Why is Dick Cheney so soft on terrorism? It's not like he cared about polls, even when he was "Decider, Jr.".
Why doesn't he just SAY what he wants to and what we all expect of Him?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Why is Dick Cheney so soft on terrorism? It's not like he cared about polls, even when he was "Decider, Jr.".
Posted by Amicus at 9:42 PM
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Julian Sanchez cries Molach. (Is there anyone who doesn't adore Julian's brain?)
He worries about the disembodied Ressentiment, the larger part of which, I would argue, has been manufactured, under such rubrics as Reagan Revolution and exposed by others, like Frank Shlafly. This year's quote-example, "Get your government hands off my Medicare!", is my all time favorite. Isn't it just the quintessential embodiment of what we're talking about?
He says, "fuck tone", but it was the destruction of 'tone' of 'civility' that is the admitted modus operandi of Coulter and DeSouza and other Reagan movement folks to unseat the 'liberal elites'. That's not to deny his distinction, but to suggest that the two go hand-in-glove.
So, those who started out wanting to 'poke fun' at 'liberal pieties' have their Molach now. Welcome to your Pottersville, children of the Reagan Devolution...
Posted by Amicus at 2:14 AM
THE CLONE ARMIES OF RPG
While the Ewoks are fighting on the Endor moon, the battle two levels up is going on with a self-proclaimed 'College of the Doctrine of the Faith', hupped up by Robbie P. George (RPG) and Nixon's felon, Chuck Colson.
Don't believe me?
In New Jersey, NOM (associated with RPG), turned out to be 'more Catholic' than even the Catholic Church in Jersey.
The NJ Catholic Church rep told the judiciary committee that they didn't oppose NJ's Civil Union law. The NOM spokesman, on the other hand, said they did, suggesting that the relationships of committed gay couples were the same as any other relationship (he gave examples that I forget, and the testimony wasn't transcribed - the viewpoint itself is not new ground, however).
As for Andrew Sullivan's critique, he's on track, except that marriage teachings can be seen as a tenant of faith, not 'objective fact' (we tend to conflate the two, possibly, because of the times we live in). Mother Church knows this soft ground, and that is why their statement about it is a coercive political one, not a subtle or terribly informed theological one. Of course, to do so isn't to adopt any obvious scriptural stance, but they ignore that.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The President is out backwalking his prior statements on healthcare reform. It's a triangulation that's not going to work.
I know I'm supposed to support and protect the leader, but it isn't reflexive for progressives in the way it is for Republicans.
How much does the President owe Howard Dean? Well, Joe Lieberman's approval ratings are down nine points, in one week. All Dean had to do was go on a TV program and say, "Americans want choice." Gosh, why was that so hard for Rahm-Axlerod-Obama-Biden-Summers-Geithner?
Ariana has the quote of the day:
This year, I'm getting Joe Lieberman a DVD of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington so he can see the proper use of a filibuster -- to fight corruption, not promote it
Well, maybe the quote goes to Kent Jones, of The Rachael Maddow show, in laughing at James DeMint's concept of freedom: "Gays make freedom cry."
Posted by Amicus at 10:39 PM
Forget higher ed, suck-you-dry school loans, etc., etc.
Get a job with a good union.
Four retiring Parsippany cops share $900K in sick, vacation pay
Posted by Amicus at 10:46 AM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I feel awful.
I want to support the President and his health bill. "Universal for-profit insurance" has its place, surely.
But, his party cannot even offer a consistent message on civil rights. The Party has been absent in Maine; and they are absent in New Jersey, now, when someone could make a difference.
So, I'm torn.
Treat him like he treats us or rise above that?
Right now, let him pull the weight.
That's basically the post-Clinton message, almost unchanged (by Rahm, by others?): we leaders won't impede, but we won't assist - you do the heavy lifting and we'll glide in at the cost-free moment with pen-in-hand.
Posted by Amicus at 1:19 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009
INVINCIBLE WALL STREET, CONT'D
A headline that anyone who lived through the last part of the 90s would never, ever have thought they would read, today, over at HuffPo:
"AIG Emails: Spitzer, Blodget Debate Whether AIG's Internal Documents Should Be Published Online For Public Review (VIDEO)"
This Henry Blodget.
Everyday I think I've seen the craziest stuff, too; but each morning, when I wake up, I think, "I ain't seen nothin' yet!".
Posted by Amicus at 11:32 PM
NAMES NAMES NAMES
"I knew brokers who were doing fraudulent documents all day long."
It looks like some are finally tracking down the people and the companies involved in the worst of the worst of mortgage lending.
Posted by Amicus at 5:01 PM
INSURANCE RE-REGULATION PASSES SENATE
Hat's off to Harry Reid, who has spent seven months or so herding cats for the President... In the end, the bill vote was 60-40, with two major jumps left to go.
