Huffington Post "America’s hospitals have grave concerns about the Murray-Ryan proposed budget agreement and urge Members of Congress to oppose it," Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, said in a statement. "The budget agreement threatens access to critical health care services for seniors by trading off Medicare cuts for increases in government and defense spending today. Rather than providing relief to the arbitrary Medicare sequester cuts, this agreement maintains the current cuts and extends these cuts into the future. It sustains bad budget policy under the guise of solving real mandatory spending issues facing this country." Huffington Post. Read more.
So, you may ask why am I writing about cards and letters in the digital age? Well today, December 10, 2013, my wife asked me to mail the Christmas cards she has been working on since October (click here to see photo of the cards). There were 80 cards and inside each card was something personal, in writing, for each recipient and letters inside many of the cards.
My wife can't write as fast as she used to. Arthritis makes difficult for her and writing each word takes an effort that most of us take for granted, but that doesn't keep her from sending hundreds of cards and letters for all occasions. She sends get well cards, birthday cards, graduation cards, anniversary cards, sympathy cards, etc. almost daily to someone. She also writes letters to old friends and family in Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania, etc.
My family wasn't much on sending cards and letters, but my wife's family was. That was one of the first things in noticed when I married her. We started receiving cards and or letters for every occasion from my wife's mother, her maternal grandmother, her aunts and even her cousins.
My wife has an iPad, she does email and Facebook, but her real love, when it comes to communication is a card, letter, face to face conversation or a telephone call. She has a cell phone, but refuses to text.
My wife was blessed with a gift and she has used that gift to express her love to countless people and that's just one of the reasons I married her.
Is writing letters and sending cards, by mail, a thing of the past? Not as long as my wife is able to wrap her fingers around a pen.
Last Sunday Morning, the 5:45am from Poughkeepsie was running through the Bronx with 100-150 passengers aboard, when it sped through a 30mph speed limit curve at 82mph, derailed, over-turning four cars and killing four people.
This is a story with some differences in detail from the Spanish fatal derailment this summer, but one common feature: the lack of adequate Positive Train Control signaling on the corridor. In the Spanish case, project cost-shaving led to Positive Train Control signaling being installed on the new High Speed Rail corridor but not on connecting corridors that some hybrid services use to reach towns not directly on the HSR corridor. In the Spanish case, full PTC would not have been required to prevent the fatal accident: 'The Santiago Train Derailment Could Have Been Prevented with a Euro 6,000 beacon'. As later details emerged it became clear that if two analog "ATSFA' beacons had been replaced with three digital 'ATSFA' beacons, at a cost of €6,000 each, that would have prevented the fatal derailment.
The Metro-North connecting from Poughkeepsie through the Bronx into Manhattan is slated to receive Positive Train Control, as required by current Federal Railway Authority policy, but as recounted by Alan Levy:
Metro-North and the LIRR have been trying to wrangle their way out of the PTC mandate, saying it offers "marginal benefits"; a year and a half ago, the New York Post used the word "outrageous" to describe the PTC mandate, saying it would cost over a billion dollars and that the money could go to capacity improvements instead, such as station parking. Lobbying on behalf of Metro-North and the LIRR, Senator Charles Schumer emphasis mine made sure to amend a proposed Senate transportation bill to give the railroads waivers until 2018, so that they could devote resources to more rush hour capacity from the outer suburbs (such as Ronkonkoma) to Manhattan and fewer to safety. According to Siemens, the work will actually take until 2019, and Siemens says it "has developed PTC specifically for the North American market," in other words built a bespoke system instead of ETCS. (ACSES was developed by Alstom.)
And that is the top-line point: if we had been more serious and committed about putting PTC on the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country, this fatal derailment would not have occurred.
On a longer timeline, the raid at Sorenson's house suggests the FBI is taking the payoffs to Sorenson very seriously, which means they may stumble across even uglier payoffs made to protect a Ron Paul 2012 official. Read more.
This is really beginning to smell.
Opens Secrets The campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hired a former Ron Paul campaign aide accused of trying to buy the endorsement of an Iowa state senator in 2012, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The aide, Dimitri Kesari, was also implicated in allegations made last week by a former National Right to Work Committee employee who says the politically active nonprofit broke Iowa state campaign finance rules and misled the Internal Revenue Service about its political activity. Read more.
Raw Story A birther preacher is pushing the conspiracy theory that Miriam Carey, who was shot to death Oct. 3 after police said she tried to ram her car into a barrier outside the White House, was the mother of President Barack Obama’s illegitimate child.
Rev. James David Manning, pastor of Atlah World Missionary Church who believes the president was born in Kenya, claims that Carey’s family has called for a paternity test to determine whether the woman’s 15-month-old daughter was fathered by the president. Read more.
National Review A year later, a seat on the Finance Committee came open. DeMint had sought to join the committee repeatedly in the past, but McConnell gave the seat to Senator Richard Burr, who had never previously expressed interest in it.
After that, DeMint abruptly left the Senate to take over the Heritage Foundation, where McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, works. From his new perch, he has prompted all kinds of ire by transplanting some of his Senate tactics to the think tank. The result is that while the Heritage Foundation may have never been less loved by Republicans in Congress, it has also never been more feared. Read more.
Huffington Post "As the father of three daughters, fair pay for women is more than a talking point for Sen. McConnell," campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said. "It's something he's worked to achieve his entire career by setting an example for others and promoting thoughtful policies to ensure talent overcomes bias." Read more.
Senator Mitch McConnell I've got news for you you, at least one of your daughters and you aren't on the same page when it comes to politics. Hell you aren't even friends on Facebook.