The Economist: Mitt Romney Frontrunner 2012

End-of-the-year political assessments shadow the arrival of the New Year such as Helen Thomas dogs Robert Gibbs.  Giving a nod to our man Mitt, The Economist dubs Mitt Romney the presidential frontrunner for the Republican nomination 2012:

• Dec 31st 2009 – The Economist | NEW YORK
WE ARE hours away from ringing in the new year, and most Americans will be happy to leave 2009 behind. Only 46% of respondents in our latest poll described 2009 as a good year, and the reasons are obvious: unemployment is hovering around 10%, whole cities are collapsing, America is still mired in two seemingly endless wars, and the threat of terrorism persists. So what of the politicians who are supposed to deal with these problems? How did they fare in 2009? “Not well” would be the obvious answer, but I’ve asked my colleagues to consider who (or what) were the biggest winners and losers of the year. Here’s what they had to say:

New York: In a year when the unemployment rate rose by nearly three percentage points, there can be few winners. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney earns points simply for not being Bobby Jindal, Mark Sanford, Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin, all of whom had missteps in 2009 (though Ms Palin could just as easily be called a winner  since her love/hate numbers seem to rise in tandem). It’s still some way off, but Mr. Romney now seems the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

 It’s a good start for the New Year!

The Long Road to 2010

It’s almost here.  And, what a long road it’s been.  Anticipating 2010 and the changes we hope to bring to American government sends spirits soaring as we prepare to roll up our sleeves and take back our country. 

With the current attention in the news given to fireworks in underpants (and rightly so), we turn to a different kind of fireworks… The kind that burst high in the night sky and send showers of glittery light to welcome the New Year. Let the celebration begin!

World Starts Ringing In New Year
Dec 31, 2009 1:00 pm US/Eastern 

Revelers around the world are ringing in the New Year, bidding farewell to a tough year and welcoming a new decade. The celebrations began in the South Pacific because of its proximity to the International Date Line.

In New Zealand, dance parties, bands and fireworks greeted 2010 in the main cities, and live entertainment was planned in many holiday spots, including the southern tourist spot of Queenstown. In the capital, Wellington, celebrations included a display by world unicycle games competitors.

Fireworks displays and partying were planned across Australia, where an expected 1.5 million New Year’s revelers pitched tents and opened picnic baskets in Sydney on Thursday to get one of the world’s biggest parties started – bidding farewell to a tough year and welcoming a new decade.

Preparations were under way across the world for pyrotechnics, parties and prayers in the final countdown to 2010, with far eastern points in Oceania and Asia the first to herald the end of the period dubbed “the Naughties.”

The mood of celebrations was tempered in some places by the effects of the financial downturn, which bit hard in 2009, sending economies into recession, causing millions to lose their jobs and home foreclosures to rise dramatically in some countries.

There were also reminders of threats and the fight against terrorism that during the decade led to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and rising militant violence in Pakistan.

The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia warned of a possible terrorist attack on the resort island of Bali on New Year’s Eve, citing information from the island’s governor. The email warning to U.S. citizens said predominantly Muslim Indonesia’s counterterrorism efforts have been partly successful in recent years, but violent extremists continue to pose a deadly threat.

Signs of a global economic recovery emerged late in 2009, but the year may be one that many people are glad to put behind them.

“I think 2010 will be a good year – you can never tell, but I think so,” said Marek Kiera, a Sydney property investor who watched interest rates tumble amid the global financial crisis.

Asia will be partying, too, though probably not as hard as most of Europe and the Americas. The world’s most populous nation, 1.3-billion-strong China, uses a different calendar that will mark the new year in February. Islamic nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan also use a different calendar.

In Beijing, President Hu Jintao was to make an end-of-year speech but no major celebratory events were planned.

Pyrotechnics displays were planned to illuminate Hong Kong’s crowded skyline, high-glitz parties were planned in Singapore and thousands were expected to gather at Indonesia’s national monument in the capital, Jakarta, for a fireworks show.

