Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saints Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Xmas and no sign of snow.But N.O. doesnt care cause The Saints 11 & 0. Thamos scored a touchdown, Sharper intercepted a pass. And the Who Dat Nation cheered when Brady was sacked on his ass. Sunday the Redskins, to Washington we will go. And when the Black & Gold get finished we'll be 12 & 0 Go BR...EES, Go BUSH, Go Harper& Ellis our team is UNDEFEATED and the others are JEALOUS! 
 
     

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just a Quick Thought Before Bed

Is it just me, or are we falling victim to extremism? I don't mean Islam terrorists, but instead extremists of our own race and nationality. Is the problem really Republicans and Democrats or is it just the 15% on either end of the spectrum that seem to dominate the debate? Extremism, in any form, should be avoided and condemned by every rational being.

Or we can just keep trudging down the same path as every great society before us and slowly collapse, like a flan in an oven.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I don't care what your politics are, Americans are Americans, set aside your petty politics and listen to our President...
Transcript of President Obama's remarks at Fort Hood
11/10/09


We come together filled with sorrow for the thirteen Americans that we have lost; with gratitude for the lives that they led; and with a determination to honor them through the work we carry on.

This is a time of war. And yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.

For those families who have lost a loved one, no words can fill the void that has been left. We knew these men and women as soldiers and caregivers. You knew them as mothers and fathers; sons and daughters; sisters and brothers.

But here is what you must also know: your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life's work is our security, and the freedom that we too often take for granted. Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — that is their legacy.

Neither this country — nor the values that we were founded upon — could exist without men and women like these thirteen Americans. And that is why we must pay tribute to their stories.

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Cahill had served in the National Guard and worked as a physician's assistant for decades. A husband and father of three, he was so committed to his patients that on the day he died, he was back at work just weeks after having a heart attack.

Major Libardo Eduardo Caraveo spoke little English when he came to America as a teenager. But he put himself through college, earned a Ph.D., and was helping combat units cope with the stress of deployment. He is survived by his wife, sons and step-daughters.

Staff Sergeant Justin DeCrow joined the Army right after high school, married his high school sweetheart, and had served as a light wheeled mechanic and Satellite Communications Operator. He was known as an optimist, a mentor, and a loving husband and father.

After retiring from the Army as a Major, John Gaffaney cared for society's most vulnerable during two decades as a psychiatric nurse. He spent three years trying to return to active duty in this time of war, and he was preparing to deploy to Iraq as a Captain. He leaves behind a wife and son.

Specialist Frederick Greene was a Tennessean who wanted to join the Army for a long time, and did so in 2008 with the support of his family. As a combat engineer he was a natural leader, and he is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Specialist Jason Hunt was also recently married, with three children to care for. He joined the Army after high school. He did a tour in Iraq, and it was there that he re-enlisted for six more years on his twenty-first birthday so that he could continue to serve.

Staff Sergeant Amy Krueger was an athlete in high school, joined the Army shortly after 9/11, and had since returned home to speak to students about her experience. When her mother told her she couldn't take on Osama bin Laden by herself, Amy replied: "Watch me."

Private First Class Aaron Nemelka was an Eagle Scout who just recently signed up to do one of the most dangerous jobs in the service — defuse bombs — so that he could help save lives. He was proudly carrying on a tradition of military service that runs deep within his family.

Private First Class Michael Pearson loved his family and loved his music, and his goal was to be a music teacher. He excelled at playing the guitar, and could create songs on the spot and show others how to play. He joined the military a year ago, and was preparing for his first deployment.

Captain Russell Seager worked as a nurse for the VA, helping veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress. He had great respect for the military, and signed up to serve so that he could help soldiers cope with the stress of combat and return to civilian life. He leaves behind a wife and son.

Private Francheska Velez, the daughter of a father from Colombia and a Puerto Rican mother, had recently served in Korea and in Iraq, and was pursuing a career in the Army. When she was killed, she was pregnant with her first child, and was excited about becoming a mother.

Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman was the daughter and granddaughter of Army veterans. She was a single mother who put herself through college and graduate school, and served as a nurse practitioner while raising her two daughters. She also left behind a loving husband.

Private First Class Kham Xiong came to America from Thailand as a small child. He was a husband and father who followed his brother into the military because his family had a strong history of service. He was preparing for his first deployment to Afghanistan.

These men and women came from all parts of the country. Some had long careers in the military. Some had signed up to serve in the shadow of 9/11. Some had known intense combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some cared for those did. Their lives speak to the strength, the dignity and the decency of those who serve, and that is how they will be remembered.

That same spirit is embodied in the community here at Fort Hood, and in the many wounded who are still recovering. In those terrible minutes during the attack, soldiers made makeshift tourniquets out of their clothes. They braved gunfire to reach the wounded, and ferried them to safety in the backs of cars and a pick-up truck.

One young soldier, Amber Bahr, was so intent on helping others that she did not realize for some time that she, herself, had been shot in the back. Two police officers — Mark Todd and Kim Munley — saved countless lives by risking their own. One medic — Francisco de la Serna — treated both Officer Munley and the gunman who shot her.

