Saturday, September 4, 2010

Early voting in Maryland - information

I found it really disappointing that the County is doing such a lousy job getting out information about early voting. The latest Paperless Airplane covers voter registration, which expired in August, not the ongoing primary. Primary voting information is not an option on the menu at 240-777-8683 (VOTE), although you have to take the extra time to listen to them assure you that the options are updated often so you should wait and listen to them all each time (press 0).
It's not on the website for the Silver Spring Center, one of five early voting spots:

Thank goodness I got the call from My Representative Chris Van Hollen telling me about it.

Here is the top-sectret brochure.

Even the Washington Post is not helping, hiding it under the cute but hard to find headline, "early bird specials." Here is the story.

The hours are 10am-8pm

If you care about the Chesapeake Bay, vote for Roger Manno. If you care about honesty and integrity, vote for Martin OMalley, not Robert Ehrlich.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Census 2010: We can't move forward till you send it back

No cities in Maryland make the top 50 of census returns.

That means when it's time to decide how many representatives on Congress, how much federal money for metro, how many pothole fills, how many school lunches, Maryland may not get its fair share.

Currently, Virginia and Pennsylvania have slightly better return rates. C'mon Maryland! Return your census!

Ever wanted a quick explanation of how health reform will benefit Maryland to share with friends and family?

Last year, more than 700,000 Marylanders lost their homes to foreclosure when health bills bankrupted them. Insurance companies did that to Marylanders.

See what health reform does for Marylanders here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Insurance pays for gun owners

Gun owners increase their risk for injury and expense when they injure themselves and their families. No evidence indicates that it increases safety. Not only that, but more often than not, they don't have the money to pay for their health care from the injury! Government health care and your insurance premiums finance their carelessness. Ironic that self-declared libertarians depend on the welfare of government.

According to Medical experts:
Many people feel that having a gun provides greater safety for them and their family. Actually, having a firearm in the home escalates the risk for death or injury, while using it to shoot someone who endangers the household is much less common. The resultant injuries, deaths, emotional turmoil, and/or disabilities lead to greater utilization of health care and legal/police services. Payment for these expenses is provided by higher insurance premiums and tax rates. This financial aspect has become a part of our country's current political concern over firearm ownership rights, gun violence or regulation, health care costs, the economy, and taxes....

The article lists mind-numbing numbers of injuries and deaths caused by guns. Of course, gun rights advocates don;t bother to contest these numbers. They argue instead that it is a cost of having the right to "a well-regulated militia" a need which they offer to meet with unregulated, untrained, unregistered or liscenced citizen soldiers regardless of whether they can hit a target the size of a barn.
Taxpayers often bear a large percentage of these financial burdens; thus this matter is a hot political topic nationally. In Kentucky in 2008, 73% of gunshot victims were uninsured, 10% were covered by governmental plans, and 17% were insured.[18] Nationally, data reported in 2001 documented that government programs pay for about 49% of this amount, 18% is covered by private insurance, and 33% by all other sources.[19] Past medical bills are reflected in future insurance rates.[2]
Gun violence costs about 2.4 billion dollars annually to the criminal justice system in America, which is almost equal to all other crimes put together.[19] Each homicide results in approximately $244,000 of incarceration expenses for our taxpayers. Indirect costs are high as well; for example, local governments across our country spend up to $100 million each year just on bulletproof vests.[19] Most of these bills are then passed on to the taxpayers.

Guns, purchased for protection, paradoxically result in increased rates of injury or death to the owners and their families. Since firearm possession is related to a high occurrence of domestic violence, restriction of access is sometimes suggested as a prevention policy. That, however, remains politically sensitive despite public wishes to reduce the costs of medical care and insurance. Availability tends to increase crime rates and the presence of these dangerous weapons escalates rates of both morbidity and mortality. Shootings are often precipitated during the commission of other crimes.[9] Clearly, guns are easily available to the at-risk population; yet gun control remains generally unpopular. Firearm possession does not appear to yield safety. Documentation evidences that the presence of guns and injuries are correlated,[17] and are thus related to medical attention and disability costs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute

King's next project, after public accomodations and voting rights, was going to be economic equality. His work remains unfinished.

Read his speeches and realize you can replace his descriptions of fairness and aspirations to any marginalized groups: immigrants, gays and poor.
Here is a speech given in response to King's death by Bobby Kennedy in Indianapolis, Indiana: a city that responded with NO riots. Listen to it in Kennedy's own voice here.


Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because...
I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

(Interrupted by applause)

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
(Interrupted by applause)

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Robert F. Kennedy - April 4, 1968

Just two months later, Robert Kennedy was gunned down during a celebration following his victory in the California primary, June 5, 1968.