Wakey-Wakey

One of my favorite books is “Enders Game” and while the movie was only adequate it did have a great line by the Sergant-At-Arms:

“Wakey-Wakey”

Yes, after more than two years away, it is once agin election season and I am now awake, and I start with something that I am passionate about but may make you uncomfortable: “Death With Dignity”

As I just wrote to the LA Times:

” . . . life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

Life: life includes the death of oneself and ones loved ones

Liberty: includes the right to choose how one lives life, and, how one dies

The Pursuit of Happiness: difficult to pursue when forced to take debilitating medical treatments or strapped to a machine artificially prolonging ones life

How appropriate that on the anniversary of 9/11, a day in which life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was stolen from more than 3,000 people, the California Senate restored those rights by passing a bill allowing all of us to choose the time, place and method of our own passing. Thank you.

Sign the bill Governor Brown. Sign the bill.

So, on the Presidential front: Bush v. Clinton or Trump v. Sanders? Should be an interesting season on the campaign trail!

Wakey-wakey!!

Arizona Religious Freedom Law

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Religious Right in Arizona Cheers Bill Allowing Businesses to Refuse to Serve Gays

By MICHAEL PAULSON and FERNANDA SANTOS FEB. 21, 2014

Dear Editor

I can only applaud the decision of the Arizona State Legislature to shield businesses that, on the basis of religious conviction, decline services to homosexuals. As a devout and religiously zealous misogynist, I have longed for the right to refuse service to women of all ages, races, religions and sexual orientation. A new day of freedom for all arises!

Government Shutdown

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Great interview on NPR: Alaska Senator Begich rightly points out that the Democrats ALREADY COMPROMISED: the Senate “Clean CR” accepts the sequester cuts.

As the saying (modified) goes, give an inch and they will take a trillion in cuts . . .  and demand more.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=228923006

Did we not have an election? Did not Obama get the most electoral votes since Reagan?  Did not the Democrats pick up seats in both the House and the Senate?

Who is this wimp in the White House and why didn’t we elect Hillary?

Yes, another rant. Anyway, check out the interview.

A Proposal to Make a Carbon Tax Less Onerous

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The L.A. Times today ran an editorial in favor of a Carbon Tax, which got me thinking.

One way to make a carbon tax more palatable and cause less disruption to the market would to start with a very, very small tax that increases geometrically, and use the money collected to help businesses up-grade their facilities.

For example: start with a tax of five cents per ton emitted (or 100 pounds or 1000 tons – I don’t know the math here) then double it every year for ten years. Thus, year 1 = 5 cents; 2 = 10 cents; 3 = 20 cents; 4 = 40 cents; 5 = 80 cents; 6 = $1.60; 8 = $3.20; 9 = $6.40; and ten = $12.80 per xxx of carbon emitted.

The money collected goes into a public/private Carbon Reduction Bank (CRB) that invests the money conservatively. Businesses would be able to apply for a below-market to zero interest ten-year loan – secured by real property — to upgrade their equipment to reduce their carbon footprint. After a period of time, twenty years perhaps, all of the money left in the bank is used for alternative energy research and/or infrastructure.

We can take this a step further and ask the environmental community to stand behind their beliefs: allow individuals and groups to donate money to the CRB with a fifty-cent on the dollar federal government match, building the reserves of the CRB that much quicker.

By starting with a low tax we can build up the funds needed to help businesses upgrade and with the below market cost of the loan neither business nor the consumer will be adversely affected. Further, it is a tax that actually helps business and as such might attract the support of the few remaining moderate Republicans in Congress.

Senator Grassley and the Boston Bombers

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Yesterday, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) stated that the Boston Bombers called into question the Immigration Reform Act, just submitted to Congress by the Bipartisan “Gang of Eight.” Indeed, during four horrid days these two misguided young men murdered four people and injured 170.

During this same four day period, 120 people in the United States died from gunshot wounds that were not inflicted by ‘immigrant terrorists;’ 212 U.S. Citizens committed suicide by gun; and 648 Americas were injured, either deliberately or accidentally, by guns (Source: CDC). Senator Grassley had the opportunity to reduce this death toll by voting with the 90% of Americans who favor universal background checks of all gun sales. Instead, he voted for his campaign contributors.

Dear Senator Grassley: the Boston Bombers where but two of 10,478,466 individuals who obtained Legal Permanent Residency in the US since the Tsarnaev brothers arrived here ten years ago (Source: Department of Homeland Security); as a point of reference that would be 0.00000019%. Senator, you owe every immigrant in the United States an apology.

As for the Ann Coulter tweet: “It’s too bad Suspect #1 won’t be be able to be legalized by Marco Rubio now”  — I want to puke. My tweet back: “Too bad Ann Coulter doesn’t run the marathon.”

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “What other states can learn from the economic genius of Texas”

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I am listening tonight to APM/NPR Marketplace on the “economic genius” of Texas and I am thinking back to NPR’s Morning Edition just 11 hours ago.

On Morning Edition we hear of the Texas fertilizer factory that exploded. We learn that the fire department that responded to the initial fire were all volunteers. We learn that there is an elementary school 100 yards away. We learn that this factory was cited in 2006 by the Federal Government for serious safety violations including several hundred gallons of ammonia (ammonia + fertilizer = bomb).

And we learn that the economic genius of Texas has no mechanism or department to check on the safety of such factories; this ‘stand-alone’ state relies on volunteer ‘first-responders’ for emergencies and the Federal Government for once a decade safety checks.

At least 96 homes were leveled. Fortunately, the number of deaths was less than a Texas Dozen.

The economic genius of Texas?

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Fox News and Blatent Disrespect

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A friend from high school sends a link: “Pastor Rick Warren’s son commits suicide”

This is indeed tragic and further it is church that helped my sister tremendously as a single mother, and I have no animosity.

But check out how Fox “News” chooses to phrase the following paragraph:

“In 2008, the church sponsored a presidential forum with Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain. Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney had been invited to a similar forum last fall . . . “

SENATOR McCain . . . REPUBLICAN NOMINEE Romney . . . and . . . “Obama”?? I believe that at the time of that first invite “Obama” was ALSO a Senator. And should it not be “President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney” . . . ??

Even “presidential forum” (“Presidential”) is an insult to the office.

You wish to disrespect the man? OK, you are a jerk; you want to disrespect the office? You are a hypocrite.

So much for “liberal media bias”!

Big-Pharma and Natural Medcine

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My recent Facebook post compelled me to write this, posted here to protect the identity of one whom I love and respect, but who is very, very wrong:

There are only eight Northern White Rhino’s left in the world. Four of them have 24-hour bodyguards. “Traditional Medicine” . . . “Natural ” . . . “Non-Big-Pharma” . . . pick the phrase of the day: ‘tradition’ holds that ground Rhino horn not only cures cancer, but it ‘enhances male function’ (Science Illustrated, April/May 2013).

Snake Oil by any other name

If a “health” product has not been subject to a placebo controlled, double-blind test, then further subject to an independent re-test and finally subject to a peer review prior to publication . . . I wouldn’t feed it to cockroach much less my dog.

I love you dearly M but homeopathy is just water, Ouija Boards are not guided by spirits, there is no Great Pumpkin and anything with the disclaimer “ . . . this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease” . . . well, it won’t.

Thank you Orin Hatch, (R) Senator from Utah, for the invention of the “Complimentary and Alternative Medicine” act which not only created NNCAM — one of the greatest medicinal scams of the century — it also insured your re-election until death! And regrettably set back medical science a century.

Check out a wonderful book for the back-story to NNCAM:

“Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam”
http://www.amazon.com/Charlatan-Americas-Dangerous-Huckster-Flimflam/dp/0307339890

Hard to believe that nothing has changed.

Contraception and Obamacare

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It has been awhile. I just sent the following to the LA Times:

Dear Editor

In your Saturday, February 9 article regarding the controversy over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, you cite a Catholic business owner who is suing the government on the grounds that “providing such coverage would be ‘sinful and immoral.'” Catholic doctrine considers homosexuality to be sinful. Could this same business owner refuse to provide medication to a HIV positive gay employee? Could an employer who believes that obesity is a sign of moral weakness and an affront to God deny an over-wieght employee medical treatment for Type II Diabetes?
Nearly a century ago, Henry Ford required that his employees not drink, smoke or dance as a condition of employment. These activities, said Mr. Ford, were ‘sinful and immoral.’ We have seen, over the last 10-15 years, a rising income disparity rivaling that of the era of the Robber Barons. Are we returning to an era when an employer can dictate our private, legal actions as well?