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Insurance Companies and the ACA Versus my Son and Autism

I was under the (insert sarcasm here) impression that when the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed all of our lives when dealing with health insurance would improve. I also heard that costs would go down. I heard that out of pocket expenses, which previously could have driven you into bankruptcy, would be reduced.

Ok, nice utopian sales pitch, but we can all agree very little of that has come to pass at least if you have insurance of any kind before the thing passed. I do have a 52 year old single male friend who got word the other day that his plan now covers mammograms, he was happy about that (he is self employed and buys insurance privately and his costs went up for this new coverage btw).

Yes, it is easier for people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance. That is a good thing…at least I think so.

Yes, it is easier for people just coming out of college to get their start in life by staying on their parent’s insurance. This is probably a good thing because not as many of these folks are getting jobs much less one that offers insurance as a benefit.

Now, back to the topic at hand.

I have a son who is mildly autistic. To be specific, for those who also have such a family member (who we love very much, don’t get me wrong), he is an Asperger’s kid.

When seeking treatments for these children a few things are true. There are lots of different therapy options available now that weren’t around even ten years ago. Kudos to the medical professionals who came up with these, I love you guys for helping children like my son.

What these therapies do is ensure that these kids either come off the spectrum completely or they at least are able to cope with the differences between them and everyone else. There is nothing wrong with these kids they just process information differently and are shockingly different in social situations than other people.

We can all agree that person-to-person interaction is necessary when in the workplace. Without some measure of people skills careers grow stagnant, advancement is challenging, etc.

Why bring all this up?

My middle son (whose name is going to stay out of this) is in a variety of treatments, and they are helping a little.

There is one treatment left that all of his various doctors agree he needs…that is where this is problematic.

It is called ABA therapy. The ABA part is an acronym meaning Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy. For kids like our son it is something that does wonders.

Two things are true, it is fantastic, and it isn’t cheap. It is recommended for his recovery but NOT covered by insurance; it is all out of pocket. It is at least $55/hour multiple hours a week at the LEAST. Then there are other periodic treatments/appointments that are more in the range of $110/hour. By periodic it is at least once a month (give or take). So it isn’t cheap.

Expenditures in the $500 per week range are no unreasonable to expect as a basic level.

So we call the insurance company…hey this thing our doctor is prescribing and saying “You need….”

They say, no that isn’t covered. You see that ABA is an analysis and not a treatment. So the name indicates we don’t cover it.

I asked the question, did you ever cover it.

They responded, we used to but are no longer required to do so.

So, let me get this straight, when did it change…

They responded, oh just a year or two ago as things were implemented for the new health care law.

Well, thank you ACA, I appreciate you throwing an additional $2,000 a month on me.  Appreciate that along with the increased prices for insurance, co-pays, and all the other things you did to make life better.

Now in other areas, the coverage is different for the same insurance provider.  I have a friend who has a mild to moderate Autistic son. They were lucky enough to get ABA covered in their region and the therapy has helped a great deal. The child is starting to speak out and interact with others. Their problem is it has been determined that his son needs more intense therapy, but because he is in his 4th year of ABA therapy, their hours of covered therapy went from 40 hours per week to 17 and the majority of that time has to be spent outside of structured therapy and in unstructured trips to different locations in their town.

Another challenge his family faces in dealing with insurance companies and ABA therapy is the local school system. Since each group/organization has to keep track of what services their son is getting, if there is any overlap, the insurance company will stop covering the ABA therapy.  Anyone who has or knows a child on the spectrum knows for a fact, that these kids cannot get enough therapy. The more therapy they get at a younger age, the better off they are as they grow older and find themselves in mainstream situations.

Humorously (or not depending upon your perspective) I was told by the fine folks at one of the agencies that provide ABA therapy that if I made less money (ready for this)…that their services would be provided as a grant. Free of charge.

How is that for a fun day at the office?

I will continue to work hard and get my son all of the help he needs. I will also continue to fight for author autistic kids and make sure they get all of the help they need, one child at a time.

