Having read some of the budget proposals, I recommend this article from the HR Pilot Online by Bob Lewis.
To highlight a few thoughts, it looks like the new Republican Governor wants to eliminate the weakest from society.
McDonnell wants to cut $730 million in state support to local schools from kindergarten through high school.
also recommends nearly $300 million in cuts to Health and Human Resources programs, the legislative summary says. Some of those programs are a lifeline to the state's poorest residents.
eliminating general fund support for nine programs outright, including $1.2 million for homeless assistance programs, $700,000 for domestic violence services, $4.8 million in child support supplements and $3.6 million for the state Healthy Families initiative.
I'd like to take a moment to wander away from the stressful situation in Congress regarding the most contentious issues of the day. Let's take a look at people outside of the contiguous 48 states, but not just those who enjoy statehood.
The US Virgin Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands
These five places are presently US Territories. They are allowed a non-voting observer in the House of Representatives. During Presidential elections, they enjoy no electoral votes. Their presence in the American political system is token at best.
I believe this article at HuffPo by Joseph Palermo is important commentary about the state of our nation. I normally would not do this; however, in this case, the article is posted here in full for your convenience. Any highlights are my own additions.
Obama is expected to announce Tuesday night that something like 30,000 additional troops will be sent to Afghanistan. He will also be expected to set out a timeline, ask NATO allies for another 10,000 troops, and set benchmarks for the Afghan government tied directly to US aid. The troop increase is expected to bring the total number of combat forces in country up to roughly 100,000 from roughly 70,000. If NATO troops increases occur, they'll jump from 36,000 to 46,000 combat troops.
If you would like to look at some basic graphs of this information and more, you can view them at the NY Times through this finely crafted link.
While debating the merits of various programs to be deployed in the next election cycle, one point became abundantly clear to me: your local campaign office has not advanced... ever. If you have ever seen some of those campy 1960s television shows that featured how some product or life in general would be different in the future, then you know exactly where I am going with this topic. We are at a point where we managed to pull off an amazing win in 2008 but only one year later failed horribly in maintaining momentum. We have to find a magic formula of goals and ideas to maintain momentum because there is no vacation from politics in Virginia.
I hate to use the term nationalism as it frequently conjures up images of 1933 Germany and the jackbooted march to war and terror. However, nationalism, or perhaps the lighter synonym in this case, Americanism, is a trait claimed by those on the right who actively seek to tear apart our nation and government. I will not say that the government does not have excesses nor shall I suggest that reforms and overhauls are not needed across the board. What I will say is that taking a very narrow view of American history is no excuse to try to destroy the framework we have built for governance in the modern world.
In the age of terrorism, there are several things that I believe in in the sense that I did not entirely believe in them until about 8:30am 9/11/01:
In the near future, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM, if you will) will be tried for his alleged masterminding of the attacks on 9/11. Attorney General Eric Holder has come under considerable fire for deciding to try KSM and other terrorists in Federal court rather than relying on military commissions.
The 23rd Congressional District in New York voted in a Democrat for the first time in over a century.
Or so we thought.
Yes, according to NPR there is a good possibility that the race results will flop from the Independent Democrat Bill Owens to the Republican Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. How you ask? Well, it would appear that after another tabulation of the votes Owens' lead shrank from 5,335 votes to 3,026. The approximately 6,000 absentee ballots are still being counted. Since the were to be sent in when the race still included the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, there is a good chance that the effects of her endorsement of Owens will not be felt in the absentee ballots; therefore, the absentee votes will more than likely benefit Hoffman. The absentee ballots were largely comprised of military and out-of-town voters which presumably voted more conservative anyway.
So what is the nightmare scenario here? More behind the break.
As polls would suggest, Virginia is hopelessly lost for Democrats in the top three slots. Down-ballot voting might also be hindered by the lack of show for the heavy-hitters.
Polls can be misleading.
I am not one to say that the polls are accurate for this race but victory is now outside of the margin of error. Rather than focus on defeat or what was done wrong, let us look at what we can do RIGHT NOW.
There is always an abundance of speakers in democracies but with all the noise it can occasionally become difficult to hear the eloquent ones. The present ruckus to be heard across the country is difficult to put one's finger on because it is clearly not representative of the greater whole but there are also multiple reasons for each individual amongst the noise. We have a challenge as citizens not only to know when to speak up but also when to stop and listen. While I do my best to listen to opposing viewpoints, it can become too easy to yell louder.
This is a shameless promotion of a blog in which whose thoughts and advice I have always found the time to indulge. There exists two ladies named Margaret and Helen who communicate via blog about issues of the day. These ladies, clearly being from an early American mold, are tuned into the pulse of the nation and simply react to it.
I give you a single piece in particular to read as it is the most up to date piece as of this writing. I do suggest exploring the archives not only for your own amusement but because, much to my shock, these are real people. I would not have been to surprised if it turned out that this blog was not true to its word. However, as shocking as it may be, these ladies are for real and they speak so well on issues of the day, despite a seeming lack of eloquence.
Progressives, Liberals, Democrats, etc get a bad rap regularly for "progress for progress's sake." The usual line of attack from the opposition is that we shouldn't fix what is not broken or even if it if broken, we shouldn't use government to do it. Bologna, I say.
Government is THE tool for making change. Democracy is not necessary but is frequently the most likely form of government to move forward. Example: the USA. History in this country favors those who look ahead to brighter days.
Now I would be remiss in my political duties if I did not point out that the opposition is the "Party of No." Lately, I get the feeling it is a strong no with perhaps a hell included. God forbid bullets accompany such insanity. As this trend continues and proof of natural changes happening around us mounts, I have begun thinking if we will see change in the average American's temperament and political views.
In an article found here, Senator Lieberman suggests that the Health Care Reform Bill be scaled back a bit. In a few words, he mentions three fourths being more preferable. Honestly, I thought the goal was to reform health care and insurance not just some of it. Bills passed with loopholes are not solutions to problems. They end up just being minor annoyances.
From another perspective, when you give a mouse a cookie he'll want a glass of milk. You give three quarters and suddenly the deal is for three fifths. Three-fifths has not worked out so well for us. I am much more satisfied, like many others, with the full one over one. There be no fractions here. It'd be nice if this country could commit to solutions to domestic problems like we seem to do foreign wars.
As I watch the news come in regarding all the town hall meetings where Democrats are being harangued by supposed constituents, I have to wonder if the people behind it all realize what the backlash will be.
Republicans are using anger and fear tactics to intimidate public officials and shut down public discourse.
Think about that. Remind you of anything?
So does this mean that these Republicans no longer support a healthy democracy in this country? Democracy doesn't mean that you get to vote for people.
This Democratic primary was unusual to watch for me because it highlighted something that has been bothering me for a while. Candidates, in a certain phase of their campaign, grasp out for every endorsement they can get. It seems to serve as a sort of straw poll for who is more popular. It might even seem to indicate who is the front-runner for certain policies.
Creigh Deeds won the primary. He did it with a respectable but smaller list of endorsements, if my memory serves. If you looked at brochures, the list of endorsements for the other candidates always seemed huge. So what role did endorsements play in the primary?
Detroit's Big Three automakers have for decades been notoriously hostile to outside innovation; Flash of Genius and Tucker, films that decry the industry's insularity, are both based on true stories. No small US company has grown into a big carmaker in the past 50 years-one of the reasons that the automobile itself hasn't changed more fundamentally during that time."It's as if the computer industry were still dominated by Wang and Data General and DEC, and they were still selling minicomputers," says Henry Chesbrough, executive director at UC Berkeley's Center for Open Innovation.
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