Friday, November 27, 2009

Denver Broncos WR Brandon "Nightmare" Marshall's One Handed Catches.

Brandon Marshall is a machine. Two one handed catches in one game. No wonder Deon Sanders gave him the new nickname, "Nightmare" because he's a nightmare to cover on defense. He sometimes has an attitude problem but I don't know many wide receivers who don't think a lot of themselves. Part of it is that he's young but damn he knows how to catch a ball and it's not just that. He can get a lot of yards after the carry and with his height advantage it's no wonder they call him, "The nightmare."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Senate Health Care Bill Will Reduce Deficit.

Big news. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the cost of the Senate bill and it came under the projected budget at $849 billion. It will reduce the deficit according to the CBO by $127 BILLION over ten years. That is very important because several of these moderate Democrats have been saying they can't vote for it if it adds to the deficit. It would cover 94% of the uninsured and provide a public option that state could opt out of it like want.

So I'm not as discouraged as I was after hearing the House bill. After hearing the House bill I was disheartened and as I'm sure you noticed had stopped blogging about health care in general but now I'm back on board the train and stoking the fire with emails to all the hold-out Senators. They need to know that this bill AT LEAST deserves to be debated on the floor and then voted upon. Some of these Senators like Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman don't seem to want it to even be debated and voted upon on the Senate floor!! How is that democratic??? Urge them to at least vote to bring it to the Senate floor. If, however, it doesn't have a public option then I'm not for the bill.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Catholics Whine About Discrimination Law.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care. Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

TPJ: I think this law is quite fair. It maintains a religions right to not marry gays but does allow the secular government to enforce basic worker rights. Getting along in this society is about making compromises and choosing your battles. Would Jesus threaten to not administer to the poor, hungry and sick because he disagreed with gays being married? Really??? This was an enlightened being who forgave the barbaric and corrupt Roman government for torturing and killing him!! And we can't handle living amongst gay married couples??? I'm not trying to pick a fight, be flip or intentionally insulting but I think that Jesus wouldn't refuse the poor because of disagreeing with gay people. Jesus administered to the adulterous women for free despite obviously being against adultery!! I just think it's a bit harsh for an organization that follows Christ to deny the needy services because of a disagreement with the law. The needy are innocent bystanders -- why punish them? Wouldn't it be better for everyone if Catholics tried to change the law instead of use people in the middle as pawns? Especially when those people have so few choices?

I guess that "turning the other cheek" teaching and "Love thy neighbor as thyself" was expunged from the Bible in the 7 years since I left Christianity. Come on Catholics, stop being so childish. We all have to make sacrifices to live in a civil, diverse society. I don't like that religious organizations don't have to pay taxes or that some religions don't let women have authority but I'm not going to try to outlaw religion. We all know that many religions find homosexuality a sin -- we got it. We know where you stand. You have a right not marry gays in your religion but be careful how far you push political issues unless you want your tax exempt status revoked.

I will always fight for gay rights but I will also always fight to protect your right to decide who you marry or don't marry within the confines of your church, temple or synagogue. However, you can't have it all. If we are going to defend your rights then you need to recognize others' rights. Obeying a law, which says that you have to provide benefits to gay workers is no different than the laws that say you have to provide black workers benefits. There was a time in this country and world when religions got away with denying basic, working benefits and rights to those of a different skin color than white.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

American Medical Association Supports Rescheduling Marijuana.

The American Medical Assn. on Tuesday urged the federal government to reconsider its classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use, a significant shift that puts the prestigious group behind calls for more research.

The nation's largest physicians organization, with about 250,000 member doctors, the AMA has maintained since 1997 that marijuana should remain a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive category, which also includes heroin and LSD.
Since California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996, marijuana has moved steadily into the cultural mainstream spurred by the growing awareness that it can have beneficial effects for some chronically ill people.

This year, the Obama administration sped up that drift when it ordered federal narcotics agents not to arrest medical marijuana users and providers who follow state laws. Polls show broadening support for marijuana legalization.
The AMA, however, also adopted as part of its new policy a sentence that admonishes: "This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."

Nevertheless, marijuana advocates welcomed the development. "They're clearly taking an open-minded stance and acknowledging that the evidence warrants a review. That is very big," said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. "It's not surprising that they are moving cautiously and one step at a time, but this is still a very significant change."

James: If the American Medical Association is now for reclassifying marijuana to allow for medicinal benefits then how can any average citizen not be for it? Unless you're against it on purely moral reasons but then don't you have to fight to make porn, stripping and gambling illegal and alcohol illegal again? Anyway, it's about time that marijuana be taken out of the same category as heroin and PCP. Schedule I is reserved for the most dangerous drugs. Marijuana, one of the most dangerous drugs??? Bullshit. To show how ridiculous this is; cocaine, crack and opium are in a lower (thus seen as less dangerous) schedule classification of drugs than marijuana!! That's absurd. Marijuana needs to be further studied to see what other health benefits the drug may hold. For example, nothing has been done in regards to how marijuana helps those with mental health difficulties such as chronic and suicidal depression. I can personally attest to it being very, very effective in that regard.

