Thursday, February 6, 2014

Letter to the Editor

February 6, 2014

Every time I watch a 'news' show or listen to the pundits debate the worth or value of increasing the minimum wage, it seems to me that from the corporate side, their defense AGAINST it is that it will raise prices. Every time it is suggested that remediation or mitigation be included in the price of development of any resource whether it be oil, gas or coal, we get the same response, it will raise prices.
The sacrosanct message is that ALL PROFITS are to remain at the same outrageous extreme level they achieved through wage suppression and environmental irresponsibility. No matter what anyone says to the contrary, their message remains the same, profits must remain as they are now. No taxes, no sharing of the wealth, no responsibility to the country or states being exploited.
Am I the only one hearing this? I don't hear anyone challenging them on the profiteering that is taking the WORLD down the rathole.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Law 1994

Welfare Reform

I went to the Library of Congress to research what the law says exactly about working and drawing welfare. I remember when the laws were changed, Clinton was president and drew wild accolades from the right for instituting the new maximum and minimum requirements to draw welfare. No more sitting on your lazy ass taking care of your kids, no, you had to pay someone else to do that so you could go to work and earn less than the babysitter.
Herewith are the laws as copied directly from the registry. You are welcome to go read them in all their details if you are so inclined. It took several hours for me to locate these so 'you're welcome'.
I have included some child support laws because I don't think many women know the courts are supposed to see that you receive your due from the father of your children.
10/31/1994 Became Public Law No: 103-432.
(see below)

(a) CONGRESSIONAL POLICY- The Congress hereby declares that--
(1) it is the policy and responsibility of the Federal Government to reduce the rate at which and the degree to which families depend on income from welfare programs and the duration of welfare receipt, consistent with other essential national goals;
(2) it is the policy of the United States to strengthen families, to ensure that children grow up in families that are economically self-sufficient and that the life prospects of children are improved, and to underscore the responsibility of parents to support their children;
(3) the Federal Government should help welfare recipients as well as individuals at risk of welfare receipt to improve their education and job skills, to obtain child care and other necessary support services, and to take such other steps as may be necessary to assist them to become financially independent; and
(4) it is the purpose of this section to provide the public with generally accepted measures of welfare receipt so that it can track such receipt over time and determine whether progress is being made in reducing the rate at which and, to the extent feasible, the degree to which, families depend on income from welfare programs and the duration of welfare receipt.
(b) DEVELOPMENT OF WELFARE INDICATORS AND PREDICTORS- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the `Secretary') in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture shall--
(1) develop--
(A) indicators of the rate at which and, to the extent feasible, the degree to which, families depend on income from welfare programs and the duration of welfare receipt; and
(B) predictors of welfare receipt;
(2) assess the data needed to report annually on the indicators and predictors, including the ability of existing data collection efforts to provide such data and any additional data collection needs; and
(3) not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this section, provide an interim report containing conclusions resulting from the development and assessment described in paragraphs (1) and (2), to--
(A) the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives;
(B) the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives;
(C) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;
(D) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives;
(E) the Committee on Finance of the Senate;
(F) the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate; and
(G) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate.
Latest Title: Welfare Reform Act of 1994

Welfare Reform Act of 1994 - Title I: Applicant Job Search, Voucher Program, Transition and Work Program, Etc. - Amends part A (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) (AFDC) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSA) to: (1) require State AFDC plans to require AFDC applicants to search for a job while their application for AFDC is being processed; (2) make reimbursable job search expenses for transportation and child care; and (3) require the State to have in effect an employment voucher program under which eligible individuals receiving AFDC or food stamps shall receive vouchers in lieu of such benefits after they have obtained employment with a qualified employer.
(Sec. 103) Amends SSA title IV part F (Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program) (JOBS) to require State JOBS programs to include specified transition and work supplementation components.
AND in THIS CORNER WE HAVE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(Sec. 602) Directs the HHS Secretary to make welfare block grants to the States for aid to low-income households. Prohibits the use of such funds for abortions or for any counseling related to abortion. Sets forth general work, job search, and training requirements for aid recipients, as well as certain participation requirements for States. Denies cash or direct food assistance to young unwed parents as under title II of this Act, or to noncitizens, fugitive felons, or probation or parole violators.
Latest Title: Welfare to Work Act of 1994
Sponsor: Rep Gejdenson, Sam [CT-2] (introduced 5/26/1994)      Cosponsors (5)
Latest Major Action: 5/26/1994 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Welfare to Work Act of 1994 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a refundable credit for the hiring of qualified former recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) under title IV of the Social Security Act.
Prohibits replacing existing workers in order to obtain such credit.

