U.S. Debt Now $136,260 Per Household—Up 50% Under Obama

 

The U.S. government debt, which topped $16 trillion for the first time at the close of business on Friday, now equals approximately $136,260 for every household in the country.

Just since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt has increased by $45,848 per household—or about 50 percent per household.

As of Friday, the debt was 16,015,769,788,215.80.

According to the Census Bureau, there were approximately 117,538,000 households in the country in 2010.  Thus, the current debt equals about $136,260 per household.

When President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the debt was 10,626,877,048,913.08 and has since increased by 5,388,892,739,302.72.

That equals an increase of about $45,848 per household.

Read the original article here

Go for the Gold! Pay the IRS

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Go for the Gold! Pay the IRS

Because conservatives are scrooges, the good folks at Americans for Tax Reform have gone through the fine print to find out what our Olympians will have to cough up to the IRS should they be lucky enough to win any medals in London.

Even by the standards of our government, the numbers are insane.

For instance: Americans who win bronze will pay a $2 tax on the medal itself.

But the bronze comes with a modest prize—$10,000 as an honorarium for devoting your entire life to being the third best athlete on the planet in your chosen discipline.

And the IRS will take $3,500 of that, thank you very much.

There are also prizes that accompany each medal: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.

Silver medalists will owe $5,385.

You win a gold? Timothy Geithner, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, will be standing there with his hand out for $8,986.

So as of this writing, swimmer Missy Franklin—who’s a high school student—is already on the hook for almost $14,000.

By the time she’s done in the pool, her tab could be much higher. (That is, unless she has to decline the prize money to placate the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association—the only organization in America whose nuttiness rivals the IRS.)

ATR notes that the real twist of the knife is that most other Olympians won’t pay any taxes on their medals because America is one of only a handful of countries which taxes “worldwide” prize income earned overseas.

Read the original article here

Surviving An Overdose: The Woman Who Kept Dying and Coming Back

You know that saying “God helps people who help themselves?”

Back on a miserably hot August-in-Washington, D.C. day, I was not trying to help myself.

I was locked inside my office on a Sunday, pulling heroin out of a fanny pack.

The truth? I was so sick and tired of myself and my inability to fix my life. I would do anything but deal with my life; so it was not unusual that I went to work by myself on a Sunday knowing that no one else would be there.

Before beginning the day’s tasks, I pulled out my freshly stolen stash.

Heroin is what quelled the emotional pain of resentments, piercing memories of rape, abuse and other dark secrets that festered within me.

Though, I only meant to wet my feet — it pulled me in — the waters of addiction run deep.

I had long since abandoned my son to his paternal grandmother.  My hopes of ever becoming a good mother were lost.  I squandered my dreams of writing.  Belief in God? Gone.  Any semblance of self-respect?  Also non-existent. All that was left was the job that anchored me to any type of social acceptability.

As I cooked the heroin up in the bottle top, I noticed it was pale yellow in color.

Perhaps, I had stolen from the wrong plastic bag.

There were two.

One was pure uncut and one “scrambled” or cut and ready for street sale.  What does it matter, I thought, I’m sick of myself anyway.

I tied my panty hose that I kept in my desk to use as a tourniquet, found a willing vein in my wrist, drew blood into the syringe, and slowly pumped in the heroin mixture.

The usual warm rush flowed up from my feet and radiated up through my legs and then … everything faded to black.

I felt and heard the sound of thuds on my chest.

Sweat cascaded from my body in what felt like rivers.

Spikes of light came into an unfocused view.

I heard the shrill of a siren.  I saw glimpses of trees and buildings in what seemed like warp speed.

For a moment, there was a familiar face.  I heard muffled voices of snatches of words that together made no sense to me.

“Pressure dropping … line … call … doctor … heroin … office … chest.”

There were overhead florescent lights; a chill on my back, a pinging sound … a long shiny needle … “Ms. Anderson” … a scream.

I woke up in ICU.

Crying and with a smudged tissue, my boss, standing at the foot of my bed dabbed makeup from her tearful eyes.

Please tell me this is a dream somebody! Come on, anybody but my boss, the thoughts did not alter reality.  I settled into it.  This is not a dream.  I did steal from the wrong bag … and OD’ed!

Once out of ICU and transferred into a regular room, what I tell you now, I only know because the three paramedics who transported me to the hospital came to that room and filled in the missing pieces.

The spokesperson of the trio insisted, “We HAD to come meet you.”

The one seated jumped in, “One of your co-workers happened to come through the office suite to pick up her briefcase that she had forgotten.

She saw your key ring hanging from the entrance door.  She knew they were yours because etched into the key ring were the words, The Boss.

She went looking for you so you wouldn’t be alarmed if you heard her.  She heard music coming from your office and knocked.

When you didn’t answer, she turned the knob but it was locked.  She banged and still no answer.  So she called the security desk and a guard came up and opened the door.”

As if rehearsed, one of the paramedics standing continued, “When we got there, you were sprawled over your desk with the needle and syringe hanging from the vein in your wrist.

You were more dead than alive. You were breathing only seven times per minute.”

“On the way to the hospital you stopped breathing. Straight out flat lined.

After, we resuscitated you, you whispered, ‘I … want … to … live.’  Within minutes, you flat lined again.  After we brought you back, again, faintly we heard, ‘I … want … to … live.’”

As if not to be left out of the telling, the taller paramedic added, “You just don’t know. It was a day we will never forget!”

Except for the tears and a few “Oh, my God” and “Say What?!” As if to pinch myself, I asked, “Are you sure?”

“Am I sure?  Look, Ms. Anderson, that’s why we’re here! We had to meet the woman who kept dying and coming back.”

He paused, looked at his buddies and continued, “Hold up! That’s not the whole story.

Minutes before arriving to the hospital, you flat lined again!

It took longer, but we were determined to bring you back.  Look, I’m not a praying man, but I prayed like I ain’t never prayed before and … again … you came back.

And again you said, ‘I … want … to … live.’”

Like a relay race, the next paramedic grabbed the baton and exclaimed, “Once we got you to the hospital and you were back in the treatment area with the doctors, your left lung collapsed.  You were on a respirator for days.  We followed your progress.  You are a living, breathing miracle. ”

As the paramedics shared the details of that hot and humid August day, it was like an out of body experience; but this time, I didn’t see myself drowning, but rescued and lovingly laid safely on the shore of the Someday I Wills.

Slowly, someday morphed into today.

I’m now 27 years clean, sober and free from active addiction.

The impossible became possible, maybe because the possible is too easy for God anyway.

By grace, I am an inspirational speaker, published author, addiction recovery expert and, most cherished of all, an active mother and grandmother.

I witnessed this son, whom I had abandoned, graduate from college and grow into a God-loving, good man, in spite of the hardships my life inflicted on him, and now a single father raising his three children.

And me, “Hallelujah Grandma,” as the kids call me, get to make a positive impact on their lives.

That night after the paramedics were gone, and before the nurse’s pulse checks; hope shed its light into the darkest recesses of my soul where the secrets resided, as I listened intently with an opened heart.

I knew God dispatched my thoughts because they were so pure.

“Stanice, I love you.  You are mine.  I have marvelous plans for your life.  I am with you, always.  I brought your co-worker through.  You are precious to me.  I orchestrated it all.  Trust me.”

I wept, as my thoughts showered me with God’s love, in spite of all I’d ever done or left undone. Could it really be?

As if a postscript on a hand-written love letter, one of the paramedics leaned over, hugged me, “Please get help with your addiction before you leave the hospital.  We did our part; now, it’s on you.”

I told the paramedic how thankful I was for everything and that I would get help.
Even though I couldn’t help myself, I believe God stepped in.

God was bigger than my addictions.

Bigger than my secrets.

Bigger than my past.

Bigger than death.

God snatched me back from death’s grip, not once, not twice; but three times in one day.  Yes, God’s last word for my life was live.

The original article can be found here

P.S.  If there is anything to take away from this article is this.  As low as you can go in life, you can bounce back and go higher than you ever imagined, ever thought possible.  Click here  and find out how these two ex-homeless guys went from the lowest of the low, to the highest of the high. 

 

The Things I Wish I Were Told When I Was Diagnosed With Cancer

Your relationships are about to change.

All of them.  Some will get stronger.  They will probably not be with the people you would expect.

The people you want to handle this well might not be able to for a variety of reasons.  Some of the reasons will be selfish.  Some of them will be entirely innocent and circumstantial.

All of them will be forgivable because no one plans for cancer.  Carrying bitterness or anger won’t help your recovery.  Fighting for anyone to stick with you won’t cure you.  Those who can, will.

You will be determined to have more energy than you do.

You will convince yourself that you are thinking straight, are able to handle all of this and do not need anyone.  You will run out fuel.  Your body will change first and your mind will follow.

You won’t lose your mind, memories or sensibility.  It will all come back.  But, you will be different.  You will never have the same sense of self.  You should embrace this.

Your old self was probably really great.  Your transformed self will be even better.  Give into what is happening and trust it.

You are going to feel fear.

