Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama Budget Cuts Visualization

Last week Obama ordered his Cabinet to cut $100 million from the $3.5 Trillion Budget, as if that was accomplishing something. For any of us, $100 million would be a lot of money. Unfortunately, when you are talking about a budget of over $3 Trillion, it is almost nothing.

While I knew that fact, a visual is always a better way to appreciate such a concept. This youtube video does an excellent job of showing just how small that $100 million really is when we're talking about the current budget.

Swine Flu

I'm not sure I had even heard of the Swine Flu this time last week. When I first started hearing about it, last Friday and Saturday, it got my attention immediately. Concern was being expressed that it was coming from Mexico (I have kids that are planning to visit Mexico this summer, we have relatives that live there, and other relatives who visit there often.) Then there was talk about the students in a New York City School that had been confirmed with the Swine Flu. I have a daughter attending high school in New York City. I contacted my kids in NYC and the kids planning the Mission Trip to be on the alert -- not to be worried, but to be paying attention to what was going on. I sent them all links to the various sites I had found, such as the CDC, with information on the Swine Flu. And I pondered how quickly this had become something for us to follow.

But yesterday, it got even more personal. Two students at a local elementary school are suspected of having Swine Flu -- so all the schools in our area have been shut down, and all the local sports events have been canceled, at least through the weekend. And when I shopped at Walmart last night, the store clerks were wearing rubber gloves...I haven't determined yet whether folks are overreacting, or just taking proper precautions...But, meantime, I think I'll be reading over those websites a little more carefully.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More on the Volunteerism Law

I am 100% against this law...I don't believe that it is the Government's place to "mandate volunteerism" -- or to do anything else related to volunteering!

But we need to be sure we react to the right portions of the Law. I read a blog recently that tried to prove the point that this law was in some way, shape, or form prohibiting religion. The claim was based on Section 132A. It claimed that this section forbid volunteers from participating in religious activities. It does not do that. Section 132A prohibits a volunteer position from being used for partisan political activities or from being used to engage in "religious instruction, conducting worship services, etc..."

In that section it is not clearly not prohibiting a volunteer from engaging in political or religious activities. It is prohibiting someone from using their volunteer position in those manners. There is a huge difference between the two.

We don't do ourselves any favors by misquoting or misapplying portions of a law like this!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Ac

So much has happened in the last week -- I've gotten behind on blogging!

H.R. 1388, Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, was signed into law today. I think the subtitle says it all: "A bill entitled 'The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an Act to reauthorize and reform the national service laws.'" It even comes complete with uniforms...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's TEA Party -- 1st Thoughts

It was exciting being with so many other like-minded folks today (~2,000)for the Taxed Enough Tea Parties.

We heard some great speakers, with thoughts we could certainly agree with:
Mo Brooks:
"...most of us work for a living."
"It's one thing to have power, it's another thing to do the right thing with it!"
"Everyone benefits from free enterprise."
Dale Jackson:
"We have a problem...Government Spending out of control"
Headline for today: "A Rally of Domestic Terrorists in Huntsville today."
Sam Gavan:
"If someone believes we're not heading towards socialism, they are out of touch with reality."
"Give people a hand up, not a hand out."

We saw many great signs, including:
"If I wanted European Socialism, I'd move."
"The Real Pirates are in Washington"
"If I wanted European Socialism, I'd move"
"Get out of my Piggy Bank"
"6th grader, Already in Debt"
"Save a Little Prosperity for our Children"

Only time will tell wither this is the beginning of any changes.

Radicals on Right?

Warning, if you read this blog, or others like it, and care about the direction this country is headed, you may be labeled a radical extremest:

I just read a disturbing article in the Washington Times: Federal agency warns of radicals on right

The article starts with the disturbing news that:
"The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in 'rightwing extremist activity,' saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias."

So, because we are concerned about the recession and the war -- we are automatically associated with white-power groups. Excuse me, I don't think so!

The article continues:
"A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines 'rightwing extremism in the United States' as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority."

So, if we read and believe the Constitution limits federal authority -- we are rightwing extremists? All of the anti-federalists amongst our Founders would have been so labeled.

And the article, and the report continues:
"'It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,' the warning says." If to be opposed to abortion makes me a rightwing extremist, then I hope I am in good company!

The report in question, was apparently sent out by Homeland Security last week with the disturbing title: "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

Searching for information on the report, I found a couple of interesting looking blogs that I will have to go back to including The Liberty Papers: Life, Liberty, Property, Defending Individual Freedom and Liberty One Post at a Time

I'll have to revisit the idea that my concern makes me a radical later: I'm off to prepare for my Government Club meeting, for today's T.E.A. Party, and an Economics class on the real problems (the government) in the Great Depression.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alabama Legislation: Ignition Interlocks

Forwarded from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)…

In 2007, 389 people were killed in drunk driving related crashes in Alabama. This accounts for 35 percent of total traffic fatalities statewide.

