Some time during the Reagan campaign, our government became the enemy of a huge number of people in this country. Paranoia over a democratically elected government enshrined by voters and a sophisticated legal and political system is usually confined to a groups of paramilitary paranoids that call themselves preppers, read too much Ayn Rand, and never emotionally develop beyond, say high school. Through the money of the Koch Brothers, the pulpit connivings of Pat Robertson and the paranoid shrieking of folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh that have failed at every endeavor but snake oil peddling on the radio, we now have entire sections of the country that gerrymander legislators to send these freaks to Congress.
Perry and like-minded Republican governors subscribe to the slash-and-burn economic philosophy — a belief that “less” will somehow become “more.” In Texas, he has implemented this vision with gusto, cutting taxes and slashing funding for critical middle-class priorities such as public schools, higher education, health care and infrastructure. The results? Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation, 10th in the rate of poverty and 50th in the percent of residents with even basic health insurance.
And while Perry likes to promote the job creation in Texas during his time in office, he leaves out a critical point: The jobs “miracle” he touts is driven by low-paying, non-sustainable jobs. This year, Texas — tied with Mississippi — leads the nation for the percentage of hourly paid workers earning equal to or less than the minimum wage. More than one in 10 workers nationwide earning at or below the minimum wage works in Texas.
Let’s not even go into the social costs of letting Texas businesses operate however they want to. Just ask the towns and farms that no longer have water and are nsubjected to earthquakes due to fracking. We can also mention the town that mostly disappeared from a fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people. Wait until Texas property owners and taxpayers get the bills for those kinds of preventable disasters. I’m fairly certain that northern Texas will soon be paying more for water than the world will pay for its oil. In fact, I’ll stake all my years drawing supply and demand graph on it.
Then, there is a new kick-the-can down the road effort on the 2013 Farm Bill that’s going to leave a lot of American children starving. Republican members of Congress appear to still think that folks live large off of Food Stamps. It’s the old untrue Welfare Queen canard peddled by Reagan back in the 1980s come back to haunt us.
An extension does not solve problems. Congress is currently engaged in a philosophical debate about federal nutrition programs, namely, the farm bill’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Some members of Congress believe the program and its current level of benefits and eligibility requirements are appropriate, particularly in this challenging economic time. Others erroneously believe the program is fraught with waste, fraud and abuse and want to cut funding and benefits to vulnerable families.
Regardless of where one falls on this issue, it is clear that an extension of the current farm bill is inadequate from both perspectives. Members wanting to preserve existing funding for this vital safety net program should welcome the long-term policy certainty provided by a five-year comprehensive bill, rather than leaving SNAP vulnerable to cuts year after year. And members interested in cutting funding from SNAP won’t achieve any of the so-called reforms they desire without the passage of a new five-year bill; an extension merely perpetuates the status quo.
Rather than waste time on a nutrition-only bill to be brought up in the House next week that would leave between 4 and 6 million Americans ineligible for full SNAP benefits, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, or pass an extension that merely kicks the can down the road, Congress must instead preserve the historic coalition between farmers and consumers in need and pass a comprehensive five-year farm bill that includes both farm and nutrition programs.
Then, here we go again on shutting down the budget process, a debt ceiling increase, and vital services over providing more health care to individuals through the Affordable Health Care Act. Once again, I remind every one that this act is basically the Heritage Institute Plan of the 1990s. It was the Republican answer to “HillaryCare”. How far down the path of slash and burn have we gone that today’s Republican’s reject their “conservative” plan of less than 20 years ago? Here’s an argument for a shutdown.
Let’s start by reviewing the situation.
- As of today there are less than two weeks before fiscal 2014 begins.
- None of the FY14 appropriations have been enacted; none have any chance of being enacted.
- There are no formal negotiations going on between Congress and the White House, between the House and Senate or between Democrats and Republicans.
- The only discussions that seem to be taking place are between the two main factions in the House GOP…and the best thing that can be said about them is that they appear to be going nowhere.
- The original plan suggested by the House Republican leadership was flatly rejected by the tea partiers in the House GOP caucus. The tea partiers were energized by their success.
- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) haven’t put a new plan on the table since their last plan was rejected by members of their own party a week ago. Boehner has even indicated publicly that he’s not sure whether there is a plan than is acceptable to his caucus.
