Monday, June 26, 2017

Vaccine Truths on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

John Oliver takes on the antiVaxxers.

Warning: Bad language and sexual innuendos....well it's late night and it's John Oliver.....


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book Review: Code 7- Cracking the Code for an Epic Life

Code 7-Cracking the Code for an Epic Life, by Bryan R. Johnson, is a charming book with seven vignettes that propose situations whereby an elementary, or a middle  school, child could learn, discuss, and articulate actual real life issues they may be presented with in school, and among their friends. They get to see and experience the possible outcomes of choices made by their peers. Moreover, to go along with this intriguing book, there is a website complete with a discussion of the issues presented in theses stories, and a challenge in which any child would like to participate.


If you are looking for a way to connect with your child, or broach subjects of an ethical and moral import, this book is definitely a nice way to begin. It is gentle, easy, and a wholesome way for any child to be led into a discussion over issues that can effect their choices throughout their lives.

Code 7 is the brain child of self-made millionaire and entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, whose personal foundation hopes to

"inspire youth to architect pro-social aspirations and a shared responsibility of our future."

Bryan, himself, attempts to lead a positive and forward looking life. The creativity of his tech company is dedicated to inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity through quantum leap discoveries at the operating system, or OS, level.




This book has testimonials from Kirkus Review and Charles BestCEO of Donor's Choose.






Monday, June 12, 2017

Music- Chained to the Rhythm

As I said before, you need to stop and listen to the music...


And Yes this one has been around since February, but I like it.




Saturday, June 3, 2017

Wonder Woman...a resounding YES

I will be honest and let everyone know I have not seen any of the comicbook/superhero movies. I was not a fan of the Bat Man movies, even the George Clooney ones, and I had no desire to see any of the updated Superman movies. Christopher Reeve was and will always be Superman to me. I have not really seen either the DC or Marvel films. I may have glimpsed some of them when they were replayed in my house, by the male members of the family, but I really had no desire to see any of them. I will say however, that I have watched the TV show Marvel Agents of Shield and I do enjoy the show Legends of Tomorrow, probably because of the time jumping. So I come to this review as an outsider, someone with very little expectations and very little knowledge about this film genre.

Well let me tell you. This.Film.is.Great! And I don't mean great in the sense that it is highbrow dialogue or tells an involved mystery. It is not an art house film, where you are left talking about the movie for days trying to figure out all the nuances and underlying meaning of every movement or action. This is not an Ingmar Bergman film. I think it is so much more.

Not only is the female lead a strong, intelligent, sweet, and gentle person, but she packs quite a good right hook as well. She is beautiful and powerful. She is kind and she is tough. She has a moral and ethical underpinning, and is not afraid to fight for what is right, good, and best for humanity. Yes, this is the role model you want for your daughters. This is also the role model of a woman you want to show your sons. In fact, all the women in this movie are strong in their own way, whether they are Amazons, or they are women living in the very patriarchal world of WWI England (there is a quick mention of suffragettes and the misogyny of the men is very apparent). Each woman survives in her own way, and brings a selfawareness about who they are and their purpose in life.

What we also see in this movie is the concept of the hero. Not just of Diana, but the simple selfless heroism of the average everyday human being. Here, not only is the superhuman, demiGod the hero, which would be an easy reach for someone with extraordinary power, but those frail and fallible human beings are shown to do great things if they need to. That is after all what being a hero is all about, and why to this day our nations gives out medals and honors to those who go beyond what we think of as our limits as human beings. Bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

It reminds me of those that still serve, and answer when their nation calls. I am reminded of those that do right and good and put themselves into harms way for others. We are reminded that humanity, while there can be darkness, there can also be so much light.

Now I do want to answer some rather idiotic kvetches about the movie. Let me start by saying there are some women who simply need to branch out beyond their own echo chamber. When you can't enjoy a film without having a political meltdown, or fixating on armpit hair, you are doing life wrong.

First they complained about how Wonder Woman is dressed. There are those who are annoyed that she is dressed in armor, and grieves, basically in very classical battle dress. Apparently, these faux-feminists have never seen the pictures of the Amazons drawn on ancient greek pottery. They are dressed in very few clothes, as all soldiers were dressed in the ancient world.

Historically, Amazons first really appear in the story the Iliad. They come to the aide of Troy. They are mentioned as warrior women from the "mountains." Many historians believe that Amazons really existed, and lived near the Black Sea. This would have made them if not Greek/Macedonian, then Serb or Slav.


Those who are offended by how Diana is dressed in the film, have no real background in ancient history, battle garb, nor weaponry. That the movie version may be a little sexier than say, a real life gladiator, well I am sure that in Troy Eric Bana, and Brad Pitt had a little sexified armor as well. In fact, the lack of clothing in Troy on the male stars, was one of the reasons most women I know liked the film. We won't even get into the lack of clothing in the movie 300 with Gerard Butler. And by the way, the Spartans really did wear next to nothing.



Then there is the nonsense, that faux-feminists were insulted that apparently Diana wouldn't want to save the world without having a romantic relationship with a man. The movie played the romance up really sweetly. It was innocent, and it was gentle. It was respectful. It was a new idea and experience for Diana. There was nothing wrong with it. Her innocence was refreshing and his respect for her lovely. The entire movie was about Diana's love for humanity and her hopes for humanity's future. Love becomes her ultimate strength.

Is it not the love that we have for our families, and especially our children that propels us to do extraordinary things so their world will be better? (Some complained that she was overjoyed to see a baby, too. They have no babies on her island.) Do we not fight for those we love, so that they may live the lives of joy and happiness that they are entitled to live? Diana, because she had no experience with the world of mankind, needed romance to understand ultimately what it is to be human. She needed to understand what humanity fights for, and what ultimately gives us the strength to fight another day.

And yes, if there is a movie with Chris Pines in it, there has to be a romantic angle. We may all like strong women characters, but let's be honest, we strong women, also like really cute men.

If you want to see a thoroughly enjoyable movie, that has a nice message, and shows a strong woman character this is the movie for you.






Saturday, May 27, 2017

On Memorial Day: Remind Your Children That Brave Patriots Died to Defend Freedom, Not the Cowards Right to Punch Someone Withwhom They Disagree

Well, society seems to continue to diminish itself in the era of Trump. Apparently, a republican candidate for Congress from Montana decided that he did not like the questions a reporter from The Guardian was asking him and decided to respond by body-slamming the reporter, and then proceeding to punch him once he was down on the ground. Our illustrious President responded the next day, when the criminally charged GOPer won his race, to congratulate him on his win without any mention of the felonious incident.

You could actually say that Trump's job as head of the Republican Party is to unify every GOPer and to promote those that win their House seats. On the other hand, he is also the head of the country and somehow it just seems disgusting that he did not mention the attack. It is immaterial that the republican apologized the next day. Of course he apologized, he is facing jail time. Hopefully he will spend some time in prison before heading to Capital Hill. On the other hand, if he thinks being a bully is how to get things done, then he is going to meet his match in Congress. In fact, I would hazard a guess that he is going to be a little bully in a very big bully pond.

