Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on Greta (UPDATE 1X: GM Retiree Health Benefits Dropped–the Next “Attached String” Falls into Place?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Did you see the latest issue of Parade Magazine this past weekend?

Call me a cynic, but are we seeing the first salvo in the next campaign planned by the Obama Administration regarding health care?

I didn’t know who the people were on the cover, but when I took the time to read the story inside, it turned out that the story was about how the daughter of Obama’s guru David Axelrod and his wife Susan discovered and have coped with the serious epilepsy problems of their daughter, Lauren.   It’s part of a “Heroic Parents” series.  And, this story was followed up with an appearance on the Today Show on Monday (which I did not see).

From the web edition of the story:

When her daughter was diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy, Susan Axelrod knew:

I Must Save My Child

By Melissa Fay Greene
Publication Date: 02/15/2009
Susan and Lauren Axelrod
Susan Axelrod and daughter Lauren, 27 (photo by Katherine Lamber for PARADE)

For more on the Axelrods and CURE, tune in to NBC’s TODAY show on Monday, February 16.

When Susan Axelrod tells the story of her daughter, she begins like most parents of children with epilepsy: The baby was adorable, healthy, perfect. Lauren arrived in June 1981, a treasured first-born. Susan Landau had married David Axelrod in 1979, and they lived in Chicago, where Susan pursued an MBA at the University of Chicago and David worked as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune. (He later would become chief strategist for Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and now is a senior White House adviser.) They were busy and happy. Susan attended classes while her mother babysat. Then, when Lauren was 7 months old, their lives changed overnight.

MORE

The story goes into great detail about Lauren’s condition and her mother’s efforts to bring the serious problems created by epilepsy into the light and mentions then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s help as  for the organization  founded by Susan Axelrod, CURE.

Susan began to meet other parents living through similar hells. They agreed that no federal agency or private foundation was acting with the sense of urgency they felt, leaving 3 million American families to suffer in near-silence. In 1998, Susan and a few other mothers founded a nonprofit organization to increase public awareness of the realities of epilepsy and to raise money for research. They named it after the one thing no one offered them: CURE–Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is not benign and far too often is not treatable,” Susan says. “We wanted the public to be aware of the death and destruction. We wanted the brightest minds to engage with the search for a cure.”

Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton signed on to help; so did other politicians and celebrities. Later, veterans back from Iraq with seizures caused by traumatic brain injuries demanded answers, too. In its first decade, CURE raised $9 million, funded about 75 research projects, and inspired a change in the scientific dialogue about epilepsy.

The efforts by Susan Axelrod are certainly wonderful, but I am so cynical about everything that comes out of anything connected to Obama that I had to wonder if this whole thrust–a big cover story followed up by the Today Show–is part of the campaign to sell the health care changes that are brewing.  First we had Daschle and the house parties, now we have changes to health care that will probably affect many seniors in possibly negative ways, and now this PR effort involving David Axelrod and his family.   But Axelrod isn’t the focus of this story, it is his wife and daughter. My skeptic sensor wonders if this is a way to put a “human face” on the mastermind behind what could be some pretty upsetting changes in the works.  Is it the Obama crowd’s “I feel your pain” moment??

I don’t know if you can call it “exploitation” of Lauren, who is 27 years old. But there is something here that makes me uneasy.  Because we’ve come to learn that there is NOTHING that the Obama crowd does that doesn’t have some purpose.  I think there is something else afoot.

Today I thought about how Obama trotted his girls out at that party which the press attended, and then “realized” after the fact that it might be “too much exposure” for them.  And all through the campaign there were the huge crowds, which we found out were partly due to opening rock bands, food and beer in some cases.  The whole Obama campaign has been one big PR blitz, aided by the mainstream media.

So pardon me if I have mixed feelings about this story on the Axelrods and epilepsy.  It’s great that there is some information put out there, but…

Coincidentally, Greta Van Susteren did another segment up in Alaska on last night which opened with Bristol Palin and her baby.  Sarah Palin came on and the discussion was about the difficulties of raising a child and how they are lucky to have a family willing to pitch in.  It was a very factual and real discussion.  But was it exploitation? All I know is that I didn’t get the creepy feeling I got after I started mulling over the Axelrod article.  The Bristol Palin part of the segment was over and done with fairly quickly(it was only a very small section of the full interview; full video below).

The interview went on to a discussion of the stimulus package which Gov. Palin framed in terms of how the states might be left holding the bag on future costs of expanded programs and how the bill was rushed to the floor even though most people hadn’t read it. She wondered about the rush to vote since the bill signing was delayed until Tuesday.  She said that she thought a bill that hadn’t been read or debated should be vetoed. She commented on the Fairness Doctrine and how someone had to be questioning the Administration and that silencing critics could be bad for our democracy. And she talked about a letter she had sent to Obama about energy policy that apparently has gotten some positive feedback.  She also stressed again about ultimately becoming energy independent and bringing renewable energy sources online and how she’s like Obama to visit to see what really is happening with energy in Alaska.  (This was the longest interview shown last night; see Sarah Palin Interview below.)

Links to the videos:

Bristol Palin interview (much longer than the short piece on last night’s On the Record.

***Sarah Palin Interview

Introducing Tripp

So there they are, two back-to-back family stories which lead back to politics. In the case of Palin, it was a straightforward interview with Bristol and then policy talk with the Governor (and a spot on the snowmobile race that Todd Palin finished in 6th place.  In the case of the Axelrod interview, it was full of painful detail with no OBVIOUS politics.

But, be forewarned. I really think it’s part of an unfolding plan…and a sneaky one at that.

***

P.S.–I still go with Palin…

UDATE

H/T to The Confluence

Tuesday: GM dumps retiree health care

So, GM gets bailed out…is this one of the “attached strings” for taking the money???   Slots in nicely as the next step in the PR campaign? (Fear, on the heels of “feel your pain”….)


We’ve Lost a Noble Warrior, But Will Not Give UP the Fight! In Memoriam: Marlene C. Utz

Editor’s Note: We here at IA received the sad news of the death of Marlene Utz, Grail Guardian’s mother, on Friday.  We send our heartfelt condolences to Grail and her family and our love and respect to Mrs. Utz. Godspeed, noble warrior…From all of us here at IA.  (SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THIS POST)

~~By Grail Guardian

We’ve lost a noble warrior, but will not give up the fight!

clip_image002

In Loving Memory

Marlene C. Utz

April 10, 1938 – February 5, 2009

As many of you know, the past few months have been especially rough for me since my Mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in her life. She battled courageously as we tried everything in our arsenal to beat back the beast. But just as our nation was overtaken from the evil within, she lost her valiant struggle this week to that which grew inside her. I have learned so much while researching her disease, possible cures, and the corruption that has swallowed our “health care” system and smothered any hope of recovery for cancer patients in this country. I cannot begin to share with you all of the details I have found, but this will be the first in a series of articles about the death of the medical profession in America, and as you will see it is totally related to the current political crisis in this nation.

Let me begin with the personal part of the tale, because my mother’s story needs to be told. We first discovered she had cancer when she went in for what was to be a routine cholecystectomy, the removal of her gall bladder. Normally, the surgery is laparoscopic and involves four small incisions, miniature surgical tools, and an overnight stay in the hospital. I myself had the procedure several years ago, and was home the next day. The surgeon called down to the waiting room following the procedure and informed my Dad that there had been a mass in the gall bladder and they had to perform an open surgery and would be biopsying the mass. She was left with a major incision and a five day hospital stay( which she was furious about). But after the surgery, despite her gaping abdominal wound, I began to notice that she appeared healthier than she had seemed in months (if not years). When she went for her standard follow-up visit with the surgeon after a couple of weeks (there was a visit in between with a nurse or PA to check the incision) he brusquely informed my parents that the mass had been malignant, that he probably had not been able to remove it all, and, as an almost casual aside,  mentioned that he had removed part of her liver during the surgery. He referred her to a local cancer clinic, where we were immediately told that a program of chemotherapy, followed by a month of radiation therapy plus chemo, and finished off by another 3 months of chemo alone was pretty much the only way to go. It would not cure her, but if all went perfectly we could expect to get maybe a year and a half more of her life.

Now having gone through some of the earliest chemotherapy ever given, nitrogen-mustard gas (yes, the same stuff they used during WWI and subsequently banned from warfare, but not medicine), Mom was more than a bit reluctant to have chemo again. But once faced with the option that she was going to die (and die very quickly) if she didn’t have the treatment, she surprised us by changing her mind and agreeing to the chemo. Based on the recommendation of the oncologist, she started a 3 week course of Gemcitibene in October. After a week off, she took another 3 week course in November. The following week (on her recovery week) they sent her for a CT scan, where she was asked to drink radioactive material so they could trace its course through her body. It was immediately following this test that she began her slow downward slide. She felt very tired and drained for a few days, and the following week when we took her in for her next round of chemo, we got the news; it wasn’t working and she had developed “nodules” across her peritoneum (the protective tissue that surrounds your abdominal organs. There was no need to continue the chemo or try radiation we were told, and they basically sent her home to die.

That’s when the anger kicked in. We became defiant and refused to believe that it could be over and done with so quickly. After all, nearly 40 years before Dad had been told to go home from her hospital room and begin the funeral arrangements (she was proud to tell everyone she knew that she outlived 5 of her doctors after her bout with Hodgkins) and my sister had been told her son, who had fallen into a swimming pool at age 4 and suffered severe brain damage, would not survive–but he lived for another 21 years. So I went into research mode. I began to read everything and anything I could get my hands on about cancer. I scanned websites and articles that told of successful alternative treatments performed in other countries such as the South American herb Graviola, Japanese mushroom therapy (Shiitake and Maitake mushroom extracts), mistletoe, and even the heat treatments performed in Germany on the rich and powerful that simply raise the body temperature to 107.5 ° and make you feel like you’re taking a pleasant nap as cancer cells are killed off and healthy cells survive. According to author Andrew Schollberg:

When President Ronald Reagan got cancer during his presidency, the great German doctor Hans Nieper, M.D, treated him. It would have been front page news if it hadn’t been hushed up at the time.

Just imagine if the American public knew a sitting president preferred German cancer treatments!

I learned about it from my confidential source in Germany. In addition, Reagan’s German doctor acknowledged it in an interview.

I learned that the salary for an oncologist in the US can range from over $100,000 per year for new docs, and as high as $787,000 per year for radiation oncologists. Andrew Schollberg also claims that American pharmaceutical companies have offered a German doctor 3.7 million euros (approx. $5 million US) under the table merely to recommend that his cancer patients use their brand of chemotherapy. That’s one single doctor, and that should give you an idea of how lucrative the chemotherapy business is in the United States. He adds:

It costs $350,000 to die of cancer in America.

So I read on; books like How to Fight Cancer and Win by William L. Fischer that stressed the importance of diet in preventing and beating cancer, including details of the poisons labeled as food on your grocery store shelves in the guise of commercially processed fats (a true eye opener, even if you don’t have or fear cancer). I read pamphlets like  Deadly Cancer Myths – And the Truth that Will Save Your Life by Dr. William Campbell Douglass, I that talked about the dangers of chlorine, flouride, and prescription drugs. We radically changed her diet, including freshly juiced vegetables and fruits (especially antioxidant rich purple ones), stopped red meat and sugar intake, and (thanks to my sister’s natural foods website) added supplements like Silymarin, IP6, and Nattokinase to her daily regimen.

While we frantically reviewed the myriad of alternative treatments, my cousin Christina (who has a medical background) e-mailed that she knew a doctor that had successfully treated a friend of hers for lymphoma and strongly urged us to see her. Her name is Dr. Dana Flavin, and she heads the Foundation for Collaborative Medicine & Research (http://www.collmed.org/). What Dr. Flavin does (and did next) is truly amazing.

Dr. Flavin is a former toxicologist for the Food and Drug Administration. She spent 20 years doing research on cancer and cancer prevention in Germany before returning to the US and heading the Foundation. Put simply, this woman reads between 100 – 150 medical research papers each week. She is an intellectual sponge that understands the nuances of biochemistry, pharmacology, and nutrient biochemistry and translates an incredible amount of highly detailed scientific data into an understandable treatment plan that doesn’t unnecessarily poison (chemotherapy), burn (radiation therapy), or cut (surgery) the human body in an effort to heal it. She will consult with your current physician or oncologist and recommend a course of action based on all the latest data that your doc doesn’t have the time to read because they’re busy treating 30-40 patients per day.

