Archive for House of Representatives

Senators Trying To Practice Medicine Without A License

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Here is part of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) mission statement from their website:

FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

Who makes up the FDA? Scientists, doctors and experts in related fields.

Who does NOT make up the FDA? Corporate sponsors, Big Pharma, groups or organizations which benefit from rulings AND elected officials.

The last one is why this post exists. It seems there are some in Congress who feel they, despite lack of any scientific facts, research or background education and training in medicine, know more about pharmacology than the experts do. Being elected for office requires no educational background and we've certainly seen way too much proof of that. So why should they be telling the FDA what's safe and what isn't? When they're sworn in, do they get a diploma from Dufus U. School of Medicine?

Dunderheads like Todd Akin, Steve King and others just don't get it. Now we can add a few more names to this list of non-doctors telling licensed medical practitioners what medications they can and cannot be prescribing.

This, from The Hill:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) plans to introduce legislation in the coming days that would push back against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving a controversial prescription drug, his office confirmed Wednesday.

Manchin is working with several other senators on a bill that would target the FDA's approval process, after the agency gave the green light in October to Zohydro, which critics say is a highly-addictive and easily-abused painkiller.

Those several other senators include the Madam's boy,  David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and the ever increasingly neurotic Charles Schumer (D-New York). Each of them sent letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this month, demanding she step in and force the FDA to reverse its decision. She has jurisdiction over the agency.

What is this horrible drug that needs to be halted before it can be sold?  Zohydro. It's the first FDA-approved drug that uses pure hydrocodone to treat chronic pain. In lay terms, is amped up Vicodin. One tab of Zohydro would take the place of six to ten Vicodin. So, instead of two pills every two to four hours, you'd take one pill once or twice a day. It's cheaper, its more effective and would aid people in chronic pain. It's been tested, researched and successfully made it through the numerous, stringent studies involved with any new medication.

How is that so awful? According the the Manchin gang, it could lead to abuse and overdosing. Well, Senators, so can Vicodin and other pain meds. According to GEN (Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology), the most abused medication today is Oxycontin. Hydrocodone is only number 17. So maybe you should be looking into the 16 medications that are abused in greater numbers than Vicodin. They include Xanax, Ativan and Valium.

Oh, that's right, those are the pills you might already be using to deal with the anxiety and pressures of your new responsibilities as resident doctors in the Senate chambers.

Let's not always look at the worst case scenario. There will always be people who abuse medications. Let's not punish those who are really in need because of a small percentage of abusers. It's doctors who should be the ones either prescribing a drug or withholding it from a patient. But the choice should be left to experts, not politicians. They have trouble walking and chewing gum. Maybe they should stick to improving those skills. Then they can work their way up to walking and talking while making sense.

That's wishful thinking, I know. Maybe there's a pill for that.

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Fingerprint Recognition For Guns Saves Lives

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gun safety personalization system overview

For a while, about ten years ago, there was a rash of car break-ins where the only thing stolen was the car radio. It was a very easy item for the crooks to fence. The huge numbers of incidents of these thefts rose so high that the car manufacturers and the car radio makers got together to address this problem. And you know what? They did and so successfully that the number of radio thefts dropped precipitously.

Now almost all cars are equipped with radios that have an anti-theft mechanism. If you steal a radio, you need a special code to activate it. Even if your power goes out in your car -- the battery dies -- you need the code to activate it. So a stolen radio won't work and hence you won't be buying too many "hot" music making devices.

Necessity is the mother of all invention, or so the saying goes. And Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) has a new proposal to cut down on accidental and even intentional gun violence.  He plans on introducing new federal gun legislation that would require all firearms manufactured in the U.S. to be equipped with “personalization technology,” so that if a weapon lands in the wrong hands, it can’t be fired.

For the uninitiated, that means all guns must come with fingerprint recognition -- similar to ID codes for radios -- so that they can not be fired except by the licensed, registered owner. It doesn't stop gun sales. It only stops unauthorized use of these weapons.

If the same outcome is true for firearms as for car radios why not do it? Illegally sold firearms won't do a buyer any good if they can't be fired. Hence, less unreported or fenced gun sales.

Markey gave an interview to Boston Magazine:

The Handgun Trigger Safety Act will help ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns. This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone—regardless of political party or affiliation—should be able to support,” he said.

