Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

I would imagine that conservatives should be very happy about the increase in unemployment announced last week. For one, they can blame the Obama administration for it, and two, because the increase is the result of a half a million reduction in public sector jobs, and they want that, too.

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Before 2001 I had very few views on anything.  9/11 did not change that… getting out of college and working full-time did.  I was daily interacting with older people, and was working for a very smart and politically-minded writer, who’s legal scripts left me searching for what on earth he was talking about.  It was then that I started paying attention to current events, and reading about economics, business, history, education and so forth.  And the more I read and studied and discussed, the more I started to become opinionated and attached to certain philosophies.  It was then I also realized that, with few extreme exceptions, most political philosophies and theories are never enacted completely and freely to see if they work.  One word stands in their way… bipartisanship.

That hallowed word of camaraderie; working together under forced compromise.  Crossing the aisle.  Meeting in the middle.  Whatever you wished to call it, politics is all about it, and I think it causes is something that is less than it’s combined parts.  Or worse-

Health Care Reform's Ultimate End?

I am not against compromise.  It has strong value and is an incredible trait to be able to exercise… especially with spouses.  But I am more of a fan of ideas, and ideas need to be able to run their course to see if they are good or bad.  We would never have known that pure country music is so bad, except that it was released in it’s original form, instead of the more digestible alt-country format of Wilco, Band of Horses, and others.  All kidding aside, I do think that we stand a better chance of needed change and reform (if it is in fact needed) if we allow ideas to work.  And I’m not for it, just out of boredom.

Washington, D.C. is supposed to house our leaders.  But we have lost our leaders because they are all bent on reelection and must watch lest they try something and it fails.  Better to form a bipartisan coalition and we can all blame the other side if it backfires.  Well guess what?  I am willing to give your idea an unobstructed chance at health care, if you let my idea for social security go untouched.  You can have agriculture if you give me education.  We’ll check back in at the pre-appointed time to see the results.  If your idea has been a success then we all benefit.  If it hasn’t, then we try the other one… and so on, and so forth.  Done!

Problem is that there are still too many ancillary arguments to be made.  “My education idea didn’t work because it needs to be combined with an elimination of social welfare benefits and that’s your area”.  “Your farm subsidies are messing up my commerce plans!”  Plus there is the always relied upon threat of our nation’s demise.  “The Stimulus Bill is going to bankrupt the nation and we’ll never recover!”  “Allowing School Vouchers would immediately disenfranchise children all across the world!!!”  Also, how do we determine what results are considered a success?  That’s a political nightmare in itself.

But the same excuses are made within bipartisanship, so at least here we would have some more information to work with… again, theoretically.  This is all semantic arguing… neither party is likely to let the other run hog-wild with an unfettered agenda.  What if, heaven forbid, it works and voters switch allegiances?  Well, I guess that’s where the rubber meets the road.  If you think your ideas truly are the best, then you need to let them be tested.  And if you think the other guys ideas are the worst, let them be tested to prove it.  It’s what happens in laboratories, writers’ rooms, jam sessions, and anywhere else ideas are floated.  Except it seems in our state and national capitals.

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Fair CAI readers, I must apologize for my latest absence.  However, I believe you will forgive me for attending to the birth of my little girl.

That said, it is sad that I must burst back upon the scene to comment on the latest politician to defame themself and their position and then offer the flimsiest of apologies.  I speak of Michael Duvall, the Californian assemblyman who resigned after his sexually-explicit gab was caught on microphone during an assembly session.  Here’s part of his apology:

I am deeply saddened that my inappropriate comments have become a major distraction for my colleagues in the Assembly, who are working hard on the very serious problems facing our state,” he said in a statement posted on his website. “I have come to the conclusion that it would not be fair to my family, my constituents or to my friends on both sides of the aisle to remain in office. Therefore, I have decided to resign my office, effective immediately, so that the Assembly can get back to work.

So noble of him to not want to interfere with the “serious” work our state politicians are doing.  But the beauty is in how his apology is not that he is sorry he is a slime-bag who was cheating on his wife and bragging about it while he was working, but how sorry he is this has turned into a distraction.   I have no illusions that humans are perfect, and politicians are most certainly human, but this constant state of scandals is alone a great reason to wish for a small government.

duvallAnd I’m sorry, but for this blowhard to brag about his affair is too much for me.  Look at yourself dude, were it not for the fact that you are in charge of some money that you can give away to lobbyists, the closest you would get to any tail would be the plus-size models in your wife’s JC Penny intimate’s catalog.  You are a blight to the GOP and I look forward to your future career of managing the McDonald’s near your house.

