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Mitch Daniels Shuts out Hoosiers

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is limiting access to the State Capital to about 1,000 people at a time.

This will limit the ability of Hoosiers to speak to their legislators and is only a ploy to limit descent on the Republicans efforts to institute a Freeloaders bill in January.

Some Republican Senators have had enough guts to speak out against the Freeloaders bill, otherwise known as the Right to Work for less bill. They have put their thoughts in Hoosier newspapers and I give them credit for that.

Other Republican Representatives and Senators in the Indiana General Assembly, although permitted by their bosses to vote against the legislation because of the districts they represent, are so politically dependent on their leadership that they just can't get up enough courage to speak out for fear of losing  the political perks they're now enjoying.

Politicians who know in their hearts that a piece of legislation is just plain wrong and refuse to speak out against it are bums…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert December 22, 2011

Capitol Hill Tax Stalemate Hurts Medicare
The congressional deadlock over extending payroll tax cuts – sparked by a revolt of House Tea Party Republicans – will hurt seniors on Medicare unless a resolution is reached quickly.  Seniors with incomes below $15,000 per year are at risk of losing access to critical medical services through the Qualified Individual (QI) program.  The program, which is set to expire on December 31, pays for Medicare Part B premiums that cover physician and other outpatient services, as well as the low income subsidy for Part D prescription drug coverage.  The QI benefit represents an average savings of $5,199 per year for these low-income seniors.  Without an extension of the program by Congress, states would have the right to terminate benefits on January 1.

Also caught in the crossfire are reimbursements to nearly 650,000 doctors who care for Medicare patients.  According to the Associated Press, Medicare sent an alert to doctors to say that they will hold…

Good News - Boehner Surrenders

President Obama, after pressuring Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, was successful in getting House Speaker John Boehner to extent the payroll tax and unemployment compensation for two months.

As I understand it, Boehner will try to get it passed in the House by unanimous consent.

If that fails, he will call the House back into session for a full vote.

This is a real victory for American workers and those who are without jobs.

When the Going Gets Tough, Seniors Must Get Voting

by Barbara J. Easterling

With Social Security and Medicare facing harsh threats from various politicians, retirees must keep a close eye on the 2012 elections.

The recently-deadlocked super committee was the latest in a line of blue-ribbon panels -- preceded by Domenici-Rivlin and Simpson-Bowles -- that have debated, and in two instances recommended, drastic cuts in Social Security and Medicare, landmark programs that have helped generations of seniors stay healthy and out of poverty.

These threats to retirement security will continue unless two pillars of our fiscal debates change: 1) the false but widely-held belief that Social Security increases our deficit, and 2) our fundamentally-flawed tax and spending policies that drain federal coffers to benefit corporations and those in the top one percent of incomes.

The current field of GOP presidential candidates offers little solace to seniors who are worried that their Medicare and Social Security, or that of their kids and grandchildr…

Right to Work Means Death

This is what Republicans and Mitch Daniels are trying to do in Indiana.

Elaine Averill - Pierogi Princess

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert December 16, 2011

Wyden-Ryan Medicare Plan Would Raise Premiums for SeniorsHouse Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leader in the fight to privatize Medicare, unveiled a new approach on Thursday in order to save money on the federal health program. According to Politico, the proposal has some key differences from the Ryan blueprint that Republicans had rallied around earlier this year — and which Democrats have criticized as the beginning of the end of Medicare. Working with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Ryan is developing a framework that would allow seniors to choose between staying in traditional Medicare or opting into new, private plan alternatives. Wyden is the first Democrat on Capitol Hill to so strongly embrace a modification of Ryan’s approach.  Seniors would receive a set amount of money from the government to buy private insurance - vouchers - as they would under the Medicare proposal Ryan included in the budget blueprint that passed the House last year. The new…

Bosma Dead Wrong

It’s time for our state lawmakers to focus on creating good jobs but instead, Speaker Bosma of the Indiana House indicated in the South Bend Tribune's December 10 issue that his number one priority is to pass a so-called “right to work” law that is just another corporate hand out that hurts the middle class.

The last thing we need is for our state politicians to reward their CEO friends by passing laws that will undermine workers’ rights. So called Right to Work is not good for our families and it’s not good for our state.

States with so-called “right to work” laws have higher workplace fatality rates, have fewer people with health insurance and workers make less averaging $5,500 less a year.  We can’t afford a law like this in Indiana.

The only way this kind of law will increase employment is that it will require even more workers to work two jobs to support their families.

Urge your Indiana Senator and Representative to do all he/she can to oppose right to work legislation.

46th Wedding Anniversary

It was 46 years ago today that I married Elaine Adams. We got hitched at the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana on December 11th, 1965 with a dinner afterwards at the Hotel Gary.

When I think of how long I’ve known Elaine I really do have to think about it. Let’s see…I met her in 7th grade. We were in the same home-room together. Home-rooms were the first period of the class day and were made up of students according to alphabetical last names.

I remember so well how pretty I thought she was. Although I had my eye on her, she wouldn’t give me the time of day. As a matter of fact, she teased me. She sat a few seats in front of me and I do remember our eyes meeting once and she just batted them at me.

I couldn’t let anyone know I was interested in her because I was on the football team, and we weren’t really supposed to be very interested in girls. Most of the gals dated Freshman boys anyway.

It wasn’t until we were Juniors that we began dating. It was in August at the beginning of …

Jimmy's Peanut Brittle

The following recipe and method for making the world famous “Jimmy’s Peanut Brittle” is being divulged with permission. Jim Chandler has become famous in Northern Indiana for his much loved brittle.

Recipe:

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 cups of raw peanuts
2 teaspoons of baking soda

Method:

First of all, dampen a couple of towels and spread them on a flat surface.Place a cookie sheet on top of the towels and smear butter over the cookie sheet to keep the stuff from sticking.Prepare a glass of water to put the thermometer in later.Measure out the baking soda and have it ready for later.In a 3 quart sauce pan, dump in the sugar, corn syrup and water.Put the pan on the stove top and turn the burner on high.Put a candy thermometer on the side of the pan and make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan. (use a heat pad whenever you touch the thermometer.)Stir the stuff with a wooden paddle until the sugar dissolves.Keep stirring i…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert Dec. 9, 2011

Payroll Tax Cut, “Doc Fix” Likely to be Rolled into One Catch-All Package
Elected officials are discussing several competing plans to cut the payroll tax that is used to fund the Social Security Trust Fund. The employee share of the tax is scheduled to go back to 6.2% on January 1, from a current rate of 4.2%, if no legislation is passed, and President Obama wants to lower the tax to 3.1% next year. A Democratic-written bill in the Senate would lower the rate to that 3.1% level. It is financed chiefly by a 1.9% surtax on income over $1 million, a proposal that is almost universally opposed by Republicans, and GOP senators are expected to defeat the measure.

A House bill would drop next year’s payroll tax to 4.2% - this year’s level. It would be financed by extending the current pay freeze on federal workers through 2015 and many other, smaller savings, including charging higher Medicare premiums to higher-earning seniors.

Bipartisan concerns that extending the payroll-tax cut would we…

Hoosiers Reject Right to Work Legislation

Today we've got some big news to share with you.  There is a newly released poll that shows all Hoosiers – including Republicans – are overwhelmingly rejecting the partisan "right to work" legislation and believe their elected officials should focus on jobs and the economy instead of divisive attacks on working family's collective bargaining rights.

The poll, which was commissioned by the AFL-CIO, found that support among Hoosier voters for this controversial, union busting bill is weak, with just 38 percent favoring its passage while 47 percent stand in opposition. The survey also found that 67 percent of Hoosiers disagree with Statehouse Republicans' decision to make "right to work" their top priority and wish they would move on to other issues.

Among self-identified Republicans only 59 percent support the bill, well below the level of support one would expect for their top legislative priority, and considerably weaker than the 72 percent opposition …

Part D Open Enrollment Ends Tomorrow

Open Enrollment Ends December 7

Remember: Medicare Open Enrollment ends earlier this year. You have until December
7 to make sure your health and drug coverage still meets your needs. That's tomorrow.

If you're happy with your current coverage, you don't need to do anything. But
make sure you understand any upcoming changes to your plan's costs or benefits.
If you want to change plans, or if you need help choosing the right plan, visit
www.medicare.gov and get personalized information about plans in your area.

