Monday, September 30, 2013

11th Hour Obamacare Update

Well, I must say I've been pleasantly surprised at the spinal fortitude exhibited by the House Republicans.  They must be getting a long of angry phone calls or something, because this is the first sign of such fortitude in a number of years.  Briefly, here's where we are right now, with some brief commentary from yours truly:
The House late Monday passed yet another proposal to fund the government and undermine ObamaCare, and sent it to the Senate with less than 200 minutes before a partial government shutdown.

Members passed the Republicans' continuing resolution in a 228-201 vote, with 12 Republicans voting no and nine Democrats voting yes. The ObamaCare language was expected to be quickly rejected by the Senate, possibly within the hour, leaving the House and Senate in a stalemate.

The vote carried with it signs that House GOP leaders may be running out of ideas for passing a spending resolution that somehow tweaks ObamaCare. Earlier iterations of the House resolution passed with either two, one or zero "no" votes from Republicans.

Some Republicans decided to oppose the latest measure because it didn't do enough to undermine ObamaCare, while others decided it's time to ignore the healthcare law and pass the clean resolution supported by the Senate in order to keep the government open on Tuesday.
Here's what the third attempt included:
The latest GOP plan would fund the government through mid-December, delay the individual mandate under ObamaCare, and force top government officials to use ObamaCare.

"The Senate is going to have to explain how they defend special treatment for members of Congress, special treatment for big business and special interests," Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said after the vote. "This what's at stake here. This is about no special treatment under the law. This is what Harry Reid is going to have to answer to. So we look forward to what the Senate is going to go."

As I mentioned previously, this is a good strategy.  It's going to be just a liiiiiittle bit interesting to watch a bunch of Democrats -- especially in red or purple states -- try to defend these exemptions and refusals to delay what everyone knows is a train wreck.  I predict they'll sidestep such explanations entirely.  Republicans should force them to answer, bringing it up again and again.

Anyway, let's move on:
As the Senate prepared to defeat the GOP amendments, Republicans were expected to meet at 11 p.m. to figure out its next step.
Um...why?  They've passed three different bills specifically intended to fund every bit of government that the Democrats want...except for a fiscally and Constitutionally destructive law that most Americans don't way anyway.

Do they really need to try a fourth time?

Seems like the game of chicken is escalating:
"This is an issue of fairness," said Boehner, who spoke twice on the floor. "How can we give waivers and breaks to all the big union guys out there, how do we give a break to all the big businesses out there, and yet stick our constituents with a bill that they don't want and a bill they can't afford?"

Boehner said he and President Obama spoke by phone tonight, and that Obama told him, "I'm not going to negotiate. I'm not going to negotiate, I'm not going to do this."

"Well, I would say to the president, this is not about me, and it's not about Republicans here in Congress," Boehner said. "It's about fairness to the American people."

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) replied that the essence of Democracy is that laws treat everyone equally, something he said the Obama administration has failed to ensure.

"There should be no special treatment for big business. There should be no special treatment for members of Congress," Cantor said.

"There should be no special treatment for anyone under the law."

Honestly, I don't think the Dems are going to be all that upset if no agreement is reached.  They think the American people will blame the Republicans, that pressure will increase exponentially if the shutdown actually occurs, and that they'll end up getting everything they want in addition to the GOP getting a massive PR failure to explain.

The only realistic course the GOP has now is to persevere and go on the attack.  If there's a shutdown, so be it.  Get every member of the GOP out there everywhere at every opportunity reminding the American people that they gave Obama and the Democrats three chances to avoid the shutdown but instead chose to back an unfair law that most Americans don't want.  This is the truth, and the exact message that must get out.  It is Obama who refused to negotiate, not them.  It is the Senate Democrats who took the day off, not the House Republicans.

Speaking of a shutdown, what actually gets shut downNot as much as you'd think:
The truth from the experience of prior shutdowns, applicable federal laws, Justice Department legal opinions, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directives, is that crucial government services and benefits would continue without interruption even if Congress fails to agree on a continuing resolution (CR) or President Obama vetoes it. That includes all services essential for national security and public safety — such as the military and law enforcement — as well as mandatory government payments such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

In fact, as the Justice Department said in a legal opinion in 1995, “the federal government will not be truly ‘shut down’ . . . because Congress has itself provided that some activities of Government should continue.” Any claim that not passing a CR would result in a “shutting down” of the government “is an entirely inaccurate description,” according to the Justice Department.
A 1981 memorandum by David Stockman during the Reagan administration that is still relied on by the OMB laid out the services that continue without interruption during any government “shutdown”:
  • National security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property;
  • Benefit payments and the performance of contract obligations under no-year or multi-year appropriations or other funds remaining available for those purposes;
  • Medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care and activities essential for the safe use of food, drugs, and hazardous materials;
  • Air-traffic control and other transportation safety functions;
  • Border and coastal protection and surveillance;
  • Protection of federal lands, buildings, waterways, and other property of the U.S.;
  • Care of prisoners and others in federal custody;
  • Law enforcement and criminal investigations;
  • Emergency and disaster assistance;
  • Activities essential to the preservation of the money and banking system of the U.S., including borrowing and tax collection;
  • Production of power and maintenance of the power-distribution system; and
  • Protection of research property.
Well, we're dealing with real people, so how about some real numbers?  Okay, here you go (emphasis mine):
It is certainly true that “nonessential” federal employees will be furloughed. But so many federal employees are considered “essential” that when President Bill Clinton vetoed a CR in November 1995 in a dispute with Newt Gingrich over a balanced budget and welfare reform, only about 800,000 out of a total of almost 4.5 million federal employees were furloughed. In a second funding gap from December 1995 to January 1996, only about 300,000 employees were furloughed. So the vast majority of federal workers will keep right on working.

National parks probably will be closed because they are not considered “essential,” and there is little doubt that President Obama will shut down other highly visible (but nonessential) government offices in order to annoy as many members of the ordinary public as possible, while shifting the blame for the shutdown to Republicans and away from his unreasonable refusal to negotiate.
Yeah, it sucks for those non-essential people.  They're almost certainly just like you and me, getting up every day and trying to do their jobs.  However, when taken on balance against the permanent destruction of the economy and freedom of individual responsibility that will inevitably occur if Obamacare wins the day, I'm sorry.  It must happen.

Might I remind you that it is Barack Obama and the Democrats who are refusing to negotiate and do their jobs.

If you're one of those unfortunate Federal workers suddenly out of a them.

By the way, here are the 17 other times there has been a government "shutdown:"

We seem to have survived those, have we not?  We'll survive this.

We won't survive Obamacare, at least not as the America we know and love. 

Let's just hope the GOP stands firm for a change...

Senate To House: No Thanks. We Want Medical Taxes And Our Exemptions

The brinksmanship continues, with just about 12 hours left to go:

The Senate voted Monday afternoon to kill House Republicans' latest stopgap spending offer, holding firm in their demand that Congress continue to fund Obamacare as part of any government-funding debate.

The 54-46 vote officially tabled both proposals the House GOP passed early Sunday morning, one of which would have funded the government while delaying the health law for a year, and the other of which would have repealed one of the Affordable Care Act's tax increases.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bundled both of those proposals into a single vote, which made it easier to round up the support to kill them.

Now the measure returns to the House, where Republicans have said they are considering several options to keep the government open past midnight Monday while also making a dent in Obamacare. Earlier in the day Republicans complained that they weren't getting the bill back from the Senate early enough.

"Senate decided not to work yesterday. Well my goodness, if there's such an emergency, where are they?" Speaker John A. Boehner said as he opened Monday's House session.

So, what we have here is the Democrats in the Senate voting to keep higher medical device taxes in place while legally forcing most Americans to pay more for inferior insurance, all while exempting themselves from the system altogether.

House: your move.  Are you going to show a spine, or cave?

Everyone else: now might be a good time to call your Rep again.


Quick Obamacare Update

Here's the nutshell of where things stand at the moment...

When the Senate gutted the Obamacare defunding measure from the House CR, the bill went back to the House for a re-vote.  John Boehner and the Republicans passed the bill a second time, but with a different twist.  Basically, they kept the full funding for the government's operation and did not put back the Obamacare defunding, but they did put in a new measure to delay for one year the implementation of the individual mandate for Obamacare.  The individual mandate is the part that makes it illegal for any American not to participate.  It's not a permanent thing, but it would have the effect of postponing the single worst requirement of the law.  No one thinks Obamacare is ready to go yet -- not lawmakers, not medical providers, not insurance companies, not state governments, not the American people -- so this does seem like a perfectly reasonable action to take.

Politically speaking, this isn't a terribly bad move, and here's why:
This may prove a little more difficult for Democrats to fend off.  They had some room to claim that voters didn’t want a full repeal of ObamaCare, but the myriad of ad hoc delays already imposed by the White House on the rollout makes a stubborn refusal harder to explain.  The latest delay came just two days ago.  If this is such a disaster that the White House has to keep issuing delays piecemeal, why not put the whole thing off a year in order to fix all the problems before forcing Americans into the exchanges?
The medical device tax is another unpopular element that the Senate voted to remove … in a non-binding vote.  That would kill some of the funding for the exchanges, though, and without a replacement would force the White House to either shift funds or delay the subsidies for a while, even without the one-year delay.  Democrats who voted to repeal the tax to answer rising anger from constituents — Senators like Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, for instance — will have to explain stripping it out when it could have meant something, rather than just offering lip-service opposition to the tax. Franken has to answer for that vote next year, as will other Democrats from states redder than Minnesota.
Again, this is all political brinksmanship.  The Democrats and the media will level harsh criticisms of the GOP trying to shut down the government despite the GOP now passing two bills that would fund everything but Obamacare, and on the second they're not defunding it but delaying it until it is "ready" to go (ahem, ahem).  The real question is whether or not the GOP will fold when crunch time really hits, or if the Democrats will blink because killing this second bill will be too hard to defend.