Now this technology is already available. It's just plain common sense. It's not taking any rights away from legal gun registrants, those with a license -- it actually could prevent them from having their weapons stolen. Safety-safety, win-win.

The technology could include fingerprint recognition, or safety systems like the Armatix iP1, referenced in Markey’s proposal, which relies on a radio-controlled watch that is responsible for gun access and use.

If passed, the law would also require anyone selling a handgun to retrofit their weapon with personalization technology three years after the date of enactment of the bill. 

The technology already exists:

A company called Safe Gun Technology, or SGTi, has been working on a product that could do just that. Relying on biometric technology, people would be unable to fire a weapon unless they were the owner.

If someone is against such a personalization then I suggest they have something to hide. There's not a sane reason that this can't be done. And cost isn't the issue. People always seem to find the money to buy a gun. If this technology is added to that cost, they'll find a way to come up with that extra few bucks just like they do with security locked radios in their cars. It's just part of the cost. If you really need a gun, you'll find the money. Just like when gasoline spikes to nearly $5/gal. We grumble and grouse, maybe cut back on our driving habits, but we don't give up our cars. Well gun owners can do the same. And they'll get over it just like we gas users do.

We make automobile smog testing and attaining a certificate mandatory every two years here in California. It's a cost burden (around $75 including certificate) and inconvenience, but it's for public safety and clean air. How about asking gun owners to be responsible for public safety with their own weapons by not letting unauthorized people pick up their gun and shoot it? Think of all those young kids who discover their parents' weapons and end up shooting a sibling or neighbor kid while they're playing with it? If equipped with fingerprint recognition, those accidents won't become fatalities. They just won't happen at all.

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Meet The New Sheriff In D.C. Town - Rafael 'Ted' Cruz

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Well, the Texas senator may not officially hold that office, but he holds the power of that office. John Boehner is the Speaker of the House, but in name only -- or SINO for short.

Boehner lost the reins in 2012 when a nationally unknown Texan came riding into town, looking for a showdown at high noon. He was big hat and a bunch of Tea Party cattle. He was determined to make a name for himself by picking off the current big cock of the roost. And Raffy did just that. He picked the weakest, highest ranking Republican, and vowed to make an example of him. He would embarrass the Speaker and bring him to his knees. If successful, Washington, DC would become Raffy's own prairie oyster.

Then it happened. The cocky Texan called out the over-confident Ohioan -- for a showdown at high noon. And flanked with other armed Tea Party proteges, bullies and wildcatters, the showdown on shutting down the entire government took place. And when Speaker Boehner saw Cruz's snipers in trees and peering from behind stately columns, he knew he was in for a battle. The odds weren't in his favor as the Tea Party posse had staked out the best vantage points. Boehner, with more men, knew it was a trap. So he called a truce and caved in to the smaller, but better prepared enemy. He lived to fight another day.

That other day came this past week. Boehner, who thought he could rally his own militia on the immigration battle, took on the Tea Party stared down Cruz, the Texas rambler, and said, "I'll show you. "I'm pushing through immigration reform, but on my terms."

Here's how HuffPo reports on the gunfight:

Cruz may have once again demonstrated his clout with conservative lawmakers in the lower chamber, this time using his sway to quash immigration reform.

House Republicans who supported the "principles" of immigration reform floated by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, late last month grumbled Tuesday that the plan was dead on arrival because Cruz blasted it as "amnesty," spurring a blizzard of negative phone calls to House Republicans. "After that it was 'We'll get back to you on immigration reform,' " said one Republican congressman who declined to be identified.

It turns out that the SINO Sheriff was bluffing, hoping the Texan would back down -- but he didn't. The Battle of Immigration Reform Hill ended before it began. Once outlaw Raffy called it amnesty they both drew. Before Boehner could get his pistol out of his holster, he was winged in the shoulder by rootin' tootin' sharp shootin' Cruz and his Tea Party Pistoliers. 

Showdown

Dripping blood, Johnnie Boy cowered like a coward and handed over the gavel and limped away, aided by his two seemingly loyal deputies, Eric Cantor and the shy, and questionable, Paul Ryan. They joined a deserting posse and fled to the Hill, hoping to regroup.

