Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Rumble in the GOP


The GOP is having trouble in their own ranks. (Again.) 
Congressmen Walter Jones and Mark Meadows are trying to ouster Speaker of the House Boehner.

The two men told CNN that Boehner uses intimidation and coercion to get members to vote his way on legislation. 
Jones says, "No one should be intimidated for voting your conscience. If you are here to vote for the will of the Speaker and not the will of the people, you don’t need to be here."

The man has a point. Kudos to him for speaking truth. 

Meadows made a motion to vacate the chair — last attempted roughly a century ago. This motion is typically considered a privileged resolution, which means the House would hold a vote within two legislative days. Meadows, however, chose not to offer it in that form, which he said was a sign that he wanted a discussion. Whatever that means. 

Of course, we have no way of knowing if Boehner is a butthead or not. But Jones and Meadows do deserve some credit for blowing the whistle.

Now to see if their coup works. 

Source: Politico

Scott Walker Orders the Cheesesteak (Fail)


Alas, he ordered wrong. He got the American cheese with no onions. You're supposed to get the whiz with the onions. 
There was even a West Wing episode about this! (Season 7 Episode 9, which YouTube has failed me on, and cannot provide the right clip.)
How can you get it wrong after Josh Lyman has explained it??





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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fox News Lowers Threshold for Debate


Fox News announced today that they have lowered the requirements for admission into the first GOP debate. This means candidates like Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, and Lindsay Graham will be able to participate.
This is fantastic news. Fiorina, Pataki, and Graham are all formidable and worthy candidates. They deserve to be heard and recognized.
As is usual at this point in the primary process, there is the showboat (Trump) and the extremists who are getting all of the attention. It makes sense that these are the candidates getting the attention right now, since only the truly passionate (extremist) voters are paying attention, and the media likes the showboats. So far this is a pretty predictable race. The more normal, stronger, less extremist candidates aren't interesting stories - yet. They are the candidates that the mainstream voters will want to learn more about in a few months. They just get overshadowed by the more flamboyant candidates in the early stages.
When all of the extremism starts to settle down, and more people start to pay attention, it will be the candidates like Fiorina, Walker, and Rubio that the general public will gravitate towards. But until then, people like The Donald, or Bernie Sanders, tend to steal the spotlight.
Fox News lowering the threshold is a win for the common man and mainstream America. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jeb Bush on Sharknado

Apparently this is the week where the politicians sound off on cable TV.

Needed a quick explainer on this #Sharknado3 thing, Mark Cuban
Posted by Jeb Bush on Friday, July 24, 2015





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Ted Cruz as Captain Kirk?


Senator Ted Cruz is a Star Trek fan. Possibly a delusional and ill-informed Star Trek fan. That's not a knock on Trekkies. That's a hit on Cruz. I'm a pretty big Trek fan (and overall sci fi fan) myself. Cruz could have won me over with slightly more accurate and interesting commentary. 

In a New York Times interview the presidential wannabe declared, "I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat."

Quote from the article: 
If you were a journalist interviewing, what would you ask? Who knows, I might well ask, "Kirk or Picard" I've never been asked that before, and I actually have a strong opinion on it. 
Well, that goes with being a Kirk person. It does indeed. Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at "Star Trek: The Next Generation," it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk's rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective you need both heart and mind.
I thought your critique might go in a different direction, because "Next Generation" is more touchy-feely in its politics than the original. No doubt. The original "Star Trek" was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original "Star Trek" pressed for racial quality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.
Do you have a suspicion about whether Kirk would be a Democrat or a Republican? I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat. 

He's flat out wrong. Even Shatner called Cruz out. 

(Shatner is Canadian.) 

But let's get serious here. 
Kirk is no Republican. He's a playboy who likes to save the day and revels in the glory. He's all about equal rights and free love, and will create those rights with a raygun as needed. Republicans have never been big on creating equal rights with military force. (They will defend existing beliefs with military force, but have never been ones to create new rights. It's just not their thing.) Kirk was all about expansion and the unknown. Republicans like to keep things close to home and traditional. 

Picard is not a Democrat either. He's a Lincoln Republican. He's a diplomat, well-read, and academic in his decisions. He wouldn't make a good politician, but he'd be a great U.N. ambassador, balancing the needs of different cultures so that everyone can live in peace and justice. 

Riker would be a Republican. He's all about defending his beliefs and isn't afraid to pull out a gun. 

Spock and Data would be Libertarians- straight up, unbiased, literal readings of the law without emotion. Spock would be great on the Supreme Court. You know, if he were human enough. 

But that's just my take on things. 

As one friend put it, "The entire argument is moot, albeit interesting; politics is the art of managing limited resources to fulfill unlimited wants. Both captains live in a world of unlimited resources."

He has a point. 

Now, if Cruz were to follow up his NY Times interview with a blog post further expounding upon his Star Trek rational, he could conceivably win over a few Trekkies. And considering his ranking in the polls this week, that couldn't possibly hurt. 

Click to enlarge. 


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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Are Americans Happy With Their Country?



I don't know how reliable the survey source is, but the results are still interesting. 

A recent online poll of more than 2,000 adults by TransferWise, a UK peer-to-peer money transfer service, revealed that 35 percent of American-born residents and emigrants would consider leaving the US to live in another country.

This percentage greatly increases for those age 18 to 34. More than half of millennials, a whopping 55 percent, said that they would consider leaving the U.S. for foreign shores. Among them, 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women noted that a higher salary would be a factor in their relocation decision.

That all being said, only .001 percent of the population actually renounced citizenship in 2014.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 
If that many Americans are unhappy with the country, maybe the politicians should address the reasons why.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gay Marriage Part Two


If you are wondering why this is titled "Gay Marriage Part Two" and you can't recall part one, it is because part one was written over two years ago here - "I Can't Back the Gendered Marriage Fight."

It's fascinating how what I wrote two years ago regarding the Supreme Court and Prop 8 is still completely relevant to the current newsworthy DOMA decision.




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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Should the Confederate Flag be a Presidential Campaign Topic?


In short, my answer is, "Oh please no!" 

Longer answer- should a flag of a former country that no longer exists, and yet does have historical significance, be debated over and over again? 

There seems to be a new trend where people take an object that meant one thing historically, and then debate the morality of it in today's society, forgetting that the same morals were not held or known. And then the object (or belief) is judged by irrelevant standards, deemed to be morally wrong, and offensive, completely forgetting its historic significance. 

I'm a Southern Girl. I live in the country in the part of the world where Johnny Reb isn't offensive, but a symbol for a way of life. It represents our accents, lifestyles, families, and ancestors. It has nothing to do with slavery or racism. 

But I understand and sympathize that there are other people who don't agree. It represents slavery from over 150 years ago. That shouldn't be forgotten. 

But bottom line it is the flag of a rebellion war against the United States. And there is no need for that flag to be flown over government buildings, or represented on any official government product. 

Does that mean stores should remove it from products? I don't think so. But that's just me. Feel free to convince me otherwise. 


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2016 Presidential Primary Candidates on Healthcare

"Gov. Bobby Jindal in Oklahoma 2015" by Michael Vadon - https://www.flickr.com/photos/80038275@N00/17871530750. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

I've been gone for a while, but I'm back. It's time to start talking about the new round of contestants in the presidential campaign primary elections! (Please go back and re-read that last line in your best Bob Barker "Price is Right" voice.) 
As is always the case this early on, the field is flooded with nearly identical campaign platforms. I will be taking the next few weeks, maybe months, to highlight the contenders and the issues. 
Today we start with a simple line item comparison of where they all stand on healthcare. 
The following statement are direct quotes from the candidates' websites, thereby keeping my opinion out of things [for the time being].

Rick Perry - no website statement
Scott Walker - I refuse to "get an account" on his site to get past the front page
Donald Trump - no website statement (but I did learn that "he is the very definition of the American success story") 
Mike Huckabee - "ObamaCare is a $2.2 trillion disaster that dumps millions of people into a broken, expensive system and does nothing to fix the basic problems everyday Americans face. We must tackle out-of-control costs. ObamaCare raided $700 billion from Medicare. This is not reform — it’s theft. We must reject government dependency. We need solutions and choices — not government mandates and new taxes. We must address pre-existing conditions with common sense. As a governor, I know these issues first hand. Our system of “sick care” is upside down. Doctors, hospitals and drug companies get paid for treating people who are sick — not keeping people healthy or preventing illnesses. So many Americans cannot afford to get sick, while others take advantage of a system that isn’t fair. ObamaCare simply doubles down on this backwards, broken, flawed and failing system. We need honesty, leadership and real reform. As President, I will repeal ObamaCare and fight for real health care reform."
Bobby Jindal - no website statement (but then, he's literally only been in the race 5 minutes)
Carly Fiorina - no website statement
Rand Paul - I was not a member of the United States Senate during the 111th Congress, but if I had been I would have voted against Obamacare. As your President, one of my first acts would be to repeal the abomination that is Obamacare.
As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care in the United States. Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms—but Obamacare is not the answer.
Government interventions in health care have driven up the cost of coverage and decreased competition within the market. More—not less—freedom to choose and innovate will make sure our health care system remains the best in the world.
As your President, I will ensure that real free-market principles are applied to the American health care system so that it is responsive to patients, families, and doctors, rather than government bureaucracy.
Hillary Clinton - Defend the Affordable Care Act and reduce health costs
We will slow the growth of overall health care costs and deliver better care to patients. And we will ensure that the savings from those reforms benefit families—not just insurance companies, drug companies, and large corporations.
Jeb Bush - no statement
Jim Webb - no statement
Martin O'Malley - no statement
Marco Rubio - "Repeal Obamacare and replace it with a conservative solution." There is a very long and detailed statement on his website. Also, for what it's worth, he has the most organized and detailed website of all the candidates thus far. 
Ted Cruz - no statement, which is a little shocking actually!

