Monthly Archives: April, 2008

Elizabeth Roberts Won’t Stop Talking About Health Care

And why should she, really? The more I read, the more frightened I get. The news yesterday was that as the baby boomers are hitting 65, our already failing health care system is becoming totally swamped. So what’s a future-minded Lt. Governor to do? Why, hold a series a community meetings, of course!

Elizabeth Roberts is doing 16 meetings (holy cow, that’s a lot of meetings) across the state in order to get more people involved in the process of reforming health care in Rhode Island. Ours here in Cranston is next Monday, April 21st, at the Main branch of the library on Sockanosset Cross Road. All meetings will be held at 6:30 pm.

From the Lt. Governor’s office:

Roberts’ series of community meetings will be held as follows:

1. Thursday, April 3rd at Ada’s Creations: 1137 Broad Steet, Providence
2. Monday, April 14th at Phillips Street Hall: 51 North Phillips Street, East Providence
3. Wednesday, April 16th at the West Warwick Senior Center: 10 Factory Street West Warwick
4. Monday, April 21st at the Cranston Central Library: 140 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston
5. Monday, April 28th at Temple Beth El: 70 Orchard Street, Providence
6. Wednesday, April 30th at Thundermist Health Center: 450 Clinton Street, Woonsocket
7. Monday, May 5th at the Johnston Senior Center: 1291 Hartford Avenue, Johnston
8. Wednesday, May 7th at the Warren Senior Center: 12 Libby Lane, Warren
9. Monday, May 12th at the Pawtucket Public Library: 13 Summer Street, Pawtucket
10. Thursday, May 15th at the Warwick Public Library- Central Branch: 600 Sandy Lane, Warwick
11. Tuesday, May 20th at the Westerly Public Library: 44 Broad Street, Westerly
12. Thursday, May 22nd at the Smithfield Senior Center: 1 William J. Hawkins Trail, Greenville
13. Wednesday, May 28th at the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce: 230 Old Tower Hill Road, Wakefield
14. Monday, June 2nd at the Wanskuck Boys and Girls Club: 550 Branch Avenue, Providence
15. Wednesday, June 4th at Newport Hospital: 11 Friendship Street, Newport
16. Thursday, June 5th at the Cumberland Town Hall- Council Chambers: 580 Broad Street, Cumberland

What’s There to be Bitter about?

Some pictures are worth a thousand words. And some words paint an astounding picture. Consider the following article from today’s New York Times:

Despite Tough Times, Ultrarich Keep Spending

Who said anything about a recession? Sometime between the government bailout of Bear Stearns and the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that America lost 80,000 jobs in March, Lee Tachman spent roughly $50,000 last month on a four-day jaunt to Miami for himself and three close friends.

The trip was an exercise in luxuriant male bonding. Mr. Tachman, who is 38, and his friends got around by private jet, helicopter, Hummer limousine, Ferraris and Lamborghinis; stayed in V.I.P. rooms at Casa Casuarina, the South Beach hotel that was formerly Gianni Versace’s mansion; and played “extreme adventure paintball� with former agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Mr. Tachman, a manager for a company that executes trades for hedge funds and the owner of “a handful� of buildings in New York, said he has not felt the need to cut back.

“I always feel like there’s a sword of Damocles over my head, like it could all come crashing down at any time,� he said. “But there’s always going to be people who are trading, and there’s always going to be a demand for real estate in New York.�

He is hardly alone in his eagerness to keep spending. Some businesses that cater to the superrich report that clients — many of them traders and private equity investors whose work is tied to Wall Street — are still splurging on multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartments, custom-built yachts, contemporary art and lavish parties.

Buyers this year have already closed on 71 Manhattan apartments that each cost more than $10 million, compared with 17 apartments in that price range during all of 2007. Last week, a New York art dealer paid a record $1.6 million for an Edward Weston photograph at Sotheby’s. And the GoldBar, a downtown lounge, reports that bankers continue to order $3,000 bottles of Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac. [full text]

Now contrast the above with a slightly different story from last week’s Philadelphia Inquirer:

Working poor struggle to get by

Twenty-five dollars. That’s all Sandra Walerski can spend in the Claymont Save-a-Lot today for a week’s worth of groceries.

Walerski, 47, who lives in Trainer, Delaware County, travels over the Pennsylvania line to shop in tax-free Delaware – part of a mighty fight to keep her family of six afloat as the hard-time economy grows wide and deep.

