Thursday, February 28, 2013

Congressional Gun Control Debate, Feeding the Anti-Government Paranoid, Appeasing the NRA

Just a few days ago, Republicans and Democrats seemed poised to agree on universal background checks for gun sales, an issue on which a majority of Americans agree.  Now, Republicans are throwing another roadblock onto the road to an accord by insisting that no records be kept for private gun sales.  Tom Coburn (R-Ok): "There absolutely will not be record keeping on legitimate, law abiding gun owners in this country.  (Record keeping) will kill this bill."

what eye thynk:    Gun store owners already keep records of all their gun sales, and Mr. Coburn must be aware of that, so that makes his no-records statement false to begin with.  

And why should private sales be  treated differently in the first place?  Are the people who buy guns from gun stores less law abiding--and thus more in need of a background check--than those who buy at gun shows?  Surely Mr. Coburn doesn't believe that.

Republicans and the NRA are arguing that records of private sales will be used by the government to come and "take away your guns"; but can they offer one example of a gun owner having his gun confiscated using a gun store sale record?  No, of course not.  This is a ridiculous argument used to keep anti-government paranoids on high alert.

Allowing a record keeping exemption for private sales would make the law toothless--a complete waste of paper.  If no private sale records are kept, how would we know if a background check was even made?  Whose word would we take that such a background check was carried out--the private seller who opposed the law in the first place?  Even Washington cannot expect us to be that naive.

From a Daily News article earlier this month:  "Other gun control proposals poll well, but universal background checks has long been 'incredibly popular' winning support from 80-90% of respondents in a host of recent national polls, noted Margie Omero, a pollster who studies the issue."

This latest opposition issue is just another example of the conservative politician's inability to compromise, even if it is for the common good.  Even if the people most effected by the law voice their favor for the change.  The only conclusion I can reach is that congressmen like Mr. Coburn value NRA money more highly than they do the people they are supposed to represent.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25 - Monday Quote

My husband lost his older brother on Friday.  This is for them.

monday quote:   I cry a lot because I miss people.  They die, and I can't stop them.  They leave me and I love them more. (Maurice Sendak, writer and illustrator, 1928-2012)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Quick Fact(s) - The Sequester Explained

From an article by Jonathan Weisman:
The sequester "emerged from the refusal of House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 without significant deficit reduction.  In response, the two parties agreed to the Budget Control Act, which cut domestic spending over the next 10 years by $1 trillion.  Democrats refused to agree to more cuts without additional revenue from taxes, and Republicans refused to agree to tax increases.

Instead, Congress set up a committee to find further deficit reduction.  To push the committee to reach a deal, negotiators established a fallback mechanism meant to be so onerous it would never happen:  $1.2 trillion in across-the-board, automatic cuts to both military and domestic programs, (now) set to begin (March 1)."

Apparently the committee didn't get the "onerous" memo.

Facts on where we stand today, in no particular order:

1.   The President and just about every economist in the country knows that we cannot "cut" ourselves out of debt; that we also need additional revenue.  Rather than seek higher tax rates, the President has asked Republicans to consider closing a number of tax loopholes to increase our income.  

This is exactly the type of close-the-loopholes-to-increase-revenue plan that Mitt Romney campaigned on in 2012.  Back then, the Republicans cheered.  Now, they're refusing to even consider these "tax increases".

2.   Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) called the mandated cuts a "yawn" and a "pittance", further stating that President Obama's warnings are "histrionics".

Tell that to the people who will lose their jobs. 

3.   Should the sequester happen, Congress has put together a plan to cover their reduced budgets.  They will cut their staffs, while allowing their own salaries to stay the same.

Maybe Mr. Paul can explain the "yawn" part of this plan to those staffers who will be joining the unemployment line.

4.   Karl Rove has recommended that Republicans agree to fund the government for the rest of the year at the rate dictated by the sequester; but that they remove the specificity of the cuts and allow the President to decide exactly where the cuts will be made.  Mr. Rove contends that voters will then blame the President for the cuts, not Republicans, and that will result in a huge ground swelling of support for Republican candidates in 2014.

