Illinois’ bubbling soda tax rebellion

By John Ruberry

“And it was inevitable that some of these people pushed back…”
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles.

Could it be that the deep-blue residents of America’s second-most populous county, Cook County–Chicago is the county seat–have had enough?

Probably not, at least yet. But serious dissent may be bubbling as the effects of Cook County’s unpopular soda tax sink to the bottom of the glass.

Cook County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, a former Chicago alderman who represented the University of Chicago area–the Obamas were among her constituents–touted that tax as a public health measure. The new tax covers not just soda but also many other sweetened beverages including those with corn syrup, such as diet sodas, some iced teas, and bottled sweetened Starbucks coffee–but not, for instance, cavity-causing Frappuccinos prepared at a Starbucks location by a barista. Even “free refills” are taxed now. But Preckwinkle, a hardened leftist, exposed her true colors by suing a retail association that delayed collection in a legal challenge of the tax for a month for $17 million of what she claims is lost revenue. That is how thug states such as Venezuela and Russia are run. Dissent will not be tolerated–enemies will be punished.

Preckwinkle defeated a Democratic incumbent in a 2010 primary election vowing to repeal an unpopular one-percent county sales tax. She phased it out, yes. But last year Preckwinkle brought it back.

And the soda tax was never about health. If it was, then why the lawsuit? Taxwinkle is a liar. Besides, federal law prevents taxing food stamp recipients–there are nearly 900,000 of them in Cook County–on their sweetened beverage purchases. Poor people consume larger amounts of sweetened beverages than wealthier folks and the health problems blamed on these drinks, such as diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent among the less wealthy.

The soda tax is a penny per ounce. That doesn’t seem like much, but the cost of a case of Diet Coke, as you seen in this Tweet, soars by 5o-percent after the Taxwinkle tax is figured in.

My friends and co-workers–and yes, there are some liberal Democrats within that group–are furious about the soda tax, even the ones who don’t drink what most people here call “pop.” Yesterday one man told me, “I live just south of Lake County, I’m going to buy all my Coke there,” adding, “There is a big sign outside the Target there, ‘No county sugary drink tax here.'” And of course he won’t only buy soda there–he’ll probably buy most, maybe all of his groceries there. Why wait in two long check-out lines? Grocers on the wrong side of the county line not only will face lower sales, some may be forced to close down and of course lay off their employees. Oh, I forgot to tell that new Lake County shopper that he should top off his gas tank up there, as there is also a Cook County gasoline tax.

And there are so many other taxes Cook County residents, particularly Chicagoans, have to endure. In an example provided by the free market Illinois Policy Institute, the base price of a two liter bottle of pop is $2.49. But when the 67 county soda tax is added, on top of the nation’s highest 10.25 percent sales tax, and an additional 3 percent Chicago soda tax, the true cost of that soda jug is $3.49. And if you accept a bag, paper or plastic, when you buy that sugary drink in Chicago, there is an additional 7 cent per bag tax. Unless you are paying by food stamps, formally known as SNAP–the “N” stands for nutrition–with your Illinois Link card.

When was the last time you devoured a grocery bag?

Keeping track of all of these taxes are a nightmare for retailers. That extra cost of course is passed on to consumers.

Last month Illinois’ income tax rate was hiked by 32 percent. Illinoisans are burdened with among the highest property rates in the nation. Yet, Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago are functionally bankrupt, which exposes another left-wing lie–fiscal stability in Democratic-run sinkholes is always only just one more tax hike away.

Why does Crook County need the soda tax, and yes, the next tax, what ever that one is going to be? To pay for lavish but woefully-underfunded county worker pensions and the Cook County Health System.

Chicago is a sanctuary city and Cook is a sanctuary county–Cook County health facilities are often the health care provider of choice of the area’s large population of illegal immigrants. No, I’m not saying we should cut off care to illegals with health concerns, but as a Cook County taxpayer, it’s fair to know what that care costs me.

Liberalism is very expensive.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Next year Taxwinkle will face voters. She’ll probably be reelected. Rebellions take time to build, after all, it took ten years from the passage of the Stamp Act until the first battle of the American Revolution to be fought.

How did Preckwinkle fare in her last election? She ran unopposed.

Shame on you, Cook County Republican Party.

Meanwhile Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago continue to lose residents.

Quietly, the rebellion has begun.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The battle for life must go well beyond politics

President Obama and many on the left celebrated today as the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood. They used catchy hashtags like #100YearsStrong to promote the idea that this “healthcare” company has been a positive force in America for the last century. Meanwhile, seven million babies have been murdered by them.

Is that a harsh way to put it? Yes. Does it make some people, even many pro-lifers, cringe when conservatives call it murder? Yes. It should. We should all be cringing. We should feel uncomfortable with abortion. Some would argue that this is a political issue and attacking it on an emotional level doesn’t help the pro-life cause. I offer the counterargument that tackling the issue of abortion on any level other than emotional is a losing battle. Death is emotional. When we take away the emotion by making it purely political, scientific, or technical, we are declawing ourselves before the battle can be fought.

We need our claws. We need it to sting. We need supporters of abortion to face the reality that by embracing choice over life, they are placing a higher value on one person’s existence over another’s.

It was mentioned today that “The battle must be won for the hearts and minds of the people in America and around the world.” This is true on multiple levels. It’s the reason that Planned Parenthood and its supporters use technical terms like “reproductive rights” and “fetal tissues” instead of “abortion” and “babies.” The goal of their narrative is to desensitize us to the realities of abortion. They cannot win the emotional battle, so they make it political. They make it scientific. They make it technical. Unfortunately, many in the pro-life movement oblige by laying down our most powerful weapon, emotion, before we step into battle.

By no means am I calling for us to stop fighting with our votes, in court, and elsewhere on the political front. However, if those are the only arenas where we’re willing to fight, we are likely going to lose. Our disadvantage is that it’s 2016 and the people are so distracted by the Kardashians and Pokemon Go that they don’t allow themselves to be easily burdened by emotional realities in politics and religion. Our advantage is that it’s 2016, which means we have the technology to spread the message to those who are willing to hear. We can show them what a partial birth abortion really entails. We can share videos and images of babies in the womb, demonstrating that these are not just groups of fetal tissues. They are human beings, albeit very small ones. They are alive.

Here’s an example of why this is true:

 

We cannot win this battle with politics alone. Regardless of the law, the real battle must be fought from an emotional level. Some people are willing to have or support abortions because they are not convinced that they are promoting the end of someone’s life. If we turn the battle there rather than simply pushing for laws and promoting technicalities in court, we have a chance of winning battles. It’s important to remember that the battles are one life at a time. One abortion prevented is a life saved.

Good Thing From Government

by baldilocks

The benefits of quitting smoking are manifold.  I seem to enjoy sunshine and fresh air—such as it is in Los Angeles—more than ever. I wake up and get started earlier and am happy about it—even with our seemingly dismal political future looming.  As soon as the sun is on the horizon, I want the windows up, the blinds open, and the coffee brewing.

Planning was never my strong suit, but I find that it is essential now, with the many things I want to do around my apartment, not to mention the things I need to do.

Order and reordering are now the names of the game. To those ends, and because I lost much of my furniture, I mean to build my own shelving and tables for my living room and kitchen. And, possibly, make my own decorations.

Am I detoxing? Most certainly.  I’d also say that I’m having what we generally call a midlife “crisis.” I guess it could manifest itself in much worse ways.

obsessive-compulsive-disorder-3
Not quite this OCD

Another thing: it’s difficult now to stay on Social Media, blogs, etc. because that requires sitting down. All I want to do is get up and get things done, even mundane tasks like cleaning my floors.

I said all of that to point to a free service about which a surprisingly small number of people seem to use: the free digital offerings—ebooks and audiobooks–held by our public libraries.  Yesterday, while putting together the Black and Decker Workmate I requested and received for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I listened to The Princess Bride, and today, I will continue listening to The Romanovs. I downloaded the latter to my Android so I can listen to in tomorrow while on the way to church. So, tomorrow, I will sit down and listen…for a little while.

How did I do this? Through the Los Angeles Public Library, which uses Overdrive. I would guess that Overdrive is used by countless public libraries across the country and all one needs is a library card.

You do have one of those, don’t you?

So the next time you are clean, mopping, fixing, seeding, weeding, feeding, etc. while you are listening to The Divine Comedy or Raylan, be sure to think of me favorably. Thank you.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Screwtape Applauds Sr Jane Marie Klein

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Matthew 10:32-33

You know there are very few things more depressing when on a pilgrimage to the grave of a nun who built an organization proclaiming the truth of catholic faith to the world to read about this:

Sr Jane Marie Klein, told AP the name changes are in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of St Francis of Perpetual Adoration, which founded the hospital system.

What name change is Sr. Jane Marie Klein saying is in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual adoration? Why removing the “saint” out of hospital names that she runs.

The health care system that oversees the Illinois and Indiana hospitals has determined that dropping the saint names will strengthen the brand identity of the system as a whole, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

“Unsainted” hospitals include those that had incorporated the names of St James, St Anthony, St Elizabeth, St Margaret, and St Francis.

Because nothing better illustrates the mission of Catholic nuns like ditch the saints and the Catholic identity they allude to.

It seems she followed the exact path that Screwtape suggested.

quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”… Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.

This entire story might seem confusing. While the Hospitals will discover that like God, the saints will not force themselves on those who don’t want them and will, however reluctantly agree to stay away, you would think that given the purpose of a hospital is to treat the sick, the aid of the Hospital’s patron would be very valuable. Of course that presumes actual belief and unfortunately I’ve discovered belief is not longer a given among the professed religious.

Exit question, who wants to bet that the Hospitals don’t remove the “St.” when trying to fundraise from faithful Catholics?


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Senate Dems: Zero funds for Zika

Zika virus is ravaging in South America. It has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly in Brazil, and now it’s emerging in Colombia, since, for Zika-infected pregnancies, microcephaly risk may be as high as 13 percent.

While the virus is mostly transmitted by mosquitos, a man with Zika can transmit the virus to his sex partner(s) through sexual intercourse.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) keeps a tally of Zika cases in the USA.

Here in Florida there have been 162 cases of travel-associated Zika. The first baby with Zika-related microcephaly was born this week (emphasis added)

The birth mother is a Haitian national who came to Florida to give birth. She was infected with the Zika virus in Haiti.

While the baby was in the hospital,

Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a deal providing funding for the fight against the Zika virus, virtually guaranteeing that Congress won’t get legislation to President Obama’s desk this month.

John Sexton points out that the

Democrats seem to have resolved not to vote for the bill, in part, because Planned Parenthood told them not to do so.

Indeed (emphasis added),

After clamoring for new Zika funding for months, they are set to vote against a bill at funding levels they’ve already agreed to. They’ve offered myriad objections: That the bill is paid for irresponsibly, inordinately relaxes clean water regulations and was constructed with no Democratic input. On Tuesday morning, Planned Parenthood wrote all Senate offices opposing the bill, arguing that “a vote against this bill will be seen as a vote for women’s health care.”

Bottom line: The Dems, the members of the party which passed the ruinous Obamacare behind closed doors and advocates for open borders, are taking orders from merchants of death Planned Parenthood, on matters of public health.

You can now add Zika babies to the 60 million victims of Democrat policies.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Disconnect

unpluggby baldilocks

Sometimes you have to separate yourself from the Internet for a few waking hours. I do it regularly in service to and in conversation with my God. But I find that it’s also necessary to do it at home; not just to clean your house, to cook a meal, to finish a novel, or any mundane life tasks like those. It’s necessary to do it to keep yourself sane. The speed at which information and events are delivered to us now is so fast that one feels lost. I do, at times. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t try to document news/events as they happen. I’ve tried; it makes me crazy and spurs an ongoing battle I have with anxiety.

I’ve already talked about walking. Usually, I have a destination and/or a task in mind. But sometimes I don’t. Often, I’ll take one of my devices along in order to listen to whichever audiobook I’m in the middle of. (One day I’ll finish one of them.) But, sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that there’s a world separate from the digital space which seems endless, always offering, and—best/worst of all—always requesting input. It always seems to want to know what you have to offer. Often, I have nothing.

It might seem strange for a longtime-blogger and author to think this way, but, ironically, my writing comes far more easily after a break to take in the “real” world around me. I say ‘hello’ to the people who live near me and who pass me on the street and the world seems better, if only for a short time.

I’m not pretending that the world isn’t falling apart. I just don’t want to be reminded of it every waking moment. There’s beauty and goodness still out there. Small pockets of it, to be sure. But it’s there. And it makes me feel better for the seeing.

SPEAKING OF BEAUTY: Happy Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Ingemi. God bless.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

Natural Maintenance

by baldilocks

Being blessed with great health and energy for almost all of my life, I found it disconcerting when I began to get tired at strange times in the day—like 1PM. The cure? Vitamin C and lots of it. An orange, a half of a grapefruit, the juice of a small lemon and a kiwi a day seem to have fixed the problem.

blood-oranges
Blood Oranges. Disconcerting at first, but really good for you.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? We all grow up being told to eat citrus fruit and to drink a lot of fruit juices. Well, I don’t drink juices—or soda—because they have too much sugar in them. I don’t even buy bread that has more than one gram of sugar in it. (The only area in which I break this rule: coffee.) Keeping sugar out of my diet has kept me from getting too humongous–a battle which members of my family fight, especially the women. So, I had been inconsistent in eating the good sugars. No more and those grapefruit(s) are tasty!

Another natural remedy I’ve used for a couple of years: apple cider vinegar. Members of both sides of my family also suffer from high blood pressure, beginning in the late 40s and I was no different. My pressure had been very low before that, but I noticed the up-creep; I was always right on the borderline of hypertension. I did not want to take prescription medication, so I searched online for natural remedies and consistently found a daily recommendation of 2 tablespoons of ACV with 8 ounces of water. Now, every time I go to the doctor and my vitals are check, my systolic is in the 120 range and my diastolic is in the 60-70 range. (I drink it with a straw so that it doesn’t damage the enamel of my teeth.)

I don’t recommend doing any of these things without doing your own home work first and checking with your doctor. I mention them merely because it seems to me that God has provided many of the cures for nagging issues and signs of aging (I’m 54). We only have to be looking for them. And in the age of Obamacare, it’s always a good idea to be looking for ways to avoid the healthcare system.

