Thursday, June 10, 2010

Here We Go Again... Part 2...

I’ve got a sequel to my last post about the gulf oil spill. In the last post, I questioned Rep. Grayson’s “erudite and knowledgeable” response to suggestions that oil drilling on land or in shallow water would be much easier to remedy should a similar spill occur…specifically, “that’s stupid” and then hang up…and now, it appears that President Obama is also making the same “stupid” assertion (a sentiment that I do not share with Rep. Grayson). In his interview with Matt Lauer on June 7th, President Obama said the following:

“Shallow wells aren’t a problem because the risers essentially come up above the water, so if something like this happens in a shallow water well, then folks would just get up on the platform and they would start fixing it and it would be shut down fairly quickly.”

Here is the interview…Obama’s comment starts at the 8:22 mark in the video.

So, apparently, the president does not share Rep. Grayson’s opinion…of course, what intelligent, thinking, aware individual who has a handle on elementary school scientific and mathematical principles would agree with Rep. Grayson? Is he seriously so obtuse that he would suggest that an oil spill that happens a mile down—a depth that no human and no average submersible can endure—is no less difficult to fix than an oil spill that is easily reached by humans—either because it’s in shallow enough water or because it’s on dry land? I can’t imagine you could stump a third grader with that question! “Okay, Tommy, which is harder…to stop an oil spill in an area that no one can actually go or to stop an oil spill in an area that any person with some special equipment (or no special equipment at all) can go?” Hmmmm…that’s a tough one… I guess it’s time to chalk one up for the critical thinking curriculum in the Bronx school district and Harvard University (both of which Grayson attended). Do they still teach that the earth is flat in those places as well, Rep. Grayson?

But onto the other issue…governmental obstructionism in getting this oil spill handled in an efficient manner… It’s clear that the government is more concerned about having meetings and press conferences than they are in getting this issue resolved. Now, I would not go so far to say that they are intentionally delaying the cleanup for political purposes…yet…but if we see too much more incompetent dithering, I might be able to be convinced. Here’s just one point that has stuck out like a sore thumb in this entire process. Some of which is mentioned in an editorial found in the Washington Examiner (here is the link: ).

On April 29th, Gov. Jindal of Louisiana made a request to be allowed—by the federal government—to build dunes that would protect Louisiana’s shoreline and the coastal wetlands from the oil spill. As of the end of May, he had received permission to build some of those dunes—but only 2% of the requested dunes. 2%? You’re kidding, right? As of the past few days, he has been given permission to build up to 40% of the requested dunes. So I have two questions here—1) what the heck took the federal government so long to give Gov. Jindal any sort of permission to preserve his state’s coastline? and 2) why did they only approve 40%? It doesn’t seem like they’re too serious about getting this environmental disaster taken care of—a disaster that they’re consistently touting as the worst environmental disaster in US history…and yet it takes over a month to get approval to do half the job…seriously?!?

President Obama, you talk a good game on the gulf oil spill, but your actions…not so much. As we used to say in collections: “SHOW ME, DON’T TELL ME!” Rep. Grayson, please take the time to reread some of the science and mathematics texts that you obviously missed in elementary school. Finally, let’s get serious about getting this oil spill cleaned up rather than political posturing, arrogant rhetoric, and egotistical finger pointing. Like Truman said, “It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Here We Go Again... Part 1...

I’ve been thinking about the gulf oil spill for a while and I’ve been wondering—as have many others—what would’ve been the extent of the disaster if the oil drilling was happening in shallow waters or, even better, on land. Somehow, I don’t think it would have been nearly as bad. But apparently, that’s “stupid”…according to Rep. Grayson of Florida. In an interview on the Stephanie Miller show recently, Rep. Grayson said “I would simply say ‘that’s stupid’ and move on.” WOW! I’ve never heard such a comprehensive response to an issue that’s so substantiated by statistics, scientific observations, calculations, and supporting evidence…that’s amazing! I’m a little overwhelmed by the intellectual and scientific firepower Rep. Grayson is bringing to bear.

Here’s the link:
(you have to scroll down a bit for the audio)

So, what you’re saying is that you have no good response to the *fact* that this spill would have been a lot more easily contained if we’d been drilling on land or in shallow water other than “that’s stupid.” Do you count on your fingers and toes too? Really, Rep. Grayson, that’s something I expect to hear from my 8 year old! And you’re in elected office? I’m more than a little astonished.

