Friday, May 20, 2016

2010 Winter Olympic Medal Count & Round-Up for Day 9, USA Maintains Lead with 23 Total

Day 9 of the Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada concluded with the United States maintaining its decisive lead in the 2010 overall Olympic medal count with 23 total. Short track mega star Apolo Ohno (bronze, men’s 1000m), alpine skiing sensation Lindsey Vonn (bronze, women’s Super G) and speed skater Shani Davis (men’s 1500m) each added a medal to the total haul.

In addition to maintaining a hold on the overall Olympic medal 2010 count lead, the US also still leads the gold medal count with a total of 6. Retaining second position in the gold medal count is Norway with 5, while 4 nations are tied in third place with 4 golds each: Germany, South Korea, Canada and Switzerland.

The 6 event finals that took place on day 9 added 18 more medals to the 2010 overall Olympic medal count. The total number of medals awarded at the Vancouver Games now sits at 132.

A group of skilled athletes representing 26 different nations from around the globe earned the golds, silvers and bronzes included in the current overall Olympic medal count. With 14 total medals, Germany holds second place in the overall medal count behind Team USA’s leading mark of 23. In third place is Norway with 11, and South Korea sits in fourth with 9 total. Host nation Canada is in fifth place with 8 overall.

The other nations represented in the current overall Olympic medal count are Austria, France, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Russia, the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Australia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovenia, Belarus, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Finland, Estonia and Croatia.

Below is a listing of the day’s Olympic medal count additions, organized by event.

2010 Olympic Medal Count: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Super G

Gold: Andrea Fischbacher, Austria

Silver: Tina Maze, Slovenia

Bronze: Lindsey Vonn, USA

2010 Olympic Medal Count: Cross Country – Men’s 30km pursuit

Gold: Marcus Hellner, Sweden

Silver: Tobias Angerer, Germany

Bronze: Johan Olsson, Sweden

2010 Olympic Medal Count: Short Track – Women’s 1500m

Gold: Zhou Yang, China

Silver: Lee Eun-Byul, South Korea

Bronze: Park Seung-Hi, South Korea

2010 Olympic Medal Count: Short Track – Men’s 1000m

Gold: Lee Jung-Su, South Korea

Silver: Lee Ho-Suk, South Korea

Bronze: Apolo Ohno, USA

2010 Olympic Medal Count: Ski Jumping – Men’s Individual Large Hill

Gold: Simon Ammann, Switzerland

Silver: Adam Malysz, Poland

Bronze: Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria

2010 Olympic Medal Count: Speed Skating – Men’s 1500m

Gold: Mark Tuitert, Netherlands

Silver: Shani Davis, USA

Bronze: Havard Bokko, Norway

Non-medal round action around the Vancouver Games included five hockey games, the qualifying round of women’s aerials, curling, and the first day of bobsled runs.


Olympic Medal Count, Vancouver 2010 Official Site

Tags:2010 Winter Olympic Medal Count & Round-Up for Day 9, USA Maintains Lead with 23 Total

2010 Unemployment Extensions - No Replacement for Byrd Yet

2010 Unemployment Extensions – All eyes have long been on the Senate to finally come up with the 60 votes necessary for cloture on the unemployment benefits extension bill. Through many iterations of the bill, and three losing tallies, the unemployed have been left hanging, waiting for the upper house to work through their differences and pass the much needed legislation.

This has made for a long couple of months for America’s jobless as millions have already lost their benefits while the Senate debated – to pay or not to pay for – unemployment extensions. Some 1.7 million are now said to be without their lifeline, with several hundred thousand more to join them every week that a UI extension package is not passed.

If it weren’t bad enough, several Congressional recesses have fallen right in the middle of the crucial debate, extending the agony for the jobless even more. By the last day before the Independence Day (4th of July) recess, the Senate came just one vote short of passage of their final iteration of the bill, and the House passed another version, ready to send up the Hill for a vote.

That one missing vote for the Democrats’ final version of the UI Extension bill was a result of the passing of Senator Robert Byrd (D-W. Virg.). But rather than pass one of a number of Republican versions of unemployment extensions bills and amendments that the Republicans proffered, and even refusing to accept a compromise from Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) chose instead to leave the unemployed to suffer for another 12 days as he shut down the Senate for the 12 day 4th of July recess.

So now, forced to do without and to grow all the more destitute for nearly another two weeks, the unemployed are looking to the late Senator Byrd’s replacement for the 60th vote. Senator Reid is certainly banking on, too stubborn to make an economically wise compromise with the Republicans even to help the unemployed he portends to care about.

Unfortunately, the process of getting that successor for Byrd’s seat in place has proved to be a roller coaster ride itself. It was first assumed West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) could easily appoint someone and have him warming Byrd’s chair by Monday morning, July 12, ready to throw his hand in the air for the Unemployment benefits extension.

But West Virginia law has apparently turned out to be just a tad perplexing with regard to the timing of Byrd’s departure and the state’s legal procedure for replacing him. Manchin, with his own political interest in the vacated Senate seat, had to wait for clarification from his Attorney General as to how and when elections for the position would ultimately take place. Thank heaven, that came quickly and so it was believed Manchin might still be able to name someone and get them to the Capitol steps, lunchbox in hand, on time.

