Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is there an Echo in here . . .

The trusty freebie HaloScan has sold out and is now a pay service. Since I like the features that was Haloscan, I somewhat reluctantly decided to upgrade tot he new Echo Live. For only $10/year we'll see if it is worth it.

I have always prided myself in running a budget ship here based on a free blogger site and a nominal fee for my Domain name. As I look into 2010, and the future of Centrisity, I am now considering some monetization options and other enhancements. Thoughts, ideas, comments . . let me know.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Luke 2:8-14

He is born:
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Wishing you and yours the very best this Holiday Season and to a bright hopeful year to follow.

Flash and Family

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On The Cusp of Reform

Within a couple days, much needed health care reform will have finally made it through congress. Over 40 years in the making, strong leadership, common sense attitudes, and simple courage will make it happen.

The opponents can't decide what to do, one minute they are complaining the Left is rushing everything through, the next minute they are abusing Senatorial rules by nonsense like reading entire 700+ page amendments and delaying, stalling, obstructing. They have had their opportunities for debate, and have abused it at every turn!

One of those courageous senators was our own Sen. Al Franken. Following a significant loss of time due to the wasted reading of an amendments, other Senators needed to be more diligent with their remaining time. One of those Senators, Joe Lieberamn, wanted to extend his remarks, but it was not allowed. This is unusual, but not unusual enough considering the time that was wasted along the way by other opponents. And in typical fashion of the hypocrisy party, the one that squeaked the loudest, Sen McCain, was the one who set the precedent on the Senate floor just a few short years ago. See first he says this:
McCAIN: I’ve been around here 20-some years. First time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks. … I just haven’t seen it before myself.
But then we find out that back in October 2002 he said this:
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

Mr. DAYTON. I ask for unanimous consent that I have 30 seconds more to finish my remarks.

Mr. McCAIN. I object.
For all the folks that through the 'lie' work around, I hope the piled on this bold face doozy of their own!

Yet it gets better, the Right is out with the name calling, claiming the Democrats are 'flipping the bird' at the people. I think the people know better. They see the Right for who they are, a gaggle of cry babies having a last minute temper tantrum to dilute the great work that is being done.

Am I happy with this bill, no way. But I am pleased with provisions that made it in, and content with that fact that some didn't. I was never a big fan of the private option, but anyone who is committed to reform, as both sides of the aisle claim they are, a competitive option is needed to keep the fat cats in the Insurance industry in check.

This piece of legislation is not the end all, it is a stepping stone. With a year till the mid terms, Congress can now get down to other business. I am not worried about where numbers are at right now for a polling stand point. See, the economy is in recovery, Health Care reform is on the way, a much needed push in Afghanistan is being undertaken, and more and more promised and assurance by this historic administration are playing out. Its kind of refreshing when you vote for people and they actually do what you expect of them once they're in office. A pleasant change from the prior administration.


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Whole Famn Damily

With Sgt. Tom home for the Holidays, we had a chance at a complete family photo. So from left to right is the youngest, the Sgt., Me, the Lovely Mrs, the future airman and Doc.

I'll have some health care stuff later in the week, but for the most part, I will be laying low.

Have a beautiful and joyous Holiday Season!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Season Begins

So much going on, domestically, with kids and conferences along with Holiday Prep. Break doesn't start for us just yet. With the late Labor Day, we still have Monday and Tuesday next week, then the rest of the week, along with the following week, as our break.

Tonight I will get one of the best presents ever, a date night with my lovely bride. We'll have dinner downtown at our favorite haunt, and then, hopefully, a show . . or maybe just a moonlit walk down Nicollet, nothing in stone yet. The boys will be fine, we have something special planned for them as well . . . lets call it a special surprise!

More later . . .


UPDATE: The Special Surprise has arrived, Sgt. Tom is home for the weekend!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tribute to a Father

St. Paul City Council Member, Dave Thune, lost his father. He reminisces on the SPIF Forum:
Its funny how you can see yourself in your parents. As I think about the death of my father today I find myself grateful for the role model he was, what I learned and what I am still learning...

At an early age I learned that it was okay for boys to cry when their dog was run over, because my dad did too.

I learned that it was good to work with your hands to build a garage, remodel a house or fix something broken by adding a screw or bending some aluminum bar to make it sturdy again.

I learned that it was actually cool to stay in Boy Scouts and get my Eagle Scout Award. He did it before me. I learned to persevere.

I learned that it is good to do unexpected things for your kids when they need help - like when he drove high-schoolers - Sue and me all the way from Moorhead to Williams Arena to see the Spuds play in the State Championships then drove home the same night so Sue and I could ride back on the bus with our friends.

I learned to love music by watching him build our first Hi-Fi record player, and then listened until I fell asleep to The Dukes of Dixieland, the Peer Gynt Suite and Louie Armstrong.

I learned to love the out of doors and the smell of an old tackle box with an extra salted nut roll inside.

I learned to eat spaghetti in Dilworth when I was one year old.

He told me to support bringing pro hockey to downtown St. Paul when I was Council President and generally contrary to anything the Mayor proposed.

He gave me courage to introduce a smoking ban in as I watched him struggle with emphysema.

I learned from my parents that discrimination was wrong, that art was good, that it was expected that we should volunteer.

Finally, today I learned that in death there can be dignity, joy in the friends and family who surround you, and peace when you've completed a good life and taught your final lesson.

Rest in peace Dad.
Dave Thune
Ward 2, St. Paul
I can only hope, when my time comes, that my children have as much to share about me.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Thune family during this difficult time.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Soul Vaccination

With apologies to the Tower of Power for the title, The boys and I are getting our H1N1 shots, today, finally. Of course, the lovely Mrs. is too young to be high risk, but too old to be a kid, so she has to wait.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

President Accepts the Nobel

Via the White House, an excerpt of the President's remarks as he accepts the Nobel peace prize:
. . . I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. (Laughter.) In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize -- Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela -- my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women -- some known, some obscure to all but those they help -- to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 42 other countries -- including Norway -- in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks.

Still, we are at war, and I'm responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill, and some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the costs of armed conflict -- filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.
It is clear the President is humbled by this award, and acknowledges that he is not being recognized for what he has done, but for what he can do to promote peace and further strengthen the US of A's relationship with the World community. Much damage has been done, and this President is committed to fixing it.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winter Officially arrived at 7:03PM Last Evening

No, not because of the snow, that is when the last keg of the Season fried!

