Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Facts

 Halloween has an interesting history.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, I have copied the following information from Wikipedia.  Enjoy our pagan holiday!  Have plenty of treats on hand so the little devils won't play any tricks.  ;-)



Snap-Apple Night by Daniel Maclise

Halloween has origins in the ancient celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in or sau-an), which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". A similar festival was held by the ancient BritonsCalan Gaeaf (pronounced kalan-geyf). The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year". and is known as

The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces.

Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual. played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.
Another common practise was divination, which often involved the use of food and drink.

Origin of name

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows' Evene'en is a shortening of even, which is a shortening of evening. This is ultimately derived from the Old English Eallra Hālgena ǣfen. It is now known as "Eve of" All Saints' Day, which is November 1st.

A time of pagan festivities, Popes Gregory III (731–741) and Gregory IV (827–844) tried to supplant it with the Christian holiday (All Saints' Day) by moving it from May 13 to November 1.

In the 800s, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were once celebrated on the same day.


A traditional Irish halloween Jack-o'-lantern from the early 20th century on display in the Museum of Country Life, Ireland.

On All Hallows’ eve, the ancient Celts would place a skeleton on their window sill to represent the departed.turnip or rutabaga. Believing that the head was the most powerful part of the body, containing the spirit and the knowledge, the Celts used the "head" of the vegetable to frighten off harmful spirits.  Welsh, Irish and British myth are full of legends of the Brazen Head, which may be a folk memory of the widespread ancient Celtic practice of headhunting – the results of which were often nailed to a door lintel or brought to the fireside to speak their wisdom. The name jack-o'-lanternStingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard-drinking old farmer.  He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him by carving a cross into the tree trunk. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth at night with the only light he had: a candle inside of a hollowed turnip. The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger- making them easier to carve than turnips. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their doorstep after dark. The American tradition of carving pumpkins preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 1800s. Originating in Europe, these lanterns were first carved from a can be traced back to the Irish legend of

The imagery surrounding Halloween is largely a mix of the Halloween season itself, works of Gothic and horror literature, in particular novels Frankenstein and Dracula, and nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and British Hammer Horror productions, also a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, evil, the occult, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include the Devil, the Grim Reaper, ghosts, ghouls, demons, witches, goblins, vampires, werewolves, zombies, skeletons, black cats, spiders, bats, and crows.

Particularly in America, symbolism is inspired by classic horror films (which contain fictional figures like Frankenstein's monster and The Mummy). Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.
The two main colors associated with Halloween are orange and black.

Trick-or-treating and guising

Typical Halloween scene in Dublin, Ireland.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Ireland and Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of show, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, in order to earn their treats.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three More Afghans

This is an afghan that I made in three sections with strips of flowers connecting them.  I am showing the detail of the  main flower that is repeated. Click to enlarge any of the photos.

Posted by PicasaI saw this afghan on the cover of a magazine and wanted to make it. It is crocheted and, at that time, I only knew how to knit.  I taught myself to crochet and the problem was solved.  I later got carried away and made enough granny squares to cover a California King bed.  I was probably a comic sight as I put it together on the floor.  It was so large that that was the only place I could do it.  I also made a pillow cover (if you click on the photo of the crocheted afghan you can see the pillow in the upper left hand corner.)  After I bought a down comforter, I gave the bedspread to my daughter-in-law. 

My sister, Sharon, makes beautiful quilts and she wisely photographed her quilts before giving them away. It never occurred to me to do that, to my regret.  I would be able to show you other styles, cable knits and embroidered ones.  I could also show you the most difficult one I ever made. The entire afghan was patterned and the pattern was done in the knitting.  It was also reversible with the pattern done in two colors and both sides were knit at the same time.  I can't begin to tell you how many false starts I made on that afghan before I finally figured out how to do it.  