- Meanwhile, in keeping with the tradition that the House goes first on CRs, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said he is going to wait for the House to act before moving forward. What happens when/if he moves forward is anyone’s guess
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has far less room to maneuver compared to previous budget fights because he is being challenged in the GOP Kentucky primary by a tea partier.
- House Democrats, who in the past have provided the votes to help the House GOP pass budget-related bills when the Republican caucus couldn’t decide what to do, this time seem hell bent on not doing it again.
- The White House has far less sway over congressional Democrats now than it did before the 2012 election. Needless to say, it has almost none over congressional Republicans.
- The extremely negative political impact of the 1995-96 shutdowns is such a distant (or nonexistent) memory for so many House Republicans that it’s not at all clear they have any fear of it happening again in 2013.
- To top it all off, this year’s budget debate is less about the budget than it is about defunding Obamacare and that makes a compromise far harder on the budget issues.
Two things usually help with a political stalemate like this (although I’m not really sure there ever has been a situation exactly like this one):
- A charismatic leader who can overcome the partisan warfare
- A crisis that substantially changes the politics
It’s hard to see any leader emerging in the short-term In the current hyper partisan environment. And while there are many charismatic politicians, at least right now none have the stature with both parties to negotiate a budget peace plan.
That leaves a crisis, and baring a military or foreign policy disaster, the only one with the potential to create enough political pain in a relatively short period of time is a federal shutdown.
That makes a shutdown a better option for Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and Reid than it might otherwise seem.
A shutdown also may work for Boehner because (1) it will show his tea partiers that he was willing to allow it to happen as they wanted, (2) it will change the politics as many voters go from being amused to being furious and (3) the tea partiers may be able to use the shutdown with their own voters to prove their political testosterone.
As usual, there’s a group of greedy billionaires behind the shutdown mentality. It seems they all make lots of money just from all the hooplah.
Club for Growth and other extremist groups consider a record like his an unforgivable failure, and they are raising and spending millions to make sure that no Republicans will take similar positions in the next few weeks when the fiscal year ends and the debt limit expires.
If you’re wondering why so many House Republicans seem to believe they can force President Obama to accept a “defunding” of the health care reform law by threatening a government shutdown or a default, it’s because these groups have promised to inflict political pain on any Republican official who doesn’t go along.
Heritage Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund have each released scorecards showing which lawmakers have pledged to “defund Obamacare.” When a senator like Tom Coburn of Oklahoma refuses to pledge, right-wing activists are told: “Please contact Senator Coburn and tell him it’s dishonest to say you oppose Obamacare, but then vote to fund it. Tell him he swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution.”
Mr. Schock and 10 other lawmakers considered suspiciously squishy by the Club for Growth were designated as RINO’s (Republicans in name only), and the club has vowed to find primary opponents and support them with cash — a formidable threat considering that it spent $18 million backing conservative candidates in the 2012 cycle. Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers group that has already spent millions on ads fighting health reform, is beginning a new campaign to delay the law’s effects.
These groups, all financed with secret and unlimited money, feed on chaos and would like nothing better than to claim credit for pushing Washington into another crisis. Winning an ideological victory is far more important to them than the severe economic effects of a shutdown or, worse, a default, which could shatter the credit markets.
They also have another reason for their attacks: fund-raising. All their Web sites pushing the defunding scheme include a big “donate” button for the faithful to push. “With your donation, you will be sending a strong message: Obamacare must be defunded now,” saysthe Web site of the National Liberty Federation, another “social welfare” group that sees dollar signs in shutting down the government.
Brian Walsh, a longtime Republican operative, recently noted in U.S. News and World Report that the right is now spending more money attacking Republicans than the Democrats are. “Money begets TV ads, which begets even more money for these groups’ personal coffers,” he wrote. “Pointing fingers and attacking Republicans is apparently a very profitable fund-raising business.”
What always seems odd in all of this is the number of people that fall for these rich, ideological loudmouths whose slash and burn policy is killing every one. It seems to me that it’s an offshoot of xenophobia, misogyny and racism. It appears easier for some folks to believe that women, minorities, and other ethnic groups are more responsible for their economic demise than their bosses and overlords in the pulpits, in elected office, and the bosses chair. Why some one doesn’t question the patriotism and birth certificate of the likes of Ted Cruz is beyond me. He’s really the poster boy for everything that’s removing the greatness from our country imho.
