Tuesday Night Open Mic for October 6, 2009

Open Mic 1Tuesday night comes again. Some weeks I reach Tuesday night and feel like it was just Open Mic yesterday. This would be one of those weeks. It has flown by. I would imagine that this is the result of an extremely busy week. Time certainly flies when you don’t have time to watch it. Mrs. Weapon is doing better and it looks as though she will be heading back to work within the next week or so. This week has me presenting some different types of articles for people to peruse. I admit that some of the articles are there because I know some around the subject, but I am hoping the economic and IT folks that read here will weigh in and offer better insight on the concepts. If I simply stick to concepts that I can explain we would be missing a lot of areas, as my knowledge is certainly limited. I see discussing these subjects that I am not as well versed in as a way to open the lines of knowledge for everyone beyond my own. I am hoping that folks with knowledge in areas outside of my areas of expertise will begin writing guest commentaries that will enlighten us all beyond my scope…


  1. USWeapon Topic #1

    Obama Wants to Control the Web

    In other words, the agenda of her organization is to transform access to the Internet into a government entitlement project, with all the necessary government intrusion and control in order guarantee it to everyone—in the world. Not surprisingly, listed alongside on the OneWebDay participating organizations list is a group called Free Press, which is the biggest advocacy organization pushing the Obama administration to adopt sweeping regulations of the Internet.

    Free Press was founded by Robert McChesney, an avowed Marxist who is Washington’s leading advocate of so-called network neutrality regulations who recently argued—on a Web site called SocialistProject.ca—that this type of Internet regulation is a prerequisite for a socialist revolution: “Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution.”

    Read the rest of the article at Fox Nation: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/10/05/phil-kerpen-obama-internet-czar-acorn/

    I am a little torn on the whole idea of net neutrality. I believe that I understand the concept, but take note that I say believe rather than I know it. It seems as though the idea would be to give no priority to any data on the net. I guess the question I have is first, is net neutrality a good or bad idea in the opinion of those of you who work in fields where you deal with this stuff? Second, in regard to the article I linked to here, should we believe that the government is really looking towards exercising real control over the internet? Is it even possible for them to do so?

    • I suspect that this is another piece of our One World Government being implemented without our knowledge and consent. Its being presented as something useful but is really a control mechanism for the global government. Or, I could just be a crackpot 😉

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Cyndi – so are you an advocate of net neutrality or not? Understand that Kerpen is presenting this as a precursor somehow to the government controlling the Internet, no matter how slippery or illogical his logic is.

        Option A – You support net neutrality – meaning – you do not believe providers should use their control/ownership over their particular “link” to determine how much bandwidth, if any, should be allocated to service one application or another – this means the emails you send have no higher or lower priority than the kid next door playing a video game online or file sharing via peer-to-peer.

        Option B – You believe businesses should be able to place restrictions and shape/govern what traffic runs over their portion of links and to potentially use this approach to drive additional revenue (want to run bandwidth hogs like video games then pay more $$$).

        The wrinkle is that if you support Option A, imho, you inherently approve of ‘someone’ governing and policing to make sure no one is shaping or prioritizing traffic. Black Flag will tell you to leave it to the market to shake things out. Just see if the average Joe has the means to even know if his/her traffic is being shaped and then can they actually shop for service from someone else.

        If you support option B, you also inherently support the possibility of the provider outright blocking your access to almost anything. Its like getting a newspaper subscription and the newspaper decides to withhold the National news from you and your neighbors.

        Which do you select?

        • I select neither. Let the free market sort it out.

          I do not trust the government anymore. I don’t trust the UN, never did. I don’t trust anyone who trusts the government and the UN.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Oh I forget – my left wing Tourette’s didn’t kick in yet – Phil Kerpen, who wrote the Fox Op Ed works for Americans for Prosperity which is a deeply funded far far far right wing attack group funded by such great corporate citizens as Koch Industries and Exxon Mobile and were behind the “Grassroots” of 912ers (which lays doubt on how grassroots the effort is with that kind of money behind it). Phil Kerpen is a right wing lackey who is as objective as Ed Schultz.

        • Are you going to refute his information or are you going to argue that he is biased? Just wondering.

          Let’s just say I don’t care what his bias is. Where is his information wrong? I don’t have the answers as I am a beginner when it comes to net Neutrality. Is it a good or bad thing? Does it protect people? Does it force businesses to do something that is not business sound?

        • I guess I am asking why do people oppose it?

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            It is typically opposed because businesses want the ability to completely govern what is sent over their section of the pipe. Think about it – I have a VPN client on my laptop that I can use to remotely connect to work from home. I pay for a residential class service from my provider – however – if I am using the line for business purposes more than 50% of the time should I be charged for a business class service? Or, should I be left alone to use my purchased as I see fit w/o any interference or shaping from the provider I buy service from?

            Think about the NBC example. Let’s say Comcast wants to completely take NBC off the air – it will no longer be free. They will pipe it to you over the same backbone but charge you for it. Should they have the right to prioritize that traffic over traffic such as Peer-to-Peer that is being used by the neighborhood kids to swap music and other files? By shaping the traffic they can place higher priority on traffic that is revenue generating for them and ensure higher quality (a lot of this is theoretical – you’d be amazed at the shitty equipment used to deliver services to your TV/Internet).

            • Thanks for the reply Ray. Your explanation makes sense. So on my rudimentary understanding of the idea of net neutrality it seems as though I would oppose the businesses being able to take advantage of people in the way that you are citing. I see the net as a service people pay for. Once they pay for their service, they should be free to use it as they see fit (within the law of course). Does this man I am for NN?

        • Peter Pannish?

    • I signed up for the free press thing back during the bush administration. I signed up for the free press thing back during the bush administration. The reason I signed up was for net neutrality. I will just say now this is a summary of what net neutrality is, so don’t pick at my summary if it isn’t perfect.

      Cable companies have wanted to charge people more money for their service for a long time. Everyone that has cable knows they constantly raise their rates. With internet, companies sell connection speed to you. The more you pay the faster speeds you get. However, net neutrality started because companies were trying to get websites to pay the internet provider to make their webpage go faster. Providers were even trying to get congress to pass legislation to allow this sort of thing. Providers also used the ploy of saying it would cost users less because the websites would be paying for your internet speed when in actuality you are suffering from not being able to access websites that do not pay the internet provider. So basically net neutrality is so that anyone can look at any website without being censored or reduced speed for what you pay for. Or as USW said it, internet providers would not be able “to give priority to any data on the net.”

      By signing up it would send an email to your legislators about net neutrality on your behalf. I did get the basic mass response about this subject back from Specter and Casey. That they supported net neutrality and it seemed like to me that there was no chance for this to even pass.

      When the election came around it did seem like they were pushing radical things that I did not support and I unsubscribed to their emails.

  2. USWeapon Topic #2

    Report: Gulf States in Secret Talks to Drop Dollar

    In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

    Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

    The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

    Read the rest of the article from The Independent (UK): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/the-demise-of-the-dollar-1798175.html

    Allow me to be the first to say that this is the second topic this week that I am a little shaky on and I offer it in the hopes that some of you well informed folks will enlighten me. It seems to me that the folks out there who don’t exactly take kindly to our position as a world power throwing our weight around are beginning to figure out that while they cannot beat us militarily, they can really hurt us economically.

    Here is the sad part, at least from my uneducated point of view: This is a result, not of our enemies figuring out a way to hurt us, but instead our enemies taking advantage of the situation we put ourselves in. The falling value of the dollar is a direct result of the actions of our government, which has increased debt dramatically and fired up the printing presses for money at unprecedented levels over the last 10 years. We hurt our own currency badly, and that gave them ammunition to begin discussions about removing our currency as the standard.

    I guess the question that I have is what would this mean to us. I mean what does it REALLY mean? I know there are the doomsday scenarios that say if this happens it starts a chain reaction that results in the steady collapse of our economic system and eventually our government. But what is the most likely real scenario here and the most likely real result we could expect from it?

    • This one interests me as well, looking forward to some opinions as well.


    • Why are Russia, China, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia your enemies?

      • You assume too much. I didn’t say that those countries were our enemies. I said our enemies cannot beat us militarily. You assumed I meant the countries having this discussion. Some of the gulf states are our enemies.

        • Just asking for clarification thats all.

          • Well, for clarification sake, I don’t see those countries you listed as enemies, except for perhaps Saudi Arabia, which I think loves us publicly but hates us in their heart.

            When we are talking about the Middle East, there are plenty there who are our enemies, unfortunately.

            My focus wasn’t on who is or is not our friend or our enemy. I was more interested in the impact if this happens. Most countries would like to see us humbled a bit, and I understand that. I don’t necessarily jump to that equating to them being an enemy.

      • Shame you have to ask that question, Bob. Why do you dislike the U.S. so much? Therein lies your answer.

        • Who said I disliked the states? I have lived there and have family and friends living there as well.

          • Solely my observation, Bob, from reading your posts. If I am incorrect, then accept my apology.

            • I have commented on the States foreign policy and defended the health system in the UK but thats about it really, I dont know how you could translate that into a dislike of the US.

    • Gulf States Deny Secret Plan to Dump Dollar

      Tuesday, October 06, 2009

      The world’s oil producers will continue using the U.S. dollar as the currency for buying and selling crude, high-ranking oil and finance officials in the Gulf said on Tuesday, denying a report in a British newspaper.

      Earlier, The Independent reported that Gulf Arab states, as well as China, Russia, Japan and France, are in secret talks to end the use of the U.S. dollar to trade oil, causing the American currency to fall in overseas trading Tuesday.

      Qatar’s oil minister, Kuwait’s finance minister and sources in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi central banks all denied the report.

      The Independent report is “absolutely incorrect” and there has been “absolutely nothing” of that nature discussed between Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and other countries, Saudi Central Bank Governor Muhammad al-Jasser told reporters in Istanbul.

      “We did not discuss this at all,” Russia’s deputy finance minister Dmitry Pankin said on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund meeting.


      So it may be a made up story, or it could be true. Myself, I think the violation of food for oil by China, France and Russia lend credibility to the story. But its wrong to reference them as enemies. They are competitors, and just as all’s fair in love and war, this is how international business operates. Why are they pushing the US to sign on for carbon emission reductions, it would be like us agreeing to a foot race, where we wear leg shackles.

      Most countries would like to see the US diminished in its position of economic dominance, as that would create opportunities for their advancement. It is just a matter of time until the dollar is replaced, by a world currency or the yen, driven by necessity, as the US economy shrinks due to the self crippling policies we inflict on ourself.

      • bottom line says:

        LOI – So it may be a made up story, or it could be true.

        Well, if it is a made up story, then why are we not getting the facts? What’s with the media?

        If it’s true. …Uh oh.

        • I did a search and didn’t find anyone else covering this, just blog chatter. If it is true, it will be hard to prove if they all deny it. In the long run, we know there has been talk of using other currencies by countries worried about having too much invested in the dollar, so there will be such agreements made.

          • To be honest I didn’t imagine the idea of debating whether it was true. I was really only wondering what the economists among us might think the impact would be if true.

            I guess there is some merit indetermining if it is really happening in the first place. But I agree so long as the players involved deny it we will never know the truth.

            • True or not, it had a significant impact in the market yesterday. Gold hit a new hight 1048 per ounce yesterday and is currently trading at 1040. 1032 was the previous all time high. It’s moving sideways today, but is holding its gains. The dollar exchange recovered overnight, but was close to its lows yesterday as well. I’m waiting on the resident economists’ thoughts.

              ps glad to hear Mrs USW is better. all the best..

    • See #13

  3. USWeapon Topic #3

    Peace Advocacy Group Organizes White House Facebook Page Takeover

    At about 9 a.m. Monday morning, someone checking the official White House Facebook page would have noticed something peculiar. A single message began showing up on the fan page over and over again, at one point once every minute. Each time it came from a different user and included a small flame icon along with it.

    “This week’s anniversary marks 8 years of war in Afghanistan, and I’m remembering those who have died,” the message states. “Bullets don’t win hearts and minds. We need a better plan for Afghanistan, end the war.”

    The messages stem from a “friendly” takeover of the White House fan page launched by the peace advocacy group Peace Action West to mark the eight year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. Boasting a membership of over 50,000, it advocates for a “smarter foreign policy” that includes putting more resources into economic development and humanitarian aid in the war-torn country.

    Read the Rest of the article here: http://bloggasm.com/peace-advocacy-group-organizes-white-house-facebook-page-takeover

    I had this sent to me this morning as a quick “hey did you know about this” email. For the record I really appreciate it when people send those types of emails to me, and I certainly did in this case as well, so thank you Simon. I appreciate the message that is being sent to the White House as well as the method being used to do so.

    We are often advocates of telling our elected non-representing representatives exactly how we feel and what we want changed. It would be hypocritical to not support the other side from doing the same thing. While most of the folks participating in this seem to be Obama supporters and liberals, I like it. There is no violence. There are no crazy threats or misconstrued statements. It is a simply reminder to the President that there are Americans that are unhappy with this war continuing to be drawn out with no clear end in sight or objective to be won.

    In today’s electronic world, there are more and more ways to reach each other and reach our government. Kudos to the Peace Action West folks for finding a peaceful, non-confrontational, and non-divisional way to get their message through loud and clear to the White House. Whether you agree with the message or not, you have to agree with the method.

  4. USWeapon Topic #4

    Democrats vow to ban domestic violence as ‘pre-existing condition’

    Top House Democrats on Tuesday slammed insurers who claim that domestic violence is a pre-existing condition that can be used to deny coverage to battered women.

    They pledged to incorporate a ban on the practice in the health care reform legislation winding its way through Congress.

    Forty-two states have passed such a prohibition, according to a recent report from the National Women’s Law Center. Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming and the District of Columbia have not, however.

    “Think of this,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “You’ve survived domestic violence, and now you are discriminated [against] in the insurance market because you have a pre-existing medical condition. Well, that will all be gone.”

    The ban would be part of a broader prohibition against the use of pre-existing conditions to deny care, a component of all the reform bills now under consideration.

    Read the rest of the article at CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/06/domestic.violence.insurance/index.html

    I have to admit that this is the first time that I have ever heard of such nonsense. Domestic violence being used by an insurance company to deny coverage, based on calling it a pre-existing condition. I have to admit that I am quite torn on what to think on this particular subject.

    On one side I despise domestic violence. And I find it hard not to support the idea that Congress should create a law that disallows that practice. I understand the argument that whether we like it or not, domestic violence is a condition that causes the likelihood of medical care being used, so therefore insurance companies should have the right to treat it as such. From a pure business standpoint, I would go with the insurance company’s assessment. But there are ethical and moral issues at play here. I would say that if a person is found to be a victim of domestic violence, and thus denied coverage, then the spouse should be arrested.

    On the other side of my brain, it really annoys me to hear this being used as the emotional appeal to get Americans on board with the idea of eliminating all forms of pre-existing conditions rules the insurance companies have set up. We have talked about the economic disaster of forcing insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. So let have an honest discussion on that subject rather than yet another emotional appeal on a single aspect of it that is meant to sway public opinion to a much more far reaching goal.

    • Hi USW, good start to Open Mic week. The first couple articles are ones that I read and wondered about, so will be watching for those more knowledgeable in these areas to chime in.

      This domestic violence as a pre-condition? Wow, at first glance it seems a little ridiculous and unethical. However, if it is a repeat offender situation, ie, where the victim continues to return to the abuser and then requires treatment again and again? Yikes, a tough call. Need to think a little bit more on this – sleep on it, I guess.

      • Pretty good point, Kathy and not unlike a repeat drug user, cigarette smoker, alcoholic, obesity, etc. I never have bought into the theory that battered women cannot get out of a situation. Why can’t they just pack up their children and leave, prosecute the bastard that is doing it, and go on with life. It is hard for me to buy any theory of being hunted down and killed, financial reasons (what about family and shelters), shelters for same, psychological reasoning…..but, I have never walked in their shoes so am not qualified to speak with authority. If being obese is a preexisting condition, so should this be, at least the first time.

        I have no place in my heart for any male or female that abuses either wives or husbands, physically or mentally. Abuse of this type is nothing more than sub human and should be dealt with accordingly. Send them to Iran…it is allowed there.

        • Richmond Spitfire says:

          Hi Everyone…

          Wouldn’t “Adrenaline Junkies” be considered to have a pre-existing condition too?

          Best Regards to all,

    • Ugh reading something like this turns my stomach, how people could even argue for the insurance companies is also horrifying. My aunty was beaten by her husband for many years and people who question why the wives go back to them have absolutely no idea of the psychological and emotional damage these women also have. It takes a lot longer to recover from that damage then the physical beatings.

      • Bob,

        It sounds as though you are personally invested in the discussion. I submit that when you make statements such as reading my thoughts turns your stomach and arguing for insurance companies is horrifying, that you have fallen complete victim to the emotional appeal as the politicians hoped you would do. It has taken away your ability to look at the situation purely with logic and reason and attempt to discuss, debate, and make decisions that are the prudent ones based on reason.

        I don’t mean that to be malicious. If we make decisions based on emotion rather than reality, we will be setting ourselves up for failure. Insurance companies are a business. I understand that. It doesn’t seem that you are willing to acknowledge that.


        • Oh I am fully aware that insurance companies are a business, I will not give my viewpoint on the insurance companies themselves though.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          USW – don’t you think this is a situation of “duh” what is the right thing to do here? I’m also not buying your claim that is somehow a fulcrum from Pelosi et al to win support for reform. Until I see commercials or heavy rotation in the media then to me its just a wrong we are righting – the only people making a stink is, well, you.

          Defining ‘pre-existing’ conditions is just another dagger in the heart of enabling all of us to benefit from the leaps in science and technology. What’s next? DNA testing on embryos will allow us to detect even more ‘pre-existing conditions’ such that insurance companies can deny coverage even before you are born? (“Applause” for the benefits of going pure capitalistic)

          • You aren’t buying that Pelosi is using it as an emotional appeal? Are you serious?

            Its not as though someone asked her about it. SHe brought it up. Why do you think she did that Ray? I am willing to debate the merits of whether d.v. should be covered, but you are really going to pretend that one of the pre-eminent partisan emotional appeal politicians in America is not using this in the same way she has used race, comparisons to nazis, and anything else she can to make an emotional appeal meant to override common sense?

            I understand being cynical. And you are much more cynical of anything I say than anyone. But really, you would defend Pelosi on this one? I am stunned at your lack of common sense on this issue.

      • Bob

        The problem isn’t that anyone on this board will disagree that domestic violence should not be a pre-existing condition. The problem is that the article clearly says

        The ban would be part of a broader prohibition against the use of pre-existing conditions to deny care, a component of all the reform bills now under consideration.

        • Naten….you are closer than you realize. Kathy’s post, the one that I agreed with, is closer to realization than we know, in my opinion. To cut costs, you already have California attacking obesity through higher taxes, you have Obama and his czars wanting to enforce eating habits, etc., all in the disguise of lowering the cost to the public…..insurance companies are in the business of making profits and any time that the government is going to impose mandatory coverages, it is going to raise the cost. That is the law of economics…you increase my cost, I will raise my price. You control my price, I will get out of the business and do something else. Kathyc’s point in setting the rules and guidelines on what is a preexisting condition is going to be fact….even under a public option….to control the cost. It is not the fact that there are certain ailments that are now considered a “condition” to be mandatory coverage…but extrapolate here. You are already seeing insurance companies saying…ok…you are on drugs…we will pay for your rehabilitation once but you do it again, we will not pay. Ok, you were abused by your husband/wife once….if you do not do something to get out of the situation, then it will not be paid for again. THIS is coming down the pike and I sincerely feel that once the so called “public option” is out into place and the employers bail out and those mean old private insurance companies start folding or getting out of the business, what do you think will happen to preexisting conditions once the competition is gone?

          AND…take a good long look at the Baucus bill…read it carefully. I do not wish to prejudice you on it. Read it closely and see how you think it will handle preexisting conditions.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          So who gets to define “pre-existing” conditions? As science progresses I guess one day they’ll be able to test sperm and tell you if one day you decide to have a baby it will have Down’s or some other costly “pre-existing” condition. Maybe this is how Social Darwinism no longer need be passive but can be more active in using science and capitalism to decide who can even reproduce – why the hell allow a baby to be conceived to begin with if its going to have a pre-existing condition that will cost us a shitload of money and have to suffer until it is socially darwin-ized? All this because we think with our heads and wallets and not always our hearts. It isn’t that we cannot pay for Universal Health Care for everyone – it is simply that we will not.

          • Ray,

            You may already be aware of this, especially having a little one recently.

            The government now takes DNA from newborns, to store it in a database. I have no problem studying DNA, but they are authorized to do this with no parental consent. THAT part I have the problem with. Just too Big Brother for me, and what are the future implications for individuals as research progresses?

            I fully support DNA/RNA research, just not this way.

            “Soon, under this bill, the DNA of all citizens will be housed in government genomic biobanks and considered governmental property for government research,” Brase writes. “The DNA taken at birth from every citizen is essentially owned by the government, and every citizen becomes a potential subject of government-sponsored genetic research.”


    • You do realize (or maybe don’t accept it as an excuse) that sometimes in spousal (or familial) abuse situations, the victim is so emotionally crippled they can’t help themselves?

      Insurance companies have enough loopholes already (or how are they so profitable)?

      And this is why I’m all for national health insurance.

      • Charlie, the premise is good. I understand your position and, yes, I understand the emotional part quite well. It happened to my sister at age 26. She is now 65 and still bears the scars (emotional ones). As a family, we stepped in and took her out of the situation, over her objections at the time. However, even saying this, I do not feel that it is a condition to be paid for for life by insurance OR the tax payer.

        As I said above, do you think for a minute, that if a nationalized health care program ends up being the only one, that preexisting conditions would not be limited? I surmise that not only will they be limited, but you will have a panel, just like the private insurance industry does, that will control costs and make future decisions.

        • I had a similar situation with a cousin. I and a friend of mine stepped in. The abuser was abused the old fashioned way … and my cousin returned to his side within months.

          She wound up committing suicide after becoming a full blown heroin addict.

          She was probably more capable of getting help than most (but I really wouldn’t know). There are other cases where the victims just aren’t capable. I don’t know how to handle it except to say “I” find it immoral to deny a victim coverage (even if they are too emotionally crippled to change their environment). We blow a lot of cash in this country and corporate welfare and wars that need not be faught. Surely we could find the cash to finance health care (especially in these types of cases).

        • I’m not sure once there was national health care that pre-existing conditions would return. I’m thinking they wouldn’t.

          • Interesting assumption Charlie. I am going to have to debate that in my mind for a bit. You may be right. Pre-existing conditions very well may not return once government owns a monopoly on health insurance.

            But I bet there would be a higher rate of denied claims. As an example I would throw out the VA’s 40 year denial of Agent Orange claims and PTSD claims. How convenient that they denied those claims until those suffering had grown accustomed to dealing with them and were also in their golden years so not much would be paid out.

            • “VA’s 40 year denial of Agent Orange claims and PTSD claims.”

              That is nothing short of criminal as well. Hopefully, it wouldn’t happen under a nationalized plan (I would think it couldn’t).

              • Hope is not a method. Why would you think that is couldn’t?

              • The VA is a nationalized health plan and it has been thrown out already on A/O…not PTSD. PTSD is considered a long term issue while A/O poisoning is not. I have long term counseling on PTSD, as needed, right now. However, my A/O poisoning is no longer considered valid because less than 1% of the population has it and I am not considered disabled at this time. The reason that I am not disabled is because…I am not. The only thing that has not been thrown out is disability as a result of A/O, that if you were on disability before the rules changed, you still get it. The A/O rules changed under Clinton and have not been restored.

                Since A/O usually turns to cancer and diabetes and the research has stopped as there is no funding for it….everything else has stopped. If I were to get cancer now, it would not be considered as a result of A/O. Fortunately, I do not have cancer cells at this time nor am I diabetic but my blood is poisoned and I cannot give it. So, if I come down with it, I will fall under the normal VA hospital benefits with supplemental coverage and Medicare. Much cheaper, I am sure. So, long answer to your question,,,,,in a way, it has already started.

      • Charlie

        Insurance companies today are profitable because there is no competition.

        • I hear you, BF, but my issue is with coverage. I don’t see how we permit people to go without it. Illegals, no, they shouldn’t get coverage (they should be booted out of the country) … abusers (of the system–drug addicts who don’t rehabilitate after X amount of tries), they should be dropped … but I don’t think we should allow people to go without insurance.

          • Charlie

            Work with me, buddy!

            Forgive the ‘personalization’ of this issue – it (for me at least) gives clarity, because all matters, eventually, become individual matters.

            I have a problem that will cost $100,000. I only have $10,000. Where do I get the $90,000?

            You are willing to sell me insurance to cover the $90,000. Where do you get it?

            Somewhere along the line, $90,000 needs to be paid.

            You can’t maintain a business that pays out more than you receive – you’re a business man and you know that.

            So how can insurance cover everything?

            At some point, it needs to receive (at a minimum) all that it pays out PLUS pay the people who run the business (and the rent, etc.)

            In the end, someone is going to pay either:
            1) what they cost – they cost $90,000 so they will have to pay $90,000
            2) some one pays way-way-way more than the receive – they cost $1 and pay $90,000

            How, ol’friend, do you reconcile #2? That isn’t fair, is it?

            • Let me try this before I start my commute home.

              You have deduct for profit (because if it’s $100,000 real cost, then they’re going to charge customers enough to cover cost + profit. You’re leaving profit out of the equation (and don’t forget it isn’t one person paying the premiums; they cound on more not having such problems). You’d have to do a much greater breakdown.

              Bottom line is they aren’t starving (they’re doing just fine). That might be their right, but why can’t the gov’t pick up the slack of those who don’t have insurance via tax dollars (except you don’t want to pay for it–that I understand).

              • Charlie

                It doesn’t matter where you want to start the pricing scenario.

                You must admit that if you pay more than you receive, you will go bankrupt

          • bottom line says:

            CS – … but I don’t think we should allow…

            That says alot.

        • bottom line says:

          UNCLE SAM – YOU WILL have insurance…or fines/imprisonment.

          INSURANCE COMPANY – We’re gonna have our way with you because we have a bully backing us. We want more. You must have better coverage. PAY!

