Money worries

budget_pieEver since I announced my new job, my daily hits have dropped by 40%. (Those visits and page views are what drives ad revenue.) So that concerns me, because I sat down and did a budget last night, and after my monthly bills are paid, I have $30 left. That’s it. It seemed like a lot, but it isn’t.

That’s without putting anything at all away for taxes (because it’s a contract job), and of course just one doctor co-pay eats that up last $30.

So I’m a little nervous, and I’d really appreciate your continuing support. Please keep clicking back on the page, and please continue to make donations if you can afford it. Because I really hate hyperventilating.


Remember, the people who agreed to this want to cut your Social Security and Medicare “to get spending under control”. Why, you might almost think they don’t care about the deficit at all!

WASHINGTON — Just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm, scored a largely unnoticed coup on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers inserted a paragraph into the “fiscal cliff” bill that did not mention the company by name but strongly favored one of its drugs.

The language buried in Section 632 of the law delays a set of Medicare price restraints on a class of drugs that includes Sensipar, a lucrative Amgen pill used by kidney dialysis patients.

The provision gives Amgen an additional two years to sell Sensipar without government controls. The news was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts. But it is projected to cost Medicare up to $500 million over that period.

Amgen, which has a small army of 74 lobbyists in the capital, was the only company to argue aggressively for the delay, according to several Congressional aides of both parties.

Amgen has deep financial and political ties to lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy as the leaders of the Finance Committee.

It also has worked hard to build close ties with the Obama administration, with its lobbyists showing up more than a dozen times since 2009 on logs of visits to the White House, although a company official said Saturday that it had not appealed to the administration during the debate over the fiscal legislation.

Aides to Mr. Hatch and Mr. Baucus, and a spokeswoman for Amgen, said the delay would give the Medicare system and medical providers the time they needed to accommodate other complicated changes in how federal reimbursements for kidney care were determined.

Big Pharma always complains about regulation and policy changes. Whine, whine, whine! And you know what? It works.

Wife swap

I fucking love this show. Today it’s a helicopter mom swapping with the mom from a family of rabid survivalists who are even prepared for a zombie invasion and the Mayan prophecies. You can’t make this shit up!

Brunch with the populists

I long ago lost my appreciation for inaugurals (although I did like going to the Nixon Counter-Inaugural in – what, ’72?). The main reason is the overwhelming stench of Big Money. It strikes me as especially unseemly this year, when so many have been financially devastated.

But, as Charlie Pierce points out, you can’t get anywhere without money. Not just for inaugurations, but for the election campaigns.

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