My Candidate or ….

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Remember me?

On several occasions, I have heard “Bernie or Bust”.  This could apply to Hillary supporters, too.  I’m not choosing sides here.

Then there is the “things may need to get worse before they get better”.  WOW!!!  Now that is some magical and wishful thinking.  It’s like saying, “I hope my cancer gets worse because then it will get better” or “I hope my MS gets worse because then it will get better”.

Ralph Nader now claims that he made a mistake by running as an Independent for President in 2000 because he took votes away from Al Gore.  What did we get because of Nader’s third party run?  George W. Bush and 3000 dead on September 11, 2001 and many dead Iraqi’s and Afghani’s and Americans.  We got two wars that we are immersed in with veterans returning from war who are not receiving the medical care that they need.  We also got a recession that bordered on a depression in 2008.  Things didn’t get better.

After Bush got elected, for the Iraqi’s things went from bad, under Saddam, to worse and keep getting worse.  I wonder, would those that lost family members on September 11, 2001 and those that lost family members in the illegal invasion of a the sovereign nation of Iraq believe that “things need to get worse before they get better”?  Did it get better for them?  No.

There are no guarantees in life except death.  Same with things getting better after they get worse.  It may only continue to get worse.  Remember who controls our nuclear weapons.  Things won’t be better if our next President decides to use “nukes”.  We all know that Trump is a bully who has no self-control and that Cruz is looking forward to the “Rapture”.  Could things get worse if either of them become President?  Yes, it will get worse and it won’t be better.

If you decide to “write-in” your candidate’s name or not vote for a President, we could have either a bully or a Rapture enthusiast controlling our nuclear weapons.  Personally, it’s not a risk that I am willing to take.  I have a family to think about.  I want things to get better and not worse.  Both Bernie and Hillary will keep things from getting worse and I like that.

Posted in Opinion, Politics, Rant, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Republicans Gift to Seniors

Actually, the gift to seniors was a ruse for providing a handout to the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries.  I am referring to the mandated drug insurance program known as Medicare Part D.

This is my first year as a recipient of Medicare.  I received this explanation of benefits from Wellcare, my provider for prescription medication.

Drug payment stages:

Stage 1 – Yearly Deductible – Because there is no deductible for the plan, this payment stage does not apply to you.

Stage 2 – Initial Coverage – You begin in this payment stage when you fill your first prescription of the year.  During this stage, the plan pays its share of the cost of your drugs and you pay your share of the cost.  You generally stay in this stage until the amount of your year-to-date “total drug costs” reaches $2,850.00.  As of 01/31/2014, your year-to-date “total drug costs” was $xx.xx.

What happens next?  Once you have an additional $2,8xx.xx in “total drug costs”, you move to the next payment stage.

Stage 3 – Coverage Gap – During this payment stage, you receive a discount on brand name drugs and you pay 72% of the costs of generic drugs.  You generally stay in this stage until the amount of your year-to-date “out-of-pocket costs” reaches $4,550.00.  When this happens, you move to payment stage 4, Catastrophic Coverage.

Stage 4 – Catastrophic Coverage – During this payment stage, the plan pays most of the cost for your covered drugs.  You generally stay in this stage for the rest of the calendar year (through December 31, 2014)

Some things that I would like to point out.  Notice that there is no percentage defined for the discount on brand name drugs in Stage 3. If one is fortunate enough to be prescribed generic drugs which are relatively cheap, then one would receive a 72% discount on those drugs.   Also, the amount of “out-of-pocket costs” is high, $4,550.00.   In 2012, the maximum monthly payout for Social Security was $2,346.00.  This payout was based on the maximum amount taxed which is $110,100 in 2012.  There has been a slight increase since 2012, but not much.  According to the Social Security administration, the average monthly benefit is about $1,300.00 (2013).  This benefit must cover the cost of food, shelter, clothing, medication, and all other expenses.  Do the math.  Most seniors will not make it out of Stage 3, the stage known as the “donut hole”.  Once in the “donut hole”, do seniors not take their medication as prescribed because they can’t afford this added expense?

Stage 1 and Stage 2 are nothing more than teasers as Stage 3 offers little in the way of benefits for non-generic drugs.  There is no pleasure in a donut “hole” because there is nothing there to bring pleasure.  Same goes for Medicare Part D.

There will be relief from this pharmaceutical giveaway as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) eliminates the donut hole by year 2020.

The original Medicare Part D bill had seniors paying 100% of the cost of their medication during Stage 3.   This is what the Republicans gave to seniors, a forced insurance policy that cover’s very little.  The Democrats and President Obama have put an end to this giveaway to the pharmaceutical and the health insurance industries.

One other note:  Unlike Walmart and other big retailers, in the original Medicare Part D bill, the government was not permitted to negotiate the price of drugs.

