Friday, October 16, 2015

I hate guns - really, I do. But I support YOUR right to have them. As an American, you have the legal right to bear arms and I am 100% in favor of it. But - I still hate guns. The sheer sight of a gun hanging in my son's gun cabinet is enough to send shivers down my spine.
I have to wonder, though, where is our common sense? Guns don't kill people - people kill people.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Nearly a year has passed since my last entry. So many events have transpired in my life since then - the worst being an emergency appendectomy gone awry. A blood clot followed by an abscess and an allergic reaction to the pain meds led to weeks in the hospital. Oh, and I nearly forgot the collapsed lung. I felt my world was spiraling out of control and there was no way to stop it.

The best thing to come of all this was I managed to stop smoking. Lord knows I miss it (30 years of smoking is a long time), but it's for the best. I was fortunate to have good vital signs and strong lungs as a smoker, but frankly, I don't want to push my luck. October 23, 2009 was the last time I smoked - almost a year.

So, life has taken on a new normal for me. I have gained a few pounds since the surgery (coumadin, synthroid and smoking cessation have all contributed), but I am attempting to eat healthier and exercise. Daily exercise isn't a habit yet, but I'm working on it. And I'm snacking on baby carrots as I write this.

It's a start.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Returning to School

I took the plunge and enrolled in online classes. I've been at it since August 31, taking 4 classes consisting of a total of 13 credits. So far, so good. But this one class - Excel - is demanding and extremely time consuming. I doubt I will ever use Excel simply as a way of thumbing my nose at it once the semester is complete.

I enrolled in these classes because I have found technology is passing me by at an astounding rate. Instead of sitting back on my haunches, I decided this was the best alternative. And frankly, I've surprised myself.

I wasn't sure I could still learn. Once you reach a certain age and place in your life, structured class learning isn't something you expect to embrace. But I am thoroughly enjoying this. I find myself eager to learn and this is a wonderful change from my youth.

Back to the books....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

World Unemployment Rates Are Up

My liberal friends tell me that wealthy American corporations are creating jobs overseas while taking them from the US. This report by the Associated Press tells a different story.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taxation In Sweden

The following is copied from Wikipedia's link to 'Taxation in Sweden'. Seems many liberal lefties in the US feel the Swedish system of cradle to grave is admirable and would be wonderful here. Read on....I think you may feel differently after reading the example.

Taxation in Sweden may involve payments to three different levels of government: the municipality, the county council, and the central government. The payments are collected by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). In addition the Swedish Tax Agency collects a church tax from members of the Church of Sweden. The tax rates in Sweden are commonly cited as among the highest in the world.

Sweden has a taxation system that combines a direct tax (paid by the employee) with an indirect tax (paid by the employer). In practice, the employer provides the state with both means of taxation, but the employee only sees the direct tax on his declaration form. The compilation of taxes that compose the final income tax (2009): tax on gross income from the employer: 31.42% (indirect, fixed), pension fee on gross income: 7.00% (indirect, fixed), municipal tax on gross income less pension tax and a base deduction: ~32% (direct, varies by municipality), state tax on gross income less pension tax and a base deduction: 0%, 20%, or 25% (direct, progressive)[1]. In addition, an earned income tax credit applies for gross income, effectively reducing mean income tax.

Although the pension fee is stated as 7.00%, it is effectively cancelled out through an income tax credit for the entire pension fee sum assessed. Pension fees may not exceed 28800 kr/year.

[edit] Example

(Assumptions: Income tax (Direct - 32%), Employer social fee (indirect - 31.42%))

From a pay of "100", the Employer first pays "32" in Income tax (direct - 32%), on top of that the Employer also pays an additional "31.42" in Employers social fees (indirect - 31.42%).

Thus, from a pay check of "100", 63.42/131.42 (i.e. 48.3%) is paid as income taxes. This effective rate may be lowered by for example earned income tax credits and private retirement savings contributions.

[edit] Value Added Tax

The value added tax (mervärdesskatt or moms) rate in Sweden is 25%, with exceptions for food and services like hotel room rental fees (12%), and for sales of publications, admission tickets to cultural events and travel within Sweden (6%)[2].

[edit] References

1. ^ ''Belopp och procent - inkomstår 2009/taxeringsår 2010, Swedish Tax Agency (in Swedish)
2. ^ ''Momsbroschyren (SKV 552), Swedish Tax Agency (in Swedish)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stand Up

This country is on a scary downward spiral. I think it important that all of us as Americans stand up and ask the important questions: Who knew about Van Jones and what he stood for? Was he vetted? Who else has the ear of the president with beliefs that are extreme and anti-American?