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bobby_jindalSome of you may have heard of Bobby Jindal, the republican governor of Louisiana who was elected last year.  He was a congressman for Louisiana before that, and I have been reading about him for a while, as many conservatives point to him as a legitimate reformer.  He has become a de facto spokesman for the GOP and has been responsible for providing the republican “response” to some of President Obama’s speeches.

But it is his efforts in Louisiana that interest me most.  He came to power in a state known for its rampant corruption, and specifically for the crime and poverty of New Orleans.  Because of this, and the post-Katrina sentiment for change, he was able to be elected on his promises of reform – similar to Obama’s promises of hope.  And while our president attempts to “take advantage” of this fiscal crisis and possibly make sweeping changes to health care, banking, taxes, education, and more… we also can observe changes taking place in Louisiana.  A list of accomplishments that Jindal claims came under his watch in the last year is available here.  Some are:

  • Cutting Taxes. SB 87 cut taxes for the 6th time this year and enacted the largest single tax cut in Louisiana history. This bill will return $1.1 billion dollars over the next five years to Louisiana taxpayers.
  • Eliminating Vacant Government Positions. 984 vacant state government positions were eliminated at an estimated savings of $58 million.
  • Enforcing Strict Criteria for Use of Taxpayer Money. The Governor issued strict criteria for the use of state tax dollars toward new legislatively earmarked funding for Non-Governmental Organizations in order to safeguard transparency and accountability and to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used for true state priorities.
  • Expanding Medicaid Coverage for Foster Children extends Medicaid health coverage until age 21 for children who have left the foster care system at 18.
  • Increasing Minimum Sentences for Solicitation of a Minor: Increasing the minimum sentence for computer-aided solicitation of a minor from one year to a two-year minimum when the victim is between the ages of 13 and 16; and a ten-year minimum when the victim is 12 years old or younger.
  • Allowing Firearms to be Kept in Vehicles: Allowing employees and customers to keep firearms in a locked motor vehicle in the public access parking lots of businesses.
  • Providing Expanded Educational Opportunities by increasing the cap on charter schools in the state from 42 to 70, and giving BESE greater flexibility to renew charter schools for shorter lengths of time.
  • Raising Teacher Pay by more than $1,000.
  • Expanding Access to a Quality Education, through $10 million in Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence.

It will be very interesting to watch to see how things turn out in Louisiana… especially since Jindal is refusing some money from the government bailout.  It appears, on the surface, that with his efforts some real conservative theories (charter schools, vouchers, reduced government, spending transparency) will be allowed to see if they work.  It’s also important to note that the state as a whole, but specifically New Orleans, lost a large portion of it’s population post-Katrina and has only returned to 60%-70% by some estimates, so it is likely this reduced population is more open to new ideas.  Jindal, like any politician, has many detractors as well, obviously most from within the democratic community… and there are things to find in his governance that many will find lacking.

So keep an eye on Louisiana, and maybe we can make some comparison’s between LA and USA as far as how reduced government works vs. large government.  A bit of apples and oranges I realize, but it’s something… and since his legislature is democrat he’s making the changes in bipartisanship fashion, something Obama says he aspires to as well.

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Convenient II

Powerline has a post that elaborates on a column by Victor Davis Hanson, and slightly along the lines of the Convenient post I wrote earlier, about a seeming double-standard in reporting & condemning scandals or ill-behavior amongst republicans and not against democrats.  VDH wrote a very intriguing column and I highly suggest you check it out.  VDH is not playing sore loser, but genuinely wants equity:

Nor is there any regret whatsoever that liberals of good faith thankfully scrutinize the bad judgment and even criminal activity of wayward conservatives. The problem instead is why we continuously consider liberal transgressions as misdemeanors and their conservative counterparts as felonies.

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President Obama

Well there you have it, it is a “new dawn” in America.  As opposed as I was to Obama he was clearly the victor here, and I hope and pray that he runs this nation well.  Now let’s see if he can get those 10 rogue states under control.

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