Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them.  So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord.  That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime.  My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ.  So, thanks again for joining me.  Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walk With Integrity

What do Richard Nixon, Jimmy Sweigart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Lohin, John Edwards, Jim Baker, Eliot Spitzer, Gary Hart, and Bernard Madoff all have in common? Essentially they were all some of the "rich, famous and powerful" whose lack of integrity and moral compass brought them down in disgrace. Unfortunately, today there is another name to add to this sad list, Jim Tressel. Tressel was the coach of the Ohio State football team, one of the top football programs in the nation. Outwardly he seemed to have it all together. He was recognized throughout the country for his accomplishments and probably was headed to the football Hall of Fame. But something happened along the way. He condoned illegal actions by his players. He overlooked illegal perks which they were receiving. When it became public he gave them slaps on the wrists for their behavior and he publicly lied about his knowledge of what was happening. He worked hard to cover up these illegal actions. And the truth finally came out. He was forced to resign in disgrace, forfeiting a large salary and probably any change to ever again coach at a major college. Several things have come to my mind as I have watched this unfold. First I have been reminded of the story of Achan in the book of Joshua. He stole things from the city of Jericho and then hid them under his tent assuming that his sin would never be found. But God pointed out his sin before the entire nation and it cost him not only his own life but the lives of his family. In Numbers 32:23 we read "... ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out." I guess when you become rich and powerful you feel that you can do whatever you want. Who is going to stand in your way? How will know? And so with power comes the feeling that one is invincible and pride and lack of personal integrity lead to sin and one's eventual downfall. Proverbs 16:18 reminds us that "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Now my human nature would allow me to enjoy Tressel's fall. After all, as a Penn State fan it is easy to rejoice in the problems suffered by your mail rival. But we are reminded in I Corinthians 10:12 "Wherefor let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." And this warning isn't just for the "rich, famous and powerful", it is for each of us. Look at the sin around us - broken marriages, adultery, stealing from employers, deception, breaking the law, and on and on and on. These aren't the sins of just the rich and famous but also of the common folks like each of us. Temptation is just around the corner for each of us and we need to "take heed lest" we "fall". It is sad when folks like Jim Tressel falter and fall - what an instrument for good he could have been if he had been walking with the Lord. And the message for each of us is that we need to walk humbly, each minute of each day, with the Lord. Our desire should be to finish well, with integrity, the race of life.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Office Rage

Now we've all heard about road rage and maybe some of us have even experienced it. Unfortunately, it has become more frequent and at times it is downright scary. But have you ever experienced "office rage"? I now have. It happened at my eye doctor's office last Tuesday. We arrived at the office and they had a sign-in sheet to indicate the time that you arrived. I wrote my name and indicated that I had arrived at 9:25 and then I sat down and waited to be called to be registered. At about 9:32, a young man, probably in his late 20's, arrived with his coffee mug in hand. After standing impatiently at the front desk for several minutes, he proclaimed loudly to the busy secretary that he had a 9:30 appointment. He repeated this several times and the secretary told him to please sign the list and be seated. She said that she would call him when it was his turn. He did sign the list but he continued to impatiently hover around the desk. When the secretary completed checking in the person who was ahead of me, she called me to the desk for my turn. This upset the young many who loudly repeated that he had a 9:30 appointment. Then I made a mistake. I quietly mentioned to him that I had a 9:30 appointment also. He then turned his wrath on me and told me that this didn't matter because there were several doctors there. He asked why I would be getting involved in his business. To help out the flustered secretary, I calmly pointed to the list and noted that I was ahead of him on the list. Mistake number two. This really set him off and he began to yell at me and loudly criticize me. He continued his verbal assault on me and I was sure that he was going to hit me. Dianne was so concerned that she grabbed her pocketbook planning to hit him if he came after me. I guess heavy pocketbooks might be good for something. I decided to ignore all his questions and rants which everybody in the waiting room could clearly hear. The secretary finally told him to go sit down and wait his turn. Before he did, he turned to the entire waiting room and proclaimed that I am an example of what is wrong with today's society - everybody interfering in everybody else's business. In the meantime, the secretary went and got the office manager who was ready to summon security if necessary. They both apologized to me for the incident which I told them wasn't their fault. When the secretary finally called him to the front desk to register him, he loudly proclaimed once again that they were wrong in not informing him of their procedures and that the doctors were running behind schedule (which they always do at that office). Everything was everybody else's fault. I don't know how his office visit went and I am glad that we didn't see him again. From his reaction, I am sure that he was on something - and it wasn't just the "coffee" he was drinking. So I guess that I've learned a lesson - always keep your mouth shut and don't try to help somebody, like the secretary, who is in a difficult situation. It is so sad that we have come to that point in today's society. And it is sadder yet that we aren't safe from such rage situations, even in a quiet doctor's office. Lesson learned - hopefully. Oh yes, my eyes are fine - not sure that I can say the same for my nerves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here Comes The Moviprep