So basically what we've learned here today is that most of the candidates don't have an issues page up on their websites yet, And the Republicans that do are against Obamacare, and the Democrats that do like it. 


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Friday, October 4, 2013

Shut down

 
To quote a co-worker, “The federal government is the only entity that could cut costs and shut down, and still lose money.”
When I look at the things people are whining about that have been closed due to the shutdown, I ask myself where the logic is in many of these programs.
For instance- the national monuments in Washington, DC have been closed. Each of these monuments has a gift shop that has been closed. I understand the monument being closed, as it costs federal dollars to pay the upkeep, power bill, security, etc. But the gift shop? Are you telling me that the money-making business isn’t profitable and requires federal dollars to maintain? How about step #1 is we stop putting federal tax dollars into postcards for tourists, and force the stores to run themselves? It seems so logical.
Next, national parks have also been closed. Again, I understand why. Maintenance, ranger staff, etc., they all cost money to operate. Except don’t most parks also charge admission? And have charitable organizations that support them? How is it then that they also need federal tax dollars? I think the problem here is that the federal government is supporting them at all. Why aren’t these parks (which often have restaurants, gift shops, classes, etc., inside) self-supporting? It seems fairly logical to me that they should actually be able to make money, and not drain federal tax dollars!
And the panda cam? Seriously? It’s not the absurdity that it had to be shut down. It’s the absurdity that tax dollars paid for it at all! Are you really telling me that there isn’t some corporation out there that wouldn’t love to sponsor the panda cam just for the goodwill PR benefits? Or a non-profit that wouldn’t raise funds to pay for it? I’d donate, wouldn’t you? Or how about people have to pay “admission” to view the panda cam?
Here’s another little thing to think about- a friend of mine works for a government contractor. S/he has been vocal about how “stupid” the government is for shutting down. And regularly vents and complains about all the “perks” that “Congress” receives. (I beg you, please, share with me just one “perk” that you can back up with unbiased facts.) Meanwhile his/her company (again- a federal contractor) is having the company party this week. It’s a massive, huge festival/fair. Roller coasters, games, rides, free food, etc. It easily will cost the company about $1M. Is it not hypocritical to demand that “congress” (I think many people use this term completely wrong) live frugally, and demand on a shoestring operation, while spending federal dollars on roller coasters and cotton candy? Or is it because you perceive that elected officials are all wealthy and chose their careers that you don’t see it the same way when your upper management is wealthy and also chose their careers?
Ultimately what is happening right now in our legislative branch is an amazing and elegant thing. Simply put, this country is equally split on a very divisive new law. Some believe that the Affordable Care Act is a good thing, others do not. Our elected representatives are only a reflection of the divided country. Our elected officials are representing what we as a country feel.
So how about instead of complaining and criticizing them, we support them? Has anyone considered that angle? Has anyone really thought about the fact that this is all a good thing?
Sure the shutdown is effecting millions of people. But right now the government is doing something many of us are not brave enough to do in our own lives. When you run out of money, you stop spending. It’s the “first rule of holes” concept (stop digging). When a business runs out of money, it goes out of business. It lays off employees. It cuts costs. It looks for new ways to make money.
Shouldn’t the government do the same?
I do feel a great deal of sympathy for my furloughed friends. I was unemployed and underemployed for 3 years. Believe me, I know how hard and scary it is to not know how long it will be until you get your next paycheck. But here’s the good news- you know you will get one. Most people don't have that peace of mind.
So I beg of my friends, instead of complaining about the government, stop and ask yourself what is really important. Where should tax dollars be spent? On the panda cam? And where can revenue be found? A museum gift shop?
And here's some food for thought- Mitt Romney took a debt-riddled Massachusetts, turned it around, and made it a profitable state in just one term in office. How? He turned resource-sucking programs into revenue generating ones. 
Makes you wish things had gone differently one year ago. 
 
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