The Silver Standard News
"Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊                                ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊
I am not old, she said
I am rare
I am the standing ovation
at the end of the play
I am the retrospective
of my life
as art
I am the hours
connected like dots
into good sense
I am the fullness
of existing
you think I am waiting to die
but I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure
I am a map
these wrinkles are imprints
of my journey
ask me
Samantha Reynolds

TRAVEL            GARDENING     



Welcome to the Silver Standard News

As a central element of the outreach work of the Elder Abuse Reform Now (EARN) Project, it is our goal to bring you the latest news on developments in the fight to end financial elder abuse, as well as a wide range of other information to assist senior citizens and their loved ones. From detailing the progress of legislation aimed at ending the practice of financial elder abuse in each of the 50 states to telling the stories of those who have suffered from the effects of this practice, the Silver Standard News is dedicated to making sure that no senior citizen in this country is denied the right to control the assets and property that are rightfully theirs.

To achieve this goal, we will be working on several different fronts; whether it be unraveling legal terminology for our readers or giving them a way to connect with each other, we will work to improve the lives of America's senior citizens by giving them a voice that reflects their concerns and ensures that they are part of a larger community that has their interests at heart.

We will shine a cold light into the darkness of financial elder abuse and the involuntary guardianship that is the favorite tool of the financial abuser. Scrutinize every state, every city, and every court to make sure the citizens of each state understand precisely where their state, and each legislator, stands on financial elder abuse, and how well existing laws protect their elders and punish the abusers.

We will remind every politician that senior citizens control the largest block of money and the largest block of votes. We will apply our motto, taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." For we will be watching and reporting on the actions of those powerful Americans who, while enjoying the salaries and perks of office provided by the American tax payers, have failed the greatest generation and are now failing their baby boomer children.

In addition, we will give our readers. a look at the human faces behind every aspect of this struggle--not just victims but politicians, legislators, home care administrators, professional guardians, businesses. We will tell the personal stories of the people who have lost their money, homes and dignity due to unscrupulous individuals who are often allowed to act under the cloak of legality. But we will also tell the stories of those who have fought back, who have refused to take the existing state of affairs lying down, and who are winning their battles. We will tell you about those officeholders who are, and have been, their champions. Our aim is to empower our readers, to make them aware that they do not have to simply accept the way things are. Though they may be past the age of lying down on courthouse steps or participating in noisy demonstrations, we will encourage them to put their voice, their votes and their money to good use on the elder abuse front. Collectively, especially when joined by those who love them and younger people who don't want this evil to invade their "Golden Years"—they can create a mighty roar.

Though our principle focus is to inform and make elder abuse a sin of the past, we also hope we will amuse and entertain. Tell us what you want, what your concerns are, how you feel we can do a better job to make the Silver Standard News a vital source for all seniors and their adult children. We look forward to hearing from you.



Kevin Badu will be keeping us current on all legal changes throughout the country as well as at the Federal level. He will also help us understand how well our local politicians are doing in keeping the senior citizens of their state safe from financial elder abuse and involuntary guardianship. Kevin earned his Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and is currently working on an MBA in Finance at the University of Connecticut UConn School of Business. He has worked for law firms and legal organizations in Michigan and New York and has taught as a College professor in China. Presently, Kevin is preparing for the New York State Bar Admission examinations.
Joan Hunt is a former journalist, columnist and community news editor, who retired three years ago from the Hartford Courant. She lives in Wethersfield, CT, where she freelances and enjoys a large and active family.
Elizabeth Sinclair will be peeking into all corners of the earth to help our readers who would like to spend their leisure time in an invigorating and comfortable style. Liz is a writer, traveler, social media manager and digital nomad who makes her home on 2 continents and an island chain. She writes about travel, health and social issues. Her ultimate dream is to have a tiny house in the country.
Mary West is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a broad spectrum of publications. A lifelong avid reader, she takes keen delight in the written word.
Bill Wine was film critic for WTXF-TV in Philadelphia for 12 years and, since 2001, has served as the film critic for CBS’s KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia. He has taught undergraduate film courses at La Salle University as a tenured Associate Professor of Communication. Bill is the winner of three Emmy awards.


By Mary West

Horse Ranch Is Beacon of Light for Veterans with PTSD in Georgia

The horrors of war take a tremendous toll on the mental health of those who serve in the armed forces. When veterans return home from their tour of duty, they’re often haunted by memories of fighting for the life of a soldier or watching a wounded friend bleeding to death.. The untold anguish suffered in combat inevitably leads to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Many of our readers have children who, after bravely traveling far from home to protect our country and way of life, find that, when they return, their need for our help in dealing with the scars of war are greeted with indifference and slow moving bureaucratic red tape. Tragically, sometimes the condition culminates in suicides.

After serving 29 years in the army, including three combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sam Rhodes of Fortson, Georgia, was diagnosed with PTSD, reports CNN Health. He was contemplating taking his life, when he received help from an unexpected source ⁠— his stepdaughter’s horse. Cleaning stables and putting up fences calmed his anxieties and made him feel like he had a purpose in life.

The military comes out
in support of Sam Rhodes' project

Consequently, Rhodes wanted to share his source of help with other veterans struggling with PTSD. His aspiration was on the way to becoming a reality when he started building a horse ranch and launched a non-profit called Warrior Outreach in 2008. It provides free access to horses for veterans and their families.

Horses are known for their therapeutic benefits, they have been used to help people with autism and spinal cord injuries, as well as those with depression and PTSD. On Mr. Rhodes’ ranch the wounds of war are soothed through the nonjudgmental empathy and understanding emanating from the animals they are grooming and riding. In addition, the solitude and peace of the ranch trails are undoubtedly a balm for troubled spirits.

Has the horse ranch completely cured Sam Rhodes of PTSD? No, he still struggles with depression, but the horses have made a decided difference for him, his will to live, and interest in life—he has even begun to compose music

Now, Warrior Outreach is more than a horse ranch: It’s expanded into a network where veterans help each other in multiple ways. Fueled by donations and manned by volunteers, the organization does home repairs for veterans in the community. In September they even helped children with disabilities, holding a Camp Dream event.

All of this is offered free of charge to anyone who needs it. The volunteers even give their phone number to those having a hard time, and invite them to call when they need something.

Most importantly, the program is literally saving lives. "Vets come out here and say, 'Hey, you saved my life.' It's well worth it," Rhodes told CNN.

"Vets come out here and say,
'Hey, you saved my life.'"

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans, especially those who are homeless, have a higher risk of suicide than that of the civilian population. Each year, approximately 26 out of every 100,000 Americans die from suicide compared to 35 out of every 100,000 veterans. Among homeless veterans, the rate is 81 out of every 100,000.

Warrior Outreach is a beacon of light for veterans in this corner of Georgia but not all of us can build a horse ranch. However, we can emulate the love and caring Mr. Rhodes has shown our veterans. Talk to local farm and stable owners, see if they would run something similar if you get volunteers to help. If not horses, look into some of the other programs that are being run across the country that might be something you could organize. So much more is needed, and our Veteran have certainly earned the right to find compassion and help when they return home.

"Vets come out here and say, 'Hey, you saved my life.' It's well worth it," Rhodes told CNN. What in anyone’s life could possibly be more important than saving a life?

6350 GA-219, Fortson, GA 31808 (706) 505-0708




By Mary West

Congress Considers Two Whistleblower Bills

As we have previously covered, Washington D.C. hosted the eighth annual Whistleblower Summit from July 29 to August 1, 2019. The event offered a wealth of practical advice from whistleblowers and agencies that enforce their rights, reports PublicCitizen. Coming on the heels of the summit, Congress is considering two bills that would provide greater protection for informants of wrongdoing than what is presently offered under existing law. It’s critically important for whistleblowers to be able to bring to light the illicit activity of an organization without fear of retaliation.

House Passes PCAOB Whistleblower Protection Act of 2019

A press release by Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia states that on September 20, the House of Representatives passed her bill to establish a whistleblower protection program at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). If the legislation, called the PCAOB Whistleblower Protection Act of 2019, is signed into law, it would safeguard people who report wrongdoing that results in enforcement action by the PCAOB. It would also guarantee that public companies don’t endanger the financial security of consumers.

“The PCAOB Whistleblower Protection Act of 2019 is a good first step in ensuring the proper oversight of audits of public companies,” said Congresswoman Garcia. “This is one tool in the tool box of protecting the stability and transparency of our public markets and ensuring the investor faith it generates continues.”

EARN founder Sharon de Lobo said … "The public needs to get these Bills passed…they need to write letters—phone calls and petitions are generally ignored…"

Senators Introduce Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act

On September 24, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill) introduced the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (WPIA), according to a news release by Senator Grassley. The intent of the proposed legislation is to extend whistleblower protection to more individuals who report violations of commodities and securities law.

“There’s no reason why those who want to report wrongdoing internally should face potential retaliation from the exact people they are reporting to. Internal disclosures can be the fastest and most effective way for a company to remedy problems, prevent fraud and protect investors,” notes Grassley. “Our bill will ensure that those who do the right thing and report violations will be protected.”

The WPIA will strengthen protection from reprisals for those who disclose wrongdoing to officials in their company prior to or instead of disclosing it directly to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, the bill will expedite the processing of monetary awards to whistleblowers whose reports lead to successful enforcement actions.

In discussing this matter, EARN founder Sharon de Lobo said … “The public needs to get these Bills passed…they need to write letters—phone calls and petitions are generally ignored…” John Kostyack, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, says the SEC has proposed rule changes that would effectively gut their whistleblower program, which has been very successful in the past. Therefore, it will take the passage of both bills in Congress, along with further actions to convince the SEC to allow the program to continue, he adds.

*Note: The Silver standard has received quite a bit of mail, sparked not only by our coverage of the National Whistleblower summit but also, we believe, by the recent Presidential telephone call to the newly elected Ukrainian leader that has been occupying so much of the news lately. Many of our readers are concerned that because this has become such a hot topic there will be a kneejerk reaction to label all whistleblowers as valid, just as proponents of the me-to movement have said we must always believe a woman who claims rape.

We, at the Silver Standard, are politically independent and, considering the good and the bad of human nature, a bit less inclined to accept anything at face value. We believe that both sides in a whistleblower claim must be thoroughly investigated.

There is a difference between an honest complaint, gossip, and a malicious action. As president Reagan said “Trust but verify” and we would add…always protect an honest whistleblower from retaliation.



I Was Just Thinking...

by Joan Hunt

43 Years of Vacations and we Finally got it Just Right

Be thankful for longevity. I just returned from my best family vacation ever, and it only took 43 years for this to happen. Oh, we had the usual verbal disagreements and kids acting up to impress each other, but overall it was delightful.

Being an introspective person, I have been trying to figure out what went right this time. For one thing, the grandchildren are getting older – ranging from 16 to 11, with 2-year-old Stella being somewhat the “odd man out.” She made all the big kids feel bigger, and they loved helping with her because she has a bubbly personality and is an absolute ham.

They are a wild mix of strong personalities, as are their parents, and to be honest, me. Normally this creates situations where parents are upset with kids, kids are upset with each other, and parents disagree about what to do, where to go, and when to do it.

This year, it seemed like everyone had decided beforehand to make it work. Pre-vacation disappointments included that Jacob wouldn’t be able to come because he had football camp, and his dad stayed behind in Indiana with him. My guy stayed back to take care of his grandkids in Connecticut. But we had piled together a bunch of money to rent a beautiful beach house that slept 15 in the heart of Ogunquit, ME, and we were determined to have a great time with whomever could make it.

I like to think the layout of the house was a positive factor. The girls, age12, 14 and 15 had the middle room on the top floor that included a double chaise and a huge table for games, snacking and such. I was across from them.

My youngest daughter and her husband were on the main level, with a queen bed and a pack-and-play for Stella. Kelley, my oldest, was in the “Queen Bee” room also on the main level – and of course there was a lot of ribbing about that.

The boys, age 12, 13 and 13, had a “man cave” on the bottom level with their own TV, pinball machine, refrigerator and couches, in addition to a bedroom. Matty’s parents also had a room on that floor, which insured that the fun couldn’t last all night long.

Perhaps the greatest boon to cousin together time was that no video games made the trip and parents limited cellphones and electronics to quiet moments when nothing else was going on. There was a nice backyard, where we played volleyball with a beach ball, danced to all kinds of music, and of course grilled and ate out.

Weather can be problematic, as we chose the week prior to the “season,” which can be cold and rainy. Knowing that, everybody came with ideas for what to do on sunless days. These included shopping the outlet malls, eating lobster and steamers in Perkins Cove, antiquing, go-kart racing, a trip on the lobster boat, movies, long walks along the coastline, and the piano bar in Ogunquit center (sans kids).

I am so grateful for this time we had together that, for once, was not spoiled by drama. Through the years, criticism has morphed into gentle teasing, extreme competitiveness has given way to group camaraderie, and we have begun to focus on our group strengths, rather than individual shortcomings.

And the best part is that everyone went home feeling good about themselves and looking forward to our next family vacation.



For the Well-Connected,

There is Gold at the End of That Rainbow

Marcie Mitchell's father, Bob, and her stepmother Barb, were both suffering from dementia along with other mental health issues. Marcie began to worry about things like making sure they got their medications, keeping her father from driving his car, and that their home was clean and day-to-day needs were attended to.

She came to realize that, in order to keep Bob and Barb safe, happy and living in their own home, she would need to take over as their guardian. She knew that in Michigan, the law governing guardianship gave priority to family members, so it would be a simple matter. Then she ran into Macomb County probate judge Kathryn George who, in 2008, had been removed, by an order from the Michigan Supreme Court, as chief judge of the probate court due to concerns over her “questionable overuse” of a guardianship company she was appointing to cases.

Judge George, instead of giving guardianship to a loving daughter, insisted on appointing Carrying Parts Michigan Inc. even though, when the family was asked if they thought Marci should be Bob and Barb’s guardian, said“ Absolutely, we were all 100% behind her.”

Carrying Parts Michigan Inc is owned by Kathy Kirk.

“Coincidentally” Kathy Kirk is married to Macomb County public

administrator and probate attorney Robert Kirk.

And “coincidentally” Kathy Kirk just happens to also own company that provides 24/7 caregivers called Executive Care —Bet you’ll never guess who was hired to provide the caregivers for Bob and Barb. Surprise, surprise, it was Executive Care.

Would you be further surprised to hear that Bob and Barb were not a couple of insignificant means? Bob and Barb had a nice fat nest egg of $2.7 million and Carrying Parts Michigan Inc says the $240,000 they billed that nest egg, for one year of service, was absolutely appropriate.

If you aren’t surprised by that, how about this? Claiming that it was for Barb’s and Bob’s safety, the caregivers replaced the fence around their home with a six-foot-tall privacy fence—at Bob’s and Barb’s expense, of course. Relatives who live right next door say it prevents them from keeping an eye on their loved ones, as they used to, and they are even prevented from communicating with them.

Well, don’t be surprised. Because mistreatment of seniors and disregard for Michigan’s (in fact all states’) procedures in order to benefit friendly judges, lawyers, nursing homes, and guardianship organizations goes on every day in probate courts across this country.

In most cases, Bob and Barb would have spent the rest of their lives cut off from family and loved ones, thinking they have been abandoned; often physically abused; their carefully saved funds drained; and finally dying alone and in misery.

But, in the case of Bob and Barb, a guardian angel arrived in the form of reporter Heather Catallo of ABC affiliate Action 7 (WXYZ-TV), who said, “The Action 7 Investigators get a lot of calls from families whose loved ones have been placed under guardianship, and unfortunately, we can’t tell every single story. But this one caught our attention because of a fence that was built and because of the history of the judge involved.”

The attention brought by Ms. Catallo’s coverage, and probably also the marvellous series that journalist Gretchen Hammond self-published in The Daily Kos (see note), brought the attention of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Caring Hearts has filed an objection that says the AG is acting outside of the law and has no business intervening. They were right, but happily she did anyway.

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack and Macomb Circuit and Probate Courts Chief Judge James M. Biernat, Jr. have been given the task of looking into this situation. In a joint statement they said, “We have recently become aware of specific concerns regarding Macomb Probate Judge Kathryn George, alleging that proper procedures are not being followed in her court and the rights of families are not being safeguarded. We commend the Attorney General, who has already begun an investigation about these concerns and ask her to use the full powers of her office to examine how vulnerable adults are being treated….Vulnerable Michigan residents and their families must have confidence that probate courts are following the law and taking appropriate steps to protect their rights.”

A probate court spokesman is quoted as saying, “Judge George knows the Kirks informally through political and bar association events… there is no business relationship.”

He forgot to mention the political donations.

Isn’t it ironic that throughout history, in oppressed and war-torn nations, the appearance of the American flag has given hope of freedom? Right now, Kurdish freedom fighters are wearing American flag patch on their shoulders, and Old Glory is seen flying in the midst of protesters in Hong Kong. Yet, in America, we have evolved into a country that, through taxes and guardians’ salaries, we are forced to pay the salary of politicians, lawmakers, judges, and guardians who are at best indifferent to our suffering and at worst abusers themselves. Where in our wonderful Constitution does it say we must support our own tormentors?

It is a lot of reading but well worth your time if you want to thoroughly understand what is being done to Michigan citizens and, if the public does not insist on change, what can happen to you:

The Fortress Part One of Five: Unacknowledged and Unprotected:

The Fortress Part Two of Five: Protected in Hell:

The Fortress Part Three of Five: Profiting from Protection:

and The Fortress Part Four of Five: The Consequences of Protecting Justice:




Christmas with Mozart

Elizabeth Sinclair

Salzburg is famous as a city of music, the home of Mozart and the birthplace of the well-known ‘Silent Night’. Salzburg is also famous for its celebrations during Advent, in November to December, when the city prepares for Christmas. Winter in Austria is cold and snowy and Salzburg comes alive during Advent with markets, lights, music, food and festivities, such as the annual parades of traditional folk characters, Krampus and Perchten, and the Advent Singing festival.

Advent Singing

The Salzburg Advent Singing at the Grosses Festspielhaus Festival Hall has been an annual winter tradition since 1946. More than 150 musicians, actors and children tell the story of Advent using Alpine folk melodies and Christmas plays.

Krampus and Perchten Parades

Krampus is a devil-like creature in Alpine folklore that travels with St. Nicholas, looking for naughty children to punish. Perchten are folk figures from Bavaria and Austria that carry bells to drive away winter. Wearing shaggy pelts, horns, frightening, hand-carved wooden masks and jangling bells, these characters run and parade through the streets of Salzburg at Advent to scare away the dark spirits of winter.


Winterfest is a contemporary circus festival that brings circus performers, acrobats and spoken word artists from all over the world to captivate audiences in a city of tents in the Volksgarten, a park in the center of the city.

Advent Markets

The best-known Advent tradition in Salzburg is the Advent Markets, the most famous of which is the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, dating back to the 15th century, that lies in the heart of Salzburg’s World Heritage-listed Old City. The air is filled with the scent of maroni (roasted chestnuts) and gluhwein (mulled wine) as you wander among 100 stalls offering food, toys, gifts and more. The Christkindlmarkt offers readings of Christmas stories for children, guided tours and concerts of both traditional wind music choirs and sing-alongs, as well as visits of the Salzburg “Christ Child” and his angels.

The Advent Market at Franziskischlossl takes place in the courtyard of a 17th century defense tower that sits high above the city, in the middle of a forest, and has few tourists. The market sells regional foods and arts and crafts, and is located by a historic inn and restaurant.

The Glanegg Advent Fair is located on the grounds of the historical farm and hunting grounds of the Mayr-Melnhof family and features wild game, such as venison sausage or wild boar, home made jams and baked Christmas treats. The market also offers a program of wind music, sleigh rides and more.

Hellbrunner Adventzauber is held in the inner courtyard of the Schloss Hellbrunn palace and sells traditional arts & crafts, as well as regional food and drink. The market also offers performances by folk musicians and guest choirs, a petting zoo, pony rides and a Christmas Post Office for children. The 24 windows of the palace are transformed into a giant Advent calendar and the palace Orangery opens as an Advent café.

The Christmas Market on Mirabellplatz is located in front of the Mirabell Palace, in the center of the city, and sells a wide range of food, gifts, arts & crafts and Christmas treats. This small, atmospheric market doesn’t draw the big crowds of other Advent markets.

The St. Leonhard Advent Market sells regional arts and crafts from Austria, Bavaria and South Tyrol, as well as offering a program of festive music. Proceeds go to a charity for people with disabilities.

The Advent Market at Salzburg Fortress is held in the inner courtyard of Hohensalburg Fortress, an 11th century castle complex that is the world-famous emblem of the city. The market offers arts & crafts and Christmas goodies. Side events include a Christmas workshop for children and small ensembles of wind musicians and choirs.

The Stern Advent and Winter Market is located on the grounds of the Sternbrau, in the heart of Salzburg’s historic district, a popular traditional beer inn, which dates back to 1542. At Advent, the beer garden is filled with small wooden huts and transformed into a Winter Market. Unlike the other Advent markets, which close at Christmas, this one runs until early January.

