HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ross sisters - Solid Potato Salad (VHS quality)

These young women can not only sing but I have never seen such flexibility in my life! Talk about being in shape!

My good friend and crazy woman Mary (Apple) Hatleberg Rogers sent this to me this morning, just to get my day started.

I'm supposed to be working on my taxes.


After my discourse on puns yesterday, I got an e mail from my oldest and dearest (cowboy way) buddy, Gary Spaeth. I had forgotten that when we gigged together he never missed an opportunity to throw in a "groaner" whenevr possible; Here's what he sent me:

* The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
* I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
* She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
* A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
* No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
* A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
* A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
* Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
* A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
* Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
* Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, "You stay here, I'll go on ahead."
* A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: "Keep Off the Grass."
* A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, "No change yet."
* The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
* When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
* Don't join dangerous cults; practice safe sects.






And this e mail from my sister-in-law, Kristi Wislon:

A
HAPPY WOMAN


A woman in her fifties is at home,
unclothed, happily jumping on her bed and squealing with
delight. Her husband watches
her for a while and asks, "Do you have any idea how ridiculous you
look? What's the matter with
you?"




The woman continues to bounce on the bed and
says, "I don't care what you
think. I just came from
having a mammogram,
and
the doctor says that not only am I healthy, but I have the breasts of an
18 year-old.

The
husband replies,
"What did he say about your 55-year old
ass?"


"Your name never came up," she
replied.

OUCH!

_____________________________________________________________________

We used to play the "pain game" which is based on the premise of "which would you rather have done to you?"

Which would you rather do? work on your taxes or get a root canal?
* have a broken ankle or bleeding hemmorhoids?
* go to church or sit at the DMV waiting for a number?
*have bad pizza or bad sex?
(That is a trick question because pizza and sex have on thing in common. even when it's bad, it's pretty good.)
* teach 8th graders or be put in a nursing home.?

_________________________________________________________________

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl 'Will you marry me?' The girl said, 'NO!' And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and scotch and had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted.

The End

Male Chauvinistic Pig from Iowa










Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A RESTAURANT REVIEW AND OTHER TIDBITS

After making about two trips a week to share a large bowl of their "Soppa de Pollo", I thought it time to share this epicurean find with anyone interested and in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin area.

The restaurant is a relatively new Mexican restaurant on London Road, a building that has a history of changing hands. It first opened as a fast service steak place ("Steak Bonanza"?), then closed and reopened as a Malaysian food restaurant and I really enjoyed the food there. It was a little expensive for the locals, but the menu was excellent, in my opinion.

That also closed within a short time and then reopened as a billiards hall - another relatively short lived operation.

The present operation is Tequila Azul, and although I haven't explored the entire menu ( after Kim ordered the Soppa de Pollo, that's all she orders) of the two main course meals I had, I found the beef enchilada to be excellent, but the enchilada rancheros (three cheese enchiladas covered with a chunky pork, onion, green pepper, enchilada sauce, fell well below the same at El Patio restaurant which is run by my friend, Alexandro Castro.

Kim and I, as I said earlier, have taken to having lunch there and asking for one bowl of the chicken soup for the two of us. I always tell the waiter that there is no need to divide it into two servings as Kim and I are able to share without fighting.. One bowl for two? It is enough, as the serving is in a very large bowl. What makes this soup the soup that we consider the best soup in Eau Claire bar none, is the absolute abundance of chunky chicken breast meat, fresh cilantro, lots of rice, slices of fresh avacado (yum), served with hot flour tortillas and lime juice to spritz over the soup before digging in.

Sometimes we make it supper. Then we might add a order of chips and their white cheese sauce, which is better than the white cheese sauce at Cancun, and equal to the white sauce at El Patio.

As much as I love margaritas, I don't order them much anymore. Kim always goes with water with lotsa lemon, and I do too, except sometimes I will opt for lemonade which substitutes for the citrus of a margarita, and goes so well with the flavors of the food.

Thus endeth my first food review.

________________________________________________________________

Recently went through a credit card shake up and cancelled all my cards for a short period. I want to give props to the FedEx Corporation for writing a nice letter as opposed to a nasty letter about the fact that:

""Your recent shipments were charged to the credit card listed on your FedEx account. The credit card company did not provide a reason due to the confidentiality of that information.

We are sedning an invoice for the shipping charges that were rejected. To ensure this FedEx account remains in good standing, you will need to:
1. Pay all charges declined by the credit card company
2. Update your credit information or change to another credit card."

the letter then gave me the option of doing the above on line or calling an 800 number - with an agent to assist you. Which I did, he was very pleasant, we got it all cleared up in no time.

Thank you FEDEX!

________________________________________________________________

Still no word from MacMan on my IMac. Just as well - can't pay for it right now anyway.
UPDATE;MACMAN CALLED - COMPUTER IS MISSING START UP FILES, MUST DO AN ENTIRE RE-INSTALL. $245 because of a stupid mistake on my part.

________________________________________________________________

I was thinking about humor last night while I soaked my aching ankle. I have never found puns very attractive as comedy because mostly they illicit groans. I suppose I should save some up for either hostile or complacent audiences.

When I was at Eau Claire College (one buildng, then) Tom Swiftys were all the rage - resurrected from the 1930's.

Example: "I'll be a son of a bitch," said Larry doggedly.

Yeh, I know what you mean.

However the best "Tom Swifty", using a descriptive adverb as the final word of a sentence, was one I came up with in the Blugold room over morning coffee with fellow students. A lovely young miss named Mary Flatley came sauntering in and sat down at the table - and I said:

"I need a new bra." said Mary flatly.

Extra points for using her actual last name!

Here are tolerable puns that took me hours of research to find:

Show me a blacksmith who makes hardware for bath rooms and I'll show you a man that is forging ahead.

The first artificial fish: A plastic sturgeon

At a flea circus, a dog came along and stole the show.

The city of Chunking, China, was captured by the Japanese. An hour later they wanted to capture it again.

And my favorite:

Being an entertainer is a lot like being an elevator operator. It's not the ups and downs that bother me so much -- It's the jerks!

(Please God, let that one pop into my head for the next heckle.)

___________________________________________________________________

A LETTER FROM THE ACLU:

Constance McMillen's story has struck a chord with people all across the country.

She's an 18 year-old lesbian student in Mississippi, and her high school canceled the prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend.

The ACLU took up her case because schools shouldn't treat students differently or worse because of who they are. A federal judge agreed with us last week. While he stopped short of ordering the school to put the prom back on, he did rule that school officials had violated Constance's First Amendment right to freedom of expression by canceling the prom.

This is an important victory that sends a message to school administrators everywhere that they cannot discriminate against students and get away with it. And clients like Constance, who bravely stood up for what she knew was right, are absolutely critical to everything the ACLU is able to accomplish.

_________________________________________________________________

OPINIONS ON PACKERS:

From 6-10 in 2008, to 11-5 in 2009, analysts and so-called experts have put forward the simple yet promising statement that the Green Bay Packers of today are possibly a mere draft pick away from Super Bowl success. It is vital that Ted Thompson gets this NFL Draft right, and more importantly selects the right pick to better help the Green Bay Packers in the ever-so-tough NFC North division.

With free safety Taylor Mays and offensive tackle Anthony Davis currently leading the speculation votes for potential Packer draft picks, there are both the pros and cons of each player,

For the Packers, Davis brings potential, opportunity and some talent to the position. Nearly immovable once forced off the line, Davis would provide that much needed protection for Aaron Rodgers, who is all to familiar with the taste of Lambeau Field turf.

If there's one thing that we notice about the Packers of new, it is youth. Although criticised at times, it has worked wonder for Mike McCarthy, and the addition of Anthony Davis could be a move that prevents that last minute hit to fumble in the NFC Wildcard Game.

So who should Green Bay consider out of these two prospects? Well to tell you the truth, the decision isn't easy. It's like choosing between that expensive and great looking toy (Taylor Mays) and that old reliable one that just gets the job done (Anthony Davis).

However, the Packers needs must be kept in mind; therefore, Anthony Davis is just the more sensible pick.

Yes, the Oakland Raiders are in the hunt for him, but if Green Bay play their cards right, Davis may just land in their lap like a snowflake.

Talented, young and ready to play, Davis is more than ready to protect beloved No. 12. Let's just hope that Ted Thompson thinks so.

(Gleaned from an article by Ryan Cook)

If you are an interessted Green Bay Packer fan, check out the story on Al Harris' attempt to make a comeback from a very bad nknee injury at:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/370288-green-bay-packer-al-harris-stay-tuned-the-proof-is-coming-soon

_____________________________________________________________________

No, Barrack, Say It Ain't So ---- NOT THE PUSILLANIMOUS PRAGMATISTS!

