How Gaddafi upstaged Obama
As it happens the UN General Assembly is currently being chaired by a Libyan diplomat, Ali Treki. He had insisted that all heads of state speak for no longer than 15 minutes. But he did not apply this to Gaddafi, who he introduced in neutral style as “king of kings and leader of the revolution.” The Libyan leader rambled on for some 96 minutes, reading off scraps of paper, and throwing the UN schedule into chaos.
Comment: 1 Timothy 6:14-16, "that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen." Psalm 2:4, "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh"
Bank of America said it would allow current customers to turn off the ability to spend when their account hits zero, starting Oct. 19. Next June, the bank plans to limit the number of times each year that current customers can overdraw their accounts when using a debit card at a store. It will let new customers choose whether they want overdraft protection when they are opening their account.
Chase plans to eliminate by the first quarter of next year a common industry practice that enraged many consumers. Instead of lumping a day’s worth of debit card and A.T.M. transactions together and then processing the highest amounts first — a practice that has caused large numbers of consumers to overdraw more quickly and pay more fees — it will credit the transactions chronologically. Chase also plans to allow customers to opt out of overdraft coverage.
Comment: Commendable moves
Updated - Wells Fargo also makes changes (source)
Wells Fargo today announced changes to its overdraft practices for Wells Fargo and Wachovia customers. Wells Fargo will eliminate overdraft fees for customers when they overdraw their accounts by $5 or less and will charge no more than four overdraft fees per day. In addition, Wells Fargo and Wachovia customers will be able to opt out of overdraft coverage, meaning customers can specify that they don’t want their transactions authorized into overdraft if funds aren’t available to cover the transaction.
Over at personal finance weblog Get Rich Slowly, guest writer April Dykman explains how she curbs unnecessary spending with the flowchart you see here. It's a simple process that hinges on cost ("Can I afford it?"), need ("Is it something I need or lack?"), and quality ("Is there a less expensive/high quality option?"), and if you were to stick to this flowchart for all your purchases, chances are you'd make considerably fewer regrettable impulse buys.
Comment: Helpful "want" "need" flow chart - cllck link for chart
First the questions:
- How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
- Which country makes Panama hats?
- From which animal do we get cat gut?
- In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
- What is a camel's hair brush made of?
- The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
- What was King George VI's first name?
- What color is a purple finch?
- Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
- What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
- How long did the Hundred Years' War last? Answer: 116 years
- Which country makes Panama hats? Answer: Ecuador
- From which animal do we get cat gut? Answer: Sheep and Horses
- In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? Answer: November
- What is a camel's hair brush made of? Answer: Squirrel fur
- The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Answer: Dogs
- What was King George VI's first name? Answer: Albert
- What color is a purple finch? Answer: Crimson
- Where are Chinese gooseberries from? Answer: New Zealand
- What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Answer: Orange (of course)
And on September 2, the go-it-alone pair floated a balloon-camera high enough into the atmosphere to photograph the curvature of the Earth and the deep black of space, all on a lunch-money budget of $148.
Welcome to space.1337arts.com — Project Icarus, home of the original $150 near-space launch!
Students launch camera to edge of space, snap pics of Earth
Comment: Very very cool! Check out the pics!
- How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
- Which country makes Panama hats?
- From which animal do we get cat gut?
- In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
- What is a camel's hair brush made of?
- The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
- What was King George VI's first name?
- What color is a purple finch?
- Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
- What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
Comment: Answers tomorrow
President Obama had sent a request to Mr. Paterson that he withdraw from the New York governor’s race, fearing that Mr. Paterson cannot recover from his dismal political standing, according to two senior administration officials and a New York Democratic operative with direct knowledge of the situation.
The decision to ask Mr. Paterson to step aside was proposed by political advisers to Mr. Obama, but approved by the president himself, one of the administration officials said.
“Is there concern about the situation in New York? Absolutely,” the second administration official said Saturday evening. “Has that concern been conveyed to the governor? Yes.”
The administration officials and the Democratic operative spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions with the governor were intended to be confidential.
Tourists "Arrested" in Kalona
Every day thousands of vehicles pass through Washington County on US Highway 218. Many don't notice the small towns listed on the signs. But at least for one day Larry Moeller is going to change that.
"We're planning on catching a northbound out of state tourist," said Chamber of Commerce member Larry Moeller. "We'll go up to the car and ask them if they have about 20 hours to spend with us here in Kalona," he added.
That time will be spent catching them up on something they probably haven't recently received.
"We'll arrest them on the charge of lack of small town hospitality," Moeller said.
So with County Sherrif Jerry Dunbar and some binoculars, Larry and Jerry start looking for a tourist to arrest.
The Illinois visitors didn't work out, they were on their way to the hospital.
Moments later Ron and Cheri Cunningham of Sedalia, Missouri couldn't figure out what was going on.
"I was behind a truck that I'd followed for about 15 miles, I wasn't speeding, I didn't know what I could've possibly done," said arrested tourist Ron Cunningham.
After a little convincing...
"Sounds good to me, sounds good, ok!"
...it was off to Kalona for the unique sights and sounds...that this town offers...plus a meeting with the mayor.
"Ron and Cheri...welcome to Kalona"
...a basket full of goodies from the local businesses...
"Yoder's Peanut Butter crunch here."
...and some fine dining...
"You can order from our dinner menu, or from lunch..."
All expenses paid, even the night's stay.
"It's interesting it's fun, he probably pulled over the right people, we didn't really have an agenda," said Cheri Cunningham. "Everybody's been so nice, so friendly, and the little downtown area here is darling," she added.
What the chamber hopes is that they'll wear these t-shirts with pride.
"And on the back it says, Ask me about Kalona, Iowa," Moeller said.
Comments: Wiki: Kalona, Iowa | Map: Google Map
We've been along route 218 driving from Hannibal MO to Iowa City (as I recollect we had dinner at Iowa City and then drove to Waterloo to spend the night ... next day home to Plymouth, MN). What a clever idea! Good for Kalona!
Under the bus, to throw
“To throw someone under the bus” is defined as meaning “to sacrifice; to treat as a scapegoat; to betray,” but I think the key to the phrase really lies in the element of utter betrayal, the sudden, brutal sacrifice of a stalwart and loyal teammate for a temporary and often minor advantage. There is no retirement dinner, no gold watch, for poor schmuck “thrown under the bus.” On the contrary, the scapegoat’s name is liable to disappear from the website overnight.
The earliest solid example of “throw under the bus” found in print so far is from 1991, although a 1984 quote from rock star Cyndi Lauper where she uses the phrase “under the bus” (without “throw”) may or may not count as a sighting. Incidentally, by far the best compilation of citations for the phrase can be found, as usual, at Grant Barrett’s Double-Tongued Dictionary website (www.doubletongued.org).
