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The *Need* to Redefine Poverty in the United States

Poverty in the United States: Air Conditioning, Cable TV and an Xbox | The Heritage Foundation.


The article linked above highlights the need in the United States for a redefining of poverty as deemed by the Federal Government. When an “impoverished” American owns a refrigerator, has cable TV, and a cell phone; something is wrong with the definition.

Poverty is a worldwide concern, but in the United States, the government’s use of the term is only designed to manipulate. Just yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner noted some interesting facts:

“…remember this country, this great nation with our great resources today, one in eight Americans are eligible for food stamps today. Forty percent of Americans born today are born to families eligible for Medicaid.”

When 40 percent of Americans, which is equal to around 120 million people are eligible for Medicaid; it may be time to redefine the eligibility. If 30 million Americans are in “poverty” and 54.5 percent, which is equal to around 16 million, own a cell phone; and there are 90 million more who are eligible for Medicaid, there’s a problem with the proof of eligibility.

Shouldn’t the number of Americans who are eligible for Medicaid come closer to the number eligible for food stamps–about 40 million, as opposed to 120 million?

I understand there should be some give in that number, but when the “poor” in this country have adequate housing–enough to be able to keep a refrigerator running–then as troubling as poverty is, the definition in terms used by the U.S. government is equally disturbing.

Bottom line: if you can afford to have a cell phone ($40 per month) and cable TV ($50 per month), then you’re really close to being able to afford cursory health insurance. In America, as illustrated by these figures, poverty isn’t so much an issue of can’t as it is won’t.

Let’s help the poor, but let’s be wise about the government’s use of the word “poverty”.

–the civil commentator



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Who Cares If They’re a Criminal?!

Representative Anthony Weiner - retrieved from

Today’s post looks at the present mess of a political figure:
Rep. Weiner Admits to Sending Lewd Twitter Photo, Acknowledges Other Explicit Conversations


Eliot Spitzer - retrieved from

…and what the future for criminals can look like:
Elliot Spitzer Gets Primetime CNN Show.

It’s quite sad to see the way that criminals, and in this case criminals who happen to be politicians, can use their position as a get out of jail free card, spend a brief time out of the spotlight, and then become highly paid, and highly visible celebrities.

“Those guys aren’t criminals,” you say? Well let’s take a look:

Imagine if you were to send unsolicited naked pictures of yourself to a member of the opposite sex with whom you had no relationship, and the person you sent the pictures to knew who you were. What would happen if/when you reported that story to your local law-enforcement officials? Exactly. Jail-time or at least probation.

Now imagine you were caught in the act of soliciting the services of a prostitute.  The outcome? Exactly. Jail-time or at least probation.

What has happened to Eliot Spitzer? No jail time and a high-profile, highly-paid position at a major news network.

What will happen to Anthony Weiner? Likely, by the end of the week or certainly by the end of the month he will resign or be forced out of his position as a Congressional Representative. What will happen after that fall from political power? Likely a lifetime of TV and book deals worth millions of dollars.

Why are we in America so fascinated with common scum? Before you object and say, “Look we’re not the ones hiring these reprobates to be on TV or write books,” let’s get something straight: media companies who hire disgraced politicians or pay them to write a book are responding only to the demand for these individual’s stories and celebrity. If people would swear off of CNN for hiring an admitted solicitor of prostitutes, that would be the last time that CNN would ever commit such an injustice.

So the problem, dear reader, is not the media company that hires the criminal to work for them; but instead it’s we the consumer who bear the responsibility. This phenomenon of lucrative media contracts for those who commit crimes and atrocious acts of personal misconduct has become the theme of our society.

It’s always convenient to point the finger at the supermarket tabloid, the cable-news network, the book company, TMZ, etc. The problem is without our mouse-click, tune-in, or book purchase, people who commit crimes or act in repulsive ways wouldn’t have a voice and place in society.

The time used to be that people who committed crimes and acts of personal indiscretion were ashamed of their actions and never again saw the light of day and wouldn’t even consider attempting to have a public platform again. That time is gone.

Will we ever see a return to a time when immorality is punished and virtue rewarded? We can only hope.

–the civil commentator

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ABC Pilot ‘Good Christian B******’

Critics Slam ABC Pilot ‘Good Christian B******’ for ‘Inappropriate,’ ‘Damaging’ Title.

I can’t imagine why there’s such an uproar. Really, what’s wrong with calling any woman the ‘B’ word, especially Christian women? It’s all in good fun!

Who owns ABC again? Isn’t it Disney? I’m sure this is a fine family program. No one wants to get in the way of solid, family programming; especially with a catchy name like ‘Good Christian B******’.

Looks like it may be time to rethink my entertainment choices. ABC who? ESPN who? Disney who? Boycott ready!

Good ahead, Disney! This is a free country. Feel free to denigrate the religious group who would stand up and fight for you and with you. No sense in maintaining loyalties when there’s a laugh to be had or a profit to be made.

–the civil commentator

NOTE: In case you thought otherwise, the asterisks are really ‘itches’, and that’s really the title.