How cynically self-serving can you get?  Don't do anything to help our slowly emerging economic recovery; just make sure there is a plan in place to take advantage of the situation and to cover your own butt should the country fall back into recession.  Thank you, Karl.

5.   The latest Pew study shows that 19% of Americans think deficit reduction should accomplished through spending cuts alone;  76% favor spending cuts along with tax increases such as the President's plan to cut loopholes.

Republicans are too busy taking care of themselves to remember that they were elected to represent the people--all the people, not just the rich ones--you know,  people like those counted in the Pew study.  And, really, how much money do those 76% give to Republican campaigns anyway? 

6.   The President's approval rating is at the highest point since he took office in 2009.  The Republican Party's rating is at the lowest.

This is undoubtedly another plot perpetrated by the liberal media.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quick Fact(s) - Republican Badge of Honor and the Supreme Court Is At It Again

1.   Last year we saw a spate of redistricting in Republican run states.  As a result, many Republicans feel invulnerable to threats or entreaties to end the divisive atmosphere in Congress and work with the President.  Senior Republican House aides, working for congressmen who represent conservative districts, have been quoted as saying that "an attack by Mr. Obama is a badge of honor".

This makes these conservative members of Congress sound like overgrown playground bullies.  You know, the ones who would taunt you until you reciprocated and then run off with their pals, laughing and beating their chests.

2.   The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case brought by the Shaun McCutcheon of Alabama and the Republican National Committee asking that limits on private citizen contributions that are made directly to a political candidate or political committee be eliminated. 

Didn't the Court do enough damage with their Citizens United ruling?  Being rich shouldn't mean you have a louder voice in our political process.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rep. Rob Bishop, a Case of the Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah) is upset that President Obama went to play golf last weekend. "As commander-in-chief, the President is responsible for ensuring the health and viability of our national defense capabilities--yet he appears unengaged.  With only a few days left until sequestration, the President is reported to have been playing golf in Florida.  He has certainly proven capable of leisure, now it's time to prove that he's capable of leadership."

what eye thynk:   First, we know that Republicans don't really want President Obama to lead.  They say they want it; but when it happens, they suddenly find themselves hating the idea.  (See my post from last Tuesday

And Mr. Bishop's complaint is so ridiculous that I‘m amazed he was able to say it with a straight face.  While Mr. Bishop is complaining about the President taking a mini-vacation instead of remaining in Washington to deal with our looming problems, where are he and his congressional cohorts? They're on vacation for an entire week!

A typical congressional work week is three days; the 113th Congress has been in session for six weeks. During those eighteen work days, members of Congress held committee meetings where they aired ludicrous accusations about the President’s nominees for Secretary of Defense and for head of the CIA, posed for their nightly news-bites and then decided not to vote on either nomination.  Finally, they announced that they were uninterested in reaching any compromise with the President over the coming sequester and then left town.  

If Mr. Bishop is so worried about the national defense, he and his fellow congressmen should have voted for the confirmations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan before leaving Washington.  If Mr. Bishop is so worried about the  March 1 sequester, he and his fellow congressmen should have remained in Washington to work with the President.

  • A side note:  Ronald Reagan took 436 vacation days during his two terms.  When unemployment was at 9.5%, he took an entire month off, which included some days when his aides stopped relaying news to him so he could rest.  W. took 977 days off--the equivalent of 2 ½ years!  In contrast, President Obama took 131 vacation days during his first four years in office.

Right now, President Obama is in Washington working.  And waiting for his national security nominations to be confirmed.  And waiting to shape  a sequester compromise with Congress.  Congress itself is, well, absent.  

So who should we really be calling "unengaged"?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Speaker Boehner, Citizen of Fantasyland

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece written by John Boehner where Mr. Boehner blames the entire sequester crisis on President Obama, (no Republicans were involved).  He calls it the "President's sequester" to let us know how innocent he and his party are.

what eye thynk:    Don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant, Mr. Boehner.  But, frankly, I'm a little insulted that you seem to believe we're all stupid enough to swallow your self-serving, fantasy based diatribe whole. 

What the Speaker actually said in 2011 on the day that the sequester bill passed the House, with 174 Republicans voting "yay":  "When you look at  this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted.  I'm pretty happy."

Steve Benen has written a rebuttal article, Reality 1, Boehner 0, where he takes Mr. Boehner's writing apart, point by point, and exposes all the lies.  Please take the time to read it here:

Mr. Boehner's blatant espousal of an alternate reality makes me wonder if we will ever again be able to move forward as a united country. This kind of create-your-own-facts mentality is, frankly, as scary as it is counter-productive.

I need to remind myself of how well lying worked for Mitt Romney.  Remembering that lets me hope that the Republican Party will eventually fabricate its way out of existence...or at least find itself forced back into a world where standing up for the truth is not a sign of weakness, compromise is not a dirty word and where representing the people is more important than corporate money or self-promotion. 

Gotta have a dream, right?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eye Recommend --- Senators Overboard

SENATORS OVERBOARD, by Gail Collins --

Ms. Collins points out the Republican obsession with Benghazi and how Mr. Hagel had nothing to do with it, how Republican Senators are postponing the vote for a week of study to "get to the bottom of it", (but don't call it a filibuster), and how it would be nice if, instead, they put a little effort into working on the budget. (The underline is mine.)

"We seem to be short one secretary of defense.

Well, there's Leon Panetta, who has already had his farewell ceremony, given his farewell briefing and his farewell address, then flown home to California.  But the Pentagon probably still has his cell number in case a war breaks out.

And there's Chuck Hagel, nominated yet totally-still-not-confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  A Senate that is beginning to resemble a bad Carnival cruise.  They're dead in the water, nothing's working and the chief engineer is Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina...

...McCain and Graham have been particularly obsessed with the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya...

...The only problem is that Hagel wasn't in government when the attack occurred.  He had nothing to do with it.  Watching the Republicans fight this nomination over Benghazi is sort of like watching the crew of a disabled cruise ship racing around yelling about a bridge being out on the Amtrak route to Montreal....

...Let's take a vote ourselves.  Would you rather have the Senate:

A) Spend one week on vacation studying and then the last week of the month debating Chuck Hagel, or

B) Stay right where they are and figure out what to do about those enormous, economy-blasting spending cuts that are scheduled to kick in March 1."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

President vs. Congress - It's Deja Vu All Over Again

A copy of President Obama's plan for immigration reform was leaked over this past weekend. The White House is calling it a "fallback" plan that could be presented to Congress if the bi-partisan committee studying immigration reform fails to produce anything viable.

Republican response has been typically negative.

what eye thynk:   First, lets look at the way Republicans have called for leadership from President Obama... 

  • "It's the President who needs to take action.  We're hopeful that the President will begin to show some leadership on this and some other issues."  (Paul Ryan, November 13, 2012)
  • "Americans elected President Obama to lead."  (John Boehner, December 30, 2012)
  • "...but the President needs to lead."  (Paul Ryan, December 14, 2012)
  • "The President needs to lead. And that means offering a concrete plan..."  (Mitch McConnell, November 13, 2012)
  • President Obama refuses "to lead on the pressing issues of the day".  (Mitch McConnell, January 4, 2013
  • "It's no secret that there are more than 11 million people here illegally, many of whom have become part of the fabric of our country. They, like us, have families and dreams...(I) call on the president to help lead us toward a...solution."  (Eric Cantor, February 5, 2013) 

So, now the President is leading...and the Republican reaction?

  • The President's immigration plan is "dead on arrival in Congress".  (Marco Rubio, February 17, 2013)
  • "The plan is untenable...It shows me he is really not serious (about immigration reform)". (Rand Paul, February 17, 2013)
  • The President's leaked proposal is "counterproductive".  It "tells us he's looking for a partisan advantage."  (Paul Ryan, February 17, 2013)
  • The proposal "raises the question that many of us continue to wonder about:  Does the president really want a result, or does he want another cudgel to beat up Republicans"...(The President) has had no communication with Republicans on this issue."  (John McCain, February 17, 2013)

Republicans wanted leadership from the President; Eric Cantor begged the president "to help lead us toward a solution".  Now they have what they say they wanted and they don't know what to do with it, so they are falling all over each other condemning the consequences.