The exact origin of “thrown under the bus” is, unfortunately, a mystery. Slang expert Paul Dickson, quoted by William Safire in his New York Times magazine column, traces it to sports, specifically the standard announcement by managers trying to get the players to board the team bus: “Bus leaving. Be on it or under it.” The phrase does seem to be popular in sports circles, but few of the citations I have seen from sports publications carry the same overtones of casual, callous betrayal that one finds in non-sporting uses.
Consequently, I have my own theory. I don’t think the “bus” was ever the team bus. As someone who spent a lot of time standing on Manhattan street corners and narrowly avoided being expunged by speeding city buses on several occasions, to me the phrase conjures up the classic urban nightmare of being pushed in front of a bus. As a way to quickly and irreversibly get rid of someone, “throwing” them under a bus in this sense would be the ideal solution and would satisfy the connotations of sudden, cold brutality the phrase usually carries. So I suspect that the phrase has urban origins, and migrated into sports world via players from big cities.
hang out to dry
- Meaning: "to not support or help someone."
- Usage: "After losing the election, the party is going to hang him out to dry."
- Etymology: based on the practice of hanging an animal that has been killed in a tree so its meat can dry
Comment: I favor the "hang out to dry" because I've heard it and used it for years. the "throw under the bus" is recent (see quote above). I hear this all the time at work! On a personal note, sometimes I've been "hung out to dry" and then "thrown under the bus"! (Not just in corporate America .... also in the ministry!).
Does He Lie?
Comment: 3 examples
- "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future," he solemnly pledged. "I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period."
Wonderful. The president seems serious, veto-ready, determined to hold the line. Until, notes Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, you get to Obama's very next sentence: "And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize."
This apparent strengthening of the pledge brilliantly and deceptively undermines it. What Obama suggests is that his plan will require mandatory spending cuts if the current rosy projections prove false. But there's absolutely nothing automatic about such cuts. Every Congress is sovereign. Nothing enacted today will force a future Congress or a future president to make any cuts in any spending, mandatory or not.
Just look at the supposedly automatic Medicare cuts contained in the Sustainable Growth Rate formula enacted to constrain out-of-control Medicare spending. Every year since 2003, Congress has waived the cuts.
Mankiw puts the Obama bait-and-switch in plain language. "Translation: I promise to fix the problem. And if I do not fix the problem now, I will fix it later, or some future president will, after I am long gone. I promise he will. Absolutely, positively, I am committed to that future president fixing the problem. You can count on it. Would I lie to you?"
- And then there's the famous contretemps about health insurance for illegal immigrants. Obama said they would not be insured. Well, all four committee-passed bills in Congress allow illegal immigrants to take part in the proposed Health Insurance Exchange.
But more important, the problem is that laws are not self-enforcing. If they were, we'd have no illegal immigrants because, as I understand it, it's illegal to enter the United States illegally. We have laws against burglary, too. But we also provide for cops and jails on the assumption that most burglars don't voluntarily turn themselves in.
When Republicans proposed requiring proof of citizenship, the Democrats twice voted that down in committee. Indeed, after Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" shout-out, the Senate Finance Committee revisited the language of its bill to prevent illegal immigrants from getting any federal benefits. Why would the Finance Committee fix a nonexistent problem?
- Obama said he would largely solve the insoluble cost problem of Obamacare by eliminating "hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" from Medicare.
That's not a lie. That's not even deception. That's just an insult to our intelligence. Waste, fraud and abuse -- Meg Greenfield once called this phrase "the dread big three" -- as the all-purpose piggy bank for budget savings has been a joke since Jimmy Carter first used it in 1977.
Moreover, if half a trillion is waiting to be squeezed painlessly out of Medicare, why wait for health-care reform? If, as Obama repeatedly insists, Medicare overspending is breaking the budget, why hasn't he gotten started on the painless billions in "waste and fraud" savings?
Conclusion: "Obama doesn't lie. He merely elides, gliding from one dubious assertion to another."
Comment: The most glaring are # 2 and # 3:
#2, No health care for illegals. Great ... we'll just make them all legal!
#3, Every President says this ... we will save money by reforming _____________. Well reform ___________ FIRST! If you can't do that ... ignore the other!
Easy tip number one, if you want to talk like a pirate: Add "me hearties" to the end of any sentence.
The meaning is simple -- "my friends, my mates" -- said John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur, before offering as way of example, "Turn your head and cough, me hearties. Or, fill it up with regular, me hearties."
Saturday marks "Talk Like a Pirate Day," an observance that has been recognized on all seven continents and beyond. It inspires dress and behavior -- of the Long John Silver variety -- in seedy bars, staid workplaces and even the International Space Station. It has fueled fundraisers, been the topic for a New York Times crossword puzzle and mentioned on various game shows.
It was an idea born in 1995 on an Albany, Oregon, YMCA racquetball court. Baur, 54, and his friend Matt "Cap'n Slappy" Summers, 46, began unleashing insults at one another, as pirates might
Comment: I'm gonna eat pancakes like a pirate and then mow grass like a pirate! :)
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has raised the stakes against Israel by describing the Holocaust as a lie, just as world powers are trying to decide how to deal with the nuclear ambitions of an Iran in political turmoil.
"The pretext (Holocaust) for the creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false ... It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim," he told worshippers at Tehran University at the end of an annual anti-Israel "Qods (Jerusalem) Day" rally.
"Confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty."
Ahmadinejad's anti-Western speeches and comments on the Holocaust have in the past caused an international outcry and isolated Iran which is at loggerheads with the West over its disputed nuclear programme.
The hardline president warned leaders of Western-allied Arab and Muslim countries about dealing with Israel.
"This regime (Israel) will not last long. Do not tie your fate to it ... This regime has no future. Its life has come to an end," he said in a speech broadcast live on state radio.
Comment: Israel soon to strike! What do you think?
The test was to mark the 50th anniversary of the I.I.H.S., a group funded by the insurance industry. The idea was to show how much automotive safety has progressed in five decades.
While some people still think that the big steel bodies and sturdy frames of old cars meant stronger vehicles and good crash protection, the institute’s crash test shows that that just isn’t the case, Mr. Zuby said. Sophisticated engineering and high-strength steel give modern vehicles a huge advantage.
Comment: Only drive the oldies in parades!
The Lampo Group has grown to about 300 employees, most working on commissions. Ramsey is the owner, CEO and product.
He is building a huge home on a $1 million lot in a gated community overlooking Tennessee's richest county. Tax records reviewed by The Associated Press show Ramsey and his company own property worth more than $7 million, and Ramsey says that's low by a few million because of recent renovations to his four-story headquarters.
Ramsey doesn't give out sales figures for his privately owned company, but he says Lampo is far larger than a leading nonprofit group that offers Bible-based financial courses, Crown Financial Ministries. Based in Gainesville, Ga., Crown reported revenues of $20.2 million in 2007; its course costs $55 for a couple, or about half what Ramsey charges.
