Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christams and Happy New Year to All

Blogging is so rewarding.  Yesterday I received a bottle of wine from a blogging friend and another delightful blogging friend and her husband took me on a photography ride to Saguaro National Monument.  It was truly a red letter day.

I will not share the wine with you, but I can share the results of my photo excursion.  Please click on the link below to see the album of my photographs.  You will also see a photo of my blogging friends, lovely Rain of Rainy Day Thoughts and her hunky husband Paul.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

This will be my last post until next year.   My daughter surprised me with an invitation to her home in California for the holidays.  I leave Tuesday and will return on January 3, when I hope to catch up on what has been happening in blogging land while I was gone.  

May we see peace in 2010 and the end of the health insurance debate.  The opportunity to have meaningful reform has been squandered for another generation.  Too bad that greed, nasty politics, and self-serving representatives kept our country from moving into the 21st Century.  This trip to spend the holidays with my family is the only thing that is keeping me from deep depression over the sheer stupidity of our legislators.

Betty and yours truly at the end of our wonderful day.  My hair is windblown and I do look like the Flying Nun ready for a take off.  This photo was taken by Paul.    Betty graciously forwarded it to me.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Washington, D. C. Neanderthals

This morning I have way too many things that need my attention.  Make it, this week.  I really don't have time to write a post.  Having said that, here I go. 

 I just read an op-ed piece that makes my blood boil.   I have posted the link at the end and hope you will read what our Republican friends are up to now, aided and abetted by our turncoat Democrats.  

As Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By says, why do we keep electing these clowns?  It seems they are on a mission to completely destroy our wonderful country.  I have never seen such complete idiocy as the rants I watch on C-Span when our esteemed neanderthal legislators open their mouths.   They are disingenuous;  they are the biggest liars walking on two feet.  The way they distort facts is completely unprincipled.    All the Republicans care about is bringing down Obama.  Never mind that he inherited the biggest mess in history ever handed to an incoming president.  A mess that was created by their party.   It doesn't matter if they bring down the rest of the country with him.  As for those Blue Dog Democrats; their mission is to placate the tea bagger idiots at home so they can be re-elected by the uninformed.   And, of course, there's the money.  Follow it and watch how your representatives voted. Finally, there's Joe Lieberman; don't get me started.

Health care reform is virtually down the tubes now.  Reid and Pelosi have caved on the Public Option.  All that is left is a few minor restrictions on the insurance industry and a giant sop to them.  Now they will have millions of new clients that are young, healthy and forced to buy insurance.  What a boondoggle.  I am for throwing all the b------s out next election.

Next on their list is banking reform.  Don't hold your breath.  It will probably go the way of health care reform.  No wonder the Europeans are amazed at our stupidity. 

I hope you will follow this link and read what Paul Krugman has to say about the Republicans, 27 Democrats and the economy.

 Note:  After posting this I went to Tom Degan's blog, The Rant, and found that he had written on the same subject.   There is much more information on his post and I think you will find he is as angry about the D. C. screw-ups as I am.  He calls it like it is and has done more research on his post.  It's  good !!   Here's the link:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Health Care Reform Information

If you want a giggle go to the post below this one. I had to remove it in order to post this important health care reform informtaion.

This information came from "Move On".  The link was nearly as long as the article so I copied and pasted it.  If you find things you either agree, or disagree, with please continue to contact your legislators.    Go to the government site for their telephone numbers, addresses, and e-mail contact.  

A handwritten letter is best, but time is of the essence.  It only takes a minute to make a phone call and if you can't get through to the D. C. number, they all have local office telephone numbers you can call.

Here's Where We Are

The House of Representatives passed their bill last month. The Senate is aiming to pass its version before Christmas.
Overall, both pieces of legislation would do four major things:

  • Create a "Health Insurance Exchange." The bills create a one-stop marketplace where people can choose from various insurance plans, including the public option. The details aren't set yet, but initially the Exchange would likely be open to the self-employed, people without insurance at work, and small businesses.1 The key with the Exchange is that it brings "the bargaining power and scale that's generally accessible only to large employers" to individuals—and with that, lower costs and better options.2
  • Provide insurance to over 30 million more people. The House bill would expand coverage to 36 million people by 2019. The Senate bill extends coverage to 31 million.3
  • Outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and gender. Insurance companies will have to stop denying coverage to people with "pre-existing conditions." And they won't be allowed to charge women more than men for the same coverage.4
  • Eliminate coverage limits and price-gouging. The bills differ on some details, but in general would place limits on how much people have to pay for health care beyond their premiums. They both cap out-of-pocket costs and ban insurance companies from setting limits on how much health care they'll cover for a person each year.5
Of course, the devil is in the details, and much in these bills still needs work.

Here's what still needs to be fixed:

  • Both bills leave millions uninsured. The House bill leaves 18 million without insurance in 2019; the Senate bill, 24 million. Neither comes close to the vision for universal coverage so many of us fought for for years. We'll all need to fight to continue to expand coverage in the bills this year, and in the years to come.6
  • The Senate public option is weak, and conservatives are pushing to make it weaker. The public option is a core piece of reform that will create real accountability and competition for private insurance—and that's why it's at the center of such a huge fight. While the House bill creates a national public option, the Senate lets states opt out, denying their residents access to it. Plus, conservatives are working to weaken it even more. We're all going to have to fight hard for the strongest version possible.7
  • Many reforms don't start quickly enough. While some pieces of reform go into effect right away, the larger structural changes are not scheduled to go into effect until 2013 (House bill) or 2014 (Senate bill). This includes the Exchange, the public option, and subsidies—the major ways coverage will be expanded.8
  • Required insurance could still be too expensive for many. Both bills require virtually all Americans to have insurance. But the caps on how much we're expected to pay are way too high, and the subsidies are way too low. Many progressives are working to fix this, but it's going to be a significant fight.9
  • Reproductive rights are severely restricted in the House bill. An egregious anti-choice amendment in the bill virtually prohibits anyone purchasing insurance in the Exchange from buying a plan that covers abortion—even if paid for with their own money. We need to make sure the final bill doesn't include this rollback of reproductive rights.10 
  • The Senate bill could discriminate against lower income workers. The current Senate legislation retains a version of what's called the "free rider" provision, which essentially penalizes employers for hiring lower income workers. This provision needs to be fixed before the bill is finalized.
There's a lot going on in these bills, and we're all going to need to be vigilant to ensure the good pieces end up in the final bill, and the bad ones are fixed. It's going to be a rocky ride. But if we fight together, we'll come out stronger in the end.
Thank you, as always, for everything you do.
–Justin, Adam, Amy, Anna, Annie, Carrie, Christopher, Daniel, Danielle, Eli, Emily, Gail, Ian, Ilya, Ilyse, Joan, Jodeen, Kat, Keauna, Laura, Lenore, Marika, Matt, Matthew, Melanie, Michael, Nita, Noah, Peter, Scott, Stephen, Steven, Susannah, and Wes
P.S. Check out more about the House bill here and the Senate bill here or here, and see what the impact of reform would be in your state here. If you want to read the full bills, for the House, click here or here (PDF), and for the Senate, here or here (PDF).
1.  "A Health Insurance Exchange: The Fine Print," The New York Times, August 20, 2009

"Health Reform at a Glance: The Health Insurance Exchange,"  House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor, July 14, 2009

2. "Health Insurance Exchanges: The Most Important, Undernoticed Part of Health Reform," The Washington Post, June 16, 2009

3. "H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 20, 2009

"Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 18, 2009

4. "Top 10 Ways Health Insurance Reform Works for You," The Speaker of the House, October 29, 2009

"How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Your Family," Senate Democratic Policy Committee

"Meeting Women's Health Care Needs," The Speaker of the House

"Reports on Health Insurance Reform—Women," Senate Democratic Policy Committee

5. "Top 10 Ways Health Insurance Reform Works for You," The Speaker of the House, October 29, 2009

"How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Your Family," Senate Democratic Policy Committee

6. "H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 20, 2009

"Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 18, 2009

"REPORT: How the Senate Bill Compares to Other Reform Legislation," Think Progress, November 19, 2009

7. "Sen. Reid Announces 'Opt Out' Public Plan," The New York Times, October 26, 2009

