“I called the Ford for President headquarters. The Press Office had no copy available of the Republican Party Platform on which Ford was running.”

My New Republic article on 1976 Republican platform unavailable at Republican Party headquarters after the convention.


See Wikipedia’s description of The bizarre Republican National Convention of 1976

“Going into the convention, Ford had won more primary delegates than Reagan, as well as plurality in popular vote. However, Ford did not have enough to secure the nomination, and as the convention opened both candidates were seen as having a chance to win. Because of this, both Ford and Reagan arrived in Kansas City before the convention opened to woo the remaining uncommitted delegates in an effort to secure the nomination. Reagan benefited from his highly committed delegates, notably ‘Reagan’s Raiders’ of the Texas delegation. They and other conservative Western and Southern delegates particularly faulted the Ford Administration’s foreign policy of détente towards the Soviet Union, criticizing his signing of the Helsinki Accords and indirectly blaming him for the April 1975 Fall of Saigon. The pro-Reagan Texas delegates worked hard to persuade delegates from other states to support Reagan. Ford, meanwhile, used all of the perks and patronage of the Presidency to win over wavering delegates, including trips aboard Air Force One and personal meetings with the President himself.

The Richard Schweiker gambit and the search for an alternative

Reagan had promised, if nominated, to name Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate, in a bid to attract liberals and centrists in the party. This move backfired, however, as many conservatives (such as Senator Jesse Helms) were infuriated by Reagan’s choice of the ‘liberal’ Schweiker, while few moderate delegates switched to Reagan. Helms promptly began a movement to draft Conservative Senator James L. Buckley of New York as the presidential nominee.

Platform and rules votes

“The key vote of the convention occurred when Reagan’s managers proposed a rules change that would have required Ford to publicly announce his running mate before the presidential balloting. Reagan’s managers hoped that when Ford announced his choice for vice-president, it would anger one of the two factions of the party and thus help Reagan. Ford’s supporters derisively described the proposed rules change as the ‘misery loves company’ amendment.The proposed rules change was defeated by a vote of 1180 to 1069, and Ford gained the momentum he needed to win the nomination. The balloting for president was still close, however, as Ford won the nomination with 1187 votes to 1070 votes for Reagan (and one for Elliot L. Richardson of Massachusetts).

“Conservatives succeeded in inserting several key planks into the party platform, some of which were implicitly critical of the President’s own policies. Reagan and North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms successfully had a ‘moral foreign policy’plank inserted. In light of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the 1976 Republican platform became the first to advocate a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution.”


Unrelated but certainly bizarre, on the plane back from the 1976 Kansas City convention Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz sat next to Pat “Love Letters in the Sand” Boone:

“Rolling Stone sent former White House Counsel John Dean, who had just gotten out of prison for his role in Watergate, to cover the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City. In the piece, he recounted a joke Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz told him: “I’ll tell you what coloreds want,” Butz said. “It’s three things: first,….

[Blog note: This is a children friendly site deleting expletives. If you want to read the obscenities Butz uttered read my well-indexed book or Rolling Stone. The New York Times made the editorial decision that the Secretary of Agriculture’s words were not fit to print.]

Read more: http://www.rollingstonee.com/music/pictures/rolling-stones-biggest-scoops-exposes-and-controversies-2-aa-624/earl-butz-mouths-off-14569028#ixzz3fHvSQJm1
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook









My younger child Amelia, English teacher living in Spain (and amateur roller derby star) is engaged to be married

January 17, 2017 is an appropriate date to announce the engagement of Amelia Altalena Solkoff to Javier Blanco.

The date marks the 1925 birthday of Amelia’s late paternal grandmother Miriam Pell Schmerler zt”l who was close to Amelia and her sister Joanna.

Amelia teaches English in Pontevedra, Spain (on the Portuguese border) where she is also an enthusiastic member of the local roller derby and rugby teams. With the exception of brief visits to the United States, Amelia has lived in Spain for three years, previously residing in Pamplona as well as spending a summer working on farms in the Basque region and the Canary Islands.

Amelia Solkoff displays her engagement ring which Javier Blanco puts on her finger following (according to male chauvinist tradition) Javier request that I give him my daughter's hand in marriage. (Readers are requested to explain why it is her "hand " Javier requested rather than her left elbow or her right big toe.)
Amelia Solkoff displays her engagement ring which Javier Blanco puts on her finger following (according to male chauvinist tradition) Javier’s request that I give him my daughter’s hand in marriage. (Readers are requested to explain why it is her “hand ” Javier requested rather than her left elbow or her right big toe.)

Javier Blanco is a sergeant in the Spanish army. The couple met in Javier’s hometown of Pontevedra where his mother and brother reside. Javier and Amelia currently live in Toledo.

The couple plan to marry in Pontevedra or nearby during the summer of 2016. The closest airport is Vigo, the fastest growing town in Spain. [Editorial note: Plans schmans. The couple married in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on August 6th. They honeymooned in Jamaica.]

Extensive additions, revisions, and amplification of Amelia and Javier’s engagement and marriage will appear on this site. Suffice it to say Amelia’s mother Diana Bass, sister Joanna, Joanna’s husband Jade and I are delighted.

I was present at the birth of both my daughters. I watched them grow up, receive an education, become employed and generally suck up a large portion of my energy (a process which continues to this day). Watching my daughters marry (when images of their birth continually flash through my mind) is a startling reality.

Especially mystifying to me are my daughters’ attraction to military men, each of whom I approve.

My primary hero is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose practice of non-violent resistance I have held up as an example to my daughters. I received conscientious objector status from my draft board during the Vietnam War which was an evil war. Perhaps, I have a recessive military gene. Go figure.

Javier plans to obtain a library card before getting married.







My first “real” job: Scanlan’s Monthly 1970 NOT for minors

The Corona virus appears, when least expected, In this case in my memories of my first “real” job now 50 years ago. “O tempora! O mores!” as that old windbag Cicero once exclaimed.

Afterward: For more on how Scanlan’s Monthly in June 1970 failed to disrupt that august race try as it might to disrupt the derby as effectively as Covid-19 already has, please six years ago, I published this account of my eight month career at Scanlan’s because  I badly needed to raise money to attend my younger daughter Amelia Altalena’s wedding where I “gave away the bride.” This posting below was a gimmick to sell my complete set of Scanlan’s Monthly.Had I not loved my daughter so, I might have waited forever before parting for $480 with this memory of what I had done when I was 23– now 50 years ago.


Next time think twice about Germany

Think twice about Germany. From my personal collection.

Premature Publication

Why this posting is being published before completion:

  1. To await the references from William Gillis, editor The American Historian, to arrive by U.S. mail. Gillis is the author of a brilliant paper on Scanlan’s Monthly written as a graduate student at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Here is a link to the paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Toronto, Canada, August: 2004. http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0411a&L=aejmc&P=46716
  2. To acknowledge that without Gillis’s paper giving my 8 issue service at Scanlan’s a patina of respectability, I would not have had the courage to write let alone publish this work in progress.
  3. To sell a complete set on Scanlan’s on e-Bay or to the highest bidder, preferably a well-healed university. Gillis says it is difficult now for scholars to read the publication. [Scholars!]
  4. To entice Ralph Steadman to send me the original drawings of his work that appeared in Scanlan’s. Most especially, this one which I saw him create at the editorial offices above a bar in the then seedy section of Times Square.  Scanned from my personal collection

Scanned from my personal collection

  1. [Query: How do I get this to read 7 instead of 1?] As a kindly suggestion for Chanukah / Christmas presents to suggest purchasing children’s book and not-for-children art as gifts while the British pound is weak and the dollar strong: http://www.ralphsteadman.com/
  2. To locate J.C. Suares whose work at Scanlan’s prepared for the creation with David Schneiderman of the op-ed page of The New York Times.
  3. To express appreciation to Warren Hinckle III [http://www.argonaut360.com/] not only for having shared with him months of near-lunacy [near?] but appreciation for his work at Rampart’s which convinced Martin Luther King, Jr. to denounce the War in Vietnam.
Martin Luther King speaks out against the Vietnam War, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967. I was a sophomore at Columbia at the time and attended the speech. To the left is bearded Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Professor of Theology and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Heschel wrote a letter to my draft board saying that it was in keeping with Jewish tradition for me to be a conscientious objector
Martin Luther King speaks out against the Vietnam War, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967. I was a sophomore at Columbia at the time and attended the speech. To the left is bearded Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Professor of Theology and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Heschel wrote a letter to my draft board saying that it was in keeping with Jewish tradition for me to be a conscientious objector
  1. [Query: How do I get this to read 9 instead of 1?] To allow frequent site contributor Hadley Baxendale to make a pre-publication comment to this prematurely published posting.
  2. To convince my skeptical webmaster and friend Kathy Forer I really did work for a publication that PAID for advertising
  3. To insert a permalink in my published, incomplete, and out of control posting on ENRIQUE IGLESIAS https://joelsolkoff.com/enrique-iglesias-plucks-an-adoring-fan-from-the-audience-sings-with-her-on-stage-as-she-and-he-take-cell-phone-photos/


My first “real” job: Scanlan’s Monthly 1971 [NOT for minors]

Working at Scanlan’s was one of the weirdest experiences of my life

The advertisement that begins this posting is a good example of what I mean by weird:

This is the back cover of the second issue of Scanlan’s Monthly where in 1970 I worked on the editorial staff after having been hired at the downstairs bar of Sardi’s Restaurant.

This is the upstairs bar at Sardi’s:  Sardi’s Restaurant is located on West 44th Street in the Times Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1927, Sardi’s is across from the center of the theatre district.

Sardi’s Restaurant is located on West 44th Street in the Times Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1927, Sardi’s is across from the center of the theater district.

The restaurant appears regularly in films showing Broadway producers, playwrights, and actors celebrating or bemoaning the first performance of a play. Generally, the scene includes an out loud reading of a review from The New York Times, a review that either made or broke the play. [Note: the offices of The New York Times are around the corner; Clive Barnes then its theater critic was a bar regular.]

Working out of bars in fancy New York City restaurants was an essential part of my first real job after graduating from Columbia College. [Many years later President Barack Obama received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia.]


I was 21 years old, having majored in Medieval European History without a salable skill to my name except the bravado to convince the magazine’s already notorious editors to hire me.

This was regarded as a dream job for any journalism school graduate. Only I was not a journalism graduate and had no formal training. As it would turn out, now that I am weeks away from my 67th birthday, I had no formal training to do any of the jobs that punctuated my career including:

  • Writing a speech for a controversial President of Lebanon who was literally blown up before he was able to deliver it
  • Publishing a book on food policy read by the most influential Secretary of Agriculture in my lifetime with whom I became telephone buddies after he was forced to resign from office in disgrace
  • Working on a report on the M1 tank for Congress’ General Accountability Office
  • Serving as a political appointee in the Carter Administration in a job requiring extensive security clearance and confirmation by the U.S. Senate
  • Designing on-line documentation for startup companies in the Silicon Valley of California describing how to use a software product when the software had not yet been completed


My first task of the day was to report to my boss the late Sidney Zion, co-editor of Scanlan’s Monthly. Instead of going to the magazine’s office, located between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, I got off the subway at Eighth Avenue and climbed the steps to the bar. Sidney appeared, first thing in the morning (11 A.M.) for his first scotch on the rocks.

Sidney, formerly a legal reporter for The New York Times, was my boss because only he was allowed to write checks.

Sidney’s co-editor Warren Hinckle, III, who had turned Rampart’s Magazine from a Catholic school publication into the Bible of the 1960s counterculture, was so notoriously a spendthrift he had to ask Sidney to write checks for his many expensive story ideas and ventures.

Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Warren was the most brilliant editor I ever worked for. (I have worked with many brilliant editors). With rare often disquieting exceptions, Sidney did little work.

Warren ran the magazine. Running the magazine was often a complicated affair because Warren lived in San Francisco where he had an office and staff —flying into New York once a week. My first experience with a FAX was the now primitive contraption that tied the two offices together sending editorial material and nonsense back and forth from coast to coast.


Let us start with the advertisement that begins this posting: Think twice about Germany. The third issue of Scanlan’s, for which I co-authored with Warren the cover story on Russian Pornography, had an editorial “THAT LUFTHANSA AD.”

The editors explained:

“Since Scanlan’s charges money to print letters to the editor (write us a letter and we’ll send you the rates), we make things more or less even by buying advertising. Our back cover last month carried an ad for Lufthansa, the German airlines—but not from Lufthansa.

“Some ads we buy because the editors like them and think they make interesting reading….Other ads we buy for other reasons, as you will see. One such ad appeared last month on our back cover. And for that story we take you to Advertising Age, the weekly newspaper of the advertising industry.

“NEW YORK, April 1—Second thoughts about the new Lufthansa German Airlines’ ad theme, ‘Think twice about Germany,’ appears to be in order.

“Scanlan’s Monthly’s April issue carries what at first glance appears to be a Lufthansa ad, but at second glance turns out to be a doctored version.

“The back cover ad of Scanlan’s substitutes two photos for the gemuelich scenes carried in the original Lufthansa ad, by D’Arcey Advertising. One of the pictures in the spurious ad shows a nude woman, hands bound behind her, about to be thrashed by a soldier while a cameraman records the scene. The second picture shows Wehrmacht officers giving the ‘Heil, Hitler’ salute.”

Thus endeth the editorial.


Subsequent Ad Age reports, read by the Scanlan’s staff avidly, reported the agency pulled its expensive campaign, one executive complaining about Scanlan’s “They did not even bother to show it to us first.”

A lasting consequence of Warren and Sidney’s stunt is today all advertising contains a copyright line, not then considered necessary because no publication ever had the effrontery to BUY advertising.

After revealing one of my first tasks on the job was to deliver by hand the check to the man who doctored the ad, the best way to proceed is to show how buying ads was possible.

What follows are photographs of the covers of each of the eight monthly magazines (with short descriptions of each) Scanlan’s produced before it went bankrupt and I was left unemployed.

The first issue of Scanlan's Monthly, March 1970
The first issue of Scanlan’s Monthly, March 1970 from my personal collection.
Scanlan’s Monthly 2, April 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 2, April 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlan’s Monthly 3, May 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlan’s Monthly 3, May 1970, from my personal collection

Table of Contents





Scanlan’s Monthly 4, June 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 4, June 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlan’s Monthly 5, July 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 5, July 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlan’s Monthly 6, August 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 6, August 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlan’s Monthly 7, September 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 7, September 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 8. This was the last and mostly despicable issue of Scanlan’s in which I had no hand in creating although I was there at the time. The editors explained the date thusly: “This issue, Volume 1, No. 8, is now January 1971, and will appear on the newsstands in early December. Our last issue, Volume 1, No. 7, was dated September and was on newsstands during September. All subscribers will receive twelve full issues during the term of their subscription.” Subscribers ate their hearts out. The magazine folded and I was out of work. From my personal collection.
Scanlan’s Monthly 8. This was the last and mostly despicable issue of Scanlan’s in which I had no hand in creating although I was there at the time. The editors explained the date thusly: “This issue, Volume 1, No. 8, is now January 1971, and will appear on the newsstands in early December. Our last issue, Volume 1, No. 7, was dated September and was on newsstands during September. All subscribers will receive twelve full issues during the term of their subscription.” Subscribers ate their hearts out. The magazine folded and I was out of work. From my personal collection.


Copyright 2014 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved. As for the copyright status of bankrupt Scanlan's Monthly itself, the author welcomes comments from well-credentialed copyright attorneys. 


I am afraid.

The fear is linked to the CT scan I took on Thursday–in turn linked to my three experiences with cancer. In August 2013, Dr. Paul Russo (at Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center in New York City) removed a 7 centimeter tumor surrounding my right kidney. Pathology confirmed kidney cancer.

While discussing the forthcoming surgery, Dr. Russo said his plan to save the right kidney (which he did expertly) would remove the risk that I might be without any kidneys at all. He explained that two small tumors on my left side could develop and conceivably destroy my left kidney.


Last year, the left kidney tumors were 2 centimeters. Between then and now, have they increased in size? Last year, my doctors suggested after right kidney surgery, perhaps surgery and even chemotherapy might be indicated for my left side.

The CAT scan on Thursday will help determine what to do next.

This reality above is not the reason I am writing. Fear is the reason I am writing. Fear.

Suzhou_Humble_Administrator's_GardenThe advice given ranges from:

  • It is reasonable to worry; do not worry about worrying
  • Do not worry about what might happen; focus on the here and now

Advice be damned: The dominant reality of my daily life is fear.


I was married once to a woman who poured salt over everything she ate. Everything she ate tasted like salt.

For the past few months I have been pouring fear over everything I eat; everything I eat tastes like fear. This imagery extends to everything I do. The fear creates a paralysis—work incomplete, dishes unwashed, the bathroom sink unscrubbed.

The two rules of my treatment plan (whether or not there is a treatment plan) must be:

  1. Learn to live with fear
  2. Figure out how to eliminate fear

According to Eastern thought, in the battle with Evil one must not confront Evil directly. I am certain Confucius is correct, but it sounds strange. Given my personality doing something strange with a good objective in mind is appropriate.

I wonder how I will proceed.

This posting is the beginning of a battle plan.


Note 1: Fear and Evil are one and the same.

Note.  2: Despite my “advice be damned” remark I really do appreciate advice.


–Joel Solkoff, State College, PA, USA

Copyright 2014 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

Architects for Change

Global Architecture Star Zaha Hadid: BBC Video plus my column for e-architect


++++ My column for e-architect begins:

Joel Solkoff’s Column – Volume II, No. 2

Writing on architects plus their role in the imminent global Baby Boom housing crisis

Zaha Hadid’s Miami compared to my life in rural “Rust Belt” Pennsylvania

“Miami has long been the economic and commercial capital of Latin America, both English and Spanish are commonly understood and it has been the place where many Latinos could be sure their money and their persons were safe from government takeover.”

The Almanac of American Politics by Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon

In 2016 Zaha Hadid will be instrumental in the revitalization of Downtown Miami. In four years, Zaha Hadid’s design for a residential high-rise in the financial district of Miami overlooking scenic Biscayne Bay will be completed. Currently, the design is presented to the public and potential buyers of condominiums in the form of an elaborately sophisticated laser-based imaging system that produces photographic images such as this one of Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum project.

To see photographs and read all, please go to:  http://www.e-architect.co.uk/columns/joel-solkoffs-column-vol-ii-number-2

Caution: Readers may experience whiplash as the column goes back and forth from the luxury of Downtown Miami to the misery of Central, PA.

Architects for Change

Motto February 2014

People have been looking at the environment, as environment, for only a very short time. It has always been there, but it has finally been recognized as something that is terribly responsive to acts of will and judgment that have an endless impact on the state of humanity. The way we live, or exist, is the generator of many of the problems called the urban crisis. How we live, or exist, is what urban design and planning are all about. Esthetics is not some kind of optional extra or paste-on for pretty facades; it is the satisfaction of the needs of the body, the spirit  and the senses through the way an environment looks and functions–two inseparable factors. Every social plan has a form, good or bad. The art of design is an unavoidable part of part of every urban decision. Until this is understood as the planning process, and design is accepted as an inescapable determinant of the result, we will simply produce more environmental failures.

Will they Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard? by Ada Louise Huxtable


Robbing poor children of the ability to smile

“More than 16 million children in the U.S.—22 percent of all children live in families with incomes below the poverty level.” This quote is from Columbia University’s National Center for Children in Poverty.

Dental Crisis in America,The Need to Expand Access, a February 2012 report from the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Chaired by Bernard Sanders [I Vermont] found that because of low-income one out of every five U.S. children go without dental care every year.

The report notes: “Dental carries (cavities) are the most common chronic disease among children, affecting 60% of American kids. Poor children are more than twice as likely as their affluent peers to suffer from toothaches. For kids with special needs, the likelihood is even greater.”

The report singled out for special mention: “February 25, 2012 marks the five-year anniversary of the tragic and untimely death of 12-year old Deamonte Driver of Maryland. Deamonte died from an infected tooth. His Medicaid coverage had lapsed, and yet even with insurance, Deamonte’s mother struggled unsuccessfully for months to find a dentist who would see her children and accept their Medicaid coverage.”

The American Dental Association (ADA), in a report Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: Repairing the Tattered Safety Net stated, “As the economy has worsened and stagnated, and safety net dental programs suffer cutbacks, hospital emergency departments increasingly bear the burden of oral health emergencies, a large portion of which are preventable….

“Approximately half of these ‘emergencies’ resulted from preventable conditions which, owing to the lack of regular dental care, deteriorated to the point where the patient was in sufficient pain to seek emergency care. The worst part of the equation is that most of these patients do not receive dental care during these episodes. Instead they typically are given antibiotics and pain relievers, which relieve the symptoms temporarily. But absent dental treatment, such symptoms generally return, often engendering the same fruitless cycle, not solving the real problem while contributing to the to the continuing increases in health care costs borne by all.”

The Surgeon General of the United States and others have concluded that poor oral health care can lead to stroke and heart disease and other serious physical problems.

This brings us to Obamacare and the pretense of caring about pediatric dental care. The official name of the legislation signed by the President on March, 2010 is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).

The law defines the 10 Essential Health Benefits it is intended to provide, produced here verbatim from Section 1302 B:

“(A) Ambulatory patient services.

(B) Emergency services.

(C) Hospitalization.

(D) Maternity and newborn care.

(E) Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.

(F) Prescription drugs.

(G) Rehabilitative and rehabilitative services and devices.

(H) Laboratory services.

(I) Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.

(J) Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.”

The problem is while pediatric services are defined as “essential” their impact is negligible regarding access to dentists treating, reducing pain and restoring smiles to poor children. A family selecting a plan on the Health Care Exchanges is required (the relevant word is “mandated”) to select insurance that includes, for example, hospitalization but does not require coverage for oral care for minor children.

Colin Reusch, Senior Policy Analyst at the Children’s Dental Health Project, explains that parents are mandated to obtain a policy that provides dental care for their children. “The mandate only applies to individual and employer-based plans.” Regarding employer-based plans the Administration has extended implementation beyond 2014, plus the family of minor children may not be employed. If an individual wants to purchase an independent insurance plan—going directly to the insurance company and avoiding the exchanges entirely (the probability is extremely low), the individual is mandated to make sure the plan has dental coverage.

The key to the hypocrisy of promising to protect children’s teeth and not delivering on the promise is right here: If the parent purchases an insurance plan on the Exchanges, she or he is released from the mandate to provide coverage to one’s minor children.


The best reporting I have read on the Affordable Care Act is: Landmark, The Inside Story of America’s New Health-Care Law and What it Means for Us All by the Staff of The Washington Post. The authors write: “A few days before Congress took its final votes on the legislation, the president of the American Dental Association dispatched a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that the group opposed it. The bill was missing “a commitment to improve the oral care for those citizens at the lowest end of the economic ladder,’ the letter said.”

Since publication in 2010, the book’s subsequent description of how children might receive real dental coverage under Medicaid has been made irrelevant by the portion of Obamacare  where the Supreme Court approved the legality of the mandate but ruled unconstitutional health care benefits to the poorest of our citizens. When talking about dental coverage under Medicaid or even the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, one must be careful to recognize coverage rarely results in the ability to see a dentist on a regular basis. The vast majority of dentists will not work for the cynically low rates provided by Medicaid illustrating the empty promise of dental care.

Last year, State College, PA Mount Nittany Medical Center performed a study on access to health care here in Centre County. The study concluded: “There is a shortage of dental providers who accept Medical Assistance. Even among providers who do accept public insurance, not all are accepting new patients. CVIM [Centre Volunteers in Medicine] provides free primary medical and dental care to Centre County residents who pass a means-based test …. CVIM‘s services are in demand; there is a waiting list of over 2,000 individuals in Centre County…. “


Author’s note: Writing about dental care for children in poverty is depressing.

The reality is if you are poor and a child, your ability to see a dentist and receive the care available to the rich and middle class is negligible. There is widespread recognition across the political spectrum that pediatric dental care should be a priority and our children in the U.S., in Pennsylvania, and in Centre County where I live ought not to be in pain.

To reach this realistic conclusion, one must analyze a complex variety of public and private programs some of which do some good but have a negligible effect on the overall problem. If, in this presentation I have failed in my understanding of the nuances, please provide corrections.

Understand, the complexity is part of the problem. If I had not been able to support dental care for my now adult children, I would have been handed a list of organizations that might help. In the past 20 years, resources have declined substantially; the evidence points toward the conclusion that seeking help may very well be a waste of time.  Consider, for example, the fact that more dentists are retiring than are graduating from medical school.


I began this article awaking in the middle of the night screaming because of dental pain. In April, I had successful cancer surgery. The surgery means I will have 10 years more of life. The pain questions my rationale for staying alive if staying alive means living with the kind of dental pain I have experienced and am likely to experience again. I am 66 years old. My sole income is my monthly social security check. I have a competent caring dentist and a modest dental insurance. I AM  seeking money to pay for my dental care. I am clear about the path I have chosen for my life.



Thanks to contributions, I received enough to obtain treatment to reduce the immediate pain. I know more pain is coming unless I raise the money for additional treatment. If I fail, it will be pain pills and misery.

This article on dental care for minor indigent children is my pay back. Internet services on how to raise funds suggest providing contributors with a keepsake—the moral equivalent of a key chain. Think of this article as a key chain that has allowed me to be productive again. I have now added to my list of life objectives working to make dental care accessible to all.

I started writing about children because I thought promises raised by the Affordable Care Act were real and because children are so vulnerable—especially to pain.

—  Joel Solkoff

Note: “One fourth of adults in the U.S. ages 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.” [Haley J et al. “Access to Affordable Dental Care: Gaps for Low-Income Adults.” Kaiser Low Income Coverage and Access Survey]

Note 2:  I will be able to produce another article on dental care once I receive the resources to get the required care and the resultant freedom from pain to be productive.



Help me fix my teeth

My mother would add the word please to this request for financial assistance–assistance to save me from false teeth. Both Mother and Father died in Jewish old age homes with their artificial teeth in a glass, unable to express just where their dentures did not fit or what was required to avoid pain. Nor did either of my very talented parents know how to ask for help at critical moments in their lives when help would have resulted in using their talents to assist others or as economists might put it to increase the country’s productivity and wealth.

Please click on the donation button to contribute toward saving my teeth.

How will I use the money?

1. To pay Dr. J (whose full name I will disclose after obtaining her permission) for the work she is scheduled to do on my lower left premolar. Currently, I am in considerable pain. I see her on Monday January 13, 2014 at 1 P.M.

2. To bring my insurance premiums with Delta Dental up to date and pay advance premiums for the next six months while I develop enough income that I am no longer living on my limited monthly Social Security check.

3. To obtain a crown on my upper left tooth where root canal was performed earlier this year before I went to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for kidney cancer surgery which saved my life.

4. To follow Dr. J’s plan, developed after extensive x-rays, in accordance with priorities she has already established.

5. To perform necessary dental work over the next two months promptly to avoid having teeth pulled out. Over the past three years, I have had three teeth pulled out–teeth which could have been saved had I acted in a timely way.

6. To act on the recognition that now that I have recovered from major surgery and my life is no longer in danger from cancer, living with my teeth and without dental pain is high on my priority list.

Observation: When I became a paraplegic 20 years ago, I slowly and reluctantly learned that pride literally comes before a fall–that judicious requests for assistance meant that I secured the independence required to support my children and indeed my parents. One of my goals as a parent of two adult daughters is to serve as a role model so Joanna and Amelia understand that asking for help, although often difficult for stubborn individuals as the three of us are, can be praiseworthy.

Words to live by: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” These are the words of the great Rabbi Hillel and are contained in the liturgical book I frequently read as a child as part of my spiritual education.

How these words apply to the imperatives of my life’s work. First, I must work to preserve my teeth. Then, I must work to help preserve the teeth of others. Attached are two links provided by the American Dental Association (ADA) describing the crisis in dental care for children as well as adults.

Here is the link to the ADA’s “barriers” papers. These discuss the obstacles people face in accessing dental care and how they can be overcome: http://www.ada.org/breakingdownbarriers.aspx

Here is a link to information on the ADA’s Action for Dental Health campaign: http://www.ada.org/8585.aspx

This is the American Dental Association’s email address to get involved in our national crisis where the poor and middle class are deprived of necessary dental care: [email protected] or visit the ADA site at www.ada.org


Meanwhile, as my dental pain subsides and my teeth are restored to health, www.joelsolkoff.com will become the place to go to at a time when large numbers of our population, untreated, are swarming to hospital emergency rooms because they do not have dentists. The dental community is invited to use this site to discuss the challenges and solutions as welll as my observations. I have established the category Dental care is a right to make it easy to find information on this critical subject. Until next time, brush, floss, and smile.