Wednesday, July 29, 2009

3 Senators Support Public Option


Three Senators are standing tall in support of a public option. Senator Chuck Schumer has been outspoken, clear and unequivocal on national TV. Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Dick Durbin have recently joined him.

This week as other Senators and Blue Dogs seem to be retreating from the onslaught of the Insurance Lobby, these three are showing courage and commitment. Let's support them. They have created a website where our support can be counted. You just have to "sign in" with your email, first and lastname. Simple.

The numbers have grown by about 10,000 since yesterday. Let's show the Blue Dog cowards and any other quivering politicians that the American PEOPLE want a public option. We should let them know that they ignore us in favor of the Insurance INDUSTRY at great risk.

The Insurance Lobby is pouring $1.4 million into DC every day. These Senators who are standing for us, will need a lot of evidence to sway their peers. Please give it to them. Send off the address to your friends and family.

Now, for those who are curious about what a public option is, I'll explain as succinctly as I can. However, just as the President is very vague and general, so are we all since we don't have a bill to speak about yet.

Right now, the US is the only industrialized country that doesn't offer health care to all citizens. We have doctors and hospitals and everything you might need if you have:
a) Money
b) Health insurance
c) Medicare
d) Medicaid

If you don't have one of the above, you are among millions of Americans who just don't go to the doctor and try their best to avoid needing a hospital. This ends up being costly, because if you should end up in a hospital, and are seen, someone will have to pay. Everyone now agrees that this is more expensive than it is to offer preventive or early intervention care before your health is seriously compromised.

The question is how to do it. In Canada, they have single payer care for everyone. The government pays the doctors and the hospitals and the testing sites, etc.. None of those providers have to ask about insurance, and they all bill one source, the government.

President Obama has made it clear that since 16% of our economy is now tied up with private insurance, he is not going to put them out of business. This is a lot of jobs and some healthy taxes from the only industry that is posting record profits during this economy.... oh, and the recently resuscitated financial industry.

So, he is hoping that the Senate and House can splice together a combination of private insurance and public insurance as a health life line that will insure that everyone is covered. This needs to include some stipulations or regulations for the private insurers who have been getting rid of any of their clients who begin to cost them money. There will be new rules that will require any private company who has taken money to insure you, to actually do so. These are a very good start and we support them.

Yet, preventing the abuses of the private insurance companies only helps those who have insurance. We still have millions of Americans, and small companies who can't afford health coverage. Small companies are charged more than large companies, so independent business people are often out of luck. Other Americans: freelancers, artists, writers, florists, nannies, shoe repair people, dog walkers, house sitters, elder care semi-professionals, substitute teachers, lawn mower repair and sharpeners, handymen, small contractors and part time workers across the country are uninsured. These are people who make our lives more beautiful, or more possible as they take care of those we leave at home when we go to work.

The public option would be a low cost medical insurance plan that would cover these folks. If they can't pay at all, it would be at almost no cost. But, if they can pay a reasonable premium, they would contribute.

There were many suggestions on how to pay for those who can't pay anything that I believe we've covered in previous articles. President Obama suggested a cap on the deduction for the most expensive houses. Why he asked, should a middle class businessman get a $5000 deduction and a wealthy corporate officer get a $70,000 deduction? Either the wealthy man doesn't need to buy a house that expensive, or, he can afford to pay more of his own mortgage. Another suggestion was to reverse the Bush tax deductions for the top 1%. They would still pay less taxes than they were at the end of the Reagan term. This would allow us to provide health insurance for all Americans.

The one thing the President has promised is that this will not be paid for by taxing the middle class!

The other promise of the President, is that anyone who has insurance that they are happy with will be able to keep their plan and their doctor(s).

So, please, there is no reason not to do this. There is no reason not to do this. There is every humane reason to do this. And, it makes financial sense since doctors, hospitals and other providers are burdened with tedious intakes and tedious phone calls to make sure that each sick person can somehow pay for care. If everyone is covered, there's no problem!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beliefs versus Reality

What is going on during this health care debate? Misinformation and fear mongering, that's what.

$1.5 million is pouring into Washington DC every day to change the shape of reality.

This is frightening, because in another article we have discussed how your genetics are shaped by your beliefs. If we are led to believe that we will be less healthy or less wealthy by adopting a public option, it will be so.