(Sec. 332) Welfare Indicators Act of 1993
 Declares certain policies of the United States, among them: (1) reducing the rate at and the degree to which families depend on welfare and its duration; (2) strengthening families; (3) improving the education and job skills of welfare recipients and individuals at risk of welfare receipt; and (4) providing the public with generally accepted measures of welfare receipt so that it can track it over time and determine whether progress is being made in reducing family dependency on welfare.
SB 86
Prohibits employment of any individual under age 18 who is not a high school graduate unless the employer has in effect a certificate for such employment issued annually with the approval of the minor's parents and appropriate local school officials. Requires employers to notify the State agency when they employ a minor.
Requires employers of minors who in the the course of employment suffer death or injury resulting in lost work time of more than three days to provide the State agency with a written description of the death or injury within days after its occurrence.
Directs the Secretary to find and declare as particularly hazardous for employment of children between the ages of 16 and 18 the following occupations (among others): (1) poultry processing; (2) fish and seafood processing; and (3) pesticide handling.
Sets forth child labor protections relating to migrant or seasonal agricultural labor. Prohibits under the definition of oppressive child labor, employing any person under the age of 14 in agriculture, except where the child's parent owns or operates the farm.
Latest Title: Citizens Election Campaign Reform Act
Sponsor: Rep Johnson, Nancy L. [CT-6] (introduced 5/10/1993)      Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 5/10/1993 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on House Administration.
Citizens Election Campaign Reform Act - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to reduce the amount that multicandidate political committees (PACs) may contribute to candidates and their authorized political committees.
Prohibits a candidate for the House of Representatives from accepting contributions: (1) from persons other than individual residents of the State in which the election is held; and (2) from outside the congressional district involved that are in excess of the contributions accepted from inside that district.
Entitles nonincumbent candidates for the House of Representatives to free bulk rate postage for two mass mailings to residents of the congressional district involved.
HR 2790
HR 5252
passed into law 10/31/1994 Public Law No: 103-432
(Sec. 499CC) Expresses the sense of the Congress that: (1) children should have a consistent source of income to meet their education and medical needs; (2) the provision of public assistance to a custodial parent for the support of a child with respect to whom the noncustodial parent owes child support does not absolve the latter of the obligation to provide such support; (3) the States must continue to vigorously pursue efforts to establish parentage and establish and enforce child support obligations; and (4) OCSE should develop a mechanism to publicize the best State practices in child support.
H.R. 4767
related bill H.R. 5252
(Sec. 247) Requires States to: (1) ensure cost-of-living adjustments for child support awards; (2) establish a simplified process for review and adjustment of certain child support orders; and (3) ensure that the State does not provide to any noncustodial parent representation relating to review or adjustment of a child support order, unless the State makes such provision outside the State agency. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Letter to Senator Boozman

November 12, 2013

Dear Senator,
You keep sending me the same response without any concrete cures for what you say ails our country, to quote:
 I think the best way to do that is by allowing families to keep more of their income, invest in the infrastructure of our country, and create lasting jobs.
What families are you referring to? The top 1% or the poor that aren't paid a living wage by companies like Walmart or McDonald's? When President Obama put forth a recommendation to increase the amount of spending for rebuilding our infrastructure you voted NO. You have voted against every effort to increase the pay and the better paying jobs for all Americans in favor of kissing up to the corporations that currently are running Washington. You refuse to even return the tax level to pre Reagan levels when our country was seeing the greatest economic growth in its history.
Deficit! That's a boondoggle and you know it. Get your facts straight before you send me your 'canned' ignorant misinformed claptrap.
I signed with the usual name attached on his website.
My problem, I  believe, is I expect a straight answer when I ask a question. Giving me sound bites and spin is not what these guys were sent to Washington to deliver. I hope everyone writes these guys and reads them the riot act about this kind of stuff being passed off as 'information'.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Fucked and sold out

