Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Byrd becomes longest-serving member of Congress

He is poster child for term limits. He started out as a racist then changed his spots in order to survive politically. He became Mr. Pork because of his long tenure in the Senate. Meanwhile, West Virginia ranks 49th among states in per capita income.

in reference to:

"West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd has been around so long that nearly all lawmakers in Congress can remember reasons they love him - and many can recall how they once bitterly opposed him.The veteran Democrat on Wednesday became the longest-serving member of Congress in history, as he logged day No. 20,774, surpassing the record of Arizona Democrat Carl Hayden, who served in the House of Representatives and the Senate from 1912 to 1969.As the senior senator, Byrd, who will turn 92 on Friday, is the Senate president pro tempore and third in line for the presidency. Although he's been ailing lately and missed most votes this year, he's been back in recent weeks. He was the floor manager for this year's homeland security spending bill, and he heard tributes Wednesday from his colleagues.His legacy, scholars say, is that of a lawmaker who changed with the times. A youthful Ku Klux Klan member, Byrd fought and eventually voted against the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall as the first black Supreme Court justice in 1967."
- Byrd becomes longest-serving member of Congress - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee (view on Google Sidewiki)

S.C. Panel Finds Governor Should Face Ethics Charges

Let's see if South Carolina enforces the law. Or whether political clout wins the day.

in reference to:

"A South Carolina ethics panel said Wednesday that Gov. Mark Sanford should face charges he violated state laws tied to a three-month investigation into his travel and campaign finances. The State Ethics Commission did not provide details of its decision or the specific charges Sanford would face during a hearing of the panel early next year. Officials said those details — which should include whether the accusations involve civil or criminal allegations — will be released next week. The commission found probable cause exists on several allegations."
- S.C. Panel Finds Governor Should Face Ethics Charges : NPR (view on Google Sidewiki)

Nelson: I'm Comfortable Being Lone Democrat To Derail Reform

Nelson: I'm Comfortable Being Lone Democrat To Derail Reform

One of the key moderate Senate Democrats, Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said on Wednesday that he was pleased with the changes party leadership had made to its version of health care legislation, specifically on matters of deficit reduction. But the Nebraska Democrat, whose vote has been elusive to pin down so far, said he would be comfortable being the lone Democrat to prevent the bill from passing a Republican filibuster.

"I'm very comfortable having my vote, whatever it is, whichever way it goes," Nelson said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. "I've said that from the beginning. There are other ways. I just have to make a decision based on what I think is best for the people of Nebraska and the people of our country. And then we will let the chips fall wherever they fall."

Afghans say poverty, not Taliban, main cause of war

This is the story for just about every place there is war. The fools in Washington don't understand this. That is why they send American troops to die around the world to cure the world's problems when they should be sending books and building schools.

in reference to:

"Most Afghans see not Taliban militants but poverty, unemployment and government corruption as the main causes of war in their country, according to a report by a leading aid group released on Wednesday. After three decades of war, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. It is also one of the most corrupt. Unemployment stands at 40 percent and more than half the country live below the poverty line. On top of that, violence is at its highest levels since U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001. The report, based on a survey of more than 700 ordinary Afghans by British charity Oxfam and several local aid groups, found that 70 percent of people questioned viewed poverty and unemployment as the main drivers of the conflict. Nearly half of those surveyed said corruption and the ineffectiveness of their government were the main reasons for the continued fighting, while 36 percent said the Taliban insurgency was to blame. The 704 respondents from around the country were allowed to give multiple answers on reasons for the conflict. "The people of Afghanistan have suffered 30 years of unrelenting horror. Afghan society has been devastated," said Grace Ommer, Oxfam Country Director for Afghanistan."
- Afghans say poverty, not Taliban, main cause of war - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

"Pink Slips for Congress" Campaign Hits Dem and GOP Offices

Are you angry? Then do something about it. Don't be fooled by conspiracy theorists, like WorldNetDaily and the teabaggers. They are just trying to make money. You can solve the problem all by yourself. Here's how: impose a term limit on members of Congress. Any member of the House whose been in office more than 8 years (or 4 terms), and any Senator who's been in office 12 years (2 terms), vote them out in the next election. And you don't have to vote support someone from another party. Just vote them out in the primaries or general elections. Most people who in are Congress get re-elected every 2 or 6 years regardless of whether they do a good job or not. So it's up to you.

in reference to:

"A conservative Web site announced yesterday it has sent millions of "pink slips" to members of Congress, conveying citizens' dissatisfaction with certain legislative activity and the country's current anti-incumbent mood. Conservative site WorldNetDaily is running a campaign to send members of Congress a "pink slip" warning that if they vote for "government health care," "cap and trade," "hate crimes," or "any more spending," their "real pink slip will be issued in the next election." Since September, WorldNetDaily has offered to send pink slips to all 535 members of Congress on behalf of readers for a price of $29.95. The organizers of the campaign held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that it had sent out 5 million pink slips. The press conference, held on Capitol Hill, was attended by Republican politicians including Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Steve King (R-Iowa) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)."
- "Pink Slips for Congress" Campaign Hits Dem and GOP Offices - Political Hotsheet - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