I know someone is going to say why should they cover it…blah blah…Ok I am with you. Let me explain it this way.

The cost of therapy for a few years when he is younger is much much less than the societal cost (or financial burden) someone who is unable to keep a job places on society and the taxpayers at large. Think of it as an investment. One I am willing to pay by paying the insurance company to cover things. Unfortunately they don’t so I would rather not pay them but thanks to the new federal law I get to keep this policy that doesn’t help. Awesome work Congress and other elected federal officials!!! Keep it up!

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Hitler’s Personal Hell? What would it be like?

I have been thinking a lot lately about certain parts of the human experiment. If you watch the Fox show Lucifer you may think about these same things. If you don’t watch it the basic premise of the show is that the devil has come back to walk the surface of the Earth and he solves crimes in Los Angeles…Ok, it isn’t that bad.

As a crime show it sucks, but it isn’t really about that. It is about a struggle between good and evil and Lucifer (a fallen angel) trying to give up running Hell.

Anyway…the show is worth watching but not the point of this blog.

There was an episode recently that showed Lucifer going back to Hell for part of the episode. It showed what the underworld is like for people. Apparently, it is different for everyone.

Customized to be a unique experience for each person.

It made me wonder what is Hell like for Hitler?

In theory Hell is to make people live through what experience in that person’s life is the thing they feel the most guilty about. Does a person like Hitler feel guilt?

If he did, what is his personal Hell like? Does he have to live through the holocaust? Would he feel guilty about that?

I suspect if anything he would have to live through his last day in a bunker (assuming he didn’t escape Germany as some conspiracy theorists believe). Does he just live through watching Berlin destroyed time after time? Does he have something that was worse for him? Is there ANYTHING a guy like that would feel guilty about?

As you make your way through your day, each and every day, ask yourself what would you feel guilty about living through time after time? What would your personal hell be like? If you have any idea (honestly asking) what you think Hitler’s personal hell would be please leave it in the comments down below. I have bene thinking about it for days and can’t come up with anything that would be fitting, there is so much to choose from, but what singular event would HE be most terrorized by?

Are we provoking a potential Nuclear War?

North Korea, and President Trump’s interaction with them has been a constant news buzz for the last few months. The stories all seem to go like this…Trump tweeted this, North Korea says that, Trump tweeted again, let’s all discuss that tweet for a few days, North Korea’s leadership is angry blah blah blah.

This newest one has me thinking.

North Korea Listed (again) as a Terrorist State.

North Korea may terrorize it’s own citizens (ok they do), but do they really export that terrorism anywhere? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t but I haven’t heard of any strikes anywhere by them.

Do they have the capability of doing it? Sure, but are we now witness the impact of the newly formed department of pre-crime? (I love that book/movie, but we can’t live in that world it is fictional.)

North Korea is run by a crazy man, of that I have no doubt. But without a UN resolution, without an international coalition we can’t go remove him and nation build, I seem to recall us doing that recently and it didn’t go well.

The difference here is North Korea is a nuclear power. They have nuclear weapons. There is no doubt about that. They may not have a missile with sufficient range to his us…yet, but does it make sense for us to pick a fight?

Does it make sense for Mike Tyson (in his prime) to challenge a lightweight high school boxer to a few rounds?

What could possibly go wrong if we provoke a crazy man who has nukes into using them? I thought long and hard about that nightmare scenario when I came up with the concept for my book The Last World War Volume 1 (volume 2 almost finished).

Could we win such a conflict? Does anyone really win when someone starts using these massive weapons? Ok, we can’t bit hit in our homeland, but we do have a lot of troops on that border, and South Korea has a massive part of their population right on that border. Could North Korea float a fishing boat just off shore of Los Angeles and set one off? All kinds of things can happen when you provoke a crazy person. I only hope we proceed with caution, and things don’t escalate, but for the first time in my adult life I see the potential for a nuclear weapon used in anger as a real possibility.

