This is a page for Porter County residents which, hopefully, will interest some and irritate others by calling attention to issues, happenings, thoughts, ideas, and politics, sometimes pertinent just to Porter County and often beyond those borders for we are no island onto ourselves.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Attention all concerned citizens. Forget your political party affiliation and think of the elderly members in your families and among your friends. Read, think, and discuss with others the following statement by an Arkansas congressman:


Text of Democratic radio address
By MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:03 PM ET Mar 25, 2006
Rep. Marion Berry: Good morning. I'm Congressman Marion Berry of Arkansas, a senior citizen, a pharmacist, and someone who has spent the past five years trying to give the American people an acceptable Medicare prescription drug benefit. I have fought alongside my Democratic colleagues to put seniors first and I have watched with complete amazement as the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress forced a disastrous prescription drug scheme on America's greatest generation.
Everywhere I go in Arkansas, I hear from concerned seniors. Many of them cannot access lifesaving medicines, some have seen their drug prices increase, and others are so confused by all the mass mailings and phone calls they cannot figure out which plan is best for them and their family. No one can. My staff and I have taken thousands of calls from desperate seniors who did not deserve to have their own government do this to them.
Sadly, it does not stop there. In Arkansas, we have pharmacists who are struggling to stay in business. Many have paid out of pocket so their customers do not lose critical drug coverage and have little confidence that the Administration will find a way to reimburse them for their goodwill. I will never forget one conversation I had with a pharmacist from DeWitt, Arkansas who had given away $60,000 in free medications in just one week because he knew his customers might die if they did not receive their refill that day. Medicare Part D is the FEMA of health care.
These are not the stories of a benefit that works. Our seniors deserve better. Our pharmacists deserve better, and working together we can do better.
On May 15th, the registration period will close, and the Bush Administration will impose a prescription drug tax on any senior who does not sign-up according to their timeline. To penalize our seniors because they are hesitant to register for a confusing and deceptive scheme is completely unfair. Instead of forcing a benefit on Americans that allows the drug and insurance companies to rob our seniors and bankrupt our neighborhood pharmacies, what America needs is a benefit that puts seniors first.
Democrats know how to do this.
We need to extend the sign-up period by six months to give seniors more time to make sense of this benefit, and we need to eliminate the Bush Administration's prescription drug tax. These short-term reforms will take pressure off of Americans and give our government time to think long and hard about meaningful Medicare reform.
We can have a simple Medicare prescription drug benefit, give our seniors low prices just like the Veterans Administration, and save the taxpayers $40 billion a year. If Medicare bargains for lower prices, it will put money back into the pockets of America's seniors, not insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and strengthen the Medicare system.
Today's seniors helped this country through the Depression, fought two wars, and turned America into the greatest nation in the world. They do not deserve to be treated like second-tier citizens by their own government, and be made victims of backroom deals by pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists.
Every American deserves the best health care we can provide. We do not have to accept a failed benefit and we do not have to tolerate a culture of corruption or leaders who are afraid to admit their mistakes. Democrats have the answer, and under a Democratic Congress, we will give seniors the prescription drug benefit they were promised years ago. Together we can do better.
This is Congressman Marion Berry of Arkansas. Thank you for listening

Little of a Lot: Is this blog functioning or not?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Earlier this week the Post-Tribune reported that a young female "driver," and I use the term "driver" loosely, crashed her car when she stuck her head out the car window to spit as she was busy brushing her teeth. So help me! And then today the Post-Tribune tells us about the young female "driver" who knocked her ringing cell phone to the floor of the car and while busy reaching for it, while continuing to drive, of course, ran into the side of the South Shore train which inconveniently happened to be passing by. It seems to this observer that it is time to take one of these toys, either the cell phone or the car or, perhaps, the toothbrush, away from these ding-bats who simply don't seem to be smart enough to know that sooner or later they will kill themselves or someone else. Seriously it is time to lean on our legislators to pass some restrictive laws on the use of a cell phone in an automobile when it is mobile--that means moving --dingbats! And perhaps the drivers' license test should have some toiletry questions for those who don't know where brushing one's teeth is normally done. It's done in a bathroom, dingbats!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Carrol Vertrees, columnist for The Post-Tribune, on Sunday, March 19, 2006, wrote about the "Kansas hate squad" which harasses fallen soldiers' families at their funerals. Following is a letter I wrote in reaction to Carrol's column:

KANSAS KOOKS

What is this thing with Kansas? Carrol Vertrees in the Post-Tribune, Sunday, March 19th reminded us that Dorothy was from Kansas when she got blown into the Land of Oz, where he says that Kansas church gang belongs. We shouldn’t do that to Oz.

