“The most magic thing I own is a pencil. A welcome to the infinite possibilities is ever present in it.” – quote by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2007
“The most magic thing I own is a pencil. A welcome to the infinite possibilities is ever present in it.” – quote by Cricket Diane C Phillips, 2007
Cricket D. Says – “Grow a Green Thing – Save The Sea”
If everyone plants as many leafy plants as they can inside and out – we could save our oceans.
Plants are the original nano-material for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and safe, usable nutrients.
We may not be able to put back trees as fast as they are being torn down in our communities – but we can make a difference by planting as many green things as we can – hostas, ferns, flowers, evergreens, vines like philodendrons, morning glories and ivys, vegies and treelings.
Plant five Green Things a week in your yard. If we all do that throughout the summer and fall across America, we can start lowering the carbon dioxide levels that are affecting our oceans. It will improve our air quality, too.
Add plants indoors, on porches, in windows, and in offices and businesses, too. It could buy the time our scientists, inventors and engineers need to implement the green solutions they’ve created.
Clip your plants and start new ones from them. Plant seeds and nursery seedlings. Add mulch for fertilizer. Plant roses and shrubs. Divide plants and make two or three from each. Its easy and fun. Children might help but its time for the grown-ups to lead the way.
Grow a Green Thing (or two) and Save The Seas.
Written by Cricket Diane C Phillips
Cricket House Studios – 2008
Feel free to forward this and please let’s help each other to get some stuff planted. Thanks!
After seeing vast numbers of postings on craigslist over the past three years for writers to work for free, or as “apprentices,” or as “internships,” or for the “experience” and after watching Huffington Post be sold for hundreds of millions without paying their writers – I think it is no more than a form of slavery in America. There aren’t unions much down here in the South, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be paid for working to promote companies by writing for them.
In fact, a couple days ago – on craigslist in Atlanta, there was a listing for technical writing which would encompass nearly every single job of writing the manuals for a number of different airplanes. That may have been contract work – but it would mean that somebody made the play for a contract to write those for some large company without having even one writer available to actually do any of the work – and they got that contract. Now, who would do such a thing? And, why would any large company allow them to do it when obviously, if they are listing on craigslist for all those writers – they didn’t have them in the first place when they got the contract for it.
I copied off the listing – it was unreal. And, there is one today that is a real winner – after listing numerous activities required by the “writing job” including promoting their products, books, music publications online and in print, keeping up with scheduling tours and book signings and public appearances, working with public relations activities and press releases along with creating them and tracking them – at the bottom of the craigslist post, it says – compensation – part time and contract work with no evidence they are actually willing to pay anything. Well, if that were the only one like that, it would be one thing – but these are common and more commonly, they are non-paying “internship” or for the “experience” listings.
Strangely enough, if I go to the craigslist for New York or San Francisco or Los Angeles – the writing jobs are not like that. These places have strong unions in place and my guess is that they just don’t put up with it. The other day, I saw a listing on craigslist Atlanta for a writer to do the research and promotional materials for a realtor’s office and wanted it to be, what would amount to a full-time job of it for ZERO pay – just the “experience” as an unpaid internship. What kind of nonsense is that? We don’t live in a communist country where our homes are paid for and our food is given to us. These listings are commonly for companies that are profit-making and for some reason, when it comes to writing the copy upon which they rely for those profits, suddenly it is unnecessary to even consider paying anything to get that part done for them.
And I’ve noticed, editing, proofreading, updating information for web pages, writing blogs for them, doing social networking for them, writing any and all copy for them or for their products, writing instruction manuals for them, writing training manuals for them and anything else is the same way when it is listed in the Atlanta craigslist or some of the other outlets. Why don’t they at least be honest and say on the title – “We want you to work full-time for us and make our business more profitable while we pay you nothing for doing it.”
For some reason – our business leaders in Atlanta and the surrounding areas where I live hold the belief that we should all be grateful to get to work for them for nothing and to not be paid for work but do it simply to have the experience of doing it for them. I guess there are plenty of people doing it that way, too – in the hope that someday they will get to be paid for it. And, the Huffington Post is a good example of what happens. But, I don’t know why it happens. When the money came in the door, the first thing that was dismissed was paying the writers who had made it possible for it to be sold for that value. And, the same thing happens to people in Atlanta who are starved to write and to be heard – they simply get left out of the profit side of the equation. It seems to be nothing short of consistent, too.
If writing and researching, writing copy, promoting business interests online and continually coming up with new and interesting things to say about it that can capture people’s attention is nothing worth being paid to do – then why do businesses need it to be done at all? Why don’t the business owners in Atlanta just do that part themselves and not hire anybody – if they aren’t going to pay people anyway for doing that work? It obviously isn’t held in high esteem among Atlanta’s business community – they pay the trash picker-uppers more money than they would consider paying for writing – why bother listing on craigslist and at various places for writers at all?
Oh yeah –
And the only technical skill less likely to get paid than writing is doing logos, artwork, photography, artistic work of any kind for businesses in Atlanta – they think you or I should do that for free and be grateful to get to do it for them as well. That has got to stop. Without artwork, the ninnies can do just about nothing and without written materials on an ongoing basis – they can do just about nothing – profitable or otherwise. The sooner these are considered valued skill sets, the sooner – their businesses will have the kinds of opportunities that could be more fully available to them. Because, believe it or not – when people don’t get paid to work for these businesses, it is the businesses and the Atlanta business community that looks like the backward hicks in comparison to the world marketplace instead of international quality participants. Don’t tell me that nobody pays for artwork or for writing – it is on every single thing that is sold anywhere and everywhere in the US and around the world. This isn’t 1610.
T-Shirt with flickering flag design – and – cricketdiane Zazzle store –
And the main CricketDiane website with art and images –
And don’t forget to wander by the America the Beautiful Show sites to check them out sometime –
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Federal prosecutors have ratcheted up their pursuit of two former Pennsylvania judges accused of taking $2.8 million in kickbacks to place youth offenders in private detention centers.
[. . . ]
The indictment accused Ciavarella and Conahan of extorting kickbacks from the former co-owner of PA Child Care LLC and its sister facility, Western PA Child Care.
Conahan shut down Luzerne County’s existing juvenile detention facility in 2002, saying it was unsafe. In 2004, the county entered a 20-year, $58 million agreement with PA Child Care to lease its new Pittston Township facility.
The indictment said that Ciavarella, as juvenile court judge, sent youths to PA Child Care and later to its sister facility while he was accepting payments. To keep the prison beds full, Ciavarella routinely deprived young defendants of their right to counsel, ordered juveniles into detention even when probation officers didn’t recommend it, and pressured probation officials to change their recommendations, the indictment said.
[ . . . ]
Former PA Child Care owner Robert Powell, a lawyer, pleaded guilty July 1 to paying kickbacks to the judges. Prominent construction company owner Robert K. Mericle, who built the detention centers, pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of withholding information on a crime.
(from Associated Press)
[And, there’s the US health care system / prison for private profit / mental health and “behavioral” health modification systems / pharmaceutical based cooperation cocktails for behavior modification systems at work as it has been for the last thirty years – and they want to make that more pervasive, rather than less, rather than fixing it, rather than making it right? Apparently.]
My Note –
I listened to the President and the Congressional address about health care last night at least three times to hear it all. I listened to it carefully and it is obvious that both the President and the Legislature are overstepping the bounds of their authority. But, apparently –
They plan to extort a required tax against every living, breathing citizen of the United States, exempting illegal immigrants of course who gets to keep all of the money they make here. And, that tax will be put into the profit glut of every insurance company in America – that’s what it means to require every citizen to have health insurance. It denies the freedom of choice, it is unfair taxation going into private hands, it is illegal and it will require each and every citizen, business and child born into this country to pay to be alive in the United States of America.
At the same time, doctors and hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will be exempt from accountability when their all too typical malpractice occurs. And yet, we all must be registered with some health care insurance provider and pay each month for each member of our families, our children, ourselves and our businesses to be covered by their services without recourse, simply because we are alive and citizens of the United States. They may as well have just taken 50% of everyone’s income off the top in the first place and provided something in return for it. That would be less than the percentage we are paying now, to get virtually nothing but corruption and Nazi Germany style oppressions and tyrannies across virtually every state and every administration regardless of political party.
It seemed a little off to me that, the people in politics whose funding comes directly from the big insurance companies, health industries and pharmaceutical companies, would be pursuing “health care reform.” Well, now it is obvious that there is no reform in it. The only pursuit they have been making is to charge a tax per head extorted from the freedoms of our citizenship here in order to line the pockets of their campaign contributors.
Now, when any person gives birth to a child in the United States of America, they will be registered and stamped for citizenship with a required registration to a health insurance provider which will legally require those parents and that individual to pay to those insurance revenue streams for every day that they are alive in the United States of America or elsewhere as long as their membership as a citizen of the US is maintained.
And, there will be no recourse against a health system, doctors and industries that have been pervasively known for causing more harm than good on a regular basis, so consistently, in fact as to be unimaginable. Every day across America, health care industry professionals cause harms which were preventable and inexcusable. Nothing in this bill fixes that. The members of Congress and the Administration have no intention of fixing that.
Apparently, their only intention was to jeopardize our freedoms, our rights, our inalienable rights, our basis of freedom and our basis of citizenship. Also, apparently they don’t like the limitations of their power guaranteed by the Constitution to prevent their overstepping the bounds of that oath of office they took. It certainly overstepped those bounds when they decided to impose a privately profitable “tax” called “health care insurance” on every citizen and every business by virtue of their existence.
And then, it begs the question – just as with auto insurance which is required of every vehicle and driver but is no more than a tax on the right to drive in a world that demands personal transportation in order to work, to have a business, or to make a living – what happens when people don’t have the money to continue paying those health insurance premiums? Then do they lose the right of citizenship in the United States, despite being born here, taken the oath of citizenship here, being a consummated and valuable member of the citizens of the United States and despite being guaranteed that citizenship by the Constitution?
Will that be done in the same way the car insurance companies send license and personal information to the State Office of No Insurance to legally dismiss our drivers’ license, as is done now? Will they take away the rights to our own children and to our own citizenship, beyond what they’ve already been doing in that arena through health and human services / social services, simply because they are born without the required registrations and payments to the health insurance industries and we failed to “sign them up for it” and remit those payments to them?
How about this – what if we directly and immediately take to task those insurance companies as we should’ve done in the first place. They are the ones who have driven up the costs of health care beyond all measure. They are the ones who have tolerated shoddy health services, malpractice, incompetence, dispassionately destroyed the health of people for profit motives, paid themselves like kings and lobbied to get out of any accountability to the public and their customers. They are the ones that need to be changed. We sure don’t need to keep paying them to continue slaughtering us. They’ve done enough damage for several lifetimes and now they intend to further that profit machine to serve their own interests to an even greater and more oppressive extent. They are inherently evil – why give them even one more dime to use to do more damage?
– cricketdiane, 09-10-09
And, oh by the way, they plan on robbing over $500 Billion dollars from the social security system, Medicare and Medicaid funds that we have all paid into the government trusts for it, under the guise of this “health care reform.” That isn’t their money and is not free money, but every time they can find an excuse to get their hands on it – even paying the interest on the national debt out of it – there they go without anyone saying a word. And they are doing it again. It was written into the first bill and it will be found in the second one that will come to vote. Neither Congress nor the office of the President has any right given to them by the Constitution and by our laws, to levy a tax against every citizen for the right to be alive. And neither do they have the power offered to them which legislates health care to every person under their jurisdiction. It denies the fundamental rights and freedoms we are guaranteed.
Looking at how easily those judges in the story above, denied the rights and opportunities of those who were to be protected by them and did so with no more conscience about right and wrong than their insatiable desire for money could offer, I am horrified at the thought that more of that kind of power would be put into the hands of judges, insurance companies, government agency officials, states, health care businesses, prison for profit businesses, mental health agencies and industries or pharmaceutical companies / lawyers / academics / legislatures / state agencies / health and human services / hospitals / or in fact, anybody.
For the same reason that Congress could not legislate the salaries or bonuses of bankers and financiers, nor could limit or restrict them legally – they also cannot legally legislate health care. It is outside the authority of the President and the Congress, which constitutes a taking and assuming powers that do not legally belong to them. Anything they do in that process by exceeding their bounds of authority and doing it in that way will contest the foundation of authority they have been granted and break the validity of the legal and consensual premise of that authority.
It is a shame that so many shed their blood and gave their lives to insure our democracy, freedoms, individual rights and noble ideals when the real enemies of those tenets were in our businesses and seated in our own government all along, both of whom were so quick to disregard them, and found it painlessly easy to disavow the importance of those core foundations, then undermine them as a possibility guaranteed to everyone or, in fact, to anyone.
Medical malpractice cases from one law firm – these aren’t small negligence cases that are being pursued – it is obscene how far the health care system and health care industries have strayed away from offering health –
A 2004 study of medical malpractice claims in the United States examining primary care malpractice found that though incidence of negligence in hospitals produced a greater proportion of severe outcomes, the total number of errors and deaths due to errors were greater for outpatient settings. No single medical condition was associated with more than five percent of all negligence claims, and one-third of all claims were the result of misdiagnosis.
A recent study by Healthgrades found that an average of 195,000 hospital deaths in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the U.S. were due to potentially preventable medical errors. Researchers examined 37 million patient records and applied the mortality and economic impact models developed by Dr. Chunliu Zhan and Dr. Marlene R. Miller in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in October 2003. The Zhan and Miller study supported the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 1999 report conclusion, which found that medical errors caused up to 98,000 deaths annually and should be considered a national epidemic. Some researchers questioned the accuracy of the 1999 IOM study, reporting both significant subjectivity in determining which deaths were “avoidable” or due to medical error and an erroneous assumption that 100% of patients would have survived if optimal care had been provided. A 2001 study in JAMA estimated that only 1 in 10,000 patients admitted to the hospital would have lived for 3 months or more had “optimal” care been provided.
