You Are NOT Important!

Hey Mr and Mrs. Joe Public how does it feel to know that your life means NOTHING to Washington?  Sorry, but is it not TIME to get friggin’ angry?  Your life is turning to do-do and Washington is paying the CEOs to do business as usual.  Is it not time to get ANGRY!?

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson rejected using the government’s financial-rescue program as a “panacea” for economic difficulties, clashing with lawmakers who want the funds to help beleaguered homeowners.

“The rescue package was not intended to be an economic stimulus or an economic recovery package,” Paulson said in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. The Troubled Asset Relief Program was designed to stabilize financial markets and the flow of credit and “is not a panacea for all our economic difficulties.”

Barney Frank, who heads the House panel, cut off Paulson during the question-and-answer session, saying “the bill couldn’t have been clearer” in also being aimed at reducing foreclosures. Paulson told lawmakers he has no plans to use the second half of the $700 billion program, indicating it will be up to the incoming Obama administration to resolve the matter.

What do these people have to do before you want them to stop?  Get off your collective butts and write, call or email your representatives and senators and tell them that they will be up for re-election and you will remember their stands and actions in this time of crisis.  You CAN make a difference and you CAN influence them–JUST DO IT!

Carbon Foot Print Grows

The greenhouse gas emissions of 40 industrialized nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol treaty in 1997 have collectively dropped by an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels, the UN reported on Monday

Between 2000 and 2006 emissions actually rose by 2.3 percent, and it’s that recent trend that threatens to undo the previous decline and worries the UN’s climate chief, Yvo de Boer, ahead of the organization’s climate meeting in Poznan Poland next month.

The Kyoto Protocol was signed by 183 nations but rejected by President George W. Bush over concerns it would harm the economy of the U.S., which has been the world’s biggest emitter but is now rivaled by China.

Among industrialized nations, 16 are on target to meet their Kyoto obligations including France, the UK, Greece and Hungary, the UN said.

The UN report said 20 countries were lagging, including Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the biggest offender, Canada –its emissions rose by 21.3 percent since 1990.

The European countries that were responsible for the dip in emissions in the early 1990’s, also saw their own rise emissions rise on average by 7.4 percent of 1990 levels between 2000 and 2006.

The three nations — among the world’s largest polluters — have not taken part in efforts under the Kyoto Protocol.

The U.S. refused to ratify the treaty, largely because Bush said it would cost the U.S. economy some 5 million jobs and he believed that rapidly developing economies such as India and China should also have to face climate obligations.

But Obama’s green plan would create 5 million jobs….thinking….I do not like it when numbers match precisely in politics…..makes me very suspicious.

Horses To Get A Stay Of Execution

As reported in the Washinton Post:

Madeleine Pickens, the wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who this week offered to rescue more than 30,000 wild horses kept in federal holding pens, said yesterday that she wants to create a permanent retirement ranch for the horses and burros that could be open to the public.

A key to her plan, she said, is federal tax credits to help attract donors. Pickens said she met last week with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss the proposal, which animal rights advocates have long promoted as an incentive for encouraging private individuals to adopt wild horses.

Half of the nation’s wild horse population is in Nevada, and Pickens said Reid told her that he has been concerned about the issue for 25 years. Jon Summers, a spokesman for Reid, said the senator was intrigued by the proposal but did not commit to it.

Bureau officials reluctantly began to consider exercising a legal but controversial option: euthanasia. Their focus was on about 2,000 unwanted horses that had not been adopted despite several tries.

Pickens, a racehorse breeder and lifelong animal lover, said she was horrified when she learned about the problem. “There’s got to be a way to bypass them — why does it have to be Washington to solve the problem?” said Pickens, who, along with her husband, airlifted 800 cats and dogs stranded by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and brought them to California for adoption.

Wheew!  That was too close for comfort.

Putin For President

A series of constitutional changes that critics allege are meant to consolidate one-party rule and perhaps pave the way for Vladimir Putin’s early return to the presidency are set to pass the Kremlin-dominated State Duma early this week.

In a stunning demonstration of the Kremlin’s control over Russia’s political process, the first-ever amendments to the country’s 1993 constitution were suggested by President Dmitry Medvedev in a Nov. 5 speech, then crammed through their first reading in the Duma on Friday.

The measures, which passed by 86 percent of the votes in the lower house of parliament, will extend a president’s term in office from four years to six, prolong terms of Duma deputies from four years to five, and require the government – for the first time – to report on its work annually to parliament. Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said the final two readings are set for Tuesday.

Following that, the bill will be sent to the Kremlin-controlled upper house for the needed three-quarters approval. Since the vast majority of Russia’s 81 regional legislatures are dominated by the United Russia party led by Mr. Putin, the required endorsement of two-thirds of them also seems likely

Mr. Medvedev argued that the current four-year presidential term is too brief for one man to master the complexities of leading a huge country like Russia. In an interview last week he insisted that the new rules will apply starting with his successor, who is due to be elected in 2012.

Putin, speaking to journalists last week, said the amendments had “no personal dimension” and were intended to “foster the development of democracy.”

But critics say the muscular haste with which the changes are being pushed through belies routine explanation. Some recall the stage-managed Kremlin operation that vaulted Putin’s handpicked successor, Medvedev, into the presidency with himself as prime minister last year. They warn that a similar power play may be in motion.

Geez!  This guy is a work of art.

A New Alcohol Tax?

A study suggests that raising state taxes on alcohol may be much more effective in lowering the risk of premature death from alcohol-related diseases than anti-alcohol media campaigns.

The study published in the online January edition of the American Journal of Public Health showed that in Alaska, two raises in alcohol taxes reduced the death risk by 29 percent and 11 percent and saved about 40 people a year.

The study was meant to examine the impact of increased taxes on alcoholic beverages on risk of death from alcohol-related diseases.

The researchers analyzed U.S. National Center for Health Statistics data from 1976 through 2004.   Particularly interesting were the data from the state of Alaska which the researchers noticed had raised its tax on beer twice from 46 cents per gallon to 63 cents in 1983 and to $1.20 per gallon in 2002.

Specifically, the researchers found that the tax increase

in 1983 resulted in a reduction of 29 percent drop in mortality every year or about 23 deaths per year after the new tax law was imposed and the tax increase in 2002 led to another 11 percent decrease or another 21 deaths per year.

Alcohol consumption leads to serious injuries and accidents.   But diseases resulting from alcohol consumption alone kill an estimated 85,000 people in the United States each year.

High taxes are not optional if the states intend to reduce risk of premature deaths from alcohol.   Other methods to reduce the death risk are no match for high taxes, according to the authors.

The alcohol industry doesn’t agree.  “A broad tax increase on alcohol would not target the problem drinker, but simply condemn those who drink responsibly and enjoy wine and spirits,” Craig Wolf, CEO and President of Wine and Spirits Wholesale of America was quoted as saying.

Harry Wile, executive director of the American Beverage Licensees was cited by as saying historical evidence shows that raising the alcohol tax would negatively impact economy and diminish returns for the government.

There is your answer to controlling what people do –raise taxes!

Gulf War Syndrome Is Real

Ya think!  And it only took them 15+ years to come to this decision. To call it Pathetic is being kind.

A congressionally mandated scientific panel has concluded that Gulf War syndrome is real and still afflicts nearly a quarter of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 conflict, according to a report released Monday.

The report broke with most earlier studies by concluding that two chemical exposures were direct causes of the disorder: the drug pyridostigmine bromide, given to troops to protect against nerve gas, and pesticides that were widely used — and often overused — to protect against sand flies and other pests
The report bolstered the hopes of thousands of U.S. and allied veterans who have struggled to have their varied neurological symptoms, including memory loss, concentration problems, rashes and widespread pain, recognized by the government.

The new report is the product of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, which was chartered by Congress because many members thought that veterans were not receiving adequate care. On the 15-member committee appointed in 2002, scientists made up about two-thirds and the rest were veterans.

Several reports had already been issued by the prestigious Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, blaming stress and other unknown causes for the soldiers’ symptoms.

The new report cites dozens of research studies that have identified “objective biological measures” that distinguish veterans with the illness from healthy controls.

The major causes of the disorder appear to be self-inflicted. Pyridostigmine bromide was given to as many as half of the troops in the fear that the Iraqis would unleash chemical warfare against them.

According to the report, at least 64 pesticides containing 37 active ingredients were used during the war. They were sprayed not only around living and dining areas, but also on tents and uniforms, White said.

There was less evidence to support a link to the U.S. demolition of Iraqi munitions near Khamisiyah, which may have exposed about 100,000 troops to nerve gases stored at the facility, according to the panel.

The panel said it could not rule out a link between the illness and exposure to oil well fires and multiple vaccinations. But it could find no evidence linking it to depleted uranium shells, anthrax vaccine and infectious diseases.

In addition to increased rates of memory loss, fatigue and pain, Gulf War veterans have higher rates of brain cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the panel also noted.

It took Congress 15+ years to have this study…..but it takes them about a day to give themselves a pay hike…..priorities are not important to these parasites.