So, let us look at this for a minute:

For example, if you are worried, it doesn't matter that you live in a safe neighborhood and have a good job and a wonderful partner. The facts seldom affect your feelings. It is your beliefs that affect your feelings. When the American President Bush, and his cabinet began to go on TV and talk about the "smoking gun that would be a mushroom cloud" it did not matter that Sadaam Hussein was no threat. It mattered only that "these important people who know more than I know seem frightened". These beliefs that "they know more than I know" and that "they seem frightened" formed a perception in millions of Americans that "the world is suddenly dangerous."

Another example from more recent TV. The Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who are receiving large money contributions from the Health Insurance Industry are spreading lies about the "wonderful private health system" in the United States. That we are about 31st out of 37 industrial nations for longevity, and infant mortality statistics does not affect
the beliefs of those who are listening to their lies on the TV and radio every day. They say we're the best, and this is believed because Americans love to hear that we are the best. That almost every doctor I know complains about dealing with the private insurance industry does not affect their beliefs. Doctors expect to have their requests questioned by the insurance companies. This does not happen in other countries where there is a single payer system. There the doctor is paid for his work and his tests without a question. It is only here that the doctor must make several phone calls to get any requested procedure approved. Yet, when the TV talking heads say over and over and over, "Don't let the government come between your doctor and you!" it is believed.

Additionally, I don't know anyone who doesn't have at least one story of someone who lost their health insurance when someone in their family got sick. The health insurance industry is pouring $1.5 million into Washington DC every day. This is to buy their talking heads and to delay
change until everyone is bored of hearing about it and momentum is lost. So, in spite of the fact that millions of Americans die every day because they lost their health insurance, there is the myth promoted that if the government enters into the health insurance arena, things will be worse.

We pay per person more than double the amount for health care and insurance that is paid in any other country. All other systems are less expensive, yet, somehow we are being fed the belief that if the government enters into the health insurance arena, without any need for profit, that things will get even more expensive. This makes no sense at all. Insurance company execs earn from $10 million to $124 million dollars each year, or $39,846.74 for a lunch hour. No government employee is going to earn anywhere near that amount. United Health Care just posted record profits, in spite of the recession, and in spite of paying that obscene salary to their CEO.

A government program does not have to make a profit. The government will pay your doctor directly without question as it has for Medicare patients since the '80s, yet, the insurance company is spending a lot of money to convince us that a government option is going to cost us more than we're paying now and reduce the quality of care....

So, the facts: Those on Medicare in our country are happy with their health care. They do not complain about the government coming between them and their doctor. The doctors do not complain about the government refusing payment or refusing a procedure. So, let's assume that the government option will be totally satisfactory.

Don't let them frighten you. We should be frightened of the status quo!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8900 for 1 Cent

OK Racefans, I said that I would bring to you the best deals and the most interesting products. Well, I think the BlackBerry Curve 8900 phone being offered by Amazon for 1 cent is a great bargain!!!!

And, did I mention free 2 day shipping? It's not available in all zip codes, so I wish you luck, but if it is available in yours, Whhoo Hooo!

The catch is that you have to buy a T-Mobile plan. Now, if you travel to Europe, T-Mobile is the best plan anyway, or so I understand. I never actually had T-Mobile, but I've known people....

And, when you're in a T-Mobile "hot spot" web on the phone switches over so that your email doesn't cost you anything. What a bargain, right?

The T-Mobile plans range from $39.95 to $149.99 for the unlimited Family unlimited Nationwide plan. If you're interested, here's the link:

That's all folks!

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Warning! Warning: Toxic Dolphins and Toxic Living

This is an announcement. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants) are causing troubles. We are not anti-corporation, but we are pro-dolphin and pro-child. Jake Richardson in has posted that scientists have found unusually large levels of flame retardant in dolphin blubber. The closer the dolphins are to downtown Miami, the more the chemical was concentrated.

These chemicals are applied to furniture, clothes and electronics and they slow the ignition of items in a burning room. No doubt they have saved lives, however, in the dolphin they cause the death of dolphin fetus'. According to Richardson, “The U.S. has historically led the world production of these man-made chemicals and was responsible for about 50% of the total global demand in 2001.”

These polybrominated diphenyl ethers are also found in humans and the longterm effects are unknown. I can't imagine it will be good. Anyone who has eaten seafood has ingested them. Some believe that it could interfere with our immune response and others believe that it will affect infant brain development. It is a known neurotoxin.

