Recurring Pleasures

This Week in Elder News: 14 June 2008

In this regular weekend 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.

UPDATE: In regard to my piece in the Wall Street Journal today (first item below), I picked up a copy of the paper a few minutes ago and wow! what a terrific graphic, by Shane Harrison, accompanies the story. I'm sorry non-subscribers can't see the piece and I can't reprint it, but here is that terrific graphic:


Announcement: Today marks the beginning of my association with the Wall Street Journal where I will be writing occasional personal essays about aging and retirement.

The topic today, in the Saturday edition, is elderblogging titled Put It in Writing. Several elderbloggers on the list in the left sidebar are mentioned further down in the piece. I'm excited about this new venture and eager to see what the response (if any) will be.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy in the U.S. has hit an all-time high: 80.7 years for women and 75.4 years for men. And here’s some good news for men, the expectancy gap between men and women has been closing. There is more detail here.

Make of this what you will: even though personal computers have been around since the late 1970s, Senator John McCain says he doesn’t know how to use one.

Former 2008 presidential candidate and Representative, Dennis Kucinich, read out a 35-item articles of impeachment in the House this week only have fellow Democrats send it the Judiciary Committee – certain death. Kucinich said Thursday that he will continue to introduce impeachment resolutions every 30 days until lawmakers vote on it.

In Alzheimer’s patients, short-term memory goes first and it is common for some to try to travel to a long-ago home. A German nursing home found a novel solution for those residents who wander off the grounds looking for a bus station. They built a fake one in front of the home so it’s easier to find their patients. (Hat tip to Lia of Yum Yum Café)

In addition to the 47 million Americans who have no health coverage, another 25 million are underinsured and go untreated because they can’t afford the cost. We really do need Medicare for all. It’s called universal coverage and should be one of the issues for all Americans to consider when we vote in November.

There is a relatively new career specialty that may be an important tool for elders and those who are responsible for their elder parents: geriatric care managers who help families navigate the labyrinth of the many different kinds of care and choices there are from fitness to living options to home help and more. There are websites to locate care managers by state. This is a good starting place.

Don’t you get tired of the lack of government oversight of corporate America? It seems Tyson has been pumping a human antibiotic into their chickens while labeling them antibiotic-free. So the U.S. Department of Agriculture, instead of stopping the use of the drug, forced Tyson to change the label.

Last weekend, Bill Moyers (a hero of mine) gave the keynote address at The 2008 National Conference For Media Reform (NCMR) about the failure of mainstream media and our individual need “to fight for the freedom that makes all other freedoms possible” – responsible journalism.

The speech is long, but every moment is compelling. You will be outraged and, more important, you will be inspired. I urge you to find the time to watch. [39:58 minutes]


Congrats on the WSJ!

As for McCain and the computer: that more or less says to me that he hasn't had to do his own work for a long time. His "work" has been playing (and often adlibing) the role of "McCain." Interesting. Imagine a lot of politicians live that way and the temptation must be great. Any that don't are interesting.

Yay Ronni, congrats on the WSJ!

Another congratulations to you.
Looking forward to reading what you share on the Wall Street Journal.

Those of us who live in NE Ohio aren't surprised at what Dennis did and plans to do -- he's just being Dennis the Menace, as many in the media here have called him for years!!!

Please recall that he was one of the mere six members who voted against HR 1955.

Dennis has the courage of his convictions -- a rare thing in today's political climate.

And to you, Ronni, I'm delighted we elders will have a wise and worthy advocate at the WSJ!

Congratulations, Ronni, on the WSJ job. I may have to subscribe to read your article!


Congrats, Ronni! I am so pleased you got the WSJ slot. Well done!!

Congrats and good luck on the new association. And many thanks for the plug!

Re WSJ - Good news! Congratulations!!

Re McCain not able to use a computer - I'd have to know WHY. Clearly, he doesn't HAVE to know how. I guess I would wish that he WANTED to know how. But - many of his generation aren't curious about it and I can't blame them. Come to think of it, many of my own generation aren't curious about it and manage to get along quite well without it. :)

Re Impeachment - I LOVE DENNIS! HE'S the Man!!

Re Bill Moyers - I love him, too!

Congratulations on your new slot at the WSJ!

I was thinking again of universal health care this week, in relation to two local cases. First, a man with a childhood disease that causes disfiguring tumors. They stopped growing, but his parents' health insurance no longer covered him by then and he couldn't get the last surgery to remove the last ones. So he has lived with severe facial deformity for many years. They are trying to get a collection together, to remove the tumors. It just seems so wrong to me that he was cut off that sharply.

And an uncle of a woman I know, who drove out to a remote location and shot himself. He had a painful medical condition, no insurance, and couldn't get it treated; his family suspects that contributed a lot to his decision.

We NEED universal health coverage.

The Tyson article is appalling, especially the linked article with more details. They're claiming the rules have a loophole; but I don't care about that, I care if they've met the spirit of the law. I realize only the letter is enforced, but even if their interpretation is right - questionable, apparently - it's still not anything that makes me want to buy their product.

Congratulations, Ronni on your WSJ post. They couldn't have picked a better person to write the articles.

Bill Moyers is my hero, also. He is so logical in his analysis that it's no wonder guys like O'Reilly hate him. Bill Moyers is one of the true Journalists left standing.

What a disappointment! After reading your article I hurried to my computer in anticipation of meeting interesting oldies but all I found was a clatch of run-of-the mill liberals. I can get that every day in print or TV. I should have known from your photo.You even look like Molly Ivins.

Wonderful piece, Ronni. You'll get plenty of responses - and so will all the interesting people/blogs you mention.

I like the fact that the WSJ now has an older, wiser (but I won't mention liberal!) voice on their pages.

Look at that! Written as I was writing mine, posted one minute before my comment and ....

You're already causing trouble - and my prognostication skills have never been better!

Congratulations Ronni on the WSJ job. I'm not a subscriber, but my daughter and son-in-law work at Dow Jones and that works for me...

Always willing to listen to Bill Moyers.

Whoa there Alan! We're not ALL a bunch of run-of-the-mill liberals. I, for one, am an oldie run-of-the-mill Libertarian. (But your point is taken.)

I disagree with most of the views expressed here, but I like to know what people are thinking, even if it is largely doublethink, to wit: The Government is a big mess, but they are going to 'fix' the health care system! Then all sing the anthem:

It will work this time
With the right people (Obama!) in charge,
(And more funding of course!)

Democrats want to be your Mommy. Republicans want to be your Daddy. Both sides want to take away your allowance.

I take offense at being termed a "run-of-the-mill liberal": I'm not
run-of-the-mill, I'm extraordinary.

Ronni: Congradulations on the WSJ job! Wow! I'm terribly impressed & have renewed hope that our team will gain some attention. How wonderful for you! Thanks too for this rousing good post & system always gets a good jolt on your site....along with my morning coffee. Thanks for brightening my day. Dee

This is great news, Ronni. I'll find a way to read your WSJ work even though I don't subscribe.

Thanks for mentioning Beth and me in your essay. We enjoyed the time we spent with you in NY, and hope to get to Portland someday and talk your ear off again.

One lesson of age for me is how fast the time seems to go these days. Writing a daily journal on the web certainly lends me a perspective on time's passage.

Your run-of-the-mill friend,


Isn't that wonderful for you!!! I am happy for you, Ronni, and I will tell my neighbor (who has a subscription) to read your column!

Congrats on the column with Wall Street Journal, Ronni!

Congratulation on the WSJ gig couldn't happen to a better blogger.
Antics like Tyson's are causing a lot of people to become locavores and start shopping at the farmer's markets and local butchers if they can afford it. We are tired of hormones and antibiotics in our food.

Congrats on your blog and wsj.colmn.

I'm 67 and have been blogging on health care economics, politics and the stock market since Feb. 2003.