Oh, that it were that simple. Manchin did have to wait on his state legislatures thumbs up to appoint someone but most hoped they would call an emergency session and get the job done. Unfortunately, that did not happen and now millions of American’s jobless will have to wait, not on the Senate, but on the West Virginia State Legislature, to reconvene and approve Manchin’s moving forward, in order to get someone to Washington to finally get UI benefits extensions moving forward. This, according to, is now not expected to happen until sometime next week.

This means no 60th vote in the Senate on Monday to finalize cloture on the Democrats’ version of unemployment extensions. It will probably come, if not later next week, maybe the next. But that means more days for the unemployed to wait. More days for people to lose benefits. More days to lose homes and apartments and wind up on the street. More days without the means to keep their power and water on. More days without the means to put food in front of their children.

OR …

Harry Reid and the Democrats can put an end to our pain and pass one of the Republicans’ versions of Unemployment Extensions or accept the compromise with Republican Senator George Voinovich for the 60th vote first thing on Monday morning. (Read: “UI Extensions NOT Hinging on Byrd Replacement”) Our fate is totally in Reid’s and the Democrats’ hands – It always was. Surely, after months of this and all we, the unemployed, have suffered and lost, surely the Democrats have made all the political hay out of our suffering that they can.

Guess we’ll see on Monday morning.


Tags:2010 Unemployment Extensions - No Replacement for Byrd Yet

2010 U.S. Census: 10 Most Populated States in the Nation -- Florida Ranks No. 4

It’s official: The United States is home to 308,745,438 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a 9.7 percent increase since the 2000 U.S. Census. All states increased in population, with the exception of a -0.6 percent decrease for Michigan.

Florida picked up two House seats, giving them 27 in total. Texas picked up four seats, and six other states picked up one seat each. New York and Ohio both lost two seats in the House, with Illinois, Michigan and six other states losing one each.

Now that we’ve got the major statistics covered, let’s count down and see if your state made the top ten list of the most populated U.S. states.

#10 Most Populated State: North Carolina’s majestic mountains, hills and hundreds of lakes starts the countdown with 9,535,483 residents. North Carolina is also known for the Wright Brothers, who made the first successful airplane flight in 1903.

# 9 Most Populated State: If you’re ever in Georgia, don’t forget to taste the peaches. There are 9,687,653 who call this Southern state home. Georgia is also the birthplace of the famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in 1968 while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.

# 8 Most Populated State: Michigan is boater heaven, with 1 million registered boaters. Four of the five Great Lakes border this great state of 9,883,640 people.

# 7 Most Populated State:
The hot dog and professional baseball got its start in the good ol’ Buckeye State. Ohio is also the birthplace of seven U.S. presidents, and has 11,536,504 residents.

# 6 Most Populated State: There are 12,702,379 Pennsylvanians living in the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution. Pennsylvania is also known as “The Quaker State,” in recognition of William Penn’s Quaker religion and for the many other Quakers who settled there.

# 5 Most Populated State:
As one of the leading producers of corn, Illinois has 12,830,632 people in over 57,000 square miles. Illinois borders Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri and Lake Michigan.

# 4 Most Populated State: Florida, my home state, is one of the top states for tourists and retirees. The Sunshine State is home to the NASA Kennedy Space Center and to 18,801,310 multicultural Floridians, for a 17.6 percent increase since the 2000 U.S. Census. If you’re visiting Florida, don’t forget your sun tan lotion, and beware of the alligators!

# 3 Most Populated State: In the Big Apple you will find 19,378,102 individuals from a myriad of backgrounds and cultures. The highest point in New York is Mount Marcy, 5,344 feet above sea level. New York is also home to the beautiful Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from the people of France.

# 2 Most Populated State: Everything is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State has 25,145,561 Texans as of 2010. Texas covers 268, 601 square miles, which makes it the second largest state, with Alaska being the largest.

# 1 Most Polulated State: Home to a host of celebrities, California once again tops the list as the largest state in the nation. California became a state on Sept. 9, 1850. The Golden State is home to a whopping 37,253,956 people.

Tags:2010 U.S. Census: 10 Most Populated States in the Nation – Florida Ranks No. 4

2010 Unemployment Extension -- Standalone Benefits Measure Fails in the House

As the Senate waits for Senator Debbie Stabenow’s standalone unemployment extension bill to get out of committee, the House of Representatives Democrats attempted to push through a standalone bill of their own Tuesday. It failed. H.R.5618 failed to pass by 16 votes, 261-155. According to Donny Shaw at, House Republicans opposed the bill due to its near $34 billion price not being paid for or provided for within the bill itself.

Both chambers of Congress are scrambling before the July 4 weekend to get a bill through that both the House and Senate can agree on in order to alleviate the financial burden of 1.7 million Americans who will have lost their unemployment benefits by July 3. H.R.5618 would have retroactively picked up all recipients whose regular benefits ended in June and all recipients whose Tier extended benefits ended as well. The House bill would approve an extension that would cover the unemployed through the end of November 2010, but it would take away the $25 per week the Federal Additional Compensation adds to the recipients’ checks.

