Friday, September 27, 2013

"All of this would be funny if it weren't so crazy." . . . Obama

President Obama tried to put a light touch on the despicable attempt by Republicans to destroy any chance for success of the Affordable Care Act.   Quoting some of the outlandish remarks made:

One congressman called it "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed."

A Republican state representative has called it "as destructive to personal and individual liberties as the Fugitive Slave Act."  

President Obama commented:
"Think about that.  Affordable health care is worse than a law that lets slaveowners get their runaway slaves back. I mean, these are quotes. . . . I am not making this stuff up."
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said that the health care law must be repealed "before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens."
Think about that last humongous lie.   Said by a former presidential candidate who briefly was the front runner in the Republican primary.

The president wryly took that one down, saying:
"I have to say that is from six months agoI just want to point out that we still have women. We still have children. And we still have senior citizens."

And then he added:  "All of this would be funny if it weren't so crazy."

Amen to that.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Try it, Sen. Cruz; You might like Obamacare

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke for 21+ hours on the Senate floor yesterday to express his opposition to Obamacare.   Not that there was any doubt that he opposed it, and it wasn't actually a filibuster, they say.  So why did it take 21+ hours -- and include irrelevancies like reading Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham"?

Here's the parliamentarily interesting part.   When he stopped talking and the Senate could finally vote on cloture to move the bill to the floor for debate, the vote was 100 to 0 for moving the bill.   This means the stunt not only had no effect on the vote; it means that Cruz himself voted to do what he had just spent 21+ hours supposedly trying to prevent.

Go figure.   The real story is the back story, and it undoubtedly has something to do with running for president in 2016 and building his credentials with the ultra-conservative base, so he can say "I fought with every ounce of strength I had to stop Obamacare."  **

And -- oh, I almost forgot the main reason -- the contributions are pouring in to Cruz's campaign funds from the lunatic fringe and the crazy multi-billionaires. 

So what was that all about?    It was all about Ted Cruz.

But here's the real incongruity, Sen. Cruz, which was pointed out by one of the MSNBC commentators last night (I forget which).   You read a children's book that was not about "Freedom" from hierarchical control, which you were supposedly touting;  rather it's a story about urging a child to try something he thinks he doesn't like because he might just find that he does like it after all.    So the message of your own reading choice to you, Sen. Cruz, would be:   Give Obamacare a chance;  try it, you might like it.

Politics.   It's a strange and fascinating business.   The GOP base eats this stuff up -- but the reasonable Republicans have turned against this upstart.


**  Jon Steward skewered him for that, pointing out:  "Easy for you to take that risk, Senator;   as a senator you've got great government sponsored health care.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

McCain continues to confound

Is there some rhyme or reason to John McCain's zigs and zags?    We know he's a consistent military hawk, too ready to go bomb other countries and criticizing President Obama for not doing so.   We know he used to pride himself on being a marerick, but he lost that title.   We know he's more centrist on campaign finance reform, on integration, and some other social issues.    But it's not so easy to predict where he's going to stand on many issues.

Now he's denouncing the tactics of fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his quixotic filibuster-like antics to delay a  procedural vote on Obamacare.  Here's how the Huffington Post reported it:

"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ripped Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after he gave an anti-Obamacare speech that lasted over 21 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . .

"McCain also recalled the the 2009-2010 debate over Obamacare -- before Cruz was elected to the Senate -- saying 'the people spoke' on the issue when they reelected President Barack Obama in 2012. McCain said lawmakers shouldn't 'give up our efforts to repair Obamacare' but said it wasn't worth shutting down the government.

"'We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost,' McCain said. 'One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation.'"
There's a side to John McCain that I dislike and scorn.   But there's also the McCain who has limits below which his decency will not let him stoop -- such as correcting a woman at his 2008 rally, who said Obama is a Muslim.   And now, calling out Ted Cruz's foolish grand-standing.

