Thursday, August 13, 2009

68,000 troops in Afghanistan and counting

With all the troubles we face here, nothing compares to the war and what our troops face in an ungodly ugly place. The Russians had over 100,000 troops there and couldn't get the job done. Now... with the slow process of pulling troops out of Iraq, I wonder how many of our children will be forced to re-up for extended tours. Brass is now asking for more specialized troops.

Suicide rates are over the top for our troops, the severely wounded and mentally scared are coming home to foreclosures and no jobs, and one out of 3 homeless Americans are Vets from various wars who are left to fend for themselves.

Will there be any time, in our life time, that war is not waged?

Health Care Reform

In the past few weeks, we have seen and read more mis information about the Health Care Reform proposals, seen the alleged outrage, fights, screaming matches and shout downs at public meetings. Not since the Vietnam War protests have I seen such anger and hostility directed at the Feds.

I've not read the 1100 pages of proposals nor will I. But one startling fact that has come from all this is: every 12 hours, 100 million dollars in fraud happens, and until they figure out how to stop it, any health care reform will be useless to us all. Congress has appropriated 100 million dollars to fight this fraud in the Health Care Reform package, but may be not enough to stop this plague on our health care system.

My sense is that we are in the trillions of dollars in fraud every year and if the fraud would stop or lessened dramatically, health care costs would go down. To many healthy people are gaming the system while our Veterans, elderly and the poor go without.

Who is watching the Parol Board?

Under the category of unbelievable, from the Herald.

Donald Giancioppo, the Parole Board’s executive director, authorized more than $12,000 alone on T-shirts and pins for all 200-plus employees, along with “recognition coins” and a catered lunch for an annual event recognizing the Parole Officers of the Year.

The board’s spending binge in June, just before the new fiscal year began, came as state revenues plummeted. Fiscal watchdogs have been warning that the commonwealth will be strapped for cash for the next two years.

Giancioppo, who responded to the Herald in a written statement, had second thoughts about the spending, but said the navy blue T-shirts and pin giveaways were part of an annual event honoring hardworking parole officers.

“Upon reflection, recognizing the current economic situation, the expenditures for this year’s Parole Officer Week most likely should not have been made and we will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to reduce costs while improving operations,” he said.

The spending included:

$8,199 on embroidered T-shirts for all staffers, averaging out to about $38 per shirt;

$3,300 on pins etched with the words “Excellence; Dedication; and Professionalism,” and recognition coins reading, “Committed to excellence, professionalism, and integrity”;

$13,000 on 11 new desks, 18 office chairs and 21 stackable chairs; and

$10,315 on eight new computers, 11 new printers and two BlackBerrys.