Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

This came in my e-mail and I laughed so hard I completely forgot about the craziness of the world for a few minutes.  I'll bet you would like a break from the all of the bad news that we hear on a daily basis.  
Take a deep breath and fasten your seat belt so you won't fall our of your chair. Our Australian friends 'down under' have a delicious sense of humor.  Enjoy!!!

These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a great sense of humour (not to mention a low tolerance threshold for cretins!)

Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? ( UK ).
: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA )
:Depends how much you've been drinking.

I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? ( Sweden )

: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia ? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane , Cairns , Townsville and Hervey Bay ? ( UK )
: What did your last slave die of?

:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? ( USA )
A:  A-Fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe .
Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not
... Oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.


Which direction is North in Australia ? (USA )
: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? ( UK )
:Why? Just use your fingers like we do...

Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? ( USA )

: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is
Oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays everyTuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Can I wear high heels in Australia ? ( UK )
: You are a British politician, right?

Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? ( Germany )

: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers.
Milk is illegal

Q:Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. ( USA )

: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from.
All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q:I have a question about a famous animal in Australia , but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA )

: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them.
You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q:I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ? ( USA )
: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q:Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? (France )
: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

Blog Spot is at it again.   No matter how hard I try, it is determined to format this with spaces between sentences.  I hate you Blog Spot.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bernie For President

Bernie speaks for me and for you and for you. Please listen and pass it on.  I think he has said it all and there's nothing left for me to add.

There is nothing for me to add.

Personal note:  I am celebrating.  My daughter just got a good job and I am on cloud nine for her. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Real Soaker.

I have had a handy man working this week.  While he was here fixing all of the broken things that have been accumulating for years the heavens opened up and we got a deluge.  It arrived with all of the  drama of an Arizona monsoon storm .  Lightning flashed, thunder clapped and so did I.  The  water level in my back yard rose so fast I was afraid that it was going to come in under my sliding glass doors.  Mercifully, the rain stopped in time to spare me a big chore.  After the violent storm passed another one moved in.  This rain was gentle and steady and gave the parched desert a good soaking.  Not only was the moisture welcome, but it cooled things off and I have my doors and windows open now.   Of course I will have to close them soon when the sun competes with the clouds and claims it's right to be the dominant desert atmosphere.  

Today I have been musing about the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same.  Researchers have been studying the mentality of the people that make up the tea party  It seems that we progressives have mistakenly been thinking that this is a new phenomenon. Not so, claim the experts.  The people on the radical right have always believed the way they do.  Clever manipulators behind the scenes (think Koch brothers again) just harnessed their prejudices and anger and made it work for them.  The Wizard of Oz was behind the curtain after all, but he was not a benign wizard.   

The media are so supine that they constantly fail to cover the ugly dark side of the radical right and give them credit for their bombastic style without looking behind the curtain to see what they really believe.   Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have some really scary terrifying beliefs that they mask on the campaign trail.  You do know that Bachmann got her law degree from the O. W. Coburn school of law; part of the Oral Roberts  Univeristy.   Michelle does believe that the wife is submissive to the husband.  Given the nutcase Michelle is married to, that really is a frightening prospect.  Ron Paul is a John Bircher at heart.  Now if that isn't an alarming thought, I don't know what is.  

All of the demons of the Old Testament and some of the New Testament are believed by the right wing Christians.   Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry would fight tooth and nail to overturn every progressive movement that has been enacted.   Forget  equality of same sex marriage, forget the right to an abortion (even if the mother's life is at risk), forget facts and creationism must be included in the school text books, forget rational thinking, forget governrment programs to help the vulnerable (even sick children). Rick has even boasted that he would do away with Social Security.   Point of fact; you can forget every good thing you thought America stands for if one of the Republican candidates are elected.  Are you scared yet?  If, God fobid, one of them should actually make it to the White House I will welcome the Rapture.  

Why do we have to find these things out by reading the Internet or listening to MSNBC?  Could it be because the rest of the media are owned by the big corporations and the so called 'liberal press' is, in reality, the mouthpiece of the 'radical right'?   Just wondering. 

Some storms are welcome, but political storms are not.  It's going to be a very long and stormy year.  I fear it's going to be a real soaker and hope we don't get soaked.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Millie

Happy Birthday, Millie
Now we are both 86.  Isn't that wonderful?  Have a great day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Call To Arms Once More

 You have to hand it to the Republicans.  They are devious and will spare no amount of thought or money to destroy the Obama presidency.  And, to my great disappointment, the president is letting them win.  Obama has not learned a thing from the past.   He still seems to have his head in the clouds believing that reason and gentlemanly conduct will win in the end.  They snicker and stick it to him again and again.

We warned Obama that he needed to start with the Single Payer health care system and hold out for nothing less.  Instead he even  'caved' on the public option.  So now the whole health care reform is unraveling. 
Obama let the Republicans frame the message and now 60% of the people oppose the mandate that everyone has to buy into the system.  Without that, the medical reform act will fail. 