Of course, a few days before the GOPer body-slamming show, the thugs who call themselves bodyguards of the President of Turkey, also attacked peaceful protestors outside the Turkish embassy and Trump also said and did nothing. In fact, he greeted Erdogan with aplomb and his State Department never even mentioned the incident or took action against Turkey. In most cases, the ambassador would have been brought it and given a dressing down or asked to remove himself from the country until there was an apology or financial compensation to the victims. I remind you that Turkey removed it's ambassador from Israel after the Mavi Marmara incident and refused to send him back until Israel paid compensation. That those on board were terrorists, or terror supporters, trying to break the blockade of Hamas controlled Gaza, didn't seem to matter much, not to Turkey or to the Obama administration. Israel, at the behest of the Obama administration, ended up paying compensation. Now we found out last month that one of those compensated was arrested on terrorism charges in the UK. So much for Israel being wrong in protecting it's boarder.

But the point of the matter is that there are international norms that should be followed and when someone steps outside those norms in another country, diplomatic immunity or not, there are ways for the offended nation to air it's grievance. But apparently the Trump administration feels it's just fine if peaceful US protestors are violently attacked, and if reporters, exercising their first amendment rights are assaulted as well.

But what does this mean for our children? How do we explain to our autistic children, who have issues with social norms to begin with, that someone elected to public office thinks it's ok to punch another person or that the President of the USA turns a blind eye, and that they are still in their offices, at their jobs, and people elected them despite their illegal actions.

As I have mentioned before, Trump is the example of DO NOT for our children. It is sad really when you think about it. The President is someone you are supposed to teach your child to respect. You don't have to agree with him, but you should respect him. Well if not him, at least the Office of the President of the United States. Unfortunately, even respecting that office is becoming a hard thing to do. That a Congressperson is a jerk, like the new one from Montana, isn't really going to effect anything. Congress has a 9% favorable rating at the moment. They really don't have much farther down to go.

Of course the real question is, after this incident, how did anyone actually vote for the  person with anger management issues? Heck, if you punched someone at your job, not only would they call the police, but you can bet, you would loose your position, not be given a raise. In fact, autistic children as young as 5, who assault people in school, have been arrested. Parents are taken into family court and even threatened with loosing custody of their children, if a child is such a miscreant that the police need to be called to school. So how does anyone in society vote a violent person into Congress?

One person actually answered ..."who hasn't made a mistake?" It brings to mind when Jesus asked, "who here is without sin, let them cast the first stone." Now to point out the obvious, but neither the newly elected congressman from Montana nor the jackass that voted for him are Jesus. In fact, I would actually have to think that Jesus might not have voted for the violent guy, but would have sought the more peaceful inner reflective person as his representative. But hey, I'm Jewish so what do I know?

The truth of the matter is that we need people in Congress who have the ability to negotiate, and deal with the press. We have a right to have the press give them a hard time. They do not have the right to skirt answers, refuse to comply, nor do they have a right to ignore the Bill of Rights. If those elected to Congress cannot function in the limelight to which they have aspired, then they have no right to that position.  No one asked that man to run. We do not need another jerk in Congress. But perhaps he is more emblematic of those that elected him, and that is why so much of what we hold dear in this country is in danger.

Whether it is the right or the left that is acting, violence seems to be the way most people are handling political discourse in today's day and age. Whether it is the Leftist students attacking speakers, as what happened in Middlebury College or the riots of the antiFa crowd at Berkley or during the Presidential inauguration,  regressive leftists have decided that they have a right to be violent if they are displeased. We also saw riots in Ferguson, Missouri, which people decided to excuse, rather than hold them up to the standard of MLK. (P.S. don't say that I don't support the concept of Black Lives Matter. I do. What I don't support is the violence, and the antisemitism of their platform. Moreover, the civil rights protestors of the 1960s had it unthinkably worse than today and they never devolved into violence. Those ignoble actions were left up to the race-haters. But riots (Watts, Detroit, DC) did occur and society did not excuse them. Society attempted to address the issues presented, but people were held to account for their actions.)

Now what did the world think was going to happen in the longrun when it excused the violent actions of the Regressive Left? Did they think that the Left was going to continue to attack people and that the Right was not going to do the same? Simply because you decide that you have a right to #punchnazis doesn't mean you do, and doesn't mean in the USA, with freedom of speech, that you have a right to curtail anyone else's speech. The way civilized nations behave, when faced with political challenge, is to argue, and debate. If you have the need to hit someone because of how they think, then you automatically loose by your actions. You never even have to say a word. And remember, we do not have laws in the US that prevent someone from speaking their mind, no matter how hateful or stupid. Freedom of speech is not for the coward nor for the light of heart. Stand by your convictions. Shout at the top of your lungs so others can hear you. That is how it is done. Being afraid of words and challenging those words is how you stop hate. Laws curtailing speech is not how to fight hate. When you send hate underground eventually it does rise to the top. The history of the 20th century is replete with those examples.

So what are we to do in a world that have both extremes deciding that they get to be violent? What do we do in a world where the President thinks its ok to behave like a fascist goon? What do we do in a world that has decided that those without any modicum of civility are the people to follow?

Honestly, on a worldwide scale, not very much. You can't control the actions of the world, you can only control what you do and what you teach your children. Teach your children to speak their mind. To stand by their convictions and above all, make certain they read the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

This Memorial Day remind your children that those that died, died to protect their right to speak their mind and to defend their convictions. Our American Patriots died for :

Freedom of religion
Freedom of speech
Right to assembly
Right to petition the government
Freedom of the press

No American patriot died so that the President or Congresspersons can attack these rights. Remind your children who they are and where they come from. Remind them of the sacrifices of past generations. Remind them that they owe it to the future, to ensure that democratic norms remain and that a leader who disdains decency is a blip on the radar, not a harbinger of the future.


Memorial Day

We sleep well at night because rough men [and women] stand ready to do violence in our name…George Orwell








Thursday, May 25, 2017

Anne with an E- The New Anne of Green Gables on @Netflix

Before I decided to watch the latest version of Anne of Green Gables, I had read some pretty nasty reviews of the Netflix version. Many of the critics here complain that this version is a darker unnecessary rendition. But I see it as true to life. Not everything is always peachy. There are trials and tribulations. Moreover, to have a life affirming story, reality does need to make it's way into your narrative.  To those reviewers I simply ask, "what was it that you watched? For I think this version is lovely."

For those who have never read the books, or have seen the original movie, Anne with an E is the story of an orphaned girl Anne Shirley who is bright, precocious, imaginative, and quite a challenge. Thrilled with every aspect of life, despite the hardships she has endured, Anne makes a wonderful first impression. Well at least to our modern sensibilities. Anne is not always welcome in the much more reserved, staid era of "children shall be seen and not heard, especially girl children."

But luckily for Anne she is sent to live with the Cuthberts. An aging sister and brother couple that actually had asked the orphanage to send a boy so he could help with the farm chores. Yes confusion ensues, but Anne being Anne, does her best to charm, cajole, and enamor the Cuthberts into allowing her to stay.



