Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have been following news coverage of Ruth Madoff, wife of Bernie Madoff who was just sentenced to jail for 150 years for running the century’s largest Ponzi scheme. The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz mocked her non-apology apology. The Post’s Michelle Singletary asked a good question: Should Ruth Madoff have been allowed to keep $2.5 million she claims was not related to the scheme? Also, how much blame, if any, should the wife of a criminal carry?

Also in the Washington Post: Here is a tragic reminder to be extra vigilant around young children and swimming pools as it is summer.

Kim Gandy, who heads the National Organization for Women, wrote an awesome column on why, preferably-single payer, publicly funded health care coverage is ideal for all women. Also, in case you missed NOW’s newsletter: Terry O’Neill, who served as NOW’s vice president from 2001 to 2005, will succeed Gandy as president on July 21.

Cary Tennis had a LOL column on why children are not legally able to own homes.

Slate ran a column on how to start your own non-profit.

Anne Fitten Glenn — aka “Edgy Mama” — described the heartache and adrenaline rush that is losing a child in public. Luckily, she found her 4-year-old son, who was lost at the airport for about 15 minutes. Has this happened to you?

Actress Kelly Preston is expected to speak about the loss of her son, Jett Travolta, on a panel called “Grief and Resilience” at the annual Conference for Women in October, according to Entertainment Tonight.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


24 thoughts on “Friday Morning Open Thread

  1. gluten intolerance?

    Hey wise women (and a few men)! My mother just tested positive for gluten intolerance (after a year or so of intestinal problems and various endoscopies and therapies). I know it’s genetic and that I should probably be tested. I don’t really have the symptoms, but the list is pretty all-encompassing, so I feel like anyone could have at least some of the symptoms some of the time! I get very skeptical about these things in general (they seem to come in flavours of the month)…but I know that isn’t really fair.

    Does anyone have experience with gluten intolerance and feeling like shedding some light on it all? My mother is freaking out and convinced that we all have it, and that every complaint we ever had is due to us being gluten intolerant as well. sigh…

    • No personal experience

      but I’ve read some of the literature because many parents of children with autism test a gluten-free diet as part of their intervention.

      The “good news” is that it is fairly easy to find gluten-free items in the grocery store in the US (can’t vouch for Oz) and online.  That means it’s an easy theory to test, and if you are intolerant, it’s not hard to maintain the diet.

      As for the test, if you eat gluten-free for a while (two weeks or so, I think) you should see a difference in whatever symptoms are associated with it.  Parents who have done this with their kids report a decrease in symptoms within days, and that they can tell when there’s been an accidental “slip” (e.g., day care let kid eat a cookie).

      • Second that

        I know nothing about gluten intolerance, but gluten-free is everywhere!  Foods I would have thought were made of pure gluten are somehow gluten-free.  It’s a great time to be gluten intolerant.  Thanks, Elisabeth Hasselback!

    • some experience

      I’m assuming that your mom has celiac disease, since that’s usually the cause of gluten intolerance.  My mother was diagnosed with this about ten years ago, which would have made her around 55.  Within the next few years, three of her siblings (older and younger) and her mother (late 70s) were also diagnosed.  I believe they’d all had some symptoms for years, but celiac wasn’t well known and isn’t easily diagnosed without a biopsy, so no one thought anything of it.  My grandma was convinced she was lactose-intolerant, and my mother had been eating crackers for years with wine because she thought the acid in the wine made her throw up.  Turned out it wasn’t the wine, it was the crackers!

      No one in my family has an intensely brutal case–there are some folks who REALLY cannot eat a crumb of wheat or similar products lest they die, but my mother, for instance, doesn’t worry about wheat in soy sauce and seems to suffer no ill effects from it.  Her youngest sister, who has her own problems after pancreatitis several years ago, has yet to show the celiac symptoms (she’s now 52).

