Monday, September 28, 2009

Health Care Numbers Drop

Rasmussen Reports polling shows, Health Care Reform - Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low. The most likely health reform plan at this time is the Baucus plan, yet what health care reform means is still largely unknown as numerous amendments to this bill are under review including whether a public option will be part of the bill. Many basic factors regarding cost and effectiveness have not been fully addressed, and a new CBO report states that Social Security benefits will likely be cut eventually even though supporters of the bill have stated the opposite. The Rasmussen poll and accompanying article is an interesting read as it shows how the American people are viewing health reform and its effects.
Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.




If the plan passes, 24% of voters say the quality of care will get better, and 55% say it will get worse. In August, the numbers were 23% better and 50% worse.

Fifty-four percent (54%) say passage of the plan will make the cost of health care go up while 23% say it will make costs go down. In August, 52% thought the plan would lead to higher costs, and just 17% thought it would achieve the stated goal of lowering costs.

While many credit or blame the town hall protests for building opposition to the plan, it appears they were simply a reflection of public opinion rather than a creator of it. This sense is confirmed by the fact that Obama’s approval ratings fell more in June and July before stabilizing in August.

One thing that did change during the month of August is that public perception of the protesters improved. Most voters came to believe that the purpose of the town hall meetings was for members of Congress to listen rather than speak. That’s partly because just 22% believe Congress has a good understanding of the legislation.

While some Democrats have charged that opposition to the president’s plan is based upon racism, just 12% of voters agree.

Voters overwhelmingly believe that every American should be able to buy the same health insurance plan that Congress has. Most favor limits on jury awards for medical malpractice claims and think that tort reform will significantly reduce the cost of health care. Forty-eight percent (48%) want a prohibition on abortion in any government subsidized program while 13% want a mandate requiring abortion coverage.

Support For Obama Health Care Reform Continues to Drop
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The Big Sell - Health Care

According to the New York Times, the White House is implementing a big health care push, and wil be pulling out all the stops to get its reform agenda passed...

Taking Health Care Courtship Up Another Notch
After months of cutting deals and stroking drug makers, hospitals and doctors, the president’s aides are laying the groundwork for a final round of Congressional arm-twisting, with Mr. Obama increasingly in a hands-on role.

As the Finance Committee wrestles with the bill, which could form the backbone of an eventual Obama plan, the lobbying effort is already bearing fruit. One Democrat who consults frequently with the White House said that a main goal of the administration has been to prevent any Democrat from publicly declaring opposition to the measure. So far, the only one who has, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, has scaled back his criticism after a private Oval Office session with the president.

Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, runs the campaign out of his West Wing office. A former congressman, he knows how to count votes. (It was Mr. Emanuel, for instance, who suggested Mr. Orszag reach out to Ms. Collins.) Aides say he does not host a regular health care meeting, but rather summons his team several times a day, typically with e-mail messages ordering colleagues to drop everything and show up right that minute.

Mr. Emanuel oversees two working groups: a policy group, run by Nancy-Ann DeParle, the head of the White House Office of Health Reform, and a political group, run by Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff. They are deeply engaged in what Chris Jennings, who advised President Bill Clinton on health policy, calls “intelligence seeking” — trying to learn who has problems with the legislation, what those problems are and what it will take to win each member’s vote.

“We are at the concern-addressing stage,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s deputy communications director, adding, “This is a political and policy challenge of epic proportions, and it takes a lot of effort and attention to achieve it.”

Everyone who has relationships on Capitol Hill is expected to pitch in. Mr. Messina, a former chief of staff to Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the Finance Committee chairman, is the link to the finance panel. Phil Schiliro, the head of legislative affairs, spent years working for Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is an architect of the House bill. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who served for 36 years in the Senate, has been making calls to former colleagues, especially those on the Finance Committee.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, and Gary Locke, the commerce secretary, have also been working the phones. Their notes are passed on to Mr. Schiliro’s shop, which catalogs them for future use. The cabinet secretaries have also been doing interviews with select regional news outlets to shore up wavering Democrats in districts where Republicans are attacking Mr. Obama’s plans.

And the president has been holding more private meetings, aides say, with Democrats like Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, who said she received an invitation to the Oval Office on a recent Friday, when she had hoped to spend the morning at home. She said she told the president the legislation would have to do more to rein in Medicare spending. “He was, like, ‘I’m all for this,’ ” Ms. Cantwell said.

“He is leaving no stone unturned,” said Senator Mary L. Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat and Finance Committee member, who received an unsolicited call from Ms. Sebelius last week. She said they spent 20 minutes going over what she perceived as flaws in the bill.

The White House is carefully monitoring what senators say. When Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, said on a Sunday morning talk show that health legislation should be delayed until the economy improves, his chief of staff got a telephone call from a worried-sounding Louisa Terrell, the White House legislative liaison assigned to monitor his office.

“She said, ‘Does he want to speak to Sebelius, does he want Peter Orszag?’ ” the senator said. He said it was not necessary. But last Friday, while Mr. Lieberman was at home preparing for Rosh Hashana, Mr. Locke, the commerce secretary, called. “He wanted to lobby me on health care,” Mr. Lieberman said.

