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Monday, February 28, 2011

Should our local paper use a fact checker?


I'll start off playing devil's advocate by assuming the response from the Victoria Advocate's commenter “I like the freedom to express my view without fear of being questioned." Then there is the old standard “that’s just a left or right wing outfit" for those that take their own opinion as gospel. I wouldn’t want the moderator or fact checker to hinder the flow of the debate but more of a “no harm no foul” approach. I don’t think we’re learning very much from the “free for all” system but it’s in line with other newspapers on line forums. I just want ours to be unique…Too much to ask?

I'm sure the Advocate cannot afford to pay someone to vet every response for accuracy. I'm guessing I'm looking for an objective referee. Perhaps we could have an option button on our blogs(please monitor) or even an alternative site as a test site? The City of Victoria uses a website to quell most of the rumors, but I don't know how satisfying or successful they are. A lot of the arguments stem from a difference of ideology where a fact checker would be rendered useless.....Religion, politics, and abortion fall into that category.

It's been said "“A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has time to put its boots on.” I may be wrong or naive or, both, but I don't think posters intentionally put out false information. I know one poster that wrote several blogs that were way out of the mainstream, but he believed everything he posted.
There are some posters that rely on personal observation for just about everything. One example is the argument over the cost of illegal immigration. I would like to know the dollar amount, county by county and state by state in a detailed summation. A local poster wrote a letter to the editor the other day about not believing that Texas ranked 47th in the nation in graduation turnout. He blamed the large number of illegal's residing in Texas. I don't know how he got his information. He blamed illegals because Texas ranks dead last in its residents having Health Insurance. If I ever thought I could submit a blog about illegal immigration in Texas (truths & myths) without it turning into an immigrant bashing thread; I would look up the information before posting but everyone would take it with a grain of salt.

The last blog I wrote was about an interview between Andrea Mitchell and Donald Rumsfeld got off on the wrong foot, and I should've put an immediate stop to it. I don't think posters would have attacked me if I kept it on the subject but three posters thought I had a Bush hating-antiwar agenda. I even got a lecture from Beakus saying that I shouldn’t write blogs that bashed republicans 100% of the time and that I should be more like Jared. He went onto to suggest that I write about a recent jihad attack that was averted. I didn't delete them but my two tries at saying that the blog was about the interview went unnoticed, so I probably should have ignored their comments because the attacks kept coming…..The life of a blogger; not all peaches and cream.

Whatever happened to the alternative Advocate site where real names  would be a requirement?

Friday, February 25, 2011

A crazy world going mad

There's turmoil in the Middle East, protesters in Madison Wisconsin, Victorians blaming the high price of gasoline on president Obama (that's BO for those that don't think he's legitimate) then there is Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn beck, and Michelle Bachman fighting to be the first to say the most outrageous things.

Neonservatives are salivating thinking they can persuade the president to intervene in the Middle East by calling him weak. The president's first duty is to provide a safe evacuation plan for Americans in Libya before making a speech threatening a dictator, who just might take out his revenge on Americans. We all know that Omar Qadhafi's elevator doesn’t quite go to the top floor; any man crazy enough to kill his own people with fighter jets is not capable of listening to reason.

Wisconsin's governor Walker laid out his plans for ending collective bargaining; his supporters are still trying to make it sound like the teachers, nurses, and janitors are responsible for the budget deficit. This is priceless because even the most partisan republican has to admit the recorded conversation is damaging.... Ian Murphy of Buffalo Beast (the site appears to be called up Gov. Scott Walker, posing as wealthy industrialist and campaign donor David Koch. They had a 20-minute chat. Here’s an excerpt:
Koch: We’ll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.
Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that —because we thought about that. The problem—the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this […]
Walker: [...] I went on “Morning Joe” this morning. I like it because I just like being combative with those guys, but, uh You know they’re off the deep end.
Koch: Joe—Joe’s a good guy. He’s one of us.
Walker: Yeah, he’s all right. He was fair to me…[bashes NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who was also on the program.]
Koch: Beautiful; beautiful. You gotta love that Mika Brzezinski; she’s a real piece of ass.
Walker: Oh yeah.