More than $98 billion in improper gov't payments

What are you going to do about? The government doesn't care because they know they won't be held accountable. And don't be fooled by all those small government talk from Republicans. They waste money just as well as Democrats.

in reference to:

"More than $98 billion in taxpayer dollars spent by government agencies was wasted, much of it on questionable claims for tax credits and Medicare benefits, representing an increase of $26 billion from the previous year. In all, about 5 percent of spending in federal programs in fiscal year 2009 was improper, according to new details of a government financial report that were released Tuesday. Saying the overall error rate was similar in 2008, officials attributed the $26 billion jump to some changes in how to define improper spending as well as an increase in overall spending due to the recession. President Barack Obama is expected to sign an executive order within the next week aimed at cracking down on government waste and fraud, particularly in Medicare and other benefit programs. In the 2009 report, the government officially reported questionable Medicare payments of roughly $36 billion, but that amount will be revised upward to about $48 billion next year as the Health and Human Services Department fully converts to a new methodology that imposes stricter documentation requirements."
- More than $98 billion in improper gov't payments - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Transcript: 'Countdown' with Keith Olbermann (11-17-09)

Here's the complete transcript for Keith Olbermann's 'Countdown' program (11-17-09):

OLBERMANN: Have you decided yet whether you`ll vote for the health care reform bill?

WYDEN: I haven`t and it hasn`t been written. We haven`t seen it. And I`ll just tell you, I`m not going to vote for anything that doesn`t protect the typical consumer. I want the typical consumer to be able to say to their insurance company, "I`m giving you an ultimatum. If you don`t treat me right, I`m taking my business elsewhere." These bills don`t do that and they have to.

OLBERMANN: Your colleague, Senator Carper, claimed tonight that conservative Democrats are not likely to support a public option. You don`t know whether or not you`ll vote for a bill without a public option, because you don`t know what the bill looks like. When the majority whip, Mr. Durbin, says, as he did last night, he`s struggling to find 60 votes. His biggest problem there -- is it the conservative members of the caucus or is it the progressive members of the caucus?

WYDEN: I think what Democrats are saying is, we`ve got to have a bill that works for the typical American, not special interest. That means choice. It means competition.

You look, for example, what the House of Representatives did. They came up with a public option that has 6 million people in it. And they`re going to be mostly folks who`ve been sick and haven`t had coverage.

I look -- today, United Healthcare has 70 million subscribers. Now, how in the world are you going to hold the United Health people accountable with 6 million subscribers? United Health is not going exactly be quaking in their boots over that. And I want real choice and real competition because that`s how you hold the insurance industry accountable.

OLBERMANN: Senator Carper says he doesn`t even like the opt-out because it would be government-funded. So, he`s floated yet another compromise that would be a federal entity run by the government that would negotiate rates with providers based on affordability standards in the states. That`s, I guess, in essence, a trigger option without a delay. What`s your reaction to this latest of the 3,000 proposals?

WYDEN: What concerns many is you could come up with a very small pool of individuals and, again, not get a good deal for the consumer and not be in a position to take the insurance companies on. I mean, the reason members of Congress do well is we`re parts of big pools, Keith. We`ve got low administrative costs. The insurance companies can`t cherry-pick. They can`t discriminate against a member of Congress.

So, I`m not for this opt-out approaches that just reduce the size of the pool because it`s going to be even harder to get competition and choice.

Obama: Too much debt could fuel double-dip recession

But you're not helping things, Barack. Monstrous debt and deficits have been strangling the economy for some time and created the conditions that almost led to a depression. And if you want to do something about the economy, stop the outsourcing of our economy to China. We almost become a colony of the Mainland. We are at the mercy of a regime that still calls itself "Communist." You cannot have real economic growth without having industries.

in reference to:

"President Barack Obama gave his sternest warning yet about the need to contain rising U.S. deficits, saying on Wednesday that if government debt were to pile up too much, it could lead to a double-dip recession. With the U.S. unemployment rate at 10.2 percent, Obama told Fox News his administration faces a delicate balance of trying to boost the economy and spur job creation while putting the economy on a path toward long-term deficit reduction. His administration was considering ways to accelerate economic growth, with tax measures among the options to give companies incentives to hire, Obama said in the interview with Fox conducted in Beijing during his nine-day trip to Asia."
- UPDATE 1-Obama: Too much debt could fuel double-dip recession | Reuters (view on Google Sidewiki)