Saturday, November 26, 2016

AARP Receptive to Social Security Cuts; What Seniors Should Consider

COMMENTARY | AARP is an organization that works to help seniors. This week it has made headlines for stating that it is willing to discuss cuts to Social Security. This stunned many seniors because the group had been adamantly opposed to such action. During the 2008 election season, it aired many TV commercials against cuts to Social Security; now it has changed its tune. According to Bloomberg, “‘we are open to talking about different options to strengthen Social Security for the long term’ including ‘changes on the benefit side,’ David Certner, the group’s legislative director, said in an interview.”

Here is some information on three proposals that have been made to save Social Security.

Reducing Social Security Benefits

There have been proposals to change the Social Security formula. The idea was first brought forth in 2005 by the Bush administration. According to the Washington Post, “under the proposal, the first-year benefits for retirees would be calculated using inflation rates rather than the rise in wages over a worker’s lifetime.”

The major advantage to this proposal is that it would change the formula so that the program would be extended for many years to come. If Social Security runs out by 2035, everyone who has paid into it for years will not recoup the money they paid into the system, which is unfair to current workers.

There are many downsides to taking this action right now. The economy is very bad and most seniors now rely on their Social Security benefits just to live. Reducing the benefits for each person would be unfair, forcing many seniors into receiving Welfare or living in homeless shelters, which would greatly reduce their quality of life.

Invest Social Security Funds in the Stock Market

Some people like the idea of investing Social Security funds in the stock market. Andrew Stern, a member of the Deficit Commission, has pushed for this idea to be implemented. This would help increase the amount of money that is in the program. Social Security will need billions of dollars to stay funded, and investing could help the program meet its financial needs. The stock market has been inconsistent lately and many people do not trust Wall Street due to the bailouts of the banks. It would be hard for seniors to get on board with investing their hard-earned money in the stock market.

Increasing the Retirement Age to 69 By 2075

According to the NY Times, “the most recent projections from the Social Security Administration, issued last month, indicate that at the current rate, the program’s trust funds will be exhausted by 2036, and that $6.5 trillion in additional money will be needed over a 75-year period to pay all scheduled benefits.” President Obama’s Deficit Commission, led by Erksine Bowles and Alan Simpson, proposed the idea to increase the retirement age to 69 in November of 2010.

People are living longer, so increasing the retirement age over the next 60 years does not seem too harsh. It would help Social Security stay funded much longer because there would be fewer people filing benefits at one given time. It would also allow people to pay into the system for additional years, which would help inject more money into the program.

There are some issues with this plan. The first is that the economy may not have enough jobs to employ people so they can work until the age of 69. According to Reuters, “national employment numbers released earlier this month cast a shadow on the country’s economic recovery. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a slight 54,000 in May and the country’s unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent from April’s 9 percent.”

The second is that as we age our bodies begin breaking down and many seniors have problems with vision and joint issues. This makes it harder for them to see and stand up for long periods of time. Most jobs require vision and strength in some capacity, so seniors may be unable to work, leaving them with virtually no money until they reach the age of 69.

The Proposal that I Think AARP and Seniors Might Accept

I personally think that seniors and AARP will need to accept increasing the retirement age to 69. A reduction in benefits is a huge financial burden for seniors, so increasing their retirement age might not be ideal, but it is the best way to maintain their benefit level. The cost of living will continue to increase in the future, so implementing this idea is not only cost-effective but also has the least negative consequences for seniors.


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Are Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry an Item? Will They Be the Next Royal Wedding?

Ever since the Royal Wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, everyone is talking about Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry. Would the two make a great couple? Will they be the next Royal Wedding to take place? Considering both of them are already in relationships this is very doubtful.

Prince Harry was seen flirting with Pippa, but maybe this is just the way that he acts. Pippa has been dating Alex Loudon for 2 and ½ years already. Do you think she would just leave him for a chance at royalty? Prince Harry has been with his girlfriend Chelsy Davy awhile now and even brought her as his guest to the wedding.

Harry has been dating Chelsy for five years now, but rumors are that she does not want to join the royal family. What is the point in staying in the relationship if it will never make it to the alter? She says that this is not the life she wants for herself.

Pippa looked wonderful at the Royal Wedding in a white dress of her own. The bridesmaids do not normally wear white, but her sister must have chosen this dress for her and was fine with it.

