Friday, February 27, 2009

Would You Like a Cuppa Tea?

Today is the big Tea Party day! Michelle Malkin has got a list of where all these Tea Parties are happening and is twittering (I don't twitter but some of you might). I'm very interested to see how the mainstream media covers this.

Gateway Pundit has a bunch of interesting stuff up (as usual) including a link to this Yahoo article about a panel suggesting a federal gas tax based on mileage. Sound familiar?

I've been reading Colorado Senator Brophy's blog and really like it. He's got a down to earth style. Check it out.

Finally, Two Dogs has got a post up that I really like that is a clarification of what he believes.

Questions:

1. What is your opinion of the Tea Party demonstrations?

2. How are you feeling about the changes already made under President Obama's administration?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Art of Becoming Informed Coffee Bean Style

Good Lord. I have spent the morning trying to figure out what to post. Newsmax sent out a plea from one of their sponsors, The Susan B. Anthony List, asking for people to sign this petition to stop an abortion bailout.

Well... I thought, Is Congress voting on bail out money for Planned Parenthood? What? I wanted to look at this 55 page proposal that was given to Obama in November laying out what they would like to see him do in his first 100 days.

Did y'all know that the main page of Change.org is no longer up? With a couple more minutes of digging I was able to find the original Advancing Reproductive Rights Rights and Health in a New Administration document. It definitely makes for some interesting reading.

Now, as far as I'm aware, this sort of money disbursement was removed from the original stimulus plan. However, I'm not clear as to what all is in the plan that passed. Is anyone yet?

On January 23, 2009, one day after the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, President Obama lifted the Mexico City policy, a Reagan-era policy that prohibits taxpayer funds from going to organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas. It had previously been revoked by President Clinton and then re-instated by President G.W. Bush.

So... I was wondering what kind of money has already been released or if that has yet to be voted on. I went to Congress.org... some women's rights watchdog sites, Planned Parenthood. I looked through bills... I tried to find a congressional legislation schedule...

My brain is all flip floppin' around and I can't see straight. I've got dishes to do, laundry to fold and toilets to clean. Why is it so hard to find certain information? Holey Moley! I am overwhelmed by the gaping holes in my understanding of what is going on in this country.

What do y'all know? Is there a Cliff Notes version of current events? Somebody help me!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Health Care

We received an unexpected surprise in our mailbox the other day. I suffer from a vocal chord disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD). It is a neurological condition that causes my vocal chords to over contract causing portions of words to get lost. I also have very low volume. For several years I have gotten botox injections to partially paralyze the chords which has given me the ability to speak more clearly for 2-4 months. However, I have not had a successful injection in quite some time. I even stopped getting the very expensive injections for awhile.

Out of desperation I decided to try again last fall. The last two injections I had were done with the aid of a camera threaded down through my nose. It appears that I am now botox resistant which leaves me with no other alternatives for treatment.

Normally, we pay 20% of the cost. Each injection has run $1100 to $1400. My husband also has to go back and forth with the insurance over each bill to get them to pay it. It often requires a call to the company insurance agent. My husband is very involved in the procuring of insurance for the company he works for and has more pull than other employees and is also very familiar with what is covered. It is always very frustrating. Especially when the injections do not work.

The surprise? The insurance is not paying for the last two injections. The last two injections that did not work and were close to $1400. The injections that were done in the office and took around 30 minutes. Apparently, it is now considered a surgical procedure and being applied to our deductible. My husband doesn't know if he'll be able to fight it.

When we've complained about our health care costs to friends and family we've often been met with the... "Well, that is why we need universal health care." Really? There seems to be this belief that if we have universal health care that everything needed will just be covered... no hassle.

I actually wrote the above for a post yesterday and did not finish it. I got frustrated and had to walk away. Last night, watching the State of the Union address, the high cost of health care and the need for health care reform was mentioned...

Universal health care sounds nice... in theory. The United States is the only wealthy industrialized country that does not have it.

In Canada, health care is mostly publicly funded with most services being provided by private corporations/enterprises. Doctors do not receive an annual salary and are paid a fee per visit. Interestingly, many Canadians have private health insurance to cover services that are only partially covered or not at all, such as prescription drugs, dentistry, and vision care.

In my experience, socialized medicine opens the door to a myriad of problems. There is not a limitless supply of money to pay for such programs. There are so many restrictions in place by insurance companies already. However, they are still working within a free market system and have to sell their packages to employers. If the service isn't acceptable or it gets too expensive, the employers go looking for a better deal.

The real problem with health care is trial attorneys. Malpractice insurance is outrageous! There is some sort of expectation that doctors are in control and can fix anything. If a mistake is made, people sue. They sue for BIG money and often get it.

When I was in labor with our second child the catheter for my epidural cracked. They inserted another one. Soon after our daughter was in distress and I was rushed to a delivery room. I was in excruciating pain and scared. Our daughter had moved down into the birth canal so they couldn't do a C-section, the vacuum extractor didn't work, they got another, the cord did not reach the outlet, they put something more into my IV, I had a seizure and stopped breathing, our daughter was in respiratory distress and they were beating on her chest... and my husband got shoved out into the hall. When the bill came... there were dozens of charges that were bogus and many of them duplicated.