To make matters worse, it would not even be good enough to give up all seafood forever, because Deca, one of the polybrominated diphenyl ethers, has been found in apples. Now, I have been telling all the parents I work with, that Granny Smith, or green apples, don't tend to develop the scale that red apples do, and so have less fungicide on the apple even when they are not labled "organic." But now, we have to worry about polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or specifically Deca.

Amy Rosenthal reports in Enviroblog that the plastic pallets on which apples and peaches (especially) are stored and "hydrocooled" to keep them fresh, leach out the polybrominated diphenyl ethers onto the fruit.

She reports that these polybrominated diphenyl ethers have been associated with disruptions in brain development and hormone systems.

We have an epidemic of autism in this country. Can we afford to risk any more suspect chemicals in the environment of mothers and young children that will adversely affect brain development? Some flame retardants have already been banned. Can't we ban the rest to save our dolphins and children? At least let's keep them out of sea runoff areas, and away from any food.


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Happiness in Nations

This is not a trendy topic, and I said that I would do trendy topics on this blog, but I also said that I would give you interesting subjects.... Happiness is an interesting subject, especially if you don't have it.

Our quality of life is dependent on our happiness. If we have money, or a great partner or a successful business, or if we are making a good living doing exactly what we want, our quality of life is still equal to our ability to take in and give out happiness.

If we are depressed or dissatisfied generally, it does not matter how much money we have. This is confirmed by the test that produced the World Database of Happiness . The wealthiest countries are not the happiest countries!

By definition:
Measures of happiness

Happiness is defined as the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his life-as-a-whole favorably. Within this concept two 'components' of happiness are distinguished: hedonic level of affect (the degree to which pleasant affect dominates) and contentment (perceived realization of wants).

This might seem obvious to you, but the United States and United Kingdom did not come out on top for their happiness. The question asked was: "Suppose the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder the worst possible life. Where on this ladder do you feel you personally stand at the present time?". The response was rated on a ladder scale ranging from 0 to 10. This included data gathered from the year 2000 to 2006.

Some of the highest averages observed ranged from 7 to 9. The middle range was around 6. The bottom range was close to 3 and 4.

Rank is the number (range in the case of tie) following the name of the country.

8,5 Iceland 1
8,4 Denmark 2
8,3 Puerto Rico (not included in ranked countries)
8,1 Columbia 3-4
8,1 Switzerland 3-4
8,0 Mexico 5
7,9 Austria 6
7,8 Finland 7
7,7 Australia 8-11
7,7 Luxembourgh 8-11
7,7 Norway 8-11
7,7 Sweden
7,6 Canada 12
7,5 Netherlands
7,5 Argentina 13-15
7,7 Northern Ireland (not included in ranked countries)
7,5 Ireland 13-15
7,3 Costa Rica 16-17
7,3 Cyprus
7,3 New Zealand
7,2 Venezuela
7,2 Germany 21-24
7,1 United Arab Emirates
7,1 United Kingdom 25-26
7,0 Guatemala 27-31
7,0 Malta 27-31
7,0 Saudi Arabia 27-31
7,0 Trinidad-Tobago 27-31
7,0 United States 27-31
6,7 Kuwait 38-39
6,7 Israel 38-39
6,4 Japan 48-53
6,3 China 54-55

From the list, it might be obvious that those countries at the top will have the best energy for manifesting more joy, success and satisfaction. Most business coaches and trainers say that your life will be the average of the 5 people closest to you.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google Chrome

Microsoft vs Google is like Goliath vs David

or is it Clinton vs Obama

or perhaps it's more like Potter vs Malfoy

oh no, I think it's more the fable of the Sun vs the North Wind.

Do you remember that one? The Sun and the North Wind are arguing about who is stronger, and decide to test their strength. They pick a man walking down the street, and one at a time will test who can make the man take off his coat sooner. The North Wind blows, and blows his hardest, and the man just wraps his coat around him tighter and tighter. When the North Wind gives up, the Sun shines hotter and hotter and, as you'd expect, in a few minutes the man takes off his coat.

Microsoft has been blowing and blowing for as long as I've been using computers. I started with ___ oh my, I can't even remember the name.... I'll just Google "operating systems" and see what they come up with. Oh, yes, DOS, or MS DOS or PC DOS. That was the Gates product that preceeded Windows. It was awkward, and I was forever losing material because I would change diskettes before closing down and restarting. But, Windows changed everything and we could save our material on a hard drive! Ureeka! No more lost anything. And now, we didn't have to change diskettes to change programs. Everything was built it.

