Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

The Expert

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I have a teenager who knows everything. You can ask her yourself, and she will tell you straight out that she knows everything. She gets A’s in all of her classes, and this reinforces her strong belief that she knows everything. She can tell you with great certainty everything that you need to know. Of course, there are those things that she has never heard of before, but they really aren’t that important - they are way too boring. So, for the most part she knows everything that she needs to know.

At first glance one might suggest that we have it made. We don’t need to worry about her doing poorly in school, because she knows everything. We don’t need to tell her what she should be doing, because she knows everything. When we tell her about the dangers of having unprotected sex she replies, “Duh!.” When we tell her about the dangers of drinking alcohol or taking drugs she will give us the same reply. What else can I say, she knows everything.

Imagine for a moment my brilliant daughter and her sister sitting in front of the computer one evening. As her sister begins a new game my brilliant daughter responds, “Don’t do that you idiot! Use this key and do this instead. You are so stupid, how are you going to even get out of level one like this?” Of course, my response to this is to tell my daughter that she is being nasty and she shouldn’t belittle her sister like that. And, she quickly retorts, “Well, she deserves it. She is being so stupid. Come here and watch what a moron she is being.”

Obviously the previous scene is a slight exaggeration of reality. However, I am exaggerating to make a point. My brilliant daughter knows quite a bit, and even in her mind she believes that she knows everything. The truth is that she is lacking in one important aspect of life, and that pertains to social skills. She can tell you how you ought to do a number of things, and she will if she sees you doing something wrong. After all, with thirteen years of experience she is currently and expert at life. But, when it comes to dealing with her sister she uses poor judgement. She was completely correct in the fact that she knew how to play the computer game that her sister was just learning. But she did little in the way of teaching her how she should play.

My point here is that being an expert isn’t everything. Many people have become experts by that fact that they perform the same job every day. They certainly have an expertise in that area. But, we all know people who are experts, but they don’t know how they should exercise their expertise. In fact, expertise is a very important attribute that we should strive for, but there are at least two additional attributes that are also important. Judgement and creativity are also quite important.

In recent years it has become fashionable to judge our politicians based on the issues. In most cases however it becomes impossible to choose a politicians that matches squarely with your own personal political agenda. As candidates get weeded out through a series of campaigns the resulting candidates are less likely to match our own personal political agenda. And, we are left with a choice to vote for a candidate that we don’t completely agree with, or not to vote at all.

If we choose to vote, then we must invent new criteria in order to judge the candidates that we don’t completely agree with. One popular method was to pick the candidate that we disliked the least. Each candidate commonly contributed to this by issuing advertising telling us how horrid the other guy was. This type of campaign results in negative attack advertising that wearies the public and pushing the majority into hating politicians in general. A second method to pick between two similar candidates is to base your choice on personality. Of course the personality put forward by the politicians is likely to be created and marketed by people who sell soda pop and potato chips by implying that they are good for you.

The final way to choose a candidate is to look at their personal history and determine whether they exercised good judgement had expertise and used creative ways to solve problems in the past. And this method is most likely the most reliable way to choose a candidate. Of course this is the most difficult and time-consuming way to select a candidate. And, even when you go through all this trouble it is likely that those who choose to use the first two methods will overwhelm your vote. However, in a close election your informed vote just might be the difference needed to put that one guy over the top.
Just think, if people in 2000 had used this method to choose between Al Gore and George W Bush we would have had a completely different history over the last seven years. Al Gore’s “cardboard” personality lost to George W Bush’s “guy you’d like to have a beer with” personality. And we ended up with a guy with no expertise in any function of government. We ended up with a guy who exercised poor judgement in picking his cabinet and advisors. He then continued to exercise poor judgement continually there after. Finally, we ended up with a guy who had absolutely no creative thought in his head. He opted to choose between the ideas submitted by his poorly chosen staff without a thought to modify them in any way. Al Gore may have lacked the personality, but he exercised terrific judgement in his activity to rally people around environmental issues even after he lost the presidential election. Could anyone even imagine George W Bush doing anything after he leaves the White House?

Now I need to go ask my daughter who she thinks is going to be President next year, because she knows everything.

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection

Pell Grants For Kids = Vouchers In Disquise

Monday, January 28th, 2008

This is the first I’ve heard of this, and so I’ve not had a chance to review the President’s proposal. However, it seems like he’s got another plan to divert public funds to parochial and private education. Watch as the separation of church and state shrinks again.

The fact is, parents who can afford to send their children to private schools don’t need the assistance. Moreover, there are a tremendous number of things broken with our public educational system. Can’t Bush find something in the system that needs a remedy and fix that instead of creating a new welfare system for the rich?

White House counselor Ed Gillespie, describing Bush’s plans for a new school initiative, said Monday afternoon that Bush “has some concerns about the declining number of faith-based and parochial schools in inner cities around the country and low-income neighborhoods.” Because of this, Gillespie said, Bush is ready to “urge Congress to enact a program he calls `Pell Grants for Kids.’ ”

The money would “provide alternatives for children now trapped in struggling public schools,” Gillespie told reporters.

