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Archive for February, 2011

Now that the government has finally decided who won the contract to build the next generation of air refueling tankers (it was Boeing, just in case you hadn’t heard), I can honestly say I am glad it is over.

Now I can watch the television, read my newspaper, and listen to my radio without having to hear or see any more advertisements featuring “real” Americans bash one Boeing and their rival EADS North America. I also won’t have to deal with any more advertisements with the ominous music or baritone narrators describing how a win for the rival company will doom our economy.

Well, I have until the presidential primaries to not hear ominous music or baritone narration.

And while I am on the subject of commercials that I cannot stand, the latest advertisement that annoys me is full of poop…honestly.

This commercial for Luv’s Diapers, entitled (no joke) “Poop – There It Is”, features three animated babies in an American Idol-like setting.

Would that they were in a signing competition.

No, the battle they are waging in front of the judges is to see who can poop the most and thus see how much their diapers can hold.

I don’t need to be watching the backside of babies expand out their diapers with gobs of animated poop.

Please, Luv’s, pull the ads. There’s enough poop on TV.

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As I have done earlier with House Bill 36, I want to take this opportunity to track Senate Bill 36.

Sponsored by Senator Daniel Inouye (Democrat from Hawaii), Senate Bill 36 is also known as the Native Hawaiian Medicaid Coverage Act of 2011.

Its purpose, as mentioned in the text of the bill, is…

To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide 100 percent reimbursement for medical assistance provided to a Native Hawaiian through a Federally-qualified health center or a Native Hawaiian health care system.

To be really wonky, Senator Inouye’s legislation would do the following. It would add the text in bold below to Section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act so that the new section would read…

Notwithstanding the first sentence of this section, the Federal medical assistance percentage shall be 100 per centum with respect to amounts expended as medical assistance for services which are received through an Indian Health Service facility whether operated by the Indian Health Service or by an Indian tribe or tribal organization (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act) , and with respect to medical assistance provided to a Native Hawaiian (as defined in section 12 of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act) through a Federally-qualified health center or a Native Hawaiian health care system (as so defined) whether directly, by referral, or under contract or other arrangement between a Federally-qualified health center or a Native Hawaiian health care system and another health care provider.

Now that that is completely understood (and aren’t you glad to see how the sausage is made), I can tell you that as of this writing, the bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance.

Odds are it sits there and wait…probably singing that tune from Schoolhouse Rock.

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In Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, there is the concept of the “gallant gallstone”. This is the title of a book of horrific poetry, but a character in the book, Ellsworth Toohey, uses his literary disciples to start peppering the phrase “gallant gallstone” in all manner of popular culture (comics, advertising, etc.) so that the phrase seeps into the collective consciousness with the ultimate goal of increasing sales in the book of poetry.

I have a feeling a “gallant gallstone” moment is happening with the Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels.

Before the recent news coverage about his state’s legislature’s battles with unions, he was not well known outside the Hoosier State, and was primarly recognized as the former director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

His name has been thrown about as a potential presidential candidate come 2012, but a recent straw poll held by the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) gave Daniels four percent of the vote and a recent Gallup poll gives the Indiana Governor only three percent of the vote.

So with numbers that dismal, I found it quite interesting that in the past month, three columnists have taken finger to keyboard to praise Mitch Daniels.

George Will praises “…his blend of accomplishments, aversion to pandering and low-key charisma of competence”;
Michael Gerson hails him for “…providing an intellectual and political strategy for successful entitlement reform…” and describing him as “…one of the few politicians in America who are thinking like a president.”; and
David Brooks simply describes him as the “…man who would be the party‚Äôs strongest candidate for the presidency.”

So if all of this gushing praise is not coincidence, I wonder who would be the Ellsworth Toohey behind all this string-pulling.

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With the looming shutdown of the federal government coming, I thought I would take some of the next few postings and look at the number 36 (my random number of choice) in the world of politics.

We’ll start off on the side of Congress known as the House of Representatives, aka “The People’s House“.

