Bush budget cuts veterans health care in 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration's budget assumes cuts to veterans' health care two years from now -- even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.

Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012. But even administration allies say the numbers are not real and are being used to make the overall budget picture look better.

See CNN Story:


3/1/1991: "Vietnam Syndrome" declared over!

"By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!"

President George H W Bush

President made this statement in a euphoric victory statement at the end of the Gulf War, suggesting the extent to which Vietnam continued to prey on the American psyche more than fifteen years after the fall of Saigon. Indeed the Vietnam War was by far the most convulsive and traumatic of America's three wars in Asia in the 50 years since Pearl Harbor. It set the U.S. economy on a downward spiral. It left America's foreign policy at least temporarily in disarray, discrediting the postwar policy of containment and undermining the consensus that supported it. It divided the American people as no other event since their own Civil War a century earlier. It battered their collective soul.

The summary victory over Iraq was hailed by no less a figure than President Bush as a once-and-for-all elimination of the 'Vietnam syndrome' -- which shows how powerful was the memory of that defeat even 15 years after the fall of Saigon. Addresses three questions (1) why the USA invested so much in contesting communism in Vietnam (2) why its efforts failed -- even today, US explanations tend to assume that it could have been 'done right', overlooking now as then the formidable disadvantages facing US policy (3) the economic and political consequences of the defeat for the USA.

Read more in Foreign Affairs.

02/28/2007: McCain Says U.S. Lives 'Wasted' in Iraq

"Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be. We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives."

John McCain

(Barack Obama recently drew headlines when he described the more than 3,000 Americans killed in Iraq since 2003 as wasted lives. He subsequently apologized.)

Republican presidential contender John McCain, a staunch backer of the Iraq war but critic of how President Bush has waged it, said U.S. lives had been "wasted" in the four-year-old conflict. Democrats demand the Arizona senator apologize for the comment as Sen. Barack Obama did when the Democratic White House hopeful recently made the same observation.

"Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be," McCain said Wednesday on CBS'"Late Show With David Letterman.""We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives."

McCain, who repeated his assertion that U.S. troops must remain in Iraq rather than withdrawing early, made the "wasted" remark after confirming to Letterman what has been clear for at least a year or more — that he's in the running for the 2008 Republican nomination.

"I am announcing that I will be a candidate for president of the United States," he said — and added that he would officially enter the race by giving a formal announcement speech to that effect in April after a visit to Iraq.


Like I Didn't See That Coming


General Conspiracy Marshalls His Minions For Battle

Would Reagan Get Elected Today?

Mythical icon was "wrong" on most of today's Republican issues

Abortion? He was for abortion rights before he was against them.

Taxes? He raised them as governor, and raised them several times as president after his big 1981 tax cuts.

Immigration? He signed the law that Republicans now call amnesty for illegals.

Foreign policy? He negotiated with the head of the "Evil Empire."

Of course, people are entitled to their fantasies.



"Harsh Reality" aims to cultivate a kinder culture

Students at Monticello High School were confronted with the consequences of gossip, bullying, back-biting, name-calling and their own self images Tuesday, Jan. 30, while attending a performance of "Harsh Reality," a staged production performed by teenage actors.

The performers are members of the Homeward Bound Theatre Company, an outreach group that uses drama to deal with various pressures and challenges teens face in today's world. The company, a nonprofit organization based out of Chanhassen, dedicates its efforts to helping teens with issues of self-esteem in the hope that a strong self-concept will help them to cope with negative pressures they face on a daily basis. Homeward Bound's Teens to Teens outreach program employs young actors to play in various sketches that deal with topics including premarital sex, teen pregnancy, violence, drugs, peer pressure and family life.


For School Kids Self-Mutilation Ain't About Vanity

ROCHESTER, MN -- They are teenagers and even middle-schoolers. Children who cannot handle the pressure life throws at them. Over the last decade kids, starting at the middle school level are increasingly coping with their problems in very self-destructive ways. And if you think it's not a big deal, then think again.

