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       Listening to the Republican rhetoric on ‘Obamacare‘, one would think that the end of the American economy is  at hand. Unfortunately, the republican message is the only one being heard at the moment, and I’ve discovered  it’s the most widely understood. Having world in healthcare for many years, I know the need for universal  health coverage. I’ve written about the disparities in our commercial healthcare system before. I know a change  is needed. With the release of healthcare plan details to companies (and thus to their employees), dialog about  what’s next in health insurance payments has, for once, become a hot topic.  The disturbing thing… the Republican talking points are almost exclusively the ones echoed by my fellow  coworkers and friends. And it’s not a local phenomena. (more…)

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kathy&doug2

For almost a decade, she’d helped seniors and their families find services for healthcare, mobility, and estate planning. For what she went through with her own mother, she knew the pitfalls and problems that can happen when wills aren’t executed properly, family disputes explode, and corrupt courts see green. She thought she took all the diligent steps to ensure I would never have to endure the same. And now, at her funeral, I’m seeing the same ‘mistakes’ force me into the same process she had to do. Death is difficult enough. Why do we allow laws that make it so much worse?

A will gets thrown-out. Family member’s identity is questioned. Family history gets analyzed. People who specialize in taking money from others see blood in the water. Unscrupulous family members see an opportunity for quick cash. Government agencies start poking around looking for a payday. Your lawyers are fighting lawyers half-way across the country. Property is put in legal-limbo for years, costing your estate money each month. In the end, no one even remembers the deceased. How could it go so wrong?

I’ve seen it happen in my own extended family, and I’ve heard stories of much worse. Luckily, I didn’t experience half these evils when my mother died. A sole survivor with no siblings, a notarized will, and no major debts but a mortgage, it should have been easy. Not even close. An old probate lawyer, ready to retire, took my case and let slip some tips the rest of you should heed.

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With the boy graduating soon, I’m thinking more about the state of our higher educational system. My son’s fiance received a Liberal Arts BACHELOR’S degree from a local university. Not by mistake or default- it was RECOMMENDED. Of course, she’s a waitress now.

With the educational spotlights in out country on early education quality and higher education cost, it looks like higher education content may be slipping. Even with the political punditry piled on job preparedness in the ‘new economy’, little seems to translate to changes in out college’s guidance counseling or curricula. IT degrees with no practical programming? Early childhood education degrees with no teaching certificate? Pointlessness, institutionalized. If this country is serious about growing our economy, endless bickering, polling, special-interest recommendations, sociology studies, none of these can be tolerated anymore. Talking is not a ‘solution’. A solution is action. We (which includes college department heads) have been given all the information we need for decades. We (the general public), have gotten nothing for our money. It appears forcing incompetence out of our university’s administration can only be done through law. (more…)