Yes, I was still pouring beer even in last night's cold. The Fridge tends to work as an insulator and assuming the lines don't freeze I am good to go until it gets sub 15 or so for a few days in a row.

This was another 11 month season as the first keg was tapped in Early February:
Friday, February 06, 2009
Spring Arrived . . .
. . . in the Midway at approximately 3:44 PM. I'll be in the garage the rest of the weekend if you need me.
Think about it, Spring is less then 60 days away *smile*


Health Care Reform on Track

As the Senate works towards compromise with Blue Dogs, while keeping in mind the House reconciliation process, a bill that continues to improve is evolving acceptably:
"Senators are making great progress and we're pleased that they're working together to find common ground toward options that increase choice and competition," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that the Democrats had reached a "broad agreement" on the public option portion of the bill, but at least one liberal senator who took part in the negotiations wasn't so sure.

"It goes without saying it's been kind of a long journey," Reid said. "Tonight we've overcome a real problem that we had. I think it's fair to say the debate at this stage has been portrayed as a very divisive one."

Without revealing any details, Reid said the negotiating senators had reached "a broad agreement" that "moves this bill way down the road."

Two Democratic sources said the deal includes a proposal to replace the public option by creating a not-for-profit private insurance option overseen by the federal Office of Personnel Management, much like the current health plan for federal workers, and another allowing people 55 or older to buy into Medicare coverage that currently is available to those 65 or older.
I have always hinted that the best 'competitive option should mirror, if not actually be, the same plan that Fed Employees participate in. This makes it rather difficult for opponents to cackle about it as then they would be questioning the current Federal Employee Benefit system.

Health Care lobbyist, industry insiders, and greedy politicians will have to take a back seat to common sense reform. This bill is shaping up to be more in line with what I had hoped, a competitive option but not necessarily a government run one, along with checks and balances necessary to ensure coverage for as many folks as possbile. It is our duty!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Back Home again; AZ Edition

Things have been kind of slow here, for obvious reason. Unbeknownst to my readers, the lovely Mrs. Flash won us a trip to Arizona to see the Queenies play the defending NFC Champion Cardinals. What an amazing weekend it turned out to be!!. It began with a direct flight into PHX on Saturday afternoon, an open tab dinner from our sponsors at the Arrowhead Rock Bottom (Fillet Mignon, Mmmmmmmmm) followed by a good nights sleep at the Quality Inn and Suites at Talavi.

On Sunday we made the beautiful drive up to Sedona. Although I had been to Arizona once before, almost 20 years ago, I didn't have any real free time to tour and travel. We took advantage of that on Sunday. The short 90 minute commute gave us breath taking views of the desert. The Red Rock trails provided us with a bit of exercise as we traveled the Hollyowoodesque desert. Any moment I was waiting for some old Western vigilante to come jumping out behind a cactus *laughing*

Sunday evening was the big game. Parking was a breeze with free spots at the local high school and comp shuttle service the mile and change to the stadium. We took a moment to absorb the ambiance, especially when we got to the 'Great Lawn' where all the hopping tailgate parties were going on.

Surprisingly, the mix of fans was pretty even, but that didn't last long. As the Grand Pa Quarterback failed to find his groove, the typical fair weather Queenie fans slowly trickled out of the stadium. We stayed right till the 2 minute warning, before sneaking out the back door and down to the waiting shuttles. We wanted to attempt to beat traffic, and have a night cap at Rock, before venturing to the Hotel for our last night of respite.
Monday morning was greeted with rain. We were told it 'never' rains in Arizona, so it was no surprise that it would when we were there. Our early afternoon flight give us a chance to drive out to Mesa and visit my God Mother. She has been Wintering in AZ for over 40 years, so it was nice to finally make it to her place and spend a little time, even though it was so brief.

Before long we were sitting in our plane, taxiing on the run way towards O'Hare for our connect to home. While awaiting the connecting fight, the only delay of the weekend, was a grizzly looking guy and a distinctive dimple in the chin. Yes, non other then Jesse 'The Guv' Ventura. I resisted the temptation to approach him, but when stuck in the line to get to my seat, there he was in the front row on 1st Class. I took that moment for a little small talk, but nothing controversial.

So now we're home, like we never left. The kids are in one piece, Kurly boy is back to normal, and me on the way back to work. It all seems so surreal at this point, but memories, great ones, will linger for some time.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Standing Together, Protecting Freedom!

There is a reason the President's poll numbers have been suffering. We have a reluctant Right that is hell bent on seeing this President fail, and a Left that thinks he isn't doing exactly what they expect. At least the Right supports their president once he is elected, the LEFT thinks he should be a marionette to their will. You can't govern in the minority, the Right knows that, the Left will never learn

The Left, in their desire to pick up their toys and go home, will probably lose the congress next year, and the presidency as soon as two years after that. The reason the Republicans can survive even the worst mistakes is they stick together, warts and all. The Left is too busy trying to find the perfect candidate. They just splinter themselves into selfish factions, and may find themselves with nothing in the end! Sometimes they need to take their lumps, knowing that the alternative is not acceptable. The Right is good at that, the Left, not so much

I'm referring to those and so many others turning their back on this President because he isn't doing exactly what they want him to do. It may cost them Congress next year, and very likely the Presidency. The approval ratings are plummeting because he won't waffle to their will.

The war in Afghanistan was never wrong, and although I believe that President Bush went into Iraq for the wrong reasons, it was still a fight that needed to be fought. We are safer for it.

Many more will die to preserve our freedoms and protect this country, I am humbled by their service. Turning tail at this point would turn our backs on the ~ 900 brave souls who have already made the ultimate sacrifice.

Specifically, this troop surge, with a redeployment taking place as soon as 11 months from now will have most all troops out by 2016. The President has no intentions of hanging out there forever, or risk turning the reigns over to some one who may.

Now is the time to support the military and stand behind this President. We have a job to do, and anything short of full and complete victory is simply not an option. I am comforted by the fact this President agrees with me


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Defining Moment; excerpts

The President is making the tough choices and doing exactly what needs to be done to finish the job. I applaud his courage!

I'll have more later or in the AM


Office of the Press Secretary

December 1, 2009

Excerpts of the President’s Address to the Nation

“The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest pace possible – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They will increase our ability to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.”

“Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. Now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what’s at stake is not simply a test of NATO’s credibility – what’s at stake is the security of our Allies, and the common security of the world.”

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.”

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday Mania

I shop online a lot, my favorite stomping grounds being:

CNet Cheapskate
Dillyeo and
Froobi Deal of the Day

Of course, to keep the humidor full, Cigar International is my go to Smoke Shop (Free Shipping Link)

But with today being Cyber Monday, the day everyone returns to work and scowers the Net for post Black Friday deals, here are the must stop cyber sites:

The Original Cyber Monday
The Fat Wallet Forums

No referral kick backs for me, just some places I like to shop.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turned to Blue, United States Air Force

Karma shmarma, I should have known there was nothing to worry about.

My #3 son, the senior in high school, has officially been sworn in as a member of the United States Air Force. He is in the Delayed Enlistment Program and will be heading off to basic training June 15th, just a few days after graduation. He is waisting no time.

I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of this young man. He has gone through much in his short life, and has persevered through it all. Oh, it wasn't easy! Just a year or so ago he was lucky to pass a class, but once the gears started churning, and he had his mind made up, he was committed to his future. Now that future entails 8 years in the Air Force, 4 active duty, 4 reserves.

Tuesday night was the ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) the first step in the MEP process. The score is based on percentile, 99 being the highest:
Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99-point ASVAB (Note: The "Overall" ASVAB Score is known as the "AFQT Score," or "Armed Forces Qualification Test Score"). Exceptions are made, however, for a handful of high school graduates who can score as low as 31. In actuality, the vast majority (over 70 percent) of those accepted for an Air Force enlistment score 50 or above.
We were hoping for a phone call once he was done with the test, however, the call never came, and thus, parental anxiety set in. The future Airman hit a 70ish on the pretest, but when it came time for the real thing, he spanked an 85. His recruiter, now DEP Supervisor stated that was the highest score of any of his recruits to date.

Once the test was out of the way he was shuttled to a hotel with other recruits to get a good meal and a decent nights sleep. Wednesday was a battery of physical and psychological tests The trickery to disqualify follows, but the young man never blinked. Once 2:00 rolled around I couldn't wait and had to call the recruiter. He had just gotten the E-Mail "You got another one in!" Emotions over came me!

It is not easy raising children, and it gets even tougher once the hormones kick in. But now that 'Trainee' Schiebel has turned the corner, and made a commitment to protect the citizens of this country, he is well on his way to success in whatever he chooses to do.

I have much to be thankful for this holiday weekend, but it begins with the pride I have in my son who has made a very selfless decision.

Nicholas, I am proud of you young man, you can only make me prouder!

An Air Force and Marine Dad

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Been distracted this week with personal and political realities. I'll share once things fall into place, but karma has a way of getting the best of me so I have opted to remain hush hush. If all goes well, I'll tell you all about it, if not, I'll just mention in passing it didn't *grin*

Politically I am conflicted with the new Saint Paul Public School Superintendent decision. Oh, not with the pick itself, I think Ms Silva is a solid local home grown educator that this district has needed for quite sometime. I am just confused at another fiscal boondoggle, like the mandatory cultural proficiency training that the School Board seems to always find money for, while we are dealing with class sizes approaching 40.

Ms Silva's selection was a forgone conclusion the moment the prior Super even hinted at leaving. I struggle with the outside search firm, and some faux selection process when we pretty much knew all along who was going to get the nod.

I'll reserve comment on the 'cultural proficiency' mess. My attitude on that one could create more then just debate on this blog. I am hoping there will be a right time for that discussion, but now isn't it.

Now, back to being a concerned parent. Know that even worst case scenario isn't bad, but happy thoughts are appreciated.


UPDATE: Best case scenario panned out! I'll have a memorable Thanksgiving Day post tomorrow regarding the future of my Senior in High School! Details still trickling in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mr. Nice Guy

NetrootsMN begins today, and I am on one of the panels:
Netiquette: From Polite to Pit Bull, Where Do You Cross the Line?

FRI, 11/20/2009 - 3:30PM, Phalen Room

We all have candidates we love and candidates we hate. Now it's time to have an open and frank discussion about how to help our favorites online. Does being polite get you ignored? Does being a pit bull make people hate the candidate as much as they hate you? When is it too much, and how to handle abusive commenters? And, as always, learn how what to deal with anonymous trolls on your sites.

PANELISTS: Minnesota Observer, blogger; Mark Giselson, Kurt Schiebel, blogs as Flash
I'm leaving for Iowa shortly afterwords, so I will miss the rest of the conference. But if you haven't signed up yet, you need to do so. Tonight's Democratic Gubernatorial forum will be a must see event.
Gubernatorial Candidate Forum
FRI, 11/20/2009 - 6:00PM, Town Square Ballroom

DFL candidates for governor will join us at Netroots Minnesota to take questions directly from you. The candidates will be asked questions solicited online via Twitter, Facebook, and email, and in person, during a discussion moderated by Star Tribune writer Lori Sturdevant.

It's shaping up to be one of the most engaging forums for the candidates to date -- make sure you get a front-row seat at this must-see-for-yourself political event.

Note: This panel is sponsored by Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action Fund.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy 7th Blogiversary To Me

I would be remiss in pointing out that 7 years ago today was the first Centrisity post.

Much has changed since then.


Unnecessary Distraction

We are giving them what they want!

I do not believe it is necessary, or even prudent, to take war criminals and try them in civilian courts. These savages do not deserve the publicity or the recognition of their existent. They should be tried in tribunals with military justice.

Their acts were an attack on this country, an act of war. To give credence or credibility to their actions by allowing them an opportunity to declare, on a public stage, their allegiance to their extremist factions is dangerous and reckless.

This is a mistake, one that I hope will not cost us in the end.

But maybe that's just me!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


With the Health Care debate moving into the more moderate Senate, the common sense Democrats are feeling pinched:
None of those Democrats is feeling the heat as intensely as Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), who has become emblematic of the improbable distance that health-care reform has traveled, and how far it still must go before becoming law.

Her vote and that of two other Democrats expressing serious reservations about the legislation -- Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) -- will determine whether it will garner the 60 needed to break an all-but-certain Republican filibuster.
A vote to end debate should not be of concern, it is the final vote that matters. There is no reason these folks can't support caucus procedures and then be allowed to vote their conscience or constituency on the final ballot.

