Friday, March 26, 2010

A Great Sunny Day

There's only one thing wrong with today. First thing this morning our furnace went on the blink. The wiring board went kaput! The heating/air man ordered the new one but it won't be in until late Monday. It will cost $202 plus tax and a $75 service call.

If we didn't have bad luck, we wouldn't have any luck at all. First the hot water tank and now the furnace. What's next?

But it was a lovely day. We went to Chanute and ate lunch out with Gay and Tony. We split a hamburger and fries.

This afternoon Bob took a nap and I am now warming up our beans and cornbread from last night for supper.

Nothing much on TV tonight. I guess I'll read.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Rainy Day Turned Sunny

This has been a strange day. On one hand it rained all morning and then after noon, the sun came out. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow and then rain for two more days.

I've probably said this before but when Social Security was passed, many were very angry and disappointed. It was updated from time to time and tuned up. Now those of us in our retirement years are grateful to have it. Many of us, Bob and me included, would have to work until we died if we didn't have it.

Then when Medicare passed, many were very unhappy again. Again, over the years it was re-tuned until it seems to take care of most of the needs of retired folks over 65. Without it, many of us would be in medical bankruptcy.

It's hard to understand why everyone is so angry. This law will be tuned up again and again until it serves the needs of everyone.

Those who are critical should talk to someone from Norway or Sweden. They have socialized medicine and are very happy with it. Those are countries where there is no rich or poor and everyone has 90 days of vacation. Anyone who wishes may go to college does so free of charge. Now I am not recommending that we change our form of government to socialism and we are far from it with this health care fix.

I have friends who have lived under socialized medicine and they are delighted with it. We hear a lot about folks having to wait for treatment but none of them have any complaint. We do not and will not have socialized medicine here but to hear some talk, we do.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Crazies Are Out

It appears to me from watching the news and reading the newspapers that the crazies are out in force in America today. The congress passed, and the president signed, the health care reform bill and over the weekend at five different locations, bricks were thrown through the windows and doors of the Democratic party's headquarters buildings and the offices of some of the members of right here in Kansas in Wichita. Congresspeople who voted for the bill have received death threats and some even have had the lives of their children threatened.

The brother of one of the Democrat members of congress reported that someone had cut the gas line at his home where his family was sleeping. They smelled the gas and awoke in time to get out. Someone...another such crazy, thought his address was that of his brother.

One goofy organization is meeting in Washington next month on April 19th, the anniversary of the Branch Davidian fiasco as well as the date of the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing where over 175 innocent people were killed by a crazy mad bomber...and amazingly, these people are bringing their guns to Washington.

What kind of America are we living in? A vote was taken and we Republicans lost the vote. But John Boehner, the minority leader of the Senate has been encouraging dissention with his inflammatory words for months. Finally today, after months of urging such dissention, he said this violence was not the American way....a day late and a dollar short, I'm afraid.

One man named Mike Vanderboegh from the south is publicly encouraging violence against the government and the congress. He is the one who encouraged the brick throwing. He is encouraging dissent against the government yet he lives on social security disability. It appears to me that if I were dead set against the government and interference of the government in my personal business and even my life, I would refuse to accept social security disability. Not this crazy. He speaks from both sides of his mouth.

But the really crazy thing is that evidently people are listening to him and doing the things he is advocating.

In what kind of America are we living? Has our world gone completely crazy? The way to show dissent is at the ballot box not with threats, guns and violence. Write letters to your congressmen if you're dissatisfied with the way things are going. Volunteer to help with the election of your favorite candidate. But Boehner is right about one thing....violence is not the American way.

Good Story Today

I went to Independence today and had my hair done. Afterward I came home and read my blogs and then Bob and I went to the last of the Lenten Luncheons. It was excellent. The food was very good and the speaker, the Presbyterian woman minister, was also excellent. She told a story that proved to be a very good and true story.

Twenty years ago, she was Christina Education director at a Presbyterian Church in North Dakota. She was there with her youngest child who was a senior in high school. Her husband, who had been recently retired from an Air Force career, was in Kansas looking for work. They had bought land there and had every intention of moving there now that he was retired. Their middle child was in college far away and their eldest was far away too and in the middle of a divorce. She had a big house to sell and there were no buyers.

She was very depressed. Nothing was going well. She missed her husband, who was having a hard time finding a civilian job. She missed the middle child and she couldn't fix the marriage of the eldest. She felt her life was out of control.

The winter snow had begun to melt and with the melting, the roof at the church, and especially in the day care area began to leak. The roofers were there and beginning to put on the new roof. There was a lot of hammering and nailing going on that the noise was very bad. On top of that, the large old fashioned globe chandeliers were swinging with each hammer sound.

One day, one of the day care people from the church's day care was ill and she was asked to fill in for the day. She often did that. They had three and four year olds in that group. Miss Annie, the regular teacher called to the children to get prepared for their story time and the children took off their shoes and went to fetch their little quilted squares which they used to sit on for story time.

They sat in a semi circle and began listening as Miss Annie read the story for the day. Suddenly, Miss Annie asked the children to scoot up two scoots toward her. The helper looked up, wondering what had happened to cause the break in the story and the strange request. The children didn't miss a beat. They scooted twice and the story continued. They were, as usual enthralled. Miss Annie was a terrific story teller. She had been at it for twenty years.

Out of the corner of her eye, the helper (our speaker) saw something happen. One of the large globe chandeliers fell and landed exactly two scoots behind the children, shattering into dozens of pieces. The children didn't move. Calmly, Miss Annie finished the story and then told the children to very carefully move from their places, avoiding the broken glass, to a safe place in another corner of the room. She and her helper then cleaned up the broken glass and and delivered the children to their parents when they came to pick them up. They told the story of the incident to each parent, wanting to avoid a "guess what happened at school today" incident at home.