If you search "uninsured" on my blog, you'll see that at most there are about 7 to 10 million uninsured American citizens who are uninsurable or can't (as opposed to won't) afford health insurance.

Some 14 million make enough to buy insurance but choose not to, and another 15 million or so are illegal immigrants and shouldn't be counted as uninsured.

Advocates of socialized medicine hype the 47 million uninsured number, while oppones prefer another Census Bureau report that says there are about 36 million uninsured and self-insured.

The larger number reflects inaccurate reporting by the states, which have financial incentives to inflate their numbers of "uninsured."

While McCain doesn't use a computer, Obama doesn't do town hall gigs.

Which is worse, the politician who prefers to meet voters face to face or the politician who talks in generalities and won't talk to voters in person or on the Internet?

As for Dennis and Bill, the First Amendment gives them the right to be extremists and wrong for life.

While blogs are top down enterprises, message boards are bottom up communities. Having blogged and run a board for years, I prefer boards over blogs. Both are preferable to the old CompuServe chat forums and to listservs, imo.

Just sayn'.

One thing I like about boards is that they let you edit your typos. :)

I figured out how you can read the blogging article in today's WSJ. Navigate to it via a Google News Search.

Why does every article in that section have the same email contact address?

Good for you, Ronni, for getting the WSJ job! You'll do us proud.

As for John, never mind.

I got a possum-eatin' grin on my face that'll stay for the whole night!

Ronni, Hip hip hooray on your first WSJ article and a fine one it is.

Now I am glad my husband did not listen to me when I told him to cancel the subscription to the Journal.

With writers like you there is hope for it yet.

The graphic that accompnied your article was smashing and certainly drew attention to it.

Well done!!!

Awesome! Good to see you getting into print!!!

And Tyson is an evil, evil company.... don't buy Smithfield, either. The Rolling Stone article on them a while back was a huge wake up call for me. I barely eat pork at all anymore.

Libertarian here, too. For Obama. (Yeah, I know, it blows your stereotypical little mind, Alan....)

Donald, come on the website and have a look around -- there is a fabulous conversation going on. Actually, a huge number of them. You won't find it on McCain's site, that's for sure. You want bottom up, well come on by -- it's amazing. And you're more than welcome to join us!

Hey. Found your blog before. Then tonight my son came into the kitchen where I was blogging and said, "Dad wants you to see this." Didn't recognize it at first but then sure did.

You have a fantastic site. I know what you mean about getting older. I am at that point where life is changing. My son and I called it P1 and P2 when he was going through puberty and I was in the early stages of Pre-Menopause. We're kind of going through our "changes" together. It's working out. I could appreciate his physical, emotional, and hormonal changes and he could appreciate mine. We go to our corners when they clash and understand what the other is going through.
Still, I have no clue how to age gracefully because inside my head I'm still 25.
I'm so glad that I have found you.
PS I have just started blogging myself.(Jan. this year)
Guess what? Like, Millie Garfield, found an undiscovered talent from blogging. And I found it out for the same reason too(no one can interrupt.) I found out that I love to write. It is always a shock to see when someone has read my blog.
No one ever listens to me here. Who knew that since I've been on the web, over 25,ooo views. I can't hardly get anyone here to listen to "Good morning".

Best regard,
Ann, age? Hmm. let's just say I'm a long way from 25 and leave it at that. LOL

Come visit me @

Or read one of the current posts.

I would so love your company.

Thanks to Steve Garfield above for this link to the WSJ article! It works!

So great, Ronni. Only one thing seemed off to me in the article, at the end "--Ms. Bennett is a writer in Portland, Maine." It still seems like it should say you are a writer in New York City. But in essence you are.

