Monday, July 27, 2009

Senate Bill Creates Website to Monitor Government Spending

July 27th, 2009

The U.S. Senate is deliberating on a bill to create a searchable Google style website which would list details about government transactions and entities that receive funding, so the public can closely monitor government spending. S.2590, known as the “Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act”, was introduced jointly by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Barack Obama (D-IL). The bill has 29 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, including Senate Majority Leader William Frist (R-TN) and touted presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

Speaking before the Subcommittee On Federal Financial Management, Senator Obama noted that even Senators have difficulty getting financial information from Government agencies, and said, “All of us should be able to figure out easily how tax money is spent. We have a right to know how the Federal government is managing its fiscal resources. We have a right to insist upon answers to reasonable questions about where and how our tax dollars are used.”

If the bill passes, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will create a database of government spending, and federal agencies would be required to post information within 30 days of receiving funds from Congress. Citizens could browse the data base by typing such topics topics such as “New Orleans”, “anthropology”, or “HIV Research”, and get a list of relevant hyperlinks.

Sponsors of the Transparency Act say it is necessary because there is no fast or consistent way for citizens to access information about government appropriations. Private citizens and government employees have complained that the current Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) is slow, archaic, and often inaccurate.

Senator Coburn, on July 18, responded to arguments that his bill is unnecessary because the government already operates fiscal databases such as FPD Read the rest of this entry »

Red Judge, Blue Judge - Science and Sonia Sotomayor - Research Reveals Judicial Bias to Be Common

July 25th, 2009

According to last count on Google News, over 23,000 news stories have recently been written about a certain “wise Latina woman” named Sotomayor. Despite this voluminous coverage, however, something crucial has been missing from the debate surrounding the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.�

As with previous Supreme Court nominations, the media has reminded us that American conservatives are opposed to judges who are “judicial activists,” while liberals tend to support President Obama’s criterion of judicial “empathy.” Despite this conflict, both sides do agree on one key, common principle: the best kind of judge — the right kind of judge — is an impartial judge who applies the law in a precise, dispassionate and��unbiased�fashion.�

Unfortunately, this is just bi-partisan hypocrisy. The harsh truth, which our society must finally began to admit, is that such judges don’t exist. Modern psychology has taught us that humans are extraordinarily subject to personal bias. Logic and experience tell us that judges are approximately as human as everyone else (true, some of them may seem waxy and lifeless as Madame Tussaud figures, but if you poke a sleepy one you’ll see that their judicial reflexes are as lively and automatic as everyone else’s). It follows that our judicial population will be just as politically-biased as the general population, ranging in ideological hue from fiery conservative red to liberal cobalt blue.�

By convention we refer to law and justice as unified, monolithic concepts. However, in reality law is a motley creation of a highly-diverse group of human beings. Since human beings are normally distributed along a left-to-right ideological spectrum, the same duality inevitably reproduces itself in our law. Our judiciary is composed of red judges and blue judges (and in-between purp Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Secret About Healthcare Reform

July 24th, 2009

Health care has reached the crisis point in our country. Rising insurance costs are placing untenable burdens on workers and employers alike. Millions of Americans can’t afford any health insurance. Poor Americans receive Medicaid, but too many experience inferior medical care. Also, lots of health care providers and doctors don’t want to accept Medicaid payments, which attempts to place limits on medical charges.

Retired Americans depend upon Medicare to meet medical needs, but there are serious gaps and limitations in the coverage. Middle class retired citizens can’t afford to pay for the care available in NursingHomes or Long Term Care Facilities.

Many of our hospitals are poorly run, have high mortality and infection rates, and are in fact terrible places in which to die. The quality of our health care in this nation seems to be totally dependent on one’s ability to pay. But prescription costs, doctor visits, mental health services, and surgical care are starting to place a huge financial burden on all of us.

The rich are well cared for, the middle class experiences inconsistent care, and the poor have mostly inadequate care-based upon what they get in our emergency rooms.

Unfortunately, too many doctors and hospitals have become so busy that human emotions, compassion, and sensitivity have become lost in the shuffle. Too often, pills, computers, and specialized machines have become substitutes for the health care professional’s time and attitude of tender loving care. It is time that we do something positive to reform are whole health care system.

Now that we have been honest and open about the problem, let’s go to the next steps on The Emotional Recovery Card. (EMC is my unique life coaching approach to personal and social change.)

Stop and Think:

Let’s stop approaching health care from the point of vi Read the rest of this entry »