Drill Baby Drill

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In the 2008 elections the key Republican candidates started a “drill baby drill” movement and many supporters vowed that off shore drilling should occur sooner than later. Although I will never be a supporter of the notion, I hope that many of them have changed their mind considering the monstrous devastation affecting the Gulf Coast.

In April 2010, an oil rig exploded and not only killed about a dozen workers, but began pouring millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf.  Multiple breaks in the pipeline have disturbed the home of millions of animals that help stabilize our economy. Disgusted by the outrage, many Americans are speaking out about the tragedy and asking that something is done to ensure this never happens again.

What baffles me more than anything is that an emergency plan was nonexistent. Moreover, the government will more than likely not fine BP oil for their negligence. It would be nice if moving forward fines and penalties are in effect for such devastations.

The clean up effort will be ongoing for years to come. And as an environmentalist, I think that BP should shut their doors for a bit and go out there and help in the clean up effort. This may seem outrageous to a few, but really the profit made in the first quarter will be enough to sustain them I’m sure. And I’m sure that the raised gas prices because of this tragedy will aid them as well.

I wish all environmentalist and unselfish people could move to a planet that can live up to its potential freely. The rest of the population can stay here and shit where they eat. Essentially that’s what is happening. The seafood industry will suffer and so will countless other living things including humans because of this.

If I could encourage Obama to do one thing, it would be to re-evaluate his efforts to start off shore drilling. I like him as a President but I think he should focus more on his campaign promises of staying eco-friendly.

Health Care Reform – What Does It Mean?

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No matter side of the fence you’re on, we all partake in the monstrous health care reform that passed through Congress earlier this week.  It’s expected that over 32 million Americans will now benefit from the provisions in this bill. 

In case, you haven’t had the opportunity to take a look at the new bill, here is a quick outline.

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The new bill requires that all Americans have health care coverage by the year 2014.  If coverage is obtained through an employer, then nothing has to be done.  Businesses with more than 50 employees they will be forced to provide health care coverage or face fines up to $750 per person.   Unfortunately, if an employer does not provide health care coverage, then the uninsured must find coverage, or be fined up to 2% of their income.  Exceptions apply to those on the poverty line. 

In terms of Medicare, the bill will create a board that will oversee medicare.  Their primary goal would be to find ways to reduce fraud and waste. It’s believed that these will help make medicare more efficient – especially for the elderly. 

The Federal Government will regulate any new health coverage plans to ensure that they provide minimum coverage and are following protection laws.  Although public option is not included in this bill, there will be a state exchange which will be regulated by the government and again must provide minimum coverage.  It’s important to note that illegal immigrants and those already covered under their employer will not have an option to purchase state health coverage.  Under the new bill, plans cannot discriminate against pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy, illness, obesity, etc.  These plans also have an unlimited amount of coverage because in the past many health care agencies would simply stop paying after they reached their cap.  Make it clear that the bill does not give federal assistance for abortions.  Therefore no health care plan under the bill would provide abortion assistance.

Funding for the bill comes from taxes on pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and medical supply companies, which is projected to average billions of dollars.  The reduction of fraud and waste in the current medicare system is also expected to save billions of dollars. Thus, it would actually help save money over the next ten years.  

Somewhere along the way this bill that benefits so many Americans is seen as a democratic victory.  I still don’t understand it but here’s a list of the 39 democrats who voted against the bill.

Representative John Adler (N.J.)
Representative Jason Altmire (Pa.)
Representative Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)
Representative John Barrow (Ga.)
Representative Marion Berry (Ark.)
Representative Dan Boren (Okla.)
Representative Rick Boucher (Va.)
Representative Bobby Bright (Ala.)
Representative Ben Chandler (Ky.)
Representative Travis Childers (Miss.)
Representative Artur Davis (Ala.)
Representative Lincoln Davis (Tenn.)
Representative Chet Edwards (Texas)
Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.)
Representative Tim Holden (Pa.)
Representative Larry Kissell (N.C.)
Representative Frank Kratovil (Md.)
Representative Dan Lipinski (Ill.)
Representative Stephen Lynch (Mass.)
Representative Jim Marshall (Ga.)
Representative Jim Matheson (Utah)
Representative Mike McIntyre (N.C.)
Representative Mike McMahon (N.Y.)
Representative Charlie Melancon (La.)
Representative Walt Minnick (Idaho)
Representative Glenn Nye (Va.)
Representative Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Representative Mike Ross (Ark.)
Representative Heath Shuler (N.C.)
Representative Ike Skelton (Mo.)
Representative Zack Space (Ohio)
Representative John Tanner (Tenn.)
Representative Gene Taylor (Miss.)
Representative Harry Teague (N.M.)

Coincidentally, only one republican voted for the bill Anh Quang Cao (L.A.)

2009 In Review

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Below is a list of 2009’s Top Ten Moments that everyone should recognize.  And in case you’re interested, I’ve listed My Top Ten 2009 Moments.  With that being said, I wish everyone a brighter 2010!

