The 1.6 Ton Concrete Stairway Procrastination Project

One challenge living in a house built on a steep hillside offers is erosion. From the street to the top of the property, I’ve estimated it’s about seven stories or seventy feet of elevation gain.

The erosion I’m talking about had washed enough dirt away from the southwest foundation of the house over the decades to expose the bottom of the concrete and allow the ivy to grow under the house in addition to letting rats move in too.

The erosion, ivy and rats led to this concrete stairway project on the southwest side of the house that I started on April 10, when I cleared away the thick ivy and ended almost four months later on August 1, 2015, with a 2nd coat of stucco in those areas where there were no steps or sidewalk. To show what I’m talking about, I’ve included nine photographs after the text of this post.

There is a double explanation for adding the word procrastination to the title. One reason is that I’ve known for several years that this job had to be done, and the second was that it was a great excuse to escape Twitter—my experience is that when you spend too much time on Twitter, it squeezes all the energy out of your brain until it refuses to function—and working on the rough draft of my next novel, The Last Sorcerer.  The next image is a working cover for the first book in a planned five-part series.

Book One on July 20 - 2015

In total, I worked on the concrete stairway project for nineteen days and 63 hours for an average of about 3.3 hours on each working day. When I started, I thought I’d be able to work the long 12 to 16 hours days of hard labor I worked when I was age 30 – 40, but I quickly learned that wasn’t going to be the case. At almost 70, when you work this hard, you quickly feel the damage age contributes.

The first damage was to my elbows from swinging a pick and sledge hammer to break up the hard packed clay—clay soil is difficult to work in dry or wet. I solved this later by using a heavy duty hammer drill and a wide chisel bit.

After that first and last 6-hour work day on April 14, I took a two-week break to let both elbows recover. The damage to the right elbow was worse than the left one. On April 15, I couldn’t move that arm or hold a pen to write, and it took the next fourteen days before I felt it was safe to continue working on the project.

Eventually, on May 22, I visited Big-5 and bought two, one-piece neoprene Pro Elbow Support sleeves that dramatically helped speed up the healing process and alleviated the pain so I could get back to work more often. I still don’t know why the elbow supports worked but they did.

By the time I finished the project, I had poured 19 bags of gravel that weighed a total of 950 pounds and mixed 41-bags of concrete (2,260 pounds based on dry weight). I have no idea how much that concrete weighed once it was wet, but I carried it up the hill in buckets from the mixing pan.

The receipts for the project reveal that I made thirteen supply runs, and I did not add in the hours spent driving to Home Depot to buy the material necessary to finish the work. If each supply run took 2.5 hours (a guestimate), then that added another 32.5 hours bringing the total to almost 96 hours.

Here are the nine photographs that show several stages of the project from near the beginning to the end, and writing this post gave me another excuse to avoid working on the last chapter in the first novel of The Last Sorcerer series.

Stairway Project One

Stairway Project Two

Stairway Project Three

Stairway Project Five

Stairway Project Six

Stairway Project Seven

Stairway Project Eight

Stairway Project Nine Stairway Project Ten

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal . His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

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The Propaganda War against Labor Unions—Part 1 of 3

Over on Writer Beat.com, I left a few comments for a post bashing labor unions, because I’m pro-union and proud of it, and I don’t care if the union is public or private. I was born into a family that lived in poverty with parents struggling to make ends meet working for poverty wages until my father joined a labor union with help from my godfather. After my dad joined the union, our lifestyle improved dramatically and my family joined the middle class. As a public school teacher, I also belonged to a union, and I know for a fact that without that union’s support, I would have been fired when I put the interests of my students first over high stakes tests and corporate education reform.

There is a lot of misinformation by the writer of the Writer Beat post bashing unions. For instance, he claimed that when Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin and limited the freedom of the labor unions, the teachers got a raise—but that’s FALSE, because how does cutting nearly $2.6 billion from public education equal a raise? Instead of a raise, 1,446 teachers lost their jobs and a similar slaughter took place the year before. – wisdems.org

The Writer Beat Post also claimed that what happened in Wisconsin when Scott Walker won the election for governor was proof that national public polls are wrong about the public supporting public employee unions—Gallup conducts an annual poll to see if the public approves or disapproves of labor unions, and since 1936, the majority has approved of labor unions even though labor unions only represents about 14% of the country’s workforce. In August 2014, Gallup reported that 53% of Americans approved of labor unions versus 38% that disapproved, and 10% that had no opinion.

Although support for labor unions has declined from 72% in 1936 to 53%, it helps to be aware that for decades there has been an ongoing propaganda war in the media that has consistently attacked both public and private sector labor unions.

Source Watch.org reports that a right-wing political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) founded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, supported the election of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin when AFP purchased $700,000 worth of television ads in that state in addition to spending almost $3 million on TV ads in 2012.

Republic Report.org “broke down the figures for the last election and found that Koch groups alone spent more than double the combined political spending for the top ten unions combined.”

It’s also no secret that one of the wealthiest families on the planet are strongly anti-union—the Walton family. You may learn more from a report in The Nation that said, “Always Low Wages: Meet the Billionaires Who Run Walmart.”

In fact, the Waltons have gone as far as to close Walmart stores where the employees voted to bring in a labor union.” – Zero Hedge.com

What is the result of Walmart workers having no union? Forbes reports, “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing …” Walmart provides 1.4 million jobs. The fast food industry, another non-union sector that often pays poverty wages (over half of all fast food workers are on government assistance—$7 billion annually Kitchenette & Poverty nation), employees almost 4 million.

Continued in Part 2 on May 9, 2015

– or View As Single Page

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Trying to get a job done and ending up with a useless right arm

The pain is in my right arm—specifically the elbow—and it left that arm feeling almost useless and without strength.

The job was installing a stairway along one side of our hillside home. Erosion over the years had washed away the dirt under the foundation and rats were getting under the house and living in the floor space between the 1st and 2nd story.

1 - Stairway Project April 2015

At night, I can hear them above my head moving around and rattling the electric wires that run between the first story celling and second story floor.

2 - Stairway Project April 2015

The soil is hard, packed clay and to break it up requires elbow grease swinging a sledge hammer against metal foundation spikes or against a concrete chisel or using a miner’s pick. The third day on that job, I overdid it. The first two days were digging and cutting out the ivy that was covering the space where the new stairs are going to go, and the ivy was growing under the foundation and into the area under the house. Before I started, the space where you see dirt and future steps was covered with ivy that was growing over the air conditioning unit and up the side of the house.

3 - Stairway Project April 2015

It was all that pounding that put the strain on an aging elbow that wasn’t up to the work it once did decades earlier, and that put my right arm out of commission.

4 - Stairway project April 2013

Once the pain is gone and the strength returns, I’ll get back to work. Getting old is a learning experience that never ends when we ask our bodies to do what we once did when we were much younger. The photos show how much I finished in those three days, but they don’t show all the trips to Home Deport to buy the material I’m using to get the job done. From the photos, it looks like a small job to me, but my right arm is telling me something different.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His fourth novel is The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Complete Kindle e-book Cover on February 18 Flattened

Lloyd Lofthouse also worked as a maître d’ in a nightclub called the Red Onion for a few years. A romantic at heart, in his award winning novels, he tests true love in difficult situations and the challenges of keeping that love alive. My Splendid Concubine, his first novel, is an epic love story that teaches acceptance and respect for other people and their cultures. Running with the Enemy, his second novel is a love story that will either cost the characters their lives or will complete each other’s hearts. Lloyd Lofthouse lives with his family in California’s San Francisco Bay area.

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Does anyone ever question what political party in the United States does the best job dealing with poverty and why?

In this post, we are going to examine the top ten in each category—highest versus lowest rates of poverty. Each state gets three points. One point for each governor’s party and one point for the majority of the state senate and one point for the majority of the state house or general assembly. When I stared to research this topic, I had no idea what the results would be.

Top Ten States with the HIGHEST rates of poverty

#1 Mississippi 20.1% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 5.3% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#2 Louisiana 18.3% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 4.6% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#3 New Mexico 17.9% – GOP governor and State House (the State Senate majority is Democratic), and only 7.2% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#4 Alabama 15.9% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 9.8% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#5 Texas 16.2% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 4.5% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#6 Arkansas 15.9% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 5.9% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#7 Oklahoma 15.6% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 6.6% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#8 West Virginia 15.4% – Democratic governor but GOP State Legislature and only 13.8% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#9 Arizona 15.2% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state and only 8.8% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#10. South Carolina 15% –  GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is a Right to Work state and only 3.9% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

RESULTS: 93.3% of state governments for the TOP ten worst states for POVERTY in America are led by the Republican Party, and eight of these ten states are Right to Work states. A “right-to-work” law is a statute in the United States that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.


Workers in Right to Work states earn about $5,300 a year less, have less health care with higher poverty rates and work related deaths are 51% higher because unions can’t speak up about worker safety.