I have done it twice before and I guess I'll survive it once more. It is something that every adult should get done a couple of times in their life. My wife has it done every year. On Wednesday I will be enjoying my day with no food and a bottle of MoviPrep. Now I thought that I'd try and share the details of this experience with you, but Dave Berry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald, has done a better job than I can do. I will warn you in advance, this story isn't for the feint of heart, it might even be considered gross (or messy). My wife doesn't think this is funny - I hope you do - I need all the humor I can get right now. So enjoy his story about .... the colonoscopy.

"I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis . Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!' I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies. I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening , I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, be ca use MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon. The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result'. This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I ca n tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet. After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough. At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts; the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked. Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house. When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time; the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, be ca use I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea! Really! I slept through it! One moment, ABBA was yelling, 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ."

Now I don't know what my results will be - I did have polyps removed the last time. But God is in control. And I guess I will just learn once again how a Muppet feels! And now it is your turn - be brave and get one scheduled. After all, colorectal cancer is the second overall cancer killer in the U.S. - and that is reason enough to enjoy a date with MoviPrep. P.S. - As an incentive, they usually give you a colored picture of your colon. You could even show it on Facebook (don't look for mine there)! Now that's a real deal.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are They Serious About Cutting Costs?

We are in tough economic times. Our federal deficit is horrendous, our state is operating in the red, and local governments are struggling to make ends meet. And few above the local level are really doing anything serious about trying to fix the problem. And if they do try, they get ridiculed, people complain and nothing happens. Nobody wants to sacrifice. Nobody wants their perks cut. So all we do is talk, talk, talk. Something has to give before our nation goes bankrupt. And it may take some new ways to accomplish things. I hate the modern term "think out of the box" so I won't even suggest that. But we do need to change the way we operate. Now I think there are a number of places to start and one is with the election process. My proposal is to drop the primary elections. These are essentially just forums to help two major parties select their candidates. And they are tremendously expensive. First they need to pay to rent facilities for each precinct. They they must hire staff for each of the locations - the pay isn't much but it still probably costs $600 or more at each precinct for staff. Then they must pay to print different ballots, provisional ballots, and absentee ballots for each precinct, as well as printing dozens of different forms to meet crazy federal election requirements. Many of these, especially excess ballots, are just thrown away after the election. Then there is the cost of advertisement, preparation, delivery and collection of equipment, compilation of results, and verification of all the voting results. I don't know what it actually costs for each precinct, but with 223 precincts in Lancaster County alone the total cost has to be at least $200,000 for the county. And what is accomplished? Unless there is a special referendum, the Democrats and Republicans are able to eliminate a few people for the general election to follow in November. Now my solution is to drop the primaries and allow all who qualify to be on the ballot for the general election where everybody, regardless of how they are registered, can have a part in the election. Now possibly you might need to make an exception for the presidential election, but not for school boards, county commissioners, local officials or even senators and governors. If the parties need a selection process, let them fund it themselves. Otherwise, let's start saving money by eliminating processes that no longer have a value which matches its cost. Now in our precinct we had 244 voters or about 10%, our lowest ever. That means it cost the county at least $5 for every person who voted. One area district has just 18 of its 652 registered voters show up. So it appears that even the voters are voting against the primary just by not taking time to show up. What more proof does one need? But what will happen? Probably the obvious - talk, talk, talk - and then nothing. Does anybody really care?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Aunt - The Unknown Artist of Manor Care

My Aunt Phyllis is a resident at the nursing home, Manor Care, in Sunbury. She lives in a small portion of a shared room with two other residents. She has not wanted to stay there but unfortunately her physical needs make this a necessary home for her. She has always been so sweet and very shy. Her mind is still sharp and the days at the home have been long for her. She and my mother were very close and we spent much time together with her and her family as I was growing up. When I attended Susquehanna, she would often help me with my laundry in a time when Laundromats didn't exist and the college only had a few washers and dryers for the entire student body. Outside of her love and care for her family, we never knew that she had other interests and hobbies. But apparently some folks at Manor Care, looking for something to give her to do, discovered that she enjoyed working with colored pencils and crayons. They began to give her pictures to color and she loved it. Her son noticed that she had begun to accumulate a small collection of pictures that she had colored. Then one day he noticed that the pictures had disappeared except for the one that she was working on. Upon inquiring, the staff told him that they would be part of the Manor Care Art Show. What he didn't know was that her work was the entire show. And when they came to attend the show they discovered that Aunt Phyllis had all of her work on display and they even had wine and cheese just as they would at most art shows. She was even presented with a special award and her picture was taken for the local newspaper. What a special honor and a special night for her. I wish we had known about it and could have been there. It is special that the folks at Manor Care found something that she could do to keep her mind sharp and help her pass the long hours of every day. Homes like this can be such a depressing place. Now I admit that we have been surprised and have laughed about this situation. For you see, her nephew, Tom Wise is a well known professional painter who gets thousands for his work. He frequently has public shows and his work is impressive. So, maybe it is the Wise genes. Unfortunately, if it is they missed me. My mother would have loved this event and I can just imagine her and Aunt Phyllis and their sister, Anna, sharing and enjoying this special event. They always enjoyed being together. They would have enjoyed coloring together and laughing together and sharing stories. I wonder if there will be time for art in heaven.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Just Wait!

I'm beginning to wonder, is the economy really as bad as they say it is or have we just reached the point in this country where the answer to every need is "wait"? Here is why I am asking this question. Let's start with my AC service. I have a plan with Lefflers that calls for an annual spring check-up. Our unit is located in the crawl space of our ranch style home and it gets brutally hot up there. The service men always want to do it first in the morning before the heat builds up. A few weeks ago I called to get an appointment and I was told that they weren't yet scheduling, call back in a few weeks. So I called back a few days ago and am now told that the first morning appointment that they have available is June 28 - seven weeks away. And what will no doubt happen is that day will be too hot and they'll have to reschedule it - probably until September. They promised to call me if a slot opens up but I'm not holding my breath - it might get too hot to do that. Then there is my plumber. I need a leaking faucet replaced in my small bathroom. I have no hot water because of the bad faucet. I made the mistake, four weeks ago, of saying that it wasn't an emergency. Three times we have been told - "next week". And I am still waiting. Then there is our tree man, a certified arborist, who left a pile of limbs when he did work at our place on April 15. He promised to come back in a week to dispose of them. Almost a month later, despite a call to remind him, we are still waiting. Of course he received his check from us on time. Then we ordered two large trees from a local nursery to replace the five we had taken out. We paid to have them delivered and planted but then were told that it would take four to six weeks until they could do the work. So we wait while they hold our money. Of course the rainy weather has backed them up and I guess I can understand that. The same must be true of our mulch which we ordered in early April and are still waiting to have delivered and placed in our flower beds. Then there is the tombstone - What a gruesome topic! We ordered it last Fall and gave them a check for half of the cost. It was to be installed as soon as they could pour the cement base in the spring. We are still waiting. Hopefully we won't need to use it before it is delivered. Two weeks ago we distributed survey forms to our Awana staff asking them to tell us if they plan to return next year. One of the options they could check was for those that were undecided. They could simply indicate a date when they could give us a final answer. Simple enough? This was to be returned to us no later than May 8. We need them to begin our planning for next year. With a major program like Awana one can't "wait" until August to do the planning if you want an effective program. As of today we are still waiting for 31 of them to be returned. So maybe it's not the economy, maybe its society. Maybe we have learned to go at our own speed and on our own time schedule, no matter how it affects others. Then there are doctor appointments. We could tell many stories about this but let's settle for a recent experience. Dianne had to make two appointments with specialists. She was told that she had to wait two months for one and four months for the other. In the second case she actually changed doctors because her regular doctor couldn't see her until August. Hopefully your problems can "wait" until a doctor can see you. So the answer appears to be, just - wait. Now there is one event that I am patiently waiting for - the return of Christ. Hopefully it will come before any of the other things that I am now waiting for are actually completed. (But I don't really think it will happen May 20 as some are predicting.) And I won't be like my father-in-law who asked the funeral director when he prepaid his funeral expenses, "If the rapture comes before I die, do I get my money back?" In this case, if they are left behind, they may keep my money ... and the tombstone and the trees. I won't need the mulch or the new faucet or even the doctor appointments. I can hardly wait! Hopefully it won't be long. Keep looking up!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Today I have decided to share with you some things from the life of Laura Story, the author of the No. 1 worship hit "Indescribable" recorded in 2004 by Chris Tomlin. The following year she married a handsome athlete named Martin Elvington and began working in music and women's ministry at the 4,000-member Perimeter Church in Atlanta. After signing an artist deal with the INO Records, her 2008 national debut won a Dove Award for Inspirational Album and earned Laura two consecutive nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, all blessings, indeed. But amidst that success a brain tumor hospitalized her husband in 2006. The faith Story sang about was put through the unexpected fires of fear and loneliness; most young newlyweds don't imagine being kept alive at one point by breathing machines or having to find their way through significant postoperative vision and memory loss. "Life is filled with things you don't expect, but the Bible tells us to respond by trusting God and continuing to worship him," Story begins. "Martin hasn't received complete healing and that can be hard at times when we view God as all-powerful and all-loving. But here we are now saying, 'Yes, this is how faith works.' God has proven to be faithful. We have been truly blessed out of a circumstance that at first didn't seem like much of a blessing at all." And these experiences enabled her to write the following words.
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe.

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home.

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Educational or Political?

As I've said in previous blogs, these are tough times for public education and I believe that public education will never be the same. First it was the pension crisis, created by the state house and senate. And, as I predicted, they did nothing to solve the problem except to pass it on to the local school districts. Then it was the economy which cut school income drastically. Finally it was the new governor's budget proposal which put the problem of balancing the state budget directly on the backs of local school districts. Now schools are forced to begin cutting programs and staff - some as many as 50 teachers. A few teachers and many school administrators have agreed to salary cuts and freezes to help their districts. Unfortunately, most haven't. Instead many of them are fighting back by trying to stir up the public and holding protests. And some of these reactions are, in my opinion, very unprofessional. One of the worst cases that I have heard of recently happened in the Lancaster School District, a district really strapped for income. One elementary principal helped arrange a "field trip" for third, fourth and fifth graders to provide them an opportunity to model the role "of good citizenship, free expression, fairness, and thoughtful deliberation." And who could argue with such a worthy goal, even if the school was in a major budget crisis. But unfortunately, according to the Lancaster New Era, "the trip was not educational. It was political.' The trip was to view a protest rally organized by the Coalition for Labor Encouragement and Accountable Revenues. The group represents union workers and unionized teachers and health care employees as well as many others. They are opposed to the governor's proposal to balance the state budget without a tax increase and this gathering was to protest his plan. According to the newspaper, "Clearly the trip was outside the bounds of, say, the typical guided tour of the state Capitol." Fortunately many parents stepped in and stopped this sad expenditure of vital funds. One irate parent said, "They are using school buses to bus these kids to Harrisburg on a regularly scheduled school day. It's ridiculous. It feels like they are being used as human shields." Maybe they are pawns in a political game. I believe that the principal stepped over the line in authorizing this trip. Maybe this is a good reason to support the governor's plan for vouchers which would allow students in schools like this to transfer to another district and take state money with them. I have been opposed to this plan, but when I hear of such "leadership"in some schools, maybe I need to change my mind. And as far as the district's major financial deficit, maybe a good place to start is to eliminate administrators who makes such bad decisions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's A Senior To Do?

