July 15, 2008

July 15, 2008
Good day mates! How are you doing today?

It was another rocky sleepless night for me. Gary was on full snore alarm and my legs were killing me. So I spent most of the night on the couch with the pets. I finally was able to get to sleep around 5:30am when Gary finally decided to wake up and get his day started. I slept pretty soundly until around noon and then slowly eased myself into my early afternoon. Of course, I started off my day with my morning protein shake and a trip outside with the pets.

Now the big news today is that thanks to the hard work of patients and doctors across the country, both the U.S. Senate and House passed the bill to stop the 10 percent Medicare payment cuts that took effect on July 1, 2008. Unfortunately, the President just vetoed this important legislation. Congress can override a veto—so call to your representative to vote to override the President’s veto of H.R. 6331!

Some points to make:

* This bill passed with overwhelming, bi-partisan support in the House and the Senate.

* This bill preserves access to health care for seniors, the disabled, and military families.

* Ask them to stand up and do what is right—vote to override the veto on H.R. 6331.

See how the cuts will impact patients and physicians in your state if the veto stands. We’re only one step away from this bill becoming law—Congress just has to do the right thing and vote to override the veto. Thanks for your help. Your assistance will not only help people with HIV and AIDS but all people struggling with medical costs.

The other big news today is the stock market and the national economy. Wall Street ended a whipsaw day mostly lower, as fears of escalating instability in the financial sector kept investors on edge despite a steep retreat in oil. The Dow Jones industrials had their first close below 11,000 since July 2006. The stock market did benefit from some bargain-hunting as oil retreated from its near-record levels, but the uncertainty of the financial sector made that recovery hard to sustain. If oil prices stabilize or retreat, consumers might feel more comfortable spending on discretionary items, and in turn help the economy.A barrel of light, sweet crude dropped $6.44 to settle at $138.74 on the New York Mercantile Exchange as traders bet that the weak economy in the United States and elsewhere will take its toll on global demand. U.S. consumers have been monitoring their budgets more carefully in the face of higher energy prices, falling home values and an uncertain jobs climate. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that retail sales edged up by 0.1 percent in June, a weaker amount than expected, due to plummeting sales at car dealerships. More news to follow on the stock market and our economy in the days and weeks ahead.

The other big news in the states is the sale of Budweiser to a foreign corporation. Budweiser has a long history in America. It was introduced more than 130 years ago by Adolphus Busch, who wanted to brew what was called the United States' first national beer brand. Today, the maker of that American beer, Anheuser-Busch, agreed to sell itself to Belgium brewer InBev for $52 billion — although the St. Louis-based brewer's CEO, August Busch IV, had told the company's wholesale distributors months ago that a sale would not happen on his watch. Known for its iconic Clydesdale horses, Anheuser-Busch emerged as North America's best-selling beer maker in the 1980s, primarily on the strength of its marketing savvy — from the "This Bud's for you" slogan, to the introduction of bull terrier Spuds MacKenzie and the Bud Light 'Real Men of Genius' series. The newly formed company will easily become the world's largest brewer, producing 12 billion gallons of beer per year. Although all 12 of Budweiser's American breweries will stay open, Anheuser-Busch has already announced close to $1.5 billion in operational cost cuts. The merger between Anheuser-Busch and InBev, which still must be approved by both companies' shareholders, is expected to be complete by the end of this year. It would end 150 years of local management of Anheuser-Busch. So there goes another American tradition down the drain! Who would of thought we would ever see that day? Sort of like finding out someone purchased the Statue of Liberty.

Unfortunately we received very bad news in our war with Iraq. Scattered sandals and overturned bicycles were all that remained hours after suicide bombers struck the Saad military camp. Medical staff had finished unloading the white body bags at the nearby hospital, where the wounded moaned on bloodstained floors and weeping soldiers kneeled over slain comrades. The attack in Baqouba, capital of Diyala province, came ahead of a planned Iraqi military offensive to halt attempts by militants to regroup in the volatile area northeast of Baghdad. Late Tuesday, the U.S. military said an American soldier was killed by a bomb while searching a house in the province Tuesday, but gave no other details. Diyala is critical to Baghdad's security because of its strategic importance as an entrance to the capital and a threat to supply routes going north. The ethnically mixed area also borders Iran, which the United States has accused of helping militants to stage attacks on American troops. The Saad camp lies in an area with a large Shiite population on the eastern outskirts of Baqouba. Sunni militants have often targeted Shiites with suicide bombings. The bombing occurred in a field outside the entrance to the joint U.S.-Iraqi base, where recruits were signing up. Witnesses said an initial explosion at about 8 a.m. drew a crowd that tried to evacuate victims. A second bomber then detonated his explosive vest among the rescuers. So let's not forget about the brave soldiers over in Iraq and Afghanistan who are risking their lives to do as they are told. So say a prayer for them this evening.

So how did your day turn out? I hope it was a winner. Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab