Earth

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Newt: A Recent History

Courtesy orlandosentinel.com
Newt Gingrich first married his high school math teacher in 1962 when he was 19.  After 18 years of marriage, he cheated on his wife, and married the new woman after only 6 months after finalizing his divorce.  Then after 15 years spent married to his second wife, Gingrich cheated on her with a House of Representatives staffer, who was 23 years younger than him.  Shortly after his second divorce, Newt married his 2nd mistress, Callista Bisek in 2000.  In a 2011 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Gingrich said "There's no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate", saying his patriotism was the reason for his infidelity.

Newt Gingrich launched his campaign to gain the Republican nomination just a few weeks ago, and already it has seen more than it's fair share of stumbles and bumbles.  Within the first week of his announcement to run, he was attacked by his own party for not supporting the Paul Ryan Kill Medicare Plan.  He called it "right-wing social engineering."  Then while on a weekly political news talk show, he was asked about his $250,000-$500,000 account with the jewelry company Tiffany & Co.  Gingrich is running on the "fiscal conservative and family values" ideal.

After taking a 2 week vacation in the Greek Isles, against the better judgment of his campaign staff, Gingrich returned to lean that his entire staff had quit.  The cruise reportedly costs at least $2,499 per person.  Let's see where this "campaign" leads. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Finally, A Weiner Story

Courtesy Wikimedia

After getting some feedback from some readers of this blog, I have decided to break my silence on this Weiner/Twitter issue.  If you haven't heard, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has been caught in a lie about his involvement with a few, 6, women via the online messaging service Twitter.  After about 10 days of providing some misleading information, Weiner eventually came clean and said that he had in fact sent the pictures of himself, and his body, to a few women in the past, most recently to a woman in Washington state.  Here are the pictures we know of so far:

Courtesy ethicalfailures
Courtesy rickey.org


Courtesy realtvcritics.com


Here's the interesting part of this whole story, in my opinion.  Rep. Weiner is a very loud voice when it comes to debating the issues he believes in.  He stands up for what is right.  He is a YouTube star, for speeches like this on health care:


What it comes down to is this.  Did Weiner break any laws?  As far as we know, the women he was conversing with are all of legal age, and were acting as consensual adults.  He hasn't used any campaign money to cover anything up, such as John Ensign or John Edwards.  What he did was morally wrong, not illegal.  Some Democrats have called for an investigation, which I am in favor of, but if the findings come back showing no laws were broken, I see no reason to ask for Weiner's resignation. 

Here is what I do have a problem with.  The blogger who broke this story is Andrew Breitbart.
Courtesy wikimedia
Breitbart is a ultra right-wing conservative blogger, who is no stranger to controversy.  He is responsible for posting the video that got Shirley Sherrod fired from the US Department of Agriculture for posting a clip of a speech she gave, that was taken out of context.  When all the dust settled, Sherrod was offered her job back.  Breitbart also was part of homophobic and racial slurs at a 2010 Tea Party convention.  Breitbart has said that he is keeping some more pictures as "insurance" in case Weiner doesn't cooperate.  That sounds like blackmail to me, and that is something I am totally against.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Australia Takes Stand Against Animal Cruelty

Courtesy grandin.com

In an almost unprecedented decision in this world run by the overwhelming "bottom line", the government of Australia has decided to suspend the export of live cattle to 11 slaughterhouses in Indonesia, on claims that those 11 companies have been treating the bovines inhumanely.  The allegations stem from a report, shown on ABC, showed animals being abused, and taking several minutes to die, after their throats had been cut. 

Some Australian politicians have called for a total ban on the exportation of cattle to Indonesia, which brings in about $320 million/ year.  In an attempt to keep the trade routes open, and the 30,000 head of cattle coming into his country each year, the head of animal welfare at Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry said "Animal welfare is a relatively new issue in Indonesia, and we're still developing regulations."

The claim made is that the animals are killed via "dhabiha", the Islamic method of slaughter which is supposed to consist of using a well sharpened knife, making swift deep incisions that cut the front of the throat, the carotid artery, wind pipe and jugular veins but leaves the spinal cord intact.  Here is the video as shown on Australian television.  I had to stop watching about half way through.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finding: War On Drugs is a Failure

Courtesy Global Commission on Drug Policy

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, which is a panel of 19 members including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, businessman Richard Branson, and former US Secretary General George Schultz, released a statement yesterday claiming the world's "War On Drugs" has been a failure.  Citing the practice of criminalizing drugs and incarcerating the users had "devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." 

An example of what to do, the commission says to replace the incarceration of non-violent drug users with health treatment services, and urged governments to consider legalizing marijuana and other illicit drugs, which would undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the security of citizens. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Americans Favor Cuts to Defense Before Medicare

If you have been living under a rock for the last 2 months, then maybe you haven't heard that the Republicans are supporting, en mass, the idea of cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits for people under the age of 55.  The creator of the budget proposal, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said the plan just needs a little more explanation, before Americans will understand it's full intention.  A poll published today shows that Americans feel that it should by a HUGE majority Medicare and Medicaid should have no reductions at all, and actually say that the defense budget should be minimized before health care.  See the poll here:
Courtesy Kaiser

The following three reasons are why the GOP budget will never be taken seriously, Daily Kos says.
• The Plan does not promise the same level of benefit that the current program does
• It fails to deal with the cost issue
• Medicare is a wildly popular program, amongst Democrats and Republicans

Whether or not you think that any reductions should be made in your current or future health care, do you think it would be right to keep receiving the benefits (if you are currently over 55) and to only make the huge cuts to those in your family under 55 years of age?  And why does Ryan say that his plan just needs more clarification?  Looking at the stat that shows 90% say Medicare should have little or no reductions, I don't think any amount of clarification would sway the views of 90% of Americans.