The White House counsel ideally serves as the president's conscience.

But late last year, Barack Obama's conscience was surgically removed.

Greg Craig, as Obama's top lawyer, was the point man on a number of hot-button issues, the fieriest being how to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Craig argued for holding fast to the principles that Obama outlined before he became president, regardless of the immediate political consequences -- an idealistic approach that, in a White House filled with increasingly pusillanimous pragmatists, earned him some powerful enemies.

After a steady drip of leaks over a period of months to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets to the effect that his days were numbered, Craig finally resigned in November.

He was replaced by Robert Bauer, a politically adept consummate Washington insider whose expertise is in campaign finance law -- in short, a man whose job is to win elections, not defend principles.

At the same time, Attorney General Eric Holder has been increasingly marginalized and cut out of the White House decision-making loop. So now the coast is clear for the White House to make important legal and national security calls on purely political grounds.

The only question that remains is whether Obama himself will have any last-minute qualms about turning his back on his own principles.

Don't hold your breath.

______________________________________________________________


_____________________________________________________________________

Monday, March 29, 2010

JUST GLAD TO BE WRITING AGAIN - AND HOPING IT'S GOOD STUFF!

FYI: I screwed up and sent in my census form. Don't you make the same mistake and give Big Brother ammunition. Michele Bachman has it right! We'll all end up in internment camps.

_______________________________________________________________________

STILL POLISHING MY BALLAD OF TJ: HERE'S THE LATEST FORM --

Larry Heagle (copyright, March 20, 2010)

The Ballad of Theron Joseph Rubley
(as told to Larry Heagle by Mike Schlenker)


This is the ballad of TJ Rubley
NFL QB
And I'm gonna sing like Mike Schlenker told me
It's tragic as you'll soon see

Rubley was born in Davenport, Ioway
Pr'by where he shoulda stayed
He went to school in Tulsa Oklahoma
And quarterback is what he played

Young men seek fame in the NFL
But that didn't suit TJ
Instead of climbing to the top
His career went the other way

He played for the Rams, he played for the Packers'
And the Winnepeg Bombers Blue
And he might still be playing today
If he'd done what he was told to do

It was bck in 1995, the Pack wasn't far from home
They were just across the Mississppi River
Playin' in the Humpty-dump dome

It got late in the game, it was all tied up
At twenty four apiece
Then Brett went down on a real hard sack
by Randall in his war paint grease

So Holmgren sent in Squirrely Ty Detmar
Detmar such a crazy guy
Two plays later He went down
with a badly bruised left thigh

Came the now infamous moment
The coach pulled Rubley aside
The ball was on the Viking 38
With less than a minute to abide

It was second and one and Holmgren called
just for a quarterback sneak
Holmgren knew that a 3 point field goal
Would add to the Packer Streak

Rubley, he ran out to the huddle
snapped his helmet to his chin
Knelt in front of the offensive line
Said: "Here's is where we win!"

They all clapped hands, then yelled break (pause)
Sauntered up to the line
One eye on their opponents
the other on the waning time

Rubley looked to the left and to the right
And a safety caught his eye
That Queen was cheatin' up into the box
And Rubley he knew why

He paused in his count - thought about glory
and audibled a roll out pass
But he ended up throwing across his body
And got buried up to his -- elbow

The pigskin did a fleeting duck
And bounced off a corner back's hide
He hauled it in , ran to field goal range
And did a quarterback slide

With time running out the Queen's special team
Put the pigskin down in place
The Kick was high, the kick was good
you should seen Mike Holmgren's face

The Purple went wild, that damn horn blew
You could hear it al the way to Sioux Falls
Rubley might not hadda lotta smarts
But, man, he sure had balls!

This is the ballad of TJ Rubley
and his last play with Green Bay
I’ve told the story just as Mike Schlenker tells it
Oh, and by the way

Rubley was cut the very next morning
Sad ending for the effort he gave

And let it be known it was all the sadder (pause)
It set Vince spinning in his grave.

end with dramatic minor chord Em ( ya ta ta da, ya ta ta da, ya ta ta de yay)

REMEMBER TO FORGET FILLING OUT THE CENSUS

I screwed up and sent in my census form. Don't you make the same mistake and give Big Brother ammunition. Michele Bachman has it right! We'll all end up in internment camps.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

THIS JUST IN AND TERRIFYING

MY FRIEND KURT W. GOT AN E MAIL FROM THIS GENTLEMAN WHO IS VERY POLITICALLY ACTIVE. I FIND IT FRIGHTENING IN ITS SCOPE:

"I was right behind Cindy Sheehan (founder of Gold Star families against the war) moments before she was arrested in front of the White House, as well as an Iraq war veteran (whose name I've forgotten) who had the moxie to burn a small American Flag when he was up on podium in front of thousands!

Peace and Justice to you! -- Jim

P.S. The DC City Council is attempting to give $25 Million in tax credits to Northrup Grumman, manufacturer of the Predator, to move their HQ here to Washington - though no new jobs will be created. Totally evil. I predict full blown drone wars on land and air within our lifetimes if we don't stop these particular technological developments."


oh boy.

___________________________________________________________________

YEH! YOU DIDN'T GET MAD WHEN and other observations


Today I got the can't wait another day for Spring to arrive blues. Hopefully with a hot stove and a cuppa joe and some banging on the keyboard, I can dispel those by noon. I got this next e mail from my good friend Suzi Kittson over in Wausau. About time somebody starts getting pissed on the liberal side.

Thought this sums things up nicely.
Suzi



sent to me today - pass it on
03.28.10 at 1:30 pm in home, love, family

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, Now you get mad!?

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and
appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate
energy policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.
You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans...oh hell no.

_____________________________________________________________

Got some vacuuming done and threw another log on the fire, nuked yesterday's coffee, and now I may be startin' to roll. Still no word from my friends at MacMan. I figure any time you have anything go wrong with your computer, just like your car, it's already at $100 in repairs and counting.

And I believed so much in APPLE that I didn't buy "Apple Care" so I am of course out of warranty. Betcha I'll be buying computer insurance now - if they will even allow it.

(look at the dumb shit - two bits)

That's the next thing I want regulated - the damn computer insurance companies and all those other insurance companies that cover every electrical device that we buy.

That was a joke.

____________________________________________________________

I used to think I would never get caught up in the "cell phone scam" - especially after I worked a convention of cell phone salesmen somewhere in Iowa. I don't know who looks more smarmy, these guys or car salesmen.

But did I stand the moral ground? No - I signed to a one year contract and got one os those feckin satchel phones. then moved up to the new technology - that feckin phone that looked like a walkie talkie from the big war.

Then I found my moral compass again and didn't buy a miniature cell phone until about two-three years ago. And I defiantly refused to join ATT, Sprint, or any of those butt heads. so I got a pay as you go phone from WalMart and it has served me well nigh on many years.

too lazy to do the math.

You know what? I don't know who carried me first, because these companies eat each other like walleyes to minnows, anyway, But I figured out that the butt heads still got me! - I had to have had service thru somebody.

I know - dumber than a rock.

At least I didn't have to look at the dude's eyes while he was screwing me.

There I said it - to all the smarmy cell phone sales people - I clear my throat, I spit in your general direction.

____________________________________________________________________________

Don't ask me why I put a Sarah Palin mask on this blog. Because I don't know. However I think it's time I co-wrote "The Ballad of Sarah Palin" with John Lynch"

I already have a title "THE ALASKAN QUEEN'

pr'obly not. John Lynch , if I know the boy at all, thinks Sarah Palin is hot - and that she's not a biggot.

____________________________________________________________________________

Ok - I have an idea. I am announcing here that I am going to write a song on my blog. The Alaskan Queen




____________________________________________________________________________

She came out of nowhere to stand at the old man's side
She's America's sweetheart, object of white women's pride

Every right thinkin' man knows that Sarah's real hot
Only scum suckin liberals think that she's not
She's America's sweetheart, the object of white women's pride

OH, SARAH, QUEEN OF ALASKA YOU ARE
EVEN RUSSIA ADMIRES YOU FROM NOT THAT FAR
WILL YOU BE LEADER?
OR AN INTERNATIONAL STAR


She was doin' jest fine til one day she opened her mouth
And McCain's campaign, it had no where to go except south

And as Sarah's light it began to ignite
She found her followers all to the right

She shoots wolves from a plane
To keep steak in Alaska's mouth

She's America's sweetheart, object of white women's pride

OH SARAH, QUEEN OF ALASKA YOU ARE
EVEN RUSSIA ADMIRES YOU FROM AFAR

OH, SARAH, QUEEN OF ALASKA YOU ARE
WILL YOU LEAD US?
OR WILL YOU BECOME A BIG STAR?

Lately she's been out and she's been stumpin' again
Mad as hell cuz health care is mortal sin

No anger when an operative was laid out
when the court put a stop to a legal recount

And you didn't get angry or even let down
When the whole world watched New Orleans drown

You're America's sweetheart, object of white women's pride

OH, SARAH --

Obama decided that if we get sick in the night
health care's not a privelege, and that it should be a right

. Yes, wars, lies, and torture, that's okay with you
making the rich richer - well, that's okay too

You love our country you always say so
But helping America is a great big HELL NO!

She's America's sweetheart, object of white women's pride

OH, SARAH, QUEEN OF ALASKA YOU ARE
EVEN RUSSIANS THEY LOVE YOU FROM AFAR
OH, SARAH, QUEEN OF ALASKA YOU ARE
WILL YOU LEAD US?
OR WILL YOU BECOME A BIG STAR

It's finished and like Sarah, all it needs now, is polish.

_____________________copyright, March 29. 2010, Larry Heagle (Barely Legal Music) -_____________________________________

Sunday, March 28, 2010

OBAMA SNEAKS INTO AFGHANISTAN TO SAY NAUGHTY NAUGHTY



KABUL — President Barack Obama is pressing Afghan leader Hamid Karzai to crack down on corruption in his country while also strengthening the judicial system and promoting good governance.

Obama met with Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Sunday. The White House said later than Karzai will come to Washington on May 12 for more talks.

Obama said Afghanistan has made progress in the military campaign against insurgents and improved services to Afghans.

Obama is expected to spend several hours in Afghanistan before beginning the long flight back to Washington.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KABUL (AP) – President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday for a firsthand look at the 8-year-old war he inherited and dramatically escalated.

After an overnight flight from Washington, the president landed in Afghanistan for a stay of just a few hours, all in darkness. He flew by helicopter from Bagram Air Field to the capital, where he was greeted at the presidential palace by Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, given just an hour's notice of Obama arrival. A military honor guard stood at attention as Obama walked across red carpets.

It was Obama's second stop in a war zone as commander in chief, coming about a year after a similarly secretive trip to Iraq.

The Afghanistan trip was intended to let Obama tell Karzai that he must crack down on corruption and cut the flow of money from poppy production and drug trafficking that is sustaining the insurgency. The U.S. also wants Karzai to halt cronyism and rewards for warlords in government hiring and to create an effective, credible judicial system.

Story continues below - (BUT THERE'S NO NEED TO READ ANY FURTHER)

Raise your hands. How many of you think, as I do, that Karzai is jerkin off the big guy while he's hugging old Mogtem Onamatopeia from Iran.( What the hell is his name. Ahmanididajob?)

As usual we are backing the wrong horse. Karzi was "duly" elected by the Iraqi people and now we don't like it that he runs the ship of state the way they have always run it -- for themselves. As in "corruption".

Like theyr'e gonna stop growing poppies?

Time to bring everybody home and circle the wagons. We can't afford to run the world our way anymore. Wish the United Corporations of America would come to grips with that and put us all back to work, Oh, that's right -- way too busy in corruption of their own.

Write to me if you can make a connection between the cartoon and the subject matter of this blob - er - blog.

There. I said it.

________________________________________________________________

WHAT HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL MEAN TO THE OVER 50




Starting in 2018, if total premiums for your family are above a certain level a year—including both what you pay each month for insurance and what your employer pays for you—your insurer will have to pay a 40 percent tax on the cost of your plan that is above $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals. Experts say that at least a portion of the tax will be passed on to employees in the plans through lower benefits and higher premiums.

My family makes more than $250,000 a year.

Starting in 2013, you will pay more in Medicare payroll taxes (2.35 percent instead of the current 1.45 percent). That would mean, for example, an extra $225 per year in taxes for a couple earning $275,000.You’ll also pay an additional 3.8 percent tax on income from stocks and other investments. If you have a flexible spending account, you will only be allowed to contribute $2,500 a year tax-free rather than the current $4,000 or $5,000 that is typically sheltered.

I own a small business.

If you employ fewer than 50 people, you are not required to provide health insurance for your workers. But companies with fewer than 25 employees—whose average wage is below $50,000—can get tax credits to help buy insurance. That means the smallest companies with the lowest-wage workers get the most help. If you employ more than 50 workers and do not offer coverage, your company will have to pay fees if some employees receive government subsidies to buy insurance. Starting in 2014, small businesses—or their employees—can purchase competitively priced insurance through the state-run insurance exchanges.

I am self-employed and have private insurance.

Within a year, private insurers cannot cancel your coverage because of illness. Lifetime limits on your coverage are prohibited. Insurers must create standardized websites to help you compare coverage options before you purchase. In 2014, you will be able to purchase insurance through the state-run exchanges, which should make health care more affordable. And insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions or gender. Moreover, they may only charge older Americans three times what they charge younger people. Subsidies are available for moderate-income families to help them purchase private insurance.

I don’t make enough money to afford health insurance.

Depending on how much money you make, in 2012 you may be eligible for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. Anyone with an income below 133 percent of the poverty level—about $14,400 for an individual and $29,327 for a family of four in 2009—can enroll in Medicaid. Also, doctors who treat Medicaid patients will receive higher payments, so more may be willing to treat people in the program. There will be subsidies for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Starting in 2018, if total premiums for your family are above a certain level a year—including both what you pay each month for insurance and what your employer pays for you—your insurer will have to pay a 40 percent tax on the cost of your plan that is above $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals. Experts say that at least a portion of the tax will be passed on to employees in the plans through lower benefits and higher premiums.

My family makes more than $250,000 a year.

Starting in 2013, you will pay more in Medicare payroll taxes (2.35 percent instead of the current 1.45 percent). That would mean, for example, an extra $225 per year in taxes for a couple earning $275,000.You’ll also pay an additional 3.8 percent tax on income from stocks and other investments. If you have a flexible spending account, you will only be allowed to contribute $2,500 a year tax-free rather than the current $4,000 or $5,000 that is typically sheltered.

I own a small business.

If you employ fewer than 50 people, you are not required to provide health insurance for your workers. But companies with fewer than 25 employees—whose average wage is below $50,000—can get tax credits to help buy insurance. That means the smallest companies with the lowest-wage workers get the most help. If you employ more than 50 workers and do not offer coverage, your company will have to pay fees if some employees receive government subsidies to buy insurance. Starting in 2014, small businesses—or their employees—can purchase competitively priced insurance through the state-run insurance exchanges.

I am self-employed and have private insurance.

Within a year, private insurers cannot cancel your coverage because of illness. Lifetime limits on your coverage are prohibited. Insurers must create standardized websites to help you compare coverage options before you purchase. In 2014, you will be able to purchase insurance through the state-run exchanges, which should make health care more affordable. And insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions or gender. Moreover, they may only charge older Americans three times what they charge younger people. Subsidies are available for moderate-income families to help them purchase private insurance.

I don’t make enough money to afford health insurance.

Depending on how much money you make, in 2012 you may be eligible for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. Anyone with an income below 133 percent of the poverty level—about $14,400 for an individual and $29,327 for a family of four in 2009—can enroll in Medicaid. Also, doctors who treat Medicaid patients will receive higher payments, so more may be willing to treat people in the program. There will be subsidies for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

________________________________________________________

THERE - YOU READ IT IF IT WAS IMPORTANT TO YOU. ( I highlighted the one that is most important to me.)

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

Airline Announcements?

United Flight Attendant announced, 'People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!

************ ********* ********* *******

On landing, the stewardess said, 'Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have. '

************ ********* ********* *******

'There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane'

************ ********* ********* *******
An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a 'Thanks for flying our airline.' He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane.

She said, 'Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?'

'Why, no, Ma'am,' said the pilot. 'What is it?'

The little old lady said, 'Did we land, or were we shot down?'

************ ********* ********* *********

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker:
'Whoa, big fella, WHOA!'

************ ********* ********* ********* ****

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, 'Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because sure as hell everything
has shifted after a landing like that.'

************ ********* ********* *******

Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: 'We ask you to please remain seated
as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.'

************ ********* ********* *******

Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo , Texas on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo ... Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!'

************ ********* ********* *****

'Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.'

************ ********* ********* *****

'As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses..... ...except for that gentleman over there.'

************ ********* ********* ********* ***

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City . The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, 'That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt.'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: 'We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today.
And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube,
we hope you'll think of US Airways..'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

Heard on a Southwest Airline flight - 'Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section
on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em.'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport . After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom; 'Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles . The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax.... OH, MY GOD!' Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!'

A passenger in Coach yelled, 'That's nothing. You should see the back of mine!'

_______________________________________________

I suppose you're wondering what the photo had to do with the blog. Nuthin. I just wanted to publish it because Tom Wieseler is a great friend and an amazing musician. Not only does he play guitar but he crochets some mighty purty crescendos on the keyboards. And I like the way his smiling face draws you from the headline about people over 50.

______________________________________________

Sorry. Larry couldn't be here today.


_______________________________________________

Saturday, March 27, 2010

PRE-EMPTIVE KARMA KICKS IN - BAD THINGS DO HAPPEN IN THREES

It hs been one of those days. My pal Tom Johnson was up early this morning and surprised me with the news that he had to move on to Superior RIGHT NOW. We had made plans to have breakfast together and hang awhile - turned my head around for a bit. Lately he had taken to referring to me as "you old homo" - maybe that was it - he said it so often he began to believe it and my perceived vibe made him uncomfortable.


So I decided I would take on a project Kim had wanted completed for sometime - installing a new dust buster in the kitchen. I got the holes drilled and the holster in place before realizing that when I inserted the dust buster into its charging holster, the nose of it was over a raised surface in the counter top which prevented it from seating correctly so that it could charge. so no installation and new holes in the kicthen wall.


Kim left for the Cities to visit with her sister and I decided I would install "War Birds" on my office computer, so I called Gabe Wieseler, my techhie, and then attempted to install the CD while waiting for his arrival. I don't know what happened but my trusty IMac suddenly crapped out on me big time! When I re-boot all I would get was a screen with that circle and a slash across it, flashing - alternating with the Apple symbol.

So Gabe and I ended up taking it in to the MacMan shop - I can already see much needed $$$$ flying out my office window. It began to be a really bad day - and after the good deeds of saturday, I felt a little like the bible's Job.


Saved the day by making pizza for Tom (who arrived in his prize pickup truck - a 1968 Ford 250 "Camper Special") and Gabe. The pizza, as you can see, came out well. So I am fortuane to have the Mac Note Book as a back up to keep up with my latest activities.

Haven't heard the bad news from MacMan yet. I suppose I won't find out until monday. So be it. Ain't a damn thing I can about it except try to pay for it anyways!


_______________________________________________________________

Friday, March 26, 2010

IS THE PATIENT ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW - OR IS IT JUST ME?

Okay -- so somewhere in the whole broken ankle episode there was a definite disconnect between health care and me. First there was the "sticks" and a splint - which I wore for about a week or so - then came the first hard cast around the 3rd of February.

Nobody said nothin' about recovery time except that the broken bone should be completely healed by the end of the month. so I really really looked forward to the 28th of February.

About two weeks into cast-wearing I began to develop a sore on the front of my leg, just south of the knee cap and just outside the high end of the cast. Some of the swelling had gone down and there was too much play goin' on inside the thing. So, not wanting to appear to be a "Wuss", I toughed it out for about a half week more, and then begged for mercy.

With the new cast in place the chafing stopped (thank you, Deb and the baby Jesus). I found I was getting around pretty well and was told I could put weight on the left ankle. Not bragging, but the cast came off four days early - not bad healing for an old fart.

Because nobody from the clinic staff told me and because I am a duly elected village idiot, I thought: "All right! The cast is history. I"m gonna truck and boogie to my awaiting vehicle. Big surprise - the bone may be healed but the flesh is, indeed, weak. It is like I have the worst high sprained ankle in the history of man.

I find out if I spend 3/4 of my day with my left leg higher than my head, the rest of what's left of the day the ankle is healing. Hell yes!

But this week I pressed Mr. Ankle way too hard. the usual overnight resurrection did not resurrect. I had a heck of a time making that 3 AM run to the john!

So I finally called the Marshfield Clinic and talked to Nurse Margaret. I explained the situation and she had a quick reply: "You over worked it. If you don't give that ankle sufficient time elevated, and if you try to do too many of your regular activities during the course of the day, you will be in pain."

And how long will it be before i am no longer in pain?

TWO TO THREE MONTHS! Margaret is full of good news! so I overdid it again today - took two pizzas to the service boys at Marquart Toyota - they take good care of my precious little xB.

Now awaiting the arrival of my Madison/Superior/ NYC buddy, Tom Blinkovich Johnson. Think I better shut this down and spend some time with my loved ones at the house.

PS: working on a possible new tune (maybe)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bob Cesca's Take on Latest Attack of the Crazies, Including the Queen Herself


During the Bush years, members of the far-right would often suggest that liberals were "with the terrorists" if we merely opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, or if we opposed the policies of the Republican leadership at the time. In fact, any negative criticism of the president whatsoever was considered unpatriotic "while troops were in harm's way." That was the line we heard almost daily throughout the previous decade: don't undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were deployed in battle. Just don't. Or Sean Hannity will crush you with his mighty hairline!

But in general, there was this idea among Republicans that liberals were somehow emboldening the terrorists anytime we suggested that it might be a bad idea to eavesdrop on American telecommunications, or that it might be a bad idea to torture detainees, or that it might be a bad idea to invade Iran after having already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to varying degrees of failure. Either we were with the administration, or we were with the terrorists.

We can debate at another time whether or not anyone is currently "emboldening" Islamic terrorists or putting the troops in jeopardy by constantly accusing their commander-in-chief of hating America, of hating white people, of hating freedom or of hating you personally.

The more important discussion during this groundbreaking week in American history is whether or not legitimate Republican and conservative leaders are instigating and inciting violence against the president, against Democrats, against liberals and, in some cases, against children.

And they are.

It's inexcusable and it's unforgivably irresponsible how top-shelf conservative players like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and even some members of the congressional leadership are using coded and not-so-coded language that speaks directly to a small, but trigger-happy right-wing. Unlike the policy-driven arguments made by mostly pacifistic liberals during the Bush years, this language is a direct and precise emboldening of right-wing extremism -- and terrorism. And the behavior from certain elements of the far-right can be defined as such. It's terrorism. No gray area here. Right-wing terrorism.

Obviously, the far-right fringe is out of its mind about health care reform. And throughout the week, its behavior has gone from irresponsible, to racist, to unapologetically dangerous.

Earlier in the month, the far-right was up to its usual irresponsible behavior -- attacking a child. Immediately upon the president mentioning 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, whose mother died due to a lack of adequate health insurance, the usual suspects kneejerked into their predictable roundelay demonizing a little boy as yet another public enemy. In previous years, wingnut bloggers like Michelle Malkin have gone so far as to stalk children who somehow associated themselves with the Democrats. Glenn Beck once targeted and outed a Muslim parochial school in Northern Virginia and noted its specific location. World Net Daily printed the name of a school that performed a musical with gay themes last Thanksgiving. Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh have targeted principals and members of a kindergarten class for singing a song about the president (you know, the commander-in-chief who we're supposed to support no matter what, especially while troops are in harm's way).

And now they're questioning the veracity and patriotism of Marcelas Owens and figuratively jotting him down on their enemies lists -- knowing full well the kinds of gun-toting, reactionary freaks who take their words as gospel.

Elsewhere, Rep. Louise Slaughter received an assassination threat against the children of lawmakers who supported health care reform. I don't mind reporting that, mixed in with the usual array of angry far-right blasts, I've received several death threats via email. One email ended with a warning that I should "check on the kids."

Stay classy, wingnuts.

In the eyes of way too many far-right Republicans, this is a war. They believe the Obama administration, progressives, liberals and Democrats are destroying America and replacing it with some sort of weird Brundlefly composed of communism, socialism, Maoism, Nazism and -- shock horror! -- social justice.

On Capitol Hill last weekend, teabaggers were showing how not-racist they are by shouting racial epithets at African American members of Congress and spitting on them. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck seemed to believe that somehow Congressman John Lewis had no right to lock arms and march in the style of a civil rights activist, even though Lewis is, you know, one of the most well-known civil rights activists in the history of civil rights activism. "How dare he!" Beck screamed at his audience.

Mix this behavior into the same psychobomb of outrage that included printed signs held up by tea party activists calling for gun violence as a means of stopping health care reform. "Warning: If Brown Can't Stop It, A Browning Can." (For what it's worth, "a Browning" includes any number of types of firearms manufactured by the same company.)