We not only fall in love with this version of Anne, but we also are drawn to the Cuthberts. They have their own story, which actually mirrors Anne's. The truth is that these three people desperately need each other, and over the episodes we witness the blossoming of a wonderful family. Some complain about the inability of the characters to deal with their emotions. But that is also the beauty of this version. These three people are able overtime, to come to trust each other, so that they are not afraid to be vulnerable.

Now as I wrote above, not everyone in the story loves Anne. In fact we are witness to the ignorance that abounded during the turn of the 20th century. Orphans were misbegotten. They were either see as farmed out servants, or na'er-do-wells. Descent society would turn their noses down at an adopted child. We see in an episode, even the minister is bigoted against Anne because of her status in life.

I will admit, the episode I ended up skipping was the one where Anne was bullied in school and the teacher allowed it. It was funny, because while I could deal with the stupidity of the adults in society, it was the cruelty of the schoolroom that truly upset me. Not that it isn't resolved happily in the end, but I simply could not watch it. Perhaps in some part of my world, it reminded me of things that were all too real for myself and my own children. Bullying is not a new problem by any stretch of the imagination.

One of the more interesting aspects of the show is how it presents life in rural Canada at this time as well. We, in the US, forget, that at the time that our ancestors were settling the West, as in Little House on the Prairie, much of Canada was being settled in the same way. Here we witness the life of those who lived in our neighbor to the North. For those who like historical fiction, this is truly a fun series.

In the end, Anne with an E, is an enjoyable retelling of the Anne of Green Gables story. It is not all mushy and gooshy. It has a real life quality about it that makes it an interesting and enterprising program. But this is also not a version for small children. It is best for preteens or older. There are some scenes with adult cruelty towards children, which are rather upsetting, and a coming of age episode where Anne gets her menstrual period.

I did binge watch most of it. And yes, it sets up an interesting cliff hanger. I am looking forward to season 2.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Malibu

It is important, that no matter what is happening in your world, to always take a moment to breathe.

Sweet new love song from Miley Cyrus. Listen I know she can be a little out there as far as behavior, but the girl can sing.




Saturday, May 6, 2017

@Speechless_ABC Revisits the "R" Word

Once again the ABC's Speechless showcases common advocacy issues championed by the disability community. The latest episode examined society's view of using the word "retarded" as a put down or self-deprecating insult. The interesting take on the issue though, did not involve J.J. directly, but Ray.

The show opens with Kenneth, J.J.'s aide, out to dinner with the DiMeo's and he overhears someone using the "r" word in conversation. He turns to the family and says," it's my turn." In other words, advocacy time, and a teachable moment for someone in society. Speechless being a comedy, Kenneth comes back slightly chastised, saying they were talking about "re tarring their driveway." Funny yes. And of course,  it sets up the rest of the episode. (Watch the episode HERE)

In this episode Ray finally was about to get to kiss the girl of his dreams. Someone he had had a crush on noticed him at the Prom, and wanted to go take him behind the bleachers. Well, all of us having grown up in the US, knows exactly what that means....kookookachoo.  But right before they began to kiss, the girl uses the 'r" word to describe her own mixup.

Ray is in a conundrum. He doesn't know what to do. Every male hormone in his body is telling him to kiss her anyway, but his brain and his heart is telling him that he needs to make this a teachable moment. So he turns to J.J. to ask permission to forget about advocating at the moment, and to simply be a teenage boy. J.J. being a good older brother, tells Ray to go for it. Kiss the girl! (See below *)

But there is a snag. Instead of her actually accepting the fact that she did something wrong, she argues with Ray how political correctness is tiresome and that since she didn't mean anything bad by using the word, he should not be upset. Now Ray's hormones wanting to forget that the entire incident occurred is momentarily taken along for the ride, until dignity gets the better of him.

Ray attempts to still teach her how hurtful using the "r" word is, yet she simply does not want to hear it. In the end, she decides to go kiss someone else. The upshot of the encounter is that the girl in question is not a flighty stereotypical teenage girl, but a bright, straight A student destined to go to an Ivy league and to enter the world of intellectual thought and accomplishments.

The audience's teachable moment is the reality that simply because someone is highly intelligent, and can make a cogent argument about Constitutional rights, it doesn't mean they are right, moral, or ethical. They also may not be someone you want to kiss either, no matter how "hot" they turn out to be. Sometimes the brain is better than the hormone when making a decision about with whom you want to associate.

It is important that within society, we also teach that simply because you have the right to do or say something, doesn't mean you should do or say these things. Words are powerful instruments of society. They need to be used carefully and with forethought.

Tolerance is important. Allowing others with different view points to speak is the hallmark of our republic. Now it doesn't mean we don't challenge these speakers. It doesn't mean what they say doesn't make us angry. But we are supposed to allow them to speak (unlike what is happening on college campuses in the US today if you are pro-Israel).  Honest, open debate is good for society. It is healthy. It helps us grow as a people.

But it is also important to understand when you use a word that someone finds deprives them of their humanity and their right to self-determination. When anyone in society uses the "r" word, it not only dehumanizes those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, it makes society less of a welcoming and an accepting place.

It is difficult enough for those with disabilities to find welcome in our world. That is why 85% of those with autism are either underemployed or unemployed. Understanding how language is a weapon in the war on disability rights is one of the first steps in gaining true civil rights for the disabled.

*Now another point in the story: When Ray asked J.J. for absolution if he went ahead and kissed the girl who used the "r" word. That was not cool. Not by a long shot. Taking responsibility for your own choices is what makes us grownups. Sartre said, "we are our choices." And he was right. The choices you make define who you are and what kind of person you will be. Seeking an "indulgence" to your own poor choices teaches a person absolutely nothing.

Moreover, sometimes society tends to think that every disabled person is the arbiter of what the disability community thinks, wants or needs. That is not so. Disabled people, as with everyone in the world, are individuals. They do not all agree on every cannon of thought or idea proposed by the grand poobahs of any movement. Can you believe that there actually is a variety of thought in the disability community about every topic, subject or controversy, except one: that those with disabilities are human beings and are deserving of being treated with respect.

Disabled people are people. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are kind. Some are miserable human beings. Some are people you would want to know and others you wouldn't want to be with under any circumstances. In other words, disabled people are human. But what they also do not need is someone looking to make themselves feel better by asking for a dispensation from doing the right thing.

The disabled person in your life is not the Pope. If you know it is wrong to do it, simply don't do it. Asking the disabled person in your life if it is ok to be an asshole when it comes to disability rights, is not ok. Even if you are a teenage boy with raging hormones. OK?

In the end, the part that I like best about Speecheless though, has very little to do with disability rights as opposed to showing the world that families with disabled members are simply that, families. Nothing special. Nothing more moral, ethical or inspirational. But simply people, trying to do their best on a day-to-day basis with the hand that they have been dealt.

