Weekend Blog Changes

This Week in Elder News: 5 July 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.

During election campaigns, it is our job to educate ourselves on many issues so to choose a candidate who most closely matches what we believe is the best course for the country.

That isn’t always easy to do and the candidates themselves don't help whether from ignorance, confusion, pandering or, sometimes, in trying to have it two ways at once. Watch this astonishing video of Senator John McCain’s double-talk in which he says, in one breath, that he will not privatize Social Security and will privatize Social Security. [1:20 minutes]

New York Times health reporter, Jane Gross, has started a blog - The New Old Age - at the paper about traversing the trials, difficulties and questions surrounding the care of aging parents. You can find the first post here.

When you need a nursing home, there is almost no way to find trustworthy information about a home’s quality except word of mouth. Now, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will rate nursing homes on a five-point scale. Ratings should begin to appear on their website by the end of 2008. More here.

If healthcare reform is not yet the voting public’s leading issue of the 2008 presidential election campaign, it will be soon. Here is a column from my fellow NCPSSM award-winner last month, Saul Friedman, that clearly explains the reasons Senator John McCain’s proposal won’t work, why Senator Barack Obama’s falls short and what can be done instead – if Congress has the will.

In an Op-Ed piece last week in The New York Times, Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, called for the creation of a new White House position, a civil liberties advisor to the president. Given how much work there is to do to restore the liberties snatched away by the Bush administration, this seems a good idea to ensure that the restoration gets done – if the Democrat is elected. If the Republican wins, it is doubtful such a move would be considered. What do you think?

Interested in what a couple of GenX pundits think of elders? Take a look at this video titled, “Tyranny of the Old.” [4:30 minutes]

For a long time, I’ve believed that what we pay for broadband internet access could be considered gouging - $45 a month in my case – and there is no other comparable service available. Did you know that the U.S. is ranked 15th in the world in broadband access, and subscribers in other countries pay much less? More here.

Last Tuesday, while complaining about computer problems, Crabby Old Lady wondered if her ISP might be slowing cable modem service to induce customers to cough up more for faster service. It was, Crabby thought, a paranoid fantasy – until she read this near the bottom of a Pew report on the rate of broadband adoption:

Premium broadband users do an average of 19% more online tasks on the typical day than the average broadband user does.” [emphasis added]

No explanation of the difference between “broadband” and “premium broadband” users was given in the Pew report.

Remember several months ago when Google canceled my Adsense ads and confiscated my earnings because, they said, I was violating their terms of service, which I was not? They refused my appeal and unlike the U.S. court system, there is no recourse once Google has accused you of dishonesty.

Well, look out now if you use Google Adsense and also have a Google-owned Blogger blog. If they decide you’re cheating, not only will your ads and earned money disappear, as mine did, so will your entire blog. All on no evidence except Google’s accusation. Isn’t Google’s motto supposed to be “do no evil”? More here.

Retired film writer and agent, Lorenzo Semple and former film producer Marcia Nasatir are appearing regularly on YouTube as movie reviewers on their series, Reel Geezers. Both octogenarians, they have more than 80 years of film production experience between them. Here is their latest review - of Wanted. [6:18 minutes] (Hat tip to Rain of Rainy Day Thoughts)


Absolutely Amazing! (video with Kerry Howley) I had no idea that my Social Security Check gave me immunity from the ups and downs of the local economy. Now I know and I can stop worrying!

Wow!!!!!! What a week!!!! The one that frosted me most was those damned ignorant kids. Its just another example of how are educational system has gone straight to hell. If I'm not connected to the economy, where the hell does my SS check go every month?

A civil liberties advisor? Just what we need is one more unelected person controlling our lives. We already have enough liberal judges doing that.

If the Democrats win any perceived civil liberties issues will be the least of our problems. Sadly, if the Republican guy wins things won't be any better.

Nursing Homes--The NJ Department of Health and Senior Services has a website report card listing for nursing homes. It is a helpful site to begin the process of determining where to place someone should the need arise. From personal experience, I feel that word of mouth is essential. Long term care nursing facilities are big business and from what I have seen, elderly residents profit the least. Residents in nursing homes , no matter how elaborate the decor, need someone to advocate for them whether family member or close friend.

Does McCain even realize what he is saying?

As for those kids--someone needs to sit them down and educate them...Didn't one of them mention grandparents??

