Opinion

Trishna’s tidbits
Modern musings by Trishna Buch

I’m going to eat more healthily. I’m going to work out more. I’m going to stop going to bed late at night. I’m going to spend more time away from my electronics. That’s right – it’s new-year resolution time.
We’ve all made them but the harsh truth for most of us is that they hardly, if ever, work. And the reason for that is our attitude towards them. The attitude that, if we fail within their first few days,
we ultimately decide to quit. I am especially guilty of that.
Take, for example, 2016, when I made a resolution to eat better and work out more regularly. I wrote a meal plan, an exercise chart and even purchased workout clothes.
I cut out all junk foods, ate only fruits and vegetables and went running every day.
That lasted a week and, by the following Monday, I was scarfing down chocolate bars and Pringles and feeling too lethargic to move from the couch. So what did I say about my new-year resolution? “Oh well, I tried. Maybe next year is my year.”
What a horrible attitude to admit. But that is exactly the problem with new-year resolutions –believing that not conquering your challenge within the first few days dooms you
to failure. Making the resolution as a way to quit a bad habit or improve one’s lifestyle is not something that can be solved in a few days; it requires time, hard work and patience.
Let’s go back to my own example. Towards the end of last year, I realized, again, that I needed to move about more and improve upon my eating habits. So I did the same thing I had done at the end of 2015 – I made a resolution to improve my health.
However, this time, I did not call it a new-year resolution. I simply told myself that, by the end of 2017, I want to see a decent amount of progress.
That is step one to conquering the new-year resolution issue. Don’t think of it as a resolution for this particular new year; think of it as a lifestyle change you can carry with you for all the years to come.
After I made this new lifestyle resolution, I also made a tentative food and workout plan – but with a difference. As opposed to 2016, when my plan was strict and rigid, this time I left the plan open so that, if I indulged
in candies or missed a workout, I didn’t immediately feel that I had failed.
Step two – allow a little wiggle room, especially when you are just getting started.
The third step is to take your resolution slowly, never giving up and understanding that, at times, you will slip up.
Our resolutions are not meant to be solved in a day, a week or even a month. When you have had a certain habit for many years – be it sleeping at 3:00am, drinking every Friday evening or eating
a dessert after every meal – it is difficult to break, so it’s important to pace yourself and not feel guilty if you make mistakes.
I know – I’m still making plenty of mistakes. Within the first few days of the start of my journey to a healthier me, I had eaten a slice of Mississippi mud pie, a few cookies, a few crackers and some chocolate.
The 2016 me would have immediately given up. But the 2017 me knows that, aside from eating all of this junk, I have been doing my workouts, loading up on the healthy foods and accepting that this
is a long-term process.
And the best part about food? Moderation is key. So, while there are some foods I can easily cut out of my diet, there are others that I cannot – chocolate being the biggest culprit. So, after spending all day eating fruits, vegetables and protein, I am going to enjoy another piece of pie.
For my resolution, and all resolutions, it’s not about deprivation and elimination – it’s about moderation and
a slow pace.

Poor state of affairs for so many seniors

Abuse, in any form, is a serious issue. Whether it’s child abuse, animal abuse or domestic violence, we all know that it is harmful, belittling and unacceptable. But there’s one type of abuse that does not receive the attention it needs – abuse of the elderly. Indeed, it is believed that, by 2029, more than a fifth of the world’s population will be people older than 65, many of them suffering elder abuse.elderly-abuse
According to a study by financial-advice website WalletHub, 96 per cent of elder-abuse cases go unreported and it can affect some five million people a year.
Unfortunately, many states are not fighting hard enough to stop such abuse. This is disturbing because, of all of the world’s citizens, our seniors deserve to feel safe and protected.
To reach their conclusions, the WalletHub analysts measured abuse prevalence, resources and prevention in each of the 50 states and the district of Columbia. These three dimensions were evaluated by taking into account each state’s share of elder abuse, complaints
of gross neglect and exploitation, expenditure on elder-abuse prevention per senior resident, nursing-homes quality, the presence of elder-abuse forensic centers and five other factors.
And how did Texas fare? Overall, our state came in a mediocre 23rd, with low scores in four of the 10 factors. The state was rated 50th in the quality of its nursing homes, 49th in its number of eldercare organizations and services per senior resident, 45th in its total expenditure on elder-abuse prevention and 41st in the funding of its total long-term-care ombudsman program.
The state was ranked 15th in the number of seniors’ complaints about elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation and 19th in the number of its certified volunteer ombudsmen per senior resident.
The study’s top three places for elder-abuse protection were the district of Columbia, Nevada and Massachusetts, while its bottom three were California, Wyoming and South Carolina.
This study has taught me one thing – that, until all citizens are protected,
we have failed as a society. That might be a blunt statement but sometimes bluntness is the only way to get
a point across. So the next time you witness any type of elder abuse, say something.
The bystander effect is a common problem in our world – the idea that someone else will solve the problem. Don’t leave it to someone else; solve it yourself. Because, no matter our age now, we all grow old.
Bottom line? Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.

