In an unintended consequence of the new health care law, drug companies have begun notifying children’s hospitals around the country that they no longer qualify for large discounts on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions.
As a result, prices are going up for these specialized “orphan drugs,” some of which are also used to treat more common conditions.
Over the last 18 years, Congress has required drug manufacturers to provide discounts to a variety of health care providers, including community health centers, AIDS clinics and hospitals that care for large numbers of low-income people.
Several years ago, Congress broadened the program to include children’s hospitals. But this year Congress, in revising the drug discount program as part of the new health care law, blocked these hospitals from continuing to receive price cuts on orphan drugs intended for treatment of diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Letter to the editor - Washington Post
Mr. Meyerson assumes that gay Americans are politically myopic. National exit polls for the November election showed that 31 percent of voters who identified themselves as gay voted for Republican candidates in House races.
Liberals would like to believe they own the gay vote, as if gays were a monolithic voting bloc whose sole, overriding concern is gay marriage and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Gays are heads of families, professionals and business owners, and issues such as national security, sane economic policy and halting the rapid growth and overreach of government rank far ahead of gay issues for many, though the importance of gay issues can't be discounted.
The Tea Party movement has three core principles: Fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. While individual Tea Partyers may embrace a wide range of views on social issues, the movement has risen to power because it has formed around this very narrow range of principles most critical to the survival of our nation at this precise moment in history.
Fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets are the principles highlighted in each and every tea party event that I've attended.
I'm a dumb ass conservative, gun toting, God clinging, hillbilly. Maybe one of you sophisticated coastal, liberal types can tell me what makes those principles anti gay and/or racist.
I wonder when we'll hear the same accusations about college recruiters talking unsuspecting students into college degrees and student loans in which there are no careers ...................
With the help of a small army of researchers and associates (most importantly, Chris Matgouranis, Jonathan Robe, and Chris Denhart) and starting with help from Douglas Himes of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) has unearthed what I think is the single most scandalous statistic in higher education. It reveals many current problems and ones that will grow enormously as policymakers mindlessly push enrollment expansion amidst what must become greater public-sector resource limits.
Here it is: approximately 60 percent of the increase in the number of college graduates from 1992 to 2008 worked in jobs that the BLS considers relatively low skilled—occupations where many participants have only high school diplomas and often even less. Only a minority of the increment in our nation’s stock of college graduates is filling jobs historically considered as requiring a bachelor’s degree or more. (We are working to integrate some earlier Edwin Rubenstein data on this topic to give us a more complete picture of this trend).
Back in the day (when I passed the CPA exam), we were required to have a four year bachelors degree in accounting in order to sit for the exam. Out of 188 total credit hours, I believe all of about 30 of those hours were actual accounting courses.
In the '90's, someone thought that accountants needed an extra year of schooling before sitting for the exam. Nevermind, that almost no new accounting courses were required of this fifth year. The accountancy board thought that we needed more Western Civ courses or another year of Music Appreciation, Urban Lobbying, or Human Sexuality to round out that expertise in accounting.
At the time, I thought it was a horrible idea. I still do, but I now suspect that colleges and universities are the ones who most lobbied for the changes since I don't think it helped the accounting profession one iota. And, in fact limited the pool of students who might get into the profession.
But hey, accounting degrees are pretty sexy. Who wouldn't want to stick around another year of college to take Federal Income Tax 103?
There are a lot of critics when it comes to high-speed rail. So what does California do? They approve the first section of HSR rail to be built without trains or electricity. This has bad idea written all over it.
California has plans for an 800-mile high-speed rail system running the length of the Golden State, and initial estimates place the cost somewhere around $45 billion (though I wouldn’t be surprised if it cost twice that by the time it is finished). Even a 800 mile journey begins with the first step, and California has been trying to find the area most receptive to the idea of a high-speed rail line. They found that place in the Central Valley, between Borden and Bakersfield, with stations to be built in Fresno and the Hanford area of Kings County. In total, the plan calls for 65 miles of track and stations at a cost of about $4 billion.
Sounds good, right? That is, until you realize that this section will be completely un-powered and un-supported until more lines are built. No trains, no maintenance facilities, just empty tracks and stations. Que?
Building a rail system that has no trains?
Now that's progressive!
See, no one believes the Democrats on Global Warming. Why? Because they live in big houses, fly on their private jets, and consume more than the average aggregate of a third world country.
Liberals aren’t using outhouses. They drive Hummers. They have fleets of submarines. They cool their homes. They are, in short, unserious about the Cataclysm That Is Upon Us.
So, we don’t take them seriously and go about living our lives.
The Republican version of The World Is Going To End, has been spending. And, for once, it’s not hyperbole. The United States is in a very precarious financial position.
Will Tax Cuts help America? Yes. But the bill before Congress is not a tax cut, it’s an extension of the current tax rate. Keeping the level the same only prevents things from getting worse.
