The Elder House

Saturday Morning News Roundup

Saturday Morning News Roundup

The contrail of a meteor

From NBCNews:

A meteor flared through the skies over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region early Friday, triggering an atomic bomb-sized shock wave that injured more than a thousand people, blew out windows and caused some Russians to fear the end of the world.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has gone out of his way to prove that my home state, the state in which I grew up, has no clue, no ethics and no brains.

The downfall of Jesse Jackson, Jr and his wife is deeply distressing. About six or eight years ago, I met Jesse Jackson Junior in Chicago. At the time, I was representing the Society of Critical Care Medicine in a commission sponsored by the American Medical Association, which was tasked with figuring out how to end healthcare disparities. The young Congressman spoke to us. He was thoughtful; he was passionate. Healthcare for all. He was talking about a constitutional amendment which would guarantee the right of healthcare for all. I thought this was going a little far, but his passion was infectious. This is so sad. In my opinion, it is different when someone has no future and turns to crime. Somehow, I can justify that in my mind. On the other hand, when somebody has an extremely bright future and is making good money but wants to make the money faster, wants to take shortcuts, that is extremely disheartening. You can read the federal charges here.

The nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense has been held up by Senate Republicans. On one hand, this has been explained as Senate Republicans showing that they can still flex their muscle as the majority party. (Here’s a relatively straightforward explanation.) From my standpoint, it’ll be interesting to see what the Obama administration is willing to give Senate Republicans in order to free up the Chuck Hagel nomination. I know that Senator McCain is still upset that Chuck Hagel didn’t play his little “yes or no” game. One of the reasons that I am not a senator is that I’m not sure I could have shown the necessary restraint. I think I would’ve told John McCain that the answer to his question was no. No, you’re not right. The war was not worth fighting. The number of men and women we lost in Iraq simply wasn’t worth it. The surge didn’t work. The purpose of the surge was to allow Iraqis to figure out how to live in peace. Instead, we allowed the Shiite Muslims to ethnically cleanse neighborhoods of anybody who didn’t worship like them. But, I digress.

When will Congressman learn about twitting young women who aren’t your wife?

By |2013-02-16T22:31:25-04:00February 16th, 2013|Senate|2 Comments

Fighting for the free internet

Congress is on the wrong path. Several major websites are standing up to tell congress NO.

From Wikipedia:

Imagine a World
Without Free Knowledge
For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more.

Contact your representatives.

SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the public interest in the digital realm, has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.

From Google:

Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.
Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.

By |2012-01-18T12:06:20-04:00January 18th, 2012|Congress, Media, Senate|Comments Off on Fighting for the free internet

Friday Evening News Roundup

For some reason, I got a call from the Republican National Committee. The guy started off with some small talk and then said that he knows I’ll agree that President Obama has not handled the economy in a responsible way (I’m paraphrasing). I said, “No, I don’t agree with that statement.” He hung up. 🙂 Let’s skip over the fact that somebody placed me on the RNC call list. Let’s think about this statement just for a second. President Obama has mishandled the economy. How? What was he supposed to do? Economists almost universally agreed that we needed a stimulus package. We needed a stimulus package that equalled somewhere around 10% of GDP. That would’ve been a stimulus package of $1.5 trillion. He was barely able to get a package through Congress that was half of what we needed. So, when economic growth petered out after 12 months or so, who’s surprised? Who were the ones who limited the size of the stimulus? Was it the Democrats or was it the Republicans? Again, I would ask what was Obama supposed to do? More tax cuts which don’t work?

Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, has passed a bill which alters the filibuster. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it alters it. I’m not sure I completely understand this.

Gaile Owens was released from prison in Tennessee. She was on death row but the governor pardoned her last year. She was placed on parole today. Read about her story here.

As most of you know, the predator drone is this small attack airplane that is flown via remote control. Well, it seems that some computer virus has gotten into its system. This can’t be good. This seems like an episode of NCIS – LA.

Rick Perry just stated at the Values Voter Summit that “every human being is entitled to life.” I guess that doesn’t include the 234 people that have been executed while he’s been governor of Texas.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has proposed zero corporate tax if corporations bring their money back from overseas. Of course, he wants us to forget that this has been tried before and it’s been nothing but a windfall for big corporations who momentarily bring their money back only to open new tax shelters overseas.

There’s some serious concern that Monarch butterflies, which fly from as far north as Canada and then roost in Mexico won’t make it through Texas. Read more here. (This has nothing to do with Rick Perry and the death penalty, I promise.)

More e-mails have been released from the White House regarding Solyndra, the failed solar panel company. Just for a second, let’s get some perspective. We, the American people, have been paying somewhere around $4.5 billion per year in tax deductions, preferences and credits for the oil and gas industry. Let’s see… $4.5 billion verses $535 million. Secondly, even those guys who understand money, venture capitalists, don’t get 100% return on their investment. Instead, they’re expecting a 20% return on their investment. They’re expecting that only one or two companies out of every 10 that they invest in to make it big. They are expecting several companies to break even and a couple to fail. This is their business model. Their business model isn’t 100% success on every investment.

It seems that AT&T wants to stick it to customers.

The new job numbers are out. They were slightly better than I expected.

I guess that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor does not like democracy. He seems to have some issues about Occupy Wall Street. He says that he’s becoming increasingly concerned about the “mobs.” I guess he should’ve been equally concerned about the Tea Party.

Read the compelling stories of the new Nobel laureates for Peace. Very powerful.

Occupy Together is the unofficial hub of all of the events going on around the country. Check it out.

So, what’s on your mind? What stories are you following?

By |2011-10-07T19:18:17-04:00October 7th, 2011|Party Politics, Senate|Comments Off on Friday Evening News Roundup
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