Sunday, November 29, 2009

Radom Reasonings XVI

An occasional column of random thoughts and observations.

  • Wait until the age of 50 to have a mammogram? Any government money going to the researchers that came up with this trashy recommendation should lose their connection to Federal money immediately. Think about it; how many woman do you know that were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50?
  • Is there a health care conspiracy going on here? Remember the report from last year that recommended changes to the age guidelines for the PSA? I personally know a few people that had their prostate cancers found at a young age because of the PSA.
  • Alan Grayson is a great American who is telling it like it is. If you don't know who he is, shame on you - Google him.
  • In a recent poll, 38% of Americans indicated that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. In a parellel poll, 38% of Americans have been determined to have the intelligence of a telephone pole.
  • Last week, when Palin was asked which blogs she reads, she responded by saying; "I read them all". I'm so happy that Sarah has paid a visit here. God! She does not even know what the f**k a blog is. Then again; 38% of Americans probably don't know what a blog is. The hardball questioner was the Katie Couric like, Sean Hannity. A fox in the hen house?
  • Sarah Palin last week; "the presidency is not on my radar screen". Was it later reported that 38% of Americans intend to buy Sarah Palin's book? There is stupid and then there is stupid!
  • Is Rhode Island's I-Way really the "bridge to bankruptcy"? Has anybody in this damn state figured out the future costs associated with caring for miles and miles of new bridge work? At least the old road went over the solid ground with a few over and under passes.
  • For those 38% of confused Americans, Obama has decided to try key terrorists in New York because they killed and targeted civilians. The terrorist being tried in military tribunals were classed as military combatants. There is a difference and it is so easy to see.
  • The State of Alaska should open up an immediate investigation to determine the fitness of Sarah Palin to keep her kids. I'm not kidding - what Palin is doing is a sin and is very harmful for her children. I fear for her children. If you did not know, she has the young kids traveling with her again for her book tour; this just after having them leave school to travel with her for a 5 month long campaign. She continues to use her youngest as a prop and expose this child to H1N1 all over this nation. Her kids belong in school!
  • Palin the quitter not only quits at her job as governor, she has quit parts of her book tour, she quit at a road race in Washington state yesterday and she has quit on her kids. I have a feeling she will find a way to quit on 38% of Americans.
  • I can't tell you how disappointed I am in the left wing of the Democratic Party. These Democrats need to lose the argument on abortion in the health care bill. As I've said before, abortion is but a single medical procedure performed in a limited number of health care situations. Let's get health care done and find a way to fund abortion for those in need later.
  • Chris Mathews was absolutely correct in his questioning of Rhode Island's Bishop, Thomas Tobin. Was Chris tough? Yes; he was very tough but sometimes you have to shake up an institution that is travelling far outside of the pulpit. Bishop Tobin; put it in the church where it belongs!
  • If you put 100 Americans in a room, how many of them would you have to use to screw in a light bulb? Come on now, this is not a hard question.
  • The answer is not 38. The answer is 39, as 38 would be too stupid to figure out the puzzle while the 39th would get the job done.
  • We all know that Governor Donald Carcieri is not the 39th American in the room.
  • The Secret Service agents at the gate for Obama's first State Dinner are also not the 39th Americans in the room.
  • Obama has to move forward in Afghanistan as he promised during the campaign. Osama bin Laden and his capture has to be a top priority - unlike the bumbling Bush administration priorities.
  • Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney (aka: Rummy, Dummy and Scummy) could never have been the 39th American in the room.
  • OK; I'll make it easy for you, for more on Alan Grayson, click here.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wisdom from the Woods XI

Wisdom from the Woods is an occasional column that outlines complex issues.

What the hell is President Obama going to do about employment issues this country is facing? Today I am bringing my class to a favorite spot in the woods to discuss recreation and the problems associated with maintaining public lands. You see; governments are not providing the human resources required to maintain the millions of acres in the conservation system. My favorite spot is a great place to demonstrate the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from the 1930s.

In today's world nobody seems to want to get their hands dirty. Nobody wants to foul up the keyboards of their computers. We do need to have people working in our woodlands as the CCC infrastructure that is still providing services to this day is now starting to fail. Our public lands are in deplorable shape and Governor Nothing (Carcieri) could care less. So we have a problem maintaining our conservation lands and we have a severe unemployment problem. Can't we put the 2 things together again.