TGIF…and it is also the last day of school here in Banjoville. Next week, after a round of many doctor appointments, things will settle down into a nice summer schedule.
Before we get to the funnies tonight, I want to share this information with you.
A trust fund has been set up for Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. According to a press release from May 15th, over $480,000 have been donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund. Below you will find links to the fund, along with links to the Facebook page and various fundraisers and events being held for Michelle, Gina, Amanda and Amanda’s daughter.
How You Can Help the Kidnapping Survivors
The Cleveland Courage Fund of the Cleveland Foundation was established by Cleveland council members Brian Cummins, Matt Zone, and Dona Brady after the discovery of three women held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade. The fund, so named because of the courage shown by these women, will directly benefit Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry and her daughter.
All money raised – 100 percent – will benefit the survivors and their families through nonprofit organizations.The Cleveland Foundation will not assess fees on this fund and will issue a tax receipt for all donations received.
Considering that almost $11 million dollars was donated to the Sandy Hook victims families, I sincerely hope that these women receive a considerable amount of generosity from the same compassionate public…it would seem to me that these women are in more need of monetary assistance to cover cost of medical care, therapy and living expenses. Remember, these women have been shut up in hell for ten years, they do not have employment healthcare benefits...or welfare. (Stupid Rush can kiss my ass.)
Pass this information on to your friends, hopefully the women will be able to use these funds to support themselves as they begin the process of adjusting to life outside the prison where they have been tortured for so long. Thank you!
Anyway, let’s get on with the cartoons.
A shitload of stuff on Obama, his administration and the dubious conceivable three…. Benghazi, IRS, AP. (I don’t know what to call them, surprisingly they have not been given the usual Bradgelinagate nickname of sorts.)
I love the eyes on this next one, and the saying on that mug…it is just too silly, in a nerdish sort of way: AAEC – Political Cartoon by Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch – 05/15/2013
This First Amendment with Jay Carney is another good one: Jay Carney by Political Cartoonist Jeff Koterba
(Makes that “I do it AP style” mug up top much funnier if you ask me…)
The next cartoon is freaking hillaryous…Hillary alert by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons
And BB, this one should get you laughing out loud: 3 Wishes by Political Cartoonist Tim Campbell
And a little nod to Casablanca? Partisan Office – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 05/16/2013
Okay, so this next one has nothing to do with the scandals, but it does have to do with Obamacare and the House GOP: AAEC – Political Cartoon by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette – 05/17/2013
Now, on to cartoon topics that are about different subjects. This first one seemed funny to me because I always laugh to myself when I think of Spielberg and his Jurassic Park scene “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth!” It was so painfully obvious…it actually hurt watching it.
Look at the tux tails knocking over the other attendees. LOL
And this is a good way to bring this up, you must see this movie on TCM…oh, it is good. It will be showing on Tuesday, May 21st at 3 pm est: Night Must Fall (1937) – Overview – TCM.com
I will give you a hint, it sure ain’t no old ladies hat…perhaps it is the old lady’s head? Robert Montgomery is spectacularly devilish…you won’t be disappointed. And the way he carries that Victorian hatbox around, ha…it is something to see.
Other films on TCM you may not want to miss: Rarities, Ho! TCM Recommendations for May 17-31 – Bright Lights After Dark
Every true film lover needs Turner Classic Movies because there’s stuff on there available almost nowhere else –films so weird and forgotten you’ll sometimes find them only at 3-9 AM, hiding in the wings until all the prettier pictures to go to bed. If you have a DV-R to go with it, then you know what to do. Set that sucker to these obscurities on the TCM’s schedule.
Go directly to that Bright Lights After Dark blog link and you will see a list of the films with show dates and times and a little mini description/review/discussion of each film, along with posters and other film archives. (I am soooooo glad that BB has TCM now.)
Anyway, get the popcorn ready and have some fun.
Oops, I’ve gotten distracted.
We have to finish up this cartoon post, yes?
The Cleveland Police Department seems a bit fucked up too if you ask me…
(Pathetic but true, innit?)
And….lastly, I thought this cartoon from Mr. Fish was spot on, especially with all the well deserved bashing Jon Stewart has been giving Obama this past week.
Jon Stewart …targeted President Obama for his reactions to major administration scandals in the past week and how every time there’s a big news item involving his administration, Obama always seems to have found out about the news at the same time as the rest of the public did. Stewart found it odd that Obama wouldn’t have found out about IRS targeting Tea Party groups or the Justice Department seizing journalists’ phone records from, say, people inside the government instead.
Stewart noted how at Obama’s big press conference on Monday, there was a “question limit of one, total, from the entire American press corps,” but a reporter smartly exploited a loophole by asking four questions in the same question. Obama began his answer explaining that he learned about IRS targeting in the same news reports that the rest of the public found out about from.
Stewart mocked the blasé manner in which Obama answered the question, and pointed out that this is not the first time Obama has claimed to find out news at the same time as the rest of us. Stewart highlighted how Obama said the same thing about the Fast & Furious ATF gun-running scandal and the time when a low-flying plane freaked out everyone in New York City. And Jay Carney admitted that’s the same way Obama found out about the Justice Department seizing AP phone records.
Stewart quipped, “I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announce it on television.”
Video clip at the link.
Anyway,about that cartoon…here it is…Mr. Fish: The Boob Tube
This is an open thread…enjoy your evening!
Good Morning. It’s such a very sad day that I hardly know what to post. I’m still in shock about yesterday’s terrible shooting in Connecticut. How many more of these nightmarish events have to happen before our “leaders” in Washington finally decide to do something about controlling guns? How about completely banning all ammunition?
I’m just going to post a few reactions to the horror. I’m sure we’ll be learning much more about Adam Lanza and his possible motivations in the coming days. We’ll also learn if there are any courageous politicians left in the White House and Congress who will stand up the the National Rampage Association (NRA).
Gun control advocates gathered near the White House, many holding white candles, in a demonstration calling for a renewed discussion of gun control policy after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left almost three dozen children and adults dead, reported the Associated Press. Multiple signs read “#TodayISTheDay,” a response to Press Secretary Jay Carney’s assertion that “today is not the day” to discuss gun control in the United States. However, the demonstrators made no specific appeals, reported Talking Points Memo.
“We can change the worst conditions of our country. Together we can change the pain into joy. Together we can change the sorrow into gladness,” said one demonstrator.
The speaker then called on everyone to hold their candles high so that everyone can see that “today is the day.”
Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker: Newtown and the madness of guns.
After the mass gun murders at Virginia Tech, I wrote about the unfathomable image of cell phones ringing in the pockets of the dead kids, and of the parents trying desperately to reach them. And I said (as did many others), This will go on, if no one stops it, in this manner and to this degree in this country alone—alone among all the industrialized, wealthy, and so-called civilized countries in the world. There would be another, for certain.
Then there were—many more, in fact—and when the latest and worst one happened, in Aurora, I (and many others) said, this time in a tone of despair, that nothing had changed. And I (and many others) predicted that it would happen again, soon. And that once again, the same twisted voices would say, Oh, this had nothing to do with gun laws or the misuse of the Second Amendment or anything except some singular madman, of whom America for some reason seems to have a particularly dense sample.
And now it has happened again, bang, like clockwork, one might say: Twenty dead children—babies, really—in a kindergarten in a prosperous town in Connecticut. And a mother screaming. And twenty families told that their grade-schooler had died. After the Aurora killings, I did a few debates with advocates for the child-killing lobby—sorry, the gun lobby—and, without exception and with a mad vehemence, they told the same old lies: it doesn’t happen here more often than elsewhere (yes, it does); more people are protected by guns than killed by them (no, they aren’t—that’s a flat-out fabrication); guns don’t kill people, people do; and all the other perverted lies that people who can only be called knowing accessories to murder continue to repeat, people who are in their own way every bit as twisted and crazy as the killers whom they defend. (That they are often the same people who pretend outrage at the loss of a single embryo only makes the craziness still crazier.)
So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.
Politicker: Message to President Obama from Mayors Against Gun Violence, “Offering condolences is not enough.” Statements of Co-Chairs Michael Bloomberg of NYC, and Thomas Menino of Boston:
Statement of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg:
“With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it’s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.”
