June 20, 2008
Want to make an awful week get better?
Do you need to relieve some stress?
Is the better half nagging you to do something you don’t want to do?
Did your boss make an a*shole out of you at the mid-week meeting?
Did you make a fool of yourself at the bar the other night?
Could your checkbook balance pass itself off as your handicap?
Does the price of gasoline make you want to hurl?
Did you go to the grocery store and see that price increases are starting to rival gasoline?
Did your kid strike out, with 2 outs, bases loaded, and the team was down by 1 run?
Well, maybe just one or two of those things happened to you this week, or last. I hope life is not treating you like a wicked stepchild. If it is – I of course have the answer.
Just go golfing and everything gets better. A nice round of 18 holes on a brisk Saturday morning is just what the Dr ordered. A stroll down the lush green fairways will make your stress go away.
Just do it – you won’t be sorry. FORE!
Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to pick the little ‘stringy things’ off of it. That’s how the primates do it.
Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.
For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.
Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.
Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.
1. Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.
2. Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.
3. Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.
4. Reheating Refrigerated Bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
5. Newspaper Weeds Away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.
6. Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can’t see easily.
7. No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.
8. Squirrel Away
To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.
9. Flexible Vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
10. Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and — ta da! — static is gone.
11. Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
12. Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!
13. Reopening Envelope
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside , just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.
Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It’s also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn’t like when you tried it in your hair…
15. Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2′ with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
16. Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home,’ can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works & you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS
The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink, ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material – I’m sure you know what your dryer’s lint filter looks like. Well…the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn’t go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that’s what burns out the heating unit. You can’t SEE the film, but it’s there. It’s what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free — that nice fragrance too, you know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box, well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to catch fire & potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (& to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out & wash it with hot soapy water & an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!
**Note: I went to my dryer & tested my screen by running water on it. The water ran through a little bit but mostly the water collected in the mesh screen. I washed it with warm soapy water & a nylon brush & I had it done in 30 seconds. Then when I rinsed it the water ran right thru the screen! There wasn’t any puddling at all! That repairman knew what he was talking about!
July 12, 2007
As I see it we have a problem. Our system of healthcare is sick, but we cannot afford the costs of fixing it. So I have a novel idea of how to fix it, so nobody loses. The United States Government BUYS the Health Insurance Companies. Yes, a lock, stock and barrel purchase of the companies. It shouldn’t cost us any more than the estimated $1.4 TRILLION we will spend on Iraq, or at least not much more – and look at all the great property we get – most Health Insurance Companies have pretty nice digs. Sure we would have to go in debt to pay it, but what’s a few trillion more among friends. And all that money will just seep back into the economy as the stockholders reinvest it.
We retire off the overpaid CEO’s, VP’s and such. We retask those left with the job of IMPROVING this nation’s declining health.
I am a capitalist and believe that profit is not a dirty word, however making excessive profits from people’s misery is not moral. I want to see ALL Americans healthy, wealthy and wise. But we are not trending toward that instead we are moving slowly towards the abyss of negligence.
Over 55 million Americans have NO HEALTH INSURANCE. That is 55,000,000 of your children, nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers and neighbors. THAT IS HORRIBLE. They have no health insurance, but catastrophic medical events get covered – by OUR TAX DOLLARS. So see, we have socialized healthcare, it is just the MOST EXPENSIVE way to have it. Not to mention Medicare, a great program that has been very successful – it to is socialized medicine – and an efficiently run socialized medicine program at that.
Most employers pay in near or in excess of $1000 per month for a family of four to be covered by Health Insurance. Most employees pay a few hundred of that expense. That is a lot of money. Better managed and without the need to “turn a profit” these costs should decline.
Sure, my plan has flaws – heck, I only have about an hour invested in it. But at least it’s an idea. Let’s get a national conversation on healthcare started. And let’s make it real – not political.
July 12, 2007
Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration began yesterday in Indianapolis. indpls.com has a great piece on the event. It details most of the event dates, times and locations. This is one of the premier events in the nation for African-American solidarity.
June 7, 2007
I am adding yet another candidates issues statement. This time it is John Edwards, former candidate for Vice President, and former senator.
We live in a time of dramatic change and great, global challenges. John Edwards believes we must confront those challenges directly with equally great ambitions, starting today.
Restoring America’s Moral Leadership in the World
America’s leadership role in the world has grown out of our compassion and moral strength, as well as our unparalleled economic and military strength. We can be proud of our long history of using our strength to fight for the freedom of others, but our standing in the world has been badly tarnished. America can once again be looked up to and respected around the world. The first step is by immediately withdrawing 40,000-50,000 troops from Iraq, with the complete withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within 12-18 months — allowing the Iraqis to assume greater responsibility for rebuilding their own country. It also means working to restore our legitimacy by leading on the great challenges before us like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the genocide in Darfur, extreme poverty, and living up to our ideals in the fight against terrorism.
The 47 million uninsured Americans often do not get the care they need. Each year, about 18,000 die as a result. Despite the problems of the uninsured and unnecessarily low quality care, our health care system is the most expensive in the world and insurance premiums have grown faster than wages for almost 50 years. John Edwards believes we need to reform our health care system to provide truly universal coverage – not mere access to insurance – and get better care at lower cost. Read More »
Every day, 37 million Americans wake in poverty. Our response to that reality says everything about the character of America. John Edwards has called for a national goal of eliminating poverty within 30 years, with policies rooted in the core American values of opportunity for everyone and responsibility from everyone. We can reach that goal by creating and rewarding work, strengthening families, helping workers save and get ahead, transforming our schools, expanding access to college, breaking up areas of concentrated poverty, reaching overlooked rural areas, and expecting people to help themselves by working whenever they are able. Read More »
Strengthening America’s Middle Class
The backbone of America is its middle class. But middle class families are struggling. Wages have fallen in recent years even as the economy has grown. At the same time, the costs of necessities like health care, child care, and education have grown. President Bush’s tax policies have increased the share of the tax burden borne by middle-class workers. Our economic policies must reward work, help families save for the future, and fight the rising costs of middle-class life.
Our nation’s dependence on oil and other fossil fuels is contributing to global warming and jeopardizing our national security. To protect our future, John Edwards believes that Americans must be patriotic about something other than the war. We must act now by investing in clean, renewable energies like wind, solar, and biofuels to create a new energy economy, developing a new generation of efficient cars and trucks, and putting new energy-saving technologies to work in buildings, transportation, and industry.
Our generation must be the one that says, ‘we must halt global warming.’ Our generation must be the one that says ‘yes’ to renewable fuels and ends forever our dependence on foreign oil. And our generation must be the one that builds the new energy economy. It won’t be easy, but it is time to ask the American people to be patriotic about something other than war.” – John Edwards
Our generation must be the one that ends our nation’s dependence on oil and ushers in a new energy economy. We need energy independence from unstable and hostile areas of the world, from global warming pollution, and from the old ways of doing business. If we harness American ingenuity to reach for transformative change, we can emerge from the crisis of global warming with a new energy economy that stimulates innovation, brings the family farm back to life, and creates more than 1 million jobs in America’s farms and industries. Today, John Edwards called for America to embrace three great goals for this generation:
- Halt global warming by capping and reducing greenhouse gas pollution and leading the world to a new global climate change treaty.
- Create a new energy economy and 1 million new jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy, sparking innovation, a new era in American industry, and life in family farms.
- Meet the demand for new electricity through efficiency for the next decade, instead of producing more power.
As a result of the Edwards plan, by 2025 America will import 7.5 million fewer barrels of oil a day, produce 65 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels a year, generate 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources, and produce more than 2 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year. Within a generation, America’s cars and trucks will be virtually petroleum-free.