Yes, it's nice if someone recognizes that there are extra needs at times for our families. But it would be nicer if instead of the pat on the head or telling us that "God only gives us what we can handle," is if someone asks us to lunch (or cup of coffee), to play a game of tennis (or squash, bridge, mahjong, or chess), or to join their book club and not read any books about disabled people at all (my personal favorites are spy novels especially the Gabriel Allon series).




Friday, April 21, 2017

Teaching Behavior in the Era of Trump

Much has been written over the last year about the tone of the Presidential race. And now much has been written about the tone of the President himself. Interestingly enough, a recent article actually castigated comedy news such as Comedy Central and Samantha Bee for creating the acceptability of the Trump tone. I kid you not. The acceptance of Trump's behavior, apparently, according to those who cannot accept blame for their own failures, is now the fault of comedians. Comedians whose job it is, is to be obnoxious, and caustic, and condescending. Apparently, according to these pundits, the American people are simply too stupid to differentiate between funny-ha-ha and not-so-funny-social-malingerers.

Samantha Bee and much of Comedy Central, (which I don't particularly enjoy), is a sarcastic look at the world in which we live. They do not run the world, but comment on it. They do not make policy, but comment on it.  Yes, Bee made a horrible mistake with the youngman at CPAC. But she later apologized. Perhaps she learned a lesson, which is that even in the world of comedy, fact checking is a useful tool.

So here is the problem: how do we as parents of autistics teach appropriate behavior to our children in the Era of Trump? For most neurotypical children it is easy for them to decipher social rules of engagement. Not so for every child on the spectrum. It is not easy for our children to distinguish between what is, and is not, always appropriate. And to make matters worse when those in the limelight act out in inordinate ways, and garner huge amount of accolades and attention, then what are our children supposed to think?

I have written about this BEHAVIOR conundrum before (of course). You can find a full list of my articles on the subject HERE  and HERE.

The only thing I can think of is that my sons' are decidedly antiTrump. They view everything he does through a lens of contempt. They have decided that not only is he a boor, but that his manners, his lack of decorum and his puffed up ego are not things they wish to emulate. So for them he is a walking BillBoard of "not."

In a world where becoming the most powerful person on the planet is viewed as a worthy goal, but the person who holds that office as of today is thought of as the Court Jester of the world, this truly is not a good thing. The idea that the President of the United States would be held up as the butt of jokes for his behavior, and lack thereof, is not good for the country and it is not good for our children. Yes, the comedians of the past also made fun of former republican Presidents, deriding Reagan, and both Bushes. But these President's held themselves to a socially appropriate standard of behavior. So all comedy aside, no one could attack them for their decorum, and we all knew it. (Whether you agreed with their policies or not is not the issue of this post.)

But what is a parent to do about the behavior issue, if your family, your child, supports Trump? How are you supposed to explain appropriateness to your child without destroying their right to express a political opinion? And no, everyone who supports Trump is not a racist, misogynist, antiMoslem, white supremacist nutjob. Many are simply that part of the Obama coalition, that were forgotten by society. They are the middle class that were promised a future, but found that in  their reality there was no future. So they thought to go another way. Something different. Something untried. Yes, desperate people make desperate leaps of faith. If society truly cared about others in our world we would have seen Trump coming. But we are so self-indulgent that we simply did not. Yes, Trump's election is everyone's fault. It also didn't help any that the Democratic candidate was horrible as well, and for so many other reasons.

My take on behavior management over the next few years is simple. You can teach proper behavior without destroying someone's hold on what they feel is important vis-a-vis society and their own future. Do not denigrate the political ideas (arguing whether they are correct in their views is another matter), but model appropriateness. Talk to your children about differentiating between the man and the position. Whether we liked the POTUS of the moment, or not, we always honored the position, but did not necessarily respect the decisions of the man holding the position.

Yes, it's a tightrope and a fine line to walk with your children. But we do it every day when it comes to music, clothes, movies, and TV, when we try to teach our children the proper way to view the world around them. We don't like everything that culture creates, or has decided is good and better for our world. Holding up the present POTUS to scrutiny truly is no different.

I suppose in many respects it is also a good thing. Cult-like adoration of any politician is anathema to a democracy. We do not elect a King, but a temporary holder of a position, and that goes for Congress, governorships, judges, and state legislatures as well. It is why impeachment of any public official is an essential part of our society. No one who is elected is omnipotent, beyond fallibility, or excused from decorum.

Unfortunately, though, when the present leader of the free world lacks any social norms, it does make our job just a little more harder than normal. Sigh......







Sunday, April 2, 2017

#FightTheStigma Complex Disabilities and Simple Truths

From TED Tel-Aviv 2017

An Israeli war hero who says that his biggest and most important battle was finding acceptance for his severely disabled son.

Major General Doron Almog, chairman of ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, stood on the TEDxTelAviv stage and explained how his personal experiences as a grieving brother, devoted father and decorated soldier prepared him for his life’s most important role: an outspoken advocate for the inclusion and proper care of individuals with disabilities.

Memories of his son, Eran, who was born with severe autism and intellectual disabilities, and lost his battle with Castleman’s disease exactly ten years prior to the TEDxTelAviv presentation, fuels Almog’s commitment to securing the best possible care and ensuring true life fulfillment for the members of Israel's disability community. Learn more https://aleh.org





Now in watching this video I am certain that there are many who will object to the General's use of nonpolitically correct language to describe his son's disabilities and society's perception. But look behind the language and recognize what this man has accomplished in helping his son. He is the advocate that we all hoped we would become. He not only created a place for his son to flourish, an entire city in fact, he has succeeded in starting  the whole of a society rethinking their own prejudices, limits, and biases when it comes to the disabled.

*****

While we have many wonderful programs here in the US for those with severe disabilities, still many on the autism spectrum and those with a myriad of mental health issues, receive little or no services once they become adults. As I have written, if it were not for what we could afford to do for the boys, nothing would be done for them, and their future would not be one of their own choosing.

It is up to us to make sure, as Doron Almog did for his son, that we find a way to better society as we help our children have a bright and happy future. The fight in the US for acceptance and support for those we all types of disabilities is far from over. In fact, it is only just beginning.




