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Everything posted by dean

  1. We will know in the next10-11 hours how the SC rules on Obamacare. I'm hoping for the best but expect the decision to go 5-4, either way. It should be interesting if just the individual mandate is thrown out, as there are ways to get around that. I really can't see the whole law thrown out.
  2. CS, have you ever considered a career change? The judicial system could use a lot more people like you. I just wonder how many people go into that profession and get beaten down by the system.
  3. Are you talking about both criminal and civil lawsuits? The only way a poor person could get a lawyer on a civil lawsuit is on a contingency basis, where the lawyer would take a third or more of the judgment if they won.
  4. Its about the legal system and how much money you have to hire a decent lawyer. I would be interested in how Germany (or any other EU country) provides lawyers for those that can't afford to hire one.
  5. Maybe, they can shoot his ashes into a new planet, so he can re-generate like Spock did in Star Trek III.
  6. The idea of a 2 term President has been there since Washington served 2 terms and retired. After FDR was elected 4 times, the Republican Congress passed the constitutional amendment that limited the President to 2 full terms consecutively(it excluded Truman, who could have run for as many terms as he wanted). During a second term, the "lame duck" President loses a lot of his power. While he can still matter in his Supreme Court appointments, executive decrees (as Truman used to integrate the military) and foreign policy. I can't see a President getting much of his legislative agenda through Congress. Once he is elected for the last time, he loses much of his political power.
  7. Most of the foundation of outspending the Soviets and driving the Soviets to end the Cold War was done in Regan's first 4 term, except for the U.S.-Soviet summits, where he made it clear that he would not negotiate away his "starwars" defense system. His second term, at least remembered by Americans, was known primarily for Iran-Contra. Of the last 4 Presidents that served 2 terms, Nixon was consumed by Watergate, Regan had a minor scandal but I'll give him partial credit on keeping the heat on the Soviet Union during that time. Clinton had the Lewinsky scandal and GWB had his idea to take SS mostly private shot down and will be known for the culmination of the financial bubble which led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. You have to go back to FDR to find a President who did monumental things in his 2nd (and 3rd) terms, but he had to deal with two cataclysmic events; the Great Depression and WWII. I can't see Obama breaking this trend.
  8. Flash, who was the last 2 term President that did anything monumental during their second term?
  9. I've never embellished/lied on a resume, mainly because I've never needed a resume in my line of work. I've also never cheated while in school (through college). Even though I haven't researched the subject, I believe that there is a strong correlation between those that lie on their resumes and those that have cheated in school.
  10. I list my 4 year old as asian, even though his nickname is "copy," given to him while living in Thailand last year. He looks just like me (for better or for worse). If it is to his advantage in education and work, I'll advise him to say he is asian. If it was the other way around, I'd advise him to check "Caucasian."
  11. Yesterday was a shock. I expected maybe a bill for 3,000-3,500 (a little over a thousand an hour) but not $8,500 (so far; I wouldn't discount getting more bills from various labs). This contrasts with the birth of my son in Chiang Mai 4 years ago. The total cost of a C-section and 4 days in the hospital was 28,000 baht. The same daughter has had to go to the emergency room in Chiang Mai twice when we lived there. Her insurance covered her then but I was having a hernia problem and was treated for about 300 baht. If Obamacare goes through, I've already figured that insurance, with subsidies, will cost around $350 a month, which I can afford. Ultimately, the bill is my 22 year old daughter's responsibility. The only possible way that I can be involved is my sponsorship of her, along with my wife and the other two step kids, in coming to the U.S. I believe that the sponsorship only involves re-reimbursing the government for money spent on government aid programs or at government hospitals (it was a private hospital where the daughter was treated). I sent off the financial papers to the hospital last week so, once they see her part time income, they will decide to take the write off or drop the amount of the bill, particularly after I mention that bankruptcy is on the table. Flash, concerning the 17 year old son, it hasn't been a particularly easy transition moving to the U.S. He is a typical thai-Chinese son, being taught by his father that he has great value, while his sisters do not . Its impossible to get him to do any chores, like wash dishes or even cut the grass, as those are jobs for women. I got him a job last year and he lasted two weeks before getting fired, so I gave up on that. He did get a job two weeks ago on his own at a Subway restaurant, and likes the money and independence it brings, so this job should work out. He does like living in the U.S., more than his sisters, and has no desire to go back to LOS ever. I hope that it will eventually dawn on him that he has to change his sexist's beliefs, particularly if he wants to get married here. Concerning his education, he has done fairly well in computer classes, so if he does join the military, I would encourage him to request training in that field and possibly get a commitment to pay for post high school training in that field after serving (assuming that he will stay in it only for the initial sign up). I wouldn't recommend to him that he waste his college education on getting a BA in History, like I did. Thought I would use it to go to law school and then decided that I didn't want to be a lawyer. Not much else you can do with a degree in History, except teach.