The Dorgin amendment, for importation for prescription drugs, somehow was controversial, flamed out 51-48.
SOME OF THE GORY DETAILS
Large and small, the nanny corporation remains intact, as real change is too much, apparently. Still, CBO estimates that companies will dump 8-9 million into the (subsidized) 'exchange market'.
Insurance companies can continue to use the non-group market to subsidize their prized clients in the group market (i.e. no public option or similar competition). Their medical loss ratio is "limited" to a staggering 20%, however. [The Swiss, by comparison, say that 'basic insurance' is to be provided at cost by the private sector, i.e near 0%...]
The government will mandate purchase of private, for-profit insurance, on penalty of the tax authorities, creating a potential sore-point with voters. The CBO gleefully projects $2 billion periodically in penalties to be collected from voters...
The government will subsidize the purchase of private, for-profit insurance, creating a strange set of individual incentives, compared to a single-payer model, given that typical healthcare expense is not cost irrelevant
A lot of non-binding cost recommendations could flow from a bucket of money spent to study stuff. A lot. Non-binding. Bucket of money.
Turns out that annual caps may not be that pricey to eliminate. If so, one can hardly understand why eliminating these wasn't done years ago. Unless those estimates are bunk and the growth in expensive, degenerative diseases is paramount.
I have no idea how much getting rid of pre-existing conditions will cost, in terms of average premium increases. (And I'm not going to keep looking in the CBO's work ...).
Rural areas will get direct healthcare investments. The government will take a hand at bolstering the workforce for health-service professionals... This, even while the main thrust of the bill is to adore the 'private sector'.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
"Marriage equality is now legal in the nation's capital"
Whatever that means, I assume a wag would write a sub-heading, "D.C. madames no longer 'the other woman'."
If you thought Bush's faith-based blunders weren't staggering, here is what Sarah Palin writes about Copenhagen (via ThinkProgress):
Copenhgen=arrogance of man2think we can change nature's ways.MUST b good stewards of God's earth,but arrogant&naive2say man overpwers nature
This is what euphemistically gets excused as "a strong personality". Good grief.
Update: In case the lunacy of this isn't clear, man clearly has a kind of upper hand on nature, in many ways.
We've blotted out thousands of species, just due to our ongoing lifestyle, for one. After that, mankind can still destroy the earth with nukes probably tens of times over, if not hundreds of times, still. The biological and chemical weapons we have stockpiled could come close to serilizing the planet. All that before one even ponders how Sarah can sweep avoidable consumption/waste into "nature's ways".
Saturday, December 19, 2009
REAL FEES OR PASS THROUGH FEES TO YOU AND ME
So what do micro economists say about fees and taxes that are part of the pending insurance re-regulation (calling it 'healthcare reform' is an insult)? Do those fees just get passed on, in the form of higher premiums? JCT analysis (pdf).
What about the largest, the excise tax on high-value plans?
JCT says it is being assessed at the insurer level. The client, the company, demands these 'Cadillac plans', but the tax-cost is put on the insurer. Doesn't that seem odd? Doesn't the buyer usually pay the excise tax, collected, often, at the point of sale?
How is the insurer best supposed to work that cost into their pricing?
One conjecture is that, rather than show spiraling executive compensation costs, the companies will request that the insurers just charge an extra dollar or two on everyone's premium payment...or more.
Posted by Amicus at 11:49 PM
If you don't have access to your partner's health plan, say, you could end up mandated to buy insurance in the 'misery market' for it.
Posted by Amicus at 8:35 AM
The first question that I have for Paul Krugman is not whether there are benefits in the current bill, because there are, but whether there are enough. A mandate is very, very valuable to the insurance industry. What actually did they "give" for our get? Nothing, right? In fact, they gain mandated enrollees and pricing/bargaining power.
The second question is about get-what-you-can-now-and-fix-it-later. I think that people are going to end up resenting the mandate. This means that there is a unique cost to delaying 'the ideal' solution. It will show up in political terms, down the road...especially when premiums rise.
And Senator Kerry is so screwed-up, that he doesn't realize that Howard Dean is trying to do pushback on those who would put themselves in the "center" of this debate, like Leiberman. I mean, do you think Lieberman wants to be painted as against choice, because the voters want choice in their healthcare plans and providers...
Posted by Amicus at 8:23 AM
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
From the BBC News:
Well, by now, many world leaders are decrying Uganda's efforts to kill, imprison, or torture the gays and their families and friends. As usual, Canada is high and first on the list.
Yet, no one, including Secretary Clinton, who waited until after the Vatican weighed in to say something publicly, has mentioned sanctions or other actions.
I mean, I can simply write a statement for a LOT less than we pay for diplomacy in this country. C'mon.
Or, is that what The Family want, with Uganda as the pawn, an international 'wedge issue' to wield against Obama-Biden? Sick.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Jim Burroway has the dope. This time it is Rwanda and the vote is ... today, if I got that right.
