NM Rep. Let’s It Slip Out of the Bag…”What’s More, Our Unique System of Private Insurance Has Been Preserved”

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

First-term Representative Martin Heinrich, who represents the 1st Congressional District of NM (which includes Central NM and Albuquerque), needs to study up on how he delivers the propaganda message from the Obama borg.

When I read his  opinion piece/guest column in Sunday’s paper, I found myself focusing on one sentence which seemed to get to the whole point of the debacle last weekend as “health reform” passed.

His piece starts out with some hand holding:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reality: Health Care Had To Be Repaired.

By Rep. Martin Heinrich

Democrat, New Mexico First District

Health care is a very personal issue for all of us, and as a result, it’s sometimes the cause of great concern, confusion and debate.

While we all have our own personal questions regarding health care, ultimately one question gets to the heart of the public debate: Can we afford this? Can we afford our rising premiums? Can you afford this doctor visit or that prescription? Can I continue to afford to provide health insurance for my employees? Can our nation afford to reform the whole system? Can we afford to do nothing?

Then he seques into some facts:

The simple truth is that right now, we spend $1 out of every $5 on our health care. Without the health insurance reform that is now law, this would become $1 of every $3 within the decade. Try to imagine that – $1 of every $3 you have going to health care. This is not sustainable for you, your family, your employer, and definitely not for our nation as a whole. With costs continuing to skyrocket for all of us, there was no doubt in my mind that doing nothing was something we couldn’t afford.

MMM….from what I’m hearing from people already behind the eight-ball, many still will be paying a HUGE hunk of the income for insurance. Heck, speaking personally, my Medicare premiums and supplemental insurance is literally 1/3 of my monthly benefit right now!

He continues:

Last Sunday, I cast an historic vote for health insurance reform that will bring stability to hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans, provide much-needed support to our small businesses and cut the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion – reducing the deficit more than any other legislation passed since 1993.

I ain’t buying this business about all the deficit reduction, are you???

He then talks about how competitive our nation will become (really?) and how some people will have “greater control of their health care.”


The benefits of reform will be large and immediate for New Mexicans, and our nation will be stronger, healthier, and more competitive because of it.
Families, seniors and small businesses will have greater control of their health care.

Well, that sort of glosses over the fact that women’s ability to make their own decisions ranks BELOW that of  a bunch of church guys who seem to be running a worldwide pedophile ring.  Yup, that crew has superior moral authority compared to that of the average woman…

Ah, and then comes the list of goodies:


Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to reject you because you or your child have a pre-existing condition or drop your coverage when you get sick.
Seniors will be able to get preventive services like cancer and diabetes screenings at no cost. By closing the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole, 51,900 New Mexico seniors will be able to afford their prescriptions, year-round. As part of this relief, seniors will receive $250 rebates to purchase medication in 2010, and next year they will receive a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs that fall within the doughnut hole.

Oh, give me a break! If you’re old you can be charged up to 4X someone younger, if you’re a woman, of course, you’ll pay more for less (and don’t forget writing 2 checks), and those free screenings will look pretty inadequate when you’re denied an expensive treatment because you’re too old as the gutting of Medicare begins.  (And that was a cliffhanger when it came to pre-existing conditions with regard to children.)

Heinrich then let’s the cat out of the bag when he says:

What’s more, our unique system of private insurance has been preserved. This reform will create a health insurance exchange of private insurance plans with comparable benefits so consumers can compare prices and benefits to find the plan that works best for them, their family, or their business.

Doesn’t that make you want to rejoice??? Yes, our wonderful, unique way of screwing people out of health care HAS BEEN PRESERVED!!!!   Yippee!

Heinrich closes with another dose of hand holding and comfort:

To some, all this reform may seem scary. Change can do that, even when it’s change for the better. As these reforms start going into effect, and we’re able to separate the reality from the rhetoric, I’m confident that you will be reassured that this reform is something that we could not afford to do without.