Once reform passed through the House, and amidst an atmosphere of violent rhetoric, House minority leader John Boehner described the passage of health care reform as "Armageddon." The end of the world. In the parlance of the Bruce Willis movie of the same name: a global killer.

At around the same time, Tucker Carlson's cheap knock-off of The Huffington Post, the Daily Caller, published a front page banner headline implying that armed IRS agents in riot gear would be fanning out across the nation and into your neighborhood in order to force you at gunpoint to buy health insurance. Literally, war.

Sarah Palin reacted by urging her Twitter followers to "RELOAD" (her caps) and to target specific politicians. She included a link to a map of the U.S. pinpointing specific districts using actual graphics of rifle crosshairs.

Elsewhere, reports of vandalism against various Democratic offices were reported across several states in the east and Midwest. In a rare display of honesty, a far-right militia operative named Mike Vanderboegh claimed responsibility. Tell me if this doesn't sound like the maniacal threats of a terrorist:

"We can break their windows," he said. "Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary."
Violence and intimidation as a means of achieving a political end. And they haven't even ruled out the "muzzle of a rifle." How is this not terrorism?

And conservative leaders were outraged when Homeland Security released a report about right-wing extremism last year. Who us?! was the general reaction. At the very least, Secretary Napolitano deserves an apology.

The far-right is out of its mind with talk of violence and armed insurrection. There's no way to shove it all back into its crazy bottle. But what can and should be done at this point is for conservative leaders to stop inciting the extremism and, instead, to help marginalize the crazies. The only way to slow down this tide of right-wing terrorism is to strip it of its legitimacy -- legitimacy it's deriving from leaders like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner.

Instead, let's debate policy. Let's argue about the politics. Let's vigorously disagree about the future of America. But let's agree, however, that violence, racism, vandalism and, yes, terrorism should never be part of the equation. As leaders of the Republican Party, as leaders of the conservative movement in America, these men and women have a responsibility to verbally disarm the right-wing radicals and extremists who are well-known for their love of guns and of their predilection for violent intimidation. Terrorism. Yet so far, conservative leaders have only made matters worse.

UPDATE: And then there's this:

Law enforcement authorities are investigating the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-Va.) brother, whose address was targeted by tea party activists angry at the congressman's vote for the health care bill.
We can only hope this turns out to be a prank, and not a deliberate attack against a lawmaker's family.

_________________________________________________________________

HERE'S AN E MAIL FROM A PROMINENT HEALTH CARE EXECUTIVE:

Let me get this straight......we're trying to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke.

AN ANSWER FROM A HEALTH CARE EMPLYOYEE:

Let me get this straight, 7 years ago today, we launched a pointless war in Iraq. Not a deficit-neutral one, either. For some reason, few seem to care anymore. Go out tonight and celebrate the anniversary!

Remember why we went to war in the 1st place? It was because the American people were sold on the idea that Saddam Hussein was in possession of WMDs. And in a post 9/11 world, that wouldn’t stand!! The only thing that would stand was crazy over-reaction to everything. Actual weapons inspectors kept telling us that they couldn’t find any WMDs—but that was coming from Hans Blix, some kind of Swedish socialist, and Mohammed ElBaradei, whose name sounds pretty Muslimy. Then Rummy said that absence of evidence wasn’t evidence of absence and that there were unknown unknowns and what not. Turns out that Saddam’s awesome military (remember when we were told to “watch out for the Elite Republican Guard”?) capacity amounted to occasionally being able to boil some soup.

Of course, that wasn’t’ the only reason we invaded. America needed to show the terrorists that we were serious. However, fighting the actual terrorists was hard. But to those highly efficient repugs at the time, Iraq looked like it would be a cakewalk. Oops.

We were going to fight the terrorists in Iraq so that we wouldn’t have to fight them here. Nobody could explain why we simply couldn’t keep fighting those terrorists in Afghanistan, where they were. You know, it was March, so maybe we were all just really caught up in the NCAA tournament, and we wanted to play the terrorists on a neutral court.

Eventually, goals got grander and vaguer and more impossible to deliver on. At some point, the mission became “spreading democracy” at the tip of a bayonet.

Today, 7 years later soldiers are still dying there, which is okay. After all, when you sign up, you take the chance of having to do battle in exchange for your college money reward. Thins the herd.

All one time great civilizations collapse. Some faster than others. The joy is in the watching.


What the hell could possibly go wrong?

EXEC'S " REBUTTAL":

So, healthcare is not an issue in Afghanistan? Shouldn’t we spend a couple zillion dollars over there to improve it? And in Haiti and Chile? I’d hate to be in charge of Provider Relations. But we could send Spear.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

PROUD TO BE A BADGER CUZ WE KNOW HOW TO DRINK

The other day my good friend tom "Blinky" Johnson sent me this map showing the distribution of states where towns have more taverns than grocery stores. Take a good look at it.

MAKES A GUY REALLY PROUD TO BE A WISCONSIN BADGER, EH?


"IF YOU COME UP TO WISCONSIN
YOU'RE IN AN ALTERED STATE
AND I THINK IT'S TIME I WARN YOU
BEFORE IT GETS TOO LATE

IF YOU'RE GONNA BE A DRINKER
YOU'D BEST NOT BE A RACER
FOR HE WHO HAS ONE FOR THE ROAD
GETS A TROOPER FOR A CHASER!"

-Larry Heagle
1990

'NUFF SAID, EH?

MY LETTER FROM VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN

Dear Lawrence,


Just over a year ago, President Obama and I were sworn into office to preside over a country in desperate need of change.

One year later, we have signed historic health care reform into law. Republicans want to exact a political price for our success. Their plan is this: Use the midterm elections to strengthen their numbers, weaken Democrats, repeal health care reform and destroy President Obama. And they are more than willing to lie to do it.

That is why I'm writing to you today.

The DSCC is the only organization tasked solely with supporting Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. They are our first line of defense against the Republican lies and obstruction. And believe me, their help has never been more indispensable. I served in the Senate for 36 years, and in all of that time, I have never seen more Republicans committed to permanent, unyielding obstruction.

We never said that change would be easy or quick. It takes grit and determination to take on our challenges and overcome them. It's hard work to change people's circumstances. But that is what President Obama and I were elected to do.

What happens in the midterm elections this November will determine the success or failure of each of those efforts, and how successfully we'll be able to respond to the challenges of the future.

That is why there couldn't be a more important time for you to stand with us and the DSCC.

Please stand with me and President Obama by standing with the DSCC. Together, we can do more than win in November. We can give hard-working Americans a fighting chance to realize their hopes and aspirations. And we can diminish the prospects of conflict around the world. We can move forward instead of backward.

That's what's at stake. And that's why we need your help.

Sincerely,


Joe Biden
Vice President of the United States

P.S. We simply cannot go back to the politics of the Bush-Cheney era, but if Republicans have it their way in November, we will. What we do now matters.

Please stand with President Obama, me and the DSCC.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I SAY TO HELL WITH THE PARTY OF 'HELL NO'

While I await the arrival of Mr. Mark Gunderman who is going to interview me for a cover story in The Chippewa Valley Business Magazine upcoming issue, I may as well tell you my feelings about the new health care bill just signed by President Obama. Last night Kim and I watched Michael Moore's film "Capitalism - A Love Story" and it really moved both of us deeply. I strongly suggest that you rent it (it's available at Red Box for a buck a day) because it may give you a glimmer of hope for this old country of ours.

It compares the fall of the Roman Empire to our own dreadful path to oblivion. And that's why the passing of "OBAMACARE" (I hate the labeling the media gives every feckin' thing that comes down the pipe) is a glimmer of hope for our posterity. for the first time in a long time, our elected legislators, dragged kicking and screaming all the way, have actually done something for all of us, the poor, the common people, and the fast disappearing middle class.

You are aware, I hope, that all the deceitful lies spread by the Republicans and the Teabaggers are just that ... untruths designed to keep us, the common people, the fast disappearing middle class, under the thumb of the rich and greedy. Say what you will about President Jimmy Carter, but way back in the 1970's "fuel crisis" he warned all of us of what was to come if we didn't take steps immediately to change direction in policy.

After watching "Capitalism - A Love Story" I came to the realization, for the first time, why Republicans are so enamored of Ronnie Reagan. He is like a god to the rich and powerful. And his reign sunk us deeper and deeper into the mess we are in right now.

George W did his best to totally destroy our economy by invading Iraq and revenging his daddy. Remember his pride in displaying Saddam's pistol in the Oval Office?

