Archive for March, 2011

Cries of revolution are heard in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Tunisia, Greece, Croatia and  the Ivory Coast
From Egypt and onward to Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Syria, Bahrain and Libya
In the shadows lurks Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Thailand, China, Korea
People take to the streets in London, Dublin, Lisbon, and Athens

Food riots in Latin America and Bolivia

Scourges from South America slithering their way through Mexico, killing all in their path
Pouring their tainted gold into the US to entrench their hold

Birds falling from the sky, fish suffocating in their own life water, cows dying with no cause
The red-winged black birds in Arkansas, the turtle doves in Italy and the pelicans in North America with life no more
The anchovies, mackerel and sardines in California, swarms of sardines, anchovies, striped bass and mackerel in Acapulco , the tilapia in Viet Nam, more fish by Chesapeake bay
The devil crabs by England, dolphins and whales, spade fish by Alabama, puffer fish in Hawaii, silver shad by Michigan, jackdaws in Sweden, red snapper in New Zealand, cattle in Viet Nam, birds in Beijing, seals in Labrador,  birds in the Tennessee Valley, bees, bats, and Musk Oxen by the Bering Strait

Volcanic eruptions

Eyjafjallajökul, Iceland;  Mount Merapi, Indonesia; Tungurahua, Ecuador; Pacaya, Guatemala; Kliuchevskoi, Kamchatka, Russia; Sheveluch, Kamchatka, Russia;  Santiaguito, Guatemala;  Mount Sinabung, Indonesia; Kizimen, Kamchatka, Russia; Cleveland, Alaska

Flooding

Brazil 700 lives lost and 14,000 homeless;
Columbia killing 138 people and 1.3 million people homeless;
India 1,750 people killed and affecting 23 million people,
Madeira Island with 50 people killed,
Brazil with 1,700 lives lost and 14,000 people homeless
Benin with 43 people killed and 100,000 homeless

Flooding in:

Queensland, Australia;  
            Cornwall, UK;  
                     Portugal,
                        France,
                           Romania,
                             Ukraine,
                               Canada,
                                 China,
                                    Hungary,
                                       Peru,
                                          Mexico,
                                             Pakistan,
New England and Midwest USA;
                                             Spain,
                                         Colombia,
                                      Serbia,
                                 Argentina,
                             Kenya,
                       Nigeria,
                   Guatemala,
               Singapore,
         Viet Nam
   Poland

Intense snowstorms immobilizing the USA and Europe

Earthquakes
61 in 2010 alone, 21 with magnitudes greater than 7.0
21 more in 2011, 6 already with magnitudes greater than 7.0

And then there is Japan, one of five of the most powerful earthquakes

First the destruction from the earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0,

Over 12,000 dead people and counting
Over 16,500 people missing
125,000 buildings destroyed
500,000 people homeless

The earthquake moved Honshu 7.9 ft east, closer to North America, making Japan’s landmass wider, and shifted the Earth on its axis by almost 3.9 inches

Followed by a tsunami

Japan’s government said the cost of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast could reach $309 billion, making it the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record

And now facing radiation from the nuclear power plants

Radiation pouring into the ocean, now 4,385 times the legal limit

I think we all have been touched.  If you haven’t already, pay attention.

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 It has been a while since I continued my story of working in corporate America.  If you have been following my blog, I am telling you a little bit about myself, my husband, my marriage, my son and my career.  I have had an interesting life and I thought I would share a slice of it.  If you want to start from the beginning, please read my post called Another story begins . . . 

As I was working as a technology contractor at the bank, my husband had arranged to make a trip to West Africa with the intention of starting a new business.  You may say, not again!  But this is how I looked at it.  He was like my little stock market.  If he was successful it would be big and well worth the sacrifice.  If he didn’t, there was no loss except the absence from each other and our son. 

While he was in Africa, I continued working at the bank.  Our project was finally heading down the right path.  The end was finally approaching.  The bank was starting to get excited about implementing this system, and were anxious to take advantage of the cost savings it would provide.

There came a day when early in the morning I had a doctor appointment at the University of Ohio.  When I finished my appointment and started driving to work, I heard on the radio about the airplane that had struck one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York.  Upon hearing this as I drove I was in shock.  It was one of those moments when you literally gasp.  When I got to the bank many of the employees were standing around the TV’s in the cafeteria, listening to the events unfolding before their eyes. 