Right. Ask any educator currently working as a teacher in a public school if No Child Left Behind has been good for America’s school children and you will discover how good Bush is at fixing what’s wrong with our public schools.

Incidentally, does any one else wonder why didn’t the Education Secretary make this announcement? Does the president always trot out lawyers because he has something to hide?

If you want to take a look at some more detail about my views on how to fix education, have a gander at this post, that post,,this other post, and how about searching my whole blog for the term education and see what comes up.

Just as an aside,do you think Bush would be in favor having a serious chunk of his “pell grants for kids” money going to some Islamic Private Education Organizations that start up? They would be faith-based, wouldn’t they?

More On That Alleged Best Health Care In The World

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

The Waiting Room

Those opposed to an overhaul of the U.S. health care system frequently tout it as the best health care in the world. However, while there are many positive aspects to our health care system, more and more deficiencies have begun to emerge and receive the attention they warrant. Following last weeks report that the U.S. ranks last in the number of preventable deaths, the time one has to wait before receiving emergency care continues to increase…leaving those in need of prompt attention at risk.

TUESDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) — The last thing you want to hear in the emergency room when you’ve got crushing chest pain or can’t breathe is that you have to wait before you can get treatment.

Unfortunately, in too many instances, that’s exactly what’s happening. In fact, new research found that waiting times in emergency rooms have increased by 36 percent for all patients, to an average of 30 minutes per patient. And the sickest sometimes have to wait the longest: As many as one-quarter of all heart attack patients had to wait 50 minutes or longer before seeing a doctor.

Study author Dr. Andrew Wilper, a fellow in general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and an internist with the Cambridge Health Alliance, reports in the Jan. 15 online issue of Health Affairs that the increasing wait times are the result of a “perfect storm” that has occurred as emergency room visits are on the rise while many ERs are closing their doors.

These expanding wait time compounds the plight of those who lack health insurance and rely upon indigent emergency room care for their health care. Not only are preventable and treatable illnesses being ignored until they become medical emergencies; those arriving in the emergency room with them are at greater risk since they are having to wait longer periods of time to see a physician and receive the attention they need. Is it any wonder that the number of preventable deaths in the United States is on the rise?

“The real problem is that patients are backing up in the ER. If a patient is still in the ER six or even 12 hours later, it means that room, that nurse and that equipment just aren’t available for the next patient that comes in the door,” explained Dr. Art Kellermann, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Kellermann said a good analogy to this situation would be if controllers at a busy airport started parking planes on the runways. “We’d think they’d lost their minds, but that’s what hospital administrations are doing with ERs,” said Kellermann. “We’ve taken the most time-critical portal of care and allowed it to become gridlocked.”

For the current study, Wilper and his colleagues reviewed data from 1997 through 2004 and included 92,173 adult ER visits. Of those visits, almost 18,000 were thought to need immediate attention at the time of initial evaluation, and 987 had a diagnosed heart attack.

Not surprisingly, the wait to see an ER physician also increased during that time. In 1997, the average wait was 22 minutes. By 2004, the average wait was up to 30 minutes — a 4.1 percent increase in wait time each year.

For heart attack patients, even a few minutes of delay in treatment can literally mean the difference between life and death. Yet, the average wait time for a heart attack patient increased from eight minutes to 20 minutes over the study period — a 150 percent increase.

The study also found that blacks, Hispanics and women had to wait longer for care. Whites waited an average of 24 minutes, while blacks had to wait an average of 31 minutes and Hispanics had to wait 33 minutes on average. Wilper said it’s possible that blacks and Hispanics might be more likely to visit hospitals that have longer wait times in general.

He said there needs to be an expansion of insurance coverage, modified management of inpatient and elective surgeries because so many ER beds have been lost, and an expansion of primary care that might help ease the overflow at the emergency room.

“This is an issue that cuts across insurance status,” said Kellermann, who pointed out that even people with insurance are left waiting in ERs, because there just isn’t enough space or enough resources.

The report also notes that several hundred emergency rooms have closed their doors. I suspect that the decline in hospitals offering emergency care adds to the problem and likely reflects the disincentive for hospitals to provide such care since it often involves patients who lack insurance or any real means to pay for the services rendered.

As the number of uninsured Americans increases, the problem will only exacerbate…a fact that ought to be recognized by all Americans since it also has and will impact the care provided to those who are insured. Reciting the president’s meme that everyone in America has access to health care may be an accurate statement; but it is also an inarticulate assessment. As the number of uninsured expands, a tipping point is inevitable and those inclined to ignore as much are simply burying their heads in the sand.

Those who emphasize the waiting times for health care in other countries as a reason to oppose some form of universal health care seek to portray those delays as a justification for the U.S. market driven system. Unfortunately, that rationale only succeeds so long as 47 million uninsured Americans fail to receive preventative care and treatment for chronic illnesses and diseases. If those countries providing health care to all were able to ignore the routine health care needs of nearly 20% of their citizens, I suspect their wait times would decrease.

