Friday, February 28, 2014

Eye Recommend --- Now on Your Restaurant Bill: Obamacare Fee

And so it has come to this: a new business model--customer financed spite.

"Diners at eight Gator's dockside casual eateries are finding a 1% Affordable Care Act surcharge on their tabs, which comes to 15 cents on a typical $15 lunch tab.  Signs on the door and at tables alert diners to the fee, which is also listed separately on the bill.

The Gator Group's full-time hourly employees won't actually receive health insurance until December.  But the company said it implemented the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it's facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate kicking in in 2015.

'The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,' the sign reads.  'Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator's Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.'"
I guarantee you, as small as the surcharge is, if I read that sign, I'd be hightailing it to another restaurant and letting the owners at Gator's know why.  Servers are already  paid below minimum wage with customers expected to make up the difference by tipping, (which I do, and generously.), so I'm already subsidizing every restaurant owner whose business I visit.  Even with that, many full time servers end up needing additional government assistance to get by--assistance which I also provide through my tax dollars.
If--better yet "when"--the minimum wage gets raised, will Gator's Dockside owners add another surcharge?  Am I a customer or a bank?   
"Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, an upscale restaurant is also asking guests to pony up for its employee health care costs.

Since it opened in November, Republique's tab comes with an optional 3% surcharge that allows it to employ all of its 80 workers full-time and provide them with health insurance.  The fee is explained in a sign and on the menu, and servers explain it to diners without prompting.

The surcharge is not related to Obamacare, a restaurant spokeswoman said.  The eatery is not subject to the employer mandate until 2016 because it has fewer than 100 workers, but it already offers coverage to its staff."
I hope these owners don't hurt themselves while reaching to pat themselves on the back.  And I have to wonder, if the surcharge has nothing to do with the ACA, then why announce it so obviously?
When business costs go up and can no longer be absorbed, end prices are raised to reflect that. Consumers accept this reality.  Both these restaurant owners could have simply added 1% or 3% to their food prices and quietly financed their employee's benefit package without a public announcement and it's doubtful anyone would have noticed.  Instead they chose an in-your-face approach that says "We hate the ACA and we want you to know you're paying for it."  The only thing missing is a picture of a waggling tongue above the text "Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa!"
How childish.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Republican War on Women: The War in West Virginia, a New Degree of Intrusion

This is the twenty-third in a series of articles on the subjects of women, abortion rights and the Republican Party. 

Republicans continue to say they don’t have to change their core principles, they only have to change the language they use to get their message out.  One perception they want to alter is the idea that they are running a “war on women”.  Looking at the news over the past few years, I’d say the Republican Party has a long way to go on this subject.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky): “Talk about a manufactured issue.  There is no issue.” 
  •  RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:  “It’s a fiction.”
The West Virginia Front

the facts and commentary:  The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a new anti-abortion bill this week making abortion illegal after 20 weeks.  

This seems to be the new Republican threshold of choice.  A fact that is lost in their Party's headlong rush to ban abortions after the 20th week is that 99% of abortions performed in this country are already performed within that time period.  According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, (you know, people actually licensed to practice medicine), the remaining 1% are performed because of  "rare, severe fetal abnormalities and real threats to a woman's health" that are not detectable until later in a pregnancy. 
The obvious question here is, if the Republican Party believes their abortion restrictions as necessary to protect women's health, what makes the 1%, those specific women who medical doctors identify as vulnerable, less worthy of their conservative aegis? 
But West Virginia Republicans have added a new wrinkle in their eagerness to join the We-Want-a-20-Week-Ban-Too club.  They want to make a woman's medical records--ALL her medical records--one step short of public. Their new law requires that, for each abortion performed, a report be filed with the West Virginia Division of Health that must include the age, the race, the method of abortion and a "unique medical record identifying number to enable matching the report to the patient's medical records."  
WHAT?  Republicans in the state of West Virginia want some minimum wage clerk to have access to a woman's complete medical records?  To what purpose?  What happens to that information after it is recorded?  And what possible right does anyone--ANYONE--who is not that woman's medical care provider have to view her medical records?
This is the same Party that criticizes the ACA for "intruding into the doctor/patient relationship." Apparently, Republicans in West Virginia believe that, if the patient has a vagina, intrusion is not only permissible, it should be a requirement.
 The Republican War on Women is "fiction?"


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quick Note: Texas is Toast

Today, in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the Texas ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. 

"Today's court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.  Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution."

The state ban will remain in place while the case makes its way through the appeals process. 
I'm picturing Ted Nugent's head exploding all over Greg Abbott...and I'm smiling. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quick Note: America Waits on Governor Jan Brewer

Everyone is waiting to see what Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is going to do about SB1062, otherwise known as her state's refusal of service bill.  Both houses of the legislature passed it last week, and Ms. Brewer has until Saturday to decide to (A) veto it, or (B) do nothing, in which case the bill becomes state law.

Ms. Brewer cannot run for Governor again because of term limits, so her decision is not going to be made for political reasons.  She has said that she intends to "do what is best for Arizona."  If Governor Brewer is listening to her state's business community, the bill is toast.  Apple, Marriott and American Airlines have all indicated they want the bill vetoed.  

Next year's NFL Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in Phoenix. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is"following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time." Moving a Super Bowl from its scheduled city is not unprecedented.  In 1993, the game was moved from Arizona to California's Rose Bowl stadium following Arizona's failure to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a paid state holiday.  (They have since added that holiday to the state calendar.)

Three Republican Arizona state Senators, Adam Driggs, Steve Pearce and Bob Worsley--who all voted in favor of the bill last week--have indicated they want Ms. Brewer to kill the legislation, saying the bill is "causing our state unmeasurable harm."  In a joint statement, they said, "While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens' religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword of religious intolerance."
It's nice that these three legislators recognize that Arizona has become the center of a political whirlwind, albeit one of their own creation, but it's a little hard to understand how they could not have seen this coming. 

And as for believing they were creating a "shield for all citizens' religious liberties", we already have that.  It's called the separation of church and state.  The church doesn't get to tell the state how to write laws and the state doesn't get to tell the church how to pray.  It's really pretty basic and has worked amazingly well for over 200 years.  I'm surprised these Arizona legislators are unaware of it.
Not all Arizonians are throwing in the towel on this issue, however.  Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, the organization that helped to write SB1062, issued a statement calling attacks on the bill "politics at its absolute worst.  Instead of having an honest discussion about the true meaning of religious liberty, opponents of the bill have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks and irresponsible reporting."

In an attempt to defuse the controversy swirling through the Grand Canyon state, Aaron Baer, the Center for Arizona Policy's Communication Director, denied that the bill was anti-gay, explaining that it could also be used to turn away straight people who support same-sex marriage.
Oh, yeah, THAT should calm things right down.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Quick Note(s): Fracking in Ohio (Maybe), Oklahoma (Oops!) and Texas (Not in MY Backyard)

Three years ago, Governor John Kasich signed legislation that opened Ohio's state parks to hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking.  The legislation was opposed by Democrats and environmentalists.  At the time, Mr. Kasich and Ohio Republican legislators said there were no plans to begin the practice immediately and they assured the opposition that there would be intense study before any permits were issued.

A year and a half ago, apparently with no actual studies having been completed, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which is charged with regulating the state's oil and gas industry, designed an aggressive ad campaign to promote the practice of fracking.

Recently, the Democratic caucus in Columbus opened an investigation into that marketing campaign. The day after the investigation was announced, Bob Nichols, spokesman for Mr. Kasich, told the Columbus Dispatch that the Governor no longer supports fracking in state parks and hasn't supported it for a year and a half. 

So, a year and a half ago, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources designed an ad campaign supporting the safety of fracking, which, according to Mr. Nichols, exactly coincides with the Governor's change of heart over the practice on public lands. 

The coincidental timeline is questionable, but not necessarily worthy of an official investigation.  But, here is where it moves past "questionable":  Just two weeks ago, the Governor was claiming that neither he nor his staff knew anything about the Department of Natural Resources campaign, which has yet to be made public.  Then e-mails began to emerge that showed, not only did the Governor and his top staff know about the campaign, senior members of the Governor's staff were present at meetings between the Department of Natural Resources and leaders of the oil and gas industry in Ohio when the ad campaign was designed.
There is nothing wrong with the Governor signing legally passed legislation into law. There is, however, something wrong with a state agency that is charged with regulating an industry meeting with executives of that same industry in order to plan a campaign promoting the industry's business plans.  And there is something very wrong with the Governor lying about it.

Oklahoma is not a state that comes to mind when you think of earthquakes.  As a matter of fact, between 1990 and 2008, Oklahoma never registered more than eleven earthquakes per year that registered over 2.0 on the Richter scale.

In 2013, the state began issuing permits to the gas and oil industry to allow fracking.  That year, Oklahoma recorded 291 earthquakes of 2.0 intensity or higher.  This year, there have been 250 such earthquakes recorded in February alone.

Several times during Olympics coverage, I saw a TV ad, sponsored by the oil industry, where a pretty, young ranch owner talks about fracking and explains her family's reasons for allowing it on their land by saying studies conclude that it is safe for "our water, our air and our land." 

Which makes certain current activities by Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson all the more notable.  He recently joined with his neighbors in a lawsuit to stop fracking near their properties in Texas.  Specifically, he is fighting a water tower needed for the fracking operation and the "negative side effects" of drilling near his 100 acre horse farm. 

In 2012, Mr. Tillerson complained that fracking operations in North Dakota and Montana were creating a "natural gas glut" that was hurting profits.  Considering that Exxon profits that year were "just shy of breaking (a) global record," his whining was patently outrageous; but that complaint pales when compared to the self-serving, callousness of Mr. Tillerson and his neighbors in their fight to prevent (safe! environmentally friendly!) fracking near their million-plus dollar properties.
Would it be wrong if I were to wish for a major fracking accident near Mr. Tillerson's home that completely wiped out the monetary value of his and his neighbor's properties?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

We Need Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Gregg Abbott is leading the crowded Republican field in the primary race for Governor of Texas.  Recently, he welcomed aging rocker turned political groupie Ted Nugent to his entourage.
  • Ted Nugent, in an interview with in January:  "I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame, enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtered subhuman mongrel like the Acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States."
When asked about Mr. Nugent's diatribe, Mr. Abbot replied that he wasn't interested in what Mr. Nugent "may have done or said in his background.  What I do know is that Ted Nugent stands for the Constitution."  After prodding from Republican leadership, Mr. Nugent was asked to apologize.  He did...sort of.
  • Ted Nugent, in an interview with conservative radio host Ben Ferguson this past week:  "I do apologize--not necessarily to the President--but on behalf of much better men than myself."
what eye thynk:   I was not moved to tears by this "apology."  All he really did was make it clear that he stands by his original statement and the only reason he is even pretending to be remorseful is because somebody told him to be.  

Knowing the type of hateful, over the top rhetoric Ted Nugent spouts every time he gets near a microphone, I have to wonder why Republicans court him.  (U.S. Representative Steve Stockman (R) Texas, who walked out of this year's State of the Union address, invited Nugent to be his honored guest at the State of the Union address in 2013.)

As Michelle Cottle of The Daily Beast wrote last week:

"Abbot's snuggling up to Nugent is not about the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment or any part of the Constitution.  It is about courting and stoking the absolute ugliest, most paranoid...elements of the GOP coalition. We're not talking here about garden-variety gun lovers or small-government enthusiasts or evangelical values voters.  We're talking about people who find it quaint when Nugent starts raving about how black people are lazy or how disgusting he finds gays or how Hillary Clinton is a "toxic c**t" and "a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro."  We're talking about people who find it hilarious when Nugent waves his little guns around and froths, "Hey Hillary! You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch."

