A Critical Conversation

Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado are teaming up to shed light on the state budget.  Via TWI:

Now that this year’s legislative session is safely behind us, maybe it’s time to talk about the state budget. That, anyway, seems to be the premise behind a video released today by the Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado.

The six-minute animated video bills itself as a plain-English introduction to Colorado’s budget–where the money comes from and where it goes.

The Old West-style cartoon makes the point that in Colorado’s early days when a road or a school or a prison needed to be built, people got together and figured out how to do it. These days, not so much.

“The purpose of the video is to start a critical conversation about state fiscal policy,” said Wade Buchanan, president of the Bell Policy Center. “The video helps frame that conversation and urges viewers to learn more.”

Learning more about where the money comes from and goes would go a long way to pushing back against Republican dominated legislatures and regressive tax policy.  The "blame the public workers" tactic seen from Wisconsin Republicans to push a backwards budget has been a common Republican theme in states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana for decades. 

The success Republicans have seen pushing even more regressive tax and budget policies on voters as a solution to a problem caused by existing regressive policies relies entirely on there being little understanding of the actual state budgets and revenue architecture.

In 2011, Utahns embraced a set of "bold and ambitious" (sound familiar?) Medicaid "managed care" reforms under the premise that these reforms -- and only these reforms -- were needed because of federal expansion of "entitlements."  A narrow, ineffective system to "grade" and more easily fire teachers was sold as a solution to education funding problems.  Never once in the conversation were state expenditures or revenue discussed.  Debate on housing issues, pensions, and road construction play out similarly.  State lawmakers seem to have convinced even themselves to forget they hamstrung themselves with a flat tax (part of Jon Huntsman Jr.'s legacy) that hasn't delivered, and corporate friendly tax cuts that haven't produced many jobs.

In Idaho, bills that would mandate larger class sizes and phase out teacher tenure were sold -- successfully -- as the only option for lawmakers considering the state of the federal deficit.  Seriously!

Wyoming lawmakers raised public support for cameras in the classrooms as an serious education reform, while sweeping their corporate handouts for anyone willing to drill for anything under the proverbial rug.

Then there's Texas.

There is nothing new about state politicians seizing national meme's to push their agendas.  But it's worth noting that  when a progressive tax policy, or a simple "would you pay [X] more per year for better [education, roads, Medicaid, etc] funding?" question is posed, voters -- even in red states -- are on board.

But it's never an option once the legislative sessions begin, and state lawmakers can bank on a lack of understanding of the complicated workings of the budget.

There's an opportunity here for progressives to change the state level frame through education.  When voters see where the money is (or isn't) coming from, and where it is (or isn't) being spent, it will be harder for Republican lawmakers or Republican dominated legislatures to blame Obama for having to toss the elderly and disabled, families and the future workforce under the fiscal bus with hands supposedly tied.

A Lighthearted PR Tip for Combatants of Global Warming

With the death of the Senate energy bill, efforts to combat global climate change have reached a standstill. It does not appear that a cap-and-trade scheme is anywhere in the near future.

A number of factors killed the energy bill. Democrats from states dependent upon traditional energy, such as West Virginia, did not support the bill. Neither did previous cooperative Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Perhaps most importantly – and least mentioned – was the economic recession, which shifted the public’s concern from the environment to the pocketbook.

There was also another factor, a factor which should not have – but did – increase skepticism. This was the unusually cold winter from 2009 to 2010. A fair number of people must have thought something along the lines of “It is very cold right now – therefore global warming does not exist.” This type of attitude will continue to plague combatants of climate change as long as unusually cold winters continue to exist – which they will, given that even the worst case global warming scenarios posit an increase in temperature of less than five degrees Fahrenheit this century, far too little to end winter.

This blogger therefore has a PR suggestion for folks drumming up support to fight global warming. Instead of emphasizing the increase in temperatures, they ought to focus upon the increasing occurrence of extreme natural disasters resulting from climate change, such as Hurricane Katrina. Extremely cold winters could be used not as proof that global warming doesn’t exist, but as yet more evidence of disturbingly extreme weather caused by climate change.

A new name would help. Global warming doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. Climate change is too boring and non-attention grabbing. Adding an adjective – “extreme” climate change, for instance – would improve things. Something with words such as “intensified” and “disruptive” might work too.

This type of name-changing is harder than it initially sounds. After around an hour of thought, this individual could not come up with a non-ridiculous but adequately scary-sounding name. Scientists would eventually figure out something, however. They’re a smart bunch.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

A Lighthearted PR Tip for Combatants of Global Warming

With the death of the Senate energy bill, efforts to combat global climate change have reached a standstill. It does not appear that a cap-and-trade scheme is anywhere in the near future.

A number of factors killed the energy bill. Democrats from states dependent upon traditional energy, such as West Virginia, did not support the bill. Neither did previous cooperative Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Perhaps most importantly – and least mentioned – was the economic recession, which shifted the public’s concern from the environment to the pocketbook.

There was also another factor, a factor which should not have – but did – increase skepticism. This was the unusually cold winter from 2009 to 2010. A fair number of people must have thought something along the lines of “It is very cold right now – therefore global warming does not exist.” This type of attitude will continue to plague combatants of climate change as long as unusually cold winters continue to exist – which they will, given that even the worst case global warming scenarios posit an increase in temperature of less than five degrees Fahrenheit this century, far too little to end winter.