Images by MGN

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Time to throw off Democrat shackles

THE AMERICAN people sent a clear message in November – Republican lawmakers have run out
of excuses for failing to pass conservative reforms.
With a near super majority in both chambers during Texas’ 85th legislative session, Republicans should have no problem passing the conservative reforms Texans have demanded for years. But they should have had no problems last session – and the one before that.
Will Republican lawmakers continue to enable the Democrats’ house-of-representatives coalition that has for years thrown up road blocks, slow-played and flat out killed conservative priorities, or will they finally listen to the people they claim to represent?
Consistent with our guiding principles, Empower Texans has identified 15 key legislative priorities for the legislative session.
Legislators will receive extra credit for authoring
or sponsoring legislation that advances these priorities and receives an up-or-down vote on the floor of their respective chamber.
Michael Quinn Sullivan
President
EmpowerTexans
Austin

Celebrate our school choice this month

AS 2017 PROMISES to bring new growth to educational opportunity around the country, tens of millions of parents, teachers, students, citizens and community leaders are planning celebrations during National School Choice Week.national-school-choice-week-logo
From January 22-28, a total of 21,392 independently-planned events will take place including pep rallies, science fairs, school tours, policy forums and rallies in all 50 states over just seven days.
Of these events, 16,758 are planned by schools, 2,168 by homeschooling groups and 1,358 by chambers of commerce, most focusing on themes such as parent information, registration and workforce readiness.
Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week, says that National School Choice Week “provides a unique opportunity for Americans to join together on an issue that impacts all of us, educational opportunity”. He encourages us to “stand up for increased choice and access where it doesn’t yet exist”.
National School Choice Week is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort that was first celebrated in 2011 with 150 events. More people search on Google for “school choice” during the week than at any other time of the year. For more information, go online to news.schoolchoiceweek.com or facebook.com/schoolchoiceweek.
Shelby Doyle
Communications director
National School Choice Week
Washington, DC

The views and opinions expressed by our contributors are their own and do not necessarily agree with those of
The Post newspaper

Hamilton, Lee               Lee Hamilton

Washington watch with Lee Hamilton

As hard as last year’s presidential-election campaign might have been and the governmental transition is proving to be, Donald Trump’s challenges are really just beginning. Governing after a toxic election in which the results awarded him an ambiguous national mandate – his opponent, after all, won almost three million more votes – will require finesse, a clear-eyed view of his role in the world and no small amount of luck.
There is no question that Trump and the Republican majority in congress will be in firm control of the government, able to call the shots on policy, and that cooperation between the president and congress should be far more assured than it has been for the past six years.government-money
But, even under these circumstances, he will soon find that the commitments and promises made during the campaign are going to be very hard to carry out. His number-one priority almost certainly is going to be rebuilding US economic power. A great many of the people who voted for him did so because they expect him to produce more good jobs, better incomes and better economic opportunity.
But he faces great difficulties on that front – gross inequalities of income and opportunity, persistent poverty, a decaying infrastructure, a challenging education system, a healthcare system that, even after reform, remains expensive and often ineffective, and rapid technological and global changes that make it harder for people without a college education
to find work. To say nothing of a slow-moving congress and an entrenched bureaucracy.
Most Americans are not getting ahead and they know it. Trump’s supporters might grant him a grace period in which to fix all this but economic dissatisfaction will persist.
Other domestic issues addressed in his campaign will prove no easier to pursue.
He began to moderate his position on replacing Obamacare within days of winning the election. He has not set out a comprehensive alternative – simply keeping the popular parts and jettisoning the rest, which he suggested he might do, is not an acceptable or workable option. Which leaves open the question of how to insure the 20 million people who gained coverage under Obamacare. Trump has suggested he’d support health savings accounts, allow insurers to sell policies across state lines and would also like to convert Medicaid from an entitlement program into a block grant, proposals certain to arouse fierce opposition.
He has made clear that he wants to enact large tax cuts, especially on businesses – while at the same time spending billions on infrastructure. The path to tax cuts is clear – members of congress like to vote for tax decreases. However, most evaluations of Trump’s policy proposals suggest that deficits will explode under his program.
He has talked about offsetting some of that revenue by eliminating or limiting loopholes and tax deductions but that has been standard rhetoric in Washington for years and it has never been carried out with any effectiveness. We’ll see how much stomach congress and the country have for sending deficits spiraling upward.
Other Trump programs – slashing regulations on financial institutions, on worker protections and on environmental impacts –will also arouse much opposition.
It’s worth remembering the words of Harold Macmillan, who was once asked what he most feared as Great Britain’s prime minister. “Events, dear boy, events,” he replied. Surprises will come along that interrupt even the best-tended plans and buttress or destroy a president’s standing in the blink of an eye. The senate, in particular, is only precariously balanced in Trump’s favor and it won’t take much for Democrats to brake or stymie his initiatives.
As a candidate, he effectively captured the discontent and anger of many Americans. He upended the political order with a new brand of politics and policies. My guess is that he is on a steep learning curve, having underestimated the difficulties and overestimated his capabilities to deal with them. We should all extend him the benefit of the doubt and see how his presidency unfolds before becoming judgmental.
Lee Hamilton, who was a member of the US house of representatives for 34 years, is a senior adviser for Indiana University’s center on representative government, a distinguished scholar at the university’s school of global and international studies and a professor of practice at its school of public and environmental affairs.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 07/19/13-HOLLIS071813CH-Mark Hollis, July 18, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

By guest writer Mark Hollis

When state lawmakers convene tomorrow, Monday, for their 2017 legislative session, AARP Texas will be there to pursue an agenda that includes strengthening nursing-home quality, easing stress for family caregivers, helping millions of Texans save for retirement and protecting seniors from financial exploitation.
AARP’s nonpartisan legislative priorities also include a focus on eliminating surprise medical bills and advocating for the 50-plus community to ensure that insurance costs are reasonable, coverage is reliable and utility services are affordable and dependable.
The 85th legislature will address major budget and policy considerations that are sure to have significant impact on older Texans. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, includes 2.3 million Texans aged 50 and older in its membership of almost 38 million Americans.
During the legislative session, AARP Texas’ director, Bob Jackson, and advocacy manager, Rob Schneider, will lead a team of policy experts who know their way around the capitol and volunteers like AARP Texas president Charlene James will often be present during the 140-day proceedings.
Here’s an overview of some of the issues that they will be discussing with legislators:
Nursing homes: Texans deserve high-quality care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, the quality of care in Texas nursing homes – where roughly 93,000 people currently reside – is below par and the potential for harm to their residents is too great.
AARP supports a number of reforms that would hold the state’s more than 1,200 nursing homes accountable for harming residents, would enforce and escalate penalties for repeat offenses and would help Texas regain control of nursing-home regulation.
Family caregiver training: More than three million Texans are caring for a parent, spouse or other loved one as an unpaid caregiver. AARP Texas urges lawmakers to enact the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable act, known as CARE. The proposal would ensure that caregivers know what to do to safely look after a loved one when they return home after a hospital stay.
Caregiver respite programs: AARP Texas supports funding for programs that give family caregivers a break to visit the doctor themselves, go to the store or attend a child’s school program. It’s an important and cost-effective way to help caregivers look after their own physical and emotional health.
Care services: Home- and community-based care services provide seniors and patients with disabilities the care they need without forcing them into costly nursing homes. Funding these services and paying a fair wage to the attendants who provide such care helps older Texans stay in their own homes longer.
Retirement security: To encourage individual responsibility in saving, AARP Texas supports a legislative “work and save” proposal that would create a website to connect employers and workers with low-cost savings plans that allow voluntary payroll deduction and let workers take their savings to their next job. Action is needed because today more than five million Texans don’t have access to a workplace savings plan.
Financial exploitation: Texas lawmakers can reduce this growing type of elder abuse in the state by creating more community coordination centers to help exploitation victims, strengthening adult-protective-services laws and training and empowering financial professionals to identify and stop potential exploitation before it happens.
Surprise medical bills: AARP Texas seeks to protect people from such bills because their unexpected costs can drive even insured families into financial hardship. The legislature can work to keep consumers out of billing disputes between insurers and doctors and it can allow patients of neighborhood emergency clinics the right to challenge any surprise medical bills.
Mark Hollis is the communications and outreach director
at AARP Texas.

keleman-george-2017                     George Keleman

By guest writer George Keleman

Texas Retailers Association, which represents more than 320,000 retail establishments and more than 3.5 million jobs across the state, has prepared a list of priorities for the 85th Texas legislature, which begins tomorrow, Monday.
The association, also known as TRA, supports all levels of Texas retailing, including grocery-store chains and single-location small businesses. It has listed three areas in which it hopes to see legislative action.
Inventory property tax: It is time for relief and repeal of this law. Texas is one of only seven states that allow local property taxes to be assessed on retail inventories. The other six – Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia – are not states with which Texas normally competes for new business and economic-development opportunities.
Additionally, inventory property-tax relief is not selective; it benefits large and small businesses equally and attracts greater investment in the Texas economy.
Business regulation: TRA member companies are regulated, licensed, inspected and taxed by agencies in Texas and appreciate the legislature’s efforts to continue to provide a business-friendly regulatory environment and make Texas retail friendly.
The association supports regulation that is manageable and allows its members to provide excellent customer service and top-quality products for continuing success in the state’s retail industry.
TRA appreciates the various approaches its members take to providing these services and supports their efforts to make those choices independently without unnecessary regulatory burdens.
Supplemental nutrition: All TRA members want to provide the best service to their customers and communities and do so in a variety of ways. Many TRA members participate in SNAP, the supplemental nutrition and assistance program, and want to do so as effectively and efficiently as possible to maximize customer experiences.
Ensuring product availability, particularly of fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutritious food items, to our customers while also allowing retailers to manage their employees and inventories is essential in this process.
To do so, TRA will advocate expanding the SNAP distribution schedule from its current 15 days per month to 28 days. This will provide both customers and businesses with more even and predictable shopping experiences throughout the state.
The association looks forward to working with the state’s lawmakers on these important priorities on behalf of our retail community during the 85th legislative session.
George Keleman is president and chief executive of Texas Retailers Association.