Some News, in case you missed it:
Peter Falk, Star of 'Columbo,' Dead at 83
Peter Falk, the Emmy-winning star of 'Columbo,' has died on the evening of June 23, he was 83. Falk was best known to audiences as Lt. Columbo in the NBC/ABC police series. The last episode aired on ABC in 2003.
Besides the hit drama, Falk was nominated for two Academy Awards, for 1960's 'Murder, Inc.' and 1961's 'Pocketful of Miracles.' His last credited film role was the 2009 flick 'American Cowslip' opposite Cloris Leachman and Diane Ladd.
In 1956, Falk made his Broadway debut in 'Diary of a Scoundrel.' Following several films and TV work, Falk won a Tony in 1972 for his performance in 'The Prisoner of Second Avenue.' After 'Columbo,' Falk is probably best known as the grandfather and narrator of 1987's 'The Princess Bride.' "
We Must Act Now to Defend and Save Social Security
By Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Jun 17, 2011
"For the past 75 years, Social Security has been a financial safety net for America's seniors. The average Social Security benefit is only about $15,000 per year, but it is the main source of income for many of our senior citizens. The promise to current working age Americans is that working hard, paying taxes and contributing to Social Security will ensure the same retirement benefits in the years ahead. The reality, however, is that automatic cuts to Social Security benefits are looming unless Congress acts soon.
Social Security is going bankrupt. A new report by the Trustees of the Social Security Trust Fund says that if the program's finances aren't shored up, workers will see their benefits cut by about one-fourth when the Trust Fund runs dry in 2036. That includes workers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who expect to get Social Security benefits when they retire, and also Americans in their 50s and 60s who are counting on their benefits when they are in their 80s in 2036. In 2036, payroll contributions will fall 23 percent below current benefits, and there will be no money in the Trust Fund to help make up the shortfall. That will automatically trigger a 23 percent benefits cut.
Some in Congress want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that this looming crisis doesn't exist. But demographics are inescapable. The first of more than 75 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 this year. The largest age group in our history will also live longer, with average life expectancy climbing toward 80. These developments will exhaust Trust Fund reserves and outstrip projected payroll tax contributions by future workers - by as much as $6.5 trillion over the next 75 years.
For those who believe raising taxes is a good solution, the Trustees' new report calculates that payroll taxes would need to rise quickly to 14.55 percent in order to make up the coming shortfall. For American workers and families, however, these increased taxes would mean fewer jobs and even slower economic recovery. With unemployment continuing to hover around 9 percent, we need to create jobs, not destroy them with higher payroll taxes.
The Trustees have also proposed cutting core benefits now. According to the Trustees' report, there would need to be an immediate 13.8 percent cut in current benefits to prevent Social Security from running out of money in 2036. For me, this is off the table.
A Better Solution
Under current law, the normal retirement age of 66 is gradually rising to 67 by 2022. The early retirement age remains at 62.
Here is a suggestion. Since we are living longer, it makes sense to increase retirement age thresholds a bit more - without impacting those who are about to retire. Under this proposal, anyone who is currently 58 or older would not be affected. For everyone else, the normal retirement age would increase by just 3 months each year, starting in 2016. It would reach 67 by 2019, 68 by 2023, and 69 by 2027.
Extending the retirement age would solve about one-third of the Social Security shortfall. Lowering the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by 1 percent would slowly but surely close the rest of the $6.5 trillion gap. Over the past 10 years, the average Social Security COLA has been 2.2 percent. Trimming it by one percent would allow us to avoid tax increases or core benefits cuts.
The new plan would also reduce federal deficits and avoid adding to our $14.3 trillion national debt. Business as usual would have us cover the $6.5 trillion Social Security benefits shortfall over the next 75 years with ruinously higher taxes, benefits cuts on middle class and poor senior citizens, or an avalanche of new federal borrowing. Today's working Americans - tomorrow's retirees - deserve better.
We must act now to implement sensible, gradual reform. The longer we delay, the steeper the climb - in age and COLA adjustments, taxes, or basic benefit cuts. This proposal can be modified to achieve a majority vote in the Congress and a Presidential signature. But that requires a discussion ... a start. Allowing current law to continue and failing to take action in advance of the guaranteed shortfall is irresponsible and reckless."
Empire, Nevada Completely Wiped Out By Recession
Empire, Nevada no longer exists.
"Located about 100 miles North of Reno, the mining town has apparently been wiped off the the face of the map, according to the Daily Mail. It seems that when the town's sole remaining factory, the U.S. Gypsum Sheetrock plant, closed on January 31, the town's fate was sealed.