I'm not suggesting that we recreate the CCC; but I do believe that there is a ready resource of talented people that could lend a hand to conservation agencies across this country. I think people can be put to work without spending much money. Today's unemployment benefits are continually extended as they should be. I contend that the first 6 months of benefits should remain as it is. After 6 months, why not utilize that unemployed work force to improve conservation infrastructure and to assist natural resource agencies collect data for critical monitoring programs. In other words, keep providing unemployment benefits but require individuals to work 3 days a week for those benefits. The remaining 2 days a week could still be used for employment search. There are many other areas of government that could use a helping hand.

Some will say that searching for work is a full time job. In a normal economy I would argue; yes. Today we do not have a normal economy and let's be realistic, many unemployed folks don't want to find that job until the benefits run out. In my former role I could have put dozens of people to work and I did during the downturn through the Carter years. The Emergency Job Unemployment Act(EJUA) as well as the CETA program provided multiple opportunities to get conservation work done. If the unemployed are getting paid anyway, let's find a way to utilize their talents.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Politics of Sport

OK; this is a political blog, but I find the need to talk about what everyone in New England has been talking about during the past week. I want to give my impression of the Patriots loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday night. There have been more discussions surrounding this game than there have been over the all important health care debate in the Senate.

Bill Belichick was right. Belichick made the right call on fourth and two with little time remaining. If he makes that play, the Patriots win. He has the best quarterback in the business and the best 3/4th down player in Kevin Faulk. Belichick was not showing disrespect for his defense; God, he never has done that. As a matter of fact, if Belichick had little faith in his defense, he would have been far more likely to kick the ball. On the ensuing series by the Colts, a Belichick lacking faith in the defense would have told his defense to let them score so they could put the ball in Brady's hands with over a minute to play. Belichick put total faith in his defense and had them make a stand. It did not work. Bill Belichick will make that same call many more times in his career and it will work more often than not.

If there is any criticism of Belichick, it has to involve the lack of time outs the Patriots possessed at the end of the game. That was very unlike a Belichick team. It probably had to do with the crowd noise in that closed in stadium. Lacking the time out made it impossible for Belichick to throw a red flag on the Kevin Faulk advance of the ball on 4th and 2. Film breakdowns have shown that Faulk made the play even though he had an initial juggle of the ball. The Patriots just caught a bad break. The worst bit of luck for the Patriots was the horrendous call by the Ref of pass interference when clearly the defender as every right to the ball. That replay shows from every angle, the defender turned ready to receive the ball and no contact with the wide receiver. That call was egregious and I certainly hope that the Ref gets disciplined for a remarkably bad call that cost the Patriots the game.

Enough already! Get over it and stop talking about it. You win some you lose some. Go on to the next game where I can assure you, Bill Belichick will have all 3 of his time outs left at the end of the game (at least 2 anyway).

There are a lot more games being played that are far more meaningful and most of those games are occurring in Washington DC. And I don't mean Redskin games.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kelo v. City of New London Revisited

Do you remember the landmark Supreme Court case of Kelo v. New London, Connecticut when the court ruled that lands taken by eminent domain could be transferred to other private concerns? In this case 7 homeowners had their property seized for commercial development. David Souter was the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision.

Well; after the court ruling and the destruction of all property, the land was cleared for the construction of a new Pfizer pharmaceutical plant. Yesterday the pharmaceutical giant backed out of the deal. New London is left holding a vacant lot without any consideration of the "public good". Truth be told, the confiscation of this land was never going to be in the public best interest. Contrary to popular belief, when commercial and industrial development occurs, the taxes of citizens in the community always goes up. While jobs may be good for some people, the benefit to the community as a whole is negative.

I think it unfortunate that the lawyers for the plaintiffs in this case did not have their hands on the tax study done by the Southern New England Forest Consortium, Inc. and the Trust for Public lands in Connecticut's case. Please view my April 15, 2009 post that graphically presents the case against the public good when commercial and industrial development occurs. That post was my tax day protest. The studies conducted clearly show that as the commercial and industrial taxable value increases in any community, the effective tax rates for residents always go up.

Yes, there may be good for some; however, the "public good" should be considered as this requires that everyone benefit. Private transfer of land to private concerns does not meet that simple litmus test. There is a clear and direct correlation between growing your commercial and industrial base and the subsequent increase in property taxes. Those unaffected by the development are damaged when their property tax increases. Taking lands by eminent domain requires that everyone benefit, not a corporate giant.

You may recall that there was a movement in New Hampshire to take away David Souter's cabin in the woods by eminent domain to build a rustic hotel and vacation destination. It's too bad that never happened. For those of you that believe that this is a liberal thing, think again. This action was taken because of corporate greed. I stand with the homeowners that had their life crushed by the hands of government and blame conservative thinking for this disaster of public policy. I sincerely hope that the landowners get their property back and succeed in pursuing further legal action against those involved. It's too bad you can't sue the Supreme Court. It's not often that such a bad decision becomes so painfully obvious so quickly. I hope there is a lesson in this for everyone. I was steaming when it happened and I'm still steaming over the injustice to the individuals in this case.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Abortion, Health Care and the Catholic Church

I urge all of Congress to get on with the health care legislation and eliminate the possibility of federal money being used for abortions. Liberals need to make sure that their own strongly held beliefs don't get in the way of passing this historic legislation. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater- so to speak. I'm sick and tired of hearing the endless fighting over the abortion debate. Abortion is but one single health care procedure. Americans need health care for the other thousands of medical issues that we all face in our daily lives. Abortion rights advocates just need to back off and find other ways to fund necessary procedures.

That being said, abortion is a right in this country and must remain a right. It is nobody Else's business! Growing up Catholic, I was always taught that we all have been given a "free will". We are taught that God always wants us to do good. God has not predestined us to do bad things in this world. If my 12 year old daughter were raped and became pregnant, she would be urged to have an abortion. God did not want a 12 year old to be raped and God does not want a 12 year old to be pregnant as the result of a rape. Here is were the true rub is; the Church would have us believe that God is the cause of the pregnancy. In classic form, the church avoids the science of reproduction and lays everything at the hand of God. We know that the pregnancy is the result of the action of man - not God. Believe if you must that God created Heaven and Earth, but God does not create the pregnancy (the exception maybe the Virgin Mary if you choose to believe that).

Pregnancy is the result of the action of a man and a women. When pregnancy occurs from the action of one man using a women (rape), I'm sure God never intended for that life to come into this world (see my April 9, 2009 post). Take for example the case of the 9 year old Brazilian girl that had been repeatedly raped by her step-father. At the tender age of 9, she became pregnant with twins in a country that outlaws abortion. The mother petitions the court to allow this child that weighed 81 ponds to have an abortion. The court agreed and the abortion took place. The Catholic Church's response was to excommunicate the doctor performing the abortion and the mother who petitioned for the abortion. The church did not excommunicate the step-father who was responsible for the surprise pregnancy. That guy thought he could get away with it until the girl got a little older and I guess the Catholic Church is more in tune with the behavior of the step-father.

It's time for the church to stay out of the papers and to preach their beliefs in the churches across this country. Don't you dare tell others what to do - Bishop Tobin! You are not God on earth and you certainly don't have all of the answers. My advice to Bishop Tobin is to pray on that and to pray for the victims of the heinous crime of rape. What a woman decides to do with a resulting pregnancy is her business - not yours. Life in the womb is precious but love needs to be an ingredient of conception and your love, Bishop Tobin, needs to extend to all women that have to make this gut wrenching decision.

As a side note; the Reverend Father Robert Drinan died today. He was the congressman from Massachusetts that had to make the decision of staying as the politician or staying as the Catholic priest. Father Drinan to his credit chose the latter. He must have been asking himself in his later years, what happened to his church? If the church continues to single out politicians, all churches Catholic and otherwise, should be taxed appropriately. The church silenced Father Drinan and then became super political. God speed, Father Drinan!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Radom Reasonings XV

An Occasional Column of random thoughts and observations.