To be sure, not all Republicans are this distasteful; but the fact that the majority doesn't seem to do much to discourage nut-cases like Ted Nugent or those who laugh with him and encourage him, taints them all.  

There are simply too many Republicans like Sarah Palin, who used her Facebook page to explain her endorsement of Greg Abbott:  "If he's good enough for Ted Nugent; he is good enough for me."

Tina, come back!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quick Note: Oregon Attorney General Bows Out of Same-sex Marriage Fight

On Thursday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that she will enforce her state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage, but will not defend the ban in a suit brought against Oregon by four same-sex couples.   Citing recent decisions by federal district judges in cases brought against other states that such bans are unconstitutional under U.S. law, she said, "It is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite sex couples."  Her decision does not overturn Oregon's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage; but does stop the state from wasting resources defending a case that they will clearly lose.
This issue cannot be taken up by the Supreme Court soon enough.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Religion, Agnosticism, Human Rights...and Arizona

I've written two articles about Kansas' attempt to pass a refusal of service bill.  Last week, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle (R) killed that legislature's proposed bill when she announced that it would not be presented to the Senate for a vote:

Refusal of service proposals have been introduced in other states, among them Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arizona.  I was naive enough to hope that these prejudicial bills would evaporate before being awarded serious consideration, as happened in Kansas.  Sadly, I was wrong.

Yesterday, both houses of the Arizona legislature passed their own refusal of service bill, one that would allow any business to deny service to a group or individual if that business owner, manager or single employee felt that serving the group or individual would run counter to their religious beliefs.  The bill passed the House with a vote of 33-27, with only three Republicans voting against it. Earlier in the day, the bill passed the Senate along strict party lines--17 Republicans voted "yes", 13 Democrats voted "no".

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a similar bill last year; but that was during a stand-off on Medicaid expansion.  It is unclear if she will sign this new bill.

Democrats called the bill "state-sanctioned discrimination".  Senator Steve Gallardo (D) said, "You can't argue the fact that (the) bill will invite discrimination." 

 Senator Steve Yarbrough (R) said the bill protected the U.S. First Amendment.  

Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, an organization that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, said the bill was necessary because "We see a growing hostility toward religion."

what eye thynk:    For over 200 years, the religious and the non-religious have co-habitated in this country. It has not always been a completely peaceful co-habitation; but it has never risen to the level of animus that we see today. Fault can be found in all camps: conservative and liberal, religious and non-religious.  Lawsuits filed by the far left over the display of nativity scenes on public property and the banning of Christmas carols during public school holiday concerts have always seemed particularly petty to me.  (Once you eliminate Christmas and Hanukkah songs from December concerts, there doesn't seem to be much point to them.  How many versions of Let it Snow or Frosty the Snowman can high school audiences take?) 

The recent hijacking of America's conservative voice, (remember when "Conservative" could be interpreted simply along fiscal differences?), by the religious right seems to be focused on ignoring the U.S. tradition of co-habitation in favor of forcing everyone to acknowledge their card-carrying Christian superiority, a status they seem to believe justifies their right to rule over the rest of us in all aspects of life and law.

My truth:  I am an agnostic.   I sincerely believe there is a supreme being somewhere, one who identifies as neither male nor female, a being I dare to call God.  I believe in an afterlife, though my interpretation of it as a physical heaven or as an earthly re-birth changes hourly.  I grew up in a Christian family, but I can no longer profess to believe in a virgin birth or to worship Jesus as any more than a historical figure, a beloved teacher who was charged (by the supreme being?) with bringing the knowledge of one God to a world ruled by myth and polytheism. I believe he never expected his message to end up splitting his God into a trinity or of creating new myths surrounding his own nativity.  

I believe the Bible is a great book holding every lesson man will ever need on how to live together with love and peace.  It also contains a lot of junk added by men, with all their inherent weaknesses.  (Really, why would Jesus say it was wrong to eat shellfish?)  I believe many of the lessons contain the essence of Jesus' teachings.  I do NOT believe it contains his exact words.  The Bible was written hundreds of years after Jesus' crucifixion.  Nobody's memory is that good.

As a religious outsider, I question the right's claim to victim-hood.  Does the left currently harbor "hostility toward religion?"  Perhaps, but it does not take the form of attempting to force evangelicals to enter into same-sex marriages or Catholics to use birth control.  And while the conservatively religious want to make second-class citizens of anyone who does not live within the strict parameters of their narrow biblical interpretations, the non-religious and religious liberals simply ask for their differences to be accepted. Acknowledge that we have the right to equal space on this earth, and any hostility--perceived or genuine--would simply vanish.

The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our laws; it is not an addendum to the Bible.   Freedom of Speech is not a right granted only to one side of an argument.  Denying the rights of one group and saying you are protecting the First Amendment makes no sense.  The First Amendment was written so that ALL sides have a voice, ALL voices have worth.  

And would someone please explain to me how my agnosticism or support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights would jeopardize an evangelical, conservative Christian employee's promise of heaven if he were to be asked to put extra pickles on my Subway foot-long? 

If my lunch is all that stands between that employee and his heaven, his link to eternity is weak indeed.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quick Note: Republicans Are Starting to Eat Their Young.

The Republican Party has looked at the results of the last two general elections and the way ultra-conservatives, who cruised to victory in their primary races, were easily defeated when November rolled around.   This year, the GOP's plan is to head off those types of failures by backing establishment candidates early and often.

