Wednesday, December 1, 2010
On the other hand, I am looking forward to their promised fisking of Goldman-Sachs.
Of course, that will probably show even greater involvment and control over the FED and monetary policy and politicians by G-S, and might be worth the death penalty…
Watch – our government is going to get much more upset about any release of G-S info, than they have over compromising our diplomatic communications…
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
We're seeing a continuous purposeful pushing at an extension of what is "allowable" government control -- it's the "how you cook a frog" system of getting a populace to submit.
From Red-light to public surveillance cameras, to citizens not being allowed to video or audio-record police (a one-way street there), to violations of 4th Amendment protection of search and seizure in traffic checkpoints and inventive "probable cause", to government covert tracking devices, secret warrants, indictments with withheld evidence, the information gleaned from gun sales and CCW permits -- on and on...
Thirty years ago, people would have laughed at the possibility of these steps even being mentioned... but, I'm just being paranoid.
Friday, November 12, 2010
But I keep thinking that maybe things would go better if we kept more of our tax money at home, instead of sending the bulk of it off to DC, and then waiting and wishing for the promised hand-outs...? But that would require a real revolution - not the co-opted and branded kind.
We piggies at the trough seem to forget that the little bit of local reflux we glean out of the belly of the beast consists of our own earnings - with the bulk siphoned off to who-knows-where. It's certainly not going to reduce the deficit, because GOV spending just keeps going up...
And now the FED is trying to push up inflation, which in turn, through weakening the dollar, results in rising gas prices, more expensive food (more expensive everything) and of course more dollars spent in taxes - putting even more pressure on the middle class, because ALL this is happening while most individual workers have seen no increase in earnings. In years!
A good example is this: If we can't keep things on an even keel in the little liberal hothouse that is Athens Co., then how can we expect the same policies to work at the national level?
How do we fix this seemingly endless cycle of more money for less service (look at our local township roads - and we just approved another extension and an addition for maintenance tax)? Not paying will make things worse, no one wants that, but what happens when we reach the bottom of the wallet?
And now, people like Krugman are demonizing citizens who save money instead of spending during a recession - grasshoppers who cause the probem insanely putting the onus on the ants that take care of their own.
It comes down to different views of Government. Krugman, et.al do not see Government's function as unbiased service to the citizenry, but as a tool of "moral" redistribution as they see fit. And, THIS is what we get. And it doesn't work.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Liberals all over the country are literally praying – she’s turning stone-atheists into groveling religious supplicants – that Sarah Palin runs and is nominated as the GOP candidate for POTUS.
I also cannot believe that this movement can't find another candidate -- until I remember just how MUCH they have been sidetracked and co-opted.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Elegy -Bruce Cockburn
Flying Red Horse -John Gorka
You’re On Your Way -John Gorka
Love Is Our Cross To Bear -John Gorka
If I Could Forget to Breathe -John Gorka
Kind Woman -Chris Smither (Richie Furay cover)
‘Til I Gain Control Again -Blue Rodeo (Rodney Crowell cover)
Dark Angel -Blue Rodeo
Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dreams -Blue Rodeo
Simple Song -Lyle Lovett
Family Reserve -Lyle Lovett
Glory of True Love -John Prine
Clay Pigeons -John Prine (Blaze Foley cover)
Bear Creek -John Prine (Carter Family cover)
Long Monday -John Prine
Festival of Friends -Bruce Cockburn
Last Night of the World -Bruce Cockburn
He Came From the Mountain -Bruce Cockburn
Southland of the Heart -Bruce Cockburn
All The Diamonds -Bruce Cockburn
The Color Green -Rich Mullins
Silver Garden -The Everybodyfields
Elegy -Bruce Cockburn
Monday, October 25, 2010
"Islam is a RELIGION...as such, it is fair game for criticism, lampoon, ridicule, analysis, as is any other religion--whether we're talking Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Scientology or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
And when a statistically significant number of people claiming to be faithful adherents of ANY religion engage in acts of violence in the name of that religion (or support or refuse to condemn those acts), engages in varying degrees of repression and abuse of women and girls, engages in repression of and violence against gays and lesbians--then I'd say it's fair for rational people to take a closer look and to speak out.
Whether it's pedophiles in the Catholic clergy or fundamentalist Protestants subverting the Bill of Rights or extremist Jewish settlers harassing West Bank Arabs or school-bus bombing Arabs -- if a significant number of adherents are engaged in such acts and claim to be acting out their beliefs, then their religion is open for scrutiny. Criticising Islam or poking fun at it is not "racism"; that won't wash."