My conversation with a Retired NFL Player

I had the chance yesterday to talk to a retired NFL player on a variety of topics.

In addition to writing books (which I very much enjoy) I am a scientist. As such I solve problems. That’s what is the most misunderstood thing about scientists. We aren’t magical, we don’t have some huge insight no one else has. We have a variety of problem solving tools and it is all a matter of what problem you focus on.

So, the problem in the back of my mind ever since my son broke his arm is protective equipment for sports.

Speaking on condition of anonymity the man I was talking to retired in the mid 80s and was on a team that won the Superbowl during his years (he was a starter).

He mentioned something multiple times that is kind of disturbing. Safety of players (down to high school) is not necessarily about keeping players safe and having a good time as a fan. It is about money.

How do I know?

Simple, I have been looking at injury statistics from an angle that I don’t suspect anyone has before. Head injuries are a real focus for the league, or so they claim. Why is it they are giving it lip service and perhaps not doing everything they can? Why do I believe that?

Turf.

Why do I say that?

Concussions happen more often on any other surface other than natural turf. On real grass the rate of head injuries does seem to go down, at least from what I can tell on publicly available injury data.

This was confirmed by the retired player.

He then explained to me why artificial turf got started. It had NOTHING to do with playing the game. It had everything to do with maintenance cost. It is cheaper for an owner to put in artificial turf than natural grass due to the maintenance. So, in other words, to squeeze out a slightly higher margin on their monthly profit statement, they put in turf that can and has been known to hurt the very players we all want to go watch.

I suspect I will be posting more on this subject soon. I’m not sure if this series will become a “how to fix injuries” series or a “NFL profit machine” series or a “players vs owners” series but one of those three is likely to happen as I dig into this.

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 7 of 7

This is part 7 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

Autistic people can struggle to ask for help with a problem because of communication skills.

As I understand it most people have trouble admitting there are things they don’t know. It took me until my 40s and a PhD in Physics, along with around 10 years at MIT to understand that there are a LOT of things I don’t understand. Asking for help is part of life.

Have I always asked for help?

Nope. Mostly it is because sometimes it takes me so long to explain to someone what the problem is it is faster for me to solve it myself. Is that my fault? Oh absolutely as I don’t communicate the way most people do.

When I explain something and I think my explanation is obvious, there are times people look at me like a dog with it’s head tilted. I think I’m doing a good job, I’m convinced they are just stupid (I used to think that) and now I get that it’s just me.

I work hard every single day on my communication skills and do now ask for help. I don’t always get it, but is it my fault for not explaining my needs well? Sometimes, because as it turns out the way I explain it the thing I’m asking about doesn’t seem like a big problem to most people. I need to explain not just the issue, but the impact that issue is having on something else, which is not what I am really good at (yet).

I can’t speak for all people on the spectrum, but I know over the years not asking for help has screwed me up more often than it has helped me. It has (and I can admit it) prevented my career from advancing as fast as it could have.

This concludes our seven part series. Will I write more on this subject? Well, who knows what tomorrow may bring, but in the mean time I am working on a few new book projects. Wrapping up another as we speak to be out before Christmas. There are more following that! Enjoy the blog, check out the books, and let’s hope that we can cross the finish line into a movie soon!

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 6 of 7

This is part 6 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

Autistic people give a better, more rewarding reaction when bullied.

Many bullies, or as we say in the politically correct world of the professional workplace, employees with dominant personalities, are looking for a specific reaction from someone when they do their “thing.” They may not even realize it, but they are looking for something.

So, let’s take this in context with the other 6 parts of this series. Autistics will do anything, say anything, even bend over backwards to be liked. Bullies by default don’t seem to like the people they are bullying. Therefore, I have seen it, people on the spectrum will bend over backwards, work their ass off, beg, plead, even screw up their personal lives to make someone happy.

Some people just can’t be happy. People on the spectrum have a hard time understanding that, and will work themselves silly, stay up at night, fret and worry over why this one particular person that they are trying to get to like them to do so, and it took me years to realize that in some cases it just won’t ever happen.