Even if you are normally stubborn, confident and seemingly invincible you will finally find yourself admitting that you are scared of something.  Cancer is scary and incredibly confusing.

The unknowing will eat at you worse than the disease itself.  You’ll need distractions.  Music and sleep will probably be the ones you resort to most.  Reading will become difficult.  So will watching TV or movies, having conversations, writing and basically everything else.

They call it “chemo brain” for a reason.  You will feel normal eventually.  Just a new kind of normal.  When you feel afraid let yourself lean on those around you.  Cry.  Be vulnerable. You are vulnerable.

There will be time for strength, but never admitting weakness will cause anxiety to mount and your condition to worsen.  Let it all out.  Yell if you need to.  Sing when you feel up to it. Sob uncontrollably.

Apologize for your mood swings.  Treatments and prescriptions will often be the cause of them.  The people that love you will understand.

The people that love you will be just as scared as you are.

Probably more.  They will be worrying even when they are smiling.  They will assume you are in more pain than you are.  They will be thinking about you dying and preparing for life without you.

They will go through a process that you will never understand just like they will never understand the process you are going through.  Let them process.  Forgive them when they don’t understand.

Exercise patience when you can.  Know that those that were built for this will be there when you get to the other side and you will all be able to laugh together again.

You’ll cry together too.  Then you’ll get to a place where you will just live in the world again together and that is when you know that you have beaten this.

The sooner you recognize that you are mortal, the sooner you can create the mentality for survival.

There is a chance you might not make it.  Just like there is a chance that you will. Don’t look at statistics.

You are unique and what is happening inside you is unique.  Your fight is yours alone and there are too many factors to compare yourself to others that have had your condition.

No one will want you to think about death, but you won’t have a choice.  You will think about it from the moment you are given your diagnosis.

Come to terms with it.  Calmly accept it.  Then, shift every thought you have into believing that you won’t die.  You are going to beat this.  Your mental focus on that fact will be more powerful than any treatment you receive.

Your doctors and nurses will become your source of comfort.

You will feel safe with them.  If you do not feel safe with them you need to change your care provider immediately.  There is no time to waste.  This shouldn’t be a game played on anyone’s terms but yours.

When you find the right caretakers you will know immediately.  Do not let insurance, money or red tape prevent you from getting the treatment you deserve.  This is your only shot.

There is always a way.  Find those hands that you trust your life in and willingly give it to them.  They will quickly bring you a sense of calm.  They will spend time answering your questions.  There will be no stupid questions to them.

They won’t do anything besides make you feel like you are the most important life that exists.  They will never make you feel like they don’t have things in control.  They will be honest and accessible at all times.

They might even become your friends.  You might celebrate with them over drinks months or years after they have cured you.  They deserve your gratitude, respect and appreciation daily.  If you get upset at them during treatment know that they’ll forgive you.

They get that you’re going through something they can’t imagine- but they understand better than anyone.  They see it every day and they choose to be there because they want to make the worst experience of your life more tolerable.

You will need to find balance after treatment.

Start by seeking balance during treatment.  Eat well.  Sleep well.  Listen to your body.

Explore meditation.

Experiment with new forms of exercise that aren’t so demanding.  Embrace massage and other body therapies.  Go to therapy.  A therapist will be able to guide you through your journey in ways you could never fathom.

Do not be too proud to speak to someone.  You cannot afford to store up the intensity of the emotion that comes with fighting a life-threatening illness.  Let it out for yourself.

You will begin to hear your voice changing.  That voice is who you are becoming in the face of mortality.  Listen to that voice. It will be the purest, most authentic version of you that you have ever known.

Bring that person into the world — strengths and vulnerabilities and everything between.

Be that person forever.

You will inspire others. It will feel weird.

People you haven’t spoken to since grade school will be in touch.  Ex-girlfriends, former colleagues… even people you felt never wanted to talk to you again.

The influx of interest in your seemingly fading life will be greater than any living moment you have ever experienced.  That support is what will shift a fading life into a surviving one.

Be grateful for every message.  Be appreciative of each gift and each visit.  There will be moments where all of this attention will make you feel lonelier than you have ever felt in your life.

In a hospital room full of people with messages stuffing your inbox, voicemail and mailbox you will find yourself feeling completely alone.  This is when you will realize that you could afford to have a stronger relationship with yourself.

That only you walk this earth with 100% investment in you.  Make the investment and use this as an opportunity to reexamine your self-worth.  Love yourself more than ever and recognize how much love there is for you in the world.

Then start sharing that love.  You will come to see that even when you are the neediest person you know you can still be giving.  Giving will make you feel better than taking.

