Saturday, October 31, 2009

Money Around the World October 31st , 2009

I decided to try something a little different today.  On days I don't share my opinions on events going on in our world, I thought I would think of ways to create links to a group of news events of the day.  Today it will be about financial, tomorrow it could be about politics, the next day could be about history.  I  will still post frequently, but wanted to create more material on a daily basis.  I hope you like it, comment on what you think.  

 Money News
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama for Gay Rights

Today, Barack Obama signed into law a bill that would
make any crimes of hate against gay and lesbian people a federal crime. The law was included in a 680 billion dollar defense spending bill, that will fund military operations for the next year.

Noting statistics that show that there have been over 77,000 hate crimes against gays and lesbians over the last 10 years, according to the FBI. Obama said that this was another step in the pursuit of equal rights for all people.

This law was originally introduced during the Bush administration, however Bush promised to veto any version of this bill if it approached his desk.  The religous right has a problem with this law because they feel that it may focus on prosecuting those who speak against gay rights in protest.  Authors of the law promise that this law does not focus on hate speech but on crimes that are violent and motivated by sexual preference.

Those who don't understand or believe in gay rights are no different than slave owners and white folk prior to the civil rights movement. They didn't want blacks to have equal rights because the whites felt they were superior. It is funny that the same group of people who are not accepting of gay rights are the same group of people who were very much against minority rights as well. I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. 100 years from now the the religious right wing crazies will be looked at the same way the KKK are today, pathetic, lame, and self absorbed.

In the end this is another small win for gay rights groups moving toward the goal of being completely recongnized by the federal government. Barack Obama showed today what it means to be truly inclusive to all Americans. Obviously, this is not the end game for gay rights in this country, but it is another step in the right direction for their ultimate equality.

Related Articles
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Laws against hate crimes passed

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Iron Lady" freed

Biljana Plavsic released today from prison

Another example of how weak the Europeans are when dealing with war criminals. Former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic was released from a Swedish prison today after serving only 6 years of an 11 year sentence. When she was in power she was considered every bit as ruthless as Slobodan Milosevic.

Plavsic was responsible for the driving out, torturing, and "liquidation" of many non Serbs during the war in Bosnia. In 2001 she was tried for war crimes which she admitted to, and pled down her sentence so she would only serve minimal time.

The former "Iron Lady"(that is what she was called because of her ruthlessness) is 79 years old. Even though she is at the end of her days, releasing a criminal of this magnitude shows the world that some acts of killing are alright and others you get the death penalty for. What this woman did was no less brutal than what Saddam Hussein did to his people, and yet she only gets 6 years in prison.

If the world is to send a strong message to countries who torture their people and have violent dictatorships, then leaders such as Plasvic need to be executed. Countries should show to the world that if you do not treat your people with civility and humanity that you will be tossed away like a rag doll yourself.

The weak response by the Swedish courts is a slap in the face of countries like the United States who fought to help end the brutal conditions in Bosnia in the 90's. The only reason this is not bigger news is because at this point we have bigger fish to fry.

We all need to remember, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. If we let people like this go after 6 years, I can almost promise you she won't be the last to torture their own. If this is the worlds response to evil, then evil might just stick around and play awhile.

Related Artlces
"Iron Lady" Freed from prison
The Bosnian War
Outrage over Release
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why is the CDC Donating H1N1 Vaccines?

Unless you have been living in a cave, you know that the swine flu has spread all over the world. Today, President Obama declared a national emergency to help fight the disease. This will allow hospital officials to more aggressively treat and vaccinate people from this disease. The illness that began last April in Mexico has now spread all over the world, and there are even some reports the virus has infected 1 in 5 US children and spreading like a wild fire.

Barack Obama declares a swine flu national emergency today

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicago needs better sex ed classes

A local Chicago high school definitely has some issues to work out. Robeson High School has 115 girls who are pregnant or already have children out of 800 girls. This of course in an inner city school, but their needs to be some kind of responsibility placed on the teachers, parents, and administrators. Obviously the sex education these kids are receiving is not getting through.

Here is the video of the sorry below. Leave a comment if you have any ideas on how Chicago, and for that matter, America can fix the issue of teen pregnancy.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big paycuts for wall street; are they justified?

It has been over a year since the United States government issued the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, or what most refer to as the bailout. Washington is coming out and saying that all the banks that received funds from the bailout last year have to severely cut their top executives pay this year. The top 25 executives at each of these companies need to slash their salaries up to 90%. Is this really justified? On the surface, of course it is. However, there is always more to every story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Should Pot be Legalized?

This week the Justice Department informed federal officials not to arrest people with prescriptions to medical marijuana or the doctors that prescribed it. This new ruling only applies to the 14 states that allow medical marijuana. Officials say it is a waste of their time to go after people who have gone through the proper channels to receive these drugs which can be very helpful to people in pain.

This move was made because of the change in administrations, but one can suggest that maybe our government is gradually loosening the strangle hold it has on this drug. Pot is a drug of course, but it is unlike any of the other illegal drug in our country. In fact some would argue that alcohol is far more destructive to a person than pot, and alcohol is legal. I haven't formed my opinion yet on whether pot should be legal. I know a few people who have used pot and the way they argue the point of legalizing it is very convincing. It is not a drug that kills you or makes you flip out and go crazy on people. It is not addictive and it is a drug that calms you down. It helps countless people who are in great pain everyday, and allows them to function without the side effects of many pain medications today.

Like I said, I am not firm on my opinion yet on legalizing it, but in the very least allowing people who have a medical need should be legalized nationwide. I have heard plenty of stories of people who have been in chronic pain that use pot to overcome it, and lead healthy and productive lives. Check out the video and let me know what you think about the issue.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Books and Things

How did we get in this Mess?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post in my other blog, Does learning about History have to be Boring? In the blog I discuss that the way history is taught in schools is why so many people find it to be boring, you should check it out. In the post I state that linking what happened in our past to what is currently happening in our lives would make history far more interesting to kids. Instead, children are taught random dates in history that they have no idea how those dates effect how, where, and why they are living today.

This got me thinking as to why we are in such a big mess regarding our health care issues. Throughout the last 100 years everything we have done as a nation has led to this current problem that we have. I can link very strongly that World War 1 caused the health care issue we are having today. You can go back and look at historical events from the 1910's and see how the United States reacted and thrived with certain events. Every new event that happened forced the American people and government to change their lives and pass certain laws that have led us to this debacle that we are in now.

June 28th, 1914, this is the date that started our health care issues. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria has been assassinated and WW one is about to begin. Germany declares war on Europe and there is a deadly war that lasts for 4 terrible years. Many believed that because of the new advances in weaponery that the war would be short and swift. The opposite happened, because of the advanced weapons, a trench warfare began that lasted most of the war. This long drawn out war devasted the land and forced the countries involved to spend endless amounts of money to supply the war. When the war was over Germany had lost. With the Treaty of Versailles Germany was forced to pay all the loses on both sides of the conflict.

This bankrupted Germany and causes a revolution that eventually started the National Socialist German Workers' Party and brought Adolf Hitler to power. On the economic side the repayments that Germany had to make were made with loans from France and the US, which in turn never got repayed and partially led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until 1941 and the start of World War two for the United Sates. Intially our government did little to help the american people during this crisis. It wasn't until 1933 that programs began to be put in place that eventually would help people in tough times and retirement. With social security , President Roosevelt helped protect people with basic needs. The way this program was set up in the 1930's helped contribute directly to the problems we have with our medical system today. Medicare which was added to the social security system in 1965 only added to the issues. There was something else completely however that is the main cause.

WW2 breaks out and is equally, if not more devastating than the first. The United States fights until 1945 and defeats both the Germans and the Japanese. When our soldiers returned they started families and expanded into America's heartland. The sudden rise in births is refered to as the baby boom. Child births from 1946-1964 rose rapidly and then tapered off after then. With the child births dropping after the boom there started a major influx of people who eventually needed coverage and those paying into it. Those baby boomers now are getting close to retirement and requiring more medical help. To accomodate this we need to expand our medical system rapidly, but we are running into many issues because of a shortage of doctors and rising medical costs. The baby boomers are requiring more help then we as a nation have the ability to provide. The children who came after 1964 are the ones who are charged with taking care of the baby boomers and paying for their retirement and medical care.

There is simply not enough people to provide for the boomers. If there is to be reform, it needs to focus on raising the age the people receive benefits. Since 1933 that is something our government has done very little about. The fact that in 1933 the average life span was 65, in 1965 it was 70, and today it is 78. Except for a 2 year increase to social security there has been no adjustment to when people receive benefits, even though they are living longer.

In the end we have promised so much to a group of people that is too big to accomadate. We have also not built up an infrastructure large enough to support this large influx of older Americans because until now we haven't needed it. Is there a solution to our health care system? See my other blog on why reform is not needed. I think there is a solution but it doesn't involve Washington providing health care. The solution involves people being responsible for themselves and getting our system caught up to the 21st century. Our system is setup very in effeciently. At a time when we need a system to accomadate more people, it is still running in the 20th century for a smaller number of people.

World War 1 caused us to have an enormous group of people today that need care. Every action in the world has a seperate but equal reaction, this is definitly true here. WW1 caused the great depression, the great depression brought about the social programs that we have today, WW2 led to the baby boom, and the baby boom has led to our current crisis. We are in a mess of our own doing. The question is, if we correct this problem, what problems will we create for future generations?

Related Articles
Life expectancy increase over the years
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Good to see Washington still has a Sense of Humor

Did anyone see the Jay Leno show last night? If you didn't, you should definitely check out this clip. All the ramblings going on in Washington right now with the health care debate raging, Jay decides to go there and play a skit on how even politicians can get along.

Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Steve Latourette of Ohio agreed to do the skit. Kucinich is a democrat and Latourette is a repulblican. Of course they differ strongly on the health care debate, but they do share something in common. They know how to step back from the seriousness of whats going on and make complete fools of themselves. Both agreed to do this skit that shows each other sitting in front of a TV with snuggies on, giving each other chamgpne, swinging each other on swings, and singing kumbaya.

This was a great skit that shows even politicians can have a sense of humor. When there are heated debates going on in Washington, its good to know our leaders can take a step back and laugh at their ridiculousness. Check out the video below.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine Not 100 % safe?

Is the new vaccine safe for you and your family? The politicians, doctors, and drug companies want you to believe it is. They believe if they get this vaccine out to the general public that it will slow the spread of the swine flu. The swine flu showed up from a pig farm in Mexico in April and spread like a wild fire from there. To date, it is estimated that over 400,000 people have been infected and 4500 people have died worldwide from swine flu according to WHO( World Health Organization). In the rush however, testing for this new vaccine has been very limited.

Swine flu was detected in April 2009 on the world stage. Now, it is October and there is already a vaccine in place to fight off this new strain of flu. Many people are very grateful that governments, companies, and scientists worked efficiently and fast to create this potential life saver. The question that is raised however is, did they create a safe vaccine? There have been may questions and concerns raised by the general public regarding the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, these concerns are justified. On average, the testing process for a new vaccine or medication is 15 to 20 years when done properly. This is quite a bit more than the 6 months it has been since the swine flu showed up.

The government and drug companies would never tell anyone that this vaccine was unsafe. No one would take it, and they would have spent the last 6 months wasting time. Think about it, why would the government tell us the vaccine was unsafe, regardless if it was or not. The general public is scared of this new disease and looking to the government for answers. The government says it has this solution, and for the most part people are alright with the governments response. There are others who are critics of this new vaccine. Jeffry John Aufderheide, of VacTruth says, "it's too early to be widely distributing the vaccine. The trials didn't even start until last week and they are already calling it safe. How are they able to say something is safe without testing it?".