We were lucky enough to be able to take Mom to the Foundation in Greenwich, CT last month for a consultation with Dr. Flavin. We were armed with a 38 page report from the cancer clinic and the desire to learn. And boy, did we learn! We spent nearly 3 hours with Dr. Flavin as she not only rattled off a variety of natural supplements to build the immune system, detoxify from heavy metals, and remove parasites (not the big kind, the microscopic stuff like bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast) but also made us aware of a new treatment discovered by the University of Alberta (Drs. Stephen Archer and Evangelos Michelakis) involving Dichloroacetic Acid (DCA), which appears to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis is a natural process that cells use to commit cellular suicide when their time is up. Cancer cells do not die off like healthy cells, and DCA appears to restore that function to the cancer cells.

Needless to say, we were quite excited when we learned about the possibilities, plus Dr. Flavin also provided Dad with some help for his case of borderline glaucoma (which she noticed immediately upon sitting down opposite him at the table) and psoriasis. I had pages of note with the names of natural substances that would help Mom, plus we all had a comfortable understanding of what each item was expected to do and why. When the time came to leave, we were bracing ourselves as Dad asked her “How do we pay you?” and you can’t imagine our relief when she responded that we could make a donation to the Foundation according to our financial ability. She understands that many cancer patients have been so financially raped and physically abused by the approved “main stream” medical system that they cannot always afford hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional medical advice, even though they desperately need it.

I would like to take a moment out here for a shameless plug. If you have ever lost someone to cancer (or any other disease) and felt like they should have, or maybe even could have been saved if only there were just one more thing you could try, I would like to ask you to consider donating anything you can muster to the FCMR (there is a handy PayPal link at the site: www.collmed.org ). If you have ever laughed, cried, or been moved by anything I have written here at Insight Analytical, consider taking the money you might have donated to a political candidate this year and instead direct it to the Foundation. Their work will actually save lives, rather than ruin them. (unabashed begging)

We now return you to my story. We left feeling encouraged, hopeful, and much lighter of spirit. I called my sister that night and read her off the list of supplements we would need and told her about our wonderful experience. As we spent the night at Mom’s cousin’s house, we gushed with enthusiasm and tried to explain the sheer phenomenon that is Dr. Dana Flavin. I even snuck on to their PC to check out the magnificent website she had recommended for research:

http:www.thedcasite.com

This site contains a wealth of information about the research that has been done, plus a forum for families and patients to share their experiences using DCA. I was overjoyed at the possibilities, and could hardly wait till we returned home to start my research into DCA. And just as you might expect, once again the walls came tumbling down. As I read and researched DCA, I made a horrible discovery. Not about side effects or lack of efficacy, but about its regulation. You see, as it turns out the University of Alberta took out what are called “methods of use patents” on DCA and decided to forge ahead with studies of DCA as a possible cure for cancer. And I’ll bet you can already guess what the rub was; yep, you guessed it! Money. The almighty buck, the great North American greenbacks. You see, DCA is actually * gasp * inexpensive. That’s right, no drug company can patent it and make trillions of dollars a year off of it like they do chemotherapy drugs. So likewise, no pharmaceutical manufacturer was willing to spend the estimated $1.5 million needed to conduct the required blind studies on DCA. (Don’t despair totally, the U of Alberta is proceeding on their own by privately raising the funds to conduct the required studies on their own!) So my next lesson in the world of DCA was horrifying; the FDA had actually shut down DCA manufacturers for selling DCA in the US. In fact in July, 2008 the website http://www.buydca.com/ was raided and shut down. It is operated by the same people who run the informational site http:www.thedcasite.com, but was not the first or only such raid on a website that sells supplements. Click here to read about the terror induced by the FDAs Gestapo-like tactics against the Life Extension Foundation.

The long and short of it was this: the FDA (self-proclaimed arbiter of good and evil items to ingest, and the folks that brought you such perennial favorites as Aspartame, Vioxx, and Fen Fen) had declared it illegal to sell DCA in America. We were crest-fallen. I began to research whether we could enroll Mom at a Toronto clinic so she could receive legal DCA cancer treatment or whether I could purchase DCA in Canada and bring it back to the US legally. I was frantic to get on to the chat room at the site, but the night I tried to register I was unable to do so. I sent an e-mail to the administrator and he responded the next day. I was able to log on, and since I had his attention, I asked if there were any legal way to obtain DCA in New York. The wonderful folks at the site: Jim Tassano, Heather, and Jackie all contacted me to ensure that I was able to obtain some pure, pharmaceutical grade DCA without violating any laws. (If anyone reading this ever wishes to try DCA in the US, e-mail me at GrailGuardian@nonpartisan.com and I will gladly help you.)

We waited anxiously, but Mom started to show signs that she was weakening even further. She wasn’t eating much solid food, needed to sleep often, and started to have intermittent pain in the vicinity of her liver. On the day I walked into the house with the DCA, she had been on a diet of over 30 natural supplements to strengthen her system but before she was able to take her first dose she began to have swelling in her feet. Worried, I called Dr. Flavin to ask her advice. She was concerned about kidney or liver failure and recommended we get her in for tests right away. We trundled her off to the cancer center to have blood drawn and a urine test, but the strain on her body was evident. By the next day, she had begun to experience new pain that did not go away no matter what she did (by now she was sleeping in her wheelchair with her head on the kitchen table as it hurt too much to lie back in bed). The oncologist had called to say her kidneys were fine, but didn’t really go into much detail with Dad and he was distracted by her worsening condition. She stopped eating anything solid, but still took her DCA treatments every day. By the weekend, she was unable to help Dad transfer her in and out of the wheelchair so the round-the-clock care began. My sister and I started to take shifts to spend the night so Dad wasn’t on call for her 24 hours a day (he was totally exhausted because she rarely slept through the night). During the days, I made calls to Dr. Flavin and the cancer center. They hadn’t sent the test results to the Foundation, so there was little Dr. Flavin could do but guess as to what was happening. I struggled for a full week before I was finally able to get the tests faxed to her, and by then Dr. Flavin was very worried about her liver and the huge increase in her tumor markers. She recommended another treatment called Hepa-Metz, which removes ammonia from the liver, but were unable to get to see the practitioner as he was half a state away (unlike Dr. Flavin, he seemed more worried about being sued and how he would get paid). We did all we could do to make her comfortable (which, of course, never seemed like enough), and eventually brought in hospice care through Lifetime Assistance, who were absolutely wonderful at the end. The nurses and social workers listened and took notes about the treatments we were trying, excited about the possibilities. Even the nurse that showed up after she finally surrendered peacefully asked questions and wrote down Dr. Flavin’s name and the Foundation’s website.

