May 24, 2005

At what price Democratic?

This should be a year of rejoining for Democrats throughout North Carolina. Though, we lost the national battle against radical neo-conservatives, who hold theology in higher regard than morality, at least here on the homefront we won the war. A Democratic Governor, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate, what more could a Democrat ask for?

Well, for its representatives to act like Democrats for one thing. In the last few weeks, the Democratic majority in the Senate has pushed through legislation that seems more in line with neo-conservative Republican policy than with Democratic morality, while blocking legislation that falls inline with Progressive principles. These un-Democratic policies include:

  • Cutting approximately $2 Billion in Medicaid spending for 65,000 aged, blind, and disabled people who are most in need.  Yet, what do our Democratic Senator have to say about Medicaid for the old, blind, and disabled?

    "Many of the complaints that have been filed against us by business and industry and other folks is that we're too generous in Medicaid, and it's been very, very costly."  --  Senate Leader Marc Basnight, D-Dare.

    "We've got a lot of non-mandated services that we provide. It's a Cadillac health program." -- Senator David Hoyle, D-Gaston.

    "Medicaid is what's driving the budget and we've got to control it."  -- Senator Kay Hagan, D-Guilford.

  • Our Democratic Senators support a bill that will cut Workers' Compensation Benefits for injured workers, even though fair analysis suggests that our plan is one of the nation's LEAST costly.

  • Our Democratic Senate has chosen to block decent healthcare for 12,000 children a year from working homes.  These are children whose parents work hard, but who do not bring home enough money for healthcare.  Our Democratic Senate has decided that child welfare is less important than corporate welfare.

  • A cut in teen drug courts that help keep kids out of jail and are also LESS EXPENSIVE than old-fashioned prison time.

  • A permanent half-penny sales tax increase, which when proposed nationwide by Republican last year was labeled as a poverty tax.

  • A minimal cigarette tax that does not offset the damage done by smoking to our personal or economic health and which still leaves North Carolina close to last among states with cigarette taxes.

  • Reduction in the income-tax bracket for tycoons and heiresses collecting an average of $800,000 a year.

  • Reduction in the tax-rate for Mega-Corporations in the state.

    The Democrats in the Senate need to learn a lesson from George W. Bush about mandates.  We won the Governorship and widening margins in the House and Senate this year and deserve to have a budget that is Progressive in its principles, not neo-conservative.  We deserve equity for the working family, equality for all North Carolinians, a progressive and fair tax system that lifts the burden off the working class and distributes it evenly, and a better life for all children.

    The budget battle is not over, far from it, and the Democratic House and Governor have signaled that they do not support many of the proposed neo-conservative positions.  So, please, all North Carolinians, contact the Governor , and your local House Rep, but also PLEASE, email or call your Senator and let them know that these changes are unacceptable and that they will not be tolerated in the future.  Thank you for your time.

  • May 23, 2005

    Child Survival Initiative

    This is an initiative that I have put together. The purpose is to offer Democrats a cohesive pro-life, pro-infant, pro-child strategy to offer the American people. Other bills that are already in consideration could be added.

    The Infant & Child Well-Being Program
    Infant and Children Survival Bill.
    Under Republican leadership infant and child mortality has risen every year, the first increases in infant death for 43 years. Yet, instead of remedying the problem, the latest Republican budget will continue to increase the number of infants and children that die in our country. We must not forsake the welfare of our children for the welfare of MegaCorporations.

    •Infants and Children in our society have been relegated to second class citizen status behind Mega-Corporations and their interests. Infant mortality had decreased for 43 years until 2001. Under the Republicans, infant mortality and child mortality has begun to rise again. We rank behind such “Super Powers" as Italy, Norway, and Poland in the most vital statistic – keeping our children alive. Republicans will counter that we try to save more preemies than any other country, which is why our rates increase. To counter that, we also rank 24th in the world in Child Mortality, which is defined by the death of children between the ages of 12-59 months.

    •The new Republican budget cuts Medicaid benefits. As pointed out by the March of Dimes, THE organization responsible for stopping polio, THE organization that has done more for children’s health than any other; “Medicaid is the single most important source of coverage for maternity services, accounting for 1.4 million (37%) of births in hospitals.”

    •This bill should seek to increase funding for any program that might increase the chances of survival for infants and children. Opposition to this bill would place Republicans against saving babies.

    Ending Curable Childhood Diseases Bill.
    The budget of the Republican Party will result in an increase in preventable childhood diseases. We must not ignore preventable childhood diseases for the sake of larger deficits and more handouts to Mega-Corporations.

    •The Republican budget cuts all funds earmarked for neonatal testing. In case you are not aware, there are 29 tests that all neonates are recommended to receive. This takes a few heel pricks of blood. These tests are all for metabolic diseases.