Food and gas prices soar while the dollar weakens and employers shed jobs. People like Walerski are among the worst casualties – a rising number of working poor in the region, generally defined as families with one or more workers making no more than twice the poverty level.

Being working poor is like living in another America, a lesser country where you go to a job, pay bills – do everything right – and still teeter perilously close to the edge.

“Working poor is what I am,” says Walerski, who possesses a broad, smiling face and a fighter’s demeanor. “There are lots of us, and we look like everyone else.

Some weeks, Walerski spends as much as $45. But overall, her precious dollars seem to buy less while her four kids are eating more.

Her carpenter husband works diligently to pay the mortgage on the family’s cramped house, down the street from a refinery. But there isn’t enough.

Meanwhile, a growing tumor in Walerski’s brain, as yet unbiopsied, prevents her from being employed. She used to put in 50 hours a week, juggling a day-care job with telephone-survey work. She prays that the cancer that resulted in surgery to remove her breasts does not return. [full text]

Get the picture?

Homeland Security in the Year 1692

Synchronicity? Yesterday I was driving up Rt.128 near Salem. Today’s New York Times has two stories about witchcraft on the editorial page.

From Hartford, Connecticut-

In 1662, the colonists of Hartford accused 39-year-old Mary Sanford of witchcraft. Based on evidence — drinking wine and dancing around a bonfire — the court pronounced her guilty “for not having the feare of God before thyne eyes.� Sanford was hanged, leaving behind five children and a shaken husband who was later acquitted of similar charges.

More than three centuries later, Sanford’s descendants, 14-year-old Addie Avery and her mother, Debra, of New Milford, Conn., have petitioned the State Legislature to exonerate their distant grandmother and 10 other people executed for witchcraft. The fight has taught them something, perhaps more than they wanted to know, about the mob mentality.

Mob mentality? Who could object to a symbolic gesture exonerating people who would never even be accused under any law on the books today? Leave it to the conservative blogs, like Landofthefree.net

This is the same sort of faux outrage we see from black Americans who want “apologies� or even reparations for slavery. It is foolish to imagine that an “apology� given 150 years after the end of a thing is in any way meaningful. No one is left on any side of the issue to either honestly offer or graciously accept such an apology. It happened. Deal with it.

If only such scapegoating were a thing of the distant past. Then we could conclude that we have nothing to learn from history and that our ancestors did nothing worth remembering. But today’s Times carries Nicholas D. Kristof’s warning that the societal stress of climate change is leading to a revival of the execution of women marked as witches.

In rural Tanzania, murders of elderly women accused of witchcraft are a very common form of homicide. And when Tanzania suffers unusual rainfall — either drought or flooding — witch-killings double, according to research by Edward Miguel, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.

“In bad years, the killings explode,� Professor Miguel said. He believes that if climate change causes more drought years in Tanzania, the result will be more elderly women executed there and in other poor countries that still commonly attack supposed witches.

There is evidence that European witch-burnings in past centuries may also have resulted from climate variations and the resulting crop failures, economic distress and search for scapegoats. Emily Oster, a University of Chicago economist, tracked witchcraft trials and weather in Western Europe between 1520 and 1770 and found a close correlation: colder weather led to more crackdowns on witches.

Imagine living in fear of an enemy who is covert and ruthless. An enemy who hates us for all that we hold dear. An enemy who hides among us, using our freedoms and institutions against us. One who is so at war with all that we cherish that he is outside of our norms of fairness and decency. Our civilian legal tradition is helpless and impotent against such an enemy. We need special laws and prisons, special interrogation techniques. This was Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Sound familiar?

And the clergy, the good educated Christian ministers. Can we look to them to lead us back to the Gospel of forgiveness and love of neighbor? Not in Salem, where Rev. Cotton Mather whipped up a crowd to hang his fellow minister, George Burroughs, for witchcraft. The witchcraft panic made Cotton Mather’s career. He published several best-selling books and became famous. Ministers are still making names for themselves as fearless soldiers of the Lord.

[In Eket, Nigeria] preachers are turning their attentions to children – naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush…

Although old tribal beliefs in witch doctors are not so deeply buried in people’s memories, and although there had been indigenous Christians in Nigeria since the 19th century, it is American and Scottish Pentecostal and evangelical missionaries of the past 50 years who have shaped these fanatical beliefs. Evil spirits, satanic possessions and miracles can be found aplenty in the Bible, references to killing witches turn up in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Galatians, and literal interpretation of scriptures is a popular crowd-pleaser.