A 2006 follow-up to the 1999 Institute of Medicine study found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year. According to the study, 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur each year in hospitals, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and roughly 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics. The report stated that these are likely to be conservative estimates. In 2000 alone, the extra medical costs incurred by preventable drug related injuries approximated $887 million – and the study looked only at injuries sustained by Medicare recipients, a subset of clinic visitors. None of these figures take into account lost wages and productivity or other costs.
|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page.|
Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which care provided deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient. Standards and regulations for medical malpractice vary by country and jurisdiction within countries.
|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page.|
In the U.S., medical errors are estimated to result in 44,000 to 98,000 unnecessary deaths and 1,000,000 excess injuries each year. One older extrapolation suggests ‘180,000 people die each year partly as a result of iatrogenic injury, the equivalent of three jumbo-jet crashes every 2 days’. It is estimated that in a typical 100 to 300 bed hospital in the United States, excess costs of $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 attributable to prolonged stays and complications just due to medication errors occur yearly.
However, medical error definitions are subject to debate, as there are many types of medical error from minor to major, and causality is often poorly determined. The Health Grades study statistics, based on AHRQ MedPAR data, were based on administrative records, not clinical records, and largely overlooked multi-causality of outcomes.
Medical care is frequently compared adversely to aviation: while many of the factors which lead to errors in both fields are similar, aviation’s error management protocols are regarded as much more effective.
Experts estimate that as many as 98,000 people die in any given year from medical errors that occur in hospitals. That’s more than die from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS–three causes that receive far more public attention. Indeed, more people die annually from medication errors than from workplace injuries. Add the financial cost to the human tragedy, and medical error easily rises to the top ranks of urgent, widespread public problems.
In 2000, The Institute of Medicine released “To Err Is Human”, which asserts that the problem in medical errors is not bad people in health care–it is that good people are working in bad systems that need to be made safer.
My Note –
In medical journals and other statistical analysis portals / academics / study / dissemination – the terms can be Iatrogenesis, as above, or medical error, or pharmaceutical error or who knows how many other things. It seems to be divided up rather than placed in the same category by the same terms where an overview of the problem and of the pervasiveness of the problems would be self-evident.
An adverse drug reaction (abbreviated ADR) is an expression that describes harm associated with the use of given medications at a normal dose. The meaning of this expression differs from the meaning of “side effect”, as this last expression might also imply that the effects can be beneficial. The study of ADRs is the concern of the field known as pharmacovigilance.
ADRs may be classified by e.g. cause and severity.
Severity is a point on an arbitrary scale of intensity of the adverse event in question. The terms “severe” and “serious” when applied to adverse events are technically very different. They are easily confused but can not be used interchangeably, require care in usage.
A headache is severe, if it causes intense pain. There are scales like “visual analog scale” that help us assess the severity. On the other hand, a headache can hardly ever be serious, unless it also satisfies the criteria for seriousness listed above.
Adverse effects may be local, i.e. limited to a certain location, or systemic, where a medication has caused adverse effects throughout the systemic circulation.
As research better explains the biochemistry of drug use, fewer ADRs are Type B and more are Type A. Common mechanisms are:
Many countries have official bodies that monitor drug safety and reactions. On an international level, the WHO runs the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, and the European Union runs the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for monitoring post-marketing studies.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008; 12:00 AM
TUESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) — From 2004 through 2006, patient safety errors resulted in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths of U.S. Medicare patients and cost the Medicare program $8.8 billion, according to the fifth annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study.
Of the 270,491 deaths that occurred among patients who experienced one or more patient safety incidents, 238,337 were potentially preventable, the researchers said.If all hospitals performed at the level of the top-ranked hospitals, about 220,106 patient safety incidents and 37,214 patient deaths could have been avoided, and about $2 billion could have been saved.
[ . . . ]
Starting Oct. 1, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will stop reimbursing hospitals for the treatment of eight major preventable errors, including objects left in the body after surgery and certain kinds of post-surgical infections.
My Note –
The health care reform being legislated currently only includes preventing people from suing doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and to legally require every citizen to have health insurance which amounts to a tax per head levied and extorted from every American in order to exist anywhere in this country. Not only is it not going to solve the health care crisis in this country, it will continue to contribute to the problems we already endure and allow them to get worse. Medicine and profits are not compatible by any sensibilities of conscience and good health.
– cricketdiane, 09-13-09
06/16/2009. USA Health Atlas. Try the report function by clicking on a State
|The USA Hospitals Atlas let you explore hospital trends between 1999 to 2006. Several indicators like admissions, number of beds and ER visits are available. When you are on the map, click on to play a movie that shows the trend.|
USA Health Atlas
Geo-Stat Atlases demonstrate the ability of Géoclip to present cartographic data. Graduated color or proportional symbols, see the power and user friendliness of Géoclip for yourself. >>>
The USA Hospitals Atlas let you explore hospital trends between 1999 to 2006. Several indicators like admissions, number of beds and ER visits are available. When you are on the map, click on to play a movie that shows the trend.
Geoclip presents on its website a Continental USA Atlas by state and county. This Atlas presents many indicators (demography, education, employment, income, etc.).
My Response to a comment about the health care system and pharmaceuticals from the last few days –
Rather than being intellectually lazy about this – the real problems with pharmaceuticals is not that the public can’t have a live interaction on a social networking site about them – it is that the drugs are being manufactured in a way that causes preventable complications with them and they are being mis-prescribed on top of that. Unless the companies making these drugs want to talk with customers in the way used car salesmen would when passing off a lemon – how about tackling the real problems in a way that would yield solutions that work?
One problem is that doctors are prescribing the exact same dosages regardless of weight, blood volume, liver health or capacity because of previous liver damage, age, sex, and regardless of other medications being given at the same time.
Since you are involved in IT and probably know a bunch of tech-head geeks, why don’t you design a fail-safe software that pharmacies and doctors / hospitals could use that would take known factors like those in the list above and flag prescription combinations that are lethal, dangerous or debilitating at the point of sale or at the point of diagnosis? That could be helpful and a much more valuable use of your specialized skill sets. The volume of blood for different age groups, sexes and dependent on specific health conditions could be found – there is certainly enough study of it by medical schools and morticians. Obviously, the same strength of dosage does not belong in the body of someone with poor circulation, elderly, generally sedate, and with only 50% liver function, as would be appropriate for someone much younger, male, active and with no liver damage. But, right now, many drugs are being given in the same dosages and strengths across various populations, even when a number of other drugs are already having to be processed by the liver, bloodstream and internal organs simultaneously.