Republicans have refused to support Tea Party candidates in important races: 

  • Alaska, (where Sarah Palin's favorite candidate was told not to bother running because he is "too unpopular to win," no matter who supports him.)
  • Virginia, (where Richard H. Black, who mailed plastic fetuses with notes attached that read "Would you kill this child?" to his fellow state legislatures during their abortion debate, dropped out of the primary race when it became clear he would get no Party support.) Republicans there felt he was the next Todd Akin, of "legitimate rape" fame, in the making.
  • South Dakota, (where former governor Stace Nelson, who, as a member of the South Dakota legislature, was banned from the Republican caucus for being too combative with fellow members, now finds himself running a primary with essentially no party backing.)
  • West Virginia, (where Pat McGeehan, who touted his record for casting the most "no" votes of any member of the state's legislature, dropped out of the primary after the Republican Party decided there was "a bit of an ideological edge to him" that would not translate well to the general election and blitzed the airwaves with support for his opponent.)
  • Idaho, (where Bryan Smith, who has the backing of the anti-tax, anti-spending organization Club for Growth, is finding his anti-tax/anti-spending platform ignored by his Party in favor of Mike Simpson, an eight-term incumbent in the U.S. House of Representatives.) 
But, then there is Arizona, where it appears the GOP didn't get the We-Heart-Moderates memo. Republicans there recently censured John McCain for "not being conservative enough."
Primary races usually raise a measure of interest in me that borders on catatonic. This year, the early feeding frenzy looks to be changing my attitude.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Inside-out Logic of Republican Job Creation

Last week, the Volkswagen plant in  Chattanooga, Tennessee voted on whether to become a union shop.  The U.A.W. was ready to take them in, plant employees appeared to favor unionization and management said they had no problem with the idea, stating that they were accustomed to working with union labor at other VW plants.  There appeared to be no question about the outcome--a peaceful switch to unionization.

Then Republican politicians inserted themselves in the mix, everything changed and the vote failed by a count of 712-626, 53% to 47%.

what eye thynk:   The Chattanooga plant assembles the VW Passat.  They have put out feelers about expanding the plant by adding facilities to assemble a new S.U.V. in the same factory.  As any business planning an expansion or a move, they approached officials in the area asking for incentives to help offset the cost of the expansion.

First, let me say that I am solidly against this practice.  I have never heard an argument that has been able to change my mind on the justification of using my tax dollars to assist a profitable business in their attempt to become even more profitable.  Yes, I know there are all sorts of arguments that expansion means more jobs, which means a bigger tax base; but the results always seem to fade to something less than the company promises at the outset. And, yes, I know that without incentives, businesses can be tempted to move to another area that WILL offer an incentive and the existing jobs can be lost. My point is, that if everyone stopped this practice, there would be fewer reasons to relocate, companies would choose to expand where they already have facilities since the cost of an expansion would undoubtedly be less than starting from scratch somewhere else and my tax dollars would end up paying for the services they were originally supposed to cover.

Back to the situation in Tennessee:  For reasons that elude me completely--I don't see traditional Southern resistance to unions as a "reason", only a baseless prejudice--Republicans were vehemently against the unionization.  

Tennessee Senator Bo Watson (R) who represents a Chattanooga suburb, warned the VW workers that, if they voted to join the U.A.W., the Republican led legislature would vote against approving any future incentives for the plant's expansion.  He warned that they would lose their jobs because Volkswagen would then decide to move the entire plant to Mexico and they would all join the ranks of the unemployed. 

  • And this is what I mean by Republican inside-out logic:  Mr. Watson seemed to say that when business incentives are proposed that may create more jobs, you have no choice but to threaten to derail those incentives in order to say you support the creation of more jobs. 

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R), former mayor of Chattanooga, joined the Republican anti-union crusade calling the U.A.W. "a Detroit-based organization" that would bring the kind of bankruptcy to Chattanooga that Detroit is now facing.  Mr. Corker claimed he had "secret knowledge" that VW would move production of their new S.U.V. to Mexico if the plant unionized.  VW refuted his claim of "secret knowledge", and again stated that they worked with union plants in other cities and saw no problems ahead if the Chattanooga plant unionized.

  • I fail to see how increasing wages and benefits for existing workers who would, as a result, pay higher local taxes might force Chattanooga into bankruptcy. Mr. Corker, for his part, offered no explanation.  As for that "secret knowledge" claim, VW nipped that one in the bud.

Grover Norquist and his latest organization "Center for Worker Freedom", (there are so many things wrong with that name), put up 13 billboards around Chattanooga condemning the U.A.W. for its connection to President Obama and the 2009 auto industry bailout.  

  • When you have no logical argument, tapping into anti-Obama sentiment is always a useful tool, I guess.

The all-out fight in Tennessee seemed a bit over the top until I considered that VW was the first foreign-owned, southern automobile plant to attempt unionization.  Republicans reasoned that other foreign-owned factories in the South, among them Mercedes-Benz in Alabama and a BMW plant in South Carolina, were sure to follow if the vote in Chattanooga was successful.   Southern Republicans saw their anti-union tradition being threatened and pulled out all the stops.

When the vote in Chattanooga failed, Republicans thanked the workers for helping them in their fight to create jobs.  I'll admit that I'm having a little trouble finding the connection between their job creation claim and Mr. Watson's promise to derail any proposed plant expansion.  The way I see it, their campaign simply kept the jobs that were already there, (and which were never threatened in the first place).  

Taken along with the Republican fight against raising the minimum wage, this anti-union drive leaves me to conclude that, while Republicans may be FOR jobs, they are AGAINST good paying ones.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Update(s): Arkansas' ACA Private Option Gets a Second Look and Indiana Same-Sex Marriage Ban Postponed

Update:  Arkansas ACA "Private Option" Gets a Second Look

Last week I recommended an article about the private option plan that the federal government had approved for Arkansas to use in expanding Medicaid type insurance for that state's poor.

At that time, the plan's success was evident, but in jeopardy.  Incumbent conservative Republican state legislators were finding themselves in the crosshairs of  even-more-conservative Republican legislative candidates who are focusing their mid-term campaigns on attacking those incumbents who voted for the ACA private option plan.  The would-be legislators sole argument seems to be that it is supported with money approved by President Obama's signature health care law, which Republican indoctrination has labeled a "bad thing" to be fought against at every opportunity.

This week, the state legislature in Arkansas endorsed a plan that attempts to protect their jobs while at the same time silencing their critics.  Rather than repeal the private option, their proposal would keep it intact, (thus saving themselves from trying to explain to their constituents why they decided to take their health insurance away); but would make it illegal for any government agency to spend any appropriated money to assist those looking for help in accessing the plan.  In other words, they'll keep the option; but they don't want anyone to know it exists.  

Representative Nate Bell (R) who proposed the new restrictions explained "We're trying to create a barrier to enrollment" in order to reduce costs.  When he was asked by Representative John Catlett (D) why he thought it was a good idea to withhold information about insurance options from the citizens of Arkansas.  Mr. Bell replied, "I certainly don't see the downside at all in not providing people with the opportunity to engage in something that I believe is bad for them."

Mr. Catlett:  "So you're saying we should (keep) our people ignorant?"

Mr. Bell:  "No sir, that's not what I'm saying."
Then I wonder what he thinks he IS saying?  And exactly why does he believe having health insurance "is bad?"  Is he willing to give up his state-paid health insurance to prove his point? 

Update:  Indiana Delays Same-sex Marriage Constitutional Amendment 

Wa-a-a-a-ay back in December, I wrote about the two year journey that Indiana's Republicans were on to get an amendment added to the state constitution designed to strengthen the same-sex marriage ban that is already law in Indiana.

Getting a state constitutional amendment passed is (thankfully) an arduous process in Indiana. Two separately elected legislatures must pass the amendment--which explains the two year journey--then it must be approved by state-wide ballot.

The amendment passed by the last legislature included language that would also exclude civil unions:  "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriages for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."  At the time I wrote that post, I pointed out that public attitude toward same-sex marriage has changed a lot in two years and public polls show the amendment would not be a state-wide ballot slam dunk.

The current Indiana legislature was faced with a dilemma:  vote on the amendment as it was passed by the previous legislature in order to get it on the November ballot and hope it is approved, or change some of the language, (particularly the clause addressing civil unions), and re-set the two-year clock to zero. 

Indiana's business community (always a voice that is heeded by the Republican Party), said they thought the amendment, in total, was a bad idea because it would make it difficult to attract businesses and the best employees to the area.  Yesterday, the Indiana legislature made a move that protects their standing with conservative/anti-gay marriage voters while still keeping themselves in the good graces of the business/money people in the state.  They voted to remove the civil union clause while keeping the rest of the amendment as written, essentially pushing any chance of the amendment becoming part of the state constitution until at least 2016.  

Conservative Republican organizations are already planning retribution.  Chris Plante, regional director for the National Organization for Marriage, who pushed for the ban to go forward: "Republicans who did this will most certainly be targeted."
With all the challenges of state laws pending in federal District Courts, this issue will undoubtedly be decided long before it comes up for another look from Indiana's lawmakers, so they're off the hook.  Darn it!  (Though I must congratulate them.  This was a 5-star example of political butt protecting.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17 - Monday Quote

Food for thought for all our modern day politicians who have made denying the rights of others the focus of their conservative agenda.

monday quote:   Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit. This is the fine point on which all the legal professions of history have based their job security. (Frank Herbert, author, from Chapterhouse Dune, 1920-1986)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Eye Recommend --- Gold Medalist Waits at the Finish Line for 28 Minutes to Shake Hands with the Guy Who Came in Last

Because I'm a sucker for a feel-good story...
"In what will go down as one of the more touching moments of the Sochi Olympics, Swiss cross-country skier Dario Cologna won a gold medal and then waited 28 minutes to congratulate last-place finisher Roberto Carcelen of Peru at the finish line."
Mr. Cologna won a very close race, and could have immediately left the arena to begin celebrating his gold medal, instead...
"28 minutes later, and 11 minutes after every other skier had finished, Carcelen struggled down the final stretch.  He was greeted by a standing ovation from the fans and grabbed a Peruvian flag from the crowd."


The Peruvian skier finished 87th and was met at the finish line by Dachhiri Sherpa of Nepal, who had finished eleven minutes earlier in 86th place.
"And then, to the likely surprise of everybody, Cologna appeared, still carrying his skis, to greet both competitors with a handshake.  What a great moment and what the Olympics should be all about."

The End.

Quick Fact Update - Refusal of Service Bill in Kansas


Yesterday I wrote about Kansas' House advancing a bill that would give any business or individual, public or private, the right to refuse service to anyone based solely on their sexual orientation.

The bill was expected to easily pass in the Senate where Republicans outnumber Democrats 32-8. However, Senate President Susan Wagle confirmed late on Friday that she would not present the bill to the Senate for a vote. "I believe that when you hire police officers or a fireman that they have no choice in who they serve.  They serve anyone who's vulnerable, any age, any race, any sexual orientation."

Proponents fired back that anyone who did not feel comfortable serving a gay citizen would be required to find someone else to take their place.  (The humiliation of being refused service in a restaurant, shop or government office was apparently not seen as a problem by the bill's supporters.  And I'm sure the gay heart attack victim would be equally comforted by the surrogate requirement while waiting for a different EMS technician to be called to the scene.)

Ms. Wagle's statement sounded fair and noble, until I looked further and found that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce had created a Facebook page dedicated to stopping the Refusal of Service bill that garnered 50,000 "likes".  

Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition said "Political pages here, if they get 1,000 'likes,' they're pretty successful.  This has exploded in this state.  And it blew up in their faces."

