Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Bunny: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Oh no! This photo was taken just last Thurday. It left me worried that the bunnies are spending all their time playing and not preparing properly for Easter. Luckily, I found out that the picture is from Germany. Hopefully the rabbits in our part of the world are working a little harder!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Preparing for Easter Fun

I love these charming, old-time pictures for Easter, do you? Somehow they speak to a less complicated time and the joys of the beginning of Spring. I am a big fan of the Easter Bunny, especially when he looks so very happy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The LOLCat Bible

For Monday of Holy Week we thought we would do something a little different and provide a link to those LOLCats and their cheezburgers. But wait, there's more! Did you know that the LOLCats have their own Bible translation? How clever is that? You can read it online or buy the book in paperback or for your kindle. How fun would that be in someone's Easter Basket? Well, maybe not for children, but certainly for fun.

Some might think the LOLCat Bible is a little edgy, but we like it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday: Holy Week Begins

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the most important time in the Christian year.

From John:

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"

From Luke, more of the story:

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

They replied, "The Lord needs it."

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

O You Lucky Muslims: Health Insurance Religious Carve Out

"Health insurance is haraam [forbidden by Islam] like other types of commercial insurance, because it is based on ambiguity, gambling and riba (usury)."

"Commercial insurance contracts are a kind of haraam betting, because each party is getting involved in ignorance, ambiguity and gambling. Islam does not permit any type of betting except that which supports Islam and propagates Islam by means of proof and jihad. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted a concession allowing betting in only three cases, when he said: “There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except in camel-racing, horse-racing and archery.” Insurance does not come under these headings and cannot be likened to any of them, so it is haraam."
-Islam QA website

Guess what? Health insurance as we know it is prohibited by traditional Islam. Working in the insurance industry is prohibited, too. This, of course, could exempt Muslims from mandatory health insurance under the law just passed. Can you imagine the jealousy when there are no fines or penalties for Muslims because of the religious exemption?

While there are insurance models that comply with Islamic Law (a diagram of the permissible takaful is above) , it should be pretty easy for Muslims who are so inclined simply to invoke a religious exception to the horrible new health care law. With rights and privileges available to Muslims but unavailable to the rest of us, societal harmony will not be advanced. How this will play out in the coming days no one yet knows, but the outlook is not good.

Islam's quarrel with insurance isn't much different from objections in England and America in earlier days, and is similar to reservations expressed by some religious Christians that it is best to trust in God. While mainstream Christianity has (for the most part, and possibly to the detriment of many) stepped away from concerns about usury (variantly defined as interest or excessive rates of interest), Islam still has strong prohibitions in place. Insurance also has a gambling component (I bet something bad will happen to me; the insurance company bets it won't) and it wasn't terribly long ago when courts were filled with cases whether insurance was an illegal gambling contract.

Unfortunately, current world politics coupled with the usual concerns that arise in times of high immigration, there is--at least at a theoretical level--bad blood between Muslims and mainstream America. The new health care legislation will only to fan flames that would be best not to be ignited in the first place. And let me make myself perfectly clear: my quarrel is with mandatory health insurance, not Islam. Islam's prohibition against traditional health insurance, which will exempt a large group of citizens from government regulation and fines and promote divisive jealousy between different groups of Americans, is just one more reason why the mandatory insurance health care bill must be repealed.

h/t to DMartyr at Snapped Shot, who blogged on this with a bit of a different take on the facts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Even the Progressive Left Wing Knows that the Health Care Bill Stinks

You might be surprised to read that I keep my eye on the Progressives, and I wanted to share most of the email received from Ralph Nader:

If you listen to the Democrats, you would think that they were fighting on the side of the American people.

And against the health insurance companies.

Or as Howard Dean put it last week:

"This is a vote about one thing: Are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?"

President Obama said that he and the Democrats had pushed back against the "special interests."

