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Monday, October 29, 2007


The Senate and House are working on a revised version of the SCHIP children's health bill that the President vetoed a few weeks back. Oddly, after adding the protections that some GOP Congressfolks asked for, and reducing the income level to $62,000/yr for the program, it now costs MORE not less than the previous version!

According to Democrats, the extra $400 million dollars is to cover 100,000 children, who's families make well under the $62,000 limit, that weren't covered on the last bill. WAIT!!!! Wasn't this supposed to be covering them in the first place? Isn't the reason behind this whole program to cover "low income" children who can't get health care. Where did these 100,000 pop up from in the last month?

One of the objections to the last bill was that it would cover kids in families making up to $83,000 per year. Democrats claimed (wrongly) that only one State (NY) was looking at that level. Actually, at least one more is, Illinois. The difference is New York asked for the waiver already. Rod Blagojevich decided that his idea is better, raise the limit without asking, and then if the feds don't fund it, steal $400 million from other programs in the state to pay for it.

Lest anyone thinks that this program is anything more than a partisan political ploy to grab votes, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have already agreed that if it gets vetoed again they won't try for an override. Instead, they'll pass a resolution to continue funding SCHIP at the 2007 levels, and then bring a new version up for vote next year in late August, just in time for it to be good election fodder.

On that same subject, if indeed Ms. Pelosi is so concerned about a bipartisan bill being passed, why did she not send anyone to meet (or even call) the President's staffers who were assigned to work out a compromise bill after the last veto override failed? She knows there is a core group of Republican's who aren't going to vote for a 35% increase in the program, so why not try and work with them, instead of stuffing another unacceptable bill down their throats.

SCHIP is a decent program, with good reasoning behind it. Too bad the same can't be said for the folks trying to use it for a political toy, instead of a children's health insurance program.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ethanol, A Crime Against Humanity?

Perusing the news on Yahoo this morning, I came across this article, where UN expert on "the right to food" Jean Ziegler calls the use of biofuels "a crime against humanity". He's calling for a five year moratorium on the production of ethanol and biodiesel from food crops.

His suggestion is that in that time we should be able to come up with better ways to make biofuels from crop waste, instead of the crops themselves. He also suggests more research into using crops such as Jatropha Curcas, a shrub that grows well in arid areas and has a heavy oil content in it's beans.

While I won't go as far as Ziegler and say ethanol is a crime against humanity, I will say that we need to look at it's actual cost in terms of use of foodstuffs, and water, when pinning our anti-oil hopes on it.

He points out that you can feed a person for a month on the amount of corn needed for 1 gallon of ethanol.

Water is the other part of the equation, it takes 2000 gallons of water for irrigation to grow one bushel of corn in most areas. If you aren't getting enough rain, that water comes from local sources. It ends averaging out to about 785 gallons of water used per bushel of corn grown.

On top of that, water use in production of the ethanol ranges from 3-6 gallons of water per gallon (pdf link) of ethanol (50-300% higher than for gasoline).

What that means is that we need, to meet the goal of 35 billion gallons of ethanol per year to find a minimum of 100 billion gallons of water per year just to make the stuff.

Considering the amount of fighting that's already going on over Great Lakes water, and Colorado River water, increasing the demands of each of those sources by that amount will cause even bigger fights.

Again, I don't necessarily agree with Ziegler's "crimes against humanity" assertations, hower I do believe that a lot of folks don't understand the overall impact of biofuel production when it comes to food and water supplies.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thanks, Whoopi

I'm going to do something that most folks on my side of the political spectrum won't do, I'm going to thank Whoopi Goldberg for something she said on The View this morning.

Mind you, I'm not a regular watcher of the show, but I was working at home today, and the wife left the TV on the channel that the show comes on. So, I was quite surprised to hear a frank discussion by the whole panel about Al Sharpton, and whether or not he over does it with his constant crusading.

Everyone seemed in agreement that his (seemingly) constant complaining about everything distracts from his message when it should matter. Then Whoopi surprised me, by saying one thing she'd like to see Al do is apologize to the 3 Duke LaCrosse players.

Her whole point was that there are problems involving the races, and there are appropriate times to jump on those problems. But, when you find out you are wrong on something, like the Duke case, if you don't apologize for jumping the gun, you lose credibility. Al should actually know this already; Tawana Brawley comes to mind quick; but doesn't seem to remember that he had quite a few years after that incident before anyone took him seriously again.

So, from a right wing nut job, Thanks Whoopi, for calling Al out on this, coming from middle aged white guys it doesn't carry much weight, but maybe your request will get through to him.

Technorati Tags: Al Sharpton, Whoopi Goldberg, The View, Duke, Tawana Brawley

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Good News In Iraq?

What will the defeatists have to say about the latest news out of Iraq? The news is that US casualties are the lowest in 14 months, and Iraqi civilian casualties fell by over 50% in the last month.

While the Harry Reid sect will claim any casualty is one too many (and in the Neverland they live in, that's true), the fact is this week's report is more proof that no matter how the Defeatocrat party spins it, "The Surge" is working in Iraq, and progress is happening. It may be one of the reasons that none of the Democratic presidential candidates would commit in last weeks debate to have all US troops out of Iraq by 2013.

Another sign of progress, on the political front, is the Iraqi PM's nose thumbing of a Senate Resolution asking that Iraq divide itself into three sectarian based regions. The PM isn't the only one in the act, scores of Iraqi politico's, across all the sectarian lines have told the US Senate to pack sand. Maybe the US Senate is just what Iraqi's government needs to make progress; a common enemy for the Sunni, Shiite and Kurd members.

Technorati Tags: Iraq, Insurgents, Congress, Politics

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