Monday, May 17, 2010

BP Oil Spill Should Change Minds On Off-Shore Drilling...

"A Research Vessel with Scientists has discovered that the oil spill might be much worse than estimated.  Scientists say they have found giant plumes of oil in the deep waters of the Gulf, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick.  The plume reports added to the many questions that have been raised about the amount of leaking oil, which many scientists have said is far higher than the official estimate of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.  That estimate was reached using satellite imagery, flyovers and visual observation, company officials have said."  This is from a New York Times article out today.  It is not good news for anyone involved.  The fact that 210,000 gallons of oil are leaking out into the Ocean every day was bad enough.  At that rate, if the spill is not stopped or significantly slowed, it will surpass the size of the infamous 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill by Father's day.  But with these new findings, it would likely happen before that with oil likely leaking out faster than estimated.
All of this should not be lost on the American people.  Everyone' focus right now should be on stopping the leak, cleaning up, and helping the people and animals who will likely be affected by this for the rest of their lives.
But after that, Americans need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and check their priorities.  Are we going to keep allowing big oil lobbyists infiltrate our elected representatives?  Or will we hold their feet to the fire and force them to enact tougher drilling laws and safety standards that will help to prevent this sort of disaster?  Another problem has been enforcing the laws already on the books.  According to USA Today,
"The federal agency that inspects oil rigs, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, fell far short of its own policy of doing at least one inspection each month, according to an Associated Press Investigation.
Since January 2005, the agency conducted at least 16 fewer inspections aboard the Deepwater Horizon than the policy specifies, a sharp decrease from prior years, the AP reports.
The MMS, which both regulates the oil industry and collects billions in royalties from it, also allowed dozens of oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without required permits, according to a New York Times Report.
The story says one of the approvals include the Deepwater Horizon well that exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf each day.
In addition, the agency did little to fund research on how better to clean up oil spills, the Houston Chronicle Reports. It spent a tenth of a penny on such research for every dollar it collected in royalties for drilling rights since 1990."
All of this should make Americans re-assess whether or not we should be drilling for oil so close to our precious shores.  Wouldn't it be smarter to focus our time and resources on developing renewable sources of energy that are already out there like Hydrogen, Algae and other technologies?  What about electric or battery powered cars hitting the market?  If we force our elected officials to give tax breaks and funding to small businesses to help develop this technology (much like President Obama has called for), wouldn't that help to speed up the time it will take to implement this into our vehicles in a timely and cost effective manner?  All of these seem much smarter, much safer and much cheaper than lifting drilling bans off of shore for the first time that will let Big Oil drill in places that put much of us and our local economies in danger.
I for one hope the President reverses course on his recent decision to authorize some off shore drilling over the next decade.  I know he was trying to extend an Olive Branch to Republicans in doing so, but at what cost?
Mark "Marky Mark" Grimaldi
The Leslie Marshall Show
"The Only True Democracy In Talk Radio - Of, For and By The People"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Pope and The Catholic Church...

