ChrisWeigant.com

Please support ChrisWeigant.com this
holiday season!

Friday Talking Points [194] -- Out Of Touch

[ Posted Friday, January 20th, 2012 – 17:31 PST ]

We're going to start off in an odd way today, as two of my column series collide. Because the South Carolina primary is tomorrow, first we're going to announce our picks. Afterwards, we'll get on with the usual Friday blathering, rest assured.

South Carolina is a real dart-at-the-wall pick, due to the extreme volatility of the race. Two candidates dropped out this week (Huntsman and Perry), but that won't affect the race much since neither of them had much support. But the fight between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney has certainly heated up, with two debate performances which showed Newt at his best (Newt just loves debates, for good reason). Romney has been fighting the headwinds of all the Bain criticism, and this week plowed into another political morass, this time around the question of releasing his tax returns. The elitism Mitt just exudes is apparently not playing very well down in South Carolina. Add into this mix an interview with a Gingrich ex-wife, just to remind everyone what a horn dog Gingrich has been, and the polling has been a real rollercoaster ride all week long.

Newt is up in the most-current polls, which do not reflect either the final television debate or his ex-wife's interview. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Newt wins South Carolina, and that his strong debate performances outweigh the ex-wife interview (which really wasn't all that great an interview -- only one revelation, no other real dirt). Mitt will win second place, but will now be described by the media as having won "only one of the first three" primaries. I'm going to go even further out on my prognosticating limb here, and say that Ron Paul defeats Rick Santorum for third place -- which could be the death blow to the Santorum campaign (then again, maybe not, who knows?). So, for South Carolina: Gingrich out in front by 5 points, Romney sheepishly taking second, and Paul edging out Santorum for third.

As always, I like to post my record for the election cycle when making these picks. I actually called New Hampshire 3-for-3, with my prediction of: Romney, Paul, Huntsman in the top three places. This is good news, because my stats are going to need a boost.

How much of one depends on how we rearrange my record, though. Iowa just announced that Rick Santorum led by 34 votes, but that they are unable to determine who actually won, because the Republican Party in Iowa is, to be blunt, incompetent. They couldn't even accurately count 120,000 votes, so "incompetent" is actually being generous.

But the question for me is: how do I score this? My picks for Iowa were (in the following order): Paul, Santorum, Romney. I scored this as 1-for-3, since the order announced that night was: Romney, Santorum, Paul. Now they tell me it could also have been: Santorum, Romney, Paul, which would leave me at 0-for-3.

Or I could get creative with the scoring. Since the top two are essentially a "tie," I could award a half-point to myself for at least putting Santorum in the top two: 0.5-for-3. Or I could declare the top two races null, since Iowa can't accurately report the total, leaving me at 0-for-1. Or I could just suck it up and decide that Santorum was the "winner" (with a big asterisk) and leave it at 0-for-3. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, as to how the scoring should go. For now, I'm going to leave it at the worst of these (0-for-3), which puts my record at:

Total correct 2012 primary picks so far: 3 for 6 -- 50%.

Enough of this nonsense, though, let's get on to our regularly-scheduled nonsense instead.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

President Obama did two things last week that earned him the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

First, he (once again) turned down the Keystone XL pipeline project, as it stands, since it would pose an unacceptable environmental risk to the Ogallala Aquifer which thousands of farmers across multiple Plains states rely upon for their livelihood. Obama told the Canadians to go back to the drawing board and figure out a route around the aquifer. Good for him. He did this in the teeth of a ginned-up Republican hissy fit over the project, which Republicans in the House are promising to ratchet up in the next few weeks. They see it as an "anti-jobs" bludgeon to use against Obama. Since they've voted down every single jobs bill Obama's suggested, however, this likely isn't going to fly in the end.

The second action Obama took which earns him the MIDOTW award was to hold firm on birth control regulations. Religious organizations were lobbying hard for Obama to widen the "religious exemption" they use to not provide birth control in the health insurance they offer their religious employees. Obama refused, instead only allowing them a one-year exemption to get used to the new rules which everyone now falls under, rather than allowing them to deny birth control to non-religious employees in hospitals and schools across the country.

This was a bigger deal than it might sound, because of fears on the Left that Obama was about to cave in to the religious organizations' demands. Especially after the Obama administration overruled scientific advice to deny young women over-the-counter access to the "morning-after" pill. But, this week, Obama did the right thing and stood up for women's rights.

For taking two bold political positions this week, President Barack Obama picks up his record thirtieth Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award this week, giving him exactly twice the number second-place-holder Nancy Pelosi has won. Well done, Mister President, and let's see more of this sort of thing all year long.