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tinge the Anger with Compassion

My latest at Times of Israel
Yes we are all angry. Angry that our babies were subject to such frightening events as bomb scares. It infuriated us as parents that some person out there in the world knew that the way to terrorize parents is to terrorize their children. It’s why terrorists target the innocent, the young, the civilian, the person least able to defend themselves.
So now that we know who at least is the culprit when it comes to the majority of the JCC bomb threats we vent. We vent our anger. We vent our care. We demand justice for our offspring. We want this person punished.
What’s more we are aghast that the perpetrator was himself a Jew. Now, it’s not that we haven’t experienced  modern Jewish antisemites before in our history. It’s not that we don’t deal with Jewish antisemites who celebrate terrorists, think JVP conference in Chicago; think those Jewish Leftists who hold the Palestinians to no level of human decency, excusing murderous rampages as expressions of culture or the nonsensical claim of “fighting colonial oppression”  (we can discuss the soft racism of low expectations in another post on another day); think the “As a Jew” Jew who has left the Jewish community except to chastise Israel for defending herself, or who blames the rise of antisemitism on the Jewish State.
Somehow we deal with these Jewish antisemites with logic, with thought out rebuttals, and with the contempt they deserve. But what we don’t hear is the level of vitriol that is being thrown at the youngman from Ashkelon. The question you need to ask yourself is why. Why does the community save their most virulent expression of disgusts for someone who is obviously suffering from some sort of mental illness, and not for those who seek to destroy the Jewish people and are most certainly in their sane mind?
Now, listen, I am not excusing what this 19 year old did. He knew it was wrong. Legal insanity is not medical insanity. You can be completely mentally ill but legally accountable. To be held legally insane is to not know that what you are doing is wrong. To be legally insane the person cannot “know the difference between a tree and a person.”  Hence, if they ever knew it was a human being, no matter how ill they are, they are legally sane.
So this youngman, knew what he was doing was wrong. He knew that he was creating terror. It gave him a sense of power, and importance (or so we think). But it does not mean he is not mentally ill. Whether he has a nonmalignant inoperable brain tumor that is the cause of his mental illness is not really the issue. There is no question, that he was unfit for service in the IDF because of his mental state. And for the IDF, which even has programs to induct persons with all kinds of mental health issues, this youngman’s problems seemed to be severe.
So why the extreme hate? What ever happened to compassion in the Jewish world? We talk incessantly about rehabilitation, and the need for prison reform in the US, why does none of this apply to the JCC hoax bomber?
This does not mean that the perpetrator doesn’t go to some sort of institution. It most definitely doesn’t mean he goes free, without any recourse. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t pay for his crimes. But what that payment will look like is very important. The issue is whether the system can help him or not.
Is he a threat to the community as a whole? Is he threat to himself and others? What can be done to mitigate the possibility that he will ever do this again, or mitigate the possibility that he will spiral to an even more dangerous place? These are important questions that need to be answered, and these answers and how society deals with them will say more about us as a people, then it will ever say about this 19 year old.
Now let me say one thing as the parent of two young men with high functioning autism, and as a special needs advocate. I hold his parents completely responsible for what has happened in this situation. He lived in their house. They knew what he was doing, which was why the father was arrested and the mother has disappeared. They are responsible for his care, even though he is technically an adult. So yes, knowing he was perpetrating these hoaxes, if they did not want to call the police (and very few parents would turn in their own children), at least try to get him the medical help he needed. You do not cover up something so harmful. If you did not care about the psychological harm he was doing to young children, at least you are required to care about your own child. So yes, by letting him do what he was doing, they are accomplices in the worst kind of way. They basically abandoned their own child to the vagaries of his own mind.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finding a Moral Compass in Challenging Times

This blog discusses parenting on many different levels. In that respect, here is a terrific discussion about our way of life and how society functions between New York Times columnist David Brooks and former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom.





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In Celebration of Spring-Let's Dance

Spring is about renewal, and that includes your soul. Nothing says  rebirth like dancing....have fun and let your feet move to the beat....




Saturday, March 18, 2017

How we treat animals says plenty about who we are

My latest blog for the Times of Israel
I confess, I yelled at a stranger today for the way she was treating her dog. No tags to know to whom and where the canine belonged. Tied up on a bench in the snow and rain, while the owner went into a store to get a cup of hot cocoa. The poor animal was shivering.
We are admonished in Torah to remember to care and feed our animals before we take care of ourselves. We are required to care for the most vulnerable among us. We are required to respect them, to cherish them, to honor their sacrifices. You cannot truly follow Jewish beliefs if you mistreat an animal in anyway. Perhaps because that teaching is so ingrained among the Jewish people is the reason why Israel has the highest number of vegetarians and vegans in the world. Perhaps that is why Tel Aviv is the most dog friendly city in the world as well. I don’t know.
But one thing I do know is that how we treat the most defenseless beings in our society says everything about who we are as a people. And there is nothing more dependent and vulnerable in our world than our children and our animals. People who are thoughtless towards those who are the weakest among us should always bring out society’s wrath and derision.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Understanding that Idiosyncrasies Don't Just Go Away in Adulthood

The boys had a very successful outing on Sunday. We had found a new social program for them that geared itself to adults on the spectrum. They did not want to participate in the same group so they went in independently. While Mr.GS2 had issues trying to get someone to play a particular board game he enjoyed he did say he wanted to give the group another try. Mr. GS1 apparently did interact quite well in his comic book discussion group, but he became overwhelmed by the newness of situation, and left early. He said he would go again next month too.

I think a major point that needs to be taken from here is that whatever issue your child may have had as a teen, or even younger will follow them into adulthood. They may have had untold number of social skills classes or supports, but when faced with a new situation, the entire event may cause extreme anxiety. So just try to remember that even as adults they may be confused by:
A new group of people that they don't know.
A new place with which they are unfamiliar.
An unstructured environment, which may be their nadir to begin with.
Noises and smells that they are not used to can also interfere with their new situation.

And yes we had taken them a few weeks before to meet the social workers who run the group. And we had taken them before to see where the meetings will take place. And no, they did not get to meet any of the other participants before the program began.

In truth group dynamics are hard for them. The fact that they were even willing to try is a great victory for them. The fact that they are willing to go back is an even bigger victory.

Meanwhile, Mr.GS1 is doing well at work. He is used to the social conventions at his office, and is quite animated when asked to discuss issues in meetings among his colleagues in the office. He needs support less and less. He wanted to cut back on the aide at lunchtime, with the caveat that he calls if he feels out of sorts at any time. So far, so good.

Mr. GS2 is doing well with his group work in his latest class. Yes the aide supports him, but at this point it's more like moral support. (Honestly, the aide even helps the group when they get stuck on issues or problems. It helps everyone having an aide with degrees in education.) Moreover, MrGS2 is so happy that he is proving himself more capable every day. He truly wants to be independent in life and he seems to be working on that all the time.

As I have mentioned before, even if they are not equal to their peers at the moment when it comes to social activities or even independence, it definitely seems that they are moving forward in these areas. A year ago, neither one would have even wanted to join a social program, never mind go back after being overwhelmed by the new experience.

Growth is a really good thing. Never give up, even if they seem stuck in a rut for a really long time.

Like the tortoise in the story. Slow and steady wins the race.

In situations like this I like to remember a great article I read by an autistic advocate that spelled out why she hated the words "high and low functioning autism". There are simply times that she is high functioning, and times that she is low functioning. It doesn't take away from accomplishments, and it doesn't mean that you and yours won't need some kind of social help and support even if they have masters degrees and wonderful jobs. Please always keep this in mind when thinking about what your child may, or may not need during every step of their development.

More Problems with Functioning Labels

Why This "High-Functioning" Autistic Really Wishes You'd Shut Up About Functioning Autistics

Decoding the High Functioning Label


Watch this video by an autistic advocate. She explains the issue really well.