Much to his surprise, upon making it back to their refugee camp on the edge of the Beltway, Boehner was faced with his internal critics. His own conservative backers were now calling loudly and publicly for his resignation. They want a new sheriff in town. One with balls. They demanded the neutered Boehner step aside.

Much to the House majority's surprise, Cruz said no. The cagey Texan realized that he could stir up problems for townsfolk if he controlled both houses of Congress. He could gum up the works in the Senate and also be puppeteer over the weakened, House Speaker.

Now the tar and feathers are being prepared for SINO Boehner. He'll hold on long enough to keep a scintilla of respect for his legacy - The Speaker Who Caved. His puppet strings are easily manipulated now by the man who truly runs Washington -- Rafael 'Ted' Cruz. Who says that Latinos are lacking a voice in Washington? Hell, right now they own that town.

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GOP Right Wing Representatives "Traditional Marriage" Take - Threesomes

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Nobody with an ounce of common sense would say that Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) isn't colorful, if not just plain daft. He's as right wing, conservative and evangelical as it gets. That 'holy trinity' is what stands between him and sanity.

HUFFPO:

Minutes after the House passed a bill raising the debt ceiling, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) led a group of Republican colleagues to the House floor to stress their support for traditional marriage.

So, the ink wasn't even dry on their vote before Timmy and a few cohorts, familiar names -- Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) -- felt the next big issue to tackle in Congress after the Republicans failed efforts to once again shut down the government, was to limit something else. The holy sanctity of marriage.

Now they don't really want to limit marriage as much as they want to define it and turn it into -- drum roll please -- all marriages will become threesomes.

(Pause)

While you're letting that sink in, here's the lucky guy they want to join you and your spouse in every marriage union -- to sanctify and make it whole. You must bring another guy into the picture. Who? Who else: "Him."

God

No more one man, one woman marriage. It's threesomes or get out of town. Group sex and only for procreation, that's the Hueskamp ticket. Gotta hand it to these Evangelicals. They're party animals under the covers. Three-ways. You sly dogs.

Huelskamp took to the floor of the House of Representatives boasting his knowledge of history: marriage predates the Civil War. Well, how can anyone argue with that? Of course it does. But his citation of proof goes something like this:

[Huelskamp] stressing how "marriage predates government." He added that the GOP's 1856 party platform warned against the “twin evils of slavery and barbarism,” which he said includes “irregular marriage.”

Irregular marriage is defined by him as any marriage that isn't between a man and a woman and Him. So basically two-person heterosexual marriage and two person same-sex marriage aren't kosher. Not unless they turn them into threesomes.

"It’s just not you and your spouse," Huelskamp said. "There’s a third person in your marriage. And God would like to bless and protect that marriage, and give you many fruitful days ahead.”

Now, perhaps in Kansas threesomes are looked upon as normal, but in Massachusetts, where I grew up, we'd call that and "irregular marriage," probably even kinky, or something out of the Book of Mormon. Either way, that's some statement for Timbo to be tossing around. Do we know if "He" practices safe sex or would it be left to a DNA test to determine who was the real father? I doubt if "He's" shooting blanks.

One thing's for sure -- abortion would be out of the Question. "He" would never approve of that!

So, if you're like me and married, you better start fluffing the extra pillow while you wait around the real "Big Guy" to join the party. I'm not too shy to say, I'm probably going to experience some penis envy, but hey, it's a threesome. I guess yesterday's kinky sex is today's traditional marriage. Just ask Tim.

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Evidently GOP Gives Up On Jesus So They Settle For Boehner

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Oh goy, I mean, oh boy. Now look what's happened to little Johnny Boehner and his sandbox playmates! They can't seem to get along so they're looking for some adult supervision. A new leader. Who are they looking to? Why the big guy himself. No, not God. He wouldn't touch Congress with a ten foot pole. But close, His son -- or at least to those who believe he's the Lord's son. Good luck getting unanimous consent on that one.

For further updates on the GOP's quest to replace the Speaker, here's what a longtime Boehner ally had to say to Robert Costa at the Washington Post:

“Right now, Jesus himself couldn't be the speaker and get 218 Republicans behind something, so I think Speaker Boehner is trying his best to come up with a plan that can get close to that,” said Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio), a longtime Boehner ally. “Whatever we move, there will be critics everywhere, but at the end of the day we still have to govern.”

