Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why not treat KBR and Halliburton just like ACORN?

A few weeks ago after the release of video showing ACORN employees giving advice on how to break the law to receive housing assistance Congress immediately wrote and passed legislation to eliminate funding for the entire organization. No one was prosecuted for criminal behavior because no laws were broken and no one came to any harm over the actions of the ACORN employees.

Halliburton and KBR on the other hand are responsible for the deaths and illness of our brave service men and women in Iraq and according to testimony before a Senate committee, by Master Electricians Jim Childs and Eric Peters, KBR resisted any efforts to correct the defects that caused the deaths for nearly a year thereby continuing to endanger our military and civilian workers.

Halliburton's misconduct and gross negligence such putting in showers in Iraq that end up electrocuting soldiers, and feeding them poisoned water haven’t stopped them from continuing to receive federal contracts and billons of dollars. According to Florida Representative Alan Grayson the federal funding ACORN has received over the past twenty years is approximately equal to what Halliburton receives in a single day of the Iraq War. Why are we still doing business with companies negligently doing harm to our soldiers but we drop ACORN like a hot rock because a few low level employees gave bad advice instead of calling the police.

Our legislators saw fit to defund ACORN, the same standard should be applied to all federal contracts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where's the concern for the 123 people who died today due to lack of medical insurance?

In a study released by Harvard Medical School September 18, 2009 researchers found that 45,000 people die in the United States each year in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care.

If terrorists managed to pull off a September 11 scale attack every month for a year they wouldn’t kill as many people as lack of medical insurance does in that same year. Why are we as a nation willing to go to war and spend what is now projected to be $2-3 trillion over 3,000 deaths but not willing to do what’s necessary to make sure every American receives adequate health care. More than 3,000 of our soldiers’ have given their lives not to mention thousands more accepting devastating injuries in a ill conceived effort to prevent 3,000 more deaths by terrorists but John Cornyn wouldn’t even support the watered down version of health care reform legislation proposed by the Senate Finance Committee. Tens of thousands of civilian lives in Iraq and Afghanistan have been sacrificed over those terrorist caused deaths and yet we’re willing to let 15 times as many Americans die every year so some insurance company can turn a profit?

I don’t hear a lot of concern for the 123 people who died today or the 123 more who will die every tomorrow until we have universal coverage, because they lacked medical insurance. What is wrong with this picture?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gay marriage is a civil right!

The only legal discrimination permitted in the United States is discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Representative Joe Sestak is a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral and the highest-ranking military officer currently serving in Congress and believes it’s time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". To quote Rep. Sestak, "Over the last 16 years we've lost 12,500 good service-members to this policy. In a time of war, our national security cannot afford to lose these troops, especially high-value specialists and linguists. But more so, our military cohesion depends on honesty and integrity".

It’s estimated that 65,000 of our troops are gay and we demand that they act dishonestly and conceal information from their comrades and commanders in order to serve their country. Why are those who wish to serve in defense of liberty forced to live a lie?

Our very Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”.

How is it that we ask Americans to risk their lives to defend our country but then don’t treat them as full human beings by denying them basic rights like the opportunity to marry?

If you believe as I do that gays should be free to serve in the military and gay marriage is a civil right, then call your Congressman and urge him to support the “Respect for Marriage Act” and support the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ideology over education in Texas

Rev. Peter Marshall, in his appointed role as a Social Studies curriculum expert, shows he’s no history scholar in the review he wrote of the recommendations of the curriculum writing teams. This unqualified out of state preacher was appointed by State Board of Education members Cynthia Dunbar and Barbara Cargill.

In Marshall’s analysis of the high school U.S. history class, he writes that the United States returned to Mexico “over half of the territory it conquered” during the Mexican-American War, “drawing the border only where we had claimed it to be before the war – the Rio Grande River.” He’s absolutely wrong. Mexico ceded 55 percent of its territory to the U.S. including what are now the states, California, Nevada, Utah and most of Arizona as well as parts of other bordering states.

Dunbar and Cargill appointed the incredibly unqualified Rev. Marshall apparently because he endorses their social conservative agenda. Rev. Marshall runs Peter Marshall Ministries and his website promotes books for school age children. The man is an amateur historian at best and takes similar liberties with the facts in the books he writes and sells on the website.

Educating our children is one of the most important tasks of government, allowing unqualified ideologues to interfere with the quality of that education is unacceptable. I urge the teachers who have volunteered to develop the curriculum that will guide our children’s education for the next decade to file Rev. Marshall’s critique in the circular file where it belongs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Education "inexpert" Barton doesn't know Rosa Parks rode a bus

David Barton, who sits on the State Board of Education’s expert panel reviewing the Social Studies curriculum, has recently provided additional evidence that he is unqualified to participate as an expert.

In his critique of the review committee’s draft of the Social Studies TEKS Mr. Barton can't even get relatively recent events straight; such as his claim that Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience was related to sitting at a lunch counter instead of a bus seat. He also doesn't seem to understand the difference between civil disobedience and a boycott since he conflates the two when referring to the Montgomery bus boycott. Mr. Barton also strangely considers the Boston Tea Party to be civil disobedience which it most certainly was not since the tea in question was private property. Given his inability to grasp this widely understood material it seems prudent to be skeptical of anything else he has to say about less widely known events and persons.

I urge the review committees drafting the Social Studies TEKS and the members of the State Board of Education to ignore any of Mr. Barton’s recommendations given his proven lack of qualifications on these important topics.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is John Boehner an ostrich or an extraterrestrial?

The Honorable John Boehner
H-204 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4000
Fax: (202) 225-5117

Dear Congressman Boehner,

You’ve been quoted as saying "I'm still trying to find the first American to talk to who's in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or the administration". Assuming that you’ve quoted accurately and you weren’t being facetious you must have your head in the sand. More than 60% of Americans favor a public option and I’m one of them. You will probably never meet me in person as I don’t reside in the Beltway or your home state but I find it hard to believe you haven’t encountered Ohio citizens that favor the public option which leads me to ask as Congressman Barney Frank did, “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”

You should step out of your insular community and actually meet with constituents that don’t agree with you from time to time. You’ll find it an enlightening experience and you’ll be able to get rid of those silly ostrich feathers.