Many of Our Immigration Problems Could Have Been Resolved in 2007

Remember 2007, when conservative Republicans shot down George W Bush’s Immigration policy? Bush, for all his faults, honestly tried in this case to be the compassionate conservative I voted for in 2000. For those of you with short memories, here’s what happened:

It was a victory for Republican conservatives who strongly criticized the bill's provisions that would have established pathways to lawful status for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. They were aided by talk radio and TV hosts who repeatedly attacked the bill and urged listeners to flood Congress with calls, faxes and e-mails.  

The bill would have toughened border security and instituted a new system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces. It would have created a new guest-worker program and allowed millions of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status if they briefly returned home. (

But for no reason other than prejudice against Hispanics, instead of a step in the right direction, we saw no reform whatsoever and the situation has deteriorated.

Get the Facts about Health Care Reform

As the Republicans mount legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and threaten to repeal or undo the legislation, it is important for American citizens to understand the legislation.  Whatever changes are made to the current laws, we must demand that all Americans have access to affordable health care.

This Web site answers some frequently asked questions about the law by presenting arguments from both sides. The Web site also has the full text of the act broken down by section. I encourage you to browse this site:

When Did Compromise Become a Bad Thing?

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve consistently criticized the Republicans for refusing to compromise or seek common ground with Democrats. Unfortunately, Democrats can be just as hard-headed.

I was disappointed but not surprised to read that Nancy Pelosi and the Progressive Caucus want to discourage President Obama from compromising with House Republicans:

Pelosi will lead Democrats "in pulling on the president's shirttails to make sure that he doesn't move from center-right to far-right," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., a co-chair of the liberal Progressive Caucus in the House. "We think if he'd done less compromising in the last two years, there's a good chance we'd have had a jobs bill that would have created real jobs, and then we wouldn't even be worrying about having lost elections."
Politicians need to realize that most Americans care less about their political parties or their ideologies than we do results. We need to elect leaders who are willing to work together and find common ground.

A Politically and Economically Sensible Proposal to Reduce Carbon Emissions

The issue of climate change has been largely ignored by the Congress, despite support from both Obama and McCain during the 2008 campaign for different policies to reduce carbon emissions. I had hoped this might be an issue where there might be some bipartisan compromise, but I’ve been disappointed in the lack of cooperation—indeed, the lack of political courage—shown by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress in addressing the issue. Politicians in the U.S. and other developed countries are very unlikely to take action to reduce carbon emissions if those actions stifle their country’s economy or put their country at a competitive disadvantage.
However, I recently read an article that gives me hope. In the editorial “Why We Need to Cool it On Global Warming,” Bjorn Lomborg (head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It) suggests that investing in clean power technologies might be a better solution than carbon taxes or cap and trade.
Lomborg points out that instead of calling each other alarmists or deniers, people with varying opinions about the severity of the threat from climate change can at least agree that pollution from carbon emissions causes some harm to the environment and that it would be good to pursue cleaner energy sources.
I encourage you to follow the link at the bottom of this post and read the article in its entirety. Below are a few excerpts from the article:
[W]e need to dispense with both the anti-scientific denialism and the unnecessary fear-mongering. Instead, what we should be doing is facing facts -- and responding to them not with rhetoric but with smarter, more rational policies….
The data leaves little doubt that the planet is getting warmer as a result of the long-term build-up of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This trend is both indisputable and worrisome.…
[T]he kind of carbon cuts called for in the Kyoto Protocols and the European Union's recently adopted 20/20 policy (under which carbon emissions are supposed to be cut to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020) would be both amazingly costly and woefully ineffective...
The good news is that there is a smarter, more effective way to deal with global warming. The big problem with the call for drastic carbon cuts is that it ignores the fact that despite all the hopeful talk about solar, wind and other green energy technologies, carbon-emitting fuels like coal and oil are still far cheaper and more efficient energy sources. This is why we continue to be so overwhelmingly dependent on them….
For two decades now, we have been putting the cart before the horse, pretending we could cut carbon emissions now (by taxing them) and solve the efficiency problem later. Unfortunately, this makes neither economic nor political sense. What we should be doing isn't trying to make carbon-emitting fuels too expensive to use, but rather figuring out how to make green energy cheaper. If we could do that, we wouldn't have to force (or subsidize) anyone to stop burning coal and oil….
[D]evoting roughly $100 billion a year to green energy R&D is likely to produce the kind of game-changing breakthroughs needed to fuel a carbon-free future. Not only would this be a much less expensive fix than trying to cut carbon emissions directly, it would also reduce global warming far more quickly.

Don’t Repeal Without Replacing

Many Republicans have said they want to “repeal and replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If they have better ideas to make health care more affordable or to make programs like Medicare more affordable, I’m all for it.

But any changes must make sure that all citizens of this country have access to affordable health insurance. The legislation signed by President Obama will provide access to health insurance for millions of Americans who do not currently have it. This legislation is not perfect, but it will save lives.

As the list of references below shows, patients without insurance are much, much more likely to die than those with health insurance. The articles listed below are by medical researchers and were published within the past 2 years in peer-reviewed medical journals. In other words, this is irrefutable proof that health insurance saves lives.

These are a few of the studies that demonstrate this fact:

“Analysis of 23 million US hospitalizations: uninsured children have higher all-cause in-hospital mortality.”
Abdullah F, et al. J Public Health. 2010 Jun.

“Primary payer status affects mortality for major surgical operations.”
LaPar DJ, et al. Ann Surg. 2010 Sept.

“Insurance status is a potent predictor of outcomes in both blunt and penetrating trauma.
Greene WR, et al. Am J Surg. 2010 Apr.

“Downwardly mobile: the accidental cost of being uninsured.”
Rosen H, et al. Arch Surg. 2009 Jan.

Vote Smart, Not Scared

If you’re reading this before the polls close n Tuesday, I encourage you to exercise your right to vote. I also encourage you to take the time to make informed decisions. The League of Women Voters has a web site (link below) that lists the position statements of the candidates on your local ballot. This is a better source of information than the ads you see on TV.

Many of the political ads appeal to your emotions instead of your intellect. You should be suspicious of ads that appeal to fear, anger, or prejudice. Some ads tell outright lies, and others distort the truth.

For example, Republican ads may distort the truth about the Democrats’ health care legislation. The bill does not set up government-run health care, and no bureaucrat will come between you and your doctor.  (The truth is that the law will allow millions of middle class Americans to have health care coverage, protects you from losing your coverage because you get sick, and gives tax credits to small businesses to help cover insurance costs).

Likewise, Democrats’ ads may blame Republican policies for causing the recession, but the truth is that many factors caused the recession, and many policies that may have contributed to it were supported by both parties.

We need to remember that neither political party is trying to destroy our economy or government, and neither party is wrong all the time. Most of all, we should remember that people can disagree with our viewpoints and still love their country. 

League of Women Voters: