Some Theories on "Elder Time"
The TGB Interview: Mrs. Hughes

This Week in Elder News: 16 February 2008

In this regular Saturday feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.

When 65-year-old Joan Anderson retired in 2007, she named her new blog, Peace in Retirement and vowed to work for peace and justice now that she has the time. I’m not sure about the justice, but peace is in short supply. Joan was arrested, tried and convicted of trespassing while participating in a non-violent demonstration on a military installation, Fort Benning, Georgia, and now faces 30 days in federal prison and a $500 fine. You can read about her trial on her blog and a recent update. Do stop by and lend some moral support. (Hat tip to Joan's daughter, Tara Anderson, of I Quit For Lijit.)

I'm not a John McCain supporter in the presidential sweepstakes, but I’m not pleased about the growing number of ageist attacks on him. Jay Dyckman, who blogs at 23/6, in a post titled, "Not So Fast, Pops", had this to say: “Simply put, I can't vote for a president whose motorcade will constantly have the left-turn blinker on. I can't vote for a president who comes to the door of the White House in a bathrobe and yells at protesters to get off his lawn. I can't vote for a president who holds White House dinners at 4:30PM.” Unfortunately, there’s more.

Given how generally ticked off I am with Google, I’m not unhappy to see that the company may get nailed for age discrimination. The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of 58-year-old Brian Reid who says he was fired from Google because of his age. In his suit, he alleges that just two percent of Google’s 1900 employees in 2004 were older than 40. I’ll be watching this case carefully. (Hat tip to ptmeridian)

Pat Temiz, who has contributed some wonderful stories about her adopted country, Turkey, at The Elder Storytelling Place, can now be seen in a YouTube video. She and five other British ex-pats perform in a local folk-dancing group. Pat is the female singer and the routine, she says, is a well known, classic Turkish folk dance about a man bringing gifts to the local women. However, the ladies who present themselves have various disabilities including a club foot much to the distaste of the gift giver.

This would be funny if it didn’t cost taxpayers money. A psychiatrist and minister in Tennessee with the unlikely name of Cupid Poe has allegedly been billing Medicare for sending untrained church members to pray with his psychiatric patients in nursing homes. Between 2004 and 2006, according to Newschannel 5 in Nashville, Poe billed Medicare $250,000 for this service. Medicare fraud is not an uncommon occurrence and it could be I’m telling you this only because the doctor’s name amuses me.

Three years ago, President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security met with resounding failure, but he hasn’t given up his distaste for the federal program. Now he’s trying an end run in his 2009 budget by slashing more than $100 million in administrative funds for local Social Security offices around the country which could force some to close just when we need them now that the first wave of baby boomers is signing up for Social Security.

The end-of-life information website, Agis, has partnered with the Hospice Foundation of America to offer personalized information for caregivers with their new Ask the Expert service. Their End of Life section abounds with excellent and useful information too.

In a New York Times Op-Ed piece this week, Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton and is now a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, published one of the smartest pieces I’ve read in a long time concerning our country’s current economic woes. His solutions are long overdue.

You’ve probably heard of the vacuum cleaning robot, Roomba. I dislike pushing a vacuum cleaner around as much as I dislike changing beds, but I don’t believe the Roomba really works, especially in corners and it certainly won’t do anything for upholstered furniture. But for others kinds of tasks, robots might do the trick. Researchers in Norway are developing elder-specific robots to help with house cleaning, monitor vital signs and other health-related work. Maybe by the time I need one, they will be available. (Hat tip to George of I’ve Been Mugged)

In an attempt to counteract what it calls “myths” about HR.1955/S.1959 - The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act - the House Committee on Homeland Security published a so-called Fact Sheet [pdf] on the bill which is currently awaiting action in the Senate. If you believe what they’re saying, I’m sure I can find a bridge here in Maine you'd be willing to buy. Find out about the real dangers of the thought crime bill here.

I enjoyed this well-done rant on body-size bigotry from newly discovered elderblogger, Daniel Will-Harris at FrickinGenius.