At least one White House official, Ms. DeParle, has gone so far as to make a house call. When Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, expressed misgivings about how expanding Medicaid would affect California’s budget, Ms. DeParle gathered some charts and dropped in on a Saturday. They spent nearly three hours talking over coffee in Ms. Feinstein’s den.


White House Planning Full Court Press On Health Care


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bills Won't Be Posted Online As Previously Promised

For the second time this year the Democrats have voted against transparency and by voting against posting a bill online 72 hours before it the vote. Transparency was a huge theme in the last election, this administration claimed it would be the most transparent in history, and while this vote is not President Obama fault, it shows that the Democrats, as a whole, are not living up to the promises of last election. Posting bills online prior to a vote was specifically mentioned during the 2008 race, and now that it is no longer politically convenient, transparency has been thrown overboard.


Democrats’ Second Vote Against Transparency

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Health Care Crammed

Health Care legislation is still on a fast-forward track, at least in the House. This creates a dilemma for Democrats as two very different bills are underway in the House and Senate. Neither have any support from Republicans, and the measures such as the public option and surtax that are likely to be included in the House bill probably will not be accepted in the Senate. The Democrats have full control of the both chambers of Congress, yet are deeply divided on core elements of health care reform creating an odd circumstance where there is a big rush on a bill that has yet to find any consensus.

From the Hill Pelosi wants House to pass healthcare bill ‘within weeks’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to make final decisions this week on the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor, but some centrists in the lower chamber want her to hold off until the Senate Finance Committee acts.

Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) push to decide issues like how to pay for the bill and the shape of the “public option” means that this week will be crucial for healthcare in both chambers.

It also makes it more likely that the House bill will include an income surtax on the wealthy and a public option more to the liking of liberals in her caucus.

“That’s where the caucus is,” said a Democratic leadership aide.

During an event in Philadelphia on Monday, Pelosi said the House will pass a healthcare reform bill “within weeks.”


The Speaker last week publicly reaffirmed her support for the surtax and the public option. In a leadership meeting last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) spoke up strongly in favor of the surtax, though he and Pelosi have disagreed on its parameters.


Pelosi Still Rushing Health Care Bill

Monday, September 21, 2009

DOJ Probe Into ACORN

More trouble for ACORN as th Department of Justice looks into whether they have granted ACORN any money over the years as grant recipents are bound to uphold the law.

From Fox News Justice Department Inspector General Launches Internal ACORN Probe

The Justice Department's inspector general has agreed to investigate whether ACORN has applied for or received any DOJ grant money, in the wake of bipartisan criticism of the community activist group's operation.

And seven other inspectors general are being asked by two congressional members to take a look at their funding mechanisms.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Monday praising the Justice Department inspector general's decision to look into whether ACORN sought or received any grant money or whether the department conducted any reviews of ACORN's use of such money.

The inspector general agreed to probe the matter at Smith's request.

"As the primary federal law enforcement agency, the Justice Department has a responsibility to ensure that no organization receiving federal funds ignores our nation's laws," he said. "I am pleased that Inspector General (Glenn) Fine has agreed to investigate whether the Justice Department provided federal funds to ACORN through its grant program."

Post Clunker Auto Sales Drop

Boston.com reports on the 'Post-Clunker' sales drought for car dealership in their article Car showrooms quiet after clunkers clamor ends

It has been nearly a month since the car-buying frenzy of the Cash for Clunkers program ended, and many area auto dealers are longing for the good old days of July and August.

Like consumers nationwide, Massachusetts residents rushed to take advantage of the federal voucher program, which offered them up to $4,500 on old gas-guzzlers to be put toward the purchase of new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. About $65 million worth of vouchers were handed out statewide during the monthlong program that ended Aug. 24.

But once the federal money dried up, so did the sales rally. Now, customers at dealerships like Silko Honda in Raynham are few and far between, and inventory is once again accumulating.

Manager Adam Silverleib said business was “pretty intense’’ as a result of the federal stimulus program, with the dealership hustling to accommodate customers and handle the piles of paperwork required for them to receive reimbursement on vouchers. “Now we’re kind of back to where we were in the spring,’’ he said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Media Off the Rails

ACORN has become another example of blatant media bias. Can anyone think of a reason why a news sources wouldn't cover a story where an organization that receives tax payer money is caught red-handed giving advice on how to cheat on taxes, hide/import underage prostitutes, defraud the government, and is now being sanctioned by the United States Congress? Everyone who knows anything about ACORN knows exactly why the media isn't covering this story; it would embarrass President Obama as he has long-standing ties with ACORN. I in no way blame President Obama for these inept media sycophants, there are few politicians in this world who would turn away such glowing positive coverage. Yet the media has reached a point, as evidenced by this latest ACORN story, where they can't even defend themselves. The media by ignoring this story with multiple sources of proof is essentially conceding that they are an unofficial Obama PR machine. While the internet leaves much to be desired in many respects, thank goodness there is an unfiltered source that actively uses the first amendment, as the media has forfeited its role as a part of the government's checks and balances system.

From Fox News ACORN Story Grows But Mainstream Media Refuse to Cover It

Bruce Springsteen once wrote: “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come).” I doubt he expected that story of love gone wrong would become ideal political commentary for the group known as ACORN.

The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers looking like they were giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel, is now national news. -- This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!

Only almost no one is covering it.

This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandalous organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.

But it isn’t working any more. The ACORN fiasco has now impacted three offices – Baltimore, Washington and New York – with laugh-out-loud videos reminiscent of the hookers and pimps from the 1970s “Starsky and Hutch” show. Huggy Bear returns! Four employees have been fired, with more likely to come. And the controversy was so laughably bad that the Census Bureau cut off all ties to the group known formally as the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." -- They called it the “tipping point” to shed themselves of ACORN. More nuts for someone else, I guess.

And yet. And yet it’s still been ignored by the network news. Nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC. The only thing any one of the three broadcast networks has done appeared in a blog post by ABC’s Jake Tapper. It's hardly worth noting except to show that the networks know about what’s going on. They just don’t care to report it. Only FOX News has bothered to report on the controversy.


The Media - Ridiculous or Retarded?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ACORN Repeat

If there is any question that ACORN supplying tax cheat info, and overlooking human trafficking was a fluke or a couple isolated instances, here's a third tape from ACORN's New York office.


ACORN New York - Third Corruption Tape

Monday, September 14, 2009

ACORN Cracked

The Baltimore office of ACORN gives tax advice to two people posing as a pimp and a prostitute who say they want to import underage teenagers from El Salvidor to work in the States as prostitutes. ACORN receives federal funding and has had numerous run-ins with the law usually regarding voter fraud. This however is a new low, at best these ACORN employees are condoning the human trafficking of underage girls, and in reality are likely breaking numerous laws.



Note: Except for when ACORN received government funding, I've posted very little about ACORN post-election. The public had their chance to learn about ACORN if they wished, they made their decision, voted, done deal, the race is over. However, this is insane. Democrats have to step to the plate, and renounce this. I in no way think that candidates aided by ACORN or any rationale human with any semblance of a moral compass thinks that human trafficking is acceptable. However, this is an example of an organization not just acting questionably, but this is evidence that ACORN has completely gone of the rails. Any politician to weak to stand up against ACORN will now be tying themselves to an organization that condoned prostitution and indirectly promoted human trafficking.

ACORN Condones Prostitution

Friday, August 21, 2009

Whole Foods Boycott

Whole Foods is facing a boycott because its CEO John Mackey wrote an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal opposing government run health care. Mackey's thoughtful article gave eight ideas for health care reform, and is not anywhere near what most rationale people consider provocative or radical. On the contrary, he is one of few public figures to put together a clear, concise, well-reasoned approach to health care reform. For his trouble he's being boycotted by those on the far left who can not accept that not everyone shares their point of view. The WSJ article is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in health care reform...

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare - Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.

The following excerpt Food Fight Over Health Care, from a transcript of On the Record with Greta Vansusteren, also illustrates that Mackey is good person who does right by his employees, and is absurdly being targeted for vocalizing his opinion on health care reform. Hopefully those who see the injustice in this will counter the boycott by stopping by a Whole Foods store and picking up some groceries.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: The irony of this story, Greta, is that if John Mackey, who is the CEO of Whole Food who has been running the company, started the company in Austin Texas about 30 years ago, if he had positioned what he positioned in "The Journal" when we were not considering health care, this would have been considered radical reform. He said here are eight ideas as a successful CEO that I have, including tort reform, allowing insurers cross state lines, self-directed ideas. And yet he is vilified by some of the more liberal followers out there of the president's plan. They are, as you said, waging war against Whole Foods, 18,000 on Facebook in a boycott. There is Web page set up. And they are calling him, get this, Greta, a right-wing zealot. VAN SUSTEREN: This CEO of Whole Foods, in 2007, he said he had enough money to live comfortably, so in 2007 he cut his salary down to $1 a year, and he donated all of the proceeds from his stock option to charity. This does not sound like a guy who wants to stick it to the poor when it comes to health care. He had a different idea, and that was what was in the "Wall Street Journal." SULLIVAN: He is a self-described libertarian. And I do not know if that was angered some people. Not only was he taking $1, but he pushed this through, Greta, a $100,000 need-based fund for Whole Foods workers. They offer domestic partners same sex benefits at Whole Foods. Heretofore this has been considered a relatively progressive company. Now he comes out and says the government-run plan is not the way to go. And he is absolutely being slaughtered on the left side of the blogosphere.

A Misguided Boycott Of Whole Foods

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amazon - An Indepedent Call

My latest book, An Independent Call, is now available at Amazon.com. An Indpendent Call - From New Hampshire On recounts the experience of a wary Independent slowly being won over by the McCain campaign during the primary process, and eventually becoming a campaign volunteer and credentialed blogger. This book relates stories of political craziness from the primaries through the general election, shedding light on the opportunities and experiences provided to those who volunteer. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is, "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign...attention to detail is brilliant." --Maureen Barrows

-Katherine Morrison

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Iran Recap - Freedom Via Internet

Since the election in Iran on the 12th of June, information about the protests and brutal government crackdowns has flowed in via the internet, particularly social media sites, and specifically Twitter. Twitter was the first place to provide information about the protests as the media largely missed the story in the beginning. Now the flow of information out of Iran has slowed due to massive arrests and violent government oppression. Along with the slowing of information, the main stream media's attention has been diverted. Yet this remains a topic that deserves continued public attention. People are fighting for their freedom under unimaginable conditions.

Here is a recap of some of the videos, stories, and information that has come out of Iran along with the role technology has played...

Total Oppression Versus Open Communication in Iran
In an early show of force students were beaten in their dorm rooms, and their rooms were trashed, computers and the like destroyed. Angered by the brutal beat downs, many professors at Tehran University protested by resigning. Hospital workers who treated the students, also disgusted by the government’s brutality, went on strike the following day to protest the students’ treatment.

Foreign media was banned, journalists have been jailed. Due to the crackdown, citizen journalism virtually the only way the story is getting to the rest of the world.

Iranian government claims that death of Neda was staged by the opposition. They prevent any form of public mourning for both Neda and the many others killed in the protests.

Soccer Team Members who wore green armbands during a game are permanently banned from the sport.

British representatives expelled from the country.

Special courts established for trying arrested protesters.

Mass show of force and violent suppression of peaceful protests continue.

Videos: The first video shows the death of Neda a young Iranian woman who has come to symbolize the Free Iran movement. She was shot while simply watching the protests, and reportedly died by her father's side. Be warned that the first two videos are very graphic and disturbing. The third video, while somewhat less graphic, but is also quite disturbing.

*VERY GRAPHIC* Young Lady Dies on Streets of Iran

*Very Graphic* Video of Iran Protests and Man Badly Beaten

Shooting of Iranian Students Caught on Camera

Massive Show of Force on Streets of Iran

Video of voter fraud in Iranian Election

June 20 Iran Protesters Face Off with Police

Crowds During June 20th Protests

Riot Police Attack Protesters in Iran

Video Showing Scope of Iranian Protests

This Week's Articles:

This week a violent beat down of protesters was under reported as the flow of information slows. CNN and the AP both had reports on this brutality...

AP Reports Iran Security Forces Again Beat Down the Opposition Protesters

Distraught woman describes the brutality to CNN, Reports of Brutal Crackdown In Iran

Article's Prior to the June 20th Protests

Concern About Khamenei’s Statements

Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran

American’s Practical Support of A Free Iran

Articles About the Role of the Internet in post-Election Iran

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, ‘Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.’ Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Following Iran Elections on Twitter – A Lesson in Freedom and Technology
Google Farsi - English Traslator: Google launches Farsi - English translator Thursday night/Friday morning. A hugely helpful tool that aids communication, and understanding of news directly from Iran.

Cable and Network News relying on Twitter: Saturday the 20th, with a government imposed blackout of foreign media CNN and others have to rely on citizen journalists along with Twitter and other social media sites to gather news. Protests are scheduled even though Ayatola Khamenei has made statements that suggest a possibly violent crackdown on protesters. Reports of tear gas used and armed police barricades used to disperse crowds.

Students Shot on Camera: A tweet linked to this video of Iranian students being shot

A graphic YouTube video of a woman's death (Neda) becomes a symbol of the movement. Trending topic on Twitter is #Neda as references to the video, and her life show how moved people were by her tragic death.

Mousavi Facebook post:
Through a post on Facebook it has been reported that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he is "ready for martyrdom."

Embassies Take Wounded Iranians: Word spreads quickly on June 20th that many European embassies are taking care of wounded Iranians. These embassies along with their address/directions were also diseminated through Twitter. The safety of the hospitals is in question, and the Canadian embassy is pressured (via use of Twitter) to open its embassy too, yet embassy remained closed on Saturday.

Iran Elections and the Internet
An interesting subplot to the Iranian elections is that the internet is providing people more information than major news networks...Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran


Since writing about the Twitter Effect in Iran, and the role of the Internet as a whole, I have also been interviewed on radio and TV. For more info on appearances, please visit the Broad Side of the Barn.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter, Iran, and Cracking the Totalitarian Model

One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, 'Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.' Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.

Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.

tienneman

ter copy

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism

Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama Cribs McCain Platform

As a staunch McCain supporter I'm over the defeat; that is except when the Obama administration attempts to use parts of the McCain platform that they previously criticized. When the Obama administration followed the McCain plan in their Iraq and Afghanistan I was relieved. They weren't as reckless as their campaign statements made them appear. Also, I have to give them a gamesmanship points (even if they lose honesty points) for completely sticking it to the far left without making them angry. Yet the annoyance started when Obama used the McCain rhetoric about the economy without including all that pesky fiscal discipline. The statements post stimulus about strong economic fundamentals were practically verbatim what Senator McCain said during the election. Now health care is on the table and so is taxing employer based health insurance. Remember Obama campaign ads revolved around the idea that this was a terrible plan for Senator McCain to propose. Now it apparently is not such a bad idea. What makes it worse is that in the McCain plan there was a $5000 tax credit that would have off-set the tax. There will be no tax credit with the Democrat's plan, so any tax assessed is coming right out of your pocket. I'll get over the annoyance, but if the Obama administration keeps adapting McCain ideas the least they could do is adopt his fiscal discipline (and math skills) too.


