Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

12 Sep

This is an excellent article, relating the current health care debate issue to the current American food supply and farm policies.

For instance, the government currently subsidizes the corn industry (at the tune of $37.3 billion between 1995 and 2003).  In fact, because of said subsidies, it’s so profitable to be a corn farmer that many farmers have forsaken all other grains and vegetables to jump into the corn industry.  This causes a surplus in the amount of corn produced in this country. 

Rather than cutting back to balance the economics of it, the corn industry is continually coming up with new ways that people can consume more corn.  So now while we sit on the couch listening to pipe dream reports about replacing gasoline with ethanol (made from corn), we can drink our sodas and eat our snack foods that are heavily laden with high-fructose corn syrup.

There’s a similar problem with the dairy industry, ever since the advent of pumping cows full of hormones to make them produce twice as much milk.  They need to sell all that extra milk so they can pay to replace their hormone-loaded cows, who have this annoying habit of dying every 5 years (a cow’s normal lifespan is 20-25 years).  So how do you sell the public more milk than they need?  Convince them that they need more milk.  Hence the $23 million per year spent on the “Got Milk?” campaign.

The point I’m trying to make, and which the article addresses, is that the cost of health care in America is a result of Americans’ bad health.  Our bad health and plagues of preventable diseases are largely the result of the way we eat – the “American diet.”  And the American diet can be directly linked to the economics and structure of our food supply.

Do not even get me started on school lunches. 

Just read the article.

 

Inauguration

20 Jan

A nice quote from Congressman John Campbell:

It is easy to recognize the impact this event will have on American History. Since the founding of our great Republic, Americans have always relished our most sacred of traditions…freedom. This is yet another display which will be viewed all across the globe, and allows us, as Americans, to display our commitment to our founding virtues.

I encourage all Americans to welcome our new Commander-in-Chief and President, Barack Obama. We may not always agree on policy, but we are united by our American tradition, culture, and patriotism.

May God Bless this President and May God Bless America.

President Obama, I do not envy you your job.  As someone I respect said recently, I’m sure the thought why did I think this was a good idea? will cross your mind during your first 100 days of your presidency.  But I wish you the best and hope to see you meet the expectations you have set for yourself and the rest of the country.  I hope you can weather the stresses and remain true to yourself and the people who put you here.  And may the hope you inspire in people push us to better ourselves and our country as befits this one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 
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Posted in Current Events, Politics

 

Election Thoughts

05 Nov

So Election Day came and went with no surprises, which I found a little disappointing.  As it turns out, I could have done something BESIDES spend the entire evening glued to CNN, because I wouldn’t have missed anything. 

Well, that’s not true.  I did get to see the capital building appear out of nowhere on a table, with a 3-D illustration of the senate seats being filled, and I watched an interview with Will.I.Am via holograph.  To quote my daughter, “THAT’S something you don’t see every day!”

Not sure if it’s my tendency to root for the underdog or maybe I’m just a drama whore, but I was hoping to see SOMETHING unexpected in the election results though.  Unlike Obama, I prefer the neck-and-neck victory to a blowout.

This was a difficult election for me because I found myself unable to stand fully behind either candidate.  They each had qualities and policies that would – under any other circumstance – be deal-breakers for me.  Consequently, I’m neither as forlorn as most of the McCain supporters nor as jubilant as the Obama supporters at the results.  I just feel kind of melancholy about the whole thing.  I would have felt the same had John McCain won.

In the end, I had to make a list of the issues that concern me the most and narrow it down to the single most important issue at stake, the issue that I saw having the greatest effect on the lives of Americans today, and one the new president would have direct control over.  One day maybe I’ll devote the energy to expound on that, but I’m not making any promises because now that the election is over, I’m pretty sure nobody cares.

So this country is undoubtedly headed in a new direction.  I hope it is the direction our new President Elect has led us to believe.  I hope he follows through on what he says about bringing people together.  It may be a challenge for him to set aside some of his own left-leaning ideals for the sake of centrism and moderation.  If he is REALLY able to do that, he could go down in history as one of the greatest presidents to have assumed the office.  If not…

Well I dunno.  Time will tell.

I’m boring myself.  Signing off now.

 
2 Comments

Posted in Politics

 

I Miss Mike Huckabee

09 Oct

This is the first time I have ever voted or even really paid attention to a political election.  I have no experience in political science, campaign marketing or political history.  So I will be the first to admit that the idea of me offering advice to the experts probably seems a little… pretentious?  Laughable?  However…

Like most bloggers, that doesn’t stop me from running my … keyboard.

* * *

Dear Senator McCain,

I’m fairly certain that you are going to lose this election.  This was going to be a tough one for the Pubs to win from the get-go, but I think you royally screwed up.

You’re an interesting paradox of being eternally stuck in the past, yet refusing to learn from it.  All your honor and examples of your upstanding and sacrificial character come from many, many years ago.  What about NOW?  You seem to have changed, even since the 2000 election.  You have run a smear campaign despite vows against it.  Stories about your honor are tough to swallow when followed immediately by deliberate distortions of the truth.  You are correct that you “won’t win Miss Congeniality,” but not for the reasons you profess.

