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Thursday, July 20, 2017

A day without an Amazon delivery is like a day without sunshine

     Remember how as a kid getting a letter in the mail was enough to make your day?  Well our grown up equivalency is getting a delivery from Amazon.  I admit it ----- I am a "hooked" Amazon Prime subscriber.  I find myself checking my phone frequently to see if I have a notification of another delivery.
  A part of me is concerned about the number of trees that go into making all these boxes.  And what do you do with the boxes that I have saved in all sizes?  I know that Goodwill has a program to donate clothes in these boxes.  And why do they send a box that is 5 or 6 times the size of my item?  What to do with all the bubble packing?  Why do they bubble wrap an order of bubble wrap?

Bought some bubble wrap on Amazon. This is how they shipped it

     I love not having to go to stores.  My store trips are limited pretty much to Home Depot and grocery stores.  Why shop for an item where my store choices are so limited and more expensive than going on Amazon at home and get a hundred choices that can be delivered in one or two days at a cheaper price.  While Walmart killed budget stores, Amazon is killing off most of the remaining retail stores.  Sears, Kmart, Macy's are all on their "last legs."  Without these anchor stores malls are dying.  It is becoming more difficult for smaller retailers to find a viable "niche." Welcome to the digital world of Amazon.

     I just placed my first order with Alibaba the Chinese giant that is bigger than Amazon.  I just hope that everything from them doesn't ship from China.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Story Corps


    I blogged before on Story Corps but there is something new that I wanted to share.  Story Corps records two people talking with each other.  These conversations are fascinating and often heartwarming.  Here is one example with Sarah and Joshua Littman pictured above.  You can listen to these conversations on their website, Facebook page or their podcast on ITunes.
     Now everyone can record a conversation that they will archive with the Library of Congress with their smartphone app.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The savior of Medicare you probably have never heard about


      When I hear the proposed cuts to Medicaid being discussed in the Republican health care bills it makes me remember something I heard from someone who was directly involved in the crafting of the Medicare and Medicaid legislation.

     In graduate school I had a professor, William Bechill, who was the first Commissioner on Aging with the Administration on Aging in 1965.   He was recommended for that post by Wilbur Cohen who had been involved with the creation of the Social Security program back in the 1930's.


                                                                      Wilbur Cohen

       The Johnson Administration brought in Mr. Cohen to help with the drafting of the Medicare and Medicaid legislation.  Bill Bechill remembered meeting with Mr. Cohen and administration officers in the White House while the legislation was being drafted.  From the start there was always an income based eligibility for Medicaid but there were some administration officials and Congressional legislators who wanted to have some income requirements in the Medicare program.  Medicare would be more generous for low income seniors and would reduce benefits for higher income seniors.  Mr. Cohen argued that this would make Medicare vulnerable to cuts and possible elimination from conservative administrations.  He spoke about how Social Security was more secure from cuts because it was universal in its eligibility.  Sure, millionaires didn't need the Social Security payment but if it was a benefit that only went to low income retired persons Social Security would have always been under attack.  Fortunately for today's Medicare recipients Mr. Cohen's arguments won the day in the final Medicare legislation.  We have Mr. Cohen to thank that the present Congressional proposed healthcare legislation is not taking a "meat axe" to the Medicare program as it is proposed doing to the income based Medicaid program.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Annual Rain Gardens blog

   If you have followed this blog you know that I have a hatred (too strong a word?) with lawns and grass (the legal kind) and have been an advocate for rain gardens.  Our home has become a rain garden haven with rain gardens on both sides of our home.

     To find out a little more about the Columbia Association rain garden program watch this You Tube video.

   Greening your roof?


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Prepare for Success provides backpacks to low income Howard County students


 Do you know that 12,177 children in Howard County Schools receive federally funded school meals?  Last year over 2,300 students were served by the Prepare for Success program in providing backpacks and school supplies.  Since its inception over 26,000 backpacks have been distributed. The current year drive is now on for the upcoming school year.  Here is some information on the program administered through the Community Action Council:


To get the most supplies for the lowest prices, PFS makes wholesale purchases from a national education supplier. Our price of a backpack filled with required supplies average out to about $25 per student. That’s far less than the cost of buying retail at local stores.
ANYTIME is a great time to contribute. Our major drive is during the summer. BUT since PFS has a year-round cycle we can use support anytime.
Great!! You can donate supplies at any number of locations throughout Howard County. You or your group can start collecting now and then make a drop off at your local library, county recreation center, Columbia village center, or CA sports facility between July 10th and August 18th. Many businesses elect to run their own collection program and then turn to PFS to assist with the distribution. We welcome these partnerships. Contributions are tax deductible. Community Action Council is a 501 (c)(3) organization."

 There are two ways to send contributions for this program:

1)  Send check payable to “Community Action Council/PFS” to:
Community Action Council / PFS
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

2) Donate online at:
Select "Prepare for Success" under the donation restriction box.