Millions of Japanese were to welcome the New Year by flocking to shrines to pray for good fortune in 2010.

In Tokyo, the Sensoji temple was draped with banners greeting the New Year in preparation for traditional New Year’s Day ceremonies when thousands of people pray for good fortune. Shoppers mobbed the city, stocking up on seafood and other items.

In Sydney, crowds defied grey skies and drizzling rain in the middle of summer to line parks and public places along the harbor. High-rise apartments with water views prepared for toney parties.

Sydney revelers were asked to wear something blue, the color chosen to match the fireworks show’s theme: Awaken the Spirit…In other cities such as Melbourne and Adelaide, revelers sweltered in 100-degree heat.

In Turkey, Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler said authorities were deploying around 2,000 police officers around Taksim Square to prevent pickpockets and the molestation of women that have marred New Year celebrations in the past. Some officers would be under cover, disguised as street vendors or “even in Santa Claus dress,” Guler said.

Firecrackers were already exploding across the Netherlands early Thursday on the only day of the year the Dutch are allowed to set off fireworks.

Unlike countries like Australia, the vast majority of fireworks shows in the Netherlands are do-it-yourself affairs where families spill onto the street in front of their homes and light strings of fire crackers and other fireworks.

Many Dutch families also fire up their deep-fat frying pans on New Year’s Eve to cook the traditional treat of oliebollen – deep-fried balls of dough laced with raisins and dusted with icing sugar.

Some 1.5 million people lined the Sydney (Australia) harbor bridge and opera house for some of the most brilliant fireworks from a night of celebration across the globe.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. ~ Albert Einstein

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Scott Brown Could be our 41st Vote in the Senate!

Mitt Romney issued a fund raising letter on behalf of Scott Brown. Mitt has already endorsed Scott Brown and held at least one event on his behalf. If you aren’t familiar with the situation in Massachusetts, here’s the lowdown: When Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, state lawmakers changed the law so Governor Romney couldn’t appoint a senator should John Kerry win the Presidential election and his Senate seat become vacant. Once Romney left and it became apparent that Ted Kennedy was in his last days, state lawmakers and current MA Governor Deval Patrick scrambled to change the law again in a blatant political move to give the Democrats in the United States the 60th vote they’ve needed so badly.

With the election only 21 days away, we need to give Scott Brown as much support as we can. If Scott Brown wins, the Democrats lose their filibuster-proof majority and Republicans get the 41st vote they need so dearly to protect the country from the dangerous over-reaches of Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate.

Click Here to Contibute to Scott Brown for US Senate

Here is Mitt’s letter:

Dear Friend,

I hope you are enjoying the holidays and let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year!

This is going to be an exciting year politically. Republicans stand to make significant gains in Senate, House, and gubernatorial contests around the country. But before we get to the 2010 mid-term elections, there’s something brewing in Massachusetts.

A special election to replace Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate will be held on January 19th. State Senator Scott Brown is running a determined campaign to make history by becoming the first Republican Senator from Massachusetts since Edward W. Brooke 30 years ago.

Scott’s election would shock the country and send a strong message that business as usual in Washington is coming to an end. He would bring badly-needed fiscal restraint to an out-of-control budget process that is adding trillions of dollars to our national debt.

If he is successful, Scott will be the crucial 41st vote against President Obama’s healthcare bill when it comes back to the Senate for final passage.

As Governor, I could always count on Scott’s vote in the Legislature in the fight against higher taxes and wasteful spending. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard and understands the importance of a strong national defense. He’s opposed to cap and trade, wants strict limits on spending and is in favor of broad-based tax cuts to get our economy moving.

I hope you will visit Scott’s website and consider helping him with a donation.

There are only 22 days left until the special election in Massachusetts. Wouldn’t it be nice to elect a fiscal conservative to Ted Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate?


Mitt Romney

Now, you may be asking yourself how a conservative Republican like Scott Brown who is loved by the Tea Party patriots could possibly win in liberal Massachusetts. First of all, remember that Mitt won a statewide election for governor in Massachusetts, so a true conservative can win. It just takes a candidate that is far superior to his opponent and a little bit of good fortune. As seen at Scott Brown Goes Viral, we may have a perfect storm on our hands to win this election and really send a message to Washington that business as usual is coming to an end. If the Democrats lose this seat, it will be such a bruising blow that I find it incomprehensible that they wouldn’t halt many of their more radical proposals.

So, here are some ways we can help:

1. We can support Scott Brown on his social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube listed at

2. We can donate to his campaign and/or sign up for his January 11th moneybomb at Red Invades Blue Moneybomb

3. We can forward this post to as many other people as we can.

Scott Brown’s website has even more ways to help. With your help, we can remind Washington that they work for us!

UPDATE: Veterans for Scott Brown

“Radical Islamic terrorists are this century’s darkest nightmare. My opponent, Martha Coakley and I have very different views on how to approach this threat. When dealing with terrorists our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop these terrorists – not lawyers to defend them. The Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation and its citizens. They do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime.” ~ Senator Scott Brown, Lieutenant Colonel MA Army National Guard (30 yrs)

Happy New Year from Scott Brown, daughters Arianna and Ayla

Support Scott Brown by joining the Brown Brigade and the mobile campaign by texting BROWN to 68398.

The Christmas Spirit, UPDATE: Mitt & Ann Romney Christmas Photo 2009

I Am the Christmas Spirit

I enter the home of poverty,
causing pale-faced children to open their
eyes wide in pleased wonder.

I cause the miser’s clutched hand to relax,
and thus paint a bright spot on his soul.

I cause the aged to renew their youth
and to laugh in the glad old way.

I keep romance alive in the heart of childhood,
and brighten sleep with dreams woven of magic.

I cause eager feet to climb dark stairways
with filled baskets, leaving behind hearts
amazed at the goodness of the world.

I cause the prodigal to pause a moment on his wild,
wasteful way, and send to anxious loved ones some little token
that releases glad tears –
tears which wash away the hard lines of sorrow.

I enter dark prison cells,
reminding scarred manhood of what might have been,
and pointing forward to good days yet to come.

I come softly into the still, white home of pain,
and lips that are too weak to speak
just tremble in silent, eloquent gratitude.

In a thousand ways I
cause the weary world to look up into the face of God
and for a little moment forget the things
that are small and wretched.

I am the Christmas Spirit.
~ Anonymous

Our final installment of The Twelve Days of Christmas comes wrapped with wishes for a very, Merry Christmas to you and yours! May your New Year be filled with  hope and happiness.

Animated Christmas card: Peace on Earth

The Nativity featuring Amy Grant singing Breath of Heaven:

Joy to the World sung by Third Day:

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. – Agnes M. Pharo

UPDATE – From left: Owen, Ann, Nash, Wyatt , Mitt, and Gracie on Christmas morning 12/25/09

A Santa Bag Full of News

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas Eve 2009 brings a Santa bag full of news: Senate Democrats voted to pass their version of Obamacare this morning which includes government funded abortion, Russia is developing a new generation of nuclear missiles, Ahmadinejad dismisses the West’s nuclear year-end deadline, Afghanistan suicide bomber kills eight people, slots casinos in malls may be the wave of the future, and delight of delights – top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will receive $ 6 million year-end bonuses.

Seems like the perfect time to pull out the lock box and stow away the cares of the world.

 Christmas Time

Put your problems on probation
Run your troubles off the track,
Throw your worries out the window
Get the monkeys off your back.
Silence all your inner critics
With your conscience make amends,
And allow yourself some happiness
It’s Christmas time again!
Call a truce with those who bother you
Let all the fighting cease,
Give your differences a breather
And declare a time of peace,
Don’t let angry feelings taint
The precious time you have to spend,
And allow yourself some happiness
It’s Christmas time again!
Like some cool refreshing water
Or a gentle summer breeze,
Like a fresh bouquet of flowers
Or the smell of autumn leaves,
It’s a banquet for the spirit
Filled with family, food and friends,
So allow yourself some happiness
It’s Christmas time again!
~ Bob Lazzar-Atwood.

