What Is Happening To The Office Of The Presidency?

I realize that I am a cultural dinosaur, but I am also part of a generation that brought informality in dress and demeanor into the culture.  I remember the days when people on airplanes wore suits and ties.  I remember the days when women wore hats and gloves.  I also remember when all that began to change.  I personally don’t look particularly good in hats, so I wasn’t all that sorry to see them go, but sometimes a lack of formality is out of place.  What I am about to relate is not a recent news story, but a troubling one.

On February 2 of this year, newsbusters.com reported that after the first day of his presidency, President Obama has chosen not to have the Marine Band play “Hail To The Chief” for him.  The Marine Band no longer provides musical interludes before and after the president’s appearance–they have been replaced by a single piano player.  The music of John Philip Sousa has been replaced by the works of Cole Porter and Sting.  I guess this may be nothing more than a reflection of a changing culture, but to me it is an unfortunate change.  Out of respect for the office of the President, some of our recent Presidents chose to enter the Oval Office only when wearing a tie and jacket.  I regret the lack of respect for the traditions of the office of President shown by this change in music.

Ho Ho Humbug

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reports today on a zoning board decision in Phoenix, Arizona, that makes food kitchens at churches illegal at Thanksgiving.  There will be a hearing on the matter on December 14th which will determine whether or not food kitchens will be legal on Christmas. 

The article points out:

“I’m not unsympathetic to the security issues of having homeless people wandering through residential neighborhoods looking for a meal.  I lived in Phoenix for a couple of years, and it’s not an insubstantial issue.  However, the proper way to stop that is to have the police enforce the law, not decide that a free meal service to the poor amounts to a restaurant.”

One of the reasons we have such an out-of-control government is that the churches somehow got out of the business of charity.  The churches are the organizations best able to handle the job of providing a ‘safety net’ in our society.  Generally, they know the people they are helping and are in a position to know if anyone is ‘gaming’ the system.  When the ‘safety net’ was turned over to the federal government, we lost the personal touch and ‘gaming the system’ became a way of life.  Personal accountability was somehow removed from the picture.

Hopefully this original decision will be overturned, and the local churches can get back to the business of feeding the hungry.

This Really Isn’t A Surprise

The Washington Times is reporting today that there is no provision in the healthcare bill currently being debated to stop illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants) from receiving health insurance. 

The article points out:

“A Congressional Research Service report notes that the House Democrats’ bill does not expressly prohibit illegal immigrants from getting health insurance and, in fact, would mandate that they obtain insurance if they meet the “substantial presence test.”

“That test calculates U.S. residency based on the number of days per year a person is in the country.”

There is a belief in some circles that this is a moot argument because the White House and Democrat leadership in Congress have signaled that they will try to pass a bill next year that would make illegal immigrants legal.

The bottom line here is that placing the entire country under health insurance that is somehow government regulated will not save anyone money.  It will create an entire new bureaucracy that will grow and continue to need to be paid for by ever-increasing tax revenue from the taxpayers.

Common Sense On Global Warming

Michael Barone posted an article at the Washington Examiner website yesterday about the growing problem with the global warming data released by the Climate Research Unit at University of East Anglia near Norwich, England, (CRU).  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has relied on data from the CRU for their information on global warming.  Now that the CRU emails between the scientists studying and releasing the data have been exposed, there are real questions about the validity of the data. 

Michael Barone points out:

“Australian geologist Ian Plimer, a global warming skeptic, is more blunt. The e-mails “show that data was massaged, numbers were fudged, diagrams were biased, there was destruction of data after freedom of information requests, and there was refusal to submit taxpayer-funded date for independent examination.”

Global warming alarmist George Monbiot of the Guardian concedes that the e-mails “could scarcely be more damaging,” adding, “I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.” He has called for the resignation of the CRU director.”

According to WattsUpWithThat:

“The Science and Public Policy Institute issued a report on the money involved in funding the global warming debate in August concluding, “Over the last two decades, US taxpayers have subsidized the American climate change industry to the tune of $79 billion.””

Meanwhile, President Obama heads for the Copenhagen climate summit as if nothing in the climate debate has changed.  I think it’s time to stop, take a deep breath, and consider the fact that there are some very powerful people heavily financially invested in global warming,  Unfortunately, some of those people are American politicians in a position to advance the ‘global warming’ agenda to their own benefit. 

The climate may be changing.  The climate has changed before, and it will change again.  To me, the real question is, “What effect do the activities of man have on climate?”  That question has not been answered.  Curbing pollution is a good idea.  Crippling the world economy to curb pollution is a really bad idea.

Budget Analysis Of 2008

When Senator Carl Levin recently suggested a tax increase to cover the war on terror (see recent RightWingGranny post), I got curious to see how much of our tax money actually goes to defense spending.  This chart is from AskHeritage.org.

The article at AskHeritage.org also points out how the cuts in military spending have impacted the modernization of our military.  It lists specific cases where cutbacks have resulted in new equipment that is needed.  At the same time…

According to WikiAnswers:

“In 2005, Senator Judd Gregg, then Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee stated that “Mandatory entitlement spending now represents a whopping 55 percent of all federal spending. If left on its current path, that could jump to more than 60 percent in 10 years. That will force us to cut out other necessary expenditures or raise taxes and weaken our economy.” Source: The Hill newspaper, Washington DC.” 

“A paper written by Congressman Randy Forbes in April of 2008, “The Challenge of Giant Entitlements”, states that “Entitlement spending, or government spending that takes place automatically every year without any action from Congress, is currently 62 percent of our overall federal spending.”” 

The United States Budget needs some serious rethinking, but I am afraid that this administration is not capable of anything other than increasing spending and raising taxes.  To claim that the war on terror is the reason for our federal deficit is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. 

Congratulations, Honduras!

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an editorial about what is happening in Honduras today.  The forces of Democracy have prevailed despite meddling from Hugh Chavez and the United States State Department. 

Today Honduras votes for a new President.  The attempt by President Manuel Zelaya to violate the country’s Constitution and serve another term as President was blocked, and a new President will be elected today.  Roberto Micheletti, who has served as acting President, plans to step aside quietly when the situation is resolved.  President Zelaya accepted a deal brokered by the United State that allowed the Honduran Congress which had removed him decide whether or not to reinstate him.  They have put off their decision until after the election so that his successor will have already been named, thus avoiding another attempt at an unconstitutional second term by President Zelaya.

The editorial concludes:

“By resisting Obama’s earlier threats and bucking elite world opinion, Honduran leaders strengthened their democratic institutions for the future. The precedent of military obedience to civilian government will serve them well. Roberto Micheletti, who like Zelaya belongs to the Liberal Party, will step aside quietly after serving as interim president for a few critical months. (He is not a candidate for president.) His actions and those of his fellow party-members are heroic, ensuring that this crisis will serve as the bedrock for vigorous two-party competition for future elections. And another good thing: No matter who wins, the precedent of limited executive power will be firmly embedded permanently in the mind of the new Honduran president.”

Congratulations, Honduras, on showing how to preserve Democracy!

The Dangers Of Not Having ‘Skin In The Game’

This a bit of historical perspective on where we are today in the ‘war on terror.’

When Hitler came to power in Germany in January of 1933, there weren’t too many people alarmed by what was happening in Germany.   He quickly began building and populating the concentration camps (Dachau opened in March 1933), but the rest of the world was unaware of what was happening in them and thus unconcerned.   When Hitler began occupying the countries around him, the British still thought they could make peace with him.   No one wanted a repeat of World War I.  By 1940, Great Britain was the only country at war with Hitler’s Germany, and America had amended its neutrality legislation in 1939 in order to lease weapons to Great Britain.  Americans were divided on whether or not to enter the war.  Technically, they had no ‘skin in the game.’   There was no outrage at what was happening to the Jews because no one actually believed it was happening.  Although the Evian Conference attendees in 1938 expressed sympathy for the Jews attempting to flee Germany, they refused to change their immigration policies to give them refuge (with the exception of the Dominican Republic).  Until December 7, 1941, we had no ‘skin in the game.’

Recently at a family event, I had lunch with some members of my extended family, all of whom were baby boomers or pre-baby boomers.  We talked about the things our parents had done in their lifetimes.  The parents represented included:  a Jew who served in the French resistance while hiding his family from the Nazis, an Army nurse who served overseas in primitive conditions, an Army enlisted man who had been captured early in the Battle of the Bulge and spent the rest of the war in a German POW camp, and an Army officer who was part of the D-Day landing.  My extended family had ‘skin in the game’ during World War II.   The generations that followed were different, however.  Of the approximately ten people sitting at the table, only two had served in the military–one in the French Army and one in the US Navy.  Of the families represented, only one had a connection with someone currently serving in the military.  According to chacha.com, there are 3,060,000 people in the military and reserves accounting for about 1% of the U. S.’s population of 305,816,827 people.

Today we have the best military in the world.  The men who volunteer for our Armed Services are the cream of the crop.  They are well-trained and professional, but because they are an all volunteer army, very few of us have ‘skin in the game.’  Except to our soldiers and the people who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, the war on terror is an abstract concept related to something that happened in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D. C., more than eight years ago.  The protests against the war have not even caught fire because there is not a draft–again, most of us have no ‘skin in the game.’

It is a sad fact that until terrorism directly affects our country again, the outrage against civilian trials for terrorists will be muffled, the protests against the war will lack passion, and America will tend to forget that we are fighting a war. 

I don’t have a solution to this problem.  I just have a question, would the war in Afghanistan end more quickly if, as in World War II, more of us were aware that we do have ‘skin in the game?’

We as a country have ‘skin in the game!’

The Arabian Horse Foundation Sets Up A Scholarship In Honor Of Patrick Swayze And His Wife

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner is reporting that the Arabian Horse Foundation is setting up a scholarship in honor of Patrick Swayze and his wife, Lisa Neimi.  The couple owned Arabian horses and competed in horse shows for several years. 

According to the article:

“The scholarship will be awarded each spring to a youth involved with Arabian horses who seeks a performing arts career. It was launched with a pledge from Iron Horse Farms in Canton, Ga.”

Larry Kinneer of Dayton, Ohio, President of the Arabian Horse Foundation, said that the scholarship is to honor the Swayze’s love for Arabian horses and their contributions to Arabian Horse Foundation youth programs.


Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) Will Continue To Receive Government Money

Yesterday’s New York Times reported that the Justice Department has issued a five-page memorandum explaining why ACORN will continue to be paid money promised before their funding was cut off. 

The article points out:

“… on Oct. 1, President Obama signed into law a spending bill that included a provision that said no taxpayer money — including money authorized by previous legislation — could be “provided to” the group or its affiliates.”

ACORN was founded in Arkansas in 1970.  It describes itself as a community organization group which registers voters, provides financial services to the poor, and works toward higher minimum wages and more affordable housing.  Sounds like an admirable group until you look at the specifics.  They registered the Dallas Cowboy’s starting line-up to vote in Nevada and Mickey Mouse in Orlando.  (Somehow, I suspect Mickey voted without actually showing up).  ACORN was recently captured on video tape assisting a prostitution ring to obtain affordable housing. 

ACORN has also dumped documents in California as they were coming under investigation in that state and abandoned an office in Oklahoma after not paying the rent.  In both of these cases, information was obtained showing that they are not acting in a legal or non-political manner.  Both of these stories were previously covered on this site and can be found in the archives.  Why then, is the government continuing to fund them?

At a time when many people are unemployed or underemployed and money is tight, why are we spending taxpayer money to fund a group that engages in illegal activities?  We need to ask this question often, and we need to remember this in next year’s elections.

Charles Krauthammer On Health Insurance Reform

Charles Krauthammer is one of the most astute political columnists of our time.  In addition to being brilliant, he is experienced in the world of healthcare.  He practiced medicine for three years as a resident and then chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital before coming to Washington to direct planning in psychiatric research for the Carter administration.  At that time he began contributing articles to The New Republic.  He understands the medical profession and what is needed to improve it.

On Wednesday, Investors.com posted an article by Charles Krauthammer on how to fix healthcare in America.  He points out that the rules and penalties in the healthcare bill currently being considered were pulled out of a hat–they have no relation to real events.  That figures–most members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have limited knowledge and experience with the inner workings of the healthcare insurance industry (other than their own “Cadillac” plan). 

Mr. Krauthammer recommends some basic and simple reforms:

  • Tort reform  –  this will save at least a half a trillion dollars every ten years.  It is not in the bill because lawyers contribute a major part of Democrat campaign funds.
  • The ability to buy health insurance across state lines.  Mr. Krauthammer points out that if we were not able to buy fruit across state lines, people in Wisconsin would probably not eat oranges in the winter.  Setting up a state-run orange grove in Wisconsin would not solve that problem, but that’s what Congress is doing with the ‘public option.’
  • Taxing employer-provided healthcare benefits.  I really hate this one, but it makes sense.  If all of us bought private health insurance, it would be a much more competitive industry (and the government would get major revenue from those people who chose to stay in employer-provided programs).

Mr. Krauthammer concludes:

“Insuring the uninsured is a moral imperative. The problem is that the Democrats have chosen the worst possible method — a $1 trillion new entitlement of stupefying arbitrariness and inefficiency.

“The better choice is targeted measures that attack the inefficiencies of the current system one by one — tort reform, interstate purchasing and taxing employee benefits.

“It would take 20 pages to write such a bill, not 2,000 — and provide the funds to cover the uninsured without wrecking both U.S. health care and the U.S. Treasury.”

I really love the 20 pages part!!!

Full Steam Ahead To Copenhagen

According to today’s New York Post President Obama has announced that he will travel to Copenhagen next month to take part in the United Nations’ Climate-Change Conference.  This is interesting in light of the recent incidents of leaked emails showing that the science of climate-change may not be as reliable as scientists claimed.   Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal points out that from the beginning of the debate on global warming, a single view has been enforced.  The Wall Street Journal explains how the process of ‘peer-review’ was used in a way to make sure only one viewpoint was put forth.  Now that the emails from the Climactic Research Unit (CRU) in Britain have been made public, the lack of real scientific inquiry into climate change is obvious. 

The New York Post points out that at the Copenhagen conference:

“He (President Obama) reportedly intends to offer a goal of cutting US greenhouse emissions by 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020.

“The White House won’t declare exactly what sort of an impact that goal will have on the US economy. Or, more likely, it just doesn’t know how much wreckage it will cause.”

Using less energy is a noble goal, but crippling the United States economy is not part of the job description of a United States President–particularly when the science behind it is questionable.

Happy Thanksgiving

In a time of war and hardship, a past President reminded us what was important.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

The Hacked Emails In The Climate Debate

This article has two sources, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday and an article in the Telegraph.co.uk late last week.   James Delingpole in the Telegraph suggests that if you own any stocks in alternative energy companies, you should start dumping them now. 

The telegraph lists some quotes from the emails from the Climactic Research Unit that were leaked last week:

“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

“…The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that-take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.””It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

You get the picture.

The Wall Street Journal summarizes:

“For the record, when we’ve asked Mr. Mann in the past about the charge that he and his colleagues suppress opposing views, he has said he “won’t dignify that question with a response.” Regarding our most recent queries about the hacked emails, he says he “did not manipulate any data in any conceivable way,” but he otherwise refuses to answer specific questions. For the record, too, our purpose isn’t to gainsay the probity of Mr. Mann’s work, much less his right to remain silent.

“However, we do now have hundreds of emails that give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics. In the department of inconvenient truths, this one surely deserves a closer look by the media, the U.S. Congress and other investigative bodies.”