People are praising Glenn Beck for his exposure of Van Jones. Lefties are criticizing him for getting him fired. The truth is, Beck didn't bring Van Jones down....Van Jones brought Van Jones down.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Family told by NHS: Alzheimer's is not a 'health condition'

This is from The Telegraph in the UK. It is precisely why I am so adamant against a government run health care in the US.

By Nick Britten
Published: 4:28PM BST 18 Aug 2009

NHS Worcestershire ruled that Judith Roe, 74, did not qualify for NHS funding because her condition was a "social" rather than "health" problem, even though she was so ill she could not make a cup of tea and regularly left the stove on.

She was forced to sell her £200,000 home to pay her £600-a-week nursing home fees, which would have been funded if she had been categorised correctly.

Mrs Roe's family appealed to the Health Service Ombudsman, which ruled that Mrs Roe's assessment had been incorrect and her treatment should have been funded by the NHS. NHS Worcestershire has now reimbursed them for six years of care.

Her son, Richard, 40, urged other families in a similar situation to fight for the care they are entitled to.

He said: "The way the health trust behaved was scandalous. It has been very stressful.

"All the time we were told we were wrong while believing we were right.

"They told me I should count myself lucky because there are people that are more ill than my mother, which was an outrageous thing to say.

"I want anyone else going through a similar experience to know they may be entitled to care. Even if they're being told they're not entitled, they should fight for it.

"With us, they made a mistake. They did not carry out their duties properly."

Mrs Roe, a retired church warden and school teacher, was diagnosed in 2002 with severe Alzheimer's and Parkinsons.

Under English law, elderly people must pay for their own residential care unless their needs are deemed health-related.

She was assessed but her needs were regarded to be social rather than health, meaning she did not qualify for funding.

In August 2003 her family paid for a social worker to visit her twice a day and in 2004 she moved into a nursing home because she was too ill to stay at home.

In 2007 she was moved into another home because her condition had deteriorated.

Despite being bedridden and requiring round-the-clock care, NHS Worcestershire PCT refused to pay a penny towards her fees.

Throughout this time Mr Roe wrote dozens of letters to the PCT asking them to re-assess his mother.

He said: "I wanted to know just how ill my mother had to be before her condition was deemed a health issue.

"The NHS doesn't want to admit elderly people have health issues because then it falls to them to pay for their care."

He added: "We made the difficult decision to sell her home because we were under the assumption that older people sell their houses to pay for care.

"It was only when we started to look at funding and ask the PCT what funding was available that we realised that she shouldn't have had to self-fund."

Finally, in May 2008, on the recommendation of the Ombudsman, two social workers from the PCT assessed Judith and agreed she qualified for continuing care and paid for her fees at the home until she died in October.

However, the Health Services Ombudsman said she should have had continuing care from 2002 and NHS Worcestershire agreed to pay.

He said: "It should never have got to the point where I had to write to the Ombudsman.

"The PCT did not follow the correct procedures and as a result we had to sell the family home and use her savings for care which should have been funded by the NHS.

"We became very angry because the primary care trust was very arrogant and unhelpful."

Paul Bates, chief executive of NHS Worcestershire, said: "Decisions around eligibility for continuing NHS care are extremely complex and difficult even though we have national guidance to assist us.

"The line between the need for healthcare and social care is a very thin one indeed, but the impact for the individual is the difference between free care and care which is means tested.

"We would not wish to see Mr Roe's experience repeated and there are clearly lessons for us to learn."

Each NHS trust has its own criteria for interpreting the Government's guidelines on who qualifies for free nursing care.

Andrew Harrop, Head of Policy for Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: "The system for deciding where the line is drawn between free NHS Continuing Care, and paid for social care has been a mess for years.

"We are still very concerned that older people may wrongly be forced to pay for their care when it should be free.

"We strongly encourage anyone who believes they are unfairly missing out on NHS support to fight for their rights."

The Health Service Ombudsman concluded 53 cases of continuing care last year having investigated them. 75 per cent of cases were either fully upheld or partly upheld.

A spokesman refused to comment on the case, other than to say its role is to assess whether the strategic health authority's decision was based on following correct procedure, rather than the need of the patient.

In 2006, a government review revealed that one in five elderly people were being wrongfully denied free care.