If America wants to assert its prowess in providing timely and top-notch health care, it must soon address the needs of the 47 million Americans who are being ignored. Our challenge shouldn’t be to match the health care provided by other nations; it ought to be to actually provide the best health care in the world…to all Americans…when they need it.

To do otherwise is an exercise in self-deception that will continue to be evidenced in additional negative reports. Wouldn’t the verifiable pride that comes with a can-do attitude be preferable to false pride that results from a “don’t look, don’t see” mentality? Even worse, how can the deaths that result from foolish pride be anything but inexcusable?

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Domestic Violence with a Badge

Friday, January 11th, 2008


Let me just say this, my wife would kick my sorry ass if I ever raised a hand to her. My five daughters would probably join in on kicking my sorry ass if I hit their mother and Mom called for an Iron cage death match.

Domestic violence knows no boundaries or occupations and no race, creed, color or sexual orientation is without it. Tempers are what they are and sometimes the job comes home with you and sometimes some people can not check it at the door. Domestic violence is a serious problem in America and the flood gates of what is really happening in our nation is not talked about enough. It’s a fact that the majority of the abuse on spouses and children goes unreported. More times than not the violence is silent or quieted behind the four walls of a families home. The perpetrator and abusive family member is looked at from the family in a submissive mode and that the victim probably did something wrong to deserve a beating. That thought process is hard to comprehend but it happens every single day in America.

There was this story in the Boston Herald that I found and it points out several Boston Police officers that have had serious domestic violence complaints lodged against them and still hold the badge.

Critics: BPD soft on abuse
Boston cops punished in domestic cases, but kept their jobs
By O’Ryan Johnson
Friday, January 11, 2008

Despite talking tough on domestic violence, the Boston Police Department did not fire any of the 11 officers disciplined in the past two years for punching their spouses, striking their children and other violent incidents, a Herald review shows.The punishments handed down by Police Department brass in those cases include two five-day suspensions, three 30-day suspensions and one 40-day suspension. Of the remaining officers who were investigated, two retired, two resigned and one has a criminal case pending.

“It’s outrageous,” Mary Lauby, executive director of Jane Doe Inc., said of the department’s lack of a zero-tolerance policy against battering cops.

Snip and Cuff em Dan O’

Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who has been on the job for a little over a year, said a tougher policy has been in place since June 2006 that specifies officers can be fired for domestic violence complaints even if they aren’t found guilty in court.Davis said only one officer has been punished under the new rules, Lt. Dave Murphy, who received a five-day suspension for allegedly punching his girlfriend off a bar stool in Baltimore. In that case, the victim did not cooperate with the department, Davis said.

But Lauby of Jane Doe didn’t buy that as a valid defense of the department’s policy.

“This entire reliance on victims in order to prosecute, it’s a sham,” she said. “We all know that there is a substantial amount of domestic violence that never reaches anyone’s attention.” - Boston Herald

Violence in the home is and should not be tolerated by any wife, Mother, or child. Violence against family members is much like starting down the road of beginner drugs or alcohol. For that matter some people think that domestic violence is just as bad as addiction to drugs or alcohol. One step at a time it can ramp up till the walls all come crumbling down. In the worst possible scenario a spouse or child is dead at the hands of a family member.

The Herald piece pasted all Boston Police Officers in the same mold and that is not true reporting. It does however point out that the rules for all law enforcement officers needs to be a higher standard than the general public rules and laws. As in most professions in America there are idiots and scum bags. Boston’s Police Department is no different. Not all cops are wife beaters and not all cops are abusive to their children.

I don’t think there is a police officer in Boston that thinks the idiot highlighted in the Herald’s piece is nothing but a scum bag. With his disgraceful behavior in his private life it reflects back on all of the Boston Police whether they all like it or not. Then again the Herald goes out of its way to attack all public servants in Boston.

Real men, real woman do not need to hit or abuse anyone if you just open your mouth and logically vent. Violence against the family members that love you even if you have hit them in the past is not the answer. Asking them what you should do in your life is the answer. If that does not help then get some serious mental health consultation. One punch to the ones you love will damage not only your life but the ones you love forever. Seek help and advice everywhere you can and save not just your conscience but the horrible result of a family bound by violence.

My personal advice to the battered woman that are married to an abusive husband, get out and do it NOW! The life you save may be your own. No woman should tolerate even one moment of abuse. This is not 1808, this is 2008. Ending the cycle of violence from the victims point is far better than staying and letting your children learn that it is okay to beat their mother. Life long lessons are funny that way.

Papamoka

Originally posted at Papamoka Straight Talk

How About That Best Health Care In The World?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Ham & Cheese

During this election cycle we’ve often heard politicians argue that the United States has the best health care system in the world. Unfortunately, there are problems with how this assertion should be measured and a new report suggests that U.S. politicians have ignored one very important factor. Specifically, for the 47 million people who lack health insurance, the results can be deadly despite the following inane comment from George Bush at a recent speech in Cleveland:

I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.

In the report released by “Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine”, the evidence suggests that the United States ranks dead last in terms of preventable deaths…a statistic that fully refutes the wisdom of the president’s observation. Basic logic should tells us that treating conditions in an emergency setting is inferior to routine care and monitoring…which rarely happens for those individuals who lack health insurance.

France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

Nolte said the large number of Americans who lack any type of health insurance — about 47 million people in a country of about 300 million, according to U.S. government estimates — probably was a key factor in the poor showing of the United States compared to other industrialized nations in the study.

“I wouldn’t say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access. But if you don’t, I think that’s the main problem, isn’t it?” Nolte said in a telephone interview.

All the countries made progress in reducing preventable deaths from these earlier rankings, the researchers said. These types of deaths dropped by an average of 16 percent for the nations in the study, but the U.S. decline was only 4 percent.

“It is startling to see the U.S. falling even farther behind on this crucial indicator of health system performance,” Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen said.

“The fact that other countries are reducing these preventable deaths more rapidly, yet spending far less, indicates that policy, goals and efforts to improve health systems make a difference,” Schoen added in a statement.

As one can see, this report clearly points out just how absurd it is for the President to make the above statement. Yes, everyone knows that the uninsured can go to the emergency room…if they’re having an urgent medical event such as a heart attack, kidney failure, diabetic coma, and so on…but they’re not going to be provided with long term care in the form of heart medication, blood pressure medication, or insulin The care that is needed to treat long term medical conditions and chronic diseases and to avert or reduce these emergency room events as well as the increased risk of death is not available to many of the uninsured.

The bottom line is that the prevailing problem being ignored by the President and the 2008 GOP presidential candidates is the cost of health insurance and the inability of many, if not most of the 47 million uninsured, to afford it.

The topic was discussed in the recent ABC New Hampshire Republican debate. The following are a few relevant excerpts that clearly demonstrate the insufficiency of the GOP’s proposals to correct this urgent and expanding problem.

MR. ROMNEY: Charlie, it — that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be improved. And I think — I think that the notion of people buying their own private health insurance is a very good one, so long as a lot of them do it. Only 17 million Americans right now buy their own health insurance. If 50 million Americans were buying their own health insurance — because it would be just as tax-advantageous to do it that way — and we had a health savings account, people — economists believe there’d be a 30 (percent) to 50 percent reduction in the cost of health insurance, and quality would come up.

MR. GIBSON: You all have proposed free market, consumer- purchased insurance, and you all talk about giving tax deductions for buying insurance. Let me do a little math. The average family employer-provided insurance, when the companies buy it, its $13,000 a family.

Now, you’ve talked about a 15 (thousand) to 20,000-dollar deduction, right, for people buying their own insurance? If you take a median-income family of $62,000 in this country, you’ve just saved them $3,000 on their taxes. That doesn’t come close to buying an insurance policy.

MR. GIULIANI: Charlie, a health savings account actually helps to accomplish what the governor is talking about. If somebody can put aside — and the plans that we’ve been talking about include a health savings account — you’d have a — you’d have an exemption up to 15,000 (dollars). If you could find a policy for 11,000 (dollars), you could have a $4,000 health savings account. You would be able to buy some of your health care and your prevention yourself. It gives you an incentive over a lifetime to deal with wellness.

None of these comments address the fundamental problem. The fact is that the vast majority of the uninsured don’t have the income to buy health insurance even if they wanted to do so.

Let’s look at some of the GOP candidate’s specific statements. Mitt Romney seems to suggest that the problem will resolve if we can simply get more individuals to buy private health insurance. Excuse me, but there are millions of Americans who can’t even afford to pay their portion of an employer sponsored insurance plan. Just how are those individuals going to be able to afford even more expensive individual policies?

Rudy Giuliani’s plan isn’t any better. Note Charlie Gibson’s explanation whereby the government offers a tax incentive for individuals or families to purchase private insurance. However, to do so, a family needs to be able to afford at a minimum of $13,000.00 (the amount they currently pay for employer sponsored insurance) in order to receive a $,3000.00 tax break. If you haven’t the ability to pay for the insurance, the tax break is meaningless. Therefore the Giuliani plan only works for those who can already afford health insurance. It sounds nice to talk about a 15 to 20 thousand dollar exemption, but it isn’t going to help those with low incomes who already pay minimal taxes.

When Giuliani goes on to laud the benefits of an HSA, he is once again insulting our intelligence. If most of the people who lack health care had the ability to set aside $4,000.00 in an HSA…or under their mattress…wouldn’t they already be doing so? Further, the assumption that people aren’t mindful of their own wellness is laughable. If you can’t put food on the table for your family, you sure as hell don’t put $4,000.00 in an HSA account for wellness care.

Frankly, the bulk of the GOP rhetoric on health care is little more than smoke and mirrors intended to feign concern without ever having to fund care. I would relate it to one of my favorite expressions told to me by an old friend, “I’d have a ham and cheese sandwich…if I had any ham or cheese.” By and large, the same logic holds for the plight of the uninsured.

