"We stood firm for the civil rights of every Iowan by saying loudly and clearly that any and all efforts to add discriminatory amendments to our state constitution have no place in our state constitution. Regardless of our personal views, we have a line that needs to be drawn between the executive branch and the judicial branch and I think Iowans are ready to move on and accept that unanimous decision." - Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, congratulating the state legislature for refusing to consider a constitutional amendment overturning same-sex marriage. This week is the one year anniversary of marriage equality in Iowa.
31 March 2010
i guess it is a little weird to wonder about whether or not what you are about to eat is itself a carnivore ---
Posted by tomitron at 3/31/2010 06:05:00 PM
30 March 2010
Posted by tomitron at 3/30/2010 07:08:00 PM
and one of my epidendrums is blooming, too (god knows what specie, what with over 1100 from which to choose) --- it don't smell
furthermore, i have another crassula ovata in the house, courtesy of robert, for whose space it had outgrown --- it is the offspring of one that i had for over 30 years, but that was too big to bring over here when i moved and so is now being enjoyed by mr. hasty
Posted by tomitron at 3/30/2010 06:14:00 PM
29 March 2010
The Southern Legal Resource Center is calling on self-proclaimed "Confederates" to declare their heritage when they are counted in the 2010 Census. . . . The organization is urging Southerners to declare their “heritage and culture” by classifying themselves as “Confederate Southern Americans” on the line on the form, question No. 9, that asks for race. Check “other” and write “Confed Southern Am” on the line beside it, the group says on its Facebook page and on two YouTube videos.gimme a break
28 March 2010
i've been wondering what the small-business types were thinking about it all --- here's from a couple of my friends who are just that --- she sez:
as one of you asked how the new bill will impact our business, thought you might be interested in this (as most of you are self-employed or close to it or a small shop)
i'm pleased on both counts - finally, SOMETHING was done, and that for us as a company, it's good for us too; after being the person picking the health care plans for 8 yrs now... every year we've had to change plans to dodge massive rate increases (one year was 36%), and trim down coverage, to get to something we can afford (we cover our employees AND family, rare for our size). Being able to FINALLY join a buying pool - yippee! We've always been penalized for being a company w/less than 25 warm bodies.
Oh, the quip about raising rates before 2014 - that's been happening to us all along (see above) so i see no changes in industry practice
and he sez, at somewhat greater length:
What's in it for me? If you run a small business or are self-employed, you probably want to know what's in the health care legislation for you personally. Let's get beyond the rhetoric and the partisanship and look into the details.
The good news: For the first time, there's real help for entrepreneurs. If you can't afford or can't qualify for insurance, you'll have new options starting in 2014. If you're struggling financially – as many self-employed do – you may qualify for a government subsidy or Medicaid. If you have a pre-existing condition, you can't be denied insurance. And – whoopee! — I'm personally going to get a tax credit starting this year. If you offer health insurance to your employees, it's likely you will too.
The downsides: There are no caps on health insurance premiums, so I expect insurance companies to hike rates significantly before they have competition in 2014. If you have more than 50 employees, you'll have to provide coverage or pay a fine beginning 2014. As of 2013, there'll be new taxes on some types of income typically received by successful small business owners.
Bottom line: If you're self-employed or have a business with fewer than 25 employees, it's probably going to be financially advantageous for you to be incorporated or an LLC (limited liability company), provide coverage through the business (rather than buy it individually), and, most likely, purchase through a state-established exchange set up beginning 2014.
So what's in the legislation for your small business or for the self-employed?
•Tax Credit. Starting with 2010 taxes, small businesses with fewer than 25 employees that pay at least 50% of the health care premiums for their employees qualify for a tax credit up to 35% of your premiums (50% after 2014 if you purchase insurance through an exchange). How much of a credit you'll get depends on the number of employees you have and their average wage. Gotcha alert: The tax deduction is not available to sole proprietors, so you may want a different corporate legal form.
•Exchanges. Starting 2014, the biggest potential benefit may kick in with the establishment of Small Business Health Options Programs – or SHOP exchanges. These will enable small companies (up to 100 employees) to pool together to have greater buying power. Theoretically, this should result in lower premium costs.
