Friday, June 29, 2012

Obama Tweets BFD

Exactly four minutes ago I lost ALL respect for Barack Obama. Up until this very post I have always treated him and the office he is sworn to uphold with respect.
But after this tweet? I'm done. He deserves no respect.

I am absolutely appalled that the President of the United States and Commander in Chief would even remotely find this acceptable language and behavior becoming of his office.

Where does the link take you?
To his official Obama for America campaign store.

That's not even "spiking the football," folks. That's just flat out indecent and inappropriate behavior.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

ObamaCare Mandate is a Legal Tax. But is the RomneyCare Mandate a Tax?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka ObamaCare) and the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law (RomneyCare) are inherently different, but do have a few similarities. 
Romney funded his primarily with revenue from the federal government. 
The Obama method uses a mixture of new taxes and savings from changes to Medicare. 
The Massachusetts plan was designed to expand coverage to the roughly 60,000 uninsured in that state; Obama’s includes mechanisms to help control health-care costs.
There are several similarities between the two acts. I have done my best to remove any bias and present an honest comparison of the two laws.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision today has declared the ACA individual mandate (the requirement on Americans to have or buy health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a penalty) Constitutional "as a tax." 
There are a lot of questions and comments as to whether or not that makes the RomneyCare mandate a tax as well. 
THIS IS MY OPINION AND MY OPINION ONLY. But no, I do not think it is the same thing. This gets down into the nitty gritty of laws, so bear with me here. 
Originally the way the ACA was explained it did not create a mandate for individuals, it creates tax incentives for individuals to purchase coverage (or in other words, penalized the uninsured). This is the key detail SCOTUS caused the uproar over. 
RomneyCare, however, puts responsibility on individual to buy insurance, while also creating employer penalty for not providing insurance. 
The ACA tax penalty will be $285 per family or 1% of income, whichever is greater, when it goes into effect in 2014. By 2016, it goes up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income.
The Massachuesetts law penalizes individuals $295 per person, but increases monthly. It is important to note, the penalty was opposed by Romney.  
The key differences- the ACA penalizes people for not being able to afford coverage, or for choosing not to carry coverage. 
The Massachusetts version gives employers incentives to provide coverage. If an individual can afford it, and chooses not to carry it, they are penalized.
In other words, under Obama, it doesn't matter if you wanted it or not, or if you can afford it or not, if you don't have it, you get taxed. Under Romney, if you can't afford it, because your employer isn't making it available to you, your employer gets penalized. If you can afford it, and choose not to carry it, you pay a fee or mandate. 
Chief Justice John Roberts summarized it as such, "The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. ... The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance."
Because the MA Health Plan is an opt-out situation, (pay a fee to opt-out), I do not believe this mandate would be considered a tax.
But, like I said, that is just my personal opinion. There are people with more legal experience than myself out there reading all of the summaries in much greater detail who will soon take to the talking head shows to debate otherwise, I am sure.
Overall, many aspects of this law are good and will help many people. No denying special conditions or pre-existing conditions? GOOD! Allowing young adults to stay on parents insurance longer? Kinda good. (I am all for SMALLER GOVERNMENT. I would prefer to have seen consumers put the pressure on companies to do this, or for the companies to do it on their own- which could have happened. But instead, no, people went whining to Big Brother to make it happen. And now the government is telling businesses what to do. And that very rarely ends well.) Flexible Spending Accounts getting messed with- VERY BAD. Requiring more breastfeeding rooms? Meh. Sure, a good thing, but again, did it require a law?? Calories on menus? Again, meh. It's good, but did it really need the Supreme Court, Congress, and the President to make that happen? Talk about making a federal case out of something.

As for the rest of the differences between RomneyCare and ObamaCare- see below.

RomneyCare- Massachusetts Health Care Insurance Reform Law 2006 ObamaCare- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Offers subsidies to residents with income up to three times federal poverty level Offers tax credit to Americans with incomes up to four times the federal poverty level.
Extends coverage to low-income state residents through federal-state Medicaid. Extends Medicaid eligibility to low-income Americans.
Eliminates annual caps on coverage, limits maximum amount that consumers pay annually. Eliminates lifetime and annual caps on coverage, limits annual maximum to consumers.
Requires employers with 11+ workers who do not offer insurance to pay a penalty. Requires employers with 50+ employees to offer insurance or pay a penalty if at least one of their workers receives a tax credit to buy coverage.
Makes investments to improve wellness, prevention, and public health. Makes investments to improve wellness, prevention, and public health.
Created online marketplace for small employers to compare plans and options, saving admin costs. Created online marketplace for small employers to compare plans and options, saving admin costs.

