete strangers selfless enough to offer a part of their body. “It is so overwhelming to meet these amazing people,” she reflected.

 

The Guardian Angel and the Transplant

 

Despite the unimaginable heartbreak for Christine and her parents when two donors fell through at the last minute, their undying faith paid off. A donor responded to a Church Bulletin article chronicling Christine’s inspirational story and her need for a kidney. The donor, who did not know Christine or her family (yet ironically lived just four blocks away) and wished to remain anonymous, met all the transplant requirements. Soon thereafter, she placed her own life in jeopardy by undergoing surgery, literally giving part of herself to another in the ultimate act of selflessness.

 

The result? Success beyond expectations. Christine Grosso just celebrated her four-year transplant anniversary — rejuvenated, vibrant and alive.  No longer just surviving, she is once again living. While diabetes will forever be with her, the tables have now turned, with Christine controlling the disease.  Her donor, Marie Manley — who can only be described as a true guardian angel — is also doing remarkably well, living a fully functional life and now working at the Kidney Transplant Program at Lankenau Hospital as a transplant assistant, counseling donors and recipients.

 

In an age where many glibly say they “give back” and “give of themselves” — while making sure everybody knows it — there are still real heroes like Ms. Manley who believe that charity should be altruistic, the only “reward” being the selfless act of giving.  She exemplifies those who truly walk the walk, content with the knowledge that she made the ultimate difference in someone else’s life.

 

In Christine Grosso’s case, Marie Manley’s act of charity was, quite literally, a lifesaver.  Perhaps most amazing is something which will never be known — how many people, after learning of Christine and Marie’s remarkable story, were inspired to themselves become donors — and lifesavers.  

 

There is no greater love than risking one’s own life to save another. In the spiritual, charitable and literal sense, donating a kidney is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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March 13, 2012 at 9:57 am Comments (0)

Rush Limbaugh’s Sluttiness Makes Him The Anti-Republican

 

In front of the entire nation, conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh repeatedly called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” for her support of an Obama Administration policy requiring health insurers to offer contraceptives.

 

Not surprisingly, the issue became, and still remains, the preeminent national story, pushing it front-and-center in the Republican presidential campaign.

 

Anytime a powder-keg situation ignites into a massive media firestorm, as this one did, it is always interesting to look at who comes out on top, and who is left burning in the ashes.

 

And the biggest loser, by far, may surprise you.

 

So here is a look at winners and casualties of Pill-Gate:

 

Winners

 

Limbaugh The Entertainer Rush has followed the cardinal rule in entertainment: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.  Bet the ranch that his ratings will increase, and with that additional advertisers.  This is not foreign territory to Rush, as he has been engulfed in numerous high-profile controversies in the past, since, let’s face it, controversy pays.  To the tune of $40 million a year.

 

Remember too that Rush has the luxury of saying pretty much whatever he wants without fear of repercussion.  With a net worth in excess of $350 million, he needn’t worry about paying the rent should he get fired.  And how likely is Clear Channel Communications (his employer) to fire the most lucrative figure on the radio?  It’s doesn’t take courage to tell and defend the truth when one stands to lose nothing. For those who idolize Rush in that regard, find a real hero to adore.

 

Oh, and his apology? It’s a stretch to even call it that, but all part of the game.  Apologize while not really apologizing, and trash your enemies in the process.  If nothing else, Limbaugh would be a great politician.

 

Advertisers Sure, some advertisers have “temporarily” suspended advertising, but most of those companies are also practicing the above rule.  A business (very publicly) announcing that it will yank advertising from Limbaugh scores a huge coup by receiving untold millions in free publicity.  And in a few weeks when the shelf life of this story dies, most, if not all, will quietly return to Limbaugh.  It’s a win-win for advertisers, and Clear Channel knows it.  And let’s face it — Limbaugh’s advertisers know he’s controversial, which is exactly why they pay top dollar to run commercials on his show. To them, occasional forays over the line of decency are acceptable risks. 

 

Sandra Fluke The are hundreds of thousands of law students, but Fluke has broken through the ranks of obscurity to be forever known as the “Limbaugh slut girl” who wanted taxpayers to foot the bill for her sexual habits.  She helped her issue gain political ground, and will never have to worry about landing a job.  Fluke’s popularity — and notoriety — is her golden ticket.  Who knew testifying at an unofficial congressional hearing could be so lucrative?

 

Mandatory Contraception issue (perception) This issue gained significant momentum, unwittingly helped by a poor student being mercilessly— and personally — attacked by an ultra-wealthy bully.  And what about the actual merits of the issue?  To many in the Great American Middle, they don’t matter. Right or wrong, their mentality is that if Limbaugh is attacking this young girl for just trying to tell her story, she must have some valid points. Conversely, if Limbaugh has to demonize her, his position must be so weak that it can’t be won on its own merits.

