Major Haitian Relief Bill Needed, Bring Children To America

There are many moral reasons  for Congress to work on a broader scale  as the Catholic Charites are doing in regards to the earthquake victims in Haiti.  Catholic Charities are planning to bring  Haitian children to America who have lost their families in the recent horror.  (I know Rush Limbaugh will want to adopt at least two of them.)  A major Haitian relief bill needs to be introduced in Congress that meets the needs that now exist.  Though we have financial problems in this country we can not, and must not, turn away from the crisis that confronts so many, and so near to our shores.  This is no time to assess the cost.  We have seen the need, and now we must react.  Anything short of that is unconscionable.   America needs to stand ready to make a real difference in the lives of some of  these people, especially the children who are now homeless and without family.  We talk about family values so freely in this land.  Time now to put actions to our words,

Catholic Charities and various other South Florida groups are planning a massive airlift to transport thousands of Haitian children left orphaned following Tuesday’s tragic earthquake. According to reports the groups are going to use the same model used 40 years ago during Operation Pedro Pan. 

Officials from the Archdiocese of Miami and other organizations have already located a temporary shelter in Broward County to house the children.

Officials have also admitted to working with the Obama administration to provide the children with humanitarian visas.

In December of 1960 Operation Pedro Pan was initiated to transport children away form Fidel Castro’s new Communist Cuba. The move came at a time communist indoctrination was being interjected into Catholic and private schools.

When it ended nearly two years later over 14,000 children between the ages of 5 to 17 were in the United States and had visa waivers.

GOP Senate Candidate Terrence Wall Paid No Wisconsin Income Tax Four Out Of Last Five Years

Conservative values come to light…….but they are not Wisconsin values.

I find it amusing that Republican Terrence Wall, who wishes to become a United States Senator, feels paying income taxes is best left to the little guy.  The multi-millionaire has not paid any income taxes to Wisconsin four out of the last five years.  And yet he wishes to convince voters that he should be the one representing our values and interests in Washington as a United States Senator.  I am quite certain than not even conservative Republicans in Wisconsin can endorse or support such behavior.  It is wrong, shameful, and shady.  (Or does Terrence Wall have one of those crafty lawyers that can find ‘legal’ ways not to pay taxes so the rest of us need to pay more?)  No matter which way Wall tries to spin this one we all know he is not the type of person who represents Wisconsin values.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin released the following press account today.

News reports out today reveal that multi-millionaire, real estate magnate, and candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate Terrence Wall has not paid any personal income taxes to the State of Wisconsin four out of the last five years. 

This latest news comes on the heels of his campaign’s announcement just this week that he’s poured $275,000 of his personal wealth into his own campaign.  

“How can Mr. Wall be a voice for Wisconsin tax payers when he isn’t one himself?” asked Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  “Middle class taxpayers are going to want to know why Terrence Wall thinks he can stick it to them.”

Tax avoidance is a disturbing pattern for Terrence Wall.  He’s already come under fire for incorporating at least 16 of his companies in Delaware – a practice that, according to the May 30, 2009 issue of the New York Times, “help corporations avoid paying taxes in other states”. 

Reports have also detailed how Wall has also dodged over a hundred thousand dollars in property taxes by claiming commercial land he owns in the Madison area is agriculture land – the most infamous is a supposed “pumpkin patch” located in the heart of Middleton.  

According to the required personal financial disclosure report Wall recently filed, between January 2008 and October 2009, Wall reported income between $3,494,197 to $15,273,332 and reported personal assets totaling $58,584,046 to $129,862,000. 

Conan O’Brien Reported To Be Leaving NBC, Gets Payout

If this is all true, then I am proud of Conan O’Brien.    Will last Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien be January 22nd? 

Conan has been treated unfairly by NBC, and Jay Leno has been front and center in the abuse.  I know Conan will find a new network, and the viewers will follow.

The late-night nightmare is almost over. Conan O’Brien is leaving NBC and receiving a payout—and he’ll be free to appear on another network before his contract expires, Kim Masters reports.

The NBC-Leno-Conan war is close to ending, according to a knowledgeable source. According to the outlines of a settlement, Conan O’Brien will leave NBC and the network will make an as-yet unspecified payment. The comedian will be free to appear elsewhere on television well before his contract expires, despite earlier threats from NBC that it would prevent him from working anywhere else.

There is still opportunity for the negotiation to fall apart, but clearly, at this point it is in NBC’s interest to put an end to this dismal episode.

It seems that Ron Meyer, the affable chief of the Universal film studio, played a key role in bringing the parties together when they were at an impasse and talks had broken down. Meyer is a former agent whose industry relationships run deep and wide. And of course, he has lots of negotiating experience.

According to the source, the resolution to the epic and highly public battle came down primarily to the size of the check that NBC would write to O’Brien. That amount remains shrouded in mystery for now, and no doubt the parties will have to agree to confidentiality as part of the deal.

Football Fans Will Not See Much Football This Weekend

Why should you consider reading a good book instead of watching football this weekend?  Read on…..

I am not sure if it is safe to write this, but while the Green Bay Packers were playing last weekend I was relaxing in a hot tub and reading by a motel swimming pool, not even being aware of the score until well after the game was over.  Football is just not on my radar.  But I know that many Packer fans in the Badger State took one on the chin in what the Monday paper described as a ‘must-see’ game. 

So I have welcome news for Packer fans who are nurisng their wounded spirits.  The same news applies to those fans who supporterd a winning team last weekend.  No matter who will take the field either Saturday or Sunday there is not much football to see.