I also wonder whether much of the craziness we see around us stems from vitamin, mineral and other dietary deficiencies. Well, excuse me now; I think I need a burger. Beef.

Kenya Trip Wishlist at Amazon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

Flint water crisis shows how the left operates

Lake Huron
Lake Huron

By John Ruberry

The Flint crisis–dangerous levels of lead have been found in its drinking water–is a travesty, but one that the left is using to advance its agenda.

Background: Two years ago after telling the the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in a cost-cutting move that it would stop buying its Lake Huron water by 2017 when a new Huron pipeline project would be completed, Detroit ended its agreement with Flint, which compelled the impoverished city to turn to the Flint River for its water. But somehow Flint authorities made a colossal and possibly deadly mistake by not adding an anti-corrosive that costs $150-a-day into the water supply. That toxic error allowed lead from old pipes to get into the drinking water and yes, into the bodies of Flint residents. Had that additive been used, the expert who uncovered the Flint debacle says the lead crisis never would have occurred.

Rather than uncovering what went wrong and finding out who was responsible, the left is looking beyond the Flint water crisis to intensify a long-running political battle. Businesses and governments from all over the nation are shipping bottled water to Flint. Liberal bomb-thrower Michael Moore isn’t interested. The self-described Flint native–he actually grew up in a wealthy neighboring suburb–lists his demands for Flint which include the arrest and removal from office of Rick Snyder, Michigan’s Republican governor.

Flint and Detroit Public Schools are under control of an emergency manager because of longtime corruption and malfeasance perpetuated by its so-called public servants. Until recently so was the city of Detroit. Not coincidentally these government entities are cash honey holes for Democratic bureaucrats, which is why the left hates the emergency manager law. Snyder appoints Michigan’s emergency managers. Get it?

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

If you don’t, then read last week’s Washington Post column by leftist Dana Milbank. He blames the entire Flint travesty on Snyder and he of course sub-divides his finger-pointing on the emergency manager law.

Was Snyder–who should not be entirely blameless–the one who made the decision not to spend $150 on anti-corrosives? He almost certainly was not. Do Moore and Milbank care who it was? No, they would rather attack a Republican and push their idealogy.

A Students for a Democratic Society radical once mused, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

Some things never change.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Stamping out Oughtism, a HUGE hole in Obamacare

by Steve and Timothy Imholt (mainly Steve, Tim was too angry, as he is an adult with autism and has an autistic son he pays out of pocket to cover.)

Do you remember the debate about why Obamacare was going to be so very good or so very evil (depending on who was hogging the microphone)? Regardless of where you fell on the scale from progressive to arch conservative, one area which had very little argument was over what healthcare should cover regarding children. Yes, there was argument about the role of government, about government over reach, about fiscal consequences, but about kids?

Nope, I don’t remember it.

I bet you don’t either.

I can remember the discussions about orphan drugs. I remember comments from both sides about catastrophic coverage. Even discussions about pre-existing conditions. These were things that most people thought the ACA would/should (depending on party affiliation) cover. Even the insurance companies and the Republicans in a last ditch effort to stop the ACA talked about other legislation, in place of the ACA, that would cover pre-existing and catastrophic situations.

But what they didn’t do was talk about situations that were fixable when the fix was expensive. Talk about donut holes. There is donut hole in coverage the size of the Holland Tunnel if you work for most companies. You see, the way things are today, some kinds of illnesses actually ARE covered by the ACA marketplace and public aid, but NOT through employer plans precisely because they are so expensive, and the employers had good lobbyists to get wording in there for an exemption for employer based plans.

Still others aren’t covered by the ACA market place OR the employer because get this… they are too expensive. It’s like finding a Ho Chi Minh tunnel at the bottom of a Florida sized sinkhole. You take the tunnel because you have to.

Is there a poster child for this hole? Autism.

You see, when you catch autism early it is treatable. But the treatment needs to be aggressive. And even better, its effects can be truly managed and even called cured. But the current costs are somewhere higher than $30,000 and in some cases even $50,000 per year for several years. Most employers would rather not have to deal with that kind of cost. And (please use a Gomer Pyle voice when reading this), Surprise, Surprise, Surpirse, state and federal laws say they don’t have to cover it.

Think about this. The employed person has to pay out of pocket to get his kids treated. That same person has to pay taxes that, in turn, pay for subsidized coverage for other people, some of whom don’t have a job, so that their kids can get this treatment because the ACA says that they can. So one guy gets to fork out the money twice, or if he can’t afford for his kids to get these treatments out of his own pocket has real problems.

That is assuming the guy who has a job can find a way to afford it. How many people have that kind of money leftover from the rest of their budget in their after tax salary? Especially with all the new tax rates, hikes in grocery store prices, and stagnant wages in the middle class.