 

Too bad, because on the issue, Rush was right.

 

Losers

 

Mandatory Contraception issue on its merits The President is wrong in attempting to mandate contraception coverage from health insurers, as that is a case of government vastly overstepping its bounds. There are religiously-affiliated entities that are opposed to providing certain services, directly or indirectly, such as contraception and abortion. To do so not only tramples on market freedom, but religious freedom as well.  

 

Truth be told, most insurers are more inclined to offer contraception services anyway because it makes financial sense.  Paying for the Pill is infinitely cheaper than shelling out thousands for OB-GYN visits, ultrasounds, pregnancy complications, child births, vaccinations and, of course, the regular medical bills that accompany a new child throughout his life.  

 

But the market should determine that coverage, not government.

 

Limbaugh The Movement Leader Entertainers do whatever is necessary to entertain and make money.  But when they cross the line and represent themselves as serious leaders of a political movement, there are problems. Most Rush fans can’t discern the difference, and that endangers their conservative cause when their iconic leader does something that benefits himself but vastly sets back a core issue.  

 

It’s not that he doesn’t care, but that he puts his own interests ahead of the Cause, even if that means hurting the Movement. This is nothing new, and it isn’t just Rush. Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot” was another example of needlessly providing red meat to the Left. And make no mistake, this issue will be back in the general election, with Obama and the Democrats painting all Republicans as extremist, mean-spirited Rush Limbaugh-types.  Not a winning image for the GOP.

 

The Republican Party Another fantastic issue in which the Republicans could have differentiated themselves from Obama and the Democrats — and another opportunity squandered. What else is new?

 

Not one Republican leader — and not one GOP presidential contender — transformed this into what it is: the lack of common sense health care reform. And God forbid any of them tell the truth by pointing the finger at themselves as to why we find ourselves having this debate at all. 

 

But here’s the truth.  This is fault of George W. Bush, along with the sizable GOP majorities he had in both Houses for six straight years. Did they make any real attempt to solve the problem of skyrocketing health care costs? No. Had they done so, Sandra Fluke wouldn’t be begging the taxpayers to pay for her contraceptives.

 

As it now stands in America, if you don’t like your employer’s health insurer, you can either pay for a different insurer out of pocket (totally impractical since there are so few options and far too expensive), or change jobs (more impractical).  Notice that there is no option to buy insurance across state lines, since that is illegal.  So while we can buy auto insurance from any state in the country, we are banned from doing so for health insurance.

 

Why such a stranglehold on the free market? Because it’s not in the interests of the big insurance players to have such consumer choice, as they would be forced to actually become competitive.  Thankfully for them, they have deep pockets which they use to fund the coffers of politicians. Result? Consumers are held hostage to skyrocketing rates and decreasing coverage, while the insurers laugh all the way to the bank.

 

Then there are the flexible spending accounts that still have a “use it or lose it” policy. Instead of encouraging savings, such plans only serve to have consumers making a mad dash to the pharmacy so they can buy 27 bottles of aspirin before their money — yes, their money —disappears. 

 

Medical malpractice reform? Did the Republicans and President Bush —while riding an unprecedented wave of popularity — have the guts to take on the trial lawyers who, more than anyone, are the cause of massive increases in health insurance premiums? A look at how many Republicans took big money from these scourges of society is all you need to know.

 

And the GOP failed miserably throwing the Left’s hypocrisy back in its face.  These are the people who advocate unrestricted abortion, screaming that government has no place in the uterus, while asking the same government to fund their contraceptives (which, I believe, affects that very same uterus).  The inconsistency of those folks was a gimme, a political homerun for the Republicans.  But their silence has been deafening.

 

Had the Republicans did what they had promised — what they surely could have achieved with just a bit of political will — this whole Rush/slut/contraceptive debate would never have taken place, because there would never have been Obama, and hence, no Obamacare. But that is a lesson lost on way too many Republicans, who find it convenient to blame everyone but their own Party.

 

*****

 

Perhaps those on the Right would do well to 1) realize that the Limbaughs of the world are entertainers, not Movement leaders, and treat them as such, 2) refuse to defend the indefensible when such entertainers cross the line, 3) stop blaming Obama for the things he very clearly told the nation he was going to do — make government-run nationalized health care a priority, and 4) hold the Republican Party accountable for its deliberate failures to fix America’s problems (offshore drilling, border walls, health care reform, smaller government), as promised in its Party Platform.

 

Maybe then this nation could have a constructive dialogue on the pressing issues of the day.

 

And what a Rush that would be.

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

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March 7, 2012 at 7:29 am Comment (1)

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