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Archive for September 2007

O’Reilly Steps In It Again

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During a radio show last night, TV Host Bill O’Reilly left the comfort of his “No Spin Zone” and entered the wastelands of “No Win Zone”.

O’Reilly had just finished dining at Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem and made the comment that he “couldn’t get over the fact” that Black run Sylvias showed little difference from other restaurants.

The Ole Wazoo had to listen to his comments a number of times before I was certain of the intent of O’Reilly’s statement. It was at worst, a poorly stated and somewhat left handed compliment on the order of “For a fat girl, you don’t sweat much”. His intention was well meant, even if a bit naive. Let’s cut him some collective slack on this one folks it isn’t worth all the media coverage it has been and will continue to get.

Have Race relations gotten to the point that every word is to be analyzed and dissected and every statement will be placed under a microscope? I hope not, there is no reason for anyone to be so thin skinned regardless of the color of that skin.

At least O’Reilly didn’t phone this one in.

Written by smalltalkwitht

September 26, 2007 at 12:44 pm

UPDATE: Judge Throws Out Save Our Homes Amendment

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UPDATE: YES On 1 Save Our Homes is off the ballot in January.

A Leon County judge threw the property tax amendment off the Jan. 29 ballot Monday, sending shock waves through a legislature that now faces the tough question of appealing the decision or recasting the ballot question.

Circuit Judge Charles A. Francis ruled that the proposed amendment is “misleading and confusing” and should be removed from the presidential primary ballot because it does not explain clearly that the change would phase out Save Our Homes protections.

“Nowhere in the ballot summary is the voter alerted to the elimination of these constitutional protections on homestead assessments,” Francis wrote. “They are simply led to believe they are preserved or revised.”

The Republican-controlled legislature debated the issue for two sessions over four months this year before approving the ballot question in June on a party-line vote.
The judge’s decision could be appealed or the ballot language could be changed when lawmakers return to the Capitol next week to make budget cuts during their third special session of the year. Republican leaders said they would consider their options.

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A new organization, “Vote Yes on 1 Save Our Homes Now” has started a campaign to educate Floridian homeowners on strategies to lower their property taxes. The Florida-based advocacy group headed by a committee co-chaired by Senator Mike Fasano and Paul Nealville with Roger Enzor, a past president of the Florida Association of Realtors.

The Florida Legislature passed the largest tax cut in Florida history on June 21, 2007 with Governor Crist’s support. The Vote Yes on 1 website explains the new law which will require city and county governments to restructure budgets to cut taxes, while providing a “Super Homestead Exemption” of up to $195,000 per homesteaded property.

The House Bill 1B press package released by the Governor’s office also highlighted:

  • 2007 Taxes will be rolled back to 2006 levels
  • The average Floridian will receive tax cuts of approximately $200.
  • Five-year savings of almost $15 billion.

In 2008 the benefits increase:

  • 2008 Super exemption equal to 75% of the first $200,000 and 15% for the next $300,000.
  • Homeowners having option of retaining Save-Our-Homes benefit.
  • Four-year savings of $10 billion to $15 billion.

The tax cut House Bill 1B, while benefiting some Floridians had a downside of scaring government and businesses into massive layoffs and restructuring budgets. Since the bill was passed, it has cost jobs throughout the state of many government employees, including firemen, police, teachers, Extension agents, and many public services, education, and low-income programs that are desperately needed. So who is going to look after those persons? When you raise taxes or when you lower taxes, someone is going to lose.

Florida has built a reputation of being a lightly-taxed state which has served real estate and developers well. Over the last ten years across the state, property flippers made millions in fixer-upper homes and re-sales, while not being burdened with heavy taxes. Florida’s economy boomed yet during all this growth, Florida did not budget wisely, if at all on infrastructure, water supply, prisons, hospitals, and schools.

While I see the need to reduce taxes in certain parts of the state, the majority of Florida needs to understand that we have to provide services, maintain our infrastructure, highways, and schools, and prepare for the future of not having a potable water supply.

Somebody will have to pay those taxes. The costs to live in Florida will be increasing and it will be paid for by new residents, along with the cities and counties who are encouraging unwise sprawl and fast commercial development. Home sellers looking to flip two – three houses a year and make money on rising property values are also going to have to pay the piper.

This bill will benefit those families that can stay in the same house for five to ten years, save their money, and manage their budgets well. Homeowners need to be educated on how their local government is spending their tax dollars. The voters need to hold their officials responsible for ensuring their local region is ready for future growth while not making life-long Floridian citizens pay the price for the incoming new tax base.