Let’s not forget that this type of ignorant and unqualified response is something we’ve seen before. Remember when the left was trying to characterize conservatives as being completely against stem cell research? In actuality, there are four different types of stem cell research and conservatives only have a problem with one of those types (embryonic stem cell research—the type requires a controversial procedure to harvest embryos…and that has borne absolutely *zero* results)…and yet, the left tries to paint conservatives into the corner that we are against all stem cell research when we actually support 3 out of the 4 types! Nice try…NEXT!

Let’s not listen to the experts who have no vested interest in BP that say that this spill could have been capped in 4 hours if it occurred on land and 2 days if it occurred in shallow waters…no, let’s listen to the politicians and the talking heads whose expertise is so much more substantial in these matters! Hand me my remote!

But wait, this gets better. Not only did Rep. Grayson offer his scientifically and intellectually abundant rejoinder (“that’s stupid”) to the facts of the case, but he jams his foot even further down his throat. He said, “how about just tracking down every single person who said ‘drill baby drill’ and putting them all in prison. Why don’t we do that? Starting with Michael Steele.” Rep. Grayson, perhaps you’ve forgotten the original German for that, so here’s your reminder…“wie wäre es einfach aufzuspüren jede einzelne Person…und setzen sie alle im Gefängnis.”

And the right-wingers are the fascists? Seriously?!?

Rep. Grayson (and the rest of my friends on the left), how is it that you can deny that the spill would’ve made a much smaller mess on land or in shallow water? I simply don’t get it…you must just be too smart for this sorry, pea-brained imbecile that you so generously and magnanimously rule and reign over…ahem…I mean, *serve* in government.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Maria Conchita Alonso's Open Letter to Sean Penn

Here's an open letter from Maria Conchita Alonso to Sean Penn in response to his recent interview on Real Time with Bill Maher in which he defended Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez. Couldn't have said it better myself...

Dear Sean, WHY?

Even though I have great respect for your artistic talent, I was appalled by a recent television interview where you vigorously showed support for the regime of Hugo Chavez. Therefore, I've decided to set the record straight for you regarding the Chavez regime, supporting my case based not only on my political ideologies, but on proven facts you choose to ignore. Otherwise, I believe your position would be different.

Being born in Cuba, a country where freedom of speech is non-existent, it's startling to observe how Venezuela, where I was happily raised, is fast becoming Cuba's mirror image: Dismantling of fundamental democratic rights deserved by its people and citizens of the world.

For example, you said that all Chavez-winning elections in Venezuela were "transparent."

Then WHY didn't the government allow a manual recount of the votes and computer information when doubt set in? After all, how do you explain how these votes that were strongly favoring the opposition mysteriously reflected the opposite results the morning after, thus permitting Chavez to continue on? On what are you basing your conclusions? I strongly recommend that you read a report by the U.S. State Department written in 2009 entitled "The Fraudulent Elections in Venezuela".

We live in a Republic comprised of three autonomous branches of government: Supreme Court, Congress and Executive, thus, a true democracy.

Then WHY do you accept violations by part of the government of Venezuela to ignore its Constitution whereby one man, military-educated Chavez, controls all branches of government? His military background is revealed by his philosophy: "I order, you obey and if you disagree you're a traitor to the country." And your voice is silenced along with the ability of freethinking. Did you know solely the government controls 92% of media communications?

You've strongly criticized your own governments' overspending and corruption, whereby the budget for We the people never ends up in the hands of those who need it most.

Then WHY do you support a government with over $100 million in oil revenue that has 71% poverty? Or don't you know that corruption is so rampant that the rightfully deserving poor never sees a "red cent"? In addition, the fact is that Chavez gives away millions of dollars; belonging to the Venezuelan people, to other countries in order to build a false sense of philanthropy of a man whose self-proclaiming ego is blinded by power behind a communist Cuban-style revolution, expanding such regime.

We live in the U.S.A., the land of opportunity to do and say what we desire, respecting dissenting points of view, of course and without reprisals.

Then WHY do you defend a government whose stronghold upon its people is so oppressive that a big price is paid for exercising freedom of speech: Persecutions, closing of radio and television stations, jail...and even death?

You are fortunate enough to live in a country where you can buy property and claim it as your own to do whatever you want with it.

Then WHY do you promote the interests of a government that violates the Constitution by hindering the possibility of development: Land, industries, commerce, communications companies, foreign investment opportunities, financial institutions and private property? This is an everyday scenario in Venezuela.