“Separate the reality from the rhetoric”??  We will never get the full reality from the propaganda machine until we get ensnared by one of those fine points in our insurance contracts.

Oh, yeah.  I’m so reassured.

Aren’t you?


Rhode Island Announces 12 “Official Shutdown Days” in Attempt to Save Money, Close Budget Gap

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

States are suffering budgets problems these days, including New Mexico which is now in the process of cutting expenses. Locally, our school district is cutting, too.

Well, the state of Rhode Island has gone one step further.  Press relese from the Office of the Governor:

Governor Carcieri Announces Plan to Achieve $67.8 Million in FY 2010 Budget Savings

Governor Announces 12 Shutdown Days, Operating Efficiencies, Reduction in Local Aid

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced his plan to achieve the $67.8 million in unspecified savings in the FY 2010 budget passed by the General Assembly. The plan calls for 12 shutdown days of state government, operational savings, and withholding the 4th quarter of the vehicle excise tax from cities and towns.

“Over the past several years, framed by two recessions, the state has faced difficult budgets, resulting in nearly one billion in lost revenue over the past two years,” said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. “We have managed through this crisis with reductions in state spending, improved operating efficiencies, and without raising broad-based taxes. We have achieved equally significant savings through changes to our healthcare plan, major pension reform, a massive reduction in state employment levels, changes to social service programs, and some cuts to local aid.”

“Even with these efforts, we are faced with more daunting challenges,” continued Carcieri. “The state’s FY 2010 Budget requires my Administration to find $68.7 million in unspecified savings. With most efficiencies already attained, and staffing reductions already made, there are few options left to cut costs.”

“My Administration has developed a plan to reach the $68 million total, through a combination of shutdown days, operating efficiencies and cuts, and a reduction in local aid by withholding the 4th quarter vehicle tax payment.”

Shutdown Days

The Administration has identified 12 days in which state government will be shut down. The following days are designated as official shutdown days:

Friday, 9/4/09 Friday, 10/9/09 Friday, 10/30/09 Friday, 11/27/09 Thursday, 12/24/09 Friday, 1/15/10 Monday, 2/15/10 Friday, 3/12/10 Friday, 4/2/10 Friday, 4/23/10 Friday, 5/28/10 Friday, 6/11/10

The anticipated general revenue savings achieved from each shutdown day is approximately $1.4 million, $17.3 million in total savings for all twelve. In addition, the Higher Education system will achieve $4.3 million in general revenue savings in a manner consistent with the delivery of student services over the school year. A state employee who stays home on all 12 shutdown days, will take home about 4.6 percent less.

This brings the total savings to $21.6 million. These savings assume the cooperation and participation of all branches of government. “We are very well aware of the impact shutdown days will have on state employees and state services. For Rhode Islanders there will be inconveniences; for state employees there is sacrifice. I am asking everyone’s patience, understanding, and awareness that these steps are unavoidable if the State is to live within its means,” continued Carcieri.

The State has met with union officials for the past several weeks in hopes of reaching a consensual agreement to achieve the savings through pay reduction days, similar to the one day pay reduction implemented last fiscal year, rather than shutdown days. Pay reduction days would achieve greater saving days and afford the Administration more flexibility, while providing employees with an additional personal day to be taken at a later date.

While the Administration will continue to negotiate with labor and remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached, each day that passes puts at risk the ability for the state to achieve the necessary savings. “I look forward to working with the various unions to address this situation in another way, but we simply cannot wait any longer to act,” said Carcieri.

Operational Savings

The Department of Administration (DOA) has identified approximately $17.1 million in savings from several areas, including $5.2 million from reducing consultant contracts by 10 percent, and limiting or eliminating seminars, conference and training for state employees.

DOA has identified an additional $8.9 million from a heightened level of scrutiny on all non essential expenditures, including out of state travel, fees and subscriptions, printing, advertising and other departmental expenses. In addition, DOA expects the state to gain $3 million in health insurance savings.

Authority to Withhold Appropriations

“Even with the shutdown days, and the operating efficiencies, we are still far short of the $68 million we need,” continued Carcieri. “I intend to submit legislation for immediate consideration when the General Assembly returns in September that will grant me the authority to withhold appropriations. In these extraordinary times, I need the flexibility to withhold appropriations to properly manage the execution of the budget.”

Previous Governors have had the statutory authority to withhold appropriations. This power was stripped by the General Assembly in 1996.

Of the state general funds – approximately $3.1 billion – one billion of these state funds goes to our cities and towns. This is on top of local property tax and other taxes collected by municipalities – nearly $2 billion. The Governor intends seek authority to withhold the 4th quarter motor vehicle tax payment to cities and towns. This amounts to approximately $32.5 million.

“We cannot continue to funnel money to the cities and towns without their participation in the state’s budget conversation,” said Carcieri.

“While this plan will achieve the $68 million in the FY 2010 budget, we are not out of the woods yet. Since May, we have seen revenues continue to deteriorate. By the first of September, we will close the books on FY 09, and at first blush, revenues are expected to be off by an estimated $65 million dollars in May and June. The significant savings we have realized by this plan are being outpaced by decreasing state revenues, revenues that rely on everyday economic activity,” continued Carcieri.

Online: http://www.governor.ri.gov

Release date: 08-24-2009

Many, MANY moons ago, the State of New Jersey shut down for a day or two, but not for 12 days.

Many, many, MANY moons ago my family would spend a couple of weeks on the yet undiscovered Block Island in a house of a friend who was restoring it room by room.  She called it “Turnabout Cottage” …Let’s hope we can see some “turning about” of all the mounting problems from our financial turmoil.

I don’t see it happening anytime soon, so who knows how many states will start shutting down. And let’s hope essential services to those who need them won’t be at the top of the list for further cutting. Here in New Mexico, witih a large population of poor,  healthcare for those on Medicaid has already taken a hit…

Domestic Violence and Healthcare Reform: Will the Abused Get the Help They Need?

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Are you surprised?  I would imagine that New Mexico is no different from many other places here in the U.S.

ABQJOURNAL NEWS/STATE: Domestic Violence Increases in N.M.

Authorities say domestic violence is on the rise in New Mexico, and the recession is likely to blame.


Prosecutors and police can only speculate about the cause of the uptick, but District Attorney spokesman Pat Davis said it’s easy to draw a line between the recession and the violence.


“There’s something new going on, and it certainly seems to correlate with the economy,” Davis said. “Our numbers sure show it.”


Fourteen percent more felony domestic violence cases were referred to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same time last year. Felony cases usually involve weapons or serious injury.


Davis said it seems likely that people feeling the economic pinch are buying alcohol and drinking at home instead of paying more for drinks at bars. Then after drinking at home, they are venting their financial troubles on family members.


The DA’s Office usually sees an increase in domestic violence from year to year, which Davis said they attribute to population growth and more victim awareness about how to report incidents. This year, however, the increase is much sharper than normal.

MORE

And as the health care debate begins, here’s an interesting bit of information about the specific health needs of women who are victims.

According to MedlinePlus from the National Institutes of Health:

Health-Care Costs Go Up, and Stay Up, for Abused Women

Women who are physically or psychologically abused by their partners spend more each year on health care, even years after the abuse stops, a new report says.

The long-term study of more than 3,300 women in the Pacific Northwest revealed that women in ongoing abusive relationships spent about 42 percent more a year on physical and mental health-care services than did women not in abusive relationships.

Even those who had not been subjected to abuse in at least five years spent 19 percent a year more for health care than those who had never suffered abuse from an intimate partner, according to findings by a team from Ohio State University, the Group Health Cooperative, and the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Along with all the physical and emotional pain it causes, domestic violence also comes with a substantial financial price,” Amy Bonomi, an associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State and a co-author of the study, said in a news release from the university.

