Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sorry Works!

We live in a society where no one accepts responsibility for their mistakes, no one is held accountable for their actions, and no one, EVER says they are sorry.

Let me you a small glimpse inside the day in the of un/underemployed where I spend day after day after may doing the same thing without any result: I can only offer you a glimpse into day in the life because there is no room left sit in my car, and I believe my apartment may actually be a fire hazard... This was my daily update posted at 7:30am:

I have done everything humanly possible to clean up the slack; however, I feel I have no other choice than to file a formal complaint so that my entire case is reviewed. The number of mistakes is so overwhelming that I simply don't have enough time to documents each and every one within their respective agencies.

I will try to be more specific later without going into too much detail, but unfortunately, that level of detail is required to file the necessary appeals. Ironic huh? This apartment is like my own little cage, and I am just pathetic enough to run around in circles, hoping to find the much like a hamster wheel, rodent chasing in circles hoping to found my way out my way out before I run out air. If only I had finished my damn PhD, I would do my own case study or reality show on how far we'll go to have nothing at all...

I have taken care of the subrogation claim, however, that does not minimize my level of frustration because I am DROWNING in paperwork. I have contacted several agencies for assistance such as the Disability Law and Advocacy Center; however, I do not have the resources necessary to provide them with a timely response and additional documentation they would lead to do a thorough investigation. There is a very small window of time permitted to file a Request Reconsideration, or file administrative appeal.

This is not new information to anyone who has been reading this message-- and if it is, then the agency involved is in much worse shape than I believed. I WANT A RESPONSE~ I WANT AN EXPLANATION- and oddly enough, I WANT AN APOLOGY!

The simple fact that the only time I received a response from MH was when the "fraud" was entered into the conversation. Yet I was not the one who introduced it into the dialogue. It is very unfortunate that my advocate from the DLAC retired just days before we were scheduled to review my case. That was three years ago, and not a single person who sat in on that meeting has acknowledged that it even took place. So here we are, three years later, and I am asking for the exact same things: assistance filing a social security appeal, vocational rehabilitation, and to be treated with a shred of common courtesy. I cannot believe I have to spell that out for you. For anyone. Professional or otherwise. Has no one read my file? Because anyone who has would understand why I find it to be beyond comprehension that trained mental health professionals would do this to any human being, obsessive compulsive or not. Since I first moved to Nashville, I worked very hard to improve community services and de-stigmatize mental illness, yet here I am having to say this AGAIN, OUTLOUD.

I guess none of remember that I same almost the same person I was when I first moved down here. Actually, that not true. I am FAR WORSE, and feel as though I have been stripped of my dignity, professionalism, and any hope I once had to go back to work and be integrated into the world of the living.

I do not even feel comfortable in attending the very came community activities that I used to helps plan. I am so completely baffled and just plain horrified that I actually have to say these things outloud.

There is local attorney I have known or many years. He recently made some very serious, very public and very embarrassing mistakes. Prior to that event, he worked on legislation capping damages in medical malpractice claims. He had an expression that he would use quite often and that was, "Sorry Works!" He was right. "Sorry" does work, yet still haven't heard it being said. Ultimately, those two little words became the driving force behind his political legacy and the force at the core of his being when he went in to recovery. The last interview he did on TV, he told the reporter that he does not wish to be remembered for the mistakes, but how went about correcting them. People, listen up, "SORRY WORKS!"

I also want to be clear that every time I have to call Social Security or DHS, it only compounds my cost of living expenses (40 cents per minute on the telephone -- a bill which is not even considered to be a justifiable expense) Most agencies do not include self-addressed stamped envelopes, and I cannot afford the postage required to mail out all of the requested documentation (e.g., utility bills, medical bills, pay stubs, etc.) So when one your employees tells me that he has removed himself from my case, I should not have to spend 29 minutes on old with the Social Security Administration just to learn that he was trying to intimidate me by threatening to have my funds frozen immediately. I think I should be reimbursed for that phone call. I think he should have to pay out out of his own pocket.

That statement was made not only to me, but also in front if other employees at your agency. It is not only irresponsible and unprofessional, but it also probably illegal, and justifies the complaint I will be filing against him in order to re-cap dome the damages. It is called breach of fiduciary duty, although I expect you probably already know that, but if you don't, you should look it up along with subrogation, since I'm pretty sure that one falls should the scope of services you were contracted to provide for at that time.

Fortunately, a number of agencies will take online complaints. Unfortunately, my internet was interrupted for non-payment for several weeks and there is no funding resource or community agency that provides subsidized Internet access or free printer ink. Transportation costs are ridiculous so going to the library is not an option. Neither is returning to work right now, since it would cost too much to get to the interview or provide official (expensive) copies of my graduate school transcripts necessary to update my teaching credentials, were oh, such a good investment!

Set aside, I am not the most user friendly person right about now, so I have found it difficult to put on a happy face so I can work at McDonald's which pays more than Metro anyway.

The subrogation claim has been resolved but I just learned that my breast biopsy was not pre-authorized and I was told by my INSURANCE CSR (the person who answers the phone!) that I should not have the surgery that has already been scheduled at the Women's Hospital for 8/21/2008. AmeriChoice (United HealthCare) did they did not authorize the biopsy last month, and have not, as of yet, received a request prior authorization for the surgery next week...

This was a lovely 54 minute conversation because he would not mail me copies of my EOBs or confirm that what, if any, requests have been submitted for payment since my last inquiry and change of address. He finally told me to call the state (Tennessee) which I have already done several times, and they told me to call Social Security but it was already past business hours and I am not authorized to make changes to my file anyway.

I'll be in touch when I can. Unfortunately, each agency has different deadlines, and it takes a lot of energy and time to scan in, copy, or respond to each inquiry in writing, so I find myself running out of time since I can't seem to get anything done unless I just do nothing at all.

And even though my life is a living hell, I have almost learned how to enjoy the sheer irony of it all... for someone with OCD and posttraumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.

I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land and ignore the fact that society has me chained to a computer screen that screen that does provide the basic necessities I need to live in this .

I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled and at expressing myself without needing an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.

So for now... I write.

Maybe later, I'll read, but if there is any justice left in this world, someday, I'll actually live.

Good-bye for now. I need a break.

With love,

Blame It On The Rain

ed phoning home ouch
~fl)L~Yl8, 2003

After being rejected from a job that pays $18,000 / year at the women’s prison, a job that pays $21,000 teaching Head Start, getting fired from Red Lobster (because apparently, I am just not quite Red Lobster “material .”

I went down to the Tennessee Career Center to take advantage of their high-speed internet, free printer ink, paper, and maybe, just maybe a little perspective on the sad state of affairs in the American job market today.

My loyal readers know that my job expectations salary requirements have steadily declined along with my feelings of self-worth and esteem. I am almost willing to take back what I said try to get a job at Burger King if they would have me.

My career aspirations have dropped with each passing year. I make no excuses. Why bother.

I got hooked up with a career counselor two master’s -- one in Educational & Career Counseling; a second in Counseling Psychology. This is the guidance counselor I have been asking for since... well... since... I was old enough to realize that my mind worked just a little bit differently...

I was never in any one school long enough to have a guidance counselor.

Other than Professor Mark back in college, Bob Crain, my saving grace through the toughest times in my life, no one told me I was wasting my time and money…

Most of all I was wasting my window of opportunity… a moment in time when I almost had a world of opportunity. Without any real place to go after college, I felt I had no other choice than to become a professional student of sorts—you know, the ones who stay in school forever to take advantage of cheap housing, health insurance, and student loans.

Well, that was my first mistake.

Unfortunately, I wandered aimlessly through the system acquiring useless knowledge and letters after my name that do not mean jack in the real world.

I was never there long enough to either test my “aptitude” or implement any course of study. See—it is not my fault, you ignorant fuktards!

