Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Says it all...



Found on Just My Little Piece of the World

U.S. Adviser’s Blunt Memo on Iraq - Time ‘to Go Home’ - NYTimes.com

- Time ‘to Go Home’ - NYTimes.com:

"...it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.”

Does this mean it's time to have a parade?

Somehow it just doesn't seem appropriate...

Senators

Seek Ban on Texting While Driving - NYTimes.com

A classic example of Senators doing nothing while appearing to be busy on behalf of the nation. They get their 5 minutes of face time on television for the sake of their constituents while ignoring the fact that there is no way to enforce this law. Even if there were, they won't include the money to do it. Bah!

New Poll

Finds Growing Unease on Health Plan - NYTimes.com

Brilliant. The rest of the world has to be laughing at us as we let media talking heads and polls lead us on our way to becoming a third rate nation.

"Over all, the poll portrays a nation torn by conflicting impulses and confusion." Confusion? No, ignorance!

Tomatoes

I was reading a post on the "Life on Peach Eater Creek" blog and found a link to this site, The Tomato Man's Daughter. I can't drive that far (Tulsa) just to get a tomato plant and it doesn't look like they sell seeds, but this site sure makes for good reading! And dreaming...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Unbelievable

I was just reading the headlines and I saw that President Obama is losing 'clout' on the health care issue. According to the article, many Americans would rather believe the lies they hear about health care than actually read what is being proposed. (Does this have anything to do with the crisis in our education system?)

I have a bad feeling about this. If the Republicans manage to deceive the American public, we can look forward to a continuation of our slide downward in the rankings among nations when it comes to health care. We're no longer the world's leader in health care; in fact, we haven't been for quite awhile...the last time I looked I think we were 14th.

The only good thing I see is the fact that I will be dead before our health care reaches the level of third world countries, or I hope I will be!

Odds and Ends

I just saw this a few minutes ago…

Microsoft and Yahoo Reach Deal on Search

Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo announced on Wednesday that
they had agreed to collaborate on Internet search and
advertising, in a challenge to Google's dominance.

I don't see this going anywhere. It's all about 'look and feel' and Google does that best. I've always been turned off by Yahoo and MS because of their 'look' and how they interface with the user, the 'feel'. But, that's just me…

The best part of this is the competition, users on both sides profit from it. Have you used Bing? I like it and it's an MS product. I can hardly wait to see what Google will do to up the ante.

Dear Steven

I have been writing to my representative, Wally Herger, about my support for health care reform and here is the response that I received yesterday. As usual, it is filled with half truths and innuendo. Even a lie or two, certainly not deliberate though. He repeats the Party Line throughout. Sigh…nothing new here.

Health care costs in general have increased very rapidly over the last few years. This has created severe financial pressures for individuals, employers, states, and the federal government, a problem that is only intensified by the current economic situation. Research indicates that the number of Americans lacking health insurance is rising, and now exceeds 45 million. We spend 17% of our economy on health care, nearly twice the level of other developed countries, yet our system does not provide consistently high-quality care.

 The number one priority of health reform must be to make health care more affordable for working and middle-class families. Only then will it be possible to achieve the goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to high-quality health care. To help make health care more affordable, we should change the incentives in the health care system so that it focuses more on preventing illness and keeping people healthy, to reduce the need for more expensive treatment down the road. Second, we should reform the medical malpractice system and rein in overzealous trial lawyers so doctors don't have to order unnecessary tests and procedures just to protect themselves from a frivolous lawsuit. Third, we should change the tax code so millions of people who have to purchase their own health insurance on the individual market can get the same tax relief as those who receive health benefits from their employers. For example, I have introduced bipartisan legislation with Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin to extend tax relief to the 4 million Californians who are self-employed.

 Health reform should also increase access to affordable coverage while improving the quality of care. The number of uninsured Americans could be dramatically reduced through a few relatively simple steps. Up to 7 million people could be covered just by allowing dependents to remain on their parents' health plan until age 25. Ten million uninsured Americans have access to employer plans and could be covered by encouraging businesses to move to an "opt-out" rather than "opt-in" system for employee benefits. Another 10 to 12 million people are currently eligible for public programs like Medicaid but have not signed up. Tax credits could help many of the remaining uninsured afford coverage. With respect to quality, Congress should reform Medicare payment systems to reward providers that offer top-quality care and provide the public with access to information about the quality of different hospitals and physicians.

