AMAC Advantage

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Trace Your Genealogy • Visit Historic Charleston, SC Have a Heart-Healthy Year • Consider Going Solar


The magazine of the Association of Mature American Citizens

The Greatest

Medical Care

in the World




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Publisher’s Letter


ear Reader,

Welcome to the second edition of AMAC Advantage. In this issue, we focus on America’s great health care system. Statistics clearly show the more education you have, the better your health will be. As you learn more about healthy living, preventive medicine, and health care in general, you increase your chances of staying in good health. Our feature article takes a look at advances in our health-care system over the last century. Is Michael Moore right—is our health care system Sicko—or is Mr. Moore guilty of sick thinking? AMAC Advantage will carry a regular section on Health, to focus on this important issue and find ways we can continue to improve our health-care system for all Americans. We would like to thank Steve Levy, the County Executive from Suffolk County on Long Island, for his thoughtful letter to our Association.

It’s nice to know the 1.3 million citizens of Suffolk County have an elected official who is willing to listen and respond to the people. In 2008 we’ll strive to increase our membership and to be your advocate on issues affecting your well-being. AMAC is expanding into Florida this year. Our first chapter is located in central Florida, between Ocala and Leesburg, just north of Orlando. Watch us grow! Best regards,

Dan Weber, Publisher P.S. Please tell a friend or neighbor about AMAC. For the first part of 2008, we’ll be offering a oneyear Free Membership to new members. (See the membership ad in this issue, or visit our website,





The magazine of the Association of Mature American Citizens

2 Publisher’s Letter 5 Money

Leave a living legacy

7 Health

Have a heart-healthy 2008

Page 18 Daniel C. Weber Publisher

Consider going solar

10 Food

Rebecca Weber Keiffert Associate Publisher

Satisfying soups and stews

Gary J. Christiansen Production Director

13 Commentary

AMAC publisher Dan Weber comments on our nation’s health-care system

Bill Terpenny Advertising (contact) David G. Weber Account Executive

16 Genealogy

David G. Weber Gary J Christiansen Web Developers Gary J. Christiansen Contact for Membership

9 Home


Start at home to track your family’s roots

20 Travel

Rebecca Weber Keiffert Editorial Inquiries

America’s Historic Cities: Charleston, SC

22 Essay

Association of Mature American Citizens

Thoughts from Brother Juniper

5 Orville Drive Bohemia, New York 11716 631-589-6675

23 Did You Know?

Produced for AMAC by Footprint Media Custom Publishing

Tidbits to think about


24 Parting Thought

Media inc

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Page 9

Words of inspiration


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Leave them a Legacy How $10,000 left for your grandchild can turn into $1 million


ow would you like to leave your grandchild $1 million dollars tax-free? By taking advantage of

two simple ideas you can easily do just that. Most of us would love to leave a financial nest egg for our grandchildren. The problem is we don’t have enough money to do all the things we would like to. Here is a way to use a Roth IRA and put time on your side so your grandkids can be receiving money from you for each year of their life. The key reason the following projections result in such high numbers is because of the effect of compound interest over a long period of time. Another point of this example is to demonstrate

how it is possible to take advantage of legitimate provisions in the tax code and use them wisely. Unlike most retirement funds, a Roth IRA doesn’t have to be paid out in your lifetime (it’s not subject to mandatory distributions). The money must be distributed over your beneficiary’s lifetime. In other words, you could leave a relatively small sum to a grandchild—and your grandchild could inherit a windfall. Take a look at the following chart, which shows how you can leave your 6-yearold grandchild $10,000 in a Roth IRA and how your grandchild could receive over 1 million tax-free dollars in their lifetime.

MINIMUM DISTRIBUTION CALCULATOR • 9.25% Expected Plan Growth • $10,000.00 Current Plan Balance Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033

Beneficiary Age 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31


Plan Balance Amount $10,000.00 $10,925.00 $11,935.56 $13,039.60 $14,245.77 $15,563.50 $17,003.12 $18,575.91 $20,294.18 $22,171.39 $23,859.64 $25,670.51 $27,612.24 $29,693.54 $31,923.63 $34,312.22 $36,869.55 $39,606.41 $42,534.11 $45,664.57 $49,010.22 $52,584.10 $56,399.81 $60,471.50 $64,813.88 $69,442.19

Paid to Beneficiary (Grandchild) $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $331.91 $362.61 $396.15 $432.79 $472.83 $516.56 $564.35 $616.55 $673.58 $735.88 $803.95 $878.32 $959.56 $1,048.32 $1,145.29 $1,251.23 $1,366.97

Year 2034 2035 2036 2037 2038 2039 2040 2041 2042 2043 2044 2045 2046 2047 2048 2049 2050 2051 2052 2053 2054 2055 2056 2057 2058 2059

Beneficiary Age 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Plan Balance Amount $74,372.17 $79,620.04 $85,202.42 $91,136.28 $97,438.90 $104,127.72 $111,220.26 $118,733.98 $126,686.10 $135,127.07 $142,163.82 $149,851.47 $158,250.23 $167,425.88 $177,450.27 $188,401.92 $200,366.60 $213,438.01 $227,718.53 $243,319.99 $260,364.59 $278,985.82 $299,329.51 $299,704.99 $300,115.20 $300,563.35

• One single deposit of $10,000 is made into a Roth IRA with your 6-year-old grandchild as the beneficiary. • The funds earn 9.25% each year (i.e. the S&P 50 year average). • The donor dies nine years after the plan is set up and the beneficiary begins collecting the minimum distribution at age 15. • The beneficiary starts collecting more than the minimum required, beginning at age 40. The above example works out the way it does because the grandchild (the beneficiary) leaves most of the funds in the IRA instead of raiding it and losing future growth. While it is possible to leave instructions with the beneficiary

Paid to Beneficiary (Grandchild) $1,493.42 $1,631.56 $1,782.48 $1,947.36 $2,127.49 $2,324.28 $2,539.28 $2,774.16 $3,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00

BenePlan ficiary Balance Age Amount Year 2060 58 $301,052.96 2061 59 $301,587.86 2062 60 $302,172.24 2063 61 $302,810.67 2064 62 $303,508.16 2065 63 $304,270.16 2066 64 $305,102.65 2067 65 $306,012.15 2068 66 $307,005.77 2069 67 $308,091.30 2070 68 $309,277.25 2071 69 $310,572.90 2072 70 $311,988.39 2073 71 $313,534.82 2074 72 $315,224.29 2075 73 $317,070.03 2076 74 $291,774.01 2077 75 $264,138.11 2078 76 $233,945.88 2079 77 $200,960.87 2080 78 $164,924.76 2081 79 $125,555.30 2082 80 $82,544.16 2083 81 $35,554.50 2084 82 $0.00

Paid to Beneficiary (Grandchild) $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $25,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $50,000.00 $35,554.50 $0.00 Total Paid to Beneficiary (Grandchild) $1,007,731.37

about how you would like them to withdraw the funds, the choice would be theirs. It is to be expected that inflation could lessen the purchasing power of the funds; however, imagine how happy your grandchild will be to still be receiving money from your gift 70 or more years from now. Of course, there is no guarantee that the investment return will be what is projected, but because the majority of the funds would not be withdrawn for many years, the likelihood of matching the historical returns is increased. H NOTE: Be sure to check with your accountant and attorney before starting a plan like this.



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Have a Heart-Healthy 2008 Top tips to keep your ticker in tip-top shape


recent survey found U.S. adults are more afraid of being in a car accident than of experienc-

ing a heart attack (25 percent vs. 16 percent). But living a heart-healthy lifestyle should be just as important as wearing your seatbelt. The results of the survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Nature Made were surprising. The fact is, heart disease, the nation’s number one killer, claims one life every 35 seconds—more than 912,000 lives annually (American Heart Association)—and car accidents claim significantly less lives each year—43,000 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). A proactive approach to maintaining a healthy heart is important, and there’s no better time to start. Joseph Keenan, M.D., cardiology researcher and professor emeritus, University of Minnesota, says the path to a healthier heart requires only a few simple diet and lifestyle changes:

Swap This for That When preparing meals, swap your regular corn oil for olive or canola oil. Studies suggest that 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil should replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day (Food and Drug Administration). Also, try using low-fat milk instead of whole milk in your favorite deserts and other recipes. One cup of whole milk has almost 5 grams of saturated fat and 146 calories per cup, whereas skim milk has only 0.125 grams and 83 calories per cup. Need a snack between meals? Munch on almonds or pistachios instead of potato chips. Research shows that nuts may help decrease high cholesterol. And remember, fresh fruits and vegetables are always a great snack option!

Pay Attention to Your Genes Many U.S. adults are genetically predisposed to have high cholesterol that may be difficult to manage by diet and exercise alone. For these situations, CholestOff Complete from Nature Made may be helpful. CholestOff Complete is a science-based dietary supplement developed to naturally address genetic cholesterol

Exercise is an important part of keeping your heart healthy.

with the key ingredient Pantesin. CholestOff Complete also contains plant sterols and stanols, plant-derived ingredients that have been studied since the 1950s and are clinically proven to help naturally reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Beat the Habit Like the consequences of driving without a seatbelt, smoking has been widely publicized as a serious health threat. If quitting cold turkey is too hard, Dr. Keenan recommends that people visit their doctor to help determine the best method of quitting. The benefits of becoming a non-smoker are great—studies show that after 15 smoke-free years, the risk of coronary heart disease can be at the same levels as someone who has never smoked (WebMD).

Courtesy ARAcontent

Work It Out Regular exercise is an important part of overall heart health, but the cold weather often makes going outside a challenge. For a good workout at home, pop in an aerobics or yoga DVD and pull out the hand weights, resistance bands or an exercise ball. H 4For more information on how to keep your ticker ticking and for special coupon offers, visit


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Going Solar Consider harnessing the power of the sun to save money and the environment

ore and more homeowners are turning to the power of the sun to help generate electricity for their homes. There are more options than ever available, and power companies and the government offer terrific incentives to invest in solar devices. Solar thermal energy is the means by which energy from the sun is collected and converted into electricity. Homeowners are able to capture sunlight via panels attached to the roof, preferably on the south-facing side. The panels are composed of photovoltaic (PV) cells that harness sunlight and then convert it into direct-current (DC) electricity, which is then converted into alternate-current (AC) power—the type used in homes—via an inverter device. This not only generates clean electricity you need for everyday home use, it reduces the need for power supplied by your electric company and potentially allows you to sell back excess power to them. The Long Island Power Authority

(LIPA), for instance, allows homeowners using solar energy to feed power back to the grid by signing up for their Solar Pioneers program. In essence, any unused excess electricity you generate from your solar system will flow back to their grid and literally turn your electric meter backwards. The result is you only get billed for your net consumption—the amount of electricity you use minus the amount you’ve sent back to the grid. The systems range in price depending on how large a system you purchase. Usage varies depending on the size of the home and amount of energy consumed for electric appliances and lighting. Prices for PV systems typically range from about $4,800 for a 600-watt system to around $75,000 for a 10kW system (a home using 9,000 kW that has a 3kW system installed can produce about 40% of the home’s load, according to Michael Deering, vice president of environmental affairs for LIPA). While that sounds pricey, electric companies

and the State and Federal governments typically offer significant tax credits for installing a solar system. Add that to the net metering, and if you are careful about your energy use it could mean the system pays for itself within a few years. H USEFUL WEBSITES The Long Island Power Authority offers information about solar power and how to apply for their Solar Pioneers program. This nonprofit organization holds online courses and hands-on workshops and seminars on solar, wind, and water-power technologies. A national association for the solar-energy industry shows state-by-state solar incentives. The Energy Star site explains qualification for Federal tax credits when installing solar-water heating and photovoltaic systems.



Satisfying Soups and Stews Warm up with homemade comfort foods


oups and stews are two of the most popular dinnertime staples. Not only do they fill the house

Beef Barley Soup

Prep: 20 minutes I Makes: 4 servings I Cook: 40 minutes Ingredients: 2 cups water ¼ cup uncooked pearl barley 1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak or top round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups) 1 clove garlic, minced 4 cups Swanson Beef Broth (regular, 50 Percent Less Sodium or Certified Organic) ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed Generous dash ground black pepper 2 medium carrots, sliced (about 1 cup) Directions: 1. Heat the water in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Add the


barley. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until the barley is tender, stirring occasionally. Drain. 2. Cook the beef in a 3-quart nonstick saucepot until it’s well browned, stirring often. 3. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are tender. 4. Stir the broth, thyme, black pepper and carrots into the saucepot. Heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the barley. TIP: Substitute ½-cup quick-cooking barley for the pearl barley. Cook for 12 minutes (or according to the package directions) or until the barley is tender.

Sensational Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep: 5 minutes I Makes: 4 servings I Cook: 25 minutes Ingredients: 4 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (regular, Natural Goodness, or Certified Organic) Generous dash ground black pepper 1 medium carrot, sliced (about ½ cup) 1 stalk celery, sliced (about ½ cup) ½ cup uncooked extra wide egg noodles 1 cup shredded cooked chicken or turkey Directions: 1. Heat the broth, pepper, carrot and celery in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. 2. Stir the noodles and chicken into the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender. FLAVOR TWISTS Asian Soup: Add 2 green onions cut into ½-inch pieces, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Substitute uncooked curly Asian noodles for egg noodles. Mexican Soup: Add ½ cup Pace Chunky Salsa, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 cup rinsed and drained black beans and ½ teaspoon chili powder. Substitute 2 corn tortillas (4 or 6-inch) cut into thin strips for the noodles, adding them just before serving. Italian Tortellini Soup: Add 1 can (about 14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes, drained, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed, and 1 cup spinach leaves. Substitute ½ cup frozen cheese tortellini for egg noodles. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Courtesy ARAcontent

with rich, mouthwatering aromas while they simmer on the stove, they are the ultimate in great-tasting comfort foods. Using broth to create homemade soups and stews is a wonderful way to add lots of flavor to these tasty dishes without having to spend all day in the kitchen. In fact, most people use broth in home-cooked soups and stews. According to a recent survey commissioned by Campbell Soup Company, broth is used in homemade soup more than 80 percent of the time, and in stews made from scratch 69 percent of the time. So, go ahead and warm up your taste buds with these tempting classics. Sensational Chicken Noodle Soup starts with a flavorful base of Swanson chicken broth and combines chicken, egg noodles, carrots, and celery to create a heartwarming dish as good as Grandma would make. For a satisfying entree, prepare Hearty Beef Stew. Just add potatoes, beef and carrots to Swanson beef broth and cook on the stovetop or in your slow cooker for a slow-cooked meal that is tender and tasty. It is sure to be a family favorite! When the weather outside gets frightful, create a delightful homemade soup or stew that is sure to warm your family from the inside out. For more hearty dishes and helpful cooking tips, visit

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Medical Care in the


The publisher of AMAC Advantage offers his opinion about the current state of health care in the United States. By Dan Weber


merica has the greatest health-care system in the world. Diseases like polio, tuberculosis, and malaria

that once plagued civilization have been all but eliminated here. Childhood leukemia, once a death sentence, is now 85 percent curable. Life expectancy for people with serious illnesses like heart disease and most forms of cancer is higher in America than in any of the other developed countries. But lately there have been countless stories about the problems with our mostly private health-care system. Forty-seven million people are uninsured, and several candidates running for President are trying to make health care a major issue. Just how good is our medical care and what can be done to improve it? Before 1941 medical care was largely ineffective. Medicines provided little relief and patients were as likely to die from the treatment as they were from the illness. Then the magic drug called penicillin was first used to save lives. Prior to the use of penicillin, people died of simple infections. The 16-year-old son of President Calvin Coolidge, Calvin Jr., died of a foot infection that he got while playing tennis in his bare feet on the White House courts. F.W. Woolworth, one of the richest men in the world died of an infected tooth. Both would likely have been saved by penicillin had it been available. Alexander Fleming, a Scotsman, is credited with isolating the antibacterial agent he called penicillin, but it was Americans who brought it to the masses. In 1941–43 a lab in Peoria, Illinois, developed methods that allowed for the industrialization of the medicine. During the same time in Brooklyn, New York, Jasper Kane and other scientists from Pfizer developed the process that allowed large quantities of pharmaceutical-grade penicillin to be made. It is estimated that since then penicillin has saved more than 200 million lives. Modern medicine is considered by many to be the greatest advance in the history of civilization. American medicine led the way in research and in finding cures. As anyone who was a child in the 1940s and 1950s will confirm, their mothers warned them not to play in mud puddles or they would get polio. The newspapers would carry photos of the “iron-lung machine” in which

children were condemned to live in as a result of contracting polio. You were considered lucky if you only suffered paralysis of one limb. On April 12th, 1955, Doctor Jonas Salk announced he had found a vaccine that would prevent polio. He had done much of his research while at the University of Pittsburgh medical school. He was hailed as a miracle worker and further proved he was a true hero by refusing to seek a patent, instead allowing the vaccine to be disseminated as widely as possible. Tuberculosis has infected humans since ancient times. Signs of TB were found in Egyptian mummies dating back to 2400 BC. Commonly known as “consumption,” TB was long considered humanity’s deadliest enemy. In the 1940s, Dr. Selman A. Waksman, in collaboration with the drug company Merck & Co., discovered streptomycin and successfully used it to cure a critically ill TB patient. It was Waksman who, while doing research at Rutgers University in New Jersey, proposed the term “antibiotics” for this type of drug. He received the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the first antibiotic to be effective against tuberculosis. In keeping with his benevolent nature, Dr. Waksman donated 80 percent of his patent earnings to Rutgers University. The list could go on and on of the diseases and the prominent Americans and drug companies who have contributed to our great medical advances. Today, innovations in technology such as MRIs, CT scanners, cardiac surgery, total joint replacement, and laparoscopic surgeries show proof of America’s leadership in the design and use of these breakthroughs. Few would deny American preeminence in the field of medicine; it is the delivery of the medical care that most of the criticism is aimed at. To better understand this problem, it helps to look back in our history to see how the delivery of health care has evolved. One hundred years ago the local doctor provided medical care. The patient was responsible for paying the doctor. Sometimes in rural areas, when there was no money, the doctor was paid in farm produce. In cities, local fraternal organizations were formed to provide benefits like



was low, relatively speaking, as the fraternal organizations signed doctors to contracts and even established their own hospitals. One reason for the low cost was that the medical services were very limited. There was little extended care. The patient lived or the patient died. Since life expectancy was short, not many people lived long enough to experience multiple health problems, unlike today when modern medicine can keep people with health maladies living for long periods of time after they have suffered the onset of an illness or disease. The cost of medical care is directly related to the delivery of medical services—the lower the cost the greater the availability. Since the 1970s there have been several attempts to lower the cost. Most of these involved some type of “managed care.” Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) sprang up across the country. For a while they seemed to work. Medical costs stopped going up faster than inflation, as the HMOs were able to dictate price levels to doctors and hospitals. Unfortunately, it didn’t last for long. New problems arose. Doctors revolted when they found out they needed approval from a clerk in a managed-care company before doing a medical procedure. Trial lawyers found a fertile field to plow with lawsuits whenever treatments did not have anticipated results. After some public uproar, politicians passed legislation restricting how the HMOs could operate. What we are left with is a mix of plans and programs. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) have expanded. They allow the patient to choose which doctor or hospital they may use, so long as the doctor or hospital is listed in their program. HMOs are still around albeit in a somewhat modified form. And finally HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) were signed into law by President George W. Bush to allow individuals to have pre-tax dollars to be used for medical expenses. HSAs are similar to IRAs in that money is saved in the account, while at the same time a catastrophic health insurance is included which pays in case of severe medical expenses. All the medical insurance plans combined, including the government plans Medicare and Medicaid, cover 85 percent of the American population. Presently, that leaves about 47 million people not covered. Although many people are not insured, there are laws in place that force hospitals and emergency rooms to provide care even if the patient has no coverage or cannot pay. A well-meaning Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment


and Active Labor Act of 1986 that required hospitals to treat “emergencies.” Since it is difficult to determine what emergency care is, and fearing lawsuits, hospitals opted to treat everyone. For example, someone with a cold could go to an ER to get treatment. Hospitals report that some uninsured patients have chosen to use their facilities in place of visiting a doctor’s office, knowing they can avoid payment. Others will call for an ambulance to transport them for routine doctor visits. The cost for these services is passed on to those who do pay. As a result many Emergency Room facilities have been forced to close. Since 1990, more than 60 have closed in California alone. This situation illustrates how government mandates can cause unintended results and allow abuses to take place. Many of the uninsured have the ability to pay for insurance but choose not to. Recognizing this, when the state of Massachusetts passed their health-care reform act in 2006, they included provisions to charge taxpayers who had no coverage one half of a typical low-cost insurance plan. The cost for this will be charged on their income tax. The Massachusetts plan, passed while Mitt Romney was governor, could well serve as the model for other states, or for the Federal government, should they attempt to provide health care for the uninsured. It includes several attractive features. Medical care is through the private system, not from a governmental agency. It requires employers and employees to contribute a fair share to the premiums and has government assistance to help the very needy. Twenty-six of the states have passed legislation in the last several years to expand coverage in some form or another. It should not be long before health care will be available to all citizens. President George W. Bush was able to get Congress to pass part D, drug coverage under Medicare, which provides eight million senior citizens living on Social Security alone with free drug coverage. Other low-income seniors can obtain drugs by paying a $5 co pay for each drug. The drug companies themselves offer several plans for free (or low cost) drugs to those in need regardless of age. They have hired Montel Williams as their spokesperson and run TV ads featuring Mr. Williams driving around the country in a motor home to publicize their program (for more on Partnership for Prescription Assistance, call 1-888-477-2669, or visit their website at Yet, despite the historic achievements of American medicine and the continued efforts to improve it, certain critics, most notably Michael Moore, are intent on replacing the present health-care system with government-run socialized medicine. Is socialized medicine truly better? A shocking story shows the contrary. In September 2007, a story ran in the Toronto Star about a Canadian member of Parliament, Belinda Stronach, who went to a California hospital to have surgery for breast cancer. Now it is not earthshaking news that Canadians frequently come to the U.S. for medical treatment. What is unusual about this case is that the Stronach family had donated $8 million in 2004 to build a cancer-care facility in Canada and she still came to America. Stronach had to pay for the procedure herself instead of receiving free treatment in Canada. The Canadian government-run program does manage to treat all its citizens but a review of their system reveals some interesting facts. Canadian doctors see 50 percent more patients than American doctors do. For people with kidney failure, on a per capita

basis, only half as many Canadians as Americans receive dialysis. According to a Canadian Medical Association Journal article, U.S. hospitals are wooing Canadians to come here for treatment. One of the attractions is the MRI. The wait in Canada is 10 to 28 weeks. At Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles, Washington, it can be had in two days. Cleveland is Canada’s hip-replacement center. Socialized medicine, with its cost controls, drove 10,000 doctors out of Canada during the 1990s, according to a Canada News article. The British national health-care system does not fare any better. The London Observer carried a story about patients having to wait more than eight months for treatment, during which time many of their cancers became incurable. The Observer, according to, also reported, “A recent academic study showed National Health Service delays in bowel-cancer treatment were so great that, in one in five cases, cancer which was curable at the time of diagnosis had become incurable by the time of treatment.” Critics of government-run socialized medicine claim the worst problem is rationing. Because of the limited supply, the services have to be rationed out. Likewise, hospitals in America derive income from patients so they seek more of them. In Britain and in Canada, patients are viewed as a drain on resources, thus causing long waiting lists. Some examples from various news reports: 6,000 patients in eastern England had to wait more than 20 weeks to begin treatments prescribed by their doctors. Forty thousand patients in Wales had to wait more than six months between a doctor’s referral and an outpatient appointment. Cancer patients are denied access to life-saving cancer drugs such as Erbitux, which is covered by insurance companies in the United States. Then there are the individual stories such as the 23-year-old with mild endometriosis who was told to have a full hysterectomy, because treating her illness with birth-control pills or minor operations was “too expensive”; or the woman who was suicidal but was told it would take six months to get her to see a psychiatrist, despite the urgency of her condition. Those stories are from a feature by Liz Mair in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Unlike the isolated horror stories that Michael Moore was able to find and put in his film knocking American health care, socialized medicine’s problems affect huge numbers of people. Filmmaker Stuart Browning, who has produced three films exposing the flaws in the Canadian medical system, reports that 800,000 Canadians are now waiting for medical procedures. The median wait time for medical treatment in Canada was 17.8 weeks. Browning notes there are multiple kinds of wait in the Canadian system: the wait to see a specialist, the wait to get the diagnostic test, the wait to get the surgery . . . and the wait to reschedule surgery if it’s cancelled . . . sometimes multiple times . . . a routine phenomenon. There have also been accounts of wait times for things like gastric bypass and sleep apnea treatment to routinely be four to five years. Waits for orthopedic surgery can be multiple years and in the case of some elderly Canadians—forever. Consider how Americans would react to this kind of treatment—we complain when we have to wait 40 minutes in a doctor’s office! The American health-care system is the greatest in the world, but we must remain vigilant to keep our government from running it. H

Statistics show cancer survival rates and use of high-tech medical procedures are higher in the U.S. than in Canada or the U.K.



Genealogy: First Steps Family history begins at home

right at home.

Check the Closet Before the Library Family history seems to be primarily about finding records. While they are important, usually the best first steps are to look around your house for more informal artifacts and talk to your relatives. The kind of information you can get through these methods creates a firm foundation for future research. So you’ve decided to dig into your family history—congratulations! Genealogy is a fulfilling pastime, one that can bring a real sense of accomplishment and understanding to you and your loved ones. If you are new to the hobby, it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, with all of the traditional and online resources available. So let’s step back a bit from the microfilms and computer programs and start with the basics. Whether you’re recording your family history on paper or on the computer, it’s best to gather as much information as you can first. That way, when it comes time to get everything organized and written down or entered into the computer, you will have enough information at your fingertips to create a fairly solid tree of several generations. There are four main sources of family information at this beginning stage: •In your house (or in relatives’ houses) •Your own knowledge of family events •Interviews with family members •Previous research done by other people Let’s take a look at each of these in turn to see what it can contribute to completing the puzzle of your family’s history.

Search the House Your own house (or a relative’s house) can be an amazing source of family-history information if you know where to look. Heirlooms, gifts, and papers can give you valuable clues about your ancestors and events in their lives. When you’re looking for information at home, you may find items that are dated, but don’t have years. For example, Thursday, March 8. This is especially true with diaries, letters, and clippings found in scrapbooks. Sometimes you can figure out the year by context, or you can use a perpetual calendar. For letters, be sure to check the postmark for a date, as well as the letter.


Below is a list of household items and places where you may find genealogical information. You can probably think of a few others. Ask your relatives if they have or know of any items like these that might be useful to your research. •Autograph books •Bibles •Books (check for inscriptions in them) •Certificates (from schools or jobs) •Closet doors (look for writing on the inside) •Clothing and hats •Cookbooks •Diaries and day books •Family trees •Furniture (sometimes you’ll find names and dates on the bottoms or backs of furniture) •Photo albums •Important papers (wills, titles, and deeds) •Jewelry (such as pins, ID bracelets, charm bracelets, lockets, or anything else that may have an inscription or indicate membership in an organization) •Letters •Newspaper clippings •Pictures (don’t forget to look at the backs) •Résumés •School papers (report cards can have parents’ signatures) •Scrapbooks •Sewing samplers, quilts, and other handmade items •Trunks and chests •Yearbooks

Memories...Like the Corners of Your Mind One of the best ways to start your family tree is simply to write down all of the basic information (birth, marriage, and death dates and locations) you know about your relatives, as far back as you can go. Start with yourself or your children, and then work backward through the generations as far as you can. While such a list needs to be supported by documentation before you share it with other researchers, as a starting point for your own research it’s unbeatable. By writing it all down, you will see quickly where you have missing or conflicting pieces of information. You will also get a sense of where you might want to begin looking up records or writing away for documents. Once you’ve made your list, ask your living relatives for any



t’s easier than you think to trace your family’s roots, and believe it or not you might just find several clues

Take the Road Already Traveled

information they may have. This is especially important for the older members of the family, as they often have information about people who are long gone. In many U.S. families, the oldest living generation is also the one which immigrated to the U.S. or was the first-born after immigration. Your parents or grandparents may have some memory of the “old country” or at least some passed-down stories to share.

Questions, So Many Questions The next step to take when trying to fill in the blanks is to do more formal oral-history interviews with your relatives. These go beyond the basic facts to family stories, memories, and interactions with the world at large. It’s interesting to see how they can all tie together—for instance, your mother might remember where she was living at age 13 because there was a parade for Dwight Eisenhower in town that year, and then describe the house and what she was like at that age. You will likely get many family stories that can add great depth to your family’s history beyond the names, dates, and places. Having this real sense of an ancestor is one of the greatest gifts the hobby has to offer. There are many ways to go about interviewing a relative: you may choose to record the interview or only take notes, to ask open-ended questions or for specific information, and so on. The most important things to remember are to be respectful of the person you’re interviewing and to make careful notes or a transcription of your tape as soon after the interview as possible. For more tips on conducting oral history interviews, follow the links in the sidebar (right).

One thing to keep in mind is that you might not be the only person researching your family. If you already know of someone who’s working on the family tree, by all means contact them and see if they would be willing to share what they’ve found. While you will still probably want to verify the information you find, discovering what’s already been researched can save you a lot of time and frustration. In addition to sources within your close family, it often happens that a more distant relative is working on the family tree, perhaps from a different angle or following a line to a distant common ancestor. You may find that they have published their research in various public forums, such as the Ancestral File or the World Family Tree. Most of these forums have contact information for the people who have submitted research to them, so if you search in one of these services and find a match to part of your family tree, you can often write to the contributor directly and begin to share information.

And Finally... One thing to keep in mind through all these steps is that taking clear notes about everything you find will help later. When you locate an old family photo and get Aunt Clara to identify all of your great-grandparents, take the time at that moment to make a note of their names and any other information she can give you. Even if you tape record an interview, take notes too, if possible—your firsthand interview may be a later genealogist’s source material. You’ve started out on a long and rewarding journey to find your family’s history. May these first four steps be the wind at your back, and be sure to check the sites in the sidebar below for more helpful articles about searching for your ancestors. H SURFING FOR YOUR ROOTS There are plenty of websites to trace your family history. Here are just a few sites that provide a bevy of helpful information.


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Travel: America’s Historic Cities

Charleston, SC

Photography courtesy Charleston Area CVB

There’s plenty to do in this charming historic hamlet


he Historic District of Charleston, South Carolina, is a breathtaking destination with attrac-

tions and activities sure to appeal to every interest. Visitors strolling through the district will find centuries-old architecture, spectacular gardens, romantic live oaks draped with Spanish moss, and some of the finest shops, restaurants, and museums this nation has to offer.

Take to the Water Seafarers and history buffs alike will enjoy a day at Charleston Harbor, where you can take to the water in a sailboat, boat tour, or dinner cruise to see stunning views of the seaport city and enjoy a glimpse of marine life, including schools of dolphins leaping over the waves to greet boaters. Stops among many tours include Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began, as well as Patriots Point, White Point Gardens (also known as the Battery), and Fort Moultrie. The Charleston Visitors Center (375 Meeting Street) offers a variety of tours for every interest, as well as information on local attractions, shopping, and other services.

Walker’s Paradise At Waterfront Park, visitors can picnic or relax on swings and benches while admiring the park’s many fountains. It’s just a short stroll from the Charleston Museum, the nation’s oldest museum,


Top: The Battery is a landmark promenade. Middle: Charleston is resplendent with some of the nation’s finest architecture. Bottom: Drayton Hall plantation is worth a visit.

50 Free Attractions in Charleston • Aquarium Wharf • Avery Institute Center at 125 Bull Street • Angel Oak • Beth Elohim at 90 Hasell Street • Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge off Highway 17 North • Charleston County Library on Calhoun Street • Charles Pickney National Site • Circular Congregational Church at 150 Meeting Street • City Hall at Broad and Meeting Streets • City Court House at Broad and Meeting Streets • Coastal Carolina Flea Market each Saturday and Sunday at

Exchange Park, Ladson • Cabbage Row • The Citadel Museum and/or Dress Parade each Friday while school is in session • College of Charleston – call 843-792-5670 for guided tours • Dock Street Theater at 135 Church Street • Edisto Beach at Edisto Island • Emanuel AME Church at 110 Calhoun Street • First Scots Presbyterian at 53 Meeting Street • Folly Beach and the Fishing Pier • Fort Dorchester • Fort Sumter Visitor and Education Center at Liberty Square • Francis Marion National Forest • Hampton Park • Huguenot Church at 136 Church Street • Irvin House Vineyards on Wadmalaw Island (open Saturday and Sunday only) • Isle of Palms Beach • Karpeles Manuscript Museum at 68 Spring Street • Magnolia Cemetery at 70 Cunnington Street • Maritime Center on Concord Street • Marion Square • The City Market • Old Slave Market façade at 6 Chalmers Street • Old Saint Andrews Parish on Highway 61 • The Pink House Gallery – the oldest structure in the city • The Post Office Museum at Meeting Street and Broad Street • Powder Magazine • Saint Michael’s Church and churchyard at Meeting Street and Broad Street • Rainbow Row • Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at 89 Hasell Street • Sullivan’s Island • Tennis at Hazel Parker Playground (near the Battery), The Citadel and Moultrie Playground (near Colonial Lake) • Waterfront Park • Whitepoint Gardens at the Battery • Wragg Mall • Fort Sumter Visitors Center at Aquarium Wharf • Antique shopping on lower King Street • Colonial Lake • Philip Simmons Workshop at 30½ Blake Street • City Marina • The Old Jail at 21 Magazine Street

which houses one of the finest collections of American art. It’s worth spending a day simply meandering through the neighborhoods to see the incredible architecture and gardens within the Historic District. Known as the “Holy City,” Charleston is resplendent with elegant steeples and spires from the many historic houses of worship. Along King, East Bay, Meeting, Broad, and Market streets, there are dozens of art galleries, specialty boutiques, and restaurants to explore.

Hit the Shore There are plenty of beautiful beaches and parks to enjoy in the Charleston area, where you can surf, kayak, or simply take in the natural beauty. The James Island County Park and the Folly Beach County Park have a range of family activities, including fishing and bird-watching the many rare species that reside in the marine habitat. Charter operations offer deep-sea sport fishing, parasailing, and creek kayaking. Or you can cast a line off the Folly Beach Fishing Pier, one of the longest piers on the East Coast.

Museums Galore The Aquarium Wharf is just one of the many museums Charleston has to offer. Others include the the American Military Museum, The Charleston Museum, The City Hall Gallery, The Confederate Museum, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the South Carolina Historical Society, and the Old Slave Mart Museum to name just a few. On Charleston’s Museum Mile, conveniently located on Meeting Street, you can find six museums, nine historic sties, and a dozen historic places of worship in one easy mile walk. This historic city has so much living history, local color, and areas of interest that no matter what your interests might be, you’ll find yourself wanting to return again and again. H 4For more information about visiting Charleston, SC, visit



Proof of God By Brother Juniper


hen I was a child I began to believe in God.