Ha! How do you like that?

… Blame it on my parents

… Blame it on me

… Blame it on the rain…

…Blame it on the “acting-advisor”

…The “acting-director of financial aid

...The “acting Dean”

None-the-less, the fact remains that I am apparently completely unemployable, and I would I simply refuse to take any more of those tests. Even the local mall does a background check and administers some type of personality test that I clearly cannot pass!

Listen up, you dumb fucks, I would not have bad credit if I were a thief.
I would not need a job if I had enough money to pay my bills. And when it comes to that “personality assessment” I am sorry to say that I do in fact think there is a big difference between someone who steals food to feed his family and Winona Rider.

When I saw Susan Cowden in the Tennessean this week, I was somewhat dumbfounded to see that she is the person in charge of giving people jobs.

Although I am quite certain she has no recollection of who I am, I can tell you for certain I remember her!

Not really an issue any more, since they clearly do not fit into my budget anyway! Nope. I will not take ‘em for Vanderbilt, and I will not take ‘em for law school. Not for Harvard, not for Tennessee, and I most definitely will not take ‘em for Dave Cordray (and yes, Dave, you are still in fact, such an asshole!)

Who gives a shit anymore? If you told me a fat bearded lady at the circus could decide my fate and tell me what direction I should choose next-- I would take it! I would even throw in a fat tip just for being smart enough to know that any answer-- no matter how grim is far better than just wandering aimlessly through life looking back on what might have been-- at THIRTY! AT THIRTY?

I wish I could say that after all this time I developed other ego strengths and finally felt okay with whom I am, you know.... “Just being me.” but I am sad to report that my “condition” (diagnosis) was amazingly accurate and predictable. Just like all the doctors said! I wonder if they derive joy out of being right— if they crack open a bottle of aged liquor in my father’s office and say, “see, we told you so. We told you there was nothing you could do. And so nothing they did. By doing nothing and I do mean nothing-- the illness take will its course, and I am now, in fact, nothing.

Nothing costs nothing (at least to him) and daddy made another fine investment, on the other hand, nothing has drained every hope, fear, security—chance-- every last breath from my body. I might have believed in me. And I know I’m alive because a tear just rolled down the side of my cheek. I am home.

I am the exact same 5 year old who needed to win the spelling bee. In college, I was the one to set the curve, not just make it, break the rules, and, break [them] I did. There is no glory in being second best. Second smartest, second brightest, or second anything.

But I still have not learned, for some reason with all of my failures, I am reminded of in so many ways. Me, myself watch them play out every time I shut my eyes or open them. Yes- blink, sometimes I ask myself, how did I get here? How did this happen? What happened to all of the plans I made for myself~ where did they go? Where did I go?

Constantly replayed over and over and over again in my mind. I must be FUCK1NG CRAZY! But at this moment, here, even as I say the words, I am not truly insane. 1 am merely in pain, what a tragedy that those two words rhyme-- they ruin what could have been a very profound misnomer of the human condition and the labels we hold so dear.

And so my search for mediocrity continues, and I wait for it each and every day; hoping it will find me beaten and worn from the storm… from all of the storms.

But dammit, it is still there.
I still have questions.
Those damn “elyssa” questions that made my professors so proud.
Damn ideas, damn thoughts, damn hope.

My mother still calls me everyday to see if I went down to get food stamps to feed myself. Fuck her and her fucking things. Fuck diamonds, couture, and fuck that life.

I was here mom, the whole time. Just not pretty enough with out any surgery.
Not pretty at all with all those scars.

I am the exact same 5 year old who needed to ace the Spelling Bee.
Set the curve, not just make it.
Break the rules; and break them I did.

There is no glory in being second best,
Second smartest,
Second brightest,
or second anything.

Being second sucks.
It sucks every goddamned second of the day.

Goodnight my dear friends, lets all try to have sweet dreams. Pepe awaits, as does Alanis and a pack of smokes that I can already taste. I hope you all still love me. I do actually believe that I deserve love and kindness despite the obvious fact that I am a royal pain in the ass. I refuse to work in Burger King.

What could have been, what should have been-- what might have been if you let me be…


When in Chinese, the word Crisis is composed of two characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity...


Read Between The Lines



Sorry for the disconnect... phone battery went dead. There is some good news (finally) Judge -- will be in the bench tomorrow...

Thank f'ing G-d! Because he is only person I can think of might actually take a look at the FACTS rather than the rumors. How many times do I have to call TennCare, Social Security, or the Mental Health Coop to tell to fix their own mistakes?

Ironically (and yes, I do think it is okay to cry, but also think it okay to laugh at your own problems too ("Lean to laugh at your problems, everyone else will.” When I told my rep payee to take good records, I let him know that even IF he things I'm pout my mind with paranoia, It would be so much easier to just do that than it would be to deal with me.

Legal Aid won't represent me because they said they limited resources-- well guess what? SO DO I!!!!

I went back the pharmacy and THEY DELETED scripts from my record.

Legal Aid & Pro-bono said they cannot recommend anyone to take my case for free since my father and sister are both attorneys they told me that they would have to either (1) come to Nashville (from Austria and Philadelphia to represent me or (2) make them pay for attorney fees.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that a little fuKt up? I spoke to someone at the PHD program because they read 64044: Medical Alert.

My sister is furious with me blames me for ruining my mothers wedding in Las Vegas, oh yeah... but she IS a "LAWYER." Whatever...

I drove 30+ miles again today to get my medical records, only to learn once again, they cannot find them.

I am so glad that there are at least a few people out there who remember me from when I was a kid people, and a few people who can identify without three blood tests to be transferred to a medical facility.

Yes, I ASKED to be committed. I called for help. I said it every single way I knew how, without asking people who were most able to give it.

I never forget a slight, and I am extremely grateful to people who didn't ask questions or doubt my intentions. I will hold themin my my thoughts, and can safely peomise that I will never agai call upon you for help.

There is something to be said for paying it forward. So to people who actually took the time to phsyically see if I was okay, and to two very specuial ladies who brought me vclothing after everything I had in my possession ws taken away from me... and to the photographer who actually observed my injuries, thank you. I canhonestly say that I took one for the team. For the tweeters and twackers who let me know I was alone in my journey.. you're right I wasn't. You can tweet for peeps without bering certifiably nuts. That's not to say I am not certifiably nuts, but I thinks it rather pretentious for y'all to think that you know my mind better than I do after after 36 years. I want to believe that this feel connected to a world filled with hatred, bigotry and violence.... I made it through. And I already paid it forward.

It is pretty clear what I need, and I so tired of people asking why I can't find one. Have you seen the news? What I need is hot water. What I need is a safe place to go. What I need is the idiot who fucked up my computer to fix the damn thing. I wouldn't having a safe place for Spotty, and a little bit of acceptance. So out of respect for people that I once held in high regard, I chose to take the proper channels. I fed them information without claiming ownership... I sold a news story for $1.00. Kool... I made a dollar last year. That will pay the bills.

There were people I respected and admired, and now see as shallow and insincere. People who are afraid to be associated with someone "like" me? What exactly does that mean anyway? Aren't you impressed that I'm a Harvard Lagacy? Am I not one of the "Chosen People?"

Do you think I am living on a tiotal income of $615.00/month because it is fun?

If you can do better, pleeeeeze let me know...
If I can see somebody else doing it, then maybe I could figure out how to do it myself. I am willing to learn from anyone. Just think of all the valuabnle lessons Hitler taught us??? Yes, people are sheep.
I learned even your mistakes, so is there nothing of value that I can bring to this community???

Would you like to try going on welfare for three months or so? I think yo would enjoy the application process. After all there is nothing quite like it in the world.