Obama Using McCain Ideas

Late Night Boycott



Greta Van Susteren is correct in her analysis that Letterman 'doesn't get it'. His defenders don't get it either. While there are numerous issues that these comments bring up. The basic fact remains there are boundaries (or should be), and the children of public figures should be left alone.

Other good articles regarding Letterman's joke and pathetic apology...

Did David Letterman Get a Free Pass

Dear David Letterman

Steele Suggests Boycott of David Letterman

From my perspective Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune in the article Palin is Right About Letterman has it right
For that matter, it's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

Letterman Doesn't Get It

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Palin Letterman Feud Starting

While the Palin Letterman feud heats up, lets look at why David Letterman's bad joke appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

1. Letterman likely jumped on the Palins' last nerve when he made a crude joke at their daughter's expense. Governor Palin hasn't just been criticized, she and her her family have been attacked in a particularly hateful way, and at some point that has to wear thin particularly when ones children are targetted.

2. The Palin's reaction conqsequently was a little overreaching. It seems unlikely that Letterman was referring to the Palin's 14 year old daughter as the Palins thought. Circumstances pointed to the fourteen year old, but Letterman accurately pointed out that he doesn't have a history of making crude remarks referencing children. However, making vulgar remarks about any of the candidates/politician's kids is inexcusable, they didn't choose the public life and should be left alone (and 18 is still pretty young). The Palin's anger is completely justified and understandable.

3. Lots of people are fed up with jokes about female politicians always going 'there.' This can be seen in the HillBuzz blog (a Clinton supporters blog) requesting a boycott of Letterman sponsors. The lead in to the joke about the Palin girl was a crack about Palin looking like a "slutty stewardess." Like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin has been the brunt of jokes and criticism that directly critique her appearance and sexuality. As hated as Bush and Cheney were in the last eight years, no one criticized their appearance or made explicit comments and jokes about them the way they have about Clinton and Palin. Again Letterman stomped on a raw nerve.

4. Some will be angry at the remark, others will be angry at anything referencing Governor Palin. Therefor this is is going to be big. Palin supporters can be quite intense (and oddly similar to the fervent Obama supporters). They're not likely to let it go, and the left's kooky raging Palin hatred means they won't let it go either.

So there you have it, we're in for a broohaha. Letterman's apology was weak because he was starky towards the Palins, and didn't recognize the fact that all of their kids should be off-limits particularly when making off-color jokes. Michael Steele has addressed the Palin Letterman matter by saying,
"Letterman's joke about Sarah and Todd Palin's daughter was thoughtless and tacky," Steele said in a statement to The Hill. "I saw his explanation for the joke, but sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply say 'I'm sorry.'"

"When Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kids, it's time to turn the channel,"

Senator McCain defended the Palins saying,
"I don't understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman," McCain said during a telephone interview on Thursday. "They (the Palins) deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts."

As Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune sums up the situation in his article Palin is Right About Letterman by stating...
It's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

CBS's Feedback Form
Palin Letterman Politics

Friday, June 5, 2009

Oprah's Questionable Health Advice

Newsweek challenges the Oprah Show's health advice...

Live Your Best Life Ever!

Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!


Article is worth a read - Snake Oil Oprah

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Us Now Radio Featured Guest, Author Katherine Morrison

Featured Radio Presentation

Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"

Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.

Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Where: http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/NO-WE-WONT
Call-in:  347 539-5420

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You May Be A Radical Too

Tea Party protesters won a victory today as the mainstream media could not ignore their protests like they have in the past. As expected some of the media described the protesters as radicals (ever-classy and most-trusted Anderson Cooper of CNN used an obscene joke to describe the attendees) despite the pictures showing peaceful gatherings of people of all ages in attendance. Yet media logic dictates if you don't love Obama, you must be crazy.

Yet it's not just the media searching for crazy. A report was leaked by DHS on "Rightwing Extremism." To quote the report,
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

Dang it, I'm a radical. There were signs, once in high school I got a detention for a overdue library book; even back then I was bad. My internet chatter about obscene government spending has all been a clever ploy to manipulate my readers to take radical action like, 'vote the bums out,' or 'tell your representatives what you think.' I tell you I'm bad, and if I didn't have a job or a cold I would have been one of those crazy tea party animals too. You need further proof that I'm a radical? How about this...
Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

Well there you have it. I'm concerned that China owns us, and all our debt, I must be a radical. Granted, I'm a centrist on guns and immigration, and lean a bit left on the social issues discussed in the report, but imagine my surprise to find out that I've been cavorting with other radicals over the past 2 years by volunteering for the McCain campaign. Pro-life, pro-second amendment, high concentration of veterans, don't let the good humor, sarcastic wit, family values, and helpful manner fool you - we were all a big bunch of radicals, just ask MSNBC.

Now I know there is a serious side to this report. Every group in every country has its nutballs, and its the governments main job to protect its citizens from radicals of all sorts. Yet this seems like a veiled attempt to blur the line between staunch conservatives and radical Klan-like groups, when in reality that is a very clear and distict line. Veterans in particular are owed an apology for their less than flattering portrayal in this report. As for me, I'm going to keep chattering about the economy, and take pride in the fact that someone out there thinks I'm radical.

You May Be A Radical Too...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NH Independent and Veteran Canvas Hampton

Excerpt from An Independent Call the story a New Hampshire Independent McCain Supporter


Finally, on a more upbeat note, one trait that Senator McCain shares with a good number of his fellow veterans is a wicked sense of humor. While I’d like to say that my rationale for voting McCain was all high minded, I have to admit his sense of humor roped me in in the beginning. It’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed so many of the events with veterans; I’m sure there are veterans out there that lack a sense of humor, but overall I found them quite fun to be around.

During the general election I headed out to canvas a neighborhood with a veteran named Wes. He drove; I hopped out and knocked on the doors. We were canvassing Hampton Beach, a sort of unfortunate task in late Fall to early Winter, since not a lot of people stay at their beach house when the temperature drops. The sheets given to guide us to the appropriate address were accompanied by a brief survey asking whether the occupant was home and whom they were supporting for the different elected offices. The numbering of houses and condos on these sheets could be hard to follow, as locations were not necessarily listed in numerical order. Condo complexes could be particularly difficult to figure out. For instance, 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 16 could be a different page from 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 14, and unit 15 would simply not be on the list at all. The other problem was that you often had to be allowed or buzzed into many of these condo complexes. This basically meant looking for condos, routinely unoccupied due to the season that, even if occupied, could not be accessed. Consequently, we’d just drop a stack of literature on their doorstep, which will likely be picked up sometime this coming June.

So in the process of trying to locate a particular address on Ocean Boulevard, Wes backed his car up right into a pole. Looking down, arranging literature at the time, I was startled at the hit and said, ‘Ooo!’ and looked over at Wes. Thinking, this can’t be good we both hopped out of the car and took a look at his bumper. There was a new yellow stripe down the back side of his car and he said, “Ah, it’s just paint.” Relieved that it wasn’t too serious and that the damage didn’t trouble Wes, we hopped back into the car, and started trying to figure out where our next stop was. As we headed forward we spotted the house number of the next stop; Wes hit the brakes and his coffee flew off the dashboard, hitting me in the arm and soaking my left side. This time Wes looked stunned as I sat there looking at my sweater covered in coffee. “Well, it’s not hot,” I said. He handed me towels and clearly felt badly that I was wearing his drink. I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, so I hopped out of the car again, rung out the sweater and dried it off as best I could with some towels, put it back on, and hopped back into the car. While I smelled of coffee all day, the sweater was dark so it didn’t really matter.

We got through the rest of the doors without much incident, but had trouble finding one particular side street. Finally, we found the tiny narrow street in question; we headed down to the end where we eventually spotted the number of the home on a trashcan outside of a sliding glass door. I got out, knocked on the door, and a young guy, who apparently had just woken up, and was wearing a pair of old boxers and a t-shirt opened the door, saying nothing.

‘Hi, I’m a volunteer with the McCain campaign, and…’

‘No,’ he said and he shut the door and went back to bed.

I got back in the car and said, “Obama.”

As we started to head out of the narrow street I looked back, and Wes said, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit anything… …I saw you watching.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”

On the way back to the office he said, “You did a good job.”

“Thanks. You too…”

“Except for the pole.”

“Well that and the coffee, but other than that you did a good job.”



Veteran's Good Humor

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Motivated by Curiousity

Excerpt from An Independent Call the amusing story of a New Hampshire McCain supporter.

In the beginning I just thought I’d go see the different candidates at the campaign events in New Hampshire. Four years prior, not long after I moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, my sister was volunteering for Senator Kerry’s campaign. She’s a loyal and active Democrat; our parents are Republicans. We talked on the phone after the Iowa caucuses when Howard Dean screamed during his concession speech. She hadn’t heard it called the ‘I have a Scream Speech’ yet, and I said that I felt for him. I figured if I were in politics that would be the sort of thing that would take me out. It wouldn’t be scandal or corruption; I’d simply do something so embarrassing that no one would take me seriously again.

My sister told of a news clip she had just seen of a woman who had met Senator Kerry, then fainted. The video looked like a shot from the Wizard of Oz with Senator Kerry standing over a pair of feet. I was starting to realize that I had missed quite a show by not attending Primary events, so I simply thought this time it would be interesting to see. I certainly had no plans of picking a candidate early, and no interest in joining a campaign. I thought it might give me something to write about on my website, but basically I was just curious.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Campaign Book Coming Soon

An Independent Call by Katherine Morrison, being released by Broad Side of the Barn.

An Independent Call chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain convert and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at lowest level politics from an outsider’s perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Katherine Morrison is the creator and Author of Purple People Vote.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Evan Bayh Opposes Omnibus Spending Bill

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana wrote an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday coming out against the huge appropriations bill that would increase spending eight percent from last year. His article Deficits and Fiscal Credibility is definitely worth a read, below is an excerpt.
This week, the United States Senate will vote on a spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 is a sprawling, $410 billion compilation of nine spending measures that lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the federal government or the recipients of its largess.

The Senate should reject this bill. If we do not, President Barack Obama should veto it.

The omnibus increases discretionary spending by 8% over last fiscal year's levels, dwarfing the rate of inflation across a broad swath of issues including agriculture, financial services, foreign relations, energy and water programs, and legislative branch operations. Such increases might be appropriate for a nation flush with cash or unconcerned with fiscal prudence, but America is neither.

Drafted last year, the bill did not pass due to Congress's long-standing budgetary dysfunction and the frustrating delays it yields in our appropriations work. Since then, economic and fiscal circumstances have changed dramatically, which is why the Senate should go back to the drawing board. The economic downturn requires new policies, not more of the same.


Senator Evan Bayh Rejects Bloated Appropriations Bill

Monday, March 2, 2009

Storm Nails the East Coast

From Yahoo - Ferocious storm dumps heavy snow on East Coast

A ferocious storm packing freezing rain, heavy snow and furious wind gusts paralyzed most of the East Coast on Monday, sending dozens of cars careening into ditches, grounding hundreds of flights and closing school for millions of kids.

The devastating effects of the storm were seen up and down the coast. A crash caused a 15-mile traffic jam in North Carolina, forcing police and the Red Cross to go car-to-car to check on stranded drivers. The storm was blamed for 350 crashes in New Jersey, and a Maryland official counted about 50 cars in the ditch on one stretch of highway.

By Monday, the storm had moved north into New England, and most areas in the storm's wake expected to see at least 8 to 12 inches of snow. The weather contributed to four deaths on roads in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and on Long Island.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rewarding Bad Behavior

With the recent unveiling of the Obama administration's housing plan there is a growing concern that the government is promoting policies that reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. The housing plan is the latest policy where the government gives money to those who are in over there head. This is a somewhat more palatable policy than preceding bailouts as it focusses on helping the individual with mortgage problems. However, it is following a string of policies that that basically says 'if you screw up, the government is here to give you money.' Businesses and individuals that pay their bills and taxes on time are subsidizing those who don't. The housing plan isn't completely without merit, but this trend of government bailouts big and small is wearing on many as can be seen in this CNBC clip of Rick Santelli becoming fed up with the government rewards for bad behavior on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange...




Punishing Good Behavior

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drummer Louis Bellson Passed Away at 84


Louie Bellson, a jazz drummer and bandleader who combined remarkable instrumental virtuosity with far-ranging compositional skills, has died. He was 84.

According to his wife, Francine, Bellson died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications of Parkinson's disease following a broken hip in November.

Bellson's long, productive career stretched from his teens -- when, in competition with 40,000 other young players, he won the Slingerland National Gene Krupa drumming contest -- to the tours and seminars he continued until 2008.

Best known as a superlative big band drummer as a result of his work in the 1940s and '50s with Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Duke Ellington and others, Bellson was also an adept small group player. His more than 200 recorded appearances as leader and sideman encompass sessions with Jazz at the Philharmonic, Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, James Brown and dozens of others, including Ellington's Big Four alongside guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Ray Brown.

"What makes Bellson so special," former Times jazz critic Leonard Feather wrote in 1991, "is his overall musicianship. A gifted composer and arranger who has written everything from jazz instrumentals to ballets, he can incorporate his role logically instead of banging away without regard to the dynamic or melodic structure of the work in progress."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lost in Space

Lost in Space from Wired counts down eight weirdest items lost in space. From human remains to a spatula here are the Wired's list...

1. Spatula

2. Tool bag

3. Glove

4. Tank of ammonia

5. Gene Roddenberry's ashes

6. Pee

7. Pliers

8. Camera

For more detail read Wired's Lost in Space article.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What's $1 Trillion?

With the Economic Stimulus approaching the $1 trillion mark, lets look at what $1,000,000,000,000.00 equates to…

$1,597,444 check for all of the 626,000 people that have filed unemployment claims this month.

$227,272 check for all 4.4 million people collecting unemployment benefits.

$333.33 check for every American man, woman, and child.

It would take a worker making $50,000 a year 20 million years to earn $1 trillion.

If ever ticket of every home Red Sox home game at Fenway Park for the 2009 season was sold for $308,642.00 each that would equal $1 trillion.

The GDP of Mexico is just over $1 trillion.

The GDP of India is also just over $1 trillion.

