Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What is News?

I spent some time this morning perusing the day's headlines from several different news organizations. I was particularly struck by what each different organization considers newsworthy enough to be on their "front page" feeds.

From Fox News (okay, all you libs, just sigh, shake your heads in disgust, but keep reading, okay?), we have the story of three Navy SEALs who are being brought up on assault charges for giving a bloody lip to a terrorist we had been tracking down for capture since he did this:
March 31, 2004: Iraqis chant anti-American slogans as the charred and mutilated bodies of U.S. contractors hang from a bridge over the Euphrates River in Fallujah, Iraq.

The story tells of three of America's finest who have been involved in a manhunt since the above-pictured incident and what has happened to them since they successfully captured one of the world's most wanted terrorists. When the terrorist (oh, I'm sorry, "detainee") whined to the Iraqis about how he had gotten a bloody lip during the capture, it somehow resulted in these three American heroes being brought up on charges instead of being given medals, as they should have been. Here's the link to the story:

Navy Seals Face Assault Charges

The next item is from ABC News. Its' about Obama pardoning a turkey. Need I say more?

Obama Pardons Turkey

The third item is from the New York Times. It's about Roman Polanski's being granted bail. You remember Roman Polanski, don't you? He's the famous film director who fled the U.S. some 30 years ago after being convicted of "unlawful sex with a minor" after drugging, raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl. He's finally in custody in Switzerland after living the good life in Europe all this time. He's just been granted bail, probably because a rich, famous man with friends all over the world who eluded the authorities for decades isn't a flight risk at all. Here's the link:

Bail Offer Approved for Roman Polanski

The lead story on the Fox News feed was the Navy SEAL story. It wasn't on the list under any of the other 16 news outlets I checked this morning. I truly feel this story is one of the most important of the day. I know Climategate is a really hot story as well. Even so, only NPR, Fox and Drudge had it on their list today. I guess CNN couldn't have reported either story because it had to leave room for the news that Oprah is going to interview Obama at the Whitehouse for Christmas.

Why did I choose the Navy SEAL, Polanski and Turkey items when there were clearly other news items this morning? Mostly because I found it interesting to compare and contrast the subject matter of the three stories.

In the first story, we have three enlisted men--all some of the most highly-trained personnel our armed services have to offer. The fact that they are being charged for assault for allegedly giving a fat lip to a detainee after capturing one of the most wanted terrorists in the world is astounding to me. What are we to say now to young people who may be thinking about joining the armed forces?
"I think it's great that you want to serve and protect our freedom, but you'd better be really careful or you could find your self in a military prison or under court martial for giving the enemy a boo-boo." Just imagine if we'd have used this politically correct nonsense in World War II. We'd all be speaking Japanese.

Let's speak truthfully here. Our military combat personnel are trained to ultimately
kill the enemy, and we're trying these young men in a military court because the enemy suffered a fat lip? If President Obama, our Commander-In-Chief, has any power to make this go away for these three heroic men, he should get right on that.

Oh, I'm sorry. He's too busy pardoning turkeys. I know that every President since 1947 has pardoned a lucky Thanksgiving turkey. I wasn't born without a sense of humor or a sense of nostalgic traditionalism. But we now live in a country in which a turkey can be "pardoned" from the fate of many of his fellow turkeys; meanwhile, our servicemen and women, who actually
do something to advance the cause of liberty and freedom here and around the world (sorry, turkey, but you have to admit you really don't do much in that regard) are at risk of going to prison and losing their hard-won careers for doing their jobs.

Oh, and we mustn't forget Mr. Polanski. This child-raping bastard will be sitting pretty in a mansion in France under house arrest for God knows how long, after avoiding a sentence for a crime he plea bargained down from child rape and sodomy to "unlawful sex with a child." Conversely, the three Navy SEALs will sit in a military court and be sentenced--and live out those sentences--for making the world a safer place in which to live.

And that's today's news.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Do You Think of This?

There was a very enlightening and frightening opinion piece in the StarTribune this Sunday. In this piece, authored by Katherine Kersten, we learn about the University of Minnesota's way of "teaching teachers to teach."