          JOHN Q. CITIZEN – But I’m out of work. I just got my last unemployment check. I am behind on my bills. My credit cards are maxed out. My home is dangerously close to forclosure. My medical bills are already up to $30k. I owe a family member $800 for groceries. And my Escalade is out of gas. I can’t afford anything else. PLEASE, NO MORE BURDEN!

          INSURANCE COMPANY – Not our problem. Pay NOW, Mr. citizen.

          JOHN Q. CITIZEN – But I just told you that I’ve got nothing to pay with.

          INSURANCE COMPANY – Hey Sammy boy. Mr. Citizen blatenly refuses to pay.

          UNCLE SAM – Pay up Mr. Citizen. Or you’ll be fined.

          JOHN Q. CITIZEN – I’m terrible sorry Uncle Sam Sir, but I have nothing more to pay with. You see…I’m out of work. I just got my last unemployment check. I am behind on my bills. My credit cards are maxed out. My home is dangerously close to forclosure. My medical bills are already up to $30k. I owe a family member $800 for groceries. And my Escalade is out of gas. I can’t afford anything else. I’m all tapped out. I can’t even pay the fine.

          UNCLE SAM – You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You have the right to an attourney. If you cannot afford an attourney, one will be appointed to you by the very same court that is procecuting you for being broke.

    • I don’t see how this is different from any other “pre-existing condition”. Sure, it’s unfortunate to be in an abusive relationship, but it’s also unfortunate to be born with a heart condition. At least the victim of domestic violence has an option to get out of the relationship.

    • Is it a “pre-existing condition”………NO.

      However, it is a living condition much like other activities which insurance companies ask about when trying to determine risk.

      Like Bull Riding or sky diving vs stamp collecting.

      As such it is a legitimate situation than should allow special treatment by the company. Whether increased premiums, conditions for repeat treatments, or out rigth denial of coverage.

      I would be willing to bet that turn downs for this situation were actually rare in most states. The insurance companies would have had this risk in their risk tables for some time. It smells of political grandstanding to me.

      • My thoughts exactly JAC. I would imagine that the rate of turndowns is much lower than we would be led to believe. I say political grandstanding backed up with an emotional appeal meant to overcome logical thinking. That appears to be a winning strategy.

      • I like the bull riding example. People who do that for a living should be denied coverage?

        I don’t think so.

        It’s a risky job. Just the way being a soldier or fireman or policeman is (or serving the greater good gets extra credit in those occupations)?

        Come on, we piss away more money on corporate welfare and dopey wars than we would on national health care. We’re behind the times. Those countries already employing it (and for a long time now) aren’t about to collapse at all. We’re the ones in the deep shit financially right now and don’t forget how we avoided going under altogether–we bailed out Wall Street (more money gone to waste).

        • Charlie:

          All of this: “Come on, we piss away more money on corporate welfare and dopey wars than we would on national health care. We’re behind the times. Those countries already employing it (and for a long time now) aren’t about to collapse at all. We’re the ones in the deep shit financially right now and don’t forget how we avoided going under altogether–we bailed out Wall Street (more money gone to waste).”…………

          is pure emotional B.S. used to rationalize and justify using the govt to steal from me what you can’t get me to pay willingly.

          You justify evil by providing examples of how govt is doing evil all in the name of accomplishing good?????????????. -2 + -2 = ???? (-4, 0, +4)

          Is bull riding justification for denying health insurance? Yes, absolutely. But do companies deny such covereage? Nope, they just charge higher premiums becasue Bull Riding is outside the normal risk range. If we had free markets then some could deny and others could cover if they choose.

          By the way Charlie, all Health Ins. policies and Accidental Death Policies I have seen exclude coverage for acts of war or injuries sustained while on active duty in the military. Firemen and policemen are covered by their workers compensation insurance while on the job, their family policies cover non work related injuries.

          Oh and I love this particular one: “We’re behind the times.” The battle cry of all loyal Lemmings.

          The strangest thing of all is that if we follow your philosophy we will in fact be behind the times. The true conservatives will have won, for we will have condemned ourselves to live in the past. A past that has been proven to be unsustainable and antithetical to the freedom and thus prosperity of mankind.

          • “is pure emotional B.S. used to rationalize and justify using the govt to steal from me what you can’t get me to pay willingly.”

            You need a new line of shit and YOUR math doesn’t compute, pal.

            Talk about lemmings … sweet jesus just jumped back on his vespa.

            I have to take issue with your use of morality and “prosperity of mankind” … let the weak die off and tough shit for those who get beat in the home and maybe die of whatever injuries they sustain from abuse so long as corporations can prosper. I think you have businesskind and mankind mixed up.

            For the record. It’s what I believe. I find your sense of morality completely at odds with my own. You call it emotional B.S. if it makes you feel better. I call you the lemming.

        • Charlie

          I’m not sure what insurance you have – but my insurance specifically
          asks what ‘out of the ordinary’ risks I do – fly private planes, deep sea dive, etc.

          It does not prevent me from doing it, but they change their price of insurance – which is reasonable.

          • I’m on my wife’s plan (oxford). I choose to lift in powermeets and have (over time–with football, weight gain, etc.) deteroriated my knees (bone spurs under my knee caps). I’m not sure if they can reject a claim for an injury there based on the fact I never reported I was a powerlifter but if I’m required to let them know, I think it’s bogus. Who thinks of that crap? flying an airplane is very different, I grant you. But raising the prices on people who can’t afford basic coverage is my issue. How are they supposed to do it?

            • Charlie

              The onus “to think about this crap” is on you!! The “other side” pays millions of dollars in lawyer fees to figure it out – if you do not do the same effort, you’re WAY BEHIND the eight ball!!

              Two ways “they get you”, so you must be careful (that is, as you know, everything in writing).

              1) the fine print lists all extraordinary activities, then as the final caveat says “or anything else so deemed to be out-of-the-ordinary”
              – so they could “gotcha” on that, as ‘power lifting’ is not an “ordinary activity”.

              Secret: if there is any possible question about an activity, disclose it – IN WRITING!

              “I am a power-lifter” on the notes; 99.999% of the time, the insurance will ignore this, as it does not have a ‘line item’ in their actuary tables. You are thus, covered! And since power lifting can be a causal event on any number of troubles – you’re REALLY covered!

              It is almost worth disclosing anything ridiculous – because the casual effects might cover everything from back strain to brain cancer! And since it is very unlikely they have an actuary column for that, they will have ignored it.

              It is a game – where you did not make the rules – so any part of the game you can use to your advantage, you should take it. The rest of the game is against you!

              Hint #2:
              Write into the contract (most people do not know they can do this) “I am not engaged in any extra-ordinary activities as specifically described in this document“.

              You have now reversed onus. They now have now the onus to specifically define which activities are their concern. All that they do not, are now covered!

              This is not insurance companies – but the legal system in which we live under. Sadly, government schools purposely do not teach the masses the secrets of the law that rules them. You have to be a lawyer or hire one to figure all of this out, and who is going to pay $1,000 to understand every contract they sign?

              It is very worthwhile for every adult to take a night course in Basic Law – it might be the most important lessons in your life.

    • My thoughts, DIIK(Damn if I Know)

      I agree the insurance companies are dishonest and many screw their customers on a regular basis. I have also had very satisfactory treatment from my insurance (not health related)before. I am a bit concerned with unintended consequences. Free market solutions usually work better than government mandates. And how does government run insurance treat its customers?

      Which insurance companies rejected the most claims?

      The Medicare denial rate found in the study was roughly 1.7 times that of all of the private carriers combined.

      You would think Medicare’s sheer size might enable it to have smoother procedures with its providers that would enable it to turn down a lower percentage of claims. But no, this is the government we’re talking about.

      So who’s the most “heartless” now? And why should Americans accept the idea of gradually being forced into a government-run system when, based on documented government experience, they will be more likely to see their claims denied?


  5. bottom line says:

    1. Nc3

    • Is that a challenge to any specific person or just the rest of us in general. I dont really have time for it personally today but just to get things going, I would respond with a 2.e5 but thats just me.

      • bottom line says:

        I just threw it out there to see who would respond. Call it bait. I dont really have time for the whole game today either. I still need to go dig my board out of a box SOMEWHERE and set it up. I figure a friendly relaxed game over however long(couple days,weeks, whatever) while conversing/reading/debating/argueing the finer points of news, current events, politics and principles of principalities, might add to our entertainment.


        1. Nc3 e5 2.e4

    • e5

  6. Wow. Simply. Wow.


    The server on this site keeps crashing. If it doesn’t work for you, come back and try again later. It’s worth the look.

    • You will probably find this version a bit more amusing


      • I didn’t find it very amusing at all. The satire was childish at best but mostly moronic. And in fact not even truthful.

        Jefferson was not an atheist nor was Franklin or other founders who spoke against “religion” and/or “churches”. This is a contrived history created by the secularists. However, these gentlemen were not devout Christians who belonged to a particular church either. That is a myth created by the religious zealots.

        These men were mostly diests. They believed in God and some in Christ. But they had real heart burn with organized churches/religion. The memories of the Dark Ages and the witch trials were still clear to them. They were products of the Enlightenment, which did not dismiss God but caused man to reconsider what they had been taught. Some were versed in many religions, including Islam.

        • Well said JAC. I found the comments attached to the picture devisive and immature, as well as inaccurate.

    • Matt:

      Curious as to what your “wow” was about.

      Was the sarcastic attachment included with your link that was attached to the one Bob posted?

      • The link Matt posted (I had to cut and paste into my browser) is not inflaming at all, rather gives the true reprensentation of what is on the print…

      • Well, we can start with what you said above, that many of the Founding Fathers were not Christians, so why they should be held up as if they were confuses me. That said, I find this to be a very clear example of the religious right’s utter disdain for the left. They see us as immoral in the eyes of the lord. A professor clutching the Origin of Species is vilified?! The judge who has spent his life in service to the Constitution is seen weeping for his left-leaning opinions. Some of the stars shine brighter than others on the flag – obviously not the blue states, we’re bastions of immorality. The liberal media (nevermind that it doesn’t actually exist).. The list goes on. Basically the message is, if you do not believe as I do, you are going to hell. I am not so ok with that. Oh, and Jesus is pretty white* there.. he should be much more middle eastern.. then again, I don’t have any reason to believe that he can speak English, so what’s he doing with an English document? It amazes me how groups (not just the religious right) will hijack the founders and famous patriots and The Jesus for their cause. Because if they’re on my side, I must be right!

        That said, I didn’t find the satire too funny, but I did smirk in places.

        *Not white, white, but definitely not Arab. And, by the way, where is his yarmulke? He was, after all, Jewish, no?

        • Mat…you said “The liberal media (nevermind that it doesn’t actually exist)” The thought of a liberal media existing just sends a chill up my leg!

        • Matt:

          My mistake in my original regarding Founders who believed in Christ. I would say most did believe in Christ.

          It was the “churches” that many had heart burn over. That included Jefferson, who is most often used as an example of an atheist founder. I find no evidence that he was an atheist but much evidence that he felt the teachings of Christ were consistant with and in fact necessary for the freedom and liberty he sought.

          That by the way is one reason I think religion should be taught in High School. We need to understand what is true and false in our history and religions are a key part of our history. It is embedded in our politics and it should be studied and studied and studied.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            JAC – religion in what way? Who gets to define what is religion and what is not religion? How does one ensure that it is objectively taught and not a prisoner watching the prison scenario? I don’t disagree with you entirely – I just think there are many uncertainties in doing so.

            • Ray:

              All of the major religions of today and those of the past. I think school boards and State’s can keep it reasonable as to which ones.

              Yes it must be objective. That is done by using guest speakers for each or well trained and educated teachers on the subject matter.

              Behind this is also my firm belief that we sell high school students short on their ability to use their cognitive skills. We have dumbed down our adolescents in order to prolong their childhood and the satisfaction we get from caring for our children.

              Philosophy should be introduced here as well. I say introduced because there is not enough experience yet in this group to form solid philosophies. But they should know what the major theories are and how those fit in our history. That is why religion must be included in the mix.

              The criteria is that the schools are not teaching ONE religion or espousing that ONLY ONE is the TRUE religion. That is for the family church.

              Hope all is well at the Hawkins estate.

              You decided to run for Governor yet? I can still see you packing that old Hawken rifle around screaming for an end to corruption.

              Best Wishes

    • …and Americans don’t believe they live under a theocracy, too….

      • Can you explain to me, why it is that the many* on right feels no qualms about imposing their religious views on Americans via the government (in direct defiance of the 1st Amendment – stem cells, Shivo, abortion, school prayer, etc), while advocating strict adherence in other area (2nd Amendment, limited scope of government, etc)? I am not asking about the merits of their respective positions, but rather how they square using government to impose with demanding that the government does not impose. I have often wondered this (as a serious question).

        *This is not intended to include the people on this site – I enjoy your refreshing lack of hypocrisy and presence of sanity. I am talking more about the Republican party as it’s leadership currently exists and as it existed over the last decade or so.

        • Because America is a theocracy under a veil.

          Thus, there is much contradiction in the general American psyche – which I often point out (and often even here, in our own little gang here)

          Freedom of religion – as long as it’s Christian (or its hereditary source)

          Self-determination – as long as they are American puppets.

          Total War – as long as it isn’t delivered upon Americans – if it is, then its called “acts of terrorists”.


