Saturday, March 25, 2017

REPRIEVE ---- LOSS

REPRIEVE FOR AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Trump/Ryan Health Care Act has been side-lined for now for the wrong reason – only because a minority group within the Republican Party refused to vote for it as they wanted even more draconian measures – not because the Act was a travesty against efforts to provide reasonable health care for the vast majority of American citizens.  

How about the rest of the Republican Representatives, or some of them, meeting with some Democrat Representatives – they could actually try to examine the ACA aka Obama Care to adjust for more cost effectiveness and efficiency.   Some adjustments were expected to be necessary after that legislation was implemented.   Congress could actually perform some meaningful work to earn the salary we hired/elected them to do. 


LOSS

Schmidley's Scribblings  daughter reports her mother has passed away.   I've enjoyed visiting this blogger who offered a true elder's perspective, garnered from years of significant work in our government and a master's degree in history obtained in her seventies.  She was grounded in contemporary life but respected the influence of previous generations she explored in her genealogy.  Her observations were concise, evidencing humor with a sharp wit.  I only knew her through a few years of blogging, but I'll miss her photos, stories, commentary on the world we live in.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"THEM THAT'S GOT -- GETS"

  
"Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” was an incredible understatement not long ago from President Trump – a fact that for years everybody but him seemed to have recognized to be true.  Why else would it have taken his Republican Party legislators, after seven or so years of legislative dawdling, an inability to create a plan to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) , aka Obama Care?   But what did they create by throwing together a last minute plan when they suddenly had to fulfill their President’s campaign promise? 


This blues tune was written by and is identified with jazz singer Lady Day -- Billie Holiday.    The unique vocalist Eva Cassidy, with a style all her own, performs this arrangement.  She died much too young due to melanoma.   "God Bless The Child" 
from Eva's album "American Tune" (2003).

"Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose                                            
So the Bible said and it still is news"

The lyrics seem most applicable to the Trump/Ryan Health Care Act, formally known as the American Health Care Act.   The details, kept hidden so long from the public, were finally revealed at the last minute, rushing the Budget Office to assess the particulars.   We finally learned the real beneficiaries of this health care bill are for "them that's got" from this administration.     "Them that's not shall lose" evidences in the fact that those who can least afford the costs -- and even more millions who will lose health insurance -- will be the people most heavily hurt.    Where are the compassionate Republicans?   But – when selecting legislators -- will 2018 voters remember?

Gradually, I would think eyes are being opened to the fact that those with the least, also seniors,  middle class, are all going to have even less, maybe nothing at all,  or more expense -- not what the minority of citizens whose votes enabled this administration to acquire extreme power were led to believe would occur.   But – when selecting legislators -- will 2018 voters remember?

We "ain't seen nuthin' yet" -- cuz when we get to tax reduction, other plans in the works, we can only wish we could reap such benefits like the wealthy 2%  will – nothing more than token reductions, if at all, will be thrown to the vast majority of citizens.  Who was it once said “let them eat cake”?   But – when selecting legislators -- will 2018 voters remember?

Meanwhile plans are being worked up to reduce consumer protections, eliminate financial safeguards under the guise of needing to eliminate regulations to free up the business and financial world to --- rip us off.  But – when selecting legislators – will 2018 voters remember? 

There’s so much more, but I’ll save it for another time when there are sure to be even new matters to address.   Meanwhile, I maintain my sanity by finding the humor in the ridiculousness of much that is happening, some of which is predictably unpredictable.  I recognize the seriousness of the situation.  I continue to be committed to preserving our democratic republic.  I persist in resisting the inequities. 

* * *

Behind the scenes information about those who bankroll, influence, our political candidates, even “call the shots”, or all three, can be interesting.    Here’s a link to one such article just published introducing a family some may find to be of interest written by Vicky Ward:  “The Blow-It-All-Up Billionaires”.  


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ANOTHER DAY

When I wrote this the day had been a mixed one of accomplishment for me.  I felt really good mid-morning, finally being able to safely dispose of an accumulation of papers needing shredding -- thanks to our local Senior Center arranging for a shredder truck.   Maybe I can keep up with shredding here at home now.   Still lots of materials to sort through as I gradually whittle away in one of my latest projects.

Seem to be more spring time pollens in the air since February rains ending, temperatures warming, blossoms and blooms emerging, but stimulating a few sneezes and my eyes watering a bit.   Actually, it’s become suddenly summer with temps pushing 90 degrees. 

A handyman/carpenter was able to complete painting, weather/bug sealing a door replaced following also security screen door installations.  The latter I wanted because they allow me to look out but the person outside cannot readily see inside.  Also, the screens do allow more fresh air circulation in the cooling evenings if I want to catch a breeze.

Then, there was the matter of an incorrect phone bill invoice for the second month in a row.  I phoned at 5:30 pm successfully navigating my way through the recorded messages, instructions, inputting on the correct keys to then listen to interminable music before a live person answered.   Then, until 6:30 pm I related my past one year history since this new company became the provider of my land line and internet services.  Having exhausted her ability to correct my March bill by confirming the rate I had been promised in January, and the February bill had been corrected to when I phoned then, she then transferred me to another department.

Another recording and a hold for fifteen minutes more before, once again, I had to relate the past year history to which I added reference to all the internet connection outages to which I’d been subjected.  Presumably, her putting me on hold to seek further clarification, allowed another fifteen minutes to go by and then its 7 pm when suddenly my line is disconnected.   Knowing this service person had my phone number I mistakenly assumed, whether we lost contact by her accidentally or deliberately disconnecting, that she would phone me to apologize.  Wrong!   Is this a “wearing down” process?

I took the opportunity to fix and eat my dinner, but the call never came.  I was ready to let it all go for the rest of the evening, but then thought maybe I could actually reach her as I had her name – or at least the name she gave -- I always get names.  So, at 7:35 pm I phoned again, waded through all the recorded steps, and eventually reached a person, but had to eventually hold with this new person.  She was unable to resolve the issue, so I requested speaking to someone else.  At 7:50 pm she informed I would be called by another person but would be in two days.   

They better call today, or I’ll be calling them again – getting an address to write their President with a copy to the Federal Communications Commission who approved their purchase of our phone company with service strings attached for them to meet.    I’ve had a history of tolerance with this company since they took on the responsibility for our service over a year ago.  My patience has reached its limits.

 I was really tired by days end – all this wasted time as need to do further work on my income tax – another day, I guess.  


Monday, March 06, 2017

AROUND THE WORLD BLOGGING

One day in February, on a whim, I viewed my blog "Stats", which I hadn't done for years.  I was startled to see that almost six hundred "Page Views" were occurring in Russia after I published “Spirits Huddling” -- those Russian numbers continuing most of February, finally dwindling toward month’s end.           

This caused me to start thinking more about who is blogging from where.   On our own continent I enjoy visiting Canadian, Newfoundland bloggers.  I would really like some bloggers from south of our border "down Mexico way" and any of the South American countries. 

I've gone blogging across the pond again in recent months having been intrigued by comments I've read on the blogs of others I visit.   I've already been to Great Britain, Scotland, India, periodically crossed the Pacific to Australia, New Zealand, probably some other exotic places, but more recently I stopped off in Ireland and Wales.  I thought I'd share a few brief thoughts about some of them here as I used to do when I first started blogging and featured other blogs, as I added them to my sidebar list. Please note there is no significance in terms of ranking assigned to these blogs order.

I want to note, I'm always interested whenever those in other countries write their thoughts and impressions of the United States.  Such commentary is especially of interest to me now given our government's current administration and actions.

Nickhereandnow writes from Northern Ireland and has a cadre of followers who engage in some interesting conversations.   Recently several who commented introduced terms with which I was quite unfamiliar, so quickly searched them on the internet -- expressions in common or slang usage there, just as we have our own in the U.S.  such as “posh" people.  But in another post discussing discrimination there was mentioned "pikeys" and "orange people".  I brought up "gingers" since, as a redhead, I knew the term was used in Great Britain but not so much in the U.S.  

Going Gently is a blog I just found.    Chickens pictured in the head bar greeted me at this blog, but then a whole raft of side bar and other colorful photos of various animals really intrigued me.   I especially enjoyed seeing Albert and Winnie.   Their home in this picturesque small Welsh village where all reside will have me visiting to learn more about the community.

Betty Bishop Hangs Here presents some of her interesting paintings, and drawings.    Recollections are prompted with one of her paintings "back in the day" where she stayed at Manhattan's famed Chelsea Hotel.   This Canadian octogenarian activist's various posts reveal a wide variety of experiences including the tragedy of her brother's death.    

Big John, having survived the WWII Blitz, Cold War and heaven only knows what other calamities, especially in the 20th century, is in Great Britain presenting as a great danger with his blogging as might be expected from an elder.  So, all should be wary about visiting there -- do so at your own risk!

Write Into Life by Rachel McAlpine in New Zealand features poetry, prose and photos for a stimulating variety of words, thoughts and ideas that can be a real pleasure to read as she shares her joy in writing. 

Ramana's Musings from India I've been visiting for a while, as well as a few of those above.   He writes especially with several others regularly on a variety of thought-provoking topics.   He also shares interesting commentary on his homeland.  I always welcome reading what he might have to say about events in the U.S. as I do with all those in other countries listed above. 

Day to Day Life of a Very Busy Gardener  in Scotland posts infrequently, but I've done much the same at times, so doesn't prevent me from stopping by occasionally to see what she's been up to.  Most recently I became interested there because she was incubating some chickens of a breed I was unfamiliar with -- and heaven only knows I'm no foul expert,  though my parents did raise chickens of a few more common U.S. breeds during  several years in my youth.   While the outcome wasn't as she had desired, I'll be checking back periodically to see what's next in her Scotland garden, or other "stuff" in her life.   

Still the Lucky Few sheds some interesting observations from Canada.  She writes about her pre-Boomer generation and why they are important.  She grew up on a farm but now lives in a major city with her husband, "a talented piano maestro".   Their family adds to her life's pleasures.  Her wide variety of interests reveal themselves in the topics about which she chooses to write.

The Other Side of Sixty I've been visiting for a while.   Wisewebwoman, "Irish by birth, Newfoundler by avocation"  introduces many subjects that set the wheels turning in my head.   She presents such a broad range of topics from the seemingly mundane, that can subtly transition into the profound, to a major idea that might not be so overwhelmingly important after all.  Her observations and photos keep me returning.

Vagabonde and her recollections must be included here, even though she resides in the U.S.  She is originally from France, a nation I hold in high regard.   The United States and France have a special bond, I believe, for many reasons, but especially because of their significance to our nation's founding.    Our Statue of Liberty is  also a very symbolic gift from France.   What it stands for as printed on the statue's base are sentiments that are so pertinent now  -- perhaps more than at any other time in our nation's history. 

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The writings at Vagabonde's blog reflect her views as a world traveler that I enjoy as being informative,  entertaining and educational about France, at times, as well as historical sites in the United States.  She and her husband visit interesting places that she describes in fascinating detail and share in often spectacular colorful photographs.   Recollections with visual memorabilia add special attraction to her thoroughly researched subjects.  I also appreciate the observations and commentary she offers about our nation from a unique perspective.

I especially enjoy all these blogs above because while serious topics are sometimes explored, each of these bloggers demonstrate a delightful sense of humor which has always been an important quality I've valued throughout my  life.

I mentioned earlier there is no significance in terms of ranking assigned to these blogs order, but in retrospect,  there might be one exception.   I may have saved the best 'til last.


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

BEST STATE - TAXES - PREZ ACTING?

Truth Or Consequences?

Listened to President Donald J. Trump address Congress and the nation.  For the first time to my ears and eyes, he actually behaved and spoke like he might be a country’s leader -- but what kind of leader?   Knowing his history, the words that flowed from my television’s speakers accumulated very deep in my room as I waded through them.  Some of them sounded good as I wanted them to be.  Still, when he has so repeatedly violated trust with his mendacity, how do I know much of what he said isn’t more of the same?   
    
When I texted a friend for their reaction, the response I received was:

"He’s acting as if he was on the Apprentice.   Someone else wrote the script -- he rehearsed  -- and delivered!  Maybe he should get an Academy Award.”

I found myself wondering -- has the leopard changed his spots?   

We’ve heard his talk -- now let’s see his walk.     
                

Tax Time

Time for me to go to work on my income taxes.  I’ve been doing them myself as my husband had, when he was living.   I still do them by hand rather than on my computer.  I like math.   I know there are internet programs available, also software programs that can be purchased, or even can hire someone -- the idea of paying money in order to pay taxes just doesn't sit well with me.   Why should a person have to pay money to pay taxes?   That's right!  I'm not a member of the 1%.   


Where do you want to live?   

There are many considerations when we think about desirable places to live: 
Health Care, Education, Crime and Corrections, Infrastructure, Opportunity,  Economy, Government are factors in the following report.

U.S. News and World Report offers a ranking of what states best serve their citizens.

This can be of special interest since expected federal government budget cuts will require individual states to have to assume more responsibility for many services to their citizens (cutting or eliminating services).  Middle class, poor and the less affluent segments of the population in many states may not fare so well, contrary to what citizens are being told by this administration's good intentions wishful thinking.  

As with many such rankings we may not necessarily agree with all their assessments. For many these rankings would be weighed against many other factors, not limited to, but including, cost of living, environment, and climate.   


--  No.   1  Massachusetts 
 -- No. 23  California

What do you think about where your state is ranked?