Thursday, June 27, 2013
The love of a Daddy's Girl
The poor woman. I feel so sorry for her. But she is the winner in the end. She obviously had a very close relationship with her father and feels he is still with her. Try to tell her that fathers don't matter to daughters!
A Michigan wedding photographer has captured the heart-wrenching moment a bride who recently lost the father she adored falls to her knees next to his gravestone on her way to the altar.
Unable to have her dad walk her down the aisle at her June 7 wedding, Paige Eding, 23, requested to make a stop at the cemetery where her father Mark Winia was buried about 18 months ago after he passed away from a severe lung infection aged just 45.
Eding, dressed in her beautiful white gown, was so overcome with emotion standing by her father's grave, she crumbled to the floor - and photographer Kari Wieringa was there to capture the impassioned moment.
Wieringa shared the picture on the Facebook page of her company Zander & Breck Photography a week after the wedding, with Eding's permission, and the image has since gone viral, garnering more than 718,000 likes and being shared on websites like Reddit.
Under the photograph, Wieringa wrote: 'I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful wedding last weekend. Before any photos were to begin she wanted to make a stop to the cemetery to visit her dad who had recently passed away.
'I'm not much of a crier for those of you who know me, but when she hit her knees, tears streamed down my face. What a beautiful thing to incorporate in her day.'
Eding's entire family was rocked when Winia, a father of four daughters, died unexpectedly in December 2011.
The chef, who coached the Zeeland East High School girls' soccer team, wasn't feeling well one Monday but he still made it to practice.
The next day, though, his illness worsened and he was rushed to Zeeland Community Hospital, then to Spectrum Health's Blodgett campus. There he died on December 14 of what was described as 'a severe pulmonary virus' - essentially a fierce lung infection.
A Facebook page dedicated to his memory paints a clear picture of the love his family, friends and soccer girls - but particularly his four daughters - felt for the man whose life was tragically cut short.
Eding and her three younger siblings, who are from a different relationship, regularly write about their grief for their father on the page.
On December 1, 2012, the 23-year-old wrote: 'Wow Dad. Today I lost it. All day (I) couldn't help thinking about you, every second. And I could not help the steady stream of tears down my cheek. I miss you so much and it hurts like it was just yesterday. Thank goodness for Kevin, and knowing exactly how to comfort and help me. We love and miss you terribly.'
While on April 10, she said in a post: 'Sometimes I have these dreams that things went differently and you are still here with us. Nothing has changed and you are so warm and so real. These dreams I could swear they are real I can almost feel he emotion of them. Then I wake up to reality. I miss you so much dad. It's days like these when I know you will be comforting me because today I'm so broken. Love you.'
Ahead of the wedding on June 7, Eding's mother Robin Leigh Bartz took to the memorial page. 'Today is the day Mark, I will proudly give our daughter away knowing Kevin is a great man, and Paige is an amazing woman, i know you will be there watching, Heather will proudly stand on your behalf,' she wrote. 'Much love, Robin.'
Wieringa's wonderful photograph encapsulates the love Eding felt for her father. 'I wanted it captured,' Eding told The Huffington Post of her trip to Winia's grave that day. 'I wanted to have that lasting memory.'
When they approached the grave, a group of family members who accompanied her hung back, leaving Eding to be alone with her dad.
'It all seemed pretty normal, she looked fine, and so we're standing there and I'm ready to take pictures, and she just fell,' Wieringa said.
Eding added: 'It was a moment of longing and wishing for him. I was so sad that he wasn't there physically ... but I was also joyous. ... Through my family, he still lives inside of each one of us.'
She said the photograph, which some online commentators have labelled 'tacky,' wasn't staged but came from the heart. 'I didn't even know she had the camera to her face,' she told the website. 'Everyone else didn't exist.'
According to Eding, her father would have approved of her new husband, Kevin, and the man has helped her cope with the loss of her dad. When it came to walking down the aisle, Eding's grandfather stepped in to take Winia's place.
Another stunning image Wieringa captured at the wedding was the newlyweds locked in a celebratory kiss.
'I've got my dad and my new husband. If she only took those two photos, I would be happy in life,' Eding said. 'Kevin and my dad, they're so alike. When's the sun's not shining they'll be your sun. It's a quality that I love to remember in my dad and that I'm so lucky to have in my husband.'
Why these squalid cover-ups in Britain? Because no politician dare admit the terrible truth about the NHS
By Melanie Phillips
So now, having had the inquiry into the inquiry that suppressed facts about the failure of the original inquiry, there is to be a further inquiry into the bullying of the woman who tried to blow the whistle on the uselessness — and worse — of the inquirers.
Really, the saga of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has progressed from tragedy through scandal to farce, and has now plumbed astonishing new depths of moral and political squalor.
For at the weekend, after the revelations of the cover-up over deaths from negligence at Morecambe Bay hospitals, we learned just what happened to Kay Sheldon, a non-executive director at the CQC, when she tried to bring to light failings at the regulator which were putting patients’ lives at risk.
And now we also know — just as had been suspected from the start — that the culture of bullying, intimidation and lies in the NHS reached to the very top.
When Ms Sheldon tried to air her concerns that the CQC wasn’t up to the task of uncovering bad practice in hospitals and care homes, her messages to chief executive Cynthia Bower and other board members were not answered, or were stonewalled.
In despair, Ms Sheldon decided to speak out at the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Trust, where 1,200 patients had died needlessly through the incompetence and negligence of the staff.
As a result, the CQC’s chairman, Dame Jo Williams, wrote to then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley asking him to sack her.
Worse still, Ms Sheldon discovered that Dame Jo had commissioned a psychiatric report on her without her permission and that she was described — wholly falsely — as a paranoid schizophrenic.
It was, of course, the old Soviet Union which was given to silencing its critics by certifying them as insane. The CQC seemed to be run by Stalin on steroids.
But this ruthless approach to dissent went all the way up to the Cabinet. At the weekend, it was revealed that after receiving a CQC report on Ms Sheldon’s Mid Staffs evidence, Andrew Lansley told her he was considering her dismissal.
How shocking that this supposed guardian of the public interest seemed not to have wondered whether Ms Sheldon might be correct and that patients were indeed at risk. Instead, he cavalierly assumed that the very body about which she was complaining must be in the clear.
Further revelations about this cover-up culture in the National Health Service are now coming thick and fast. A former CQC inspector, Amanda Pollard, has claimed she wrote two letters to Ms Bower expressing safety concerns — but was ignored.
Roger Davidson lost his job as the CQC’s head of media and public affairs just before the 2010 General Election after revealing that one quarter of NHS trusts had failed to meet basic hygiene standards. He was forced to sign a gagging order when he left and was told the CQC was ‘railing against’ his action to ‘highlight issues’.
Sir David Nicholson, the outgoing chief executive of the NHS, who was in charge of Mid Staffs when the scandal began to break, is reported to have spent £2 million on severance packages including gagging orders for 50 staff — which bought their silence about mismanagement.
Now the Labour Party has been dragged into the scandal, too, with claims that the CQC came under pressure from Labour ministers to tone down any criticisms in the run-up to the 2010 election.
The former Labour Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has denied that he leaned on the CQC to sanitise its criticisms of Morecambe Bay hospitals.
But the then health secretary and now Labour's shadow health spokesman, told the health care regulator in November 2009 that its role was to 'restore public confidence in the NHS'.
And in her own evidence on Mid Staffs, the former CQC chairman Baroness Young said that health ministers — including Mr Burnham — had put the regulator under ‘pressure’ to ‘tone down’ its criticism of hospitals around that period.
This whole disaster goes back to the Gordon Brown government, which merged three failing NHS watchdogs to create the CQC in the teeth of warnings that this was asking for trouble.
The ensuing debacle was not just the result of a botched merger: it reflects an NHS culture which is profoundly, systemically and almost certainly irredeemably rotten.
At the very root lies an appalling litany of serial incompetence, indifference and even cruelty by front-line staff. Let us not forget the dreadful events themselves in Morecambe Bay hospitals, where at least 16 babies and two mothers are estimated to have died through neglect.
And in Mid Staffs, neglect and cruelty reached such a pitch that patients drank from flower vases to relieve their thirst.
Now, 14 more hospitals are being investigated for unusually high death rates. And we know from example after sickening example that too many elderly patients are treated all too frequently with a callousness that defies belief.
While thousands of NHS staff are highly professional and dedicated, far too many have simply lost the ethic of caring.
And these failings are not being addressed; because what rules in the NHS, from top to bottom, is a culture of ruthless unaccountability in which the buck stops nowhere.
Kay Sheldon refused to be intimidated. For her heroic stand, she deserves a medal.
But the CQC cannot now be put right because the NHS cannot be put right.
For the root of this moral and professional corruption is that the entire bureaucracy of the NHS — up through the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister himself — conspires to tell the public the big lie that the NHS remains a national treasure because no other system matches it for decency and compassion.
In fact, the opposite is true. And until that fact is honestly faced and its consequences translated into a radical rethink of healthcare delivery, the horror voiced in official circles at Morecambe Bay, Mid Staffs and the rest will be no more than crocodile tears.
British government parenting advice is 'corrosive and harmful', report finds
Official Government advice telling people how to bring young children up should be torn up because it is “corrosive and harmful” and can damage family life, a new academic report argues.
The so-called “positive parenting” approach which involves avoiding punishment or even criticism while constantly accentuating the positive can do more harm than good and simply “sets parents up to fail”, it concludes.
In the study, published in the journal Ethics and Education, Helen Reece, an expert in family law at the London School of Economics, argues that the official obsession with being “nice” to children all of the time is “arduous, if not impossible” and can simply destroy the spontaneity of the parent-child relationship.
She argues that in extreme cases it has led to parents involved in contact or care cases being judged against an impossible standard and then unfairly marked down by social workers and even judges with major consequences for the rest of their lives.
In particular she takes aim at the official handbooks published by the Department of Health and given to parents of newborn babies, known as “Birth to Five” which combines practical advice on matters such as feeding with more subjective pronouncements about how to speak to children.
Under the heading “Be positive about the good things”, the guide advises new parents that even if their children’s undisciplined behaviour comes to “dominate everything” they must react by talking about something “good” and encourage children to “be themselves”.
It adds: “Move on to other things that you can both enjoy or feel good about and look for other ways of coping with your feelings.”
In the paper Ms Reece explains: “Arguably more than any other child-rearing resource, it represents the accumulation of official, mainstream, advice about how to discipline children: published by a government department, production and distribution costs are funded publicly. Given the contemporary proliferation of widely divergent childcare advice – an era in which we can choose to be a ‘tiger mother’, an ‘attachment parent’ or the mother of a ‘contented little baby’, as advised by Gina Ford, I am interested in exploring advice that comes with a clear and overt official stamp.”
Examining the advice line by line she concludes: “Positive parenting is hard if not impossible work, setting parents up to fail.
“Another persuasive objection is a concern with how parenting positively may destroy the spontaneity of parent–child interactions: ‘I’m praising my child – check; I’ve got a positive tone of voice – check; I’ve adopted appropriate body language – check.’
“The nub of this point is that it is impossible to tell somebody how to be nice, because the very essence of being nice is that it cannot be forced: coerced kindness is a contradiction.”
She adds: “Its serious consequence is that any shortfall in a child’s behaviour can always be explained by the fact that the parent’s treatment of the child was not positive enough.”
Ms Reece called for the Government to remove advice on such issues from official guidelines while still giving parents important information on matters such as a safe temperature for a baby or nutrition.
“I think to be told how to relate to your child is really corrosive and harmful,” she said.
Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, said: "We want to do everything we can to support parents in giving their child the very best start in life.
"A new child is a wonderful experience but it can be daunting, especially for first-time parents.
“It is therefore important that all those who care for children have access to the most up to date information and advice.
"The new NHS Information Service for Parents - launched just last year - provides expert, trusted advice for both mothers and fathers and it has proved extremely popular.
"Over 160,000 parents have signed up so far and the feedback we receive is excellent.”
Dr Ellie Lee, director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at Kent University: “The view has become prevalent that bringing up children is far too difficult and too important to be left to mere parents. The main beneficiaries of this have been so-called ‘parenting experts’.