Halting Global Warming by Capping Carbon Emissions
The planet has gotten nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit hotter over the past 30 years and will get another degree hotter due to greenhouse gas pollution already in the atmosphere. The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1990. If we don’t change course soon, we will see dramatic climate changes and a different planet. The last time the Earth was 4 or 5 degrees warmer — 3 million years ago — there was no ice in the Arctic and sea levels were 80 feet higher. [Hansen, 2/26/2007; NRDC, 2007]
- Earlier this year, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — an international network of over 2,000 climate scientists — concluded that evidence of global warming is “unequivocal” and human activity is “very likely” the cause. [NYT, 2/3/2007]
- Next month, the panel is expected to report that, without changes, within decades climate change could cause hundreds of millions of people to suffer water shortages and tens of millions to be flooded out of their homes annually. By 2080, hundreds of millions could starve. [AP, 3/11/2007]
The Edwards Plan:
- Cap and Reduce Global Warming Pollution: Edwards will set an economy-wide limit on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. He will build on the precedent of the Clean Air Act of 1990 — which limited pollution causing acid rain through a sulfur dioxide cap-and-trade system — to reduce pollution in a cost-effective and flexible manner.
- Use Science to Set the Caps: Edwards will cap greenhouse gases at levels that the latest climate science has determined to be necessary to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. He will cap greenhouse pollution starting in 2010, reduce it by 15 percent by 2020, and reduce it by 80 percent by 2050, consistent with the most aggressive plans under consideration in Washington.
- Make Polluters Pay: Edwards will auction off a portion of the pollution permits to raise $10 billion a year for a New Energy Economy Fund to jumpstart clean, renewable, and efficient energy technologies and create 1 million jobs. Other permits will be sold or given away.
- Lead the World toward a New Global Climate Change Treaty: Climate change is an international problem and the U.S. can never solve it alone. China is building the equivalent of one large coal-fired power plant a week and is expected to pass the U.S. as the world’s largest polluter of carbon dioxide in 2009. [NYT, 3/17/2007; WSJ, 3/3/2007]
To lead the world toward a new, effective climate change treaty, Edwards will:
- Make Our Own Commitments to Restore Our Moral Leadership: The U.S. has 4 percent of the world’s population but produces a quarter of its carbon dioxide emissions. It is one of only three developed nations that has refused to limit its greenhouse gas pollution. By adopting caps, Edwards will help the U.S. regain credibility in the world without sacrificing American competitiveness. [Irish Times, 2/14/2007; Greenwire, 10/31/2006]
- Involve Developing Economies: Any climate change treaty must include developing countries, which emit significant amounts of carbon and could otherwise serve as a haven for polluters. However, these nations are poorer than the U.S. and emit far less carbon per capita. To bring them to the table, Edwards will share America’s clean energy technology in exchange for binding greenhouse reduction commitments. If necessary, he will insist that strong labor and environmental standards in our trade deals include commitments on climate change. This new deal will require global participation, promote shared responsibility, and let American workers and businesses compete on a level playing field.
Creating the New Energy Economy and 1 Million Jobs
In the past, America squandered opportunities to lead the world in energy technology. Bell Labs invented the solar cell in New Jersey in 1954, but today 90 percent of solar panels are manufactured overseas. GM made the first modern electric car, but today Toyota and Honda lead the world in hybrid cars. Oil companies are slow to sell alternative fuels at their gas stations, while Brazil increased the share of new cars that run on ethanol from 4 percent to 70 percent in only three years. [Economist, 3/10/2007; HybridCars.com, 2007; GM, 2007; Edmunds.com, 2007; Khosla, 2006]
John Edwards believes that American entrepreneurs, farmers and manufacturers can lead the world in technology to generate clean, reliable energy and use it more efficiently. “Clean tech” is the hottest new area of venture capital funding. California-based Tesla Motors sells an electric roadster that gets 135 miles a gallon and can go from 0-to-60 in four seconds. In rural America, hundreds of small renewable energy companies are generating new jobs in ethanol and other biofuels, wind, and solar. The increased demand for the machinery of renewable energy — such as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass engines — is an opportunity to create “green collar” jobs and reenergize America’s manufacturing sector. [Newsweek, 6/21/2006; Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, 2006; Makower, Pernick, and Wilder, 2006; Apollo Alliance, 2006]
The Edwards Plan:
- Create the New Energy Economy Fund: To jumpstart our investment in the future, Edwards will create the $13 billion-a-year New Energy Economy Fund. The fund will be financed by greenhouse gas polluters through the sale of emission permits and by ending taxpayer giveaways for big oil companies, including special tax subsidies and sweetheart terms in offshore drilling leases. The resources will double the Department of Energy’s budget for efficiency and renewable energy, accelerate new energy technologies to market and help new businesses get started, encourage consumers to buy efficient products, and provide transition assistance to workers in carbon-intensive industries.