My parents and the Sisters of Charity taught me that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. As I was growing older and started to question my own beliefs, one thing bothered me most. How is it possible that God could know what each of us was doing at the same time? How could God know what we all were thinking? After all, there are billions of people. I had no choice; I had to accept this on blind faith. The major religions place a high value on faith. The two important religions in America, Christianity and Judaism, rely on the faith of their members to believe in God without any proof. Now, it appears science has produced if not proof, at least a potential explanation of how it might be possible for God to be watching all of us at the same time. Scientists have discovered a force of energy that exists throughout the universe. This force consists of tiny particles that shoot through space. They are so small they actually pass through the atoms that make up matter. They go right through the earth from one side to the other, passing through anything that happens to be in the way, such as rocks, buildings and people. There are many subatomic particles much smaller than atoms. They have unusual names such as Quarks and Neutrinos. The strange manner in which these particles act has caused much interest. Quarks, for example, sometimes are pooled into a “sea of quarks” that appear and disappear due to quantum fluctuations. No one is sure what causes this phenomenon. How does all of this relate to the existence of God? Think about how television works. In a TV set a beam of electrons hits the TV screen causing images to appear on the screen. In effect, the screen “reads” the electron beam converting the blips on the screen into images that are able to be recognized. We do not actually see the person on TV, we see their image. Likewise when neutrinos pass through our bodies they could register where each one of our molecules are at a given moment. Unlike the flat two-dimensional view we receive from our TV, these images would be in 3-D. Astrophysicists tell us trillions of subatomic particles are constantly passing through us. Can you imagine how sharp the definition of those images would be? Of course there must be a means of receiving the transmissions for this to function.


Perhaps the receiver is in heaven. Although the foregoing comment was half made in jest we should consider other discoveries our scientists have made. We have learned the universe consists of only 10% of matter that can be seen. The other 90% is dark matter or energy unseen by normal means. Could Heaven be hidden in this mass of unseen material? While I do not expect to see definitive evidence that would reveal God’s secrets in my lifetime, it is pleasantly reassuring for my inferior brain to know of the existence of a mechanism that could easily allow God to do what I once thought was impossible. H

WHAT DO YOU THINK? We’d love to hear your comments on this essay, and also invite you to submit your own essay for possible inclusion in a future issue of AMAC Advantage. Please Email us at

Did You Know?

The Conservation President

Do you know who created America’s largest conservation area? If you said President Theodore Roosevelt you would be wrong. Actually, President George W. Bush created the largest marine sanctuary in the world. The waters surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands represent the largest single conservation area in our nation’s history and the largest protected marine area in the world. This vast marine sanctuary covers nearly 140,000 square miles—more than 100 times the size of Yosemite National Park—and extends stronger federal protections for these waters with their endangered monk seals, nesting green sea turtles and other rare species.

The creation of this preserve—the nation’s 75th national monument—was announced at a White House ceremony on June 15th, 2006. President Bush’s commitment to designate 140,000 square miles of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies, and underwater peaks was inspired after he watched a documentary on the island chain’s biological resources at the White House. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said “It’s the single largest act of ocean conservation in history. It’s a large milestone.” The largest marine protected area in the world is home to more than 7,000 marine species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on earth.

Our Next Vice-President?

Talk of who could become America’s first female president is circulating. However, the topic of a Republican woman for vice president is generating some buzz. She is Karen Hughes, former counselor to President Bush and recently served under the secretary of state for public affairs, promoting America’s friendly relations with visits to more than 40

countries in the last two years. Karen began her career as a TV news reporter in Texas. Soon after, she took a job in the Republican Party of Texas, becoming executive director. Impressed by her talent, George W. Bush asked her to help run his campaign for governor. The success of the campaign led her to working in the governor’s office in several capacities, and when Bush ran for president she was one of his key advisors. Well regarded in the White House, Karen has a reputation of being highly intelligent, well spoken, and intuitive, with a natural ability to think on her feet. She is considered one of the most powerful women in Washington. After Hughes’ first two years with President Bush, she decided her family needed her more. She took a leave of several years to finish raising her children, later returning as special ambassador. Karen has written a book, Ten Minutes from Normal (Viking, 2004), covering her experiences from her first campaign to her time in the White House. Karen Hughes is that rare person with both passion and compassion, and has been described as comfortable with common folk as well as kings. Regardless of political party, all voters should pay attention to Karen Hughes, a woman who is sure to have a major impact on the political scene in the near future. H


Parting Thought

About Success . . . At the age of seven, a young boy and his family were forced out of their home and the boy was forced to go to work. When the boy was nine, his mother passed away. He had a job as a store clerk, but lost it when he was 20. The young man wanted to go to law school, but had no education. He went into debt when he was 23, to become partner in a small store. It was only three years later that his business partner died, and left him with a debt that took years for him to repay. He fell in love and his sweetheart died. Thirty-seven years later into his life, he was elected to Congress . . . on his third try. He then failed to be re-elected. He mourned the loss of his son, who passed away at the age of four. At age 45, he ran for the Senate . . . and failed to be elected. He persisted at politics and ran for the vice-presidency at age 47, and again lost. Finally, at the age of 51, this man was elected president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.� –Abraham Lincoln


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