Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Public option fails in Senate committee

This is bad news for those who want meaningful health care reform.
Democratic efforts to include a taxpayer-financed "public" health insurance option in the emerging health reform bill fell short in two crucial test votes in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday afternoon.


Without a public option there will be no way to keep health insurance companies honest. If only Americans could have a government sponsored health insurance option, they could have something to fall back upon if the private insurance companies do not provide a viable alternative for some people.

You would think that with a filibuster proof sixty vote margin in the Senate and with total control of the House, the Democrats would have the wherewithal to pass meaningful health care reform, but I guess not. Five Democrats as well as all Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee voted against a public option today.

Yes, the public option could be revived on the Senate floor, but overruling the mandate of the powerful Senate Finance Committee would be a real long shot. Harry Reid would have to develop some fortitude first and I doubt if that will happen.

So what we have left is a windfall for the private insurance companies who contribute millions of dollars to many of those same senators. What good will it do to require all Americans to purchase private health insurance if they can't afford it? Yes, any final bill will probably include subsidies designed to help low income Americans purchase insurance, but will such a plan work? If the subsidies come in the form of tax breaks as some have suggested, millions of Americans might have to wait until their tax return comes before they could benefit from the subsidies. But can the average American who lives from paycheck to paycheck really afford to wait that long for a subsidy? I doubt it.

Then to add insult to injury, middle income Americans would under the plan passed by the Senate Finance Committee be forced to pay up to 20% of their income on private health insurance. (Link.) I wonder how many middle class Americans could afford that. I doubt if it would be many.

I have long favored a single payer health insurance system like they have in the UK. But if that isn't in the cards politically, I don't think that the proposals passing through Congress at this time can be a viable alternative. It is a very depressing time for those of us who favor true meaningful health care reform in the United States. We are learning that the change that President Obama promised us might be harder to pull off than we had thought. The battle isn't over. It will be a while before a final health care reform bill is passed, so we might still have time to influence reform for the better. But time might be running out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Malaysian woman to be beaten with a cane for drinking beer

I have just got to comment on this. What is wrong with a country that would take a woman and beat her with a cane as an official punishment for drinking beer?
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A judge in Malaysia has upheld a court verdict to cane a Muslim woman for drinking beer, news reports said Monday, re-igniting a controversy over Islamic justice in this moderate Muslim-majority country.


I know that Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, but haven't they ever heard of the concept of separation of church and state? Thank God I live in a country where arcane religious views are not enforced by the law. Malaysia has a lot of growing up to do.

Nobody should be beaten with a cane for the simple act of drinking beer, Muslin country or not. There is no justice in that.
Kartika, a former model and nurse, was sentenced in July to six strokes of the cane and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) for drinking beer in December 2007 at a beach resort in violation of Islamic laws. Islam forbids Muslims from drinking alcohol.

Six strokes with a cane for drinking beer. Assuming that this lady is a consenting adult, what business is it of the state if she has a beer or not? Please note that she was not driving a motor vehicle while drinking. That would have been different. All she was doing was having a beer at beach resort.

Mayaysia has got to grow up and join the 21st century. Government should stay out of the morality police business. If the Muslims want to believe that drinking a beer is a sin, that is their right. But they should have no right to impose these views in the form of a state sanctioned law. This sounds more like something that the Taliban would do in Afghanistan. It is totally shocking that such a medieval practice as caning would actually be condoned in a supposedly modern country such as Malaysia.

I hope that something can be done to stop this barbaric act from taking place. This lady could be scarred for life and she doesn't deserve that for just drinking a beer.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This picture should be in every school

(Click on the picture to see the full sized version.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brewerville Cemetery

Here is a color version of the cemetery coming to Brewerville which I mentioned in a previous post. This color picture will give you a better image of what the cemetery will look like when it's finished.
A new cometary is being planned for Brewerville, Liberia, West Africa. It is being designed to incorporate the latest in cometary design, and it would be the ideal final resting place for you or for your loved ones.

For more information please call Liberian telephone number 2316961063. (Click the picture for a full sized view.) Thank you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Racism and Obama

Is most opposition to President Obama racism as Jimmy Carter alleges? Well, President Obama says he doesn't think so, or is he just saying that because he has to? If Obama says he agrees with Carter then that opens a whole new can of worms and it would be a distraction from Obama's quest to pass health care reform and solve other pressing problems.

What do I think? I think I can understand what both Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are saying. It is obvious that just because we elected a black president that doesn't mean that racism in the good old USA is dead. Yes, we have made great progress on race since the bad old days of Jim Crow. But given human nature, we know that racism will always be there at some level no matter what we do to try to fight it. All we can do is fight the good fight and try to keep recent progress on race relations on the right track.

Some on the political right have said terrible things about President Obama. They have called him everything from a monkey to a Nazi, and they have even questioned whether he is a bona fide US citizen and eligible to even be president.

But remember all of the terrible things that many of the same people said about Bill Clinton. Yet Clinton is white. Oh wait a minute, he was called the "first black president" wasn't he because he was so good on issues important to black people. So maybe my analogy is not valid.

