Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things that really matter..... Are the things that gold can't buy

Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee
Words and music by Irving Belin

Why worry when skies are gray
Why should we complain
Let's laugh at the cloudy day
Let's sing in the rain
Songwriters say the storm quickly passes
That's their philosophy
They see the world through rose-colored glasses
Why shouldn't we?

Just around the corner
There's a rainbow in the sky
So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie!

Trouble's just a bubble
And the clouds will soon roll by
So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie

Let a smile be your umbrella
For it's just an April show'r
Even John D. Rockefeller
Is looking for the silver lining

Mister Herbert Hoover
Says that now's the time to buy

So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie!

Things that really matter
Are the things that gold can't buy
So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie!

Here are a baker's dozen versions of this Irving Berlin hit from the first Great Depression, all available for download in the universal mp3 format: Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Congress & President Obama Destroy Medicare for Millions

My mother received her notification in the mail yesterday. Secure Horizons Insurance is ending its Medicare Advantage Program in our area and, as it turns out, there is no replacement plan, even from another insurer, available. Mother, as you might guess, is furious. Her President, the man she idolized, the man she voted for, has betrayed her.
Ask my Mom. She has voted a straight Democratic Party ticket for the last 40 years. Not one single Democrat will get her vote this fall.

The Democratic Party has betrayed every single senior citizen. The party that is supposed to protect seniors has hung them out to dry.

Mom will need to buy a Medicare Supplimental Policy that will cost her thousands of dollars. But she absolutely cannot afford to go into Medicare barefoot.

UPDATE: 9/30/2010 - It appears a new Medicare GAP policy will cost MOM about $4,000.00 a year. Virtualy every senior who was on a Medicare Advantage program will pay at least $2,000.00 more when their current insurance is cancelled PLUS higher co-pays. Thank you again President Obama for destroying the American Health Care System on the backs of Senior CItizens. Several additional posts will follow in the next few days.

She is not alone. It's happening all across the nation. Only a few favored districts, mostly in Florida, were carved out and exempt from the insanely stupid changes in Medicare law that effectively destroy the Advantage program. So a few Florida Congress Persons have bought themselves an election or two. Even that is a traitorous act.

In case you would like to understand what is happening, there is an excellent article in today's Boston Globe about how 22,000 Massachusetts residents are losing their Advantage Plan:
Harvard Pilgrim cancels Medicare Advantage plan

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nightmare on Main Street

If you toggle between CNBC and the Fox Business News Channel you quickly learn that business, investors and economists all really despise the Health Care Reform Bill, enacted six months ago today.

If you read virtually any of the polls you already know the public really hates the same health care reform, generally called ObamaCare. I believe that this single bill is the primary cause of the growth of the Tea Party movement and the unexpected Republican resurgence.

It is possible that Republicans will take control of the House, although I fear that is unlikely. But it is a moot point regardless, as without either controlling the Presidency or having a filibuster proof majority in the Senate (60 whopping votes), overturning the bill is virtually impossible.

It sure as hell needs to happen as the bill is quickly becoming the Freddie Kruger of legislation and it haunts our every dream, turning any hope of an economic recovery into a nightmare of recession and possibly depression.

Here, thanks to the editorial page writers of the Washington Examiner are a few bullet points of the current and impending disaster:

» Obamacare won't decrease health care costs for the government. According to Medicare's actuary, it will increase costs. The same is likely to happen for privately funded health care.

» Obamacare won't allow employees or most small businesses to keep the coverage they have and like. By Obama's estimates, as many as 69 percent of employees, 80 percent of small businesses, and 64 percent of large businesses will be forced to change coverage, probably to more expensive plans.

» Obamacare will increase insurance premiums -- in some places, it already has. Insurers, suddenly forced to cover clients' children until age 26, have little choice but to raise premiums, and they attribute to Obamacare's mandates a 1 to 9 percent increase. Obama's only method of preventing massive rate increases so far has been to threaten insurers.

» Obamacare will force seasonal employers -- especially the ski and amusement park industries -- to pay huge fines, cut hours, or lay off employees.

» Obamacare forces states to guarantee not only payment but also treatment for indigent Medicaid patients. With many doctors now refusing to take Medicaid (because they lose money doing so), cash-strapped states could be sued and ordered to increase reimbursement rates beyond their means.

» Obamacare imposes a huge nonmedical tax compliance burden on small business. It will require them to mail IRS 1099 tax forms to every vendor from whom they make purchases of more than $600 in a year, with duplicate forms going to the Internal Revenue Service. Like so much else in the 2,500-page bill, our senators and representatives were apparently unaware of this when they passed the measure.

» Obamacare allows the IRS to confiscate part or all of your tax refund if you do not purchase a qualified insurance plan. The bill funds 16,000 new IRS agents to make sure Americans stay in line.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:
Examiner Editorial: Obamacare is even worse than critics thought

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflections on the Life of Sue Kim Hanson

Here is a reprint of the article I wrote four years ago as part of the 2,996 Project. In this project, one blogger was assigned to prepare a remembrance for each of the victims who died during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001Tragically, this year 9/11 has taken on a new meaning. Instead of somber reflection and quiet remembrance, it has become the centerpiece of a political firestorm. Hatred is being ginned up again and tragedy may well follow in its footsteps. God forbid anyone should have to endure this type of tragedy again. Hatred brought down the World Trade Towers. It seems we have a tough time learning this lesson.

Please take time to remember just how frail and how fleeting life really is. Read and remember Sue Kim Hanson.

Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2006
A short note appears on the Boston University Medical Campus Calendar Website noting that Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Cellular Biology Section of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases will be speaking tomorrow, September 11, 2006, on the topic of "Gained in Translation: Generating Viral and Cellular Peptide Antigens from DRiPs."

He is speaking at 4:00 pm in Keefer Auditorium and a Reception in the Wilkins Board Room will follow.

What might be missed by a casual observer is perhaps the most important fact of all. Dr. Yewdell is the guest speaker for the
5th Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology.

If you noticed this, you might simply assume that Sue Kim Hanson is (or was) some generous benefactor to the University. A lecture named for her to repay her gift.

Or perhaps you would guess that she is (or was) a notable scientist who, at one time or another, taught or studied at Boston University. Someone who should be honored for the advancements she made in Immunology.

And, indeed, all of the above is true. Just not in the way you might expect.

Susan Kim Hanson was one of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that took the lives of
2,996 souls in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania.

Sue, her husband Peter, and her two year old daughter Christine were on United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Her daughter Christine was the youngest victim of the September 11th attack.

But the Boston University Lecture Series is not named after Sue Kim Hanson because of the way she died, but because of the way she lived.
Sue Kim HansonSue was a great scientist in the making. She was a doctoral candidate in micro-biology immunology at Boston University and working on her final thesis. Her work promised to reveal the workings of a chemical believed to regulate immune responses. She had isolated in lab mice a gene suspected of being involved in asthma sufferers and AIDS patients. Her work had the potential to help millions of people.

Susan Kim was one of those wonderful American success stories. A Korean-American, Sue had lived with her grandmother in Korea until she was 6. Her mother died when she was 15 and she was raised by her strict Korean father. Through hard work and discipline, sacrifice, dedication and sheer will power she neared the goal her mother and father and grandmother had hoped she would achieve, her doctorate degree.

Dr. Hardy Kornfeld, Hanson's thesis adviser, said "She was sort of fearless. Sue just took on tasks that were incredibly challenging, and more often than not she was able to make a go at them."

That she would be attracted to the wild and undisciplined Peter Hanson was a great surprise. Three years younger than Sue Kim, Peter gained his education by following The Grateful Dead. Peter believed that the group and its music would become classics, up there with Beethoven, Bach and company, and he tried to sway the opinion of anyone who would listen. Many of our listeners to Wizard Radio would certainly agree with Peter.

