Monday, August 31, 2009

Station fire

claims 18 homes and two firefighters -- latimes.com

It's tragic. And what is more tragic is the fact that these fires continue year after year with the same results. I grew up down in S. Cal and all of these names, Big Tujunga, Glendora, Acton, etc, are familiar to me because there were always fires there...and I'm 69 years old. You would think that after all of these years of tragedy, someone might have a clue as to where and how to build in these foothills.Easpecially because the fuel for these fires grows back every single year, without fail. And without fail, humaqns continue to ignore the obvious.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's Tom again...

Why We Don't Need A Consumer Financial Protection Agency (Comics)

From AARP -

Where We Stand: Health Reform—The Time to Act Is Now

"many of you have expressed confusion, skepticism and even fear about what Congress is proposing.

These concerns are understandable."

I know that AARP is trying to talk nice to all of its members, but isn't it time for tough talk? The fact is it is not understandable that Americans are quite willing to be led by the noisy, ignorant and evil among us. Aren't these Americans able to read? Personally, I'm disgusted that we have come this far and we still have people who will not take the time to study the most important legislation that they will see in their lifetimes. And take the time, all of five minutes, to let their Representatives and Senators know what their feelings are on this most vital legislation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some

Roman Catholic Bishops Assail Health Plan - NYTimes.com

Shame on them! All fat and cozy with a health plan they don't pay for...yet they presume to tell the 'faithful' that health care for all is 'dangerous'. These men are evil!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

From 'From This Corner'

Big time for Wally

Unbelievable! This buffoon (Wally Herger) is MY representative. Can I divorce him? Can I put a notice in the paper that says I'm not responsible for anything he says? Unfortunately, I live in a "RED' county and there are enough local buffoons around to reelect him every time...mainly because the Democratic Party won't spend a dime to help his opponents. They think it's wasted money. Well, we'll never know for sure unless they spend some, will we?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How depressing

I just read about the increase in the ten year estimate of the national debt...now it will be $9 trillion dollars. Hey! Let's make an even $10 trillion as that is what it will be after we get bogged down in the Afghan War. Doesn't anyone read their history books? Anyone? Afghanistan has defeated the worlds largest forces since recorded history began. Why and how are we going to change that? If you want to change Afghanistan, you have to do it with aid and education, not bombs. But, I'm talking to myself...

Another thought; didn't we have a surplus in the national debt when Dubya took over? Yes we did. Now, eight and a half years later we have his mess to clean up. Can we bill him for it?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Am I the only one...

that is wondering what is happening with our President and the health care bills? I did my part, I wrote and emailed my representatives and my Senators.(representatives don't deserve capitalization) and I let them know where I stood on the Public Option. Now where is the President? Where's the BIG SPEECH? Where is the concerted effort to get this passed? Sigh. Maybe we really are a nation of nincompoops an this is what we deserve.

An Editorial -

About Your 401(k) - NYTimes.com

Personal story; back in the good old days of the stock market, I worked for a corporation that offered a 401(k) program. Odd, but in the branch office where I worked, very few of us used the maximum amount of salary option (10%). Most people were afraid of the stock market because they didn't understand it and were reluctant to put a good sized chunk of their salary into something so mysterious. (These were educated 'white collar' folks) And there were a good number of people who used the 401(k) as a piggy bank by taking out loans against the principal whenever they felt like shopping. Their investments usually totaled up to 0. The corporation didn't offer 'training programs' to help people understand how these investments worked and so most never switched stocks when the stocks began to underperform. They just sat and watched the value dribble away.

Now it's all coming down around them...Thank you, Republican leaders.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What If

Democrats Behaved More Like Republicans?

Comics from Tom Tomorrow

Republican Virginia Foxx:

Health Reform Is a 'Distraction'

A very mean lady who doesn't know the Constitution at all...aren't Virginian's embarrassed by her?

Terror from the Right

75 Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City

Tough reading material for early in the morning, but what struck me were the incredibly short sentences these would be murderers/terrorists received. Now if they had been caught selling marijuana in California, they would be put away for life!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I've done it again

I spent the last hour writing to my two Senators, Boxer and Feinstein, and to my Congressman, Wally Herger. It's not easy writing to them as their websites make it appear that you're sending your email to a circular file. I could be slightly paranoid about this, after all, I'm communicating with a politician and that doesn't give anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I was writing to them about my concerns regarding the Public Option in any health care bill that is considered. I want it. I'm almost 69 years old and I have health care that works beautifully. It's a combination of Medicare and AARP supplemental. I'm lucky that I can afford the supplemental, but even without it, Medicare saves lives in more ways than one. Physical, emotional and financial lives are saved. Is there any reason why I wouldn't want to share this kinde of health care with my children and grandchildren? Of course not!

And right now, the Public Option is the only way I can see that my children and grandchildren will be able to see affordable health care in their lifetimes. The health insurance industry is fighting this with all their might and all because they want no competition. 3 or 4 of the major insurers have 90% of the business. And these are the same people who are making decisions for your health care. When you need an operation/procedure, guess who makes the decision to allow it? The cost analyst. I would prefer a federal bureaucrat over a cost analyt any time!

Anyway, back to the letters; this will be the second one to Feinstein and the fourth one to Herger. Boxer has only received one from me. But...more will follow. It sometimes seems pointless, especially when you receive the same form letter in reply, 3 times (Herger) but I know it's being recorded somewhere and assigned a value...so many for and so many against. And political creatures will sell their souls to be on the 'right' side.

I guess that's all we can do...write letters. Join me.

From Time Goes By

Everything you need to know...

About health care reform from and for people who are directly affected by the lack of reform. That's you and that's me and everyone in between.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mr. Taxman

I was thinking about taxes again. And I was thinking about the number of people in this country. So let's say we can't get our legislators to fix the loopholes that allow so many corporations to avoid paying any taxes at all. And since so many Americans are quite content to let those thieves stay in the office we elected them to…it's probably time to think about the tax increase option as a way of making things right. It's been projected that the number of households in America will be 115 million by next year. The population is expected to be around 310 million people. So let's say we ask everyone to give $10 a year. That's $
3,100,000,000. That is a lot of money for just a ten dollar bill per year. And if we raised it to $20 a year. Twenty bucks for a year. That's like a nickel a day…and we could have twice as much. So let's stop right there. Now we ask the Federal government to save that much each year. C'mon, it's easy. Don't build 2 F-22's and they have made their contribution. Now we're talking about some serious money and it could be used for us! Yes, things like healthcare and education. Especially education! If we can't educate people, we'll never see a change in health care. And we can do it for twenty bucks. Or ask our legislators to do it for free! You know, do the job they were elected to do, not to play partisan games while taking lobbyists money.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reading Material

I've been reading some Op Ed pieces in the New York Times and I have been startled…no disgusted is a better word. The subject of the two articles I read was elders and health care costs. Both authors were of the opinion that the crisis in health care has come about because we spend too much money on health care for Grandma and Grandpa. Not one sentence, not one word was wasted on exploring the idea that there might be other costs that have brought about this 'crisis'. Pharmaceutical companies were not mentioned nor were the health insurance companies. The fact that our health care system is outdated wasn't mentioned; yes, patient records are still on paper and not digitized. I've heard rumors that collusion and scams cost Medicare millions of dollars a year, but that wasn't mentioned in the article either. It was all about us, the elders, who are the cause of it all. Think about it…we are.

Ranting

I can't believe it at times. Doesn't anyone know how easy it would be to take all of the problems away from Medicare and Social Security? (problems that are way overblown) It's simple, you raise taxes. It really is that simple. But, you say we are overtaxed already? Not even close! America ranks somewhere in the middle of industrialized countries when it comes to taxation. And if you don't like taxing yourself, how about fixing all of the loopholes that allow about 70% of all corporations in this country to pay no tax at all. 70%...no taxes. Do you have any idea as to how much money that would be? I don't know, but I feel like it ought to be a substantial number. But, back to taxes for you and me; we need to pay taxes to pay for all of the things we want. Gosh, that's simple. If we see that taxes are going to squeeze us a little, we should first look at how that money is being spent and how well our Representatives are doing in their job of safeguarding our tax money. Again, that's simple. That's Finance 101; it's what we do with our own finances. Or should. But what are they doing with that tax money? We don't have clue. We don't even know our Representatives name. So we're easy victims when the kooks and idiots start ranting and raving about the impending peril of 'socialism' if we should want to give ourselves a break with the 'Public Option' in health care. Please, Lord, save us from ourselves…


 

I had to include it...

American Ignorance

From Time Goes By, Read it and Weep

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Healthcare rationing?

: Real scary -- a piece by Newt Gingrinch - latimes.com

Yes, I added the question mark in the title above. Because, as he is forced to admit...there is no rationing in the proposed bills. Then he uses conjecture and 'facts' without any validity. for instance, he says that medicare will be bankrupt within ten years. "Consider Medicare, which is projected to go broke within the decade." Who projected it? Newt? He provides no evidence to support that claim because there is none. On and on it goes, one rumor after another purporting to be fact.

Here is what I think is the real danger we are seeing; where are the younger supporters for universal health care? I already have my health care, Medicare, and it works. And I paid for it by working for the past 48 years. And some of that time I was working to support others who weren't lucky enough to have full time jobs or maybe no job at all. That is what societies are supposed to do. If we don't take care of each other, what kind of society is that?...


Op-Ed Contributor to the NYTimes

Why We Need Health Care Reform - written by our President, for NYTimes.com

It's a measured and respectful piece. It isn't meant excite you, it's meant to make you think. Something we all should be doing.

So...why is it that there hasn't been one single Republican voice of moderation during this time where crackpots rule the TV stations and we see people shouting down speakers who only ask them to think? Why not indeed? Does this silence from the right mean that these Republican leaders have decided to cast their lot with the wacko's? Why would they do that? I guess they do hate America...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

John Mackey?

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare - WSJ.com

Well, it is on the Opinion page. And like most people, John has one. But that's all. This guy has put together every falsehood and half truth there is and called it an article. Of course I should have known what kind of an article it was when I saw the quote by Margaret Thatcher. She had the same kind of mentality that Ronald Reagan had; in fact they were great pals. Now they are has beens and thoroughly discredited.

I heard a rumor that Whole Foods may be boycotted because of this article...I sure hope so!

Indeed!

A word or two for those idiots who blather on and on about how adopting health care regulations that would provide care for all Americans is a sure path to Socialism. Get over it! Socialism is part of American life and has been for as long as we have been a nation. To say otherwise means you don't have a clue as to the history of the nation. As soon as we constituted an army for ourselves, we became a little bit socialistic. A postal service? Even more. Fire departments. Police departments. And the big one? Public education. That put us over the top and we joined the ranks of all the other socialistic nations in the world. But, I speak in vain. These idiots are beyond redemption.

Compare International Medical Bills

Compare International Medical Bills is an interactive database of health care costs by country. No, we're not the best. Not even close, though we spend the most.

"...the end, when all costs are added up, Americans spend more money on health care per person with fewer people covered. (Data most recent available as of July 2008.)"

So why are the Republicans lying about this? Again. Why do they have a problem with the truth? You would think that they would be ashamed...but they're not.

(Well, we have been worried for years about the 'dumbing down' of America. We don't have to worry anymore. It's happened.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wealth for the Common Good

Campaign: Reverse the Tax Cuts

Some pretty smart people here...we need more of them!

A Letter to Me

My Congressman, Mr. Wally Herger replied to my recent email to his office. In that email I had informed him that I was interested in seeing him support single payer health care or an extension of the very successful Medicare program.