Friday Alert December 2, 2011

With Super Committee Deadline Passed, December Brings More Decisions
The November 23rd deadline for the Super Committee to vote on a legislative proposal that achieves $1.2 - $1.5 trillion in savings has come and gone without producing any type of report. “We dodged a bullet, but we’re not out of the woods. Attempts to cut Social Security and Medicare could come back awfully soon, as Congress and the Administration continue to look for ways to meet deficit reduction goals,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. Alliance members made more than 2,500 patch-through calls to five Super Committee members who represented them legislatively. Over 240 Alliance members then dialed in for a conference call on Wednesday, November 30th, a national conversation with leaders and advocates about a collective strategy, next steps, and what the month of December should look like.

Employees and employers pay into the Social Security system through a payroll tax, and last year, Congr…

Cooper Tire Turns Rogue

More information, contact: Tony Montana, USW – 412-562-2592

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers (USW) today condemned Cooper Tire and Rubber Company’s decision to lock-out workers at the company’s profitable Findlay, Ohio production facility, despite the union’s good faith offer to keep working while negotiations toward a new labor contract proceeded.
USW District 1 Director Dave McCall said that he expects the union to pursue unlawful bargaining charges against Cooper with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and added that the union is still committed to negotiating a fair contract in Findlay.

“These negotiations have been hindered considerably by Cooper’s behavior at the bargaining table and the company’s determination to instigate a labor dispute,” said USW District 1 sub-director Patrick Gallagher. “Cooper’s intent to test our solidarity became clear the moment the company refused our offer to continue working until we reached a new contract.”

“Our members are …

Indiana Doesn't Need Right-to-Work Legislation

By Rich James Last Modified: Nov 25, 2011 10:00AM
When the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 4, the eyes of the nation may well be on Indiana.
Not because the state remains the best in the nation when it comes to high school basketball, but because there will be an unwarrated attack upon organized labor.
The Republicans, who do the bidding of corporations and other businesses, will seek the passage of a right-to-work bill.
The bill would force organized labor to represent workers who refuse to pay union dues.
The bill also would be a significant step by Republicans to destroy the unions that built America.
The Republicans say right-to-work will clear the way for additional businesses to relocate to Indiana.
Those are the very same businesses that have no desire to deal with unions. They want to drive down workers’ wages and increase corporate profits and power.
Statistics show the average worker in a right-to-work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states.
Twenty-o…

Steelworker Retirees Prepare

Gary Gaines, SOAR Coordinator in USW District 7 is shown in this photo presenting the charter for a new SOAR Chapter made up of retirees USW Local 7-669.
The rogue Honeywell company locked out their workers from June 28, 2010 to August 2, 2011 but found out that Steelworkers have staying power and will last one day longer.
By joining SOAR and establishing their own chapter, these retirees will be in a much better position to help their union in the future........a great group of retirees.

Largest newspaper of the year

Going out to the mail box this morning to retrieve the newspaper brought back memories of my days as a paper boy arount 1954 or so, delivering the Chicago Tribune to the business district in Hobart, Indiana.
All the paperboys dreaded delivering the paper on Thanksgiving as it had more pages in it than any other paper of the year. It made the job much harder than usual. The newspapers barely fit into the canvas bag we used and sometimes we even had to go back for another load.
It also made it really difficult to steer my bicycle with that huge bag on the handlebars.
It was a good time of the year for tips though. The day I made my collections, one of the saloons in town always sat me at the bar and gave me free shots of Ginger Ale. And then Abbots restaurant always provided me with a free breakfast of anything I wanted.
We have a rural delivery now and I imagine that those carriers have an equally difficult time handling those big newspapers as well.
Tip your newspaper carrier well, th…

Indiana Workers Protest Republicans "Right to Work" for Less

Indiana Workers Will Not Back Down

Open Enrollment Ends December 7

Remember: Medicare Open Enrollment ends earlier this year. You have until December 7 to make sure your health and drug coverage still meets your needs.

If you're happy with your current coverage, you don't need to do anything. But make sure you understand any upcoming changes to your plan's costs or benefits.

If you want to change plans, or if you need help choosing the right plan, visit www.medicare.gov and get personalized information about plans in your area.