Harry and Pippa were on the balcony of the Buckingham Palace together. Everyone thought they looked great together and had high hopes that they would become a couple. It seems that the world is trying to push them into becoming a couple, but no word is out that they want the same thing.

Do you think Harry and Pippa would make a great couple? Do you want to see another Royal Wedding soon?


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8 Skincare Products to Beat the Summer-Skin-Blues

Summer is here and for lots of ladies that means so are the mini-dresses, summer parties, and spending some time having fun in the sun. For some ladies, this can also mean dry, rough, itchy, and extremely uncomfortable skin. Not so hot in a mini dress, right? To rid yourself of the summer-skin-blues, try adding some of my favorite summer skincare products to your beauty routine. Each of these goodies can naturally replenish moisture-starved skin in minutes, leaving you silky soft and summer-ready in no time.

Love Me Tender Hand Creme

Made with a nourishing blend of Aloe Vera, Shea butter, and vitamins, this grapefruit and honeysuckle scented hand cream softens even the driest skin. It absorbs nicely with a quick rub-together and the convenient size makes it perfect to keep in a purse, gym bag or desk. My favorite part is this hand-friendly lotion contains no phthalates, sulfates, triclosan, and it’s paraben-free. Pretty awesome, yes? $9

EOS Organic Lip Balm

A ball of moisturizing lip-love – literally! This all-natural, organic lip balm is made with only the good stuff like fruit extracts and coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oil. No stickiness, greasiness, or gooey mess – just moisturizing madness for your lips and it’s totally paraben-free. The sphere-shaped container has a flat bottom that can easily sit on a flat surface and it won’t get lost in your purse (even a big one). Plus, it comes in yummy flavors like strawberry sorbet, summer fruit, and sweet mint. $8

Sensual Beauty Divine Facial Moisturizer

Show your skin some love this summer with this natural, organic facial moisturizer. Made with organic aloe, Shea butter, vitamin E, lavender, chamomile, and grapefruit seed extract, this paraben-free moisturizer not only nourishes skin but also promotes even skin tone and works at restoring elasticity and preventing sun-damage. Use it in the morning before applying makeup and in the evening after cleansing right before bed for best results. Naturally-scented with essential oils, this facial lotion is available in chamomile/lavender, Neroli/sandalwood, and geranium/rose. $26

Sensual Beauty Botanical Body Mist

Mist until your heart’s content. This lightly-fragranced body mist is a great way to freshen up on a hot summer day. Spray it on the body, hair, or anywhere else you desire. With no sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, or parabens to worry about, this body spray is fabulous for everyone including those with sensitive skin. It contains natural pheromones which can add a bit of excitement to your day and is scented with natural and essential oils only. This must-have botanical body spray is available in enchanted amber, gypsy jasmine, and amber rose. $23

Simply Sensual Shave Creme

Just as the name implies, this shave cream is simply sensual. Apply it to skin on legs, underarms, bikini area or anywhere else you desire just before shaving for the smoothest shave you’ve ever had. Made with Aloe Vera and Jojoba, this cream nourishes skin and leaves it ultra-soft while protecting it from irritation and razor burn. It is lightly scented and is available in green tea, white lavender, and ginger/pomegranate. $12

Cake Beauty Milk Made Nourishing Bath & Shower Bubbles

Relax tired aching muscles, and soothe and nourish dry skin with this milk-infused bubble bath and shower gel. Just a nickel-size amount on a loofah or a couple capfuls under running bath water is all it takes – either way it will take you away from your day with it’s light raspberry and vanilla scent. Made with aloe, Shea butter, marshmallow extract, and milk proteins, these brilliant bubbles are paraben-free and contain no harsh chemicals. $22

Cake Beauty Glow-rious Glistening Body Lotion

Simply, glow-rious and one of my favorite summer products of all time! This non-greasy hydrating body lotion adds a small amount of shimmer (not glitter) to any shade of skin giving it a sun-kissed summer glow. Use it to highlight your best features by adding it to your shoulders, decolletage, legs, or anywhere else you desire. This paraben-free body lotion is lightly scented with a blend pineapple and vanilla, which smells fabulous and is a fantastic summer-friendly scent. $28

SHE AfterCare After Shave oil

SHE Aftercare after shave (and wax) oil-spray is a super-light, dry formula that reduces razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Made with Aloe Vera, Argan oil, Meadowfoam seed oil, Bergamot, Rosemary and orange peel oil, this awesome oil smooths skin and reduces inflammation for long lasting shave. It can be used on the body wherever you shave, tweeze, or wax and has a nice neutral scent. It will also remove any left behind wax and contains no parabens, glycerin, perfume or dyes. $20

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and faster


Accidentally on Purpose on CBS: Review

Let me be clear. I wanted to like this show. I like Jenna Elfman, but I think she may have the worst agent in the history of entertainment. Sure, she’s gotten a few decent roles – EDTv, Dharma and Greg, and a Depeche Mode music video in 1990 – but her last few television voyages have resulted in a leaky hull and a burning sail. Sadly for Dharma, Accidentally on Purpose seems to be destined for the same fate as Courting Alex (remember that one? Neither did anyone else.)

The flat story is only moderately enhanced by the forced laughs amateurishly woven into an otherwise unremarkable presentation.

“AoP” is a 30-minute sketch about the proverbial morning after. Billie, as played by Jenna Elfman (can’t she get a character with a normal name?) is a 30-something movie critic. She goes out for the night with two friends (Ashley Jensen and Lennon Parham) where she meets Zack (Jon Foster), a slacker chef who may or may not live in his van (we’re genuinely not sure). As with all underachieving, maybe homeless, food service workers, Billie spends one night with him.

Guess what? A few weeks later, Billie discovers she’s pregnant! Who could have seen this coming? Being responsible and reasonable adults, Billie and Zack decide the best thing to do would be for Zack to move into Billie’s house, where the hilarity is intended to ensue.

It doesn’t. The jokes are predictable, the laughter faked, and the story, empty. About the biggest surprise in this 30-minute train wreck is that Ashley Jensen is actually from the UK, because I was convinced until ten minutes ago that her accent wasn’t real.

The biggest issue I have with this show, aside from the writing, is this. I’m sorry to tell you, Jenna, but you’re too old to be playing an impulsive, reckless, 20-something rebel. Remember the scene in The Wedding Singer where Allen Covert explains to Adam Sandler that no one wants to see an old man hitting on women? The truth is, your characters need to start growing up the day you have to buy two boxes of candles for your birthday cakes.

As previously stated, Jenna Elfman is generally a terrific addition to any ensemble. In Accidentally on Purpose, the rest of the cast should just be grateful they have a job, let alone one in which they get to work with her.

Prediction: Gone by Christmas.

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Anesthesia Awareness: Waking Up During Surgery and the Effects it Has on Those Who Experience It

Anyone facing surgery has several fears one of which is waking up during the surgery. There are several surgeries such as a caesarian, some brain surgeries or lasix that require the patient to be awake, however, during the majority of surgeries performed the patient is asleep. There have been numerous occasions where the patient wakes up during the operation, known as anesthesia awareness. It often occurs in the middle of the operation and the patient is unable to alert the surgeons, nurses or technicians due to the paralyzing medications given.

According to a study done by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, there are an average of one to two patients out of 1000 that wake up during surgery and the most were reported in children. Statistics have shown that approximately 30,000 Americans every year suffer with anesthesia awareness. The majority of patients will have brief memories of songs being played on a radio, surgeons and staff talking as well as are able to describe fear and pain.

The founder of the group Anesthesia Awareness Campaign Inc., Carol Weihrer of Reston, Va., reports that even several years after the surgery to remove her eye that was diseased, she suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder, has difficulties sleeping for more than brief periods at a time and has panic attacks. She can vividly recall the Doctor giving instructions to “cut deeper, pull harder” and she saw them cutting the optic nerve prior to everything going black.

Reports of anesthesia awareness are continuously surfacing, often times being dismissed as the patient only “feeling” as though they were awake but, cases such as Kathy LaBrie’s of New Hampshire are difficult to chalk off as unrealistic occurrences. She is able to repeat almost word for word the conversation between the surgeon and nurses regarding the kind of car the surgeon had. When patients are able to describe conversations, tools used and the songs playing, it is difficult to shove these occurrences under the rug as though they never happened.

