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Friday, March 26, 2010

Montana Citizens for Health Care Constitutional Amendment

According to Jeff Lowe on Facebook, citizens in Montana are pushing for the following amendment to the Montana state constitution. 

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act submitting to the qualified electors of Montana an amendment to Article II of the Montana Constitution providing for the right to choose health care coverage; and providing a delayed effective date." 

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1. Article II of The Constitution of the State of Montana is amended by adding a new section 36 that
reads:

Section 36. Right to choose health care coverage.
(1) A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.

(2) A person or employer may pay directly for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services. A health care provider may accept direct payment for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.

(3) Subject to reasonable and necessary rules that do not substantially limit a person's options, the purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems shall not be prohibited by law or rule.

(4) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
     (a) "Compel" means the imposition of penalties or fines.
     (b) "Direct payment" means payment for lawful health care services without a public or private third party, not including an employer, paying for any portion of the service.
     (c) "Health care system" means any public or private entity whose function is the management of, processing of, or enrollment of or payment for, in full or in part, health care services, health care data, and health care information for its participants.
     (d) "Lawful health care services" means any health-related service or treatment to the extent that the service or treatment is not prohibited by law or regulation provided by persons or businesses otherwise permitted to offer such services.
     (e) "Penalties or fines" means any civil or criminal sanction, tax, salary, or wage withholding, surcharge, or any named fee with a similar effect established by law or rule by a government-created, or controlled agency that is used to punish or discourage the exercise of rights protected under this
section.

(5) This section does not:
     (a) affect which health care services a health care provider or health care facility is required to perform or provide;
     (b) affect which health care services are permitted by law;
     (c) prohibit care provided pursuant to statues enacted by the legislature relating to worker's compensation;
     (d) affect laws or rules in effect as of January 1, 2009; or
     (e) affect the terms or conditions of any health care system to the extent that those terms and conditions do not have the effect of punishing a person or employer for paying directly for lawful healthcare services or a health care provider or health care facility for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.

NEW SECTION. Section 2. {standard} Effective date. If approved by the electorate, this amendment is effective January 1, 2013.

NEW SECTION. Section 3. {standard} Submission to electorate. This amendment shall be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana at the general election to be held in
November 2012 by printing on the ballot the full title of this act and the following:

[] FOR providing that every Montana has a right to choose health care coverage.

[] AGAINST providing that every Montana has a right to choose health care coverage.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Montana Citizens Demanding Lawsuit on Democratic Healthcare Scheme

By JC Leahy

I don't have much information about this yet, but Montana citizens are apparently pressuring their State to sue the Federal Government to declare the recently-enacted Democratic healthcare scheme unconstitutional.  Numerous state governments have already filed lawsuits.  This should be a no-brainer if it gets to the Supreme Court -- but you never know...

RyAnn Christman Erskine  in a Facebook post writes:

"Let the attorney General know what you think of the health care bill Attorney General Steve Bullock Department of Justice P.O. Box 201401 Helena, MT 59620-1401 Phone: (406) 444-2026 Fax: (406) 444-3549 E-mail: contactdoj@mt.gov "

All I can say is that now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country.

ALSO, someone is organizing a million-person march on Capitol Hill.  Here's the contact e-mail:


marchonhill2010@yahoo.com


Tempus fugit!!! Don't miss the Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms This Year!!!

by JC Leahy

The cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC have already begun to bloom!  They are spectacularly beautiful when they reach peak bloom.  Believe it or not, there are five stages of blooming BEFORE they reach the peak-bloom phase - 6 stages altogether.  So there is still time for you to plan your trip to the Tidal Basin.

The 6 stages of cherry blossom blooming are as follows:

1. Green buds -- Green buds appear in late February or early March
2. Florets appear-- Florets become visible on the green buds in early to mid March
3. Extension of the florets, 12-17 days before peak bloom
4. Peduncle elongation, 5-10 days before peak bloom. Frost can damage the blooms at this point.
5. Puffy whites appear, 4-6 days before peak bloom
6. Peak bloom

At the moment, our cherry blossoms are in the Peduncle Elongation phase.   The "blooming period" for you to take your best photographs lasts from several days before peak bloom, through the peak-bloom phase.  The blooming period can last as long as 14 days, if the weather coopertes.  This year, peak bloom is forecast to begin sometime between April 1 and April 4.

In case you want to plant your own cherry blossoms, you might like to know that the ones at the Tidal Basin are Yoshino cherry trees (Prunus x yedoensis).

CHERRY BLOSSOM EVENTS

There are an amazing number of events centered around the cherry blossoms.  Here's a list

Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection
Exhibition features 41 innovative garments and accessories created by Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, all drawn from the private collection/wardrobe of Mary Baskett.
Date: Oct 17, 2009 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 1 to 5 pm. - Closed Mondays
Location: 2320 S Street, NW

Cornucopia: Ceramics from Southern Japan
Exhibition covers over three centuries of work, exploring the wide variety of local styles of glazing and decoration invented by potters from Kyushu (Southern Japan).
Date: Dec 19, 2009 - Jan 09, 2011
Time: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Location: Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art- 1050 Independence Avenue, SW

The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internments Camps, 1942-1946
A showcase of arts and crafts made by Japanese Americans in U.S. internment camps during World War II.
Date: Mar 05, 2010 - Jan 30, 2011
Time: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Location: Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum - Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW

Tidal Basin Paddle Boats
Enjoy the cherry blossoms from a paddle boat on the Tidal Basin!
Date: Mar 10, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Location: Tidal Basin Boat House - 1500 Maine Avenue, SW

Annual Pink Tie Party Fund-raiser
Kick off spring and the “Season of the Blossoms” in style with 20 top Washington chefs presenting their custom-designed, cherry-inspired dishes and cocktails, and bid on fabulous silent auction items.
Date: Mar 11, 2010 - Mar 11, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: W Washington D.C. - 515 15th Street NW

National Park Service - Bloomin\' Junior Ranger - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Only
Join National Park Service Rangers for fun and activities as they explore the history of the cherry blossoms!
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Tidal Basin Welcome Area (near the paddle boats)

National Park Service - Ranger Cherry Talks
Come celebrate the blooming of the cherry blossoms by joining a tour guided by a National Park Service Ranger. The stories which surround the rich natural and cultural history of these annual wonders will serve to enrich the experience of our visitors.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm - Programs run from 20-60 minutes
Location: ALL TIMES LISTED - Two Meeting Points: Tidal Basin at the entrance of the FDR Memorial and at the Jefferson Memorial Welcome Center; SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS ONLY - Third Meeting Point: Hains Point (East Potomac Park) at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm

Blossoms by Bike
Celebrate the arrival of spring with a two-hour bike ride specifically designed to showcase the natural beauty of the Nation’s Capital at its peak!
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: M-F: tours at 3:00 pm - Sat. & Sun: tours at 9:30 am, 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm
Location: Bike and Roll Kiosk - 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (rear plaza on 12th Street)

National Park Service - Cherry Chit-Chat Runs - Saturday and Sundays Only
Join National Park Service Rangers on an early morning jaunt and daybreak view of the blossoms.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 8:00 am
Location: Base of the Washington Monument

National Park Service - Ranger Guided Lantern Walks - Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays Only
The cherry blossoms by artificial light! Join a National Park Service Ranger for evening walks amongst the cherry trees.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Location: TWO MEETING POINTS: Tidal Basin Paddle Boats & Washington Monument Stone Lodge

Fairfax County: Glorious Gardens Self-Guided Tour
Self-guided tours through the gardens of Fairfax County at three locations: River Farm, Green Spring Gardens and Meadow Lark Gardens
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: Check Websites or Call for Hours and Directions
Location: River Farm/ Green Spring Gardens/ Meadow Lark Gardens
River Blossoms Tours
Cruise along and experience the magical view of the blossoms and Monuments from the river.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: M-Th: 12pm & 2pm, Fr-Su 10am, 12pm, 2pm, & 4pm - Tours last 90 minutes
Location: 1300 Maine Ave. SW, Washington DC, 20024

Weekend Cherry Blossom River Teas
Enjoy a charming English ‘High Tea’ aboard a classic yacht as you cruise along the blossoms. Offered on weekends only.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 11:30am and 1:30pm - Tours last 90 minutes
Location: Boats depart from Washington Marina - 1300 Maine Ave. SW

National Park Service - Ranger-led Bike Tours - Saturdays & Sundays Only
The history of Washington\'s cherry blossoms comes alive with three-hour bike tours led by a National Park Service ranger. Come explore the cultural and natural significance of these national treasures!
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Monuments-by-Moonlight River Cruise - Saturdays and Wednesdays Only
Enjoy a magnificent cruise along the illuminated Monuments, Landmarks and Kennedy Center.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 10, 2010
Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm - 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Location: 1300 Maine Ave., SW Washington DC 20024

Community Cherry Blossom Art Show at Union Station
Blossom inspiration comes to life through the imagination of DC Public and Charter School students, grades 1-12, as seen in their artwork on display at Union Station.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Location: Union Station - 50 Massachusetts Ave., NE

Blossoms by Bike River Ride
Bike and Roll Alexandria: Blossoms by Bike River Ride NEW for 2010! Three-hour ride along the beautiful Mount Vernon Trail from Old Town into DC and through the sea of pink and white blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin. Moderate ride: Not recommended for 12 and under.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Location: One Wales Alley, Alexandria, VA 22314

The 44th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival
Fun for everyone, the 44th annual Smithsonian Kite Festival includes kite competitions, hands-on kite making activity tents and flying demonstrations led by representatives from national kite organizations.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Mar 27, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Washington Monument grounds - 17th & Constitution Ave, NW

Target Performance Stage at Sylvan Theatre
Daily performances featuring music, dance, and song by local, national and international performing artists.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: Begins at Noon - Held Daily
Location: Washington Monument Grounds - Independence Ave SW & Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW

National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
Ninety-eight years to the day of the first tree planting, the ceremonial kick-off to the 2010 National Cherry Blossom Festival features Washington dignitaries and performances by Japanese and western artists.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Mar 27, 2010
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: National Building Museum - 401 F Street NW

National Park Service - Family Fun Zone - Saturdays and Sundays Only
Park Rangers entertain and educate children about the trees of other national parks, and they practice writing in Japanese.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Jefferson Memorial

2010 Cherry Blossom Soccer Tournament
Thirty-two adult, co-ed, 7v7 teams from the Washington, DC metropolitan area compete for the Cherry Blossom Cup.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Mar 28, 2010
Time: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Location: JFK Hockey & Soccer Fields - Independence Avenue & 17th Street, SW

The Blossoms Secrets Stroll - Weekend Afternoons and Monday and Friday Mornings Only
A walking tour recounting the story of how the Japanese cherry trees came to Washington, D.C.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: Monday & Friday: 10 am to Noon - Saturday & Sunday: 2 pm to 4 pm
Location: Meet at Smithsonian Station Independence Avenue exit

Cherry Blossom Photo Safaris
Washington Photo Safari uses the beautiful venue of the Tidal Basin at cherry blossom time to teach techniques of travel photography.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: Sunrise Safari: 6:15 - 8:30 am - Afternoon Safari: 3 - 5:30 pm
Location: Sunrise Safaris start at Paddle Boat Rental Station (1501 Maine Ave, SW) // Afternoon Safaris start at FDR Memorial bookstore

Beyond the Tidal Basin: Introducing Other Great Flowering Cherries
Self-guided tour of different species and cultivars of flowering cherries, including two introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: U.S. National Arboretum - 3501 New York Avenue, NE

Hiroshima Children's Drawings: Finding Hope in the Aftermath of War
View 41 recently-restored drawings by children living in Hiroshima after World War II, sent to the children of All Souls Church in response to a gift of school supplies.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm / Closed on Sundays
Location: All Souls Church, Unitarian - 1500 Harvard Street, NW

National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day presented with the National Building Museum
The National Cherry Blossom Festival and the National Building Museum celebrate the official opening of Washington, DC’s 2010 cherry blossom season with a family festival full of hands-on fun celebrating Spring and exploring Japanese arts and design.
Date: Mar 27, 2010 - Mar 27, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Location: National Building Museum - 401 F Street, NW

Japanese-style Garden Days at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
Explore Hillwood’s Japanese-style Garden and celebrate the cherry blossom season with a special tour of this extraordinary garden. Garden docents will provide insight into the garden and be on hand in the afternoon to bring it to life for visitors.
Date: Mar 30, 2010 - Mar 31, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens - 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW

Embassy of Japan Presents: Tempei Nakamura
Embassy of Japan is proud to present the pianist, Tempei Nakamura.
Date: Mar 30, 2010 - Mar 30, 2010
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Millennium Stage - 2700 F St., NW

Samurai Orchids and Other Japanese Orchid Treasures
Renowned Japanese orchid expert Jason Fischer will explore the history and traditional culture of the Japanese fascination with the orchid, which is respected and displayed similar to bonsai.
Date: Mar 31, 2010 - Mar 31, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: United States Botanic Gardens - 245 First Street, S.W.

Embassy of Japan Presents: Kaishi Katsura
Embassy of Japan is proud to present the English Rakugo with Mr. Kaishi Katsura.
Date: Mar 31, 2010 - Mar 31, 2010
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Millennium Stage - 2700 F St., NW

Beyond America: The Creativity of Japanese Subcultures
In this special evening lecture, Dr. Hiroshi Marumi, an associate professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design, provides a post-war history of Japanese subcultures and considers their origins.
Date: Apr 01, 2010 - Apr 01, 2010
Location: 2320 S Street, NW

Second Annual Cherry Blast Offers an Evening of Eclectic Art
The National Cherry Blossom Festival presents \\\"Cherry Blast: A Night of Contemporary Art + Music,\\\" produced by The Pink Line Project.
Date: Apr 02, 2010 - Apr 02, 2010
Time: 9:00 pm - 1:00 am
Location: 1701 Florida Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20009