While we must fix the problems with our health care system, we shouldn't throw out the parts that do work well. Currently, 160 million Americans get health coverage through their employers. President Obama has repeatedly said that if you like the health coverage you have, you should be able to keep it, and I strongly agree with that principle. However, studies have shown that creating a new government-run plan to "compete" with employer-sponsored insurance on an unlevel playing field -- as the President has proposed -- would result in 120 million of these people losing their current coverage and being forced into the government-run system. That's the wrong way to go. Instead of undermining the employer-based system through a so-called "public option," I believe we should preserve employer-sponsored health insurance while expanding access to affordable market-based coverage for those whose employers do not offer health benefits. 

 Additionally, I believe health reform must uphold the overarching principle that medical decisions should be made by patients and their doctors, not insurance companies or government bureaucrats. A tiny provision buried in a $1.2 trillion spending bill passed by Congress earlier this year sets up a new federal agency to fund "comparative effectiveness research" to evaluate the effectiveness of various medical treatments. While this research is important and should be pursued, it needs to be conducted transparently and it should not be used to make unilateral coverage determinations. Yet Congress failed to provide these key safeguards. In fact, an early version of the bill flatly stated that medical treatments found to be "more expensive" would "no longer be prescribed." I have introduced bipartisan legislation with Delegate Donna Christensen, the Doctor-Patient Relationship and Research Protection Act (H.R. 2824), to ensure that this research is used to provide information for doctors and patients, not to deny coverage for medically necessary treatments based on their cost.

 As the ranking Republican member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, I will be closely involved in discussions about legislation to make health care more affordable and reduce the number of Americans without health insurance. I have also been working with other Republicans in the House of Representatives to develop a proposal that reflects the principles I have outlined.  Please know that I will keep your views in mind when Congress considers legislation concerning health care.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Study says...

most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes | U.S. | Reuters

Yes, the article is a year old but the facts remain the same. Why on earth are we debating the cost of universal healthcare when a condition like this exists? Anyone? Anyone?

Letters From Home

Congress.org -

This is the site I use to contact my representatives. It's quick and easy and the site remembers all your info so you don't have to enter in the address, phone number, etc each time you want to send a message. Try it...you have a voice, use it.

H.R. 3200

America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009

There simply are no words to describe Wally Herger. So I won't attempt to do so.
But what I would urge you to do is to contact his office and tell him you support H.R. 3200. If Wally is not your representative, use this link to find your own and see what this bill will really do for you and what it will really cost; no hype and no lies...

In my district...

Help for small businesses. Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance. There are up to 14,000 small businesses in the district that could qualify for these credits.

Help for seniors with drug costs in the Part D donut hole. Each year, 9,900 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole.

Health care and financial security. There were 1,300 health care-related bankruptcies in the district in 2008, caused primarily by the health care costs not covered by insurance. The bill provides health insurance for almost every American and caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, ensuring that no citizen will have to face financial ruin because of high health care costs.

Relieving the burden of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers. In 2008, health care providers in the district provided $107 million worth of uncompensated care, care that was provided to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills. Under the legislation, these costs of uncompensated care would be virtually eliminated.

Coverage of the uninsured. There are 149,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 21% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 128,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.

No deficit spending. The cost of health care reform under the legislation is fully paid for: half through making the Medicare and Medicaid program more efficient and half through a surtax on the income of the wealthiest individuals. This surtax would affect only 1,820 households in the district. The surtax would not affect 99.4% of taxpayers in the district.


Thanks to Just My Little Piece of the World and to Citizen K



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Police

unions don't get apology from Obama, but happy with reversal

How did it get this far? It should have made the back page of any newspaper, not the front page. Fact is, it was a stupid thing for the policeman to do. The man was in his own house. On the other hand, Obama should have made a 'no comment' statement...but he didn't. So what? Is it the the end of civilization as we know it? Not even close. It's a yawner of a story and should be put on that back page.