In the past, politicians owned the information, but that has changed.  You can’t mangle and reshape facts to suit your purposes and think nobody is going to notice.  Who wants a president that talks in such a way that everything he says has to be called into question? 

Your behavior has been erratic and reactionary.  People don’t know what to expect from you.  THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING.  Despite mediocre (and declining) approval ratings, George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the last election – an election that should have been a handover to the Democrats.  WHY?  Because Kerry completely failed at establishing himself, his stances and his plans.  His central message of, “I’m not Bush” wasn’t good enough.  He was an unknown, and the public decided that they would stick with Bush because even if they doubted him, at least they knew what they were getting.

You watched the showdown between Obama and Hillary Clinton.  You saw Clinton throw the same kinds of mud-slinging, distortionary, smear campaign tactics that ruled politics in previous elections.  And they didn’t work for her.  Why then, do you think they’re going to work for you???  Learn from the past.  Don’t stay stuck in it.  The race has changed.

* * *

Dear Governor Palin,

I think you have an interesting political career ahead of you once you get some more legitimate experience.  I say go for it, but I don’t think having John McCain as a mentor is going to help you.  His tactics don’t work for you.

Also, it saddens me to hear reports (from Republicans, no less) that you’re being treated “like a secretary” by the McCain camp.  I hate to say that I called it.  I was hoping to be wrong.

* * *

Dear Senator Obama,

I’m predicting that you’re going to have a pretty big win, unless McCain can pull some kind of 11th hour miracle.  But I’m also predicting that you will be under a lot of pressure to fix things in a very short time span.  The country is going to put trust in your “Change” message, but our trust is usually tentative and even the most optimistic supporters can turn on a dime if things don’t meet their expectations.

We’re Americans.  We have high expectations.

If, after 3 years, there hasn’t been significant progress (just “progress” will not be enough), I’m betting the Republicans will be booting you out of the White House the next time around.  I hope you’re up for the challenge.

 
26 Comments

Posted in Politics

 

This is Getting Stupid

09 Oct

This is shaping up to be a monumental historical election.  In the midst of all the existing political drama, now ACORN, the government-supported, left-leaning and somewhat controversial community organizer group, is being investigated for voter fraud.  AGAIN.  They are already under investigation for previous instances of such crimes in at least 12 states.

In some areas, over half the voter registrations turned in by ACORN belong to people who are dead, don’t exist, or didn’t actually register with ACORN to vote (such as the entire Dallas Cowboys team).  Multiple registrations have been written and signed in the same handwriting.  Phone numbers on the registration forms are all disconnected lines.  Addresses are actually commercial buildings. 

In short, it’s a very time-consuming mess for the people who have to try to sort them all out.

ACORN employees have been fired over the issue.  Yet the group dismisses the problem as, “attacks from groups threatened by our historic success…, motivated by partisan politics and often perpetuated by the media without full investigation of the facts.”

The McCain camp wasted no time in sounding the alarm on Barrack Obama’s affiliation with the group. 

And they should.  ACORN’s history of voter fraud is no secret.  Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State.  ACORN has been implicated in similar voter fraud schemes in Missouri, Ohio and at least 12 other states.  Yet the Obama campaign paid them $800,000 to register new voters.  Apparently they didn’t specify that they were looking for REAL voters.

At the very least, it calls into question Obama’s judgment of character and affiliations, an issue that has been recently spotlighted with some of his other acquaintances.  One or two questionable past affiliations can be overlooked, as most politicians have them.  But there comes a point when it begins to cast doubt on the candidate’s associations – whether his intentional choices or his lack of discernment therein – and Obama has been having to distance himself from a lot of people lately.

While I’m not one to subscribe to the “guilty by association” mantra, I think McCain is right to call this issue into question with respect to Obama.  I would like to hear Obama’s reasons for singling out an organization with a shady history when it comes to voter registrations, and paying them to collect voter registrations.

 
8 Comments

Posted in News, Politics

 

Proabably Should Have Made 3 Separate Posts

08 Oct

While speaking at a children’s hospital yesterday, Cindy McCain stated that Barrack Obama has “waged the dirtiest campaign in American history.”  She said she looked forward to seeing her husband clear the record at the debate, and-

Whoa, whoa, whoa, BACK THE TRUCK UP.  Obama is the one waging the dirty campaign?

Regardless of political leanings, I think we can all pause for a minute to fully absorb the hilarity of that statement.

*blink* *blink*  Ok, moving on…

In other totally important news, Koren has learned a new trick.  He can now pull the pacifier out of his mouth, waive it around, and put it back in.  This provides him with endless amusement until he drops the paci and the world pretty much crashes down around our ears.

He drops the paci a lot.

And for that reason, the jury is still out on whether this new trick should be lauded or cursed.