I thought I was going to fall down and faint when I heard about the Pope's personal preacher comparing the criticism of the Catholic Church to the violence suffered by the Jews in the Holocaust. Now I realize he was quoting a letter from a Jewish friend; but none the less, it was irresponsible, inconsiderate and offensive; especially on Good Friday
The Catholic Church aided Nazi's in obtaining passports to escape Germany (as well as trial, imprisonment and perhaps execution) after the Holocaust at the end ( and even during) World War II.  The Catholic Church "hid" pedophile priests as they relocated them from parish to parish throughout the U.S. and even the world.
The plight suffered by the Jews in the Holocaust, as well as the 5 million plus additional victims of the Holocaust whether they be handicapped, old, deformed, gypsies, political prisoners, non Aryans, Jehovah's witnesses, gays, etc. to name a few, simply cannot be compared with a world pointing their finger at a religious institution that has been hiding pedophiles and refusing to listen to the cries of the hundreds of thousands of victims worldwide for decades.
Are priests so removed from real life by not being married and having children that they simply cannot comprehend the harm done to a child when they are sexually molested? Don't they realize the children have been robbed of their innocence? Their purity? Their virginity? This boggles my mind, because these priests are part of a religion that not only holds life so dear they believe a condom interferes with its creation; this is a religion, a church which prohibits pre marital sex, fornication.  So how can fornication forced upon a child by an adult, a priest none the less be ignored!?!?!!  This forced fornication by the way is rape.  These children were powerless. They looked up to these men as representatives of God- for some, the closest thing to God on earth. And doesn't the Pope state he is God's representative on earth? Would God turn his back on children who cry out for justice day and night?!? 
There are some that say the Pope must address these issues. There are some that say the Pope must answer to why he ignored more than one letter, when he was John Ratzenberg, regarding a priest who allegedly molested more than 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin.  The Pope must address why priests who are accused of such crimes are simply forgiven and moved and are not given up to law enforcement authorities.  And where is the outrage among Catholics!?!! There are some who say this Pope must step down. Some who believe this Pope's Anti-Semitism is clear; from his being taught as a member of the Hitler youth, to the honoring of a man who denies the Holocaust and now this, this comparison with the Holocaust.
What violent act(s) have been brought upon the church or this pope!?! What violent act/acts have been brought upon the Priests who are pedophiles for that matter!?!!  The only violence is upon the victims, the children, who in being sexually abused, were physically, mentally and emotionally abused. These priests robbed them of their souls, their hopes, and often, their faith in God. They brought in confusion about their sexuality; their ability to be intimate, to form strong emotional bonds, to have children of their own.  In my mind, what these priests have done is worse than murder.  And that is what the Holocaust was. A systematic murder, a mass ethnic cleansing of Europe by Adolf Hitler and his willing participants, his willing "Catholic" Nazi's. 
The church has apologized for not doing enough during the Holocaust- but it never apologized for remaining silent and turning its head. It never apologized for helping aid in Anti-Semitism by teaching for centuries that the Jews murdered Jesus. (Who by the way wouldn't be anyone's savior had he not been crucified)  The church hasn't apologized to the victims or their families for the betrayal or for the abuse, and now today, rather than apologize for their remarks, for their offensive comparison of the Catholic Church's' being criticized to the violence against the Jews in the Holocaust, during the week of Passover!
I say the Pope needs to speak to these issues or step down. I say the Catholics throughout the world need to cry out to their religious leaders to right this wrong.  I say they must do this, or you all must stop putting money in their baskets. And speaking of money- the next time you're at the Vatican, ask them to melt some of that gold to pay the victim's for all the church has put them through, or at least by the people of Mexico and Calcutta condoms.
Leslie Marshall
The Leslie Marshall Show
"The Only True Democracy In Talk Radio - Of, For and By The People."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Enough is Enough...

As I sit with my family and friends watching the U.S.-Canada hockey game, it makes me feel good to see how the Olympics bring us together.  It also gets me thinking.  If tragedy like the Earthquake in Haiti, and Athletic Competition like the Olympics can bring us together as nation, why can't we come together on issues that affect all of us?

Many in and out of Congress have said this is the most divided they have seen the Congress and the Country.  We made it through Slavery.  A Civil War.  Pearl Harbor.  Two World Wars.  September 11th.  And you're telling me we can't come together today? 

I'm not saying we have to agree on EVERYTHING.  But aren't we grown up enough as a Nation to find a middle ground on monumental issues such as Reforming Health Care, protecting our planet, and Reforming Financial system loopholes that got us into this mess?  Finding bipartisan solutions to these issues could really help your average American family.

When Indiana Senator Evan Bayh left Congress because two Senators who co-authored a bill with him voted against it themselves, that should have struck a chord with the American people.  Instead of one group of Americans talking about seceding from the nation and not paying their taxes; and another saying to ignore the other party completely, we should focus our efforts on telling our Congressmen and women that we want them to work with the other side with the main goal of getting legislation passed that will help everyday Americans.  Regardless of how you feel about President Obama, one good example of this is when he gave 95% of Americans a tax break this year.  That is something that helps American families.  We need the Congress to start moving forward on common sense legislation to fix obvious, glaring problems that Americans are facing every day.   They need to start worrying less about the next Election and fundraising events.  If they work to pass good legislation for their constituents and prove they can reach across the aisle, that will do more to help get them re-elected than any fundraiser.

Helping more Americans get healthcare while stopping costs from skyrocketing, reforming the financial system so the irresponsible behavior on Wall Street that got us into this mess is no longer rewarded, and working to protect our planet, would all be a good start for Congress to meet half way on.  We've had enough of the logjam and the stalling tactics; it's time to get stuff done.


Mark 'Marky Mark' Grimaldi

Executive Producer

The Leslie Marshall Show

'The Only True Democracy in Talk Radio – Of, For and By The People'

Friday, January 29, 2010

My 15 Minutes of Fame....