It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know — no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice — in this world, and the next.

These are trying times for our country. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue to endanger America, our allies, and innocent Afghans and Pakistanis. In Iraq, we are working to bring a war to a successful end, as there are still those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that Americans and Iraqis have sacrificed so much for.

As we face these challenges, the stories of those at Fort Hood reaffirm the core values that we are fighting for, and the strength that we must draw upon. Theirs are tales of American men and women answering an extraordinary call — the call to serve their comrades, their communities, and their country. In an age of selfishness, they embody responsibility. In an era of division, they call upon us to come together. In a time of cynicism, they remind us of who we are as Americans.

We are a nation that endures because of the courage of those who defend it. We saw that valor in those who braved bullets here at Fort Hood, just as surely as we see it in those who signed up knowing that they would serve in harm's way.

We are a nation of laws whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes.

We are a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses. And instead of claiming God for our side, we remember Lincoln's words, and always pray to be on the side of God.

We are a nation that is dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created equal. We live that truth within our military, and see it in the varied backgrounds of those we lay to rest today. We defend that truth at home and abroad, and we know that Americans will always be found on the side of liberty and equality. That is who we are as a people.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is a chance to pause, and to pay tribute — for students to learn of the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.

For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, I think all of us — every single American — must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.

This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in a time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and stations — all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life.

In today's wars, there is not always a simple ceremony that signals our troops' success — no surrender papers to be signed, or capital to be claimed. But the measure of their impact is no less great — in a world of threats that no know borders, it will be marked in the safety of our cities and towns, and the security and opportunity that is extended abroad. And it will serve as testimony to the character of those who serve, and the example that you set for America and for the world.

Here, at Fort Hood, we pay tribute to thirteen men and women who were not able to escape the horror of war, even in the comfort of home. Later today, at Fort Lewis, one community will gather to remember so many in one Stryker Brigade who have fallen in Afghanistan.

Long after they are laid to rest — when the fighting has finished, and our nation has endured; when today's servicemen and women are veterans, and their children have grown — it will be said of this generation that they believed under the most trying of tests; that they persevered not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; and that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples.

So we say goodbye to those who now belong to eternity. We press ahead in pursuit of the peace that guided their service. May God bless the memory of those we lost. And may God bless the United States of America.


In Flanders Fields


In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Don't just say it, do it. Honor the veterans of this and every country. You can support your military more by honoring them and giving them the means to function when they return from their service than by buying into some politician telling you that every war their country fights is just. The Crusaders thought their cause was just in the Middle Ages, but we all know how that turned out (FYI, there is still fighting going on in the same region).

In this country it is simple, be an American: learn your history, pay your taxes, vote, serve your country in any way you find possible, but most of all, don't waste their sacrifice. That's how you honor the veterans of the United States, not through empty gestures and yellow ribbons, not through tea parties and shouting down dissenting viewpoints, and not by violating the religious freedom that the founders of our government fought to ensure
and wisely separated from the governing process. Remember that the next time that someone tells you that you're un-American because you did not buy some yellow ribbon magnet that supposedly honors our troops but was made in China (happened to me once, sorry to vent).

This time of year is tough

Baseball season is over, therefore there are only two valid days of sports per week. Very frustrating after six plus months with a game almost every single day...sigh.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Take on the Election Day

Uh oh, politics become a bit more messy today? Although some idiot that Caribou Quitter Barbie endorsed probably won somewhere and Glenn Beck had another teargasm, I'm sure no one will lose more than the gays. That's because gay is the Black/Mexican/Asian/Italian/Irish/Muslim/Indian (pick your favorite ethnicity/religion) du jour. Since you can't pick on someone for basis of skin color/religion, then who they love and your personal hangups about it have to be the new substitute in America! This is the reason why aliens only abduct us, if they landed in peace we humans would totally treat them like we've treated every other group that has ever scared us. Time to wake up America! If you want to talk about individual liberty, then practice what you preach "teabaggers". Stay out of peoples' bedrooms and let them marry, most of them don't really care about your church ceremony, just a stable family life and security with the people they love.    

Republican, democrat, or independent no matter, we need to wake up America. Not in the way that pundits are telling you, in a way that enlightens your life and makes life better for you and others. Time to let the greediness go and start living up to some of those ideals the founders put down besides the ones that get you money or power. Get over it people, if you simply buy their line of bullshit all the time then they've won. You're thinking about what they want you to, whether you agree or not and that, my friends is control. Worse yet, it is lazy and that is ACTUALLY American.

Monday, November 2, 2009

7-0!

What is going on? The Saints are undefeated? I'm not used to pulling for my NFL team this time of year as hard as my NCAA team.

Has hell frozen over? The Rams even won a game! Stop the madness!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Making Politics More Bearable

I love Autotune the News!!!


I'm so tired

This attitude of us versus us versus them is ridiculous. There is not a shred of common sense left in the political discourse in this country. If it isn't Glen Beck spewing crazy all over the airwaves, it is somebody biting a finger off at a town hall. I'm sick of it.

