Daily Archives: December 19, 2009
Sheesh – the city wasn’t using it.
A Brooklyn man took over a shuttered city-owned parking lot in Lower Manhattan and charged drivers to leave their vehicles there on at least two days in September, the authorities said.
The man, Steven Pappas, 48, was charged Friday with third-degree burglary, a felony, and second-degree criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor. He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Where’s the harm here? Drivers wanted a safe place to park, he provided it at a rate they were willing to pay. Scariest part of the story? He was caught after he left a soda can at the scene and the cops traced his dna. DNA analysis for a parking scammer? It’s a strange new world.
$10 billion for Bernie Sanders of Vermon, Gazillions for Nelson of North Dakota, plus trial lawyers, unions,and more loot for every single congressman from every single district. It’s billions into the grab bag that we’ll be paying, but we’re getting health care reform! I feel so grateful, knowing that my best interests are in the heart of my Washington representatives.
Democrats paying back their largest contributor? Where’s Captain Renault?
The “tort reform” section of Senator Reid’s substitute amendment is not merely meaningless, but is actually a significant giveaway to the trial lawyers. It is essentially a 5-year, 50-million dollar grant program to encourage states to develop more plaintiff-friendly alternatives to the current medical liability system.
Section 10607 (p.344 of the Manager’s) establishes a 5-year grant program. The program is administered by the HHS Secretary (Sebelius), in consultation with a review panel. The review panel is structured to ensure that trial lawyers are amply represented, with seats specifically reserved for “patient advocates,” “attorneys with expertise in representing patients,” and “patient safety experts.”
In conclusion, Sen. Reid’s bill spends 50-million taxpayer dollars on a grant program run by trial lawyers for the benefit of trial lawyers. The money will be spent to establish “alternatives to litigation” that are even more lucrative for trial lawyers and costly for doctors than the current broken system.
Within Connecticut, there are more than 60 so-called Salvation Army service units, made up of volunteers, that carry out fundraising through the international Christian organization. Nearly 90 percent of the money from the kettle drive is distributed to those who need help in Greenwich, said Alison Brush, community gifts coordinator for the town’s Department of Social Services, who works with the volunteer board.
“Most people don’t realize that,” Brush said.
The service unit meets and develops a budget based on Brush’s recommendations of local needs. The biggest need is emergency assistance. The money can go help people who are facing eviction pay rent, or to prevent power shutoffs, and also to provide camp scholarships to children from low-income families.
“They really do rely on the department to direct them, to say this is the best use for” the money, Brush said.
A couple thousand dollars is usually donated through the kettle appeal on Greenwich Avenue, where bell ringers are stationed in front of Starbucks and CVS, Brush said.
The organization says donations are down this year so maybe you might want to slip a couple extra bucks in the kettle as you leave Starbucks.
Medicare currently pays doctors about 75% on the dollar compared to private plans. In some cases, the program doesn’t even cover doctors’ costs. More and more physicians are limiting the number of new Medicare patients they are willing to see as a result.
Yet taken out of the final legislation was not only a proposal to permanently fix this system, but Section 3101 of the manager’s amendment that Senator Reid released today strikes a provision in the original Reid bill, which provides for 0.5% increase in Medicare reimbursements to physicians. The new text released this morning reads: “SEC. 10310. Repeal of Physician Payment Update: The provisions of, and the amendment made by, section 3101 are repealed.”
What does this mean?
The Department of Defense Appropriations bill that the Senate passed yesterday freezes Medicare physician payment rates for January and February of 2010 at 2009 levels, returning to a scheduled 21% cut to reimbursement rates that doctors are set to take on March 1, 2010 because of the broken scheme that is used to set their reimbursement rates. Presumably the Democrats plan to pass a separate bill sometime early next year to plug that looming cut.
But then, why did they strip out even the 0.5% increase to physicians from the current bill? As a result of that provision, physician fees between now and next spring will remain flat from 2009 rates even as medical costs have risen.
Democratic leaders probably needed the extra money in order to secure the vote of Senator Nelson. To wit, included in the final legislation is a provision that puts the federal government on the hook for paying for the Medicaid costs of all new beneficiaries in Nebraska, forever. That dandy surely factored heavily in Senator Nelson’s calculations.
As for doctors, the American Medical Association was willing to sign onto provisions in this bill that will lead to vast new regulation of the practice of medicine in exchange for securing a permanent fix to the reimbursement scheme by which doctors are paid by Medicare. In the end, the AMA didn’t even get a temporary raise. It’s a bad deal for the doctors for sure. It’s a worse deal for their patients.
Lawyer sued for biting off another’s nose. I was just never that tough.
While deer in Greenwich eat $1,000 shrubbery and flourish, they’re starving in Maine, with the result that few hunters up there are having any success. You know, all you unemployed investment bankers here living on your spreads might want to consider hiring yourself and your acreage out for guided hunts next fall.
Moveon.org. opposes it. But is that enough to recommend it? So far as I can see, the only difference coming my way is that insurance companies will have to take everyone with a pre-existing condition and provide them with acupuncture, breast exams and chiropractic quackery at “no” cost, so my $9,000 a year health care expense is about to soar. Whoopie.
Looking at the radar map, the storm seems to be moving straight through Maryland and out to sea. What a bummer, if so – I love blizzards.
When Cleveland Duble & Arnold listed this creek neighbor of mine’s house for $7.750 million back when the Arctic still had ice, I didn’t call my stock broker to establish a retirement fund because I doubted it would fetch that much. But it’s been dropping ever since and landed awhile ago at $4.450; yesterday CD&A’s Irish boxing star, Brian, “Broken Nose” Tunney, reported a contract pending on the place. I don’t know what the final sales price will be but a sale’s a sale and everyone along Ole’s Creek is grateful. Go, boyo!
10 Obsolete gadgets that made great gifts in 2000. I can’t say I bought these for my kids, but mini-cd players from Sony? Guilty. And plenty more. Love of children overcomes common sense, every time.
Body language can often say much more than spoken words. Especially in global diplomacy where form is so important and so closely studied.
Remember the first — and last — time President Obama was in Asia and all the kerfuffle over his bad form simultaneous bowing and handshaking with Japan’s Emperor Akihito? (Photos and video here). And the not quite so low bow he later gave in China? Or Michelle Obama‘s patronizing pat to the back of that little old lady called Queen Elizabeth?
So if this photo of Obama leaning way over to stress his point isn’t technically a bow, who do you think in this picture out of Copenhagen is doing the selling/pleading — China’s Wen Jiabao or America’s Democrat president?
So said Otto Von Bismark, and he should know: he invented the welfare state. So, apparently, we have a deal on some kind on ObamaKare, with all 60 Democrats ready to support it, whatever “it” is. To get there, the Democrats bribed a Louisiana Senator with $100 million of our money, did something or other to restrict abortions to satisfy some hold – out “conservative” (and promised him lots of money, too) and who knows what else. Will this do anything to solve the uninsured’s medical insurance problem? Probably not, but, like yesterday’s quick visit to Copenhagen, Obama has to show that he’s accomplished something. As I understand the Democrat’s plan, just getting the camel’s nose under the tent will suffice – they’ll come back for more later.