And that is only one problem, but it would be a damn good start. And if you know anybody with enough brains and authority to make a decision about anything at the pharmaceutical companies, you might let them know that around 90% of the side effects in the last eight generations of drugs they’ve been producing are the direct result of a manufacturing process which could very well be changed. But, they probably already know that since they made the profit-driven choice of doing it that way. (The 90% figure does not include those side effects which are occurring as a result of poor diagnosis, drugs being mixed together in quantities and varieties that are dangerous, or as a result of drugs being administered which were wrong entirely or not needed in the first place – those are a whole separate category.)
The second problem that you might consider putting all this energy into successfully creating solutions to fix, is that when a patient has a known set of side effects that have occurred or are occurring as a result of taking a medication or combination of medications – the pharmacy ought to have a record of it. That ought to be able to be entered into the file of the pharmacy or pharmacist that is tracking those medications in their computer and it ought to automatically be emailed to someone intelligent enough to enter it into the patients’ file at the doctors’ office or at the nurses’ station at the hospital. And, an annoying alarm should be made that hits the cellphone of their doctor the moment that side effect is reported, whether it is not being able to take a shit or feeling dizzy or having nervousness and insomnia or nausea or shaking or incontinence or heart palpitations or sweating or whatever the side effect may be.
And – while you are at it – how about finding a way to get the jackasses’ names and affiliations published on the bills they’ve written who are working at pharmaceutical companies or being sponsored by pharmaceuticals or insurance companies, rather than having been elected to do that by the people of the United States. That is actually a project that I know a lot of people would pay to have available to them and then you can put it on social networking sites so it is easy to find and easy to understand whose work we’re having to suffer when that legislation or policy is put in place.
And, a quick little tech-head request – don’t ever assume that there is a legitimate condition that a medication treats, it isn’t realistic. Also, there are some specific things about pharmaceuticals and medical doctors generally in our lifetimes, that are absolutely true – first, they make money only if we stay sick or get sicker; second, they could’ve failed durn near every class in med school or college because they were hung-over, on drugs, sleeping, high or just not very good at it and we would have no way of knowing it; third, the ones who have a vested interest in our health and quality of life are each of us individually, – not them – they will be at the golf course enjoying tomorrow whether we are dead or are suffering by their hands or directly from their poor decisions for us; and fourth, not even an illegal drug dealer would poison the people they are selling their drugs to – but doctors, hospitals, nurses, pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies do not have the same level of direct accountability when they screw up, so there is nothing to prevent or dissuade them from doing just that.
– cricketdiane, 08-18-08
Chocolate linked to stronger heart
Published: Aug. 14, 2009 at 10:29 AM
(UPI Photo Files)
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 14 (UPI) — Chocolate eaters in a study of heart attack survivors had lower blood pressure and were less likely to die of heart disease, scientists in Sweden said.
Of the 1,169 patients studied, those who ate chocolate two or more times a week cut their risk of dying from heart disease nearly threefold compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate at all, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Imre Janszky of Karolinska Institute.
Jansky’s study also suggested antioxidants in cacao cut the risk of death from heart disease in healthy older men and post-menopausal women, The Local reported.
The research built upon earlier work which suggested a strong link between cocoa-based products and improvement in blood flow.
Army plans emotional resiliency training
Published: Aug. 18, 2009 at 12:57 AM
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) — The U.S. Army, in an effort to improve combat performance and stave off post-traumatic stress disorder, plans emotional resiliency training, officials said.
The $117 million program is an effort to transform a military culture that has generally considered talk of emotions to be so much hand-holding, a sign of weakness, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S Army’s chief of staff told The New York Times in an interview.
[ . . . ]
The new program is to be introduced at two bases in October and phased in gradually, starting in basic training, but officials plan to require all 1.1 million of soldiers to take intensive training in emotional resiliency.
The program, designed to help people cope better with stressful conditions, is usually taught in weekly 90-minute classes. It seeks to defuse or expose common habits of thinking and flawed beliefs that may develop into anger, frustration and a tendency to assume the worst — such as, My wife didn’t answer the phone; she must be with someone else.
Commentary: How insurance firms drive debate
* Story Highlights
* Wendell Potter: In my former job, I helped shape public opinion on health care
* He says insurance companies quietly seek to counter reform measures
* Potter: Industry worked to kill the Clinton health reform plan
* He says he didn’t want to be part of another effort to kill a health care plan
updated 11:16 a.m. EDT, Mon August 17, 2009
By Wendell Potter
Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Wendell Potter has served since May 2009 as senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit organization that says it seeks to expose corporate spin and government propaganda. After a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Potter left his job last year as head of communications for one of the nation’s largest health insurers, CIGNA Corporation.
Ex-insurance company spokesman Wendell Potter says the industry seeks to drive the health care debate.
[ . . . ]
If the radio report had carried more of my remarks, he might have a better understanding of how the health insurance and its army of PR people are influencing his opinions and actions without his even knowing it.
Until I quit my job last year, I was one of the leaders of that army. I had a very successful career and was my company’s voice to the media and the public for several years.
It was my job to promote and defend the company’s reputation and to try to persuade reporters to write positive stories about the industry’s ideas on reform. During the last couple of years of my career, however, I became increasingly worried that the high-deductible plans insurers were beginning to push Americans into would force more and more of us into bankruptcy.
The higher I rose in the company, the more I learned about the tactics insurers use to dump policyholders when they get sick, in order to increase profits and to reward their Wall Street investors. I could not in good conscience continue serving as an industry mouthpiece. And I did not want to be part of yet another industry effort to kill meaningful reform.
I explained during the press conference with Rep. Slaughter how the industry funnels millions of its policyholders’ premiums to big public relations firms that provide talking points to conservative talk show hosts, business groups and politicians. I also described how the PR firms set up front groups, again using your premium dollars and mine, to scare people away from reform.
The industry has been engaging in these kinds of tactics for many years, going back to its successful behind-the-scenes campaign to kill the Clinton reform plan.
A story in Friday’s New York Times about the origin of the absurdly false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposal would create government-sponsored death panels bears out what I have been saying.
The story notes that the rumor emanated from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating Bill Clinton’s health care proposal 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, the lieutenant governor of New York).
The big PR firms that work for the industry have close connections with those media outlets and stars in the conservative movement. One of their PR firms, which created and staffed a front group in the late ’90s to kill the proposed Patients’ Bill of Rights, launched a PR and advertising campaign in conservative media outlets to drum up opposition to the bill.
[ . . . ]
And just who is behind those commercials and advertisements we are seeing on tv against the health care reform and against health insurance reform –
New Directions says there are more than 15,000 homeless vets in Los Angeles, the largest such population in the United States. Most of the vets are from the Vietnam War era. A small but growing number of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are starting to hit the streets.
By August 2008, the total debt was $9.6 trillion.
Budgeted net interest on the public debt was approximately $239 billion in fiscal years 2007 and 2008. This represented approximately 9.5% of government spending. Interest was the fourth largest single budgeted disbursement category, after defense, Social Security, and Medicare.During 2007, the government also accrued a non-cash interest expense of $194 billion for intra-governmental debt, primarily the Social Security Trust Fund, for a total interest expense of $433 billion. This accrued interest is added to the Social Security Trust Fund and therefore the national debt each year and will be paid to Social Security recipients in the future.
from wikipedia entry about the US budget (above and below) –
Since recommendations of the Greenspan Commission were adopted in the early 1980s, Social Security payroll taxes have exceeded benefit payments. In FY2008, Social Security received $180 billion more in payroll taxes and accrued more interest than it paid out in benefits. This annual surplus is credited to Social Security trust funds that hold special non-marketable Treasury securities. The Social Security surplus reduces the amount of U.S. Treasury borrowing from the public. The total balance of the trust funds was $2.4 trillion in 2008 and is estimated to reach $3.7 trillion by 2016. At that point, payments will exceed payroll tax revenues, resulting in the gradual reduction of the trust funds balance as the securities are redeemed against other types of government revenues. By 2037, according to some estimates, the trust funds will be exhausted. Under current law, Social Security payouts would be reduced by 24% at that time, as only payroll taxes are authorized to cover benefits.
[ . . . ]
Understanding deficits and debt
Deficit and Debt Increases 2001-2008
The annual budget deficit is the difference between actual cash collections and outlays during a given fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. The national debt represents the outstanding obligations of the government at any given time, comprising both public and intra-governmental debt, which was $10.9 trillion as of March 1, 2009. While the difference between the deficit and the annual change in debt has been small, some extraordinary actions taken in FY2008 and FY2009 (such as the federal conservatorship of the mortgage guarantee agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) have led to a divergence between the deficit and the increase in federal debt.
These differences can make it more challenging to determine how much the government actually spends relative to tax revenues. The increase in the national debt during a given year is a helpful measure to determine this amount. From FY 2003-2007, the national debt increased approximately $550 billion per year on average. For the first time in FY 2008, the U.S. added $1 trillion to the national debt.In relative terms, from 2003-2007 the government spent roughly $1.20 for each $1.00 it collected in taxes.
Budgetary treatment of Social Security
Comparison of Deficits to Change in Debt 2008
Social Security payroll taxes and benefit payments, along with the net balance of the U.S. Postal Service are considered off-budget. Administrative costs of the Social Security Administration (SSA), however, are classified as on-budget. The total federal deficit is the sum of the on-budget deficit (or surplus) and the off-budget deficit (or surplus). Since FY1960, the federal government has run on-budget deficits except for FY1999 and FY2000, and total federal deficits except in FY1969 and FY1998-FY2001. In large part because of Social Security surpluses, the total federal budget deficit is smaller than the on-budget deficit.
The surplus of Social Security payroll taxes over benefit payments is invested in special Treasury securities held by the Social Security Trust Fund. Social Security and other federal trust funds are part of the intergovernmental debt. The total federal debt is divided into intergovernmental debt and debt held by the public.
For example, in FY2008 an off-budget surplus of $183 billion reduced the on-budget deficit of $642 billion, resulting in a total federal deficit of $459 billion. Media often report the latter figure. The national debt increased by $1,035 billion between the end of FY2007 and the end of FY2008.
[ . . . ]
2010 Budget: Total Debt $ and % to GDP
GDP is a measure of the total size and output of the economy. One measure of the debt burden is its size relative to GDP. In fiscal 2007, U.S. public debt was approximately $5 trillion (36.8 percent of GDP) and total debt was $9 trillion (65.5 percent of GDP.) Public debt represents money owed to those holding government securities such as Treasury bills and bonds. Total debt includes intra-governmental debt, which includes amounts owed to the Social Security Trust Funds (about $2.2 trillion in FY 2007) and Civil Service Retirement Funds. By August 2008, the total debt was $9.6 trillion.
Taxation in the United States
Taxation in the United States is a complex system which may involve payment to at least four different levels of government and many methods of taxation. United States taxation includes local government, possibly including one or more of municipal, township, district and county governments. It also includes regional entities such as school and utility, and transit districts as well as including state and federal government.
The National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that the combined federal, state, and local government average marginal tax rate for most workers to be about 40% of income.
[plus social security (FICA) and unemployment insurance] ?
Each state also has its own tax system.
Typically there is a tax on real estate, usually called property taxes . Real estate taxes are often imposed on the value of real estate by reason of its ownership. For example, in Texas the real estate tax is imposed on the real estate and in particular on the owner of the real estate as of January 1 of each tax year. The tax is computed by applying a tax rate to the appraised value of the real estate as of the tax date. Some states like New York also have a real estate transfer tax.
There may be additional income taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes (including use taxes). Taxable income for state purposes is usually based on federal taxable income with certain state specific adjustments. For example, some states tax municipal bond interest derived from other states that are otherwise exempt from federal income tax. Thus, this income must be added to the federal taxable income to compute the income amount for state income tax purposes. Oil and mineral producing states often impose a severance tax, similar to an excise tax in that tax is paid on the production of products, rather than on sales. Similarly, most New England states have yield taxes on timber/firewood cutting, payable as a percentage of the value cut, not the profit. Taxes on hotel rooms are common, and politically popular because the citizens will often approve such a tax while the taxpayers will come from other areas.
Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming do not levy an individual income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee only tax interest and dividend income. Delaware, Oregon, Montana and New Hampshire have no state or local sales tax. Alaska has no state sales tax, but allows localities to collect their own sales taxes up to a state-specified maximum.
Many states also levy personal property taxes, which are annual taxes on the privilege of owning or possessing items of personal property within the boundaries of the state. Automobile and boat registration fees are a subset of this tax; however, most people are unaware that practically all personal property is also subject to personal property tax. Usually, household goods are exempt; but virtually all objects of value (including art) are covered, especially when regularly used or stored outside of the taxpayer’s household.
List of taxes
Taxes and fees imposed by federal, state or local laws.
* Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
* U.S. capital gains tax
* Corporate income tax
* U.S. estate tax
* U.S. excise tax (includes taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages)
* U.S. federal income tax
* Federal unemployment tax (FUTA)
* FICA tax (includes Social Security tax and related programs)
* Gasoline tax
* Generation Skipping Tax
* Gift tax
* IRS penalties
* Local income tax
* Luxury taxes
* Property tax
* Real estate tax
* Recreational vehicle tax
* Rental car tax
* Resort tax (also known as Hotel/Motel tax, occupancy tax)
* Road usage taxes (Commercial Vehicle Operators)
* Sales tax and equivalent use tax
Agency chief reiterates support for public health care option
* Story Highlights
* NEW: Health and Human Services secretary: Absolutely nothing has changed
* Sen. Kent Conrad: Co-ops could cut costs but wouldn’t be chief way of doing so
* Rep. Anthony Weiner, another Dem, calls public option crucial, co-op idea weak
* Lawmakers divided over whether public option has votes to pass in Congress
NEW YORK (CNN) — The Obama administration is not backing away from its support for a public option as part of health care reform, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stressed Tuesday.
We continue to support the public option, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.