And then, there’s some nice sweet pork in the bill–that’s spending for all us common folk.
Read the rest...........
But this is the thing that most caught my attention.
“I’ve been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour, so I’m going to take off,” Obama said.
WTF? Seriously? We've got a whole country being held hostage to uncertain economic policies and you're going to split because the first lady's waiting? Don't you or her get that being the most powerful man in the world might mean that you're a little late for a fucking Christmas party?
Excuse the french, but I continue to be surprised at just how narcissistic these people are. In addition, being president means having some responsibilities you don't have when you have a cushy affirmative action position set up for you. They still don't get that voting present isn't a job................ it's a frame of mind.
It's kind of funny how this administration has no problems dissing British royalty yet behave in exactly the same manner.
Years ago, I had a client who would go AWOL from her staff and would then get pissed off when she came back to the office and would be bombarded with issues from the staff. It wouldn't have been so bad except she would absolutely beat on these same employees if they made a decision in her absence.
I always had the opinion that this chick thought that owning a business meant that you just show up when you want to (usually to get some cash) and that employees were supposed to make it happen.
When I confronted her about this, her next accountant quickly became her fifth accountant in six years .
Over the years, I've noticed a tendency for certain people (those who have no relatives running businesses) to think that "running" shit means that you just show up and that most of your day is spent at the local country club doing deals.
I have over 100 business clients. Not one of them have a country club membership. If you want to find one on a Saturday morning, you'll find them at their office............ not playing golf. Few will be at a Christmas party this season.
Being president, means taking care of business. But this d-bag and his d-bag spouse would have known this if either had had a real job some where in their past.
Drinking plays an important and sometimes unexpected role from one day to the next in young couples' romantic relationships, according to a new study by University at Buffalo and University of Missouri researchers.
Really? Who funded this "study"? One night at your local night club could have told you this.
I guess these "researchers" have never heard the tequila ad line........
Tequila..... Helping ugly people get laid since 1790!More......
New stand-alone fast food restaurants have been banned from setting up shop in South Los Angeles, due to rising health concerns by the city council.
How many fast food eateries does one area really need? The Los Angeles City Council thinks South Los Angeles and South East Los Angeles need new choices as these regions face an over-concentration of such restaurants.
"This is not an attempt to control people as to what they can put into their mouths. This is an attempt to diversify their food options," said councilmember Jan Perry.
Riiight..... how is it that the people who are most inclined to preach choice when it comes to baby carvings seem to deny choices for everything else?
Denying your choice for a big fat Carl Jr. burger?
Now that's "progressive"!
Friday, December 10, 2010
As negotiators from nearly 200 countries met in Cancun to strategize ways to keep the planet from getting hotter, the temperature in the seaside Mexican city plunged to a 100-year record low of 54° F. Climate-change skeptics are gleefully calling Cancun's weather the latest example of the "Gore Effect" — a plunge in temperature they say occurs wherever former Vice President Al Gore, now a Nobel Prize-winning environmental activist, makes a speech about the climate. Although Gore is not scheduled to speak in Cancun, "it could be that the Gore Effect has announced his secret arrival," jokes former NASA scientist Roy W. Spencer.
The cost of driving in New York City is about to get more costly. That is, if you need medical attention after an accident.
In a time of tight budget times, the city is looking for new ways to recoup costs.
And drivers needing help from the FDNY will be the targets.
Getting hurt in a car accident is painful enough, but if firefighters have to respond, expect more pain — in your wallet.
Starting next summer, the city plans to bill drivers in accidents that require an emergency response.
The so-called “crash tax” works like this: A car fire or accident with injury would cost you $490. A car fire without injury, $415. And any vehicle accident without injury will run you $365.
I guess that would have made sense if they would have imparted the wisdom of their mistakes on us but rarely did these clowns actually own it.
None the less, I'd no more take relationship lessons from an expert at failed relationships than I would take job creation lessons from Jennifer Granholm.............
More than 609,000 jobs disappeared during Gov. Granholm's eight years in office, and Michigan lead the country with the highest unemployment rate for 49 months. Now, she is giving advice to the country … about how to create jobs.
Granholm served as a guest op-ed writer for the national news site POLITICO. Saying the nation needs a "moon shot" jobs strategy to create 3 million new jobs, she used as an example Michigan government's recent bet that the lithium-ion battery industry should be cultivated with special treatment and favors from state government.
Granholm wrote: "If the states are the laboratories of democracy, Washington can take a lesson from what is happening in Michigan."
Politico Opinion Editor Allison Silver explained Granholm's selection in an e-mail: "I do think those facts about Michigan's high unemployment level and major job loss are fairly well known. Most everyone has followed the implosion in the auto industry. That is one reason why the information about this new battery seemed interesting."But other national experts question whether Granholm is the one to be offering advice on job creation
For the past two days, I've been at OSCPA Mega Tax conference in Columbus.