In researching this story I was shocked to hear the number of girls right here in our schools who do this. Melissa says, "I was thinking that I couldn't be as good as everyone else.And so I thought I had to punish myself when i wasn't as good."

Melissa Kerlin's problems weren't really any different from almost every girl in middle and high school. But her way of coping with the stress and the depression that followed during her sophomore year is becoming a rapidly popular way of dealing with emotional pain.


Official charged in Darfur massacre

CAIRO -- International prosecutors Tuesday charged a well-connected Sudanese government minister and a militia leader with crimes against humanity for organizing scorched-earth attacks on unprotected villages in Darfur.Ahmad Harun, former Darfur security chief, bragged in 2003 that he had "all the power and authority to kill or forgive whoever in Darfur for the sake of peace and security," prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Check out Shelia Harsdorf's move to divest state funds from Darfur

Radical, Furitcake Bloggers Force Local GOP TO Join Democrats

Expect a phone call late at night...

Filed under: Politics Local --- Tiger @ 17:76 am
I have learned through N. Onimous sources that the St. Croix County Republicans and Democrats have decided to merge! After looking at the local candidates from both parties it was decided that none can slither on their belly like an ontheborderline.net endorsed candidate. Both parties have decide to call the new party the Rinocrats.

Bob “PT Barnum” Ziller and the ultra-liberal, conservative communist with a bent for Buddhist meditation and hillbilly music, from New Richmond have been negotiating the exact wording in meetings open to the public. Even though everyone in the universe has stopped by to provide input, the local ontheborderline.net bloggers have been suspiciously absence.
Word has it that the OTBL’ers are starting there own political party. Rumor has in that it will be a cross between the John Birch Society and a scene from the movie Deliverance. The fledgling party is still working on slogans that capture their message. Below are the slogans under consideration:

1. If silence were gold, we’d live a life of poverty.
2. The good news is the shit is only up to our ankles. The bad news is we are in it head first.
3. You didn't get the round mouth from eating peanuts all day.
4. Did you checkout the 1/2 price sale at the Left Of Center?

The entire committee includes Luke, O. Iamapuss, Citizen Joe Blow, Spiritinyourrectum, Mr. Jiffy and e-baloney. A formal announcement will be shot up the Stovepipe at the Holy Sacred Oracle, once the OTBL’ers get the shit eating grin off their face. Stay tuned for details.

Study: Vanity on the rise among college students

NEW YORK (AP) -- Today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."

Twenge and her colleagues, in findings to be presented at a workshop Tuesday in San Diego on the generation gap, examined the responses of 16,475 college students nationwide who completed an evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006.

The standardized inventory, known as the NPI, asks for responses to such statements as "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place," "I think I am a special person" and "I can live my life any way I want to."

The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students' NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982.

Narcissism can have benefits, said study co-author W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia, suggesting it could be useful in meeting new people "or auditioning on 'American Idol."'

Read more on the rise of vanity.


High school test scores declining over time

(I ran across this story about lower standardized test scores and higher GPA's. You would naturally expect these two measurements to have a positive correlation: one goes up, the other goes up. I talked to a local business owner last week who told me hear daughter in high school spells "school" "skool." When the daughter was told that its important to spell properly, the daughter said with spell checking you don't have to know how to spell. The same business owner total me they ran a 15 percent off sale and the clerk, a high schooler now in college, was totally confused as how to figure out 15 percent off. She total him to just take off 10 percent, divide that number by two and add them together to get the amount to reduce the price. The store owner said the clerk said that was way too confusing.

I'd heard similar versions of this story over the past couple of years. I wonder if this seems odd to me because I have 52 years of life experiences compared to a kid with 16 years of life experiences. Maybe I've had more practical application of my education? Maybe it doesn't matter? Maybe I'm expecting too much when I'd expected college-bound high schoolers to be able to spell "school" and do simple, practical math.)

