Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘money’

Give To Those Who Ask

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 12, 2016

Some time ago, I had a change of heart on a rather simple matter,

and which was one of faith.

Since the summer of ’93 I had heard that Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Tax Dollars At Work: Taxpayers Subsidize CEO Pay, Here’s How #BonusLoophole

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 3, 2016

Executive Excess 2016: The Wall Street CEO Bonus Loophole

This 23rd annual report reveals how taxpayers are subsidizing financial crisis windfalls.

By Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati, August 31, 2016

CashingInOnTheCrisis-Graphic-1-1This report is the first to calculate how much taxpayers have been subsidizing executive bonuses at the nation’s largest banks.

The study focuses on a 1993 Clinton administration reform that was intended to rein in runaway CEO pay by capping the tax deductibility of executive compensation at $1 million. But the new rule included a huge loophole for stock options and other “performance” pay. As a result, the more corporations hand out in executive bonuses, the lower their tax bill. This perverse incentive for excessive compensation has been a major factor in the explosion of CEO pay.

The financial bailout program closed this loophole for recipients, but only until Read the rest of this entry »

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Why @HillaryClinton’s @StateDept Quid Pro Quo Pay-To-Play Is A Corrupt Practice

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 28, 2016

Accountability is what remains once responsibility has fled. The citizens of the United States must demand higher standards from their public servants, and officials, and severely punish violations of the same.

—/—

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meet Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on August 28, 2016
Used with permission.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton "cash for prioritized access" scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton “cash for prioritized access” scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

In 2013, Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw were Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks who worked in the downtown County Courthouse and the Center Point Satellite Courthouse. These low-level public servants accepted cash gratuities for cutting people to the front of the 4-hour long, slow moving, car tag line. Cole was caught accepting $20 on two occasions in August 2013. Berry and Smaw were caught accepting $40 on a single occasion in April 2013.

After a local Fox TV news team publicly exposed this criminal conduct, there was immediate and widespread condemnation of the women’s actions. It made national news. This was declared an ethics violation on the part of each woman.

In December 2013, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Berry, Cole, and Smaw for using their public office for personal gain, which is a felony in Alabama and an ethics violation as well. Each woman faced 2 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

These women did not have friends in high places. They were not connected to the Obama White House, or the U.S. Attorney General, or the Director of the FBI. They did not hold any political office. They did not have New York spin-doctors or high-powered lawyers to argue that they had done nothing wrong. In short, they had no one who could “fix” their criminal case, or make it go away.

Jozette Berry and Lashonda Smaw, who are black, eventually pled guilty. Alisha Cole, who faced two felony counts of ethics violations, went to trial and was convicted. Berry received a sentence of 12 months of hard labor in the county jail. Imposition of Berry’s sentence was later suspended and she was placed on 2 years of unsupervised probation. After her conviction, Cole received a three-year suspended sentence and two years of unsupervised probation. Smaw’s sentence for her ethics violation is unknown at this time.

The guilty pleas for Berry and Smaw and guilty verdict for Cole ended a multi-year joint criminal investigation by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crimes Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and the Birmingham Police Department. After the criminal cases ended in May 2015, the local DA proudly released the following statement: “We are grateful to have partners in law enforcement who are Read the rest of this entry »

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On Executive Compensation

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Mosaic Scriptural principle (which is also referenced in the New Testament) that “you should not muzzle the ox that treads out the grain” is certainly a principle with and by which we should compensate people for their labor. However, there is little disagreement that the committees that set the rewards far too often overcompensate those whom are charged with organizational oversight.

There is something to be said for fair and just compensation according to the terms of a contract, and the wishes and desires of those whom issue them. 

Why then, is it that when Read the rest of this entry »

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A Better Argument For Alabama #ALpolitics To Legalize, Regulate & Tax Marijuana

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Recently, on February 23, 2016, AL.com published an OpEd entitled “Would legalizing cannabis solve Alabama’s budget problems?” written by Reggie C. Pulliam, whom was identified as “a resident of Gulf Shores who has worked on public policy and criminal justice reform in Washington, D.C.”

I found his Op-Ed unconvincing because it’s poorly written.

The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that for December 2015 (State of Colorado Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees Transfers and Distribution December 2015 Sales Reported in January 2016), Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees was $13,247,434.

The year-to-date increase was $4,689,293.

Based upon the December figure, on an annualized basis, that’s $158,969,208… which is not exactly chump change.
(See “Alabama Senate Approves Shifting $100 Million Away From Schools” published September 15, 2015.)

Linked here is the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Colorado Marijuana Tax Data.

Figuring into the state cost : benefit analysis & calculations also is a decrease in costs associated with Read the rest of this entry »

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What Underutilized Renewable Alabama Resource Could Catapult The State Economically?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Soon, the Alabama state legislature will reconvene, and soon enough, they will – once again – be faced with enormous fiscal shortfalls.

And, once again as well, the Republican super-dominated Alabama state legislature will be reticent, reluctant, and recalcitrant to raise taxes… except upon those least capable of paying them. I refer, of course, to the impoverished, which – according to the United States Census Bureau – comprise nearly 20% of Alabama’s population. And with a population estimated at 4,849,377, that’s 901, 984 people, who annually, according to the research, Read the rest of this entry »

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Even With #ALpolitics @ALGOP & @GovernorBentley’s Iron-Fisted Control, Alabama STILL Thanks God for Mississippi

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fraud, waste, and abuse are rampant in Sweet Home, and it’s KILLING the state.

Cronyism and corruption remains alive and well, despite claims to the contrary as asserted by the GOP, which now rules Alabama with an Iron Fist.

If it could be said that states have personalities, Alabama’s would be bipolar, and schizophrenic. Reeling from fear – though they deny it – they continue to perpetuate and indeed, cultivate the very worst of the very worst in human behavior.

It’s not that Alabama or its people are bad, it’s that fear rules their hearts, and fearing that want and poverty will overtake them (ALERT! It already has.), they continue to elect those who pander to their fears. As a result, they get what they deserve.

It’s HIGH TIME – as was said in the Star Trek television series – “to BOLDLY go where no man has gone before!”

No one praises cowards, or cowardice. And yet, so many praise Alabama’s politicians, who are veritable Cowardly Lions.

Alabama has had – and continues to have Read the rest of this entry »

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Why #ALpolitics Should’ve Elected @RonSparks2010 – @GovernorBentley In His Own Words: “I had no clue.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Having made no bones about it, I remain searingly and scathingly critical of Alabama Governor Robert Julian Bentley, a retired physician-turned-Republican legislator from Tuscaloosa, who is twice elected governor – in 2010, and in 2014.

While I wished him well after his initial victory in the governor’s race against his Democratic opponent then-Secretary of Agriculture and Industries, Ron Sparks, he has disappointed the state since Inauguration Day 2011 when he put his foot in his mouth at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Montgomery, where on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17, 2011 – mere hours after taking the oath of office and inauguration – he said in part, “There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister. Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

It was at that point that Rebekah Caldwell Mason became his Communication Director, and later, Senior Political Advisor-cum-paramour.

More to the point, however, I have maintained that among other things, as an elected official, he has been feckless, and clueless.

But, let’s let him speak for himself.

Here’s in part what Governor Bentley said in a speech to a statewide gathering of city officials in Montgomery, May 2013, “You know where I came up with that idea? Ron Sparks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Candidates Differ on Death Penalty: @BernieSanders & @HillaryClinton

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 30, 2015

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has long opposed Capital Punishment in the United States.

Speaking from the floor of the United States Senate Thursday, 29 October 2015, he said in part, “When we talk about criminal justice reform, I believe it is time for the United States of America to join almost every other Western, industrialized country on Earth in saying no to the death penalty.”

His Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton has recently announced that she supports the Death Penalty.

Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire Wednesday, 28 October 2015, she said in part, “I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”

For years, Read the rest of this entry »

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Grocery Shopping & more Grocery Shopping: A Quick Price Comparison – @Publix v @Kroger

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As a general rule, I don’t shop at Publix because the prices are higher.

Until now, that’d been only a casual observation.

I had never formally price checked… until now.

Recently, I decided to purchase some groceries at Publix only because the store was conveniently along my route.

My preference continues to be for Kroger.

The 11 items purchased at Publix were: Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Hoodwinks @YHN & @ALdotcom

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bentley Hoodwinks Yellowhammer News and AL.com

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Communications Director cum Senior Political Advisor

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Communications Director cum Senior Political Advisor

by Donald V. Watkins
Published via Facebook Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Used with permission

Once again, Governor Robert Bentley has hoodwinked Yellowhammer News and AL.com. This time, Bentley has deceived these two news organizations by providing them with a handful of sanitized text messages between Rebekah Caldwell Mason and himself in response to their separate Open Records requests for emails and text messages between the two lovers.

Like former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Bentley withheld the more embarrassing text messages about his illicit love affair with Rebekah from public disclosure. Of particular significance are the text messages where Bentley describes his true love for Rebekah, including a text message Bentley thought he was sending to Rebekah that he mistakenly sent to his former wife Dianne instead.

Yellowhammer bought into Read the rest of this entry »

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Department of Justice Report on #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Now Underway

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour Communications Director/Senior Political Advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason

DOJ Report on Bentley Underway

By Donald V. Watkins
Published via Facebook October 11, 2015, 9:54am
Used with permission

Our Facebook news teams is in the process of preparing a detailed prosecutorial memorandum on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s misuse of taxpayer and donor money to carry on a love affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason, his senior political advisor. It is anticipated that the report will be Read the rest of this entry »

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David Byrne: #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Consigliere – Part 3, Executive Betrayal

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 25, 2015

Executive Betrayal – Robert Bentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers and Donors – Part 3

David Byrne – Governor Bentley’s Consigliere

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 25, 2015
Used with permission

Bobby Lowder was the founder, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the failed Colonial Bank. During his tenure there, he was widely known as a manipulator, and micromanager of Auburn University, where he was also a member of the Board of Trustees, and donor. During his tenure there, the university experienced many scandals, including use of Lowder's private jet, and his undue influence upon the university president. He was named to be reappointed to the Auburn University Board of Trustees by Governor Bentley, though a a civil lawsuit in the Lee County Circuit Court asserted that Bentley's actions violated Alabama's Open Meetings Act. Under such pressure, Lowder withdrew his name from consideration, served the remainder of his term, and departed. Colonial BancGroup eventually came under Federal scrutiny & investigation for fraudulent practices, and on August 14, 2009, was closed by banking regulators, with all deposits and branches purchased by BB&T.

Bobby Lowder was the founder, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the failed Colonial Bank. He was widely known as a manipulator and micromanager of Auburn University, where he was a member of the Board of Trustees, and donor. During his tenure there, the university suffered many scandals, including use of Lowder’s private jet for recruiting an Athletic Director & Head Football Coach that violated NCAA rules. His undue influence upon the university extended even to the university president, who was fired after a No Confidence Vote by the Board of Trustees. Governor Bentley named Lowder to reappointment to the Board after Lowder donated $25,000 to Bentley’s gubernatorial election campaign. A civil lawsuit in the Lee County Circuit Court complained that Bentley’s actions violated Alabama’s Open Meetings Act, and under such pressure, Lowder withdrew his name from consideration, and shortly thereafter, the Alabama State Senate voted him off the board.

On August 14, 2009, federal and state regulators took control of Colonial BancGroup, a regional banking powerhouse based in Montgomery. The seizure of Colonial Bank’s 346 branches and $26 billion in assets made it the sixth-biggest bank failure in U.S. history, the worst of 2009, and the third largest during the credit crisis that plunged the financial markets into turmoil in 2008. Colonial’s collapse cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $2.8 billion. Colonial’s shareholders lost billions of dollars in stock value. Thousands of bank employees lost their jobs.

