Wednesday, September 25, 2013

McConnell vs. Cruz

Playing politics or winning the argument.

My dad once told me, “Kelly, you may not like politics but politics likes you.” His point was that politics has very real consequences to your life. Nowhere is this more obvious than with the Obamacare law; a law with life and death consequences.

Government provided healthcare should be a relic of the past like religious wars, kings and serfs and tuberculosis wards. Didn’t the government run those? To say nothing of your friendly government run insane asylums. How did those work out for both the patients and the doctors?

Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stood on the Senate floor to speak against Obamacare. And as I write this, he is going on 20 hours.


Certainly Senator Mitch McConnell isn’t rising with his colleague in a 20-hour lecture on why Obamacare is a bad bill with a bad Supreme Court ruling backing it up.

Last week, Boehner’s House gave conservative Senators a bill that would keep the government funded but cut Obamacare’s purse strings. Exactly what Cruz and friends, including me, would like to see.

But this is politics and nothing is ever as clear as it seems. Take the initial passing of Obamacare.
In the House, Obamacare started as House Resolution 3590, which was then called the Service Members Home Ownership Act. That’s right home ownership for veterans. Who isn’t for a military veteran coming home from war and having a roof over his or her head?

The Service Members Home Ownership Act passed the House, but was stripped in committee in a process known as “gut and amend”. This is where Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde. HR 3590 was replaced entirely and became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as it headed for the Senate. 

According to Washington insiders and the U.S. Department of Justice using H.R. 3590 as a “shell bill” is a “commonplace procedure (which) satisfied the Origination Clause,” said their brief. “It makes no difference that the Senate amendments to H.R. 3590 were expansive. The Senate may amend a House bill in any way it deems advisable, even by amending it with a total substitute, without running afoul of the Origination Clause.”

A total substitute? Which begs the question, then what is the use of passing a bill in the House in the first place if it can be rewritten entirely by the Senate? The procedure may be commonplace and satisfy the Origination Clause but is it right?

So jump ahead several years and Obamacare is now the “law of the land” and the Senate is once again up to its armpits in “commonplace procedures” that may “satisfy” some lawyer somewhere and are certainly political.

Upon receiving Boehner's House passed bill that strips funding for Obamacare, the Democratic leadership in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), wanted to simply “gut and amend” again creating a new Senate version restoring funding with a simple majority vote. And why shouldn't he. The rewrite-a-good-House-bill-into-a-bad-Senate-bill tactic known as "gut and amend" worked for Reid and friends the first time. And, this time they're only going for a bit of added funding. 

Senator Cruz stood up and said no...and he's still saying no...for 20 hours now and counting. I guess Senator McConnell continues his proud support of the House passed Service Members Home Ownership Act. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

U S Flag Primes Voters Towards Republican Viewpoint

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Just a glimpse at the American flag can sway voters, even Democrats, toward more Republican voting behavior, attitudes and beliefs, a new two-year study says.

The authors, from the University of Chicago, Cornell University and Hebrew University, say the research proves the American flag has a powerful effect on voters.

"A single exposure to an American flag resulted in a significant increase in participants' Republican voting intentions, voting behavior, political beliefs, and implicit and explicit attitudes, with some effects lasting eight months," reads the study titled, "Long-Term Effects of U.S. Flag Exposure on Republicanism."

Can't say for certain that it's true, but it never hurts to display the symbol of our great country on every suitable occasion.

Cross posted at Proof Positive

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mr. Obama's Neighborhood

By Proof

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I miss Fred Rogers. His evident kindness and gentleness were a quiet reassurance to his audience that everything was going to be okay. There was always some small object lesson whenever the little trolley took us to the Land of Make Believe. Today, I think the heir apparent to Mr. Rogers is...Barack Obama!

Mr. Obama has constructed quite a neighborhood of make believe, taking credit for military actions he either opposed or sought to defund, claiming to have cut spending while increasing our deficit spending by trillions of dollars, obstructing oil exploration and production on federally controlled land while claiming credit for increased oil production that was beyond his control, avoiding our allies while funding their enemies, helping to overthrow other allies with little clue as to what or who would replace them... The list goes on and on.

I thought of this comparison when I thought back to the phony, Styrofoam Greek columns of the 2008 Democrat convention. It reminded me, just a little bit, of the crenelated towers of King Friday's castle, and every bit as substantive. Also, Mr. Obama's Imaginary Gravitas world tour in 2008, where he famously went to 10 Downing Street, not to visit the English Prime Minister in his home, but to merely stand in front of his house and make a speech! Appearance is everything, don'tcha know?

The trolley would need to be renamed "Folly", as only folly would take you to revisit Mr. Obama's Land of Make Believe. Mr. Obama attempts to reassure us with that gentle voice, as he changes into his "comfortable shoes" (the ones he said he would use to march with striking union members. Hm. Must have misplaced those shoes somewhere in Chicago!), and pull on his sweater, which we all need now, since Obama bankrupted the coal industry and raised the cost of energy to heat our homes this winter!

All our old favorites would be there. Bill Clinton as "Mr. McFeely". (No. Seriously!) Either Michelle or Hillary could do Lady Elaine Fairchilde. Debbie Wasserman Schultz could do Harriet Elizabeth Cow. Joe Biden as Prince Tuesday, and, in a bit of casting genius, Eric Holder as Malcolm X the Owl.

In Obama's Neighborhood of Make Believe, Mr. Obama is a fiscally responsible, bold and decisive leader, who will lead us into a world that loves us, unlike the one that cowboy Bush was responsible for. Just ignore the demonstrations where they burn Obama in effigy, throw shoes at his picture and invade American embassies with impunity. More importantly (to him) Mr. Obama also stands to do battle with the Republicans in their War on Women, bolstered by such stalwart defenders of womenhood such as Teddy Kennedy and Bill Clinton...if he can ever drag himself away from the golf course!

Oh, and the lesson that can be learned today in our little trip to Mr. Obama's Neighborhood of Make Believe?

We'd better vote for Mitt Romney this November!

I'm Fred Rogers, and I approve this message!*

*If you believe that, you may be so far into the land of make believe, that there is no return!

Cross posted at Proof Positive

Saturday, August 4, 2012

#Occupy Chick-Fil-A

By Proof

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I have been pretty quiet on the Chick-Fil-A kerfluffle of late, other than a few timely and somewhat barbed tweets. Mostly because it had been given so much coverage by virtually everyone outside the MSM, I felt there was little more that needed saying. Other than perhaps this:

Reading my dead tree paper this AM, I stumbled across an AP story on some of the folks protesting Chick-Fil-A.

BOSTON (AP) —About a dozen members of Boston-area gay rights groups staged a kiss-in at the food court at the Burlington mall Friday.

"About a dozen". Let me call upon the expertise of my readers: You've probably gone into a fast food restaurant around lunchtime, at least once in your life, if there were a dozen people ahead of you in line, about how long would it take you to get served? Twenty minutes? Half an hour??

I was down in Fresno on Chick-Fil-A appreciation day, and the radio reports there were of people standing in line for hours in one hundred plus degree heat, to buy a chicken sandwich. (Or whatever else they had before they ran out of food!) There were reports of neighboring businesses and Good Samaritans handing out bottles of water freely to the people standing in line so they wouldn't get heat stroke.

Monday, June 11, 2012

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

By Proof

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There was an article in my local dead tree paper a while back which brought that to my mind. In keeping with good journalistic practice, I invited one of the parties quoted to respond to what I thought was a very simple question. Having received no response, I will let you draw your own conclusions, along with me, as to the veracity of those statements.

The story was a "puff piece". It was not part of any breaking story, merely a down home look at the "wizbang, golly jeeper" happenings around our fair city*.

"(Catherine)Kearney's Nissan Leaf is refueled each day while it sits in a parking spot near her desk at the San Joaquin County Office of Education, which recently installed five charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. They are among the first free public chargers in the county."
There's that "free" word. Now, were I a big city reporter and not just a lowly blogger, I might have asked a few questions. Maybe something along the lines of "Exactly how much did these stations cost?" or "In tough economic times when there are school cutbacks and teacher layoffs, which part of the county Office of Education budget did this come out of?" and, "Was this the best use of your limited resources?"

And, while it is a nice "perk" for Ms. Kearney to have her electric car charged at no cost to her while she is at work, I wondered not only what it cost to install the charging stations, but what the upkeep on them would be? What are the operating costs?

Here the plot really thickens.

The county Office of Education chargers are attached to a new solar array helping to power the complex. So on a sunny day, when Kearney charges her car, that fuel is direct from the sun - rather than some polluting power plant.

On a sunny day, a solar array charges her car without all that nasty, smelly pollution (unless you count the pollution of manufacturing the array, disposing of the toxic waste by products, the energy it took to manufacture, ship and install the solar array. But, why worry about that? It's free lunch time, right?) That would presume that on less than sunny days, her Nissan Leaf is suckling at the teat of some "polluting power plant"... paying for power from Pacific Gas & Electric, with tax dollars, out of the county's education budget.

Maybe the key word is "helping". We teach that to our kindergarteners as a virtue. But,for the math impaired among us...

The $2.5 million (solar array) project was financed mostly through low-interest loans. Energy savings will eventually pay it off, said Barry Scott, the county office energy coordinator.

