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The Real State of the Union

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In late January, President Bush will speak to the nation from the House of Representatives in his annual state of the Union address. By the tens of millions Americans will tune in to hear the president outline his legislative agenda for the coming year and congratulate himself on his past year’s accomplishments — both of which are increasingly defined by greater and greater expansions of government power.

Sadly, just a few weeks before, on Dec. 15, the 211th anniversary of the Bill of Rights passed virtually unnoticed. Perhaps that is fitting. After all, when one considers the extent to which the federal government has unshackled itself from its constitutional restraints — and will continue to do so under this and future administrations — it becomes painfully obvious how few people actually understand what this country was meant to be about.

There is no question that the men who gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 sought to establish a government of very limited scope. The Founders’ ideal was to ensure the greatest amount of personal freedom for Americans by sharply curtailing the ability of the federal government to encroach on their affairs.

Despite the Constitution’s limiting nature, however, there were a number of people who remained uneasy. They knew the tendency of government to grow at the expense of liberty, so it was proposed that the Constitution be amended to include a Bill of Rights. This list of protected freedoms, it was hoped, would stand as a further barrier to government abuse of citizens’ basic rights. It was adopted 211 years ago on Dec. 15, 1791.

Today, the Bill of Rights is a shadow of its former self, much like the concept of limited government in general. Both in domestic and foreign affairs, the federal government is exercising powers that would undoubtedly have shocked the Framers of our Constitution.

Consider, for example, the newly-created Department of Homeland Security, which will tower over the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee that people shall be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” This federal behemoth will have so much power to spy, wiretap, and keep tabs on private citizens that critics have already dubbed it a “supersnoop’s dream.”

Likewise in the government’s “war on terrorism,” law-abiding citizens in states such as Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont are being stopped in random road blocks set up by federal agents. “It’s all about homeland security,” says the INS. But for people who used to travel freely in their own country, it’s more akin to a scene out of “Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

Another freedom under siege is “the right to keep and bear arms.” For several decades the federal government has been violating the Second Amendment by passing myriad restrictions on gun ownership. Worst of all, federal gun control gave birth to the infamous BATF, an agency so heavy-handed that one congressman actually called its agents “jack-booted fascists.” Coupled with the fed’s background-check database, which could lead to national gun-owner registration, the effect is chilling on Second Amendment freedoms.

As part of the war on drugs, the federal government has passed asset-forfeiture laws that allow federal agents to seize property without notice and without hearing under principles of due process of law and that require the victims of such actions to prove their innocence before regaining their property. Fewer than 20 percent of those whose property is seized under forfeiture laws are ever charged with a crime, which means that the federal government is making off with lots of money that rightfully belongs to other people.

The list of government abuses and unconstitutional activities could go on and on. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson charged that King George had “erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance.” I wonder what he’d say if he saw what the U.S. federal government does to the American people today.

So the approach of the president’s national address on the state of the union provides a perfect opportunity to take a hard look at the state of freedom in this country and the extent to which it has been undermined by government officials. The Founding Fathers knew well the dangers of centralized power and were wise to bequeath us a limited government and a Bill of Rights to protect us from the excesses of tyrannical government. As we celebrate the Bill of Rights, it’s important that we keep in mind what freedom and limited government truly mean.

”’Scott McPherson is policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Virginia. See its Web site at:”’ http://www.fff.org

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Have a Safe, and Safe, New Year-Revelry in a Time of Moral Crusade

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Happy New Year? It says here in USA Today that 41 percent of Americans are planning to ring in 2003 tonight by watching TV, and that very few of us are planning a night out. No doubt Veuve Clicquot will be having a big bottom-line night, but that’s only in relative terms: The really big numbers will be put up by businesses like Blockbuster and Domino’s Pizza. Hey, let the good times roll! Makes you wonder if there’s any sense of restraint remaining in the American character. After all, excited viewers could choke on a pepperoni while watching Dick Clark do his suspenseful Times Square countdown. Under the circumstances, I’m not sure any of us can feel safe. USA Today’s reporter, Craig Wilson, rounds up a lot of reasons why Americans have supposedly put away their dancing shoes and champagne goblets, and have instead “put a cork in New Year’s Eve.” Some of those reasons make at least some sense. The economy’s shaky (though Americans did spend more dollars on Christmas than ever before); there’s a disquieting sense of threat (though the conventional wisdom has always been that impending danger increases dissipation); and there are too many dumb drunks on the road (true). Omitted entirely in the piece is one possible factor that may be helping the new year arrive draped in a soaking wet blanket: the army of self-righteous moral crusaders that has spent years expelling spontaneity and pleasure from American life by equating pleasure with sickness, guilt and shame. We’re a buckled-in people now, ever more heavily sin-taxed, with breathalyzers jammed between our teeth. Meanwhile, our moral betters are air-brushing sin from our postage stamps and attempting to remove it from our movies. If we’ve traded in our party hats for safety helmets — or if we’re staying home to avoid the whole issue — nobody should feign surprise. As of Jan. 1, our safety helmets will be jammed down more tightly. For example, it’s really smart to restrain small children when driving them around, but some jurisdictions will be mandating safety seats for children who are 8 years old. It’s really good to get drunk drivers off the road, but an increasing number of jurisdictions have lowered the legal blood-alcohol limit to the point where people of slight build can’t risk having a glass of wine with their friends (and moderate amounts of wine can be good for your health). It’s obviously good to inform smokers of the risks they face; it’s good to let people who hate smoke get away from it. But an increasing number of places are not only engaged in anti-smoker tax extortion, not only forcing smokers outside, they’re starting to make smokers pace off minimum distances from doorways. The sanitizers who are multiplying such rules still pose as advocates of prudence. But the moral crusaders who have swamped American life long ago ceased to address mere risk. The result of their efforts has been to transform risk into immorality. The helmetless motorcyclist (and now the helmetless skateboarder, too) or the smoker are not merely imprudent; they are being transformed into immoralists who have no right to judge the trade-offs of their own behavior. Of course, you can never create a society that is free of risk, but in the effort you can create a pretty dour world. For some crusaders, that apparently will do. So happy new year. People have been staging blow-outs at this season for millennia, since the Roman Saturnalia and doubtless long before. Join in that history of extravagant joy and excess: Choose wisely at Blockbuster, and with every bite of pizza, remember your cholesterol. ”Charles Paul Freund is a Reason senior editor. Originally published by Reason Foundation, which is a public policy think tank promoting choice, competition and a dynamic market economy as the foundation for human dignity and progress. For more information, contact Geoffrey Segal, Director of Privatization and Government Reform Policy at:” mailto:geoffrey.segal@reason.org ”Visit the Reason Web site at:” http://www.rppi.org ”or go to the Reason Public Policy Institute’s Privatization Center at:” http://www.privatization.org ”for information on government reform, privatization, contracting out and public/private partnerships.”

The Real State of the Union

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In late January, President Bush will speak to the nation from the House of Representatives in his annual state of the Union address. By the tens of millions Americans will tune in to hear the president outline his legislative agenda for the coming year and congratulate himself on his past year’s accomplishments — both of which are increasingly defined by greater and greater expansions of government power. Sadly, just a few weeks before, on Dec. 15, the 211th anniversary of the Bill of Rights passed virtually unnoticed. Perhaps that is fitting. After all, when one considers the extent to which the federal government has unshackled itself from its constitutional restraints — and will continue to do so under this and future administrations — it becomes painfully obvious how few people actually understand what this country was meant to be about. There is no question that the men who gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 sought to establish a government of very limited scope. The Founders’ ideal was to ensure the greatest amount of personal freedom for Americans by sharply curtailing the ability of the federal government to encroach on their affairs. Despite the Constitution’s limiting nature, however, there were a number of people who remained uneasy. They knew the tendency of government to grow at the expense of liberty, so it was proposed that the Constitution be amended to include a Bill of Rights. This list of protected freedoms, it was hoped, would stand as a further barrier to government abuse of citizens’ basic rights. It was adopted 211 years ago on Dec. 15, 1791. Today, the Bill of Rights is a shadow of its former self, much like the concept of limited government in general. Both in domestic and foreign affairs, the federal government is exercising powers that would undoubtedly have shocked the Framers of our Constitution. Consider, for example, the newly-created Department of Homeland Security, which will tower over the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee that people shall be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” This federal behemoth will have so much power to spy, wiretap, and keep tabs on private citizens that critics have already dubbed it a “supersnoop’s dream.” Likewise in the government’s “war on terrorism,” law-abiding citizens in states such as Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont are being stopped in random road blocks set up by federal agents. “It’s all about homeland security,” says the INS. But for people who used to travel freely in their own country, it’s more akin to a scene out of “Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Another freedom under siege is “the right to keep and bear arms.” For several decades the federal government has been violating the Second Amendment by passing myriad restrictions on gun ownership. Worst of all, federal gun control gave birth to the infamous BATF, an agency so heavy-handed that one congressman actually called its agents “jack-booted fascists.” Coupled with the fed’s background-check database, which could lead to national gun-owner registration, the effect is chilling on Second Amendment freedoms. As part of the war on drugs, the federal government has passed asset-forfeiture laws that allow federal agents to seize property without notice and without hearing under principles of due process of law and that require the victims of such actions to prove their innocence before regaining their property. Fewer than 20 percent of those whose property is seized under forfeiture laws are ever charged with a crime, which means that the federal government is making off with lots of money that rightfully belongs to other people. The list of government abuses and unconstitutional activities could go on and on. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson charged that King George had “erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance.” I wonder what he’d say if he saw what the U.S. federal government does to the American people today. So the approach of the president’s national address on the state of the union provides a perfect opportunity to take a hard look at the state of freedom in this country and the extent to which it has been undermined by government officials. The Founding Fathers knew well the dangers of centralized power and were wise to bequeath us a limited government and a Bill of Rights to protect us from the excesses of tyrannical government. As we celebrate the Bill of Rights, it’s important that we keep in mind what freedom and limited government truly mean. ”Scott McPherson is policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Virginia. See its Web site at:” http://www.fff.org

Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 3, 2003

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“Dick Rowland Image”

It is a pleasure to offer a daily summary of ideas and activities from the think tank world. In addition to the activities of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH), items from more than 100 public policy and opinion organizations throughout the world are offered or summarized. For detailed background information about GRIH, coming events etc., see http://www.grassrootinstitute.org

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”

— One of the continuing projects of GRIH is “Stossel in the Classroom.” Four of ABC commentator John Stossel’s thought provoking television
documentaries are available in a format specially designed for high
school (11 & 12 grades) and college classrooms. Available are:

*”John Stossel goes to Washington”

*”Is America #1″

*”Greed”

*”Are we scaring ourselves to death”

These programs present a fresh and innovative approach to each subject and include teacher and student guides to aid in producing brisk discussion and strong, sometimes uncomfortable constructive thinking and learning. Success of our program requires one or more of three actions from sponsors (you):

*Donate to buy programs for a school or a teacher ($45 per program)

*Identify schools or teachers who would want to use one or more of the programs in the classroom.

*Identify one or more teachers who are interested in having Hawaii Pacific University college students present Stossel in the Classroom to one or more their classes.

For more information, or to volunteer, call Richard O. Rowland at
(808) 487-4959 to discuss or e-mail us at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com

— Quoted in ltcbullets@www.centerltc.org 12/10/02 in a discussion of a Wall Street Journal article 11/21/02 by David Wessell is Dan Crippen of the Congressional Budget Office on government health care, Social Security & Medicaid spending: “How much of our children’s economy are we going to take to support ourselves in retirement?” “The U.S. isn’t going to raise taxes sufficiently to cover the cost of keeping current promises. It ought to take steps now to reduce future costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and to make the future economy bigger so both retirees and workers can live well. …”

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

The Role of Private Property in Protecting Liberty

By Tom Bethell

Recent initiatives in Virginia, such as the move toward urban planning and “smart growth,” or restricted growth, will weaken property rights in the commonwealth, and this in turn will undermine our liberties.

People who live in societies where private property has historically
been well protected often fail to see the advantages of such a system, because they take them for granted. They are as inconspicuous as the taste of water. But such people are also good at visualizing some more perfect condition-one in which they do not have to spend so much time in traffic jams, for example. In using the political system to advance such a goal, therefore, they may fail to anticipate the loss of benefits they had never considered in the first place.

Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the many advantages of a private
property system were hardly analyzed at all. You might say that private property was attacked — by Karl Marx and by many intellectuals since — before it was defended. Among those benefits are justice, peace, liberty and prosperity.

Consider justice, briefly. A group of people goes to a restaurant and
orders a meal. If the bill is shared equally, those who ate hamburger
will subsidize those who ate steak. Separate checks would be a more just arrangement. Diners are billed in proportion to their consumption. In short, a communal system has been privatized, and justice has been introduced. “To each his due” was the classical definition of justice, used by St. Thomas Aquinas before the dubious notion of “social justice” was introduced into Western thought.

When Plymouth Colony was founded in Massachusetts in 1620, the Pilgrims at first held their property in common. They were on the verge of starvation when ownership was privatized in 1623. The change succeeded. It “made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been,” William Bradford reported. The communal arrangement had not worked because it “was thought injustice.”

More recently, a vast experiment in life without private property was conducted in the Soviet Union. It lasted for seventy-four years, and it conclusively showed that transferring the control of property to the state is a formula for social impoverishment. There wasn’t much in the way of justice either. As for liberty, that was lost completely. An Iron Curtain had to be constructed north-to-south in Eastern Europe, and a wall divided Berlin.

At tax time, it is worth reflecting that for the average Virginian the most burdensome abridgment of property rights is probably the income tax. Our income is our property, and for young people and those with few assets, it may be the only way of saving enough to buy real property. The tax burden is a matter of degree. Americans now pay about 40 percent of their earnings to governments at all levels. In most Western democracies it is higher than that. If the tax burden were to rise to 100 percent, we would labor wholly for the state and would have been entirely deprived of our liberty. Under such conditions, of course, work would be minimal and society impoverished.

Over the centuries, neighbors and strangers have often posed a more
serious threat to life and liberty than governments. It was for that
reason that property rights were instituted — to provide individuals and their families with zones of privacy where they could pursue their own initiatives free from interference. That is the essence of liberty.

“There can be no liberty without private property,” the economist Milton Friedman has said. For this reason, the protection of property rights has historically been among the most important functions of government, and to that end laws and police forces were instituted. If governments ceased protecting property rights, liberty would be gravely threatened, at least until citizen groups formed their own protective militias.

Despite the failure of socialism, however, governments at all levels
continue to abridge our freedoms almost as much as they protect them. And just as the inflation of the 1970s moved people into higher tax brackets, so the environmentalism of the 1990s gave government new rationales for controlling the use of our property. We may believe that cleaner air or less traffic congestion will be the good effect, but we may be sure that our liberties are also being restricted. Production and prosperity will also tend to decline, and in the case of those people who bought land anticipating that they would be able to develop it, but now find that they have paid a high price to keep it idle, there is also manifest injustice. When our property rights are restricted, prosperity, liberty and justice will all decline together.

”’Tom Bethell, an editor of the American Spectator, is the author of The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages (St. Martin’s Press), and a member of the Board of Governors of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, an education and research organization headquartered in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Reprinted with permission from Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 20461 Tappahannock Place, Potomac Falls, Virginia 20165-4791, (703) 421-8635. See its Web site at:”’ http://www.virginiainstitute.org

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

— A new Independent Institute book “School Choices: True or False” by John Merrifield, Professor of Economics U/T at San Antonio points out that 20 years after the National Commission on Excellence in
Education published its famous study on educational decline, the USA is still “a nation at risk.” Merrifield advocates genuine, competitive parental choice, pointing out that most current proposals are dumb-down versions of the real thing. Order through http://www.independent.org

”’See Web site”’ http://www.grassrootinstitute.org ”’for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaiii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com or (808) 487-4959.”’

Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 3, 2003

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Dick Rowland Image It is a pleasure to offer a daily summary of ideas and activities from the think tank world. In addition to the activities of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH), items from more than 100 public policy and opinion organizations throughout the world are offered or summarized. For detailed background information about GRIH, coming events etc., see http://www.grassrootinstitute.org ‘Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)’ — One of the continuing projects of GRIH is “Stossel in the Classroom.” Four of ABC commentator John Stossel’s thought provoking television documentaries are available in a format specially designed for high school (11 & 12 grades) and college classrooms. Available are: *”John Stossel goes to Washington” *”Is America #1″ *”Greed” *”Are we scaring ourselves to death” These programs present a fresh and innovative approach to each subject and include teacher and student guides to aid in producing brisk discussion and strong, sometimes uncomfortable constructive thinking and learning. Success of our program requires one or more of three actions from sponsors (you): *Donate to buy programs for a school or a teacher ($45 per program) *Identify schools or teachers who would want to use one or more of the programs in the classroom. *Identify one or more teachers who are interested in having Hawaii Pacific University college students present Stossel in the Classroom to one or more their classes. For more information, or to volunteer, call Richard O. Rowland at (808) 487-4959 to discuss or e-mail us at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com — Quoted in ltcbullets@www.centerltc.org 12/10/02 in a discussion of a Wall Street Journal article 11/21/02 by David Wessell is Dan Crippen of the Congressional Budget Office on government health care, Social Security & Medicaid spending: “How much of our children’s economy are we going to take to support ourselves in retirement?” “The U.S. isn’t going to raise taxes sufficiently to cover the cost of keeping current promises. It ought to take steps now to reduce future costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and to make the future economy bigger so both retirees and workers can live well. …” ‘Roots (Food for Thought)’ The Role of Private Property in Protecting Liberty By Tom Bethell Recent initiatives in Virginia, such as the move toward urban planning and “smart growth,” or restricted growth, will weaken property rights in the commonwealth, and this in turn will undermine our liberties. People who live in societies where private property has historically been well protected often fail to see the advantages of such a system, because they take them for granted. They are as inconspicuous as the taste of water. But such people are also good at visualizing some more perfect condition-one in which they do not have to spend so much time in traffic jams, for example. In using the political system to advance such a goal, therefore, they may fail to anticipate the loss of benefits they had never considered in the first place. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the many advantages of a private property system were hardly analyzed at all. You might say that private property was attacked — by Karl Marx and by many intellectuals since — before it was defended. Among those benefits are justice, peace, liberty and prosperity. Consider justice, briefly. A group of people goes to a restaurant and orders a meal. If the bill is shared equally, those who ate hamburger will subsidize those who ate steak. Separate checks would be a more just arrangement. Diners are billed in proportion to their consumption. In short, a communal system has been privatized, and justice has been introduced. “To each his due” was the classical definition of justice, used by St. Thomas Aquinas before the dubious notion of “social justice” was introduced into Western thought. When Plymouth Colony was founded in Massachusetts in 1620, the Pilgrims at first held their property in common. They were on the verge of starvation when ownership was privatized in 1623. The change succeeded. It “made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been,” William Bradford reported. The communal arrangement had not worked because it “was thought injustice.” More recently, a vast experiment in life without private property was conducted in the Soviet Union. It lasted for seventy-four years, and it conclusively showed that transferring the control of property to the state is a formula for social impoverishment. There wasn’t much in the way of justice either. As for liberty, that was lost completely. An Iron Curtain had to be constructed north-to-south in Eastern Europe, and a wall divided Berlin. At tax time, it is worth reflecting that for the average Virginian the most burdensome abridgment of property rights is probably the income tax. Our income is our property, and for young people and those with few assets, it may be the only way of saving enough to buy real property. The tax burden is a matter of degree. Americans now pay about 40 percent of their earnings to governments at all levels. In most Western democracies it is higher than that. If the tax burden were to rise to 100 percent, we would labor wholly for the state and would have been entirely deprived of our liberty. Under such conditions, of course, work would be minimal and society impoverished. Over the centuries, neighbors and strangers have often posed a more serious threat to life and liberty than governments. It was for that reason that property rights were instituted — to provide individuals and their families with zones of privacy where they could pursue their own initiatives free from interference. That is the essence of liberty. “There can be no liberty without private property,” the economist Milton Friedman has said. For this reason, the protection of property rights has historically been among the most important functions of government, and to that end laws and police forces were instituted. If governments ceased protecting property rights, liberty would be gravely threatened, at least until citizen groups formed their own protective militias. Despite the failure of socialism, however, governments at all levels continue to abridge our freedoms almost as much as they protect them. And just as the inflation of the 1970s moved people into higher tax brackets, so the environmentalism of the 1990s gave government new rationales for controlling the use of our property. We may believe that cleaner air or less traffic congestion will be the good effect, but we may be sure that our liberties are also being restricted. Production and prosperity will also tend to decline, and in the case of those people who bought land anticipating that they would be able to develop it, but now find that they have paid a high price to keep it idle, there is also manifest injustice. When our property rights are restricted, prosperity, liberty and justice will all decline together. ”Tom Bethell, an editor of the American Spectator, is the author of The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages (St. Martin’s Press), and a member of the Board of Governors of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, an education and research organization headquartered in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Reprinted with permission from Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 20461 Tappahannock Place, Potomac Falls, Virginia 20165-4791, (703) 421-8635. See its Web site at:” http://www.virginiainstitute.org ‘Evergreen (Today’s Quote)’ — A new Independent Institute book “School Choices: True or False” by John Merrifield, Professor of Economics U/T at San Antonio points out that 20 years after the National Commission on Excellence in Education published its famous study on educational decline, the USA is still “a nation at risk.” Merrifield advocates genuine, competitive parental choice, pointing out that most current proposals are dumb-down versions of the real thing. Order through http://www.independent.org ”See Web site” http://www.grassrootinstitute.org ”for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaiii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com or (808) 487-4959.”