    •Why test? Because if you find out that a child has the disease you give them supplements and they live a perfectly normal life. What happens if they are not tested and you don’t find out until later in life? Too late, they will grow up to be mentally retarded, physically retarded, or dead.

    •This bill would fund half of the monies required for states to test every newborn for metabolic diseases. Opposition to this bill would require Republicans to defend increases in PREVENTABLE childhood diseases, which will result in more healthy children becoming mentally and physically retarded or dead. In addition, this would allow state Democrats around the country to argue for preventing childhood diseases, while their Republican counterparts must argue AGAINST preventing childhood diseases.

    No Homeless nor Hungry Children

    The number of children in poverty decreased every year under Democratic leadership, and has increased every year under Republican leadership. While we continue arguing over the causes of poverty, children go homeless, hungry, and die on the streets. No child has a choice in being homeless, but we adults have the choice and the responsibility to care for these children. (This argument makes a good segway when the Republicans try to move the argument to choice/abortion.)

    •In this country, right now, 27 million children are growing up in low-income families. Of these 27 million children, 83% of them have at least one working parent. These numbers are not evenly divided either, with 42% of children under age 6, nearly 10 million, living in poverty.

    Buried within the thousands of pages of the Republican budget are two important features. First, more program benefits for MegaCorporations; second, cuts in program benefits that feed our nation’s hungriest children. When will the party of Aristocrats and Tycoons be honest about their priorities? Corporate welfare over child welfare (repeat ad nauseum).

    •Millions of children in our country suffer from hunger, while millions more suffer from chronic undernutrition, the under-consumption of essential nutrients. This nutrient deficiency can lead to serious health problems, including impaired cognitive development, growth failure, physical weakness, anemia and stunted growth. These problems lead to irreparable damage to our children. The number of Americans who were hungry, at risk of hunger, or food insecure rose in 2001 to 33.6 million. This includes over 6 million households with children.

    We must stop ignoring children who, through no choice of their own, are thrown into homelessness. When families fall into homelessness because of economic downturns, the result is the dissolution of the family, as children are torn from their parents and forced into foster homes. Fighting child homelessness is a win-win situation for society; you end up with a more successful child and it costs less than the alternatives.

    •Over one million children will experience homelessness this year. Can you believe that? Can you imagine the fear, anger, and shame you must feel if you bring your child into homelessness? According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, one of the major reasons for homelessness is the disparity between the minimum wage and home costs. “In no jurisdiction does a minimum wage job provide enough income to afford the rent of a modest apartment. In 1970, there were 300,000 more affordable housing units available than there were low-income households in need. In 2001, there were 4.7 million more low-income households in need than there were affordable housing units. Housing vouchers have been shown to end family homelessness. Nationally, the average cost of placing the children of a homeless family in foster care is $47,608, while the average annual cost for a permanent housing subsidy and supportive services for a family of equal size is about $9,000.”

    •This bill could include a number of programs. Increasing the minimum wage would be an immediate winner because so many Republicans voted against it. Even Wal-Mart employees are starting to organize for higher pay. Housing vouchers would be a very effective tool, because you could clearly state that it saves the Federal Government $36,000 a year for one child, and $84,000 a year for two children. In addition, children that grow up homeless are more likely to enter the welfare roles, they are more likely to have mental problems, and they are more likely to burden society than to help it. Thus, putting them in houses is cheaper and makes the world a better, safer place.

    •Feeding hungry children and getting them out of poverty should be a priority, but it may prove hard to sell by itself – it seems that our opponents believe the churches will take care of everybody. In the context of these other programs, it should be possible to sell food and shelter for infants as children (Democrats) vs. Corporations (Republicans).

    May 06, 2005

    Excommunication of Democrats

    A group of 20 Democrats have been excommunicated from the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina. The excommunication was based on their failure to support George W. Bush, as stated by the priest. So, two questions.

    1. What is excommunication?
    2. What is a church?

    1. What is excommunication? Definitions can be found throughout the internet, but I like this one - "Excommunication implies that the privileges of church membership are so high that to be expelled is the ultimate tragedy. In the close brotherhoods of some Protestant groups exclusion from the bread and wine meant the censure of friends, the loss of sweet fellowship, the consciousness of being out of favor with God and man." Ok, so it fits that these people have been excommunicated from a Baptist church. They have been deprived of the ability to worship, they have been censured by their friends (clapping as they left), and lost fellowship.

    2. What is a church? Here, I would like to focus on the IRS definition of a church. The IRS has a list of criteria, not all of which have to be met in order to be a church.