Now the Republicans and their propaganda mouthpiece, the out and out liars of FOX news continue to attempt to spread fear - the one weapon they continually used while George was at the helm. So let's set the record straight right now!

the American people will see immediate benefits. The legislation will:

Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;

Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;

Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;

Lower seniors' prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;

Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;

Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;

Require plans to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26;

Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;

Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;

Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

By enacting these provisions right away, and others over time, we will be able to lower costs for everyone and give all Americans and small businesses more control over their health care choices.


So what the Republicans hoped to be President Obama's "Waterloo" seemed to have bitten them on the ass.

Here's the way I see our current political scene. Democrats are now what Republicans once were in the days of Abraham Lincoln and the current Republican party? I don't know what the hell they are anymore but they continue to become the next Whig party.

Go ahead Boys and girls -- keep digging that grave even deeper. Just keep saying NO. Anybody with any intelligence has figured you out by now.

There may be a chance for hope and change after all.

____________________________________________________________________


Want to publish a recent newsy e mail from my friend robert 'One Man' Johnson all the way from Thailand:

Margery, Fran (our friend from Milwaukee) and I flew to Chiang Mai for the weekend. Chiang Mai is an unusually beautiful place in mountainous northern Thailand. There are about a million people in the whole area, but the central, old city is very small, only a couple miles square. About a hundred temples and wats exist in this confined place, intricately decorated with bright paint and gold leaf. A muddy river bisects the city and there are also many klongs, or canals throughout. As a result, the town has a very peaceful feel to it. It moves at a slower pace than Bangkok. Additionally, its tourism is largely backpackers, young people seemingly on a mission to explore and enjoy Nature rather than to just 'party'.

There is less evidence of the sleaze of some of the other Thai tourism centers such as Pat Pong or Pattaya or Koh Samui. There seems to be an emphasis on ‘eco-tourism’ and ‘adventuring’ as attractions for the 21stcentury hippie-types. The whole vibe hints at an almost college-town atmosphere. The biggest fad right now is zip-line tours that take you through the forest canopy at high speed. That kind of experience, with white water rafting, mountain biking and bungy jumping, is perhaps less attractive for gimped-up senior citizens like us.

A strong attraction for Margery and Fran was the shopping. Textiles, especially brightly woven stuff from the hill tribes (Hmong and Karen mostly) are everywhere. Lots of shops sold loose gems and finely made jewelry. Street-side stalls and blankets on the sidewalk displayed carved wooden elephants and amulets. There is a Saturday open market, a Sunday market and a Night Market, which only opens after dark. I can only do about a half hour of look/stop, look/stop, pick up/examine, before my eyes glaze over and I need to retreat to some sit-down place for a glass of beer with ice in it…yes, I have been corrupted by Asian customs!

But, the food, the food, the food! Fiery coconut curry soup with egg noodles (called bahmee), braised chicken legs and fresh pickled cabbage and a topping of crunchy deep-fried egg noodles with a squeeze of lime. What a mélange of textures and tastes! The dish is called Khao Soi Gai and it is my favorite, especially washed down with Chang beer, a powerful (6%) beverage. I am also a fool for deep-fried air-dried pork covered with sesame seeds. It is almost like pork jerky but more tender and delicious. The spring rolls are different from those of China, filled with black mushrooms, sprouts and minced pork. There are many kinds of hand-made sausages, all very garlicky and spiiiii-cy! Follow it all up with chunks of sweet, fresh, juicy mango over sticky rice and covered with sweet coconut cream to cool the fire.

One downside of the trip was air quality. Farmers are burning the rice fields, as they must, three times per year. As we landed the night before, we could see fires everywhere. There was a blood-red-sunset haze and you couldn’t see the mountains in the distance. Next morning, my eyes were burning and before long, my asthma kicked in. I was reminded of my time in Japan and I had to haul out the old Albuterol inhaler for a few snorts to ease my breathing. I put on one of those masks that we bought at a street side pharmacy, but I think they almost make matters worse as there seems to be even less air coming in with it on than with it off!

Still, I hung on into the day and after visiting yet another temple, we stopped for fresh pineapple juice and then decided that we should take a break and get a massage. Our seven years in China have both Margery and me addicted. We have discovered the joys of Blind Massage and their ability to relax and take away fatigue and knotted muscles. In Asia, blind people are often employed to give massage and we have learned that they usually are the best. They seem to ‘see’ with their hands and have an uncanny ability to find and remove knots and relieve soreness. We found a place named Chiang Mai Conservation Blind Massage #2. It looked clean and inviting to us.

We paid our 220 baht (7 bucks) for 90 minutes and filed into a room lined with mats on tables. We were fully clothed. Fresh clean sheets were put down and pillows provided by sighted attendants. Three people entered. One felt his way along the wall and to my table. The other two, both female, seemed to know exactly where to go. Margery’s masseuse? masseur? whatever, massage person…was profoundly blind, with deeply sunken eye sockets and the stereotypical appearance of a person blind from birth. She was extremely soft spoken but carried on conversations with both her colleagues during the whole procedure. The other two people were chatty as well, paying attention to us only with their hands.

My guy had an extremely powerful grip and I knew immediately I was in trouble. He started with my feet. I can’t understand how a person can cause such pain with a fingertip. I grunted and asked him to be a little bit more gentle. Perhaps he had a hearing deficit also. After brutalizing my feet and calves and up to my thighs, he had me flip over on my stomach and commenced to reefing on my back, often bearing down directly with the point of his elbow. He found some spots on my shoulder blades that caused me to moan in pain. As I was gasping for breath, Margery’s massager turned toward me with a beatific and gentle smile. Both Margery and Fran burst out laughing as she advised me in a soft voice in perhaps the only English she knew,
“No whining.”

Robert Johnson Bangkok March 2010


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Monday, March 22, 2010

MICHAEL MOORE NAILS IT AS USUAL

Listen - I have been to Sturgis, South Dakota, during bike week. I worked the comedy club in nearby Rapid City at the time. I saw a lot of unusual "hogs" there. Bbikes tht were built around Chevy V-8 engines, for God's sake! Can you imagine laying one of those down on your leg?

But this one? Ow! Ain't seen nothin' like it! Very fitting that the gal ridin' bitch seems to blend right in, don't she? I wonder if he cultivates corn with that mutha. Amazing.

________________________________________________________________

After my feeble attempt in my last posting, here is a man who knows how to write - Michael Moore with an open letter:

An Open Letter to Republicans
By Michael Moore, Michael Moore.com
22 March 2010


The Great Thing About the Health Care Law That Has Passed? It Will Save Republican Lives, Too
(An Open Letter to Republicans From Michael Moore)

o My Fellow Citizens, the Republicans:

Thanks to last night's vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night's vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night's vote, after your cancer returns for the third time - racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive - your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.

Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we've made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need. I know you're upset right now. I know you probably think that if you did get wiped out by an illness, or thrown out of your home because of a medical bankruptcy, that you would somehow pull yourself up by your bootstraps and survive. I know that's a comforting story to tell yourself, and if John Wayne were still alive I'm sure he could make that into a movie for you.

But the reality is that these health insurance companies have only one mission: To take as much money from you as they can - and then work like demons to deny you whatever coverage and help they can should you get sick.

So, when you find yourself suddenly broadsided by a life-threatening illness someday, perhaps you'll thank those pinko-socialist, Canadian-loving Democrats and independents for what they did Sunday evening.

If it's any consolation, the thieves who run the health insurance companies will still get to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions for the next four years. They'll also get to cap an individual's annual health care reimbursements for the next four years. And if they break the pre-existing ban that was passed last night, they'll only be fined $100 a day! And, the best part? The law will require all citizens who aren't poor or old to write a check to a private insurance company. It's truly a banner day for these corporations.

So don't feel too bad. We're a long way from universal health care. Over 15 million Americans will still be uncovered - and that means about 15,000 will still lose their lives each year because they won't be able to afford to see a doctor or get an operation. But another 30,000 will live. I hope that's ok with you.

If you don't mind, we're now going to get busy trying to improve upon this bill so that all Americans are covered and so the grubby health insurance companies will be put out of business - because when it comes to helping the sick, no one should ever be allowed to ask the question, "How much money can we save by making this poor bastard suffer?"

Please, my Republican friends, if you can, take a quiet moment away from your AM radio and cable news network this morning and be happy for your country. We're doing better. And we're doing it for you, too.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. I'll have more to say on this tonight, live on CNN, at 9pm ET. I'll be talking with Larry King about the health care bill and where we go from here, considering we still don't have universal health care.

