Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Mort Kondracke of Roll Call explains in his article Will Reform Cut Health Care Costs? Don't Bet on It that the health care reform plans have no enforceable cost reducing measures. Cost cutting measures that are attempted rely on insurance companies, drug companies, and other health groups to keep their word and cut costs. This is at best a gamble, and not a very good one at that.
There's reason to fear that, even with reform, the nation's total outlays for health care - currently 17 percent of gross domestic product - will continue to soar, and so will federal health spending and insurance premiums.
The Obama White House promised reform would "bend the curve" of health spending - now growing 3 percent a year faster than the economy - but bills pending in Congress contain no guaranteed cost-containment measures such as a global budget, or national lid, on health spending.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, total U.S. health spending is scheduled to rise to 20 percent of the GDP by 2018, 25 percent by 2025 and 38 percent by 2050.
In May, health care stakeholder groups, including hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, drug companies and device makers, promised President Barack Obama they'd institute measures shaving 1.5 percent per year from the current 7 percent growth rate of health spending, saving $2 trillion over 10 years.
But as the journal Health Affairs observed in an issue brief in August, "these agreements are not enforceable" and, indeed, House "reform" legislation would free doctors from any reductions in Medicare reimbursements.
It's no wonder the American Medical Association supports the House bill, H.R. 3200. The Senate Finance Committee bill gives doctors just a one-year break from scheduled fee reductions, but past patterns are that Congress annually saves doctors from any cut.
Another group promising cuts - and now supporting Obamacare - is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Its contribution to controlling health care costs? Just $80 billion over 10 years - out of total U.S. pharmaceutical outlays of $3.3 trillion.
And, as Fortune magazine pointed out, part of PhRMA's cuts are designed to get more Medicare recipients to use brand-name drugs when generics actually would be cheaper.
According to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer, "bending the curve" of health cost growth depends upon "a lot of floating magic asterisks" in the Senate legislation, including the transformation of several pilot projects into actual policies that alter health spending patterns.
No Good News On Health Care Costs
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Monday, September 28, 2009
Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.
If the plan passes, 24% of voters say the quality of care will get better, and 55% say it will get worse. In August, the numbers were 23% better and 50% worse.
Fifty-four percent (54%) say passage of the plan will make the cost of health care go up while 23% say it will make costs go down. In August, 52% thought the plan would lead to higher costs, and just 17% thought it would achieve the stated goal of lowering costs.
While many credit or blame the town hall protests for building opposition to the plan, it appears they were simply a reflection of public opinion rather than a creator of it. This sense is confirmed by the fact that Obama’s approval ratings fell more in June and July before stabilizing in August.
One thing that did change during the month of August is that public perception of the protesters improved. Most voters came to believe that the purpose of the town hall meetings was for members of Congress to listen rather than speak. That’s partly because just 22% believe Congress has a good understanding of the legislation.
While some Democrats have charged that opposition to the president’s plan is based upon racism, just 12% of voters agree.
Voters overwhelmingly believe that every American should be able to buy the same health insurance plan that Congress has. Most favor limits on jury awards for medical malpractice claims and think that tort reform will significantly reduce the cost of health care. Forty-eight percent (48%) want a prohibition on abortion in any government subsidized program while 13% want a mandate requiring abortion coverage.
Support For Obama Health Care Reform Continues to Drop
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Monday, September 14, 2009
Note: Except for when ACORN received government funding, I've posted very little about ACORN post-election. The public had their chance to learn about ACORN if they wished, they made their decision, voted, done deal, the race is over. However, this is insane. Democrats have to step to the plate, and renounce this. I in no way think that candidates aided by ACORN or any rationale human with any semblance of a moral compass thinks that human trafficking is acceptable. However, this is an example of an organization not just acting questionably, but this is evidence that ACORN has completely gone of the rails. Any politician to weak to stand up against ACORN will now be tying themselves to an organization that condoned prostitution and indirectly promoted human trafficking.
ACORN Condones Prostitution
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The White House budget office and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-partisan arm of Congress, release updated economic forecasts and deficit estimates on Tuesday, providing further fiscal fodder to opponents of Obama's nearly $1 trillion healthcare overhaul plan.
Many of the figures are already known.
The White House has confirmed that its deficit estimate for the 2009 fiscal year, which ends September 30, will inch down to $1.58 trillion from $1.84 trillion after eliminating billions of dollars originally set aside for bank rescues.
Looking forward, an administration official told Reuters the 10-year budget deficit projection will jump by about $2 trillion to roughly $9 trillion from an original forecast of $7.1
Monday, August 24, 2009
Major Garrett reports New 10-year Federal Deficit: $9 Trillion, Up from $7 Trillion
The Obama Office of Management and Budget tells Fox the federal deficit over the next decade is projected to be $2 trillion higher than previous estimates.
The new 10-year aggregate federal deficit is $9 trillion.
An official said the prolonged recession and the ensuing decline in federal revenue prompted a recalibration of the deficit numbers.
The numbers also reflect a projection that post-recession economic growth may not be as robust as after previous recessions, the official said.
An Unsustainable Federal Deficit
Friday, August 21, 2009
Ridge: Bush officials sought to raise terror alert before ‘04 vote
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says he successfully countered an effort by senior Bush administration officials to raise the nation’s terror alert level in the days before the 2004 presidential vote.
Ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise the terror alert before the 2004 election.
Ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise the terror alert before the 2004 election.
“An election-eve drama was being played out at the highest levels of our government” after Osama bin Laden released a pre-election message critical of President George W. Bush, writes Ridge in his new book, “The Test of Our Times.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld strongly advocated raising the security threat level to “orange” — even though Ridge believed a threatening message “should not be the sole reason to elevate the threat level.”
The former Pennsylvania governor also writes that he saw no reason for the move, which he now calls a bad idea, because additional security precautions had already been taken in advance of the election.
Ridge On the Politics of Security
Friday, June 26, 2009
Here is a recap of some of the videos, stories, and information that has come out of Iran along with the role technology has played...
Total Oppression Versus Open Communication in Iran
In an early show of force students were beaten in their dorm rooms, and their rooms were trashed, computers and the like destroyed. Angered by the brutal beat downs, many professors at Tehran University protested by resigning. Hospital workers who treated the students, also disgusted by the government’s brutality, went on strike the following day to protest the students’ treatment.
Foreign media was banned, journalists have been jailed. Due to the crackdown, citizen journalism virtually the only way the story is getting to the rest of the world.
Iranian government claims that death of Neda was staged by the opposition. They prevent any form of public mourning for both Neda and the many others killed in the protests.
Soccer Team Members who wore green armbands during a game are permanently banned from the sport.
British representatives expelled from the country.
Special courts established for trying arrested protesters.
Mass show of force and violent suppression of peaceful protests continue.
Videos: The first video shows the death of Neda a young Iranian woman who has come to symbolize the Free Iran movement. She was shot while simply watching the protests, and reportedly died by her father's side. Be warned that the first two videos are very graphic and disturbing. The third video, while somewhat less graphic, but is also quite disturbing.
*VERY GRAPHIC* Young Lady Dies on Streets of Iran
*Very Graphic* Video of Iran Protests and Man Badly Beaten
Shooting of Iranian Students Caught on Camera
Massive Show of Force on Streets of Iran
Video of voter fraud in Iranian Election
June 20 Iran Protesters Face Off with Police
Crowds During June 20th Protests
Riot Police Attack Protesters in Iran
Video Showing Scope of Iranian Protests
This Week's Articles:
This week a violent beat down of protesters was under reported as the flow of information slows. CNN and the AP both had reports on this brutality...
AP Reports Iran Security Forces Again Beat Down the Opposition Protesters
Distraught woman describes the brutality to CNN, Reports of Brutal Crackdown In Iran
Article's Prior to the June 20th Protests
Concern About Khamenei’s Statements
Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran
American’s Practical Support of A Free Iran
Articles About the Role of the Internet in post-Election Iran
Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, ‘Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.’ Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.
Following Iran Elections on Twitter – A Lesson in Freedom and Technology
Google Farsi - English Traslator: Google launches Farsi - English translator Thursday night/Friday morning. A hugely helpful tool that aids communication, and understanding of news directly from Iran.
Cable and Network News relying on Twitter: Saturday the 20th, with a government imposed blackout of foreign media CNN and others have to rely on citizen journalists along with Twitter and other social media sites to gather news. Protests are scheduled even though Ayatola Khamenei has made statements that suggest a possibly violent crackdown on protesters. Reports of tear gas used and armed police barricades used to disperse crowds.
Students Shot on Camera: A tweet linked to this video of Iranian students being shot
A graphic YouTube video of a woman's death (Neda) becomes a symbol of the movement. Trending topic on Twitter is #Neda as references to the video, and her life show how moved people were by her tragic death.
Mousavi Facebook post: Through a post on Facebook it has been reported that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he is "ready for martyrdom."
Embassies Take Wounded Iranians: Word spreads quickly on June 20th that many European embassies are taking care of wounded Iranians. These embassies along with their address/directions were also diseminated through Twitter. The safety of the hospitals is in question, and the Canadian embassy is pressured (via use of Twitter) to open its embassy too, yet embassy remained closed on Saturday.
Iran Elections and the Internet
An interesting subplot to the Iranian elections is that the internet is providing people more information than major news networks...Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran
Since writing about the Twitter Effect in Iran, and the role of the Internet as a whole, I have also been interviewed on radio and TV. For more info on appearances, please visit the Broad Side of the Barn.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.
Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.
Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
With two-thirds of the votes counted, the Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's official news agency, announced that incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election with 66% of the votes cast, and that Mir-Hossein Mousavi had received 33% of the votes cast. The European Union and several western countries expressed concern over alleged irregularities during the vote, and some analysts and journalists from United States and United Kingdom based media voiced doubts about the authenticity of the results.
Mousavi issued a statement saying, "I'm warning that I won't surrender to this charade," and he urged his backers to fight the decision as well as to avoid committing acts of violence. Protests, in favour of Mousavi and against the alleged fraud, broke out in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, labeling his victory as a "divine assessment". Mousavi lodged an official appeal against the result to the Guardian Council on 14 June. On 15 June, Khamenei announced there would be an investigation into vote-rigging claims, which would take seven to ten days.
Some of the reasons for questioning the veracity of the election results were, victory was declared very quickly making people wonder how the paper ballots could have been counted so rapidly. Polls prior to the election had shown the race as close, yet the 'results' indicated a landside. Mousavi's own home town even reported an overwhelmingly victory for Ahmadinejad. Clearly there was distrust amongst many of the Iranian people of the government as massive protests erupted and continue even now.
So what does Twitter have to do with this? Once protests started the Iranian government shut down public communications leaving citizens little means to communicate. Twitter, obviously not under the control of the Iranian government, is one of the few remaining tools for communication amongst the citizens of Iran. And it isn't just that Twitter is helping citizens communicate, it is a major player in getting the word out about what it is actually happening in Iran.
Network and cable news dropped the ball in their coverage of the elections, and over the weekend one of the hottest topics on Twitter was #cnnfail. However, the hottest topic was #IranElections. The Twitter feed was the first source for much of the news coming out of Iran. Here are examples of recent #IranElection tweets...
The images being posted via Twitter have been remarkable, and the Flicker account of mousavi1388 is definitely worth looking at.
A "mousavi1388" image of the protests via Twitter.
This has taken on a life of its own on Twitter. Users have set up proxy servers for Iranians to use as the government shut down internet access within the country. People are turning their Twitter avatars green in a show of support. Twitter itself has rescheduled maintenance downtime at the urging of users so that it will be available to Iranians during their peak hours. People are also changing their time and location settings on their accounts to Tehran time and locale in order to confuse Iranian officials who are trying to find out who is tweeting inside Iran. Even at this moment the hashtag (or keywords) #IranElection is being changed as it appears the Iranian government may be blocking it in Iran.
The Iranian government post election has done everything possible to show itself as a totalitarian regime by cutting off communication and violently suppressing protests. They are taking actions that those in the U.S. whether conservative or liberal can clearly see as wrong. It makes this a fascinating moment in history where technology and communications may actually be aiding freedom and democracy, while providing a first person account of events that the media has yet to fully come up to speed on.
Following Iran Elections on Twitter A Lesson on Freedom and Technology
Friday, June 12, 2009
Obama Using McCain Ideas
Thursday, June 11, 2009
1. Letterman likely jumped on the Palins' last nerve when he made a crude joke at their daughter's expense. Governor Palin hasn't just been criticized, she and her her family have been attacked in a particularly hateful way, and at some point that has to wear thin particularly when ones children are targetted.
2. The Palin's reaction conqsequently was a little overreaching. It seems unlikely that Letterman was referring to the Palin's 14 year old daughter as the Palins thought. Circumstances pointed to the fourteen year old, but Letterman accurately pointed out that he doesn't have a history of making crude remarks referencing children. However, making vulgar remarks about any of the candidates/politician's kids is inexcusable, they didn't choose the public life and should be left alone (and 18 is still pretty young). The Palin's anger is completely justified and understandable.
3. Lots of people are fed up with jokes about female politicians always going 'there.' This can be seen in the HillBuzz blog (a Clinton supporters blog) requesting a boycott of Letterman sponsors. The lead in to the joke about the Palin girl was a crack about Palin looking like a "slutty stewardess." Like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin has been the brunt of jokes and criticism that directly critique her appearance and sexuality. As hated as Bush and Cheney were in the last eight years, no one criticized their appearance or made explicit comments and jokes about them the way they have about Clinton and Palin. Again Letterman stomped on a raw nerve.
4. Some will be angry at the remark, others will be angry at anything referencing Governor Palin. Therefor this is is going to be big. Palin supporters can be quite intense (and oddly similar to the fervent Obama supporters). They're not likely to let it go, and the left's kooky raging Palin hatred means they won't let it go either.
So there you have it, we're in for a broohaha. Letterman's apology was weak because he was starky towards the Palins, and didn't recognize the fact that all of their kids should be off-limits particularly when making off-color jokes. Michael Steele has addressed the Palin Letterman matter by saying,
"Letterman's joke about Sarah and Todd Palin's daughter was thoughtless and tacky," Steele said in a statement to The Hill. "I saw his explanation for the joke, but sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply say 'I'm sorry.'"
"When Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kids, it's time to turn the channel,"
Senator McCain defended the Palins saying,
"I don't understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman," McCain said during a telephone interview on Thursday. "They (the Palins) deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts."
As Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune sums up the situation in his article Palin is Right About Letterman by stating...
It's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.
Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.
He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.
CBS's Feedback Form
Palin Letterman Politics
Friday, June 5, 2009
Senator Brownback talked to bloggers today laying out the problems with closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The most pressing of these problems is what to do with the detainees. Senator Brownback explains that one commonly overlooked risk of bringing prisoners to U.S. prisons is that the surrounding prison communities may be subject to violent acts by groups making political statements about the prisoners' detention. He also explains that the Geneva Convention says that prisoners of war will not be held along with a general prison population. Senator Brownback lays out numerous reasons why closing Guantanamo is poorly thought out, and is decisively lacking a realistic and safe plan. The propsal also lacks support both in Congress and among the American people. A new Gallup poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Americans Oppose Closing Gitmo and Moving Prisoners to U.S.Brownback Talks Guantanamo and Foreign Policy « Purple People Vote
This call is worth listening to as one may be surprised at the number of solid reasons the Senator gives for opposing the Obama adminstration's call to close Guantanamo.
Blogger Call with Senator Brownback
Thursday, May 28, 2009
“The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” transforms health care in America by strengthening the relationship between the patient and the doctor; using choice and competition rather than rationing and restrictions to contain costs; and ensuring universal, affordable health care for all Americans. “The Patients’ Choice Act” promotes innovative, State-based solutions, along with fundamental reforms in the tax code, to give every American, regardless of employment status, age, or health condition, the ability and the resources to purchase health insurance. The comprehensive legislation includes concrete prevention and transparency initiatives, long overdue reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, investments in wellness programs and health IT, and more.
Republican Health Care Alternative, Patients' Choice Act
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"
Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.
Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.
Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Call-in: 347 539-5420
Friday, April 17, 2009
Yet it's not just the media searching for crazy. A report was leaked by DHS on "Rightwing Extremism." To quote the report,
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.
Dang it, I'm a radical. There were signs, once in high school I got a detention for a overdue library book; even back then I was bad. My internet chatter about obscene government spending has all been a clever ploy to manipulate my readers to take radical action like, 'vote the bums out,' or 'tell your representatives what you think.' I tell you I'm bad, and if I didn't have a job or a cold I would have been one of those crazy tea party animals too. You need further proof that I'm a radical? How about this...
Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and corporations as a part of subversion strategy.
Well there you have it. I'm concerned that China owns us, and all our debt, I must be a radical. Granted, I'm a centrist on guns and immigration, and lean a bit left on the social issues discussed in the report, but imagine my surprise to find out that I've been cavorting with other radicals over the past 2 years by volunteering for the McCain campaign. Pro-life, pro-second amendment, high concentration of veterans, don't let the good humor, sarcastic wit, family values, and helpful manner fool you - we were all a big bunch of radicals, just ask MSNBC.
Now I know there is a serious side to this report. Every group in every country has its nutballs, and its the governments main job to protect its citizens from radicals of all sorts. Yet this seems like a veiled attempt to blur the line between staunch conservatives and radical Klan-like groups, when in reality that is a very clear and distict line. Veterans in particular are owed an apology for their less than flattering portrayal in this report. As for me, I'm going to keep chattering about the economy, and take pride in the fact that someone out there thinks I'm radical.
You May Be A Radical Too...
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Finally, on a more upbeat note, one trait that Senator McCain shares with a good number of his fellow veterans is a wicked sense of humor. While I’d like to say that my rationale for voting McCain was all high minded, I have to admit his sense of humor roped me in in the beginning. It’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed so many of the events with veterans; I’m sure there are veterans out there that lack a sense of humor, but overall I found them quite fun to be around.
During the general election I headed out to canvas a neighborhood with a veteran named Wes. He drove; I hopped out and knocked on the doors. We were canvassing Hampton Beach, a sort of unfortunate task in late Fall to early Winter, since not a lot of people stay at their beach house when the temperature drops. The sheets given to guide us to the appropriate address were accompanied by a brief survey asking whether the occupant was home and whom they were supporting for the different elected offices. The numbering of houses and condos on these sheets could be hard to follow, as locations were not necessarily listed in numerical order. Condo complexes could be particularly difficult to figure out. For instance, 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 16 could be a different page from 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 14, and unit 15 would simply not be on the list at all. The other problem was that you often had to be allowed or buzzed into many of these condo complexes. This basically meant looking for condos, routinely unoccupied due to the season that, even if occupied, could not be accessed. Consequently, we’d just drop a stack of literature on their doorstep, which will likely be picked up sometime this coming June.
So in the process of trying to locate a particular address on Ocean Boulevard, Wes backed his car up right into a pole. Looking down, arranging literature at the time, I was startled at the hit and said, ‘Ooo!’ and looked over at Wes. Thinking, this can’t be good we both hopped out of the car and took a look at his bumper. There was a new yellow stripe down the back side of his car and he said, “Ah, it’s just paint.” Relieved that it wasn’t too serious and that the damage didn’t trouble Wes, we hopped back into the car, and started trying to figure out where our next stop was. As we headed forward we spotted the house number of the next stop; Wes hit the brakes and his coffee flew off the dashboard, hitting me in the arm and soaking my left side. This time Wes looked stunned as I sat there looking at my sweater covered in coffee. “Well, it’s not hot,” I said. He handed me towels and clearly felt badly that I was wearing his drink. I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, so I hopped out of the car again, rung out the sweater and dried it off as best I could with some towels, put it back on, and hopped back into the car. While I smelled of coffee all day, the sweater was dark so it didn’t really matter.
We got through the rest of the doors without much incident, but had trouble finding one particular side street. Finally, we found the tiny narrow street in question; we headed down to the end where we eventually spotted the number of the home on a trashcan outside of a sliding glass door. I got out, knocked on the door, and a young guy, who apparently had just woken up, and was wearing a pair of old boxers and a t-shirt opened the door, saying nothing.
‘Hi, I’m a volunteer with the McCain campaign, and…’
‘No,’ he said and he shut the door and went back to bed.
I got back in the car and said, “Obama.”
As we started to head out of the narrow street I looked back, and Wes said, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit anything… …I saw you watching.”
“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”
On the way back to the office he said, “You did a good job.”
“Thanks. You too…”
“Except for the pole.”
“Well that and the coffee, but other than that you did a good job.”
Veteran's Good Humor
Sunday, April 12, 2009
In the beginning I just thought I’d go see the different candidates at the campaign events in New Hampshire. Four years prior, not long after I moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, my sister was volunteering for Senator Kerry’s campaign. She’s a loyal and active Democrat; our parents are Republicans. We talked on the phone after the Iowa caucuses when Howard Dean screamed during his concession speech. She hadn’t heard it called the ‘I have a Scream Speech’ yet, and I said that I felt for him. I figured if I were in politics that would be the sort of thing that would take me out. It wouldn’t be scandal or corruption; I’d simply do something so embarrassing that no one would take me seriously again.
My sister told of a news clip she had just seen of a woman who had met Senator Kerry, then fainted. The video looked like a shot from the Wizard of Oz with Senator Kerry standing over a pair of feet. I was starting to realize that I had missed quite a show by not attending Primary events, so I simply thought this time it would be interesting to see. I certainly had no plans of picking a candidate early, and no interest in joining a campaign. I thought it might give me something to write about on my website, but basically I was just curious.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Since much of today's media has such a blatant school-girl crush on President Obama, it is important to not only point out the shmoes who can't resist telling America that President Obama gives them a, 'thrill up their leg;' it is also important to point out those few journalists who are credible. National Review did this in their article Jake Tapper Isn't Letting Go. The article not only points out that ABC's Jake Tapper was virtually the only network journalist willing to write an article critical of then candidate Obama, but also that he is now pretty much the only one willing to ask Press Secretary Gibbs a tough question during White House briefings. For many Tapper was the first to show Robert Gibbs as a sub-par press secretary when Gibbs refused to take Tapper's questions about transparency seriously, as shown in the clip below. National Review did all of us who are fed up with the over-the-top media bias a service by not only highlighting Tapper as a solid competent member of the media, but also by reminding us that one can't just complain about those who do a poor job, and that it may be even more important that we applaud and encourage those who are competent than it is to gripe about those whose bias is so obsurd and obvious.
Recognizing a Professional Journalist - Katherine Morrison
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The House and Senate face a flurry of final budget votes Thursday, with Republicans pushed to the margins and having come forward only in the past 24 hours with a detailed alternative of their own.
But the victory for President Barack Obama could prove hollow, especially in the Senate, and Republicans are betting that the president’s very activism will work against him as he takes ownership of more and more difficult economic issues.
“This is a defining moment, and there is overwhelming empathy with folks who are scared to death about the direction this country is going,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told POLITICO. “All of a sudden, you have the president taking over General Motors, the president taking over the financial industry and now the health care industry? I think there will be even a larger outcry coming from our constituents at the ballot box next time.”
Some of this nervousness already seemed evident Wednesday night in a Senate fight over how to proceed on Obama’s climate change legislation. On two successive votes, one as large as 67-31, a solid bipartisan coalition blocked efforts by liberal environmental interests wanting to use expedited budget procedures to circumvent Senate filibuster rules on cap-and-trade revenue provisions.
The defeat raises the stakes further for health care reform as the big remaining prize for the White House in the budget debate. And to a remarkable degree, Obama has been willing to blur the lines between himself and fellow Democrats to help move the process forward with this goal in mind.
Obama Owning the Budget and the Economy
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
An Independent Call chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain convert and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.
Friday, March 6, 2009
This week, the United States Senate will vote on a spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 is a sprawling, $410 billion compilation of nine spending measures that lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the federal government or the recipients of its largess.
The Senate should reject this bill. If we do not, President Barack Obama should veto it.
The omnibus increases discretionary spending by 8% over last fiscal year's levels, dwarfing the rate of inflation across a broad swath of issues including agriculture, financial services, foreign relations, energy and water programs, and legislative branch operations. Such increases might be appropriate for a nation flush with cash or unconcerned with fiscal prudence, but America is neither.
Drafted last year, the bill did not pass due to Congress's long-standing budgetary dysfunction and the frustrating delays it yields in our appropriations work. Since then, economic and fiscal circumstances have changed dramatically, which is why the Senate should go back to the drawing board. The economic downturn requires new policies, not more of the same.
Senator Evan Bayh Rejects Bloated Appropriations Bill
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Also, small business owners are being grouped into the 'rich' category in an unfair manner. If a small business owner makes $250,000 a year that becomes a rather average income if he or she has to pay two to three employees salaries with that income. Also if they are trying to grow their business, it is likely a chunk of that income is being put right back into their business. That isn't the life of the highly privileged wealthy class. We'd be well served by taking the emotion and morality judgments out of economic policy, and simply look for policies that are pro-growth.
Larry Kudlow and Donald Luskin voice their frustration about the current policies that are anti-growth. Certainly, not unemotional in their criticism, they point out why a pro-growth strategy is simply the most fair economic strategy for all Americans.
Pro Growth is What is Truly Fair
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
There’s no denying that President Obama is one of the most eloquent politicians to come along in a long time. That was on display last night in his address to the joint session of Congress. The President put forth ideas that certainly show a shift in direction from the previous administration. It was nice to see energy and the environment move up the ladder of national priorities. The president also did a nice job in using his popularity with young people to tell them that he expects that they not only graduate high school, but further their education beyond high school, and he framed it well in terms of being a responsibility of citizenship.
What didn’t add up about the President’s speech was the math. President Obama laid out a number of ambitious goals one of which was cutting the national deficit in half by the year 2013. However, instituting programs such as national health care, making college accessible to all citizens, and instituting a cap and trade initiative on carbon emission is beyond ambitious when also trying to cut the deficit. With a huge stimulus package that just passed, a large appropriations bill about to come up for debate, and the possibly of more money needed for bailout plans, it seems highly unlikely that the national debt will do anything other than balloon even further. This isn’t just an issue of a theoretical debt that will some day have to be paid by the tax payer. This is a basic math problem that could negatively impact the economy for years to come. Government services take on an added appeal if the price tag is ignored, and a better explanation needs to be given of the cost to taxpayers before these programs are rubber stamped.
President Obama’s Address
Friday, February 20, 2009
Punishing Good Behavior
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
$1,597,444 check for all of the 626,000 people that have filed unemployment claims this month.
$227,272 check for all 4.4 million people collecting unemployment benefits.
$333.33 check for every American man, woman, and child.
It would take a worker making $50,000 a year 20 million years to earn $1 trillion.