    * A distinct legal existence.
    * A recognized creed and form of worship.
    * A definite and distinct ecclesiastical government.
    * A formal code of doctrine and discipline.
    * A distinct religious history.
    * A membership not associated with any other church or denomination.
    * A complete organization of ordained ministers ministering to their congregations.
    * Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study.
    * A literature of its own.
    * Established places of worship.
    * Regular congregations.
    * Regular religious services.
    * Sunday schools for the religious instructions of the young.
    * Schools for the preparation of its ministers.

    The point to note is highlighted. What is ecclesiastical? "Of or pertaining to the church; relating to the organization or government of the church; not secular"

    What is secular? "Of or pertaining to this present world, or to things not spiritual or holy; relating to temporal as distinguished from eternal interests; not immediately or primarily respecting the soul, but the body; worldly."

    So, this organization fails on this count. But, do they fail on the others? Probably. I think that A formal code of doctrine and discipline should be looked into by someone. Because if such a code of doctrine and discipline exists, then I bet it doesn't say anything about excommunication based on political party.

    May 05, 2005

    Alan Gell and the Death Penalty

    Posted by Hello

    In a case that hits close to home, if your home is in NC, Alan Gell provides the best reason yet for a death row moratorium. Alan Gell was set up for a murder he did not commit by two 15-year old girls, who were making deals with the prosecutor.

    The prosecutors had Gell arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. All the while, they hid evidence that GELL WAS IN PRISON DURING THE MURDER!!!

    What kind of evil bastard does this to another human?

    Maybe Gell wasn't an angel, but he sure as heck didn't deserve to be killed for a crime he didn't commit.

    Romans 2

    God's Righteous Judgment
    1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?

    Is the death penalty an appropriate penalty? Perhaps. Perhaps there are cases. Those who would use the Bible as their law see many cases where Death is appropriate, as would be the cutting off of hands, the plucking of eyes, etc. Many in our country have come to see the Death Penalty as cruel and unusual punishment. Others have merely come to see it as a crime itself, as is the case for Alan Gell. Where are the prosecutors who lied and sent Alan Gell to die an innocent man in the throughs of agony? They have been "reprimanded" by the State Bar. OOOooooooh, I'll bet their wrists hurt.

    Death to an innocent man = A slap on the wrist

    Yeah, that's fair.

    May 04, 2005

    Take Down Robin Hayes

    Okay Folks. It is time to take down these "Republican DeLites", who have no ideas of their own, but only tow the DeLay line. We are unfortunate enough to have one of the worse offenders here in our state - Rep. Robin Hayes.

    Robin Hayes took almost $43,000 from Tom DeLay, and in return he helped pay for his legal funds and voted in lock-step with his anti-American legislation. We must start now, before the rush, we must raise money and raise awareness. We must get men like Robin Hayes out of office before they do any more harm.

    I propose that we bring Beth Troutman back for another go at this office. I don't know Beth personally, but a tour through her biography reads like this:
    Growing up, I waited tables at my family’s restaurant, Troutman’s Barbeque.

    In my younger years, I had the honor of serving as spokesperson for First Lady Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ program

    I became active in the Cabarrus County D.A.R.E program and worked with local law enforcement officials to reach children in my community.

    I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, paying my way with scholarships and part-time jobs waiting tables and managing a clothing store.

    I began the ‘Build A Dream’ foundation to help underprivileged children set goals and realize their dreams.

    I spent a decade of my life working with kids to help them overcome drug addictions, low self-esteem issues, and bad home lives.

    I was fortunate to get a ‘behind the scenes’ job with the television show ‘The West Wing’.

    Coming home to run for Congress was an easy decision. Cabarrus County is, and always has been, my home.

    The interests of the people of our district are being replaced by the interest of big business.

    The needs of our constituents have taken a back seat to the personal gain of our elected officials.

    Here at home, we believe in hard work, integrity, and standing up for what you believe in. Send me to Washington, and the values of the Eighth District will be well represented.

    Why should we send Beth back to the plate? Let's look at some facts. In the last election, Beth won 45% of the vote against Robin Hayes. Not bad, considering that Hayes has been in office since 1998. He has a strong ground game and lots of favors owed him you can be sure. So, 45% is a pretty good showing.

    Name on Ballot.............Party........Ballot Count
    Robin Hayes.................REP...........125,070 (55%)
    Beth Troutman............DEM.........100,101 (45%)

    But wait, there is more. What kind of campaign did Beth get to run? A big high-budget affair like we expect in such a competitive race? No, afraid not. Hayes raised almost $1.7 million, while Beth only raised $231K.

    Why? Huh? Where was the party? I don't know. But, I do know this. Hayes needs taken down and perhaps Beth Troutman, with a few million in her coffers, could do the job. IF, we start now.