Blast 'em

This Blast 'em blog is going to shine a much needed bright light on legislative shanigans. We will provide details of the wrong doing, give names of the doer, and describe the ramifications to the public. Initially we will focus primarily on consumer issues.

Friday, March 31, 2006

THE BIG QUESTION

Before getting into the topic for today’s posting I want to state for the record that I am a Christian. I have been baptized twice, once early in life and again 22 years ago in a swimming pool just North of Fort Worth, Texas in the middle of winter. I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood and am very familiar with that religion. In fact, when I was in the service the local priest was surprised to learn that I was not catholic myself (but this is another story).

For today’s posting I want to discuss THE BIG QUESTION which is: why is it that in a country founded on religious freedom and our constitution guarantees that no government can impose its religious will on us, then why can politicians pass or not pass laws based upon their individual beliefs?

A perfect example is Roe V. Wade. Abortion was illegal in this country far many years until the makeup of the Supreme Court became liberal. Now we are two appointments away from a conservative majority which is expected to overturn Roe V. Wade at the earliest opportunity. Opponents to Roe are just waiting for the Court to change its political bent so they can file a suit which will and end up before the Supreme Court and be overturned. Any President can impose his or her religious beliefs upon the entire country given the opportunity to make a sufficient number of appointments to the Court. Any decision the Court makes becomes the law of the land. The bottom line is we have religious freedom up to a point!

Another example is Oregon’s “Death With Dignity Law”. The Supreme Court just ruled that the states have the right to pass laws allowing doctors to prescribe deadly medications to terminal patients who request such prescriptions. When this was debated in the Oregon Legislature opponents claimed people would flock to Oregon to legally commit suicide, relatives would kill seniors just to get at their estate, and other equally unfounded claims. Experience has shown that none of these claims have come to pass. Folks in Oregon just wanted the opportunity to have a choice. Over the years a few thousand people signed up but less than a hundred followed through. Last year, I believe the number was just 18, not a typo, 18. Many of the qualified people passed with the prescription within reach on the bedside table. Oops, I got ahead of myself and off the subject which is religious freedom or the lack thereof. The rest of the contentious subject is for the next posting. I’d sure like to receive your comments. You can use the Email address contained in the blog.
Happy posting

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

CALIFORNIA POISED TO PASS DIGNIFIED PASSING BILL

In past postings I’ve requested readers to submit material we would post if the material seems credible. A reader responded, much sooner than we expected, by forwarding an Email from a California organization about the Death With Dignity Bill that is moving through the California Legislature and looks like it has a good chance of passing. AB 651, The Compassionate Choices Act will be heard next month in the Judiciary Committee. Below we have a copy of the Email and links to additional information about AD651 and peripheral subjects.

California Compassionate Choices Act Campaign Update for March 28.

This Campaign Update goes to people eager to keep abreast of the Compassion & Choices Campaign to legalize aid in dying in California.

Highlights of the Week

Hans Engel, MD spoke out in favor of the Compassionate Choices Act on the newly launched California Progress Report website and blog. The Compassionate Choices Campaign helps sponsor this website, to bring visibility and passionate support to progressive initiatives. Read Dr. Engel’s comments.

Last week’s Action Alert brought more California physicians to our cause. Thank you for signing up and for asking your doctor to sign on. At this time 1247 California physicians have registered their wholehearted support for AB 651.

The California Hospital Association issued a letter in opposition to AB 651. It is odd and unfortunate that hospitals would try to prevent the exercise of free end of life choice, especially when the choice does not impact them. In eight years of aid in dying in Oregon, only one person has used the law in a hospital. Ninety-four percent died in their own homes.

The Los Angeles Times published a profile of Booth Gardner, former governor of Washington. Gardner has Parkinson’s Disease and wants to spearhead a state ballot initiative for aid in dying. He would prefer a broader law covering people who are not terminal. The article reiterates the political and legal reality that the objective criteria of “terminal” are still needed to make legal aid in dying feasible. Read the LA Times article.

Opponents of AB 651 released a poll they commissioned and claimed it shows opposition among Latinos / Latinas. As a private poll, it was skewed to get answers they desired, and this week we told lawmakers how this was done.

The opponents failed to report that their own poll found 58% of those surveyed are inclined to SUPPORT the measure because “this is a personal decision made among a patient, family members and a doctor, the government has no business interfering.”
© 2005 Compassion & ChoicesPO Box 101810 Denver CO 80250 800.247.7421

This link will take you to C & C’s comments on the LULAC Poll.
LULUAC is an acronym that stands for: League of Latin American Citizens.
Here is the response to thr opposition poll.