Day 11 of Twelve Days of Christmas offers three Christmas Eve videos.  The first reminds us of a ‘little old elf- so lively and quick’ by the Swingle Singers.

Here is the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas:

The charm of the childhood Nativity Play is recalled as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra presents One December Bright and Clear.

Sarah McLachlan sings and strums a simple, sweet version of Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem.

Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever. ~ Bess Streeter Aldrich

For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home. ~ W. J. Tucker

Mitt Romney 2012 (unofficial) Store Delivers!

Items from Mitt 2012 Store!

With the Mitt Romney 2012 store ‘opening its doors’ just over a week ago, we’ve already enjoyed great feedback and some big purchases. One of our first customers, Tom of Michigan, expressed his satisfaction (via Facebook) upon receiving his Romney 2012 gifts right on time – just before Christmas!

Be sure to head on over to the Mitt 2012 Store and get in on the excitement!

*A reminder that our products are not ‘official’ nor are they endorsed by Mitt Romney or his PAC. Here is our official statement regarding sales generated through this site:

Click Here to Purchase!

Our products are not approved or endorsed by Mitt Romney or his Free and Strong America PAC in any way. We have designed, developed, and in most cases manufactured these products ourselves, which helps us keep our prices very low. We do not provide these products to make profits, but solely to promote Mitt Romney for President in 2012. All funds received through this store will be used to promote and develop this website. Owners, administrators and bloggers of this site are not financially compensated in any way for their time and efforts.

All of our products are proudly made in the USA. T-shirts are currently not available, but are coming next. We will use funds from sales to develop and inventory t-shirts when we are able.

Swept to Health Care Inflection Point

A peek under a corner of the political rug to see how we’ve been swept to our health care inflection point:

National Legal and Policy Center
By Peter Flaherty
Tue, December 22, 2009

Without sixty votes in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would not be able to invoke cloture, or cut off debate. Anything short of sixty would allow a filibuster and doom Obama’s health care plan. The present 60-vote majority is artificial, the result of undemocratic means. Consider how three of these votes came to be:

Roland Burris- Appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich just prior to his removal, Democratic leaders including Harry Reid pledged that he would never be seated. Barack Obama, along with other Democratic officials in Illinois, called for a special election to fill the seat. When it became apparent that a Republican could win, Obama and the others backed off from their request. Obama, Reid and the rest of the Democratic establishment eventually acquiesced to Burris’ appointment. The media was strangely uncritical of the sleaziest political deal of the decade.

Al Franken- After a legal battle and a selective recount, Democrat Al Franken was declared the winner over incumbent Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) by 312 votes. ACORN-endorsed Franken no doubt benefitted from the 43,000 new voters that ACORN and its affiliates claimed to have registered in Minnesota before the election. Even assuming only half of these people voted, and the level of fraud was only 2%, it is likely Franken would have lost. Of course, ACORN voter-registration fraud rates have been shown to be exponentially higher. For instance, of the 1.3 million new registrations generated by ACORN-affiliate Project Vote last year, 400,000 were thrown out.

Paul Kirk- His appointment to fill the remainder of Edward Kennedy’s term did not involve possible criminality, just crass politics and great hypocrisy. In 2004, the Massachusetts legislature took away the authority of the governor to fill Senate vacancies, to prevent then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, from appointing a Republican to fill the rest of Democrat John Kerry’s Senate term, should Kerry win the 2004 presidential election. The legislation was enacted over Romney’s veto. In September, the legislature restored the Governor’s appointment power, so that Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick could appoint Kirk.

Harry Reid’s bribery of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) with $300 million in Medicaid funding for Louisiana, and Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) with an exemption from his state’s share of increased Medicaid costs, is outrageous, but it is what happens once democratic norms are abandoned.

(Landrieu was first elected in 1996, likely as a result of voter fraud in a runoff election against Louisiana State Rep. Woody Jenkins, but that is another story.)