P.P.S. In case you missed these photos in yesterday's NY Times Sunday Magazine... That's the results of seven years of madness. The Iraq War began its 8th year this weekend. How can we remove more of those responsible for this tragedy in November?

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Why aren't the teabaggers hot under the collar about all the young men who have given their lives for "the cause" and in he meantime, emptied this nation's coffers and killed literally thousands of innocent people? we need to get John Boehner and that kooky Bachman bitch from Minnesota off the government dole - that's what we need to do.

There I said it.

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HEALTH CARE PASSES IN FIRST JUST STEP BY OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

SOMETIMES DOING THE RIGHT THING IS NOT POPULAR. This does not make it less right.

Last night The People's House, the House of Representatives, by too narrow a margin, passed a comprehensive health care bill. It has been way too long in coming. This morning good old Senator MCain labeled it "a government takeover", parroting Fox News, and the Tea Party.

The passage supposedly goes against two thirds of the wishes of Americans and the Party of No will fight to repeal it. Says who? That is certainly not the way this American feels.

Yesterday, a black congressman was spat upon on his way into the Capitol building and called nigger. Barney Frank received the epithet of faggot. That alone tells me that the party of NO is also the party of bigotry and intolerance.

The shoe is on the other foot now. And Sarah Palin's rednecks are "mad as hell".

I want to make clear my own personal position. I have always considered myself to be an independent. I judge each candidate for their stands on issues. I actively worked for the election of Senator Barry Goldwater. In my opinion, the last great president this country had was Harry Truman who took no shit from anybody.

I am already feeling betrayed by President Obama for continuing to wage war in the Middle East. But I am encouraged with the passing of the health bill. Did you know that the highest percentage of bankruptcies in this country are caused by crushing medical costs when insurance companies cut their clients loose to live or die on their own?

This country always has the money to make war. Now the hue and cry is that the health care plan is gong to bankrupt the country. Idiotic! Where the hell were these naysayers during the last seven years of George W's own special war to avenge is daddy?

We as a people had better take some time to be introspective about ourselves and our attitudes toward the poor, the needy, the not as fortunate. I am ashamed of our overall attitudes. And now, when we finally get a strong leader who wants to do what he thinks is just, we label him a nazi and a socialist in the same breath.

SAD.

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Last thursday, Kim and I took in an evening of live music at The Red Parrot (formerly Jimmy Woo's Pagoda). Owner Terry Voss is to be commended for his courageous effort to provide area citizens with the opportunity to hear the best regional bands and artists perform.

We lucked out and stumbled upon a "The Sue Orfield Band Presents" evening. Sue (a very hot saxophone player and a charismatic performer) is backed by the best bass player in town, Mr. Randy Sinz, who also sings better than anybody, drummer Dave Schrader of Menomonie, a veritable metronome, and lead guitarist Mike Schlenker, who in addition to being a premier lead player in several bands, is also a much requested studio guitarist.

The Special Guest Series which has been running for some time now, featured singer, songwriter Tony Basley on this particular evening. Tony has a very engaging personality and is an outstanding lyricist, and we enjoyed him!

Coming up on April 22 the featured guest performer will be Greg Gilbertson followed by Brian Bethke on May 27. All the artist series begin at 6:30 PM and finish by 9:30PM, a grea time slot if you work during the week as you can be home and in bed when you should be.

If you haven't stopped in to check The Red Parrot out, please take the time to do so - Voss is featuring live music four nights a week. He really needs the support of the entire valley community if he is to say in business.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED ABSOLUTEY



Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted "nigger" Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.

The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, lawmakers said.

"They were shouting, sort of harassing," Lewis said. "But, it's okay, I've faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean."

Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building to walk to the Capitol to vote when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.

"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill'," Lewis said.

A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."

"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "nigger."

"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."

Protestors also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress. A writer for Huffington Post said the crowd called Frank a "faggot."

Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as 'homo.'

"I'm disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil," Frank told the Globe. "I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor. What it means is obviously the health care bill is proxy for a lot of other sentiments, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but some of which are not."

"People out there today, on the whole, were really hateful," Frank said. "The leaders of this movement have a responsibility to speak out more."

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday as the House Democratic leadership worked to gather enough votes to enact a health care overhaul proposal that has become the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda. Most were affiliated with so-called tea party organizations that originally sprang up during last summer's protests of the health care proposals.

Heated debate has surrounded what role race plays in the motivations of the tea party demonstrators. During protests last summer, demonstrators displayed a poster depicting Obama as an African witch doctor complete with headdress, above the words "OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you." Former President Jimmy Carter asserted in September that racism was a major factor behind the hostility that Obama's proposals had faced.

The claim brought angry rebuttals from Republicans.

On Saturday, Frank, however, said he was sorry Republican leaders didn't do more to disown the protesters.

Some Republicans "think they are benefiting from this rancor," he said.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Saturday's ugliness underscored for him that the health care overhaul isn't the only motivation for many protesters.

"I heard people saying things today I've not heard since March 15th, 1960, when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus," Clyburn said. "This is incredible, shocking to me."

He added, "A lot of us have said for a long time that none of this is about healthcare at all. It's about extending a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."

YOU CAN LEARN SOMETHING NEWE EVERY DAY IF YOU READ


I have always been interested in World War Two aircraft, probably because my middle name is Raymond. I was given that name in honor of my uncle Ray who was killed in a P-38 Lightning crash, just days before he was to ship out to England to fly cover for the big bombers.

I have a wonderful book (this sucker is huge!) by Eric Bergerud entitled "Fire in the Sky" the airwar in the Pacific.

It is 723 pages of really in depth information of "war stories" covering all the different types of aircraft flown in the Pacific theatre on both sides.

Generally, I keep the book near my tub at the office and while I soak in hot, sudsy water, I will just open the book to any page and start reading. today I learned something new!

Did you know that Charles Lindbergh flew combat missions in the Pacific? Well, I didn't. His specialty was teaching American pilots how to conserve fuel while flying combat missions. after all, the man knew all about conserving fuel as he made the first airplane trip to Paris from America years before.

Not only could he fly, but he could write. Check this out:

"I tripped my gun switch, brightened the ring sight, nosed down to follow in attack. To my left a Japanese plane disappeared in haze and cloud. A second was banking sharply toward the airstrip under the protection of the ground guns. We dove toward the ship, unmindful of the puffs of smoke and invisible steel fragments that were zipping around us.

Tracers spurted from MacDonald's fighter, a beam of death that forced the Japanese pilot to reverse his bank. A thin trail of smoke informed us that one of the bullets hit, but the enemy showed no loss of maneuverability or power. Miller, Blue 2, fired a short deflection burst against wings that were almost vertical in the air. My Lightning was next in line. I watched the red balls of the rising sun on the enemy plane grow larger, shrink from round to oval, then disappear as the wings cut toward me, knife-edged against the background of gray haze.

It was a head-on pass. I centered the plane in my ring sight and squeezed finger against trigger. Streaks of fire leapt from my fighters' nose out of four machine guns and one cannon. Raise the tracers - creep them leftward - flashes on the target as my bullets hit - but the wingspan widened in my ring sight. The enemy's guns were firing, too. I held the trigger down, head-on with no deflection. There was a rattle of machine guns and streams of tracers. Sightly climbing, slightly diving at five hundred mile an hour we approached, hurtling into an eternity of time and space. The cowling in my sight expanded. Enemy cylinders grew fins. I hauled back on my stick as I sensed our closeness. The Japanese plane jerked upward, too! Was the pilot trying to collide? I yanked back on my stick with all my strength, braced for the crash. There was a bump but it was only air.

By how much did we miss? Ten feet? Five feet? I was zooming steeply. I banked left and saw ack-ack bursts ahead, reversed the bank and swept my eyes over the sky and earth looking for aircraft. I saw only friendly Lightnings. No one but my wingman was on my tail. I saw the plane I had just shot down. My enemy was in a wing-over, out of control. I watched his nose drop. His plane twisted as it gained speed. The rising sun diminished in size. Down. Down. Down. The sea had not seemed that far beneath us. Down. A fountain of spray, white foam on the water, ripples circled outward, merged with the waves. The foam subsided. No mark remained.

Life had balanced on a razor edge during that encounter. If I had been ten feet behind, my enemy would have rammed me. At the speed I was flying, ten feet was less than tenth of a second. Bullets were ripping back and forth at the rate of thousands per minute. It took only one to kill. The slightest difference in our rates of fire might have reversed the outcome of the combat - had my controls been a mite less sensitive, my guns a shade less accurate, my bullets slightly smaller caliber .... I hd the advantage that the most modern weapons give.

My enemy did not.

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I told you the man could write.


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

SHANTY BOY CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY WITH THE BREAKFAST CLUB

Awake at 6AM this morning, I decide to get up, get my compression stockings on my hideously swollen ankles and calves, and hit the road for the Chippewa Family Restaurant, Kennedy Road, out near Seymour Cray's steam and smoke belching monstrosity. As I turn onto Highway 29 E and check my estimated time of arrival on my GPS, I realize I am going to be about 20 minutes early.

Well, that's what I thought. Turns out, I punched in the wrong stored address and got really lost near Lake Wissota, went past Gordy's at least twice, did a U-turn at Willie's Army Surplus, finally climbed out of the drivers seat, rustled around in the back, found my telephone directory, and looked up the address. Kennedy Road. Kennedy Road. Oh yeh, Kennedy Road.
Boy! Those little computers are amazing when you feed 'em the right info -- (most of the time).

I pull into the parking lot just as one of the breakfast clubbers is arriving and we chit chat about the short Spring we just had as we make our way into the restaurant.

Shortly after, the rest of the "regulars" (Dick and Donna, Jay and Sherri) and a few others arrive and I find out that I have forgotten that this coming tuesday is Jay Moore's birthday.

Other than being interrupted by my furosemide pills (yes, that's plural) which send me scurry-hobbling to the bath room, it is a pleasant occasion and today I get to sit next to the man himself.

FYI: Furosemide is a diuretic - coffee is a diuretic - a diuretic is any substance that makes you need to empty your bladder quickly and often!

From the natives, I find out that one of the landmarks I passed during my lost phase, the Chippewa County Home for the Developmentally Disabled, formerly had two very politically incorrect titles. It was originally called the "Home for the Feeble Minded".

Jay announces that the home for the feeble minded is now at 619 Cameron Street.

The more recent title for the home, and the one that I recall from my college days, is "The Northern Colony",which always sounded to me like it housed lepers.

Fortunately, nobody showed up with leprosy this morning. The cake was delicious and I begged a serving for the lovely Ms. Wilson, in absentia.

Somehow on either one of my hikes to the car or to the bath room, the group sang happy birthday and I missed it.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Moore! And many, many more. I love you, I do, in a manly sort of way.

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I love it when I am out with a group and we all stop talking at the same time and there is a singular voice at the next table over (also in a large group) that sings out something quite shocking, for all to hear.

This morning it was: "My ass is crooked." That from a red headed lady.

There is only one correct response: HOW CROOKED IS IT?

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DISCOVER CARD HELPS ME DISCOVER THAT THE COMPANY LIKES HAVING MY ASS IN DEBT

"IT WON'T HAPPEN TO ME" That's the kind of thinking that gets me into deep doo doo every feckin' time. Now that I really think hard about it, I ain't just spinnin' my wheels to watch the mud fly. "It won't happen to me" is only uttered by one of two kinds of people - the arrogantly retarded or the retardedly arrogant.

Almost all of us are in credit card debt out of our arses and up to our armpits. I, like any "good" American should, looked to my governing body for an example of how I should handle finances and my wealthy elected officials, smarmy, oily, greasy and unctious, by their example, spoke volumes:

Hey! get out there and spend money that you don't have. Look at us. We"ve got you trillions of dollars in debt already with Georgie's war in Iraq, And Obama's continued support of war in Afghanistan. That's just for openers -- appetizers.

Today, any repugnican can tell you exactly how much money is being wasted now that they are no longer in control of Congress and are out of power.

But the Party of NO has an extremely short memory. When they were in charge, all the programs, wars, cast aside restrictions on polluting and on and on and on, were just fine.

Now the party of Beck, Hannady, and that fat, cigar smoking blow hard, fecker, whose name I have involuntarily erased from my memory, is screaming about big government taking over our lives and how we can't afford health care.

Well, guess what, asswipes. The health care money went overseas a long time ago.

So, saddled and addled with debt, I sought out a debt counselor and she set me up on a pay it off now, then pay it back a little at a time, over time, and do what you should have done years ago (would you believe 1994?) and throw those feckin' credit cards in the stove at its hottest.

Ah, but there is one more ugly step in breaking the shackles of the machine. You have to either write a letter or call the credit card company, and cancel the card(s).

If you have any intelligence left you will chose the former.

I, of course, chose the latter, not the letter.

Until this very day, I have had four, count them, $$$$$$4 credit cards - and the one I have had the longest? The Discover Card. A member "in good standing" since 1994. So I call the 866 number and jump through the required number- punching hoops in search of a human or even a subhuman voice. Ten minutes later I finally get to punch zero to talk to (get this) an account specialist.

After playing 20 questions with me tto establish that I am, in fact, me, she asks how she can help today.

"I am closing my account".

- long pause at the other end of the line out in Arizona -

"Oh, sir, do you think that this is a wise decision? You have been a customer of ours for a long time and you have an excellent history."

"Yes", I reply, " I have been a member since 1994. Now I am canceling my account."

"Would you mind telling me why?"

THIS IS WHEN I SHOULD HAVE SAID: "Yes, I mind. It is none of your fucking business - cancel my card."

But I am old school polite and obviously naive. so I tell her that I am well over my head in credit card debt, finally have the opportunity to pay off the accumulated debt, and must cancel all cards, save one, in an attempt to get my life in order.

When she hears the words "save one", it's like sharks smelling blood in the water. It's time to send me over to the Grand Inquisitor, the higher ranking officer of interrogation.

"Just a moment, " she says, "I will connect you with an account specialist." There's a click and in the interim I am thinking what do you mean you'll connect me with an account specialist, what the hell were you?

Now, HE gets on the phone:

"good morning, sir, my name is Sparky and I will be helping you with any questions that you may have with your Discover Card account. May I call you Mr. Heagle, Lawrence, or Larry?"

"I prefer Larry".

"Thank you, Larry. Now how may I help you?"

"I want to cancel my account".

"Oh, Larry, do you think that is a wise decision? You have been a customer of ours for a long time and you have an excellent history."

"Yes, I know. I want to cancel my account."

"Would you mind telling me why?"

"I am well over my head in credit card debt. I have gone through debt counseling and I now have the opportunity to pay off the accumulated debt. I am canceling all my cards in an attempt to get my life in order."

"I understand, Larry. But you have been a customer in good standing since 1994 and have accumulated an excellent credit history."

"I know," I reply, "but I just explained to you why I am canceling my card. Will you cancel my card?"

"Yes, Larry, I will certainly comply with your wishes if that is, in fact, what you want to do. But I am just telling you that you should be aware that you have an excellent credit history with Discover Card and I would like to know why you are canceling your card.

"I just told you why I am canceling my card. I need to get my financial life back into order."

"Yes, Larry, I understand. But it is alarming that you are willing to cast aside an excellent credit history with us. Can you tell me why you would want to lose that good credit history?"

"You are not listening to me, I just told you, at least twice now, that I want to cancel my card and why I need to cancel my card. Now we are just going around in circles!

I now lose my Irish temper.

"Larry, I am listening to you --"

"NO, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME. I WANT TO CANCEL MY CARD. IF YOU CAN'T HELP ME, CONNECT ME WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN.'

"Larry, I am perfectly willing to cancel your account. I am only trying to get you to understand that you have an excellent credit rating with us and I would like to know why, then, you would want to cancel your account?"

"IS THIS CALL BEING RECORDED?" I reply angrily.

"Yes, Larry, all of our calls are recorded."

"WELL, THEN, I WANT TO TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR. CONNECT ME WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR!"

"All right, Larry, I will connect you with my supervisor but I am going to have to put you on hold."

NO, NO, NO! DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD! if you disconnect me and I have to start all over again, I will personally drive to Arizona, hunt you down, Sparky, and I will cancel this card by ramming it up your ass!"

"Are you, aware, Larry, that canceling your card will affect your credit rating?"

OH, THAT'S SCARY. DO YOU THINK I GIVE A SHIT AT THIS POINT? ARE YOU, OR ARE YOU NOT GOING TO CANCEL MY CREDIT CARD?"

"It is canceled, Larry.

"DID YOU JUST CANCEL IT?"

"yes, Larry, I just canceled it. Are you aware that Discover Card will never issue you a credit card again, ever?"

GOD, I HOPE NOT!"

And BAM, I slammed my receiver back into its cradle. Oh, Holy Mother of God, two more cards to go.

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