Friday, February 24, 2017

So Your Adult Children are Living At Home and Raj Finally Has to Live on His Own Income

Here in NY State the statistics say that 65% of all adults between the ages of 20 and 29 live at home with their parents. I was discussing this revelation with a friend the other day and she actually said she thought that the numbers were fudged. She thinks its actually higher.

If the only job you can get while in school and right after you graduate is an internship, that  if you are lucky pays minimum wage, how will you afford rent, even if you have 4 living in a one-bedroom apartment? How will you buy food, pay utilities, student loans, and even afford to buy that bus or train ticket to get back and forth to work? The truth of the matter is that unless your parents are subsidizing you, you live at home.

It has become so expected of young adults that once they finish college that they go out into the world and never set foot back in their parents home until Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can then return to your parent's home with all you laundry for mom to wash (much like during college), and sleep in your old room without a care in the world. Apparently, if a child doesn't live up to this particular expectation, your child, and by association you as their parent, have failed to launch properly into the adult world.

Now the question that comes to mind is whether this is a  millennial issue, or is it an economic one. Is this part of the our new American reality?

Many people talk about millennials. They are a topic of constant conversation. In fact, just yesterday I had a chat with my pharmacist about them. He's also the parent of several of this generation and he can't figure it out either. These kids are brilliant. I mean off the charts brilliant. They know more information, and are more adept at figuring out major academic based questions than any group of people before them. But they can't figure out how to go from point A to point B in real life without your help.

Truthfully, some of this is our fault. Parents of our generation did do a lot for our kids. I'm not even talking about parents of special needs kids, like mine. What has become a hallmark of our generation is a type of helicopter parenting without teaching our children basic survival skills.

It is one thing to help them buy new clothes they need for work, or to help them pay for trips for interviews that they can't afford. It is quite another thing to pay for their apartments, their cleaning lady, and anything else that is not an essential. And no its not a big deal if they are struggling financially to let them stay on your wireless, or Netflix account. Moreover, if their jobs don't provide healthcare, and most do not, they will need help with that. But of course, healthcare is an essential, but you don't have to pay for vacations (unless they are going on a family trip which includes you and their siblings), going clubbing, or dating.

Heck, I remember the day I got rid of the maid. Yes, I admit it, I had a maid for awhile. Between two autistic boys, running them everywhere, volunteering at schools, organizing everyone's life, I needed help. So I had a maid come help with the major clean up every two weeks. Then I realized that the maids were doing a really lousy job, and fired them.

Mr. GS2 was very mad. He didn't want to start cleaning the house. My little man was very entitled.

"It's your mess," I told him.

I got a glaring eyeroll.

"Besides, you said you want to live on your own someday. What makes you think when you start out in life, you will be able to afford a maid. I'm certainly not going to pay for one for you, so learn how to clean up after yourself."

Funniest thing was it had never dawned on him that he wasn't going to be able to afford a maid on his own, or that one would not be provided for him. Needlesstosay,  he learned what he needed to learn to help keep the house clean. Also as the boys grew, we decided that they should earn video games, playing cards, or whatever other fun stuff they wanted. So monetary amounts were added to chores. Allowance for just living became a thing of the past. By high school, if they wanted something that was not an essential they had to save up chore money to buy it.

Interestingly, last week, we were watching The Big Bang Theory and Raj had just been cut off financially by his father. His father told him he was spoiled. We all agreed. But now Raj who has been living an extremely extravagant lifestyle needs to cut back. He asks Sheldon for help, and is not really liking the reality of being on the lower rung of the economic ladder.

The upshot was that Raj can't afford to go to their beloved Comic-Con. However, his friends are being supportive. The entire group just gave up going to Comi-Con, well all except Sheldon, he's still thinking about it.

Interestingly enough, Raj decided to finally cut his father loose, because he came to realize that girls really do only want a man who can stand on his own two feet. Women, not girls, want someone who is capable and competent to spend their lives with.

In that vein, Mr. GS2 told me his goal is to be independent and to live on his own one day. Which would make us happy. The boys being self sufficient is definitely one major goal. So maybe seeing a TV character with whom they identify, will put it in the back of their mind, simply what that means.

Honestly, we did have this incident with MrGS2 that he thought being independent meant he did what he wanted without our input, but that we simply paid for  everything for him because he is still in school. We had to disabuse him of that notion quickly. I don't mind him wanting to be independent one day. I don't mind him consistently reminding me that he is an adult now. But while I am happy to help him with his education and what goes with it, he needs to do what is expected of him, not simply what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. And he needs to know that being independent means, financially independent as well. (Yes if there are emergencies you help. That is what family does. That is what we have done in the past for others, and others have done for us. But the day to day, under normal circumstances, is all up to that independent self-sufficient adult.)

By the way, I think this new Raj arc is a great lesson for my guys. Listen, we have no problem paying for what they need. The oldest one only gets minimum wage at his internship, and the younger one didn't even get paid, it was for school credit. They help around the house in other ways, which they should. And honestly, as I told them once they get a real job, they should live at home and save money for a downpayment on an apartment.

Why pay rent, if you can buy and start building something for yourself? Yes, I think parents, as long as you can afford it yourself, should help give your kids a leg up. Why make it as hard for them as it was for you? What's the point if you do that? Now from what I read, millennials don't want to buy. They rent. So we shall see what happens with that issue when the time comes, too.

Truth of the matter is, I don't know if the boys will be independent one day. That is our goal. Our goal is for a full life for them. I know many aspies have it all, so why not my boys. We still work at it. To that extent we even found a local social program for aspies that they are going to try. Maybe make some friends, and realize that they can do more than work, school and home. It would be nice.

Meanwhile,  the issue though that we are facing, and that many families are facing, is how to create a harmonious environment in the house when everyone is an adult? Your children are no longer children, but it is still your house so its your rules.

Now the boys have had chores since middle school, and they continue to do them. They do laundry, clean, and help outside when weather permits. Their job is to do well in school, and at work. They go to bed when they want. They talk to whom they want. They interact on social media with whom they want.

But we do have a rule that dinnertime you must eat at the table. Except, if there is something special streaming. We give MrGS2 that, since he can't interact with others if he simply watches it in video rerun. And interacting of course is half the fun. That does lead to MrGS1/MrYM wanting to watch his show on TV during that time too. Hubby said to let him, even though they are not really the same thing, but you know you have to give a little too.

We don't have the issue of them coming and going at all hours of the night. I wish we did, and maybe one day we will. But the way to handle that is for everyone to remember that there are people who will worry about you. Staying out all night is not fair unless they tell you they are sleeping at a friends. They have to answer when you text them. They do need to let you know where they are going and withwhom. It's not a spying thing. It's a safety thing for young men, as well as young women.

I think the answer is simply curtesy. Be courteous of those you live with. Get them to understand that yes you see them as adults, but that you will still worry about them when they go out. They need to simply let you know where they are going. Get them to understand that by coming home at 3am, you will still be up worrying about them. That's not being a helicopter parent. It's simply that they are still part of a family.


See also:

Parenting and Practice

Practicality: Chores and Preparing for the Future


Thursday, February 9, 2017

GREAT ADAPTIVE BIKE GIVEAWAY CONTEST 2017

Yep, its that time again everyone. 