If you are not on the spectrum and you see someone you suspect might be falling into this trap, pull them aside and talk to them. Call it a mentoring moment, whatever you want but give them a hand. They will appreciate it in ways I can’t even begin to describe.

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 5 of 7

This is part 5 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

Because sometimes autistic people struggle to understand how to fit in socially, they may do anything they feel necessary to fit in with peers.

First, let me say OMG this is so true. I have done things for people that no rational person would ever do. I have loaned money, I have done favors, I have massively inconvenienced myself and my family just to make one person happy more times than I care to admit.

If you know a person who is on the spectrum and you see them destroying certain parts of their life just for that “one new friend,” and they are doing so without any form of rational thought please talk to them.

Also, if you have employees who are on the spectrum, and see other employees asking “favors of a friend” and that one employee working their guts out to make everyone else happy…please…I beg you, pull that guy working himself to death just to make people like him and tell him to work differently. Someone did that for me and it changed my professional life. Now, if I am not sure if it is happening again I ask my sounding board (neurotypical wife) and she helps me sort through it. It has saved me a lot of time trouble and pain.

Why people do this to autistics, other than their own laziness, is beyond me. I wouldn’t do that to someone, and I now despise it when I see that it is happening to me. Someday I’ll figure out how to not hold a grudge, but I’m not there yet!

Sample Chapter from upcoming Novel: The Last World War Volume 2

If you haven’t read it I have a book called The Last World War, Volume 1 (Trial by fission). Many people have enjoyed it, and we always intended for there to be a second. This is a preview of part of that second book which is now in the final stages of preparation.

If you haven’t read it just click books at the top of the page, and you will see it there, or just click right here -> LAST WORLD WAR VOLUME 1

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN DRAFT

 

Alex sat down at his computer to do another financial model that would show the “on paper” value of a small company to potential investors. This was the third one this week, and while it sounded like boring work to most people, to him there was a real beauty in those numbers. These number represented people’s professional lives, their hopes and dreams. If he did the numbers in certain ways, these people will prosper, or if he did them wrong, the people would die in a pile debt from which they would never recover. They had to be done just right, with no margin for error.

The people around him sat tapping on their keyboards doing similar tasks, and he assumed it would be a day like any other. As he was just getting on a roll with the numbers, out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone drop a soda can in the trash and hurry out the door. He wondered why someone was drinking soda from a can instead of bottles, but he shook his head and just assumed it was just someone who preferred the cold metal instead of the plastic. What Alex did not notice was the louder than usual popping sound the can made when it hit the bottom of the waste bin.

The news had said something about an “invasion,” and some kind of series of attacks in New England, but that was a half a country away, and he had work to do.  The news was something that he never put too much stock in anyway, since they had shown time and time again that they could not be trusted to actually report the news accurately.  The “news” companies were constantly reporting poorly researched information and then they always seemed to be retracting some part of a story, if not the whole thing, so he would just wait it out and see what was true and what wasn’t.

Everyone said to be on the lookout for anything unusual, but how weird was an aluminum soda can? It wasn’t that strange, was it?

He knew the attack in Los Angeles was real, but he still had to work. Getting paid by the hour did that kind of thing to a newlywed. If he didn’t work, he didn’t get paid, and last time there had been an attack in the United States it was over that same day. That had to be the case again, didn’t it?

Someone started coughing on the other side of the office hard enough that it caught his attention. Normally it wasn’t the kind of thing he would notice, but this was different. The coughing became harder than a person at work should. He hoped they wouldn’t get everyone sick, he didn’t have time for that. “Go home asshole,” he thought to himself, if they had something that might be contagious they should have just stayed home and not come in and risk infecting everyone. Then surprisingly, a second person, then a third started coughing a sickly wet cough.  One person, then another, and another turned the corner and started coughing so hard that they vomited, then vomited again. Someone screamed and joined in with the rest and added to the vomiting.

The amount of spewed forth bodily fluid had to be enormous. He was fifty feet away and the smell was enough to make him want to join them and bring his breakfast back to the surface.

Alex took off his headphones, stood up and looked over the cubicle walls, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. A small sound escaped his throat at the sight of people on the other side of the office who were bent over coughing and spewing forth vomit of a variety of colors based on the contents of their most recent meal. He couldn’t begin to imagine what made all of them start at once, but he realized there was no way there was anything normal about any of it. Something was wrong, and it had happened fast.

Looking around and realizing just how widespread it was he began to panic, fear was setting in, his eyes went wide and breathing was coming faster and faster with every passing second. The sounds coming from people were like nothing he had ever heard from a human, and the smell filling the room was like something out of a cesspool.

Then his eyes found Angela. She was a great friend, and had been through so much lately. While she would never be a Victoria’s Secret model, she had an aura of self-confidence and sensuality about her. Now, she was bent over coughing and suffering from what looked like a nose bleed, or was the blood coming from her eyes, it was hard to tell. Alex tried to rush over to her side of the room but, as he got closer, he got a tickle in his throat and started coughing. He couldn’t figure out why, he was healthy. Then he coughed harder and harder. His eyes were flooded with tears as if someone had turned on a faucet. Stopping his advance towards Angela he bent over, all of his muscles tensed at once. He fought back, but had somehow lost control over any part of his body.

Violently, with no way to catch himself, he hit the ground hard, face first.  Through the ocean of tears freely flowing down his face he saw Angela on the ground about twenty feet away. She had drool coming down the side of her face and blood quickly running out of her nose, ears and eyes. Then it dawned on him, that he had the same problem.

When did this happen?

How did this happen?

He could not focus on anything except Angela and her body spasming on the ground in front of him. His eyes clamped shut uncontrollably, and trying as hard as he could, there was no way he could open them. His muscles started flexing, doing some crazy things, sending his body thrashing in all directions.

Then, without warning every single muscle tensed at once and he could no longer move. No longer in control of any of his muscles, his lungs started to spasm, alternating between trying to draw breath into his now destroyed lungs and projectile vomiting massive amounts of blood. Then, his colon was next to release its contents and the flood of bloody shit flowed out of his anus emanating a smell that was like rotting flesh as it mixed with the reddish colored urine that his bladder had formed a pool on the floor.  His mind recognized that as the smell coming from the room letting him know that he wasn’t the only one in this condition, and finally understanding where that smell was coming from.

What the hell was going on?

How can everyone here go from healthy to this in such a short period of time?

It didn’t make any sense.

He lost consciousness not understanding what had happened.

 

***

 

The President stood at the head of the conference table, frustrated that he was still stuck on board Air Force One. He held his cell phone at chest level staring into space for a moment. Only some of the electronics gear was back up and running, with technicians and software people working furiously on the rest. Thankfully the cell phone networks were working again, or they would have almost no updated information about what was going on outside the airplane, which was still on the ground.

“Everyone quiet,” the President shouted.

The room fell eerily quiet, more so than the President had intended. He slowly put down his phone.

“Everyone, Given that the Prime Minister of Israel was going to surrender, and has now either done so or been killed, we have to think this through. The only way that man would have agreed to lay down arms is if his citizenry were about to be exterminated,” the President said.

“Mr. President, we have no other source, are we sure it as bad as he made it out to be? Is it possible tha the fighting was localized to just the capital” some unknown intelligence staff member asked.

“That was the Prime Minister himself, not some aid. Given that we had no cell access anywhere at the time, yet his call and that damn General got through, I feel safe saying that I’m sure,” the President said. His tone of voice showing his growing frustration.