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino:
“As a parent and grandparent, I am overcome with both grief and outrage by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This unspeakable act of violence will forever imprint this day in our hearts and minds. My heart goes out to the families impacted by this senseless tragedy and the many others we have recently witnessed across the United States. As a Mayor who has witnessed too many lives forever altered by gun violence, it is my responsibility to fight for action. Today’s tragedy reminds us that now is the time for action. Innocent children will now never attend a prom, never play in a big game, never step foot on a college campus. Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future.”
I’m glad I live in a state that at least tries to control guns. In Massachusetts you have to apply for a license from your local police before you can apply to purchase a firearm. All firearms must have trigger locks and must be stored unloaded in locked containers. If you are caught with an unlicensed gun, you go directly to jail for a mandatory two-year sentence. See the links above for more.
Now a few more reads on other subjects.
For two years, Dianne Brame worked as a cafeteria manager at Hudson Elementary in Webster Groves, keeping kids’ bellies full for their all-important task of learning.
The lunch lady loved her job: “I knew kids by their names, I knew their likes and dislikes, so it was just fun.”
But recently, she came across a fourth grader who consistently came without money. She says he used to be on the free lunch program, but language barriers got in the way of reapplying: “I sent them paperwork so that they could get back in contact with me, but it didn’t happen,” she says.
For days, Brame snuck the boy lunches. She explains, “I let his account get over $45 which I’m only supposed to let it get over $10, and I started letting him come through my lunch line without putting his number in, and they look at that as stealing. I thought it was just taking care of a kid.”
There’s an update to the story: “Dianne Brame has been rehired by Hudson Elementary following the huge response from this story.”
Center for American Progress: The ‘Debt Limit’: Time to End 95 Years of False Labeling
Congress and the White House have struggled over what has wrongly been called the “debt limit” since 1917, when a cap on the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority was inserted into legislation permitting “Liberty Bonds” to be sold to support U.S. military operations in Europe during World War I. A country that wants to maintain a reputation of paying its bills must recognize that debts are incurred when goods and services are purchased, not on the basis of whether or not the country wants to borrow the money needed to pay for those purchases.
The vote on what we have wrongly referred to for these many years as the “debt limit” is not a vote on how much we will spend or how much revenue we will raise to cover that spending: Those decisions are generally made by Congress months, and in many instances, even years before the extra borrowing authority is needed.
Each spring Congress deals with a budget resolution—setting targets for spending, revenues, and indebtedness. That legislation caps the amount of money that can be appropriated and prescribes what changes are needed in permanent spending legislation such as entitlements and whether we should raise or lower taxes to pay for those spending decisions. That resolution contains specific language stating what those decisions will mean in terms of the annual budget deficit and the change that will take place in the public debt.
Congress then considers the specific appropriation bills, entitlement changes, and tax legislation to implement the plan and determine the size of the debt. The vote on the so-called debt ceiling occurs long after those decisions are made. It is not a vote on how much we will spend or whether we will raise the money to pay for it but rather a vote on whether we will pay our bills. Voting against raising the debt limit is sort of like being the guy who turns down opportunities to work overtime so that he can spend more time at the movies, only to decide when his credit card bill arrives that he needs to correct his profligate ways by refusing to pay it.
Much more at the link.
Here’s a must read from Andrew Sullivan: The Unreason of Antonin Scalia. I’m not going to excerpt from it–you need to read the whole thing.
A few more reads, link dump-style.
The Guardian: Hospital defends treatment of Jacintha Saldanha
Last but not least, from Rolling Stone: How Mick Jagger Learned to Dance – By His Brother, Chris Jagger
I’m heading back to the Boston area today, so I’ll be on the road the next couple of days. I’ll check in when I can. I hope everyone has a peaceful, restful weekend.
Today I had to deal with the idiots who work at Walmart Pharmacy…they must follow the ideals of Rush Limbaugh when it comes to hormone “birth” control pills used to help patients with painful periods, ovarian cysts and other health concerns. These same folks who make snide remarks while filling prescriptions are the ones who sit in the big baptist churches while their kids (some as young as 12) are out having sex or send nude pictures via text messages and not feeling any emotional connection to it. Ignorance is the stuff that makes assholes become righteous bullies that spread the stupid to other idiots…
Sorry about the rant but I had to just get this out of my system.
So, what about those news headlines for tonight’s evening reads? The big news is really no news at all…Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay.” This is no surprise, but I am glad he finally said it.
Now that I have that bit of info out of the way, let us move on to the recent polls: Obama Now Leads Romney, 48% to 43%
Good news…I guess.
