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To Be Color Blind - I Can't Appreciate.

What it means to finally be able to see color - this man embodies what it means.

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      Girl has blunt message for Aetna after her brain surgery request was denied

      Updated 5:28 PM ET, Mon December 11, 2017

      • Cara Pressman, 15, hoped for seizure freedom, but her laser surgery was denied
      • Epilepsy Foundation says thousands of people with seizures face similar obstacles from insurers

      The author of the story has a family member with an uncontrolled seizure disorder who does not medically qualify for either type of brain surgery mentioned in the piece nor has the family member been denied care by an insurance provider.

      (CNN)Cara Pressman sobbed in the big red chair in her living room. The 15-year-old tried to absorb the devastating news relayed by her parents: that their insurance company, Aetna, denied her for a minimally invasive brain surgery that could end the seizures that have haunted her since she was 9 years old.

      "When my parents told me, I went kind of blank and started crying," she said. "I cried for like an hour."
      Her friends had been lined up to visit her in the hospital for the surgery three days away, on Monday, October 23. Between tears, she texted them that the whole thing was off.
      It was supposed to be a joyous weekend. Cara's grandparents had come to town to celebrate their 90th birthdays, a jubilant party with more than 100 family and friends crowding her home. The party did go on -- just with a lot more stress.
      Cara had multiple complex partial seizures that weekend. When the seizures strike, her body gets cold and shakes, and she zones out for anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes, typically still aware of her surroundings. Her seizures can be triggered by stress, by being happy, by exerting herself -- almost anything. "It's like having a nightmare but while you're awake," she said.
      In the six weeks since the denial, Cara has had more than two dozen seizures affecting her everyday life. Her message to Aetna is blunt: "Considering they're denying me getting surgery and stopping this thing that's wrong with my brain, I would probably just say, 'Screw you.' ''

      Aetna: We're looking out for what's best for patients

      The Pressman family and, separately, Jennifer Rittereiser, a 44-year-old mom who has struggled with seizures since she was 10, approached CNN in recent weeks after they were both denied, by Aetna, for laser ablation surgery, a minimally invasive procedure in which a thin laser is used to heat and destroy lesions in the brain where the seizures are originating. Aetna is the third-largest health insurance provider in the country, providing medical coverage to 23.1 million people.
      Neurologists consider laser ablation, which is performed through a small hole in the skull, to be safer and more precise than traditional brain surgery, where the top portion of the skull is removed in order for doctors to operate. The procedure is less daunting for the patient and parents who make decisions for their children: No one likes the idea of a skull opened and a chunk of brain removed.
      In denying Cara her surgery, Aetna said it considers laser ablation surgery "experimental and investigational for the treatment of epilepsy because the effectiveness of this approach has not been established."
      "Clinical studies have not proven that this procedures effective for treatment of the member's condition," Aetna wrote in its rejection letter.
      The insurance company did approve her for the more invasive and more expensive open brain surgery, called a temporal lobectomy, even though her medical team never sought approval for the procedure.
      The laser surgery is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is widely recognized within the epilepsy community as an effective treatment alternative to open brain surgery, especially when the location of seizure activity can be pinpointed to a specific part of the brain.
      Dr. Jamie Van Gompel, a neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic, disputes Aetna's assessment. He is not involved in Cara's care nor Rittereiser's treatment, but he said Aetna's assessment is wrong.
      "I would not call it experimental at all," said Van Gompel, who is leading a clinical trial on the surgery at Mayo as part of a larger national study. "It's definitely not an experimental procedure. There've been thousands of patients treated with it. It's FDA-approved. There's a lot of data out there to suggest it's effective for epilepsy."
      Van Gompel said a temporal lobectomy carries a much higher risk of serious complications, including the possibility of death. "It's a big jump to go to a big invasive procedure," he said.
      Recovery time after open brain surgery can range from six to 12 weeks. By contrast, a patient who undergoes laser ablation can be back to work or at school in less than two weeks. The pain from laser surgery is much less, and extreme headaches are fewer than with open brain surgery, Van Gompel said.
      While laser ablation has not yet undergone large randomized controlled trials, Van Gompel said existing data shows it's effective more than 50% of the time. He hopes the current clinical trial will show a success rate of 60% to 70% or better in epilepsy patients. Temporal lobectomies, he said, have a slightly better rate, of more than 70%.
      Pressed by CNN for a better explanation on its denial, Aetna stood by its rejection for Cara and Rittereiser, saying it was in the best interest of the patients. But the language was softened slightly.
      Cara Pressman was 9 when her seizures started. She's had them in the classroom, on the soccer field, during softball games, on stage during plays.
      "Clinical effectiveness and our members' safety are the primary criteria we use in determining whether a treatment or service is medically necessary," Aetna said. "There is currently a limited amount of evidence-based, clinical studies related to laser ablation surgery. As noted by the Epilepsy Foundation, only studies with a very small number of participants have been used to report the effectiveness of this procedure. We consistently evaluate any new studies or additional evidence when developing our clinical policy bulletins, and will continue to do so for this procedure."
      Contacted for reaction, the Epilepsy Foundation strongly objected to Aetna's remarks, saying the insurance company took its information out of context. Laser ablation surgery "has emerged as a new minimally invasive surgical option that is best suited for patients with symptomatic localization-related epilepsy," said Dr. Jacqueline French, the chief science officer with the Epilepsy Foundation.
      "This technology is much less invasive than the alternative, which involves removing a sizeable piece of brain, at a substantially higher monetary and personal cost," French said. "This path should be available, if the treating epilepsy physician has recommended it, without delay or barriers."
      Phil Gattone, the president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, said insurance denials and other barriers to treatment have become a common battle for thousands of Americans with seizure disorders.
      Jennifer Rittereiser, 44, was denied laser ablation surgery. She was hoping the surgery would stop her seizures so she could spend more quality time with her sons.
      Jennifer Rittereiser, 44, was denied laser ablation surgery. She was hoping the surgery would stop her seizures so she could spend more quality time with her sons.
      Gattone knows first-hand the pain of what Cara's parents are going through. His own son began having seizures when he was 4 and underwent brain surgery in the early 1990s. "It was extremely challenging for our family to make a decision to remove part of our child's skull and brain for a surgery that we hoped would end the devastation of seizures that were stopping his development," Gattone said. "We took this leap of faith and made the decision, and it worked out the best for him."
      But he added that he and his wife wished laser ablation surgery had been available back then. The device used for laser ablation surgery was approved by the FDA nine years ago. "I know that my wife and I would've found much more comfort if we had had (laser ablation) as an option," he said.
      Gattone said people with seizures, their caregivers and their doctors should not be "spending critical time in the midst of a health-care crisis, filing paperwork, making appeals or otherwise going through the motions of administrative paperwork" trying to get approval for a life-changing operation.
      "The Epilepsy Foundation can understand no reason why an insurance company would place any barrier to delay a treatment that may save an individual's life, promote the development of the young child's brain or bring about seizure control," Gattone said.

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          I implore some financial/monetary genius to explain WHY the United States of America's federal government has any debt owed to the Federal Reserve, which is a private central bank. I point said financial/monetary genius to how President Lincoln financed the Civil War, using greenbacks.

          Now, I don't advocate going back to a gold standard of any commodity to back the federal currency. I simply advocate for the federal government to do what President Lincoln did during the Civil War. To control its own currency and not allow a private central bank to do so.

          It is obviously not what a currency is backed by that matters, as we currently have a fiat currency system. However, it is who controls the currency, fiat or otherwise, that matters.

          Why is this important? If the federal government controlled its own currency rather than allowing private banks to control our currency, we would have a federal budget deficit of ZERO DOLLARS, regardless of how Americans choose to spend the government's money.

          THINK ABOUT IT!




          a U.S. legal-tender note, printed in green on the back since the Civil War, originally issued against the credit of the country and not against gold or silver on deposit.

          After said financial/monetary genius criticizes or defends President Jackson's abolishment of the Second Bank of The United States, also a private central bank, that forced President Lincoln to use the full faith and credit of the United States government to back federal currency from 1861-1865, then we can address what is backing the federal currency today, and why we need to Federal Reserve, a private central bank, to do that. I suggest that we don't need the Federal Reserve, and if we did not allow them to control our currency, we would have not federal deficits.

          Since 1971, U.S. citizens have been able to utilize Federal Reserve Notes as the only form of money that for the first time had no currency with any gold or silver backing.