These are the afghans I saved and final one (shown above) was a pain to knit.  To make the pattern I had to keep changing the skeins of yarn and since most rows contained five colors it became a tangled mess.  Those of you who knit will appreciate my frustration and those who don't can close this blog now.  This is finis. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Winter Projects

 While I had done lots of sewing in years past I had never held a knitting needle.  Knitting was a big craft in New England because it was very practical.  The women formed knitting clubs and a neighbor offered to teach me how to knit.  After I had purchased the necessary items she showed me how to cast on, knit and purl .  I started on a plain sweater and was about half way up the front panel when I discovered a dropped stitch near the starting point.  In desperation I went to my Swiss neighbor for help.  She took one look at my efforts and said, "Is not nice."  She then took over the teaching job and I was on a roll.  From that moment on I had knitting needles in my hand every time I sat down.  I started with sweaters, graduated to cable knits and finally complicated patterns.    By the time I left New England, my entire family had sweaters, caps, scarfs and many afghans.  

I continued this escape after I returned to Arizona where warm sweaters were rarely necessary so I concentrated on afghans.  I kept finding new patterns to make and, as a result, my sister and children have many afghans now.    The one I am showing on this post took the longest to make. I chose it because I could use up left over yarn in the embroidery of the birds.  That was the hard part.  I have always wanted to do this afghan over in better yarn and different colors, but I no longer have the patience.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Sunset

I need to recharge my batteries.  I am not up to par so will just add this bit of fluff until I am able to post on an interesting subject.  

I am in what is termed the 'sunset' of my life.  Perhaps that is why I am fascinated with sunsets.  We have been having lovely ones nearly every night and I am drawn outside when I notice something like the lone pink cloud floating above the others.  (See photo at the bottom of the page.)

The cloud may appear to be lonesome, but it is getting all the glory of the sun's rays while the clouds below are dark and ominous.  I see it as a metaphor for life.  The dark days are overcome by rising above them.

I have been spending much of my time reminiscing about the past.  It all started with a dream.  I was back in Colorado in my childhood home and my mother was giving me advice.  In reality, this is something she rarely did.  She had a wonderful way of getting her point across.  I will tell you a story to illustrate that.

When I was a Senior in High School my step sister (2 years younger than I) and I had friends who lived across the street.  They had moved to Colorado Springs a few months before we met them.   Their parents left the sisters and younger brother alone for days at a time to return to their old home residence in another town.  I don't know why the parents went back to their old home so often - perhaps business. Their absence left the girls free to do as they wished.   Naturally, this meant that they did things they wouldn't do if their parents were there to supervise.  The girls had access to a car when their parents were gone and this was a rare thing for teenagers in my time.

They were the same age as my SS and me so it was a good fit.  And their access to wheels was an irresistible temptation to make friends with them.  That sounds rather mercenary, but being self absorbed and selfish is a teenage failing. 

The sisters smoked and my SS, who spent more time with them than I did, took up the habit.

One day I joined them for a ride and, since they were all smoking.   I didn't want to be left out so I tried to smoke a cigarette.  When I got home my mother was sewing and I leaned down to kiss her.  She looked up at me and said, "Darlene, I thought you were different."  End of lecture, but it was powerful.  I never joined the girls again in their smelly habit.  The point was well taken and I learned that you can't hide from your mother's nose.

And now, back to another sunset and the time of day for nostalgia.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Progression of a Sunset

Last evening I noticed that the clouds were varied and had interesting shapes.  I thought it might make for a lovely sunset.  I grabbed my camera and went outside before the colors started changing.  The first photo is facing east as the setting sun turns the Rincon Mountains pink and then creeps up to tinge the cloud above it.  As I continued facing east the sky began changing and the white cumulus clouds turned gold as the darker clouds began turning pink.

A different area of the sky had it's own colors.  To the south the cumulus clouds took on a lovely rosy glow.   As the sun set I faced the west and took the last photo.  

At last I was able to get the red sunset as the grand finale.

Tucson is surrounded by mountains.  The Rincons (first photo) are east, the Catalinas (with a ski slide) are North, the Tucson mountains are west and the Santa Ritas are south.  It makes for great hiking trails for those who are able and so inclined. 

Sunsets and mountains are just two of the reasons I love living in Arizona.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Elder Justice Now?

Have any of you known about a person who was suffering elder abuse?  Most of us are fortunate enough that it hasn't happened to us because we have caring families.  Unfortunately, not all elders are so lucky.  A neighbor had a good friend whose youngest son was living with her. He stole from her, ridiculed her, sponged off her and was abusive in other ways.  She complained to my neighbor who told me about it.   I encouraged her to get her friend to evict him and get a restraining order against him.  

Just as in the case of child molestation, the victim felt ashamed of her situation as if it were her fault and for years refused to make the abuse public.  It was destroying her peace of mind and undermining her health.  Eventually it got so bad she decided to do something about it and got a restraining order against him.   At first, that didn't stop him from coming to her house and threatening physical abuse.  She finally told her other son what had been happening and he had her move in with him.  Up until that time she had been an independent lady living in her own home and she was forced to give up that freedom to avoid being abused.

This should not have gone on so long.  How many other elders suffer abuse silently out of a mistaken feeling of shame.  I think they feel that it reflects on their parenting, somehow.  

Now there is an agency determined to do something about elder abuse.  Please check on the link below for further information on legislation in Congress.  It is the Elder Justice Act (S.795/ H. R. 2006).  The act is a combination of law enforcement and health approach to study, detect, treat and prosecute and prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. 

Why Elder Justice Now?

You can support this important bill by writing or calling your representatives now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day - Climate Change

Click to enlarge

October 15, is blog action day on Global Warming.  Many bloggers are uniting to bring attention to this issue.  It is serious, real and frightening.  Al Gore had it right in spite of a novelist who thought he knew more than the scientists.  

When the scientists started talking about a change in our world a mistake was made.  Someone called it Global Warming and the title caught on.  It was a mistake because the skeptics seized on the fact that they had just endured one of the coldest winters ever recorded and they scoffed at such a  thing as Global Warming.  Scientists now call it by the correct title, Climate Change.

In parts of the world the winters are the coldest in recorded history while summers are becoming hotter.  Hurricanes are more violent and other storms like tornadoes, dust storms, flooding and drought are more frequent and more prolonged.  

Even terrible earthquakes like the one in Indonesia and Samoa that triggered the tsunami's are probably caused by the changing climate of mother earth.  The ice caps are melting at an accelerated rate and the World is becoming a scary place.   

Is it man made?  I am not even close to being a rocket scientist so I don't have a clue, but I do know that man is certainly speeding it up.  co2 in the atmosphere is provable and real.  And that comes from the exhausts of your car and from the dirty smoke stacks of industries.  Smog in the air should convince the ones who scoff at Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, if nothing else will.

Coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil. Natural gas gives off 50% of the carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, released by coal and 25% less carbon dioxide than oil, for the same amount of energy produced. Coal contains about 80 percent more carbon per unit of energy than gas does, and oil contains about 40 percent more. For the typical U.S. household, a metric ton of carbon equals about 10,000 miles of driving at 25 miles per gallon of gasoline or about one year of home heating using a natural gas-fired furnace or about four months of electricity from coal-fired generation. Carbon Dioxide Emitted from Cars

About 33% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions comes from the burning of gasoline in internal-combustion engines of cars and light trucks (minivans, sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and jeeps).US Emissions Inventory 2006 page 8 Vehicles with poor gas mileage contribute the most to global warming.  

Illegal Toxic Waste as Viewed From Space

It is real and it is serious.  We are fouling our own nest and if we want to leave this planet to future generations we each have an obligation to do what we can to stop the destruction.  We can push for clean energy like wind and solar.  We can drive fuel efficient cars and urge the auto industry to hurry with affordable electric cars.  We can even do small things like doing laundry in cold water (It comes out just as clean), air drying our clothes and buying energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.

Here is a link to a calculator to see how much you can save

Here is a link to the NASA site with more valuable information on the polar ice caps and the rising waters in the oceans. 

