January 2010

Obama continues health care push

As the issue that has come to define Obama’s first year in office continues through its final chapter, lawmakers are struggling to blend the House and Senate versions of the healthcare reform legislation. For his part, President Obama is pushing for passage and promising Americans that we will all begin reaping the benefits soon after the bill is signed into law.

"We are on the verge of passing health insurance reform that will finally offer Americans the security of knowing they'll have quality, affordable health care whether they lose their job, change jobs, move or get sick," said Obama.

He continued: "What every American should know is that once I sign health insurance reform into law, there are dozens of protections and benefits that will take effect this year."

President Karzai speaks out on Afghan corruption

Nothing says politics like leaders going back and forth with an international version of he said she said- and with so much turmoil in Afghanistan right now and the international community pointing fingers at President Karzai and Afghanistan’s corrupt government and leadership, it’s only natural that he would try to stand up for himself.

In recent weeks President Karzai has held the parliament in session past its planned winter break because they failed to pass his nominations for many cabinet positions, and the escalating violence in Afghanistan is underscoring the fears surrounding elections scheduled for later this spring. One of the major issues on everyone’s mind is that Karzai is having a tough time putting together his government, and the international community continues to point fingers toward what they say is a corrupt government.

Security Breach at Newark Means More Rules For All of Us

A goodbye kiss seems to be at the center of the most recent airport security breach. It shut down Newark airport for several hours, inconveniencing thousands of passengers and shining a bright light on the security issues that airports are dealing with on an increasing basis.

Video of the incident shows that a man spoke to a TSA agent and later snuck under a security belt to enter a secure area where he kissed a female passenger and then walked into the secure area of the airport hand in hand with her.

So what does this mean for the TSA and for airport security in general?

Pelosi Says Health Care Reform Deal "close"

While both the House and the Senate have each passed their versions of the health care reform legislation, the uphill chore of blending the two into something that everyone can agree on and vote for is still happening. There is not guarantee that there is a way to rectify the two bills, as there are major differences, especially the fact that the House passed a full on public option whereas the Senate went with the hybrid version, turning the public health care option into a non-profit competitor of the rest of the insurance agencies. Knowing that both passed a version is positive, but there is combative middle ground that essentially boils down to getting a few dozen moderates to agree to something they will all vote for.

What happens when they blow up a Safeway?

The Skid Mark Bomber has renewed our interest in seizing up travel and making life another step closer to full blown lockdown. We currently take our shoes off, go through a metal detector, x-ray machine, 2-hour arrival, huge lines and now, because some idiot put explosives in his underwear we are considering even more security. What happens when the airlines are so locked up that the terrorists make a left turn and walk into a super market, mall, train, subway, federal building, office building, etc...? Then what?

Tony Blair Goes Before Inquiry Panel about Iraq

Remember the Iraq war? Oh yeah, it’s still happening. Though it started 8 years ago and no longer dominates the American media, the Iraq war still hangs on the national consciences of at least two Western nations- the U.S. and the UK. The UK is currently holding an inquiry into the Iraq war, interviewing various figures and asking questions about details and moves that happened years ago.

Lieberman Suggests Homeland Security Take Over Monitoring for Visas

Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut has suggested that the Homeland Security Department take over the handling of visas.

If you’ve been following the health care debate at all, you know that one of the thorns in the process’ side has been “Independent” senator Joe Lieberman. It makes me understand a little more what the process of getting anything through any kind of governmental body must be like in countries where there is not a two party system- the amount of power this one guy seems to wield in the process is ridiculous, but it is, in the end, the democratic process.

And then he goes and throws out this little practical non-sequitor while talking to ABC about the implications of the attempted bombing by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab over Detroit.

U.S. Finds Itself Stuck Between Arms Treaty with Taiwan and Desire to Befriend China

Perhaps file this one under the growing file of Politics is Money stories- a U.S. business group head has accused Obama of compromising the security of Taiwan in the interest of promoting a better relationship with China. An interesting accusation, as Obama certainly wants to get closer, well, as close as possible, to the Chinese government- that is essential to the long-term safety and well-being of the United States and the world’s economy. But as the U.S. is historically a supporter of Taiwan’s government, would Obama truly be willing to short Taiwan just to cozy up to China? Or is this essentially a business move by the group leader, trying to use his political clout to get a good deal moving for Taiwan?

Here’s what’s going down:

China and Internet Porn

The Internet is a wild place- on here you can do and say just about anything you want to. There are a few rules coming into play, like the recent disclosure law stating that bloggers and related online posters need to disclose if they have been compensated by companies or products they are writing about. And of course there are rules where you have to pay for the provider to get the Internet to your house or laptop or whatever- but in general, once you are on there, you can say or post whatever you’d like.

"Avenge" the CIA deaths? Isn't this a war?

CNN reported today that a CIA official has promised to ‘avenge’ the death of their agents. First of all, why are we there again? Second, ‘avenge’? Really? Should the intelligence arm of our government use words like ‘avenge’? It’s a war, that we started. They punched back, no need to ‘avenge’. Our country is in a state of such disarray that I can’t believe the things I see on a daily basis.