          We must remember that much of the founding philosophies of America derived from Puritanism.

          Extremists – who believed that men (and even more severely, women) are manifestations of ‘original sin’ and must suffer greatly to purify themselves before God.

          It is from the Puritans we get the belief we must make sin illegal and use violence to prevent and cure.

          They believed that government is accountable only to God and thus needs to protect and reward virtue in the people and to punish wrongdoers and that it is a government’s responsibility to punish sin and remove temptation. The consequence: we use legal violence to enforce non-violent morals, and laws against drugs, gambling, etc. to remove temptations; retain laws that publicly punished drunkenness and sexual relations outside of marriage, for example as well as the anti-gay, pro-family bias in law.

          It is from them that creates a philosophy of “A humble and obedient life” to the State, since the State answers to God.

          It is from them we get the concept that jail is a tool to “correct” behavior – the US actually calls many of their justice services “Dept. of Corrections”, reflecting powerfully this Puritan philosophy.

          Alexis de Tocqueville suggested in Democracy in America that Puritanism was the very thing that provided a firm foundation for American democracy, and in his view, these Puritans were hard-working, egalitarian, and studious.

          The theme of a religious basis of economic discipline is echoed in sociologist Max Weber’s work, but both de Tocqueville and Weber argued that this discipline was not a force of economic determinism, but one factor among many that should be considered when evaluating the relative economic success of the Puritans.

          In Hellfire Nation, James A. Morone suggests that some opposing tendencies within Puritanism—its desire to create a just society and its moral fervor in bringing about that just society, which sometimes created paranoia and intolerance for other views—are at the root of America’s current political landscape.[10]

          And, of course, since “God has blessed America”, America can do no wrong – which, of course, inflicts a deadly blindness upon the nation.

          When one begins to tear away the layers of American psyche – one will find a multi-core of influences -which must include its Puritan upbringing – all which warp the attitudes and actions of the Nation.

        • Matt:

          For the most part those you call Left, which I include you for now, are operating under the wrong interpretation of the First Amendment. The meaning was changed in recent times to include “separation”.

          The original intent was clearly to prevent the “establishment” of a national church, such as the Church of England. Those you call right, who are actually on the left, don’t want a national church or religion, they simply don’t want religion driven out of public places.

          Now I am not passing judgement on either side here, I am simply trying to show you the underlying issue of both sides. Each is currently viewing the world through their preconcieved notions of what the other side is up to. You did the same in your opening line.

          You see some of those issues are legitimate moral or ethical issues to be discussed and resolved in any moral society. Yet you have linked them to “forced” religious beliefs “just” because religious people raised the question. At the same time ignoring the fact that your view is in fact imposing your religion upon others as well.

          If the questions are legitimate then they are legitimate, regardless of who asks them.

        • Here’s your problem, the left is DEMANDING that the federal government fund things like embryonic stem cell research and abortion. The right says don’t use MY tax dollars to fund stem cell research, or abortions. There is a big difference between making stem cell reaserch and abortion illegal, and just not funding it with tax dollars.

          Yes, there is a portion of the “religious right” that wants to use the federal governement to out law those things, but they are firmly on the LEFT when it come to legislating behavior. Real conservatives may find both of these things abhorrent (which I do), but recognize that tyranny, in any form is undesireable.

          For school prayer, we don’t want to mandate it, but leave it as a community decision. It should never be at a level higher than the local school board if prayer shold be allowed in a particular school or classroom.

        • I disagree, I think it is because most Americans are true believers in, “if it ain’t broken, then don’t fix it”. Those of us who are a bit older can remember a time when these things were not questioned. Tio have questioned them would have been absurd.

          So, before the Supreme court outlawed prayer in schools, one must ask were schools better or worse?

          Before the court allowed abortion, was society better or worse?

          Have embroyonic stem cell research and euthanasia benefited or hurt society?

          I probably come down on the “religious right” side of most of these issues and yet I feel that my reasoning is rational and humanist rather than religious. I also wonder how the United States of America survived and thrived as a republican democracy for 150 or more years before the courts intervened on these “religious” issues? Why is it that no one can ever answer me that? Some might say that our forward progress as a society stopped when the courts started to rule on issues that were designed to be dealt with by the legislative branch rather than the judicial.

  7. Health Insurance or Jail?

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Congressman John Shadegg just introduced a resolution about a problems he sees in the health care bill that could affect you directly. Joining us live is Congressman John Shadegg. Good evening, Congressman. So I see you brought all your homework and your research. So first of all, what’s the problem?

    REP. JOHN SHADEGG, R – ARIZ.: Well, the problem is that in August (INAUDIBLE) a bill that might fine us, and now we’ve discovered that the bill has criminal penalties.

    VAN SUSTEREN: How’s — I mean, like, in what way? I mean, if I don’t do something under the bill, I could get charged criminally?

    SHADEGG: What the bill says is that this is a tax. If you don’t buy health insurance and you don’t by government-approved health insurance, then they will impose a tax on you and they told you how much the tax was. But unfortunately, the code says that if you don’t pay the tax, that’s a misdemeanor, and we can fine you more, in this case, an additional $25,000. And on top of that, we can put you in jail for up to a year.

    So the bill that we’re all upset about in August because we thought it had some fines it if people didn’t buy the government-approved health insurance, we now discover has an additional $25,000 in fines and jail time.


  8. D13,

    I would be interested in your take on the Senators from Texas all of the sudden reversing course and asking for 3 Billion in bailout money. They voted against the bailout and Texas refused the money. It seems they may be reconsidering. How is this playing out in the Lone Star State?

    • Me also.

      Mine would be to skin em and hang thar hide on the fence as a warning to others.

      How bout you Colonel?

    • LOL…it is not playing out at all and the consensus is that it will not happen. The governor will not allow it. He wants to get reelected over Kay Hutchinson. It is interesting though because of our balanced budget requirement, it cannot be legally done until our next legislature meeting (every two years) unless the governor declares a state of emergency. Our budget is balanced and some are getting a little upset that the revenues have dropped off because of national policies and we got penalized on highway funds for refusing the bailout money on the unemployment funds. We will manage. As it now stands, we are hitting high and hard those Senators and their requests. BO does not like being turned down….especially from Texas.

      But, more importantly, how about the State District Judge that ruled that our voting to change the State Constitution of defining marriage and civil union violated the Federal Constitution and has decided to throw the results of that vote out? It will not pass the State Supreme Court and we all know that, but the ACLU is thinking about getting involved. Texas voted 75.4% in 2005 to define marriage as between a man and woman and voted to not recognize civil union. It is in our constitution as we speak. It will be interesting to see if there will try to be and Federal interdiction. Since this will go before the State Supreme Court which has ruled against challenges so far, the result will be the Constitution cannot be changed through a State District Court. I don’t the the Fed’s have the ‘cajones” to tackle this here, but we will see. The constitution specifically states “a union between one man and one woman and prohibits the recognition of any other type of union.”

      This will be interesting to follow.

  9. Good Morning

    So, now they want to take control of the web too. What part of taking control of our lives do some people not understand? I feel that they are trying to take control of every aspect of our lives, and this is just one more thing. It’s going to get so bad, that we’re going to have to have permission just to go to the bathroom. Probably going to be a matter of time before they install cameras in everybody’s homes and watch every single move you make. Not unless, they already figured out how to do that. I guess freedom of speech on the internet is going to be phased out in the near future.

    About the 8 years of this war. We just lost a local boy in Afghanistan last weekend. He was part of the group of 8 that died. He worked at our local Scolari’s right down the street from us. He was a very sweet,and kind boy, only 22 years old. His name was PFC. Kevin Thompson. They brought his body home yesterday, and showed it on the news, and it’s in the paper today. He went to the same high school that my youngest son went too. Wooster High. It hit a deep pit in my stomach when I heard that, and saw he face, because I recognized him from shopping once in a while at that store. Obama had better wake up and do something about both wars. Either listen to those on the ground, or follow through with his promise, and bring these guys and gals home. I feel they are dying for nothing anymore, and it’s not getting any where anymore. For every insurgent they kill, 10 more come out of the woodwork. They are like ants, kill one, and a bunch more come. I am sick of reading and hearing about those who we are losing over there. I get heartsick when I see these coffins coming off the planes. Enough already.

    About domestic violence. I think these women who keep going back to their abusive husbands and boyfriends, is because they have total control over them. They threaten them by saying they are going to kill them if they leave. I think these abusive people have hypnotized these women, and they are so deathly afraid of leaving, and that’s why they keep going back. Sure, it’s easy to say why don’t they just pack up and leave. Problem with that is, these abusers seem to find where these women have gone. How many have been killed or come close to it because they have left once before? How many times have they been beaten, had black eyes, teeth knocked out? Putting a ban on abusiveness as a pre existing condition is just stupid. No one ever goes looking for an abusive relationship, just like no one looks at how to get cancer, or diabetes. Give me a break. I think these Democrats are being abusive, abusive with power grabbing.


    • bottom line says:

      JUDY – So, now they want to take control of the web too. What part of taking control of our lives do some people not understand? I feel that they are trying to take control of every aspect of our lives, and this is just one more thing. It’s going to get so bad, that we’re going to have to have permission just to go to the bathroom. Probably going to be a matter of time before they install cameras in everybody’s homes and watch every single move you make. Not unless, they already figured out how to do that. I guess freedom of speech on the internet is going to be phased out in the near future.

      BL – I know. AHHHH!!!

      JUDY – About domestic violence. I think these women who keep going back to their abusive husbands and boyfriends, is because they have total control over them. They threaten them by saying they are going to kill them if they leave. I think these abusive people have hypnotized these women, and they are so deathly afraid of leaving, and that’s why they keep going back. Sure, it’s easy to say why don’t they just pack up and leave. Problem with that is, these abusers seem to find where these women have gone. How many have been killed or come close to it because they have left once before? How many times have they been beaten, had black eyes, teeth knocked out? Putting a ban on abusiveness as a pre existing condition is just stupid. No one ever goes looking for an abusive relationship, just like no one looks at how to get cancer, or diabetes. Give me a break. I think these Democrats are being abusive, abusive with power grabbing.

      BL – They keep going back because they want to…not that it’s any of Uncle Sam’s buisness.



  10. Here is a morning funny I thought I would share.

    Amazingly Simple Home Remedies



    A TIMER.






    • lol

    • Mr Tinker

      2009 Reader Submission
      Pending Acceptance
      My father in law tinkers and, most often, fixes things. I have seen him take apart such objects as toasters, motors, electronics, power washers, etc. He often has several projects on the go at any one time.

      My best recollection of him is the day that he came home with a neighbors microwave that he wanted to fix. We didn’t know what was wrong with it, and he disappeared into his workshop for awhile. I heard weird noises coming from the room, and I peeked in.

      The microwave was working fine, but it had no front door. The machine was on, and he had his head tucked into it….I pulled the plug.

      He did not take himself out of the gene pool, and he still tinkers today, but we do keep a closer eye on him.

      By the way, he did develop a brain tumor, which was operated on and he is still with us. I don’t know if stemmed from this incident, but I think this may have increased the odds of this happening.


      FYI, The Darwin Awards site is about people who improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it before siring offspring.

    • Nice !

  11. With all the talk above about pre-existing conditions, I think it’s easy to be taken off point. My thoughts on this are as follows. An insurance company offers you a product in the form of health insurance at a price they specify. If you don’t like the price go somewhere else or do without.

    Now, if the insurance company sees that you are more likely to be injured or something, they realize that they will be paying out money for you more often than for others. It makes perfect sense for them to charge more. This is not a question of morality, it’s simple business. A moral question would be something like this. I make enough money to be able to afford helping others with their medical bills. Should I give money or not? (Note: should does not mean must).

    Now, must a company cover someone for any reason? No. It is their business to offer services as they see fit. Must they do this within bounds? Yes, they can’t discriminate against race, religion, etc, but they most certainly can discriminate against those whose careers/lives are more dangerous, that is the basis of their business.

    Forcing people to get insurance (BTW a level of insurance which the government decides, I have to have prescription coverage though I neither want nor need it and I’ll have to pay more…) doesn’t mean that people with pre-existing conditions won’t pay more. Forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions without charging more will drive up prices for everyone. Creating a public option that can do all this no matter the price (to the taxpayers as it were) will drive the insurance companies out of business (especially when you tax richer insurance plans, which will be their only product in the end). See how this all very quickly leads to single-payer? You don’t have to support it in the beginning, do the government two-step and get it anyway while appearing to save face.

    • JB

      General agreement – but just keep in mind that the system is distorted by government edict.

      There is no competition in insurance – it is closed monopoly. Government licenses only certain entities to provide insurance, making these companies essentially immune to consumer demands.

      This distortion magnifies the issues of corruption – the insurance companies are beholden not to their customers but the government. As long as the government says “its ok” – its ok! – whether or not the customers say it is or not.

      What is left is a segment of the population that is excluded from participation – both in provisioning insurance and buying insurance.

      The solution is not more government, as Mathius or Charlie suggest, but the elimination of government out of the scheme.

      With the threat of free market competition – insurance companies would alter their corrupt practices or fail.

      (I see this in international provisioning of insurance which is outside of the mere licensing monopoly of government. I get instant service, cheap prices and instant payment of claims and rarely a hassle)

      • I’m just curious. If a woman has a breast cancer gene, is it permissible for an insurance company to charge her a higher rate? I ask because, while it makes sense from a business perspective, morally, it seems unfair to penalize someone for something that they cannot control. I am unsure where I fall on this topic, but I would like to hear your answers.

        • Hi Mathius

          I don’t know if it’s permissible or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they did, and at the same time penalize her for a pre condition and charge twice as much.

          I’m at the point where insurance companies are nothing but scam artist and here’s why. Say, you pay into you car insurance every single month like you’re suppose to, get into an accident, make a claim, then what do they do, raise your freakin rates. Same goes for you house insurance. We needed to have some work done in one of our upstairs bathrooms because of a major leak that was dripping into our den,I’m talking about puddles that were coming. Anyway, told our insurance company, they approved the work, but then turned around and raised our rates.

          That’s why I think it’s a waste at times to have any kind of insurance. Don’t mind the mood, just a little crabby today. Hope I’m not taking that away from our resident crab here RAY.

          • Judy,

            In both of those cases, by making a claim, you have raised your risk.

            Water damage calims are the most common types of home owner insurance claims. Most if not all insurance companies will raise their rates after a water damage claim.

        • Matt, re: cancer gene

          You ask “is it unfair to charge a person more for something they cannot control”.

          I cannot control the tides. Should you pay more, for me, because I build a house on the beach, and risk flooding? I don’t control the waves…..

          Often my challenges with your arguments, Matt that (humbly, IMO) you do not understand what “price” means.

          You seem to have some arbitrary understanding about it – that I charge Matt $100 because he is Matt and I charge Judy $50 because she is Judy – that there is no underlying economic theory to the reasons of pricing.

          If I am wrong, I stand corrected.

          Pricing, in insurance, is a measure of risk.

          If your risk in suffering a calamity is higher, insurance must charge you more because the likelihood of paying for that calamity is higher!

          Why do you think someone who has a far lower risk pay the same as you, with the higher risk??? Do you really think that is fair???

          You run with scissors – I do not. I should pay equal to you for insurance against falling on scissors??? Does that make sense to you, sir?

          • When you build your house, you have a choice to build on the beach or not. You could choose to live elsewhere. Even if your choice is difficult, you make that decision. Conversely, the woman with the bad gene had no say, and no recourse. Again, I am not sold either way, but your comparison of her genetic destiny to running with scissors misses the point. You can choose to run with scissor or not.

            That said, I do understand the economic principles at work. I do understand that, regardless of her actions, if she presents a greater risk, financially it makes sense to charge her more. Where I step off the train is where this woman is being penalized for something she did not do and could not avoid.

            If you lived in a small town which was hit by a tornado (this geographic area has no history of tornadoes), but only your house was hit and no other damage occurred, you could say that you are just plain old-fashioned screwed. I, on the other hand, might argue that your more fortunate townfolk have a moral obligation to help get you back on your feet. If however you were struck by lightning because you had chosen to build a giant metal structure, well then that’s your problem and you should pay for your decisions.

            See the difference? I know you do because you are not dense.

            So the question, reiterated, is: should a collective be obligated to bear the burden of the higher risk attendant to certain members through no fault of their own? You say no, I say maybe.

            Your argument makes sense from a Machiavellian standpoint. Mine makes sense when you realize that the other people are human beings and should be treated as you would wish to be treated.

            Though, again, I am undecided.

            • moralobligation

              Neighbors already help neighbors in a tragedy. I’m sure you don’t live on Mars and already know this or have seen this first hand.

              But there does not exist an obligation to do so

              You cannot force an involuntary obligation upon another – that is slavery.

              Organizing a collective to share the risk to mitigate of loss – whether formalized as an “insurance” policy or informal as a “community fund” is a good idea.

              It is a terrible idea if you force someone to pay. You are taking what does not belong to you – the efforts of another man by threat.

              You do not know how much that man can or cannot pay. Only he knows. It might be zero. You have no right, nor superior knowledge to argument with his judgment.

              The amount he pays entitles him to share proportionally the mitigation of his loss – under the terms agreed to by all parties in the agreement.

              If you are not in the agreement, you have no say about how those that are in the deal agree with each other.

              When such a thing is formal, an insurance company is no different. They are the instrument by which a broad range of people can share in the mitigation of severe loss.

              How these people organize their arguments do not concern you. If the parties do not agree, they do not share the mitigation. To force one party to act against their interest is merely making slavery your right.

              No person or entity has future-sight. We do not know what will occur tomorrow. The best we can is to prepare to deal with the consequences that come and organize our response to the potential of loss.

              However, if we know something TODAY that will impact the FUTURE – such as a pre-existing condition, we would be utterly stupid to ignore it.

              You demand insurance companies to be stupid – that is, lose money by accepting a huge risk without compensation. By forcing them to do this, you are ensuring that they will not exist. No company can survive losing money.

              And if you insist on them losing money, you will be the recipient of your own consequence – you will have no insurance too!

          • BF said:
            “I cannot control the tides. Should you pay more, for me, because I build a house on the beach, and risk flooding? I don’t control the waves…..”

            Don’t worry BF the government already has a program to protect your house on the beach, so we all help pay for your flood insurance now.

            The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by the Congress of the United States in 1968 through the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.
            As critics predicted, the NFIP encouraged people to locate in areas more susceptible to flood damage. Prior to the NFIP’s existence, insurance coverage for flood losses was not provided by any private insurance carriers. Insurance losses stemming from flood damage were largely the responsibility of the property owner, although the consequences were sometimes mitigated through provisions for disaster aid. Today, owners of property in flood plains frequently receive disaster aid and payment for insured losses, which in many ways negates the original intent of the NFIP. Consequently, these policy decisions have escalated losses stemming from floods in recent years, both in terms of property and life.

            I grew up near the Gulf coast and in my life time the local town on the beach has been completely wiped away 3 times by hurricanes. No problem as NFIP pays to have it rebuilt. Each time it has been rebuilt, it grows larger as more beach houses and businesses are added. The whole thing is a beach playground that the taxpayer has subsidized. Without NFIP it would be open beach, now it is miles of houses, condo’s and businesses.

            Another example of a fine government program run amuck.

        • You say a woman with a cancer gene is penalized by higher rates. Is she really being penalized? She is being offered a service that is different from other people. Others may get insurance for “just in case” and pay a reasonable rate. She is getting insurance which will definitely pay out. Those two services are not the same and should not be priced the same. Calling it a penalty plays on a sense of unfairness. Who says the world is fair, my friend? Is it fair for me to have to pay higher premiums so that she can buy a more expensive service for a lower rate? As I have said many times before, I would be totally willing to give that person money, but it is my money to give, not the government’s to take. If she needs to rely on others, it is up to the others, not her. She cannot demand that which is not hers.

  12. Charlie,

    Yesterday I asked you where the numbers came from on those dying in the streets of America. I think the media and the politicians manipulate the masses. So the question is are you being played? Do you think national healthcare will make the USA a better country, or do you THINK this for reasons grounded in facts? First, I offer CNN, claiming 45,000 US deaths.

    ” (CNN) — A freelance cameraman’s appendix ruptured and by the time he was admitted to surgery, it was too late. A self-employed mother of two is found dead in bed from undiagnosed heart disease. A 26-year-old aspiring fashion designer collapsed in her bathroom after feeling unusually fatigued for days.
    Paul Hannum’s family members say he probably would’ve gone to the hospital earlier if he had had health insurance.

    Paul Hannum’s family members say he probably would’ve gone to the hospital earlier if he had had health insurance.(read that again, can you not see the leading question that prompted that response?)

    What all three of these people have in common is that they experienced symptoms, but didn’t seek care because they were uninsured and they worried about the hospital expense, according to their families. All three died.”


    A question I wonder, why did they not go to the doctor? Why is the only question that they did not go to a hospital or the ER? They did not think their problem was serious enough to need immediate attention. They were dead wrong, but we are left to guess if they had insurance, would they have sought medical attention, or still ignored their condition? Personal perspective, my father’s first heart attack(still kicking), my mother called the Dr. about his sever pain when he refused to go to the ER, Dr. told her to get him to ER, so she lied & said he was meeting them at his office. He then shave before going for treatment. It was not cost or insurance, he did not think it was a serious
    health problem.

    • And USA Today says its 18,000. Which is the correct number?
      Or are both wrong?

      18,000 deaths blamed on lack of insurance

      By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

      WASHINGTON — More than 18,000 adults in the USA die each year because they are uninsured and can’t get proper health care, researchers report in a landmark study released Tuesday.

      The 193-page report, “Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late,” examines the plight of 30 million — one in seven — working-age Americans whose employers don’t provide insurance and who don’t qualify for government medical care.

      About 10 million children lack insurance; elderly Americans are covered by Medicare.

      It is the second in a planned series of six reports by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) examining the impact of the nation’s fragmented health system. The IOM is a non-profit organization of experts that advises Congress on health issues.

      Overall, the researchers say, 18,314 people die in the USA each year because they lack preventive services, a timely diagnosis or appropriate care.


      Again lets recap, they lack preventive services, a timely diagnosis or appropriate care. How much of that is a result of lack of action by an individual? According to Sen. Blanch Lincoln, Arkansas has 60,000 children without healthcare. 40,000 of them are eligible for the Kidsfirst program,
      meaning free state paid care, but are not enrolled. Two thirds of my states un-insured lack coverage because their parents are too lazy, stupid or indifferent to sign their kids up for free medical care. Damn, there ought to be a law.

      And does that lead us to of that 18,000, only six thousand would bother to sign the papers to get health insurance? The other 12,000 would demonstrate
      Darwin’s theory, how many die of stupidity?

      • LOI

        Here is one piece of the puzzle.


        Last night I found an article that showed why the 18,000 is probably wrong and for sure why the 47,000 number is flawed. In fact, the conclusion was that statistically we would have a greater chance of surivival if we dropped insurance all together.

        Now I can’t find the darn article. It started out showing that the new number for all things is 47. 47 million uninsured, 47000 die each year due to no insurance, and some others. If I ever find it again I will post it.

        Oh, and the original studies were done by proponents of single payer govt policy.

        • JAC,

          Thank you, a good article. I just don’t get how some people will blindly believe all these reports. It doesn’t matter if its Beck or Obama telling us something, we should all be a little sceptical.

          • LOI,

            I often find that if I look around my own life, those I know, experiences I’ve had, the answer is there.

            For instance, I read a report of a man dying after being turned away from 14 hospitals because he had no insurance. That is sad, if true.

            But on the flip side, I would say that access to medical care via insurance exposes people to medical errors, medication mistakes, MRSA germs, etc. that may cause unnecessary harm, including death. THIS I have seen in my own life.

            How this all balances out, I don’t know, but I have seen numbers reported of 7000 deaths and 1.5 million injuries per year due to medication mistakes / interactions alone.

            I asked my 70 year old aunt, that looks and acts about 50, what her secret was. Her answer: “I stay away from doctors”.

  13. US Dollar being replaced

    while they cannot beat us militarily, they can really hurt us economically.

    Strategic warfare at its finest – obliterate the economic base without having to fire a shot.

    I guess the question that I have is what would this mean to us. I mean what does it REALLY mean? I know there are the doomsday scenarios that say if this happens it starts a chain reaction that results in the steady collapse of our economic system and eventually our government. But what is the most likely real scenario here and the most likely real result we could expect from it?

    There are actually two questions here.
    1) What will replace the US$?
    2) What will happen when the US$ is replaced?

    The answer to #1 determines the scenarios – and here is the fact – there is no currency that will replace the US$ today

    Here is the ironic requirement for a new reserve currency – it cannot be used as an instrument of financial policy for the country that currency belongs to!

    If, as example only, the yen becomes the ‘new’ currency – Japanese government could no longer use inflation (or deflation) as a tool to manipulate the Japanese economy. If they did, they would tear apart the global economy by introducing massive uncertainty.

    The world would begin to abandon the yen and it wouldn’t be the reserve currency any more. Nations do not switch on a whim their reserves – flipping out of one currency into another collapse the former currency (as everyone is selling, with no buyers) and the other skyrockets (as everyone is buying, with no sellers) – total chaos.

    So the ‘next’ reserve currency will be one that will not be used for national political manipulation. Anyone willing to pick which country will no longer manipulate their economy? Any national government willing to put their own economy into a severe recession just to have their currency as the reserve? Know of any? I have no clue either!

    So, the rush OUT of the US$ must equal a rush INTO something else – but since we’ve eliminated every global currency – what is that rush INTO going to be?

    Gold? Yes – and but there is only so much gold in the world. A 1/100th of the US$ in circulation going into gold would push gold to over $12,500/oz. The 99/100 rest would be out of luck.

    IMF currency? Maybe – but the IMF itself is a organ of primarily USA financing. The nameplate changes but the underlying support does not. They are trying to raise independent financing via China – but they have a very long way to go.

    Some UN-mix of currencies? We have that today – FOREX, international dynamic exchange of currency valuations – this is already happening.

    Iran sells oil in Yuan (Chinese) and Euro as well as US$ – these type of sales will probably increase, and slowly end the hegemony of the US$ as a trade dollar. It will equally increase pricing uncertainty, which will increase the ‘carry trade’ (or speculators) options.

    Carry trade is where a speculator will borrow money in one currency and buy or lend it in another currency.

    For example, the UK Pound is $1/2 US$ and the Yen is 1000/1 US$ but the UK Pound is 650/1 Uk Pound. A Speculator will sell 1 USD$ for 1000 yen, then buy 1.5 UK Pound, then sell 1.5Uk pound for 3 USd$ – this little loop made $2USD. Of course, many speculators will start to do this, and drive all the currencies toward a mean (average) – but this will force nations into inflation/deflation depending on the direction to the mean by forces outside the country and its national government.

    This example was, of course, exaggerated for demonstrations, the percentages of profit are fractions of a percentage – however, the amounts that roll are in the hundreds of millions and billions.

    But, this type of speculation would increase – putting more money in speculation than in commerce – thus adding a larger overhead of uncertainty in the goods and services you buy – the prices you pay today reflect about 20% uplift due to uncertainty – this probably would increase to 50% – and change the buying habits of Americans for the foreseeable future (prices rise and fall by 50% throughout a year – Americans will bulk buy and store more as an example of such a consequence).

    And if you didn’t like Soros today, you will utterly despise him in the future.

    This change is happening today, but it will not (likely) happen too fast. Faster in moves, the higher the losses to those that hold US$. They have a lot of US$, so a small loss times a large amount is a large loss, making unhappy investors. They will resist large moves in the US$

    #2) Loss of being the Reserve:
    We’ve seen that to be a reserve currency today, that nation would fall into a massive recession and lose its ability to manipulate its own economy.

    The US, however, is the reserve currency – it does not need to demonstrate solid economic sense – in other words, once you’ve earned the trust, you can cheat without much risk. The barrier to becoming a reserve are too high, so nations will stay with the current cheater than suffer the consequences of becoming the stable reserve.

    The US has used its position of reserve currency to grow wealthy at the expense of the world. It has printed money to spend, without suffering the economic consequences.

    But, the US will no longer be able to export its inflation.

    Today, the US government ‘prints’ hundreds of billions of dollars to buy goods –directly (ie: military) or indirectly (ie: welfare payments to people who then buy goods). This should be highly inflationary – except, the US Treasury sells this as ‘debt’ to foreign countries. So the excess dollars entering the market are then extracted out as ‘debt’ to be held by foreign countries. The US economy has no inflation (or very low inflation).

    Countries bought US debt so to trade US dollar between other countries for goods – as the US hegemony on reserve currency dictated that international trade was done in exchange of dollars. This is (and will continue to) stop.

    Thus, other countries no longer need to buy US dollars for trade. The US will not be able to export its inflation. Thus, inflation will remain in the US – large and hard.

    Further, other countries will not be willing to absorb this inflation – they will demand hard goods in trade for their goods – the day of Americans, living off the world, will end.

    American standard of living will collapse.

    The good things: Americans will be forced to become far more productive – international trade will fall, which will increase American manufacturing and production of those goods locally.

    Standard of living will fall but unemployment will slowly reverse.

    Probably savings will expand and re-capitalize the economy.

    The dollar will eventually be inflated to its real economic level and stabilize. Government socialistic policies will be withdraw and/or reduced and/or eliminated – the lack of ability to inflate plus the lack of ability to borrow plus the substantial drop in tax revenue = a lot of things the government does will stop.


    Why are Russia, China, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia your enemies?

    USWep answered perfectly.

    Japan is an ally. 70 years ago, a mortal enemy, 90 years ago, a valuable ally, 150 years ago, a pitiful enemy.

    Hope you get an idea of how precarious ‘ally’ and ‘enemy’ labels are….

    The US has exposed a very soft underbelly – allies, friends, neutrals, adversaries and enemies all see it. They all have sharp knives….

    • Well said BF! I’ve spoken of the same here on many occasions though not as well. Its too bad America doesn’t earn anything for the laborious task of such grandiose spending.

    • I agree with your estimates BF….
      I think the US would survive the shift of the dollar but the US is one of a few countries that can be self sufficent if necessary. Yes we would be reopening steel mills and closed factories because we would have to provide for ourselves what our $$ can no long buy.
      Good job.

      • Good luck with that. Unionists control your country right now and I can’t see many willing to throw $2K for an American made patio set or $100 for an American made toaster. You’re all used to the lifestyle a very strong dollar and high employment in well paying jobs affords.

    • Thank you BF. A well thought out and explained answer, which even my non-economic mind can understand completely. Interesting that you don’t see a collapse. I thought you would insist that it was the end of America. We are a resourceful species. I do think we would regroup and find a way forward.

      • The loss of reserve would not collapse the US – no more than Canada collapses with the CAD$ not being a reserve.

        It will severely alter US buying habits but that is probably a good thing (in the long run)

        However, make no mistake, the US is in trouble.

        The reason the US$ is losing its status as a reserve is because of the financial mismanagement, government largess, and banking elite machinations. It is these things that can destroy the nation.

      • Quite a bit of protectionist measures FOR the US dollar are enacted by those not of America themselves. Once they depart for the Uni-Currency don’t expect them to go out of their way to buy up American debt which they have been doing all along. You’ll finally be on your own laurels and the dollars actual value against other world currencies will go to what it should have been all along. Were you guys a manufacturing based country I’d say it would be great for you but as the largest group of pure consumers on the planet, your standard of living is going to take a pounding. Combine that with the current incarnation of POTUS’s “share the wealth” fixation…

  14. These people are becoming desperate and this could get even uglier very quickly. What a fricken mess.


    • Agree, but I don’t think it will pass, nor will this-

      Senator Lincoln Announces Plan for Greater Transparency in Health Insurance Reform

      Over the past few months, I have heard from many Arkansans who are frustrated and lack accurate information on the emerging health care proposals in Congress. Arkansans have the right to know in advance what health care changes that Senators will be voting on later this month, and that is why today I led a group of Democratic Senators in pushing Senate leaders for greater transparency in the health insurance reform debate.

      My plan for greater transparency regarding health insurance reform legislation would require the following:

      • Legislative text and complete budget costs from the Congressional Budget Office to be posted on a public website at least 72 hours prior to the first vote to proceed to health reform legislation;

      • The legislative text and complete costs of the health care bill as amended made available to the public for 72 hours prior to the vote on final passage of the Senate bill;

      • The legislative text of all amendments filed and offered for debate on the Senate floor posted on a public website prior to beginning debate on the amendment;

      • The final agreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate and complete costs of the final bill made available to the public for 72 hours prior to the vote on final passage in the Senate.

      At a time when trust in Congress and the U.S. government is unprecedentedly low, we can begin to rebuild the American people’s faith in their federal government through transparency and by actively inviting Arkansans and all Americans to participate in the legislative process.

      With Arkansas Pride,

  15. This is an example of how we do changes to the State Constitution here. They must be posted awith the explanation AND the ballot wording. Perhaps the Feds could learn something.

    Explanation and Official ballot language

    1 Angelo State This would transfer Angelo State University’s capital funding designation from the Texas State University System to Texas Tech University. The Legislature already has made ASU part of the Texas Tech system.

    The Ballot would read as follows: “The constitutional amendment providing for the continuation of the constitutional appropriation for facilities and other capital items at Angelo State University on a change in the governance of the university.”

    2 Education loans This would authorize the Legislature to allow the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue up to $500 million in bonds for college and university students to use for their education. The board expects that the currently authorized amount of $400 million will be exhausted by 2009.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance educational loans to students and authorizing bond enhancement agreements with respect to general obligation bonds issued for that purpose.”

    3 Homestead limits This amendment wouldn’t affect taxpayers in Houston, San Antonio and most other cities, where property values are reappraised every year. But it could slow down property tax increases in taxing jurisdictions, primarily in rural areas. The proposal would limit an increase in all appraisals — including those conducted only once every three years, the maximum period allowed by state law — to 10 percent, the same limit that applies to jurisdictions that reappraise property every year. At present, jurisdictions that reappraise property every three years can increase appraised values by as much as 30 percent, or 10 percent for each year. Supporters of Proposition 3 say that practice violates the purpose of the 10 percent annual limit, which is to minimize one-time increases — or ”sticker shock” — in taxable property values.

    The ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide that the maximum appraised value of a residence homestead for ad valorem taxation is limited to the lesser of the most recent market value of the residence homestead as determined by the appraisal entity or 110 percent, or a greater percentage, of the appraised value of the residence homestead for the preceding tax year.”

    4 State construction This calls for up to $1 billion in general obligation bonds for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; the construction of three state prisons; historic preservation; Texas Youth Commission facilities; and Texas Department of Public Safety facilities, including an emergency vehicle operations course facility in Williamson County, among others. The battleship Texas would receive $25 million for long-term preservation.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the issuance of up to $1 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state for maintenance, improvement, repair, and construction projects and for the purchase of needed equipment.”

    5 Redevelopment votes This would authorize the Legislature to allow towns with fewer than 10,000 residents to have local option elections on offering tax breaks to some property owners to encourage redevelopment of blighted areas.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit the voters of a municipality having a population of less than 10,000 to authorize the governing body of the municipality to enter into an agreement with an owner of real property in or adjacent to an area in the municipality that has been approved for funding under certain programs administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture under which the parties agree that all ad valorem taxes imposed on the owner’s property may not be increased for the first five tax years after the tax year in which the agreement is entered into.”

    6 Motor vehicle exemption In an effort to clear up some confusion over existing law, this amendment would allow an individual to claim a property tax exemption for one auto or truck that is used for both business and personal purposes.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation one motor vehicle owned by an individual and used in the course of the owner’s occupation or profession and also for personal activities of the owner.”

    7 Eminent domain This would allow land acquired by a governmental body through eminent domain proceedings to be sold back to the owner at the original sales price under certain conditions. They would include cancellation of the public project for which the land had been acquired, a declaration that the property was unnecessary for public use or a lack of progress on the public project for a prescribed period. The Legislature this year passed an eminent domain bill that would have allowed resale of property to the original owners if it weren’t used after 10 years, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill for unrelated reasons. If voters approve this amendment, legislators will have to pass another bill to carry it out.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment to allow governmental entities to sell property acquired through eminent domain back to the previous owners at the price the entities paid to acquire the property.”

    8 Home equity Supporters of this amendment say it would impose new, “consumer friendly” rules on home equity loans, including a prohibition against a borrower using an unsolicited, pre-printed check to obtain an advance under a line of credit. Borrowers could still make loan applications orally, but this proposal would require that they receive printed copies of their applications before closing on their loans. The amendment also would allow homeowners who fall victim to natural disasters to waive the one-year waiting period between loans. It would prohibit borrowers from designating residential property for agricultural use after closing. Lenders cannot foreclose on agricultural property. Critics of Proposition 8 say it should clarify that origination and certain other fees associated with a loan should be included in calculating the existing 3-percent cap on fees.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment to clarify certain provisions relating to the making of a home equity loan and use of home equity loan proceeds.”

    9 Disabled vet tax break This amendment would allow the Legislature to give totally disabled veterans an exemption from all property taxes due on their homes. It also would realign the existing tax exemption categories for disabled veterans in such a way that some partially disabled veterans could receive bigger tax breaks than they are getting now. Veterans who are 30 percent disabled, for example, could see their property tax exemptions increase from $5,000 to $7,500. Voter approval alone, however, won’t produce the new tax breaks because lawmakers, during this year’s session, failed to pass the necessary legislation to enact the constitutional changes.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt all or part of the residence homesteads of certain totally disabled veterans from ad valorem taxation and authorizing a change in the manner of determining the amount of the existing exemption from ad valorem taxation to which a disabled veteran is entitled.”
    10 Abolishing inspector This ballot item would remove from the constitution all references to the county office of hide and animal inspector, established in 1871 to aid in the prevention of cattle theft. Texas Association of Counties spokeswoman Elna Christopher said she didn’t believe any county still had an inspector. — Clay Robison “The constitutional amendment to abolish the constitutional authority for the office of inspector of hides and animals.”
    11 Lawmaker accountability This would require the House and the Senate to take record votes on final passage of all legislation, except some local bills. Although House and Senate rules already require record votes on final passage, the amendment would assure that the rules couldn’t be changed in future sessions. Vote records also would remain accessible to the public on the Internet for at least two years.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment to require that a record vote be taken by a house of the legislature on final passage of any bill, other than certain local bills, of a resolution proposing or ratifying a constitutional amendment, or of any other nonceremonial resolution, and to provide for public access on the Internet to those record votes.”

    12 Highway borrowing Currently the state can issue up to $1 billion in bonds backed by the State Highway Fund. This amendment would add an additional source of funding by authorizing the issuance of state general obligation bonds for transportation projects, with the requirement of the state that the principal and interest on the bonds that matured or became due would be incontestable and would be paid during that fiscal year.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds by the Texas Transportation Commission in an amount not to exceed $5 billion to provide funding for highway improvement projects.”

    13 Family violence bail This would expand the circumstances under which judges could deny bail to people accused of family violence. A similar amendment, approved by voters two years ago, didn’t go far enough, say advocates of the new proposal, citing a highly publicized murder in San Antonio last year. The latest amendment would allow a judge to deny bail to someone accused of any offense, felony or misdemeanor, involving family violence, if the defendant previously had been released on bail and then had his bond revoked for posing a threat to the victim or the community. A judge also could deny bail to someone accused of violating a protective order. The court would have to hold a hearing within 48 hours of a defendant’s arrest to determine if denial of bail is warranted. A constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2005 allowed denial of bail in domestic violence cases to people accused of felonies. Some crimes of family violence, however, are misdemeanors, which also would be covered by Proposition 13. Supporters of Proposition 13 — including prosecutors, Texans Against Sexual Assault and the Texas Council on Family Violence — believe the amendment could have prevented the shooting death in San Antonio last year of Evairene O’Connor. She was shot at least 20 times by her former husband, Matthew O’Connor, who then fatally shot himself. Despite a history of abuse and being accused of repeatedly violating his former wife’s protective order, Matthew O’Connor had been able to post a $5,000 bail bond. Keith Hampton, a spokesman for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said the group doesn’t oppose the amendment, despite reservations about what he considers another potential erosion of constitutional rights.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the denial of bail to a person who violates certain court orders or conditions of release in a felony or family violence case.”
    14 Judge retirement This amendment would allow a state district judge who reaches the constitutional age limit of 75 in the middle of a four-year term to complete the term. An appellate judge who turns 75 during the first four years of a six-year term would have to step down after the fourth year.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment permitting a justice or judge who reaches the mandatory retirement age while in office to serve the remainder of the justice’s or judge’s current term.”

    15 Cancer research This would authorize $3 billion in bond funding for cancer research. It was overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature, is championed by world cycling champ Lance Armstrong and has been endorsed by Texans from both sides of the political fence, including former President George H.W. Bush and the Texas Democratic Party. But it is opposed by several conservative groups, including the executive committee of the Harris County Republican Party, because of the additional debt the bonds would impose on state government.

    The Ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment requiring the creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorizing the issuance of up to $3 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state for research in Texas to find the causes of and cures for cancer.”
    16 Water borrowing The Texas Water Development Board administers the Economically Distressed Areas Program established in 1989. EDAP provides financial assistance in the form of grants, loans, or grant/loan combinations to bring water and wastewater services primarily to colonias along the Texas-Mexico border. The program funds construction, acquisition, and improvements to water supply and wastewater collection and treatment facilities, including all engineering work. The applicant must fund maintenance and operations. In 1991 a constitutional amendment was approved by voters to allow $250 million in general obligation bonds to be issued for the program. In 2005 the legislature expanded the program to allow other economically distressed areas throughout the state to receive assistance under the program. The proposition would amend the Texas Constitution to allow the board to issue an additional $250 million in general obligation bonds.

    The Ballot will read: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $250 million to provide assistance to economically distressed areas.”

    • oops//left one out but you get the idea. Imagine if Congress were required to post like this.

  16. If I ever stop being a Black Flag and join the Statists, this will be my new flag…


    Benin Empire, a pre-colonial African state situated in the area of modern Nigeria, which lasted from 1440 until 1897.

  17. Can those people in Washington get a grip on reality, I think not. More nanny state laws for the people.


  18. LOI,

    Here’s a to do for you and any other Arkansas-ians (???) out there……

    Clinton library bailout?

    Who: Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, D

    What: Agreed to use $2.5 million in stimulus money to fund the renovation of a bridge leading to the Clinton presidential library in Little Rock, Ark. Previously, a congressional delegation had sought an $8 million legislative earmark for the bridge without success.

    Why it’s an outrage: The Clinton Foundation had agreed to renovate the bridge for $4 million in exchange for their $1 a year land lease. The estimates for repair then increased to $10.5 million. So why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for bad math?

    Where to vent: Call Beebe’s director of communications at 501-682-3642.


    • Kathy,

      Thanks, I will call. I have driven around the area( never visited ) and can say traffic there is not a concern. The congestion is all due to normal rush hour traffic all big cities have.

  19. Common Man:

    I have failed to hold up my end. It is time to head out and still haven’t posted my Mid Eastern thoughts.

    Will have to wait until my return.

    I will leave you with this thought though. WE MUST eliminate our hypocrisy from our dealings with the ENTIRE world. This can start with other countries but MUST eventually lead us to deal with Palestine and Israel on an equal and objective basis. That is not necessarily the first move, but it must be done in the mix of actions required. Israel must remove its settlements from lands it took by force. We must be willing to chastize both sides for bad behavior and take action needed to remedy such behavior….if it threatens OUR security.

    Short drive just got longer as rain and snow are falling again.

    See ya back here Sunday night. Thanks for the info on White River. I have saved the link to the outfitter.

    Until then…….keep your powder dry.

  20. Cyndi P and Kathy:

    I think you guys were discussing the Hardin, MT Police situation the other day.

    If you haven’t followed, the whole thing is now on hold. The guy from the private company is a felon and facing more charges. The attorney and head of the development company that arranged the deal have resigned.

    The city council has put the whole thing in limbo for now. The State Attorney General is looking into it as well. The whole contract arrangement probably violates MT Constitution, regarding open govt.

    And I was wrong about the facility. It is officially a Jail not a Prison. The City Fathers thought spending 27 million to build a jail would bring in jobs and revenue. You know, taking prisoners from other places. That is why they volunteered to take GITMO folks. I thought that was a good idea, as any of those folks would stick out like a sore thumb in Hardin. No way can they pass for Crow or Cheyenne.

    Any how, thought I would share in case you wondered.
    Best to you both.

  21. Charlie and all,

    This is exactly the example I raise regarding the insurance monopoly.

    As long as the government prevent competition, the system perverts and distorts.



    The state is trying to shut down a New York City doctor’s ambitious plan to treat uninsured patients for around $1,000 a year.

    Dr. John Muney offers his patients everything from mammograms to mole removal at his AMG Medical Group clinics, which operate in all five boroughs.

    “I’m trying to help uninsured people here,” he said.

    His patients agree to pay $79 a month for a year in return for unlimited office visits with a $10 co-pay.

    But his plan landed him in the crosshairs of the state Insurance Department, which ordered him to drop his fixed-rate plan – which it claims is equivalent to an insurance policy.

    Muney insists it is not insurance because it doesn’t cover anything that he can’t do in his offices, like complicated surgery. He points out his offices do not operate 24/7 so they can’t function like emergency rooms.

    “I’m not doing an insurance business,” he said. “I’m just providing my services at my place during certain hours.”

    He says he can afford to charge such a small amount because he doesn’t have to process mountains of paperwork and spend hours on billing.

    “If they leave me alone, I can serve thousands of patients,” he said.

    The state believes his plan runs afoul of the law because it promises to cover unplanned procedures – like treating a sudden ear infection – under a fixed rate. That’s something only a licensed insurance company can do.

    “The law is strict on how insurance is defined,” said an Insurance Department spokesman.

    • BF

      At some point in time, most likely after it is too late, people will wake up, pour out the kool-aid, and realize that anything government controls will be broken in a very short time.

      I simply cannot comprehend any desire to have national healthcare by some, despite the overwhelming evidence against it that is available.

      Shaking head in sadness, time for a beer.



    • I guess if I give the Dr a chicken for treating me that makes him a farmer??? Amazing how stupid government really is.

  22. And what happens if one of these detainees should be lucky enough to escape, then what?

    WASHINGTON — In a partial victory for President Obama’s troubled bid to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, key congressional negotiators unveiled a plan Wednesday to permit terror suspects held there to continue to be transferred into the United States to face trial.

    The House-Senate compromise was reached by Democratic negotiators on a $42.8 billion homeland security appropriations bill.

    The move sets up a clash with Republicans and a potentially difficult vote for dozens of House Democrats, who only last week voted in favor of a GOP plan to block any detainee transfers into the U.S. That vote came on a nonbinding motion, but Wednesday’s compromise would carry the force of law for the rest of the budget year that began Oct. 1.

    Obama’s order to close Guantanamo by mid-January has vexed his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, who complain that it was dropped on them without a plan to carry it out.

    Republicans have been enthusiastic in their opposition to the plan and clearly feel that public opinion and the politics of Guantanamo are working in their favor. However, prominent members of the party, including last fall’s presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, want to see the facility closed as well.

    Supporters of closing Guantanamo say the facility and the lengthy detention of suspects who may have been held indefinitely without trial have hurt the United States’ reputation across the globe. And they said fears of bringing the detainees to the U.S. are exaggerated.

    Supporters of prosecuting Guantanamo detainees in the U.S. say existing federal prisons are more than adequate to safely hold them.

    Republicans counter that Guantanamo is an ideal place to hold and prosecute the 223 detainees that remain there. Dozens of those have been approved for release, but U.S. officials fear they will be mistreated or killed if sent to their native countries, and they have yet to be accepted by other countries.

    Administration officials say that the deadline for closing Guantanamo may slip anyway because of difficulties in completing the lengthy review of detainee files and resolving other tough questions.

    • Did you see that the price of gold has gone over a $1000 an ounce? Read it in today’s paper.

      • $1047 was the high today.

        • I read it was $1020, guess it depends on what paper you read.

        • I may have to start panning for Gold. There are supposed to be some sites in MI according to the internet.

          • Birdman

            Too late, all the good spots are taken.

            Right now, the best strategy is:

            With the cash you would use to buy gold today, you should ue that cash to buy what you would be buying with that gold in the future.

            So, if you would need to buy food with gold after the “fall of the dollar” – buy food today and store it.

            If you would need to buy a fence to protect your house with gold, buy that fence and put it up today.

            Remember, gold is not money right now. US$ is money right now.

            So use money to buy things – it will be a long time before gold becomes money again and it will be more difficult to spend gold even in the future, then you being able to spend currency today.

            • Black Flag:

              I am starting to store food and other supplies. If I end up moving, I’ll take it with me. The food and other supplies will not go to waste because we plan to rotate our stock and eat the food. I wish I had a generator and transfer switch but I cannot afford it at this time.

              • During the recent emergency test (over 1 week) I found that a generator was key.

                I bought a 1300W – enough to carry a heater coil to cook, boil water and run the freezer – under $150.

              • Hell, I live in tornado alley…I thought everyone had a generator and a back up….

    • Not bad for $1000. Kind of on the small side, but who cares.

  23. Shouldn’t the values come from within the home? As for mentors, anybody can be a mentor, just look all around you, they’re everywhere. There is violence in all schools, some worse than others. It’s a shame that these schools have to have some one killed before they do something. IMO.

    CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says the high-profile involvement of President Obama’s administration isn’t “show and tell.” He says there’s a genuine commitment to address youth violence.

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared in Chicago on Wednesday to discuss ways to combat the violence. Their visit comes after the death of 16-year-old Fenger High School student Derrion Albert, who was beaten in an attack captured on video.

    Duncan says Fenger is set to receive $500,000 in federal money to help it stabilize after the violence. The school can use the money for counselors and other programs.

    Duncan says the students he talked to Wednesday from Albert’s high school are struggling to learn values and looking for mentors to help them.

  24. The state believes his plan runs afoul of the law because it promises to cover unplanned procedures – like treating a sudden ear infection – under a fixed rate. That’s something only a licensed insurance company can do.

    NO, I don’t believe that’s what it is, I believe it’s because they can’t get their greedy, grubby hands in the action and take.

  25. Some recent revelations in the healthcare industry. What would normally be a call to the Family Health clinic where I work, and get a same day appointment, is now taking 3 days. During my visit today, i asked why the sudden influx in patients. The answer was astounding. The elderly patients have nearly quadrupled in the last month. Gee, wonder why?


  26. Obama’s Hometown Police: Useless at Best, Deadly at Worst
    by William Grigg

    Last Thursday, 16-year-old Derrion Albert had the misfortune of wandering into a street fight in Chicago between two rival gangs. The melee was apparently provoked by a shooting earlier that day outside Christian Fenger High School. Albert was beaten to death by three teenage thugs in front of the nearby Agape Community Center.

    Following this horrifying murder, “Chicago police lined up in a show of force outside Fenger,” reported a local news account. “Students trickled into the school at staggered intervals through the morning. Most arrived on foot wearing their standard uniform of khaki pants and black shirts. Police patrolled the area in squad cars and staged a visible presence at the school’s entrance. `We want to provide reassurance to the public that there’s a police presence and they can feel safe in the neighborhood and kids can feel safe at school,’ said Morgan Park District Commander Michael Kuemmeth.”

    Ah, yes — a “police presence” will be so reassuring to local parents, given the craven behavior of Chicago’s “Finest” during the actual murder of Derrion Albert: As the Chicago Tribune noted, “The first officers who arrived on the scene waited until backup arrived before they broke up the fight, witnesses said.”

    That’s right: Armed “officers” — plural — sat by and refused to intervene while an innocent 16-year-old was beaten to death in front of them.

    A report from a local CBS affiliate adds this critical detail: “When police arrived, three of [the Agape Community Center’s] staff went out to rescue a boy who was getting beaten by several others. The teen was later identified as Albert. Police waited with the staff members until the ambulance arrived to transport Albert, [Center Director Milton] Massie said.”

    While the well-compensated armed heroes of the Chicago PD hesitated until they had the advantage of numbers, unarmed civilians intervened at personal risk in a genuinely heroic, albeit doomed, effort to save the honor roll student.

    Since police have no legal or civil obligation to intervene to assist an individual citizen, none of the tax-fattened chair-moisteners who sat by and witnessed the murder of Derrion Albert will face personal or professional consequences.