Here’s the bottom line: Absolutely nothing has changed, she said.
We continue to support the public option. That will help lower costs, give American consumers more choice and keep private insurers honest. If people have other ideas about how to accomplish these goals, we’ll look at those, too. But the public option is a very good way to do this.
She made her remarks during an address at a Medicare conference.
[And a lot of other nifty stuff including -]
[And – ]
[From Summary – ]
Twenty years ago, GAO reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was concerned that it lacked resources to fulfill its mission, which includes oversight of the safety and effectiveness of medical products–human drugs, biologics, and medical devices–marketed for sale in the United States.
Since then, FDA, GAO, and others have raised concerns regarding FDA’s ability to meet its oversight responsibilities. GAO was asked to review the resources supporting FDA’s medical product oversight responsibilities. GAO examined trends in (1) FDA’s funding and staffing resources for its medical product oversight responsibilities from fiscal years 1999 through 2008, and (2) FDA’s medical product oversight responsibilities during this same period.
GAO analyzed FDA data on the agency’s resources and workload, reviewed relevant federal laws, and interviewed FDA officials. GAO also examined more-detailed data on FDA’s fiscal year 2004 through 2008 resources and workload in four key areas, representing a range of FDA’s oversight responsibilities, both before and after a medical product is marketed in the United States.
Funding and staffing resources for FDA’s medical product programs increased between fiscal years 1999 and 2008, primarily as a result of increased user fees paid by industry, which are made available through appropriations acts to support the agency’s processes for reviewing new medical products. Total funding increased from about $562 million in fiscal year 1999 to about $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2008, with user fee funding accounting for more than half of this increase.
[My Note – so the pharmaceutical companies, and medical / health industry and manufacturers have been paying to get these reviews – hmmmm . . . now, isn’t that a little cozy relationship?]
Creating, Creating Solutions That Work, creativity how to, Cricket House Studios, cricketdiane, how to create, how to invent solutions, invention, inventiveness, learning, learning skills, living in the real - reality based analysis how to, living in the real world, resourcefulness, resources, so what is normal anyway?
1. Read the papers before signing them.
2. Ask the dumb questions that make it obvious you don’t know.
3. Ask the same dumb questions of everybody, especially specialists and attorneys who would know what it actually means, until you understand it.
4. Look it up, but don’t expect that to make any sense of it until you can form the right questions to ask using the right words to convey what you are asking.
5. Expect to communicate poorly until the basic principles start to gel in your mind – but keep trying until you get the communication right.
6. Don’t expect anybody to believe you know anything about anything – it won’t be about that anyway. It will be about someone else proving they know more than you do – so let them.
7. Learning is the one thing that can’t be fudged, it can’t be cooked to appear to be what it isn’t. The skills of learning are yours simply by applying them.
8. If you know a lot about something – remember this: you can’t now, nor ever know everything about it. There will always be more to remember than you have ever thought to ask about it and there will always be more to learn about any one thing than what you’ve ever considered about it.
9. There will always, always, always be times that appear to be complicated which are indeed complicated. It is the magic of being alive as a human being that the capacity exists within each of us to challenge the reality before us and apply ourselves to it despite its complexity and difficulty.
10. Whatever can be learned, can be mastered and there will still be more to know and to learn about it. There will always be ways to apply new ideas and new information and new processes and new paradigms to that mastery.
11. If you ask, the only fool is the one who pretended to know and didn’t – not you or me for accepting the limitations of knowledge and sought to know more.
12. Living is not a game, not a premise easily dismissed and not a practice session for something else. It is lived in the now with all the fullness and depth of the entire universe available. It doesn’t matter what people think about that – living is intrinsically powerful by virtue of itself regardless of anything else. What you do with it is up to you.
– cricketdiane, 08-07-09
Adding 2 plus 2 to get 8,633,000,000 –
(A Cricket House Studios thought of the day thing.)
New Cricket House Studios – Cricket Diane C Phillips website with art and stuff
Its fun . . .
captive customers for profit, Cricket House Studios, cricketdiane, crime, foreclosures US, Freedom, Liberty, macro-economics, Reality-based Analysis, schools crime, statistics, the business of prisons and institutionalizing a third of the US population, US prison system, USA
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Office of Thrift Supervision
For Immediate Release
June 30, 2009
The report, based on data from loan servicing companies that manage 64 percent of all first-lien U.S. mortgages, shows:
The OCC and OTS continue to refine the Mortgage Metrics report each quarter. In previous quarters, the agencies added data on the performance of modified loans, and information on sustainability and changes in payments that result from modifications.
This report adds information on the types of actions taken to modify loans. It shows that servicers most often change multiple terms when modifying mortgages to achieve sustainable modifications. Capitalization of delinquent interest, fees, and advances, combined with interest rate reductions and extended maturities, were the predominant combinations during the first quarter. Interest rate and payment freezes, principal reductions, and principal deferrals were less prevalent.
Data also showed a continuing emphasis on preventing avoidable foreclosures to keep families in homes and mitigate losses, as servicers continued to implement more home retention actions (loan modifications and payment plans) than home forfeiture actions (foreclosures, short sales, and deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure actions). Prime borrowers received about twice as many home retention actions as home forfeiture actions, while subprime borrowers received more than seven times as many.
“While I’m very concerned about the rise in delinquent mortgages and foreclosure actions, the shift in emphasis by servicers to more sustainable, payment-reducing modifications is a positive step that should show significant benefits in the coming months,” Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan said. “In addition, as the Administration’s Making Home Affordable program gains traction and helps offset the impact of this very difficult economic cycle, we should continue to see progress in future reports.”
“We continue to drill deeper into the mechanics of foreclosure prevention actions, thereby gaining more insight into what works,” said OTS Acting Director John E. Bowman. “This report provides a valuable roadmap for how financial institutions can best ensure that more Americans will stay in their homes.”
The report covers the performance of 34 million loans totaling more than $6 trillion in principal balances from the beginning of 2008 through the end of the first quarter of 2009.
The impact of the increase in modifications, particularly those with reduced monthly payments, will be seen only in future data. Likewise, data presented in this report do not reflect modifications made under the Administration’s Making Home Affordable program, which was announced in March and began to be implemented after the reporting period, and changes to the Hope for Homeowners program.
• OCC and OTS Mortgage Metrics Report, First Quarter 2009
• OCC/OTS Mortgage Metrics – Loan Level Data Collection: Field Definitions
OCC Robert Garsson (202) 874-5770
OTS William Ruberry (202) 906-6677
Foreclosures in process increased. Foreclosures in process also increased during the quarter to 844,389, or about 2.5 percent of all serviced loans, as moratoriums on foreclosures expired during the first quarter. This increase represented a 22 percent jump from the previous quarter and a 73 percent rise from the first quarter of 2008.
And from the US Department of Justice –
Office of the Attorney General
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control
Environment and Natural Resources
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Justice Management Division
National Drug Intelligence Center
National Security Division
Office of the Deputy Attorney General
U.S. Trustee Program
[From — ]
(The Business of America with one third of her population in jails, prisons and institutions – after thirty years of Republican dominated conservatives)
[from – ]
My note – it really does mean this –
Pursuant to Part 302 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), entitled “Comments on UNICOR Business Operations,
” any interested person having any comment concerning the business operations of FPI may write to –
The next meeting of the FPI Board of Directors will be determined at a later date.
Pursuant to Part 302 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), entitled “Comments on UNICOR Business Operations,” any interested person having any comment concerning the business operations of FPI may write to the Chief Operating Officer of UNICOR, or to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of UNICOR, and bring such matters to the attention of either or both officials. Section (b) provides that such requests should be sent to UNICOR’s address, 320 First Street, Washington D.C. 20534, with the notation “Attn: Comment Procedures.”
Persons may write to individual Board members directly, at their respective business addresses, as provided below:
David D. Spears, Chairman
2627 KFB Plaza
Manhattan, Kansas 66503
Donald R. Elliott, Vice Chairman
221 Penn Avenue
Wilkinsburg, PA 15221
Audrey J. Roberts, Member
(Represents Retailers and Consumers)
Post Office Box 14
Martin, Tennessee 38237
Phillip J. Bell
(Represents the Secretary of Defense)
Deputy Under Secretary for Logistics and Material Readiness
3500 Defense Pentagon, Room 1E518
Wash, DC 20301-3500
National Sergeant-At-Arms, Fraternal Order of Police
2701 West 84th Avenue Suite #211
Westminster, Colorado 80031
(Represents the Attorney General)
Assistant Attorney General for Administration
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
THIS – (2007 document) shows the closest to current information available to the department and legislators – it could be why they don’t think it is much of a problem –
United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
The Nation’s need to understand crime as it occurs at schools, colleges, and universities was officially placed into law by the US Congress with the passage of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy
and Campus Crime Statistics Act6 (Clery Act).
Prompted by the 1986 rape and murder of a 19-year-old Lehigh College student in her dorm room, the Clery Act requires universities and colleges to report crime statistics, based on Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) definitions, to the Department of Education (ED) and to disclose crime statistics to nearly 16 million students attending any one of the Nation’s approximately 4,200 degreegranting, post-secondary institutions.7
Tremendous resources have been used to develop a myriad of federal and nonfederal studies that focus on identifying the characteristics surrounding violent crime, property crime, and/or crimes against society in schools.
The objective of such studies is to identify and measure the crime problem facing the Nation’s more than 90,000 schools and the nearly 50 million students in attendance.1
[ . . . ]
(and if you will notice what statistics they’ve used – my note)
Data from a variety of sources about crime in schools and colleges and characteristics of the people who commit these offenses provide key input in developing theories and operational applications that can help combat crime in our Nation’s schools, colleges, and universities.
Given the myriad of data available, the objective of this study is to particularly analyze data submitted to the FBI’s UCR Program by law enforcement agencies. It examines specific characteristics of offenders and arrestees who participated in criminal incidents at schools and colleges from 2000 through 2004.
Because the study dataset is not nationally representative, readers should be cautious in attempting to generalize the findings. (See the Methodology section for data caveats.)
look for these words to find other US documents of a similar nature –
National Incident-Based Reporting System Data
|Special studies, reports, and monographs prepared using data mined from the UCR’s large database are published each year as well. In addition to these reports, information about the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), answers to general UCR questions, and answers to specific UCR questions are also available on this site.
Note: Most documents on this site are prepared in PDF (Portable Document Format). Selected tables are also available in Microsoft Excel format.
Get e-mail updates when new reports are posted here
|Crime in the United States (CIUS) is an annual publication in which the FBI compiles volume and rate of crime offenses for the nation, the states, and individual agencies. This report also includes arrest, clearance, and law enforcement employee data.|
|Each year’s edition of Hate Crime Statistics presents data regarding incidents, offenses, victims, and offenders in reported crimes that were motivated in whole or in part by a bias against the victim’s perceived race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.|
|The FBI annually compiles data concerning the felonious and accidental line-of-duty deaths and assaults of law enforcement officers and presents these statistics in Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA). Tabular presentations include weapons used, use of body armor, and circumstances surrounding murders and assaults of officers.|
Additional UCR Publications
|The UCR Handbook outlines the classification and scoring guidelines that law enforcement agencies use to report crimes to the UCR Program. In addition, it contains offense and arrest reporting forms and an explanation of how to complete them. The Handbook also provides definitions of all UCR offenses.|
|This publication presents supplemental UCR statistics auxiliary to those published in Crime in the United States with regard to age-specific arrest rates and race-specific arrest rates for the years 1993-2001.|
In response to law enforcement’s need for more flexible, in-depth data, the Uniform Crime Reporting Program formulated the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). NIBRS presents comprehensive, detailed information about crime incidents to law enforcement, researchers, governmental planners, students of crime, and the general public. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division conducted the pilot demonstration of this program in 1987. Since then, implementation of NIBRS has been commensurate with the resources, abilities, and limitations of the contributing law enforcement agencies. Although participation grows steadily, data is still not pervasive enough to make broad generalizations about crime in the United States. However, several NIBRS studies and monographs are available on this site that demonstrate the great utility of NIBRS. Data collection and submission guidelines and NIBRS Frequently Asked Questions and NIBRS Incident Specific Questions are available as well to help law enforcement agencies with the implementation of and participation in NIBRS.
My Note –
Yes, so much more than you ever wanted to know. I understand that. But look at today’s date. Look at the date of the hate crimes report (pending) – it says 2008 – preliminary.
It is July of 2009 now.
These reports which aren’t even an accurate representation of last year’s numbers or the year before, are being used to decide everything from funding to whether there is a real problem to whether solutions which have been tried are working or making it worse.
And, maybe if our schools weren’t being built like prisons, run like prisons and subjecting huge percentages of our children to forced psychiatric medications and toxic disrespect, intolerance, hatred, cruelty, bullying, tortured exclusion rather than inclusion, shaming, disgust and lack of physical exercise – then they wouldn’t be breeding insanity there and criminal behaviors.
It’s just a thought –
– cricketdiane, 07-03-09
Happy Fourth of July – it looks like we’ve got a lot of work to do. There are a lot of things in America that are broken.
When most people think of a hospital, they picture images of a big, white building filled with bustling doctors and nurses. Clean. Efficient. Organized. Perhaps that once fit the description of the former Cardwell Hospital of Stella, Missouri. But by late 2005, the long since abandoned building was a dilapidated, ghost of a structure with a failing roof, peeling paint, and ruptured, asbestos-laden pipe insulation and floor tiles.
Time and neglect had turned a place of healing into a health hazard. By the next year, the building was gone, and that’s when the town got SMART-e.
TIGTA’s Congressional Testimony contains the Inspector General’s written testimony for Congressional hearings.