It is a nutty situation, but that is just one prime example. We are SURE there are others. We will be on the lookout. Just follow bankruptcy filings and some will likely be found.

The ACA act itself provides a partial loophole as well. Turns out the Fed doesn’t always cover it because it’s a congenital condition. Those plans which do cover it are a lot more expensive. Currently, the only real option left for a family with an average income is for the kid to get put on public aid. On public aid, the kid can get covered. Except that like a Ho Chi Minh tunnel, the hole can collapse at any moment.

Now for those readers who don’t have to deal with this every day, getting on public aid is NOT like switching cable companies. You need to get qualified again, and again, and again. It takes a lot of effort by parents to pull it off. And each time they have to requalify, treatment gets impacted either because docs won’t accept it, or they can’t actually deliver until approved (again and again and again).

Remember that comment about catching it early, and being aggressive? Let’s be blunt. Being aggressive is not compatible with government paperwork.

So, as a country, we end up actually causing kids to not get the treatment they need, exactly when it would do the most good. All because companies didn’t want to have this really large cost, and the Feds on ACA didn’t want the premiums to go up even more than they are going up next year.

How did it get this way? From my perspective, it was because from the progressive standpoint, it had to be covered, so sticking it to the states was a good idea. (Actually for some of the progressives, anything that eventually will lead to a single payer system is a good thing, no matter how many kids get trampled in the meantime). But the conservatives aren’t off the hook either. Again, from my standpoint, allowing companies to exclude this kind of thing, is the direct equivalent of being Pontius Pilate, washing their hands. Why? Because for conservatives, anything that shows how bad the ACA is must be good, no matter how many kids are trampled.

From my perspective, political autism has eradicated public oughtism.

The saddest part of all? It’s not those kids knowing that they won’t be treated today. You see, none of them will notice it today because they are too young, and they really do have issues. And it probably won’t be those kids when they are grown, because at the speed they won’t get treatment, they will have challenges, at a much higher rate than they should. And the annual cost of that will be paid by everyone, just as the ineffectual treatment they will get because of a defective public aid system.

Yet keep sending these yahoos back to Washington, again, and again. Perhaps it’s the public who is more autistic than we would ever want to admit.

Gratitude

I posted last week about the possibility that many people could be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Those of us who are paying attention are more than likely to be stressed or unhappy.

I also mentioned some possible remedies to pursue.  Let’s add something else to your arsenal; gratitude.

I have been reading a book about gratitude.  It’s probably not the best book on the subject, but it was enough to make me sit back and think a bit about the wisdom of keeping a gratitude journal.

Listen up, men; this is for you, too. It’s just not a girlie thing, even though it sounds girlie.   It sounds really super-duper girlie when you start flinging around words like “journal.”  Girls, you may keep a journal, and you guys can just keep a notebook.

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is one of the foremost authorities on the topic of gratitude in North America.

Emmons even wrote a book about gratitude based on many years of scientific study.

Emmons’ research indicates that gratitude is not merely a positive emotion; it also improves your health if cultivated. People must give up a “victim mentality” and overcome a sense of entitlement and deservedness.

As a result, he says, they will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis. source

Gratitude simply means being thankful, or expressing thanks for things or events.

For instance: We have a cat.  She acts like a cat.  Like most cats, she is always on the wrong side of the door. It can be annoying to constantly have to open the door for her to come in or go out.  So instead of being annoyed, I decided to be thankful that she has embraced her “catness.”   I’m doubly grateful that she doesn’t feel like she’s a dog trapped in a cat body and demanding expensive species reassignment surgery.

Gratitude is about noticing things.  How many of you men reading this really notice your magic underwear drawer?  You know, the one that always seems to be filled up with clean folded undies?  Do you ever stop and ask yourself how they got there, and do you thank the person who was behind all that magic?

Dr. Emmons says that your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be fancy.  He’s a guy. What the hell does he know?  Ladies, feel free to unleash your inner crafter if you want, and make a dazzling journal.   Guys, go buy a notebook.

I had planned on writing down a few things each night for which I was grateful.  But according to Emmons, that’s the wrong approach.

Here’s some research-based tips for reaping the greatest psychological rewards from your gratitude journal:

  • Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggest that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons.
  • Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  • Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  • Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
  • Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t. “We adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we constantly focus on them,” says Emmons. “It seems counterintuitive, but it is how the mind works.”

Need more proof?

If you’re anything like me and want to research something to death, here’s a link to a gazillion articles  in Psychology Today on gratitude.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me.  I have to let the cat out.

 

Adrienne is grateful to blog at Adrienne’s Corner. Some day she plans to come out of her corner and join the real world.

 

Is the entire country suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?…

it’s entirely possible.  At least for those of us who are paying attention.

I apologize for my long absence.  I attribute it to PTSD.

The Mayo Clinic describes PTSD as:

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within three months of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions. source

A traumatic event doesn’t have to originate on the battlefield. I would categorize the re-election of Obama as a traumatic event.  Re-read the symptoms, and tell me they don’t apply to what’s going on in this country.  I’m going to stick to national rather than international events so we’re not too overwhelmed.

We are daily bombarded by bad news and intrusive government.  The millions of people who are out of work with no impending prospects for a job are most certainly suffering a traumatic event.  House foreclosed?  I’d call that pretty traumatic.  How about losing your health insurance or having your rates skyrocket?

People are becoming more reluctant to express an opinion for fear of the politically correct social justice warriors ruining their lives – both economically and socially.

Schools no longer teach children, but instead try to indoctrinate them into a progressive world view.  When they’re not compliant enough, the parents are threatened and coerced into giving them dangerous drugs.  In every case of the recent mass shootings, the perpetrators had been taking psychotropic drugs.

The religious freedoms of Christians are being stomped on by a cabal of atheistic progressives. Less than a week ago, Obama had this to say:

“How do you reconcile the idea of faith being really important to you and you caring a lot about taking faith seriously with the fact that, at least in our democracy and our civic discourse, it seems as if folks who take religion the most seriously sometimes are also those who are suspicious of those not like them?”

“You’ve struggled with the fact that here in the United States, sometimes Christian interpretation seems to posit an ‘us versus them,’ and those are sometimes the loudest voices.” source

Get it?  If you’re a Christian and concerned about the direction the country is taking, you are now labeled “suspicious.”

Every day, we are lied to by the political class with the help of the MSM. Only the most secluded people are not aware the economy is in the toilet.  A trip to the grocery store can be traumatic due to inflation.  I’d call ground beef priced at well over $4.00 per pound traumatic.

Some of us are reacting to what is going on using avoidance:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event.

Or these other symptoms from the Mayo clinic:

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative feelings about yourself or other people.
  • Inability to experience positive emotions.
  • Feeling emotionally numb.
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Hopelessness about the future.

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior.
  • Always being on guard for danger.
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Trouble sleeping.

Now that I’ve contributed to your PTSD with all this gloom and doom, allow me to make some suggestions.

How to deal with PTSD of this type:

I’m not a doctor, and don’t even play one on TV, but I do have coping skills for you to use.

  1.  Prayer can change your life.  Find some time every day to connect with God.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Eat a balanced diet, go for a walk every day, and get plenty of sleep. If possible, take a short nap in the afternoon.  Get dressed everyday, even if you’re not going anywhere.
  3. Incorporate routine into your day.  Try to go to bed at the same time, and arise at the same time.  Have a daily and weekly schedule, but don’t worry if unforeseen events upset your routine.
  4. If you’re job hunting, make a list of all the places you’d like to work, get dressed in your best interview clothes, and show up.  Ask to speak to the person in charge of the department in which you’d like to work, or the owner of the business if it is a smaller one.  I never, ever got a job by submitting an online application.  One time I showed up at a place that required on-line applications.  The manager liked me and took me into the back room to fill out the application on their computer, and the next day I started work.  Remember, the very worst thing that could happen is they say no.  Go to the next place on the list.
  5. If you’re a stay-at-home mom (the best kind in my opinion), learn how to save money by shopping smart.  There’s a gazillion places on the web to help you.
  6. Find a special friend to share your worries with.  It’s the cheap version of expensive talk therapy.  Don’t forget to help them with their worries.  Helping other people is very therapeutic.
  7. I’m not a big believer in medication for anxiety and stress, and think it should be avoided when possible.  Try some natural remedies.  If things are really spiraling out of control, talk to your doctor before going the drug route.  In some cases it is a necessary path to follow.

And lastly, have faith and hope.  Not the false “hope” that Obama peddled to an unsuspecting public.  Real hope.

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.

Have a wonderful and holy Sunday.

Adrienne blogs at Adrienne’s Corner combining politics, religion, food, and cats.  Sometimes she even makes sense.

Answers: Where can women go, instead of Planned Parenthood?

Incredible as it may sound to us who are deeply revulsed by the CMP Planned Parenthood videos, some on the Left are still defending PP because “they provide health care for women who have none.”

As Dr. Ben Carson said to Jake Tapper,

“I thought that they were supposed to be able to get all those things based on Obamacare. Why do we need Planned Parenthood?”

National Review hosted a panel of experts to answer the question, If Planned Parenthood Goes, Where Do Women Go?   Anna Paprocki, staff counsel at Americans United for Life, points out,

The vast majority of low-income women obtained subsidized family-planning services at:

• 3,165 federally qualified health centers

• 2,439 health-department clinics

• 1,324 other non-Planned Parenthood clinics

• 664 hospitals

To be specific, there many better options than Planned Parenthood:

In addition to those, Obria Medical Clinics , and

Poor, vulnerable women who need true health care can find the best resources and help at places like Aid for WomenWomen’s Choice Services, and Waterleaf, among others, in the Chicago area; the John Paul II Life Center, among others, in Austin; Good Counsel Homes, among others, in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area; and the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (in the heart of the most pro-active state when it comes to securing fully-informed-consent laws to protect women). And so many others.