John McCain complains that there has been "no communication" while at the same time choosing to ignore that the President has, in fact, communicated his hopes for immigration reform via this proposal.  (Maybe Mr. McCain expected a personal perusal copy, bound in leather with his name embossed on the cover in gold to be made available to him first?)

And the Democratic response?

  • " know, it's obvious if a Democrat--the President or anyone else--puts out what they want on their own (it) is going to be different than when you have a bipartisan agreement.  (Sen. Chuck Schumer, February 17, 2013) 

Which basically means, if the President is for it, Republicans will be against it.

Welcome to the previous four years all over again.

Read more here:

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18 - Monday Quote

I feel like this sometimes...

monday quote:   Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me. (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, philosopher, 1770-1831)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

One Last Word From Hillary

what eye thynk:   Is it just me who wonders if John McCain is running for CEO of the I-Hate-Everything Club?  Really, since he got his butt kicked in 2008, it seems like he hasn't found an issue he supports or a person he doesn't think should be investigated.  Instead, anything and everything that passes his desk is fodder for another CNN rant and another Senate inquiry.  

While his King of the Curmudgeon act is irritating, mostly it just makes me sad.   It's hard to continue to respect a man who seems to hate everything just because he can.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Eye Recommend --- A Spritz of Power

A SPRITZ OF POWER, by Frank Bruni --

In honor of Valentine's Day, I want to share this politically scented satire. 

"It's kind of amazing, given our politicians' obsession with self-promotion, that we haven't yet seen a line of Congressional colognes." 

This is very clever.  Mr. Bruni is dead-on in his assessments too.  He gets a poke at everyone from Marco Rubio --  "Amnesty by Marco Rubio, the eau de toilette for the man or woman who craves a clean break, a new beginning.  I imagine a tope note of citrus, nodding to Rubio's native Florida, and a middle note of tea, nodding to his party-within-a-party."

to John McCain -- John McCain could channel his spooky fury into a fragrance for the grudge holder who has never suffered a slight that he didn't avenge.  Its name would be Payback, and it would smell of sour grapes and scorched earth."

to Bill Clinton -- "(his) signature scent will be a musky number for men only.  It'll use cedar, incense and wormwood to rewrite history, and be called Unimpeachable."

Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, John Boehner, even Ted Cruz gets a perfumed moniker.  


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quick Fact(s) - Francophile Edition, with a Little GOP Scandal for Dessert

1.   On Tuesday, France's National Assembly passed a bill in favor of same sex marriage by a vote of 329-229.  The Marriage for All bill now goes to their Senate.  

First Great Britain and now France.  I love this!

2.   France, having recently completed an in depth study of their standard public school curriculum and finding it lacking, is writing a whole new curriculum to be used beginning next school year.  Apparently they found that the current curriculum focused too much on rote learning that "discourages creativity and critical thinking".  Next year, French students will be memorizing less while thinking and analyzing more.

Maybe they could save money by just exchanging curricula with Texas where the GOP recently passed a platform condemning the teaching of critical thinking skills.  (See my post from yesterday, "No Thinking Allowed Department".)

3.   On Monday, former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer entered a plea of guilty on five counts of grand theft and money laundering.  No plea bargain was in place.  Mr. Greer's lawyer, Damon Chase, explained it this way: "Sometimes clearing your name is not as important as taking care of your family.  The facts were on our side, and the truth would have come out in the trial.  Greer's name would have been cleared."

Uh huh.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quick Fact - Ted Nugent and the State of the Union Address

Just had to share this...from Rachel Maddow this morning:

"Last year, Ted Nugent went after Barack Obama with rhetoric that was violent enough to get the attention of the Secret Service.  Tonight, at the State of the Union, Ted Nugent will be the guest of a Republican congressmen.  If the GOP intends to stop being, in Bobby Jindal's words, the 'stupid party', they have a long way to go."