TIGTA’s Congressional Testimony are provided in PDF and HTML format. Documents noted as PDF require a special plugin. To obtain a free reader for this format, please visit the Adobe® web site at:
DAVID C. WILLIAMS
TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss illegal tax activities and their impact on the taxpaying public. I would also like to discuss some of my office’s efforts to detect these situations, and proposals for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to further reduce illegal tax activities.
[ . . . ]
Income tax schemes are destructive in many ways. While some of the individuals are willing participants motivated by greed, many involved are just unwitting victims who ultimately lose not only the anticipated tax benefit, but also the money they pay to the promoters of the scheme. Some of these taxpayers are elderly Americans who become victims of promoters. Individuals become participants in these schemes frequently through contact by unscrupulous promoters, falsely claiming that they have discovered legitimate, but little known, methods to avoid taxes. The “victims” subsequently learn that, once caught by the IRS, they must not only pay their entire tax liability, but they may also incur interest and penalty expenses, as well as the customary fee paid to the promoter.
It goes without saying that the proliferation of schemes aimed at providing individuals with an avenue to pay less than their fair share of taxes weighs heavily on the IRS’ ability to ensure voluntary compliance levels are at their maximum.
I believe taxpayers are more inclined to comply with the tax laws if they trust that the system is fair and structured adequately to identify and penalize those who do not play by the rules. However, increasing concerns that taxpayers doubt the effectiveness of the tax system have begun to surface.
The Night Owl Cafe –
Here in Georgia, the nights are slow and long. Crickets and cicadas sing in the trees until early in the morning deep into the darkness of the night when the birds start calling through the trees. There are few cars and it is easy to pretend that the city is far away even though it is all around me. In the quiet stillness, especially during the summertime when the heat hangs like a glove on every movement of the day, it is easier to live at night in its cool gentle breezes listening to the night songs of the crickets.
– cricketdiane, 06-21-09
From watching the Quest Means Business Show on CNN today –
I didn’t see the name of the guy talking about the “artificial intelligence” search engine, nor do I want to know except in order to avoid it. He admits that there is purely data mining on personal preferences and previous searches to define what search results will be made available. (pick any three cuss words and insert here to describe the creepy thinking that man was propagating.)
Now, it is annoying enough when ads are structured to be about “Marietta” when I’m on a site about Great Britain or science or engineering. If I wanted to know what was available on yahoo – I’d be using it which I don’t and if I wanted to search for something in Marietta – I’d have put that into the durn search window, which I didn’t or look it up in a phone book. But, invariably any page will tell me an ad for Marietta and the address will be yahoo.com. I hate them.
A search engine that can answer the question, “What do I need to do tomorrow?” indicates a complete lack of ethics and a thinly veiled attempt to cull and sell very personal search preferences in a cumulative manner. But, today I may need to know what goes into a chemical reaction with chlorine and cesium 137 (whatever came from the atomic atoll fallout), to any positive end-product. Last week, I may have wanted to know about the 7.1 earthquake in Honduras or wherever it was in Central America. Don’t tell me that some search engine should take away the natural search results when I put the terms, “rapid prototyping” in the window tomorrow because it is trying to figure out what the question could be in consideration of the others that came before it.
Why is it that when something works – people like this search engine idiot on the Quest show today can’t just leave that alone and go solve something that doesn’t work at all?
– cricket diane
email to quest means business, on 06-02-09
So, I think it was yesterday that the BBC was kind enough to broadcast a show about how several very wealthy people specifically spent their money in a short period of time, how much it was for each of them, how they spent it and sort of why. It seems that there is a good reason why those who have the means to challenge really difficult problems aren’t doing it.
They are too busy buying sweaters that say “I’m a cutie” for their dogs, flying three continents away to have lunch, buying entire towns in Eastern Europe and having body modifications made to be more beautiful, more handsome, more buff, more sexy and more desirable than God actually made anyone.
No wonder little else is getting done out of those who have the money to do something productive – it isn’t even on the menu except as a tax haven or a way to mingle with others in the same class. I’m just teasing. I know there are many philanthropies which survive because of the gifts and bounty from both rich and poor, middle class and upper crust.
And, as self-absorbed as those shown on the BBC show and egocentric to an extreme at times, it is evident that no one considers anything they do as crazy. But, maybe they should.
There is likely no one who can explain to the rich playboy in their story that there is any other valid use or place for women than in his bed to stroke his fantasies into a life experience. That is probably useless information to him anyway and who would want a decent life partner of any sex stuck with him or anyone like him, regardless of how much money he makes. It isn’t just that money doesn’t buy real love nor a joyous life, it is that money doesn’t fix damn well everything either.
What is most nauseating about this show and about those who think and act like the people which the BBC producers were highlighting, is that – one, they genuinely seem to not know any better. And two, I think of the networks of people they know and resources that are accessible to them which are used for absolutely no productive purpose whatsoever – not to solve problems, not to produce anything to make the world a better place, not to make a contribution that is valuable which they are uniquely suited to offer or specifically positioned to support bringing to the world.
And three, that each of these people are given status and respect for what they say or think simply because they have money and resources that are unavailable to most people. What’s the use – they don’t think its important, then it must not be important. But, what if they really do only believe in buying what others cannot buy to flaunt their self-importance and there really is nothing else on the menu?
There are a lot of experts on tele news including CEO’s and those people described on the BBC show mentioned above that I wouldn’t trust to get me from my house to the Kroger without getting us lost – and Kroger is only a one mile walk from where I live. There aren’t but maybe one or two that I’ve seen on any of these shows, news analysts and experts, rich people, corporate executives, stock brokers, hedge fund managers and especially politicians from Washington’s Congressional delegations and our State governments that I would follow anywhere – not even from this side of the street to the other.
And, precisely because they’d get us killed or maimed or hurt or just plain lost by doing something that would only make sense in their rarefied little rich people worlds, like checking their reflection in a mirror while walking us across four lanes of traffic on foot. Or hiring somebody to carry us from here to the other side of the street who has to use a GPS navigator to find how to get there from here.
They’d likely take us through Tennessee to get from here to the other side of the street where I live by using the route on the GPS to figure it out. That comes from hiring somebody who gets paid to do something that they could’ve done themselves. It leaves the situation open to nonconstructive manipulated and opportunistic uses for undue gain by the person who being thus employed realizes the absolute stupidity of it.
The head jackass at the Bank of America makes more money that my mind can consider but who would trust that man to get them from here to Kroger, either in a car or on foot? I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t trust him to buy a list of groceries at that store without screwing it up or having to get somebody else to do it for him and he might blow a microwave to hell, if he figured out what the buttons could do besides warm coffee, which he would never have the occasion to do anyway.
How is it that anything he has uttered or said that he thinks about something during the last twenty years has been given the respect and unquestioned faith as if it has come straight from someone who would have to know and have it right? How could he possibly know when he and others like him haven’t been living with their feet touching the pavement or the rain touching their heads, don’t buy their own groceries, can’t cook a can of beans safely enough to serve anybody, don’t mow their own grass or know how to walk around a block without getting lost, hurt, robbed or killed?