Since Obama is more concerned with being re-elected than in fighting it is up to us to get down in the mud with the dirty fighters and try to salvage his program.  

Will you please find out the facts by going to this site Health reform

The only way to keep what little reform we have is by educating our family and friends and then enlisting their help in writing  and/or calling their representatives letting them know that they are in favor of health insurance for everyone.  

Robert Reich wrote the following article.  I have highlighted the important parts.

Two appellate judges in Atlanta -- one appointed by President Bill Clinton and one by George H.W. Bush -- have just decided the Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to require individuals to buy health insurance.
The decision is a major defeat for the White House. The so-called "individual mandate" is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's 2010 health care reform law, scheduled to go into effect in 2014.
The whole idea of the law is to pool heath risks. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases.
The issue is now headed for the Supreme Court (another appellate court has upheld the law's constitutionality) where the prognosis isn't good. The Court's Republican-appointed majority has not exactly distinguished itself by its progressive views.  

Chalk up another one for the GOP, outwitting and outflanking the president and the Democrats.
Remember the health-care debate? Congressional Republicans refused to consider a single-payer system that would automatically pool risks. They wouldn't even consider giving people the option of buying into it.
The president and the Democrats caved, as they have on almost everything. They came up with a compromise that kept health care in the hands of private insurance companies.
The only way to spread the risk in such a system is to require everyone buy insurance.
Which is exactly what the two appellate judges in Atlanta object to. The Constitution, in their view, doesn't allow the federal government to compel citizens to buy something. "Congress may regulate commercial actors," they write. "But what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die."
Most Americans seem to agree. According to polls
, 60 percent of the public opposes the individual mandate. Many on the right believe it a threat to individual liberty. Many on the left object to being required to buy something from a private company.
Had the president and the Democrats stuck to their guns during the health-care debate and insisted on Medicare for all, or at least a public option, they wouldn't now be facing the possible unraveling of the new health care law.
After all, Social Security and Medicare -- the nation's two most popular safety nets -- require every working American to "buy" them. The purchase happens automatically in the form of a deduction from everyone's paychecks. 
But because Social Security and Medicare are government programs they don't feel like mandatory purchases. They're more like tax payments, which is what they are -- payroll taxes.
There's no question payroll taxes are constitutional, because there's no doubt that the federal government can tax people in order to finance particular public benefits.
Americans don't mind mandates in the form of payroll taxes for Social Security or Medicare. In fact, both programs are so popular even conservative Republicans were heard to shout "don't take away my Medicare!" at rallies opposed to the new health care law.
Requiring citizens to buy something from a private company is entirely different. If Congress can require citizens to buy health insurance from the private sector, reasoned the two appellate judges in Atlanta, what's to stop it from requiring citizens to buy anything else? If the law were to stand, "a future Congress similarly would be able to articulate a unique problem ... compelling Americans to purchase a certain product from a private company."
Other federal judges in district courts -- one in Virginia and another in Florida -- have struck down the law on similar grounds. They said the federal government has no more constitutional authority requiring citizens to buy insurance than requiring them to buy broccoli or asparagus. (The Florida judge referred to broccoli; the Virginia judge to asparagus.)
Social Security and Medicare aren't broccoli or asparagus. They're as American as hot dogs and apple pie.
The Republican strategy should now be clear: Privatize anything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars. Then argue in the courts that any mandatory purchase of it is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government's authority. And rally the public against the requirement.
Remember this next time you hear Republican candidates touting Paul Ryan's plan for turning Medicare into vouchers for seniors to buy private health insurance.
So what do Obama and the Democrats do if the individual mandate in the new health care law gets struck down by the Supreme Court?
Immediately propose what they should have proposed right from the start -- universal health care based on Medicare for all, financed by payroll taxes. The public will be behind them, as will the courts

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Medicare in Peril

 There are times when I am tempted to be kind to my blood pressure and throw up my hands in defeat.  When I mentioned to my daughter that I was considering stopping listening to the news or reading about it she said, "But Mom, we can't give up now.  It's too important."

For my dear daughter I am taking up the cudgel once again and am prepared to fight for the Single Payer Medical System .  Weary though I am, it seems we now have to start with preserving the steps already in place with Obama-care.  The Republicans are determined to do away with it.  ("Can't let that alien in the Oval Office have a success, now can we?.")

Hatred is an ugly word and an uglier emotion, but I am descending into that feeling as I watch the obstructionists in Congress demean and lie about the benefits of Obama-care.  

To do away with health care for all the Republicans are chipping away at it.  I am enclosing a notice on what is afoot now.  Please read it an join me in the battle.   This was published by the organization Medicare For All.

