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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Healthcare reform – The real issue with the vote…

March 23, 2010 2 comments
Note: Originally posted 3/23/2010  on Facebook
OK, I’ll admit that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the month’s-long debate, votes, re-votes, and re-re-votes on the proposed and now passed healthcare reform bills. I’d listened to the facts, I heard from the fringe crowd, leftists, righties, conspiracy theorists, etc. and basically decided that I was not interested enough in the whole debate to get excited about it. I would get a little irked when I would hear “The government wants to decide when you will die” and other odd-ball interpretations of the various bills. Otherwise, I basically thought “More affordable healthcare for those who don’t have/can’t get it: Sounds like a generally worthy cause…”

So, on Sunday, when I heard that the bill had finally passed, I didn’t get excited or upset. If anything, I was glad that I wouldn’t have to hear the constant background static about it. (But of course, it will switch to something else soon enough). I follow CNN on Twitter and shortly after the news broke, CNN posted a link to a chart of who voted which way:

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2010/03/politics/health.care.votes.final/index.html

This was when I got a little heated… I checked out the link, mainly just curious about how my local Representatives voted, but without a negative connotation either way; it was just pure curiosity. Now, there are 178 Republicans in the House who voted. Guess how many of them voted “No”?

178

And there are 253 Democrats in the House:

219 voted “Yes” (Roughly 87%)

Now, I do not consider myself naïve. I understand the elements of politics in the way our country is administered. So it is not surprising to me to see the two parties disagree. However, I can tell you that I was EXTREMELY disappointed in the WAY that they disagree.

Before I continue, let me remind you of what a Congressman is, or is supposed to be:
In the Senate, two Senators from each state come together to represent each state’s constituents on equal footing. (i.e.: California gets as many votes as say, Wyoming). In the House of Representatives, each state gets a number of Representatives in proportion to their population (California: 53 Wyoming: 1)

If you just read the above, you probably did not blink or think twice about how much the work “represent” or some form thereof was used.

Now the definition of represent: (the 3rd definition seems to be most applicable here)

rep•re•sent
–verb (used with object)
1.
to serve to express, designate, stand for, or denote, as a word, symbol, or the like does; symbolize: In this painting the cat represents evil and the bird, good.
2.
to express or designate by some term, character, symbol, or the like: to represent musical sounds by notes.
3.
to stand or act in the place of, as a substitute, proxy, or agent does: He represents the company in Boston.

So, back to the vote: I suppose that it is possible that each of the 178 Republicans truly believed that they were representing their constituents’ views by voting “No” and further, I suppose it’s possible that the 87% of Democrats who voted “Yes” were doing the same. However, I don’t believe that anyone reading this truly believes that. It is obvious to me, at least, that this vote had nothing to do with health care reform and serving your constituents and had everything to do with following their political party leaders and voting the way they say to vote. It doesn’t really matter if the vote was about healthcare, immigration, taxes, or anything else. As so often seems to happen these days, if one party is strongly in favor of something, anything really, the other becomes strictly opposed to it. It doesn’t matter in which party it starts. Unless it is just an obviously good idea, good will or has a ton of public support without much opposition, it follows this pattern.

There really is not a lot more I can say about this, except that I think that this is NOT what good representation is, and therefore is NOT what I expect from MY (yes, MY, as I am one of the ones who votes for and is “represented” by these Congressmen) Representatives. Let me ask you a tangential question… You hired a real estate agent to find you a house They keep wanting to show you 2 bedroom houses for you, your spouse and 4 kids, because at their real-estate office, they strongly encourage selling 2 BR houses. Would you keep that agent/reality? Of course not! You would find someone who better represents your wants and needs. The same goes with our government representatives. If you do not feel that you are being properly represented by your local, regional and nationally-elected representatives, you have the ability to fire them and hire a new one by voting.

I know that I plan to.

Finally, a quote from Albert Einstein: “When all think alike, no one thinks very much.”

Snowstorms and Global Warming

February 11, 2010 2 comments

Note: Originally posted on Facebook on 2/11/2010

I was watching CNN today when a politician was being interviewed. I don’t recall his name, but he was a republican and was being interviewed about his stance on global warming, or Climate Change, as is the new buzz word. He pointed to the record snowfalls and low temperatures seen in the US this winter and made the comment “How can anyone think we have global warming when Washington DC gets two 16″ + snowfalls within two weeks of each other?”

Now, I do not consider myself strongly aligned with either political party. I am registered Republican, but voted for Obama. In fact, I am not really even picking on this one politician, since I have heard it from many and from media and frankly good friends as well. As such, I try to filter out the partisan things that happen in politics and try to find the underlying message or meaning… In this case, I have to say that “I don’t have a clue what I am talking about” is what was being said loud and clear, and it is sad that people with such a shallow knowledge of science and math are representing us in Congress and *gasp* making decisions about scientific matters…

So, to address his statement above, let’s quickly address his errors: 1) Small sample size, 2) Ignoring historical data and 3) relying on “conventional” or “party” wisdom

Sample Size — Somehow, the CNN guest today felt that 1 month of anecdotal data, cherry-picked to make his point, somehow made his statement true… This is akin to saying, that baseball player went 4 for 5 in today’s game, so he’ll hit .800 for the year, or I flipped a coin 3 times and got 3 heads so it will never land tails! When dealing with random or semi-random events such as weather, batting averages or coin flips, a large sample, say 100 years of data, 600 at-bats or 1000 coin flips, will tell you much more about the actual inherent trend or true-ability, than a small sample size will, because it has more time to “even itself out” or “regress to the mean”, in statistic-ease.

Additionally, he only focused on the US. I don’t know the answer to this, but I have to wonder if January – February 2010 has been abnormally cold for the entire globe or is it more of a localized thing?

Historical Data — I will point you to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web site.

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/index.html

There is a lot to read there, but just a couple of extracted facts… Average global temperatures are higher now that anytime in recorded history and on a decade by decade basis, have steadily risen since the 1820’s and has escalated more so since about 1975.

Party Wisdom — I’ll just say I hate politics… But what I really can’t stand is when republican or democrat takes a stand against something, purely because the opposing party is for it. I saw a different interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy who said that he had been told by a current US Senator that his main opposition to Climate Change bills in congress was because they originated in “liberal-left-thinking”

C’mon guys… let’s start using our own brains up there instead of playing these kinds of games!

/soapbox off