- Invest in Renewable Sources of Electricity: Renewable energy has been seen as socially desirable but costly. However, wind is already competitive with conventional sources in many markets. Solar could be competitive within three to eight years. [RAND, 2006; Economist, 3/10/2007]
- Make 25 Percent of Our Energy Renewable: Edwards will require power companies to generate 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. A large expansion of renewable energy can reduce costs under current trends, according to a 2006 RAND study. In Texas, a similar requirement achieved its goals quickly with negligible costs through the accelerated development of wind power. [RAND, 2006]
- Dedicate Resources to Renewable Energy: Edwards will double the Department of Energy research budget, allowing it to reduce the cost and accelerate the marketability of current technologies to put clean solar, wind, and biomass into more communities. He will also encourage private investment by making permanent tax credits for the production of renewable energy; they currently expire at the end of 2008.
- Maximize the Potential of Cleaner, Safer Coal: Coal will be an important source of U.S. and global electricity for decades, but it is responsible for more than 30 percent of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. Edwards will invest $1 billion a year to research ways to burn coal cleanly and recycle its carbon underground permanently. He will also strengthen mine safety laws to ensure it is mined safely. Two large power companies, TXU and American Electric Power, recently announced plans to build experimental plants to capture carbon. [NYT, 3/15/2007 and 3/17/2007; McFarland, Herzog, and Jacoby, 2007]
- Transform the Auto Industry to Lead the World in Cars of the Future: Edwards believes that everyone should be able to drive the car, truck or SUV of their choice and still enjoy high fuel economy. American automakers have the ingenuity to lead the world in building the clean, safe, economical cars of the future.
- Reduce Oil Imports by 7.5 Million Barrels a Day by 2025: America’s need for imported oil forces it to rely on unstable and even hostile countries. Edwards called for a national goal to reduce oil imports by 7.5 million barrels a day by 2025 – nearly a third of the oil projected to be used in 2025 — and get us on the path toward energy independence. [DOE, 2007]
- Help U.S. Automakers Modernize: Edwards will provide $1 billion a year to help U.S. automakers advance and apply the latest technology, including biofuels, hybrid and electric cars, hydrogen fuel cells, ultra-light materials, and drive train improvements. These resources will be financed from the New Energy Economy Fund and also help manufacturers meet higher fuel economy requirements. With a strong ethanol industry that includes cellulosic ethanol and hybrid and electric technology, American cars and trucks can be virtually petroleum-free within a generation.
- Produce 65 Billion Gallons of Ethanol a Year by 2025: However, although millions of ethanol-ready cars are on the roads, only about 600 of the 169,000 gas stations have pumps for E85, a blend of ethanol and gasoline. Edwards will require oil companies to install ethanol pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations and require all new cars sold after 2010 to be “flex fuel” cars running on either gasoline or biofuel. The New Economy Energy Fund will develop new methods of producing and using ethanol, including cellulosic ethanol, and offer loan guarantees to new refineries. [RAND, 2006; DOE, 2005; USDA, 2005]
- Raise Fuel Economy Standards: American cars and trucks are less efficient than they were two decades ago, despite the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Standards in China, Japan, and the European Union are between 40 and 100 percent higher. Edwards will raise standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2016, a step that could single-handedly reduce oil demand by 4 million barrels per day. [Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2004; Reicher, 2007]
- Open the Electricity Grids to Distributed and Renewable Generation: Traditionally, electricity has been produced at large, central power plants and transmitted through miles of power lines. Distributed generation of electricity promises reliable, clean, cost-effective production that is less vulnerable to natural disasters and attacks. Farms, factories, schools, and communities ought to be able to establish their own power sources and compete with traditional plants to sell wholesale capacity, as New England has pioneered. [DOE, 2000; New England ISO, 2006]
To open up the grid to innovation, Edwards will:
- Create Millions of Local Sources of Renewable Energy: Edwards will provide up to a $5,000 tax credit for homes and small businesses that invest in onsite generation of renewable energy like solar, wind, and geothermal power. He will also encourage local generation of renewable energy through “net metering,” which allows families to sell extra power back to utilities for credits against their electricity bills.