Alexander Hill, author of "Just Business: Christian Ethics for the Marketplace," said churches can inadvertently become a tool for marketers as they try to help members through a tough economy.
"I think it's fine for churches to provide services for the congregants, and that can be profit or nonprofit," said Hill, president of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a campus ministry based in Madison, Wis. "It's the potential confusion that is a concern."
Jon and Dorothy Bridges aren't worried about Ramsey's purpose. They were $90,000 in debt when they took his class in 2003. Heeding his guidance, they put themselves on a strict budget, cashed out a whole-life insurance policy and used the pay hike from a new job to erase all the red ink in two years.
Today, Jon Bridges is the executive director at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, Ala. Nearly half of the church's 2,400 regular attenders have taken Financial Peace University, with the church sometimes offering discounts or "scholarships" for those who can't afford it.
"It's a business, it's a ministry, it's both," he said. "It's a success. It's changing lives and helping people. I don't care how much money he makes."
Comment: I have found many (many many) Christians to be oblivious about personal finances. My own take is that a church could easily construct their own teaching program!
The latest soap victim, CBS' "Guiding Light" -- a show that began on NBC Radio in 1937 -- will go quietly out Friday after 72 years on the air.
Comment: I can honestly say I have never wasted time watching a soap operas (not to say I haven't wasted plenty of time on other things!).
Wiki: Guiding Light
The show's title refers to a lamp in the study of Reverend Dr. John Ruthledge, a major character when The Guiding Light debuted in 1937, that family and residents could see as a sign for them to find help when needed.
Mint.com, a start-up whose Web site helps people organize their money, rolled into some cash of its own on Monday, selling out to the personal finance giant Intuit for $170 million.
Comment: Mint ... worth checking out!
This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings. But almost no one is covering it.
Only almost no one is covering it.
This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandalous organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.
But it isn’t working any more. The ACORN fiasco has now impacted three offices – Baltimore, Washington and New York – with laugh-out-loud videos reminiscent of the hookers and pimps from the 1970s “Starsky and Hutch” show. Huggy Bear returns! Four employees have been fired, with more likely to come. And the controversy was so laughably bad that the Census Bureau cut off all ties to the group known formally as the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." -- They called it the “tipping point” to shed themselves of ACORN. More nuts for someone else, I guess.
And yet. And yet it’s still been ignored by the network news. Nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC. The only thing any one of the three broadcast networks has done appeared in a blog post by ABC’s Jake Tapper. It's hardly worth noting except to show that the networks know about what’s going on. They just don’t care to report it. Only FOX News has bothered to report on the controversy.
The video scandal is only part of the fiasco that is this Saul Alinsky-esque community group. Just last week CNN reported that other ACORN employees were arrested in Florida. “Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for 11 Florida voter registration workers who are suspected of submitting false information on hundreds of voter registration cards, according to court documents,” said CNN.
That’s typical. The Web site "Rotten ACORN" is devoted to election fraud complaints against the organization. The site’s map shows 14 different states where complaints have been filed. The last time any one of the broadcast networks talked about that was before the 2008 presidential election. That was NBC on Nov. 1. Nothing since.
Comment: Check it out: Rotten ACORN
The H1N1 flu vaccine will be available earlier than had been expected, the director of the nation's top disease agency told CNN on Monday.
"We think the first doses of some of the vaccine forms should be available in about three weeks," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previously, the CDC had been predicting the vaccine would not be available before middle or late October.
Frieden said that the vaccines appear to confer protection from the virus eight to 10 days after they are administered.
The news about the vaccine against H1N1, also called swine flu, comes a week after researchers concluded that a single injection would suffice to protect against the virus.
Health officials are urging that pregnant women, school-age children and anyone with underlying health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, get the swine flu shot.
Comment: Both Kathee and I had our regular flu shots this weekend. Question for readers: Do you intend to get the H1N1 shot this year? Why or why not? I'll go first: yes as soon as it is available. Why? better safe than sorry. I appreciate your views and comments.
After a couple of bad experiences with the apheresis donation (multiple pokes, an hour to give, etc), today I went back to the whole blood donation. Blood started flowing at 11:26 and I was done in 8 minutes flat.
The president’s chief economic adviser warned Friday that the nation’s unemployment rate could stay “unacceptably high” for years to come — a situation that would seriously complicate Barack Obama’s ability to convince Americans that he’s beating back the recession.
“The level of unemployment is unacceptably high,” National Economic Council Director Larry Summers said Friday. “And will, by all forecasts, remain unacceptably high for a number of years.”
Comment: Opportunity for Republican gains at mid-term elections! (I hope!)
Broderick and Terry, who had resigned from the state court, met early in the morning on Sept. 12, but were arrested and brought before a judge in San Francisco. The judge released the men, ruling that while dueling was illegal, an attempt to duel was not, according to David Williams' 1969 book, ''David C. Broderick: A Political Portrait.'' Williams wrote that several of Broderick's friends were disappointed in the ruling.
The next morning, the two men met around 7, drew lots for the pistols and then threw off their overcoats as dozens of people watched.
''Mr. Broderick seemed a little nervous, and as he received his pistol, gripped it with a convulsive grip,'' reported the San Francisco Bulletin, adding that the senator's nervousness ''was the result not of fear, but of intense resolution, or, perhaps, deadly hate. Judge Terry, meanwhile, stood erect, without a wink or a motion, like a man accustomed to such a position.''
After Broderick misfired, Terry shot back and shouted, ''The shot is not mortal; I have struck two inches to the right.'' Broderick lowered himself, and then keeled over. He was taken by wagon to a friend's home, and died three days later, on Sept. 16.
''The sad intelligence was immediately conveyed to the city, and produced a deep and settled gloom on the community,'' reported the San Francisco Herald. Thousands of people came to his funeral. He was the only senator to have died in a duel.
Terry was tried for murder but quickly acquitted.
''Very few duelers were ever convicted of murder,'' said Charles Fracchia, founder and president emeritus of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.
Comment: Boxing, pool, or chess would have been better!
Logos Bible Software is celebrating the launch of their new online Bible by giving away 72 ultra-premium print Bibles at a rate of 12 per month for six months. The Bible giveaway is being held at Bible.Logos.com and you can get up to five different entries each month! After you enter, be sure to check out Logos and see how it can revolutionize your Bible study.
Comment: 5 ways to win! Check it out!
A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state.
The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened. The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road. I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag who got what he deserved, and he yelled back that Ted Kennedy is a fat, good-for-nothing, left wing liberal drunk who doesn't know how to drive, and Obama is an idiot. So I said that Osama Bin Laden dresses and acts like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian. He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well, so does Nancy Pelosi!"
And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us."
Comment: From my Brother in Law, Dave White
Credit scores have been getting a lot of attention lately, as lenders tighten credit standards and contend with new legislation that has, among other things, reined in how credit-card issuers can raise rates.
Meanwhile, several firms, preying on our insecurities, are pushing credit scores and credit-score-tracking services for a monthly fee.
