Daily Archives: October 20, 2009

My Letter to Texas U.S. Senators Hutchison and Cornyn

posted by libbyshaw

To: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
202-224-0776
Senator John Cornyn
202-228-2856

Re: Health Care Reform

I strongly urge you to vote for health care reform that includes a public option.

If a public option is not included in the bill, the health insurance industry will continue to overcharge premiums and deny care to patients. As we know from former Cigna executive, now whistle blower, Wendell Potter, the health insurance industry will continue to make obscene levels of profits, based precisely on denying critical care to very sick and dying patients. It will continue to increase premiums.

We also know from the recent report written by the AHIP that the insurance companies will indeed increase its premiums because insurance doesn’t like what it read in the Baucus bill. This goes to show you how arrogant and appallingly greedy the health insurance industry has become.

We also know from the town hall meetings this past August at which we heard much about “death panels, “killing Granny,” Hitler, and Pol Pot, that many of these rallies were orchestrated by special interests in the health insurance business and groups led by Dick Armey of Freedom Works and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity. In other words, many of those town hall meetings were merely staged events to misinform people and foment fear among seniors.

Despite what conservatives like you believe, or say you believe, a public option will not be a government takeover of the health care industry. On the contrary, a public option will introduce competition into a field that has become a solid monopoly. Competition will ensure that prices will decrease and will make health insurance more affordable for American families. I find it ironic really, that conservatives are now against competition.

I also find it troubling and disingenuous that some members of Congress do not believe their constituents deserve the same health care coverage that most if not all members enjoy in Congress. Your coverage, Senators, is the best taxpayer funded government run socialist health care that is affordable. According to a recent ABC news report, members of Congress pay $500.00 per year for the best health care taxpayer money can buy.

The insurance picture is especially grim, if not desperate, in Texas.

• One in four Texans is uninsured, the highest rate of uninsured in the country.
• Texas ranks 51 in access to care in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
• In the past five years, Texans saw insurance premiums jump 40 percent. That is 10 times faster that the increase in Texans’ income.
• Texans pay the third highest premiums in the country.
• In Texas, we pay more, for less. The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research rates the quality of health care in Texas as “weak,” in comparison to other states.
• Texas businesses and families shoulder the hidden tax of roughly $1,800 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.
• Health care costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America.

Recent polls show that the majority of the American people want a public option included in health care reform. All Texans want affordable health insurance, too. We want competition. We want choices and we want affordability.

The uninsured have every right to access. They also have every right to access they can afford. All must have health insurance or a plan that will protect them from bankruptcy.

At the very least, the United States should give its residents what every other industrialized first world nation offers to its people. None other than we the American people have to suffer and die under a reprehensible practice called death by the spreadsheets.

Sincerely yours,

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Capitalism, Economy, Lobbyist, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Some Unanswered Questions on the Justice of the Peace Who Refuses to Wed Interracial Couples Story

Posted by Audiegrl

Mildred and Richard Loving

Mildred and Richard Loving

It’s ironic that last Wednesday Louisiana was visited by the President of the United States, who just happens to be a biracial child of a interracial marriage. It was also the day that the story broke about the Louisianan Justice of the Peace who refused to marry a interracial couple. We all thought that in 1967, in the case Loving vs. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot prohibit marriages simply because of the race of the spouses. But E. Keith Bardwell has other ideas.

One of the things the National media has not picked up on yet… In the past, Bardwell has always campaigned as a Democratic Justice of the Peace (1996, 2002, 2008). His ward is in a historically Democratic area. As of 12/31/2008 Bardwell switched parties and is now listed as a Republican. We would like to know what prompted this abrupt change in political parties? What happened that would make a long time Democrat in a Democratic district change party affiliations?

Another thing the National media has not picked up on yet… Due to some great investigative journalism by local reporter Don Ellzey of the Hammond Daily Star, we know that:

Bardwell said the State Attorney General told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.

I told him if I do, I’ll resign,” Bardwell said. “I have rights too. I’m not obligated to do that just because I’m a justice of the peace.”

The 44 Diaries has contacted the Louisiana State’s Attorney’s office to get further clarification. We contacted Jennifer Roche, the Public Information Officer for the Louisiana Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell. We specifically asked if the LSA office had any official statement on this incident. We also asked if the LSA office had any comment on Bardwell’s claim that a “State Attorney General told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.” If a previous AG knew he was doing something illegal, then why was he allowed to run for and serve as justice of the peace all these years? We contacted the office Friday afternoon by both phone and email, and have not recieved a reply yet. We will gladly provide an update once those questions have been answered.