So why is President Obama going to Copenhagen to discuss a treaty to control global warming?

Another Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) Document Dump

BigGovernment.com is reporting on the latest Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) document dump.  This one was in Oklahoma where ACORN abandoned its office (the landlord claimed they owed back rent), and left documents and a computer behind.  The abandoned office provided some interesting information on the plans and goals of the organization.

Please click on the above link to see their plan on how to take over the state of Oklahoma for the Democrats.  If they were a Democrat organization, there would be no problem with their wanting to take over a state for the Democrats, but they claim to be a non-partisan, community assistance organization.  They are paid millions of dollars by the government with the assumption that the money will be used in a non-partisan way.  The fact that they were or have become a wing of the Democrat party means that they should not be receiving federal money.

There has been news of other ACORN document dumps posted at BigGovernment.com, and I am sure there are more to come.  Hopefully at some point the government will decide to investigate the activities of ACORN.

Fighting A War With Emily Post Rules

One of the problems with the war on terror is that we are not fighting uniformed soldiers from a recognized country.  The soldiers we are fighting have no rules–they cut off people’s heads with dull knives and they mutilate people and bodies without remorse.  That is what makes the decision to proscute Navy SEALS for something they might not have done in capturing a terrorist leader in Iraq so strange.

Fox News is reporting today that three Navy SEALS have requested a trial by court-martial as the way to answer charges that they punched Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named “Objective Amber,” when they captured him.   Ahmed Hashim Abed was the alleged mastermind in the killing and mutilating of four Blackwater security guards in 2004.  There is some question as to whether Ahmed Hashim Abed’s wound was self-inflicted.  Unfortunately, many of terrorists we are fighting understand our legal system in ways that we do not.

The article points out:

“Neal Puckett, an attorney representing McCabe, told Fox News the SEALs are being charged for allegedly giving the detainee a “punch in the gut.”

“I don’t know how they’re going to bring this detainee to the United States and give us our constitutional right to confrontation in the courtroom,” Puckett said. “But again, we have terrorists getting their constitutional rights in New York City, but I suspect that they’re going to deny these SEALs their right to confrontation in a military courtroom in Virginia.”

All I can conclude from the fact that these SEALS will be charged with anything at all is that our leaders do not understand the enemy they are fighting.  That is a dangerous place to be in the middle of a war on terrorism.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences In Supplying Oxygen To People Who Depend On It

Today’s Wall Street Journal is reporting on the effect of a change in the way Medicare pays for oxygen services has had on the people who use those services.

On January 1 of this year, in an attempt to reduce waste and fraud in medical-equipment reimbursements, Medicare changed the rules on payment for oxygen for people with conditions such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Under the new program, Medicare pays what it has traditionally paid for the first three years, then, according to the article:

“Suppliers are then required to continue providing oxygen services to patients for an additional two years, but at a sharply reduced payment rate. After that, patients are entitled to receive new equipment, and Medicare will resume paying suppliers at the higher rate.”  

As a result of this change, some suppliers have closed, and others have been reluctant to take patients who are coming to the end of their first three years. 

The article further states that:

“The changes are supported by many in the industry, but some small suppliers say they can’t afford them. It costs $2,500 to $3,500 for a company to go through an accreditation survey, says Wayne Stanfield, president of the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers. But a supplier may spend tens of thousands of dollars to comply with the stringent requirements.”

I totally understand the government’s desire to save money, but this is not the place to do it.  Instead, why not take a look at the amount of bureaucracy involved in supervising this program.  Is it possible that if we instituted more common-sense regulations, it would take fewer people to administer them?  Is it time simply to overhaul the government–not its medical reimbursement programs?

The Winners And Losers If The Current Healthcare Bill Passes

Today’s New York Post posted an editorial by Betsy McCaughey about how the pending healthcare legislation affects various groups of people.  She lists winners and losers if the legislation is passed.