Friday Alert Alliance for Retired Americans

Excepts from the November 18, 2011 edition

Super Committee Negotiations Go Down to the Wire
Just five days before the deadline for a deficit reduction deal, the Super Committee dealing with the nation’s budget deficit in Congress still did not seem close to reaching an agreement on tax reforms and spending cuts. According to CNN, 72 conservative House Republicans made public their opposition to any Super Committee agreement that includes tax increases. Such a large voting bloc in the Republican majority means Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would need support from Democrats to get a deal that contains tax increases to pass the House. Democrats said they would not accept Republican demands to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, lower cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries, and permanently reduce all income tax rates. The special joint congressional committee has until November 23 to come up with a plan. A majority of the panel's 12 members, evenly split between…

Hands Off Social Security

Veterans Serve in other than the Military

I was reminded this morning that many able bodied folks who did not serve in the armed forces during past wars were serving in other much needed capacities.
My Father made steel during those wars as did Elaine's Father. As well, Elaine's Aunt was one of the original Rosie the Riveters by becoming a crane operator in one of the steel mills. Other spouses cared for their families while their spouses were either off to war or working in occupations necessary to support the war effort.
So let's also remember and thank those other "veterans" of service to our country during this Veterans Day week end.

Veterans Day for all who served

Those who served our country in the past or today deserve our thanks. It doesn't matter which service they served in either. Those who weren't able to serve in the military or who chose another direction have no idea the sacrifice these folks have made. Their sacrifice is just simply unbelievable.
Thanks to all of our veterans.

We Stand Up and Fight Back

Top Question of the day

Q. Where can the worlds smallest font be found?
A. The "Member Services" phone number on the back of an Anthem insurance card.

I wonder if the reason could be that they don't wish to field questions from their members?

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert Nov 4, 2011

Washington Post Misleads Seniors on Social Security
The Washington Post published a Halloween-Eve front page "Prediction of Doom" feature piece riddled with misleading statements and inaccuracies about Social Security and its financial footing [http://wapo.st/tuG2Jy].  The 12-member panel is less than a month away from its deadline for finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, but it’s said to be looking for closer to $4 trillion. "The timing was particularly bad, because we’re in the homestretch of the Super Committee negotiations," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. In a letter to the editor, Mr. Coyle wrote, "Your October 30 feature 'The debt fallout: How Social Security went 'cash negative' earlier than expected' not only contained misleading information about Social Security, but falsely connects the program to the federal budget deficit...(There) is enough money to fully pay benefits through 2036, and if …

A Stronger Voice

Good News for Seniors

According to news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today, beneficiaries over 65 who have been paying $96.40 a month in Medicare Part B premiums, will see their premiums rise next year to $99.90. This is significantly less than the increase predicted by CMS for 2012.  New Medicare enrollees who have been paying $115.40 a month will actually see their premiums go down. The Part B deductible decreases as well, by $22, and premiums for Medicare's Part D prescription benefit will remain unchanged for 2012. 


Today’s Medicare announcement follows news last week that seniors will receive a 3.6% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in their 2012 Social Security checks.  That means the average retiree will receive a nearly $40 per month increase in their Social Security checks even including the Part B premium increase.

Source: The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Third World America

Four Reasons to Occupy Wall Street

The 99% Seek a Just Economy, Not Just an Economy

Republicans jammed together a mess of old, failed and vague schemes and called it a jobs bill. Sen. John McCain conceded the reason for the rehash:  “Part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal.”

They still don’t.  This despite the fact that they promised voters during their campaign to take control of the U.S. House one year ago that they’d create jobs. That they’d focus on jobs. That nothing was more important to them than jobs.

Now, what they’ve offered instead of actual jobs is a polyglot of GOP talking points. It’s certainly no vision to move the country forward. It’s a plot to set the country back – to repeal the health care law that will soon help provide coverage for the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance, to rescind the Wall Street reform law designed to prevent another financial sector-caused meltdown, and to thwart regulations, like those that stopped distribution of listeria-infected cantaloupe that killed 25.

GOP Sen. Ro…

A really good documentary - The One Percent

Meet Connie Entrekin, SOAR President

Socialism

We're Movin In

S.S. COLA Clouded by looming Threat on Capitol Hill

“Super Committee” Considering Drastic Cut to Future Benefits

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans:

“Seniors are pleased by today’s announcement of a 3.6 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries.  After two years of no increase, this will help retirees be better able to pay their bills and stay healthy.