SNIP

The study, which included data from 1992 to 2002, found that physically and psychologically abused women sought help from mental health services at least twice as often as women who were not abused, Bonomi said.

“This lends support to the idea that mental health providers should always ask women about their abuse history when they first come in for treatment,” she said.

I’m sure that in 2009 the price being paid is even greater…both physically and monetarily. I’m wondering how the types of care that are involved will be addressed very well in any “reform.”  As it stands now, mental health costs are often paid at a LOWER rate than treatment for “physical” conditions.

About a year and a half ago, a National Census of Domestic Violence Services was conducted over a 24-hour period. Nearly 70% of identified domestic violence programs participated.  Take a look at the National Summary and you’ll see how large the unmet need is…

***

Here are a couple sites which have rundowns on the on the scope of domestic violence here in the U.S.

http://www.drkathiemathis.com/domestic-violence.html

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art45047.asp

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 18, 2009) Glorious Organ Mountains; Apricots; Quail on the Wall; Sneaky Slick the Min Pin

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s been a frustrating week in the garden as the winds have continued and the temperatures have dipped the last day or so.  I’ve managed to put a couple of veggies and flowers into the patio pots, only to cover them up again to protect them from the weather.

Yesterday I bought a new Belle of Georgia peach to replace the one that is languishing.  I’ll get that in the ground over the weekend.

A big surprise is that I found a little apricot growing.  One seems to be finally showing on the flower I saw…but this one never seemed to have a flower that I ever saw, so imagine my surprise to see a an actual baby apricot!!  Let’s see if anything more shows up!

Last Tuesday I took advantage of the short trip over to my chess teacher’s house and took some wonderful pictures of the Organ Mountains. These views are literally a couple of minutes from my house…I’ll share one with you now:

Organ Mountains 4/16/09 Looking Like a Painting...

Organ Mountains 4/14/09 Looking Like a Painting...

New Mexico has wonderful light, which attracts a lot of artists.  The changes in the skies and the light that changes from second to second are things which never cease to amaze me.

Closer to home, the quail are beginning to show up on my wall.  I love these guys and their plaintive calls.

A Curious Quail...

A Curious Quail...

Finally, Slick the Sneak was into all sorts of trouble yesterday.  We left the house for an appointment and when we got back we found garbage all over the floor!  This hasn’t happened in quite awhile.  It really was close to the boys’ dinnertime, so I guess Slick was the leader of the pack in search of some grub.

This picture, which I took a couple of days ago, shows the little flash of the devil in his eyes:

Sneaky Slick

Sneaky Slick

Let’s hope the winds die down next week! I have to put up the new grape trellises, plant a chocolate flower and really have to decide if I should bag the peaches. So far the squirrels haven’t shown up, which is amazing. I see the papa or mama when I look over the wall and they gobble up the lettuce and other veg scraps I toss over right away.  I suppose they’re busy with babies and as they grow, I’m sure they’ll be hunting for a lot more food…including peaches!

REPOST: 6. The Heart of the Season: Celebrating the Season with Light…New Mexico Luminarias

(First annual repost , most likely! …with an additional photo )

Happy Holidays to All!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Although I really don’t celebrate Christmas in a “traditional” way, I do love the lights of the season!  I put up some lights on my little tree out front and enjoy all the displays in the neighborhood.  One in particular is very spectacular this year, in the sidestreet across from me. One house has a great display of  luminaries around its  entire roofline, similiar to what you can see in the first picture below.