Carol Weiher has spoken to a minimum of 4000 people that have suffered with anesthesia awareness experiences around the world and continues her mission to educate people about the after affects the situation can produce and there are new reports daily about the effects this situation has. Individuals have been reported to commit suicide due to the lingering effects of anesthesia awareness. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a popular occurrence for most after waking up during surgery. Individuals suffering with post traumatic disorder will continuously relive the experience that is haunting them. They have difficulties sleeping, socializing and living normal, happy lives. These individuals will be on medications and have to attend therapy sessions for several years if not a lifetime.

Though in very rare cases the patient cannot be observed as awake during the surgery by the anesthesiologist monitoring them, however, for 99% of those who suffer with anesthesia awareness, often times wonder if the staff or machines could have had prevented the situation. Equipment designed for monitoring a patients brain activity, alertness and awareness are continuously being improved upon and it is highly recommended that anyone preparing to undergo surgery speak candidly with the surgeon and anesthesiologist regarding the risks.


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Alternative Remedies to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Home remedies and homeopathic medicine have gradually gained importance over the past few years as an alternative to prescription drugs. Many people are not aware of the fact that there are also home remedies available to lower your blood pressure. These home remedies offer the two fold benefits of lowering the cost and preventing harsh effects of prescription drugs. Another advantage of home remedies is that while it may be used to treat one symptom, it often has other health benefits too. Many home remedies can be found in your local supermarket and health food store.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, here are a few home remedies. These remedies will not only lower your blood pressure but are good for your general health too. Given below are a few home remedies to help lower your blood pressure.

Garlic: Garlic is known to possess many beneficial properties that improve overall health, along with lowering your blood pressure. Consumption of garlic will also gradually reduce blood clot occurrences in individuals. It is believed by some researchers that garlic will also help in bringing down the triglyceride levels.

Magnesium and Potassium: Foods rich in these minerals are bananas, molasses and Soya beans. Some fruits such as watermelon and grapes are also considered to be a good source of magnesium and potassium. Not only will these foods lower your blood pressure but are beneficial to your overall health too.

You may be in fact eager to know what a triglyceride is. A triglyceride is a glyceride that occurs naturally in tissues and consists of three fatty acids that are bound together in a single molecule. They are an important energy source forming much of the fat stored in the body.

You can research on the web about the various home remedies available to lower your blood pressure by putting your query in Google search engine. The internet is flooded with a wealth of information dedicated to home remedies and homeopathic medicine to lower your blood pressure. Bookstores and libraries also offer an abundance of information. With a little research and dedication, you can find alternatives to prescription drugs for lowering your blood pressure.

As with any alternative health remedies, consult your physician before discontinuing any prescribed medicines. Discontinuing your prescription medicine suddenly without seeking advice from your physician could have serious and long-term effects on your health.

Thus it can be concluded that several home remedies and homeopathic medicine can help a lot in lowering your blood pressure without causing any harmful side effects to health.

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Amazing Harvard Commencement Address by JK Rowling

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, recently gave a commencement address at Harvard University and was awarded an honourary doctor of letters degree.

This is an excellent read, and gives great insight into the books. Of course, I was also happy to read that she was a Classics major (as was I). What was truly enlightening regarding the books, though, was her recounting of her experiences while working for Amnesty International. I’d say that those experiences very clearly informed the darkness present in the books.

Some of the stories she gives about experiences at Amnesty International are very reminiscent of the type of social structure and widespread terror which is present in the wizarding world when Voldemort and his followers are at large. If she had not prefaced these stories by saying she had worked for Amnesty International, one might think that she was merely recounting the deeds of Death Eaters in her books. It bears noting that apparently the atrocities committed by Voldemort and his Death Eaters had their origins in our very own real-life Muggle world.

What does it say about the world when it’s the darkest aspects of the Harry Potter novels that are drawn from our reality?

Two broad themes she addresses very well are the importance of failure, and the importance and power of imagination. She wryly suggests that Harvard graduates perhaps aren’t well-acquainted with failure, and that it carries valuable lessons. She also impresses upon us that one of the greatest gifts of imagination is being able to imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and that being able to do so brings with it the responsibility to care for each other.

I strongly recommend reading this commencement address, whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or would simply enjoy an insightful essay. If you don’t want to read it (though that would be ironic, given that she’s a famous author), here’s the video.

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