So, I was "ordered" not to vvolunteer, not to call the police if I hear gun shots, because only crazy people call 911 several times in one day. Only thing is, "crazy" people exagerate the situation, so clearly if I have lived for three years, then I can certainly wait another few months. Really?
I am only allowed to use than 100 words or less in my written correspondence. Thank God for Twitter, it is good training.
BTW (by the way ;-) The Gettysburg Address was only 267 words. Less than two tweets. Granted, I am no Lincoln, but every once in a while, I do say something important.
There is something to be said for brevity, but their is also something to be said about honesty, isolation, and the value of technology for people with disabilities. So let this be my project for "Save The Internet" because Legal Aid thought it was kinda funny when I told them that my Internet was scheduled to be diconnected.

Who needs the internet anyway? Who needs information, access, a forum, a voice??? And even if some tweets make me laugh, is that so bad?? Maybe even a small diversion from reality? Am I not worthy?

I foolishly believed that by volunteering in the community, I would come accross a real job with real wages and real benefits. Yeah, that was a great idea.

Don't worry.. I learned my lesson. I will volunteer no more. After all, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?

Let it be known I'm a pretty quick study. I am cursed with a exceptionally vivid memory. My cortisol levels have been running low since '95. You figure it out. (Robert Sapolsky: Why Zebra's Don't Get Ulcers)

I am truly offended by the events that led people to call my family half way around the world and the country, when all they really needed to fdo was ask me. Not all "kids" are lost... some don't want to be found.

I was told to "go home." Well guess what, people? I am home.

Who thought it was a good idea to call my mommy and daddy to tell them how I am "embarrassing myself?"

Really??? Do You think they care? KUDOS TO YOU!">

Yes, I am reckless, I am loud, I am always right, and I am "out of my mind fucking nuts" also known as "OTWFN: Off The Wall Fucking Nuts" and that is the presumption. Don't forget, I am very much father's daughter, and am very much my mother's alibi. So thanks. Points!

All the better for them because the crazier I am, the less embarrassed they feel. How about some extra credit for their excellent parenting skills.
Crazy? Loud? Different?
Guilty, as charged. I am sooo embarrassed... how dare I post crazy shit like this online? Don't I know how bazzaar that seems? Don't you? Because let's face it... there are two possibilities:

(1) I'm telling the truth, and it's serious,

(2) I'm NOT telling the truth, and it's serious.

So for everyone who told me to go home... did you actually think my parents would rush in to rescue me? You have my parents would rush in to rescus me... sorry, but no. Now I'm stuck here.

And for the record, even suggesting that there is "home" to go to... well than YOU haven't been paying attention.

Don't you realize I am home?

I find it so hard to believe that after all this time people find it easier to speak around me and actrually think that is in my best interests? Sorry, but no.

And, you need not worry-- I don't need to be told twice where I'm not welcome.

I am less than 20 miles from several people who called Philadelphia, only to find that they don't want me either. Why would they possibly want to have me in their pristine, well-decorated homes when you paint such a lovely picture.

Guess what-- I' have never even seen my father's home... nor do I expect an invitation to Thanksgiving or Christmas.

So to all the people who "phoned home" to complain about e.d., job well done, you're stuck with me now.

And since I can't get a get a job, anmd I can't really afford the gas to go anywhere, I donb't think you need to call in a crisis team. I am perfectly happy sitting here by myself listening to my favorite youtube videos and thinking about everyone else tucjed safe and snug in their Ethan Allen beds. Good night to you all... you don't need to read this, and of course, you can ALWAYS hit delete.

That makes me sick. I never was really was a child, and it is really odd that people would start treating like one now. That is such bullshit, because child support was terminated on August 15, 1988. No other provisions were made, and I earned more money at 14 than I did in the last 10 years out together.

I miss the Barge. I think it is ridiculous that people would complain that I am "embarrassing myself.” At least I'm willing to take ownership of that one... was it less embarrassing to find out my mother contacted my professors and withdrew from classes because I was "too ill" to go to school.

Is any less embarrassing then being left at the airport on Thanksgiving Day? Or told that you do not deserve to go the dentist, that you can't sleep in the guest room if you have nightmares because you I might ruin the furnituDo think I actually give a shit about embarrassing myself? Do you think for a second they are counting on it? Did you think for one moment that there might, just, may be a reason I do not want to go home.

Is it less embarrassing than having your mother finds you "housing" at a long-term state psychiatric hospital, or being told that you might not have a fill on your soda because it cost $1.00? Is it any less embarrassing than finding out you have a new two months after he was born?

Yeah, I am embarrassed. Send me to Canada PLEEEZE!!!

Yes, I can act crazy. Yes, I may be crazy, and I sure a sh-t wish I was because there might be a possibility that created all of this "in my head.” It is not normal to have 43 addresses on file. It is not normal to care more about a cat than any single human alive. So, no, I am not normal, but does that make me bad? Does it make me dangerous? Does it want being told to "leave town" or take my own my own life so that society is not burdened by caring for me financially? Well, guess what-- I do not really care anymore, and there been many times in my life where I would rather not be alive, I refuse to let "them" Not like that.

So for so many people who have silenced me before, keep in mind I am NOT psychotic. And I am definitely mot "normal"

I am done. I so "over it" by now that if your embarrassed by my actions than you are giving me way too much power. I can own behavior, and I can accept my feelings. If you.

But I will not live in fear for the rest the of my life. And if I do get evicted tomorrow, so be it. It won't be the first time. And if your really lucky, there will some great new books donated to the public library. Yes, I AM ANGRY. Anger is a very strong emotion that is key to motivational theory. So yes, I am angry AND I am motivated.

According to my mother, lovely little creature that she is, I was evicted form childhood homes in Cherry Hill, Lawrence, Great Neck (North and South) and yes, of course, that was somebody else’s fault too.

Apparently was all my stepmother's fault. Nice. At least their mother would not allow them to be thrown away with each new boyfriend, tummy tuck, Jaguar or diamond ring.

So aren’t you guys glad you called my parents because now your stuck with me, my medical bills, and student debt. Isn't that special? I came here to WORK. I came here to be a part of something. I came here to lave the past behind me. I filled my long nights volunteering at the Family Shelter. I spent my dads sleeping in four-hour shifts, and hoping that my oh-so-vivid dreams might actually be pleasant for just one night.

So if and when I do leave, you can trust that I might just have to look back and think... about my death benefit of $543 dollars and the mound of debt I acquired because think I'm capable enough to work.

Why do I know that? Because I'm paying attention to the rules and I'm payoing attention to the news. It is not so random, and it not so crazy.

So here's your challenge: Blue vs. Blue; Curtis v. Klein, and Pennsylvania Act 62. But don't worry, I'm am NOT a lawyer. And I have never fioled a single lawsuit in my entire life. Yes I have filed appeals, but that'd getting old since no one bothers to follow up. What the ~ is wrong with THAT picture??????

All I can say is this, I tried. I tried damn hard. But ya know, crazy is, crazy does.

Aren't you guys lucky to have me? This is my home. This WAS my home. Thanks for making me feel so welcome. e.d. over and out.

Writing at Will: Read at Your Own Risk

No time to edit- so don't bitch to me if there are typos-- I don't care right now. If your cool with a few gramatical errors for now, then so am I. THAT is progress... so read at your own risk. I've got hundreds of these memos and I don't feel like going through them all... Twanks May 31, 2009

Many things in the financial world do not make sense. Such as having my tax return rejected from the IRS because someone had filed a tax return using my social security number.

Countless calls to the IRS, and although they were able to identify the person who had used my number fraudulently, they would not release that information to me so I could file a police report for identity theft (as I was instructed to do by regulatory authorities.) It took the IRS 9 months to send my refund, something that most people receive in less than 2 weeks.

Therefore, after about a decade of this situation, and going through the motions year after year, to provide alternative forms of Income verification, I think I am well within my rights to be a little agitated.

