Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interesting News Worth Sharing

Here are some news stories that I found very interesting, and thought you'd want to read them, too. 
1) Finally!  Democrats Get Tough On Oil Subsidies
2) Will The GOP Medicare Plan Adversely Affect Cancer Patients?
3) Navy Will Perform Same-Sex Marriages On Bases
4) Gay Rights Inclusive Immigration Bill Introduced in U.S. House

Finally!  Democrats Get Tough On Oil Subsidies
Senate Democrats have decided to get serious about the budget deficit.  Their first line of attack will be a plan to strike billions of dollars of corporate welfare for the five largest oil companies.  The corporate welfare comes in the form of tax incentives and breaks for the likes of ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips.
  Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) is drafting a bill that would exempt oil and gas companies from the Section 199 tax deduction for domestic manufacturers, reduce the tax credit for royalty payments to foreign governments and impose an excise tax on certain Gulf of Mexico leases.  His plan would flag those saved dollars and place them toward programs that reduce oil use including incentives to increase production of cleaner and more affordable domestically-produced fuel.  Given that these companies report billions of dollars of profits quarterly, ending these giveaways seems like a no-brainer.  Even Speaker Boehner suggested he was open to ending the subsidies. FULL STORY: http://www.care2.com/causes/politics/blog/democrats-get-tough-on-oil-subsidies/

Will The GOP Medicare Plan Adversely Affect Cancer Patients?
Prior to the health care reform vote, the Congressional Republicans tried to terrify the country into believing that the bill would be the beginning of rationed care, throwing about the terms "Death Panel" and claiming Democrats wanted to kill Grandma.
  Now, the same thing is happening in response the the Ryan plan to end Medicaid and Medicare as we know it.  And the accusations are coming from the Secretary of Health and Human Services herself.
   Via the Washington Post:
 "I think there's no question if you take a snapshot, people will run out of money, very quickly [under the GOP Medicare plan if you have cancer]. And if you run out of the government voucher and then you run out of your own money, you're really left to scrape together charity care, go without care, die sooner. There aren't really a lot of options." -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, May 5, 2011
  Secretary Sebelius made this eye-popping statement Thursday while testifying on Capitol Hill, after Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J) asked her a question about the Medicare plan advanced by House Republicans: "What might that cost shift and lack of guaranteed benefit mean for an oncology patient, a person with cancer? Give me an example, what it might do there."
She provided a general statement in response to our questions that is worth quoting in full:
1. The majority of America’s cancer patients count on Medicare for services to treat their disease and alleviate their suffering. The House proposal would shift Medicare beneficiaries into private health plans, which are more expensive than traditional Medicare. Cancer patients, who already spend more on health care than beneficiaries without cancer, could be subject to even higher Medicare coinsurance and cost sharing requirements under the House Budget proposal.
2. The CBO estimates that spending on premiums and out-of-pocket costs for a typical Medicare beneficiary would increase from approximately 25 percent under current law to as much as 68 percent by 2030. With a stage II breast cancer case costing an estimated $111,000 over a year and a half and a stage III colorectal cancer case estimated to cost more than $250,000 over more than two years, shifting the bulk of the cost to seniors who are often on a fixed income could force them to make a tough choice between saving their life or their life savings.
3. In addition to premium costs, Medicare beneficiaries with cancer face an incredible burden in paying for lifesaving cancer medications. The Affordable Care Act [President Obama’s health-care law] took significant steps toward reducing this financial burden by phasing out the Part D coverage gap, which requires beneficiaries to pay the full cost of their medications until they reach a certain out-of-pocket maximum. The House budget proposal would repeal these subsidies by requiring that cancer patients and others with chronic illness continue to pay more for the cost of their medications.

Navy Will Perform Same-Sex Marriages On Bases
   In the wake of the pending repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the U.S. Navy announced that it will permit its chaplains to officiate at same-sex marriage and civil union ceremonies in the states where they are legal.  No chaplain will be forced to perform same-sex unions, however, if they perceive the action to conflict with their faith.
  In a memo, the Chief of Navy Chaplains, Admiral Michael Tidd, said that the Navy "has concluded that, generally speaking, base facility use is sexual orientation neutral. If the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal," the memo continued, "then the base facilities may be used to celebrate the marriage."  FULL STORY:  http://www.care2.com/causes/civil-rights/blog/navy-will-perform-same-sex-marriages/

Gay Rights Inclusive Immigration Bill Introduced in U.S. House  
(why not? Straight people have this ability)
Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced on Thursday a gay inclusive immigration bill that would enable gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners, a right that is currently denied them by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.  The bill, the Reuniting Families Act, echoes other legislation like the Uniting American Families Act in trying to make it easier for gay bi-national couples to stay together. FULL STORY:  http://www.care2.com/causes/civil-rights/blog/gay-rights-inclusive-immigration-bill-introduced-in-u-s-house/
  

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14