There is nothing out there right now that can be as fast acting for situational, suicidal depression than marijuana. There are a lot of tranquilizers that dissolve under the tongue for fast acting anxiety relief but not for depression. I take my anti-depressants in the morning and they have to sustain me all day and night. If I'm in a suicidally depressed state of mind and smoke some marijuana it lifts me out of that dangerous and dark place immediately. Minutes later I'm calm, happy, smiling and emotionally stable. It also eases the chronic aches and pains that radiate throughout my body due to fibromyalgia that is associated with the schizoaffective disorder. Mental pain isn't the only pain associated with mental illnesses -- it literally, physically HURTS. Especially depression, panic attacks and Anyone who is against medical marijuana at this point is dangerously uninformed, lacking in compassion or holding everyone to their personal religious choices. I don't tell you how to worship so don't tell me what medicines help me most.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health Care Bill, The Stupak Amendment and Abortion.

Over the summer we all saw the town hall crazies claim that abortion would be covered in the public option despite the Hyde Amendment, which prevents public funds from funding abortions. The bill that passed the House and now heads to the Senate contained language to back up the Hyde Amendment. However, in their caution they took it a step further and that has me quite upset.

Journalist Cynthia Tucker from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had this to say about it while on the political commentary show, "Hardball with Chris Matthews:
Quite frankly I think that the majority of the members of Congress in the House and in the Senate want to do just one thing -- preserve the status quo. The Hyde Amendment, which says no tax payer money may be used to fund abortion. And I think most of the 64 people who voted for the Stupak amendment thought they were doing that but it goes much farther than that. The Stupak Amendment says that private insurers may not sell policies that give full reproductive rights coverage, in the exchange (James: The public option insurance exchange that is in the legislation headed to the Senate to be voted upon). So even if I can afford my own insurance, if I'm not getting a government subsidy at all -- I can not buy on that exchange.
James: Put another way:
"Simply put, the Stupak/Pitts amendment would restrict women's access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market, undermining the ability of women to purchase private health plans that cover abortion, even if they pay for most of the premiums with their own money," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, a group which is outraged over the inclusion of the amendment in the reform bill.
This bill prevents federal funds from going to fund abortions directly; (which I support). However, It also prevents women from using their own money if they want to get an abortion at say Planned Parenthood while using the public option for general health care!! That goes too far and is yet another reason to vote against the bill if it stays in its current form.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

The Erosion of America. Is America on Life Support?

Wondering why $787 Billion in Stimulus funds isn't translating into jobs for Americans? This might be part of the reason. As we warned here and here, a new study confirms that yes indeed, Stimulus funds are being given to foreign companies, offshore, with no restrictions. Of the $1.05 billion in clean-energy grants handed out by the government since Sept. 1, 84 percent – a total of $849 million – has gone to foreign wind companies. This is particularly odious since green jobs have been peddled as the next innovation, a market sector that would produce the jobs of tomorrow. Aren't you glad your tax dollars, adding to a massive deficit, are being given to foreign companies, offshore, with no restrictions? And you wonder how the unemployment rate could be at 10.2% with such large government expenditures. This is how.

TPJ: I was for the stimulus but not for the lack of regulation they dropped from the bill. Is it any wonder then that the funds are being abused? Any idiot could see that without stiff regulations the stimulus money would be abused. I think the power brokers in America (Republicans AND Democrats) and most corporations are more than willing to sell off larger and larger chunks of the American economy until we collapse. As long as they get the money from the deals they'll just move to some ascending country once they've finished destroying America. I feel so helpless. It seems like in every area of measure, America is in danger of totally collapsing. We're fighting two wars, unemployment is at 10.2% because we don't manufacture anything here anymore, rising health care costs are bankrupting the middle-class, the dollar is falling in value, we're in debt up to our eyeballs and our entire political system is corrupted and rotten to the core. Is the American experiment a failure? It seems inevitable if we keep cannibalizing ourselves.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

FOX News Talks Legalization of Marijuana? Things Really Must be Changing.

James: If judges, lawyers, police, prosecutors, DEA agents, FBI agents and prison wardens are all speaking out against the War on Drugs and in particular the War on Pot then who can still be for it??? It's ridiculous that you can drive a 2 ton truck at 75 miles an hour down the road, laden with gallons upon gallons of highly flammable gasoline that can kill multiple people if there's an accident. And yet, you still can't smoke a joint in the privacy or your own home that affects no one??? WTF.

And spare me the "morals" or "religious" argument because being against legalizing pot for "religious reasons" is no reason at all. Because we live in a free society. I'm a vegetarian but I wouldn't push to make eating meat illegal--even it if I considered it murder. We don't tell beer drinkers that they can't drink just because some religion/religious person disagrees with drinking do we? Of course not because we tried prohibition of alcohol and it failed nearly as miserably as the prohibition of pot has.

Why keep throwing money down a black hole of failure when we could be taxing it and helping the economy? As well as being able to free up our prisons for real criminals like rapists and child molesters who hardly get any jail time because the penitentiaries are over-crowed with non-violent drug offenders. You may not smoke pot, you make not like pot, you may not like people who do smoke pot or you may not approve of pot in general. However, you shouldn't be able to tell someone else that they can't smoke it or vape it in the privacy of their own home. At least you shouldn't be able to in a country that claims to be the, "Home of the Free."

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Great Tax Con Job.


James: I'm not one to ask my readers to do a lot but I want to assign this article as "home work" for you. It won't take but 10-15 minutes of your time but it is very important to understand -- and I do hope you pass it along. This isn't me speaking, it's the great talk show host and amateur historian, Thom Hartmann. Thank-you.

By Thom Hartmann

Republicans are using the T-word -- taxes -- to attack the Obama health care program. It's a strategy based in a lie. A very small niche of America's uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions -- and will continue to be.

If a person earns so much money that he doesn't or can't spend it all each year, then when his taxes go down your income after taxes goes up. This is largely because there's little to no relationship between what he "needs to live on" and what he's "earning." Somebody living on a million dollars a year but earning five million after taxes, can sock away four million in a Swiss bank. If his taxes go up enough to drop his after-tax income to only three million a year, he's still living on a million a year, and only socks away two million in the Swiss bank. His "disposable" income goes down when his taxes go up, and vice-versa. (Technically, the word is "discretionary" income for after-tax, after-living-expenses income, but "disposable" income has become so widely used as a phrase to describe discretionary income I'll use it here.)

The Rich Person's Tax Effect is the one that virtually all Americans understand -- and, oddly, most working class people think applies to them, too (this is the truly amazing part of the con job referred to earlier).

But it doesn't.

James: I love Hartmann. I listen to his radio show as often as I can. Few people realize that the tax rate on the rich in this country during one of the longest periods of economic stability in our history (Late 30's through the 1980s) was between 70 and 90%. Reagan cut that when he came into office all the way down to 38% which directly led to this period of the last 30 years that has seen two recessions and one borderline depression. Anyway, read the rest of this article. It's a bit long but it is vital in understanding tax policy in America. Especially as to how Republicans have destroyed the American economy with their low taxes on the rich, which has been their mantra since the invention of Reaganomics or Voodoo Economics. So-called by critics who thought the money making schemes of Reaganomics was based on magic and imagination. Read the rest of the article by clicking on this sentence.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Public Option Induces Mood Swings. Only 2% Covered.

WASHINGTON — What's all the fuss about? After all the noise over Democrats' push for a government insurance plan to compete with private carriers, coverage numbers are finally in: Two percent. That's the estimated share of Americans younger than 65 who'd sign up for the public option plan under the health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is steering toward House approval. Some experts are wondering if lawmakers have wasted too much time arguing about the public plan, giving short shrift to basics such as ensuring that new coverage will be affordable.

The latest look at the public option comes from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan economic analysts for lawmakers. It found that the scaled back government plan in the House bill wouldn't overtake private health insurance. To the contrary, it might help the insurers a little. To be fair, most people would not have access to the new public plan. Under the House bill, it would be offered through new insurance exchanges open only to those who buy coverage on their own or work for small companies. Yet even within that pool of 30 million people, only 1-in-5 would take the public option.

The budget office said "a less healthy pool of enrollees" would probably be attracted to the public option, drawn by the prospect of looser rules on access to specialists and medical services. As a result, premiums in the public plan would be higher than the average for private plans. That could nudge healthy middle-class workers and their families to sign up for private plans.

TPJ: I have a hard enough time dealing with the mood swings from my Bipolar disorder. The swings in emotion I have toward the public option are only adding to my mental exhaustion. One day I'm in full support of the public option and the next day I think it isn't strong, robust or universal enough. Initially I came out in support of the latest version that has come out of the House despite it being somewhat watered down. I thought it was better than nothing and a decent starting point to add to later on. Now, hearing it will only cover 2% I'm leaning back toward it being worse than better and in favor of voting against it. A small pool of sick, elderly and dying people would likely make up most of the people using the public option, which would make it harder to negotiate cheaper prices and keep premiums down. I really don't understand how increasing the number of people who can buy into the public option would cost more because it seems that the larger pool of people should help defray a lot of the costs.

So considering all of this I am at a point where I think perhaps it is better to pull the plug on the public option than risk a weak plan being passed only to fail. Thus giving critics of universal health care ammunition against trying again in the near future. I'm all for health care reform but I'd rather see nothing than something that goes in the wrong direction and ends up helping the insurance industry more than the people. So I'm leaning now toward lobbying the liberals in both houses of Congress to vote against this weak bill if it remains in its present form. It makes me sad to say this but I'm with Rep. Kucinich that this bill is far from the best that we can do.

In fact it's not even adequate. It represents a failure of leadership and courage. As well as a total disregard for their main function and duty as leaders -- represent the people first before you concern yourself with re-election. The thirst for power for nothing more than for powers sake is a perversion of the role of public service. If they can't put the health care of America ahead of their personal ambitions then they should be tossed from Congress. Republican OR Democrat.

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