Here is why.

Football fans everywhere are preparing to settle in for the NFL’s biggest and most electric weekend of the season—a four-game playoff marathon that will swallow up at least 12 hours of broadcast time over two days.

But here’s something even dedicated students of the game may not fully appreciate: There’s very little actual football in a football game.

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.

In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there’s barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.   (And people sit on a sofa to watch this?)

So what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast? Not surprisingly, commercials take up about an hour. As many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally milling about between snaps.   (YAWN!)  In the four broadcasts The Journal studied, injured players got six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players. While the network announcers showed up on screen for just 30 seconds, shots of the head coaches and referees took up about 7% of the average show.

Now go get a good book.

President Obama To Campaign Sunday In Massachusetts

Good.  And about time.  As noted in my post earlier today I thought it high time President Obama got rolling to the Bay State to help keep Teddy Kennedy’s senate seat in Democratic hands.

As such, there is a need for President Obama to be in the Bay State to put the gas pedal down on the political engine.   He must get Air Force One to Boston this weekend!

Now we have this news.

President Barack Obama will travel to Massachusetts this weekend to try to save Edward M. Kennedy’s former U.S. Senate seat for his party, and with it the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority.

Surging support for Republican candidate Scott Brown has White House and Democratic Party officials increasingly worried that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, could lose a special election Tuesday and hand Republicans their first Bay State U.S. Senate seat since 1972.

The president will fly to Massachusetts on Sunday to campaign for Ms. Coakley, following video appeals and an automated phone message to Bay State Democrats.

A victory by Mr. Brown could subject the president’s signature domestic initiative, legislation to overhaul the health-care system, to a Senate filibuster. More broadly, the remainder of the Obama agenda for the year, including legislation on financial regulation, energy and climate change, education and possibly immigration could suffer as some Democrats reassess their relationship with a damaged president.

Ted Kennedy Would Not Be Pleased With Massachusetts Senate Campaign

Over the past three weeks the fear factor from Massachusetts has increased.   Democrat Martha Coakley has conducted one truly lousy race, and I will be the first to say she tried to coast her way to a victory.  As those of us who lived and watched Teddy Kennedy over the decades well know he never took a race for granted, and was well versed in one-to-one meet and greet style campaigning.  So it is highly distressing to me to have witnessed this shoddy and under-performing example of Coakley during the month of December.  As such, the naked pin-up guy from the 1970s’, Republican Scott Brown, is in the ballgame.  (Conservatives must be so proud!)  As such, there is a need for President Obama to be in the Bay State to put the gas pedal down on the political engine.   He must get Air Force One to Boston this weekend!  There is no way that we should lose this race.  Having a hard-hearted Republican, a soulless and cold politician such as Brown undermining the work that needs to be done in the U.S. Senate would be a slap to the legacy of Kennedy.  There will be time for more stern rebukes for Coakley in the future, but for now we must not let Teddy Kennedy’s dream, and America’s need for health care reform, be lost in this senate race.

Democrats dominate most elections in Massachusetts, and no Bay State Republican has won an election to the U.S.Senate since 1972. But If Brown pulls an upset and defeats Coakley, the Democrats will lose their 60 seat filibuster-proof coalition in the Senate, which could severely threaten the party’s chances of passing a health care reform bill in Congress and handing it to President Barack Obama to sign into law. Brown says he would vote against the bill. Health care reform was an issue that the late Sen. Kennedy championed.

Logistical Nightmare In Haiti

The images and the stories from Haiti over the past several days have been heart breaking.  There is no way not to feel the pain and utter hopelessness of the people.  While there is understandable growing tension among people who are injured, homeless, without drinking water, food, and health care there are also a long list of obstacles that make this humanitarian relief mission staggering in its complexity.  It is this side of the earthquake story that has also captivated my attention and interest.  I suspect if we only thought about all the children and their pain, and not have the logistical aspect to the story to read and see, we would be crying non-stop.

1) Port-au-Prince’s small international airport is struggling to cope with the number of aid flights arriving. Its control tower and radar are down. The US military has taken over air traffic control.

2) The airport has only one runway, limited space to park arriving aircraft, and inadequate capacity to unload cargo. Even once goods are unloaded, there are not enough vehicles to transport them to cities across the country

3) The main port in Port-au-Prince is closed to cargo ships due to severe damage to the docks and the one major crane at the facility.

4) Some roads are impassable. Others are blocked by rubble, smashed cars, and people too scared to go back into their damaged homes. Other land routes have been destroyed, cutting aid agencies off from their warehouses.

5) There have been scuffles, looting and gunshots in the capital, along with attempts to hijack aid trucks. The World Food Programme initially said its warehouses had been looted, but this was later denied. However, some food stores in the city have been looted. Some rescue crews said they were forced to stop work at nightfall due to security concerns.

6)  The water supply in Haiti has mostly been cut off. Aid groups have been distributing bottled water and water purification tablets in some areas, but the vast majority are without drinking water.

7) The presidential palace, the parliament and many government buildings have collapsed, hampering an already weak central government.

8) Helicopters are ferrying the wounded to hospitals in nearby countries as hospitals in Haiti are ill-equipped to deal with the injured, many of whom have broken bones and serious loss of blood.

A hospital ship from the US is due to arrive in Haiti next week. Once anchored, the USNS Comfort will effectively be the only fully operating hospital in the country.