The governor can lay off workers, threaten the AWOL democratic senators, and say it's about balancing the budget until he is blue in the face, but he thought he was talking to one of the Koch brothers when he admitted his real plans.

I guess I've heard every president from Clinton to Obama being blamed for the high price of gasoline, as if they had the switch on their desk controlling the price. If President Carter didn't do anything else; he warned us about the problems of depending on fossil fuels as the major source of energy. Democrats and republicans alike have all made speeches about switching to alternative fuels but they all continuing  kicking the can down a road. The problem is us; we like cheap oil and dirty coal because we don't want to face the initial costs of switching. Gasoline prices have to remain high before any innovator will think it's worth their time and money to come up with the next alternative source of energy; in the meantime, the " drill baby drill" crowd think we have an enormous supply here in the United States to suit our needs forever. They don't know that whatever, we drill goes on a world market pot to satisfy supply and demand.

The serious problems are dominating the news coverage, so that's making it harder for Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin and right wing talk radio to be heard. Rush Limbaugh is going after Michelle Obama's weigh and the fact that she ate some ribs the other day. A sitting congresswoman that has enormous resources such as her own colleagues who have degrees in economics', access to CBO numbers, and her own budget chairman Paul Ryan, thinks we ought to enlist Glenn Beck and his chalkboard to solve our economic problems. A former Sarah Palin aide, Frank Bailey has written a tell- all book by his former employer called “Blind Allegiance."Mr. Bailey reveals a woman (Sarah Palin) who wrote fake letters to the editor praising her accomplishments in office, doesn’t talk much with her husband, and neglects her children. He also said she hated being governor of Alaska, especially after enjoying the limelight of a presidential campaign. Then there's the number one crazy man, Glenn Beck, who now is tying in the protesters in Wisconsin to a vast conspiracy of Obama, in  uniting all the unions, for the final nail of the coffin,to America as we know it.

How did we manage before the Internet and 24/7 cable television?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents day


Today is presidents day and no one seems to be celebrating.  The subject hasn't even been mentioned on our on line forum.  I guess when we started lumping all the president's on one day instead of just honoring George Washington and Abraham Lincoln; the interests has fallen off.  My wife said the banks were open but the post office was closed.  I have to admit when I work for the state, I looked forward to having George Washington and Abraham lincoln's birthday off but I never celebrated.  It was honored in my childhood but I don't remember any details. Some people think it's a good day to sell mattresses but I do remember buying a a pick up truck on a "president's day sale."

Here a Gullup poll of favorite pesidents.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Ahead of Presidents Day 2011, Americans are most likely to say Ronald Reagan was the nation's greatest president -- slightly ahead of Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton. Reagan, Lincoln, or John F. Kennedy has been at the top of this "greatest president" list each time this question has been asked in eight surveys over the last 12 year.
The old presidents were forgotten because 19% chose Reagan,14% Lincoln,13% Clinton,11% Kennedy,10% George Washington,8% FDR,5% Barack Obama,2% for George W. Bush & Thomas Jefferson.

This is a more significant poll of historians.
The Siena College Research Institute has asked 238 presidential scholars to rank presidents five times since 1982. This year was a polling year. Franklin Roosevelt came in first, Barack Obama at 15th, George W. Bush at 40th, and Andrew Johnson dead last.

The scholars rank each president on 20 different characteristics before arriving at the overall scores. Here's a look at some of the characteristics the historians were asked to rank and which presidents they thought exemplified them best.
I have the full list on my iPad but I was unable to do that for this blog...Maybe tomorrow I will email it from my iPad to desktop unless someone provides the link.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am a liberal

It doesn't really matter what a person says they are; write a few words or in say how you feel about any subject and the recipients will place you in a slot. In Victoria, we only have two slots liberal or conservative. There is that Ron Paul slot, who usually side with the conservatives because it's much more popular. People like to be on the right sides of things. The Ron Paulites are relatively easy to identify; anti taxes, anti government, anti reforms, and spending.