We can all do our part and we really should.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Just In - the Vote

Ryan Grim

Senate Finance Committee Approves Health Care Reform 14-9

Sixty-four years ago, President Harry Truman stood before a joint session of Congress and called on the body "to assure the right to adequate medical care and protection from the economic fears of sickness."
Forty-nine years later, President Bill Clinton made the same demand.

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Congress moved closer to achieving that goal than it ever has. The hold-out Senate Finance Committee voted by a 14-9 margin to move the fifth and final health care reform proposal through the conservative panel.

The package, coming in at under $900 billion over ten years, is the least generous in terms of subsidies for working and middle-class Americans to purchase health insurance, and it does NOT include a national public health insurance option. But the bill would dramatically reorganize the nation's system of health care and health insurance and stands as the foundation on which Democrats hope to build a strong reform package with negligible GOP support.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) was the lone Republican to support the package. "My vote today is my vote today. It doesn't forecast what my vote will be tomorrow," she said, although her vote does keep her at the negotiating table and at the center of the health care reform debate. Snowe risked marginalizing herself with a no vote.

The year after both Truman and Clinton's failed efforts, the Republican Party retook control of Congress and any hope of reform faded to minority status. President Obama intends to avoid the same fate.
With the bill having officially moved through the panel, deliberations will migrate to the Capitol, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will huddle with Senate leaders to merge the finance bill with a more generous version from the health committee which passed earlier this year.


As if we didn't already know, the Republicans will never vote for health care reform in spite of their hypocritical protestations.   The profess to be for reform, but even though the bill has been watered down to a mere shadow of what it should be and even though the most important part of reform is missing (the public option) they still didn't vote for it.  That makes it pretty obvious that we were right when we said they didn't care 'squat' for the plight of suffering Americans, but just wanted to destroy Obama's presidency. 

If I were the president now I would get them all in my office and tell them that the Democrats were going to include the public option and  they could live with the scorn of the electorate.

We shall see now how tough Obama is going to be and if the public option will be included in the final bill.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sunrise and Sunsets.

I want to congratulate our President on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  I know he hasn't gotten rid of the nuclear weapons yet, or stopped Bush's wars in the Mid East, but for gosh sakes, you liberals, give the guy a break.  He is taking enough flak from the conservatives.  Do we on the left need to pile on more?  At least he has set the tone where peace can be accomplished if he would just get a little cooperation from his own party.  

Obama has restored our image in the world and  we can hold our heads up once more.  Our enemies will be more wary because they realize that we now have the rest of the world on our side again.  And the diplomacy that Obama is master of will go a lot further to achieving peace in the world than the "bring 'em on" cowboy strutting did.  

So it's sunrise in America again.  And it's sunset time in Arizona.  Here are a few that have occurred in the last few weeks.  The red sunset is very vivid, but it really wasn't quite that red.  I tried editing it, but when I did the color  washed out and I opted for the more colorful version. (This is the way it came out of my camera). It was a very red 'sailor's delight' sky.  

On the other hand, the middle picture below had pinker clouds and I was unable to get the color right on that one either.  I guess I will have to "spring" for Photoshop if I want a good editing program.  The other two are just the way they looked.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Fell Flat

 What is happening to my world?  I lived through a very hot summer just waiting for October when I could eat on the patio or sit in a chaise lounge and read a good book in the afternoon.  It didn't happen this year; at least not so far.  Last week we had a few nice days, but most were hot.  Yesterday was cool but too windy to be outside.  Today it is 51* and I will be moving my fleece warm- ups out of the spare closet and into my walk-in closet.   This is not our normal weather, but at least we are not under flood water or orange dust storms.  

Well, gang, I am  sure that I am finally losing it.  I had two really bad nights and woke up at 1 am Thursday and never got back to sleep.  Several days ago I had looked at my calendar and realized that Thursday was my appointment with my doctor for a flu shot and my dentist to look at a tooth that is giving up the ghost.  It was also the day to post, along with everyone else, on Climate Change. 