(Not So) Quick Facts - No Thinking Allowed Department

1.   No thinking allowed:   Last year, the Texas GOP condemned the teaching of "critical thinking skills" in their party platform.  "We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs".  They cited the possibility that these skills could end up "challenging...student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."  They also opposed early childhood education, sex education and multi-cultural education.  They did support a curriculum based on Judeo-Christian principles.

Texas GOP Communications Director Chris Elam responded to questions about the education platform by saying that "critical thinking skills" wasn't supposed to be included but since it was voted on, it could not be removed.  

Thank you, Texas, for halting the proliferation of thinking.  We sure don't need any of that in this country!  

But really, somebody brought the subject up, the committee voted on it and decided to include it in the platform, then somebody typed it and I assume somebody else proof read it.  Then it was presented to the full GOP body, who must have read it at least once, (of course, this is Texas, so maybe not), then they talked about it and finally voted to approve it--and they want us to believe that its inclusion is an oversight?  Maybe Mr. Elam really meant we weren't supposed to notice that it was included.

Stephen Colbert had a hilarious take on this.  In part: "I blame Galileo... For centuries we had a perfectly good explanation for the order of the universe.  Bible says the sun goes around the Earth, making us the center of the universe.  And you know what? Everyone was happy.  And then numnuts over here gets a telescope for Christmas, uses his precious critical thinking skills and suddenly the Earth goes around the sun, blah blah blah and now we have lesbians."

2.   What happens when the Virginia GOP starts to think then stops:  The Virginia legislature has finally acknowledged that their state has a coastal flooding problem.  They have passed a bill written by Democratic Senator Ralph Northam to fund a $50,000 study on the economic impact of coastal flooding and how Virginia can adapt to the "sea level rise".  The problem is, the GOP in Virginia thinks that "sea level rise" is a left wing term used by liberals who believe in global warming--which any good Republican knows is nothing more than left wing propaganda.  The bill passed, but only after the GOP banned the use of the words "sea level rise".  

I assume that calling it "boy it sure is a lot wetter here than it used to be", is okay. 

3.   What happens when Lindsay Graham thinks too much:  Lindsay Graham now says he will do anything he has to in order to block the confirmation votes on President Obama's nominees for head of the CIA and Secretary of Defense unless he is given more information on Benghazi.  He wants a full description of what was going on at the White House at the time of the attack.  "What did he do that night?"

Geez, Linds, isn't it about time to lay that bone down?  Just because you want a conspiracy doesn't mean you're going to find a conspiracy.  As Hillary Clinton said about the Benghazi conspiracy theorists, "They just will not live in an evidence based world". 

Mr. Graham certainly has the right to cast his vote against the confirmation of Mr. Brennan or Mr. Hagel.  What he doesn't have is the right to deny another Senator the opportunity to vote at all.  

Think about it. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11 - Monday Quote

Thursday is Valentine's Day, so remember the first but memorize the second...

monday quote:  How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being? (Oscar Wilde, dramatist, 1854-1900)

Come live in my heart, and pay not rent. (Samuel Lover, artist, 1797-1868)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Eye Recommend --- Republican Civil War Erupts Over Karl Rove's New Super Pac


Ms. Wyler's article really is a fun read for any liberal.

"The bloody and internal struggle within the GOP was blown wide open this week, with the news that Karl Rove has formed a new super-PAC, an offshoot of American Crossroads, that aims to weed out Republican primary candidates it views as unpalatable and unelectable...

...But conservatives see the new group as a final proof that the GOP Establishment has abandoned--and wants to silence and destroy--the party's rank-and-file.  Powerful conservative groups--including FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, and the Senate Conservatives Fund--reacted to Rove's news with scorn and outrage."

Steve Deace, conservative radio host is quoted as saying,

  '(Rove) is actually going to encourage the very atmosphere he's intending to stop.  If he wasn't so concerned with his ego, he would realize that....If Karl Rove wanted to take over the process in the primary states, the worst way to do that was to sabotage the candidates.'

Iowa Repubican Party Chair A.J. Spiker weighs in too.