When you get to the other side you won’t believe it.

They will tell you the disease is gone.  Everyone you know will rejoice and return back to their lives.  You’ll constantly wonder if it is coming back.

Slowly this feeling will fade, but cancer will always be a part of you.  It will define how you see the world moving forward.  You’re going to feel like the future is a funny thing to think about because the present is going to suddenly seem incredibly important.

Keep moving.  You’ll be more productive.  You’ll understand who truly loves you because they will still be there.  You’ll want to meet new people that connect to the newly evolved version of your old self.

You’ll want to let go of those that don’t “get” who you are now.  You’ll feel a little guilty doing it.  Then, you’ll move on . You don’t have time to waste.

The greatest gift you’ve been given is that you now understand that and you’re going to make the most of every second.  You’re going to be the most passionate person you know going forward.

Translate that passion to a greater purpose. Be fearless again.

“I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 27. Now 28, I have been told I have no trace of the disease in my body.”-Jeff Tomczek

Original article can be found here

73-year-old woman scaling Everest proves you can age well

Pitcher Jamie Moyer, 49, is still striking out batters; he became the oldest pitcher to win a game in the majors in April and followed with another win for the Colorado Rockies in May.

Now, the Baltimore Orioles have their eye on him.

Not bad, right? Now add more than 20 years.

Japanese mountaineer Tamae Watanabe, 73, is still climbing; she set a world record last month, becoming the oldest woman to scale Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

She broke her own record, set when she was 63.

Expect more like these, fitness experts say — exceptionally healthy adults who are transforming our image of aging.

“My guess is that as more people ‘age up’ who have been active their whole lives and are really committed, we will see more interesting things from people in the 60-to-80 age range,” says Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and a specialist in exercise science in Rochester, Minn.

And maybe, he adds, they will inspire a nation where many sit all day in front of a computer.

Few of us will ever come close to these exceptional levels of fitness at any age, but what stops so many people from staying fit as they grow older?

Exercise physiologist Barbara Bushman says 24% of adults over 65 are totally inactive, and fewer than 40% meet the baseline recommendations for exercise (150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, such as jogging or swimming.)

“The short answer is that most of society is not pushing themselves hard enough,” Joyner says.

“However, at the same time, there is this emerging subgroup of fit or super-fit middle-aged and older people who are redefining things.”

When Janet Evans, 40, started her comeback last year after 15 years off Olympic-level swimming, Joyner said, “This is the whole new normal emerging.”

How much does it help?

He notes that motivation and resilience “are the key.”

But in a society where obesity is an epidemic, what kind of extra motivation do we need?

“Regular physical activity can favorably influence a broad range of body systems and may be a lifestyle factor that discriminates between those who experience successful aging and those who do not,” says Bushman, a professor of kinesiology at Missouri State University and co-author of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Complete Guide to Fitness and Health.

Some scientists go so far as to say exercise actually slows aging.

A 1990 study comparing masters athletes and sedentary people found that those who continue to engage in regular vigorous exercise show just half the rate of decline in maximal aerobic capacity as sedentary people.

Recent research shows aerobic activity is important for healthy cognitive function. And regular exercise eases the stiffness and pain of arthritis.

Sports doctor and triathlete Jordan Metzl knows this firsthand. He says he has some arthritis, but exercise helps him.

In his new book, The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies, he has a section on strengthening exercises you can do at home to help protect ligaments and joints.

They aren’t 20 anymore

Most of us begin to notice physical decline in our mid-30s, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, Bushman says.

Evans, who follows the latest research on training methods, says she has had to take better care of herself, including getting more sleep, shedding a few pounds and taking more time to recover between workouts than when she was younger.

Though Evans hasn’t suffered any career-threatening injuries, Torres and Moyer haven’t been as lucky.

Moyer missed the 2011 season after having ligament replacement surgery, and Torres has had multiple surgeries, including an innovative procedure after the 2008 Olympics on her left knee to regenerate cartilage.

Before that, she couldn’t walk without a limp, and the muscles in her leg were atrophying.

“There have been isolated examples of exceptional feats by people in their 40s and 50s for many years,” Joyner says. “These are happening more often and are more widely noticed.”

When Bushman heard about Watanabe, she laughed and said, “Now that is successful aging.”

“Although not everyone has interest or ability to achieve a feat like climbing Everest, people of all ages can take steps today to develop a complete exercise program,” Bushman adds.

She recommends a focus on aerobic exercise for cardiovascular fitness, resistance training for muscular fitness, flexibility exercises, and neuromotor training for balance, agility and coordination.

“No one is too old, or too young, to invest in their future health.”

Read original article here

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