In fairness, both John McCain and Mike Huckabee argued that the lack of wellness and preventative care are largely responsible for the skyrocketing costs of health care. Their statements are a sensible equivalent to the oft heard expression, “you can pay me now or pay me later”…except for one critical omission. The “pay me now” portion of the equation is the lion’s share of unfunded health care costs…costs which are only currently covered by health insurance…the health insurance that millions can’t afford…and that the GOP has little desire to fund.

Since the health care industry isn’t absorbing these costs (and doesn’t want to), they have absolutely no motivation to offer to subsidize this type of care. At the same time, it’s abundantly evident that the GOP opposes the government stepping in to cover these costs. The truth of the matter is that the health care industry and the GOP both accept that it’s cheaper (and more profitable) to continue only requiring the health care industry to provide indigent emergency care. In the end, that essentially leaves few people advocating for the needs of the uninsured…and more people in the morgue.

It’s been more than seven year since George Bush sold the American public on the notion of “compassionate conservatism”. Let’s hope that the election of a Democrat in 2008 will be the first step towards seeing it demonstrated.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

In 2008 as in 2007

Friday, January 4th, 2008

it’s gonna be ABAT (All Britney All the Time):

Court awards Spears’ kids to K-Fed.

Just two things to say.

1. About friggin’ time;

and

2. Some people just shouldn’t be parents.

Biggest lies of the year..part deux

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

I report..you decide..all of this is from FactCheck.org:

Rudy’s Adoption Deception

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani claimed adoptions went up 65 percent to 70 percent when he was mayor of New York City, when in fact adoptions at the end of his tenure were only 17 percent higher than at the start, and they were falling. His manipulation of official statistics was a classic case of using data selectively to create a false impression.

Levitating Numbers May 7, 2007

Rudy’s False Cancer Claim

Giuliani claimed in a radio ad that men suffering from prostate cancer have only a 44 percent survival rate under England’s system of “socialized medicine.” The true figure is 74.4 percent. Giuliani’s bogus statistic was the result of bad math by a campaign adviser with no particular expertise in cancer research. It was denounced by any number of cancer experts including one who called it “nonsense.” Giuliani stubbornly refused to admit his error, claiming the 44 percent figure is “absolutely accurate.” It isn’t.

A Bogus Cancer Statistic October 30, 2007

Bogus Cancer Stats, Again November 8, 2007

Rudy’s Inflated Cop Count

Giuliani falsely claimed that he grew New York City’s police force by 12,000 officers, but 7,100 of those he counted were already housing or transit police who were simply merged into the New York Police Department. The actual increase in the size of the city’s uniformed police officers was about 3,660, or about 10 percent, and the cost of hiring about 3,500 of them was partially covered by the federal government under President Bill Clinton.

Cop-Counting Cop-Out October 9, 2007

Rudy’s Bogus Crime Claim

A Giuliani TV ad falsely claimed New York City experienced “record crime … until Rudy.” In fact, the city recorded its highest rates of both violent crime and property crime years before he took office. The downward trend was well established before he was sworn in.

The Not-Quite Truth About NYC November 27, 2007

Rudy’s Tax-Cut Puffery

Giuliani constantly repeated that he “cut or eliminated 23 taxes” while mayor of New York City, but eight of those were initiated at the state level, with the mayor cheering from the sidelines. A ninth cut, one of the largest, was opposed by Giuliani in a five-month standoff with the City Council, until the mayor finally acquiesced. He can properly claim credit for initiating only 14 of the cuts.

Giuliani’s Tax Puffery July 27, 2007

Richardson’s Job Inflation

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson continually boasted of creating 80,000 jobs since becoming governor of New Mexico. But official figures showed a 68,100 gain when he first started making this inflated boast. He based his claim on a definition of “jobs” that includes unpaid workers in family businesses and freelancers who don’t draw a paycheck.

Richardson also claimed he “made New Mexico 6th in job growth,” when the state already ranked 6th for the 12-month period before he took office and later fell to 17th under Richardson’s stewardship.

Richardson’s Job Boast August 22, 2007

Richardson Flunks Math and Science

Richardson also claimed over and over that U.S. students rank 29th in the world in math and science. Not true. The two leading international assessments of student achievement rank U.S. students better in all cases, and in most cases much better, than Richardson claims. U.S. students do post mediocre scores compared with those of other industrial nations, but Richardson is using a fanciful number that paints too dark a picture.

Richardson Flunks Two Subjects September 12, 2007

Mitt’s Immigration Malarkey

An ad by Romney in New Hampshire claimed that his rival John McCain “voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security.” That’s untrue. Nobody who is in the country illegally could be paid any Social Security benefits under McCain’s immigration bill. What McCain and 10 other Senate Republicans voted against was an effort to strip illegal aliens of a right they currently have: to apply the taxes they paid and the time they worked while in the country illegally as credit toward future Social Security benefits if and when they become citizens or legal residents.

The same ad said one of the differences between the two candidates is that Romney “opposes amnesty” for illegal immigrants. But Romney himself once called McCain’s immigration bill “reasonable” and said it was “quite different” from amnesty. Indeed it was. The McCain bill would have required those here illegally to pay thousands of dollars in fines and fees to gain legal status.