From the New Mexico Tourist Board:

Farolitos and Luminarias — a New Mexico Tradition

The beautiful glow illuminating New Mexico’s walkways during the holiday season comes from “farolitos” also called “luminarias” (depending on where you are—north or south). This New Mexico tradition began over 300 years ago when the Spanish villages along the Rio Grande displayed the unique and easy to make Christmas lanterns to light up the dark winter nights. A traditional farolito is made up of a brown paper bag, folded at the top, and partially filled with sand. A lit votive candle placed on top of the sand in the bag creates a warm holiday glow.

Many towns and pueblos hold celebrations and light the luminarias/farolitos on Christmas Eve.  The tradition is also followed throughout the Southwest, as well as parts of California.

Luminarias/Farolitos with Other Lights of the Season

Luminarias/Farolitos with Other Lights of the Season

Old Town Albuquerque Farolitos

"Old Town" Albuquerque Farolitos

(NMSU Noches de Luminarias, here in Las Cruces. Pic no longer available)

Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo (Sky City)

So, enjoy the lights tonight, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, the Solstice of  last weekend, Kwanzaa or simply enjoying your unadorned Festivus pole!!!

***

UPDATE: Last night’s Christmas Eve (2008) celebration in historic Mesilla….

December 24, 2008

Mesilla Plaza: December 24, 2008

Another view of a Christmas Eve in Mesilla:

The Other Side of the Mountain

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

This past Sunday I decided it was time to go to the other side of the mountain.

Frankly, I was just worn out the entire onslaught of political/media games. Like many others, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been living through a time of lot more hurt and insults than we’ve have had to deal with in a long, long time.

Lately, we’ve had to endure the Hillary as Secretary of State epic.  Well, it’s official as of today (Monday as I write this).  Some bloggers are ecstatic, sure this is a VICTORY for women.  Well, we’ve had Albright and Rice already.  Clinton gives up her elected seat for the honor of serving at the pleasure of the most unqualified, media-assisted, creepy Democratic “president” in my lifetime. Whatever deal floats the Clintons’ and the Democratic poohbahs’ boat, it doesn’t do much but sink things for me. The misogyny continues and will continue (the ugly pictures of Clinton were already up tonight on FOX), and may be melded into a massive Clinton circus/misogyny orgy to help pound into our brains that women in general and Clinton in particular are suspect in the highest offices.  Meanwhile, Bill Richardson wields tremendous power over at Commerce. Real power to screw around with many things with nary a thought from the media…

Then there have been the hopes for the Supreme Court Fart to address Obama’s citizenship issues and boot him out of office before he even gets there.  Sigh.  The law, when it applies to members of “the club,” is conveniently circumvented.  It didn’t start with Gore in 2000, either. It started at a lower level of the courts with Dick Cheney. Remember the flap over whether he could actually be named as VP because of domicile questions (Wyoming vs. Texas)?  Well, how did that turn out?  Judah Benjamin’s scholarly examination of the Obama question over at Texas Darlin’ has come up with the same conclusion I did a long time ago and I’m not a lawyer–The Supreme Fart will let this one slide.  Not Your Sweetie’s recent post on “the club” and the intertwined relationships help explain, in part, why.

So, with all this stuff swirling around in my brain, I decided I had reached the point where it had to stop, at least for a short time.  It was time to go to the other side of the mountain. I hadn’t done it in a very long time. I don’t know why I waited this long, but Sunday was the day. I piled the dogs into the car and took off.

First, let me tell you that every day when I go into the backyard to feed the birds and tend to the vegetable garden I see the mountain.  Actually, the Organ Mountains.  This is what they look like from my backyard…the “Rabbit Ears” are just above the golden tree at the left (in the IA masthead, they are just to the left of the full moon):

resized2008_1130backyardafternoon00031

A 10-minute drive got me through the St. Augustin pass (just hidden at the left by a roof) and the exhilarating sight of the entire Tularosa Basin spread out before me. Then, I got off the highway and began the trek up into heaven.

resized2008_1130organaquirreouting00011

resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0006

resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0004

“Rabbit Ears” loomed in the distance.resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0039

An ancient volcanic core came into in view.resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0044