My husband did go see an attorney. I had hot needly sensations in my back for 8 months. He went to see him when we were worried about there being long term problems with either our daughter, myself or both of us. He said we had a case and was willing to take it on a contingency. The problem was... we didn't know what the lasting effects were, if any. We just wanted to make sure we were taken care of if there were. He told my husband that we had a year so we decided to wait. We were both fine. I sometimes think about that. The attorney seemed to think we could get some money out of it. It bothered us then and it bothers us now.

How often are you watching TV when an attorney comes on to tell you he'll got to bat for you to get you what you deserve... and then show someone holding up a check for a large amount of money? How many commercials are there for class action lawsuits for medications?

Ugh. I'm just going to post this as is. There is so much to consider but people just don't. We have insurance... but our health care costs are way and above many other people we know. When our son gets sick, one trip to the doctor costs us usually $100-$250 between the co-pay and all the prescriptions (he has asthma). We have health care in place for those that can't afford it. Sure, we could tweak things and something should be done to bring down the costs. I personally know a family that pays $5 per doctor visit, $5 per prescription and $5 to go to the dentist for their kids... and they complain because they have a ton of kids and it adds up. Okay... I am backing away from that one.

Where is the money going to come from? Who is going to set the standards of who receives care and who does not? What kind of availability/access to doctors will there be? What choices will we have? Where will the cut off be for those that automatically get care for their children (I recall seeing somewhere $80,000 a year). I want to know exactly what is being proposed... not just "change."

I want to hear from you. What do you think? What do you know that I don't? (uhhh... probably a lot...but, limit it to health care for today) If you have experience or know of other's experiences in countries with socialized medicine... please share!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tea Party U.S.A. Movement

Michelle Malkin has a great post up about the Tea Party U.S.A. movement with many links to protests to be held this week in many cities. It is jam packed with information and even has a link with detailed tips on how to organize your own tea party protest. There are also a ton of humorous parodies set to old Schoolhouse Rock songs, American Pie, Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz, Dixie and others. I think y'all will find it worth your time to read.

Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina sees America's unique centuries-old system of freedom dying out and he thinks we may have to take to the streets to save it. "I would think it's time to start thinking about peaceful demonstrations," Augusta Chronicle.

Questions:

1. Taxation without representation sparked the Revolutionary War. What do you think about the parallels between then and today?

2. Do you think these tea party demonstrations will be peaceful and do you think they will have an impact?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Colorado Car Tax

Colorado SB09-108 has passed the House Transportation and Appropriations Committees (with a few minor changes related to ride sharing cars being charged the same owned cars rather than rental cars which have to pay an extra $2 a day and exemptions for some collectors’ cars).

We have a Democrat controlled House with 37 Democrats and 28 Republicans. It takes 33 votes to pass a bill. No Republicans have voted for the bill and in the Senate two Democrats voted against it.

This tax increase is being held out as job producing, job protecting and as an economic stimulus. What it is is a massive tax increase on citizens during a bad recession. If this passes, and it will, there will be an increase in vehicle registration of $41-$51 for most cars every year. There will be a new tolling authority that would allow tolling anywhere local governments want it. There will be a MBR (mileage base revenue) to institute a charge for how many miles you drive. There will be an additional $2 charge per day for rental cars.

I don't know about you... but, that sounds like it is going to have an impact on individuals that will supersede any relief soon to be coming from the federal government... which I think is going to be less than $15 a week for individuals in the "right" tax bracket.

What y'all got goin' on in your neck of the woods?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu is the new leader of Israel. Netanyahu said repeatedly during the campaign that not forming a national-unity government when he was prime minister from 1996-99 was his worst-ever political mistake. Some are demanding that Netanyahu expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a move that could cause some problems between the new Israeli government the Obama administration.

Washington Post article here.

I want to do some more posts about Israel and the history of the ongoing conflict with Palestine.

Questions:

1. Do you see this development as helping the situation in Gaza and the West Bank or do you think it will escalate the conflict?

2. Do you think that relations between Israel and the U.S. will change?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

History

I have a vague and fuzzy grasp on history. Being a product of the public education system and a community college drop out, most of what I know now I learned on my own. I'm trying to step away from the compartmentalization of different times in history in my mind and bring it all together for myself. This is very hard to do. What I am learning is that I can't fully understand U.S. History without first understanding European History.

Actually, I now see that to truly understand, you have to go back to the very beginning of recorded history. ... the people, the religions, the philosophies and ideologies, the emergence of scientific thought, all the different forms of government, the wars and revolutions, the advancement of technology... it all builds on each other.

This is overwhelming to say the least. To get a better understanding of where we are we need to know where we have been. I'm not talking as an American here. I am talking as a human being. The United States is the big melting pot and comprised of people from all over the world... people that were influenced by their place of origin and that bring/brought their unique views developed by their life experience. Everything is connected. Fashion and technology change, human nature and the problems we face really don't.