I think we need to find out why a whole state has gone nuts. Why is the KKK dead in Dixie and alive and well in Kansas? We need an impartial federal investigation by President Bush’s top “Homeland Security” people to determine what noxious toxic is blowing across flatland and messing up the minds of its inhabitants. This is serious.

I haven’t heard of any UFO reports from out that way, no cattle mutilations lately, and no one’s mentioned any Chernobyl kind of accidents, and no Katrinas, so we can probably rule those out. I suppose it could be an in-breeding sort of thing. That’s known to end up with some weird behavior from those who result from that kind of family activity.

Then it could be the tip of the latest Jim Jones kind of thing, one that hasn’t reached the Kool Vat stage yet, or maybe it’s another effect coming from that “Red Alert” group that got themselves ready to board the spaceship behind the comet. It’s similar in that a lot of people are acting affected. It’s weird behavior, like passing laws that knowingly will be sending poor women into back alley abortions. Just poor women, you understand. Wealthy ones will just fly out of state, maybe to Oz. And driving teachers and scientists out of state by corrupting scientific textbooks with mythology. And, of course, sending the goofiest ones, the “gangs” Carrol referred to, out of state to harass grieving members of the families of our fallen soldiers at those soldiers’ funerals.

Something is wrong out there. An alien designer, or something is making those krazy Kristian kooks act like militant mullahs and I don’t think we can blame Oz. Maybe it’s coming from Pat Robertson.

Why Do I Feel So Insecure?

Iran and North Korea are busy defying the world building weapons of mass destruction which they may one day rain down on or sneak into our cities, and while this is taking place our president sent our military into Iraq searching for those weapons which were in Iran and North Korea in the first place. Why does that make me feel physically insecure.

Our trade deficit has ballooned to the point China can’t build factories fast enough to manufacture all the goods they can ship into our ports, and, meanwhile, back home, our corporations, with the help of our leaders in Washington, are outsourcing our jobs as fast as they can. Now why should those things make me feel economically insecure.

Our national indebtedness now exceeds even what Reagen did and he took us farther into debt than all the presidents combined in our history before him. I mean before the present president whom we now suspect may not be the fiscal conservative we thought he was, but then we were caught up with the idea of having a “compassionate conservative” not a fiscal one. Thanks to President Bush, his vice-president, and his “conservative” congress our children’s children will be paying that debt—our children’s children—not theirs! Why does that make me feel financially insecure.

Following the unspeakable horror of 911, we had the sympathy and support of the entire civilized part of the world. Most of those nations now are hostile toward us and sympathy and support are no longer to be found. Our leader who is in charge of our world relations and national security can take credit for that change. Why does that change make me feel more alone and internationally insecure.

Contrary to pep talks, tv interviews, and political speeches, Iraq is into civil war. Over 2300 of our young people have been killed and thousands more have been terribly wounded. The flag-draped bodies of those dead heroes and those of their wounded comrades are being kept hidden from us because our leaders don’t want us to see the daily body counts of carnage. At the same time tens of thousands of dead Iraqis are now enjoying the democracy “Bring ‘em on” Bush sent to them. Our leaders assure us that things are getting better. All we have to do is “stay the course” rather than being unpatriotic and asking why we don’t either send enough power over there to really do the job, or get out. It’s another Korea, another Viet Nam, where we send our young to fight and die while we withold the power and support they need to win. Why do I have trouble believing our president and his handler V. P. when they tell us that they can see the “light at the end of the tunnel”? Why do these things make me feel militarily insecure.

If all these insecurity provoking events weren’t enough, we can now worry that world scientists have the proof that the world is warming, the icesheets are melting, the oceans are rising, and our president won’t sign any world agreements to do anything about it. Meanwhile, we got to watch Katrina tear a hole in the middle of our country, killing some 1300 people while our leaders in Washington were trying to figure out where New Orleans was. I heard a rumor that our president thought it was in France, and that’s why he didn’t do anything for several days. Why does that kind of national policy and preparedness for “Homeland Security” make me feel so environmentally insecure.