70 pages long 2,074+ pages long
Main goal: insure everyone in the state Main goal: regulate and control costs of healthcare industry
Did not raise taxes Creates new taxes of $500 billion on individuals and businesses
Does not cut Medicare Cuts Medicare by $500 billion
No affect on Medicaid Gives Medicaid more liberally
1.8% of state uninsured (provided opt-in, opt-out) 16.7% of US still uninsured
Romney vetoed employer penalty (legislature over-rode later) Penalizes and requires employers to offer different types of insurance
Cost the state 1% of budget Will cost $2 trillion
Puts responsibility on individual to buy insurance, while also creating employer penalty for not providing insurance. ($295 per person, but increases monthly (opposed by Romney) No mandate for individuals, creates tax incentives for individuals to purchase coverage (penalizes the uninsured)
Did not lower healthcare costs (did insure everyone) Main goal is to reduce healthcare costs (does so by passing the expense to employers)
Deregulated a complex overly regulated state program. It is still heavily regulated, but much less so. Raised the costs of private health insurance premiums by 9% in one year (even before enacted). Expected to eventually raise premiums 55-85%.
Romney opposed the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, also known as the Health Connector. Among other roles, the Connector acts as an insurance broker to offer private insurance plans to residents. Obama plan is based around this regulatory exchange, imposing many requirements on what is considered “minimum creditable coverage” (for instance, contraception)
Romney supported a bare bones policy that covered hospitalization and catastrophic illness. Obama plan imposes several requirements on what is considered “minimum creditable coverage” (for instance- contraception)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

He's doing this for political reasons. Duh.

Paul Begala: Politicians Act Politically. Motives Don't Matter.

I can't remember if I have ever enjoyed an opinion piece as much as I do this one.  I want to staple it to the forehead of every Fox News fan armchair political campaign quarterback I know!

I know it’s a lot to ask, but can we please ban the phrase, “He’s doing this for political reasons”—at least until after the election?
Let’s posit that the point of politics is to get more votes than the other side—so everything a politician does is by definition political. Shocking. But there is, frequently, also an element of principle, a dash of ideology, and maybe even a hint of idealism.
To analyze every act in terms of motive, and to reduce every motive to its basest level, is just dumb.
Here’s an example. A few months ago I spent a long weekend at spring training in Florida with some college buddies, leaving my wife at home with our four feral boys. We’ve been married for nearly a quarter century, and I’d like to continue the streak. So on my way home from the airport, I diverted course and picked up a bouquet of flowers. If the political press were covering this act, the story would not be: “Because he truly, deeply loves his wife, Begala brought her flowers.” More likely: “In a shameless attempt to cover for his weekend abandonment…” Even more likely: “In a cynical attempt to get lucky…”
All of those things are true. We do what we do for a multitude of motives—some noble, some selfish, some cynical. I will never deny that a politician has a political motive, but that observation is so obvious that we can safely presume it. To say a politician is just doing something to get votes is like saying, “The Miami Heat only want to win basketball games.” Try that on ESPN and see how long you last as an analyst. (One more reason why it’s easier to be a cable-TV pundit than a sports reporter.)
Obama’s shift on the DREAM Act is a case in point. Last year our president was telling immigration reformers he didn’t have the authority to suspend deportations of “dreamers,” but now he’s done exactly that. Was it political? Of course. Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, and 90 percent of Latinos support the DREAM Act. So to deny any political motive would be foolish. But it was also substantive. Some 800,000 young people who have done nothing wrong can now be protected from deportation. I call that good policy.
Same with President Obama’s “evolution” on marriage equality. A plurality of Americans in a recent New York Times/CBS poll supported the president’s position. But two out of three Americans thought the president was acting “mostly for political reasons”; only one in four thought he endorsed marriage rights for gays and lesbians “because he thinks it is right.” But irrespective of the motive, Barack Obama will go down in history as the first American president to support full marriage equality

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mitt Romney in Salem, Virginia

Mitt Romney speaks to Carter Machinery in Salem, VA

Carter Machinery Employees in Salem, Virginia

Mitt Romney in Roanoke, VA TODAY!

Roanoke County
Republican Party

 Mitt Romney
You're invited to an event with
 our next President, 
Mitt Romney 

This Tuesday, June 26
Event begins at Noon 
Doors open at 10:00 a.m.

Carter Machinery 
1330 Lynchburg Turnpike
Salem, VA 
RSVP to the event by calling 757-279-8253   

Authorized and Paid for by the Roanoke County Republican Committee

Luncheon with Senator Ralph Smith and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Senate logo with border  
 Drs. Kevin and Nancy Dye,
Mr. Tom Brock, and Mr. John Rocovich

Cordially invite you to a

Luncheon with
Senator Ralph Smith
 and special guest
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Noon - June 28, 2012
The Shenandoah Club
24 Franklin Road, SW
Roanoke, Virginia

Hosts - $2,500
Patrons - $1,000
Sponsors - $500
Friends - $250
Individual Tickets - $50

Please  RSVP by responding to this email
or calling Cathy at 540-632-6587

Authorized and Paid for by Ralph Smith Senate Committee

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shame on MSNBC!!

I was about to claim that I have never used MSNBC as a source on this blog. But I wanted to make sure, therefore, I utilized incredibly simple research methods of typing "MSNBC" into the top left search box.
As it turns out those combinations of letters have been used 7 times on this site. Four of those times it was to draw attention to anti-Romney pieces they ran. Pieces that showed so much bias that the news network itself became the news story, and not Mitt Romney.
My point is that it is not hard to be honest and truthful. Someone needs to explain that to MSNBC!
After seeing the following clip that is so doctored and biased to the point of being fiction, I don't know how anyone can ever trust MSNBC again. It gives a bad name to all of journalism, and digs a hole so deep, they will never climb out. What could they possibly say to justify this editing?

Bad Boys Collide with the Fast and Furious Debacle

In this 1.5 minute video I like to think of AG Holder as the driver of the truck.

Previously I have said I didn't want to weigh in on the "Fast and Furious" issues with the Department of Justice, Attorney General Holder, and Congress. But today's proceedings are just ridiculous!

"Holder made the request to Obama via letter on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Wednesday informing him that the president has granted the request. 
"We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee's concerns and to accommodate the committee's legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious," Cole wrote. "Although we are deeply disappointed that the committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the department remains willing to work with the committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues."

(That would be the first time I have ever quoted Fox News.) 

"remains willing to work with the committee..."

That might be the funniest thing I have ever heard. 

They fail to send the documents. 
Then beg for executive privilege to stop the contempt proceedings. 
And yet... they remain willing to work with the committee.

Also, before any of the uber-conservative rumormongers go making up stories about how President Obama has abused executive privilege, take a look at how many times it has been used and by whom.

President Barack Obama: 1President George W. Bush: 6
President Bill Clinton: 14
President George H.W. Bush: 1
President Ronald Reagan: 3

Monday, June 18, 2012

Virginia GOP Chooses State Convention Over a Primary in 2013

The Republican Party of Virginia made some interesting changes over the weekend. The party's state central committee chose to hold a convention in 2013 rather than a primary election- for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling
It is no secret that the VA GOP has a little feud on its hands, and this primary/convention situation is a major event in that feud. As mentioned before on this blog current Lt. Gov Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are competing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. (It's just a little awkward inside the party right now.)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Bolling prefers a primary. Cuccinelli prefers a convention.

What's the difference and why does it matter?

Anyone can vote in a primary. Only party members who attend the convention get to vote at the convention.

A primary means a candidate gets to go out, glad hand, handshake, and stump. (They also cost a whole lot more to campaign.)

A convention means schmoozing the delegates with voting power at the convention.

And guess what happened at the convention over the weekend? The committee voted 47-31 to rescind an October 2011 decision to have a primary and to instead go with the option that gives them the most power.

Funny how that happens.

Bolling issued the following in a statement after the vote, "[a convention] will effectively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Virginia Republicans, and all active-duty military personnel, from participating in the nomination of our candidates."