Southwest Waterfront Musical Prelude to the Fireworks
Produced by the Washington Waterfront Association, enjoy musical entertainment by military and local musical groups, family-friendly activities and food and beverage prior to the fireworks.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Waterfront Park - 600 Water Street, SW

National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show
Enjoy a spectacular fireworks show from the Washington Channel.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: 8:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: Southwest Waterfront - 7th Street & Maine Ave., SW

Twelfth Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
Celebrate the Japanese American spirit of patriotism and the 10th anniversary of the National Japanese American Memorial.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: National Japanese American Memorial - D Street & New Jersey Avenue, NW

Eighth Annual Anime Marathon Film Festival
In celebration of this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, the Freer Gallery of Art presents a day-long festival of Anime films in the Meyer Auditorium.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: Start Time to be determined - Marathon finishes
Location: Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art - 1050 Independence Avenue, SW

Cherry Blossom Regatta
PHRF sailboat regatta organized by the Dangerfield Island Sailing Club, and sponsored by the Washington Sailing Marina and Indigo Landing Restaurant.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: Skippers Meeting at 11:00 am in the Afterdeck Cafe - Finish Time TBD
Location: Washington Sailing Marina - George Washington parkway, Marina Drive, Alexandria VA

Cherry Blossom Fireworks Dinner Cruise
Cruise aboard the Spirit of Washington for an evening with a beautiful buffet, live entertainment, DJ dancing, views of the nations capital and the spectacular festival fireworks.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: Board 7pm - Cruise from 8-11pm
Location: Pier 4 - 6th & Water Street SW

Silver Spring\'s Big Cherry Block Party
Enjoy an all-day block party with arts and crafts, entertainment and exhibitors in Downtown Silver Spring.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Location: 908 Ellsworth Drive / Silver Spring, MD 20910

Arts for Families: Fun with Fans
Learn about fashion designer Issey Miyake\'s unique pleating technique in the exhibition Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection and decorate your own Japanese fan to take home.
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: 2320 S Street, NW

Fireworks Cruise on the Celebrity!
Enjoy the Festival’s fireworks show from aboard your own 100’ yacht!
Date: Apr 03, 2010 - Apr 03, 2010
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: 1300 Maine Ave., SW Washington DC 20024

Lantern Lighting Ceremony
The 359-year old stone lantern is lit in a formal ceremony featuring traditional Japanese performers, Washington dignitaries, and the Cherry Blossom Princesses representing the U.S. State Societies.
Date: Apr 04, 2010 - Apr 04, 2010
Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Tidal Basin at Independence Ave & 17th Street, SW

Cherry Blossom Gala Dinner Cruise Aboard the Odyssey
Cruise past the cherry blossoms that line the Potomac while enjoying a four-course dinner, live entertainment and dancing in the glass atrium dining rooms with monumental views of nation’s capital at night.
Date: Apr 08, 2010 - Apr 08, 2010
Time: Boarding at 6:00 pm - Cruise from 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Location: Gangplank Marina - 6th & Water streets, SW

Woodrow Wilson Performance Stage
In Conjunction with its 125th anniversary tour featuring an interactive exhibit, Good Housekeeping Research Institute, together with IKEA, sponsors musicians and performance groups on Woodrow Wilson Plaza.
Date: Apr 09, 2010 - Apr 10, 2010
Time: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

23rd Annual George Washington University Crew Invitational
Largest rowing event in the Washington, DC-metro area.
Date: Apr 09, 2010 - Apr 10, 2010
Time: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Location: Best Viewing from Georgetown Waterfront and Thompson Boat Center - 2900 Virginia Ave, NW

National Conference of State Societies' Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and Sushi Reception
Be there for event that caps-off the Cherry Blossom Princess festivities -- the crowning of the 2010 United States Cherry Blossom Queen!
Date: Apr 09, 2010 - Apr 09, 2010
Time: 6:00 pm - Midnight
Location: Grand Hyatt at Washington Center - 1000 H Street, NW

Tamagawa University Presents: Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Group
Tamagawa Univeristy is proud to present the Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Group.
Date: Apr 09, 2010 - Apr 09, 2010
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Millennium Stage - 2700 F St., NW
National Japan Bowl
The Japan Bowl is an academic team competition for high school students from across the nation.
Date: Apr 09, 2010 - Apr 09, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: National 4-H Youth Conference Center - 7100 Connecticut Avenue Chevy Chase, MD


PM at TM- Hapi Hapi Hour at The Textile Museum
\"Hapi Hapi Hour at The Textile Museum Program Category: Art & Culture, Food & Drink, Dance & Music Celebrate Japanese pop culture and fashion at The Textile Museum after-hours. Enjoy Japanese refreshments, live music and gallery talks in the exhibition Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection.
Date: Apr 09, 2010 - Apr 09, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: 2320 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008