Posted in Medicare, Social Security | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Recipe: Potato Corn Chowder

Potato Corn Chowder

1/2 chopped onion

2 celery stalks cut into strips

1 carrot cut into strips

7 chopped mushrooms (optional)

1 red bell pepper chopped

5 or 6 red potatoes cut into cubes

1 medium or 1/2 large sweet potato

2 cups corn

2 Tbls. olive oil or avocado oil

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. chipotle powder

1 tsp salt (or salt to taste)

2 cups almond milk

2 cups either chicken broth or vegetable broth

Directions:

Heat the oil in a 3 quart pot.  When the oil is hot, put in the onions and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent.  Add the peppers and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Then add the mushrooms, cover the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.  Add the cumin and turmeric and stir for 1 minute.

Add the broth, almond milk, potatoes, celery, and carrots and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Remove 2 cups of the soup and place in a blender or food processor.  Return the processed soup to the pot.  Add the corn and cook for 5 more minutes or until the corn is fully cooked.

Add the chipotle and salt to taste, simmer for 5 more minutes.

*  An immersion blender can be used.  Just be sure to not over blend as it is desirable to have some chunks of potatoes and other vegetables in the finished soup.

Nutrition:  142.2 Calories, Fat 2.7 g, Carbohydrates 28.0 g, Fiber 3.8 g

Posted in Food, Recipe | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Shame on the News Media

When MSNBC cuts away from an interview with a former Congresswoman to report that Justin Bieber got arrested, that’s when I knew our news media has taken a nose dive.  Why should we care about Justin Bieber?

I refer to this as the “Britney Spears” media.  Several years ago, I noticed that the news was beginning to sound like a supermarket tabloid.  It first came to my attention when everyday, there was some new story about Britney Spears.  That went on for weeks.  Then it was Anna Nicole Smith, rest her soul.  There was lots to report about her.  Somewhere in between all these “famous” people, there was the runaway bride and the diaper woman.  Then the media became focused on Paris Hilton. Lindsey Lohan garnered their attention by going in and out of rehab.  Who are the Kardashians and why should I care?  Now it is all about the Bieber.  Really?

Not one of the above mentioned people have done anything to make this a better world.   Yet, the media seems focused on their every move.

Frankly, I don’t give a damn.  I just wish that the news media would report real news like they did before the 24/7 news cycle.  Walter Cronkite must be rolling over in his grave.

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Kelly Lane, not Penny Lane

We just moved in on the 6th of December.  The POD has come and gone.  There are still many boxes to unpack and furniture to move.  This is what the house looks like now.  In a few weeks, it will begin to morph into something more updated.

IMG_1289 IMG_1290 IMG_1291 IMG_1292 IMG_1293 IMG_1294 IMG_1295 IMG_1296 IMG_1297 IMG_1298 IMG_1299 IMG_1300 IMG_1301 IMG_1302 IMG_1303 IMG_1304 IMG_1305 IMG_1306 IMG_1307The wall of cabinets will be the first thing to go as we will be expanding the kitchen and dining room space.  We already removed one wall cabinet to make room for the refrigerator. As you can see in the one picture, we are going to need a coat closet of some sort.

Homer says, “Hi.”

Posted in New Beginnings, New Home | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Columbia

I spent some time in Wenatchee, Washington on Saturday.  The Columbia River runs through this town. Wenatchee has a beautiful park along the river where people can walk, bike, play catch etc… .  As I was watching the river flow by, I started to wonder what the river looked like BEFORE the Coulee Dam was built.  My guess is that it had more of a shore line as the river would rise in the Spring from the snow melts and lower in the Fall as this area gets little rain during the Summer thereby exposing rocks and possibly a sandy beach.columbia-river-wenatchee-1006-5

thWe don’t need to build a dam across an entire river which destroys the quality of the river both upstream and downstream of the dam.  Here is a link to further information.  Let’s save our streams for future generations.  We can have our water and electricity without damaging our environment and destroying our streams.

Posted in New Beginnings | Tagged | 1 Comment

Washington, King County

We have now settled in Sammamish, Washington for awhile which is located in King County named after Martin Luther King, Jr.  How ‘cool’ is that?

After traveling from Bend, Oregon to Sammamish, Washington, we decided against moving to Bend because the distance between the two is too great.  Lou is considering many other options on both the east side and the west side of the Cascades.  Some ideas are, Yakima, Ellensburg, Tacoma, Corvalis and Eugene.  Since we won’t be able to put in a bid on a house until late September, we will have plenty of time to explore these and other places.

Sammamish and the surrounding area have an unusual street naming and numbering convention.  Street names will change in the middle of the block and the street names are almost always numbers, such as NE 12th Place which is not to be confused with NE 12th Street.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t get there from here.  Yeah, it will take some time to learn my way around here.

On Sunday, we went to this really great place.  It is a state park named Deception Pass State Park and is located in the northern part of the ‘Sound’.  We spent the day on the beach and the children had a blast playing in the water.  It was a great way to cool off on a hot day.

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There were some very interesting drift wood/logs that have washed up onto the shore over the years.  I found these shapes interesting.

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Posted in New Beginnings | Tagged , | 3 Comments