Wednesday, March 31, 2010
TACKS---Or tax, as the case may be. The State I live in is like most other States, having a budget that is out of control, and a Governor and Legislature that is trying to balance the budget, without causing an election backlash this fall. Well, except for the Gov. he is out any way, cause he can't run again. He has been offered a Million $$$$ plus job in Washington, Dee Cee, but says he isn't sure he wants to take it. If he does, he has to leave soon, and resign from his Governor position to go. Early in his first term, he got the tax on food eliminated. During the legislative special session last month, the Legislature brought back the food tax to help balance the budget, as well as a .75 cent raise in taxes on cigarettes. Among other things. The Gov approved the tobacco tax, but vetoed the food tax. Said the budget would have to be balanced some other way. Three of the cities in this State have red light camera's. And they have generated several thousands of dollars (hundreds of thousands, in some cases) for the coffers of the cities and the State. Now, the hi way department says that some of those cameras are actually on State highways, and not cities, so they have to come down. DUH! They are bringing in money to help the State coffer's that are in need. And they don't tax any one, not even the smokers or drinkers. Just law breakers. And when we see, on a daily basis, people in our small city, uh town, speeding, running stop signs, etc. and a police officer is there and can see it, why isn't the law breaker stopped and ticketed, and a fine paid. Again, no tax on any one, but money in much needed coffers. And if a fine is not wanted, then just obey the law. How simple is that. Oh! and one other thing. If the local, state and federal Government really needs to balance the budget, a lot of programs could be eliminated, necessitating the populace to take care of themselves, and not rely on the tic's to take care of them and tell them what to do. And that's the View From The Ditch Bank
Monday, March 29, 2010
IT'S IN THE MAIL---Maybe. Did you hear the news. The Post Office is going broke. And they are thinking about shutting down mail delivery on Saturday. You're just gonna get your bills during the week. When I was growing up we only got mail 3 days a week, any way. Don't remember it hurting us any to not have mail 6 days a week. Probably won't hurt us any to just get it 5 days a week, now. Maybe they can even cut back to three days a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. All in favor say eye; uh I; or maybe aye or just aiiii. Oh well, before the postal service can be cut back, it needs the approval of Congress. And the news reported that the request to congress for this approval would be sent by E Mail. Now, that's kinda like cuttin off yer nose to spite yer face. And that's the View From The Ditch Bank
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY--Have you ever seen that movie. A spaghetti western staring Clint Eastwood. One of the few movies that I didn't particularly like. I only actually walked out on one movie that I had paid money to see. And the above named movie isn't it. I think I should have, though. And what does that have to do with this post. Well, since this is another post about the health care bill, I think maybe the title fits. So, lets look at it a bit. This bill is over 2000 pages, a bill that President Obama wanted, but was crafted by Nancy Pelosi.( This was on the news this morning.) Oh,but they didn't really pass their bill, since the House of Reprobates, had to pass the one the Senate had already passed back in December. The House only agreed to pass that one, if the Senate would then make some changes on their bill and then pass the changes on something called reconciliation. they only need a simple majority of 51 votes to do that. That vote is coming soon. One can only assume that it will pass also. Now, the people of this country has been at odds with each other over something or other since way back to George Washington. The civil war, ( can war actually be civil?) Although there have been times of the people splitting over something down through the times, the last time in my life that I saw the country split really bad was during the Vietnam War. Until now. This country is split on the health care issue. According to the news, 46% for it 45% against it. Uh! where is the other 9%? makes one wonder if they were even ask. Or having a tea party or something.So, maybe that is the ugly.The people at odds with each other. lets see if there is any good, or bad. The bill comes with a price tag of $940 billion over 10 years. Bad. The congressional Budget Office says it will cut the deficit $130 billion in the next 10 years and $1.2 Trillion in the following 10 years. if it does, Good. Now, if what is being reported is correct, most of the items in this bill will not even take affect until 2014, some not until 2018. So, there will be very