  12. I've finally had a first hand encounter with the great U.S. healthcare system. My 22 year old step daughter had severe stomach pains two weeks ago this Monday. She doesn't have health insurance. Nor does her brother and sister, or their mother or myself. My four year old has insurance through a state of Kansas program. Anyway, I considered taking her to a clinic but did not want to take a chance that the pains could be life threatening. Plus, I know my wife would scream bloody murder if she wasn't attended to immediately. So, I went to an emergency room. She was there for 2.5 hours. They took a CAT scan (without my knowledge) and put her on morphine and a saline drip. They determined it was a kidney stone and discharged her after the 2.5 hours. She may be covered under Medicaid, although it is my understanding that she has to be here for 5 years as a Permanent Resident to qualify (she's been here 3.5 years). I've received 2 bills so far; one from a lab for $380 and one from the hospital for $8,300.00. The bill states clearly that they will not discount the bill but will make payment arrangements. I wonder what kind of payment arrangements they expect from a 3rd year college student that works part time in a Chinese restaurant? She is 22 years old, so legally, I don't have any financial responsibility. Depending on how it turns out with any Medicaid insurance covering here and the determination of the hospital to not discount the bill, as they would for an insurance company, I may advise her to see a lawyer to discuss the possibility of declaring bankruptsy. Personally, this may be the last straw for me. My wife has been very vocal that she would like to go back to Thailand and of course brings up the Thai hospitals with emergency rooms that are routinely used and costs little money. My whole point in coming to the U.S. was to get her 3 children a much better education than they would receive in LOS, from a Chinese-Thai school in Chiang Mai. Her youngest wants to become a Dentist and I know that isn't going to happen if she goes to school in LOS. Her 17 year old son could get the same education while either in the U.S. or in Thailand (not college material and I assume would rather go into the military in the U.S. rather than Thailand). I certainly can't defend the U.S. health care system to my wife (before I hear from anyone about not having insurance, it would cost me at least $1,500 per month for decent insurance for our family of 6 people) and how this turns out will probably be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back and return at least myself, my wife and our 4 year old son back to LOS. In the meantime, I'll try not to think about the part of the $8,500 which was performed to cover the hosiptal's butt in case of a misdiagnosis and a possible lawsuit. I obviously think that the CAT scan was totally unnecessary, particularly after I told them that the patent had no insurance. I thank God that I have never had to spend a minute of my adult life in a hospital as a patient and I think I would consider death preferable than putting myself under their care.
  13. The first indictment/arrest in the BP oil spill occurred today with the arrest of a former engineer with BP who is charged with deleting evidence from his twitter account. The evidence centered on BP's knowledge that the mud packing was not working, while telling U.S. officials that it was working. As usual, it was not the oil mess that concerns the Justice department. It is the cover-up of the mess. A good example of this is the re-trial of Roger Clemens. I wouldn't even hazard a guess on what those two trials have/will cost the government. And for what? To give some ambitious prosecutor a notch on his/her belt? Getting back to the BP arrest, I hope that prosecutors show more interest in the laws that were broke leading up to the explosion and not just the laws broke in covering it up. .
  14. If those are the only facts of the case, she will soon own the State of Illinois.
  15. Isn't that primarily what being an ex-pat is all about? I'd guess that at least 90% of those Americans that work or live abroad do so because of dissatisfaction with living in the U.S. If it wasn't for putting 4 kids through school, I wouldn't be here. I don't have any family obligations, as both my parents are dead. Since Thailand makes it near impossible to become a citizen, it wouldn't be a final destination for ex-pats wishing to give up their U.S. citizenship.
