Tag Archives: U S Department

Dead Skunk, Stinkin’ to High Heaven

Conservatives make a fundamental mistake regarding government employees. Frequently, Conservatives rail against lazy workers, using the enthusiasm–challenged as examples of all that’s wrong with government.

Yet drones making personal calls on their cell phone aren’t proponents of bigger, more intrusive government. Those disciples of inertia are, in a way, our friends.

It’s energetic and ambitious employees who want to expand government and these are the workers conservatives should be trying to eliminate.

Look at DMV, that long–time conservative whipping boy. Sluggish DMV employees aren’t agitating for more authority. They’re content with processing the license or registration paperwork at the standard glacial pace.

Sleepy employees aren’t trying to expand DMV jurisdiction into selling government tires or oil changes. Their only goal is to discover once and for all what ratio of closed to open customer service windows produces the maximum number of disgruntled citizens with the least elected official outrage.

If you mistakenly inject a few highly motivated employees into the DMV the wait may go down to a comparatively speedy half–day, but with time on their hands the new hires may decide to go out into the parking lot and check the tint density on your SUV windows.

VDOT is the real world example of the damage and expense an eager–beaver employee can cause. VDOT scientist Bridget Donaldson has lately become concerned about that unfortunate byproduct of highway use – roadkill.
It’s not that she’s worried about the potential proliferation of small roadside memorials to squashed raccoons; Donaldson is preoccupied with the entire flattened fauna disposal process.

VDOT currently spends about $4.4 million annually disposing of animal carcasses, which only goes to show it takes a long time to clean any gene pool. In 77 percent of the cases crews haul vehicle victims to the nearest landfill and, according to Donaldson’s scare statistics, that can be a 40–mile round trip. The rest of the time practical VDOT employees simply bury the creature by the side of the road.

As a taxpayer, I’m satisfied, but then I’m not a ‘scientist.’

Instead of simply drinking coffee from her World Wildlife Federation mug, Donaldson wants to fix what ain’t broke and have VDOT embark on a new initiative that will cost more money and “help the environment.”

She claims that burying Rocket J. Squirrel by the side of the road could release harmful pollutants and bacteria, to say nothing of the damage adding his corpse to the critical mass of Happy Meal boxes and plastic bags in the landfill might produce.

If this was during the Tim Kaine administration, Donaldson could have simply recommended animal carcasses be stored in closed rest stops — instead she wants to compost the critters by mixing carcasses and wood chips, which sounds suspiciously like a Kashi bar to me.

But isn’t burial the original composting? And what could be more natural than decomposition, which doesn’t require the use of fossil fuels? If Donaldson is correct regarding the release of “harmful pollutants and bacteria” from burial, then every cemetery in the country is eligible to be declared a Superfund site.

Donaldson is simply not content to let roadside maggots do their work in peace. She wants to store vulture vittles in large gasoline–tanker sized drums that can cost up to $80,000 each. Presumably these cemetery cylinders will be cruising the Commonwealth looking for customers, which will surely burn more gas than the occasional landfill trip.

And how many road pizzas will it take to fill one of these behemoths? How much protective gear will the poor soul have to wear when he adds the last few fur frisbees to the marinating mix, if he hopes to survive the odor onslaught? And who wants to be stuck behind one of these critter containers during an August traffic jam on I–95?

Her alternate composting method requires building large concrete plazas for the putrefaction piles with the rotting runoff directed into a water–treatment plant that will have to be modified or built from scratch at additional taxpayer expense.

I’ll just bet every economic development authority in Virginia will be lobbying to get one of these “earth–friendly” odor–paloozas for their jurisdiction.
We should be thankful Donaldson doesn’t want a Wiccan to say a few words over the dearly departed.

A computer solitaire–playing VDOT scientist would’ve been content to let nature take its course, saving taxpayers the expense of studies and subsequent “solutions.” Which is why I’m now calling on conservatives to live and let live with the lethargic and embrace the ennui.

Smaller government depends on it.

Rick Perry – Is He the ‘Right’ Candidate?

Image by Gage Skidmore on Fickr

Texas governor Rick Perry is said to announce his entry into the 2012 Presidential race on Saturday. But, is he the ‘right’ person for the job? Perry is the longest standing governor in Texas. He entered office as governor in December 2000 and still in the office today.

Until 1989 Perry was a Democrat. The Hill.com said this morning that “the battle for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination will be altered dramatically Saturday when Gov. Rick Perry (Texas) announces he is entering the race”. I don’t see it as changing “dramatically” but it will make it harder on some to pick one to vote for.

Tom Jensen of the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling told The Hill in their article that Perry is a more credible alternative [to Romney] than someone like Bachmann,” he continued saying, “There are going to be conservatives who would think, ‘I don’t really like Romney but I just can’t see Bachmann as president’. If it’s Perry, they are going to say: ‘I don’t really like Romney and I can see Perry as president.”

While I do like Rick Perry and his conservative style, I disagree with his support of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a $145+ billion-dollar project that would build multi-lane highways, rail lines and data lines from Oklahoma to Mexico, and from east to west in southern Texas.

The U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama administration continues to harbor the dream of Mexico-to-Canada NAFTA superhighways. The Federal Highway Administration website proclaims that the “Corridor: Interstate 69 (I-69) – Texas to Michigan” to be fully operational under the following project description: “The 2,680-mile international and interstate trade corridor extends from Mexico to Canada.”

NAFTA needs to be abolished and immediately,why?  Because, the fact is that NAFTA encouraged a number of US manufacturers to move their operations to Mexico, and Perry supports putting in an “express lane” for it.  NAFTA was implemented in the interest of providing American Corporations with cheap labor, with total disregard for the living standards of the Canadian worker, the American worker, or the Mexican worker. No where in North America have any workers benefited for this trade agreement. The simple fact is that the citizens of North America were blatantly lied to by their leaders that NAFTA would benefit them–however it has done nothing but lower ther standard of living for all North American Workers across the board with all the jobs lost.

If that was not enough to deter me from supporting Rick Perry he is said to belong to a secret group of elitists by the name of Bilderberg. Some believe the group is made up of an elite group of people whose strategic goal is a new world order. The NWO is something I do not want to see, that is not the conservative way of thinking. Gina M. Aveni, a writer here on Conservative Daily News, has posted three separate articles about the Bilderberg group article 1, article 2, article 3 I would suggest Perry supporters should look at them.

I really hate to say Perry is not a true conservative but I believe he is a (CINO) conservative in name only.

 

 

 

California’s ‘Boondoggle’ Report – I mean High Speed Rail Report

The term “Boondoggle” may be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy expenditure, where at some point, the key operators, having realized that the project will never work, are still reluctant to bring this to the attention of their superiors.

Generally there is an aspect of “going through the motions” – for example, continuing to waste money on High-Speed Rail – as long as funds are available.

Obama’s inspiring vision of a nation crisscrossed by bullet trains, providing cleaner, safer and cheaper competition to airlines and reducing reliance on gas-guzzling automobiles, is in serious jeopardy as a new Republican majority in the House looks to slash his funding plans. In this environment, California is a test case for whether high-speed trains can succeed in the U.S. — and so far, the state is failing the test.

California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office forecasts a state budget deficit of $25.4 billion that the Legislature needs to plug before the next fiscal year begins. The LAO’s gloomy budget outlook is blamed in part on a $6 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year. California faces a $20 billion a year deficit through 2015-2016.

Seems California is in serious economic trouble, but yet they want to continue with Obama’s “Boondoggle” called high-speed rail?

Viewpoints: Case for high-speed rail grows only stronger. The last time many Californians thought about high-speed rail was in the voting booth. On that day, Nov. 4, 2008, more than 6 million voted to tell the state to get going, to build high-speed rail in California. Now, 2 ½ years later, the second guessing is in full swing. In recent weeks some have suggested that the project – High Speed Rail – be put on hold.

Most people I talk to have said this about high-speed rail – this is something the country ‘wants’ now, but it can’t afford it at the moment. The backers of high-speed rail are now using the “high Gas, cleaner environment issues” to their advantage – claiming that these HSR trains are cleaner and people will decide to pay to ride the train – instead of grid-locking the interstates with automobiles.

This of course is all speculation, because no where in the United States do we have an actual HSR service. The Legislative Analyst’s Office published a report calling for at least a ‘temporary halt’ to the project. The report alluded to a number of concerns about the project:

  • The amount and timing of future federal funding are unclear.
  • Spending state funds on rail will mean there is less money for other things.
  • We do not yet know how much private investment the system can attract, or when it will come.
  • Starting construction in the Central Valley is a “gamble.”

