Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fine I Was a Little Harsh

My main goal is to always try to be fair without sacrificing my beliefs, opinions, or voice. As I reread my post on the Senator, I realize that maybe it was out of hand, and these were youthful indiscretions that he grew out of. Character flaws is what I will settle with. I am in a debate with a person who feels that Senator Kennedy was the last of his kind. Powerful, with his thoughts on the people at all times. Now I don't agree with this, and find that when a famous person passes, only the good, whether it is really there or not is seen. Look back at Michael Jackson. He changed the world for sure, but man was he screwed up. When he passed it enveloped the news way too long, and made the country look like fools to the rest of the world. After all, we have two wars going on, and we rarely mention it. While the country was busy talking about the pop icon, soldiers were dying, and our country was too busy to notice. But back to Kennedy. If he truly was so powerful and cared about the people so much, he should have done more. It's time we the people make a change.

Don't Make Kennedy a Total Hero

Ted Kennedy has passed away. He suffered through his illness, and I pray that God rests his soul. As I flip through the channels and surf the web, I see more people trying to turn him into "America's Hero." Now granted he did do some good things for this country, but he also did a lot of bad. He is no hero of mine, and he should not be a hero of yours. Here are some facts on Senator Kennedy:

1. He was caught cheating at Harvard when he attended it. He was
expelled twice, once for cheating on a test, and once for paying a
classmate to cheat for him.

2. While expelled, Kennedy enlisted in the Army, but mistakenly signed up for four years instead of two.
Oops! The man can't count to four! His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador
to England (a step up from bootlegging liquor into the US from Canada during prohibition),
pulled the necessary strings to have his enlistment shortened to two years, and to ensure that
he served in Europe, not Korea , where a war was raging. No preferential treatment for
him! (like he charged that President Bush received).

3. Kennedy was assigned to Paris , never advanced beyond the rank of
Private,and returned to Harvard upon being discharged. Imagine a
person of his "education" NEVER advancing past the rank of Private!

4. While attending law school at the University of Virginia, he was
cited for reckless driving four times, including once when he was
clocked driving 90 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood
with his headlights off after dark.. Yet his Virginia driver's
license was never revoked. Coincidentally, he passed the bar exam in 1959. Amazing!

5. In 1964, he was seriously injured in a plane crash and
hospitalized for several months. Test results done by the hospital
at the time he was admitted had shown he was legally
intoxicated. The results of those tests remained a "state
secret" until in the 1980's when the report was unsealed. Didn't hear
about that from the unbiased media, did we?

6. On July 19, 1969, Kennedy attended a party on Chappaquiddick
Island in Massachusetts . At about 11:00 PM, he borrowed his
chauffeur's keys to his Oldsmobile limousine and offered
to give a ride home to Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker.
Leaving the island via an unlit bridge with no guard rail, Kennedy
steered the car off the bridge, flipped, and into Poucha Pond.

7. He swam to shore and walked back to the party passing several
houses and a fire station. Two friends then returned
with him to the scene of the accident. According to their later
testimony, they told him what he already knew - that he was required
by law to immediately report the accident to the authorities.
Instead Kennedy made his way to his hotel, called his lawyer, and went
to sleep. Kennedy called the police the next morning and by then
the wreck had already been discovered. Before dying Kopechne had
scratched at the upholstered floor above her head in the upside-
down car. The Kennedy family began "calling in favors", ensuring
that any inquiry would be contained. Her corpse was
whisked out-of- state to her family before an autopsy could be
conducted. Further details are uncertain, but after the accident
Kennedy says he repeatedly dove under the water trying to rescue
Kopechne and he didn't call police because he was in a state of
shock. It is widely assumed Kennedy was drunk, and he held off
calling police in hopes that his family could fix the problem
overnight. Since the accident Kennedy's "political enemies" have
referred to him as the distinguished Senator from Chappaquiddick. He
pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a
Kopechne's family received a small payout from the Kennedy's
insurance policy and never sued. There was later an effort to have
her body exhumed and autopsied, but her family successfully fought
against this in court, and Kennedy's family paid their attorney's
bills.... a "token of friendship"?

8. Kennedy has held his Senate seat for more than forty years, but
considering his longevity, his accomplishments seem
scant. He authored or argued for legislation that ensured a
variety of civil rights, increased the minimum wage in 1981, made
access to health care easier for the indigent, funded Meals on Wheels for fixed-
income seniors, and is widely held as the "standard-bearer for
liberalism". In his very first Senate roll he was the floor
manager for the bill that turned U.S. Immigration Policy
upside down and opened the floodgate for immigrants from third world countries..

9. Since that time, he has been the prime instigator and
author of every expansion of an increase in immigration up to and including
the latest attempt to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Not to
mention the pious grilling he gave the last two Supreme Court
nominees, as if he was the standard bearer for the nation in
matters of what's right. What a pompous ass!

10. He is known around Washington as a public drunk, loud,
boisterous, and very disrespectful to ladies. JERK is a better
description than "great American". "A blond in every pond" is
his motto. Let's not allow the spin doctors to make this jerk a hero --
how quickly the American public forgets what his real legacy is.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dear Mr. President

Well it has been an interesting week to say the least. I had to take my four children shopping to get them ready to go back to school. As I walked around the mall, I became more and more frustrated (don't worry I did not take it out on the kids) about the bailout/stimulus packages that our former and current presidents passed. So I decided it was time to write to President Obama. I am hoping I get a reply. It would not be fair for me to do such a thing and not share it with the world. I tagged on some health care issues as well.

Dear Mr. President Obama,
First and foremost allow me to congratulate you on a historic victory. I know you have heard a few times by now, but it is a great feat and brought our country a little closer together, if only for a moment. I don't imagine you receive correspondence very often where the author does not ask for something in return. I question answered, a bill passed, a dinner at the White House. Fear not! I am no different. I would like to discuss the current economic status of America from the point of view of a middle class American. I think that is where I would fall in your economic scale. My wife and I have four children. I noticed you have two beautiful daughters yourself. You are a blessed man and I wish the best for them in their future endeavors. I am willing to bet, no fault of your own, that you did not take them school shopping this year. Well I did take mine to the mall this year, after all it has to be done. There are a couple things I noticed after going to a few stores. 1- there were no "Back to School" sales this year like there were in the years passed. When I look back I don't even remember seeing commercials for them either. 2- The prices for jeans, shirts, shoes, underwear, sock, that pretty pink tutu, and a Bozo button have not gotten cheaper in these tough economic times. If anything, they have gone up. One pair of jeans from Gap $52.00, watching your daughter get sad when you tell her you can't afford them, "worthless." That is how it felt with all my kids. Things I used to be able to go and buy, I can't anymore. Who in their right mind pays $52.00 for a pair of jeans anyway? Thank the Lord Old Navy had jeans on sale for kids priced at $10.00. And T-Shirts, no problem. It's almost fall. The stores are giving them away. But what am I supposed to do in the fall, when it gets too cold, and they need winter clothing? Well hopefully I will have a second job by then. Then it's off to Wal-Mart, who by the way is a monopoly in this county. Your a lawyer, so I am sure you know that monopolies are illegal in this country. See they set the price on everyday items, and the rest of the companies just have to fall in line to compete. Paper, pencils, folders, binders, pens, spitballs and straws, erasers, compass, protractor, calculator (because God forbid we teach kids how to do it by hand, like we used to learn) highlighters, and anything else the school mandates that a student must have to start school. Now I know why tissues are always on the list. Because when you get to the register and realize how much money you spent on stuff that will have to be replaced by Christmas break, you tend to weep. After it was all said and done, I had to choose which bills I could pay, and which one would have to wait till next payday. And then the wife's car started acting up. Well there are all kinds of great deals out there at the moment thanks to the C.A.R.S. Program. I will not knock this program it was a wonderful thing that has helped a lot of people out. But her car doesn't qualify, and because the economy slumped over the last year or 8, (or what I like to call the Bushy Years) our credit slightly slumped with it. Now imagine this, we the people own GM. Anything more than 51% is deemed an owner after all. But yet they will not give us financing. Nor will all the banks that we bailed out. My money, but I can't get any of it back. You have to have "near perfect credit" to get financed I am told. I don't know a person that qualifies. In the current status of the country, the only ones that do would most likely be at an Obama fundraiser. Oh by the way, my wife and I made $106,000 together last year. We paid our taxes, and love our country. And all we want to know is, where are the people's bailout? Why didn't anyone in the Democratic controlled Congress (And it has been that way for 5 years now) listen to the math and economic experts when they said, "give the money to the people, not the businesses!" and give us say $50,000 to $100,000 each? We could have paid off our homes, cars, credit cards, prostitutes. Bought new cars, new houses, new prostitutes! Taken a vacation, bought a lot of lotto tickets, anything we wanted! Especially taken care of our kids better, put away some so they can go to college, and most importantly, gotten bailed out of debt by the government that works for us. Remember that, you work for us, we do not work for you. Businesses got bailed out, just so they could take lavish trips, give out bonuses, and tell the people they should be thanking..."no!" I read in Time magazine that before the economy fell, we the consumer accounted for 70% of the Gross Domestic Product. But now we have become a non-factor due to the fact that all the companies we have bailed out, will not help out the people who gave them the money. And we didn't even have a say in if they got a bailout, or which companies would get the money. And the government never outlined how it will be paid back. So it's not a loan, it's a gift of sorts. No paying it forward this time I guess though. Please help the people that you represent, not the companies who pave the road with greed. On a final note I would like to say that your health care plan scares me. But that does not mean it is a bad thing. No matter if people support it or disagree with it, we the people are scared. Quit trying to rush it through, make sure it's right. And for the love of Pete, if it is supposed to be good enough for us, then we expect Congress, and yourself to use it too. After all, none of you are better than us in the end of it all. I would like better health care, but like what I have as well. My grandmother could use more help. So I hope you do pass a plan that will work for everyone, including yourself. Thank you for your time and good luck with your future plans. I wish you well Mr. President.

David Bourne
Aurora, IL.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Waste, Waste, and More Waste

So I have been digging. I have been through books, magazines, websites, my sisters desk, and the White House's trash. All to find where the government is spending money that it shouldn't be. I have found that it is too much for one person to sort through, and is probably designed that way so it can never be truly brought to light. But none the less, I bring you examples of such wastefulness, and greed. Stick with me, this is a long article that I hope you find useful. The first comes from an article written by Michael Crowley for the January 2009 issue of Reader's Digest, for the article, "Outrageous." Mr. Crowley is a senior editor at The New Republic, and was very informative in his article. I will give you the highlights. The first section is titled, "Air Farce One" and describes how the Washington Post reported that there has been a request to set aside $16.2 million from the allotted money to fight terrorism to upgrade military planes for high ranking officials. These upgrades would include 37-inch flat screen monitors, plush leather seats, and full length mirrors. Air Force Generals also requested that the color of the leather seats and seat belts be changed at a cost of $68,240. Now I will give this one to Congress, partially. They said no. But they did tell the military to pay for it out of their own budget! We have troops that can't get the items they need to fight the wars like body armor and equipment that actually works, but Lord forbid a general has to sit on a cloth seat with no t.v. Next comes "Bigwig Bailout." Last October (read under the Bush regime, but also passed by a Democratic ran congress) Congress budgeted $700 billion to clean up Wall Street. And what price did the C.E.O.'s of these companies pay for such mismanagement? Nothing. The C.E.O.'s of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Daniel Mudd and Richard Syron earned $11.6 million and $18.3 million respectively. They then both set to retire, with an estimated $7 million retirement check. Once again, our government did step in, but not good enough. The Federal Housing Finance Agency demanded a review. But even with the review, Mudd will receive $5 million and Syron $2.3 million in retirement benefits. If they ruined their companies to the point where our taxes had to bail them out, then how can they afford such a lavish retirement check? That's out money! Speaking of money, the next section is called "Sex, Drugs, and Your Money." It sounds like a rock concert but it is really about how government officials are in bed with big corporations. Like we didn't know this already. According to an investigation by the Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General, a fraternity house style culture of substance abuse and promiscuity existed among employees responsible for managing billions of dollars in contracts with oil and gas companies. According to the report, 13 current and former employees in Denver and Washington D.C. indulged in drinking, marijuana, cocaine and sex with representatives of companies negotiating multimillion dollar deals with the government. There were also some golf and ski trips, snowboard lessons, and concert tickets involved. With behavior like this it is no wonder the gas prices were and still are so high. The last one I am going to discuss from this article is "Bad Credit." Federal Employees spent an estimated $18 billion in 2007 using checks, and credit cards that are issued to them to conduct legitimate government business. A N.A.S.A. employee bought expensive iPods to store data although cheaper ones were available. A U.S. Forest employee gave $640,000 in checks meant for government use to her boyfriend. A postal worker spent $1,100 to find a date online, and another threw a dinner party for 81 people at a steak house for $13,500, including $3,000 for alcohol. I know, those are old now. We have a new president. Things have changed. I found two websites I love. Citizens Against Government Waste ( and Project on Government Waste ( I have yet to be able to go through P.O.G.O. very much, as I just started accessing it recently, and it will take some time. But I do recommend it to you. You can look up contractors who have been found "guilty" of some misconduct, how many times they have been found guilty, and what they are guilty of. You can also report misconduct by government officials there as well. C.A.G.W. has just released a book, as they do every year that you can purchase, or view online for free. It is 58 pages long, so I ask that you read it yourself. There are 10,160 instances of waste according to them that total up to billions of wasted tax dollars. Here are some highlights. $3.8 million to the Old Tiger Stadium Conservatory in Detroit, $1.9 million for a water taxi service in at Pleasure Beach in CT., $1.8 million in swine odor and manure management research in Iowa. The total earmarks used this budget season raised to $19.6 billion. You need to read this book, see where all the wastefulness is going, and who is responsible. It is time we the people stop the earmarks to bills. It costs us way too much, especially in these tough economic times.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Plot Thickens