I like to keep things simple, so I can get into the details of the debate. Most of my opponents are convinced that I am a liberal and that's fine with me. It's only when my partisan opponent tries to take the high road when I will call them out for being disingenuous, because we all have a bias and an agenda. It's darn near impossible to convince someone that thinks they are a moderate without any biases. This group thinks they are above the fray. I normally call them the “the mushy middle" or the "Heinz 57," which means that they like to take the good from both sides and apply it to their beliefs.

The ideological labels change their meaning over time and location. Some still think all liberals are the old flower child hippies, tree huggers, war protesters, and are only interested in making this country a nanny state. Others think all democrats are liberals. When we were in Chicago, I remember laughing, when I read a University of Chicago newspaper poll that stated that 95% of the respondents thought Obama was too conservative. I would be a moderate in Chicago. A lot of today's liberals call themselves progressives because the conservatives have done a marvelous job of demonizing the word "liberal" to where politicians usually squirm whenever a pundit calls them a liberal. In Victoria the word "liberal" is always used in a pejorative way. Conservatives are for individual freedom, less government and fewer taxes; while liberals believe that it takes a village, believe in an exclusive government and investing in the future, even if it means more taxes. I think that's a major difference because fiscal conservatives who hate deficits and liberals believe manageable deficits will lead to growth and other immeasurable benefits. i.e. Conservatives will say that high speed rail has failed in the past and cannot support itself. Liberals will counter that saying that relieving the congestion on our major highways and reducing the carbon footprint should be considered in the cost. Liberals have a hard time driving home their message in a struggling economy where everyone is worried about keeping their jobs.

A lot of fiscal conservatives or moderates will say that they are socially liberal, meaning that they accept some form of gay marriage, and are pro-choice when it comes to choose between life of a mother and her unborn child. I think there is a fringe pro-choice group and everyone else is really pro-choice because of the exceptions. I don't know a lot about the subject but that's how I see it.

President George W. Bush threw the word conservatism into the unknown when he borrowed for tax cuts and Medicare Part D (prescription drugs for seniors, bill) and put two wars on the credit card. The Tea Party will also muddy the waters with their version of conservatism. The Tea Party believes in taking a hatchet to the discretionary spending (12% of the budget) but want to leave Social Security and Medicare untouched. They don't mind going after welfare and Medicaid. I think it’s best to leave out these two examples when describing fiscal conservatism.

There it is; I have left myself open for disagreement.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy

Have you ever noticed that everything seems to be a conspiracy?  I wrote a blog about the politics of the Federal budget and I began by complimenting a journalist I usually criticize for being too soft or too partial.  Yesterday, I was impressed with Chris Wallace because I think he would've asked the same questions of a democrat.  I wrote a little about how Chris Wallace made his guest, Congressman Paul Ryan, uncomfortable and on the defensive.  I was immediately criticized for cherry picking but my emphasis was never on Congressman Paul Ryan.  I expected the congressman to use his talking points but I never expected Chris Wallace to call him on it.

A person cannot agree with another poster, or they are immediately linked to a cabal. Dwain Boehl's letter to the editor is a prime example of how a poster equates the word liberal with Nazis brown shirts, and anything else that is wrong with America. Another poster goes onto say that right wing conservatism is what made this country great.  I truly believe that these characters are using a tactic called " blowing out one's a candle to make theirs shine brighter." Do these posters actually believe that they are the chosen ones and the ideology, religion, and politics they have chosen are flawless?  Can someone be that naive?

There are times I wish I had the knowledge to question a $100,000 expenditure by our city, a controversial play, big name stores leaving the mall, motives of our city and county officials, or a recent story from police beat.  The recent school lock down should have been a topic for discussion but most of the comments were made before the facts were ever divulged.  It is my opinion, that the issues I mentioned are legitimate but the facts are limited.  I wish I knew if it was because of a lack of transparency, or that " there is no there there."

I went into my own conspiracy mode the other day; questioning the resignations of four key democrats and one republican.  As I was watching " Meet the Press" I couldn't help but wonder if David Gregory was setting up John Boehner for a future " gotcha moment." For the last few weeks, David Gregory has been asking if it was appropriate for leaders to control the fringe element in their party. John Boehner and Eric Cantor for not calling out the "birthers" or in his words " setting the record straight." Both republican leaders have said that is not in their job description.  But more to the point, I'm pretty sure  David Gregory knows about the rumors of John Boehner's extramarital affair. Yesterday, he leaned over and asked John Boehner about the conversation he had with Congressman Christopher lee before he departed, for acting in an ethical manner.  John Boehner  politely said those matters of private but the words that followed that statement might come to bite later on, because he said"The American people have the right, and should expect, the highest ethical standards from members of Congress." We might find out real soon because Republican congressman David Rivera is currently under criminal investigation in Florida. His mother’s consulting company received $510,000 in consulting fees from a dog racetrack, presumably in exchange for Rivera’s advocacy of legalizing slot machines. Rivera then received $132,000 in loans that he failed to disclose from the consulting company.

The congressman paid himself $60,000 in unitemized campaign reimbursements when a state legislator, misstated on financial disclosure forms from 2003 to 2009 that he had been paid to do freelance work for USAID (USAID has said that they never employed Rivera), and has been connected with allegations of domestic violence.

Read more:

I guess we're all prone to conspiracy, rumors, and juicy gossip but don't let that be the basis for substantiated proof of wrongdoing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Government shutdown?

I suspect when the republicans get through using every trick in the book to weaken Roe v Wade and the Hyde amendment; they will submit some serious budget plans.  I expected them to  submit  proposals on the high end and strictly partisan but the ones I've heard will lead to a government shutdown.  We have not seen the level of cuts they're proposing since World War II.  Senator Harry Reid said "in many cases these proposals may mean taking workers off the assembly line or taking teaches out the classrooms or police officers off our streets." He went onto say "after all, you can lose a lot of weight by cutting off your arms and legs," he added.  "But no doctor would recommend it ."Not to be outdone, Iowa Congressman Steve King said he would not vote for the legislation until it completely defunded health care reform.

For the past two years, the Republican Party has been screaming about high deficits, spending and debt.  You would think that they would have a plan to put in place immediately upon taking office. In their last campaign, they promised to cut $100 billion from the budget.  They knew they didn't have a basis for that number, but it sounded good. After some serious arm twisting by the tea party, their proposals is to cut $100 billion in the next seven months, mostly in items that will damage our frail recovery. The house republicans want to make cuts in job training, environmental protection, disease control  and crime prevention.  The republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers, warned that the full cut will require laying off the FBI agents and air traffic controllers.
Speaker the house, John Boehner, will appear on Meet the Press, but I suspect it will turn out like they always do. David Gregory will ask him a question. He'll give the canned answer. David will try again to no avail.  I'll be watching just to see how far they are apart from the president's budget, which the White House will unveil Monday.

We do need spending cuts, but we also need tax increases because our country not only needs to get to get its house in order; we also need to grow.  This is not a time to privatize Social Security or Medicare.  If Senator Rand Paul thinks that Social Security can be fixed by raising the age limit and means testing, then that's the bipartisan route, we should take.  Senator Harry Reid  said that Social Security was fine for now(40 years), so there we have it ,views from very different sides of the aisle.  Now, if you think the house of representatives is taking an ax to the budget; Rand Paul takes a 50 caliber machine gun to the budget.  He is proposing a $500 billion cut.  The freshman senator has a lot to learn about economics' and Washington.
Federal and state budgets are different because most states have to balance their budgets but the Federal government doesn't, but early in March, I believe we will have a showdown between those that know the seriousness of that action and the tea party faction which remain in solidarity by not increasing the debt ceiling. At CPAC today, the tea party may have found their presidential candidate in the former governor of Minnesota ,Tim Pawlenty. He said " We should not...We should not raise the debt ceiling." Pawlenty used to be a moderate Republican but he has really change.

President Obama will hear from the democrats about his 2.5 billion cut to LIHEAP, a home heating fuel assistance for low income people.  Today republican senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts joined the democrats saying". “With Massachusetts residents getting pounded by brutal winter storms, cutting…funding is a nonstarter for me.”

I understand it is customary to sway voters with some outrageous proposals like the one Governor Rick Perry proposed but he is serious.  The good governor " urged Texas colleges and universities to create a bachelor's degree program that cost less than $10,000 including textbooks. Of course, he didn't say how these schools could or should do this..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is it too soon to be seeing civility?


I had to take a big sip of my coffee this morning because I couldn't believe what I saw.  There sat Bill Kristol as the guest of MSNBC's “Morning Joe.” There  were joking of him being in the Lions' den, but as he is on Jon Stewart and other shows, I've seen him on, Bill Kristol sounded pretty reasonable.  It wasn't until the group started talking about Rumsfeld’s new book when Mr. Kristol  started getting a little defensive about the Iraq war.  It was learned that Donald Rumsfeld wanted plans to attack Iraq just four hours after 911.  There is a conflict between President Bush's book and Donald Rumsfeld’s book.  They are some similarities.  Neither one of them take blame or aplogize for the fiasco, we call the invasion of Iraq. 

On “Morning Joe” Tuesday, the Weekly Standard editor appeared to promote “The Neoconservative Persuasion,” a collection of essays written by his father, Irving Kristol. During that appearance, New York magazine’s John Heilemann asked Kristol why Republicans were reluctant to challenge Fox News host Glenn Beck, a regular target of MSNBC’s personalities, as Kristol did in a column for the Feb. 14 issue of the Weekly Standard for his claim Islamists and liberal forces were collaborating to orchestrate a caliphate.

I think the new owners of NBC took the first step by releasing Keith Olbermann and making Ed Schultz drop his “psycho talk”  segment.  Since then I've seen more prominent republicans as a guest.  Rachel Maddow had Michael Steele as a guest the other night.  Michael Steele admitted the RNC would not allow him to go on liberal shows as the chairman of the Republican Party.  He has made up for it since, with appearances on Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and Rachel Maddow.  The give and take was quite informative.  It's too early to tell, but I hope MSNBC doesn't take a route of CNN, who bends over backwards, so not to appear partisan.  That just means, CNN, is just a sounding board for the left and right to deliver their talking points. 

Sarah Palin is not slowing down a bit but she is getting more incoherent.  The other day she told the Christian Broadcasting Network(CBN) that the Egyptian crisis was Obama’s 3:00 AM call  but it went straight to the answering machine. She when onto say “ the White House was not doing enough to inform  the American people about what is happening in Egypt.”  She didn’t leave it at that, she said “should not stand" for an Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood. “ Duh .  As usual  she never said what she would do.  That’s because she doesn't have the slightest idea of where Egypt is or the delicate situation that we are in by trying to come out with the very best solution for in United States, Egypt, the Middle East and Israel.

It's only a matter time before the Republican Party will have to put a lid on Glenn Beck and his conspiracy theories because he is taking some pages from the John Birch Society by not only attacking liberals, now he is saying both Bush's and were leading the charge for orchestrating a caliphate.  He said president's Obama, Bush, I and II put out  strict orders not to bomb Ancient Babylon. Why? Because the Bible tells us that is the seat, right here (aims pointer at map like a college professor) of power of a global evil empire...everybody on this side wants ancient Babylon for their caliphate. (The New Islamic Caliphate) ..I guess they  could wait for the guys with the white coats come for him.

The local blogs got a right wing slant this weekend. One was written by itisi called “liberalism” where the author never quoted a reference but instead chose to give a one-sided view point; his. The other blog was written by holly1.  The name and his blog was” It's our way or the highway and other myths of politics.” Both blogs received a lot of traffic, but it quickly became like one of my many political blogs.  They became the dumping ground  for the usual " and you’re another one” back and forth postings  We have a lot of work to do in ridding ourselves of the myths we might have required over a long period of time.  I think it's gonna take a new set of posters to completely overturn the combative dialogue, we call debates.  No one wants to go first and be made a fool of.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Has it been 5 years?


I need to find myself another hobby because I used to just watch a little TV or read a good book whenever I had a sleepless night. Last night when I found myself wide awake at 2:00 A.M., I switched on the iPad to see what was going on at the local forum. A poster who calls himself, rollingstone, cut and pasted the definition of progressive and liberalism. I wasn't that sleepy, the word “hijacked" and “socialism" stood out, so I went to the free Wikipedia and found his definition in the discussion area. It was a difficult two step process, but I copied the two correct references from Wikipedia and pasted them as comments to my blog. Then like our Persian cat after a full meal, I drifted back to sleep.

I can't really remember the exact date, when I first became interested in our one line forum, but I remember we only had about five bloggers back then. I remember enjoying the Grey-Beard loon and Pilot's blog, Toni Anne was the other blogger I remember. I do remember the first discussions, on was a topic on abortion and maryann was supplying references as fast as her opponents could make a comment. On another thread, Kenneth Schustrereit was holding court about the water issue, and the posters agreed with his point of view. I decided to make my first comment about Halliburton's favorable treatment where Suzy and a poster with many aliases. Roy Mark was already going at it. Just as soon as I mentioned that Halliburton was engaging in war profiteering, Roy Mark, use the rest of the afternoon trying to shoot down my argument. We became bitter online enemies and remained that way until his final banishment. We used to have a confidence booster added to our blog. It was a counter for all time hits but when a new system came in, that feature went away. I believe, I was up to 13,000 hits but Pilot had about 25,000 or more. I don't remember all the details all the details of those two numbers stuck with me.

Joe Patrick Bean was the editor back then. Mr. Bean ran a tight ship by not allowing complete cut and pastes for comments. A small cut and paste was allowed but posters had to credit the reference. Most of the comments were vetted for accuracy and deleted if it didn't meet the test. If that rule was in place today, a lot of comments would never see the light of day. I don't know what holly 1 would do. He continues to hide behind the actual truth when he says "JIM CROW, Slavery, if I remember my history correctly these were supported by southern DEMOCRATS not republicans so before you spout off about how evil conservative republicans are research the history of the democratic party and see how it compares to the "we're for the poor. We want social justice" front it hides behind today."..... Oh yes, the state laws known as "Jim Crow Laws" were enacted and enforced by the southern Christian conservative democrats from 1876-1965, but they later became republicans when the civil rights legislation was passed. That just goes to prove that party labels are interchangeable.

I used to write five blogs a week, consuming about 7 to 8 hours of research and answering my critics. On a scale of 1 to 10, I usually have about 9 in the negative and maybe 1 in the positive. Considering the environment of Victoria, I should be lucky I have that 1. About six months ago, I asked myself “is it really worth it?" I enjoyed writing the blogs for the on line forum, even with the daily confrontations, but it started to become an endless recycle of old arguments. After one of those days, I let out all my frustration in an old BlogSpot blog I started and abandoned a year ago, because I thought no one would notice. The next day, I joined Twitter and a poster reminded me that I was leaving an online trial. Pretty soon the hometown paper found me and became a follower on my Twitter account. Since then, I am proud to say that I have six followers on my blog. I will continue submitting a weekly blog on the Vic Ad, but I'm going to devote more time to this personal blog where we might extend our discussions and just be ourselves.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Culture war?


I knew when Republican Party started co-opting their base with the Tea Party, there was going be hell to pay. It was the equivalent of letting the convicts run the prison or better yet; the insane running the asylum. It's going to be an interesting two years but never, even in my wildest dreams,I ever imagine that the Republican Party would allow itself to be known as the “extreme right- wing." I thought the established republicans would rein the tea party radicals. It's the other way around, senators Orrin Hatch, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown will probably have a primary challenge because they don't meet up to Tea Party standards.

The GOP house members are taking a step backwards by introducing legislation to ban the EPA from regulating greenhouse emissions. That's just the first step; they also want to strip the agency from future crackdown on emissions from factory's, utilities, and other stationary forces. Damn the science full speed ahead. This is in spite of the proof that climate change is causing this severe cold spell. Try telling the global warming deniers, that warmer air collects moisture like a sponge; that’s until it hits the patch of cool air, creating a whole lot of snow. During their coffee break the house Gop was trying to redefine the definition of “forcible rape." The republicans were trying to find a way around the current H.R. 3, "the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" because the Hyde Act allows for exceptions in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the woman. They will go the extra mile to get their way.

The senate republicans attached an amendment to the Federal Aviation funding bill to repeal the Health Care Law. That effort was defeated along party lines but "Republicans say it will turn out to be a victory in 2012 because it puts Democrats on the record for supporting the bill." The GOP hopes that will discredit Democrats running for re-election. Our local republicans tried to deny that republicans do not like Health Care legislation in any form or fashion. Washington republican lawmakers are telling their constituents that they will retain the pre existing conditions and repeal the rest. If the Supreme Court rules that the "individual mandate" is unconstitutional then the only options will be Medicare for all or the public option. The insurance companies would go bankrupt if the “pre- existing conditions" clause remained because people could drop out of their expensive insurance plans until a need comes up that would require them to buy insurance. They know they couldn't be denied for pre existing conditions. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said: Jonathan, the Democrats made a mistake of not writing into the law that the bill is what they call "severable," meaning if courts find bits of it unconstitutional, they can simply sever those bits from the rest of t he bill. Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, agreed with Lawrence saying "it was a colossal mistake not to have a severability clause in this legislation. It’s a standard clause in bills. It is not clear why it was kept out. Some people say it was a blunder. Other suggests and I know you know, there’s some suspicion that it might be a sort of game of chicken, that they wanted to make clear, if you take out the individual mandate, you are risking the entire bill to sort of give these judges a bit of sticker shock. I think the republicans have a good legal claim that the “individual mandate" is unconstitutional but I would like to see the arguments before the Supreme Court. If the republicans were serious about Health Care legislation, they could reword the “individual mandate" to something like incentives but there are only interested in political victories.

Our community is not immune to the culture war we're seeing in Washington. I've been trying to make some sense of it but it only lead to the same old “I’m right you're wrong arguments." It was amusing watching itisi trying to challenge KyleC.. I'm surprised that itisi doesn't know he is overmatched. He can't beat KyleC with slogans, talking points or silly comments, so he challenged his citizenship. That's awful close to what the old Victore used to do. It may be the same person but I would take KyleC over itisi, any day on any subject. Hictoria,said " unfortunately itisi is right.That does it for  I don't know why posters like jbj,itisi, Observer, and holly1 don't use the world almanac to support their claims instead of making up stuff. Holly1 goes into great detail talking about welfare but he just pulls numbers out of the air to support his claim. I know where rollingstone and Observer get their material. It comes straight from the far right blogs they read. Then there's the chameleon poster named jbj, he can change stripes on a minute's notice, in giving his Pollyannaish views…..Where are you Kenneth? At least Kenneth didn’t bother me and vice versa.

It's 32 degrees @ 2:30 PM feels like 21 degrees ..snow in the forcast