Some of the losers are:

  • The Middle Class  –  the requirement to have government-approved healthcare, the increased cost per family (subsidies will not go to the middle class–they will help pay for everyone else’s insurance), and penalties (and eventually jail time) for failure to comply.
  • People who currently carry health insurance only to cover emergency medical treatment (high deductible plans) who will be forced into a more expensive government plan.
  • People with “Cadillac plans” who will be hit with an excise tax.  As the healthcare program grows, the definition of a “Cadillac plan” will change in order to raise more money.
  • Women and men – the United States Preventive Services Task Force will be establishing new rules for routine medical tests.  These new rules will save money, but will put people at risk.
  • Seniors and baby boomers – the plan cuts funds (and preventive screenings for seniors) in Medicare while increasing money and screenings in Medicaid.  We are taking money away from healthcare services for the elderly and giving it to the poor.

Some of the winners are:

  • 21 million people who will be added to Medicaid.  The financial requirements to be eligible for Medicaid will be loosened so that more people can be added.
  • People with pre-existing conditions who cannot be refused health insurance.
  • Community groups seeking government money (p. 1209). (I can’t wait to see the ACORN application for this one!)
  • Low-income recent immigrants who will now qualify for Medicaid.  (Actually, as long as they are legal immigrants, I think this is not an unreasonable idea, but I would like to see it done by tax rebates for buying private insurance policies in order to avoid the waste that government programs are so famous for!)

In her article, Betsy McCaughey lists the pages and sections of the healthcare bill that apply to each group on her list.  The currently proposed healthcare bill is a nightmare for the future of our healthcare system.  We need change in healthcare that involves less government regulation–not more.  Let’s start with tort reform, a risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions, portability of insurance across state lines, and tax credits for purchasing health insurance.  Those changes will bring down the cost and increase the availability for everyone. 

Do The Recommendations Of The United States Preventive Services Task Force Really Mean Anything?

The healthcare bill released on November 19,2009, can be found at the Defend Your Healthcare website.  In that bill, on Page 1189, under the heading:




is a section that explains that the United States Preventive Task Force has the authority to modify or eliminate coverage of certain preventive services.  In other words, if this bill is passed, the government will now have the right to tell you that you cannot have a mammogram before age 50.  Since this task force will form the guidelines for individual insurance coverage (assuming there will still be private insurance), private insurance companies will not have to cover any tests the government decides are unnecessary.  Do you really want a government task force determining the kind of health services you are able to receive?


The Firing Of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article by Byron York further examining the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin.  On June 10 of this year, Inspector General Gerald Walpin received a telephone call from Norman Eisen, the special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, telling IG Walpin that he had one hour either to resign or be fired.  This was in violation of the law that requires the President to give Congress 30 days’ notice before dismissing an inspector general.  The article referenced above reviews the entire sequence of events that followed.  Generally speaking, the White House attempted to cover its tracks and claimed that IG Walpin was fired after an extensive review of his performance by members of the Corporation for National and Community Service [CNCS].  When that claim was investigated, it was found to be untrue.

The article points out:

“Just hours after Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa released a report Friday on their investigation into the abrupt firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, the Obama White House gave the lawmakers a trove of new, previously-withheld documents on the affair. It was a twist on the now-familiar White House late-Friday release of bad news; this time, the new evidence was put out not only at the start of a weekend but also hours too late for inclusion in the report.”

The article concludes that the reason for the firing of IG Walpin was his aggressive investigation of misuse of AmeriCorps funds by Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, California who is a prominent political ally of President Obama.

This seems to be another example of the “Chicago Way” that has come to the White House.

Andrew Breitbart Brings Back The Days Of Investigative Reporting

Andrew Breitbart’s website BigGovernment.com has posted a story about the San Deigo chapter of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN).  In October of this year, California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that he would be investigating the activities of ACORN in California as a result of the videos made by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles showing ACORN’s willingness to help them engage in illegal activities.  After the videos were released, ACORN fired some employees and said that they would cooperate fully with any investigation. 

The article at BigGovernment.com points out:

“Interestingly, the local head ACORN organizer in California, David Lagstein was caught on tape earlier this month speaking to an East County Democratic Club.