          This is where you get the saying that U.S. dollars are backed by the “full faith and credit”

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          Again From Jerry Coyne


              From Jerry Coyne again (not with a joke but with a painful funny):

              We wind up with a really good story:

              My ailing father - 93 years old, a victim & defeater of Nazism, a right-wing Orthodox Jew - was asked by the physician in the emergency room, seeking to ascertain his cognitive state:

              "Who's the President?"

              My dad: "You don't want to know".

              Jeez, I love my dad.

              — Daniel Seidemann (@DanielSeidemann) December 10, 2017

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              Seasonal Cheer


                  From Jerry Coyne--

                  I just remembered this one, and it's appropriate for the upcoming Christmas season.

                  The Three Wise Men, having followed the star, finally make it to Bethlehem. As they enter the stable, one of them, being tall, hits his head on the door frame.

                  "Jesus Christ!!" he shouts in pain.

                  "Hey!" said Mary, "That would be a great name for the baby!"

                  I'll be here all week, folks.

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                  5-year-old Survivor Of Texas Church Massacre Just Wants Christmas Cards Fo

                  All this little boy want for Christmas is cards well I thought who better to send a little boy some of those than all of us , he lost so much in massacre and if a simple card will brighten his day lets make his wish come true lets show that we have some heart here please.

                  5-year-old survivor of Texas church massacre just wants Christmas cards for the holidays

                  Lifestyle5 hours ago
                  Ryland Ward, 5, survived the shooting last month in Texas, but lost his stepmother and two sisters.

                  Ryland Ward, 5 years old, who lost his stepmother and sisters in the Nov. 5 church attack in Sutherland Springs, Texas, wants just one thing for the holidays this year: Christmas cards.

                  Ward, who was shot five times, remains in recovery at a Texas hospital and is expected to remain there for another six to eight weeks. He still has no idea that his stepmother and sisters were killed. His other sister, Rianna, survived the shooting.

                  “They still haven’t told him yet that his mom and sisters are dead, but I’m sure he’s kind of getting some kind of idea, because he’s 5, and they don’t come to visit him,” Ward’s grandmother told KSAT.

                  Christmas cards for Ryland have already begun pouring into his hospital room. They include well-wishes from other children and even photos of their pets. Ward’s family is asking that a $1 donation be included with each card to save up to buy Ryland a go-kart.

                  Cards can be sent to the following address:

                  Ryland Ward
                  P.O. Box 174 Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161

                  A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Ryland’s hospital bills.

                  Mental as well as physical wounds linger after the shooting, the worst in Texas history, after they unfolded back in November.

                  On the morning of Nov. 5, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley walked towards the First Baptist Church wearing black tactical gear and carrying a semi-automatic rifle. He began firing even before walking through the door and once inside, methodically executed the parishioners, leaving 26 dead and another 20 wounded.

                  Kelley was shot twice after exiting the church by former NRA firearms instructor Stephen Willeford. Willeford, armed with an AR-15 style rifle, had been in the area and responded to the sounds of gunfire.

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                  Women Strong

                  how many people think Trump is mentally stable to be President and why when so many are getting fired for sexual misconduct is he still our President that say women are below us yet we are stronger women are strong and for those of you weak enough to believe him I feel sorry for you because you will become a victim of his lies

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                  Fake News--"War On Christmas"


                      Nelson Price--Fake News

                      Dear Editor (of the Marietta [GA] Daily Journal),

                      Newspaper columnists and theistic apologists like Nelson Price ("Christmas is Coming,'" MDJ, 10 December--see below for full text) want attention and seek to persuade, as is appropriate. But Price continues to engage not just in proselytizing but in "fake news" and in seriously misleading statements.

                      Most if not all of the claims he makes related to a war on Christmas are bogus. Courts have held that nativity displays that appear to imply endorsement of a religion (creches on a courthouse lawn unaccompanied by non-Christian displays, for example) are prohibited but none has "outlawed" or "banned" saying "Merry Christmas" or eating candy canes, etc. Stores and clerks in them may say "Happy Holidays" in an effort to be more inclusive, but no law or ordinance requires this.

                      Price declares that "Christmas in reality is all about Jesus' birth." This is false, and many Christians acknowledge that it is. There is no source, including the Bible, that even hints at a winter birth for Jesus, and the celebration of it at a season celebrated for hundreds of years related to the winter solstice or the alleged birth of the sun God, Mithra, was meant to draw in non-Christians, not to represent the allegedly historical birth of Jesus. This Christian co-opting of pagan holidays led to the only real banning of celebrating Christmas on what is now American soil--by Christians. In 1659, the Puritan lawmakers issued an edict forbidding such celebration in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.*

                      If Nelson Price and other Christians want to have faith and religious beliefs with no rational foundation, that is their right. But Price's perorations continue to make his religion look silly and dishonest, not profound.


                      Ed B.
                      ED BUCKNER Smyrna GA
                      Author (with Michael E. Buckner) of In Freedom We Trust: An Atheist Guide to Religious Liberty (Prometheus Books, 2012)

                      * https://www.snopes.com/2017/11/29/the-war-on-christmas/

                      His column:
                      NELSON PRICE: Christmas is coming

                      We are about to engage in what is becoming the stealth celebration of Christ’s birth.

                      Government should not be expected to be the propaganda arm of Christianity or any religion. Government is not to establish a religion nor is it to prohibit the free exercise of it. The Supreme Court has let stand a lower court’s ruling that schools may recognize religious holidays “if the purpose is to provide secular instruction about religious traditions rather than to promote the particular religion involved.”

                      No court has ever ruled that singing carols at school is unconstitutional.

                      I believe in the separation of the institutions of church and state. It is a valid and vital precept.

                      For fear of the Christ child whose birth most Americans celebrate extremes are practiced. His name for some is the only unmentionable one in schools.

                      In Fayette County, Kentucky, school bus drivers were warned not to wish the children “Merry Christmas.” “Happy holidays,” or “Merry solstice” or even “Hail winter” are OK.

                      In Philadelphia they are allowed to say “Happy Sparkle Season.”

                      In West Orange, New Jersey, the high school dean reprimanded students for singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” on school property. It is alright to sing a rap song about killing cops, but not any of this merry stuff.

                      Schools in Scarsdale, New York, forbade “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snow Man.” Is Frosty a threat to separation of church and state? Envision “Saint Frosty.”

                      Candy canes are also outlawed. They look too much like a shepherd’s staff. Trees are allowed if called “unity trees” or “giving trees.”

                      Some schools have put a wrap on Santa Claus because the legend is based on a fourth-century saint. He has about as much to do with a Christian Christmas as Bugs Bunny has with Easter.

                      In some local schools, they have banned the use of green and red decorations. What do these colors have to do with separation of church and state? Are they afraid someone will convert to green or become a devotee of red?

                      Christmas in reality is all about Jesus’ birth. Christians believe that in the person of Jesus Christ, God left footprints in the sand of the Judean desert. He cast a shadow on the streets of Jerusalem. He stained the grey stones of Calvary with His blood as a demonstration of His love for us.

                      A few years ago, my family and I were walking around New York City on the eve of our first trip to the Bible Land. Christmas was only days away. As we walked, we gawked at the beauty of the “Big Apple” decorated for Christmas.

                      We paused a few moments in the cold to view a replica of the nativity characters on display in front of America’s richest church. You may have seen it. It is dwarfed by the skyscrapers that surround it on Wall Street. Years ago, Queen Ann gave to Trinity Episcopal Church 250 acres of her farm on Manhattan Island. Today, Wall Street runs through that tract of land. The church owns 29 of the largest buildings on Wall Street. There in front of the richest church in America was a simple depiction of the first Christmas. We studied each of the figures until at last our gaze focused on the cradle. Something was missing. Someone had taken the figurine depicting the Christ child. Christ was missing from the Christmas scene. Don’t you leave Him out.

                      The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.

                      How wishing people "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" came to be regarded as an act of war.

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                      The State Of The USA


                          My optimism of America has disappeared and , in my opinion, action needs to be taken by the people that Grassley calls the ones who spend money on women and deserve no breaks while the billionaires deserve more giveaways. I was hoping that this rodent in the White House would be impeached and imprisoned, but seeing Sens Collins, Alexander, Murkowski, Flake, McCain and others who pretend to be opposed to the rodent's agenda crawl in bed with the rodent on this tax boondoggle proves to me we will get no help from these traitors when we need it. Perhaps a situation like the American Revolution, where these little people rise up against these terrorists running Washington is the only solution. I see no other hope for America than an armed rebellion against these terrorists and thugs running the country. Otherwise, if we wait for action from the voters, it will be too late and the country will be totally destroyed. Just an opinion from a person who loved America until it was taken over by the cockroaches and rodents now running the once great nation.

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