In a further statement, Ms. Wagle said, "I believe the intent of the House was to protect religious liberties. We respect that, but the business implications are going to harm the practice of employment in Kansas."
I'll take the win against this discriminatory bill anyway I can get it, and I'd like to believe that Ms. Wagle recognized that aspect of the bill and refused to support it; but the cynic in me looks at Ms. Wagle's second statement and finds it is probably the more honest.  Kansas businesses calling for its failure had a lot more to do with the bill's demise than a sudden awakening of the Republican Party's quiescent sense of fairness.  Money always gets the bigger microphone.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Quick Note(s): Same-sex Rights This Week - One Loss, Two Wins

With one misstep, laws restricting same-sex rights continue to crumble...
Kansas (the misstep)  
When he was elected, Governor Sam Brownback (R) pledged to bring a conservative revolution to his state.  For the past three years, he has supported far right Republicans and uber-conservative causes over moderates and common decency. 

This week, Kansas took an unprecedented step backwards on human rights.  The Kansas House advanced a bill that will allow employers and businesses, both public and private, to refuse service to anyone they believed to be gay.  The bill would allow any employer to fire someone, or even refuse to hire them in the first place, based solely on their sexual orientation.  Fired gay employees could be denied their right to unemployment benefits.  A same-sex couple could be refused service at restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores, grocery stores, florists, etc. without repercussion. Government agencies would still be required to serve members of the LGBT community, but individual clerks would be empowered to refuse their assistance. 

Republicans frame this as an issue of religious freedom, a necessary protection for those whose religious beliefs condemn gays and lesbians as heretical.   State Representative Charles Macheers (R), one of the most ardent supporters of the measure, explained the Republican position this way:  "Discrimination is horrible.  It's hurtful...It has no place in civilized society, and that's precisely why we're moving this bill."
Yes, "discrimination is horrible", and dressing it up in a new suit and calling it "protection" doesn't change that fact.  Moreover, advancing a bill that effectively hands the religiously righteous' a tool contrived to legally disenfranchise an entire segment of our society simply because they don't like them takes that egregiousness to a whole new level.  Didn't we have enough of this in the last century?

Virginia (the crumbles)
In Wednesday's post, I noted that Virginia's new Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said he believed his state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  Yesterday, federal Judge Arenda Wright agreed with him.  In her ruling, she joined federal judges in other states by citing the 14th Amendment:  "These laws deny Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

This week, Judge John G. Heyburn III, federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, struck down part of his state's 2004 same-sex marriage ban.  His ruling says that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages that have been performed in other states or other countries where same-sex marriage is legal.  

The state had argued that marriage, which they identified as between one man and one woman, was part of "Kentucky's tradition." 

Judge Heyburn's ruling addressed their argument by saying: "For years, many states had a tradition of segregation and even articulated reasons why it created a better, more stable society.  In time, even the most strident supporters of these views understood that they could not enforce their particular moral views to the detriment of other's constitutional rights.  Here as well, sometime in the not too distant future, the same understanding will come to pass."
Amen! ...and please, someone tell Kansas.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Eye Recommend --- In Arkansas, 'Private Option' Medical Plan Could Be Derailed


"Last year, the Republicans who control this state's Legislature devised a politically palatable way to expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care law.  They won permission to use federal expansion funds to buy private insurance for as many as 250,000 poor people instead of adding them to traditional Medicaid, which conservatives disparage as a broken entitlement program.

But just as the idea is catching fire in other states with Republican or divided leadership--Iowa has adopted a version of the plan, and New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah and other states are exploring similar avenues--Arkansas may abruptly reverse course, potentially leaving the 83,000 people who have signed up so far without insurance as soon as July 1.

Facing pressure from conservative challengers in the May primary, several Republicans who supported the plan last year are now considering switching their vote when the Legislature votes to reauthorize its financing, possibly as soon as next week.  The defection of just one Republican could kill the program, state officials said.

'You've got a very small minority of people who can derail this,' said Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat who helped engineer the plan but will leave office at the end of the year because of term limits...

...The threat to the Arkansas plan, known as the private option, underscores how the Affordable Care Act is an increasingly potent issue not just in congressional races, but also in state legislative contests.  Though Republican legislative leaders support the plan, which would bring $915 million in federal funds to the state this year, any policy linked to the health care law remains anathema to many conservative voters."
And conservative Republicans have only themselves to blame for this.  They have done nothing for the past four years but whip up anti-ACA sentiment at every opportunity. Now Arkansas Republicans find themselves between a rock and a hard place.  They have only two choices:  1. Support the ACA private option plan and take the chance of losing their legislative seat to a more conservative Republican, or  2. Vote to defund the plan and then try to explain to their constituents why they took away their health insurance.
 Basically, it comes down to deciding between protecting the people they pledged to serve or deciding to throw those people under the bus in order to protect own their jobs.
At least one Senator has already chosen to sacrifice the people in her district for her own personal ambitions.
"State Senator Missy Irvin, a Republican who voted for the program last year, announced she would oppose reauthorizing the federal funds for it.  Ms. Irvin is facing a primary challenge from an opponent who attacked her support of the private option as soon as he declared his candidacy on Jan. 29.  Without her vote, the plan will need another supporter in the Senate to survive...

...For Amber Chote, (23),  of Little Rock, who said she works three jobs to pay her rent and bills, getting insurance through the program has meant no longer having to go to the emergency room when she gets sick.  'Personally I feel like it's talking to children that are mad after losing a baseball game."
Which pretty much sums up modern-day politics--both state and federal--since the country elected a minority President in 2008.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quick Note: Two More States Take Second Looks at Their Same-Sex Marriage Laws

Nevada voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage in 2002.  In 2012, a federal judge in Reno upheld the ban.   The case was sent on to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

On Monday, Nevada's Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) filed a motion saying that the state's arguments defending the ban "are no longer sustainable."

Governor Brian Sandoval (R) agreed, "It has become clear that this case is no longer defensible in court."
What a difference two years can make!  The case will continue on the docket of the Ninth Circuit Court; but with no one defending the state's position, is Nevada poised to become the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage?

Virginia has banned same-sex marriage since 1975.  In 2006, they passed a constitution amendment in an attempt to strengthen the ban.  A poll taken by Quinnipiac University last year showed that 50% of Virginia's registered voters support same-sex marriage while 43% oppose it.