“If that is true, and satellites gave us no warning, the electronic systems have been down longer than we realized. Mr. President, I believe we may have the modern-day version of the D-Day invasion taking place, only we are on the defensive side. I think they are coming at us with everything they have available, as fast as they can put it into the field. If we don’t have our networks, smart weapons, and sensor platforms this will be a war we are really not ready to fight without unconventional weapons. The numbers are just not on our side,” surmised the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

“General, we just launched two unconventional nuclear warheads and they took control of one of those. How do we know that the next time we launch one it won’t be retargeted to hit one of our cities? Maybe it will be reprogrammed to hit one of military bases around the world, and how the hell would that be helpful?” the President’s anger was coming through loud and clear.

“That is a possibility while those devices are on ICBMs. However, if we launch our attacks from bombers we can guarantee a hit thanks to the human pilots. However, we will have to turn off as much in the way of electronics as we can, just in case those aircraft are penetrated by this network attack as well. But, this may be the best pathway forward. We could also use one of those really fast point to point transport devices that research scientist just showed us, if it would work for the task. He said faster than light, and I don’t know how fast that is, but if we can deliver things without the need for missiles, that just might save our ass,” the General was a professional in every way, and clearly was not ready to talk terms with the enemy.

“Ok. Israel is gone, and that is a huge problem, but let’s figure out our status at this point. Do we have word from any other allies around the world? Is anyone else under attack?” the President asked looking at his Secretary of State, the nation’s chief diplomat.

“Without access to our computer networks, or even television news, it is really hard to tell. I’m going to have people light up the phone line and do this the old-fashioned way, but it will take some time,” the Secretary of State said.

“Get to work,” the President ordered.

“General, where is our heavy combat gear? How much do we have in transport, and how hard will it be to make sure we bring everything we can home as quickly as we can? I have a feeling we may have to become an isolationist nation for a while,” the President said.

He clearly did not like these decisions, but knowing he was painted into a corner. Becoming isolationist could result in the rest of the world falling into an even greater level of chaos. That might be very challenging to fix once things got under control domestically, but he couldn’t very well protect the world and in the process, lose the homeland. America had to be able to protect its own before it could worry about any other nation’s citizens.

“Mr. President, we have probably forty percent of our hardware being repositioned. If you recall, we took a bet, we sent almost every asset we had into the Middle East to try to bring an end to hostilities quickly, most of it is still there, or in transit. If we can find their staging area there perhaps we can launch an attack before they make a move elsewhere in the world. We can issue an order for everything in motion to come home at best possible speed, fuel conservation be damned, and develop a reasonable plan to pull out of everywhere we are that isn’t currently a war zone, but that will take time, I don’t know how long, but at least weeks to months. The other problem is that there are many places around the world that if we pull out with the threat of global armed conflict spreading everywhere is going to go way up,” the Chairman said, clearly not happy with the timeframe any more than the President.

“Fine. Someone figure out where the Vice President is, and get him here to meet that bizarre scientist. Perhaps that crazy man can save us, if we can figure out how to properly use that stuff. He showed us that thing that apparently enables faster than light travel. Perhaps that can deliver our weapons, and people where they need to be without the need for air support. I can’t believe I just said those words, and let’s hope to Christ that the thing works.

“Also, we need a better understanding of what manpower the enemy has already managed to land on our shores. Even if I would launch a nuclear strike here, which I won’t, and we still have active cyber-attacks that may make matters worse, AND our smart weapons are fucked, then maybe, just MAYBE our scientists can pull our asses out of the fire,” the President was shouting louder and louder as he finished his statement. He was also starting to ramble, which was uncharacteristic, the stress was obviously taking its toll.

“Yes, Mr. President,” said the Chairman.

More computers and video screens had been coming online during the exchange.

“Mr. President,” the Vice President’s voice said.

“Frank, I didn’t realize your link was back up. Where the hell are you, and how soon can you get to wherever I am?” asked President Press.

“Somewhere in Texas, I think. However, I’d like to make a point that both of us being in the same place at the same time is a very bad idea, Mr. President,” said Frank.

“Of course, and honestly I’m not 100% certain where we are, just that there is some technology here that you have to see, and help us figure out how to use it to clean up this mess,” said the President.