      For me–so far, so good.  I don’t know if the symptoms will show up when I’m older–I’m hoping not, because pairing celiac with my  vegetarian husband and picky-carby kids will make cooking family meals virtually impossible.  I think you’re OK at this point if you’re not really bothered on a regular basis by what could be symptoms, but just keep your eyes open and maybe cut out gluten as a test like Sue suggested if you get scared.  Like I said, I don’t think they can test conclusively without a biopsy and that may be more intrusive than you’d want.

      • From what I’ve been able to research..

        (and the internet is full of biased crazy people on this subject!), about 15% of people in the US are gluten intolerant, but only 0.5% have coeliac disease. So you are more likely to be simply intolerant (which has fewer long term, serious effects) than to have coeliacs. Mom has intolerance, but no markers for coeliacs (done by blood test), and doesn’t want the extra endoscopy to find out for sure. She’s been on the gluten free diet for a week and feels much she’s happy with the result.

        I might get the blood test for the antibodies the next time I’m at the doctor’s….but I’m not keen on the restricted diet without reason. Although I was thinking about it last night, and realised that I don’t really do a lot of gluten anyway. I don’t like sandwiches, cereals or crackers very much. Breakfast is a smoothie or oat porridge. Lunch is usually leftovers, but I’ll buy sushi or teriyaki if I forget. Dinner is generally fairly gluten free, with a pasta dish once a week or so. Maybe I did this subconsciously on purpose? Weird.

        • i bet you did-

          Maybe I did this subconsciously on purpose?

          i think lots of times kids who are picky eaters are protecting themselves from food allergies.  my husband gets mad at me for being so relaxed about what the kids eat or don’t, but i just can’t force people to eat food.

    • My son’s girlfriend

      was diagnosed with this several months ago.  For whatever reason, there is a crusade mentality put into people with the diagnosis of this.  I’m sure it makes people feel quite unwell, but I’ve heard the “but it’s extremely dangerous to leave this untreated” if one even has a slight case of it with odd and end symptoms.  I’m not sure I buy that.  My daughter, who works in a pediatric office, says that they get people in all the time who come with this mentality and that the doctors don’t buy into these more drastic scenarios, either.

      I do know that my son’s girlfriend does better with the gluten free diet.  So, I guess if eating that way makes you feel better, well, that’s good.  You should do so.  It is a difficult diet, and I often feel bad because she’ll be here with us during meals and won’t be able to eat half the food.  She’s found that Kroger carries a really decent line of gluten free products that offers a fairly wide variety of different options.  I’m the last person in the world that should be skeptical, but sometimes, when she’s accidentally had a sauce or something with her food that contains a small amount of gluten and becomes so sick within an hour that she needs driven home, well….she lived with gluten in her diet until a few short months ago….

      • To be fair to the girlfriend

        I believe there is a progressive nature to it. It’s basically an allergy, and we all understand that allergies can be mild on early exposures and get more severe over time. This may be the case with her.

        When I was very sick, one of the things we tried was a gluten-free diet. It did not make a difference for me, which was nice. But, on the good side, I did discover a lot of new foods and recipes, some of which I still use. It is not that hard to do – a meat, a veggie, and rice – that’s a very common meal, and it’s gluten free if cooked from scratch.

        The reason it evokes the crusade is because people who have it have felt just ucky for a very long time, but in a nondescript way that no one ever pinpointed. Removing the gluten makes them feel WAY better. If you’ve had that revelation, you don’t want anyone else to have that experience.

        • I do understand that.

          I’ve dealt with poorly understood health problems myself, and as soon as I wrote that, I felt rather bad about it.  

          Our dietary problem comes with my family’s love of all things pasta.  Seems like everytime the girlfriend is over, that’s what we’re having for dinner.  Guess I’m going to have to invest in buying some gluten free pasta to keep on hand.  To make matters more complicated, my other son’s wife can’t eat red meat…she has an inherited enzyme deficiency that makes it very difficult to digest.  So, this can make preparing large family occasions quite challenging!  