Quote of the Week:

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western World. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity - much less dissent.”
- Gore Vidal


Jay Dyckman would make a horrid scientist: one data point and he manufactures a world. He paints all elders with the brush of his observations of his dad. At that, personal experience and a lifetime of observation, I can tell him that he is not observing his father in a rational, un-biased fashion. Bah, humbug on the younger Dyckman!

I have Roomba. It's really good for those time you would like to see your floors cleaner but don't want to grab the vacuum cleaner and push it around. Also, it's like a pet and it's fun to watch. It is, however, not a substitute for a "real" vacuum cleaner.

I love the video of Pat singing the Turkish folk song. It's always nice to put a face to the person who writes such fascinating stories. I have learned and enjoyed much from reading her stories about Turkey.

Re: George Bush and his end runs. He really thinks he is King George. There is no law that he will ignore or circumvent. (IE: His infamous signing statements.) if he doesn't like it. Now that Congress is getting a tiny bit of spine and backing up on him, he is like a petulant child stamping his feet.

Wow, Ronni, thanks for the many links to all that interesting "stuff!" It'll keep me busy for awhile. I was thinking of you & Time Goes By early last week. My DH & I have become fans, I guess, of Boston Legal. A good number of the actors are elders & carry the show quite well & some of the wit & humor is quite good altho' I could do with a little less of the sexual banter. I recently found that ole' Captain Kirk aka Denny is 76 years old. Not bad & he still retains his acting skill. And then of course there's Candace Bergan who is always a treat to see. I find it really enjoyable. Too bad it's the only game in town! Dee

Thank you so much Ronni for shining your light in these important places. And for the quote from Gore Vidal. Even among the intelligent elders with whom I have regular contact, I am deeply concerned about the extent to which we are all infected by corporate media. So long as we are enmeshed in the precepts of a world wide waste based consumer culture, I suspect we will continue to be denied the (knowledge) realization of our true potential.

HUH? McCain is like Dyckman's father because what? Maybe I should make absolute statements about Dyckman's abilities based on his name. That would be just about as stupid.

Neither do I plan to vote for John McCain, but the ageism that is bubbling up around him makes me mad.
For instance, on CNN on "the insipid Cafferty File" viewers had emailed in about McCain with some ugly comments and Cafferty read some of the most offensive on his show. See below:

Cafferty said:

"Here’s my question to you: In a hypothetical match-up between John McCain and Barack Obama, who wins the generational battle?"

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jon writes:
Barack, in a heartbeat. I can’t imagine this country electing another tired old man to be president. You can clearly hear the age in McCain’s voice when he speaks. He deserves respect and admiration for his service, but not the presidency. Let’s do what JFK once said about passing the torch to a new generation.

Jason from Denver, Colorado writes:
The non-baby boomers of this country are sick and tired of seeing “old” white men run this country into the ground! Obama will definitely win with the younger crowd as he’s inspired throughout the primaries. He connects with us in ways that “grandpa” can’t! It’s time to move forward in this country instead of backwards

Perry from Baltimore writes:
I am a 70-year-old retiree and I think John McCain is well passed it. My generation has had its chance, and we screwed it up and elected Bush. Obama represents and embodies the future: give him the reins of government and let the old coots (like me) head out to pasture where we belong."

I have a robot vacuum and I love him. He has a little brush on the side that he uses to pull the dust out of corners and from the edges of the room. He does an excellent job of laminate floor. Carpets still need deep cleaning with a regular vac but he does a good job of them too. What he does need is time to do the job. I particularly like the way he slips under the bed and bookcases and a lot of other small spaces that I hate trying to do with a regular vac. No complaints from me about him.

Roberta, with a recommendation like that, I may give the Roomba a try soon.

I loved what Daniel Will-Harris had to say about big people! I always knew my fat was in my jeans ... I mean genes!

I loved what Daniel Will-Harris had to say about big people! I always knew my fat was in my jeans ... I mean genes!

Ronni, thanks again for mentioning my mom's struggle. We are all proud of her for standing up for something she believes in. Not only is she a great mother, she's a fantastic role model for what we should all be striving for...fighting for social justice and participating more in making our voices heard. I'll keep you updated on when she finds out where she will be doing her hard time. Thanks again!

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