When I was about 5 or 6 years old, my grandmother brought me to New York City and we walked up and down Fifth Avenue. I remember looking in the shop windows and hoping the mannequin would wink at me as they had at Marlo Thomas on my favorite TV show at the time, "That Girl." They didn't. I think it was Marlo Thomas that got me interested in show business.

Perhaps it was being the only child for nearly 8 years and the only grandchild or niece for 5 that put in me the desire to be the center of attention. Who knows. I guess I've been searching for my 15 seconds of fame for a long time. I sought it out in plays I did in High School and College. I sought it out by dating the President of one of the fraternity's at college, the big man on campus. And then I sought it out by being on radio and eventually television.

On radio, I have worked nearly everywhere it seems: Boston, Miami, Washington DC, Providence, Buffalo, Houston, New York, Milwaukee, West Palm Beach, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Sacramento and L.A. About 7 years ago, I started doing television to further that hunt for the 15 seconds: MSNBC, Fox News Channel where I did shows like "Hannity & Colmes, " back in the day and "Kudlow & Co" on CNBC. I was even a regular member of the varsity panel on "The Dennis Miller Show" on CNBC. As I improved my skills on television, I was asked to be on Anderson Cooper on CNN, "Showbiz Tonite" on HLN and then came Prime News & Issues with Jane Velez on that network too. Fox started a business channel and I did "Happy Hour," "America's Nightly Scoreboard," "Bulls & Bears" and on Fox News Channel, "Your World With Neil Cavuto" and then finally, after a long hiatus, "The O'Reilly Factor."

Now I've been on the radio over 22 years and I am syndicated for the second time around. My articles have been published in reputable places like "US News & World Report" and I'm seen on national television nearly everyday, definitely every other. Believe it or not, perhaps because I live in Los Angeles; home to the Hollywood types and dozens upon dozens of stars, I had given up on that 15 seconds.

Now I know some of you reading this might think "Leslie, please, you're on national radio and television- you get more than 15 seconds- you get hours! But it's not the same thing. I'm content, happy, truly and stopped seeking it-the feeling of that 15 seconds of fame. Then the other day, when I had completely forgotten @ Ms Marlo Thomas, I was going into the hair salon and an older gentleman stopped me. He asked me if I knew him and I had to admit, I had never seen him before ( I never forget a face).

He said I looked familiar, asked where he might know me from...for a moment I thought....does he "know" me from t.v.?....quickly my crazy idea turned around when he asked if I worked at the hair salon. I said no, just a client. As I turned to walk into the salon, the old man grabbed my arm and said :"Wait, I know who you're Leslie Marshall! I've seen you on the O'Reilly Factor!" I nearly fainted. Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills amidst the big celebs and someone not only recognized me, but they knew my name.

Now I'd like to lie to you and say "it didn't feel as great as I thought it would to have my 15 seconds..." but it did, it felt awesome and he was awesome. He said he didn't agree with a thing I said, but respected me for saying it. He asked for a hug rather than an autograph and I obliged. So.....I got it...the 15 felt great.....and you know, I could've sworn that the mannequin in the window in the shop next door actually winked at me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Financial Reform at America's Doorstep


Real reform of the Industry that led to the collapse of our Economy is perhaps right around the corner. This week the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression, in hopes of preventing a similar crisis.

In order for this reform to become reality, the bill would still have to go through the Senate and be signed into law by the President. But this is by far the closest Americans have been to getting real financial reform from the conditions that caused the Recession.
Here are some highlights of the bill that passed the House:

1. Americans no longer would be responsible for bailouts, other large financial firms would. This would be done by breaking up large financial firms if their size poses a major risk to the economy, as well as seizing and dismantling such firms if they’re about to go bankrupt. A new $150-billion fund, paid for by the financial industry, would cover the costs of any government takeovers.

2. The bill also would create a powerful new agency to protect consumers in the financial marketplace. It would outlaw many predatory and abusive mortgage practices and for the first time regulate hedge funds and private pools of capital.

3. Company shareholders would get a nonbinding vote on executive compensation. This would do a lot to prevent CEOs from getting giant bonuses when they actually lose the company money. (Which happened on multiple occasions leading up the Financial Meltdown).

4. The bill would make other major changes to federal oversight of the financial system, including imposing new requirements on credit rating agencies and the trading of complex securities known as derivatives.

5. The Bill would create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The new agency would have the power to write rules for a variety of financial activities involving loans or credit, to monitor large banks for compliance and to ban products and business practices it deemed unfair, deceptive or abusive.The agency would take over from the Federal Reserve the ability to write consumer protection rules and from banking regulators the authority to monitor financial firms for compliance with those rules.It's one of several ways the Fed would lose power under the legislation. Lawmakers have sharply criticized the central bank's performance leading up to the crisis. Under the bill, the Fed's emergency lending authority would be decreased and it would face congressional audits of more of its activities. But the Fed would gain a new role in regulating large firms deemed to be a potential risk to the economy.Consumer and public interest groups support creating the agency, citing the failure of the Fed and other regulators to rein in subprime mortgages.

The President of Consumers Union, Jim Guest, hit the nail on the head: "We need an aggressive watchdog in Washington that looks out for the best interests of consumers. This agency would crack down on lenders and banks that abuse their customers and it would provide information consumers need to make informed financial decisions."

Large financial firms have fought aggressively against creating the agency; which doesn’t come as a surprise since it would no longer allow them to receive taxpayer bailouts. Any bailouts would be on their own dime and the dime of their fellow Giant Financial Firms.
Of course politics will play into whether or not the bill gets signed into law. House Democrats said the new regulations would reverse years of lax oversight under President Bush that let risky Wall Street behavior shatter the economy.

Perhaps the most damning blow to the Republican Party is that not a single Republican Congressman or Congresswoman voted in favor of the financial reform bill. There are also the giant financial lobbying firms that are trying to kill the bill before it can be passed through the Senate. The Senate bill differs in some key areas, and action there lags behind the House, making legislation unlikely to reach the president before early next year. President Obama urged Congress to "act as quickly as possible." In the meantime, the House has sent a clear message that can be summed up nicely by Nancy Pelosi, “We are sending a clear message to Wall Street: The party is over. Never again will reckless behavior on the part of a few threaten fiscal stability of our people."

Mark “Marky Mark” Grimaldi
Executive Producer
The Leslie Marshall Show
“The Only True Democracy In Talk Radio – Of, For and By You The People.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What I am thankful for

Since this is Thanksgiving weekend, rather than talk politics, which will be my next blog, I decided to talk about what I'm thankful for.

Now before you log off and think I'm being sappy, give me a chance here. Throughout most of my life, and I'm not that old yet (!), I have heard people say: "To your health," "At least you've got your health...," "Happy, healthy and wise," ...I think you get the point. Well, this year, I'm really happy for my health. Or, I should say, I appreciate having my health. We all know as we age, the back doesnt bend as quickly, and the aches and pains become more apparent....but then there are more serious issues.

I recently lost my Aunt Marilyn to lung cancer- although she was near 80, that was young considering her brother, my grandfather, and even her parents lived well into their 90's. (Watch our conservatives- Leslie Marshall's got a long life span ahead! haha!) Just two weeks later, on my mother's side of the family, my Uncle Leon died of brain cancer. Just months ago her was fine- and then, while having dinner with friends, dropped to the floor. When the doctor said he had brain cancer, and that an operation could give him a 50-50 chance, surely we all thought he would survive after 3 of them!

When they sent him home with hospice care experts tell you it could be months, what they didnt tell us and didnt know is that it would be a few days. So I have stood by the funerals, burials, memorial services of 2 in my family. And I must admit- which is bizarre- but I think we all do it...who is next? When will it be? Then my mind starts to wander into when will I die? Will I see my children grow up? Marry? Have children? How will I die? Will it be slow? painful? Will I die in my sleep like my Dad did?

Being a pessimist, it is hard to have the Pollyanna view of life- that "live each day like it's your last" however true it may ring for me is harder in my "glass half empty" philosophy of life. Most of us suffer many losses in life- parents, grandparents, pets- and as we get older- friends- and for some of us, like myself, our own children. These past weeks I have been ill. I had the flu, then a cough, a sore throat, lost my voice ( which is pretty bad for a talk host!) and then got walking pneumonia. When I thought I had turned the corner, I got sick again- I wont make you sick with the details. Even as I write this- I'm still not 100%- but all of this is small in comparison with the health issues so many people are afflicted with throughout the world- and of course, this is small in the grand scheme of life- my life- your life- anyone's life- I'm sure on my deathbed I wont be thinking: "wow- I wonder how come my flu lasted so long in 2009?!" And before I close, I have a confession to make: One the 2nd part of a 3 part series on The O'Reilly Factor in which Bill interviewed Sarah Palin, Bill had me on after the interview to discuss my opinion of Ms Palin and her reponses to his questions. Of the hundreds of emails, or should I clarify and say "hate mails," a few, usually from a femal would say something like :"you dont like Sarah Palin because you're jealous!"

