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dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
May 1, 2012

FDA may let patients buy drugs without prescriptions

In a move that could help the government trim its burgeoning health care costs, the Food and Drug Administration may soon permit Americans to obtain some drugs used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes without obtaining a prescription.

The FDA says over-the-counter distribution would let patients get drugs for many common conditions without the time and expense of visiting a doctor, but medical providers call the change medically unsound and note that it also may mean that insurance no longer will pay for the drugs.

Under the changes that the agency is considering, patients could diagnose their ailments by answering questions online or at a pharmacy kiosk in order to buy current prescription-only drugs for conditions such as high cholesterol, certain infections, migraine headaches, asthma or allergies.


April 30, 2012

Consumer Spending in U.S. Increases as Incomes Rise

Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in March after the biggest gain since August 2009, and incomes picked up, indicating the biggest part of the economy will help sustain the expansion.

Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, increased 0.3 percent, after a revised 0.9 percent gain the prior month that was stronger than first reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 72 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.4 percent rise. Incomes advanced 0.4 percent, the most in three months, and the savings rate rose.

A job market that’s on the mend and warmer weather underpinned household purchases, which grew in the first quarter by the most in more than a year as sales climbed at car dealerships and retailers like Target Corp. (TGT) A pickup in hiring and wages is needed to maintain this quarter’s pace of spending.

“This report sets up fairly well for the second quarter,” said Peter Newland, a U.S. economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. “What was encouraging was that the income numbers improved. Our expectation is that job growth does increase gradually” this quarter, he said.


April 29, 2012

At 92, a Bandit to Hollywood but a Hero to Soldiers

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. — One of the world’s most prolific bootleggers of Hollywood DVDs loves his morning farina. He has spent eight years churning out hundreds of thousands of copies of “The Hangover,” “Gran Torino” and other first-run movies from his small Long Island apartment to ship overseas.

“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the United States military presence in those regions dwindling, Big Hy Strachman will live on in many soldiers’ hearts as one of the war’s more shadowy heroes.

“It’s not the right thing to do, but I did it,” Mr. Strachman said, acknowledging that his actions violated copyright law.


April 27, 2012

Student Loan Debt Slaves In Perpetuity - A True Story Of "Bankruptcy Hell"

But under a 2005 law passed by Congress to protect lenders, private student loans fall under the same nearly-impossible-to-clear category as child support payments and criminal fines.

Generally, it's these private loans that bring borrowers to the door of bankruptcy lawyers like Barrett. Private student loans often lack the protections of federal ones, and have rates that typically start higher and can shoot up. A recent survey of bankruptcy attorneys found 81 percent reporting more clients with student debt in recent years, and roughly half reporting a significant increase.

Private lenders haven't always enjoyed a spot at the front of the line of bankruptcy creditors.
Until 1976, all education loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy. That year Congress began requiring borrowers to wait at least five years before they could discharge federal student loans. Since 1998, borrowers have been unable ever to discharge federal student loans, and in 2005 the then-Republican-controlled Congress made private loans almost impossible to discharge. Essentially, borrowers must prove they can't repay and will never be able to, but the standard is vague. And litigating in bankruptcy court may be impossible financially for someone in those circumstances.

Finally, if the spigot of private loans cut off, it might temper college cost increases. Colleges would find it harder to get away with charging more than what students can borrow from the government.


April 26, 2012

George Zimmerman is part black.

He was raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather — the father of the maternal grandmother who helped raise him.


April 26, 2012

Zimmerman advised by animal control to buy gun to protect himself from pit bull.

Leading the new details in Chris Francescani's 2,650-word feature about Zimmerman's background, his family, his career, and his prior troubles with the law, is the story about how Zimmerman came to carry a gun. It started when a neighborhood dog, a pitbull named Big Boi, cornered his wife Shellie Zimmerman in their yard in the fall of 2009. George Zimmerman bought pepper spray, but when he called Seminole County Animal Services to complain about the dog, the officer who responded had this advice for him:

"Don't use pepper spray," he told the Zimmermans, according to a friend. "It'll take two or three seconds to take effect, but a quarter second for the dog to jump you," he said.

"Get a gun."

After completing handgun training, both George and Shellie Zimmerman bought pistols, Francescani reports.



April 26, 2012

Feds to decide if Matthew Owens beating hate crime, one man arrested so far

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said Wednesday her office met with representatives of the FBI, the local U.S. Attorney and the Mobile police department about the mob beating of Matthew Owens last Saturday.

WKRG reported "[t]hey want the feds to decide whether a hate crime was committed"

WKRG also reported Wednesday that Terry Rawls, a 44-year-old man with an extensive criminal history, was arrested earlier in the day and charged with first degree assault. 

Rawls, a man with a record of assault, burglary, theft and drug possession, reportedly has had a running feud with Owens since 2009, according to the District Attorney's office.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Feds to decide if Matthew Owens beating hate crime, one man arrested so far - Spokane Conservative | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/article/feds-to-decide-if-matthew-owens-beating-hate-crime-one-man-arrested-so-far#ixzz1t7zG2cBv

April 25, 2012

Greek anger keeps German tourists away

CORINTH, Greece (Reuters) - German tourists are in short supply in Greece these days, frightened away by reports of visceral anti-German sentiment in some places, fears of being stranded by strikes and television images of fiery anti-austerity riots.

Who in their right mind, after all, would want to go on holiday to a place where they might be called a Nazi?

The dearth of Germans is especially noticeable in tourist hotspots like Corinth, an enchanting ancient town 80 km west of Athens famous for the steep and narrow walls of its 6-km (4-mile) long canal that cuts across the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Because tourism accounts for a disproportionately large 15 percent of Greece's gross domestic product (GDP) and Germans are the largest group of visitors, their absence is causing pain.


April 25, 2012

The pre-funding of postal service workers health benefits goes to the Treasury.

And they use the funds to help alleviate the deficit.


No wonder the workers are pissed.

" The other cost comes from elimination of regular billion-dollar payments, now required by law, to Treasury to pre-fund health care benefits for retirees. That $23 billion would ease financial pain for the Postal Service, but it also means less revenue to ease federal deficits."


April 24, 2012

How 4 people can get SS til death based on 1 person's social security wages.

"Here’s some good news about divorce, for a change. If your marriage lasted at least ten years, you can claim social security benefits on the entire earnings history of your ex-spouse.

Those derivative benefits are equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s benefits. It’s an either-or situation – you’ll get your own benefits, or the derivative benefits, whichever is greater. And collecting derivative benefits doesn’t reduce what your ex-spouse receives, or, if he’s remarried, what his current spouse receives.

Now, here are answers to three of the tricky social security questions we are often asked by readers:

1. How many ex-wives can claim derivative benefits?
As many exes as there are, as long as each marriage lasted 10 years.  Mickey Rooney’s seven ex-wives got left out, since none of the marriages lasted more than 10 years, but three of Johnny Carson’s marriages lasted over 10 years.

2. If my ex-spouse dies, do my derivative social security benefits end?
This has a good news, bad news answer. The bad news: If he dies, the derivative benefit ends. The good news is that now you can collect survivor benefits, which are 100% of his benefits, not just 50%."


This means if an individual had 2 marriages lasting over 10 years and is currently married, the exes, the current spouse, and the former worker can all collect based on the one wage. When the worker is alive there may be three persons collecting 50% of the benefit and one person collecting 100% of the benefit. If the main worker passes, there can then be 3 persons collecting 100% of the benefit.

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