After all the children were gone, she turned to Miss Annie and asked "How on earth did you know that was going to happen?" "I haven't a clue", said Miss Annie. "It was as though a voice other then my own spoke those words".

The house sold right away after that. Her husband even found a job.

She received a card from Miss Annie as she was packing to leave and the card said, "We may never see one another again, but one thing we both know is that we witnessed a miracle together". She never saw Miss Annie after that but she also never forgot their experience.

Now Bob is taking his nap and I am blogging. Tonight we will do nothing at all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Travel Tuesday

After I returned from my sister's this morning we went to Bartlesville. We searched around for some indoor/outdoor carpeting that would fit our walk. We have painted the cement every year since we moved here and for the first time in seven years, the paint peeled. Now we have to scrape and repaint again just as soon as all the snow is gone. We could find nothing that would fit our area.

We ate at a small cafe in town there in Bartlesville called "Pies and More". It was good. We had no pie though. Neither of us needed any. I, because of my weight and Bob, because of his diabetes.

We will stay at home the rest of the day. Bob is napping right now.

Tonight we will probably just watch TV. Our next concert is not until April 16th and I will be at Conference at that time. Bob has made himself available for Red Cross. I'm not sure how we will take care of the animals since I will be gone and so will he if they call him up. I guess I'll worry about that when the time comes...if it comes.

I went out to the patio and washed off the filthy furniture out there. I will be so glad when the weather clears for good. This has been a lovely day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Big Short

If anyone here is interested in how the sub prime mortgage mess actually occurred, they should read Michael Lewis' new book, "The Big Short".

He has written a readable, concise and very interesting account of how that financial mess came about, and which of the half dozen folks in America saw it coming. This is a book hard to put down. I read it in three days and could have read it in one if I hadn't been busy.

When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine, and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.

I highly recommend this book.

Healthcare Bill

Well, they did it. The house passed the health care bill and the reconciliation as well. It was a tough fight but it may have saved Obama's presidency. At least he has one thing to brag about now at the next national election. I fear for the Democrats though. After this fight and all the misleading and actual false information spread by the Republicans, they may lose lots of seats in the mid term elections. I went to and checked out all the false information each time another line was invented and learned that almost all the information started by the Republicans was just pure fiction. Unfortunately the bulk of the American people don't check anything out. They just listen to the loudest voices. And, of course, the loudest voices are the fearful Republicans.

Here are the changes to take effect immediately. Does anyone here want to advocate for repeal? Which ones would you like to repeal?

* Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
* Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
* Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
* Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
* Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
* Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
* Require plans to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26;
* Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
* Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
* Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

The low income Americans will get subsidies to help them pay for the insurance. The rest will find affordable health insurance just like they do with their car shopping around. This should make the industry more competitive. And the industry will have another 30 million customers. They should be delighted.

They will have many customers like me...folks who never need health insurance but who pay for it anyhow. They should offset those who are ill and really need it.

One of the best things that came out of this vote was that it closed the donut hole for prescription drugs. I have a dear friend who lives on less then $1,000 a month, who has macular degeneration and glaucoma. She spends $400. a month on eye drops. Before the unfunded prescription drug bill was introduced, she spent $200 a month on the same drops. Every October, she went into the donut hole and had to pay the entire $400 a month out of her pocket until she met their limit....on top of that, she still paid the premium. She is 88 years old and struggles.

This will help her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The President's Health Care Plan

Overview of the President's Proposal

The President’s Proposal puts American families and small business owners in control of their own health care.

* It makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today. This helps over 32 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more. Under the plan, 95% of Americans will be insured.
* It sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the same choices of insurance that members of Congress will have.
* It brings greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
* It will end discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
* It puts our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years – and more than $1 trillion over the second decade – by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.

The President’s Proposal bridges the gap between the House and Senate bills and includes new provisions to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse.

It includes a targeted set of changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Senate-passed health insurance reform bill. The President’s Proposal reflects policies from the House-passed bill and the President’s priorities. Key changes include:

* Eliminating the Nebraska FMAP provision and providing significant additional Federal financing to all States for the expansion of Medicaid;
* Closing the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” coverage gap;
* Strengthening the Senate bill’s provisions that make insurance affordable for individuals and families and increase protections for out-of-pocket costs;
* Strengthening the provisions to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid;
* Increasing the threshold for the excise tax on the most expensive health plans from $23,000 for a family plan to $27,500 and starting it in 2018 for all plans.

Snowy Sunday

It snowed all day yesterday and we have about 6 - 8 inches here. We had to call off church since we're in the country and we would get stuck in our parking lot. We have no way to clear it.

I have been doing maintenance on my laptop computer. I will do the desktop after awhile. This is a good time to do these chores.

Yesterday I did some cleaning although it didn't do a lot of good. Slinky was in the kitchen/utility area all day and was very unhappy about the snow. He woke me up twice last night to get out to do his duty. Then Missy the cat also woke me. She thought she wanted out but after I opened the door she decided not. However, once they wake me up, they go out whether they want to or not.

This morning I downloaded the new version of Firefox browser. It has a reminder with it. You put your events into it and it reminds you every time you open the Firefox browser. Pretty neat!

Bob wants to go up to Sirloin Stockade for lunch. He even went out and cleared a path in the drive to get the car out. It's our only form of recreation so we may do it.

Tonight we will stay in and watch Sixty Minutes. Next Sunday we are to have the Living the Questions group here. I hope it doesn't snow again. After all, it's supposed to be spring. Some spring!!