Don’t believe for a moment that poor women have no alternatives to the abortion-mills-trading-in-human-organs. Carry this information with you in your smart phone for when the subject comes up, because it will.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog

 

 

Gee, BCBS of NC Hikes Rates Due To Obamacare

By A.P. Dillon

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina just announced a big rate hike. The reason?

Obamacare.

Grandfathered plans will see a double-digit hike around 13.5%, but those who have plans transitioned under Obamacare are going to have a coronary. Their rates will jump anywhere from 19.2% to 25.7%.

“Affordable HealthCare Act”. ‘A Family of four will see a reduction of $2500’.  Riiiiight. 

Triad Business Journal Reported:

Customers with so-called “transitional plans” — those plans purchased after the passage of the ACA and allowed to be continued by the Obama administration in 2013 — will see the highest jump, with an average increase of 19.2 percent.

WRAL also reported:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has asked state regulators for a 25.7 percent average rate increase on individual insurance plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act for 2016.

Gee, if only someone had warned the people this would happen. Oh wait.. someone did.

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who beat Obamacare supporting incumbant Kay Hagan in 2014,  issued a statement. In the statement, Tillis called for an ‘off-ramp’ from Obamacare:

“Today’s announcement that North Carolinians covered under the President’s healthcare law will be hit with more crushing premium rate increases is yet another confirmation that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable and is creating hardship for millions of families. Hardworking Americans deserve an off-ramp from ObamaCare to a patient-directed healthcare market that will control costs and give them more freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.”

These hikes are hitting in other states, not just North Carolina.

Tennessee has it worse, Blue Cross is spiking rates up to 36% next year. New Mexico is getting slammed with a 51% hike.  In Michigan, a hike by Blue Cross of over 11% is sought, amongst other insurers that seek up to a 37% increase.

Hawaii, whose Obamacare exchange is imploding, will see a huge hike – 49%.

Wall Street Journal reports hefty increases in multiple states, the average of which is 29% or more.  The Wall Street Journal also notes these hikes must be justified to the Obama administration.

Flashback to 2010: Feds fire warning shot to health insurers
Flashback to 2012: Insurance Industry Warns Of Higher Rates Due to Obamacare

Reminder, this past March, President Obama taunted those who criticized Obamacare. Gee, Mr. President, We Told You So.

 

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

Covered California about to be the latest failed state ObamaCare exchange

By Steve Eggleston

After the high-profile failures of Oregon’s and Massachusetts’ state-run health-care exchanges, and the near-failures of several other state-run exchanges this time last year, the proponents of ObamaCare were hoping that the blood-letting of the remaining state-run exchanges was at an end. Indeed, there hadn’t been any further failures. According to an editorial in The Orange County Register, that’s about to change, with the biggest domino, Covered California, poised to fail.

Up until this year, Covered California had been using $1.1 billion in federal grant money as its major source of money to finance its operations. There will be no more federal money going into Covered California, or any other state-run exchange, as that spigot was shut off on January 1. Meanwhile, in accordance with ObamaCare dictates that the exchanges be “self-sufficient”, California’s legislature has prohibited the use of general state funds on Covered California.

According to The Register, Covered California currently says it expects to lose $78 million in Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016). It seems people haven’t been signing up as expected. As of the original deadline for 2015 coverage, February 15, Covered California was 300,000 short of its planned goal. Two extensions of that deadline, to April 30, have not, at least so far, appeared to come close to closing that gap. According to a study by Alavare Health, Covered California had the 3rd-worst enrollment growth, at 1%, and the 4th-worst re-enrollment rate, 65%.

After looking over the presentation given to the Covered California board at its March meeting, I’d say that $78 million projected loss looks to be a bit “optimistic”. Under what it termed the “medium” scenario, the expected FY2016 loss is $104 million, which would bring the cash reserves down to $184 million. Supposedly expenditures will drop and revenues increase, but given the combination of the First Rule of Government Expenditures (spending never actually decreases) and the overly-optimistic nature of revenue projections, Covered California isn’t long for this world.

Of course, the Congressional “Republicans” have the “fix” – explicitly allow the federal exchange to offer subsidies if the Supreme Court strikes down the executive-based version. They claim it would be “temporary” and would come with the repeal of the individual and employer mandates regarding health insurance, but given their other hard turns to the left (including approving Loretta Lynch as Attorney General), it will neither be “temporary” nor come with the repeal of any mandates.

The still broken Healthcare Exchange – More Bugs than an NSA target

by Timothy Imholt

For anyone who has read my blog posts you know I have opinions that really don’t fit with either of the two major political parties. I sit in a zone that is forgotten about largely called the common sense zone, and there is no place for that in government.

