Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gettysburg Adddress: A chat with Frank Burke

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Friday, November 29, 2013

George Harrison died in 2001

Time flies and we remember that George Harrison died many years ago on this day in 2001.  He died of cancer.

George was the lead guitarist for The Beatles.  He joined John's first group along with Paul.  They eventually added Ringo before they recorded "Love me do" in 1962.

Enjoy "Something" and "Here comes the sun", two of his best songs from "Abbey Road".    

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Ernesto Lecuona died 50 years ago today

Ernesto Lecuona, the greatest Cuban composer of the 20th century, died on this day in 1963.  His story is one of music and more music:

"Ernesto Lecuona was born in Guanabacoa, Cuba, across the bay from Havana, on August 6, 1895, but for an unexplained reason he actually observed his birthday as August 7, 1896. His musical talent was already discernible at age three. Following initial piano studies with his sister, Ernestina, he continued at the Conservatorio Peyrellade with Antonio Saaverda and the famed Joaquin Nin. At 17 he graduated from the National Conservatory of Havana with a gold medal in performance. 

He had become a prodigious pianist indeed and his talents were soon on view for the first time outside Cuba when he appeared at Aeolian Hall, New York City in 1916. While his ties to his native Cuba were always strong, this initial performance in New York paved the way for an increasing presence in the United States, both as concert pianist and as composer, which eventually led to his permanent move to Florida in 1960, following the rise to power of the Communist leader, Fidel Castro in 1959. 

Lecuona produced a veritable torrent of music during his 70 years, including a number of major pop songs, such as the well-remembered, "Malaguena" the bright and rhythmic, "Siboney," with which one can almost hear the clicking accompaniment of castanets "Always in My Heart" and "Andalucia," better remembered for its Americanized version, “The Breeze and I," which became in the late '30s a popular recording hit by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

While we honor the late Ernesto Lecuona for his wonderful collection of memorable and tuneful songs, his talents in music-making were literally all over the map. In addition to more than 400 songs, he also created 176 piano pieces, 53 theater works (zarzuelas, operettas, theatrical revues and an opera), 31 orchestral scores, 6 pieces for piano and orchestra, 3 violin works, a trio, 5 ballets, 11 film scores and many incidental arrangements.

Lecuona's work stretched considerably beyond the printed score sheet. He was the co-founder of the Havana Symphony Orchestra, the Lecuona Cuban Boys Band and La Orquesta de la Habana. During the '30s and '40s, he was hired to create a number of motion picture scores for MGM, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, and his score for the 1942 Warner Bros. film Always in My Heart was nominated for an Academy Award. At one time he also served as honorary cultural attaché to the Cuban embassy in Washington. He also gave successful performances in Carnegie Hall.

Lecuona, who had moved permanently to Tampa, Florida in 1960, died three years later of a heart attack while on a trip to Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. He is buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY."

He died 50 years ago today and left us a wonderful musical legacy.  This is "Siempre en mi corazon" by Xavier Cougat:

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Frank Burke joins me for a Happy Thanksgiving message!

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President Lincoln Thanksgiving 1863

This is what President Lincoln said in 1863:

By the President of the United States of America.

"A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. 
To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
 In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. 
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. 
Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. T
hey are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. 
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

P.S. Frank Burke and I remembered Thanksgivings past and presidential proclamations:

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Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Have a very nice Thanksgiving Day with your family & friends!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our first Thanksgiving in the US: 'Why do we call a bird from Wisconsin a turkey'?

(My new American Thinker post)

First of all, let me say thanks to the AT family for letting me post a few thoughts over the last year.  

Let me say "muchas gracias" for my great family, parents and lots of good friends.

And now let me tell you about my first Thanksgiving in the US.

Like most immigrants, we learned about Thanksgiving when we got here.  I had heard of "The Lone Ranger," "Mickey Mouse," "Rin Tin Tin," "Mickey Mantle," New York Yankees, "Santa Claus" in Cuba but had no idea of the Thanksgiving holiday.  

Nevertheless, it was the kind of holiday that Cuban "refugees" could easily relate to:

1) we like family meals;

2) we like telling stories; and best of all,

3) we had a lot to be thankful for.

Our family's first Thanksgiving gave my dad "a day off" from those two jobs that he was working back then. It gave my cousins a chance to tell us all of those Mayflower and Pilgrim stories that they had learned the year before.

My uncle told us about The Mayflower Compact.  He said that it set the tone for the self government that would follow later. And we got to eat "turkey" and all of the other stuff that goes with it.  I had never eaten turkey before!

In the early evening, my mom and aunt were in the kitchen cleaning things up.  As we were putting the food and leftovers away, I said:   "No entiendo.....porque le dicen "turkey" a un pavo de Wisconsin"?   ("I don't understand. Why do they call a bird from Wisconsin a turkey"?)

No one knew the answer but the "turkey from Wisconsin" was great!

New Politics Podcasts with Silvio Canto Jr on BlogTalkRadio

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(BABALU) Honduras 1, Zelaya 0

(My new Babalu post)

On Sunday, the people of Honduras voted to reject Mrs Zelaya, who was nothing but a front for Mr Zelaya.
The public knows that Zelaya was a disaster, as The Washington Post pointed out:
"Beset by some of the worst poverty and crime in the Western Hemisphere, Honduran voters had many reasons to reject the Zelayas — starting with the ongoing disaster in the country the couple held up as a model, Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.
And then there is Mr. Zelaya’s record: As president four years ago, he attempted to stage an illegal referendum so as to gain a second term, which provoked his equally illegal ouster by the military.
Honduras had to spend a lot of precious time re instituting democracy and regaining full membership in the Organization of American States when what it really needed was an all-out national effort against rampant crime and corruption."
Honduras has a lot of problems, from poverty to the violence related to cartels.   However,  we congratulate the people of Honduras for refusing to buy into another round of Zelaya, or a disciple of Chavez.

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Cuban Americans and the first Thanksgiving in the US

TUESDAY: Cuban Americans remember their First Thanksgiving in the US.....Listen in now at #BlogTalkRadio

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Escuchame': Cuban dissidents say 'listen to me'!

(My new American Thinker post)

It's 90 miles south of Key West but it seems like millions from US public opinion.   

I understand that we have lots of domestic and foreign problems but can we take a minute and listen to dissidents screaming from the island?  

This is from The Miami Herald:    

" The regime's actions speak volumes about its true intentions:   

November began with a delay in the trial of three democracy activists arrested last year during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The church has a new pope, but these dissidents are still in jail.  

The following weekend, Cuban security officials detained 30 members of the Ladies in White in yet another crackdown on freedom advocates, and a government mob pummeled a prominent dissident, Guillermo Fariñas, when he dared complain to the police.  

On Oct. 14, police and a pro-government mob arrested 22 members of the Ladies in White who were marking the anniversary of the death of their founder.  

In September, more than 700 short-term detentions of dissidents were reported by Cuban human rights groups, one of the highest totals in years."     

Raul's reforms are a fraud.  Cuba is still the same Castro dictatorship that we've known for years.  They announce "reforms" but keep the Cuban people under a repressive and authoritarian system.

However, he is getting away with it because there are too many who would rather do business with Cuba than listen to the dissidents.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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What ever happened to protecting US citizens abroad?

(My new American Thinker post)

Don't look now, but a few US citizens are detained overseas.

In North Korea, a US citizen has been arrested, according to the BBC:    

"The couple's son, Jeffrey Newman, said earlier that Mr Merrill, a Korean War veteran, was taken off a plane by uniformed officers on 26 October at the end of a trip to North Korea.   
He was visiting the country with a friend, on a guided tour arranged with a travel agent "approved by the North Korean government for travel of foreigners", Jeffrey Newman said.  
US officials have not specifically confirmed the case, but have called on North Korea to "resolve the issue."

Over in Iran, a pastor is also under arrest:  

"Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year for practicing Christianity. The talks over Iran's nuclear program were seen by his family and those representing them as one of the most promising avenues yet for securing his release.     
But the White House confirmed over the weekend that Abedini's status was not on the table during those talks."

Down in Cuba,  Allan Gross has been detained for years:  

"Four years ago, Cuban security agents arrested an American subcontractor named 
Alan Gross, accused him of spying for the U.S., and sentenced him to 15 years in a Havana prison. Gross has been languishing there ever since, a victim of Obama administration inaction, Congressional meddling, and the difficulties of negotiating with a regime as mercurial and opaque as the government of Cuban strongman Raúl Castro."  

What is the Obama administration doing about this?  We are not suggesting a military attack but it would be nice if we showed a little muscle from time to time.  

We can not allow countries like Iran, North Korea and Cuba to arrest US citizens for bogus reasons. You get the feeling that no one fears the US anymore.   

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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57% disapprove: A bad Zogby for President Obama

The RCP average of job approvals polls is 40.8%.   The disapproval is 55%

The latest Zogby poll is devastating:    

""Trust is like virginity: once you lose it it's hard to get it back.
“Our brand new Zogby Analytics poll (November 18, 895 likely voters) shows President Obama's approval rating at 41 percent, not his lowest, but down two points from just three days before.
“Most ominous for Mr. Obama is that 57 percent now disapprove of his job. That is his worst number yet. This includes 57 percent of men and 55 percent of women; 51 percent of moderates, 24 percent of liberals and 24 percent of Democrats; 66 percent of independents and 40 percent of Hispanics.
“The November 30 deadline for straightening out the Obamacare website looms very large. I was tempted to give the president an F, but he bestowed the Medal of Freedom this week on ‘Mr. Cub’ Ernie Banks, a terrific thing to do."
Grade – D-"
This poll has a sample of 18,895 likely voters.  That's huge.

By the way, check out Mr Zogby's new book:

Click here for our show with Mr Zogby:

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Monday, November 25, 2013

(BABALU) The new Iran deal: “Un cuchillo en la espalda de Israel”

(My new Babalu post)

The new Iran deal is a perfect storm, or the kind of event that will have huge unintended consequences.

Let's look at the elements of this perfect storm:

1) The Obama administration is desperately looking for any kind of legacy. President Obama is trying to look consequential on the world scene. Why did he stab Israel?

2) The Europeans are desperately looking to do business with Iran. The Europeans have always been reluctant warriors in this game. The European economies desperately need business and they will do business with anyone.

3) Iran is jumping on the opportunity to get a deal that buys them for more time. In other words, they want time and we just gave it to them.

What does our best friend in the neighborhood say about this deal? They don't like it at all:

"Israeli leaders denounced the interim Iranian nuclear pact signed by the United States and five world powers as a “historic mistake” that does little to reverse Iran’s nuclear ambitions and instead makes the world a more dangerous place."

I hope that I'm dead wrong. However, it looks to me like North Korea 1994 all over again!

P.S. What about the pastor imprisoned in Iran? Did we forget him? I guess so!

Check out CANTO TALK here:

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Some quick thoughts about the Iran deal

We spoke with Bill Katz about this new deal with Iran.  We don't have a lot of details but Israel is not happy with it.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The 'law of the land' that President Obama keeps changing

(My new American Thinker post)

The "law of the land" just got "amended the Obama way" again. Do you remember all of those "in your face" statements about "this is the law of the land" and you can't change it!

I guess that it depends what the meaning of the phrase "law of the land" means!

According to news reports:   

"The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday it would allow consumers to start signing up for coverage under ObamaCare on Nov. 15, 2014, a month later than originally scheduled. The change does not affect those trying to enroll this year.     
Congressional Republicans accused the administration of shifting the dates for political reasons, to hide a spike in 2015 premiums, though information may already be available about 2015 premiums before the elections on Nov. 4."

We hear that President Obama taught constitutional law. 

What constitution did he teach? It can not be the one that I learned in school. 

As I recall, the US Constitution makes it very clear that the Congress legislates or makes the law and the executive enforces it.

Again, what constitution did this law professor teach?   

P. S. We spoke about this with Bill Katz & & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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Talking Dallas 1963 and the Fielder/Kinsler baseball trade

We spoke with Dave Michaels, long time Dallas radio personality and producer.

First, Dave was born and raised here and remembers the day that President Kennedy was killed.  We both agree that it was a great ceremony.  

Second, Dave and I discussed the Rangers/Tigers trade.  I like the trade for Texas.  My biggest question is whether Fielder will play first base or platoon between DH and first.

Click here for the interview:

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dallas does a great job remembering November 22, 1963

(My new American Thinker post)

I was in Cuba on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.  I can still remember the phone ringing, my mother said hello and then yelled "Mataron a Kennedy", or "they killed Kennedy." Later, my father said that he had been killed in Dallas, Texas. Who would have believed that I'd be living there someday?