In an era of development where local governments raise taxes to build schools, and on the first day the brand new school opens, they are already using portables – that’s outrageous. Taxes are a necessary part of being a responsible person, but instead of 5 – 10 year comprehensive plans, governments and voters are going to have to ask the hard questions, determine what they are going to need and develop 25 – 50 year comprehensive plans along with responsible taxes to pay for it.

The Secret Life Of Inanimate Objects

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Ten years ago, one of the books that changed my perspective on the metaphysical and supernatural world was “The Nature of Things: The Secret Life Of Inanimate Objects” by Lyall Watson. A fascinating, enjoyable read, albeit takes some faith and willing suspension of disbelief on the reader’s part in certain chapters.

I had put Watson’s book on the metaphysical shelf in my library and have recommended it to individuals over the years, but on Sunday the book’s thesis came reverberating back to me when I read the story of Georgia Pesek of Casselberry, Florida. The Good Living section of the Orlando Sentinel’s features “Life Is Short” where readers are asked to submit vignettes of their real life. It’s not online at the Orlando Sentinel’s website yet, but it’s short so excuse me while I relate Georgia’s brief venture into the twilight zone.

“I am 84 years old and a volunteer at the Winter Park Hospital Thrift Shop. One morning, as I was sorting books, one caught my eye. It was called The White Sister” by F. Marion Crawford. When I was a child, we had a book by that title in our bookcase, and I remember my mother saying it was her favorite story.

I took the book home and when I opened it, there on the inside cover was my mother’s name and the address of our home in the Bronx, N.Y. We lived there from 1923 until the latter part of World War II.

Because we were moving into a small apartment, my mother sold most of the furnishings including all the books. I will never know how the book found its way to Florida but to the very thrift shop where I volunteer. We plan to keep it in our family for the next generation.”

What an amazing story. What life did this book have? How many readers picked it up and read it but not with the same love as Georgia’s mother and it wanted to return back to the place where it was loved the most? Maybe it was God’s way for Georgia’s mother to reach out to her and let Georgia know that her mother was thinking of her daughter.

I’ve had a few real life supernatural events happen that make me know God is everywhere and in everything you do. Pick up “The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects.” If you relate and have a similar story, let me know. I’ll believe you.

Written by smalltalkwitht

September 25, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Clinton’s Old Hsu’s and New Hero

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This is how Clinton looks upon crooks:

This is how Clinton looks upon heroes:


Dave, I certainly agree. How can this woman even think of being Commander in Chief?

Written by smalltalkwitht

September 25, 2007 at 4:11 pm

A Welsh View

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Wales is famous for coal mines, castles, singing choirs, especially men’s choruses and singing sensations Tom Jones, Charlotte Church Shirley Bassey and the rocket to stardom opera singer Paul Potts. Wales became the royal kingdom of Diana, Princess of Wales. Hollywood made film stars of many Welsh natives including Richard Burton, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Ray Milland. Even Ted Lewis, one of two Welshmen to ever break into American major baseball teamed with the Boston Beaneaters, but blogging?

I have found a delightful new blog called A Welsh View that I enjoyed reading so much that I have to pass it along to you. Robert Gale provides perspective on eclectic topics from:

And… an interesting update with Jimmy Kimmel’s interview of the next world-famous celebrity drag queen, Chris Cocker, now infamous for his/her Brittany Spears crying jag. Chris is a funny guy. The fact that he video-tapes himself in his bedroom in his grandmother’s home is a little disturbing, but nevermind that now. The interview is hilarious. Chris Cocker is going to be a star. Not like Paul Potts road to stardom. If you haven’t seen Chris’s first video, click on it first, then watch Jimmy Kimmel’s.

I can’t read everything, so I’m glad that Robert Gale of A Welsh View has jumped into the blogosphere.

Take time to drop in and visit. It’s a nice break from politics and reality.

Written by smalltalkwitht

September 22, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Will You Scientists Make Up Your Minds, Please?

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Investors Business Daily heats up the global warming/climate change issue by reminding readers that James Hansen, noted Chicken Littler, in July 1971 predicted the Earth would experience an Ice Age.

On July 9, 1971, the Post published a story headlined “U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming.” It told of a prediction by NASA and Columbia University scientist S.I. Rasool. The culprit: man’s use of fossil fuels.

The Post reported that Rasool, writing in Science, argued that in “the next 50 years” fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun’s rays that the Earth’s average temperature could fall by six degrees.

Sustained emissions over five to 10 years, Rasool claimed, “could be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

Aiding Rasool’s research, the Post reported, was a “computer program developed by Dr. James Hansen,” who was, according to his resume, a Columbia University research associate at the time.

