Wednesday, 11/21/12, Public Square

 

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13 responses to “Wednesday, 11/21/12, Public Square

  1. One thing I’ve noticed about these Religious Right Conservative Republicans – they always brag about how they are the ones that give the most money to charities.

    But, I have to wonder – if they did not get a tax write-off for their donations to charities – would they still give as much?

    In the Bible – there is a story about the Widow’s Mite. The moral of the story is that all the wealthy people gave much more money than the widow – but Jesus made the widow to be an example of how giving should be done.

    The widow, although she only gave a small amount as compared to the others , the widow gave much more , because she gave money that she needed for herself.

    One of my co-workers is a Betty Bible. I remember the first Christmas I worked with her and our office tradition was to bring food for a family box to be given to a chosen family.

    This Betty Bible brought in her sack of food and laughingly said that she told her husband to go through the cabinets and pull out all those things he did not like and did not want – so that is what she brought in for her donation.

    Is that the true meaning of giving? Not according to the story of the Widow’s mite – is it?

    Besides – if you’re bragging about how much you give – then is your true motivation is the act of giving or do you think God will give you extra ‘points’?

  2. Politifact has compiled a list of somee of the accusations going around about President Obama. The list includes the junk emails too.

    PolitiFact’s guide to Thanksgiving dinner
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/nov/19/politifacts-guide-thanksgiving-dinner/

  3. President Obama gave an inspired, and inspiring, speech at The University of Yangon in Myanamar. It’s worth the time to read it — THIS is diplomacy, THIS is foreign policy! Troops on the ground, sending / selling arms, no military might will be as effective! Education if the key to exorcising fears, once fears are gone we can get on with being people of the world — we are our brothers / sisters keeper. YouTube has some excerpts, even some long ones with most of his speech if listening is better. Here is the printed script —

    Remarks by President Obama at the University of Yangon
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/11/19/remarks-president-obama-university-yangon

    (from the link):

    One of our greatest Presidents in the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, understood this truth. He defined America’s cause as more than the right to cast a ballot. He understood democracy was not just voting. He called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These four freedoms reinforce one another, and you cannot fully realize one without realizing them all.

    So that’s the future that we seek for ourselves, and for all people. And that is what I want to speak to you about today.

    First, we believe in the right of free expression so that the voices of ordinary people can be heard, and governments reflect their will — the people’s will.

    In the United States, for more than two centuries, we have worked to keep this promise for all of our citizens — to win freedom for those who were enslaved; to extend the right to vote for women and African Americans; to protect the rights of workers to organize.

    And we recognize no two nations achieve these rights in exactly the same way, but there is no question that your country will be stronger if it draws on the strength of all of its people. That’s what allows nations to succeed. That’s what reform has begun to do.

    The United States of America is a nation of Christians and Jews, and Muslims and Buddhists, and Hindus and non-believers. Our story is shaped by every language; it’s enriched by every culture. We have people from every corners of the world. We’ve tasted the bitterness of civil war and segregation, but our history shows us that hatred in the human heart can recede; that the lines between races and tribes fade away. And what’s left is a simple truth: e pluribus unum — that’s what we say in America. Out of many, we are one nation and we are one people. And that truth has, time and again, made our union stronger. It has made our country stronger. It’s part of what has made America great.

    We amended our Constitution to extend the democratic principles that we hold dear. And I stand before you today as President of the most powerful nation on Earth, but recognizing that once the color of my skin would have denied me the right to vote. And so that should give you some sense that if our country can transcend its differences, then yours can, too. Every human being within these borders is a part of your nation’s story, and you should embrace that. That’s not a source of weakness, that’s a source of strength — if you recognize it.

    And that brings me to the final freedom that I will discuss today, and that is the right of all people to live free from fear.

    In many ways, fear is the force that stands between human beings and their dreams. Fear of conflict and the weapons of war. Fear of a future that is different from the past. Fear of changes that are reordering our societies and economy. Fear of people who look different, or come from a different place, or worship in a different way. In some of her darkest moments, when Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned, she wrote an essay about freedom from fear. She said fear of losing corrupts those who wield it — “Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

  4. The NYT on some of the new rules of coverage under Obamacare. It’s happening! I think Kansans might be the lucky ones since our state’s governor has left the exchanges to the federal government. I certainly don’t trust Brownback to do anything that helps the average Joe!

    Actually it might just hasten single payer here. So go ahead and refuse… We’ll do it for you.

    I am worried about the Medicaid expansion dollars being refused and the vulnerable people that affects.

    ——————————————–

    (from the link): John J. O’Brien, the director of health care and insurance at the agency, said the new plans would be offered to individuals and small employers through the insurance exchanges being set up in every state under the 2010 health care law.

