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Wednesday: Gambling on Resurrection

Japan eventually forced bankers to fall on their swords

Japan eventually forced bankers to fall on their swords

“Banks think with their capital.  When they have enough capital, they act smart because then they have something at stake.  When banks lose capital and don’t have anything personally at stake, for the managers and the shareholders, they act dumb.  They gamble.”

That was a quote from Adam Posen from an interview he gave last week on NPR’s Planet Money about Japan’s Lost Decade.  You see, although the bankers are wailing hysterically that this kind of financial meltdown has never been seen before. the truth is that Japan went through something almost exactly like it back in the 90’s when their own real estate bubble burst.  The crash for them took place in ’90-91 and didn’t really affect the Japanese until 1992.  Then it was bad.  The government left the economy to sort itself out.  Actually, it made the situation worse by planning to adopt austerity measures and they announced these measures, like tax increases, 18 months in advance.   Eventually, there were some changes in government and some kind of Keynesian economics wizard who started to hold banks accountable for what is called adverse selection.  As I understand it, adverse selection occurs when bankers hold onto their bad assets, like bad mortgage tranches, for example, in the hopes that they will be worth something someday, while they sell off all of their good assets for cash they need in order to do regular backing business like lending and borrowing.  When Japanese banks were finally forced to eat their bad stuff, the economy turned around. (This is from a non-econ major POV so I urge you to listen to the podcast and send your questions to Dakinikat for clarification.)

The creation of a “bad bank” where the bankers can push their bad loans is probably NOT what Posen was refering to when he said that banks were eventually held accountable.  The “bad bank” transfer that is planned for the US simply gives banks cash for toxic assets and they never feel the consequences of their actions.  They may feel tempted to “gamble on resurrection”.  After all, the capital they are receiving from us is paying their salaries and bonuses.  It’s not real money to them.  No, I’m afraid that sacrifices will be necessary for this to turn around even if it means nationalization.

Obama has announced that he will hold banker compensation down in the upcoming stimulus package.  Executive compensation would be limited to a measly $500,000, which some compensation experts say:

“That is pretty draconian — $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus,” said James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm. “And you know these companies that are in trouble are not going to pay much of an annual dividend.”

Mr. Reda said only a handful of big companies pay chief executives and other senior executives $500,000 or less in total compensation. He said such limits will make it hard for the companies to recruit and keep executives, most of whom could earn more money at other firms.

“It would be really tough to get people to staff” companies that are forced to impose these limits, he said.

OK by me.

It’s a great idea but we will have to see the details to make sure it is enforced.  After all, last fall’s TARP bill was supposed to give us preferred stock in the banks we rescued.  But as it turned out, preferred stock really meant “silent partner”.  We have no control over how the money is spent or are their any requirements that the banks report to us and keep us in the loop.  So, for all we know, they could be back to their old gambling addiction and living it up on our dime.

As Krugman wrote yesterday in Bipartisan Bromides, there is no middle ground here that can be reached by a treacly anti-Randian bi-partisan compromise.

You see, this isn’t a brainstorming session — it’s a collision of fundamentally incompatible world views. If one thing is clear from the stimulus debate, it’s that the two parties have utterly different economic doctrines. Democrats believe in something more or less like standard textbook macroeconomics; Republicans believe in a doctrine under which tax cuts are the universal elixir, and government spending is almost always bad.

Obama may be able to get a few Republican Senators to go along with his plan; or he can get a lot of Republican votes by, in effect, becoming a Republican. There is no middle ground.

There are certain procedures and steps that need to be followed in order to prevent a severe recession and decade of stagflation like the one that Japan faced during the 90’s.  Acquiescing to Republicans for the sake of bipartisanship just dilutes the policy.  The question is, does Obama understand the policy that he needs to create?  Or is he so beholden to the big Wall Street firms that got him here that he can’t make them sacrifice for fear of angering them?

Hey, he wanted this job.  He was willing to break all of the rules to get the nomination and there were plenty of people with almost a billion dollars in campaign funds who were willing to help him break those rules.  But it is his responsibility now to fulfill the obligations of his oath, even if it makes him unpopular with the rich boys and even if the bankers and Broderites attack him mercilessly. No one expected him to govern as a tree-hugging lefty but they *did* expect him to govern as a Democrat.   It is his own fault that his scorched earth campaigning split the party and many of us don’t have his back but hundreds of stimulus package house parties are not going to make an inadequate stimulus bill into a thing of beauty that everyone wants to support.  He has to do the right thing or take the blame for f%*^ing things up.

Now is when the shmoozing stops and the real work begins.

125 Responses

  1. “Banker Seppuku” sounds like a surefire reality television hit.

  2. madamab can furnish the music.

  3. Making the ridiculous claim that they would not be able to staff banks with salaries of less than $500,000 haven’t seen the avalanche of resumes being sent to regional and small banks. The old losers will have to retire (sob) and the younger loosers are going to have to settle for $50,000 in Bohunkville Idaho if they want to stay in banking. Otherwise they can wait tables in NYC.

  4. Oh, the humanity! To have to make do on a half mil!
    But not to worry, because Obama has been playing for the other team

  5. Isolde:

    If the banks and corporations don’t pay their CEO’s millions of dollars they will all quit for higher paying jobs as . . .uh . . .

  6. Page 151 of the stimulus addresses the creation of “Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.” This body, which will “coordinate the conduct or support of comparative effectiveness and related health services research.”

    Tax evader Tom Daschle, said its goal is to cut health care costs by preventing Americans from getting treatments that the government decides don’t meet their standards for cost effectiveness. Such a council would, “lower overall spending by determining which medicines, treatments and procedures are most effective-and identifying those that do not justify their high price tags. They exclude treatments that don’t work, but also exclude treatments that are effective, but whose cost, in their opinion, does not justify their use.

    The patient has no say in this.

  7. Pres. Omiddle, you will not be judged by how nice you were to the Republicans. Not even by Republicans. You will be judged by what life is like for the average citizen. Remember how quickly W’s numbers took a dive? Do something effective, now, with all of “the good people around you.”

  8. afro: My sister works for one of those big health insurance companies and she says that we spend a lot of money on stuff that doesn’t work. For example, a lot of insurance money gets thrown away on chiropractics despite the evidence that it has no therapeutic value and in some cases can do harm. But she says that many, many claims are filed for it and millions of dollars wasted. Of course, her CEO’s could also stand to take a cut in pay but that’s beside the point. If there are therapies that don’t work, why should all of the rest of us pay for them?
    I just *know* that someone is going to claim that their cancer was cured by a backcrack but from what I’ve been told, any relief maybe due to the placebo effect. Placebos can be quite effective but you should pay your own way if you want to use them.