- Encourage Distributed Generation: Edwards will cut the red tape that hinders new energy producers from selling their power to the grid. He will require utilities to consider distributed generation as a means of lowering costs compared to new investments in centralized production and transmission.
- Research the Next Generation of Small Scale Renewable Energy: Edwards will invest in researching more profitable sources of renewable energy generation. For example, biomass engines producing both heat and power that can be three times more efficient than traditional distribution. [Hill, 2001]
Meet the Demand for More Electricity through Efficiency
Americans can get more power out of the electricity now available, typically at half the cost of producing more supply. Duke Energy CEO James Rogers calls efficiency the “fifth fuel,” and energy expert Amory Lovins says that “efficiency is cheaper than fuel.” Between 1977 and 1985, the economy grew by 27 percent while oil use fell by 17 percent. Once again, there are large energy savings possible today in energy generation, transmission, and use in homes, factories, and offices. For example, if every home installed five compact fluorescent lightbulbs, it would eliminate the need for 21 power plants. However, in our current system, utilities earn profits by selling power not meeting energy needs more efficiently. Ordinary Americans often lack the tools they need to use energy more efficiently. [ACEEE, 2006; Reicher, 2007; Globe and Mail, 2/24/2007; The New Yorker, 1/22/2007; McKinsey, 2006]
The Edwards Plan:
- Meet New Demand for Electricity through Efficiency for the Next Decade: Electricity demand is projected to increase by 1.5 percent a year between 2008 and 2018, on average. Edwards called for a national goal of meeting this demand by getting more power out of the electricity we use now, instead of producing more electricity. As a result, electricity use would be 15 lower by 2018 and renewable energy would have a better opportunity to gain market share. Increased efficiency includes managing peaks in demand and modernizing the electric grid and is largely achievable with current technology. [DOE, 2007; EPA Energy Star, 2006]
- Make Efficiency Profitable for Utilities: Most utilities profit from selling electricity, even when it would be cheaper to help their customers use less energy. Edwards will call on states to decouple utilities’ energy profits from sales, as California and nine other states have done, so they can focus on serving customer needs. States can also reward utilities for meeting green energy targets. [National Regulatory Research Institute, 2006]
- Expand Smart Meters and Smart Grids to Use Energy More Wisely: By simultaneously displaying energy use and price, smart meters encourage consumers to use less energy and to use energy when it can be generated less expensively. Utilities can also use information technology to monitor electricity demand, allowing them to plan their production more efficiently. [Nemtzow, 2007; Regulatory Assistance Project, 2006]
- Invest in Weatherized Homes and More Efficient Buildings and Appliances: Upgrading home furnaces, ducts, windows, and insulation can cut energy bills by 20 to 40 percent, year after year. However, the existing Department of Energy weatherization program reaches only 100,000 homes a year while more than 28 million remain eligible. Similarly, appliance efficiency standards have greatly reduced the energy use of refrigerators and air conditioners, but better use of the Energy Star program could save even more. Edwards will reverse the Bush budget cuts to the weatherization program and instead expand it to $500 million a year. He will call on states to create updated energy building codes. Finally, he will raise federal efficiency standards for appliances and maximize the potential of the Energy Star program by working to get more efficient appliances in stores and educating buyers and builders. [Reicher, 2007; ACEEE 2005]
- Reduce the U.S. Government’s Energy Use by 20 Percent and Make the White House Carbon Neutral. The U.S. government is the nation’s single largest energy consumer, with a $15 billion energy bill in 2005. However, its investments in energy efficiency have been cut in half since 2001. Edwards will overhaul federal buildings and vehicles to emphasize efficiency, reducing the use of energy by 20 percent, and expand the government’s use of renewable sources. After taking energy efficiency steps at the White House, he will purchase carbon offsets to make it carbon-neutral. [DOE, 2006; Alliance to Save Energy, 2007]
- Create GreenCorps: Idealistic young Americans can help fight climate change by conducting volunteer energy audits, weatherizing homes, installing home solar panels, and training neighborhood groups to do the same. Edwards will create a GreenCorps within AmeriCorps to create opportunities for them to serve
June 6, 2007
Here is another candidate on the issues. I moved his position on Iraq from well down the page to the top. Polls say that OVER 70% of American voters believe this to be in the top 2 issues for them. I will begin doing this for all remaining candidates. I still haven’t made up my mind?