Attorney General Mark Herring (D) says he believes the ban is unconstitutional and he will assist the Virginia couples who have lawsuits challenging it.   "After thorough legal review, I have now concluded that Virginia's ban on marriage between same sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution on two grounds:  marriage is a fundamental right being denied to some Virginians, and the ban unlawfully discriminates on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender."

As Attorney General, he said he will continue to enforce the ban while the challenges make their way through the courts.
Will Virginia, a SOUTHERN state, be #19?

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10 - Monday Quote

In honor of Valentine's Day...

monday quote:   That’s who you really like.  The people you can think out loud in front of.  (John Green, author, from An Abundance of Katherines, 1977-     )

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quick Note: Little Girl Gets Blown Off By U.S. Congressman.

I first saw this six second clip a few weeks ago.  It has been bothering me for reasons I'm not completely able to articulate ever since.  

The clip shows nine-year old Liz Marquez, who was born in the U.S., approaching Representative Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) in the halls of Congress.  She wanted to ask about her father who is in danger of being deported.  No, it is not the best time or way to approach your congressman; but this is a little girl.   She manages to get out "Please..." before he cuts her off with "I can't help you. Good to see you."

I don't know what bothers me more about this clip...Mr. Cantor's callous dismissal of Liz Maquez as unimportant or the fear that this is the way politicians--Republican and Democrat; national, state or local--view us.  

"I can't help you? Good to see you?" Really?  Is that politican-speak for "I'm important, you're not, I don't care/know what you have to say, get out of my way?"  

There is no answer to this. I just offer it up as a sad commentary on the self-absorption that rules so much of our world today.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Quick Note: 2007 U.S. Lightbulb Regulations -- W. Signed Them. Republicans Say They're Another Example of Obama Overstepping His Authority

Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) "I think Thomas Edison did a pretty patriotic thing for this country by inventing the lightbulb.  And I think darn well...if you want to buy Thomas Edison's wonderful invention, you should be able to!" 

Michael Burgess (R-Texas) "People are sick of the government treading where it doesn't belong."

Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), who, as a member of the U.S. House, voted in favor of the light bulb regulations. "They took away our light bulbs... Nothing is safe from the Obama administration's excessive regulatory tentacles." 

Representative Harold Rogers, (R-Kentucky) called the new light-bulb regulations "the Administration's onerous light bulb standard."
 How do you argue with this kind of logic?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Quick Note: Chris Christie, with Apologies to the Late Paul Harvey

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) is still trying to fight back from the George Washington Bridge closing debacle.  As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he recently visited Florida for a fundraising event.  Governor Rick Scott (R) and all 2014 state Republican candidates managed to schedule events elsewhere to avoid being photographed with him.  He began a national fundraising tour in Texas yesterday where Republican candidates mirrored Florida's response.  

Shortly after the scandal broke, in a widely viewed, nearly two hour long press conference, Mr. Christie proclaimed his shock over the bridge closing, saying he had no knowledge of it whatsoever and was innocent of any involvement.  A few days ago, David Wildstein, high school classmate, Christie political appointee, (for whom a Port Authority job was created by the Governor) and central figure in the scandal said through his lawyer that there was proof Chris Christie knew about the traffic mess on the George Washington Bridge.  (To this point, that evidence has not been proffered.  What we have is basically one man's word against another man's word--a classic case of he said/she said.)

In a childish effort to bolster his own credibility while denigrating Mr. Wildstein's, Mr. Christie responded:  "As a 16 year old, he was sued over a local school board election" and "He was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior."  

Taken at face value, those statements do seem to weaken Mr. Wildstein's claim.  In an effort to present all the facts, and with apologies to Paul Harvey, I offer "The Rest of the Story"...

As a 16 year old, David Wildstein unsuccessfully sued the County Republican Committee in an effort to get his name on the ballot.  As a 17 year old, and despite being below the age requirement, he ran for the local school board.  The election committee sued to have his name removed from the ballot.  His high school social studies teacher said the 17 year old had tricked him into signing an endorsement letter for the school board race.
It is easy to picture these two supposed adults shouting "Nyah, nyah, nyah!" at each other from opposite sides of the playground.  The average modern-day politician is hardly a poster child for honesty and integrity, but, really when did governing become a game designed for and played by 10 year olds?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Eye Recommend --- Freeing Workers From the Insurance Trap

FREEING WORKERS FROM THE INSURANCE TRAP, by The New York Times Editorial Board --

I have to admit that when I saw the news about the Congressional Budget Offices' report saying that the Affordable Care Act would reduce full-time workers by 2.5 million, my heart dropped. I thought, "No more Republican ammunition, please!"  
The following article gave me another perspective and some food for thought--though I still expect that "other Party" to be dancing in the aisles over the chance to do some more ACA bashing.
(Any underlines are mine.)

"The Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by 2.5 million over the next decade.  That is mostly a good thing, a liberating result of the law.  Of course, Republicans immediately tried to brand the findings as 'devastating' and stark evidence of President Obama's health care reform as a failure and a job killer.  It is no such thing.

The report estimated that--thanks to an increase in insurance coverage under the act and the availability of subsidies to help pay the premiums--many workers who felt obliged to stay in a job that provided health benefits would now be able to leave those jobs or choose to work fewer hours than they otherwise would have.  In other words, the report is about the choices workers can make when they are no longer tethered to an employer because of health benefits...

...Some workers may have had a pre-existing condition and will now be able to leave work because insurers must accept all applicants without regard to health status and charge premiums unrelated to health status.  Some may have felt they needed to keep working to pay for health insurance, but now new government subsidies will help pay premiums, making it more possible for them to leave their jobs.