[Congratulate President Barack Obama on the White House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Obama did one other impressive thing last week, but we had to save it back for the disappointing award section, because of those arrayed against him.

Which brings us to a big (Dis-)Honorable Mention for all the Democrats in Congress who are still supporting S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A., two bills that would bring a chilling amount of censorship to the internet. Pushed (naturally) by Hollywood, in their continuing crusade against online piracy, these bills would have allowed websites to be shut down without adequate legal due process, and both bills deserve an ignoble death.

Harry Reid announced today that he wouldn't even be bringing them up for a vote in the Senate, due to their sudden lack of popularity. This issue was spotlighted by major websites "going dark" this Wednesday, in one of the most far-reaching efforts Silicon Valley has ever made in the political arena. This powerful message worked. Obama came out against the bills, and co-sponsors (Democrat and Republican) started dropping their names from the bills left and right.

But some Democrats are still supporting these odious bills, because they really, really love Hollywood's money. Which is why they collectively get a (Dis-)Honorable Mention.

The Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, however, goes to a man we thought had gone beyond being considered for these awards. Chris Dodd used to be a senator, from Connecticut. He retired from the Senate when it became obvious he was not going to win re-election. On his way out, the Washington Post quoted him on the issue of what he was going to do next:

Sen. Chris Dodd says he still doesn't know what he'll do come January 2011, when, for the first time in 36 years, he will no longer be a member of Congress. But he has ruled out one option. "No lobbying, no lobbying," Dodd said in a recent interview.

In an interview with Salon, Dodd reiterated this stance, saying (quite specifically): "Who wants to be president of a trade association?"

So it might come as somewhat of a surprise that Chris Dodd is now the chief spokesman for the M.P.A.A. (the movie lobby). He's the one who has been lobbying his little heart out on Capitol Hill to get S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A. passed. He's even issued dire warnings that Hollywood is not going to cough up campaign cash for Democrats who don't fall into line, as well.

Read the Salon article for the sordid details. And, lest we be misunderstood, Dodd is not being singled out for being a lobbyist pushing for a bad law, or even for threatening to withhold campaign donations if he doesn't get his way -- that's what lobbyists do, after all, and there certainly are more of them in Washington than you can shake a stick at. No, no, Dodd is just doing his (current) job the best he knows how, for which we don't fault him.

Chris Dodd wins the MDDOTW award for his hypocrisy. This is exactly the same thing we'd say about some politician who built his political career on attacks on gay rights, and who was then caught in a public bathroom with another man. It's not the action, it's the rank hypocrisy that deserves denouncing. Dodd tried to leave the Senate on the high road of decrying that messy, messy world of lobbying -- and how he was going to hold his head higher than that, and forego such despicable behavior. If he had then accepted a position at some prestigious university, we would have cheered him on for this stance.

Dodd didn't. Dodd lobbied, instead. Dodd prostituted himself, when he said he wasn't going to. Dodd doddered off into the sunset with a whole bunch of Hollywood movie money -- quite possibly the glitziest lobbying position in the entire country. Dodd left with holier-than-thou denunciations of lobbying, and look at him now.

For that -- and for that alone -- Chris Dodd wins our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Ex-Senator Chris Dodd no longer holds public office, so you'll have to find his contact information on your own should you wish to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 194 (1/20/12)

Barack Obama will be giving his annual State Of The Union speech next Tuesday, and we'll be weighing in with suggestions Monday, so today we'd like to focus instead on what other Democrats should be saying these days.

OK, to be completely honest, we just felt like beating up on some Republicans today. Because all our talking points are precursors to the presidential race. The Republican slate of candidates has narrowed to four, and only two of them seem to have a realistic chance of gaining the nomination (at least, at this particular point), so we're going to train our fire on them. Democrats should really be astonished at who is winning on the Republican side, and should be saying to themselves right about now: "Really? This is who you're going to go with? Wow."

To encourage thoughts like these, we offer up our talking points this week.

 

1
   Out of touch

This is the most powerful paintbrush to use, for this election. Luckily, the candidates are making it extremely easy to paint them as elitists. This first phrase should be used about every third sentence, when speaking of the Republican Party, Republicans in general, or the Republican candidates.

"The Republican Party seems to radically out of touch these days, since their only answer to any economic problem is to give the richest few bigger tax breaks. That's their answer for everything. Think about it: have you heard a Republican plan for the foreclosure crisis? Give bankers more money and big tax breaks, I guess. How about a Republican plan for jobs? They answer with the same old tired supply-side economics which has been proven a failure over and over in the past three or four decades. That's how out of touch Republicans are, it seems. Nothing for the middle class, everything for the hedge fund managers and Kardashians of the country. It's really stunning how Republicans seem not to appreciate what an average family goes through these days, but then when you look at who is leading their party and who is running in 2012 it's not all that surprising. When the party is led by out of touch elitists, then I guess you should expect them not to care much about the middle class. Every time any other idea is proposed, Republican elitists scream 'class warfare' -- because they've been fighting this fight against the middle class for a long time now."

 

2
   "Not much," Mitt?

Which brings us to the frontrunner in the Republican race. Mitt Romney's really been making this easy, by his pathetic response to the charges being hurled at him by fellow Republicans. You'd think his campaign would have been ready for these attacks, but he just seems to flounder around hopelessly when these utterly-predictable charges appear.

"Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in the Republican race, won't release his tax forms to Republican primary voters. That right there is out of touch, but what's even more astoundingly elitist was what he said when discussing his income and taxes recently. Mitt said that he hadn't made 'that much' money giving speeches. Later we found out this was over $370,000. Think about that for a moment -- what would the average American middle-class family be able to do if they got a windfall of $370,000 in one year's time? How many of them would describe this amount of money as 'not that much'? Mitt Romney did. I guess, to Mitt, anything under a cool million dollars is chump change. That's how dangerously out of touch Mitt Romney is with the financial reality most American face."

 

3
   I'll bet you $10,000 Mitt's out of touch

As I said, Mitt's campaign so far makes this sort of thing really easy to do.

"Remember during one of the Republican debates when Mitt Romney wanted to make a ten-thousand-dollar bet with a fellow candidate? How many of you regularly make bets of such magnitude? How many people in this audience have ever bet ten thousand dollars on anything in their lives? Do the American people really want someone who is that out of touch with the lives of average Americans to live in the White House? I'll bet you ten thousand dollars Mitt's out of touch, how's that?"

 

4
   The Caymans? Really?

Every time you turn around, there's another way to point out Mitt's elitism, it seems.

"We don't know for sure, because Mitt Romney refuses to let Republican primary voters see his tax returns, but it is rumored that Romney has a whopping big pile of money deposited in offshore Cayman Islands accounts -- probably to dodge U.S. taxes. Is this the man we want leading our country? A man who -- during wartime -- hides his money offshore so he can avoid paying taxes which support our military? I find this disgustingly out of touch with American values, personally. But then, that's what Republican elitists do, I guess, move their stacks of dough around to avoid paying soldiers' salaries. Maybe that's why Mitt's afraid to release his taxes until after he gets the Republican nomination."

 

5
   Mitt's out of touch tax rate

This could be the biggest problem Mitt faces with his taxes. He's already owned up to it, so hit him hard!

"Mitt Romney says he pays around 15 percent in federal taxes. This means he pays a much lower tax rate than a firefighter, a policeman, a teacher, a blue-collar worker, a white-collar worker, or even a star quarterback who makes millions of dollars. According to Republicans, what Mitt does is more beneficial to society than putting out fires, driving ambulances, teaching our children, or working on an assembly line building American products. This is what 'supply side economics' is all about: the rich pay a lower tax rate than you do. I'm in favor of demand-side economics, and I'd like to give a tax break to cops and construction workers, so they can spend their money and produce American jobs by their consumer demand. Republicans are for letting the middle class pay much higher tax rates than the idle rich such as Mitt Romney. I think that is wrong, and I think it is dangerously out of touch with American values. Why should a firefighter have to pay ten percent more of his income in taxes than Mitt Romney? It makes no sense at all."

 

6
   Mitt isn't half the man his father was

This one comes from Joan Walsh over at Salon. In her words:

On "Hardball" Wednesday I noted that Mitt’s father, George Romney, released 12 years of tax returns, when he ran for president in 1968, and they showed he didn’t avail himself of many loopholes commonly used by the wealthy to minimize what they pay. If Mitt wants to be half the man his father was, I joked, he should release six years.

 

7
   Half a million bucks at Tiffany's?

Lest he feel left out, we left the last one for Romney's main challenger, at this point.

"Who else do the Republicans have lined up if the public thinks Mitt Romney is an out of touch elitist? Newt Gingrich? Wow... that's just... wow. Newt reportedly had to convince his current wife to support him running for president by buying her a lot of jewels and taking her on a two-week Mediterranean cruise. Newt had a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany's, for Pete's sake. How many Americans have a credit card with a limit of a half-a-million-bucks at any store, much less Tiffany's? So if voters decide Mitt Romney, with his Cayman Island accounts, is too out of touch to elect, they have the fallback candidate who enjoys picking up his wife a necklace worth six figures on his way home from work. It's the elite versus the elite. I think American voters will decide both of these guys are completely and utterly out of touch with their own lives."