After my recent trip to Iraq, I am even more convinced that the situation there is precarious, but hopeful. I see hope in the Iraqi people. I believe this hope will be the foundation of a new Iraqi society. Much remains to be done, and I think we need a plan to turn this country over to its citizens. I will continue to work with the leaders in our country, as well as leaders in Iraq, to find a solution that protects the future of Iraq, and the pride and dignity of its citizens
I have long championed both lower taxes and reform of the existing tax system, and recently signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose all tax increases. Much of our recent economic prosperity is directly attributable to the lower taxes enacted by recent Congresses. I believe America’s tax code is overly complex and burdensome. Americans spend roughly $157 billion each year in tax preparation, to ensure they do not run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service. The system is desperately in need of reform. I support a flat tax concept that simplifies tax preparation, applies a low tax rate to all Americans, and respects the special financial burden carried by American families raising children.
The Social Security System is facing a demographic crisis that will someday affect the financial viability of the Social Security Trust Fund. Projections for the financial solvency of the Trust Fund show that as baby boomers begin to enter retirement there will be an increase in the number of people drawing social security benefits, and yet a corresponding decrease in the number of working people who provide those benefits. Clearly, this will present a crisis within the system. We must firmly resolve to keep our commitment to current retirees and those preparing to retire. Further, we must modernize the system to ensure that Social Security is financially sound for our children. I believe every American has a stake in this debate, and I will continue to keep the dialogue open as we work toward a solution.
Due to years of neglect and short-sighted domestic policies, America is on the verge of an energy crisis. Our supply of energy has not kept pace with our demand. Today our nation produces 39% less oil than we did in 1970. This leaves us dependent on foreign suppliers, who often do not have America’s best interests at heart. This Congress, I co-sponsored the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy (DRIVE) Act. This bill aims to reduce our oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels per day in ten years by taking an innovative, market-based approach that relies on advanced technology and an expansion of renewable fuels. I will continue to fight for energy independence.
I believe that our society’s strength lies in its most fundamental building block, the family unit. Family begins with marriage. We must defend the institution of marriage by defending the definition of marriage. The right to marry is not the right to redefine marriage. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
How we define marriage is vitally important because of the message it sends to the culture—to the young, and to the next generation of citizens. Make no mistake, a society that undermines marriage and the family is undermining itself, and a government that attempts to supplant rather than to support the family and marriage is bent on its own destruction.
We must recognize that it is our families, built upon the institution of marriage, that are the fundamental and essential centers of commitment and care that have the real power to transform our society.
My belief in the value of human life is what inspired my concern over the international genocides taking place in regions like Darfur. I traveled to Darfur and Rwanda in early 2006 to see firsthand the tragedies that have taken place there. The suffering was unlike any I have ever seen. I believe that we must show compassion to these people. America is a great nation, and we have a role to play in protecting innocent life at home and abroad.
Reforming the UN
The United Nations continues to be the subject of great controversy. The U.N. has been instrumental in resolving a number of international disputes, and its work should not go unnoticed. However, it too often couples lofty ideals with poor execution. As such, reforming the U.N. must remain a priority. In the 104th Congress I supported the National Security Revitalization Act, which prohibited U.S. military forces from being placed under U.N. command and control in most situations. Further, it provided for the U.S. to be reimbursed for participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations. I believe we should reduce the size of the U.N., and that the U.S. should bear less of the organization’s financial burden. I have long supported – and will continue to support – efforts to condition our country’s U.N. dues on substantive U.N. reform.
Culture and Values
We must clean up America’s culture, beginning in every home. A new callousness can be seen on our television sets and movie theaters, in video games and on magazine racks. While parents remain the first line of defense in the fight to protect our children from inappropriate media content, some of the responsibility for this effort also rests with the producers and distributors of modern media. With this in mind, I introduced the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2006 and was pleased to see the President sign it into law. The Act increased fines on broadcast networks that air obscene and indecent material during the hours children are most likely to be watching. Shielding our children from the violence, obscenity, and indecency in today’s media continues to be one of my top priorities. I have also introduced a bill that would promote greater accuracy and transparency in the rating of video games. Accurately educating parents about the content of the media they bring into their homes is a key part of this process.
In addition to these threats, I remain concerned about the proliferation of pornography in our culture. The commoditization of the human person through pornography is a scourge upon our civilization and one of the most insidious threats to the stability of our families. I held a hearing in 2006 where we examined the detrimental effect pornography has on children and families. I will continue the fight to protect families from a variety of cultural threats.
New Homestead Act
Over 140 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act, landmark legislation that helped populate rural areas in the Great Plains.
I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of a bill that presents the same opportunity today for those willing to make a 5-year commitment to live and work in rural America. The New Homestead Act would help pay back college loans, provide a $5,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and pump much needed capital into our Main Streets in rural communities across America.
This country has faced chronic out-migration before. In the 1970s, metropolitan urban cores across America were suffering from out-migration similar to what we are seeing today in rural America. Tax incentives were put in place to enhance economic development and it revitalized our nation’s urban cores. It worked back in the 1970s for the urban core and it can work again today for rural America. We are simply looking to do for rural America what we have already done for the urban core of America.
Growing up on a farm near Parker, Kansas, I saw firsthand that communities in rural America exhibit the values and work ethic we all appreciate as Americans. We must act now to preserve the ‘small town’ lifestyles that have been so vital to our country’s success.
Iraq was originally here, I moved it to the top (betagnome)
America must stand firmly alongside Israel in the fight against Islamic extremism. Every day, Israel is on the front lines of this war, facing enemies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and their patron states, Syria and Iran. As our only democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel serves as a beacon of freedom and hope in an otherwise troubled region. Throughout my career in the Senate, I have worked hard to develop the friendship between the United States and Israel, including sponsoring legislation that would declare Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel. In 2004, I traveled to Israel and spoke before the Knesset about my life-long admiration for the Jewish State.
During my time as Secretary of Agriculture in Kansas, I saw firsthand the issues faced by today’s farmers. Clean air and water continue to be of top importance, as are the costs of fertilizer and other supplies. America must support the efforts of the agriculture industry, so that it can continue to supply a safe and economical food supply. I believe in agriculture innovation and remain committed to efforts that will help enable farmers to embrace the production of biofuels such as ethanol. I will continue to support America’s agriculture industry by bolstering rural communities and the efforts of America’s farmers.
The role of a judge is to interpret the law, not to create it. Too many judges fail to remember the importance of this distinction. In recent years, activist judges around the country have been sidestepping state legislatures and the will of the voters, nullifying laws based not on the Constitution, but rather their own political agenda. The Senate must act to help prevent more activists from taking the bench. Government functions best when it is most accountable to the people. That is why I believe laws should be made by elected officials, and not by the federal judiciary. I will continue to support judges who adopt this philosophy.
Gun Rights/Second Amendment
At the heart of the Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment. This Amendment guarantees an individual the right to keep and bear arms, which is essential, as the Amendment itself affirms, to “the security of a free state.” Restrictive gun control laws aimed at weakening this constitutional right are not the answer. Instead, it is important for the government to enforce criminal gun laws already on the books, for communities to stand against gun violence, and for parents to teach children about gun safety.