•Subsidies. Starting 2014, many self-employed will qualify for a federal subsidy to help them afford the cost of purchasing health care. Those earning up to 400% of the poverty level will get assistance, or up to $88,200 for a family of four (at today's poverty level).
•Medicaid. Starting 2014, more lower-income individuals and childless adults would be covered by Medicaid, the federal health insurance plan for the poor. This can be a big help, especially for those just starting a business, without much income.
•Mandatory employer-provided coverage. Small businesses – with fewer than 50 employees – are exempt from mandatory requirements. Businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to provide coverage as of 2014 or pay a fine. That means those of us who provide health care coverage will no longer, in effect, be subsidizing our competitors (whose employees rely on public health services) who don't.
•Mandatory personal coverage. Also as of 2014, you'll be required to have health insurance or pay a fine. If you have to pay more than 8% of your income for the cheapest plan, you're not penalized.
•Pre-existing conditions. Starting June 2010, individuals who have not been able to get insurance because of pre-existing conditions can join a high risk insurance pool. As of 2014, insurance companies can not deny insurance to adults based on pre-existing conditions.
•Adult children. Starting in September 2010, dependent children up to age 26 can be covered on parent's policy
•Lifetime limits. Starting September 2010, there can be no lifetime maximum limits on policies. Also, companies can not rescind policies except for fraud.
•Preventive care. Starting September 2010, coverage must include basic preventive care. As many small businesses can now only afford catastrophic coverage, this may mean additional benefits.
•Taxes. Starting January 2013, if you make over $200,000 (individual) or $250,00 (family), your Medicare tax rate will increase from 1.45% to 2.35%. A bigger potential tax bite may hit small business owners who receive capital gains, dividend, or interest income with an additional 3.8% tax on that income.;
•"Cadillac" plans. Starting 2018, employers who provide insurance costing more than $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 per family must pay a 40% tax on the excess cost of the premium. This could be a big burden on small businesses, as many premiums are already at that rate for even basic coverage.
Posted by tomitron at 3/28/2010 05:45:00 PM
27 March 2010
24 March 2010
mammoth cave is the country's second-oldest tourist attraction (after niagra falls) and quite the amazing place --- my camera couldn't capture the really large chambers, the sheer hugeness of parts of the cave --- great historic artifacts from the salt-peter works that supplied gunpowder for the war of 1812, including 200 yr old water pipe made of poplar logs, and early nineteenth century graffiti --- and one of the best guides i've ever had for any kind of tour
Posted by tomitron at 3/24/2010 10:53:00 PM
western kentucky is a very wierd place --- aside from the caves and sinkholes, there is an unusual array of religious signage interspersed with adult video stores surrounded by cow pastures --- i am still not sure what to make of that --- and what to make of a "golgotha fun park" i really do not know
Posted by tomitron at 3/24/2010 10:24:00 PM
23 March 2010
519 miles in the car yesterday, which was pretty much torture for me, although it took me to the wilds of western tennessee and kentucky, which i hadn't seen before --- first stop was ft. donalson natl. military park on the cumberland river, mainly to check out their 1962 visitors center, which every body mostly hates and wishes would go away --- got to elizabethtown, kentucky, at dark and spent most of today at the abraham lincoln birthplace national historic site --- checked out the restoration of pope's memorial building and sinking spring, which is one of my favorite park sites in the region --- the trees are still a sad site from last year's ice storm ---
Posted by tomitron at 3/23/2010 08:56:00 PM
22 March 2010
bush's speech writer has a major sad going on:
Posted by tomitron at 3/22/2010 10:23:00 PM
21 March 2010
20 March 2010
during a protest on capitol hill, calling john lewis and nigger and barney frank a faggot --- that's what the tea party has basically been about from the beginning
Posted by tomitron at 3/20/2010 07:28:00 PM
19 March 2010
18 March 2010
REP. ALAN GRAYSON: I’ve introduced a simple three-and-a-half-page bill that opens up Medicare to anybody who wants it. If you want it and you pay for it, it’s yours. It’s that simple. It’s open to everybody under the age of sixty-five, whether or not you’re handicapped. And you pay the same amount as other people your age would pay. And the reason to do this is because we need a public option. We need an option that doesn’t involve putting us at the tender mercies of insurance companies, particularly if there’s a mandate to do so.i wonder how long it will take us to get to something like this, which has just got to happen sooner or later
Posted by tomitron at 3/18/2010 06:03:00 PM
17 March 2010
cheers to st. patrick, who was actually british, but that's ok
Posted by tomitron at 3/17/2010 04:35:00 PM
Posted by tomitron at 3/17/2010 08:06:00 AM
16 March 2010
15 March 2010
The priest at the center of a German sex-abuse scandal that has embroiled Pope Benedict XVI was suspended Monday, more than 30 years after the church first heard allegations that he had molested children.. . . . "If you get divorced and remarry you can’t take communion, but someone convicted of molesting children can hold mass for the rest of his life,” Ms. Wankerl said.the catholic church has a lot of issues from my point of view, but this is just the worst ---- 30 years they wait!!!