  9. myiq2xu, exactly. I work with small (some really small) banks and they are not impressed. They are getting letters from people who claim a connection to a small town because their grandparent was born there.

  10. RD I don’t want the government making those decisions for us

  11. Krugman quote: “You see, this isn’t a brainstorming session — it’s a collision of fundamentally incompatible world views.”

    Duh! Also true of reproductive rights, separation of church and state, and others. Why does he think we refused to vote for the “post-partisan” empty suit?

  12. Isolde, you mean they have “Kansas values.”

    Where have I heard that one before?

  13. I have no idea if chiropractors work or not, but I do believe they are regulated by the state –if they don’t work (and can be proven not to work objectively), then & only then should they stop being regulated & offered to people as a choice for therapy (covered by insurance should be irrelevant — if people are being scammed, shut them down). The government however, doesn’t need to decide for you on a case by case basis.
    Forget these procedures that “don’t work” though, the main problem I see with afrocity’s quote is this line:
    They exclude treatments that don’t work, but also exclude treatments that are effective, but whose cost, in their opinion, does not justify their use.

    They work but aren’t “cost effective” so people are going to have to remain sick/in pain without the possibility of treatment because the government decides that x course of treatment isn’t cost-effective? I bet that course of treatment feels plenty cost-effective to the person it is helping.

  14. When it comes to alternative therapies, I think it’s important look at who funded the “research” and who decided they didn’t work. Way back when, male doctors took birthing away from midwives and said midwives didn’t know what they were doing. It took many years before doctors realized that the midwives had actually known a thing or two after all.

    For example, when I was born, my mom was completely unconscious, and couldn’t use her muscles to push. Five years later, when my sister was born, the docs had discovered a better way. My sister was born with natural childbirth (that was the ’50s, when women were being forced back into the home), and my mom said it wasn’t bad at all.

  15. You gotta love today’s NYTimes headline:

    “Obama concedes mistake”

    Wasn’t he supposedly elected because of his infallible judgment?

  16. BB, Angie,

    Those are good points. Also take for instance something like an epidural at the time it was created or any treatment. Isn’t it more expensive at first but the more it is used with positive results, the more research can be done and it can be lower in cost as time goes on?

  17. riverdaughter, on February 4th, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I’m with you on this. Insurance currently pays for a lot of dubious treatment and denies treatment that does work because it’s expensive.

    angienc – depends on the kind of chiropractic you’re talking about, and there is a LOT of scamming going on in that industry (insurance and otherwise). Why not just pay for physical therapy (legit) and get it over with. All this subluxation nonsense is just that: nonsense.

  18. riverdaughter, on February 4th, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I’m with you on this. Insurance currently pays for a lot of dubious treatment and denies treatment that does work because it’s expensive.

    angienc – depends on the kind of chiropractic you’re talking about, and there is a LOT of scamming going on in that industry (insurance and otherwise). Why not just pay for physical therapy (legit) and get it over with. All this subluxation nonsense is just that: nonsense.

  19. bb – agree with you on the midwife thing, however, a lot of straight research (double blind, control group) research has been done for chiro and things like accupuncture. Chiro has been shown effective strictly in the realm of physical therapy (again, why not go to the physical therapist?) and no effectiveness for accupuncture. Those are just two off the top of my head. Like Tim Minchin says: “You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been shown to work? Medicine.”

  20. This may not be the greatest analogy but my oldest dog is 13years old. This is old for a big dog. Lately I have been in a quandry over his condition. His hips are very wear and he was in a lot of pain. Do I put him down or opt for the treatment that will help his arthritis? This dog did commericials and helped pay my rent at one time. He is my friend. I opted for the treatment last week and the results were immediate. He is running again and like a new dog. He is still old and slow but he is happy. The medication is $30 a pill.

    I can’t help it. i love him and maybe it extended his life for a year but what if there is someone out there in pain and these procedures are the only thing that help.

  21. bluelyon,

    So-called legitimate doctors do a lot of scamming too. Just one example, double-billing Medicare. It happens all the time. Crack down on doctors too then.

  22. And acupuncture has been shown to be effective for infertility.

  23. BTW, upfront disclaimer. I have never been to a Chiropracter and probably never will go to one. But I have gotten more physical therapy help from massage than from any doctor of any kind. Luckily, my sis-in-law works on me in exchange for babysitting.

  24. Please delete my second duplicate post…the first has the link in it that I want. Thanks moderators…

  25. bb- agree with you on the insurance scamming by all. Crack down on them.

    Afrocity – acupuncture effective on infertility? Link please. About your dog, the choice was yours to pay for the pills for your dog. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with my insurance making payments for dubious procedures and not paying for effective ones (regardless of cost – we are on the same page here).

  26. BB,

    The issue in the stimulus package also address various cancer treatments and cures for diseases like AIDS. I have a friend in NYC going through a controversial treatment. Again expensive but he has full blown AIDS and hopes that this can save the lives of other who are suffering. I don’t want the government deciding if it is cost effective. Doesn’t this also open the door or corruption? Support my campaign and we will let you slide?

  27. afrocity – it sounds like your friend is enrolled in a clinical trial? This is not affected by insurance.

  28. Bluelyon,

    No link honey. Personal testimony from friends and 5 shiny bouncing babies. This has circled among the Trying to conceive) TTC groups for years now. I have been TTC for a year now and this Afrocity is about to call Dr. Wang Chung to get some needles. I wish insurance would do more for those couples experiencing infertility. Thankfully my insurance does cover treatments.

    I don’t want Government deciding what is cost effective.

  29. Maybe someone could do a post on this study. I have always wondered why women are less assertive about getting our rights, maybe it is because most of us are literally sleeping with the enemy. New study shows that disadvantaged groups that have a more positive interactions with the oppressor group are less likely to expect and recognize discrimination. Sounds really interesting.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202175047.htm

  30. Obama Campaign Manager Getting 7-Figure Book Deal
    David Plouffe has agreed to a seven-figure deal to write a book about last year’s presidential election.


    seems everyone gets pay back if they play on obama’s team, im sure the book wil leave out May31st, Im sure they will leave out how the media ignored rev wright, bill ayers, tony rezko, and by far, it will leave out monies
    still unaccounted for from foreign countries, and ACORN fraud, and that’s not even mentioniong florida and michigan…….and how they made bill clinton look like a racist and soooooooooooo damned many other things.

