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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Morning News and Views: Part III....Gingrich and Ryan on Sunday Talk Shows

The architect of the House Republican plan for overhauling Medicare says presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's
critical description of the proposal was deeply inaccurate and a gross mischaracterization. Last week Gingrich called Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal "right-wing social engineering." Gingrich took his words back a few days later after he was criticized by conservatives. Gingrich also called Ryan to apologize. Ryan, R-Wis., played down the flap when asked about it on NBC's "Meet the Press" and played up his proposal. It essentially calls for a voucher system to help older people buy insurance in the future. Many Democrats have rejected the proposal, and some Republicans have been wary of endorsing it. Ryan says it's time to move beyond the Gingrich comments and
focus on dealing with the nation's fiscal problems.

Newt Gingrich is not back peddling, nor is he at odds with Ryan, as much of the media is painting it, but softening his message and criticism of the Paul Ryan Republican Health Care Plan. He told CBS's Face the Nation that the changes proposed need to be vetted with the American people, who will oppose some of the aspects of the plan. He says it is a big plan that needs to be worked through with the American people and modify it, Gingrich does not support the current "my way r the highway" approach to politics, despite his own record when he was speaker of the house of presenting key issues that way. He says "all of us have wrestled with two problems", how do you maximize individuals liberties and still protect individuals from those who do not act in their interests. In other words, he is now against a mandate he once supported but feels that such a mandate may be needed at a state by state
level to assure the public health, should too many people opt out and fail to be insured at all. Defeating Obama Care, solving the budget and avoiding new taxes are what Gingrich says the American people want.

Gingrich feels that President Obama's speech on the Middle East is disastrous and immoral. He says there is no moral equivalence with Hamas a terrorist organization with the stated goal of the destruction of Israel. "A president who can't control his own boarder probably should not be lecturing Israel about its boarders." Gingrich would cut off all aid for Hammas and isolate it, including isolating Palestine as long as they support Hammas. "We need a fundamental reassessment of our policy in the region..." Christians are being driven out of Iraq, churches are being burned in Egypt,

Gingrich says he believes that the US is in the middle of a huge crisis, and that the United States needs to take action for our people. He says we are in a period where we face enormous choices on what sort of a country we want to me. He feels Obama has led the country is in wrong and a dangerous direction.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks says donors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates are sending an estimated $100 million annually to radical Islamic schools in Pakistan that back
militancy.The cable says the donations have been made "ostensibly with the direct support" of the Saudi
and Emirati governments. The schools target poor boys in southern Punjab province for indoctrination
and send some of them off to military training to fight against the Pakistani government and the West.
The cable was written in November 2008 and was based on local government and nongovernmental
sources. It was published Sunday by Dawn, one of Pakistan's most respected English-language
newspapers. Dawn received more than 4,000 such cables in a deal with WikiLeaks.

Louisiana is the fastest shrinking state in the nation, and if it were a country it would also rank first. Erosion of the Mississippi Delta due to land development near the coast and the 1930's designed system wide Mississippi River Delta Levey System have led to an erreversable change in the eco-system that used silt, mud and soil carried down river to constantly rebuild the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta. With a
re channeling of the silt, coastlines and farmland are not being replenished. The wetlands that blocked the impact of major storms, including hurricanes and tropical storms, have not only disappeared from the lack of replenishment,but  have been stripped away for man-made developments of housing, shipping and  resorts on the Gulf. Now add a city that is primarily below sea level, in an area that flooded frequently before man came along and built the port and trade towns of Galveston and New Orleans...

Iceland has closed its main international airport as a volcanic eruption sends a plume of ash, smoke and
steam 12 miles into the air. A spokeswoman says the ash plume covers Iceland, but is not heading
toward Europe. Instead, the ash is blowing west toward Greenland. The volcano, which lies under an
uninhabited glacier, began erupting yesterday for the first time since 2004. In April 2010, ash from
another Iceland volcano was blown toward Europe. Officials closed the continent's air space for
five days, fearing the ash could harm jet engines. Some 10 million travelers were stranded. Not only
is the cloud from Saturday's eruption blowing away from Europe, it is made up of a different type
of particulate which may or may not cause a major aviation problem outside of Iceland and Greenland.

NASA is trying to prepare the International Space Station for a very long time between space shuttle
type vehicle visits. There are things a shuttle can do that a simple transport capsule cannot. Today
spacewalking astronauts have topped off a leaky ammonia line but ran into trouble while trying to
lubricate a critical joint in the power system of the International Space Station. An astronaut lost a bolt
and got a washer stuck in a crevice. Mission Control told astronaut Mike Fincke he might have to settle
for a partial lube job. NASA wants to lubricate as much of the joint as possible to keep it functioning
properly in the years ahead without any shuttle visits. Ammonia is extremely hazardous, and the two
did their best to avoid contaminating their spacesuits while replenishing the system with about 5 pounds
of the substance. It was the second of four planned spacewalks during Endeavor's final trip to the
space station.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

For the first time since John F. Kennedy and "Irish" president is visiting the homeland. President Obama 
becomes the third US president to visit his ancestrial homeland of Ireland..and the 7th of Irish discent. 
The president's great great great Grandfather was from a small town, which has renamed their pub
after our president and given their city a fresh coat of paint for the occasion. 

The Obama administration was quick to back pro-democracy, anti-government demonstrators in places such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But critics complain of a double-standard when it comes to the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain. The government there has launched what one human rights workers calls a "reign of terror" against protesters, most of whom are from the majority Shiite community. Obama is setting the ground work for
what will be a new balance of power for the region, shifting away from the dictators, kings, Royal Families and
oil barons who have run the region for over a century toward what the US hopes will be trade friendly
democracies. In addition to Bahrain, which we need for our military and to protect the world's oil and
gas trade, Saudi Arabia is also not a bastion of democracy and the rights of the poor, women or minorities.

With the Federal Debt Ceiling passed, and measures being taken to avoid going beyond it for at least 
a few months before having to make cuts in the military, social security and key services, Republicans
are digging in, trying to force Democrats to make tough decisions that will cause Democrats votes in 
November of next year. This sort of constant election cycle and political brinkmanship is costing the US
our legitimate government, and according to experts like economic investor Jim Rogers, our place as
a leader into the next century, While other countries have much larger problems, we are wrangling
about being a "debtor nation" and cutting the services other countries take sacred or are adding 
for their population, every moment losing economic ground to China, India, Brazil and in the near 
future many nations in Africa. With North Africa and the Middle East becoming split on their views 
of the US and an anti-US fever being fired up by extremist and political "reformers" we may be in 
an even more precarious position for the 21st Century, yet Republican isolationist hold the line on
taxes, budget cuts, decrease in social services and other issues that will keep the US from competing
in a world market. It all seems to be about political power, control of the Senate, growing control of 
the House and then over a year and a half away, "re-taking" the White House. What happened to "we
the people?"

All the political rhetoric and grandstanding aside, we remain a great nation, with a declining but still 
internationally high and respected standard of living, freedoms most of the world (but not all as right
with activist prefer for you to think) can only dream of, religious freedom (despite a dominant overall 
Judeo-Christian faith), the largest and most advanced military in the history of the world and a pride born
of our youth). We tend to forget that as nations go we are very young with but a short less than two 
and a half century history.

On the BBC this morning a man kept repeating "we are Cajun and we will return, this is home, we are Cajun." This was not a foreign country, but residents of two states who are "down water" of the levees, in areas that are 
slowly flooding. As the Louisiana levee system keeps New Orleans and Baton Rouge dry, some cities are preparing to get wet. Water spilling out of the Mississippi River and into the Atchafalaya basin is starting to rise in more populated areas to the south. With a high water mark not coming until next week, residents have had plenty of time to prepare. Many feel that the water will not reach predicted levels and all say they will return.

Recovery is slow in Haiti, long after the earthquake fades from US memory.  A proud population who
ran their own business or worked hard for a living are now forced to take welfare, live in "temporary" 
housing and deal with disease and poverty worse than what the regions poorest nations suffered prior 
to the quake.

Critics of a "failed" bailout need to take note of Tuesday's milestone. Chrysler is going to repay about 
$7.5 billion in U.S. and Canadian government loans on Tuesday (May 24). With the repayment of 
those loans, Chrysler's image is starting to shine again.American jobs and an American Corporation
were saved in the bailouts that did not fail, and worked far faster than expected by economist, but the 
public was sold were failures due to the lack of impossible "instant" success. The bailouts worked. Now
Chrysler is working to appeal to a new type or patriotism, and an younger market. The ads with famous
rappers and the drawing attention to Detroit, as a way of selling "American" seems to be working. Of course
and Italian company, Fiat, owns a large stake of the company, and the market with the most sales is China and not the US.

Musicians Local 802 is protesting the show "Priscilla Queen Of The Desert" for its use of fewer 
musicians the the usual minimum required. The show is the first musical in Broadway history 
to use a prerecorded soundtrack that a small group of musicians accompany.A painful strike led to 
the current status quo of smaller orchestras, but implied was that for "bigger" sounds, more musicians 
would be used. Not true, and an issue worth fighting for for Broadway musicians.