Wednesday, 12/16/09, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

33 responses to “Wednesday, 12/16/09, Public Square

  1. Now this is talent (at least coordination!).

  2. David B

    HAA!! Very clever…

    • I found the article very interesting too. Thanks for finding it.

      My family is talking about trying very hard to make Christmas more about being together than giving gifts. We don’t have young children any longer as my youngest grandchild is now 12, so we’re talking about giving gifts when we’ve run across something that we want to give or know is needed whatever time of year we might make that discovery.

    • For a minute, I thought the article was talking about Christians waging war on Christian commercialism. That would be welcome. Christianity for some has turned into a club that comes with financial rewards for membership. I am no expert, but I believe that was the kind of thing that Jesus railed against when He had His little tantrum in the temple.

      • lilacluvr

        Most Christians also think that taking God’s name in vain means cursing.

        But I think it means that people should not be doing something that they want to do and then try to justify it by saying it is God’s will.

        I suspect God gets blamed for alot of crap that way.

  3. The Votemaster on the bill that won’t reform health care. He pretty much restates most of what we have discussed here, with an emphasis on the opinion 6176 has shared about repealing the antitrust exemption for insurance companies.

    • I found the last paragraph The Votemaster wrote to be interesting:

      “If the current Senate bill or something close to it becomes law, although Lieberman didn’t realize it, he may have done the Democrats a real favor. If the final bill that Obama signs into law does not have a public option and does not have an expansion of Medicare, it will be far harder for the Republicans in 2010 to make the case that Democrats engineered a government takeover of health care. Thus without realizing it, Lieberman may have inadvertently eliminated one of the Republicans’ most potent arguments in 2010.”

      I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see anything coming out of our Congress that is more beneficial than political.

  4. Regarding health-care (non-meaningful) reform: I’ve long thought the archaic exemption of the value of employer-provided health insurance from gross income for income taxation purposes (and, IIRC, from the definition of compensation subject to FICA, etc.) needed to be repealed. This would, IMHO, be a powerful incentive to change the current system to more closely resemble that of other industrialized nations. There should also be a repeal of the itemized deduction for medical expenses paid.

    • itolduso

      I would be in favor of a repeal of all itemized deductions on personal income tax forms. Time to stop the bribery

      • Itemized deductions; too much to say, too little time and space. Generally, most of these were put into the law for social policy reasons.

      • I’m plotting a way to convert myself to a non-profit corporation so that I am exempt from any sort of income tax.

        I think I can meet the qualifications right now. Most of my income supports the care, education and shelter of four to five other people. My mission statement is unselfish and advances the plight of others. And I am sure that I draw a much smaller salary than most non-profit CEOs.

    • As for itemized deductions for medical expenses, doesn’t the amount need to be quite large before you qualify? Thankfully, I’ve never had expenses high enough to qualify and I’m sure anyone who did would gladly trade that tiny deduction in taxes owed for not having high medical expenses to begin with.

      • lilacluvr

        I worked for tax firm for two years when we lived in Larned and I only saw one person benefit from the medical deduction – and that was someone who paid cash for an outpatient mental hospital treatment.

        But, you’re right – there is some percentage of one’s income (I don’t know what it is currently) that one’s medical expenses has to be before there is even a deduction.

        Anyone with health insurance probably would never even reach the limit – let alone the above and beyond that percentage.

        We file jointly and for the last few years, the standard deduction has been better than itemizing. (We were renting – so there was no mortgage interest).

        I remember the days when credit card interest was deductible – now that was very beneficial…

      • Only medical expenses that are greater than 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income are deductible.

        Credit card interest; Congress giveth, Congress taketh away. I do not recall which Attorney and Accountant Full Employment Act (a/k/a ____ Tax Reform Act) instituted the deductibility of credit card interest; it might have been 1969, but likely later.

  5. lilacluvr

    Has anyone else been following the article about Father Kapaun in the newspaper?

    I find it interesting that the same thing was said about this man over and over. He had a compassion and he had forgiveness for everyone – even those Chinese guards as he was being taken to his death.

    As I thought about that, I wondered just how many Catholics and other Christians are reading this who profess to be such religious people actually have the capacity to forgive their enemies?

    With all this talk about killing each and and every Muslim in the world coming from these so-called religious Republicans – I wonder…..would Father Kapaun be in their group calling for all this killing?

    Somehow, I doubt that very much.

    • lilacluvr

      BTW – there are not enough bullets or bombs to kill each and every Muslim, now is there?

      That’s another point I like to bring out to these so-called religious Republicans who are advocating for a Holy War with the Muslims.

      The lack of enough ammunition is just a practical side of this argument – not the moral side.

  6. Thunderchild

    Does anybody know about cell phones?

    My kid wants one. Not that I think he actually NEEDS one but it got me curious.

    How do cell service plans compare with cost for a landline for example? I’m not so much worried about the phone itself. That’s a one time purchase and Spirit surplus has boxes of them for $10. I just wonder how much you get into with the service.

    • A lot! And since teens do a lot of texting you would need to include ‘unlimited texting’ in the plan to avoid paying tremendous charges for that activity.

      Check out Cricket. I think you can get a plan for about $25/month that allows for unlimited local calls and unlimited texting and you won’t be required to sign a contract.

      Most companies require 2-year contracts and getting out of them is as costly as staying in them.

    • This is my personal opinion about cellphones. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t currrently own a cell phone and neither does my minor son. I never paid for a cellphone for any of my children.