    No one knows how many people will sign up for the government-sponsored plans. In preparing cost estimates, the Obama administration told insurers to assume that each national plan would have 750,000 people enrolled in the first year.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, at least one of the nationwide plans must be offered by a nonprofit entity. Insurance experts see an obvious candidate for that role: the Government Employees Health Association, a nonprofit group that covers more than 900,000 federal employees, retirees and dependents, making it the second-largest plan for federal workers, after the Blue Cross and Blue Shield program.

    The association, with headquarters near Kansas City, Mo., was founded in 1937 to help railway mail clerks with their medical expenses, and it generally receives high scores in surveys of consumer satisfaction.

    U.S. Set to Sponsor Health Insurance
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/health/us-to-sponsor-health-insurance-plans-nationwide.html?_r=1

  5. (from the link):Health insurance consumers won’t be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions, can’t be charged more because of gender and will be guaranteed a basic set of benefits under historic new federal regulations published Tuesday.

    Think of them as the Patients’ Bill of Rights that eluded former President Bill Clinton more than a decade ago. The regulations carry out the promises of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, which will extend health insurance coverage to 30 million people over a decade and outlaw some of the industry’s most notorious practices.

    The details contained within the 331 pages of regulations are crucial for health insurance companies and states preparing for the new options that will be available to uninsured people and small businesses starting in 2014. The health insurance exchanges, online marketplaces where consumers can shop for plans and determine whether they qualify for tax credits to pay for private insurance coverage or Medicaid benefits, are slated to be open for business on Oct. 1, 2013.

    “Americans in all 50 states will have access to an exchange and the benefits of the new law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “Beginning in October next year, families and small-business owners everywhere will be able to shop for affordable, quality health coverage.”

    Health Care Reform Rules Give Patients A New Bill Of Rights
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/health-care-reform-rules_n_2165152.html

  6. “It’s down to these three imbeciles.

    Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)-historic global warming was caused by “dinosaur flatulence.”

    Lamar Smith (R-Texas)-His congressional website does at least acknowledge that the climate is changing, but not that human activity is a major factor.

    James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisc.)- believes that climate change is a “massive international scientific fraud,” and suggested we put catalytic converters on cows butts to deal with CO2 emissions.

    It is sad when Rep. Smith is the least of three evils…

    Which Anti-Science Rep. Will Chair the Science Committee?
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/11/which-anti-science-rep-will-chair-science-committee

  7. Plus, let’s remember everyone keeps the tax cuts on every dollar under $200,000 / $250,000.

    Remember too that Bush-Cheney had the IRS redefine “small business” as one with fewer than 100 owners. There are many very large corporations who use the moniker “small business.”

    • R. D. Liebst

      Watching CSPAN Road to the White House discussing the last election and I find myself say Hell Yeah!
      Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist is saying what I have been saying for years about the Republican party. How it has been taken over by special interest and becoming more out there in loony toones and moving more to fascism.

    • I want to clarify once again that the phrase “making over $200,000 . . .” really means those with a taxable income of over $200,000 ($250,000). To get to TI of $200,000, an individual might have a gross income of, say, $1 million. How’s that possible? Think non-cash deductions (depreciation and amortzation, depletion of mineral interests, for a few examples). Of course, there is also tax-exempt income.

      I guess it’s grating on me to hear the word “making” when “having taxable income of” is meant. Don’t think this is just a matter of semantics; I have had to calm down clients whose gross income was in excess of that subject to tax at the highest marginal rate and who were convinced said rate applied to all income, or who thought the highest rate was going to apply to them in some way when in fact none of their income was taxable at said rate, whether in part or in all. Sloppy, sloppy, and confusing to a whole lot of folks. This misstatement also allows those with a mind to do so prey on these good folks, for political contributions and votes.

      Rant over. All please have a good Thanksgiving. I’m invited for dinner at a friend of a friend’s house, looking forward to it (three XX [them], one XY [me]). All I have to do is bring some ice. Younger has to work; Thanksgiving dinner provided

      • For the first time in our history of over thirty years hubby and I are alone this Thanksgiving. I could come to appreciate this if only I didn’t concentrate so much on the fact that we’re alone and all our family has plans. I’ve never missed my Mother so much, or thought so seriously of the many years her family had their own plans…

      • As RM6046 used to say, there’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. When I’m lonely is the time I get down a bit. I can get lonely in a crowd. Separately, I’m fine with being alone and not be lonely, should that make any sense at all. The last two years of our “empty nesting” were really fun for the wife and me. Enough said, I think. A big hug to you (to share, or to keep to yourself) and I’m sure you guys can come up with good Thanksgiving plans. Our big “family brawl” will be at the end of December; older and family will be here a few days. Two granddaughters to spoil! Looking forward to it.