This year I will be fling for an extension, as other related issues are currently under investigation.

Now I do not have much money, in fact, I do not have any, but I find white-collar crime despicable and repulsive.

When taken into account the substantial cost to society, not to mention the havoc it wreaked on my life, I respectfully think that maybe you should not assume that someone is making false claims just because you do not think it sounds "right."

Many things do not "sound right" however, that does not mean they are not true. Gotta go now, I have a date with eBay too auction my social security card to the highest bidder. Clearly, it is not worth anything to me so long as the authorities fail to do their part in ENFORCING the laws associated with Identity theft. Sure, it is easy to blame the victim as being irresponsible or somehow negligent in these situations, however I will refer you to some fascinating research that has been done on the emotional consequences of Identity theft. The cost is far more than just an issue of financial discomfort; it is something that can ultimately leave you questioning your own identity.

It should be noted that Identity Theft is a criminal matter, so whatever costs associated with such events, the victim is not reimbursed for any of the monies that they have lost in as a result. Sure I could file a civil suit, but the IRS does not tell you who is using your Soc even when they find out.

It would be nice to be reimbursed for the costs of having your life hijacked for 14 years out of 36. To have your world stop and completely disrupted by something that is ultimately completely beyond your control.

I do NOT have an external locus of control by nature, however for those who believe you are the master of your own domain, let me assure you that shit happens. Seligman, learbed helplessness, like a rat in a cage, or pecking away on an intermittent reimbursement schedule just hoping to find a pellet.

It happens more often than you think, and it is a complicated, intricate, and time intensive to resolve such crimes. It is like trying to unravel multiple sets Christmas lights only to find that after you have put the time in, the damn things don't even work; and 2. Having to test each and every mini bulb in the chain to find the weakest link.

Now I don't fuck with Christmas lights, one I'm a Jew, 2. I think they're tacky as hell, and 3. I have OCD OCD OCD- with fear of fire at the top of the list!

I once waited two years after moving in to along the one. They don't work the details only to find yourself in more complicated... To be continued...

Edd, Ed.M.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Worst Nightmare Revisited

I am standing in a sea of unfamiliar faces. There is violence everywhere. Red. Broken. Bleeding.

I am holding Pepe, and he is broken. Bleeding. Clinging to me, clinging to life. I rush through the crowd looking for safety. There is no way out. Just angry faces in a sea of violence.

In the distance, I see two police officers. I run to them believing they will help me find a way out of the madness. Believing they will bring me to safety. A safe haven. Shelter from the storm. Free from the madness. Free from the violence. Free from this sea of unfamiliar faces so I can get my bleeding, broken, suffering friend the help he needs to make him well. The help we need to be whole again.

When I reach the podium, the men were facing the crowd. They were standing there, backs to me; they just stood there to face to the crowd banging their black, wooden nightsticks while on just standing there Beating their nightsticks against their palms. I call out but no one listens. No one can hear me above the roar of the crowd. So I tap them on the shoulder, holding Pepe close to my heart— hoping they will instinctively see the love and fear in his yellow gold eyes. Of course, they would rescue us. Yes, they would rescue us and bring us to safety. Free from the violence, free from the madness. Free from this hell and take us somewhere safe. Somewhere far, far away from here. And then they turn. In unison, they turn around to face me, and I look at them. I am horrified. I am horrified because these are not police officers at all. They are clowns. Literally, figuratively, in every way they are simply clowns. Clowns in uniform. In unison. In unanimity. Inhumanity. My worst nightmare. The cops were clowns.

Pepe was “only” a cat, but I made him a promise that I intended to keep. I would give him everything I longed for: keep him safe, keep him fed, make him well, I would give him love. Lots and lots of love. Unconditional love. Always. Until the day my perfect little angel would return to heaven. And I did. And he did. And we did. Alone, together, Pepe gave me strength when I was too weak to care for myself. He could not talk, but he sure tried!

After seventeen years, Pepe died the other day, and my worst nightmare did not come true. I loved him until the very end. Even then he gave me the most perfect and fitting gift. He gave me freedom. He gave me comfort. He gave me hope and he gave me peace.

I know that I can love. I am capable of complete, total, unconditional love. He was like a child. Pure, innocent and completely, totally, unconditionally loved. Yes, I am capable of love. I am capable of complete, total, and unconditional love. Pepe, my precious angel, may you rest in peace… There is a better place for you now. There always was.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Say What You Need To Say...

With your heart wide open... Say What you need to say. Thank you my friend @Westham

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Self Regulation is NOT Health Care Reform

Underwriting the Social Contract:
Distributive Justice & Health Care Reform

The Problem Statement

As health care costs climbed exponentially in the 1980's, so did the cost of health insurance plans. As a result, employers began to enroll their employees in managed care organizations, and many Americans were forced to leave their traditional indemnity type plans. With the advent of the health maintenance organization, there is a financial incentive for the underutilization of care. (Blumstein, 1996; Davis & Shoen, 1996).

In order to reduce financial risk, health insurance companies have restricted enrollment to individuals in poor health. By covering the minimal standards of treatment and excluding high risk groups altogether, major US insurance companies have realized that the health insurance market can a be an extremely profitable industry. The public sector absorbs the cost of unreimbursed care for chronic care in America (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1996). Based upon these findings, it seems clear that the money being removed from the health care marketplace is fattening the pockets of CEOs and majority stockholders.

Recent trend towards localized government leaves individuals without a financial safety net. This is the least efficient manner to handle health care costs, and evades the premise that medical care is a natural right in a civilized society. Few Americans feel secure within the current system. The rising costs of medical care contributed to the recent market changes in both the administration and delivery of health services. The financial incentive to cover only the healthiest individuals ignores the fact that medical care is a social good.

Health Insurance Portability Act of 1996

Two years after the Clinton Health Plan was defeated in Congress, Senator Ted Kennedy and Nancy Kassebaum introduced the Kennedy-Kassebaum Bill in response to growing concerns about selective enrollment procedures used by health insurance companies in the private sector. In the final version of the Bill, insurance companies must limit preexisting condition clauses to twelve months. It has been estimated that this provision of the Bill will help an estimated 150,000 Americans obtain health insurance coverage.

There are many levels of the underinsured, including those without any coverage; effective policy must address the needs of the total population without shifting costs from one disadvantaged person to another. Kennedy-Kassebaum fails to address the cost issue—the primary concern for those at risk for losing their health insurance. It does nothing to help the uninsured acquire a decent health policy, and then provides no solution to the critical issue at hand— cost

Since Kennedy-Kassebaum does nothing to control the cost of health insurance and medical care in America, the Bill fails to respond to the issue of greatest concern to the citizens of this country: the cost of medical care. The Bill looks towards the states to develop consumer protections and weakens the regulatory role of the federal government. The majority of the American public is unaware of the fancy footwork involved with this legislation, and the demographics of the population it is intended to protect. In order to assess the utility of this Bill, it is critical to identify the populations at risk for loosing health insurance coverage and the underinsured.

Kassebaum-Kennedy focuses on a slim portion of the uninsured population, and those who would be eligible for COBRA continuation (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1974). Of the 41 million uninsured Americans, only about 150,000 are expected to benefit from this legislation. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is really nothing more than smoke and mirrors since it fails to address the true issue at hand—the simple fact that the cost of quality health care in America is becoming a privilege that only the wealthy can afford.

The Cost of Care for Pre-existing Conditions

An individual with high blood pressure may just require prescription medication. Cancer patients in remission may require chemotherapy, and a person suffering with a degenerative disease may be involved in treatment studies. Each condition requires individualized treatment that cannot be based upon the simple economic/cost-benefit analysis used in the utilization review process by large insurance companies. Clearly, the most effective treatment for one patient may not be the best for another. The time required for utilization review may present additional health risks and complications to a patient suffering from a chronic health condition.