Then WHY haven't you informed yourself on these facts by reading Venezuelan and international newspapers exposing thousands of cases?

Given your sense of community and respect for all people, I think you would defend the security of the citizens in your country.

Then WHY do you validate a government that has converted Venezuela into the second most dangerous country in the world, where impunity is above 90% and its people live in a constant state of stress and fear of getting killed? Many wonder if this situation isn't but a diabolic strategy by the part of the government, something to think about. Do you know that the weekend of March 13th there were 67 counted homicides only in Caracas? Furthermore, in the first 50 days of this year, there have been 140 express kidnappings for fast money (a 50% increase in 2009 versus previous years). After 11 years of the Chavez government, more than 16,000 people has been murdered by armed gangs and we're not even at war like in the Middle East.

In the U.S.A. the arm of the law comes down hard on government or private sector where cases of fraud and corruption are discovered.

Then WHY do you defend a politician who promised to sweep corruption, but has ended up sponsoring illicit enrichment by part of his closest allies and civil servants, placing Venezuela as the most corrupt country in the Americas and in its political history? Corruption has increased 68% and inflation 31% in 2009. What a coincidence, Sean that the majority of those "corruptors" are members of the government you have chosen to embrace.

You've demonstrated admirable assistance to those in need, due to natural disasters or poverty, those with desperate pleas to get their misfortune exposed for the whole world to see.

Then WHY do you applaud the efforts of a government that has notoriously increased poverty (65% to 71%), produced scarcity of staple products and created an energy and water shortage crisis never seen in Venezuela? Not to mention the numbers of children begging in the streets. You may have missed it because the government tends to take the scenic routes for its guests. I invite you see the real Venezuela, stay for a couple of weeks without the logistics the government of said country organizes for you and you'll be amazed with the results in your unaided observations.

Sean, you live in a country where your parents had the freedom to teach you principles and respect for entities and human beings, where education hasn't been manipulated by political agendas of those in power.

Then WHY are you in favor of a country where day after day education isn't plural by obligating a single-minded agenda and lack of respect for family structure? Did you know Sean that in Venezuela there is political indoctrination at a very early age, better known as "brainwashing"? And let me tell you that if parents don't agree, they will lose custody of their children, just like in Cuba, a country you've placed on a pedestal.

You are a product of a Jewish father.

Then WHY is your fascination with a government that has overtly stated its hatred against the Jewish community worldwide, to the extent that the State of Israel condemned anti-Semitic attacks in Venezuela? Do you think it's fair that many Jewish-Venezuelan families have emigrated because the Chavez government robbed their personal files when their temples and offices were under attacked in 2008?

I don't think so, Sean, that you would support violence as a means to impose your agenda.

Then WHY do you support a government with close relationships with FARC, ETA, Cuban G-2, Government of Iran, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, among others, which are the most feared terrorist movements in the world?

You have said that you applaud the actions that Chavez has instituted for his "pueblo".

Then WHY do you back him up when he himself has recently publicly recognized his failure for effective social programs (missions) in the areas of education, social service and hospitals; where each day the number of the uncared rises for lack of appropriate facilities and respective upkeep, and a country where the mothers give birth in the streets? This you can see on YouTube in investigative programs run on German, Swedish, Italian and Spanish television stations.

Sean, have you considered researching the existence of the growing list of political prisoners, including journalists, on your own? For your information Chile, Peru and Costa Rica has that data. Furthermore, many of these prisoners are tortured and their families persecuted and threatened, just like the Cuba you stand up for.

Is that what you support when you publicly declare that all those that say that Chavez is a dictator should go to jail?

Sean, you have the right to say what you want, but as far as I know, your statements are contradictory to "Freedom of Speech", the same one you enjoy in this country; by coincidence, "The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America."

My intention isn't to convince you, but to let you know what is truly happening in this beautiful country of noble people, Venezuela. I would encourage you to investigate in depth the "inside story" and realize for yourself the dark side behind the person you choose to idolize.

Agreed, Chavez did win his first elections, but like Hitler, he betrayed what the country gave him: The vote of confidence.

Monday, March 22, 2010

No GOP Health Care Proposals? I Don't Think So...

