Politically Speaking, My Views on the Left the Right and Everywhere in Between

The Future of NASA

Posted in Issues by politicalily on April 18, 2010

With the Shuttle program set to come to an end and the national debt mounting  there are many question about the future of NASA. President Obama has proposed a plan that in a sense would delay the space program while the country tackles more pressing issues and then when the time is right we would begin space exploration again. President Obama’s plan would scrap the Constellation program that was set to takeover after the space shuttle retires and has U.S astronauts catching a ride to the ISS on Russian spacecrafts. While many people believe many jobs will be lost across the country with the elimination of the Constellation program the President has assured the county that certain aspects of his plan will counter those affects.. Under Obama’s plan an American manned flight would not take off for almost ten years and when it does it would be headed to the ultimate frontier; the moon then on to Mars, rather than the International Space Station.  President Obama’s plan has been controversial and criticized by space exploration heavyweights, such as Neil Armstrong, but I believe it is the right plan for our country and so does the second-man to walk on the moon, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, who backed the President’s plac. It is better to cut NASA funding rather than funding for unemployment benefits, social security and the likes. While I believe during good economic times we should pay attention to exploring space and making new discoveries I feel like those programs should be the first the be cut when our country is in a pinch because they are not vital to the health of our nation.

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Final Call for Healthcare Reform

Posted in Issues, The Left, The Right, U.S political news by politicalily on March 7, 2010

President Obama has once again put out a call for Congress to schedule a final vote on healthcare reform. While passing healthcare reform would provide excellent political capital for President Obama and the Democrats it would also be excellent for the American people. The cost of health insurance is sky-rocketing at an alarming rate.Nearly everyone has seen their premiums increase and neither the American people nor the President have been able to get a straight answer from the insurance companies as to why they are massively raising premiums-by as much as 60% percent in states like Illionois. It seems as the cost of insurance raises the amount of coverage that they provide moves in the opposite direction. Preventive care is often not covered by insurance, the cost of preventive procedures is miniscule compared to the cost, both literally and metaphorically of the operations and procedure that result from preventive action not being taken.Preventive measures not being covered by insurance companies results in people skipping regular screenings and exams only to find themselves falling seriously ill to disease and conditions that could easily of been preventive or spotted and treated before they become severe. The high-cost of medical care paired with the low coverage of insurance leaves millions of Americans vulnerable every year. The other problem in the health insurance industry lies with the lack of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Those who have a history of medical problems or are more likely to fall ill, the people who need insurance the most,  find themselves exposed without insurance or paying astronomically high prices for insurance, while those who are healthy and require little medical assistance are insured. This is a backwards system that takes advantage of this sick and a system like this should not exist in a country like the United States. If we do not pass healthcare and allow those with pre-existing conditions to gain access to insurance we would be abandoning our sick and disabled, something I believe no politician would promote, but by voting against healthcare they would actively be doing . Republicans have said that the Democrats are trying to push something down the throats of Americans that they do not want, the Republicans are clearly mistaken. The American people have seen the problems in our healthcare system and fall victim to greedy insurance companies every day. The mother who can’t afford glasses for her child and watches him and his grades in school suffer everyday, the children who watch their parents grow sick but refuse costly care so their kids can attend college, the husband who watches his ailing wife die because they couldn’t afford a life saving procedure, these Americans are demanding health care reform and so is nearly every other person in the country. People have always said that those in Washington D.C are out of touch with voters and this has never been so true  of any politician than those who vote against reforming our healthcare system.

The whole health insurance system is broken and requires serious fixing. If all members of congress cannot come together and pass reform they are letting their constituents down. By letting healthcare reform die and by letting insurance companies continue to take advantage of hard-working Americans legislatures would be failing those who trusted in them and elected them into office. President Obama has called for a final vote and the American people have called for reform, the only question left is whether our congressmen and women will listen and answer that call.

Awwwwww SNAP!

Posted in Issues, message to readers by politicalily on March 6, 2010

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides millions of American families with what we call food stamps. With the economy in the state that it is in, the number of families that would be eligible for food stamp assistance is increasing at an alarming rate. With this number rising it is time we take a harder look at SNAP and make sure all Americans that need help are getting it. An increase in funding for SNAP is not the answer. Instead what we need to do is reform our system so that it works more efficiently. The problems I am aiming to solve are the poor nutrition of food stamp recipients and the low number of food stamp eligible families that are actually receiving assistance. Food stamp recipients are forced to live on three dollars a day, that is a dollar a meal. Clearly, these people cannot afford to buy healthy food. Instead, they survive on boxed processed food that is generally unhealthy. This unhealthy diet leads to health problems latter on and because food stamp recipients generally live in poverty and are eligible for government assistance tax payers are paying for not only the unhealthy diet that leads to these people’s preventable health problems they are also paying for their health care. At first glance one would think the solution to this problem is to increase SNAP funding but what many U.S taxpayers don’t know is that the money needed to solve this problem is already in the system.
The money is there for 100% of eligible citizens to receive food stamp assistance, but nationally only 65% of eligible people receive food stamps. Food stamp distribution is not the responsibility of the Federal Government. The states get the funding for their SNAP programs from the Federal Government and it is then up to the state to distribute it. In some states as low as 48% of eligible citizens receive food stamps. Because the funding is there for 100% of eligible Americans to receive assistance the low participation rate leads to over 3 billion dollars left in the SNAP program at the end of the year.
The solution that I propose is a law that reforms SNAP. This law would require states to spend 90% of their SNAP funding each year. While some might say that this is impossible or that the Federal government is overstepping their boundaries I believe those few will be spread far and wide. States could increase the amount of money that they spend in one of two ways. The first way would be to increase the number of people that are eligible for food stamps that actually receive them. This would force states to increase their food stamp participation rate and more people would be receiving much needed assistance. The second way that states could spend their money would be to adjust the amount of assistance that each food stamp recipient receives. With a minimum of three dollars a day states would be free to raise the amount of money each participant gets. This would allow people to buy healthier foods and in turn be healthier people. The third and final provision in this law would prevent states form sending government jobs overseas. The state of Florida paid JP Morgan 50 million dollars to administer food stamps distribution and customer service jobs were outsourced to India. These jobs could have been held by food stamps recipients and allowed them to get off of government aid. This law is the best option to fix our broken food stamp program because it does not increase government spending, but instead uses funding that is already there to make our system work more efficiently and reach more people. With healthcare and the economy on the forefront of the American mind it might be challenging to make people see that our food stamp system needs fixing, but I believe if the American people are presented with the facts they will see that we cannot solve for the economy or healthcare until we fix our food stamp program.

If you want to help with the food stamp reform effort or have any comments or questions please contact me at: snap.reform@gmail.com

We will be organizing a letter writing campaign and petition in order to inform our congressmen of this huge and pressing problem and would truly value your participation.

A Harry Situation

Posted in Issues, Politicians, U.S political news by politicalily on January 12, 2010

If you haven’t heard about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s so-called “racist” comments you must have suffered a power outage that restricted your television, computer, and radio usage. If you have just regained power and rushed to read my blog, first of all, thank you, but more importantly here is a recap of today’s headlining event. In the new book “Game Change” Reid is quoted as saying Obama could succeed as a black candidate in part because of his light-skinned appearance… and speaking without a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Many Republicans believe this portrays Reid as a racist and have called for him to step down as Senate Majority Leader. In response to the outcry of disapproval Reid called many promenient African-Americans, including the President, and apologized for his comment. I do not believe Reid’s comment is even the slightest bit racist. There is clearly no malicious intent and Reid is showing support for the black candidate, Barack Obama, not trying to demean him. Reid’s voting record also shows that he has been supportive of civil rights and is in no way a closet racist as some in Washington may be. His comment is in no way racist, though he could have worded it better.

