On a Lighter Note…Smokey Bear Turns 70

Smokey Bear was created in 1944 because of fears that America’s enemies would set forest fires while most U.S. firefighters were in battle overseas. When the war ended, Smokey stuck around — and he is now at the center of the longest-running public service announcement campaign in U.S. history. Research shows he is known by 96 percent of American adults and ranks near Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus for name recognition. His creation was a collaboration of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council.

Happy Birthday, Smokey!



And So It Begins…Effects of The Repeal

The pros and cons of homosexuals openly serving in the military has somewhat eluded me.  It is a subject I haven’t given a lot of thought or study to, preferring to leave that decision to those in the military who just might have a wiser view of things than mine.

Today I read a compelling argument from an army lieutenant colonel who is resigning.  He is resigning not necessarily because he objects to homosexuals per se, but he is resigning for what his government will be forcing him to do and forcing him to force upon the men he commands.  Even if government does not acknowledge it, people have consciences.  To force someone to do something against their conscience is tyranny.  Read the entire post here.  It certainly makes one fear for the future of the military in our nation, which in turn makes one wonder about the future protection of the country. Politics and the military (i.e. the protection of our nation) may not make good bedfellows. No pun was intended.

A View Inside Cash For Clunkers

Here’s what really happened inside the Cash For Clunkers program as witnessed by an insider who went to work there and reported what she saw.  This was the government program touted widely by the administration as a big success.  But ask some of the auto dealers who are still awaiting their promised rebate checks…

Read the story here.

Observations on the NYT Health Care Poll

I am not an expert in government or economics.  But I had a few thoughts about the New York Times Health Care Poll, which you can see here.

One thing I noticed is that while the majority of people were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their health care (Q. 51), it was a fairly even split of satisfied/dissatisfied with the cost of their health care(Q. 53).  Some of the questions are asked concerning the country as a whole which has different results.

Health care probably falls in the “need” category with groceries and gas especially as one ages.  I hate it when the price goes up for both.  I try to think back 30 years ago and I can’t remember our country having this conversation.  I’m not sure that health care costs were as great then as they seem to be now.  When I worked at a hospital I had coverage that I don’t  think I paid anything for.  Now that my husband and I no longer have employee provided health insurance, we shop around for the best premiums.  We recently received notice from our current provider that our rates would increase by $200/month in July.  So we are shopping again and have found a much lower rate.  We do not visit the doctor very often at all and are fortunate to enjoy good health….although some of our habits need change. We only concern ourselves with purchasing catastrophic insurance, which means that we ourselves pick up the tab for most of our incurred expenses at this point in our lives.

Question 56…It’s about doctors ordering tests their patients don’t really need…is this a serious problem or not?  73% consider this a serious or somewhat serious problem.

I would like to say something on behalf of doctors here.  The rate of lawsuits in our society and the subsequent inflation of liability insurance, I believe, has caused this.  Doctors feel they need to cover their behinds, and I for one, do not blame them for that at all.  I think we can all agree that the majority of doctors are trying to do their best job.  But we live in a very litiginous society, people looking for others to pay all the time.   Consider the lady who won big dollars from McDonald’s because the coffee she spilled in her lap was hot.  I can’t believe that jury award.

Question 59. I was surprised a bit at this one, but working Americans are known to be fairly generous…57% to 37%, the American people were willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans could have health insurance they can’t lose.  Question 60..would they be willing to pay $500/yr. to provide this insurance?  There are only 43% willing, 8% not willing, 4% willing to pay less than $500, 2% don’t know.  There’s a whole bunch of people missing from these figures…I don’t know why.

Question 61…Do you think the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans…64% said yes, but in the next question when asked the same if it meant their insurance premiums would increase, that number dropped to 47%.  I’m not sure who they thought would pay for it in Q. 61.

Question 65… If the government provides health insurance, how concerned are you that your own access would be limited?  68% concerned or somewhat concerned

75% approved of requiring insurance companies to insure everyone regardless of existing conditions, but that number dropped to 56% if it meant their own insurance rates would go up.

These figures seem to go against each other a bit…consider…they are willing to pay higher taxes to help others have insurance, but don’t want to pay higher premiums to add people with existing conditions.

A lot of the questions had tracking from 1991 to now.  If accurate, I find it an interesting take on the American mindset concerning health insurance.

I truly do not know the answer to the health care debate.  But there is one thing I am sure of…well maybe two things.  One is that our country is in very bad shape economically and currently has incurred more debt than is realistic for generations to come to pay, which means we don’t have the money to spend, UNLESS there are drastic reductions made elsewhere in order to fund health care.  The other thing I know is that government is rarely able to run anything competently.  We are all shocked and horrified at the graft and corruption that it seems Wall Street was involved in with the recent housing bubble that burst last year, but let us all remember the graft and corruption of our own government’s involvement with it.  The government would like us to believe that it’s those “greedy, rich businesses and CEO’s” that were at fault, but I say emphatically, they had plenty of help from our own  greedy and corrupt representatives in Congress.

It’s too bad one of the questions on the questionaire wasn’t…do you trust your government to do what’s best for you.

Update: But wait…there’s a Rasmussen poll conducted at the same time that says only 41% of Americans say a government health care plan is a good idea.

Don’t Be Fooled…

There is quite the uproar going on in Washington, D.C. about AIG giving some 165 million dollars in bonuses to their execs.  I believe I heard this figure is .97 percent of the stimu-less package.  (Correct me if I’m wrong on that.) Now we are having hearings and their CEO is coming to town.  This should probably control the headlines for at least a week as the media gasps in horror that such a thing could happen with taxpayers’ money.  This is quite disingenuous coming from an administration that is on a spending spree that massively outweighs this amount of bonuses.  I am not belittling the fact that AIG is doing business as usual and perhaps misspending taxpayer’s money that they were given freely without any restrictions.  What I am bemoaning is the enormous amount of hypocrisy going on by those who practice these same sins.  The speeches by the president and pretended offenses by those in power are nauseating. I submit to you that perhaps THIS is really what is going on:

From Saul Alinsky’s, Rules For Radicals

#13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.

While all of this kerfuffle is in the headlines, watch for what Congress and the president may be doing secretly behind the scenes.  Trust me…they won’t be “wasting this crisis”.

Coming To a Farm Near You?

Boy, does it get ridiculous-er by the day.  In Europe, they are proposing to tax cow flatulence.  Yep, that’s what I said…cow gas.  Link here at the Times online, then read Mark Steyn’s humorous take on this crazy idea.   It’s a cap-and-trade plan for the bovine population.

It seems that belief is widespread that this has something to do with the warming of the globe.  At the risk of telling you too much about myself…I suppose they could tax me for the same thing!

Where will the madness end?

Government Land Grab to Restrict Guns?

While all of us have been watching our elected officials rush the most expansive spending bill ever in our history, other things are going on, believe it or not.  The stim-u-less bill was hastily voted on on Friday, the 13th, because we are in such a “crisis”, then sat for 4 days before the President signed it amid much hoopla and, incidentally, more spending.  At an estimated $57,000 per hour to use Air Force One, the new president flew to Denver, CO to sign this “crisis” spending plan.  It would be almost funny if it wasn’t so dire….but I digress.

SB 22 has been going on.  Senate Bill 22 is a bill proposing to vastly increase the number of acres to be put under government control in the hands of the Park Service.  What’s so bad about that?  Well, for one thing, it increases federal control of public and private land.  And NPS land is under a strict gun ban.  Some see this as not only a land grab, but as further restrictions on gun use.  It also seems that this particular bill is made up of 150 separate pieces of legislation that couldn’t pass on their own merits.  But Senator Reid has lumped them all together and pushed it through the Senate in January with a vote of 73-21.  In the Democratic House, measures have been taken so that there can be no amendments or alterations made to the bill.  It would go from there directly to the President’s desk.  Read a more in-depth description of this bill here. I think I will put a link on my sidebar too.

What I find so bizarre in all of this is #1.  Government keeps wanting to take away private property rights.  This has been going on so much in the last few years, that I find it particularly scary.  #2.  I have a hard time understanding the mindset of those who want to take away guns from the law abiding citizens. For years, I have listened to reports of young women who have gone missing in national parks…they don’t come back alive.  What if they were allowed to carry a weapon to protect themselves?  Maybe they would have a chance.  Consider Australia’s recent dis-arming of its citizens one year ago. Their crime rate has gone up.  The criminals don’t participate in turning guns in…they keep theirs.  They understand (even if the nanny state doesn’t)  that an unarmed public is ripe for the pickings with little or no consequences for themselves.  This just does not make sense.  Is it yet another symptom of the nanny state’s mindset that “we can take care of you”? Aren’t we actually ceding ground to the criminals when we disarm the law abiding citizenry?

I don’t think I will be doing any hiking in a national park anytime soon.  And that’s a shame.  It’s hard for this law-abiding citizen to really believe that our elected officials make plans to put us in more danger, but that is certainly the way it appears.

Hmmmm….maybe with all the new state sovereignty initiatives going on, the states affected by this will “just say no”.

UPDATE 3/20/09–This just happened this week.  Apparently, in federal district court in D.C., anti-gun advocates have applied for and received a temporary restraining order against implementation of the new rule allowing concealed carry in national parks and wildlife refuges.  Read about it here.

Well…Now It’s Official…

The Congressional Budget Office has weighed the stimulus plan and  found it wanting.  The non-partisan group has determined that  in the long run the plan will hurt the economy more than if nothing was done. The budget office  said “…the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.”  Wow.  Read that report here.

Mark To Market…What Is It?

I have been hearing this term for some time now.  I first heard it back in the fall as an answer to the credit crisis.  This morning I heard Steve Forbes bring it up again.  He said if the SEC would just drop this artificial accounting rule, he guaranteed that credit would start to flow.  So what is mark-to-market?  I found some links where you can go learn something about this.  Suspending this accounting rule sounds like a very easy way to start things moving again, rather than spending almost a trillion dollars.  But I suspect the new administration is not that interested in an easy, quick, Inexpensive way to get things going again.  Be informed and stay informed!

Dave Ramsey’s take

Steve Forbes on Fox

More From Steve Forbes on CNN

Special Report

Newt Gingrich On The Record

Informed Trades video

Sarbanes Oxley Act

More on Sarbanes Oxley

Wikipedia on Sarbanes Oxley