Kentucky Rand Paul vs. Obamacare

Rand Paul from Kentucky was speaking recently about the new healthcare law some refer to as “Obamacare.” Like many Republicans, Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), is not a fan. Unlike many conservatives, the “tea party” sweetheart does not like the law because, he says, it reminds him of slavery.

“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to healthcare, you have to realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me…It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses,” Paul said, adding that there is “an implied use of force…If I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to healthcare, you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free healthcare would be…”

Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey

Veteran Vegetarian Beatle Paul McCartney, always outspoken about animal rights has been making noise in defense of the innocent monkeys used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in experiments to determine the effect of space travel on human beings.

Paul wrote in a letter to NASA:

“I believe NASA has the ingenuity to investigate the health effects of space travel without confining and experimenting on animals as was done in the old days. It would be terribly disappointing if in our zeal to explore new frontiers and to learn about the fascinating universe where we live we began to regress in our treatment of the animals with whom we share this planet.”

Now don’t get the mop head wrong. Sir Paul has always been a big proponent of space exploration, hence Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Knocking NASA is something new to the legend. In the past, Paul has even performed for the crew of STS-114 and even teamed up with NASA to broadcast Beatles music into outer space.

But when it comes to monkeys this Beatle is twisting and shouting over animal cruelty!

Time For Revolution

7:00 AM…Christmas Eve…Capitol Hill…Washington D.C….The Obama-era Health Care Reform stands its final test.
The 92-year-old Senator Robert Byrd, squinted his eyes and straightened his tie. “Mr. President,” he said, pointing his raises right hand at the dome ceiling, “This is for my friend Ted Kennedy. Aye!”

And so the $871 billion bill passed brilliantly through Senate on a 60-39 landslide margin.

The new bill will be merged in conference committee negotiations with the more extreme version which already slid through the House of Representatives on a taut 220-215 margin. The cross-Capitol negotiations will not involve the Republican Party.
The bill provides billions in subsidies for low and middle class Americans to purchase private insurance. All Americans would be required to be insured unless they can demonstrate that they cannot afford to do so.

Also, the bill will phase in over the next several years, insurance industry regulations. Under these new guidelines, beginning in 2014, insurers will not be allowed to deny customers due to preexisting conditions and will not be allowed to cap annual or lifetime benefits.

Insurers succeeded in stripping a public insurance option from the Senate bill that would have competed with private insurance. In the absence of a public option, state insurance commissioners will be charged with keeping insurers in line.

We here at are happy to hear this news and are cautiously hopeful that it is a new start that the Health Care in America continues to move in this positive direction.

Merry Christmas everybody…

One Way To Prevent Health Care Reform: Prevent Climate Control

It is becoming more and more clear, as the winter drudge rolls on, that Senate Republicans, amidst the endless days of health care reform fracas, will be able to deliver a knockout blow to another top Democratic agenda priority – that is the passing of a climate change bill in 2010.

Vindictive? Clearly. Though, not a shocker in a country where all is fear in love and politics.

US CongressWhile certain Dems remain neutral or undecided on both issues, making it easy for Republicans to stand aloof, John Kerry, one of the few Senate participators at Copenhagen pledges to do exactly what President Obama vowed at the conference:

“Not a chance in hell that after the president put American prestige on the line in Copenhagen that the Senate is going to give this issue anything less than a major push…This is big — big — bigger than any individual agenda. Big. The 111th Congress is not a one-trick pony incapable of tackling more than one big issue, and the cost of tackling climate change would only grow if the Senate got weak-kneed and kicked the can down the road. Not going to happen.”

For Those Who Don’t Give a Crap

Sometimes it takes a little retro-active research to complete the picture. I do not know how we here at missed this, but as a note for next year, we’ll stick it in now. November 19th was World Toilet Day.

sewageOn this day we remind ourselves that 2.5 billion people around the globe do not have access to a toilet – one of those home appliances that we all too often take shamefully for granted. According to the World Toilet Organization (WTO), poor sanitation kills 1.8 million people a year, mostly children and due to diarrhea diseases.

In 2005 President George W. Bush signed into law the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, which makes a strategic focus for U.S. foreign aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene. In the last fiscal year of 2008-2009, Congress earmarked $300 million to support these projects. So your tax dollars do work towards solving this international crisis.

According to a Center for Strategic & International Studies September 2009 report on “Enhancing U.S. Leadership on Drinking Water and Sanitation,” 61% of Americans put improved access to safe drinking water at the head of the list of issues.

So fear not, your money isn’t going to waste – it’s going to waste management – human waste management!

Enjoy this vid…

Some Trying to Save Nature Others Trying to Save Face

On Wednesday, Google Inc. launched a new feature in its Google Earth Web site, which is designed to let Californians see the risks of climate change. The feature is called CalAdapt and it illustrates the workings of warming temperatures, rising sea levels, precipitation shifts and the impact which intense wildfires have on the environment.

ArnoldThe state of California partnered with Google on the program – and it was part of a 200-page state report explaining how California should prepare for climate change.

Google unveiled the new interactive tool in San Francisco as part of a climate change conference with the Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger. Three years ago Schwarzenneger signed a state global warming law which requires the slashing of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

In related news, House Republicans on Wednesday, in the first Capitol Hill addressing of “Climate Gate”, read aloud excerpts from at least eight of the uncovered e-mails, which are at the heart of the international scientist scandal.

The Final Spelunk of John Jones

26-year-old John Jones died last Thursday after being stuck for nearly 28 hours in Nutty Putty Cave, a popular spelunking site to the south of Salt Lake City. Jones was a medical student, husband and the father of a 13-month-old girl.
Nutty Putty Cave is a formidable 1,500 foot cave which outdoor enthusiasts began exploring in the 1960’s. It took a team of 50 rescue workers, using drilling equipment, rope and a pulley system to try and free the young extreme sportsmen. The 6-foot-tall, 190-pound Jones was stuck with his head at an angle below his feet, in an L-shaped area of the cave called “Bob’s Push”. The crevice is on 18 inches wide and 10 inches high.

Cave Rescue DeathAt one point during the struggle, the rescue workers moved him 12 feet out of the crevice, far enough to give him some food and water, but he slipped back into the spot when an anchor in the cave roof which was supporting the pulley system gave out.
Search and rescue workers had successfully pulled two different people from the same spot in the 1,500-foot-long cave during the same week in 2004.

The cave will remain closed to spelunkers until a final decision is reached about its future. Nutty Putty Cave is privately owned by Utah’s State Institutional Trust Land Administration. Those who wish to explore it need to make reservations in advance and acquire an access pass, which is contingent upon one’s caving experience or the presence of an experienced guide. Jones’ who was home with his wife and baby daughter for the holiday was exploring with a group of 11 people, including some of his four brothers.

Putin Proves That He Is A Real Tiger

In 2008 Vladimir Putin shot a five-year-old female tiger with a tranquilizer gun and helped put a transmitter around her neck. The transmitter allowed people to follow the animal’s perusing through Russia’s Far East.

siberian tigerOn Wednesday Vladimir Krever of the World Wildlife Fund said that the satellite tracking devise has been silent since mid-September; which could be due to battery failure, a broken collar or poachers.

Sadly tigers are becoming an endangered species in the far-eastern region of Russia due to factors such as poaching and the loss of habitat. Since 1997, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, their number has declined by 40%. They said that only 56 tigers have been spotted in an area of 9,000 square miles (24,000 square kilometers), which is about one-sixth of their known habitat in Russia. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates the total number remaining in the wild as 300. A similar estimate in 2005 put the number of tigers left in Siberia at 500. These numbers show that the animal could be facing extinction.

Here’s why these tigers are endangered:

Chinese poachers have begun attaching explosives covered with animal fat to tree branches. When tigers or Amur leopards swallow the bait, it explodes in their mouths. The poachers use the animals for hides and bones, prized in traditional Chinese medicine.

Another factor which plays a huge role in Russia’s disappearing wildlife is illegal deforestation in the country’s Far East.
Siberian tigers can weigh up to 600 pounds (272 kilograms) – they are also known as Ussuri, Amur or Manchurian tigers. They prey on wild boars, deer and bears.

At one time, the Siberian tigers freely roamed most of Eurasia, from the Black Sea to Central Asia – however now they are limited to the forests of Far Eastern Russian and the Chinese province of Manchuria. In china the killing of a Siberian tiger is punishable by death.

The Russian government is currently planning to hold a conference regarding the conservation of wildlife, namely the tiger.

Illegal Soup for the Soul

Sometimes you’ve just got to do more organically than Western society would want you to. No, I don’t mean nutritionally. I mean spontaneously, without bureaucracy and licensing and legal prep. Organic has so many meanings…and this is the abridged story of Kirsten Hoppe, who organically sells organic soup. Illegally. In San Francisco. (Yes, some things actually are illegal there.)

KristinWho knew that selling soup was illegal? Technically, it is, if you don’t have the FDA licenses and permits to do so. Kristen Hoppe is one of the main San Francisco soup criminals around today. She distributes it on a cart her husband built for her, part of the network of what is known as The Magic Curry Cart, a sort of black market soup operation. With new carts sprouting up weekly, this could become a serious underground business.

Hoppe sells organic winter squash, apple, ginger, and coconut soup. She tucks her cash in her bra in case the police come to shut down her operation at any given time. Why is it so popular? For one, if you don’t have to spend money on acquiring food licenses, you don’t have to raise your costs. So yes, unlicensed food is a lot cheaper. You’ve just got to trust the sellers that their soup isn’t E. Coli infested or anything.

Hoppe’s husband, the creator of her cart, says it this way, “There are rules to this game. Don’t block the street, and get your money out of sight.”

For Hoppe, though, it’s not about the money. She’s a certified nutritionist, named one of the top 5 in the Bay Area. She has no need for extra cash at the moment. She’s just doing it because she likes to. For her it’s more about providing something to the community. That something is organic food and nutrition.