All the while, Obama has once again pledged not to negotiate with Republicans on anything, though he has no problem negotiating with Iran or Russia upon request.  It seems that this statement by White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer explains why:
”We are for cutting spending. We are for reforming out tax codes, reforming out entitlements,” Pfeiffer told Jake Tapper. “What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest. We’re not going to do that.”
(Actually, they're not for cutting spending or reforming entitlements - they're just for saying they're cutting spending and reforming entitlements...but that's beside the point of including the quote.)  According to the White House, it's Republicans who are terrorists, not actual terrorists who kill people.

All cleared up now?  Good.

Anyway, the White House is talking veto, and Democrats in the Senate are claiming this second bill is DOA, leading to an inevitable shutdown of the government.  The Senate's harsh words might be taken more seriously, of course, if they bothered to show up to work over the weekend.  Yeah, yeah, it's a weekend...but their words of a catastrophic worldwide meltdown in the event of a U.S. government shutdown ring just a wee bit hollow with them all being, you know, not there.  Some of the Dem leadership couldn't even be bothered to be there for the House vote, either.

But it's all the Republicans' fault, you see.  They're the ones refusing to compromise and thus ruining the world.

Oh, sorry, did I just spoil tomorrow's headlines?  Oops.  My bad!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

8 Everyday Things You're Using Totally Wrong

Gizmodo brings us some very simple but very useful tips on using several everyday little things better:

These are easier/faster/bigger/better.  Also, more entertaining at parties.  You're welcome!

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Quick Obamacare Update

The Senate passed the House CR without the Obamacare defunding measure.  So, what happens next?

The short version is that it will now go back to the House for a re-vote.  If they pass it as-is, then it will be official and get sent to the White House for Obama's signature, and it's all over.  House Republican Majority Leader John Boehner has previously pledged not to even allow a vote on the bill if that's what Harry Reid did, so theoretically there is now a stand-off that could potentially result in the much-dreaded government shutdown next week.


There's a lot of fear-mongering about the global catastrophe of what might happen if there is such a shutdown.  A lot of smart people differ on their opinions, and I don't honestly know enough about it to speak intelligently in terms of a knowledgeable recommendation.  Just between you and me, with as much damage as has been done to this country by this government over the past few years, I'd say that the less Congress does, the better off we all are.

Anyway, the heat now needs to be turned up on your House Representative.  They're going to be hashing this out -- proposing, debating, and discarding deal after deal -- all weekend.  You can find your Representative's contact information here.  There are a number of possibilities of what may come out of those negotiations, given that the Republicans have a pretty sizable majority in the House.  Boehner could hold firm, playing chicken until the end, and let the chips fall where they may in the event of a shutdown.  He may cut a deal to remove some ugly pieces of Obamacare -- like the exemption for Congress and their staffers -- that are politically untenable for the American people on both sides of the aisle in exchange for some modest budget cuts or something along those lines.  Or, he could cave entirely and give the Democrats exactly what they want.

Based on experience, I'd say he's likely to land somewhere between the last two.  It's almost inconceivable that Boehner would stand firm in this game of chicken; he has not done so on anything of significance for years.  Think of it like France and Germany - France may talk tough, but if Germany looks mean in its direction, it'll fall in line real quick.  That's how Boehner has been with the Democrats.  They may throw him a few crumbs (that they will likely take back later anyway) to let him have something to brag about in the name of bipartisanship, but ultimately I would be shocked -- happily so, but shocked nonetheless -- if he displayed anything resembling a spine on this.  My best guess is he'll say that the CR isn't the fight he wants to pick, and he'll instead target the debt limit measure coming up very soon, and at that point he'll cave entirely.

In my opinion, the only chance to genuinely put the brakes on Obamacare rests on putting enough pressure on enough other Republican Congressman that Boehner essentially gets outvoted by his own party.  We'll know in a few days...until then, call and email, call and email, call and email!!!

Related links:

Senate Moves Forward On Implementing Obamacare Despite Strenuous Objections From America

The Senate just voted for cloture 79-19 on the House CR (continuing resolution) that defunds Obamacare while funding everything else to prevent a shutdown.  This means the debate is done and the vote on the actual bill moves forward.  Here's what will happen over the next couple of days.

Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid will push the vote forward on the bill.  It will pass.  Keep in mind that Reid is one of the most powerful people in the Democrat party, and wholly supportive of Obamacare.  Why, then, would he rapidly push forward on a bill that removes funding for his own President's signature piece of legislation, one that he genuinely wants?  The answer is simple, and if you read my previous post you already know.