  31. Interesting Honora, sounds like the “black chip studies”

  32. I think that much much research does need to be done. Supporting good research that is not beholden to any “sponsor” is the role of government – not determining treatment.

    W’s attack on science could happen again with another corporate selected president.

  33. Congratulations, it is now 18% women in the senate. The republicans have got their fifth senator.

    Bonnie Newman will be Gregg successor

    Breaking, from Politico’s Jonathan Martin:

    Gov. John Lynch will appoint Bonnie Newman, a moderate Republican, to fill Judd Gregg’s Senate seat, according a to an informed New Hampshire source.

    The selection of Newman, who endorsed Lynch in his 2004 race and once served as Gregg’s congressional Chief of Staff, would fulfill the new Commerce Secretary’s demand that he only take the administration post if he was replaced by a Republican.

    Newman worked in the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations and also in academia, most recently as interim president of the University of New Hampshire.


  34. For your daily dose of schadenfreuse, NYC Tabloids deliver again

  35. Downticket, I posted about Bonnie yesterday and it is great news indeed.

    Congrats Bonnie!!!


    From NBC’s Chris Donovan
    A few interesting tidbits IF Gregg resigns his seat and Bonnie Newman takes his place…

    1. The Senate will then have 18 female members — a new record. Interestingly enough, in 2000 the then-nine female senators who served published a book titled, “Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate” — so that number has now been doubled.

    2. New Hampshire will become the FOURTH state to currently have two female senators: (Washington, California and Maine do now)”

  37. No government is going to stop you from visiting a backcracker if you want one. They wouldn’t be outlawing them. You’d just have to fork over the money yourself. What’s wrong with that?

  38. I know many people – yes, many, who were helped by
    alternative treatments, that government has been trying to
    shut down. Including for cancer. Including one person with
    leukemia who was told ten years ago that he had less
    than a year to live.
    He went home, got on the Internet, found support
    groups and alternative treatments, did lots of research,
    and did mostly his own treatment.
    He’s still alive – and though he’s not cured or totally
    healthy, he’s doing alright. He used chemo once or twice
    during the ten years, for short periods (few months).
    The rest of the treatment was herbs, etc.
    His doctors told him it would never work. He changed
    I know other similar stories, too. In many countries
    these alternative treatments are used a lot.
    The pharmaceuticals lobby big time against them,
    because there’s no money in it for them. Ashcroft was known
    to break into some alternative companies with a squad of
    agents, and shut them down. Guess why? Not because
    they weren’t working.

    I expect to be attacked or ignored for this point of
    view, but it might be better to do your own research, with
    an open mind, checking with those who use these
    treatments. Many doctors now use supplements, and do
    complementary medicine. More would do it it insurance
    companies would cover them, but they don’t. So instead
    patients are shafted, given drugs that don’t work either,
    or have bad side effects.
    It’s all about the money.

  39. Good for Maine. That is where Margaret Chase Smith was from. Sounds like Maine has learned that women should remain an integral part of politics.

    While Illinois has sent I think many of the black senators, we have been not too good on the women’s side.

  40. OT, but did Violet Socks censor her rant on NOW and the Ms. cover because she was listed as a feminist blog by the corporate feminist groups?

  41. More OT, my snow shoveling is finished for today!! Oh happy happy day!

  42. RD, So the only people who could afford such treatments are the rich? We also taking about more than backcrackers. we are talking about proton treatment centers for cancer and many others.

  43. OT,

    As hundreds of thousands of people remain without electricity to heat their homes , the President of the United States watches the Super Bowl, hosting a White House party described as (no pun intended) ‘the hottest ticket in town.’

    While state officials plead for the president to speed assistance to devastated regions, the president cracks jokes while dining on fillet mignon and lobster with members of an exclusive club comprised of Washington’s “rich and powerful.”

    Obama please help Kentucky

  44. I swear by acupuncture – it’s been of significant help with knee injuries, bursitis, back spasms, sinusitis, for me and MS, infertility, etc, for others I know. In fact, my docs now discuss acupuncture in the mix of treatments during assessments.

    I’ve also had good response with Chiropractic – depends on the type of chiro – the bone crunching type is seriously questionable.

    ERA today

  45. Indeed, speaktruth – I have a dear friend who was told in June of 1993 that she had advanced cancer and that she should “get her life in order” because she only had about three months to live. I visited her in the hospital the day she went in – I asked her what was next and she said she was leaving the hospital the next day as they wanted to start her on Chemo – she went with acupuncture, macro-diet, massage, etc. etc. she is still alive and well and has no signs of cancer. 🙂

  46. I’d be dead without my chiropractor.
    I was a non-believer myself until a serious accident left me with permanent spinal damage.
    I tried physical therapy, drugs, steroid injections, and acupuncture.

    The chiropractor I see uses the “Acitvator Method”. It is gentle and there is no “crunching” or “cracking”.

    I usually experience immediate pain relief, as do many others. Why shouldn’t this be covered by insurance?
    Because it’s not a pharmaceutical?
    And for the record-physical therapy nearly killed me.

  47. They exclude treatments that don’t work, but also exclude treatments that are effective, but whose cost, in their opinion, does not justify their use.

    Afrocity, The word for that is Murder-By-Spreadsheet.

  48. Having spent 15 years working for health insurance companies, I can tell you that the vast majority of chiropractic claims are suspect. Even people who swear by chiropractors can’t say that they are ever cured. A treatment may result in temporary relief, but you have to keep going back to get that relief. Then there are theories that the backcracking may be doing more long term harm than good.

    The bad news is, that companies include the coverage in their policies for their employees, so they want the health insurance companies to pay the claims. It’s actually cheaper for the insurance companies to pay the bogus claims than it is to investigate and review them to determine which are legitimate. Healthcare reform is essential because the system is sick, sick, sick.

  49. My life turned around after reading The Secret

    Joanelle your friend is living proof that these methods work. I have a friend that used color therapy for her sinus problem and it worked too.

    Catarina, I have never been to a chiropractor. I have been thinking about it for my lower back pain.

    I am open to alternative medicine. I have also wanted to use a birth chair or have my baby under water if i ever do conceive.

  50. SInce my divorce, I have had to go from women’s law and poverty law to medical malpractice and personal injury to pay the bills. I now deal with medical bills all day long now, the only time I have ever seen chiropractic paid for by insurance has been when the physician referred the patient to a chiropractor. The insurance companies who pay for chiropractic are very, very few and far between. We usually have to guarantee liens if the client choses to see a chiropractor.

