Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Grapes of Wrath part II

Oklahoma political Czar's put pressure on the Department of Agriculture to save 30,000 people in that state.

The panhandle is made up of three counties hit hard this year by a drought similar to the dust bowl of the 30's.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture listed Texas, Beaver and Cimarron counties as a disaster area, which makes local workers eligible for low-interest loans and aid. State Agriculture Secretary Terry Peach called for the declaration on June 5, but it wasn’t until three national politicians — U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, all Republicans — wrote letters to the USDA last week that the declaration was made.

In this particular case Coburn has come to the aid of his countrymen like a knight in dusty armor. This is so hard to believe given his record of one that has held back spending to any group, especially 30,000 folks caught in a drought of bad luck.

But Coburn is no hero. Far from it. In his three years in the senate, Coburn has earned the reputation of Dr. No, abusing the senate’s "Hold" privilege, a technique which allows senators to "object to bringing a bill or nomination to the floor for consideration", to prevent "the Senate leadership" from bringing matters to a vote. He's the senator who is against government spending and those dreadful attachments called earmarks.

Coburn is the same knight that last Christmas put another group of 30,000 on "Hold". I'm referring to the ALS Registry Act of 2007 (S.1382) that would allow the CDC to collect data on 30,000 coping annually with ALS. The ALS Registry Act creates a single nationwide patient registry for incidences of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to improve ALS research, disease management and the development of standards of care.

The truth is the ALS Registry Act is a stand alone bill, not an earmark. Unlike the number of people affected by the Oklahoma drought, the national number of 30,000 for ALS is at best a terrible guess. "You cannot connect the dots if no one is counting the dots," S.1382 will start counting the dots.

ALS is a progressive neurological disorder that leads to paralysis and death, ninety percent usually die within three to five year. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. These patients are not asking for any type aid and are not threaten by a drought but worse are threaten by death. People with ALS die so quickly that there far fewer of them in our midst at any moment in time. That doesn't mean that the threat of this disease leaves our midst.

Join together with patients coping with ALS in an important cause. Please ask your state Senators for their continued support for the ALS Registry Act. Ask them to help us convince Sen. Tom Coburn to release his "Hold" on S. 1382. The ALS Registry Act is needed to build on projects underway in three test cities and is supported even by this Administration.
ALS patients are ready to be counted.
Please join our fight today!


Anonymous said...

It seems ironic that a self-proclaimed earmark watchdog is forcing a bunch of focused, individual bills to be packaged into something much bigger in order to get things voted upon. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Drought aid stopped for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.
By Jerry Bohnen / KTOK Radio / OK.
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oklahoma U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn along with U.S. Representative Frank Lucas have unleased stinging criticism of environmental groups who went to federal court to stop drought release for drought-stricken farmers in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
A Federal judge in Washington State blocked the USDA's move to allow farmers and ranchers to cut hay and graze the land including 210,000 acres in Oklahoma as well as 583,000 in Texas, 253,000 acres in Colorado and 177,000 in New Mexico.
"It's simply outrageous that several national liberal special interest groups have blocked critical federal assistance," said Senator Inhofe in a statement from his office.
Senator Coburn agreed and said, "It is an outrage that the livelihood of Oklahoma ranchers and farmers is being put in jeopardy because of liberal special interest groups."
Representative Frank Lucas, a western Oklahoma farmer and rancher said the use of the CRP land was greatly needed.
District court judge John C. Coughenour in Seattle issued the recent temporary restraining order at the request of the National Wildlife Federation and six of its affiliates. It affected 24 million acres of CRP land opened by the USDA. The Federation claimed the release of the land would 'deliver a devastating blow to the nation's soil, water and wildlife habitat'.