  1. Michael Jackson’s death is sure to top anyone’s list for 2009 most memorable moments.  No matter if you loved or hated Jackson, you were certain to experience shock as the news spread around the world.  An international entertainer and a house hold name, Jackson will leave a legacy that will be difficult to forget.
  2. Balloon Boy comes in at second.  We all look at his parents with disgust for staging their son’s disappearance in the name of fame.  And looking back, it’s quite humorous that he would convict his parents on national television.  A parental reminder that it’s very difficult to get a child under the age of seven to lie.  They tell everything!  I’m very happy that the truth came out in this instance and hope that the parents are prosecuted.
  3. Kanye West steals a moment from Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards and makes false accusations that Beyonce had the best video of ALL TIME.  I’m sure you remember this story vividly because it was the topic of talk shows, twitter, facebook and any other social media for at least a month.  I’m not sure what Kanye is doing right now, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that he’s remorseful for his outlandish behavior, and I even his false accusation that Beyonce had the best video of ALL TIME. lol
  4. Nobel Peace Prize to the President.  Only a year in the White House and the President has amazed us with his ability to gain the trust and approval of so many around the world. Particularly since politics has been an undesirable game to many until his reign in office.  Congratulations Obama!
  5. Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the infamous White House dinner crashers.  The nation watched with opened mouths as these two idiots crashed the White House dinner, loaded with a film crew and camera. If there were a top idiot list for 2009, these two would be top contenders. I guess this is the only list they can find themselves on for the next couple of years.
  6. A year of death for the NFL. Rest in peace Steve McNair and Chris Henry.  This was the year of deaths no doubt, but percentage wise for the NFL this was a crazy year in particular.
  7. Sarah Palin hits multi-million dollar deal for book deal and sells as number one in the country.  Wow – if there is any confidence that my books will sell, it would have to be that Palin was able to sell a book that very few people care little about.  She was widely disliked, except for a small percentage of the population. Congratulations Palin on your accidental success to fame.
  8. Gay Marriage Bill passes first round in Washington DC. Amazing how DC has struggled for years to have recognition as a state and legal representation in the Senate.  To no avail, efforts have gone hopeless.  Shockingly DC has no problem acknowledging gay marriage.  Maybe I’m confused, but this seems a bit backwards to me. Either way, the bill has made it’s stamp on the list of 2009 moments.
  9. Oprah announces that she will resign from producing America’s favorite talk show.  For supporters, fans, future book authors, this came as an unwelcomed announcement.  However there is talk that the diva of television talk shows will continue her journey on her network in 2011.  We will have to wait and see. Good luck Oprah.
  10. Economic downturn forces some to take advantage of business opportunities.  That’s right, 2009 has been a year to remember for those who have long time wished to pursue their own business, buy real estate, or do simple things such as write!  I’m proud to say that I fall in this category and that I’m confident that the doors will continue to open as I prepare to say farewell to 2009 and embrace 2010.  I wish everyone must success in what it is that they desire to accomplish!


Extreme Muslims

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Such a shame that a few extremists managed to destroy the beautiful faith of Islam for the rest of the population.

I wasn’t born a Muslim, but I’ve had the pleasure to come in contact with those who practice Islam. From what I see, it’s not too much different from any other religion. It teaches to love, honor, cherish, and stand up for what’s right.  The same as Christianity.

The recent attacks on soldier’s at Fort Hood has motivated me to write this blog. My heart goes to those affected, as well as the family of the suspects. I’m sure that this is an embarrassment for them as well as the rest of the Islamic community.

And I find it saddening that Americans mostly Christians can’t differentiate between extreme Muslims and extreme Christians. Daily extreme Christians make their way through the rubble. Preaching against gay rights or abortion privileges.  Back in the day, it didn’t take too much for the extreme Christian to hide behind the bible in why it was okay to rape, hang, and enslave other human beings.

I want nothing more than for Americans to stop pointing the finger at mass groups of people. When can we see that in order to truly be a diverse country, we must first start by isolating incidents on a case by case basis.  To categorize or scare others in to thinking that a group of people (Muslims) are dangerous only adds to the racist cycle.

It’s getting old, and quite frankly I wish we would move on to something else. I wish that extreme Muslims will stop being so extreme. I wish the same for extreme Christians!

H1N1 – Swine Flu Pandemic

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A cough is a cough…right?

                 Wrong!

With the persistence and resistence of animal viruses attacking humans, a cough can mean the difference between life and death.  The use of Nyquil and antihistamines is barely a thing of the past.  The drug stores are far behind in their research. If they can only predict the next outbreak and market the new drug on the market, they’d make a killing (no pun intended).

Personally I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to the origination of the bird flu, mad cow, swine flu and any other flu that links back to an animal. Although I’m not crying “government conspiracy” it’s not too far fetched to ask if someone is sharing forks with some of these animals. Gross sounding but many people share food with their pet or allow their pet to kiss them in the face.  I apologize if I’ve offended anyone that partakes in an occasional kiss with their pet, but I’m confident that those germs to other humans in daily interactions.