These “concerns” would make me cautious of this project too.

  1. They have no clue when or even if they will receive more federal funding.
  2. California is in real debt trouble – wasting states money on HSR – means less money for projects that are really needed.
  3. There is a “hint” of interest from private investments – but they have not seen any money from them yet – nor have the private investors 100% committed to investing.
  4. To qualify for the federal funds, planners had to agree to break ground by 2012. Federal officials deemed that the only segment that would be ready for construction so quickly was in the ‘sparsely’ populated Central Valley. As a result, the bulk of the $3.5 billion kicked in by the Obama administration must be spent on a train running between the tiny towns of Borden and Corcoran. Ridership on this initial segment would be slight, making it impossible to operate the train without taxpayer subsidies. Yet under the terms of Proposition 1A, the state can’t issue bonds to pay for the project unless it has been demonstrated to be self-sufficient. What’s more, if federal and other funds for further construction dry up, California could end up with an expensive train to nowhere.

So I can see why the Legislative Analyst’s Office has their concerns. I have my concerns as well, since I am helping to pay for it. California has a huge debt problem, my main concern is that Obama will want to help “bail” them out of debt forcing taxpayers to pay for California’s problems. Then we as taxpayers are obligated to pay for all these HSR Boondoggles too!

The train’s biggest problems can be laid at the feet of the California High Speed Rail Authority, which is overseeing its construction. Inexperienced board members appointed by the governor and Legislature on the basis of political patronage rather than expertise have made a host of poor decisions. The poor planning shows as the board plans to take a circuitous route from Los Angeles to Bakersfield by veering through Palmdale and Lancaster. This would add 30 miles to the trip plus $1 billion in construction costs, and make it all but impossible for the train to meet its promised travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes from L.A. to San Francisco. Compared with the more direct route along Interstate 5 through the Grapevine.

This country is in a real debt crisis with unemployment way up, high gas prices, higher food prices and such. Why are we allowing Obama to “gamble” with his HSR dream? This is something the country would like to have but it doesn’t necessarily need it at the moment. We need to get our priorities straight spend our money wisely on things we already have but are in severe need of improving. Instead of “gambling” away at projects most of us already know – won’t succeed.

 

 

Governor Nominates Mike Prendergast to Lead Veterans’ Affairs Agency

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today nominated Colonel Mike Prendergast, US Army (Retired), to take over as Executive Director of Florida’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. If confirmed by the full Cabinet, Prendergast, who is currently serving as the Governor’s Chief of Staff, would take over the agency immediately following a special cabinet meeting.

The agency has had an interim director since the late Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr. was killed in a bicycle accident last July.

Governor Scott said, “I can think of no better advocate on behalf of Florida’s 1.6 million veterans, their families and survivors, than Mike Prendergast. His devotion to duty and commitment to our military men and women will be evident in the way he advocates for their health and economic well being.”

The Special Cabinet Meeting to vote on the nomination will be held at noon Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

“Mike committed to getting me through the first legislative session, and he did so with great success. The team he led did a great job of laying the foundation for my 7-7-7 Jobs Plan,” said Governor Scott. “I’m grateful for his leadership and I’m confident he will continue that in this new leadership role that I’ve asked him to assume.”

ABOUT MIKE PRENDERGAST

Colonel Mike Prendergast (US Army, retired), is a native of Tampa and a graduate of Clearwater Central Catholic High School. His 31 years of distinguished active duty service as a Military Police Officer include multiple combat deployments in leadership positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as assignments in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Mike culminated his service to the nation with a tour at MacDill Air Force Base where he served on the staff of General Dave Petraeus as the U.S. Central Command Provost Marshal. Mike retired from active duty on October 1, 2009.

Mike’s civilian education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree with Special Honors and a dual major in Political Science and Sociology from Jacksonville State University, a Master of Arts degree with a major in International Relations and a Certificate in African Studies from the University of Florida, a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Public Management from Troy University, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.

Mike is a decorated Soldier, and his personal awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legion of Merit medals, the Bronze Star Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, and multiple additional awards, badges, and citations presented for service and achievement. Mike is a 2009 inductee into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA, and he is also a recipient of the Military Police Corps’ Order of the Marechaussee award in Silver for having had a significant impact on the Army’s Military Police Corps.

