The shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin (left) has drawn national attention to the incident with many commentators already drawing conclusions about guilt and innocence in the matter. New information and evidence in the case continues to feed the controversy.
The case brought by the Department of Justice against Dr. Rene de los Rios of Miami, Florida, succeeded not only in sending the physician to jail for 20 years for systematically defrauding Medicare, but also in exposing the dark underside of the entire Medicare system itself. The sentence meted out by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard was the second most severe sentence handed out to any doctor in South Florida, known as the “epicenter” of Medicare fraud. The dubious honor of the most severe sentence is held by Dr. Ana Alvarez-Jacinto, who was convicted of Medicare fraud in 2008 and is now serving 30 years behind bars.
Many were surprised when the prediction by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of potential major disruptions of power grids, Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, and internet communications as a result of a solar storm failed to materialize. Most were likely totally unaware of the threat.
After months of discussion between and among 1,800 contributors to Wikipedia, the online information source, it decided to “go black" on Wednesday to protest the dangers in two bills that threaten the freedom of the Internet. Many other websites are also participating in today's protest.
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities," Mark Twain said. Obviously, when conspiracy and deception are involved, the truth can be particularly strange — and it can also be particularly hard to unearth and then make widely known. Such is the case regarding the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
Something is terribly wrong. The Dow has dropped below 4,000, gasoline (when available) costs $37.50 a gallon, the nation's infrastructure is deteriorating, businessmen are wearing sandwich boards asking for work. Government's response to the enervated economy is to impose even more regulations and forced wealth-redistribution on already-highly regulated business and industry. A gray palpable pall hangs over the land. Meanwhile, the nation's most productive citizens begin to disappear voluntarily, one by one. But why? The question is answered by another question as mysterious as the disappearances themselves: "Who is John Galt?"
The McClatchy-Marist Poll, which was released last Monday, revealed that those calling themselves Tea Partiers have little interest in doing anything substantial about slashing government spending. This cuts the legs out from under any attempt by conservatives in Washington to rein in that spending and it also gives President Obama a huge edge going into the 2012 elections.
Real estate magnate Donald Trump’s likely candidacy for President in 2012 surfaced last September with an anonymous telephone poll of voters in New Hampshire. Denying any involvement in the poll, Trump claimed, “I never heard of this poll but I’m anxious to find out what it says.” He obviously found out what it said about his chances, and, in October, began tip-toeing into the presidential race. On CNN’s American Morning, he commented that running for President is “not something I talked about or considered, but somebody has to do something or this country is not going to be a great country for long.”
Now that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has unveiled his “Path to Prosperity” budget, nearly all discussion is focusing on the details and not on the proper role of government. Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Ryan said that "our budget ... cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt." He also said that it "brings federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product, consistent with the postwar average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion."
The Cato Institute’s just-announced ad campaign in major newspapers around the country asks rhetorically, “This is leadership?” and then neatly summarizes numerous areas where major budget cuts could be made. The ad questions the debate currently taking place over almost invisible cuts to the federal budget: “The House Republican leadership has proposed $61 billion in spending cuts — but that’s less than 4% of this year’s massive $1.65 trillion federal deficit.” And the Democrats have managed to squeeze out an even more modest proposal of a mere $10 billion.