When I e-mailed Dr. Flavin that Mom had passed, she took the time to reply to me:

”Only God can do miracles, and perhaps you did even more than any mortal could have done. Tell your Dad, he did all he could and more. When it is too late, we have no decision anymore on this. God bless”

And with those words begins my next quest; to find out why it should be that we, as ordinary Americans, can learn more and do more to cure cancer and ease pain than the entire combined medical establishment of this nation, powered by the Ted Kennedys and Tom Daschles of the world. To find out why those who shun the poison/burn/cut philosophy cannot find funding, and why a family’s efforts to try everything before giving up hope are met with ridicule, derision, and impatience by the very people paid to give aid and comfort and first, do no harm. I will continue with Mom’s fight, and urge each and every one of you to join me. The current Congress and Administration will only make matters worse, and “Universal Health Care” in this country died a violent and rapid death 16 years ago when Hillary Clinton’s efforts were trashed by Big Pharma and the MSM used the opportunity to wage their personal war against the only politician in modern times that ever actually attempted to improve the health care system in America.

I will continue her fight, and I know she will be beside me all along the way.



This is a photo of Mom in her InsightAnalytical hat (made with love by our own Kenosha Marge). She loved this hat, and felt she was somehow connected to us by it. One of the last times she left the house she wore another of Marge’s hats on the trip to CT to see Dr. Flavin, but this one will be present at her viewing this weekend.

***

Related post:

5. The Heart of the Season: Hats for Grail Mama and Friends Beyond Family

***UPDATE***

These and MORE LINKS to USEFUL INFORMATION in this FOLLOW-UP POST. ALSO, SEE THE LIFE/HEALTH TAB at the top of the home page for additional resources.

2/12/2009 Health Links: Alternatives to Mainstream Medicine re: Cancer and Other Diseases; Stem Cell Research Clinic


Celebrate the Exit of Tom Daschle with a Smattering of Smiles….

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

After a week of screwed up email by Comcast’s new “SmartZone” setup, I’ve caught up with a few things from the crew at IA…but first:

TOM DASCHLE, whom Obama was “standing by” has withdrawn!   Well, I’m so glad my post from way back was on track with Daschle, his wife and his “Mansion-gate”…See The Scanner-Politics 11/20/08 (CHANGE?? Daschle at HHS, His Wife and Lobbying; Organic Consumers Org. So Ticked at the Thought of Vilsack at Agriculture That Their Petition is Already Going Strong; Froma Harrop on “Palin’s Next Career Move” Will Raise Your Blood Pressure) (Updated 1X) for some of the stuff I dug up from S. Dakota back then…

***

From our intrepid Chicago Correspondent Leslie… here’s this little tidbit from the Chicago Sun-Times in case you missed it…says Leslie: “Because we’re SO post-racial…”

Michelle Obama under fire for not wearing black designer

January 26, 2009

The usually celebrated sartorial splendor of First Lady Michelle Obama is coming under fire by a former runway model upset that Obama didn’t wear an inaugural design by a black fashion designer.

Amnau Eele, co-founder of the Black Artists Association, told fashion industry publication Women’s Wear Daily she plans to “file a formal appeal” with Michelle Obama’s office about the lack of a black designer.

“It’s fine and good if you want to be all ‘Kumbaya’ and ‘We are the World’ by representing all different countries,” Eele is quoted as saying at wwd.com, the magazine’s Web site. “But if you are going to have Isabel Toledo do the inauguration dress, and Jason Wu do the evening gown, why not have Kevan Hall, B Michael, Stephen Burrows or any of the other black designers do something, too?”

MORE

Boo hoo!  But, hey, Michelle has brought her Chicago chef to the White House, what more do you want???  An appeal?? HA!!!!

***

Kenosha Marge sends along a few “Canadian Billboards” courtesy of her friend Donna which aptly describe the “state of the nation”–OUR nation!

spermmoneymarge

bitcheskennelclubmarge1

goldsgym-men-margeEnjoy the day!

Tomorrow kenosha Marge returns to the blog!

The Past Week: January 11-17, 2009 (Al Jazeera Hooks up with PBS; House vs. Senate/Obama and Bailout Oversight; “Everyman” Biden; Non-GMO Verification Project; “The Prisoner” is Free; Extra Anatomical Tube Bypass

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Looks like Al Jazeera finally is going to get a wider audience in the U.S.  From what I’ve seen of it on the Internet, I’m thinking it’s credible but I AM wondering about the connection to PBS!  Who set up this deal?  Was this just the Bush Administration’s idea or did the hand of Obama get involved somehow? And that the mere mention of NBC….

Al Jazeera Network TV deal broadens U.S. reach

Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:17pm EST

By Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Al Jazeera Network plans to announce on Thursday that it has signed a deal to run its news on Worldfocus, a syndicated nightly news program produced in New York and distributed throughout the United States.

(SNIP)

Worldfocus, hosted by former NBC News correspondent Martin Savidge, is produced by New York City public broadcaster WLIW and syndicated to a number of Public Broadcasting Service affiliates, as well as other stations in 60 U.S. markets, including 27 of the top 30.

Al Jazeera declined to disclose terms of the deal.

The service’s Arabic-language network is available in the United States through the DISH Network Corp. It has been trying to increase the distribution of its English- language network through cable television, but so far is available only in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio and Burlington, Vermont.

(MORE)

The story contains more details on Al Jazeera’s expansion via the Internet, which has grown to include a free broadcast service, YouTube, Twitter…and a marketing campaign being launched in the New York  Times and Washington Post.

***

On Wednesday, Harold Meyerson wrote an op ed piece in the Washington Post on the current financial crisis and had a moment of upset:

The Money-Changers

Wednesday, January 14, 2009; Page A17

…That’s why a bill that Barney Frank is promoting in the House, which would direct banks that choose to take bailout funds to start lending to creditworthy borrowers and designate no less than $40 billion for mortgage relief, is necessary if Congress is to authorize the Treasury to spend another $350 billion on TARP. Over in the Senate, the Democrats seem inclined to think that the need for such legislation is obviated by President-elect Obama‘s promise to administer the TARP in the ways that Frank’s bill would mandate.

If Obama’s appointees inspired sufficient trust that they would be willing to take on the banks, such legislation would be unnecessary. Unfortunately, they don’t.

(MORE)

What? A bit of doubt about Obama’s choices?  But my mind, as simple as it may be, asks this question.  First, what’s going to happen between the House and the Senate?  Seems Rep. Barney is having a sudden bout of  “accountablilty” when it comes to delivering bailout money to borrowers…they should be “creditworthy.”  And  that stipulation has to be within legislation that must be passed to authorize the Treasury to spend more bailout money.  But the Senate is saying “Who needs legislation?  We’ve got OBAMA’S WORD that he’ll do exactly the same thing without the bother of a law.”

So, I then ask myself: if Obama gets his mitts on this money, does it really go to “creditworthy” individuals?  Which individuals?  Will this be “reparation” money? If the recipients are the not “creditworthy” and a lot of them are the same people who couldn’t meet previous mortgages doesn’t this mean that Obama is just repeating the “non-oversight” pattern of the Democrats that helped get us into this MESS we’re in??

***

OK, the guy they tried to tell us hung out at his local Home Depot (he didn’t) and who’s got his son Beau lined up to glide into the Senate is still being sold to us as “Everyman”??  Oh, PLEASE!  From Silicon Valley’s Mercury News, which picks up this AP nonsense:

Senate veteran, Delaware everyman faces new role

By BETH FOUHY Associated Press Writer

As for the story, it’s the same old same old…

***

So, do you have any confidence that Obama will do something to remedy this situation?  Wonder if this is even on Tom Daschle’s radar? From the American Association for Health Freedom:

The Non-GMO Project Product Verification Program is Up and Running

The governments of the US and Canada stand in sharp contrast to sixty other countries around the world, including the European Union, Russia, and China, by not requiring foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be so labeled. They do so despite good evidence that GMOs could have negative health implications for humans and the environment, and despite the fact that 87% of American consumers want products that contain GMO ingredients to be labeled.

***

This week we lost Patrick McGoohan, who was Number 6–“The Prisoner”–in the Village.  I also enjoyed watching him in “Secret Agent” (“Danger Man” in the UK)  when I was  teenager. In fact,  I had a huge crush on him!

And, we can’t forget Ricardo Montalban either, who’s own “village” was on Fantasy Island…

Godpseed…

***

Ever hear of an “extra anatomical tube bypass”?  Well, my 24-year-old nephew had this surgery on Wednesday. He was born with a congenital defect of the aorta and underwent surgery when he was about 3.  His blood pressure has always been high and the meds have made him tired.  It was now time to make the fix since he’s stopped growing.  Instead of messing with the aorta itself and dealing with possible complications from previous scarring, the procedure used was a “bypass” which eliminates the need to arrest the heart and putting the body into hypothermia.  The surgery went well.  I convinced him to go to a medical hypnotist.  He didn’t need any blood transfusions and today, 3 days after the procedure, he’s only on Tylenol for the pain (which even the day of the surgery he described as being only “soreness”) and the swelling is almost gone. And his blood pressure is better now than ever before and equalized throughout his body.

Congratulations, Mark! You did it!!

***

THE PAST WEEK

“The Black President”: A 1926 Novel “Predicts” the Politics of 2008 with Some Eerily Similar Details

The Scanner-Politics 1/15/09 (40 Musical Obama Supporters Slide-Show; Barbie at 50 [French]; Women and the World; “Obama-Cola The Great National Temperance Beverage”; Tina Brown; WLS Chicago–the Governor Sells Furniture)

Hip-Hop Inaugural Events Start TONIGHT (1/14/09)…Ludicras Co-Hosting “Urban Ball”

The Obama/Media Combine Whoring Abraham Lincoln, Non-Stop

Reality Check from Our Chicago Correspondent: University of Chicago & Its Hospital “Terminating” Jobs Like Crazy (Michelle O., Guess Shuffling All Those Indigent Patients Elswhere Didn’t Help the Bottom Line That Much? Your “Plum” Job is Going, Too!)

The Past Week: January 4-January 10, 2009 (Donor Fatigue among Obamacrats; Wes Clark; Ms. Magazine–Total Sellout; Tess; Street Numbers Man; “Grounding” with Harvesting; Betta Fish Drama)

The Past Week(s): December 14-27, Recaps and Random Thoughts (“Heart” Series; Betty Currie Returns; “Money as Debt”; FDA Caves to Pressure, Antibiotics Back IN Food Animals as of 11/30)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’ve been busy over the last week with our “Heart” series (and there will be two pieces in the same vein over the New Year holiday) but here are a couple of items that have caught our eye recently.

***

In case you missed this: From the “you must be kidding department”:

Remember Betty Currie? Personal secretary to Bill Clinton who testified 5 times before a grand jury during the Lewinsky scandal?  With a lot of the Obama team former Clinton Administration officials, I guess this should be no surprise at this point.

Obama Team Has Forged Another Link With Clintons

Answering the phones these days for the co-chairman of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition, John D. Podesta, is none other than Betty Currie.

Emerging from retirement in southern Maryland to volunteer at Obama headquarters, Ms. Currie was the personal secretary to President Bill Clinton, who became caught up in an independent counsel investigation into his trysts with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Since leaving the White House, Ms. Currie, 69, has shied from publicity and kept a low profile in Hollywood, Md., where she lives with her husband, Bob, and Socks, the presidential cat, which she took with her after Mr. Clinton left office.

