December 2009

We're ending 2009 with a Bang! (Screw Politics Part II)

I have two young boys, and many times when I write articles I tend to compose them over several days.  The last paragraph was all that I had completed as of last night.  I check the news this morning…Jackpot!  I could probably write five more posts based on a few well-timed sound bytes and quotes!  What never fails to astonish me is how far some people will go in an attempt to prove a point that has no grounding in reality.  Happy New Year!  Hopefully 2010 will be better than this poop-stain of a year!

We're ending 2009 with a Bang! (Screw Politics Part I)

Really, all of the good jokes are gone at this point.  The ones about the crotch bomber, or the underwear fire guy, or the exploding jock strap dude, or the one(s) about nobody being able to tell if a bomb actually went off in Detroit, because holy shit look at this place.  The Nigerian man accused of attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 into Detroit will go down in history as the most embarrassed would be terrorist ever to try and blow up his own scrotum.  For those who before would have said, “There isn’t anything funny about an attempted act of terrorism,” well, that was before this guy burned his nuts off, like an idiot.  But don’t worry, there are still plenty of people who are worried enough to suggest some “pre-emptive action” in Yemen might be in orde

Sex and Scandal in Politics and Private

Since the start of the scandal, Woods, who had previously carefully maintained a public image of a clean-living sports and family man, has kept out of sight of the media.

The Tiger Woods situation has been permeating the media for a few weeks now- in case you missed it, he’s been sleeping with a lot of women all across the country and he got busted for all of it. By his wife. And then he got in a car accident and now it’s public.

Most of Woods’ sponsors have been sticking by him, probably as much out of their own desire to hang on to their investment as any kind of stand-up moral cause. Accenture and Gilette have both dropped Woods from their endorsement roster, and now AT&T. The political sphere saw its share of sex scandals this year as well, and it’s instructive to look at how the two public arenas handle these things differently.

AIG Employee... Resigns?

Remember the financial crisis? Oh yeah, it’s not over. You know that friend or family member of yours who lost their job? You know those vacation plans you had to cancel because you need to save up a little more money? You know those Christmas presents you decided not to buy this year? You know that APR that went up on your credit card for now apparent reason? Yeah, everybody is going through tough times- including the executives at AIG. One of them just quit it’s so bad.

The Fed Creates New Tools To Deal With the Recession

The U.S. Federal Reserve is attempting to create another way for them get money out of the banking system: the program would be called the term deposit facility. Essentially it would enable banks and other financial institutions to ear interest on loans to the central bank. Right now banks can loan money to the Fed overnight, and earn interest on that overnight loan- A term deposit facility would allow them to make loans of much longer duration and earn more interest on those loans.

"Term deposits would be one of several tools that the Federal Reserve could employ to drain reserves to support the effective implementation of monetary policy," said the Fed.

Beef Recall and Health Care Questions

Food production is one of the non-negotiables that we have to deal with as a global economy- people need to eat, and they need that food that they eat to be both healthy and safe. Setting environmental and water-use concerns aside for a moment, the health issues raised by mass food consumption because of the pure economics of the situation are massive. It’s hard to make a lot of food, plain and simple. To do it with plants, the U.S. has created a gigantic bio-engineering industry that is changing the very seeds we use, in essence changing the very food we eat, in order to make enough. And with meat, the U.S.

Christmas House Procedures

All White House personnel be advised that as of midnight on December 25th we have all been in official holiday mode. This being the first time in eight years that a new Commander in Chief has occupied the house, a number of old traditions will be discontinued while some new customs will be instituted as per President Obama's wishes. Please be advised as to the following changes in Christmas procedure.

Obama in Afghanistan

President Obama caused a big political stir when he announced that he would try to begin withdrawing troops form Afghanistan in mid July of 2011. Republicans like Senator John McCain jumped down his throat, claiming that this kind of message will show weakness to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Others questioned whether the country would be secure, whether the goals and objectives would be attained, and whether the army of Afghanistan would actually be ready to take over for the U.S. army. Well, all those are legitimate complaints and possible problems. But Obama and the administration announced their decision and perspective anyway- just before entering all of the overshadowing issues of the summit of Copenhagen and the health care reform legislation debate.

China Calls the U.S. out to the WTO

China is sounding a bit skeptical about the U.S. tire tariffs, and probably with good reason. This one is coming back to the surface after a few months of being overshadowed by many other issues of international concern and diplomacy- when you are trying to figure out the environmental road map for the world to save the world and arguing about a global recession and what to do about it, well, you sort of put the discontent about import taxes on one item on the backburner. The thing about the tires, though, are that they are a big ticket item and both the U.S. and China know it. The U.S. is basically running into some trouble with them because we don’t want their tires to cost less than our tires, and China is arguing over World Trade Organization (WTO) rules that are in a bit of  a grey area from earlier in the decade. And so it goes.

Health Care has 60

As we come up toward the Christmas break, the senate is butting up against the deadline that President Obama wants them to finish the bill by. We all know they need the 60 votes, and we all know that somebody is being a holdout. The most recent holdout has been Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska.

I was listening to Friday’s Morning Edition on NPR this morning, which threw the timing off a little for me as it’s Sunday morning, but on the program, Ben Nelson was saying that he didn’t think there was much of anything that anyone could say to change his mind and get him to sign on to the health care reform bill before the Christmas recess. He said that the language around abortion wasn’t strong enough, and that that was only the tip of the iceberg about his issues and reservations about the bill.

More Money for the Military

It’s been a while since I did one of my politics is money posts, and just today a headline caught my eye that makes me double-down on that certainty- Reuters is reporting that the senate has just approved more than $600 billion in new military spending. So the message is- if you want more than half a trillion dollars for the military, no problem, we’ll get that through without a problem. If you want something like that for health care, prepare for a drawn out debate and question marks even after that. Frustrating.

The bill also carries provisions to extend jobless aid and sends money to supplement Medicare payments and rates for another 2 months, but the thrust of it is to fund military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a pretty simple jump to say, “Where are our priorities?”

Why the Senate SHOULD rush to pass the healthcare bill before Christmas.

What? Now all of the sudden it’s a race to the finish? Now we are supposed to listen to the Senate democrats and believe that they are actually trying to pass the healthcare bill before the Holiday recess? Well, yes. And here’s why I think it’s a good thing:

1.    It’s about time. The last deadline that the senate was racing against was the one that Obama suggested and that was… August. So, for the last 4 months they have essentially worked on one piece of legislation, and yeah, it’s not at all out of the box thinking or pressuring anyone about anything to think about passing it… sometime… this… year…

So... So Cold

 

This is insane. This is just not fair. How freaking ironic is it that we're having a conference about global warming in a city that's this cold? I swear, I think there's snow in my lungs. In my lungs. Like even the air I breathe is cold enough to get into my body and stay frosty enough to have a lasting layer of slush over everything. This is ridiculous. What's so freaking special about Copenhagen?

Health Care and the Holidays

Where we’re at with health care:

During the Holidays, if you stop someone on the street and ask them whether they can find it in their heart and spirit to help take care of someone in need, chances are you will get something out of most people- well, outside the city anyway… But if you stop those same people someday in mid-January, they may tell you about how the holidays were tough financially, how they are starting the new year trying to save money, or just that they don’t have time for you or your cause right now.

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