Empire was founded in 1923, according to MSN Real Estate. Now, even the town's ZIP code (89405) won't exist.
From the Daily Mail: January 31 was the last workday for 95 of the 99 USG employees at the mine and plant. They turned gypsum into sheetrock, a trademarked name and the most common wallboard used in the construction industry. Four workers remain, but this will be whittled down to two by the end of the month.
According to MSN, U.S. Gypsum has owned the town since 1948, renting apartments for $125, and two-bedroom houses for $250. But when the recession forced the company to shut the plant, the town was unable to survive.
Empire was one of the last company towns left in America.
After the plant closed, families were allowed to stay in their homes free of charge for 5 months, in order to finish out the school year, according to the Daily Mail. With the loss of Empire, the nearby Gerlach-Empire school will be reduced to just 12 students, from 73.
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window….Suffering?
This is how puppy mill dogs and their puppies live
before they get to the pet shops, or sold online.
Big raid in NC, freed over 300 poor caged dogs and puppies this week.
"Many of the dogs were severely matted and suffering from a variety of medical issues.
Several deceased dogs were also found at the property.
The property owner was selling puppies over the internet to unsuspecting consumers."
“Many of these dogs were living in filthy cages so small that they could barely stand up and turn around. This is precisely why North Carolina desperately needs to pass legislation regulating these breeders,” said Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Large-scale breeders in our state currently face no regulations or routine inspections. These lax laws have made North Carolina a safe-haven for inhumane puppy mills like this one.”
This case began when animal control received an anonymous tip concerning the welfare of the dogs. This prompted an inspection, which reportedly uncovered unsanitary conditions and unhealthy dogs. When responders arrived on scene they found approximately 300 dogs, mostly Pomeranians and other small breeds, living crowded in small feces-encrusted enclosures.
The HSUS has safely removed all of the animals and transported them to a nearby emergency shelter. Animal control officers from Catawba, Union and Burke Counties and volunteers from Saving Grace Pet Adoptions, Charlotte Humane Society, North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare and CARA of Lee County are also assisting with intake of the dogs. Once at the emergency shelter the dogs will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment. PetSmart Charities ® donated much-needed sheltering supplies for the rescued animals. This rescue was made possible in part by a generous grant from Maddie’s Fund.
The HSUS encourages people to adopt dogs from animal shelters or reputable breeders rather than purchasing a puppy from a pet store or online seller, where most of the dogs may come from puppy mills." June 16, 2011
NATO Forces 'Trying To Kill' Gaddafi: U.S. Admiral Samuel J. Locklear
"A top U.S. admiral has confirmed to a U.S. congressman that NATO forces are trying to kill Muammar Gaddafi, and that the need for ground troops in Libya after the embattled leader falls is anticipated."
Linda and Howard of www.rv-dreams.com weighing three truck and 5er combos
in 13 minutes at the Heartland Rally, in Goshen, Indiana - June 2011:
Jay and I spent the morning making shelves for the cargo trailer. We found some 1"x 8" boards up in the storeroom attic that had came off furniture, i.e. headboards, water beds, and the like, and made the shelves out of those. We cut and sanded wooden brackets to hold up the shelves, then screwed wooden fronts to the shelves, so things won't fall off.
We had originally intended to make some upper cabinets in the trailer and mount the 12v. lights under them, but we ran out of that type of lumber, not available in that good grade around here, so these shelves will do just fine. Ray still needs to paint them, so no photos yet.
The ground has dried up from our welcome rain, so we could hear the drone of lawn mowers all over the subdivision. I think we have only had to mow once this year, it has been so dry.
Jay's mother's washing machine quit on them, so we knew we had to take it to Conroe to get it fixed, so we were going to take it when we took the kittens to meet their prospective new "Mom" at 5.00 PM.
Then things changed, the kittens don't have to go till today, so we did our weekly shopping after we dropped off the washer. Much better than having to see if someone would watch them at Petco while we shopped.
Originally, I was trying to save gas, but that didn't work out either, as now we have to pick up the washer before 2.00 PM today, bring it back here, and then drive back to Conroe with the kittens for their 5.00 PM appointment. It is way too hot to spend 3 hours hanging around in town, for the kittens or us.
While the washer is away being repaired, Jay needs to build something in back of their washer/dryer closet on their covered porch. There is a space between the house and the porch were possums, armadillos and such were getting in there. All the problems they have with that washer are contributed to Jay overloading it, when will he learn!
So it is going to be a busy day.