Would have…

Democrats had suspended the normal rules procedure so the unemployment benefits standalone required 2/3 of a House vote to pass. They could not get the required number of votes necessary for passage due to 16 Democrats that voted against the bill and 8 others who did not vote at all. Of the 155 who voted against the bill, 139 were Republicans. However, unlike the Senate, which has become a chamber where the Republicans can be expected to vote in lockstep, 30 Republicans voted in favor of H.R.5618.

Huffington Post contributor Arthur Delaney noted that Democratic co-sponsor of the bill, Sander Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, believed the measure would pass on Wednesday when it needs only a majority vote (219 votes) to pass. Levin is said to be coordinating with members of the Senate on the legislation.

The measure will have to pass both the House and Senate before it is sent to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

If it does not pass, then members of the house will have to attempt to inject some revenue-generating provisions into the legislation. Or hope that bill S.3520, introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), gets out of committee in time for a vote before the Senate recesses for the July 4th holiday, a recess that lasts until July 14.

U. S. Department of Labor statistics estimate that over 2 million people will have had their unemployment benefits or the extensions exhausted by the time the Senate returns.

There is a third option and one that an election-conscious Congress might wish to consider — remaining in session until a standalone unemployment extension has been hammered out.



Tags:2010 Unemployment Extension – Standalone Benefits Measure Fails in the House

2010 Winter Olympic Games: Biathlon Summary


Thirty medals were awarded in the biathlon, an event that combines marksmanship and cross-country skiing. France led all nations in the competition, winning six medals: one gold medal, two silver medals, and three bronze medals. Norway and Germany each collected five medals. Norway garnered three gold medals and two silver medals, while Germany earned two gold medals, one silver medal, and two bronze medals. The Russians claimed four medals: two gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal. Slovakia garnered three medals: one gold, one silver, and one bronze. Austria and Belarus each won two medals. The Austrians won two silver medals, while Belarusians garnered a sliver and a bronze. Finally, Sweden won a gold medal, Kazakhstan a silver medal, and Croatia a bronze medal.


Emil Hegle Svendsen, of Norway, ranked as the leading male biathlete, winning three medals, including two gold and one silver. His teammate, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, won two medals, including a gold and a silver, which made him the most decorated biathlete in Winter Olympic history and the second most decorated Winter Olympic athlete behind fellow Norwegian Bjørn Dæhlie. Both Vincent Jay, of France, and Evgeny Ustyugov, of Russia, won a gold and a bronze medal, while Christoph Sumann, of Austria, garnered two silver medals.

10 Kilometer Sprint

Gold – Vincent Jay – France

Emil Hegle Svendsen – Norway

Jakov Fak – Croatia

12.5 Kilometer Pursuit

Gold – Björn Ferry – Sweden

Silver – Christoph Sumann – Austria

Bronze – Vincent Jay – France

15 Kilometer Mass Start

Gold – Evgeny Ustyugov – Russia

Silver – Martin Fourcane – France

Bronze – Pavol Huajt – Slovakia

20 Kilometer Individual

Gold – Emil Hegle Svendsen – Norway

Silver – Ole Einar Bjoerndalen – Norway

Silver – Sergey Novikov – Belarus

4 X 7.5 Kilometer

Gold – Norway

Halvard Hanevold, Tarjel Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen, and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen

Silver – Austria

Simon Eder, Daniel Mesotitsch, Dominik Landertinger, and Christoph Sumann

Bronze – Russia

Ivan Tcherezov, Anton Shipulin, Maxim Tchoudov, and Evgeny Ustyugov


Magdelena Neuner, of Germany, ranked as the leading female biathlete with three medals: two golds and silver. Marie Dorin, of France, also won three medals: a silver medal and two bronze medals. Anatazia Kuzmina, of Slovakia, and Olga Zaitseva, of Russia, each won a gold and a silver medal. Simone Hauswald, of Germany, won two bronze medals.

7.5 Kilometer Sprint

Gold – Anatazia Kuzmina – Slovakia

Silver – Magdelena Neuner – Germany

Bronze – Marie Dorin – France

10 Kilometer Pursuit

Gold – Magdalena Neuner – Germany

Silver – Anatazia Kuzmina, of Slovakia

Bronze – Marie Laurie Brunet – France

12.5 Kilometer Mass Start

Gold – Magdalena Neuner – Germany

Silver – Olga Zaitseva – Russia

Bronze – Simone Hauswald – Germany

15 Kilometer Individual

Gold – Tora Berger – Norway

Silver – Elana Khrustaleva – Kazakhstan

Bronze – Darya Domrachheva – Belarus

4 X 6 Kilometer Relay

Gold – Russia

Svetlana Sleptsova, Olga Zaitseva, Olga Medvedtseva, and Anna Bogality-Ttovets

Silver – France

Sandrine Bailly, Marie Dorin, Sylvie Becaert, and Marie Brunet

Bronze – Germany

Martina Beck, Simone Hauswald, Kati Wilhelm, and Andrea Henkel


Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, Biathlon, Vancouver 2010 Official Website

Tags:2010 Winter Olympic Games: Biathlon Summary

2010 Unemployment Extensions - Millions Without UI Benefits for the Fourth of July

2010 Unemployment Extensions – On Wednesday, June 30, the Senate failed to pass the bill extending unemployment benefits, coming up short (in actuality) by just one vote of the magical 60 needed.

On Thursday, July 1, the House passed their version of the unemployment benefits extension. A hopeful sign, yet this bill would still have to go to the Senate for their vote.

But by Thursday, the Senate had already adjourned. While most if not all of the Senators were likely still in town for the memorial of the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-W. Virg.) and while an emergency vote would have, technically, been possible, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) chose not to call the Senate back into emergency session. Painful as it is, I cannot entirely fault him for that decision. The House version of the unemployment extension bill was no more likely to have succeeded in the Senate than the Senate’s own version which had failed the day before.

But anyway you slice it, Congress adjourned entirely on July 1 and went off for their Fourth of July, Independence Day recess – without passing unemployment benefits extensions.

So now, nearly two million of us – the jobless in America through no fault of our own – have lost or are about to lose the only thing keeping us afloat – our unemployment benefits. While most of America will be celebrating our nation’s birth and Independence today, so many of us are despairing. For it’s hard to feel like celebrating, hard to see any reason to do so, when we may be loosing everything we have worked for; when we don’t know where we may end up sleeping; when we don’t know how we will feed our children; when we can’t see any way, under the current economic circumstances and our own ever worsening fate, that we will ever be able to get back on our feet again.

I am so very attuned to the despair and the fear and I fully understand the anger with our government. I, too, am unemployed and have already seen my unemployment benefits cut off. I cashed my last UI benefits check on June 23 and don’t expect to see another at least until August – and then only if the Senate finally passes some version of an unemployment extension bill quickly when they reconvene on July 12. I have already lost much. I have already been living in poverty on the little bit that UI benefits provides. Trying to hang on much longer without them will now be the ultimate challenge for me. Even worse, though, I know so many of you are already farther down this road than I. For so many, there is nothing at all left to hang on to.

Still, in spite of the failure to pass unemployment extensions in the Senate, I have hung my American flag proudly by my front door today. And I will for as long as I have a front door – or a tent or a shopping cart – to hang it on. While some in our government have failed us, it is not America, it is not the Constitution, it is not the vision of the Founding Fathers that has done us this grievous harm.

On the contrary, it is those in our government and in our institutions that have intentionally worked against this, the greatest, free-est and most prosperous and benevolent nation in the history of the world, that have brought us to this point. Those who, slowly but surely – and now rapidly and blatantly – seek to undermine our freedoms and tear down our prosperity and who have thrown off our Constitution. It has been this creeping tyranny which, now apparently feeling it the time to pounce, has cost us our jobs, our homes, our security and our dignity. It is NOT America and all she stands for that has caused this. The blame for the suffering of the unemployed lies squarely on the shoulders of those in our government who seek to dismantle what the Founding Fathers so providentially provided.

This is not the first time, however, that this great nation has found herself on such a precipice. Indeed, our Founding Fathers first encountered the economic (and other) tyranny of the British government under King George nearly three hundred years ago. Then the Crown’s tyrannical policies also sought to take and reallocate the fruits of the labor of the American colonists and to tax and regulate them into poverty for the benefit of the King and those on the British Isles.

So it was, after years of trying to reason with those tyrants who apparently cared nothing for the welfare of their citizens living and working on this side of the Atlantic ocean, that brave and determined men and women declared their independence from Britain and claimed their status as a separate and equal nation.

In crafting and signing the Declaration of Independence, these brave individuals pledged their honor, their possessions and their lives to fight for freedom from oppression. But they also laid a foundation so profound, that it should continue to give us hope today.

While often mis-stated and usurped, our Constitution still stands as the governing document of our great land. And with that most brilliant of governing documents comes our opportunity to redeem our nation, our prosperity and our freedoms. We still have the opportunity to vote and to “Throw the Bums Out”. We still have the opportunity to speak out. We still have the opportunity to protest – “civil disobedience” as it is called. And, if need be, we will still have the right – no, the duty, as our forefather’s both articulated and demonstrated – to fight if this increasingly tyrannical government continues to refuse to listen.

That time is not now. Our Founding Fathers went to incredible lengths to avoid bloodshed and the War for Independence that ultimately became necessary. But ours is a nation which, more so than any other people, understands and cherishes freedom. And we have been given the blueprint and the Constitution, like none other ever created, to either keep or regain our liberty and prosperity, either peacefully or, as a last resort, at the end of a sword. That choice lies with the tyrants.

For those of you who may have forgotten, or perhaps never really knew, what the Declaration of Independence was all about, I have included a portion of it here for you. I hope you will read it and cherish every profound word of it, as I do. In our founding documents lies our hope – and our reason to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, whether we are working and comfortable, or unemployed and suffering. Because of this day, the Fourth of July, and the magnificent country our Founding Father’s established, we have greater chance than any other people on earth to get our lives and our great nation back.