  • Did you see where actor James Woods has sued Kent County Hospital involving an incident when his brother died of a Heart attack? That's funny; I thought Republicans believed in tort reform to reduce health care costs. I guess you believe it until it's you!
  • What do Rush Limbaugh, Imus and Bob Griese have in common? They have all made racists statements - Limbaugh just seems to always get away with it.
  • Is Bob Greise's comment, "he's probably out getting a taco" in the same league as Limbaugh's most famous top ten quotes? How about, "Obama is halfrican American" or how about, "Barack the magic negro" or how about, the time he told the African American women to "take the bone out of your nose" or how about the time he said the NAACP should have riot rehearsals. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies". Greise gets suspended and Rush goes his merry way without consequence. Any ditto head out there is a traitorous idiot.
  • As a Red Sox fan, I want to congratulate the New York Yankees. You guys had the best team.
  • Do you think Governor Don Carcieri can afford a $7.00 saltwater fishing license?
  • Have you seen where Jerome Corsi, made famous by swiftboating John Kerry now claims that the Fort Hood Shooter advised Barack Obama? Truth will usually win out but it may take a little time. Corsi's hateful claims should no longer be news - they should be totally ignored.
  • Rush Limbaugh should be ignored entirely by print and broadcast media, except for Fox Noise which is neither.
  • Did you see where Massachusetts is considering legislation to require sprinkler systems in all one and two family housing units. How stupid is that? I can see it now - every time I burn the toast I can take my shower at the same time.
  • Joe Lieberman is a loser.
  • To the folks in Maine, Fox Noise and the Gay community - Obama is not to blame for the defeat of the gay marriage bill in Maine. Obama never supported gay marriage although he has supported gay civil unions. There is a difference and the gay community should take note!
  • To Senator Sam Brownback and others that have wasted our time writing legislation to ban the creation of animals that are part human and part animal. Go back to school and instead of reading, writing and arithmetic, try taking a little science.
  • To those of you who feel that I think Obama can do no wrong - think again. When the hell is Obama going to propose significant legislation to reign in Wall Street to prevent further economic meltdowns?
  • Is the lack of H1N1 vaccine going to be Obama's Katrina?
  • Obama is right on when it comes to health care!
  • Dick Cheney needs to be carted away like Richard Hatch every time he gives an interview!
  • How's this for tort reform? Allow folks to sue insurance companies but limit the claims against the medical profession.
  • To the polling firm that called me the other day and asked; "Do you believe in the right to life?"; your game is painfully obvious. You must know that I totally messed with your poll and hopefully your ignorant head. The question should have been, "do you believe in a woman's right to have an abortion?"


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grasping at Windmills

As this country struggles to find ways to deal with our dependence on foreign oil, we continue to grasp for alternative technologies without doing much thinking. The non-stop talk about the development of wind energy is great; but stop talking. Before this country actually moves ahead with pending proposals, somebody needs to start thinking.

Off shore proposals have been getting all of the press and political support. How stupid are we? Does anyone realize the excessive costs of developing our energy off shore? Building windmills that can live through 150 MPH winds is one thing; but what additional costs are needed to engineer wind energy facilities that can live through a 50 foot wall of water from a storm surge or rouge wave? Now you build them so you have to maintain them. How do you do that? You build a fleet of ships to service all off shore facilities. Now you need to build infrastructure to get transmission lines out to sea; I'll bet you that's not cheap! Of course you've made your decision to build your electrical grid and energy generators in the most corrosive environment on earth. That's right you giants of industry, didn't anyone ever teach you that salt water corrodes? I'm not saying that you engineering geniuses can't solve the problems; but at what cost?

While traveling in Austria a few years ago I marveled at the miles and miles of wind farms adjacent to the train traveling from Vienna to Saltsburg. You see, the windmills were growing in all of the agricultural fields. There was still plenty of room for crops and the land was serving multiple purposes. We are always looking for ways to help our farmers. Why can't our turf farmers in Rhode Island be growing windmills along with their grass. Why not line the median strips of major east coast highways (Route 95 - Maine to Florida - Route 195 in Rhode Island and Massachusetts) with windmills. The highway is close to the ocean, energy infrastructure is readily available along the way, maintenance can be accomplished using trucks from GM, Ford and Chrysler, windmills do not have to be able to withstand 50 foot waves, corrosion is of less concern because of inland locations, infrastructure to fuel electric cars will be roadside and construction costs have to be a fraction of the costs of developing off shore.

Building the future wind energy infrastructure needs to be done on shore. Some will tell me that there is a problem with wind. Yes you may lose a few turns on the generator, but east coast highways are all close to sea level. Build the structures high enough and you'll save billions on construction costs. And you know what? Our electric bills will be a lot cheaper and the construction can occur a lot faster.

Please start thinking!