Let me congratulate Dallas, its government and citizens for a great ceremony.  Mayor Rawlings delivered a nice speechI loved what David McCullough, historian and author of that wonderful Truman biography said:
"It was an exciting time. He talked of all that needed to be done, of so much that mattered - equal opportunity, unity of purpose, education, the life of the mind and spirit, art, poetry, service to one's country, the courage to move forward into the future, the cause of peace on earth."
Dallas has carried this terrible burden for 50 years. Dallas did not kill JFK. It was Lee Harvey Oswald.

We look back to remember a sad day but it's also time to move on, as Steve Blow wrote:
"Fifty years out, the rest of the world can now see Dallas in proper historical context. It's time for us to see ourselves in that way, too.  
A recent symposium here offered fascinating discussion, but I hope to never again see an event with this one's focus: "Understanding Tragedy - The Impact of the JFK Assassination on Dallas."  
Enough. We really need to get over ourselves, horrible as that day was for the city. The world has moved on. We should, too. 
Many young adults across the country don't even know that Kennedy died here. For lots of kids, the only Oswald they know is a blue octopus on the Nick Jr. network.  
Not for one minute am I suggesting that we minimize our history. If anything, I'm saying it's time to fully embrace it - but as history, not as a wound to be endlessly examined.  
Let's use this 50th anniversary to shift the focus forevermore from ourselves and our hurt to the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy.  
His presidency stood for looking ahead, not back, for focusing on nation, not self.
In Dallas, Texas, too."
Yes, it's time to move on. 

P. S. You can hear our Kennedy special show with Fausta Wertz plus Jerome Bailey & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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(Babalu) And my mother said: “Mataron a Kennedy”

(My new Babalu post)

November 22 means the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. It always takes me back to that day in Cuba when we got the news.
We were "gusano waiting for el telegrama" to leave Cuba. We eventually left in July '64.
It was a time of terrible tension and fear that "el comite" would find some excuse to delay our exit or make life miserable for our parents.
It was the daily grind of a repressive communist society. You couldn't trust anybody beyond family and a very select number of friends.
Such is life in a communist country. Yes, that was the "gusano way" in Cuba!
My father was working at a friend's "pasteleria" after the banks were "nationalized", i.e. stolen from their rightful owners.
My mom was constantly arguing with the local CDR president about food shortages. She would always scream at them: "Esta revolucion no tiene pan o leche"!
On the afternoon of November 22nd, my brother and I were playing that game of "beisbolito" that we loved so much. ("Beisbolito" was a board game that Cuban boys used to play. I miss those "beisbolito" games against my brother. We had teams, batting averages and play by play broadcasts!)
The phone rang and my mom answered. She said the usual "oigo" and yelled: "Mataron a Kennedy".
My father got home a bit later and tuned in the Voice of America for more news. We got more details, such as that it happened in a place called Dallas, in the state of Texas, and that someone had been picked up by the police.
Dallas, Texas? That's where I live now!
Later that night, or maybe the next day, I sat down with my father and watched Castro talk about the assassination. I don't recall what he said but my father found it interesting. I learned years later that there were all kinds of conspiracy theories about the assassination.
The funeral came a few days later. We heard it on VOA. I recall everybody talking about the little boy saluting the flag. (I saw that picture of little John later when we came to the US).
From the communist takeover, to the tragedy at The Bay of Pigs, to the tense Missile Crisis to the assassination of President Kennedy, it seems like I was in the middle of some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century.
Click here for Friday's show:

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Stuff that Michael Moore did not tell you about Cuba

(My new American Thinker post)

There is something very bad going on in Cuba. 

First, we hear of health care but:  

"Officers of the Ministry of Education (MINED),   Central Region, at a government meeting on Monday the 11th, suspended the Schools in the Countryside program for November and December, because of the complicated epidemiological situation in the province.   
Guilfredo Martin Betancourt, a MINED official, said the province is experiencing cases of cholera and dengue fever, without giving specifics with regards to numbers, given the environmental and social indiscipline problems."

Second, we hear that 1,000,000 homes in Cuba do not have running water.  This one is a real shock to any Cuban who remembers pre-Castro Cuba.  We had a lot of problems in pre-Castro but running water was not one of them.

Let's file these two under "What Michael Moore missed when he went to Cuba".

We hear of reforms and reforms but the island's ballplayers would rather play under "yankee imperialismo".  It's amazing because these are young men who grew up in Castro's Cuba and learned that "playing ball for money" was a capitalist sin. 