Was this the change we voted for? If so, I take it back. The change I voted for was supposed to bring this country together, not split it down the middle. Now before you think I am blaming the whole thing on Obama, do not jump to that conclusion. I blame the people who have hijacked the discourse from the fringe...on both sides. There are people calling for birth certificates, trials for Bush as a war criminal, the President is a socialist/facist/Nazi (by the way, you can't be all three), and booing people in wheelchairs at town halls.

I am worn out, and I just can't take listening to this tripe anymore. Now there's a controversy about the President broadcasting a speech to schools about studying hard and staying in school. Apparently there was a lesson plan to accompany it, and I believe that is too much, but a speech is controversy? I heard Reagan tell me that we should lower taxes (and that the Challenger blew up), then I heard Bush (the smart one who didn't fake serving in the military) tell me to stay off drugs. Am I a Republican or a rampaging capitalist? (The answer is no in case you hadn't guessed) Yet people in my area, O'Fallon, MO, are making the speech optional for students. The claim is that not everyone voted for this President and therefore he is not everyone's President is false. He is THE President of the United States of America. Get over it.

Compromise and tolerance of opposing viewpoints made the progress this country has made possible, it is time for some more of it...from both sides.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kind of a quick personal venting session

Due to some bad debt that I have accumulated over the years, I found out yesterday that my bank account is frozen. Is it too much to ask to at least know when I have legal action being taken against me? This whole situation is killing me, I was looking to take out an extra student loan to pay off my debt, but my credit is so bad that no one will approve me. I am so sick and tired of being stressed out over money on top of everything else. Sorry, I just had to vent.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is it Possible to Quell Health Care Reform "Outrage" With Facts? Let's Try...

I just can not get over the "outrage" of some people over the health care legislation. Now, before everyone gets upset that I'm lumping everyone with an objection in with the crazies, let it be said that I have my own questions and misgivings about the proposals in the first draft of legislation in H.R. 3200. Yet, that does not excuse the travesty that some people have reduced the political debate to. Partisan behavior is nothing new, but in the last six months, it has ratcheted itself up to a fervor not seen in years. The level of misinformation is infuriating for someone who wants the truth about the proposal, not to mention anyone with loved ones employed in the health industry.

The questions raised in the debate are myriad: Is this an attempt to incorporate a single-payer system similar to Canada's or the U.K.'s? Is this a viable option to private insurance? How will this impact Medicare? Will there be rationing of care? What is meant by the end of life counseling (on a side note: How much of an idiot is Sarah Palin for suggesting they would be "death panels"?)? How will this be paid for without a tax hike for the middle class? Will this put private insurance companies out of business? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions were sparse if available at all. So the purpose of this post is to report my best efforts for findings in regard to these questions, among others.

Possibly most important: Is healthcare reform necessary?

  • In my opinion, to put it simply, yes. Between 1999 and 2008, employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have more than doubled in the last nine years, a rate four times faster than cumulative wage increases. Whatever pay increases the average worker did receive were summarily wiped out, and then some, by the rapidly growing amounts deducted from their paycheck to cover their health insurance premium. The profits of insurance companies are sickening (pun intended) when compared to the rising burden placed upon the average worker. Nearly half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. Not only is there the problem of the 40+ million Americans without health insurance, but 86.7 million Americans were uninsured at some point in 2006 and 2007. In addition, the sheer numbers would dictate that something should be done in order to make health insurance, in some form, available to more Americans who desire it.
  • Not only is healthcare not financially feasable for a staggering amount of Americans, the Americans who do have health insurance are in constant danger of being dropped for the horrible sin of getting sick. Supposed "pre-existing conditions" are all too common in denial of care through a process known as Rescission. Rescission (also known as "post-claims underwriting") is the process whereby health insurers avoid paying out benefits to treat cancer and other serious illnesses by seeking and often finding errors in the policyholder's paperwork that can justify canceling the policy. In one job evaluation, the health insurer WellPoint actually scored a director of group underwriting on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the dollar amount she had managed to deny through rescission. (The director had saved the company nearly $10 million, earning a score of 3. WellPoint's president, Brian A. Sassi, insists this is not routine company practice.) Rescission's victims tend typically to be less-educated people who are more likely to make an error in filling out their insurance forms and lack the means to challenge a rescission in court—a path in which success is, at any rate, not guaranteed, because under state law the practice is perfectly legal if done within the allowable time frame (typically up to two years after a policy is issued).
Is this a single-payer system?
  • Once again, simply no. The UK has a single-payer system, the single-payer being the government. The proposal by the White House that has the most support in Congress suggests a public option run as a not-for-profit alternative in a insurance marketplace similar to the exchange offered to government employees. As proposed, the public plan would be one that competes on a level playing field with private insurers. Such an entity wouldn't be able to use its sheer size to set prices the way Medicare does--but it could nonetheless incur savings, and in so doing drive down the cost of health insurance in the private market. Critics claim that this would cut into the profits of private insurers and force them out of business in lieu of the competition, yet my response would be: isn't that capitalism at its best? In my opinion this would finally be the government interceding on the public's behalf, unlike in the banking fiasco.
Will we be cutting money from Medicare?
  • Yes, but not exactly in the way that the attackers are insinuating. The biggest part of the money proposed to be cut from Medicare would be the subsidies paid to private insurers for the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. The MA program, which pays private insurance companies a set rate to treat Medicare beneficiaries who sign up, it was conceived as a cost containment measure on the theory that competition between HMOs, PPOs and other private plans would drive down costs. In fact, MA plans have consistently cost the government more per beneficiary than traditional fee-for-service Medicare costs. About 18 percent of beneficiaries now belong to MA plans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if the government refused to pay MA plans more than traditional Medicare costs, that the taxpayers would save $9.5-billion in 2009, $54-billion over the 2009-2012 period, and $150-billion over 10 years. The $150 billion over the next ten years would be the most major of the proposed cuts. Other cuts are vague at best and labeled mostly as cutting inefficiency.
How would this be paid for?
  • Here the information is unclear at best. Obama has been adamant that he will not sign any legislation that adds to the deficit. The Medicare savings are a supposed large part of the estimated $1.5 trillion pricetag over the next ten years (less than the $1.8 trillion the Bush tax cuts cost us over roughly the same time frame), but it is not all of it. Taxing the upper classes charitable donations has fallen by the wayside, yet a proposal to limit the amount of deductions available to individuals making over $250,000 per year has been discussed as well as a surtax of 1%-5% on families making over $350,000.
  • Another option being considered is to tax employer health benefits. Right now, employees get all their health benefits tax-free—a policy called the employer tax exclusion. Althought this has bipartisan appeal, there are problems with this setup. For one thing, it is regressive as people with jobs are generally wealthier than those without, yet they get the tax break. It also reduces transparency, since employees don't know exactly what their premiums are paying for. In addition, it gives employers an incentive to offer high-cost health care plans, which don't get taxed, instead of higher wages. This proposal would cap the amount of untaxed benefits at somewhere around $12,000 or by income level. That would reduce or eliminate the preferential treatment described above. The government would collect an estimated $200 billion to $300 billion a year. Over 10 years, that's potentially more than $2.5 trillion, $1 trillion more than the government is estimated to need to pay for health care reform. Republicans and moderate Democrats have been pushing this idea for a while. Sen. Max Baucus included it in his original white paper on health care reform. Sen. John McCain made it the centerpiece of his campaign health care plan. The downside for Obama is that he adamantly opposed this policy during the campaign. Yet budget director Peter Orszag has refused to take the option off the table, and economic adviser Jason Furman has supported the policy in the past. Obama himself has signaled that he would allow it—but he doesn't necessarily want to propose it for obvious reasons.
What the hell is Sarah Palin talking about? (a.k.a. Will there be care rationing?)
  • Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, urged her supporters to oppose Democratic plans for health care reform on her Facebook page. "As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!" wrote Palin in a note posted Aug. 7, 2009. She said that the Democrats plan to reduce health care costs by simply refusing to pay for care. "And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." For once, I agree with the quitter, that would be evil, too bad for her that is not what is being discussed. The truth is that the health bill allows Medicare, for the first time, to pay for doctors' appointments for patients to discuss living wills and other end-of-life issues with their physicians. These types of appointments are completely optional, and AARP supports the measure. Palin also may have also jumped to conclusions about the Obama administration's efforts to promote comparative effectiveness research. Such research has nothing to do with evaluating patients for "worthiness." Rather, comparative effectiveness research finds out which treatments work better than others. The health reform bill being considered in the House of Representatives says that a Comparative Effectiveness Research Center shall "conduct, support, and synthesize research" that looks at "outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care services and procedures in order to identify the manner in which diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can most effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, and managed clinically." The idea here, which Obama and his budget director Peter Orszag have discussed many times, is to make it easier for doctors, health care workers, insurance companies and patients to find out which treatments are the most effective, as determined by clinical studies and other research. I looked for proof for the inflammatory claims that the health care bill encourages euthanasia. It doesn't. There's certainly no "death board" that determines the worthiness of individuals to receive care. She said that the Democratic plan will ration care and "my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care." Palin's statement sounds more like a science fiction movie than part of an actual bill before Congress. Obama has said he believes a comparative effectiveness commission should advise health care workers, not require them to follow certain treatments.
  • On the radio show of former Sen. Fred Thompson on July 16, 2009, McCaughey said "Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner." She said those sessions would help the elderly learn how to "decline nutrition, how to decline being hydrated, how to go in to hospice care ... all to do what's in society's best interest or in your family's best interest and cut your life short." In her chat with Thompson, McCaughey said the language can be found on page 425 of the health care bill, so I looked there. Indeed, Sec. 1233 of the bill, labeled "Advance Care Planning Consultation" details how the bill would, for the first time, require Medicare to cover the cost of end-of-life counseling sessions. According to the bill, "such consultation shall include the following: An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to; an explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses; an explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy." Medicare will cover one session every five years, the legislation states. If a patient becomes very ill in the interim, Medicare will cover additional sessions. Jon Keyserling, general counsel and vice president of public policy for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which supports the provision, said the bill doesn't encourage seniors to end their lives, it just allows some important counseling for decisions that take time and consideration. "These are very serious conversations," he said. "It needs to be an informative conversation from the medical side and it needs to be thought about carefully by the patient and their families." In no way would these sessions be designed to encourage patients to end their lives, said Jim Dau, national spokeman for AARP, a group that represents people over 50 that has lobbied in support of the advanced planning provision. McCaughey's comments are "not just wrong, they are cruel," said Dau. "We want to make sure people are making the right decision. If some one wants to take every life-saving measure, that's their call. Others will decide it's not worth going through this trauma just for themselves and their families, and that's their decision, too." Both Keyserling and Dau were particularly troubled that McCaughey insisted — three times, to be exact — that the sessions would be mandatory, which they are not. For his part, Keyserling said he and outside counsel read the language carefully to make sure that was not the case. "Neither of us can come to the conclusion that it's mandatory." he said. "This new consultation is just like all in Medicare: it's voluntary." "The only thing mandatory is that Medicare will have to pay for the counseling," said Dau. There's really no gray area here. McCaughey incorrectly states that the bill would require Medicare patients to have these counseling sessions and she is suggesting that the government is somehow trying to interfere with a very personal decision. And her claim that the sessions would "tell [seniors] how to end their life sooner" is an outright distortion. Rather, the sessions are an option for elderly patients who want to learn more about living wills, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning. McCaughey isn't just wrong, she's spreading a ridiculous falsehood.
Will there be rationing of care?
  • No. Mr. Obama said he was not proposing to ration care, but just wanted to coordinate it better. For example, he said, he wants to eliminate repetitious tests ordered by different doctors for the same patient. Electronic medical records and health information technology, championed by Mr. Obama, could reduce such duplication. But, under his plan, it is not clear who would take responsibility for patients and coordinate care in traditional fee-for-service medicine. President Obama has stated that rationing care is more rampant under our current system than it would be under the reform.
Sorry for the lack of exposition towards the end, this has been a rough post to research with a crabby three month old around. Any requests for further research or talking points are welcome, just post in the comments.

For the record, I do support health care reform. I would like a single-payer system, yet a public option would be a welcome compromise. Politics are compromise, maybe America needs to remember that instead of thinking that helping each other is somehow infringing on personal liberty. The thing that I keep in mind, and I hope you do too, is there is no actual bill yet. There are four proposals, with H.R. 3200 being the most complete (yet not the best by any stretch, the best in my opinion is the Wyden-Bennett Act). There is debate for a reason, to air all points and reach a consensus, not to shout each other down for having different beliefs, I don't agree with that tactic from the left or the right. That my friends, is not America, no matter what Founding Father you attempt to quote.

Friday, August 7, 2009

North Korea releasing their hostages

Kudos to Clinton, his image needed a win badly because he was looking ridiculous following the election. Yet, the morning after I was tuning into the news channels to revel in a foreign relations win for the US unfamiliar to me for eight-plus years. To my surprise, CNN was actually covering the story instead of some damn celebrity. Yet to my amazement, Fox News was up in arms about some secret "deal" with Kim Jong Il. Can't we just celebrate a win? Two United States citizens are home with their families that they may have never seen again if there had not been intervention, yet this is looked upon as an opportunity to criticize...wait for it...President Obama. Frankly, I am not that surprised, the man could cure cancer and Fox would ask "why not AIDS?", yet the comments of Dick Morris literally turned my stomach. I'll quote from MediaMatters.org:

Criticizing Bill Clinton's "awful," "ridiculous" trip to North Korea, Fox News political contributor Dick Morris said of the two freed journalists: "I feel badly for the two journalists, but what were they doing in North Korea in the first place?" Morris later responded to a question about "how were we supposed to get them home" by stating: "Maybe they don't come home. Maybe they go to North Korea and they live with the consequences of their decision to go there."

From the August 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

Disgusting. These are Americans. These are women with families. You sir, make me ashamed to inhabit the same country as you. Super classy. Dick.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hey hey! New baby!

Which explains why I haven't been posting this summer. I'll be back as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hello loyal readers

Sorry for the sparseness of entries, my schedule is completely consumed with preparations for the new baby, continued quality time with Kaitlin and Grace, work, and school (in no particular order). Feel free to shoot me an email every once in awhile if you're looking for my always passionate, not always informed opinion...or just a smart ass comment.

Thanks,
Jacob

Hilarious!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just out of morbid curiosity...

I occasionally tune in and listen to either O'Reilly or Hannity on the radio, I've tried Rush, he's an idiot. Call it knowing thine enemy, call it arming myself for the asshole apocalypse, call it masochism, I do not care what you call it. I gain a sense of self-satisfaction out of it, much like when I read Fark.com articles tagged with Florida or secretly make fun of people who find Larry the Cable Guy funny. It is a sense derived from the satisfaction you take from the misery or ignorance of others, a schadenfreude-like feeling that I just can not peel myself away from.

Why? I don't know, I think it may be a sign of mental illness, but the stories they weave like tapestry and callers they field are but a sampling of the ignoramuses that I have tended to run into for the last ten years.

In my pursuits of better pastures of bartending in the last three years, I have run into a lot of morons, on both sides of the political spectrum. From the over-privileged trust fund prince or princess, to the immature patchouli smelling wanna-be hippies just back from a week-long smoke out at Bonnaroo (let us not say that I do not enjoy Bonnaroo, or the music played there, I actually love the so-called neo-hippy music, I just hate posers) who tells me how evil the Bush administration is and yet does nothing but spend his/her parent's money on new Birkenstocks (real hippies would have made their own damn shoes!) and a dime bag.

I hate equally, trust me, ninety percent of the people you meet, anywhere, are asshats. I just happen to live here, so its what I write about. When I lived in Louisiana, I thought the people there were dumb too (Sorry for the brief caveat, but it needed to be said, I would not want to be accused of romanticising the land of my youth).

So, back to my occasional dirty pleasure, right-wing talk radio. I don't really have anything to report. They are so busy talking about undermining the President, for no reason other than to do it that I can discern, they are attacking someone that doesn't really matter, or, better yet, shilling either one of their books or the books of one of their own ideology. I will spare everyone the diatribe of my hatred for , but this one is a doozy. They threw around half-truths and outright lies, then lambasted anyone who dared to cite a credible source to back up an argument. In other words, they pundit-ed. They functioned as the mouthpiece of cultural "frustration" which makes them millions of dollars while we are worried about unemployment. I really felt like their listeners (please include my usual sarcasm here), like they were speaking for me and were on my side in a way that the rest of the "liberal" media wasn't.

Yet, I found nothing so blatantly telling of the sheer moronitude of my fellow listeners as this:










I instantly felt dumber when I heard it...I feel dirtier still even re-posting it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Its frustrating...

I really wish I had more time to spend on writing here, every time I seem to get a spark of inspiration...someone has beat me to it. Bob Cesca is one funny guy:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/president-obama-is-litera_b_166152.html

Well played Mr. Cesca, well played.

Follow up to my very tired ramblings of last evening...

My main problem (which I diverted from as I read more and got more agitated) was that the logic that some people seem to be using to discredit the bill. To claim that stimulating the economy is a less noble cause to borrow money for than one of the two wars that we are fighting at the moment is vacuous to me.

At best, we are fighting a war on two fronts (which never turns out well), and one, the much more expensive one, we created the problem on. Whereas, I do feel that military spending is fully warranted, when I see state funding and education funding cut out of one draft and military spending expanded in the same draft, that doesn't sound like stimulus to me. I have read the stimulus package and understood as much as I can without training in economics and agree with many on the front that it is not the plan that I would like to see. I think tax cuts for smaller businesses to stay afloat,
but, unfortunately that is not the businesses that have been receiving tax breaks in the last 20 years. We've returned to a mindset very reminiscent of the early 20th century, where big business is our prime motivator and the worker is just a cog in the machine.

On a side note, do not mistake my post for wholehearted support for the Democrats in Congress. They have screwed the pooch on a necessary evil much worse than I thought possible. The aim of this was to lessen the load on middle class citizens and small business, while creating an energy independent economy for the future. The bureaucracy has stepped in and either compromised or flat out held up any semblance of that getting done so far.

For the record,I don't want the government to save us, I just want them held to the same standard at their job as all of the rest of us are. If I sucked at bartending this bad, I would have been forced to change professions by now! Instead, I'm working my way out...hopefully!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't We Have to Pay ALL of the Money Back?

I'm getting a little sick and tired of every time I turn on the television I see some Republican mouthpiece claiming that we are dooming a future generation...financially.

If its not John Sununu on the Daily Show tonight (link to follow later), its John McCain calling it "generational theft". Apparently, this strategy of calling it "theft" is the creation of House minority leader John Boehner, who wrote it on a new-ish site called AmericaSpeaksOn. The basic argument is that Democrats are trying to spending and borrow their way to prosperity, which is true in a technical sense but debatable and provocative politically. I believe the phrase was also used by Michelle Malkin, coined to describe the stimulus package (I've seen it on her Twitter if I remember right). Whomever it may be saying the phrase, it does contain truth value. Possibly unbeknownst to the millionaires of Congress, this is how credit works. You borrow money you don't have, on the promise to pay it, plus interest, back in the future.

Yet, if my memory serves me correctly (as it almost always does in trivial matters), they should know about credit all too well. After all, we are fighting not one, but two wars on credit as we speak. I guess Republicans are fiscal conservatives--unless they're in power. On last Thursday's Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed clips (skip to 5:16 in) from Boehner and other opponents of the stimulus justifying spending billions in Iraq.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) discussed his objections to President Obama’s stimulus package currently before the Senate. McConnell expressed his concerns over the long term cost of the plan, because “we are already looking at, before we even do this, at over a trillion dollar deficit for this year”:

Most of my members believe that we could pass a very robust stimulus for less than the amount currently before us. We have been throwing figures around like it was paper money. We are already looking at, before we even do this, at over a trillion dollar deficit for this year. We all agree that we need to do something, but I don’t think we should not just completely act like the amount is irrelevant.

McConnell is not alone in trotting out this argument. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has also railed against increasing the deficit to pay for measures that won’t act as effective economic stimulus, saying that the current stimulus plan is “arrogantly indifferent to economic reality.”

In order to criticize, you should present a solution. The only comprehensive alternative being offered by Senate conservatives is DeMint’s “American Option: A Jobs Plan That Works,” a series of permanent tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Americans. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that the DeMint plan would cost over $3.1 trillion over ten years (more than three times the amount of President Obama’s plan) and be largely ineffective at creating jobs. The DeMint plan includes permanently cutting the corporate tax rate, totally eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, lowering income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, and eliminating scores of tax deductions that help students pay for college, sick families pay medical bills, and teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms. Permanent tax cuts are one of the least effective ways of stimulating the economy according to both Moody’s Economy.com and the Congressional Budget Office. Furthermore, slashing government revenues this permanently would leave deep structural deficits for generations to come. McConnell is fond of saying that a stimulus bill should be “timely, temporary, and targeted.” The plan Senate Republicans were backing, though, fulfills none of these criteria.

To revisit the title, what is the difference on the money we borrow? Is it worth more to rebuild another country or our own? Correct me if I'm wrong, but are these not members of the same party who continually deny climate change exists, fuel economy standards are necessary, and believe that our best energy solution is "Drill, Baby, Drill"? Since when is this party concerned about my generation, much less my children's?

So Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, I respectfully request that you stop blowing smoke up our asses and do your jobs. The economy is partly your fault, therefore, the lion's share of the repair is your responsibility. I will do my part by continuing to go to work for as long as I am employed and able, also by continuing to shop for groceries in America. All I ask is that you don't insult my intelligence. Everyone in the Midwest is not on meth, everyone in the South is not a bible-thumping racist, not everyone in the city is a sodomizing liberal, not every African American can play basketball nor are they criminals, not every Latino is here to steal a job, not every Middle Easterner is a terrorist, not every Indian is a telemarketer nor do they all own convienece stores nor are they all doctors, not every Native American owns a casino, not every Asian American is good at math, and not every religious person is a Christian nor are all people believers. Stop lumping everyone together, unless you finally figure out how to do so by lumping us together as Americans, all for one and one for all, all in it together, succeed or fail.

My fellow citizens, feel free to forward this sentiment if you agree or debate me if you disagree, but keep in mind, we need to take our destiny back from these ridiculous people.



Studying...

Waking up at the seeming butt crack of dawn to study for a philosophy test is the bomb, dog! Deep thinking with eye boogers, what a combo!

The Coonass is Jealous of a Baby From Sierra Leone

I mean really? This kid is not even a year old and his life will never get better than this moment, sucks that he won't remember it. Don't worry kid, you'll always have video to watch later:



By the way, Salma...big fan. Um, may I cut in? Seriously, I'm not big on celebrity worship in any way at all, but that woman is hot sex on a platter!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looking for work

Gotta love getting canned. I'm somewhat amazed at how much the restaurant business has changed over the years. Although it has never been a secure industry to work in, I am somewhat amazed at the lack of concern for an employee's well-being. To not have any concern over the bottom line seems like a cold way to run a business. To offer insurance and then make it neither cost effective, nor make the hours necessary to maintain it attainable in a way to have any quality of life is an insult.

Unfortunately, it is one of the few jobs available to a college student where hours and money converge (at least to my knowledge, any opposing viewpoints would be more than welcome). Therefore, unless someone points me in a new direction for opportunity while I finish school, I am stuck in an untenable situation. To get another restaurant job seems like a Pyhrric victory, at best. Yet, it seems to be my only option once again.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So I Really Thought We'd Turned a Corner...

I honestly did. I thought, after all these years, this nation may live up to the promise that people have claimed that it has had for years. Then this Stimulus Package starts to poke its head up. I'm neither a fan of government bailouts (despite the accusations that I am a Socialist), nor am I a fan of hyper-partisan behavior (despite the accusations that I am a cowardly Democrat). I feel that a major corporation, i.e. a bank, which had a somewhat major hand in creating the financial quagmire that we currently reside in WORLDWIDE, does not deserve a hand up from our tax coffers. Yet, that ship had sailed long before this, in the crisis of the autumn of 2008, so let us not re-visit an argument that has a precedent in place against our stance.

