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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ben Stein on Barack Obama

Submitted by Donald Greenwood

Donald Greenwood of Florida submitted this article. Supposedly it was written by Ben Stein about Barack Obama.  Donald said, "Have no idea if this is a valid “comment” from Ben. Thought he was a solid Democrat? Hope Ben is not correct. Time will tell. Next 20 years will tell it all – we either zoom out of this financial/military downfall or become another “England”.  I think that we will once again be the “sole” world leader into the late century."

My reaction was skeptical. The article was so flatly critical of Barack Obama, I thought it had to be bogus.   However, upon investigation, I found the original.  It seems to be legit -- so click below, because here it is:

WE'VE FIGURED HIM OUT


JC Leahy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Idea: Insect Control for your Patio, Porch, or Cookout

The following item was submitted by Barbara Leahy

Try this before you have a cookout this summer......

Subject: Control of Flies & Wasps

ZIP LOCK BAG - Good tip!

We went with friends to Sweety Pies on Sunday for breakfast and sat in the patio section beside the house. We happened to notice zip lock baggies pinned to a post and a wall. The bags were half filled with water, each contained 4 pennies, and they were zipped shut. Naturally we were curious! Ms. Sweety told us that these baggies kept the flies away! So naturally we were even more curious! We actually watched some flies come in the open window, stand around on the window sill, and then fly out again. And there were no flies in the eating area! This morning I checked this out on Google. Below are comments on this fly control idea. I'm now a believer!

Zip-lock water bags

Ann Says:

I tried the ziplock bag and pennies this weekend.. I have a horse trailer. The flies were bad while I was camping. I put the baggie with pennies above the door of the LQ. NOT ONE FLY came in the trailer. The horse trailer part had many. Not sure why it works but it does!

Danielle Martin Says:

Fill a ziplock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in the problem area. In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage way for insects. Every since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away. Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag for some other insect nest and are threatened.

Maggie Says:

I swear by the plastic bag of water trick. I have them on porch and basement. We saw these in Northeast Mo. at an Amish grocery store & have used them since. They say it works because a fly sees a reflection & won't come around.


DJ Says:

Regarding the science behind zip log bags of water? My research found that the millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it's like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won't take the risk of being around that much perceived action. I moved to a rural area and thought these "hillbillies" were just yanking my city boy chain but I tried it and it worked immediately! We went from hundreds of flies to seeing the occasional one, but he didn't hang around long.

Readers, please check this out and let us know what you find!!  Leave comments below!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Congressman Chris Van Hollen Un-Apologetically Defends the "Democratic Health Care Disaster"

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By Congressman Chris Van Hollen

I respectfully disagree [that HR 3590 is a disasterous health care bill] . After careful consideration of the provisions in this bill, I came to the conclusion that the changes would ultimately benefit health care consumers in our community. I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590) which passed the House of Representatives through the traditional voting process by a count of 219-212. President Obama signed this bill into law on March 23, 2010. I also voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HR 4872), which contained important changes to the Senate bill and passed the House by a vote of 220-207.


Let me be clear, this bill does not entail a government takeover of health care. This health reform builds on the current system of private health insurance. Every American will still be able to choose his or her own doctor and private health insurance plan - and make care decisions with that doctor. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, private insurance coverage will expand by 16 million under this bill.

This legislation includes ideas from across the political spectrum, incorporating hundreds of amendments from Republican members of Congress as it moved through committees. It has been endorsed by hundreds of non-partisan health care groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, the AARP, the American College of Physicians, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. A full list of the organizations who have endorsed the bill is available here: http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/reports?id=0323.

In the next six months, Americans will begin to see the benefits of a health care system that works for them and not the insurance industry. Children with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage and young people will be able to remain on their parents' insurance up to their 26th birthday. Health plans will be banned from placing lifetime caps on coverage, small businesses will be given tax credits so that they can provide affordable health coverage, and we will begin to close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole and help seniors pay for their high prescription drug costs.

Over time, we will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to any customer based on pre-existing conditions, create health insurance exchanges so that Americans have the same choices as Members of Congress, extend health care coverage to an additional 32 million Americans, ensure middle class families can afford insurance by providing the biggest tax cut for health care in U.S. history, and reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars in the next two decades.

Health care reform expands the number of trained doctors in our country to ensure that access to doctors is not a problem. These provisions include providing new scholarships, loans, and loan repayment help to help recruit new doctors and nurses into the profession, especially primary care providers. The bill will make sure we are training the right kinds of doctors to meet our needs and provide incentives for them to better coordinate health care.