Even though I was spacey from lack of sleep I showered, got dressed and ready for my ride.  I had posted my climate change article the night before.  While waiting to be picked up I sat in front of my computer reading my mail.   I looked at the date on my time reference and, gasp, discovered that all of my Thursday activities were for NEXT WEEK!  Yes, you got that right -  I put those words in caps because I screamed them. What a doofus!  

I didn't know whether to be terrified that this was the beginning of Alzheimer's or dementia or some other mental problem manifesting itself or just plain carelessness.  Whatever caused me to jump ahead a week in my thinking, it was not my normal, organized way of doing things.  I will leave you to your own conclusions, but I think I am missing a cog or two now.

Before I am completely gone I am going to post another 'take' on health care reform.  Now don't close this window  please read it.  I promise you won't be disappointed. 

The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new health care package.

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but

the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but 

the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

The Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" 

The Pediatricians said, 'Oh, grow up!' 

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness. 

The Radiologists could see right through it.

The Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and 

the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but 

the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and 

the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, 

the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the buttholes in  Washington


Monday, October 5, 2009

Dumb, Dumb, and Dumber Wheelers and Dealers

I have always maintained that politics is a very dirty game. Even the good guys learn how to play it.

Frank Rich has an excellent op-ed piece that shows great insight into what really goes on in the back rooms of Washington.  Neither party is spared in the outing of the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes of C-span and your local TV news channel.  If you care about politics and if you want to become an enlightened voter I recommend that you read this article.  The link is below.

Do you think we will ever get reform of the banking industry, the health care mess, or clean energy as long as the inhabitants of K Street (where the lobblyists ply their trade) are in the picture?  Perhaps all informed citizens should combine their energy on efforts to rid our government of this pernicious influence.  Bloggers unite!

If you have read the article cited above, here is more food for thought.;  Our dumb, dumb members of Congress.


Socialism" and Sham in the Senate

by: Joe Conason, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Some members of Congress do not understand the health care system they are trying to reform.
Listening closely to the politicians with the most clout in the debate over health care, it is startling to discover how little they actually seem to know about the subject.

Ignorance rules, even among the bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six," who supposedly have immersed themselves in the details of this life-and-death issue for many months. If they understood even the most basic facts about how the United States and other advanced countries provide and finance medical care, they simply could not utter the stupid comments that regularly emanate from their lips.

Not so long ago, Grassley alleged he had been told that "government-run" systems in other countries would have denied treatment to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy for the brain tumor that ended his life in August because he was 77 years old. That statement drew outraged attention from British doctors,

Sen. Mike Enzi, the Wyoming Republican who has connived in the Gang of Six farce, has made similar ominous comments about the medical rationing and reductions in care that would ensue from a "government-run option." He often says something like this while making speeches in which he also claims to be defending Medicare for seniors - which indicates that he doesn't understand Medicare is, in fact, a "government-run" program.

 It is hard to believe that any United States senator could truly be so obtuse about our own government-run system, having voted on Medicare finances and regulations annually for years. Yet these same geniuses don't seem to realize that they have also authorized and financed one of the most thoroughly socialized medical systems in the world - the highly successful, respected and innovative Veterans Health Administration.

Yes, the VA system is even more "socialist" than Medicare, because the VA runs the hospitals and hires the doctors directly (like the British system), while Medicare simply pays fees to hospitals and doctors (like the Canadian or French systems). Which brings us to the topic of health care regimes in other countries, and yet another amazing display of ignorance by a member of the Gang of Six.

Just the other day, Sen. Kent Conrad tried to explain his fervent opposition to a "public option" by mentioning the way they do things abroad. The Democrat from North Dakota wanted to tell his "progressive friends" that we can achieve universal coverage and reduce costs - like all of the industrial nations that pay far less than we do - care for all their people and get better results. Referring to systems in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan, he said, "All of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high-quality care and yet are not government-run systems."

It is true that the countries named by Conrad achieve all those benchmarks, but it is false and misleading to claim that none of them have government-run health care.