“There is no evidence, however, to suggest Britain’s parents have gained anything from being told that professionals have the answers.
“This article makes some very important points about the dangers of making policies about how to raise children and I hope some politicians will listen to what she is telling them.”
New drive to bring in marriage tax breaks: British PM faces fresh revolt by backbench MPs to enshrine pledge in law
David Cameron is facing a fresh backbench revolt as Tory MPs launched a bid to force him to introduce tax breaks for married couples.
Former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton yesterday introduced plans to enshrine Tory pledges to recognise marriage in the tax system in law.
He said it is ‘long overdue’ that David Cameron made good his pledge to introduce marriage tax breaks and urged the Prime Minister to ‘put our money where his mouth is’.
Mr Loughton said the government needs to act because the measure will support stay-at-home mothers, who have been penalised by other coalition tax moves like child benefit cuts.
The Prime Minister has pledged that a tax break for married couples will be introduced by 2015 and the measure was written into both the last Tory election manifesto and the coalition agreement.
But Tory MPs are concerned that Mr Osborne has been dragging his feet and they want the measure put into law now to convince voters that the measure is ‘not just an afterthought’.
Dozens of Tory MPs are expected to back an amendment to the Chancellor’s Finance Bill, tabled by Mr Loughton yesterday, to force George Osborne’s hand. Mr Loughton said: ‘The Prime Minister has reiterated his huge enthusiasm for marriage.
‘It is long overdue for him to put our money where his mouth is and honour the longstanding Conservative pledge to restore a transferable married couple’s tax allowance and send out a clear message that we value marriage and family socially and financially.
‘There are many hardworking married families or in civil partnerships where one of the parents is working hard at bringing up children in the home. Yet almost uniquely amongst Western economies they receive no recognition in the tax system and many have been big losers from changes to child benefits and other allowances.
'More than 3 years on from our manifesto commitment, it appears no nearer and the patience of many hardworking home based parents is being severely stretched.
‘It is vital that we do not discriminate against those parents who often sacrifice their own careers for the good of their children.’
Under the plan introduced yesterday, transferable tax allowances would be introduced for all married couples - and those in civil partnerships - with at least one child under the age of five living at home.
The tax breaks would be introduced in 2015, giving Mr Osborne time to find the money to pay for the measure.
Under plans previously endorsed by Mr Cameron any member of an eligible couple would be allowed to transfer £750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner, reducing their partner’s tax bill. This would be worth £150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers.
But Mr Loughton’s amendment will let the Chancellor set the level of the allowance in future and could change the number of couples who qualify.
That move is designed to maximise the support of MPs who want the principle of married couples tax allowances enshrined in law but who don’t want to force Mr Osborne to spend money the government doesn’t have.
The amendment has the backing of Andrea Leadsom, a leading light in the 2010 intake of Tory MPs.
The campaign group Mothers at Home Matter also endorsed the plan. Spokesman Laura Perrins said: ‘This is a very welcome move to lessen the financial penalties targeted at families who care for their children themselves.
'It is first step to recognising caring duties in the tax system but more needs to be done to lessen the discrimination against them.’
It is highly unusual to seek to amend the government’s Finance Bill, which enshrines Budget tax changes in law. But a large number of MPs are expected to vote for the measure when it is considered at the report stage of the Bill.
With both Labour and the Lib Dems expected to oppose the measure it has little chance of passing.
But Mr Loughton said he expects considerable support from Tory backbenchers, something that could embarrass Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne.
He said: ‘Time is running out to make good on our very clear commitment and the Report Stage of the Finance Bill presents one of the last opportunities to put this important measure on the statute book before the next election.
‘My amendment gives the Chancellor maximum flexibility to do this and I hope he will seize this late opportunity.’
It is the second time that backbenchers have sought to force Mr Cameron to enshrine his pledges in law after the Prime Minister was recently forced to back a Private Members Bill to guarantee an in-out referendum on Europe.
A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The commitment is very clear. We will introduce some form of recognition in the tax and benefits system in this Parliament at the appropriate time.’
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.