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February 18, 2011     Post-Gazette
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February 18, 2011

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 18, 2011 ("-'-" -t with Ben Doherty / by Sal Giarratani MEDICARE AND MEDICAID FUNDS ARE HURTING Time Refuses to Die ... So Says My Clock... Medicare has been slowly eating up a greater portion of state revenues. In 2000 it averaged just over 19% of the state's spending, and it's cutting into states spending on education and other ben- efits, which is about 20.8%. The federal government pro- vides about 2/3 of the total funding. States will have a tougher choice in 2014, when ObamaCare fully kicks in, states will have to expand Medicare or risk los- ing all of the federal funding.. Governors have asked the Department of Human Ser- vices for help when states will have to expand Medicare to 133% of the poverty level. Early in the month Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of MHS, set parameters for each state and it gave no flexibility on eligibility below 133% of the poverty level. Instead she encouraged the states to modify benefits and encour- aged them to manage their care of high cost beneficia- ries more effectively in pur- chasing drugs more effi- ciently and use other base practices. Medicare has been slowly taking a larger portion of state budgets in 2010, it was 22%. Stocks moved ahead on Friday reaching new highs for a second straight week. The NASDAQ added .7%, and the S&P500 added .5%. Small caps outperformed as the Russell 2000 jumped 1.2%. Volume was down from Thursdays fast pace, but above the 50 day money av- erage. Friday's action on top rated stocks continued a positive trend. Almost four stocks rose for every one that fell. Panera Bread soared on strong earnings. News of the resignation of Prime Minister Mubarak re- moved a worry from the mar- ket. There was concern that oil markets would tumble, but except for a few of the Deere and Co., and Aruba Networks most held well. Winners beat losers by 5-2 on the NYSE and 2-1 on the NASDAQ. Oil prices fell $1.42 to $85.31/barrel. The 10- year US treasury fell seven ticks to 3.64%. The Obama administration is eliminat- ing the government's role in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae by dissolving both within 10 years. Fears about Egypt tempers enthusiasm. Stocks ended the week with a gain after the resignation of Egyptian President Mubarak eased investor's fears about a spread of vio- lence to oil producing coun- tries, but the unease about the Mid East didn't stop the market from rising in re- sponse to fourth quarter earnings and the Dow made its first move above 12,000 since 2008. Good Year posts loss on plant closure plans in Union City, Tennessee to close the 1,900 employee plant. Its loss amounted to .73C/share. Analysts ex- pected a loss of .07C/share as Good Year took a $I00 million loss. Akamoi's quar- terly forecast was lower than estimated. The operation of a seven network predicted sales of $263 million as earnings didn't grow as much as predicted. The Cambridge company also faces fierce competition. The Green DOT Corp., a pre- paid card company, was down-graded by analyst. Tho- mas McCruhen of Janey Capital Markets, as a result of price pressure on monthly maintenance fees. Uni- phase was up 5.40 points to 26.16 at 23% gain. Avid Technologies was up 3.14 points to $28.22 up 16.2%, with a nice profit for the quarter. GM will pay 26,000 workers in a bonus. GM's top salaried are still subject to government sanctions or pay restrictions. Ten thousand salaried workers will get bo- nuses equal to $I0,000. GM rose 6% to $36.45. Axel Webber to leave Bundsih bank one year before his te.rm ends. Webber's criti- cism of ECB buys of bonds from debt stricken euro countries may have cost him the job. He was up to be Presi- dent of the European Cen- tral Bank, but that won't hap- pen now. EU and IMF inspec- tors OK'd a new 15 billion euro tranche to Greece and Athens was requested to speed up the process. Leaders continued to shine as the market logged its 2 "d straight week of gains. Apple is still among the lead- ers for a buying opportunity. Lululemon Athletics and Baidu are doing well, break- ing out as is Riverbed Tech up 13% as the best performer in the Top 50. Analysts see profits growing 44% this year. Chipotle Mexican Grill opened lower but then had a big turnaround. The stock is in a big buying range. It's now 2.6% past a $262 buy point. On Thursday the burrito chain beat analysts' views as sales rose 24.5% continuing a long streak of earnings gains. Apple is sell- ing at a record high, as it broke out from a double bot- tom bang in December. AT&T also broke out as Verizon is selling Apple's widely popular Phone #4 last week. Deckers Outdoor stepped out to a new high. It had a 13% rise in 201-1 earnings. Israel fears the loss of Egypt as its top ally in the region could heighten Mideast tensions. The en- tire Mideast is nervous of what could happen over the near term. Corn, wheat and other crop futures hit multi year highs as prices soar. Fertilizer costs all shot up 479% as revenue spurted for the year, for five straight quarters. It's time to call your financial advisor or call me at 617-261-7777. Want to Vote ? Show ID ! Holly Robichaud from the Boston Herald recently high- lighted the efforts of a group of state legislators up on Beacon Hill to get a voter ID bill passed. According to State Representative Steve Levy, (R-Marlboro) "Voting is an important right. You have to show an ID to board a plane or buy alcohol. It is a reasonable request espe- by Sal Giarratani cially when no photo ID iS re- quired to register to vote." Senator Vinny DeMacedo (R-Plymouth) adds that he just wants to make sure the principle of "one person, one vote" is upheld. However, as good as this measure sounds to many of us, there appears to be no kumbaya moment between conservatives and their lib- eral adversaries like Marcia Hirshberg, president of the Massachusetts League of Women Voters who is not happy with this ID require- ment. She says it is both "discriminatory" and "a bar- rier to voting." She says the issue of illegal immigrants is a "red herring" issue. Liberals can be so oblivi- ous to the obvious, huh? DIVORCE * CRIMINAL 230 MSGR. O'BRIEN HIGHWAY LAW OFFICES OF FRANK J. CIANO GENERAL PRACTICE OF LAW WILLS * ESTATE PLANNING TRUSTS PERSONAL INJURY WORKERS COMP. 617-354-9400 Si Parle Italiano CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 02141 ST. JUDE AND ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. LM.D. I have a Westclock to wake me up in the mornings for work. Westclock was a big name in alarm clocks back in my childhood. My father bought this current clock that sits on my nightstand back in 1964 at the Rexall drugstore that once stood on the corner of Washington and West Brookline streets. My clock even has a name. It goes by "Big Ben." My Ben is now over 46 years old and is still ticking. Lately though, it has fallen into short comas but bounces back to life. It simply refuses to die. It was "Made in the USA" which probably explains its long life. It has dropped to the fall God only knows how many times. The new clocks are made of plastic. Drop them once and it is back to CVS Pharmacy. Mine has real parts inside a solid case of steel. It is a tank of a clock. I have been getting ner- vous of late when it just stops running. I don't want it to run out of time. I think it has become a metaphor for me of life itself. This clock has survived much of U.S, history over the years, stupid wars, TV din- ners, cable TV, Jiffy Pop, John Glenn orbiting the Earth, Nell Armstrong set- ting foot on the moon, Drag- net and Adaml2, computers, e-mails, cell phones, iPods Facebook, Watergate, Pope John Paul coming to Boston, Jimmy Carter in the White House, the Blizzard of '78, the Beatles and Rolling Stones, The Red Sox Impos- sible Dream of 1967, the Bos- ton Patriots, the Big Bad Bru- ins, breaking the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 and so much more. If my clock could only talk. However, it can still get alarmed and excited about getting me up on time, By the way, gaso- line probably cost 28 cents a gallon back when it was brand new. Today, at many gas stations, the price is up to $3.19 for the same thing. My Big Ben isn't ready for the nursing home yet nor my Tuesday garbage day col- lection. By the way, did I tell you about my Blizzard of '78 shovel? It too was American made of solid oak and Pitts- burgh steel. Funny how af- ter all these years neither of them have met. My clock stays in my warm bedroom, my shovel not so lucky. It's always outside braving the elements waiting for the next snow storm but it works fine and never falls into a brain freeze or coma like old Big Ben. Both are two of a kind. My friends call me cheap for holding onto things Solig but as my father always said, "If it ain't broken, don't buy a new one." I always listened to my father. LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the wdter's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 NORTH END00 PRINTING 5 PRINCE STREET* NORTH END* BOSTON, MA 02113 Quality Printing for all your Commercial and Personal Needs Stationery ,Business Cards,Menus,Flyers Program Books Wedding and Party tations ouncements * Business Forms and Documents m COMPETITIVE PRICES m 617-227-8929