"If we want to grow our party, we have to involve more people in the nomination of our candidates, not fewer; and I believe that we do that through primaries, not party conventions. This decision creates the impression that our party is an exclusive party, as opposed to an inclusive party, and that is not the message we should be sending to the people of Virginia."

Something else interesting happened at the convention. There wasn't a visible feud. I was in attendance for the Friday night proceedings, and asked a few people why I didn't see the Bolling campaign everywhere. (Because heaven knows, I saw plenty of Cuccinelli, and everyone else.) The answer was hush-hush, but people very respectfully explained that the two men do not want to divide the party, and therefore are giving each other some space. Cuccinelli got Friday night, and supposedly Bolling got Saturday. (I was not there Saturday so I did not get to witness it.) Rather than directly compete and the second and third highest ranking GOPers in the state, they politely stay out of each other's ways. I appreciate that.
So why does Cuccinelli prefer a convention over a primary? He says it is because it will allow the Republican nominee to save money for the general election campaign. That is very true. A bloody battle in the primary can be costly. Just ask Romney, Newt, and Santorum.

Supporters of the convention method claim it is a return to “grassroots activism.” For this writer, that is both true and untrue. First, if grassroots want to get more active, it doesn't matter which method of voting is held, they will get active. What really happens is what we see taking place around the country with Ron Paul supporters hijacking wreaking havoc showing up and causing a stir at state conventions around the country. You get a small, but passionate, group of people to show up at your local district convention to carry your torch.

Some call this grassroots activism, I call it not the will of the people, but the will of the loudest people.

Why does this method help Cuccinelli? He's got the Tea Party support.

The downside to this method? It's not unlike what happens in a grand jury indictment. They can indict anyone they want. A group of people get together and all agree the blue chair in the corner is bad, in spite of the evidence. They indict it. Or, in political terms, a bunch of Ron Paul rowdies show up and get their guy on the ballot, in spite of what the majority of people really want.

And for the candidates not running against Cuccinelli and Bolling for governor, (for instance Morgan Griffith running for U.S. House) that can be a scary prospect. One minute you are uncontested and all is well, the next a bunch of rowdies from who-knows-where show up with some buddies, and someone else gets the job!

Constitution? We don't need no stinkin' Constitution!

And the backlash begins...

Does the President have the authority and ability to completely bypass Congress to do whatever he wants to do?

Not according to the Constitution- that he has sworn to "preserve, protect, and defend."

Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president has the duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision was included to make sure that the president could not simply choose, as the British King had, to cancel legislation simply because he disagreed with it. President Obama cannot refuse to carry out a congressional statute simply because he thinks it advances the wrong policy. To do so violates the very core of his Constitutional duties.

That's a little gem from former Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel attorney John Yoo, a liberal, by the way, in today's National Review.

"It's the right thing to do" is not a valid reason to completely ignore the Constitution and bypass Congress.  No matter how 'feel good' it is, and no matter how many votes it gets you from a much needed voting bloc.

Of course, President Obama has had no problem not upholding his Oath of Office on more than one occasion, hasn't he? Jennifer Rubin does a great job of outlining his misdeeds in the Washington Post today.

Here's a few statements from some of the elected legislators that President Obama chose to ignore with his new directive-

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA-07)
“America is a beacon of freedom in the world and it is no wonder that hundreds of thousands of people each year apply to complete the legal and proper steps to become citizens or permanent residents of this amazing land.  After all, who wouldn’t want to raise their family in the land of opportunity and under the rule of law?  Unfortunately, President Obama’s decision to cease the deportation of potentially millions of illegal immigrants and instead grant them legal work permits—while millions of legal U.S. residents remain unemployed and unable to find work—undermines both the rule of law and the economic opportunity that is America.”
“As of 2011, more than 13.7 million U.S. citizens were unemployed, and today our national unemployment levels remain disappointingly high at 8.2 percent.  How can the President and his Administration offer the few American jobs that are available to those who have come to America illegally rather than those U.S. citizens who have always paid their taxes and played by the rules?”
“With today’s decree, President Obama demonstrates the same contempt for America’s laws that those who enter illegally do.  He is undermining the balance of power laid out by the U.S. Constitution, going far beyond his power within the Executive Branch and advancing his election-year politics at the expense of the American economy and the American people’s trust.”
“I am tremendously proud of America’s history as a nation of immigrants, and I am committed to continuing and improving the legal avenues that allow another generation of legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.  But, as every new American citizen knows, we are a nation of laws, and the U.S. Constitution extends lawmaking power to Congress and Congress alone.  This executive power grab—whether proposed by President Obama, President Romney, or President Reagan—is an unconstitutional act, and I will fight it with every tool at my disposal.”

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa., and Chairman of the Immigration Caucus
Since he delivered the State of the Union address in January, President Obama has often spoken about “fairness” and how “everyone should play by the same rules.”

Those buzzwords have become a mantra of his policies and his re-election campaign.

But on Friday, President Obama unilaterally changed the rules regarding amnesty for at least 800,000 illegal aliens – though some estimates put the number of those affected in the millions –and he discarded any pretense of acting fairly.

President Obama says his administration will not deport illegal aliens under the age of 30 if they meet certain criteria. Those illegal aliens will be allowed to apply for two-year work permits that can be renewed indefinitely.

Thanks to President Obama, some illegal aliens will be rewarded for breaking American immigration laws with federal permission to stay in the United States permanently.

That is de facto amnesty.

The president not only ignored the will of Congress, which has wisely and repeatedly refused to grant such amnesty, and the separation of powers enumerated in the United States Constitution, he changed the rules and unfairly punished American citizens and those who are legally in this country.

President Obama’s amnesty announcement directly hurts:

* American citizens and legal immigrants who are looking for work. The national unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for the last 40 months, yet President Obama’s decision lets at least 800,000 illegal aliens compete for very scarce jobs. About 15 percent of American workers are unemployed or underemployed; now, they face a tougher challenge to find work because of President Obama’s amnesty announcement;* Young Americans and young legal immigrants applying for college, scholarships, and financial aid. At least 800,000 illegal aliens can now compete for college admission spots, college scholarships, student loans, and federal and state grants;
* Would-be legal immigrants, who have been patiently waiting – playing by the rules, President Obama might say – to enter the United States to live, study, and work. Now, they see that lawbreakers are rewarded for their brazenness, while they wait to enter the United States through the front door;
* Law enforcement officials, who will face an uptick in fraudulent documentation, as illegal aliens who do not meet President Obama’s new criteria will create or purchase fake paperwork that will get them work permits and de facto amnesty;
* Those who actually believe in fairness and the rule of law, who should be offended by President Obama’s blatantly political amnesty announcement. It would seem the president agrees, or did agree. During a town hall meeting in March 2011, he said, “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that.” But that was 2011, and this is an election year, so the president chose to ignore his obligation.
* The U.S. Constitution, which is damaged by President Obama’s deliberate contravention of the role of Congress in making laws. During that same town hall meeting, the president said, “Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”

So it’s clear that President Obama understands – or understood, in March 2011 – his role and the role of Congress and the courts in setting and enforcing American immigration policy. Yet on Friday, he decided to ignore those roles.

Constitutional experts across the political spectrum say President Obama has dangerously expanded the use executive power since he took office by bypassing Congress and unilaterally altering federal drug enforcement, No Child Left Behind standards, Internet gambling policies, and more. Now, he adds immigration policy to that list – despite his public statements 15 months ago.

It is clear to me that President Obama not only overstepped his constitutional authority, but he acted with the knowledge he does not have that authority in the first place.

While I hope President Obama carefully reconsiders and reverses his position, I understand he will not in an election year.

I sincerely hope the next President of the United States strictly enforces all of our existing immigration laws.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ):
“Immigration reform is an important and complex issue that deserves a debate among the American people and in Congress. The announcement by President Obama is a politically-motivated power grab that does nothing to further the debate but instead adds additional confusion and uncertainty to our broken immigration system. Further, I find it interesting that after promising to enact comprehensive reform in the first year of his Presidency, the President chose to make this announcement in the middle of his heated re-election campaign. Rather than unilaterally deciding for the American people what they want and how they believe this problem should be addressed, I encourage the President and his Administration to finally reach out to Congress and propose legislation on this important issue.”