Friday, October 22, 2010
Marianne McDonald made this comment on the NPR Ombudsman forum:
"...If Fox News is a hang out for playground bullies, then NPR operates like a calm, smiling Mean Girl with a hidden control agenda. As a daily listener, I believe that NPR provides a valuable public service in reporting, but no one exposed to more than one point of view on a regular basis thinks you are unbiased. By firing liberal Juan Williams for expressing a feeling shared by many non-bigoted people around the world, you just inspired a new generation to label American public radio as the voice of the politically correct intolerant Left. Even worse, independent thinking journalists might avoid NPR for the same reason. That's a loss for all of us."
Also, if you can wade through the very subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) spin that NPR puts on most stories through who it chooses to interview and the questions asked, you still get waaaaaaay more hard info from them than you get from Fox or MSNBC, CNN or any of the other major media outlets...
NPR asks more hard questions and provides more info in five minutes than the rest do in an hour.
This doesn't excuse what they did with Juan Williams -- BUT, the FED funding thing is mostly politicians, most of them working for Fox (How does that happen, anyway?), trying to score points and raise the rage level with their voting block, most of whom are not informed about the issue -- which is what the pols are counting on...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Speaking Truth to Political Correctness
I condemn this knee-jerk reaction. WOUB will be getting a note, along with my empty renewal envelope.
Bad time to do this, with it being fundraising season and all...
I am a longtime listener to Juan since the Talk of the Nation days. I love the way he can cut through the BS to the heart of the matter. He is one of my favorite broadcasting personalities.
NPR is lately taking an even more partisan line than usual, with most of their guests/experts from far left-leaning organizations.
I am reminded of a recent Morning Edition episode, when the guest was a polling expert who is an employee of The Huffington Post. He was presented as an unbiased analyst, but through the slant to his comments and the data he mentioned it was exceedingly obvious that we were getting only the information supporting the viewpoint he wanted to promote.
Where's the damn middle, anymore? I can't watch Faux or MessyNBC, and until now I just had to put up with continually self-editing through the admittedly more subtle NPR spin.
This is just another domino down the road to partisanship totally ruling all available broadcast media, and soon I won't be able to tell the difference between NPR and MSNBC. They'll probably bring "The Olbermeister" on as an anchor. Uhhhh.
Juan was a news ANALYST at NPR - NOT a reporter.
Isn't it a reach to fire an analyst for expressing views, especially in relation to an ongoing news story or popular subject that demands analysis? Especially when half of your programming is spun one way or another, depending on who's providing the commentating?
"His status was earlier shifted from staff correspondent to analyst after he took clear-cut positions about public policy on television and in newspaper opinion pieces."
Will NPR use the emotional reaction this is generating as justification for this action?
My bet is yes. They will hide behind the fray and firestorm of dissent and keep as far as they can from honest discussion as to why they acted as they did...
Good fortune to you Juan. This is what you get for "speaking truth to political correctness".
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Lets all join hands, what a wonderful world that could be... (Come on everybody, all together on the chorus now: What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful world...)
Never happen. Too many peeps on the gravy train with free tickets.
And we'll all be on that gravy train (wonder who pays for it?) when the US defaults, they devalue the dollar, and go to a virtual credit currency (ostensibly to do away with the underground economy).
Monday, October 4, 2010
And we like cheap products more than we like being an individual country with an individual economy and culture.
And with a false monetary system invented to keep our centralized government powerful, we function (temporarily) within a false economy built not on real need, but wants and wishes.
And our government is owned by multinational interests that could not care less about people and culture and care only about the bottom line.
And the bottom line is that if you won't do the job for peanuts (or rice, or potatoes), then they can find somebody who can and will.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Amazing how the definition of "rich" changes depending where you are and your circumstances relative to those around you...
250K/yr is a very arbitrary sum. Does "rich" now equate to "evil" in common belief? Is 250K is the new jump from "hard working" to "silver spoon"?
There are many areas in our country where that salary puts you solidly in the middle-class -- not rich at all...
I think the problem is not "taxing the rich" enough (although I think most really RICH people have way too many advantages through access to knowledge and help with loopholes) -- I think the problem is a vanishing middle class.
In my area, at least, even though on average they take home much more money, most "middle-class" families are living a comparative lifestyle to the lower-middle-class of 20-30 years ago.
One thing I have noticed, though - and this is not an indictment, just an observation: people who do make good money, and have done so long enough to have gotten used to it, do not really relate to lower-middle and working class people who are just scraping by. They may say they can "relate", but in my experience they cannot; any more than I can relate to a person raised in a blighted and famine torn country.