If you are in need of an adaptive bike for someone in your family check out the information below and join in the contest.






Friendship Circle Presents the Great Bike Giveaway
Every Child Deserves A Bike!

Friendship Circle is kicking off its 6t h annual Great Bike Giveaway on February 15, 2017. Great Bike Giveaway is an annual national campaign that strives to provide as many bikes as possible to children and teens with special needs. Participants will have one month to earn an adaptive bike through fundraising efforts using an online crowdfunding platform.

More than 74 million kids across the U.S. ride bikes. It’s a quintessential part of childhood. Sadly, a key group of children are excluded from the joy and independence of bike riding. Many children with special needs miss out on that essential childhood experience because their physical or cognitive limitations make riding a traditional bike impossible.

The high cost of adaptive bikes makes the dream of riding a bike unreachable for many children with special needs. Many families cannot afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a bike and unfortunately, insurance companies refuse to cover the costs.

Friendship Circle works with adaptive bike companies from around the United States to secure discounted pricing, making it cost-effective for families to earn appropriate bikes for their children. Adaptive bikes range in size, capability, and price making it easy for every family to find the bike that best meets their child’s needs. In just 5 years, Friendship Circle has provided over 900 children with adaptive bikes and the experience of riding their very own bike.

In order to participate in the Great Bike Giveaway families, or participants, will be required to complete a registration form and choose the bike they wish to fundraise for.

To view a full list of available bikes and rules, or to register, please visit bikes.friendshipcircle.org

HOW IT WORKS


LINK HERE FOR THE LIST OF BIKES





About Friendship Circle
Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization that provides programs and support to the families of individuals with special needs. In addition to assisting individuals with special needs, Friendship Circle brings together teenage volunteers and children with special needs for hours of fun and friendship. These shared experiences empower the children, our special friends, while enriching the lives of everyone involved. Learn more and see our available programs at www.friendshipcircle.org 





Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lessons in Anger Management, Behavioral Management, and Social Convention in the Present Political Climate

So you try to teach your child that it is not appropriate to have a meltdown in public. That as they age, there are societal requirements for behavior. That as they age when they are angry they need to learn how to process that anger effectively and channel it into something positive. That social convention stipulates that at a certain age, usually when they get to be adult tall, or reach adolescence, societal expectations are that they are to follow the rules, the law, and the norm.

Now enter present day politics.

What the hell?

We have grownass adults, rioting, setting fire to private property, smashing windows, attacking police officers and creating mayhem because they are not happy about a democratically held election. The ridiculousness of these acts, is that like after the Fergusion riots, there are people trying to compare these jackasses to the Sons of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party.

Well here is the truth:

The SoL did dump tea overboard. The tea was privately owned, but by a government monopoly. They were protesting the tax on tea among other imposed laws, where they had no voice in the matter, and the fact that the tea could only be bought from this monopoly. 

The SoL did not go through the streets of Boston, willy nilly and destroy people's private property. They did not go through the streets of Boston and attack innocent people. The SoL had a plan of action. They attacked, for lack of a better word, the epicenter, and symbol, of a government that did not allow them to vote, to have a say in their daily lives, and took from them their rights as natural born English subjects.

I do not think that the limo owned by a Moslem immigrant that was destroyed during the inaugural had anything to do with the political outcome of the election. The driver, who was injured, did not. The owner of the Starbucks that was trashed, most certainly was only trying to make a living. It's really not like Starbucks has a monopoly on coffee, and you can only buy coffee from there, never mind that the people that work there, who earn minimum wage, may be unemployed until the store is fixed from the damage done. Besides, no one stopped these tempertantrumming anarchists from voting. Like in the Portland riots, just after the election, it was proven that 90% of those arrested DID NOT VOTE.

So who is to blame for the outcome of a democratically held election if you do not exercise your Constitutional right to vote?

In other words, this was simply an excuse for those who have been taught that they are entitled to behave as miscreants to actually act out in inappropriate ways. Yes, there were over 125 arrests. I hope they throw them all in jail for a good long time. Then I hope that the Limo driver, the limo owner, and the Starbucks owner, find out the names of the groups that partook in these actions, and sue them for damages, along with civil rights violations, interference with  commerce, assault and battery, and then the wonderful all encompassing pain and suffering.

I hope the Justice Department goes after these anarchist groups for the civil rights violations of anyone who wanted to watch, walk or go near the Inauguration through the area that was trashed. I hope they charge them with civil rights violations for destroying the livelihood of the Moslem man, and the assault on the Irish driver. Considering the number of police officers hurt, I hope they go after these groups under charges of domestic terrorism.

It is time that society stood up and said enough.

If our autistic children, are required, under pain of expulsion, detention, or some other kind of punishment, to behave in a certain acceptable way, then  others need to be required to do the same. And not simply give the thugs a slap on the wrist.

Yes, I used the words thugs. I am tired of beating around the bush and not being able to say words that aptly describe someone because of political correctness. Thugs are violent, evil people. And simply because you think you have a political cause that enables you to behave inappropriately, doesn't mean you do. You are a thug. In fact, when you use violence in order to try to get your way politically, that is called terrorism. Maybe its time we started using appropriate labels to those that think they can run riot through towns even if they are members of the "Left."

Besides, how do we teach our children, who learn by example, that this rioting behavior is not ok if there are no major consequences to the rioters actions? How do we say, that there isn't two levels of treatment. One for the anarchists, because they claim a political redress, and one for our children, who actually are dealing with developmental delays? Which of the two groups actually should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to punishment and lack of comprehension? 

I know that even today, I try to continue to teach my youngmen the right way versus the wrong way to interact with people. I try to teach them the right way and the inappropriate way to channel your grievances and your disappointment. They don't always listen, but there are also consequences when they don't.

Here's another lesson: the Women's March. There was NOT one incident of violence, harm, or breaking the law. I may not have agreed with the march (I thought it was premature, and rather stupid with their pussycat hats and vagina costumes). But there were millions that walked, chanted, sang and interacted on a healthy, socially appropriate level. Now I don't think that swear words, insinuating that the President is incestuous, or that it is ok to call for the destruction of an ally (several of the speakers were known virulent antisemites), is the way to actually be intelligent, but legally they did not a thing wrong. It would have been nice though if they did find a way to clean up after themselves, instead of leaving garbage strewn all over the place, costing taxpayers thousands upon thousands to have to have someone clean up after them. Not illegal, just unthoughtful, and quite frankly not very eco-friendly either.

So you can point to the Women's March as an exhibit of legal, social, and even appropriate anger behavior management. Show your children that there are ways to get your ideas across that are acceptable in society. That group marches can, and do, come off without harm to another person. That large groups of people can come together and kvetch all they want about something that hasn't happened yet. This march was the exercise of the First Amendment in full exhibition.

Listen I know I am being specious. But I have no use for wasted time and effort. In life you have just so much political capital. Choose wisely how you use it. If you complain too much, even people of good conscience, will simply turn you off.