  51. I got rid of my migraines by using self-hypnosis and eliminating trigger foods. My self-treatment cost almost nothing! At one time I got migraines almost every day.

  52. Also, even if the work chiropractors do is short term at best, isn’t that better than prescribing a bunch of drugs that result in dependence? SOmetimes, short term is better than no relief at all for people in extreme pain. I would much rather see people out of pain for a few days, than addicted to oxycontin, which shouldn’t have been prescribed to them in the first place.

  53. TRK, It depends on the policy. If an employer includes chiropractic coverage in the policy for employees, chiropractic is covered. Of course, in the case of an accident, the medical treatment is more likely being paid by the auto or liability policy, so different rules would apply. For the most part, if a company offers their employees chiropractic coverage, those claims get paid.

  54. Chiropractors are not recognized as physicians which is one reason they are not wholly covered by insurance. They refer to themselves as “doctors” but are viewed as physical therapists acting independently. Coverage only occurs when an qualified MD makes the referral.

    This goes back to the days when anyone could hang a sign and pronounce themselves as a “doctor of chiropractics” with little or no training.

  55. I can’t afford a chiropractor or even a massage therapist. My friends gave me a 24″ X 15″ “rice pack” for Christmas. I have smaller ones made from tube socks. I heat the large flat rice pack in the microwave. I lie on it for 15 minutes twice a day. I can immediately feel my shoulder and back muscles relax. I have less stiffness and sciatica pain as a result.

    (caution. This treatment can induce sleep in five minutes.)

  56. BB: So did I!! They had me on imitrex for years and it got rid of the headaches, but caused my blood pressure to go sky high. An alternative was to keep a migraine diary to find my triggers. Haven’t had a migraine in three years and I used at least two a week.

  57. Catarina,

    My sister-in-law does some kind of kinestheic therapy with an activator. It worked so well for me that I got my own activator to work on myself. I’d rather pay for things that work that waste time any energy going to doctors who do nothing or worse.

  58. We need universal health care for catastrophic illnesses and long-term care. Those are what bankrupt people.

  59. O/T: It looks like MoDo is becoming far less entranced with Obama judging from today’s column. Comes as a surprise since she helped to get him there in the first place. If he keeps up the pace, she will have many more columns available to skewer him as much as she did Bush and Clinton.

    He appears to be another gift that just keeps on giving.

  60. Bam Bam

    Let that nickname sink in for a minute. I came across it in a comment at MoonofAL.org and found it arresting.

    I’d be interested in your takes on it.

    “Bam Bam” Oh, my.

    I’ve been wondering how Obama’s apparent lack of grasp of his new job thus far would be characterized. This nickname, with it’s infantilization of Obama, is politically deadly. It captures the neophyte aspect, his lack of experience, his seeming lack of concern about how his major political legislation, the Obama Stimulus bill, is being mostly handled by others (the grownups?) to all appearances. As a result, the Repubs are getting credit for bringing it down, while the Dems are being treated by Obama himself as somehow not capable of governing since Obama seems to view them as requiring the help and “input” of the Daddy Party.

    Obama packed five interviews into one day yesterday, thereby cutting down the influence of each one and also spending his celebrity capital. But he has been essentially silent as far as the public is aware on just what he wants to see in the Obama Stimulus bill. He seems to see his role as saying the Dems have to give in to the Repubs (bcz the Repubs have done the economy so much good these past eight years, I guess…), and thus the greatest objective of all is to have a bill which garners a substantial number of Repub votes. No matter what’s in it.

    I don’t think the public will think that’s a suitable objective or a worthy achievement. What’s needed is actions which will stimulate the economy while also moving toward achieving other necessary goals: lower greenhouse emissions, improve healthcare,, for two prominent examples. These could have been major components of the Obama Stimulus bill, and some Dems have worked very hard to get them in, only to be undercut by Obama. Things which Obama said during the campaign were his goals!

    Now?: What has he told the public about his goals? I do so miss pols who can be explicit.

    Obama and his advisers played the Democratic primary system masterfully; they do not seem to know how to govern or manage the Repubs, a party in disarray.

    Obama is hurt, imo, by never having clearly delineated what he actually wanted to do. This now allows the Repubs to tell the public that Obama’s main objective is bipartisanship, that he wants the Dems to make nice to the Repubs and if they don’t, then Obama has failed and the Dems are at fault. The Repubs can prove Obama is failing simply by not voting with Dems! Easypeasy for them.

    And Obama seems to float above it all, appearing “so serene,” per Cokie Roberts, an MCMer* who once seemed liberal and thus her cuts slice more deeply. BushBoy appeared “serene” as he ordered invasions and bombings (off camera, he did pump his fist and say “Feels good,” but on air was so sincere, yet seemed to untouched by the drama of what he’d put into effect).

    I’m not sure serene is what the American public or the world really wants to see from No Drama Obama right now. Perhaps a bit of “hair on fire,” since the issues facing him, the nation, and the world are so existentially important.

    *MCMer–Member of the Mainstream Corporate Media

    And, thnkx, Riverdaughter, for finding the Krugman words which say all this so succinctly.

  61. bostonboomer, add diagnostic testing and I’m with you. finding the problem sooner than later is a benefit to all. There will still be people who need more assistance, but for a universal plan that would help a lot.

  62. All our cases are subject to health insurance and then are subrogated after the the case is settled. I have seen a few policies that cover chiropractic, but only with a medical referral.

    While we are at it, why don’t insurance companies include smoking cessation aids? I have had 4 different health insurance policies, and the big ones are in there (dont want to mention names) not one damn company pays for cessation products. THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!! They would rather pay for the cancer or heart attack, instead of assisting me in stopping this disgusting, nasty, stinky habit?

  63. Who paid for that woman to get implanted with 8 embryos?


  65. Pat,

    Modo helped defeat Gore and Kerry too. She doesn’t care about party or ideology–just “elite” status, apparently.

  66. Most people get their health insurance coverage through their employers, and the employers dicate what is covered and what isn’t as far as what types of providers can be reimbursed for services. Hell, I even saw a policy once where visits to a shaman were covered. If the employer wants to pay for the coverage, it’s provided.

    The problems arise from individuals who buy policies. Those are very expensive and limited as to what is covered. Actually, there are individual states which mandate chiropractic coverage. I believe MD is one of them.

  67. bb and kim
    would love more info on the migraines!

    re: chiro

    some types of back pain can’t be “cured”-only managed. even surgeons can’t always
    fully resolve issues like scoliosis and spina bifida.
    chiropractors and other “alternative” therapists can
    help manage pain without, or with less drugs.