To Barack Obama and other proponents, government domination of health care is about politics. That is why they are so intent on passing a bill, even a bad one that will lead to short-term losses in the 2010 and 2012 elections. They know that once a sector of the economy comes under government control, it is difficult to turn it back. If one-sixth of the economy can be brought under control, political control will follow of those who depend on it for employment and medical treatment.

Thus, the toleration of smaller, corrupt steps have made possible a larger event — the enactment of Obama’s health care plan — that will distort and eventually destroy democratic self-governance.

*Update on Healthcare Stench

Get a whiff of this: Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) (not BOB Nelson) may have walked away with the sweetest Obamacare deal of all. Floridians enrolled in Medicare Advantage policies – roughly 800,000 senior citizens – will be allowed to stay in the program and be exempt from potential cuts in benefits. Policy holders in all other states will be subject to cuts. Estimates of the cost advantage for Floridians range from $25-30 billion. Bill Nelson’s deal dwarfs the deal Bob Nelson brokered. 

Speaking of Senator Bob Nelson, an overwhelming number of Nebraskans, including Governor Dave Heineman, are livid with the special deals Nelson cut for them. Calling the backlash a ‘firestorm,’ Gov Heineman is calling on Nelson to vote no on cloture.

The brazenness of the deal-makers and the deal-takers continues to emerge from under the rug.

It’s day TEN of our Twelve Days of Christmas. These two videos are for anyone affected by our bad economy, out of work, looking for work, struggling to make ends meet, facing other adversities such as sickness or loneliness, uncertain about our future, or frustrated about the current state of affairs in America.  Here is Broken Arrow singing I Want to Feel Christmas Like A Child.

Next, one of my favorites – John Williams’ Christmas Star.


It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself. ~ Charles Dickens

Christmas Spirit Alive in Baghdad

 Our Heroes
A hero isn’t someone with great speed or strength
Nor someone in great power
A hero is someone who stands up for the old; the small; the weak.
A hero is someone who defends those who can’t defend themselves.
A hero is someone willing to die for their country so that his friends, family, & neighbors can be free.
He does this willingly
Without thought & without regret
A hero is our Sons; Our Daughters
Our Fathers; Our Mothers
Our Husbands; Our Wives
Our Brothers; Our Sisters
Our Hero’s are our Soldiers

~ Stacy Smith

Oh, how the Christmas Spirit is alive and well in the deserts of Iraq…

Soldiers, Families Fund Iraqi Baby’s Surgery     
By Army Spc. Ruth McClary, Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Dec. 15, 2009

Army 1st Lt. Jason Hickman holds baby Noor Hassam Oudah during a celebration in her honor, Dec. 9, 2009. (Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Defense)

U.S. soldiers, family members and friends have brought the gift of sight to an Iraqi baby born blind with congenital cataracts.

North Carolina National Guard soldiers of Troop C, 150th Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, were invited to a small celebration Dec. 9, hosted by the family of Noor Hassam Oudah – known as “Baby Nourah” — in appreciation for setting up and covering expenses for the baby’s Nov. 15 eye surgery, three days after her first birthday.

Though Nourah’s condition is reversible with surgery, the operation is out of reach for a family living in Baghdad. The city’s hospitals lack the facilities and physicians to perform the procedure.

“I was very pleased to be able to do something for this family,” said Army 1st Lt. Jason Hickman, a platoon leader. “They have been very hospitable. It has truly been a pleasure to be able to help Nourah. I was relieved and very pleased that everything fell into place, considering all the obstacles that we faced.”

Hickman said that if ever there were a more perfect example of divine intervention, it happened on a dark road about five months ago when a convoy made a wrong turn and ended up in Zwaynat, a small village southwest of Baghdad. Nourah was there visiting with her uncle, Muhameed Gharbi Sultan, who informed him of the baby’s plight.

“So there we were at a place we hadn’t intended on being,” said Hickman. “Wrong turn, perhaps, but that’s not how I see it. My interest and contacts with the Order of Saint John, the wrong turn, her being there with her uncle instead of with her parents in Baghdad — no, not a coincidence.”

The Order of St. John, accredited by the United Nations, provides first aid, health care and support services in more than 40 countries.

“I don’t believe in the traditional sense of the word ‘destiny,’ but I do believe that God puts people in certain places at certain times,” Hickman said. “Things don’t happen solely by coincidence. All you have to do is look for the road signs. The signs were clear, so I sent some e-mails, and that’s how we arrived here.”

Once Nourah was diagnosed, Hickman e-mailed St. John’s Jerusalem Eye Hospital, the main provider of eye care in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and a cause he has contributed to in the past.

Through contact with Ruth Ann Skaff, the U.S. executive director of the Priory of St John’s, Hickman was referred to Dr. Mehyar of the Khalidi Medical Center in Amman, Jordan, where the procedure was performed.

Hickman asked for donations from his fellow brigade soldiers, and e-mailed his family about the baby. Family members and friends from the West Virginia communities of Greenville, Belmont and St. Marys were the main contributors of the $5,000 needed to help Nourah.

From that point on, Hickman said, he was determined to help Nourah, and even in his darkest hour, he thought of her.

“Lieutenant Hickman’s father passed away as we were working out all the details for Nourah,” said Army Staff Sgt. Travers Brake of Elkins, W. Va., who took over the campaign while Hickman was on emergency leave. “He asked for the guys in the platoon to give donations to Nourah in lieu of sending flowers. Now that’s special.”

Many e-mails and meetings followed, and led to the celebration where Hickman, who didn’t get a good look at Nourah that first night, finally was able to hold her. Dressed in a plush, pink, puppy snowsuit with a yellow-and-pink hat and yellow-rimmed glasses, Nourah made her rounds at the celebration; oblivious to her stardom. She looked around, waved and stared at some of the people instrumental in giving her such a special gift.

Nourah’s paternal grandfather, Oudah Ghardi Sultan al-Jubori, said she has to go back for a check-up in a month and will have to wear glasses for five years — a small sacrifice for a lifetime of vision.

“We are very grateful to you,” Jubori said to Hickman and the other soldiers. He recalled a time when Iraqis and U.S. soldiers couldn’t sit and talk without wearing armored vest and helmets. “Now we are very close,” he said. “You should visit more. Please come back and visit before you go back to the states.”

Hickman, Brake and the elders of Nourah’s family shared a traditional Iraqi meal together, drank chai tea and talked late into the evening; laughing and joking like old-time acquaintances.

Since the operation, family members said, Nourah crawls, grabs for things and follows hands, fingers and objects placed in front of her. With her big, pouty cheeks and little cherry lips, she quietly absorbs her surroundings and responds at will.

“The Lord may not push you around the board like a pawn, but every now and again he puts you where he wants you,” Hickman said. “We were supposed to end up in Zwaynat that night. It was just up to us what we were going to do when we got there.”

The ninth Day of Christmas features two videos. Here is a special version of The Little Drummer Boy with Christmas greetings from our U.S. military:

A Medley of Christmas Music – Tribute to our awesome military:

“Heart is what makes the American soldier.” ~ SFC Barbara Ray

Send a message of support and love to our troops here.

Health Care Stench

The stench from Health Care bribes and favors offered to move Obamacare nearer to becoming the law of our land is wafting across America. Three particularly putrid elements involve Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Roland Burris, and Senator Harry Reid. Hold your noses – these stink!

The Dodd rot:

Health Bill Money For Hospital Sought By Dodd

The Associated Press – Sunday, December 20, 2009

 A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night.

The provision is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. Scattered throughout are numerous items sought by individual lawmakers, many of them directing money explicitly to programs or projects in their home states.

The one sought by Dodd provides $100 million for “a health care facility that provides research, inpatient tertiary care, or outpatient clinical services.” It must be affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in the United States “that contains a State’s sole public academic medical and dental school.”

 Read more here.

Fumes from Burris:

ACORN Qualifies for Funding in Senate Health Care Bill
By John McCormack
Monday, December 21, 2009

Senator Roland Burris is claiming credit for a provision in Harry Reid’s “manager’s amendment,” unveiled Saturday morning, that could funnel money to ACORN through the health care bill.

The provision he cites, found on pages 240 through 248 of the manager’s amendment, requires that six different agencies each establish an “Office of Minority Health.” The agencies are the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”

According to a Senate legislative aide, the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now could qualify for grants under this provision. ACORN would also qualify for funding on page 150 of the underlying Reid bill, which says that “community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups” may receive grants to “conduct public education activities to raise awareness of the availability of qualified health plans.”

Earlier this year, Congress passed and the president signed into law a ban on federal funding for ACORN, but a judge ruled that that law was unconstitutional. If a higher court reverses that ruling, ACORN may be prohibited from receiving funds through the Office of Minority Health earmark. But according to the Senate legislative aide, ACORN would still “absolutely” qualify for federal funding through the provision in the underlying Reid bill because the anti-ACORN appropriations amendment would not apply to funds provided through the health care exchanges.

Read more here.

Reek from Reid:

Reid Bill Says Future Congresses Cannot Repeal Parts of Reid Bill weblog     
By John McCormack
Monday, December 21, 2009

Senator Jim DeMint pointed out some rather astounding language in the Senate health care bill during floor remarks tonight. First, he noted that there are a number of changes to Senate rules in the bill–and it’s supposed to take a 2/3 vote to change the rules. And then he pointed out that the Reid bill declares on page 1020 that the Independent Medicare Advisory Board cannot be repealed by future Congresses:

“There’s one provision that I found particularly troubling and it’s under Section C, titled ‘Limitations on Changes to this Subsection.’

And I quote — “It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” This is not legislation. It’s not law. This is a rule change. It’s a pretty big deal. We will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law.

I’m not even sure that it’s constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. I don’t see why the majority party wouldn’t put this in every bill. If you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates.

I mean, we want to bind future congresses. This goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules – to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future congresses.

Emphasis added by editor.

Read more here.

Video: DeMint Challenges Democrat Harry Reid

The confiscation of taxpayer money to revarnish tainted politicians, the obfuscation to guarantee ACORN not only survives – but thrives, and the utter gall to sneak laws into legislation that intend to make those very laws irreversible is evidence of how deep the decay in our democracy is. Who knows what else will seep out this malodorous bill?

Capitol Hill has become a dung heap of corruption. All the air freshener in the world can’t clear the air in Washington. It’s time to disinfect.

Kill the bill! Go here to sign the petition TODAY.

Mr. President, What’s The Rush?

Mitt Romney wrote an Op-Ed piece for USA Today explaining his Massachusetts health care plan (published July 30th, 2009). The majority of Americans want health care and health insurance reform, but don’t want socialized medicine – a national insurance program or universal health care. Americans don’t want to pay for freeloaders who foist their medical care bills onto others, either. If you’re human, you aren’t going to escape this life without getting sick. So, where are the answers?

With minutes ticking away before Obamacare is on the table for a final vote, will Obama heed any call to come up for air long enough to see how much and how many loathe this particular piece of disastrous legislation?

*Editor note: Although published last summer, Romney’s article is a reminder of the mishandling by the Obama administration of the health care issue. Here is Romney’s common sense article in its entirety:

Because of President Obama’s frantic approach, health care has run off the rails. For the sake of 47 million uninsured Americans, we need to get it back on track.

Health care cannot be handled the same way as the stimulus and cap-and-trade bills. With those, the president stuck to the old style of lawmaking: He threw in every special favor imaginable, ground it up and crammed it through a partisan Democratic Congress. Health care is simply too important to the economy, to employment and to America’s families to be larded up and rushed through on an artificial deadline. There’s a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it.

No other state has made as much progress in covering their uninsured as Massachusetts. The bill that made it happen wasn’t a rush job. Shortly after becoming governor, I worked in a bipartisan fashion with Democrats to insure all our citizens. It took almost two years to find a solution. When we did, it passed the 200-member legislature with only two dissenting votes. It had the support of the business community, the hospital sector and insurers. For health care reform to succeed in Washington, the president must finally do what he promised during the campaign: Work with Republicans as well as Democrats.

Massachusetts also proved that you don’t need government insurance. Our citizens purchase private, free-market medical insurance. There is no “public option.” With more than 1,300 health insurance companies, a federal government insurance company isn’t necessary. It would inevitably lead to massive taxpayer subsidies, to lobbyist-inspired coverage mandates and to the liberals’ dream: a European-style single-payer system. To find common ground with skeptical Republicans and conservative Democrats, the president will have to jettison left-wing ideology for practicality and dump the public option.

The cost issue

Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar. Second, we helped pay for our new program by ending an old one — something government should do more often. The federal government sends an estimated $42 billion to hospitals that care for the poor: Use those funds instead to help the poor buy private insurance, as we did.

When our bill passed three years ago, the legislature projected that our program would cost $725 million in 2009. At $723 million, next year’s forecast is pretty much on target. When you calculate all the savings, including that from the free hospital care we eliminated, the net cost to the state is approximately $350 million. The watchdog Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that our program’s cost is “relatively modest” and “well within initial projections.”

And if subsidies and coverages are reined in, as I’ve suggested, the Massachusetts program could actually break even. One thing is certain: The president must insist on a program that doesn’t add to our spending burden. We simply cannot afford another trillion-dollar mistake.

The Massachusetts reform aimed at getting virtually all our citizens insured. In that, it worked: 98% of our citizens are insured, 440,000 previously uninsured are covered and almost half of those purchased insurance on their own, with no subsidy. But overall, health care inflation has continued its relentless rise. Here is where the federal government can do something we could not: Take steps to stop or slow medical inflation.

At the core of our health cost problem is an incentive problem. Patients don’t care what treatments cost once they pass the deductible. And providers are paid more when they do more; they are paid for quantity, not quality. We will tame runaway costs only when we change incentives. We might do what some countries have done: Require patients to pay a portion of their bill, except for certain conditions. And providers could be paid an annual fixed fee for the primary care of an individual and a separate fixed fee for the treatment of a specific condition. These approaches have far more promise than the usual bromides of electronic medical records, transparency and pay-for-performance, helpful though they will be.

Try a business-like analysis

I spent most of my career in the private sector. When well-managed businesses considered a major change of some kind, they engaged in extensive analysis, brought in outside experts, exhaustively evaluated every alternative, built consensus among those who would be affected and then moved ahead. Health care is many times bigger than all the companies in the Dow Jones combined. And the president is rushing changes that dwarf what any business I know has faced.

Republicans are not the party of “no” when it comes to health care reform. This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state’s citizens. Other Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Bob Bennett and John McCain, among others, have proposed their own plans. Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves.

I like this reader’s comment on Romney’s article (USA Today):
Why is it that the people who did everything right and hit hard times are forced to share the “safety net” with an army of deadbeats, drug addicts and people who aren’t even legally in the country? If we could sift the responsible people who hit bad luck from the losers, we could help them without even missing the money.

Health care is so expensive these days, an out of work person sees a large bill. You can keep blaming greedy insurance companies, but the costs aren’t just there. Doctors practice defensive medicine to protect themselves from ambulance chasers, and charge it to the insurance company with no objection from the patient. But congress won’t even consider changes there. And congress doesn’t mind donating free insurance to people illegally in the country. How much is that? And how much will it be in 20 more years, since they have no concern for border security? And how much medicare fraud goes uninvestigated?

Rather than examine the flaws and fraud and money leaks, they want to turn the system upside down. They are long on promises, and short on previous successes.

I know things aren’t good, especially in a recession. I want changes too. Being afraid of an untried solution recommended by people with a long record of failure is not the same as not wanting change.

Romney is right. Take the time to get it right. You want us to bet our lives on this, and you haven’t got much of a track record.