So here is an excerpt of the Declaration of Independence. I have highlighted or capitalized parts for you and have laid it out in a certain way to emphasize certain points. It is not the way the founders initially laid it out. I must apologize, too, for any errors in the exact text or punctuation as I am writing it from memory. I will include a link so you can read the document in its entirety. I hope you will do so. You may be surprised at how many “injuries and usurpations” the founders listed against the Crown that we are now beginning to experience from our increasingly rogue government today.

Here, then, is an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident –

-That all men are created equal.

-That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

-That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

-That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.

-That whenever any form of government becomes DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS … IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT and to establish a new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to secure their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of REPEATED INJURIES AND USURPATIONS, ALL HAVING IN DIRECT OBJECT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ABSOLUTE TYRANNY OVER THESE STATES. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world … “

From here, our Founding Fathers listed the offenses that their current government in Great Britain was committing against them, many not at all unlike what we are experiencing in America today.

I hope this document touches your heart and your soul as it does mine. I pray, too, that you are able to make it through this very, very difficult time. I hope you are able to find and celebrate the blessings in your life, in spite of the pain, on this Fourth of July – the celebration of Independence for this great nation. And I hope you will continue to search and learn more about what is really going on and who is really harming us and keeping us unemployed so you can be a part of the solution – as provided to us in our founding documents.

Many blessings to you and may you have a Happy Fourth of July.

Link to Declaration of Independence

(One other note – When Thomas Jefferson initially drafted the Declaration of Independence, instead of the word “happiness” (“…life, liberty and the pursuit of “happiness””), it is said that he wrote “property”. By that he meant, not just our homes or land and our possessions, but our wages – the fruit of our labor. Having the freedom to do with the fruit of our own labor what we will, in the eyes of the founders, promoted not only industriousness and ingenuity, but happiness. Taxation, therefore, was antithetical to happiness. While “money cannot buy happiness”, those of us who have had our unemployment benefits and extensions cut off can certainly attest that the lack of it can certainly insure a lot of misery.)


Tags:2010 Unemployment Extensions - Millions Without UI Benefits for the Fourth of July

2010 Unemployment Extension Standalone - Democrats Seeing Wisdom in Offsets

With the future of unemployment benefits extensions in jeopardy and the livelihood of millions of jobless Americans on the line, many in Congress are still trying to find a way to bring the parties to the table for a successful vote.

While the Democrats have steadfastly blamed the Republicans for “obstructionist politics”, the Republicans have continued to assert that they are in favor of extending unemployment benefits but believe it is critical for the nation to stop adding to the national debt. While the Republicans’ objection is not without merit, without the Democrats’ willingness to pay for the expenditure, it has created an impasse that has left the unemployed without benefits and nearly without hope.

But now it appears the gravity of the situation for the unemployed and the importance of beginning to reign in an absolutely out of control government debt is forcing liberals to consider the wisdom of the Republicans’ stance. The deficit, escalated during President Bush’s eight years but now exploded in just the first sixteen months of President Obama’s tenure and with little if anything in the way of economic recovery to show for it, has become so untenable it has become a major threat to any kind of economic recovery and a major concern for the majority of Americans

Fortunately though, at long last there are signs that the Democrats may be starting to “get it” and come around. This should be extremely welcome news, not only for the unemployed, but for the nation as a whole.

After the third failed attempt to bring HR 4213, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010” (which contains the unemployment benefits extensions legislation) to the Senate floor last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has, as of this writing, refused to take any further action on unemployment extensions, even after being implored to do so by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) who pleaded with him to immediately bring a standalone unemployment extension bill for a vote.

According to Senator Max Baucus (D-Nev), who wrote most of the “Tax Extenders” bill (as HR-4213 is known), rather than bring a standalone version of the unemployment benefits extension provisions of the bill to a vote now, when it appears it could finally actually pass, Sen. Reid and the Democrats instead apparently intend to wait for weeks while the cries of the unemployed increase in order to put pressure on the Republicans to vote for the rest of the objectionable provisions in the bill and to do so without further offsetting the cost. (Read: “Will Unemployment Extensions Be Revived?”)

Fortunately, now Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal) is apparently considering bringing a standalone bill for Unemployment Benefits Extensions before the House. Better yet, in the first sign of Democrats beginning to soften, Speaker Pelosi appears now ready to entertain a bill in which unemployment benefits extensions are paid for, not left to add even more to the already unsustainable national debt. (Read: “Speaker Pelosi Gives Hopeful Sign”)

But on an even more positive note, it appears that at least a couple of writers at the very liberal Huffington Post are also beginning to see the wisdom in paying for the Unemployment Benefits Extension. In a brilliantly worded statement in their Huff Post article today, Sheri and Allan Rivlin wrote:

Still there is more to the Republican side of the debate than just Hooverism, and given the way the congressional pay-as-you-go (“pay-go”) rules work, Democrats can, and should, put aside the ideological battle and the potential campaign issue, and identify some tax increases and budget cuts we can support to bring the budget closer to balance once the economy starts moving forward. Extending unemployment benefits is necessary both for the economic simulative effect and because it is a lifeline that is needed by millions of individuals and families who have lost jobs through no fault of their own. These families can’t eat the ideological battle or the campaign issue. They would rather have the cash.