Here's some of the things that I learned.
1) I think I would have rather attended the Ohio Turfgrass convention next door. It looked like a lot more fun.
2) How bad is this 1099 requirement mandated by the healthcare bill? So bad, that even the group who seeks to gain the most out of it (accountants) hate it and are aggressively lobbying against it.
3) Why you must fight to keep bad bills from becoming law? Take the 1099 issue for instance. Everyone..... and I mean EVERYONE knows it's bad law. There's been two votes to remove it and yet there it still stands.
4) When the experts on these issues answer "we don't know yet" on these healthcare provisions, it's pretty scary.
5) How is it that the number one issue discussed at a conference named "Mega Tax Conference" is health care? What does that tell you?
6) If you are a PA resident, you can get up to $525 a week in unemployment benefits. Do the math and then ask yourself how aggressive you'd be in getting a job when not working pays $13.13 an hour?
7) That John Kasich is already staffing his appointments with a bunch of Bob Taft leftover douche bags. That doesn't bode well for Ohio.
8) That tax law used to be changed after thoughtful deliberations and now the "professionals" we vote for just continue to "wing it".
9) Ohio's minimum wage increases to $7.40 an hour effective 1/1/11. That should really boost the jobs picture here.
10) Here's a table showing the Ohio general revenue fund growth since 1968. You'll see that the state budget more doubled between the years 1968 and 1973. Why? The state introduced an income tax in 1971. From that point on it's been happy days for everyone in state government.
11) Politicians believe that everything in the budget is a necessity and therefore is off limits to cuts. If that's the case, how did the state possibly make it from the years 1803 to 1970 without most of this crap?
It's still the spending stupid!
Consider, the liberal take on these issues.
We can't move prisoners from Guantanamo because it creates a national security risk. the liberal response? "I don't care!"
Passing health care will be an American job killer. "I don't care!"
And now we have a liberal base who's response to a tax increase that could cause a double dip recession is more "I don't care!"
Unfortunately, we now have a president who campaigned on this "I don't care" liberal tripe but now he's actually got a job that requires he be an adult. No more showing up "present" on this one.
Bad news for him is that all the fans from his former cub scout troop can continue to be babies and it will be up to conservatives to save them (and more importantly the country) from themselves.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak had second thoughts yesterday about buying a cup of coffee, because it would have eaten up one-third of her daily food allowance.I planned to try this challenge but then it dawned on me that I've already participated in this in the past. We just called it college.
Through the end of this week, Rudiak said she will be spending under $7 a day on food, the same allotment a food stamp recipient receives, to highlight cuts in the federal program.
"I'm always up for a challenge, and surviving on (under $7) a day is certainly a challenge," Rudiak said.
Rudiak of Carrick is participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Challenge, a nationwide poverty simulation exercise sponsored locally by Just Harvest, a South Side-based anti-hunger organization.
Nationally, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department, nearly 40 million people are enrolled in the food stamp program. In Allegheny County, according to Just Harvest communication coordinator Adam MacGregor, more than 150,000 people and families in receive food stamp benefits.
See, me and my roommates subsisted on Ramen noodles, spaghetti, grilled cheese, pancake mix, boxes of macaroni and cheese, spam, day old dunkin' sticks from the local thrift bakery and for a good time ............$1.50 pitchers of some rank ass draft beer.
The thought of opening one of those Kraft cheese food slices still makes my stomach turn a little.
One year, one of my roommates got a turkey for Thanksgiving and we had that thing in our freezer for two months before one of us had a girlfriend who knew how to fix one. It was big time feasting.
The fact is, we were all willing to live that way because we all knew that was a temporary way of life........not meant for perpetuity.
The next time I do some grocery shopping, I'll do a quick price check on all those awesome culinary delights to help out this babe.
I'm sure everyone who's read this blog has some sort of cheap food story to share for Ms. Rudiak, feel free to let her know in my comment section. It looks like she needs some hints to live on $7.00 a day.
I've contributed to this charity in the past but, in all honesty, I've really started to wonder why we continue to support people who live in a place where the economy is so depressed and has been for generations. Instead of giving these people the ability to subsist in such a poor area, shouldn't we be helping them by giving them moving vans and rent to places where job and educational opportunities actually exist?
But Gordon, you're asking people to uproot their families and abandon their culture.
Yes, I am.
Why shouldn't they? In the Lovely Mrs. Gekko's family, there are ten kids who were born and raised in Warren/Youngstown, Ohio; not exactly the hot bed of economic activity. Today only one kid still lives in the area; five have moved to the Cincinnati area, two to Chicago, one to Seattle, one to West Virginia.
In my family, our five kids live in Cincinnati, Charlotte, Reno and two still live in the Lancaster area.