Yes, sometimes I wish he would just shut up -- and sometimes I wish the Republicans had a dozen more like him.


PS:   5PM.   And now even Sen. Rand Paul has deserted Cruz's fool's errand, announcing that it's clear they can't win in defunding Obamacare, so "it's time to vote."    This all leaves Ted Cruz holding the radical extremist banner that appeals only to the die-hard, Tea Party minority of the minority party.

Charter schools vs public schools

Shouldn't we be for anything that increases educational opportunity for kids?

What if it benefits some kids and not others?

What if it benefits some kids at the expense of others?

That last question is the one that makes me oppose the charter school movement in this state.   I would support having pilot programs to help figure out what works.  But maybe we've already had those in the growing number of successful, as well as unsuccessful, charter schools.

Here's the latest.   Supporters claim that chater schools do not get more money from the government than the regular public schools do.   Well, if that was ever true, it no longer is -- at least not in Georgia.

A judge has just decided a case in which the issue was whether charter schools should be included in the financial obligation to pay into the pension fund deficit for teachers in the public school system they left.   The judge said no.   This means, per pupil, regular public schools will have to pay the total deficit without the allocation for the number of kids in charter schools.   

What does that mean?   It means more money for charter schools and less for regular public schools.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Even Georgia ?!?!?

A recent AJC poll found that a plurality of Georgian's now approve of same-sex marriage.   Really?   Really??   Even Georgia???

The poll showed that 48% favor, and 43% oppose gay marriage.   This is just short of an actual majority, but still a definite plurality.

Because Georgia is one of those states that passed a constitutional amendment to forbid it, to overturn it will take either (1) a 2/3 vote in both legislative houses and then a simple majority of the voters;   or (2) a U. S. Supreme Court decision that it is unconstitutional.

So don't expect this to happen any time soon.    But this is quite an astonishing turn-around in itself.  As with all other places, it is very much age related.   The 18 to 30 age range strongly approves -- so just the passage of time will bring us there eventually.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Tom Wilkerson, former Bush official and chief of staff to Colin Powell during the the lead-up to our invasion of Iraq, was asked in an interview about the obstacles to a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear program.

He said that the biggest obstacle was Benjamin Netanyahu and his "extreme right-wing" government.   Then:
And then you come to this country and you find Netanyahu's allies in people like Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham -- from my home state -- and others, who are bordering on being traitors in my view, because they won't let this president have room to achieve a diplomatic solution. They're all angry now that he didn't bomb Syria. . . . And so they're moving on to Iran.
Though he served in a Republican administration, Wilkerson has been a critic of the Bush administration and the war hawks in the Republican party.

But he's right, in my opinion.   We've done enough of invading and bombing in that part of the world.   It only makes their people hate the United States.   Obama is capable of nuance and patience necessary for diplomacy.    He also used sanctions and threats of air strikes, the former with Iran, the latter with Syria.   A good balance.

So far, signs are good that this just might work.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Huffington Post sharp-tongued, astute political commentator Jason Linkins writes today about the infighting within the Republican Party now -- mainly how the GOP leadership is going after Ted Cruz.    As Linkins says:
It's actually pretty much high school-level clique-histrionics, actually. And more than anything else, it's a battle between the House and the Senate over who will be left holding the Defund Obamacare Futility Bomb when it finally goes off.
The focus of the moment is Cruz.  Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said this:
"We can't be going off on these false missions that Ted Cruz wants us to go on. The issues are too important. They're too serious, they require real conservative solutions, not cheap headline-hunting schemes."
King also called Cruz a fraud "who should no longer have any influence in the Republican party."  Take note:   This is one Republican criticizing another, not the Democratic National Committee or liberal MSNBC commentators.

As Al Gore famously remarked during the 2000 presidential campaign:   When your opponent is shooting himself in the foot, just stay out of his way.

The problem is that this craziness is hurting the American people, the economy, and our reputation in the world.