  16. I know noting about him until just reading his bio. That wasn't the first threatening message he had sent. During his first trial, he was quoted as saying if he didn't die in prison, he would kill everyone involved in sending him to prison. After returning to Scotland in 2008, he was arrested for assaulting a 63 year old man in Edinburgh. The Judge dismissed the case because he felt the defendant has suffered enough. He had two other assaults, including taking a baseball bat to his son's head. Just an observation; Kenny is definitely anti social and should have received help while in prison in Ohio (if he did, it didn't help) and the Scottish Judge should have sent him for mental evaluation, not let him off. He's 47 years old and has no hope of holding a job in his mental state. If he had not accepted a plea agreement for his conviction, he would have received around $800,000 from the state of Ohio if his re-trial resulted in a not guilty verdict. That could have been enough to live on. As it stands, if he would receive more in Scotland from the government to live on (and mental treatment , he would be better off there. I don't feel his remaining life is going to have a happy ending.
  17. Will Michael Savage be promoting his book in the U.K.? Nope, he's banned there. If he really wants to make his vote count, he should move to a swing state. California is going for Obama. HH, if you feel that way about Obama, maybe you should take the same advice. Without knowing the Republican nominee, I know Kansas will vote Republican, so my vote makes no difference. Being a life long Democrat, I did register as a Republican a couple of months ago in order to votes for the Republican crazies in the primaries and leave open a possible Democratic countywide/statewide win in November.
  18. Donovan, the "Scottish Bob Dylan," will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2012. I've heard him twice this week on radio interviews and he doesn't have much of a Scottish accent. I guess moving to London from Glasgow when you are ten will do that. He had a career that lasted 5-6 years and then dropped off the earth until he started recording in 2003 again. I guess he must not need the money because I haven't heard of him touring in the last 8-9 years. If Sheena Easton ever gets elected to the Hall, I'll lose all respect for it.
  19. Blue grass legend Earl Scruggs (think the theme song to "The Beverly Hillbillys" and Bonnie and Clyde), who revolutionised banjo playing with his 3 fingered method of playing, died Wednesday at the age of 88. http://news-briefs.ew.com/2012/03/29/earl-scruggs-dies-bluegrass/?iid=rcfooter-music-earl+scruggs%2C+bluegrass+pioneer%2C+dies
  20. It wouldn't bother me if Walmart or Cosco got into either the healthcare or hospital business (not just pharmacy business that they are in now). The more competition, the better. People should have choices in medical care and these choices should be transparent, up front. if Obama care is upheld, with the determination that everyone should have/pay for insurance, there should be no more padding of hospital bills to (supposedly) make up for the hospitals having to care for those without insurance.
  21. How about the right to run for office? In Missouri, an elected official was removed from a county office because he had a felony conviction (said he assaulted someone for spitting on his wife). I'd be in favour of allowing convicted felons to run for government offices in most cases. One case I would not allow felons to run is if they were convicted of trying to manipulate the political system or abuse of power while in office.
  22. If your McDonald's is anything like half of the one's in Kansas City, English isn't the first language of most of the employees. To avoid getting too much change, I usually pay a bill for $6.42 with $10.42 and get 4 one dollar bills as change. This was too much for a McDonald's employee, who short changed me. I told her she short changed me, she basically said I was wrong (not likely, since I had a couple of minutes waiting in line in the drive through). The manager said he would pay me what I thought I should get in change, THIS TIME. Needless to say, even though the McDonald's is only 4 blocks away, I haven't been back in two years.
  23. Davy Jones, member of the 1960's group The Monkees, died today of an apparent heart attack. A band not given as much credit as it should have. http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/29/showbiz/obit-davy-jones/index.html
  24. Many businesses have long term obligations to their former employees, including health insurance and, to a lesser extent, pensions. If they can not meet their financial obligations, they can and do go into bankruptcy to rid their businesses of much, if not all, of those obligations. Many state and local governments are now having the same problems. There has been one city on the east coast that has gone through bankruptcy to accomplish the same types of ends as businesses. It wouldn't surprise me if California at some point has to do the same. The federal government has an obligation to those owed Social Security and Medicare. The rules on collecting either will certainly be changed, with the caveat that those of a certain age (probably 55 and older) will be exempt from the changes. Hopefully, when the federal government screws the veterans, they will at least apply the same logic and leave the older one's benefits intact.
  25. You can thank George W. for the replacement of a lot of military personal with civilian contractors
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