Please read it, and read the link to the right of the article on the StarTribune page entitled, "Read the Report." Then tell me what you think. I'd really love to generate a discussion among my readers, so when I say "tell me what you think," I really mean it. I'd like you to post comments.

I'll tell you what I think about this when I can close my gaping jaw, as it dropped open in horror upon reading this piece. I need to think on it a bit, but I think it's so important that I wanted any of my readers who might have missed it to read it.

Here's the link:At U, future teachers may be reeducated

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So Talk of Government Healthcare Rationing is Just Right-Wing Misinformation, Huh?

One of the biggest buzzes out there today is about the new "guidelines" for mammograms. Something called the "U.S. Preventive Services Task Force" has put out very controversial new guidelines for mammograms and breast self exams. It's left women asking, "At what price?"

The guidelines penned by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force say:

--Most women in their 40's should not routinely get mammograms.

--Women 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every other year until they turn 75.

--Women 75 and older need not undergo mammograms.

--Breast self exams are of no value.

In a staggering coincidence, these guidelines are right in line with the World Health Organization's guidelines for mammography, and well as the guidelines in Great Britain. Hmmmm.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) as, "An independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services."

Additionally, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services says this about the USPSTF: "The mission of the USPSTF is to evaluate the benefits of individual services based on age, gender, and risk factors for disease; make recommendations about which preventive services should be incorporated routinely into primary medical care and for which populations; and identify a research agenda for clinical preventive care."

Furthermore, according to the Health & Human Services website, in 1997 the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), now known as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), launched its initiative to promote evidence-based practice in everyday care through establishment of 12 Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs). The EPCs "develop evidence reports and technology assessments on topics relevant to clinical, social science/behavioral, economic, and other health care organization and delivery issues—specifically those that are common, expensive, and/or significant for the Medicare and Medicaid populations."

The EPC reports are used by the the USPSTF, which reviews the evidence, estimates the magnitude of benefits and harms for each preventive service, reaches consensus about the net benefit for each preventive service, and issues a recommendation.

Apparently the USPSTF has determined that mammograms for the above-referenced populations are unnecessary. According to their own information, the recommendations are based at least somewhat upon cost and Medicare/Medicaid populations.

By the Task Force's own admission, mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths in women in their 40's and 50's by 15 percent. I know they are including the death rates for women in their 50's in this statistic, but they seem to have deemed it acceptable that without mammography, there will be a possibility of up to a 15 percent increase in breast cancer deaths for women in their 40's. Most women, I think, would find this unacceptable.

Many experts find these guidelines unacceptable as well. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said they will not be changing their guidelines.

"The American Cancer Society will continue to recommend that women of average risk of breast cancer start screening at age 40 and get screened every year," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the group's deputy chief medical officer.

This decision also comes on the heels of news that younger women--as young as in their 20's--are being diagnosed with breast cancer at previously unseen rates. No one knows why.

This is a preview of government rationing of healthcare, folks. No, they didn't outlaw mammography for younger and older women, but their recommendation is sure to influence insurance coverage for mammography. Health insurance is a for-profit industry. I predict they will use these guidelines as a reason to cut benefits for mammography. I also predict these cuts will be implemented in Medicare and Medicaid, and soon-to-come Obamacare as well.

One more note. People don't seem to be paying attention to the Task Force's guideline that recommends women over the age of 75 shouldn't get mammograms at all. Someone I love dearly, who is in her late 80's, got her regular mammogram just days after she lost her husband, and breast cancer was discovered. They caught it so early that she won't have to undergo radiation or chemotherapy, which could be deadly for someone her age. I am grateful Medicare covered this procedure for her and that we won't be losing her now.

You can't put a price on that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pondering Consequences of Obamacare

I found this article linked on the SD42 website, and I just had to take a page from their book and link it here as well. It's an article by Dick Morris about healthcare. Here's the link:

I thought about sending this to Democrat friends of mine, but I realize there's a big "Oh, yeah" sized pitcher of Kool-Aid on their tables, and they drink from it every day. They'd dismiss the article as "misinformation from the right."