As for Lieberman:
one, independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), has threatened to join a GOP filibuster if the final bill contains a government insurance plan, or "public option."
. . . he should simply should be given an ultimatum. His 60th vote is key, and as a former member of the Democratic Party he has been allowed to retain his chairmanship and the perks that go with it. If it turns out his vote means nothing, then there is no longer any reason to allow him to keep his seniority. It may have been different when it meant the choice between majority and minority status, but if we can't count on him for key procedural votes, there is no reason to consider him a member of the caucus.

But, Sen Lincoln is a different animal, as she is the one whose electoral future is on the line. However, large numbers of her constituency needs this bill:
Hundreds of thousands of Lincoln's constituents are low-income and lack insurance, the very kind of voters expected to benefit under the Senate bill. Lincoln, a second-term senator, helped write some of the legislation's key provisions as a member of the Finance Committee, and her sometimes uncomfortable role near the center of the debate could cost her in culturally conservative Arkansas. Despite the potential benefits for many in her state, polls show her support weakening, and constituents are expressing doubts about the proposed overhaul.

The low-profile centrist is being pressed by both sides. Democratic activists are incensed that she has turned against the public option, an idea she once supported. Republicans are casting her cautious approach to the health-care debate in starkly political terms, saying that she is unwilling to put local interests above those of a president who lost the state by a resounding 20 percentage points.
Sen. Pryor of Arkansas sums it up nicely:
"In some ways, there's not a good vote on this," said Sen. Mark Pryor (D), Arkansas's junior senator, who coasted to reelection last year. "You're going to have detractors on either side, no matter what you do. So I think in the end you have to what you think is right. And I think that's what we're all going to have to do."
It is unfortunate that politics has to play such a major role in peoples' lives, and I mean there physical mortality, not just their everyday lives. There is much to be concerns about in the bill, but there is a vast majority of items that are desperately needed.

I wish the obstructionist opposition would negotiate in good faith so we could find common ground and get this deal done. But there are too many who are only concerned about self interest, and not the interests of the American people. That is a sad commentary on where our political system is at.


Monday, November 16, 2009

An Unlikely Pairing

OK, I saw Al Sharpten and Newt Gingrich sharing their bromance on 'Meet the Press', with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as the best man.
An unlikely trio: Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and one-time Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton have been touring the nation's schools and join us here today to challenge conventional thinking and tell us what they have found.
I don't know what was more shocking, that those two could get along for more then 15 minutes, or all the wonderful things the Former Speaker Gingrich was saying about the President.
I agree with Al Sharpton, this is the number one civil right of the 21st century. So if you--if the president has shown real leadership--which he has.

. . .

But in a, in a time when we have liberal, Democratic president who has the courage to take on the establishment in education and who's prepared to say every state should adopt dramatic, bold reforms, I think as, as--if politics are the art of the possible, our children deserve a chance to see us come together, to put their future above partisanship and to find a way to take on the, the establishment in both parties and try to get this solved.

. . .
It was an engaging conversation, one that you should watch.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You for your Service, Son!

When reviewing the long history of Centrisity, almost 7 years now, I have had many tributes to family that has served this country. From my GGGreat Uncle in the Civil War, to my dad's brother in WW II. This year, I honor one more, my Son!
On this Veteran's day, I want to thank you, son, for your brave and courageous service. From your time on the Iwo Jima, to your final deploy at the Al Asad airbase in Iraq, your service is forever appreciated. I am so very proud of you. THANKS for keep us safe.

By next year, another son will be an Airman in the Air Force. How much more proud can a dad get!

Proud Marine Dad!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Lone Voice of Reason

The house passed their version, with all its warts, of their Health Care Reform offering. The GOP vowed to stand in solidarity throughout the voting, but they missed one lone voice of reason, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA)
His reason for being the lone GOP nod? "I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents," he said in a statement quickly released by his office.
Minority leadership must be a bit ticked at one of their own actually doing the job they were elected to do:
It's unclear whether Republican leaders will discipline Cao for breaking ranks and allowing Democrats to claim the bill had "bipartisan support." But what Cao can look forward to is the instant catapult into the national spotlight that his fellow Republican Rep. Joe Wilson received after calling President Obama a liar back in September. That and some new friends on Capitol Hill. On such a close vote, Cao is a hero to Democrats. But to Republicans, he's the one that got away.
Conference will eventually wrangle all the various portions of the many versions out there, only then will we know exactly what Reform will actually look like. But one thing is certain, this huge step forward virtually assured some form of common sense legislation will become law.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Heartache at Fort Hood

My heart and prayers go out to the victims and loved ones of those lost in the awful scene at Fort Hood yesterday.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist practicing at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, was shot multiple times and was taken into custody, ending the shooting rampage Thursday afternoon.

The gunman opened fire at a military processing center at Fort Hood, killing one civilian and 12 soldiers, said Col. John Rossi, deputy commanding general at Fort Hood.

Twenty-eight people are still hospitalized and in stable condition, Rossi said at a news conference Friday morning. Hasan is the sole suspect in the shootings, Rossi said.
It always astonishes me how one single individual can permanently change the life paths of so many people.

Al my hopes!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Back to the Health Care Debate

Its end of the quarter in SPPS, so between work and home things are still a bit hectic. Anyway, here is a Cagle Treat to keep you amused.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Election Day 09, School Board and Mayoral No Brainer

I got home from Iowa to a leaky water heater, a stubborn Stove and other assorted issues. Amazing how things decide to rear their ugly heads when you are away. So, needless to say, I have been quite busy.

But nothing can stop the election process and I needed to make a couple decisions, one of which is still up in the air.


It is clear that no one can continue what needs to be done in our fair city other than the current office holder. I'll be first to admit I was not happy with some of the decisions he made, especially the attempt to shut down both the closest rec center AND the closest library to my home. But what was refreshing is community input was allowed, and adjustments were made, and the library survived at least for now. But it was when the Mayor stopped by the garage this past Summer that really stuck in my memory.

I had a few folks over, and the mayor was on his way home from a prior engagement. He was able to sneak in for a visit. My son, a senior at Central, came home from Friday Night rec and struck up a conversation with Mr. Coleman. I saw the mayor sincerely engaged in what he was hearing from this young person, and my son offering up some of the frustration he was having with the cuts, and things he would like to see happen. THAT is how a mayor should be. Mingling with the citizens, farming ideas, and implementing the best to make this city better.

My vote today is for Mayor Chris Coleman.