Religion, once an integral part of our society, is today being eradicated from nearly every aspect of public life. The First Amendment protects the freedom to practice the religion of one’s choice. That freedom is under attack by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who profit financially from lawsuits brought against cities and towns that display religious symbols. The ACLU and others have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from suits brought against local cities and towns. Now they are using those victories to threaten other local jurisdictions. I introduced the Public Expression of Religion Act last year to prevent groups like the ACLU from collecting attorneys’ fees in religious freedom cases. Our country was founded on the idea that its citizens should be free to express their religious beliefs without government interference. I will continue the fight to protect that freedom.
Life is worthy of respect and protection from the moment of conception. I fear that our society has forgotten the value of human life. I believe every life has intrinsic meaning and purpose, and that the termination of life is taken too lightly in our country today. Abortion ends a human life. It destroys an individual who could have lived and participated in our society. Already, it has eliminated tens of millions of children. I believe we should strive to fully embrace a culture of life through our national politics. I will continue to fight to protect life at every stage. I hope that one day America will remember the value we once placed on human life.
When we ignore poorly performing schools, we also ignore every student in those schools, thereby allowing an achievement gap to persist. It is imperative that we close the achievement gap and provide our nation’s students with a productive learning environment that challenges and encourages intellectual stimulation. I believe that providing for choice in education is beneficial to student achievement. For years now, we have seen studies that prove school choice programs, such as the new Opportunity Scholarships recently implemented in the District of Columbia, have a drastic and positive impact on students—especially minority students. By supporting such initiatives, we will be ensuring that more students have access to a high quality education, which means that they will have a better chance of success in not only reaching college, but flourishing in life.
Our healthcare system will thrive with increased consumer choice, consumer control and real competition. I believe it is important that we have price transparency within our health care system. This offers consumers, who are either enrolled in high deductible health plans or who pay out-of-pocket, the ability to shop around for the best prices and plan for health care expenditures. Also, the existing health insurance market forces consumers to pay for extra benefits in their premiums, such as aromatherapy and acupuncture, which tends to increase the cost of coverage. Instead, consumers should be able to choose the from health care coverage plans that are tailored to fit their families’ needs and values. Accordingly, individuals should be allowed to purchase health insurance across state lines. Finally, I believe that consumers should have control over the use of their personal health records. I have a proposal that would offer consumers a means to create a lifetime electronic medical record, while, at the same time, ensuring that the privacy of their personal health information is secured and protected.
Over time, the socialized medicine model has shown to deprive consumers of access to life-saving treatments and is downright inconsistent with the spirit of the American people to be free from unwanted government intervention. I will continue to work at the forefront to create a consumer-centered, not government-centered, healthcare model that offer both affordable coverage choices and put the consumer in the driver’s seat.
Border security is Senator Brownback’s top priority and has consistently voted to immediately secure the border. “One of the primary jobs of the United States government is to ensure the safety of the American people. In order to do so, we must secure our borders.” – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
Border Security is National Security “Securing our borders must be our top priority as a nation. Our Southern border is porous and must be secured. Secure borders make Americans safer.” – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
- Senator Brownback has voted to:
- Double the number of border patrol agents over the next five years;
- Increase detention space in order to end “catch-and-release”;
- Build 700 miles of border fencing and 350 miles of vehicle barriers along the Southern border;
- Fund 370 miles of triple-layered fencing and 461 miles of vehicle barriers along the nation’s southwest border;
- Deploy cutting-edge technology including cameras, sensors, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to patrol the border for illegal border crossers ; and
- Implement a tough, smart border security strategy in order to gain operational control of the border.
Worksite Enforcement is Essential “We will fail to stop illegal immigration until we prove that living and working here illegally is not an option.”- U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
- We must enable all law enforcement to identify and quickly remove criminal illegal aliens.
- A secure, fraud-resistant ID must be the foundation of a robust worksite enforcement system that requires every new employee to be screened for valid work authorization.
- Interior and worksite enforcement are essential for homeland security and national security.
Senator Brownback has voted to:
- Double the number of interior enforcement investigators over the next five years;
- Increase cooperation with state and local authorities to enforce our immigration laws;
- Implement an Electronic Employment Verification System that holds employers accountable for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers;
- Prohibit employers convicted of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants from being eligible to receive government contracts; and
- Allow the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to share information helpful to law enforcement investigations against illegal immigrants.