Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the Bill: Viagra for Sex Offenders

Not only that, the Democrats intend to leave it there.
Dems reject amendment to ban Viagra for sex offenders

Democrats killed an amendment by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn to prevent the newly created insurance exchanges from using federal money to cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for rapists, pedophiles and other sex offenders. The amendment failed 57-42

"The vast majority of Americans don't want their taxpayer dollars paying for this kind of drug for those kind of people," Coburn said.

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus urged his colleagues to defeat the amendment.

"This is a serious bill. This is a serious debate. The amendment offered by the senator from Oklahoma makes a mockery of the Senate, the debate and the American people. It is not a serious amendment. It is a crass political stunt aimed at making 30-second commercials, not public policy," he said.

Democrats have defeated every amendment offered by Republicans so far, arguing that any change will kill the bill.

Hmmm. It would seen to me that the Federal Government paying for sex offenders' Viagra is pretty "serious" business and anyone who calls it otherwise is a bit of a fool.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is Obama's "Socialism" Now in the Open?

So sayeth Al Sharpton. Do you believe that "The American public overwhelmingly voted for Socialism when they elected President Obama"?

Hey Democrats, This Can Apply to You Too!

Disclaimer: Lest anyone think this is a call for armed revolt; understand that this is presented metaphorically, not literally as it applies to members of the Democrat Party.

This disclaimer excludes the "boot in the ass" line; that's quite literal.

Health Care Post-Mortem

Aside from the assult on our freedom, and our Constitution represented by this bill, it’s also and economy killer and a job killer.

The more money being represented by government spending, is less money in the private sector, which is where the fate of the economy really lies. The government can’t bring more money into the economy, as the private sector can, it can only remove it.

So, what about these “Government Jobs”? (Disclaimer, my wife works for the Federal Government) Well, suppose, just for argument’s sake, you have a government job, paying $40K and your taxes, again, for argument’s sake are 15%. In essence, you are paying the government back $6K, but where does the other $32K come from? It comes from the private sector in the form of corporate and individual taxes!

While “government jobs” are great for the individual, they are a huge strain on our economy. The larger the government gets, the more the private sector has to struggle to “grow the economy” in order to afford to pay the ever-increasing tab.

Private unemployment, even by the projections of the White House, will likely be 9%+ for the balance of the year. Businesses are hurting, as are those without jobs (myself included).

So, what about a “Jobs Bill”? Unless it included major tax breaks for businesses, in the interest of “growing the economy” (highly unlikely, given this administation and Congress), it will simply be more $Billions in government money, ignorantly thrown at the problem, thus deepening the deficits, as well as the long-term debt.

What about “Economic Stimulus”? Well, I’ve addressed that here, but, in short, it’s nothing more than new spending, in enormous amounts.

Getting back to the “Health Care Reform Bill”; this is just another $Trillion++ boondoggle that will further burden employers, as well as employees, and will further increase the size and scope of the Federal monster.

The American economy is a resiliant, magnificent machine, but everything has a breaking point. We have doubled the National Debt in just the last year, and what happened last night will substantially increase it.

We are well down the road to economic ruin, our freedoms are under attack, and we have become a nation, in just the last year, that I no longer recognize.

As Iron Fist, a poster on Blogmocracy said, “if you wanted to destroy America, what would you do differently?” The answer is still a resounding “NOTHING”.

Boehner Speaks TRUTH Last Night to Deaf Ears

I have nothing to add.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Economic Stimulus"? I Think Not

One of the things that have long bothered me is all of the crap that is included in these bills, and I have no doubt that this “Health Care Reform Bill” is bursting with stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with Health Care.

Case in point: My local paper’s lead story this morning was that the city had received $7.9 Million of “Stimulus” money. How is this money being spent?

Louisville says it will make more fresh fruits and vegetables available in poor neighborhoods, improve bike trails and serve healthier school lunches as a result of a $7.9million federal stimulus grant received Friday.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is designed to give people more “opportunities to be healthy and to make better choices,” said Dr. Adewale Troutman, director of the Louisville Metro Health and Wellness Department.

The money is part of the federal agency’s “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” initiative and will go toward 23 projects to promote healthy living.

The $7.9million is equal to about one-third of the annual operating budget for the health department, which will administer the grant, and is a “dramatic extension” of resources available for improving health, Troutman said.

A complete list of what will be funded by the “Stimulus money” includes:

• Expand local food distribution points.
• Support neighborhood-based projects for local producers and sellers in “food deserts.”
• Increase student input in food and beverage choices.
• Implement “menu labeling” for places that sell prepared foods.
• Conduct a “food fight” social marketing campaign, which will provide nutritional information about food choices.
• Increase support and standardize breastfeeding policies hospitals where babies are born.
• Implement metro government workplace breastfeeding policies.
• Revise wellness policies in schools.
• Standardize physical activity in JCPS school-based afterschool programs.
• Increase access to metro parks and the proposed Louisville Loop.
• Implement health impact assessments used to evaluate the potential health effects of a project or policy.
• Increase public safety measures in metro parks.
• Improve community policing in targeted communities.
• Institute an advisory council on food policy.
• Develop a master’s degree program in public health and urban planning at the University of Louisville.
• Develop a communitywide media campaign to promote physical activity and improve nutrition.

Does anyone see anything here that even remotely resembles “Economic Stimulus”?

I know that no one gives a crap about local issues, nor should you. The fact is, however, that this is being done in every community in the country.

As a member of the unemployed, forgive me if I don’t give a rat’s ass about spending Federal tax dollars (that we don’t have) on frivolous BS like “Increase support and standardize breastfeeding policies hospitals where babies are born” and “Implement metro government workplace breastfeeding policies.”

Yes, I made my comments in the “comments” section, but it’s like a voice in the wilderness. Too many people don’t seem to understand that this is THEIR MONEY.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Big Health Insurance": The New Boogeyman

The Left has latched onto a meme that they have been using for decades in order to denigrate capitalism and the concept of "profits". It's simple to do, just use the word "Big", followed by whatever industry you'd like to criticize. You know the image it creates; big "fat cats", sitting around in their palatial office, devising new plans for squeezing you dry.

Actually, the reality is generally quite different. Sure, a lot of these industries move around billions of dollars, but how much are they actually keeping after all is said and done. Remember, if you have a 401K or a mutual fund, this is a salient question for you, personally.

The fact is, the Health Insurance Industry ranks 86th as the most profitable industries in America: (Click image to enlarge)

The problem with the insurance industry is that they've never had to really compete for business, thus forcing them to run more efficiently. If you look at many of the MOST profitable industries on this list, you will see highly competitive. A basic rule of free economics is that competition give the consumer a better product, at a lower price, and increases profits for the company.

As Professor Mark J. Perry (from whose blog I obtained the chart, above) concludes his post:
"And isn't one reason for a lack of competition that competition for health insurance across state lines is prohibited, creating in effect 50 state health insurance "cartels?"

Simply lifting this prohibition may well net us much of the reform we seek; turning it over the government to "manage" and "regulate" is a fool's errand.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Accused Child Killer Paid $200,000 by ABC News

Well, if you can't report the news, buy it.
New evidence was released Thursday in the Casey Anthony murder case, including the amount of money she received from a television network, as well as conversations she had with other inmates.

Anthony's defense team told Judge Stan Strickland that she no longer has funds to pay for the trial. Her attorney testified ABC News paid Casey Anthony $200,000, but that those funds are now gone.

Strickland is deciding whether to approve the declaration of Anthony being indigent, which would make the state pay for her defense.

Lest you don't recall the case:
Casey Anthony remains jailed on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, who was last seen in June of 2008. Caylee was not reported missing until a month later. The little girl's remains were found in a wooded area near the family's home on December 11, 2008. Investigators say the toddler's body was found with duct tape over her mouth.

So, if I understand this correctly, ABC News has picked up the tab for this monster's legal bills, and the lawyers, having burned through the $200K, are now bailing out.

I know that even "accused" murderers merit legal representation, but since when do news organizations pay for it?

The Democrats' Healthcare Putsch

No misspellings in the title, a "putsch" is described as:
"a plotted revolt or attempt to overthrow a government, esp. one that depends upon suddenness and speed."

How can we describe what is now happening any more clearly? In every poll that has been taken (including the Liberal CNN), the American people have said, overwhelmingly, that they do not want this Health Care bill.

Yet, the President and his sycophants in Congress are determined to override the wishes of the people and immediately force this monstrosity into law, by whatever means necessary. Is that not the very definition of, at the very least, a partial "putsch"?

Every piece of bad legislation (and there have been many) that this Congress, and this President have enacted all had the same element of "urgency" which precluded careful deliberation. The result has been a doubling of the National Debt in the span of just one year, with no real improvement in the economy, or the unemployment rate. Despite hundreds of billions spent on "Stimulus" we remain unstimulated. Even the "President's Men" have concluded that unemployment will remain "elevated" for the balance of the year.

As for Obama, he claims that with this Health Care Plan in place, employer premiums would fall as much as "3.000%". yes, you read that right; THREE THOUSAND PERCENT!

In his own words:

In he an idiot, or does he think we are?

The back room deals, procedural tricks, arm twisting, lies and, most importantly, the abject disregard of the people's wishes on the part of the President and his cronies is disgraceful and breathtakingly arrogant. Alas, this has been a pattern that has been followed throughout the short life of this administration.

We, as a nation, made a terrible mistake in November, 2008, and we are now paying the price.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The American Dream: Dead or Just Sleeping?

Is the “American Dream’ dead? If it’s not, it’s in a coma and it will take more eloquent speeches an hollow rhetoric to revive it.

If I may quote myself from the piece, below, with relation to my own situation:

“Lest you think this is whining; it’s not. It is a lament that I am sure resonates with many in my age group. We were the generation that created the “youth-worship” that we still see today and it has resulted in our being “tossed to the curb”.

We created the means of our own destruction by elevating youth above experience and wisdom, and now we reap the whirlwind. Collectively, we have dealt a serious blow to the “American Dream”; perhaps a mortal one.”

In my former position, I reviewed resumes and applications, many of them from young college graduates. Many couldn't’t spell or construct a coherent sentence. They seemingly had no knowledge of punctuation and many completed their online applications in either all upper case letters, or all lower case letters. They sent me follow-up emails that began like “hey, this is linda, how r u?”. WTF is in their heads? We have an increasingly uneducated populace, regardless of educational levels.

I desperately want to still believe in the “American Dream”, but it’s more difficult by the day. The lack of basic common sense that exists in America today is astounding; from the White House and Congress, to GM, Chrysler, and the financial industry.

Does manufacturing cars, at a loss of $1,400 per unit, make any sense at all? Does making loans to people with no money, for things they obviously cannot afford make any sense? Does ramming through a health care bill, in spite of the overwhelming objections of the American people make any sense? Does paying generations generations of welfare recipients to make more babies, thus perpetuating the trend, make any sense?

I’m sure that to the political hacks in Washington, and the clueless MBAs that inhabit corporate America, this all makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, it is WE, the American people, who must pick up the tab for their foolishness.

The foundations of the “American Dream” are work, accomplishment and reward. The sense of entitlement that has fallen over our country is eroding those foundations like an acidic fog.

We have forgotten our history, and the sacrifices of our forebears. That loss of memory may well spell our undoing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Facing Unemployment at 50+

The Devaluation of Work, Accomplishment and Experience in American Business

I rarely write about personal issues on this blog, but today is an exception.

Immediately after High School, I excitedly joined the Navy. After scoring highly in the aptitude tests at the time, I was recommended for clerical or intelligence work. In the infinite wisdom of the Navy at the time, I was sent to cook’s school; something to which I never aspired, nor had any interest. A cook I remained, and that fact, alone, prompted me to take an early (honorable) discharge, and set my sights on the private sector.

My World War II generation parents, both veterans, instilled in me a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” attitude, and pull I did.

I have worked diligently since I was 21 in the private sector, starting out at the bottom; schlepping boxes in a small, privately owned distribution firm in 1974. I worked hard, and my work was shortly rewarded; being promoted to an office position in a fairly short period of time and eventually assuming the job of “Customer Service Manager”. This job consisted of overseeing the order entry clerks and handling problems.

It was during this period that physical records were being replaced by computers; an area that fascinated me. This small company for which I worked contracted an outside source to handle the data processing, which was common at the time. The process consisted of paper records being physically translated to a “punch card’ system, so that a mainframe could produce reports regarding accounts payable and receivable. Inventory was still kept on ledger cards. Eventually, the technology advanced from a “punch card” system, to a fully online accounting, order entry, and inventory system. I had a natural aptitude for this new technology, as well as an in depth knowledge of the entire operation and was selected as the liaison between the company and the developers and the company providing the IT services. These were heady and exciting times.

By the mid 80’s, business had taken a turn for the worse, and in January, 1987, the company was sold. The new owners decided to keep the facility and continue operations, under their name, and promoted me to Operations Manager. Life was good, and I ran the best facility in the company; in terms of efficiency as well as the conciseness of inventory records. I enjoyed my work, had a wonderful staff, and was able to create a work environment that was conducive not only to productivity, but to employee satisfaction. I told them early on that “we may never be the largest facility in the company, but we will be the best”, and that we became.

Life went on in this manner until the early 2000s and business started to change and, by 2004, it was clear that change was in the offing for my company. The decision was made to consolidate two distribution centers into one, thus closing mine.

At 50, after a productive 30 year career, I was on the street, albeit with a severance package. After six months of job searching, it became clear that there was little interest in a 50 year-old, regardless of experience. With the severance and the unemployment waning, I saw an ad in the newspaper, soliciting Flight Attendants for a regional airline. Let’s face it, this job didn’t exactly fit my demographic, and that’s an understatement. I decided, as the saying goes, to “turn lemons into lemonade”.

Well, as I have often said; I went to the interview (cattle call) having no expectation of being hired and, if hired, no expectation of staying. It was merely an interim job to keep a little (very little) income flowing into the household coffers. As fate would have it, I was invited to attend training. After having passed training, I assumed the unusual life of a Flight Attendant, a role in which I excelled. After about a year-and-a-half, I was asked to apply for the job of “Recruiter”. As with the Flight Attendant position, this required constant travel; giving public presentations and conducting interviews nationwide, with administrative work to be completed in-between travel assignments. It was highly rewarding, yet grueling, but with large amounts of caffeine, I was able to do it.

Eventually, this non-stop lifestyle took its toll and I developed serious health problems as a result. Simultaneously, the company fell upon difficult economic conditions and recruiting was a “back burner” operation. Due to my experience with spreadsheets, combined with my analytical and communications skills, I was retained to accomplish other tasks. Alas, the retention requires me to commute 500 miles each way, by air, five days per week. This requires 14 hour days, or 70 hour weeks, paying for my own meals for less than $27K in compensation. Getting up every day at 4:30 AM and not returning home until 8:30 PM is not only fatiguing beyond belief and it eliminates any personal life, whatsoever. Finally, upon long-standing advice from my doctors, I have decided that the personal risk is no longer worth the ever-diminishing compensation.

So, with a State unemployment rate at 10.7%, the future is not particularly bright at 57; too young to retire and too old to find gainful employment.

Lest you think this is whining; it’s not. It is a lament that I am sure resonates with many in my age group. We were the generation that created the “youth-worship” that we still see today and it has resulted in our being “tossed to the curb”.

We created the means of our own destruction by elevating youth above experience and wisdom, and now we reap the whirlwind. Collectively, we have dealt a serious blow to the “American Dream”; perhaps a mortal one.