So it seems I am going to need more time to show the wasteful spending of our tax dollars. It is not as easy as I thought to get a detailed account for the money. Funny since it is our hard earned cash that is being used. Perhaps I am looking in the wrong place and one of you can help me. It seems a lot has happened since my last post. I am sorry for the delay, but life happens. Sotomayor is officially a judge, and I wish her luck. I hope that she can help move this country in a positive way. Of course the big debate at the moment is health care reform. I am lucky enough to have insurance. It is good insurance, but they do frustrate me. I have to see a specialist and have a procedure done. Although there are doctors nearby who could do the work, my insurance does not cover these doctors, so I have to take a five hour round trip to have the work done. This costs me a lot of money in gas, and a lot of time. Other people have no insurance at all, and I feel for them. I have talked to people who have referenced the U.S. Armed Forces, and how they have government ran health care. I reply to them to go find a veteran who has used a Veterans Affairs Hospital. They will all tell you the same thing, "It is some of the worst health care I have ever had, but the price is right." If this is how we treat the people who have defended our country, then why would we want it for the entire nation? I will not debate that reform is needed. Money is wasted everyday by doctors who order unnecessary tests and surgeries, like my wife when she hurt her back, has had her tubes tied and just finished her menstrual cycle and the doctor wanted a pregnancy test anyway. People should be able to choose what doctors they want to see. Not have a private company choose for them. And if treatment is needed, they should receive it, not let some person that only cares about the money decide. I have said before that this is a country built on greed, and health care is just another example. Things that are needed for the health and safety of humanity should not be ran for profit. If it is, then you get HMO's telling you no when they should be saying yes. You get prisons paying their officers minimum wage and cramming their prisons full, and then we are left wondering how the inmates escaped. France seems to have the best program going in the world. After all, the World Health Organization ranked them #1. The good ol' U.S. came in #37. France's system is a mixture of private and public funding that is very complex, so I will only tell you the basics. The french can see any doctor and specialist they want. The doctors, many of whom are self-employed can prescribe any medical care the doctor feels is necessary. The statistics have shown that this program is working. Here are some statistics for you:

France's infant death rate is 3.9 per 1,000 live births, compared with 7 in the U.S.
The average life expectancy is 79.4 years, two years more than in the U.S.
The country has far more hospital beds and doctors per capita than America
Far lower rates of death from diabetes and heart disease
The difference in deaths from respiratory disease, an often preventable form of mortality, is particularly striking: 31.2 per 100,000 people in France, vs. 61.5 per 100,000 in the U.S.
65% of French citizens express satisfaction with their system, compared with 40% of U.S. residents
France spends just 10.7% of its gross domestic product on health care, while the U.S. lays out 16%, more than any other nation

But the system is not perfect. There has been health care inflation, resulting in the rise of taxes. This is something that we would have to deal with if wee had a government ran health care system. Prices of things will go up, and to adjust accordingly, taxes will go up too. An easy way to deal with the problem would be to put a cap on how much a doctor can charge, because different people see different prices. A person with medicare can watch the government charged almost double what a person with insurance is charged, because the doctor knows the government is not watching and will not scoff at the bill.

"To grasp how the French system works, think about Medicare for the elderly in the U.S., then expand that to encompass the entire population. French medicine is based on a widely held value that the healthy should pay for care of the sick. Everyone has access to the same basic coverage through national insurance funds, to which every employer and employee contributes. The government picks up the tab for the unemployed who cannot gain coverage through a family member.
But the french system is much more generous to its entire population than the U.S. is to its seniors. Unlike with Medicare, there are no deductibles, just modest co- payments that are dismissed for the chronically ill. Additionally, almost all French buy supplemental insurance, similar to Medigap, which reduces their out-of-pocket costs and covers extra expenses such as private hospital rooms, eyeglasses, and dental care. In France, the sicker you get, the less you pay. Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and critical surgeries, such as a coronary bypass, are reimbursed at 100%. Cancer patients are treated free of charge. Patients suffering from colon cancer, for instance, can receive Genentech Inc.'s Avastin without charge. In the U.S., a patient may pay $48,000 a year. France particularly excels in prenatal and early childhood care. Since 1945 the country has built a widespread network of thousands of health-care facilities, called Protection Maternelle et Infantile (PMI), to ensure that every mother and child in the country receives basic preventive care. Children are evaluated by a team of private-practice pediatricians, nurses, midwives, psychologists, and social workers. When parents fail to bring their children in for regular checkups, social workers are dispatched to the family home. Mothers even receive a financial incentive for attending their pre- and post-natal visits. To make all this affordable, France reimburses its doctors at a far lower rate than U.S. physicians would accept. However, French doctors don't have to pay back their crushing student loans because medical school is paid for by the state, and malpractice insurance premiums are a tiny fraction of the $55,000 a year and up that many U.S. doctors pay. That $55,000 equals the average yearly net income for French doctors, a third of what their American counterparts earn. Then again, the French government pays two-thirds of the social security tax for most French physicians—a tax that's typically 40% of income. Specialists who have spent at least four years practicing in a hospital are free to charge what they want, and some charge upwards of $675 for a single consultation. But American-style compensation is rare. "There is an unspoken and undefined limit to what you can charge," says Dr. Paul Benfredj, a gastroenterologist in Paris."
Thanks to BusinessWeek for supplying me with the statistics and the part in quotations. without their article, I would never have learned about the French system and how good it seems to be, although like I said not perfect. So here is the Democrats choice to change the way America does it. First they need to stop pointing fingers at the Republicans. They control the White House and Congress. They can pass whatever they want without the Republicans being able to stand in their way. The problem lies in that they are not able to reach an agreement that the whole party can agree to. The Republicans on the other hand need to stop being such a hindrance and realize that change is needed in this country. If the Democrats have a good idea, and I am not saying they have one yet, try agreeing to it. This party line stuff has gone on too long, and cost the country too much. You work for us, so do something to help the American people. That comment goes for both sides. President Obama, you promised change. Give it to us in a way we can agree with. This is not just your country, this is ours. Look at the polls, letters, emails, phone calls, etc. and hear the people. See what it is that we want, and then see to it that it gets done. You work for us, not us for you.