Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Michigan Autumn

Women Ascendant

Women are center stage in all media this month. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice feature prominently as the administration issued a new Sudan policy. While BBC News headlines its story "Clinton focuses on soft power," we'll take progress, however achieved by these remarkable diplomats.

First Lady of California Maria Shriver is busy revealing the results of a Center for American Progress study, A Woman's Nation.

Governor Jennifer Granholm discussed new green energy companies coming to Michigan. Suniva will build in Saginaw County. The Wixom Plant renovation may become reality as XTreme Power and Clairvoyant Energy lead the rebirth. Even Dow Chemical hinted at going green.

Jonathan Greenblatt blogged about Women and Water, how we're connected, and how we need help to get clean water globally.

Women Waking the World website is up! Under construction, but aren't we all works in progress? Women are waking up and being heard!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oversight: We, The People

We, the people of Michigan are fortunate to have Senator Debbie Stabenow representing us in the United States Senate. Senator Stabenow has a good head for the people's issues. Affordable health care is the people's issue.

But the U.S.A. has Sen. Baucus, whose finance committee bill was ghostwritten by Senior Counsel Liz Fowler, former WellPoint VP of Public Policy, and passed 14:9.

Rather than address the impropriety, ignobility, and outright heinousness of a U.S. Senate Committee giving attention, and taxpayers' treasure to the lobbying behind health care reform, and the industry's crafted arguments made on behalf of its untoothed language, there are more bills introduced in Congress. Senator Leahy proposes to erase the antitrust exemption granted to insurance companies in 1945. Read McCarran-Ferguson. We find that all it did was keep regulation and oversight in the States' purview.

Read the Supreme Court decision in re: United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters, 322 U.S. 533 1944 and you will find a footnote - Louis D. Brandeis, speaking as Counsel for the Protective Committee of Policyholders in the Equitable Life Assurance Society, on Oct. 26, 1905: "It seeks to rob the State even of the right to protect its own citizens from the legalized robbery to which present insurance measures subject the citizens..."

In the same summation, Brandeis argued that the States' regulatory oversight is inefficient, "and in some, doubtless, corrupt."

Justice Brandeis was vocally and legislatively against powerful corporations, and believed that bringing regulation into the federal arena solidified their monopolies, rather than limit. Trusts would eventually be like "clumsy dinosaurs, which, if they ever had to face real competition, would collapse of their own weight."

I'm confused, as most of us probably are. We've seen Federal oversight in action, most recently in New Orleans, Wall Street, FNMA, FMAC, AIG, and now with the irresponsibly ignored passage of a Senate bill to reform health care created by the very villainous usurers who insure us.

Oversight, whether in the States' domain, or the Federal domain isn't given the money, scrupulous scrutiny or support it - and we - require.

New tort reform legislation introduced! Is there doubt that tort reform is the new chewtoy for the insurance leviathan?

We, the people, do not need more laws. We, the people, need the laws we have in place enforced.

As Justice Brandeis noted: "Let us remember the ineffectiveness for eighteen long years of the Interstate Commerce Commission to deal with railroad abuses, the futile investigation by Commissioner Garfield of the Beef Trust, and the unfinished investigation into the affairs of the Oil Trust."

Rewriting McCarran-Ferguson is a smokescreen. Tort reform is a smokescreen. Obfuscation, and abnegation of responsibility to we, the people, must become the modus operandi of the past. We, the people, can envision a future with lobbyists and their checkbooks barred from the halls of the people's government.

Michigan citizens are fortunate to be represented by Senator Stabenow. And Senator Levin. We elected two Senators who know who they are paid to represent: we, the people of the State of Michigan.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NASA Bombs the Moon

NASA will bomb the moon at 7:31 a.m., EDT, October 9, 2009. Our U.S. government is running a LCROSS Impact Clock on their website. As this is written there are 2 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes, 22 seconds to impact.

The NASA site is encouraging people to organize Impact Parties.

The bomb detritus will be examined by a shadowing orbiter for traces of water. Water! The Centaur rocket will be shepherded by a delivery satellite that will target the 2-ton kinetic bomb to blast the Moon's surface at twice the speed of a bullet, cratering the moon 5 miles across. The resulting dust cloud will be six miles high, visible from Earth.

If there is water, what then? Who holds the deed to the Moon?

Where's Klaatu when we need him?