In most of these cases, we left our homes not because we we're dying to leave our birth places but because that's where the job and/or education opportunities took us.
It really came home to roost when one of our family members lost their job recently. The Lovely Mrs. Gekko asked me if we should help out in some way and my quote was "Of course we should. We're conservatives. That's what we do".
Fortunately, this family member has since found another job but it might mean a relocation.
But I can't help but wonder, why don't we all kick in and give this family enough money so they can maintain their lifestyle in the area in which they live? Why should they be forced to relocate if they love the area where they currently reside?
What if someone is unemployed in Chicago but there's a job in Alabama waiting for them, should they be forced to take it or should we all pony up and subsidize their current lifestyle so they don't have to move?
Of course, it sounds ridiculous on it's face. But isn't that what we're doing to the poor in this country? Isn't that what we're doing to the people in Appalachia? What about the poor in our ghettos?
On Thanksgiving, there were probably well over 50,000 meals delivered from various charities to the poor in this area. My church donated over 6000 meals for our outreach. That's in addition to all the other charities and/or government programs being delivered to the poor in this area.
In our Over the Rhine area, there are currently over 100 different organizations to help the poor in an area that probably doesn't have but 20,000 residents at most.
Are we not perpetuating poverty by supporting it? What's the motivation for people to get up and struggle and aspire for more when the basics are being handled?
I am a God fearing man so I know my generosity is about my growth and not on the people who receive it. None the less, as I see people bitching about continued unemployment benefits after 99 weeks, I can't help but wonder if our charitable nature isn't counter productive.
For those channels not showing a Bourne Identity, an Oceans 11, 12, 18, etc. they show us home shopping channels.
To make matters worse, we don't even get the THIS network where I can watch old reruns of Mr. Ed, Highway Patrol or Sea Hunt I have to go into a spare bedroom for those treats.
In fact with a pair of rabbit ears, I can get 36 non-shopping channels on that old set.
Applying that old cost/benefit principle, it's probably not a coincidence that cable subscribers are shrinking.........
Julie and Anthony Bayerl of St. Paul, Minn., love watching prime-time shows on the sleek 50-inch television in their bedroom. They also love that they pay nothing for the programming.
The only thing they do not love is how a low-flying plane, heavy rain or just a little too much movement in the room can wipe out the picture.
“If someone is changing in there, it messes up your reception,” said Ms. Bayerl, a legislative assistant. “We try to stay very still when we watch television.”
The Bayerls are using an old technology that some people are giving a second chance. They pull free TV signals out of the air with the modern equivalent of the classic rabbit-ear antenna.
Some viewers who have decided that they are no longer willing or able to pay for cable or satellite service, including younger ones, are buying antennas and tuning in to a surprising number of free broadcast channels. These often become part of a video diet that includes the fast-growing menu of options available online.
Monday, December 06, 2010
This year's Republican sweep, says the conventional wisdom, stopped at the Sierras in large part because California—the “left-out coast”—is a liberal outlier from the rest of the country. In this telling, the Golden State is a broken relic, a basket-case which has lost its status as the vanguard of American politics. While America embraced the angry politics of the Tea Party, the story goes, California reelected Jerry Brown, a nostalgic throwback to the 1970s.
In fact, the exact opposite may be occurring: California, and indeed much of the West, is far ahead of the country, as it often has been—demographically, economically, politically, socially—and it points to a future in which the whole nation will look much like California does now: multi-ethnic, increasingly tolerant of gays and other minorities, more global in outlook, and more environmentally conscious.
The author conveniently forgets out of control spending, a crumbling infrastructure, businesses fleeing the state.
If that's the future, put me on a time machine to the Mr. Ed era.......
If you had any doubt, read this..........
The collapse in the labor force participation rate has been one of the key stories of the great recession. The participation rate is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.
The labor force participation rate has fallen from 66.2% in May 2008 to just 64.5% in November 2010.
A few weeks ago I looked at Labor Force Participation Rate: What will happen?. I looked at the aging of the population and concluded that the participation rate will probably increase to around 66% over the next 5 years before declining again - and that will keep upward pressure on the unemployment rate.
However one of the key trends has been the decline in the participation rate of men - and that is continuing.
I think there are other reasons for this trend.
1) As a result of child support delinquencies, many men are dropping out of the work force in order to avoid payment.There's usually more than one woman willing to take these d-bags in. Just look at any nurse or school teacher.
2) Frankly, as a result of the woman's movement where women are allowed to "have it all", they get to. And that includes a man who doesn't want to work or work "under the table".
3) Because of the earned income credit, it's actually against a woman's economic interest to marry. As a result, they're willing to tolerate a man who uses and deals drugs or does some other low end labor.
I continually say that the woman's movement and pressure to hire women has resulted in a large segment of our population to just kick their heals back and say "you go girl". Congratulations, you've succeeded.