The L.A. Times link does not connect because it is out of date. To find it you will have to go to the L.A. Times website and search back issues.

We’ll give you time to digest this information and then post information about Death With Dignity in Hawaii and our BIG question and some comments.
Happy posting

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rep. Morita Escalates House Tricks

Yesterday's post discussed Representative Luke’s use of amendments to screw the public. Today we'll look at Rep. Hermina Morita's use of the same trick with an embellishment to really screw the public. Once again, waiting until Senator Menor (one of the few good guys in the capitol) announced his hearing on the Gas Cap, Rep. Morita, Chair Committee On Energy & Environmental Protection, announced her hearing for the same issue. This limits testimony by the public but not corporations nor government agencies. The limiting factor for the public is they cannot be in two places at once. Moreover, if this wasn't dirty enough Rep. Morita also did the amendment trick with the new wording only available in her office the day before the hearing. Just in case this wasn't dirty enough to limit testimony from the public her amendment was 61 pages long! That's right; this is not a typo, 61 pages in length! Is she kidding? Of course not, unless one has a staff there is no way one can emerge from this pile of paper to write and submit testimony 24 hours prior to the hearing which was scheduled for 9:00 A.M. Of course, all of the Oil Industry as well as Governor Lingle's appointed Department Heads were ready and they can be in two places at once because they all have large staffs. One testifier, the Lead Advocate for the Kokua Council on the Gas Cap issue began his testimony by saying his name and that he was representing the Kokua Council. He went on the say that you may have noticed that I didn't open with the traditional Honorable Chairs, Vice Chairs and members of the committees and this is because THERE IS NO HONOR ON YOUR SIDE OF THIS TABLE except for the Representative at the end of the table who was the only one who voted for the Gas Cap at the House floor vote. He then went on to complain about the 61 page amendment that was only available in room 314 and that he couldn't get to the capital to pick it up. Chair Morita interrupted to say that he could have phoned for help if he needed it. He responded by saying that he had no way to know this because the hearing notice only said it was available in Room 314 and nothing about help! He continued that his testimony was a waste of time and useless. He then ripped his written testimony in half, threw it in the air, and left the hearing room. So, for all practical purposes the trick worked at least as far as one testifier was concerned. Rep. Morita raised the bar for House tricks on the public and we believe crossed the line into dirty tricks. Future posts will Blast Gov. Lingle's Dept. Heads dancing around the Gas Cap issue with Mr. Liu receiving the Fred Astair Award for Best Dancer, a Blast at The Consumer Advocate, Blats at stupid Bills, and just to show that we are not mean spirited or only against Democrats some Blast 'em bouquets for a few of the good guys (not a generic term). If you would like to jump in with a blast of your own send an Email with your facts to: blastems@gmail.com tell us if you want to be anonymous or if you want us to use your name. Happy Posting

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Latest Tricks In The House

This was an interesting week for tricks in the State House of Representatives, the first trick came to light Tuesday, March 23, 2006. Representative Sylvia Luke, Chair of the Committee On Judiciary took a campaign reform bill, designed to prevent lobbyists and their cohorts from making campaign contributions during the session, and stripped out all the language (amended) and inserted language to kill the Sunshine Law. Moreover, to see the new amendment one had to go to her office to pick up a copy. Failure to do so meant that any testimony one planned to submit would be focused on incorrect data and a complete waste of time because the testimony would be off subject, a new twist on "heads I win, tails you lose". The bottom line: Rep. Luke's way of killing two birds with one stone.

The Sunshine Law is a great piece of legislation which provides access to government documents and forces meeting to be open to the public and prevents behind closed door deals.

The hearing didn't end as she expected, a rare public outcry by a number of activists forced the Bills defeat. However, the game wasn't over, just went into extra innings. The real travesty here is that the original campaign reform bill shows as being defeated and no reference is made to the attempt to kill the Sunshine Law. Rep. Luke raised the bar on dirty tricks by making it look like nothing happened. Folks, we couldn't make this stuff up, we are sure dealing with some mighty crafty people. For all the dirty details of this trick click on:
http://disappearednews.com/2006/03/capitol-crime-murder-in-rotunda.html

Tomorrow we'll cover the next step in this unbelievable screwing of the public by our elected representatives, specifically Rep. Hermina M. Morita, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection.