Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hybrid Advanced Technology

Fidel Castro's socialist scientific labs and world class manufacturing facilities have achieved a breakthrough in
automotive design:
A few of the advantages stressed by Cuban engineers are:

• No fossil fuels required
• No air pollution (... well, almost none)
• No air conditioning needed
• Guaranteed to dazzle your girlfriend

Perhaps you can think of more advantages to this transportation breakthrough.

Government is Sleep While President ...........

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?' Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The President.

Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People.

The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now think about that and see if it makes sense.

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyho le and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.

The next morning, the little boy says to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.' The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.

' The little boy replies, 'The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.

Mediating Elder-Care Disputes.

It's hard enough for families to navigate the complicated and emotionally charged decisions related to elder care when everyone gets along.
Throw in a family with tensions or outright hostility and it's no wonder that disagreements sometimes end up in court, an expensive proposition that can easily magnify divisions. Another way to handle these problems is growing in popularity: mediation.

A mediator is sometimes brought in at the order of a judge seeking to settle a dispute without taking it to a jury. But elder-care practitioners are urging more families to take the step voluntarily, especially in disputes over how to handle guardianship for family members who can no longer care for themselves.

Mark Dennen's family was embroiled in nearly two years of litigation centering around guardianship for his father, then 92 years old, when a judge ordered the case sent to mediation.

"Everybody brings in all this emotional baggage and the mediator helps bring things into focus," Mr. Dennen says. "It's designed to get to a solution." The mediation brought the legal battle to an end just months before Mr. Dennen's father passed way.

Agreement Is the Aim -
The basic idea behind mediation is that a dispute is resolved through an agreement among the parties, instead of a resolution mandated by a judge or negotiated by attorneys. The role of the mediator -- usually an attorney or someone with a background in social work -- is to facilitate communication and informed decision making.

The cost of mediation varies around the country. In big metropolitan areas, it can easily cost $300 to $500 an hour, although it's possible to find dispute resolution centers that are significantly less expensive.

Robert Rhudy, a former legal-aid attorney turned mediator, has championed the use of the practice to resolve elder-care disputes in Maryland. "In mediation, everybody who is affected by the situation has an opportunity, in a neutral and confidential setting, to tell their story," he says. Whenever possible, that includes the elderly family member.

Defusing Tensions -
The mediator can help ease communications among family members for whom the elder-care dispute may reopen decades-old wounds.
"Things like 'Mom always liked you better' and brothers and sisters who haven't gotten along since they were three years old come to the fore," says Mr. Rhudy.

Common candidates for mediation are disagreements between family members who live far away and a sibling who lives closer to the elder and may have a different assessment of that person's needs.
Sometimes the disputes are between children and elderly family members who have their own view of where they should be living and who should be caring for them.

Mediation can be used to settle disagreements over living arrangements, how finances should be handled, who should be granted power of attorney, and even visitation rights among squabbling siblings. Agreements often specify the kinds of information, especially financial and medical updates, that will be provided to family members who live far away.

The personal nature of these disputes is what makes mediation helpful, says Forrest Mosten, a Los Angeles attorney who has been a mediator for nearly three decades. "The remedies that a court offers are very limited...but in mediation, an apology may end the dispute."

Mediation also allows for informal or even interim solutions, Mr. Mosten says. "You can try things out and see how they work," he says. For example, instead of immediately pursuing a formal guardianship, one child could become a co-signer on a bank account. "If that works, then you don't have to go any further."

There are some times when mediation alone isn't sufficient, says Nina Weiss, an attorney and mediator in Princeton, N.J. If a guardianship is in order, for instance, that must be ordered by the court system.

The mediation process for elder-care decisions can -- and most say, should -- bring in experts such as social workers, estate-planning specialists and health-care professionals who would typically be called upon as part of a court case. "The courts will recognize the same issues....It's just that you avoid the expense" of litigation, says Joseph Mahon, an estate-planning attorney in New Jersey (who isn't also a mediator).

Finding a Mediator -
One challenge facing families looking for mediation help is that there is no formal licensing or credentialing for elder-care mediators, notes James Bergman, a co-director at the Center for Social Gerontology, an Ann Arbor, Mich., nonprofit group that has been a longtime advocate of elder mediation.

"Anyone can hang a shingle out and say they're an elder mediator," he says.
But there are plenty of experienced mediators, so it's largely a matter of tracking down those with experience in the area and, importantly, a mediator the parties feel comfortable with.

One place to start are local nonprofit mediation groups, such as the Montgomery County Mediation Center in Eagleville, Pa., which can generally be located online. There are also state organizations, such as the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.

Some states have lists of mediators officially approved by their courts. And online, the Association for Conflict Resolution offers the public the ability to find mediators from among its members at

Also online, and offer names of mediators (who pay small fees to be listed).

Write to Tom Lauricella at

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's All In A Days Work

Stem Cell Transplant May Improve Survival Among Elderly - News 3/11/2008

A recent study reveals that elderly patients with relapsed non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) may benefit from autologous stem cell transplant. Results from the study, conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, were recently published in Annals of Oncology.