    The Chicago Police Department will probably capitalize on this tragedy to obtain more resources for its gang enforcement units — spectacularly corrupt paramilitary outfits that have traditionally terrorized the neighborhoods they supposedly protect. Four of the officers who participated in a police crime wave as part of the gang enforcement section were recently sentenced to six months in jail, a sentence so light it hardly qualifies as a slap on the wrist.

    • And many believe my ideals of personnal protection are extreme. With clear and present danger, time for shootin to commence, screw to thugs.

    • That’s just outrageous to think that the police just sat there and watched what happened. What are we paying their wages for if they are not going to do anything to protect some one like that and what happened to to him. That’s just disgusting, makes me sick to even have read that.

    • This is also why I think welfare needs to be ended (in it’s current form). If your on welfare, at the very least one should earn that money by collecting litter, fixing potholes, cleaning empty lots ect. They should EARN that money, through hard labor that makes life better for those who work a real job, that provides for them. This would also give them incentive to learn a trade and get off welfare.


      • But G, why would they want to go work, when they can get that money for doing nothing. If you could get free money, would you work? Have I got a story for you then, but no time right now.

    • While I enjoy the sentiment, the story simply is not accurate. I watched the video of This boy being beaten to death. There were no police around. Much of the actual fight had moved down the block. Perhaps there were police down there. Derrian was beaten and then a group of girls tried to pull him to safety. No police in the viewing vicinity at all.


      • USWep

        The story relies on the testimony of the police officers themselves.

      • I saw the video as well, and reading the story, the only place that the police could have been was behind the person taking the video. I would imagine that is a possibility, since the cops aren’t known for taking the fight to those who need it taken to them.

        Hope Mrs. USW is doing well, pass on my best wishes for her speedy recovery.


    • BF…did you post this as a “slap” against the police for not interfering? (assuming they were there). If so, I do not understand your analogy then for you and I, one day, had a very long discussion concerning the same. First, you do not think that a police force is necessary, but you made a very hard point to me along these same lines.

      If you, BF, saw a mugging in progress, or a beating, then you would NOT interfere because (1) you would not put yourself in harms way because you have a greater responsibility to your family than to the person being beaten, (2) you would question as to why that person was being beaten and that interference may not be on the right side, and (3) it is none of your business.

      So, you would have done exactly what the police have purportedly done but now you seem to have some outrage.


      • BF…did you post this as a “slap” against the police for not interfering?


        In a society that is being rendered defenseless, police are “supposed” to defend us.

        First, you do not think that a police force is necessary, but you made a very hard point to me along these same lines.

        Yes, because – in reality a modern police force is there to enforce government edicts – the are Law Enforcement, not Peace Keepers nor Protectors.

        If you, BF, saw a mugging in progress, or a beating, then you would NOT interfere because (1) you would not put yourself in harms way because you have a greater responsibility to your family than to the person being beaten, (2) you would question as to why that person was being beaten and that interference may not be on the right side, and (3) it is none of your business.

        To correct you:
        (1) Not in harms way – UNLESS I was assured – for myself – the Risk was minimal.

        In this case, it was – there were many other individuals also present that were capable of stopping the assault – all that was needed was the FIRST person to try.

        So, you would have done exactly what the police have purportedly done but now you seem to have some outrage.

        They carry guns, have a multitude of weaponry in their cars, bullet-resistant vests and radios to call in support if necessary.

        I have (typically) none of the above.

  27. Maybe you guys would know but why does “Charity Navigator” NOT cover/review ACORN if it has enjoyed that “charity” status for so many decades? Seeing it on so many side references I have to ask, who runs Charity Navigator?

    • According to charity navigator, they do not rate ACORN because they are not considered a charity organization under law.

  28. Since it is open mic day, let me pose a question.

    How would you propose changing or illiminating all welfare programs in the U.S.? Why or why not just do away with it?
    What would you have the welfare folks do to earn the taxpayer funds that they receive?


    • 1) Eliminating programs – probably the most difficult task possible. If you want LA Riots times 1,000, try eliminating an entitlement.

      People have absorbed these welfare programs as part of their lives – they are wholly dependent on them for their daily survival.

      They will see any attempt at removing these programs as -from their point of view- stealing food out of their mouths. They will kill to prevent this.

      The only possible way would be to terminate any further people from entering an entitlement, and grandfather current recipients until they die. But this is full of pitfalls – how can anyone, politically, suggest one group of people as ‘favored’ vs another group? Instant alienation of any poltician. Further, the receiving group will demand inheritance rights – that is, survivors will continue to receive their payments – turning a new generation into dependency and starting the whole muck all over again.

      From the POV of welfare recipients “earning” their “pay” – they are. You are paying them to not riot in the streets and burn down our cities.

      Until external forces cause internal pain – such as an economic collapse – it will be next to impossible to retract an entitlement. There needs to be a large, obvious, systemic event that can ‘prove’ to the welfare class that ‘it is not the politicians fault’ that cut back are being made.

      Of course, the consequence of this will be a creation of a boogy-man.

      This was the strategy in Weimer Germany – where the collapse was pawned off on the easiest scape goats – the Jewish community – who by their insular culture had survived better the collapse then their neighbors.

      Americans are already primed for such scape goats – Arabs, Muslims and Mexicans top the list.

      • BF, For the most part I would agree with your opinion. Just one statement:

        From the POV of welfare recipients “earning” their “pay” – they are. You are paying them to not riot in the streets and burn down our cities.

        This is where I think a line should be drawn. IMHO, they are destroying our cities, just not with fire or riots. Crime rates, blight ect. is just taking longer, but still achieving the same result. This is what I would like to see changed the most. No work, as I mentioned above, then no pay.

        I’d be willing to fight the riots to make this happen (did so with Cuban Migrants in Panama), and it was effective. Still thinking on this!

        I do agree that a dead stop would be quite ugly.


        • G-Man

          Here is the economic challenge:

          A) If there was work for them to do that provided value to someone (ie: society in general), someone would offer them a job to do it.

          B) However, by fact, they do not have a job.

          Therefore, there are only two explanations

          1) The work they are capable of doing has no value.
          2) The pay offered to them is too low for them to take the work.

          (1) is a big problem. They have gone through (I expect) some form of public education – and it has been insufficient (for whatever reason) for them to earn a real living.

          They need to be trained.

          However, by their public school experience as an example, the likelihood of successful training is next to zero.

          Here exists a dead-loop. Unless some critical event – like starvation – motivate a change, they will not change.

          A motivator that powerful to spark a change (like starvation) is also powerful enough to spark an explosion (riots and burning down cities).

          The latter (2) is a big problem – there is a moral hazard at play.

          They could earn a living by doing work, but they are paid more (or close enough) to not work.

          If you try to reduce their non-working pay, they will resist.

          If you try to subsidize their working pay with a percentage of non-working, they will take both and resist the removal of either. Every time they get a pay raise, the non-working pay gets cut – so, effectively, they earn no benefit from improving their productivity. Thus, they do not improve productivity.

          • With the stroke of a pen, Obama undid all the changes made by Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton’s Welfare reform of the 1990’s. Welfare was part of the stimulus bill that really had nothing to do with stimulating the economy and Obama signed the bill.

          • Economically, if I was on welfare, and for 40 hours a week I had to pick up litter, I would a) be content with my job and wages given, or b) learn a new trade to get a better paying job.

            I do not assume that people on welfare are by anymeans stupid. In fact, many drive far nicer vehicles than I, have nice clothes, bigger TVs, ect. Not sure where I’m heading with this, but I’ll get there.

            Thanks for discussing this, it’s been a hot button for me for years, and talking about it helps!

            CHEERS again!


            • I guess I would if given the chance, get a trade while working at my job, at least that way, I’m still making money, and not just sitting around waiting for my check to come in.

      • Grandfather them for up to a maximum of X years (5, 6 or whatever is reasonable). Give them time to get off but end it in X period of time.

        • Birdman

          Then your day of reckoning will be in X years – and suffer the same riots and burning cities that you would if you did it today.

          Delaying the day of reckoning only delays the reckoning – it does not chase it away.

          • I think I may be supporting that day of reckoning, sooner rather than later, but with a reason.

            If, our economy flushes, and inflation (high or hyper) takes over, then the same results of earn it or lose it, or grandfathering would likley be the same. By focusing on the issue now, it can be better contained. A sudden collapse of the dollar would not allow for the planning of that kind of containment. IMHO, some of our cities neighborhoods need burned down and rebuilt anyway.

            Still thinking, but enjoy the discussion.


            • A two fold thought process. 1. Think defensive tactics. 2. Think end result.

              Now it is a riddle!

      • Agree with what you said except for who the scape goats will be. The groups you mentioned are people of color/victims and therefore protected. Look at all the hatred directed at whites in general and white conservatives in particular. My guess is middle and upper class whites will be the target. Those two groups also have a lot of wealth that can be ‘redistributed’. Think about it.

  29. whitehorn says:

    interesting reading hi g man and Judy bf hope alls well with you and your family

    • Hi Whitehorn (pops), Chime in with your opinion on this current discussion, how would you fix welfare, haveing read all that has been said?


  30. Some people are just too lazy to go out and get a job. Personally, I think they should be required to get off their duffs and look for work even while getting that check, and have to show proof that they are making an honest effort in looking for work. That’s the trouble with the welfare system, why work if you don’t have too. They make it too easy for people to not have to work. That holds true I think for all those illegals that come in, and they have a gazillion kids. Of course, that just my opinion.

    • The other issue is that they will only replace jobs that are already available – and thus, only make unemployment worse.

      • BF, I would disagree here. At least where I live, the criminals that are somewhat trustworthy are seen daily picking up litter. Not that this is a bad thing, but I would rather see it the way I explained earlier. I’m sure that criminals can find other things to do, consistant with the welfare folks. There’s plenty of work to go around, and since WE the taxpayers are paying the bill, we should have a say in it!

        • Every job a criminal does takes away a job for someone else to do.

          If there are more jobs then workers willing to do them – I agree.

          If there are more workers than jobs – it will worsen unemployment.

          • That’s my whole point. There are many jobs for OUR citizens, that are being taken by the illegals, by the criminals ect. Why not put those on welfare to work doing these jobs? Would it not motivate them to get better?

            • Ooohh … don’t get me started on why it is right to prevent a man from finding a job, simply because he cross an imaginary line.

              Illegal workers have jobs because Americans do not want them. They are typically ‘below the dignity’ of most Americans.

              Welfare people would have taken these jobs – if they wanted them.

              They don’t want them.

        • At a town hall meeting, the subject of criminals working came up. I don’t recall the name of the program but my representative was aware of the program. It has seriously impacted the furniture industry in MI. Black Flag is correct. Every criminal working puts an honest citizen out of work.

      • I really don’t understand what you mean BF. How can that make unemployment worse. Isn’t it better they find work than not find work? Once they found a job, they get off welfare, right. Sometimes, I don’t understand your way of thinking, like with this one. Maybe you can use you wise words here and explain in laymens terms again where I can understand you.

        • If we force them off of welfare to find a job, it will raise unemployment

          • Or it will solve the illegal immigrant issue.

          • But, isn’t that the idea, to get them off welfare and get a job? Shouldn’t matter who gets the work, and what difference does make who got the job whether it be a person who was on welfare and isn’t anymore, or a person who still needs a job and maybe got. Either way, the job is taken, so for that I don’t get it when you say it’s would still worsen the unemployment.

            • The unemployment rate would go up, because it excludes those on welfare.

              Adding their numbers would cause the published rate to go up.

              However, you would still be right – job in, job out equals the same thing.

              • Well, then maybe they should count those who are on welfare, then people can see what the rate really is. I don’t see why they should be excluded on that.

              • So are you saying that ACTUAL rate of unemployment would go up, or that just the REPORTED rate of unemployment would go up?

              • Redleg

                1,000 on Welfare get moved to Unemployment.

                # of available jobs does not change.

                Reported rate goes up.

  31. Cyndi,

    Where are you located? Can’t find that old post where you talked about your island.


    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Impact was projected to have been about 20 mins ago. We’re all safe and sound. We’re on an atoll surrounded by deep ocean. That’s what keeps us safe.


  32. v. Holland says:

    Now that they have come out with electronic cigarettes-I am wondering what effect if any they will have on insurance rates for people who vap instead of smoke. I wonder if saying I am a non smoker would be considered a lie since I am still using nicotine but not using a product that is actually producing second hand smoke. Anyway just wondering how everyone thinks this new way of smoking will effect the world of insurance.

  33. Black Flag said:

    Then, Judy, you will get riots and cities on fire.

    This is correct, and part of the riddle. They hide in the dark, behind trees and houses. at this point they are exposed, the defensive tactic that answers the first part of the riddle

  34. Oil no longed traded in Dollars? Deficit Spending, Printing, Monetizing Debt, The Dollars Demise

  35. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6865050.ece

    Errors by NHS staff led to 5,700 deaths in six months, report says

    Figures from the National Patient Safety Agency showed that 459,500 patient safety incidents and near misses occurred in England between last October and March.

  36. CBO: Budget deficit hit record $1.4T in 2009


  37. Okay, I’m done for the night BF, as always, been a pleasure talking with you, I’m sure we’ll talk again tomorrow.

    Have a good night

    Take Care


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