Top Ten States with the LOWEST rates of poverty

#1 New Hampshire 5.6% – Democratic governor and GOP majority in both houses of the state Legislature, and only 10.6% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#2 New Jersey 6.8% – GOP governor with a Democratic majority in the both houses of the state legislature, and only 18.3% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#3 Vermont 7.6% – Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in both houses of the state legislature, and only 10.4 % of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#4 Minnesota 8.1% – Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in the State Senate and a GOP majority in the State House, and only 16.1% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#5 Hawaii 8.6% – Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in both houses of the state legislature, and only 24.3% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#6 Virginia 9.1% – Democratic governor and GOP majority in both houses of the state Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state with only 4.1% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#7 Utah 9.2% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state with only 5.8% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#8 Delaware 9.2% – Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in both houses of the state legislature, and only 13.4% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

#9 Nebraska 9.5% – GOP governor and State Legislature, and it is called a Right to Work state with only 8.3% of the work force belongs to a labor union—Right to Work means anti-union.

#10 Connecticut 9.7% – Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in both houses of the state legislature, and only 16.9% of the work force belongs to a labor union.

RESULTS: 60% of the state governments for the TOP ten best states with the lowest POVERTY rates in America are led by the Democratic Party, and only three of these states are Right To Work states—this means that seven of the top ten states with the lowest poverty rates allow labor unions to negotiate for union workers.

Infographic on National Debt by President

How about the federal national debt? I’ll bet most Americans think that President Obama is responsible for that $18 Trillion debt and blame him. But if you look closely at the chart, you will quickly discover that of the last 12 presidents starting with Truman in 1945, three presidents are responsible for about half of that debt—they are Reagan and the two Bushes and these three presidents left Obama with a mess: two wars, the greatest financial recession since the Great Depression, the lowest tax rate in decades and the highest federal spending.

After reading this post, what is your conclusion about labor unions, Right-to-Work states/laws and the two major political parties when it comes to poverty and the federal national debt?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Let’s take a close look at how many REAL deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare

First, a few numbers to get started: there are more than 316 million Americans and 150.8 million are between the ages of 18 to 65—the primary working years for adults. In 2013, 47.1 million Americans lived below the poverty level; 73.6 million were under the age of 18, and 44.6 million were age 65 or older.

Wow, and in September 2014, there were 146.6 million Americans who were working at paid jobs.

But, a few, far-right billionaire oligarchs—for instance, the Walton family and the Koch brothers, and the fools who swallow their propaganda—think that more people in the United States are on welfare and are deadbeats than those who are working and supporting them.

I think it is arguable and safe to say that it would be a misleading lie that the majority of the Americans who are not working are deadbeats on welfare. Only a fool could think that. Is it possible that there are only 4.2 million Americans—who could be deadbeats—between 18 and 65 who do not have a paying job—that’s only 1.328% of the total population? I bet most of those 4.2 million are probably disabled and can’t work or are a stay at home parent.

Did you know ABC reported that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world—more than the English, the French, the Germans or Norwegians and even, recently, more than the Japanese?

In addition, according to the OECD, in the United States 67% [that is almost 70%] of people aged 15 to 64 [the working class years] have a paid job. … And having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In the United States, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%—and yet some billionaires, including Bill Gates [worth almost $80 billion], the Koch brothers and the Walton family, would have you believe that the public education system in the United States is failing and must be reformed.

20 Something Finance even says “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World.” And Business Insider says the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime—based on a 5 day 8 hour workweek with a two week vacation annually, that equals 45 years. I worked 45 years, starting at 15 and I retired at 60.  My retirement check comes from CalSTRS, and I paid 8% of my gross income into CalSTRS for the 30 years I was a classroom teacher.

But a Houston based billionaire, according to the Democratic Underground, is attacking public pensions with a goal to kill the guaranteed-benefit plans that are run by teacher retirement systems in every state. This billionaire’s name is John Arnold, who is worth $2.9 billion dollars. Arnold runs a Houston-based hedge fund, and before that he worked for Enron, and it is said that he earned $750 million for Enron the year it went out of business. Huh, how do you earn $750 million for a company that goes out of business the same year?

Contrary to the popular thinking of fools, Social Security is not a form of welfare because workers and employers pay into that program for their entire working life, and in 2013, there were 38 million retired workers—nine out of ten individuals age 65 or older—who collected an average monthly benefit of $1,294. There were 4.9 million dependents; 8.8 million disabled workers, who were paid an average of $1,145 a month, and 6.2 million survivors—survivors are young children and a surviving spouse who cares for the children.

