Friday, July 31, 2009
More than 50 congressmen sent a letter blasting what they called "indecent" and "abhorrent" art projects funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.
But a few of the NEA's grants are spicing up more than the economy, including these offerings to some risque art houses in San Francisco:
A $50,000 infusion for the Frameline film house, which recently screened Thundercrack, "the world's only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla."
A $25,000 injection for Jess Curtis/Gravity, a dance troupe whose "Symmetry Project" looks something like two people writhing naked on the floor.
A $25,000 check for CounterPULSE, which offers a weekly production of "Perverts Put Out" -- the "long-running pansexual performance series" that invites guests to "join your fellow pervs for some explicit, twisted fun."
Did you notice what city these grants are going too? Go back and reaqd again.
When are we going to stop calling this a stimulus bill and call it what it is, a piggy bank for Democratic causes?
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Facing the first real rough patch of his presidency, President Obama and his supporters are once again resorting to a tried-and-true tactic: attacking George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
In his White House press conference last week, Mr. Obama referred to the Bush era at least nine times, three times lamenting that he "inherited" a $1.3 trillion debt that has set back his administration's efforts to fix the economy.
With the former president lying low in Dallas, largely focused on crafting his memoirs, Mr. Obama has increasingly attempted to exploit Mr. Bush when discussing the weak economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the difficulty closing the military prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
As he took power, Mr. Obama promised a "new era of responsibility" that would transcend partisan politics.
While this is unlikely to shock anyone reading my blog, it is nice to see the media finally get their heads out of their, um presses, and report on this.
Then we have this.
"I'm not convinced that Obama and his supporters are bashing Bush as much as they are quite rightfully reminding people that our current economic mess and the wars were inherited from the Bush administration," said Democratic strategist Bud Jackson. "It's important to remind people of this because Republicans are now criticizing the Obama administration as if they had no role in how we got here."
No mention of the fact that the Dims had control of Congress since approximately the time the economy went south. Or, maybe some mention of the fact that Obama was a part of that Congressional majority.
This next part though shows what the Dims are all about.
Democratic Party strategist Liz Chadderdon said the strategy of blaming the previous team has been effective.
"I think Bush-bashing has been alive and well since '07 and, since it keeps working, why not use it?" she said. "Voters have short memories. The administration needs to remind people that things were way worse over the last four years than in the last six months."
So according to these idiots, it's not about actually accomplishing anything. Just keep up the attacks on Bush so no one notices that Obama and his Dimwits in Congress are running the country into the toilet.
Back to the question at hand though. Will it work?
I believe this will actually make his numbers go lower. It makes him look petty and small. More importantly, I think a lot of the public will wake up and realize that at the end of the day he doesn't know what the Hell he is doing, he just has attacks on Bush to offer.
What do you think?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation's largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.
Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn't know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.
Dodd got two Countrywide mortgages in 2003, refinancing his home in Connecticut and another residence in Washington. Conrad's two Countrywide mortgages in 2004 were for a beach house in Delaware and an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck in his home state of North Dakota.
Asked by a House investigator if Conrad, the North Dakota senator, "was aware that he was getting preferential treatment?" Feinberg answered: "Yes, he was aware."
Referring to Dodd, the investigator asked:
"And do you know if during the course of your communications" with the senator or his wife "that you ever had an opportunity to share with them if they were getting special VIP treatment?"
"Yes, yes," Feinberg replied.
I think the first question I have is, why the Hell were these hearings secret? There were no state secrets discussed here. This was to attempt to protect a Democratic Senator who is in deep doo-doo in his state and is facing a steep re-elction bid next year.
And no nonsense about ethics hearings being done behind closed doors, that's an excuse, not a reason. This is a new era of openness in government. Nancy Pelosi drained the swamp. I know he's a Senator, he was not in Pelosi's swamp (there's no room), but the Dems came in promising a new day in both chambers. Well we have it.
Finally, there is the obvious, these Senators were taking bribes while the economy was tanking.
I personally believe that this should be a matter for the Justice Department not the Senate. But, then again, that fate is only reserved for Bush lawyers who had the audacity to try to keep us safe.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Octomom inks showbiz deal for tots
Octuplet mother Nadya Suleman has signed agreements for each of her 14 children to earn $250 a day to star in a reality television show.
The contracts filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court guarantee the children will collectively earn about $250,000 over three years. The contracts require a judge's approval.
Suleman gave birth to the world's longest-surviving set of octuplets on Jan. 26. The medical curiosity of their delivery turned to public outrage when it was learned that the single, unemployed mother had been caring for her six other children with the help of food stamps and Social Security disability payments for three of the youngsters. Suleman said previously that some of the disability money was spent on in vitro fertilizations, which was used for all 14 of her children.
There are so many issues here.
First is the notion that she used public funds to bankroll these in vitro fertilizations. This is a very significant issue with the ongoing debate over "health care reform". What are your thoughts on paying for a welfare mom to produce more welfare children?
Is she exploiting her children?
Was this whole thing premeditated? Did she have the children to have a TV show?
Is this as much the fault of society as hers? In other words, does our voyeuristic, sensationalistic, celebrity obsessed society set the stage for this type of behavior?
Finally there is this:
The contracts require a judge's approval
This in itself brings up other issues.
Should the court allow it?
Should the court be involved at all?
So what do you think about this?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Barack Obama, July, 22nd
As most know, this was in reaction to Cambridge police arresting Harvard professor Henry Lewis Gates for disorderly conduct during a call in which they were responding to reports of a possible breaking and entering at his home.
This was after Obama admitted he did not know all of the facts of the case.
I have two thoughts on this.
First I think it is more support for the notion that Obama was simply not qualified for the Presidency. This was an amateurish statement to make. He made several mistakes with this statement, any of which should not have been made.
-He should not have inserted himself in a local issue. While it could be argued that this involves racism, which is clearly a national interest, other than the professors allegations there is no evidence as of yet of racism in this case.
-He should not have made a statement on something in which he did not know the facts. Just a bit of advice, when you have to start a sentence with "I don't know all of the facts", shut up. A sentence that begins like this never ends good.
-He should not have painted an entire profession with the same brush, especially when members of the profession risk their lives to protect us.
While I do not believe he meant to, his statement maligned all police officers in the country.
My second thought is more simple. I believe his statement was racist.
Obama had no evidence that this was a racist incident yet he immediately took the word of a black professor and called his white arresting officer a racist.
Or, put another way, he did not know there was racism involved but he immediately assumed there was because the case involved a white officer arresting a black man.
Bottom line, racism works both ways.
Obviously, if it is found that the officer had racist motives, he should be punished.
What happens to a President though if it turns out he is acting as a racist?
Saturday, July 25, 2009
By all accounts though she does not appear to. There is virtually unanimous opposition from Republicans, I have yet to see a GOP House member say they will vote for the legislation.
Further, the Speaker has significant opposition from within her own party. The Blue Dog coalition, a group of over 50 moderate Democrats, are signalling that they are not on board yet and may not get on board at all.
The latest count I heard is that if all Republicans vote against the bill, 39 blue dog Dems would have to vote for the legislation to pass. Right now this seems unlikely.
To make passage seem less likely, House and committee leadership has spent the past week attempting to strong arm the moderate Dems.
The DNC has even ran commercials against them to get them to change their votes.
All of this has not endeared these moderate Dems to the House leadership and pushed them to change their votes.
Finally, a lot of these moderate Dems are in congressional seats that are either roughly evenly divided politically or even slightly right leaning which makes them precarious for re-election. This is significant in that the health care reform being proposed right now is quickly losing support among the public.
All of this adds up to a less than likely chance that 39 of the members will switch their votes and help the legislation pass.
So the question is, what is Pelosi up to?
Is she dumb enough to think she has the votes? I genuinely don't think so.
Does she know something that is not public? That is always possible, we don't know everything that goes on in the House. Reality is though that congressional members historically have been ones to run off at the mouth. More often than not, what you see is what you get. If it does not appear there are votes for passage, it is a good chance there is not.
Not surprisingly I have an opinion.
I think she is playing a dangerous game of chicken, although in her case it would be buzzard (just joking).
I believe she does not have the votes but in declaring she does she puts pressure on the blue dogs to vote for it. If they do not vote for it, they will take the fall from fellow Dems for it's failure.
There are two problems with this.
