Author Archives: Chelsea Maupin
In the past month the Pentagon has made some big changes that haven’t gotten much publicity but I think are worthy of mentioning.Â First, the Pentagon has lifted the ban on media recording the arrive of fallen soldiers into Dover Air Force Base. Barack Obama asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review the policy. Gates changed the nearing two decade policy to leave the choice to the family of the fallen soldiers on whether they want to permit media at the repatriation.Â I remembered this video that shows the differences between fallen soldiers being return here in the U.S. and those being returned to Great Britain. The video also shows the two sides of showing the repatriation.
The Pentagon also announced it will be phasing out the unpopular “stop-loss” program (remember that movie, it had Channing Tatum in it) which basically involuntarily extends soldier’s tours beyond their contracts without any recourse for these soldiers. The policy only applied to the Army and was meant to keep units together during their tours. Up to January there were 13,217 soldiers who had their tours extended under the stop-loss program. The Pentagon plans on offering bonuses for those who were stop-lost and discontinue the practice. I think that it is sad that it took this long for the policy to be changed. These soldiers have already fulfilled their commitment to serve our country and they should be treated better than this.
While the U.S has been fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan our neighbor, Mexico, has been fighting an increasingly bloody war on drug cartels since 2006. When Mexican President Felipe Calderon was elected he issued a declaration of war on the drug cartels and actually followed through with the arrest of a major drug kingpin and replacing local cops, who are/were notoriously corrupt and linked to drug routes, in drug hotbeds like Tijuana and Monterrey with federal troops (they got pay raises to help insure loyalty. Not that you can’t bribe the federales, it might just cost you more.) But the crack down has caused huge backlash, the cartels are battling each other for the prime routes into the U.S. made available by arrests of other cartel leaders and the government. The increase in violence lead to an estimated 6,ooo drug-related fatalities in 2008 with about 2,000 occurring in Chihuahua (across from Texas) the total is Â nearly double those of 2007. This year has already seen a huge amount of drug related crime and arrests:
- Arrest of Santiago Meza, a employee of a Tijuana’s cartel who dissolved 300 bodies of rival cartel members in vats of chemicals
- Abduction and murder of the new head drug off icier of Cancun less than 24 hours after taking the job.Â
- Already been a reported 200 deaths in the border town of Ciudad Juarez
At the end of the last legislative session the Michigan Senate and House left a great bill undecided. Senate Bill 1558 would allow retirement homes in the state of Michigan to serve liquor to their residents and guests. I think that this is exactly what the elderly of Michigan need…the opportunity to buy wine beer and spirits to drink with their many medicines. Hopefully, the new representatives and senators will quickly see the merits of allowing this addition to the liquor code as well as the attachment that would allow for liquor stores to sale booze on Sunday mornings. This could be the best thing to happen to nursing homes since the invention of Viagra.
Looks like Bill Richardson won’t be serving as secretary of commerce for the Obama administration. The governor of New Mexico withdrew his nomination due to a federal investigation into his awarding of a contract to a company that had donated money to several of Richardson’s causes. Â Obama will have to make a replacement quickly as his inaugurationÂ draws closer. Â Early speculation focused onÂ Penny Pritzker, a Chicago business tycoon, as a possible candidate but she removed herself due to worries about confirmation hearings, the same reason that Richardson has withdrawn his name. Â Jason Furman, a senior economic advisor to the campaign, was also named early on as a possible contender.
While the world may be ending in 2012, the end of the United States is coming even sooner according to Russian professor Igor Panarin. The U.S. will break apart by June or July of 2010. We have apparantely already started the decline with the financial crisis. The dean of Russia’s Foreign Ministry Academy for future diplomats says that there is about a 50% chance that the U.S. will enter a civil war and eventually break up into 6 different pieces do to our moral decay and poor financialÂ situation. Time to learn your new national anthem….O Canada!
A new CNN poll suggests that 6 out of 10 Americans believe that the Big Three should not be given any federal aid. This is a big change from a month ago when about half the country thought that a bailout wasd the way to go. Attributed to the bad press given to the execs from the Big Three for taking corporate jets to D.C in November. Other sad and silly stats.
- 24% of people also said that they would never feel the effects if the Big Three were to go under.
- 67% of people on the West Coast don’t support the bailout.
- 53% of people don’t think that helping the Big Three will help the U.S. economy.