Twelve months without insurance coverage may be financially devastating to some patients, and 63% of Americans have already forgone some type of medical treatment within the last year due to financial constraints. Publicity surrounding Kennedy-Kassebaum has hailed the bill as the "be all and end all in progressive legislation, however, in actuality it will only help about 150,000 people.

Recent studies have found that the majority of the uninsured population simply cannot afford to pay the premiums (Donelan et. al., 1996; Hoffman & Rice, 1996). According to their data, only 1% of the Uninsured population is due to current health status and exclusionary preexisting clauses, yet an overwhelming number of insured respondents reported an inability to receive medical care for chronic conditions. The majority of Americans with chronic illness are covered by some type of insurance, yet they are still subject to the utilization review process and access problems that deny or delay medically necessary treatment (Donelan, et. al., Hoffman & Rice, 1996).

Underwriting the Solidarity Principle

Traditional forms of insurance underwriting required that the contract explicitly state which illness or services are not covered by the policy, in advance. If the underwriter did not specifically state a certain condition in the contract, the insurer was held to the terms of the contract and required to pay for services utilized by the policyholder (Stone, 1994, as cited in Durant, 1996).

Increasing numbers of for-profit and non-profit insurance companies began to control costs by refusing to insure individuals who they felt would utilize more services. Insurers began to require health survey status questionnaires (refer to attachment A), and even began implementing AIDS and genetic testing to identify high-risk individuals (Brunetta, as cited in Gutmann & Thompson, 1996). In the 1980s, large insurance companies began including sexual orientation as a high-risk category, by using actuarial sound criteria. Such criteria concluded that gay men were a higher risk for contracting AIDS virus and refused to write policies for anyone believed to be homosexual, (Stone, 1994 as cited in Durant, 1996).

By limiting enrollment to the healthiest members of society, selective enrollment undermines the solidarity principle of health insurance (Davis & Shoen, 1996; Snow, 1996; Stone, 1994). By eliminating those who were suspect of using more services than their healthier counterparts use, insurance companies are able to offer rock bottom prices for young, healthy individuals. By excluding preexisting conditions and requiring certain individuals to purchase high-risk policies, the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans continues to grow exponentially (Durant, 1996).

More individuals are choosing not to purchase insurance simply because they cannot afford it. Even among those with employer based health coverage, the policies frequently exclude coverage for long-term illness or care of chronic conditions (MSNBC News Forum, 1996). Without a standard definition of preexisting conditions, these clauses serve as "wildcards" since they allow insurers to deny coverage for any illness that "manifested itself before the issuing date of the policy (Stone, 1994 as cited in Durant, 1996).

This statement allows insurers to deny treatment for benefits and services for the policyholder for undiagnosed illnesses or conditions of which they were unaware. As a result, the insurers began to demand medical histories of applicants and their families in order to identify high risk individuals (please refer to attachment A).

Legitimacy of Distributive Justice

While there is a legitimate role of government to distribute scarce resources among the nation's neediest individuals, sadly this is not the cause for the mismanagement of medical dollars in the United States today. There is a big distinction between an individual being denied prescription medication at their local pharmacy due to a cost-effective formulary developed by their Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), than an individual being denied a liver transplant because healthy livers are a scarce resource. While both may have equally devastating consequences, it is more difficult to rationalize a lost life based upon rigid cost benefit analysis and utilization decisions made according to formulas and cost-benefit analysis of treatment protocols.

"The political controversy over the distribution of health care in the United States is an instructive problem in distributive justice. Good health is care is necessary for pursuing most other things in life. Yet equal access to health care would require the government to not only redistribute resources from the rich, healthy to the poor, and infirm, but also restrict the freedom of doctors and other health care providers. Such redistributions may be warranted, but to what level, and to what extent?" Gutmann & Thompson (Page 178).

Blendon and his colleagues have reported similar findings in public opinion polls from 1992 and 1994 (Blendon et. al., 1992; Blendon et. al., 1994). A recent study by the American Medical Association found cost to be of paramount concern to an overwhelming number of Americans (Donelan et. aI., 1996). Of the 40 million uninsured Americans, only 1% attributes their failure to acquire health insurance coverage to their preexisting conditions. Among the uninsured, cost is cited as the primary obstacle in obtaining health insurance coverage. Only 1% of the uninsured attributes their lack of coverage to a preexisting condition.

Based upon these democratic principles of distributive justice, consistent opinion polls demonstrate the legitimate role and public desire for government regulation of the health care industry. It has become obvious that the federal government must intervene in order to protect natural law rights, the social contract, and the Constitution of the United States. Regulation is needed to protect the individual freedoms, liberty, and the pursuit of "health, happiness, and the American Dream."

If America is to be the "Land of Opportunity," then clearly individual health and wellness should be an ideal to reach for. Current models of distributive justice emphasize public consensus as a legitimate role for government intervention. According to a number of studies by Blendon and his colleagues, the public has reported an overwhelming general concern about health care in this country, (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996).

State civil courts are backed up with cases where HMOs have violated the First Amendment (gag orders), the Fourteenth Amendment (due process), and the rights of protected classes under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Countless examples of "anecdotal" evidence appear as headlines everyday across the country. (New York Times, 1996; The New York Daily News, 1996; Long Island Newsday, 1996; LA Times, 1996; Picayne Times, 1996; Columbia Spectator, 1996; Columbia University Record, 1996; US News & World Reports, 1996; Newsweek 1996; Healthline, 1996; The Tennessean, 1996; The Albany Times, 1996; The Nashville Scene, 1996). In their entirety, these case reports represent the human tragedy that lies beneath the web of the very worst of American capitalism: corporate greed.

Identifying Populations At-Risk

A study by The Lewison Group in 1996 reveals insight into the private individual health insurance market. Clearly, individuals choosing to purchase health insurance policies for several hundred dollars each month expect their health care needs and expenditures to exceed that amount Regardless of health status, a young healthy 25 year old who purchases an individual health insurance policy can expect to pay well over $300.00 monthly for a health insurance policy with Empire Blue Shield Blue Cross (based upon 1996 rates, current rates available from the New York State Insurance Department).

Since individual policies are not addressed in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPA), an individual policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee excludes preexisting conditions for 24 months (enrollment booklet available upon request). The critical markets in need of reform are the adversely selected individual insurance market, and the state's most vulnerable populations: children; the elderly; the chronically ill; the uninsured; and the underinsured.

For the millions of individuals who have lost their employer based coverage, the cost of private health insurance is prohibitively expensive. Many individuals opt out of the individual market and apply for public assistance when the need arises. Those who have retained their health insurance coverage through their employers are being moved into managed care despite their efforts to retain their indemnity style plans (Davis & Shoen, 1996; The Lewison Group, 1996).

Access to Medical Care

As routine practice, HMOs deny or delay care for all services that are not outright medically necessary. Growing numbers of individuals have suffered irreparable harm, and many have died awaiting approval from their HMO's (The New York Times, 1996; Long Island Newsday, 1996; The Tennessean, 1996; Healthline, 1996). It is hardly a secret that HMOs have fallen short of their promise to provide comprehensive health care for the "whole" individual by emphasizing preventative medicine, using medical management to coordinate care. There is substantial evidence that individuals with chronic conditions receive substandard care in HMOs.

A four-year longitudinal study of medical outcomes found that the elderly, the poor, and persons with chronic conditions were in better health when covered by fee-for-service plans compared with a control group covered in HMOs (Ware et. al., 1996). New statistics released in Washington, DC by the American Medical Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation revealed the direct costs of individuals with chronic conditions account for 75% of direct medical expenditures in the United States (Hoffman & Rice, 1996; based upon the National Medical Expenditures Survey; raw data available on CD from the Department of Health and Human Services Washington, DC). 45% of the American population suffers from at least one chronic illness.