In an earlier TV ad, Romney cast himself as tough on illegal immigration, saying “I authorized the [Massachusetts] State Police to enforce immigration laws.” He doesn’t mention that his order never took effect. It came in the closing days of his administration and was rescinded by his successor

More Mitt Malarkey December 28, 2007

Tough Guy on Immigration? November 9, 2007

Mitt’s Meth Miss

Yet another Romney ad attacked Huckabee in Iowa, claiming Romney “got tough on drugs like meth” in Massachusetts while Huckabee “reduced penalties for manufacturing methamphetamine” in Arkansas. But the legislation Romney supported never passed. Furthermore, convicted meth dealers face prison terms in Arkansas that are four times longer than those in Massachusetts, even after the reductions Huckabee supported. The reductions were drafted with help from Arkansas state prosecutors to ease prison overcrowding.

Romney on Huckabee II December 19, 2007

Mitt Mauls History

Romney claimed that Democratic President Clinton “began to dismantle the military,” but really it was Republican President George H.W. Bush who started making deep cuts in defense budgets years before Clinton took office.

More Mitt Missteps July 9, 2007

Hillary’s Trumped-up Troop Claim

In a TV ad for her presidential campaign, Sen. Hillary Clinton falsely claimed that members of the National Guard and military Reserve didn’t have health insurance until she and a GOP colleague took action. “You would think that after all the sacrifices and service of the National Guard and Reserve protecting our country, they would have had health insurance. But they didn’t.”

In fact, most of them did. All active-duty Guard and Reserve troops were covered by federal insurance long before she became a senator. Furthermore, four out of five non-active-duty guardsmen and reservists also were covered by their civilian employers or other sources. Clinton did help expand and enhance government health care coverage for reservists but can’t claim credit for creating coverage where none existed, as this ad implied.

Exaggerating Help for Troops December 20, 2007

Huckabee’s Tax Hooey

* Huckabee tried to duck charges of being a tax increaser by claiming an Arkansas gasoline tax hike passed after 80 percent of state voters approved it. But the referendum vote on highway repairs didn’t occur until after the tax was increased.

Huckabee also claimed repeatedly that he cut taxes “almost 94 times,” sliding by the fact that 21 other taxes were raised during his tenure, resulting in a net tax increase.

Huckabee’s Fiscal Record November 21, 2007

“FairTax” Falsehoods

Proponents of the so-called “FairTax,” prominently including Huckabee, claimed that a national sales tax of 23 percent could replace both the federal income tax and Social Security taxes, and eliminate the Internal Revenue Service.

In truth, the actual rate of the proposed tax would be 30 percent, when calculated the same way as state and local sales taxes. And it would have to be 34 percent to raise the same revenue as the taxes it would replace, according to a bipartisan presidential commission. The FairTax would, for example, raise the price of gasoline by roughly $1 per gallon at today’s prices and cause a $150,000 new home to cost at least $195,000 including the 30 percent tax.

And while the Internal Revenue Service might disappear, two new federal bureaucracies would be needed: one to administer the sales tax and another to keep track of sending out hundreds of billions of dollars in checks every year to compensate taxpayers for the regressive nature of sales taxes. The proposal calls for “prebates” to all taxpayers of all taxes paid on purchases up to the poverty level. That of course would require an IRS-like system to validate each person’s income and the amount of “prebate” they are due.

Unspinning the FairTax May 31, 2007

Edwards’ Empty Threat

Former Sen. John Edwards said, both in a TV ad and constantly on the campaign trail, that as president he’d tell Congress to act within six months to make sure all Americans have health insurance or “I’m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.” But he would have no such power. Lawmakers have health coverage granted by law, not by executive fiat.

Edwards’ Empty Threat November 13, 2007

McCain’s Supply-side Spin

McCain claimed the major tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 “dramatically increased revenues” and that tax cuts in general increase revenues. Not true. The Congressional Budget Office, the Treasury Department, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers and a former Bush administration economist all said that tax cuts lead to revenues that are lower than they otherwise would have been – even if they spur some economic growth.

Supply-side Spin June 11, 2007

McCain’s Impossible Energy Dream

McCain promised that if elected he’d set up a massive government program to develop alternate energy sources and “we will in five years become oil independent.” But the U.S. imports two-thirds of its oil, and dependence is growing. Experts we consulted said McCain’s five-year goal is an impossibility. “There’s just no way,” said Frank Verrastro, director of the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “You can’t institute technological change that quickly.” Studies assessing how to achieve energy independence set target dates ranging from 2025 to 2040.

Republicans Debate in Iowa December 12, 2007

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Biden’s Bogus Labor Boast

Sen. Joe Biden claimed during a Democratic forum to have a labor record equal to or better than all the candidates present that evening:

Biden: Look at our records. There’s no one on this stage, mainly because of my longevity, that has a better labor record than me.

Actually, all the candidates on the stage had a better lifetime labor record than Biden, as measured by the AFL-CIO’s ratings of Senate and House votes. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Edwards had the best ratings, tied at 97 percent for their congressional careers. Biden’s lifetime rating brought up the rear at 85 percent.

