The Lady Speaks

Alert! Alert! Stop this bill!

I'm passing this on after reading it over at firedoglake.

The US Senate is considering cutting a break to health insurance companies by removing the requirement that they pay for cancer screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and other essential diagnostic tools, according to the American Cancer Society website.

The ACS provides forms/contact information to contact your Senators on this.

[snip]

Cancer is not something that Senators ought to play around with in order to up the profit margin for big insurance, which also happens to be a big source of political campaign funding. Medical decisions ought to be made by patients and their doctors. We all pay enormous fees for health insurance these days (at least, those of us lucky enough to have insurance do…) — and we deserve something besides a "we’re not going to cover that, even though it could save your life" in return. Please take a moment to contact your Senators on this.

More from the AFL-CIO website:

May 1–7 is National Cover the Uninsured Week, an annual event that gives us all the chance to focus on ways to ensure every American has access to affordable health care.

So how are anti-worker groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Associated Builders and Contractors and others celebrating? They’re trying to push a bill through the U.S. Senate that could gut your health care coverage.

The Enzi bill, S. 1955, would allow health insurers to bypass state requirements for minimum benefits. That means it could eliminate key benefits in your coverage, including cancer screenings, contraception, emergency services, mental health care and diabetic supplies. [emphasis mine]

Advertisements

May 4, 2006 Posted by | Congress, Health, Senate, White House | 5 Comments

Interesting….

I came across this at The Left Coaster:

[…] neither the GOP nor Big Oil apologists like Gasparino mention the following: of the 60-cent per gallon price spike in gas from January 3rd, 2006 through April 10th, 2006 here in California, only 12 cents of that increase was the result of increases in the spot market price of crude oil, indicating that a constricted supply of crude wasn’t the driver behind these increases.

As for the “blame the environmentalists” argument, the price increase isn’t the result of gasoline additives either, since a comparison with Washington State’s gas prices shows a similar increase, where they haven’t mandated cleaner gas.

[snip]

According to a study done last month for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, “Approximately 42 cents of the 60-cent increase in gasoline prices is attributable to increased refinery and marketing profit margins for the oil companies.”

 Things that make you go hmmmm….

May 4, 2006 Posted by | Congress, Culture of Corruption, Gas Prices, Oil | Leave a comment

Good one, Dick!

Update: (6:36p – 5/4/06) Here's the Russian response to Cheney's pot calling the kettle black, from Reuters:

The Kremlin on Thursday rejected as “completely incomprehensible” remarks by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that Russia was backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy supplies to bully its neighbors.

“The speech of Mr. Cheney in our opinion is full of a subjective evaluation of us and of the processes that are going on in Russia. The remarks … are completely incomprehensible for us,” said Kremlin deputy spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Cheney, in remarks that could cause tense moments when Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts his first summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in July, earlier told Baltic and Black Sea leaders in Vilnius that Moscow should return to the path of democratic reform. [emphasis mine]

I am rather disappointed that the Russians didn't take my advice, but I do like the sound of 'completely incomprehensible'. It's the perfect phrase for describing most of the administration's speeches.

* * * * 

* * * * 

It would almost be funny, if it weren't so pathetic.

From Reuters:

Vice President Dick Cheney, in one of the Bush administration’s sharpest rebukes to Moscow, accused Russia on Thursday of backsliding on democracy and urged it to stop using energy supplies for "blackmail."

[snip]

Cheney, in a speech mostly devoted to praising Eastern European countries for democratic reforms, also took aim at Moscow’s use of its vast energy supplies for what Washington says is sometimes the bullying of neighbors.

“No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation,” he said.

[snip]

Cheney said Russia, meanwhile, had restricted rights.

“In many areas of civil society — from religion and the news media, to advocacy groups and political parties — the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of the people,” he said. [emphasis mine]

Who the hell is he trying to kid? As if Darth Cheney can stand in front of any audience and claim moral superiority on any of those issues?!

Vladimir Putin, I really hope you bitch-slap this guy! Better yet, take his own remarks and make some substitutions.

Let's see how that would look:

[Russian President Vladimir Putin], in one of the [Russian] administration’s sharpest rebukes to [Washington], accused [the United States] on Thursday of backsliding on democracy and urged it to stop using energy supplies for "blackmail."