“But today’s news is tempered by reports that the congressional “Super Committee” is considering changes to Social Security that will severely hinder retirees’ ability to keep pace with the rising cost of living.  The panel may recommend a new statistical formula for future COLAs, one that would grossly understate the growing financial pressures on retirees.

“What the proponents of the change clinically call a ‘Chained-CPI,’ is what millions of seniors would call ‘food, shelter, clothing.’  A recent study showed that, if this change took effect, a worker retiring this yea…

No Comment Necessary

Social Security COLA Increase - Finally

Social Security COLA Increase Finally Coming, but Offset by Medicare PremiumsAfter two years without an inflation adjustment, the Social Security Administration is expected to announce a 2012 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of more than 3 percent on October 19th. The annual Social Security COLA is determined by a formula that averages inflation for the third quarter, as reflected by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). No COLA was awarded in 2010 or 2011 due to a spike in the third quarter of 2008, which resulted in a 5.8 percent COLA for 2009. By law, subsequent Social Security payments couldn’t rise until the CPI-W exceeded the 2008 level. Many seniors will see a substantial part of the COLA consumed by a higher premium for Medicare Part B (doctor visits and outpatient services), which usually is deducted from Social Security payments. For those who receive the average benefit of $1,177 per month, a 3.5 percent COLA would lift t…

Wanna Be a Pirate?

Unbelievable

I was out for the afternoon and just arrived home. We turned on the television and what do we see the U.S. House of Representative doing? Trying to pass legislation to prohibit women to belong to an insurance plan through the Medical Insurance exchanges that provide for abortion coverage, even though that person would have to pay for the coverage themselves.
I just find it hard to understand, with all of the people unemployed in our country that Republicans would want to spend their time trying to pass such legislation knowing that it wouldn't pass the Senate and would be vetoed by the President.
It just doesn't make any sense to me.
It used to be that only the rich could get a safe abortion by traveling out of the country. Those who couldn't afford to do that got their abortions in the alley ways or in parking lots.
What in the world are these Republicans doing?
It shows me that they do not care one whit for those children that are already born.
Nuts.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Our Highways and Bridges are Falling Apart

Our One Demand

OSHA - Our Government in Action

The Blue Green Alliance is a national, strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. It was launched in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club.

The Blue Green Alliance unites more than eight and a half million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.

The Alliance believes that in the pursuit of earning a living, workers shouldn’t have to forfeit their health or their lives.

In 1970, I was working for the Northern Indiana Public Service Company, commonly known as NIPSCO. I worked at the Bailly Generating station which is a coal fired generating station on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The boiler was under a positive pressure using forced draft fans to push the hot gases and smoke through the boiler and out the smoke stack. Any leak, regardless of size in the boiler skin or the duct work would spew out noxious and poisonous flue gas…

Autumn Leaves

Favorite time of the year. Took this photo in the upper P. of Michigan.

USW Supports the 'Occupy Wall Street' Protest Movement

Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW), North America's largest industrial union with 1.2 million active and retired members, today issued the following statement in support of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement:

"The United Steelworkers (USW) union stands in solidarity with and strongly supports Occupy Wall Street. The brave men and women, many of them young people without jobs, who have been demonstrating around-the-clock for nearly two weeks in New York City are speaking out for the many in our world. We are fed up with the corporate greed, corruption and arrogance that have inflicted pain on far too many for far too long.

Our union has been standing up and fighting these captains of finance who promote Wall Street over Main Street. We know firsthand the devastation caused by a global economy where workers, their families, the environment and our futures are sacrificed so that a privileged few can make more money on every…

Friday Alert

Sickest Medicare Patients May Be Greatly Affected by the Super CommitteeThe “Super Committee” in Congress is tasked with finding $1.2 trillion worth of savings by November 23. If its members fail to do so, automatic spending cuts will kick in, taking that amount evenly from domestic and military spending. With only two out of the six meetings the committee has held thus far having been public, observers’ apprehension is growing. The few things that have trickled out include tax reform, as well as Medicare and Medicaid cuts. When it comes to spending cuts, both Democrats and Republicans seem to find common ground on the topic of “dual-eligibles,” the sickest and most costly patients. The term refers to people who are eligible for medical coverage under both Medicare and Medicaid; these patients make up about 16% of Medicare beneficiaries, yet make up about 27% of the program’s total spending. Right now, a possible solution being considered is forcing these patients into ma…