Many Salzburg churches feature elaborate handcrafted Nativity scenes of the birth of Jesus, a city tradition since the 18th century. The Salzburg tourism website features a self-guided walking tour of the churches with Nativity displays.

The website also offers a full listing of Salzburg hotels and restaurants offering special Christmas and New Years Eve events and meals. Traditional Austrian Christmas dishes include roast goose, with baked apples and braised cabbage, carp fried in butter, pumpkin soup and knodel (bread dumplings). Traditional Salzburg Christmas delicacies include spice biscuits with clove and cinnamon, Vanillekipferl (vanilla crescent pastries), Linzer torte (almond biscuits with raspberry jam) and Weihnachtstollen (Christmas stollen cake with dried fruit and marzipan).

The city also offers a wide range of opera, chamber and classical music performances, palace and Mozart concerts. Check the Salzburg tourism site for event listings.

To wrap up your Advent stay in Salzburg, pay a visit to the Christmas Museum on Mozart Square in the old part of the city. The museum features displays of traditional Christmas celebrations from southern Germany and Austria from 1840 to 1940.




By Bill Wine

Here we sit on the 50th anniversary of Judy Garland’s death and the 80th anniversary of her classic starring vehicle, “The Wizard of Oz.”

And our primary takeaway from the contemporary movie industry’s musical biodrama portrait of this troubled, beloved icon, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, is:

Some rainbow that was, over, under, or through.

As “Judy” tells it, legendary performer and undeniable superstar Judy Garland was exploited to a severe degree by the Hollywood system in the middle of the last century, as it not only made her temporarily rich and willy-nilly famous, but chewed her up and spit her out as if she were yesterday’s smudged tabloid.

In other words, those ruby slippers were a lot less than a perfect fit.

Some of this real-life tale about public scrutiny and the cruel studio system we buy and some of it we wonder about and question. But what we find impossible to deny or dismiss is the spectacular performance by Renee Zellweger in the title role. 

It’s obvious that the narrative that details what Garland went through spoke to and inspired Zellweger, whose experience as a screen actress undoubtedly overlapped that of the woman she plays.

What Zellweger gives us – doing her own singing, by the way – is not an impersonation, and Zellweger really does not resemble Garland at all. But her interpretation captures Garland’s mannerisms and singing style with such astonishing authenticity that we willingly join the parade as it passes by.

And while Garland herself never won an acting Oscar, she was nominated twice – for Best Actress in “A Star is Born” and Best Supporting Actress in “Judgment at Nuremberg -- so don’t count Ms. Zellweger out, given that she was nominated as Best Actress in 2002 for “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and in 2003 for “Chicago,” and won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2004 for “Cold Mountain.”

British director Rupert Goold (“True Story”), whose background is mostly in theater and television, works from a screenplay by Tom Edge that is based on the play, “End of the Rainbow,” by Peter Quilter.

Like many a contemporary biographer, Goold chooses to focus on a relatively brief stretch of his subject’s life – in this case, Garland’s last year, before dying of an overdose at age 47 – and offers it as a full-bodied portrait.

And it gets the job done, if not always smoothly or deeply enough to triumph as a multi-faceted drama.

We look in on Garland in the winter of 1969, certainly a low point financially, as she arrives in London to perform in a series of sold-out concerts.

Glancing backward by way of flashbacks that alternate with present-tense exposition, we meet her five husbands and the brutal custody battle for her children, and see the origin of what would eventuate into widely acknowledged habits involving a dependence on drugs and booze.

In the fascinating segments about Garland’s experiences as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s cash cow, we see her popping pills during the day to battle her appetite and at night to help her sleep.

This thanks to Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery), her emotionally abusive boss, so willing to ruin Garland’s childhood, and so fond of pulling rugs out from under her by saying things like “There’s always a girl who’s prettier than you.”

Most of this is familiar and sufficiently interesting as a backstage melodrama. But it’s during the musical numbers, anchored by Zellweger’s dazzling performance, that the film really comes alive.

And not because Zelleger sounds that much like Garland because she doesn’t.

But she turns the many musical numbers – including such classics as “Get Happy” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” -- whatever their surface sound, into mesmerizing expressions of melancholy, just as Garland did.