Pastor Joe Ita is the preacher at Liberty Gospel Church in nearby Eket. ‘We base our faith on the Bible, we are led by the holy spirit and we have a programme of exposing false religion and sorcery.’ Soft of voice and in his smart suit and tie, his church is being painted and he apologises for having to sit outside near his shiny new Audi to talk. There are nearly 60 branches of Liberty Gospel across the Niger Delta. It was started by a local woman, mother-of-two Helen Ukpabio, whose luxurious house and expensive white Humvee are much admired in the city of Calabar where she now lives. Many people in this area credit the popular evangelical DVDs she produces and stars in with helping to spread the child witch belief.

Nigeria is a country divided between Christians and Muslims, with religious strife, poverty and political unrest. There is fear and desperation in Nigeria, just as in Salem in 1692. These are conditions that provide opportunities for demagogic politicians and religious entrepreneurs.

Not that we have those kinds of things here. In America we’re rational. And we’re never bitter, we always look on the bright side of life.

But we were not always so enlightened. When Mary Sanford was hanged, witchcraft trials were sporadic and few people were directly affected. If the accused was not yourself or someone you loved, then you could just keep your head down and thank the Lord that someone was cracking down on the crime of witchcraft. And sigh with relief that no one was paying attention to you.

But that all changed thirty years later when Salem turned on its own. Allegations and rumors swept through the community. In response to the panic, the normal legal process was replaced by the Court of Oyer and Terminer — hear and determine, so as to dispose of cases quickly in the crisis. Within a year, twenty innocent people, mostly church members, had been executed. Over 150 were imprisoned. Rich and poor alike were swept into the nightmare of accusation and detention, and for a while most of the citizens knew they were at risk.

So at great cost, Salem learned that the right to a fair trial and a defense lawyer is not just a luxury for peacetime, and that hearsay and testimony obtained under torture is worthless.

I hope that Mary Sanford really did drink wine and dance in the woods. I hope she had a moment of freedom from the heavy hand of frightened religious fundamentalism. Blessed be, sister. We’d better not forget you because we’re not home yet.

Reader’s Digest Special Report on the FDA

I’m not a regular reader of Reader’s Digest, but this special report on the FDA provides a good examination of all the ways that the agency has become so compromised that they are barely doing the job they were set up to do. From the article:

Recent headlines have uncovered one shocking lapse after another at the Food and Drug Administration: A popular diabetes drug can sharply increase the risk of heart attack, a finding the agency knew but took two years to reveal. An FDA-approved antibiotic can destroy your liver in just five days. And despite mounting concerns about the safety of Chinese-made drugs, the agency had only enough field inspectors last year to check a mere 13 of the 714 Chinese factories that produce medicines for U.S. consumers.

Many of the nation’s leading doctors, scientists and lawmakers now agree that the FDA is in crisis. Lurching from one disaster to another, the 102-year-old agency learns of dangers too late and then moves too slowly to remedy them. Insiders say it’s woefully underfunded, dangerously understaffed and fractured by bitter internal tensions. Instead of depending on the FDA, Americans are doubting it — and for good reason.

The FDA is expected to regulate $1.5 trillion in food, drugs, vaccines, medical devices, blood and tissues, radiation-emitting machines, animal feeds and drugs, cell phones, dietary supplements, biotechnology and gene therapy — and, post-9/11, sniff out any food-borne terrorist plot. Yet the agency’s annual funding, $2 billion, is about what Fairfax County, Virginia, pays for its public schools.

“Think your pacemaker, heart valve, microwave oven or morning vitamin was inspected?” asks former associate commissioner William Hubbard. “Dream on.” [full text]

There is also a good related story about the drug Ketek, which somehow got through FDA approval even though it was so unsafe that it could ruin your liver in five days. The story provides frightening text from an FDA official’s email in which the official encouraged the drug makers to cover up the fact that many of the supposed participants in the clinical trials for the drug were fabricated.

The good news is that the public’s growing awareness of the problems with the FDA has finally led to some proactive change. But the changes are coming slowly and corporate influence still plays a major role in what drugs get to market and how fast. So for the time being, it’s every drug consumer for him/herself. Remember to use the tools available to you, particularly the internet and second opinions, in order to make informed decisions about medication use.