AFL-CIO Democratic Forum August 8, 2007

Democratic Hot Air on Medicare

Democrats made a false promise to senior citizens by claiming that they had a painless way to bring about lower prices on pharmaceuticals. Michigan Rep. John Dingell summed up his party’s empty promise during House debate on their bill, H.R. 4:

Dingell: This legislation is simple and common sense. It will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.

That claim was contradicted by a number of experts including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the chief actuary of the Medicare system. Both said the bill wouldn’t bring the lower prices Democrats promised, because it wouldn’t have allowed the federal government to set up a “formulary” of approved medications for Medicare, such as the one the Veterans Administration uses to squeeze price concessions from drug companies for the drugs it covers. Formularies can be unpopular with patients if preferred drugs aren’t covered. The Democratic bill would require federal officials to negotiate while denying them any leverage. The bill passed the House but the Senate took no action.
Medicare Hot Air January 17, 2007

Bush Baloney on Children’s Health

President Bush falsely claimed that a proposal to expand the 10-year-old federal SCHIP program “would result in taking a program meant to help poor children and turning it into one that covers children in households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year.” That wasn’t true. Nothing in the proposal would have forced coverage for families earning $83,000 a year.

Actually, the Urban Institute estimated that 70 percent of children who would gain coverage under the bill that Bush attacked (and later vetoed) are in families earning half the $83,000 figure Bush used. One state, New York, had proposed (under current law) to allow families of four with incomes up to $82,600 a year to be eligible, but the administration successfully prevented that from happening.

Furthermore, the program wasn’t aimed at “poor” children as Bush claimed. Those in poverty generally are covered under Medicaid already. SCHIP was aimed at children in families without health coverage and with incomes that are above the poverty level.

Bush’s False Claims About Children’s Health Insurance September 21, 2007

Bush’s Iraqi Exaggerations

Bush played loose with the facts in an address address to the nation on Iraq. He said “36 nations … have troops on the ground in Iraq.” In fact, his own State Department put the number at 25. The White House later said the president was counting some nations that had troops in the country temporarily as part of a military exercise. Bush also said the city of Baqubah in Diyala province was “cleared.” But the Washington Post quoted a State Department official as saying the security situation there wasn’t stable at the time.

Operation Iraqi Gloss-Over September 14, 2007

Off-Base About Offshoring

An ad by a labor union PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Edwards in Iowa implied that the closing of a Maytag factory in the state and the loss of 1,800 jobs were due to “tax breaks to companies that move jobs offshore.” And it said Edwards would end such breaks. But the jobs didn’t move offshore. They were sent to Ohio. And eliminating the “tax breaks” in question probably wouldn’t do much to keep jobs in the U.S.

Not Working 4 Edwards December 19, 2007

“Lawsuit Abuse” Nonsense

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran a TV ad claiming that “lawsuit abuse” is costing “your family” $3,500 a year. But that figure came from a study estimating the cost of all suits, not just abusive ones. The author of the study called the chamber’s ad “misleading.”

A False Ad About ‘Lawsuit Abuse’ May 11, 2007

by Brooks Jackson, with the staff of FactCheck.org

So, there you have it..all the lies and bs from both sides of the aisle..it’s a doozy ain’t it?

Biggest bs lines of the year..

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Courtesy of Factcheck.org. They don’t play favorites either:

The year 2007 wasn’t a good one for political honesty. Though not even technically an election year, it provided a bumper crop of falsehoods and distortions nonetheless.

Presidential candidates kept us busy:

  • Republican Rudy Giuliani made false claims over and over about his record as mayor of New York, and even about England’s health care system.
  • Democrat Bill Richardson also mangled the facts repeatedly, claiming credit for creating more jobs as New Mexico’s governor than actually materialized and using a made-up figure about the performance of U.S. students, among other misstatements.
  • Republican Mitt Romney claimed undeserved credit for himself as governor of Massachusetts and made false or misleading claims about two of his rivals.
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton ran an ad claiming that National Guard and Reserve troops had no health insurance before she went to work, when in fact most of them did.
  • Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee repeatedly twisted the facts when talking about his record on taxes in Arkansas and other subjects. And there were plenty of other howlers from the large field of candidates.

Misinformation came both from Congress and the White House:

  • Democrats made false promises about their Medicare drug bill in January.
  • President Bush returned the favor in September by making a false claim about a Democratic effort to expand health care coverage for children in low-income families.

Independent groups also dispensed misinformation during 2007:

  • Advocates of the so-called “FairTax” claimed a 23 percent national sales tax can replace both the federal income tax and Social Security taxes. In truth, the actual rate would have to be at least 34 percent even if it fell on new homes, mortgage and credit-card interest and a host of other products and services not usually subject to state or local sales taxes.
  • A labor union group ran an ad supporting Democrat John Edwards that left the impression that jobs from a closed Iowa plant had gone overseas, when really they had gone to Ohio.
  • A business group ran an ad falsely claiming that “lawsuit abuse” costs families thousands of dollars per year, which isn’t true.

