Saturday, October 31, 2009
This is from Mike Pence's (R-Indiana) Facebook page.
If you would like to read the entire 1,990 pages yourself, you can find the legislation here: http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf
Reading Guide to the Pelosi Health Care Reform Bill
Please read and forward the link to this note ( http://bit.ly/1rGrpW ) to your friends and family. This reading guide includes what we have uncovered in our initial reading of the Pelosi health “reform” legislation (H.R. 3962) introduced by House Democrats.Page 94—Section 202(c) prohibits the sale of private individual health insurance policies, beginning in 2013, forcing individuals to purchase coverage through the federal government
Page 110—Section 222(e) requires the use of federal dollars to fund abortions through the government-run health plan—and, if the Hyde Amendment were ever not renewed, would require the plan to fund elective abortions
Page 111—Section 223 establishes a new board of federal bureaucrats (the “Health Benefits Advisory Committee”) to dictate the health plans that all individuals must purchase —and would likely require all Americans to subsidize and purchase plans that cover any abortion
Page 211—Section 321 establishes a new government-run health plan that, according to non-partisan actuaries at the Lewin Group, would cause as many as 114 million Americans to lose their existing coverage
Page 225—Section 330 permits—but does not require—Members of Congress to enroll in government-run health care
Page 255—Section 345 includes language requiring verification of income for individuals wishing to receive federal health care subsidies under the bill—while the bill includes a requirement for applicants to verify their citizenship, it does not include a similar requirement to verify applicants’ identity, thus encouraging identity fraud for undocumented immigrants and others wishing to receive taxpayer-subsidized health benefits
Page 297—Section 501 imposes a 2.5 percent tax on all individuals who do not purchase “bureaucrat-approved” health insurance— the tax would apply on individuals with incomes under $250,000, thus breaking a central promise of then-Senator Obama’s presidential campaign
Page 313—Section 512 imposes an 8 percent “tax on jobs” for firms that cannot afford to purchase “bureaucrat-approved” health coverage ; according to an analysis by Harvard Professor Kate Baicker, such a tax would place millions “at substantial risk of unemployment”—with minority workers losing their jobs at twice the rate of their white counterparts
Page 336—Section 551 imposes additional job-killing taxes, in the form of a half-trillion dollar “surcharge,” more than half of which will hit small businesses ; according to a model developed by President Obama’s senior economic advisor, such taxes could cost up to 5.5 million jobs
Page 520—Section 1161 cuts more than $150 billion from Medicare Advantage plans, potentially jeopardizing millions of seniors’ existing coverage
Page 733—Section 1401 establishes a new Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research; the bill includes no provisions preventing the government-run health plan from using such research to deny access to life-saving treatments on cost grounds, similar to Britain’s National Health Service, which denies patient treatments costing more than $35,000
Page 1174—Section 1802(b) includes provisions entitled “TAXES ON CERTAIN INSURANCE POLICIES” to fund comparative effectiveness research, breaking Speaker Pelosi’s promise that “We will not be taxing [health] benefits in any bill that passes the House,” and the President’s promise not to raise taxes on families with incomes under $250,000
I'd like to thank my friend, Martha Bath of the Houston area, for putting together a good summary of this legislation.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Some may say this is no big deal. The fact is, it is. Former VP Cheney is a respected conservative and strong proponent of the Republican party. "He knows her and he knows she's a true conservative leader." That quote from Jennifer Baker, Hutchison's spokeswoman. Perry's camp would have you believe it is just one Washington insider endorsing another Washington insider. Sour grapes.
As she remains in Washington, she is fighting for Texans. Kay Bailey Hutchison is fighting against the current legislation on climate change in Washington - the bill brought forth by Senators Kerry and Boxer. The bill, "Hutchison siad, will tax and regulate our energy industry, and it will not help the environment." She has joined with Senator Christopher Bond from Missouri in releasing a study that shows fuel cost could "increase $3.6 trillion from 2015 to 2050 under a House-passed climate change bill projection." That from a blog on the Houston Chronicle website, Texas on the Potamac.
Senator Hutchison is fighting to bring more jobs to Texas while in Washington, too. She recently strongly fought for expanding Fort Bliss in El Paso. This will bring an additional 90,000 jobs to El Paso. Mayor John Cook said, "Many times we have asked for funding to help us deal with growth, but were shot down because they wanted data. Well, now we have it." According to elpasotimes.com, "Most of the jobs will be in education and the medical field -- and, of course, jobs in virtually all fields."
The Perry camp has problems enough of its own. On October 27, 2009, an article on chron.com explains that the Houston Chronicle has sued Perry over a clemency report. This is concerning the case of Cameron Todd Willingham and his 2004 execution. Perry claims it is a privileged document and it involves the controversy of Perry and the replacement of members of the Texas Forensics Commission. The question is , was Gov Perry covering up an investigation of Willingham's innocence?
Texas deserves better.
Let's take a look at the bounty from yesterday:
Two jumbo postcards with the same message - anti Annise Parker and Gene Locke paid for by 'Peter Brown for Mayor'. These fall into the attack mode category.
One jumbo postcard from the George Foulard Campaign, running for City Council District G. A simple message of campaign promises and asking for support. Nothing but positive communication.
A standard glossy 8x10 folded brochure from Oliver Pennington, also running for City Council District G. The recipient is told to look inside for endorsements. The inside double spread shows lists of supporters- organizations, elected leaders, precinct leaders, community leaders, etc. Noted by this reader, many are the same names listed as supporters of Gene Locke for mayor. Locke is neither conservative nor Republican.
The "Official Voter's Guide" from Texas Conservative Review. The purpose of this is a bit cloudy. Though the editor, Gary Polland, a former Harris Co Republican Chairman, doesn't endorse specifically due to involvement with the local PBS station and a political show, the guide publishes the result of a poll taken on the candidates. From a conservative point of view, the best rated was Roy Morales - which makes sense as he is the Republican in the race and a conservative. The next best rated is Annise Parker - also not surprising as she is fiscally conservative though a Democrat. She is the current City Controller. For conservatives with a more libertarian view of the social issues, Parker is a solid contender to Morales.
In the Official Voter's Guide, there are ads from all of the mayoral candidates and assorted others. There is an opinion piece authored by Congressman Ted Poe and City Councilwoman Anne Clutterbuck (Dist C).
And, finally, "The Chairman's Report" from Jared Woodfill, current Chairman of Harris Co Republican Party. He's running for re-election, with the voting for that in March. Though the mayoral race is billed as non-partisan, party affiliation is clear if voters bother to research candidates. In this report, room is given for a half page ad on the back page for Peter Brown.