Mike and his wife, Naomi, have two grown children and four grandchildren. The Prendergast’s son and son-in-law are both Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and continue to serve on active duty today.

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FDVA), on behalf of the Governor and Cabinet, is responsible for improving the health and economic well-being of Florida’s 1.6 million veterans. The Executive Director oversees all department operations, actions and final determinations, as well as direct supervision and strategic direction of FDVA’s management team. FDVA’s Executive Director is the primary spokesman and advocate for the Agency and its constituency, a role which extends beyond State Government to various federal agencies and Florida’s Congressional Delegation. The Executive Director’s office identifies significant avenues through which Florida can facilitate receipt of Federal veteran related resources and acts on the State’s behalf.

Where is the Outrage – Mexican Trucks are coming to a State Near you

Where is the outrage? Mexican trucks are coming to the U.S. very soon – quite likely before the end of the month. Calls, and or letters/faxes need to be sent to your lawmakers – they need to hear from their constituents, this does not just affect certain states, but this will effect all of the United States. Why you ask?

U.S. truck-drivers and carriers must contend with ever-increasing safety, homeland security and environmental regulations that dramatically affect their costs of operations as well as their ability to make a living at their chosen profession,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “Mexico does not have an even remotely equivalent regulatory regime for its trucking industry and should not be given de facto exemptions.”

In 1995 the U.S. and Mexico started a pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to travel throughout the US delivering loads brought in from Mexico. The US trucks were allowed to do the same in Mexico, but environmental issues, safety and security concerns spurred the United States to bar Mexican trucks from being on U.S. roadways.

There has been no indication from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the Department of Transportation (DOT) or from Mexico that any of these environmental issues or safety and security concerns have been addressed. 16 years later the environmental issues and safety and security concerns still exist, but Obama agreed to allow the Mexican trucks back into the US and at a price too. These Mexican trucks are to be fitted with Electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) that taxpayers in the U.S. are to pay for.

An electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) is an electronic device attached to a commercial motor vehicle, which is used to record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven.

The driving hours of commercial drivers – truck and bus drivers – are regulated by a set of rules known as the hours-of-service (HOS). The HOS are rules intended to prevent driver fatigue, by limiting the amount of time drivers spend operating commercial vehicles.

The prior pilot program only allowed 100 Mexican carriers to do business beyond the border zone in the United States. This time around the program has no set limit on the number of carriers or number of trucks to be allowed into the U.S. – provided they can pass an inspection of their trucks and the accreditation of their operators.

The new cross-border trucking plan will happen in three stages: The first stage will be the application and inspection of the Mexican trucks and the accreditation of their operators. The second stage starts with a three-month period of thorough inspections of the vehicles crossing the border, checks that will decrease starting the fourth month. The final stage involves the Mexican companies being notified of their permanent authorization, which can be granted after 18 months of successful operations. This authorization can only be revoked if a safety regulation is broken.

Here is a kicker, Mexico reserves the right to re-introduce its illegal tariffs if any parts of the agreement are violated by the United States. Strong arm tatics, and the U.S. does not have the guts to stand up to them.

The fact that a cross-border program is in any stage of development does not sit well with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) leadership. “With all the talk about the need for every initiative to create jobs, it’s absolutely shocking,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “The only jobs this ill-conceived idea can create are for non-citizens who will take jobs away from U.S. citizens.”

Coupled with the fact that the program would threaten U.S. trucking jobs, Spencer is equally concerned about the safety and security of truckers and U.S. highway users alike. “It’s a pipe dream that the safety and security issues can be resolved, given the general state of disarray or war that exists in Mexico,” he said.

So guess what needs to be done now? Yes, that’s right get on the phones and call your senators and representatives and demand them to kill this deal now. You can call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 provide the operator with your home zip code and they will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

If you as a U.S. truck-driver value your job or any concerned motorist on the highways – then you must contact your Senators and Representatives and explain to them why this is not a good idea. It is ironic that the DOT is always talking about how their number one priority is Safety – then they do this.

There are many different reasons why a trucking program with Mexico is a bad idea. The following are just a few things that public officials need to know:

  1. The burden should be on Mexico to raise the regulatory standards of their trucking industry, not on the U.S. to lower ours or find ways to accommodate their trucking companies and drivers.
  2. Every year, US truckers are burdened with new safety, security and environmental regulations. Those regulations come with considerable compliance costs. Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and drivers do not contend with a similar regulatory regime in their home country nor must they contend with the corresponding regulatory compliance costs that burden U.S. truckers.
  3. To date Mexico has failed to institute regulations and enforcement programs that are even remotely similar to those in the United States.
  4. To ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens, Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and truck drivers must be required to comply with the same level of safety, security and environmental standards that already apply to U.S.-based companies and drivers, NOT ONLY WHILE OPERATING IN THE U.S. BUT ALSO IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY.
  5. Without a level playing field with Mexico, thousands of U.S. jobs will be lost if a cross-border trucking program is initiated at this time.

CALL NOW AND KEEP CALLING UNTIL LAWMAKERS REALIZE JUST HOW BAD AN IDEA THIS REALLY IS!

This article is cross-posted from Truck Drivers News

HHS announces proposed changes to HIPAA Privacy Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is proposing changes to HIPAA privacy rules.

This proposed rule represents an important step in our continued efforts to promote accountability across the health care system, ensuring that providers properly safeguard private health information. We need to protect peoples’ rights so that they know how their health information has been used or disclosed.

While covered entities are currently required to track electronic accesses of health care records, they are not currently required to provide a report upon request. There is some odd wording in the announcement from HHS  as it uses people instead of patients or guardians, “People would obtain this information by requesting an access report, which would document the particular persons who electronically accessed and viewed their protected health information.”  It is unclear after reading the rule, which “people” will be allowed to request and review this information.

The rule is also conflicting on which type of health record access is reportable. While the announcement and early clauses discuss electronic access to electronic records, this clause mentions hard copy.

The right to an accounting of disclosures would encompass disclosures of both hard copy and electronic protected health information that is maintained in a designated record set. It would cover a three-year period, and would require a covered entity and its business associates to account for the disclosures of protected health information that we believe are of most interest to individuals.

This could complicate an earlier premise in the rule that it would be of low-impact to involved entities.

We believe that these changes to the accounting requirements will provide information of value to individuals while placing a reasonable burden on covered entities and business associates.

The full proposed rule can be viewed at http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/05/31/2011-13297/hipaa-privacy-rule-accounting-of-disclosures-under-the-health-information-technology-for-economic#p-3.

 

Is the Next Libyan Dictator Mahmoud Jibril?

Pictured at left is interim Prime Minister of Libya, Mahmoud Jibril (courtesy of Vincent Kessler/ Reuters.)  He was originally educated in Egypt and then later received his PhD  from The University of Pittsburgh. He is also a former member of Khadafy’s  regime who was working with his son Saif on economic reforms in Libya. While in college Jibril studied under a former U.S. intelligence official in Iran, one Richard Cottam, who later on became a political scientist who’s specialty was the Middle East.  That is a very interesting combination of skills we see there, politics, intelligence, and science. At this point one has to wonder if the intelligence agency employing Mr. Cottam wasn’t the infamous CIA.

When looking at the volatile situations across the Middle East and North Africa today, we hear very little about CIA involvement, but make no mistake, these types of situations have always involved the CIA, in one way or another. Therefore, I find it very interesting how a former Khadafy regime member who was schooled by a U.S, intelligence operative and political-science master has become the  *Interim Prime Minister of Libya* today with obvious American Leftist support.  At least we now know who our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was talking to, when she stated she was in serious talks with the Libyan rebels who had yet to be identified by the rest of the world.  While this guy appears to come out of nowhere, his background proves that he has deep ties to certain American factions, most notably our most left-leaning politicians. Take note to date, that Mr. Jibril has yet to meet with the third most powerful representative of the American people,  the Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner.  Thus the numerous serious questions about our true agenda in engaging in the Libyan civil war illegally.  To get  Congressional approval for the Libyan war action, it would have to go through the Republican controlled House of Representatives, so President Obama just bypassed that Constitutional mandate completely.  So much for real democracy in America today.

Another interesting fact is that while studying in the United States, Mr. Jibril, who in fact went by the name Mahmoud Gebril ElWarfally when he lived in the United States, is in many ways an unlikely leader of rebellion. Also of note is that Mr. Jibril has problems spelling his own name properly or consistently, as in his own company in which he is the President, ” Gebril for Training and Consultancy.” Americans do not trust people who change their identities  in an attempt to hide their past actions, just look at Barry Seotoro, AKA  Barack Hussein Obama, for a good example of that.  Add in the fact that he has been mentored by a U. S.  intelligence operative, and had initially only been talked to by leftist Democrats John Kerry and Hillary Clinton when this whole charade started, and we see a distinct pattern emerging in the Libyan Civil War scenario.

Mr. Jibril , aka Mr. ElWarfally, has some interesting plans for Libya, which include nationalizing the oil industry, drafting a new Libyan constitution, and starting a new Central Bank, similar to what Mr. Hugo Chavez has done in Venezuela. Mr. Jibril also has visions of  installing a new television station in rebel-held territory,  while calling for the dismantling of Khadafy’s own television stations.  To deny anyone, even a ruthless dictator, the right to defend himself in the free speech arena is a very troubling sign indeed. Those plans are more  in line with installing a Socialistic Dictatorship than a true Democracy.

We also see what happens when the United States enters into a Civil war that is none of our business and becomes responsible for meeting the demands of the ragtag rebels seeking to overthrow Khadafy. To keep the rebellion afloat, opposition members are seeking aid including heavy artillery, cash, and the jamming of Khadafy’s television channels. Gene Cretz, the US ambassador to Libya, said his team is still deliberating what kind of support to offer the rebels as it tries to figure out exactly who all the people on the interim council are.

Will Libya end up being a true Democracy when this all plays out, or will it still be in the hands of just another Dictator similar to Khadafy?

Update 1: If you thought it was a conspiracy theory in the connection of Jibril/Libya war to the CIA here, check this out: Covert action coming.

Update 2:  NATO takes over air operations as CIA works the ground in Libya http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/31/libya.war/

State Dept. Spokesman Crowley Resigns After Comments

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today accepted the resignation of the State Department Spokesman, P.J. Crowley.

Crowley had been critical of the Pentagon on the detention of Private Manning, the service member that illegally delivered thousands of United State secrets to WikiLeaks.  While attending an MIT event, Crowley responded to an audience question on the treatment of the accused traitor:

[O]ne young man said he wanted to address “the elephant in the room”. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He paused.

A few minutes later, I had a chance to ask a question. “Are you on the record?” I would not be writing this if he’d said no. There was an uncomfortable pause. “Sure.” So there we are.[1]

During the Egyptian overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Crowley used twitter to say that Mubarak’s proposed actions were nothing more than a “reshuffle the deck chairs” – a reference to a popular Titanic euphemism. The White House expressed displeasure with the Spokesman as his comments had not been approved and were not appreciated.

P.J. Crowley seems to have misunderstood the role of a Spokesperson. It is not a role of one that wishes to affect policy or disseminate  opinion. The spokesperson is the mouthpiece of the entity which they represent – nothing more.

Mr. Crowley, what went down in your head.. [2]


Sources:
[1]- http://philippathomas.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/the-state-department-spokesman-and-the-prisoner-in-the-brig/
[2] – Lyrics – “Mr. Crowley” – Ozzy Osbourne

The Current State of Florida’s Law Suit Against Health Care Reform

Case Status

The State of Florida’s case against Obamacare is filed in the State’s Northern District.  20 other states have joined the suit as plantifs (Arizona, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Georgia, Alaska, and Oklahoma).  Judge Roger Vinson heard a motion to dismiss this case (3:10-cv-91) in September and will be and has ruled that the case to block Obamacare may go forward.  With that positive decision, oral arguments on the motion(s) for Summary judgement are scheduled for December 16th.

The judge commented on his decision:

“In this order, I have not attempted to determine whether the line between constitutional and extraconstitutional government has been crossed,” Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, wrote in his ruling.

“I am only saying that … the plaintiffs have at least stated a plausible claim that the line has been crossed,” Vinson said.

The Complaint:

Florida (et al) are challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s inclusion of the individual health insurance mandate.  This suit claims that Congress is exceeding its authority not only by forcing consumers to buy insurance, but also because Congress is trying to control the budgetary process and legislative agendas of the plaintiff states.

  • The Complaint cites sections 2 and 9 of Article I, and states that the federal government cannot use the mandate as a means to impose a direct tax
  • The Plaintiffs argue that Obamacare violates the Tenth Amendment: a mandate that forces individuals to either have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty is unconstitutional.

