Archive for September, 2009

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

September 29, 2009

final concert

On March 3, 1963, Patsy, though ill with the flu, gave a performance at a benefit show at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, for the family of a disc jockey, Cactus Jack Call, who had recently died in an automobile accident. Also performing on the show were George Jones, George Riddle and The Jones Boys, Billy Walker, Dottie West, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, and George McCormick and the Clinch Mountain Clan. Cline wore a white chiffon gown and closed the show with her performance to a thunderous ovation. Her last song was the last one she recorded during her last sessions the previous month, “I’ll Sail My Ship Alone.”

Dottie West, wary of Cline flying, pleaded with her to ride back in the car with her and her husband, Bill. Cline, anxious to get home to her children, refused West’s offer, saying, “Don’t worry about me, Hoss. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time.”


Listen to HIm

What’s New, Pussycat?!

September 27, 2009




Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick

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An employer mandate by any other name would smell.

September 25, 2009

R. Bruce Josten

Bruce Josten

U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Bruce Josten

“The Baucus mark takes a thoughtfully crafted and reasoned approach to preserving employer participation in the financing of health insurance.

The Chamber supports efforts to encourage employers to offer health insurance, but strongly opposes efforts which would mandate employers to provide such coverage or pay a fine.

Employers must be provided the freedom and flexibility they currently possess under ERISA or workers will lose the coverage they have.”


(Bruce Josten is an expert, and I’m not, but this quote makes absolutely no sense to me!  He’s saying BaucusCare doesn’t have an employer mandate tax, but clearly it does.)

See the following:

The National Retail Federation (NRF)

“We strongly favor health care reform … ,” NRF Vice President and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel Neil Trautwein said.

“The ‘free-rider’ mandate under consideration by the Finance Committee may be the least onerous of the mandate proposals currently under consideration in Congress, but it would still impose significant additional costs on employers.”

(The free-rider mandate is what is in the Baucus bill.  “the least onerous of the mandate proposals”  — I just cannot take Mr. Trautwein’s word on this. Least onerous on employers maybe.  The CBO has stated this free-rider mandate will not lead to a lot of employees getting dropped.  Americans for Tax Reform has stated it will.  Who is right?)

I suspect someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.


Baucus Plan Principles

  • Creation of a Health Insurance Exchange. Insurers participating in the exchange could would be precluded from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Expand Medicaid to all individuals below 133% of the federal poverty line.
  • Expand SCHIP to cover all children in household below 250% of the federal poverty line in 2013.
  • Reduce Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ so that enrollees in the donut hole range only pay 50% of drug costs rather than 100%.
  • Standardize benefits into 4 categories: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
  • Excise Tax: Levy a non‐deductible excise tax of 35% on insurance companies and plan administrators for any health insurance plan that is above the threshold of $8,000 for singles and $21,000 for family plans.
  • Individual Mandate with tax subsidies.  Those with incomes between 133% and 300% of the FPL would be eligible for these subsidies.  Those who don’t get health insurance will be subject to a fine.
  • Employers who don’t provide health insurance must contribute to a fund to cover government insurance/subsidies for these individuals. Small employers with less than 50 employees are exempted from this requirement.
  • Small business subsidy.  Businesses with the fewest workers and the lowest wages would be offered a new tax credit to purchase health insurance for their employees.  The subsidy is up to 35% of the business’s contribution.
  • $6 billion for co-ops.  This money would be used to fund the start-up costs and capital requirements for these co-ops.
  • Preventive Services: Eliminate Medicare copayment for preventive care.  Provide financial incentives to encourage Medicaid to cover preventive care services without copayments.
  • Do not cut Medicare physician payment according to the SGR.  Instead, increase Medicare physician compensation.
  • Malpractice reform. Allow states to develop alternatives to the current tort litigation system.

Practically all the articles written about the Baucus free-rider mandate address how the mandate will affect employers who do not provide coverage.  How will free-rider affect employers who do provide coverage?

(I tried, I could not find ONE YouTube on the Baucus free-rider mandate.)

Video from the Finance Committee meeting on the health care reform bill on Sept. 22.

Senator Enzi is in a Finance Committee meeting working on making changes to the Finance Committee health care bill.

He is ready to offer about 20 amendments to improve the bill.

Felona e Sorona

September 24, 2009

extrasolar (2)

Felona e Sorona is an album by the Italian progressive rock band Le Orme. It was released in 1973.

Usually ranked amongst the finest albums of 1970s progressive rock, it is a concept album pivoting on the story of two planets which revolve one around the other, without ever coming in contact. While Felona is shiny and flourishing, Sorona is dark and home to plagues and catastrophes: however, in the second part of the suite, the fate of the two planets is inverted.

Apart from two acoustic interludes, the music is mainly keyboard- and synth-driven, producing gloomy and spacey effects, especially in the opening “Sospesi nell’incredibile” and in the famous instrumental ending piece, “Ritorno al nulla” (“Return to Naught”).