As an employee of the district I have to admit my frustration at the amount of time being spent on internal issues, without addressing serious and specific concerns going on within the schools. Gobbs of money being spent on a Superintendent search when there is a strong pool of candidates right here in our back yard. Millions of dollars being spent on 'Cultural Proficiency' training without any acknowledgment to the true problem of inconsistent parental involvement.

This district needs to engage parents at least as much as the students. All the training in the world won't do any good if you can't get the parents on board. At a time of fiscal tumult, the priorities of the current Board as it relates to how they spend money is just short of embarrassing. That is why I see the need to get some fiscal control in place. The district has enough money, they are just spending it on the wrong priorities.

Tom Conlon will be missed on this board, and there is no better candidate on the ballot to replace him then Pat Igo. With that, I am also going to pull the lever for John Krenik, another GOP endorsed candidate.

I am supporting the re-election of John Borderick and am still undecided on the 3rd vote. I am leaning Chris Connor but may just leave it at two.

There is a nice set of mini bios that can be found at TCDailyPlanet.

If you want to twist my arm for that 3rd Board spot, have at it in the comments.

So this Moderate is sticking with the DFL Mayor, and voting for two GOP Board members and re-electing a Dem. Now THAT'S balance!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Off to Ioway

Pheasant Opener weekend in Iowa. The Dr. and I are getting ready to depart. This is our 3rd trip in 4 years after skipping last year. We both are long over due for a get away.

I'll tweet updates in my absence so watch the sidebar. Goal is to be back around 3 bells Sunday.

Have a GREAT weekend and I'll be back Monday. I suspect I'll fill you in on my decisions for School Board. Looks like a split 2 and 2 ticket for me this year.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


It wasn't that long ago I was all for Instant Run Off Voting (IRV). The concept of pluralities electing candidates concerned me. When a clear majority of those with similar ideology were splitting their votes, minority candidates were being elected, and a majority of our citizens were going unrepresented.

I think Jesse Ventura would still have been elected, but the Pawlenty regime, most likely, would have never occurred. On a national level, Bill Clinton may have never seen the oval office (Perot effect), and if so, Al Gore most certainly would have made it in (see Nader, Ralph).

However, watching the squirming going on in Minneapolis has made me re-visit my views. The uncertainty of counting, the concerns of a drawn out process due to the complexities of the ballot, and the reality of this confusion disenfranchising those most vulnerable leads me to the conclusion that we simply aren't ready, yet.

Until technology can catch up and we have confidence in the machines and their ability to walk voters through the process, I am reluctant, at this time, to support the change.

The debate has been rolling in both local forums, and I have followed the arguments, pro and con, on both sides of this issue. At this point, I am not ready to roll the dice. I am willing to watch Minneapolis before I turn the reigns of our voting process, here in St. Paul, over.

I am not saying never, I am just saying, not now.

I ask you to vote NO on the St. Paul Instant Runoff Charter Amendment. The time will come, now just isn't it.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Centrical Uncertainty

The WaPo attempts to dissect the fluidity of the Health Care reform package, especially as it relates to the Moderates:
"I really want to get to yes," said Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats. Unless the public-option language is dropped, however, he said, he probably will align with Republicans to block the measure.

Other moderates said they are undecided on the opt-out plan. "I'm skeptical about what Senator Reid has proposed," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Like Lieberman, she opposes a government-run insurance program that would compete with the private sector. But Landrieu gave Reid slightly more reason for optimism, noting that she will "stay open to a principled compromise."
There is also mention of the trigger approach being proposed by Sen. Snowe, the loan GOP affirmative on the Senate Panel:
Some moderate Democrats are more comfortable with the "trigger" approach that Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) has advocated, saying that a variant of a public plan is more likely to win 60 votes. Under Snowe's approach, a public plan would be available only in states where private companies do not offer policies at broadly affordable rates.
And it is beginning to look more like Sen Ben Nelson of Nebraska may be a greater obstacle to holding the caucus together then Sen JoeMentum:
Reid's more immediate concern may be Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who, unlike Lieberman, has not pledged to vote for debate to begin. Nelson told reporters that he wants to see the bill and a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office before deciding. Although he has not ruled out supporting a public option, Nelson said he wants to make sure it would not become a "government-run, big-government insurance" company.
The Public approach to a competitive option has always been a stickler for me. Co-ops and private, non profit participants that states like MN has may be a more reasonable and cost effective direction to go.

Ideas are still being tested, and it is clear congress is playing a media game to find out which ides, and even which words, will gain the most traction. If nothing else, this has been an interesting case in the legislative process.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Senate Bill Doppelgänger

Donklephant reviews the Senate Health Care revisions that will officially be released today. The touch on two things, the Opt Out clause for the states, and the Public option:
So this would be a federally funded plan that allows states to opt out if they so choose. That means we’re going to see the blue states adopt it and the red states reject it, plain and simple…even though the red states usually have the highest number of uninsured and underinsured folks.

Personally, I’m not a fan of a federally run system. I’d rather have the federal government give states seed money to build their own public co-ops and have the states figure it out themselves.

I also think it’s unclear whether or not Reid can get the 60 votes he needs to avoid passing this thing via reconciliation.

However, putting all that aside…let’s remember the most important part of health care reform…
Also expected are new rules on insurers to prevent them from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions and from dropping customers’ insurance once they become ill.
Yes, the plan is bound to have flaws since politics is the art of the possible, not the ideal. But if we can outlaw the pre-existing conditions clauses and lifetime coverage caps, that will go a long way towards delivering the type of health care we all deserve.
This is the first I have seen of serious consideration being given to the States, where decisions like this really belong. There is also a long way to go to try and find the balance between mandating coverage and how to consequence those who refuse. Finally, a commenter on the article paints and interesting picture as well:
I’m not sure when we got the idea that “health insurance” should pay for everything. I tried to use my auto insurance policy to pay for my tune up last week, and the evil insurance company wouldn’t pay! I tried to use my homeowner’s insurance to pay for my electric bill, and the immoral insurance company denied the claim!

Insurance is used to cover rare events; only in health care do we think that an insurance policy can cover every cost, every time.

. . .

A company penalty of $500 or $750 per employee not covered will ensure that many companies bail out of providing health insurance, as the typical family policy is thousands of dollars more (and companies pay, on average, 80% of the insurance cost). The penalty for a company will have to be on the order of $6 to $7,000. The penalties for individuals will have to be closer to that amount to force people to buy insurance (even if they don’t need it).

The real test will be if the Constitution allows the feds to compel individuals to buy health insurance. The Congress may have to pass an amendment to facilitate it.
Now it was pointed out that companies are not required to buy any insurance at this point, so to think they would all of a sudden take a penalty hit, regardless of the size, when they are voluntarily providing coverage now, is somewhat flawed. But the final point is quite valid, how will the Constitution be interpreted regarding the mandating of coverage?


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seven Years

My heart and prayers goes out to the family and friends of those lost n a Northern Woods seven years ago, today. I recall hearing of the crash, praying for the passengers, and later finding out who all was aboard.

A few years ago I visited the memorial near the crash site. It was a solemn and serene setting. I would encourage everyone to make that pilgrimage at some point.

All my hopes!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TV Tantrum

Seriously, is this all he's got:
Officials at the Moose Lake Sex Offenders Program began unbolting the two dozen 50-inch plasma television sets at the center on Tuesday, just hours after Gov. Tim Pawlenty called the purchase "boneheaded" and ordered a search to find out who made the decision.
Why the Governor would micromanage such a monumental cost savings to the state I have no clue, other then pandering for publicity after running around the country for several weeks. Savings you say, of course:
State officials said the televisions, which were mounted in common areas, made it easier to supervise patients at the 400-bed facility.
These TVs allow for easier supervision, fewer employees, less cost to the facility, and savings to the tax payers. But, in order for the Governor to understand that, he would have to be forward thinking and understand the process of incarcerating large numbers of individuals and keeping them content to avoid disruptions and disturbances. Apparently he could care less about that.

Isn't ANYONE going to call him on this. The only bonehead in this fiasco is the Governor himself.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Truth Hurts

Axelrod reveals the reality of FOXNews on ABC's 'This Week', (via Politico):
"It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view.”
Seriously, there isn't much more to say when the truth is spoken so clearly and succinctly!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Missing Mike

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the passing of one of my best friends. The lovely Mrs. Flash and I will be meeting The Doctor at the cemetery around 6:ish for beer and cigars. Its what we do.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Its Snowe(ing) on Health Care Bill

Sen Olympia Snowe is on board the Baucus Bus:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Health care reform advocates got a major boost Tuesday as Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, a key GOP moderate, announced she will vote for the Senate Finance Committee's $829 billion health care bill.

Snowe, one of the senators in the bipartisan "Gang of Six" that initially negotiated the committee's bill, has been considered one of the few GOP senators likely to support a bill emerging from the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Her vote isn't necessarily one of support, but one that acknowledges progress:
"People do have concerns about what we will do with reform, but at the same time they want us to continue working -- and that is what my vote to approve this bill out of committee represents," Snowe said during the committee's final deliberations on the measure.

"Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it. Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls. And I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress (taking) every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time."
We still a far from a final product, but we are further along then we have ever been.


Showdown, Phase One

The first vote is today:
The Finance Committee is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday. The vote represents a potential turning point in the health care debate. Baucus' committee is the last of five congressional panels to consider health care legislation before debate begins in the full House of Representatives and Senate.
And it is no shock that the industry smears got richer, and the administration's search for truth was more diligent:
America's Health Insurance Plans concludes that, under the Baucus plan, the costs of private health insurance would rise by 111 percent over the next decade. Under the current system, costs would rise by 79 percent, the report said.

. . . .

The White House blasted the report Monday, calling it inaccurate and self-serving.

"This is a self-serving analysis from the insurance industry, one of the major opponents of health insurance reform," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said.

"It comes on the eve of a vote that will reduce the industry's profits. It is hard to take it seriously. The analysis completely ignores critical policies [that] will lower costs for those that have insurance, expand coverage and provide affordable health insurance options to millions of Americans who are priced out of today's health insurance market or are locked out by unfair insurance company practices."
If there is one thing I have learned in my quest for answers, it has become quite evident that when the industry speaks, you can be almost assured their words are the opposite of reality. Today the grown-ups get to decide, the time for talk is over.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Really?!? The Nobel?

OK, so I wake up to this:
(CNN) -- President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a stunning decision that comes just eight months into his presidency.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

The president had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and the roomful of reporters gasped when Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, uttered Obama's name.

The president, who was awakened to be told he had won, said he was humbled to be selected, according to an administration official.

The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
I have no doubt the President would have been a front runner in a few years, but 8 months of health care pandering does not a Novel Prize winner make.

I'll be scratching my head over this one.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Trigger Option

Bi-Partisanship is gaining steam. The idea of a a trigger towards a competitive option is getting a little traction in the GOP community.

First proffered by Sen Snow (R-ME) and now supported by former Senate Majority leader Frist, we may just be on to something:
Roberts: Let’s zero in on this idea of competition in the marketplace. Many Democrats believe the way to really get competition in the marketplace is to put forward a public option, which would have a government-sponsored health insurance program out there competing with the other ones. Would you support that?

Frist: A public option as a backup that is not federally controlled, but is controlled at the local level with local ownership.

Roberts: Are you talking co-ops?

Frist: It can be a co-op, but even the co-op people – it’s kind of a new concept, but the idea of not having government out there controlling prices out there undercutting the insurance market. And that’s the big fear. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to have some sort of a backup of a public plan. And at the end of the day, if the private sector doesn’t step up, you have to have some other kind of trigger coming into play.

Roberts: So you’re talking about Olympia Snowe’s idea?

Frist: Olympia Snowe. And it’s what we did in 2003 with the Medicare Modernization Act, which was the prescription drug plan. If the private sector does not step up, and there’s not more than two plans there, a public plan that has local control, local and private implementation, has to step in.

Roberts: It sounds like the plan that’s being written in the Senate Finance Committee is something that you might support?

Frist: I’m coming out very strongly in support of what’s going on in the Senate Finance Committee. It’s bipartisan. I hope that it ends up being bipartisan. If not, it’s going to be a destructive bill. But it’s bipartisan. People working together. So we’re on the way there. I would not endorse the bill the way it is now. There’s still about 400 amendments out there so hopefully that process can come together.
Wow, even Frist gets it, did you catch that:
I’m coming out very strongly in support of what’s going on in the Senate Finance Committee. It’s bipartisan.
And not only that, Frist is a Doctor which gives him a bit more credibility in health care related discussions.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dome Under Construction, Set 2 of 2

From the stands, an interesting look at the dome, the rolls of SuperTurf and padding stacked for install. An 18 wheeler parked in short center for perspective. Check out the stands in the retractable Right field in various stages of assembly. All photos taken around January 1982, a mere 4 months before the stadiums first games.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Dome Under Construction, Set 1 of 2

I believe it was January 1982. The snow was flying on the outside, but only a few months till opening and the construction of the Dome was in its finals stages.

Frequent commenter 'The Doctor' and I slipped on our suits and did a walk through of the stadium in transition. The Right field stands were pulled down as for football, but without turn the cement pocks for the bases gave the field a very baseball look.

Today, pics from the field, tomorrow or Monday, pics from the stands. (Click to enlarge) The picture at the end if the quick repair job of the dome after the November 1981 deflation. Interesting seeing the roof without its inner lining.


Friday, October 02, 2009

The Final Series

Although the Queenies (read Packer Lite) get the dome to themselves for the next couple years, the Twinkies get one final regular season run this weekend.

In the Winter of 81/82, The Doctor and I visited the under construction venue (yes, we have known each other that long). In suits and tie, looking like a couple of wannabees we walked the halls, traversed the stands and ventured onto the concrete field. Rolls of turf scatter the infield as the awaited to be installed. Soon security saw us an wondered down to the field. We exchanged pleasantries, admitted we really didn't belong, and followed the security guard down the 3rd baseline where he took us out through he Twins clubhouse and back into the winter afternoon.

I have pictures and will be scanning them later today and posting them here over the weekend.

I like the dome, and building anything in Minnesota without a roof option is a huge mistake. That is the main frustration I have with another budget stadium being built downtown.

Stop back over the course of the weekend, maybe even as early as this afternoon, for the photos of a stadium in transition.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Community Gathers

Recall the incident from last week. From the STRIB:
Derrick Thomas was on his bike with home in his sights, returning about 1 a.m. Wednesday from hanging out with his girlfriend and cousin in Brooklyn Park.

Before he knew to be terrified, Thomas, who has autism, found himself flying over his handlebars and writhing on his back on the concrete. Standing over him, he said, were three men armed with an ax, brass knuckles and a gun.
The community will not tolerate this form of behavior and are gathering this evening in a show of solidarity to the victim. More on the Rally Against Racist Attacks:
Residents of Brooklyn Park plan to hold a rally Thursday night in reaction to the beatings last week of two black men that authorities have characterized as hate crimes.

The Rally Against Racist Attacks and in Celebration of Diversity will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hartkopf Park, 7300 Florida Av. N. The park is near the site of the attacks. (ed- If raining the rally will be at Zanewood Community Center at 71st Street North and Zane Ave North. )

Carol Woehrer and Linda Freemon planned the demonstration after reading news accounts about the beating, deciding, in Woehrer's words, "we shouldn't wait until something even worse happens."
Yes, that's frequent Centrisity commenter, Linda. Why don't you check your schedule and see if you can join them. Racism isn't a partisan issue, it is a human moral issue!


UPDATE: Due to weather, event has been moved to the inclement weather location. Rally will be at Zanewood Community Center at 71st Street North and Zane Ave North.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Public polling has not been kind to the administration regarding health care, or at least that is what the Main Stream media wants you to believe. The hidden truth, is that even though things have been a bit bumpy for the President, they are much worse for the opposition:
Take a recent CBS/NY Times poll as an example:

* 52% of Americans trust Obama to make the right decisions for health, while only 27% feel Republicans are more trustworthy.

* 60% think Obama is trying to work with Republicans. Only 30% think Republicans are trying to do the same.

* just 30% have a good view of Congressional Repubs. 47% have a favorable view of Dems.
A party can dissent without being obstructionists. Unless the Right starts providing meaty and hard alternatives rather then 'just say no' politics. they will just further alienate themselves from the electorate.

As one who does have legitimate concerns about the current proposals on the table, I hope they do decided to work together. We are close, time to put the country first.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Of course, it is the Left that is actually offering solutions for the Right to shoot down and offer nothing in return. But its still worth a giggle. Which brings me to an oldie but goodie from several weeks ago:

Interesting sidebar, Fall started yesterday, so make those phone calls, NOW! What's that, they want even MORE time, now . . . shocked, shocked I say!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Wear a Helmet

My Nieces' best friend was involved in a motorcycle accident over the weekend. It didn't turn out good:
A 21-year-old woman died Sunday from injuries she suffered after the motorcycle she was riding on crashed.

Chelsey D. Nielson, of Elk River, was injured on Saturday sometime between midnight and 1 a.m., when the rear tire of the motorcycle went flat, causing the driver to lose control. The bike and both riders went down and skidded into a ditch, resulting in serious injuries to both, the State Patrol said.
Her cousin Jared writes a Good Bye letter:

I don't know what to say, you're leaving us when you are too young, too smart, have too much potential and are entirely too loved. Words can't begin to describe the hole created in each of our hearts. This planet will never again be the same without you. The day is a shade darker for the rest of time.

I can't make it apparent enough how thankful I am that I was able to be related to you, able to know you. I'm so happy that we were able to spend Labor Day weekend together. I had the best time spending that time with you. Thank you so much for staying up late talking with us. I'm so happy I was able to play a few rounds of games with you, and I'm even more happy that you were on my team. I'm sorry I didn't get to design your tattoo. I know Braxton and I had the most amazing time tubing with you. We all enjoyed your company.

I'm sorry that we never got around to eating at Benihana. I'm sure it would have been a night to remember, and I think that I would have been able to get you to try some sushi. And between me and you, I think you would have liked it.

I love you more than I let you believe, and I let you believe every time I saw you.

I'll NEVER forget our times in Alaska, I'll NEVER forget our times at the lake, I'll NEVER forget our times making candy with grandma, I'll NEVER forget the vacation you spent with my family and I. I'll NEVER forget how much you meant to me, and I'll NEVER forget you.

Until I see you again.

Love always,
Neither the driver or rider were wearing a helmet. The driver is in an induced coma, and even if he makes it, speculation is there will be brain damage.

If you ride, be smart, wear a helmet. It's not as much for you as it is for those who love you. I started wearing a bike helmet as goofy as it looks, cause I'd rather look goofy and be alive, then the alternative.


Funeral Arrangements:

Visitation will be at Dare's Funeral Services, 805 Main St NW,
Elk River, MN 55330-1506 (763) 441-1212 on Wednesday, September 23 from 4 to 8 pm.

The funeral mass will be at St. Andrew's Church, 566 4th St NW
Elk River, MN 55330-1496 (763) 441-1483 on Thursday, September 24 at 1:00 pm, visitation one hour before mass in church gathering area.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Donklephant on Baucus Bill

Justin at Donklephant echoes what I have been thinking:
However, my point in a previous post is that if Repubs don’t want to come to the table for legislation that’s a genuine attempt at bipartisanship, well, they probably never wanted to play ball in the first place. At least not play ball as the minority party, which brings with it the reality that the legislation is going to be written by the opposition and include a fair share of their ideas.

And I’ll repeat again what I said over there…the Baucus bill has ZERO publicly run options, the CBO says it’ll reduce the budget deficit, has a clause to allow these new privately run, not-for-profit co-ops the chance to phase out and no employer mandates. These are all things that Republicans said they wanted, but now they’re calling the bill purely partisan?
The Right hates the bill because it has a D on it, the left hates the bill because it doesn't have public option, I am intrigued by the bill because the the genuine compromise being offered up specifically in the non profit co-op solution. The President seems interested as well:
At the White House, after the delays and drama of summer, strategists spoke finally of movement and a possible path toward success on the president's centerpiece domestic policy goal. To keep up the pressure, Obama met with three lawmakers who had warned they would not support the Baucus bill.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), who is upset that Baucus did not include a public health insurance option, tempered his criticism after a private meeting with Obama, signaling that he hopes to work out a compromise.

"Nothing is clearer than the president's commitment to providing affordable and effective health care for all Americans, and he and I are united in our efforts to deliver on this promise," he said.

Lawmakers and lobbyists alike cautioned that Obama remains far from a White House signing ceremony and that perhaps the greatest danger at this point is death by a thousand legislative changes.
Sure, death by a 1000 amendments, where great ideas turn into bad decisions. Lets hope that isn't the case this time.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Balking at Baucus Bill?

Another piece of legislation is hitting congress (PDF), this time it is the Senate Finance committee chairs attempt. This bill was painstakingly put together, with bi partisan input. One thing is clear, even tho significant concessions were made to the GOP, including a fiscally neutral bill with no public option, no member of the minority party is on board. See, the Right, regardless of what they say, simply don't want anything to succeed for fear of becoming even more politically irrelevant. Fortunately, there are enough grown-ups involved in the process that reform will happen, only its form is still in transition.

On the surface you even have the Left discouraged about the lack of a public option, but the bill does include a competitive option calling for non-profit health care cooperatives to be created. However, industry leaders don't seem to be opening up their knee jerk fireworks on this particular proposal. A WaPo analysis points out:
But behind the rhetorical fireworks was a sense that the fragile coalition of major industry leaders and interest groups central to refashioning the nation's $2.5 trillion health-care system remains intact. As they scoured the 223-page document, many of the most influential players found elements to dislike, but not necessarily reasons to kill the effort. Most enticing was the prospect of 30 million new customers.
Although the House GOP has released an 'outline' of what they would like reform to look like, no one on the Right has release anything specific. If they want to continue to claim they support reform, they are going to need to come out with something more than 'Just Say No' campaign style rhetoric.

CNN has a nice comparison chart of the various proposals. Take a peek!

For me, I am beginning to see feature from the various proposal that I like. As one who has been lukewarm to a public option, am curious to learn more about the Baucus non-profit health care cooperative plan.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inside Target Center - Obama Health Care Visit

Sitting on Press row, watching the crowd come in. Very organized and controlled inside, outside, not so much.

More later - - - -

They showed the President's arrival on the jumbo-tron much to the joy of those in attendance.

Program is scheduled to start around 12:30, with the President speaking by 1:00. I spoke with a White House Press Office member who stated the remarks have not been released yet. I will link them once the are up.


The Presdient has arrived, his remarks are below

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hello, Minneapolis! It is so good to be back in the great state of Minnesota. I hear the Gophers have their home opener in their brand new stadium a little later today. I’d wish them luck, but they’re playing Air Force, and I have to fly home on one of their planes in a few hours.

I don’t know if any of you caught it on television, but the other night I gave a speech to Congress about health care. I can already see that this crowd’s a lot more fun.

But I didn’t just go to Congress to speak to Senators and Representatives. I went to speak on behalf of the American people. You see, I ran for this office because I believed it was time for a government that once again made possible the dreams of middle-class Americans – a government that understands the quiet struggles you wrestle with at the kitchen table or when you’re lying awake at the end of a long day.

Health care is one of those struggles.

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who have no health insurance, you live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy. And these are not primarily people on welfare. These are middle-class Americans. Maybe your employer doesn’t offer coverage. Maybe you’re self-employed and can’t afford it. Or maybe you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been denied coverage due to a previous illness or condition that insurance companies decide is too risky or expensive to cover.

In the last twelve months alone, six million more Americans lost their health insurance. And today, we received more disturbing news. A new report from the Treasury Department found that nearly half of all Americans under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next ten years. More than one-third will go without coverage for longer than one year. In other words, it can happen to anyone. There but for the grace of God go I.

But I don’t need to tell you that our health care problems don’t stop with the uninsured. How many of you who have health insurance have ever worried that you might lose it if you lose your job, or change jobs, or move? How many stories have you heard about folks whose insurance company decided to drop their coverage or water it down when they got sick and needed it most? How many of you know someone who paid their premiums every month only to find out that their insurance company wouldn’t cover the full cost of their care?

We’ve all heard these stories. There’s the father I met in Colorado whose child was diagnosed with severe hemophilia the day after he was born. They had insurance, but there was a cap on their coverage. So once the child’s medical bills piled up, he was left to frantically search for another option, or face tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size. These stories are heart-breaking, they are wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.

It has now been nearly a century since Teddy Roosevelt first called for health care reform. It has been attempted by nearly every President and Congress ever since. And our failure to get it done – year after year, decade after decade – has placed a burden on families, on businesses, and on taxpayers that we can no longer sustain.

If we do nothing, your premiums will continue to rise faster than your wages. If we do nothing, more businesses will close down and fewer will open in the first place. If we do nothing, we will eventually spend more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined. That is not an option for the United States of America. So Minnesota, I may not be the first President to take up the cause of health