David B. Byrne, Jr. David Byrne was admitted to the bar in 1966. He received his B.S. from The University of Alabama and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. David was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Jasons, Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Alpha Delta. Professional Profile: Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1971-1974 Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama, 1998 - Present Fellow, American Bar Association Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers Fellow, Alabama Law Foundation Member, Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure, Alabama Supreme Court, 1985 - 1989 Guest lecturer, University of Alabama (Criminal Procedure) Montgomery County Bar Association (President, 1985) Federal Bar Association (President, 1989) Member, Panel I State Bar Character and Fitness Committee Alabama Trial Lawyers Association Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (1991 - Present) United States Army, 1966 - 70, Captain, JAGC USAFR, 1971 - Present Military Judge, Colonel USAF Trial Judiciary, 1993 - Present

David B. Byrne, Jr. was admitted to the bar in 1966. He received his B.S. from The University of Alabama and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was
Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1971-1974, Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama, 1998 – Present; United States Army, 1966 – 70, Captain, JAGC
USAFR, 1971 – Present
Military Judge, Colonel USAF Trial Judiciary, 1993 – Present

Although the public focused on the failed leadership of Bobby Lowder, Colonial’s founder and CEO, it was David B. Byrne, Jr., who was Read the rest of this entry »

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Executive Betrayal: #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers & Donors

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Executive Betrayal

Robert Bentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers and Donors

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 16, 2015
Used with permission

Governor Robert Bentley could barely contain his lust and love for Rebekah Caldwell Mason in the months leading up to his re-election in 2014. He was so obsessed with Rebekah that he sent a romantic text written for Rebekah to First Lady Dianne Bentley by mistake. It was graphic in content. Ms. Bentley’s subsequent review of her husband’s text messages answered all of her questions about the nature and scope of the governor’s marital infidelity. The text message exchange between the two lovers, along with what Dianne overheard during the governor’s private phone calls to Rebekah, let her know that the governor, 72, was “head-over-heels” in love and lust with his 43-year-old paramour.

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley with paramour Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Not only has Bentley proven to be a cheater and a sexual pervert, but now he has proven to be a crooked governor too. We have recently learned that Bentley not only had direct and personal knowledge of Rebekah’s handling of questionable financial practices with state and campaign monies, but he even went so far as to Read the rest of this entry »

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Strain A Gnat, Swallow A Camel: How the Church has ignored Christian Principles to their peril

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 20, 2015

In 9 Sins the Church Is Okay With, Frank Powell asks “Are we changing the Bible to fit our culture or are we changing our culture to fit the Bible?”

“What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?

“Maybe it’s the sins lying underneath, the ones considered normal or acceptable, the ones going undetected, that are affecting the church the most.”

His questions are, of course, spot on.

In fact, one could hardly argue with the evidence which consists of vast, tax-free empires built upon the backs of the faithful by the likes of:
Joel Osteen (USA) Net Worth $40 Million;
Robert Tilton (USA) Net Worth $830 Million;
Benny Hinn (USA) Net Worth $42 Million;
Joyce Meyer (USA) Net Worth $8 Million;
Kenneth Copeland (USA) Net Worth UNKNOWN (has claimed he’s a billionaire, no such public records exist documenting his claim);
Creflo Dollar (USA) Net Worth $27 Million;
Eddie Long (USA) Net Worth $5 Million;
Randy & Paula White (USA) Net Worth $2 Million;
Joseph Prince (Singapore) Net Worth $5 Million;
Chris Okotie (Nigeria) Net Worth $10 Million;
Matthew Ashimolowo of Nigeria Net Worth $10 Million;
T.B. Joshua (Nigeria) Net Worth $15 Million;
T. D. Jakes (USA) Net Worth $18 Million;
Paul (late) & Jan Crouch (USA) Net Worth (estimated TBN $1 Billion+);
Chris Oyakhilome (Nigeria) Net Worth $50 Million;
David Oyedepo (Nigeria) Net worth: $150 Million.