I have the Uncle Steve Imholt who recently retired. He spent multiple decades as a software engineer before becoming a software engineering manager for very large programs. He is no stranger to figuring out budgets, costs, and weaving his way through government forms. I should point out that many of the software programs he managed were for government contracts. The point is, if he can’t navigate through the hurdles of a Healthcare exchange program, who can?!?!?!?!

I got this email from him recently that made me wonder how we are all going to survive the “Affordable” Care Act Rollout. I won’t render any opinion on this entire healthcare law other than to say two things. There are some aspects of my family’s life that were once covered that now aren’t. The other is that the Allied Forces defeated Hitler during World War 2 in much less time than it is taking to get this healthcare exchange fixed.

 

Here is the emails, titled: NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT PAYING FOR HEALTH CARE COULD END UP KILLING ME.

 

It’s April 14, 2015 and I’m still struggling to finish my taxes. Why? Because I stopped working in September 2014.

I suppose you could call it retirement. But retirement wasn’t supposed to be so much like working.

You see, after working in IT for a long time. A good chunk of that was in health care, in both hospitals, and in the insurance side. So when 2014 hit with a ton of medical bills and retirement, I decided to itemize my health costs on my tax return. That meant I had to pull in a load of different documents from my company health savings account, the amounts I had to finance for my dentures, and about 19 different kinds of medical bills and payments. As I’m plowing through this I’m thinking, Thank God, I left COBRA in December and for 2015 only have Coventry obtained through the Healthcare.gov website.

You say so what? Well you’re going to hear the rest of the story.

I enrolled in the health coverage back in December to begin January 1. At that point, I wrote an email to the marketplace and attached a copy of my separation doc from employer saying I ended employment in September. In the email I said I believed my income would be about $70K for 2015 (a highly optimistic estimate). Using that figure the site came back with a really substantial subsidy. Still not sure how that happened, but what the heck.

In January I get a letter from the Health Insurance Marketplace saying I had not supplied sufficient documentation to justify I was earning only 70K. Actually I was unemployed until mid-February when I took a part time job because I needed to do something (retirement isn’t coming easy to me). I did the part time job for a couple of weeks but frankly, it was a lot more physical than I had originally thought. So I stopped working that and we (the wife and I) applied for early Social Security. So I used that information to send back an updated list with my pay stub from the part time job. I also indicated I thought I would be getting income as I needed from my IRA, to get me up to the 70K. This runaround eventually resulted in a long set of phone calls to the Marketplace to get my records updated – again.

I was told we were good to go.

Anyway, a week ago Friday, my wife gets notice from Social Security that her benefits would start in April for March (only the government can tell you in advance how much you are going to get for the past). Then Monday the 13th I get a call from the Social Security Admin asking why I wanted to delay getting my SS payments until April. I told the nice lady that I’d take them as soon as they could start them. While I may be dumb, I ain’t stupid.

So now I get to Tuesday. At 7PM on Tuesday I get an email from the Healthcare marketplace that I had failed to provide proper documentation on my income so I was no longer receiving the subsidy effective May 1. It was immediately followed into my in basket with an email stating that because of my recent application I could apply for benefits through June 15.

My initial reaction was HUH??? It was followed by lots of words, most of them unprintable, a few unintelligible.

I went and got a drink. Uncle Sam would have to wait until tomorrow for my taxes.

***

It’s now 3 AM on April 15, and I can’t sleep. So I get back up, finish plowing through the remainder of turbo tax and finally about 6:30 AM have them ready to e-file.

I go down, tell the wife, I think we are good to go on the taxes, but the health care was still a FUBAR.

I then make some coffee and spend a couple of minutes with my grandkids.

I decide it’s time to tackle the Health Insurance Marketplace emails. So I call the folks in London Kentucky. The support person after figuring out who I was, started looking through my files and decided that yes there was indeed a problem. She should get credit for keeping me from just starting to whimper in submission to the government.   As she worked to figure out what had happened, it dawned on her and I that the SS payments that my wife was going to get was the reason our coverage had gotten s rejected.

She basically said, this was going to happen all over again, when they received word I was going to receive social security.

I decided to let that problem wait. But I did log back into the health exchange to see that my new friend at the exchange had emailed me to say I had until June 1 to get everything fixed.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

On Thursday morning I got an email from TurboTax saying my tax return had been rejected.

I tell you that this whole thing about Obamacare cutting the cost of health care is true. I’ll be dead long before I should have been making it work.

 

Why did I want to air this publicly? I see no end of ads coming in the next election cycle about all the smooth rollout of this health insurance exchange system.

If this is smooth, I would hate to see bumpy.

 

Timothy Imholt is the author of several novels, including the newly released book THE FINAL WORLD WAR, written around the premise that Iran does get nuclear weapons and decides to use them in the fashion they have openly stated they wanted to.