I drove slowly up into the foothills, navigating a series of hairpin turns. As I neared the trailheads, I looked out onto the basin (the thin line of white to the right in the shot below is part of the White Sands gypsum dunes which extends outside the White Sands National Monument area).

resized2008_1130organaquirreouting00581

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The air was crisp and a light wind blew through the silence…the absolute silence.  It was like being in a different time and a different world. Behind me were the “Rabbit Ears” that I see from my yard, but now I saw their other side, in all their craggy glory, at 8000+ feet.

resized2008_1130organaquirreouting00761

The dogs and I sat for awhile, just being quiet and drinking in the purity of the moment.  Then, I slowly made my way back down to the basin.  Just before we reached the highway I glanced up to see a large hawk, with an amazing wingspan, gliding along with me, perhaps inviting me to return.

Coming back up over the pass, I stopped the car as the plains of the Mesilla Valley opened up below me.  It gave me a sense of freedom as I continued down to where I live, in what was the bed of an ancient sea.

resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0094

What did I find on the other side of the mountain?  A sense of calm and awe.  A departure from ordinary time and a re-discovery of what’s real in the world…A chance to shed the insults of everyday life and feel new again.

I’ll be going back soon…

***

For a virtual panoramic view of the area, click here.

THE SCANNER-Politics, 11/06/08: NM Elections; PUMA Integrity; LA Times Crapola on Post-Racial Promise; Class; Movie–“Rope”

Note: We are on moderation for awhile so that we may have a hassle-free community.

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here in NM-CD2 Bill Richardson worked his magic and Harry Teague, the oil guy was elected. The seat usually goes Republican, but Teague is chummy with Republicans like Steve Pearce, who lost the Senate race. Teague and Pearce are in the same line of business and from the same locale. Teague headed a board of some sort in Lea County and was beloved by Republican members. Enough said.  Money came into this race this time, whereas last time, the ex-pastor Al Kissling was not part of the club and he got nothing…except well over 30% of the vote against Pearce.  This time around, he was shut out of the primary.

I wrote extensively about Teague earlier so do a Search of the blog for the gory details…

Tom Udall never set foot down here in Southern NM, except for a closed fundraiser with the money people.  Thank you, Tom Udall!

I did not vote for either of these people because of, in the case of Teague, his past history and close money connections to Richardson and because, in the case of Udall, his slighting of this part of the state.

Locally, the Democrats pretty much took it all except a couple of offices.  My local incumbent state rep returns to Santa Fe and will be joined by a another newly elected Democrat.

I haven’t check the NM political blogs, so I don’t know what the scuttlebutt is on Richardson as a potential Secretary of State. Let him go.  He pulled a few “Obama” tricks down here and I won’t miss him if he goes. Maybe he’ll get lost somewhere in the Middle East and will never be heard from again…

By the way, the problems with absentee ballots not arriving has been forgotten. The local rag reported that voting went smoothly, no problems…Down the memory hole…

***

I have to say I really enjoyed Edge of Forever’s (Not Your Sweetie) take on the election and the indications that she hasn’t dropped the mantle of the PUMA.  The little graphic which says “Don’t Follow the Crowd, Stay True to Yourself” at the link captures my feeling completely. I believe in keeping my INTEGRITY, which means we’re going to keep eyeing everything hurled at us from DC with great suspicion.  Edge is one my FAVORITES–maybe because I’m a Jersey girl who grew up about 10 minutes from Midtown Manhattan.  I think we share a common attitude…

***

Question of the day: How far down do the expectations get “dialed down,” Pelosi??  As far down as when you “took impeachment off the table” when you took the House in 2006? When you didn’t lift a finger to change Medicare Part D as Kennedy had vowed from the Senate side?  When you let Karl Rove get off without answering the subpoenas the Judiciary Committee had voted to issue? Reality is going to bite a lot of Obamacrats in the butt…

***

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