What about food stamps—a real welfare program?

From Media Matters.org we learn that nearly half (47% or 23 million), who get food stamps, were under the age of 18, and another 8 percent (3.9 million) were 60 or older; 41% (more than 20 million) lived in a household with earnings from a job. These workers are known as the “working poor”, and the average household on food stamps received a monthly benefit of $287.

And, these so-called deadbeats—that a few billionaires and a lot of fools think outnumber working Americans—are allegedly robbing us blind while they sit around drinking beer, eating popcorn and watching TV or having sex 18-hours a day to make more babies so they can collect more food stamps. If you believe that, then you might want to look in a mirror to see a fool.

If these billionaires succeed, what will replace progressive era plans like CalSTRS, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps?

If we look back at history, we might discover the answer to that question. In 1900, before Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and LBJ, ushered in the progressive era, 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty with only a 5% unemployment rate, and up until 1938, in some states, children could be sold as young as five to factories, coal mines and whorehouses. Imagine your five-year old child working as a prostitute, because boys and girls were sold into prostitution back then.

Is this the America a few billionaires, with help from some fools, are fighting to get back?

By the way, did you watch the video that comes with this post? It really is an educational eye opener.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Is global warming a hoax and why should we care?

I think Global Warming deniers who claim it’s a hoax are ignorant fools, and here’s a sampling of who loves them: the Koch brothers, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Monsanto in addition to five other corporations — BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta, collectively known as the “Big 6”.

Think Progress.org reports that the oil, gas and coal industries have spent over $2 billion lobbying Congress since 1999, and the Political Economy Research Institute ranks Koch Industries as the 14th worst air polluter in the U.S.—more than oil giants like BP, Shell and Chevron and large coal utilities like American Electric Power and Duke Energy.

Koch Industries and the Koch family spend millions of dollars on lobbyists to fight climate and energy legislation, millions more on politicians, and still more millions on organizations denying climate change. Through the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation as well as Koch Industries and the other Koch family foundations, numerous and substantial donations go to organizations that deny, skepticize or belittle the significance of global warming. Compared to ExxonMobil, which has spent over $27.4 million on skeptic groups since 1998, foundations linked to Koch Industries have spent over $70 million in traceable contributions to the same network of organizations, with addition untraceable funding funneled through organizations like Donors Trust.  Polluter Watch.com

But even if we were to remove global warming as an issue, the danger of CO and CO2 to the quality of life still remains.

CO is carbon monoxide and it is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood do not burn fully. Burning charcoal, running cars and the smoke from cigarettes also produce carbon monoxide gas, and did you know that carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by inhaling combustion fumes. When there’s too much carbon monoxide in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in the hemoglobin of your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This keeps life-sustaining oxygen from reaching your tissues and organs.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.

What about the cost of CO poisoning? In 2007, alone, the hospital cost for confirmed CO poisoning was more than $26 million. Multiply that number by ten years, and we are talking about more than a quarter of a billion dollars. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

What about CO2, better known as carbon dioxide? EPA.gov says, “The main human activity that emits CO2 is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation. … Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. In 2012, CO2 accounted for about 82% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

LiveStrong.com says, “Cases of CO2 poisoning have been linked to central nervous system damage and permanent deterioration of respiratory functions. Because of these findings, CO2 is considered not just a simple asphyxiant, but a gas with acute systemic effects as well. … If your blood becomes saturated with too much CO2, you develop the condition known as hypercapnia. Increased levels of CO2 also affect the pH level of your blood, turning it more acidic. This condition is called acidemia and, if prolonged, causes acidosis, which is injury to the body’s cells by a rise in acidity that leads to faltering functions of the heart. … You can suffocate on CO2 without any visible abnormality or obstruction of your breathing. If the oxygen content of the air you breathe is insufficient, you slowly suffocate due to selective oxygen depletion until you experience permanent damage or death.

What about the medical costs of excessive CO2 exposure? Poor childhood health caused by environmental factors, such as air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals, cost the United States $76.6 billion in 2008, according to a new study in the May issue of Health Affairs.

In fact, Perry Sheffield and coauthors at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine examined the little-studied relationship between fine particulates or pollutants in the air and the cost of bronchiolitis, a type of lung infection in children. They discovered that children exposed to such pollutants were more likely to have higher health care costs from treating this respiratory illness. … Such exposure can lead to long-lasting health and academic problems for children, write Paul Mohai, Byong-Suk Kweon, and colleagues at the University of Michigan. They examined the extent of air pollution from industrial sources near public schools, finding that schools located in areas with the highest air pollution had the lowest attendance rates (a marker for poor health) and the highest proportion of students failing to meet state educational standards.