After seeing the graphic picture of the first Twin Tower being struck, I became very worried, especially since there was news of other missing airplanes.  My work site was about 20 miles from where my son was in day care.  The thought that struck me was, I was not going to be like the woman in those disaster movies who is struggling to get to her children during a catastrophic disaster.  It was a time that the family must be close.  I left work and rushed to the day care.  On the way I filled my car with gas, and then picked up my son.  We went home and immediately turned on the television.  Before my eyes the second Twin Tower was hit.  Black smoke billowed from the buildings.  People were scrambling in terror to get away from the towers.  Soon the reports about the Pentagon plane and the Pennsylvania plane were reported.

Then the crisis turned into horror.  The first Twin Tower began to crumble.   The people were running in hysteria.  The dust coated everything in its path.  The whole scene was surreal.  Then before I could let these events sink in, the second tower fell to the ground.  It was unbelievable.  I couldn’t imagine how this happened in this country.  How could these people attack us on our own land?  And why would they attack all of these innocent people?  They didn’t combat our soldiers.  Instead they struck every day people like you and me.  They sucker punched us so that everyone in America would feel the terror.  The realization that no one is safe became a reality of every American. 

For the remainder of the day and into the night I was glued to the television set.  I called my husband and he too was in shock.  I wondered if this was the beginning of another war, only this one being fought on our own soil. I prayed that this would not be so.  Thoughts went through my head that maybe I should get out of Ohio and head to Wisconsin where my family lived.  By the time this occurred to me, gas prices shot up and soon after there were gas shortages.  There would be no trips to Wisconsin.  Not now.

That day was absolutely frightening.  I could not believe that someone would hijack a domestic airplane and slam it into the Twin Towers.  I never imagined this country being at war on its own soil.  My husband grew up in a country that was in a brutal war.  The stories he told me or that I have read were extraordinary.  Here I was alone with our son, and my husband was on an entirely different continent.  If this was going to get worse, I dreaded being here without him.  After we talked again, he encouraged me to be calm and if things took a turn for the worse, he would either come home, or get tickets for my son and I to come to him.  We realized it would be safer not to be in America. 

Who would ever believe that we wouldn’t be safe in America?  I never imagined that I would ever say these words.  We were a mighty nation, a super power compared to the rest of the world.  Yet, these terrorists were able to completely make us reassess our position in the world.  It also showed us that there were people who really hated America, and they were smart enough to hit the general public, which would turn to panic.  They were right.  I panicked. 

For the next month or so, as you all know, there was a lot of crazy stuff going on in this country.  For some time there was fear that more airplanes could come crashing out of the sky.  And then there were the anthrax scares.  There was a day at the bank when a white powder substance was found in the parking lot.  The company evacuated all of the employees and sent them home.  It turned out to be nothing.  The bank also put huge four-foot high concrete flower pots across the front of the building, which acted as a barriers and would prevent a terrorist from ramming a vehicle into the lobby of the building.  At that time Ohio was also the main place where all the suspect antrhax substances were tested.  Columbus also rerouted all of the trucking routes to be around the perimeter of the city rather than going straight through.  I don’t think this was too bright, because most of the people lived in the suburbs, which is where the trucks were diverted to. 

I was also one of those people who invested in a survival pack, plastic and duct tape.   Those disaster movies kept running through my mind.  I thought it would be best to be safe rather than be sorry.  And yes, I still have those emergency items today because we are still at risk, probably even more so today.  Here it is many years later and I can still feel the fear I felt on that day.  To this day I am always cognizant of who and what is around me.  I will never look at the world the same way I did before this horror.  It is true that America will never be the same.

What makes me sad is that it is this America that my son will know.  He will never experience the America that I knew.  His way of life will be much different from mine.  This really saddens me.  Carefree would no longer be a word used to describe America.  Guarded is probably the best description of how it will be.  He will grow up in a time of terror alerts and airport security.  A time when there is worry of biological warfare.  A time when there are too many nuclear bombs,and too many crazy leaders in control of them.  A time when anyone is at risk of being attacked.  Anyone at any time.  Yes, he will have to be guarded.  I wish I could change things so that he would not have endure this burden.  Life is much different when you are on constant alert, and guarded, but that is the way of life now.  There is no choice.

Related topics:

Book smart doesn’t guarantee project success . . .
Same company, different job . . .
Back again . . .
Swallow my pride and move on . . .
Worst fears were coming true . . .

A new business can be rough . . .
It’s a different world . . .
Change in career, another move, and starting something new . . .
Good-bye Chicago, Hello Columbus . . .
Chicago and a time of crisis . . .
A place of prosperity . . .
There are good people in the world . . .
Hard times: a need to relocate . . .
And another story begins .

