The Week Just Past
"With great fanfare yesterday, the President summoned key members of Congress to attend a White House "health care summit.' But frankly, he has his priorities all wrong.
"He is focusing on his priorities and not on what my constituents are telling me back home. They want to get people working again, stop borrowing money we don't have, burying ourselves in crushing debt for decades, and destroying our economy and industrial base with government takeovers of every part of our economy: financial institutions, banks, Fannie and Freddie, GMAC, domestic automakers, student college loans, insurance "price controls' and health care!
"The bottom line is that we need to restore consumer confidence, boost capital lending and get the government "out of the way and off people's backs!'
"Health care may dominate the headlines. But the political theater like we saw this week in Washington is only a sideshow. The main event should be a focus on our economy and private sector jobs!
White House Health Care 2.0 -- More of the Same
The President said he hoped yesterday's so-called "health care summit" would be an open and frank discussion on how to improve the health care system. Unfortunately, he, in effect, tainted the process earlier this week by releasing an outline of a bill he supported which is virtually identical to the legislation passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve. In fact, this new draft seems to suggest that Americans "take two taxes, and call me in the morning" -- not a good prescription for promoting consumer in confidence in the midst of a recession!
Clearly, it was a huge missed opportunity. The six-hour televised session should have started with a blank sheet of paper and ended with a simple bipartisan agreement to proceed on several major items upon which we all agree -- "portability" of coverage, a ban on pre-existing conditions, selling insurance across state lines, "junk lawsuit' reform, health savings accounts, etc.
Instead, the President, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid dominated nearly four hours of the six hours with a "filibuster' of the same arguments that the American people have rejected over the last year!
And yet, with no official bill for the American people and their representatives to actually examine, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are preparing to short-circuit the legislative process, using the so-called "reconciliation" process to ram their bill through Congress and right onto the President desk.
Recommended Reading: An excellent perspective on the reality of the health care debate in Congress, the Wall Street Journal's Tuesday editorial: "Obamacare at Ramming Speed":
Good Idea of the Week: Focusing on the Cedar Crest adult community in Pequannock, Tanya Drobness reported in the Sunday edition of the Star-Ledger that more area seniors are turning to the internet to communicate and educate themselves: "Seniors embrace paperless initiative":
Noted With Interest: Seeking Good Healthcare
The Premier of Newfoundland/Labrador, Canada had heart surgery this month -- in MIAMI, FLORIDA!
"This was my heart, my choice and my health," Premier Danny Williams said. "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics" in Canada.
Retreat on Security
There is no doubt that Congress must provide strong support the men and women of our intelligence community (CIA, NSA, DIA, FBI etc.) who are working tirelessly, at home and abroad, to thwart terrorists and rogue nations seeking to harm the United States and to threaten the safety and security of the American people. Unfortunately, the House this morning passed a new Intelligence bill (H.R. 2701) which lacks the policies and tools to keep Americans safe.
"I opposed the biIl because it's time to stop trying to give foreign terrorists the same rights as American citizens and to stop persecuting the men and women risking their lives every day to keep our country safe," said Rodney, a member of the House Special Intelligence Oversight Panel.
Rodney had hoped H.R. 2701 would be crafted in a manner that merited bipartisan support. But instead, the bill endorses many of the ill-advised and unilateral decisions the Administration has made with respect to national security:
* selectively releasing legal documents regarding interrogation techniques;
* dismantling the government's existing legal and operational framework of interrogation;
* initiating policies that treat avowed terrorists like common criminals;
* announcing the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and inappropriately attempting to relocate or release hardened and extremely capable enemy combatants into American communities or to third countries.
In addition, H.R 2701 fails to address issues that have become painfully obvious in the aftermath of the two recent incidents of terrorism in the United States - the shooting of military and civilian personnel at Ft. Hood, Texas and the thwarted terrorist attack on civilian aircraft over Detroit, Michigan on Christmas Day.
Specifically, the legislation fails to address complex legal issues which arise when American citizens are implicated in operational planning and execution of acts of terrorism. It does nothing to address the legal and policy confusion and lack of operational capability to effectively detain and interrogate "high value" individuals. The bill "embraces political correctness" over national security.
This legislation provided an opportunity to debate, discuss and clarify these important issues. Unfortunately, the opportunity was not taken.
Noted with Interest: Revising Recent History?
Vice President Joe Biden recently told CNN's Larry King that he thought Iraq "could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government."
Yet in 2006, former President George W. Bush announced he was sending in 20,000 additional troops to calm the sectarian violence plaguing Iraq. The so-called "surge" was designed to put troops on the ground for an offensive that would (and did) crush the insurgency and provide breathing room for the fledgling Iraqi government.
To read "Joe Biden's Iraq "Achievement' by Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi and Austin Bay in the Wall Street Journal, visit :
Recommended Reading: Thomas Ricks, a longtime critic of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, urges the U.S. to stay in the Tuesday's New York Times, "Extending our Stay in Iraq:"
Open for Business: Picatinny's New Firehouse and Child Development Center
Declaring "today we mark the transformation of Picatinny's firehouse from a "turn-of the last-century-horse barn' into a 21st Century State-of-the-Art fire station," Rodney cut the ribbon on the Arsenal's new Emergency Services Center on Monday.
He secured $4.2 million in funding in 2006 for the new facility, which is now centrally located on the base. The old fire house was built over 100 years ago as a horse stable.
"This new fire station will help protect the most valuable assets of the Arsenal -- the men and women of Picatinny," he said.
But the new 15,000 square foot facility will not only serve Picatinny's emergency response needs, but will also assist the surrounding communities. Under mutual-aid agreements with several surrounding municipalities and Morris County, Picatinny's fire department often responds to emergencies beyond the installation's boundaries.
Prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Rodney toured the Arsenal's new Child Development Center - two buildings which will serve children of ages from infant to 18.