Thursday, July 31, 2014

Common sense plentiful -- and so rare -- July 31, 2014 column


Common sense is the mantra of the moment in the nation’s capital.

The other day, Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio accused Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada of “making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution” on dealing with the border crisis.

Almost every group from President Obama and proponents of gun control to those who think fast-food restaurants shouldn’t have to list their calorie counts seek support by appealing to “common sense.”  

But as members of Congress -- Democrat or Republican – present their legislative proposals as common sense, likely as not an opposing Republican or Democrat quickly will warn that the proposal is anything but.

Common sense is something we used to assume all Americans have. Since Thomas Paine published his famous “Common Sense” pamphlet in January 1776 and sparked a revolution, we’ve been enamored of plain talk and level-headedness.

That paragon of American inventiveness Thomas Alva Edison said the three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.

Last Wednesday, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced a bill to “restore common sense to the classification and security system.”

Most people didn’t know that more than 5 million people hold security clearances and that the system is cumbersome, costly and potentially intrusive. Call in common sense reform!

In 2010, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced the first new rules in nearly 40 years for heavy equipment operators. The White House called the rules a “common sense approach to cranes, derricks and the safety of American construction workers.” After complaints, OSHA later agreed to delay the certification period for operators until 2017.

Many people thought that the time for “common sense” gun control had come after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. And yet, the proposal to require background checks for all gun sales has languished on Capitol Hill. 

On July 10 in Austin, Tex., President Obama reviewed his campaign-year agenda -- reforming immigration policy, expanding early-childhood education and launching bridge and highway construction projects. 

“They are commonsense things,” he said. “They’re not that radical. We know it’s what we should be doing. And what drives me nuts – and I know drives you nuts – is Washington isn’t doing it.”

The president put his finger on something. Just because you tie your idea to the wings of the bird of common sense doesn’t mean it will fly. Most so-called common sense proposals never get off the ground.

Which brings us to one word that’s rarely mentioned in connection with common sense: compromise. Most people would agree that compromise is part of common sense, but it’s in short supply in the capital. 

 Perhaps we all should take a lesson from Andre Davis, senior judge in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. wrote

The court upheld in the July 22 King v. Burwell decision tax credit subsidies for people who buy health insurance on federally-run health exchanges through the Affordable Care Act. At issue: whether Congress had intended to limit subsidies to people in states that ran their own exchanges, excluding states where the exchanges are run by the federal government.

Davis wrote in his concurring opinion:

“If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino’s, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, (and) my friend who returns from Domino’s with a ham and pepperoni pizza (she) has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order.

 “That is this case.”

There’s common sense in action.
©2014 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Women voters likely power players in fall elections -- again -- July 23, 2014 column


Today’s question: Would we be better off if more women held political office?

Yes, say nearly two in three Americans, a Gallup poll reported Monday.

The question was, “Do you think the country would be governed better or worse if more women were in political office?” Sixty-three percent of Americans said better -- a jump from 57 percent in 1995 and 2000. The trend bodes well for women candidates in this fall’s congressional elections.  

While the number of women serving in Congress has been inching up – to a record 79 in the 435-member House and 20 in the 100-member Senate – women are still just 18.5 percent of the Congress. In the House, 60 women are Democrats and 19 are Republicans. In the Senate, there are 16 Ds and four Rs.

Gallup didn’t ask why people thought women would do better, but perhaps a Grateful Dead song has the answer: “That’s right, the women are smarter.”

In any case, women vote. Women were the majority of voters in 2012 and largely decided to keep President Barack Obama in the White House and continue Democratic control of the Senate, according to analyses of exit polls by the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers.

Fifty-five percent of women voted for Obama, compared with 52 percent of men. Women’s votes also elected seven Senate Democrats: Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Tim Kaine in Virginia, Jon Tester in Montana and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, the center’s analysis found.

Women don’t always vote for woman candidates, of course. In the Senate race in Connecticut, men split their votes evenly between Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon, while “women showed a clear and decisive preference for Murphy,” who won, the center said.

This time around, with continued Democratic control of the Senate increasingly in doubt, Democrats are pinning their hopes on Michelle Nunn to flip the red-state Georgia seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Democrat Nunn, daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn, is running against Republican businessman David Perdue, former CEO of Reebok and other firms. Perdue beat Rep. Jack Kingston, a 22-year House veteran, Tuesday in a GOP runoff election.

Neither Nunn nor Perdue has elective experience – and that may be a plus. Forty-nine percent of Americans told Gallup the country would be governed better by newcomers to office.

If the Georgia race is pivotal and close, we might have to wait to learn which party will control the Senate. If neither candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote Nov. 4, there will be a runoff Dec. 2.

Nunn is one of six women candidates running for open seats in five states. West Virginia is poised to make state history by electing its first woman senator. The election is between Democrat Natalie Tennant and Republican Shelley Moore Capito. 

Four states have never sent a woman to the House or Senate: Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi and Vermont. But that could change. In Iowa, tea party favorite Joni Ernst, a Republican, is in a tight race with Democrat Bruce Braley.  

Two of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents are Democratic women, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Political prognosticators rate both races tossups.

In another high-profile race, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is working to keep his seat representing Kentucky from Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state.

Whether a general inclination to support more women in office translates into votes depends on how individual candidates sell themselves and on the local dynamics of each race.

In 2012, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., dropped her presidential bid after eking out just 5 percent of the Iowa caucus vote. She’s retiring from the House but said this week she might run for president again in 2016. 

 “Like with anything else, practice makes perfect,” she said in an interview with Real Clear Politics, adding that she had participated in 15 presidential debates.

No, unlike learning the piano, for instance, practice doesn’t make perfect in politics. On that men and women voters agree.

Still, if you’re looking for clues about the elections this fall, it makes sense to watch the women.  

© 2014 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The end of American genius? Say it isn't so -- July 17, 2014 column


To modern ears, the phrase “American genius” may drip with irony or smack of clever marketing. 

Apple stores have Genius Bars to help technological dunces. Towns in Missouri branded Highway 36 a “Way of American Genius.” Sliced Bread Saturday in Chillicothe, Mo., is Aug. 2, if you’re hungry for a morsel of genius.

Even the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation does not call the 20 to 30 people a year who get $625,000 grants over five years “geniuses” or the awards “genius grants.” Those were media labels that stuck. Officially, the winners are MacArthur fellows.

We weren’t always so skeptical about the prospect of cultivating American genius. Long before there was a National Gallery of Art or a Phillips Collection, there was the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the first art museum in Washington, D.C., and one of the first in the United States.  

When art collector William W. Corcoran opened his gallery in 1869, he stated the mission clearly: The Corcoran Gallery was to be “used solely for the purpose of encouraging American genius.”

Students congregated in the new museum, sketching and painting the works of art. Delighted, Corcoran donated money in 1878 to start an art school. The Corcoran School of Art opened in 1890, two years after his death. 

The art collection outgrew the first Corcoran Gallery, located at the corner of 17th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, in the building that now houses the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. The Corcoran trustees bought a lot nearby and built a new building at 17th and New York Avenue, across from the White House. The opening in 1897 drew President Grover Cleveland and his cabinet.

After encouraging American genius for 145 years, the Corcoran has fallen on hard times. It’s facing what Philip Kennicott, art critic for The Washington Post, called “cultural euthanasia.” The museum has gone to court to get permission essentially to break its historic charter.

“It is impracticable or impossible for the operations of the Corcoran to continue in their current form,” the museum says in documents filed with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

As a private museum that charges admission, the Corcoran competes with the Smithsonian empire and National Gallery, all of which are free.

After suffering financial problems for more than a decade, the Corcoran has agreed to give its more than 17,000 art works to the National Gallery and its Beaux Arts-style building to George Washington University. GW will operate the Corcoran College of Art + Design and take care of needed electrical, heating and ventilation and plumbing repairs estimated to cost $70 million to $100 million.

A Save the Corcoran group alleges that “egregious mismanagement” led to the gallery’s downfall and is fighting the mergers. The gallery insists this course is the best way to honor Corcoran’s wishes, given the financial constraints. The Corcoran Gallery is scheduled to close Oct. 1.

The National Gallery will incorporate the art it wants into its collection and will send the art it doesn’t want to other museums, with preference to museums in the Washington area.

The plan is that after some renovations, the Corcoran will reopen as “Corcoran Contemporary, NGA,” with contemporary and modern art from the Corcoran and National Gallery collections. As part of the National Gallery, the new Corcoran will be open to the public for free.

A small “Legacy Gallery” of paintings -- as well as the Salon DorĂ©, an 18th century French period room; the French mantle, and the Canova Lions -- will be kept on site, reminders of Corcoran’s dream of encouraging American genius.

If you want a lasting memento of the glory that once was the Corcoran, its beautiful catalogue, “Corcoran Gallery of Art American Paintings to 1945,” has been marked down in the final days of the Corcoran Museum Shop.

The 336-page, hardcover volume with full-color prints, explanations and copious footnotes went for $60 when it was published in 2012. The other day, I bought a copy for $7.97. Sadly, genius never came so cheap.

©2014 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How saving can be more fun than eating broccoli -- Stateline story July 15, 2014

To Encourage Saving, Some States Turn to Prizes

check© Doorways to Dreams Fund
A boy holds an oversized check at an event celebrating his grandmother’s $100,000 savings prize. Some states are allowing credit unions to offer cash prizes as an incentive to encourage people to save more. (Doorways to Dreams Fund)
Nearly a dozen states believe they’ve found a way to encourage people to save more money—and have fun doing it.  And the idea costs not a dime in state funds.
Four states—Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington—now allow credit unions to offer cash prizes as an incentive to encourage people to save more. Five other states—Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and Rhode Island—have enacted laws clearing the way for prize-linked savings, and in New York a bill is awaiting Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature. Similar measures were introduced in Arkansas last year and in Oregon this year.
People know they should save more money, but nearly half of all U.S. households are “liquid asset poor,” meaning they have less than a three-month cushion of savings, or $5,887 for a family of four, according to the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, published by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a nonprofit organization that works to expand economic opportunity
By opening a 12-month share certificate with as little as $25—far less than the minimum for most bank certificates of deposit—participants in prize-linked savings programs earn an entry into that month’s drawing and become eligible for a yearly grand prize. For each $25 added to the account (up to 10 deposits per month), a participant earns another entry. Savers are allowed to withdraw money before the end of the 12 months, but to do so they typically have to pay a $25 fee.
Since 2009, thousands of people have won prizes ranging from $15 monthly payouts to a $100,000 grand prize in Michigan in 2012. Michigan credit unions have since changed the rules, and now award six $10,000 grand prizes a year instead of single annual prize. Credit unions in other states also top out at $10,000.
“Most of the things we do in the legislature are so abstract, and it’s hard to see the benefits,” said Nebraska state Sen. Amanda McGill, a Democrat. “But this really gets people happy and engaged, and they are saving.”
In 2011, McGill introduced the bill allowing credit unions in Nebraska to offer “Save to Win” raffle promotions. The program has been called the “no-lose lottery,” because even savers who don’t win prizes keep their principal—and earn interest.  
Between January 2012 and January 2014, Nebraskans opened 1,462 accounts and saved a total of $2.3 million. Last year, participating credit unions paid out $43,000 in cash prizes including one $25,000 grand prize.
“I’ve heard zero complaints,” McGill said.
Indiana Rep. Gail Riecken, a Democrat, said her eyes opened to the need for prize-linked savings when she talked to a friend who has so little money saved he’s forced to turn to high-interest commercial loans when he has an emergency expense, such as a car repair.
“We in the legislature want to discourage high-interest loans and pay-day lenders, but (he) didn’t have other options. He needed that loan. Now, he’ll be able to save a little here and there,” she said. Her bill to allow Indiana credit unions to offer prizes for savings was enacted this spring.
Credit unions pick up the cost of running the program and the prizes; no state funds are involved.
“It’s not a government program. It’s not a safety-net program. The only role for the states is to allow the credit unions to do it,” said Qiana Flores of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The concept of rewarding savers with prizes has been around for hundreds of years, but it has taken off slowly in the U.S. One reason, proponents say, is that it sounds like gambling, even though participants are not in danger of losing any of their own money.

Striking It Rich

Saving traditionally has had all “the appeal of eating your vegetables or going to the dentist,” said Timothy Flacke, executive director of the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D), a Massachusetts nonprofit that developed the Save to Win program. “There’s no sense of fun.”
But people love the idea of striking it rich. Americans spent $63 billion on lottery tickets last year. A 2006 survey by the Consumer Federation of America found that 21 percent of all Americans and 38 percent of those with income below $25,000 thought that winning the lottery was the most practical way to accumulate several hundred thousand dollars.
“Prize-linked savings bring an aspect of chance and excitement that may attract people more than a comparable interest rate,” said Clinton Key of the Pew Charitable Trusts, which has researched the issue. (Pew funds Stateline). “People are more motivated by the small chance of a big prize.”
Credit unions in Michigan offered the first Save to Win raffles in 2009. Since then, savers around the country have opened 50,000 unique accounts and saved $94 million, D2D’s Flacke said.
Save to Win is the brand name of D2D’s product, which is marketed to credit union associations by CU Solutions Group, the for-profit side of the Michigan Credit Union League.
“We’ve always promoted this as it’s not intended to make a huge profit for credit unions – but to teach people to save,” said Jessica Demorest, project manager for the Save to Win program at CU Solutions.  “It can be a difficult sell at some point. We say, `This is not going to make your credit union a ton of money.’”
Federal law prohibits banks from offering prize-linked savings promotions. But U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, and U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, have proposed the American Savings Promotion Act in Congress that would update the banking law to allow banks to offer prizes to savers.
Federal taxpayers can also put their refunds directly into savings bonds. In California, Maryland and Hawaii, state taxpayers may split their refunds between accounts, making it easier to allocate some to spending and some to savings.
That’s an easy one for states, said Flacke. “It’s zero cost, essentially, just a plumbing change.”