Instead, I would like to discuss the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The original plan entailed a $825 billion dollar package, some of the highlights:

Spending

Energy
$32 billionFunding for "smart electricity grid" to reduce waste
$20 billion +Renewable energy tax cuts and a tax credit for research and development on energy-related work, and a multiyear extension of renewable energy production tax credit
$6 billionFunding to weatherize modest-income homes

Science and Technology
$10 billionScience facilities
$6 billionHigh-speed Internet access for rural and underserved areas

Infrastructure
$32 billionTransportation projects
$31 billionConstruction and repair of federal buildings and other public infrastructure
$19 billionWater projects
$10 billionRail and mass transit projects

Education
$41 billionGrants to local school districts
$79 billionState fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid
$21 billionSchool modernization

Health Care
$39 billionSubsidies to health insurance for unemployed; providing coverage through Medicaid
$90 billionHelp to states with Medicaid
$20 billionModernization of health-information technology systems
$4 billionPreventative care

Taxes

Individuals:

  • $500 per worker, $1,000 per couple tax cut for two years, costing about $140 billion
  • Greater access to the $1,000-per-child tax credit for the working poor
  • Expansion of the earned-income tax credit to include families with three children
  • A $2,500 college tuition tax credit
  • Repeal of a requirement that a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit be paid back over time

Businesses:

  • An infusion of cash into money-losing companies by allowing them to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two
  • Bonus depreciation for businesses investing in new plants and equipment
  • Doubling of the amount small businesses can write off for capital investments and new equipment purchases
  • Allowing businesses to claim a tax credit for hiring disconnected youth and veterans
Source: Associated Press

Virtually immediately after this package was introduced, the American Public was bombarded with reports of pork-barrel spending and spending earmarks (remember those hot-button topics Democrats won with?). These accusations made the rounds on right-wing radio and television faster than a gravy boat at Rush Limbaugh's house. So, I curiously sought out these obvious miscarriages of the public trust labeled as the "pork", the results? All of the same, tired excuses that Limbaugh and Hannity love to toss around, food stamps, global warming, socialism, etc. etc.

So naturally, since right-wing talk radio and Fox News are such rational and fact-obsessed paragons of public service, some members of the House and Senate decided that their always well-researched and unbiased opinions must be correct and either voted against the bill or pushed to cut out the "pork". The pervasive idea in the Republican brain-trust seems to be that the key to bringing the U.S.'s economy back from the brink of deflation and depression is....

wait for it, it should sound familiar....

TAX CUTS!!!! Because who can spend money smarter and better than rich people? Therefore, make them richer! Isn't this the theory of the last ten years? Free up money for the wealthy and it will make the entire system better? Ridiculous tripe, while cutting corporate taxes the same cabal made it easier to store profits in tax-free offshore shelters. Why are we listening to this drivel when it was this group of geniuses who got the situation to the point it is at now? They were too busy playing the fear card for anyone but the diligent to notice that no one was driving the ship. Now that the ship has run aground, the same group is telling us it is our fault and the fault of the people who were just elected. Ladies and Gentlemen, I call Bullshit.

This brings us to today's compromise in the Senate. The only thing compromised during this process was my faith that these people have our country's best interests at heart.

Details of today's comprimise as they stand now from The Huffington Post at 9:44pm February 6th :

The actual price tag on the Senate stimulus package will be north of $800 billion. The deal reached today will be passed as an amendment to the original bill and is roughly $780 billion. But the three amendments that have already passed this week will still be part of the law. One, a housing credit of $15,000 per buyer, is estimated to cost $19 billion. Another, a tax credit for folks who buy energy efficient cars, comes in at around $11 billion. A third, giving $6.5 billion more to the National Institutes of Health, would also be included in the total cost, which takes it to roughly $817 billion, close to the amount of the package passed by the House.

Republicans have been arguing tonight that the higher price tag means that there is, in fact, no deal -- since the deal is for the $780 billion. Democratic senators and Sens. Arlen Specter and Susan Collins said, however, that there is a deal and that the amendments will be worked out in the negotiations between the Senate and House. The NIH piece may have the best chance of survival because it was sponsored by Specter, whose vote will be needed again to pass whatever emerges from House-Senate negotiations. The assumption among Democrats, said aides, is that those amendments will be stripped out during the conference negotiations, because the crux of the compromise deal is the $780 billion package.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) named a third Republican who backs the package, thanking Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine for her "very, very strong support for this measure." Snowe's support means that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) is not needed to reach the crucial mark of 60, though he may still appear.

Well, I'm tired and frustrated, thanks Congress!


A Very Poigniant Video

Good stuff, this video isn't really aimed towards my generation, but I would love to see people in my generation really start to put some of this kind of thought into action. People my age will bitch and moan about teenagers, but they're just as apathetic and self-absorbed as the people they're complaining about. Time to be Americans again people, if not, we unfortunately all reap what we sow.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The real winners of the Super Bowl

Congrats to the Steelers for winning the game (under questionable officiating, in my opinion), but the real competition is the commercials. Here are my winners:

Conan O'Brien is the big winner:



Classic Shatner:


This spot with Alec Baldwin killed me:


Then the E-Trade babies still crack me up:


NBC had one of the funniest of the night:


But the best of the night were all movie trailers:












Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States of America

I got goosebumps listening to and watching this:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Geaux Tigers!

38-3? Didn't some of you redneck retards tell me that LSU was gonna lose this game? Good call morons.

To kick off the new year

Something that none of y'all can ever hope to be as cool as:

Happy '09