The Bitter Truth

Some twenty years ago, back when I was living in the Ocean State, I was going through a rough patch, of sorts, and so sought the counsel of a kind therapist (who would later inspire me to pursue a career as a clinical social worker) named Daisy. One day, while at my dead-end job as a proofreader, I found myself experiencing a vague yet overwhelming sense of distress. I called Daisy and, in the course of my frantically explaining the circumstances and her deftly inquiring about such, she took a stab at what I was feeling. “It sounds like you’re anxious,” she said. With that short sentence, the fog in my head began to clear, and I recognized the previously unfamiliar landscape over which I had been scrambling. I was anxious. By naming this emotion, Daisy provided me with the insight and validation I needed to navigate through this rocky terrain. It was a powerful moment, and I am grateful to Daisy for the wisdom and courage of her words.

It does take a certain courage to name what people are feeling. Not everyone is ready, willing, or able to look into that mirror and see those emotions reflected back. Denial, anger, or other defensiveness is not unusual. Consider the reaction to a recent comment made by Senator Barack Obama, as reported in the New York Times:

Opponents Call Obama ‘Out of Touch’

As Senator Barack Obama sought to broaden his appeal to voters in southern Indiana on Friday, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain separately criticized him as being out of touch with the middle class, seizing on a remark Mr. Obama made at a California fund-raiser about “bitter� Americans.

At the fund-raiser in San Francisco last Sunday, Mr. Obama outlined challenges facing his presidential candidacy in the coming primaries in Pennsylvania and Indiana, particularly persuading white working-class voters who, he said, fell through the cracks during the Bush and Clinton administrations.

“So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,� Mr. Obama said, according to a transcript on the Huffington Post Web site, which on Friday published the comments.

The remarks touched off a torrent of criticism from Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain and Republican activists and party officials, all accusing Mr. Obama of elitism and belittling the working class. Mr. Obama forcefully rejected those charges when he arrived at a rally here on Friday evening, drawing a standing ovation in a crowded gymnasium when he painted both of his rivals as entrenched Washington insiders.

“No, I’m in touch,� Mr. Obama said. “I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania, I know what’s going on in Indiana, I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed up, they’re angry, they’re frustrated, they’re bitter and they want to see a change in Washington. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States of America.�

With 10 contests remaining in the Democratic presidential primary, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are engaged in a vigorous dispute over which candidate could be the party’s strongest nominee against Mr. McCain.

In Pennsylvania on Friday, Mrs. Clinton was first to seize upon the comment Mr. Obama made at the California fund-raiser. The Democrats are embroiled in a vigorous battle for the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

“It’s being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter; well, that’s not my experience,� Mrs. Clinton told an audience at Drexel University. “Pennsylvanians don’t need a president who looks down on them; they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families.�

After her remarks, aides to Mrs. Clinton issued several statements criticizing Mr. Obama, including ones that contained criticism from Republicans. Soon, the McCain campaign also weighed in with criticism of Mr. Obama’s remarks at the California fund-raiser.

“It shows an elitism and condescension toward hard-working Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,� said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain. “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.� [full text]

Even considering the dirty nature of politics, it is hard to imagine how Senator Obama’s words could be so misconstrued and distorted. Whether McCain or Clinton like it or not, people have gotten bitter as a result of the politics and policies of the last several years. People have responded negatively. Not everybody, but certainly a great many. Given the terrible state of affairs in this country—the foolish and costly war in Iraq, the mortgage crisis, the spike in fuel prices (and everything else), the steady leak of American jobs to foreign countries, the broadening chasm between the uber-rich and everyone else, the erosion of civil liberties, etc.—there is ample reason to feel bitter. And to name this feeling is neither elitist nor condescending. It is a courageous attempt to provide the American people with the insight and validation needed to recognize the landscape in which we presently find ourselves and navigate to less rocky terrain. I appreciate Mr. Obama’s efforts in this regard, just as I appreciated Daisy’s nearly two decades earlier.

The irony of this little political brouhaha is that, by accusing Barack Obama of being “out of touch” with the American people, Hillary Clinton and John McCain are showing themselves to be sadly out of touch. For all their supposed experience, they can not or will not see the hardships and hard feelings that have settled like fog in the valleys and streets of this nation. They would rather avert their eyes from the landscape than confront the bitter truth. That is not what we need in a President.

Letter from the Krell Family Think Tank

A new diarist over at the RIFuture blog has an extended response to Justin Katz’s most recent editorial in the Projo.

From Mr. Krell:

On Saturday, 4/5/08, the Belojo printed an editorial by Justin Katz of Anchor Rising. The title was “RI’s economic clock runs down.�

To add insult to injury, Anchor Rising was described as a “public policy think tank.”