I also think that is a good behavioral management lesson for the boys as well. Pick your battles. Pick what you are going to fight for and work on at the time. You cannot work on every issue you have all at once, no matter what your child's IEP may say. 

Personally, for the special needs community, I think the really big issue right now is the fact that the Department of Education nominee, doesn't know what the IDEA is, and how it is applied to school districts. Now my boys are out of public school, and are not dependent on that piece of legislation. But that doesn't keep me from being concerned for others. 

If we need a march, that is the march we should have, along with letting the Congress know that there are certain aspects of Obamacare that in truth is keeping many of us alive. Moreover, under Obamacare so many of us finally are able to even get healthcare for ourselves or our children. Whether it is the preexisting issue clause, the autism related supports, allowing children up to 26 to stay on your insurance, and stopping lifetime caps of payments, getting rid of these provisions are the things that worry so many of us. I do know that many are also worried about going back to a block grant medicaid program. They believe this will cut funding, since the states will not supplement, and hurt supports for the disabled. Also though, it would be good if they did something about the cost. 

My premiums, which we pay out of pocket, have gone up by 1/3 and we now have to pay Mr.GS1's COBRA as well.  Moreover, because we chose the less expensive model for our son, the deductibles, for his policy are out of bounds. We took a shot that he wouldn't need major surgery, or have major health problems this year. We will see if we chose wisely. I will let you know in  December. (Honestly it was the difference between $500 a month or $1000 a month-I kid you not.) The boy also only makes minimum wage. What is he supposed to do with that first? And the Obamacare policies here in NY are abysmal.

So here are my final thoughts:

We have seen within less than a week, anger management, behavioral management and social convention in actual play. We have seen much of it fail, but at the same time we did see a successful application as well. The lessons are immense for our children.

Depending on their age show them and talk to them about what happened. 

Point out the pluses, the minuses and explain how everything does apply to them. Teach them a better way to behave when you are upset about a political outcome than rioting. Show them that sometimes there is power in large groups coming together.

Use the present political climate, which in truth, none of us can really avoid, to explain how the lessons they are learning today, are actually needed throughout their lives.

Then secretly crack open a bottle of Jack Daniels. I think we are going to need alot of that in the years to come.













Monday, January 23, 2017

Not only was Barron Trump bullied by adults, he was bullied about his "supposed disability".....think about that you defenders of political correctness

I simply can't believe that this has to be said:  because you dislike the parents' politics, you do not have the right to bully the child. 

It wasn't ok when Rush did it to Chelsea Clinton. (In very nice fashion Chelsea tweeted out telling everyone to leave Barron Trump alone.) The Obama girls were, and still are off limits. Even those who picked on the Bush twins, although at the time of their father's presidency were technically adults, were really thought of as déclassé. So what is wrong with some Leftists/Progressives that think it is fine to pick on Barron Trump, a child no less, that many even think might be on the autism spectrum?

What is wrong with these people? I wouldn't say adults, because adults with any kind of upbringing, do not bully, pick on, or try to hurt a child at any point in their lives. I get it, they don't like what his father stands for. So be the grownass adult you claim to be, and direct your anger at the father.

Or in the alternative, if you are that hard up for someone to bully, because you disagree with Trump's politics, then say something mean about Barron's mother. Of course, the Left did try that with the slut-shaming episodes against Melania from months ago. But you see, that didn't get them the attention they apparently crave, so forward went the brave Lefties to picking on a ten-year-old child.

A child, by the way, who sweetly played with his little nephew, while his father signed an executive order.

The best part of the attacks were that these so-called comedians, one who writes for SNL and other who writes for Comedy Central, is that they were making fun of Barron's possible disability. They hooked into his lack of engagement. His quiet demeanor. His standoffishness. They decided that he has mental health, and social issues, and this became fodder for laughs.

Interestingly, during the Obama era, when someone went on social media, and made racist, or inelegant jokes that caught fire, they had their lives ruined. When a communication director for a congressperson chastised the Obama girls for their clothes, she lost her job. We became cognizant of how we spoke, what we spoke, and the effect it had on other people.

It wasn't a bad thing. Words have meaning, and words do hurt.

From a libertarian perspective, of course, politically correct speech is terrible.  (Don't send me emails) But people also need to remember that your rights do end at the tip of my nose.

Yet, from a human perspective, is it really so bad to pay attention to the words you use, and to think how those words really would affect others around you? It is really so bad to have just a little compassion? Is it so bad to think beyond yourself?

But somehow these two sad excuses for jokers who picked on Barron Trump, are still employed. (See update below)(They are the primary example, not the only ones. There was the general nastiness you see on twitter or social media. It was a fire storm of piggishness.) Yes, they should be fired. Fired not simply because they thought it was ok to pick on a child, which is bad enough, but also fired for thinking it is ok to demean another human being because they have a disability, or a mental health issue.

Remember, you may have the right to say anything you please, but your employer also has the right to fire you when you hold them up to ridicule, derision, and opprobrium. Employers are not the government, they can, and do, expect that you do not put their reputation into question. Employees cannot cause an employer financial loss, or potential disgrace.

Funny that, though, no one seems to have chastised SNL, or Comedy Central for employing such losers.

In truth, Comedy Central is no longer funny.

And the only thing SNL has going for it right now is Alec Baldwin.

What I think it also says about this show or TV station, though, is that somehow they have decided that it is ok to demean certain other human beings they disagree with. No one and nothing is off limits. But if in the alternative, you ever demeaned them, or their child, they would raise holy hell.

Heck, you can't make fun of their icons or idols either. How many jokes were ever really made about Obama? Ironically, in an almost North Korean like exhibit,  SNL had a tribute to Obama on their last show. You would think that the world was burying the Messiah all over again.

The truth of the matter is that in our world today, there seem to be very few true grownups.

The Left complains about Trump's classlessness, and yet they themselves are just as classless.

But the most convoluted part of the entire situation, is that the Left, which prides itself on standing for human, and civil rights, thinks nothing of picking on a child, and picking on that child's supposed disability. Think about it. The self appointed watchdogs of humanity, think that the disabled are fair game for derision, censure, and hate, as long as they don't like your family.

Yes, hate. They used supposed disabilities as fodder for their hate.

Again, there was much talk about Trump and his mocking of a disabled reporter. Pages, and pages, and pages were written about his horribleness, his carelessness, his disrespect for the reporter's humanity.

But how many on the Left actually laughed at the jokes mocking a child's probable disability? That is the question that needs to be answered. That is also NOW the question you need to ask yourself, next time anyone on the Left chastises Trump for anything.

The Left really is no better than the things they despise about Trump.

Hypocrites, and losers. The lot of them.



UPDATE: From the Washington Free Beacon

SNL writer Katie Rich issued an apology on Twitter at 3 p.m. eastern Monday calling her joke “inexcusable.” She sent the Tweet about 30 minutes before the announcement that she had been suspended from the show indefinitely. A source at SNL told Deadline that the suspension occurred “immediately” after the offending tweet.

This was nice to see. All children are off limits. Finally. Good.