This may be why we get so little from government for our money: people we elect don't REALLY relate to us...
I think that the Vanishing Middle-Class is the reason we are seeing "class warfare", this little bit of which is over income taxes.
If the US had a solidly growing middle-class paying a growing chunk of taxes, the economy would be healthier (Duh!) and there wouldn't be the pressure to find revenue expressed in this increase in extreme anti-rich verbiage we are seeing ("Eat The Rich", "Bring back the guillotine", etc...) lately...
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Guess what? Surprise! The Stones were wrong -- you don't get what you need, either...
Unfortunately, like illegal immigration, the people in whose best interest lies in keeping NAFTA afloat are the people who own our government and our representatives - both party's worth. And guess what? Both GWB and Barack are globalists, neither of them has your best interests at heart, the end result that our (the common US worker) boats don't rise, but continue to sink to meet the mean.
Our economy has gone global. Most available jobs will have no protection and become more menial with longer hours and lower pay. The horse has done left the barn.
This doesn't sound very libertarian of me, but the rich will continue to get richer and the poor, poorer, but on a global scale, which means that most of us may end up poorer than we ever imagined possible.
The math says it is too late for the US. If there is much of a pre-tribulation future left, and I do not believe there is, its history will say we were just a very short-sighted people who benefited over a short period of time from our short-lived empire.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This isn't a "most important" list, although some of them are. These are books that established my likes and (fiction) reading habits for a lifetime.
The Chronicles of Narnia – Lewis
Tom Sawyer - Clemens
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Pyle
Ivanhoe - Scott
Glory Road – Heinlein
Dandelion Wine – Bradbury
The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings – Tolkien
Jack of Shadows – Zelazny
The Dying Earth – Vance
The Foundation Trilogy – Asimov
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
George Carlin – “The American Dream”:
“...But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason it will never … ever … EVER be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. … … … BECAUSE … THE OWNERS, OF THIS COUNTRY, DON’T WANT THAT! … … I’m talking about the real owners now … … … … … the BIG owners! … … … The Wealthy … … … … … the REAL owners! … The big wealthy business interests that control things … and make all the important decisions. … … … … Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. … … The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice . . . … you don’t. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. … They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. … They got you by the balls. … … They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying … . . . lobbying, … to get what they want . . . … Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but Ill tell you what they don’t want . . . they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. … … They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. … … They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting F’D by a system that threw them overboard 30 FN years ago. … … They don’t want that! You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . . Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. … And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly Sh*tty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your … Social Security money. … … … They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? … … … They’ll get it . . . they’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this FN place! It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it! … … … … You, and I, are not in The big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people . . . white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means . . . continue to elect these rich C--K S--KERS who don’t give a F about you. They don’t give a F about you . . . … they don’t give a F about you. …. …. They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their a--holes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, … cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . .”
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Simple everyday people, like you and me, often wonder why Guvmint can’t “live within its means”. Well, for one thing, it doesn’t have to…
Those in favour of deficit spending always say "Guvmint spending is different than household spending." - and that's true - Guvmint never has to balance the budget. Actual intake never has to equal output's perceived value because Guvmint (through the corrupt FED system) prints its own money and tries (somewhat) to control the supply.
As for your budget comparison, there isn't one - as Guvmint really has no budget - it's all a shell game... and Guvmint has gone from being a necessary evil to a necessity.
Guvmint has always been, and is still in the bizness of growing Guvmint. And the way Guvmint (lately) keeps itself in power is not really through taxes, but by regulating money supply. Guvmint operates under a mandate to do this through its several different supporting bases who believe that they each in particular will benefit from Guvmint’s action (through taxation/redistribution/provision of perceived rightful needs). Whether recipient or supplier, these bases view Guvmint as a gigantic charity, responsible, through said mandate, for all of society.
Our representative republic slows it down a touch, until everybody starts to jostle and grab for a space at the trough and our representatives become jaded and corrupt. Then the trough gets smaller and smaller and the group of piggies gets bigger and bigger.
The piggies are about to overwhelm the trough.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized..."
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I’ll bet yer (ahem) that bad public sentiment will spawn a favorable outlook on new taxes industry-wide — intitially to make up for BP’s inability to cover all the liabilities involved.
They'll call it a "risk tax', or some sort. As if we can afford more risk like this.
But don't you wonder, given the Guvmint's record on robbing Peter to pay Paul, and then mugging Peter's children too, how much of that revenue will actually be used for the vocalized purpose? Or will the majority of the tax/ongoing fine be arbitrarily apportioned to prop up public works and pump up the balance sheet of the general budget?
Watch: If Guvmint gets its paws on more funds/fines because of this, it won’t go where needed…
Do I believe that BP et al should pay out the nose (Heck, just cut the nose off.)? Sure. But putting BP out of business won't solve anything; and I am sure that will be another argument used for an industry-wide tax/ongoing fine.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Oh yes, it sure would be nice to have some economic activity around here besides the university and the businesses that support it and for the most part, grovel before it like it was the Golden Calf that might be angered lest ye not grovel!
The smart development folks have been quite quiet recently. It was easy to point to bad development; when the economy was booming, but now, not many people are coming up with any realistic ideas to get some money moving our way.
The stimulus money from the federal government is going to dry up in the next year and that money has been propping up our cities and villages, our schools, the universities, and building things like the Nelsonville bypass.
Once the bypass is finished, the construction jobs will go away. I don't see things getting much better around here for a while. The stock market went back to 1999 levels last week. And the stimulus money was borrowed money. At some point the US taxpayers will have to pay it back, with interest.
Our politicians sold us out. They bought the propaganda of the wealthy elite and dismantled our country's manufacturing infrastructure, believing we would evolve into a service economy; and not have to be bothered by dirty jobs like manufacturing.
Now the service economy is collapsing. Outsourcing is just beginning to swing its wrecking ball around America. Anything that can be sent via email (e.g. writing, accounting, legal research, software development) or transacted over the telephone (customer service, including order taking) will continue to go to India and other countries where the pay is a fraction of US wages.
US professors will slowly but surely be reduced in numbers by online education and the stream of international students coming to America to study will slow down as China, India, and other countries build up their universities. These are the countries that will actually have jobs for engineers, for example, because they still have a manufacturing base in their economy. Not a rosy scenario for Athens biggest industry.
Ross Perot was right when he predicted the huge number of jobs that would be lost here due to fair trade. It took longer than he predicted, but now we can see he was correct. Of course, it isn't fair trade if the other country doesn't have a minimum wage like ours or the same degree of environmental standards.
The only industry thriving in the USA right now is the so-called defense industry. A never ending series of wars will be needed to keep our largest industry in business. A never ending supply of young men and women will be needed to be sacrificed for the never ending wars.
Who are they fighting for? Is it really for the government of the people and by the people or is it for the super rich bankers who pull the strings of their puppets in Washington?
Something to think about on Memorial Day. God bless America!
Friday, May 21, 2010
No. He was presented with what comes off every time as a classic false dichotomy argument based on what he sees in this instance as an example of the always false premise that the end justifies the means. He is objecting to anti-discrimination laws being applied to individuals and individual businesses because of his stance/belief/view of the Constitutional effects of such laws on individual liberty.
Remember that big-L Libertarianism is ALL based on property rights. From his POV (not necessarily my view - I think the whole question is more complicated than that) civil rights laws are bad because they keep people from using their own private property as they see fit.
I think there are people trying to brand him a racist. I don't think he is, but I do think he is not the brightest bulb in the political building. Of course, he's not going to show as a real libertarian, as the Tea Party has been co-opted by the far right wing of the GOP. I don't think there is justification for the attacks on Paul as a racist. Paul says he is against racism even in private businesses, the issue being one of political and Constitutional philosophy as to anti-discrimination enforcement on and over private property.
It seems to me that Dr. Paul understands that discrimination based on race is unjust but still thinks that the legislative effort to address it does not pass Constitutional muster.
I wonder if we are establishing that it is unacceptable to commit to a Constitutional principle to the point of rejecting legal remedies for injustice; i.e.: anti-discrimination laws that control the activities of individuals and individual businesses.
This is often what happens when I walk into an under-construction house:
There look to be about 5-6 Mexicans working out of an old van finishing up insulation and starting drywall - I can tell that somebody has been cooking food in the garage.
When I walk into the house, one of them sees me and vanishes into the family room, 3 or 4 of them leave the family room through the garage entry and get in the van. One comes inside the foyer to watch me and the other keeps working. I just nod to the one watching, he nods back, and I do my inspect and leave. (As soon as I leave the others will go back to work.)
In my experience it goes like this: there is only one English speaker, and probably only one or two "legals" in the crew. They are one of several crews, often family members, who are hired by one guy contracting with one of the builder's subcontractors (this insulates the builder from any immigration questions or legal responsibilities), who takes a big chunk of the workers' earnings in turn for letting them work for him.
The same organization (foreman or farm boss thing) happens with the Koreans, except that most of them are legal. The Koreans tend to do more intricate, time intensive labor across several trades, and the Mexicans do most of the grunt-type construction work.