Ms. Currie, who works with local nonprofit organizations and serves on the Alcohol Beverage Board of St. Mary’s County, declined to discuss her work for Mr. Obama or her recent life, citing a transition office policy against volunteers giving interviews.

Compelled to testify to a grand jury five times about Mr. Clinton’s relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, Ms. Currie is widely admired in Clinton circles for her loyalty and effectiveness.

Mr. Podesta, who was Mr. Clinton’s last White House chief of staff, said it was natural for him to call Ms. Currie back to service.

“Of course I asked her because in the 30 years we have worked together, I have never known anyone with more grace, dedication and public spirit than Betty,” he said. “And she has one mean Rolodex.”

Yup, that Rolodex must be something to see…along with all that grace, dedication and public spirit!  Wonder if Socks has any insights to offer about what’s going on in that transition team?

***

So, with the huge spending being planned by Team Obama, my mother is talking about the Depression a lot more.  Then there’s the concern over to whether to buy gold and silver or to get a Swiss bank account (Swiss francs reputedly offer a  stable hedge against the loss of the dollar’s value).

A Canadian visitor named Manuela suggested this animated video which explains what money is and how it is created in response to our discussion of  The History Channel’s recent program on “The Crash” (which was not the greatest).  (See “The Past Week: December 7-13” below.) It’s the sort of thing that anyone who doesn’t have a clue about the current financial crisis should see…

The film is by Paul Grignon and is called “Money as Debt” and you can see it here.

***

If you eat animal products, you might want to know this. Two days before Thanksgiving, the FDA REVERSED the ban on the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, including chickens, cattle, and pigs, effective November 30th.  As reported by the the non-profit American Association for Health Freedom:

FDA Reverses Its Order on Antibiotics in Animals

…In December 2007, a coalition of consumer, environmental, science, and humane groups known as Keep Antibiotics Working wrote to the FDA commissioner, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, urging further FDA action. Their letter presented evidence that the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock contributed to the MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) epidemic in Europe, and showed that the effectiveness of antibiotics against deadly bacteria was questionable at best. They cited data that a new strain of MRSA bacteria in pigs was linked to 20% of all human MRSA infections in the Netherlands and Canada, though there are insufficient studies to make that link in the U.S., where MRSA cases have recently surged. The coalition also estimated that 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are used as feed additives in chicken, pigs, and cattle.

This past summer the FDA instituted an order banning the off-label use of drugs in food-producing animals, while noting that the same family of drugs was important to treat disease in humans. This fall, the FDA echoed again the same sentiment, taking note of the increasing evidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle. But the FDA’s action met with harsh industry criticism. Pfizer argued that the drugs were essential for preventing disease in animals. Other groups, including the Animal Population Health Institute, the KS Health Department, the National Turkey Federation, and the American Veterinary Medical Association, also criticized the FDA’s ban, which was to go into effect on November 30.

So despite the mounting concern over antibiotic resistance—which is known to endanger human life—on November 25 the FDA revoked their earlier order, to the profound dismay of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition and researchers like Dr. Stuart Levy at Tufts University, who leads the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics. Dr. Levy has collected a considerable body of evidence to educate his colleagues and consumers about the dangers of the overuse and abuse of antibiotics both in humans and in animal use.

The AAHF is working with other groups to see reform of the FDA and has a petition up at ReformFDA.org.

Now, with Tom Daschle heading Health and Human Services, which encompasses the FDA, should we expect a reversal of this decision? From Daschle (and wife) who have had some ties through their lobbying activities that might point to other interests? See here for details.

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THE PAST WEEK

*By Grail Guardian

**Contribution by Chicago Correspondent Leslie

***By American Lassie

After “Aunt Benazir’s” Assassination, Fatima Bhutto Still Fighting to Reveal the Truth

6. The Heart of the Season: Celebrating the Season with Light…New Mexico Luminarias

*5. The Heart of the Season: Hats for Grail Mama and Friends Beyond Family

4. The Heart of the Season: A Dog’s Purpose and Justice for Karley and All Who Deserve It

3. The Heart of the Season: Weeping for the “Unnatural History” of Chimpanzees (Updated 2X)

2. The Heart of the Season: Birds of the Solstice and Signs (A Double Post by kenosha Marge and InsightAnalytical-GRL)

Katie in the Christmas Tree by kenosha Marge

Winter Solstice, 1992: The Final Flight of a Soul by InsightAnalytical-GRL

1. The Heart of the Season: Wise Words from a Young Old Soul

Taking Our Power, Taking Our Lives: Women Under Threat (Updated 1X)

**Chicago Style Update…

Of Robots and Women and Our Current Life in the Village of Stepford (Antidote on the Way?)(A Double Post by kenosha Marge and InsightAnalytical-GRL)

Women, You’re About To Be Replaced By…a ROBOT! by InsightAnalytical-GRL

Women Will Never Be Equal by kenosha Marge

***On Reflection: These Are The Times That Try Men’s (and Women’s) Souls

W.A.M. Asks — Who Needs Christmas When You Can Worship “THE ONE”?

The Past Week: December 7-13, Recaps and Random Thoughts (Blago in the Can and ON the Can; Obama License Plates in IL?; Reality-Based Black Commentary; Canada & the Auto Bailout; Live Blog of The History Channel on “Crash: The Next Great Depression?”– No Surprise, A Waste of Time; Ignored Science) (Updated 1X)

The Past Week: December 7-13, Recaps and Random Thoughts (Blago in the Can and ON the Can; Obama License Plates in IL?; Reality-Based Black Commentary; Canada & the Auto Bailout; Live Blog of The History Channel on “Crash: The Next Great Depression?”– No Surprise, A Waste of Time; Ignored Science) (Updated 1X)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We haven’t really discussed the Blago case on this blog over the past week, but we have to chime in with a couple of bits about this case and other Obama-related insanity.  Both these nuggets come from our Chicago Correspondent Leslie.

First, CC Leslie gives us this bit from WBBM 780 in Chicago:

blago-on-toilet

Obama Senate Seat Listed On eBay

Posted: Wednesday, 10 December 2008 8:28AM

(WBBM/STNG) – Governor Blagojevich was unsuccessful at trying to sell the vacant Illinois Senate seat, federal prosecutors say.