“I’m told the electronics in this plane is fine. Mr. President you need to get someplace safe and organize a response to the invasion making its way through New England, as well as a nerve agent attack that is at this very moment putting Americans into a horrifyingly painful death spiral, on top of all that we also had a massive nuclear strike. I suggest you go to Fort Bragg and I go wherever you are,” Frank said.

“Mr. Vice President, if I may?” the Surgeon General interrupted.

“I have been on the phone with some of the Emergency Rooms in the impacted areas of this nerve agent. The people infected are experiencing the following symptoms: muscle convulsions, runny nose, crying, drooling, release of bowels and bladder, even some temporary paralysis. Those that will die are doing so in about ten minutes post exposure. Everyone else will recover, and all we must do for the moment is to keep them comfortable. The hospitals in the area surrounding the nuclear strike are over run in the same way we experienced last time, and that must be our priority,” said the Medical Professional.

“Mr. President, that may have been a test of some new capability. If they use those weapons on our troops while we are in contact, they will be slaughtered as they won’t be able to offer any kind of resistance thanks to the associated symptoms. Everyone must wear protective gas masks, whenever they are about to make contact with the enemy, or set foot outside of a base until we fully understand the situation,” the Vice President said.

“General, issue that order, and Doctor, you better figure out if whatever it is that is happening is contagious or not, we don’t need a fucking pandemic on top of everything else,” said the President.

“Frank, get here and get to work, we will be at your old stomping grounds,” the President said, then walked out of the room to see the pilots.

 

<AP NEWS FLASH> Hospitals in some of the southern states are being overrun with citizens suffering from the effects of a nerve agent. Many people around the nation are nervous they are showing signs. There will be an upcoming press release showing what symptoms to be watchful of, however if symptoms being experienced are not chronic, the malady is likely not a nerve agent. Hospitals are asking that people think before jamming local emergency rooms.

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 4 of 7

This is part 4 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

Autistic people tend to take things literally, making them very easy to manipulate

Ok, as an autistic I may not be the best person to explain when this happens. It happens to me all the time. People say “hey let’s get you a promotion,” to me means a promotion is coming….now. It doesn’t mean what most people think.

Hey “I really liked your idea,” could mean yeah it was cute, but not going to be done in this case. To me that is fantastic let’s move forward.

People pick up on this. If they want me to take a crap task when I’m working for someone else you will hear things like “this kind of thing really matters at year end reviews,” which means it matters, but it won’t help. You can list it on your accomplishments but it won’t help you get anywhere because it is a task no one cares about, no one wants and anyone can do (they just avoid).

I take that to mean it will help and the next six months are spent working on this crap task, and it does me no good. This was commonplace when I made my living as an engineer, which I no longer do, but be careful if you fall into the same category I did!

BTW, if you are not autistic and you do find people who take stuff literally, and you do this kind of thing to them…shame on you. It advances YOUR career at the cost of someone else’s and I hope you don’t sleep well and giant fire ants invade your next picnic.

 

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 3 of 7

This is part 3 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

 

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

People with autism are not able to read body language or other social cues, which makes it hard to read intentions.

In other words, if you have a weekly poker game, bring an autistic. Ok, that was a joke.

Seriously, in any kind of business negotiation would you want to be the person that actually has to depend upon what people say instead of their body language? I have learned this one the really hard way over the years.

Should I name names here? Oh if only I were allowed to. There are so many people out there in business situations, exchanges and negotiations that do NOT say what they mean, they say some vague thing that can be interpreted a variety of ways (in some cases they outright lie). It is up to you, the receiver of their spewed forth crap to interpret what it is they really mean.

That is why, especially after a more recent debacle, I always get things in writing. If you are on the spectrum and negotiating something do not depend on what people say. Get it in writing, and then have someone else review it for you (a lawyer comes to mind). That advice actually works for non-autistics as well, but most neurotypical people are better at picking up the scumbags from the non scumbags than I am.