"Carper: Conservative Democrats Not Likely To Support Senate Public Option," Talking Points Memo, November 17, 2009

8. "Top 14 Provisions That Take Effect Immediately," The Speaker of the House

"What happens before 2014?" The Washington Post, November 19, 2009

"Senate, House Democratic health bills compared," The Associated Press, November 18, 2009

9. "The Details of The New Merged Senate Bill," Think Progress, November 18, 2009

"REPORT: How the Senate Bill Compares to Other Reform Legislation," Think Progress, November 19, 2009

"Analysis: How the Senate health care bill stacks up with the House health care bill," Think Progress, November 19, 2009

10. "The Ban on Abortion Coverage," The New York Times, November 9, 2009

11. "The noxious 'free rider' provision," The Washington Post, November 25, 2009

"Senate Health Bill Improves Employer Responsibility Provision," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 19, 2009

"The Baucus Bill: The Worst Policy in the Bill, and Possibly in the World," The Washington Post, September 16, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I'm still healing and I really don't feel like sitting long enough to write a rant.  I know you will probably appreciate a few giggles instead.  This way we both will be happy. 

As You Slide Down the Banister of Life, Remember

1. Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert have written
An impressive new book. It's called .........
'Ministers Do More Than Lay People'

2. Transvestite: A guy who likes to eat, drink
And be Mary.

3. The difference between the Pope and
Your boss, the Pope only expects you
To kiss his ring.

4. My mind works like lightning, One brilliant
Flash and it is gone.

5. The only time the world beats a path to
Your door is if you're in the bathroom.

6. I hate sex in the movies. Tried it once.
The seat folded up, the drink spilled and
That ice, well, it really chilled the mood.

7. It used to be only death and taxes
Now, of course, there's
shipping and handling, too.

8.. A husband is someone who, after taking
the trash out, gives the impression that
he just cleaned the whole house.

9 My next house will have no kitchen - just
Vending machines and a large trash can.

10. A blonde said, 'I was worried that my
Mechanic might try to rip me off.
I was relieved when he told me all
I needed was turn signal fluid.'

11.. Definition of a teenager?
God's punishment for enjoying sex.

12. As you slide down the banister of life, may
The splinters never point the wrong way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The President's Speech

Some of my readers already know that my computer was down for nearly four days.  Monday night I got back on line and within an hour of doing so I fell and hurt my back.  Blogging has not been possible during the interim.  Even though I am not very alert right now due to constant pain, I feel compelled to comment on the President's speech last night.

As I viewed the President delivering his long awaited speech I looked at the faces of those young plebes who were watching with full attention and wondered how many of them would die in an unwinnable war.  They looked so trusting and so very young.  They are among the finest of our young people and to think that some of their lives will end or be ruined in a mideaval county is appalling to me.

We cannot afford this war. The object, as stated by the president, is to dismantle Al Quaeda. It's a fool's errand. Al Quaeda is also in Somalia, and many other countries. Are we going to follow them wherever they are?    They will always be able to find a safe haven in another backward country and will continue to plot to kill as many Americans as they can.  I am sure there are cells in our country right now planning to wreak destruction.   Killing one man, Osama bin Laden, would never stop the fanatics either.

If the object of being in Afghanistan is to provide safety for the U. S. (As claimed by the President) some of the money would be far better spent securing the cargo that comes into our ports daily and to beef up our intelligence and share the information with the agencies responsible for security. 

Nation building should be the responsibility of the nation being helped and not ours.  Our own infrastructure is crumbling so why should we spend our wealth building roads in a backward country?  If it were possible to bring Afghanistan into the 21st Century it would take so many years and so much money we would bankrupt ourselves in the process.  

I have never been an isolationist.  It is a small world, after all.  Nonetheless, common sense must prevail as to how our aid is distributed to other countries.  I view Afghanistan as beyond help.  The government is corrupt and without the Afghan government's cooperation, it is a lost cause.

I am, however, concerned about nuclear weapons in Pakistan falling into the hands of the extremests.  I have no doubt that they would use them.    Our concentration should be on doing away with these terrible weapons world wide. 

George Santayana's familiar quote, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." was never more appropriate than now.   Afghanistan is becoming another Viet Nam.