A Lot Of Talk About Nothing

The price of oil is still high and our nation’s economy is on shaky ground. Aren’t you glad that your members of Congress are there in Washington, D.C. to take care of things before they get out of hand?

On Monday, the following items were on the legislative agenda in the House despite the fact that gas prices are still out of control and our economy could implode at any moment:

H.Res. 1287 – Commending the Honor Flight Network, its volunteers, and donors, for enabling World War II veterans to travel to our Nation’s capital to see the World War II Memorial created in their honor

H.R. 6897 – Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2008

S. 1315 – Veterans’ Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007, as amended

H.R. 160 – Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act

H.R. 2933 – Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2008

H.R. 4828 – Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Boundary Expansion and Redesignation Act of 2008

H.R. 5853 – Minute Man National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act

H.R. 6176 – To authorize the expansion of the Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, Texas

H.R. 6159 – Deafy Glade Land Exchange Act

H.R. 5335 – To amend the National Trails System Act to provide for the inclusion of new trail segments, land components, and campgrounds associated with the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

H.R. 3336 – Camp Hale Study Act

H.R. 3849 – Box Elder Utah Land Conveyance Act

H.R. 3299 – To provide for a boundary adjustment and land conveyances involving Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

H.Res. 1374 – Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Grand Coulee Dam and recognizing its critical role in the national and economic security of the United States

H.R. 6685 – To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide an annual grant to facilitate an iron working training program for Native Americans

H.R. 1907 – Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Act

S.J.Res. 45 – Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact

H.R. 5352 – Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2008

H.R. 6853 – Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Task Force Act of 2008

H.Res. 1438 – Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Azorean Refugee Act of 1958 and celebrating the extensive contributions of Portuguese-American communities to the United States

H.Res. 1464 – Recognizing and honoring the 50th anniversary of the founding of AARP

H.R. 6890 – To extend the waiver authority for the Secretary of Education relating to elementary and secondary education hurricane recovery relief

H.Res. 1463 – Recognizing the benefits of service-learning as a teaching strategy to effectively engage youth in the community and classroom, and supporting the goals of the National Learn and Serve Challenge

H.R. 642 – Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones College Fire Prevention Act

H.R. 6370 – The Oregon Surplus Federal Land Act of 2008

H.R. 6524 – To authorize the Administrator of General Services to take certain actions with respect to parcels of real property located in Eastlake, Ohio, and Koochiching County, Minnesota

H.Res. 1466 – Honoring Dr. Guion S. “Guy” Bluford, Jr. and the 25th Anniversary of his Historic Flight as the First African American in Space

S. 2606 – To reauthorize the United States Fire Administration

H.Res. 1390 – Expressing support for the designation of a 4-H National Youth Science Day

H.R. 6323 – To establish a research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to promote research of appropriate technologies for heavy duty plug-in hybrid vehicles

H.Res. 1471 – Honoring the 50th anniversary of the successful demonstration of the first integrated circuit and its impact on the electronics industry

Note: None of these legislation items had any relevance to our nation’s energy situation, nor the economic impact of the events unfolding on Wall Street.

The following items were on the legislative agenda in the House on Tuesday, while gas prices were still hovering around $4 per gallon and firms on Wall Street prepared for the biggest bailout since the Great Depression :

H.R. 5244 – The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008

H.R. 6984 – The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2008, Part II

H.Res. 1473 – Recognizing the 150th anniversary year of the founding of Macy’s, Inc. as an American entrepreneurial success story and the role Macy’s Inc. plays in supporting America’s small businesses and vendors

H.R. 5443 – United States-Republic of Korea Defense Cooperation Improvement Act of 2008

H.R. 6646 – To require the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to provide detailed briefings to Congress on any recent discussions conducted between United States Government and the Government of Taiwan and any potential transfer of defense articles or defense services to the Government of Taiwan

H.Con.Res. 255 – Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the U.S. commitment to preservation of religious and cultural sites and condemning instances where sites are desecrated

H.Res. 1227 – Condemning sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and calling on the international community to take immediate actions to respond to the violence

H.Res. 1314 – Remembering the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 and extending the deepest sympathies of the House of Representatives to the victims, survivors, and families of this tragedy

H.Res. 1402 – Supporting a transition to democracy through free, fair, credible, peaceful, and transparent elections in Bangladesh

H.Res. 1435 – Recognizing the 70th anniversary of the 1938 occurrence of Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass

H.Res. 1451 – Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Establishment Resolution

H.Res. 1461 – Recognizing the Tenth Anniversary of the terrorist bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dares Salaam, Tanzania

H.Con.Res. 371 – Strongly supporting and immediate and just restitution of, or compensation for, property illegally confiscated during the last century by Nazi and Communist regimes

H.Res. 1361 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should lead a high-level diplomatic effort to defeat the campaign by some members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to divert the United Nation’s Durban Review Conference from a review of problems in their own and other countries by attacking Israel, promoting anti-Semitism, and undermining the Universal Charter of Human Rights and to ensure that the Durban Review Conference serves as a forum to review commitments to combat all forms of racism

H.Res. 1369 – Recognizing nongovernmental organizations working to bring just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians

H.Con.Res. 374 – Supporting the spirit of peace and desire for unity displayed in the letter from 138 leading Muslim scholars, and in the Pope’s response

H.R. 5834 – North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2008

H.R. 758 – The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007

H.R. 6908 – The Health Insurance Source of Injury Clarification Act of 2008.

H.R. 6469 – The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Organ Transplant Authorization Act of 2008

S. 1760 – The Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2007

H.R. 1532 – Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2007

H.R. 2994 – National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007

H.R. 5265 – Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education Amendments of 2008

H.R. 6901 – Meth Free Families and Communities Act

H.R. 2583 – Physician Workforce and Graduate Medical Education Enhancement Act of 2007

H.Res. 1042 – Supporting the We Don’t Serve Teens Campaign

H.Con.Res. 393 – Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

H.Res. 988 – Designating the month of March 2008 as “MRSA Awareness Month”

H.Res. 1381 – Expressing the sense of the House that there should be an increased Federal commitment prioritizing prevention and public health for all people in the United States

H.R. 1014 – Heart Disease Education, Analysis Research, and Treatment for Women Act

H.R. 6353 – Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008

H.R. 6983- Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

H.R. 4544 – Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008

H.R. 6950 – Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal Act of 2008

H.R. 3018 – Family Self-Sufficiency Act of 2007

H.R. 6894 – Defense Production Act Extension and Reauthorization of 2008

H.R. 6965 – To extend the authorization of the national flood insurance program

H.R. 6897 – Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2008

H.R. 160 – Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act

H.R. 2933 – Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2008

H.R. 4828 – Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Boundary Expansion and Redesignation Act of 2008

S.J.Res. 45 – Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact

H.R. 5352 – Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2008

H.R. 642 – Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones College Fire Prevention Act

S. 2606 – To reauthorize the United States Fire Administration

H.R. 6323 – To establish a research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to promote research of appropriate technologies for heavy duty plug-in hybrid vehicles

Note: Like Monday, none of these legislation items had any impact on our nation’s energy situation or the pending implosion of Wall Street.

Today, Wednesday, the Democratic controlled House is going to take the first step toward the light at the end of the tunnel. There is word today that they will drop the provision continuing the moratorium on offshore drilling from the Conitnuing Resolution. Word has it they will also begin debating the $700 billion corporate bail out. We’ll see. Here’s what’s on the agenda today:

H.Res. 1489 – Same Day Consideration Rule – Waiving a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to the consideration of certain resolutions reported from the Committee on Rules

H.R. 2638 – The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009

H.R. ___ – Energy Production and Conservation Tax Relief Act of 2008

S. 3001 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 as Amended

H.Res. 1421 – Solemnly commemorating the 25th anniversary of the tragic October 1983 terrorist bombing of the United States Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon and remembering those who lost their lives and those who were injured

H.R. 7005 – The Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008

H.R. 7006 – The Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008

H.R. 6849 – To amend the commodity provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to permit producers to aggregate base acres and reconstitute farms to avoid the prohibition on receiving direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, or average crop revenue election payments when the sum of the base acres of a farm is 10 acres or less

S. 2324– Inspector General Reform Act of 2008

H.R. 6406 – To elevate the Inspector General of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to an Inspector General appointed pursuant to section 3 of the Inspector General Act of 1978

H.R. 6847 – To designate the “First Lieutenant Noah Harris Ellijay Post Office Building in Ellijay, Georgia

H. Res. ___ – Providing for agreement by the House of Representatives to the Senate amendment to the bill, H.R. 2095, with an amendment

H.R. 6999 – The Integrated Deepwater Program Reform Act of 2008

S. 3009 – J. James Exon Federal Bureau of Investigation Building

H. Res. 1376 – Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Okeechobee Hurricane of September 1928 and its associated tragic loss of life

S. 2162 – Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008

S. 3023 – Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008

H.R. 6980 – To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the amount of the Medal of Honor special pension provided under that title by up to $1,000.

H.R. 160 – Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act

H.R. 2933 – Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2008

H.R. 4828 – Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Boundary Expansion and Redesignation Act of 2008

S. 2606 – To reauthorize the United States Fire Administration

H.R. 6323 – To establish a research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to promote research of appropriate technologies for heavy duty plug-in hybrid vehicles

H.Con.Res. 255 – Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the U.S. commitment to preservation of religious and cultural sites and condemning instances where sites are desecrated

H.Res. 1451 – Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Establishment Resolution

H.Res. 1461 – Recognizing the Tenth Anniversary of the terrorist bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dares Salaam, Tanzania

H.R. 758 – The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007

H.R. 6469 – The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Organ Transplant Authorization Act of 2008

H.R. 1532 – Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2007

H.R. 2994 – National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007

H.R. 5265 – Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education Amendments of 2008

H.R. 6901 – Meth Free Families and Communities Act

H.Con.Res. 393 – Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

H.Res. 988 – Designating the month of March 2008 as “MRSA Awareness Month”

H.R. 1014 – Heart Disease Education, Analysis Research, and Treatment for Women Act

H.R. 4544 – Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008

H.R. 6950 – Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal Act of 2008

H.R. 3018 – Family Self-Sufficiency Act of 2007

Note: When does Congress actually do anything? For the past three days all I have heard is ‘bah blah blah’ and a lot of political grandstanding. When are they actually productive? With the exception of a couple items on the agendas shown above, this entire week has been a complete waste of taxpayer time.

I was watching earlier and saw the stack of papers also known as the Continuing Resolution. Republican Minority Leader John Boehner asked if anyone on the floor had actually read it. I doubt they have. They say that the provision continuing the moratorium on offshore drilling is not included. I will believe it when I see it.

Meanwhile, we’re still paying $4 per gallon for gasoline and our 401k’s aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Keep up the good work, guys!

I Finally Get It!

For months I have said that this presidential election would come down to the candidates’ choice for vice-president. I know, it’s crazy isn’t it? Who bases their choice for President of the United States on that person’s choice in a running mate? I’m not sure if anyone else does, but this year, I do.

I do not like Barack Obama. I never have. With all his talk of hope, change, and inspiration, I have yet to hear him state a single thing he will do that fills me with hope. I have yet to hear him tell me what he is going to change that will actually make things different. I have yet to hear him say anything that inspires me to vote for him. Don’t get mad, I am just being honest.

Now, here’s another tidbit you will love.

I do not like John McCain either. I never have. He has worked hard on the opposite side of many issues that are important to me. For years he has been known as a RINO in Washington. A Republican In Name Only. While it’s true that he has an exemplary record when it comes to some conservative issues, I have a hard time reconciling that record with his record on many issues like illegal immigration and energy.

Both candidates have now chosen their vice-presidential running mates.

Barack Obama chose Joseph Biden, the senator from Delaware. I found nothing hopeful in that decision. Joe Biden has been in Washington since 1972, where is the change? Truth be told, I do not find the Obama-Biden ticket to be inspiring at all.

John McCain chose Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. And now, I finally get it.

For the past year I have heard Barack Obama talk about hope. I saw that hope today when Sarah Palin walked out and greeted the crowd in Dayton, Ohio. For the first time since this election cycle started I have hope that America might not be going to hell in a hand-basket.

In addition to hope, Barack Obama has spoken of change. Nothing embodies the word change more than Sarah Palin. She is known as a barracuda on the basketball court, and as governor she spent her time cleaning up corruption in the state of Alaska. If any of the candidates, for president or vice-president, represent the true possibility that things can change, it’s her.

It’s an understatement to say that I haven’t been inspired much this election cycle. I threw my support behind Fred Thompson when he announced his candidacy only to find that Fred really didn’t want the job. Since then, I haven’t endorsed a single candidate on the national level, and I had no intention to do so. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain have inspired me in the slightest, and truth be told, until today I was planning to vote for a third-party candidate. But John McCain chose Sarah Palin and inspired me.

Barack Obama was right. We can have hope for the future. We can change things. We can be inspired. Thank you Senator McCain for choosing Sarah Palin as your running mate.

Tossing Change Out The Window

By now you’ve heard that Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate. Some think Biden was a good choice, others not so much. Let’s put some things in perspective here.

For months, Barack Obama has been sending a message of hope and change to people across the nation. He has promised a new America. He has spent the better part of this year railing against “Washington insiders” convincing voters that he was bringing something different to the White House, something new and full of hope.

Instead, he’s bringing Joe Biden. A six-term U.S. Senator.

Joe Biden was first elected to the senate in 1972. In comparison, Dick Cheney was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978. This makes Joe Biden more of a “Washington insider” than Dick Cheney. So much for new.

In 1988 while running for President, Joe Biden was caught plagiarizing a speech, and then within days it was discovered that he had also plagiarized a law review article while in his first year of law school. He dropped out of the race following those accusations. So much for hope.

Joe Biden voted for the final resolution to support the war in Iraq. He has consistently supported appropriations to pay for it and has argued repeatedly to increase the number of soldiers in Iraq. So much for change.

It is being said today that Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate because he brings solid foreign affairs credentials to the campaign. Well, he also brings a lot of baggage from inside Washington. Baggage that will most likely weigh down the campaign. Baggage that Barack Obama should have left at the curb.

As a right-leaning independent voter, I can’t help but think that Obama has just harpooned his own campaign.