Here is his reply and my comments.

"Thank you for contacting me regarding the health care system in the United States. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this important issue.

With health care costs rapidly rising and approximately 45 million Americans lacking health insurance, it is clear that our nation's health system is in need of major reforms. However, I would respectfully suggest that a "single payer" or "universal Medicare" model is not the best way to fix what is wrong with health care in America. I believe most Americans want decisions about their medical care to be made by their physician, not by a distant federal bureaucracy that is unfamiliar with their personal situation.
In other countries that have adopted a single-payer system, such as Canada, people face long waiting lists for medical care and talented physicians are leaving the program.


Notice that Wally repeats lies that are a standard part of the Republican assault on health care. I wouldn't say that he lies, but I would say that he doesn't check his facts very well. Perhaps he is an elder and should consider retirement? Anyway…

One, I use Medicare and decisions about my medical care are made by my doctor and myself. A doctor that I freely chose. There is not even a hint of a 'distant federal bureaucracy' involved in my health care.

Two, Other countries that have adopted a single payer system do not have the problems that Mr. Herger noted. He is simply repeating a lie without even checking to see if anything he says is accurate. It isn't.

The potential problems with a government-run health system can also be seen here in California with the Medi-Cal program, where low-income individuals have nominal coverage but often can't get the care they need. Health care providers often refuse to accept Medi-Cal patients because the program pays too little to cover the cost of providing services, while some rural hospitals that do treat Medi-Cal beneficiaries are losing so much money that they may be forced to close their doors altogether.

Three, The Medi-Cal problems are not in any way connected to Medicare. Both are government run systems, but one is run by a state that can't handle any of its problems. They are simply apples and oranges. I have no idea as to why Mr. Herger inserted this little bit of disinformation except for the possibility he wished to misinform. Possible?

Rather than creating a single-payer system, I believe Congress should look for ways to leverage competition and market forces to lower the cost of health care. Today, it is very difficult for Americans to find reliable cost and quality information about health care providers. We need to change this, in part through adoption of health information technology, which may itself be able to save over $100 billion per year to the system. And I believe we need to encourage state governments to develop innovative solutions to the problem of covering the uninsured.

Four, "…leverage competition and market forces…" That's exactly what we've been dealing with for the past 40+ years. That's why we're in the trouble we are in. Private health care providers make the medical decisions and not doctors. Disgusting. Thousands of people are forced out of private plans when it appears that they might actually be sick. Disgusting. Why do we have the highest health care costs in the whole world if competition and market forces are at play and have been for those 40+ years? Disgusting.

Finally, I believe Congress should reform the tax code to make it easier for individuals to obtain health insurance when their employers do not provide it. Almost everyone agrees that the current system, under which employer-provided health insurance is tax-free but individuals who purchase their own insurance must do so with post-tax dollars, is fundamentally unfair, although there is less agreement on the best way to fix it. As the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, I will keep your views in mind as I continue working for reforms that improve the quality, affordability, and accessibility of health care.

Five, 'reform the tax code' is pie in the sky and Mr. Herger knows it. I want health care fixed for all Americans and I want it now, not in the distant future.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future regarding this or any other federal issue important to you. In addition, I would like to invite you to visit my website at www.house.gov/herger where you can find additional information on my position on a variety of issues and sign up for occasional e-mail updates on the federal issues important to you.

You Say Tomato...

I just realized that I hadn't done any tomato pics this year. So I grabbed my camera...
This is what shows up on the counter every other day.

OK, that one looks a little ratty, but that's what happens when they hide from the picker.



From Time Goes By...

Crooks and Liars, Wackos and Cheats

The Crabby Old Lady says it all this morning and you don't want to miss it...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hundreds Hurt

in 11-Hour California Prison Riot - NYTimes.com:

"A federal three-judge court ruled last week that crowding and poor health care were to blame for one avoidable inmate death each week and that the system was “impossible to manage.”"