Sold Alongside Lottery Tickets?

Another idea to encourage people to save by offering them prizes is to sell lottery-style “savings tickets” at the same locations that sell traditional lottery tickets. The payouts for savings tickets would be less than in the traditional lottery, but savers who didn’t win a prize would keep their principal. The plan isn’t designed to raise revenue for the state, as traditional lotteries do, but rather to encourage more people to save.
“The challenge is getting people to understand it,” said Oregon state Rep. John Davis, a Republican, who has proposed a bill that would allow savings tickets to be sold alongside lottery tickets in his state.  “It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around the concept that prize-linked game like a lottery can help people save.”
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have lotteries, but none yet offers no-lose savings tickets as a lottery alternative. To implement it, some barriers would have to be overcome. For example, a person buying a savings ticket would have to register the ticket and link it to his or her individual account, requiring paperwork either in person, online or via mail or text messaging. Some retailers are worried about the time it would take.
“Savings tickets are a more complicated model to explain,” said Joanna Smith-Ramani of D2D.  “The lottery is a very sophisticated network. Can we give it another job?”

Other Incentives

States or nonprofits do have to pony up for Assets for Independence, the major federal program that helps low- and moderate-income people save. The $19 million program matches savings up to $2,000 per person in Individual Development Accounts for specific purposes and duration: a home, education or to start or expand a business. Participants must qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or meet income and asset limits. Participants receive financial education as part of the program.  
Since the program began in 1999, about 84,000 people have opened accounts and 36,000 have used the accounts for purchases, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Forty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have created IDA programs, but only 16 states are currently funding them, according to Jennifer Medina, state and local policy manager at the Corporation for Enterprise Development.
Another strategy states use to spur low-income people save is to raise or eliminate the asset limits for benefit programs. Three dozen states have eliminated the limits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Eight have scrapped the limit for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
“We believe having an asset limit discourages people from being able to save,” Medina said. “The message behind lifting the asset limits is that we’re not going to penalize you if you save.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One wild thing you need to do this summer: Get your boots wet -- July 10, 2014 column


We knew before starting down the hiking trail that we’d have to cross three streams. No big deal, the young ranger cheerfully told us at the visitors’ center, just hop from rock to rock.
The trail was lovely, dappled, cool and not too steep. But the first two stream crossings felt, well, tricky.

It had rained a lot, and the streams splashed almost to the top of the rocks. With encouragement and a helping hand from my companion, I minced across, slowly and deliberately. You’d have thought I’d crossed the Grand Canyon on a wire the way I panted with relief both times when I made it.

At the third and largest crossing near scenic waterfalls, though, the stream cascaded over some of the crossing rocks and covered them. All was quiet except for the rushing water, which sounded to me like an alarm. Cross there? Are you crazy? What if…? We admired the view, turned around and started back, retracing our steps.

Soon, four seasoned hikers blitzed up the trail behind us.  They’d crossed the cascading stream from the other side, using hiking poles – and gumption. As the first hiker passed us, I commented on the high water.

“I just get my boots wet,” he said and grinned.

Cue the light bulb. Just get your boots wet.  I hadn’t been thinking of the state of my footwear, but what are hiking boots for, if not for getting from here to there?

We kept walking and this time I crossed the streams quickly, without help.  I didn’t hop, but I did step with sure feet. On the trail as in life, I need to remind myself that doing is far easier than imagining the worst and then doing. “Just do it,” indeed. That day, I got my boots wet and muddy, and it was exhilarating.

Crossing a couple of minor streams in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is hardly a milestone in mountaineering.  I tell you the story because we never know what we might learn when we push back from the computer, get outside and challenge ourselves. 