I’m not a big fan of medicine anyway. A part of me believes that everything should be cured through a good diet and a holistic approach. Medicine isn’t always the enemy but on occasion the side effects of the medicine just aren’t worth going through.  With H1N1 on the rise it’s difficult to escape the fact that sooner or later, we may all have to get treated. However, I’m just not ready to take that step. Too many factors remain unknown and there are too many risks involved on either end of the spectrum.

If we choose not to take the medicine we may face the chance of dying from the disease.  Although the percentage of people dying is small, the risk is still there.  And it’s triple scary that this infection kills the healthiest of Americans. So forget about being pregnant, old, or living with a weak immune system.  This disease isn’t prejudice – it’s an equal opportunity for all.

If we decide to take the medicine, we introduce our bodies to mutated bacterium. That doesn’t sound very appetizing to me.  And it’s a catch 22 because of the unknown effects that this bacterium will produce in our bodies. I’m terrified of the treatment just as I am contracting the disease!!

Where are the clinics for people who just aren’t sure which way to turn?

Greener Kids

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Help Mommy & Daddy Save Electricity – Help The Earth Smile

Unplugging items that are not in use is a great way to save the earth and save on an electric bill.  Most parents don’t realize that they can get their child involved at an early age.  Make unplugging things fun and exciting. If you turn in to a game or repeatedly show your interest in the earth, your child will often find themselves mimicking your way of life.

You can start by explaining to your child why it’s important to unplug things such as their TV. radio, phone charger, and video game consoles.  Most importantly why it’s a good idea to turn off the lights and use natural sunlight from an opened window whenever possible. If you teach them why the benefits go beyond you trying to show your parental authority, then your child will probably be more apt to following through with these techniques well in to their adult years.

Remember that in order to be successful in this earth-friendly lesson, you must first apply the lesson. So be sure to think, live, and breathe earth-friendly to show your child that you are actively participating in giving back to the earth.

Making Home Affordable

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There’s some confusion about the Making Home Affordable (MHA) efforts.  Below is a simple breakdown of the plan rolled out in March 2009.

Congress has asked that Fannie Mae oversee the MHA program and ensure that lenders are doing their very best to exalt all options for a borrower before foreclosing on a property.  There are two major program options under the MHA umbrella – Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

HARP might be best for borrowers who are, and have been, current on their loan for the past 12 months. Usually borrowers who are applying for the HARP have a high interest rate, and their house is under water by up to 125% of the original loan amount.  Under the HARP a borrower must do an appraisal on the property. Other fees and taxes might apply, but no worries, if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae you can shop around to any Fannie Mae approved lender.  If your loan is backed by Freddie Mac, you must go to the same lender but there is a cap in fees. For non-Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans, participation is optional by lenders. To find a participating lender, you must contact the lender and ask if they are approved. General requirements for this program include:

  • The borrower is the owner of the one-to-four unit property.
  • The amount owed on first mortgage is same or less than value of house.
  • You must have income to support the new payment structure.
  • The overall refinance will benefit the life of the loan.

If you believe you qualify for the HARP, please contact your lender immediately and ask for options.

HAMP is beneficial for those who have experienced, or will experience hardship in the near future. The program is pretty much the last resort before considering the property for short sale or foreclosure.  The goal is to get the borrower’s mortgage payments at 31% of their gross monthly income. Any loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must participate in the HAMP program. The property is the primary residence of the owner looking to modify their payments.

  • The loan is less than $729,750.
  • The mortgage was acquired before January 1, 2009.
  • Payment on the first mortgage is more than 31% of the borrower’s current monthly gross income.
  • The borrower can show proof of hardship (example: unemployment for 9 months, divorce, death of spouse, etc)

Be warned, the payment terms are extremely strict and one can be dropped from the program if more than a day late on the trial modification periods set up by the lender. Trial modification periods can last 3-6 months before being reviewed for a permanent modification plan. Also be aware that this option will be reported to credit agencies that the borrower is on a modification plan. General eligibility requirements include:

If you believe you qualify for the HAMP program, please contact your lender’s loss mitigation department. If you choose to speak with a HUD counselor specializing in the HAMP efforts, please contact the HOPE hotline at 1-888-995-4673. They will work with your lender on your behalf to make sure that procedures are followed.

Please remember that the lender has the resources to deem the borrower eligible or ineligible for the programs and that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not work with borrowers directly. The easiest way to remember the scenario is this – borrowers are the customers of banks, while banks are the customers of the investor (in most cases Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).  Any restructure must go through their servicer directly. If a borrower believes that they are not being accurately evaluated, they can go to the investor as it relates to the Making Home Affordable initiative.

For more info on the MHA program, please visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.  You can also visit www.financialstability.gov.

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