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Stop work order from the GOP
Author: Raine    Date: 03/01/2010 13:49:47

Last Friday, Senators Kyl and Bunning blocked legislation to extend jobless benefits to Americans for one month. Both had different reasons. Kyle said he was blocking it because he wanted the now expired ESTATE TAX to not be reinstated, as scheduled. Bunning's reasoning was that he wanted this emergency bill paid for immediately. I could point out the hypocrisy that he voted for the Bush tax cuts, the 2 wars and numerous other deficit inducing spending programs passed over the previous 8 years -- but I won't.

Letting the Estate Tax (or as people on right talk radio like to call it -- the 'Death Tax') be reinstated after a period of time is actually a good thing (details to follow). Instead, these two Republican senators - with the support of others on their side of the aisle - have blocked a bill set to provided -however minor - relief to Americans out of work.
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42 comments (Latest Comment: 03/02/2010 04:06:58 by BobR)

Author: velveeta jones    Date: 02/28/2010 15:34:29

Yesterday the Quake in Chile hit home because I have a friend who lives their part-time. It turns out he is okay, thank God, but for those hours when we first heard of the disaster we were at a loss of what to do. My partner and I watched the news and tried to contact him but were left waiting to hear from him. It's painful to have to wait while watching the devastation on the news. I imagine how much worse it would be for the family members waiting to hear from spouses and children, or from a fiance waiting to hear from their partner or waiting to hear if your Grandparents are alive. It's a long wait.

Things like this make me so grateful for things I take for granted. Even silly little things like facebook, which is, oddly enough, how my friend made contact with the outside world at first, and we found that he was safe.
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5 comments (Latest Comment: 03/01/2010 02:09:51 by Mondobubba)

It's too big!
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/27/2010 13:11:25

Good Morning.

Well, have we all been keeping up with the healthcare debate this week?

One of the more ludicrous statements came from John Boehner's office..."the bill is too small!!"

But of course, this is the same office that insisted that the bill last year was "too big!!"

I wonder what's it going to take for Congressman Goldilocks to have a bill that's "Just right?"

But the point here is that the system is so out of whack, it's going to take a big vision and lots of paperwork to change the monolith that is American Health Insurance.

How big is too big? Let's break this down a little bit.

HR 3200 comes in at 1,017 pages..as broken down by Adobe Acrobat. That's actually not that big a deal, according to the way I reckon books. Comparing it to some well-known tomes, Tolstoy's "War and Peace" clocks in at around 1400 pages (in paperback), Hugo's "Les Miserable" comes in around 1700, and the lovely Ayn Rand brought home "Atlas Shrugged" at 1100 pages or so. Were these too long?

But that's fiction. How does healthcare reform compare to say....The Patriot Act? (HR 3162) Well...that's only 362 pages.

HR 3326, last year's Defense Appropriations bill, was just 67 pages long. Maybe the Republicans are onto something here?

Or maybe they're just being obtuse.

As you well know, I spent 25 years in the healthcare industry before being shown the door last year. Back in 2003, there was much angst about implementing electronic healthcare claims transactions. While it's no longer available free online (so there's no link) the ANSI specifications for claims transactions was described by a former coworker as "800 pages of pure ANSI goodness". There's also an Electronic Remittance Advice spec that clocked in at about 700 pages. When congress mandated this back in 1996, we didn't bat an eyelash. Sure, there were years of delay, but it eventually went through.

By whining that the bill is too big, or the bill is too small...what are the Republicans really doing? I'm starting to read this as a lack of intellect. Hard things require much debate, and yes...a lot of words to accomplish. The Republican plan comes in at 219 pages. (no, I didn't read it.)

So...is this the "just right" Congressman Boehner is after? (of course he wrote the bill.)

I'm kinda not buying this big/small argument. I don't think it's the bills that got big; it's the Republicans that are thinking too small.

4 comments (Latest Comment: 02/27/2010 20:13:45 by livingonli)

It's Electric!
Author: BobR    Date: 02/26/2010 13:11:35

For those who might have missed it, there was a fascinating story on 60 Minutes earlier this week. It was about a new product from a new company that could be the death knell for coal and nuclear power, while providing another option for cleaner power. It's not as clean as wind or solar, but it has some advantages over those which makes it a good addition to the electric power generation toolkit.
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50 comments (Latest Comment: 02/27/2010 00:27:06 by velveeta jones)

Dignity is pro-choice.
Author: Raine    Date: 02/25/2010 14:14:23

Today, starting at 10 am, the long awaited "Health Care Summit" begins. If you can't watch it on TV, (C-span 3) you can steam it at the White House website.

By now many of you may have seen a special comment from Keith Olberman last night. It still gives me chills. You can watch it here, and read the transcript. Please do, it is painful and gut wrenching and it a conversation we need to have with our loved ones. For one man to lay bare such intimacy regarding his personal situation is not only brave but heroic.
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118 comments (Latest Comment: 02/26/2010 04:02:46 by livingonli)

Author: BobR    Date: 02/24/2010 13:43:45

Every once in a while, we like to deviate from the "politics as usual" here on FourFreedomsBlog, and get our science geek on. Today is one of those days, with some very interesting science-related stories appearing online. The inspiration for today's blog was an article I read in yesterday's WaPo as I was riding the bus to work.
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53 comments (Latest Comment: 02/25/2010 03:04:23 by livingonli)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/23/2010 11:15:13

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,533rd day in Iraq and our 3,061st day in Afghanistan.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from Iraq and Afghanistan, courtesy of antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4378
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4239
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3915
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3519
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 150

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 325
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 985
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 659
Contractor Employee Deaths - Iraq: 1,395
Journalists - Iraq: 335
Academics Killed - Iraq: 431

We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 963, 965, 500, 000 .00

Combat is hard enough. But war is full of secondary dangers that come and go. Veterans of the first Gulf War are still battling the effects of Gulf War Syndrome.

Sgt. Klayton Thomas knew the dangers of war when he joined the Marines. But I bet he never expected that the practice of contractors in Iraq would end up killing him.
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23 comments (Latest Comment: 02/23/2010 21:31:08 by TriSec)

The Rise of the Underdogs
Author: BobR    Date: 02/22/2010 13:45:38

People love the underdog story. Everyone finds inspiration when a competitor quietly works hard and ends up coming out ahead of the more heavily hyped front-runner. It's a "Cinderella story", as the saying goes. What might be surprising is the number of times that has occurred in the last few days.
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24 comments (Latest Comment: 02/23/2010 00:27:24 by Scoopster)

CPAC? What's that?
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 02/21/2010 14:59:21

Morning my fellow bloggers. Velveeta waking up with a severe hangover from the CPAC party. WOW! WHAT a party!! Please let me know if anyone finds my bra.

Now, on to the festivities. I vaguely remember Glenn Beck and his famous GB Chalk Board. Does this thing travel with him? Why doesn't he use a dry erase board? Beck was talking about being drunk and big tents. Yes, this reminds me of a party I once went to. It was Fashion Week in New York and the champagne was flowing freely and so were the crowd of fashionistas and wanna-bes and I think that I may have had a tryst with Calvin Klein and/or Tom Ford and Zac Posen, or, some drag queens that resembled them. Anyway, I digress.

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4 comments (Latest Comment: 02/21/2010 18:33:57 by livingonli)

Who's being a retard?
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/20/2010 13:43:14


It's a simple word, actually.

Merriam-Webster defines it as such:

Main Entry: 1re·tard
Pronunciation: \ri-ˈtärd\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French retarder, from Latin retardare, from re- + tardus slow
Date: 15th century

transitive verb 1 : to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment : impede
2 : to delay academic progress by failure to promoteintransitive verb : to undergo retardation

But over time, like many words in English, it's come to have a dual meaning. Alas and alack, nowadays "retard" can also be a noun, and it's a demeaning term for those among us who are mentally or developmentally challenged.
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11 comments (Latest Comment: 02/21/2010 14:05:24 by velveeta jones)

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