This happens all over, in all good-size cities. Those of you who live and work in smaller cities may understand the problem, but probably don't grasp the size of it...
As far as I can tell, there is never any enforcement of immigration law, never even any questions asked by anyone.
The only time you hear of "raids" or any inspections, are with factory employees. Factory situations where illegals are employed are a very small percentage of the illegals working. I venture that most illegals are employed in construction and restaurant/hospitality and itinerate farm-work - although in the south, I have read that a lot of them are employed in the trucking industry.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It's a pretty far-reaching attitude problem with both Conservatives and Liberals. People who've never been persecuted give up their rights sooooo easily, when someone tells them it's for "the greater good."
Those words are about the most dangerous to ever come out of a supposedly free person's mouth...
Lotta rights been lost on that road... Funny how they're much easier given up than gotten back, ain't it?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Note this: People who grow pot in quantity for money now, don't want it legalized.
These are some predictions from “Hermit” -- if pot is legalized:
1. It will still be illegal to grow your own supply.
2. A lot of money and time will go into enforcing #1.
3. Government sanctioned dope will probably be pretty weak stuff, and everything stronger will still be illegal.
4. A lot of money and time will go into enforcing #3.
5. There is a slight chance that MJ will become a pharmaceutical, which may mean the only legal form will be some sort of marijuana pill, available by prescription only and closely monitored.
6. Whatever happens, the cost of dope will go up, and most of it will still be illegal, with all the associated crime that we have today.
So in other words, getting what you wish for may not be such a good thing.
Regulation and taxes would take quite a bite off the front end.
Those who do use, might want to realize that the Meig's Co Green portion of your budget will probably go up - not down.
Border violence may decrease on the Mexican side, but violence related to a very active black market here (regulations and taxes, remember...) would increase.
Cost of regulation and taxing will replace dollar for dollar the amounts spent on the pot part of "da War on Drugs". Those DEA agents just get another card and name tag.
Given all the above, there are still those who believe Guv'mint should regulate and tax this (another) product. In fact, many still believe Guv'mint has the right and responsibility to do so. No matter that it would increase the size of Guv'mint (Again, remember that the DEA would still be out there doing what they do. Meth and Oxy and H will still be running our trailer parks and hollers...), and cost the taxpayer even more money in bureaucracy and regulation than is gained through taxation.
The same way people relate the need for Guv'mint to nanny us through MJ legalization (no matter how pointless it is now), is the way they view almost everything else....
If you're going to do it, then legalize it ---- and then do the prudent thing... NOTHING.
And just an observation from a former (tobacco) user: anytime you inhale smoke of any kind from any source into your lungs, the long-term result is guaranteed to not be good.
Monday, March 8, 2010
"I think our economy's big problem is that it is built on the premise that people have to buy crap they don't need to keep the wheels of commerce in motion.
When people stop buying crap they don't need, the economy tanks. I'm not so sure it's a good idea for the government to pick up the crap-buying slack to get the wheels spinning again.
I never thought I'd see the day when the act of saving was considered bad for the economy."
I don't see a single business out there that is not living off of its balance sheet and loans. Nobody has a reserve of any kind -- why keep a reserve when money is cheap and you can funnel profit back into growth?
Well we just found out.
Used to be, if you borrowed money and couldn't pay it back, you went bankrupt and somebody who could do the job better (if it needed to be done) replaced you. Things rolled on.
But because our businesses and banking system have been centralized and have become under the FED so intertwined, and because our currency is continually manipulated by said FED, and isn't worth tissue paper, we are caught in this shell game of buying crap with borrowed s**t.
So, instead of letting things find a balance, and retreating to a point where our s**t might actually be worth something, we flood the system in a big ol' Keynesian fountain of ever more worthless s**t. The more of it there is, the more worthless....
But regular Joe Working Guy, he learns his lesson a little too late to save his bacon... and a little too soon for fake bailouts to work. Because the economy is mostly made up of Joe Working Guy, and if he decides not to play, then the FED can move those fake shells around in a frenzy all they want to -- Joe ain't playing now, and he ain't comin' back to the table soon enough to pull the FED out of its own fire.
Just wait until it gets out that most of the state pension funds are gonna go broke over the next few years. Wait until the infrastructure starts to go -- simply because we put fake money where good, hard, honest work should have gone.
We're all grasshoppers.
When the only thing your business has to weigh against your loans is a warehouse full of crap that Joe Working Guy isn't buying anymore....
There, I feel some better now....
