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Political Round-Up: Steele and Upton and Allen, Oh My!

It’s been just another week in the life of the typical American politician–lines in the sand have been drawn, Obamacare’s been demonized, racist people think after five years everyone will forget they’re racist, snake oil salesmen are scheming about how to make money grow on trees, and Michael Steele’s getting all up on ours face. Again.

First They Came for Our Healthcare, Then They Came for Our Environmental Reg.’s–As BaseballChica outlined in yesterday’s post, House Republicans voted through a virtually meaningless (except as a ploy to gain tea-infused, solid gold-standard brownie points with their base) repeal of the Healthcare Reform Bill. And in case you missed it, BaseballChica’s delightful recommendation:

I think the members of Congress who voted to repeal should be forced to call parents of children who have diabetes, congenital heart conditions, cancer so they can explain that insurance companies’ bottom lines are more important than their children’s health.

Now the Boys in Red are at it again, this time targeting the Clean Air Act. While they’re not exactly demanding we all dirty the air (that comes after the 2012 takeover), the hoopla centers around the EPA vowing this past December to “draw up performance standards that would help cut heat-trapping gases produced by refineries and coal-fired power plants.”

Does that sounds good to you guys? Yeah? Like possibly even something that could improve safety for coal miners and ethically take responsibility for the pollution that effects not just America, but the whole planet?

Representative Fred Upton stands with both arms crossed on top of a black Firestone tire.
Tangent: Does that women standing directly behind Upton's left shoulder not look eerily similar to Amanda Knox?

Well that sounds untenable, frankly awful, and just plain disturbing to the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (R – MI), who apparently wants to stop the wiley EPA in its tracks:

Standing up for American workers and addressing EPA’s rampant regulations is a top priority. We will be active and aggressive using every tool in the toolbox to protect American jobs and our economy by rolling back the job-destroying [greenhouse gas] regulations.

As you can see, he loves tires more than people.

In “News That Makes Me Want to Stab My Eyeball”: Michael Steele to get TV gig?-Yep, apparently the former RNC chairman is talking to CNN and Fox News about getting a contributor position, where we can only hope he will continue to say things like, “I know exactly how Caesar felt” (Really? Because I don’t remember anyone stabbing Michael Steele) and accuse Obama of “choosing” wars that Bush started.

Anyone want to start an over/under on how many days before he starts popping up on Fox and Friends?

It’s Throwback Week in Virginia!–Evoking heavy nostalgia in the blogger who campaigned for him when she was 12*, former Senator George “What’s So Offensive About the Confederate Flag?” Allen has been ringing up old friends in high places, seeking support for a 2012 bid to reclaim his seat in the Great Swing State.

A screengrab of Google shows that the second suggestion for "George Allen" is "George Alen macaca."
See? Does this scream "prime Senate material" to you?

George might want to employ some Googlebombers, if there are such people for hire, because the second Google suggestion that comes up when you type in his name is “George Allen macaca.” I’d distance myself from that, if I were him.

Also, do you think the organization named Americans for Prosperity sounds oddly self-seeking? Like, instead of Americans for Charity or Americans for Sustainable Economy, the people who created this group were like, “Let’s just cut to the chase–I like money, you like money. Prosperity it is!” I only ask because Georgie went on a week-long tour with the group.

Bankruptcy: Not Just for Individuals and Large, Flimsy Corporations Anymore!!-I realize I’m having a field day with the exclamation points, but this is genuinely upsetting: The New York Times reports that some states, with the help of a few Congressmembers, are tentatively looking for a way to make declaring bankruptcy a legal option for certain over-burdened states. No one wants to name any names, but we all know who we’re talking about: California and Illinois.

I am no economic genius, but this sounds like a terrible idea. Given the bankruptcy option, states may default on their bonds, making them worthless, and will likely lay off absurd numbers of public employees. The people who will be hurt most will be those with state pensions, as those debts could be classified as “unsecured” and reduced significantly.

From what I’ve been reading on the NYT and Huffington Post, there are a few different theories about state bankruptcy that compare states’ financial situation with Wallstreet’s. As some have pointed out, states are heavily regulated in ways Wallstreet is not. Corporations with powerful lobbyists can manipulate the federal government into picking up the tab for their mess (as happened with AIG, which used government money to pay back its trading partners in full), so therefore states should be allowed to play by those same loose-and-fast financial rules.

The other viewpoint takes into account all the same information and concludes that, while AIG was able to protect its corporate interests and take the government for a nice, long ride, states do not have the same lobbying power and may not be compensated with federal cash (of which there’s an obvious shortage).

My personal thought is that something in the way states tax and spend is broken, and bankruptcy will not fix that long-term problem, but it will result in bankruptcies of the many corporations who have invested in government bonds and the individuals who find themselves jobless and/or pension-less during a recession that just won’t quit.

Alrighty, that about wraps it up for this week! I’m really excited about President Obama’s State of the Union address coming up on Tuesday–stay tuned, as we’ll be covering it in some way, shape, or form.

*I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned campaigning for Allen before on Persephone, but dammit if I won’t ever forgive my parents for that. Do not utilize impressionable children for nefarious purposes!!

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