$90.17 - that is how much it cost me to fill up with gasoline last week. And I hadn't made any long trips. And there appears to be no help in sight as prices hit the $4.00 mark and keep rising. But I guess it is better than a few decades ago when you could only buy on even or odd days and then you had to wait, sometimes for hours, to buy gas. Then there is my oil bill. My last four deliveries have cost us a total of $2,175! And we seldom have the heat set higher than 68 degrees - usually 58 degrees at night. And this doesn't include the cost of our gas stove on our porch. That bill is still to come. The last year that I was employed my similar oil deliveries cost me $728. Now that is an increase of $1,447 or 303% in the nine years since I retired. Now the major challenge is, that with the exception of some small social security increases that basically covered increases in medicare costs, I've received no increase in my retirement income. Social security has been frozen now for several years and my pension will probably never have a cost of living increase. Now if that isn't enough of a challenge, look at what is happening to retirees with their medical bills. After my first year of retirement, our medical bills, including the cost of insurance, for the year were $6,701. Last year they had jumped to $17,735, an increase of 265%. Our taxes have also increased, by 141%. Now I am not complaining or hurting. We prepared for retirement by living on a very strict budget all of our lives. I have written records which show how we've spent our money each month since we were married. We sacrificed many things so that Dianne could stay home and be a full-time mother to our boys. And that was one of the best decisions we ever made. We have seldom taken vacations, except for business trips, and we have seldom gone out to eat in expensive restaurants. We controlled our expenditures over the years so that we were able to put money aside for these days. And part of that planning was annually putting away the maximum contribution to my pension. And I do have a good pension, even though it will never be increased. And I thank God daily for what He has provided for us. With the loss of such defined benefit pension plans, my sons and future generations will have a much more difficult time retiring. And that is sad. However, the purpose of this blog isn't really to share my financial situations, but to bring attention to the problems facing seniors today who are retired. With the increase in living costs and without any promise of even cost of living raises, a growing number of seniors are really hurting. Increasingly they find that they can't pay for their medicine, or their taxes, or even heat their homes. We know such people. Many are too old and frail to go back to work. And I feel so bad for them. When I retired from teaching, you could find secure investments that would double their value in 14 years. Today it will take about 70 years - far beyond the lifetime of any retired senior. Now most families today are also hurting with these increasing costs. And unfortunately many are tied down to expensive homes, cars, and life styles. Too many coveted having immediately what it took their parents many years to afford. Now many of them are deep in debt and on the verge of losing many of these things. Hopefully many of these will learn to survive by downsizing and living on written budgets. It may also be necessary for many to find additional jobs. These are opportunities not always possible for seniors. But as I view these serious situations for all, it irritates me when the well-off don't comprehend the problems of seniors. I get upset by the teachers of Manheim Twp. whose union has refused to take a pay freeze or even a reduction of their 4% salary increases. Many seniors will be forced to pay higher taxes to cover the raises of these privileged teachers. Then there are the college presidents who are getting raises when their employees are asked to take pay freezes and tuition must be raised. It goes up to the state where legislators refuse to cut staffs or take pay freezes. And it goes the whole way to Washington where I don't think anybody is concerned about anything but protecting their jobs and perks and following party lines. Is there any hope that anybody in political office will ever take living on a budget seriously? I doubt it. But it is a lesson that our seniors are being forced to learn, just to survive.