      You should buy your son a pay-as-you-go phone to start out with. Yes, they are more expensive, but it is a good lesson. They learn that they have to moderate themselves; they learn that time is money; they learn that the more money you have, the more you save; and they learn the value of things.

      Pay-as-you-go phones aren’t as fancy as the contract kind. They don’t have as many bells and whistles. And, if you are smart, you only buy them one or two months worth of talk time and they have to pony up after that. They quickly realize how much texting costs (if they even have texting on their phone) and will know to moderate it when they get on a contract. They begin to think about what is really important to call about and how long it really takes to say things.

      I hate the damn things. They ring at the most inconvenient times and the contracts have been a huge rip-off up to this point. I hate sitting at a dinner table where people are playing with their phones under the table or driving down the street with my husband while he talks on the phone (and I can’t even listen to the radio). Teach your son some manners; discourage him from walking through a checkout with the phone to his ear and especially having one of those bluetooth things on his ear at all times.

      The technology changed and we didn’t have time to teach our children the proper etiquette to go with it.

  7. David B

    I guess I’m not the only one pissed at Lieberman: BREAKING: In just over 24 hours, MoveOn members have donated $822,867.43 to beat Joe Lieberman!!!

  8. I heard a guy on NPR complain the other day about how cell phones encourage unnecessary communication. My 15 yr old daughter and I have unlimited texting. She used to have 1,000 texts a month but she was going over that – having a boyfriend creates a need for more texting.

    Typical text sequence between me and daughter:

    “I am going to pick you up at 4:45”

    “K. Thank you..”

    “You’re welcome.”

    The first message was the important one, but one feels the pressure to acknowledge messages and respond more.

    I think Paula’s advice is the best, but selling a limited plan can be tricky to kids who live on those things, or know kids who do.

    If you get a contract: My daughter has a Samsung Gravity. We got hers a couple of years ago, but it is still pretty much state of the art.

    If you get a phone and your son has one, monthly costs of $50 to $100 can be expected, I think. In a year’s time that adds up.

  9. T-Mobile tends to be cheaper, T.C., but their coverage is not as good as the other providers. I appreciate being able to share about my experiences on these important questions.

    I wondering, Paula, were you able to implement the plan you recommended above? I’m impressed, if you were.

    • Sorry, Paula, I re-read your post, I guess you did implement the plan. As I said before, I am very impressed.

      But I will say, I am reassured that I can reach either kid any time regardless of where they are. That reduces my anxiety about them, somewhat at least.

      • tosmarttobegop

        Until they are not home and you hear the sirens…Then there is little but perhaps to call and see where they are.

        Then the cell phone rings and rings.
        About the time you can not stand it any more and are lacing up the last shoe. The phone rings and it is them wanting to know what you wanted?

        You bit your tongue before you say
        to be child-less and able to get to sleep!

  10. I did not know Cricket was that good of a deal. The downsides are . . .?

    • The downside is long-distance calls aren’t included and are exorbitant in cost. I think. I’ve actually never had Cricket service but it seems the only one where a contract isn’t required. Basic two-phone service with most everyone will run around $70/month and I don’t think that gets you unlimited texting. Be wary of the promises of teens. If it is possible to text, most of them will — LOTS — and boy does that get expensive if you have trusted they won’t need the unlimited coverage.

  11. David B

    Cell phone for kids: Prepaid for sure…

  12. tosmarttobegop

    well it will not be anything that Republicans do that will be the down fall of the Democratic control of the house, Senate and white house. It seem it is the Democratic that will be shooting themselves in the foot.
    And damn if they have not went to Gander mountain before hand to buy a scope so they did not miss!

    One of the riches arguments I heard today was that we have to pass this bill even if it is ineffective and will hurt those who were are trying to help. Passing it is better then doing nothing at all!

    And how?

    Mandate that everyone has to get insurance.

    Who is that helping and who is it hurting?

    Mandate that insurance companies can not refuse insurance to those with a preexisting condition.
    But also allowing the insurance companies to charge three times as much for that coverage to those with a preexisting condition!

    OK so yesterday someone does not have insurance because of a preexisting condition.
    Today they don’t have insurance because they can not afford the premiums!
    That is change to be believed in!!!! Ahh so where is the change again?

    Insurance can charge more for being above a certain age.
    Oh well if the person lives to be 65 they can always go on Medicare.

    If we pass this, it can be a beginning and later go for what we really want!
    Let look again, everyone is paying into a for Profit insurance policy that you have demonized and said where operating in a heartless manner. “And you have ordered them to now“.

    People can be legally charged more for their insurance now for being older.

    People who before could not get insurance now can not get insurance because it cost too much.

    Oh yes this will be so much better then the current system!

    Oh yes it will be better, the Democrats will be out of the house and Senate not because the Republicans will be worth a damn. They will just be the other worthless SOBs to vote against the current worthless SOBs in office now.

    Remind me again, if Government is so inept and actually does more harm then good when trying to help the American people.

    If both the Democrats and Republicans come up with dumber ideas then you drunk brother-in-law who calls at 3 A.M. and asks if you want to go with him to pee off the overpass?

    Why in the Sam Hell do we have two political parties and a Government?

  13. “Why in the Sam Hell do we have two political parties and a Government?”

    I consider that a really good question. Lately it seems we have them to screw over Americans and make everything more complicated and costly.

  14. “Be wary of the promises of teens. If it is possible to text, most of them will — LOTS — and boy does that get expensive if you have trusted they won’t need the unlimited coverage.”

    From my experience, no truer words were ever spoken here…