For all the attention they generate, though, credit scores are largely misunderstood. For instance, your precise score matters only when you're in need of new debt, like a home, auto or education loan or a new credit card, which should be a fairly rare occurrence.
You don't have just one score, but many. Your FICO score, the one developed by Fair Isaac Corp. that runs from a low of 300 to a high of 850, will vary depending on which credit bureau is reporting it and the kind of lender that requested it.
Comment: Why is it important? If you never intend to borrow it probably is not. But it you have a mortgage loan, auto loan, or any other kind of loan in your future; improving your score will enable you to borrow at a lower interest rate! Article has a helpful graph!
The thing about the bully pulpit is that Presidents can make the most fantastic claims and it takes days to sort the reality from the myths. So as a public service, let's try to navigate the, er, remarkable Medicare discussion that President Obama delivered on Wednesday. It isn't easy.
Mr. Obama began by depicting a crisis in the entitlement state, noting that "our health-care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers," especially Medicare. Unless we find a way to cauterize this fiscal hemorrhage, "we will eventually be spending more on Medicare than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health-care program is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close."
On this score he's right. Medicare's unfunded liability—the gap between revenues and promised benefits—is currently some $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Yet the President uses this insolvency as an argument to justify the creation of another health-care entitlement, this time for most everyone under age 65. It's like a variation on the old Marx Brothers routine: "The soup is terrible and the portions are too small."
As astonishing, Mr. Obama claimed he can finance universal health care without adding "one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period," in large part by pumping money out of Medicare. The $880 billion Senate plan he all but blessed this week would cut Medicare by as much as $500 billion, mainly by cutting what Mr. Obama called "waste and abuse." Perhaps this is related to the "waste and abuse" that Congresses of both parties have targeted dozens of times without ever cutting it.
Comment: A steady drumbeat of misrepresentations by the President!
The President's Tort Two-Step
On Wednesday the president told Congress "I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are." In fact, the administration is standing by to allow its most special, special interest to drive this debate. What the tort bar wants, the tort bar gets. Health insurers should be so lucky.
The legal question has become the starkest symbol of a broken health discussion, and offers insight into this presidency. For Republicans, legal reform has become a litmus test, proof that Democrats have no interest in a deal, and therefore a reason to step back. For many Americans, legal reform has become proof that President Obama is more interested in an ideological triumph than his stated goal of lowering health costs.
Tort reform is a policy no-brainer. Experts on left and right agree that defensive medicine—ordering tests and procedures solely to protect against Joe Lawyer—adds enormously to health costs. The estimated dollar benefits of reform range from a conservative $65 billion a year to perhaps $200 billion. In context, Mr. Obama's plan would cost about $100 billion annually. That the president won't embrace even modest change that would do so much, so quickly, to lower costs, has left Americans suspicious of his real ambitions.
It's also a political no-brainer. Americans are on board. Polls routinely show that between 70% and 80% of Americans believe the country suffers from excess litigation. The entire health community is on board. Republicans and swing-state Democrats are on board. State and local governments, which have struggled to clean up their own civil-justice systems, are on board. In a debate defined by flash points, this is a rare area of agreement.
The only folks not on board are a handful of powerful trial lawyers, and a handful of politicians who receive a generous cut of those lawyers' contingency fees. The legal industry was the top contributor to the Democratic Party in the 2008 cycle, stumping up $47 million. The bill is now due, and Democrats are dutifully making a health-care down payment.
During the markup of a bill in the Senate Health Committee, Republicans offered 11 tort amendments that varied in degree from mere pilot projects to measures to ensure more rural obstetricians. On a party line vote, Democrats killed every one. Rhode Island senator and lawyer Sheldon Whitehouse went so far as to speechify on the virtues of his tort friends. He did not, of course, mention the nearly $900,000 they have given him since 2005, including campaign contributions from national tort powerhouses like Baron & Budd and Motley Rice.
Comment: You cannot have true health care reform as long as blood-sucking trial lawyers are parasites on the system!
Unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek--especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions--just can't be achieved. And that's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance--just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.
Comment: Tell me about it. You have to have auto insurance in Minnesota to drive! Several years ago our daughter's Saturn (really our's as we owned it at the time!) was rear ended by a driver on I-494. The other driver was deemed at fault by the authorities. Guess who paid? (The other driver did not have insurance!)
President Barack Obama told a New Hampshire town-hall meeting last month that "if we're able to get something right like Medicare, then there should be a little more confidence that maybe the government can have a role." Did the government really get Medicare right? Here are the top 10 reasons this program should not be a model for reform, and why it would be dangerous for the federal government to be put in charge of any more of our health sector:
1) Medicare is going bankrupt. The Medicare Trustees estimate that the program will run short of money starting in 2017. Medicare will drown in a sea of red ink, with spending over the next 75 years outpacing dedicated revenues by nearly $38 trillion.
Comment: Only the top reason is shown. But it is the 800 lb Gorilla!
In September 1609, the beach near the tip of the island was surrounded by thickly wooded hills. Passenger pigeons flew overhead; porpoises hunted in the harbor. Around 600 Native Americans lived on the island. And they were the ones who, on Sept. 12, must have watched as a European, Henry Hudson, guided his small wooden ship into the Muhheakantuck (later Hudson’s) River, cleaving the waters with the narrow prow of history that would one day create New York City in its wake.
To the native Lenape people, whom Hudson met and traded with, Mannahatta meant “island of many hills.” Modern ecological research has shown that Mannahatta was an island of remarkable biological diversity. Its 55 ecosystems encompassed stately forests, rich wetlands, sandy beaches and rocky shores, eel grass meadows and deep marine waters. This 25-square-mile island had 66 miles of streams and more ecosystems per acre than Yellowstone; more plant species than Yosemite; and more birds than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park does today.
Comment: Having lived in Manhattan for about 6 months (back in 1974), it's hard to imagine!
For hundreds of years, mariners have dreamed of an Arctic shortcut that would allow them to speed trade between Asia and the West. Two German ships are poised to complete that transit for the first time, aided by the retreat of Arctic ice that scientists have linked to global warming.
Comment: also consider the Northwest Passage
A South African company on Wednesday proved it was faster to transmit data by carrier pigeon than to send it using the country's leading internet service provider.
Local news agency SAPA reported the 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 50 miles from Unlimited IT's offices near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban with a data card strapped to its leg.
Including downloading, the transfer took two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds — the time it took for only four percent of the data to be transferred using a line provided by Telkom.
SAPA said Unlimited IT performed the stunt after becoming frustrated with slow internet transmission times.
The company has 11 call centers around the country and regularly sends data to its other branches.
Comment: I'm thankful for Comcast!
Why Are Jews Liberals?
Jews also remain far more heavily committed to the liberal agenda than any of their old ethno-religious New Deal partners. As the eminent sociologist Nathan Glazer has put it, "whatever the promptings of their economic interests," Jews have consistently supported "increased government spending, expanded benefits to the poor and lower classes, greater regulations on business, and the power of organized labor."
As with these old political and economic questions, so with the newer issues being fought out in the culture wars today. On abortion, gay rights, school prayer, gun control and assisted suicide, the survey data show that Jews are by far the most liberal of any group in America.
Most American Jews sincerely believe that their liberalism, together with their commitment to the Democratic Party as its main political vehicle, stems from the teachings of Judaism and reflects the heritage of "Jewish values." But if this theory were valid, the Orthodox would be the most liberal sector of the Jewish community. After all, it is they who are most familiar with the Jewish religious tradition and who shape their lives around its commandments.
Yet the Orthodox enclaves are the only Jewish neighborhoods where Republican candidates get any votes to speak of. Even more telling is that on every single cultural issue, the Orthodox oppose the politically correct liberal positions taken by most other American Jews precisely because these positions conflict with Jewish law. To cite just a few examples: Jewish law permits abortion only to protect the life of the mother; it forbids sex between men; and it prohibits suicide (except when the only alternatives are forced conversion or incest).
What I am saying is that if anything bears eloquent testimony to the infinitely precious virtues of the traditional American system, it is the Jewish experience in this country. Surely, then, we Jews ought to be joining with its defenders against those who are blind or indifferent or antagonistic to the philosophical principles, the moral values, and the socioeconomic institutions on whose health and vitality the traditional American system depends.
In 2008, we were faced with a candidate who ran to an unprecedented degree on the premise that the American system was seriously flawed and in desperate need of radical change—not to mention a record powerfully indicating that he would pursue policies dangerous to the security of Israel. Because of all this, I hoped that my fellow Jews would finally break free of the liberalism to which they have remained in thrall long past the point where it has served either their interests or their ideals.
Comment: I've never really understood this demographic! Republicans are weak among Jews, Hispanics, Blacks, and Catholics.
The answer to the eternal mystery of what makes up a Filet-O-Fish sandwich turns out to involve an ugly creature from the sunless depths of the Pacific, whose bounty, it seems, is not limitless.
The world’s insatiable appetite for fish, with its disastrous effects on populations of favorites like red snapper, monkfish and tuna, has driven commercial fleets to deeper waters in search of creatures unlikely to star on the Food Network.
One of the most popular is the hoki, or whiptail, a bug-eyed specimen found far down in the waters around New Zealand and transformed into a major export. McDonald’s alone at one time used roughly 15 million pounds of it each year.
The hoki may be exceedingly unattractive, but when its flesh reaches the consumer it’s just fish — cut into filets and sticks or rolled into sushi — moist, slightly sweet and very tasty. Better yet, the hoki fishery was thought to be sustainable, providing New Zealand with a reliable major export for years to come.
But arguments over managing this resource are flaring not only between commercial interests and conservationists, but also among the environmental agencies most directly involved in monitoring and regulating the catch.
Comment: An ugly fish ... but a good sandwich! More: Blue grenadier
When Peter Means returned to graduate school after a career as a civil servant, he turned to a debit card to help him spend his money more carefully.
So he was stunned when his bank charged him seven $34 fees to cover seven purchases when there was not enough cash in his account, notifying him only afterward. He paid $4.14 for a coffee at Starbucks — and a $34 fee. He got the $6.50 student discount at the movie theater — but no discount on the $34 fee. He paid $6.76 at Lowe’s for screws — and yet another $34 fee. All told, he owed $238 in extra charges for just a day’s worth of activity.
Comment: Full article with pros and cons of fees is very good! Not as black and white (eg Banks bad!) as one might think! I would think a good solution would be for customers to have the option (either opt in or opt out) to NOT have automatic overdraft (ie ... debit would be denied if insufficient funds).
Most of the overdraft fees are drawn from a small pool of consumers. Ninety-three percent of all overdraft charges come from 14 percent of bank customers who exceeded their balances five times or more in a year, the F.D.I.C. found in its survey. Recurrent overdrafts are also more common among lower-income consumers ...
Edward and Maria Moller are worried about losing their house — not now, but in 2013.
That is when the suburban San Diego schoolteachers will see their mortgage payments jump, most likely beyond their ability to pay.
Like millions of buyers during the boom, the Mollers leveraged their way into a house they could not otherwise afford by taking out a loan that required them to make only interest payments at first, putting off payments on the principal for several years.
It was a “buy now, pay later” strategy on a grand scale, meant for a market where home prices went only up, and now the bill is starting to come due.
With many of these homes under water — worth less than the loans against them — many interest-only mortgages will soon become unaffordable, as the homeowners have to actually start paying principal. Monthly payments can jump by as much as 75 percent.
The Mollers owe so much more than their house is worth, and have so few options, that they are already anticipating doom.
“I’m praying for another boom,” said Mr. Moller, 34. “Otherwise, we’ll have to walk.”
John Karevoll, a longtime senior analyst for MDA DataQuick, sees the plight of interest-only owners this way: “You’re heading straight for a big wall and you can’t put the brakes on.”
The greater the length of the interest-only period, the more years the owners have to hope for a recovery, government help, or a miracle. But a long interest-only period works against them, too. A loan that is interest-only for its first 10 years means the entire house has to be paid off in the next 20 rather than the more typical 30 years.
One possible solution: start paying extra each month now to pay down the principal before the loans reset. But many homeowners took out the maximum they qualified for, and don’t have the means to pay more, or at least not enough to make a sizeable dent in the principal.
A decade ago, interest-only loans were rare. But as the boom heated up and desperate buyers sought any leverage they could, these loans became ubiquitous. They were especially popular in Florida, Nevada and above all California. In 2004, nearly half of all buyers in the state got one.
The Mollers bought in 2005, paying $460,000 for their three-bedroom, thousand-square-foot house. A quick refinance a few months later supplied cash to pay debts. Now the house is worth perhaps $310,000. After their interest-only period is up, they expect their monthly payments to increase 20 percent if not more.
Comment: What were these people thinking?
Congress today announced that the office of President of the United States of America will be outsourced to India as of September 1, 2009.
The move is being made in order to save the President's $500,000 yearly salary, and also a record $750 billion in deficit expenditures and related overhead that his office has incurred during the last 3 months.
It is anticipated that $7 trillion can be saved to the end of the President's term. "We believe this is a wise financial move. The cost savings are huge," stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). "We cannot remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay," Reynolds noted.
Obama was informed by email this morning of his termination. Preparations for the job move have been underway for some time.
Gurvinder Singh, a tele-technician for Indus Teleservices, Mumbai India , will assume the office of President as of September 1, 2009. Mr. Singh was born in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls , NY . Thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month, but no health coverage or other benefits.
It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India , he will be working primarily at night. "Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the Dell Computer call center," stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview.
"I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President." A Congressional spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem as Obama had never been familiar with the issues either.
Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issue at all. "We know these scripting tools work," stated the spokesperson. "Obama has used them successfully for years, with the result that some people actually thought he knew what he was talking about."
Obama will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two-week waiting period, he will be eligible for $140 a week unemployment for 26 weeks. Unfortunately he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit.
Obama has been provided with the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition According to Manpower, Obama may have difficulties in securing a new position due to a lack of any successful work experience during his lifetime. A greeter's position at WalMart was suggested, perhaps due to his extensive experience at shaking hands, as well as his special smile.
Comment: For anyone whose job has been or thinks that there job could be outsourced: This is for you!
A White House panel of independent space experts says NASA's return-to-the-moon plan just won't fly.
The problem is money. The expert panel estimates it would cost about $3 billion a year beyond NASA's current $18 billion annual budget.
"Under the budget that was proposed, exploration beyond Earth is not viable," panel member Edward Crawley, a professor of aeronautics at MIT, told The Associated Press Tuesday.
The report gives options to President Barack Obama, but said NASA's current plans have to change. Five years ago, then-President George W. Bush proposed returning astronauts to the moon by 2020. To pay for it, he planned on retiring the shuttle next year and shutting down the international space station in 2015.
All those deadlines have to change, the panel said. Space exploration would work better by including other countries and private for-profit firms, the panel concluded.
The panel had previously estimated that the current plan would cost $100 billion in spending to 2020.
Former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern said the report showed the harsh facts that NASA's space plans had "a mismatch between resources and rhetoric." Now, he said, Obama faces a choice of "essentially abandoning human spaceflight" or paying the extra money.
The panel, chaired by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, includes executives, scientists and ex-astronauts. It posted a summary report Tuesday on both White House and NASA web sites.
NASA can't get beyond low-Earth orbit without spending more, but space travel with astronauts is important, the panel found. That will cost an extra $3 billion a year and is "unquestionably worth it," Crawley said.
The question is where to go.
The Bush plan was to go to the moon, which would serve as a training ground for flights to Mars. The Augustine panel agreed Mars is the ultimate goal, but said going to the moon first is only one option and not the preferred one. Instead, the panel emphasized what it called a "flexible path" of exploring near-Earth objects such as asteroids, the moons of Mars, and then landing on the moon after other exploration.
"There's a lot of places in the neighborhood," Crawley said. "In fact, going to the moon is more difficult than going to a near-Earth object."
Comment: This was the plot of Armageddon
In a radical report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said the system of currencies and capital rules which binds the world economy is not working properly, and was largely responsible for the financial and economic crises.
It added that the present system, under which the dollar acts as the world's reserve currency , should be subject to a wholesale reconsideration.
Although a number of countries, including China and Russia, have suggested replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency, the UNCTAD report is the first time a major multinational institution has posited such a suggestion.
In essence, the report calls for a new Bretton Woods-style system of managed international exchange rates, meaning central banks would be forced to intervene and either support or push down their currencies depending on how the rest of the world economy is behaving.
Comment: Am I worried? No because I am a Christian and I have hope in God!
Three men were found guilty today of conspiracy to murder thousands of passengers and crew in an unprecedented airline bomb plot that could have proved as deadly as the 9/11 attacks.
After a retrial at Woolwich Crown Court, jurors found the ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed, and two other men, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, guilty of plotting to blow up airliners en route from Heathrow to the United States.
Ali, 28, was the leader of an East London terror cell inspired by al-Qaeda, the court heard. He had planned to detonate home-made liquid bombs in suicide attacks on transatlantic aircraft bound for major north American cities.
It was the most complex and daring British-based terrorist conspiracy in modern times and could have caused thousands of deaths in the air and on the ground.
Counter-terrorist police, the security services and prosecutors spent more than £35 million foiling the plot and bringing Ali to justice.
The arrest of the gang in August 2006 sparked tight restrictions on carrying liquids on to aircraft that led to travel chaos and which remain largely in place three years later, although detectives complained that their operation had been compromised by the fact that news of the plot had leaked out from Washington first.
Comment: The video associated with this article is worthwhile! Illustrates power of the Hydrogen peroxide bombs!
This is a letter written by Dr. Stephen Fraser to Senator Bayh. If you would like to send it on to your Congressman, he says to feel free to copy it and send it around to our friends and to senators and representatives.
July 23, 2009
As a practicing physician I have major concerns with the healthcare bill before Congress. I actually have read the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the government's proposed involvement in the patient physician relationship. The very idea that the government will dictate and ration patient care is dangerous and certainly not helpful in designing a healthcare system that works for all. Every physician I work with agrees that we need to fix our healthcare system, but the proposed bills currently making their way through congress will be a disaster if passed.
I ask you respectfully and as a patriotic American to look at the following troubling lines that I have read in the bill. You cannot possibly believe that these proposals are in the best interests of the country and our fellow citizens.
Page 22 of the HC Bill: Mandates that the Govt will audit books of all employers that self-insure!!
Page 30 Sec 123 of HC bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get.
Page 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill: YOUR HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!!!
Page 42 of HC Bill: The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC Benefits for you. You have no choice!
Page 50 Section 152 in HC bill: HC will be provided to ALL non-US citizens, illegal or otherwise.
Page 58 HC Bill: Govt will have real-time access to individuals finances & a National ID Healthcard will be issued!
Page 59 HC Bill lines 21-24: Govt will have direct access to your bank accounts for elective funds transfer.
Page 65 Sec 164: is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in Unions & community organizations: (ACORN).
Page 84 Sec 203 HC bill: Govt mandates ALL benefit packages for private HC plans in the Exchange.
Page 85 Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will ration your Healthcare!
Page 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill: Govt mandates linguistic appropriate services. Example - Translation: illegal aliens.
Page 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18: The Govt will use groups i.e., ACORN & AmeriCorps to sign up individuals for Govt HC plan.
Page 85 Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans. AARP members - your Health care WILL be rationed.
Page 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill: Medicaid Eligible Individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. No choice.
Page 124 lines 24-25 HC: No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No "judicial review" against Govt Monopoly.
Page 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill: Doctors/ American Medical Association - The Govt will tell YOU what you can make! (salary)
Page 145 Line 15-17: An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into public option plan. NO CHOICE!
Page 126 Lines 22-25: Employers MUST pay for HC for part time employees AND their families.
Page 149 Lines 16-24: ANY Employer with payroll 401k & above who does not provide public option pays 8% tax on all payrolls.
Page 150 Lines 9-13: Business's with payroll btw 251k & 401k who doesn't provide public option pays 2-6% tax on all payroll.
Page 167 Lines 18-23: ANY individual who doesn't have acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed 2.5% of income.
Page 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill: Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay)
Page 195 HC Bill: Officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access to ALL Americans finances /personal records.
Page 203 Line 14-15 HC: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax" Yes, it says that!
Page 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill: Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid Seniors, low income and poor are affected.
Page 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill: Doctors, doesn't matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same!
Page 253 Line 10-18: Govt sets value of Doctor's time, profession, judgment etc. Literally value of humans.
Page 265 Sec 1131: Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries.
Page 268 Sec 1141: Federal Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven wheelchairs.
Page 272 SEC. 1145: TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS - Cancer patients - welcome to rationing!
Page 280 Sec 1151: The Govt will penalize hospitals for whatever Govt deems preventable re-admissions.
Page 298 Lines 9-11: Doctors, treat a patient during initial admission that results in a re-admission -Govt will penalize you.
Page 317 L 13-20: PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Doctors what/how much they can own!
Page 317-318 lines 21-25, 1-3: PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating hospitals cannot expand.
Page 321 2-13: Hospitals have opportunity to apply for exception BUT community input is required. Can you say ACORN?!!
Page 335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339: Govt mandates establishment of outcome-based measures. HC the way they want. Rationing.
Page 341 Lines 3-9: Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Advance Plans, HMOs, etc. Forcing people into Govt plan.
Page 354 Sec 1177: Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs people! Unbelievable!
Page 379 Sec 1191: Govt creates more bureaucracy - Tele-health Advisory Committee. Can you say HC by phone?
Page 425 Lines 4-12: Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life patients.
Page 425 Lines 17-19: Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney. Mandatory!
Page 425 Lines 22-25, pg 426 Lines 1-3: Govt provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death. (assisted suicide)
Page 427 Lines 15-24: Govt mandates program for orders for end of life. The Govt has a say in how your life ends.
Page 429 Lines 1-9: An "advanced care planning consultant" will be used frequently as patient’s health deteriorates.
Page 429 Lines 10-12: "advanced care consultation" may include an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOVT!
Page 429 Lines 13-25: The Govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.
Page 430 Lines 11-15: The Govt will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life!
Page 469: Community Based Home Medical Services = Non profit organizations. Hello, ACORN Medical Services here!!?
Page 472 Lines 14-17: PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORIGINATION. One monthly payment to a community-based organization. Like ACORN?
Page 489 Sec 1308: The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. Which means they will insert Govt into your marriage.
Page 494-498: Govt will cover Mental Health Services including defining, creating, rationing those services.
Senator, I guarantee that I personally will do everything possible to inform patients and my fellow physicians about the dangers of the proposed bills you and your colleagues are debating. Furthermore, if you vote for a bill that enforces socialized medicine on the country and destroys the doctor/patient relationship, I will do everything in my power to make sure you lose your job in the next election.
Stephen E Fraser MD
Comment: The worst kind of government intervention! Source
Comment: BEFORE YOU click the link (which has the answer!), read the quote and leave a comment with you guess. No cheating. Then click the link!
Note the Benjamin Franklin quote!
"He who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing,"
________ alarmed by US money printing
"We hope there will be a change in monetary policy as soon as they have positive growth again," he said at the Ambrosetti Workshop, a policy gathering on Lake Como.
If they keep printing money to buy bonds it will lead to inflation, and after a year or two the dollar will fall hard.
Warning: The Deficits Are Coming!
David Walker sounds like a modern-day Paul Revere as he warns about the country's perilous future. "We suffer from a fiscal cancer," he tells a meeting of the National Taxpayers Union, the nation's oldest anti-tax lobby. "Our off balance sheet obligations associated with Social Security and Medicare put us in a $56 trillion financial hole—and that's before the recession was officially declared last year. America now owes more than Americans are worth—and the gap is growing!"
His audience sits in rapt attention. A few years ago these antitax activists would have been polite but a tad restless listening to the former head of the Government Accountability Office, the nation's auditor-in-chief. Higher taxes is what hikes their blood pressure the most, but the profligate spending of the Bush and Obama administrations has put them in a mood to listen to this green-eyeshade Cassandra. "He's so unlike most politicians," says Sharron Angle, a former state legislator from Nevada, "his message is clear, detailed and with no varnish."
Mr. Walker's own speeches are vivid and clear. "We have four deficits: a budget deficit, a savings deficit, a value-of-the-dollar deficit and a leadership deficit," he tells one group. "We are treating the symptoms of those deficits, but not the disease."
Mr. Walker identifies the disease as having a basic cause: "Washington is totally out of touch and out of control,
Comment: Makes one wonder about the future of our government!
The world's most famous squirrel is National Geographic's choice for a prominent photo position in an upcoming issue of the famed magazine, according to the Minnesota husband and wife who stumbled into global Internet fame with the self-portrait vacation snapshot.
Melissa Brandts, who along with her husband, Jackson, snapped a spontaneous photo of a squirrel ambling in front of their lens in Banff National Park in Canada, says the picture is the editor's pick for publication in the November issue.
During August, the photo was among the magazine's online "Your Shot" offerings, which allowed visitors to rate the submitted photos. All through the month, the Watertown couple's squirrel picture was the clear favorite.
Not only did the photo become an instant favorite among visitors to the magazine's website, but it also held for a time the No. 1 search response spot on Google for "squirrel" and has been given viral cut-and-paste treatment into various other photo scenes thanks to a website set up just for the camera-curious creature
Comment: Try this for fun THE SQUIRRELIZER - Adds that ground squirrel to any image (Comment ... before you check out random SQUIRRELIZERS read the caution!)
Image source above. I don't believe it is copyrighted but: The original photo provided by Jackson and Melissa Brandts
... the primary federal bureaucracy responsible for implementing and enforcing national health care will be an old and familiar one: the Internal Revenue Service. Under the Democrats' health care proposals, the already powerful — and already feared — IRS would wield even more power and extend its reach even farther into the lives of ordinary Americans, and the presidentially-appointed head of the new health care bureaucracy would have access to confidential IRS information about millions of individual taxpayers.
In short, health care reform, as currently envisioned by Democratic leaders, would be built on the foundation of an expanded and more intrusive IRS.
Under the various proposals now on the table, the IRS would become the main agency for determining who has an "acceptable" health insurance plan; for finding and punishing those who don't have such a plan; for subsidizing individual health insurance costs through the issuance of a tax credits; and for enforcing the rules on those who attempt to opt out, abuse, or game the system. A substantial portion of H.R. 3200, the House health care bill, is devoted to amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in order to give the IRS the authority to perform these new duties.
The Democrats' plan would require all Americans to have "acceptable" insurance coverage (the legislation includes long and complex definitions of "acceptable") and would designate the IRS as the agency charged with enforcing that requirement. On your yearly 1040 tax return, you would be required to attest that you have "acceptable" coverage. Of course, you might be lying, or simply confused about whether or not you are covered, so the IRS would need a way to check your claim for accuracy. Under current plans, insurers would be required to submit to the IRS something like the 1099 form in which taxpayers report outside income. The IRS would then check the information it receives from the insurers against what you have submitted on your tax form.