This blogger therefore has a PR suggestion for folks drumming up support to fight global warming. Instead of emphasizing the increase in temperatures, they ought to focus upon the increasing occurrence of extreme natural disasters resulting from climate change, such as Hurricane Katrina. Extremely cold winters could be used not as proof that global warming doesn’t exist, but as yet more evidence of disturbingly extreme weather caused by climate change.

A new name would help. Global warming doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. Climate change is too boring and non-attention grabbing. Adding an adjective – “extreme” climate change, for instance – would improve things. Something with words such as “intensified” and “disruptive” might work too.

This type of name-changing is harder than it initially sounds. After around an hour of thought, this individual could not come up with a non-ridiculous but adequately scary-sounding name. Scientists would eventually figure out something, however. They’re a smart bunch.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

Immigration Nation and Racial Profiling is Pulling in the Station

Arguably Foreign Looking Individual: Walking nonchalantly down a street in Phoenix

Arizona Officer of the Law:  Approaches Arguably Foreign Looking Individual "Excuse me sir, can I see some proof that you are a United States citizen?"

Arguably Foreign Looking Individual: "What? Why?"

Arizona Officer of the Law: "Because I have reasonable suspicion that you are not a legal citizen."

Arguably Foreign Looking Individual: "Reasonable suspicion? That is horseradish! Explain yourself."

Arizona Officer of the Law:  "You look suspiciously latino to me, and according to the new law recently signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, you are required to show proof of your citizenship."

Arguably Foreign Looking Individual: "I carry no such thing."

Arizona Officer of the Law:  "Well then, I will now handcuff and escort you to the county jail."

(note:  I have nothing against Arizona police-officers or Arizona as a state, this is a satirically hypothetical take on the new immigration law passed)

Ahhh yes, Arizona.  Land of pungent and vibrantly green flora, cascading aquatic oases, and vibrant game that would make any modest hunter giggle with glee.  Err... wait, maybe thats one of the other states that allows concealed carry without a permit.

Annyyywayyy....

 

I realize by now that the Arizona Immigration Law recently passed has probably been beaten into your heads more than teetotalism is at BYU, but I think it needs a bit more attention.

I find it very sad that this new immigration law exists.  It hurts the civil rights of many individuals that will no doubt be profiled based on their appearance.  I challenge Jan Brewer and the other stunning prodigies who crafted this law to define what "reasonable suspicion" really is.

 

 On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol (self-proclaimed liberal on immigration issues..what?) claims that the newest addition to Arizona's repertoire of anti-immigration decrees doesn't violate civil rights

Source:  ThinkProgress.org

Now I don't typically make an attempt to pillage through the proverbially mine-field that is Bill Kristol's brain, but I shall attempt to deconstruct his claims and try to make sense of them

KRISTOL: I doubt that it violates the Constitution, if it does, it’s a matter of federal preemption against state law. I don’t think it violates anyone’s civil rights. … I have actually read this bill it is not draconian. It is not going to lead to major civil rights violations. Will a few people get stopped perhaps because some policeman has reasonable suspicion that a person is illegal? Will he be stopped perhaps on the street and asked to provide his driver’s license? Yes. That is the huge horrible civil rights violation that’s going to occur 5 times or 8 times or 13 times in Arizona.

I fail to see how basing reasonable suspicion solely on looks and a good hunch constitutes good legislation, but hey far be it from me to question the state government of Arizona.  Even Mike "the body (of Christ)" Huckabee denounced this bill, saying there's no such thing as "american-looking."  Pro-life Libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano even threw his hat into the ring.

Napolitano also said the law is “so unconstitutional that I predict a federal judge will prevent Arizona from enforcing it.”

Of course not all notable conservatives share the views of Huckabee and Napolitano.  Sarah Palin added her opinion to the matter, because nobody knows what they would do without it.  With millions of adoring fans and Palin-junkies tuning their Palin radar to here the verdict that they will no doubt blindly support, Palin didn't quite give an official answer or endorsement but instead offered this insightful and astute remark:

So more power to Jan Brewer for deciding that she was taking on an issue

So Palin is essentially praising Brewer's ability to sign her name on a paper.  Palin groupies will have to continue waiting in hopes of a verdict.

I'm no Constitutional lawyer, so I cannot definitively condemn this as Un-Constitutional.  However, the arguments against the laws constitutionality keep piling up.  No doubt this has more chance of getting repealed due to violation of the supreme law of the land than the Healthcare law does. 

But Bill Kristol isn't the most reputable person to be commenting on profiling-sensitive issues.  Let me jog everyone's memory a bit.  Heading back down memory lane take exit 34 to Fox News Sunday circa Feb. 3rd 2008.

BILL KRISTOL: Look the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women... it would be crazy for the Democratic party to follow the establishment that's led them to defeat year after year... White Women are a problem - but, you know... we all live with that...

Source:  Media Matters

Kristol, you are indeed a piece of work....

 

... and an idiot.

Obama's campaign, awash in cash, BARRAGES THE INTERNET WITH CRAP

Of course, as they always say 'I cannot prove anything' - But, I would say that what we are seeing, is an example of what happens when you are paying literally hundreds of people to confuse an issue, pose as both sides, confuse people deliberately.

These days, paid bloggers are an intregal part of ANY viral marketing campaign. And of course, money buys everything, ESPECIALLY elections, in America.

Dumb me, I thought we might be better or smarter than that.

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