President Barack Obama has maintained at least a slight margin over Mitt Romney in each of the last six Gallup Daily tracking averages, including a 48% to 43% lead among registered voters in the July 2 report, spanning June 25-July 1.
This morning, Dakinikat mentioned she is sick of politics, I could not agree more. Even though I was off on vacation, and stayed away from the news for ten days…when I came back home and started reading the back and forth again, my PAD came back with a vengeance. This is the reason I will just post the rest of the political links in a dump format.
Mitt Romney’s campaign is aligning itself with President Barack Obama—and breaking from other Republican Party leaders—by saying the government will be imposing a penalty, not a tax, on people who don’t buy insurance under the new health law.
The break from his Republican allies illustrates the difficulty the presumptive GOP presidential nominee faces in criticizing the president for a national health-care law that resembles the one Mr. Romney signed as Massachusetts governor. Both laws include a requirement that most individuals buy insurance coverage.
Why should he be against Obamacare? 7/3 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Mitt Romney | Mike Luckovich
Then there are the folks who are bound and determined to take the whole asshole thing to another level. Political Animal – Scott and Jindal Go Over the Brink on Medicaid Expansion
The reality is that pols like Scott and Jindal are using the supposed fiscal burden of the Medicaid expansion—or of any move towards covering the uninsured—as a fig leaf for their ideological opposition to the very idea. If the feds were offering to pay 100% of the cost, or 110% of the cost, the answer would be the same.
I know, I know, it’s widely thought to be incontrovertible that logic, pressure from providers, and the sheer idiocy of states with stingy Medicaid programs turning down a massive redistribution of resources in their favor, will all convince Republican governors to go along with the Medicaid expansion after they kick and scream for the benefit of “the base.” Perhaps that’s true, and that the rhetoric is the latter-day equivalent of the “massive resistance” southern lawmakers pledged to wage against the federally-imposed demise of Jim Crow.
But as the civil rights precedent showed, the competitive pressure of demagoguery is sometimes a lot more powerful than the “business logic” of going along with a more rational course of action. Now that Scott and Jindal have thrown down the gauntlet, can Nikki Haley or Scott Walker or Rick Perry or Sam Brownback be far behind?
I am too disgusted to answer that obvious rhetorical question, so I am going to skip the rest of the links gaining traction on Memeorandum and get to a few other news items that you may not have seen.
The deadly crash of a military cargo plane fighting a South Dakota wildfire forced officials to ground seven other Air Force air tankers, removing critical firefighting aircraft from the skies during one of the busiest and most destructive wildfire seasons ever to hit the West.
The C-130 from an Air National Guard wing based in Charlotte, N.C., was carrying a crew of six and fighting a 6.5-square-mile blaze in the Black Hills of South Dakota when it crashed Sunday, killing at least one crew member and injuring others.
The crash cut the number of large air tankers fighting this summer’s outbreak of wildfires by one-third.
The military put the remaining seven C-130s on an “operational hold,” keeping them on the ground indefinitely. That left 14 federally contracted heavy tankers available until investigators gain a better understanding of what caused the crash.
Five million “test tube babies” have now been born around the world, according to research presented at a conference of fertility experts.
Delegates hailed it as a “remarkable milestone” for fertility treatments.
The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in the UK in July 1978. Her mother Leslie Brown died last month.
However, delegates at the conference in Turkey warned couples not to use fertility treatment as an “insurance policy” if they delayed parenthood.
The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Icmart) presented its latest data on children born to infertile parents at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference.
It said official figures up to 2008, plus three years of estimates, put the total number of test tube babies born at five million.
And lastly, there is good news out of Georgia: The Associated Press: Ga. woman with flesh-eating bug leaves hospital
Since it is an AP article, I’ll refrain from quoting, so please head on over and check it out!
UPDATE: Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act, Including Individual Mandate!
Since today is going to be a mostly serious news day, I’ll begin with a silly story. A new survey by the National Geographic Channel found that 65% of Americans think President Obama is more qualified to handle an invasion from outer space than Mitt Romney.