I decided to change my Medicare supplement because the one I had with, Coventry, was misrepresented to me and there was nothing I could do until the plan year change occurred. That was October 5, 2013.
I received as did many of my constituents the usual booklet identifying all the programs offered, costs and benefits for each. What a crock of shit.
When I enrolled 5 years ago I received in the mail 2 BOOKS listing every option available to me and what the separate costs were for each. I admit I had a time wading through the wherefores and why-nots but I eventually settled on a supplement that fit my budget and lifestyle. I decided after a year I would try another because I wasn't that satisfied with the handling of any of my bills, etc.
Last year I received 1 BOOK. It had less information but since someone was offering a 'free' seminar with lunch to learn about a particular supplement, I thought "What the hell" I can always use a 'free' meal.
I was told I would get the same services with a few exceptions as my previous supplement such as instead of a 'paid' membership in Silver Sneakers I would receive a check for the amount and I could join any gym I wanted to.
AFTER I became a member I was told the amount I would receive was in the amount of $250. That barely covered 3 months at the Y. I was pissed. I now had to wait another year before I could change companies AGAIN!
This year, looking forward to having the necessary information in hand I could now, after so many fuck ups, really pick a service that gave me what I wanted. WRONG!
This book listed companies (fewer than before), same telephone number for different plans under the separate companies and no information.
I called the numbers of Humana and Windsor (they were the only ones that I felt I could afford without giving my right arm or leg plus my oldest child). I requested more information, please. ( See, I can be polite) Humana said I had to make an appointment with a representative to show me their plans. WHAT? When did I get senile?
I fired off emails to both President Obama and Senator Mark Pryor. complaining about having to be 'spoon fed' what I was clearly cogent enough to decide without a 'goon' from an insurance company invading my privacy trying to sell me something I could surely decide for myself whether I wanted to buy their program or not.
 I let the representative come over from Humana. Nice guy, but you know what nice guys are, a pain in the ass when they don't know shit.
Long story short, I bought from him another policy that he said I should not tell Humana he had discussed with me since it was my appointment with him that I had made through Humana. See what I mean? Bull fucking shit.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I get from Windsor (the company I went with because I was assured they offered Silver Sneakers in their plan). (You still with me or have you gone to sleep yet?)
The brochure I got in the mail  from Windsor showed a 'cheaper' policy that had no monthly premium included (in other words $0 out of pocket after Medicare which is paid for). I called and got this really nice lady on the line that told me "Oh, yes, Silver Sneakers comes with  the plan but I would receive a BALL, some instructions twice a year on how to use the  fucking (my term) ball." WHAT? Now this is when I REALLY went ballistic. I explained in no uncertain terms that I was on a first name basis with our Attorney General in Arkansas and that I had received information from the State of Arkansas about FRAUD from SHIIP and that my next phone call was going to be to Dustin McDaniel  and I hung up.
I thought for the benefit of staying out of jail I had better call a friend and unload on her which I did. Before I could call Dustin, my phone rang and it was the same 'nice lady' but this time she wouldn't let sugar melt in her mouth. She was terribly sorry about the misunderstanding. Yes, Silver Sneakers did include membership in the Y. Yes, I could change policies but I would need to reapply over the phone to get the cheaper plan.
That sounded like a winner. hahahahaha (laughing hysterically)
I called the number she gave me and this time this lady hadn't been threatened with Dustin so she could really care less whether I was a happy camper or not. I got hung up on.
I redialed, got a different indifferent agent and explained what I wanted. Now just for the record, I don't make a lot of money on Social Security so the state of Arkansas is kind enough to underwrite my prescription medications (of which I don't use any unless my dog scratches me and I get an infection or a tick bites me giving me possibly Lyme's disease).
The policy that I was asking to join does not have prescription coverage. I explained that it didn't matter, the state paid for my prescriptions and all I had to do was show a letter to the pharmacy to that effect. She was very insistent that the state would no longer cover my prescriptions if I didn't have a prescription policy. WHAT THE FUCK? Having gotten nowhere and my voice rising not by notes but by octaves, I decided it would be in my and her best interest if I called the state, clarified exactly what it was I was getting from them and hung up.
I called the state and was informed the lines were so long please leave a message, a short description of the information requested (by now I'm a pillar of self-control) and a number to call back, someone would get back to me as soon as my call came up.
So here I am trying to be a 'normal' person dealing with a bureaucracy gone berserk and not enough money to get so damn drunk I won't give a shit.
Any ideas? I'm open to any suggestions at this point.