    Merry Christmas to All

    Monday, December 24th, 2007

    From this political liberal opinionated Irish Catholic New England Yankee Socialist snob to all of you out there that take the time to read my rants, thank you.  I probably left out a few names I’ve been called but it comes with the territory of writing political opinion.  From my five daughters and my lovely wife we wish you and all of your families the happiest times this Christmas holiday.

    For all of my friends that are Atheist, Muslim, Jewish or whatever faith you choose.  Have a great Tuesday this week.  And do not set the Alarm clock!  Umm, the power is out  so nobody is open for business unless you are a police officer, fireman, or medical hospital.  Ya, that’s the ticket.  Christian’s are all at Church because Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts have threatened from beyond the grave to come back if we do not send $20,000,000 to some clown named Papamoka.  Ya, that’s it!  I kid you not, even Bill O’Reilly is going to church.  This is serious stuff! 

    Well, I’m off to boobie trap the damn chimney in hopes of catching the fat bastid’ in the act.  I saw it on the internet that some of those supermarket tabloids are willing to pay $100,000 for a legitamet picture of Santa Claus.  The bonus is the $40 per pound on the reindeer meat but do not tell anyone about that please.  That is our little secret.   

    Merry Christmas

    Papamoka 

    Stonewalling

    Thursday, December 20th, 2007

    My personal experience with the our local Schools fluctuates from extremely good to extremely bad. We have lived in our town since 1998 and my four children have attended the public schools since we moved here. Over those nine years we have had the opportunity to work with some outstanding teachers and principals that have fostered enormous successes in my children’s education. Unfortunately we have also experienced some horribly negligent teachers and principals that seem to be going through the motions in order to pick up a paycheck each payday.

    I could go into the details of each and every experience that we have had throughout the last nine years, but that would be of little use and foster little progress. In fact, two of the problems that we have dealt with over these years will never be corrected because the people have already died from diseases related to their alcohol problems. Unfortunately when we did confront these problems and bring them to the attention of those delegated with the responsibility our cries fell on deaf ears.

    This time we have a new set of teachers and administrators and a new problem. We have seen this all before and it saddens me greatly. I personally don’t understand the resistance of the administration to effect change and fix these problems. But, as we have seen this all before we know exactly how this will play out. It is as if there is a script and every person plays their role and each time nothing is done the person lies about how they will be sure to look into the problem. Since the politics of the personal relationships is kept behind closed doors under the guise of protecting a alleged suspect I will not name names in this letter. I would surely provide further information to anyone who would talk to me, but all of the administrators involved already know the facts and the problems, they have just chosen to do nothing about it.

    In an attempt to bring discussion and light onto this subject I would rather like to talk in generalities as a matter of furthering public discourse without pointing fingers and making accusations. The people who are guilty of stonewalling already know who they are. The teachers who choose to go through the motions without doing their jobs already know who they are. The solution to the problem is not to hide the fact that there are poor teachers and administrators in our schools, but instead to inform them that we are watching and they should do their jobs. Unfortunately most of these cases only involve a few people each year. The few people that are effected know that the school year will eventually end and the new school year is likely to provide them with one of the many very good teachers that we have in these schools. What the public needs is a way to bring attention to these problems and have them solved in a reasonable and effective way.

    Now that I have explained the situation in generalities I will be a bit more specific. There is a teacher in a our local school that one of my children has for a class. The teacher has basically refused to teach in almost any definition of the term. Instead the teacher has the students attempt to teach themselves by reading their textbook to themselves and take notes. The teacher occasionally administers a test of the subject matter that she copies off of the Internet. The tests from the Internet do not correspond to the textbook material, because the tests from online actually come from another textbook that covers the same material with different details. My child has complained to counselors and the different levels of administration. The one time that an evaluator came into the classroom to evaluate the teacher the teacher conducted the class more closely to a traditional discussion style class. Obviously the teacher knows what she is doing would be frowned upon. However, the behavior continues and even with the complaints to the administration by approximately half of the students in the class. The students have signed a petition and presented it to the administration, but the administration requires each case to be dealt with individually and not en masse. The students continue to bring the issue to the administration with no results. Finally during the last meeting with the administrator the students were told the matter was already brought to their attention. When the students asked what was going to be done the administrator explained that nothing was needed to be done.

    So, the sad situation that we have in the our local schools is portrayed in this example. The administration complains that they want the students to excel in academics. They publicly claim that they have hired the best teachers. And, they have hired some very good teachers. Unfortunately they have also hired some very poor teachers that should be removed from their responsibilities. We should not be paying teachers to shop online while the students outline the chapters in their textbooks during class time. The administration doesn’t want to know about the failures. Perhaps they want to claim ignorance. Perhaps they are too lazy to fix the problems in the schools. Perhaps the law ties their hands and they really can’t do anything about this. There are solutions to every one of these problems. We can fire the administrators that are too lazy or incompetent. And, if the laws are in the way, then we have an obligation to change the laws. The students deserve it and our future society is built on the education of these students.

    Sincerely,

    a concerned parent of a concerned student

    —————————————————–

    Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

    Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

    Reflection


    Fish.Travel