That in fact is the truth of the H1N1 vaccine. It is based off the regular flu vaccine but the testing process for the new vaccine has really just started. To release it to public is the governments way to help control the hesteria that is starting to grip the nation over this flu. The reality is that this flu is no more dangerous than the regular flu. Many people are getting it but the death rate is similar to that of the seasonal flu. What 'is' unusual about the swine flu is its ability to transfer from one human to the next much more efficiently than the regular flu. Doctors who advise their patients against the vaccine are concerned about Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a condition that attacks the nervous system. This condition can be brought on by low levels of respiratory illnesses, which swine flu is. For most, the swine flu will be your regular flu, but the groups most at risk are people with respiratory issues. Swine flu attacks them the hardest. As you can see that creates a balancing act on who should actually receive the vaccine, if it is indeed safe. If you get the vaccine, you are essentially getting the virus in low doses. If you don't you could risk getting the full blown disease and be in real trouble.

The point of this article is to not scare people from getting the H1N1 vaccine. I have provided many informative links from this article so you can see the information yourself. I have 2 young children and am probably going to get them vaccinated. The point of this article is to make sure people do their homework first. Don't automatically assume that because the government and big drug companies say something that it is the way it is. There has been plenty of evidence in our past to suggest that the government says what it needs to accomplish its agenda. With the drug companies, they are always in it for one thing and one thing only, money. I won't go into it in this blog but Baxter, one of the main drug companies supplying the vaccine, had applied for the patient to this H1N1 vaccine a year before the outbreak. Just a little food for thought. Before you trust blindly what you are receiving and what you give your kids, look at the sources that are telling you it is safe. Not everything is what it seems when big money and big government are involved. Be safe and do your due diligence before deciding what is safe for you and your family.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is whats wrong with our health care system

I wasn't going to write anything today, but I wanted to highlight the major issue with our health care system. Denying a 4 month old baby health coverage is absolutely absurd. The boy was born at a reasonable 8 pounds 4 ounces. By 4 months this baby weighed in at 17 pounds and 25 inches which placed him in the 99th percentile. Sure this is a big baby, but to the point that insurance companies can deny him is not right in any way.

My son was 5 pounds 14 ounces, and by the time he was 4 months old he was 17 pounds. Now, he is actually under weight at age 5. The point is that insurance companies should not be able to determine off of very limited information who to give coverage to and not. Children all grow at different rates. Just because a baby is big at 4 months doesn't mean they will be big at 15 months. Babies grow so rapidly the first few months that the percentiles are very general and not a good indicator of future size in babies as young as this.

Children in no way shape or form should be denied coverage for whatever reason. This child should receive coverage none the less because of the new child health care bill. These are some of the changes that have been made by our government in the health care debate. Congress however wants to completely overall our system and get the government involved in providing health care, which is completely unnecessary, See my previous post. The government needs to set regulation in place that protects certain groups, such as children. They have done this with the child health care bill.

Our health care system definitely has a ways to go when insurance companies are allowed to deny coverage to a 4 month old baby. That's immoral, wrong, and to be honest, quite disturbing.

****UPDATE******** The insurance company, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, rescinded their denial of coverage. I guess they realized how stupid they were. Plus, I am sure all the bad press was not welcomed either.

Related Articles
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pelosi Sucks

I thought I would go a little lighter on this edition and direct everyone to a silly website. Pelosi is a random website that I found that highlights our lovable speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi.

Video Hosted at

I am not a huge fan of Pelosi, but I am not over the top against her either. I am not big on sites like these but it highlights what is wrong with someone like her being in such a powerful position. I disagree with many of her views on policies and I feel she needs to realize she is in America, not Europe. I think she forgets that sometimes.

I am an Independent, I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I can't stand the way Democrats have run things lately and it is so hard to trust Republicans. It seems like every Republican is out for himself and it seems like every Democrat wants to save everyone at the expense of everyone else. It really is ok to let some people suffer. By allowing people to not feel entitled, they discover their ability to suceed or fail when they try hard for something. When you're allowed to just fall back on the system why would you ever fight hard to make sure you become successful?

Pelosi is someone that should never hold a high office position. Just like George W. Bush or someone like him should not hold a high office position. The issue with both of these leaders is that they are far too polarizing. This is never a good thing when you are trying to get bills passed and bipartisanship in Washington. When you are a leader you need to be able to hear and understand both sides of any argument. If you are too far to the left or the right, in any debate, you fail to understand what the other side is even trying to accomplish. What comes of this are 2 sides that don't understand each other at all and can never come to an agreement. Funny, hasn't Washington been this way since 2000. Bush, who is as hard right as they come led the republicans, and Pelosi who is as hard left as they come has been leading the democrats.

The point of this is that our leaders need to be middle of the road, while our lower level congressmen need to be our hardcore liberals and conservatives. Congress would be far more effective if they did not have hardlined leaders who are unwilling to budge when it comes to debating these very important issues. When you have a leader who understands both sides of any argument you get a leader who is willing to negoiate with both sides. You get a leader who can introduce compromises without aleinating completely one side or the other.

This is precisly the reason Washington has become non-biparsian over the last decade. By having leaders who are hardliners at the top of your party, what you get are parties with no leaders at all. The purpose of a leader is to listen to all sides and pick out what is best from all sides. The leader is supposed to encourage those strenghts in their subordinates to help them thrive and excel. All Bush and Pelosi have done over these 10 years is encourage the poor decisions and attributes of their own parties while not listening to the quality legislation that may have been introduced by the opposite party.

What is missing in Washington D.C. are leaders who are willing to step back and see everyones morals, everyones values, and everyones strengths. Sometimes being a good leader means you need to put aside your beliefs and truely listen to all those who have a great idea. George Bush has his strengths as a politician but they are not as a leader. He is a down to earth person who communicated with his constituents very well. This why he was a good governor. He was aware of the concerns of the people of his state and knew how to run it to be successful. We all know that Texas is not the United States. You can't run a country like you do a state. To run a country, you need to not only think of your countrymen, but also how the rest of the world views your country men. Both are equally important, especially when talking about the most powerful nation in the world.

Just like Bush, Nancy Pelosi is a fine politician. I do believe she has many strengths that can be useful in Congess. She is a mother of five and has very strong values that have built up over her lifetime. She is not one who sways easily and would be best used as a pitbull to gather base support from her party on major issues. She is not however a leader; one who listens, learns, and gets the best out of those beneath her.

In a way Pelosi does suck, not at being a congress woman, but at being a leader. What is needed today, in times of great peril and economic stress, are great leaders not great congressmen.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Is Affirmative Action Good for Everyone?

Before I start I want to admit that I am an American white male. Many who read this may just write me off as being racist or unfair. Others will think I just don't understand the plight of minorities, but all I want in this world is equality for all mankind. I see affirmative action at this point doing exactly the opposite of what its original intentions were.

Affirmative action was started by President Kennedy under Executive Order No. 10925. The purpose of this was to ensure that when a person was considered for a government job that no one was denied by their color, religion, or gender but by their qualifications. This of course was a good idea, because everyone does deserve a fair shot at any position. If you are qualified to perform a duty and are able to function on a daily basis at that position, you have all the rights in the world regardless of who you pray to or what you look like. Of course in the 1960's this was easier said than done. Racism, was of course everywhere in our country, and forcing people all of a sudden to follow this directive by a President would not be taken lightly.

        In 1965 President Johnson took affirmative action to a whole other level with Executive_Order_11246 . This order forced any company doing work for the US federal government, with the government, or by the government to hire a certain percentage of employees of different races regardless of qualifications. This is where this program went completely hay wire. This was a good short term plan that should have gradually been scaled back into Kennedy's original plan. However, once you raise the bar you can't go back, especially when it comes to race relations.

      With Johnson's plan, it gives great opportunities to minorities, which I have no problem with in the short term. Minorities at that time had very little opportunity and they needed a jump start to get experience in important positions in society. The keyword to all of this is "short term". Long term, this program is no different than the inequalities that were placed upon minorities prior to the 1960's.

       What this program does is give people jobs because of their race, not because of their qualifications. Remember, under affirmative action, companies need to hire a certain percentage of people based on their race. If there are not enough qualified members from a certain race, it doesn't matter. That company still needs to hire based on those percentages. That leads to people who are unqualified in positions they don't deserve. While those who are qualified are out of a job.

        I want those who read this to take a minute and have that last paragraph sink in a little bit. Prior to the 60's, we will all agree that whites got jobs that they didn't deserve solely because they were white. Many of them were unqualified but got the job because of their race. How is that different from affirmative action? Its not.

        Today affirmative action is creating the same inequalities for white people that society created for minorities prior to the 1960's. Obviously there are still many issues regarding race in our country. At this point, the thought that your race can keep you from getting a job is not nearly what it was in the 1960's, at least not for minorities. There are many examples of people who are more than qualified for a position, but lose out because they are not the right race. There are many examples of companies not getting government contracts because they don't have the right mix of people who are racially diverse.

       As a white male I have no issues losing a position to a person of a different race if they are just as qualified for the position as I am. They worked just as hard and have the skills needed to do a job that is highly competitive. What is hard to swallow is when you lose the chance at a position solely because you are a certain race. When you're more than qualified and the best suited for the job, then you lose it because the company needs to hire someone of a different race. At this poin,t under this program it is doing exactly the opposite of what it was intended to do. Improve our country and give everyone equal opportunities.

      Affirmative action was an incredible program that was needed at a time of great social upheaval during the civil rights movement. Today however, it has run its course of need and fairness. In this world, where the most powerful man in it is African American, the field of opportunity has definitely grown for minorities. It is time now to make our country truly equal for everyone and scale back programs that only promote further inequality.

      I don't think affirmative action should be completely abolished. President Kennedy's version of the program is more in line with what the program should resemble, not President Johnson's. I want equality for everyone, but like 50 years ago when minorities were not getting a fair chance, now so too are whites under this program.

Related Articles
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'When Affirmative Action Was White' Ny Times
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

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The Power of Money on the World

There are many countries in this world. Within these countries there are systems that are controlled by politicians, and rules that are put in place by these politicians. However, the true ruler of any country is its currency. Whoever controls the money in the world controls the world. Look back at history and you will see that every major power has also been the financial power of the world.

Currencies of the World
Currencies of the world

Egypt was the most powerful nation in the world in the 3000 and 2000 millenia BC not because they had technology, but they controlled the money that flowed throughout the world with trade. With that money they were able to control their people and the technology they recieved.

Rome too had money, they use to build their military to unbelievable strength so no one could defeat them. Money was also Rome's down fall. Money corrupted the politicians and eroded the Empire from within.

England had wealth they used to explore the world and claim everything as there own. They allowed the people the conquered to live peacefully but made them pay taxes to fund their very large endeavors. Again, money was England's down fall. Over taxation forced the conquered to revolt world wide against them. One of the first was the next great power in the world, America

The United Sates is currently the most powerful nation in the world. We use our money to control the nations of this world into doing what we want them to do. It seems as though a shift is taking place and the United States is loosing its grip. The United States too will go down and money will play a large role. Just as the Romans became corrupted so to are the Americans.

Money, unfortunately is necessary in our world. It is how we trade and measure business activity. No country in the world has been able to strike that balance of being rich, living rich, and enjoying the position that money puts you in the world, on top.

Related Information
Currencies of the world
Exchange Rates
The History of Money

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