 

The whole topic of immigration in the United States really irks me. I, as a 4th generation German American, take pride in this country because it represents diversity, or sometimes referred to as a melting pot. Even more so, people come to this country to be free. That was true a hundred years ago and it is true today. 

We are a country of many nationalities, whether it be Caucasians with European decent, Black Americans with African decent, Hispanics with Mexican decent or H’mong with Vietnamese decent, just to name a few. Even though I am a 4th generation American, I am very aware that my nationality is German.

My family to this day still has customs that were done by our German ancestors, and eat foods that were originally eaten by them also. The foods are very interesting and I am surprised they have lasted this long. Since my family were farmers, we butchered our own meat. To this day my father and mother make blood sausage, head cheese, pickled heart and pickled tongue. In the fall after deer season Dad also makes venison sausage.  My sister still eats all of this, but I have lost my taste buds for eating most of it. Once in a while I like a taste of blood sausage, which is an unusual mixture of ground meat, raisins, cinnamon and blood, and the venison sausage my Dad makes is fabulous.

At Christmas we always have Kugen, which I think was originally pronounced kuchen.  It is  a type of cake in Germany.  Instead our kugen has transformed to a type of sweet, raisin bread with a sugar-crumble topping. Also at Christmas we have grandma’s brown cookies, which are a frosted molasses cookies.  We sometimes have quarter nuts, also called pepper nuts, which is pfeffer nutz in Germany. They are small quarter size, hard cookies with molasses, anise and walnuts.

My great-grandfather selected the place they would live in America based on a type of tree that was in Germany on their farm. If the land had white oak, they knew the land would be good for farming.

We are a country of immigrants. Only the Native Americans can claim true American decent. I believe that this diversity in our country is what makes America great. I love going into a city and explore all of the boroughs that have inhabitants from different areas in the world and all of the merchants in the boroughs carry goods representing the ethnic people in the area.

This country has drawn people from all over the world to come to the land of opportunity and a land of prosperity. I just don’t understand what the problem is with this immigration. It is these people who have made this country great.

On the Statue of Liberty it reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”. The Constitution of the United States starts with the words “We the people…”. This is what our country is all about. This is where our pride originates from.  Why would we in this day and age turn our back on the people who want to participate in keeping this country to be the mightiest in the world. Out of hunger comes the drive to work hard which can result in a taste of prosperity.

People have come to this country to escape religious persecution. They came to have freedom. Whether that is freedom of speech or freedom to practice any religion. They come so their voices can be heard with no recrimination. We are the land of the free. Why wouldn’t an immigrant want to be a part of this great nation which is like no other?

With opportunity comes progress.  Where would this country be if it wasn’t for the immigrants? It is the immigrants who were hard workers and were who contributed to building the best country in the world and at the same time improving their own life. It is known that if one works hard great things can happen, and in our case that great thing is America.

The immigrants came to America and they became Americans. They became proud Americans who were responsible, hard-working citizens, who love their country and supported their country.  Even my family knows their heritage and still celebrates some of the German traditions, but that does not make them less of an American.  Though we come from different nationalities we are “One Nation Under God.”

One of the arguments against immigration is that America is one of the few countries, Canada being the only other,  that believes if you are born in America, then you are automatically an American citizen.  There is a movement in this country that wants to judge the children’s right to citizenship based on the citizenship status of the child’s parents.  By law, all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States, which is written in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. 

Another argument against this clause in the 14th Amendment is that there are approximately 10.8 million illegal immigrants in the United States right now, and more than one-third of those undocumented parents have an American child due to birthright citizenship.

Sarah Palin has made references to there being a need to “take back America.”  Take back from whom?   America hasn’t went anywhere.  There is nothing to take back.  We are all immigrants and this is the heart of what America is.  Without immigrants we no longer have America.  

The previous Minnesota governor, who is eyeing the prize of being president of this country,  edged his way into the debate over immigration reform saying he supports changing the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment to prevent the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States from gaining automatic citizenship. “We’re the only, or one of the few, developed nations in the world that allows somebody to come here illegally, give birth to a child, and then have the child be a legal citizen of our country,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “The only way to trump the court’s decision is to amend the Constitution.”

