Interesting 2009 Facts

Members of Congress who resigned: 10 (plus 1 death T. Kennedy)

States that failed to balance their budget on time: AZ,CA,CT,IL,Ms,NC,Oh,PA,MI

Bills introduced in Congress: 8,696 (158 passed, 112 signed into law)

White House press conferences: 41

Highest unemployment rate: 30% (El Centro, CA)

Number of US mortgages in foreclosure or past due: 7.5 Mil.(14.4%)

Swine Flu Cases in US: 47 Mil.

World Series pitches thrown: 1,671

Source: Time Magazine

Advertisement

Boo Reed – Keep the Change

Cactus Flight 1549 Accident Reconstruction Data

http://www.exosphere3d.com/pubwww/pages/project_gallery/cactus_1549_hudson_river.html

Check out this very informative reconstruction using real data from Flight 1549 and their heroic landing in the Hudson River.

Shame On Former President Clinton

Recently President Obama called on former President Bill Clinton to speak to Senate Democrats about the pending health care proposal that recently passed the House. Let me just preface this conversation by explaining the importance of this piece of legislation. Health Care reform is a necessity, you will not find many to argue that point. The shape of the reform is the point of contention. This is legislation that deserves a careful look by our elected officials in Washington. This is a major deal and deserves a well thought out vote.

Instead of detailing the importance of getting a bill passed that creates an improved situation for the countless number of Americans that are currently uninsured, Mr. Clinton decided to focus on simply passing a bill. He took the opportunity to come to Capitol Hill as an opportunity to play politics with health care reform. I found this very shocking. Politico quoted Mr. Clinton as saying, “just pass the bill, even if it’s not exactly what you want..” I found this extremely disturbing. These are officials elected by the people to serve the best interest of the electorate. For someone that has held the highest office in the land to say that about such an important issue to Americans is disheartening. Mr. Clinton’s reasoning for his comment dealt with keeping the Republicans at bay. When health care reform failed during the Clinton administration, Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives the following year. I say so what. I want my legislators making an educated and well thought out vote as opposed to simply a political vote that doesn’t take the best interest of our country to heart.

It is my belief that this is what is wrong with our political system. Too many times members of the House or Senate are making votes simply with politics in mind as opposed to the impact it will have on their constituents. In addition to health care reform, we strongly need legislative reform. We need to see a new body of elected that put party affiliation on the back burner and stand up and vote for the people that put them there in the first place. Makes votes for our country and not votes for Republicans or Democratic platforms.

White Out Controversy? You Decide….

Anxious to hear your opinion on this. Does this “cross” the line?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,569665,00.html

Oklahoma’s New Abortion Laws Challenged

Okla. abortion laws spark battles
By SEAN MURPHY
Associated Press Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY — Two new laws being challenged in the Oklahoma courts would give the state some of the strictest abortion laws in the country by forcing women to an­swer questions about race and their relationships, and to listen to a doc­tor talk them through an ultra­sound.
Legal challenges to the laws are in their early stages, but observers say the trajectory of cases could mir­ror that of the partial-birth abortion debate, which went through Ne­braska courts and was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court before Congress made it a federal law that was upheld in 2007.
“That’s an apt comparison,” said Joseph Thai, a professor at the Uni­versity of Oklahoma who specializes in constitutional law and the Supreme Court. “So, expect these Oklahoma laws and the ensuing court decisions to be the first rather than last word on how far a state may go with respect to compulsory procedures and reporting require­ments.”
Opponents of the laws say they were drafted to make a woman’s al­ready difficult decision to have an abortion even more difficult.
One law would require women to fill out a lengthy survey that asks, among other things, about their race, education and reason for seek­ing an abortion. It asks women whether they’re having relationship problems, whether they can’t afford to raise a child or whether having a baby would dramatically change their lives.
Another section requires doctors to provide detailed information about complications that arise as a result of the procedure. The Health Department ultimately would com­pile the information into a statistical report and post it on its Web site.
Supporters say the surveys will prove valuable to understanding why women seek abortions, and that women need to be provided with as much knowledge as possible before making an irrevocable deci­sion.

Why Criticize President Obama?

There have been many debates and much has been written about the criticism that President Obama is receiving. Why criticize a man that has only been in office 9 months? Is the criticism just? I hope to provide some insight.

We are at the tail end of a major economic crisis. Reports are from Fed Chairman Bernanke and Lawrence Summers that we have witnessed the worst of the recession. Having said that, Americans are still feeling the negative impact of the recession. The unemployment rate continues to rise, consumer spending is decreasing, homes are being foreclosed on, and interest rates are very low. All of these contributing factors cause there to be a sense of doom and gloom among Americans.

To take just one recent example. So much has been made of President Obama’s public healthcare proposal. The overall resounding message in the media is one of negativity. Most Republican commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, are creating a sense of uneasiness among Americans. Now, one can debate whether that is justified or not, but it cannot be debated that it is present. When taking all of the things mentioned above into account, the result is an American population on edge.

We currently see an American population that is very defensive. One that is on the lookout for anything that may be interpreted as a provocative act. As Americans we are, to steal a metaphor from the campaign, “clinging to our guns and religion” in this tense time. I think one positive outcome of this crisis and negativity that we are surrounded with is that we are much more of an informed population. This is evident in the recent rise in online bloggers. We are expressing ourselves like never before. We are calling into call in radio and television shows and expressing our views on any given topic. This is a good thing. This is a positive thing for our nation. We need to be a people of expression. One that is willing to stand up in the face of opposition for a position that we feel passionate about. That is what being free is all about. That is what America is all about.