The Rivlins, still writing for Huffington Post, went on to say of the Democrats’ insistence on continued deficit spending now, but with the intention of working on reversing the deficit once the emergency has passed:

The argument is right on the merits, but it is easily characterized as a promise to do the difficult things in the future – like a drunk promising to sober up by next Sunday. It would add a meaningful degree of credibility if we were able to identify and commit to enough spending cuts in future years to offset this $33 billion budget item.

Perhaps, with a dose of rational encouragement for fiscal restraint coming from the left (or in this case, the Rivlins may identify themselves as centrists), hard-core leftists like Pelosi and Reid may find the support they need to do the right thing – That is, bring a paid-for unemployment benefits extension to the floor that the Republicans can vote for and that will help keep the unemployed afloat while not continuing to sink the entire country.


Tags:2010 Unemployment Extension Standalone - Democrats Seeing Wisdom in Offsets

2010 World Cup Contenders

In 2010, soccer fans get the chance to share their love for the sport and their country in what promises to be an exciting World Cup when it kicks off in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Here are those teams that should be in contention and gives their fans something to cheer for in the 2010 World Cup.

Contender # 1 – Brazil

These five time world champions enter the tournament as the heavy favorite even though the team received a tough draw, playing North Korea, Ivory Coast, and ending with Portugal.

Coach Dunga will be leading a team with players like Kaka, who is looking to erase a disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign. Kaka is a nightmare for the defenders who will need to contend with his amazing passing and dribbling skills.

Contender # 2 – Spain

Another heavy favorite in the 2010 World Cup, Spain will be looking to continue the success they had in their qualifying group where they won all ten matches while scoring 28 goals in the process.

The team is filled with top players at each of the position. They will be looking for Fernando Torres and David Villa to continue scoring goals considering they were responsible for seven of the team’s goal in qualifying. If they are able to come away champions, the choke label will start to disappear.

Contender # 3 – England

Coach Capello has help direct his team into the World Cup with a solid workman like approach and no taste for the flair. Striker Wayne Rooney will need to step up in the 2010 World Cup to erase the lackluster performances from his previous two appearances.

England’s draw of Algeria, Slovenia, and the United States could work out in their favor and help build up their confidence. The biggest concern for the team is the reoccurrence of mental lapses that has hurt them in the past.

Contender # 4 – Italy1

After qualifying in dramatic fashion for the 2010 World Cup, Italy is in position to repeat as world champions. The team led by Coach Lippi will be relying upon goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to help carry them to a second consecutive title.

The big concern for team Italy is their inability to start tournaments off with the needed urgency. If they get off to a slow start, then it could be an early exit and they will need to beat up on their first round draw of New Zealand, Paraguay, and Slovakia to gain momentum.

Contender # 5 – Germany

They enter the 2010 World Cup riding the win over South Africa and ready to take on Ghana, Australia, and Serbia in their first round draw. Germany’s recent defense issues should cause no among soccer fans, because the team has always stepped up come tournaments.

The main man for the German soccer team is Michael Ballack who will be a hard match for his opponents thanks to his combination of solid passing skills and ability to score goals.


Tags:2010 World Cup Contenders

2010 Winter Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics are going to be held in Canada. The place where most of the events will be taking place is a mountain near Vancouver called Whistler. The climate of British Columbia is perfect for winter events like snowboarding and skiing, and the nearby city of Vancouver is full of excellent places to eat, shop, and be entertained. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect place than Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

If you are thinking about traveling to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, there are some things that you should know. The first thing that you should know is that if you plan on taking a train there, plan to be at least 20 hours late. Trains in the United States are extremely slow. Also, there are many unexpected delays associated with train travel. For example, bomb threats, derailed cars, toilet malfunctions, and many other things. If you don’t think that those things happen frequently, then you probably haven’t taken the train lately. My advice is to avoid the train entirely. I know that it’s extremely expensive to buy plane tickets these days, but the Winter Olympics are worth it.

The next word of advice is to plan out which events you want to see. If you want to see all of the events, go ahead. But that would mean paying for two weeks in an expensive hotel. Hotels often raise their rates when something special is happening in the area. so plan to book your hotel for a time when the events that you want to see are occurring. Most people don’t want to see every event, and even if they did it would be impossible. Even if you have a favorite event, you wouldn’t want to see every round of competition.

My last advice for you is to have fun. Vancouver is a great city to visit. I recently traveled to Vancouver and I enjoyed the trip. You will never run out of things to do in Vancouver. And now that the Winter Olympics are coming to Vancouver, there will be even more places to go. Have fun in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics in 2010.

Tags:2010 Winter Olympics

2010 World Series Preview: Rangers Vs Giants

A little over a week ago it seemed very likely that the World Series was destined to be a rematch between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. Neither got past their respective opponent, however, and as such this World Series features some mostly fresh faces. The Texas Rangers, making their first ever World Series appearance and obviously seeking their first ever title, and the San Francisco Giants, making their first World Series apperance since 2002 and seeking their first title since moving to San Francisco over fifty years ago.

