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Posts Tagged ‘government’

There’s good news and there’s bad news this week. On the good side – Our do-nothing-Congress has passed a 1+ Trillion dollar budget deal that should keep our government humming along for the next nine months. On the bad side – Congress has defunded ALL portrait painting, which is pretty stupid since I understand that every single Treasury Secretary or Secretary of Defense doesn’t need an official oil-based portrait painted costing taxpayers thousands of dollars each.

But no more Presidential portraits? Are you kidding me? Even I have had my portrait painted, by my sister mind you! This may have started my fondness for hats.

The Author, age 15 in Oklahoma

The Author, age 15 in “Oklahoma”

You know that gallery at the Smithsonian with all of our Presidents hanging regally along its walls in a continuing line of American history? Well, it’s about to stop short. Someone on the blogosphere somewhere said it’s because we can’t have a “president of color” up there with Lincoln and Roosevelt and Kennedy and really? I suppose this means no more First Ladies either.

The horse-trading was done by only about four dozen of Congress’ 533 members, working in private. What’s supposed to be 12 separate spending bills was combined into one mammoth stack that finances the government through Sept. 30.http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/01/16/5-things-to-know-about-deal-to-avert-shutdown-of-u-s-government/

It’s the “working in private” part that bothers me, behind closed doors in a secret session, along with the sheer lunacy of stopping a tradition that deserves to be maintained. I tend to think very forest for the trees about art. Artists are really doing our society a favor. They reflect back to us what’s going on in everyday life, with a different spin, giving us a new perspective. Enlightening, illuminating and just plain enriching our thirsty souls. Sometimes art can even change history. Think of the photograph of a child about to be shot in Vietnam. Think about the mini-series Roots. Think about a little Goldfinch.

Today the Oscar nominees were announced. Nothing new or unusual except Ms Oprah was denied again for her role in The Butler. A movie about a man who served how many presidents through sweeping social changes in our country. A true story, but one obviously overlooked in Hollywood. Instead a movie about a real political shakedown in NJ in the late 70s, the Abscam scandal, was the basis for the big winner, American Hustle.

“…today offering bribes in exchange for legislation seems almost quaint. The lobbyists do the same things we did, only to a much greater degree,” said John Good, a former FBI supervisor who oughtta know.http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/to-the-players-in-abscam-the-real-life-american-hustle-the-bribes-now-seem-quaint/2013/12/26/d67648c2-6c15-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html

I wonder who’s writing the Chris Christie biopic now? Maybe we need to get some art lobbyists up on the Hill. You know, bring in the big guns – the owners of auctions houses and film industry moguls, maybe a few museum directors? At least we need to appoint a Secretary of Culture, every other country in the free world has one! We don’t need to paint their portrait either. But we DO need President Obama’s portrait painted.

“I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization,” President Kennedy once remarked, “than full recognition of the place of the artist.” http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/should-the-us-have-a-secretary-of-culture/277409/

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And I say “Hell no!” My indignation this morning has nothing to do with the five, count ’em, 5 weddings we’ve been invited to this year. I’m actually glad our friend’s children and our children’s friends have decided to tie the knot. I’m equally ecstatic that my niece in MN is finally allowed to marry her partner.

What gets my Irish up is our Republican candidate for Governor – Ken Cuccinelli. If you think our current ultrasound Governor, who will hopefully be indicted soon for accepting boatloads of gifts from a political donor who presumably expected payback https://mountainmornings.net/2013/08/04/a-gift-horse/, was bad, you won’t believe what kind of religious zealot Cuccinelli is; he would like to take us back to the past, long before “irreconcilable differences” became grounds for a divorce .

His record as AG and Senator is indicative of his extreme ideology; he would like to regulate ” who you marry, what kind of contraception you use, and when you can end a bad marriage.”                email20130918.jpg

Luckily, most polls show that his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, is ahead. Not surprisingly, we women really like Terry; “Cuccinelli has a 7-point lead among men, while McAuliffe has a 14-point lead among women in the poll.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/ken-cuccinelli-terry-mcauliffe-virginia-governor-2013-poll-96976.html#ixzz2fLhhOlAS So get out there ladies, we’ve got just a few weeks left, October will be here and gone before you know it!

Besides the GOP stand or “war on women,” as adjuncts to men, you know made out of a piece of rib or something, my dander is severely raised when they try to deny science. Because this too is personal. Over the past year, three cousins and a friend have been diagnosed with cancer. They are fighting the good fight, with surgery, chemo and radiation, and I’d like to believe that our legislators will continue to fund evidence-based research at our esteemed public universities. My love and a casserole or a prayer shawl are with them all.  And my vote, for Terry.

I’d like to believe that every marriage will last forever, that every child will have two loving parents of any gender that can afford the time and money to raise them, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/can-smart-economics-turn-us-into-better-parents/279695/ and that cancer will be eradicated in my lifetime. I’d like to believe that love is all you need.

 

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In all this talk about Syria, we Americans may be forgetting that the biggest public policy shift in our lifetime is about to take place. The Affordable Care Act is rolling out on October 1st, whether Kerry manages to corral Syria’s chemical arsenal or not. Even though employers of 50 or more get a one year delay to implement a health insurance plan for their companies, and smokers get a one year reprieve from being charged more than non-smokers, Obamacare is scheduled to debut on time with:

“…health exchanges (marketplaces), community-rated health plans, tax credit subsidies, individual insurance requirements, prohibiting annual and lifetime limits on coverage, requiring insurers to accept all applicants without regard to their health status (pre-existing conditions) and limiting how much more they can charge them…” http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/08/delays-pose-big-problem-obamacare.html

What a monumental effort, making health insurance available for all just when we qualify for Medicare! Then I heard about thousands of hospital workers being laid off in TN, and naturally asked Bob what’s up. After all, we Boomers are just the beginning of a tsunami of health-related consumers to wash ashore; how could our country possibly be laying off medical personnel? Of course the easy answer is to blame the government, Obama and all his caring, that’s what the GOP would like us to believe.

Actually, hospitals across the country are massively laying off workers for a few reasons. One big one is the sequester – you remember that courtesy of the Tea Party. Our budget was cut by 1.2 Trillion, that’s trillion with a “T.”  Since nobody on The Hill could find a way to stop The Sequester, Moody had this to say: “…sequestration is expected to lower the revenues of hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers by $11 billion in 2013.” That’s Billion with a “B.”

Medicare under from budget sequestration could “exacerbate an already challenging operating environment for not-for-profit hospitals” that are facing “low revenue growth” from government and private insurers, Moody’s Investors Service said this week. The sequester involves about $1 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts, including a 2% reduction to all Medicare reimbursement rates, that took effect on April 1. http://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/2013/04/10/Moody-Sequester-Medicare-cuts-threaten-hospitals

And the funny thing is, well it’s not really funny, but if you happen to live in a red state, with a governor who said thanks but no thanks to the Affordable Care Act, well the chances are that your favorite nurse, or physical therapist, or doctor may not be there is undeniable. http://www.wkrn.com/story/22942014/laid-off-workers-rally-outside-vanderbilt

You decide, is this job loss due to a bill that gives all Americans access to health care? Or is it due to an intractable Congress?DB_medicaid_map

 http://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/2013/08/27/In-states-that-say-no-to-Medicaid-hospitals-worry-of-death-by-1000-cuts

 

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