Posted by Amicus at 8:52 AM
Ben's an impressive guy, but ... give the freakshow it's due:
1. Sarah Palin, quit in her first term, to avoid the nasty encumbrances of governing (ALL those earmark requests of hers were getting in way of her high stepping hopes) and fully to embody the GOP's de facto motto "Don't Be It, Dream It!", selling a whopping number of books on the first day of her "no questions, please, we're media-hating conservatives" "book" tour (yes, media haters selling and lining their pockets with a kind of media).
This is life bigger than fiction. Ben trumps that?
2. Glen Beck set sails on FOX and, through sheer propaganda, including his virtuoso performances, has convinced millions of American mental captives that the country is being ruined - really ruined, despite the fact that the Obama Administration has passed very, very little legislation of any size or controversy, to date.
3. The intrepid Senator James Mountain Inhofe, reportedly in league with the secret religious society, The Family, seems to be on a personal mission to finish-up frying the planet for the GOP or at least make sure that no one does anything until it is too late. Perhaps, TIME doesn't like putting clowns on their cover? But why?
David Sirota is stunned (but not speechless). He thinks Ben has trumped that, having pulled off being both responsible for the mess and then being praised for its cleanup, perhaps because he's not inured to how typical that is on invincible Wall Street.
Posted by Amicus at 8:42 AM
The D.C. council passed historic civil rights for committed gay and lesbian couples today, voting 11-2 in favor.
Reportedly, there are 10 days for the mayor and then 30 days for the Congress to act. (Odd not to be linking the Blade for this, right? How's everyone doing, during these historic times, with no newspapers - the same, better, worse?)
Few see the possibility of a standalone bill.
Of course, Senators or Congresscritters could try to attach an amendment to pending legislation, yes?
The President doesn't have any "must do" bills in the next 30-40 days, does he?
Posted by Amicus at 2:58 AM
It spews from the national groups, right down to our own back yard.
This hate ganked from the rank bigotry at SaveJersey blog:
I just received a letter detailing the inadequacies of the amendment proposed by Bill Baroni and passed by the Judiciary Committee...A detailed account why the amendment does not protect churches and it's members adequately. [none of which end up being, uh, detailed..]
One must construe that the bill carries some language that can be twisted into a policy that EVERY SCHOOL MUST TEACH HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE AS THE NORM BY DEFAULT.
Meanwhile, state senators, like Cardinale, go on record telling people that the Homosexual Agenda is to teach kids in school "about the homosexual lifestyle".
Yet, in their full hypocrisy, what do they do behind the scene?
Well, instead of generating revenue of $248 million over three years (Williams Institute study), they spend. How much do they spend? Well, it's over $1.5 million to start, on an anti-bullying program.
So, how does one curtail anti-gay bullying, without 'teaching' about gays and lesbians? Aferall, isn't "one-man, one-woman" about the same as, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve?", taunts that gay kids still need to learn the fine art of verbal defense to escape?
NJ gets higher taxes, to serve some Senator's hypocrisy and perpetuate the convenient, self-serving political fantasy that "civil unions" in New Jersey can be perfected.
Michael Cole, Staff Council at HRC, has some of the facts of the case in legal context, although he doesn't link any of the cases themselves.
What's important general knowledge?
- CLS was not "kicked off campus", in any ordinary understanding of that term.
- CLS was provided use of campus facilities for meetings
- The University (Hastings) did not force CLS to accept any members or make anyone an officer
- The University withheld pooled 'activity fee' funding, because the chapter submitted a charter that didn't comply with the school's anti-discrimination policy and didn't get recognized.
What also catches my eye is that, these days, companies can use their weight to force suppliers and vendors (including law firms) to comply with antidiscrimination policies that are good for business.
Yet, Universities get questioned, if they try to do the same thing, even when the monies are coming from the public purse.
As you look at it, one asks, why did this ever come to court? Maybe there is an answer in the CLS history. Maybe "gay" is the thing for them, now. Who knows?
Right now, I'm leaning toward the conclusion of one of the comments on Volokh's blog: conservatives are trying to castrate or erase our worthy antidiscrimination goals by using 'freedom to associate' and 'free speech' arguments for groups that, technically, don't even embrace those values (many religious groups punish free speech as "heresy" and pass out punishment/reward depending on how people choose to confess and practice their faith, i.e. their 'association')... It's not just sad.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
In a much ignored aspect of the legislation, local law enforcement gets a true-up, in PA.:
A second indictment charges Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew Nestor, Lt. William Moyer and Police Officer Jason Hayes with conspiring to obstruct justice during the investigation into the fatal beating of Ramirez. Moyer has also been charged with witness and evidence tampering, and with lying to the FBI.
If convicted, the defendants face 20 years in prison on each of the obstruction charges and an additional five years in prison for conspiring to obstruct justice. Moyer faces an additional five years in prison for making false statements to the FBI.