It is safe to say that even if Obama were not black but was advocating the same policies there would still be significant opposition to him. There is a great ideological divide in this country and it isn't going away anytime soon. We also saw it during George W. Bush's presidency, and of course some on the left called him names too.

It's really too bad that we can't leave the vitriol behind and come together as a nation in order to work on solving the many difficult problems that we face. Whether it's health care or the environment or the economy, there is work to be done and partisan bickering isn't helping. And debating whether opposition to Obama is based on race isn't helping either.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama calls Kanye a 'Jackass'

Click here to hear what President Obama thinks of Kanye West.

Kanye was on Jay Leno's new show last night sounding very apologetic and contrite. But then he performed a number with Jay-Z and Rihanna in which he came out sounding very weak. The burden of everything that had happened in the last 24 hours was probably weighing very heavily on him. Then to add insult to injury you are called a "jackass" by the President of the United States.

Jessica Simpson's dog snatched by coyote

This is getting to be a real problem for pet owners as more and more housing encroaches on wildlife habitats.
Jessica Simpson went on Twitter and tweeted that she watched in horror as a coyote ran off with her Malti-poo named Daisy. The dog was attacked and taken off Monday evening. A neighbor said they heard screaming at her house around 9 PM local time.

I know someone who lives in Spring Creek, Nevada who had her cat taken by a coyote. It's a real tragedy when a beloved pet is lost this way. But after all, it's just instinct on the part of coyotes to look for food, and a small dog or cat can be an inviting and easy target.

I guess that the lesson to be learned here is that if you live anywhere near coyote habitat, watch your small pets very closely. And remember that coyotes range far and wide. They have infiltrated into urban environments as well.

Jessica Simpson has learned the hard way. If you have a small pet, don't you be the next one to learn this sad lesson.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

New cemetary coming to Brewerville, Liberia

A new cometary is being planned for Brewerville, Liberia, West Africa. It is being designed to incorporate the latest in cometary design, and it would be the ideal final resting place for you or for your loved ones. Buy your plot now. For more information call Liberian telephone number 2316961063. (Click the picture for a full sized view.) Thank you.

Friday, September 11, 2009


September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2009.

Never forget what happened that day.

A little bit of humour for today

With all of the very weighty events that have been happening lately, I thought that a bit of humor might be in order. A friend sent me this.

A little boy was waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery store. As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, "Son, can you tell me where the Post Office is?"

The little boy replied, "Sure! Just go straight down this street a coupla blocks and turn to your right."

The man thanked the boy kindly and said, "I'm the new pastor in town. I'd like for you to come to church on Sunday. I'll show you how to get to Heaven."

The little boy replied with a chuckle. "Awww, come on... You don't even know the way to the Post Office."

Monday, September 7, 2009


A good friend sent me this and I got a real kick out of it.

If you want someone who will eat whatever you put in front of him and never say its not quite as good as his mother's...

then adopt a dog.

If you want someone always willing to go out, at any hour, for as long and wherever you want...

then adopt a dog.

If you want someone who never criticizes what you do, doesn't care if you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old, who acts as if every word you say is especially worthy of listening to, and loves you unconditionally, perpetually...

then adopt a dog.

BUT, on the other hand, if you want someone who will never come when you call, ignores you totally when you come home, leaves hair all over the place, walks all over you, runs around all night and only comes home to eat and sleep, and acts as if your entire existence is solely to ensure his happiness...

then adopt a cat.

LOL. That reminds me of my cat Judy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The all out push to defeat health care reform

You thought that it would be easy to pass health care reform since the Democrats have complete control of both Congress and the White House. Think again. The real power structure in Washington has brought the health care debate back to earth. Health insurance companies and the medical establishment are very powerful, and they have contributed millions to the campaign coffers of Democrats, especially those Blue Dog Democrats. These powerful forces have launched an all out offensive to protect their obscene profits and kill any and all real and meaningful health care reform.

Will something be passed? Yes it will, because first and foremost Democrats are politicians, and they have too much invested in the health care debate. It would be a political disaster to come away with nothing, so they will pass something. But will that something be better than nothing? I doubt it.

The Obama Administration has already signaled that they might be willing to forgo a robust public option if that's what it takes to pass a bill. But without that cornerstone of health care reform, all that will be left will be a watered down version that probably won't be worth the paper that it's printed on. Meanwhile, millions of Americans will continue to go without health insurance.

How did we get to this sorry state of affairs? Well, the lesson is that no matter what political party controls Washington, powerful corporate interests will continue to wield the real power. Until we can get meaningful campaign finance reform, that will never change.

When during the campaign President Obama promised change, I sincerely believe that he meant it. But then he arrived at the White House and saw how the game really works. To be sure, we are much better off with him as President, but if you thought that it was all going to be a bed of roses once he got in office, think again.

What can be done? Well, first of all Democrats have got to realize that just because you are a politician that has a "D" next to your name, that doesn't necessarily mean that you will be on the side of the people. Democrats have got to choose their candidates very carefully. They need far fewer Blue Dogs and more real champions of the people such as Senator Russ Feingold who has devoted his entire political career to fight for effective campaign finance reform. Until we can get the corporate interests to take their hands out of politicians' pockets, we won't really get anywhere.