[snip]

[Putin], in a speech mostly devoted to praising [some] countries for democratic reforms, also took aim at [the United States' hankering for] vast energy supplies for what [Moscow] says is sometimes the bullying of [other nations].

“No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation,” he said.

[snip]

[Putin] said [the United States], meanwhile, had restricted rights.

“In many areas of civil society — from … the news media, to advocacy groups and political parties — the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of the people,” he said. [emphasis mine]

Hmmm….

May 4, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Cheney, Constitution, First Amendment, Oil, Politics, Republicans, White House | Leave a comment

Neither a lender nor a borrower be…

I don't pretend to understand the high-brow, deeply boring world of economics. What I know is the low-brow, surviving paycheck-to-paycheck, world of economizing.

Money out should at least equal, but preferably be less than the money in. This can be expressed as a mathematical formula: Mo =/- Mi. (I made that up, in case you didn't guess.)

If what you spend is more than what you earn, you've got trouble.

Someone needs to go teach this to His Emperorness….The Decider…the President.

Here's how I explained it to my nineteen-year-old after he got his first credit card: When you [the country] are spending everything you earn, as fast as you get it, on dumb sh*t like stereos and junk food [or wasting it in Iraq and building expensive bridges no one needs] that's bad enough. What you don't do – ever – is cut your work hours [taxes], resulting in less income, while still spending like there's no tomorrow.

That is how you accrue what we like to call 'debt'.

Debt is bad.

Very bad.

People who go deep into debt either from stupidly running up bills they haven't the means to pay, or due to catastrophic expenses, like medical bills, have two choices: end up working for years while living on mac and cheese and ketchup soup to repay those debts – or declare bankruptcy.

They DO NOT get to decide, "Hey, I'm already in debt, let's dive a little deeper." and continue to take out loans and borrow off friends and then say, "You know what? I think I'm going to quit my job and find one that pays 1/3 of what I'm making now!"

Which is what our federal government has done. Escalating war costs (over $278,122,694,710 and rising at a rate of about $2500 a second!), Hurricane Katrina and Rita rebuilding, vanishing reconstruction funds in Iraq, etc., etc. have created a budget deficit of $8,368,889,670,284 – that's TRILLION, with a T – and counting.

We are in debt up to our ears to China which loaned money that, in effect, pays only the INTEREST on those loans. What happens if they decide to call in their markers?

The United States is like an out-of-control teenager. Some kids go nuts once they're on their own – taking out loans on sports cars that they can just barely afford, then using their first credit cards – that were supposed to be for emergencies only – to make the payment because OOPSIE, they forgot to balance their checkbook and it turns out they're $300 in debt to the bank for bounced checks and overdraft fees.

Then, the next month, they lose their job and can't make the credit card payment, they can't write a check, and they can't pay the car loan because they decided to hold a party. They managed to beg and borrow from some friends, but they still aren't working, so now they owe everyone, and they've hit their limit on the credit card. And so on.

From the Associated Press

Bush, who has made tax cuts his signature domestic issue, said extending the tax cuts would provide certainty in the tax code and foster business investment.

“If the people have their way who want this tax relief to expire, the American people will be hit with $2.4 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade,” he said. “It would be handed over to government — that’s where the money would go. It would be taken out of the economy and given to people here in Washington, D.C., to spend.”

Unfortunately, that 2.4 trillion is one-fourth of the current debt, which is rising at a rate of almost $1100 per second! Too bad the 'people here in Washington, D.C' who've been in charge – and control both houses of Congress – haven't had the sense over the past five and a half years to do anything except spend like there's no tomorrow.

Someone needs to practice some tough love and put this country back on a budget. Making these tax cuts permanent helps no one because it continues a policy of "spend and spend, but don't earn a dime" that the current crop of Republicans has perfected.

You think a tax increase now is bad? Imagine what the federal debt will be five or ten years without it. And imagine how high taxes will be then, because the country is going to have to pay off this enormous deficit sooner or later. And later just means higher interest on top of higher debt.

May 4, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Cheney, Congress, Economy, Federal Debt, Government, Politics, Republicans, White House | Leave a comment