Oh, I'm so up for men putting on hijab to mock the Iranian regime, who torture and kill gays.
Does anyone have an Aretha-hat like transparent gif to share?
"Iranian men are showing their solidarity with Tavakoli by wearing a hijab and posting their photo on the web," reads its appeal to send in photos.
Posted by Amicus at 8:13 PM
In the Senate, hacks make $174,000 each year, in salary alone.
You show up and vote "no". Rest of time, you jet around and get dinners from lobbyists.
Is that what inspires College Republicans, like nothing else can?
I mention it, now, because I just read another story that all Republicans voted, 'no'. Why don't they just phone it in?
Posted by Amicus at 7:50 PM
'Traditional marriage' is a contract between one man and another man.
The Dan Savage youTube on marriage is exceptionally good at putting a finger on the issue. When Dan says something like (paraphrase), "Straight people have redefined marriage - past tense, redefined - to the point at which it no longer makes sense to exclude gay couples", it's very accurate, even if that is a very complex point to get across in an ad campaign, say
Realizing this can elucidate how some people are talking past each other.
Most of us are looking at a public institution that is 'redefined' and hardly adhering to a single ideal (or any ideal, for that matter) as our fact-set to make a conclusion about what is just, while the dress-up groups, like NOM, are imagining institutions on an ideal plane, "marriage as it ought to be", "traditional marriage", marriage as it is preached, rather than how it is practiced.
One of the things bigoted about their position is that, having failed to stop the de facto 're-definition' of marriage for nongays from its "ideal", they focus millions of dollars on a minortiy, gays and lesbians, to bully and deny. Screw that.
The ethics of that just doesn't work for me, even having heard their arguments. In the past seven years, I'd bet that New Jersey passed out warrants for more deadbeat parents that all the committed gay and lesbian couples who would get married in the first year of legalized SSM. It's things like that that just make it plain they are posturing about 'gay lifestyle', not much more.
In other words, in a comparison of the 'greater evils' of marriage 'failure', marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples just doesn't rank. Opponents don't see it that way, because their gaze seems stuck on the ethereal plane.
(With some stuff, I've been trying to get the ethereal plane to come in line, too, so to speak, but persuasion is not easy, there).
[Good for discussion forums, except it has a "fuck this" in it, that will 'shock' some.]
The Pastor of Senator Shirley Turner has said she can vote for the marriage bill, but he is advising against it.
What better way to offer her "political cover", than for a dynamic woman of your stature to give a nod or to give a speech about civil rights.
In fact, to stay away is almost a tacit endorsement of the status quo. PLEASE, don't make that mistake.
Should there be a focus of energy and resources at the national level?
Apart from another ten years of listening to people complain that the HRC is a lobby organization, not an equal rights organization, here is a biting perspective why the national level is just the same, politically, as the local:
Until rights activists can show that they can move the electorate, at the grass roots, Washington is deaf, Left and Right. That is why these local fights are worth it, to hone skills and more.
The national effort is defined, instead, as how best to coordinate local efforts into an overall, effective strategy. The right kind of local victories can mean something on the national level. That is the only force multiplier that is available, that I can see, for a 5% minority to try to launch such an effort...
"Let's wait for Boies/Olsen", to my mind, ranks up there with 'let's wait to see if they collect enough signatures for the ballot initiative', etc. That's NOT a blame statement, it's a realization that the time is always now. There are no shortcuts, unless one just wants to pin hopes on the generational shift, which is not as sure a thing as some may wish.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
An open letter to the Chief Sinner of Newark, The Most Reverend, the Archbishop (he wouldn’t say otherwise and neither should we).
I'm not sure I've covered everything. It's a bit of a work in progress, but time is short.
Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise.
I have to admit, though, these exercises exhaust me. They do not feel 'natural' to me, because, unlike, some, I don't believe in these 'showy' displays. Some knowledge of the scriptures is not to be confused with Bible totin'. Most people I know would be astonished that I even just wrote that.
Anyway, if anyone thinks it might help, send it to your State Senator.
Adding to the long string of pointers at weak and incompetent senior management at the FAA, comes the story this week that they have finally fessed up to being an organization that cannot study itself.
They fired someone who warned them they were screwing up. After lotsa money on an investigation, they admit it; but, of course, no one in management is responsible.
Here's a good blog by a former traffic controller and career safety guy, Get the Flick.
What's he saying now? The FAA has no backup. Nothing. And it is 2009. Here's my snark. Even if they had a backup, it wouldn't be plugged in. (That's a reference to the post 9/11 equipment that they ordered, was sitting there, but wasn't connected/in-use).
The Catholic League is showing off its blind spots. I'm not going to give them fuel for their adopted cause célèbre, but there is this.
How on earth can this be "generating hate"?: loving gay and lesbian couples, some of them on behalf of their families, stand up and ask - ask! - for the right to be married in the State of Maine, a right already conferred by the Maine legislature. Mainers are then "attacked" by the Catholic-inspired group, NOM, to apply a God-standard to gays, instead of a civil law standard.
Yet, in the la-la land that the Church has reduced civics to in Maine, that is exactly what the well paid head of the Catholic League implies 'generates hate':
Friday, December 11, 2009
ON NOTICE AND NOTICING
Congrats on Oslo. Great speech. Michelle was looking really foxy, too. Lang Lang is da bomb.
But hurry home.
Your party cannot articulate and enforce a consistent public stance on civil rights in America (see here). gasp!
Look, it's one thing if this or that state Senator gets deluded or votes substantively this or that way.
But, for the leadership of the Democratic party to remain silent or absent, in articulating the finer points of how to balance liberties within the law or taking up the education burden? That's not forgivable, is it?
Let me be clear. I don't need President Obama to come to Newark and say, "I support marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples and their families!".
I need him to say something like, "Our long history suggests that a politics of reason and coming together means that we vote for things that we may disagree with, keeping our reservations and faith from trampling the civil liberties that we hold so dear and which are a light to all the world's faithful".
Heck, he can even use Reagan "beacon" language and repeat the heresy of America being the "last best hope", not getting tarnished by petty or small minded votes. I don't care, but he has to say something.
What does the Democratic Party owe to gays and lesbians across the state of New Jersey (and in D.C., yet)?
As a matter of party discipline, it owes them a consistent approach to civil rights, at least. As a matter of bully-pulpit advocacy, it owes them the American ideal of a leadership, from President Obama on down, who will stand up and say forcefully that matters of conscience are best left between individuals and their God.
Today, in New Jersey, we appear to be lacking both, hopefully temporarily, on our way to voting a final time on marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples.
By a consistent approach to civil rights, I mean a clear, articulated, and promoted understanding of how we come together in civil society, how we hope to use reason and light to avoid the religious wars that rent Europe, in times past.
In short, I mean, how it could be laudable for a clear-thinking legislator to say, "I feel that gays and lesbians are morally repugnant to me in all that they do, but I still vote for this legislation to allow committed gay couples to marry", because I could be wrong.
Religion is not required to show this kind of humility or doubt, but good and just public policy making is. Considering the caustic harm of a potentially highly visible injustice, like second-class status, is the job of an enlightened legislator and, by extension, the Democratic Party.
In New Jersey, today, we face legislators on the Democratic side of the isle who ignore such a putative Party discipline on civil rights, in order to avoid having to promote the Party's historical position on how to balance matters of conscience with civil rights in the law.
They do this by earnestly, but mistakenly, applying "personal beliefs" to policies that affect everyone or minorities. They do it out of the sheer political calculation of not wanting to fight to keep their seat and pretending that it is someone else's job, rather than their own political burden, to educate, to lead, to fight for justice before the law, and to adhere to and promote a civil society that balances religious freedom with full and fair civil equality - that is, a consistent and promoted approach to civil rights.
This must end. It's ugly for the Party and discouraging enough to be devastating to the base.
The Party did so much to get this to a vote, in New Jersey. Let us go the last nine yards, together. Senators, change your votes!
It's critical to document the hate (and ignorance), in detail, coming out of the
fight struggle to see in New Jersey, now. (And the recent ones in Maine and California and D.C.).
Sadly, my contemporaneous notes from Monday's session were erased in a computer reboot and the electronic transcript is not yet available.
However, here is one memorable quote-like thing, shouted at the Committee members:
Among the other gems, a woman who earnestly suggested to the Senators that everyone knew that the bill was wrong, because no one had asked God's blessing on the proceedings (at least I think I remember that right).
More items later, from some rightwing New Jersey blogs. Check for updates (and send me your items, if you are not keep track yourself).
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Repent, Maggie Gallagher - marriage for atheists, but it is marriage for committed gay couples that will erase the foundations of society?
[one has to appreciate all the ironies going on with this tableau, right?]
With the postponement of today's vote, the race is on in New Jersey to be the first in front of some constituents and constituencies to "frame the issue". Time, money, and organization are all important in such dashes.
Here's a palm card that I'm working on, personally (i.e. not coordinated with any group effort), for ... the good citizens of New Jersey's 12th, I guess (I wish I could put 2,000 of these in mailboxes today, as plain and un-designed as they are):
Feel free to re-distribute to anyone you know who lives in her district. I have no idea how 'gettable' a vote she is, but I'd hazard that her district would support or be indifferent to a "Yes" vote - so my preliminary assessment is that she is just ladder climbing the GOP on the backs of gays and lesbians.
That is how I would summarize McCrystal's interview on Charlie Rose, last night.
DON'T BE IT, DREAM IT
It's doubtful the GOP could ever call themselves "strong on defense" after the long history of Afghanistan is written, until you realize that is exactly what they will continue to do.
I think their new motto should be, "don't be it, dream it".
Meanwhile, the quiet diplomatic successes of Obama-Clinton are adding up, yes?
Posted by Amicus at 1:16 AM
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
POLICY MAKING AND EXAMINED PREJUDICE
In a case that has caught the attention of those eager to promote the notion of a siege on Christianity, we find this comment from a reporter in Maine:
“They [the HRC] said the Yes-on-1 people were haters. I’m a Christian. I take offense at that,” he said. “I e-mailed them back and said basically, ‘We’re not the ones doing the hating. You’re the ones doing the hating.’
Two gay people standing up and saying, "I love you" doesn't obviously threaten anyone else's civil or religious liberty, does it? Given all that we know today, to say otherwise is tantamount to ignorance. It's an over-the-moon fallacy to suggest that merely asking for recognition of so much, even demanding it, is "hating" someone or something.
On the other hand, why is holding a (privately) examined prejudice that would (publicly) deny "marriage" as a relationship recognition not seen as a denial of liberty, a restrictive act, a potentially misguided or even "hate filled" act, especially if one is wrong about that examined prejudice?
To be sure, there is more than one way to look at "hate" than in terms of civil liberty, but that is the proper context, I submit, for a civil dialog about it.
On Monday, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in New Jersey asked, as time wore on, "does anyone waiting to testify have something new to add?"
I do, especially for the Christians.
Here it is, part of it.
*by the way, if one reads the Catholic Church's materials on this, they actually stipulate this is true! In their mistaken further analysis, they recommend celibacy; but, you know, for some, they are not suited to a posture of denial, of celibacy, that makes them rather like a cursed fig tree, but would rather their love shine forth, in its fullness.
"The Bill" seems to focus most of its cost efforts with teeth on the public sector payor, Medicare. There are other efforts without teeth, recommendations and prototyping.
Will a 17% tail wag this dog?
You make the call. Even if it doesn't, cost leadership has its knock-on advantages, now and later.
I read things about changing compensation models to reward those providers with superior quality-for-cost. Weighty, thoughtful people make this recommendation. Still, I worry that 'quality' is something that is hard to measure, objectively.
Posted by Amicus at 7:54 AM
...something like open up or model the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program?
I have a question.
Is the Senate's FEHB a "Cadillac plan", as defined by the Reid bill?
Unless it is exempted, it looks like it would be, based on my understanding of the cutoff.
I'm glad that my Senators are riding in a Cadillac, as long as they are being taxed on it. Would you like a pillow?
(Wait, I'm paying those 'excise taxes'? What?!!!)
Posted by Amicus at 2:00 AM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The tony Pigou Club has the following points:
1. Either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program will result in substantially lower economic costs than command-and-control regulations that mandate technologies, fuels, or energy efficiency standards.
2. Given the uncertainty of the future costs of climate policy, a carbon tax is more economically efficient than cap-and-trade.
3. Carbon allowances in a cap-and-trade program would be susceptible to price volatility.
4. A carbon tax that uses the revenue to offset harmful taxes would substantially reduce costs. A carbon tax generates public revenue.
5. Carbon offsets could undermine a cap-and-trade program.
Posted by Amicus at 11:35 PM
Monday, December 7, 2009
Studies show that marriage is a big industry. Follow-up on studies done for Massachusetts reportedly show that estimates were reasonably good for the impact of gay marriage there.
So, why are most Republicans in the NJ Senate voting for higher taxes in New Jersey during the lame duck session, when New Jersey just voted tax displeasure over outgoing Governor Corzine?
'Small government' is just a slogan...
Other Republican Senators want to spend time and money trying to "fix" civil unions. At what cost, when the alternative to costly fixes, marriage, is a revenue generator?
No one is "safe". Yes we can.
Brooklyn Democrat Sen. Carl Kruger, who voted "no," ...would be tough to beat because he heads the powerful Senate Finance Committee and has $2 million in his campaign account . -DailyNews
I was reading that Kruger enjoys a gerrymandered district.... And Republicans would be happy to "help" drive up his unfavorables.
Posted by Amicus at 11:22 PM
A VICTORY FOR LAW AND ORDER
The bill made it out of the judiciary committee.
Quote for the day, from ACLU's Deborah Jacobs:
In this country, we put our hand on the bible and swear to uphold the constitution, not put our hand on the constitution and swear to uphold the bible.
In calm and memorable terms, one former legislative hopeful spoke directly and convincingly about the fear campaign, run by the bill's opponents.
Much of the "opposition" remains hopelessly insular. An Orthodox Rabbi, in speaking about a child potentially adopted by a gay couple, became passionate and raised his voice, exclaiming that such a thing was "unmitigated barbarism". Clearly, he's never spent even a day with a gay couple or family. His imagination seems all over the place, including intimations that gays cannot control their sexual impulses ('think what will happen to this innocent child').
The Friends, the Quakers, spoke eloquently. But, as expected, they were unable to reach the "democratic" "Catholic votes" on the Committee.
Many other solid testimonies. Seven hours of it. Another highlight was the same ACLU lawyer telling a minister that the ACLU would defend them in court, if they couldn't speak their religious beliefs... grok that marriage, if you can.
While special notice goes to the critical Republican Senator Bill Baroni, a man who actually understands the law, a special mention, I think, has to go to those who have looked at the demographics of those who support marriage for gays. I suspect Jennifer Beck, Republican, is vulnerable. She covers some of the highest "household values" in the state.
If you are honest with yourself, one might believe that movement on the Republican side of the isle is at least as likely as trying to bring, say, the Ruben Diaz's of the world, to the mountain...
GROVELING FOR RIGHTS - DON'T MAKE ME WRATH YOU!
This freakish auto, probably illegally displaying signs, was spotted on the way the Statehouse.
It's a classic:
Turns out Princeton Senator (D-15th District) Shirley Turner wants to vote her Baptist faith, codifying irrational views into law! Gasp! Apparently, she is barely up to discussing the issue, so deeply ingrained is her unexamined prejudice.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
McCrystal and Petreaus got what they wanted. Did Obama get what he wanted?
(I'll bet his staffers didn't even put it on the table. The Secretaries didn't get one question on the matter before Congress, this week, that I know...).
As before, my working hypothesis is that the 'plus-up' is an excuse to postpone...
Posted by Amicus at 3:53 PM
Saturday, December 5, 2009
DUCKING THE RPGs
The Manhattan Declaration: we want a "culture of marriage"
From a civil perspective, sorry to say, RPG, we are probably after something broader, like a 'culture of responsibility'.
Yes, you can insert 'christian responsibility', under that same banner; but that has a place for the Christian community, not for all of civil society.
Instead of resisting, try putting your Great Mind to figure out how to have *both* marriage for gays AND a culture of responsibility. (hint: marriage is good for marriage and you'll still have plenty of time/space to "moralize" about gays, if that is your bent).
Posted by Amicus at 12:21 PM
FACTS VERSUS FEAR
On Monday, New Jersey legislators will walk away, with their marriage 'intact'.
Nothing will change for them, whether they vote "yes" or "no". Nothing will change for the hundreds of millions - hundred million - of American voters, already married. Nothing.
So, who is bullying whom?
[guesstimates of number of marriages in America are my own, drawn from US Census 2002, to illustrate the point Rely on them accordingly.]
Friday, December 4, 2009
From the files of things you cannot make up, comes this: Erik Prince was CIA.
Blackwater was not just a contractor, not just covered under arcane rules about State Department security overseas, but The Ultimate Contractor (cue music).
When Bush bragged (paraphrase), 'some have been brought to justice, others have had justice brought to them', we start to get the whole picture.
People with a long memory will recall that UBL or his minions once accused the USA of being the largest 'irregular army' sponsor, so ... thanks again, Bush Administration, I guess, for keeping the moral high ground. I mean, there are obvious and important differences, but ... I think we just saw another line blithely ignored, right?
Posted by Amicus at 6:25 AM
VALUES, YES - A 'VALUES VOTERS INDUSTRY', NO
So, we are left with vapid assertions, one-word replies.
All cheer religion in the public square, which Bernard Lewis once summarized as, "I'm Right, You're Wrong, Go to Hell". You'd think that is too extreme for the USA, until you read parts of the "American Taliban Manifesto", aka the Manhattan Declaration.
In the spirit of illustrating the point, I think I can show that all the signers of the Manhattan Declaration are going to go to Hell. Then, we can all demonstrate (for the kids) how infusing the Public Square in the wrong way with religious precepts ultimately just leads to shouting matches over who is going to Hell, first and fastest.
Having not lived directly through the fear-based California Prop 8 campaign, I think I underestimated the magnitude and scope the "fear card", now being played in New Jersey.
Hence, the "Fact Versus Fear" campaign begins, here. (more to come)
Hamstrung by the time left as it is, sometimes you just have to tilt at windmills.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
GALE FORCE ADVISORY
For the record, because their apologists will deny it, let's be as prescient as Eisenhower and note the following in our journals:
From the "protect" marriage site for New Jersey, where the poker is now hot-hot, the startling claim that marriage, for those loving, gay couples who choose it, "threatens All Freedoms" (sic).
A catalog of these ads, of this mis-information, is important for after-action, just as were those ads about a "storm coming" (i.e. the one that never came). It will raise trust issues, when the next fight is fought, at a minimum.
The disinformation campaign in Maine was strong, as well.
In order to manufacture a siege mentality among 'the faithful', mis-leaders there whipped up wild characterizations of the legislative process.