U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
“Today’s politically motivated announcement from the Obama Administration that it is going to immediately stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to this country and instead grant them work permits is an outrageous abuse of power by the Executive Branch.  With this announcement President Obama has completely bypassed the Congress, which is charged with writing our immigration laws, in order to grant possible amnesty to many illegal immigrants. This policy shift is in direct conflict with the law of our land.
Not only do I believe President Obama lacks the authority to make such a change to our immigration laws but I find it particularly egregious that he would want to hand out work permits to nearly 1 million illegal immigrants when many Americans are struggling to find work themselves.
America is a land of great opportunity and promise.  Our nation was founded by those who sought a better life and our strength and diversity come from our immigrant heritage.  However, our nation was also founded upon a set of principles, among them the rule of law and fairness and today’s announcement by the Obama Administration is contrary to these very principles.”   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

President Obama Changes Illegal Immigration Policy (in an election year)

President Obama Rose Garden
President Obama speaks on U.S. immigration policy in the White House Rose Garden

President Obama announced a major change in U.S. illegal immigration policy on Friday, June 15.
First, the facts.
  • He did NOT grant amnesty to illegals.
  • Anyone who claims the above is biased to the point of uncredibility.
  • Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation.
  • Those who meet the requirements will able to apply for work permits.
  • The policy change is expect to affect 800,000- 1.4M people (depending on which news source you trust). 

The exact words: “Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization. Now, let's be clear: This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix.”


Now, for some discussion on the facts (with a little bias, because sometimes facts warrant bias)-
  • The President did this on his own. He did not do this with the assistance of the elected legislative body of the United States. 
  • That same legislative body where Senator Marco Rubio was already working on a bill to address these issues. The same Senate that defeated the DREAM Act in 2009.
    Prefer to bypass the Constitution and anyone who doesn't want to do things exactly your way, Mr. President?? Why do we need three branches of government if we can just do it your way (the right way?) every time, right?
  • Hispanics make up the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country, and the Latino vote is considered a crucial bloc for the November presidential election.
    But you are better than election year politics and football spiking, right, Mr. President? You would never want to set an example to your own daughters and all of those elementary school children you asked to be loyal to you, that it is okay to do things all by yourself without asking permission first, just so you can be popular, right? You would never do that.
  • Some people will love the POTUS for this. After all, as he put it, "it's the right thing to do." We're talking about young adults who were brought here as children through no fault of their own. Why should they be punished for their parents' transgressions? To that extent, it is hard to fault the President for this change in policy. These kids (which are apparently also called "Dream-ers" (news to me)) have gone to American schools and know this as their home. (And apparently some have served in our military, which begs the question- WHAT? How do illegal, non-citizens serve in the U.S. Armed Forces?! Don't you have to have a Social Security number for that?! And are we really not giving them citizenship after they have served honorably in our Armed Forces?! (HELLO CONGRESS- Please make that a law NOW. If someone is going to voluntarily serve in our military and risk their lives on our behalf, I think we can absolutely grant them some amnesty and citizenship!) But back to the point here. Yes, these kids deserve a better deal than deportation. And granting them a reprieve is a nice step in the right direction on their behalf. But it absolutely does not solve the problem. 
  • If you believe he did this because "it was the right thing to do" and not because he needed to make sure Senator Rubio (a well-liked potential VP for Romney) couldn't get the glory for it later in the summer, and that the announcement on a Friday afternoon wasn't suspect in and of itself (in political media this is called "throwing it out with the trash"), and that he wasn't completely and in every way pandering to the growing Latino vote- you are not only naive, but completely unaware of how politics work.  Right or wrong, this was one of the most political moves this President has ever made. 

Senator Marco Rubio Speaks at Faith and Freedom Coalition

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Virginia Politics

Just another beautiful day in Virginia

In honor of Virginia going to the primary polls today, let's take a quick look at the issues-