Inevitably, the Republicans have grabbed a hold of this new found “scandal” and absolutely refuse to let go. I imagine every right-wing politician, especially those running for senate seats in the 2010 election, feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Causing a commotion over Reid’s comment will greatly benefit Republicans. Drawing attention to Reid’s comment is like pouring salt in the Democrat’s wounds. The Republicans know that the Democrats face a tough election in 2010 and by shrouding the head Senate Democrat in controversy they are just kicking them while they are down. The Republican’s also know that by ushering this to the political forefront they have found the President’s achillies heel. President Obama has been reluctant to discuss race even as candidate Obama, but this has forced him to respond. I belive this could be a move by the Republicans to counter President Obama’s graceful response to the Christmas Day terror attacks that has his approval ratings on the rise, a slight rise, but any ascension is good. President Obama will have  to make a response and that could be a tricky situation because we all now race is a sticky issue. While this may be a smart move on the Republicans part I think it is petty and a low blow. The Republicans are being huge hypocrites and they know it.

As for the Republican’s call for Reid to resign, not going to happen. Reid shouldn’t step-down because the democrats, the ones he leads, are behind him. Sure he is probably going to lose his Senate seat, and therefore his position as Senate Majority Leader, but he shouldn’t step-down. Reid should keep going and not give up, unlike our good friend Sarah Palin who quit her job as Governor of Alaska, don’t even get me started on that!

Our Humble President

Posted in General, Issues, Politicians, U.S political news, World Political scandals by politicalily on January 8, 2010

Yesterday I, like may others, listened to President Obama’s speech regarding the failed Christmas Day terror attack. I thought it was an excellently written and well delivered speech, but that is what we’ve come to expect from our exceptionally eloquent president. I have been thinking about what he said and about what fragments of his 12 minute address I wanted to address. I’ve decided I wanted to write about his willingness to admit the mistakes that the government made. This attack is nothing compared to September, 11th, but I don’t remember President  Bush acknowledging that he was even somewhat at fault.. The President’s remark” Ultimately the buck stops with me” really hit home. A leader will be blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong whether or not it was actually their fault. President Obama took full responsibility for letting this happen even though there probably wasn’t much he personally could have done to prevent it. That takes courage and is quite honorable. And rather than saying that the system still worked fine he admitted things had gone wrong and that mistakes had been made at all levels. He said yes we made mistakes,but we will learn from those mistakes. Learning from your mistakes is the best thing that anyone can do and I am glad we have a leader who is willing to do just that.

Debating Afghansitan

Posted in Issues, U.S political news by politicalily on December 22, 2009

Recently President Obama announced he would send 30,00 troops to Afghanistan. I want to give a shout out to debate. The topic we are currently debating is the troop increase in Afghanistan. Debate is exponentially fun and teaches great life skills. I assure you the abilities you learn in Debate come in very handy almost everyday. Debate is without a doubt the best sport. Yes, debate is a sport.

Okay, enough about debate lets get back to Afghanistan. I am generally against war, but in this case I believe a troop increase is the best and only option. We obviously cannot keep the status quo as it is doing us no good and a troop withdrawl would be devastating. The only option left is too increase troops and that is what we are doing. We need to stop focusing our attention on wiping out the Taliban and Al Qaeda because they will simply go elsewhere and attack us from there. We need to put our money and manpower into helping the Afghani people become self sufficient. Once that happens people will stop turning to the Taliban for a good paying job. I think there needs to be five goals 1) Build hospitals and supply medical facilities 2)Build schools and improve the education system 3) Pave roads 4) Provide  farmers with  alternatives to growing poppies 5) Supply rural villages with electricity and water.

I think we need to especially focus on goal number 3, paving roads. If we pave the roads not only will it make delivering aid to villages easier, it will make the danger of IEDs moot. Think about it, you can’t plant an explosive in cement. Paving roads would save many civilian and American lives. Even Vice President Joe Biden agrees with me. When he was still only the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Biden stated “More troops are needed in Afghanistan,” he called for greater focus on basics like roads and power plus giving the military cash for quick projects like digging wells. Maybe my ideas aren’t so crazy. After all, the Vice President of the United States agrees with me. If we increase aid and focus our manpower on improving the lives of the people of Afghanistan I believe we can once and for all conquer terrorism in the region.

Finally, I want to address the political implications of President Obama’s decision. Barack Obama is one smart cookie! If you read my blog on compromise you’ll know I advise it. Well, Obama took my advice and compromised. He gave the Republicans a troop increase, but not as many as they wanted. And to the Democrats he gave a timeline, but said if necessary he would keep the troops there for longer. By combining the best of both party’s ideas he gave his country a plan we could all agree on. 58% of Democrats approve of his plan and so do 55% of Republicans. I applaud President Obama for reaching across the aisle and making a decision that makes everyone happy. President Obama’s plan is beautiful in terms of the political ramifications and will get the job done!

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Compromise is the Name of the Game

Posted in General, Issues by politicalily on December 22, 2009

With the healthcare bill working its way through the Senate there has been a whole lot of compromising going on and I think that is absolutely wonderful! Democrats will say that they are right and Republicans will say they are the ones that know the answer. In the end both parties are right. Democrats are right in the sense that they are right for helping people and accomplishing their party’s goals and Republicans are right in the sense that they are right for helping businesses and accomplishing the goals of their party. Everyone is right!

Of course, you aren’t going to get Democrats to admit that Republicans are right and Vice-Versa, but that doesn’t really matter as long as there is some bipartisan action going on. Democrats have had to give up certain things, such as the public option, to pass healthcare and many compromises have had to be made in order to sway congressmen to vote yea. Maybe this is a good thing. When compromises are made between the parties regarding healthcare or any other issues the American People are the ones who win. All of America is neither Left nor Right, most Americans would place themselves somewhere in the middle. When a bill is passed or a decision made that has both Republican and Democratic input it is more likely to suit the entire nation. When you combine Democrats looking out for people and Republicans looking out for business everyone has someone looking out for them. When compromises are made everyone gets something and everybody is happy. That is why compromise should always be the name of the game, at least in policy making!

Healthcare is Hurting my Mental Health!

Posted in Issues, U.S political news by politicalily on December 21, 2009

Whew! Thank God it is almost over! Once the healthcare bill is passed I believe everyone will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Wherever you stand on healthcare you’ve got to admit this has been one long and confusing process. I usually don’t have much of a problem understanding key issues, but I can’t lie healthcare has got me confuzzled. I strongly believe in universal healthcare, but I just don’t know if this bill is strong enough to accomplish that.

When President Obama was Candidate Obama his plan for healthcare sounded great! I’m not sure that it still does. He promised a public option, an expansion of medicare, and universal coverage. None of those things are present in the bill that is currently close to being passed in the Senate. The Democrats gave up the public option, I was very sad to see it go. I think that healthcare and health insurance should be a right. No person should suffer because they cannot afford medical help. I also don’t think companies should be able to capitalize on people’s health,the sky-high prices insurance companies charge should be criminal. The way that insurance companies treat their customers is appalling! Republicans have said that it will destroy the insurance industry if we have a government run public option, actually that isn’t so.

Lets take a second and think about the college industry. There are public colleges and there are private colleges. Just because there are public colleges doesn’t mean that private colleges are going out of business, far from it! Now lets revert back to the health insurance industry. Imagine if the government sold healthcare whose main goal was not to make a profit, but to insure as many Americans as possible. This would force the insurance industry to straighten up, charge reasonable rates, and treat their customers right. Would that really be so bad?

The Democrats have had to give up a lot for this bill to pass, and honestly I don’t understand why. With a majority in both houses and a Democratic president in office you would think the Democrats could push the healthcare bill through quickly with a public option and all, but a few sticklers have ruined it for everyone. President Obama has given up a lot to pass healthcare and the current bill is unrecognizable compared to the bill that was first introduced in the House. Honestly, I don’t blame those who want to kill the bill and start over. Just because Democrats have persuaded Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to break the filibuster and pass the bill doesn’t mean healthcare is home free. The House version will have to be reconciled with the Senate version in conference committee and go back to both houses for another vote. Who knows how long it will take the current healthcare bill to be passed and how watered down it will be when it is, but the one thing I can be sure of is that any step towards healthcare coverage for all is a good one!