Obviously, their “prosperity gospel” message is working quite well for them.

For others, no so much.

And that’d probably cover Avarice, Hubris, and Boasting – or, if you prefer, Greed, Extravagance, and Pride.

But there again, our nation’s laws actually encourage greed through religion by not taxing churches. In fact, John Oliver recently pointed out that “U.S. tax law allows television preachers to get away with Read the rest of this entry »

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UPDATED: If #ALpolitics Would #ExpandMedicaidNow, They Could CUT Medicaid Co$t$ More Than 50%

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 6, 2015

UPDATE: Tuesday, 11 August 2015
CORRECTION ADDENDUM

In my first & earlier calculations, I inadvertently overlooked multiplying the Annual Medicaid Spending in Alabama figure (which is a TOTAL of $5,241,269,869) by 70%, which would represent the portion paid for by the Federal government. Alabama’s 30% share of that figure (the share paid for by the state) would be $1,572,380,960.70. It would also be reasonable to expect that Expanding Medicaid in Alabama to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level would increase total economic activity (through Medicaid spending) in the state at least 38%. So to Expand Medicaid, the baseline figure for TOTAL Medicaid spending (combined Federal and State funds) would approximate $7,232,952,419. According to the provisions of the law, Alabama’s sharing portion (if Governor Bentley chose to Expand Medicaid) would still be 2016-100%; 2017-5%; 2018-6%; 2019-7%; 2020 and beyond-10%. The corrections to the figures herein are dollar amounts only (based on the $7,232,952,419 total expanded figure), not the %ages. Data & figures are now also shown in table format.

Folks, it may (or may not) surprise you to know a sampling of the collective thoughts of our wrong-wing friends, and relatives on matters political in Alabama, especially as they pertain to Medicaid.

Here’s a verbatim excerpted sampling of what I came across today.

• No one want increased entitlements. Too much waste and abuse. get a job folks. no to medicaid
• Medicaid is a lifestyle
• scare tactic. nursing homes overcharge. working people of Alabama are tired of taking care of lazy people
• ask any hospital administrator or physician in private practice. Medicaid devalues services. Reject medicaid

I dare say, MOST are clueless about the genuinely tangible economic and public health benefits Medicaid provides to this state, and the revenue and jobs it creates. All they hear are the wails and moans of representatives and/or senators – mostly of whom, if not exclusively, are Republican.

Where does Alabama's Medicaid money come from? Where does it go?

Where does Alabama’s Medicaid money come from?
Where does it go?
Source: Alabama Medicaid Agency Annual Report – FY 2012

Medicaid is a Federal/State matching/sharing program which provides (pays for) healthcare services for the impoverished wherein states pay a minority matching portion, while the Federal Government through CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) pays the majority portion. Within reasonable guidelines, the states have broad discretion and liberty to operate Medicaid according to the way they see fit, and the needs of the residents they serve. There are, however, certain minimums standards to which every state must adhere.

Under the provisions of the OLD law, the states that do NOT Expand Medicaid pay a higher %age rate for their services than they would if they were to Expand Medicaid to provide services to those whom are at 138% of the Federal Poverty guidelines – which is what the PPACA provides. The PPACA is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- though it’s more often called the ACA “Affordable Care Act,” and colloquially referred to as “ObamaCare.”

Under the provisions of the PPACA, states that choose to Expand Medicaid will have 100% of those costs paid-for by the CMS beginning 2014, until 2016. The incentive for expansion is based upon Read the rest of this entry »

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Sodomy: A prime example of what’s wrong with #ALpolitics

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 12, 2015

A dear friend who is a long-time retiree, aged 78 years, entire subsistence is from a meager pension (earned from a lifetime of work in a unionized organization), supplemented with a paltry Social Security check.

She’s lived through breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) & reconstruction, other major surgeries (knee replacements) and procedures, and lives in a trailer which she owns, situated upon a lot which she rents. She has resided there many, many years.

To save money, she recently Read the rest of this entry »

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