If managed healthcare has been found to deliver inadequate care to this population, then we are looking at 100 million individuals who are potentially facing personal and financial crisis as they are moved into managed care. The public already accounts for the largest payment of direct medical expenditures, which means the millions of dollars being made by for-profit insurance companies are not being circulated into the economy to assist in public health costs care. The industry made a 14.8% profit in the 3rd quarter of 1996, however these medical dollars were removed from health care and used to fatten the pockets of CEO's and majority stockholders (Healthline, 1996).

Based upon a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the direct costs for persons with chronic conditions represent 69.4% of national expenditures in personal health care (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1996). Their direct medical costs are estimated at $4672.00 annually compared with $817.00 annually for individuals with acute illness (Hoffman & Rice, 1996; based upon National Medical Expenditures Survey 1987, not adjusted for inflation). This population is the most vulnerable to complications in their health and with their source of payment. Large insurance companies only provide adequate coverage for acute illness (Donelan et al., 1996; Hoffman et. al, 1996).

Medicaid Managed Care

Following Tennessee's lead, many states have enrolled their medically indigent populations in Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). In Daniels v. Wadley, (926 F. Supp. 1305), the court held that TennCare violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment since such procedures eliminate fair hearings and independent medical review of disputes. The court found the pattern of routine denials of care by MCOs participating in the states TennCare program to violate the Medicaid Act since it compounded the problem of institutionalized waiting periods for medical appeals pending independent review by the Medical Review Unit (MRU), (42 U.S.C. § 1396 (a)(8)).

Furthermore, the court ordered federal injunctive protection to participants and beneficiaries because no state law may preempt federal law by depriving individuals of their constitutional rights. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was ordered to revise its utilization review procedures for TennCare recipients in keeping with the Medicaid Act (42 U.S.C. § 1396 (a) (8)) ensuring due process protections for all covered beneficiaries by requiring "services are provided with 'reasonable promptness,'" (926 F. Supp. 1305).

This case is one of 543 civil suits pending in the state courts for violations of the Medicaid Act (based upon a Lexis-Nexis search performed December 26, 1996). With the passing of H.R. 3507 into public law, (The Welfare Reform Bill) private citizens will find little reprieve in the federal courts, so any attempts to hold states accountable for violations of federal law will be feeble at best (Denkeret. al., 1996).

Managed care has shown itself to be a farce of "medical management" in light of all the condemning evidence to the contrary. Timothy Icenogle, a medical doctor in the state of Arizona commented in 1981, "We play sort of an advocacy role. I think the public demands something more from physicians than to just be a blob of bureaucrats, and I think we have to take a stand now and then. Our role essentially as patient advocate, is to tell them, well, just because the insurance company is not going to pay, that is not the end of all the resources," (Icenogle, as cited in Gutmann & Thompson, 1996). Never has this statement been needed more than it is today. Unfortunately, as more insurance companies refuse to pay for medical treatment, fewer resources become available for patients in desperate need of financial assistance. As Judge Kessler eloquently stated as she handed down her decision in Salazar v. District of Columbia, No. 93-452, December 11, 1996, "behind every fact found herein is a human face and the reality of being poor in the richest nation on earth, (936 F. Supp. Slip op. At 3).

Perhaps most distressing is the lack of accountability for mismanaged healthcare and improper denials of medically necessary treatment. HMOs claim immunity under ERISA, and leaving individuals without recourse in a sea contractual language and lengthy court calendars. It is evident that individuals protected under the Medicaid Act are not fundamentally different from other populations entrapped in the maze of managed care. They are simply those who have "had their day in court."

Due Process Protections

Since all Americans are theoretically entitled to due process protections under the constitution of the United States, it seems the federal courts are long overdue for making such a public statement. We are wasting precious time and losing millions in valuable human resources as we await decisions to be handed down from state courts. The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear New York's request for an ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1985) waiver, making health maintenance organizations liable for medical malpractice in the state of New York.

When HMOs deny care from patients, it is ludicrous to hold individual physicians liable for the utilization decisions made by decentralized corporate review boards. It is time to take a serious look at tort reform, and demand action by the Supreme Court as they approach the date of New York's ERISA hearing. A blanket court ruling upholding Daniels v. Wadley, and Salazar v. District of Columbia is desperately needed to avoid an avalanche of liability suits filed in state courts. The court must uphold Daniels v. Wadley, and Salazar v. District of Columbia if further lives are to be saved in medicine rather than wasted away in the utilization review procedures. While we wait patiently for District of Columbia circuit court to order injunctive relief, the number of individuals suffering irreparable harm due to the systematic denial of medical care grows larger each day.

The history of Medicaid Managed Care does not provide a very optimistic look into the future of TennCare recipients and Medicaid beneficiaries in states around the country. Dating back to the implementation of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) in 1981, there are documented cases where "people reportedly died for lack of medical treatment before their eligibility was determined," (Varley, as cited in Gutman & Thompson, I 996). This leaves me to wonder why the states continue to enroll their most vulnerable populations into a system of managed care that has proven to be a disaster.

Perhaps worthy of comment is that Arizona is the only state to have voted Republican in every election since 1948—certainly provides insight into the conservative morale of the state. Although Arizona was the last state to accept the Medicaid cost sharing incentive proposed by the federal government in 1966, it was the first state to force its medically indigent population into managed care in 1981.

Violating Federal Law

Rigid pre-certification requirements and nonspecific utilization review procedures place strategic barriers to access medical treatment and services in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). Pre-certification requirements are strategic barriers incorporated into the "black box" of utilization review that institutionalizes exclusionary waiting periods and routine denials of medically necessary treatment. According to federal law, "care and services are to be provided in a manner consistent with the simplicity of administration and the best interests of recipients," (42 U.S.C. § I 396a (a) (19)). Clearly, such rigid pre-certification requirements that complicate administrative processing and paperwork on the part of the enrolled beneficiaries is a violation of United States Code.

Furthermore, using primary care providers as a mechanism to limit access to specialists not only complicates administrative processing, but limits enrolled beneficiaries choice of health professionals beyond what is available to the general public in the geographic area (42 U.S.C. § 1 396a (a)(30)(A)). Certainly referral procedures do not "assure that recipients will have their choice of health professionals within the plan to the extent possible and appropriate," (42 U.S.C. § 434.29). Under this provision, it seems that any individual, especially those with chronic health conditions or disabilities should be allowed to choose a primary care provider with more expertise than a nurse practitioner. I will argue that a neurologist is more familiar with the unique needs of a patient with Multiple Sclerosis than a nurse practitioner is with little to no knowledge specific to the medical management of degenerative

Under the Medicaid Act of 1966, covered beneficiaries may appeal any utilization review decision which denies care or limits services. The Medicaid Act gives individuals the right to a fair hearing in front of an impartial independent Medical Review Unit (MRU). Furthermore, the Medicaid Act clearly states that medical services for a Medicaid beneficiary may not be terminated until the said beneficiary receives such a hearing


The country as a whole must realize what Judge Kessler told her courtroom. Her words are certainly words I will not forget—certainly worth being quoted at length:

"This case is about people—children and adults who are sick, poor, and vulnerable—for whom life, in the memorable words of poet Langston Hughes, "ain't been no crystal stair". It is written in the dry and bloodless language of "the Iaw"—statistics, acronyms of agencies and bureaucratic entities, Supreme Court case names and quotes, official governmental reports, periodicity tables, etc. But let there be no forgetting the real people to whom this bloodless language gives voice: anxious working parents who are too poor to obtain medications or heart catheter procedures or lead poisoning screening for their children, AIDS patients unable to get treatment, elderly persons suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease who require constant monitoring arid medical attention. Behind every fact found herein is a human face and the reality of being poor in the richest nation on earth. (Slip op. At 3). -Judge Gladys Kessler, December 11, 1996.