Because small businesses are our engines of economic growth and our number one job creators, this legislation provides $40 billion in tax credits for small businesses to help them offer employee health insurance coverage - if they choose to do so. This year qualified small business employers will be eligible for a sliding-scale tax credit, worth up to 35 percent of a small business's premium costs. In 2014, Health Insurance Exchanges, competitive marketplaces of private insurers, will enable small businesses and their employees to purchase affordable coverage and pool their buying power through access to the same quality plans only available to large firms today.

Finally, the legislation makes significant strides towards reducing the deficit. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health care costs have been rising for several years, surpassing $2.3 trillion in 2008 and accounting for 16.2% of the nation's gross domestic product. Health care expenditures have outpaced inflation and income growth. And the cost growth was straining the systems used to finance health care, including private employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. This growth was simply not sustainable for families or the government.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the health care reform signed by the President cuts the deficit by $143 billion in the first ten years and $1.2 trillion in the second ten years. Half of the bill is paid for by ending overpayments to private insurance companies in the Medicare Advantage Program as well as cracking down on fraud, waste, and abuse. Currently, Medicare Advantage plans cost the government an average of 14% more (and in some regions of the country 20% more) without providing better service than traditional plans. The remaining cost of the bill is offset by targeted fees on health insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers who will be benefitting from reform, phased-in revenue increases on so-called "Super Cadillac" plans that fail to bring their costs under control, and a modest Medicare surcharge on the top 2% of American households. Beginning in 2013, individual filers with income above $200,000 and joint filers with income above $250,000 will begin to pay Medicare taxes on unearned income above those limits, as well as an additional 0.9 percentage points on wages and self-employment above those limits. In addition to paying for reform and reducing the deficit, these revenue enhancements will extend the solvency of Medicare by an additional nine years.


But the bill helps rein in health care costs, as well. In the health insurance exchanges, consumers will be empowered to choose the best private insurer, based on public ratings, premium costs, and quality of care, which should lead to companies competing to offer the best rates. And, because of the individual mandate, they will be selling to a larger pool, spreading out risk.

This was not a perfect bill, and there will be more work to do to manage health care costs. But I believe it is a good approach, building on what works in our current system, expanding private insurance markets, and establishing important consumer protections, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

Please let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,
Chris Van Hollen
Member of Congress

COUNTERPOINT:

For a physician's point of view about the Democratic Health Care Disaster, CLICK HERE .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

7 WAYS TO AVOID WITHDRAWAL PENALTY FROM YOUR TRADITIONAL IRA

By JC Leahy
Maximum Legal Refund (tm)
Taxes Minimized to Your Best Advantage (tm)
jcleahy@jaitoday.com

So you are thinking of withdrawing money from your traditional IRA but you think you'll have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty? Think again!  Aside from making an IRA rollover (which we all know about and really does not help with cash-flow NOW)  there are 7 other exceptions to the age 59 1/2 early-withdrawal IRA peanlty rule:

  • Medical Expenses - If your unreimbursed medical expenses are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you may take an IRA withdrawal without paying the 10% tax penalty.
  • Medical Insurance - If you lost your job, received unemployment compensation and paid for medical insurance and your family, then you might be able to withdraw from your IRA the amount equal to what you paid for the insurance provided you did not receive the IRA distribution more than 60 days finding a new job. 
  • Disability - If a physician determines that you are totally disabled from gainful employment due to physical or mental conditions, you can make IRA withdrawals without paying the 10% tax penalty.
  • In Case You Die - If you die before age 59 1/2, then your IRA can be distributed to your beneficiaries or estate without paying the penalty. It goes without saying that this is the least desirable way to escape the early withdrawal penalty.
  • College Expenses - If you paid expenses for higher education, part (or all) of any distribution for that year may not be subject to the 10% penalty.
  • First Time Homeowner - If you use the money to purchase, rebuild or build your first home you can make an IRA withdrawal without paying the 10% penalty. The distributions are limited to $10,000. The money must be withdrawn within 120 days after making the purchase. :
  • Annuity Distributions - Anyone can use this one. You can take the withdrawal in little chunks monthly without paying an early-withdrawal penalty. In effect, you are setting up your own, private annuity. You must use an IRS approved method to calculate these chunks. They must be equal payments and they must continue for at least 5 years or until age 59 1/2, whichever is later. There is a one-time change you can make in the amount of the withdrawals.

 Check with a tax expert before you proceed.

JC Leahy, MA Accounting 
TaxHelpWhenYouNeedIt.com
jcleahy@TaxHelpWhenYouNeedIt.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Confusion About What Is Covered by the Residential Energy Tax Creidts

by JC Leahy
MA Accounting

Okay, Tax Time cometh and I'm sensing that people are confused about what is, and is not,  included in the the current 2009/2010 version of the Residential Energy Tax Credits.  First of all, to answer most questions, here's what energy-efficient items are NOT qualified for the credit:

Ceiling fans

Clothes washers & dryers
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
Dehumidifiers
Dishwashers
Electric furnaces/boilers
Electric storage tank water heaters
Electric Tankless water heaters
Evaporative Coolers (swamp coolers)
Lighting (Light Fixtures, CFLs, LEDs)
Ovens / Ranges
Power Factor Correction Devices
Programmable thermostats
Refrigerators
Roof coatings
Room air conditioners
TVs
Toilets
Window Treatments
Whole house fans


And, in short, here are the items that may qualify for the residential energy tax credits:

Tax Credit 30% up to $1,500:

Biomass stoves
Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning
Insulation
Roofs (metal & asphalt)
Water heaters (non-solar)

Tax Credit 30% up to no limit:

Geothermal heat pumps
Wind turbines
Solar energy systems

Tax Creidt 30% of cost up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity:

Fuel cells (residential fuel cell and microturbine system)

For more detail, click here for my EARLIER ARTICLE

By the way, make haste!  These credits expire 12/31/2010.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Humor From the E-Mail Box: Becoming an Illegal Alien

An E-Mail Forwarded by Barbara Leahy:

Becoming Illegal 

(Said to be an actual letter from an  Iowa  resident and sent to his senator)

The Honorable Tom Harkin
731 Hart Senate Office Building

Phone   (202) 224 3254  (202) 224 3254
Washington  DC  ,  20510

Dear Senator Harkin,
 

As a native Iowan and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stems from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the  United States  for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.


Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year.

Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as 'in-state' tuition rates for many colleges throughout the  United States  for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.

If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.
 

Your Loyal Constituent, (hoping to reach 'illegal alien' status rather than just a bonafide citizen of the USA )

Donald Ruppert

Burlington ,  IA


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Letter from Facebook: "I Am the Tea Party"

This is the "profile" letter of a Facebook group called I AM THE TEA PARTY !


Question...Are those millions of people you see on TV protesting RACIST? ANTI-SEMITIC? I don't think so. I am one. One of the millions of people like you that has had it! It's a distraction so you don't see that people just like you feel bullied and unheard. I am a Jewish White Man Married to a like minded Beautiful Catholic Black Women, I run my own business and believe in the constitution and I love my country. Doesn't fit the mold? To bad! Stop believing in molds! You and I are not backward, racist, violent or bigoted people but people who believe in a country of laws. We don't want to be over taxed or for the dollars we work hard to earn to be squandered. And we don't want to leave our mess to our children to clean up! We have seen two administrations try to tackle the economy with knee jerk reactions and fail. We don't want to be forced to go along with ANYTHING, ANYMORE that we haven't had a chance to Read, Understand or VOTE for!

To my Democrat & Republican friends and family:
YOU SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AS WELL.

No matter how you stand on the issues, don't believe the main stream media or your political party. Believe in yourself and your family and do like Bob: GET UP, STAND UP, STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS! In a nonviolent way by voting anyone out of office that you disagree with! It is time for real change. The kind that doesn't come from HOPE but from hard work and from uncomfortable realistic rational actions. You have a voice so use it. Tell your friends and family we can make a difference if we band together.

If you agree with me you are an American and can now say

"I AM THE TEA PARTY" too! :)

If you agree with me and want to tell your friends and family from both political parties we agree on more than we disagree Recommend this page to your Facebook friends.

Thank you for your time.

Larry from NY

---END OF LETTER---

Journal editor's comment: I can report that I actually went downtown to the 9/12 Tea Party March last year.  I saw families with children, nurses, doctors, old folks in wheelchairs and on crutches who traveled far from all parts of the US to march and to send a message to Congress.  I liken the atmosphere to that of a county fair or a church picnic.   I saw absolutely no evidence of racisim.  I saw no inciting of violence.  Those who say otherwise speak in ignorance, I assure you.  Check out photos and details at the link below. -- JC Leahy

9/12 March