Category Archives: Rants
When it comes to the environment, anyone can tell you I have a strange outlook on things.Â I want windmills as far as the eye can see, yet I want to build a new coal plant.Â I want people to drive less, yet I want as many cars built as possible.Â My views can be summed up simply as, I want jobs.Â That is not to say I don’t have a vision.Â I see Americans driving hydrogen cars, and our electricity coming directly from mother nature.Â Most of all what I want is Americans to travel throughout this great nation via high speed trains.Â And apparently so does President Obama.
The new plan calls for high speed corridors stretching from Boston to Florida, and improvements to the existing high speed corridors like the route between Detroit and Chicago.Â Part of the vision is trains traveling upwards of 150 miles per hour, similar to the Acela Express that serves the North East Corridor.
I had the pleasure of enjoying the European train systems in my young years, and one of my biggest regrets is the lack of proper train coverage in this nation.Â Finally we have a president who gets it.Â It’s important to note that this is just the beginning, hopefully someday we will see a return to train travel on a massive scale.Â I see state wide train service linking northern Michigan to Detroit, I-75 replaced with rail service as Spring Breakers crowd high speed trains heading to Miami.Â I can dream, but as Dylan said, “The times they are a changing.”
Appropriately Re-Posted Photo
Today is the day of Tea Parties – otherwise known as April 15th or Tax Day.
1) This is not a grassroots movement. This is an AstroTurfing movement. What does that mean? Instead of springing from people coming together it is being sponsored and pushed my large, national organization. The group Americans for Prosperity is a well financed, heavily staffed organization that is coordinating the activities of national tea baggers.
Additionally, Fox News has been pushing these tea baggers hard core for weeks. The line between reporting and supporting the movement seems to be blurred in much of the Fox News coverage. An excellent report on this has been developed specifically on this subject by Media MattersÂ – the summer home of one Dana Cronyn.
2) These tea parties are giant hissy fits.
Giant, non-productive hissy fits.
I am all for freedom of speech, but these tea parties address the most annoying arguments of the emerging right-wing freakout. We are not even 100 days into the Obama Administration and the Right-wing is working itself it a nervous breakdown like none seen since the South collectively spasmed and removed itself from the Union.
Loyal Democrats in 2000 begrudgingly supported George W. Bush after he was appointed President of the United States. We were expected to support our President by the Right-wing – anything else was subversive. The former Vice President did not attack the new administration, like Dick Cheney has done recently, and mass protests across the country were not organized toÂ whine about No Child Left Behind.
Most of all – not a single blue state threatened to leave the Union. Texas Governor Rick Perry declared his state’s sovereignty from the United States Federal Government. It seems that the tea bagging movement is still completely confused over who won and who lost last November’s election. At some point the hypocritical freakout must stop, otherwise the Right is dooming itself to irrelevancy.
Governor Granholm & Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop: Awkward
This week Michigan House Republicans presented their plan to solve the State’s budget problems: cut state worker salaries. They proposed cutting state the salaries of 52,000 state employees by 5% and reduce the benefits for retirees. Additionally, they called for a 5% across the board cut in state spending.
This plan is completely shameful for two reasons.
1) Asking state employees to accept a 5% cut in their salaries is highly hypocritical considering not a single House Republican will voluntary return a percentage of their own income, as Governor Granholm does.
Granholm, a Democrat, has returned 5 percent or 10 percent of her $177,000 salary every year since taking office in 2003 as Michigan has struggled with a weak economy and ongoing budget problems. She recently urged other elected officials to do the same, especially lawmakers since they have so much say in the state budget.
Not a single House Republican has returned any portion of his or her income. How can you ethically ask the people that clean up our parks, guard our prisons, and pave our roads to take a cut in pay when you yourself refuses to even consider the notion.
2) A 5% cut across the board is fundamentally the worst plan that could be proposed to fix our state budget. Across The Board cuts class funding from efficient programs, thus making making them inefficient, and fails to fix inefficient programs. These cuts allow inefficient programs to continue to exist, but in a small form.
In a recession good government programs are essential to creating and economic turn around, but wantonly slashing funding merely handicaps these programs.
Partaking in a bipartisan effort to address inefficient programs in a direct manner addresses the problem and will hopefully bring about reform to programs that desperately need it.
The Department of Justice announced several weeks ago that the government would end the Bush-era practice of designating people “enemy combatants.”Â The Bush administration had asserted that the president has a wartime power to declare a person an “enemy combatant” arbitrarily and detain him or her indefinitely.Â The administration used “enemy combatant” status to ensure that suspected terrorists were held out of reach of both international law (namely the Geneva Conventions) and fundamental Constitutional rights, particularly the right to due process.
It is widely agreed that the president has increased powers during wartime.Â President Abraham Lincoln first asserted such wartime powers during the Civil War.Â Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman also took up expanded powers during war.Â Following September 11th, President Bush argued that he too had extraordinary wartime powers–this time from the War on Terrorism.
While the principle of expanded wartime powers is reasonable, it becomes concerning in the context of the War on Terrorism.Â Terrorists, by definition, do not represent a country; rather they are individuals or members of organized groups that commit acts of violence in an effort to attain change (usually political change).Â Terrorists can spring up anywhere in the world at any time.Â While this makes them particularly dangerous, it also changes the concept of “war.”Â In traditional wars, such as World War II, there are clear sides and the war ends when one side is defeated.Â A war against a noun , however, will always be perpetual.Â While the War on Terrorism certainly needs to be fought, using an indefinite war as grounds for extraordinary governmental powers is straight out of “1984″ and is certainly not something that the Framers had in mind.
Fortunately, President Barack Obama has signaled a change in course by dropping the “enemy combatant” designation and removing such prisoners from legal limbo. President Obama, a Constitutional law scholar himself, understands that America derives its greatness from its values and its freedoms, and that the terrorists have won we surrender our liberties.
On the web.
Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN-Crazy Town) once again makes a name for herself for being crazy crazy crazy. Watch the clip above and realize that any University undergrad has a better understanding of the American Constitution and the power of the Federal Government in times of crisis. She is dumb. If the Republican Party insists on being the party of blind opposition and ignorance they will never emerge from the “wilderness” Tom Delay, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove rammed their party into in the last eight years.
She is dumb.
Here is Bachman commenting on the Cap and Trade proposal (which the Republicans have branded an energy tax):
â€œI want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us â€˜having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,â€™ and the people â€“ we the people â€“ are going to have to fight back hard if weâ€™re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.â€
There is a difference between being hte LOYAL opposition and just being in opposition. Historically, the opposition is still loyal to the nation and occupies a place to keep the majority party in place. Bachman is intent on ruining Obamas program and any chance for success since the Republican Pary refuses to put forward any comprehensive alternatives to Obama’s plan.
Michelle Bachman is a dumb person. There. I said it.
Congressman Dingell – Eating the Financial World
Congressman John Dingell has put forth a proposal for a 95% tax on all bonuses paid by companies receiving federal bailout money. This comes in response to the outrage taht AIG has paid $165 million dollars in bonuses (a lot of these being “retention bonuses” meant to retain executives who had left AIG) to executives in the financial unit responsible for the bad loans that led to the financial collapse.
Congressman Dingell compared the renegotiation ofÂ financial executive contracts to those of the auto workers:
“If we can demand that decent people who wear hard hats and blue jeans must renegotiate their contracts, I see no reason those bad actors wearing neck ties and $1,000 suits should be protected from helping their country in this time of need.”
Interestingly, Dingell’s own household would be subject to this law since Debbie Dingell works for GM – a company that has taken a large amount of federal bailout money.
Kudos Mr. Dingell… This is why we need fighters like yourself in Congress.
President Obama called for merit-based pay for teachers in a significant speech on education policy yesterday.Â Teachers unions, which reliably back Democratic candidates, have long opposed such a system.Â Politics aside, merit-based pay could help bring much-needed improvements to our nation’s education system by rewarding excellent performance with higher pay.
Unions have argued that merit-based pay might not be “fair,” because teachers would allegedly be subject to arbitrary pay raises and cuts resulting from favoritism within the system.Â It is certainly possible, however, to develop reasonable and objective methods of assessing performance for the purpose of compensation adjustments, as is done in much of the private sector.Â Furthermore, it does not seem “fair” that excellent teachers who go above and beyond to ensure that their students are learning receive the same compensation as lousy teachers who are ineffective in the classroom and allow their students to fail.
Merit-based pay for teachers could potentially be a significant step towards improving our schools by encouraging excellence with an economic incentive.Â Hopefully, President Obama’s support will help bring about implementation of merit-based pay and other much-needed education reforms in our country.
Jack: Good lord! The worm … that’s so degrading. Are its origins German?
I love the television show 30 Rock. It is some of the best writing and acting presently on television. Chief among the amazing cast of actors that make the show so vibrant is Alec Baldwin. Alec Baldwin has played a CIA agent, a Lt. Col. at Pearl Harbor, a Boston police captain, and is a real lifeÂ die-hard liberal. He is also a regular columnist with The Huffington Post.
Today Baldwin wrote a scathing piece ripping apart the Republican Party and Rush Limbaugh. It is highly entertaining and speaks directly to the quagmire the Republicans have found themselves in since the election of Barack Obama. Check it out HERE.
Rush Limbaugh is an uneducated, marginally talented, overbearing, recovering drug addict who was, at least according to Wikipedia, ineligible for the draft because he had cysts on his ass.