Y'know, I kept hearing about how the Republicans weren't giving any alternatives to the Democratic proposal for health care...let's delve into that a little, shall we?  I found this very helpful list of House GOP proposals in the 111th Congress specifically regarding health care from a mutual friend on FB...
  • H.R. 77 - Health Care Incentive Act
  • H.R. 109 - America's Affordable Health Care Act
  • H.R. 198 - Health Care Tax Deduction Act of 2009
  • H.R. 270 - TRICARE Continuity of Coverage for National Guard and Reserve Families Act of 2009
  • H.R. 321 - SCHIP Plus Act of 2009
  • H.R. 464 - More Children, More Choices Act of 2009
  • H.R. 502 - Health Care Freedom of Choice Act
  • H.R. 504 - Medicare Hearing Enhancement and Auditory Rehabilitation (HEAR) Act of 2009
  • H.R. 544 - Flexible Health Savings Act of 2009
  • H.R. 643 - Care for Life Act of 2009
  • H.R. 917 - To increase the health benefits of dependents of members of the Armed Forces who die because of a combat-related injury
  • H.R. 1075 - RECOVER Act (Restoring Essential Care for Our Veterans for Effective Recovery)
  • H.R. 1086 - Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2009
  • H.R. 1118 - Health Care Choices for Seniors Act
  • H.R. 1441 - Ryan Dant Health Care Opportunity Act of 2009
  • H.R. 1458 - Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2009
  • H.R. 1468 - Medical Justice Act of 2009
  • H.R. 1658 - Veterans Healthcare Commitment Act of 2009
  • H.R. 1891 - Sunset of Life Protection Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2051 - To amend title 10, United States Code, to authorize extended benefits for certain autistic dependents of certain retirees
  • H.R. 2373 - Home Oxygen Patient Protection Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2520 - Patients' Choice Act
  • H.R. 2607 - To amend title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to improve access and choice for entrepreneurs with small businesses with respect to medical care for their employees
  • H.R. 2692 - CAH Designation Waiver Authority Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2784 - Partnership to Improve Seniors Access to Medicare Act
  • H.R. 2785 - Health Care Paperwork Reduction and Fraud Prevention Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2786 - Patient Fairness and Indigent Care Promotion Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2787 - Medical Liability Procedural Reform Act of 2009
  • H.R. 3141 - Strengthening the Health Care Safety Net Act of 2009
  • H.R. 3217 - Health Care Choice Act
  • H.R. 3218 - Improving Health Care for All Americans Act
  • H.R. 3356 - Medicare Beneficiary Freedom to Choose Act of 2009
  • H.R. 3372 - Health Care OverUse Reform Today Act (HealthCOURT Act)
  • H.R. 3400 - Empowering Patients First Act
  • H.R. 3438 - Access to Insurance for all Americans Act
  • H.R. 3454 - Medicare Hospice Reform and Savings Act of 2009
  • H.R. 3478 - Patient-Controlled Healthcare Protection Act of 2009

Um, perhaps my friends on the other side of the aisle would like to retract their claims?!?  Maybe?  Possibly?  NAAAAAH...who am I kiddin'?

Some of these proposals have actually made it to the floor, while others have's a list of those that never made it to the floor...
  • Rep. Shaddeg proposed HR 3217 which would allow for for competition across state has been locked up in the Energy & Commerce Committee from July 2009.
  • Obama told us that "I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need." Rep. Gingrey proposed an amendment (consistent with Obama's statement) that would prohibit federal officials from making those decisions—KILLED IN ENERGY & COMMERCE by Rep. Waxman, et al.
  • Rep. Herger proposed that the federal government be prohibited from conducting comparative effectiveness research on health care treatments (a precursor to health care rationing)—KILLED IN WAYS & MEANS by Rep. Rangel.
  • Rep. McClintock propsed a no-deficit qualification for health care legislation that would block it from going into effect unless it were deficit neutral—KILLED IN COMMITTEE.
  • Obama made a campaign pledge of not raising taxes for individuals making less than $200K per year. In that spirit, Rep. Ryan proposed an exemption from all proposed tax increases in the health care bill for that group of individuals—KILLED IN WAYS & MEANS. A similar proposal by Rep. McMorris-Rodgers—KILLED EDUCATION & LABOR by Rep. Miller.
  • Rep. Brown-Waite propsed an amendment that would take out all language that cut funding for Medicare Advantage—DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE by Rep. Rangel, et al.
  • Reps. Hoekstra and Herger proposed that the employer mandate would be suspended if unemployment reached 10%—KILLED IN COMMITTEE.
  • Reps. Reichert and Hunter proposed that an exemption from the employer mandate for companies if they could prove to the Secretary of the Treasury (not just anybody) that the mandate has forced them into financial hardship that has caused them to lay off or cut salaries for current employees or has prevented them from hiring new employees—KILLED IN COMMITTEE.
  • Rep. McKeon proposed that small businesses be allowed to band together in small groups to purchase business-specific health plans at lower cost—KILLED IN WAYS & MEANS.
  • Reps. Johnson, Cantor, and Souder each offered amendments to remove federal funding for abortions from the health bill that were consistent with PBO’s claim that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions”—KILLED IN COMMITTEE.
ANY QUESTIONS? I didn't think so...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hey NOW...Nice Try...

Well, the NOW Gang's at it again (National Organization for Women, in case you're wondering)...deriding the Tim Tebow Superbowl ad as something that promotes violence against women. I guess they couldn't come up with anything better than that on short notice. Perhaps they'd like to rethink this one? Especially in light of the Snickers Superbowl ad with Betty White.

Here's the Tim Tebow ad...

According to the LA Times on 2/8/10: "NOW president Terry O'Neill said it glorified violence against women. 'I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it,' she said. 'That's what comes across to me even more strongly than the anti-abortion message. I myself am a survivor of domestic violence, and I don't find it charming. I think CBS should be ashamed of itself.'"

Huh...strange, but I don't remember a similar press release from the president of NOW about the Snickers Superbowl it is... looks almost the same...I guess I'm missing something.  Perhaps NOW is enlightened about the situational ethics of violence against women that I--as an insensitive, hateful, terroristic, right-winger--could never hope to understand.  Or...maybe they're just plain WRONG!

Nice try NOW Gang...but next time, try using something that's not so predictable and easy to debunk...


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Training Wheels for Adults...

Interesting story in the NY Times on Thursday entitled "Cuomo Sues Bank of America, Even as It Settles With S.E.C." Here's the link...

So let me get this straight...NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is suing Bank of America for the effect that their acquisition of Merrill Lynch had on BofA stock prices as well as BofA’s silence about the deal—this is after BofA had decided they didn't want to acquire Merrill based on what they saw in Merrill’s books but were told BY HANK PAULSEN “acquire Merrill…or ELSE (AND keep your mouth shut about it).”

Not only that, Cuomo is suing them under the Martin Act which means that he doesn’t even have to prove that BofA had any intent to defraud their customers (basically, Cuomo doesn’t have the chops, so he sues ‘em under a statute that says he doesn’t have to DO HIS JOB and prove malfeasance on their part)—not that he could prove it anyhow.

So, Paulsen told BofA to acquire Merrill (which they didn’t want to do) and to shut up about it, BofA begrudgingly does what Paulsen tells ‘em to, and now Cuomo’s suing ‘em for doing what Paulsen told ‘em to do. Shouldn’t Cuomo be suing Paulsen? Of course not, doing that won’t get him in the NY governor’s chair he’s so desperate to get into…Mr. Cuomo is nothing but a transparent, vacuous, political hack. Sorry Mr. Cuomo, the AG post doesn't come with training're supposed to be able to put on your big boy pants and do the job all by yourself. Next time, perhaps you should concentrate on someone who wasn't doing what the government told 'em to do...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Even a Blind Squirrel Can Find a Nut Sometimes...

I found these comments regarding the situation in Haiti particularly interesting…

The first few were from a live CNN report from Haiti with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta…

Anderson Cooper: I do think some of these big organizations, plans are made in some other country—back in Geneva or something—and by the time it gets filtered down and the bureaucracy gets involved and there's a million chiefs(?) involved, days have been wasted, when, you know, you could just get some folks and get out there. Roll up your sleeves and start doing it.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: There were some very critically ill patients there…this is one example, I don’t know if this happens at other times because of the bureaucracy…because lack of common sense.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: People back home who have no idea are making these decisions and they're just not the right decisions sometimes.

Even Katie Couric got in on the action…

Katie Couric: To see that the response was taking so long, it was so frustrating. These big bureaucracies…I just think it takes a while, I guess.

That’s pretty much what conservatives have been trying to say about Universal Health Care all along. If you need to do it for those who NEED it, then do it…but for those of us who DON’T NEED it, leave it alone. By forcing everyone onto UHC, you only increase the bureaucracy…and look where that gets you…even CNN and CBS were able to stumble onto the truth…