little immediate affect. Except by the insurance company legal offices, trying to find the loopholes. And they will find them. You can't convince me that the government can write a bill of over 2000 pages and not leave some loopholes. MAYBE not intentionally, but they will be there. And the insurance company lawyers will find them. Assuming that all actually does go as planned, then all Americans will have access to health care by 2014. Good. The insurance companies can't drop you or raise your premiums cause you got sick. Good. There will be no public option, so you can't buy insurance from the Government, except Medicare and Medicaid. Good. In fact I would rather use my company insurance and drop medicare all together. But I can't. bad. All Americans, except for those making less money than my piddling retirement, will be required to have insurance, or be fined. $95.00 the first year and up to $695.00 in years after that. Bad. This bill will cover abortions. bad Unless that gets changed in the upcoming reconciliation vote. If so, and no loopholes, then Good. Since I am retired, and have to have Medicare, by law, I have no choice, Medicare will be cut. Bad. I don't know yet how much, but it makes it Bad for those of us who had to sign up for medicare, and then be told, sorry, we can't help you as much as we have been doing. Bad. Bet my premiums don't go down, though. It will tax those making over $200,000 a year to pay for this. If this bill is going to cut the deficit, why do we need the extra taxes? Maybe congress needs a raise to compensate for all the hard work they did crafting this bill. If it actually does cut the deficit, that will be good. if not, then my grandchildren will be paying a large tax to pay for this. I am leery of any thing the government says is good for me, but I hope this one turns out to be the exception. And that is the View From The Ditch Bank.
Friday, March 19, 2010
MANNERS--For those few of you that have been reading this blog from the first, or those other few that may have come around later, but actually scrolled back to the original post, you may remember that I said that I would not post about my life, at least not very often. And I will not, very often, but on occasion, I will. And today is one of those occasions. Kinda. I think we are not the only ones who get those phone calls that interrupt you when you least expect it. Only now, they are getting to kinda be expected. You know the ones. Wanting you to subscribe to something, or buy something. I have actually answered some of them lately. Mostly not. They always come from some other state, but mostly New York, Florida, or Kentucky, according to the caller ID. One I answered the other day the caller ID said New York, but the man I talked to said he was in Nevada. Oh, OK, like that makes a difference. He wanted me to sign up for some health insurance. And when he started the phone call, he started calling me by my first name. ME: Uh do we know each other? HIM: No but ( my first name again ) I just wanted to tell you about this insurance program. ME: If we are not acquainted, my name is Mr. Lee ( that's the name I use for this blog ) and you can use that name until we become better acquainted. HIM: OK. Well, the upshot of that conversation is that I said no to his proposal. Then a call a day or so later from Florida. ME: Hello HIM: ( my first name ) I want to help you with --------- ME: Are we acquainted? HIM: no, but ME: well, until we are you can use my last name. I am an old man and when I was growing up, it was proper and good manners to not call people by their first name unless you were good friends of the same age and allowed to do so. HIM: Well, times change. ME: Yes, you are correct, but good manners do not. They might be ignored, but they do not change. He used my last name, reluctantly, for the duration of that call. Which did not last long, as I wasn't interested in what he was trying to sell me. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and as I wrote in my original blog, am happy to say so and to be so. In the Church we call each other Brother and Sister as a matter of respect, and only among really good friends do we use other terms of address. And I am an old man, and am very sorry to see that good manners are going by the way side. I hope that there are some young people out there that feel the same way and will start a movement to bring back good manners. And That's the View From The Ditch Bank.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
OUT, DAMN SPOT, OUT I SAY---Oh no, you say, he has taken to reading Shakespeare. Nope, not so McGee. But I do remember reading the play MacBeth when I was in high school. Some will say, in that case I probably read it in the original text. Nope, wrong again. I will say I don't exactly remember how the play went, but my poor memory seems to think that MacBeth and his wife killed King Duncan, and then kept killing to cover their tracks, which didn't work as MacBeth was killed by someone in the end and Lady Mac took her own life. I think it was her that uttered the above quote, trying to get rid of some blood that wouldn't go away. So why do I bring this up? Well, a night or so ago I was watching the news and they told of a poll that had been taken that said that while President Obama's approval ratings had slipped drastically, the approval ratings of those in congress had slipped even worse than that. And that the country, according to the poll, was about evenly split on their opinion of the Health Care Bill, but that 75% of those in the poll said that they thought that we should vote every one of the congress members out of office. And it didn't matter if they were Democrat or Republican. And when they reported that, the out of office statement, the above quote just came to mind. And just as I didn't read the play, way back in high school, in the original hand of Shakespeare, I don't think very many, if any, of the politicians in Washington have read the Health care bill in the original text either. This bill runs way over 1000 pages and contains so many clauses that each Representative or Senator just have a small inkling of what, exactly, is contained in the bill In total. One gets on TV and says one thing, another gets on TV and says something else. And I wouldn't believe any thing Nancy Pelosi said any way. If is was high noon on a clear day and she said the sun was shining, I would look up, just to make sure. Well, a vote will be coming soon, but now they want to add some other things to the bill and then vote on the package deal, not just the Health Care Bill. This, just to make sure those recalcitrant Democrats vote on it, in order to get the things they want that will be in the package deal. It is somewhat more complicated that that, but that is the simple explanation. And I am simple. But I wonder, sometimes, if, as a country, we aren't taking the route of Lady MacBeth when we allow those in Congress to push through bills and laws that are just popular to those who want them passed, and not so popular with the country as a whole. Yep, I think in November, we just need to make use of the opening quote and bring in a whole new gown, uh group, to see if they will realize what the people they represent want. Probably they will, for about 30 minutes. And that's The View From The Ditch Bank.
Monday, March 15, 2010
AS THE WORLD TURNS---No, I am not taking up Soap Opera watching. Although I did watch a couple of S.O's, 25 or 30 years ago. I recently was in a waiting room somewhere and one of the soap opera's I used to watch was on and I soon realized that even though some of the actors were different, it was the same people, doing the same thing they were doing when I watched decades back. If I was to watch for a week or so I would realize I hadn't missed a thing. Wait; I haven't watched for decades and I haven't missed a thing. But I digress. I am blogging today about the current daylight time change. Now, I know that the idea in modern times comes from that venerable old statesman Benjamin Franklin. While he espoused the idea, it didn't really become the flavor of the day. There was a man in England in the early 1900's who fostered the idea of daylight saving time, but he was mostly ignored, except for those who would lampoon him in the press. I did BING this but I forget his name. He died before the start of WW1. Why mention this fact. Well, cause, the modern version of daylight saving time started during this war. It began when Germany and Austria took time by the forelock, and began saving daylight by advancing the clock forward one hour on April 30, 1916. this was to last until the following October. Other countries that soon followed this action was Belgium; Denmark; France; Italy; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Norway; Portugal; Sweden; Turkey; Tasmania; Nova Scotia and Manitoba. England followed suit 3 weeks later on May 21, 1916. In 1917 Australia and New Foundland began saving daylight. The United States didn't follow suit until 1918. time has been almost as controversial as water ever since time began, I suppose, but since there wasn't the ease of travel between countries, heck, even between counties or towns, until about 100 years ago, a universal time really didn't matter that much. Even after the afore mentioned war, time was often a product of local customs. Speaking strictly of the United States, now, it was the railroads that brought a lot of what we now have is standard time about. They would leave one city on the time that was in affect there and arrive according to the time in affect in the arrival town. Or rival town, as the case may be. The railroads were the ones that created what we now have as the time zones in the U.S. of A. As local governments elected to be affiliated with one zone or another, these zones were drawn accordingly. The time zone lines have been altered accordingly from time to time according to local