And on the Kaelin homefront, I would just like to say that my daughter says some pretty funny stuff when she’s not really awake.  Last night I heard her calling, and when I walked into her room we had this conversation:

Kaelin: I.. I … I … I need … I need… I need … (sometimes she has trouble getting the words out when she’s sleepy, so I’ll spare you the additional 12 times she said that) I need da pee on the phjvgch.
Mama: You need … to pee on the potty?
Kaelin: No, I need the pattern.
Mama: You need the pattern?
Kaelin: Yes.
Mama: What pattern?
Kaelin: The flag pattern.  I need the flag pattern.
Mama: …
Kaelin: I need the flag pattern.
Mama: Is… that something you did at school?
Kaelin: Yes.
Mama: I think you’re dreaming.  Why don’t you go back to sleep?
Kaelin: Ok.

 

Plan B: Prevention or Termination?

02 Oct

Katie Couric recently asked Sarah Palin about her position on Plan B, the controversial pill often referred to as the “Morning-After Pill,” or in some circles, an “Abortion Pill.”  Palin’s answer, though shrouded in her trademark non-specifity, indicated that she does not condone the pill because of her pro-life position – though she is supportive of contraception.

I was curious about the actual effects of this pill, so I did some research.  Emergency Contraception is branded as a form of pregnancy prevention that can be taken up to 5 days AFTER intercourse.  For many non-biology majors, that doesn’t really compute unless it implies that the pill terminates a pregnancy that has already had the opportunity to begin.

Here is what I found…

Plan B prevents ovulation.  So, if you have any lingering … um … “gentlemen callers” in your system after the fact, taking the pill will prevent a new egg from coming out to meet them, thereby preventing fertilization.

Plan B does NOT dislodge a fertilized egg from the uterus – so unlike RU-486, it does NOT cause an abortion in this way.  So if you’re already pregnant when you take it, it won’t help you.  It basically won’t have any effect.

ECPs do not interrupt an established pregnancy, defined by medical authorities such as the United States Food and Drug Administration/National Institutes of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as beginning with implantation.*

But there’s a missing link in the chain.  Eggs that have not been released won’t be.  Eggs that have been released, fertilized and have made their way into the uterus to attach to the lining are not at risk from the pill.  But what about an egg that has already been released, gets fertilized, and is still on its way toward the uterus (a process that takes about a week) when the pill takes effect?

The jury is still out on whether the pill prevents implantation of a fertilized egg.  Many scientists don’t think it affects implantation, but admit they don’t know for sure.

The reduced efficacy with a delay in treatment, even when use is adjusted for cycle day of unprotected intercourse, suggests that interference with implantation is likely not an inevitable effect of ECPs. If ECPs did prevent all implantations, then delays in use should not reduce their efficacy as long as they are used before implantation.*

Clinical associate professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Pharmacy, Don Downing, promotes the theory that Plan B does not interfere with implantation.  When he is questioned on the assurance of his data, his response is typically, “Do you have 100 percent proof there’s a God?  Or that the lunch you ate yesterday or the Tylenol you took this morning didn’t interfere with implantation?” 

I know.  Not the most convincing answer.

At any rate, the clinical definition of pregnancy begins with implantation, so in scientific terms Plan B never causes an “abortion” even if it does interfere with implantation.  Incidentally, implantation is also the medical definition of “conception.”

So the real question for any anti-abortionist forming a position on Plan B, is when you believe life actually begins.  Many conservative pro-lifers believe life begins at conception, and that true definition of “conception” is fertilization.  This has been the traditional viewpoint since science first shed light on the egg-sperm process.  If a fertilized egg is a human life, then anything that interrupts the implantation of that egg effectively terminates that life.

However, it is somewhat difficult to assert the significance of a fertilized egg as a human life, when the human body naturally discards up to half of all fertilized eggs.  Most of these implant-failures go completely unnoticed.

It may seem like splitting hairs to debate the exact moment that human life begins, but the issue is critical to the millions of Americans who see a sacred value in that life.  At some point, you have to be able to say, “This counts, but this doesn’t.”

So what do you think?

*”Emergency Contraception” by James Trussell, PhD and Elizabeth G. Raymond, MD, MPH, September 2008

 

Argh

01 Oct

I’m re-posting this because a server blip seems to have eaten it the first time around.

Economics is one of those things that just doesn’t compute to me.  I think because so much of it is intangible.  I get mortgages but once you get into buying mortgages, securities, all this stuff that doesn’t equate to an actual product, I get a little lost.

Regardless, I’m trying really hard to wrap my mind around this $700 billion Bail Out Plan (or Rescue Plan, depending on your persuasion).

But no matter how much I hear and read about it, it still sounds like when your credit card company sends you blank checks so you can pay off your other credit cards.  Transferring unmanageable debt from one lender to another.  Not an actual solution to the problem – just a way to buy a little more time.  But that time always comes with a price.

So … if I’m hearing this right, the way to get out of a debt-caused crisis is to acquire more debt?

But the bill is having a hard time making it through Congress.

So the way to pass a bill that increases the government’s debt by $700 billion is to add on a bunch of “sweeteners” (pork barrel projects) so that the bill now totals $850 billion?

I just don’t get it…