          • gluten free pasta-

            my stepson is w/ us now, and i boil up a big thing of gluten free pasta for him, but put the extra in the freezer in smaller portions- i toss it in olive oil or butter first

            otherwise it’s too overwhelming for me to make two batches of pasta at once

            i was pleasantly surprised this morning when i went to ocean state job lots- do they have those in ohio?

            anyway, gluten free pasta is usually very pricey, but they had some at only $1.69 a pound- that’s way less than half of what i usually pay

            i also bought a bunch of gluten free flours and mixes there- we make pizza all the time here, but haven’t since josh got here about a month ago.  but they had a gluten free pizza dough mix- so it’s pizza night again- finally.

          • Well, the multiple considerations

            would get old.

            Still: Chicken, braised string beans, a salad, and rice, and you’re golden! :-)

            • I should seriously raise chickens.

              That’s how much we go through.  Definitely our fall back food.   Thanksgiving and Christmas is great…turkey works for everyone!

              • I want to.

                Although I’m not sure I’d have the heart to kill them.  Shenanigans, have you eaten any of yours, or just the eggs?

                • Yeah…don’t think I could do it.

                  My mother grew up in a rural area in the 1930’s.  They, like everyone else at the time, kept their own chickens.  Even being raised with it, she could never do the killing.  Made her older sister do it.

                  • We did it.

                    When I was a child. Thirty or so at a time. I still have nightmares of chickens running around with their heads cut off, the “bleeding tree” (where the chickens would hang upside down to drain the blood), and endless hours of plucking feathers.

                    That’s it. Vegetarian for the week.

                • Just eggs

                  My friend who lives in Paso Robles says there’s a USDA slaughterhouse nearby who will process your chickens for $1.50 apiece. That would be a fairly attractive deal.

                  I really need to at least get familiar with the process, I think. I have a friend who has offered to let me come help, but the days haven’t worked out.

                  The idea of killing an animal isn’t attractive, but I think it’s more honest than just buying them in shrink wrap and pretending that’s not the same thing.

      • I hear you on the crusade.

        Mom has me totally freaked out now. And she’s freaking out my sister (who wants to have a baby soonish), and telling her that it causes small babies and miscarriages. Which it does. But neither my other sister or I had any problems, so it doesn’t seem like a good reason to panic!

        • Yes.

          I’m a “no-panic” type of person.  There’s so much we don’t understand about so many medical conditions.  I choose to look at the bigger picture.    I had clear, although undiagnosed, autonomic dysfunction for my entire life.  Despite what I can look back and see as problematic, I managed to lead a fairly normal life, including the bearing of seven children, for nearly four decades.   None of us are without genetic booby traps.  I think, in our modern day obsession with all-things-genetic, it would do us good to recognize this.

  2. Just wanted to mention

    the hilarity of that Cary Tennis piece.  Thanks for the laugh, Elisa.  It will serve as a great beginning to my day.  I can already tell it will be a good one.

  3. Actually, Cary is wrong

    a kid CAN own a house, most likely in the situation where it is inherited or otherwise gifted – but a kid cannot SELL a house. That could be mighty inconvenient.

  4. On Ruth Madoff

    Sure, she didn’t do anything wrong and it’s not fair.

    But the same goes for all the people and foundations and the people who worked for those people and foundations.

    Ruth invested her energy and money with her husband just as they did. She shouldn’t end up any better off than they do.

  5. On health care

    something I didn’t appreciate is that if you’re younger than your husband, getting your insurance through your spouse’s job, and your spouse converts to medicare, suddenly you could find yourself without the ability to buy insurance in that ever-popular 55-65 age range. Lovely.

    • Thank you.

      This, along with similar situations, is what’s really frustrating me about the whole health care dialogue thus far.  We must find a way to make sure that those over 50 can get coverage that they can afford.  If we just “tweak” the existing system, I really don’t see this being addressed at all.  People in their forties and fifties are generally considered to be at peak earning levels, but if that age related affluence is all sucked up into obtaining health care coverage, it will be a disaster on the over all economy.  What’s going to happen if we’re all sick and broke by the time we’re 55?

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