Outraged by this description, as well as the bad thinking, I wrote the following letter in response. However, in its wisdom, the Projo did not publish it. [full text]

The letter is quite good, but as Pat Crowley notes in the comments, it is rather long. Still, I hope the information can be formed into a rebuttal of suitable length and resubmitted to the Projo.

The Drive-Thru Question Lives On, or Not — See Update

UPDATE: According to one of our commenters who received an email from Cindy Fogarty, attorney for the neighbors opposing the drive-thru, at around midnight the zoning board upheld the neighbors’ appeal and revoked the building permit. The Projo apparently did not have the full story.

ORIGINAL POST:
It sounds like the neighbors of the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru at 480 Pontiac Ave in Cranston are at least having their say. Kudos to Emilio Navarro for creating legislation which will make it harder for this kind of lack of community input to occur again. From the Projo:

City Council member Emilio L. Navarro, who represents the area, stumbled across the permit in November while looking into another concern over traffic leaving the property.

And the neighbors who had fought the drive-through objected, arguing that the city should not have approved a controversial project without consulting them.

Administration officials said they understood the neighbors’ concerns.

But they maintained that the city had pursued all the proper procedures: approval of the drive-through was contingent on the traffic engineer’s approval and the engineer had signed off on the proposal, albeit two years after an initial denial.

Navarro agreed that no laws were broken, but said the system was broken if an unelected official could approve such a controversial project without neighborhood input.

So he sponsored an ordinance, approved by the City Council in February, that requires the traffic engineer to sign off on drive-through proposals before the zoning board takes them up –– ensuring that the final decision is made in public, before a panel that takes testimony from residents.

The ordinance also made all drive-though proposals subject to an administrative review designed to ensure that they are in line with city zoning.

But that ordinance did not apply, retroactively, to the Dunkin’ Donuts case –– leading to last night’s meeting.

Neighbor Susan Pacheco appealed the issuance of the building permit for the drive-through.

Her lawyer, Cynthia M. Fogarty, a former City Council member, argued last night that the traffic engineer –– under the old law –– had one chance to approve or deny the drive-through.

Once Ferguson denied it, in 2005, he could not revisit the matter, she suggested.

John DiBona, a lawyer for DiFanti, the owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts, argued that there was no such limitation on the traffic engineer’s powers.

But Ponder, the zoning board member, insisted that DiFanti should have come back before the board with a revised drive-through proposal, rather than present it to the traffic engineer for approval.

I have to admit that part of me would like the convenience of a drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts so close by. But I’m also one of the neighbors who will be impacted by the cars and traffic issues that this may cause. And the neighbors who are right next to the Dunkin’ Donuts will also have to deal with increased noise and car fumes from idling cars sitting in line.

The fundamental issue is one of homeowner’s rights versus business owner’s rights. Curtis Ponder is correct in that this should not have been allowed to happen without neighbors being involved in the decision-making via the zoning board.

Fear of Eggs

Stop the presses! There’s a new threat on the horizon. Eggs.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

Are you scared yet? Here’s some details of the study.

The Harvard team studied 21,327 men taking part in the much larger Physicians’ Health Study, which has been watching doctors since 1981 who have agreed to report regularly on their health and lifestyle habits.

Over 20 years, 1,550 of the men had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes, and more than 5,000 died.

“Egg consumption was not associated with (heart attack) or stroke,” the researchers wrote.

But the men who ate seven eggs a week or more were 23 percent more likely to have died during the 20-year period.

Diabetic men who ate any eggs at all were twice as likely to die in the 20 years.

One possible interpretation of these numbers, not addressed in the article, is that a random group of physicians has a 37% morbidity/mortality rate over 20 years. In other words, each year, almost 2 out of 100 physicians who participated in the Harvard study got terribly sick or DIED!!! What are the odds that participating in a study caused them to be at higher risk? Would you take a chance on that? I’d rather live dangerously and eat an egg.

I know that all those bleeding-heart, anarchist hippie chicken farmers are going to claim that there are lots of things that kill you and it could be that the doctors who ate lots of eggs had other stuff going on. That’s the kind of relativist thinking that makes life too complicated and gets in the way of CERTAINTY.

Men who ate the most eggs also were older, fatter, ate more vegetables but less breakfast cereal, and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise — all factors that can affect the risk of heart attack and death.

Say it ain’t so! There’s no eggs in Krispy Kreme, right? And surely age couldn’t have anything to do with risk of heart attack and how soon you’re likely to die. How unfair.