If you're reading this blog, you're probably not old enough to remember those days. When I was in my 20's, we used to say that "you can't trust anyone over 30." Today, you could say, "you can't trust anyone who ever used DOS." It amounts to the same thing....

But, back to the Sun vs the North Wind. Soon, very, very soon, Google will have its chance to beat the Microsoft wind. It is starting to glow with open source technology and an invitation to all open source developers for help. Chrome is expected to be fast and lightweight and specifically aimed at those who use the Net. They will be going after netbooks as their first major market. According to

Google writes, “We have a lot of work to do, and we’re definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision.” They might as well set up enlistment booths on college campuses for their war against Microsoft.

Reuters says it will be fast and lightweight. Less memory for the operating system means users will be able to get to the web faster.

HTML5 will be a big part of this. You will be able to work in a browser when not connected, and upload when you are connected. -- Just like my old DOS experience, how many times have you lost material when you lost your connection to the web? Windows is vulnerable, perhaps for the first time. Vista is not considered good for netbooks and Windows XP is 8 years old. Again, According to

It was built to run on Pentium IIIs and Pentium 4s. Google Chrome OS is built to run on both x86 architecture chips and ARM chips, like the ones increasingly found in netbooks. It is also working with multiple OEMs to get the new OS up and running next year.... Windows 7 is their only hope....

What will the cost be? Some say that it will be either nominal or free! Oh, oh. Watch out Microsoft wind. The sun is warming up and we're ready to take off our coats.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Barack on health care plan:

President Barack Obama said so many reassuring things yesterday and did his best to keep the naysayers and the fear mongerers calm.

"We want to allow people who are happy to keep their doctor and keep their insurance."

He wants a program that will invest in prevention. As he said, helping someone with obesity will help to prevent them from getting diabetes. Along these lines, the new health care reform should save money in the long run. He was clear that "more care is not better. The right care is better. Some rural areas have health care that is way below the costs of health care other places." He explained when a questioner said that Texas laws help to hold down rates, that this was not so. At the Mayo clinic, the primary care doctor calls in any needed specialists for a meeting. At that meeting they order all the tests that will be needed. This saves money because with the system we have now, each specialist orders his own set of tests -- doubling or tripling the cost of care. The way we reimburse now, prevents doctors from doing this in the community.

He wants the priorities to be on keeping people well, or minimizing illness. He said, "If we can get a system where people are getting regular checkups and mamograms - this will allow us to catch things early and to save costs for you and us."

He was reassuring that "None of these plans will be allowed to cut you out for a pre-existing condition."

He continued to explain that he believes "that there should be a public plan to keep admin costs low, provide good service, and to keep the private insurers honest. They will not be allowed to drop people. They will not be allowed to play with the charges; charging some more than others."

This was good news to us at Trends. You see that we have not approved of the way the private insurers have been happily taking the profits while cheating their customers.

There are always the questions: How do we pay for it? President Obama explained that they have a commitment to keep it deficit neutral.

2/3 will be a reallocation of money that's already being spent. For example, $177 billion will be given to private insurance over the next ten years as subsidy, Medicare advantage. This doesn't help families. We can give that to families so that they can have insurance.

1/3 we will pay for with increased revenues. Cap the itemized deductions so that very wealthy people don't get more of a deduction on their house, just because they have a bigger house.

And, we're going to have a savings from prevention. This will drive down costs.

They are working at identifying ways on Capital Hill to make it more user friendly. He explained that "the hardest part is yet to come. The ney-sayers are lining up. I ask them, "What's your alternative? To stand pat while more and more families lose their insurance and businesses have to chose between closing their doors or giving up health insurance for their workers."

President Obama does not accept the status quo on energy, health care or schools. We are all ready to move into the future and have to have courage for change. He is asking ordinary Americans to stand up and insist that now is the time. If we don't, then the lobbyists will win.

He explained the reason that single payer is off the table, which we have been wondering.

Single player plan works pretty well in other countries. Eliminates bureaucracy. Our plan evolved differently. For us to transition completely, could be hugely disruptive. We are looking for a uniquely American plan.

This is 1/6th of our economy.... We don't want to just upend it.
Ohhh, that's it.

Remember Compassionate Conservatism?

Apparently the conservative blogs and talk shows have been attacking a woman with kidney cancer. What jerks! Debby, who had a Kidney tumor irradiated while she was caring for her father asked a question. She lost her job due to damage from the radiation. Then she developed another tumor after her father's death. She doesn't yet qualify for social security, and lost her chance for disability. What can she do?

The president called her over to give her a hug. He said he didn't want her to feel alone. His staff would take her name and they would get back to her. He has compassion and the "compassionate conservatives" clearly don't and can't stand it.

Re: small businesses

This has been a big problem we know. This keeps people in jobs they don't like just for the insurance, whereas they would otherwise be starting their own businesses.

The insurance companies charge them way more than they charge bigger pools from large corporations. They are too small to be able to get the best deals from the insurance companies. The health care exchange will have many plans available. This will enable the small or independent business person to join a big pool that will help to drive down costs. If needed, subsidies will be available from the federal government.

Small companies with 25 or more employees will be required to contribute toward their employees insurance if they don't offer to pay for it up front. Companies smaller than that will be exempt from this requirement.

To All Those Who Say WAIT!

About Health Care affordability....He was clear: "If the health care system was working well, I'd be happy to leave it alone. Some employers see it going up 8, 10, 12% per year. Our salaries are not going up like that. Your employer has raised your out of pocket costs, and they have increased your deductible etc... Are you happy now, and will you be happy 5 years from now?"

He went on about the deficit in general:

Don't let people tell you that the deficit is from the Recovery Act. Most of the deficit is because of Medicare and Medicaid. A tiny, tiny part is the Recovery Act which was designed to keep firefighters and teachers and policemen on the job. It did that. But we have so much uncompensated care at hospitals, this is a big part of the deficit.

The Recovery Act helps people keep their insurance on Cobra, but it is so costly.... It was the right thing to do, but we can't afford to do it indefinitely.... We need something that enables the self employed to have insurance.

He reassured us that he is going to keep on pressing until it gets done.

A question on health care coverage being taxed was asked. He admitted that this is a huge coverage. Some have suggested eliminating the tax exclusion to employers. The idea was that if the tax payer were shopping on his own, he could get the credit. However, the individual tax payer is not going to be able to buy insurance for the same price that the pool was paying for him.

"If you are older or sicker, the price really gets jacked up.

So, we're not going to tax these benefits or eliminate the exclusion. Congress is talking about capping the exclusion. Those Cadillac plans would be taxed above the cost that a regular family is paying. Barack's one stipulation is that no one's insurance costs will go up as a result of health insurance reform.

As they used to say in X Files, "The Truth shall set you free."

He wants the American people to be well enough informed that the scare tactics don't work.

He doesn't want to give the insurance companies $177 billion for no reason as we are doing now. And, he doesn't want to pay for five tests when he could pay for two....

People worrying about rationing didn't surprise him because this is one of the conservative talking points. The truth is that he will make available information to doctors. If the blue pill has the best effect on z, and is less expensive than the red pill made by a different pharmaceutical company, he would like you and your doctor to have that information.

He is hoping that people can generate the necessary political will. No one wanted to do social security, but people didn't want older Americans on the street after working hard all their lives. Americans found a way to do something about it. The conservatives are still complaining about social security....

This is one of those times when Americans have to come together. Let's go after the future. We want a system that gives you choice; allows you to keep your doctor and drives down costs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Speaking of Reaching for the Sun....

Today's the day: the President's health reform online town hall at 1:15 Eastern. Watch, discuss, engage.

In case you're free! We didn't want you to miss it. We'll be back with a report later.

Japanese tree that picked up an SUV!

Thanks to Rachael Maddow for bringing my attention to this story. (Thanks to for bringing this to Rachael's attention.)

As Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never, never, never give up!" This tree followed his motto. It didn't let anything stop it from reaching for the sun! This should be our motto as we use the Law of Attraction. Most teachers of the Law of Attraction say that we usually reach for goals that are too low.

How sad if we humans don't have as much faith in ourselves as did this tree.

As Bruce Lipton explains, we are 70,000,000,000,000 coordinated cells that started in Mother Earth as minerals, and were energized by Father Sun. My, what a little bit of solar energy can do!

This is a hackleberry tree that started as a seed in a junkyard. It is now 25 years old, and wasn't stopped by anything that was between it and the energy is sought! The video below is in Japanese, but the photos are delightful.