desires. Daylight saving time was used according to local customs and desires also. So when did this all become standardized and law. One would think a long time ago, HUH? Well, to some of you, it was a long tome ago. But the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, on April 12, 1966. Yep, just 44 years ago. It was to begin the last Sunday of April and end the last Sunday of October. States could opt out of daylight saving time if they wanted to. So Arizona and Hawaii did. Congress enacted legislation in 1986 to start this on the first Sunday of April instead of the last Sunday. They then created the Energy policy act of 2005 to extend the time for daylight saving time, but reserved the right to revert to the 1986 law, should the longer daylight saving time span prove to be unpopular. So, if you would like to have this longer time repealed, talk to congress. Maybe they will forget health care for a few minutes while they change the time, again. As a side note, Australia also adopted using daylight saving time, but the State of Queensland decided it didn't work for them,so like Arizona, they opted out. Even so, there are a few areas in Queensland that do use daylight time, but for the most part, that State does not. It is also interesting to note, that while Arizona does not change to daylight time, The Navajo nation, which is in three states, of which Arizona is one, does change to daylight time. The Navajo Nation surrounds the Hopi Nation, which stays on Arizona time, creating a donut hole of time in that state. Well, I have lived in standard time year around, daylight time part of the year, and I just wish they would decide on a time, and leave it. Like the Indian says, daylight time is kinda like cutting a foot off one end of a blanket and sewing it on the other end to make it longer. It just don't change the length. Maybe, if some of those math whizzes would use their blackberry's and figure it out, they could change the time just enough to get back the micro second we lost from the earthquake in Chile. However, whether they use standard time, daylight time, or a combination, in the overall scheme of things, just like the soap opera's, when all is said and done, I ain't missed a thing. And that's the View From The Ditch Bank.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
ABUSE---What comes to mind when this words pops up? I know there will be different responses from different people. There are many kinds. Physical, mental, sexual, a combination of those as well as many others. I am going to address alcohol abuse a bit, from the serious to the UH! kinda humorous. Here in the State where I live, Alcohol abuse is a very serious problem. The recent legislative session didn't balance the budget, so the Gov called them back for a special session to take care of that. In a few days they came up with several things to bring that balance about. They cut some spending and raised some taxes. Raised taxes on food and imposed an additional $.75 a pack tax on cigarettes. There was also a proposal to raise taxes on alcohol, but that one was voted down. Why? don't know, actually. I know they said that alcohol abuse was a problem, but adding taxes wouldn't solve that problem. Oh! I thought they were trying to balance the budget, not solve the alcohol problem. 20 years or so ago, a drunk Navajo man got on the interstate near Albuquerque going the wrong way and hit and killed a family. He just recently was released from jail for this. Last year a drunk man got on the freeway north of Albuquerque and hit and killed himself and several family members in the other car. Last year a drunk man veered across the center line and hit and killed 4 of the 5 teenagers in the car he hit. His trial is pending. Last week a man spent time drinking at the bar in an Albuquerque Applebees's, then left there and went to a different restaurant where he continued to drink. When informed by the restaurant that he needed to get something to eat instead of more drinks, he skipped out on his tab and shortly after that hit a car with a family in it and killed two high school girls. The family was on their way home from a high school basketball game. Just a small part of the many incidents that happen on a daily basis here in this area. Now, for a little humor, kinda. A few days ago, in Albuquerque, a woman called 911 and the call went something like this. 911 MAY I HELP YOU---CALLER; YES I AM DRIVING DRUNK, I HAVE MY CHILDREN IN THE CAR AND WOULD LIKE THE POLICE TO COME AND PICK ME UP. 911- ARE YOU STILL DRIVING---- CALLER YES 911 CAN YOU PULL OVER AND STOP AND TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE? CALLER YES And she did and waited for the cops to come to her. Now, the news played the 911 tape and the conversation wasn't exactly as I stated it, but that was close and that was what happened. She was charged with child abuse and endangerment. Not with DUI. At least not yet. Said she had been at her mother's house, drinking and had just left there when she made that call. We can be glad she had the presence of mind to make that call before something serious happened, but also have to wonder why she left her mothers house in that condition in the first place. And why she was allowed to. A lot of information was not reported on the news. I find it humorous that someone would call 911 and say I'm driving drunk, come get me. Still, the problem is very serious, and so just have to wonder why the powers that be find it OK to tax food, but not alcohol. Makes one wonder where the problem is, exactly. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