And how predictable that the press gives us these amazing science stories without including any facts that could help the reader orient herself or any analysis to put it in perspective. I’m writing this from my cellar, with one hand on my shotgun in case a chicken walks by. I feel safe.

Going into Private Practice

After 12 years of practicing as a licensed clinical social worker in a variety of settings including hospitals, social service agencies, schools, and homes, I am very excited to announce that I have gone into private practice. Currently I am a provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, and I hope to be a provider for United Health and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island in the near future. My office is out of South County Child and Family Consultants, which is a group of practitioners headed by Ira Randy Kulman, PhD. Dr. Kulman has been practicing and leading a group of clinicians in South County for over 20 years and has extensive experience with providing psychological services for children and families.

Dr. Kulman has spent the last several years researching and developing clinical applications for technology in psychotherapy with children, under a new organization he has founded called Learningworksforkids.com. The development of the Learningworksforkids site is still in Beta, which means some parts of it are not yet complete. But as you look around the site, I think you will find there is a great deal of compelling information, and the promise of much more to come. Plus it’s partially about video games (the good ones, not the violent or inappropriate ones) so remember to have fun when you’re there.

I will be working with Dr. Kulman to develop clinical strategies for using digital technologies in psychotherapy. As our knowledge base on using digital technology in therapy grows, we will be providing education through the website, consulting, and public presentations. Our goal is to help both professionals and parents learn how to use digital technology to help children behaviorally and emotionally.

Here is a brief description of the therapy services I am offering for adults and children over age 3:

Cognitive and Psychodynamic Approaches I am well-versed in cognitive-behavioral techniques for improving mood and behavior, but I also like to help clients look a little deeper into themselves, to explore motivation and meaning. I have studied Carol S. Pearson’s work and have employed Pearson’s ideas and language to guide clients toward balance and empowerment in their lives.

Grief, Loss and Trauma Therapy for Children and Adults My work in trauma response for Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital means I have seen the full range of grief reactions to severe and sudden losses. I have also done psychotherapy with people struggling to recover from more subtle forms of grief, such as recurrent sadness over a failed marriage or emotional distress in dealing with illness or disability. In addition, I have a background in working with foster and adoptive children who have suffered severe neglect and trauma.

Digital Play Therapy and Executive Function Training There is a growing body of literature that suggests that some video games may be able to help children emotionally and behaviorally. In consultation with Dr. Kulman, I will be offering families therapeutic interventions which involve the use of digital technology when appropriate. For more on this, visit the Learningworksforkids.com website, particularly the section on executive functions.

Sexual Abuse Evaluation/Treatment Working as a Diagnostic Assessment Clinician for the Rhode Island courts gave me a basic background in sexual abuse evaluation. As a clinician for Bradley Hospital and Day One (formerly the Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center), I gained further experience in sexual abuse evaluation and treatment.

Referrals can be made by calling (401) 789-1553 during regular business hours. Currently, I have available appointment times on Wednesdays from 9 to 5 and and Thursdays from 3 to 9.

Jesus Would be Really Mad

Jesus was no fan of people who use religion as a cover for bad actions, and he was known to get pretty ticked off at the self-righteous. So if Jesus is the guy we see when we leave this vale of tears I would not want to be Fred Phelps. He’ll have a lot of ‘splaining to do. Phelps, (nicknamed ‘The Rotting Cryptkeeper’ by Pam’s House Blend) is the cult leader who has driven states to pass laws against a behavior he pretty much invented — disrupting funerals to get attention for his anti-gay views. In the past few years he and his tiny band of followers (most of whom are his family) have been harassing the bereaved families of Iraq War soldiers.

While it is a great strength of our democracy that we allow freedom of religious practice within the boundaries of law and respect for others, there are some who have no respect and use religion as a cover for bigotry and disgraceful behavior. Fred Phelps may have reached the end of his free ride

A federal judge in Maryland on Thursday ordered liens on the Westboro Baptist Church building and the Phelps-Chartered Law office…

The $5 million penalty is the result of a lawsuit filed against three of the church’s principals by Albert Snyder, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, whose funeral was picketed by church members.

The senior Snyder contended the picketing caused emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

For several years the Phelps clan have been spewing hate and persecuting people who deserve privacy and respect. It’s a shame that anyone was ever so disrespected as the grieving families Phelps preyed on in his greed for attention. I have often wondered where a guy like that gets the money to travel from state to state. Maybe now that a brave family won a lawsuit we will find out who’s financing him and his disciples.

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