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U.S. Air Force – Made in China?


Wall Street Journal: China Eyes U.S. Defense Contracts.

Call me crazy, but doesn’t this seem like a bad idea? This headline immediately struck me as odd and made me uncomfortable, but the mere fact that China is attempting to win U.S. military weapons contracts means that it’s a possible for foreign companies to supply the United States with military arms and technology.

I did a little looking around on the web to find information on foreign suppliers of U.S. military equipment. It’s easy to find information about U.S. companies that supply military equipment to countries around the world, but it’s a great deal more difficult to determine if the United States imports any of its military technology and equipment. After a bit of scouring, I found this article from the New York Times from 2005:

High-Tech Industry in Israel Goes From Bust to Boom.

This article is only speaking to the resurgence of the Israeli technology industry and happens to mention that one company based in Israel supplies the United States with some of its night-vision technology. So although this article is by no means an expose of U.S. military weapons suppliers; the fact that even one company outside the United States–albeit an ally–supplies the U.S. with some of its military equipment would seem to indicate that this practice is not prohibited.

China is not outwardly hostile to the United States, but it’s been widely reported that they routinely make attempts to compromise U.S. military secrets through electronic means. Given this fact and based on their aggressive monetary policies they certainly cannot be considered an ally.

It should be obvious, but it’s in the best interest of the United States to prohibit the awarding of military contracts to foreign suppliers from hostile countries. For our own security, an outright ban on military imports from foreign countries altogether should be considered; but for some reason, I don’t see such legislation getting too much traction in Washington.

China’s ambitions to get into the military exports business in the United States may end up coming down to a game of chicken between the United States and China. We need their cheap and efficient industrial machine, and their investment in our debt. They need our voracious appetite for cheap products. The past few administrations haven’t been all that keen on playing tough with the Chinese and neither has the current one. For our own safety and security, this is one time when the U.S. needs to man up. Stay tuned.

–the civil commentator

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HP takes on Microsoft…oh and Apple, too


From HP CEO Apotheker: “the [new webOS] hardware is ready”

In their upcoming event, “Think big. Think small. Think beyond.” HP is obviously trying to take a bite out of the Apple stranglehold on the cool-tech market. It’s really not much of a stretch to say so, especially when HP CEO Leo Apotheker tells his audience, “… get rid of your iPhones and iPads.”

In my extensive research I have found that possibly one of the larger implications of HP’s webOS event is a shot across the bow of Microsoft’s enormous software ocean-liner.

Sure, HP is saying that they want to take on Apple. Apple currently owns the market in terms of portable, interchangeable technology with the symbiotic relationship between all of its products; but what is webOS if not an eventual competitor to the Microsoft suite of operating systems?

The world is going smaller and more portable. People don’t want to have to unplug this and then plug into that. They want to click here to move something there. They want to put down their smartphone, pick up their tablet, use that to find their media, click an icon and display it on their TV.

Seriously, can it really be said that Windows Mobile is the same thing as iOS? On the other hand, it can easily be said that webOS is the same thing as iOS (don’t freak out, I know they’re not the *same* thing). If the consumer computing world is migrating away from the desktop model, then Microsoft is quickly losing a large portion of its market-share; and based on what was revealed at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft is lagging behind.

I don’t think that Microsoft is in any danger of losing it’s dominance in the office; but when it comes to what people start using when they leave the office, the future is most certainly in doubt.

Microsoft has no interest in *only* being in the business of providing office products. We all know how that has turned out for Big Blue.  IBM is still a major player; but does anybody still call they’re PC an IBM-compatible? So you can be sure that Microsoft won’t take this assault lying down. Rest-assured, however, that with the webOS platform being one of the big three mobile-consumer computing platforms; it must certainly be on Microsoft’s (and Apple’s) mind that HP isn’t content to just make hardware. They want a share of the whole enchilada.

So February 9th, here we come. Look out Microsoft…oh, and Apple, too!

–the civil commentator

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Facebook to Sell YOUR Posts to Advertisers

Yet another reason to dump Facebook or scale back your use: – Facebook to Sell YOUR Posts to Advertisers.

I was a fan of Facebook at one time, but Mark Zuckerburg continues to push the boundaries of what users will find acceptable. Each additional step is perilous and just one misstep will spell the end of his social networking empire.

Careful, Mark. Careful.

–the civil commentator

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Facebook Lets Third Party Apps Access Your Address And Phone Number

Funny, isn’t it, that people are completely annoyed when a telemarketer calls them; but are letting that information and more become more and more accessible to *everyone* in the world?

From Geeky Gadgets: Facebook Lets Third Party Apps Access Your Address And Phone Number.

How many more security vulnerabilities does Facebook need to integrate into their social network before you decide to leave? Just asking.

With Facebook creating their own currency, the sky’s the limit with regards to how far they’ll go to have inroads into every single facet of your life. Are you willing to deal with the consequences?

If the Patriot Act frightens you, shouldn’t this?

–the civil commentator

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