“Mr. Lagstein stated: “…the attorney general is a political animal, but certainly every bit of the communication we have had with them has suggested that the fault will be found with the people that did the video and not the people with ACORN.”

“Continuing, Mr. Lagstein stated: “…we are fully cooperating, some of the investigators visited our office this morning and I think they really understand what’s going on.””

While claiming to cooperate with the investigation, the ACORN office in National City (San Diego County) dumped thousands of sensitive documents on October 9th, just days before the Attorney General was scheduled to visit their office.  The documents were dumped into a public dumpster, with no regard for privacy or issues regarding employment documents. 

Derrick Roach at BigGovernment.com reports:

“I am a local licensed private investigator. I took it upon myself to keep an eye on what the local ACORN office was up to, in light of the release of the undercover videos. I retrieved these documents from the public dumpster.”

He has posted copies of some of the documents at the link cited above.  He has also pledged that if the Attorney General of California does not properly investigate ACORN’s activities, citizen journalists will.  Thank you, Mr. Roach.

Is the $300 million Mary Landrieu was paid for her vote on cloture in the Senate last night included in the cost of the bill?

Investigating The Association Of Community Organizers For Reform Now (ACORN)

The antics of ACORN came to light in the last election.  If you are not aware of them, please seach this site for a very incomplete, but representative list.  There was voter fraud, and more recently, advice on how to skirt the laws while engaging in sex trade with underage women.  Sounds like an investigation would be in order, but ACORN seems to have some pretty strong connections in the White House, and nothing is happening.  In fact, ACORN in Brooklyn is suing the government to get their funding back!  (see Right Wing Granny post of Nov 12, 2009)

BigGovernment.com has a post which may indicate where we go from here.  Andrew Breitbart appeared on the Sean Hannity show and stated that:

“Not only are there more tapes, it’s not just ACORN.  And this message is to Attorney General Holder: I want you to know that we have more tapes, it’s not just ACORN, and we’re going to hold out until the next election cycle, or else if you want to do a clean investigation, we will give you the rest of what we have, we will comply with you, we will give you the documentation we have from countless ACORN whistleblowers who want to come forward but are fearful of this organization and the retribution that they fear that this is a dangerous organization.  So if you get into an investigation, we will give you the tapes; if you don’t give us the tapes, we will revisit these tapes come election time.”

There needs to be an investigation of ACORN.  If it takes Andrew Breitbart releasing his tapes to get it down, that’s fine.  Just get it done. $53 million in federal aid has been given to ACORN.  I think it is time the taxpayers had an accounting of how that money has been spent.  Thank you, Mr. Breitbart, for your courage in trying to clean up our government. 

Church And State Or Church And Parishoner

Yahoo News has posted an Associated Press article about Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin banning Representative Patrick Kennedy from taking communion in the Catholic Church in Rhode Island because of the Senator’s stand on abortion.  This is an interesting story.  The article goes on to point out that the ban only applies to Rhode Island and that the Bishop did not bar Representative Kennedy from taking communion anywhere else.

Should a Congressman’s faith play a part in his legislative views?  Thomas Jefferson seemed to think so.

“”[I consider] ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man.” –Thomas Jefferson to Augustus B. Woodward, 1824. ME 16:19 from a website of Jefferson Quotations.”

Every one of us has a basis for what we believe.  That basis is founded in religion or some sort of life experience.  It is my feeling that any Church has the right to exclude people who openly espouse views that are in disagreement with their teaching.  If Patrick Kennedy wants all the privileges of a Catholic, then he should not be promoting legislative ideas that are in conflict with the Catholic Church.

If being a Catholic is important to a Congressman or Congresswoman, then the morality of the Church should have a place in their lives and their legislative decisions.  The fact that the Catholic Church opposes abortion is not new.  Most major religions of the world teach that killing the innocent is wrong.  I can think of nothing more innocent than an unborn baby.  There are churches that do not take a strong stand on abortion.  I am sure Representative Kennedy can find such a church to attend.