We just learned that more Cuban players have "sinned" and left that workers' paradise that so many of our college professors love so much.

Here is the story:   

"Erisbel Arruebarruena, Cuba's starting shortstop in the WBC, and reliever Raicel Iglesias are said to be training in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, respectively, according to the Spanish daily El Nuevo Herald in Miami.   
Both players are seeking to establish residency in those countries so they can apply for free agency and negotiate with MLB teams.    
In late October, their WBC teammate Jose Dariel Abreu signed a six-year, $68 million deal with the Chicago White Sox, the largest contract ever given a Cuban defector.   
Also in October, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero for four years and $28 million.   
Arruebarruena and Iglesias, both 23, are not expected to command those types of figures, but they have drawn interest from big-league clubs."

Some major league team is going to get a nice shortstop and bullpen help.

More importantly, two more Cubans have voted with their feet and told the world what they think of the island's reforms.   

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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Preparing the president for the next Obamacare disaster

(My new American Thinker post)

We've heard up to now that President Obama was kept in the dark about ObamaCare's problems.

I hope that Valerie Jarrett changes "the locks to the gate" because there is a lot of very bad news coming, according to news reports:

"A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall -- right before the mid-term elections.   

The next round of cancellations and premium hikes is expected to hit employees, particularly of small businesses. While the administration has tried to downplay the cancellation notices hitting policyholders on the individual market by noting they represent a relatively small fraction of the population, the swath of people who will be affected by the shakeup in employer-sponsored coverage will be much broader." 

In other words, the next round of bad news is going to be really bad. It may happen 30 days before the November election.  It will involve lots and lots of Americans covered by employer provided insurance.

It won't be pretty. Or "Tough as stewed skunk" as they say in Texas.

Is anyone preparing President Obama?  I hope so because his leadership is on the line.   

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

Tags: ObamaCare problems  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

Memories of the day that President Kennedy was killed

We looked back at the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.

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“Le ronca el mango” and other things that people are saying about the ObamaCare premiums!

(My new Babalu post)

You don't have to read any polls to figure out that the public is very disappointed.
Just talk to them. Ask adults about a job or young people about looking for one!
Or ask them about paying higher premiums so that ObamaCare can work.
Let me tell you what one of my sons' friends said recently: "That's not what he said during the campaign"!
That's right!
He said a lot of things but paying higher premiums was not one of them,  
""All we ever heard about Obamacare is that it would lower our deductibles and premiums," said Jennifer Slafter, 40 of Mabel, Minn. "That's just not what's happened.
""Slafter and her husband, Steve, are scrambling to find affordable care for themselves and their two children.
The exchange's Blue Cross Blue Shield plan was $1,087 a month with a $6,000 deductible, while a Medica plan was $877 a month with a $12,700 deductible.
Both are steeper than their current plan.
"Everything got higher," said Slafter, who is still waiting to hear whether they qualify for a premium subsidy.
But even if they do, she said she'd still find it very tough to meet the deductibles."
So the Affordable Health Care Act is not affordable.   What a shock!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Maybe TX gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis will finally talk about something other than abortion

(My new American Thinker post)

The Supreme Court refused to block the new Texas abortion restrictions

We remind you that abortion was always legal in Texas.In fact, there is a clinic on LBJ Highway open for business and doing just fine. The issue was not "Roe v Wade" but rather some sensible restrictions to protect women at the clinics.

The best part of the decision is that we will finally get to hear from Senator Davis, the presumed Democrat nominee for governor of Texas, about something other than abortion.

I went to Senator Davis' website and examined her views on 4 key issues.

First, how exactly will she make education better in Texas? She wants to 'invest" in education, the classic talking point from the left.

Question: Is she willing to give parents more choice in public education?

Second, she is very vague on economic development.  Again, she repeats the talking points about putting "Texans first."

Aren't we already first in job growth in the US?  After all, you see moving vans going from California to Texas.

Third, she wants government to be more accountable. I do too.  Will Senator Davis call on President Obama to be more open on ObamaCare?

Fourth, she loves veterans. I do too.  Wonder how many veterans love her?

Last, but not surprising, her website does not talk much about abortion.  Maybe her consultants read all of those polls that a majority of women in Texas do not support abortion in the 5th month.

The GOP should win this race, unless they nominate a very poor candidate or a 3rd party magically appears like in Virginia.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr

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