Fortunately, ignition interlocks have the potential to eliminate these preventable deaths. Interlocks can prevent a vehicle from being driven by a drunk driver. If they are used correctly -- in concert with treatment, in addition to hard license suspensions and in the vehicles until they are no longer needed -- ignition interlocks can decrease repeat offenses by 64%.

Alabama is one of only three states that does not have an interlock law. House Bill 32 would require interlocks for all repeat DUI offenders and would allow judges to order interlocks for first-time convicted drunk drivers. HB 32 recently passed the House of Representatives and is now up for consideration in the Senate. Please contact your State Senator and urge their support of lifesaving legislation HB 32.

"Enumerated Powers Act"

Great bill proposed in the house by Representative Shadegg (of Arizona):
H.R. 450 Enumerated Powers Act
"To require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws, and for other purposes."

Somehow I don't see Congress tying their own hands -- but its certainly a bill most of us would like to see passed into law!



Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Great Government Related Quotes

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

"Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”
Daniel Webster
"Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." Benjamin Franklin
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have." Thomas Jefferson

"The Sneeze"

After their "CPSIA report", I've become much less a fan of www.snopes.com. But I do check facts there now and again, if only as a starting point. A friend sent me a forward of "The Sneeze" -- a class's way around the school's recent prohibition on prayer, and I was curious if Snopes had anything on it.

They did...and their bias is very obvious...but the story is still cool, if you can get past that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Tale of Two Bows

I really wasn't paying much attention to the whole "bow issue" until I saw this video. The difference between President Obama's bow to the Queen of England versus his bow to the Saudi King is pretty remarkable. I would love to hear his "explanation" for the difference.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Day of Silence" Propaganda

If your child's school allows "Day of Silence" propaganda, keep your child at home April 17

The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools on April 17. On this day, thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day-even during instructional time-to promote GLSEN's socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.

Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. Please join the national effort to restore to public education a proper understanding of the role of government-subsidized schools. You can help de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child's school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence.

Parents should no longer passively countenance the political usurpation of public school classrooms through student silence.

If students will be permitted to remain silent, parents can express their opposition most effectively by calling their children out of school on the Day of Silence and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members. One reason this is effective is that most school districts lose money for each student absence.

School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.

Visit this website for complete information on opposing the Day of Silence.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Freedom2Care

Defending the conscience rights of health care professionals and students: http://www.freedom2care.org/

What is the "conscience regulation"?

The regulation simply implements three civil rights laws passed by Congress over the past 35 years defending the conscience rights of health care workers to make ethical decisions on controversial issues.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized the conscience regulation on December 19, 2008.

The laws forbid discrimination against healthcare professionals who exercise their conscientious rights related to participation in certain controversial medical procedures--most notably, but not limited to, abortion and sterilization. The regulation applies to recipients of American tax dollars through certain HHS funding.

The HHS regulation notes that the intent of the regulation is to educate, raise awareness of, and provide for the enforcement of three existing laws protecting the conscience rights of health care workers and students: the Church Amendments (enacted at various times in the 1970s), section 245 of the Public Health Service Act (1996), and the Hyde-Weldon Amendment (first enacted in 2004 and then in every subsequent year).

Why is the new administration planning to rescind--get rid of--this regulation?

The introduction of the conscience-protecting regulation was met with violent opposition by abortion special interest groups.

Some commentators followed the talking points of these groups and distorted the scope and intent of the regulation, claiming that it was somehow a backdoor attempt to restrict access to contraception. That proved an implausible charge against an agency that in the same year budgeted over $1.6 billion for "family planning" programs, but protests continued regardless of the facts.

These inaccurate commentaries and the pressure of special interest groups, unfortunately, appear to have had an impact on administration policy.

It is our hope that public outcry and focusing attention on the actual language of the regulation and the positive impact of protecting conscience on health care will help the new administration recognize the benefit of keeping the regulation intact.

Some administration officials and abortion advocates have maintained that the regulation will somehow decrease women's access to health care. On the contrary, the regulation makes clear the protections that allow conscience-driven healthcare professionals to rebuff discrimination and continue to practice medicine. In doing so, the regulations help provide healthcare security, quality and quantity.

In reality, the effect of rescinding the regulation threatens to cause a crisis of access to health care. Many healthcare professionals faced with discrimination are likely to choose to leave medicine if forced to choose between their careers or violating cherished ethical standards.

Removing regulatory protections-or perpetuating the lack of awareness of legal protections--for healthcare professionals will have the net effect of decreasing access to healthcare. Consider, for example, estimates that between 15-20% of health care in the U.S. is provided by Catholic institutions, which historically have refused to participate in abortion. Imagine the impact on health care access if those institutions, which reportedly provide care for up to one in six hospital patients, are forced to shut down in order to honor conscience and ethical standards.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009

Very disturbing article! If this bill goes through, privacy is gone! (Someone remind me, when did the 4th amendment disappear?)

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009: "To ensure the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners through secure cyber communications, to provide for the continued development and exploitation of the Internet and intranet communications for such purposes, to provide for the development of a cadre of information technology specialists to improve and maintain effective cyber security defenses against disruption, and for other purposes." (Another "appropriate sounding" bill!)