I've been noticing the philosophers during different eras had a great impact on many world leaders. When I go to people's homes I often take note of what reading material they have lying around and the sorts of books they have on their shelves. It is probably more revealing of a person's interests and character than anything else. We once visited a church and decided not to go back due to the books they had on the shelves in their bookstore.

The American Thinker has this post up today, Allies of Palestinians have a powerful friend in Obama, by Ed Lasky. It is a very interesting piece that I found through Gateway Pundit.

There is a picture of Barak Obama carrying the book, “The Post-American World” that was written by Fareed Zakaria. Please take the time to read the article.

Question:

What do you think President Obama's ultimate goal is in regard to Islamic states?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great Resource

PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times out of Tampa Bay to help you find the truth in politics.

Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times examine statements by members of Congress, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up in Washington. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter – True, Mostly True, Half True, Barely True and False. The most ridiculous falsehoods get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire.

We also rate the consistency of public officials on our Flip-O-Meter using three ratings: No Flip, Half Flip and Full Flop.


We created the Obameter to help you assess the Obama presidency. Our reporters have compiled a database of more than 500 individual promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign. We research and rate their status as No Action, Stalled or In the Works and then ultimately determine whether it earns a Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.

To read more about Politifact and how the Obameter works go here.

Currently, they have two promises made by Obama listed as broken.

1. Campaign Promise #234, Allow five days of public comment before signing bills.

To reduce bills rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them, Obama "will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days."

Read more here.

2. Campaign Promise #505, Create a $3,000 tax credit for companies that add jobs.

"During 2009 and 2010, existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired."

Read more here.

The fact that this stimulus package was rushed through both houses, five days were not given for the American people to review it, that it was published in a PDF file that could not be key word searched and that it is going to impact our country into the next generations is very alarming.

Breaking News!!! North Korea is testing a missile in the next 2-3 weeks that has the capability to reach the United States. They are saying it could look like on an attack on the United States, but it won't be.

Questions:

1. How do you feel about the U.S. relations with Muslim countries? (here is an article quoting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and here is an article on an order Obama signed issuing an emergency contribution of $20.3 million for "urgent relief efforts" in Gaza. He approved the aid, which is to come from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund).

2. Do you feel we are as safe with Barak Obama as our president?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Freedom

What exactly does freedom mean anymore?

As I look around it seems to me that, to many, the freedom they seek is freedom from responsibility, personal and otherwise.

I care about people. I care about this country. There are a lot of people hurting that need help. I just feel that the help coming from the government is not what is best for this country as a whole... or for the individuals.

Things are changing.

I've been very burdened for some time in my thoughts. I'm just an uneducated middle aged housewife. My children are nearly raised. I have a vocal chord disorder that prevents me from speaking clearly and cannot work. What can I do?

You've all heard "Obamessiah" in reference to how so many seem to feel about Obama. It is disturbing. Initially, I found it clever and funny because I didn't think anyone really felt that way about him. You know... an exaggeration to make a point.

I've come to realize that I had a certain amount of faith in our country and our way of life. Being an American offered me a sense of security that I believed in and was comforted by. I had a sense of justice, fairness and equality that I felt was intrinsic to our society. I was proud of our country and the spirit of freedom behind its formation. There are parts of our history that are dark and ugly but as we've marched forward we've moved to right those wrongs.

We are a nation of immigrants. People have come from all over the world in search of the American dream where if you work hard you can shape your own destiny. My great grandfather was one. He came from Sweden and settled in Seattle. My grandmother told me that during the depression he walked to work with a pocket full of dimes every day that he handed out to those he passed on the street that he thought could use a cup of coffee and a donut. He came here because he wanted to be an American. He wanted his children to be American.

I am a Christian first. Even though I am saddened by so many people clamouring for our government to take control of more and more in this country without a thought beyond themselves, my hope is ultimately in Christ. For me, this does not mean giving up and walking away or abandoning all hope that this country will not once again stand as originally intended. It means that I will do what I can... be informed, be a good steward of my votes, and most importantly, pray.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Stimulus Package"

What do y'all think is going to happen with HR 1? Hopefully, there will be some changes made before it passes the Senate.

Gateway Pundit had a post on Friday that caught my eye. On January 14, 2009, Dianne Feinstein introduced this bill. Interestingly, our Colorado Senator Salazar initiated much of the thought and drafting for this legislation at the end of the last Congress.

Gateway Pundit: Unreal!... Stimulus Includes Government Plan to Crush New Cars

We own two SUV's. We live in Colorado where we deal with snow, ice, hills and mountains. I am 5'11" with a 36" inseam. We did have a 4 wheel drive Subaru for a time but it became too small for our family. Just two weeks ago, a 2 wheel drive vehicle got stuck turning out of our son's school preventing people from getting out and, eventually, preventing people from dropping their kids off on time. The classes were disrupted and I'm sure my husband was not the only person late for work. There have been countless times when there have been vehicles in front of us that start sliding backwards down hills... and countless numbers of vehicles that are left on the side of the road during inclement weather.

Needless to say, this type of legislation irks me no end.