Letter to the Editor

October 30, 2013

Dear Editor,
Watching my country sink into the quagmire of self-delusion and exceptionalism is (there are so many emotions it's hard to identify the strongest) breaking my heart, causing extreme anguish or just pissing me off. All these people pretending to be 'patriots' while seeing who they can cheat, lie or steal from the most in order to feather their own nest or further their own agenda are deluding themselves,
Michelle Bachmann is a case in point. She has been pushing to remove the minimum wage law as, according to her, "it would solve the unemployment problem by putting EVERYONE to work."
First off, let's just give her the benefit of the doubt and 'believe' her heart's in the right place. Who will benefit from 'free' labor? Oh yeah, the ELITE. Now let's get to the niddy griddy. She is a "WANNABE" elite. Sucking up (in my commoner vernacular) is a fool's game. The ELITE will never accept her into the 1% because she doesn't MAKE ENOUGH.
Then we have our 'fearless' leaders in Congress. All are or are near multi-millionaires in their own right. Still their aspirations are NOT to improve Our (by "our" I mean people that don't have lobbyists beating a path to their door) lot in life but to ensure that they can rub elbows with the ELITE as long as they can breathe that rarefied air. Trips to Scotland with their wives and family or sailing on some multi-million dollar yacht in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean bouncing from Greek island to Monaco free of charge is so hard to give up when it's just the people of America who are going hungry or have no future other than minimum wage jobs with health care that their employers are screaming about being 'too expensive'.
The banks that bamboozled the 'Middle Class' into 'joining' the great American Dream by buying their OWN home lied, cheated and committed fraud in order to get them to sign on the dotted line taking away their dreams, their retirement and their future. What happened to them? NOTHING! Bank of America is fined a whopping $9 million dollars which is chicken feed compared to what they screwed the general public out of. Anyone going to jail? Not at this date. Anybody get their homes back that were cheated by BOA? No one that I've heard of.
Is this the America I grew up in? No. Is this the America I want anybody to grow up in? NO!
I am saddened beyond belief that more people aren't going to the streets and demanding that we be the democracy that we sent our youth to Iraq and Afghanistan to die for.
What a waste of energy. What a waste of humanity. What a waste of money, not just tax dollars but salaries not increased because 'we can't afford the cost of paying more'.
McDonald's management gets to buy a new jet to fly around the country in while their employees ask for food stamps that our Republican Congress people want to deny because we are becoming a 'welfare state' if WIC and SNAP are subsidized under the Farm bill which will give billions to mega farms for growing NOTHING!
Are you mad? I am. Are you disappointed in the people you sent to Congress? I hope so.