But even if Sue wasn't quite convinced about the Dead, she believed in Peter. And her faith was well placed. Peter was, by all accounts, a brilliant software engineer, a great salesman and a wonderful person.

He was passionate about Sue and Sue fell head over heals in love with Peter. She obviously had a great effect on him. has a reprint of a New York Times article about Sue that tells the story:

    "The relationship spurred Peter Hanson to clip his tangle of brownish-red dreadlocks, trade in tie-dyed T- shirts for suits, go to business school and become one of the best software salesmen his friends and family had ever met. He was vice president of marketing at TimeTrade in Waltham, Mass."

    "Her bond with the Hansons was so strong that they accompanied her to California when she went to inform her father about her engagement. She worried that her father would protest because Peter Hanson was not Korean. But her family embraced the Hansons."

Sue and Peter were married and had a beautiful daughter. Sue continued to pursue her doctoral degree. She was scheduled to defend her thesis in November, 2001.Sue, Peter and ChristineTaking a last break before finalizing her research and thesis, Sue, Peter and Christine were on their way to visit the Sue's father and grandmother in California, and take Christine to Disneyland, when they boarded United Airlines Flight 175. Peter was one of those who made a final cell phone call to his parents moments before the plane crashed into the south tower.

Sue's friend
Mona Pengree writes, "Sue was awarded her PhD posthumously, as her professor finished her work on her behalf. This is a wonderful picture of her, and she shone every bit as brightly in person. Probably more. Her loss was a loss to all mankind."

Sue gave a great deal to Boston University and she gave a great deal to all of us. Her work in immunology inspired her fellow students, faculty and the University to continue her research and finish her thesis. They awarded her a doctorate degree. And they established the Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology, not just to honor her memory, but to give full credit to her work and the inspiration, the strength and the courage Sue provides to us all.

God bless you Sue... and Peter and Christine and all those who died so tragically five years ago.

God bless.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, there is a wealth of information, tribute and love scattered throughout the Internet in remembrance of Sue Kim Hanson. I owe every contributor who came before me a deep debt of gratitude. Through each of you I have come to know Sue, Peter and Christine. You have touched my heart.

If my Tribute to Susan Kim Hanson here today fell short in any way, I deeply apologize and would love to hear from any of you.

I suggest these following resources from which I have borrowed freely in preparing this tribute:
Remember September 11, 2001
A mother to her son: How could I forget your curiosity and energy? By Eunice Hanson, for The Associated Press

Peter, Sue Kim, and Christine Hanson Memorial Web Site

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Back in 2006, the 2,996 Project asked bloggers to prepare tributes to all who died in the tragic events of September 11th. Many of those blog entries remain on line and many will be reprinted today.

    Saturday, September 04, 2010

    Keep an Eye on Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) as Health Care Evolves

    Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is deservedly making very big news this September with his very public break with the infamous ObamaCare bill. He is making all the right moves to insure his state and his constituents will not be taking part in the least popular parts of this Federal Government boondoggle.

    Last Spring, when we all discovered that the President and the "powers-that-be" were not going to listen to the near brilliant common sense approach to health care reform being championed by Senator Wyden, he very quietly snuck an "state opt-out" provision into the 2,000 plus page bill. Of course nobody read the damned bill anyway, but that only made Wyden's move easier.

    Now Wyden is helping Oregon use the very opt-out he provided to escape the most unpopular provision of the bill and to replace it with a sate bill that might actually work.

    You can learn all about Senator Wyden's approach to health care and his recent efforts to opt-out Oregon in these articles:

    Sen Ron Wyden writing in The Huffington Post: Missing The Point

    The Hill: Wyden Makes His Case for Health Care Waiver

    Wall Street Journal: Wyden Defects on ObamaCare

    Wyden is in a tough re-election battle. I hope the (much needed and much deserved) Republican Sweep this November doesn't rob the Senate of one of it's brightest members.