So what about those greenhouse gases that man pumps into the skies? Weren’t they worried about them causing a greenhouse effect that would heat the planet, as Hansen, Al Gore and a host of others so fervently believe today?

“They found no need to worry about the carbon dioxide fuel-burning puts in the atmosphere,” the Post said in the story, which was spotted last week by Washington resident John Lockwood, who was doing research at the Library of Congress and alerted the Washington Times to his finding.

Hansen has some explaining to do. The public deserves to know how he was converted from an apparent believer in a coming ice age who had no worries about greenhouse gas emissions to a global warming fear monger.

This is a man, as Lockwood noted in his message to the Times’ John McCaslin, who has called those skeptical of his global warming theory “court jesters.” We wonder: What choice words did he have for those who were skeptical of the ice age theory in 1971?

Read the entire IBD so you know what’s really the Chicken Littlers agenda.

Emergency Care Tightening Belt To Illegals

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What constitutes emergency care and who pays the hospital bill for illegal aliens? The New York Times makes the case for providing illegals with non-emergency care because it’s the right thing to do. Hospital officials claim that they will continue to offer emergency services to the uninsured despite being told that no federal funds will be provided.

The federal government has told New York State health officials that chemotherapy, which had been covered for illegal immigrants under a government-financed program for emergency medical care, does not qualify for coverage. The decision sets the stage for a battle between the state and federal governments over how medical emergencies are defined.

The change comes amid a fierce national debate on providing medical care to immigrants, with New York State officials and critics saying this latest move is one more indication of the Bush administration’s efforts to exclude the uninsured from public health services.

State officials in New York and other states have found themselves caught in the middle. The New York dispute, focusing on illegal immigrants with cancer — a marginal group of unknown size among the more than 500,000 people living in New York illegally — has become a flash point for health officials and advocates for immigrants in recent weeks.

Under a limited provision of Medicaid, the national health program for the poor, the federal government permits emergency coverage for illegal immigrants and other noncitizens. But the Bush administration has been more closely scrutinizing and increasingly denying state claims for federal payment for some emergency services, Medicaid experts said.

Last month, federal officials, concluding an audit that began in 2004 and was not challenged by the state until now, told New York State that they would no longer provide matching funds for chemotherapy under the emergency program.

Yesterday, state officials sent a letter to the federal Medicaid agency protesting the change, saying that doctors, not the federal government, should determine when chemotherapy is needed.

Federal health officials declined to discuss chemotherapy or the New York claims. But Dennis Smith, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement,

“Longstanding interpretations by the agency have been that emergency Medicaid benefits are to cover emergencies.”

The federal statute that defines an emergency under Medicaid makes it clear that routine care for illegal immigrants and nonresidents, including foreign students and visitors, is not covered. But the only procedures it specifically excludes from reimbursement are organ transplants, leaving to the states the task of further defining an emergency. States and courts have grappled with the question for years, yielding no clear definition.

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It is unclear how many other states are providing chemotherapy to illegal immigrants, because all emergency services are generally lumped together in state Medicaid reports. But others have also been challenged on emergency Medicaid claims.

In Washington State, where illegal immigrants are entitled to Medicaid coverage for a month or more after treatment in an emergency, officials said a federal audit of their emergency Medicaid claims was under way, and the state has asked the federal government to provide a definition of emergency services.

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The state had initially accepted the federal finding that New York was not entitled to federal reimbursement for chemotherapy under the emergency Medicaid program. But until last month, state health officials had not informed medical providers that the treatment would no longer be covered by either state or federal funds.

That provoked a pitched outcry from immigrant health advocates over the last few weeks, and state health officials reversed their position this week, saying Medicaid should cover the treatment.

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New York City public hospitals, which serve 400,000 uninsured patients a year, among them illegal immigrants, would continue to provide the cancer treatment no matter what, said officials from the Health and Hospitals Corporation. But if there is no reimbursement from Medicaid, they said, they will have to look elsewhere for financial support.

There you go, that’s exactly what should happen. Let those states that want to provide sanctuary for their illegal residents pay the cost for their own medical services. What is not being said is that the New York taxpayers will find their taxes going up to pay for the Health and Hospitals Corporation’s policies.

How many taxpayers do you think will continue to live in states where they pay taxes to provide health care for somebody who cheated our laws to get into the country? I don’t think as many as will be needed to support the hospital administration as they would like to think.

Written by smalltalkwitht

September 22, 2007 at 7:51 pm