  68. Aside from the disgusting Versailles-like nature of calling half a mil in salary ‘draconian’, this move is just more bread and circuses for the masses.

    I’m as appalled as anyone at the huge bonuses and $10 million dollar Superbowl parties, but at the end of the day, the bonuses are not the real problem. Most Americans are pretty unhappy with the ‘stimulus’ bill, but many of the issues and details are complex and difficult to understand (not everyone reads Krugman or has dakinikat to sort through the bullsh*t for them). But the one type of information I have seen in the MSM that goes against their usual instinct to protect the ruling elite is sensational articles about bonuses and spending on parties and retreats and so on. That is easy for the 99% of the rest of us, to whom $500k is a freakin’ fortune, to understand. And it in a tiny way feeds our instinct for revenge against the multimillion dollar *sshats who got us into this mess while we’re standing in line at the unemployment office.

    I’m guessing all the articles about executive excesses have generated quite a bit of rage among the ‘common’ folks and, combined with the nomination of the world’s worst tax cheats for Cabinet positions, has finally triggered Obama and his band of thieves to realize that the publicized portion of Wall St’s immense greed could put his plan in jeopardy.

    So the cap is just a bone being tossed to the howling masses. It’s not structural change. It’s not a move that will fundamentally change the crooked way Wall St has behaved, and will do nothing to rein in high-risk behavior (with other people’s money) in the future. It’s just that exec compensation is the one thing mass sentiment could rally around in opposition to Obama’s Wall St protectionism plan, so they have to do something about it. But it’s not more than cutting out a bit of dead tissue to save the patient; popular with most average folks and even easily rationalizable by other members of the high-flying pack.

    Sure, it puts a handful of greedy jerks under the bus temporarily, and some will no doubt need expensive therapy to get over shock of being inconvenienced by their bankrollee Obama, but that’s just karma, not a solution to our economic problems. Too little, too late, too much of a big freakin’ sop.

  69. RD, I enjoy waking up to your posts. Another term for what Posen describes is “moral hazard.” The idea of not having skin in the game (e.g. when renting a car, you can drive the engine to the ground as long as you avoid denting it). Japanese banks were swimming in bad loans during the lost decade, and they made it worse by using the Japanese system of cross ownership, so in essence every bank was subsidizing other bank’s bad loans. The banks were eventually restructured, but in the end, the main factors that pulled them out of the long slump were the resurgence of the global economy and the Japanese people who are very long-term savers.

    I really need DK’s sounding here. But I think the Japanese economy works is such a different way from ours. They save and invest. We earn big (compared to them) and spend. GNP = Consumption + Investment + Government Spending + Net Exports. The Japanese weigh heavier in investment, government spending and net exports. The US makes up for that difference by weighing much heavier in consumption. That explains the big focus right now on a stimulus plan. We are weak right now on commercial investment and net exports. The thinking is by significantly raising government spending, we can also stimulate consumption, which in turn will get the wheels of commerce turning again.

    Three things may need to happen for this to work. One, we need the banks unfrozen and not melting down, in order to facilitate business. Two, we need the stimulus plan to have a quick impact in triggering consumption and thereby driving businesses, small and large. And three, neither one or two can happen until the housing market bottoms. (In Japan, that bottom was clear fairly early since the bubble burst was larger than ours.) There are some signs we may see that housing bottom sometime this year, knock wood.

    There is a lot of partisan noise on all this in DC, but everyone wants the same result, imo. And no matter how much Barry postures, this will be a solution framed and executed by the Democrats. Glad Hillary is traveling to Japan and China. In addition to her SoS duties, she can learn more about the Japanese experience, give a boost to China/Japan’s confidence in our Treasuries, press China to lift their currency (her time on Walmart’s board should help), and find new ways for the respective economies to help each other in the global crisis.

  70. janicen

    I’m in MA and my chiro visits are covered. A small co-pay, the same as what I pay to see any other doc, is charged.

    My primary care physician couldn’t figure out why I was having debilitating pain in my hip after being hit nyby a car . After asking several questions about my reprocductive cycle she rambled about
    sending me to a pain clinic but first sent me to a very expensive orthopedic surgeon.
    He sent me for an MRI (he OWNED the f-ing MRI facility) where they did an MRI of my lower back instead of my hip and blamed ME for that mistake.
    They wanted to do another one, which I refused.
    I went to my chiro, she poked my hip, asked me if that was the spot that hurt, and told me I had trochanteric bursitis.
    I bought an ultrasound tool and treated it myself.
    Total cost to insurance company for the diagnosis?
    25 bucks.

  71. My point exactly Catarina and my next question would be, if you go to a doctor and he isn’t worth a damn, can we ask our insurance companies not to pay him? Or better yet, can I backcharge him my hourly rate when I am forced to sit in a freaking lounge and hour and a half because he overbooked?

    I really do not give a damn what some physicians classify as witch doctorey voodoo or not, if it gives you some relief, without addiction to narcotics, and you pay your insurance premiuns, it should be covered.

    The lines at the methadone clinics around here are long and winding, because of all the hillbilly heroin precribed to people.

  72. Good for you Catarina!

    As far as banks are concerned. Thomas Jefferson fought the Federalists to combat the creation of a national bank. I am afraid with the bailouts his efforts have failed.

  73. cat, I’m glad you found relief. I’m not defending health insurance companies. They are far from perfect. But they are not staffed with evil people who revel in causing people to suffer, as Michael Moore likes to pretend. For the most part, the people I saw were overworked and underpaid and scrupulously administered the policies that were dictated by the employers who bought them. That was the safest and quickest course of action. One didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t in the policy. I worked in Finance, but I knew people in claims and customer service who had daily quotas and had to keep cranking out claims and resolving customer issues as fast as they could. It was much quicker to pay a claim than to send it for review.

  74. http://www.ebacks.com/faq.aspx#6

    This is NOT my chiro, but there is some
    interesting info about halfway down the page-DC vs MD training..

  75. Think of the average citizen who is waiting for the next shoe to drop. He/she has either just lost their job and access to healthcare or they find themselves on the verge of the same.

    Think of the average he/she watching their income, or their ability to earn decrease, while their utility and food bills continue to climb and their resources are reduced or depleted. Think of the average he/she who is unable to secure another job as the market increases with others like him/her fighting for a place in line.

    Think of the average he/she waiting for the promise of some form of relief while those in DC sit around, backbiting one another, jockeying for a place in the year 2010, and forgetting what they were elected to do in the first place.