Obama chides

for not using test scores to evaluate teachers - Los Angeles Times

Sure, California ought to evaluate their teachers based on test scores...as long as certain standards of equality are met. The teachers should have the same number of students in the classroom and the latest textbook for all students. An equal number of students with learning disabilities. An equal number of students who live in households where the income falls below the federal poverty level. An equal number of students with English as a second language. The classrooms should be clean and well lit. The teachers should not have to spend their own money for supplies. I could go on and on and on...get a life, Obama!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

From Just my little piece of the world:

Jon Stewart Takes on "Teh Birthers" Calls it the "Born Identity"

Annette does it well once again, exposing even more of the wacko's among us.

We used to have institutions for these people, teh birthers, but Ronald Reagan made sure they were all closed by the time he left office. Was he prescient or what?

(Remember, one out of every 4 people are mentally ill. Check 3 of your friends; if it isn't one of them...)

Authorities

search Houston office of Jackson's physician - Los Angeles Times

This bothers me. What happens when Mary Sue Nobody dies with the same symptoms that Jackson had? Anyone ? Anyone?

Memories

It's six AM and I'm ready to face the day. On the internet. And what do I see but a news flash…F.B.I. Arrests Dozens in N.J. Corruption Sweep. Nothing changes. You could have seen this same headline any day, any year for the past century. That's New Jersey. I hate saying things like that because I don't like judging people by their origins, but in the case of New Jersey, corruption is a way of life. No, not for everyone, but it is for far too many people in power there.

I got a taste of it back in the late 1960's when I had to go to Edison, New Jersey as the superintendent for a subcontractor on the construction of a Buffums department store. I found out right away; the unions were corrupt, the building officials were corrupt, the general contractor was corrupt…it never ended. Everyone had their hand out. And it was never for big bucks; did I want my material delivered to the jobsite without a hitch? That could be done for $50. Did I want to bring in a couple of guys from California to help expedite the work? $100…per month. I resisted at first, but my boss, back in California, told me to go with the flow and sent me the cash I needed; no checks accepted! My local building material dealer told me how much and how to make the payments. It was fairly easy; just go to lunch with an official and bring a newspaper and an envelope with cash. Finish lunch early and depart without the newspaper and envelope.

I got to know quite a few of the local carpenters that I had hired. In fact, I was invited to Sunday dinners with lots of them. Nice guys. So I asked them why they put up with this blatant corruption? They said the alternative wasn't very pleasant. The status quo was. As long as they went along, everything was OK. Sad, but true.

Kiss

I was looking at the headlines and once again I'm disappointed to see that no one with power, with clout, is refuting the Republicans and their lies about health care. Point by point is how the president's plan should be presented to the American public. Keep it simple, but get the message out. Republicans believe that by telling the same lie often enough it will become the truth. You know what? That works for them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Headlines I Read Today

"Calling for deep cuts and avoiding broad tax hikes, Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders agree on ways to close California's $26.3-billion deficit."

"Pet Airways. Forget the cargo hold, dogs and cats ride in the main cabin on this animal-only start-up airline serving five cities from Los Angeles to New York."

This sickens me; we have a society where we refuse to tax the rich and the corporations and people think it's somehow right to fly their pets in style. Yeah, I can see where an increase in taxes might cramp the style of the rich and famous. It's better to cramp the lives of the nameless majority.

Ugly Pigs

I'm feeling particularly vindictive this morning. The cretins calling themselves the California Legislature have concluded the budget process months late and billions of dollars out of whack with reality. First things first. This impossible budget did not come about because of Prop 13 or some other failure of the citizens of state. Legislators have done it all and there is no denying it. Yet they will deny it. Well, it's time for them to go and it's time for a new state constitution. A constitution that mandates that the legislature work part time. Texas, our rival for years, does it that way and do you see a financial meltdown in that state? It makes sense; the fewer days that a legislator is faced with the temptation to fiddle with what works, the better off we will all be. And during those off times, the legislator will be forced to associate with the common folks that elected him or her to the office. Might even listen to them!!

It’s Time

Life goes on. And so does the very real need for drugs. I wish I could write something here, such as…'Life goes on and it's the third day in row that I have been pain free.' But, I have a feeling that won't happen for quite awhile.

In the meantime, I spend my time juggling the starting times for the various pain killers in my pharmacy. I really dislike getting close to bedtime and finding out the next dose of my favorite drug is still two hours away. And if I snooze right through a dosage time in the middle of the afternoon, I have to get out my pill splitter and try to make things right. If nothing else works, I will overdose just get where I need to be.

In the 'World As It Should Be', I would have been sent home from the hospital with a small black box attached to a belt for around my waist. An IV line would come from the box and would be inserted into the most comfortable spot for a mobile patient. The black box would have a wireless connection to the internet and could be contacted by your physician. The black box would contain a cartridge of drugs, all in the more powerful liquid form. At indicated times, the black box would pump the required amount of the proper drug into my veins. If the pain didn't subside, I would push a button on the box and ask for an extra amount. The answer would be already programmed in and the additional amount would be given; if not, the box would use the wireless connection to contact my doctor for confirmation. At night, the total drug amount would be the same but spread out over the entire sleep period so I could be pain free for the entire night. Need more drugs? Additional cartridges could be prescribed as needed and one would always be in reserve. But…for something like that I would have to live in a country where health care is valued.

Oh well, I like the idea anyway. Just a little bit of brainstorming by myself…as I wait for the Tizanidine and Norco to do their work. Dilaudid, Neurontin and whatever. Of course this would open up an whole new line of work for crackers and hackers. The War on Drugs folks would see the black box as an assault on their position and they would resurrect Nancy to start the 'Just Say No' campaign once again. I would bet that that they have warehouses full of posters and buttons to hand out.

It's been more than an hour since I took the first of the mornings drugs. Now I'm slowing down and losing my place in the day. Mentally, I'm crumbling. But, on the physical side, I'm well insulated. The persistent pain in my hip and calf are still there; hiding quietly and just waiting for chance to bite me again. I think I'll go hide. But first, a dose of Dilaudid. I want to make it tough for that particular pain to find me.


  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tom Gets it Right...Again!

Health Care And The Free Market! (Comics)

Help!

I'm having a real problem with drugs these days. I have to take them to keep myself one step ahead of crying because of the pain, but when I take them, I'm no longer bound to this spot on the planet. OK, maybe that's not a real problem; I've discovered some interesting places in my travels.

But what does bother me is the complexity of my pharmaceutical stew. It's about 8 drugs and many elders have to deal with a lot more than that. My wife and I are fairly bright. She was an office manager and I retired after a successful career. So why did I have to create a spreadsheet to cover the times and doses for just 8 drugs? And you do this without any help. At the hospital door, they wish you good luck and that is that. And the first day on my own, I managed to double dose myself more than once. Why? Because I'm on drugs! Duh!

Things are better now on the 6th day post op and I'm almost into a routine, but what of those elders that are sent home without the help they need to administer the small pharmacy that was handed to them at the hospital door?

New post on my Short Laps blog

Sunday, July 19, 2009

From Just my little piece of the world:

"This Has To Be the Funniest Thing I Have Seen In A While"

And she is right. I will never think about 'torture' in quite the same way anymore. (I'm disgusted by the fact that some of my tax money goes to pay Yoo to lecture here in California)

And...what do they do with all of the kids at Halloween time in Fairfax County, Virginia, where it's illegal to appear in public with a disguise? I know some people that do that every day! (Mary Kay customers)

New

Something new about my recent surgery on Short Laps.

But not much; it's hard to get my mind functioning with this overload of fun analgesia…


 


 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Palin

is slated to appear in Calif. after resignation - San Jose Mercury News

Every once in awhile I try to understand how the rightwing conservative mind works. I'm really reaching out...hoping that we can reason together. You know, civilized human beings acting in a rational manner. And then I read this.

Back to the drawing board!

From...Just my little piece of the world

Once Again the GOPers Show How Far They Have Fallen

This was tough to read...I can't even imagine the hatred that would generate such comments. Well, I have been saying for years that mental illness is really a bigger problem than we want to acknowledge and these comments from the 'Right' only prove my point.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Comics

It's All About US: Americans Respond To The Turmoil In Iran

A little something from Tom Tomorrow...

Former Lawmakers and Congressional Staffers

Lobby on Health Care - washingtonpost.com

You know that Americans pay more for drugs than any other nation in the world, right? Yes, it's true and it's shameful. And it will only get worse...

Here in Orland, a community of less than 10,000 people, we are seeing the third pharmacy being built. We already have a CVS pharmacy and one local. Now we will have a Walgreen's as well. In the local area, within 25 miles, Walgreen's is building 3 new stores that I know of. There may be more. And why do they do that? Follow the money...

Congress.org -

Congressional Directory

I was reading Time Goes By this morning and could not agree more with Ronni.

I've already contacted my Representative, the infamous Wally Herger and told him what I wanted in health care reform. I received a reply a few weeks later, a form letter, where he repeated every lie available for the Republicans to use. I was hoping he might think for himself, but no, he follows the party line...

You should contact your representative as well...I'm writing to Wally again!
Here is the link...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Muckraker:

From the Huffington Post - Blogger Shannyn Moore in Palin's Cross Hairs

Why oh why do I do this?...if the news article has the words michael or sarah in it, I should just let it go and not contribute one word to the weirdness. But, here it is. What a sheep I am!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hot Dogs and Apple Pie

It's the 4th of July. Are we all done? Has the Palin train left the station on its way to nowhere? Please, let it be so. (the best part? She's taking a whole bunch of rightwing nuts with her, further fracturing the Republican party!) Now the mainstream media can get back to sightings of Michael Jackson; the important stuff. (He was seen working at a 7-11 in North Dakota. His image was burned into a piece of French Toast at a diner in New Jersey.) And we can get back to our holiday. Pass the relish!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Palin

to Resign as Alaska Governor by End of Month - washingtonpost.com:

"We know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities,' Palin said in a news conference alongside a lake in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska."

Amazing. Spoken like a true politician. Grammatically incorrect and completely baffling? What on earth did she say?

The Internet isn't tax-free ?

It should be!

I have a major disagreement with the writer. Truth is, I don't mind paying a Sales tax in my state and if the internet store has a presence in California, I pay it. But it's the Use tax that I have a problem with. In theory, if I buy anything out of state, I'm liable for the Use tax on it. Even if I got in my car and drove to Nevada or Arizona to shop and didn't use the internet, everything I brought back with me would be taxable. A Use tax. A new car, maybe some groceries, a magazine and even a candy bar. The state wants me to pay a tax on it when I return. And if in-state retailers have a problem with internet vendors stealing their customers, it's because they aren't being very smart in their approach to customers. I enjoy being able to shop and touch the merchandise. But when the store opens at 10 in the morning and the stock is limited and the clerks are rude...the internet is very attractive! You want customers? You have to prove it!

From... From the Edge

Journalism

Since I'm fresh out of ideas this morning, I will recommend Mr. Porter to you. He writes well.

From Time Goes By...

REFLECTIONS: 1970

Brilliant piece of writing here... and good to read on the eve of Independence Day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

From Just my little piece of the world:

Andy Cobb Gives his Take on Mark Sanford, Too Funny

A great little video...

I've been to South Carolina before. It looks like a nice state. Scenic. Although giant billboards seem to be a growth industry there. Those and Waffle Shops. BMW's are made there. Oh, and they sell fireworks all year round. I saw that on the giant billboards. But what worries me about this whole 'affair' is the fact that the citizens of the state seem to be missing? I haven't heard a thing from them concerning their errant governor. Why aren't they at the castle door, demanding his head?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Feeling Cynical

With Al Franken's win giving the Democrats a filibuster proof majority, the republicans are eager to begin blaming Democrats for each and every little thing that happens in DC or the world. No matter the truth; it only gets in the way when you are bashing Democrats this time around. Facts are, in a perfect world, we the people would control the Senate and not some bellicose group of fat old white men that call themselves Democrats and/or Republicans. So much for perfect worlds…