Sunday, January 24, 2010

From the Front Page

Flipping through today's edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the front page had a couple interesting tid-bits.

Obama is putting together a committee to solve America's fiscal issues by way of bipartisanship. I agree with Lewis Black when he says, "[...]the only thing dumber than a Republican or a Democrat is when these [people] work together."

A Philadelphia Transportation Security Administration officer is no longer employed by the airport following a prank he pulled on a University of Michigan student. The security officer reportedly planted a plastic bag of white powder in the student's luggage. Then, he proceeded to pretend to "discover" it. After the "longest minute of [her] life," the officer revealed that he had put it there. Now, that is bad joke timing. The student, Rebecca Solomon, posted the story on-line. She said that he had "joked about the least funny thing in air travel." The airport claimed the officer was training new employees to find hidden contraband. If this was the case, he should not have enlisted the help of unwitting participants. As an afterthought to her story, Solomon added that the incident "[opened her] eyes to how small mistakes can have big consequences." After considering her reaction, along with the lengthy diatribe , I do not believe she truly considered it a "small mistake." It was all just bad timing. But, she got her 15.

So I guess the US Marines are leaving Iraq. That is great to see. It appears as though Iraq can handle it, though the White House has concerns about effects the withdrawal could have on an upcoming parliamentary election. The White House hopes the election will result in decisions being made on serious political issues, such as the distribution of Iraq's oil revenue. So does the resolution of those issues mark the end of our oversees involvement? No. President Obama promised to send more troops to Afghanistan, and it is being carried out. Amy Schlesing (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) writes that 200 Arkansas soldiers will depart for Afghanistan.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Obama's Lost Ability to Campaign

After seeing the astounding 2008 campaign, many voters believed Obama was the path to all hopes coming true. Recent developments might indicate all of that is unraveling as a sort of resentment towards the US President shows its head.

Though she made plenty of campaign mistakes without assistance, Obama's ditch-effort to assist Martha Coakley may have done more harm than good. We have seen this before when Obama's best efforts could not save Jon Corzine's election hopes, either. As I recall, Obama's last (successful) "campaign" ended with the House of Representatives passing the first rendition of the health care bill...but that had nothing to do with voters. Now, many Americans are disenfranchised by the health care bill (and soldiers being sent to Afghanistan...and Obama's extension of the Patriot Act...and the list goes on). Obama promised the US health care reform since his 2008 campaign. Instead of stopping the process and responding to voter anger issues, Obama is trying to limp this through.

The concept of the bill is great--Americans need health care insurance, and the current market needs a kick. The problem arises when the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill work together to construct the public option. I have an idea for this--we do the same thing we did with General Motors. The US government should find an insurance company that is not doing so well. Then, we buy 51 per cent of the company. This way, we can keep Congress from constructing a policy of their own. Competition would still spread throughout the insurance market, and the American public would not be subjected to a 2000-page bill.

This blog has been on my draft list since Thursday, so I'll cut this one short and move on to something else.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gotti Got Away

John "Junior" Gotti, Jr. is not going back to any court to truly face his mob-related charges. Gotti has been in court four times for the charges, but the jury always failed to reach a verdict...shocking. Gotti is the son of the infamous John "Teflon Don" Gotti, Sr.. The nickname, "Teflon," arose from the prosecutor's lack of ability to make charges "stick" to him.

On January 8, 2010, a New York judge signed paperwork deeming the prosecutor's case officially closed. The charges Gotti escaped include two counts of murder and other charges such as kidnapping. Now, Gotti plans to leave the US to write crime stories.

I look forward to Gotti taking the O.J. route, though--publishing a book full of implicit confessions. Of course, I also enjoy those old gangster movies like "Goodfellas" and "Casino," so Gotti's book (if he ever publishes it) should be an interesting read. Perhaps he will entitle it, "If I did It." That is what O.J. Simpson did. However, a federal bankruptcy judge gave the publishing rights of O.J.'s book to Ron Goldman's family. Goldman's family then renamed the book, "If I did it: Confession of the Killer." As a side note for anyone who did not watch television in 1994 [EDIT: O.J. Simpson's wife was murdered in 1994; the trial began (and ended) in 1995], Ron Goldman was the guy O.J.'s wife was, supposedly, seeing on the side. Thus, O.J. (allegedly) brutally murdered both of them. Technically, his guilt was never proven beyond a doubt. Prosecutors had his glove, a shoe and a motive. Still, the jury returned a faux pa "not guilty" verdict. He has since then managed to get himself arrested/convicted for other crimes, so he is resting in prison unless he is allowed to parole around 2013 [EDIT: O.J. Simpson will be elligible for parole in 2017].

Curtis Sliwa is the guy who Gotti allegedly paid someone to kidnap, beat and shoot. The only thing he can do for justice, since the criminal case was dropped, is pursue civil charges. If Gotti was able to escape criminal charges, I highly doubt civil court hearings will end differently.

Hey. Maybe the civil judge will award Sliwa royalties from Gotti's book.