-- Chris Weigant

 

All-time award winners leaderboard, by rank
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

47 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [194] -- Out Of Touch”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    CW,

    you're right, romney really is completely out of touch. great talking points. also, i want to reiterate my support of United Wisconsin for general impressiveness in getting a million recall petitions signed. that said, your case for the president is quite compelling. he had a strong week.

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 -

    Dang, I knew I forgot something big. It's been a busy week in the political world, but you're right the Wisconsinites deserved mention, at the very least.

    Mea culpa, and a belated Honorable Mention.

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Which brings us to a big (Dis-)Honorable Mention for all the Democrats in Congress who are still supporting S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A., two bills that would bring a chilling amount of censorship to the internet. Pushed (naturally) by Hollywood, in their continuing crusade against online piracy, these bills would have allowed websites to be shut down without adequate legal due process, and both bills deserve an ignoble death

    It's funny how those who fight against SOPA and PIPA fight just as seriously FOR Net Neutrality..

    It's funny, because both issues are basically the same. Government intervention in the operability of the Internet...

    As far as all the slaps against Romney???

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/20/from-gingrich-to-romney-to-tebow-why-is-media-so-out-touch-with-america/

    Peek says it a lot better than I can...

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's not the action, it's the rank hypocrisy that deserves denouncing.

    Sadly, it's one of the biggest qualities that Democrats are known for...

    David mentioned before in a previous commentary that all religious first commandment should be "Do As I Say, Not As I Do"

    I submit that the phrase describes most Democrats very well..

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    It's not the action, it's the rank hypocrisy that deserves denouncing.

    Sadly, it's one of the biggest qualities that Democrats are known for...

    that's just the incentive structure for congressional democrats, not something more inherent in their character than anyone else's. be a hypocrite, get rich and re-elected. stick to your principles, get relentlessly smeared. corporate conservatives profess principles which, however misguided they may be, are much more in line with their major sources of campaign funding.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    CW

    Dang, I knew I forgot something big. It's been a busy week in the political world, but you're right the Wisconsinites deserved mention, at the very least.

    I thank you, and i'm sure so does United Wisconsin. :)

    http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/jan17

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    that's just the incentive structure for congressional democrats, not something more inherent in their character than anyone else's.

    One has to wonder why ANYONE would want to become a Democrat...

    I know, I know... Because Republicans are just as bad... :D

    As far as all the slaps against Romney???

    Speaking of Romney...

    Who knew that there was actually a word to describe someone who is overly attentive to their wife..

    uxorious
    Having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one's wife.

    Even more astounding that pundits on the Left think that this is a BAD thing... A flaw!!!

    It frak'in boggles the mind!!!

    Michale

    NOTE: Apropos of absolutely nothing. :D

    I have been using the word "frak" a lot recently. This can be attributed to watching the entire series of BattleStar Galactica from the beginning in the last week or so.. :D As much as I despise Ronald Moore, I have to admit that he did a pretty good job with the BSG reboot... :D

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joshua,

    If I may be allowed to go off on a tangent here..

    It IS Friday after all... :D

    You have claimed in the past that, while you are not gung ho about Obama being more Bush than Bush, you acknowledge that at least Obama has been a lot more successful than Bush was..

    If that doesn't accurately describe your position, please correct me..

    Now, consider this..

    Isn't it possible that the ONLY reason that Obama is a better Bush than Bush was, is because Bush not only had to fight the terrorists, he also had to fight the Democrats..

    Obama has the luxury of fighting just ONE enemy...

    So, of course Obama would be better at it...

    Just a thought for you to condemn....er I mean consider.. :D

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    dsws wrote:

    Who knew that there was actually a word to describe someone who is overly attentive to their wife.

    I always thought the emphasis was on "submissive".

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    Isn't it possible that the ONLY reason that Obama is a better Bush than Bush was, is because Bush not only had to fight the terrorists, he also had to fight the Democrats..

    in a word, no. but that's mainly because of the way you phrased the question. it's perfectly plausible that being a purported lefty and taking a right wing position contributed in some way to making the job easier, but that and a dollar will still not buy you a latté. in order for two people to enact essentially the same policy and one to be that much more successful than the other, differences in competence must at least play a part.

    dan,

    I always thought the emphasis was on "submissive".

    i don't know if mitt wears the assless chaps at home, but he sure got spanked in south carolina :)

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    in order for two people to enact essentially the same policy and one to be that much more successful than the other, differences in competence must at least play a part.

    Hokay....

    We'll just have to agree to disagree...

    The POTUS is not a one-man show by ANY stretch of the imagination..

    While having the people behind you is a definite plus, having the people NOT actively working AGAINST you (as Democrats did during the Bush years) makes all the difference..