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le orme

Kenny Rankin, R.I.P. (February 10, 1940 – June 07, 2009)

September 22, 2009


“Silver Morning Orchids”

View Memorial Website


kenny rankin

White bird must fly or she will die

September 19, 2009

white bird



it's a beautiful day

Healthcare, what a deal!

September 17, 2009



I’m still trying to digest all of this, but it seems to me that we have the same problem with the Baucus bill as we did with the public “option.”

i.e., public “option” will lead to “an (employer) incentive to drop coverage” and the same holds true with Baucus bill.

“An employer mandate tax of $400 per employee that would be an incentive to drop coverage.”

Almost everything I’m reading on this has to do with how this will affect employers who do NOT currently provide coverage.

I’m asking how this will affect employers who DO.

I posted this here:

sisterrosetta said…

“An employer mandate tax of $400 per employee that would be an incentive to drop coverage.”


I totally agree.

Unless I’m missing something, this would be a huge incentive for employers to drop coverage.

Shouldn’t there be two separate provisions:

one for employers who don’t currently provide coverage

and a second for employers who do?

I don’t understand why this isn’t getting more traction.

September 17, 2009 9:02 AM

Anyway, I copied this from above link and then substituted “$400 per employee.”


4: Employers to provide health coverage or pay a fee to the government of (depending on version of plan) $400 per employee.


-Cost per employee now for insurance on nationwide average is around 9%.  States like NJ, MA, NY, RI… (the community rated states) have higher costs.  High cost state employee now have an incentive to drop coverage and pay $400 per employee instead rather than their current higher costs, right?  Drop coverage => new coverage => possible loss of current doctor.

-Perhaps the $400 per employee surcharge is the WalMart tax (i.e. tax on employers who don’t provide coverage already)? Ah! But i) WalMart DOES favor health reform and ii) WalMart already provide coverage.  Why on earth would WalMart support reform? Answer: because it, with it’s high fixed cost coverage spread over it’s own large population of employees, it will have a competitive advantage over newcomers into the market who’ll now have to pony up $400 per employee to the government.  Clever WalMart. Health reform helps WalMart.  Who’d a thunk it?


I’m mostly worried about people like, well like me.

As I stated yesterday,

If  “An employer mandate tax of $400 per employee would be an incentive to drop coverage,” then how would I make up the difference between what I pay now and what it would cost me to go out and purchase a plan from a private insurer or a coop?

If my employer, or my husband’s employer, handed me a voucher, then I guess that makes sense.

I realize this provision is not in any final bill, but I fear it may be.

And the CBO said again yesterday:

“The number of people purchasing individual coverage outside the exchanges or obtaining coverage through employers would decline slightly, relative to currently projected levels.”

Someone, please explain this to me!

Grassley: More Debate Needed

Grassley said, however, there are plenty more opportunities to make the legislation better. The bill released by Baucus Wednesday will begin to be discussed by the full Finance Committee on Tuesday. After that, it will need to pass the full Senate, and the Senate and the House will have to come to a consensus on the legislation.

“[I]f you don’t have the whole thing worked out yet, it would be intellectually dishonest for me to say, you know, I couldn’t vote for it or vote for it,” Grassley said. “Let’s see what the final package is.”

One imperative along the way, Grassley said is the legislation should have bipartisan support. He said previously that for the bill to have Republican support, from what he’s discussed in his caucus, it should include tort reform but not rationing nor mandatory penalties for employment nor a public option.

Machito Kenya 1957

September 16, 2009


In 2005, the 1957 album Kenya was added to the list of albums in ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die‘.


o Sinatra, Frank – In the Wee Small Hours
o Presley, Elvis – Elvis Presley (1956)
o Louvin Brothers – Tragic Songs of Life
o Prima, Louis – Wildest
o Domino, Fats – This is Fats
o Ellington, Duke – At Newport (1956)
o Sinatra, Frank – Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!
o Crickets – Chirping…
o Basie, Count – Atomic Mr Basie
o Monk, Thelonious – Brilliant Corners
o Sabú [Martínez] – Palo Congo
o Davis, Miles – Birth of the Cool
o Machito – Kenya
o Little Richard – Here’s…
o Puente, Tito & His Orchestra – Dance Mania (1958)
o Holiday, Billie – Lady in Satin
o Elliott, Jack – Jack Takes the Floor
o Vaughan, Sarah – At Mister Kelly’s
o Fitzgerald, Ella – Sings the Gershwin Song Book
o Charles, Ray – Genius of… (1959)
Davis, Miles – Kind of Blue
o Robbins, Marty – Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs
o Brubeck, Dave – Time Out


machito kenya

This Elementary Soul

September 15, 2009

rose cross lamen


sign your name

Melissa, the sage enchantress

September 14, 2009


Pyramid Suite 22: Conjuress (completed between 1996-1997)

“While this thought occupied her mind, Melissa, the sage enchantress, suddenly appeared before her. This virtuous and beneficent magician had discovered by her spells that Rogero was passing his time in pleasure and idleness, forgetful of his honor and his sovereign.”

Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Legends of Charlemange



greg joy