    Think of the average he/she who goes to bed each night wondering what tomorrow will bring while the “elites” are set a place at the table and the most the president can offer is a reduction in bonuses for those who have access and money.

    Think of the average he/she who worries about illness for themselves and their kids who are not covered by healthcare who lay awake nights hoping catastrophe bypasses them for another day.

    Think of the average he/she who has no idea of how we got here, who goes about his/her daily business just hoping to get by, who has been overlooked and forgotten in all of this tribulation and wonders why a “pass” is given to those who “forgot” to pay their taxes.

    Think of the average he/she who elected this administration under the guise of “hope” and “change” and who now question the ability to the man they honestly felt would lead them out of this darkness who are being left behind.

    And when you think of them, think of “us” as we are those same people, the average earner, the little guy, the backbone of this nation, who are left to wonder if we will succeed.

    It is a “bill of goods” that has been sold with no warranty attached. It is we, us, the he/she’s who must live with this nightmare while the elites watch from above. Sad.

  76. Catarina,

    I really dislike going to doctors, because I have had very bad experiences in the past–both with my own health and others I care about.

    Example, my mom was told by her doctor before surgry that the polyps in her colon were obviously cancerous. She was scare to death and said goodbye to all of us. I told her not to believe the doctor. Guess what? The growths were benign.

    Example, my m-i-l had a serious stroke. It didn’t show up on the MRI right away (they never do) so she was sent home even though she couldn’t walk, talk, or write. The brain damage progressed for several days before we could get her into the hospital. They didn’t even give her blood thinners!

    Example, I had an ear infection caused by a virus. It was like being drunk, I had no ability to balance. I was told to take motion sickness OTC meds. I went back several times and got no help until my ears got so bad I could hardly hear anything. Finally, I went to Mass Eye and Ear–found out the motion sickness meds were making it worse. I needed two courses of steroid treatment, and didn’t get my hearing back fully for months–and I was lucky.

  77. Re: Chiropractors — The only help I got with very serious L5-S1 back pain was from 1) a physiatrist (doctor who specializes in physical therapy) and 2) a chiropractor who specialized in passive stretching, along with some use of gentle manipulation.

    The physiatristt I learned about from a newspaper article and I could go to him since my insurance at the time allowed patients to make decisions.

    The chiro I learned about from my gynecologist who used him during her own pregnancy for back pain. She rec’d him. highly.

    I had experienced a quantum leap of improvement from seeing the physiatrist, but I still was not back to normal. But I could walk comfortably. Well, much more comfortably than before his treatment..

    After just a few sessions with the chiro, I realized I had been walking abnormally, that I was very stiff–and hadn’t even realized it as it had been so long.

    So, my personal experience is that a chiropractor helped me to regain physical normalcy. Could a physical therapist have done the same? I don’t know. I do know that the relief was wonderful.

    I”d develped the back problem in March of 1989, suffered for about three years of no improvement working with orthos; got major improvement working with the physiatrist; and achieved close to normal function with the chiro.

    I no longer have coverage for chiropracters, and PT is very expensive on my plan. I still have some problems, but they occur very infrequently. Hope this continues.

  78. BB,

    In Boston. Beth Israel saved my life or sanity. I found a mass on my breast and they were so kind to me. It was a cyst in the end but they talked me through the ultra sound and discussed treatments. i love them.

  79. ohmg bb!!

    My biggest issue with docs is that so many of them think they’re a lot smarter than they actually are.

    (a lot like politicians, no?)

    I know you’re crazy busy with school-maybe when things slow down for you a bit you could email me
    and tell me more about the migraine hypnosis.
    A woman in your neighborhood (Caitlin Williams)
    helped me quite a bit but I’d still be interested..

  80. I’m so glad you had a good experience there, Afrocity. It’s a good hospital. That’s scary stuff.

  81. Valhalla, very well said. I think you are absolutely correct.

  82. BB, how about a post on “Home remedies, or how I cured my ingrown toenail.” With disclaimers, of course.

    I am not making light of the medical conditions discussed on this thread. I think the above suggestion could be a fun and beneficial evening thread.

  83. OT,

    WASHINGTON (AP) – On the rockiest day of his young administration, President Barack Obama did what surely made him happy for a while.

    He left.

    With little notice, the president and first lady Michelle Obama bolted the gated compound of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in their tank of a limousine on Tuesday. They ended up at a Washington public school, greeted by children who could not care less about the collapse of a Cabinet secretary nomination.

    “We were just tired of being in the White House,” the president candidly told the gleeful second-graders at Capital City Public Charter School.

    “We got out! They let us out!” Mrs. Obama said as the kids and their teachers laughed.

    The White House said the Obamas’ trip had been planned, just not publicly announced.

    The surprise timing, though, gave the feel of two different worlds.

    At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs was getting grilled about Tom Daschle’s doomed nomination for health and human services secretary.

    Meanwhile, the president was getting questions from boys and girls who are the same age as his seven-year-old daughter, Sasha.

    (AP) President Barack Obama, right, points back to second graders following his visit to Capital City…
    Full Image
    One child asked him if he had a favorite superhero. Spiderman and Batman, the president answered.

    Another student asked what it was like to live in the White House. Mrs. Obama took charge on this one, delighting the kids with all the perks of life in America’s most famous house: a florist, a bowling alley, a movie theater, even a special place where people make chocolate and candy.

    Like wow Mr. Wonka do you have a candy cane staircase and a toilet bowl made of marshmallows?????

  84. purple
    you dont have to wait for that post, if you have an ingrown toenail speak up
    that could get infected you know

  85. Catarina,

    I will e-mail you, but it was mostly trial and error. There are certain foods that causes blood vessels to expand and contract. The trigger food vary with different people. For me, I had to completely stop eating bananas and oranges and be careful with eggplant, chocolate, strong cheeses, and bacon. I can’t eat chicken livers, lobster, or crabmeat, unfortunately. Besides that, the key for me was deep relaxation and learning to relax in general. Self-hypnosis helps with that. I used tapes at first and then got so I could relax without them.

  86. I am in moderation at 10:32. Interesting report on how Obama escaped the White House yesterday.

  87. catarina, thanks. I haven’t found the cure for my toe fungus. (sorry to bring that up for the squeamish.) Wiki suggests I use cider vinegar or Listerine. I have yet to try the Listerine and have not cured it yet. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

  88. You can’t eat lobster in Boston? Geeze BB, you might as well move to Texas.

  89. Good idea Purplefinn.

  90. Purple i thought they have pills for toe fungus, Isn’t it called langasill or something like that?

  91. One of the best lines I ever heard was from a woman at a winter U.U. retreat in Florida. She said, “I’ll never consider suicide as long as there’s lobster in this world.”