Hundreds of sober-minded people spoke up against this fear campaign (pdf outline of disinformation), but fear-breeds-fear and it is hard to put back into the bottle.
More from NJ "Protect" Marriage - this one is repleat with hate-filled delusion:
Please don't tell me that NOM and others, with all their millions, do not have time to find this type of stuff and have it pulled, if they do not agree with it.
True in our times.
On the heels of the Anglican announcement that blessing of gay couples is acceptable locally, one religious sect in New Jersey is attempting to commandeer the civil definition of marriage:
GO 'VALUES VOTERS' EXPRESS!
The money pump:
NOM, alongside others, spends millions, by their own account, in pursuit of a religious definition of civil marriage, while the Catholic Church cuts staff in many, many locations and closes parishes in others.
It's like they are on crazy pills.
Do everyday Catholics even know how their money is being spent?
AMERICANS SUCKERED BY 'SMALL GOVERNMENT' LIES, MYTHOLOGY, AND WASILLA-WONDERS
While some continue to wish for a "return" of utopian conservatism, the so-called conservatives are falling over themselves to spend money, again, on their Rovian voting blocks (in the fine print, only, of course):
Democrats offered one proposal to cover a wide range of screenings and preventive health services for women. Republicans drafted an alternative, intended to outdo the Democrats.
Republicans offered a proposal to strike provisions of the bill that would save money in Medicare.
Add this to the party that took earmarks to new heights, almost an artform.
Posted by Amicus at 2:05 AM
Absolutely right idea, from Congressman Obey. What better way to take control of the Republican brand than this? I simply do not understand reported Democratic opposition, except as a general proposition on raising taxes.
Yes, it's wrong timing, given the economic situation.
Still, for political purposes, it's not _wrong_. One could collect a tax, and still spend money...on other things. Now THAT would be a worthy political strategy, yes?
What's terrible is that Obey doesn't seem to have an penchant for positioning. This ought not to be a "surtax". He should call it a Bush-Cheney-Rice-Rumsfeld recovery tax.
Make it small, the initial part of a promised series, if you must, to win support.
Posted by Amicus at 1:55 AM
Critical of our Senators so often, sometimes I forget to be grateful for some of the Senate's newest additions. My favorite, Claire McCaskill, just did an out-of-the-ballpark job today, questioning Clinton, Gates, and Mullens.
600 positions for contract oversight unfilled. Go Claire! Hold their feet to the fire, or NO ONE will look out for our money.
Separately, this excellent addition to the Senate is being held back by the Catholic ghetto, to the extent they can, some of whom are trying to have her turned into a minion of Rome's Pope, who is a sinner (he wouldn't deny that and neither should we), by "enforcing" cannon 915.
See sad story of it, here.
Posted by Amicus at 12:38 AM
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the nation's biggest lender, will repay $45 billion of US government bailout funds, helping free the bank from curbs on executive pay that have hampered its search for a new leader
Let's put the job up for bid. That'll keep costs down, and I'm sure there are qualified people who would do the job for a lot less than they think they need to pay ...
The idea that there is some small set of people competent to run BOA and they "need" to have copious largess to unlock their potential is so silly, except that bias of the received wisdom doesn't let us laugh at it aloud.
Posted by Amicus at 12:28 AM
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
THE POPE IS A SINNER (AND HE WOULDN'T SAY OTHERWISE, SO NEITHER SHOULD WE)
Of all the messages pouring out of the dirigistes, this is the one that seems (to my ears) to be making headway, as a slogan that is somehow 'intuitive'.
Countering its imperfection is hard, because people look around and mostly see what? Non-gay marriages. It's self-reinforcing (and self-congratulating?).
There are a number of ideas, including that this one-man, one-woman "dogma" (?) is not scriptural, at least not fully suggestive of all the scriptures say.
Clearly, the fallacy is that one-man, one-woman is suitable for non-gays but not for gays. It's really that simple. All marriage is 'intrinsically good', to borrow their phrase, so long as it comes with certain social understandings. Marriage for gays is just another shelf in the same bookcase, that's all.
Of course, I've yet to distill all that into a slogan, which means I'm missing a key communication tool, still.
WHAT THE HOLY SEE CANNOT SEE RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS NOSE
Offhand, here is a more provocative scriptural start for the CCers. On the death of Johnathan, David laments the event as "the beauty of Israel" slain. He goes on with this provocative statement:
There is a love for men that surpasses marital love? That's got to be scripturally problematic, for the "activist acolytes" and apologists who believes gay love is sinful and that non-gay marriage is the epitome, right?
In any case, it refocuses the debate on the things that the Church would rather ignore, as it pursues misleading people. Nor is it anti-marriage. It just suggests that there is more in the scriptures than is dreamt of in their "philosophy", Horatio.
Posted by Amicus at 4:40 PM