Patients are routinely being denied medical care-- and being forced into a system that incorporates long waiting periods into their physician contracts and handbooks (Green, 1996). The private for-profit insurance industry has single-handedly undermined the solidarity principle of health insurance by using strict underwriting techniques, ridiculous treatment protocols; inconsistent definitions of chronic illness and rigid utilization review procedures unavailable to the consumer; and inconsistent definitions of "chronic illness" and "emergency" (Dallek, 1996). It is an industry which justified using sexual orientation to avoid covering AIDS patients, calling such methods "actuarially sound." The privatization of a public good has removed millions of dollars from the healthcare marketplace with "medical loss ratios" of 57% compared to 85% in the traditional health insurance market

Although a slim portion of the general public is unable to obtain health insurance coverage due to a preexisting condition, the more critical issue remains the cost of coverage. The cost of medical care will remain an issue since recent legislative efforts evade the issue. Recent changes in the delivery of health services is of grave concern and different options must be considered in order to find more effective ways to provide public and private assistance—MANAGED CARE IS NOT THE ANSWER!!! FOR-PROFIT HEALTH CARE IS NOT THE ANSWER! PRIVATIZATION IS NOT THE ANSWER!


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Things That Make Me REALLY Mad

Preserving What's Left....

The Dog Ate My Homework
This may contain some important information. Or maybe not. You decide.
By Elyssa Durant Published 5/4/2009 Read more »

Who Owns My Copyright?
Lifetime Ban. Where did it go? Wanna preserve twistory... help fight copy right infringement!
By Elyssa Durant Published 5/4/2009 Read more »

Unemployment Crisis in America
Career in Crisis: Complete Confusion [THIS CONTENT HAS BEEN REMOVED]
By Elyssa Durant Published 5/4/2009 Read more »

Elyssa Lies: Oops!
I find it so hard to believe that after all this time people find it easier to speak around me and actrually think that is in my best interests? Sorry, but no. Don't you realize, I am home?
By Elyssa Durant Published 3/29/2009 Read more »

On Not Being Able to Write
I write these words mostly for myself, as they clearly reflect the ways that I have tried not to define myself through and by my relationships with others, since I believe that reality and identity is something that comes from within.
By Elyssa Durant Published 3/23/2009 Read more »

6044: DMHT and the Tennessee Code Annotated Title 33, Chapter 6, Part 10
DMHT: Trained in TAPS (Therapeutic Assault Prevention System) and was certified on October 15, 2004 through the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. HIPPA
By Elyssa Durant Published 3/19/2009 Read more »

Draft Media
By Elyssa Durant Published 3/19/2009 Read more »

Blink! Ground Zero
Shortly after the 9?11, I began to question my purpose in this life. Had I been just a few miles closer, and heading west that day instead of east on the LIE, I would have driven right been at Ground Zero.
By Elyssa Durant Published 3/19/2009 Read more »
Drastic Times, Drastic Measures

Read more about economic recovery at:
By Elyssa Durant Published 2/9/2009 Read more »

Chapter II: Older & Bolder
I'm am not perfect, and I will always struggle with my obsession to find just The Write Words, but I'm guessing it is probably good enough.
By Elyssa Durant Published 2/3/2009 Read more »

NAACP Files Civil Rights Complaint Against MNPS
If MNPS is found to be in violation, MNPS stands to lose as much as 67 million dollars in federal funding.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/29/2009 Read more »

A LOCAL CALL to ACTION: $44 or 44?
This is your official call to action. Be the change. Act locally. Go to and tell me what you are doing to make a better Nashville for all of us! $44 or 44?
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/15/2009 Read more »

Moved to Tears
Yes, the food was good. The food was fantastic. I was full inside because Carol Ann did not just feed my tummy, she fed my spirit, and she fed my soul.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/4/2009 Read more »

Morally Bankrupt: How Much Am I Worth?
Help become the person I was meant to be. Try to the see the person I could become. I have so much to contribute, but few resources get there. I believe I deserve more out of life than this, and I think that if you knew me, you would think so too.
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/16/2008 Read more »

The Obama-Biden Transition Project
"We're often asked how we plan to take this unique moment in history - when a grassroots movement for change elected a president - and turn it into a force that can build stronger communities, block by block." -The Obama-Biden Transition Project
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/12/2008 Read more »

Distributive Justice and Health Care Reform
There is legitimate role and public desire for government regulation of the health care industry. It has become obvious that the federal government must intervene in order to protect natural law rights, the social contract, and, the US Constitution.
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/12/2008 Read more »

Medical Treatment for Americans with Disabilities
Who has the authority and expertise to make decisions about the quality of life and who decides who shall live and who shall die? What makes one life more valuable to society and worthy of medical expenditures?
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/3/2008 Read more »

Religious Convictions and Medical Treatment
Should hopitals adopt a uniform policy to address the treatment of children with advance directives refusing medical treatment? How can we know when to accept medical decisions as ones made independent of parental influence and church authority?
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/3/2008 Read more »

Genetic Experimentation
It would be naïve to think someone hasn't already thought about the potential "benefits" of cloning, and how it might expedite the evolutionary process of Social Darwinism.
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/3/2008 Read more »

Writing Through Dark
Maybe others have taken this path before me-- or maybe someday, someone might inadvertently wander into this sanctuary I call home. A place where nothing seems as it but exactly the way it is supposed to be.
By Elyssa Durant Published 12/3/2008 Read more »

Is Equal Opportunity Just a Myth?
America claims to be dedicated to equal opportunity, yet equality is not sufficient in urban communities. These kids need more. We need to think about equity, not equality. It is not enough to hide them away. These are visions we should never forget.
By Elyssa Durant Published 11/28/2008 Read more »

Asleep at the Wheel Again
I have been staring at that the computer screen so long it beginning to morph into strange little dots in my peripheral vision.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/19/2008 Read more »

DarkNight II: "The Return of Durant"
It keeps me up at night, and allows me to avoid the day. My life is not unexamined, and my thought patterns may be far from typical, but the things I have learned along the way are by far the most intriguing and most unique.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/14/2008 Read more »

The Dark Night Returns
I think it is more about the anonymity. Someplace you can be yourself, and never worry about being judged for being different. In the city, I can disappear. I can peruse the streets at 3am and still find things to do. If not to do, then things to see.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/14/2008 Read more »

A Brief History of the TennCare Budget Crisis
The massive number of people being dis-enrolled or limited in their access to medical care and other social services will no doubt create significant anxiety, confusion, and chaos for everyone involved in the social service and health care industries.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/13/2008 Read more »

Pharmacy Fallout '08: Here We Go Again [[DRAFT ONLY]]
Here We Go Again: TennCare Changes Benefits Without Notice. TennCare providers, beneficiaries and advocates are once again unaware of the new changes in the pharmacy program that went into effect on October 1, 2008.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/13/2008 Read more »

Sanity Checker
My mind has information overload. My life has information overload. My brain is full! I want a sanity checker!!!! I need a sanity checker! Where can I find a "sanity checker" to guide me through the rest of my life???
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/13/2008 Read more »

Investing in the Ivy League
I wasted a ton of money at the Grad School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and almost as much at an elite Ivy League institution. I learned one thing: No one ever taught me how to be poor.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/13/2008 Read more »

Charity Begins at Home
There is much to be done right here, right now. Do we accept the indignation of indigence and poverty with indifference? Or do we act?
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/12/2008 Read more »

What's in a Name? Does a Diagnosis by Any Other Name Smell Just as Sweet?
Largely driven by pharmaceutical conglomerates, a psychiatric diagnosis can be every bit a trendy as a new pair of jeans. Psychiatric diagnoses appear to be driven by the latest and greatest pharmaceutical discovery.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/7/2008 Read more »