The combine GDP of the following countries is approximately $1 trillion…

Uruguay, Lebanon, Yemen, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Cyprus, Estonia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Ivory Coast, Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Iceland, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macau, Jordan, Bolivia, Ghana, Brunei, Paraguay, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Botswana, Honduras, Burma, Albania, Jamaica, Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Mali, Malta, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Namibia, Haiti, Benin, The Bahamas, West Bank and Gaza, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Moldova, Niger, Laos, Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Aruba, Zimbabwe, Montenegro, Guinea, Malawi, Rwanda, French Polynesia, Fiji, Barbados, Mauritania, New Caledonia, Kosovo, Togo, Suriname, Swaziland, Guam, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Somalia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Lesotho, Eritrea, Belize, Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Djibouti, Liberia, Burundi, British Virgin Islands, The Gambia, Seychelles, Grenada, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Comoros, Samoa, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Dominica, American Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Marshall Islands, Anguilla, Kiribati, Tuvalu
 
If you'd like your political representatives to now what $1 trillion equates to, their contact info can be found at...
 
Senators - http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
 
Representatives - https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
 

Stimulating Math

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stimulus Money for Beekeeper Insurance

Republican Challenges to Wasteful Stimulus Plan

Republican Senators put together an alternative stimulus package that has a much lower price tag than the current version of the stimulus bill, as the AP reports that the current plan tops $900 billion. The Republican alternative allows home owners to refinance their home mortgages at a low interest rate that will help the home owner and help stabilize home prices in general. This plan also provides more money for infrastructure projects than the current bill and cuts the payroll tax and the corporate tax to encourage economic growth and job creation. Also, it requires spending cuts once the economy has rebounded helping to limit the amount of future government debt. CNN reports not only that their is a this second bill, but moderates are also working on the current bill trimming the excess pork...
Some Republicans want to take it a step farther than their party's leaders. Ten Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, want more funds -- almost $90 billion -- for infrastructure. They are shopping around a plan with a price tag of just under $500 billion.

"We can either fight the Democrat proposals, which would increase the deficit incredibly and mortgage our children's futures and not beneficially stimulate our economy, which we will do, in many respects. But we have to have a proposal of our own," said McCain, R-Arizona.

That version of the stimulus measure, put together by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, is broader than the one proposed by GOP leadership, but narrower than the Democratic bill.

The group of Republicans met Tuesday to discuss their plan because they don't believe their leadership's approach, focusing exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts, is enough to jump-start the economy.

Another alternative that's getting a lot of attention is a bipartisan plan from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson and Maine Republican Susan Collins. The two moderate senators are looking at the current economic stimulus package and trying to scrub it of all spending that they say will not stimulate the economy.

One attempt to trim pork from the current bill was successful. An amendment passed sponsored by Tom Coburn that eliminated a $246 million dollar tax break for Hollywood movie companies.

Senator McCain has sponsored a petition protesting the current version of the stimulus bill...

Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition
Republican Senators Put Together Alternative Stimulus Package

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Petition Protesting Bloated Stimulus Plan

Senator McCain sent an email to supporters explaining his opposition to the current emergency economic stimulus package stating that...


Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans. I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy.


He further explains the myriad of problems with this bloated stimulus package and asks for people to sign a petition to voice their disapproval of this bill.


Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition



John McCain Sponsors Petition Protesting Bloated Stimulus Plan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Rasmusen reports that support for the Emergency Stimulus plan is slipping. This is not surprising since the stimulus has been packed with pork, which by anyone's definition seriously stretches the meaning of emergency. Regular Americans know better than many politicians the basic fact that bills have to be paid, and this proposal leaves Americans holding the tab for a pile of pork. President Obama and House Republicans have shown some willingness to compromise, but the House bill that passed yesterday had not one Republican vote for it and 11 Democrats also oppose it for good reason. Just take a look at a few of the items in this bill that have been stuffed into this bill...

• $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers.”
• $400 million for STD prevention
• $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails
• $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
• $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
• $150 million for honey bee insurance

Cited from Earmarks In House Bill
Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Talks to Take Place Israel and Hamas

Excerpt from Israel, Hamas, Palestinian Authority to Meet for Talks
Egypt's United Nation's envoy says Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will meet Thursday for talks.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was at U.N. headquarters for the council's emergency session on Gaza, said she had talked with both the Israelis and Arab envoys about the importance of moving forward a cease-fire proposed Tuesday by Egypt and France.

"We are very much applauding the efforts of a number of states, particularly the effort that President (Hosni) Mubarak has undertaken on behalf of Egypt," Rice said. "We're supporting that initiative."

Israel hammered Gaza City with gunfire and air strikes Wednesday minutes after a three-hour cease-fire ended, and its security cabinet voted to push ahead with the ground offensive against Hamas, the Times of London reported.

Israel agreed to principles of the Gaza cease-fire proposal, but has yet to iron out key details about how it would be implemented, senior Israeli officials told Reuters.

The proposal calls for an end to fighting as well as a drive to prevent Hamas militants from rearming, Israel's key condition, Reuters reported

"There is agreement on the principles but translating those principles into practical action is a challenge that is still ahead of us," a senior Israeli official said.