After the House bill passes the Senate, Reid will offer a single amendment to the bill that removes the provision to defund Obamacare.  This will only require 51 votes to pass, which means it's guaranteed due to there being 54 Democrat Senators.  And voila!  The Democrats have fully funded the government, including Obamacare.

Just watch.

More updates later...

Four Days Left Until Obamacare Obliterates America

For the first time in a very long while, it's back to politics again.  There are just four days left until Obamacare begins its full force of implementation.  If you are reading this, I will assume you have read my rants in the past about this bill, so I won't go into full-detail mode.  However, it does bear some recapping of the worst points using current info.  I'm going to structure this post as a summary, and include a bunch of links at the bottom where you can check things out for yourself if you want (and much, much more than I've included here).  In my opinion, the more informed we all are, the better!  This is going to be long, but hang in's worth it, I promise!

First of all, this is not free health care for everyone.  Get that thought out of your system right now.  In fact, the only people who will be getting free health care out of this are people on welfare or other government assistance who live entirely off the work of other people.  Chances are extremely good that if you are reading this, you will be paying for the health care of people who can't be bothered with icky things like work and responsibility.  To be fair, there will be some who honestly cannot afford health insurance who will now be able to get it.  But...there are far more people who currently have health insurance they're perfectly happy with but will be losing it due to Obamacare.

Here's how this will work in a general sense.  The IRS will enforce the mandate for individuals and businesses to prove they have insurance via your tax returns each year.  If you don't have insurance, you'll pay a fine.  This doesn't give you coverage, just keeps you out of jail.  If you have a doctor and a plan you like, you can keep it...unless they bail.  You see, Obamacare is going to lock in the costs of procedures and medication, and at the same time limit the amount of reimbursement that medical providers can get.  Thus, many small clinics and doctors are going to go out of business (as if the doctor shortage isn't bad enough already).  Insurance companies are in the same boat, and the smaller ones will start dropping out of the market right away.  Even the larger ones will eventually founder, but they're supporting Obamacare right now because they're going to make serious bank until they go bankrupt.  But, as these health care providers and insurance companies fail, the marketplace will get smaller and smaller, eliminating competition and further driving prices up.  And what happens when these companies drop their employer sponsored health care plans?  Their employees will be forced to turn to the only outlet available - the state-run government exchanges.

Problem is, only about 15 states are even planning to implement the exchanges, and none of those are ready.  In fact, not even the federal system that will supposedly tie all of these state-run exchanges together will be ready until at least a month after the actual start date of Obamacare.  Government efficiency at its finest!  This incompetence is precisely what has caused most of the major milestones in Obamacare thus far to be delayed by months or years, and some key provisions actually killed off entirely.  Now that the full implementation is drawing near, they've had to release the real numbers on costs (not just estimates anymore), and most average families will see instant cost increases of thousands of dollars per year just to keep the same plans they had.  In many cases, plans will be eliminated altogether.  It's going to get ugly fast.  Anyway, what do you suppose will happen if your employer drops coverage and your state is either not participating or not ready?  Best guess is that the next few months will be a giant cluster of chaos, skyrocketing costs, and failure after failure.  It will become such a mess that there will be only one entity with the size and resources to step in and take control - the federal government.

And at that point, we will have the kind of single-payer government controlled health care system that has destroyed health care in nation after nation throughout the world.  The government will literally be in control of deciding who gets what health care, medicine, and procedures, and everyone's life will be reduced to a formula of how valuable they are to the state.  If you understand politics, you will also understand that some will be "more valuable" simply by "donating" money to the right people at the right time.

This is the inevitable end result.  It will be a few years down the road, but it will happen.

In my opinion, there are several levels of problems with Obamacare.  First and foremost, it's an economic debacle of historic proportions.  It was sold as a cost-saving measure, but company after company has sought waivers so they don't have to participate precisely because it's so costly it will swamp them.  These are huge companies with thousands of employees, too, like McDonald's, Caterpillar, and numerous unions (and you know it's terrible when even die-hard liberal unions have turned against it!).  It has already raised taxes (Obama admitted it just this week), and will continue to raise more.  In fact, the average family will pay another $5,000-20,000 more each year in health care costs, and that will be for the basic plans.  The quality of care will decline because of things like taxation on medical device innovation, the departure of many highly talented medical professionals from practice, and a flood of people trying to get their "free" health care.  One definition of economics is the distribution of finite resources across infinite demand, and that's exactly what will happen.  You see, prices have already gone up on health care because of the impending costs of not only the wide array of new taxes, but also the massive burden of simply managing the whole system.  People are already losing their jobs because of this, and many companies are refusing to hire because of Obamacare.  A couple easy examples are the mandate for every company to provide coverage for each employee...if they are 50 employees or larger.  Guess what number of employees many small businesses are now cutting back to?  Hm...49?  Why, it must be a coincidence!  Similarly, businesses are required to provide coverage for all employees who work 30 or more hours per week.  Guess what number thousands upon thousands of working Americans are having their hours cut back to each week?  Hm...29?  Bingo!  Another coincidence, to be sure.  You see the point.  This is already happening, and has been happening for the past three years, a large part of why the economy steadfastly refuses to actually recover despite the repeated assertions in the media.  And these effects are resulting in job loss and hours loss simply as a pre-emptive survival effort before Obamacare is actually implemented.  It will only get worse three days from now.

Second, it's a terribly offensive violation of individual freedom.  Following the scenario I mentioned above, you will literally have a nameless, faceless bureaucrat decide if you can get the procedures you need, or if your child can get the medicine that will save their life, or if your elderly parents just need to take a pill and go die quietly in the corner.  No, this is not hyperbole.  It happens in socialized medicine every day - ask your favorite Englishman how that works out.  Sure, if you're young and healthy, you're valuable enough to the Almighty State to keep you alive and ticking, but if you fall short on their formula chart, there is nothing you can do about it but suffer and die.  Also, if abortion is important to you, it will open the floodgates of taxpayer money to fund abortion-on-demand whether you like it or not.

Third, it's a control thing.  Ultimately, the heart of government-controlled health care is control of everything.  And yes, I mean everything.  If the government runs health care -- and therefore pays for every procedure and medication you may or may not need -- then they get to dictate the rules surrounding health care, do they not?  If the government deems something to be "unhealthy" or risky to people, then they have a responsibility to prevent it from becoming a problem to society, correct?  So, it is only logical that the government can dictate things like how big a soda can be, what temperature you keep your thermostat on, how much salt you eat in a day, whether or not you can take an elevator up to your office, and so on.  If you think this is far-fetched, just as the nearest New Yorker you can find.  They're already living it with Nanny Bloomberg.  This will happen on a massive, nation-wide scale, and the government will control everything by calling it a health risk.

So you see, this is a true disaster waiting to happen in every sense of the word.  It's an economic debacle that cannot possibly succeed in the real world, it's the single largest intrusion into personal freedom in the history of this nation, and it's going to give the federal government control over every aspect of your life.

Perhaps the most telling damnation about Obamacare is the fact that Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, and their staffs have exempted themselves from having to deal with it.  That's right, the very people who have forced this abomination upon the American people know how awful it's going to be, and have decided that they don't want any part of it themselves (aside from controlling it, that is).  For those few who have claimed they're going to join the exchanges just to prove how wonderful they are, we've seen leaked memos warning them not to do so because of all the problems that are going to take place.  There's a reason Congress is polling at historically low levels, Obama is at his lowest polling approval of his Presidency, and more than 2/3 of Americans believe America is headed in the wrong direction.  While we're talking polls, if you look at just about any reputable polling firm, Americans have wanted no part of Obamacare - the poll ratings are anywhere from 50%-60% in favor of repealing it altogether, and have remained so for over three years since it was signed into law.

So...what can you do about it?  Fortunately, there is one last chance to stop it, but it needs some explanation so bear with me.

The House recently passed a bill to fund the government (called a continuing resolution) for a few more months.  Included in that bill was full funding for 100% of the federal government...except Obamacare.  If Obamacare isn't funded, it grinds to a halt.  Repeal or other dismantling measures would have to happen separately later, but the key is that Obamacare doesn't begin four days from now.  Obama and the Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to "shut down the government" (and equating them with terrorists, arsonists, and kidnappers) but that is simply not the case - the bill in question funds every other part of the government except for the part that a HUGE majority of Americans don't want.  Don't buy the propaganda.  Anyway, the bill is now waiting for a vote in the Senate.

In the Senate, there are actually two votes on each bill.  First comes the cloture vote, which is just a vote on whether or not the debate on the bill concludes.  Until a cloture vote passes on a bill, the debate remains ongoing.  Once cloture passes, then a vote can be held on the bill itself, and that's the vote that determines whether or not the Senate kills the bill or approves it and sends it on to the President.  The cloture vote requires 60 to pass, but the Democrat leadership in the Senate has pledged to use a (backdoor, unethical, and unconstitutional) parliamentary trick to pass the bill itself by simply removing the defunding for Obamacare and sending the rest on, and that would require just 51 votes.  There are 54 Democrat Senators, so it's a guaranteed victory for them...once cloture is passed.

That's where you and I come in, and that's where our last chance is.

The cloture vote is scheduled for Friday afternoon or Saturday.  Some Republican Senators are likely to vote in favor of cloture and then against the bill itself in order to take both sides of the issue - they can claim they opposed it (knowing that their constituents don't want it) but they can allow it to be enacted anyway (because all of them, Rep and Dem alike, want that control over you, and none of them have to participate in it, anyway).  It's a show vote, one designed purely for the visuals, not for the substance of what's going on.

This cannot be allowed.  Any Senator who says they don't know this is what will happen is a flaming liar because this is how the Senate works all the time.  It's what they do.  So, it is absolutely imperative that at least 41 Senators vote against cloture, thus preventing the debate from ending, and effectively killing the continuing resolution and defunding Obamacare (for now).  The only way this will happen is if the Senate switch board is melted down on Friday with calls from angry constituents demanding they vote against cloture.

While I believe that most of our "representatives" in Washington really hate hearing from us and try to ignore us as much as possible, mass numbers of angry callers does still have some effect on them, and we need every possible caller all day long on Friday.  On occasion, for the really hotly contested issues over the past few years, there have been so many calls flooding the Capitol Switchboard that it has actually shut down.  That's what we need now.  You can look up your state's Senators' contact information here.  The Missouri and Kansas Senators are as follows:

Blunt, Roy - (R - MO) Class III
(202) 224-5721
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McCaskill, Claire - (D - MO) Class I
(202) 224-6154
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Moran, Jerry - (R - KS) Class III
(202) 224-6521
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Roberts, Pat - (R - KS) Class II
(202) 224-4774

The switchboard itself can route you to any Senator or Representative's office, and that number is: 202-224-3121

Call your Senators and tell them that you oppose Obamacare and urge them to vote NO on cloture.  When you have a spare moment in the day, hit those contact links and send them an email.  Call again later.  Email again.  Over and over and over...

One last thought before I wrap up.  Some say that we should allow Obamacare to become law so that everyone can see what a wreck it is, and that this will prompt a mass rejection of it.  That's asinine for a couple reasons.  First of all, the American people have already rejected Obamacare.  They've been rejecting it by 2-to-1 ratios for three solid years.  The question of rejection has been answered beyond doubt, but Washington isn't listening.  They need to be forced to listen now.  Second, that logic is ridiculously stupid.  It's like saying that you should allow the Titanic to hit the iceberg so that once it's sinking you can say, "Ha! I told you we shouldn't have hit that iceberg!"  No, once we hit, it's over.  We need to miss the iceberg altogether.

This is it.  This is the endgame.  If we don't end this now, it is extremely unlikely that we will ever be able to rid ourselves and our children of Obamacare.

Do it.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ted Cruz's Epic Filibuster On Obamacare

I haven't blogged about politics for a long time.  Honestly, the bottom line is that I haven't felt like it's been worth the time and effort.  However, less than a week out from the implementation from the largest debacle and fundamental transformation in the history of America -- the full force and effect of Obamacare being implemented -- I simply cannot stand silent.  Much, much more will be coming very soon.

For now, check out the fascinating action on the floor of the Senate at the moment - go here.

The nutshell: The House passed a bill to fund the federal government except for Obamacare, effectively shutting down its implementation temporarily (though a repeal would have to come later in a completely separate effort).  They're basically trying to force the issue of showing they're not trying to shut down the government (which the Democrats will certainly accuse them of), just trying to shut down Obamacare, which is a bill that a growing number of Americans don't want (something like 60% now, and only 12% of which think it will improve health care in America).  The vote is scheduled for 1pm Eastern time today.

Senator Ted Cruz has been making a speech for 20+ hours now, reading letters from constituents, offering evidence of the damage Obamacare is going to do (and, truly, has already done) to this nation, and various and sundry other things that are often found in filibusters.  Right now Cruz is debating with Senator Dick Durbin, the 2nd in command of the Democrat majority.  Durbin is a snake, is dodging valid questions that Cruz is throwing at him, and is throwing out straw men left and right.

It's actually pretty fascinating to watch live...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Double Face Palm

I realize this is close to committing a sacrilege in the Purple Nation, but...I'm questioning what Bill Snyder is doing.  Why did the Cats burn 3+ minutes off the clock on that last drive when they still needed two scores?  Why were they snapping the ball with just 3-5 seconds left on the play clock over and over?  Last time I checked, even if KSU scored a touchdown, they'd still have to STOP Texas and get the ball back in order to have a chance at scoring again, and no one watching any part of this game would have put money down on a 3-and-out for the Wildcat D.  Complete wastage, and very stupid.  That was some of the WORST clock management I've ever seen.

Even worse: why did he call multiple running plays on that drive?  The running game was sketchy at best (translation: it sucked, with one or two exceptions), but the passing game was working just fine.  Why keep at it when you're out of time and need lots of points in a hurry?  Waters can scamper to recover from busted plays, sure, but his game is the passing game.  He's demonstrated over and over that he's got the arm, the accuracy, and the presence to PASS.  Why, then, are we running the stupid OPTION over and over?  Not only did it NOT WORK, but it kept the clock running!!!

Mental errors, turnovers, penalties, stupidity.  What is going on?

This is not vintage Bill Snyder.  And it has now cost the Wildcats two losses to teams that were very beatable.  And, I'll be's bad enough to lose, but to lose to a bunch of prima donna halfwits at Texas who have given up something like 10,000 yards over the past two weeks is doubly inexcusable.

Let me formally revise my pre-season prediction: I'm now expecting no better than 6-7 wins, and staggering back into a mid-December bowl game will be a great achievement for this team.  There are problems here, many, many problems...and not just with the players.  I truly never thought I'd be saying that as long as Bill Snyder was at the helm.

Status: Halftime Of KSU Vs. Texas

Well, I have to say that things aren't going particularly well.  Down 17-7, with all the momentum belonging to Texas.

The Bad: The Cats are playing sloppy, and seem to be getting pushed around on defense.  They haven't come up with any turnovers yet, either.  The O-line has had its moments, but isn't reliable.  If anyone can figure out a way to pull off a two-quarterback system, it's Bill Snyder...but it hasn't happened yet, and I still don't like it.  Texas has been all over it tonight, and I have yet to see the desperately needed change-up with either Waters running or Sams passing.  If that keeps up, it's going to continue to be a pummeling on both of them.

The Ugly: The Cats have more penalties in the first half tonight than in the past couple games combined, and special teams play has been less than special.

The Good: Texas was up at halftime last week and ended up getting crushed.  Snyder is a master of halftime adjustments that prove effective.  Either Sams or Waters has the potential to blow up in a hurry, and the psychological factor -- with KSU winning the last five meetings in a row, and Texas getting destroyed the last couple weeks -- cannot be ignored, especially if KSU begins the second half strong.  Most importantly, as dominant as Texas has felt thus far (and it has felt VERY dominant), they're only 10 points ahead.

There's a lot of football left to play tonight, and KSU is more than capable of bringing home a W.  They just need to focus and execute better.  We'll see what happens...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Pork Side!

Star Wars Angry Birds 2 is available for download today:

Here are some of the new characters:

Emperor Palpatine
Zam Wesell
TIE Fighter PilotLuke Skywalker Endor
Luke Skywalker Jedi
Jedi Youngling
YodaBoba Fett

And many, many more!  Happy slingshotting!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Constitution Day!

Patriot Post:


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” –preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America

Constitution Day 2013

The U.S. Constitution
Sept. 17, 2013, marks the 226th anniversary of the signing of our Constitution at the Philadelphia (Constitution) Convention in 1787. The best way to honor the day might be to read it. It's up to “We the People” to hold our elected representatives accountable for failing to honor their oaths.

After the past few years, they clearly need both a refresher and some extra accountability...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whole Sort Of General Mish Mash

Sorry posts have been in short supply lately!  There's been a lot going on, actually.  Also, I've had a bunch of little stuff that I wanted to post, but no real theme in which to arrange it all.  So, rather than continue to let it build up, I'm doing a Whole Sort Of General Mish Mash post.  Enjoy!

Why do our voices sound so different when we hear it on a recording?  Here's your answer:


On a related note (not really), did you know just how much symbolism is enshrined in the $1 bill?  Check it out:

What's that weird pyramid drawing on the reverse of the bill?

The two circular drawings on the reverse of the bill are actually parts of the two-sided Great Seal of the United States. Although we don't see the entire seal outside of our wallets too often, the notion of having a great seal is actually as old as the country itself. The Continental Congress passed a resolution on July 4, 1776, to create a committee to design a great seal for the fledgling nation, and heavy hitters John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson got the first crack at creating the seal.
Congress wasn't so keen on the design these big names brought back, though, and it took nearly six years and several drafts to finally find a suitable seal. Congress finally approved of a design on June 20, 1782.

What's the story behind the Great Seal of the United States?

sealAccording to the State Department, which has been the official trustee of the seal since 1789, both the obverse (front) and reverse (back) of the seal are rich with symbolism. The obverse picturing the eagle is a bit easier to explain. The bird holds 13 arrows to show the nation's strength in war, but it also grasps an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 olives that symbolize the importance of peace. (The recurring number 13, which also appears in the stripes on the eagle's shield and the constellation of stars over its head, is a nod to the original 13 states.) The shield floats unsupported over the eagle as a reminder that Americans should rely on their own virtue and strength.
The symbolism of the pyramid on the seal's reverse is trickier. The pyramid has 13 steps—the designers apparently never got tired of the 13 motif—and the Roman numeral for 1776 is emblazoned across the bottom. The all-seeing Eye of Providence at the top of the pyramid symbolizes the divine help the early Americans needed in establishing the new country. The pyramid itself symbolizes strength and durability.
The divine overtones don't stop with the unblinking eye, though. The Latin motto Annuit Ceptis appears over the pyramid; it translates into "He [God] has favored our undertaking." The scroll underneath the pyramid reads Novus Ordo Seclorum, or "A new order of the ages," which was meant to signify the dawn of the new American era.