  92. holy grossness, purple, I was just kidding!!

  93. Afrocity,

    I could probably get away with some lobster now. I can get away with tiny amounts of bananas, but not oranges. I never cared for lobster, but I like crabmeat. But migraines are worse than giving up some food. The good news is after menopause, migraines tend to improve–a lot of them are also related to hormones.

  94. but since you brought it up, tea tree oil should clear you right up. Available at your health food store.
    the green witch

  95. OK, I’ll talk to you all later. I have to go out into the snowy wilds. Take care of all those ailments!

  96. catarina, Gotcha!

  97. Speaking of dumb, did anyone see this yet?

    Pelosi: “Every month we do not move forward with the Economic Recovery Package, ‘500 million Americans lose their jobs.’” WTF?!

  98. no way fif no way

  99. And I hate to bring this up–we thought we were finally rid of him–but is it possible Dean will be back to take Daschle’s place? [Notice how Obama is already saying, “now we must move forward?” Nothing to see here folks, keep moving, keep moving!]

    Obama wants to move ahead after Daschle withdraws

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Tom Daschle withdrew Tuesday as President Barack Obama’s nominee to be health and human services secretary, dealing potential blows to both speedy health care reform and Obama’s hopes for a smooth start in the White House. “Now we must move forward,” Obama said in a written statement accepting “with sadness and regret” Daschle’s request to be removed from consideration. A day earlier, Obama had said he “absolutely” stood by Daschle in the face of problems over back taxes and potential conflicts of interest.

    Among those considered for the post before it went to Daschle was Howard Dean, the physician-turned-politician who ran for president in 2004 and recently left as head of the Democratic National Committee.


  100. cat: what the hell was she (not) thinking?! They are trying to incite panic at every turn to ram things through–way to create confidence in the economic sector.

  101. how about a WOMAN HHSS??

  102. She means five hundred thousand, of course.

  103. Well, I am still in moderation with this comment but an interesting read is:

    On the rockiest day of his young administration, President Barack Obama did what surely made him happy for a while.

    He left.

    “We were just tired of being in the White House,” the president candidly told the gleeful second-graders at Capital City Public Charter School.

    “We got out! They let us out!” Mrs. Obama said as the kids and their teachers laughed.

  104. Valhalla, on February 4th, 2009 at 9:59 am Said:

    Great comment, I feel like this is a “distraction” too.

    And…what Pat said @ 10:17 …beautiful, thank you.

  105. fif, on February 4th, 2009 at 10:42 am Said:


    Thanks for that video. You gave me my laugh for the day.

  106. Congressional Quarterly reporter on WNYC just said Obama will be “triangulating” against Nancy Pelosi, will pick a fight with Pelosis and Reid over the Obama Stimulus bill–his stimulus bill.

    What? Like he wasn’t the president?. He doesn’t communicate with members of his own party?

    Why is there any serious daylight between a Democratic president and the Democratic House and Democratic Senate???

    If Obama wanted something in his own simulus bill, why wasn’t he working with the House committee chairman, leadership, Senate committee chairmen, leadership–and developing a bill he wanted to actually, like, support.

    And why can’t he speak directly and simply about what the Obama Stimuls bill does and why it has things in it? The other person on with the CQ guy just gave a brief summary of options and why government spending is what’s left. He made sense in very few words. Sort of like Krugman.

    Why can’t Obama say this? He still speaks in generalities. Some might think he doesn’t get the concepts or the underlying reasoning….

  107. BTW, re: Obama picking fights with Dems — he did say he would have to do this before the election, but only to a private fundraiser outside Phillie. Very little reporting on it, but it was there. I commented about it.

    Seems what he may have said in less public venues is what he may really have meant?

  108. Well said, Pat.

    Catarina: My magraine triggers were almost all caffiene related. I kept a journal every day and recorded what I ate and what I did. The doctor called mine supermom migraines, I had a complete inability to just relax. They usually occurred when I was attempting to just veg-out. I was always so busy with the kids and work, I didn’t know how to just be calm.

  109. Obama should beg Bill Clinton to take HHSS. After all, he is the second most vetted person in American politics.
    I know it would make me feel safe and warm to know that the Big Dog was in charge of my health.

  110. OT (are we ever on topic around here? No)

    Looks like there may be some problems with BO’s plans in Afghanistan if the Kyrgyzs close their US air base located there:


  111. Why does he need to fight with congressional Dems when they have a whopping majority in both houses of Congress?

  112. New post up!!!

  113. TRK
    funny-when I was doing supermom the migs weren’t as bad. After the kids left it hit the fan.
    gald for you, that you got rid of them-what misery!
    mine are weather related. pressure systems kill me.
    I might have to move.

  114. Cat: It has something to do with blood flow when you are stressed. When you are relaxed, the blood flow differs, and most of us are so stressed our bodies become accustomed to it.

  115. That gaffe with Pelosi would have toasted Palin even more if she had said it. US population: 335 million or so.

    Wonder if SNL will roast Nancy. Prolly not.

  116. Well Rd, even MoDo called it — here…


    about yesterday.

    All I could think about was the scene in Michael Moore’s film of Bush reading to those kids…

    “Escaping” is not an option right now. Right now, the glow is off and the WORK is real.

    “…Hey, he wanted this job. He was willing to break all of the rules to get the nomination and there were plenty of people with almost a billion dollars in campaign funds who were willing to help him break those rules. But it is his responsibility now to fulfill the obligations of his oath, even if it makes him unpopular with the rich boys and even if the bankers and Broderites attack him mercilessly…”

    Right when this country needed all the confidence in the world to get us out of the last eight years?

    It doesn’t look good, and the whole world is talking about it…


    You know?

    Gen OBOT is really going to learn from this one — it is actually a job isn’t it? Especially all the hard parts. What we saw is escapist faire and that just won’t work. Not for this job.

    Perhaps MoDo and Huff are going to start understanding soon why Hillary was our choice, and in leiu of that McCain.


  117. New post up!!

  118. TRK
    I get them baaad when there’s a storm.
    My husband says its my pure Sicilian genes and that I need to go back to the island. (I’m working on it)
    I never get them when I’m there and all my triggers go away. So weird!