If ever ticket of every home Red Sox home game at Fenway Park for the 2009 season was sold for $308,642.00 each that would equal $1 trillion.
The GDP of Mexico is just over $1 trillion.
The GDP of India is also just over $1 trillion.
The combine GDP of the following countries is approximately $1 trillion…
Uruguay, Lebanon, Yemen, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Cyprus, Estonia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Ivory Coast, Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Iceland, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macau, Jordan, Bolivia, Ghana, Brunei, Paraguay, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Botswana, Honduras, Burma, Albania, Jamaica, Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Mali, Malta, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Namibia, Haiti, Benin, The Bahamas, West Bank and Gaza, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Moldova, Niger, Laos, Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Aruba, Zimbabwe, Montenegro, Guinea, Malawi, Rwanda, French Polynesia, Fiji, Barbados, Mauritania, New Caledonia, Kosovo, Togo, Suriname, Swaziland, Guam, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Somalia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Lesotho, Eritrea, Belize, Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Djibouti, Liberia, Burundi, British Virgin Islands, The Gambia, Seychelles, Grenada, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Comoros, Samoa, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Dominica, American Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Marshall Islands, Anguilla, Kiribati, Tuvalu
If you'd like your political representatives to now what $1 trillion equates to, their contact info can be found at...
Senators - http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Representatives - https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Some Republicans want to take it a step farther than their party's leaders. Ten Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, want more funds -- almost $90 billion -- for infrastructure. They are shopping around a plan with a price tag of just under $500 billion.
"We can either fight the Democrat proposals, which would increase the deficit incredibly and mortgage our children's futures and not beneficially stimulate our economy, which we will do, in many respects. But we have to have a proposal of our own," said McCain, R-Arizona.
That version of the stimulus measure, put together by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, is broader than the one proposed by GOP leadership, but narrower than the Democratic bill.
The group of Republicans met Tuesday to discuss their plan because they don't believe their leadership's approach, focusing exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts, is enough to jump-start the economy.
Another alternative that's getting a lot of attention is a bipartisan plan from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson and Maine Republican Susan Collins. The two moderate senators are looking at the current economic stimulus package and trying to scrub it of all spending that they say will not stimulate the economy.
One attempt to trim pork from the current bill was successful. An amendment passed sponsored by Tom Coburn that eliminated a $246 million dollar tax break for Hollywood movie companies.
Senator McCain has sponsored a petition protesting the current version of the stimulus bill...
Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition
Republican Senators Put Together Alternative Stimulus Package
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Senator McCain sent an email to supporters explaining his opposition to the current emergency economic stimulus package stating that...
Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans. I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy.
He further explains the myriad of problems with this bloated stimulus package and asks for people to sign a petition to voice their disapproval of this bill.
Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition
John McCain Sponsors Petition Protesting Bloated Stimulus Plan
Friday, January 30, 2009
• $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers.”
• $400 million for STD prevention
• $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails
• $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
• $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
• $150 million for honey bee insurance
Cited from Earmarks In House Bill
Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Egypt's United Nation's envoy says Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will meet Thursday for talks.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was at U.N. headquarters for the council's emergency session on Gaza, said she had talked with both the Israelis and Arab envoys about the importance of moving forward a cease-fire proposed Tuesday by Egypt and France.
"We are very much applauding the efforts of a number of states, particularly the effort that President (Hosni) Mubarak has undertaken on behalf of Egypt," Rice said. "We're supporting that initiative."
Israel hammered Gaza City with gunfire and air strikes Wednesday minutes after a three-hour cease-fire ended, and its security cabinet voted to push ahead with the ground offensive against Hamas, the Times of London reported.
Israel agreed to principles of the Gaza cease-fire proposal, but has yet to iron out key details about how it would be implemented, senior Israeli officials told Reuters.
The proposal calls for an end to fighting as well as a drive to prevent Hamas militants from rearming, Israel's key condition, Reuters reported
"There is agreement on the principles but translating those principles into practical action is a challenge that is still ahead of us," a senior Israeli official said.