Two reports released last week reveal that students may be learning less than students who were in school 15 years ago, raising concerns about high school curriculum reform by the U.S. Department of Education.

Margaret Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education, said in a written statement that students are taking more rigorous coursework and earning higher GPAs but aren't performing better on standardized tests. The two reports looked at standardized test scores and analysis of transcripts from seniors who graduated in 2005.

One of the reports, called The Nations Report Card: 12th-Grade Reading and Mathematics 2005, showed a decline in the average scores in 2005 compared with scores in 1992. However, the second, The Nations Report Card: America's High School Graduates, showed students were earning about three more credits than students in 1990 and had an increase of a third of a letter grade higher in their GPA.

Read more on test scores.

Almost St. Patty's Day

Kurt O'Weasel hoisted his beer and said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life between the legs of me wife!"

That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night!

He went home and told his wife, Marion, "I won the prize for the best toast of the night"

She said, "Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?"

Kurt said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."

"Oh, that is very nice indeed, Kurt!" Marion said.

The next day, Marion ran into one of Kurt's drinking buddies on the street corner.

The man chuckled leeringly and said, "Kurt won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Marion.”

She said, "Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come."


Republican "Big Tent "Turns into "Little Wigwam"!

With polls showing the current Republican occupant of the White House
soaring in popularity around the high 20% range, the St. Croix Republican
Party has adopted an ingenious strategy to sway more voters to their point
of view by insulting and exluding their former supporters.
What makes this strategy even more unique is that OTBL is new public relations campaign. Responding to an obvious lack of interest in their Lincoln Log Day Dinner (a conceal and carry friendly event), rather than encouraging attendanceby all, OTBL specifically warns Republicans in the center of the spectrum they are not welcome.
Way to go OTBL and St. Croix Republicans. As a Democrat I can't
wait to see how this new strategy will help you in the next election.
Keep up to good work!
Nothing say "permanent minority" like this type of campaign. I love it!

Poverty: Do they ever mention this during the sermon?

What would Jesus drink...

Recent World Bank statistics indicate that more than 1.5 billion people the world over live in abject poverty on less than $1 a day – and the number has been on the increase over the last decade, progress in the developing world as a whole had been impressive. In one of its recent reports the World Bank said that there had been a significant long-term improvements in reducing the mortality rate of children under five, and life expectancy – an important indicator of health and well-being has risen to an average of 62 years.
The majority of the poor are concentrated in two regions – South Asia, with 500 million to 600 million poor people, and Sub-Saharan Africa, with 200 million to 250 million poor. They earn less than $360 a year and some even less than $300 a year!
One of the major causes of poverty is that which is transmitted from parents. Poor parents are likely going to produce poor children though occasionally, few can emerge as rich and wealthy children. Another factor that causes poverty of the parents and children is the family size. When a couple who are already poor produce about ten or twelve children, it is certain that the parents will be saddled with the responsibility of giving them food, caring for their health need and taking care of their housing. When all these primary needs are taken care of, it will be difficult to give all the children the required level of education with the limited resources at their disposal. Unless some of the children are taken over by friends and relations, some of the children will find it difficult to exceed the primary school level. A person with primary education will need to be taught a trade if he/she is to fit well in the society and have children who are to be properly cared for.

Read more on life on a $1 a day...

Apple's Steve Jobs goes sour on teachers' unions

During a joint appearance with Michael Dell that was sponsored by the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation, Jobs took on the unions by first comparing schools to small businesses, and school principals to CEOs. He then asked rhetorically: "What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in, they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good? Not really great ones, because if you're really smart, you go, 'I can't win.' "

He went on to say that "what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

Jobs' criticisms took at least one analyst aback. David Daoud, IDC's research manager for its quarterly computer sales tracker, said the comments were "very surprising. Teachers have been a loyal [customer] base for Apple, as opposed to enterprise IT. If Apple starts losing teachers, you may see an erosion in its market share."


When you're on the go and can't stop to go