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
What brought this on was one common blood draw and test, and one extremity x-ray.
My insurance normally pays $19 for the draw and $19 for the read (which isn't a read at all, since they just forward a print-out to my Doc).
The pay for the x-ray is normally $24 + $67 for "hospital services".
So, once I reach my deductible the total for this bill would normally be $129 to my insurance company and nothing to me. (Not bad, huh?)
Because I have not reached my deductible, Fairfield Medical Center bills my insurance company $465, of which the allowable is $363.
Here is the breakdown:
x-Ray = $268
Basic Metabolic panel = $68
Ast/Sgot = $19
Ast/Sgpt = $19
Lipid Profile = $63
Cbc with Diff = $20
Venipuncture fee = $8
Total = $465
Allowable = $363
The 15% discount for paying early (the outrageous overbilling is not why I am bitching - yet) is $54.
Someone without insurance is going to be billed at least $465 -- if they pay it early, they pay $398. I have heard that the bills to persons with no insurance can reach the quadrupled total of the amount billed insurance companies. I am told that this is to "fluff" certain statistics, and to make a higher profit off of the discounted percentage from the sale of bad debt to outside collectors (Incredibly evil, if true). I have heard of hospitals even operating their own debt collection agencies as separate entities, in effect selling debt to themselves. (Now that would make even Dr. Evil squirm.)
Someone who cannot afford to pay in full is going to be paying at least $468 for a service that will cost my insurance company $129 and me nothing once I reach my deductible.
For those of you who say that the deduct of 15% is just to cover costs, I have this:
The "interest" or AR cost is covered in this notice: "If you choose to send a partial payment your account will be subject to a onetime 12% late payment fee or $100, which ever is less, with the obligation that all accounts will be paid in one year."
Lessee, that's 27% on any bill under $835, if you have to make payments, if my math is correct?
Amazing they didn't go out of business when we did in payday lenders.
An automatic 15% discount for paying a bill is not a good thing. It means the initial charge is too high... It also puts an undue burden on those who are less fortunate but still determined to pay their bill.
The full price should be a fair price, with no special deals that only apply for the more fortunate of us, especially if they are a "not-for-profit", as FMC is structured to be (they are technically a 501c 3, but they outsource most work to money-making corporations, doctors, labs, and the like).
This is patently unfair. And I'm the guy taking advantage of the "discount", which in reality isn't -- a discount.
Them that's got, get... Which is usually fine, but not when there is no alternative except drawn out sickness and/or eventual death.
There it is.
And here's another tidbit:
It takes some wading through, but this sheds some light on the scam that is most "not-for-profit" hospitals.
It's basically a way for them to expand; making the debt they accrue less risky by selling bonds, even while exempt from tax, profiting from their tax exempt status, while in reality remaining for-profit corporations.
Check it out:
Friday, February 12, 2010
Go back on a book tour or something. You are sucking up air that the eventual opposition candidate needs.
It's sad that we have reached the point in our Republic where partisan sound bite mentality and the resulting dumbing down of the electorate has made a "viable" candidate for the most powerful elected office in the world out of a woman who can't make a speech without bullitt points markered onto her palm. Oh, and and current holder of that most-high office has a teleprompter for a wing-man.
Sarah Palin is no more a Presidential candidate than I am, and the only hope that she gets elected is that our already stupendously stupid populace loses another averaged 20+ IQ points.
Sarah Palin will not be able to hold her own in any debate with any serious candidate from her own party (Neo-con 'pubs), unless the whole shindig is fixed.
The "Tea Party" movement and message has been totally co-opted and re-aimed by Neo-Con Republicans, and as such is unsalvagable. I truly do not know how real libertarians can affect this corrupt two-party system.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The way I understand it: "Recession" is when the economy corrects itself back toward sanity, and everybody who was buying crap they don't need stops buying crap they don't need and starts spending their "discretionary" income -- if any, considering the fact that if you make stuff people don't need you will shortly be out of a job or out of a business -- on sensible stuff they, if not now, will need in the future. Their focus is on saving, and their consumerism is limited to purchasing "stuff" with long-term use and true resalable or tradable value.
It is frightening how much of our economy depends/depended on creating buzz or false need for useless items.
If you are in business to make crap that people don't need, you need to get into a business that makes "stuff" people need.
Otherwise, see the first paragraph, because you are SOL.
And another thing: If you are someone who gets their economic information and outlook from TV "stock advice" shows, a la Cramer, or reads the WSJ Stock pages, then you may be in for a shock when the promised "recovery' doesn't happen and when the economy gets worse.
The reason we seem to be in what we are being told is "recovery", is because companies are showing profits with more production per person, but less production overall. They are cutting salaries and employees, and showing more profit per person, but there is a smaller market, fewer people employed and purchasing product. This will eventually catch up as more jobs vanish, and the government "safety nets" fail.
The effective unemployment stands at 15-17% right now. Don't expect that to improve.
We chose to "rescue" useless banks instead of instituting some sort of National work program improving our crumbling infrastructure.
Payin' the piper. I can hear him winding down the glen right now.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
For those of you comparing the proposed (I guess it's a done deal?) government supplied train travel here in Ohio to the government subsidy of roadways:
We pay for a large portion of highway funds through the gasoline tax. An overwhelmingly large portion of the population uses and needs the roads -- some small percentage of them to drive to and park for a train ride that takes twice as long as the same trip in a car.
Are there any passenger trains between large cities that currently run through Ohio? I'd be interested to know how many Ohioans currently use trains, compared to the population to which train travel is available, AND how many of them trip between cities.
This is the game we see time after time: Unveil some extraordinary government program, tell you it's good for you and expect you to live with it, knuckle under and pay for programs that YOU don't use. Then the stories come out that the program doesn't quite work, and that it would never survive without increased taxes (In this instance, ridership will be half of what is predicted, it's more expensive than what they said and the state is stuck with this mess and has to raise taxes to pay for it.). If it is operated and run by the government, no matter whether it is a failure, the workforce never gets laid off, its workers receive benefits largely unavailable to the taxpayers footing the bill, and get to retire after 30 years with 90% of their incomes - and inflationary increases.
And another thing while I'm on a roll: $400m is almost twice as much money as we are budgeting for Haiti next year... Haiti, a problem that will take BILLIONS of $ to make a dent.
"Senators working on the next annual foreign assistance budget have proposed at least $282 million for Haiti; the House proposal would provide at least $165 million."
We need real solutions for jobs, not make-work government programs that benefit a very small percentage of the population, and that have no measurable value return to the people who pay for them.
"I love trains", but they really need to put some more thought in this. Shouldn't they start with light rail IN the cities before they try to connect them?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
...Time for me to run for office! Get me sum o' dat Big Coal monies!
Maybe it should be a law that for every donation over 100K, the pol has to get the company logo tattooed on his/her face. That way every time they speak, you know who you're really listening to....
For the “smaller” corporate donors, they can paste Nascar-like stickers on their suits and accoutrements.
I understand the principle behind the majority decision, but I really believe it is an overreaction.
I very much doubt the Founders forsaw a time when even local candidates would run on platforms provided by multi-national corporations. Well, that time is now.
The problem began with the PACs. How do you define or even recognize the difference between say, the your "Concerned Citizens of Lantucky" and a FRONT GROUP.
So what they are doing is opening it up for everybody. Simply because it has become impossible to distinguish the differences (and WHO decides which group is kosher????).
I don’t think this will effect large elections at all...
But what about the example of a state representative who gets on the bad side of “Big Whatever”, and “Big Whatever” then buys their own candidate the election?
You can scream 1st Amendment all you want, but in these days of conglomerates, “Big Whatever” is likely owned by people who live outside the state. Not that this hasn’t been happening already and all-over, but this makes it even easier for non-constituents to affect an election.
Some great forum comments from The Volokh Conspiracy:
"What about arguments based on agent-principal issues? The point being that the speech of a company or a union is controlled by a few insiders and will often be weakly — or even inversely — correlated to the views of the stockholders or union members. Doesn’t it seem a little strange to ground the free speech right for a corporation in the collective free speech rights of natural persons who may — and frequently will — disagree with that speech? (While I think this argument is quite strong for companies and unions, it doesn’t apply or at a minimum is very weak for corporations whose principal purpose is advocacy e.g. the Sierra Club or the NRA.)"
"Who is accountable for corporate speech? Not the strawman corporate “person” that is built up as a means of giving (real) people limited liability. The strawman corporate “person” isn’t even accountable to its own conscience, since it doesn’t have one.
The bigger issue for remains the special protections we give shareholders and officers of corporations. To have both those special protections and the privileges usually reserved for individuals tilts the playing field way too far. I would prefer preserving free speech whenever possible, so my preference would be to reduce those protections for shareholders of corporations who choose to engage in political speech. Make them an LLS(peech)C."
"1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition ...