France, which probably has the best system in the world, is essentially a single-payer plan that operates under their Social Security system. Germany prohibits insurance companies from making any profit on basic coverage.

Japan provides insurance at a very low cost to families and individuals, with private coverage is used only for a narrow range of services. Switzerland runs insurance plans that are so highly regulated, with prices of services and drugs set by the government, that they would be denounced as communist if anyone tried to impose them here.

Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Danger Of the Status Quo

 Unless I am badly mistaken, the Republicans have nothing to offer toward bringing down the obscene unbelievable cost of health care other than a few band aids like Tort reform (see a previous post on why this is meaningless) and going after fraud and waste.  Both probably need to to done, but if those are the only reforms to health care then the cost for the country, businesses and individuals will continue to escalate. 

I watched one of the Baucus hearings and, to my disgust amazement, heard one of my Arizona Senators, John Kyle, actually defend the insurance companies and their right to enjoy Capitalism to the fullest.  (My words, his meaning).  Of course, this means the status quo, which is unacceptable. 

To fully comprehend what doing nothing means please read the following New York Times article citing the Kaiser study. 


The Kaiser study, conducted jointly with the Health Research and Education Trust, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, found that the average premium for a family policy offered at work rose above $13,300 in 2009 — up from $5,800 in 1999. The average employer paid more than $9,800 of that, while the workers contributed more than $3,500. The workers were also hit with larger co-payments and deductibles, while their policies often offered fewer benefits.

The premium increase this year was a relatively modest 5 percent, far below the 13 percent rate in two previous years. But that still far outpaced a 3.1 percent growth in wages and a small decrease in inflation. Absent meaningful reform, worse is sure to come.

Kaiser estimates that, if increases revert to the average of the last 10 years, health insurance premiums in 2019 will average a whopping $30,800, which it calls “a very scary number.” More immediately, a fifth of the employers surveyed said they are very likely to increase the amount that employees pay for premiums next year.
Meanwhile, the Treasury Department’s study highlighted how vulnerable Americans are to losing their coverage.


Folks, our country is in deep trouble and most politicians don't even understand the details of the reform they are adding amendments to.  If this continues they will spend many more years trying to undo the hash they are making of health reform and meanwhile people will continue to die and/or go bankrupt.  

Following are excerpts from an article in Rolling Stone:


September 07, 2009 "Rolling Stone" -- Let's start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It's become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment - a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn't be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The system doesn't work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it's a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they're sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable .

The game in health care reform has mostly come down to whether or not the final bill that is hammered out from the work of these five committees will contain a public option - i.e., an option for citizens to buy in to a government-run health care plan. Because the plan wouldn't have any profit motive - and wouldn't have to waste money on executive bonuses and corporate marketing - it would automatically cost less than private insurance. Once such a public plan is on the market, it would also drive down prices offered by for-profit insurers - a move essential to offset the added cost of covering millions of uninsured Americans. Without a public option, any effort at health care reform will be as meaningful as a manicure for a gunshot victim. "The public option is the main thing on the table," says Michael Behan, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "It's really coming down to that."

Congress has made sure to cover itself, sabotaging the bill long before it even got to Baucus' committee. To do this, they used a five-step system of subtle feints and legislative tricks to gut the measure until there was nothing left.





All that's left of health care reform is a collection of weakling proposals that are preposterous.
It's a joke, the whole thing, a parody of Solomonic governance. By the time all the various bills are combined, health care will be a baby not split in half but in fourths and eighths and fractions of eighths. It's what happens when a government accustomed to dealing on the level of perception tries to take on a profound emergency that exists in reality. No matter how hard Congress may try, though, it simply is not possible to paper over a crisis this vast.


We will probably get health care reform in some form, but it will be a mockery of what it could have been and what it should be.

An aside:  my eye surgery was most successful.  The blurred vision stopped almost as soon as I posted the previous post.   Thanks to all of you who wished me well.  I deeply appreciate your caring.