Looks like dysfunction is the best description of the shambles the Republicans have left the House in while they take our money and go out and play. It's a shame. I bet there are at least a few of the kids on the block who would like to get something done. But when you think about Rep. Tiberi's words, the members of congress are worried about critics and not doing what's best for the country.

It's certainly at times like this you'd wish they'd ask themselves, WWJD? He certainly wouldn't behave like the GOP and worry about critics. He'd do what was right for his followers. And that's something the GOP has a hard time wrapping their hollow heads around.

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GOP Demands Mighty Big Tits For Few Tats

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Mitch McConnell is a spokesperson for the latest round of fiscal disasters the GOP is trying to foist on the American public. He's going about it on behalf of his party in a very strange way.

In order to get the Republican votes necessary for a clean debt ceiling passage, here's what Senator McConnell, the Kentucky Fried Cuckoo bird had to say, according to The Hill:

“I think for the president to ask for a clean debt ceiling when we have a debt the size of our economy is irresponsible. So we ought to discuss adding something to his request to raise the debt ceiling that does something about the debt or produces at least something positive for our country,” he said on "Fox News Sunday."

Okay, ladies in gents, there seems to be need for some 'tit for tat' here. And never let it be said the GOP doesn't like tit or tat.

So what's the conservative right wing have planned? Hold onto your seats. It's the XL pipeline. Yup, that is what they're going to hold as hostage. Maybe not for the reasons you think, but for the reason future ex-Senator McConnell indicates: the GOP needs a reason to raise the debt ceiling. Well, that reason is the oil spill cleanup the XL pipeline is likely to cause us.

Don't take my word for it, just take a look at history. Go ahead. I dare you:

Over the past 28 years, the cost in dollars as well as lives and property loss due to oil spills could have been spent on wiping out our debt, totally. But instead, we're in the red. And why? Because we've ended up covering so much of the loss. Our federal government has most generously tried to keep private industry (big oil) from experiencing the losses they caused.

So once again, McConnell and the entire GOP want something to allow us to continue to run. Well, if they get the XL pipeline, it's just a matter of time before we have a disaster of untold size and loss. With it will come federal aid. That's the tit for this very thirsty GOP'ers who want to leave us in tatters. We bail out the XL disaster and those companies line the pockets of the GOP protectorate.

We need a clean debt ceiling bill. Not a polluted one the Republicans are pushing for. This is the time for Democrats and Obama to take a lesson from Nancy Reagan and the recent GOP party -- Just say no!

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How Out Of Step Is The GOP On Economic Equality?

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Evidently, according to a recent Pew Poll, the choice of whether you're rich or not is up to you. Yes, it's a choice according to the GOP. And who better to understand business and the economy than the Grand Old Party? Economics and defense are considered to be their hallmark strengths.

So, let's see whether we're rich or poor, lavishing in riches or struggling in destitution is a choice. (A hint: being poor to a Republican is like being gay to Ellen DeGeneres -- it's a choice.)

Here's some number collection from Pew Research (Jan 15-19, 2014):

WHICH HAS MORE TO DO WITH WHY A PERSON IS RICH:

Total     Rep.    Dem.   Ind.

Works harder than others:

 38%      57%     27%    37%

He/She has more advantages:

Total     Rep.    Dem.   Ind.

51%       32%     63%    52%

WHICH IS MORE TO BLAME FOR BEING POOR:

Total      Rep.   Dem.   Ind.

Lack of Effort:

35%      51%     29%     33%

Circumstances beyond control:

Total     Rep.    Dem.   Ind.

50%     32%     63%     51%

FAIR ECONOMIC SYSTEM IN AMERICA:

Total     Rep.    Dem.   Ind.

Fair:

36%      53%     25%    35%

Favors wealthy:

60%     42%      75%    60%

Can get ahead if work hard:

60%     76%      49%    59%

Hard Work no guarantee of success:

38%      20%     48%    39%

There you have the numbers. What stands out is that the Republicans think it's lack of initiative that causes poverty and low wages. Tell that to the full-time workers who struggle with minimum wage -- an issue the Republicans are reluctant to bring to a vote to raise. Our problems are jobs. More specifically good paying jobs. But to put that movement on the right path, we need to start by raising the minimum wage to make it a livable wage. That's something the Republicans just don't get.

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