Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nuf Said

You know, Bush has really blown it for fiscal conservatives. Now Americans know that we do have the money, if we want something bad enough. At least until our children have to pay the bill. So, while we are in a spending mood perhaps we should give money to something I believe in for a change. Nuf said.

Friday, September 28, 2007

S-CHIP passes without help from Kucinich

Health care is a major problem for the poor and almost poor. It is also a fabrication that people don't get health care. Let me explain.

If you are poor and sick you get health care because hospitals will treat you even if you cannot pay. The problem is for those almost poor people who have no insurance. Should they need medical care they must pay for it. They can lose their retirement accounts, home and any savings they have to pay the bills. Only after the "almost poor" become "poor" will the government step in.

The problem I have with this is that now we have another poor person, without a home and any resources for retirement, because they had a health care emergency. I believe we are better than that as a nation.

If we expect the poor to work hard to get out of poverty and off the public dime, then we need to give them a chance to stay there. It is inevitable that, as we get older, we all will have a health care crisis. Why would we give the mixed message to poor Americans that we want them to be productive members of society for a while. But, when they get old we want them to be poor again and not be able to help their kids by passing on any assets.

S-Chip is legislation that helps almost poor people get insurance at a cost to our nation of 33 billion. How could anyone (Kucinich) vote against it in the face of sending another 190 billion to Iraq.

More on it here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What I did last weekend!

I was at the Blue Chip sailing in lovely Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Three of us own a boat and race a lot. You can read commentary on the regatta here. You need to page to the end to see the final results. I sail with the skipper Tom Burton, one of the boat owners.

We got to try our hand at going head to head with the winner of the America's Cup this year, Peter Holmberg (pictured above)

San Diego Mayor - A Good Man

I am a financial advisor. When I look at the facts surrounding gay "marriage" and "civil unions" I come to the undeniable conclusion that gay couples deserve the right to marry. Anything less is patently discriminatory.

I am not saying that all churches need "marry" gay couples. I leave it up to individual churches and their right to freedom of religion. But, to deny gay couples the right to marry under the Federal Laws of our land presents these couples with undue and insurmountable hardship. Seperate but equal is not the law of our land. All men and women are created equal. Telling them thay cannot marry another consenting adult defies and undermines the foundation of our Democracy.

Any objective person, when presented with the facts, must come to the same conclusion despite their religious beliefs.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Is al-Queda not relavant in Iraq?

If al-Queda is not working hard in Iraq, they are surely working hard elsewhere. We may be "fighting them in Iraq" while they are fighting us everywhere else. I imagine a blindfolded man in a dark room punching at a foe that has left the building. Could it be that al-Queda is using few resoruces in Iraq while the Iraquis themselves keep us pinned down?

Andrew Tilghman a former Stars and Stripes reporter in Iraq has the story in Washington Monthly

The essential questions are: How large is the presence of AQI, in terms of manpower and attacks instigated, and what role does the group play in catalyzing further violence? For the first question, the military has produced an estimate. In a background briefing this July in Baghdad, military officials said that during the first half of this year AQI accounted for 15 percent of attacks in Iraq. That figure was also cited in the military intelligence report during final preparations for a National Intelligence Estimate in July.
This is the number on which many military experts inside the Beltway rely. Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution who attended the Baghdad background briefing, explained that he thought the estimate derived from a comprehensive analysis by teams of local intelligence agents who examine the type and location of daily attacks, and their intended targets, and crosscheck that with reports from Iraqi informants and other data, such as intercepted phone calls. "It's a fairly detailed kind of assessment," O'Hanlon said. "Obviously you can't always know who is behind an attack, but there is a fairly systematic way of looking at the attacks where they can begin to make a pretty informed guess."
Yet those who have worked on estimates inside the system take a more circumspect view. Alex Rossmiller, who worked in Iraq as an intelligence officer for the Department of Defense, says that real uncertainties exist in assigning responsibility for attacks. "It was kind of a running joke in our office," he recalls. "We would sarcastically refer to everybody as al-Qaeda...."

How big, then, is AQI? The most persuasive estimate I've heard comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq," according to Nance, "is a microscopic terrorist organization..."

The view that AQI is neither as big nor as lethal as commonly believed is widespread among working-level analysts and troops on the ground. A majority of those interviewed for this article believe that the military's AQI estimates are overblown to varying degrees. If such misgivings are common, why haven't doubts pricked the public debate? The reason is that alternate views are running up against an echo chamber of powerful players all with an interest in hyping AQI's role.

A Good Story From TN

From Indymedia

"Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes. for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were...

“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”...

After the VNNers left in their shiny SUVs to go back to Alabama and all the other states that they were from the clowns and counter demonstrators began to march out of the area chanting ‘WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!” But the cops stopped the clowns and counter protestors. “Hey, do you want an escort” an African-American police officer on a motorcycle asked. “Yes” a clown replied. “We are walking to Market Square in the center of town to celebrate.” The police officers got in front of the now anti racist parade and blocked the entire road for the march through the heart of Knoxville. An event called imagination station was taking place and over 15,000 thousand students and their parents were in town that weekend. Many of them cheered as the clowns, Knoxvillians and counter protestors marched through the heart of Knoxville singing and laughing at the end of the Nazi’s first attempt at having a rally in Knoxville."