Friday, September 28, 2007

Bush Family Values Make Sense. . . In Bizarro World!

Sometimes I just don't understand what is wrong with George Bush. He certainly claims to be a pro-family, anti-spending, small government conservative, practically the second coming of Ronald Reagan. But while spouting these values, he often does something in diametrical opposition. It's as if he was beamed here from the mythical D.C. Comics alternate Universe, Bizarro World.

Point and case, the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate, across party lines, felt that this is an important enough program, to not only put forth a bill to continue it, but also to expand it. The recipients of this expansion would be the nine million or so children whose families are too poor to afford private health insurance, but who make too much to qualify for Medicare. Sounds reasonable, right? Help families to keep their children healthy. America's future. Who could be against that?

Well . . .

The President's response: "The proposal congressional leaders are pushing would raise taxes on working Americans and would raise spending by $35 to $50 billion. . . Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage."


What the President doesn't mention is that the "tax increase" comes from cigarettes and is essentially a usage tax. The implication that it raises taxes on "working Americans" is dubious. And since we're looking at costs to "working Americans," he fails to mention that the World Health Organization estimates the annual cost of smoking to the U.S. economy to be $76 billion. I wonder what kind of burden THAT puts on "working Americans"?

Equally mystifying is the fact that the President offers no plan as to how he will move uninsured children to private health coverage. It's nice to have the goal, but how's he going to get it done? In other words, Congress is offering a plan that will cover millions of uninsured children, Mr. Bush is offering a goal of moving them to private insurance at some future date.

Hmmm. . . Which to pick? Which to pick?

The final insult is that while the President talks a good game about finance and taxes talk is all it is. His administration, after all, has presided over the largest deficit in the history of the United States. This by the way came on the heels of inheriting the highest SURPLUS in the history of the U.S. And it's not as though the President has been shy about spending when it suits his needs. His 2008 budget request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to be $200 billion! If we can spend $200 billion for the war effort and not even get our money's worth, is $35 billion for the kids so outrageous?

Apparently in the confines of the Bizarro World Bush White House, it is.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Memo To Mattel: Go Play With Yourself

It seems this past summer that you couldn't open up a newspaper, turn on the TV, or visit an on-line news site without finding a story about the recall of some product made in the "Peoples" Republic of China. So significant is the problem that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, put this notice on their website:

"The increasing number of voluntary recalls of imported consumer products manufactured in China is of serious concern to the Commission. It is essential to the Commission’s success in reducing the risk of injury and death to American consumers that the Chinese government learn the identity of a manufacturer whose product presents a significant risk of injury associated with such product."

A search of the CPSC website reveals that of the 60 products recalled since August 1, a whopping 63% (39) were manufactured in China.

Of these, over 60% are products made for children!

They include:

  • Simplicity Cribs
  • Novara Afterburner Trailer Bicycles
  • IT400 Iced Tea Makers
  • Cook’s Essentials Convection Ovens with Pull-Out Rotisserie and Deni Convection Ovens with Rotisserie
  • "Avant Yarde" Decorative Glaze Outdoor Candles
  • Ohalee FA-A70 Youth ATVs
  • Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys
  • Geo Trax Locomotive Toys
  • Barbie Accessory Toys
  • Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases
  • B&F System Emergency Tool Kits
  • “Aloha Breeze” Portable Electric Heaters
  • Zippity Hoodie and Sherpa Full Zip Children’s Hooded Sweatshirts with Drawstrings
  • Gerber EAB (Exchange-A-Blade) Pocket Knives
  • Paramount Apparel Toddler and Youth Nylon Bucket Hats
  • Oregon Scientific Weather Radios
  • Wal-Mart Ceramic Oil Torch Lamps
  • Wolverine Logger Boots
  • Robbie Ducky™ Kids Watering Cans
  • Priddy "Trucks" Shaker Teether Books
  • SpongeBob SquarePants™ Address Books and Journals
  • Thomas and Friends, Curious George and Other Spinning Tops and Tin Pails
  • Children’s Divine Inspiration Charm Bracelets
  • TOBY & ME Jewelry Sets
  • Hampton Direct Magnetic Toy Train Sets
  • Classic Beauty Rest Electric Warming Throws
  • Mattel Polly Pocket dolls
  • Doggie Day Care™ play sets
  • Barbie and Tanner™ play sets
  • “Sarge” die cast toy cars
  • Batman™ and One Piece™ magnetic action figure sets
  • Formation Inc. Coca-Cola® Themed Drinking Glasses
  • Toshiba Notebook Computer Batteries
  • Garden Treasures Cloud 9 Beyond Chairs
  • Basic Blindz® Window Blinds
  • Stuffed Plush Horse/Pillows and Fairy Dolls
  • 2007 Raleigh Cadent Bicycles with Carbonage Carbon Forks
  • Fisher-Price Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children's toys

    The number of poorly made products from China seems to be exploding, which brings me to the point of this particular post:

    What in the hell was Thomas A. Debrowski of Mattel thinking when he apologized to Chinese product safety chief Li Changjiang?

    Said the Mattel VP: "Our reputation has been damaged lately by these recalls and Mattel takes full responsibility for these recalls and apologizes personally to you, the Chinese people, and all of our customers who received the toys."

    Don't get me wrong, an apology on the part of Mattel is certainly appropriate. But not to the Chinese government!

    China's inconsistent regulations, poor safety standards and questionable business practises have led to these problems and they bear a large share of the responsibility for fixing them. Apologising to them is a bit like a robbery victim apologising to his mugger. "Oops, sorry that all I had was a pocket full of loose change when you got me. Hope this didn't damage your standing in the robber community."

    It's a ridiculous and shameless attempt by Mattel to curry good will from the Chinese government so that they can continue to expolit the CHEAP labour force.

    To make it right, Mattel should issue the following statement:

    "To the Chinese people, we apologise for infusing capital into a governmental system that denies you the basic liberties that we ourselves enjoy. To the American people we apologize to you for valuing profit more than quality which led us to export many jobs overseas and do business with shoddy manufacturers."

    If you agree, take an action and let them know. E-mail Mattel.
    If you want to go even further, stop buying products made in China.
  • Friday, September 21, 2007

    Republican Senators Walk Off The Cliff . . . Again.

    Sometimes having a majority means squat and the United States Senate is a perfect example. Three very important issues faced this body, this past week and in spite of strong public support, the Republican minority was able to kill them. In some cases, by only four votes.

    The issues were:

    • A bill that would have allowed military detainees the right to protest their detention in federal court.

    • An amendment to a defense bill that would have required troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    • A bill that would have brought the majority of troops stationed in Iraq home within 9 months.

    It seems as if there's a wrong side of an issue to be on, most Republican Senator's will line up to be on it.

    Afterall, why should a foriegn detainee have access to the same legal rights that we enjoy? And is Iraq really so terrible that our troops need time away from it? Afterall, it's sunny and hot. How many Americans would love to have fun in the sun during a cold bitter winter?

    It's ridiculous, of course.

    But once again, instead of doing what's in the best interest of our troops, or upholding a founding principle of our nation, they instead drink the Kool-Aid and line up behind a man who not only doesn't know that Nelson Mandela is alive but thinks that he was somehow associated with Iraq.

    The only thing missing from the Republicn schtick is a snappy, "Heil!"

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    His Coffers Runneth Over!

    George Bush is an amazing human being. Every time I think that he has reached the pinnacle of stupidity, he opens his mouth and behold, there's one more peak for him to ascend!

    In interviews granted to GQ reporter, Robert Draper, the President sketched out his plans following his term in office. It has been my long held belief that we will see Mr. Bush on the board of oil corporations, Haliburton, or other defense contractors soon after he departs the White House. Through record gas prices and numerous war related contracts, these institutions have flourished under his presidency. It seems only logical that they would repay the President in kind.

    But does Mr. Bush want that kind of retirement?

    Afterall, some former Presidents dedicate themselves to public service. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have done notable work in the aftermath of both the Asian Tsunami disaster and Hurricane Katrina. Jimmy Carter has built a legacy of service that eclipses his presidential accomplishments. These include; his work with Habitat For Humanity, human rights advocacy, and that little thing known as the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Carter provides proof positive that a less than successful president can still be a more than successful human being.

    So what grand aspirations does the current President Bush have?

    Let's hear from the man himself: "I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch,” he told Mr. Draper. “I'll give some speeches, to replenish the ol' coffers, I don't know what my dad gets - it's more than 50-75 (thousand)”and "Clinton's making a lot of money".

    Apparently the $20,000,000 or so that he currently has is not enough.

    Mr. Bush’s cronies have gotten exceedingly rich during his term in office. They have done it through plum contracts and through thievery. They have done it through an administration that regularly turns a blind eye to price gouging. They have often done it at the expense of the people whom they were supposed to be serving, especially the very troops that our President so professes to care about.

    So if it's riches that the President wants, there is no doubt in my mind that he shall have them in plenty. His buddies will have his back and his coffers will not only be refilled, they will overflow with riches. Yes, George Bush’s wish will come true. And it’s nice when that happens, because it’s inspiring. In fact, the next time that I see a shooting star or blow out the candles on my birthday cake, I’m going to close my eyes tight and wish for the following:

    That Lady Justice refills the coffers of Mr. Bush's ass, fully, with her foot.