Careful, Ronnie -- McCain already hates us!


I am at a loss for words after watching the Gen-X video.
I am sitting here just shaking my head.

Are their opinions of us *old* people the norm for their generation?
I'm wondering if they would have the courage to show that video to their *elderly* relatives?

Personally, I doubt it.

Wow! What a lot of generalization by those two Gen.X pundits. They need some civil discourse to dis-abuse them of the fallacy of their thinking. Pathetic comment, about guessing his generation is "required to loathe Baby Boomers."

Fortunately, they do not speak for all Gen.Xers (at least not the ones in my family and their friends,) so we Elders should be careful not to generalize, too, based on those two in the video.
Degenerating into generational warfare serves only to be destructive for all.

There are serious issues we all need to work together with Gen Xers on, just as we older folks need to work with the Boomers. I want my Gen Xers to have Social Security and the older they get the more they will begin to realize we're working for their best interest -- they'll thank us when they're older.

I encounter numerous individuals who make a deliberate effort to produce outrageous provocative statements, as those attract attention, create argument and get the readership. I am more and more turned off by all who do so -- we certainly see them passing as news on TV, radio, print, and some bloggers do so, too.

Yeah, Broadband isn't the only gouging going on -- how about the drug companies with our congresspersons and government collusion? I'm referring to failure to permit Medicare negotiation with drug companies for med charges. We need to press a Presidential candidate and our congresspeople on that one.

I missed your original post about what happend to the ads on your blog and find Google's action reprehensible. My experience since first encountering how you conduct this blog is that you are highly ethical and would not intentionally have violated your agreement.

Seems to me the ethical approach by Google should have been to notify you and others specifically of how you violated the agreement, then given you an opportunity to correct whatever the issue was. Perhaps Google wasn't on solid footing to take the action they did which is why they weren't open.

Guess Google operates under the "guilty if accused" dictum. Certainly, they should have a right to question, but doesn't the accused have a right to some explanation and an opportunity to offer a defense?

I heard radio call-in talk discussion today from those extremely unhappy with this Google action. Now the host and callers were even more angry about the most recent actions with the courts that will have Google releasing information about user's searches.

Callers are definitely moving toward finding a search engine whereby Google does not have to be used directly. One such suggestion was to use Ask.com because, they don't track you. Even though they may have an agreement to obtain from Google info you want Ask won't retain tracking info as Google is doing as the caller explained. There may be some other options developing. Hope you'll let us know about them should be become aware of any.

I'm beginning to think I want Microsoft to take over Yahoo. Is it too late to get Sun and more of Linux back into the picture and maybe someone get some more competitive search engines going?

Also, how can I escape all this and switch my blog host from Blogger -- to where?

Hope this long-winded and rambling dissertation does somebody some good!

I'm not sure what might be happening in Crabby's case, but there's a lot of suspicion that ISP's are slowing or messing with the speed of broadband customers. Comcast has gotten a lot of flak recently for doing this, and has backed off to some extent. Others are talking about caps to broadband usage, with additional charges when you go over a certain set usage per month.

You can test your internet speed at the site SpeedTest.net then compare the numbers to what your ISP is telling you is your service level speed. It will also rate your ISP's general speed.

Even though SpeedTest rates our ISP as giving us our paid-for speed, our cable internet speed varies a lot. Our ISP tells us that it's due to our neighborhood's cable usage and there's nothing they can do about it. It's very frustrating to my wife, who uses the internet to telecommute.

And, indeed, the broadband penetration, usage and speed are all higher in other countries. The US has traditionally ranked 15th to 20th in all these areas in the past few years. The government has no broadband policy or plan in place to remedy this, and is at the mercy of the ISP's, all -- in my opinion -- due to the big-business friendly policies of the current occupants.

The techy site arstechnica.com has several articles each day on how the ISPs are giving US customers the shaft.

On another note, your experience with Google AdSense is not unusual or uncommon. And there are many fears among those that continue to use AdSense that Google's recent rule changes will play havoc with their earnings.

But AdSense is far from the only way to go as far as advertising goes. The site ProBlogger.net has as its theme the monetization of blogs. There is an overview article "How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs" that lists many alternatives to Google AdSense. It's at the top of their most popular articles.

Hope this long-winded and rambling dissertation does somebody some good!

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