Posted by tomitron at 3/15/2010 09:06:00 PM
i guess i had not picked up on the fact that it's a concrete structure---makes it all the more amazing
From a technological standpoint, it’s profoundly impressive that a reinforced concrete frame has outperformed the steel of Taipei 101 — the previous record holder for height — by 1,050 feet. This achievement suggests a new era in structural engineering: the compressive strength of concrete has tripled in the last four decades, allowing concrete structures to be thinner, lighter and far, far taller.
Posted by tomitron at 3/15/2010 05:47:00 PM
13 March 2010
12 March 2010
that last squall line was great!!! just shades of gray as the sun set but then this long, thin, peach-colored line across the horizon, followed just before the rain by this amazing rosy pearl gray that i don't think i've seen before----not at all flashy, almost monotone, but really great
Posted by tomitron at 3/12/2010 07:11:00 PM
11 March 2010
Posted by tomitron at 3/11/2010 09:15:00 PM
Posted by tomitron at 3/11/2010 07:03:00 PM
10 March 2010
Posted by tomitron at 3/10/2010 05:51:00 PM
09 March 2010
Posted by tomitron at 3/09/2010 09:08:00 PM
08 March 2010
the everglades get screwed again
When Gov. Charlie Crist announced Florida’s $1.75 billion plan to save the Everglades by buying out a major landowner, United States Sugar, he declared that the deal would be remembered as a public acquisition “as monumental as the creation of the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone.” Nearly two years later, the governor’s ambitious plan to reclaim the river of grass, as the famed wetlands are known, is instead on track to rescue the fortunes of United States Sugar.
Posted by tomitron at 3/08/2010 07:25:00 PM
Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn said Monday he is gay, ending days of speculation that began after his arrest last week for investigation of driving under the influence. Ashburn, who consistently voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in statewide office, came out in an interview with KERN radio in Bakersfield, the area he represents.ain't hyposcrisy a sight to behold---sonofabitch
and then the damn catholics aren't letting a kid go to their precious kindergarten cause the kid's ma is a partnered lesbyterian----
meanwhile the home-schoolers are using anti-science textbooks---
Posted by tomitron at 3/08/2010 06:00:00 PM
07 March 2010
As I've said before, what's been obvious from the debate over health care is that Democrats are committed to building community while Republicans just want to be left alone.. . . "Pay their own way" is a perfect metaphor for the Republican Party's idea of community, says Chait, an ugly place where the law of the jungle holds sway, survival of the fittest prevails and the very idea of insurance is attacked as a corrupting force that undermines "personal responsibility." . . . Conservatism is supposed to be about conserving those values and practices which promote peaceful, harmonious and stable communities. Instead, much of what currently passes for conservatism seems dedicated to their dissolution, as community ties are weakened, the softer virtues like empathy and compassion which act as a society's connective tissue are dislocated, and any sense of common destiny is carpet-bombed out of existence by FOX, by Rush and by harpies like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter who tell their audiences that it's not only okay to hate -- it's righteous!that is what makes me so angry with those people --- it's not "just politics" --- and it explains why they went after acorn the way they did
Posted by tomitron at 3/07/2010 10:16:00 AM