How did the seal end up on our dollar bill?

We can thank former Secretary of State Cordell Hull's busy schedule for that one. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace had to wait for a meeting with Hull in 1934 and decided to kill time by thumbing through a State Department pamphlet on the Great Seal. The pamphlet contained an illustration of the reverse side of the seal with the pyramid, and Wallace was quite taken with the drawing. He took the seal to President Franklin Roosevelt and suggested the country mint a coin using the two sides of the seal.
FDR liked the seal, too. (Roosevelt and Wallace were both Masons and loved the all-seeing eye part of the reverse design, which echoed the concept of the Great Architect of the Universe.) He thought the seal should be on the reverse of the dollar bill rather than a coin, but he was worried the mystical imagery would offend Catholics. After Postmaster General James Farley assured FDR he didn't think his fellow Catholics would have any problem with the design, Roosevelt approved a new dollar bill design that first appeared in 1935.

Did the Founding Fathers swipe any ideas from a magazine?

Possibly. The familiar E Pluribus Unum motto that the eagle holds in its beak underscores the union and togetherness of the 13 colonies. It might also underscore early Americans' love of periodicals.

According to the State Department, recent historical research has indicated that this Latin motto may have been borrowed from Gentlemen's Magazine, a London publication that ran from 1732 to 1922.

The magazine was popular in the colonies, and its title page always carried the E Pluribus Unum motto.

Why don't the dates on the front of the bills change that often?

At the lower right of the portrait on the bill's obverse you'll see the word "Series" and a year. You might notice that these don't change each year the way the numbers on minted coins do. Why not?
According to the Treasury, the series date only changes when there's a new design for a bill, a new Treasurer of the United States, or a new Secretary of the Treasury. (These are the two officials whose signatures appear on either side of the portrait.) The series year itself changes when the Secretary of the Treasury changes, while a change in the Treasurer of the United States means that the series year remains the same, but a suffix letter gets tacked onto the end of the year.

What are the various other numbers on the obverse of the bill?

The bill's serial number is the most prominently displayed set of digits on the dollar, but they're not alone. If you take out a dollar, you'll notice there are four large numbers in the corners of the bill's open space. Like the encircled letter to the left of Washington's portrait, FW-dollarthese numbers tell which Federal Reserve Bank issued the note. (Each Fed's number corresponds the letter of the alphabet assigned to the bank, with A=1, B=2, and so on.)
The tiny letters and numbers that appear on the top left and bottom right of the bill's obverse indicate the position of the note on the Treasury's printing plates. If your dollar bill has a tiny "FW" before this code, those letters indicate that it was printed at the Treasury's facility in Fort Worth, Texas, rather than in Washington, D.C.


If you're thinking about interviewing for a job at LG...brace yourself:

Those Brazilians are truly crazy when it comes to their pranks!


Not everything is a prank, though.  I love it when people are awesome, and this clearly qualifies:


But that's not all...check out their awesomeness on the soccer field, with a shot put, with a waboba ball (twice), and water slide alley-oop shots.  Side note: this group supports Compassion International with portions of their profits.  Even more awesome!


Finally, you may or may not be a fan of Game of Thrones.  Personally, I'm a fan of anything with cool special effects, and GoT's dragons certainly fit the bill.  I'm also a fan of behind-the-scenes videos that show how special effects are done.  Thus:


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Will Never Forget

Heritage Foundation:

What Shoes Are You Wearing Today?
Look down at your shoes. Could you break into a run in those if you needed to?

Twelve years ago, the men and women getting ready to go to work at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon didn’t know they would be running that day.

For many New Yorkers, the shoes they picked up off the closet floor that morning would later carry them down flights of stairs and through the streets of the city. They would become worn, covered with dust, and perhaps broken in a matter of minutes.

Some would become pieces of history.

Finance executive Michele Martocci was one of the New York survivors. The shoes she wore on September 11, 2001, will be in the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which is slated to open next Spring.

So will Mickey Kross’s helmet. Parade magazine reports:
At 10:28 a.m., FDNY lieutenant Mickey Kross was in the third-floor stairwell of the north tower when he heard a “tremendous roar,” and the building began to crumble. Kross crouched down in a corner. (“I tried to crawl into my fire helmet … to protect myself,” he recalled.) Hours later, Kross and 15 others climbed out of the rubble—among the few survivors of the collapse.

That day will forever serve as a generation’s reminder of the fragility of life. Today, we give thanks for those who survived. We remember those who were lost in the horrific terrorist attacks. And we salute all the heroes who set aside their own safety in the chaos of that day to help their fellow Americans—whether firefighters, police, emergency responders, or strangers in the crowd.

We will never forget.

9/11 Never forget
(300 wide)