We have a Senate seat open in the fall, and both George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) want it.
Both men have fairly hefty political resumes. Kaine is the former Governor, Lt Governor, and Mayor of Richmond. He was also the head of the Democratic National Committee.
Allen is a former Governor, Senator, Congressman, and State Legislator.
Polls will be open across the state from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Because Virginia does not register voters by party, any voter may choose to cast a ballot in the Republican primary, but turnout is expected to be low.
Allen is the front-runner, but he does face some competition. Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson, Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William) and former Virginia Tea Party Patriots head Jamie Radtke have also all thrown their hats into the ring. However,a Washington Post poll released last month found Allen leading the primary contest with 62 percent of the vote.
So in a not-too-contested primary, what is the big deal?
Balance of the US Senate!
All politics are local, my friends. 
In the words of our esteemed Governor Bob McDonnell, “Majority control of the U.S. Senate could be determined right here in Virginia with George Allen."
Speaking of our governor, what has he been up to lately (when he's not out stumping for Romney)?
He vetoed part of the General Assembly’s state spending plan and declared another section unconstitutional Monday. He put the kibosh on a provision in the budget that would have prevented some surplus funds from being used for transportation. (For those not in the know, Virginia tends to always have a big budget surplus.) He also said not to what he thinks is an unconstitutional measure related to the Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) fund, a rainy day fund to prepare for potentially large federal cuts.
After he used his red pen, he did sign the two-year, $85 billion state budget plan.
The General Assembly went along with some of McDonnell’s biggest budget priorities, including boosting K-12 and higher education by more than $880 million, and pouring about $2 billion into the underfunded retirement system for state employees.But it rebuffed him on a plan to divert more general-fund revenue toward transportation.
There are more issues regarding transportation in the Commonwealth, particularly with Metro expansion plans in Northern VA, than can be covered in this blog here.
Overall, McDonnell made more than 100 amendments to the General Assembly’s budget plan. (And yet, they still like him. Go figure.) But the GA did  defeated 31 of his amendments — more than even the most veteran lawmakers could recall. (Turnabout is fair play?)
Meanwhile, the men who would like to be the next Governor- Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, have been busy as well. 
Bolling put out a lengthy list of more than 100 state and grassroots level GOPers who he says support his bid for gov.   It is an incredibly gutsy and political move to release such a list so early on in a race that already threatens to divide and agitate the state GOP.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Stock Market of Public Opinion

Meanwhile, on the stock market of public opinion...
Perhaps you have seen it already – that annoying Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) piece of spam that has been copied and pasted over and over again, “warning” you that Facebook is now a public company, and as a result the government, evil corporations, and aliens from outer space will now be able to access all of your personal information that you willingly and personally entered into your profile, and will exploit you for their own greedy personal gain.
I wrote once before about how I was excited about the possibilities of Facebook users as Facebook shareholders. I was excited about what it would mean for the website overall, if the users had the voting power of the shareholders. Not often enough are shareholders also active users or customers of the companies they invest in. The combination of enlightened and educated masses making decisions that would both benefit the company financially, as well as improve services to the users excited and thrilled me.
Because I forgot to take into consideration the idiots who pass around internet memes like they are some sort of Bible.

Read the rest at "The Stock Market of Public Opinion" at the Motley Fool. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Do Political Gaffes Matter?

Do political gaffes matter?
I was about to say no.
But then I thought, "What would Rick Perry say?"

President Obama said on Friday that “the private sector is doing fine.” Was this "gaffe" taken out of context for cable news ratings?
Let's go to the tape and hear what he said in context-

Nope, I'm going to go with- he completely meant what he said, and he wasn't taken out of context. (As compared to, let's say, the Romney "gaffe," where he said he "likes to fire people." Watch the link, and you realize that that is only a gaffe when taken out of context. In context, I think what he said is something nearly every single American agrees with! We like being able to fire service providers who do a bad job and hire better ones!)

Now, President Obama would like us to believe he didn't mean what he said. And maybe he didn't. I mean, he only explained himself quite well for over a minute.

It's not like very specifically suggested that the people need to give more money to the government.  Because that just sounds a little bit too much like Prince John and Robin Hood, doesn't it?

Do political gaffes matter?
"You betcha."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All the news that's fit to (re)print

So many things to say, so little time to say it all in!

Here's the big hitters for the day (in my humble opinion)-

First, I only have so much time in a day, and room in my brain, so I chose to completely ignore whatever it was that happened in Wisconsin yesterday. I hear a Republican won, and that the Washington Post has an interesting interpretation of a "close call."

California apparently doesn't want to tax their cigarettes, not even to pretend to fund cancer research. Or maybe they are just tired of getting overly taxed in that state?