From Getting Training to Giving Support

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Care Giving — Why Don’t Caregivers Seek Training?”

Q: Dear Dr. Gelb:

I was enjoying my lunch at my favorite restaurant when I observed a caregiver dragging an elderly, physically challenged person who could hardly keep up with the pace. I expected the person to fall at any moment. My instinct almost forced me to come to her rescue. My question is why don’t caregivers seek training in how to manage the physically challenged — not only for their safety, but for the safety of the ones they are caring for?

Concerned.

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Concerned:

I appreciate your sensitivity to the physically challenged and the elderly. Many people are unaware of the training opportunities that may be available to assist them in this type care giving. Such opportunities do exist and it is so important for caregivers to avail themselves of this type of education and guidance when necessary. Some caregivers have begun their research into such training by inquiring at a local hospital or rehabilitation center. Others have asked their attending physician to direct them to a local facility that provides training to caregivers for the elderly and the physically challenged.

”Shopping Options — Why Doesn’t My Husband Support Mine?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I have learned that when I have a problem that I can’t handle right away I “set it aside” to deal with it later. Something came up, which I’m having trouble doing that with, so I thought I’d run the situation past you.

Recently, I have had 2 very unpleasant experiences at the hardware store that is closest to my home. There is another store about 5 or 6 blocks further away and I had decided to give my business to that store. I have been pleased by the service and shared my experience with my husband, with the intent that we give Store #2 our family’s business. However, my husband continues to patronize Store #1. When I asked him about it he said, “Just because you had a bad experience I don’t see any reason to go out of my way to the 2nd store.”

This type of behavior is nothing new and my marriage is not in good shape. Usually I can let stuff like this go, but I am struggling with my feelings. Similar incidents have occurred in the past, but I guess I’m growing in my own self-respect and am angry that my husband cares so little about me, and then kind of flaunts it in my face.

Thank you.

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Shopper:

If more shoppers would be as conscientious and self-respecting as you appear to be, they may very well take a course of action similar to yours. I am surprised that your husband would not support your stand, and that he does not appear to respect your feelings or opinions. Sorry about that. It is certainly understandable why you would choose the second option.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

”’Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”’ http://www.DrGelbSays.com

From Getting Training to Giving Support

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Suzanne Gelb Image ‘Care Giving — Why Don’t Caregivers Seek Training?’ Q: Dear Dr. Gelb: I was enjoying my lunch at my favorite restaurant when I observed a caregiver dragging an elderly, physically challenged person who could hardly keep up with the pace. I expected the person to fall at any moment. My instinct almost forced me to come to her rescue. My question is why don’t caregivers seek training in how to manage the physically challenged — not only for their safety, but for the safety of the ones they are caring for? Concerned. A: Dr. Gelb says . . . Dear Concerned: I appreciate your sensitivity to the physically challenged and the elderly. Many people are unaware of the training opportunities that may be available to assist them in this type care giving. Such opportunities do exist and it is so important for caregivers to avail themselves of this type of education and guidance when necessary. Some caregivers have begun their research into such training by inquiring at a local hospital or rehabilitation center. Others have asked their attending physician to direct them to a local facility that provides training to caregivers for the elderly and the physically challenged. ‘Shopping Options — Why Doesn’t My Husband Support Mine?’ Dear Dr. Gelb: I have learned that when I have a problem that I can’t handle right away I “set it aside” to deal with it later. Something came up, which I’m having trouble doing that with, so I thought I’d run the situation past you. Recently, I have had 2 very unpleasant experiences at the hardware store that is closest to my home. There is another store about 5 or 6 blocks further away and I had decided to give my business to that store. I have been pleased by the service and shared my experience with my husband, with the intent that we give Store #2 our family’s business. However, my husband continues to patronize Store #1. When I asked him about it he said, “Just because you had a bad experience I don’t see any reason to go out of my way to the 2nd store.” This type of behavior is nothing new and my marriage is not in good shape. Usually I can let stuff like this go, but I am struggling with my feelings. Similar incidents have occurred in the past, but I guess I’m growing in my own self-respect and am angry that my husband cares so little about me, and then kind of flaunts it in my face. Thank you. A: Dr. Gelb says . . . Dear Shopper: If more shoppers would be as conscientious and self-respecting as you appear to be, they may very well take a course of action similar to yours. I am surprised that your husband would not support your stand, and that he does not appear to respect your feelings or opinions. Sorry about that. It is certainly understandable why you would choose the second option. ”Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.” ”This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see” “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says” ”Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at” http://www.DrGelbSays.com

Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii' s Political Arena

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”Special Jan. 4 Election Brings Out Worst in Leading Candidate”

Former state Senator and Democrat Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Matt Matsunaga is airing a series of television attack ads directed against his opponent Ed Case in the Jan. 4 Special U.S. House election to fill the two-year vacancy left by the death of U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.

Case already won an earlier special election to fill Mink’ s seat for five weeks, although he will not be officially sworn in as U.S. Representative for Hawaii’ s second congressional district because the House will not be in session over the holidays. The ads accuse Case of favoring recreational Marijuana use, although Case has never voted for this legislation while in the state Legislature. Even more Judas like, Matsunaga calls Case his “good friend” in the ad, before he slams him. (It is not likely they are good friends anymore, if they ever were.)

Matsunaga also has an ad that attempts to use basketball — a game is he quite good at based on his performance at the House vs. Senate basketball tournament two years ago — to toughen up his image. He is playing basketball in the ad and sinking all the baskets. Apparently his political advisors believe the ad will help counter one of the main criticisms of Matsunaga during the last campaign — that his television advertisements made him look too soft and feminine, and that he wasn’t a team player.

Meanwhile three of the leading Democrat candidates, Matsunaga, Case and state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, battle over who is the most liberal, as if the winner of that unofficial competition will be a shoo-in during this election.

They apparently believe that because U.S. Rep. Patsy “Pink” Mink was so liberal, and unabashedly so, and kept getting re-elected, that the voters in the second congressional district must be extremely liberal. That may sound practical, and probably is somewhat true, but there is the other side of the story –

Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii’ s Political Arena

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”Special Jan. 4 Election Brings Out Worst in Leading Candidate”

Former state Senator and Democrat Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Matt Matsunaga is airing a series of television attack ads directed against his opponent Ed Case in the Jan. 4 Special U.S. House election to fill the two-year vacancy left by the death of U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.

Case already won an earlier special election to fill Mink’ s seat for five weeks, although he will not be officially sworn in as U.S. Representative for Hawaii’ s second congressional district because the House will not be in session over the holidays. The ads accuse Case of favoring recreational Marijuana use, although Case has never voted for this legislation while in the state Legislature. Even more Judas like, Matsunaga calls Case his “good friend” in the ad, before he slams him. (It is not likely they are good friends anymore, if they ever were.)

Matsunaga also has an ad that attempts to use basketball — a game is he quite good at based on his performance at the House vs. Senate basketball tournament two years ago — to toughen up his image. He is playing basketball in the ad and sinking all the baskets. Apparently his political advisors believe the ad will help counter one of the main criticisms of Matsunaga during the last campaign — that his television advertisements made him look too soft and feminine, and that he wasn’t a team player.

Meanwhile three of the leading Democrat candidates, Matsunaga, Case and state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, battle over who is the most liberal, as if the winner of that unofficial competition will be a shoo-in during this election.

They apparently believe that because U.S. Rep. Patsy “Pink” Mink was so liberal, and unabashedly so, and kept getting re-elected, that the voters in the second congressional district must be extremely liberal. That may sound practical, and probably is somewhat true, but there is the other side of the story –

Open Letter from Striking Nurses at Queens

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Do you want to know what’s keeping us apart from Queen’s?

*The hospital’s refusal to address the issues of short staffing and mandatory overtime indicates it is not putting patients first

*If the hospital truly valued us, it would have negotiated a fair contract and we would not be out on strike

*The hospital is offering us ”’worse”’ benefits than what we already have, but repackaging it to make it look as if it is offering us more

*The hospital’s proposed reduction in our retirement package will ultimately penalize us with lower pensions, while putting billions into its pockets

*The Paid Time Off (PTO) system makes us use earned vacation time when we are sick, while the hospital saves money. It also creates incentives for us to come to work when we are sick and can make patients and co-workers sick

These are the things that Queen’s can and must do to bring us together:

*Have fewer patients per nurse so we can do a good and safe job

*Get rid of mandatory overtime, as it is proven to cause patient deaths

*Bring all of its negotiators (not just 2 or 3) to bargaining, including front-line nurse managers to negotiate a fair contract

*Stop combining issues we agreed upon with others we rejected. Take-it-or-leave-it packages leave no room for honest negotiations

*Stop thinking with a “corporate mentality” and ”’listen”’ to your “valued” nurses’ suggestions for patient care

*Stop short staffing. This is short-sighted and has been proven to lead to longer patient stays, increased patient ”’deaths,”’ and increased numbers of lawsuits

To the Queen’s management, as we informed you at the December 16th negotiations, we had ”’no”’ problem with your wage proposal. ”’You”’ refused to honor this proposal!

If the Directors of the Queen’s Medical Center are so interested in their corporate bottom line, perhaps they need to review their own salaries.

These salaries range from $149,500 for working 40 hours a week in the case of the V.P. of Patient Care to $441,000 for working ”’one hour”’ a week in the case of a Trustee (taken from the Queen’s 2000 Federal Form 990).

We are asking the hospital to give nurses a chance to be there for our patients. Hospitals will save money in the long run if they invest in quality nursing care. Nurses are the best asset the hospital can have to ensure quality patient care. Stop pushing us onto the picket lines, into permanent jobs at other facilities, and out of the nursing profession altogether with your bad policy decisions.