'I believe that people will ultimately decide the candidate for themselves,  But it hurts the party when groups jump in and try to influence the process.  Ultimately, the only benefit is to the people raising and spending the money.'"

I did a Quick Fact  article on Karl Rove's new Super PAC just a few days ago. You can read it here:;postID=8816565647735680378
Looks like my assessment was correct.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quick Fact - The U.S. Post Office, Making Saturday a Junk Mail Free Day!

The Post Office is nearly bankrupt. A large part of the problem is the onerous pension plan contributions required by Congress, but other underlying issues like the drop-off in mail volume due to electronic payments are also a factor.  

When a corporation finds themselves in this position, we expect lay-offs and a restructuring plan.  Last year, in an attempt to save money, the Post Office tried closing smaller postal stations and initiating shorter hours at others.  This week, the Post Office announced that, beginning in August, they plan to stop Saturday delivery of regular mail, moving the Post Office to a five day delivery schedule.  They will, however, continue delivering packages on Saturday.  Congress is already making noises to stop the change.

Basically, Congress is aware of the problem but is saying "You're an independent business and we're the board members.  We want you to act like an independent business and come up with solutions to solve your cash flow problems.  Then we will refuse to approve them".   

Really, what is the big deal if we lose Saturday delivery?  They're still going to deliver packages, so your latest purchase from Amazon will arrive as promised.  Is it really going to matter if the latest credit card offer, pizza shop flyer or utility bill is delayed until Monday?  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Violence Against Women Act - Protection Should Not be a Political Game. And Isn't it Time We Recognize that Love is Not a Privilege Reserved Solely for Heterosexuals?

Great Britain -- On Tuesday, the House of Commons voted 400 to 175 to approve same sex marriage.  The bill now goes to the House of Lords, where there may be delaying tactics, but is still expected to pass.  Prime Minister David Cameron said he hopes to sign the bill into law by this Summer.

The Pentagon --  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is planning to give same sex married couples access to military housing.  The non-military spouse will also get a military ID that can be used for access to the commissary and all base activities.  A same sex spouse and family will be given consideration when duty locations are assigned.

Congress -- In 2012, a renewal of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act failed when Republicans in the House refused to approve the addition of protection for same sex victims of abuse in the bill.  The Senate had already approved the renewal, but the House wrote their own version editing out any reference to same sex partners.  John Boehner refused to allow a vote on the Senate version because it looked as though it would pass, but not with a Republican majority supporting it. 

On Monday, the Senate once again voted to renew the VAWA and again included the same sex provision.  The vote was 85-8, indicating overwhelming bipartisan support.  Last year's provision to allow more visas for illegals who are victims of domestic abuse was pulled because, even though its cost would have been small, Republicans balked, sighting that the Constitution states all tax measures must originate in the House. (Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said he will include that provision in his immigration bill later this year.)  Another provision that would allow Native American courts to prosecute non-Indians who are charged with rape or domestic violence while on reservation land was also included in the 2013 Senate bill.

what eye thynk:   Once again, Congress is treating this issue like a game where winning is everything.  The ball is currently in the House's court where Republicans are still balking over the inclusion of protection for same sex partners and the Native American court provision.
First, the Native American provision -- House Republicans are now hiding behind the excuse that they question the legality of expanding the reach of Native American courts.  Well, here's an easy answer to that...if its not legal, make it legal.  You're in Washington to help write laws, so write one that covers this question.  Problem solved.

As for the same sex abuse question, it should be a no-brainer for anyone with a modicum of common sense or compassion--which lately seems to exclude a large number of Republicans.  Senate Republicans gave overwhelming support to the renewal of this bill.  Why can’t the House reach a like agreement?  Do they drink different Kool-Aid on the other side of Congress?  Or is it just another case of John Boehner refusing to allow a vote to be taken on any issue that doesn’t have the support of the majority of Republicans?  His fear of appearing weak in the eyes of the far right is creating a leadership vacuum at the top of the House pyramid.  Is it a similar fear that is keeping moderate House Republicans from questioning Mr. Boehner’s obedience to the far right‘s our-way-or-no-way method of governing? 

As Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) said earlier this week, “The ultimate fate of the VAWA…lays squarely on the shoulders of Eric Cantor and John Boehner.  They can either give in to the extreme voices of their caucus or they can stand with Democrats, moderate Republicans, and the many millions of Americans who believe there is no reason this critical bill should be put on the back burner.”  

Yes, there are those who argue against same sex protection or any protection at all for that matter, just as there was and is in the Senate.  The Koch brothers funded Independent Women's Forum has spoken out against the VAWA calling it a "waste of money".  And Doug Heye, spokesman for Eric Cantor, is still insisting that Democrats are "more interested in using this as a political issue against Republicans than in finding a solution to the issues".  

But Senate Republicans were able to look beyond those arguments to the core of the question which is simple and equal fairness.  Mr Heye and his handlers remain blind to the fact that the Senate, with overwhelming bipartisan support has already found the solution--every victim of domestic violence should be protected, not just the ones conservative members of the House deem worthy.

Senator Susan Collins (R- Maine) all but begged her fellow Republicans in the House to move forward on the VAWA. "This is not and never should be a partisan political issue.  This is an equal-opportunity crime that harms people regardless of their political affiliation, their profession or their status in life.  It's an issue that deserves bipartisan support.”

Your serve, Mr. Speaker.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quick Fact - Karl Rove Rises From the Ashes of 2012

Karl Rove is heading a new Super-PAC; this one called The Conservative Victory Project.  The purpose of this group is to fight against Tea Party candidates in primary elections if they are seen as likely to lose to a Democratic opponent in the general election and to promote the more moderately conservative Republican candidate who, they believe, is more likely to gain office.  Mr. Rove's new adventure is being funded by the same people who gave more than one billion to his American Crossroads PAC during the 2012 election then watched as President Obama was re-elected and the Republicans lost seats in both the House and the Senate.

While I applaud the recognition of the need  for moderation in the Republican Party, I have to wonder if this is the way to go about it.   These wealthy donors are willing to once again give millions to Karl Rove, (who must be the best salesmen ever), this time so they can fight against themselves--conservative vs. conservative.  This just proves that having lots of money doesn't make you smart. To me, it just looks like the Republicans are funding their own disintegration.  Couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Is America the Greatest Country in the World?

This video was taken from Jeff Daniels' TV show Newsroom.  It may not make you stand up and cheer.  It probably won't make you smile either.  It doesn't have cute kittens or puppies in funny situations.  It does have some terrific acting, but that may not be enough to entertain you.  The one thing I feel pretty sure about--it will make you think.

what eye thynk:   I don't know if I agree with his contention, but I can't argue with how he got there.  Yes, there is more to greatness than facts.  Heart, spirit, attitude, faith are all part of the same equation; call it the "soul" of the people, but how do you measure that?  And should you even have to?

In the end, I know it's just television.  But I am still thinking.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4 - Monday Quote

Today's quote is dedicated to those who mistake close mindedness for moral superiority and their belief in their own moral superiority for intelligence.  

monday quote:   Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. (Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

ACA Obstructionists Just Won't Give Up

On Friday, President Obama announced still another compromise to appease those who disapprove of birth control for religious reasons.  The new proposal expands the types of religious organizations that can claim an exemption from providing contraception coverage to include religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and social service agencies.  Secular, for-profit companies are not covered by the exemption.

Employees of religious affiliated organizations who want contraception coverage would have their prescriptions provided by their insurance company at no charge.  An additional policy would not be required. It's not clear how this would work, but the price would supposedly be made up by reduced pre-natal and birthing costs.

Kyle Duncan, lawyer for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty answered the President's announcement by saying "Today's proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious freedom of millions of Americans".

Republican Representative and co-chair of Congress' Pro-life Caucus Christopher Smith of New Jersey said that the proposal provided "no relief for small businesses run by people of faith". 

what eye thynk:    The President has done everything he can to insure that church affiliated organizations are not forced to provide contraception if its use is contrary to their church doctrine.  He has also covered an employee's freedom of choice by providing a way for any employee to obtain birth control if it is wanted.

Our government calls for a separation of church and state, and under that partition President Obama’s proposal is fair to both church employer and employee while keeping true to what is now the law of the land. 

Mr. Duncan and Mr. Smith object that the exemptions were not expanded to cover secular employers.   That is not how our constitution or our laws work.  We don’t make exceptions for secular objections. Personally, I hate paying income taxes, but that doesn’t give me the right to sue for an exemption.  There are millions of American women who use birth control, (and, yes, Mr. Smith, many of those women consider themselves "people of faith"), and they have the right to expect their secular employer to follow the law. 

ACA obstructionists seem willing to beat their horse as long as there is even one person willing to provide a whip.   How far do they intend to take their arguments?  If a secular employer belongs to a church that denies its members blood transfusions, will an injured employee be expected to bleed to death on the shop floor?  

The separation of church and state has been accommodated.  The rest of you will just have to follow the law…like it or not.  The nature of a democracy demands that not every citizen is going to be happy with every rule written or every right invoked.  If you can’t live with that, then perhaps this is not the country for you.  I hear Iran is looking for a few good men.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2016 is Coming. If You're a Republican, Hug an Hispanic!

Republicans in Congress are suddenly obsessed with talking about immigration reform. They are determined to get their proposal out before the President speaks on his ideas.

what eye thynk:   I have a real problem writing about this topic since I have fairly conservative views on immigration.  
  • I believe that if you came here illegally as an adult--go home and wait your turn.  
  • If you were brought here illegally as a child and have gone on to high school and college--you can't be faulted for what an adult in your life did 15 years ago.  Welcome, now go apply for citizenship.  The Dream Act was written for you.
  • If you came here just to have your baby, again, go home and take your baby with you.  He shouldn't get automatic citizenship just because he was born here.  He needs a citizen parent first.
  • If you want to become a citizen, learn our language.  

Harsh?  Absolutely; but at least I'm honest about it. And, as much as I disliked Mitt Romney, statements he made like the one about making things so tough that illegals "self-deport", while tasteless, were also honest and presented a true picture of Republican attitudes toward immigrants and immigration.

Then the 2012 election happened.  Republicans looked at the results, compared them to the country's demographics and realized they are in trouble.  Now, suddenly, they want to be seen as immigrant friendly.

In December, Peggy Noonan wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal that addressed the leadership and policy problems of the Republican Party going forward.  In it she described a post-election speech given by Senator Marco Rubio where he fixated on the term "middle class".  Her comment also speaks to the current Republican interest in immigration reform. (I have replaced the term "middle class" with" immigration" in the following quote.) She wrote, "Repeating that phrase mantra-like will not make people think you're concerned about (immigration), it will only make them think you're concerned about winning (immigrant votes).  It is important to remember in politics that people aren't stupid."

Voicing support for immigration reform is a start and I'm open to intelligent discussion on the subject.   But creating immigrant friendly policies simply in the hope you will gain Hispanic votes, is not the same as showing concern for Hispanic voters. Really, people aren't that stupid.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Eye Recommend --- Poltical Power Needs to be Used

POLITICAL POWER NEEDS TO BE USED, New York Times editorial --

Last month Senate Democrats wimped out when they had the golden opportunity to halt the filibuster abuse that has stagnated that body for four years.  Now, some Democrats are backing away from gun reform.  Next they are going to tackle the federal budget.  It’s time for Democrats to stand up to right wing tactics and lead.

“If ever there were a moment for Democrats to press their political advantage, this is it.  Their message on many of the biggest national issues--taxes, guns, education spending, financial regulation--has widespread support, and they have increased their numbers in both houses of Congress.  But after years of being out-yelled by strident right-wing ideologues, too many in the Democratic Party still have a case of nerves, afraid of bold action and forthright principles…

…Politicians play in a rugged arena and are understandably obsessed about losing power.  But that power needs to be used for something other than perpetual re-election.  The next two years will challenge lawmakers of both parties to demonstrate that they came to Washington for a purpose.”