"Energy savings will eventually pay it off..." Is this like that lottery for stupid people, where you win a million bucks and they promise to pay you a dollar a year for a million years? I pulled one of my PG&E bills at random to see what I'm being charged for electricity. Depending on what percentage of my "baseline" usage it is, it looks like about 12 to 29 cents per kilowatt hour. Let's assume for the moment that charging electric cars pushes the school district to the maximum residential** rate. (If they get a lower rate, the breakeven takes longer.)

Even rounding the rate up to .333/kwh, to make the math simpler, that solar array would have to generate 7.5 million kilowatts of electricity, plus whatever it would take to pay the interest on the "low interest loans". That's 7.5 Billion watts of electricity for the array to "eventually" pay itself off. (At 12 cents/kwh, make that 20 Billion.)

I asked Mr. Scott about "eventually":
"Would you mind sharing details as to exactly what time frame that is, given the projected and actual output of the system and the current and projected savings against the cost of purchasing power from PG&E?"
Mr. Scott declined to answer. And I don't blame him. I have no idea how much power a $2.5 million dollar solar array puts out on a sunny day. Or how many sunny or partly sunny days they base their return. But, given the fact that solar cells have a limited life span, (Nothing lasts forever, not even your free lunch!), I suspect that even assuming a twenty year life, which I believe is overly generous, that solar array would need to produce 375,000 kwh/year to break even on the principle. Add interest, maintenance and repair, and either that is one honking big solar array (possible visible from space) or the free lunch bunch are pursuing a "green" agenda that will likely never pay for itself, (Gee! Just like "high speed rail"!) and hoping that the education system they are administering will produce enough math impaired people, so as not to question their benevolent overlords.

One criticism of today's reporting, and perhaps part of what is causing the decline in dead tree newspapers, is that we have too few real reporters and too many who just rewrite the press releases given to them. I really would have hoped that a reporter, even one assigned to a "puff piece" would have enough curiosity to ask a few questions, do a little analysis of the numbers and dig a deeper than this. Who knows? Maybe there's even a story in there somewhere? *Sigh*

And finally, if enough of your tax dollars weren't being squirreled down the rat hole, the electric chargers are "free" to anyone who wanders by.

Kearney hopes people driving on nearby Highway 99 will stop by and plug in - if not for a complete charge, at least to "top off" for a few minutes. The office has a café, she said with a smile. "They can have a sandwich, get a few electrons and be on their way," Kearney said.

I wonder if the café offers a free lunch as well?

*Not to be confused with a short story by Robert A. Heinlein with the same name.

**The county may get a break on this, but I was growing old waiting for a reply.

Cross posted at Proof Positive

Sunday, May 6, 2012

You can Trust Barack Obama... to be Barack Obama

By Proof
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Barack Obama, the Bamboozler-in-Chief, is going to try to tell you that you should not focus on the fact that most of us are worse off than we were four years ago, by telling us the the problem he "inherited" was far worse than he thought. Well imagine a fellow that decides to walk from one side of the continental United States to the other. He starts off in San Francisco, and by the time he gets to Denver, thinks to himself, "Wow. This is far longer than I thought it would be!"

But, at least, he'd have made it to Denver.

Now imagine Barack Obama starting off in San Francisco, going the wrong way, ending up in Hawaii, knocking off to play a few rounds of golf, and looking you in the eyes and telling you, "It was farther than I thought."

Obama said he'd cut the budget in half by the end of his first term, but made it tremendously larger instead. As a candidate, he promised to "go through the budget line by line" to eliminate waste and fraud. By my reckoning, he's played over 90 rounds of golf, but hasn't quite found the time to do the whole "line by line" thing. And he said he had cut millions of dollars from the budget, so that he could sound like a moderate politician, but the truth is, they were all phony cuts, and the Federal Budget is slated to continue to grow every year for the next ten years.

When next year's budget is bigger than this year's budget, normal people will tell you that's not a cut, but an increase. A bamboozler will tell you what he thinks you want to hear.

The first two years of his presidency, Democrats controlled the White House, the House and the Senate. They had the power to pass any legislation they wanted, any remedy to the economy that they saw fit: health care reform (as opposed to health care insurance reform), minimum wage, or jobs bills and instead, funneled money to political supporters like Solyndra and failed solar companies, sent money overseas to build electric cars, and actively took measures to raise the price of oil, gas and electricity, instead of doing what was right for the country.

What on God's green earth makes you think the next two or four years will be any different under Obama?

Tips from his caddy??

Cross posted at Proof Positive

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Liberty...

Liberty is the one pre-existing condition that Obamacare doesn't cover.