This report publishes the results of a questionnaire for City of Houston races. And, a half page invitation to join the Harris Co Republican Party.
This report would have been more timely had it been received just before early voting began. Arriving the day before the end of early voting, it does no good to those voters who have already voted. And, it does nothing to encourage voters to get out there and vote early.
A low voter turnout is expected for this local election. In this case, every vote counts. It would have been good for local Republican leadership to strongly make that point.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With a conservative candidate running for the office of mayor, against three Democrats, isn't it in the best interests of Republicans to support a conservative? What would Republicans have in common with the candidate that uses Team Obama for campaign support? Granted, most of the names of the people listed as "Republicans for Locke" are 'former' this and thats, along with business people but it still is a slap to Republicans working to move the city forward.
And, the robocalls from Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman to registered Republican households just before she announced her retirement was just too cute by half.
Among the comments on the blog post are those in support of Locke using adjectives on his leadership skills and personal qualities. That is all well and good. It does not, however, address basic differences in fiscal responsibility between the two parties, for instance. One supporter felt that by saying Locke is honest was enough for him.
Some would question the claim of honesty - the recent forum he agreed to participate in with the other candidates and then didn't show up, without notification to the three Republican womens clubs sponsoring the event - is hardly much of a character recommendation. Perhaps it seems like a small thing, but Annise Parker showed up as planned. Peter Brown followed Locke and didn't show. He sent a campaign aide to ask to speak to us on behalf of Brown. Request denied. That wasn't a part of our agreement.
Harris County Republicans need strong, fresh leadership. Gone are the days of go along to get along. Volunteers working actively within the party are demanding change. Honest leadership is a basic. It's not the sole reason to vote for a candidate. Local leadership has been silent and ineffective this election season.
Republicans in Harris County, we need our own style of change.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I wonder what they thought they would be getting from Speaker of the House Pelosi in the health care legislation? As you will notice, the standard amount given was $2300.00. Not bad for a 45 minute visit by the Speaker.
Monday, October 26, 2009
President Obama appears to enjoy the luxury of Air Force One at his around the clock disposal. He uses it weekly. He jets all around the country, campaigning for fellow Democrats, raising money for Democratic fundraisers. He even buzzes off to NYC for "date night" with Michelle. So, we know he is not adverse to air travel.
Why no Berlin trip, we may ask? True, he didn't acknowledge the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Second World War in Poland. It was a low key ceremony, according to the reports, and was attended by Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Instead, Obama told the Polish people that he was yanking the plans for the missile defense shield system from them. Poland and central Europe are on their own.
An article by Arthur Chrenkoff at Pajamas Media states: "Obama's no stranger to Berlin, having given a campaign speech there in July last year against the backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate, surrounded by an adoring crowd of 200,000 Germans. But that speech, for all its international content and poetic evocations of Berlin as a beacon of freedom, was really about Obama. Now, when it's about his country and his predecessors, the president will not even vote present. That John F. Kennedy could go to Germany and be "a Berliner" told you all you needed to know about that Democratic administration. That Barack Obama won't do so now sadly tells you all you need to know about the current one."
Perhaps Obama doesn't find anything extraordinary in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Perhaps it's not worthy of celebration, in his world view. Perhaps he would have to acknowledge a Republican president in the process. After all, Obama has proven to be the exact opposite of who he promised he'd be - he is not post partisan, etc.
This ceremony will be a big deal - confirmed guests include Lech Walesa, Kofi Annan, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Joe Biden will be sent from the U.S. Remember when Obama went to Tiergarten in Berlin to do the big "citizen of the world" campaign speech? Maybe he realizes most of the rhetoric of that speech has gone amiss.
Obama hasn't stood up to vicious dictators at all. He turned his back on the people of Iran, the ones risking their lives after the last election. He turned his back as Russia goes more deeply into the tyranny of its past. He didn't meet with the Dalai Lama for fear of offending the Chinese. There is Burma, Sudan, Darfur. He looks uncertain to the world over Afghanistan.
The trip to Berlin would be worth his time.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I endorse Roy Morales for Mayor. Morales is a strong conservative and has a proven ability to organize and work with others well. He is a fiscal conservative and that is important as Houston faces some hard economic realities.
I endorse Pam Holm for Controller. Holm is a former public high school teacher and a business woman with a strong financial knowledge of successful and ethical accounting practices. She is fiscally conservative and willing to make tough decisions as the city moves forward.
At Tracy Gee Community Center today, as I stood waiting to pass out literature, I saw Congressman John Culberson, Harris County Republican Chairman hopeful Ed Hubbard, and various politicians running for office. There was a ceremony to unveil a commemorative plaque andthere was a good size crowd in attendance.
The current Harris Co Republican Chairman sent out an e-mail last night endorsing Roy Morales for Mayor. He wrote that the committee met Monday night and voted to make the endorsement. My first thought was, why the delay? The chairman encouraged the reader to go out this weekend and early vote. Seems to me a more timely announcement would have been made as early voting began, not toward the end of it. Morales is the only Republican running for the office. Though the office is suppose to be non-partisan, the voters know the score.
This election cycle has been odd for several reasons, mostly that it is so quiet. Politics can get rowdy in Texas and this mayoral race, in particular, is almost too civil. Too polite. The first negative ad recently appeared and this was immediately noted for its tone. The ad stood out for the sour tone.
A low voter turn out is expected. That is a pity. Houston is the nation's fourth largest city. Informed, motivated voters are vital to the city.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Controller candidate Ronald Green and his wife, Hilary, a Justice of the Peace have two IRS liens against them for unpaid taxes. The liens amount to $120,043.11, according to public documents brought to light by Texas Watchdog. The site says the taxes are owed back to 2002.
When asked about this, Green said he wasn't trying to hide anything - he just hadn't been asked about it. "No one asked, but it is not a secret." Well, no it is not a secret. Now. Thanks to Texas Watchdog and their much needed service of shining sunshine on politicians.
Green says he is disputing the liens and owes them due to the fact he "restated his income", according to Texas Watchdog. Thus, a greater tax liability.
Green accuses the campaign of fellow Controller candidate Pam Holm of a political smear. True that her campaign is alerting voters of this inconvenient truth of Green's but it is hardly a smear if it is the truth. And, Texas Watchdog posted the story on their website, a story written by Steve Miller. The website provides the reader copies of the documents. And, verifies that County Clerk Beverly Kaufman's office stamped the liens on June 24 and July 7.
This is the City Controller race. This is the candidate who boasts of a law degree and a newly acquired MBA. He is a sitting At-Large council member. This is not his first political campaign. Instead of blaming another candidate in the race, he should have apologized for his lack of total disclosure with the Houston voters. He should have disclosed this matter upfront and let the voter decide if he is the one to be in the office of the Controller. He is not a victim here.
Elected officials are held to a higher standard. Elected officials are not above the law, nor are they above regular taxpaying citizens. Honesty and integrity are essential for public trust.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Almost ten months into his administration, President Obama continues to refer to the "mess" he "inherited" when he became president. It is an unbecoming trait, to say the least, that a grown man - the leader of the free world - continues to whine when speaking in public.
To hear him complain about the loyal opposition, you would think the role of president was forced upon him, not sought by him. Let us be clear - Obama ran for the office, as his predecessors ran for it. A political observer would be hard pressed to find a more eager candidate in recent times. Obama ran for the highest office in the land after barely beginning his first term in national elected office. His previous experience was as a state senator and before that, a community organizer.
Why does a man so boldly aggressive in his political career pursuit continue to look so small and unpresidential? Does he not understand that he appears as the whiner-in-chief? We teach our children to stop whining and conduct themselves more maturely. The president needs the same reminder.
On August 30, President Obama received the full report from General McChrystal on his recommendations for pursuing the war in Afghanistan. Since then Obama has made a great show of contemplating what the next move should be. Should he send the troops McChrystal requests? Should he begin a scale down and prepare for retreat?
Make no mistake, this is the war Obama heralded as the "good war", the war of necessity, as he loudly criticized the war in Iraq. He boasted about his non-support of the war in Iraq and of the surge that would win the war. He replaced the commander in Afghanistan with McChrystal when he came into office. This is his guy and he is being stalled.
McChrystal is an expert in counter terrorism. Petraeus - the general who Obama felt emboldened to berate in a Senate committee appearance, along with Hillary Clinton, as they ran for President - is an expert in counterinsurgency. Both are the ones that Obama should listen to, not Biden and Kerry. Instead of domestic political decisions, military decisions are required at this point. Biden and Kerry are bowing to the far left that want us out of the war.
Americans are conflicted about our continued participation in the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a nation living in bronze age conditions and ruled by tribes. It is tough stuff. For the president to 'dither' does not lead to confidence in our ability to conduct the war.
America bowed to international pressure and handed off Afghanistan to NATO under George W. Bush. Now Obama and his people like to bash the former administration on its handling of the war. This is directly connected to the president's inability to handle criticism gracefully. Last weekend in San Francisco Obama said during a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi, "Now, to the non-Democrats who may be watching today, I want everybody to know we believe in a strong and loyal opposition. I believe in a two-party system, where ideas are tested and assumptions are challenged, because that's how we move this country forward. But what I reject is when some folks decide to sit on the sidelines and root for failure on health care, or on energy, or on our economy. What I reject is when some folks say we should go back to the past policies when it was those very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place."
Yesterday, former VP Cheney released the transcript of a speech he delivered last night. He takes to task the lies perpetuated by Obama and his aides that Afghanistan was mishandled and therefore, he is dealing with an unexpected mess. Turns out, the Obama plan to date has been the Bush plan that was handed to him last fall when Obama was president-elect. The Obama team was given a recommended strategy forward in Afghanistan and Team Obama requested the Bush administration remain silent about the delivery of that recommendation. The Bush administration complied. Obama put forth the plan during his March speech on Afghanistan.
Now, he is dithering. He is succumbing to political pressure when he should be leading with his own plan. He looks weak and indecisive. This is when the complete lack of executive leadership experience in Obama resume is apparent.
From Cheney's speech:
"We should all be concerned as well with the direction of policy on Afghanistan. For quite a while, the cause of our military in that country went pretty much unquestioned, even on the left. The effort was routinely praised by way of contrast to Iraq, which many wrote off as a failure until the surge proved them wrong. Now suddenly – and despite our success in Iraq – we’re hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan. These criticisms carry the same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of national security.
Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission.
President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest possible terms, saying, quote, “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”
Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President made a promise to America’s armed forces. “I will give you a clear mission,” he said, “defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job done. That’s my commitment to you.”
It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger. "
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently said, "The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops." That is in direct conflict with the advice being doled out to the president by Joe Biden and John Kerry - neither of whom have stellar track records when it comes to foreign policy decisions.
General Zinni, once heralded by the anti-war political left because he publicly disagreed with the execution of the Iraq war under former President Bush, now voices his frustration with Obama's indecision concerning troop commitment in Afghanistan.
Our troops and the world await leadership from our Commander-in-Chief.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Some on the far left - like MoveOn.org are calling for a complete boycott by Democratic politicians of Fox News Channel. Because when the big money donors talk, they had better listen...
Let's note that CNN recently actually 'fact checked' a skit shown on Saturday Night Live that poked fun of Obama. Finally, after almost nine months in office, the freeze on treating Obama as every other president has been treated is thawing. So, true to their own bias, CNN felt the need to come to the rescue of him. No bias there, none at all. Too bad that CNN didn't feel the need to fact check the Rush Limbaugh quotes. No bias there, none at all.
NBC News retail store is still selling Obama swag. A network news outlet is selling the image of the president on tshirts and the like. No bias there, none at all. Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, the parent company of NBC is an Obama adviser. No bias there, none at all.
ABC News hired George Stephanopolous, former Clinton White House communications director, press secretary, etc, as host of his own Sunday morning chat show. Now they have appointed him as the fill in anchor of their nightly news show. No bias there, none at all.
A network news anchor is hosting a fundraising event in Boston for the new Edward Kennedy building - any bias there? Not a celebrity or well known Democrat to bring in the crowd, a news anchor.
Anita Dunn brags about how the Obama campaign - and now the Obama White House - "controlled" the news media and no one blinks. Have the major outlets just given up on any pretense of professional integrity and pride? Are they ok with opening being called the lap dogs of Barack Obama?
Is it the fault of Fox News Channel that members of this administration have resigned after inconvenient quotes and videos of past speeches have come to the surface? Is it the fault of Fox News Channel that other networks do not have the backbone to do their job for fear of wrath from the White House?
Remember the enemies list of Richard Nixon that became public? Lots of indignant outrage then from the media folks. Any bias? Every CEO has a list of that sort, it just usually isn't public knowledge. And, for the White House communication director to lead the charge against one cable news channel is unprecedented. What are they so afraid of?
Every cable news outlet has evening programming that is opinionated. That Fox News Channel is the only one that includes conservatives is unique. All the other cable news outlets - CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, even PBS, are dominated by liberals. This is not breaking news.
So, why does Fox News Channel beat out all the rest in ratings? What does that say? It says that viewers from all walks of political thought are watching. And, it shows that conservative viewers don't watch the others. That would be corrected if the others bothered to show more than one point of view.
For instance, on Meet the Press Sunday morning, the only conservative voice was Senator Jon Kyl in the very first segment. He debated a Democrat Senator about health care reform. The rest of the show was void of any other than liberal talkers. What sense does this make?
Chris Matthews of MSNBC openly spoke of a "thrill up his leg" about the effect of Obama on him during the campaign. NBC News reporter Lee Cowan, covering the campaign, said, "from the reporters its is almost hard to remain objective". Any open bias there?
As a column for Investor's Business Daily states, Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire warns we are fast approaching banana republic territory. He was speaking about the trillion dollar deficit but it is also shown by how the White House is treating the loyal opposition.
Anita Dunn stated in a speech before high school students that one of her favorite political philosophers was Mao Tse Tung. No network has bothered running that video clip, except Fox News Channel. No one is curious as to why she takes political inspiration from a Communist mass murderer, famous for his manipulation of the masses, who is now disdained by the Chinese?
It is the duty of the free press to report on who is running this country and what they are doing. It is right that the past speeches are exposed. They tell us who these people are. Dunn is in the inner circle. Was there anything false reported about the pasts of Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, or William Ayers? No. It was simply the truth caught on video.
This will all backfire. They have been warned.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Yesterday afternoon I read an interesting blog post at http://mayoralmusings.com written by Nancy Sims and that post really brought more questions for me, as a Republican, than answers.
The City of Houston is certainly a predominantly Democratic city. Harris County, however, leans more in favor of Republicans. Or, that was the traditional wisdom until recent elections. The last presidential election brought about the defeat of most of the Republicans running for judgeships, for instance, due to being down ballot to straight ticket voters casting votes for Obama. Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris Co Republican Party, touts this fact when questioned about the diminishing numbers of Republican officeholders.
So, what is happening in this race? Peter Brown is running slightly ahead of Annise Parker, according to the Zogby poll. Brown, at 23.8%, Parker at 19%, are in the fight for first place. The interesting part of this is that Gene Locke is the presumed front runner by many Houstonians and he comes in at 13.1% - third place. Roy Morales, the only conservative in the race, is polling at 6.7%. As Sims reports, the poll was taken October 12-15 and 601 likely voters were polled.
The Houston Chronicle decided to co-endorse Annise Parker and Gene Locke.
The candidacy of Gene Locke has become somewhat controversial within the local Republican party. Some elected Republicans and other Republican leaders have crossed over and thrown their support publicly to Gene Locke. They site good business reasons for doing so. Beverly Kaufman, Harris Co Clerk, sent out robocalls voicing her support of Locke. It seems I had the same reaction when I received that robocall as others in my party did - What is she doing? Now she has announced her retirement. Is there something behind all this?
As Sims points out, Locke is having difficulty within the African-American community as Brown boasts endorsements of some prominent local leaders. Brown can match Locke on money available to spend on advertising. It seems to be having an effect. Parker has less in contributions and Morales farthest behind.
Like many Republicans in Houston, I ponder, what is happening to the Republican party on our local level? I think the current leadership has fallen into complacency and only now is stepping up efforts to expand outreach. I also think it is only because Jared Woodfill finds himself with two opponents in his re-election bid for Harris Co Republican Party (HCRP) chairman. Having attended some post-election town hall style meetings hosted by the HCRP, I am not alone in voicing displeasure with the lack of ideas and consistency in outreach to all parts of the city. It appears little effort has been made on the part of the HCRP to support Morales in his bid for mayor.
Maybe assumptions in this race are unfounded. Locke is reported to have brought in Team Obama and places third in the Zogby poll. Parker is running a strong, consistent campaign and doesn't fail to show for debates for which she has committed to participate - that is not the case with Brown and Locke. They arrogantly do not keep pledges to participate in forums. If they are breaking their pledges before taking office, how are they to be trusted to keep pledges once in office? Character matters in leadership.
Early voting begins this week.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Please consider Soldiers Angels Germany. No doubt you are familiar with the Soldiers Angels work here in America, but did you know it extends overseas, too? There are many folks doing incredible work for our injured heroes as they are medically evacuated to Landstuhl Hospital in Germany from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are indeed angels on earth.
I am grateful to have found a generous group of like-minded women to meet with once a month - early Saturday morning meetings - and our dedicated leader, Martha, suggested our Christmas project this year be sending packages to Soldiers Angels Germany. They are always in need of basic items for our injured soldiers. One of our members gave of her time to go online and get some good deals on needed items and off our boxes went. We received a warm thank you note yesterday, via e-mail, from the coordinator at the hospital.
If you are interested, here is the website:
http://www.soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/2005/07/donations-needed-for-landstuhl.html for a list of needed items.
On the website you will also find heartstrings tugging stories. There is also a story about "Baghdad ER" which was once the military's busiest trauma hospital that has now been closed.
We are reminded of the 100,000 troops still in Iraq, as the focus shifts back to the war in Afghanistan. The coordinator writes, "We don't hear much about Iraq these days, but we still have over 100,000 troops there working hard to help the Iraqis with their country's development. Our goal during the surge was to provide security in order to make such development possible- and it is happening. We can never thank those who served there enough!"
We can never thank them enough.
The Houston Hope Real Estate Brokerage Services Incentive Program would award real estates agents a whopping $5,000 for matching up clients with designated affordable housing in select areas of our fine city. Yes, read that again. Mayor White wants to pay real estate agents to do their job. And, he'd like to pay them with your money.
"Realtors have played a critical role in matching prospective homebuyers with houses, and incentives for the Realtors to show people the opportunities in this area could help us pick up the pace of activity," he said, as quoted in the article. Yes, Mayor White, that is the job of the realtor - to match homebuyers with homes. To socially engineer their move is standard Democrat thinking.
Some have spoken out in opposition - Pam Holm, current Houston City Councilwoman and running for City of Houston Controller, said, "This is pretty outrageous. This is money that's supposed to be used for affordable housing, not for incentivizing professionals." Former council member and talk radio host, Michael Berry, said, "I don't know if this is corrupt or just stupid, but there's no doubt it's wrong."
It is understandable to want people to move into homes swooped up by the city for delinquent taxes and set aside as affordable housing for those in need in selected spots in the city. But, did the mayor forget the lesson earlier in the year when he had to backtrack on support of a program giving potential homebuyers their down payment on "affordable housing" in selected neighborhood developments? What is viewed as affordable housing to one person may mean a different thing to someone else. Is it affordable housing if it is purchased on the backs of taxpayers? Isn't this how our financial foundation was jarred by recession - people buying homes they could not afford thanks to "incentives" and simple corruption. ACORN, anyone?
Councilman Ron Green, also running for City of Houston Controller, is a licensed real estate broker and holds a recent MBA certificate. He said he supports Houston Hope but isn't so sure on the $5,000 incentives. Another councilman who is a licensed real estate broker, Mike Sullivan, said it should not be done with taxpayer dollars, "This is poor public policy."
Mayor White is running for the Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Trying to win support on the backs of Houston taxpayers for an ill-conceived incentive for real estate professionals is not good public policy, either.
If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.
If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.
If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended".
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
President Obama keeps a busy travel schedule and favors the 'blue' states. He is determined to wage a strong re-election bid in 2012. With the state of our nation, one would think he would show different priorities.
An interesting expenditure used to further the Obama spending/stimulus agenda has surfaced, due to its wasteful nature. Along highways using federal stimulus monies for new projects, signs proclaiming "Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" spread the word. In an article by Michael Cooper in The New York Times, he writes, "The use of signs for stimulus projects was strongly encouraged by the Federal Highway Administration, but not required." We know what that means coming from an administration deeply rooted in Chicago politics.
The interesting part of the article, though, was the mention of states no agreeing to abide by the "encouragement" of the FHA. Senator Judd Gregg, R-NH, a budget hawk and briefly in the Obama administration before he came to his senses said, "These signs are simply for political self-interest, and it's high time we stop using stimulus dollars to fund them, and instead use these dollars for their intended purpose of creating economic activity." He voted against the stimulus and trying, unsuccessfully, to prohibit the use of the signs.
Team Obama may think the signs are good propaganda for its agenda. As voters realize the stimulus spending is failing on a large scale, as was predicted by economists across the country, with unemployment just short of 10% though we were told it would reach 8% if the stimulus was not passed (as a scare tactic), the marketing of the Obama agenda is crucial to re-election.
Jill Zuckman, another former journalist who joined the Obama administration, now with the Department of Transportation as director of public affairs, said,"We think the signs promote transparency and accountability - so taxpayers can know where their money is being spent, and on what." Well, Ms. Zuckman, transparency is good. I would like to see it in the legislative process as promised by candidate Obama. But, these signs are a waste of money and simply a vanity prop.
At least six states have decided to not use the signage along highways. Texas is one of those states who conclude it is a waste of money and not necessary. Georgia, Florida Virginia, and even New York have come to the same conclusion. Florida is led by Gov. Crist, who was supportive of the stimulus bill. Virginia is led by Gov. Kaine, now also chairman of the DNC. New York, is well, New York. Some contractors were asking for $4,000 for those NY signs.
Common sense is good. Non-stop campaigning from the leader of the free world is not good. This is the result of electing a candidate who has never accomplished anything other than running for office in his professional life.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
These are interesting times.
Contrary to what the ugly voices would have you believe, Republicans want health care reform. We do not, however, want the entire system to be tossed out and re-worked as a federal entitlement program. So, to the far left, Republicans are mean and evil - one rookie congressman from Florida, speaking on the floor of the House, said Republicans simply want you to hurry up and die, should you become ill. Who would seriously work with an imbecile such as this guy? He deserves to be shunned.
Senator John Cornyn has written an interesting op-ed explaining his opposition to the Baucus bill. He, along with the other Republicans on the Finance Committee voted no today, except for Senator Snowe. He speaks of the hidden costs in the bill that will squeeze precious dollars from every Texans family budget. While the CBO scoring of the 'concepts' of the bill -as no legislative language has been produced - show it to be at the cost of $829 billion, it will really cost $1.8 trillion when fully implemented. $1.8 trillion in a new entitlement program when we already have a head scratching, panic inducing federal deficit.
"My colleagues and I offered several amendments that would have improved the bill. We fought to protect Medicare Advantage, and eliminate the Medicare panel that would empower bureaucrats to make coverage decisions. We tried to reform Medicaid before forcing more Americans into it. We sought to lower costs on small businesses, and enact meaningful medical liability reform. Many of our amendments would have helped President Obama keep his promises to the American people, including those related to keeping what you have, taxes on the middle class, federal funding of abortions, and benefits to illegal immigrants. Yet most of these amendments were rejected on party-line votes."
"Perhaps most discouraging was the defeat of the first amendment Republicans offered to ensure a more transparent process. Sen. Jim Bunning and I proposed a 72-hour waiting period before we could vote on the bill. During those 72 hours, the actual legislative text, not just conceptual language, would have been available on the committee's website for the public to see, as well as a final price tag from the CBO. Instead we will vote on a concept, not the actual bill."
Voting on a concept, not an actual bill, on legislative 'concepts' that will affect 1/6 of our GNP. Are you kidding me? Imagine the uproar from those so indignant with Republicans if the shoe was on the other foot. What is everyone so afraid of to be voting against transparency. Wasn't transparency promised to us by President Obama and the Democratic leadership - as they expected us to all believe the Republicans were not when they were in charge.
If so much money will be found in Medicare abuse, why isn't it already being tackled? The reason is - it never materializes in the numbers forecast. Why are Democrats so eager to diminish Medicare Advantage benefits - the benefit that closes the hole in coverage for so many senior citizens - particularly rural senior citizens? And, Senator Cornyn is correct in opposition to this all being rushed through on a bogus deadline.
Senator Snowe will, no doubt, become the target from much ire from her fellow Republicans. That will be too bad. She stated that she was voting yes today in committee to get the process moving forward. Yes, the vote could have had the same effect without any Republican votes in the affirmative but she was making a statement. In the long run, it will be a good thing. In the mean time, she has committed to not supporting a public option, the government entitlement program. That is the most important part for Republicans. She maintains the integrity of her word.
So, to my fellow Republicans, I would say to just take a breath. This is a very long process. We are nowhere near the finish line with this bill. All together, there are five bills between the House and the Senate that will have to be meshed together. Blue Dog Democrats are the major sticking point in the process for Democrats. They are a party divided. I say let them implode from within. The President went out of his way to compliment Senator Snowe. He is a politician. He knows a 'reform' of this magnitude with only one party supporting it will turn out very badly in the end.
Let's just breath. Let's encourage our Republican politicians to continue the good fight.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Anita Dunn went on television and told the questioner that sure, White House folks would be available to be interviewed on FOX sometime in the near future. That was, however, a couple of days after her assistant told FOX that no one would be available through the end of this year. They consistently turn down requests for interviews, following the Team Obama demand that FOX be boycotted, as he participated in during the presidential campaign.
This is the leader of the free world?
Anita Dunn, White House Communication Director, told viewers recently that FOX News is " an arm of the RNC." She makes a common mistake of the uninformed. She confuses the news anchors and programming with the opinion shows featuring commentators. Poor dear. You would think someone in her position would be a bit more sophisticated.
Dunn claims, for instance, that FOX News didn't cover the Senator Ensign sex scandal but talks of other scandals involving liberals. Special Report did a bit of fact checking and found that in the course of 20 days, that particular news show did the story 11 times.
While there are no thrills up anyone's legs at FOX for the President, it is fair to say that the news shows during the daytime programming are as fair - more so - as other cable networks covering news. FOX News goes out of its way to present both sides of an argument on stories where pundits are brought in. That is certainly not true on the other cable shows. Fair and Balanced.
Pew shows recent polling results of 1/3 of FOX's audience self-identify as liberal and as people of color. More are self-identified as Independents. Since FOX has ratings double those of other cable networks, it would make sense for anyone wanting to get a message out to go on FOX, right? But common sense doesn't come into play for the whining, self-absorbed Chicago crowd. It is wasted opportunity. And, it is not presidential.
The White House blog confuses news versus opinion. It is like confusing the front section of a newspaper with the editorial page. Readers know the difference. So do viewers. The night programming of FOX is the same as CNN, MSNBC and other cable shows. It is opinion based programming. While some of the FOX shows trend conservative in the choice of hosts, not all do. None of the CNN or MSNBC night shows are hosted by conservatives. And, "Red Eye" that airs in the middle of the night on FOX has higher ratings than the Campbell Brown show on primetime for CNN. Ouch.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Continuing on with the King of the World scenario, Obama surprised everyone, even himself and won. He was "humbled" by the award. He should have been embarrassed. In the world of super narcissism, that emotion does not exist. He stated that he will donate the $1.4 million award to charities. None have been mentioned yet.
Response from the GOP and Democrats alike has been mixed. Liberals are a bit miffed at Obama for not advancing their agenda to the extent they believed he would and the GOP now has further proof of the decline in the meaning of the award. Overseas the reaction is the same. While foreign leaders put on a happy face and send congratulations, a fly on the wall would probably have heard differently as they heard the news.
The award was established by Alfred Nobel in 1895. He stipulated, as the LA Times wrote, "that the peace prize should go to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."
Clearly, the evidence is in - the Nobel Peace Prize is now nothing more than a political statement awarded by brain dead Norwegians. Even the LA Times continues with "The prize is awarded by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian parliament. The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change." Wide interpretation, indeed.
Jimmy Carter, anti-Semite and failed U.S. president, won for working on the Middle East peace process at Camp David. Al Gore won for his 'work' on global warming. Gore is nothing more than a opportunistic charlatan on the issue and the Europeans lap it up. He has become quite wealthy on the naive American movie-goers and politicians. Remember, this is the man who flunked out of Divinity School and his Senator daddy sent him as a 'journalist' when his time came to go to Vietnam. He was safely tucked behind a typewriter.
There were a record number of nominations - 205. The chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future." Thorbjorn Jagland continued, "In the past year, Obama has been a key person for important initiatives in the U.N. for nuclear disarmament and to set a completely new agenda for the Muslim world and the East-West relations." Wow. From tallying up his record so far, who knew?
Just as the 2002 prize to Gore was meant as a slap to G.W. Bush as was the 2005 prize to Carter, and verified by the Norwegian committee at the time as such, the awarding of the prize to Obama is the final slap to Bush. The prize is diminished and the President is left looking foolish.
Some of the nominees overlooked by the committee include women's rights activists in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; organizations that clean up land mine areas; Chinese human rights activists; and Iranian freedom movement leaders. All of these nominees have worked for decades, risking their own lives for a cause worthy of recognition on the world stage. What did Obama do so far? Well, he was elected to the U.S. presidency on the campaign slogan of "hope and change." So trivial. So predictable of the liberal left in our country. The man who has led a privileged life despite the sad story dragged into the conversation at election time of being raised by grandparents after his single mom went off to pursue her career dreams. He reads and delivers a good speech off the teleprompter and he is elected president after less than one term in the U.S. Senate and no executive experience whatsoever. It shows.
The Obama world apology tour has reached a successful conclusion - the Nobel Peace Prize. The Times Online in London wrote, "Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush administration, approval for the election of American's first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world." "Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claim, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace."
"Mr. Obama becomes the third sitting U.S. President to receive the prize. The committee said today that he had "captured the world's attention". It is certainly true that his energy and aspirations have dazzled many of his supporters. Sadly, it seems they have so bedazzled the Norwegians that they can no longer separate hopes from achievement. The achievements of all previous winners have been diminished."
Eight months and 19 days into his term as President, Barack Obama walked out into the Rose Garden and told reporters he was "humbled" by the prize. The world was embarrassed.
Here is a poll from the campaign of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst:
https://giveusyourfeedback.wufoo.com/forms/today-obama-was-awarded-the-nobel-peace-prize/ It sums up the seriousness of the prize today.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Now they know better. Not only is the actual language of what is likely to become the main legislative vehicle for Obama’s signature health care reform not available on the Internet, it hasn’t been given to members of the key Senate committees or the Congressional Budget Office." That is a quote from the San Francisco Examiner.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist appeared on FOX News yesterday with Neil Cavuto and denied that he is in support of the President's health care reform plan, whatever that may be. The White House implies that since Frist is in support of reform, as most Americans are whether Democrat or Republican, so he is in support of the legislation being tossed about in Congress. He made it perfectly clear that he does not support Obama on his overreach.
Not only is Obama going back on his campaign promise of the American public being able to read the bill online 5 days before a vote but he also is going back on his word that all deliberations of something as important as health care insurance reform would be broadcast on C-SPAN in the effort of transparency. He will meet with Senator Baucus, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in private in the White House to flesh out the final legislation request, as reported.
Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office scored the pending concepts of the Baucus bill in the Senate. It is concepts, not actual legislative language that was scored since the bill is not formally written. The Senate will be asked to vote on concepts. Concepts of 1/6 of our national economy. Do you have a problem with that?
The CBO found that the federal deficit will be $1.4 trillion at the end of 2009. That is 9.9% of GDP, the biggest deficit since World War II. Obama criticized the deficit under George W. Bush then came into office and tripled it. Do you have a problem with that?
The CBO scoring report shows taxes in the disguise of fines and fees added to make the "reform" more economically appealing. For instance, there are new taxes on manufacturers of medical devices, drug companies and hospitals that amount to $120 billion in new revenue. Are those the areas we want to encourage shrinking, because that will be the result of stifling new taxation. Even with the increase of insured Americans, by 2019 there will still be about 25 million uninsured, mostly illegal immigrants. The "reform" doesn't address that problem. By 2019 the number of covered will be at 94% if all goes as planned, which you can be certain it will not. No government program performs as planned and certainly not efficiently.
The President has a photo op of a speech to a bunch of doctors and medical professionals in white coats earlier this week. The White House passed out the white coats so that all would wear them and be a part of the dog and pony show. They complied. We are told that the AMA supports Obama care. We are not told, however, that only about 20% of American doctors are members of the AMA. Are 20% of doctors a number to brag about in support of a plan?
The support on Capitol Hill is partisan. During the Bush administration when the Medicare prescription drug benefit was dramatically increased, the effort was bi-partisan. Solutions were based on the free market. This "concept" being shopped around from Senator Baucus assumes a cut in Medicare benefits of $400 billion. The probability of that is nil. Seniors would be rioting in the streets. $133 billion is to come from savings by eliminating provisions in Medicare Advantage, which directly affects rural senior citizens. $4 billion comes from those fined for not being insured. Is it Constitutional for the government to require an American to be insured for health care?
This is a new nearly one trillion dollar entitlement. Is that even possible with a record federal deficit?
Breaking another campaign promise of listening to all opinions, President Obama is falling into the trap of desperation - only listening to his liberal enablers in Congress. "It just appears that the president of the United States, at this point, is choosing to meet only those who support his agenda," said Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Maryland pediatrician and congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program, a group not invited." That is from an article in Investors.com . Their own poll shows that 72% of doctors disagree with Obama Care's claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better quality health care at a lower cost. 65% polled say they oppose the government expansion plan.
From Dr. George Watson, a Kansas physician and president elect of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons in an interview with FoxNews.com : "This is war. T his is a bureaucratic boondoggle to grab control of health care. Everything that has been proposed in the 1,018 page bill will contribute to the ruination of medicine."
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
"It'll be a good education for me...2010 is going to be the most important election Americans will face in our lifetime." That was the quote from the Austin Statesman blog by W. Gardner Selby when Adams was asked by she's running to lead the party. An education? The most important election of our lifetime? That is what was said during the 2008 election and several before that. Do we need someone who simply parrots throw away lines? And, do we need someone who looks at this very important position as "an education"? Sounds selfish to me.
Adams is a long time Republican activist and deserves credit for being in the game for so long. She is now sorely out of step with most Republicans - certainly the ones who wish to grow our party, and make it stronger for future elections. The party has begun a disturbing decline.
Adams is a Perry supporter. Both of them have provided heartburn inducing moments recently for those of us who are sane, common sense voters in the party. First Adams, a RNC member, goes to Washington after the election and is part of the group pushing the re-naming of the Democrats as Socialist Democrats resolution. She even went on the Neil Cavuto show on FOX News and continued on with the nonsense as he gave her chance after chance to let it go and prove she wasn't out of her mind. It was embarrassing to the grown ups in the room.
Then Gov Perry went through his Texas will secede nonsense during the dust ups over the federal stimulus package and the Tea Party movement coming into its own. He tried to hog the spotlight and attended the Austin Tea Party in April for his own publicity. Adams supports Perry. Neither has shown good common sense on the national stage recently.
According to the Texas Freedom Network's blog, Dan wrote, "Two years ago Ms. Adams opposed a ballot measure providing $300 million annually over 10 years for cancer research. Voters approved the measure, which had the support of Gov. Perry and then-President George Bush. But Adams didn't, falsely claiming that the money would be used in embryonic stem cell research and suggesting that medical researchers are amoral monsters: "Scientists are on the verge of cloning humans, injecting them with diseases and studying them, then killing them."
This is not a voice Texas Republicans need to be heard on a national stage.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Senators Kerry and Barbara Boxer have produced a bill on the Senate side to counter the Waxman-Markey bill in the House on cap and trade. Though similar, the Kerry-Boxer bill ramps up the restrictions on emissions from 17% to 20%. Kerry said, "This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it's a pollution reduction bill." As American Issues Project states, OMB Director Peter Orszag - Obama's man - says, "Under a cap-and-trade program, firms would not ultimately bear most of the costs of the allowances but instead would pass them along to their customers in the form of higher prices."
The Boston Herald wrote, "The effects of Boxer-Kerry, if passed, cannot be far different from Waxman-Markey: A reduction in average global temperature in 2050 of 0.09 degree Fahrenheit at an annual cost that could reach $1,791 per household."
Maybe Kerry would like to feign ignorance, and declare the average person doesn't know what cap and trade is, either but it is far from an honest approach on such a serious matter. His bill is 821 pages long. Kerry is silent on the cost of the bill. In increased energy bills for the American people, in jobs lost, in new taxes, it all points to disaster.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Off Team Obama went to Copenhagen. Valerie Jarrett was there, cheerleading for the home team. Little goes on that ole Val doesn't have a hand in. First Barack said he wouldn't be going to Copenhagen to make his plea. Then, as last minute jitters set in and thoughts turned to the fact that maybe Michelle really wasn't the best person for "closer", Barack swooped in and was to save the day. How could the international committee possibly say no to his charisma and charm? He's not George W. Bush. He's the good guy.
Off Team Obama went to Copenhagen. The pleas from Michelle and Barack were personal ones, stories of their lives in Chicago. How embarrassing. The Obamas - narcissists supreme - thought the world wanted to hear all about how fun it would be for the Obama family to headquarter themselves in their home in tony Hyde Park and be able to just walk out their front door and head to an event or two. The Obamas thought it would be prudent to hear how much Michelle likes sports and the ones she's played.
Off Team Obama went to Copenhagen. Chicago was bumped out of the running in the first round.
So, the climate change alarmists from the Obama administration took two jumbo jets - did Oprah take her own? - and created a large carbon footprint to and from Copenhagen. The trip was a quick one and we were to told what a sacrifice it was for the Obamas to make it on behalf of Chicago - oh yeah, on behalf of America, too. They were doing it for you, average American, not for payback to the Daley machine to which they are both deeply indebted. Why would you be so cynical as to think such a thing?
The spinning machine began. David Axelrod, super marketer from Chicago, began the rounds of television interviews expressing his disappointment. These things happen, we were told. Senator Roland Burris said it was George W. Bush's fault since he made everyone mad when he was President. Can't have the first big failure on the international stage be owned by President Obama. Burris is still in blame Bush mode, as is the administration. When will it be the Obama administration? We were told about all the other world leaders who went to make bids for their countries, past and present. All fine and good. But Obama was the first American president to make the plea and he failed.
Team Obama let the lead player down. They didn't do the ground work, apparently. It would appear that they are still stuck in the image of Obama as world savior. Just his mere presence will be enough. Obama used up a lot of political capital for selfish reasons. Obama smiled and charmed before the world. The world yawned.
Wake up, Mr. President. It truly isn't all about you.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
David Letterman is a Hoosier. He grew up in Indianapolis and attended college at Ball State University - hardly a top tier school, best known as a teacher's college. He went on to break into the television world as a weatherman at a local station in Indianapolis. His first national exposure was as a morning talk show host. I remember that first show and it was nothing much to remember.
Once in the late night lineup, his personality began to emerge and his popularity grew. He was funny as a smart aleck type of guy, not afraid to tease the rich and powerful. Different than Johnny Carson in that Letterman enjoyed the more crass and current personalities, Carson was said to be grooming Letterman as his replacement. When that went to Jay Leno, Letterman's edge turned bitter and condescending.
Letterman left the common sense Midwestern logic he grew up with and turned into a standard celebrity liberal mouthpiece. Any conservatives or Republicans who dared to appear with him have been met with snarling contempt with a thin veneer of nasty humor as the coating. He has particularly enjoyed jokes at the expense of conservative politicians caught in compromising moral or ethical situations. Nothing wrong with that, politicians are fair game. It would just be more even-handed if he applied the same standards to the Democrats.
One unfortunate recent "joke" of Letterman's included a teenage Palin daughter and teen pregnancy. It was just mean and tacky. Unfortunately, that is what has been expected from Letterman of late. His ratings have fallen for years and only recently have seen an upturn against his newest competition, Conan O'Brien.
So, to offset the uptick in ratings, there is a sex scandal of his own to deal with before his national audience. He announced on a recent show that he was the victim of extortion from another CBS employee, a producer. His lawyer had taken care of the problem and the producer was arrested and charged. What Letterman seemed fairly casual about was the fact that this woman involved in the situation was a female staffer. She is also a former live-in girlfriend of the producer's. She has gotten some sweet assignments for the Late Show, like going over to cover the Olympics for the show and frequently featured on air in zany comic bits. Was this attention because of her relationship with Letterman or because she is talented and deserved the break?
Letterman was one who made great hay over the Clinton bimbo eruptions. He relished in making fun of politicians caught in extramartial relationships. What makes him any different? And, does he not make victims of the female staffers with whom he has had relationships, including the mother of his very young son, whom he married not long ago after the child was born? Why did he do the standard liberal riff that he is the victim? Clinton always cried victim in his messes, too.
It is said that off screen Letterman is shy and quiet, rarely seen out in public. That's all well and good, but did it make it right to only socialize (to put it politely) with his staffers? His history shows long term relationships with Merrill Markoe, a staff writer, and then Regina Lasko, his current wife whom he married well after their son was born. Was his behavior any better than the Palin daughter, who was a teenager while he is a man past the age of 60?
It will be interesting going forward to see if his ratings are affected by this admission. Maybe his audience, mostly younger people, will not care about his personal behavior. Our society has coarsened over the years. Maybe no one is bothered by the fact that Letterman had a sexual relationship with a young female intern on his staff. Maybe it doesn't matter because he long ago fell into the culture of the liberal northeast. The cool people like him.
Any word yet from the gals at NOW?
Thursday, October 01, 2009
The first panel was for Controller. The three candidates running were all present. City of Houston races are supposed to be non-partisan in nature. If a voter is current on politics, however, the candidate's political party is usually known.
Pam Holm, M.J. Khan, and Ronald Green all currently serve on the City Council. All have served on City Council for six years. All are budget savvy candidates. Sixteen questions were asked.
Pam Holm spoke of not increasing taxes as a budget deficit remedy. She spoke of not increasing "extra" fees that are often used as revenue. M.J. Khan spoke of attracting new business and Ronald Green spoke of "horizontal growth" - growing city revenue with the creation of new business and the employee base.
Pam Holm and M.J. Khan both have personal experience in the business community. Ronald Green touts a newly acquired MBA, along with his law degree and the fact that he has served on City Council in an at-large position - serving all the city instead of an individual district.
Pam Holm spoke of having the courage to be a watchdog for the city in the Controller's office. All of the candidates committed to online transparency of the city budget, though none of them currently have their city council office's budget online. Green spoke of putting a paper copy of the budget updates in water bills - to reach everyone. He didn't, however, include how he would fund that or the expense of that idea.
Both Holm and Khan claimed that their city council offices were held under budget.
For the second candidate panel, the candidates for Mayor were asked 14 questions. Roy Morales, Annise Parker, Charles Cupp and Luis Ullrich, Jr. were present. Though all candidates were invited and all responded in the affirmative that they would participate, two front runners, Gene Locke and Peter Brown, did not bother to show up. Neither bothered to notify the hosts that they would not be present. Brown had a member of his campaign staff there and he asked for time to speak on Brown's behalf. That request was promptly denied.
If voters can not count on a candidate to show up for a forum as previously agreed to, what does that say? It says that candidate is not true to his word and not to be trusted. It says they do not surround themselves with professional acting staffers. It says we are not important, that they believe they will win an election without the ordinary voter. It is incredibly arrogant and unprofessional.
Recent news reports have drawn a link to Team Obama to the campaign of Gene Locke, a successful lawyer. Since the emergence of Team Obama in consultation with the Locke campaign, the leading three Democrat candidates said they would scale back on forums, as they had done a number of them already. Well, one of that three was present tonight. The other two didn't bother to show or explain. They definitely previously confirmed their appearance.
Maybe Locke didn't want to answer questions that have emerged about any links to ACORN or to black liberation religion. Annise Parker and Roy Morales knew the answer to the question of how much the City of Houston has paid to ACORN in the past year. The answer was $155,000 for a foreclosure prevention program and there are no current projects with ACORN pending.
Everyone in the audience was told that the candidates were not present and had previously confirmed their appearance, so many will know of their behavior. Maybe they don't think they need the votes.
I call on all those who support the businesses listed as endorsing either Gene Locke or Peter Brown to stop their support. Boycott the businesses if they will not stop their public support of either candidate.
Martha Wong, former state representative and the first Asian American to be elected to Houston City Council, was our moderator. Her personal political experience lends itself to excellent monitoring of questions and answers.
Noemi Medina from the office of Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector, Leo Vasquez, was available as community outreach in voter registration.
And, a special thanks to Robert Rosenfeld. He is President of Commercial Audio-Video, Inc. He filled in at the last minute for microphone/audio needs at the previous forum held September 17 and we were pleased to have his help again tonight. He is a real pro in the audio-visual equipment rental, events and staging business.
Candidates Locke and Brown: you blew it big time.