Judy Ladd

Letter to the Editor

October 23, 2013

It’s interesting to note the demands people are putting on large corporations to start paying a living wage. Just what is that and what is the consequence of NOT paying a living wage.
First of all, it is described as the minimum wage to keep a person out of poverty working a straight 40 hour week. This will vary regionally. It costs more to live in California than say, Arkansas.
What happens when people are forced to work at below the poverty line? ‘Forced’ sounds pretty harsh but anytime someone needs work to put food on the table or a roof over their heads and the only jobs available are below the poverty line in earnings, it is ‘forced’ labor. Paying substantially less than what it takes to keep body and soul alive is dehumanizing and borders on ‘enslavement’.  As they say, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Slavery by any other name is still slavery.
These large corporations are getting a ‘free’ ride in our society because they have convinced their representatives locally and nationally, that it is in society’s best interests if they DON”T pay any taxes. The burden then falls on the worker bees that they aren’t paying a living wage. Public services are cut to help the impoverished (low wage earners) or to supply necessary safety services such as fire support, police support or ambulance support to those who stay behind from choice or lack of ability to leave. No income means no services.
Detroit is a case in point. They cut taxes to the corporations, services declined to almost non-existent and now the city is on the auction block to be sold to the people NOT paying for the services that any city must supply to its residents.
It is said that ‘people’ force the private businesses out of business when stores like Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot move into a neighborhood. If they wouldn’t shop there those big box stores would leave. That is very true except for one small fact. If the only store sells the only things they can afford on the minimal wages earned, they will shop where they can maximize their earnings. People need clothing, shelter and food, that is a reality. When wages are so low they cannot afford to buy from no one but their ‘bosses’ they become chattels. Their choices of who to buy from become limited because they cannot afford to buy from a competitor that must sell higher because its labor costs are higher especially if it’s a local business.
It becomes a round robin system where the low wage earner loses and the big box store justifies keeping wages low as their profits soar. Jobs lose in any market when the big box stores move in. California did a study and proved that as the stores moved in with their 200 or so jobs the rest of the area lost considerably more than that as businesses folded due to a lack of support. Where is the justification of giving these monstrosities a ‘free’ ride? The jobs created are low wage jobs. Local companies are forced to shutter their doors because they cannot compete with ‘low prices’.
As cities lose the ability to supply necessary life support to its residents, those that can, leave. Those that can’t, stay and get kicked in the teeth and are told they need too much, demand too much, won’t work hard enough to take care of their needs.
Someone must pay for fire support, police support, and ambulance support. All are paid for with tax dollars. If the people left to pay for these services can’t feed themselves, where is that money going to come from? The corporations already know they don’t have to pay, they get a free ride from the city managers to bring ‘more’ jobs to the area.
Soon or later America will have to wake up and smell the coffee. You’re being swindled.

Response to Tom Cotton

October 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Cotton,
You are right, we do not see eye to eye on hunger or poverty,
The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act (H.R. 3102),
This bill would encourage work and personal responsibility by applying work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. It would also eliminate a wasteful policy that pays bonuses to state governments that enroll more people in food stamps, motivating states to waive income and asset tests in order to get more federal dollars.
If people had jobs that paid a living wage which you opposed by the way, people would not need food stamps or any other assistance. Telling people that they must work is the dumbest thing I've heard you propose since you first ran for office.  Most of those applying for assistance HAVE FULL TIME JOBS or are WORKING 2 or more jobs.
Get real, Mr. Cotton, this is reality for many Americans. Going hungry should NOT be a part of that equation.
Judy Ladd

Dear Judy:
Thank you for contacting me about issues of importance to you--of particular interest are your concerns with the food-stamp program (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funding.    It's good to hear from you, as always. 
Like you, I am saddened that so many Americans—47 million—now rely on food stamps.   In our struggling economy, hunger is a very real problem for too many Americans.    I believe that certain safety net programs for struggling citizens are an important service that the government provides.    Though perhaps more important are the similar efforts of private groups: charities, religious organizations, and community food banks.    As the Old Testament reminds us, the poor will always be among us and we should endeavor to help them freely. 
I believe that we must consider the federal programs that provide this help, such as food stamps, with a fiscally prudent approach.    As we are seeing with the deprivations in some European countries, the federal government simply cannot keep spending money that it doesn't have, or financial markets may lose faith in our ability to manage our debt, precipitating an even greater economic crisis than we've seen in recent years.    Such a fiscal crisis could imperil  all  of our social programs, threatening assistance for millions of people most in need. 
The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act (H.R. 3102), introduced by Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), passed in the House last week, addresses necessary reforms to the food-stamp program, saving billions of dollars while ensuring the truly needy receive aid. This bill would encourage work and personal responsibility by applying work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. It would also eliminate a wasteful policy that pays bonuses to state governments that enroll more people in food stamps, motivating states to waive income and asset tests in order to get more federal dollars. 
I understand that we may not see eye-to-eye on this issue, but I trust you'll understand my principled disagreement. I look forward to working together on other matters of shared principle in the future. Please be assured that I will support efforts to reform the program along these lines to eradicate fraud and promote opportunity for all, while helping the truly needy. 
I'm truly honored to serve as your representative—please know that your interests and affairs have my unceasing attention.    Always feel free to call my office at (202) 225-3772 or visit  . 


Tom Cotton
Member of Congress