As I try to analyze my feelings of insecurity in face of all the assurances from the people we “trust” in Washington, I believe the single most difficult thing for me to accept is the fact that on that 911 day of infamy, 3,000 of our citizens were massacred right before our eyes as we sat stunned watching our people, our citizens, jumping to their deaths to escape the flames, and yet, today, years later, Osama Bin Laden, the son of Satan who ordered it and bragged about it is still running around loose, thumbing his nose at us. The only thing that tempers my insecurity over that unavenged atrocity is the anger I feel toward those who caused it and those who have not yet brought Bin Laden to justice. Meanwhile our president is so tone deaf that he was actually offended that anyone, even his own rubber stampers, would dare question his selling American ports to Bin Laden’s cousins. Why, oh why, do all these things make me so insecure.

The answer, I now know is that I am insecure because there is nothing in our national leadership today that gives me any reason to feel secure. We have let dangerously deficient people gain control of our government, its policies, its military, and its future while selling us the allusion of security, compassion, and well-being. We, our children, and our world are already beginning to pay an awful price for the bungled, secretive, and incompetent policies that are driving our nation and our world to a man-made apocalypse.

John P. Williams
Portage,
219-762-0547

Hunting for Beginningist blog. Is it still active. No, it isn't.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The posts below this marker have been sent to the letters to the editor of the Post-Tribune, The Times, and the Chesterton Tribune. Some have been printed in one paper or the other, most have been printed in all three. Some were edited beyond recognition. They are here as I wrote them and any others that I may submit to one or two of the papers will also appear here in its original form.

Conservative Liberals

Compassionate Conservatives, Concerned Liberals, Right-wingers, Left-wingers, moderates, etc. We don’t need a score card to keep up; we need a dictionary--or, perhaps, some clearer terms.
I am a “conservative liberal”. After all, following George’s lead, we have the right to rename ourselves as whatever we think sells at the moment. So today we have concocted “compassionate conservatives” who are really ruthless radical right-wingers. We have a “warrior president” who studiously ducked his opportunity to face actual combat, and we have the “prayerful pious”, like Tom DeLay, who in reality are professional predatory piranhas. So why not a “conservative liberal”?
Conservative Liberals really are the only people today who are still trying to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ who taught us that we should try to ease the suffering of those less fortunate rather than cutting their Medicaid, food stamps, and Katrina aid in order to finance tax cuts for the extremely wealthy.
Christ taught us we were to love one another. The liberals, I agree, went overboard with that one, but the compassionate conservatives think that teaching applies only to crooked congressmen and incompetent presidents.
Compassionate conservatives, in all fairness, are simply trying to conserve their compassion. Conservative liberals, meanwhile, are trying to conserve Social Security for our elderly, Medicaid for the destitute and ill, Food Stamps for those who otherwise will go hungry, and a living minimum wage for those having to work two and three jobs to survive.
I could go on, but it seems to this conservative liberal that liberals are the only true Christian conservatives, and I don’t need a dictionary to know one when I see one.

Creationism

As an unabashed admirer of so much of our world’s scientific achievement, and as the son of the pastor of the Valparaiso Nazarene Church when I was born, and as a former public school teacher, among other things, I feel I have some qualification for making the following comments:
Evolution, creationism, politics, theocracy. I’m getting confused by all this arguing when the truth has already been established--at least for twenty-some percent of our population--at least since the ordination of the most seemingly pious pope the U.S. Supreme Court ever installed in the U.S. presidency.
It’s time to burn the books that teach only one theory, either the theory of evolution--Darwin’s Book, or the theory of creationism--God’s Book . The truth is self-evident: both theories are correct! The evidence is all around us. That evidence can be found in the fact of the existence of the two primary political parties in our country: Republican and Democrat.
The Republican Party is on the wane, having been largely consumed by the Theocrat Party. The Democrat Party is still around but, like the Neanderthal, probably due for replacement.
In the meantime, the democrats are proof that evolution is true. Democrats, we all know, evolved from slime. Just ask Reverend Falwell, or that other theocrat who owns the diamond mine in Africa, or better yet, ask George the Second because we know He is the Second Coming. Jeb will probably be the third They are the proof creationism is true.
It’s time to end the fighting. Democrats, as well as the world’s leading scientists, will just have to get over it and accept the fact that God created the theocrats like Tom Delay, who begins each day of predation with a prayer, like Dick Cheney, who, when he isn’t praying, is telling a fellow senator to perform a lewd act on the senate floor, like George ll who has such respect for human life in Florida and Washington and so little regard for it in Texas, like Jimmy Swaggert who…oh, never mind, but remember, God, not Darwin put those people in charge of the rest of us, and I, for one, am not going to mess around with God. I am just going to hope that we democrats and the other forms of low-life can continue evolving so we, too, can become paragons of truth and decency like the above mentioned theocratic creationists.

This post was accidently repeated and has been erased.

Extremism: The Real Viral Threat
Melville, New York has now joined Kansas in the degradation of religious faith and the loss of common sense. I am not a Catholic, a religious conservative, or a Republican, but I have to ask, have we really gotten so ridiculous in our cultural chaos that a Catholic priest cannot mention Jesus Christ while blessing a Christmas tree, as took place in Melville recently. If we have, then I think, in all fairness, that we should level the playing field and treat all holiday observances alike.
Christ, then, is no longer to be mentioned at Christmas time; veterans are not to be mentioned on Veterans Day; no more mothers on Mother’s Day or fathers an Father’s Day. And, of course, we won’t mention presidents on President’s Day, laborers on Labor Day, or even new years on New Year’s Day.
When we have cleared away all this political incorrectness, perhaps we can seek out some other cultural or religious tradition that might somehow, somewhere, sometime offend someone’s sensitivity, or lack of it. I do suspect that there is someone out there who is offended by the use of chickens eggs to honor Easter bunnies, as we already are seeing from those who are offended by the monster masks of Halloween.
One of the truths about the slippery slopes of stupidity is that there is no bottom to reach.
It just keeps getting worse. Stupidity begets stupidity the way a virus multiplies. I really think its time to quit worrying about the bird flu in Asia and start worrying about the bird brains in America.

New Years Resolutions
It’s time to quit picking on our president and give him the respect Harriet Miers gives him when she says he is the smartest man she has ever met. I just hope all the liberal Bolshevik Bush bashers behave in 2006. It should have been their first resolution for the new year if they are really good Americans like us.
President Bush is doing the best he can. After all, he was forced into the presidency by five of the supreme court justices who thought he was his father. He isn’t and he is now trying to cope with a job which is simply over his head. Give him a break. It’s not his fault that he still can’t find those weapons of mass destruction that Saddam hid so well.
And, I think we ought to cut the president some slack on his not finding Osama Bin Laden, the guy who slaughtered our people in the twin towers. Bush had to quit looking for Bin Laden so he could spend his time looking for Saddam’s WMD’s. And , of course, our president had to spend at least some time taking care of Katrina which could have turned into a real mess if he and Brownie hadn’t been in charge.
Furthermore, it isn’t President Bush’s fault that he and our beloved vice-president had to create the most secretive administration in our nation’s history. Just why is it so wrong for our government to listen in on our phones. It’s probably more entertaining than TV. What do I care if the NSA monitors my wife’s calls to me at the grocery store to remind me to bring home some bread and milk. Some people are even faulting our president for declaring an end to hostilities over 2,000 American lives ago, not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. It’s not his fault that a mere handful of malcontents are setting off killing bombs in a hundred different places a day. That’s about to end anyway because VP Cheney says those malcontents are almost done for.

And it’s certainly time to resolve to quit complaining about this administration caring more about rich people than it does about poor people. Complainers are just saying that because it’s true. Poor people didn’t pay for this administration; rich people did, and they are just getting a return on their investment the same way the drug companies are now getting paid back through the new senior prescription medicine panacea,
No more of this mean-spirited, unpatriotic, left-wing liberal Bush bashing and nasty talk about Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, Tommy DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby, and Pat Robertson, the president’s spiritual advisor. Let’ s all resolve this year to think only of these guardians of our nation as they begin each day in prayer and end each day in honest and dedicated service to each of us . Bless them, one and all.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

This blog will remain inactive for the time being. This bloggers time is being consumed by temporary but important needs.