SHIFT OF THE AXIS---Although this has not been a big thing on the media, the news reports are saying that the huge earthquake in Chile has moved the City of Concepcion 10 feet to the west, and has shifted the earth on it's axis by 3 inches. It also shortened the day by a micro second. Now, here in my little corner of the world, that hasn't caused any thing of any notice, but it does give you some pause to think. If the earth shifted by three inches, how will it affect the weather patterns over a period of time. What will Al Gore, that organizer of global warming, (Where has he been this winter of cold and snow ) do about it. And the day is now shorter by a micro second. Does that mean we have less time to get ready for the second coming. To straighten up and fly right, as the saying used to be. Maybe all this is a sign of the times and we just need to pay attention and spend our time flying right and be less concerned about Hollywood and those things that are really of no concern, although the media seems to think those people are where it all is. Sorry, I don't agree, and think we, as a people and a nation, and as a world, need to shift our own axis back to more of what is important, before our days get shorter than even a micro second. And that is The View From The Ditch Bank
Friday, March 5, 2010
TICK/TICS REVISITED----Well, the Obama/Pelosi/Reid faction are in the process of forcing a vote on the health care bill. I have been trying to keep up on this item and trying to make sense of all that is going on and being said, and done. So, after all I have read and heard, so far, here is my uneducated opinion. First; The Senate already passed a health care bill, last Christmas Eve.In that bill there were spending cuts and outrageous pork barrel spending deals for Nebraska, Connecticut, Louisiana and others. Things that the American people have made clear they hate. Second; And then in a special election the Democrats lost their 60 vote majority. So now they are talking about using a rule called reconciliation, which needs only 51 votes to pass the bill. The Republicans are crying foul or fowl or something. Even though they used this procedure when they had the chance. Never the less, at this point this is all mute. And as I understand it, here is why. Third; Before they can use the reconciliation method, the house has to act on the Christmas Eve bill passed by the Senate. With all the pork. That we don't like. And they need 216 votes to pass it. And getting that many votes at this time is questionable. Why, you ask, cause the people don't like that bill, and the bulk of the house members are up for election this fall. And if they pass an unpopular bill, they will be voted out of office. And they don't want that. So they may not pass the Senate's Christmas Eve bill. And if they don't, then the bill is dead, and they will have to start over with a brand new bill. And Fourth; right now, the bulk of the people are more concerned with the economy and jobs, rather than health care. Why, well, cause the majority of the people have health care through their employment, and the unemployed can't afford to buy insurance; which the already mentioned Senate bill would require them to do or be incarcerated. Hmmm. Well, both the Pres. and Ms. Pelosi have told the members of the house to vote for this bill, EVEN THOUGH YOU WILL PROBABLY BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE THIS FALL for doing so. The Pres. said in a news conference, ( did you see that one ?) that this bill needs to be passed, now. Cause he's tired of waiting. The American people and the economy can't wait. What???This bill is going to cost the tax payers BILLIONS. I'm thinkin' that we can wait. How can this bleeding of more tax money be good for the economy. Well, back to the reconciliation part of all this. If the house does pass the Senate bill and all it's pork chops, then, and only then, can they pass a bill through reconciliation, with some changes that the house has proposed, eliminating the deals with the States mentioned earlier in this post. Not that what they reconcile will be good for the public as a rule, but they can improve it. If they want to. But if they have already passed a health care bill, will they want to? Time will tell. Now, I have said in past blogs that I feel that everyone should have access