Flu Vaccine Shortage
Why isn't the Bush Administration being held accountable for the flu vaccine shortage? All over this country, senior and disabled citizens are standing in lines for hour after hour for a flu shot. Many of them are on respirators, using canes, in wheelchairs, or in pain.
Many have gone to two, three or four clinics,
showing up hours early, only to be told there won't be enough vaccine for everyone.
Why didn't the government have a back-up plan when, for years, public health
officials have cited the real risk of a flu pandemic? How can we trust the Bush
Administration to protect us from a biological terrorist attack when it can't
even manage to provide flu shots?
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Important decision on development Thursday
An Oct. 28 meeting of the Minneapolis Zoning Committee will send a signal about
the city’s enforcement of height restrictions for buildings near the shoreline
of city lakes and other protected waters. It will give people an idea of how
strict or compromising or lenient the city will be in negotiating with real
The Zoning Committee will consider an appeal from residents concerned about
the height of a proposed condominium project on the east side of Lake Calhoun.
Developer Financial Freedom wants to remove a four-story 28-unit apartment building,
the “The Edgewater,” about 40 feet tall, built in 1923 and sinking
into the ground. The developer wants to build a new six-story 28-unit condominium
complex, 82 feet high at that location (1805 West Lake Street and 3008 Knox
Avenue South). The East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO), in whose neighborhood
the site is located, disagrees with a height of 82 feet. The city planning staff
recommended allowing a new four-story 28-unit condo complex, limited to a height
of 56 feet. The city staff arrived at its conclusion given the city’s
shoreline height ordinance and Shoreland Overlay District (restricting buildings
to 35 feet within 1,000 feet of the lake’s high water mark), and other
considerations (the site’s old or underlying zoning, preserving the character
and scale of the site, the city’s comprehensive plan, etc.). In September,
the city Planning Commission supported the developer’s preference for
an 82-foot-high project, rejecting the city staff recommendation of 56 feet.
On Oct. 6, the Park Board passed a resolution rejecting the action taken by
the Planning Commission, reiterating the Park Board’s longstanding opposition
to high-rise development around the city’s lakes, park lands and rivers,
and strongly urging the City Council to uphold its Shoreland Overlay District
The appeal of the residents lists what they believe are possible detrimental
effects if the condos are built to a height of 82 feet. Some mentioned in the
appeal are reduced natural lighting, personal safety issues, shadows affecting
other properties, snow and ice not melting as quickly, impeded lake views, traffic
and parking congestion, changes in wind patterns, air pollution, etc. Some arguments
on behalf of the 82-foot high proposed condos are that developers have a right
to develop their property, the designs are attractive, green features will be
incorporated into the project, the new condos will be an improvement over what
is there now, and disagreement over effects.
If you want to express your views on how firm or flexible the city should be
in exercising its power to restrict development adjacent to city lakes, or want
further information, contact your city council member before Oct. 28.
VOTE FOR YOUR OWN BEST INTERESTS ON NOVEMBER 2ND
Guns, gays and God, with all the discussion that these topics get today one
would think that the American people were pretty well situated when it comes
to jobs, retirement, health care and other important matters. Why are these
so called “wedge issues” getting so much attention when so many
other seemingly important matters remain unresolved?
Lets put things in perspective. The Second Amendment does not guarantee anyone
the right to own a gun per se. It does allow gun ownership for the purpose of
participating in an organized militia. That said, no one is proposing that people
give up their firearms. The issue is regulating the access to handguns and military
assault weapons and their use in committing a crime. The vast majority of law
enforcement professionals are in favor of such regulation.
That marriage between men and women has been on the decline for the past thirty
years has nothing to do with homosexuality. Outlawing gay marriage will not
lead homosexuals to seek sex heterosexual partners, they will simply continue
to cohabitate outside of a legally recognized status. Mandatory jail time for
adultery would do more to support traditional marriage but that seems a bit
too drastic. I’ve never met God but due to certain life experiences I
am quite certain of his existence. At the same time I can’t bother him
with mundane issues like having a job, paying doctor bills or meeting my mortgage.
The separation of church and state has served us well for over two hundred years.
Anyone favoring a change in that practice should take a good hard look at the
Iranian theocracy or the disruptive influence of religious political parties
The Real Issues
JOBS: Thirty-two states have fewer jobs and forty-six have higher unemployment
than at the start of the recession in 2001. Average income in expanding industries
is $8,532.00 lower than where jobs are declining. Average family incomes have
declined by $1,511.00 in 2004 while median household income has fallen for three
straight years. Eighty percent of the new jobs are classified as low paying.
This is the first administration since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net
loss in employment and that is not a myth.
TAX EQUITY AND GOVERNMENT SPENDING: The tax burden has shifted from wealth
to work. Wages and salaries are taxed at twice the rate of capital gains and
dividends. The bulk of the tax breaks have gone to the top two percent of taxpayers
resulting in the greatest tax disparity since the 1920s. Next year the average
tax savings to those in the bottom tax bracket will be $91.00, for the middle
bracket: $863.00, and for the top one percent: $59,292.00. Government spending
is twice as high as it was during LBJ’s Great Society and one and a half
times higher than during the Clinton years. According to the General Accounting
Office taxes would have to be doubled or government programs cut by fifty percent
to get back to a zero deficit.
SOCIAL SECURITY: Alan Greenspan had suggested that the budget surplus
of the 1990s be used to secure the Social Security Program but instead it has
been squandered. Eighty percent of those over the age of forty favor some type
of governmental guarantee of old age retirement. The Administration’s
plan to privatize a portion of Social Security could result in a windfall of
billions in fees to Wall Street and a reduction of benefits to retirees.
HEALTH CARE: The reform of Medicare is 150 billion dollars over the projected
cost with the cost to the recipient having risen seventeen percent this year
alone. Americans pay more for health care yet receive less than do the citizens
of any other advanced nation. Employers are shifting a greater percentage of
health care costs to employees or eliminating coverage altogether. Seventy percent
of the uninsured now have full time jobs. Prescription drugs are higher by sixty
six percent compared to Canada and double the price paid in Europe. The Administration’s
Medicare reform expressly prohibits the government from negotiating lower purchase
IRAQ: That the rush to war was characterized by a lack of logic; faulty
intelligence; a questionable list of “imminent threats; an unsubstantiated
link to Al Qadea; a lack of a strategy of managing the peace or exiting the
region; and the alienation of important allies and world opinion is now an established
fact. Claims of victory or being on the road to that end are self-delusion and
political spin. The war has turned out to be a costly distraction from what
should have been a well thought out program of insuring domestic security while
fashioning an effective strategy for eradicating terrorist cells throughout
the Muslim world. Too much time, money and manpower has been tied up in Iraq.
The net result has been a further radicalization of the Muslim world and an
increase in recruitment into Al Qadea and like-minded organizations. In all
honesty, in it’s strategic planning; Al Qadea doesn’t care which
party controls the White House.
Think About Your Vote
On the morning of November 2nd leave the television and the radios turned off
and think about where the country is heading and what kind of society you want
to live in. Ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years
ago and to what extent you have let “wedge issues” and fear mongering
get in the way of voting for what is ultimately in your own best interest.
Steven J. Gulitti
New York City