In fact, the bill that was passed by the House Sunday night was a result of a deal President Obama and the Democrats cut last year with the pharmaceutical industry.

And it was written with the help of former insurance industry lobbyists.

Or as the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne put it - the Democrats are fighting for a Republican health plan.

Last year, former CIGNA executive turned whistleblower Wendell Potter called the bill "a joke" and "an absolute gift to the insurance industry."

Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program called the bill "a step backwards."

"This bill further enriches the industries that are the problem," Dr. Flowers said.

Chris Hedges put it this way:

"This bill is not about fiscal responsibility or the common good."

"The bill is about increasing corporate profit at taxpayer expense," Hedges wrote.
"It lavishes hundreds of billions in government subsidies on insurance and drug companies."

"The some 3,000 (corporate) lobbyists in Washington, whose dirty little hands are all over the bill, have once more betrayed the American people for money."

Just so you know.

Health Care and You: A Nation In Peril

"I would rather die a free man than to give up my God given right to liberty and self-direction! I will NOT pay the (heathcare) tax! I will NOT pay the fines! I will NOT go to federal prison! If anyone in the federal government cares to test me on this, bring it on baby!" -comment on The Hill blog

"The ruthless and corrupt way this bill [the Obamacare health care bill] was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, and in defiance of public opinion, provides a road map for how other "historic" changes can be imposed by Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

"What will it matter if Obama's current approval rating is below 50 percent among the current voting public if he can ram through new legislation to create millions of new voters by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants? That can be enough to make him a two-term President, who can appoint enough Supreme Court justices to rubber-stamp further extensions of his power. . . . But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return."
-Thomas Sowell in the Manchester Union Leader

We are so in trouble. The just-passed health care bill is even worse than the nightmare that you only dreamed it might could be. I've been out consulting dozens of sources and the picture is grim. This is, however, no time to let your courage fail. Do not give up; there is hope; there are leaders; there is a movement. America still lives but there is no time to waste.

It is time for every red-blooded American to roll up the sleeves and get to work. 14 states have attorneys general ready to file lawsuits against Obamacare health care. We have a country to save and a people to help. To encourage yourself in the effort to save our citizens from the machinations of Washington, DC, you might as well start reading with an Investor's Business Daily article that counts 20 ways Obamacare takes away our freedoms.

We will prepare; then we will act. Get ready.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

40 Seats Means No More Madame Speaker

Do you like this US map where Illinois gets to be in the "Top 10?" The GOP has put up a great fundraising website in the aftermath of the high-handed doings this weekend at the House of Representatives in Washington. It's called Fire Pelosi, and they are raking in the cash. The goal is to raise $1,002,010 in 40 hours for the 40 seats in Congress it would take to have a Republican Speaker. Do have a visit, and I guarantee you--based on my experience-- that a contribution will improve your mood considerably! All day Monday I felt as miserable as if someone had died, but I am feeling better to know that nearly $900,000 dollars has been raised as I write this.

I like having a woman Speaker of the House, but I do not like Nancy Pelosi, despite the kind words this blog gave her shortly after her election. We really tried, but we don't like her politics. The Fire Pelosi website features a picture of Nancy Pelosi against a flaming background, a clock, a tally of the money raised, and the map shown above. The bright red states have given the most money, which pretty much boils down to the most populated states, but I was surprised and happy to see Michigan and Illinois giving significantly.

Interestingly enough, after I made a contribution, it appears that late Monday afternoon the GOP sent out an email seeking to raise $402,010 or more from the website. Since by the time I ran into the website independently of the email the goal had gone to over a million dollars, fundraising must have been very successful.

UPDATE - 3/23/10 - 8:10 pm: Oh no! Michigan has slipped out of the top 10 and Alaska has leapfrogged into its place! I always imagined those hearty Alaskans as a mighty healthy bunch. Could it be they aren't happy with being forced to buy insurance that will basically be worthless because so many of its citizens live very geographically isolated lives?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care: Secret Deals, Kickbacks and Carve-outs

Today I am crying in my heart for the free, proud, strong, and solvent America that may have disappeared forever. What legacy do we leave succeeding generations of Americans, as the Hippie Generation in Congress--led by a crazed woman from San Francisco--finally exacts the revenge on our country that they have been working for since their youth? This is the nightmare come true of which previous generations warned.

"After telling Americans in 2008 that they would lower spending, taxes and insurance premiums, Democrats passed a bill that breaks every promise. Using secret deals, kickbacks and carve-outs, Democratic leaders jammed through legislation to control more than one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

"The plan will explode the national debt, raise $569.2 billion in new taxes, force taxpayers to fund abortions, and impose unconstitutional mandates on every American.

"All of this was done in the face of overwhelming public outrage and bipartisan opposition in Congress. This process has been an insult to our democracy and threatens our nation’s prosperity and freedom. . . .

"When a president and a Congress collude to violate the Constitution and ignore the American people, everything our nation stands for is at risk. It’s not too late to undo the damage.

"I, and other Republicans, will work to repeal this monstrosity, and give Americans freedom to make their own health care choices."
-Sen. Jim DeMint in USA Today


"President Obama has betrayed his oath to the nation — rather than bringing us together, ushering in a new kind of politics, and rising above raw partisanship, he has succumbed to the lowest denominator of incumbent power . . . He calls his accomplishment “historic” — in this he is correct, although not for the reason he intends. Rather, it is an historic usurpation of the legislative process — he unleashed the nuclear option, enlisted not a single Republican vote in either chamber, bribed reluctant members of his own party, paid-off his union backers, scapegoated insurers, and justified his act with patently fraudulent accounting. . . . For these reasons and more, the act should be repealed. That campaign begins today." -Gov. Mitt Romney in National Review

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kissing America Goodbye: Star Chamber Congress Treats People With Contempt

"In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, star chambers. This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings." -Star Chamber Wikipedia

Passing heath care legislation has become its own disease in Washington, D.C. In its quest to force its will upon and destroy the American People and our county, Congress and the White House have become crazed. Do not keep the Sabbath. Do the bidding of the Sovereign. Treat the People with contempt. Meet at times inconvenient to members. Isn't government behavior such as this why your family left the old country in the first place?

"As the U.S. Supreme Court described it, 'the Star Chamber has, for centuries, symbolized disregard of basic individual rights.' " -Star Chamber Wikipedia

John Kass' column in Friday's Tribune did a nice job of summing up the pain of proposed health care legislation on the average citizen, but a bit of an issue on how abortion will be handled remains. Labeling anything that can be done by a medical professional to a human being as "health care," is evil in itself; to pass a bill hated by the People on a Sunday--when work should cease--is one more argument why this Congress must be retired.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Census is Here: Are You a Member of a Previously Unknown Race?

Census time, and the census form arrived in the mail. It said fill it out and send it today, so I did, but I didn't like it. It is one thing to "enumerate" me according to the Constitution, but what business is it of a government of free people what race I am? I am an American, and a citizen by birth, as were my parents, and their parents, etc. They used to be English citizens, but after the American Revolution they weren't English any more. An American is an American, and that should be it. The census has a bizarre view about race, and has some newly discovered races listed on the census forms such as Chinese or Korean or Filipino. Those aren't races, they are ethnicities. Did they not go to school in Washington?

The census also want to know about your house. Do you own it? Do you have a mortgage on it? No question whether people can afford their mortgage or taxes, which nationwide is a very pressing problem. That is a question that should matter to the government but it doesn't. And do you seriously want to discuss your financial matters with someone who doesn't even know what a race is?

The first time I ever encountered one of those race questions I was so shocked I thought I was in Nazi Germany. I thought the Civil Right Act in 1964 had banned that type of question, silly me. In those days, white wasn't even listed on the form as an option. Knowing that I certainly wasn't an "other," the only thing I could figure was that I was a "Native American." Since I was born here, that must be me, no? It never occurred that was a designation for what Canada cleverly calls "First People." While I like that term, we don't have first people in the USA, even if they were here first, which I wasn't. Do I have to remain a Native American since I chose that the first time I was asked? Do they have a record of it? If I chose something else this time could I be in trouble? Is there an Amended Form available? While we have all heard on TV, the census is 10 simple questions, I did not find them to be simple at all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Constitutional Nightmare: "Slaughter Solution"

Suddenly there is goofy talk coming from Washington, DC about Congress ramming through a healthcare bill by adopting something called the "Slaughter Solution," named after New York Rep and House Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter. The gist of this "solution" seems to be that the House of Representatives will declare the Health Care Bill passed without ever putting it to a vote. How crazy is that?

If you were a member of Congress, would you seriously want to do something that seems more like a coup d'etat against the government of the United States of America rather than governing? Perhaps I over-react. The Washington Examiner describes the "Slaughter Solution" a bit differently, more a procedural rather than a substantive vote:

"Each bill that comes before the House for a vote on final passage must be given a rule that determines things like whether the minority would be able to offer amendments to it from the floor. In the Slaughter Solution, the rule would declare that the House "deems" the Senate version of Obamacare to have been passed by the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself."

What a lousy way to try to fool the American people! Could have Congress seriously turned this obnoxious? I would like to think that it's healthcare coming apart at the seams and not our Democracy. Luckily, if you would like to review how a bill becomes a law, we still still have an online resource on "How Our Laws are Made" from the Library of Congress. A Pdf of the document by John V. Sullivan, Parliamentarian of the 110th Congress, is included. Come to think of it, maybe you should download a copy to your hard drive just in case.

That's the House's bill hopper pictured above. I found it on a website on How a Bill Becomes a Law from the House Clerk. Designed for kids, it's a little more reader friendly than the pamphlet by John Sullivan.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Attorney General of Texas Questions Constitutionality of Health Care Legislation

Looks as if the Attorney General of Texas is ready to litigate over the proposed Health Care legislation in Washington, D. C. Apparently there are real Constitutional questions about the federal government's right to require the purchase of an item (i.e. insurance) as a condition of citizenship. The fact that insurance regulation has always been a privilege of the states, and that Congress apparently plans to invoke the Interstate Commerce Clause in its quest for power over US citizens, might be why we are hearing so much about selling insurance over state lines.

Happily, Howard Dean recognizes that, according to The Hill Blog, "Passing the healthcare proposals before Congress will 'hang out to dry' every Democratic incumbent running for reelection this fall." While several commenters to the post think that it would be a bully idea to rid the Congress permanently of those bearing the Democrat brand, we disagree; the people are best served through a Congress that has diversity of opinion.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dan Seals Campaign Too Boring for Words

Today I was going to write about Dan Seals, the perpetual Congressional Candidate from Illinois' 10th Congressional District who lives in the nearby 9th Congressional District, but I decided against it. Seals has run for office so many times that writing about the latest revelations in his possible campaign shakeup or his tainted political contributions is about as exciting as clearing the leftovers from the back of the refrigerator, a task that occupied me for some minutes last night. Seals has spent so many years as a professional Congressional candidate that he now has lived in the area for almost long enough to escape the carpetbagger label which he so richly deserved in his first campaign.

Why Dan Seals thinks he can capably represent people in a community to which he has no roots nor ties is a glowing testament to the effectiveness of our nation's schools to give all children high self-esteem. So today you won't be hearing about Dan Seals, no, because everthing about him--until he pulls off another one of his signature frat-boy stunts--is yesterday's news.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Spring is Just Around the Corner

So yesterday thought I would go check on how the snow crocus were doing; after all it has been a pretty warm winter. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be seen, not even the shoots where the snow has melted away. In a couple of days I will go look harder. Unfortunately, nothing as hopeful as these.