If it all matches up, you're fine. If it doesn't, you will hear from the IRS. And if you don't have "acceptable" coverage, you will be subject to substantial fines — fines that will be administered by the IRS.
Under some versions of health reform now circulating on Capitol Hill, the IRS would also be intimately involved in how you pay for insurance. Everyone would be required to buy coverage. The millions of Americans who can't afford it would receive a subsidy to pay for it. Under the version of the plan currently under negotiation in the Senate Finance Committee, that subsidy would come through the IRS in the form of a refundable tax credit. Under the House plan, the subsidy would come directly from the Health Choices Administration.
In either scenario, the IRS would be the key to making the system work. Before you could receive any subsidy, whether through the IRS or not, the Health Choices Administration would have to determine whether you are eligible for it. To do so, the bills under consideration would give the Health Choices Commissioner the authority to demand sensitive, confidential information from the IRS about individual taxpayers. The IRS would have to provide it.
Comment: The quote (title) goes back at least 20 years!
Uh oh. Gold's near $1,000
The price of gold is nearing $1,000 an ounce. It closed at $997.70 Thursday, up $19.20 from Wednesday. This rise might be a cause for concern.
In the past two years, gold has flirted with the "box of ziti" level -- a bit of slang for $1,000 from a memorable "Sopranos" episode -- a couple of times. And that usually has coincided with a time of immense strain in the markets
Gold hit a record high of about $1,014 in March 2008, just when Bear Stearns was on the verge of collapse before being "rescued" by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase
A couple of months later, gold got close to $1000 again due to worries about inflation and a weak dollar. Gold's rise matched oil's march to a record high.
Finally, gold got close to $1000 again in late February of this year, a time when investors were fretting that big banks such as Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) might need to be nationalized.
Comment: Never heard the phrase "the "box of ziti" level" before!
The "disgusting" blob that Fred DeNegri's wife says she poured out of his Diet Pepsi can was probably a gutted frog or toad, the Food and Drug Administration said.
DeNegri was grilling in his backyard tiki bar in Ormond Beach, Florida, when he popped open a can of Diet Pepsi, took a big gulp and started gagging, his wife, Amy, said.
He emptied out the can down a sink but something heavy remained inside. His wife took over and shook the can over a paper plate until something resembling "pink linguini" slid out, followed by "dark stuff," Amy DeNegri said.
"It was disgusting," said Amy DeNegri, 55. "And now, what started out as a normal afternoon in our tiki bar has blown up into this crazy thing."
The DeNegris took pictures before calling poison control and the FDA, which showed up the next day to examine the can in question and collect it for lab testing.
The couple received a copy of the completed report last week from the Food and Drug Administration Office of Regulatory Affairs, which concluded the foreign matter appeared to be a frog or a toad.
"The animal was lacking internal organs normally found in the abdominal and thoracic cavity," the report notes.
Comment: My guess is that it was NOT introduced at the plant. Something else is going on here!
President Obama's "green jobs" adviser could become a mounting liability for the Obama administration, as the latest revelation about Van Jones shows his belief that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks could have been an inside job.
Jones joined the "9/11 truther" movement by signing a statement in 2004 calling for then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and others to launch an investigation into evidence that suggests "people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."
The statement asked a series of critical questions hinting at Bush administration involvement in the attacks and called for "deeper inquiry." It was also signed by former Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans.
The discovery comes after Jones had to apologize Wednesday night for "offensive words" he uttered in February when he called Republicans "assholes." He said the remarks "do not reflect the views of this administration" and its bipartisan aims.
But such statements just scratch the surface of Jones' past commentary.
He also has consistently leaned on racially charged language, pointing the finger at "white polluters and the white environmentalists" for "steering poison" to minority communities, as he makes the case for lifting up low-income and minority communities with better environmental policy.
A declared "communist" during the 1990s, Jones once associated with a group that looked to Mao Zedong as an inspiration.
Jones' exceptional past is reminiscent of associations noted during the presidential campaign, when then-Sen. Barack Obama doggedly fended off claims that he was tied to radicals and overzealous activists.
Comment: Show him the boot!
The Education Department is encouraging teachers to create lesson plans around the speech, using materials provided on the department website, that urge students to learn about Obama and other presidents.
"He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens," Duncan said in a press release.
But already, some conservatives are crying foul. The chairman of the Florida Republican Party is condemning Obama's speech as an attempt to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."
"The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power," Chairman Jim Greer said in a press release.
Comment: Skip school on the 8th! The N.E.A. and the Obama administration are wedded at the hip!
PRESIDENT OBAMA DELIVERS NATIONAL ADDRESS TO AMERICA’S SCHOOCHILDREN
Comment: Must have Dan Quayle on their staff. Click pic for larger. White House link will change soon (to correct)
Wells Fargo to Repay TARP ‘Shortly’
Wells Fargo & Co. plans to repay the U.S. bank bailout program “shortly” without selling equity, a tactic that would protect stakes held by investors including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
“We will pay it back, but we’re going to pay it back in a shareholder-friendly way,” John Stumpf, president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based lender, said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We are now earning capital so quickly, organically, we don’t want to dilute our existing shareholders.”
Wells Fargo has chafed under extra government scrutiny that came with a $25 billion investment from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Regulators told the bank in May to bolster its balance sheet after “stress tests” found a $13.7 billion capital gap, spurring speculation that Wells Fargo would sell shares. The stock dropped 11 percent this year through yesterday.
“We will pay it back shortly,” Stumpf said in the interview. He declined to give a date because an agreement depends on talks with the Federal Reserve, adding that he’s confident about reaching an accord. “Of all the issues I’m dealing with, this one doesn’t keep me up at night,” he said.
Comment: 'Bout time!
Comment: Who remembers this commercial? When I was in the boy scouts, we completely cleaned up a camp site after use. We would fill in the latrine, carry the trash out, and rake and smooth where the tents were.
More: “People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It.”
So intoned William Conrad in a famous anti-pollution commercial of the 1970s.
Keep America Beautiful launched the "Crying Indian" public service TV ad on Earth Day in 1971. In the commercial, Iron Eyes Cody (the Crying Indian) sheds a tear at the sight of littering motorists.
Keep American Beautiful was founded in 1953 by members of American business, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and concerned citizens. Ironically, Iron Eyes Cody was an Italian-American, born Espera de Corti in Kaplan, Louisiana in 1904.
Comment: This morning, we drove by a TV news van a camera crew having set up a shoot. This explains it!
Man dies in possible shoot-out in north Minneapolis
Police this morning are looking for a connection between man found shot to death in a car and two vehicles apparently damaged by gunfire found nearby late Monday night in north Minneapolis.
Fourth Precinct officers were called to a report of shots fired at about 10:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of Plymouth Avenue N. They found two unoccupied cars that apparently had been hit by gunfire, said police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia.
During that investigation, police were called to an car accident in an alley just south of the scene. Officers discovered that a vehicle had hit a telephone and inside the car found a man who had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.