It's too bad they don't arrest the parties responsible for this...the California Legislature; both sides. Or better yet, put them in charge. Give them the keys and walk away.

Health care

protests 'clearly being orchestrated,' senator says - CNN.com:

Civil discourse is not on the agenda when these health care 'Swiftboaters' show up. What I don't understand is this...where is the Sergeant-At-Arms at these events? It appears that no one is in charge and yet we know that this kind of behavior wouldn't be tolerated at the City Hall or the County Supervisors meetings, not even the John Birch Society would allow these kinds of disruptions. Again, why is it allowed?

"Both Durbin and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, signaled the precarious status of any 'public option'"

I have a feeling that we're being sold down the river on the 'public option' and it's beginning to look like the asylum is being run by the inmates. But, hope springs eternal...

Obama’s Embrace

of a Bush Tactic Riles Congress - NYTimes.com:

"Mr. Obama called Mr. Bush’s use of signing statements an “abuse,”"

Shame on him! Personally, I feel insulted by this President. He took my vote and then does this...a direct power grab by the President. And he's a Constitutional Law professor? There is nothing at all Constitutional about 'signing statements'. They were illegal when Bush used them and they are illegal now.

Friday, August 7, 2009

From the Unsilent Generation

BigPharma CEO Salaries

Try and ignore the Snap previews on this page (what a bother!) and just look at the salaries and then consider drug prices in America. Yes, we pay the very most among all the nations and yet we are somewhere around 14th or 17th in the world in quality of healthcare.

Fascinating

I was just reading that the American public is evenly divided in their support/disapproval of torture. This is in a country that self reports itself as over 75% 'Christian'. Apparently 50% of these 'Christians' know a different Jesus. I don't think I want to know that one...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

CN&R

From the Edge

Anthony Peyton Porter and his take on current subjects.

(I love this guys style of writing!)

Finally

Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Maybe justice will have a chance now…

Bad Decision

Darn. I made the unfortunate decision to upgrade my Firefox browser to version 3.5. A major version upgrade. Everything went wrong and now I'm trying to fix it. As far as I can tell, I can't download the older version I was used to and so I'm stuck with Internet Explorer 8 for the time being. And that browser doesn't treat RSS feeds as well as Firefox did. Plus, I have to rebuild my list of favorites. OK, that may be a good thing, the old list had a lot of duds and broken links that I had never cleaned out of it.

Back to the drawing board…

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wandering

I usually avoid reading the comments on blogs that allow Anonymous posting, but every once in awhile I get curious about what someone might be saying and so I wandered into an Alaskan blog and after enjoying the post, I began to read the comments. I was rewarded! For someone used the phrase 'Miss Quittypants' to describe you know who. It was perfect! Then, I decided to see what Google would make of the name. I Googled it and there it was, down at the bottom of the first page. It was seen mostly on Alaskan blogs and I even found a swell variation; 'Buttercup Quittypants'. You have to like that! Anyway, I'm just trying to spread it around in the lower 48. Doing my little bit. Alaska shouldn't keep it to themselves, it wouldn't be fair.

Should We Ban Tobacco?

From AlterNet:

"'I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost -- and the shock when, 20 years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along. …

'And I cannot help but wonder how many more lives, and how much more money, will be wasted before another Robert McNamara admits what is plain for all to see: The war on drugs is a failure.'"

Words from Walter Cronkite...

Limbaugh

is still relevant - CNN.com

Danger. Scary stuff here!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Congress' own healthcare benefits

Membership has its privileges - Los Angeles Times:

"'If every member of Congress put their heads on their pillow every night like I do . . . knowing this could be the night I lose my house, we'd fix healthcare in a week,'"

That's from Representative Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, the ONLY Representative that spurned the healthcare packages available for members of the House and bought his own. (1 out of 435)

"He will continue, he said in an interview, until every American can enjoy the same coverage as federal lawmakers."

That's my kind of Representative...