Here in my home commonwealth we term limit our governors. As a result, many of them like to run for the Senate after their term expires. Former Governors Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) are up against each other right now in a neck and neck race for our open Senate seat. Why does this matter? Because first, the balance of the Senate is a big deal and always will be. Second, Virginia politics and friendships are playing an interesting backstory in the Romney VP "race." If current Gov McDonnell were to become the next VP, it would be a very different representation for VA in the Senate if Allen were to win over Kaine. Like I've said before, all politics are local.

(And that being said, I really can't wait for the primaries in VA to be over with next week, so that the incessant robocalls on behalf of Rep Goodlatte will stop! (can't they at least pronounce his name correctly!?))

Has anyone else noticed a resurgence of Former President Bill Clinton showing up in political news lately? My spidey sense thinks something is up. 

Just a few things to think about!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

California, Here I Come

Californians go to the polls today to vote on a cigarette tax increase, and a few other things.

CIGARETTE TAX: Proposition 29 is on the ballot in California. It proposes to raise the state cigarette tax by $1 a pack. Currently the tax is $0.87 a pack, the proposition would raise it to $1.87. The state says the revenue from the tax would go to cancer and other tobacco-related diseases, along with prevention and education programs. Lots of states have cigarette or "sin" taxes. However, this one is unusual because the people are voting on it in a referendum style. Most states would pass it in the state legislature.
I may be against cigarette smoking in general, but I would never support a sin tax. A tax is a tax, "sin" or not.

OPEN PRIMARY: Also shaking up the status quo today, California  is holding a new open primary with all candidates appearing on a single ballot. The top two vote-getters go on to the general election. Normally, and in all other locations I've ever heard of,  people voted in party primaries that sent only one Republican and one Democrat to the general election. The results and consequences of this primary should be interesting to watch.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't Super Size New York City

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed an amendment to the city health code to prohibit the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants and other locations in the city.
The amendment would prohibit food service establishments from  selling sugary drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. It would apply to restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums or arenas, the administration said. Sixteen ounces is larger than most soda cans but smaller than most soda bottles.
A sugary drink is defined as any beverage sweetened with sugar or another caloric sweetener that contains more than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces and contains less than 51% milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient.
For example, according to the administration, a diet soda, a milk shake or sweetened latte that is larger than 16 ounces wouldn't be banned.
(Source: New York City Plans to Restrict Big-Size Soda Sales, Wall Street Journal)
This proposed amendment could set some very interesting precedents. NYC was one of the first places to require that food service establishments list the calorie content in a visible and obvious manner on all menus. That practice is not yet wide-spread nationwide, but has become more common.
I remember my first trip to NYC after the calories on the menus was implemented. I went into a Starbucks to get a spiced apple cider. I love those things. When I looked up and saw there are 228 calories in the small "Tall" size, it stopped me dead in my tracks. A regular size apple juice has about half that many calories, and considerably less sugar. I bought the apple juice instead of the cider.
I'm not a New Yorker, nor do I ever intend to become one. I have no doubt that if I lived in the city when the calorie law was up for discussion that I would have opposed it. It would have/did put an unfair cost on businesses, and it doesn't have a quantifiable, measurable results or effect.
This new proposed amendment is very similar. It does not take away anyone's right to choose, or to buy a drink. The thirsty and caffeine addicted people of the world can still drink as much as they want to. They will just have to buy more than one cup to do it.
No one hates "nanny-state" government more than I do. I despise government interference and regulation. Therefore, I am naturally and initially opposed to this amendment. However, I think back to my experience in the Starbucks and it gives me a reason to think twice- and that is the point here. Consumers would still have the ability to choose how much they want to drink. But they will be forced to think twice before they do.
I actually can't think of a downside to this amendment. Sure, it would be a hassle, but it would be good for people in the end.
But, I am and always will be, against government over-regulation. So I just can't get behind this proposal.
The reason this amendment should be more than just a passing interest story to the country is that New York tends to be very influential on the rest of the nation. People do need to sit up and pay attention to this one. This is definitely the sort of issue that could start in a harmless manner in one town (like the calories on the menu), and end up with a much more intrusive regulation in another city down the road.

Friday, June 1, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

So many interesting things to blog about this week, and me without the time or ability to do it!
Stay tuned. I will be back full force on Monday with a lot to say about a lot of things.