Well to be honest, there were years in my life, where a woman who was doing better than me professionally, was more attractive, thinner, etc. would make me jealous- to be honest. BUT.....I can honestly and truly say, (and it feels good!) that I am happy in my life now. I must be honest again- I fear saying that- often when I have expressed to the world "I'm Happy" bad things have happened like : losing a job, my father dying or finding out my son had a terminal illness.......but for the first time in a long time- without sounding sappy again or even conceited- I'm happy being me- being Leslie Marshall.

I dont aspire to be Oprah, Sarah Palin or any other female who makes more money, has a bigger career. I am truly blessed to do what I love, to have a radio show that continues to grow in a bad economy; to be asked to be on television on programs that are so highly rated and respected as "The O'Reilly Factor," to have 2 healthy children, a good marriage to a supportive man whom I love, an incredible team who believes in me and my show, a roof over my head and health- physically, emotionally and mentally. So to conclude- here's saying Happy Thanksgiving to all of you- be thankful for what you've got- dont mourn what you've loss too long or you'll miss the living you've got to do- because none of us know for how long that will be.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Healthcare Reform: The Public Option and Single Payer

As a caller on Leslie's show exhibited this week, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the Public Option and Single Payer.  Some of this is natural.  Some is intentional.  Lobbying firms for the Giant Health Insurance Companies hope for confusion and misinformation to dominate what should be a conversation on real reform. 
The truth is, even if President Obama wanted single payer, it would never be able to happen from the Health Care Bills in the House and Senate now.  Separate bills would have to be introduced into the House and Senate and would have to be voted on.  So some people's boogie man theory on the Public Option somehow transforming into Single Payer is legally impossible.   Anyone who reads, writes or just plain understands bills in the House or Senate can tell you that.

The Public Option would compete with Private Health Insurance Plans, not eliminate them. 

Imagine if you have three grocery stores in your city, and they all conspire to raise the cost of bread.  Say bread was a dollar a loaf, and the grocery store made a 90 cent profit from that.  Then say all three grocery stores agreed to raise it to three dollars a loaf.  Even though the bread is the same (or getting worse if we're comparing it to health care), you have no choice but to pay more for it.  Then every year the three grocery stores conspire to raise the cost of bread.  $4.00 dollars the next year, $5.00 the year after that, $6.00 the next year (all while the bread is getting worse).  

Then all of a sudden, a fourth grocery store comes along who is not conspiring with the others.  They charge $1.00 a loaf, and still make a healthy 90 cent profit.  Eventually word gets out, and Capitalism and competition come into effect.  People start shopping at the fourth grocer to buy the $1.00 bread because they're no longer getting ripped off.  Sure enough, the other grocers (due to competition), have to stop ripping people off.  They now charge between $1.00 and $2.00 dollars per loaf, and still make a profit between 90 cents and $1.90.  So they're forced to make their prices fair, or raise the quality of the product if they're going to keep raising the price.

This makes the market fair for the customer again, all while still allowing the businesses to make profits.  But doesn't allow them to conspire to rip people off and take advantage of them.  That, in short, is what the Public Option is.

It is not single payer; single payer would be only Government run Health Care.  A Public Option would be just like having another company out there that you could buy insurance from.  So now instead of having say three options like Cigna, Blue Cross and Wellpoint.  You'd have Cigna, Blue Cross, Wellpoint and a Public Option plan.

It will help to stop Health Insurance costs from rising every single year, which they have done in this country for decades now.  The prices are going up, even thought the actual care is getting worse.  

The quality of health care for millions of Americans insured through commercial or public plans has stopped improving for the first time in more than a decade, according to an industry accreditation group's report issued two weeks ago.

Don't take my word for it, check out the physical proof:

So Americans are paying more for Health Care, even though it is getting worse.  You cannot argue with that, it is a hard fact.

Despite us Americans paying by far the most for Health Care anywhere in the world, we have the 37th best care, according to independent non-partisan reports. 

Again, here is the hard proof that cannot be argued with:

The bottom line is, if we do nothing, the Healthcare companies have no reason to stop charging us more and more every year, for care that is actually getting worse.
Mark "Marky Mark" Grimaldi
Executive Producer
The Leslie Marshall Show
"The Only True Democracy In Talk Radio: Of, For and By The People"

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