In the current Congressional session, the 112th, there have already been a number of bills introduced, so let’s take a look at the one that bares the number I have been tracking on this blog

One of those, is House Bill 36, a bill designed to, in the words of the legislation itself, …amend title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to raise awareness of eating disorders and to create educational programs concerning the same, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Illinois Republican Judy Biggert, this bill would acheive its aim to raise awareness about anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder (just to name a few) by adding…

Programs to improve the identification of students with eating disorders, increase awareness of such disorders among parents and students, and train educators (such as teachers, school nurses, school social workers, coaches, school counselors, and administrators) on effective eating disorder prevention and assistance methods

In addition, Section 5 of this legislation would ask that…

The Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, shall carry out a program to develop, distribute, and promote the broadcasting of public service announcements to improve public awareness, and to promote the identification and prevention of eating disorders.

And finally, because no government program worth its funding doesn’t kick out a report, Biggert’s bill would ask that…

Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Center for Health Statistics shall conduct a study on the impact eating disorders have on educational advancement and achievement. The study shall–

(1) determine the prevalence of eating disorders among students and the morbidity and mortality rates associated with eating disorders;

(2) evaluate the extent to which students with eating disorders are more likely to miss school, have delayed rates of development, or have reduced cognitive skills;

(3) report on current State and local programs to educate youth about the dangers of eating disorders, as well as evaluate the value of such programs; and

(4) make recommendations on measures that could be undertaken by the Congress, the Secretary of Education, States, and local educational agencies to strengthen eating disorder prevention and awareness programs

At the present time, this bill sits in referral in two House committees, the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Additionally, it was also referred to the Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health.

Updates to follow…I’m sure

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Just like I did last year, for the 2011 season, I have decided to follow the NASCAR driver that drives the Number 36 car.

Last year, that was Mike Bliss. This year, it is Dave Blaney.

However, I have also decided to try something new as I will also be following the driver who came in 36th place at NASCAR’s inaugural race, the Daytona 500. That driver was Jeff Burton in the #31 car.

I’d like to see who beats who during this season so I will be tracking the points of both Blaney and Burton.

So far, after one race, Blaney (who finished 26th at Daytona) has 19 points and Burton is 10 points behind with 9.

Next stop…Phoenix

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Ghat-cha

The latest word to enter the lexicon courtesy of the popular uprisings in nortern Africa is…

ad-Libyaing: noun, the process of cobbling together a revolution on the fly without social networking websites

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This is the last paragraph from the November 2000 article in National Geograhpic, written by Andrew Cockburn, entitled “Libya: An End to Isolation?”

Conscious of the widepsread perception in the West that the old rabble-rouser has changed his spots, abandoning his youthful plan to transform society, I inquired if he [Muammar Qaddafi] was still a revolutionary. He gave a chuckle and an emphatic “yes,” and then observed that although he is “really satisfied with what we have done in 30 years,” there is “still room for improvement.” Eventually he moved slowly off to bed, to rest up for the new and uncertain days that are dawning over Libya.

Seems to me that his people decided not to wait until he woke up to continue their quest for improvement.

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One of the absolute joys of living near the nation’s capital is that fact that over a long weekend – like the one we are about to celebrate now to celebrate George Washington – I and the family can travel down to the National Mall and enjoy the cornucopia of museums that reside within the federal district.

There is the crowning jewel of them all, the Smithsonian Institution, with its myriad of building celebrating Air & Space, Natural History, and American History.

Off the beaten path, but no less enjoyable, are the National Pinball Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the National Museum of Crime & Punishment.

With the temperature forecasted to be in the mid-50s, the children, wife, and I may even plan a picnic in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

If you can, come on out and join us.

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As I survey the state of television circa 2011, I have this question…

Where did the mini-series go?

There was a time when network television, usually during sweeps, would set aside a whole week and broadcast epic tales. There was Roots, V, The Thorn Birds, and War and Remembrance just to name a few.

They had big stars, sweeping stories, and huge budgets.

Now they’re all gone.

Now I sit and watch and guess whether Amy and Luke from Bellingham, Washington, will pick house #1, #2, or #3.

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When I become ruler of all I survey, I will appoint a Minister of the Workforce who will institute the following rules and shall severly punish all those who go astray:

–When using the microwave in the office kitchen, no popcorn shall be burnt;
–When using the microwave in the office kitchen, no fish shall be microwaved;
–When using the microwave in the office kitchen, you shall stand by your food so as to not leave it unattended and make others wait;
–Do not take other people’s food from the office refridgerator

…Further postings from the Minister of the Workforce will arrive as needs dictate.

Gee, can you tell I had a bad time at the office today?

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