Newlyweds Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay

Newlyweds Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay

CNN/AP—A justice of the peace in Louisiana who has drawn widespread criticism for refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple says he has no regrets about his decision.

It’s kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven’t done wrong,” Keith Bardwell told CNN affiliate WAFB on Saturday.

Bardwell, a justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her then boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Bardwell’s actions have elicited reactions from some top officials, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who called for Bardwell’s dismissal.

This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. … disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” the Republican governor said Friday.

AP—Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

E. Keith Bardwell

E. Keith Bardwell

I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

AP—Bardwell has said he always asks if a couple is interracial and, if they are, refers them to another justice of the peace. Bardwell said no one had complained in the past and he doesn’t marry the couples because he’s worried about their children’s futures.

William P. Quigley

William P. Quigley

Perhaps he’s worried the kids will grow up and be president,” said Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice, referring to President Barack Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.

Obama’s deputy press secretary Bill Burton echoed those sentiments.

I’ve found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good,” Burton told reporters aboard Air Force One as it flew to Texas.

Bardwell maintains he can recuse himself from marrying people. Quigley disagreed.

A justice of the peace is legally obligated to serve the public, all of the public,” Quigley said. “Racial discrimination has been a violation of Louisiana and U.S. law for decades. No public official has the right to pick and choose which laws they are going to follow.”

A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Judiciary Commission said investigations were confidential and would not comment. If the commission recommends action to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the matter would become public.

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement Bardwell’s practices and comments were deeply disturbing.

Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long,” she said.

blank
Gordon Burgess, Tangipahoa Parish President

Gordon Burgess, Tangipahoa Parish President

Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said Bardwell’s views were not consistent with his or those of the local government. But as an elected official, Bardwell was not under the supervision of the parish government.

However, I am certainly very disappointed that anyone representing the people of Tangipahoa Parish, particularly an elected official, would take such a divisive stand,” Burgess said in an e-mail. “I would hope that Mr. Bardwell would consider offering his resignation if he is unable to serve all of the people of his district and our parish.”

Related Articles

Louisiana’s Gov. Jindal calls for ouster of judge who refused marriage license to interracial couple

Louisiana Justice of the Peace Denies Marriage License to Interracial Couple

Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License By Louisiana Judge

Groups Upset Man Wouldn’t Marry Interracial Couple

45 Comments

Filed under Children, History, Law, News, Politics, Racism, Supreme Court, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Women's Issues

Karzai accepts Afghanistan election runoff

posted by GeoT

**44 Update**
A runoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah will take place Nov. 7

from CNN:

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — A presidential runoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger Abdullah Abdullah will take place on November 7, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission told CNN.

The runoff was accepted by Karzai at a news conference with U.S. Senator John Kerry and United Nations representative Kai Eide.

“We welcome the decision made by the Independent Election Commission, we believe the session is legitimate, legal and according to the constitution of Afghanistan,” Karzai said. “It’s going to be a historic period that we all are waiting to go through.”

Previous Post:

Rahm Emanuel WHCOS

Rahm Emanuel WHCOS

Before President Obama makes a decision about sending any additional troops to Afghanistan, there must be a careful assessment of the strength and viability of the Afghan government, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday.

“It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven’t done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country,” Emanuel said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Emanuel criticized the culture in Washington that immediately ramps up calls for a more hawkish policy in Afghanistan when the war has been going on for eight years and the urgency to contain extremism and corruption in Afghanistan was ignored for efforts in Iraq.
Read More:

Sen. Kerry on Afghanistan

“I don’t see how President Obama can make a decision about the committing of our additional forces or even the further fulfillment of our mission that’s here today without an adequate government in place or knowledge about what that government’s going to be,” he said.

Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, is resisting international pressure to accept fraud rulings that could force him into a runoff with his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.

Kerry said there also should be a clear commitment in Afghanistan to eliminating government waste and corruption before Obama agrees to send more U.S. troops.

Full Story here:

18 OCT 2009 Update: Pakistan, Taliban both claim success in fighting

MIR ALI, Pakistan –

Pakistani Army In the mountains of Waziristan

Pakistani Army In the mountains of Waziristan

The Pakistani army and the Taliban claimed to be inflicting heavy casualties on each other as fierce fighting raged Sunday on the second day of a military assault on an al-Qaida and Taliban sanctuary close to the Afghan border.
The outcome of the operation in South Waziristan stands to shape the future of nuclear-armed Pakistan and the militant groups seeking to topple its U.S.-backed government. The region is home to jihadists behind soaring terrorist attacks around the country, as well as al-Qaida and other extremists believed to be plotting strikes in the West.
The army said 60 militants had been killed on the first day of the operation, while six soldiers had died. The Taliban claimed to have inflicted “heavy casualties” on the army and to have pushed invading soldiers back into their bases.
It was not possible to independently verify the conflicting claims because the army is blocking access to the battlefield and surrounding towns.

More detail here:


**44-D Update**
UN-backed panel confirms massive Afghan fraud

KABUL – U.N.-backed fraud investigators on Monday threw out nearly a third of President Hamid Karzai’s votes from the August election, undercutting his claim of victory and stepping up the pressure for him to accept a runoff.
The Obama administration has been holding off on a decision to send more troops to Afghanistan until a credible government is installed in Kabul.
Both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the U.N. secretary general signaled on Monday that a resolution was near.
Clinton said Karzai planned to announce his intentions on Tuesday, adding that she was “encouraged at the direction the situation is moving.”

Full Story Here:

2 Comments

Filed under Al-Qaeda, Military, News, Terrorism, United Nations

South Carolina Republicans Use Jewish Stereotype to Defend DeMint

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)

CBS News/Charles CooperWith friends like these…

Last week, State Senator Bakari Sellars wrote in The State that United States Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., had failed to do enough to get federal funding for the state. On Sunday, a couple of South Carolina Country Republican Chairmen defended DeMint in a joint letter to a local newspaper where they resorted to the stereotype of penny-pinching Jews to make their point.

In their response, published in The Times and Democrat, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer offered the following logic:

There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves,” Ulmer and Merwin wrote in their letter. “By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.”

Update from GOP Chairman James Ulmer’s office

Last week I co-authored a letter to the editor which focused on the vital importance of reining in the unsustainable and excessive federal government spending which is going on currently in Washington, D.C. In one of the paragraphs which I wrote, I quoted a statement which I have heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life.

I admit that perception is indeed reality to many and that I could have certainly worded that sentence much better. I sincerely apologize for this great error. If I had quoted that great man from Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, using his, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” I doubt I would be writing this note.

I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people. I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology.~~James Ulmer

blank
More @ cbs news logo

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

Vice-President Biden Unveils Report Focused on Expanding Green Jobs And Energy Savings For Middle Class Families

Posted by Buellboy

goinggreen



greengov-heading

WhiteHouse.gov—Vice President Biden today unveiled Recovery Through Retrofit, a report that builds on the foundation laid in the Recovery Act to expand green job opportunities and boost energy savings by making homes more energy efficient. Joining the Vice President today were Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor; Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

At a Middle Class Task Force meeting earlier this year, the Vice President asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to develop a proposal for Federal action to lay the groundwork for a self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry. In response, CEQ facilitated a broad interagency process with the Office of the Vice President, eleven Departments and Agencies and six White House Offices to develop recommendations for how to use existing authority and funding to accomplish this goal. These recommendations are described in detail in the Recovery Through Retrofit Report.

Recovery Through Retrofit is a blueprint that will create good green jobs – jobs that can’t be outsourced, and jobs that will be the cornerstones of a 21st-Century economy,” said Vice President Biden. “And, thanks to the Recovery Act’s unprecedented investments in energy efficiency, we are making it easier for American families to retrofit their homes – helping them save money while reducing carbon emissions and creating a healthier environment for our families.”

Vice-President Joe Biden

Vice-President Joe Biden

This report builds on the foundation laid in the Recovery Act to expand green job and business opportunities for the middle class while ensuring that the energy efficiency market will thrive for years to come,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “An aggressive program to retrofit American homes and businesses will create more work, more savings, and better health for middle class Americans.”

Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually. Retrofitting existing homes also has the potential to cut home energy bills by $21 billion annually. Yet, despite the real energy cost savings and environmental benefits associated with improving home energy efficiency, a series of barriers have prevented a self-sustaining retrofit market from forming. These barriers include a lack of access to information, financing and skilled workers.

The recommendations and actions in this Report have been carefully designed to help overcome these barriers and to leverage Recovery Act funding to help ensure that the energy efficiency market will thrive long after the Recovery Act money is fully spent.

blank

More @ white house gov logo

mctf-banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Climate Change, Democrats, Environment, Green, Law, Uncategorized

Halle, Whoopi, Grier In New ‘Divas On Screen‘ Book

Posted by Audiegrl

Grier, Dandridge and Oprah also featured in examination of ‘Black Women in American Film’

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film by Mia Mask

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film by Mia Mask

Oscar pioneers Dorothy Dandridge and Halle Berry join Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey as subjects of the new book “Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film.”

Author Mia Mask, who teaches film and drama at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., said she was inspired to write the book after noticing the huge amount of attention given to black male stars, while their female counterparts were often looked over.

These women have pushed the racial boundaries for audiences, setting new standards for beauty and body type,” Mask told the Associated Press.

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Dandridge received an Academy Award nomination for her lead role in the 1954 classic “Carmen Jones,” alongside Harry Belafonte. Berry won an Oscar in 2000 for playing the wife of an executed murderer in “Monster’s Ball.” She also had portrayed Dandridge as a stunning femme fatale in a 1999 HBO film about Dandridge’s life.

When Dandridge became a star, “she was working in an environment in which there were almost no women of color (in leading roles),” said Mask, and Dandridge “had to fit into the mold of shapely and svelte.”

Grier was chosen for her ability in the early 70s to break that mold with her forceful but hip physical presence as an action heroine. As for Winfrey, Mask said she chose her because the talk-show host’s television presence catapulted her film appearances to the level of global stardom, transcending any category.

In spite of vast changes, Mask said, sore points persist in casting black women for star roles: a paucity of quality parts, and a new trend of pairing black lead actors with female leads who are not.

Studio heads don’t think two black characters will appeal to general audiences,” said Mask.

Oscar winner, Halle Berry

Oscar winner, Halle Berry

She chose Dandridge and Berry “as bookends” for the time span that transformed black women in commercial films.

We’ve gone from the trope of the tragic (mulatto) to biracial beauty,” said Mask, who is taping a five-part series for National Public Radio to air in late October — each on one of the women in the book.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge starring Halle Berry

'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' movie poster

'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' movie poster

This bio-pic of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best Actress Nomination in 1954 for “Carmen Jones“, to her final demise to prescription drugs, which was debated whether it was suicide or accidental. Brent Spiner plays her faithful manager who stood beside her through all of the roller coaster of her career. The film also examines her love affair with director Otto Preminger, which is shown to have probably initially helped her career, but later probably led her to some wrong decisions.~~John Sacksteder

2 Comments

Filed under Culture, Hollywood, Movies, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Former Obama, McCain Aides, Plouffe and Schmidt Join at University of Delaware

Posted by HershelWellingtonIV

David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt

David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt

US News and World Report/Paul Bedard—In an unusual alliance fostered by their alma mater, the top aides to 2008 presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are joining forces to build a new political center at the University of Delaware. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt are working to develop the university’s first Center for Political Communication, a coup for the Blue Hens, who also count Vice President Joe Biden among their alumni.

Their teaming comes as Schmidt and Plouffe are trying to finish their degrees: Both attended UD, but neither graduated. Schmidt says he is finishing up three hours at the university, and Plouffe is working toward a full degree, too. Plouffe has deep Delaware roots, having grown up in Wilmington. More recently, he bought a Ford hybrid from his brother at a dealership in Wilmington.

GradYD_lgThe two have been instrumental in the development of the Center for Political Communication, which will combine several academic disciplines—political science, communication, visual communication, marketing, sociology, business, and perhaps others. Plouffe and Schmidt are helping to develop courses and areas of instruction at the campus in Newark, Del. “We’ve adopted the moniker of ‘epicenter of politics’ as a kind of banner under which to develop the initiative and conduct the programs,” says Ralph J. Begleiter, the university’s Rosenberg Professor of Communication. “Among other things,” he tells our Suzi Parker, “we’re working on new courses—and combinations of courses—around significant developments in digital communication technologies used in the 2008 political campaigns. And we’re especially proud to be doing all this in a completely and appropriately nonpartisan manner, evidenced by the strong support and input of Schmidt and Plouffe.”

blank
More @ usnewsandworldlogo

Leave a comment

Filed under Democrats, Education, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, Washington, DC