And lest you are tempted to dismiss this poll as pure silliness, the study also found that 36 percent of Americans think UFOs exist, while another 48 percent aren’t sure. Which means that at least some of the respondents judging the presidential candidates’ alien-fighting abilities may see it as a plausible scenario. (According to the poll, 79 percent also say the federal government has been hiding information about UFOs from the public – which may actually say more about the public’s overall distrust of government than its views on aliens.)
UFO = Unidentified Flying Object. Of course UFOs exist. Haven’t we all seen things in the sky that we didn’t recognize? Whether these objects are of extraterrestrial origin would have been a better question. Now the ones who want to “befriend” a visiting alien–those people have got to be looney tunes. But this story isn’t as silly as I originally thought, since it’s obviously just an ad for the National Geographic Channel.
And now the real news. Today will be a big day for politics junkies. Will the House go through their idiotic plan to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress? Will Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy decide to vote to keep the current Supreme Court from going down in history as a laughingstock?
Eric Holder Witchhunt
On the Holder issue, I think the House probably will call the vote, especially since some Democrats are planning to vote for the contempt resolution because they’re scared of the NRA.
Cognitively challenged Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown today called on Holder to resign.
“He can’t effectively serve the president,” Brown said last night on “NightSide” with Dan Rea — in a one-man debate after Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren chose to sit the event out.
Going at Holder on the eve of an expected contempt of Congress vote tomorrow, Brown said, “For the best interest of the country, I think he should step down and resign. He’s lost the confidence of the American people. Certainly he’s lost the confidence of Congress. He misled Congress. They have a right to know.”
That quote is from the ultra-conservative Boston Herald, so I’ll interpret for you. The “debate” referred to in the article was an appearance on a conservative radio talk show that Brown proposed as an alternative to the public debate that would have been sponsored by U. Mass. Boston and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
The announcement came shortly after representatives of Vicki Kennedy said she would not agree to Brown’s demand that she remain neutral in the race, in exchange for the senator’s participation in a late September debate she had proposed be hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
Barnett had said Monday that Brown would participate only if Kennedy, president of the board at the Kennedy Institute, not endorse in the race and that MSNBC not be the broadcast sponsor of the debate.
Instead of “debating” with Scott Brown on a rinky-dink local conservative radio talk show, Elizabeth Warren appeared on Rachel Maddow’s national cable show last night.
Scott Brown and Darrell Issa are both complete idiots, IMNSHO.
The SCOTUS Decision on Health Care
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the Roberts and Kennedy will both vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act. I think, based on what they did with Arizona’s immigration law, that Roberts and Kennedy will also vote to uphold “Obamacare.”
When this happens, Antonin Scalia may freak out completely and embarrass himself even more than he did after the Arizona decision. And then perhaps his friends and colleagues will sit him down and suggest that he retire and get his own radio talk show.
At Slate, Judge Richard Posner harshly criticized Scalia’s behavior as political.
The nation is in the midst of a hard-fought presidential election campaign; the outcome is in doubt. Illegal immigration is a campaign issue. It wouldn’t surprise me if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads.
Would Chief Justice Roberts be proud of his Court if that happened?
House progressives say they will introduce a single-payer plan if the law is struck down.
The last thing House progressives want is for the Supreme Court to strike down President Barack Obama’s health care law. But if the high court rules Thursday that some or all of the law is unconstitutional, progressives are ready to renew their push for the model of health care they wanted all along: the single-payer option.
“It’s easy to see it’s a good idea,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Huffington Post. “It’s the cheapest way to cover everybody.”
Ellison said all 75 members of the caucus have already signed onto a bill by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to create a single-payer, publicly financed, privately delivered universal health care program. The proposal would essentially build on and expand Medicare, under which all Americans would be guaranteed access to health care regardless of an ability to pay or pre-existing health conditions.
Now, now. We don’t want to give Scalia a conniption fit, do we? He would be more likely to agree with libertarian economics blogger Tyler Cowan who thinks the wealthy naturally will have better health care and poor people should just die if they can’t afford health insurance.
A rejection of health care egalitarianism, namely a recognition that the wealthy will purchase more and better health care than the poor. Trying to equalize health care consumption hurts the poor, since most feasible policies to do this take away cash from the poor, either directly or through the operation of tax incidence. We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor. Some of you don’t like the sound of that, but we already let the wealthy enjoy all sorts of other goods — most importantly status — which lengthen their lives and which the poor enjoy to a much lesser degree. We shouldn’t screw up our health care institutions by being determined to fight inegalitarian principles for one very select set of factors which determine health care outcomes.