All of this attention on immigrants from the GOP, the far right, the Christian right, the tea party, or whatever they want to call themselves, is for what? Saving money? With every child there comes two hard-working parents. Two more people with that hunger to improve their lives and be a part of the American dream. Do you really believe that these immigrants plotted to get to America, sometimes endangering their life, establish a home to keep the family safe, to acquire a job to feed the family, which is hard because they are undocumented, get pregnant, have a baby just for the purpose of going on welfare?  And while this all is going on they are constantly looking over their shoulder praying that no one knows that they are here illegally.  Really? That sounds like a lot of work, a lot work to be on the bottom rung of the social stratta in this country. The only group lower is the homeless.

So what has got the GOP so hot? What do they treasure and won’t get if immigrants come to this country. Is power the thing they treasure?  The type of power of being an elected official? What could an immigrant do that would prevent the GOP from having that treasure? Oh, I get it! It is the votes. Could it be that the Republican party is afraid of immigrants because the immigrants’ children will grow up and will vote, and most likely not vote for a Republican? Eventually even the parents will become naturalized citizens sponsored by their children.  That adds up to a lot of votes.  Think about it. The whole discussion about costs and welfare, is a ruse. The real fear is that these new citizens of American will vote with the Democratic party.

Here are some things to consider before you boot immigrants out of this country:

  • Twenty-six percent of U.S.-based Nobel Prize recipients from 1990-2000 were immigrants (Peri 2007)
  • Immigrants account for 24% of patents, twice their share in the population” (Hunt, 3)
  • A one percentage point rise in the share of immigrant college graduates in the population increases patents per capita by 8-22%

The point is that the next Carnegie or Einstein could be wasting away in an undeveloped nation instead of filing patents in America.   How much tax revenue has been collected due to the enormous number of patents filed by foreign student or immigrants? How many thousands of firms make more money because of these inventions? Also, how many billions of dollars in value have been created by ventures where one of the founders was an immigrant? Google, Yahoo!, and eBay were all co-founded by Americans who immigrated as children.  Would we really close our doors to Google, Yahoo and Ebay?  Does our economy benefit from them?  The answer is yes. 

The “Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996-2008” reports that, “In recent years, immigrants were nearly twice as likely to start a new business as individuals born in the United States.”  Cutting off immigrants in this country could actually cause a collapse of our economy.  Do we really want all of these new businesses to go away?

Another notable is Levi Strauss, the inventor of blue jeans, who was born in Bavaria in 1829. Strauss emigrated to New York City in 1845 and learned the wholesale dry goods business.  Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1847. When he was 11 years old, he invented a machine that would clean wheat. His most famous invention was the telephone, which he patented in 1876.  Immigrants have been the foundation of this country.

Take a moment and think about this topic.  Don’t let the GOP ruin this country.  Let us remain proud and free.  Let us prosper and support this nation to be its greatest.  Here are a few famous quotes that relate to the greatness of America and its diverse population:

  • America is a tune.  It must be sung together.  ~Gerald Stanley Lee, Crowds
  • This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.  ~Theodore Roosevelt
  • Of all the supervised conditions for life offered man, those under U S A’s constitution have proved the best.  Wherefore, be sure when you start modifying, corrupting or abrogating it.  ~Martin H. Fischer
  • America is not just a country but a way.  ~Carrie Latet
  • Not merely a nation but a nation of nations.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson
  • We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.  ~Robert J. McCracken
  • The metaphor of the melting pot is unfortunate and misleading.  A more accurate analogy would be a salad bowl, for, though the salad is an entity, the lettuce can still be distinguished from the chicory, the tomatoes from the cabbage.  ~Carl N. Degler
  • America did not invent human rights.  In a very real sense… human rights invented America.  ~Jimmy Carter
  • America is a passionate idea or it is nothing.  America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos.  ~Max Lerner, Actions and Passions, 1949
  • There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.  ~William J. Clinton

 

For more information see  THE FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by Edwin Rubenstein.

Read more: Inventions from Immigrants | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/info_8047420_inventions-immigrants.html#ixzz1HmBBKCme

When my son was first diagnosed with epilepsy it was somewhat difficult learning about it and even more so to identify the research was going on.  I actually bought several text books, which were really expensive) to get myself educated.   The internet was starting to get big, but was not the great research tool we have today.  So, in the beginning I spent a couple of thousand dollars buying medical books about the subject. I am very thankful for the access we have to information about epilepsy. To possibly assist you with your search I have gather some great information about the research being done.

I have identified some information about the research that is being done in regard to epilepsy. The following link shows a list of 658 clinical trials regarding epilepsy (published on ClinicalTrials.gov): http://clinicaltrials.gov/search/term=Epilepsy

National institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The National institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (NINDS) is a great place to learn about epilepsy and some of the areas of research. The following is a list of organizations that are in some way involved with epilepsy research:

Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)
730 North Franklin Street
Suite 404
Chicago, IL 60654
info@CUREepilepsy.org
http://www.CUREepilepsy.org
Tel: 312-255-1801
Fax: 312-255-1809
Epilepsy Foundation
8301 Professional Place
Landover, MD 20785-7223
postmaster@efa.org
http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org
Tel: 301-459-3700 800-EFA-1000 (332-1000)
Fax: 301-577-2684
Epilepsy Institute
257 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
website@epilepsyinstitute.org
http://www.epilepsyinstitute.org
Tel: 212-677-8550
Fax: 212-677-5825
People Against Childhood Epilepsy (PACE)
7 East 85th Street
Suite A3
New York, NY 10028
pacenyemail@aol.com
http://www.paceusa.org
Tel: 212-665-PACE (7223)
Fax: 212-327-3075
Family Caregiver Alliance/ National Center on Caregiving
180 Montgomery Street
Suite 1100
San Francisco, CA 94104
info@caregiver.org
http://www.caregiver.org
Tel: 415-434-3388 800-445-8106
Fax: 415-434-3508
National Council on Patient Information and Education
200-A Monroe Street
Suite 201
Rockville, MD 20850
ncpie@ncpie.info
http://www.talkaboutrx.org
Tel: 301-340-3940
Fax: 301-340-3944
National Family Caregivers Association
10400 Connecticut Avenue
Suite 500
Kensington, MD 20895-3944
info@thefamilycaregiver.org
http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org
Tel: 800-896-3650
Fax: 301-942-2302
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291
International RadioSurgery Association
3002 N. Second Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
irsa@irsa.org
http://www.irsa.org
Tel: 717-260-9808
Fax: 717-260-9809
Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy
1223 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite #815
Santa Monica, CA 90403
ketoman@aol.com
http://www.charliefoundation.org
Tel: 310-393-2347
Fax: 310-453-4585
Epilepsy Therapy Project
P.O. Box 742
Middleburg, VA 20118
info@epilepsytherapyproject.org
http://www.epilepsy.com
Tel: 540-687-8077
Fax: 540-687-8066
Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry
MGH East, CNY-149, 10th Floor
149 13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129-2000
info@aedpregnancyregistry.org
http://www2.massgeneral.org/aed/
Tel: 888-AED-AED4 (233-2334)
Fax: 617-724-8307
International Dravet Epilepsy Action League
P.O. Box 797
Deale, MD 20751
info@IDEA-League.org
http://www.IDEA-League.org
Tel: 443-607-8267

The following links are also from NINDS and have specific information about the different types of research. Its goals in research relate to three broad categories:

Anticonvulsant Screening Program

Research Progress in Epilepsy

Discovering what happens in the brain to create epileptic seizures

The Search for Genes That Increase the Risk of Epilepsy
Research on New Ways to Observe Brain Chemistry and Function During Seizures
The Development of Animal Models that More Closely Resemble the Disease in Humans

Developing New Ways to Prevent Epilepsy

Developing New Treatments that Eliminate Seizures Without Side Effects

Antiepileptic Drugs
Sidebar: Anticonvulsant Screening Program
Surgery
Diet
Brain Stimulation
Gene Therapy
Cell Transplantation
Vaccines
Therapies to predict or interrupt seizures
Personalized therapies

Reducing the Day-to-Day Impact of Epilepsy

Quality of Life
Reproductive Issues
Comorbid Disorders
Epilepsy in Children
Epilepsy in Older Adults

 

 

Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy.  Seizures happen when the electrical system of the brain malfunctions.  Instead of discharging electrical energy in a controlled manner, during a seizure a strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain.  One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.  Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.  They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.  Having a single seizure does not necessarily mean a person has epilepsy.  High fever, severe head injury, lack of oxygen are a number of factors that can affect the brain enough to cause a single seizure.  Epilepsy, on the other hand, is an underlying condition (or permanent brain injury) that affects the delicate systems which govern how electrical energy behaves in the brain, making it susceptible to recurring seizures.

The information provided here is from the Epilepsy Foundation.  March is when the Epilepsy Foundation has its national walk for epilepsy.  We need your help.  Check your local branch for walk ing and running events.  Come join us.  More information can be found at National Walk for Epilepsy.