Conclusion: There’s more at stake here than a possible unproven hoax claim that carbon emissions ( CO and/or CO2) are not contributing to or causing global warming. If you have supported the oil and coal industries when they claim that global warming is a hoax to help them defeat environmental bills designed to clean the air, water and soil, you are just as guilty as the Koch brothers, because you are contributing to the suffering of millions of children and adults and billions of dollars in annual medical costs that has nothing to do with global warming being a hoax.

In fact, people who protest because they think global warming is a hoax may also be murderers. The Voice of America reports that “Air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year in the United States according to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In ten years, that’s 2-million deaths thanks to billionaire oligarchs like the Koch brothers.

Do you really think they care if global warming is real or not? The Wichita Eagle says, “In a little more than a decade, while a lot of companies were contracting, Koch Industries has doubled its revenue.”

In 2000, revenue at Koch industries was $55 billion. By 2011, it was $110 billion. The Koch brothers thank all of the people they fooled—for believing their claims of a global warming hoax—who supported them in defeating bills in Congress that would have helped clean the air, water and soil and save millions of lives from painful early deaths, and help more than 7-million children under age 18 who suffer from asthma. American Lung Association

Discover the suffering and lost chances caused by the Koch brothers and the oil industry: Poverty with Pollution–Its impact on the education of children

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

ObamaCare critics Cherry-Pick facts to demonize healthcare program

We know that the Affordable Care Act run through the HealthCare.gov site has problems. After all, the critics of ObamaCare keep reminding us of every glitch, every problem—hammering us every day with cherry-picked facts, but I suspected they weren’t telling the whole story. 

So I asked: What about the State-based sites? Quote: “States can create and operate their own marketplace or a hybrid called a State Partnership Marketplace in which the state runs certain functions.”

Through Google I found a piece at TalkingPointsMemo.com that said, “How Kentucky Built the Country’s Best Obamacare Website.”

“Kentucky did it right,” Talking Points reported. “The state’s online health insurance marketplace has become Obamacare’s city on a hill while HealthCare.gov has been flummoxed by a month of glitches and bad press. Whatever the federal website seems to have failed to do to ensure its success on the Oct. 1 launch, Kentucky did.”

In Kentucky, Talking Points said more than 26,000 people enrolled in coverage and 50,000 more have started the application process. The Talking Points piece was dated October 28, 2013.

Kentucky’s success led me to ask myself this question: How many people have signed up through other state-run sites so far?

And of course—as you may have already guessed—it took a few seconds using Google to discover an answer to that question and I found it through the Christian Science Monitor that reported: “The 11 states that run their own websites and have given progress reports account for about 30 percent of America’s population, but 75 percent of total enrollments during the first month of Obamacare exchanges. … All 11 state-run exchanges had at least 1,000 enrollees, led by California at 35,364. By contrast, of the 36 states using HealthCare.gov, 27 had fewer than 1,000 enrollees.”

And Health Care.gov—the federal site—has a page that links to the state sites. So why bother with the federal run site when you can sign up through a state site—that is if you live in one of the few states that supports healthcare for all—that probably works better? Too bad if you live in a state run by conservatives who may not care if you rot or not.

Maybe the feds should ask Kentucky for help to fix the federal healthcare site. Even though I don’t need to get health insurance through an exchange because my health care provider is the Veterans Administration, I visited to make sure I could read California’s site; it worked, and my wife has been signing up there. She has complained it’s going to cost her about $100 more than her old plan but conceded the health care offered will be much better. The last time she had a physical under her current $400 a month plan, she says it cost her $4,000an annual physical through the new plan will cost nothing.

However, for every success story, we may also find a failure and Oregon provides another example of that. So far, Oregon’s insurance exchange site failed to enroll a single subscriber and had to ask thousands to apply on paper while—next door—California’s insurance exchange signed up 31,000 people in an Affordable Care Act plan in October and added 29,000 more the first 12 days of November. Source: Yahoo.com

One thing for sure, we will never hear the success stories from the critics of ObamaCare because they cherry pick the facts. They want ObamaCare to fail—without giving the program a chance—just like Rush Limbaugh said on his conservative radio talk show back in 2009 when he wanted Obama to fail after Obama was elected President and before he even took the oath of office and had a chance to do anything as president.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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