Harmonia Opera Company Presents: Amanjaku and Princess Urikohime
Harmonia Opera Company, the only professional Japanese opera company in the United States, will perform the opera, Amanjaku and Urikohime, as well as folksongs and other selections.
Date: Apr 10, 2010 - Apr 10, 2010
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Millennium Stage - 2700 F St., NW

44th Annual Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament
Invitation-only Rugby Tournament features best teams from across the United States in Men’s club, College Men and Women’s Division, as well as High School teams.
Date: Apr 10, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Rosecroft Raceway - 6338 Rosecroft Drive Ft. Washington, MD 26744

50th Sakura Matsuri - Japanese Street Festival
The Japan-America Society of Washington, D.C. presents the nation’s largest Japanese street festival, stretching for six blocks through downtown DC!
Date: Apr 10, 2010 - Apr 10, 2010
Time: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Location: Downtown DC - Pennsylvania Ave. between 14th & 10th streets; and 12th Street between Pennsylvania & Constitution avenues


National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Enjoy this long-standing Washington tradition featuring marching bands, floats, balloons, and other family entertainment.
Date: Apr 10, 2010 - Apr 10, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - Noon
Location: Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets, NW

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk
World-class runners and 12,000 running enthusiasts take part in the 36th running of the “Runner’s Rite of Spring.”
Date: Apr 11, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: 7:45 am - 11:30 am
Location: Washington Monument Grounds (15th and Jefferson Dr., SW).

Corcoran Family Day: Lights, Camera, Action!
A day of Family fun at the Corcoran featuring ukiyo-e workshop and “Blossoms in Bloom” photo contest.
Date: Apr 11, 2010 - Apr 11, 2010
Time: TDB
Location: The Corcoran Gallery of Art - 500 17th Street NW

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Calm Thoughts -- The Pool at Venetian Bay

By JC Leahy

When I visited my Uncle Donald in Florida, I brought home this picture of the pool at Venetian Bay (New Smyrna Beach, Florida).  In the aftermath of the Democratic Health Care Disaster, this photograph serves as my computer desktop wallpaper.  It is a tranquil scene. It promotes calm thoughts. The drink on the table is called a Blue Moon.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Food for Thought: Physician Letter on Democratic Health Care Disaster

The following item was submitted by Barbara Leahy:

An Indianapolis doctor's letter to Sen. Bayh about the Bill (Note: Dr. Stephen E. Frazer, MD practices as an anesthesiologist in Indianapolis, IN ) Here is a letter I sent to Senator Bayh.. Feel free to copy it and send it around to all other representatives. -- Stephen Fraser

Senator Bayh,

As a practicing physician I have major concerns with the health care bill before Congress. I actually have read the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the government's proposed involvement in the patient-physician relationship. The very idea that the government will dictate and ration patient care is dangerous and certainly not helpful in designing a health care system that works for all. Every physician I work with agrees that we need to fix our health care system, but the proposed bills currently making their way through congress will be a disaster if passed.

I ask you respectfully and as a patriotic American to look at the following troubling lines that I have read in the bill. You cannot possibly believe that these proposals are in the best interests of the country and our fellow citizens.

Page 22 of the HC Bill: Mandates that the Govt will audit books of all employers that self-insure!!

Page 30 Sec 123 of HC bill: THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get.

Page 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill: YOUR HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!!!

Page 42 of HC Bill: The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC benefits for you. You have no choice!

Page 50 Section 152 in HC bill: HC will be provided to ALL non-US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

Page 58 HC Bill: Govt will have real-time access to individuals' finances & a 'National ID Health card' will be issued! (Papers please!)

Page 59 HC Bill lines 21-24: Govt will have direct access to your bank accounts for elective funds transfer. (Time for more cash and carry)

Page 65 Sec 164: Is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in unions & community organizations: (ACORN).

Page 84 Sec 203 HC bill: Govt mandates ALL benefit packages for private HC plans in the 'Exchange.'

Page 85 Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans -- The Govt will ration your health care!

Page 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill: Govt mandates linguistic appropriate services. (Translation: illegal aliens.)

Page 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18: The Govt will use groups (i.e. ACORN & Americorps to sign up individuals for Govt HC plan.

Page 85 Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans. (AARP members - your health care WILL be rationed!)

Page 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill: Medicaid eligible individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. (No choice.)

Page 124 lines 24-25 HC: No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No "judicial review" against Govt monopoly.

Page 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill: Doctors/ American Medical Association - The Govt will tell YOU what salary you can make.

Page 145 Line 15-17: An Employer MUST auto-enroll employees into public option plan. (NO choice!)

Page 126 Lines 22-25: Employers MUST pay for HC for part-time employees ANDtheir families. (Employees shouldn't get excited about this as employers will be forced to reduce its work force, benefits, and wages/salaries to cover such a huge expense.)

Page 149 Lines 16-24: ANY Employer with payroll 401k & above who does not provide public option will pay 8% tax on all payroll! (See the last comment in parenthesis.)

Page 150 Lines 9-13: A business with payroll between $251K & $401K who doesn't provide public option will pay 2-6% tax on all payroll.

Page 167 Lines 18-23: ANY individual who doesn't have acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed 2.5% of income.

Page 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill: Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay.) (Like always)

Page 195 HC Bill: Officers & employees of the GOVT HC Admin.. will have access to ALL Americans' finances and personal records. (I guess so they can 'deduct' their fees)

Page 203 Line 14-15 HC: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." (Yes, it really says that!) ( a 'fee' instead)

Page 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill: Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid Seniors. (Low-income and the poor are affected.)

Page 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill: Doctors: It doesn't matter what specialty you have trained yourself in -- you will all be paid the same! (Just TRY to tell me that's not Socialism!)

Page 253 Line 10-18: The Govt sets the value of a doctor's time, profession, judgment, etc. (Literally-- the value of humans.)

Page 265 Sec 1131: The Govt mandates and controls productivity for "private" HC industries.

Page 268 Sec 1141: The federal Govt regulates the rental and purchase of power driven wheelchairs.

Page 272 SEC. 1145: TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS - Cancer patients - welcome to rationing!

Page 280 Sec 1151: The Govt will penalize hospitals for whatever the Govt deems preventable (i.e...re-admissions).

Page 298 Lines 9-11: Doctors: If you treat a patient during initial admission that results in a re-admission -- the Govt will penalize you.

Page 317 L 13-20: PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. (The Govt tells doctors what and how much they can own!)

Page 317-318 lines 21-25, 1-3: PROHIBITION on expansion. (The Govt is mandating that hospitals cannot expand.)

Page 321 2-13: Hospitals have the opportunity to apply for exception BUT community input is required. (Can you say ACORN?)

Page 335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339: The Govt mandates establishment of=2 outcome-based measures. (HC the way they want -- rationing.)

Page 341 Lines 3-9: The Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Advance Plans, HMOs, etc. (Forcing people into the Govt plan)

Page 354 Sec 1177: The Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of 'special needs people!' Unbelievable!

Page 379 Sec 1191: The Govt creates more bureaucracy via a "Tele-Health Advisory Committee." (Can you say HC by phone?)


Page 425 Lines 4-12: The Govt mandates "Advance-Care Planning Consult." (Think senior citizens end-of-life patients.)

Page 425 Lines 17-19: The Govt will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. (And it's mandatory!)

Page 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3: The Govt provides an "approved" list of end-of-life resources; guiding you in death. (Also called 'assisted suicide.')(Sounds like Soylent Green to me.)

Page 427 Lines 15-24: The Govt mandates a program for orders on "end-of-life." (The Govt has a say in how your life ends!)

Page 429 Lines 1-9: An "advanced-care planning consultant" will be used frequently as a patient's health deteriorates.

Page 429 Lines 10-12: An "advanced care consultation" may include an ORDER for end-of-life plans.. (AN ORDER TO DIE FROM THE GOVERNMENT?!?)

Page 429 Lines 13-25: The GOVT will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.. (I wouldn't want to stand before God after getting paid for THAT job!)

Page 430 Lines 11-15: The Govt will decide what level of treatment you will have at end-of-life! (Again -- no choice!)

Page 469: Community-Based Home Medical Services = Non-Profit Organizations. (Hello? ACORN Medical Services here!?!)

Page 489 Sec 1308: The Govt will cover marriage and family therapy. (Which means Govt will insert itself into your marriage even.)

Page 494-498: Govt will cover Mental Health Services including defining, creating, and rationing those services.

Senator, I guarantee that I personally will do everything possible to inform patients and my fellow physicians about the dangers of the proposed bills you and your colleagues are debating.

Furthermore, if you vote for a bill that enforces socialized medicine on the country and destroys the doctor-patient relationship, I will do everything in my power to make sure you lose your job in the next election.

Respectfully,
Stephen E. Fraser, MD

(Comment: The above is food for thought, discussion, and action. -- JC Leahy)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Product Idea: Practical Device for Transporting a Motorcycle

By JC Leahy

What do you do when your motorcycle is broken & needs to go to the repair shop?  This little device only costs about as much as a bicycle rack. I bought one last week and tried it out when I towed my Royal Enfield Bullet Electra-X motorcycle (pictured below) to the dealer for warranty clutch repair.  I love it!!!  You don't have to spend big bucks on a trailer. You don't have to register it with the department of motor vehicles, or insure it, or store it in your yard like a trailer.  You don't have to lift a 400+pound morotcycle into a truck or push it up a ramp.  All you do is secure the front wheel of the motorcycle into the bracket and turn a crank to lift the front wheel off the ground.  Then stabliize it with tie-down straps and drive.  When you are finished, fold the thing up and store it in a closet.  Excellent!!!




Sunday, March 21, 2010

Springtime Car Repairs: Try Not to Get Cheated !!!!

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This video link was submitted by Joaquin Beltran

Spring is time is to wash off the car or motorcycle and get it ready to run smooth & pretty for the summer!!   Here's a shocking video link, submitted by Joaquin Beltran about fraud at Jiffy Lube.  Of course, the problem isn't confined only to Jiffy Lube.

FRAUD AT JIFFY LUBE

Friday, March 19, 2010

This morning's email to my congressman:

By JC Leahy

Dear Mr. Van Hollen: Passage of the pending health care "reform" legislation would be the biggest disaster of our lifetimes.  This is certainly NOT the legislation to reform health care.  Please vote against it.  This is such a no-brainer, I shouldn't have to send you this email. 

BTW, here's an outline for my own vision for healthcare reform:

http://jcleahy.blogspot.com/2009/12/leahy-health-care-plan-alternative-to.html

JC Leahy, MA Accounting
RN, BSN, ACLS
100 Most Outstanding Nurses Award (Washington, DC)
New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Whatever you do, draw your line in the sand sometime, somewhere." (T. Scott Gross)

By JC Leahy, MA Accounting
RN, BSN, ACLS
100 Most Extraordinary Nurses Award

WHATEVER you may think about the current health care "reform" bill before the House of Representatives,  TODAY is the time to telephone your congressman!!! Personally, from the unique vantage point of being both a seasoned accountant and a very experienced hospital-based health care professsional -- and as a son with an elderly parent --  I believe the curent bills constitute an absolute, horrific outrage.  I believe we need to TRASH THE BILLS WITH GUSTO NOW, and start over. Here (at the end of this article) is an easy link for e-mail, telephone, and fax contact with your congressman or senator.  If you don't know which is your congressional representative, you might want to call all from you state -- or you might want to call ALL of them, period!! As the author T. Scott Gross said, "Whatever you do, draw your line in the sand sometime, somewhere."


Pummel Congress with phone calls NOW --TODAY WHILE YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT IT !!! Use the Link below!!

And forward this link -- www.jaitoday.com --  to EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!


As the Nike shoe compay says, Just do it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


TO CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS BY PHONE, FAX, OR E-MAIL CLICK HERE
(Note: At the above link, click on your representative for phone or e-mail contact.)





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Monday, March 8, 2010

Financial Management Idea: Consider Online Banking !!!

By Claudia Leahy

Hello all,

I have recently started looking into where I want to put my money and I think that online banks is a great option (until I have more money, then I may consider stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more complicated options). For now it's online banks. Let me tell you about them

Online banks are a great way to invest your money since they offer a higher interest rate than traditional banks because they pay less overhead (no bank tellers, electricity bills, office supplies, etc). Also, they typically have very nice customer service which you can email, call, or instant message in some cases. If you are comfortable using the internet, there is no reason you shouldn't have an online bank. Compare: Traditional Savings Account: .5% APY. Online Savings Account: 3% APY. That's huge. For example, if you invest $5000 for 5 years, that is the difference between earning $126 in interest versus $796! Make your money do more for you!

I've recently been looking at online banks and I made a list of online banks and their features. I think this is very useful and I wanted to share. Please take a look!

E-Trade Checking Account

APY  0.15%
ATM Refund all fees
Checks Initial check book free ($8.75)
Initial Deposit $100
Minimums No
Debit Card VISA
Features --
Hmmm --



E-Trade Complete Savings

APY 0.5%
To open $1
Features ---
Minimum balance  No

HSBC Online Payment Account

APY 0.85%
ATM Reimburse fees for first 3 months
Checks Not available
Initial Deposit $1
Minimums No

HSBC Online Savings

APY 1.1%
To open $1
Features ---
Minimum balance No



ING Checking Account

APY 0.25%
ATM Allpoint Network?
Checks Electronic checks or have them send it for you
Initial Deposit $1
Minimums No
Debit Card Master Card
Features No insufficient-funds fees; instead, pay interest on borrowed money.
Hmmm ---


ING Orange Savings Account

APY 1.1%
To open ?
Features -- Option to automatically transfer money into savings account.
Minimum balance No

JP Morgan Chase Free Checking

APY None
ATM Does not reimburse
Checks Free checks for life
Initial Deposit ?
Minimums ?
Debit Card Master card (rewards $0.03 per transaction
Features  One single overdraft or NSF fee absolved per day; $12 for overdraft transfer service
Hmmm

JP Morgan Chase Online Savings

APY 0.1%
To open ?
Features --
Minimum balance $300 each day or $4 service charge

FNBO Bill Pay Account
No information provided - very confusing.

FNBO Direct Savings Account

APY 1.25%
Apparently, that's all they think we would want to know. If anyone finds more information, let me know.

EverBank FreeNet Checking

APY 1.46% (introductory)
ATM $6/month reimbursement
Checks First book free
Initial Deposit $1,500
Minimums $1,500 ($4.95 monthly fee)
Debit Card Visa
Features Overdraft protection
Hmmm


EverBank Money Market

APY 2.25% introductory, then 1.51%
To open $1,500 
Features -- .
Minimum balance $1,500, $4.95 monthly if you go under the minimum

Fidelity MySmart Cash

APY 0.10%
ATM Reimburses all fees
Checks Unlimited free checkbooks
Initial Deposit $1
Minimums No
Debit Card VISA with rewards program
Features Money transfer feature notifies you if you have a balance of more than a specified amount so you can invest in options with a higher interest rate.  Overdraft protection.
Hmmm

The Fidelity Account (brokerage)

APY: Depends on what you invest in.
To open: $2,500
Features: Invest in stocks, money markets, etc. Some fees apply (of course). But there is no broker fee.
Minimum balance: $2,500 I assume

We all value different things. For example, I want to have an online savings account and online checking account in the same place. Also, I want both to be interest-earning accounts. I also need accounts that have no minimum balance requirements. Thus, the HSBC account looks best at first. HOWEVER, I also really want paper checks, which HSBC doesn't offer. So, I might go with E-Trade. If I were only looking for a checking account, on the other hand, I would certainly go with Fidelity MySmart Cash because that account is obviously superior to the others.

Ok, my point is check it out. Find what's best for you. Sign up. Stop wasting time and money.

Man, I feel like a walking commercial. But it's SO true.
Cheers,
Claudia

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit/Long-Time Resident Tax Credit

By JC Leahy, MA Accounting
Maximum Legal Refund (TM)
Income Tax Preparation and Consulting
Silver Spring, Maryland
E-mail: jcleahy@jaitoday.com

The clock is ticking on a tax break you may not even know about.  The press calls it the "Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit," --- but don't search for those words on the IRS web site because you won't find them. This credit is actually called the "Long-Time Resident Tax Credit."

Here's what happened. The First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit was supposed to expire on November 6, 2009. The "Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009" extended it; however, the extended version was significantly different.  The Act changed the income limits, capped the price of a qualifying home, changed some personal eligibility requirements, added a special break for some members of the military and Federal employees, AND extended the credit -- in the reduced maximum amount of $6,500 -- to certain people who already owned homes. This last change, the $6,500, is the Long-Time Resident Credit.

See my earlier article about the First-Time Home Buyer tax credit.

Here's the deal on the Long-Time Resident Credit, aka Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit:

 The amount of the credit is 10% of your new home's price, up to a maximum credit of $6,500. You can close on your new home starting November 7, 2009, ending June 30, 2010. You must have a binding sales contract in place by April 30, 2010. If you are in the military (or you are a qualified Federal employee) serving outside the U.S., you can delay both of those deadlines by one year. You must be over 18 at the time you buy your new home. Dependents do not qualify for this credit -- which is a change. You may not buy a house that costs more than $800,000 and still qualify for the credit. To get the full credit a married couple must make less than $225,000 (MAGI - modified adjusted gross income). Other than for married couples, the MAGI limit is $125,000. Between $225,000 and $245,000 (married) or $125,000 and $145,000 (others), the maximum allowable credit phases out to zero. And, finally, you must have lived in your prior principal residence for 5 of the last 8 years preceding your closing date on the new house -- AND you have to send PROOF of this 5-years' residence WITH your Federal income tax return. By the way, if you are building your new house, rather than buying one, your June 30 deadline applies to your moving in, NOT to your closing on the purchase. .

If you purchased your new home on or after January 1, 2010, you can claim the credit on your 2009 or 2010 tax return.. This is an important point because you might qualify in one year and not the other. Also, you may not file your tax return electronically and claim this credit.

Caution: If you get the credit and then move out of your new home within 36 months, you have to pay it back!!!!

Have a question or comment? Enter it as a "comment" to this Journal article -- I'll be happy to answer questions online.

Need assistance with filing your income tax returns? Call me at Maximum Legal Refund (TM), at telephone 301-537-5365 or e-mail me at  jcleahy@jaitoday.com