Fact Sheet: Medicare and Medicaid in the Debt Deal

Summary: On August 2nd, 2011, Congress passed a plan to reduce the federal deficit despite grassroots demands across the country to look at ‘Medicare for All’ as a solution to the health and fiscal crisis. The deficit reduction plan implements $900 billion in cuts immediately, mostly to education, defense, and domestic spending. Medicare and Medicaid are not affected in the first round of cuts. However, the rest of the $1.5 trillion in cuts must be determined by the end of the year by the “super committee” and could be included in the next round of cuts. [1]

Super Committee: A twelve member Joint Committee (3 from each party and chamber) tasked with identifying at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction from an undefined baseline and no restrictions on recommendations. Unlike previous committees formed to discuss the deficit, the Super Committee is given unprecedented power to look at cutting any government program.  They must report by November 23rd, 2011 with fast-tracked simple majority and amendment-free vote required in both chambers by December 23rd, 2011.  Failure to report at least $1.2 trillion will “trigger” across-the-board spending cuts sufficient to bring total savings to $1.2 trillion, beginning on January 1st, 2013. [2]

Medicare is subject to across-the-board cuts in the super-committee, and if the trigger is pulled, provider payments will be slashed up to 2 percent. Cuts to providers result in cuts to access to care. Discussions on raising the eligibility age to 67 could be seen on the table again, and/or an additional $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. [3]

Medicaid: This program is subject to cuts by the super-committee. The Republican position, as seen in the Ryan budget, is a devastating 35 percent reduction in the next ten years, even as health costs rise. (However, Medicaid is protected from any cuts if the trigger should go off). [4]

Action: As advocates for improved Medicare-for-all, our advocacy outside of the beltway helped build political opposition to cutting Medicare and Medicaid outright. In the coming months, our work to protect Medicare and Medicaid, while offering a solution to the health and fiscal crisis, remains the highest priority.  Working with allied organizations and Healthcare NOW! affiliates, we can affect the political will to protect these important programs, build the movement for the improved Medicare-for-all solution. Join us at www.healthcare-now.org to find out more.

[1] http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2011/August/03/debt-deal-FAQ.aspx
[2] http://crfb.org/sites/default/files/Debt_Deal_Summary.pdf
[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/the-gang-of-sixs-plan-better-than-were-likely-to-do-otherwise/2011/07/19/gIQAXjZROI_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_wonk
[4] http://www.thenation.com/blog/162193/who-will-suffer-under-gang-six-plan

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The "I's" Have It

The bullies won and we are all so 'screwed.'   Thinking about theTea Party's radical goals I decided to have some fun and  list the I's they want and then the I words I have for them.   Let the 'eyes' or 'ayes' continue.

The Tea Party  came to Washington to do the following:

I will follow Grover Norquist' orders, sign the pledge and cut government down to a size that you can drown in a bathtub.

I will obey my wealthy masters and spare them the indignity of having to pay taxes.

I will end abortion and  contraception.  The more babies the poor have the more I can complain.

I will make the lazy 'poor' work for their supper.  If they don't have bread, let them eat cake.

I will, above all, abolish all of the programs so beloved by liberals; like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  God forbid that a rich man should have to use his taxes, paltry though they are, to pay for Grandma's gall bladder operation.  Let the old girl die; she has lived too long anyhow.

I will privatize education.  If the parents can't pay for the schooling for their kids, they shouldn't have had them in the first place.  (See abolishing abortion and contraception for the irony of this position.)

I will privatize prisons, the police department, the fire department and all other government services.  People can hire their own security and lease their fire protection.  

I will only pave the streets that I use.  Gold would be a nice color.

I will have my self sustained utilities.  Why should I pay taxes for clean 
water, electricity and other utilities for the unwashed rabble?   They will just get dirty again, anyhow.

I will definitely finish the job Ronald Reagan started and destroy the unions.  Why should high wages and benefits lower the profits of  my rich benefactors?

And to reach these goals  

I will cleverly put the Democrats in a box and use extortion to force them to agree to my goals.  I will tie every one of my goals to a piece of legislation that they must pass.  The Koch brothers taught me this trick.

I will rant, scream, throw a temper tantrum, lie, cheat and squeal until I get my way.

Deciding to have more fun I started to list all the I words I could think of to describe these fanatics.  If you think of more feel free to add them.

Intolerant, Ignorant, Ill-mannered, Incautious, Inefficient, Inane,  Idiots,
Imbecilic,  IdeologuesInexperienced, Intemperate, Intractable, Insufferable, Inexcusable, Incoherent, Irksome, Imovable, Irritating, Infamous, Inept, Incapable, Insensate, Infantile, Inferior, Inflammatory, Irrational, Injurious, and Ill-informed.  

My I list includes the wish that they would become Irrelevant and Invisible. 

It appears that I had way too much time on my hands today.  ;-)