This is the perfect year to explore federal wilderness areas, and we explored some of Shenandoah’s officially designated wilderness. In 1964, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, preserving primitive places “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

In the 50 years since, about 110 million acres have received federal wilderness status, the strongest level of protection. This sounds huge, but it’s less than 5 percent of the country.

Every year about 12 million people camp, hike, hunt, ride horses, fish and enjoy nature in other ways at wilderness areas.  Mining and drilling are prohibited, and visitors must leave their motorized and mechanical devices behind. Even the volunteers who help maintain the trails use hand tools.

Shenandoah’s wilderness is sometimes called “recycled” because none of the parkland qualified for wilderness status in 1964. The law requires that the land have “its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvement or human habitation.”

Generations of families had lived, built, farmed, mined and logged in the area before they were relocated to make way for the park, established in 1936. By 1976, though, about 79,000 forested acres in three areas --  40 percent of the park -- had recuperated from man’s intervention and were designated wilderness. It’s one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States.

The president can protect some federal lands by executive action, but only Congress can pass wilderness designations. Until our rancorous age, almost every session of Congress added acreage to the National Wilderness Preservation System. 

Since 2009, though, only one new wilderness area has been designated.  Congress finally passed in March and President Barrack Obama signed the designation for Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness, more than 32,500 acres with 21 inland lakes in Michigan. Dozens of other bills naming wilderness areas are pending in Congress and might yet make it.

During the 50th anniversary year, there are plenty of hikes and other events planned to celebrate wilderness.  

Go, and don’t be afraid to get your boots wet.

©2014 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Supreme fight ahead over pregnant workers' rights -- July 3, 2014 column

If you were outraged by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, take a deep breath and get ready for the next battle over women’s rights.
A case that will affect millions of working women is on the Supreme Court docket for the term beginning Oct. 6. Young v. United Parcel Service will test the law prohibiting employment discrimination against pregnant women. And it’s anybody’s guess how this court will rule.
The essential issue in Young is whether an employer who provides accommodations to some workers with work limitations must also provide them to pregnant workers who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.”
The obvious answer: Yes, of course. It’s been against the law for employers to discriminate against pregnant workers since the era of the Bee Gees, Laverne & Shirley and big hair.
Congress passed and President Jimmy Carter signed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 in response to a boneheaded 1976 Supreme Court ruling that found discrimination on the basis of pregnancy was not sex discrimination but discrimination between pregnant and non-pregnant people.
The pregnancy act says employers must treat a pregnant woman who is temporarily unable to perform her job the same way it treats other temporarily disabled employees.
Despite the law, allegations of discrimination against pregnant workers persist more than 35 years later. Some members of Congress and President Barack Obama want stronger laws to ensure that pregnant workers don’t face discrimination.
And now the Supreme Court is getting involved.  
Peggy Young was a part-time “air” driver for United Parcel Service in Landover, Md., in 2006 when she took a leave of absence for in vitro fertilization treatments. She became pregnant and her midwife said Young should not lift packages heavier than 20 pounds for the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and 10 pounds subsequently. 
Young wanted to return to work. As an air driver, she met an early morning shuttle from the airport and delivered letters and packages by 8:30 a.m. These packages cost more to send and tend to be lighter than other UPS packages, according to court documents.
But her job description required that she be able to lift packages weighing 70 pounds. Young asked to return to her regular job or for light duty.
Her boss empathized but refused, saying Young was too much of a liability to work at her regular job and citing the company’s policy to provide light duty only to employees injured on the job, to those who meet the criteria of disabled under the federal disability law or to those who lose their federal driver certificate.
UPS says its policies are “pregnancy neutral” and are specified in its collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the Teamsters. Young was a member of the union. Young went on unpaid leave and lost her health insurance. She returned to work after the baby was born.
Contending she was treated differently from others temporarily unable to perform their jobs, she complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which authorized her to sue UPS. She did with the support of the ACLU and women’s groups.
UPS contends it treated Young “exactly the same way it treats all employees – regardless of pregnancy – who are unable to perform essential functions of the job as a result of an off-the-job injury or condition.”
The district court ruled for UPS, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision. Young took her case to the Supreme Court.  
The justices asked the U.S. solicitor general for his advice on whether to hear the appeal. The government’s lawyer, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., said no.   
While the lower courts’ rulings were wrong and the questions raised are “important and recurring,” Verrilli said, a disability law passed in 2008 law will help resolve the legal issues. Besides, the EEOC is working on guidance for employers. The justices decided to take the case anyway. They never say why.  
America’s working women will be waiting and watching. This time, surely, a majority of justices will stand up for women’s rights.
© 2014 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.