Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Weekly Rewind

You know why you’re here, so let’s just get right to it.

Heckle: to $4.109. That was the average price of a gallon of gasoline earlier this week, setting a new record. According to AAA, gas prices have risen 40 percent in the last year. We just keep getting screwed deeper and deeper, but at least the pace is slowed from a sprint to a stroll……it still hurts like hell.

Applaud: to avoiding a knee jerk reaction. The Congress voted to override President Bush’s veto of a Medicare bill aimed at forestalling an 11 percent cut in payments to doctors taking care of Medicare patients. The House voted 383 to 41 to override the veto, while the Senate voted 70 to 26. We need a long term solution to what will become a bigger problem and we need serious thoughts and discussions NOW.

Heckle: to lives cut down due to misguided thinking. Nine American soldiers died last Sunday , in the worst violence against Americans in Afghanistan in three years. The killings illustrated the growing threat of Taliban militants and their associates, who in recent months have made Afghanistan a far deadlier war zone for American-led forces than Iraq. Which once again points to the fact that our beef is with the Taliban, (which knows no country) and not the country of Iraq who we conveniently invaded. Our focus should not be on Iraq or even Afghanistan, but on the Taliban.

Applaud: to our troops bravery and determination. It was reported that the Taliban insurgents who attacked a remote American-run outpost near the Pakistan border on Sunday outnumbered allied forces almost three to one and some breached the NATO compound in a coordinated assault that took the defenders by surprise. The attackers were eventually “driven back in a pitched four-hour battle.” Once again, our focus should be on fighting the Taliban. Ours troops should be commended for their grit and determination in fighting back this overwhelming force.

Applaud: to waking up. On Wednesday, Pentagon leaders announced that a surge in forces in Afghanistan will occur “sooner rather than later.” The moves are expected to happen within weeks, as officials prepare to lower troop levels in Iraq. And I am sure for our troops already in Afghanistan, this cannot happen soon enough!

Heckle: to the fact we cannot be this blind. In Afghanistan, “the killing of civilians in foreign military airstrikes is shattering Afghans’ support for keeping international troops in their troubled land and driving angry young men into the arms of the Taliban.” A spokesperson for NATO explained, “There is a perception problem.” You think? We seem to have a big problem in this area of the world with people’s perceptions. Could it be that we truly suck in communicating our intentions and our purpose? And maybe the fact that we don’t seem to give a crap about the people who actually live there and are just trying to live their lives and take care of their families? Yeah it’s a possibility. This administration is not known for its communicative skills.

Heckle: to combining the church and state. The Bush administration is seeking to require “all recipients of aid under federal health programs to certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control.” The proposed rule would force hospitals, clinics and medical schools to sign “written certifications” as a prerequisite to getting federal funds. I’m sorry is the country being run by Americans or by the Vatican?

Heckle: to “remain calm, all is well”, yeah sure it is. Earlier this week, President Bush tried to calm consumers troubled by the economy, but his words had little effect. By the end of the day on Tuesday, the Dow had closed at its lowest level in two years, and the government reported that prices had jumped at their sharpest pace in 27 years. Sorry Mr. Bush, too little, way too late. Remember Kevin Bacon at the parade panic near the end of Animal House?

Heckle: to just plain criminal. According to internal Army documents, “shoddy electrical work” by private contractors at “American military facilities” in Iraq is causing more “deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged.” There were 283 fires between August 2006 through January 2007. What a surprise, the Pentagon not being honest and upfront about something as serious as this. Not only do our troops have to live with the fact that every time they go out on patrol they may not come back. They also have to worry that they may die taking a shower, or sleeping, or just relaxing back at base camp. There is no excuse for this and the companies responsible should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Be good, stay informed….later.

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