The wording of the First Amendment does not establish a human right of free speech. It places a limit on the subject of legislation. Without arguing whether Freedom of Religion is a human right (people have freedom of religion, churches don’t) it bars legislation that interferes with organized religion. Freedom of the press is clearly an organizational/corporate right. Note that the end does not talk about the right of a person to assemble (one hand clapping) but the right of the people to assemble (an act that by definition can only be exercised as a group). However, in all these cases the text is not about the rights themselves but rather a prohibition on Congress to legislate on certain matters.
Therefore, the actual text that Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech does not limit its application to citizens or even people. The text does not talk about “freedom of people to speak”. Congress cannot pass a law abridging speech. Any kind of speech."
Shareholders of US corporations need not be American citizens or even American residents. So even if you buy the “tool” model that free speech of a corporation is just a pass-through for the free speech of the shareholders, the right to spend money on speech is flowing through in part to foreigners and even foreign governments.
By this standard, the Government of Singapore for example (via Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) has greater opportunity for paid political speech in the US than all but a handful of Americans.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Who would believe it?
I wonder if this is a vision of the future, or if it was reactionary to the HC debate, the 0-Man's shrinking numbers, and the fact that the Dems made a bad choice and ran a stupid campaign? I would‘a lost a bet on this one. I thought "the Machine" would get their voters out no matter what it took...
NPR is the only place I have heard mention that Scott Brown voted for the Mass HC bill that created the state system most similar to the current Fed HC bill.
Bad decision by the Dems to not pound him on that.
And he never said why he changed his tune....
I'm a bit discouraged with everyone involved. Populism can be a dangerous thing -- that's why we are a Republic, thanks to The Founders -- people don't often take to nuances and complications, so they ignore them and just bleat for change (It happened with the 0-Man phenomena, and now with the HC debate).
Politicians are natural liars, so what you end up with are leaders that in bad times, instead of solving problems, exacerbate them by bending to whatever portion of the population is bleating the loudest.
In good times the same Pols are for sale to the highest bidder. This goes for both Dems and 'pubs.
BUT -- Had the Massachusetts legislature not tried to screw with things when Kerry was losing his Presidential run, a Dem would have been appointed after Kennedy's death and a Dem would be elected during a regular cycle.
The really funny thing is that when the 'pubs screamed about changing the rules, the Dems ALL - every single one of them - said "Well, that's just politics. Suck it up and play with the big boys."
Karma is indeed a bitch.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Many people are receptive to nature-oriented spirituality, as celebrated in “Avatar,” but they don’t think of it as a central or necessary part of their lives. They don't view such spirituality as a "religion" in any historically conventional sense. This means that when times get hard, there is any inconvenience or even persecution, they feel no responsibility to follow through on this spirituality.
Friday, January 15, 2010
This will never fly, BUT… Do away with the OSHP.
We have no need for a state level law enforcement agency relegated to traffic enforcement; it is nothing more the revenue generating.
We have OBCI for investigations of a felonious nature. We have a solid force of County Sheriffs throughout the state to handle other types of criminal, and as officers of the courts; civil matters as well.
OSHP is a huge waste of state funds, relegated to cherry-picking remote stretches of road, baby-sitting accident scenes and practicing court-sponsored violations of Constitutional Rights.
Deactivate the entire OSHP, and give the tax money back to the counties. It can be spent on upgrading Sheriff Departments and maintaining roads.
In reality, the OSHP only exists as a revenue collection agency for the state with their obvious ticket quotas and close tie-ins with outside groups both actively encouraging and dependent upon the income generated through this culture of revenue.
Part of our court system and many of these interconnected agencies exist as part of this revenue stream. It's all part of the government bloat and waste that is Californiaizing Ohio.
Any Sheriff Deputy can take an accident report and often does.
Put the money and the responsibility back in the hands of real Peace Officers and do away with fake cops.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
... The Truth.
I think the really funny thing is that Harry Reid, the comsumate back-room, cigar-smoke dealmaker, is being castigated for telling the truth - for just once - and saying what everybody was/is thinking.
Come on, you don't think that every single Democrat power-broker wasn't salivating over a Black/Irish pol who exhibited every trait of the Ivy-school scion that he really is, but can turn on the "dialect" at will, and speak idiom where it is understood, makes points and is considered a sign of bonding and identification?
AND, you don't think that every single Republican power-broker wasn't combing the bushes of every Red-state for a 'pub that matched the above? And you don't think they weren't green with envy?
Come on...! Geesh.
It is so hilarious that a politician of Reid's "skill" at deceit, is getting in trouble for telling the truth. And, it's a sign of the depth of depravity of both the American system and the way we have been trained to think, that this is actually being considered a serious flaw -- when there are so many other deparately important and way-of-life threatening subversions of congressional power taking place.