States where Medicare is already stretching the annual budget, such as Florida, simply cannot afford the increased costs attributable to the new requirements imposed by Obamacare.

*sources

Arne Duncan and the Dept. of Education are Failing Our Kids

FoxNews.com published an article titled “America is Losing Science Brainpower Advantage”.  Where the author, Devin Powell, discussed a report that outlined the condition of our children’s ability to compete in the global markerplace.

The United States’ ability to compete globally in science and technology is on a “perilous path,” said a new report delivered Sept. 23 on Capitol Hill to a bipartisan group of policymakers, industry leaders, and academics.

American students continue to perform poorly in math and science compared to their counterparts abroad, the report claims. Though the United States is still a leader in innovation and produces a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth, other countries such as China are investing heavily in research and education and, according to the new report, threatening America’s competitiveness.

While many say that more government spending is needed to help our students become competitive, nothing could be further from the truth.  Government spending on education has outpaced the growth of the country, but the quality of education that the government is providing is slipping.

  • In 1980, federal, state and local government spent $152 Billion dollars on education which was about 5.5% of GDP
  • In 2010 usgovernmentspending.com is estimating that the government will spend $1.03 Trillion federal dollars on education or about 7.2% of GDP
  • Current projections have 2015 spending at $1.4 Trillion
*Source: http://usgovernmentspending.com

Spending has been rising since there has been spending on education.  Has education improved?  No.  Why would we continue to spend more?  Because we have been given no choice.

In a striking example of why government-paid employees should not be allowed to collectively bargain, teacher’s unions are bilking tax payers for money that should be going to actual education.  Most union labor agreements require that teachers get annual raises regardless of their performance – so-called “step raises”.  Did you get a raise this year simply because no one fired you?  Where is the incentive for teachers to become better teachers?  Other than the ludicrous step raises, a teacher’s best way to improve their salary is to become an administrator.  Wonderful, our kids will certainly become much better scientists and engineers as the education bureaucracy gets more top-heavy.

Teacher’s unions are negotiating with elected officials who will need the teacher’s unions to support them in the next election.  The elected officials will either give the unions what they want or face losing their positions to a new candidate that the union now sees as friendly.  It’s a scam and it’s your money.  Unionization of public employees is a conflict-of-interest.  Union support of elected officials is a conflict-of-interest.  Both practices must be abolished immediately.

Enter the “Disclose Act”, because it makes clear who is supporting whom, correct?  Not if the gigantic, tyrannical collection of supporters are .. you guessed it – Unions.  Unions are specifically given a pass in the disclose act.  They can continue strong-arming our elected officials into gifting them ridiculous salaries and benefits at our cost and a cost to our children’s education without any disclosure.

Homeschooling has grown 36% between 2003 and 2007, according to this article on Right Truth.  Parents have figured out the sham.   Americans are increasingly finding public education an oxymoron and are taking the matter into their own hands.   Private or Independent schools are certainly an attractive option, but considering the recession and Obama’s failure to support a voucher program, they can be a very expensive one.  Instead, parents are forced to pay the school taxes AND pay tuition at an independent institution – as if that weren’t the Department of Education’s plan all along.

So public education costs too much, the teacher’s unions have too much power, and our kids are now getting the worst education ever.  What is the department of education focused on?  Private education.  Arne Duncan’s troop of misfits is trying to shut down private education while the public sector is failing to perform its task.  Of course, we have to “follow the money”.  Private teachers are typically .. non-union.  Private education is not regulated in the same manner as public.  How long until they make private education unaffordable through over-regulation or make homeschooling illegal?

Even Obama admits that public schools are failing to properly educate our children.

In an appearance Monday morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Obama was asked by a woman in a television audience whether a public school in his home city could measure up to the standards of his children’s private school.

“I’ll be blunt with you: The answer is no right now,” the president replied. The D.C. public schools, he said “are struggling.”

Arne Duncan pushing the Stimulus Act in NY

Arne Duncan pushing the Stimulus Act in NY

At some point, someone has to be willing to re-do the public education system from the ground-up.  Unions need to be taken out of our kids’ classrooms.  Just like the economy, things in education are not getting better.  Obama has been summarily dismissing his economic and political staff.  Now, since Arne Duncan is pushing the status quo, President Obama, it’s time for him to go too.