  119. No offense to the people who work in the insurance industry, but I spent one miserable year of my life in insurance defense & the data the insurance companies produce & look at is skewed (to be kind). I wouldn’t believe anything an insurance company said — these are the people who don’t mind taking your premiums every month but then don’t want to pay when you need it — whether that be health, home flooding from hurricanes, etc. When my father had heart attack last July we did not take him to an insurance company for treatment — we took him to a doctor. Now, considering my overweight, nothing but meat & potato eating, 1 & 1/2 pack a day smoking 62 year old dad probably only had another 5 years in him anyway, I’m sure it wasn’t cost effective to get him the treatment. But you know what? I don’t give a flying fig. And don’t fool yourself, you start letting the government & insurance companies make decisions about health coverage based on “cost effectiveness” it is going to be me & you being denied treatment, not them. (Oh, and daddy quite smoking cold turkey after his heart attack — yay daddy!! But my mom is weaning him kicking & screaming off of red meat).

  120. So sorry to hear about your hip Catarina.

    Sicily is a really beautiful island-must be the air and food that blows it all away. Keep on working on it. Do you have dual nationality?

  121. “They exclude treatments that don’t work, but also exclude treatments that are effective, but whose cost, in their opinion, does not justify their use.”

    Think about these words and exactly what they mean. The insurance companies and our government will decide who will live, live humanely or die based on the cost of a treatment. So if it costs a million dollars to keep a dying child alive is that cost justified?

    Who defines ” justified costs”? How will they be defined?

    My mom’s doctor is completely forthright about what he can provide her and what he can’t under Medicare and AARP. He was quite clear about the fact that there are certain costs medicare says it will cover, but if he prescribes these treatments he stand to lose the ability to do certain things. If he had let her stay in the hospital a day over a certain amount of days, although she should have due to her condition, he may not be able to keep his right to beds in the hospital. It doesn’t matter if AARP pays what Medicare doesn’t pay for because it first has to be approved under Medicare.

    He cannot prescribe a certain diagnostic test for Alzheimers which would allow for early treatment, but he can prescribe medication after Alzheimers is present, which would not help much.

    So the statement quoted at the beginning of this post is already in effect. Shortly, only the rich and governement employess will be able to afford treaments without exemption.
    Regarding CEO pay limits…a little OT butI heard McCaskill berate Congress that no one should earn more than the President, that it’s unjustified, which may be how BO has come up with the 500K figure. What McCaskill has forgotten but was brought up when Bush gave himself a raise – (Clinton earned much less) – by the Dems is that the $400K is nearly free money. (* A $50000 expense account was implemented in 1949.)

    The President receives the following additional perks paid by the taxpayer.

    The White House is a wonderful home. While you don’t have to pay rent or sign a lease, you can only stay there for four years (with the possibility of extending for another four years). It can easily accommodate the President, including family and pets. It’s fully furnished, and includes a bowling alley, putting green, jogging track, billiard room, tennis courts, swimming pool, and movie theater. If the President or First Lady dislike the artwork, they have the complete collections in the National Gallery of Art at their disposal. Of course, if they need to get away from it all or entertain some foreign dignitaries, the presidency also comes with a woodland retreat. Just head on over to Camp David and enjoy the cozy cottages on this 125 acre property.

    While the President technically has to pay for his own food, he does have a number of expense accounts (see below) that he can use to purchase it. Regardless of who pays, the White House has 5 full time chefs to prepare any sort of meal for the White House staff. In addition, there is a huge collection of vintage wine which is still in stock from when Thomas Jefferson spent more than $10000 purchasing it.

    When traveling on the ground, the preferred method is the Presidential Limousine. With a new model built for each Chief Executive, this highly customized stretched Lincoln Continental is full of luxury and technology.

    If traveling by air, short trips are typically made in Marine One, the presidential helicopter. Longer trips are made in Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747 equipped with conference rooms, dining room, quarters for the President and First Lady, offices for staff, areas for the press, medical facilities, and two galleys for a total of about 4000 square feet.

    Those men in the dark sunglasses and trench coats do more than just look cool. The POTUS has some of the most highly trained bodyguards in the world. The best and brightest of the Secret Service protect the life and health of the President and his family 24 hours a day, and in fact, for the rest of their lives.

    The President may hire a total of 34 staff for domestic service and administration. This is above and beyond the positions already officially part of the Executive Branch of the federal government. In addition, the President may hire the temporary services (one year or less) of an unlimited number of professionals, experts, or consultants as required.

    As if the staff above is not enough, the President may hire up to 100 assistants for the White House Office. He may hire up to 3 people to work specifically at the Executive Residence. As with above, the President may hire any number of professionals, experts, or consultants as needed. It should be noted that normal or expected maintenance of the White House and its grounds are already covered by the budget.

    More Money
    In addition to his salary, the President gets numerous expense accounts including:

    General account ($50000)
    Official expenses of the White House office
    Entertainment expenses
    Separate entertainment expenses for official presidential functions
    Traveling expenses for the president and anyone traveling with him (above and beyond the free limo, helicopter, and airplane rides)
    In addition there is an account designated for “unanticipated needs” which is not to exceed $1 million per year. These unanticipated needs include anything for the furtherance of the national interest, security, or defense, including personnel needs and needs for services. Basically if the President is over-quota for anything listed above, he can dip into this money.

    As if all of this other money wasn’t enough, the President’s pension is quite hefty. The annual pension is equal to the yearly salary of a cabinet member (currently over $150000). Some examples include Bill Clinton who is expected to receive over $6 million and Ronald Reagan who received more than $2 million during his lifetime. Interestingly enough, George Bush has declined his pension.

    In addition to the pension, the ex-president receives free postal service for non-political correspondence, free office space, and $96000 a year to pay for office help. During the first 30 months after his term has expired, the president is also eligible for up to $150000 per year to hire a staff to help with the transition.

    Presidential Library
    For every administration since Herbert Hoover, a presidential library is built to honor the former president and is used as the official storage facility of all the president’s official documents by the United States National Archives and Records Administration.”

  122. My previous post should have contained an additional quotation mark at the end…

  123. I went to a chiropractor for acupuncture to help my sinuses. It didn’t seem to do a whole lot more than a decongestant. But, as we discussed my sinus pain one session, and I mentioned that, oddly, the sinus headaches always started in my neck at the base of my skull, he suggested that I let him work on my neck as the problem may not be a sinus issue. Within days the debilitating headaches that had plagued me for years were gone. It’s been over a year now.

    I got whiplash in a car accident years ago and, at the time, had gone to a physical therapist who did nothing to help the pain. So I think it’s not really the practice so much as the practitioner. At least that’s been my personal experience.

    Getting my neck cracked was really scary though. I never got used to it.

  124. your blog is so fanntastic, i cant belileve it, so cool. greatsv

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