to AFFORDABLE health care. I still believe so. But I don't think it should be regulated by the government. I had health care through my employer. When I retired last year, because I am old ( just ask my kids ) I had to sign up for medicare within 30 days of be penalized. That's the law. I had no choice. So, they hold $96.00 and change from my Social Security check each month to pay for the medicare. And they hold $96.00 and change a month from the check MLWFAE gets. This pays for about 80% of our medical bills. The company pension plan holds $166.00 a month from my pension check each month for medical care. This pays only if medicare pays less than 80%. The main benefit I get from this plan is that they pay for prescriptions at a better rate than the medicare ( read government ) plan. I could opt out of the company insurance plan, and save that money each month, but I don't dare , cause I don't know what the tics may wind up doing to us.And we pay over $90.00 a month for a COBRA insurance that pays for vision and dental care. for 18 months from date of retirement. Which was over a year ago. So, MLWFAE and I will get new glasses and teeth before this insurance stops. Cause neither the company insurance nor medicare cover those items. So, if you have health care through your employer, keep it. And pay attention to what the tics are trying to do. And voice your opinion to them on affordable health care. With out the pork. And the threats of jail if you don't buy it. We are allowing too much government control in matters that is not the concern of the government. Sorry for the long post,but if you actually made it this far THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
SPILLS, CHILLS AND THRILLS.---Well, as you know, the Olympics ended two days ago. I have kinda watched or otherwise kept up with the Olympics for many years now. But I did more watching, keeping up with, this year than I have in years past. Not counting the normal opening ceremony, the Olympics opened with a Russian Luger crashing to his death in a practice run, and ended with Canada winning the gold medal in Hockey. I didn't watch the hockey game. To me, it's kinda like football, only worse. If you don't understand it, and aren't really into it, it is not interesting. I don't watch football, either. But I digress. U.S. ski stars, Lindsey Vonn and Bodie Miller both won gold. On the skating rink, Evan Lysacek, Shani Davis won gold while Apolo Ohno metaled, but not gold. Shaun White won another gold medal on the half pipe and Australian member of the church Torah Bright also won gold in the half pipe. South Korean Kim Yu Na was breathtaking on the ice, skating to Olympic history. Even to my uneducated eyes, I knew she had won. Now I know that an axle is a part of a vehicle,single, double and triple toes obviously refers to the front part of the foot, and a salchow has to be some kind of food the skaters eat to make them stronger, but I still knew she had won. And I had to cheer Canadian skater Rochette who won a bronze medal competing just days after her mother died from a heart attack. I have mentioned just a very few of the medal winners, but there was also the spills. Lindsey Vonn, who won a gold and a silver medal, also had a bad crash,but only breaking a finger, may Lugers crashed as they sped down the track, many skiers beside Vonn had horrific crashes, there were spills in figure skating and on the fast track, heartache for the Netherlands Sven Kramer, who was sure to win gold, until his coach signaled him to change lanes. He did and was disqualified, because he was in the correct lane to start with. His coach made the mistake. There were crashes on the half pipe, and on the slopes and on the ice. There were also extreme moves made on the half pipe and on skies, moves and twists and turns that had never been done before in the Olympics. Crashes that the athletes walked away from, that would hospital me for months, if not kill me outright. These people are extremely conditioned. There were only two doping situations, both for stimulants in cold medicine and considered minor in nature, warranting only a reprimand and to individuals not in the medal bracket. I enjoyed this Olympics more than any other I have ever watched, and have heard several people I know, as well as many on the TV shows, say the same thing. Having said all this, I wonder if future games are heading for tragedy, with the athletes trying more and more to do twists and flips and go faster than ever, until they reach a point of no return, as the spills will be so severe that they take away the thrills. Death in the games, as well as in other events, ( racing, rodeo and other sporting events) is not a new thing. But I fear that it is going to become more common as the athletes push the envelop to develop acts that not only tempt death but end in death, at every corner. And I think that would be a bad thing for the games. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.