I loved being able to see the WSJ article, for real, thanks to the link Steve posted!
Thanks for mentioning me and my blog. I wish we could find a way of actually getting together again. Maybe it will happen! I sure hope it does


"Baracks talk to the nation after he is elected"

Baracks Bills -
1. 2006 Transparency bill = expose corrupt lobby $ that lobbyist give to politicians so we the people can either impeach them or not re-elect them
2. TECH PLAN = 2007 = = expose all government spending so the citzens can see where their tax money goes
3. 2008 = SUNSHINE bill = SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION = = = EXPOSE future spending. This is acomplished as Barack and his newly elected cabinet point out to WE THE PEOPLE , negative porkbarrel spending so we the people can rally against a certain senator or congress person or committee to stop it before it goes up for vote or support it if it is good for we the people = honest government finally controlled by WE THE PEOPLE. Who knows maybe one day in the future we won't need politicians as we the people stay involved in what is going on in all 3 branches of government and we use the computer to approve the direction of our country / government.

Barack will be holding weekly / monthly speeches, to WE THE PEOPLE, guiding them as to which negative earmark / porkbarrel spending should be stopped (removed from a future bill) by the people rallying together online before a bill with that earmark goes up for vote!

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)

Obama has outlined an ambitious transparency plan that incorporates technology to "help connect government to its citizens and engage citizens in a democracy."

Among the proposals in Obama's plan to open government are: putting government data online in accessible formats; airing live webcasts of agency meetings; restoring scientific integrity; allowing people to track federal grants, contracts, earmarks and lobbyist contacts online; and allowing five days for public to review and comment on legislation online before its signed.

In an October 2007 speech, Obama pledged to "turn the page on a growing empire of classified information, and restore the balance we've lost between the necessarily secret and the necessity of openness in a democratic society by creating a new National Declassification Center."

Past is Prologue

One of Obama's most visible Senate actions on the open government front was his co-sponsorship of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2008 with the launch of, a Web site that gives people access to information on government contracts, grants and other awards.

As an Illinois state senator, Obama co-sponsored the Verbatim Record Bill, requiring public agencies to video or audio record closed door meetings, The First Amendment Center reported, noting the law was the first of its kind enacted by any state.

Obama is the only remaining candidate to have signed the Reason Foundation's Oath of Presidential Transparency, and, according to The Washington Post he is the only leading candidate to have released his income tax returns.


What other aspects do you seek Barack to address to the nation?

Yep. Barack is going to fix everything!

Remember voting for slick willie (and his consort)? They were going to fix everything too. Every commentator on this blog probably voted for Billy-Boy. (What, you say you didn't vote for Clinton, did you vote for ... Bush? Periot? Sure you did.) Do you remember the huge fines levied against Hudson Foods when he was the Guv'na of Arkansas? Fines heavy enough to force them out of business - all to eliminate all competition for his buddy Tyson? You know, Tyson, who of Tyson chicken - the same Tyson that use antibiotics when they say they didn't? Jeez, imagine that.

Switching gears, Barack's wife just happened to 'deserve' that big promotion and massive salary increase when he became Senator... Sure she did. There was no conflict of interest when substantial amounts of money were funneled into that hospital she works for by Mr. Obama from the State coffers. (Don't believe me? It is all a matter of public record.)

He's smart and he's savvy, and he has a way with words. But he is a politician, and he will say what it takes to get elected. It just might work.

Well, that's my prognostication. I could be wrong, and he could have angel wings under that Armani suit. But it would be one of the few times in history that anyone with a moral compass was elected to the highest office in our country.

Blindly worshiping any political candidate is not just naive, it is.. well, let's not be 'snarky' now, OK? So. Let's just leave it at naive.

I really enjoyed the WSJ piece about elderblogging. I have been writing a blog on retirement for our local newspaper for almost two years, and enjoy it very much. I am glad I discovered this site and look forward to checking it often.

Best good wishes,
Dr. Ron Evans
retired psychologist and university prof

Couldn't help adding one more retort to the commentor who obviously gets a visceral reaction to differing political points of view:

If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad; if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
- John F. Kennedy

I'll be a JFK kinda liberal any ol' day.

Congratulations on the WSJ gig! You make us all proud.

So, Cowtown Pattie, you believe your reaction is not 'rigid'? It IS sanctimonious.

What I find distasteful is the implication that only Liberals compassionate. Only liberals look ahead. Only liberals care about civil rights. (And anyone who is not a Liberal is, by definition, an anti-intellectual, fly-over state racist moron. With a cherry on top.)

The other thing that I find distasteful about (most) Liberals is their inability to realize that there are no answers. There are only tradeoffs. Everything comes with a price tag.

Fiscal conservatives know that there is going to be a bill come due for any legislation passed by any member of Congress. But politicians on both sides of the aisle are only interested in votes and will do or say whatever it takes to keep their jobs. Some are excellent rhetoricians. But their legislation still has a cost, regardless of the pretty words.

Generalizations, judgmental attitudes and stereotyping are things that Liberals are wont to accuse Conservatives of. But in many of the comments on this blog I see those self-same attitudes. But because Conservatives are 'evil', it is OK.

This is a blog full of self-congratulatory Liberal bigots who are only interested in hearing their own opinions parroted back to them. This is not a stereotype. It is a fact.

I had hoped for more.

The Captain has left the ship. Everyone can relax now.

I intended to send Cap'n Jan a private email of gentle admonition that although disagreement and argument are encouraged at Time Goes By, name-calling and sloppy citation of non-existent statements are not, and never in a tone of belittlement of others.

But she does not provide an email address, so I must say this in public:

We have several months of political campaigning ahead of us in an atmosphere that is more ideologically charged than any election in recent memory.

From time to time, I will be posting some opinionated political pieces and expect readers will respond with their points of view in agreement and in opposition.

But let's please all keep a civil tongue. It is possible to disagree, even vehemently, without personal attacks. Let's stick to the issues and not characterizations.

Those who do not will see their comments removed. It's my blog and I have the Delete button.

On a happier matter, thank you all for your kind words about my new gig with the Wall Street Journal. I am glowing from your encouragement.

Congratulations on beginning a gig with the Wall Street Journal. Good stuff. And with 41 notes, you have obviously stirred up the pot a bit today.


I never meant to start a feud.

Well, okay, maybe a tiny one.

Cap'n Jan - I apologize for coming across as bad-mannered. Had my dander up for minute, but I'm over it now. I'm not a grudge holder.

Politics and religion and sex: all topics guaranteed to get the blood going, no?

And I've never been reticent about voicing my opinion, but I need to remember to play nice at other people's houses.

My apologies also to the very terrific group of responders at TGB. I've never felt more welcome around a bunch of total strangers! *grin again*.

I'm grateful tonight for your moderating skills. I am uncomfortable with a captain who would toss a grenade on deck and then leave the ship, especially without providing a forwarding address. I was fuming about capnjan's comments until reading your follow-up comments. When you reminded us all that you have the "delete button" you gave me the mental image icon that I'll be using as a coping mechanism in the months ahead, as a last resort but when necessary to move through the muck.

Am delighted to learn the WSJ is featuring your essays. Just read this first one which is excellent as might be expected.

I must add I have a great distaste for writing that arbitrarily uses labels to categorize comments of others as this typically defines little or nothing. I much prefer specific issue discussion and hope that continues to be the focus of those who comment here.

Sorry to read some are still uncomfortable revealing their age. I think we should be proud of our age, whatever it might be. We might even dispel some ageist perceptions when others realize we just might not fit their steretypical perceptions.

Congratulations on being a writer for WSJ. I am sure you will enrich their readers with some ideas they may not have thought about previously.

I read that about McCain and it's just one more scary aspect to that man. It does explain why he'd mix up Sunni and Shiite though...

BEST WISHES TO YOU, RONNI!!! You write so well that the WSJ should be thrilled you are going to "boost" their circulation.

KOL HA KAVOD = All Honors To You!!!

Congratulations on the WSJ column! I'm delighted for you and very pleased that the WSJ had the good sense to recognize the value of your insightful commentary.

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