Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Syrians are the new Ebola?

This week's fake scandal is the storm of fear over the possibility of Syrian refugees coming to the United States.
Today's conservatives never learn. Last year at this time they were shrieking about Ebola, then there was the Jade Helm 15 scare, and now it's Syrians. I understand their leadership needs something to whip their followers into a frenzy, but you'd think some of them would realize they're being played.
My memes on the situation have been moderately popular

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day, PTSD Disability claims, and 38 USC 1110

On this Veterans' Day I am thinking of a client who went into the Service with no psychiatric history and got PTSD during Desert Storm. His Army doctor chose not to treat this injury like any other, but instead invented a pre-service personality disorder diagnosis based on undocumented adolescent misbehavior. This got him the soldier out of the mental hospital and the service, without the expense and bother of treating his actual injury. I suppose it helped the doctor and the Army meet their budgets - everybody wins!

Before they put him on the street, the Army told him to fill out a VA disability application, but didn't tell him that the doctor's bogus diagnosis guaranteed summary rejection because there was no service connection. He didn't even get an independent examination.

Now maybe this veteran "should have" demanded an actual evaluation but keep in mind that he's a young guy, not the healthiest camper at this point, and all the Men In Suits are telling him nothing can be done. He, his family and his local community suffered the consequences for 15 years, and these were not insignificant.

Finally someone talks him into going to VA and asking specifically for a PTSD test. The doctors basically go, "Well d'uh!"  and he starts getting appropriate treatment plus disability. From here on out the story is ok, but what about those 15 years?

It's a debt unpaid.

I'd bet cash money that this guy is just one of thousands. It's not as if these injuries don't have expensive consequences; no, the cost of these injuries is carried by the veteran, by their families and maybe by their local communities. The rest of us - so proud to "Support The Troops!" -  are freeloading, skipping out on a debt.

To collect that debt, there is a long and wasteful litigation process that might get justice in this one particular case, but what about the others? Do they all have to sue?

Do we really want 1,000 or more Desert Storm veterans - and God knows how many Vietnam veterans, and the rest - having to lawyer up just to get what we owe them? Are we just hoping that they'll go away or die off to save us money?

There is a fair alternative.

We could treat these cases the way Agent Orange cases are now treated: there should be a registry, not litigation. In particular, if you have service-connected PTSD and were discharged due to mental-health-related behavior, the behavior should be rebuttably presumed to be due to the PTSD, and you get disability as of the date of discharge.

This would take an Act of Congress to make this small change to 38 USC 1110. That's not going to be easy, but if everyone with a Yellow Ribbon magnet asked their Congresscritter for action, we'd see action - there's an election coming up, after all.

It may not be cheap (although come to think of it, it saves court costs so maybe it would save money in the long run). but it's one way to show that all those the Yellow Ribbons and "Thank You For Your Service" are for real or for show.

Ask your Congresscritter and your VSO how they feel about this.

And America's veterans: thank you for your service. For real.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday: Bleedin' Science

I did another "Healthy Volunteer" study today - this time at Fred Hutch Cancer Research . Mostly it consisted of sitting still while a nice lady pumped some blood out of me. I got a juice box, a snack bar, and a check for my troubles - plus some nice conversation.
I don't really have the education to be a scientist but I can do science!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Simplification Thursday: Parting with Pocketless Polo

Pocketless Polo to Pass
Because I habitually carry my cellphone in a breast pocket, shirts with no pocket aren't really useful to me anymore. A nice belt clip works or when I'm dressing formally or doing things, such as carrying furniture, where a breast pockets a bad idea, but for casual use the pocket remains best.
This means my polos with no pocket have no purpose.
I feel like I am impoverishing myself to get rid of something that I bought (even if years ago), but part of feeling comfortable in my adequate prosperity is letting go of the habits of poverty. When I was poor, I had to save everything because I did not know when I might need something, but now that I am prosperous, I can let that go.
It helps that I can pass on the shirts to a thrift store where they will be reused. This gives me a small pleasure that offsets the concern about impoverishment.
The thing that tips the balance toward action is treating November as a month for simplifying my life, in anticipation of my new job starting in December. The job is a great opportunity, but it means that anything I want to keep doing, I'll have to do more efficiently - and that means getting rid of clothing that I don't need.
So goodbye pocketless polo - you were good when I needed you, but I don't anymore. Go to someone else who may need you, and we'll both be better off.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wednesday and Professor Chesterfield

My extra activity today was to do as much grocery shopping as I could. I combined it with other errands and when they were all done, stopped by the little Christian Thrift Store on 16th to drop off a bag of books and see if they had any more gym gear my size (they didn't, but they sometimes do.)
The counter lady reminded me that I'd bought a cat today a while back and somehow it hadn't made it into my bag. It's pretty honest of them to have held on to it, but I suppose that's part of community and all that.
When I set it down, Chesterfield was the first to investigate it. I was almost as fascinated as he was to observe him figuring out what happened when he batted the ball inside. He's not smart like humans are, but he appears to have something going on in terms of a process of figuring things out.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Tuesday zumba

I have started taking the 6:30pm Zumba class at the Fauntleroy Y. It's much closer than the West Seattle Y, and by the time class is over and I've showered, I'm ready to relax at home.
I had a brief moment of startlement when I got an email saying my IRS job status had changed, but when I followed up, the change was to "hired" so I'm quite happy.

Monday and the Pansy

Today I dropped off Kiara at PIMA, and since I was going back anyway, I hung around for Nessa to get out of class. With my cellie I got a picture that pleased me of a pansey bravely flowering in the face of the falling temperatures.
I really enjoy the high quality pictures I can now take casually, and it also amuses me that "pansy" is used in a derogatory way when the plant is ... for its size ... remarkably tough.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Free Continuing Legal Education Webcasts, Events & Recordings - Nov.1, 2015 #MCLE (4freeCLE)

Free Continuing Legal Education Webcasts, Events & Recordings - Nov.1, 2015
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For the latest listings, see the 4freeCLE blog.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Memes - October 2015

Gun Nuts Are Frightened People

Fun Fact About The 2nd Amendment

This Version Is Wordier

Today's GOP Thinks You Have A Bad Memory

I'm Just Trying to Be Helpful

Sometimes The Truth Leaks Out

I Just Liked This Photo

It's An Old Joke, But I Like It!

One Of The Best Putdowns Ever

It Was Only Last Year...

The Whole Email Thing Is Off The Subject Anyway

The Palin Business Model

I Could Not Believe How Stupid That Committee Sounded

Some Prosecutors Get Used to Bullying Defendants
Who Have No Education Or Money,
But That's Poor Preparation For Attacking A Clinton LOL

Obsessing On Blumenthal Was One Of Those Ideas
That Must Have Sounded Good When Drunk

Could Gowdy Be A Democratic Party Mole?

Tinkering With A Church Sign Generator

If You Can't Follow The Rules,
You Can't Be A Role Model. Period.

Clinton Was Remarkably Restrained, Actually

"Serve And Protect" - Yr Doin' It Wrong

Remember Last Year's Panic?

Will Rogers Is Timeless

I Don't Do "You're Ugly" Humor,
But Fiorina's Delusional Proclamations Are Cartoonish

They Threatened To Withhold Their Labor...

What A Bunch Of Whiners!

Like I Said: Serve And Protect

Any Politician Who Says God Told Him To Run
Is Asking To Be Mocked

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