So this is a sympathetic MeToo profile, to be sure, with Mayer as the villain, Hollywood as Oz, and a Yellow Brick Road showbiz career as a devil’s bargain with precious little at the end of the rainbow.

But the signature songs speak – that is, sing --- for themselves, evoking both cheers and tears, and Zellweger captures her prey splendidly without completely disappearing into her role.

That is, we get to enjoy not only the re-creation of Judy in “Judy,” but Zellweger’s heartfelt magic trick as well.





On the EARN website under “State Info,” There is a drop-down list where you can find all the legal information about Financial Elder Abuse and involuntary Guardianship for your state.

As we researched each state, a question arose—though the public chooses those who will represent their interests and safety and, through one manner of taxation or another, pay the salaries of those representatives as well as Attorney Generals, Judges, and District Attorneys, why is there so little concern shown for the senior citizens in so many states? It is particularly perplexing given the fact that those very senior citizens are, more often than not, paying the largest share of the taxes and casting the largest share of the votes.

Over the next year, we will compare all 50 states, each month we will carry forward the state that was the best in the previous month’s comparisons, to see...



Financial Exploitation of Elders Comparison of State laws protecting Elders against Financial Exploitation 
Alabama  New York North Carolina North Dakota
Does the State define an elder? Yes. Person 60 years or older Yes. A person 60 yrs of age or older Yes. A person 60 yrs of age or older No. 
Vulnerable or Disabled Adult
State laws protect elders against financial exploitation? Yes   No Yes No.
Vulnerable or disabled adults
Are there penalties for financial exploitation of elders?  Yes. Divided into Classes of Felony    No Yes Yes
Is there a duty to report financial exploitation of elders No  Yes Yes No
Is there a penalty for failure to report? No    No No No
Does the State law define financial exploitation? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Does the State's Elder law define the following: No 
a) Deception Yes No No No
b) Undue Influence Yes No No No
c) Intimidation Yes No No No
How does the State define
a) Financial Exploitation Financial Exploitation means the use of deception, intimidation, undue influence, force, or threat of force to obtain or exert unauthorized control over an elderly person's property with the intent to deprive the elderly person of his or her property or the breach of a fiduciary duty to an elderly person by the person's guardian, conservator, or agent under a power of attorney which results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the elderly person's property Financial Exploitation means
 improper use of an adult's funds, property or resources by another individual, including but not limited to, fraud, false pretenses, embezzlement, conspiracy, forgery, falsifying records, coerced property transfers or denial of access to assets.
Financial Exploitation means the taking or misuse of property or resources of a vulnerable adult by means of undue influence, breach of a fiduciary relationship, deception, harassment, criminal coercion, theft, or other unlawful or improper means. None
b) Deception Deception occurs when a person knowingly: a) Creates or confirms a false impression b) Fails to correct a false impression the defendant created or confirmed; c) Fails to correct a false impression when the defendant is under a duty to do so; d) Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved; e). Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property, fails to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property. None  None
c) Intimidation Intimidation is a threat of physical or emotional harm to an elderly person, or the communication to an elderly person that he or she will be deprived of food and nutrition, shelter, property, prescribed medication, or medical care or treatment None  None
d) Undue Influence Undue Influence means domination, coercion, manipulation, or any other act exercised by another person to the extent that an elderly person is prevented from exercising free judgment and choice. None  None



Letters to the Editor

As we have just begun, we have not yet received any letters. I certainly hope that you will write to us: tell us about your experience with Financial Elder Abuse or Involuntary Guardianship. We will also be looking for people to interview for our monthly video and lovely photographs for our cover.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving demonstrated how much change can be accomplished when we all speak as one and insist on change. Now, it is time for Americans to again speak as one—create a roar so loud we cannot be ignored--no longer tolerating the abuse of our senior citizens.

Join The EARN Project. The membership is free. It will provide you with notifications when your Senate or House have a Bill, concerning Financial Elder Abuse and Involuntary Guardianship, coming up. It will provide a contact to all pertinent officials, through the EARN Project for you to make sure your concerns are heard and addressed. It also gives you access to information on all the laws in your state and an emergency contact list for your state which, at this time, are open to all on our website but, will soon be for members only.

Earn has picked up the baton, won't you please join the chorus —without you there is no roar and no change.

Looking forward to seeing what you send us

Sharon de Lobo


please send your letters through the EARN Contact Form or directly to