The report clearly stated that health reform would not produce an increase in unemployment (workers unable to find jobs) or underemployment (part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).  It also found 'no compelling evidence' that, as of now, part-time employment has increased as a result of the reform law, a frequent claim of critics.  Whether that will hold up after a mandate that requires employers to provide coverage, which was delayed until 2015, kicks in is uncertain...

...The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage.  Workers can seek positions they are most qualified for and will no longer need to feel locked into a job they don't like because they need insurance for themselves or their families.  It is hard to view this as any kind of disaster."'
An anecdote supporting the above opinion, one you won't hear on Fox News:  A friend of mine recently changed jobs, leaving one she hated for one she now loves.  Rather than pay for health insurance for their full time employees, her new employer gives each worker a monthly subsidy and allows them to shop for insurance through the ACA.  This undoubtedly saves the company money; but it also gives more freedom of choice to the individual.  As the employer mandate rolls out next year, I expect that there will be a substantial number of companies taking this approach.  
 As for my friend, she recently crowed that her new insurance coverage is better than what she got from her old job and, when she subtracted her employer's subsidy and the government subsidy she qualified for, her total insurance bill is $6/month. 
Nope, Fox News will not want you to hear about Alice.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Republican War on Women: One Iowa Hospital's Legal Sidestep

This is the twenty-second in a series of articles on the subjects of women, abortion rights and the Republican Party. 

Republicans continue to say they don’t have to change their core principles, they only have to change the language they use to get their message out.  One perception they want to alter is the idea that they are running a “war on women”.  Looking at the news over the past few years, I’d say the Republican Party has a long way to go on this subject.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky): “Talk about a manufactured issue.  There is no issue.” 
  •  RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:  “It’s a fiction.”
The Iowa Front 

the facts and commentary:  Last year, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) went against the prevailing Republican mindset and decided to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  Hidden in the initiative, however, was a catch involving abortion services. 

The Hyde Amendment prevents federal money from being used to fund abortion, and 35 states also deny the use of state money for most abortion services.  Iowa, one of the 35, does allow state Medicaid funds to be used for abortion services in cases of rape, incest, fatal abnormalities in the fetus or to save the life of the mother.  In the past, Dr. Jason Kessler, M.D., Iowa's Medicaid Medical Director has approved an average of 30 procedures each year that meet one or more of these exceptions.

That's fine and good, but here's the catch I mentioned:  under Iowa's new Medicaid expansion law, which took effect last July 1, cases like these are no longer being decided by Iowa's Medicaid office--final approval must now come from the Governor--personally.  That's right, the final decision on a medical procedure is no longer being made by a medical doctor but instead is being left up to a politician.  As one pundit said, "Start thinking about how a male politician with no gynecological training goes about making life and death medical decisions for indigent women, this new power becomes a nightmare."

Iowa's is the only law of its kind in the country.

Thankfully, there are medical providers and institutions like University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics that are refusing to play politics with poor women's lives. According to University of Iowa Health Care spokesman Tom Moore, the hospital has decided not appeal to the Governor for approval or reimbursement, but instead is covering the costs itself.  Since the law was enacted, the hospital has performed 13 abortions that fell under the legal exceptions and that Tom Moore said  "Medicaid probably would have covered."
A perfectly legal sidestep, using compassion and common sense instead of a cudgel--frustrating Republicans, one hospital at a time.
The Republican War on Women is "fiction?"


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quick Note: Just When You Thought the Republican Party Couldn't Sink Any Lower

If you want to win an election in this country, you need money--lots of money.  

Next month, Florida's 13th congressional district will hold a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Representative Bill Young (R).  The race, between former Florida CFO Alex Sink (D) and David Jolly (R), is a close one; and the National Republican Congressional Committee has introduced some new win-by-any-means tactics to their money raising efforts.  As reported in yesterday's Tampa Bay Times, deception is their newest fundraising tool:
"Ray Bellamy said he wanted to make a political contribution to Alex Sink.  A Google search landed him at
'It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site,' Bellamy, a doctor from Tallahassee who follows Florida politics, wrote in an email to the (Times).
What Bellamy overlooked was that the site is designed to raise money against Sink.  "I failed to notice the smaller print: Under 'Alex Sink (for) Congress' was the sentence 'Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her,' " he said.
After Mr. Bellamy had made his contribution, he was directed to a page on the NRCC's website thanking him for his help in defeating Democratic candidates."
The National Journal, a well-regarded, weekly, non-partisan political magazine reported that this deceit is not an isolated Florida incident:
"The National Republican Congressional Committee proudly launched a faux campaign website for Democratic candidate Domenic Recchia this week...They even bought Google ads to direct New Yorkers to, designed at first glance to look like it could be Recchia's own, down to the same yellow star replacing the dot in the 'i' of his last name."
There is no firm count of the number of 2014 mid-term races where the NRCC is using this deceptive stunt, though Rebecca Leber, reporter and blogger for ThinkProgress, found six other instances where the same model is being used to raise funds for Republican candidates.  Michael O'Brien of NBC News reported on a similar bogus site being used in the Arizona race against U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D). 

The National Journal reported that election lawyers say these look-alike sites "may violate Federal Election Commission regulations for confusing the public."  The NRCC, of course, insists that their bogus websites are "technically" legal.  Mr. Bellamy's request for a refund for his Florida donation was initially declined.  After the article was published in the Tampa Bay Times, the NRCC refunded his contribution and announced they will return contributions to anyone who feels they were deceived.

I love that the NRCC qualifies their tactics as "technically" legal, giving themselves some wiggle room on the probity scale.  So speaketh the Republican Party, defender of truth, honesty and Christian values.  
  • Deceipt:  the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity; fraud; cheating
  • Deceiver:  to mislead by false appearance; to mislead or falsely persuade others 
  • Deception (synonyms):  craftiness, crookery, cunning, dishonesty, duplicity, foxiness, guile 
A final word: 
  • Revelations 12:9  ...that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3 - Monday Quote

Something to think about.

monday quote:  If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. (Katharine Hepburn, actress, 1907-2003)