The health care decision should come out around 10AM, and I’ll update this post when the news breaks.
Mitt Romney Report
I know everyone is just dying to know what Mitt Romney is up to. Well yesterday he had quite a hissy fit about the Washington Post article on how he pioneered outsourcing when he was at Bain Capital. He actually sent some of his representatives to the Post to demand a retraction! As you might imagine, the Post wasn’t intimidated.
Good grief! They even gave a Power Point presentation! What a bunch of crybabies. And on Hardball today, Howard Fineman reported that Romney campaign staffers complained to him that Obama has been running lots of negative ads against Romney. Hey Mitt, politics ain’t beanbag.
From today’s Washington Post: Mitt Romney shifts focus from Post article on Bain to health-care law.
On the eve of the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s health-care law, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney predicted Wednesday that “they’re not sleeping real well at the White House tonight.”
He said that the court’s decision is a constitutional one, but that “one thing we already know, however, we already know it’s bad policy and it’s gotta go.”
Romney’s comments marked a shift in focus after several days in which his campaign sought to deflect attacks from the Obama campaign over the role that Bain Capital, his former firm, played in the overseas outsourcing trend that accelerated in the 1990s.
Obama, Vice President Biden and top campaign operatives have seized on a Washington Post article published Friday that said Bain Capital invested in companies that specialized in moving work overseas. The Obama team released tough ads in the swing states of Iowa, Ohio and Virginia on the subject.
Romney tried to “work the refs,” but he forgot that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Now he’s irritated the Washington Post. Not real smart, Mitt. Yesterday, even Rush Limbaugh dissed the Republican candidate.
Colorado Wildfires (and More Mitt)
The wildfires in Colorado are really getting out of control.
Firefighters struggled on Wednesday to beat back a fiercely aggressive wildfire raging at the edge of Colorado Springs that has forced at least 35,000 people from their homes and was nipping at the edges of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The so-called Waldo Canyon Fire, fanned by gusting winds, has gutted an unknown number of homes on the wooded fringes of Colorado’s second-most populous city and prompted more evacuations as flames roared out of control for a fifth day.
President Barack Obama plans to pay a visit to the area on Friday to view the damage, the White House said.
The blaze flared Tuesday night with sudden ferocity and quickly overran fire containment lines, invading the northwestern corner of the city. But officials have declined to characterize the extent of property damage there….
The blaze left an orange hue over Colorado Springs, and a smoky haze hung in the air, so thick in places that the giant, roiling pall of smoke that continued to billow into the sky over the city was obscured from the ground.
Local TV station channel 9 news provides a summary of fires in many different locations. It’s really shocking how widespread they are. Yesterday the fires threatened the Air Force Academy, and many residents there were evacuated.
Voters who live in Colorado and other states where there are disasters like fires, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, should be aware that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opposes federal disaster relief and would probably eliminate FEMA if he were elected. He thinks natural disasters should be handled by individual states. From one of the debates last year:
Here’s a transcript:
KING: Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…
KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Because “our kids” will have a great future if they go through an earthquake or other horrible disaster and there’s no federal help for the state they live in to recover. Brilliant!
That’s about it for me. I’ll just leave you with this bit of good news: Eric Cantor may be in trouble
New polling from Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, one of the more reliably conservative districts in the country, shows surprising vulnerabilities for Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, especially on the issue of women’s health.
In the poll from from Harrison Hickman obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress, voters say they would support a pro-choice candidate over a candidate who is pro-life by an unexpectedly large margin, 68 percent to 23 percent. The finding comes after intense media coverage of efforts by state Republicans to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds prior to obtaining an abortion, a procedure described by critics as “state-sponsored rape.” The resulting backlash from women in Virginia forced Governor Bob McDonnell (R) and his allies at the statehouse to moderate their efforts.
Eric Cantor has a 100% rating from the National Right To Life Committee.
asked about Cantor specifically, voters disapprove of his handling of government spending, health care and reigning in the budget deficit, three key issues that Cantor and House Republicans have campaigned heavily on since 2008.
While Cantor is not among Republicans who are considered at risk by political prognosticators, 43 percent of voters would replace Cantor compared to just 41 percent who would reelect him.
So…..what’s on your reading and blogging list today?