But that hasn’t stopped other people from trying to seal the deal.

There are at least a dozen tongue-in-cheek offerings of President-elect Barack Obama’s senate seat on eBay.

The items up for bidding range from a replica of the state seal to photoshopped pictures of Governor Rod Blagojevich.

One of the created images shows him sitting on a toilet with graffiti on the wall around him. It’s a direct quote from the criminal complaint by federal prosecutors, reading “This seat will go to the highest (bleeping) bidder.”

(MORE)

A couple of days earlier, CC Leslie posted this comment at IA:

Leslie, on December 8th, 2008 at 2:47 PM Said: Edit Comment

This is sooo OT I hope you don’t all throw your hands up and bar me from commenting any more ………..

Today, on Radio News Chicago, the most recent crass report is that the State of Illinois (”Land of Lincoln”) is considering creating a license plate with “Land of Obama” or some such oddity because “there is such a HUGE demand” for those plates. And they will raise MILLIONS of $$ for the state !!

I guess with all the “Change” anticipated, we will have to change the way we identify ourselves here in the Obama-nation !

If I don’t buy one of those plates, will that make me racist? or a terrorist?

There are no more words.

Here’s the link to the Chicago SunTimes report:
I can’t stand much more of this…I feel a migraine coming on.
My suggestion to Leslie is to get out of Chicago if she values her health!!
***
Meanwhile, in the reality-based black community, Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford unloads a MASSIVE barrage of whoop-ass I-told-you-so” that shouldn’t be missed:

Obama’s ‘Center-Right’ Presidency: The Die is Cast

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“Black folks desperately needed the Obama of their imaginings.”

We already know enough. There is no more mystery as to what makes Barack Obama tick. He is your garden variety “center-right” American politician, as rated by no less an authority than the New York Times – the folks who practically invented the standards by which one is located in the corporate political spectrum.

There are lots of political appointments to go before Obama’s roster is complete, but the heavy lifting is done. The ideological pillars of America’s first Black presidency have been planted wholly within the parameters of governance allowed by big capital and the imperial military. Obama’s “transition” is more accurately seen as a “continuity” of rule by the lords of finance capital and their protective screen of warriors and spies. The Obama regime, still incomplete, already wreaks of filthy rich thieves and gore-covered war criminals.

Obama’s “national security” and economic lineup is an infinity of ugliness, more repulsive than I could have imagined back in the summer of 2003, when Obama’s rise to glory was about to begin. The supremely talented actor/state senator’s capacity for obfuscation; his refusal to take a firm position on any subject of real controversy; his transparently false denials of fealty to the corporate Democratic Leadership Council, which had publicly claimed him – all this should have marked Obama as bad news for Black America. But his was a fatally attractive package, like the shiny little cluster bomblets that kids pick up in places like Afghanistan.

“The ideological pillars of America’s first Black presidency have been planted wholly within the parameters of governance by finance capital and the imperial military.”

My colleagues and I were most fearful of the effect Obama’s corporate-rigged explosion onto the national scene would have on the Black polity – both the masses and leadership circles. Obama’s phony progressivism didn’t fool us for a second – although we yearned as much as other African Americans for the appearance of a Great Black Hope. Obama wasn’t “The One,” no matter what Oprah said. Rather, he became a menace to Black folks’ collective mental health.

We knew that a mass hallucinatory phenomenon was about to occur, that would loosen many Black folks’ grips on reality no matter how often and loudly we warned that Barack Obama was a cynical corporate striver who encouraged whites to believe that his election would mark the end of Black politics as we have known it. (Take breath, here.) He was the anti-Jesse, the anti-Sharpton, a fraudulent peace candidate, an eager servant of the rich. We diligently provided evidence of Obama’s true political nature, and at every juncture before and during the primaries we were proven correct in our analysis. But no matter. African Americans’ pent up hunger to see a (pretty) Black face in the highest place, would not be denied. They desperately needed the Obama of their imaginings, and would draw and quarter anyone that questioned the senator’s sainthood.

Were Black folks “losing their damn minds,” as comedian David Alan Grier puts it on Comedy Central’s Chocolate News?

Yes, they were.

(MORE)

OUCH!
***
Even though the auto bailout package appears dead for now, the Canadian government apparently thinks something is going to be done “soon” and is also involved, trying to pre-emptively protect its own auto jobs. Stay tuned…

Federal government, Ontario agree on $3.3B auto bailout package

Deficit now ‘likely,’ finance minister acknowledges

Last Updated: Friday, December 12, 2008 | 9:31 PM ET

The federal government and Ontario have reached a deal to offer proportional funds to Canada’s auto industry if a proposed $14-billion US aid package is approved in Washington, Industry Minister Tony Clement said Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Toronto, Clement said the proposed aid to Canada’s ailing auto sector would amount to approximately 20 per cent of the U.S. proposal, or about $3.3 billion Cdn.

The U.S. bailout appeared to have died late Thursday night after hours of heated negotiations between lawmakers, representatives from automakers and unions. But lawmakers said they still hope an agreement on the Democratic- and White House-backed plan could be reached.

The Canadian subsidiaries of the Detroit Big Three automakers had asked Ottawa and Ontario for financial aid that could total as much as $6 billion.

Clement said the deal was contingent on GM, Ford and Chrysler working together with parts suppliers and unions for a long-term solution for their industry, as well as the American proposal going forward.

“Governments can decide to help, but these decisions will only be made in the best interests of the taxpayer,” Clement told reporters.

The minister also said the Canadian government expects U.S. President George W. Bush to announce something “very soon.”

“What we’re signalling here tonight, both the governments of Ontario and the government of Canada, is that we want to be part of the solution as well, and it will be commensurate with the production that takes place here in Canada,” Clement said.

The pre-emptive move by Ottawa and Ontario will make it harder for U.S. lawmakers to strike a deal that protects American jobs at the expense of Canadian ones, said veteran auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

(MORE)

***

After sitting through Greta’s hour on Blago-gate (which was a limited rundown, with very little dot-connecting), I decided to see how the History Channel covered the current financial crisis.

Live-blogging the History Channel …Saturday night 12/13

As  I put together this roundup, I’ve got one eye on the History Channel’s special, “Crash: The Next Great Depression?” which is contrasting the present financial crisis with the 1929 stock-market crash and the Great Depression which followed. The program has traced the ripple of the bad credit/loans and the boom and the bust.  Sort of.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have come and gone with nothing about Raines and the skulduggery there.  So far, I’ve heard Ronald Reagan on getting rid of regulation; how starting in 2000 Phil Gramm pushed for deregulation;  how Bill Clinton how kept Alan Greenspan on and urged the loosening of regulations; and how George Bush espoused the importance of home ownership. Then, onto about how people wanted a “change” after the 1929 crash just like now and how FDR along with the new Democratic majority in 1933 took action by announcing  the “New Deal”  and creating a “flurry” of new programs.  It’s now showing Barack Obama’s December 7 press conference unveiling a lot of “flashy” names and pushing for lots of stimulus.  In juxtaposition, Jerry Stiller is talking about how the  “whole country was lifted, happy days were here again” because of  the New Deal.  YES, Jerry Stiller.  The experts are talking about the first 100 days and the restructuring of the banks which included inspection of the banks and the creation of the FDIC.  And, yes, Henry Paulson is doing the same thing (??).  Now we see the Depression work programs and how Obama is proposing similar projects.  An expert talks about how government will be the driving force from now on. But we then hear how the New Deal didn’t solve the problem, that it was the war that brought the economy back to life and pre-crash levels.  There’s the hope that we won’t have a world war to solve the current predicament. Guess what the next ad is?–the Capital One credit card, after all the talk about the irresponsible credit spending of consumer at the start of the program.

Andy Serwer, Editor of Fortune Magazine* and one of the often-quoted experts, opines that we learned a lot from the 1930’s and how important it is to pump money into the system. Banks, auto industry bailouts in the face of accelerating  job loses, no lending, pressure on non-bank auto loans, credit cards…But, we can’t go back to the highly-regulated system created in the 30’s by FDR — we have to make the current system “better.”   Last word, it’s bad but won’t turn into the next Great Depression, even though all the scary music sure makes it seem that way.  I guess FAITH will overcome…

So, that’s it.  Great job..NOT!  NOT ONE WORD about the politics behind the bad loans, the lack oversight and the Democrats’ culpability. What there seemed to be was a not-s0-subtle link created between FDR and Obama.  There’s also the message from one of the “experts” that government is going to take over the driving force of job creation and the economy.  We even get the “change” message. We see a smiling Obama…the image of all that “happy days are here again” stuff…

There you have it. The incomplete and subtly biased by omission, “in-depth reporting” from the History Channel.  Just enough to make an unsuspecting viewer think he or she is getting the full story, while all it is is a rehash of the spin being shipped out on a daily basis by the media. Served up nice and clean.  All neat and tidy for the arrival of Barack Obama.  It’s all gonna be OK, even though one guy who actually runs a plumbing supply place seems to think there will be a greater challenge in 2009 as current orders drop and promised government contracts are on hold or just drying up..  But the expert says not to worry, government will take over.

Frankly, I’m sticking with the plumbing supply guy.  (What is it about plumbers this year??)

(*Fortune Magazine: Part of Time, Inc, which in turn is part of Time Warner, which also controls AOL, HBO, Time Warner Cable, Turner Broadcasting System, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Time Warner Investments, and Time Warner Global Media Group.  Feeling better now???)

***

Earlier this week we discussed the “healthcare reform” push started by the Obama Transition Team (see post listed below). We’re wondering how the concerns raised by the folks at The American Association for Health Freedom will be addressed under an Obama healthcare team headed by a lobbyist (Tom Daschle) and in light of  the “positive response” by Ted Kennedy to the insurance industry writing up their own proposals, just the way Big Pharma wrote the Medicare Part D legislation.

What Happened to the Promise to Save This Nation Billions in Healthcare Costs?

One of the biggest clinical trials ever organized by our federal government indicated that generic medication for high blood pressure in use since the 1950s worked better than the newer drugs costing more than twenty times more. Yet Dr. Curt Fuberg, the chair of the $130 million ALLHAT trial, resigned in frustration in August 2004, citing the lack of effort put into diseeminating “the ALLHAT message.”

A similar situation has existed since the 1997 publication of the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) research study at Harvard. DASH emphasized a diet rich in potassium-containing foods such as fruits and vegetables, and more physical activity; these approaches, they found, could lower blood pressure in up to 90% of hypertensive patients without medication. Yet this too has fallen on deaf ears.

(SNIP)

The money spent on the direct-to-consumer drug ads that dominate the American media is dwarfed by the $21 billion dollars spent annually to sway doctors prescribing habits. Dr. Jerome Kassirer, professor of medicine at both Yale and Tufts and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, describes conventional physicians as paid prostitutes for drug manufacturers.

It has progressed to the point that the standard treatment offered by international physicians after a patient suffers a heart attack—high doses of fish oil—is ignored or even rejected in the U.S. Here, prescriptions and procedures dominate cardiac care, and heart blockage is viewed as a plumbing or structural abnormality. Yet science has proven that patients do not live longer or better when heart disease is addressed by surgically opening or bypassing closed arteries.

As Arizona psychiatrist Ed Gogek wrote in the Buffalo News, the new Surgeon General should back alternative medicine. Dr. Gogek indicates that the public is far ahead of medical experts and politicians on alternative medicine. Isn’t it time they caught up?

A related article at the site is also worth a look; see The Science of Prevention.

***

UPDATE:

CNN is owned by AOLTimeWarner… For more info on media incest, visit the Columbia Journalism Review. According to an archived article there, The History Channel is owned by The Walt Disney Company, GE, and Hearst.  Figures!!!! So that’s where the fairy tales come from…

***

Finally, a busy week in the garden harvesting loads of mustard and collards. Today, I did the final cleanup of all the pots I used to grow peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes on the patio. This involved taking off the bark mulch and bagging it, putting the dead plants into the composter, bagging up the potting soil to use in the spring, washing out all the pots and lugging them all into the garage. I use only clay pots from Italy to grown vegetables in and they do last a lot longer if they’re protected from the winter extremes. I also cleaned out the glazed pots I use for flowers.  It was a big job that I kept putting off, but with milder temperatures today, it was now or never.

***