The Obama boost…

Amazing news on two key Obama social policies on healthcare and the environment…


US court upholds EPA’s greenhouse gas rules

A US appeals court on Tuesday upheld the first-ever US-proposed rules governing heat-trapping greenhouse gases, clearing a path for sweeping regulations affecting vehicles, coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities.

Handing a setback to industry and a victory to the Obama administration, the US court of appeals for the district of Columbia unanimously ruled theEnvironmental Protection Agency’s finding that carbon dioxide is a public danger and the decision to set limits for emissions from cars and light trucks were “neither arbitrary nor capricious.”

“These rulings clear the way for EPA to keep moving forward under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution from motor vehicles, new power plants, and other big industrial sources,” said David Doniger, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

It’s truly amazing the level of industry sponsored political opposition to the environmental movement and a huge series of legal hoops needed to just set pollution limits. Pollution… bad for your health, surely not!

Health care

A significant ruling by the Supreme Court on health care.

The US supreme court has upheld Barack Obama‘s landmark healthcare reform law, delivering the president a major victory going into November’s election campaign but also setting up a fresh political battle over the legislation’s future.

In an historic, and in some quarters unexpected, ruling, the supreme court upheld the legislation on the grounds that its central provision – the requirement for almost all Americans to buy health insurance known as the individual mandate – is legal because the measure amounts to a tax.

Obama is counting on Americans growing to like the reforms as they kick in and people benefit from a law that extends insurance coverage to 50 million Americans who were priced out of the market and ending a slew of immoral practices that led to people losing their homes to pay medical bills after their insurance was cut off.

There must have been a huge debate about the reasoning to impose the need to buy health care insurance on every citizen, but the result will be the same as in the UK, where essentially all medical care is covered without the need for extra payments. This may even add up to the same amount of outgoings if the UK’s higher tax is taken into account.

Things seem to finally be going in the right direction and it feels good to be able to write a post about these things!


Car club here we come…!

The car is nearly out of our hands, we just have to cancel the insurance and get it taken away by someone. The options for this are numerous, but Claire has found what looks like a good charity website called ‘giveacar’, which takes away the car and either scraps it or auctions it. The money from this process then goes to our nominated charity. They also make sure the car is cleaned of pollutants (like oil) + not just dumped somewhere.

Just looking at the costs at the moment…

Road tax = £10 p/m, petrol = £85 p/m, insurance = £30 p/m

This is £125 per month in costs, or looking at it in a different way, £125 of actual savings once we’ve ditched the car!

This doesn’t even include the big annual costs of servicing and MOT, which is paid once but for this calculation is divided into 12 months. The last one was roughly £450, which is £37.50 per month. We’ve also had to change two of the tyres since the MOT, which was another £60, so the total for the year would be £2,010! This is £167.50 a month we won’t be paying out.

If we ditch the car very soon, it’ll be roughly 6 months till the next service, so 6 months of savings, which is roughly £1,000. This will make a huge difference for us and mean we can go back to getting a veg box from Riverford. We should also be able to go back to organic food for at least some of the shopping and not have to go into the overdraft again. Might even be able to save again!? There’s also the hassle and time savings from not owning a car and the lowering of our environmental impact.


Letting the cat out…?

When to let Tinker out into the garden?

Well, there are some pretty varied and extreme responses on the various forums. This ranges from never(!!) to a few days! Interesting, but slightly scary response below from someone based on the question how long should you keep your cat indoors when you first get them?…

‘FOREVER! Outdoor cats die early, contract diseases like FLv, risk traffic, risk other cat and dog attacks and if not spayed or neutered, cause the overpopulation of animals who are killed by euthanasia. Cats don’t mind the indoor life- I have many of them who get along just fine. Please, no outside. It’s just too risky.’

Ok, I realise some people have little choice but to keep their cat indoors (like my Sister who lives in a block of flats in London, or maybe next to a particularly busy road etc) but keeping the cat indoors their whole life, out of choice, seems a bit strange. Would you want to spend your whole life indoors? I’m quite into the whole ‘free-range’ idea for chickens and I just can’t accept the opposite for a cat, it just doesn’t seem right, but as the comment suggests, it probably is safer if you keep it in the whole time, but there’s a lot less range of life experiences if you did.

She’s also been sitting by the window staring out and also sitting by the back door and taking a keen interest when anyone goes near it! I think maybe 1 week and then we’ll see if we think she’s ready to get out. We’ve also got to renew the existing insurance which she came with, just in case she does have a ‘negative life experience’ along the line. : ) The £350 vet bill (for his cats) which my colleague told me about was a bit of an eye opener!