In the article, Morris writes about the Canadian healthcare system and how cancer death rates have risen, waiting lists are as long as one of Bill Clinton's speeches, and doctors have left the industry in droves.

I realize the latter to be a prediction of what's to come for America if we don't stop this awful thing the left is trying to do to us. I know it because a brilliant young person I know has planned for his whole life to become a doctor when he grows up. He wanted to go into rheumatology, nephrology or nephrology research. Now that he's off to college, he's decided to put his pre-med plans on hold indefinitely because he's seeing how the left is railroading us into socialized medicine. He doesn't want to become a government employee with a salary cap after years and years of student loans to repay.

He is, in a way, joining the 45 percent of all practicing doctors who would consider retiring or closing their practices if the Obama healthcare bill passes, as cited in Morris' piece. He's just doing it before he becomes a doctor. I'd like to see a study on that: How many students who were planning a career in medicine have or will change their course of study if Obamacare passes? I would predict those numbers, when added to the 45 percent of doctors mentioned above, would be staggering, shocking and frightening.

The Obama administration and other liberals in Congress are always using the fact that the American Medical Association (AMA) supports this bill to sooth the masses' fears about Obamacare. If the AMA supports it, it must be okay, right?

What the libs leave out is that only 17 percent of doctors belong to the AMA, so the AMA doesn't speak for the majority of them at all.

They also like to throw around the fact that the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) supports Obamacare as well. They are, again, leaving out the fact that the AARP is the largest provider of Medicare supplement insurance plans, and, silly them, because they haven't actually read the Obamacare bill, they think they'll make piles of money off of supplemental insurance plans because so many people will be on government-run healthcare that they'll need it. What they don't know is that the goal of this bill is to eventually get rid of all private insurance, including supplements. So the AARP has been duped into supporting this monstrosity.

Just as a side note, why don't all of the seniors on Medicare who have supplemental insurance realize that the reason they need supplements is because government-run healthcare isn't good enough? And don't most other Americans know that many seniors purchase Medicare supplements? Therefore, why don't most liberal Americans question the fact that if most people on government-run healthcare (Medicare) need to supplement it because it falls short now, government-run healthcare is sure to run short with Obamacare as well? Is it because most liberals seem incapable of linear thought?

Just pondering.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

President Obama as Seen Through the Eyes of the World

Here is a link to a very interesting Wall Street Journal article about Obama's trip through Asia. It provides a unique look at our president through different eyes than we're used to looking through: the eyes of the world vs. the eyes of the American mainstream media, which falls to its knees in worship at the very mention of his name. Here's the link. - Concerns Rise Around Obama Trip*

Here's an excerpt from another Wall Street Journal article about China's opinion of America's financial management.

BEIJING -- China's top banking regulator issued a sharp critique of U.S. financial management only hours before President Barack Obama commenced his first visit to the Asian giant, highlighting economic and trade tensions that threaten to overshadow the trip.

Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said that a weak U.S. dollar and low U.S. interest rates had led to "massive speculation" that was inflating asset bubbles around the world. It has created "unavoidable risks for the recovery of the global economy, especially emerging economies," Mr. Liu said.

It's heartbreaking to watch America go from the world's only Super Power to a cowering dog trying not to upset its master (China).

Shout Back

I entitled this piece "Shout Back" for two reasons. First, I want to give a "shout back" to The Activist Next Door for giving me a "shout out" on her blog. (I feel a hundred years old having to put these in quotes. Maybe I could lose the quotes now that our robot-in-chief gave a shout out to people in an audience for a full three minutes before mentioning the terrorist act at Fort Hood.)

Secondly I want to point all of you to her blog post about the new Gap ad. I just saw this ad for the first time last night, and I finally get it. Sheila says everything I could and more in her spot. Read it.

Then "shout back" at the Gap by not shopping there this Christmas (or solstice, or whatever).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Teachers Should Keep Their Politics Private

This has been on my mind for years, but it has come to the forefront now because of a recent commentary in the Eden Prairie News. A young lady wrote that after a short time of taking a certain class she became a "flaming liberal" and still is today. In my opinion, her teachers must have had something to do with that.

I feel very strongly that teachers should be required to keep their personal feelings about politics private. I think this should be mandated, and teachers who don't follow the mandate should be censured.

I'm speaking solely about public schools; private schools can require from their teachers whatever they wish. But public schools and public school teachers, which are paid for exclusively by our tax dollars, should have to remain politically neutral.

Most of us send our children to public schools because we can't afford private ones. There are some who believe so strongly in public education that they send their children to public schools no matter what their financial situations may be. But for the most part, we send our children to public school because it is our only choice. We also pay for it with our hard-earned tax money.

Anti-religious zealots have turned our public schools into God-free zones. It is unacceptable to mention God, Jesus, or Christianity in a public school. Some go to ridiculous lengths to ensure this because of their misunderstanding of the concept of separation of church and state (which guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from it). And there does seem to be a particularly anti-Christian bent to it. I remember when my son was in kindergarten during the holiday season, and every day he told me what he had learned. He knew a lot about kwanza, Hanukah, and Ramadan. I asked if he had learned about Christmas. He said no, and much to my dismay, seemed to know very little about it. Sadly, this kind of political correctness in curriculum is the norm.

Some may say, “Politics isn’t religion, so there’s nothing wrong with teachers expressing their views to students.” True, politics is not religion, per se, but I believe that for many teachers, liberalism and worship of mother earth have come to resemble religion in many ways. Just watch an Earth Day celebration or watch some of the clips of school children singing pro-Obama songs, and you’ll come away with a creepy feeling like you're watching some kind of religious celebration.

This behavior is also discriminatory because conservative children often feel attacked by their own teachers. It must be really hard for conservative teenagers to get up and go to school knowing that every day their beliefs will be tested, scorned and mocked. And no American soldier's child should ever have to sit in a class and listen to a teacher criticizing and ridiculing the war or cause his or her parent is fighting for.

Children of all ages are very vulnerable to what their teachers think. Most of them respect and look up to their teachers, and some want to be just like them. If teachers use their bully pulpit to push liberalism (or conservatism, for that matter), the children soak it up like sponges.

I think conservative parents need to take this much more seriously. Most teachers are immune from any consequences of their behavior unless it crosses the line and becomes criminal. Otherwise, they are, for the most part, able to do just about anything they want with the malleable minds of our precious children. We need to stand up and fight against this.

One way to do it is to elect conservatives to the school boards. Conservative parents need to pay attention to these local elections just as much as the state and national ones. The results may have even more impact on the lives of their families than the larger elections (except for the case of Obama, who seems hell bent on taking America apart piece by piece).

Another thing they can do is to complain to the school when a teacher is using undue influence to mold their children into little liberals. If they keep complaining, and there are enough complaints, I believe the schools will be forced to listen and take them seriously. There is power in numbers.

We don't send our children to school to be indoctrinated into liberalism. We send them for an education. We shouldn't accept that liberal indoctrination is just an unpleasant and inevitable side effect of sending them to public school.

We own the schools and pay the teachers. Let's tell them what to do for a change.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Take Time to Thank a Vet

I had a WWII hero in my family. He died six weeks ago. In all the time I knew him, I never thanked him for his service.

He would tell my son about all of his adventures, and my son idolized him. But we didn't say "thanks."

So, I'll do it now. Thanks, John, for your service to our country. I'll think of you whenever I see the flag waving on my front porch because you fought for that flag, our freedom, and the freedom of those in other countries. I honor you. I love you.

Please take the time to thank a veteran or a service man or woman. It doesn't have to be today, and you don't even have to know the person. If you see someone in public in uniform, take a moment to thank them for their service. It'll make you both feel good.

And if you're one of those anti-war protesters who thinks every war is about oil and we should chat and have tea with our enemies, thank a vet anyway. You'll understand what I'm talking about when you grow up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Even Animated Grasshoppers Get It

I was watching "A Bug's Life" today, and I was surprised to hear a kernel of wisdom uttered by a grasshopper. When the ant princess tries to blame a catastrophe on one of her underlings, the grasshopper says, "You're in charge, so that means EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT!"

Maybe Obama should stop listening to Rom and start watching cartoons. He'd get better advise.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Buck Stops Where?

I can't tell you how I feel about our country today. Sad, grieving, ashamed; there are so many words, so many emotions. To find out that Fort Hood's murdering bastard's suspicious activity was previously known to the CIA knocks the wind out of me.

Those of us on the right spoke often during the presidential election about how afraid we were of an Obama administration. We talked--no, shouted--about how he wouldn't be as strong on national defense, and how he associated with known anti-American extremists, etc. We were screaming in the dark.

I'm going to take a moment to thank the much-maligned President George Bush for keeping ALL of us safe from 9/11 to the end of his presidency. It only took 10 months of Obama's administration for another terrorist act to happen on our soil. In our own military. Perpetrated by a man who had tried to contact Al Qaeda and had spouted anti-American rhetoric on the internet. Given a free pass because he was a Muslim in a politically correct world.

You could say I'm jumping to dangerous conclusions by calling this a terrorist act, but exactly what does constitute an act of terrorism? Does it have to be perpetrated by Al Qaeda? Does it need to be orchestrated by several people, or can it be done by one person? What makes this an act of terror as opposed to an act of mass murder, such as, for example, the Luby mass murder at a McDonald's in Texas many years ago?

The difference is that a mass murder is usually perpetrated by a disturbed individual who kills because of his own demons and is usually suicidal for his own reasons.

A mass murder perpetrated by one individual becomes an act of terror when the individual is killing people because their lifestyle, ideology or religion is different from or abhorrent to the perpetrator.

I believe that is what happened at Fort Hood. Nidal Malik Hasan was a known anti-American Islamic extremist who sought out Al Qaeda and attended the same mosque as two of the 9/11 hijackers. He frequently said anti-American statements on the Army base where he was stationed. The former imam of that mosque, who is a known terrorist, currently lives in Yemen and praised this act as heroic. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc....

The worst part of this whole thing is that all of the information above was known by the people around Hasan and by the CIA, but they didn't do anything to stop him. Why? Because those around him were afraid of being labeled anti-Islam and didn't want to seem politically incorrect. I don't have an answer for why the Obama administration did nothing about this clearly threatening and unstable individual except to say that they are so intent on dismantling our country and our way of life that they appear to be ignoring our national security.

I believe the "buck" always stops with the person in the highest position. In this case, it's our Commander in Chief. So, kudos to you, Obama. You got one step closer to shoving socialized medicine down our throats while this man committed the first act of terror on American soil since 9/11.

Is this the "change" we were supposed to believe in?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Here I Am Again

It's been a long while since I've written on my blog. It's been a year of multiple losses and grief for me and my family. But today I am re-energized by what I saw upon waking this morning.

I got out of bed and checked my e-mail only to find a message from President Obama blowing the victory horn about the healthcare bill that passed last night in the house. It was like waking up on Christmas morning only to find out that Santa Claus is dead.

I had tried to be optimistic and hoped that we could pull it out at the last minute and stop this crazy thing, as George Jetson would say.

This could be another day of mourning for the Republicans, or we could become so energized (or enraged) by this that we do whatever we can to keep this hideous piece of wreckage from becoming the law of the land. Sadly, as a Minnesota Republican, I don't feel I have any representation in the Senate. Franken and Klobuchar aren't going to listen to us. I'm at a loss for words right now, and that's unusual.

I'm angry with the pro-life democrats who were duped by Pelosi's scheme to insert an amendment prohibiting federal funds to be used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. This was what the pro-life dems required to vote for the bill. This amendment is going to undergo a disappearing act David Blaine would envy. How could they fall for such an obvious trick?

I think we all need to take a moment and think about how to proceed to kill this bill. A special thanks to Michelle Bachman for doing her best to unite freedom-loving Americans. It is only through this unification and its ability to grow and continue fighting that we will affect a change. We must fight the systematic dismantling of all that's good about our country.