Showing posts with label Political. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Political. Show all posts

Oct 28, 2009


The term, pork is sometimes used to describe legislative appropriations meant to favor specific projects, to gain favor, or repay political debts for legislators. Now we have something new - stimulated pork.

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service spent $24.3 million of stimulus funds for pork. It bought $16.9 million of canned pork, $2.6 million of ham, and $4.8 million of sliced ham. The Agriculture Department is sending the meat to food banks as part of a $150 million effort to feed hungry Americans.

Oct 23, 2009

Government Attic

Here is an interesting site. It is a compilation of documents that have been released under the 'Freedom of Information Act'. The home page says that it contains historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities, fun stuff, and government bloopers. The site motto is Videre licet (to be able to see).

Oct 21, 2009

United Nations Day

October 24 - The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries (now 192) committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

Oct 13, 2009

How Lobbyists Got Their Name

A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest.

One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers frequenting the hotel's lobby in order to access him, because he was often found there, enjoying a cigar and brandy.

Here is the lobby data base to find out what is being spent by lobbyists on Washington politicians. You can check by various criteria or country. We do not condone bribes in the US, but lobbyists, well that's a different story.

Check here.

Oct 8, 2009

Politically Speaking

TRUE - Last month, Sept, 2009, Obama said, "I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void, but not a lot of mutual understanding."

He said he would be happy to look a bills that could give newspapers tax-breaks if they were to restructure as 501 (c) (3) corporations (most hospitals are 501 c 3). One of the bills is that of Senator Ben Cardin, who has introduced the 'Newspaper Revitalization Act'.

Yeh, the newspapers put things in context and are not one sided. Right!

Oct 2, 2009

Congressional Approval Rating

The numbers below say it all.

Favorable Ratings for Professions
Small Business Owners
People Who Start Own Business
Pastors and Religious Leaders
Stockbrokers and Fin Analysts
Members of Congress

Sep 18, 2009

Constitution Day September 17

Here are some fun facts:

The U.S. Constitution has 4,543 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. It contains 7,591 words including the 27 amendments.

Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document.

The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).

A proclamation by President George Washington and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The reason for the holiday was to give “thanks” for the new Constitution.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were involved in debates from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. six days a week with only a 10 day break during the duration of the convention.

From 1804 to 1865 there were no amendments added to the Constitution until the end of the Civil War when the Thirteenth amendment was added that abolished slavery. This was the longest period in American history in which there were no changes to our Constitution.

As evidence of its continued flexibility, the Constitution has only been changed seventeen times since 1791.

James Madison of Virginia was responsible for proposing the resolution to create the various Cabinet positions within the Executive Branch of our government and twelve amendments to the Constitution of which ten became the Bill of Rights. Have you ever wondered how so many of our congressmen and senators are lawyers? Of the fifty-five delegates who attended the convention 34 were lawyers.

Sep 17, 2009

Lobbyists be Gone

Remember when the new administration said, "There is no room for lobbyists in this Administration" just a few short months ago?
WASHINGTON ( -- The fight over health care overhaul is on track be the most expensive issue ever to hit the hallways of Congress.
The bill for lobbyists, television ads and political donations has topped $375 million - or enough to pay the entire insurance tab for about 30,000 families a year. 
The largest chunk has gone to direct lobbying of lawmakers and other policymakers. In the first half of 2009, the health care industry spent nearly $280 million on lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
"The health sector is on track in 2009 to spend more on lobbying than it has on any other year in U.S. history - and by a lot," said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzes and collects lobbying and campaign spending figures. And we think our elected officials really work for us?

Aug 21, 2009

Health Clinics

The federal government just made $851 million available for expanding and rehabbing community health clinics across the US. This money is part of $2.5 billion set aside in the stimulus law for free and low-cost health clinics for the under and uninsured, and not part of the $1.6+ Trillion for Healthcare reform.

The $851 million will be distributed unevenly, depending on the number of clinics in a state. Grants include $109 million for California, while Utah will get $6 million. I forget - whose pocket is this coming from - and who gets the benefit? How many illegal aliens in Utah? Hmmm!

Aug 19, 2009

Shades of 1984

For those who have not read George Orwell's book, "1984" it might be a good time to do so, or at least read an online summary of it.

Tiburon, a town of 8,000 in Marin County, CA, officials want to photograph every car and use the license plate information to solve crimes in the town of 9,000.

Many see the plan as an intrusion into the rights of citizens, but officials say it is a sensible precaution that absolutely will not cross privacy lines. The town manager says, "The proposal has been misunderstood." Yeh, right! We have been misunderstanding a lot lately, like, 'Trust me, if we spend another trillion dollars today it will save more tomorrow. . .'

Jul 21, 2009

San Diego Border

The border station is now the busiest on earth. It has a whopping 24 lanes of northbound traffic for those traveling through from Tijuana to San Diego and another 6 southbound lanes for those going the other way.

Every day up to 50,000 vehicles pass through this gate, plus another 25,000 people on foot, and that's just into the United States. Plus it's in the process of expansion.

Hmmm! Maybe the idea should be to reduce it to 6 lanes north and make the 24 lanes south.


One difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.

Bottled Water Ban

A rural town in Australia has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water over concerns about its environmental impact. They say huge amounts of resources are used to extract, package and transport bottled water.

Only one resident voted against the ban, along with a representative from the bottled water industry, ABC news reported.

Campaigner John Dee said local opinion had been incensed when a drinks company announced plans to tap an underground reservoir in the town. "The company has been looking to extract water locally, bottle it in Sydney, and bring it back here to sell it," he said.

New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees has backed the cause, ordering government departments to stop buying bottled water and use tap water instead.

Jul 18, 2009

Don't Talk Back

The Obama administration is planning to use the National Security Agency to screen Internet traffic between government agencies and the private sector, the Washington Post reported July 3. They said this was a continuation of the plan started by Bush, but I don't think this is what he had in mind.

"We absolutely intend to use the technical resources, the substantial ones, that NSA has. But... they will be guided, led, and in a sense directed by the people we have at the Department of Homeland Security," Napolitano said.

Napolitano said the NSA would only be charged with looking at data going to or from the government system. What other kind is there besides going to or coming from?

"Each time a private citizen visits a '' website or sent an email to a civilian government employees, that action would be screened for potential harm to the network," the Post wrote. How can anyone be comfortable viewing sites intended to inform us or complain to their elected officials, knowing the NSA will be. . .

Jul 13, 2009

My Life is Worth What?

Remember that nasty little word - rationing - that keeps rearing its ugly head? Well, here is a bit more food for thought. The decision to use expensive cancer therapies that typically produce only a relatively short extension of survival is a serious ethical dilemma in the US being debated by the oncology community published, June 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The authors show cost-benefit relationships for several cancer drugs. They ask, "Is an additional 1.7 months a benefit regardless of costs and side effects?" (They don't answer a benefit to whom.)

According to the article, one drug was found to extend life by 1.2 months and cost an average of $80,000, which translates into an expenditure of $800,000 to prolong the life of one patient by 1 year. They describe how much it might cost to extend the lives of 550,000 Americans who die of cancer annually, by 1 year.

They recommend that studies to detect a survival advantage of two months or less should test only interventions that can be marketed at a cost of less than $20,000 for a course of treatment.

Every life is of infinite value, the authors say, but spiraling costs of cancer care makes this dilemma inescapable. I thought this was against the Hippocratic oath, so went to find out exactly what the oath says. Seems there are multiple versions and all physicians do not even take the oath. They believe it is outdated and less than relevant these days.

Jul 3, 2009

July 4th

Happy 4th of July tomorrow. Let's remember what Independence Day is really all about, even if they call it just another paid day off in Washington, where they have traded in Free Speech for Cheap Talk.

July 4th Revisited

Imagine how you would feel if someone, maybe a sister or brother, or someone else kept telling you what to do all of the time and kept taking more and more of your allowance.

That is how the colonists felt in the years leading up to 1776. Great Britain kept trying to make the colonists follow more rules and pay higher taxes. People started getting angry and began making plans to be able to make their own rules.

They no longer wanted Great Britain to be able to tell them what to do, so they decided to tell Great Britain that they wanted to be independent. To be independent means to take care of yourself, make your own rules, and provide for your own needs. . . How soon we forget what our ancestors gave their lives for.

Medical Imaging

Data shows that imaging equipment in rural regions of the country operates 48 percent of the time an office is open, while equipment in non-rural areas operates 56 percent of the time a center is open for business.

President Obama recently recommended CMS base its reimbursement formula on a 95 percent utilization rate for advanced imaging equipment. MedPAC has recommended 90 percent for equipment that costs more than $1 million.

The utilization assumption is a key component of the Medicare formula. Dramatically increasing the utilization assumption results in a severe cut for imaging reimbursements.

Spending on advanced imaging has already decreased significantly since 2005 and imaging use has essentially flattened due to low reimbursement rates. More imaging reimbursement cuts will severely disrupt access to diagnostic services, including long waits for appointments, and patients driving long distances to find an office that has equipment. Medicare reduces costs without appearing to reduce rates. Hmmm! This is just the beginning of rationing, without using the word 'rationing'.

Hitler Quote

“What luck for the rulers that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

Jun 12, 2009


Keeping bees in New York City is illegal, so for years beekeepers have keept their hives on roof tops or in community gardens. If a neighbor makes a complaint, the owners must disassemble their hives or face steep fines and exterminator fees. Recently a city council bill was introduced to legalize beekeeping. That will certainly help with the billion dollar budget shortfall the city faces.