    Democrats did everything they could (and THEN some) to obstruct Bush's CT policies.. Bush was so busy fighting Democrats, he could not concentrate fully on fighting Al Qaeda and pursuing Bin Laden..

    Obama has no such problem, as Democrats did a complete 180..

    In other words, torture, Gitmo and surveillance were the signs of the Apocalypse and signs of a police state under Bush. At least, according to Democrats.

    Under Obama??

    Not a peep from the Democrats, relatively speaking..

    Yea, I think that has had MUCH more of an influence on Obama's success than ya'all would want to admit. :D

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    differences in competence must at least play a part.

    No offense, Joshua, but I think you are placing too much emphasis on "competence"...

    I mean, if Obama had personally did all the things that led to the killing of Bin Laden or the decimation of Al Qaeda then I would agree that competence played a part..

    But Obama didn't... Neither did Bush...

    The point is, Obama has the political cover from Democrats to do what Bush could not do.

    THAT, to me, is the decisive factor...

    That's why Obama was able to give the orders that Bush could not...

    If Bush could have had the political cover from Democrats that Obama enjoys, then you can bet that BinLaden would have been wiped from the earth a LONG time ago and Al Qaeda would have been crushed completely and unequivocally..

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That doesn't make any sense, Michale.

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    It's funny, because both issues are basically the same. Government intervention in the operability of the Internet.

    This is silly. Your argument is basically that anything the government does is bad. Anything.

    Using this definition, government rules against contaminated food are bad. Government rules against monopolies would be bad. Government rules to protect people from unscrupulous lenders are bad.

    I believe there are good rules and there are bad rules.

    The issue with SOPA/PIPA was that the rules were written by lobbyists and written very poorly. I believe we do need some regulations to prevent piracy, but these should be written so that they don't put an undue burden on service providers and website owners.

    -David

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Adios amigos!

    It's off to Mexico for some work-related "fun" for a few days. So don't have too much real fun around here while I'm gone!

    And, that goes especially for you, Michale. :)

    P.S. I'll raise a few Coronas in honour of all of my fellow Weigantians!

  16. [16] 
    akadjian wrote:

    It's off to Mexico for some work-related "fun" for a few days. So don't have too much real fun around here while I'm gone!

    That sounds like a wonderful way to pass away some of the winter. I am indeed jealous. Have a great time, Liz!

    You'll have to let us know what the word on the street in Mexico is when it comes to American politics

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks, David!

    I'm only going to be there for a few days with most of the time taken up with meetings and such, but I'll let y'all know what I hear about this and that ...

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    I want to get to everyone's posts, but I am totally wiped out and am looking forward to some "submissive" time with the wife.. :D

    But I just HAD to share this with everyone...

    WHY SOPA IS BAD
    http://sjfm.us/temp/sadbuttrue.jpg

    To paraphrase Homer Simpson....

    "It's {sad} because it's true"

    See ya'all in the AM...

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    tyschev wrote:

    You should try a political party neutral article and mention the same issues. I fear that most people don't even know the basis for the party of which they think they belong. On either side of the political stance, one thing should be noted about your article,"so today we'd like to focus instead on what other Democrats should be saying these days.". I think the most important thing should be what the candidates are doing, and showing the proof that they plan to follow through. I have a question about one item, with all of the paid departments set to govern things like pipelines and environmental concerns, why is the choice of pipeline installation given to the president? Shouldn't the choice be given to the states? What is each state stance on the issue?

  20. [20] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Where to begin? Sigh.

    Uxorious -- actually, I've come across this word in period novels and such, and always wondered what it meant, without the curiousity to look it up, so thanks.

    My favorite word I've been coming across a lot from 1765-1840 research:

    animadvert (or animadversion): to remark critically upon something. Akin to modern-day "snarkiness," but much more widely used back then. I mean, I don't even think Lewis Carroll (Dodson) was ever born at the time...

    And "frack" fits in better with the site's commenting guidelines than the non-euphemistic term, that I'm actually glad you use it.

    "I have to use the euphemism."
    -Cindy Lou Who, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", at least, from memory...

    nypoet22 [10] -

    OK, at least two lines in your comment made me laugh, but due to the euphemistic nature of tonight's comment, that's all I have to say on the matter. Ahem.

    Michale [11] -

    Ask any true Lefty, Obama's had the same problem Bush had -- fighting (Blue Dog) Democrats. Remember, Dems only had a 60-vote majority for a month or two in there...

    Liz -

    From my extensive study of the Spanish language... well, OK, from my reading of "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" comix at a young and impressionable age, I have learned the two phrases which will see you through any situation in Mexico:

    (1) "Otre cervesa."

    (2) "Cervesa mas fria, por favor!"

    Trust me, these phrases will cover just about any situation.

    Heh.

    -CW

  21. [21] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    tyschev -

    First off, welcome to the site. Your first comment was held for moderation, but from now on you should be able to post comments and have them appear instantly. The only restriction is that you only post one link per comment, as multi-link comments are also held for moderation to cut down on comment spam. Just to let you know.

    As for your comment, well, Fridays I kind of cut loose and go all Democrat in my writings. The rest of the week, I tend to stay more neutral and offer up what I consider non-biased opinion pieces. I have to admit I favor Democrats, but try to write M-Th for everyone to read. I call it "reality-based political commentary."

    As for the pipeline, the individual sections which go through each state are kind of a state issue and kind of a federal issue. The states are free to set certain standards within their borders, but the feds set certain standards which must be universally obeyed -- under their power to regulate interstate trade.

    But the US-Canadian section (and the pipeline permit as a whole, since it is really one giant project) is reviewed by the State Department, because it is essentially a treaty with a foreign nation.

    Nebraska and surrounding states are the ones that are balking. The NE governor is Republican, but he knows how valuable the Ogallala Aquifer is to the economic health of his state, so he's one of the main guys pushing to re-route the project.

    Obama turned down the route the Canadians proposed. This is not going to kill KeystoneXL, it will merely force them to re-route around a crucial aquifer. When they do so, next year, the pipeline will indeed be approved.

    Hope this helps clear some of it up.

    -CW

  22. [22] 
    dsws wrote:

    "I have to use the euphemism."
    -Cindy Lou Who, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", at least, from memory...

    Ukaraiah, "Halloween is Grinch Night". At least, from IMDb. From amazon.com it's Eukariah, and on tvtropes it's Ukariah. Then there's Wikipedia, which says Euchariah.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joshua,

    No offense, Joshua, but I think you are placing too much emphasis on "competence"...

    This probably came out wrong.

    Of course, it's important to have competence in our national leaders...

    But, more often than not, it's not competence that impacts our leaders but rather testicular fortitude to do what's right, even if it's not popular.

    Bush showed a LOT of that, but not enough of it..

    Obama hasn't had to show that much because of his popularity..

    Obama could get away with so much more than Bush could because A> he had a lock on the government and 2> Democrats (who may grumble privately) will let him get away with anything, no matter how badly it violates their principles..

    In essence, it's Party over principles...

    David,

    This is silly. Your argument is basically that anything the government does is bad. Anything.

    Well, these last 3 years has come close to convincing me that this is the case... :D

    The issue with SOPA/PIPA was that the rules were written by lobbyists and written very poorly.

    And Net Neutrality ain't!???

    I believe we do need some regulations to prevent piracy, but these should be written so that they don't put an undue burden on service providers and website owners.

    I believe we do need some regulations to prevent price gouging, but these should be written so that they don't put an undue burden on service providers and innovators.

    See how well it works both ways!! :D

    Liz,

    That doesn't make any sense, Michale.

    Which part?? :D

    Have fun in Mexico.. PLEASE stay safe!!

    tyschev,

    "Welcome to the party, pal!!!"
    -John McClane, DIE HARD

    Don't worry.. You get used to it.. :D

    What is each state stance on the issue?

    That's a very good question...

    What's really ironic is that Democrats won't tell you that there are already thousands of these pipelines already criss-crossing the US...

    So, despite the hysterical apocalypse rants of the Left, the XL pipeline is nothing new..

    Apparently, Obama chose to side with hysterical no-nothing hysterical environmentalists....

    "Is there another kind?"
    -Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, Marine Forces Commander, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
    -A FEW GOOD MEN
    :D

    .... over getting this country some badly needed jobs...

    Over 20K jobs lost...

    Reminds of the Spotted Owl fiasco in Oregon..

    Thousands of jobs lost because a frak'in owl needs a 23 mile mating radius...

    Hell, when I was young all we needed was the backseat of a Chevy!! :D

    CW,

    And "frack" fits in better with the site's commenting guidelines than the non-euphemistic term, that I'm actually glad you use it

    I'se aim to please!! :D

    Ask any true Lefty, Obama's had the same problem Bush had -- fighting (Blue Dog) Democrats. Remember, Dems only had a 60-vote majority for a month or two in there...

    And it's interesting that they didn't accomplish a damn thing with it..

    But my point was that Bush had to fight Democrats a lot harder than he had to fight Bin Laden and Al Qaeda..

    If Bush had the support of Democrats that Obama enjoys, the war on terror would be long over and Bin Laden's corpse would have been a reality a LOT sooner..

    That's all I am saying..

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, despite the hysterical apocalypse rants of the Left, the XL pipeline is nothing new..

    *AND* from the Right...