Doing damage to your own party members among Democratic voters a year from the election does not appear to be sound policy. Especially when the members are in districts in which every Democratic vote counts.
Also, this carries a high risk of developing possibly long lasting bad will.
Even if she were to bring them around on this legislation, which is not even remotely certain, she has to work with them later.
There will be more legislation that has it's risks for the moderate Dems, cap and trade, possibly future stimulus plans, budget fights, abortion, etc.
Finally, even if the Democrats keep the House in 2010, they are likely to lose seats. This is a strong possibility not only because the current political climate does not overwhelmingly favor them but also because historically a President loses seats in their first Congressional election.
Pelosi may find herself needing every Democratic vote she can get to retain the Speakership. She does not have unending support from her party members and has plenty of people behind her willing to take her place.
One truism in politics is that none of your colleagues are truly your friend. While some may be friends socially and even do almost anything for you politically, they are all political animals and ambitious.
Nancy Pelosi may be betting everything for a win now and later find herself with no chits to call in when she needs them.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Art Show Encourages People to Deface the Bible, Write Obscenities
A publicly funded exhibition is encouraging people to deface the Bible in the name of art — and visitors have responded with abuse and obscenity.
The show includes a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth.
The open Bible is a central part of 'Made in God’s Image,' an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. By the book is a container of pens and a notice saying: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”
The exhibit, Untitled 2009, was proposed by the Metropolitan Community Church, which said that the idea was to reclaim the Bible as a sacred text. But to the horror of many Christians, including the community church, visitors have daubed its pages with comments such as “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all.” A contributor wrote on the first page of Genesis: “I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”
The Church of Scotland expressed concern, the Roman Catholic Church called the exhibit infantile, and a Christian lawyers’ group said that the exhibition was symptomatic of a broken and lawless society.
The exhibition has been created by the artists Anthony Schrag and David Malone, in association with organizations representing gay Christians and Muslims. Mr Schrag, the gallery’s artist in residence, said that he did not believe in God, but that his research for the show had underlined his respect for people of faith.
The community church, which celebrates “racial, cultural, linguistic, sexual, gender and theological diversity,” had suggested the “interactive” Bible and pens and Mr Schrag, 34, said he had been intrigued. (all emphasis mine)
I have nothing to add to this except this nonsense is getting way past old.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
A new report from Republicans on a House oversight committee accuses ACORN of fraudulent activities and widespread corruption and calls for a criminal investigation into the advocacy group.
ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform, has been under constant fire from conservatives since last year for its support of Barack Obama's presidential candidacy and its planned participation in next year's 2010 census.
But the report -- to be released Thursday by Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Issa's GOP colleagues -- offers the first detailed account of the allegations that have dogged the organization in recent months.
The executive summary of the report says ACORN provided contributions of financial and personnel resources to indicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and candidate Obama, among others, in what the report calls a scheme to use taxpayer money to support a partisan political agenda, which would be a clear violation of numerous tax and election laws.
"Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan agenda and to manipulate the American electorate," an executive summary of the report reads.
The intention of the Congressional members involved is to have Congress, the Justice Department, and The Census Bureau investigate ACORN and act accordingly.
Obviously this is not only an uphill battle, they are trying to go up a mountain. The Obama administration and Democratic members of Congress will fight to the end to prevent this investigation from going forward.
So what happens now? It depends on the GOP.
I have said again and again that the GOP is it's own worst enemy. They can stand in the corner and piss their pants like they typically do when the mean old Dems won't do what they want or they can go out and fight.
They have a winning issue here. This is a story that not only would resonate with voters, it is very damaging to the Democratic party and especially Obama.
They need to get off of their asses, get out in the public, and push this story. One of two things will happen, the Dems will investigate and be embarrassed or they won't investigate and be embarrassed.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This begs the question, why the rush? While this legislation could be viewed as urgent, the reality is that another month or two will not be the end of the world.
In fact, logic argues we should be doing the very opposite on this legislation and go slow. This is a major change to a very large piece of our economy. Further, it is a complex problem with complicated variables. Taking time to really examine the problem and applying a proper fix is the prudent course of action, not pushing through legislation whose impact has not been studied carefully.
So, back to the question. Why the rush?
I think the question has a two part answer.
First is the content of the bill.
Simply put, no one actually knows what is in this bill. Congressional members have a history of passing legislation they have not read. There is also a history of sticking provisions in the dark of the night to bring various members on board. Beyond this is the fact that Congressional leaders have not been very forth coming in sharing information.
My suspicion is that Congress does not want us to know what is in the legislation. There is already a growing restlessness among the public about the reform. If the public actually knew what was in the bill, the legislation may be permanently doomed.
Further, there has been a significant divide between what the Dems and Obama have been saying the impact on the budget will be and what the CBO has been reporting.
Give the Democrats credit for one thing though, they learned from the Hillary care debacle during the Clinton administration. The mistake they made then was making the process public, they won't repeat that blunder.
I think this rush to pass the legislation is nothing more than slight of hand. They want to get in, pass the bill, and get back out again before the public knows what hit them.
Second is good old fashioned pragmatic politics.
As I said above, the public is growing restless. This is not a good thing for Obama and the Dems and their attempt to pass the legislation.
There is a Congressional election a year from now and some Democratic Senators and, more importantly, all Democratic House members are up for re-election next year.
The House members are the important link here. As we all know there is a loose coalition of moderate Dems called Blue Dog Democrats. Many of these members were elected in 2004 in right leaning districts because the public was turning on the GOP.
To say these are not safe seats is an understatement.
Further there are enough of these members that they hold a large portion of the difference between a Democratic and Republican majority in the House. In other words, their defeat could make the GOP task of retaking the House much simpler.
These members are getting nervous and becoming harder and harder for the House leadership to keep on board.
Two significant factors will come into play over a month long recess.
Those opposed to the legislation will keep up their offensive possibly making the reform less and less popular with the public. The legislation is already slipping in popularity, a month is an eternity in a 24 hour-a-day-news world.
Second, Congressional members are going to go home and get an earful from their constituents.
It is entirely possible that already nervous Congressional members could come back after vacation not only skittish but forever lost.
Worse case scenario is that some members on board now could come back with a changed mind.
Reality is that this legislation, while we admittedly need health care reform, is not good for the country and needs to be slowed down.
Follow up. For a really good example, check out the Khaki Elephant today. They have a perfect video to help make my case for Congressmen going home and taking a hit from their constituents.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
She linked to and discussed comments Obama made as reported by the LA Times. The article was about comments Obama made during his ABC infomercial June 24th on health care.
The focus is this quote, also carried by T.C.
Reporting from Washington -- President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care.
In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don't unthinkingly approve "additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care."
He added: "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."
So, what do you think? What are your thoughts on withholding life-saving treatment at the end of life? Do you think a patient, hospital, or health care provider has an obligation to think about costs v benefit? Where is the line? Which patients and/or conditions should we be making this determination on?
Give it some thought because these really are not simple questions. As a health care provider, I am confronted with this issue often. What do you think about it?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
We did not make it to the Upper Peninsula for our camping trip, motorhome broke down, towed home. Long story, will tell it later.
We wound up in Pittsburgh instead. Great city and we are having fun. We took my wife's laptop to keep up on the weather but I was not going to do any blogging.
We went to Shanksville Saturday and I was so moved I had to post about it.
For anyone who has not been, the site of the Flight 93 National Memorial is actually a beautiful and peaceful place. It is almost surreal looking out over the hills considering the horror that occurred there.
We took a lot of pictures and I will post more on it later. Here are a couple that I like though.
The site only has a temporary memorial for now, they are building a permanent one starting in the fall and they should. A volunteer telling the story of the Flight and the bravery of the men and women onboard also gave us a description of the pending monument, it sounds great.
Anyways, on to the quote. We spent the day before in a museum in Pittsburgh and they had an exhibit on Abraham Lincoln. While there I read the Gettysburg Address again. A portion of the address kept going through my mind in Shanksville Saturday.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
Thinking of Lincoln's words though, what can we do that would not pale in comparison to what the brave heroes onboard this flight have given to us?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
We are leaving Sunday morning for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a 10 day camping trip.
This is a beautiful area, one we have been to several times and will likely go back to several more.
We will take a lot of pictures and share them with you when we get back.
Take care and keep up the good fight, I am imposing a virtually complete news blackout on myself for the next 10 days.
I want to leave you with one more image. The picture below is a drawing of a sign that some students at Michigan Tech made and put by the side of the road coming into Houghton in the middle of the night. Word is that it really did look like a state road sign. If you go to the UP, stop at the St Ignace welcome center, they have a picture of the sign along with the story. This sign plays on the fact that in the winter Houghton is a pretty remote place. They average something like 20+ foot of snow year.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Without a Doubt
Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does.
Tomorrow Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama meet for the first time, an affair much anticipated and in some circles frowned upon by American Catholics in the wake of Obama's controversial Notre Dame commencement speech in May. Conservatives in the church denounced Obama's appearance as a nod by the premier Catholic university to a conciliatory politics that heralds the start of a slippery moral slope.
In truth, though, Obama's pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they'll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won't care, because they know Obama's on their side. In fact, Obama's agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's.
This man is so amazing that he is now more Catholic than the Pope himself.
Actually this is the first of a series. Soon to follow are:
Obama, More Gay Than Perez Hilton
Obama, More Of A Woman Than Megan Fox
Obama, More Of An Idiot Than Joe Biden
Okay, the last one was made up (just having a little fun).
What is best about this is that the far left media has been swooning whenever Obama makes a pronouncement like "America is just another country, we can't set ourselves up as the standard for the world". Yet they are willing to let American Catholics set the standard for Catholicism for the world, including the Vatican. This in spite of the fact that the US only has about 6% of the world's population of Catholics and is the 72nd most Catholic country in the world (based on percentage).
What I think is awe-inspiring is how Obama is going to lead Catholics out of the wilderness after they have spent the better part of 2,000 years wandering aimlessly.
He's such a guy.
Gotta go, getting that little tingle down my leg again.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In health bill, billions for parks, paths
WASHINGTON - Sweeping healthcare legislation working its way through Congress is more than an effort to provide insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. Tucked within is a provision that could provide billions of dollars for walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms, and even farmers’ markets.
The add-ons - characterized as part of a broad effort to improve the nation’s health “infrastructure’’ - appear in House and Senate versions of the bill.
Critics argue the provision is a thinly disguised effort to insert pork-barrel spending into a bill that has been widely portrayed to the public as dealing with expanding health coverage and cutting medical costs. A leading critic, Senator Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, ridicules the local projects, asking: “How can Democrats justify the wasteful spending in this bill?’’
But advocates, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, defend the proposed spending as a necessary way to promote healthier lives and, in the long run, cut medical costs. “These are not public works grants; they are community transformation grants,’’ said Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Kennedy, chairman of the Senate health committee whose healthcare bill includes the projects.
“If improving the lighting in a playground or clearing a walking path or a bike path or restoring a park are determined as needed by a community to create more opportunities for physical activity, we should not prohibit this from happening,’’ Coley said in a statement.
There was no word as to whether Sen Kennedy's spokesman was actually able to keep a straight face while making this statement.
Until now we have not collaborated much because her blogs are, shall we say, different than mine. In fact one could say hers are actually civilized where mine, not so much.
We have decided though to put our differences aside and join forces to work on a new project. We are currently working together on new websites that we hope to launch in late July to early August. To that end, Brenda is starting a new blog and we are teaming up to make them companion sites.
We will not likely cross-post much because she tells me, and I quote "I'd rather stick a needle in my eye than debate politics." and therefore tries to stay away from my blog. Something about liberals making her cry and the ugliness of politics, I wasn't listening very closely. Her new site though, On The Front Porch, will be complimentary. Just not with all of the gnashing of teeth, foul language, and recriminations.
While she does not share my affinity for politics, she is a fellow conservative and she very much does share my love of America and all it has to offer. Her focus on her new blog will in fact be to share all of the wonders of America, be it to highlight something special that she has read or heard about or sharing our family's personal experiences as we move through life as proud Americans.
Think of it as a kinder, gentler Chuck Thinks Right.
Brenda actually started posting on her site Saturday. I want to re-post her original blog here as way of introduction.
I Love the USA
As I start this new blog, I've been doing a lot of thinking about patriotism, history and America in general. I often feel like it's cliche to "love living in the U.S.A." but how else can I express my feelings about where I live? I live in rural America with my husband, our three kids and our three cats. I'm free to express myself, to raise my kids as I see fit, to spend or not spend the money we make, to work our land if we wish and travel as time and money allow. I love living in America. When I volunteer at my daughter's school and we say The Pledge of Allegiance, I never take it for granted. It never offends me, or makes me feel uncomfortable.
Why am I telling you this in my first blog post? I want you to know where I'm coming from. I know we live in an imperfect world, but I believe as Americans we are strong when we gather together to solve the problems in our communities, our schools and our country. This blog will not only celebrate the good in our country, but I will share resources for those in need, including troop support, community outreach, tools for parents and grandparents, and much more. I tend to get a little whimsical at times. We laugh a lot at our house, so I'll be sharing fun stuff for kids and parents too.
My husband is a political
Thanks for stopping by,
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
WASHINGTON -- A key lawmaker says senators at work on health care legislation are having second thoughts about imposing a tax on high-end insurance coverage that workers receive on the job.
Sen. Kent Conrad says polling shows widespread public opposition to the idea, and lawmakers are now considering other options to help pay for an expansion of care to millions of people who now lack insurance.
The North Dakota Democrat did not go into details Tuesday.
In a compilation of four public opinion polls shown to lawmakers, opposition to taxing health care benefits ranged from 59 percent to 70 percent. In private talks, lawmakers have been discussing a tax on workers who receive coverage that has particularly high premiums.
This is all well and good, and not too shocking. The question though is, how are they going to pay for it?
Estimates of the cost of the program mostly hover around $1 trillion with the Congressional Budget Office going as high as $1.6 trillion. 1 trillion dollars is $3,300 for every man, woman and child in the country, or for my family of 5, our share would be $16,500. Considering none of my kids have a job, I'll likely be picking up their tab. If we go as high as $1.6 trillion, which if history with the federal government is a guide we will go with the higher estimate and add 20%, the cost to our family goes to $26,200.
Obviously the above numbers are a silly play with numbers, we will not directly be paying this amount. They do help put things in perspective though and shows just how much of a hurdle health care reform is.
We need to take a closer look at how we fund health care for people in this country.
I am in favor of health insurance for all. I do not view health insurance as a constitutional right, I do not view at as a God-given right, I view it as a way to save money. I am a firm believer that we would save money providing insurance for most people and working towards preventive medicine than to pay for a chronic disease that we could have headed off or lessened in severity with regular care. What happens now is people do not seek medical help until they have a heart attack when we could have been working with them all along to treat their high blood pressure, cholesterol, educate them on healthy living, etc. It is a living example of the saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
One stipulation to this, I do not think it should be a lifetime of coverage. We need to stop the practice of entitlement being a career choice.
We already have universal health care in the US, we just distribute it poorly.
Because of a law called EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) anyone presenting to an emergency room, irregardless of ability to pay, must be examined by a medical provider and treated for any emergent condition. Further, any woman presenting in labor must be treated, again, irrespective of ability to pay.
This is kind of a simplified explanation of the law but the point is that ERs have to treat patients with no regard to their ability to pay. Hospitals face a $50,000 fine for a violation of this act.
For the record, I am in favor of this law. A humane society would not let a man die of a heart attack because he cannot afford his hospital bill nor would we allow a woman to have her baby out on the street because they cannot pay up front.
The problem is how we implement the law. What the law does not say is that we have to treat everybody who presents to the ER. We only have to assess them for an emergent condition. ERs have defensively taken the law to it's extreme and treat everyone who presents to us.
I can tell you stories that would make you grit your teeth to the point of chipping.
I have asked people why they did not go to their personal physician for their presenting complaint and they will tell me "the doctor makes me pay". So they duck out on a $60- $70 office visit and let the public pay their approximately $1000 ER visit.
I had one woman ask for us to pay for her Ibuprofen prescription because she had no money. I had seen this same woman tuck a wad of bills under her pillow for safe keeping while in her hospital gown.
Don't even get me started on smokers. If you want to piss off an ER nurse or doc, tell them a smoker wants the hospital to pay for their prescriptions because they cannot afford them.
My point is that we need to reform the entire process.
Here are some statistics on the uninsured:
-28% are above 300% of the federal poverty level. The authors estimated that someone above 300% should be able to afford their own health care. (source)
-Illegal immigrants represent about 15% of the nation's 47 million uninsured people — and about 30% of the increase since 1980. (source)
-Overburdened by the uninsured and overwhelmed by illegal immigration (search), public health care in Los Angeles is on life support.
Sixty percent of the county's uninsured patients are not U.S. citizens. More than half are here illegally. About 2 million undocumented aliens in Los Angeles County alone are crowding emergency rooms because they can't afford to see a doctor. (source)
So using these numbers, approximately 7 million of the 47 million are illegals and 13 million are people that can afford the insurance but choose not to. Right off the bat let's drop them, that cuts our cost by 43%.
Next we apply a sliding scale to the rest of the people that we do insure. In other words, if someone makes 250% of the poverty level, subsidize their insurance, not pay for it all.
Some are not comfortable cutting out illegals, I am. As I said above, a just society would not let someone die because they cannot pay and we should not do so because they are not a citizen. For routine care, colds, tooth pain, etc, turn them away. Let them go home and have the taxpayers of their own country foot the bill.
As far people who can afford to pay and choose not to, same thing. Life is about choices and sometimes these choices come with risks. If one chooses not to get health insurance and they incur a large hospital bill, then they can pay for it. Finally we need to get more aggressive collecting these debts. Hospitals often write these bills off, which means you pay for it ultimately. This may be cruel and it may ruin someone's life. This would be sad but avoidable. We need to make people take personal responsibility.
I'm for health care reform and I am for assisting people who cannot pay, we just need to use some common sense.
Monday, July 6, 2009
The law became known as the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
This is a good description of the law by Wikepedia.
Don't ask, don't tell is the common term for the policy about homosexuality in the U.S. military mandated by federal law Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654). Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654(b) applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation.
So, what are your thoughts? Should the law be repealed? Would allowing openly gay people serve in the military effect performance or moral? Does sexual orientation matter?
A poll of military personnel I saw showed a pretty evenly split opinion of approximately one third for repealing the law, one third keeping it, and one third with no opinion. What do you think about it?
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Sarah Palin after announcing her plans to resign as Governor of Alaska.
I don't know what to think about this move by Palin but it is possible that this quote, more than any other, gives us a clue as to what she is doing.
On the face of her resignation it seemed like a bad idea and it very well could be.
At the same time though, it is just as possible it is a no-lose situation. What is the worst that has happened so far? Every far left nutcase in the media and the Democratic party has crawled off from under their rock to attack her. The question is, how is this different from Thursday, the day before she made the announcement?
The left and their press wing, the far left media, has attacked Palin as being too incompetent to be a chief executive. Now that she is quiting, they are attacking her for not being Governor. Anyone else think they look like the same idiots they have been since she was announced as McCain's running mate?
There is also the notion that sometimes the best form of political flattery is being attacked by ones opponents. If the leadership of the Democratic National Party and Democratic politicians spend so much time worrying about her, maybe there's something to her. Perhaps she instills a little fear. Whether they want to admit it or not, the more they attack her, the more credibility she gets among Republicans.
Further, if Maureen Dowd trashes a politician, they become a darling on the right.
These dummies need to realize that if they want her to go away, they should stop talking about her. It is obvious their plan is to undermine her, it's not working.
I think it is possible that this was a good move. I have wondered since last November how she was going to campaign for the White House in 2012 from Alaska. It is removed from the mainland of the US. It is 3 hours behind the east coast cities of New York, Washington, etc. It is a small state whose government does not garner much attention.
She was going to need a bigger stage.
This is where the quote comes in. I think what Palin is going to do is become heavily involved in the grass roots efforts in the conservative movement right now. Tea parties, conservative conventions, and campaigning for conservatives in next year's mid-term elections will give her far more media coverage than she will ever get in Alaska.
Now I know the first complaint from the left will be that this is nothing more than political opportunism, she's putting her political ambitions before her commitment to Alaska, blah, blah, blah. Save it.
Does the name Hillary Clinton ring a bell? All of a sudden she was a New Yorker?
Or, Barack Obama's career as a "US Senator". I have to wonder if he was ever in the Senate building long enough to find his own office.
Maybe they remember their new buddy Arlen Specter? He certainly did not place his political ambitions above his integrity and commitment to the people that voted for him as a "Republican".
Sarah Palin will be a star in the conservative movement. Even if she does not run for the White House in 2012 or does not win the nomination, she's one of the shapers of the rebirth of conservatism. Win or lose, she gets to play a key role in reshaping the party.
The reality is that as far as winning the Presidency this will be either a brilliant political move for Sarah Palin or the dumbest move since Gary Hart took Donna Rice sailing.
Source for quote
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Let us celebrate today- always be proud of who we are, while remembering and honoring those who have given their lives for us to remain free...
Note: I have a confession to make, this post was written by my wife, Brenda. She did it for me while I was at work today. It is a good way to introduce her because we will be working on some projects yet to be revealed (insert shameless plug to build interest here).
I hope everyone is having a fun and safe 4th and, more importantly, taking out a few minutes to marvel at the miracle that is America.
For some more great 4th of July reading and listening pleasure visit these wonderful blogs from some friends I visit regularly.
Mustang and Leslie did an incredible audio presentation on the "arrogance" of America and the truth that we have nothing to apologize for as a nation. This is incredible and more than worth the time to stop by and listen to it.
Finally, visit LA Sunsett if for no other reason than his great slide show set to Ray Charles' America the Beautiful.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Never fear though, things are never boring when former Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney is on leave from the mental institution.
Cynthia McKinney Remains Imprisoned in Israel After Gaza-Bound Boat Is Seized
Former U.S. lawmaker and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and several other human rights activists remained in an Israeli prison Thursday after refusing to sign a deportation form that they claim is self-incriminating.
In a press release from the Green Party, McKinney said the form states that the Spirit of Humanity, a Greek-flagged relief boat carrying 21 activists, medical supplies, cement, olive trees and children's toys en route to Gaza, was violating the Israeli blockade and trespassing the country's territorial waters.
"We were in international waters on a boat delivering humanitarian aid to people in Gaza when the Israeli Navy ships surrounded us and illegally threatened us, dismantled our navigation equipment, boarded and confiscated the ship," she said in a statement, adding that they were immediately taken into custody.
"Immigration officials in Israel said they did not want to keep us, but we remain imprisoned," she said.
"State Department and White House officials have not effected our release or taken a strong public stance to condemn the illegal actions of the Israeli Navy of enforcing a blockade of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians of Gaza, a blockade that has been condemned by President Obama."
The Israeli military issued a statement Tuesday saying that the boat had attempted to break a blockade of Gaza and was forced to sail to an Israeli port after ignoring a radio message to stay out of waters around Gaza.
Note that not even the Obama White House will step up and help her out. They probably, like the rest of us, quietly hope that the Israelis will just keep her forever.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
A woman is pulled from near the Center Street dam by construction worker Jason Oglesbee on Tuesday. A man who was with the unidentified woman died in the Des Moines River. A rescue team from the Des Moines Fire Department tried several times to rescue the woman but could not get close enough to her. (Andrea Melendez/The Register)
A construction worker dangled from a heavy-duty chain supported by a crane to rescue a woman from the swirling waters of the Des Moines River on Tuesday afternoon.
The dramatic rescue was met with cheers from spectators who had gathered on the banks of the river and nearby bridges after the boat the woman was in went over the Center Street dam.
Minutes before the woman was rescued, a Des Moines fire rescue team pulled the body of the woman's boating companion, a man of about 60, from the river downstream. The man had drowned.
The boat went over the dam shortly after 4 p.m. and the woman, who was also about 60, became caught in a boil just over the dam. She was wearing a life jacket and was partially clothed when she was pulled from the water by Jason Oglesbee, a construction worker for Cramer & Associates in Grimes.
"They just harnessed me up and dipped me down in the water and I grabbed her and the crane drug her to the boat and that's it," Oglesbee said. "What are you going to do if she's like that? It's no big deal. The whole crew did it."
The construction crew rigged Oglesbee to a crane after an initial attempt to rescue her with the crane was unsuccessful. The woman was too weak at that point to hold on to the crane or to life preservers being thrown to her by a fire rescue crew, said Sgt. Joe Gonzalez with the Des Moines Police Department.
This man and his fellow construction workers deserve one Hell of a lot of credit. He literally saved this woman's life by risking his own.
At the same time, our sympathies to the woman who lost her husband in the accident. I'm just glad for their family that this crew was a round to save them from more heartbreak.
Continue reading and picture credit