The Rangers have one of the top offenses in baseball, while being supported by a starting rotation that is underrated outside of ace Cliff Lee. The bullpen outside of closer Neftali Feliz has been somewhat shaky, but it is definately not overworked. Josh Hamilton pummeled Yankee pitching, and Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero also provided key hits when Texas needed them the most to advance to the World Series

The Giants, on the other hand, have one of the best pitching one-two punches in baseball with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner are also very capable and the Giants bullpen is among the best in baseball, proving as much by shutting out the Phillies offense in the decisive Game 6 of the NLCS. The offense isn’t as potent as Texas’ but it does have some pop. Cody Ross went off on Phillies pitching, earning the NLCS MVP in the process, but Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, and Buster Posey are all capable of getting big hits for the Giants as well.

Home field advantage, given to the Giants following the NL’s long overdue win in the All-Star Game, has not been much of an advantage in these playoffs so far. Home teams went 4-11 in the ALDS and NLDS combined, and in the two Championship Series, home teams went 6-6. That’s ten home wins altogether, though the Rangers and Giants combine for five of those wins.

Home field advantage always takes a unique spin in the World Series as the DH rule will only apply in Games 3-5 when the games are played in Texas, the AL team’s ballpark, while the other four games are going to be played in San Francisco’s home park which follow the NL’s no-DH rules. The immediate impact of this concerns Texas’ designated hitter, Vladimir Guerrero. Texas has already stated that Guerrero will start in the outfield in one of the first two games in San Francisco, leaving Guerrero as a pinch-hitter possibility in the other game, so it will be interesting to see how Texas’ offense – and their defense with Guerrero in the outfield – will be affected in these first two games as well as Games 6 and 7 should the series go that far.

Offense, however, should be on the backburner in this World Series in favor of the pitching matchups we may see. Game 1 will likely feature a matchup between Cliff Lee, who continued his playoff dominance against the Yankees with two stellar efforts, and Tim Lincecum who has been strikeout crazy this postseason though still not as dominant as one may expect. Admittedly, the pitching matchups between Lincecum and Philly’s Roy Halladay did not pan out as expected and the same may even be true for Lee vs Lincecum, but it is still a matchup to look forward too.

Matt Cain has been very dominant for the Giants as well and may be San Francisco’s key to success. In the ALCS/NLCS preview I noted that Texas’ pitching outside of Cliff Lee is somewhat underrated, as both C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis are both very capable starters, and that is still true going into this World Series. How well San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner perform may be the difference but there’s a very good chance that, should the series go seven games, both teams may employ Lee and Lincecum a total of three times.

This will be a series that should be defined by strong pitching with a few pops of the bat here and there. Unlike in the previous two playoff rounds I do think home field advantage will work in San Francisco’s favor, and even if Cliff Lee dominates them like he has every other opponent, I think the Giants fare well enough to win the World Series in six games.

Tags:2010 World Series Preview: Rangers Vs Giants

2010 Winter Olympics Preview: Curling

Interest for Curling has grown over the last decade since the sport was welcomed back into the Winter Olympics as a full medal sport. As the world prepares for the 2010 Winter Olympics, let’s take a look at the top participants from the men’s and women’s bracket and which countries will be victorious.

Men’s Curling

During the 2006 Olympics in Turin, team Canada dominated Finland to capture the gold medal while the US team came away with the bronze medal.

Can the Canadians earn another gold medal or will there be another country from the field of ten to win it during the 2010 Winter Olympics?

One of the top performers is Skip Kevin Martin, the elder statesman from Canada, who is looking to for another Olympic medal. While his team is ranked number one in the world, they will be tested in 2010.

Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud helped his team win the Continental Cup and will be eager to show it was no fluke. The curling team from Scotland, led by David Murdoch, is eager to continue his success after winning his second consecutive European Championship.

While the top two spots in this event appear to be set, the bronze medal is up for grabs. Keep an eye on the curling teams from the United States and Germany to make a strong push during the Winter Olympics.

Women’s Curling

In 2006, the gold medal for Women’s curling in Turin was taken by Sweden when they defeated Switzerland. Canada easily defeated Norway to win the bronze medal.

What should we expect from the ten teams who will be participating in the 2010 Winter Olympics?

The Chinese team, led by their skip Bingyu Wang, is the current World Champions and has to be the heavy favorites to take home the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Do not expect the Canadian team to rest on the laurels. They have one of the best in the game, Skip Cheryl Bernard and they will be ready to perform on their home ice.

One team not to be forgotten is the curling team from Switzerland. Mirjam Ott and her team was a force in the 2008 World Championship Cup and looks to carry the momentum over. The US team could prove to be a solid dark horse in these Winter Olympics and sneak into the medal round.


Tags:2010 Winter Olympics Preview: Curling

2010 Y!CN Outstanding Contributor of the Year Awards: My Nominations

Soon Yahoo! will announce the winners of the 2010 Yahoo! Contributor Awards. For those readers that may have missed the announcement, “the Yahoo! Contributor Awards are a continuation of the Associated Content platform’s annual People’s Media Awards (PMAS).

Imagine for a moment that you are among the judges assigned the task of determining each of the winners. For me this would be a daunting task. There are so many Yahoo! Contributors that deserve to be recognized for their efforts. In as far as the 2010 Yahoo! Outstanding Contributor of the Year Award, Yahoo! made an improvement over the previous People’s Media Award. Now three valuable Contributors will share this prestigious stage instead of one just standing alone.

I like many took this nomination process seriously. Though it would have been easy to nominate a multitude of people for the 2010 Yahoo! Outstanding Contributor of the year award, I pretended I was a judge and nominated just three. Some people like their nominations to be private and some prefer their nominations to be public. I like mine to be public. It is always my hope that it makes the nominee feel special, because someone noticed and took the time to write about them. I also hope that this sort of article brings more readers to each of the Contributors. To that end, this article identifies each of my three nominees for the 2010 Yahoo! Contributor of the Year Award, along with a brief rationale for why I selected them.

The first Contributor that I nominated for the 2010 Outstanding Yahoo! Contributor of the Year Award joined the Yahoo! Contributor Network in August of 2007. In this time her 1247 pieces of content has produced over 6.6 million page views. 2010 marked one of her best years yet as she styled a vast number of pieces of content and combed for over 4 million page views. Currently, she has 646 registered fans. She is known to comment on many of her fellow Contributor articles. She writes on a variety of topics. She covers a variety of reality shows. She often writes about celebrities and events in their lives. She does not shy away from gossip and takes on some racy topics. However, her real talent shines through when she is writing about cosmology. In this subset of content, her articles are voluminous both in number and creativity as she provides beauty tips for all sorts of people. Though, I am not sure if it rises to the level of a hair fetish, she admits that she has a specific love and interest in hair. Perhaps, she will let us know. I am confident that if you read her work you will find many ways to make yourself feel better about your appearance. As you can tell from my profile picture, I am probably in need of a personal makeover. When this day arrives, without hesitation I will seek out this Contributor and hope that she will not turn me away. She would be my number one beautician of choice. With no further ado, hailing from the great state of New Jersey, I nominate Angel Vee.

As much as I believe Angel Vee can make your body look and feel more beautiful, I believe that my second nominee can make your body more healthy and fit. The Second Contributor that I nominate for Outstanding Yahoo! Contributor of the Year Award first published on the Yahoo! Contributor Network in August of 2006. In her career she has scripted 4533 articles and has over 8 million page views. The year 2010 was another healthy year for this Contributor. Her library of articles grew substantially which helped her page views metabolize by more than 5 million. Her fan base is ever strong at 705 and it is great to have a fan like her. I know that from my own experiences that if you take the time to read and comment on her articles she will always return the favor. Her Contributor profile states: “Hope I can inspire someone to lead a healthier life”. I know she has and continues to inspire me with regards to health. I venture to guess that I am not alone in my opinion. Her articles cover a myriad of health related issues. Through her articles, she provides a variety of methods and means to diagnose and treat many health conditions. In addition, her articles discuss how to prevent disease through regular diet, exercise and alternative medication. This woman is a family physician that I would be proud to call my own. I would have no reservations to reach out to her for advice or treatment in a time of my own medical need. With every healthy ounce of my mind, body and soul, I nominate Kristie Leong M.D.

The Third Contributor that I nominate for the Yahoo! Contributor of the Year Award initiated her Yahoo! Contributor Network career in July of 2007. In 2010, she became the all time leader in page views for the Associated Content site. Imagine being number one out of a field that numbers over 400 thousand. Each year gets better and better for this woman. In 2010 she authored a staggering number of articles that helped send her page views through the stratosphere. Currently, she has amassed over 21 million page views with over 7 million coming in 2010. Without question she is a master of SEO. She too provides a variety of reading material. However, the bulk of her work resolves around the themes of “How to” and “Ways to”. It sounds like she follows a simple recipe for success as she makes it look easy to succeed on Associated Content. However, the page views tell another story. She clearly is in a class of her own. Though she is not active in the forums she provides personal assistance and encouragement. She also leaves her comments on many an article. In 2009 she deservedly won the People’s Media Award for Contributor of the year. However, this does not preclude her from standing in the winners circle again in 2010. It should be obvious by now that I am nominating none other than the one and only Crystal Ray.

I believe that these three nominees can stand on their own record and merit consideration for the Yahoo! 2010 Outstanding Contributor of the Year Award. However, I also believe that collectively in their uniqueness they blend well together. Their statistics pay tribute to the fact that all of them produce content that is discoverable and readable It sounds nice to say that The Yahoo! Contributor Network through Associated Content offers Angel Vee so you can look your best and Kristie Leong M.D. so you can feel your best. When you look your best and feel your best you can take advantage of Crystal Ray’s “How to” and “Ways to” articles.

Visit Angel Vee here: Angel Vee

Visit Kristie Leong, M.D. here: Kristie Leong_M.D.

Visit Crystal Ray here: Crystal Ray

Tags:2010 Y!CN Outstanding Contributor of the Year Awards: My Nominations

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