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama turned down the route the Canadians proposed. This is not going to kill KeystoneXL, it will merely force them to re-route around a crucial aquifer. When they do so, next year, the pipeline will indeed be approved.

    There are reports that the Canadians have just said, "Screw it" and are making arrangements to sell their oil to China..

    Good call, Obama... :^/

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like we're close to a shooting war...

    http://rt.com/news/iran-close-strait-hormuz-embargo-455/

    About time the world grew a pair with regards to Iran...

    "We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"
    -Captain Jean Luc Picard, STAR TREK 8 First Contact

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I believe we do need some regulations to prevent price gouging, but these should be written so that they don't put an undue burden on service providers and innovators.

    How is net neutrality price gouging?

    My understanding of net neutrality is that it would actually prevent price gouging. What service providers would like to do is charge you by the type of content you use.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality

    So no, I'm not sure how it works both ways. Not to be flip, but seriously. If I'm missing something, let me know but it looks to me like net neutrality would be a good thing.

    -David

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    My understanding of net neutrality is that it would actually prevent price gouging. What service providers would like to do is charge you by the type of content you use.

    That's my point..

    I can make the same argument against Net Neutrality that you can make against SOPA...

    You say that Net Neutrality is a law to prevent price gouging.

    I say it would put "undue burden" on service providers and innovators.

    The exact same argument you make against SOPA can be made against Net Neutrality..

    When you get down to basics, BOTH laws are government interference in the operation of the Internet...

    If I'm missing something, let me know but it looks to me like net neutrality would be a good thing.

    And, to the Hollywood Moguls and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, SOPA looks like a "good thing"...

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    You say that Net Neutrality is a law to prevent price gouging.

    I say it would put "undue burden" on service providers and innovators.

    the basis for undue burden rests in forcing something to be non-uniform, which was the rationale for its creation in morgan v. virginia. the burden part of undue burden means that you're making people do extra stuff as in SOPA, not making them do less as would be the case with net neutrality. verizon, who came up with this H.A.H., are essentially saying,

    "how dare you take away our freedom to take away other people's freedom. we're much too busy to not do that."

    ~joshua

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    not making them do less as would be the case with net neutrality.

    Do you HONESTLY believe that Net Providers will have to do LESS to be in compliance with Net Neutrality while still trying to run a viable business??

    They'll have to create a whole new Compliance Department, just to make sure they are within the reg while attempting to make a profit...

    In that regard, SOPA and Net Neutrality are exactly the same...

    It's government intervention/interference in the operation of the Internet..

    Plain and simple...

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The exact same argument you make against SOPA can be made against Net Neutrality.

    Fair enough. I misunderstood. I wasn't quite sure what you were getting it.

    But yes, it is pretty much the same argument I am making in both cases.

    The argument is that regulation should be written to strike an appropriate balance between consumer interests and business interests.

    I would want to see the same from piracy legislation as from net neutrality legislation. Both sides should be represented and they should come to a compromise.

    The problem with SOPA was that it was very lopsided and written by lobbyists. It did not take into consideration the impact on start-up businesses and free speech concerns.

    But I'd want to see the same thing w/ net neutrality. Are there cases where tiered levels of service make sense? Sure. VoIP is perhaps the simplest example.

    Let's get some experts in there who understand this stuff and create reasonable rules. What I object to is creating rules because someone shovels a truckful of lobbyist money at Congress.

    Case in point, my submission for MDDOTW:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/23/dodd_accused_of_bribery_over_sopa_remarks/

    -David

  32. [32] 
    akadjian wrote:

    They'll have to create a whole new Compliance Department, just to make sure they are within the reg while attempting to make a profit.

    We have net neutrality now. Looks like the SPs are doing ok to me.

    Compliance is pretty simple. You don't deep packet inspect on your network.

    -David

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Don't get me wrong.. I am firmly on record as being against SOPA... My reasons are personal rather than altruistic, much to my chagrin, but I am definitely on your side when it comes to SOPA..

    It just had occurred to me that the arguments against SOPA are pretty much the same arguments that are against Net Neutrality..

    And the arguments DO have merit..

    We simply have to insure that the government interference into the Internet is as minimal and non-evasive as possible, while accomplishing worthwhile goals...

    Case in point, my submission for MDDOTW:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/23/dodd_accused_of_bribery_over_sopa_remarks/

    The problem as I see it is that Dodd is the quintessential Democrat...

    He's the rule, rather than the exception...

    It's the sad, sad truth...

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Which isn't to say that Republicans are any better in this regard...

    They're not...

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    akadjian wrote:

    We simply have to insure that the government interference into the Internet is as minimal and non-evasive as possible, while accomplishing worthwhile goals.