To get back to my opening questions. Is the criticism fair? Is the criticism just? We all have our own opinions on that. But one thing is for sure, we are experiencing politics as never before. This is a positive thing for our country. We should continue to express ourselves and we will all benefit and be better people for it.

Poverty – The Forgotten Statistics

Today the Philadelphia Daily News posted an article regarding the seriousness of Poverty. The Census Bureau recently released data that suggests the federal poverty level has risen a full percentage point over last year. The federal poverty level was established in the 1960’s. Things have obviously changed in our economy since that time. At that time, food costs comprised a third of American’s budgets. Therefore the poverty level was calculated simply by taking the cost of food and multiplying by three. I’m sure you have noticed the problem we are now faced with. Food costs has dropped since the poverty level was established, where other things such as daycare expenses, utilities, etc. have risen. This creates a big problem in determining who falls under the poverty level because we are using an inaccurate formula to determine it.

It is my belief that this is an area that needs to be given immediate attention. When looking at the problem of poverty in our society, we should certainly be using accurate formulas as a measurement of our current situation. It doesn’t make sense not to. I don’t know if it is just that the federal goverment doesn’t want to face the harsh reality of the situation, or if there are other reasons for not updating the standards more frequently. I have placed a link below to the article from the Philadelphia Daily News.

GOP – The Word They Won’t Use

Much has been made recently in the news media about the proposed health care bill. There are certainly legitimate concerns with it that have been brought to light by members of the Republican Party. Some of those include the costs to taxpayers and it’s effect on the federal deficit. Other concerns include the effect of mandating health coverage on small businesses. Will the small businesses be able to pay to cover employees when their revenues are not as large as some of the major corporations? In some of the proposals they can be fined for not offering coverage to their employees. In all of the articles that I have read regarding this topic, none have mentioned what is truly going on here.

There is one word that is being avoided like the plague. That is Socialism. My question is why won’t our elected members of the Republican Party stand up and call this for what it truly is. Is it because they face political consequences because of standing up against this President and his socialist ideas? This is a President that is trying to control our lives in a way never before seen.

We have already witnessed it in proposals being put forth to control executives pay in the banking industry. It is my belief that executives pay should be proportional to what other subordinates are earning. However for the federal government to put together a body or to allow the FDIC to monitor pay for all of the banking institutions just doesn’t make sense to me.

The automotive industry has already benefited from a federal bailout. While this was a positive development for the car dealers, it didn’t do anything for the other businesses that are facing closure and bankruptcy as a result of the economic times. The Obama Administration has singled out the auto industry and provided the funding to keep them afloat while allowing other things to fail. I am of the opinion that the underlying cause of the auto industry decline is primarily because of their own doing. They were paying wages that were simply unsustainable. The Government used taxpayer money to interject control in this struggling industry.

We are seeing it with the health care legislation that is being put forth. I agree that health care reform and tort reform are necessary. There are far too many Americans going without coverage because of inability to pay for it. I believe it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that Americans have access to coverage and better health care. This could have been easily achieved by the proposal that Senator John McCain put forth back during the campaign. The Government could provide each American citizen with a set amount of money to go out and purchase the plan of their choosing. That eliminates any freedom being taken away and at the same time provides the important coverage that is so badly needed.

The freedom of press is now potentially under attack. President Obama has stated publicly that he is open to considering a federal bailout of the newspaper industry. If this is allowed to occur, the Government would then, as a result, have the ability to freely control what is being printed in the news.

My concern with our elected Republican leaders is a valid one. They are voicing some displeasure with policies that are being implemented, however they are not addressing the larger issue here. We are slowly turning into a Socialist nation. The signs are all around. It is very important that we have Republicans in office that are willing to stand up against these statist ideals and call them for what they are. While it is important to single out areas of disagreement, it is equally important to see the overall picture of what is happening in the world around us.

Mitt Romney and The Health Care Debate

Several people are speaking out against President Obama’s current health care proposal. One of those folks happens to be former Governor of Massachutes Mitt Romney. Now just for a refresher, President Obama has favored a plan that provides coverage for all Americans. He has proposed a public option where the government would serve as a competitor to the current private system. All of which has been opposed by Mr. Romney. However a close examination of his career as Governor reveals that he too not only proposed but signed into law a reform bill that required all residents to buy health insurance coverage.

There were punishments for residents that elected not to purchase health care coverage. Many would face the loss of their personal income tax exemption. This exemption was worth $219. The exemption increases monthly and is based on half the cost of health insurance coverage. There were some changes enacted to the proposal. The most controversial change was the addition of a provision which requires firms with 11 or more workers that do not provide “fair and reasonable” health coverage to their workers to pay an annual penalty. This contribution, initially $295 annually per worker, is intended to equalize the free care pool charges imposed on employers who do and do not cover their workers.

Does this sound familiar? It should because it is essentially the same form of health care reform that President Obama is proposing. It begs to question why Mr. Romney is now proposing much the same reform that he enacted while Governor in Massachutes in 2006.