Power Analysis of Congressional Districts
A comprehensive directory to constituent services regarding health care concerns including Social Security, Disability, and Veterans Affairs. In compliance with The Privacy Act of 1974, Release Forms are available.
By Elyssa Durant Published 10/6/2008 Read more »

Storm on the Horizon
We live in a country that rallies together when faced with domestic and international crises. Other domestic problems tend to be chronic in nature and often slip under the radar. The battle lines have been drawn and we lost.
By Elyssa Durant Published 9/1/2008 Read more »

My Worst Nightmare
In the distance, I see two police officers. I run to them believing they will help me find a way out of the madness. Believing they will bring me to safety.. Shelter from the storm. Free from the madness. Free from the violence. Free from this sea of unfamiliar faces...
By Elyssa Durant Published 8/27/2008 Read more »

Reorganization or Disorganization: MNPS Undermines Teacher Autonomy and Professionalism
The high rate of student mobility in Metro (approximately 40% per year) is further complicated by the constant shifting of school personnel.
By Elyssa Durant Published 7/12/2008 Read more »

Recruitment and Retention Rates in Public Education
If MNPS truly wants a better-qualified staff, then Metro needs to take a closer look at the methods used to recruit, retain, and reward qualified teachers.
By Elyssa Durant Published 7/10/2008 Read more »

Pre Natal Diagnosis
Discusses the advantages of pre natal diagnosis and the value of being aware of potential complications before birth. Examines "quality of l;ifew" issues and definitions.
By Elyssa Durant Published 7/10/2008 Read more »

IVF and Multiple Fetal Reduction
Multiple fetal reduction is a medical procedure performed on women carrying multiple live fetuses after in vitro fertilization (IVF).
By Elyssa Durant Published 7/10/2008 Read more »

Underpaid and Overworked: Is an Ivy League Degree Worth the Investment?
Obtaining a graduate degree from the Ivy League was the worst investment I ever made. Not many people are willing to work for free, but I am one of them. Mostly because I cannot find a real job. All I need is a chance!
By Elyssa Durant Published 7/8/2008 Read more »

White Noise: Finding My Voice in the Silent Hours
Who'd a thunk it? That loneliness can become a family in it's own right? It is always there and it is always familiar. Who would have thought that solitude could become our greatest companion and that strangers would be our very best friends.
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/12/2008 Read more »

Equity in Education
Given the official release of performance data by MNPS officials, will less curious readers place too much attention to such bogus data and misconstrue this information making voluntary, de-facto desegregation even more prevalent in Nashville, Tennessee?
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/9/2008 Read more »

Prescription for Disaster: Changes to Tennessee's Medicaid Program
Testimony Given to the Governor's Roundtable on TennCare 1999 regarding sudden changes to Grier. Footnotes and signature file added on June 8, 2008 for Historical Reference.
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/8/2008 Read more »

Are Minorities to Blame for Low Test Scores in Metro Nashville Public Schools?
The Nashville City Paper previously reported that African-American students were out-performed by their white counterparts on the ACT (Metro ACT scores drop; Tennessee reaches new high, 2007).
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/8/2008 Read more »

Are Minorities to Blame for Low Test Scores in Metro Nashville Public Schools?
The Bell Curve Wars Savage Inequalities There Are No Children Here
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/8/2008 Read more »

No Teacher Left Behind
Behavioral disruptions prompted school administrators to pull the most effective teachers out of the classroom to enforce school policy while their classrooms remained empty or were covered by floating substitute teachers.
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/7/2008 Read more »

An Ivy League Grad on Welfare?
This document was created in response to an online forum concerning the TennCare Budget Crisis by Elyssa Durant, Welfare Recipient. Yes, ANOTHER healthcare crisis in Tennesseee- 2008.
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/6/2008 Read more »

Medicare Commission Report: The Medicare & Social Security Insolvency Crises
Prepared for Congressman Jim Cooper at Vanderbilt University, Owen (Graduate School of Business) for a presentation on Health Care Policy & Management. Discusses strategies for equitable healthcare in a changing marketplace.
By Elyssa Durant Published 6/6/2008 View here »

Hoarding and Collecting is a most prevalent in people with a primary diagnosis of Obsessive Compulasive Disorder. Some collect cats; others collect newspapers-- as for me? I collect information!
By Elyssa Durant Published 5/21/2008 Read more »

in God We Trust? Funding Private Interests in Public Schools
What arguments can be presented for against the use of school vouchers for parochial schools? How is the issue of school vouchers for sectarian institutions different or similar from issues surrounding prayer in school?
By Elyssa Durant Published 5/12/2008 Read more »

Relatively Speaking: What is "Real?"
What is "real?" Something we can touch? Something we can feel? Someone we can love?
By Elyssa Durant Published 4/22/2008 Read more »

A Voice for the Voiceless
Do you really want to know what happens to children in state custody once they turn 18? This article addresses the problems associated with transitioning youth out of Child Services and into adulthood.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/23/2008 Read more »

Internet Graveyard
What happens to my written works that I have so carefully created? Do they just float around in cyberspace forever? Are my words now immortal? Does that make me grandiose or paranoid?
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/16/2008 Read more »

Pre-Natal Diagnosis and Voluntary Abortion
Modern technology has given us the capability to correct genetic abnormalities and imperfections, yet on the other, we must ask ourselves if this capability gives us the right to manipulate the evolutionary development of future generations.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/16/2008 Read more »

Do You Have OCD?
You Know You Have OCD When...
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/16/2008 Read more »

Legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide
Anyone forced to make a decision about the quality of one's life is faced with an awesome responsibility that inherently demands some sort of value judgment in when considering life's options.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/15/2008 Read more »

Grassroots Advocacy
An interview with Stand for Children in Nashville, Tennessee.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/10/2008 Read more »

Creating a Culture of Fear in American Schools
Added security measures in urban classrooms changes the school environment. For some students, school is a mere extension of the violent communities in which they live.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/10/2008 Read more »

Mandatory AIDS Testing for Health Care Workers
Individuals diagnosed with the AIDS virus are frequently isolated and alienated by friends and loved ones. By implementing mandatory AIDS testing to health care workers and/or patients, we would only be propelling discriminatory practices among HIV patients.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/7/2008 Read more »

Good Fences
OCD, PTSD, Good Fences, Good Neighbors, Good Friends, Psychology, Sociology
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/7/2008 Read more »

School Vouchers for Private Education
Do the long term outcomes of school choice and voucher programs exacerbate the inequality between the rich and the poor?
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/7/2008 Read more »

Voter Apathy?
How will the theft of ALL personal information from the Davidson County Election Commission affect voter regsitration, voter turn-out, and voter "apathy" in the upcoming election? Will people still register to vote bbefore tomorrow's deadline? (Nashville, TN)
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/6/2008 Read more »

Things that Keep Me Up at Night..
Twenty questions that keep me up at night....
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/5/2008 Read more »

Coping with Chronic Illness in the Era of Managed Care
Financial incentives to deny health care to beneficiaries in managed care organizations. Why this does NOT work for persons with chronic illness and diseases. HIV, AIDS, and mental illness discussed.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/2/2008 Read more »

Alternative Models to Voluntary Organ and Tissue Donation
This paper discusses the major historical efforts to legislate organ transplantation in the United States. In addition to discussing the problems found within the current system of voluntary donation, this paper will provide an overview of three alternative approaches.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/2/2008 Read more »

Prescription for Disaster
Why have so many people encountered so many random barriers to health care in addition to those obstacles strategically placed in the system? Medicaid is in fact an entitlement program.
By Elyssa Durant Published 1/2/2008 Read more »