    Fair enough, Michale. Believe it or not, I'd largely agree with that statement.

    As I've always said, I believe you and I could write better legislation than Congress.

    The thing you always have to differentiate with lobbyists is, what do they want and what are they going to try to say to get it. And how are they influencing our politicians and how do we fight against it.

    -David

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's been my experience that one can usually write off ANYTHING a lobbyist says as self-serving and, all things being equal, not in the bests interests of the country as a whole...

    The problem is that, in reality, sometimes the lobbyists CAN be right...

    "The trick is not knowing what is right or wrong. The trick is knowing which wrong is more right. Oh don't listen to me, I'm shit-faced."
    -Annette Benning, UNDER SIEGE

    :D

    On another note, I think I had a Freudian Slip there...

    We simply have to insure that the government interference into the Internet is as minimal and non-evasive as possible, while accomplishing worthwhile goals.

    That SHOULD read.....

    We simply have to insure that the government interference into the Internet is as minimal and non-INvasive as possible, while accomplishing worthwhile goals.

    Woooopss :D

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    We simply have to insure that the government interference into the Internet is as minimal and non-INvasive as possible, while accomplishing worthwhile goals.

    i think you meant EN-sure.

    http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/assure-ensure-insure.aspx

    :)

    ~joshua

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    i think you meant EN-sure.

    http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/assure-ensure-insure.aspx

    :)

    "This game's confusing!!"
    -Danny Bateman, THE REPLACEMENTS

    :D

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Compliance is pretty simple. You don't deep packet inspect on your network.

    Unless, of course, government interference....er.. I mean regulation REQUIRES you do inspect deep packets to insure your not transmitting something you shouldn't..

    It's like that frak'in issue with the cops checking immigration status...

    Obama's DHS says that cops can't inquire about immigration status so as not to hurt the feelings of illegal immigrants who are breaking the law.....

    Obama's State Dept says that cops MUST inquire about immigration status immediately so that scumbag criminals who ARE illegal immigrants can get their embassies and consulates to help them get off the hook..

    You see the pattern???

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:
  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:
  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    And what's this???

    Romney gave 15% of his income to charity...

    Obama???? 1%....

    I'm just saying... :D

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW

    With reference to {20}..

    I thought you would get a kick out of this.... :D

    'Frak' is a fictional version of "fuck," "shit" or "damn" first used (with the spelling "frack") in the original Battlestar Galactica series. In the "re-imagined" version, and subsequently in Caprica, it appears with greater frequency and with the revised spelling "frak", as the producers wanted to make it a four-letter word.[1] In that framework it seems to function as a substitute for "fuck" in several different forms, as an interjection ("Frak!"), inquisitive idiom ("What the frak?"), verb ("You're not still frakking Dualla, are you?"), adjective ("Get your motherfrakking hands off me!"), adverb ("You frakking crazy idiot!"), a noun ("You miserable frak"), ("A good frak"), (to Starbuck "I guess a pity frak is out of the question") or in compound words ("What a clusterfrak."), ("Motherfrakker!"), or as almost every word in a sentence ("frak the frakking frakkers.").
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frak_%28expletive%29

    :D

    Michale

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Which part?? :D Have fun in Mexico.. PLEASE stay safe!!

    Just all of it. :)

    Well, as you can see, I made it back ... safe and sound. On the plane down, I listened to a report of a Canadian woman who was "injured" in Cancun. Apparently, I now have found out that she was beaten up while she went for ice at her hotel and was found in the elevator. Scary stuff ...

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Trust me, these phrases will cover just about any situation.

    Oh, you have no idea ... let's just say that it was a wild and crazy conference, in more ways than one. And, I trust we'll be back in Cancun next year, too!

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz!!! :D

    Glad yer back safe.... :D

    David, dsws....

    Speaking of Iran...

    Iran arrests journalists, to execute bloggers
    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/iran-arrests-journalists-execute-bloggers/341821

    Are ya'all SURE that you would be OK with allowing THIS dictatorship to possess nuclear weapons??

    REALLY!???

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of SOPA....

    Obama Signs Global Internet Treaty Worse Than SOPA

    Under the provisions of ACTA, copyright holders will be granted sweeping direct powers to demand ISPs remove material from the Internet on a whim. Whereas ISPs normally are only forced to remove content after a court order, all legal oversight will be abolished, a precedent that will apply globally, rendering the treaty worse in its potential scope for abuse than SOPA or PIPA.
    http://www.infowars.com/obama-signs-global-internet-treaty-worse-than-sopa/

    Who needs SOPA when you have ACTA...

    I guess Obama signing this is one of those hourly "mistakes" Obama makes...

    Michale....

Comments for this article are closed.